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International contestants arrive for the launch of Dare to be Digital 2016.

18 July 2016

Hosted and organised by Abertay University, this year’s event welcomes over 80 students from countries including Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, India, the UK and the United States.

Sixteen teams are in the city for the final two weeks of the challenge, which kicked off in January with a call for entries. Now the finalists will take residence at the University so that they can benefit from expert mentoring and give the finishing touches to the computer games that they have been creating over the last few months.

Each team’s game will then feature at Dare Protoplay, Scotland’s biggest independent games festival, taking place in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square from 4-7 August,  where thousands of members of the public will have the chance to experience the creations first hand. Many students will be staying for a week of workshops and talks after the festival, in which they will learn how to bring their games to the market and turn their teams into studios and small businesses.

Dr William Huber, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education in Abertay’s School of Arts, Media and Computer Games, said:

'We’re pleased to be able to welcome some of the world’s most promising young game designers and developers to Abertay University and the city of Dundee. The teams who have participated in Dare to be Digital in the past describe it as a transformational experience, and Dare veterans are now important players in the game and interactive industry worldwide

'Each of these teams comes from schools which have their own approaches to game-making, and by coming to Dundee, they enrich what is already an internationally recognized hub for game development.

'In the past few years, we have seen more innovation and diversity in game design, from games for education and games which celebrate cultural heritage to ones which bring people together in the spirit of fun and play. Dare to be Digital continues to be recognised as a place where we can glimpse the future of game design and development, and Abertay University is proud to host it.'

Dare to be Digital 2016 received entries from across Europe, Asia and North America, with half of the entries coming from outside the UK.

Brendan LoBuglio is from Sugarscape Games. He and his team have brought their game Grassdancer all the way from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles; Brendan said they had witnessed the effect of Dare to be Digital on previous entrants:

'USC Games is a very small, tight-knit program and so we've heard a lot from them about Dare. Everyone seems to come back with this new energy like they've had the chance to focus on a project and really take their skills to the next level and so their experiences have been a big inspiration for us to apply. We're really excited to be out here, continuing USC's legacy of participating in Dare!'

Meanwhile, of the 16 teams, five are from Scotland. Jamie Wood from Dundee-based Bluedoor Games hopes his team will triumph with its game, Among the Stones. He said he was looking forward to meeting the international contestants:

'It is always amazing meeting new developers especially when they are at a similar point in their careers.  Being a home team gives us plenty of opportunities to show the newcomers around the city and get to know them. We have a responsibility to make them feel welcome and help them enjoy their time in Dundee.

The successful teams will receive mentoring from creatively and commercially successful studios including Cloud Imperium Games, Denki, Ninja Kiwi, Reagent Games, Sony, Stormcloud Games and Tag Games.

Along with Abertay University, Dare Protoplay is sponsored by Event Scotland, Sony, Channel 4 and Dundee City Council.

For more information, please visit the Dare to be Digital website and follow #Dare2016.

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