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University of Abertay Dundee news

The latest study and research news from the University of Abertay Dundee

August 2012
May 2012
April 2012
January 2012
November 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
January 2011

Dare to be Digital winners announced at record-breaking games festival

The three BAFTA-nominated winners of Dare to be Digital were revealed on Sunday 12 August at the climax of Abertay University’s international student game design competition.

A record-breaking audience of 10,000 people played the 15 games over three days at the free Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee.

The three games who now compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award at the 2013 BAFTA Video Games Awards are:

  • Starcrossed, for Windows Phone 7 by Kind of a Big Deal (team leader Kimi Sulopuisto, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean, Minttu Meriläinen, Vili Viitaniemi)
  • Pixel Story, for PC by Loan Wolf Games (team leader Martin Cosens, Luke Harrison, Ashley Hayes, Thomas McParland, Benjamin Rushton)
  • Project Thanatos, for PC and virtual reality headset by Raptor Games (team leader Hugh Laird, Andrew Coles, Tom Kemp, Tom Laird, Alexandra Shapland)

Kimi Sulopuisto from Kind of a Big Deal said: ‘This is the biggest thing I’ve achieved in my life. I’d absolutely encourage anyone looking to make their own games to enter Dare to be Digital – you’ve nothing to lose, and you could win so much.’

Martin Cosens from Loan Wolf Games said: ‘This is absolutely amazing. For anyone wanting to make games, I’d say don’t hesitate, just do it. Don’t let anyone curb your ideas or hopes, as things like this can happen – you can get into Dare to be Digital, and get nominated for a BAFTA.’

Dare to be Digital winning teamsHugh Laird from Raptor Games said: ‘We were hoping and praying we’d get nominated for a BAFTA – it really justifies nine weeks of hard, hard work. And we didn’t expect to win the audience award, which is just the icing on top.’

Johnny Minkley, BAFTA Games Committee member and Dare judge, said: ‘I’m hugely impressed with the standard of all the games on show and the professionalism and passion of all the Dare to be Digital teams.

‘It was a hard choice for the judges, but all three BAFTA nominees are strong games and very different games. It will be a really tough decision for the judges to pick the final BAFTA winner at the Video Games Awards next March.’

Loan Wolf Games were also the winners of the brand new £25,000 Channel 4 prize. They will now be funded and supported to complete their game for a full commercial release.

Raptor Games also won the public vote for the Intel Visual Computing Tools Audience Award, with each team member receiving an Intel Ultrabook.

Kind of a Big Deal were supported to take part in Dare to be Digital by the Scottish Government as this year’s Nordic competitor, as were the Chinese and Indian teams.

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: ‘The entrants to Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital get better and better every year, and all 15 teams have done something incredible – built a professional, playable and exciting game in just nine weeks.

‘The BAFTA-nominated winners – Kind of a Big Deal, Loan Wolf Games and Raptor Games – stood out from the tough competition for their exceptional game design, playability and commercial appeal, but all 15 teams have the experience now to enter the games industry or start their own businesses.

‘We look forward to seeing, and playing, many successes from them in the future.’

This year’s Dare ProtoPlay festival was also expanded to include Dare Indie Fest, a conference for budding entrepreneurs and a showcase of games from independent companies.

Dare Indie Fest was presented by the Abertay Prototype Fund, which provides grants of up to £25,000 to small and startup games companies. Over 40 games were available to play for free throughout the Dare ProtoPlay weekend, including the 15 student games and new titles from independent game developers from across the UK and as far afield as Romania.

Continued Scottish Government support of £85,700 enabled teams from China, India and Finland to take part in Dare to be Digital this year. Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop officially opened the Dare ProtoPlay festival on Friday.

Support from EventScotland enabled Dare to be Digital to expand into the City Square marquee.

The event was also supported by Ukie, Dundee City Council and Interactive Tayside.

Find out more about the University of Abertay Dundee.

Back to UK student news.

Saving lives with Google Maps – disaster-tracking software developed by Abertay student

Emergency responses to natural disasters could be coordinated more quickly and save lives thanks to new software developed at the University of Abertay Dundee.

Using home broadband routers, student David Kane’s prototype programme can ‘ping’ thousands of addresses to check whether buildings are still standing.

The system shows live data on ‘safe’ areas using Google Maps. Within seconds, any disaster can be detected, mapped and its progress tracked – and support efforts targeted to the areas in greatest need at any moment.

Disasters like the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan showed that coordinating responses is incredibly difficult without visual communication such as helicopters and people reporting in every location affected. David’s system could automate the whole process, providing a constant stream of up-to-date information.

David, a Computing & Networks student at Abertay University, said: ‘Responding to disasters is immensely difficult and any extra accurate information can make the difference in saving lives.

‘I wanted to prove if it was possible to use an ordinary piece of technology we all have – a home broadband router – to map natural disasters in real-time.’

His final year project is part of the Abertay Digital Graduate Show on Friday 18 May 2012, 5–8pm, in Abertay’s Kydd Building and Hannah Maclure Centre.

David added: ‘The idea definitely works and I’ve built it so anyone can take this code and improve it. It’s certainly not finished, but everything is open source compatible and using XML can plug straight into existing disaster management systems.

‘Once the Abertay Digital Graduate Show is finished, I’ll release all the code and let the community take this project on. I just hope my work can make a difference in the future.’

Dr Ian Ferguson, Abertay lecturer and David’s project supervisor, said: ‘Using existing computer infrastructure to retrieve information about natural disasters as they strike and develop could be a major step forward.

‘Any extra information can improve emergency responses in complex crises, so projects like this could have a huge impact using relatively simple technological tools.

‘I set the project as a deliberately difficult challenge, which David has responded to by building a very stable, very professional piece of software. The concept definitely works – the challenge is how this can now be developed.’

The software works by ‘pinging’ home broadband routers and matching this information with an address supplied by the home owner. That address is converted to longitude and latitude values and displayed in Google Maps.

With the support of internet service providers, the opt-in supply of address data could be removed and the whole system automated.

The basic principle of the software prototype could also be applied to mobile phone networks, if an app was developed to support this. And as geolocation runs on satellites, the disaster tracking could remain accurate even as phone networks go down.

Find out more about the University of Abertay Dundee.

Back to UK student news.

Abertay launches new type of postgraduate research degree in response to demand

More than 200 new postgraduate research opportunities are being offered by the University of Abertay Dundee in response both to increasing demand and to tackle a growing range of urgent research requirements.

The University is launching a new class of postgraduate qualification – the ‘Masters by Research’ degree – a one-year research programme supervised by one or more faculty members.

Successful graduates will be awarded a degree of either Master of Science by Research (MSc); Master of Arts by Research (MA); Master of Technology by Research (MTech), or Master of Laws by Research (LLM). In each case, the main subject of the research will be added to the degree title, such as Master of Science by Research (Soil Erosion), for example.

Professor Grahame Wright, Abertay’s Director of Recruitment, commented: ‘Many graduates are looking for more flexibility in their options for pursuing their research interests as part of a clear career plan. A one-year (or two years, part-time) Masters by Research degree allows them to complete a research project which can enhance their CV but also retain the option to go on to a PhD should their career plans change.

‘We are able to offer this enhanced flexibility because our Schools have identified dozens of research projects that would suit a one-year project, and because Abertay has a long tradition of building flexible courses that can allow individuals to plot a learning path that suits their particular needs.’

The new Masters degrees are made possible by a change in the University’s regulations that now provides three different types of programme qualifications for research students.

Until now, postgraduate students were required to commit at least three years to their research before being eligible for the award of a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy degree), or around two years for the award of an MPhil (Master of Philosophy).

The new Masters by Research enables students to pursue their research interests for just one year after graduating with a Bachelors degree. The new degrees will be offered alongside Abertay’s established range of taught Masters degrees, also lasting around one year.

Students who successfully complete a Masters by Research degree could be eligible to apply to continue their research by enrolling on an MPhil or PhD programme at Abertay, should they wish.

The new awards are offered across the range of Abertay’s academic disciplines and include over 200 specific topics related to such fields as computer games design, business, law, computer security, human-computer interfaces, mobile technologies, computer networks, psychology, sports science, sociology, nursing and counselling, genetics, ecosystems, soil science, cancer treatments, and many more.

Find out more about the University of Abertay Dundee.

Back to UK student news.

Abertay students win Samsung game development challenge

A UK-wide competition to design new games for Samsung’s mobile phone app store has been won by a team from the University of Abertay Dundee.

Students from 10 leading universities – including Oxford, Imperial College London and Trinity College Dublin – took part in the Samsung bada Student Developer Challenge, which began with tough 24-hour ‘codeathons’ around Britain.

Tom DeMajo, Erin Michno and Ian Reynolds built Moeba, a side-scrolling, colour-changing action game with a distinctive organic art style. By tapping the phone screen, players have to destroy cells to keep their character safe.

Abertay University also took the prize for the best university, because it produced the winning team. The contest was judged by Samsung and industry experts.

Erin Michno from the winning team Quartic Llama said: ‘All of the finalists created interesting and high-polished apps, so it was really an honour and a surprise to win the challenge. It was also fantastic to pick up the university prize as it has been great working with the staff and the other Abertay teams.’

Ian Reynolds said: ‘I’m delighted that our team and university won the competition, and I’ve really enjoyed working with the all the other teams from Abertay that entered. We’re all hugely grateful for the support we got from the University, particularly Iain Donald’s dedication to organising the events at Abertay.’

The team won £5,000 and their game will now be promoted on the Samsung Apps store.

Dr Iain Donald, Computer Games Lecturer and team supervisor, said: ‘This is an incredible achievement from three very promising young professionals, who have already attracted a lot of attention for their technical skills and creativity.

‘A key part of Abertay University’s education is developing industry skills and professionalism – competing against other prestigious universities like Oxford and Imperial College London to win the Samsung bada Student Developer Challenge shows just how well this is working.’

Back to UK student news.

£100k games funding contest launched by TIGA, Abertay and IC on 25 November

The £100,000 TIGA Games Contest will be launched on Friday 25 November, 2011, offering four £25,000 prizes to games developers to build a prototype and use it to secure further development funding.

The funding, which was announced by Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey at the NESTA Investment Conference in November, comes from Abertay University’s Prototype Fund.

There are three categories for applications: games on-the-move, games in-the-home and social web gaming. Two prizes are available for the social web gaming category, with one for each of games-on-the-move and games-in-the-home.

Four prizes are on offer, which include the £25,000 funding per project, as well as free TIGA membership for six months, mentoring, and support from the technical teams at contest supporters Antix Labs or Turbulenz.

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘Being able to show a potential investor a prototype can make a real difference in securing all-important funding, so this competition will provide direct help to budding developers. I hope that it will prove key to making some brilliant ideas into successful businesses.’

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said: ‘Abertay University is working hard to give start-ups and young companies the opportunity to create original IP supported by the Prototype Fund and use it to secure funding and grow their companies. Working with TIGA, Turbulenz and Antix gives us a fantastic opportunity to improve the success potential of the companies who receive our support.’

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said: ‘As the trade association for UK game developers, TIGA is focused on making the UK the best place in the world to do games business. One of TIGA’s top priorities is to improve access to finance for studios. I am delighted, therefore, to be working with Abertay, Antix Labs and Turbulenz in running this competition which will provide finance for small studios to develop game prototypes.’

The successful applicants will be judged on their market potential, having a commercially viable business model, and the fit with the category briefs.

Applications must be received by noon on Thursday 26th January 2012.

To apply, register from Monday 28th November at https://ktn.innovateuk.org/web/tiga-games-contest for the TIGA Games Challenge group.

Back to UK student news.

Abertay University and BAFTA launch new game-building tool for kids

Children can now build their own working game using a simple-to-use tool built by the University of Abertay Dundee for BAFTA Young Game Designers, in association with Electronic Arts and with support from NESTA.

The Games Unpacked tool lets enthusiastic young people with no knowledge of computer programming build working games by dragging and dropping level elements like platforms, power-ups and dangerous traps.

Using the industry-standard Unity engine, the Games Unpacked tool is a fun way for school children to play around with making their own games – and to learn more about what it takes to become a computer games developer.

Children can get started by visiting the BAFTA Young Game Designers website and downloading the free software. They can also upload their finished game for others to see.

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said: ‘Every young person I know absolutely loves playing games, and Games Unpacked is a fun and easy way to take the next step into making their own games.

‘By creating a simple “digital toolbox” of all the elements of a game level, children of any age can build a brand new game and start learning about the fascinating process of games development.’

The Games Unpacked initiative is a complement to the successful BAFTA Young Game Designers competition, which involves teams of 11 to 16 year-olds submitting an idea for a new game for a chance to win a range of prizes. These include work experience with Bright Light, an EA games studio, and a working prototype of the game developed with Abertay University. The deadline for entry is Monday 24 October.

Niyi Akeju, BAFTA Producer for Audience Development Projects, said: ‘Games Unpacked is an additional offering on the BAFTA Young Game Designers website, and we look forward to seeing how visitors engage with the package.’

Games Unpacked was also tested at the recent Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee, which attracted 9,000 visitors. Young gamers found the tool fun and easy to use, with a queue quickly building to try it out.

Through projects like this, Abertay University and BAFTA are committed to showing as many young people as possible that computer games development is an achievable and exciting career.

Back to UK student news.

Computer game stars of the future – Dare to be Digital winners announced

The next generation of computer games stars was unveiled in Dundee on 14 August, as the three winning teams from the Abertay University-run contest Dare to be Digital were announced.

Digital Knights, Evolved Ape and Swallowtail will now compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award – which only the Dare to be Digital winners are eligible to compete for. The BAFTA winner will be unveiled in a glittering ceremony in London early in 2012.

FunBox also won the ‘Visual Adrenaline’ award, sponsored by Intel, for the best graphics.

Coming home to Dundee for the first time, the Dare ProtoPlay festival saw record-breaking numbers of visitors – around 9,000 people playing and enjoying games, three times the number who visited the festival in Edinburgh last year.

Digital Knights team leader Roman Graebsch said: ‘We never, ever thought we’d be here. The team got together for the fun of it, so it’s just amazing to be nominated for a BAFTA. It’s just such a great feeling to see people enjoying what you’ve created.’

Evolved Ape team leader Malath Abbas said: ‘I’m absolutely ecstatic and really proud of the final product and the whole team. All the hard, hard work has paid off, and personally it’s made me realise I have the ability as an artist and as a leader to deliver.’

Swallowtail team leader Sophia George said: ‘We’re so happy to win – the team worked incredibly hard. I came into industry because I wanted to see more women working in games – and in turn creating more games for women. It is such an incredible privilege to win.’

Digital Knights are Agne Gediminskaite, Roman Graebsch, Josep B Martinez and Petr Papez from the IT University of Copenhagen and Amr Din from Abertay University. Their game Joust! is a fun Kinect title where you jump up and down, and use your arm as a lance to joust.

Evolved Ape are Stuart Brown, Joe Hurst, Daniel Scholes and Mat Stevenson from the University of Central Lancashire and Malath Abbas from Liverpool Screen School. Their game Dreamweaver for the PC is a puzzle-platformer which quickly develops into a nightmare – where your friendly animal companion starts to attack you…

Swallowtail are Rosie Ball, Kristian Francis and Sophia George from the Norwich University College of the Arts and Mark Bamford and Callum Goold from Abertay University. Their iPad game Tick Tock Toys needs you to clear a toy box to help your clockwork robot reach its goal.

Noirin Carmody, awards judge and Commercial Director at Revolution Software, said: ‘I am very encouraged by the number of young women involved in the making of games, which undoubtedly will help to create games that appeal to a wider audience.’

Kieran Connell, awards judge and Development Lead at Microsoft Studios, said: ‘I’ve been incredibly impressed with the technical achievements of all the teams this year, but particularly those that have managed to get to grips with Kinect – creating natural and enjoyable game mechanics with such a new piece of hardware in such a short space of time is phenomenal.’

Richard Leinfellner, awards judge and Chief Executive of Babel Media, said: ‘Once again the quality of entries was very high – and this year the diversity of devices used by the teams was striking. Dare to be Digital is really starting to reflect the wide range of audiences that today’s developers can reach through games.’

Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: ‘Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for aspiring young computer game developers.

‘The standard of games gets better and better every year, and it’s been a real joy to see thousands of people enjoy playing the games in Dundee this weekend. It is a real vote of confidence in the Dundee industry and in the game developers of the future.’

He added: ‘To have to build a brand new game in just nine weeks is a massive challenge, and every single competitor deserves to be immensely proud of what they have achieved.

‘They arrived at Abertay University nine short weeks ago as promising students – they leave us as very promising young professionals. We will watch their careers with great interest.’

Applications from over 70 universities worldwide were whittled down to just 15 teams to compete in Dare to be Digital 2011.

Hosted and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital brings in games industry professionals to hand-pick and mentor the teams. Many competitors go on to receive job offers from these world-leading companies.

For more information, please visit www.daretobedigital.com.

Back to UK student news.

Abertay students jet to China for ‘business Olympics’ finals

A team of students from the University of Abertay Dundee is jetting off to China this month to compete as the UK representative in the world finals of the prestigious CIMA Global Business Challenge.

After a tough UK final, which also included another Abertay University team, four Abertay University students – Paulius Balbieris, Tobias Loida, Aitor Marroquin and John Tilsner – will now take on 16 other teams from around the world on 23 and 24 July.

Their team, Abertay 1, will test their business skills against teams representing Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, the Middle East, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

A total of 2,135 teams competed in the first round of the challenge, which is run by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Abertay University accounting lecturer Helen Smith, who regularly runs business challenge events for students, said: ‘We’re delighted to be flying to China to represent Abertay University and the UK in such an internationally recognised business competition.

‘It was a great honour to take two Abertay University teams to the UK finals, but to progress on to the global finals and compete against the very best business students on the planet is an incredible achievement by our students.’

She added: ‘Abertay University takes great pride in giving our students an opportunity not just to sit in a classroom and learn, but to take their new knowledge out into the world and apply it.

‘Whether this is a business competition or working directly with a company to solve a real-life problem as a coursework exercise, we think this approach is absolutely crucial to preparing students to start business and lead the big companies of the future.’

UK applicants to this year’s CIMA Global Business Challenge were of such a high standard that the organisers expanded the competition from four teams to five – with two of the finalists coming from Abertay University.

The UK winners were picked by an expert panel, including CIMA President Harold Baird, Barclays Capital Managing Director Vikas Karlekar, Milkround Online General Manager Jenni Joplin and Miss Selfridge Finance Director Iain Scott.

The global final will be held in Chengdu, China on 23 and 24 July 2011.

More information about the CIMA Global Business Challenge is available online.

Back to UK student news.

Dare to be Digital launches – nine weeks to win a computer games BAFTA

Student computer game designers are starting the internationally renowned Dare to be Digital challenge – to build a complete game in just nine weeks, with the best game taking home a BAFTA.

Applications from over 70 universities worldwide were whittled down to just 15 teams, who now go head-to-head in an intense competition that every year grabs the attention of the computer games industry.

Hosted and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital brings in games industry professionals to hand-pick and mentor the teams. Many competitors go on to receive job offers from these world-leading companies.

The contest is also delighted to welcome Intel Corporation as a title sponsor for a third year. The company has worked with Dare to be Digital to give the teams financial support and supply them with the latest technology for the competition.

The finished games go on show to the public at the free Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee’s Caird Hall on 12–14 August, and then on to the BAFTA Video Games Awards where the winner of the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award is picked.

Andrew Semple, Studio Director at Rockstar North, said: ‘Dare to be Digital provides an important platform for fostering and bringing on new talent to the videogames industry. Rockstar is honoured to once again lend its support and provide mentoring to this year’s competitors.’

Richard Hare, co-founder and President of Dundee-based Outplay Entertainment, said: ‘Dare to be Digital has pioneered the search for new talent, championed the “indie” games ethos and supported the next generation of developers like no other event in the world.

‘The competition is now over a decade old and has been recognised as one of the most valuable experiences a student can gain if they’re serious about entering the games industry. We’re delighted to be supporting such a unique and challenging event and we look forward to seeing what the teams can produce in such a tight timeframe.’

Dr Louis Natanson, Academic Director of the Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, added: ‘The students starting Dare to be Digital today [13 June] are some of the most promising young game designers anywhere in the world. We’re expecting great games to emerge over the next nine weeks.

‘Dare to be Digital is a really unique opportunity to get noticed by the games industry, and competition to take part gets fiercer and fiercer every year. We wish all the teams the very best and look forward to playing their games at Dare ProtoPlay in Dundee in August!’

The team members come from 16 different universities across China, Denmark, India, the Irish Republic and the UK, with games being developed for iPad, iPhone, Kinect on Xbox 360, PC and Windows Phone 7.

Exceptionally strong entries were judged – and will be mentored – by the computer games industry professionals who belong to Dare’s Developer Accord: Blitz Games Studios, Cobra, Codemasters, Crytek UK, Jagex Games Studio, Outplay Entertainment, Rare, Rockstar North, Ruffian Games and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Dare to be Digital is also sponsored by computer games trade body UKIE, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment. UKIE works extensively with computer games education providers, developers and publishers to promote the UK games industry to the public and the Government.

Back to UK student news.

Dundee’s first computer games festival announced – Dare ProtoPlay comes home

Dundee’s first ever computer games festival is to take over the city centre this August, as the exciting finale of game design competition Dare to be Digital comes home.

The free public event Dare ProtoPlay will be held in Dundee’s Caird Hall from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 August and will feature all 15 games built in the international Dare to be Digital competition and much, much more.

Organised and run by the University of Abertay Dundee and sponsored by Intel, the Dare ProtoPlay games event has previously been part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year it is coming home to vibrant Dundee – and is bigger than ever before.

The festival will feature a huge range of games-related fun for everyone from toddlers and teenagers to grandparents and games developers.

Daniel Leyden, Technical Manager of Dundee-based Cobra Mobile, said: ‘Dundee is the true heart of Scottish games development and a fantastic place to live and work. The huge wealth of knowledge and expertise in games development within Dundee is unparalleled.

‘With so many companies producing such high quality games Dundee is the natural place for the Dare ProtoPlay event to take place. People should definitely come along to the Caird Hall in August. You get to play brand new games for free – what more could you want?’

Cobra Mobile is one member of the Dare Developer Showcase, the collection of leading companies which put their latest games and talent on show to the public at Dare ProtoPlay. Other big names confirmed so far include Blitz Games Studios, Crytek, Outplay Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Billy Thomson, Creative Director at Dundee-based Ruffian Games, added: ‘I’m extremely pleased that the Dare to be Digital organisers have decided to bring the ProtoPlay event back to Dundee.

‘In my opinion, the Dare competition is the best way for young aspiring game developers to directly showcase their talents to the most successful professional game developers in Europe. The fact that the final stage of the competition will also take place in Dundee is fantastic for the city.’

Dr Louis Natanson, Academic Director of the Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, added: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to bring Dare ProtoPlay back home to Dundee.

‘Everyone had a great time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe each year, but as Dare to be Digital and Dundee’s games industry both continue to grow we decided it was time to hold our celebrations right in the heart of this fantastic city.

‘We’re inviting games developers and members of the public of all ages to come along and see for themselves just how exciting this industry is, and how exciting Dundee is as an international hub of games development.

‘There is something for absolutely everyone and we’re expecting Dare ProtoPlay on 12–14 August to be enormous fun and attract thousands of visitors.’

As well as video games workshops for absolute beginners and talks from industry professionals, there will also be a game design jam, a professional gamer tournament, and a fun-packed games fair outside in City Square.

Entry to Dare ProtoPlay is free, but some events will require booking in advance.

Register with the Dare to be Digital website or follow Dare to be Digital on Facebook now to receive updates about Dare ProtoPlay.

All of the Dare to be Digital 2011 games will be judged by members of the public and industry experts at Dare ProtoPlay, with three winning teams picked to then compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award.

The teams arrive at Abertay University to start designing their games on Monday 13 June.

Back to UK student news.

Abertay University launches its biggest Digital Graduate Show ever

Abertay Digital Graduate Show bannerThe biggest Digital Graduate Show ever in the history of the University of Abertay Dundee opens to the public on Friday 20 May at 2pm.

Covering four floors of the main university Kydd Building, as well as the Hannah Maclure Centre art gallery on the top floor of the Student Centre, the 2011 Abertay Digital Graduate Show features more degrees and more students than ever before.

Abertay Digital Graduate Show – robotMembers of the public, friends and family of students, and employers looking to recruit the finest graduate talent are all invited to come along on Friday 2–4pm to see the latest computer games and digital art, learn about computer security and how to fight high-tech hacking, and hear experimental sound production.

Maps detailing where the different subjects are located can be downloaded from the Abertay website.

Professor Simeon Keates, the new Head of the School of Computing and Engineering Systems, said: ‘The Digital Graduate Show starting on Friday afternoon will be a hugely exciting event, and I strongly urge everyone with a passion for art, computing, design, music or technology to come along.

‘Our students will be showcasing fantastic work in applied computing, ethical hacking, web design and much more. We look forward to welcoming families and members of the public to our new computing laboratories to see inside the work at Abertay.’

Dr Louis Natanson, Academic Director of the Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games, added: ‘Every year the standard of students graduating from Abertay University just gets better and better, and it’s an enormous source of pride for all of us to put their work on show to the public.

‘Having seen some of the new computer games our students have built, I know the Digital Graduate Show on Friday afternoon is going to be a great spectacle for students, their families, and for companies looking to recruit the very finest graduate talent.’

After the main showcase event on Friday afternoon 2–4pm, a selection of the very best art, design and sound production work will remain on show at the University’s Hannah Maclure Centre for three weeks.

Situated on the top floor of the Student Centre, members of the public are warmly invited to come along and interact with the fantastic student art on Saturday 21 May 12–4pm, then Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5pm, until 3 June.

Back to UK student news.

Students to get cyber-security insight at Abertay virtual open day

Postgraduate students looking for a career in cyber-security are invited to take part in a virtual open day on 18 May with leading lecturers at the University of Abertay Dundee.

Students interested in studying one of the MSc courses – including Digital Forensics, Ethical Hacking and Computer Security, Intelligence and Security Informatics, and Network Security – can find out everything they need to know on Skype on Wednesday 18 May, from 9.30am until 12 noon.

All of these courses give graduates important skills that are increasingly in demand, as governments and businesses look to invest in protecting themselves against malicious hackers and cyber-terrorists.

More information and videos about the courses can be found online.

Dr Les Ball said: ‘Cyber-security and intelligence analysis are exciting and challenging problems to which government and private companies are dedicating more time and money. There are great prospects for graduates in this area.

‘My specialism is the unique MSc Intelligence and Security Informatics course, which combines intelligence analysis with psychology, criminology and sociology, helping students to understand how to track the behaviour of terrorist networks, for example.

‘This course attracts students from technical and non-technical backgrounds, so anyone interested in protecting national security should join us on Skype on Wednesday morning to find out why this is such an exciting subject to study.’

Despite the recent cuts, the UK Government announced an extra £650m to counter cyber-terrorism and cyber-attacks last year, showing how serious this area is – and how much demand there is for properly skilled graduates.

Dr Natalie Coull added: ‘All the students and parents we speak to are more concerned than ever about studying subjects which will help them get a secure, rewarding job.

‘Studying a cyber-security MSc course at Abertay University will help you learn relevant, practical skills that are really attractive to employers. As we’ve seen across the news in recent weeks, hacking attacks are on the increase and everyone is fighting to protect their systems against attack.’

Anyone interested in learning more about these courses can join the virtual open day on Wednesday 18 May from 9.30am until 12 noon.

More information on all Abertay University degrees is available on the University’s website.

Back to UK student news.

Goal! Abertay students persuade Newcastle United and Dundee to hold charity match for Guide Dogs

Business studies students at the University of Abertay Dundee have agreed in principle a series of major charity events for the Guide Dogs charity, including a fundraising football match between Newcastle United and Dundee FC.

The third-year students were challenged to plan and organise a major charity event for their events management module, working in direct consultation with Abertay University lecturers and the Guide Dogs regional fundraiser.

All of the events – which include the charity football match, a blindfolded dinner at the Apex Hotel in Dundee, and an international music concert at the Caird Hall – have been agreed in principle, with sponsorships or donations covering costs.

Guide Dogs is now considering which events it will run. A winning team is to be announced at a prize-giving ceremony at Abertay University on Friday 13 May.

Ally Taylor, Guide Dogs regional fundraiser, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that the University of Abertay Dundee set these business students the task of organising a major charity event in aid of Guide Dogs.

‘I’m also amazed at the quality of each of the presentations given by the groups of students. Their imagination, research and presentation have been second to none and it is proving to be a very difficult task in selecting the winning team. I congratulate everyone involved.

‘We at Guide Dogs now intend to use all of the hard work done by these Abertay University students and to put these ideas into practice, not just locally but nationally. A huge well done to everyone involved.’

Sponsorship and gifts agreed for the events include backing from Debenhams for a fashion show, support from local radio stations Tay FM and Wave 102, as well as thousand of pounds in cash donations!

Lecturer and module leader Brian Cunningham added: ‘There is no better way to learn than through a real, applied challenge. At Abertay University we try to both teach students and give them the opportunities to use that knowledge.

‘The idea for this project was to let students come together as teams, working to a project brief for a real, very important client.

‘But what really amazed us was the response from the students – every single project is ambitious, professional and would raise a lot of money for Guide Dogs.’

Professor Steve Olivier, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, said: ‘This is a splendid effort by the students and resonates strongly with the graduate attributes which we wish to inculcate in all our students at Abertay.

‘It is also wonderful to see such an explicit link with the values espoused in our new strategic plan, where we strive for equality of opportunity for all who benefit from the Abertay experience.’

As part of the assessment, the students also provided Guide Dogs with step-by-step plans for organising and running each event, allowing the great ideas to be replicated by Guide Dogs fundraisers anywhere in the UK.

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Accessibility expert is new Head of Abertay’s School of Computing and Engineering Systems

The University of Abertay Dundee has appointed Professor Simeon Keates as its new Head of the School of Computing and Engineering Systems.

Professor Simeon KeatesHe was formerly Associate Professor in the Innovative Communication Research Group at the IT University of Copenhagen, and previously worked at the University of Cambridge, the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, and ITA Software in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Professor Keates’ appointment at Abertay includes the University’s professorship of Human-Computer Interaction. He intends to build on the School’s established areas of expertise with new multidisciplinary research and teaching initiatives studying how to make technology more user-friendly and inclusive, yet also more secure at the same time.

‘The School of Computing and Engineering Systems, in its present form, is quite new and therefore presents an exciting challenge in terms of creating a new vision and a new direction for its academic work,’ Professor Keates said.

He continued: ‘The School’s reputation, having launched the UK’s first university degrees in ethical hacking and cyber-security in computer security, is truly marvellous, and it has other strengths in key areas such as computing, networks and web development.

‘In addition, the boundaries between academic disciplines at Abertay are very flexible, and the multidisciplinary ethos is actively promoted in a way you don’t often find at other universities,’ he added.

‘This enables much easier interaction between health scientists, psychologists and computing experts.’

Professor Keates said that these qualities put Abertay in a unique position to address cutting edge issues of enabling people to get the most out of the technology at their disposal, yet in the most secure way possible.

‘For example, most security applications make technology harder to use but many of the individuals who might benefit most from intelligently-designed technology, such as the disabled or the elderly, need it to be easier to use, even to the point where the technology is almost invisible to them.

‘Some of this knowledge already exists, but there is no holistic overview, and therefore no coherent consideration of the most secure way of doing it. Our challenge will be to combine those aspirations to freedom with 100-percent security – an especially important goal in an ageing yet increasingly technological society.’

Back to UK student news.

Computer games industry ‘who’s who’ stars gifted Abertay graduates

A much-respected computer games industry ‘who’s who’ of up-and-coming games developers has heralded three graduates of the University of Abertay Dundee as rising stars in the industry.

Develop magazine each year publishes the much-anticipated ‘30 under 30’ list, showcasing the artists, designers and programmers with the greatest potential.

Being featured on the list is a big achievement, particularly given how competitive and highly skilled the UK games industry is.

This year Abertay graduates Angela McEwan, motion editor at Lightning Fish Games, Andrew Smith, managing director of Spilt Milk Studios, and Liam Wong, 2D artist at Crytek, all feature as up-and-coming stars of the games industry.

‘The standard of the computer games graduates from Abertay University is always exceptional, and the number recruited to work for the very best companies – or successfully setting up by themselves – is a great source of pride for us every year,’ said Gregor White, Director of Academic Enterprise at Abertay University’s Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games.

‘It’s great to see Angela, Andrew and Liam featured in Develop’s ‘30 under 30’ list of up-and-coming games developers. They were all extremely promising students and we had no doubt they’d each make a big impact on the industry once they graduated from Abertay.’

All three of the graduates studied the BA (Hons) Computer Arts degree, which involves learning how to become a professional digital artist capable of creating animated and still graphics in 2D and 3D, all with the support of experienced industry professionals.

Angela said: ‘Choosing to study at Abertay was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My course offered me something that other universities couldn’t: a vast amount of variety within one unique course, access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and contact with Abertay’s strong industry connections.

‘Studying at Abertay gave me a huge head start for working in a creative industry, something I feel wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.’

Liam said: ‘I graduated from the Computer Arts course at Abertay this year and I can fully recommend it to those looking to get into the creative industries. Being surrounded by students with different skills made it really easy to form solid teams to work on various small projects.

‘After working with numerous teams, I put together a team of five to enter the ten-week computer games development competition Dare to be Digital. The competition gave us unparalleled work experience as students and helped us gain our first jobs within the games industry.’

Andrew said: ‘Studying on the Computer Arts course at Abertay exposed me to a wide and varied range of disciplines – audio, visual art, a little bit of coding too – and was forward-thinking enough to be open and let me indulge my games design urges too.

‘This really allowed me to develop in the right way for a designer – an understanding and appreciation of all aspects of the creative process of making games was instilled in me at Abertay.’

As a mark of industry approval, the Computer Arts degree at Abertay has full accreditation from Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media.

Only a very few degree courses receive this prestigious award, which is in recognition of a course developing the full range of skills companies need to thrive and succeed.

More information about the Computer Arts degree.

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