The University of Abertay's popular computer games design competition for students, Dare to be Digital, has launched for an eighth year with a significantly expanded schedule and a call for entries.Having established itself as a key event for the education and games sector, the contest returns for 2007 stronger than ever as the organisers aim to invite 80 or more young game developers from across the UK and Ireland to take part this year – almost twice as many as in 2006.
To capture so many potential candidates, Dare to be Digital will roll out to other locations across the British Isles. Four teams from Scotland will be selected to spend the first nine weeks of the 10-week competition based at Abertay University designing and building a fully functioning prototype of their video game idea. Also, Queen’s University in Belfast will host a similar nine-week programme for students from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, Dare to be Digital organisers are currently working to establish a host location in England, or to host English teams in Dundee for the competition.
Elaine Russell, Abertay University’s project manager for Dare to be Digital, said: “There are now more reasons than ever for teams to get together and enter Dare. The track record of previous participants shows how very highly regarded it is within the computer games industry. This year, we have received many enquiries even before the application form was ready. This early sign of enthusiasm shows the increasing popularity of the competition.”
Entrants teams receive financial support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists during the 10-week competition. Some teams from previous years have gone on to set up their own game development studios while many other entrants have gone on to work at companies such as Lionhead, Rockstar, Codemasters, BBC Scotland, Electronic Arts and Microsoft, as well as local Dundee-based developers such as Realtime Worlds and Denki.
Added Russell: “We want to celebrate the young talent from all university courses that represent a pipeline for bringing top graduates to the video games industry. We want to do that in a way that adds value to their CVs, provides them with experience of working in interdisciplinary teams, teaches them new skills and showcases their achievements effectively. We want to ensure that there are maximum opportunities for all potential employers to evaluate the talent pool.
“We also want to inspire, promote and celebrate creativity and originality. We want our participants to have a positive economic impact when they move on from Dare to be Digital either through employment or entrepreneurial activity. Dare’s popularity is increasing year by year and has attracted many more talented individuals to apply. We have gained much industry support and wish to see more. This is a fantastic project worth supporting."
Applications for Dare to be Digital 2007 should be made via www.daretobedigital.com