Tayside and Central Scotland

International gaming students Dare to be Digital in Dundee

Dare to be Digital Image copyright Graeme Hunter Pictures
Image caption Students from countries including India and the US are attending the festival

Eighty students from around the world have arrived in Dundee to compete in this year's Dare to be Digital game design competition.

Sixteen teams at the Abertay University-hosted event will spend two weeks putting finishing touches to their computer game designs.

The finished games will feature at Dare Protoplay, Scotland's biggest independent games festival, in August.

Teams from countries including India, Brazil and the US are taking part.

James Earl Cox III is part of a team from the University of Southern California, whose game is based on the theme of compassion.

The 25-year-old said: "The idea is that you never actually get a kill in the game, but you always take control of the person that kills you.

"You play a lot of games like Call of Duty and you always think of the other team as this enemy to fight against.

"So our game is to make you see people as people."

Image caption James Earl Cox III's team's game is based on the theme of compassion

Matthew Bousfield, 22, an Abertay University graduate, said: "It's one of the major events on the Dundee calendar and it's just a shame that quite a lot of people don't really know about it.

"Hopefully, after this year if we can put on a big enough show, everyone will know."

Dr William Huber from Abertay's school of arts, media and computer games, said Dare to be Digital was "pretty much the premier international competition" for university students pursuing a career in gaming.

He said: "A lot of the students here come from very strong games programs around the world, but they recognise this as the place to compete."

'Nurture talent'

Many of the students will attend a week of workshops and talks following the festival, concentrating on bringing their games to the market and turning their teams into studios and small businesses.

Dr Huber said the event had evolved since it began in 2000.

He said: "Originally it was very much thought of in terms of developing individual talent.

"That's still the case - many students go on and get hired by top-flight studios.

"But increasingly we're seeing games come from the competition that are successful in their own right and go on to be published and the teams go on to become studios.

"We're looking at both futures for this event - a chance to nurture talent, but also a chance to create new studios."

Dare Protoplay takes place in Dundee's Caird Hall and City Square from 4 to 7 August.

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