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  • Congratulations to the 2010 Technology Impact Award Winners

9th June 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 Technology Impact Award Winners

EA SportsElectronic Arts Inc. has revealed that its top-selling franchise from EA Sports™ will redefine player authenticity when FIFA Soccer 11 launches this Fall. FIFA Soccer 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch with Personality+, an all-new feature that sees individual abilities reflected in game, enabling clear differentiation for every player.

“Personality+ is the evolution of individual distinctiveness that sees a player’s abilities on the pitch mirrored authentically in our game, creating individual personalities in FIFA Soccer 11,” said Executive Producer Kaz Makita. “We have reached a level of sophistication within our game engine where players in our game will behave and perform as true individuals.”FIFA 11

Personality+ distinguishes individual players from one another by utilizing a database that evaluates and grades each player’s skill-set over 36 attributes and 57 traits. The EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise utilizes a network of 1,700 scouts, editors and reviewers positioned around the world to evaluate each player, creating one of the world’s most comprehensive databases to drive its market-leading soccer engine. Personality+ will be integrated everywhere in-game. Elite players are now empowered to showcase their world class skills. Real Madrid’s Kaka will deliver crisp, creative passes, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta will utilize tighter turns and close control to dribble through defenses, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney will hold off defenders and strike shots from distance with pace, and top-flight defenders like Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus will anticipate, predict and react to offensive players to win back possession. New body types and player models will further distinguish each player on the pitch. In addition, goalkeepers have also been injected with Personality+. The real-life personality of the keeper, whether acrobatic or traditional, will dictate his style in game. Dive attributes will determine the keepers with the ability to reach for further shots while reflex attributes determine reaction times, so a keeper like Petr Cech of Chelsea FC will be able to showcase world-class skills.

FIFA Soccer 11 introduces new Pro Passing where pass accuracy is determined by a gamer’s ability on the control pad, and player skill, situation and urgency on the pitch, yielding a deeply rewarding passing system. Poor decisions or over/under striking the ball will mean error-prone outcomes. New types of passes such as swerve passes will enable players to make a safer and more effective play.

Building on FIFA Soccer 10 gameplay that won 50 sports game of the year awards, FIFA Soccer 11 continues to listen to its growing legion of EA Sports FIFA fans around the world to refine gameplay in ways that matter most to fans.  FIFA Soccer 11 will be available in stores world-wide this Fall for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Wii™, PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and mobile.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that ‘Open Mobile’ Author Ajit Jaokar, Founder of futuretext in London, UK will keynote the iP3 Forum on June 21st in Toronto. During his keynote presentation, Ajit will explore the future of mobile and web technologies, and how an open ecosystem could drive innovation in technical and business strategies.

“As member of the Economic World Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet, and with his intensive experience and research into open mobile strategies, Ajit will provide key insights into the world of technological innovation past and future,” says Sarah Baird, Co-Chair of the iP3 Forum Advisory Board and VP, Programmes and Operations at Interactive Ontario. “We are thrilled Ajit will kick-start the iP3 Forum with mind-expanding ideas of where we’re all headed.”

realtech vrrealtech VR has released Beware of the Bad Seed 1.0, a new fast-paced arcade game for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (in high resolution) where players must protect the magical garden and save the daisy against never ending waves of naughty carnivorous plants. Beware of the Bad Seed is an addictive and sweaty revamped version of the arcade room classic “Whack a mole” with a 3D, vegetable twist. Use your finger to hit all the carnivorous plants and make sure not to hit the daisies that appear on the screen.

Feature Highlights:

* Includes universal version with full realtime 3D rendering for iPhone, iPhone 3GS and iPad with high resolution support.
* Three game modes: Time attack, Arcade and Tic-tac-toe.
* Landscape and Portrait orientation with auto-rotation.
* Personal scoreboard and ever increasing challenge.

Future updates with iOS 4 Game Center integration coming this summer with leaderboard, friends and more. To celebrate this release, realtech VR will be offering a discount on their other titles from June 10th through June 12th.

* Iron Fist Boxing Prestige Edition (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) for 0.99$ instead for 4.99$
* Iron Fist Boxing Lite Full Version Upgrade for 0.99$ instead of 3.99$
* SkyORB 3D Premium Upgrade for 0.99$ (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) instead of 2.99$
* Laserlink for Free instead of 0.99$

Tecagora SolutionsVictoria’s Tecagora Solutions is pleased to announce that Snapact Photo Manager is now available through the Intel AppUp Center.

The Intel AppUp Center allows netbook users to browse, purchase, download, and install software applications that have been optimized to operate on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor through the AppUp Center on their netbook. The AppUp Center is specifically designed for netbooks as a mobile store font that is launched as an application on the netbook. When launched, users can search for netbook software applications based on category type, or they can view featured software titles, “Staff Picks,” “What’s Hot,” or “New Releases.”

“Snapact Photo Manager has been designed to be fast and light on system resources,” states Bruce Kwan, President and CEO of Tecagora Solutions. “When installed on a computer hard drive, Snapact is less than 6 MB in size. Therefore, the software does not use up a lot of hard drive space making more room available for other software applications and files. Because of its speed and file size, Snapact is a great fit for netbook users looking for a photo viewer, manager, and sharing tool. We are excited to offer our solution for all netbook users to use through the AppUp Center,” says Kwan.

The AppUp Center is a tool for netbook users to quickly search for and find software applications that have been optimized, quality tested, and verified to run on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor. Netbook users can download, install, launch, uninstall, and purchase software applications directly through the AppUp Center on their netbook. Many of the netbooks shipped in 2010 will include the AppUp Center pre-installed, however, the AppUp Center is also available for direct download from Intel.

Manic With more than 200,000 applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, more and more companies are reaching their customers through iPhone apps – a trend that is expected to grow rapidly following the recent release of Apple’s iPad touch-tablet.

Push notifications allow companies to stay in touch with app users or to allow them to interact with each other. Manic’s server software puts companies tapping the burgeoning market for iPhone and iPad apps in full control of theiiir push messaging, allowing for unlimited messages without additional cost.

“Our idea for the Manic APNs came out of our experience developing our unique multi-player gaming network,” says Randy Byers of Ottawa-based Manic Networks. “But we quickly realized that a way to reach millions of users within a matter of minutes at no additional cost would have huge appeal to many types of companies doing business on the iPhone/iPad platform.”

Manic’s Linux-based server software runs on company-owned servers or on hosted cloud servers for a fraction of the cost it would take to develop in-house – and with no limits or per-message cost. Depending on hardware and connectivity, Manic APNsServer can send 400,000 messages per minute or more – close to 25 million messages an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th June 2010

Ryerson University Students Assist Paris Transit Patrons

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver is presenting Building Community with Social Media on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Starting at 5:30pm, this education session will assist attendees discovering the value of effective strategies for building a community through social media in an exciting, interactive round table discussion with five experts.

What is community in relation to the web? Community is beyond a blog, and a few people following you on Twitter. This evening will help you realize what the new meaning of an online community is, and why it holds an important spot at the new marketing table. Find out how the experts are building, engaging, and managing their communities for themselves and their clients. Tickets for this event are available online at a cost of $35.00 for Wired Woman members and $40.00 for non-members. It is worth noting that you can save $5.00 by signing up for free and becoming a member of the Wired Woman network.

Panel:
Briana Tomkinson – Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West
Carisa Miklusak – SoMedios
Chris Breikss – 6S Marketing
Mhairi Petrovic – Out-Smarts Marketing
Sibylle Tinsel – Club Fat Ass

wavefrontWaveFront has partnered with the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium (MCPC) of Japan, and they are inviting Canadian mobile developers to take part in a unique opportunity for facilitated access to the Japanese wireless market. This two-part programme begins with one-on-one coaching sessions to be held at Discovery Park in Vancouver this June 21st through 23rd.

Following the information session on June 21st, selected participants will meet with visiting MCPC representatives for product assessments and structuring assistance, as well as an overview of marketing strategies over the remaining days of the visit. The information sessions are free to interested companies, but do require registration. If you are unable to attend in person, you can attend via the virtual event which will be hosted on Mingleverse. Part 2 of this partnership will offer those selected companies the opportunity to participate in the 8th annual MCPC Solutions Fair in Tokyo in November 2010.

Ryerson UniversityParis Metro passengers have a new way to navigate the transit system in the palm of their hand. Developed expressly to assist passengers with special needs, the Mobile Transit Companion, a made-in-Canada mobile application, uses context-aware self-adaptive computing to deliver live, customized data to passengers en route. The inclusive application, complete with useful information for all passengers, was created through a partnership between Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Sweden’s Appear Networks.

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) commuters can now download the free software and set up their user profile. Information is then automatically sent to their mobile phones according to their profile and contextual information. For example, they can receive notifications such as the location of station elevators and Metro transfer points; facilities and nearby businesses; updated schedules for connecting trains; and availability of services at each station. For blind and low-vision passengers, the Mobile Transit Companion uses a speech-enabled, gesture-driven user interface. For other user groups, including the elderly, deaf or hard of hearing, or passengers with reduced mobility, the application offers an intuitive and easy-to-use visual interface.

“At Ryerson we see a very niche use for context-aware computing in public transit and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS),” said Hossein Rahnama, project leader, Ryerson postdoctoral student and DMZ Steering Committee Member. “We are specializing in context-aware consumer applications in airports, airlines, trains, subways, buses, etc. and will be working with Metrolinx on a project for GO Transit here in the fall. With RATP, our focus was on passengers with special needs because those communities could really benefit from such applications, even though they are often not considered when developing apps.”RATP

The Mobile Transit Companion’s positioning function is integrated with a web-based monitoring service so that public transit staff can easily locate and assist passengers with special needs. The only existing social tracking application for public transit passengers, this monitoring service has the capability to be shared with friends and family. Using the interface, the transit authority can message selected passengers, which is particularly helpful for Deaf or hard of hearing passengers who can’t hear announcements made over the PA. Messages are communicated to each passenger according to the information on his in her profile, e.g.: the message will be interpreted from text to speech if s/he has indicated Low Vision.

The project was part of European research consortium developing an open-source middleware platform. Ryerson was the only North American player. “There are a lot of advantages to research collaboration with international partners in the Information and Communications Technologies sector,” said Rahnama. “In fact, one of our key objectives in this project is to demonstrate those advantages, such as combining the smartphone popularity and development of North America with the digital mobile telephony advances of Europe. The success of the MUSIC platform has inspired another project with Europe, slated for fall 2010.”

The Mobile Transit Companion is currently being piloted on Android phones in 10 stations along Line 14 of the Paris Metro. Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone at Yonge Dundas Square provides Ryerson University students with the opportunity to develop their digitally based ideas into consumer products with help from mentors and industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th June 2010

Mafia Wars At 7-Eleven Stores

Mobile Game StudioMobile Game Studio Inc. has released a lite version of their iPhone game, The High Seas. This new action packed game will put you in the boots of a treasureThe High Seas on iTunes hunter fighting against the mighty pirates as you sail the seas in search of treasure chests. You set off on adventure to find hordes of gold and booty, but beware of the pirates who are determined to foil your efforts, as well as barrels full of gun powder that follow you as you pass them by. Take a stand against your enemies with your cannons which you can set off with the touch of a button while your ship’s wheel guides you across the seven seas.

Bioware CorpBioWare™ and FUNimation Entertainment, the leading distributor of Japanese animation in North America, announced today an agreement to create an anime feature film adapted from BioWare’s critically-acclaimed fantasy Action RPG franchise Dragon Age™. Production of the Dragon Age anime movie is slated to begin in May 2010, with a home video release in 2011. Executive producing the film are Bioware’s Executive Producer Mark Darrah and Creative Director Mike Laidlaw, as well as FUNimation’s Fukunaga and Director of Original Entertainment Chris Moujaes.

“Anime is a great medium for us to continue the robust Dragon Age story,” said Mark Dragon Age OriginsDarrah, Executive Producer for the Dragon Age franchise. “Partnering with FUNimation ensures that we are delivering the exceptional quality and entertainment value that our Dragon Age fans expect.”

“We are thrilled to be working with EA and BioWare on the production of the Dragon Age anime feature,” said Gen Fukunaga, President and CEO of FUNimation. “We are going to be bringing the classic visual and storytelling techniques found in anime to create a film that will extend the narrative of the world BioWare has created.”

Dragon Age has been selected as the first title in FUNimation’s slate of major anime movies to be developed through FUNimation’s Original Entertainment team since the announcement of the company’s co-production initiative in November 2009.

Vancouver developer Genius Factor Games is giving away their casual game puzzler Gravity Well for free for the next ten days (June 16th is the last day). Take this opportunity to grab it from the iTunes App Store and see how long it takes you to make gravity your slave. This was one of the first games I bought when I first got my iTouch last year, and I’m still trying to beat this game. It’s not easy.

Last week Digital Alberta announced the resignation of long-time contributor, Executive Director, René Smid, effective Aug 31, 2010.René Smid

“René has been paramount to the Digital Media industry in Alberta,” says Larry Jacques, President of Digital Alberta. “On behalf of the Board of Directors and our membership, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication Rene has provided to our organization. We wish her the best in the future and we are grateful she will support the transition to a new management team. Hers will be tough shoes to fill.”

As a succession plan, The Board will put a call out for replacement of the Executive Director position. Due to the growth of Digital Alberta and the demand of the upcoming programming year, there will also be a call for an Executive Assistant. These positions will be filled as soon as possible.

Heenan BlaikieNational business law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP has released an in depth guide that will be interest to all interactive media houses in the country. Producing in Canada – a guide to Canadian film, television and interactive digital media incentive programs is available for download on legal network & knowledge site Lexology. Sign up is required in order to download the guide.

Pixel to ProductTwo weeks ago at the mesh conference, the Pixel to Product research study was announced by 49 Pixels’ Justin Kozuch, lead researcher and founder of Refresh Events, when he issued a Call To Action and presented an outline of what is planned for the Pixel to Product project over the coming year. According to the Pixel to Product website, the purpose of this study is to create a classification system for Canada’s digital media industry and shed light on the industry’s size and scope.

Since the initial announcement at mesh, Justin has been working on setting the agenda and identifying the deliverables that will emerge from this working group. The first part of this research study is to convene a working session to help define digital media, and in order to make this working session as successful as possible, Justin is hoping to recruit volunteers to help out with the following tasks:

* Facilitator: I’m searching for a facilitator to help lead the event, set the context for the working session and assist with keeping the session on track.
* Photographer: I’m looking to capture photos of the event, attendees and the artifacts generated.
* Liveblogging: We’re using a ScribbleLive blog to capture conversations, photos and other elements.
* Wiki gardening: We’re employing the use of a wiki to capture the various definitions, along with other generated artifacts.

If you’re available to contribute your liveblogging, wiki gardening, or other gifts towards our working session, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Many hands make light work and will help make this event a success.

In this 2 hour casual working session, which is being called The UnConversation: Defining Digital Media, registered attendees will help us define digital media and share ideas on how to promote this research study across Canada.

Currently the group  has not finalized a solid definition for digital media, and the Unconversation is an opportunity to gather industry professionals to have a conversation around defining our industry. This definition will help shape the creation of our classification system, as well as all future tasks related to this research study.

The Unconversation will be held on Monday June 21st, and will open with a pre-event networking session beginning at 5:30pm. Yahoo! Canada has graciously offered the use of their facility for this event, their offices are located in Suite 801 at 201 Queen’s Quay West in Toronto.

This event is being styled as a roll up your sleeves, break-out-your-moleskine working session with clear goals and deliverables. Expect a casual working session with smart and creative industry personalities like yourself working in groups towards a larger outcome.

1. Register online
2. Select the ticket type that best describes you in the list.
3. Add your contact information, and tell us what gifts you’re bringing to the table.
4. Check your inbox for email confirmation of your registration.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can still contribute to this conversation. There will be a liveblog of the event that you can follow and add your voice to.

dhx mediaDHX Media Ltd is pleased to announce that Super WHY!, its award-winning, literacy-based series, has been commissioned for a second season of 15 all-new episodes by PBS KIDS and Canada’s CBC.

The innovative, critically-acclaimed, animated preschool program which is a co-production by Out of the Blue Enterprises and DHX Media’s DECODE Entertainment subsidiary, also airs around the globe on channels including: Nickelodeon UK and Australia and OKTO TV in Singapore; Korea’s EBS, KidsTalkTalk and Tooniverse; ATV in Hong Kong; Astro TVIQ for Malaysia and Indonesia, and Thailand’s True Visions. DHX Media holds worldwide television rights to the series excluding the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th June 2010

Deus Ex Human Revolution E3 Trailer Debuts Worldwide

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal has released the E3 2010 full trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The trailer, which draws from the game’s characters, environment and storyline, was produced by Vancouver’s Goldtooth Creative in partnership with Eidos Montreal and Square Enix’s Visual Works (Tokyo). The trailer promises strong writing, a large cast of important characters, intrigue and destruction. Deus Ex 3 is scheduled for release in 2011, and it is definitely on our list of Games We Must Have.

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If you are a fan of Studio B’s animated offerings, The City of Vancouver Archives is holding a special event which will chronicle the legacy of a local company that has become a leader in kids’ entertainment. Studio B’s popular animated series include Kid vs Kat, Martha Speaks, George of the Jungle and Class of the Titans, among many more.Studio B

Taking place at the VanCity Theatre on the evening of June 10th, the presentation will relate the studio’s rapid development from a two-man operation into its current status as a world-renowned production house composed of more than 200 artists and staff. Studio B has been donating its records from 12 original productions and many examples of its service and other work to the City Archives since 2006, preserving these records for generations to come. Tickets for this screening are very reasonable, with the most expensive ticket priced at $10.00.

Peace Arch EntertainmentFor fans of the Ireland-Canada series The Tudors, it is now possible to create your own intrigue on your iPhone. The Tudors, developed by dTales and Slitherine in conjunction with TV production giants Showtime and Peace Arch Entertainment, is an intriguing and exciting adventure game based on Season 1. Follow in the footsteps of King Henry VIII at the beginning of his epic 40-year reign or choose the path of Anne Boleyn, and realize your dream to become Queen of England. As the story unfolds, you will meet over 20 characters from the series, including Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Sir Thomas More and roam the corridors and staterooms of the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the King.

In an evolving sequence of dramatic events, you will be faced with danger, treason and intrigue. As King Henry VIII, you will be challenged by your closest friends and threatened by the menace of war with France. As Lady Anne Boleyn, you will pursue your dream to wear the crown of England no matter the cost. Only you can decide the course of history.

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The Tudors Game is currently only available for purchase from the US and Canadian App Store.

Main Features

– Two characters to choose from: King Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn
– Explore over 30 rooms at the Palace of Whitehall
– More than 20 historical characters to meet and talk to
– Play engaging mini-games to solve mysteries and progress in the game

Black BoxEA Black Box has announced the first downloadable content pack for the critically acclaimed skateboarding game SKATE 3 – The Maloof Money Cup 2010 NYC Pack. The content pack hits Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on June 8 for 400 MS points or $4.99 and an additional 100 achievement points and 5 trophies.

The all new DLC lets players compete in the largest pursed event and one of skateboarding’s biggest annual contests – The Maloof Money Cup. For the first time ever, this year’s competition will be traveling east to Flushing Meadows, New York, where the site of the 1964 World’s Fair maloof money cuphas been converted into one gnarly skate mecca. Gamers will have the opportunity to compete against some of the biggest names in skateboarding as they shred an all-new custom built street park for the ultimate cash purse.

The award-winning SKATE franchise breaks new ground with SKATE 3 and shreds the streets of the all-new skaters’ paradise, Port Carverton. Delivering the definitive co-op skateboarding experience, it’s up to players to build the ultimate team and change the face of the city with their brand by taking on unique team challenges and competing against rival crews online. The game also features the ability to create and share custom built skate parks and a revamped Thrasher Hall of Meat mode that will have players spending countless hours pulling off bone-crushing carnage.

EA SportsAlso announced today was EA SportsFIFA Online, the first downloadable FIFA soccer game designed for PC (A broadband internet connection and an average spec laptop computer or desk-top personal computer required), is available to soccer fans everywhere around the world to play for free (Internet connection required). EA Sports FIFA Online will be released around the world in stages. The UK English language Beta version is available now, with plans over the next 12 to 24 months for FIFA Online to launch in other languages across the globe. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd June 2010

Balancing The Canadian Copyright Act Is Like Walking A Tightrope

Government of Canada…and trying to understand it all is like standing in a tornado. There is so much going on right now in regards to Canada’s copyright reform (Bill C-32) that it is almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, there are an abundance of online resources available so that we can learn more about the processes which have MP James Moore on Twitterbeen followed up to this point, as well as keep current with what is going on right now. The Canadian government has been maintaining a site called Balanced Copyright, and it holds a wealth of information. Naturally, the Pirate Party has grabbed the domain balancedcopyright.ca, but there is no site yet launched for that URL. I imagine that the group will probably use the domain to counter MP Tony Clement on Twitterthe one run by the government, and will count on the public not knowing the location of the government’s site. Speaking of government, both MP James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages) and MP Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) have been engaging the public, media and industry groups on Twitter since the Bill was announced yesterday. I recommend following both MPs, along with copyright expert Michael Geist for continuing updates about Bill C-32’s progress.

Fair Copyright for Canada (administered by Michael Geist) also has an active Facebook group which carries updates and opinions relevant to Bill C-32. One point which seems to be an area of contention is the Digital Lock, and CBC News has written a very comprehensive look at what it could Michael Geist on Twitterentail. I freely admit that I have not had time to read and process all of the information about C-32, and while I will endeavour to do so, I would like to invite someone more expert in the ramifications of C-32 to write a guest editorial explaining the good and the bad of our copyright bill. While many of what we could deem as special interest groups are voicing their opinions about Bill C-32, the most relevant to both us and our readers is what those in interactive media are saying. All of the sites and Twitter accounts above contain links to opinions and press releases from groups such as ACTRA, AFM and the Documentary Organization of Canada, and I invite you to check them out. Here is what ESAC has to say about the reforms:

esacThe Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released a statement about Bill C-32, congratulating the Government of Canada on its introduction of copyright reform legislation which will help protect Canadian content creators and digital media companies. ESAC believes that protecting the intellectual property of industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperity is not only good public policy, but is essential as our economy transitions to more knowledge-based jobs.

“We applaud the government for showing leadership on this complex issue and we look forward to studying the bill more closely,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “Without strong protection for our intellectual property, we’re basically operating in a digital Wild West. Promoting piracy under the guise of ‘user rights’ does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment,” she added.

“Piracy fundamentally undermines the integrity of the marketplace. It forces creators to compete against black market versions of their own products, affecting their ability to recover the considerable investments associated with digital media production. A strong bill – one which prohibits hacking of digital works, trafficking in hacking tools and that makes those who facilitate digital piracy clearly liable for their activities – is critical to the success of Canada’s digital economy,” says Parr.

In the industry’s view, a bill with clear protection for intellectual property will enable creators to decide how and at what cost their products can be accessed and in turn allow consumers to decide which products succeed and fail by voting with their pocketbook. Further, by supporting a diverse range of business models, strong copyright will facilitate increased competition, which ultimately leads to greater pew internetconsumer choice and lower prices.

In related news, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a report about The State of Online Video. While this study was conducted in the USA, the information can be useful to those Canadian companies and individuals who produce web-distributed products. The study is available as a downloadable PDF, or it can be read online.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Canadian game industry news and updates:

THQ has confirmed in an official press release that Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online will Relic Entertainmentindeed be released to the North American market this fall. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online is free to play and offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression, allowing players to strategize on and off the battlefield. Players will also have the opportunity to earn or purchase special units and upgrades and improve their army with each and every multiplayer victory.

Vice President of Global Brand Management Travis Plane commented that, “We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone.”

Capcom MobileCapcom® Mobile and Classic Media, whose portfolio includes of some of the world’s leading kids, family and pop-culture brands such as Where’s Waldo?®, Casper the Friendly Ghost® and Lassie®, have announced the release of Where’s Waldo?® In Hollywood, the sequel to last year’s top-selling mobile phone game.

“The first Where’s Waldo? game was a run-away mobile hit with its addictive mini games and classic search and find puzzles,” said Midori Yuasa, President, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “For theWaldo In Hollywood sequel we’ve built on the winning mix with a whole new crop of puzzles, achievements and even more Waldo fun.”

“Capcom Mobile has done a terrific job translating the search and find experience of Where’s Waldo? for mobile and we are excited to partner with their team on the second game,” said Nicole Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “With its crowds of celebrities and celebrity-spotters, Hollywood is an exciting place for fans to take up their search for Waldo.”

Based on the international publishing phenomenon, Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood, developed by Capcom Interactive Canada, chronicles the world-famous traveler through a series of tinsel-town themed adventures. Players can join the search with multiple search and find games that are based on classic scenes from the book series, as well as five mini games, including Tic-Whack-Wizard, Odd One Out, and Slide Puzzles. As players progress, they will be able to unlock bonus content and earn in-game achievements. Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood is currently available for download on most North American carriers. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd June 2010

Centre For Digital Media Making Its Mark With Microsoft

Microsoft CanadaMicrosoft Canada continues to help foster Vancouver’s vibrant developer community with news today that it is working with local government experts and graduate students at the Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus to make government data more accessible and useful for citizens.

Leveraging Vancouver City’s Open Data Catalogue and help from the VanMaps team, and with guidance from open government activist David Eaves, grad students at Great Northern Way Campus created TaxiCity, a entertaining game where players can navigate the city in a yellow cab. Awareness of the application, which showcases the power of Silverlight and the Bing Maps API, has moved beyond Vancouver to the rest of Canada. Last week in Montreal, TaxiCity took home second prize at the FTW! Coding competition during Make Web, Not War 2010.

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“Applications like TaxiCity are great examples of the power of open data on the Microsoft-based platform, enabled by open source to make information available for all citizens. By helping Canadian cities transform how they deliver services, Microsoft’s continued focus is on interoperability and helping build a vibrant open data application ecosystem,” stated Nik Garkusha, Open Source Strategy Manager, Microsoft Canada Inc.

TaxiCity is just one example of how Microsoft continues to help fuel a vibrant application ecosystem around Open Data Catalogues across Canada.

“In Vancouver we’re big supporters of Open Government initiatives. It’s a great way to foster economic growth and an opportunity to rethink how government operates,” said Vancouver City Mayor Gregor taxicityRobertson. “Canadian IT companies and cities can and should be empowering citizens to use data to improve our decision making and everyday lives. It’s exciting to see students from Great Northern Way Campus using the city’s data in new and creative ways.”

Dashan Yue, Grad Student at Great Northern Way Campus and Co-Creator of TaxiCity added that “when the City of Vancouver released a new version of its Open Data Catalogue it was a natural next step for us to use the street center-lines, block outlines, building traces and park geometry available for TaxiCity. Our program combines different Open Data sets with Silverlight and Bing which helped to drastically lower development time while giving us the mapping data we needed to build a visually appealing, dynamic gaming environment.”

Impact of Microsoft’s Cross Country Gov 2.0 and Open Source Initiatives:

* Since the launch of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue, local programmers have been working on applications to make the data useful for the citizens of Vancouver. The release of the Open Data Application Framework open source project and the development of such applications as VanGuide Vancouver Parking, MapWay and FreeFinders are the result of a Microsoft sponsored competition to encourage the development of open government apps.

* Edmonton was the first North American city to use the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) cloud-based solution from Microsoft for its Open Data Catalogue. The catalogue was implemented at minimal cost to the City using open source components and Microsoft’s newest cloud operating system, Windows Azure™. Using open standards and application interfaces (API), local developers and municipal IT staff can easily retrieve data for use in innovative online applications that can help improve citizen services, enhance collaboration between public and private organizations and increase City transparency.

* Microsoft’s Gov 2.0 efforts also include sponsorship of GovCamp Canada, a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation on engaging citizens, empowering business and increasing internal efficiencies through transformational government activities.

* Microsoft continues to contribute and drive innovation through its Open Source initiatives such as Microsoft’s CodePlex.com, Port25 and Open Source Technology Center (OTC). A deep engagement with local Open Source and application communities is also maintained through a series of events including WordCamp, DemoCamp and most recently ConFoo conference. Microsoft’s open source efforts also include Web Application Gallery, PHP on Windows and the FTW! Coding Competition at Make Web, Not War.

David Eaves, Public Policy Entrepreneur and Open Government Activist is very pleased to see Microsoft “actively fostering application development using Open Data catalogues on a variety of application platforms. By doing this work they help demonstrate that open data not only helps governments meet their transparency goals but that it can help promote citizen engagement and economic development.”

BCTIAThe BCTIA invites you to join them on June 17th at the Vancouver Renaissance Hotel for an over-lunch session about Vancouver’s technology community. Listen to guest speakers Morgan Sturdy, James Topham and Steve Podborski as they discuss Vancouver’s technology community and the benefits of building a community while we build companies. The programme starts at 11:30a.m., with tickets priced at $49.50 for BCTIA Members, $75.00 for non-members, and $36.00 for Student Members.

Profit 100 2010Congratulations to ParetoLogic (#23), Frima Studios (#14), Solutions 2 Go Inc. (#25), Elastic Path Software (#26), YardStick Software (#30) and all of the other Canadian technology enterprises for being named to the Canadian Business Profit 100 Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Additionally, iBWave (#16) has been chosen as the in-building solutions partner of choice for WIND Mobile to help design and plan wireless coverage of Toronto PATH, the world’s largest underground shopping complex, used by over 100,000 people daily. Toronto PATH spans 27 kilometres The Social Agencybelow ground and links 1,200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers and five subway stations downtown.

I’d also like to say Happy 1st Anniversary to the ladies over at The Social Agency, hostesses of the popular Appy Hour networking social. Congratulations on this important milestone, and here’s to many, many more successful events for you three.

Relic EntertainmentI’ve discovered that the easiest way to get the CaveChild to grin like a Cheshire Cat is to tell him that there’s something new coming from the Relic Entertainment studio. According to their latest news, Company of Heroes Online will be venturing east across the Pacific for a North American launch. While no firm date has been announced, it will be nice to see Company of Heroes Online, which has already hit the internet in Korea and China, playable for title’s many North American fans. He’s been impatiently waiting for the arrival of Relic’s Space Marine console game. In the meantime, he continues to develop a strategy for sneaking the life-size statue of The Emperor out of Relic’s lobby – something he’s been plotting for about four years.

NBA Elite 11EA Canada’s Burnaby campus is a very busy place. Hot on the heels of the NHL Slapshot announcement comes EA’s bulletin about changes to their long running NBA videogame franchise, which will now be known as NBA Elite.

NBA Elite 11 will revolutionize the way basketball simulation games are played, with an all-new technology base, a new control scheme and a real-time physics system. Currently in development for the PlayStation®3 and the XBox™ 360, NBA Elite 11 will be available in retail stores this October, with a suggested selling price of $59.99. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st June 2010

Canada Will Digitize The Globe One Pixel At A Time

VFSVancouver 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

ThoughtFarmerThoughtFarmer 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.

dimeRockerVancouver’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 AACEconference 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.

TO JamIf 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 CeLEA - ACEeLlives. 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.

TransGamingToronto’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.” Read the rest of this entry »

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