IT'S a national achievement to crow about: A Singapore team have beaten nearly 350 other groups in a global video- game development contest to come out tops.
Team Gambit scored the highest marks for fun, innovation and production quality for their wacky circus-themed game called CarneyVale: Showtime.
The seven-member team, comprising students from various tertiary institutions, developed the game from June to September.
Their entry trounced submissions from 100 countries in the second Dream-Build-Play contest, which was organised byMicrosoft for its Xbox 360 game console.
A Venezuelan team came in second, while a United States group was third. Of the 7,800 participants, over 400 were from Asia and the Middle East.
The Singapore team received a US$40,000 (S$59,000) prize from Microsoft yesterday at its One Marina Boulevard office. Their game could be made available on Microsoft's Xbox Live online game portal.
The game's lead programmer, Mr Bruce Chia, 24, said the team's goal was to create a game with very simple controls.
Most of the game involves pressing a button to control the game environment to propel an acrobatic clown through a ring of fire, among other tasks.
"We were inspired by pinball and tried to add elements from games like Sonic the Hedgehog," said Mr Chia, a computer science undergraduate at the National University of Singapore.
Mr Alan Chou, regional marketing manager for the Xbox 360 in South-east Asia, praised Team Gambit for overcoming "tough global competition to produce a game that met the high standards of the judging panel."
Ms Teo Chor Guan, programme director for Gambit Game Lab, said: "People have wondered if Singapore can develop an internationally-recognised game. But we managed to do it."
Team Gambit is from Gambit Game Lab, a Media Development Authority initiative that does video-games research.
Microsoft's marketing communications and partnership manager Ian Tan said the contest judges were wowed by one feature of the winning game.
"They were impressed that Team Gambit included an editing function, which allows players to customise the game."
For more my paper stories click here.