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26th August 2010

Zeros To Heroes Set To Launch AR Transmedia Project

zeros to heroesVancouver studio Zeros 2 Heroes Media Inc. has announced the imminent release of their alternate reality game featuring the use of augmented reality technology on mobile smartphones.

Animism: The Gods’ Lake alternate reality game will be unveiled Aug. 28 with a live action event at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto. It introduces a unique digital media twist to the conventional broadcast of a TV show based on Aboriginal legends. The show’s pilot episode will be premiered online on Oct. 31, 2010 and broadcast on APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, on Jan. 1, 2011.

Alternate reality game (ARG) technology involves interactive narratives in which physical real-world objects and images are augmented with virtual computer-generated imagery. In this game, participants use a mobile smartphone to scan posters, thereby unlocking a series of clues to the Animism plot. Full instructions on how to play are available online.animism the sacred sites

The “Animism” story is a mixture of modern urban fantasy with traditional First Nations mythology. Centred in a contemporary city with modern characters, the situation starts to unravel when an unscrupulous property developer unwittingly devastates an ancient sacred site, unleashing powerful forces. The heroine must somehow restore balance to a city where giant mythical creatures skulk in back alleys, demons drift through corporate boardrooms and the Wild Hunt is about to start once more. More information on the story will become available online on August 28th.

“We’re excited not only to introduce new digital entertainment technology to Canada, but also to add to the fan experience by giving them an active role in the narrative,” said Matt Toner, President, Zeros 2 Heroes. “By extending the Animism story to live action, mobile, Internet and traditional broadcast media, we can reach more fans in all the ways they like to be entertained.”

The ARG and motion comic were created by a team of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal writers, artists, designers and programmers. Both are aimed primarily at fans 13-25 years old, both male and female. While based on First Nations’ legends, the use of contemporary urban settings is intended to appeal to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences.

“There is a wealth of untold stories and undiscovered characters with themes that are still relevant today,” Toner said. “We’re just updating the settings to something more contemporary and understandable for modern audiences.”

Funding for “Animism: The Gods’ Lake” has been provided by the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and British Columbia Film.

Zeros 2 Heroes will unveil the new alternate reality game at a special Aug. 28 event at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto. The event will feature actors playing roles from the Animism story. Participants will be the first to unearth the mysteries behind the motion comic plot at this live action event. By downloading a unique alternate reality mobile app, they can unlock a series of clues by scanning various Animism posters on-site with their mobile devices.

The showcase runs 4-5 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 28 in room No.103A at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will also be present throughout Fan Expo at booth No. 4007.

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26th August 2010

Montreal International Game Summit Announces Keynotes

MIGSThe Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS) has announced its keynote speakers for MIGS 2010, taking place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal.

MIGS 2010 will feature two exciting, distinguished main speakers:

* Ed Fries, co-founder of the XBOX project, will discuss beauty, constraints and the Atari 2600.
* Ron Carmel, co-founder, 2DBOY, will examine the crucial steps involved in developing an independent video game – and will also boldly offer a few industry predictions.

In addition to these two inspiring headliners, MIGS 2010 will feature – for the first time ever – a special keynote speaker for each track.

MIGS 2010’s five track keynote speakers include:

Business: David Edery, director, Fuzbi, will explore the life cycle of online distribution platforms, the key challenges involved and how companies can develop practical solutions to succeed in these growing markets.

Art: Alex Alvarez, CEO, Gnomon School of Design, will speak on the importance of continuing education – and how today’s artists can stay inspired and motivated while constantly looking to evolve.

Design: Scott Jon Siegel, game designer, Playdom, will define the notion of success in the world of casual video games development. Siegel will also examine how independent developers can gain a clear competitive edge by not being afraid to innovate.

Tom Wujec, fellow, Autodesk, will carefully examine and offer innovative ways to solve many of today’s visual challenges and issues.

Tech: Ryan Challinor, software developer, Harmonix Music Systems, will explore the exciting process undertaken by the company for developing video games without conventional controllers. This session will include an exclusive look at the multiple prototypes Harmonix has created.

Video game industry professionals can take advantage of a 30% discount by registering online before September 25th.

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26th August 2010

Good Guy Robots Set To Launch Debut Title

Good Guy RobotsGood Guy Robots Inc. (GGR) has just released Codex, a puzzle game that has gotten gamers to scratch their heads and think. Codex is a spatial logic puzzle with one goal in mind: to solve Codex Stage Selectthe puzzle in the fewest moves to earn gold medals. The gold medals are showcased in the leaderboards, where players are ranked based on score with an option to display their medal haul. The medal haul shows off how each player did on each level.

Codex has 30 levels in progression of puzzle size and difficulty grouped in 6 stages. Finishing a puzzle will unlock the next one as long as you finish the puzzle within the prescribed moves. You can go back and play any puzzle you’ve already completed, however this feature is disabled in trial mode.

Codex Visualization PlaylistCodex also has music visualizations during gameplay that are hooked into the music shared to the Xbox from your computer or USB device. The music visualization has each of the gears tuned to a specific frequency as the music is playing. GGR felt that this added to the look and feel of the game as well as allowed for a better experience by allowing gamers to listen to the music they enjoy.

Codex will be available on Xbox Live Indie Games on August 28th for 240MSP ($3 USD). GGR chose that price point because they will include new levels in future updates that would normally be bought as DLC in other markets. GGR plans to release the game on iPhone and iPad as well with the option to buy new levels as they are available. Codex Easy Seven

GGR felt their price strategy was risky since console gamers who buy Indie games are used to buying games at the bargain basement price point (80 MSP), however, as GGR plans to absorb the cost of developing the new levels in the initial cost of game, there are no plans to drop the price after the 90 day price freeze from initial release. GGR is proud of this release and hopes that the market is receptive to it so that they can continue to make high quality games on Xbox Live Indie Games. Codex can be queued for download to your Xbox360 via web or by perusing the Xbox 360’s community games section.

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26th August 2010

PayPal and Fundrazr Make It Easier To Give

PayPalPayPal and leading Canadian companies announced two new ways for Canadians to use the power of smartphones and social media to quickly and simply send charity donations or raise money for their favourite causes.

The new version of the PayPal Mobile 2.5 released today on iTunes allows customers to send charity artez interactivedonations to 17 highly-regarded, national Canadian non-profit organizations directly from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Donations can be funded from a PayPal account balance, bank balance or credit card. PayPal worked with Artez Interactive, a Toronto-based online fundraising solutions provider to make the donate feature possible.

“Canada is a caring society and Canadians are very technologically savvy,” says Darrell MacMullin, General Manager, PayPal Canada. “By bringing these two powerful qualities together and making charitable giving and fundraising simpler on the digital platforms Canadians use every day, PayPal hopes to help charities find new ways of raising money.”Paypal for iPhone

The use of smartphones to buy products and services from online retailers, known as mobile commerce, has exploded in recent years. PayPal customers completed $25 million in mobile purchases in 2008. In 2009, the figure jumped to $141 million. In 2010, PayPal expects to process more than $500 million in mobile transactions.

Part of that growth has been fueled by the rapid adoption of smartphones in Canada. According to an IDC report in January 2010, smartphone penetration among businesses and consumers in Canada is about 25 per cent, but is growing at a rate of 30 per cent year over year. In Canada, the growing number of advanced networks is expected to continue to drive smartphone adoption.

“Customers are comfortable using smartphones for all kinds of professional and personal needs, so making it easier for Canadians to give to charities that way is important,” said Philip King, President and CEO, Artez Interactive. “For charities, mobile giving is a new channel; one that allows people to give quickly and simply and one that may help reach new, younger audiences who don’t respond as readily to traditional fundraising campaigns.” Read the rest of this entry »

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26th August 2010

StoryLabs Launched to Create and Educate the Next Generation of Storytellers

storylabsSupport for the evolution of storytelling enabled by new technologies took a giant leap today with the founding of StoryLabs, an organization of leading international multi-platform and transmedia creators dedicated to the education and mentoring of storytellers. Powered by a unique worldwide mentor network, participants will benefit from the rich knowledge and experience of renowned professional experts including innovative digital producers, games creators, TV and Film writer/producers, social media and community experts and transmedia content creators.Gary Hayes, Australia

“Technology has created both new tools and new ways to reach connected audiences. Mastering these new storytelling tools in the changing media landscape is the mission of StoryLabs,” said Gary Hayes former BBC Senior Development Producer, CCO MUVEDesign and Australian StoryLabs Founder. “StoryLabs experts are the actual pioneers and commercial leaders in their fields pushing the frontiers of storytelling across many different platforms. StoryLabs is dedicated to the evolution of storytelling through its incubator labs and a persistent mentor community”

StoryLabs deep focused project mentoring cycle will go from incubation to production and distribution providing an education in the writing and design process and best production practices. Development tracks include: Ad Lab focused on cross media advertising, Mobile Media Lab, Community Lab focused on Social Media Story, Games Lab, Innovation Lab focused on story around new services & product and Transmedia Lab focused on the development of new forms of storytelling.

Matt Costello, US“The elements of a good story that engage an audience such as story arc, compelling characters and good production values don’t change in a transmedia world,” said Matt Costello, US StoryLabs founder and writer of The 7th Guest, Doom 3 and the 2010 E3 award winning Rage. “At the same time we are seeing new forms of storytelling that for the audience are part rich narrative, part play and game as they become co-creators and ‘users of story’. We are here to enable that kind of innovation. “

StoryLabs mentors, who have had extensive experience in other lab environments, will provide a hands-on opportunity for brands and media properties to advance new story formats and to shape a fully integrated story based transmedia solution. Read the rest of this entry »

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