Dare to Be Digital
This article needs to be updated.(August 2015)
Teams (typically of 5 university undergraduates or fresh graduates) work together in a microcosm of a games development company at their home or within their home university to develop a prototype of a new video game. Teams have 9 weeks from the start of the competition to finish their game although it can be in production for up to a year prior to starting.
The main objective is to help students gain real life working experience as a multi-disciplinary group. Mentoring support is provided by game industry professionals. The competition culminates at Dare Protoplay, an indie games festival in which the games made by Dare Contestants are the main event and can be voted on by the public. Entrants are provided free accommodation for the duration of Dare Protoplay by Abertay University.
Entrance to the competition is based upon each team's ability and the nature of the game concept. This is measured against three criteria: creativity, market potential, and use of technology. Applications for Dare to be Digital are assessed by members of Dare to be Digital's "Developer Accord", consisting entirely of representatives from the games industry. These representatives will also interview the teams before making a decision on which teams will take part that year.
These criteria are also used to decide the three winning teams, who go through to be nominated for the BAFTA Ones To Watch Award. Additional awards are given by sponsors, such as Channel 4, Design in Action and Intel, as well as an audience and team choice awards based on public and team votes respectively.
BAFTA Ones To Watch Award
The three winning teams of Dare to be Digital form the sole nominees of a BAFTA Ones To Watch Award as of 2007.
|Year||Team Name||Game Name||Sponsoring University/College|
|2007||Voodoo Boogy||Ragnarawk||Abertay University|
|2009||DarkMatter Designs||Boro Toro||University of Wolverhampton|
|2010||The Butterflyers||Shrunk!||Abertay University|
|2011||That Game Studio||Twang!||University of Skövde|
|2012||Swallowtail||Tick Tock Toys||Norwich University College of the Arts and Abertay University|
|2013||Kind of a Big Deal||Starcrossed||Kajaani University of Applied Sciences and Abertay University|
|2014||DOS Studios||Size DOES Matter||Norwegian School of Information Technology|
|2015||team ok||Chambara||University of Southern California and University of Colorado|
There was no BAFTA Video Games Awards Ceremony in 2008. The nominees for the 2016 BAFTA Ones to Watch award will include:
- Pixel Tailors (University of the Arts London) for 'The Wall Shall Stand'
- Mild Beast Games (University of Southern California and Berklee College of Music) for 'Sundown'
- Pictrail (Glasgow Caledonian University) for Selfienation
Building on the final phase of Dare to be Digital, Dare ProtoPlay, a video game and consumer event, takes place over 3 days in August every year. After the competition ends the teams demonstrate their titles at Dare ProtoPlay, formerly held at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival until 2010 but now at the Caird Hall in Dundee. This free event is open to the general public.
13,000 visitors visited Dare ProtoPlay 2013. Dare 2014 was held on 7–10 August in Dundee City Square and Caird Hall.
In 1999, an idea was developed within the University of Abertay Dundee, who were one of the global pioneers in academic courses for video games development. In 2000, it was opened to all university students across Scotland.
Different development models were tested with involvement from international teams who came from Japan, Canada, China, India and Malaysia, where a trial host centre model was carried out.
With industry and government support, the contest opened parallel host centres across the UK as of 2007, in Belfast and Electronic Arts office in Guildford. It has since been opened up to all UK and Irish universities and selected international partners, with all teams now being hosted in the University of Abertay Dundee.
Awards and Recognitions
Winner of Develop Talent Investment Award 
Livingstone-Hope Review of Video Games and Visual Effects Next Gen. (2011)
Dare to be Digital was singled out and cited in one of the 20 recommendations as a template for the UK education:
Develop a template for introducing workshop simulation into industry-accredited video games and visual effects courses, based on Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital competition.
Demanding Growth: Why the UK needs a recovery plan based on growth and innovation (2009) & Demanding Growth in Scotland: Why Scotland needs a recovery plan based on growth and innovation (2009)
Rolling out of student placements such as the highly successful Dare to be Digital prototype competition across the UK. This initiative, sponsored by the University of Abertay in Dundee, provides talented students with the opportunity to showcase their creativity and skills in front of prospective employers. Wider use of placements encourages HEIs to simulate the workplace environment more successfully.
Winner of Develop Edu New Talent Award
Playing for Keeps – challenges to sustaining a world-class UK games sector (2007)
The exception to the rule is Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital competition (DTBD), which funds teams of students to develop prototype game engines and playable levels of games in a ten-week intensive course. The resulting games are then judged by a panel of industry specialists and small cash prizes are given based on a range of awards from ‘most commercially viable’ to ‘best use of technology’. The resulting games, their excellence and their creator’s employability have shown the industry the creativity and ingenuity of the new talent emerging from the handful of UK universities so far involved. 25 out of 46 current courses have contributed entrants to date, and 80 per cent of Dare’s participants win jobs in the industry after competing.
Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City Council have been supporters of the development of the competition since its beginning, along with local technology company NCR Corporation and game developers such as Rare, Blitz Games Studios, Electronic Arts and Rockstar North.
12 teams took part in Dare 2007, including BAFTA Ones to Watch Award nominees Care Box for their game 'Climbactic' (Edinburgh University), Phoenix Seed for 'Bear Go Home' (Peking University and the University of Abertay Dundee) and Voodoo Boogy for 'Ragnarawk' who ultimately won the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
There were 17 teams taking part in Dare 2008, including BAFTA Ones to Watch Award nominees Blue Skies for their game ‘Origamee’ (Abertay University), Ctrl_D for ‘VegeMe’(Peking University) and DarkMatter Designs for ‘Boro-Toro’, with the latter team winning.
14 teams took part in 2009. The competition went more international with students coming from Canada, England, India, China, Northern Ireland, The Irish Republic, Norway, Scotland and Wales. The BAFTA Ones to Watch Award nominees were Colour-coded by PixelPirates (University of Abertay Dundee), Quick as Thieves by Gentlemen of Fortune (University of Abertay Dundee) and Shrunk by The Butterflyers (University of Abertay Dundee) who won the award.
15 teams took part in 2010, coming from China, England, India, Ireland, Sweden, Scotland, USA and Wales. The three BAFTA Ones to Watch Award nominees were Angry Mango for their game 'Mush' (University of Wales, Newport), Team Tickle for 'Sculpty' (Abertay University) and That Game Studio for 'Twang', who ultimately won the award.
Prize winners were 'Bears with Jetpacks' for their game 'Grrr!' who won the "Adult Swim" sponsored award for innovation and creativity.
The Teams-Choice award went to Bazooka Duck, who also won the Intel Visual Adrenaline Award, and That Games Studio won the public choice award.
Dare 2010 was the focus of a 3 part documentary series filmed for, and screened by Channel 4 in the UK. Named 'Crunchtime' the series featured several teams during the development of their games and the Protoplay exhibition.
|Abnormal Creations||The Inkwell Chronicles||Wii||UK|
|Angry Mango||Mush||Windows Mobile||Wales|
|Bazooka Duck||Epoch Defence||PC||UK|
|Bears with Jetpacks||Grrr!||Wii||UK|
|Creative Genius||Silent Symphony||PC||UK|
|Grimnir Games||Death Inc.||PSP||UK|
|King of Dice||Dice Rolling||PC||China|
|Ramblin' Wreckage||Hella Umbrella||Android||USA|
|Shark on a Bike||Dyed World||Xbox 360||Scotland|
|That Games Studio||Twang||Xbox 360||Sweden|
|Various Artists||Legendary Crusaders||PC||UK|
Dare 2011 had 15 participating teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, India, Denmark and China.
|A Necessary Evil||Carne Carne||PC||UK|
|Ape-y Eyes||Paper Quest||Kinect||UK|
|Crispy Nugget Studios||Galaxy Guardians||Kinect||UK|
|Digital Hazards||Shadow Light||PC||UK|
|Digital Knights||Joust it Out!||Kinect||Denmark|
|Fatdog Games||The Tale of Yog||iPad||UK|
|FunBox||Ants the Lost Memories||PC||India|
|Rebel Donut||Plunder in the Jungle||Windows Phone 7||UK|
|Swallowtail||Tick Tock Toys||iPad||UK|
|Tea and Techno||Full English Fusion||Windows Phone 7||UK|
|The Weather Factory||The Balloonist||iPad||Ireland|
|Yummy Tummy||Who is the Lucky Ghost?||iPhone||China|
Dare 2012 had 15 participating teams from England, Scotland, Ireland, India, Finland, Israel, Spain and China.
|Dapper Hat Games||Mr. Montgomery's Debonair Facial Hair||iPad||UK|
|Gastank Games||Interstate Outlaws||Kinect||UK|
|Kind of a Big deal||Starcrossed||Windows phone 7||Finland|
|LazzyBrains||What A Day: The Story of a fisher-worm||iPad||India|
|Loan Wolf Games||Pixel Story||PC||UK|
|Mad Rocket Games||Ready, Steady, Roll!||Android Tablet||UK|
|Must Make Games||Badgers vs. Turtles||iPad/iPhone||UK|
|Raptor Games||Project Thanatos||PC/Sensics zSight Headset||UK|
|The Nuclear Duck||Marcelo||Kinect||Israel|
BAFTA "Ones to Watch Award" Nominations
- Starcrossed, for Windows Phone 7 by Kind of a Big Deal
- Pixel Story, for PC by Loan Wolf Games
- Project Thanatos, for PC and virtual reality headset by Raptor Games
Channel 4 prize
Loan Wolf Games
Intel Visual Computing Tools Audience Award
Developers Choice Award
Dare 2014 had 15 participating teams from Scotland, England, Ireland, USA, China, India and Malta.
|A Fox Wot I Drew||Baum||Android Tablet||UK & Ireland|
|AM||Sunny Rainy Snowy||iPad||China|
|Desk Jockeys||Reshuffle||Tablet||UK & Malta|
|Five Pixels||Seek||Android Tablet||UK|
|Good Day Games||Lapin||iPad||UK & Ireland|
|Insert Imagination||Kuria||PlayStation Vita||UK|
|Straight Ahead||Straight Ahead||iPad||China|
|Taleforge Studios||World Eater||iPad||UK|
|TCN||Soul Seeker||Android Tablet||UK|
|Team Pugstar||Pug Pug Pirates||iPad||UK & Ireland|
|Too Mainstream||Sagittarius||PC & Oculus Rift||India|
|Torque||Don't Walk: RUN||PC/Tablet||UK|
|Unorthobox||Ally||PC with Controllers||UK|
BAFTA "Ones to Watch Award" Nominations
- Chambara, for PC by Overly Kinetic
- Don't Walk: Run, for PC and Tablet by Torque
- Sagittarius, for PC and Oculus Rift by Too Mainstream
Channel 4 prize
Don't Walk: RUN by Torque
The Foundry Artistic Achievement Award
Seek by Five Pixels
Dare Team's Choice Award
D-Bug by The Pillowettes
Dare Protoplay Audience Award
World Eater by Taleforge
Dare Commercial Potential Award
Baum by A Fox Wot I Drew 
- "Dare to be Digital 2015 launches – more open than ever!". Dare to be Digital. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Dare to be Digital 2015 winners revealed". Develop. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
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- http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/next-gen[bare URL]
- http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/demanding-growth[bare URL]
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Dare to be Digital winners announced at awards ceremony" (Press release). Dare to be Digital. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Dare to be Digital 2009 Team Blog: Pixel Pirates: Colour Coded". Dare to be Digital. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Dare to be Digital 2009 Team Blog: Gentlemen of Fortune: Quick As Thieves". Dare to be Digital. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Dare to be Digital 2009 Team Blog: The Butterflyers: Shrunk!". Dare to be Digital. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Rossignol, Jim (2011-03-25). "A Documentary About British Game Dev". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
- "CRUNCHTIME, an exciting new Channel 4 documentary about indie game development". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
- "Dare to be Digital teams unveiled for 2011 contest" (Press release). Dare to be Digital. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Dare to be Digital Website "Dare to be Digital 2012 Teams", August 30, 2012, accessed August 30, 2012.
- Design in Action Business Profile "A Fox Wot I drew - Baum | Design in Action", November 12, 2015, Accessed July 28, 2021.
- Dare to be Digital Website "Dare to be Digital 2014 Teams", December 8, 2014, accessed December 8, 2014.