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DATE OF ISSUE: WEDNESDAY 17TH AUGUST 2005
Some of the brightest new games talent from across the world, battling to win the prestigious Dare to be Digital competition, will find out who's come out top today (Thursday 18th August), at a special awards ceremony in Dundee, which attracts the games industry's biggest development and entertainment companies.
In just ten weeks and with prizes of up to £2000, the competition has seen eight teams of students produce prototype games ready to pitch to investors. The games have already seen some success, showcasing last week in front of thousands of eager games fans at the Edinburgh International Entertainment Festival's 'Go Play Games!' - the UK's largest interactive expo dedicated to gaming.
Dare judge and master of ceremonies at today's event - which takes place at the University of Abertay's student centre - is Electronic Arts', Executive Producer & Vice President, Richard Leinfellner, who continues to be one of Dare's strongest supporters. "It has been great to work with Dare for the third year running" he says, " I am continually impressed with the quality of talent this innovative & unique experience manages to attract. It is by far the best pre-employment proving ground for the interactive entertainment sector."
The panel of judges stretch from across the industry, including: Jon Jordan, Technology Editor, Develop magazine; Adrian Curry, Account Manager, Microsoft Xbox; Michael Bedward, Business Support Manager, Creative Pioneer Programme at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA); Stephen Donelly, Senior Designer, BBC Scotland Interactive; Stephen McFarlane, Rare; Brandon Smith, Senior Producer, Sega; Mark Grossi, Chief Technology Officer, NCR; Mark Ettle, Managing Director, Cobra Mobile, and Ian Shaw, Chief Technology Officer, Electronic Arts
The eight teams competing in Dare 2005, submitted a concept for a new and original computer game or educational entertainment product. Judges were not only looking for the most creative ideas, but those that fulfilled the greatest market potential. Receiving help from industry specialists and a project fee of £1700, the teams had only ten weeks to present a finished digital prototype and business sales document which can be pitched to investors.
The range of projects being undertaken by students, includes - multiplayer/online, traditional interactive, mobile, first person shooter, action arcade, 3rd person puzzle based, narrative led and music driven fantasy games.
Up for grabs at the ceremony are the three main prizes, each worth £2000, for 'Product with Greatest Market Potential', 'Product with Greatest Innovation and Creativity' and the 'Technical Excellence Prize'. An additional prize of £500 will go to the 'Best International Scholar'. 'Best Programmer', 'Best Artist' and 'Best Team Leader', will each receive an Xbox, donated by Microsoft.
Meanwhile, selected students will get the opportunity to join the 'EA Academy' at its European Studios in Surrey, with the chance to work with an EA development team on a live game, with accommodation and a salary funded by EA.
2005 brought additional funding from the Scottish Executive, as part of its 'Fresh Talent' initiative, enabling the unique games competition to become an international player, with teams from across the UK and Ireland joined by a further eight scholarship students from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.
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 teams - which worked from Dundee and had access to the cutting edge facilities at Abertay University - were paid on a weekly basis and supported by experienced industry specialists, who offered technical, creative and business advice, mentors who are inaccessible to any student outside the Dare project.
With its increasing reputation for producing some of the most promising talent entering the games sector, the competition continues to receive invaluable support from, Microsoft, NESTA, BBC Scotland Interactive and NCR. New sponsors on board for 2005 include Electronic Arts and Develop - the international trade publication for creators of interactive entertainment software.
Amongst those attending the awards ceremony, will be Ryan O'Hare, Head of Microsoft Scotland; Professor Bernard King, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Abertay Dundee; Shona Cormack, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Councillor Joe Morrow, Convenor of Economic Development, Dundee City Council.
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