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Students are on the course to success by reaching game design competition finals

Gamers

Four Wrexham students have made it into the finals of a world premier game design competition.

Wrexham Glyndwr University students have teamed up to enter Dare to be Digital 2016, a global gaming competition for university students and recent graduates.

The team, named Turtle Games, has designed its own game Unjust, a dystopian sci-fi set in the future where society has crumbled. Unjust also has a unique mobile companion app that allows anyone in the world to connect to a live game session.

Turtle Games was announced as one of the 15 finalists last week after the team, Dafydd John, 25, Philippe Valensa 24, Jack Penny, 21, all studying Computer Game Development, and Jon Oliver Roberts, 21, studying Music Technology, were invited to pitch their game to a panel of judges.

Philippe, the team’s character artist, said: “The judges really loved our idea as it allows you to connect with other users. This game was definitely a risk we took for the competition as there’s a lot of work that needs to go into it but it’s definitely do able.”

In July the team visit Abertay University, Dundee, for three weeks to create their game, with guidance from experts.

The game will then be judged at Dare ProtoPlay 2016, an independent games festival, in August. 

Dafydd, the environment artist, said: “The judges were really shocked that our team was so small. They expected a lot more people to be involved because of the level and state of the game.

“It’s been a real juggling act doing this and finishing our final year degree but we’ve had great support.”

The final three will win £2,500 each and will likely be nominated for a prestigious UK BAFTA One to Watch Award. The winning team will receive £25,000 from Channel 4 and a publishing deal.

Jack, Unjust programmer, from Cyffyliog near Ruthin, said: “I was so excited when I found out we got into the final.

“I’m also nervous about going up to Scotland and working on the game as it’s a daunting task. As programmer it’s my responsibility for the game to work and run smoothly, so if anything goes wrong it’s my job to fix it.”

The team are also submitting Unjust as their final year project at Wrexham Glyndwr University, where they’ve been designing the game in the Enterprise Lounge.

Richard Hebblewhite, Glyndwr’s Computer Game Development programme leader, and Nathan Roberts, a senior lecturer in Computing, both encouraged Turtle Games to enter the competition.

Richard said: This is the UK’s top competition for gaming, there is no award bigger.

“The team’s game is head of the curve and very ambitious but these boys can do it. They have found a great unique selling point and are very dedicated. To get this far is a big achievement.

“We always encourage all our students to participate with the industry through events like this.”

For more information about Turtle Games and Unjust watch their entry video on YouTube at tinyurl.com/UnjustDareToBeDigital

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