Have you met Mr. Menace at No.13?

July 25, 2003

Youngsters across the world will shortly be able to live next door to the likes of Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Mink and the Bash Street Kids in Beanotown, following a project by students at the University of Abertay Dundee.

Computing students teamed up with web developers at DC Thomson, the Dundee-based publishers of The Beano comic, in an industrial project initiative that gives students the chance to work on real problems for real clients.

Beanotown, home of the comic's characters, can already be accessed online, but the Abertay students have now designed a programme for an online community. This will enable fans to design and "inhabit" houses in their favourite character's district.

Lecturer Terrill Dobson, who supervised the project, stressed that the community was not a chatroom. The majority of fans accessing Beanotown are aged between six and 11. They would not be able to have "free form discussions", but could see how other houses were decorated, post comments about them and take part in community surveys, Ms Dobson said.

Ms Dobson said that the projects, for final-year students, were invaluable in giving students practical experience.

Peter Scobbie, IT manager with DC Thomson, said working with the students had been refreshing. Beanotown is expected to welcome new residents by Christmas.

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