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Dare to be Digital BAFTA Ones to Watch award (Part 2)

This year's three Bafta-nominated games from the Dare To Be Digital competition are of an incredibly high quality. We were lucky enough to be at ProtoPlay and take part in the mentoring and judging of this year's competition. This is the second part of our look at the winning games - if you missed the first part you can check it out here.

Second of the three 'Ones To-Watch' is TWANG!, a four player game created in XNA.

The game was developed by a team calling themselves That Game Studio. they hail from Skovde University, Sweden and are made up of five members:

Team Leader - Jocce Marklund
Artist - Annette Nielsen
Designer - Linus Nordgren
Programmer - Marcus Heder
Artist - Thomas Finlay, Abertay Universitry, Dundee (Scottish Ambassador to International team)

The game is a side-scrolling racing game where the players use grappling hooks to navigate. The levels are constructed from various chunks of floating rock, buildings and other objects and while the player does have the ability to run around on them, by far the fastest mode of transport is to swing from one to the next.

Up to four players start each race and players are eliminated by either falling out of the level or by a giant wall of purple death clouds that consumes them if the drop too far behind the lead player. This constant creeping death gives the game an extremely frantic pace and encourages players to hurl themselves through the levels as rapidly as possible in an effort to eliminate the slowest player.

Various power-ups are also available - everything from rains of fish to slow players down, to exploding bombs and huge explosions of fart gas to knock other players off their grappling lines.

Once a player is eliminated it's not game over though, in a similar fashion to many of the games in the Bombermanseries, eliminated players get to return to the action as a 'Jinx' and try to wreak havoc on whoever knocked them out by dropping bombs on them! Levels are procedurally generated so the action carries on until the last player remains.

The real highlight of this game is the way that it plays. The team had the basic mechanics up and running extremely early on in the competition and they spent many weeks tweaking, polishing and balancing the controls to produce a fantastically playable multi-player experience that went on to win not only a One To Watch BAFTA nomination but also the public's choice award for best game at ProtoPlay.


The team are currently looking at various provabilities for how to make the game available to play for everyone but in the meantime you can check out the trailer they put together for the ProtoPlay event:

Dare to be Digital is a video games development competition that runs each year at the University of Abertay, Dundee. It's open to teams of five students (usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio) from around the world. The teams live on site for 10 weeks and have that time to develop a prototype video game. They receive daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists from companies across the UK.

At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at a special event in Edinburgh, Dare ProtoPlay, alongside the Edinburgh Interactive Festival in August. The general public as well as industry experts get to play and vote for the games. Prizes are then awarded to the winning teams at a special awards ceremony in a whole range of categories from the "Turner Broadcasting Adult Swim Award" to the publicly voted "Dare ProtoPlay Audience Award".

The three top games from the show are put through to the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted 'Ones to Watch Award', which will be presented early in 2011.

If you're wondering what the experience of being part of Dare to be Digital is like, you wouldn't go far wrong by checking out this promo video:

You can read more about the competition itself here:

Check out That Game Studio's blog and follow their development process here: That Game Studio's Blog


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