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D-Day For Dare Students

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YOU ARE INVITED TO SEND A PHOTOGRAPHER/JOURNALIST/CAMERA CREW TO IC-CAVE, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY, KYDD BUILDING, BELL ST, DUNDEE, DD1 1HG, AT 09:30 HRS, ON WEDNESDAY 4TH MAY 2004

DATE OF ISSUE: TUESDAY 3rd MAY 2005

Scotland's brightest new talent will come face to face with top games gurus in Dundee today, (Wednesday May 4th 05) in the battle to make it into this year's Dare to be Digital competition.

A record number of students entered Dare to be Digital 2005, with 39 teams prepared to fight it out in a games competition hailed by industry bible, Develop, as "the closest you can get to commercial game development."

In a series of gruelling interviews, taking place across the UK and Ireland, today's panel of judges will pick only four out of the twelve Scottish teams shortlisted, who could be well on their way to becoming the future stars of the industry. The remaining four teams will be picked from Belfast, Dublin, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

In addition to this, Dare has gone global for 2005, with support from the Scottish Executive, providing eight scholarship places to talented programming or computer art graduates from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, as part of its "Fresh Talent" initiative.

Dare to be Digital is a competition open to students from Universities and Art Colleges and is based at the University of Abertay Dundee, which runs the competition in partnership with Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City Council.

The eight teams - made up of five students - are asked to submit a concept for a new and original computer game or educational entertainment product. Judges will be looking for the most creative ideas and those that fulfil the greatest market potential. Receiving help from industry specialists and a project fee of £1700, teams who make it through will have only 10 weeks to present a finished digital prototype and business sales document which can be pitched to investors.

The judges who will be in Dundee include: Ian Kiigan from Denki; Russell Kay from Visual Science; Chris Stamp from Real Time Worlds; Julia Bond from BBC Scotland; Gary Grant from Scottish Enterprise Tayside; Chris Wright from Digital Bridges; Wendy Inglis Humphry from NESTA and Dave Wightman from Edgies.

"Dare to be Digital is a great way to get fresh talent into the industry," says judge, Russell Kay, Visual Science Chief Technology Officer. "It's extremely tough to get into the industry, no matter how talented. This competition sets unbelievably high standards, proving to games companies that Dare students have the necessary experience and commitment needed to make it as the games developers of tomorrow."

Today's event comes on the back of last week's news that Electronic Arts is now an official sponsor of Dare 2005. As part of the sponsorship, the games giant will offer two Dare students the opportunity to join the 'EA Academy' at its European Studios in Surrey. The winners will be given the opportunity to join an EA development team, working on a live game for up to four weeks, with accommodation and a salary of £250 per week, also funded by EA.

EA joins Develop - the international trade publication for creators of interactive entertainment software - as new sponsors of Dare 2005. With its growing reputation for producing some of the most promising talent entering the games sector, the competition continues to receive invaluable support from, Microsoft, NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), BBC Scotland Interactive and NCR.

The eight teams - which will work from Dundee and have access to the cutting edge facilities at Abertay University - will be paid on a weekly basis and supported by experienced industry specialists, who will offer technical, creative and business advice, mentors who are inaccessible to any student outside the Dare project.

Predicted as having "a major impact on the global games industry in the near future", by Richard Leinfellner, VP of Production at Electronic Arts, Dare to be Digital has produced a long line of graduates who are now working for some of the top names in the Electronic Entertainment industry, including EA, Lionhead Studios, Visual Sciences and Real Time Worlds.

The competition takes place from June 13th to August 19th 2005.

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