12th November 2009

Fort Zombie Increases the Terror with New Update

Kerberos ProductionsVancouverKerberos Studios has released an update to the lite action/RPG, Fort Zombie. Adding brand new content such as additional weapons, expanded town properties, and new mission locations, the survivors of Piety, Indiana now have even more ammunition (figuratively and literally) against the flood of zombies that have invaded the peaceful town and turned it into a battleground for survival.Fort Zombie

Additionally, the latest update to Fort Zombie will enhance a variety of game aspects across the board, introducing more sound options, a mid-mission healing system, and improved interactions with weapons and other game objects.

To receive the update to your Fort Zombie copy, go to “MY GAMES” on your digital download account.

Now is the perfect time to jump into all of the terrifying action of Fort Zombie. Fort Zombie is available through all major digital distribution channels for the suggested retail price of $9.99

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11th November 2009

Lest We Forget

In remembrance of those who went before, those who have yet to be, and those who fight every day for our freedom.

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10th November 2009

48 Hours Into Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age OriginsI have now logged over 48 hours of game play (probably closer to 58 now, because I started writing this yesterday) in Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins (Xbox 360 CE), and there are many aspects I really like, but there are some that may take a bit of warming up to. Having read both of the prequel novels written by Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider, I knew a fair bit of the back-story and my progress through the game has been greatly aided by that knowledge. I am still amazed at the amount of story yet to be revealed through the Codex additions – I have lots of reading of the story’s bits and pieces I have picked up so far through quests, conversations and random items. This is a positive aspect, because I like games which tell a good story. The writing in Dragon Age is tight – and humorous. I have found myself at times just standing and listening to my “henchies” talk, and there has been many a time that I find myself laughing outDragon Age: The Stolen Throne loud at their dialogue. There are also a number of references to modern pop culture in the game – some of it so subtle that it can be missed if one is not paying attention. The “light” has gone on a few times after certain scenes or dialogues, when I realize what has transpired and its reference to something in our society.

I went with the human noble warrior for my first go around – I wanted to be a caster, because that is what I’m good at, but Scott talked me into trying something different. It has become (sometimes painfully) obvious that I am a far better caster than I am a warrior. Thank goodness for the ability to change which party member I can control during battle. I will, however, admit that I am getting better at melee combat. I still have a long way to go at being highly proficient in close-up and personal fighting, but I certainly like the amount of control Bioware gave us in character creation. I also really like that each character – Dwarf, Human or Elf has its own story beginning, as this adds to the replayability factor.

Each of the party member’s distinct personalities and beliefs play very important roles in how the game Dragon Age Templarunfolds, as does each choice you make in the dialogue trees. One could almost feel sorry for Alistair as he goes through relentless teasing at the hands of Morrigan, whose own jaded view of the world at large often prevents her from seeing the simple good in people as anything other than weakness. During last night’s play, I caught Wynne also giving Alistair a rough time about filthy socks. Meanwhile Leliana appears to be the complete opposite – she is strong in her belief of all things good,  although I have a feeling that this is going to change at some point in time. Just a hunch – and some advance reading on Scott’s part. I haven’t made a lot of use of Zevran and Sten yet, but I’m sure they’ll get their chance in battle as well.

I’ve read many online comments about areas where players aren’t happy with the Tactics menu, or they aren’t happy with some of the sudden difficulty spikes. Maybe it’s just my play style, but I am not disappointed by any of it. Yes, some of the battles are insanely difficult and my hero may end up as a pile of ashes after being blasted by a huge fireball, but thanks to the Save Game function which I mostly remember to use, it’s “try, try again” for me. I probably died a dozen times trying to defeat Flemeth before going and doing some different quests first in order to level my Grey Warden some more and perhaps gain a little more help in the way of additional party members. Once I completed the quest for Shale and kicked Alistair out of the party for this particular task, I did it in one go. Shale is a very effective tank when equipped with the right crystals for the job. Next time around I will have to Dragon Age Originsremember to go get Shale before hunting for the urn. Perhaps then I won’t turn into a crispy critter because I just had to ring the gong to see what it did. Apparently the dragon landing on the cliff edge was supposed to be a clue. Maker bless the Load Last Save function.

While I sometimes find the long cinematic conversations frustrating, I realize that they are an important game component – dispelling knowledge and opening different paths in the story, but geez sometimes I just want to get on with eliminating the vile creatures who are trying to take over my map.  On the plus side is the ability to skip forward through the conversations to get to where you want to be – whether it’s to retry a battle or to try a different path in the dialogue trees. On my next play-through I might just take the time to solve the puzzle and let the little girl live instead of allowing Kitty to possess her.

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9th November 2009

The Sixth and Final Assassins Creed 2 Video Dev Diary

UbisoftMontreal – Earlier today Ubisoft released the final episode of their Assassin’s Creed 2 video dev diary series. Covering the importance of the Animus interface in the player’s Eziogame experience. Building on the foundation set in Assassin’s Creed, the development team took some risks in taking the Animus’ capabilities even further. Presentation Art Director Laura De Young says in the video that the team broke a few design rules to immerse the gamer more fully into Ezio’s story, offering such features as historical and local facts.

We also get a look at even more of the new features coming in Assassin’s Creed 2, which will be available in Canadian stores this November 23rd.  The video introduces Ezio’s family villa, which at the beginning of the game will be in very sad disrepair. Through game advancement, the player can rebuild the villa, making it a vibrant and productive community. The villa will serve as Ezio’s Assassin Stronghold, and will also provide storage for all of the equipment and treasures acquired – something which makes the treasure hunter in me very happy. I hate it when I have to dispense with a treasure due to space constraints.

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9th November 2009

Vancouver Social Games Developer Now Hiring

Swim RecruitingVancouver -Village Gamer, always willing to assist Canadian studios, will be posting further Game Industry job postings from Swim Recruiting. Here is the first:

PHP Developer – Social Games

– Entrepreneurial, growing, and action-packed environment
– Quick-to-market new generation of games – agile environment
– Creation encouraged and input valued

What’s your favorite game? Do you find yourself constantly playing a wide variety of software games and board games in your spare time?

A Vancouver ‘home grown’ organization based in funky Gastown is on the lookout for a passionate game-orientated LAMP developer to join a professional, fun, and dynamic software team to develop and enhance new and existing games for social network platforms such as Facebook and iPhone applications. You will be working in an environment where your creative input is encouraged and valued, and the short iteration methodology will keep your interest levels high as you release up to 8 multiple titles on various platforms per year. As well as excellent communication and documentation skills, you must have expert open source development skills and a natural and keen interest in Gaming and Social Networks. You will also need to be comfortable working in a fast paced, action packed, rapid prototyping, iterative model amongst peers in a social and collaborative environment.

In order to be considered for this role you must be able to demonstrate the following:

– Expert proficiency in all areas of LAMP development
– Passion of a wide variety of Gaming technologies and methodologies
– Experience taking games from inception to completion is favorable
– A creative knack for finding and fixing bugs
– Experience developing Facebook’s API a huge asset.
– Flash development and/or training
– Iphone development an asset
– Graduated from a four year college or university, a degree from a recognized design school, or two to four years of related experience and training.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a modern, fast paced, innovative, fun and dynamic work environment working on some of the latest games and applications with bleeding-edge open source technologies – apply by visiting the Swim Recruiting website or by emailing your qualifications to Brian Thompson.

Swim Recruiting is a search consultancy firm offering advanced recruitment solutions tailored to the precise needs of its individual clients and job seekers. Focusing on technology and finance professionals, Swim is able to draw upon an in-depth knowledge of this market combined with an extensive network of contacts. Please contact Brian Thompson if you would like further information or would like to list a career opportunity with Swim Recruiting.

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9th November 2009

CATA WIT Launches Program To Attract And Retain More Women In The Technology Workforce

CATA-WITOttawa – Today at the Toronto Stock Exchange representatives from the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance Women in Technology Forum (CATA WIT) were on hand to open the markets. The event marks the launch of a CATA WIT initiative promoting employer best practices and a web site designed to attract women to science and technology careers.

The program takes a three-pronged approach to address inequalities in women’s participation in science and advanced technology by focusing on ways to support recruitment, retention and entrepreneurialism. The program was undertaken with the support Status of Women Canada, Ontario Women’s Directorate and a number of corporate partners.

Working with CATA WIT, Dr. Wendy Cukier, founder of Ryerson’s Diversity Institute and Technology Strategy Consultant organized workshops with women across the country to explore their experiences and to take a fresh look at women in Canada’s high tech sector. Over 50 women from all stages of their careers met for roundtables in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary, and 250 women were surveyed online. Discussions were also held with Human Resources professionals and executives in a number of technology companies to explore leading practices on diversity and develop tools to promote the importance of diversity.

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9th November 2009

Zynga Awards Four Scholarships To MDM Class Of 2010

Masters For Digital MediaVancouver – The Masters of Digital Media (MDM) Program together with Zynga, the industry leader in social gaming, has announced the winners of the inaugural Zynga scholarships for the MDM Program at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, B.C. Four students – Su Yon Sohn, Jason Chang, Ryan Nadel and Matthew Schroeter – have earned scholarships totaling $21,000.

“Congratulations to Su Yon, Jason, Ryan and Matt on winning Zynga’s first scholarships to the MDM Program,” said Dr. Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director of the MDM Program and CEO of the Centre for zyngaDigital Media at Great Northern Way Campus. “I’d also like to thank Zynga for their support through our Industry Affiliate Program and now through funding these scholarships. To have our students recognized by Zynga, the world’s leader in social gaming, is a testament to the remarkable next-gen talent pool we are developing here at the MDM Program.”

“At Zynga, we’re pleased to offer our support to Su Yon, Jason, Ryan and Matt who will be graduating in 2010,” said Colleen McCreary, Senior VP and Chief People Officer at Zynga. “Zynga commends these students on their academic excellence and for their experience in and passion for social gaming and we look forward to their contribution to Zynga’s mission of connecting the world through games.

The scholarship winners are:

  • Su Yon Sohn and Jason Chang, who received $7,000 and;
  • Ryan Nadel and Matthew Schroeter, who received $3,500.

The scholarship was based on talent and experience in the area of Game Design, Art or Programming.

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6th November 2009

Slant Six Previews SOCOM Expansion Content

Slant Six GamesVancouver – Coming soon from Slant Six Games and Sony Computer Entertainment of America is Cold Front, the first downloadable expansion pack for SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALS Confrontation.

Cold Front adds five maps to Confrontation, including two brand new maps, and three classic maps. View through the snow filled treesThree additional clan factions compliment the new conflict zones based in Eastern Europe and Russia including Russian Spetsnaz, Italian Colm and Dutch KCT.

The added forces come with three new weapons, alpine equipment and camouflage to support encounters using thermal scope and turrets. The maps also support an all-new game mode Arms Run, challenging the commandos to prevent mercenaries from launching deadly missiles.

Along with the host of increased customization options, Cold Front players may also develop Weapon Bird’s eye view of Blizzard-the best way to plan your attacksSpecialties and through progression unlock Exclusive Equipment. While developing their characters, Cold Front players can also enjoy the new music while working towards New PSN Trophies.

Over the next few weeks, Slant Six would like to share some production notes with you regarding some of the new maps and shed a little insight on how these maps came together.

This week the studio is featuring Blizzard, a classic map from SOCOM 1 and 2 that has been updated with HD graphics and effects. In order to enhance the player’s experience with this perennial favourite, we opted to make the weather a key gameplay aspect. The calm atmosphere of previous iterations of the map has been completely reworked with visibility now being hindered by the constant flurry of snow and winds that pound against your character.

The biggest challenge developers have faced so far in updating Blizzard to PS3 from PS2 was working with open terrain and wide open sight lines. Balancing the blizzard effects, vegetation, and open terrain to achieve the right amount of visibility among the characters has proven to be an interesting challenge. Dredge frozen in ice

In summary, Cold Front features:

* 2 All-New Maps
* Uprising, Entrapment
* 3 Classic Maps: Blizzard, Night Stalker, Vigilance
* All New Game Mode
* Arms Run
* 3 New Special Forces
* Russian Spetsnaz, Italian COLM, Dutch KCT
* Character Specialization System
* 6 Enhanced weapons, 5 Enhanced Attachments
* New Weapons
* 3 All-new weapons, 2 All-new weapon attachments, 2 New 40mm grenades
* Additional Content
* Gun Turret Emplacements
* New Trophies, New Music
* New Character Models, Alpine Gear and Camouflage

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6th November 2009

Academy of Champions Prize Pack Winners

UbisoftVancouver – We are pleased to announce the three winners of our Academy of Champions prize packs, provided by Ubisoft Vancouver in celebration of the launch of Academy of Championstheir first title. Thank you to everyone who entered, and thank you to Ubisoft Vancouver for sponsoring the contest and sending out the prize packs.

1. Dennis Chenard of Vancouver BC

2. Todd Peterson of Chilliwack BC

3. Tim Carroll of Chilliwack BC

Congratulations to all of you, I have forwarded your contact info to Ubisoft Vancouver so that you can receive your prize packages.

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6th November 2009

Fusion Forum Finalists Named

Fusion ForumVancouverNew Media BC is pleased to announce the top 20 companies selected from 37 digital media companies that attended the Fusion ’09 Entrepreneur Boot Camp held at the BC 2010 Showcase Centre today.

The following will present at the Fusion Venture Forum before 22 investors, including Google and other visiting VCs from Silicon Valley on November 12 at the UBC Robson Square Theatre:

PRESENTING COMPANIES

GAMES

1. Black Cherry
2. ClickToy
3. Ecobuddies Interactive
4. Old Skool Studios
5. Overinteractive

MOBILE

1. Aegis Mobility
2. AppSocial
3. Cell Map Inc
4. Mobify
5. Sound of Motion

WEB2.0/SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Arcalife
2. Muutu
3. My Wedding Match
4. Vibrant Software (Everystockphoto)
5. Wantsa

NEW PLATFORMS AND APPLICATIONS

1. Konductor Software
2. LayerBoom Systems
3. Mingleverse Labs
4. Moving Media Group
5. Unbounce Marketing

Congratulations and good luck to all of you, see you at The Forum!

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