31st March 2010

Is Your Spidey Sense Tingling?

Quebec City – Activision Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Entertainment have released the first details of Spider-Man™: Shattered Dimensions, the newest entry of non-stop heroic action toSpiderman Shattered Dimension star the iconic wall-crawler. In development at Beenox, the video game is scheduled for release in September 2010 and will allow players to travel through four different worlds as distinctly different versions of Spider-Man from four universes across Marvel lore, two of which are announced today: The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man Noir.

As Spider-Man, players will experience a wide variety of gameplay and dramatic environments. The Amazing Spider-Man experience delivers innovative web combat and visuals in a world that pays tribute to the classic era of the legendary Super Hero. In contrast, Spider-Man Noir features a cunning and covert depiction of Spider-Man, who utilizes shadows to perform stealth takedowns in a 1930’s-Spiderman Shattered Dimensioninfluenced, black-and-white cinematic environment.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat enemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Penned by acclaimed Marvel comic book writer Dan Slott, the story takes players on a mission to capture the magical energy of the Tablet of Order and Chaos, which has been shattered and scattered across parallel universes. Gamers are challenged to battle fan-favorite villains such as the lethal Kraven and a custom, never-before-seen Noir version of Hammerhead, in a quest to restore the fabric of reality.

UbisoftMontreal Ubisoft has released a video wrap-up from their live Splinter Cell: Conviction competition which was held this past weekend in Toronto. By the looks of it, a good time was had by all, especially the winners, who got to leave the competition Sam Fisher style, in a helicopter. Splinter Cell: Conviction is rated M by the ESRB and is slated for release on April 13 2010.

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Rogers Digital MediaTorontoRogers Digital Media and Brightcove Inc., the leading online video platform, today announced they have partnered to deliver a newly re-designed Citytv.com video theatre, which features a variety of locally-produced Citytv content along with exclusive full-length episodes of popular television shows including 30 Rock, The Bachelor and The Biggest Loser.

The new Citytv.com video theatre also utilized search technology from Endeca Technologies to improve the site’s overall search and navigation capabilities and the speed at which content is delivered.

“Brightcove and Endeca have enabled Citytv.com to rapidly introduce a scalable and flexible video experience that meets the evolving needs of our online audiences and deepens consumer engagement with our video content,” said Claude Galipeau, senior vice president of Rogers Digital Media. “At the same time, our new video theatre has furthered our video-related sales product offerings for advertisers.”

In re-launching on the Brightcove platform, Citytv.com now provides viewers throughout Canada with exclusive access to HD-quality full-length episodes of popular U.S. and Canadian television programs. With Brightcove, Citytv.com is able to deliver the highest quality user experience possible, as well as to extend the reach of its video content through Brightcove’s advanced social sharing capabilities. Brightcove’s ease of integration with leading advertising networks and servers also enables Citytv.com to introduce new monetization opportunities for its long and short-form video content. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th March 2010

New Games, Conferences, Roadshows and Interactive Museums Show That Canada Has It All

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver – Bill Mooney, a Vice President at Zynga and General Manager of FarmVille will deliver a keynote address at the 2010 Game Developers Conference™ Canada (GDC Canada). Additionally, a new set of featured speakers has been announced for the upcoming conference, which will address several key focal points for the event, including new distribution models, developing new global titles, and managing established franchises. Attendees will gain insights into new business opportunities with sessions addressing iPhone Games, Digital Distribution and Social Games alongside tracks focused on best practices in Game Design, Business/Production and Programming.

GDC Canada will return for a second year to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010. The Game Career Seminar also returns to GDC Canada as a one-day event for students and individuals who want to break into the videogame industry. GDC Canada is presented by Reboot Communications and UBM TechWeb Game Network, the organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference. Early registration discounts end tomorrow, Wednesday, March 31st.

A veteran game developer from such major game publishers as Activision and LucasArts, Bill Mooney joined San Francisco-based social games developer Zynga in 2008 and quickly became a Vice President at Zynga and GM of FarmVille. Mooney’s experience extends beyond the realm of videogame development, having worked for 5 years as a trial lawyer, as well as stints writing for television programs, both animation and live-action. At Zynga, Mooney helped develop the wildly popular Mafia Wars and FarmVille titles, helping to establish both franchises as pioneering social games.

Mooney’s keynote, entitled, “Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light,” will touch on the development of FarmVille and Mafia Wars, and the growing popularity and fanbase that has quickly ballooned to over 85 million active users. Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of the rapidly evolving social gaming space and where it is poised to go, and with insight into viral propagation across the world, the low barriers to entry which create agile competition, and the rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace.

“Bill’s keynote is a perfect fit for GDC Canada,” said Izora de Lillard, event director. “Zynga is at the forefront of an exciting gaming space, and the over 85 million players of FarmVille and Mafia Wars can attest to the future prospects of this genre. Mooney’s keynote illustrates the need for continued industry innovation that not only applies to the social gaming space but to the traditional gamer experience as well. GDC Canada will be a great opportunity to learn more about these trends along with how this thinking applies to the core tenets of game development.”

GDC Canada features a roster of speakers that are on the front lines of the technical innovation and business strategies needed to lead their studios to continued success. These featured speakers include:

— Jason Bailey, GM of Virtual Currencies, Adknowledge
Session: Social Games – 85 Million Farmers Can’t All Be Wrong

— Sinjin Bain, V.P. EAP – Worldwide Biz Dev, Electronic Arts
Session: Ask The Decision Makers -Find Out What Publishers Want and How to Get What You Want

— Stephen Hill, 3D Technical Lead, Ubisoft
Session: Rendering with Conviction Read the rest of this entry »

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29th March 2010

Bioware Celebrates Fifteen

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of Bioware Bazaar. Officially open on April 6th, the Bazaar is comprised of a “week-long series of mock online auctions that will feature over 400 items ranging from custom painted PC’s, Alienware laptops, BioWare apparel and more!” Coincidentally, April 6 is also the launch date for the next bit of DLC for Mass Effect 2. Kasumi’s Stolen Memory will be available for 560 Microsoft Points and will feature new crew member Kasumi Goto, new missions and a sweet new weapon – the sound-suppressed Locust SMG, a new achievement and a flash-bang loyalty power.

According to the Bazaar info page, in order “to bid on these items, fans will need to collect tokens through various challenges. The first auction begins at 9 AM PST on Tuesday, April 6th, with new items being made available every 15 minutes, ending 4 PM PST Saturday, April 10th. So tell your friends, start collecting tokens, and get ready to win some amazing prizes!” You can read the full Rules of Engagement on the Bioware Bazaar rules page. Happy Birthday, Bioware!

Canada 3.0 2010Stratford – The Canada 3.0 2010 forum slated for May 10-11 will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making it possible for “anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017”. The second annual forum will bring together the people who can make that happen from industry, government and academia for a two-day event intended to boost Canada’s ability to lead in the digital economy.

“We’ve set this ‘Moonshot’ that might sound impossible, just as putting a man on the moon once sounded impossible, but it is attainable if we harness all the necessary resources and are fully committed to making this happen,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal centre of excellence in commercialization and research. “While the sun is setting on some more traditional industries, there are many opportunities worth shooting for in digital media spanning all aspects of our economy.”

Kevin Newman, Anchor and Executive Editor of Global National, will emcee the main plenary sessions. Keynote speakers and panelists include: Tony Chapman, Founder & CEO of branding and advertising agency Capital C; Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation; Helen McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada; Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO of entrepreneurship community Sprouter.com; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and more to be announced soon.

“This event is critically important to Canada as we re-evaluate our economic foundation,” said Newman. “All sectors of our economy, including our creative artists and storytellers, need to understand the emerging keys to success in an increasingly competitive global economy and culture.”

Staged once again at the Rotary Complex in Stratford, the forum features a select group of speakers in the main plenary session with opportunity for attendee discussion and input in a broader range of breakout sessions and workshops.

Canada 3.0 2010 will build on the momentum created at last year’s forum that attracted some 1500 people, and will have a broad scope given that digital media is defined by organizers as ‘anything created or shared virtually’. The line-up of forum ‘streams’ is led by heavy-hitters in the digital media sector. Topics include:

* Imagining – Global best practices: What does Canada do well? What should Canada be doing?
– Chaired by – Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text Corporation; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and Ian Wilson, Executive Director, University of Waterloo Stratford Institute
* Empowering – Networks, infrastructure and mobility
– Chaired by – René Barsalo, Director Research and Strategy, Society for Arts and Technology, Montreal; Michele Perras, Director of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre; and David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2010

Games For History and Games For The Near Future

On The Path of the EldersThanks to the financial support of Canadian Heritage, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inukshuk Fund and all the project partners, ‘On the Path of the Elders‘ launched as a complete site this past week with a party at the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Terry Hoganson, member of BlackCherry Digital Media, described the event as magical: “It was amazing to have all of these people, who have dedicated countless hours and limitless energy into making On the Path of the Elders a reality, come together and share their stories.”Path of the Elders RPG

Speakers at the celebratory launch included Mr. John Mark Seck, president of BlackCherry Digital Media, Stan Louttit of Neh Naak Ko, Greg Spence of the Mushkegowuk Council, Dr. Kimberly Matheson, Carleton University Vice-President (Research and International), Franziska von Rosen of Our Incredible World (formally Pinegrove Productions), Dr. Elaine Keillor and Dr. John Medicine Horse Kelley Cle-alls, co-directors of Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education, known as CIRCLE.

For those who are not familiar with On The Path Of The Elders, it is a free online educational resource exploring the culture and history of the Mushkegowuk Cree and Anishinaabe Ojibway of Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario, and the signing of Treaty No. 9. Ideal for youth aged 13-17, Path of the Elders reconnects Aboriginal youths with their past, while developing leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.


IUGOIUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a few preliminary screenshots (click thumbnails for a better view) for the first round of Zombie Attack Second Wave XLtitles they will be releasing for the iPad, which will hit stores in just a few more days. Note that all iPad games from IUGO have the XL designation in their title, separating them from their smaller siblings which were built for the iPhone.

For Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL, players will be getting a brand new character, enhanced graphics and a brand new, very cool and intuitive user interface. The Zombie Attack series are a tower defense game where the player is the only survivor of a recent zombie apocalypse. You must destroy the waves of zombie attackers in order to upgrade your shack and weapons. Zombie Attack! Second Wave also makes use of the tilt feature to add to your game-play experience as you fight off the varying types of zombie creatures. You can also listen to your own music as you zap zombies because there is automatic iPod music support.

Cliffed XLMeanwhile over in Cliffed XL, players will have new backgrounds as well as new characters (in addition to the 18 already available), along with pumped up graphics. As you can see in the screenshot, players will be able to engage in head-to-head challenges on one device. Head-to-head play is available on the iPhone version, which allows up to four players to race to the bottom over a WiFi, 3G or Edge connection. With global leader boards, you will find yourself experiencing the “one more time” effect as you race to take over as the worldwide leader of Cliffed. Very addictive. Just sayin’.
Implode XL
Implode! XL will lead to total destruction on a larger scale. For those not familiar with this incredibly addictive game, you have been given the task of destroying old, obsolete buildings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each building requires the careful placement of dynamite bundles, and if you get it wrong, the building does not Implode in the manner it should. There are currently three levels of challenge – Casual, Veteran, and Expert, with three bomb types: traditional, blast and directional with more bomb styles to become available in the future. IUGO has designed a new super slick user interface for this chalkboard styled game – and exclusive to the iPad version is an editor. Both iPhone and iPad users will also receive all-new levels, giving players well over 100 levels to puzzle their way through, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Norm's World Escape XLNew to both the iPhone and iPad is ESCAPE: Norm’s World. Exclusive to the iPad for this puzzle game will be two player interaction with two modes. Gamers will be able to take their friends on in either head to head (see screenshot) or co-op play. Also exclusive to the iPad will be some very cool 3D graphics. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is a game which due to its unique design, offers an endless array of levels and puzzles. There will be two additional difficulty modes which will be introduced through DLC, and this game will also feature simple controls, making it user friendly for all ages. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is also comprised of minimalist graphics and unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects. So remember that while the puzzles may be driving your mind crazy, your psyche is being calmed by the soothing audio.

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26th March 2010

The Canada Media Fund Webcast Made My Head Hurt

Orby - Proud to be CanadianI listened to the Town Hall webcast of the official launch and question period earlier today, and to be honest, as a non-developer, all of the policy is making my head hurt. Kudos to those of you who work with policies and documents such as the Canada Media Fund and understand all of the application processes. Please read on to learn more about today’s CMF announcements – I put it at the end of today’s post so that your minds wouldn’t be frazzled before you could take in the rest of the day’s news from our great Canadian digital media industry. See? There is a method to my Gemini madness…

CanpagesVancouverCanPages has extended their API contest deadline to April 12 2010, so all of you developers out there still have time to enter. All entered applications must be showcased in a video for judging and four finalists will be decided by popular vote. Those final four app entries will be judged by an internal panel of Canpages.ca executives who will determine the $5,000 Grand Prize winner. All applications will be showcased on Canpages.ca, and the final application winners will showcase their app video at DemoCamp Vancouver. dimeRocker

If you haven’t tried the dimeRocker site yet, or want to know how to get started on games using it in conjunction with Unity3D, check out dimeRocker’s PDF Getting Started tutorial. If you are working on a Facebook game but aren’t sure how to get it published, the folks at dimeRocker can help you with that too. Yesterday they published a deployment tutorial which is so easy to follow even I understood it. Now if I could just draw and animate…

Untold EntertainmentUntold Entertainment recently opened a new site dedicated to the best in free flash word games. Enter Word Game World. What makes this new portal different from other free Word Game Worldgame portals is that each game is curated. Speaking on the Untold blog, Ryan Creighton said that every game is tested and properly classified in a word game sub-category. Visitors to the site can choose their favourite type of word game to play and easily find a free, quality title to enjoy. The games even work properly. Untold Entertainment is also developing a new word game title SpellCaster which, according to their site, will combine word-building with a fantastic story, packed with colorful characters, humour, danger, and a magical menagerie of monsters. I was privileged to get a look at an earlier title that Untold had been working on and had lots of fun with it, so I am definitely looking forward to having a go at SpellCaster.

Canadian Video Game AwardsDon’t forget that nominations for the Canadian VideoGame and Digital Arts Awards close on March 31st. Nominations for 2009 titles are free, so what’s holding you back? Get your nominations in today! In related news, GDC Canada has announced more speaker sessions for the May 6 – 7 conference taking place in Vancouver. A sample of the newly added GDC Canada 2010sessions:

* Evolving Episodic for a Growing Digital Audience with Dan Connors (CEO, Telltale Games)
* Forza Motorsport 3 Audio: Design, Process and Pipeline with Greg Shaw (Audio Director, Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft) and Mike Caviezel (Audio Designer, Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft)
* Social Games – 85 Million Farmers Can’t All be Wrong with Jason Bailey (GM of Virtual Currencies, Adknowledge)

Early Bird passes are only available until March 31st, so if you haven’t reserved yours, you should ideally do so within the next few days. Check out the session schedule (note that more sessions may yet be announced) Stir Fry Gamesand then make plans to attend the second GDC Canada conference in Vancouver this spring.

Stir Fry Games has released a new trailer for the PC version of their XBox Live Indie Games title SFG Soccer, an arcade-style sports game featuring 64 customizable teams and tournament play. Both PC and 360 versions of SFG Soccer are available now for purchase, plus you can try the demo before buying the full game. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th March 2010

Strategies, Communities and Software Launches

VancouverAnnexPro has announced two upcoming events to celebrate the launch of Autodesk 2011 software and Autodesk Smoke 2011 for Mac OS X. The first event is being held on April 27th from 10am to 6pm. “Seize the Opportunity with Autodesk 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation Software” is a free all-day event which will be held at the Scotiabank Theatre on Burrard [at Smithe], with specialized tracks for Game Developers and Post-Production. At the end of the day there will be a customer appreciation reception with cold beer, soft drinks and tasty snacks.

The second event is a virtual event directly from Autodesk. ‘Seize the Opportunity at the Autodesk Virtual Event” is comprised of 3 sessions for Digital Entertainment Creation software including Smoke for Mac OS X along with sessions for building, engineering and more. Please see the event listing at Autodesk for details and registration. This virtual event will run on April 19th from 7am – 2pm Pacific Time.

TransGamingTorontoTransGaming, Inc. and Ubisoft®  have collaborated with TransGaming to bring The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™ video game to Mac® via TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine. TransGaming, a leading developer of portability technologies for the electronic entertainment industry, brings the Mac version of The Settlers 7 Paths to a Kingdom simultaneously with the PC release to both traditional retailers and online merchants including, GameTreeOnline.com. This new global release extends TransGaming’s partnership with Ubisoft, that includes Prince of Persia® and Shaun The Settlers 7 Paths To A KingdomWhite titles, and continues the collaboration of bringing great video game content to the Mac community.

The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning strategy game, The Settlers®: Rise of an Empire, The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom will also offer an exclusive Gold/Collector edition of the game available for purchase via download only. The standard and Gold/Collector editions are available immediately for consumers to purchase and download.

“We are pleased to bring another great Ubisoft game to the Mac, and the simultaneous deployment could only be made possible through our Cider engine,” commented Vikas Gupta, President & CEO of TransGaming, Inc. “Settlers is an award winning franchise, and I’m sure the Mac community will be thrilled to have access to this great new release through both retail channels and GameTreeOnline.com.”

“Ubisoft is excited about the simultaneous multiplatform release of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™,” said Carrie Tice, Senior Director of Strategic Sales & Partnerships at Ubisoft. “The partnership with TransGaming to bring our titles to the Mac allows us to expand our business and serve the growing Mac gaming community with new and exciting game releases.”

The standard edition is priced at $49.99 and is available via digital download and at retailers, with the exclusive Gold/Collector edition only available via digital download for $59.99. In addition to the standard edition game play, the Gold/Collector edition provides exclusive unlockable content for consumers, including: one exclusive map, the original soundtrack of the game and additional castle forge elements – including a gate, balcony, bay, gargoyle and two windows – allowing players to customize their castles and make their cities unique

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure has announced their latest title, Chess Challenge! for the Wii. According to the title’s info page, patience will be key going up against the Chess Challengebest players from around the world with Chess Challenge! Perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes or using the Nintendo ® Wi-Fi Connection service to start climbing the worldwide rankings. Win online matches and even see how your chess rating stacks up against the world by viewing the online Leaderboard.

If you don’t have time to play your friends in a live chess game, Chess Challenge! also lets you play up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24. With full Mii support you can really bring your games to life! Start off practicing on some casual games, and work your way up to fully ELO rated matches. With all of these gameplay options you have some serious chess action awaiting you! Read the rest of this entry »

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24th March 2010

Mobility Is The Keyword Of The Day

Mass Effect 2I spent part of last evening playing through the new Firewalker DLC pack for Mass Effect 2, and overall I am very happy with it. I like once again having a vehicle to race around in, and I’m hoping that these five new missions was a test drive for more yet to come. Being able to use the Hammerhead hover tank to gather minerals and elements is much more engaging than scanning planets from the Normandy and lobbing probes at said planets.

While the new missions were not terribly interactive in regards to characters and were lacking in battle scenes, one cannot argue against there being value for the money. The Firewalker pack is free to those who have the Cerberus Network option, and really, any chance to experience more game play in Mass Effect 2 is a bonus. I am aware that some gamers felt that the Hover TankHammerhead didn’t have enough tank armour, but as far as I’m concerned, it was just fine. I am notorious for having my vehicles blow up, and I only lost my tank once – apparently it cannot hover over lava pits. Oops. The tank’s light armour simply means that the player must be smarter about picking fights and defeating the Geth, which to me adds another level of game play and strategy. I think that Bioware’s DLC mission team did a great job with this pack; now all they need to do is make it so that more planets can be visited with the tank and keep adding more DLC. I am definitely looking forward to the next pack, Stolen Memory, which will be available in just a couple of weeks.

CG ConMontréalEd Hooks will be presenting his one day course “Acting for Animators” at CG Con – The White Conference in Montréal on Friday, April 23rd. CG Con features 3 days of master classes by world-leading masters in film and video-game in areas such as Digital Animation, Digital Modeling and Digital Painting & Concept Art. The Early Bird conference price of $299.00 (students $239.20) is available until March 28, when ticket prices will go up to $399.00. The conference takes place April 23 – 25 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

CG Con will also be presenting The North American Roadshow in Vancouver on Saturday, May 8th. The venue and speaker list have not yet been announced, but tickets will be $100.00 each, or $80.00 for students and CG Society members.

StyleTapTorontoStyleTap Inc. today announced the release of StyleTap Platform for iPhone®, which allows over 30,000 applications originally written for Palm OS® to run on iPhone and iPod touch® devices.StyleTap iPhone App

“We have found that many users and businesses have made very large investments in acquiring and developing mobile applications, and these applications have been enhanced and refined to fit their needs like a glove,” said Gregory Sokoloff, CEO of StyleTap. “With all the new smartphone platforms, users are reluctant to lock themselves into one platform or to make the same investment over and over for each new platform. StyleTap’s cross-platform family of products can help make these problems go away.

“Naturally, we would prefer to be able to offer this product through the App Store, but unfortunately this is not currently possible due to Apple’s restrictive policies, and instead this version of StyleTap will run on jailbroken devices. Although there are many useful and entertaining applications available through the Apple App Store, we continue to receive a flood of emails from users telling us that they need StyleTap in order to keep running the applications, not available on the App Store, that are critical to their lives and businesses.”

StyleTap Platform for iPhone supports standard features that include TCP/IP networking, audio recording and playback, the ability to use the multi-gigabyte storage as a virtual memory card, and cut/copy/paste of text between native and Palm OS applications. It also provides innovative capabilities such as giving Palm OS applications access to the iPhone GPS by providing location information in standard GPS NMEA format. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd March 2010

Finding Direction In Canada’s Digital Compass Competition

Toon BoomMontrealToon Boom has released a new version of their Flip Boom Classic animation software. Version 4 now has sound recording ability, so users can add their own voices and sound effects to their animations. Flip Boom Classic 4 is designed primarily for kids who would like to learn computer animation, and today’s new release comes with Easter templates as well as a full tutorial. Flip Boom Classic 4 can be purchased online for only $39.99.

PricewaterhouseCoopersToronto – All signs point to a digital transformation in the way we do business, our lifestyles and the global economy. As Canada tries to find its footing in the digital industry, today PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has launched Canada’s Digital Compass – a ‘crowdsourcing’ competition that will ask Canadians to help define the nation’s role in the future digital economy.

Canada’s Digital Compass will draw a community of Canadians who are passionate about digital transformation to submit and vote on ideas that could help position Canada to lead the digital economy. Weekly competitions will take place on five topic areas and winners from each competition will participate in a final showdown on May 4, 2010 where the top three ideas will be chosen. The three winners will be awarded tickets to the Canada 3.0 conference at the University of Waterloo on May 10-11, 2010 where their submissions could be presented to attendees.

“The best ideas are developed by collaborating with others and Canada’s Digital Compass is a crowdsourcing initiative which is built on this principle,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC. “Canada is home to some of the brightest minds in the digital space and this program will allow a community of digital enthusiasts to contribute, critique and build upon ideas that will help Canada lead in the digital realm.”

In addition to community involvement, a panel of digital experts will also weigh in on the submissions and will assist in selecting the top three winners. Their decisions will be based on the ideas with the most community votes and how well each submission aligns with the three measures of success:  economic potential, how it fits with Canada’s capabilities and how it reflects Canada’s values.

“The panel is comprised of experts from a wide range of industry backgrounds and will play an important part in the campaign,” says Riley. “Along with feedback from the community, the panelists will inject valuable insights on the submissions based on their expertise.”

The panel of judges includes:

– Mike Kirkup, Director of Developer Relations, Research In Motion (RIM)
– Jacob Glick, Policy Counsel, Google
– Barbara Bailie, Director of Interactive, Astral Television Networks
– Olivier Vincent, President and CEO, Canpages
– Jerry Brown, Associate Partner, Consulting and Deals, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Weekly Competitions and Subjects:

– Technology – March 16 – 29, 2010
– Education – March 30 – April 5, 2010
– Media Production – April 6 – 12, 2010
– Connectivity – April 13 – 19, 2010
– Policy Development – April 20 – 26, 2010

Best Buy CanadaSurreyBest Buy Canada will be celebrating the grand opening of its new South Surrey store beginning Friday, March 26 at 15760 Croydon Drive, Surrey, B.C. (at Grandview Corners). The grand opening specials and $500 daily Gift Card giveaways are also included at all Lower Mainland Best Buy locations!

Grand Opening Weekend Schedule of Events:

Friday, March 26, 2010

– Before 9:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 9:45 am: Cheque presentations: $2,500 to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver and $2,500 to Big Sisters B.C. Lower Mainland
– 9:30 am: $20,000 cheque presentation from Monster Cable to Olympic Gold Medalist Chandra Crawford for Fast & Female
– 5 – 7 pm: Iron Man meet and greet Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd March 2010

Awesome United Front Feature on Game Trailers

United Front GamesVancouver – As stated in the title, Game Trailers has published a very nice look inside at United Front Games. We have a few friends who work there, and it’s always great to see their talent getting recognized out on the world stage. We don’t yet have a PS3 because it would put a huge dent in our meager budget, but if we did, UFG’s debut title Modnation Racers would definitely be at the top of our Want list.

Warner Brothers Interactive EntertainmentMontreal – As announced this morning by Québec Premier Jean Charest and the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Clément Gignac, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) will establish a development studio in Québec. The announcement was made in the presence of Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal; Martin Tremblay, President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; and Jacques Daoust, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. The Premier also announced a $7.5 million non-refundable contribution from Investissement Québec for the creation of the studio.

This new studio will gradually grow to include more than 300 people by the end of 2015. This approach, which privileges the company’s progressive development, will facilitate the recruiting of new graduates for the Montreal studio and will maintain the labour balance in the Québec video game industry.

“We are proud that Warner Bros. has chosen Québec. We have done a lot of work to position Quebec as an essential place to invest that is competitive, and possesses an exceptional and highly qualified workforce. Warner Bros. has acknowledged this and we are very excited to welcome them”, stated Premier Charest.

The Montréal subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which is headquartered in Burbank, California, will house various departments in the same studio, such as high-end interactive gaming product development, digital and cinematographic animation, quality assurance of products developed by the Montréal studio, as well as the adaptation and translation of its products
into various languages.

“With our workforce’s outstanding skill and creativity, Warner Bros. will distribute all around the world multilingual products developed, translated, and adapted right here in Québec. The establishment of this studio will certainly contribute to the consolidation and the integration of Quebec’s videogame industry, which is always ready to take on new challenges” noted Minister Gignac.

“With its creative workforce specialized in digital media and its renowned universities, Québec is the perfect place to develop our new products and technologies. The Government of Québec’s tax credits and other incentives made Montréal the right location for our studio at this time. Montréal, with its wealth of talent and highly affordable operating costs, is a wonderful place to continue to expand our growth in gaming. Martin Carrier, a local industry veteran who has been involved in the creation of WB Games in Montreal from the start, will assume for the coming weeks the role of coordinating the studio’s implementation. WB Games Montreal’s management structure will be
announced shortly.” said Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The Government of Québec boasts a range of measures to support the growth of the multimedia industry, which holds great promise for Québec’s economy. Financial partners for this project include Emploi-Québec and Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC). With this major investment, Warner Bros. will be able to take advantage of these measures and will notably be eligible for tax credits for the production of multimedia titles.

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22nd March 2010

Canadian Technology Taking Off In The Global Market

MIGS 2010The Montreal International Game Summit has put out its call for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. More congratulations are in order for the FIFA 10 development team, as the game picked up two BAFTA Game Awards this past Friday evening – one for Best Sports Title and the other for Best Use of Online. DreamCatcher Games and The Adventure Company have announced the release of new content on an updated website for Sherlock Holmes VS. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. You can check out new screenshots and a new trailer on the site, as Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripperwell as put in your pre-order at GameStop. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper will be in stores near the end of April and is rated T by the ESRB.

Kasumi GotoBioware has released more details about Kasumi Goto, the newest member of the Normandy’s crew in Mass Effect 2. Kasumi,  the galaxy’s most enigmatic and cunning master thief, will be introduced in the DLC pack Stolen Memory. In addition to being able to recruit Kasumi in all new missions, players will be able to utilize her special skills as a member of Commander Shepard’s squad throughout the entire game. In return for her help, Kasumi has asked for Commander Shepard’s help on a dangerous heist to infiltrate the vault of a deadly master criminal named Donovan Hock. Players must gain Kasumi’s loyalty on the planet Bekenstein, where Hock is throwing a party for some of the galaxy’s richest and most deranged criminal minds. The mission: recover data of great importance to Kasumi and the galaxy at large. In addition to this new mission, players will also receive a new research upgrade, one Hover Tanknew weapon, and a new achievement in this PDLC pack. The Kasumi – Stolen Memory PDLC pack will be available this April for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system at a cost of 560 Microsoft points, and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Don’t forget that tomorrow (March 23rd) will be the release date for the Firewalker DLC pack, which includes five heart-pounding missions taking place on five uncharted worlds. Players will be able to explore planets and engage in combat in the new Hammerhead hover-tank. The Firewalker pack will be available via the Cerberus Network console. Mass Effect 2 is rated M by the ESRB.

Toronto Comic ConToronto – Fans 10 and under attending Toronto Comic Con, March 26-28, 2010, at the Direct Energy Centre will receive a free Gogos Crazy Bones toy, courtesy of Toronto-based Irwin Toy. The popular items will be distributed while supplies last at the Registration area upon arrival.

Gogos Crazy Bones are a collectible, mini game toy sensation. They are small, colorful figures whose gaming origins date back to Ancient Greece, where children played by bouncing and throwing knuckle bones. These more refined, plastic characters are available in the hundreds, each one having a unique face and name.

“We are pleased to be providing free Gogos Crazy Bones right in our backyard at Toronto Comic Con,” said Gogos Crazy BonesPeter Irwin, Irwin Toys. “It is extremely special for Irwin Toys to participate in the inaugural show here, since Gareb has been a family friend for as long as my father and I can remember.”

Gogos Crazy Bones was named the 2009 British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) Collectible Toy of the Year. The characters have recently been hugely popular in Europe and Australia and were first a big hit in the U.S. more than a decade ago, when 31.5 million packages were sold from 1998-2000.

“Having an international sensation like Gogos Crazy Bones available free to kids is a great bonus for Toronto Comic Con attendees,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard Entertainment CEO. “It’s particularly gratifying to be partnering with Irwin Toy, which in addition to being based in Toronto, has been a leader in the industry for more than 80 years.” Read the rest of this entry »

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