Creative Industries and the Dundee Videogames Cluster

Published on 8 June 2021

With a prominent research-intensive School of Art & Design and research strengths in Humanities, we have a long history of research in collaboration with the creative industries, locally, nationally and internationally in a number of ways.

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Our creative industries collaborations include our partnership in the £11.5M Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) Cluster, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council/UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the Scottish Funding Council, a collaboration led by Abertay University involving the University of St Andrews and creative economies partners - from individual creators, micro-enterprises, SMEs, and large companies, as well as business and cluster development support.

The InGAME partners work together to increase the scale and value of the Dundee videogames creative cluster, a major strength within the UK creative economy, through product, service, and experience innovation. Artists, designers, writers and producers are co-located with creative technologists and business specialists; SME games studios have access to the partners’ expertise, engage in creative experimentation, utilise new and emerging games technologies, explore new audiences, and form interdisciplinary working relationships supported by a Collaborative R&D Voucher Scheme and Innovation labs.

We bring to this partnership research expertise in the creative industries, design ecology and economies, and creative practice with Co-Directors Professors Anita Taylor, Dean of Art & Design, and Chris Murray, Chair of Comics Studies.

The key to InGAME’s success is the close working relationship between researchers and the games industry partners, shaped by the feedback loop generated between practice-led creative research and industry, in the same way as the Dundee Comics Creative Space (DCCS) works, a project led by Murray and run by the University’s Scottish Centre for Comics Studies since 2015, which supports comics in its contribution to the creative economy through various research projects. DCCS is co-located with InGAME in Dundee’s Vision Building.

Chris Murray in front of a wall of comics
“Games and comics have a lot in common. They are both interactive media that require an element of creative problem-solving. Both involve a kind of play and offer immersive experiences, making them intriguing objects of study for researchers, but also the embodiment of a research methodology. With such strong ties to both the games and comics industries in the city, the University of Dundee is well-placed to investigate the intersection of research and creative practice through these two mediums, and to engage these creative industries and individual creators in innovative and impactful research projects.”

Professor Chris Murray

University of Dundee Co-Investigators include Dr Jen Ballie, the University’s Research Manager for Design for Business at V&A Dundee, a programme supported by Scottish Enterprise bringing extensive experience of the current Scottish business landscape and know-how in developing and generating business solutions through design thinking to the project. Dr Xinya You, Research Fellow in Sustainable Creative Business, has developed a study and Business Modelling Blueprint (BMB) with InGAME games studios that demonstrated the feasibility of the creation of design tools helping game studios solve long-term business sustainability challenges. The two design tools created will be made available in an InGAME Business Model Design Booklet to support videogames studios to enhance their business sustainability.  

The DJCAD 3D Visualisation Lab and expertise enables us to create visualisations that embody the creative and aesthetic rather than purely technical to enhance the understanding of complex data and concepts by a multitude of audiences in different contexts. The work of Co-Investigator Professor Anthony Head in collaboration with SME Celestial Ltd is experimental in using game engine technology to create the software that ‘animates’ drones into formations. Anthony’s research is leading to the creation of real-time large-scale interactive experiences which are building a bridge between the virtual and the real world.

Professor Head: “I’ve been researching methods and techniques to efficiently develop novel systems for display drone formations, for live events. Working with Celestial, the COVID pandemic led us to creating films featuring the display drones. My research balances art and engineering, using game engine technology to create software that is used to animate the drones. The aim is for hundreds of drones to fly independently and use light to create giant sculptures and images in the sky.”

As part of the experimental strand of the InGAME programme, Professor Head is taking the world of computer games and 3D visualisation back into the real world.


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