17/02/2014 - 16:38

Film institute to support gamers

17/02/2014 - 16:38

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The Film and Television Institute is forging the way for game developers in Western Australia, appointing Kate Raynes-Goldie as its first director of Interactive Programs.

GAME GURU: Kate Raynes-Goldie has been appointed as FTI’s first director of Interactive Programs. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The Film and Television Institute is forging the way for game developers in Western Australia, appointing Kate Raynes-Goldie as its first director of Interactive Programs.

Chief executive Paul Bodlovich told Business News the appointment of Ms Raynes-Goldie, a successful game developer, was a response to WA’s growing game development industry and the economic potential it offered.

FTI has stepped up to the plate in light of the state government’s failure to commit to funding for the sector.

Last year, ScreenWest said it recognised the economic opportunities within the gaming sector and launched a scoping study to understand activity and identify where it could channel potential funding.

ScreenWest, which is funded by the state government, has ruled out funding game developments in the past and is reluctant to reduce funding allocated to the film industry in order to provide for gamers.

ScreenWest operated at a $690,000 loss in the 2012-13 financial year, indicating its tight funding parameters.

A year after announcing the scoping study, however, ScreenWest has confirmed it has been dropped without any results. Additionally, it has no immediate plans to revisit such a study.

General manager of not-for-profit game development organisation Let’s Make Games, Anthony Sweet, said it had been unable to get an update on the study.

That news came as a surprise to Mr Bodlovich, who said he only became aware the study had been dropped when briefed by Business News.

“If any arm of government says that they’re going to undertake a study into a particular thing and then it either doesn’t happen or the findings aren’t released, that’s always disappointing,” Mr Bodlovich said.

He said part of Ms Raynes-Goldie’s new role would involve launching a similar study to understand the gaming landscape, before work could begin on progressing development.

Ms Raynes-Goldie said funding was the main challenge facing game developers.

“Games and interactive developments don’t have their own funding programs so we’re looking to bridge that gap and create new funding models, such as crowd-funding,” Ms Raynes-Goldie told Business News.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s Screen Australia has recognised the potential of WA gamers, with independent developer Binary Space, run by Saxon Druce, receiving a share of $2.6 million from the Screen Australia’s Games Production fund.

The funds are being used to develop his Zombie Outbreak Simulator game, which involves a zombie apocalypse played out in real locations on maps.

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