Misc. Blog 04 – Dare to be Digital 2013

Day 81 aboard the SS Junkfish

Rations: Dwindling, biscuits gone (Lindors non existent).

With hunger setting in, I’ll tell you about how, during the summer, I led a team composed of 5 Junkfish members on the grand voyage that was Dare to be Digital 2013. Our team name was Prehistoric Spatula and we created an augmented reality game called ‘DinerSaur’.

For Dare you need to create a pitch video to get through to the interview stage. We decided to mix ours up a bit and to have fun with it! So what better way to pitch a dinosaur game than by having some Jurassic Park references? (Andy Tait did a fantastic job of editing the video).

The feedback we got from our pitch video was brilliant, some even said it was the best pitch they had received. If you are looking at getting into Dare, my best advice on the video would be to make sure you clearly get across what it is you hope to achieve in the 9 weeks. Make sure your video includes how your game will be played, what features you want to include and a suitable Gantt chart. The next phase of the Dare process is the interview. For the interview you need to show that you can create a finished prototype for Protoplay within the 9 weeks. Our biggest problem was showing we could get the augmented reality working in the 9 weeks. Luckily we had a working prototype on our phones showing Rex stomping about with the use of a marker (Which at the time happened to be a Muppets music book).

We were very happy to find out we got into Dare 2013 and thus the summer of ‘DinerSaur’ came into full swing.

Dare had 15 teams from around the world all with their own amazing ideas and plans for the 9 weeks ahead. Our lovely neighbours, Stone Hammer Games, hailed from Ireland and were a great laugh. Their game ‘Two Remaining Souls’ was really fun and I was impressed with their networking (I adored their ‘Overly Irish’ theme too). Lunavark Studios, who made ‘Cosmic Couch’, were a great bunch of guys plus their art was amazing (It was no wonder they won the Wacom award)!

During Dare mentors from multiple game companies would come, play your game, and give you advice on what could be done to improve your game and what to watch out for. One of the best mentors for us was Denes from Lift London – he sat down with us and talked through a new mechanic we didn’t even think about and it added a whole new level of fun to our game. (Thank you again Denes)!

After the 9 weeks it was time for Protoplay.

Protoplay is the public event held at the end of Dare where the general public comes in to play your game. This year Protoplay stretched across 4 days and attracted 13,000 people. It was a very exhausting experience, but seeing kids running to our booth and coming back time and time again to play our game made it all worth it!

At the end of the weekend we didn’t win anything but the teams that did truly deserved it as their games were fantastic.

Overall, Dare was a great experience: it provides valuable insight to how an actual job in the games industry would feel, you get to make a lot of new friends, and you get to meet many professionals from different aspects of game development. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in making games to do it!

I’ll leave you with the trailer for our final game:

Also 16 days till Christmas!