Dare Academy 2018 finalists revealed

Six student teams packed with videogames design talent have made it through to the competition phase of Abertay University’s Dare Academy 2018.

After winning through a pitching process led by a panel of top games industry judges, the remaining teams now look forward to the Dare Academy games development hot-housing phase this summer, each with a budget of £1,000 to hone their prototypes.

Dare Academy 2018 saw a record number of entrants, with teams coming from games courses within Abertay’s School of Design and Informatics, this year rated best in Europe for a fourth consecutive year.

Finalists include:

Techno Fluid Games - Physic: A first person puzzler for PC where the player is equipped with a gun that manipulates physics properties found in the environment. The game is being developed in Unreal Engine 4.

Aetherfall Games - Only Shadows: A game for PC, Steam, Itch.IO and Gamejolt. Developed using Unity Engine and Wwise, this is a first-person surrealist exploration of an Unknown Soldier’s post-traumatic psyche begotten of the barbarism of war.

Soda Float - Obsol33t: Catering for the PC market and produced on Unity, this first person walking simulator and RPG hybrid is played with keyboard and mouse. Players explore the environments through the eyes of multiple characters to uncover more of the story and world.

Thunder Lime – Kinoko: With peaceful gameplay and accessible to players of all ages and abilities, Kinoko features a nature spirit tasked with clearing away winter and bringing the forest into spring. It is produced on Unreal Engine 4.

Cation Games - Sketch Town Showdown: Targeted at PS4 owners with a penchant for social gaming, this project is developed for PlayLink with a free companion smartphone app. It is a collection of party mini-games focussing on player creativity, mainly through drawing pictures which come to life.

Zero Qualms - Vox Racers: Aimed at young children aged 7 and over, as well as nostalgic adults of the arcade era, this vibrant and competitive PC racing game is set in a colourful and striking voxel world. Produced using Unity, it is billed as a ‘love letter to classic arcade racing’.

The judging panel included Jess Hider (formerly of Epic Games), Bert Henning (Tag Games), Chris Dawson (Denki), Danny Parker (Ninja Kiwi), Chris Trewartha (YoYo Games) and Fraser Simpson (YoYo Games).

All six of the finalists will showcase their games at the massive EGX festival in Birmingham, with the lucky winners jetting out to GDC in San Francisco.

Chris said: “With engines like Unreal and Unity now available it really helps the students and allows them to focus more on designs and actually coming up with a better game, rather than the worries they used to have years ago.

“EGX is huge so that’s really exciting for any student team because you’re up next to the real McCoy - it’s the real world for them now.”

Bert said: “The calibre this year was very high and I was really impressed by what they produced and the time they produced it in.”

Danny said: “We’re now actually wondering whether the game is going to be a good mechanic, rather than whether the teams are going to complete the project – such is the quality of people who are applying.”