The Academy of Interactive Entertainment has revealed that they will be funding the development of four projects out of the AIE Incubator Program, as part of the Post-Incubator Development Grant. AIE will be granting a total $110,000, with no repayments or claims on IP, to help recipients further develop their studio.
The four studios who will be receiving the grant benefits, alongside the title being developed are listed below.
Studio: Cardboard Keep Game: Warden Grant Money: $30k
Developer Cardboard Keep are developing Warden, an action/adventure title set in the mystical world that players explore with a variety of characters throughout the game. AIE’s contributions will help fund the core title, helping Cardboard Keep complete the title in a competitive time-frame.
“This grant will enable Cardboard Keep to think bigger and better, and employ more local talent to deliver a game that is beyond what audiences would expect from a small Australian independent developer,” says Calum Spring, Co-founder and Lead Programmer.
Based in Canberra, Cardboard Keep contains 3 full-time developers and 9 external collaborators. In the past Cardboard Keep has released 5 smaller games over the past two years, with Warden being their first major release; scheduled to launch near the end of 2014.
Studio: Big Paw Games Game: Rumble Academy Grant Money: $30k
Developer Big Paw Games is the second recipient of the grant, which will go towards their multiplayer arena-based brawler, Rumble Academy. Players will take control of students at a fictitious academy and must face off against each other for grades and fame, while also avoiding traps as they try and send their opponent flying out of the arena.
“Creating our game Rumble Academy would be virtually impossible without AIE’s assistance, especially given the high costs of licensing and workspace. AIE has had our backs since the start of Rumble Academy and have been indispensable,” says Robert Christian, artist at Big Paw Games.
Big Paw Games are a small independent company based in Sydney, which consists of 4 graduates of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Rumble Academy is set to release for PC in early 2015.
Studio: Wildgrass Games Game: Bearzerkers Grant Money: $30k
Wildgrass Games will be receiving funding to help completed their title Bearzerkers, which is a full featured follow-up to their Pandamonium prototype last year. Bearzerkers main objective is to be the last critter standing with the bear, while using rock walls to trap opponents, and power-ups in order to kill your enemy. Wildgrass Games considers it to be a Tron Cycles and Nintendo Land mixture, that features chaotic multiplayer nonsense.
“The money being injected into our company not only helps us to get our games finished and out to the public, but it also proves the AIE’s dedication to building up and supporting the game development industry in Australia,” explains Tom Spratt, co-founder and technical artist.
Wildgrass Games has a strong history with AIE, originally working together at the academy in 2012. In 2013 the group formed a postgraduate Incubator program, where they were provided with office space and travel scholarships which helped them to PAX Prime, where they showed off their original Pandamonium prototype.
Wildgrass Games is currently co-renting a shared space near AIE, alongside Warden developer, Cardboard Keep. The studio contains 4 developers who wish to have their project completed by the end of the year. For more information on the title you can visit the Bearzerkers website, or even contribute to their Kickstarter project.
Studio: Atomizer Game: Heist Grant Money: $20k
The final recipient of AIE’s grant is the development studio Atomizer, who are developing an isometric stealth title called, Heist. Set in the noir-era. the player takes control of a master cat burglar. Players must use stealth to evade guards in a series of exotic levels that increase in difficulty. In order to use their stealth tactics players must utilise their arsenal of “Tools of the Trade”, which helps disable guards and create distractions.
“AIE has been exceptionally supportive, giving us every opportunity to follow out our aspirations with Atomizer Games. Being an Indie development is incredibly hard work, but I can’t imagine being where we are and the path we are on now without AIE’s continued support,” says Travers Dunkinson Lead Designer and Founder of Atomizer.
Atomizer Games was formed by Andrew, Jared and Travers after they completed an AIE development course in Melbourne. Since completing the course the trio has been enrolled in the Incubator program in hopes of kicking their dream of running their own gaming studio.
These new AIE grant recipients further continue the development of Australian based interactive experiences, which many believed would suffer after recent Budget cuts saw funding to the video games medium slashed. One Analog Addiction editor recently voiced his opinion on the budget cuts which you can read here.