The School of Design and Informatics at Abertay are looking for employers to participate in their Professional Project module aimed at 3rd year under graduates. The project team, typically of around 8 students, will be from a mix of discipline such as Programming, Art, Audio, Design and Production. The project will run from January 30th to May 16th in 2023 so organisations are asked to return this Application Form to Lorraine.Thomson@interface-online.org.uk by October 31st.
The project outcomes are frequently, but are by no means limited to, prototypes of games, or other forms of interactive media, for example museum interactives or training applications. Process and toolset related projects have also been successfully delivered to clients and many games industry clients have found the process useful for prototyping mechanics or creating a proof of concept.
- Teams apply to work on briefs from a list provided by staff. Staff assign the briefs, matching up the skill sets of each team to specific projects/clients.
- Overall, each student team spends approximately two thirds of their total available time in the spring term on the project. In practice this means around eight to ten weeks of dedicated effort across the fifteen-week term.
- Successful completion of the module is a requirement for all students to progress into their final year, so all students are marked on individual contribution by their academic mentors. The assessment essentially allows for projects to fail but individuals to succeed and is outwith any feedback provided by you toward the project brief.
- Creation of the initial brief (see attached template and exemplars for details)
- Timely feedback to the team at key points during production. Outside of the key milestones highlighted below we recommend that students organise client meetings every two weeks during production; you can of course change this frequency dependent on your availability and bandwidth.
- Students are expected to make a client delivery every second week throughout the term. In week two this will likely be a pitch for feedback and discussion but following that they are strongly encouraged to deliver working code. Students are told to give clients a sufficient buffer, one or two days, between delivery and pre-arranged client meetings in order to allow clients to play the build and prepare notes/feedback.
- This makes for a total of 7 meetings during production along with a final retrospective/wrap-up meeting. It is estimated that clients typically spend around an hour and a half every two weeks assessing builds and meeting with their student team. This adds up to around 12 hours of effort across the whole project schedule (although your milage may vary).
- Summative feedback on the final prototype once delivered.
Intellectual Property Options
- Option 1 – Students Retain Rights: Many industry clients are happy for their student teams to retain project IP as they get other benefits from the process (particularly low risk staff development and talent identification). Any background IP that you provide remains your own of course.
- Option 2 – IP Transfer to Client: As a client all IP along with the associated code, design, art and audio assets produced can remain your intellectual property if you so wish.
- If your brief is selected and you express a wish to retain this ‘foreground IP’ (i.e. what the students actually produce) then all students on your team are asked to sign an IP waiver at the start of the process.
- This waiver transfers the IP over to the University who hold it in trust until the end of the project when an IP agreement between the University and the client can be drawn up to fully transfer the rights (this streamlines the process as agreements with each individual student on the team are not necessary). Please note that any requests that require changes to the standard IP agreement may be chargeable.
- If this option is taken, then we do ask that we retain the right to use the projects for academic and promotional purposes and that students can use their work in their individual portfolios. Creation of a public facing itch.io page is part of the assessment (please see examples below).
- Option 3 – IP Transfer to Client and NDA: Should you wish a student team to work on a brief that is commercially sensitive then we can ask students to sign a standard NDA which means:
- That they cannot share any aspects of their work on the project publicly without your permission for a five-year period.
- While an Itch.io page will still be produced as part of the assignment this will be password protected and only be shared directly with you, the client, module tutors and, if required, external examiners (for grading and academic moderation purposes).
If you wish to pursue option 2 or 3, please let us know and we can connect you with Abertay to provide draft versions of the IP/NDA agreements for review.
Here are links to some example projects from last year’s iteration of the module:
For Hexposure – Made by Yellow Crow Games, a student led project mentored by Rockstar Games:
You are a witch who runs a potion shop called the Fixer Elixir. Meet with customers every day, hear their needs, then go to your Spell book to find the perfect potion to fix their problem in a charmingly realised pixel art world.
Trailer and build available here: https://yellow-crow.itch.io/des310-project
Training for Disaster – Made by Crabertay for the CDAC Network
A prototype training tool, developed for humanitarian response staff to improve the use of communication, community-engagement, and accountability (CCEA) with communities affected by disasters, conflicts, and displacement around the world.
Trailer and build available here: https://crabertay.itch.io/training-for-disaster
You are not guaranteed that your project will be taken on by the student/student groups as it can be a competitive process, and depends on how many companies put forward projects, however we will endeavour to find a solution for you.