Aspiring Game Designer? Now’s the time. Dare to Be Digital!

Originally posted  by  on January 27, 2012 at GamerFitNation

If you are a student of game design or art and you intend to work in the games industry after graduation (and you live in  Scotland, India, China, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, or Sweden), this is a competition you will not want to miss out on! Run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital sees hundreds of students every year competing to become one of the 15 teams to build a working game prototype in just nine weeks.

At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games.  At the Dare awards ceremony, three prizes of £2500 will be awarded to the three highest scoring teams based on the criteria of innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology (none of the three will be specifically attributed to any particular criterion). Seven months later the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”. What better way to spend your summer semester than kicking down the door of opportunity with other ambitious students?

The competition is open to all Universities and Art Colleges in the UK and to sponsored Higher Education Institutions outwith. Be sure to visit the official site for details.

There are a specific terms and conditions for applying but I don’t want to leave you in the lurch so here they are:

Terms & Conditions(as per the official site)
  1. The closing date for applications set out on this website is final. Entries received after this date will not be considered. (April 10th)
  2. Dare to be Digital (the Competition) is open to undergraduate or postgraduate students studying at Universities or Art Colleges.
  3. Entry for teams must be 5 members except specified countries sponsored by the Scottish Government, namely China, India, and Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Teams from these countries must be 4 members.
  4. Those teams applying from the island of Ireland MUST have a mix of team members (a minimum of 1) from institutions (further education and 3rd level colleges) in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  5. Teams with members graduating in 2012 are eligible to apply.
  6. A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be graduates of up to 2 years as long as they are not currently employed in the games / interactive entertainment industries. The rest of the team must fit the normal entry criteria as set out in (2) above.
  7. A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be studying at a Further Education college as long as the remaining 3 team members fit the normal criteria as set out in (2) and (5) above.
  8. Applications from individuals are not permitted.
  9. No applicant should have had any extensive (more than 6 months full time) work experience in the games industry as a graduate or study break. Part time relevant work, internships or placements undertaken during consecutive years of study are permitted. Please refer to the Dare team if you are unsure.
  10. Applicants who have previously taken part in the Competition are not permitted to apply. This includes applicants who were successful in securing a place in the Competition but who later withdrew from the Competition either prior to its commencement or after the Competition had started.
  11. Applicants who have previously applied to the Competition can re-apply. This includes applicants who were successful in getting to the interview stage but who were then not selected to take part in the Competition.
  12. The selection dates announced by the organiser will be the sole dates for selection. No other date will be set with any team.
  13. The Competition will be hosted at Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland between 11th June and 12th August 2012. Each Team Member is required to work on the Team Project at the host centre for a minimum of 35 hours per week during Normal Working Hours and attend the public showcase event Dare ProtoPlay from 10-12th August 2012.
  14. You are not permitted to take any time off (Monday to Friday) during Dare, unless it is under exceptional circumstances, of which the Competition Organiser will be sole judge. Any time off will be deducted from your weekly stipend.
  15. All Team Members will be present during Normal Working Hours (9am-5pm) on Compulsory Attendance Days (comprising the first and last two weeks of the Competition).
  16. No Team Members are allowed to engage in any form of paid employment during the course of the Competition other than work outside Normal Working Hours which has the prior consent of the Competition organising team, and which does not impinge on the Team Project and has the approval of all fellow Team Members.
  17. A judging panel involving industry and funding representatives will determine which teams will be selected to take part in the Competition. The judges’ decision is final and not open to negotiation. No correspondence will be entered into.
  18. All works and ideas submitted must be original, created specially for the Competition and not infringe any copyright.
  19. All Dare participating teams can start the preparation work for their game idea as soon as they are informed that they will be entering the Competition. Any work done prior to the start of the Competition will need to be declared when the Competition starts.
  20. All successful candidates have to make their own travel arrangement to arrive Abertay University, Dundee before the starting date of 11th June 2012.
  21. Accommodation will be provided throughout the whole Competition period between 11th June and 12th August 2012.
  22. Successful applicants will have to abide by the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) conditions set out in a formal contract before they start the competition. The contract sets out that Dare to be Digital will own any generated IP until proposals are made by any team to explore exploiting their game IP after the competition finishes. Post-competition IP agreements will protect team members from each other and allow freedom to explore non-commercial and commercial activities. Dare to be Digital will not require any payment for post-competition exploitation until a team creates profits and, even then, the payments are currently planned to be limited to £1,800.
  23. Each Team/Team Member shall consent to taking part in the filming of a documentary film of the Competition for the Competition period. The Competition organiser shall be entitled to use any such film for any purpose at its sole discretion. This will be used in the promotion of the Competition.
  24. The above terms are subject to change.
Be aware that if you are not a British team, applications are subject to funding from your region.
I’ve also noticed a few more things that will come up during the application process that you will want to be aware of if you are applying from a non British team or a team who is the collaborative effort of people from many countries:
  • You must complete all fields and submit your application no later than 5PM (GMT+1) Tuesday 10th April 2012.
  • Each team member should have registered on the Dare to be Digital website using the same email address.
  • every applicant has to provide a reference from your university – preferably your lecturer. The reference can be the same for all applicants. Make sure you seek prior consent from your lecturer before you put his/her contact details on the form.
  • Team members must have a good level of the English language: written, spoken, listening, reading. If your team is selected for interview, each team member MUST provide a copy of their IELTS or TOEFL certificate, Level 5 or above is acceptable. If any member of the team does not have a IELTS or TOEFL certificate they must be able to provide a similar certificate or a letter from their lecturer confirming that their command of the English language is of a good standard.
  • All applicants MUST have a valid/current passport.
  • In order to provide you with a better opportunity to pitch your game to the judges, Dare 2012 is requesting teams to provide a video of up to 5 mins to explain your game. Please make the best use of this 5 min to explain clearly your game concept and the strength of your team. You should try your best to include the following elements in the video:
  1. Game Play
  2. Game Mechanics
  3. Storyline (if any)
  4. Unique Selling Point
  5. Target Audience & Age Profile
  6. Project Plan; Briefly outline the key milestones to demonstrate how you are going to complete the project on time
  7. Visuals: artwork, storyboards, design diagrams of core mechanic features of your game to help the judges see what you want to develop.
  • The video must be in the MP4 format, with *.mp4 extension (You can use HandBrake for transcoding videos)
  • The file size of the video is not allowed to exceed 100MB
  • The video should be a maximum of 5 minutes long
  • Ideally all 5 team members should be present on the video, however if this is not possible, a minimum of 3 members are to be present
  • Make sure that your video can be clearly understood
  • All team members must introduce themselves indicating what skill set they will bring to the team. If there are team members missing, make sure their skill sets are also mentioned
  • All material used on the video must be the work of the team applying

 

What are the benefits of entering such a contest? Well I am glad you asked. Dare to be Digital’s website explains the benefits very concisely:

  • Enhance your CV
  • Get mentoring from the industry
  • Produce a demo to take to interviews
  • Hone your skills and get the experience that employers are looking for
  • Expose your skills and work to games industry luminaries / potential employers
  • Experience working as part of a team
  • Weekly stipend of £150
  • Team budget of £200
  • Free accommodation at Abertay’s halls of residence throughout Dare
  • Build industry contacts
  • Work with friends and make new ones from across the globe
  • Opportunity to start your own games studio
  • Work on your own ideas
  • Exhibit your game at Dare ProtoPlay where thousands will play it
  • Chance to win one of three £2500 prizes
  • Chance to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award
BAFTA-nominated Malath Abbas from Dare 2011 said: “People should jump at the chance of entering Dare 2012 as it’s the best route to the games industry out of university. If you are creative and love games then Dare to be Digital is the best possible opportunity to develop a game idea, get paid for it and possibly land a job!”

BAFTA-nominated Sophia George from Dare 2011 said: “I think people should enter Dare to be Digital because it is a great opportunity for people who are keen to break into the games industry. I feel the experience was priceless and I met so many wonderful people.”

Elaine Russell, Dare to be Digital project manager, said:

“Taking part in Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for many young game developers, giving them incredible experience and access to leading industry experts from companies like Rockstar and Sony. And the experience of seeing thousands of people play your game at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival at the end of the competition can be life-changing for students looking to enter the games industry. With the many innovative release channels available in the market, we are particularly keen to see how the students can use Dare to be Digital as a platform to launch commercially in the gaming market.”

Still not sure?  Check out these links to find out even more about the competition, past participation, details on budding teams, involvement, and how to apply.

 

Best of luck to everyone who enters from all of us at GamerFitNation.com. We can’t wait to see the results of this amazing competition. 

 

sources: http://www.daretobedigital.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/DareToBeDigital
Gamasutra

About Sharon

Sharon is an artist who freelances in illustration, graphics, and web content. Be sure to follow her on twitter @myasharona and catch her as co-host of podcast The DPOD From The D-Pad.

Posted on February 6, 2012, in For GFN, Video Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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