Innovative video game Dynabrick is set to be New Zealand’s next digital hit export after winning the KiwiGameStarter, New Zealand’s only startup programme for interactive games businesses.
The Dynabrick prototype was developed by Wellington-based developer Rox Flame. The second place went to Swordy by Frogshark.
New Zealand Games Developers Association chairperson Stephen Knightly says Dynabrick edged out the other three finalists due to innovative “morally reactive gameplay” in which the actions of a player can positively or negatively influence the game environment, creating the ability to play the same content multiple times with different outcomes and experiences.
“The standard of prototypes was extremely encouraging. They showed a diversity of talent, and each had well-developed business plans.
“Interactive games software is New Zealand’s fastest growing export industry, growing from $20m to $79m in exports in the last four years, and a competition like KiwiGameStarter provides a fast-track for a budding developer to showcase their talent and hopefully go on to make a make on the industry globally.”
Rox Flame will receive $10,000 plus software, marketing, legal and business mentoring support worth over $25,000. A second prize of $5,000 and Unity game engine software was awarded to Swordy by Frogshark.
KiwiGameStarter, run by the New Zealand Game Developers Association, aims to help early-stage games businesses to develop prototypes ready for investment or crowdfunding. It is supported by government R&D agency Callaghan Innovation, ISP BigPipe, game development tool makers Autodesk and Unity 3D, Pursuit Public Relations, The Sound Room and Hudson Gavin Martin lawyers.
As well as the cash prize (delivered in two stages) Roz Flame will receive a one-year license for Autodesk Maya LT, a commercial suite license for Unity 3D Pro 5.0 including all add-on modules, PR advice from Pursuit Public Relations worth $2,000, license agreement and legal advice from Hudson Gavin Martin lawyers worth $4,000, and mentoring from some of New Zealand’s most successful game developers.
Eighteen entries were received for the 2015 KiwiGameStarter, with four finalists pitching to a judging panel at the NZ Game Developers Conference on 10 September.
The winner of last year’s Kiwi Game Starter, Eyemobi, has seen their horror game Phantasmal available for pre-sales on the popular Steam Early Access programme where it has a 9/10 user rating. It has been accepted into Microsoft’s ID@Xbox publishing programme and was featured in Xbox’s trailer at E3, the world’s largest gaming event.
Video games have become New Zealand’s fastest growing ICT export sector, earning over $80.2 million in 2013/2014. However, the Association has identified that a lack of support for gaming startups is holding back the sector’s continued growth. The worldwide video games market will be worth USD$111 billion this year according to Gartner Research, larger than the film or music industries.