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Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab students win Microsoft Dream-Build-Play Competition

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A video game developed by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab has won first prize in the 2008 Microsoft XNA Dream-Build-Play game development competition.

The winning game, "CarneyVale: Showtime," was developed by a team of seven Singaporean students working in the Singapore office of the international game lab. The prize includes $40,000 and consideration for publication on the Microsoft XBox LIVE service.

This year's global Dream-Build-Play competition garnered more than 350 games from 100-plus countries, nearly doubling the number of community members who enrolled in and submitted Dream-Build-Play titles in last year's competition.

"I am very pleased with the results that has been shown by the interns from GAMBIT," said Teo Chor Guan, executive director of the Singapore lab. "It proves that Singapore students have the capability to produce a game that is of international stature."

In "CarneyVale: Showtime," players can manipulate a wide variety of props to guide an acrobat through a circus arena, including trapeze-like grabbers and flying rockets. Points are collected by bursting trails of balloons and performing special acrobatic tricks; players can earn star ratings for completing level objectives and rising up the ranks. The game includes 12 unlockable achievements, 18 regular levels and a built-in map editor with nine slots for players to share custom maps with family and friends.

"CarneyVale: Showtime" is a spiritual follow-up to "Wiip," a game developed by a team of U.S. and Singaporean students in the GAMBIT summer 2007 game development program. In "Wiip," players wielded training whips as ringmasters in the circus world of CarneyVale. In Showtime, players return to CarneyVale as a circus acrobat performing acrobatic tricks and death-defying stunts through increasingly complex arenas.

"This is one of the first games where we attempt to combine ragdoll physics, platforming genre and player performance all into one single game," said Showtime programmer Bruce Chia. "It was definitely no easy task to innovate from well-established platform games like Super Mario Brothers while still keeping true to the genre. However, I believe we managed to pull it off. We are extremely happy to hear the good news and look forward to bringing the game to the public."

"We are delighted by Showtime's success," said William Uricchio, lead principal investigator for the GAMBIT lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It stands as proof of GAMBIT's concept and is a testament to the Singapore side of the operation."

"CarneyVale: Showtime" was developed by Chia (programming), Hansel Koh (programming), Lee Fang Liang (programming), Adrian Lim (programming), Desmond Wong (artist), Joshua Wong (producer), and Guo Yuan (audio).

The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab is a five-year research collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 5, 2008 (download PDF).

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