22nd November 2010

New Drum Studio Coming Soon

All Seeing Eye GamesVancouver indie studio All Seeing Eye Games is pleased to announce that its new game Drum Studio: Platinum Edition will be available this December on the Xbox LIVE indie games channel of Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Record songs, share them online, and jam with your friends in real-time over Xbox LIVE in Drum Studio: Platinum Edition. The follow-up to the multiple award-winning Drum Studio expands upon the original virtual drum recording tool with all-new graphics, Xbox 360 Avatar support, and extensive online features. Players will be able to meet online, chat, share songs, listen to each other play, and jam together in real-time. Lead Programmer Darren Joe says, “Music has always been about sharing. Drum Studio put music creation in the player’s hands. Now, Drum Studio: Platinum Edition allows players from around the world to share their creations with each other.”

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Drum Studio: Platinum Edition also features all new art by graphic artist Terry Wong (Cirque Du Soleil, National Geographic, Electronic Gaming Monthly) and full Xbox 360 Avatar support, allowing players to turn their Xbox 360 Avatars into full-fledged animated virtual drummers. It features the same simple yet powerful song recording interface as the award-winning original and hundreds of high-quality drum sounds to choose from. Players can play with any combination of one to four Xbox 360 drum kits or controllers.

The original title in the series, Drum Studio, received widespread critical acclaim & multiple awards upon its release, including an Editor’s Choice Award from teamxbox.com, who declared that it “takes music games to a whole new level”. You can get the original Drum Studio game now from Xbox Live Indie Games for 80 MS Points.

desert bus for hopeOnce again the clock tells me that it is high time I head for my day job at “the salt mine” but before I go, I’d like to draw attention to two events currently underway – the first is Desert Bus for Hope – which, according to the event’s FAQ, is an “internet telethon by accident – you give donations to Child’s Play, and we play Desert Bus.  It’s really boring and mind numbing and generally unpleasant. The more you donate the longer we play. To keep you and us amused, and to increase the donations we auction off  and give away prizes, have celebrity guests stop by, and become your monkeys. Want us to sing “Still Alive?” Sure, we’ll do it for a $20 donation.  We play 24 hours a day until you stop donating.” Be sure to visit the site and check out their Challenges, Giveaways and Auctions.

The second event is happening at Velocity, the University of Waterloo’s Start-Up Incubator. The 7 cubed Project involves a group of coders who, beginning on November 20th, locked themselves in for seven days with, to quote “food, energy drinks, and beanbag chairs” during which time they will attempt to write an app a day for seven days. The group has promised video summaries of each day, and according to the Project’s site, the participants firmly believe “that seven smart people with perfect communication, mutual trust, and an agile mindset can get more done in a day than anyone would believe. And if all that isn’t enough, we have no intention of being timid. We’ll choose difficult problems, and we’ll probably fail once or twice. If we didn’t, we would know we didn’t shoot high enough. We’ll work insanely hard, probing the limits of human creativity and team productivity.”

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22nd November 2010

Danny Robinson Is New BCIC CEO

BCICGreg Aasen, Chair of the BC Innovation Council has announced the appointment of Danny Robinson as Chief Executive Officer.

“Danny brings over 15 years of experience to BCIC and has a proven track record of successfully working with early-stage technology companies,” said Aasen. “Danny will be a great asset to our organization and will ensure that BCIC continues to play a leading role in promoting the development of entrepreneurs and the commercialization of technology in British Columbia.”

Prior to joining BCIC, Danny Robinson was co-founder of Bootup Labs, an Internet Seed Accelerator, which invested and mentored eight new Internet companies in the last two years. Along with his wife, Maura Rodgers, he was co-founder of the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, a non-profit, community and mentor-driven organization that was formed to inspire entrepreneurship and help Internet startups take their idea from concept to commercialization.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest minds to create more tech startups in BC,” said Robinson. “In partnership with industry, academia, government and the dedicated team at BCIC, I am committed to ensuring our province continues to capitalize on the tremendous potential of our high tech companies.”

“The board is excited to bring the passion and energy of Danny to BCIC. His experience at Bootup will accelerate our mission of helping entrepreneurs and startups across all segments of British Columbia’s high Launch Party Vancouver 10tech community,” added Aasen.

With Danny’s departure from Bootup, Board member Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures has accepted the role as the new Chairman over at Bootup Entrepreneurial Society. According to the BES blog, other changes over at the Lab, have included Jeff Magnusson becoming the interim COO, where he will assist in rolling out their plan for a cool new space for Founders, details of which will be coming in the near future.

Bootup has also announced the nine new companies who will be presenting at LaunchParty Vancouver 10, which is being held at the Canvas Lounge on December 1st:

ClinicBook

Clinicbook is a local health care website that helps over 60 000 Canadians each month find health care in a convenient and timely manner through consumer reviews and its up-to-date search directory. After launching the feature where the live wait time at walk-in clinics is displayed, Clinicbook will be demoing its online booking system for dental appointments in Greater Vancouver.

Foodtree

Foodtree helps you discover where your food is from and connects you directly with the source, so you can feel confident about the food you buy. Just like a family tree, a Foodtree traces the origins of your food from the farm, ocean or forest right to your table. For example, a quick search on Foodtreecan tell you not only where you can buy the freshest local salmon in your area but also provide you with detailed information on the fisherman, who caught it. With Foodtree, transparent (or reliable) and relevant food information is finally at your fingertips.

OpenCal

We’ve spent the past year and a half building OpenCal – the web’s most beautiful and easy-to-use online appointment system. With OpenCal, service-based businesses (think hair salons, massage therapists, anyone that sells their time) can receive appointments online 24/7, manage their staff’s schedules, track clients, create insightful reports, and lots of other cool things.

Panty by Post

Make the Postman Blush. Panty by Post delivers French panties right to your door, no matter where in the world you live. When your pretty panty surprise arrives monthly, the nostalgia of the packaging, note and tissue paper is a sensual experience bound to generate a mood to help you discover your inner sexiness. This means you can enjoy a taste of French romance every month (wink). Or, share this sensual surprise as a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one. They’ll love you for it. There is also a line for brides, plus sizes and Briefs in a Box for men.

Geotoko

Geotoko is a promotional campaign management platform for geo-location based services. By leveraging existing API’s that provide checkin functionality (foursquare, gowalla, twitter, etc…), Geotoko help businesses engage their customers.  By creating simple self serve tools to create, manage and track promotional campaigns and reward loyal costumers, Geotoko aims to reduce the friction for businesses to get into the growing geo-location trend.  We’ll be officially launching our app at LPV.

NodeFly

We are a hosted application and infrastructure monitoring service that will be launching at LPV10.

TaxiNow

TaxiNow a free iPhone app that allows passengers to see the exact location of nearby available taxis on their iPhone map and hail them with one simple click. And passengers can track the taxi all the way to their pickup location through Apple’s GPS. Our goal is to make the the experience of hailing a taxi way better. The taxi industry is inefficient and we’re certain we can reduce the amount of time passengers wait for taxis and reduce the idle time for drivers. TaxiNow is available to any passenger and driver, anywhere in the world but the initial focus will be in Vancouver, Canada. We plan on rolling this out to other cities across Canada and revolutionize the way taxis are hailed. This will be the official launch of TaxiNow. We will demo the product and actually hail a taxi to Canvas Lounge to show how just how powerful what we have built is!

XKeyAMS

RSI is a company that offers software solutions, support and first class customer service for the hospitality industry. Our latest project is an amazing new product called XKey Activity Management System, which provides activity vendors the opportunity to maximize their revenues by having their inventory online! We will demo our visually appealing online booking engine, the seamless reservation integration, the personalized confirmations and the ability to use XKey as a Central Reservation System for multiple vendors (ie. Vancouver Attractions)!

AppGrower

AppGrower is a service meant to increase the traffic for social apps mainly on Facebook and other social game platforms. Appgrower will offer a pay per install campaign allowing the app developer to set the sale rate of their traffic.

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22nd November 2010

It Was On Like Donkey Kong In Toronto Last Weekend

Nintendo CanadaOne of the most iconic characters in video game history has made a triumphant, chest-pounding return just in time for the holidays. The game Donkey Kong Country™ Returns is now available exclusively for the Wii™ system, giving new and experienced players a wild new way to get acquainted with the legendary Donkey Kong™. Combining imaginative new features and dynamic motion controls with classic elements from the original Donkey Kong Country games for Super NES™, this side-scrolling jungle adventure also marks the first time in the series that friends can play together in a cooperative two-player mode.

“The Tsunami” Takeru Kobayashi, the king of competitive eating consumed a bunch of bananas at Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country Returns Banana Eating Challenge last weekend in Toronto. Kobayashi competed against a Donkey Kong fan who played the new game to determine how many bananas Kobayashi would have to consume in 60 seconds. “The Tsunami” ate 16 bananas, exceeding the challenge of consuming at least ten. Takeru Kobayashi Photo Credit: PJ Stephen

Donkey Kong Country Returns takes place on scenic Donkey Kong Island, where the mischievous Tiki Tak Tribe has plundered Donkey Kong’s banana stash. Players use either the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ controllers or a single Wii Remote held horizontally to maneuver the famous ape as he runs, jumps and climbs on a quest to recover the stolen bananas. Players can feel the power of Donkey Kong by shaking the controllers to perform moves such as the mighty Ground Pound or forward-tumbling Barrel Roll as they advance through more than 70 beautifully rendered levels. The new simultaneous two-player mode lets a second player (with his or her own Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller or Wii Remote held horizontally) swing into action as Donkey Kong’s agile sidekick, Diddy Kong™, whose special talents include riding high on Donkey Kong’s back, using his Barrel Jet to defy gravity and firing his Peanut Popgun.

Takeru Kobayashi holds the Donkey Kong Country Returns Champion prize of an oversized banana with his challenger, a Donkey Kong fan. Photo Credit: PJ Stephen“Players of every generation know they can count on Donkey Kong to deliver timeless video game experiences, and with Donkey Kong Country Returns, they can also pair up with a friend and enjoy the fun together,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “Whether you’re a longtime fan or just getting your first video game console, Donkey Kong’s latest jungle adventure is right at home on Wii with collaborative multiplayer action, fun motion controls and colourful worlds to explore.”

The creatively designed levels in Donkey Kong Country Returns contain loads of hidden items for players to discover, keeping them coming back for more to uncover all of Donkey Kong Island’s secrets. By finding hidden puzzle pieces and collecting “K-O-N-G Letters,” players can unlock fun enhancements like new stages and behind-the-scenes concept art as they progress through the game. Donkey Kong Country Returns also includes a built-in Super Guide feature, which players of all kinds can activate to help make it through tricky levels.

The Donkey Kong character was originally created by veteran Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and first appeared in the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong, which also marked the debut of Mario™ (then known as Jumpman). Donkey Kong has since been featured in countless games across multiple console and hand-held platforms, selling a combined total of more than 49 million units worldwide to date.

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22nd November 2010

A Trio of New and Upcoming Indie Titles

rocketfuel gamesAlberta’s Rocketfuel Games has announced the online availability of Seek Your Own Proof Season One: The Guardian’s Guild, an online puzzle adventure game that lets players of all ages investigate science and history mysteries as secret agents of a time travel organization called the Central Institute for Exploration (C.I.E.).

Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild ($9.95USD) draws players into a chase through time and history against enemy agents plotting to rewrite the past, present and future. Players are led by field seek your own proofagents – Aidan (Agent Slingshot), Milanie (Agent Firefly), and Heiko (Agent Hardcover) Munro – three investigative siblings who discovered the secret underground agency.

They must locate the eospheres – energy orbs that power time travel – that have been entrusted to famous figures in history, before they fall into the hands of the evil Frostbite. Along the way, the Munro kids encounter a series of historical figures known as the Eosphere Guardians and find out more about their father Dr. Sebastian Munro, a famous scientist and co-founder of the C.I.E., who went missing years ago without a trace.

In the spirit of learning based adventure games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild combines a cast of heroes and villains, historic settings like Renaissance Italy, Colonial America and Ancient Greece, and is seeded with over 50 brain teasing puzzles that players discover as they progress through the adventure. Players can also sign up for a free agent membership that provides access to bonus puzzles, missions and other extras.

vblankVBlank Entertainment has announced the first of many Retro City Rampage fan art contests, and it’s open now for entries. Round One requires that entrants draw the Player carjacking a flaming DLX-88 sports car with a light gun. The developers are allowing the creation of said fan art to be done in any medium, including Digital Art, Pixel Art, Paintings, Claymation, Retro City RampageLego, Cake, Hamburgers, Tacos and Ground Beef.

All entries will be posted in the game’s brand new Fan Art Gallery, and the winner will receive a signed Retro City Rampage NES cartridge case. All entries must be submitted by December 6th, with the winner being announced on December 13th.

Also new on the Retro City Rampage site is the ability to download the RCR Soundtrack Mixtape, which is available as an mp3 and music video. You can also read about the three music artists responsible for the soundtrack – Freaky DNA, Virt and Norrin Rad. The developers have also let slip that there are clips of some debut game footage in the music video which reveal some upcoming additions to Retro City Rampage. The game is also has some hands-on details featured in this month’s Nintendo Power, GameFan and Edge magazines.

spooky squid gamesSpooky Squid Games has released an early game-play trailer on YoutTube for They Bleed Pixels, which according to the studio (and their design doc), is a fast paced, gothic, low-fi pixel art, platforming beat’em up. A collaboration project with musician Shaun Hatton (aka DJ Finish Him), the trailer was first viewed at the recent GamerCamp event in Toronto.

They Bleed Pixels is being developed for Xbox Live Indie Games, and according to Spooky Squid designer Miguel Sternberg, the game was “inspired by by games like Niddhogg. I wanted to experiment with a more abstract, simple style that would let me really focus on smooth and stylish animation. They Bleed Pixels is about game feel. The kinetic joy of moving and interacting with the game and creating beat’em up combat that isn’t button mashy or button heavy. We also wanted it to be a game that was radically different from our others so we could switch back and forth and keep our brains active.”

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