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

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