Australia floods bring dev studios to standstill

Australia floods bring dev studios to standstill

By Rob Crossley

January 13th 2011 at 10:35AM

Offices evacuated as Queensland faces deadliest flood in 50 years

The thriving game development cluster in Queensland has been severely disrupted by widespread flooding across the Australian state.

Fruit Ninja developer Halfbrick has temporarily closed, the studio said, while its staff take time off “to help friends and family”. Digital content agency Hoodlum, meanwhile, has evacuated its Paddington-based offices after finding itself surrounded by flood zones (Image).

“75 per cent of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone an area twice the size of Texas,” the studio said.

The phone lines appeared to be down at Creative Assembly’s Fortitude Valley offices when contacted by Develop during AEST business hours.

Some Creative Assembly staff are however battling the weather to make it into the office, Develop understands.

Railway lines have closed and major roads are swamped, as intense flooding yesterday pushed the Brisbane River to a peak of 14.6ft.

State officials said over 100,000 properties have had their power cut by the Queensland government as a precaution against flooding of electricity substations.

Numerous micro and indie studios are also thought to be affected, as heavy rain sparked flash floods across the state.

Queensland is said to have over 500 games development professionals employed across more than 15 local games companies.

The death toll is put at 13, while dozens of people have been reported missing. Local councils are providing sandbags to help fortify households, and have set up evacuation centres across the state.

“This is still a very dangerous situation and we have thousands of people who are waking this morning to the total devastation of either their homes, businesses - for some people it's both,” said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

"We should be very mindful that mother nature has done shocking and devastating damage,” she added.

“People are living, at the moment, in what I would call a post-war zone."

Firemint, based in New South Wales, is unaffected by the flooding, though on Twitter announced: “Our thoughts are with our friends in Brisbane. Please donate to the flood relief appeal - http://bit.ly/fO7R6E”.

LA Noire studio Team Bondi, based miles from the flooding in Sydney, has not been affected.

The Australian development scene has struggled of late, with several studios downsized in tough economic times. Edge of Twilight dev Fuzzyeyes and Xbox Game Room creator Krome have both seen their workforce numbers drop dramatically. Both studios are based in the areas affected by the floods.

It is hoped that flooding will subside over the weekend.