ESA Canada has submitted ten recommendations to Canada’s federal government for a national digital economy strategy in a paper entitled Game On, Canada! Playing to Win in the Digital Economy (PDF). This paper covers a number of issues critical to Canadian competitiveness. Taken together, these solutions would not only benefit the Canadian video game industry, but would position Canada as a more competitive jurisdiction in which to invest.
This 22 page report outlines not only the importance of talent development and improving the digital literacy of current and future generations, it also speaks to the very important issue of access to capital and widening the scope of such areas as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development grants. The recommendations also include suggestions in regards to current copyright laws and access to affordable, high quality broadband nationwide. There are many excellent points raised in this ESAC paper, and is an excellent springboard for further discussion about the future of the interactive digital media industry in Canada.
Good luck to the three Canadian-developed games which were named to the 2010 Microsoft XNA Dream Build Play competition: The Shadows in the Underworld, DualityZF and Capsized. Finalists should be announced by Microsoft in the next few weeks. Congratulations to EA Sports’ FIFA 10 on being named to the World Cyber Games official tournament list for the 2010 season.
If you’re going to be in the Toronto area on June 4th, the Branded Content Summit is something you may want to look at attending. The Branded Content Summit (BCS) will bring people together from marketing, advertising, content production and media to better understand trends, share ideas and learn how to profit from the shift towards branded content. Also of interest is Northern Voice, which will be held out here in Vancouver on May 7th & 8th. The Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference has released its schedule of speakers and registration is now open.
If you’re an over-19 gamer in the Vancouver area, check out EXP’s first big event this coming Friday night at the VFS Cafe. There will be several gaming stations set up and tournaments will abound. There will be some great prizes offered – but only those who RSVP via the event’s FaceBook page will gain admittance.+
Kitchener – IGLOO Software today announced the launch of the industry’s first Social Media Playbook. This free resource is an invaluable tool for anyone implementing social software solutions – inside the organization, to improve employee productivity, or outside, to enhance stakeholder engagement. The Playbook offers four core community building resources:
1. Step-by-Step Wiki Guide – browse, search and even contribute content to the over 150 pages of educational material, and learn how to best use proven community building methodologies.
2. Resource Library – view and download resources such as white papers, videos, podcasts, presentations and workbooks to support an online community building project.
3. Expert Bloggers – learn from industry experts as they blog on relevant business social media topics of the day.
4. Best Practice Forums – participate in online discussions focused on specific issues, challenges, innovations or topics related to the community building process.
“But successful adoption of social technologies still requires a strategy and plan. The Playbook helps companies implement new and innovative ways to overcome the technical, operational and cultural barriers that will prevent stakeholder adoption.”
IGLOO was established in 2004 as an online network to facilitate collaboration between researchers at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The initial methodology behind the Social Media Playbook was born from that experience and enhanced over the past four years with contributions from the IGLOO customer community. In its current form, the Playbook is comprised of five unique chapters:
1. Plan. The planning phase outlines the building blocks for the conception and ideation of a successful online community implementation.
2. Design. The design & build phase includes mapping information taxonomies, permissions, roles, security, as well as the interface design and branding.
3. Launch. The launch phase outlines the marketing activities an organization can employ to attract, encourage, sign up and retain members.
4. Manage. The manage phase involves the allocation and management of resources in order to execute against the community’s goals and objectives.
5. Grow. The growth phase focuses on monitoring, measuring and managing change as the community evolves.
“While the benefits of social technology can be significant, firms need to manage the challenges of driving adoption, realizing true business value and managing risk,” said Rob Koplowitz, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.
The Social Media Playbook is open to share, copy, distribute and transmit under ‘Creative Commons licensing (cc)’ with attribution back to IGLOO Software. The launch of the Playbook will be marked by a live webinar held on Thursday, April 15 at 2pm ET.
“Consumer social networks, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are reshaping our thinking around effective collaboration and knowledge sharing in business,” said Dan Latendre, CEO of IGLOO Software. “But successful adoption of social technologies still requires a strategy and plan. The Playbook helps companies implement new and innovative ways to overcome the technical, operational and cultural barriers that will prevent stakeholder adoption.”
Montreal – Ubisoft announced today that free content for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™ will be made available to gamers every Thursday, beginning tomorrow April 15. Owners of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction will be able to spice up their Splinter Cell experience with a ton of free content. New weapons, skins and even a brand new Deniable Ops map will be released every week. Each new piece of downloadable content will be available for FREE, providing you own Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction. To gain access to the free content, select “Extras” from the game’s main menu. This week’s free content is a new gun, the MP7A1 Machine Pistol.
Also released today is the latest Wii gameplay trailer for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Toronto – Animated Media Inc. (AMI) today announced that its VGK Platform for Apple Mobile Devices is compliant with the recent change in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. AMI’s flagship product, the VGK platform, and our World Interface Modules (WIMs) act as a bridge between Flash content and the Apple devices, and does not use a virtual machine, interpreted code, or compiled scripting language. AMI’s experienced application and system level developers architected the VGK platform in a unique way to solve ActionScript’s inefficiency of execution speed and memory requirements by implementing the equivalent code in Apple’s native Objective-C, C, C++, and OS APIs. By removing the ActionScript engine, the memory footprint is a fraction of what it was and the performance is dramatically improved. These factors result in an efficient native iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad application that runs faster and preserves battery life.
Chris Brady, AMI’s CEO says “when we first implemented the VGK platform on the iPhone in September 2009, and beta-tested it in the Toronto Flash developer community, there was a lot of discussion if apps created using the VGK platform would pass Apple’s licensing requirements. AMI analyzed how Flash content was primarily used on mobile devices, recognized the enormous potential for displaying Flash animations on the iPhone, and designed our VGK platform to be able to do just that by using the native APIs.”
There are a large number of content owners that have existing Flash animations that play in a deterministic way and do not require user interaction. By using the VGK platform, these content owners can put their existing Flash content onto the iPhone, as it exists, and without the need to re-author using the new Adobe Creative Suite 5. No keyboard, no problem! The VGK platform includes virtual keyboard support to translate simple touch screen movement into the expected keystrokes to control an animation’s simple operation. High performance graphics rendering is accomplished by using the OpenGL ES 2.0 API.
Toronto – Incubator Games has launched Kelvin’s Space Ranch, a game project which was developed for Science Alberta. Kelvin’s Space Ranch is built on the Unity platform, and is free to play. You can check out Incubator’s post-mortem dev blog for the project on their web site.
According to stats released by VFS, this year’s Game Design Expo drew a crowd of nearly 400 to the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre and VFS’s Game Design campus for an informative and memorable weekend about the dynamic, fast-changing game industry. The audience represented a near-even mix of game industry professionals and aspiring game designers, but they all had one thing in common: they care about games. And for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of games, the weekend had lots to offer.
Beginning with a day of spirited talks at Saturday’s Industry Speaker Day, the audience was treated to presentations covering game design and development from just about every angle. United Front Games’ William Ho delved into user-generated content (through the lens of the upcoming ModNation Racers, which attendees could try for themselves at kiosks right outside), and BioWare’s Armando Troisi lifted the cover off of Mass Effect 2, one of the most well-received games in recent memory. The audience also got an exclusive glimpse of gameplay from Blue Castle Games’ Dead Rising 2 (due late August), the sequel to the original Capcom blockbuster, and talks from Propaganda Games’ Chris Whiteside, Obsidian Entertainment’s Matt MacLean, and Big Sandwich Games’ Tyler Sigman.
Industry Speaker Day culminated in a lively panel on The Future of Gaming. Moderated by Reviews on the Run co-host Scott Jones, six industry leaders, representing mobile and casual game creators and developers of AAA titles alike, discussed everything from interfaces to innovations in distribution to the boom in social networking games. “Now we’re making games for people who don’t call themselves ‘gamers’,” said BigPark Gameplay Producer Jay Balmer. “We’re exploding in all directions.” Trent Shumay of Finger Food Studios agreed: “The reality is that the market is expanding.”
On Sunday, VFS opened the doors to its acclaimed one-year Game Design program, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as one of the schools most favoured by game industry recruiters. Attendees took sample classes taught by VFS instructors, played student-created games, heard from alumni, and enjoyed an arcade of hit games on which VFS graduates have worked.
The Open House – and the weekend – also featured the unveiling of Vancouver Film School’s $30,000 Women in Games Scholarship, which covers one aspiring female game designer’s full tuition to VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program. Details on three other scholarships, ranging in value from $2,500 to $7,000 and sponsored by G4, Annex Pro, and Radical Entertainment were revealed as well.
VFS also used the event to launch the 2010 edition of its report, The Game Industry: Now & in the Future, exploring the facts, trends, and outlook guiding the game industry forward. This report is available for download as a PDF.
Many thanks to the following event sponsors who helped make the 2010 Game Design Expo a hit: G4techTV, Annex Pro, Radical Entertainment, Biz Books, Entertainment Consumers Association, Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver, NextGen Player, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver ACM Siggraph, and Women in Games Vancouver.
Infinity Field System – Coming to ACE Online is the Infinity Field. It is a raid instance system where the players must build a team to take on a challenge that they select. With the release of the Episode 3.3 patch, we will be releasing the first area of the Infinity Field called the “Kreacian Holy Lands”. This region is a basically a battle of survival against the Kreacian Dragons. These dragons are of a whole new breed of boss monsters and are capable of things which the older bosses cannot do. Fighting here is difficult but it does have excellent payouts if you can weather the storm!
Infinity Field NPC Vendor – Coming with the Infinity Field is its Vendor. Although it can be considered as part of the new Infinity Field System, it does have items that can be used outside the Infinity Field. To purchase these items you would have to collect Orbs inside the Infinity Field. The items this Vendor sells can only be purchased with these Orbs. The items range from healing items to special Infinity Field only items which can powerup your combat potential or even protect you from the hazards in the Infinity Field.
Full Formation Bonuses – Flying in formation has never been more useful. Before, there were strategic reasons for flying in formation with little benefits. Even more, there were even less benefits in to which formation pattern to fly in. Now if you fly in a full formation you can receive special buffs when you fly in the various formations. It has to be a full team though or else you’re stuck on your own.
Tier 8 Slot Machine armors – Four new sets of armors, the Venom Veil for the B-Gear, the Stiletto Binder for the I-Gear, the Sledge Guarder for the A-Gear, and the Scorpion Defender for the M-Gear these armors are blessed with the power of the stars. The Zodiac, Capricorn, grants this veil with additional Attack Power and a pierce system is included.
Burnaby – Future Shop and the David Suzuki Foundation have announced the official launch of two online campaigns that will help Future Shop customers, employees and the Canadian public save power and make greener choices at home and in the workplace. The two campaigns are Future Shop’s Acts of Green contest and the David Suzuki Foundations Amazing Workplace Race. The two online campaigns will be aimed at encouraging Canadians to reduce their energy consumption at home through conservation tips and smart purchasing choices, as well as promoting greener workplace practices using online resources and a national workplace competition.
On April 20th, the David Suzuki Foundation is launching an online competition aimed at promoting greener workplace behaviours. Participating employees across Canada will be eligible to win prizes donated by Future Shop simply by doing something good for the planet where they work and reporting their behaviours via an innovate online tool developed by the Foundation and Good Energy. The competition is supported by David Suzuki Office Essentials: Green Your Workplace toolkit, an interactive educational resource that helps offices save money and the environment. The e-learning module was a joint project between the David Suzuki Foundation and Canadian technology company MindMuze, who created the program using Shift, an innovative development tool that allows anyone to create eLearning courses quickly and easily.
Toronto – TD today announced that its free mobile app is now available to download onto iPhone and iPod touch devices. The TD mobile app gives personal and small business banking customers the ability to securely bank on-the-move, and insurance and wealth management clients the ability to easily connect to TD all through one app. In addition, a North American TD Locator makes it easy to find TD in both Canada and the U.S. – where customers can access their TD accounts without incurring any ATM fees at more than 5,000 TD ATMs on both sides of the border.
“Our new app means TD will be available to our customers everywhere – at home, in meetings, out of town, on public transit, wherever – and we want to provide the services they want when they need it,” said Joan Dal Bianco, Vice President, Online Channel, TD. “Today’s launch reinforces TD’s commitment to offer our customers enhanced mobile services.”