LOUTH STUDENTS COMPETE INTERNATIONALLY IN DEVELOPING NEW COMPUTER GAME
Two Co. Louth students are members of a team that will represent Ireland in an international video games development competition, which takes place in Scotland this week. Ciaran Culleton from Dundalk and Chris Duffy from Drogheda are members of the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) team competing in ‘Dare To Be Digital’, a competition open to high-achieving students throughout Ireland, the UK, India and China.
Their team – made up of five students from DKIT – will travel to the ‘Dare To Be Digital’ competition in Edinburgh this Saturday (09.08.08) to represent their country at international level. Ciaran’s and Chris’s team-mates are: David Reilly from Kells, Ben Williams from Newry and Eoghan Carpenter from Rush. All five team-members are third-year students in the Games Development course at DKIT. They will be joined in Edinburgh by a team from University of Ulster Magee.
For the past 10 weeks, both teams have been ensconced in a computer laboratory at Trinity College Dublin, where they have been busy developing their prototype video games. They have received daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists, including representatives of such high-profile Irish games companies as Havok.
Both teams are travelling to Edinburgh for a special talent showcasing event, Dare ProtoPlay, which is held to coincide with the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival. At this event, the teams hope they will find a buyer for their games, or sponsors to enable them to extend the games further with a view to making them available commercially. The general public, as well as industry experts, will get to play and vote for the games at Dare ProtoPlay, and prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.
According to John Hurley, Director of Learning at the Digital Hub Development Agency (one of the organisers of ‘Dare To Be Digital’ in Ireland), this competition is an important stepping-stone for young people hoping to break into the computer games industry.
“‘Dare To Be Digital’ gives students the opportunity to meet – and maintain contact with – leading players in the gaming industry,” he said. “It also provides them with training in various aspects of video games development. In effect, this competition can launch a young person’s career or – at the very least – bring him to the attention of some leading companies in this sector.
“The two teams from the island of Ireland competing in this year’s competition are very strong, and we are optimistic of success in Scotland later this week.”
The DKIT team participating in ‘Dare To Be Digital’ has developed a prototype game called ‘The Manhattan Strain’, a strategy game centred around containing a virus outbreak in a simulated 3D version of Manhattan. It is a single-player game, in which the player acts as the Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and must organise quarantine areas, road blocks and other preventative measures to control the virus outbreak. The game is aimed at teenagers, and is designed to be played on a PC.
The University of Ulster Magee team competing in this year’s ‘Dare To Be Digital’ competition is developing a prototype called ‘Creeping Dark’. The game is a 3D action adventure about three orphans whose orphanage has been possessed by evil spirits on Hallowe’en night. The orphans must work together to save everyone else in the orphanage through non-violent means. It is also a single-player game, designed to be played on the Nintendo Wii, and is aimed at children aged 7 years and up.
‘Dare To Be Digital’ is an initiative of the Digital Hub Development Agency, Belfast City Council and the University of Abertay, Dundee. The project funding partners are the Department of Education and Science, Intertrade Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.
Dare To Be Digital
For the ‘Dare To Be Digital’ competition, teams of four to five students – usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio specialists – assemble in a regional hosting centre for 10 weeks to develop a prototype video game, receiving daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists. In Ireland, the hosting centre for ‘Dare To Be Digital’ is Trinity College Dublin. Further information on the competition is available at: http://www.daretobedigital.com.