Game for a challenge
The winners of this year’s Get Into Games Challenge – and what to expect at Abertay’s Dare ProtoPlay festival
Announcing the winners of this year’s Get Into Games Challenge
This year’s Get Into Games Challenge has come to an end, which means it’s time to announce our winners. In early July, we played through every submission and drew up a shortlist of games that was then passed to our judging panel, made up of Funomena CEO Robin Hunicke, Unity Technologies founder David Helgason and Abertay lecturer Dr Dayna Galloway.
This year’s winner, Jon Caplin, produced atmospheric firstperson adventure Icarus1 and wins a trip to Unity’s annual development conference, Unite, in Boston, a Unity Pro licence, and an outing to Abertay University’s Dare ProtoPlay festival in Dundee.
“Every year we do this, the quality bar rises higher and higher,” Helgason says. “However, there always seems to be one game that stands out. I turned the lights down for a really immersive experience, and the ore collection mechanic was so much fun and perfectly fed my obsessive compulsive near-disorder. I would love to see Icarus1 expanded into a full fledged title, and the idea of playing it in VR makes me excited.”
Caplin’s creation proved just as evocative for Hunicke: “The game brings back feelings of first playing System Shock or Half-Life. I love creepy, empty space ships with history, and the sound design on this was especially great.”
Galloway, meanwhile, felt particularly inspired by Caplin’s strong sense of space and form. “This designer is definitely one to watch, and in my opinion is wholly deserving of the careerboosting prizes that are up for grabs.”
Two runners up each also receive a Unity Pro licence, which this year go to Carlos Fernandez de Tejada Quemada and Guillermo Cle for their ball-based arena brawler Sphere 50, and Glyph Games for its gold-obsessed auto-runner Penny Pursuit. Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge.
Along with a trip to Abertay University’s Dare ProtoPlay, which this year takes place from August 13 to 16, Caplin will also be given stand space at the Dundee game festival. Last year, 13,000 attendees descended on the city’s Caird Hall to play the games on show, which include the student projects submitted for Abertay’s Dare To Be Digital game design competition and an indie showcase for more established developers.
In addition to the auspicious awards ceremony – which includes the BAFTA Ones To Watch nominations – and events such as the Global Cardboard Challenge, in which participants must try to create a game using cardboard boxes, this year’s event is further bolstered by the Edinburgh Games Symposium: ProtoPlay Edition.
“I love creepy, empty space ships with history, and the sound design on [the game] was especially great”
Kicking off a day before ProtoPlay, on August 12, the symposium presents a series of talks and panels over two days. Speakers include former Rockstar and Argonaut designer Anthony Gowland; Daniel Lisi, founder of Failsafe studio Game Over; and award-winning composer Dr Harry Whalley.
Along with a coveted BAFTA Ones To Watch nomination, there are also some sizeable cash windfalls up for grabs for winning student teams, including a £25,000 fund from Channel 4.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in Dare To Be Digital and Dare ProtoPlay almost since the start,” Channel 4 games commissioner Colin MacDonald tells us when we ask why the company is prepared to invest so much.
“But one of my bugbears all along has been that there are fantastic teams formed, who produce amazing games, but which never see the light of day. This is our way of helping change that – for one team at least – but hopefully also give hope to all the other teams that they don’t need to land multimillion-pound deals to see their games released either. And if the game’s a hit, maybe we get a return on our investment and make a TV show out of it!”
Team OK (formerly Overly Kinetic) won this year’s BAFTA Ones To Watch award with clever firstperson ninja combat game Chambara. It has since been able to expand the development team and also exhibit at this year’s E3 with IndieCade.
Designer Kevin Wong feels that ProtoPlay was instrumental in catalysing the team’s success. “Exhibiting at ProtoPlay was incredible for the
Chambara team, because it was incredibly motivating and inspirational to see people, particularly children, play our game en masse and connect with each other through it,” he tells us.
“The judges gave us some incredible feedback that has vastly improved
Chambara’s design. What ProtoPlay accomplishes is incredibly valuable for Dundee and the people participating in the competition.”
FROM TOP Jon Caplin’s atmospheric firstperson adventure Icarus.1; multiplayer arena brawler Sphere 50; and Glyph Games’ swish auto-runner Penny Pursuit
This year’s panel (from left): Doom designer John Romero, Funomena founder Robin Hunicke, Unity’s David Helgason, and Abertay’s Dayna Galloway
Channel 4 games commissioner Colin MacDonald
LEFT Chambara on show at last year’s Dare ProtoPlay festival, which attracted more than 13,000 attendees. The arena-based combat game (above) asks you to blend in with your environment in order to stealthily kill the opposing team
ABOVE CENTRE Team OK, formerly Overly Kinetic, the group behind Chambara. ABOVE Abertay’s annual Dare ProtoPlay show and indie showcase