Reminder: The deadline for Papers submission for the Canadian Games Conference is January 25th. See the Conference web site for full details. The Canadian Games Conference takes place in Vancouver this May 19th and 20th.
A few minutes ago Interactive Ontario announced that there were only 11 tickets left for GameON: Finance. If you don’t have a ticket yet, chances are the conference will be sold out by the time you read this – but it’s still worth a try. If you don’t check, you’ll never know for sure, and you might end up missing some great learning and networking opportunities. GameON:Finance is happening this week on January 20th and 21st in Toronto.
Help Pixel to Product find out how many people are employed in Canada’s digital media industry by completing their new survey. As stated on the Pixel to Product site, “By collecting this data, we’ll have a better understanding of the size and scope of the Canadian digital media labour force. For example, we’ll understand the salary ranges as it relates to the job titles found in our industry, which areas of the country have the highest concentration of visual designers, and the relationship between education levels and job satisfaction.”
Pixel to Product is aiming for 10,000 complete responses, and asks that you help spread the word amongst your co-workers, partners, friends and associates. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete, and will provide valuable insight into our digital media workforce.
This beta announcement from THQ and Relic has The Cavechild all excited today, because got his pre-order in last week. A multiplayer beta for upcoming real time strategy game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Retribution™, is scheduled to launch in late January.
Featuring all six multiplayer races including the new Imperial Guard faction, this beta is expected to run from the end of January through the end of February to test the new Steamworks networking and matchmaking features and to help balance the multiplayer mode. All new units for each race will be available in the beta along with the new multiplayer maps which ship with Retribution.
The beta is scheduled to go live on Monday, January 31st when global press and key Dawn of War(R) community members will be given access. It will then broaden to include everyone who has pre-ordered Dawn of War® II – Retribution™ on STEAM to date on February 1st. Finally, anyone who has bought a Dawn of War game through STEAM or has registered a Dawn of War II product on their STEAM account will automatically receive an invite on February 8th. There will be no open registration phase to this beta.
The Dawn of War II – Retribution multiplayer beta is currently planned to run until midnight on February 24th, at which point the developers will take all feedback into account to create a day-zero balancing patch.
Vancouver developer Inspirado Games formed a partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada to enable players of the online brain training game, GardenMind, to support real-world conservation initiatives by completing in-game brain game challenges.
“We chose WWF-Canada as our partner because of their incredible dedication to protecting threatened habitats and endangered species as well as the logical fit with the concept of our game,” said Inspirado Games CEO, Rick Davidson. “If a player wants a virtual Tiger for their garden they have to actively protect Tigers in the real world through WWF’s Save The Tiger program.”
The GardenMind game itself is based upon the metaphor that your brain is like a garden and needs to be nourished each day through mental exercise. The argument for brain training is that just like the other muscles in our bodies, our brain needs regular exercise to remain strong and healthy. In GardenMind, players plant garden items in their virtual garden and then play a variety of brain training games to grow those items.
Given that video games have historically come under fire by skeptics for being “a waste of time”, meaningful gaming products such as GardenMind are a clear sign that the video game industry is evolving to meet the needs of new market segments – in this case not just the needs of entertainment and social connectivity, but also personal-development and contribution. GardenMind has been nominated in the Best Social/Casual Game category for this year’s Canadian Video Game Awards.
New projects are afoot for Big Blue Bubble, who is currently developing two titles for the Nintendo 3DS. The studio’s very successful iOS and Android game Burn The Rope will soon come to life in 3D game play, along with another as-yet-unannounced title currently in development. The studio is also working on a new iPhone game as well as a new PC game, both of which remain untitled. Big Blue Bubble’s large catalogue of previously-released mobile, casual and console titles include the Home Sweet Home series, Thumpies and iCarly: iJoin the Click, which is a companion title to the TV show iCarly.
The Canadian Media Production Assocation (CMPA) has released Profile 2010, its annual economic report on the Screen-Based Production Industry in Canada, which showed limited growth from 2008/09 to 2009/10, with an overall increase in production volume from $4.8 billion to $4.9 billion.
Profile is an annual economic report published by the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) in collaboration with the Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec (APFTQ), and the Department of Canadian Heritage. The report provides a statistical overview of the three main screen-based production sectors in Canada: Canadian production (includes television and theatrical), foreign location & service production, and broadcaster in-house production. These sectors helped sustain 117,000 full-time jobs in 2009-2010.
Total numbers for independent television production were down by 3.4%, despite an overall one per cent rise in activity in the industry. The 7.8% decrease in English-language production levels largely contributed to the lower television values. The report also reveals that while Canadian theatrical production and foreign location & service production regained some momentum in 2009-2010, both production segments are below peak levels reached in the last 10 years.
Social media is the current trend taking the business world by storm, and Calgary businesses are no exception. The problem is, corporate communicators and business owners aren’t sure how to fold social media marketing and public relations into their overall media mix. That’s where Quickinars™ comes in, providing quick seminars for business, mainly on social media and Internet marketing topics.
This new seminar series is a joint production of Calgary internet marketing firm Anduro Marketing and social media agency communicatto. Anduro President Jeff Nelson and communicatto President Doug Lacombe, both Internet veterans and long-time educators, will lead the seminars.
“There’s a strong drive for business people to develop or enhance their social media skills,” says Nelson. “Until now there’s been a gap in this market as to acquiring those skills, and busy communicators have no time or appetite for trial and error.”
An array of topics, from developing your social media strategy to proper use of Facebook fan pages, Twitter, YouTube, and best blogging practices are scheduled between now and March 2011. Sessions are half or full day, are generally limited to twenty or fewer people, and, with early bird discounts, start as low as $249 plus fees for a half day session.
“We wanted to make Quickinars informative, interactive and practical,” says Lacombe. “Professionals should expect to have their social media questions answered and to walk away with quite a bit of information and follow up resources.”
Quickinars was born out of the intense market demand Calgary is currently experiencing for social media information.
“So many people were asking so many social media questions, we just couldn’t satisfy them one at a time,” says Lacombe. “Exactly,” concurs Nelson “it just made sense to help people climb this learning curve in small, personal groups. We ran a trial course in November that was a huge success. In the feedback forms one attendee said they brought back several ideas to their supervisor who was ‘psyched’ and they would be incorporating lessons learned to strengthen their communications. To see this information put to good use is very satisfying to us as educators.”
There’s only one way to escape the dead of winter. Let your mind wander and get your creative juices flowing this February at the WordsWorth Weekend. Young writers are invited to join Judith Graves, one of the hottest YA authors around, on a horrific journey on how to write to die for fiction including the terrifying realms of character development and revision.
Judith Graves is the smart and sassy author behind the hit paranormal trilogy Under My Skin. Librarian, singer, songwriter, author, and book club haunter, Graves has her own opinions about words and she’s not afraid to voice them. Much like Eryn, the snarky protagonist in her books, Graves doesn’t pull punches when it comes to calling ‘em as she sees ‘em. Now she’s putting her bold opinions to good use at WordsWorth by teaching young and emerging writers how to better craft their own tantalizing tales.
“I’m a firm believer that Canadian teen fiction can be sexy, action packed, and snarky as hell,” says Graves. So what better author could there be for encouraging youth to develop their own feisty stories?
The Young Alberta Book Society’s WordsWorth event is a weekend-long sleepover for young writers being held February 4-6, 2011 and is open to all writers aged 13-19. The weekend will take place at Kamp Kiwanis in Bragg Creek. Over the course of the weekend, writers will be completely submerged in their fictitious worlds. Carefully guided by Graves and poet Owen Percy, writers will be able to attack their projects with newfound creativity. They will learn how to tweak, manipulate, push, pull, and revamp their stories and characters to create truly unique tales.