Dare to be Digital 2012

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A record number of applications has been received for Dare to be Digital 2012, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, has announced.

Revealing that the globally-renowned computer games development competition has received 108 entries from 70 universities across 13 nations, the Culture Secretary confirmed Scottish Government support of £85,700 will enable teams from China, India and Finland to take part this year.

The annual contest for talented computer science and art students from the UK and abroad takes place over nine weeks each summer and is organised and hosted by the University of Abertay Dundee.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland is known the world over as a creative and innovative nation, with our computer games industry undoubtedly one of our global success stories – supporting around 1,500 jobs and contributing £30 million to our economy.

“Dare to be Digital is a fantastic showcase of the talent, infrastructure and cutting-edge skills that Scotland, and Dundee in particular, has to offer in this fast-growing and competitive market. It also provides an excellent platform for students to knowledge and develop their expertise whilst benefiting from mentoring from video games experts here in Scotland.

“Scottish Government funding has already enabled the international scope of this project to expand into India, China and Nordic countries, further enhancing Scotland’s digital reputation overseas. I am delighted to confirm that this support will continue in 2012, our Year of Creative Scotland.”

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government continues to support Dare to be Digital, helping these overseas teams from India, China and Nordic countries come to Abertay University and build a brand new game in just nine weeks.

“The talent that Dare attracts is really quite phenomenal, and our industry contacts like Rockstar North and Sony regularly hire competitors straight from the contest. It is a genuinely life-changing experience for the students who beat the very tough competition to get in.

“And the students get so much from putting their games on show to the public at Scotland’s biggest computer games festival, Dare ProtoPlay, in Dundee in August. It’s an incredible experience for them, seeing their games being played by thousands of people of all ages.”

One Scottish Government-supported BAFTA winner, Marcus Heder, moved to Dundee to develop his career after his Swedish team’s success in the 2010 contest. He said:

“I found Dare to be Digital to be a fantastic experience. Being given the chance to create your very own game – learning the difficulties and benefits of doing such a thing, along with the guidance and support from people from the games industry – is an incredibly valuable experience. Not only did I get to learn new things about the development process during the competition, I was also able to personally meet with people from the industry who would eventually be my employers.”

Dare to be Digital runs from June 11, with Dare ProtoPlay computer games festival open to the public from Friday August 10 to Sunday August 12 in Dundee’s Caird Hall. At Dare ProtoPlay three winning teams are announced, who become the sole nominees for the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ Award, a category created specifically for this project.

The Scottish Government is providing £85,700 funding for Dare to be Digital 2012 to support and expand the international scope of the competition. The investment helps students from China, India and Nordic countries to come to Scotland to take part in the contest.

This year, 108 applications were received from 70 universities across 13 nations including China, Denmark, England, Finland, Holland, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Romania, Scotland, Spain and Sweden.

The international teams taking part in Dare to be Digital 2012 are:

  • Ideer, from the Communication University of China (iPhone game)
  • LazzyBrains, from India’s Image College of Arts Animation and Technology (iPad game)
  • Kind of a Big Deal, from Finland’s Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (Windows Phone 7 game)

Dare to be Digital is a video game development competition for undergraduates at universities and colleges of art, organised and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, the UK’s Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education. Teams of student programmers and artists compete in an intensive ‘hot-house’ development environment over the summer vacation, building fully-functioning prototype games for assessment by industry judges and a public vote at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee in August.

Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997, and runs both the UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education and the international game design contest Dare to be Digital. Through the Abertay University Prototype Fund start-up and small developers across the UK have access to funding to create new prototypes and attract additional investment, another practical way Abertay supports the growth of a sustainable, successful games industry.

The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and spotlights and celebrates Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland.