Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dundee games company to create virtual Hilltown for digital project

Dundee's Hilltown could be featured in a new video game.
Dundee's Hilltown could be featured in a new video game.

Two Dundee video game developers have won £45,000 each to build virtual neighbourhoods – including a replica of Dundee’s Hilltown.

The virtual neighbourhoods will be built using real-time 3D game engines.

They will incorporate elements of popular video games, such as Minecraft and SimCity.

Konglomerate Games and Biome Collective will use the money to develop their initial ideas into playable proof of concept games.

The prize money comes from a joint project between Dundee-based research and development centre InGAME and Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good.

The Virtual Healthy Neighbourhoods Challenge called for Scottish video game makers to pitch ideas for developing virtual food environments.

These will be used to produce a better understanding of how our food environments shape access to healthy and affordable food.

They will also be used to test new approaches so healthy food options are accessible and affordable for everyone.

A virtual Hilltown

Biome Collective’s idea is a simulator in which players manage resources for a virtual version of the Hilltown area of Dundee.

Director Malath Abbas said: “Play provides a sense of freedom, connection, ownership and agency.

“It can simplify complex systems and generate new perspectives on existing challenges.”

Malath Abbas director Biome Collective.

Mr Abbas said the company’s goal is to create a game to help obesity.

“The data shows our relationship with the food environment is core to this.

“It’s a multi-layered challenge but we know that games can engage people.

“Our goal is to make a playful experience that clarifies some of these challenges to help policy makers and the general public better understand the food environment.

“We want to empower them to make a positive impact.”

Moving supermarkets and takeaways

Konglomerate Games’ winning idea involves building an environment where players can build a city and adjust the food environment.

Players will be able to build or move takeaways, supermarkets and restaurants.

Chief executive Jamie Bankhead said it was an “innovative challenge”.

He said: “We are very excited to be working on a game with a potentially huge impact on health and the way we think of food and food environments.

Konglomerate Games chief executive Jamie Bankhead.

“Hopefully the outcomes and progress of this project will help shine a light on how games can be used in new ways to solve real world global problems.”

The companies were two of five games developers shortlisted.

They were each awarded £5,000 each to develop and pitch ideas after an open call in October.

Both concept games will provide data about food environments that can be applied in the real world.

Nesta, InGAME and Scottish health and policy experts will work with the developers to ensure the prototypes can produce insights into how food environments shape people’s opportunity to be healthy.

Gaming firms helping solve obesity?

Researchers will most likely play the games so they can gather data, which will inform “real-world solutions”.

Head of Nesta in Scotland Adam Lang said unhealthy eating is a problem across the UK.

He said the issue is “overwhelming” families and having a “hugely detrimental effect” on people’s health.

Mr Lang said the games could help ensure “healthy and appealing food options are accessible and affordable for everyone”.

Already a subscriber? Sign in