CREATIVE Scotland has stepped in to provide financial backing for the first game jam to take place in Scotland north of Dundee, the acknowledged centre of the Scottish gaming industry.

More than 40 aspiring gamers are expected to converge on Elgin this weekend for the 48-hour contest.

The event, taking place at Moray College, will task participants to create and develop a new game.

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Hunted Cow Studios, the Elgin-based developer that created Fallen Sword, has pledged to commercialise the product, while Creative Scotland will cover the winning team's living expenses while they bring their game into commercial development.

The game jam is the first to be held in the Highlands and Islands, and is the fruits of a collaboration between Moray Council, Creative Scotland, Hunted Cow and ScreenHI, the offshoot of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which helps people establish careers in the creative industries.

Amanda Millen, head of Screen-Hi, said gaming was a small but growing part of its remit, which extends to film-making, television production and script-writing.

Ms Millen, who praised the commitment shown by Moray College to the project, said she hoped the game jam would help lay the foundations for others to follow Hunted Cow's footsteps in the Highlands and Islands.

She said: "We're never going to replicate the hot-housing that goes on with companies based in and around Dundee.

"You've got about 800 gaming students at the college there at the moment at Abertay.

"We are never going to catch up with that, but we should definitely be looking to get a slice of it. We're encouraging people to get into that world and also make the contacts and do what Hunted Cow has. The infrastructure is there."

Anne Lindsay, acting principal for Moray College, said: "Gaming is a growth market internationally, reflected by the rapid growth of the Global Game Jam.

"There is no doubt the success and future growth of this type of event will put Moray firmly on the map."