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Dare to be Digital: Ctrl_D

The third and final winning team is profiled here, with details on the game - and the people that created it

In the last of our Dare to be Digital winner profiles, present Ctrl_D, a team made up primarily of students from Peking University, and their title VegeMe.

The profiles of the previously-featured winners, DarkMatter Designs and Blue Skies, are also available.

Game Summary

  • Team Name: Ctrl_D
  • Game Name: VegeMe
The aim of the game is to win territory by painting it.


Tired of the dull, grey world? Come on, make it your style! VegeMe is a competitive networked game about capturing territory by painting. It blends 3D platforming and real-time strategy gameplay into a fresh new experience. Spin the trackball as fast as you can to roll your seed around the world. Distinctive plants or machinery sprout up in your wake, showing everyone that you've captured the area.


The game comes alive as a competitive title.

Jump between planets and explore the universe to find new areas to paint. Some planets rotate under your mass, opening up new pathways or frustrating your opponent's progress. Others shake from the impact of clumsy shooting stars, dropping resources and power-ups when they land. Power-ups can be used to build bases that help you out. Some colour in the surrounding area by themselves, while others slow down approaching enemy seeds, quickly teleport you between areas, or even fire out baby seeds to paint other planets.


Power-ups enable bases to be built, to help you dominate.


Lay mines to defend your bases or knock away sneaky tailing enemies as you compete to capture as much land as possible. The player who covers the most land in three minutes wins! The game was designed for children between the ages of eight and fifteen, but the simple controls and concept, along with a relaxed practice mode, make it accessible to players of all ages.


Team Members

  • Name: Guo Lin
  • University: Peking
  • Favourite videogame: Medieval: Total War
  • Would most like to work for: Blizzard
  • Job you'd like to get in the industry: Interface or AI programmer
  • Best part of Dare: Meeting new friends who like games too.
  • Most challenging aspect of Dare: The tight deadline! It's so tough to finish within the time.


  • Name: GaoYing
  • University: Peking
  • Favourite videogame: Super Mario Galaxy/Assassin's Creed/Loco Roco
  • Would most like to work for: Nintendo/Ubisoft
  • Job you'd like to get in the industry: Concept Design
  • Best part of Dare: It was a good chance for us to complete our own game and interact with other team members.
  • Most challenging aspect of Dare: We had to try our best to solve all our problems by ourselves again and again. It was also a real challenge for us to live in a country just using English. Still, it was good practice for our oral English. Working out how to deal with all the things in the time given was another challenge for us - not only finishing the game, but also recording videos, writing the diary on the website, and so on.


  • Name: Zhang Jun
  • University: Peking
  • Favourite videogame: Super Mario Bros
  • Would most like to work for: Nintendo
  • Job you'd like to get in the industry: 3D artist
  • Best part of Dare: The sense of a competitive environment.
  • Most challenging aspect of Dare: It is very difficult to finish a playable game in such a short time.


  • Name: Liang Wei
  • University: Peking
  • Favourite videogame: Warcraft III
  • Would most like to work for: Blizzard
  • Job you'd like to get in the industry: Programmer/Technical Artist
  • Best part of Dare: A great chance to learn from each other and make friends.
  • Most challenging aspect of Dare: There are only ten weeks!


  • Name: Alexander Symington
  • University: Abertay Dundee
  • Favourite videogame: NiGHTS into Dreams, Super Mario Galaxy
  • Would most like to work for: Nintendo, Obsidian, Prope, Armor Project
  • Job you'd like to get in the industry: Designer
  • Best part of Dare: Working with people that are talented, focused and just plain nice. It feels like luck that we never had any major development disasters, but it's really due to Guo Lin and Liang Wei's rigorous engineering, and Gao and Zhang's dedication to keep iterating on art assets to balance visual quality and tech requirements.
  • Most challenging aspect of Dare: In the first few weeks, I wasn't sure if a lot of the core technology like painting and the gravity system could actually be made to work. Later on, keeping the frame rate consistently above 30fps required many diverse optimisations. Finally, lack of time meant that there was almost no time for proper playtesting. At Protoplay it became clear that even a few simple tweaks like changing the default camera mode and switching item spawn locations could have improved the accessibility and balance of the game considerably.


General Questions Why did your team decide to enter the Dare competition?

Why not? It's the best student game development competition in the world. It's also a perfect chance to practice and prove ourselves. What did you hope to achieve before the competition began?

Just to do our best. We did think that we came to the competition with a good game concept, but when we saw the other games we found out that they are all good. Everyone entering had the potential to win. What do you feel you learned from the process?

Tight teamwork, practical planning and finding technical solutions in a very limited period of time. With the help of all of the mentors, we learned so much in only ten weeks. Dare provides the kind of experience that we could never get just from university. It's like being a game team in an industrial company, working on a game that will be released within ten weeks. How did your team make decisions?

Everyone posted new ideas, and we talked about them and voted on them. Even the original game concept is a combination of ideas from all of the team members. Where did the idea for your game come from?

From lots of different games. The colouring and rolling parts are from De Blob, and the gravity system is from Mario Galaxy. Style spreading (growing plants or factories) is an extension of colour-painting. Competitive play is a way we found to add more fun to the game - and it really works. What would you change about your game now in hindsight?

It would be better if it were more stable and customisable, so that more characters, styles and colours could be added easily. We would also like to have improved the graphics and included more gameplay modes. What do you feel the experience will add to your CV?

Everyone in the UK industry knows Dare, so it will push our CV to the top of the pile. I think it will not be a problem to find a job in the industry.

More information on Ctrl_D can be found on the official Dare to be Digital website.

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