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Welcome to DARE Academy 2019!

The DARE Academy is an annual games design competition, hosted by Abertay University.

2018 DARE Academy Finalists


Why Should You Dare?

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EGX 2107

2019 Schedule

Dates for 2019

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Dare Finalist Panel Announced!

Tomorrow marks a hugely significant day in the Dare Academy 2019 competition, where the 9 shortlisted teams will meet a panel of Abertay academic staff and industry professionals who will decide their fate in the competition.

Teams will have 15 minutes to pitch their project, thereafter face questions from the panel.

The finalists will be announced noon on Friday 24 May, where 6 teams will commence the hot-housing stage in July, culminating in the final at EGX in October.

With pitching less than 24 hours away we can now reveal who will be on the panel for tomorrow.....

Dr Lynn Love

Lynn Love is a lecturer in animation and interactive media at Abertay University who, when not teaching, makes interactive work that blurs physical and digital boundaries aiming to make the world more playful.  As part of Abertay Game Lab, she is channelling these playful interventions into academic research having recently completed her PhD thesis about bringing people together through play. When she's not teaching, making game controllers out of tinfoil and kids toys, scribbling with chalk around Europe or out and about with her Beagle, Snoopy, you can find her random thoughts and adventures on twitter as @toadrick

Lynn Love

Dr Paul Robertson

Paul Robertson graduated with an honours degree in Computing from Abertay University and went to obtain his doctorate for interdisciplinary research developing and evaluating a computer games based simulation for the firearms police. Paul has led several research projects investigating the future of self-service technology and media consumption, and providing research opportunities to local industry. He has also been involved in projects that provide real-time analytics of user interfaces for local games companies.

Paul has been a key member of the Dare Academy team and has overseen the final the last two years and will reprise his role at EGX in October.

Paul Robertson

Keeley Bunting

Keeley Bunting is a Games Designer with over 12 years of industry experience in both the UK and Canada. She currently works as a Senior Designer at Outplay leading the design for Crafty Candy, a fun free-to-play match-3 mobile game. Previously, at Electronic Arts, Nexon, Microsoft and Disney, she explored a variety of disciplines including design, technical art and software engineering. In addition to working on games for mobile, Kinect, Facebook and web, Keeley was part of an innovation team which was awarded 10 patents relating to physical-digital play. Having initially worked on Free-to-Play games in 2007, she is enjoying her return to this space.

Keeley Bunting

David Hamilton

David Hamilton is no stranger to Abertay having graduated from the University in Games Development in 2004. David teamed up alongside one of his classmates Barry Petrie and formed Digital Goldfish. They partnered up with New Zealand company Ninja Kiwi and brought their popular flash game “Bloons” to the AppStore. It went straight to number 1 in America. Ninja Kiwi subsequently bought Digital Goldfish, where David is now co-manager of the 30 man strong studio. The company has over 100 million downloads across mobile, console and Steam.  

David returns to Dare Academy for the second consecutive year on the judging panel.

David Hamilton

Shortlisted Teams

Dare Academy 2019 is beginning to hot up after the shortlisted teams were announced on Friday 3 May.

A panel of judges from Abertay’s School of Design and Informatics were given the unenviable task of selecting which teams and projects would make it through to the interview and pitching stage of the competition, held on Friday 17 May.

Nine teams will now be required to pitch their game in front of an expert panel of academic staff and industry professionals in a bid to become one of this year’s six Dare Academy finalists.

The finalists will be announced on Friday 24 May.

You can check out the shortlisted teams below.....

Team North Sea - Aurora

Explore a frozen ruin shrouded in mystery, in which you encounter a hapless spirit who will aid you in delving into the depths of a forgotten world. Upon freeing the titular Aurora, a series of events forces the player to plunge into a lost civilization which seems to be ominously centered on their new companion. Strengthen your bond as you and Aurora progress, and work together to unlock the lost secrets of Aurora’s world, as well as the dangers which lie buried within.

Blindside – King of the Drills

King of the Drills is a turn-based tactical VR game featuring clans of hyper-intelligent moles battling for domination. The moles have peaked in their technological ventures and strive to increase their intelligence even further by acquiring new territory from their enemies. Each clan is ruled by a King Mole, a respected leader who commands their troops from above the battlefield in their command vehicle.

Skwaurq – Knights of the Cutlery

The world takes place in an abandoned house, where once, the Knights of the Cutlery guarded over the realm of The Kitchen Kingdom, keeping the forces of the great outdoors at bay. One day the house went quiet, darkness took the kingdom and the knights began to struggle against it, one by one they fell. You (the player) are the last Knight of the Cutlery (The Knight of the Shields), knowing the land can never be saved, it’s your final quest to retrieve the fallen Knight’s sacred cutlery to preserve their honour and memory.

Team Ghost Camp – Tales of Treachery

A local four-player party game where you traverse a modular narrative choose-your-own-adventure together, randomised via a variety of different events you come across as you play.  The added twist is that at the beginning of each play-through one of the four players is secretly marked a traitor.  Said traitor’s task is to secretly betray everyone in ways such as trying to convince them to vote for going down the wrong path, or deliberately playing poorly in simple mini-games (but not so poorly as to arouse suspicion).

Penrose Games – STATION

You play as the sole survivor of a station-wide catchphrase, armed only with your trusty grappling gun you must delve into the bowels of the station, solving puzzles and uncovering the mystery of how you came to be, the sole survivor. Game-play: The demo we are building starts in a very generic way and eases the player into the control scheme before concluding with a titbit of plot. We will expand on the plot element by feeding the player information at the end of sections. For Dare we have two additional sections currently planned. 

Inner Circle Games – Spellcasters

A 2D fantasy platformer with a unique rhythm based magic combat system. Occupy the life of a student attending the once renowned Spellcasters Academy. Collect bounties from the local town’s bounty board, take out local outlaws, and help return Spellcasters from disrepair. Each bounty will bring the player to a unique location where there will be stages of combat followed by a boss fight.  Collect spellbooks and unlock branches of magic based on branches of science. Spellcasters use masks to focus their magic, rare masks contain buffs. Players will be encouraged to search for and collect these throughout the game.

Cookie Jar Studios – Astoria

Astoria is an action RPG featuring multiple playable characters and a branching narrative. Inspired by superhero comics from Marvel and DC, each character comes with unique powers that the player can level up. Each one of the protagonists has their own story to tell, giving the player the chance to experience everything Astoria has to offer. Mixing the growing popularity of superheroes with the industry staple of RPGs; Astoria looks to bring the growing superhero popularity away from the beat em up genre, using episodic narrative and player choice to create dynamic gameplay and memorable experiences.

Jamhead Games – Sundown

Sundown is a narrative-driven adventure game featuring Cinder the Phoenix as the playable character. The game is set within three expansive levels, each with their own distinct style. The flying player is guided through these levels by following visual cues such as hoops and interesting landmarks. Along the way we will engage the player in cinematic moments inspired by games like Journey and Abzu. Sundown’s movement is designed to be intuitive and easy to control, so that anyone can play it. We decided not to have a failstate in Sundown, to challenge the existing norms of the industry.

Painted Selkie – Forgotten Earth

A third person narrative exploration game on PC, set in the distant future after humans have abandoned Earth. Through the view of fixed and dynamic cameras, players will take control of a chirpy optimistic recon-bot who has come off its core programming and developed a new perspective on life.

Latest News and Events

Dare Academy 2019 is here!

Dare Academy is Abertay’s annual game design competition. 6 finalists teams will be hot-housed at Abertay, receiving workshops and mentoring from industry professionals throughout the month of July. They will then take their finished projects to EGX – the UK’s biggest games expo -  held in October at the London ExCel Areana, where they’ll rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry.

The winner will be announced at EGX on Friday October 18.

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