Games developers from Staffordshire University are celebrating after picking up a BAFTA nomination and an international award on the same day.
A team of five students and graduates from the University were among the winners of the Dare ProtoPlay competition, picking up a “One’s to Watch” BAFTA nomination and the Audience Award after working round the clock for nine weeks to produce an original game.
The game – Project Thanatos – is an immersive first-person psychological horror which throws the player into a world of terror as they try to escape the effects of an unleashed biochemical weapon.
Hugh Laird, a BEng International Computer Games Programming graduate, said:
“We were hoping and praying we’d get nominated for a BAFTA – it really justifies nine weeks of hard, hard work. But we didn’t expect to win the audience award, so it is the icing on top.”
Hugh says Project Thanatos has been developed using a Sensics zSight head-mounted display which provides players stereoscopic 3D visuals with full head-tracking movement, “The headsets combined with binaural sound recording provide the immersion to make this horror experience truly terrifying.”
The Dare ProtoPlay event, which was opened by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, attracted over 10,000 visitors over the three day festival and included competitors from as far as China, India and Finland.
Each of the 15 teams in the competition received mentoring by leading industry figures including Blitz Games Studios, Codemasters and Ubisoft.
Tom Kemp, an MEng Computer Game Modelling graduate from Staffordshire University, says the team ‘Raptor Games’ came together specifically for the Dare ProtoPlay competition.
“We all knew each other before and we met our concept designer Alexandra at the annual Global Games Jam held at the university.
“But the challenge for the team was bringing together the artists and programmers of the group, we had a short space of time to bring together two very different disciplines and working practices and make it work.
“I couldn’t recommend the event enough for any game developers out there. Even if you think you are not at that level, just work hard – the experience can’t be matched.” Tom added.
Johnny Minkley, BAFTA Games Committee member and Dare judge, said:
“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.”