Wellington developer's gamemaking platform promises 'nerdgasm'

Entrepreneur and developer Dan Milward is launching what he calls the world's first cloud-based open source game creator today – Gamefroot.

Gamefroot will enable users to create their own playable 2D interactive games, uploading and manipulating characters, backgrounds, soundtracks on hand-held devices as well as home computers. Those who would like an advance invitation to demo Gamefroot can register now.

“It’s the first time anyone has taken this ‘open source’ technology and lowered the barriers to game making,” says Milward. “We wanted to make it simple, fun and easy to use, as well as having vast application.”

Milward, the founder of Gamefroot and parent company Instinct Entertainment, has spent the last six years developing Gamefroot.  Instinct employs a team of 20 and recently received an investment boost from Japan-based investor Terrie Lloyd, a Kiwi entrepreneur at the centre of Asia’s booming mobile content industry. 

A hardcore gamer himself, Milward says: "People always ask me, 'why aren't there more games for girls, or smart kids, or games with less violence or more unicorns?' Well to those people we can now say, ‘you can make one - here's the tool’." 

Over the past three months, Wellington Home School children have been testing out Gamefroot.

“These kids have been making all kinds of adventure, puzzle and learning games. Teachers and parents will be able to make games to teach children the tools to make their own games and how to programme. We are dedicated to encouraging the next generation of digital professionals and it’s amazing how quick and excellent they are at picking up necessary changes and additions."

He says the software also offers benefits for corporates and organisations.

"Gamification isn't just about playing around from your phone or living room – companies and enterprise have seized the technology to help customers and employees,” says Milward.

“Tech-industry research firm Gartner estimates that by 2014 70 percent of large companies will use the technique and 50 percent of all innovation will involve gamification."

Greg Broadmore, senior designer at Weta Workshop, is one of the people who's had an early taste of Gamefroot.

"There is the potential for Gamefroot to have as much impact on classic 2D video games as YouTube has had on video," he says.

"Another bonus is the speed at which these games can be created. This is democratising the gaming process and that has to be a beautiful thing.”

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