Train2Game News Sega and Ubisoft join Dare to be Digital


Major international games companies Reflections, a Ubisoft studio, and SEGA Europe Ltd have joined Dare to be Digital 2015 as mentors to the student teams.

The applicants to this year’s Dare to be Digital will receive support from highly experienced games industry professionals throughout development, with a focus on preparing them for prestigious graduate careers and launching their own businesses.

Reflections and SEGA join Dundee-based Denki, Ninja Kiwi and Tag Games, giving the student teams access to globally respected companies who have achieved creative and commercial success.

Dare to be Digital is the world’s leading game design competition for students, run each summer by Abertay University. This year more students than ever are eligible to compete, with game development taking place from any location in the world. Mentoring will be available online for all teams.

Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Denki, Ninja Kiwi, Reflections, SEGA and Tag Games as mentors for Dare to be Digital 2015.

“It’s an invaluable experience for a student game developer to be mentored by professionals, often with decades of experience working at the heights of this global industry.

“Being able to share your work in development, get instant feedback and guidance is an integral part of the Dare to be Digital experience.

“And it always helps accelerate the development of original, creative games that are a lot of fun for the thousands of people, young and old, who visit our Dare ProtoPlay festival in Dundee each August.”

Nicola Sharp, HR Director at Reflections, said: “Reflections is a world leading creative studio working on Ubisoft’s major titles like Tom Clancy’s The Division, MMO racer The Crew and the successful Steam title Grow Home.

“We need very highly talented graduates to join our studio to help us make these games, and to develop into our senior staff and team leaders of the future.

“In recent years we have seen that most of our interns and new junior colleagues have taken part in Dare to be Digital. It’s really important for us to support the teams taking part in Dare and nurture the next generation of talented game developers.”

Previously Dare to be Digital teams had just eight weeks to develop a new prototype game from scratch, excluding any student projects or games originally created at an event like the Global Game Jam.

In response to calls from companies and students, the only limit is now that the game must have been in production for less than a year and not have been previously commercially released.

Students keen to take part – and compete for prizes from BAFTA, Channel 4 and others – will this year develop their game at home or their own university, before travelling to Dundee to showcase their game at the UK’s biggest independent games festival, Dare ProtoPlay.

Applications to Dare to be Digital must be made at by 5pm on Monday 4 May.

Games industry experts will then pick 15 teams who have the summer to complete their game before travelling to Dundee for Dare ProtoPlay.

Free accommodation will be provided in Dundee from Saturday 8 to Tuesday 18 August to allow all the teams to set their games up for Dare ProtoPlay, which runs from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 August in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square.

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Reflections promise ‘accessible’ Driver: San Francisco.

Driver San Francisco

As many Train2Game students will know, whether a game is easy to pick up and play or not can sometimes hold the key to its success.

Perhaps with this in mind, Reflection’s upcoming Driver: San Francisco will be “more accessible than any other Reflections game” Lead Designer Jean-Sebastien Decant told Edge, and that the return of the series has been focused on “Accessibility.”

The news may be disappointing to any Train2Game students that appreciated the challenge of previous games in the Driver series, but Decant insists it’s not about making Driver: San Francisco easy.

“In the history of Reflections they have made tough games for hardcore gamers. And this one, the core experience is more accessible than any Reflections game.” he said.

“It’s not about making it easy, it’s about having the right ‘helpers’ so that the AI is challenging but not unfair – for chases, races, getaways. The player has to know what he has to do in an instant”

“Having the proper information always displayed – especially in a game where you can be in any car at any time, where we change the gameplay a lot from one mission to another – accessibility applies to signs, feedback, UI.”

The concept of accessibility also applies to the Game Design of Driver San Francisco‘s online multiplayer, with the ‘Shift’ mechanic allowing players to switch vehicles instantly in an effort to give players who crash at the first corner a chance. Studio manager Gareth Edmonson explains why:

“There’s always been a problem with multiplayer games, that you crash into the first corner and you’re out of the action,” he said. “Shift totally changes that, and it creates a much more accessible, much more engaging experience. It totally changes the way you play the game.”

This Game Design feature intended to level the online playing field may be appreciated by some Train2Game students, but those who enjoy a challenge may not approve!

The whole accessibility issue sounds familiar to Bioware’s claims – reported by the Train2Game blog – that the Game Design of Dragon Age 2 is ‘more welcoming’ to novice players rather than dumbed down.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the ‘accessibility’ of Driver: San Francisco? Is it a positive or a negative thing? Is it something you’ll consider when developing games? And which games do you believe have the right balance between being accessible but challenging at the same time?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Edge]