24th November 2010

Vampire-Bears Infiltrate Perfection Island

behaviour gamesOh no! Vampire-bears! Global video game publisher 505 Games and developer Behaviour today announced the latest chilling downloadable chapter for Naughty Bear. The new Chapter 10 has fangs, and sees everyone’s favorite bear facing off against an onslaught of mystical creatures intent on taking over the island. Including 4 new multiplayer modes, new costumes and challenges and a showdown with the Vampiricorn make this a must-slay adventure. Downloads will be available from 23rd November 2010 in the US and from 01st December 2010 in European (PAL) territories.

After Stardust summons a vampire hoard to the island, lead by the legendary and terrifying Vampiricorn, the throng of blood-sucking bears start the hunt for Naughty Bear to suck his fluff. Fright your way through a beariffic new story, disguise yourself with new costumes and bring an end to the un-dead with the terrifyingly new Vicious Vampire Claw!

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4 new multiplayer modes offer plenty of defluffication:

Left 4 Ted: Zombear Horde!!!! The bears must do what they can to stay alive against a Zombear invasion. Can you stay alive long enough to win the game?Vampiricorn

Defluffication: Defluff other players with any weapon you like to rack up points in this sweet and simple deathmatch mode!

Dancing King: A mystical Unibear appears at a random location Find him, get close to him and don’t let anyone else near. The player who dances with the Unibear longest wins!

Vampicorn: Elimination match where each player has limited lives and constantly depleting health, which can only be stopped by attacking, hurting and killing the competition. Last vampire-bear standing wins.

The downloadable Chapter 10 will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade for 800 MS points and PlayStation Network for the local equivalent of $9.99 USD. Naughty Bear is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

AutodeskAutodesk, Inc. and Ubisoft have issued this press release about the Autodesk 3D art creation and animation products to help create “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood,” its latest video game, Ubisoftreleased last week. Ubisoft artists created and populated the vast, ancient city of Rome using Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk MotionBuilder software. Autodesk HumanIK middleware was also integrated into Ubisoft’s proprietary game engine to help produce more realistic in-game animation for both the game’s human characters and horses.

“Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” is the newest title in Ubisoft’s hit franchise, delivering stunning animations, beautiful environments and immersive game play. The game’s hero, Ezio, now a Master Assassin, is on a mission to end the oppression of the Roman people by the evil Borgia. Gamers must help rebuild the five districts of Rome, win over the public and recruit new assassins to fight against the powerful Templar Order and usher in the Renaissance.

Rome is the largest city ever featured in an “Assassin’s Creed®” title. As a result, Ezio can now bring his horse into and through the city, opening vast new game environments for player exploration. Autodesk HumanIK ACB-Autodeskmiddleware helps to make sure that the game’s characters move more realistically through the city, whether characters are walking on uneven terrain, scaling walls, riding on horseback or jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

“HumanIK middleware has been a part of our game engine for all ‘Assassin’s Creed’ titles,” said Danny Oros, technical art director for the game. “We knew that with HumanIK we could address our inverse kinematics challenges quickly without sacrificing results or performance.”

As Ezio helps to rebuild the city, each of the five districts of Rome evolves through three distinct atmospheres. Therefore, Ubisoft created three different versions of each of the districts. “Autodesk software provided efficient tools and workflows that helped us create a huge amount of great content in a short amount of time,” added Oros. “The game’s environments were almost all created from scratch, and much of the character content and animation clips were new.”

New animations highlight the advancement of Ezio’s assassin skills. Animators at Ubisoft developed a number of intense fight animation clips, including “combo kills,” where players can eliminate multiple enemies in one move.

“Ezio is now a highly skilled Master Assassin, so we wanted to reward players for a more aggressive combat strategy, instead of the defensive style that was required in ‘Assassin’s Creed® 2,’” said Mike Mennillo, lead fight animator for Ubisoft.

The Ubisoft team shot new fight concepts in a motion capture studio and brought the data into MotionBuilder. This data was then used as a base for the final animation clips created in 3ds Max.

To view an in-depth presentation about how Ubisoft developed the new fight animation in “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood,” visit the “Auditorium” on Autodesk’s virtual Digital Entertainment Conference site.

dhx mediaCongratulations to DHX Media Ltd., who has signed multiple broadcast and home entertainment deals from its extensive preschool slate in Asia, as it prepares for Asian Television Forum next month.

In Malaysia & Brunei, the Astro platform has picked up the exclusive rights to all episodes of the preschool series Franny’s Feet, as well as all episodes of the reading-based preschool show Super WHY! which has also been picked up by InnoForm Media for home video in the territory, and by Media Link for home video in Thailand.

Further deals in Asia include a video-on-demand (“VOD”) deal with Korea’s JCG for Franny’s Feet and Super WHY!, and with Tarra Group Indonesia for home video for Franny’s Feet and additional episodes of Cbeebies hit show Grandpa in My Pocket.

Craig McGillivray, Territory Manager for Asia at DHX Media said: “There’s always a solid market for quality preschool programming in Asia, and we’re pleased to see continued demand across the region for our established hits Franny’s Feet and Super WHY! as well as newer titles such as Grandpa in My Pocket. Deals for VOD and home entertainment are particularly strong right now and we’ll be attending ATF looking to consolidate the presence of all our shows across the region.”

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24th November 2010

Canadian Publishers Release PC Game Patches

Meridian4Montreal game publisher Meridian4 and Headup Games release a patch for their very successful parody/strategy/RPG title Grotesque Tactics – Evil Heroes.

The patch (Version 1.1.5.0) addresses issues with the configuration tool, camera angles and more. For a full list of fixes see below.

* optimized english language texts
* trinigy vision engine update to 7.6.24, may improve stability (depends on DirecX SDK February 2010, you may need a local directx update)
* optional code for positioning hardware cursor (better results on lower framerates)
* performance improvements in quest- and dialog-system Grotesque Tactics(fixes cyclic fps drops)
* config tool: added background music
* config tool: added windowed option
* config tool: added disable intro-videos option
* config tool: removed tahoma font dependancy (fixes a crash on some machines)
fixed a bug where pressing escape in the option menu the first time would mess up the menu system
clamped the mouse speed to 0.1 (thus the cursor does not freeze any more if you set the slider all to the left)
* more error outputs if the gfx hardware does not meet the requirements
charmed chars are auto-uncharmed if game goes into explore mode (fixes misc potential quest deadlocks)
* camera: iso move speed has been increased
* camera: height angles have been changed to avoid level collisions
necessary release files are now copied into the related MyDocuments folders (write access is required, otherwise an error occurs)
* alternate improved exception handling with the option to send debug reports anonymously
* fixed a bug where you could not attack anymore after a levelup
* fixed a bug where the conversation would not continue if the related partners were out of processing range
* changed chocochicks fraction to friendly in order to avoid some movement deadlocks
* changed fraction of three soldiers in riverwind in order to avoid a movement deadlock situation
* dawnclaude is set to invisible before he joins the party (otherwise it was possible to kill him in advance)
* fixed a tooltip for dawnclaude not showing up
* added cheats (tba later)

DreamCatcherToronto publisher Dreamcatcher Games, Spellbound Entertainment, BVT Group and JoWooD have released a new patch for ArcaniA – Gothic 4. This update slightly alters specific gameplay dynamics, increases the overall performance and gets rid of rare crashes.

Detailed Patchlog:

FIXED: Interruption of interactions with sword strikes
FIXED: Acknowledgements playback after loading a save game
FIXED: Jump interrupted by FMV character freeze
FIXED: Cool down in the inventory screen
FIXED: Reduced ocean clipping problem for Stereoscopic 3D
FIXED: Arrows stick on already disintegrated Demon
FIXED: Stamina consumption while sprinting with equipped spells added
FIXED: SLI issues & optimizations
FIXED: Crash on vista machines when starting the game on the seArcaniAcond adapter while the first adapter was disabled
FIXED: Stereoscopic 3D can be deactivated from the NVIDIA control panel before launching game
FIXED: Pickable item restoration
FIXED: Multiple CPU profiles in process manager
FIXED: Clouds use dynamic vertex buffer for frequent locking
FIXED: Performance problem with terrain tile generation
FIXED: Performance bug in trails
FIXED: Rare crash when arrows stuck in players vanished
FIXED: Additional unnecessary loading screen when using a teleport stone-need

This patch will be installed automatically via the auto-updater on November 23rd.

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24th November 2010

IUGO Holiday Sale

IUGOIn light of IUGO and Capcom’s recent success with their social game title Lil’ Pirates for the iPhone, IUGO announces a sweeping price drop to 99¢ on the following titles:

Zombie Attack!
Daisy Mae’s Alien BuffetIUGO Holiday Sale
Toy Bot Diaries 1,2,3
Toy Bot Compilation
A.D.D.
Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL
Implode! XL
Cliffed XL
Star Hogs
Spy Bot Chronicles
Freeballin’
Toy Bot Mini Missions

The IUGO sale begins early morning this Thursday, November 25th and will last until Sunday evening. Grab these premium games for 99¢ while you can! Don’t forget to download Lil’ Pirates for FREE while you’re at it too!

Wicked InteractiveAlso for the American Thanksgiving, Toronto publisher Wicked Interactive and SUBA Games thanks its user base for playing Mission Against Terror, its popular free-to-play shooter. Rather than offering up virtual turkeys and pilgrim hats in a free to play first person shooter, SUBA has prepared something extra-special this Thanksgiving.
Mission Against Terror
On Thanksgiving day, two Game Masters will be in-game delivering M.A.T.’s usual Thursday “Kill The GM” event at 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST(GMT -5) where winners earn themselves 1,000 SUBA Points to use in the item shop. In addition, between the hours of 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST(GMT -5), players will be enjoying +50% honor from playing games and +50% silver coins from playing games.

Set in a near-future not so different from our own time, M.A.T. pits teams against one another in a bitter battle for the survival of the human race. Unanimously hailed for its solid gameplay and wide variety of game modes, M.A.T. has taken North America by storm, after becoming quite popular in Asia and other parts of the world.

Little ServicesToronto’s Little Services recently released Version 1.9 of Logistrics Taxi – an Android PDA-based Taxi Solution. Logistrics Taxi is a full featured application that works on any Android PDA device and can allow Taxi Companies to run a successful taxi business at a fraction of the upfront and monthly operating costs of Desktop and Mobile Dispatch Terminal (MDT) based solutions.

The Device Update includes auto-status updates, quit option from main menu, speed optimization, etc. Server side updates include invite functionality, permission modifications for company admin & an enhanced date picker on order screen among others.

The solution is offered as a fully managed service and can be downloaded from the Android Market directly from the PDA. Logistrics Taxi is aimed at small taxi operators seeking a low cost dispatch and tracking solution. The solution supports is currently used by several taxi companies worldwide. Drivers will need an Android PDA with a data plan to access the service. The solution is being offered free for 60 days from Registration date.

koboStarting today, customers can purchase a new Kobo Wireless eReader pre-loaded with any one of five exclusive eBook bundles. Customers can save up to $30 and give the perfect gift for readers – an eReader already loaded with a bundle of hot new books, ready to start reading right out of the box.

Kobo customers can share the joy of eReading: the exclusive eBook bundles each appeal to a different taste or reading mood -Books on Film, Vampire Diaries, Spicy Romance, Millennium Trilogy and Made in Canada . This offer features some of today’s most popular and bestselling fiction, non-fiction, biographies and romance titles conveniently offered in a single package. In addition, kobo eReadercustomers can build their library for life with Kobo and read eBooks, Newspapers and Magazines on any device. Today, Kobo is available on iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, PC, MAC, Samsung Galaxy Tab, new tablets and eReaders.

“The Kobo eReader comes in a variety of colours and is already an amazing gift for the traveler, the constant reader and the hard to buy for on your holiday list. Combined with our great new eBook bundles, Kobo is the perfect gift to get your loved ones,” said Michael Tamblyn, Kobo Vice President of Content, Sales and Merchandising. “With Kobo, ebooks are the ultimate last-minute gift – delivered in seconds and you never have to worry about shipping or something being out of stock.”

With the new Kobo Wireless eReader, consumers can now wirelessly shop on the go, anytime, anyplace, directly from their Kobo Wireless eReader with one touch of the “Shop” button. Adding more than hundreds of thousands of titles in six months, the Kobo store now boasts over 2.2 million books including today’s new releases and bestsellers, timeless classics and thousands of free books.

Race to a MillionRace To A Million is the first ever “Social Reality” TV show – where Social Media meets Reality TV. Our goal is to prove that business can be fun, socially conscious, environmentally responsible, and sustainable while still profitable. We say “Nice People CAN Finish First!”

The “Race to a Million” is a contest devised by the co-founders of Canada’s Mastermind Development Corporation (CMDC), namely, Peter Cameron-Inglis and Dean Pierson. It is more than a contest though… it is an experiment specifically designed to prove the effectiveness of the Mastermind concept as well as an opportunity to give back to the community by raising significant financial support for a variety of charitable organizations.

The “Race to a Million” is a money making contest involving 5 teams, the original 4 Master Mind groups from CMDC based in Kamloops and 1 team of MBA students from Thompson Rivers University (TRU). These groups include Mastermind Team Matrix, Mastermind Team Nexus, Mastermind Team Genie, the flagship Mastermind Team Alpha, and the team from Thompson Rivers University – Team TRU.

Even though their official contestants are already chosen for the first “Race to a Million”… you can still play along and (if you choose to do so) you could duplicate the strategies and make your own million! Follow along on the weekly racetoamillion.ca blog as we share specific details of the winning (and losing) strategies and the results of those strategies with everyone. We will be using Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Linked In and will even be posting weekly You Tube updates so that you can get to know the contestants and see how their thoughts and personalities will help their teams. We are also making it possible for you to send along hints and tips to your favorite team and potentially win participation prizes.

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Here’s the best part … all of the tips … all of the information … all of the insights … and all of the fun are absolutely free and available to anyone who wants to either play along or just cheer for their favorite team.

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24th November 2010

New DLC and New Apps Plus a Thank You to WestJet

westjetNote: I would like to publicly thank Allison over at WestJet for going above and beyond the duty of a great CSR person and getting my daughter home from CFB Borden via Toronto after her original flight was canceled. This is just one example of how Twitter can work for business – not only did the airline make it right (sorry Mike Holmes, I know that’s your ® tag line) – but Allison got her on a flight landing in Abbotsford tonight, which is much, much more convenient for us than Vancouver International. That said, the “distraction” of getting flights sorted and the fact that I actually slept in this morning, means a bit sparser news for now – but there will be more later, because Canada’s digital media community is always creating new things for me to tell you about.

UbisoftUbisoft has just announced that the Animus Project Update 1.0 downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® and the PlayStation®3 will be available as a free Mont St Micheldownload on December 14th, 2010 on XBOX LIVE® and PlayStation®Network.

The Animus Project Update 1.0 will include a brand-new game mode and brand new map for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Multiplayer. The game mode, Advanced Alliance, will make the original Alliance Mode with target identification and engagement more difficult than in original Alliance Mode, thus providing a more challenging experience for players. With three teams of two players each, Advanced Alliance is a tougher test for players and rewards teams that use stealth techniques to hunt their targets.

Located on a rocky tidal island of Normandy in France, the new map, Mont Saint-Michel, offers breathtaking Hellequin In Mont St Michelscenery sure to enchant all. Its particular topography of narrow streets, high-perched bell tower and multi-leveled architecture is perfect for hunters and predators alike to surge from out of nowhere to execute their prey. To survive, recruits will need to use free-running and narrow roads to their advantage.

“We are very thrilled to be able to offer the first Multiplayer DLC for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood for absolutely free,” said Sebastien Puel, executive producer, Ubisoft Montreal. “We wanted to say thank you to our fans for making Brotherhood such a huge success its opening week. We are very proud of the unique and innovative Multiplayer mode it offers, and hope the fans enjoy the new content.”

Last week I told you all about Game Prototype Challenge – well the first round has been completed, and there are some great game prototypes up for you to play. The theme for this first round was Dreams and Collectibles; GamePrototypeChallengehere is who submitted prototypes:

Sleep Harder! by Cale Bradbury
Chased by Monsters by Jason P. Kaplan
Part Of A Machine by Damian Sommer
Dreamcatcher by James An
Sleepscape by Jonathan Remedios
ProjectKyoto by Arthur Marris

These games were all built in one week, from start to finish. Check them out, they’re rather good (not that I’m surprised, because Canadian game devs are the best). Version 2 of the Game Prototype Challenge will be coming in December – keep an eye on their site and ours for the theme and time frame announcement.

Ripe AppsToronto app developer Ripe Apps has just released their latest title. Geo Alerts is an app that lets you set reminders for specific locations by placing pins on a map, choosing an address from the Address Book or by typing an address in search. Geo Alerts gives you 20 custom alert sounds with an unlimited number of alerts and notifications. With background processing on iOS 4 (3GS or Newer), Geo Alerts can help you in these ways:

* Remember to pick up “Milk” every time you pass by your usual convenience store (if I had an iPhone, this alone would be worth it!)
* Drop by and pick up the mail at an old address
* If you are a real-estate agent and need to remember to stop by at a few locations
* Are you a Pool Cleaner, Gardner, or any Profession that require multiple stops per day?
You can pre fill your stops on the app and it will remind you every time you are near you next closest client.
* Fun & Experimentation
* Remind yourself to flirt with that house you are looking into buying whenever you’re there
* It can remind to do something when you get home from work, even if you don’t know when that will be
* Organize your driving; look at the app (in NSEW mode) and know what you need to do “North of Here”.
* Wake yourself when sleeping on the bus but only when you get home.

BCITBCIT is looking for mentors for their Games Development Bachelor’s Degree students. The first crop of students will be graduating Spring of 2011. These students will be available to work on their practicum from January to April 2011. I encourage you to participate in this practicum program and to include one of the students in your projects. Doing so will help cultivating and grooming our next generation of IT professionals in the games industry. This is also an excellent opportunity to evaluate potential employees while getting cost-effective development assistance.

With a focus on advanced programming, the BCIT Games Development Degree is designed to also equip students with critical skills in multidisciplinary areas including graphics and audio design, higher level Mathematics (3D graphics, calculus, analytical geometry), Physics and artificial intelligence. Students learn to develop games for PCs, consoles (e.g. Xbox) and mobile devices (e.g. iPhone).

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24th November 2010

Game Design Expo Speakers Announced

Game Design Expo 2011The lineup for Game Design Expo 2011 in Vancouver has been revealed, highlighted by keynotes from Rovio Mobile, the makers of all-time bestselling iPhone game Angry Birds, and Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft®. The entire day of presentations by the luminaries behind some of the most important games of this year and next constitute the event’s biggest speaker lineup in its five-year history.

The event, slated for January 22-23, 2011, is hosted by the acclaimed one-year Game Design program at Vancouver Film School (VFS), which the Los Angeles Times has called “a top school favoured by game industry recruiters.” Saturday’s Industry Speaker Day at Game Design Expo will feature talks aimed at game industry professionals, students, and anyone interested in games. Tickets for Industry Speaker Day are on sale now and already selling fast.

Rovio Mobile’s Angry Birds, a puzzle game for iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices, has been downloaded over 20 million times. Rovio’s Senior Game Designer and Marketing Manager will kick off Saturday’s schedule by delving into the design and business factors behind its incredible success in a presentation called How to Design a Hit Game for the iPhone.

In addition to crossing the 12 million subscriber mark recently, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft has racked up numerous achievements. Its first two expansions, The Burning Crusade® and Wrath of the Lich King®, both broke PC-game sales records upon their release, and Blizzard’s latest expansion for the game, Cataclysm™, is set to launch on December 7. Blizzard’s lead content designer on the game will discuss how the company uses macro design to stay focused on the big picture amid a world of details.

Among the schedule’s many other highlights are talks by leading minds behind Dead Space 2, Tron: Evolution, True Crime: Hong Kong, and Halo Waypoint, as well as PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect. The lineup represents an incredible cross-section of the game industry, from mobile and online games to big-budget AAA titles, from traditional platforms to new motion-based systems.

Game Design Expo Industry Speaker Day Guests – January 22, 2011

Jaakko Iisalo/Matthew Wilson – Senior Game Designer/Marketing Manager, Rovio Mobile (Angry Birds)
Jeff O’Connell/Mike Skupa – Lead Producer/Lead Designer, United Front Games (True Crime: Hong Kong)
Anton Mikhailov – Software Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation Move)
Paul Parsons – Senior Game Designer, 343 Industries (Halo Waypoint)
Mitchell Lagran – Designer, most recently of Rockstar Games Vancouver (Max Payne 3)
Alan Shen – Senior Design Program Manager, Microsoft (Kinect)
Jonathan Gallina – Lead Game Designer, Propaganda Games (Tron: Evolution)
Seth Marinello – Level Designer, Visceral Games (Dead Space 2)
Cory Stockton – Lead Content Designer, Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft)

The event is held in the intimate Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre, and has sold out every year. Anyone hoping to attend is encouraged to buy their tickets now.

“We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming these speakers and companies to Vancouver,” says Dave Warfield, Head of VFS Game Design and the host of Game Design Expo 2011. “Whether you’ve worked in the game industry for years or you’re just starting out, you never stop learning. Games like Angry Birds and World of Warcraft offer countless lessons to us all.”

In conjunction with Game Design Expo 2011, Warfield and VFS Game Design will be hosting a free Open House at the school (390 W. Hastings) on Sunday, January 23, where attendees will be able to hear about the program, meet students and faculty, play games, take sample classes, and get details on the full-tuition Women in Games Scholarship. Space is limited, so anyone interested in attending the always-popular Open House is strongly encouraged to register now.

VFS is proud to partner with the following event sponsors to realize Game Design Expo 2011: G4, 3vis, Annex Pro, Pixologic, Radical Entertainment, Sumo Lounge, and The Georgia Straight.

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