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Vote for NUA students in BAFTA award

Friends of Norwich University of the Arts are being called on to show their support for the institution by voting online as three local students compete in an international video game competition to win a BAFTA.

Three students with the team mascot

Team Swallowtail – Kristian Francis, Sophia George and Rosie Ball

Sophia George, Kristian Francis (both from Great Yarmouth) and Rosie Ball (from Cambridge) are students and recent graduates from the Games Art and Design degree course at NUA. The course annually encourages students to form teams to enter the Dare to be Digital competition, which is run by Abertay University and this year attracted entrants from 70 universities from across the UK as well as Canada and India.

The three students, who together with two Abertay-based students have formed Team Swallowtail, had to pitch a game idea to a panel of judges to win a place in the final 15. ‘Tick Tock Toys‘ is an app game which uses the tilt and touchscreen functions of the iPad to control a toy robot as it traverses a toy box solving puzzles along the way.

Rosie says: “We get a lot of practice in presenting and communicating our ideas on our course at NUA. We’ve made something that’s quite different to the other entries, it was an opportunity to take a risk.”

Team Swallowtail is now in Abertay for 9 weeks using the university’s facilities and technical mentoring from industry to build a prototype of ‘Tick Tock Toys’. The game will go on display to the public in video gaming education and consumer event Dare ProtoPlay in Dundee between 12th and 14th of August. The general public and industry experts will get to play and vote for the games, with the three most popular winning £2,500 each and being put forward for the coveted ‘Ones to Watch’ award at the BAFTA Video Game Awards.

Sophia adds: “Most of the other courses that entered are programming based so we bring a lot of artistry to the competition. One of the issues facing the games industry is inclusivity so our focus was to create a game for people who haven’t played a game before, one that anyone can pick up and get immersed in.”

The students are posting weekly video updates to the Dare to be Digital website to track their progression, with the first two weeks showing the creation of character art, a demonstration of the game mechanics and the recording of sound effects.

Kristian continues: “It’s an innovative game, one that’s hard to compare with anything else out there. Last year’s winner has been released through the iPad app store so we have high hopes for this. It’s also great to meet people in the games industry and make contacts.”

Games Art and Design Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman says: “After one week the students have done really well, I can see great progress in their work. They have a good chance to win this competition and go for the BAFTA but they need the support of Norfolk and friends of NUA. We all need to view and vote for their work on the Dare to be Digital website, this will help their morale and also raise their profile as the votes get registered on the Dare website.”

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