Singapore games are kicking off the Year of the Tiger on a high note as CarneyVale: Showtime becomes the first Singapore game to close a distribution contract with Microsoft's Games for Windows-LIVE on the PC platform. First released on the Xbox LIVE Community Games Channel, CarneyVale: Showtime has enjoyed widespread industry acclaim and was one of the pioneer titles on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games Channel. The game was among the top ten downloads in December 2008 and was named the No. 1 XNA Community Game of 2008 by Gamasutra.
CarneyVale: Showtime was developed by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab*, a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the multi-agency Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office (IDMPO) hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore and with support from the National Research Foundation. The game had earlier beaten 350 entries from around the world to win the top prize of US$40,000 at the 2008 Microsoft XNA Dream-Build-Play competition. It was also among the "Top 10 Independent Games Showcase Winners" at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo (PAX 10) as well as a finalist at the 11th Annual Independent Games Festival in 2009 (Seumas McNally Grand Prize).
Slated for release later this year, the PC version of CarneyVale: Showtime will be slightly modified to improve the game play for PC gamers, including enhanced game features such as a built-in map editor for players to create and share custom maps with family and friends worldwide.
CarneyVale: Showtime was inspired by Wiip, a game developed by a team of U.S. and Singapore-based students from the 2007 GAMBIT summer program researching user interactivity through expressive physical interfaces such as the Nintendo Wii controller. By swinging the Wiimote, players had the ability to wield training whips and direct performing animals as ringmasters in the circus world of CarneyVale.
CarneyVale: Showtime uses the simplicity of a "one-button" game to build upon the game's core innovation of vertical ragdoll physics. Players use a wide variety of props to help Slinky the circus acrobat advance by performing acrobatic tricks and deathdefying stunts through increasingly complex arenas.
Of this latest achievement by CarneyVale: Showtime, Dr Christopher Chia, CEO, MDA said: "We are delighted that Carneyvale: Showtime has scored yet another triumph. The research collaboration with MIT has indeed benefited our local games sector in terms of research and development and such positive result underscores the commitment between us and MIT. We hope that more of GAMBIT's projects will lead to commercialization. We also appreciate Microsoft's continuous support of our games. We hope this relationship with Microsoft will open doors for more made-by-Singapore games to be published on such international platforms."
Mr. Erik Ford, Senior Regional Marketing Manager of Xbox 360 in Southeast Asia, said: "We are proud of Team GAMBIT's achievements on the Xbox LIVE platform and are excited to see CarneyVale: Showtime coming onto the Windows platform. Team GAMBIT has set a standard in gameplay design for budding developers to aspire to and all this would not have been possible without the strong support of MDA."
* The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab is a five-year research collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore. The collaboration is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) with the aim to address important challenges faced by the global digital game research community and industry, with a core focus on identifying and solving research problems using a multi-disciplinary approach that can be applied by Singapore's digital game industry