Christchurch has been in the news a lot lately. Many of us have friends and family down there and the February '11 earthquake was a tense time for everyone as news trickled out about the scale of the damage.
As far as Christchurch gamedevs go, a solitary tweet from Stickmen Studios said they and Cerebral Fix managed to get out of their building ok.
"Stickmen and CerebralFix Staff all evacuated the building in one piece..."
8:41pm Feb 22nd
I heard from one of the staff that they were all so used to the aftershocks from the first earthquake that when the rumbling and shaking started they kept working, picking up their monitors if they fell over and plugging on! It was only when the shaking didn't stop and the power finally cut out that they realised this one might be a bit more serious than the average aftershock...
Blitz Research has released its latest games programming language 'Monkey' which reduces rework when writing games for multiple platforms, while still providing a flexible high-level language and access to each platform's native SDKs.
Games written in Monkey can be translated to run on iPhone, iPad, Android, Flash, HTML 5, Microsoft's XNA (for Xbox 360, PC or Windows Phone 7) or OpenGL (for Mac and Windows via GLFW) platforms.
Developers can translate Monkey games to each target's own SDK with a single click and upload their games to multiple online markets and app stores, potentially multiplying sales and vastly reducing the cost of development.
The free version of Monkey lets anyone create non-commercial HTML5 apps without charge. The commercial version includes a 2D games module, support for all platforms and costs $120 US from www.monkeycoder.co.nz.
More Than A Craze" is an online exhibition consisting of 46 photographs of New Zealand's early digital games scene. Curated by Melanie Swalwell and Janet Bayly, "More Than A Craze" is one of the outcomes of Swalwell's research into the history of digital games in New Zealand, in the 1980s.
The exhibition combines the work of some of New Zealand's best known documentary photographers - Ans Westra, Christopher Matthews, Robin Morrison - with images from the archives of Wellington's Evening Post and Auckland's Fairfax newspapers. These photographers captured images of games, gamers and gameplay in the moment when these were novel.
The exhibition website includes a short catalogue essay by Swalwell, and also a comments facility, where you are encouraged to record your impressions, memories, and recognitions.
During our Auckland Game Works Group meetup we have a section for companies and individuals looking for talent and collaborators. Last night we had a couple of local developers hoping to fill a few roles:
Grinding Gear Games are looking for a QA person, preferably with some form of programming qualification. If you're looking to work on a great Action RPG title and you have the skills to help polish a labour of love with a dedicated team, contact Grinding Gear (include your CV) on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulletproof Arcade are also on the lookout for a full-time Flash Developer. Besides working in a beautiful location (Waiheke Island) they're also a team with a proven pedigree so contact them via the contact link at the top right of this page if you're interested in the role.
If you thought Auckland developer Ninja Kiwi were all about Balloons and Monkeys you should check out some of their other great titles. One of my recent favourites is Aetheron, an RPG collectible card game with great visual presentation and an accessible, polished gameplay mechanic.
Recently, Ninja Kiwi added Multiplayer PVP Duelling to the game. Jay is Games reviewed Aetheron favourably (4/5 stars) and said: "...with the twists that Aetheron has incorporated into its gameplay, I'm certain that the duels will devour more than my fair share of time... for now, however, Aetheron is still an engrossing single player experience, with a lot to offer both card game and RPG enthusiasts."
New Zealand App Development Community Comes Together to Support Christchurch Quake Victims
Proceeds from iOS and Mac Apps for the Next Week to be Donated to Red Cross
NEW ZEALAND – February 26, 2011 – (iPhoneWire) The New Zealand App development community came together today to do their part in helping the victims of the deadly Christchurch quake that shocked the nation earlier this week. For the next week, all proceeds from more than a dozen iPhone and Mac apps made in New Zealand will go to the Red Cross in order to help quake victims. Participating games can be found at: www.appappeal.co.nz
Congratulations to Majic Jungle - their iPhone / iPad game Chopper 2 has made the App Store's Game of the Week!
Wellington-based Majic Jungle is the vehicle for David Frampton who released the first Chopper during the early days of the App Store to rousing success. According to his blog, Chopper 2 sold 100,000 copies at 99c each in the first week.
Chopper 2 is a worthy sequel with its notable feature to enable the iPhone as a remote control for the iPad. If you haven't already seen it I'd urge you to check it out. The floating mission text is a nice visual flourish and the game's controls are responsive and intuitive.
Sidhe Interactive's Technical Director Stu Sharpe gave a presentation as part of Xero's Summer of Tech 2010 series about how to become a great game developer, including the skills you'll need and advice for getting into the industry.
Media release from iGEA
New Zealand’s Video and Computer Game Sales Record $158 Million
New Zealand – 9 February 2011 – New Zealand’s interactive games and entertainment industry has recorded sales of approximately $158 million for the 2010 calendar year, a 7 per cent decline from the corresponding 2009 period.
The data compiled by independent market research group GfK Retail and Technology Australia includes all sales from hardware, gaming peripherals and traditionally boxed software sold through retail outlets, yet excludes revenue generated from online retail sales, downloadable content, online games subscriptions and games delivered to mobile devices.
Over 75 Kiwi game developers got some serious 'crunch time' during the 48 Hour Global Game Jam. 20 games were made in New Zealand (Auckland and Hamilton), which you can play here.
If you have the time, you can also play all 1,400 games made worldwide.
We'll be playing the games (including updated versions of some, which a few bug fixes and polish) at the February Auckland Game Developers Meetup on Wed 9th February. We'll also have a look at some of the best games from the other 168 locations around the world.
Harley from PC World magazine live-blogged and filmed the event, which you can read here. The best games will also appear on the April PC World DVD coverdisk - so Game Jammers will be able to claim to be 'published' game developers.