27th September 2009

Two Nights, Two Great Events

Art Institute of VancouverVancouver – This past Thursday evening we ventured into the big city to take in the latest presentations from the Art Institute’s graduating class. This was also our first visit to the school’s new campus on Renfrew Street, and it’s an incredible building. As always, we were impressed with the level of talent possessed by this Rebecca Williamsnew generation of artists, programmers and designers – and they are all deserving of recognition.  However, the work of two students really stood out to me.

First is the work of matte painter Rebecca Williams. Rebecca’s work is highly detailed, and she works hard to make sure that all of the pieces fit – mood, lighting, depth and as mentioned, details. Rebecca was able to talk confidently about her work, passion and reasons for choosing to become a matte painter – just some of the qualities I look for when I question the grad students about their projects.

Susan GaoAlso deserving of recognition is Modeler and Texture artist Susan Gao. Although not featured here, her model of a Caterpillar 797 Dump Truck is what caught my eye. You can see the model on her web site, though. Again, Susan shows attention to detail, mood and has a very high quality to her work, and spoke confidently about her abilities as well as about what she would like see herself doing in the future.

Overall, the AI students put on some very good displays, and for the most part were able to conduct good interviews. However, I found that the layout of the grad presentation rooms was not welcoming, and it was at times very hot and stuffy in the classrooms where they were set up, and overcrowding was a problem, which made it difficult to view some of the work on display. Hopefully future presentations will correct this problem and make it easier to visit with each student. We here at Village Gamer wish all of the graduating students the best of luck with their future Jonathan Carriganendeavours.

Friday was National Digital Media Day, and we spent the evening at Appy Hour, presented by The Social Agency at The Diamond in Gastown. There was some excellent networking happening, and the presentations from the CBC’s digital guru Jonathan Carrigan and Michael Fergusson, CEO of Ayogo were both informative and at times amusing. Event sponsor Rogers Communications also made a very brief presentation to kick things off, and I actually would have liked to have heard more on what the company had to say about the future of wireless communications and innovation in Canada. Congratulations to Kirstin, Kelly and Monica for a well-done event.

Appy Hour was followed by Vancouver’s first NDMD flash mob dance, led by Lynda Brown and friends at the intersection of Powell, Alexander and Carrall Streets. The dancers entertained passing traffic, and got more than a few honks of support and even more than just a quick glance from motorists. A few people walking down the street joined in, and I’m sure the patio crowd over at Chill Winston’s enjoyed the entertainment. Lynda enjoyed the experiment, and rumour is that she’s pondering future flash mob dance events in support of the digital media industry. It will be great to see more people join in with future street dances, and it was also nice to see that not one motorist got upset about traffic interruptions.  You can take a look at some of our video below, shot by Scott with his iPhone, because for some reason my Canon does not wish to part with the movie files on its card. Next time, we bring the DVD recorder.

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25th September 2009

New Details for Dead Rising 2 From Blue Castle Games

Blue Castle GamesVancouver via TGS – Several years have passed since the Wilamette incident, and while Frank West was able to save America from a zombie apocalypse, the cause of zombification was not completely contained. This led to continued zombie outbreaks throughout the United States.Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America’s latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big.

Dead Rising 2 - Seniors Discount CentreThe game sees the introduction of former national Motocross champion, Chuck Greene, as the main protagonist. Before he hit the big time with a team and sponsorship behind him Chuck was forced to repair his own bikes, leaving him incredibly resourceful; a real handyman. A single father, Chuck dotes on his daughter Katey who, since the loss of her mother, he will do anything for.

With hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time, the original Dead Rising forced gamers to turn the everyday objects they found in the Mall into improvised weapons capable of fending off attacks. Dead Rising 2 promises to increase the carnage with even more zombies intent on feasting on human flesh and countless new objects with which Chuck can make the undead dead.
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25th September 2009

New Trailer For Warlock Of Firetop Mountain

Big Blue BubbleLondon ONBig Blue Bubble has released a new game play trailer for their upcoming DS title Fighting Fantasy: Warlock Of Firetop Mountain. Due to be released this fall, Warlock of Firetop Mountain looks like it is going to be one of the best looking RPG games I’ve seen yet on the DS. I haven’t been looking forward to a DS game release in quite some time, but I am definitely looking forward to this one.

The artwork and detail in Warlock is of incredibly high quality, rarely seen outside of PC or console triple A titles. The game environment achieves just the right amount of spooky moodiness one would associate with a dank and dangerous castle keep, where enemies abound. With the ability to free roam through this side-scrolling adventure, the player can fully experience the high quality 3D world in which Firetop will immerse him – or her.

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About The Game:

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain follows a lone adventurer on his travels through the old Dwarven keep within Firetop Mountain. Now the residence of an evil warlock and hordes of foul creatures, the keep is a mysterious and dangerous place from which no one has returned in many years. As players guide the adventurer through the many passageways and dungeons, they develop the character’s abilities and attributes to suit their play style. Enemies will fall before the player’s brute strength with sword and axe, power of the arcane arts, nimble quickness or custom combinations of skills. A wealth of weaponry, armor, potions and enchantments are equipped through an intuitive drag-and-drop inventory system while helpful (or not-so-helpful) NPCs provide guidance, quests, trade goods and skill training.

About the Story Behind the Game:

The Fighting Fantasy book series launched in 1982 with the first title, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Authors Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson created a revolutionary new idea for the fantasy genre: the reader would become the hero of his or her own fantasy adventure in a story that would be part book, part game. After each paragraph a decision must be made: which way to turn, whether to fight or flee, which mysterious character to approach, and what risks to take. Each choice sent the reader to a different page to discover the consequences of their choice, with each read-through ending either in disaster, or with the discovery of the ultimate goal. To date, the series has seen more than 70 titles published and more than 14 million copies sold worldwide.

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25th September 2009

Happy Digital Media Day Canada

CanadaToday marks the 2nd anniversary of Canada’s National Digital Media Day, when those Canadians who work in the Digital Media industry celebrate the innovation and importance of our contributions to the Canadian and Global economy. No other industry is able to touch so many people in such a wide variety of fields as that of Digital Media. From gaming to education to every day technology, Canadians around the world can be proud of the levels of creativity and success achieved by our Digital Media industry.

If you are in Vancouver, you can join local industry members at Appy Hour which is taking place at The Diamond in Gastown. Following Appy Hour will be the6pm flash mob dance party at the corner of Powell and Carrall Streets. Remember to wear your favourite red shirt!

Another upcoming event which is still searching for an affordable and appropriate venue is Ghoulash Bash. We are currently investigating a few possibilities, but so far nothing has been confirmed. Who would’ve thought that trying to find a cool place for a Hallowe’en fund raiser for the Greater Vancouver Regional Food Banks would’ve been such a challenge. We are also looking for sponsorships, swag and twitter auction items. This Hallowe’en be a part of the first Ghoulash Bash – because everybody hungers. Siggraph Vancouver

Don’t forget to grab your ticket for next Tuesday’s Aliens Among Us – the Visual Effects Behind District 9 speaker session, presented by the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter and sponsored by Vancouver Film School and Annex|Pro. Double up on your savings for local SIGGRAPH events by becoming a member – you will get incredible value for your membership.

WCG CanadaCongratulations are also due to our WCG Team Canada members who earned 1 gold and 3 silver medals out of a possibility of 5 medals at the WCG 2009 Pan-American Championship, which was held September 12-13 in Guadalajara, Mexico. This incredible performance put Canada in 2nd place in the overall standings just ahead of Brazil. Mexico finished on top, taking advantage of their large team and fielding about three times the number of participants than the other invited countries.

Canada’s gold came after a brilliant performance by Max Rawal and Kevin Garcia in Halo 3. Despite not having played together since their victory in Germany at the WCG 2008 Grand Finals last November, the current WCG world champions had no difficulty adding another gold medal to their collection. They each received $1000 USD for their win.

Daniel Piacampo (Guitar Hero), Alan Joseph (Virtua Fighter 5), and Brandon Schlichting (Warcraft 3) each received $700 USD for their silver medals. It was Schlichting’s first appearance in a WCG major tournament.

In the list of oddly cool web sites I’ve visited lately is the Candy Wrapper Museum. For those who want to take a nostalgic walk down Candy Lane, this site offers a look back at both the mundane and totally weird products which have been marketed to satisfy the sweet tooth everywhere. Although the site is not Canadian, there are even some Canadian candies featured.

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24th September 2009

DIG London, PhoneGap Workshops and Tokyo Game Show

Canadians in Digital Media are such a busy group, and being the kind of person who likes to learn about new ideas in the digital media and business sectors, I have decided that first I need to win the new Lotto Max several times, and then I need at least a half dozen Surrogates to send out to all of the great events going on DIG Londonin our country – and that’s just for starters.

I received a mailout this morning announcing registration information for the Digital Interactive Gaming event taking place this November 3 and 4 in London, ON. It looks like there are going to be a lot of great speakers in attendance, and there is a wide variety of ticket pricing available for those who wish to go to DIG.

Nitobi is holding a PhoneGap Training Workshop on October 15th for those who are interested in learning how to build mobile applications in HTML and JavaScript while still taking advantage of core features of Nitobithe iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

“Building apps on different mobile platforms is hard and time consuming,” said Andre Charland, CEO of Nitobi. “We designed PhoneGap for the large group of developers out there who know how to write for standard languages, like JavaScript and HTML, and who don’t have the time or inclination to learn new languages, like Objective-C. They can use PhoneGap to write an app that will work on many different phones.”

Created at iPhoneDevCamp 2008 by Nitobi, PhoneGap is an open source initiative for bringing native device capabilities to mobile browsers. PhoneGap apps are authored in HTML and JavaScript, but still take advantage of features like geolocation, camera, vibration, local storage and sound. This eight hour session will take place at UBC Robson Square, and will cost $499.00

Also from Nitobi is the Nitobi Hack Day Pirate Edition. Not many details have been released for this event as of yet, but it is scheduled to take place on October 24th at the Nitobi studios.

As many of you, our readers know, we like to publicize which Canadian companies are traveling abroad to attend international events. I had sent a request to those in charge of the Canadian Pavilion at the Tokyo Game Show a couple of weeks ago to find out who would be venturing over to the land of the rising sun. To make a long story of several emails and a 6:30am phone call much shorter, I have just now obtained a list from DFAIT Ottawa of “some of the Canadians participating” at TGS.

Alliance Numérique (QUE)
Bug-Tracker (QUE)
Complex Games (MB)
Creaform (QUE)
Di-O-Matic (QUE)
Enzyme Testing Labs (QUE)
Gesture Tek (ONT)
Inspeck (QUE)
IUGO Mobile Entertainment (BC)
Investissement Quebec
Monde Media Solutions (QUE)
Sherpa Games (ONT)
Quebec Government
Ontario Government
BC Government

I know that our friends over at Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run are also at the Tokyo Game Show, as is the crew from Ubisoft, but if anyone else is over there and not mentioned in the list above, please let us know. I hope you are all having a great time at the show!

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24th September 2009

Inon Zur Composes Powerful Dragon Age Origins Score

BioWareEdmonton – Award-winning composer Inon Zur has composed the original score for BioWare’s upcoming title Dragon Age™: Origins. Zur has been lauded for the emotional musical compositions he crafted for some of the most critically acclaimed video games including Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, Crysis, Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia. The dramatic score for Dragon Age: Origins will be performed live at A Night in Fantasia 2009 on September 26 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Australia.

The ‘Night in Fantasia 2009’ concert will feature the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, a mind-blowing Inon Zurchoir, special guest performers and a score of popular tracks from video games including Dragon Age: Origins. Vocalist Aubrey Ashburn, singer and co-writer of the Dragon Age: Origins Elvish ballad “I Am the One,” will be performing selections from the game soundtrack by Inon Zur.

With a powerful original score recorded by the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra, Inon Zur’s dramatic soundtrack to Dragon Age: Origins is the perfect complement to the game’s epic, cinematic qualities, full of soaring melodies and lush, emotional orchestrations. The official soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins will be available to purchase and download online from popular music sites when the game ships on November 3, 2009, while selected tracks from the soundtrack will be included in the Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition.

The soundtrack is a collaboration between composer Inon Zur, vocalist Aubrey Ashburn and BioWare Audio Director Simon Pressey. The creative team will be presenting their work during a panel at the Hollywood Music in Media Interactive Conference on November 20-22, 2009, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

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23rd September 2009

Event and Award Reminders

Canadian New Media AwardsThe Canadian New Media Awards have extended their Early Bird rates until Friday September 25th, so take advantage of this extension and get your nominations in while saving $50.00. Remember to also get those nominations in for the Most Innovative Online Game (.doc file) award. This is a national competition for online games created by Canadian developers for any market or audience. Entries may include games built for single and multi-player environments.The Social Agency

There is still time to get your Appy Hour tickets for this Friday night at The Diamond in Vancouver. Come out and help celebrate Canada New Media Day with The Social Agency and a lot of great people from our local industry.

digital albertaDigital Alberta is having a 50% off sale on their membership fees in celebration of Canada New Media Day, so if you aren’t already a member, take advantage of the savings and then take advantage of all the great events the association organizes.MIGS 2009

Early Bird pricing for the Montreal International Game Summit ends this Friday as well, so if you are planning to attend the Summit this November, now is the time to grab your tickets. Buying your tickets early can save you $210.00 on this great event and give you the chance to hear a fantastic line-up of speakers.

Siggraph VancouverThe time is now to get your ticket for ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter’s presentation of Aliens Among Us: The Visual Effects of District 9 on September 29th at the Empire Theatre. This session will feature key members of the VFX team from Image Engine and is sponsored by Vancouver Film School and Annex|Pro.

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23rd September 2009

Glass House Games Releases Debut iPhone Title

Glass House GamesVancouverGlass House Games is proud to announce the release of Bugsy! a new game designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Bugsy is a challenging, fast-paced, fun and addicting sliding tile puzzle game designed for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. With unique Bugsygameplay, 125 levels of increasing difficulty, and 3 different types of Rogue Enemies, you are guaranteed hours of enjoyment. If you like challenging, mind-bending puzzle games, you will enjoy Bugsy – and Glass House Games is promising game updates in the near future as well, with more levels, more rogues and additional, original music.

The gameplay is simple, but very challenging and highly addicting. The objective of the game is to bloom all the flower buds at the edges of the board. You steer Bugsy towards each bud by sliding the puzzle tiles to complete the path to each bud. You complete the level when all the buds have bloomed. The game becomes more challenging and frantic as you progress.

Beware of Rogue bugs which can impede Bugsy’s progress. You can destroy the Rogues to earn bonus points. You can also earn bonus points by collecting Fruit and completing the game before the Bonus Timer runs out.


-125 Levels with over 40 Level Maps
-Level Randomization to ensure high replayability
-Fight and defeat 3 Types of Rogue Enemy bugs
-Great Artwork and Original Music
-Listen to your iPod Music while playing
-2 Game Difficulty Levels
-Tutorial Levels
-Sophisticated Effects
-Game becomes more challenging as you play
-Email your High Score to your friends
-Rumble Effects

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System Requirements

Compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch
Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later

Bugsy! is available now for only $ 0.99 usd

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22nd September 2009

Copyright Expert Coming To Vancouver

bcclaVancouver – The BC Civil Liberties Association, in partnership with the UBC School of Journalism and The Tyee, will be hosting renowned copyright and internet law expert Dr. Michael Geist at the Wise Hall in Vancouver on October 1, Dr. Michael Geist2009 for a unique evening lecture.

Dr. Geist is Canada’s leading technology law expert and the guru of the Canadian movement to prevent copyright restrictions from infringing on key free speech principles including parody, artistic use, fair use, and device transferability.

A national innovator in using Web 2.0 tools like blogs and Facebook for campaigns for law reform and policy change, Dr. Geist’s advocacy, in partnership with Cory Doctorow, resulted in more than 30,000 people joining a Facebook group opposing proposed Canadian copyright law changes and ended in the tabling of the proposed changes by then Industry Minister Jim Prentice.

Those interested in attending can RSVP on the event’s Facebook page. This seminar is free.

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22nd September 2009

Fusion Forum Puts Out Call For Entries

Fusion ForumVancouver – Via NMBC – Twenty top Canadian Digital Media companies will present their latest ventures at the Fusion Venture Forum 2009 before Google and other top Silicon Valley investors, the only Western Canadian financing forum dedicated to digital media content and technology. The annual event will showcase early and growth stage companies that are original games, mobile & Web 2.0 and new platforms & applications ventures, on November 12, 2009 at Robson Square in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Register today for the Nov 5th Fusion Entrepreneur Boot Camp and the opportunity to be one of the 20 selected to pitch before top tier investors at the Forum including Google Ventures, Google Inc and SoftTech VC, one of the most active Angels in the Digital Media Space. If you have a new digital media venture seeking financing, please sign up early, as places are limited.

Fusion ’09 is organized by New Media BC and is designed to bring Canada’s hottest digital media ventures to the attention of local and international investors, provide valuable insights into key issues in the industry and become a premium networking opportunity for digital media investors and entrepreneurs alike. For more information, please visit the event’s web site or contact Fusion’09’s Director Christine Lim-Labossiere.

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