28th May 2008

The Book of Games Volume 2

Originally written for KillaNet Community Resources in 2007

Book of Games Volume 2The Book of Games Volume 2
Authors: Bendik Stang, Morten A. Osterholt, Erik Hoftun, Jorgen Kirksaeter, Hans Christian Bjorne
Publisher: gameXplore N.A. Inc.
Paperback: 448 pages
October 2007

I was privileged to be sent an advance PDF copy of The Book of Games Volume 2 by author Bendik Stang, and having now completed my reading of this volume in one evening, I am eagerly looking forward to the print version. The Book of Games Vol. 2 has matured exponentially over its previous incarnation, which I feel is very appropriate as Volume 2 has a very pointed focus on the maturity which the videogame industry as a whole is experiencing. While I am still disappointed in regards to the lack of coverage in regards to the Guild Wars properties, that is largely due to personal bias, as I am a casually hardcore Guild Wars player. Now that I have my only truly negative viewpoint out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff.

I was extremely impressed with the amount of research which had obviously gone into the production of Volume 2, as well as the new features which had been added for the individual game listings and ratings. These additions show that the authors listened to those who took the time to give them feedback on Volume 1, and as such have made themselves a part of the gaming community in a way which some authors never achieve, no matter how knowledgeable they may be on their topics. Another interesting sidenote was seeing another book which I am in process of reviewing featured in a sidebar in this book. As a journalist with a heavy research addiction, I always consider how useful a publication will be to me on my endless quest for knowledge, and The Book of Games Volume 2 passed that consideration with ease. There are many, many sources for further reading and education.

While The Book of Games Volume 1 was a handy reference for the parents and relatives of gamers, Volume 2 fully opens up the changing videogame industry, from development to tournaments and beyond. The authors have successfully put the industry into a nutshell – one which gamers, teachers, parents and even grandparents will appreciate. This volume has every component of the videogame world between its covers, and takes a look at every aspect in a well-worded, well-researched, and well-presented manner. Every chapter contains evidence of how videogames have become an integral part of our lives in the 21st century – from those who pick up a quick game of solitaire to those who travel the pro-gamer circuits. One photo I could immediately relate to was that of Norway’s Olav Undheim, winner of the 2007 World Cyber Games Grand Final Warcraft III Tournament. I saw that match, along with all of the other events held on that final game day in Seattle this past October. I was there when Olav hoisted that $ 20 000.00 cheque over his head at the medals presentation – and that’s what this industry called videogaming has at its core – a vibrant, global community – one which we experience at our own annual LAN tournament, and one which The Book of Games Volume 2 has opened to the world.
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28th May 2008

Mendella Confirmed For Digital Storm 2008

Mendella

UK rock group Mendella has officially added Digital Storm LAN to their summer tour schedule, and will be performing at 8pm on Saturday, August 2, 2008. The performance will only be open to tournament participants, invited guests, event sponsors and members of the media. Mendella is graciously appearing at the event without charge to Digital Storm. The performance is open to corporate sponsorship, and Digital Storm still has many opportunities for companies and individuals to get involved with the tournament in return for promotional considerations. This year’s Digital Storm LAN is being held at the Vancouver Croatian Cultural Centre, located at 3250 Commercial Drive and features 48 hours of gaming competition and fun. There is still some exhibit space available at the LAN, which is a great opportunity for technology vendors, game developers, publishers and others involved in the game industry to promote and sell their products.

Digital Storm LAN is a World Cyber Games qualifying location for those gamers wanting to compete at the WCG Canada Nationals and the World Cyber Games Grand Finals being held in Cologne, Germany this fall. Digital Storm is also a fund-raiser for KillaNet’s Technology Education Centre which is slated for opening in the Spring of 2009. Corporations already involved with this year’s tournament include Shaw Cable, G4 TechTV Canada, Blade Internet Radio, RedBeard, SteelSeries, Argus Cameras, VisionTek, CPU Magazine and VS Gaming Arena. Competitor’s tickets for the LAN may be purchased either online through the Digital Storm web site, or in person at VS Gaming Arena, located at 128 E. Broadway between Quebec and Main.

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25th May 2008

VIDfest and PopVox Awards 2008

VIDfest

Yes, it’s been a very busy week for me – and for an information junkie like myself, it’s been a boon week. The seminars and topics offered by this year’s VIDfest committee were both timely and informative, and all guest speakers were a treat to hear as they imparted with their wisdom and good humour. This was the first time I was able to attend VIDfest, and I found the event to be very worthwhile. Candidates who attended the pitchfest and the Convergence sections of VIDfest were able to get positive, applicable feedback about their products from industry professionals as well as from others who sat in on the sessions. As with VIGS, I will be posting article wrap-ups for all of the seminars which I was able to attend, along with photos from both VIDfest and the PopVox Awards. Speaking of the PopVox Awards, I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the nominees and winners, who are listed below.

· Best Digital Animated Short: PSYOP, for Coca-Cola “Happiness Factory, the Movie”
· Best Digital VFX: Ubisoft, for Assassin’s Creed
· Best Game (Console/PC): Metanet Software and Slick Entertainment, for N+ on Xbox 360 / XBLA
· Best Game (Casual): Acronym Games, for Rocketmen: Axis of Evil
· Best Mobile (Game): The Saints, for NavBall
· Best Mobile (Application): CellMap Inc, for CellMap
· Best Digital Campaign: Rainmaker Entertainment and Zeros2Heroes Media, for A ReBoot ReLaunch
· Best User Generated/Crowd-sourced Content Site: Invoke Media, for Memelabs.com
· Best Digital Score: Clicktoy Interactive Inc., for The Meadow
· Best Do-Gooder site (Social Change Initiative): smashLAB, for DesignCanChange.org
· Homegrown Award (Best BC-based Venture): smashLAB, for MakeFive.com

Congratulations to all of you, and to the VIDfest/PopVox teams who put on a great event.

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25th May 2008

2nd Annual VIGS Was Great

vigs logo

For any of you who had a chance to attend this year’s Vancouver International Game Summit, you know what a great networking and educational experience it was. From the media reception on Tuesday evening hosted by Slant Six Games to the closing keynote featuring a post-mortem on the success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and the combined VIGS-VIDfest reception at the Vancouver Art Gallery,  I had ample opportunity to meet new people and catch up with friends in the industry. VIGS is definitely a great place to learn and network, although sometimes it is very difficult to choose which seminars to attend on which track, as the tracks run simultaneously. This is when cloning would definitely come in handy. Over the coming week, I will be posting articles about the various seminars which I attended, along with many of the photos I took at VIGS. The folks at Reboot Communications can congratulate themselves on a job very well done, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year’s Summit.

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23rd May 2008

The Magic of Think

Janyse

Sometimes a set of circumstances works with the powers of the universe to put you in places where you should be. Today was one of those days. After the conclusion of this year’s Vancouver International Game Summit, I was going to head home, but as it was the beginning of rush hour, I tuned into our local traffic radio station to check out the condition of the drive home, and upon hearing about all the accidents and back-ups in said traffic, I decided to make a stop at the VIDfest happy hour over at the Granville Island Hotel and wait out the worst of it. I sat down at a table with Jodi Vetterl from SoftImage, and realized that Janyse Jaud was also seated at the table. I had the pleasure of meeting Janyse at the recent ELAN awards, so was happy to have a chance to catch up with her, and she has been a very busy lady, indeed.

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22nd May 2008

VIGS Opens In Vancouver

Day one of the Vancouver Game Summit is now over, and day two is about to start – which leaves me very little time to file a full report with photos, I’ve just given all of you something to look forward to once VIGS and VIDfest are over. Consider this our trailer for great articles yet to come. There have been some great seminars, and today will be no different, culminating with the closing keynote address from members of the Call of Duty 4 development team. The seminars at tomorrow’s VIDfest look equally informative, and I’m looking forward to sharing all kinds of new information with our readers. Until then, I’m off to VIGS day two. Have a great day everyone.

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19th May 2008

Seizing The Day

Mendella

Every once in awhile, we are blessed with the chance to meet extraordinary people. People who work hard and make sacrifices to follow their dreams and passions. People who, every day, wake up knowing that they are doing what is in their heart. Last Saturday I had such a meeting. Scott, Mike and I ventured into Vancouver to cover the final rounds of Tom Lee Music’s Spring Rock Band Championships, completely innocent of the events which would unfold that afternoon.

Soon after we arrived at the music hall Richard Howland, the Market Development & Community Relations Manager for Tom Lee Music approached me to ask if I had received the email update which he had sent out that morning. I hadn’t, as we had left home a bit early in order to stop by Free Geek for a few computer parts. He informed me that a new rock group out of England would be giving a surprise performance during the competition. I will confess that I was feeling a little bad because I had never heard of them. I later conveyed this to the group’s manager, David Matthews. He told me that I wouldn’t have heard of them because they had been kept under wraps until this tour. I think it’s safe to say that Mendella will be very difficult to keep under wraps from here on out.

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15th May 2008

Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual

Originally Written for the KillaNet Community Resource in 2007

Videogame Style GuideAuthors: David Thomas, Kyle Orland, Scott Steinberg
Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Lulu.com
October 2007

The Videogame Style Guide is essential reading for anyone who wants to get into any type of serious videogame journalism. As pointed out by Dan Hsu, the Editor in Chief for Electronic Gaming Monthly, if the world of videogame journalism has any hope of maturing, it must find the uniformity of style that is so essential to engaging and maintaining an intelligent readership. The authors, while stating that the Style Guide is a work in progress – meaning that it will be updated as styles change or new terminology is entered, have given journalists an excellent reference guide which can be used in conjunction with any other publication’s in-house style guide.

Not only is the Videogame Style Guide full of alphabetical listings in regards to industry-specific terminology, the appendices also offer many other points of reference on the industry from websites to other published books. The listings of important systems, games, people and companies in the videogame industry past and present offer not only a pertinent “who’s who” directory, but also starting points for a variety of articles and studies.

Overall, I found this publication to be very useful and it will continue to be so as I write future articles about the gaming industry. If you visit the website linked in the title of this review, you will see that the Videogame Style Guide is available in two formats – free for download as a pdf file, or purchasable as a published book. If you write any articles at all, you should at the very least download the pdf and give yourself a starting point in learning the correct forms and terminology to use when composing articles, as they will greatly increase your chances of having your articles published by the myriad of news journals available to the gaming community.

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15th May 2008

An Evening With Syd Mead

Syd MeadLast evening, the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter celebrated its fifth birthday with a presentation given by world-renowned visual artist Syd Mead, which was followed by a special screening of BladeRunner: The Final Cut, a movie which features many aspects of Mr. Mead’s fantastical work.

Mr. Mead began his presentation by letting us know how much he likes Vancouver, and noted how much the city had changed since his last visit, which was during Expo ’86. He then went on to cover the various points of fantasy artwork – the why, where, and how of what we humans like about the fantasy genre. In simple terms, fantasy artwork simply takes familiar parametres and translates them into a new experience, pulling the viewer into a new world of possibilities.

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13th May 2008

Digital Development Lab Awards 20000 Dollars In Prizes


CBC, British Columbia Film and New Media BC today announced the BC winners of the first Digital Development Lab.

Interactive Entertainment Award
The winner of the $10,000 CBC Development Award in this division is “ComaState, an interactive drama developed by BC writers and producers Dwayne Beaver, Rudy Thauberger and Ed Hatton. “ComaState” is a layered drama with a rich range of web resources. The project imagines a possible future where prisoners are subjected to suspended animation until they experience true remorse for their crimes. The story will be told through webisodes, viral campaigns and role playing opportunities, and will feature clues and events outside the story that will invite viewers to explore and participate as well as watch.

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