Story image

Robot battle game 'Grabity' takes out top spot in KiwiGameStarter programme

16 Sep 2016

Kiwi game developers Team Ninja Thumbs will be soaring to new heights, after their video game Grabity took out the top spot in the KiwiGameStarter startup programme designed for interactive games businesses.

Team Ninja Thumbs will receive $10,000 in funding, sponsored by Callaghan Innovation for Grabity. The game features real-time physics simulation through robot battles in a 'futuristic test centre', and involves puzzles and gameplay.

The team will also receive software and business support valued at more than $20,000, as well as three months worth of mentoring for NZ's successful developers and room at The Arcade Auckland, a games co-working space.

“The Grabity team had all the ingredients for a successful startup business: a novel product, a great team and a clear business plan. Plus the prototype had the judges laughing and enjoying ourselves almost instantly - a great user experience," comments NZ Game Developers Association chairperson James Everett.

Lost Goblin's 'Goblins of Elderstone' scooped second prize, worth $5000.

KiwiGameStarter entrants Matthew Gatland and Cynthia (Qingxia) Wang have also scored scolarships to The Media Design School's Postgraduate Certificate in Design.

The KiwiGameStarter programme is run by the New Zealand Game Developers Association. This year thirty entrants took part.

The final four finalists travelled to the New Zealand Game Developers Conference and pitched to an industry panel, headed by Google chief game designer Noah Falstein.

"I was impressed by the quality and diversity of game products and gameplay styles I saw here in New Zealand. The KiwiGameStarter entrants would be contenders at any indie game competition I've seen worldwide," comments Everett.

The KiwiGameStarter programme also helps gaming startups to form prototypes that can use used for investment or crowdfunding campaigns. The programme is widely supported, with Callaghan Innovation, Hudson Gavin Martin lawyers, IndieDevKit and The Sound Room.

The innovative Kiwi game development sector has been exploding in recent years - from $20 million to $89 million in annual exports in just five years, Everett says.

“The KiwiGameStarter programme provides a fast-track for a budding developer to showcase their talent and hopefully go on to make a make on the industry globally,” he concludes. 

Need the perfect flatmate? AI can help
A Kiwi entrepreneur has developed a flatmate-finding service called Mogeo, which is an algorithm that matches people to the perfect flatmates.
GoCardless to double A/NZ team by end of year
With a successful E round of investment and continuing organic growth globally, the debit network platform company aims to expand its local presence.
NZ’s Maori innovators are on the rise
“More iwi investors need to recognise that these sectors will provide the high-value jobs our children need."
Phone ringing? This biohack wants you to bite down and ChewIt
So your phone’s ringing, but instead of swiping right or pushing a Bluetooth button you bite down on a tiny piece of tech that sits in your mouth.
How big data can revolutionise NZ’s hospitals
Miya Precision is being used across 17 wards and the emergency department at Palmerston North Hospital.
Time's up, tax dodgers: Multinational tech firms may soon pay their dues
Multinational tech and digital services firms may no longer have a free tax pass to operate in New Zealand. 
Spark’s new IoT network reaches 98% of New Zealand
Spark is the first company to confirm the nationwide completion of a Cat-M1 network in New Zealand.
WhatsApp users warned to change voicemail PINs
Attackers are allegedly gaining access to users’ WhatsApp accounts by using the default voicemail PIN to access voice authentication codes.