Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 12
Authorised by the Australian Government, Capital Hill, Canberra.
The Australian Government is committed to making this country a
centre of innovation --- where we turn ideas into successful products
This will generate a new era of jobs and prosperity for all.
The National Innovation & Science Agenda includes initiatives that
encourage ideas and create opportunities, including:
• making it easier for innovative businesses to find investors and
• bringing research and business together to make ideas work
• helping prepare ideas for market with grants and specialist advice
• making it easier for people to take a risk and give their ideas a go
• ensuring young Australians have the skills they need in technology,
maths and science for the jobs of tomorrow.
The Ideas Boom. Building an exciting future for every Australian.
Indie developers hit the big time
Lightning Rock programmer Stephen Shorrock, programmer Ben
Doobov, artist Chris Hahn and producer Shannon Pickles in their office
Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Four Canberra gamers working from a
lounge room have seized on virtual
reality technology to be among
Australia s earliest adopters and
produce a game due for release this
Blackout curtains and more than 10
screens border the Lightning Rock
office, in one director s lounge room --
their focus these past two years has
been a cowboy hat-wearing marble.
Within the next six months, the
Oculus Rift -- recently bought by
Facebook -- and the HTC Vive
headsets will be available to buy in
At prices over $1000, the headsets
are still for the tech-obsessed. But
Lightning Rock hope to capitalise on
being among the first in Australia
producing for the nascent market.
When their Marble Mountain game
is released this year, it will mark a
huge milestone for the lifelong
It all probably started about 30
years ago, when [computer] games
were just coming out, Mr Pickles
said. Because I think that s pretty
much when the love affair started.
While they dabbled with
development on other platforms, it was
virtual reality that led programmers
Stephen Shorrock and Ben Doobov,
artist Chris Hahn and producer
Shannon Pickles to complete their first
game. As a small indie company,
they had already benefited by lots of
attention as early adopters, simply by
being there when others weren t, Mr
We don t have millions of dollars
to spend on marketing and advertising.
But because we re really early into this
field we re a very small number of
people who are doing this at the
moment. We can do exciting stuff, new
stuff, [and] try and stretch the
This year, courtesy of the ACT
government, the team headed to PAX
South, one of the world s biggest
gaming conventions. Mr Pickles said it
was an indication of the industry s
potential in Canberra.
Four years after the flying fox at Point Hut
Pond District Park was closed, Canberrans will
be glad to hear the development of a new play
area at the site is in motion.
Minister for Transport and Municipal
Services, Meegan Fitzharris, has announced
tenders are open for the construction of a new
climbing structure and swings at Point Hut
Pond District Park in the Lanyon Valley.
All suitably qualified companies have until
Thursday, February 25, to tender for this work.
Construction of the new equipment is
scheduled for completion by mid-2016.
"As a popular recreational spot for children
and their families, I am pleased to announce
that new equipment will be installed at Point
Hut Pond District Park providing enhanced
interactive and fun play opportunities,"
Minister Fitzharris said.
"The new equipment will feature different
interactive elements for children of all ages and
with a range of abilities. The climbing structure
will include rock walls, spider nets, rope
bridges, grids and a tunnel slide. The new
swings will include a range of seat types
suitable for toddlers, children, adults and
seniors -- you re never too young or old to enjoy
a go on the swing.
"Upgrades to the playground will also
involve replacing the old and often vandalised
synthetic soft-fall surface with new soft-fall in
some sections to ensure the equipment is
accessible to all."
Minister Fitzharris said community feedback
has helped decide what play equipment will be
included at the park and informed the final
"In mid 2015, community feedback was
invited to decide what new play equipment
would replace the old flying fox at Point Hut
Pond District Park which has been closed since
2012 due to not meeting current Australian
standards and repeated vandalism," Minister
"A total of 299 responses were received from
the community and from this a new climbing
structure was chosen as the preferred new item
to replace the flying fox. Play opportunities for
children with a disability were also raised.
"The new equipment will respond to these
community preferences and will provide hours
of fun for children and their families.
"The ACT government is committed to
helping the community lead healthy, active
lives and part of that is ensuring we have fun
and challenging outdoor areas for kids to play
with their family and friends.
The new climbing structure will be installed
adjacent to the existing shared path in place of
the old flying fox and the new swings will be
installed next to the climbing equipment,
behind the basketball court.
Final sketch plans for the new equipment are
available online at tams.act.gov.au.
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