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Top Indian computing talent joins international games design competition

30 May 2006

Three of India's brightest young computing graduates will travel to Scotland next months to take part in the world's leading computer games development competition for students.

Pradeep Benjamin Dewars and Madan Mohan Katnapally from Bangalore plus Kranthi Kumar Kukkala from Khamman in Andra Pradesh have been selected to join teams competing in Dare to be Digital, run by the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland (UK).

Generous funding from the Scottish Executive (the devolved government of Scotland) enabled Dare to be Digital to expand its horizons for 2006 and invite applications from Indian students keen to show what they can do.

A competition was held recently for high-flying individuals keen to seize a unique opportunity to establish their credentials in the fast-moving international business of computer games and digital entertainment. The three young men impressed the judges with real passion for computer games and genuine talent for creativity and innovation.

Pradeep graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Applications degree from Christ College, Bangalore University, while Madan holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Information Science degree from Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering in Bangalore. Kranthi graduated with a BTech CSE degree from Kakatiya Institute of Technology & Science in Warangal.

All three will now receive return flights to Dundee to join selected teams of students from the UK, Ireland and Canada for the competition, with accommodation and a weekly allowance of £170 thrown in.

Beginning in June, the teams will have just 10 weeks to develop a prototype video game, receiving daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists. At the end of the competition, the prototypes are judged by a panel of experts and prizes awarded to the teams at a special awards ceremony and talent showcase.

Tom McCabe, Scottish Executive Minister for Finance and Public Sector Reform, said: "Scotland is at the cutting edge of games design. The Executive's continued support enables scholars from China and India to share ideas and experiences with some of Scotland's brightest young talent. I warmly welcome our new international scholar to Dare to be Digital 2006, and I know that they will have a rich and rewarding experience. Dare to be Digital plays a key role in showcasing Scotland as a centre of innovation, and to promote Scotland as a great place for motivated and talented people to live, work and study."

Jackie McKenzie, Abertay University's project manager for Dare to be Digital, said: "We're delighted to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity to Indian graduates this year. The standard of programming and design talent now coming out of India is on a par with the world's best, and we are anticipating a tough but highly enjoyable selection process to choose the three winners to come to Dundee."

K Rajesh Rao, CEO of leading Indian games company Dhruva Interactive which will assist in the selection process, said: "India's games industry is growing rapidly and the Dare to be Digital experience is an excellent opportunity for talented graduates to test out their ability in a real world environment."

Anirudh Popli, who represented Dare in India last year, said: 'If ever work, learning, fun and making great friends could co-exist, it's at Dare!"

Kamal Kant, of Study Overseas, said: "These scholarships are a fantastic opportunity for young Indians to gain a unique educational and practical experience in a high pressure and challenging but ultimately highly rewarding environment. We're delighted to be supporting this exciting venture."

Eunice Crook, Director South India, British Council, said: "The UK, and within UK particularly Scotland, is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in the computer games industry, as exemplified by Dare to be Digital. At the same time, India's creative and programming industries are growing rapidly, producing high quality talent to world standards. The British Council is pleased to support the development of opportunities for young Indian talent to gain experience of, and forge networks with, the British and international games industry."

(Ends)

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Dare to be Digital 2006 is funded by Abertay University and Dundee City Council, and sponsored by NCR, BBC Scotland, Belfast City Council, The Digital Hub, NESTA and the Scottish Executive. Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-grade talent. Of the four Scottish teams that entered last year, for example, one became a start-up games company in Glasgow, and another is currently negotiating with a major publisher. A third team became a start-up company based at Abertay with funding from NESTA and is developing its concept into a commercial product, while the fourth - whose members are completing their studies - is negotiating the sale of its game to a developer. Team members from previous years have gone on to work for major names such as Lionhead, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft while local talent is also retained in Dundee by Real Time Worlds, Denki and other companies.

Picture shows, from left to right, Professor Lachlan Mackinnon of Abertay University, Dare scholarship winners Madan Katnapally, Pradeep Dewars and Kranthi Kukkala, and Kamal Kant of Study Overseas.

Media enquiries:
Kevin Coe
T: +44 1382 308452
M: +44 7850 904110
E: k.coe@abertay.ac.uk
W: www.abertay.ac.uk

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