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  • Dolby Labs Launches Turnkey Voice Chat For Game Devs

19th October 2010

Dolby Labs Launches Turnkey Voice Chat For Game Devs

DolbyDolby Laboratories, Inc., has introduced a turnkey solution that saves time for game developers who are adding high-quality voice chat to their online games. Called the Dolby® Axon Network, it is making its debut in Electronic ArtsNeed for Speed™ World, the massively multiplayer online action racing game.

“Game developers are under tremendous time constraints to deliver their product. With the Dolby Axon Network, Dolby helps developers channel their resources and attention to deliver the best-possible gameplay,” said Matt Tullis, Marketing Director, Games, Dolby Laboratories. “With this new offering, Dolby has been able to dramatically reduce the time required to implement voice chat.”

With the Dolby Axon Network, Dolby provides engineering support, flexible APIs, detailed documentation, and sample code—all with the aim of easy implementation. The Dolby solution eliminates the cost of building, maintaining, and monitoring servers and includes round-the-clock multilayer support with guaranteed uptime.

In addition to Need for Speed World, Dolby Axon technology has been adopted by several online games, including Dragon Nest® (Nexon Corp.), ZT Online (Giant Interactive), Mission Against Terror (Kingsoft, published by Wicked Interactive), and Jumpgate Evolution® (NetDevil). By integrating Dolby Axon into online game titles, game developers can provide gamers with ease of use and a new level of immersion in online gaming, including:

* Improved audio chain processing (noise suppression and echo suppression) for clear voice communication
* Surround sound voice chat over stereo headsets, stereo speakers, and 5.1 playback systems delivering premium in-game voice communication with teammates
* Compatibility with any stereo headset, enabling gamers to experience high-quality voice without specialized equipment

Canadian developers who would like more information can contact Dolby Laboratories at the company’s Vancouver office in Building 3 at 2985 Virtual Way, telephone 604.216.0020.

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18th October 2010

DBox Shakes Up Pilots and Noel Berry Releases Leap 4 Blue

D-BoxQuebec’s D-BOX Technologies Inc. announced today that is has entered into its first agreement with California-based Precision Flight Controls, a leading manufacturer of flight devices for both pilots and educators.

Precision Flight Controls will be offering D-BOX’s motion technology as an option for all new cockpit sales, as well as a retrofit option for units sold, giving their already 10,000 customer-base, comprised of Colleges, Universities, flight schools, governments as well as individual users, the opportunity to have the most accurate experience in flight simulation.

“We are very pleased with this agreement, yet another achievement in our strategy to sell products which derive from our core motion technology to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). We can only stand optimistic in regards to our future when we have the support of important players like Precision Flight Controls, who is well positioned and perfectly understands the challenges of its respective markets,” stated Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies Inc.

On behalf of Precision Flight Control, Mr. Mike Altman, Chief Executive Officer added: “The precision engineered D-BOX motion system greatly enhances our flight simulation environment. We can now offer “seat of the Pants” motion cuing only found in much higher level flight training devices. The addition of motion adds the type of realistic feedback that we have been looking for as pilots can now experience the feel of roll, pitch, yaw, turbulence, stall and much more. D-BOX has definitely added the “wow” factor to leap 4 blueour devices.”

Independent game developer Noel Berry has announced the release of his game, Leap 4 Blue, on the Bored.com network. He started working on this latest title at the Winnipeg Game Jam this past spring, with the game’s premise including the creation of platforms needed to leap your way to blue while avoiding lasers, enemies along with an assortment of hazards and puzzles. You can read about Lead 4 Blue’s journey from conception to launch in Noel’s dev diary.

mozilla game labsMozilla has launched its Game Labs competition – open to game developers around the globe, the finished product must be built using open Web technologies, including (but is not limited to) HTML, CSS, JavaScript as well as server-side code such as PHP, Python, Ruby or Java. The use of libraries is permitted, however plug-ins are not. The competition submission period closes on January 11, 2011, when an expert panel along with the public will be invited to play your game and judge it against the competition. No additional features, fixes, or modifications are allowed during the judging period, or you will be disqualified.

Categories Include:

* Best Overall – the best overall score
* Best Technology – the highest technology score
* Best Web-iness – the highest web-iness score
* Best Aesthetics – the highest aesthetics score
* Most Original – the highest originality score
* Best Polish – the highest polish score
* Most Fun – the highest fun score
* Community Choice- the entry with the highest official average score

Grand Prize- Trip for two to GDC!

* Get the red carpet treatment!
* Entry to the Indie Game Developer Conference
* A visit to Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountain View
* Includes flight and 7 nights of hotel accomodations in San Francisco
* A veritable boatload of Mozilla swag
* Promotion on the Game-On Gallery

Details: One (1) Grand Prize is available: A trip for two (2) persons to the 2011 GDC Conference in San Francisco, scheduled for February 28 – March 4, 2011. Prize will include coach air travel, conference tickets and 7 nights double-occupancy hotel accommodations. See complete official rules for details. Mozilla Game Labs is also working on a whole bunch of awesome prizes for category winners and runners-up.

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18th October 2010

Ubisoft readies Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood For Unprecedented Worldwide Launch In November

UbisoftToday Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, launching November 16 in North America and November 18 in Europe, Middle East and Asia for the Microsoft Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system has surpassed all other Ubisoft video game releases in worldwide pre-orders. The marketing campaign for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is also one of the biggest marketing investments in Ubisoft’s history.

The buzz for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood remains high and continues to grow as the marketing, promotions and public relations campaigns progress to culminate in a worldwide television and online advertising effort that extends far beyond the game’s launch date. In addition, Ubisoft’s retail partners will host an unprecedented amount of midnight store openings in locations across the globe.

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“Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is being heralded by the press as a single and multiplayer experience unlike any other,” said Olivier Ernst, managing director, Ubisoft Canada. “As evidenced by the record number of pre-orders and the success of the multiplayer beta, consumers can‘t wait to get their hands on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and we’re looking forward to delivering them an experience they’ll never forget.”

In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, players live and breathe as Ezio, a legendary Master Assassin, to Assassin's Creed Brotherhoodexperience more than 15 hours of single player game play set in the teeming, unpredictable city of Renaissance Rome. For the first time, multiplayer is coming to the Assassin’s Creed® franchise, allowing players to choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques.

Following two title releases, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise has sold more than 19 million units worldwide, and the success of Assassin’s Creed extends beyond video games. Fans passionate about the Assassin’s Creed brand can enjoy original stories and dive further into the brand through novels, comics, an animated story, an art book, apparel, figurines and the Project Legacy game on the Facebook® platform.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood will be available on Windows PC in early 2011.

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18th October 2010

New Trailers and Titles For PC, Wii and iOS Games

EA Sports has released a new trailer forEA Sports EA Sports Active 2. Titled Real Fitness, this video touches on the features and focus of the title, showing how EA Sports Active 2 is like having your own personal trainer in your home. EA Sports Active features a 9 week fitness programme, extra downloadable content, motivational prompters and more – all designed to help you get in shape and improve your heart’s health.

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Glacier Games has also released a new trailer for its upcoming iOS title Them, a game that takes you back to Glacier Gamesthe Cold War era, where you play as Albert, a former employee of the ruthlessly terrifying and mysterious agency known only as Them. Through strategic play and your ability to stay alive, you will unlock new weapons, power-ups and more. Them will be released first for the iPhone and iTouch, with an iPad version to follow.

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THQ and Relic Entertainment have also released a new trailer today, this one for the upcoming March Relic Entertainment2011 Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II expansion Retribution. Today’s release introduces the Tyranid race, a combative, hive-like alien society that was not present in Dawn of War I, although they have been a part of the Warhammer 40K universe since the first edition of the Rogue Warrior source/rule book.

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big stack gamesBig Stack Studios, a Ph03nix New Media company, is releasing their first educational app for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The “Piano Pals” app fuses colorful animated characters and music with learning and skill-building drills that will keep any child engaged for hours. This is the app that allows you to spend some quality (learning) time with your child!

Piano Pals was developed by parents, for parents. Much too often we download apps that keep ‘us’ occupied for multiple hours per day, yet we never include any educational apps that could assist in mixing quality time with our kids, along with learning and play time. Piano Pals does just that! With multiple modes to choose from, this app can help improve your child’s motor skills while engaging him/her in fun learning activities. There are many modes to choose from, including:

Animal Mode: In animal mode, pressing the keys on the keyboard causes an animal in the scene to animate and make noise. Young children begin to associate a colored key with a certain animal. The names of the animals appear on the keyboard to help older children learn word association as well.

Music Mode: Music mode simply turns the keyboard into a multi-touch Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do piano.

Color Mode: In color mode, pressing the keys on the keyboard causes the correlating color to wipe across the screen as a pleasant female voice speaks the color.

Number Mode: In number mode, each of the keys on the keyboard have a number of dots on them. When your child presses the key with five dots on it, the number 5 wipes across the screen as a pleasant female voice speaks the number.

Piano Pals initially comes with the ‘Farm Theme’ which includes a Horse, Cat, Duck, Rooster, Sheep, Pig, Cow and Dog. For an expanded experience with many more animals, users can purchase additional theme packs including The Safari, The Forest, The Arctic and The Jungle.

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18th October 2010

New Canadian Games Conference To Debut In May 2011

Canadian Games Conference Leading Victoria event organizer Reboot Communications has just announced a new wholly-owned event, the Canadian Games Conference, debuting in Vancouver in May 2011 alongside the market-leading Canadian Videogame Awards.

This newly branded event will offer cutting-edge keynotes, lecture and roundtable content from local, national, and international game creators, focusing on core topics like game design and programming alongside emerging smartphone and social game areas. It will also include a bustling reboot communicationsexpo floor.

In addition, the 2011 Canadian Games Conference is also the first-ever event to feature a special ‘Best Of GDC’ content track, including some of the best speakers and topics from the worldwide Game Developers Conferences®.

This unique agreement for the ‘Best Of GDC’ content at the Canadian Games Conference evolves a partnership built around the former Game Developers Conference Canada™ event, which the Canadian Games Conference replaces and expands on. Reboot also ran the popular Vancouver International Game Summit from 2006 to 2008.

GDC-Expo FloorReboot Communications CEO Greg Spievak commented of the announcement: “Our conference efforts in the game space have always been for the industry, by the industry. Our Canadian Games Conference advisory board is made of key representatives from across the country – and we expect the same vibrant growth and stimulating sessions that have defined our game events for the past four years.”

The UBM TechWeb Game Network’s global brand director Simon Carless added: “We’re delighted to continue working with Reboot and the Canadian game industry by contributing the ‘Best Of GDC’ track to the Canadian Games Conference – and look forward to supporting the conference and awards as one of the leading events in this vibrant space.”

The official dates for the Canadian Games Conference will be May 19-20th, 2011 at the Vancouver Conference Centre. Once again, the show will be preceded on May 18th by the 2nd Annual Canadian Videogame Awards, also produced by Reboot Communications in conjunction with Greedy Productions and DigiBC.

Keynotes and session topics for the Canadian Games Conference will be announced on the website soon.

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18th October 2010

Netflix Now On Canadian Wii Systems No Disc Required

netflixBeginning today, Netflix members in Canada can stream content through their Wii™ consoles with Netflix installed on their Wii Menu. The Netflix disc that was used for instant streaming on the Wii console will no longer be required. Netflix members who have a plan starting at $7.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection can now instantly watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to their TVs by simply downloading Netflix from the Wii Shop Channel. This new channel is available at no extra cost. The new disc-free option installs Netflix on the Wii Menu, making it convenient for Wii owners to quickly access streaming movies and TV shows.
Nintendo Canada
“At this time of year, consumers have a near-insatiable demand for family entertainment,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “And this simplified Netflix access will help bring families together more quickly, more easily and in more ways than ever before. More than 3 million Wii systems have already connected to Netflix, demonstrating how easy the service is to set up and use.”

“Wii is a consummate home entertainment platform and has quickly become one of the best and most popular ways to enjoy movies streamed from Netflix,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “The availability of Netflix right on the Wii Menu adds significantly to the ease and convenience that attracts our members to the Netflix streaming experience and is an important step in our efforts to continuously improve the service.” Read the rest of this entry »

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16th October 2010

Subdreamer CMS Emigrates To Canada

SubdreamerI received a letter in my email yesterday which was sent out by Ontario developer Brent Howard, stating that he had purchased the formerly based in Santa Monica company Subdreamer, previously owned by Ziad Hilal. According to the letter, Brent Howard became involved with the Subdreamer community in 2003, and worked for Subdreamer from 2005 through 2009. Brent has named this newly-Canadian company Subdreamer Web Development, and has listed several items which he would like to work on in continuing the development of Subdreamer CMS.

I purchased a license for Subdreamer way back in 2006, when we were looking for ways to improve and grow one of our other sites – one which has since fallen off in use and will probably be integrated in some way into the future of Village Gamer. We didn’t use Subdreamer for very long, because while it started off promising, I soon found the software to be confusing, hard to learn, and not very friendly when it came to integrating our forum. When I look back in my Subdreamer Outlook folder, I note that it’s full of trouble tickets sent to Subdreamer customer support by the student coders who were, at that time, helping to develop our sites. After weeks turned into months of stagnation with Subdreamer, we mothballed the software somewhere in a cobweb-filled corner of our server reserved for failed design attempts. A costly lesson, with the license having set me back 100.00USD for a site which has no external income.

While I am definitely not the most knowledgeable person out there when it comes to using a CMS, I know when it frustrates me beyond redemption, and there are two CMS products out there which succeeded in doing so – Subdreamer and Drupal. I have been in the web game long enough to know that every CMS product has a learning curve as well as limitations, and I, nor anyone behind the scenes here at Village Gamer (that would be Scott), has the time or funds to develop a custom site from the ground up, so we depend on products like WordPress (which we currently use) to be the backbone of our sites, and even though WP has also frustrated me at times, it seems easier to get along with, despite my lack of time for learning, absentmindedness and low frustration threshold. In my mind, what I want to do is very logical and solid – however it appears that software developers don’t think like Geminis and presume that everyone with a web presence knows the ins and outs of code hacking, site security and features integration.

So with all that said, and despite my personal past experiences with Subdreamer, I do wish Brent Howard and his development team all the success that I know they are hoping for with this new acquisition.

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16th October 2010

Prime Minister Harper Steps Back In Time With Murdoch Mysteries

Shaftesbury Films and Citytv welcomed Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Toronto set of their popular shaftesbury films incdrama series, Murdoch Mysteries yesterday. A longtime fan of Murdoch Mysteries, the Prime Minister visited the set to meet the cast and crew of the series, which is set in late 1890s Toronto and follows the adventures of a detective who pioneers forensic techniques in his quest to solve the city’s crimes. Canadian production company Shaftesbury Films is currently filming season four of Murdoch Mysteries, which is broadcast on Citytv in Canada and drama channel Alibi in the UK, and has also been licensed in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.

“Without the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Media Fund and tax credit programs, Murdoch Mysteries would simply not exist,” said Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury Films. “Murdoch Mysteries has created more than 5000 jobs in the Canadian television industry since 2003, is enjoyed by audiences on TV and online in Canada, and has been sold to PM Harper Visits Murdoch Mysteriesbroadcasters in more than 100 countries around the world, making it a true Canadian success story.”

“Murdoch Mysteries on Citytv represents some of the finest homegrown programming available to Canadian audiences,” commented Leslie Sole, CEO, Rogers Media Television. “We are extremely proud of this series heading into its impressive fourth season. Murdoch Mysteries has solidified its position as a true fan favourite keeping Citytv audiences entertained week after week.”

Based on Canadian author Maureen Jennings’s popular Detective Murdoch series of mystery novels set in late 1890s Toronto, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama series that explores the intriguing world of Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), who uses unusual techniques for the time – including fingerprinting, human-blood testing, surveillance and trace evidence – to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders. Murdoch’s small circle of confidantes include pathologist Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), a staunch ally who shares the detective’s fascination for forensic science; Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Murdoch’s eager but sometimes naïve right-hand man; and Murdoch’s reluctantly supportive boss, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig). Read the rest of this entry »

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15th October 2010

Laura Sullivan Appointed VP of Operations at Mob4Hire

mob4hireMob4Hire has announced the appointment of Laura Sullivan as VP, Operations. Laura holds an MBA in Venture Development from Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary), in addition to a BGS from Athabasca University and a Diploma in Technology from BC Institute of Technology.

“It’s vital that we grow our management capabilities to help drive Mob4Hire’s accelerating international growth,” states Stephen King, CEO of Mob4Hire. “Laura is a world-class management consultant; we’re very lucky to have her deep experience, knowledge of the local tech economy / government relations, and startup expertise. She’s a great compliment to the rest of the management team.”

Laura brings broad experience in operations, finance, project and risk management, in a number of industries including Manufacturing, ICT, Retail and Health. As a Management Consultant, Laura’s clients included TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., Calgary Health Region, Bethany Care Foundation, C-mach Technologies, FoundPages and ITSportsNet. Laura’s experience in governance and advisory includes being a Director, and Chair of the Audit Committee of a $1B retail organization, Calgary Co-operative Association Ltd., as well as sitting on a number of advisory boards including the Operations Management Advisory Council for BC Institute of Technology, and International Business Advisory Council for University of Calgary. Laura currently provides governance training as part of the Alberta Board Development Program.

Since 2008, as a Program Manager at Calgary Technologies Inc., Laura has provided coaching and mentoring services to almost 100 early stage technology companies, helping them access $ Ms in funding and development.

“Mob4Hire is an exciting global company with limitless potential,” says Sullivan. “As a micro-multinational, establishing cloud-based operations is essential to scaling as we serve customers from 84 different countries. I’m looking forward to turning my focus solely to Mob4Hire’s success.”

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15th October 2010

Two Game Studios Named To Canadian Top 100 Employers List

Top 100 Employers 2011 Amidst daily news of Canada’s modest economic growth, there is a remarkable group of far-sighted employers that are offering lessons to other Canadian employers in creating exceptional places to work. Our congratulations to these Canadian Game, Mobile, and Software Developers for making the 2011 Canada’s Top Employers List:

Digital Extremes
Research In Motion
Sophos Inc.
SAS Canada
ISM Canada
Ericsson Canada

These forward-thinking employers are treating the current economic slowdown as a rare opportunity to strengthen their organizations and pull ahead of others in their industries — and nowhere is this better illustrated than in today’s release of the 2011 winners of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition by Mediacorp Canada Inc.

“This is one of those moments when experience makes a difference,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “The decisions that employers make during times like these will affect their organizations for years to come, because challenging economic times also present many subtle opportunities for progress.” After a decade of writing about the nation’s top employers, Yerema adds, “today we see a calmness and desire to stay-the-course towards building better workplaces by the nation’s best employers.”

For far-sighted employers, the benefits of being considered one of the nation’s best places to work are considerable. “The elephant in the room is Canada’s changing demographic composition,” says Mediacorp Publisher Tony Meehan. “Even with modest economic growth, it will soon be nearly impossible to replace Canada’s current workforce, given current rates of immigration and labour force entry. Forward-thinking employers are seizing this opportunity to prepare for the day when not all organizations will be able attract the key people they need.”

Now entering its 12th year, the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition is an editorial project organized by Mediacorp Canada Inc., a specialty publisher of employment guides and periodicals. To develop this year’s list, Mediacorp editors examined the recruitment histories of over 75,000 employers across Canada that it tracks for its popular job search site, Eluta.ca. From this initial group, Mediacorp invited 10,000 of the fastest-growing employers to apply, plus another 2,500 companies and organizations in industries its editors wanted to examine more closely. Employers completed an extensive application process that included a detailed review of their operations and HR practices. Over 2,750 employers started this year’s application process. Read the rest of this entry »

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