Vancouver Film School  has awarded the second annual Women in Games Scholarship to Anne Dickerson, a former 4th grade teacher from Washington, DC.
Established as a means to encourage aspiring female game designers and provide them with greater opportunities for a career in the game industry, the scholarship is valued at $49,250 and covers the full tuition to VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.
A worthy recipient, Anne was an elementary school teacher at a challenging city school when she first began designing games in an effort to increase literacy and math skills, address behavioural issues, and encourage a love of learning amongst her students. The scholarship to VFS will allow Anne to experience one intensive year learning every facet of game design, from game theory to level design to game interface design, and help further Anne’s ambition to create educational games.
“I am beyond thrilled to receive this great honor,” says Anne. “As an elementary school teacher, I realized the significant impact games can have on student achievement, and since leaving the classroom, I have aspired to create effective educational games. I am confident that this award, along with the excellent education I will obtain through the VFS Game Design program, will bring me one step closer to achieving my goal of effecting systemic change in the field of education through games.”
“Anne was the clear winner, despite intense competition with an increased number of applications compared to last year,” says Benjamin Colling, Director of Admissions at VFS. “Anne applied to VFS’s Game Design program with the intent of expanding her storytelling ability and game design skills so that she can learn how to make groundbreaking educational games that rival titles across all genres, including popular blockbusters. We are pleased to support her, and are confident that with her talent and drive she will be successful in accomplishing this goal.”
Female VFS Game Design graduates have gone on to work successfully in the industry, from Tara Mustapha and Charmie Kim of Microsoft Game Studios to Pamela Livara of Vancouver’s Slant Six, and Melanie Genereux of Longtail Studios in PEI.
In addition to the Women in Games Scholarship, VFS also awarded three other scholarships, thanks to the contributions of a number of Game Design Expo 2010 sponsors.
Congratulations to the following scholarship winners:
Aubrey Tennant (Ontario) – $7,000 G4TechTV  scholarship
Jie (Jacky) He (British Columbia) – $5,000 Annex Pro  scholarship
Brooke Fargo (British Columbia) – $2,500 Radical Entertainment  scholarship
ThoughtFarmer 3.7 , a social intranet application from OpenRoad Communications  has been released with many new features guaranteed to not make your IT staff pull their hair out. According to the product’s website , ThoughtFarmer 3.7 opens up new deployment options, introduces Active Directory password management, improves cut & paste from Word, and includes several other useful enhancements.
Vancouver’s dimeRocker  has also released a product update today. Version 1.3 of the dimeRocker API  is now available for download via their website. Also recently announced their Game Tune-up Programme, where developers can submit their best ideas, prototypes or finished games and dimeRocker will provide the support and expertise to help the project grow. Check out the programme’s information page  for more details.
The World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications  is an annual conference organized by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). The event serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the discussion and exchange of information on the research, development, and applications on all topics related to multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications/distance education. The Conference will take place June 29th through July 2nd in Toronto, and there is still time to register.
If you missed TO JAM #5 , held recently in Toronto, but would like to try out the fruits of labour produced by Toronto’s indie game developers, then you need to head out to the Imperial Pub at 54 Dundas Street East this Saturday and check out the super-showcase TO JAM Arcade event. Sponsored in part by Tall Tree Games , Big Blue Bubble  and Notebook Empire , the To Jam Arcade  is guaranteed to be lots of fun.
Modeling and simulation are becoming increasingly common in our corporate, educational and personal lives. From video games to flight simulators, we are becoming accustomed to these new and powerful tools that entertain and educate us. To better understand where the world of modeling and simulations is going, CeLEA  has invited the Mr. Jacques Hamel (President, Artifact Software ), to join us in a webinar on Thursday June 3 at 12:00 PM Eastern, to chat about this growing and important field, and to talk about the upcoming MODSIM WORLD Canada conference  that begins on June 14 in Montreal.
The webinar is designed to provide you with an overview of the kinds of technologies that are driving this field, and how modelling and simulation are being applied in many different contexts and sectors. There is no charge for attending this event, but you must register  to receive additional information on how to access the webinar site.
Toronto’s TransGaming Inc.  has announced a new partnership with Netherlands company Metrological , which will see TransGaming’s GameTreeTV Games Platform  globally deployed to cable operators and managed service operators, as part of Metrological’s Mediaconnect TV. Through this partnership, Metrological’s customers around the world will have the ability to offer video games to their subscribers as part of a fully integrated digital entertainment solution.
The GameTreeTV Games Platform delivers a unique and compelling interactive entertainment video games experience to consumers from the comfort of their living rooms. Consumers will have access to a rich catalogue of games through an easy to navigate on-demand service model. With GameTreeTV consumers can browse, download, and play their favorite video games from leading content creators, through an on-demand business model of games purchase, rental, or subscription.
Mediaconnect TV, a next generation hybrid consumer TV entertainment platform based on Intel CE Media Processing technology and powered by the Metroconnect Operating System, provides consumers with a wide range of high-value applications and services. The GameTreeTV Games Platform will be integrated into Metrological’s master catalogue of services, thereby offering TV viewers a broad set of on-demand games.
“Metrological has developed a comprehensive and highly interactive turn-key digital home entertainment solution that advances the consumption of interactive services and applications for consumers”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “Mediaconnect TV is transforming the living room experience and we are thrilled to announce Metrological as a strategic deployment partner for GameTreeTV. Video games are the primary source of leisure entertainment around the world and this partnership will make high quality video games available to million subscribers over the next few years.”
Metrological Media Innovations’ software allows managed service operators to extend home media entertainment services to their respective subscribers. TV viewers are able to access an extensive range of additional next generation, interactive applications, while simultaneously viewing regular TV programming. Mediaconnect TV combines cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast with IPTV and Internet TV services through a connected interactive media device to ensure consumers have the highest quality experience available.
“Metrological has created the leading software platform that combines all of the features of interactive television into a single convenient and easy to use solution,” said Albert Dahan, CTO and co-founder of Metrological. “The addition of GameTreeTV will provide Mediaconnect TV users with the best gaming experience that interactive television currently has to offer.”
Three Quebec companies, Alchemic Dream , Monde Media Solutions  and Laboratoires Bug-Tracker , have announced a new partnership which will see them join forces to create the first Virtual Universe Consortium.
“We are re-inventing the B2B service model by supporting and representing multicultural e-communities for the publishers and developers,” says Aurélien Merville, President and CEO of Alchemic Dream.
For the past twelve years, the three service providers have lead the outsourcing business by supporting video game publishers and developers and increasing players’ immersion in virtual worlds. As a part of this synergy, the online game specialists will benefit from multicultural localization and quality management.
Jean-Robert Michel, General Manager of Monde Media Solutions, explains the partnership, “Social and MMO gamer communities from all over the world, across all regions, languages and platforms would prefer a bug-free gaming experience in their own language and well managed virtual worlds. By being an active member of this consortium, Monde Media Solutions provides access to video game localization professionals to assist product republishing.”
“Quality Assurance is based on client and user satisfaction. In the era of virtual communities, Bug-Tracker has found the right partners to reach its objective of enhancing the game experience of world-wide players,” added Antoine Carre, President and CEO of Bug-Tracker.
Letting the development and design teams concentrate on the development cycle, the consortium share resources and knowledge to build solutions designed for the online gaming publishers and developers in a one-stop-shop for cultural adaption, localization and translation. This will see improved community management, increased customer retention through outstanding customer support, role-playing events and community entertainment, monetization implantation and analysis, along with deep game-play and focus group analysis, robust load & stress testing, functionality and compatibility testing and automation testing.
A pilot study of teens and their use of Web 2.0 technologies confirms what most parents probably already know: Teens are really good at it – but what surprised the researcher doing the study is how the teens she talked to were able to use technological tools in new and innovative ways to connect with each other – ways that the creators of the tools had probably never thought of, which she suggests is evolving into a whole new multi-dimensional way of communicating.
Natalia Sinitskaya is a PhD candidate at York University’s Faculty of Education  in Toronto who is exploring digital literacy with the idea of examining the potential of using Web 2.0 environments in education. To further her research, she did a pilot study involving interviews with a handful of adolescents to sound out their uses and views about Web 2.0 technologies. The results of that research will be presented in a paper to be delivered at the university during the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Sinitskaya says the teens she interviewed were not only adept at using the technology to connect with each other socially, they were using it in innovative ways. For example, she said one teen took to watching video diaries posted on the Web in places like YouTube. She would then make friends (technologically) with people she liked based on their video logs.
Sinitskaya says teens are also quite sophisticated when it comes to assessing the Web tools: Her respondents, for example, were able to offer thoughtful evaluations of the different features, style and uses of Facebook versus MySpace, and as a result would carefully weigh whether they might choose one platform over another.
“That goes counter to the popular expectation that teenagers don’t know what they are doing,” she says. As well, she says her respondents had all investigated privacy settings on their platforms and selected ones they thought appropriate. Sinitskaya believes that the ability to use Web 2.0 tools is a new form of literacy, and as adolescents learn to manipulate them, their communication will move away from plain writing to a new form of multi-dimensional communication.
Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences , the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences  brings together about 9,000 researchers, scholars, graduate students, practitioners, and policy makers to share groundbreaking research and examine the most important social and cultural issues of the day. Montréal’s Concordia University is hosting Congress 2010, which began on May 28th and runs until June 4th.
Also, just a reminder that there is still time to enter Level Up 2010 , the Intel® Visual Adrenaline Game Demo Challenge. This is a worldwide competition providing developers greater exposure to the gaming community and a chance to win exciting prizes. There are two phases to the entry process in 2010—bringing more opportunities to win prizes and to show game ideas and demo versions of your applications to the wider gaming community, the renowned judges, and the Intel® Visual Adrenaline experts.
In the first phase, submissions in the form of “game concepts”, comprising a game description with optional screen shots and/or videos, will be accepted from professionals, hobbyists, and student game developers from March 29, 2010 through June 21, 2010. Pre-qualified finalists will be selected from the pool of game concept entries. All entrants, as well as the pre-qualified finalists, can submit demo versions of your gaming applications and abstracts to be considered for prizes in both main contest and Judge’s Choice categories.
• Professional/hobbyist game concepts will be judged bi-monthly by designated Intel Community Managers to select pre-qualified finalists. Pre-qualified finalists will be notified by July 11, 2010.
• Student game concepts will be selected as pre-qualified finalists in one random drawing per student block (see student block dates in these rules).
In the second phase, entrants submit demo versions of your gaming applications and abstracts by August 31, 2010. These will be judged in three main contest categories: Best Game for a Desktop, Best Game for a Laptop, and Best Game for a Netbook. Additional prizes will be awarded for the following “Judge’s Choice” categories: (1) Best Art Design, (2) Best Graphics Performance, (3) Best Sound Design, and (4) Best Character Design.
Richmond BC-based briefcase manufacturer Mezzi  is excited to expand its product line with a variety of new cases. The company has added a number of distinctive aluminum cases, including Netbook cases, cases for Mac laptops, a tool kit set, makeup/jewelry cases, and CD cases.
The expanded line gives consumers a broader selection when it comes to choosing an aluminum laptop case or other metal carrying case, according to the company’s president, David Mezzi. “It is our goal to be the No. 1 aluminum case manufacturer, with an aluminum case for every possible use,” he said. “This new product line brings us one step closer to that goal.”
Mezzi’s new product line features the “Royal Collection”, which is a set of molded aluminum laptop cases in various sizes. Perhaps the most impressive component of the collection is a Netbook case with a classy purple velvet interior. The product, which is perfect for smaller laptops, iPads and other mobile devices, comes in three different sizes to accommodate laptops with screens up to 13.5, 15.5 and 17.5.
The company’s new Mezzi M-ZERO Molded Aluminum Laptop Case is especially designed to carry Mac laptop computers. It features an eye-catching glossy white aluminum exterior and fits laptop screen sizes up to 17 inches. The case is accented with a padded black leatherette interior, chrome handle and an ergonomic shoulder strap that make it suitable for men or women.
Calgary’s ComicBookBin  has updated its iPhone app  that helps comic book collectors find comic book conventions, locate nearby comic book stores, as well as provide access to over 10,000 articles published about comics, toys, movies and books since 2002.
The global store locator has been enhanced with several search options. Clicking on a city’s name in the store locator opens a map featuring all local stores and your location. Added to the existing English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese store locator searches is support for Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Farsi, Filipino, Finnish, Hebrew, Irish, full Japanese, full Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swahili, Swedish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. Several enhancements were added to the article browsing features, and ComicBookBin 1.5  now launches in portrait mode with small thumbnails in the newsreader next to each article. 
iPhone app reviewer Connor Turner of yycApps writes, “one of the beauties of the Comic Book Bin App is the interface. It’s quite mind blowing the amount of information stored within this tiny little app. But the developers of the Comic Book Bin have done a great job utilizing the iPhone’s portrait and landscape views, to allow the user to tailor the search results interface for their own benefits. Users can either browse through a long list of results in portrait mode or if they switch to the landscape mode, they can flick through a carousel of thumbnail images of their query. Either way, it’s a great design feature and one that makes the overall experience that much better.”
The user interface continues to be one of the top qualities of ComicBookBin. “Few iPhone and iPod Touch apps feature full support for both portrait and landscape modes,” said Comic Book Bin publisher and app developer Hervé St-Louis.
Purple Forge Corp., known for its mobile applications for community engagement, today announced a partnership with ZipGive , the mobile giving division of Zipstripe Corp., to deliver mobile applications for fundraising, volunteer and donor engagement for charities, non-profits and political campaigns in North America.
“Purple Forge’s award-wining mobile application services combined with our leading SMS fundraising capabilities offer fundraisers an unmatched suite of mobile fundraising and donor engagement solutions,” said Andrew D’Amico, ZipGive account manager. “Mobile applications create a deep, personalized interaction between fundraisers and their donors, allowing them to share news, events, videos and photos before, during and after fundraising drives. This allows fundraisers to demonstrate the value of the donors contributions, thus ensuring sustained levels of giving.” 
Purple Forge’s mobile application services offers charities, non-profits and political campaigns the ability to broadcast news, events, pictures, video, Twitter and donation calls to the leading smartphone platforms leveraging best practices in content management, making the solution easy to support and maintain. Coupled with a powerful survey engine tied-in with social networking, organizers can now share the latest information, and obtain opinion and feedback from donors and volunteers in real-time.
“ZipGive is an innovator in mobile marketing and fundraising, and our partnership further demonstrates their commitment to offering an unmatched set of services to their customers,” said John Craig, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at Purple Forge. “Social networking, new media and mobility are the must have tools for donor and volunteer engagement, and we are excited to partner with ZipGive to deliver on these powerful services.”
WordPress Buddy , a WordPress-focussed website installation and customization service based in Ontario has launched its new website with their new Premium WordPress Theme service which will concentrate on helping new bloggers get started using WordPress as a Content Management System easily and affordably, with an initial offering of 5 popular blog templates with 35 possible variations which can be further customized in over 1100 layout combinations.
As an efficient and affordable WordPress Blog service in Canada, WordPress Buddy hopes their new website will enhance the way they serve their customers providing a turn-key solution to the installation and customization needs of those people and businesses wanting to begin a blog or use WordPress as a Content Management Service, but who lack the skills necessary to get started.
As a dedicated WordPress service provider, WordPress Buddy offers their customers a “Standard Service Pack” that includes a Premium WordPress Theme , popular and premium plugins, full installation and set up service, as well as site customization, all for one low price of $125, plus applicable taxes, for a self-hosted site – a sales package that would usually cost several hundred dollars. Conversely, for those clients who want a complete turn-key solution, WordPress Buddy also offers a Hosted option. With the “Standard Service Pack with Hosting,” WordPress Buddy clients also get their website hosting included for a package price of only $249.
For those of you who are researching family trees – and even for those teachers whose classes require students to work on their family tree, Richmond Hill-based ObituariesHelp.org  has made finding just the right family tree chart to organize or display your ancestry research much easier. This new Free Printable Family Tree section  offers specific family trees and family tree resources neatly organized on 18 new web pages. All the family trees have been designed by a professional graphic designer, Lia Rodriguez and are available to download for free.
ObituariesHelp.org is the fastest growing genealogy and ancestry website online today because it offers free resources. It’s a one stop website that’s continually updated to include new family trees, new family history information and new reviews of subscription websites.
“Our goal is to add as many free resources to the website as possible in a neat and well-organized format. I’m really excited about this family tree section because we’ve taken a lot of care to produce accurate and beautiful family tree templates and charts. I’m confident that we have the largest selection of unique family tree charts online today,” says ObituariesHelp.org founder, Melanie Walters. “Working on these family trees with a great graphic designer like Lia Rodriguez was a huge benefit to me. She has a great eye for design and a genuine interest in genealogy. She was particularly helpful to me for rejecting tired old family tree designs that I found online. Lia designed really unique family tree concepts that were both accurate and beautiful. In the coming days, we’re going to be launching Lia’s new abstract family tree designs and scrapbooking ideas for family trees that I think will appeal to younger generations as well as crafty genealogists. We actually rejected quite a few concepts and we’re left with some great final family tree charts that I think our visitors will like.”
Coming soon, a free guide to getting started with your genealogy research and ancestors search. This free guide contains the best information for researching your family history and where to search for vital records.
Flowfinity® Wireless Inc. , a leading provider and enabler of adaptable smartphone business applications, today announces platform support for the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. With platform support, all of Flowfinity’s application products, including Flowfinity Forms and Flowfinity Actions, can be used with iPhone and iPad. The Flowfinity Platform has been extended to iPhone/iPad to offer the same usability, productivity, manageability and adaptability that has made Flowfinity a choice of many large enterprise customers.
“We spent a lot of time to make sure usability and security issues were addressed properly with this release,” said Dmitry Mikhailov, CEO of Flowfinity Wireless. “We’ve made the look and feel familiar for iPhone and iPad users and made interactions very touch-friendly. We also found a good balance for security and manageability that administrators will appreciate.”
The newly announced iPhone and iPad support is currently available for existing Flowfinity customers, and promotions for new customers will begin shortly with carrier and integration partners.
“I’ve had customers looking for a solution with our level of adaptability and productivity for the iPhone. Now, that is available from us, with the flexibility of support on multiple Smartphone platforms.” said Larry Wilson, Flowfinity’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “And the iPad opens up new opportunities to replace clipboards for audits, inspections, checklists and surveys.”
And in the final word today, as pretty well anyone who isn’t living under a rock knows, Burnaby’s EA Sports™ campus is developing their first ever NHL® hockey title for the Wii™ Console. In the official press release which was sent out this morning, EA Sports announced that NHL® SlapShot will also feature NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky on the game’s cover. NHL® SlapShot introduces a revolutionary hockey stick controller that allows players to shoot, pass and body check just like the pros. In addition to having his likeness on the front of all packaging, Gretzky will be available as a playable character in the game when NHL® SlapShot is available in retail stores this September.
“Making our games as close to the real thing has always been our focus,” says EA Sports Creative Director, David Littman. “Now we are giving players an actual plastic hockey stick that the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ controllers plug into. Players can then use the new NHL® SlapShot Hockey Stick to do all the moves in the game.”