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Dare to be Digital launched by V&A game designer

Abertay University Dare to Be Digital 2014 launch. Picture: Frazer Band

Abertay University Dare to Be Digital 2014 launch. Picture: Frazer Band

THE V&A’s first ever game designer in residence will today launch the world-leading game design competition for students, Dare to be Digital.

Sophia George started her career on Dare to be Digital, winning in 2011 with her family-friendly puzzle game Tick Tock Toys.

Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks. An expert panel picks 15 teams of five students to take part in the contest.

The games go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award. Sophia’s team won the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in 2012.

For the second year running, the three main awards are sponsored by PlayStation®First, the academic development programme of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE).

This year teams from as far afield as China, India, Malta and the USA have travelled to Dundee for the competition.

‘It changed my life’

Sophia George, V&A game designer in residence, said: “Dare to be Digital was the first opportunity I had to work with a team to build a complete game, and it changed my life.

“All of the 15 teams who are spending the summer at Abertay University building a brand new game face an incredibly tough challenge, but when they put their games on show at the Dare ProtoPlay festival in August they will be ready for a career in games.

“I wish them all the very best of luck, and look forward to seeing 15 creative, exciting and inspiring games take shape over the next eight weeks.”

Sophia is currently working at Abertay University, building her game inspired by six months of research in the V&A’s Britain 1500-1900 galleries in London. The game explores the designs of William Morris and lets each player create new patterns using Morris’s work.

Dr Maria Stukoff, who heads up PlayStation®First, SCEE’s Academic Development Programme, said: “As a key event sponsor, we are committed to support Dare to be Digital in hosting the next wave of talented game developers who understand the complexities of making working game prototypes.

‘Active role in the future’

“We want to make sure we take an active role in the future of the UK’s game development industry, and Dare to be Digital is a central part of the UK’s seeding programme.”

Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, said: “Abertay University has always been committed to giving students real-life experience for a career in the computer games industry, and Dare to be Digital is a great example of this.

“Many of these students won’t have had the chance to build a complete game before, but at the end of these eight weeks they’ll leave with a major piece of work and invaluable professional contacts.”

All 15 student games – plus game from independent game studios – will go on show at the free Dare ProtoPlay games festival, Thursday 7 – Sunday 10 August in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square.

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