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Gamedev Students Honing Their Skills at Indie Festival and Competition

Okay, young people, I get it: you’re super talented. I’m trying to meander my way through life over here, and you have the audacity to reach for greatness? Despicable. Inconsiderate. Rude.

Minds that will help shape the future of gaming are hard at work at Dare to be Digital, a renowned digital game competition run by Abertay University. More than 80 students from games programs around the world are taking part, including people from Brazil, France, Belgium, Greece, India, the UK, and the US.

Sixteen teams are now in Dundee, Scotland for the final two weeks of the challenge, which began with a call for entries in January. The students are staying at the university, where they will learn from mentors and polish up the computer games they’ve been working on for the past several months. Each team’s final product will be presented at Dare Protoplay, Scotland’s biggest indie game festival, from August 4-7. The games are judged and three winning teams are nominated for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

Mentoring studios include Sony, Cloud Imperium Games, Denki, Ninja Kiwi, Reagent Games, Stormcloud Games and Tag Games.

Sugarscape Games, a team out of the University of Southern California, are working on Grassdancer. Team member Brendan LoBuglio says they’re excited to be in the competition, having seen the effect Dare has had on previous entrants.

“Everyone seems to come back with this new energy like they’ve had the chance to focus on a project and really take their skills to the next level and so their experiences have been a big inspiration for us to apply,” says LoBuglio.

Five of the sixteen teams this year come from Scotland. Jamie Wood from Bluedoor Games, one of the domestic devs, is looking forward to meeting the contestants from other parts of the world. He says those with home field advantage have a responsibility to make the others feel welcome.

“It is always amazing meeting new developers especially when they are at a similar point in their careers. Being a home team gives us plenty of opportunities to show the newcomers around the city and get to know them,” says Wood.

Dare Protoplay is sponsored by Event Scotland, Sony, Channel 4 and Dundee City Council, along with Abertay University. If you want to follow the competition check out #Dare2016 on social media.

Mark McAvoy is a contributor to AYBOnline. His opinions are fleeting. And his own.

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