Salford students win prestigious game design award

Thursday 16 August 2012
A still from Pixel Story
A still from Pixel Story
A five-strong team of University of Salford students has scooped the top prize in a major computer game design competition, winning £25,000 to help bring their game to market.

Loan Wolf Games – comprising BSc Computer and Video Games graduates Luke Harrison, Toby Rushton, Thomas McParland, Martin Cosens and Ashley Hayes – won the main award, sponsored by Channel 4, after taking on competitors from universities and art colleges across the world in the Dare to be Digital game design competition held at the University of Abertay Dundee.

The team was also one of three nominated for a BAFTA Games ‘Ones to Watch’ award, the winner of which will be announced in March next year.

The students entered Dare to be Digital after a very competitive selection process, becoming one of 15 teams of programmers, digital artists and audio engineers from institutions in the UK, Ireland, China and Finland chosen for the competition. They were then given the task of developing a prototype video game with the help of mentors from the gaming industry.

After a nine-week period of development from June to August, the teams’ games were showcased to more than 10,000 members of the public and industry figures, who got to play them and vote for their favourites. With its retro platform-style game ‘Pixel Story’, Loan Wolf Games was one of three winning teams scoring the highest marks for innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology, receiving a £2,500 prize in addition to the £25,000 Channel 4 award.

The graduates can now use specialist technology and research facilities at the University’s MediaCityUK building, where the Computer and Video Games degree course is taught, to further develop and commercialise the game.

Loan Wolf Games team member and programmer, Martin Cosens, said: “The opportunity to use the skills we’ve gained from our courses at Salford and put them into practice on an intensive, real-life game development project was absolutely amazing.

“We plan to use the prize money to complete the development of Pixel Story and hopefully set up our own games company.

“I’ve learnt a huge amount from working with other people, developing processes and making mistakes during the competition. For anyone looking to get into making games, Dare to be Digital is fantastic.”

Lecturer in Future Media at the University of Salford, Dr Yuwei Lin, added: “Being involved in Dare to be Digital is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students and it’s brilliant news that they’ve won the competition and learnt so much from it.

“It really showcases their talents and has allowed them to put the knowledge and learning from the BSc degree in Computer and Video Games to really good use.”

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