GDC Canada  has revealed a new set of sessions and networking opportunities tailored to game developers managing established franchises, developing new global titles, and looking to take advantage of new distribution models. GDC Canada 2010 will also present content for professionals looking to develop successful franchises for consoles, iPhone and digitally distributed platforms. The second annual conference is returning to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010 and kicks off with the official opening night party at 8pm on May 5, which is being sponsored by Epic.
The newly-announced sessions from the 2010 GDC Canada are geared towards established studio as well as first time publishers who are grappling with legal and business development strategies needed to identify commercially successful projects in emerging game spaces.
These featured sessions include:
Bringing Your Game to the Web – 73 Practical Tips with Bjarne Rene (Managing Director, Vostopia.com), Tore Birkeland (Technical Director, Vostopia.com)
Console Games – New Realities Require New Strategies to Win with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive), Kelly Zmak (Former GM, Radical Entertainment), Adel Chaveleh (TimeGate Studios, Inc.), Dan Tudge (VP and General Manager, Propaganda Games), Dan Winters (VP Developer Relations, Activision Blizzard)
Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Founder and General Partner, Vanedge Capital)
One Year in the App Store: A Case Study of Backflip Studios with Julian Farrior (CEO / Founder, Backflip Studios)
Tax Credits: How Does This Affect My Decision on Where and How to Produce a Game? with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive)
In addition to the two days of sessions, GDC Canada offers the ideal venue for studio heads, developers and investors to come together and discuss business. Towards that end, GDC Canada 2010 is introducing the Business to Business Lounge, supported by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The lounge is a place for industry business development professionals, fellow developers and leading tool vendors to make deals and network. To help further initiate these important business connections, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service can facilitate introductions between investors and domestic and international developers.
Tomorrow is the last day to benefit from the Early Bird ticket price for the next Innovation Camp  which takes place May 29th & 30th in Vancouver. Innovation Camp offers hands-on learning opportunities which engage learners through real life situations and challenges their assumptions, connects ideas, embraces failure and sees problems as opportunities for creative solutions in order to take any entrepreneurial venture to the next step.
The Canada Media Fund  (CMF) is proud to support HotDocs 2010, and you are invited to join them at the festival on Monday, May 3rd at 4 p.m. ET for a micro session on CMF programs and funding with Policy Analyst Neal McDougall. The session will be held in Room 323 at Victoria College in Toronto from 4 – 5pm.
The CMF has also announced that the English POV Programme Application Form is now available  for those who wish to apply for CMF funding, and an outreach session  will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13th from 1:00pm – 3:30pm to provide applicants with details regarding the 2010-2011 guidelines for funding and to answer questions.
The May 13th meeting will be led by Nathalie Clermont, Director, CMF Program Management, along with Roxane Girard, Director, CMF Program Administrator | Telefilm Canada, Francesca Accinelli, Director, English Market, and Stéphane Cosentino, Interim Director, French Market.
INPlay  has announced two preschool-focused sessions for the May 18-19th conference. Joining the schedule  is Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, whose topic Preschool Play and Games, will take attendees into the minds of pre-schoolers and show how to incorporate developmental psychology research into the games we build. This session will provide an overview on how preschoolers develop, why research is important when designing for this age group, and will give provide examples of how to design games for this age group.
Building Apps for Preschoolers: Case Study of Tickle Tap Apps, presented by Jason Krogh, Founder & Director, zinc Roe design will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the design and development of Tickle Tap Apps – a series of iPhone apps designed for young children. Jason Krogh will share his studio’s experience diving into the world of iPhone development. The discussion will highlight of some of the challenges unique to working in this new and rapidly evolving space as well as some of their insights and refinements that came about through many hours of play testing with kids.
The Canadian Film Centre  has several program application deadlines approaching. The five-month CBC Prime Time Television Program  is open for applications until May 12th, and the TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program application deadline is June 4th. Please check out the full list of available programs and deadlines at the Canadian Film Centre’s site .
Cordell Barker , creator of three National Film Board  animation shorts that are among the most popular in the public producer’s catalogue, has signed on as a creative consultant with the NFB’s Prairie and North West centres. He will advise NFB producers on animation projects generated in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as work from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Barker will consult on all genres and forms of animated films and assist producers in discovering and working with emerging and experienced animation talent.
“I’m thrilled to have one of the great animators of the world working with us,” says Cindy Witten, Director General, English Program. “His films are artful and fun, and at the same time, socially critical and deeply human. Cordell will bring all the same qualities to our team and our body of work.”
“Cordell is a wonderful addition to our production team,” says the Centres’ Executive Producer David Christensen. “His breadth of experience will not only help the NFB but also benefit the animation community in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.”
Cordell Barker’s films with the NFB include The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2001), brilliant and hilarious shorts that have together won over 30 international awards and picked up two Oscar® nominations. His most recent NFB film, Runaway (2009), was a prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and took the 2010 Genie for Best Animation Film. Any future film projects that Barker initiates with the NFB will be contracted outside of his new position.
Inon Zur’s  award-winning music for Dragon Age™: Origins  will be performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra  at the “Joystick 3.0 ” symphonic video game music concert in Sweden on May 21st, 2010. Dragon Age: Origins was recently honored with Best Original Song (“I Am The One”) and nominated for Best Original Score at The Hollywood Music In Media Awards. The Joystick concert series currently holds the world record for a game music performance with an attendance of 17,000 at the first show in 2006.
“We are very pleased to invite the music from Dragon Age: Origins into our family of game music,” said Joystick concert producer Orvar Safstrom. “Inon Zur’s compositions transcend the genre, by not only enhancing the game’s scenes but also by contributing unique and powerful elements to the overall atmosphere and storyline. Our audience is in for a real treat.”
Publisher Strategy First  has released three new titles with an introductory 10% purchase discount which is valid until May 5th. Naval Gamers and Fantasy Gamers alike will thoroughly enjoy Iron Clads: American Civil War and Iron Clads: High Seas along with Hazen. 
“PC gamers and Strategy First have always enjoyed military/naval games and fantasy titles. The Ironclad series is a great franchise that continues the tradition. Along with cult hits as Hazen we are proud to offer these three great titles to 25 million PC Gamers.” says Strategy First Director Emanuel Wall.
Ironclads: American Civil War – The naval simulator based on historical accounts of real battles features 3-models of warships based on the original archived drawings. The use of real stats and calculations re-creates a realistic collision between ships, floods and capsizing that occurred during the American Civil War. Be in command of a fleet of ships to destroy your enemy. $9.99
Ironclads: High Seas  is a steam-ship tactical naval simulator that sets place during the height of the American Civil War. Battle for Confederate trade routes with real time fleet-scale battles.
Create battle squadron groups, choose your ships and use tactics such as ‘Crossing the T’ formation to defeat your enemies. $19.99
Hazen: The Dark Whisper  is a stand alone single episode that re-energizes the hack ‘n’ slash fantasy game genre. Featuring extended re-playable sequences that feature thousands of
different items to increase magical spells. Featuring deep character development and numerous possibilities. $9.99
Okino Computer Graphics  has announced that its long standing 3D DCC/Animation/Skinning and CAD/MCAD/Architectural conversion software PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max (for 3ds Max 2011 & 3ds Max Design 2011), and PolyTrans-for-Maya (for Maya 2011), are now fully qualified and shipping to customers.
PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max and PolyTrans-for-Maya have provided the defacto conversion systems for 3ds Max and Maya, since their original software releases, that allows these programs to freely exchange 3D scene data with all key 3D software packages or file formats.
Each file format has been developed over years to decades, and are full reference implementations, and all Okino file formats are fully documented online with hours of reading material. PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max and PolyTrans-for-Maya are two of the most complex technologies developed and deeply integrated into 3ds Max and Maya, having been developed daily by Okino for well over 15 years under the constant use and testing from tens of thousands of the world’s best known companies, from ILM to Disney to Boeing to BMW.
“As something I have long wanted to do, I would like to dedicate this press release, and the 14th yearly release of our mirror twin PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max and PolyTrans-for-Maya products, to the Internet forum readers,” said Robert Lansdale, CEO & founder of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. “I have been actively reading the 3ds Max and Maya forums since their beginnings, and there isn’t a week that goes by when someone doesn’t ask the questions: ‘How does one read in Pro/Engineer data’, ‘I can’t get my Maya data into 3ds Max properly – how do I do it?’, ‘Getting Maya skinned meshes into DirectX does not work – what program will do this?’ and ‘How do I get full SolidWorks assemblies into 3ds Max without owning a copy of SolidWorks?’ and many other common questions.
While few initially know of, or believe, that one program exists which does all of these conversions, we have spent 22 years developing the industry standard conversion system for both 3ds Max and Maya that does everything from bidirectional Max/Maya conversions, ideal CAD import from ProE/SolidWorks/CATIA/Inventor/etc, guaranteed animation + skinning conversions, and much more. These are statements of functionality and robustness personally made by the development team at Okino, not a marketing person, and only come about from having this software used in mission critical production pipelines for decades. That is the comforting aspect of using Okino software, knowing that the software has been made stable long ago in real production environments.”
Don’t know what to make for dinner tonight? Consult recipes from Food Network Canada’s  celebrity chefs at the simple touch of a button. Nokia Canada  and Food Network Canada today announced the launch of The Food Network Canada Mobile Recipe App, the first Canada-exclusive branded app available on Ovi Store. The application includes more than ten thousand meal ideas, how-to videos with cooking tips and techniques, and daily updates all available while on the go. The free application is available for Canadians to download onto their Nokia device at store.ovi.com.
“We are delighted to announce The Food Network Canada Mobile Recipe App as the first locally developed Canadian application for the Ovi Store,” said Richard White, general manager, Nokia Canada. “People want relevant and easy-to-use content in their mobile devices and this application gives busy Canadians access to thousands of interesting and innovative recipes to help them better plan meals.”
Users of the Mobile Recipe Application can search and download recipes from within Food Network Canada’s extensive library, save those recipes directly to the application and receive a new and appetizing recipe every day of the week from the “recipe of the day” feature. Users with video capabilities on their mobile devices can also enjoy how-to videos of tips, techniques and recipes from some of their favourite Food Network chefs. Just in time for spring and summer gatherings and get-togethers, the Recipe App will be available for free download from Ovi Store  for several Nokia smartphones.
“With the launch of Food Network Canada’s first mobile application for smartphones receiving such positive feedback from Canadians, we are pleased to develop a mobile recipe application with another popular mobile provider,” said Paul Burns, VP Digital Media, Canwest Broadcasting. “Our collaboration with Nokia Canada will present more users with the easy access to food related content that we know they are hungry for.”
The Recipe App was developed by Wigilabs , a Toronto-based mobile application developer. Ovi Store is Nokia’s online mobile content store where consumers currently can purchase and also find free applications, games and other mobile services for their phones, with other users’ ratings and recommendations. Additional Canadian and paid content will be available from the Ovi Store in the near future.
Suite101.com  has released its second annual readership index of Canadian-owned Web sites, entitled “Where The Online Readers Are.” The second annual index reveals that the top sites remain largely content sites, and social media activity by the top-trafficked sites has increased substantially.
“One of the challenges in ranking Web site popularity is knowing which metrics to measure,” said Todd Maffin, social media expert. “One site might have a high volume of visits, but might be low in influence. It is interesting to see that the majority of these sites are using social media to increase exposure and build an audience. Social media can help these organizations – especially content-driven sites – develop a stronger Web presence in order to boost influence, which is quickly becoming a more important metric than hits.”
In 2009 the Index revealed that content was definitely king, with ten of the top 15 sites being publishers of news and information. In 2010, content is still dominant but beginning to lose ground as social media companies have entered the Index. Four Canadian-owned sites were new to the list this year. The 2010 results show that two thirds of the Index gained global traffic over last year while one third saw their global traffic ranking decline. In order to be included in the study, the companies must be Canadian-owned. Sites with a US parent company such as Google.ca or Amazon.ca are not eligible, and the index report is based on Alexa.com global rankings for website traffic.
“It’s not surprising to see content sites remain highly trafficked in Canada for the second year in a row,” said Peter Berger, CEO, Suite101.com. “What is new this year is seeing the arrival of social-media related sites in the Index. It’s also interesting to see how the two intersect: content sites are using social media tools to promote their articles, news and content. Consumers continue to have an appetite for high quality, informative content. Facebook, Twitter and related Canadian-owned tools like HootSuite are fantastic vehicles to increase readership.”
The Top 15 Are:
1 Plenty of Fish  2 Ow.ly  3 Government of Canada  4 Metro Lyrics  5 Suite 101.com  6 Whos Amung Us 
7 HootSuite  8 Sympatico  9 CBC  10 The Weather Network  11 TD Canada Trust  12 The Globe and Mail 
13 Canoe.ca  14 Toronto Star  15 Rogers Communication 
The Index revealed interesting patterns in how the top Canadian sites are using social media tools, and only three content sites in the top 15 are truly Web-based without a print or broadcast outlet: Suite101.com, Sympatico.ca and Canoe.ca.
All of the Top 15 except Ow.ly use Twitter to increase awareness and market share, but all of the top 15 sites use Facebook to create fan communities and influence. Telecom giant Rogers Communications has also seen that Facebook can be a way for disgruntled customers to air discontent, as the company has a handful of online groups boycotting the business.
Tricon Films & Television  is pleased to announce that Jon Rutherford has been appointed Vice President, International Sales and Acquisitions. Together with Carrie Mudd, SVP, Development & International Sales, Andrea Gorfolova, President and Lia Dolente, Manager, International Sales & Publicity, Rutherford will be responsible for all aspects of sales of Tricon’s extensive factual and scripted catalogue, with a long-term plan him to concentrate on building Tricon’s kids division.
Along with Mudd, Rutherford will focus on worldwide television and home video sales, as well as building digital, new media, merchandising and licensing strategies for all titles. Together they will continue to build Tricon’s sales team and will lead the charge to acquire new content across all genres and platforms.
“It is a natural next step for us to expand into this area. With a mixture of Jon’s experience and Tricon’s ability to produce and distribute successful programming we believe it’s the right strategy for us,” says Gorfolova
“I’m looking forward to working with the Tricon team, and to building and maintaining existing relationships with broadcasters and producers both here in Canada and around the world,” says Rutherford.
Over his 13-year career in film and television, Rutherford has established an excellent reputation for cultivating strong international alliances with some of the world’s most prestigious broadcast and specialty networks.