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Student development team picks up special award at EIEF

A team of students received special recognition for their entry in the Dare to be Digital development competition at the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival on Friday.

The Most Promising New Concept award went to Gene Therapy for its work on Fishisms, a game which allows players to buy, breed and customise fish and create a virtual aquarium. It was presented by Jon Jordan, technology editor of Develop magazine, which sponsors the award.

The judging panel included Eidos' Ian Livingstone, Revolution Software MD Charles Cecil and John Broomhall of Broomhall Projects. Entries were assessed according to creativity, originality and market potential.

"It was fantastic to see creativity and innovation in full flow from these enthusiastic young development teams," said Livingstone. "Their vision and execution of ideas proves that great new talent is set to join the gaming industry."

The Dare to be Digital competition is open to students from Universities and Art Colleges and is run by the University of Abertay Dundee in partnership with the Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City Council.

The Scottish Executive contributed GBP 35,000 to the initiative as part of its Fresh Talent scheme, which allowed organisers to open up the competition to international students. Teams from the UK and Ireland were joined by students from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.

Entrants were initially invited to submit concepts for new computer games or educational entertainment products, and those teams selected received GBP 1700 to fund the development of their project over ten weeks. They also had access to technical, creative and business advice from experienced industry specialists. At the end of the development period, teams were asked to present a finished digital prototype along with a business sales document.

The three main awards - Product with Greatest Market Potential, Product with Greatest Innovation and Creativity and the Technical Excellence prize - will be presented this week, with each winning team receiving GBP 2000. A further GBP 500 will be awarded to the Best International Scholar, while winners of the Best Programmer, Best Artist and Best Team Leader awards will each receive and Xbox donated by Microsoft.

Sponsors for the Dare to be Digital event include Electronic Arts, NESTA, BBC Scotland Interactive and NCR.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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