26th January 2010

The Saboteur – Review

The SaboteurDeveloper: Pandemic
Publisher: EA
Release Date: December 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Number of Players: Single Player
Genre: Action-Adventure
ESRB Rating: Mature

I have logged approximately 140 hours of gameplay in Pandemic’s final title, The Saboteur, and overall I did enjoy the game. I have completed 100% of the freeplay targets as well as the mission campaign, but still have to obtain 1 gold perk and 4 achievements. In my OCD gamer style, I have spent alot of time driving or running around exploring the map, collecting cars, contraband and running into cows. The Saboteur as a game has lots that I like, but it’s impossible to not compare many of the elements to other titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto and Prototype.

The game opens at a car race where Sean first The Saboteurencounters the nasty Kurt Dierker from Team Doppelsieg. As the game’s hero, you play as Irishman Sean Devlin, who drives for Team Morini. Your best friend Jules Morini, is dead before the first chapter ends, setting the stage for Sean’s thirst for revenge against the Nazis and in particular, Dierker. Sean carries a heavy load of guilt as he heads for Paris with Jules’ sister Veronique and their father, Vittore. It is this guilt and vow of revenge that will enable the British to use Sean as a pawn in their battle against the Nazis. As you delve deeper into the game and storyline, there are more characters who enter the plot – Skylar, the mysterious woman from Sean’s past, Luc who heads up the Resistance, and that sneaky Bond-wanna-be from Britain, Bishop. There are other characters who play minor parts throughout the story, but these are your main game characters. Of course, only Sean Devlin is actually playable by the gamer.

The SaboteurI am impressed with the amount of game time offered by The Saboteur – there is certainly a lot to do in the way of collecting postcards, blowing up sniper nests and playing with some really big guns. On the converse side, those of us who have spent much time playing Asssassin’s Creed will be somewhat disappointed with the climbing and jumping abilities which have been given to the main character, Sean Devlin. Granted, he is a race car driver and not an assassin like Altair and Ezio, but I would have expected there to have been better climbing mechanics in a game which places such importance on the ability to reach building tops in order to carry out missions and destroy freeplay targets. There were times when Sean would grab ledges when I didn’t want him to, and times when he wouldn’t make a simple jump or grab a ledge to prevent a suicidal fall, even though I had specified through the controller that he do so. There were several times when I found the game’s controls to be somewhat clunky or unresponsive, and this did lead to some frustration.

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25th January 2010

Upcoming Titles, VEF Reminder and Dell Denied Arbitration

IUGOVancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment has announced a brand new title for Blackberry and iDevices. Escape is a tranquil game which offers limitless EscapeZen puzzles. The objective is to help your character jump from stone to stone to eliminate all of the stones and solve the puzzles.

According to the game’s information page, Escape will feature:

* Endless levels and gameplay
* 3 difficulty levels for replayability
* Simple controls for all ages
* Minimalist graphics for maximum appeal
* Unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects
* Surprisingly addictive!

Exalt StudiosAlbertaExalt Studios, and indepedent game studio operated by one-man development team William Sworin, is pleased to announce its debut title, Silas – a kart racing game for the PC. Silas delivers an immersive and fast gameplay experience that brings much needed innovation to the kart racing genre. Silas is scheduled for release on May 20, 2010. Silas

Silas is the name of the planet the game takes place on and around. There are many different characters and creatures from this planet and others. In the fast paced gameplay you will discover many unique weapons and possibilities to win the races. There is also a great deal of gameplay options, customization and modes beyond racing.

Looking to fire 10 rockets into the air, control them in-flight, then bring them down on your enemy? You can do that. Or maybe you just want to grab a glider, take it to the skies, and chain gun someone to death? You can do that too. Or, switch into Silasturret mode, and shoot a barrage of lasers 360 degrees? Why not and while you’re at it, deploy stationary guns, launch projectiles, blast cannons, place ice traps, and escape it all with a well timed boost! This is Silas. Get ready for one of the most fun and addictive multiplayer and single player experiences you will ever have!

Play online or through your LAN with up to 12 players. With 18 weapons to choose from, Silas really packs a punch. Use infinite strategies, plan your attacks, or just go in guns ablaze. Take the battle to the skies, form teams, capture flags, or just duke it out in classic deathmatch, whatever you’re into, Silas has it all! And if you like to race, yes, you can do this online as well. Or go solo, and chase after golden trophies all by yourself. Of course, this just scratches the surface of what Silas has to offer. Silas is a large game, with 20 different levels, a full 26 song soundtrack, hundreds of sound effects, 13 characters, and much more.

Info-TechLondonInfo-Tech Research Group has launched a nationwide contest to recognize and reward both Canada’s smartest and greenest mid-market IT departments.

“In the true spirit of community, we’re issuing a challenge to Canadian IT professionals to share their stories, best practices, tips and aha moments through our website and social networks so that departments across the country can get smarter,” says James Alexander, Senior Vice-President for Info-Tech Research Group and one of the campaigns resident ‘Smart People.’

During the four month campaign the research firm will comb the country searching for and interviewing Canadian IT departments with a smart story to tell. The interviews can be viewed on YouTube and Facebook as well as at our Smartest IT web site.

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23rd January 2010

Acquisitions In Montreal, IUGO on Blackberry and Global Events

creaformLévis – 3D scanning corporation Creaform has acquired Montréal-based InSpeck, a leader in manufacturing and marketing 3D scanning systems specialized in human-body scanning. InSpeck products are used in the industries of movie special effects, medical imagery, research, 3D crystal engraving and computer games.3D scanning of the human body, whose products include animation, special effects, medical imagery, research and electronic games. InSpeck’s current clients include Sony Computer Entertainment inSpeckAmerica, Electronic Arts, Warner Brothers and Gentle Giant Studios.

“This acquisition consolidates our position as leader in 3D scanning, as well as our position in the medical, multimedia and entertainment, and 3D imagery sectors,” says Mr. Charles Mony, President of Creaform, whose products, services and advanced training programs are intended for companies from the automotive, aerospace, consumer products, education, heritage preservation & architecture, manufacturing, medical care and multimedia industries, among others.

“By uniting their forces, our 2 companies keep expertise that is very coveted all over the world right here in Québec,” says Mr. Li Song, CEO for InSpeck. “Further, the complementary technologies of our teams will help us cover more applications and better serve the needs of the clients.”

Creaform has developed and sells the Handyscan 3D™ line of scanners. These state-of-the-art self-positioning handheld 3D laser scanners are known for the high accuracy of the 3D scanning data they generate, their true portability, and their ease of use. Creaform also manufactures and sells the HandyPROBE™, the 100% portable, wireless CMM, a probing system designed for inspection applications.

IUGOVancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment presents its mega iPhone hit Zombie Attack! Bad Blood for the BlackBerry. ZA!BB is an addictive 3D tower defense game with a scary twist, and it is now available for purchase on Mobihand for $3.99. Zombie Attack Bad Blood

Your mission: Play as a survivor of the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse, strategically place weapons turrets to protect your shack and stay alive.

Features:

Different zombie types to slay
4 weapon types for a variety of zombie killing techniques
Survivor machete: hack and slash the undead when needed
Stylized 3D graphics
Local leaderboards
Intuitive controls, elegant UI
Pick up and play for 2 minutes or 2 hours

VisionFest 2010Global – Student animation festival VisionFest is now accepting animation, game and other interactive art submissions from high school, undergraduate and graduate students from around the world for this year’s festival, which will take place in Indianopolis, Indiana this coming October 22 – 24. Students are permitted to submit work which was completed no earlier than January 1, 2007. All entries must be postmarked on or before July 28, 2010.

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22nd January 2010

Independent Production Fund Expands to Digital Platforms

IPFMontreal – The Board of Directors of the Independent Production Fund (IPF) has approved a new pilot program to fund drama series created for any platform. In recognition of the evolving broadcast environment, the IPF will provide equity financing not only to drama series with a television broadcast license, but also to scripted drama series that are designed and produced for exploitation on the web.

As the sources of financing for web video without a broadcast license are very limited, the IPF support is intended to stimulate the growth of new forms of content. This unique contribution to independent producers will help them to explore the potential for high quality, story driven drama with new and innovative narrative forms. As a leading supporter of Canadian drama, the IPF will experiment in partnership with web content developers to determine how good storytelling translates to other platforms. “It will be an exciting learning process for all of us”, stated Charles Ohayon, Chair of the Board of the IPF. “We will help develop best practises to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital platforms provide for new production styles, processes, formats and business models”.

Joining the IPF in this pilot venture is Film Nova Scotia which will provide additional funding targeted for Nova Scotia based creators and producers of web drama. “Film Nova Scotia is excited to partner with the Independent Production Fund on this program to help Producers explore storytelling through new digital platforms”, noted Ann Mackenzie, President and CEO.

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22nd January 2010

EA’s Mass Effect 2 Trailer Makes Epic TV Debut During NFC Championship

Bioware CorpEdmonton – All eyes won’t just be on the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings this Sunday as Mass Effect 2, BioWare’s highly anticipated action-RPG video game, will appear on national television to over 35 million expected viewers with an explosive two minute launch trailer. Leading into the white-knuckle excitement of the NFC Championship’s fourth quarter, football fans and gamers alike will be on the edge of their seats for a glimpse of the non-stop action in Mass Effect 2 led by Commander Shepard in the full-length Mass Effect 2gameplay trailer, uncut and on the big screen.

Fans wanting a football and gaming fix can participate in the “Watch the NFC Championship with BioWare” event where they can interact and chat live with the Mass Effect 2 development team as they stream live from the BioWare games room via Ustream. Participants will also get an exclusive sneak peak at Mass Effect 2 as the team will stream live gameplay during halftime. Highly coveted BioWare “shwag” will also be given away to participants every 15 minutes during the event.

The Mass Effect trilogy is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding a crew of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, stunning space exploration and emotionally engaging characters, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience. Mass Effect 2 is scheduled for release on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC on January 26, 2010 in North America. Mass Effect 2 has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

GDC San Francisco 2010GDC SFO 2010 – The 2010 Game Developers Conference® (GDC 2010), produced by the Think Services Game Group, and Google are working together to celebrate and inspire the mobile and independent game development communities by offering the Nexus One™ phone and Verizon Droid by Motorola to qualifying developers who register to attend GDC 2010 by February 4th, 2010.

Mobile/handheld games and independent games are each the subject of a dedicated summit during GDC, as well as the subjects of many of the sessions during the main portion of GDC–making conference attendees great potential developers of new content for phones using the Android(TM) operating system.

In recent years, the smartphone has become one of the most widespread and widely-used game platforms, and has proven particularly suited to independent developers experimenting with new and unusual gameplay.

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22nd January 2010

Nominations Open For CATAAlliance Innovation and Leadership Awards 2010

CATAOttawa – For twenty-five years the CATAAlliance Innovation and Leadership Awards Gala Dinner has been celebrating the best in Canadian innovation and outstanding achievement. This prestigious gala has become one of the most eagerly awaited events of Canada’s advanced technology community.

The Awards evening is meant to be a celebration of the award winners and of Canadian innovation. CATAAlliance and its partners will recognize industry innovation, expertise, and leadership in the Canadian high-technology sector. Criteria for each award is explained as part of the category description in the Nomination Guide. Nominations close on February 25 2010.

Awards will be presented in the following areas:

Outstanding Product Achievement (ICT)
Outstanding Product Achievement (Clean Tech)
Outstanding Product Achievement (Health Care)
Emerging Technology
Excellence in Science and Technology Reporting
Private Sector Innovation and/or Leadership in Advanced Technology
Public Sector Leadership in Advanced Technology
IT Strategic HR Management
CIO of the Year, for SME’s and Large Corporations

Special guests from industry and government will be invited to attend and the evening will feature the awards ceremony, networking and a business dinner. Co-hosts include Deloitte and Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP, in addition to Award sponsors for each category.

The 2010 Innovation and Leadership Awards Gala Dinner will take place May 19, 2010 at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Paul Brent, host of CJOH TV’s Tech Now will be our guest MC. Attendees will also enjoy an informative and interactive discussion with this year’s featured panel, including:

Dan Dodge, CEO, QNX Software Systems
Derek Kuhn, Head, Alcatel-Lucent Canada
Ben Riley, Head, U.S. Defence Rapid Technology Office
Caroline Lewko, President, Wireless Industry Partnership

Banff - With 28 prestigious award categories, including the addition of four Francophone Categories, new interactive and drama categories, Best Branded Entertainment, Best Cross-Platform and Soap Operas as well as a special Green Grand Prize open to all eligible competition participants – the 2010 Rockies promise to be an exceptional competition.

The early bird nomination deadline is on February 1 with the final submission deadline on February 15, so don’t miss your opportunity to save – take advantage of the early bird discount and submit your program today! The Rockies will be presented at the 31st Banff World Television Festival at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta, Canada, in June 2010.

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21st January 2010

Cliffed for BlackBerry

VancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment is proud to announce its debut onto BlackBerry devices with one of its successful iPhone titles, Cliffed.

Presenting the most addictive race to the bottom with this frantic 2D scrolling racer! IUGO presents its latest iPhone sensation in casual gaming brought over to the BlackBerry. Cliffed is set to appear on BlackBerry’s App World and other gaming portals soon. IUGO has more titles set to release for your BlackBerries in upcoming weeks.

WARNING: This game will get your heart and fingers racing!

Features:

• 12 unique and playful characters to choose from
• Pick up and play! Great for all ages
• Endless game play
• Local leaderboards
• Stylized, clean graphics
• IUGO’s signature quality and polish

Marketing MastersCoburg – Liz Walker and Ken Burgin, Partners and founders of Marketing Masters have announced the availability of a comprehensive, and easy to follow, Social Media Training Program that clears up the confusion people have about how to use social media for business. The course, called “Social Media Pro” is available as an online self-study course or as a one-on-one personally “coached” program.

Developed by internationally famous marketing “guru” John Jantsch of Kansas City, MO, author and originator of the Duct Tape Marketing System, this is a five session course delivered through the Duct Tape University web site. Walker and Burgin are the Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coaches in the Eastern Ontario area.

Says Burgin, “Social media has come a long way since the original Facebook.com site was introduced. Facebook is now a major site for businesses wanting to connect with prospects. But that’s not all, now there’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Biznik, Meetup and a host of other sites where a business must be represented. The Internet has a whole parcel of free real estate that you must claim or miss opportunity—and why would you not? …it’s FREE!”

The Social Media Pro course covers a range of topics using videos and instructions online. Participants work through the segments, delivered each week, at their own pace. They can stop, back up and review at any time—the segments remain online for at least six months.

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21st January 2010

Bytemark Releases Dawn of The Dead to iPhones Everywhere

ByteMark GamesToronto – Zombies are on the loose and invading your iPhone and iPod touch in the newly announced Dawn of the Dead game, created by Bytemark Games and Universal Partnerships & Licensing. Based on the smash hit movie of the same name, the Dawn of the Dead App takes you inside the legendary Crossroads Mall in a series of intense and terrifying levels as you fight to survive an onslaught of bloodthirsty zombies.

“We are thrilled to bring this hit movie to life as we challenge gamers of all levels to defeat the undead and survive by any means necessary, ” says Bytemark CEO, Jon Walsh.

“Bytemark’s reputable lineage in the interactive space is beautifully showcased by the Dawn of the Dead App with its creative use of the iPhone OS platform’s remarkable capabilities,” said Calvin Lim, Director of Mobile Sales, Universal Partnerships & Licensing. “Fans of this timeless classic and zombie enthusiasts alike can now play out each terrifying moment anywhere they go.”

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A terrifying zombie plague of unknown origin has broken out in your town. You’ve escaped your zombie-infested suburb and arrived at the entrance to the Crossroads Mall. Now you must fight to reach other survivors and get out alive.

Game Features:

* Play as one of three characters, each with different attributes; the nurse, the police officer, or the salesman.
* Discover new, more powerful weapons as you make your way through the mall.
* Survive by any means necessary: find and use a variety of guns or get up close and personal with a baseball bat, golf club, axe and more.
* Visuals created from fully rendered 3D models establish an unmatched sense of realism and immersion.
* Two ways to play: Play through Story mode or test your skills in a variety of intense un-lockable Challenges.
* Multiple levels of difficulty offer a challenge for any level iPhone gamer.
* 5 unique levels that take you from the parking lot to the terrifying underbelly of the Crossroads Mall.

The Dawn of the Dead App is available for $1.99, from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch

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21st January 2010

Vancouver Interactive Industry Fundraiser for Haiti On January 28

unicefVancouver – Local interactive industry folks are invited to the Help Haiti Pub Night being held on Thursday January 28th from 7-11pm at Steamworks Brew Pub and Restaurant (375 Water Street Vancouver). There are plans for a silent auction, with a few items already on the block, including tickets for Casual Connect to auction off! Two winning bidders will receive 1 year conference passes to Seattle, Hamburg, and Kyiv, 1 with speaker’s dinner. If you are interested in donating items for auction, please contact Bren at 604.765.7273. Net proceeds from this event will be donated to UNICEF for the purchase of water.

According to their website, UNICEF is working to provide survivors with family water kits, water-purification tablets and other supplies aimed at mitigating the deadly effects of contaminated water.

“Aside from simply delivering these essential supplies, we must also work to promote hygiene by providing soap and issuing messages in French and Creole on preventing and treating diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery,” said UNICEF Emergency Operations Officer Ainga Razafy. “Our priority is to prevent a second wave of disaster and ensure against the outbreak of any life-threatening, water-borne diseases.”

Canada – DFAIT invites Canadian interactive companies to participate in The Canada Programme at GDC San Francisco, March 10 – 12, 2010. For further information on The Canada Programme, please contact Victoria Hayes at 604.666.1409 (for BC Companies – please contact your local digital media association or DFAIT office in other parts of Canada.) For companies in Alberta, please contact Rene Smid from Digital Alberta. The deadline for BC applications is today, while Alberta’s deadline is January 25.

Prior to GDC, the Canada Programme offers Business to Business Matchmaking – DFAIT is currently collecting company profiles to share with foreign purchasers and developers attending GDC to determine mutual meeting interests and facilitate those meetings in advance.

Two webinars are also being offered, which are geared towards Canadian attendees making the most of their time at GDC in San Francisco. The first webinar is titled “Meet the Publishers” will be held on February 2 from 1-230pm. Major publishers (yet to be announced) will discuss what’s hot and what’s not, what the want to see in 2010 and how Canadian companies can best position themselves in 2010.

The second Webinar, “Make the Right Pitch, At the Right Time” will feature experienced industry leaders who will present on how to prepare and execute an effective 30-second and 10-minute pitch to both game publishers and potential financing entities (Angels and Venture Capitalists). The air details for this webinar have not yet been finalized.

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20th January 2010

Open Text Releases Vignette Content Management 8

Waterloo – Open Text™ Corporation has announced the release of Vignette Content Management 8, an enterprise-scale web content management solution that gives marketers broad new capabilities to use the Web as a strategic force to drive campaigns, customer conversion and loyalty, and ultimately profitability.

Built on more than 10 years of experience in managing the world’s most sophisticated websites, Vignette Content Management 8 introduces a new ergonomic design that makes it easy for business users to create websites, microsites and landing pages on-demand, while staying within branding and technical guidelines. The ergonomic design caters to specific personas in marketing or other departments, providing tools, designs and other resources based on their roles. This critical functionality brings speed and flexibility to marketing teams — a new level of agility that can make the difference in competitive efforts to reach customers via the Web.

“Successful enterprises embrace the Web as a critical component of revenue generation, and to provide an interactive and immersive experience that connects with customers,” said James Latham, Chief Marketing Officer of Open Text. “Vignette Content Management 8 brings together the enterprise-class capabilities customers need to gain the full value of the Web. The solution offers leading capabilities that deliver engaging, personalized content populated by video, rich media and social interaction. Its flexibility and ease of use helps marketers be more effective, allowing them to focus on the message – not the tools.”

With a focus on brand consistency and time-to-market, many marketing teams need a Web content management solution that empowers efficient communications with target audiences while managing message consistency across a complex series of websites, fueled by diverse audiences, languages and contributors. Vignette Content Management 8 offers a simple way to create and manage Web experiences by streamlining the management of Web layouts and structures. This includes page management, site and navigation management, content production, taxonomy and task management.

Adopt and Adapt

To help customers overcome the cumbersome and costly migration, training and adoption issues often found in enterprise software upgrades, Vignette Content Management 8 has been specifically designed to help users move easily to the new interface at their own pace. Users have the option of continuing to use their familiar interface or to adapt to the new interface as needed. Called Compatibility mode, the feature’s progressive upgrade options minimize training costs, risk and impact to ongoing operations. Read the rest of this entry »

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