NSW Govt. supports new digital projects including Fruit Ninja

The NSW Government has thrown its support behind seven new digital projects to be completed in the state.

The main project announced is the next edition of one of the world’s most popular apps – Fruit Ninja. The latest instalment of the hugely-successful franchise will again be developed by Brisbane-based Halfbrick Studios, which will open a new Sydney office (a new team is currently being hired by developer Aidan Millott and colleague Dale Freya).

The next evolution of Fruit Ninja, set to be released next year, will be developed initially on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system (with other platforms such as Android following). In the game, players will launch a series of fruit to knock ninjas off their towers in a 3D world, with each fruit having special powers.

“The worldwide gaming phenomenon Fruit Ninja will now grow even bigger…” deputy premier Andrew Stoner said in a statement.

Stoner said the original recently surpassed more than 100 million downloads across a variety of platforms, and was named by Time Magazine as "one of the 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011".

The other projects supported by government include Dog Money World, location-based game Tag Town, online/mobile game Habitat and CADMAP (working title), which will assist paramedics by simulating emergency situations. Funding to support indie game developer Nnooo will see another game, escapeVektor, created by the company.

The state government secured the investment for all projects through the new $3 million Interactive Media Fund, which supports creative digital content including games and transmedia projects.

“This fund will help NSW build its share of the high-value digital games sector which will be increasingly important in developing serious business and education tools, as well as entertainment games like the latest Fruit Ninja project,” Stoner said.

He said the global digital games market was expected to more than double to $53 billion by 2016 and mobile gaming to triple to $17.5 billion.

The projects supported by the NSW government are:

Fruit Ninja IP by Halfbrick Studios
The next evolution of the highly successful Fruit Ninja games franchise will be developed in Sydney, initially on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Players will launch a series of fruit to knock ninjas off their towers in a 3D world, with each fruit having special powers.

Dog Money World
The team from Dog Money World are creating an advanced mobile games platform encompassing augmented reality, social components and real-time location gaming. A narrative can be wrapped around the technology for an integrated audience-experience linked to any film or television show. Players become part of the story, undertaking virtual missions in real locations and competing against friends and other users to become the top-ranked player. While developed with crime fiction in mind, the white label platform can support any story theme from vampires and werewolves to fairies and elves.

Flashcards for iPad by INKIDS Pty Ltd
An expansion to the Flashcards educational software title designed for children 2-10 years old to help them learn the alphabet, new words and new languages. INKIDS will build on their concept to create cross-platform titles with the goal to make Flashcards the best children's learning application in the portable device educational software category across many languages and countries.

CADMAP (working title) by Ambulance Research Institute
A serious game to assist paramedics in their clinical decision making skills by simulating emergency situations from the safety of their mobile phones.

escapeVektor (through the Expansion of Nnooo Pty Ltd)
An expansion to the indie game developer’s staff will see the employment of two junior programmers, allowing the company to grow more quickly through rapid development of its software. The new programmers will develop Nnooo’s new game escapeVektor for the Nintendo 3DS and PC/Mac or Playstation Vita.

Tag Town by MOD Productions
A location-based game that is played cross-platform using mobile apps and desktop web browsers. At its core is a social mobile experience where players identify locations from photographic clues as they move around in the real world.

Habitat: the Game by Australian Documentaries
Habitat is an online and mobile game for 8-12 year olds, supported by an animation series, which encourages players to reduce their environmental footprint and help their very own online wild animal survive and flourish.