Dare to be Digital, which began as a local competition for students at Abertay University in 2000, is now regarded as one of the most prestigious events of its kind, with the winners in line to win a coveted BAFTA award.
After last year’s event spanned four days and attracted 13,000 visitors, organisers are gearing up for another successful iteration of the long-running contest, which challenges teams of students to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks.
An expert panel then picks 15 teams of five students, before their games go on show to the public and industry experts. Eventually, three winning teams are picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch award.
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital really encapsulates Abertay University’s approach to teaching games artists, audio engineers, designers and programmers. Real life experience and direct access to industry professionals is essential if you want to enter this exciting, competitive industry.
“In eight weeks we see students absolutely transformed by Dare to be Digital. There’s no question that it’s a really tough challenge, but building a completely new game as part of a small team then showcasing it to thousands of people is a unique experience – and one that can massively help you prepare to be a professional game developer.”
Previous Dare to be Digital winners include Sophia George, who is currently the V&A’s first ever game designer in residence.
Looking back on the experience, she said: “Dare to be Digital was a life-changing opportunity for me. Being able to work solidly on our game Tick Tock Toys and then show it to thousands of members of the public was an incredible learning experience, and one which really helped me when it came to applying to the V&A.
“I don’t think it’s possible to learn more about entering the games industry in eight weeks than by taking part in Dare to be Digital – the challenge and the support you receive is incredible, as is the mentoring from industry professionals.
“It’s intense, exciting and exhausting, but if you want to make games for a living you’d be crazy not to apply to take part.”
All of the games from Dare to be Digital are shown at the Dare ProtoPlay festival in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square between 7 and 10 August. Last year’s event attracted 13,000 visitors over four days.
To apply to Dare to be Digital, visit daretobedigital.com. Applications close at 9am on 21 April.