The three winning teams from this year's Dare to be Digital competition, held between June and August, will become the shortlist for the new BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, and the winners will be revealed at the British Academy Video Games Awards in October. BAFTA will announce this year's offical Video Games Award categories next week.
Paul Jackson, chair of the BAFTA Games committee said "A critical part of our recognition of video games as a third aspect of screen culture alongside film and TV is the celebration of the talented development stars of the future. Dare to be Digital provides a proven route for recognising talented young development teams and we are very excited at the prospect of showcasing new talent in this way."
Paul Durrant, Director of Dare to be Digital, said: "We are very proud to be associated with BAFTA in this new award. The continued UK and international expansion of Dare has enabled us to open up the Dare opportunity to a great breadth of talented students and now that Dare is the pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, it represents a truly fabulous opportunity.”
Dare to be Digital, developed and organised by the University of Abertay Dundee, is the UK’s premier computer games design competition for students. This year, teams of students from across Britain and Ireland as well as teams from India and China, comprising a total of around 60 students, will compete in the 10-week contest.
Teams will spend the first nine weeks based at one of three host centres in Guildford, Dundee and Belfast, designing and building a fully functioning prototype of their video game idea to be judged by a panel of games industry experts.
Participants receive financial support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists during the competition. In the 10th week, the teams will showcase their work to the general public and industry experts at Dare ProtoPlay as part of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, before convening at Abertay University for the final Dare to be Digital awards ceremony. The three winning teams will then form the shortlist for the new BAFTA Ones to Watch Award and will be judged according to the progress they make over the month or so following the Dare to be Digital Awards.
Paul Durrant added: “For the top three teams, the chance to experience the British Academy Video Games Awards presentation is the opportunity of a lifetime and will be a great way to demonstrate both the professional and cultural aspects of career opportunities in the video games industry. Our entries for the Scottish and Irish host centres have now closed and the selected teams will be announced shortly. Meanwhile, entries for the London and South East host centre based at Electronic Arts’ UK studio in Guildford, close on 20th May so there is still an opportunity for students who are would-be game designers in London and the South East to enter.” (see www.daretobedigital.com).
Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-grade talent. Teams from previous years have gone on to set up their own game development companies selling product to the world’s major publishers. Individuals who have taken part in Dare have also been snapped up by major international games companies such as Lionhead, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft, as well as Dundee-based developers such as Realtime Worlds and Denki.
Dare to be Digital 2007 has assembled an impressive list of sponsors, including Electronic Arts, AMD, NCR, TIGA, the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council, the Digital Hub in Dublin and Belfast City Council with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme and Intertrade Ireland.
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