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Kiwi company is short-listed for top awards

3 December, 2004

Kiwi company is short-listed for top Australasian awards

New Zealand video game company, Binary-Star has made it into the finals of the Australian Game Developers Awards, held in Melbourne this week. North Shore-based game development company, Binary-Star is in the finals for 'Best Startup Company' and its first game, Homeland, due for release next year, is short listed for Best Unsigned Game (Professional).

The Australian Game Developers (AGD) Awards celebrate and honour game developers in the Australian and New Zealand game industry who have devoted time and effort into creating innovative interactive entertainment.

For the first time the Awards will be presented during the Australian Game Developers Conference Gala Awards Dinner, held this Saturday night, December 4th.

All finalists and winners are selected by the AGDC Awards Committee (except for the unsigned games category which is voted on by AGDC delegates).

The Awards committee comprises the AGDC Advisory board with additional invited industry representatives. The awards offer the largest industry recognition for achievements in the game development industry in Australasia. Binary-Star launched a preview of Homeland last month, and industry critics said they were impressed with what they saw and looked forward to the final product. Company founder Thomas Reimann and producer Stephen Woodward have been in Melbourne this week exhibiting Homeland amongst dozens of other games.

Reimann says, "Making it into the finals of these awards is fantastic and could help us license the game to a distributor."

"We've invested a lot of money and time in developing new technology for Homeland and up-skilling staff. To see this acknowledged means a lot." Reimann says he would like to see New Zealand build a local video game development industry, using local talent. And with the video game industry rivaling Hollywood's revenue, it could be a huge industry for New Zealand, he says.

Work began on Homeland three years ago, after Reimann and a friend, came up with the idea at the kitchen table. Binary-Star now employs more than 25 people and expects the company to double in size during the next 12 months.

Most computer games take between three and five years to make, with development costs rising to equal small movie budgets.

International video game distributors from around the world will bid for Homeland this month when the demo is released. Under an international license, Binary-Star hopes to sell between 500,000 and one million copies of Homeland. This will allow the company to begin work on its second game which is in the pipeline.

Some of the country's most accomplished programmers and graphic artists are working on Homeland. Many, like Reimann, learned their skills while working on big budget film and television projects such as Lord of the Rings, Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.


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