Only if you Dare

Aber­tay’s Pro­to­Play gears up to show­case the bright­est new videogame talent


Aber­tay’s Proto Play will host the bright­est new videogame talent

Dare To Be Dig­i­tal, Aber­tay Univer­sity’s an­nual stu­dent cod­ing com­pe­ti­tion, kicked off in June and will see 15 teams of five stu­dents at­tempt to cre­ate a game pro­to­type in just nine weeks. The re­sults of their work will be show­cased at Pro­to­Play, un­der a large mar­quee in Dundee’s City Square, which is tak­ing place Au­gust 7–10. Pro­to­Play also al­lows more es­tab­lished in­die de­vel­op­ers to show their games for free (in­ter­ested par­ties can ap­ply at www. dare­tobe­dig­i­, and this year they’ll be in nearby Caird Hall.

On the last day of the com­pe­ti­tion, three win­ners will be an­nounced, voted for by an in­de­pen­dent panel of in­dus­try judges. The win­ning teams will be nom­i­nated for the BAFTA Ones To Watch award and re­ceive a £2,500 prize.

Sophie Ge­orge, who opened this year’s Dare pro­ceed­ings, was a win­ner of 2011’s com­pe­ti­tion with puzzle game Tick Tock Toys and went on to be­come the Vic­to­ria And Al­bert Mu­seum’s first game de­signer in res­i­dence. She is cur­rently work­ing at Aber­tay on a game called Straw­berry Thief. “When I com­peted Dare To Be Dig­i­tal, I had only re­cently grad­u­ated from my un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree,” she tells us.” So win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion gave a boost to the first steps in my ca­reer. I feel that be­ing able to show­case an award­win­ning game at the age of 21 was key to de­vel­op­ing the next stages of my jour­ney into game de­vel­op­ment.”

For the Dare To Be Dig­i­tal fi­nal­ists, the ex­pe­ri­ence can be in­valu­able. “Win­ning Pro­to­Play meant a lot for us,” says DOS Stu­dios’ Mat­tis Delerud, who was one of last year’s win­ners with twitch ac­tion game Size DOES Mat­ter. “It en­abled us to be vis­i­ble to more people and for us to gain a lot of con­fi­dence in our­selves as de­vel­op­ers. When we saw that a large num­ber of people en­joyed the game, we were amazed! We thought for a while that Size DOES Mat­ter was a niche game. Pro­to­Play proved us wrong.”

Ac­cord­ing to Delerud, Size DOES Mat­ter, which sees you ad­just­ing the size of a block and ma­noeu­vring it through gaps in an un­holy union of Flappy Bird and Su­per Hexagon, is driven by its mu­sic. And win­ning Pro­to­Play lent DOS Stu­dios

“It en­abled us to be vis­i­ble to more people and to gain a lot of con­fi­dence in our­selves as game de­vel­op­ers”

the cred­i­bil­ity it needed to work with the artists it ad­mired, in­clud­ing Chipzel, Eirik Suhrke and Savant. “In other words,” Delerud says, “with­out Dare To Be Dig­i­tal and Pro­to­Play, DOS Stu­dios would not be where we are to­day.”

It’s an event that tran­scends the typ­i­cal au­di­ence for a videogame show, and this year’s Pro­to­Play – which we’ll be cov­er­ing in two is­sues’ time – will surely build on its suc­cess to date. “I think these events ex­pose the videogame medium to a wider range of people than it usu­ally does,” Delerud says. “This is my favourite part. We had 50-year-olds come up and play Size DOES Mat­ter, as well as shy chil­dren. In my opin­ion, so­ci­ety ben­e­fits from this; it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to show so­ci­ety that videogames can be ev­ery­thing, and that it’s a medium that will be here for a long time.”

“My ex­pe­ri­ence at Dare and Pro­to­Play re­ally helped me be vo­cal and open about show­ing my work to other people and lis­ten­ing to feed­back and ideas,” says Ge­orge, pic­tured here with SCEE aca­demic de­vel­op­ment man­ager Luke Sav­age

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