• Village Gamer

  • Chaotic Box Offers Free Sample Tasting of Silverfish

25th January 2011

Chaotic Box Offers Free Sample Tasting of Silverfish

Chaotic BoxChaotic Box has deployed an ad-supported Lite Version of its retro-styled title Silverfish in the iTunes App Store, silverfishinviting untested gamers to destroy the onslaught of space bugs in this intense and visually stunning arcade experience. Forget about watered down shooters with simulated controls – Silverfish was designed for touch input to provide authentic and unrelenting arcade action.

I urge you to take advantage of Retina Display if you have it, because Silverfish’s screens are bold and colourful, with beautifully done neon swirls, explosions and characters. The gameplay is very easy to control, you simply Flick Up, Down, Left, and Right anywhere on the screen to change direction and tap with 2 fingers to activate a powerup. The premise is equally simple – avoid your enemies for as long as you can and benefit from the power pellets they leave behind.

Lite Version Features

– Based on “Reaper” mode from the full version
– Game Center leaderboards and achievements
– Exclusive achievements not in the full version!
– Retina Display graphics
– Awesome realtime fluid-plasma fx
– Intuitive flick & tap anywhere controls
– Driving original soundtrack

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

As mentioned above, the Lite version is based on Reaper mode, but in the full version, you have four modes with which to weave a path of destrution on your screen. Onslaught mode arms you three bombs and four lives (I need a Cat mode so that I can have seven lives). It is your mission to outlast the enemy and survive their onslaught. The third mode is Scavenger, and with only one life to play with, death is sometimes…okay, often…swift. On the upside, I have three bombs in Scavenger with which to destroy as many Silverfish as possible before they do me in. Nasty things, I swear they hoarde the red power pellets just to taunt me. Haste mode was a recently added update that will challenge you no end – the developer took Reaper mode and fed the baddies steroids and speed.

If you want more Silverfish, grab the full version for unlimited gameplay in 4 challenging game modes. More Achievements, More Powerups, More Enemies, more fun and no ads. Be warned – whether you try the free version or buy the full version like I did – be prepared to become addicted.

frima studioQuebec’s Frima Studios and San Francisco-based Bolt Creative have announced that the recently released and wildly popular Facebook version of Pocket God is rolling out with a brand new update entitled Episode II: Clash of the Frightened. Pocket God is currently in an open beta and users can find out what all the fuss is about by heading over to checking the game out on Facebook and playing for themselves!

Here’s what is coming in Episode II: Clash of the Frightened:

* Social Quests: Combine forces with your Facebook friends to compete with rival deities across the world! Team up and take down powerful foes with a host of your favorite powers.
* Taunt Your Friends: What could be better than having a shark bite the head of your boss, or frying your roommate to a crisp with a bolt of lightning? Why, rubbing it in their face afterward, of course! Tease the friends you have sacrificed with all-new power-themed taunts.pocket god
* Choose Your Currency: Upgrade your godly presence any way you want. Acquire new powers, powerful items and glorious idols with either Pocket Change or Sacrifice Points, the two forms of currency in the game.
* Unlock Powers Early: Can’t wait to unlock exciting new powers and get the drop on your unsuspecting friends? Now you don’t have to! For a little Pocket Change or Sacrifice Points, players can catch up to their friends in the game by unlocking powers early.
* New Idols: New idols to represent the rival gods
* More Solo Quests: Players have spoken and Frima has listened – five brand new quests, one of the most popular features in Pocket God, have been added with this update to give you plenty to stay busy!

Since its debut on the world’s most popular social network in December of 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown rapidly, reaching 100,000 monthly active users in less than a month. With nearly 5,000 new users each day, you’ll be sure to never run out of Facebook friends to sacrifice!

Originally developed by Bolt Creative for iPhone and iPod Touch, the Facebook version of Pocket God features a brand new way to experience the colorful, death-inducing, all-powerful and hilarious universe of Pocket God across the world’s most popular social network. With all-new socially integrated features, episodic updates and a host of hilarious ways to both dispose of and resurrect the immortal pygmies of each island, the Facebook iteration of Pocket God offers a fresh experience for both fans of the iOS versions, and those looking for an omnipotent new twist in online social gaming.

Yummy InteractiveVancouver’s Yummy Interactive, Inc. has inked a partnership with Encore, Inc., the leading retail publisher for personal productivity, home design, education and games for PC and Mac. Encore has selected Yummy Interactive’s Shield Suite, a comprehensive Digital Rights Management solution, to manage the licensing and protect the assets of its PC products and game titles for digital and retail distribution.

“Encore was looking for a cost-effective, flexible protection and licensing system for its software applications that could be easily integrated into their existing digital and retail sales channels. Furthermore they wanted a DRM solution that would enhance user experience and trial-to-purchase conversions. Yummy’s GameShield™ and SoftwareShield™ products provide all the marketing and sales tools necessary to help businesses optimize trial downloads, while protecting their products,” said Christopher Hennebery, Yummy Interactive’s VP of Digital Distribution.

“Our engineers and sales teams are very enthusiastic about the features and functionality SoftwareShield and GameShield will bring to our PC distribution business,” said Cal Morrell, Encore’s president. “We were looking for the right partner for our PC platform products that would deliver us great value for money as well as personalized support.”

SoftwareShield and GameShield are premiere protection and licensing software suites which support software applications and video games for PC and Mac platforms. The Shield suite offers a wide range of licensing and activation methods and powereful IronWrap protection to safeguard Intellectual Property.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Casual, Everyone, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Social Media, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

25th January 2011

Canadians Invited to Have Their Say on Internet Provision

On February 25th, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) will present the findings from a national consultation on how the Internet is run at the Canadian Internet Forum (CIF). CIRA, along with its partners the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Media Awareness Network (MNet), will present findings from six face-to-face consultations that took place across Canada along with input received from an online discussion forum.

A panel of Canadian experts will discuss the findings, and leading Canadian technology visionary Leonard Brody will provide the keynote address. The event will also feature sessions for participants to provide their feedback and ideas about Internet governance in Canada and internationally. The CIF will be webcast to facilitate the interactive participation of all Canadians who are interested in Canada’s role in Internet governance.

Although the Internet has become an integral part of the Canadian economy and society, the CIF presents the first opportunity for Canadians to discuss how it is developed, deployed and governed. The results of the consultations, online discussion and the national event will be presented to the United Nations coordinated Internet Governance Forum, a venue for nations to discuss the future of the Internet.

As of today, the online discussion forum is open to all interested Canadians who wish to discuss issues related to how the Internet is developed, deployed and governed in Canada and around the world. All interested Canadians are invited to join in on the discussion. Registration for the Canadian Internet Forum is free, and the event will also be webcast in English and French. The Forum will take place at the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa from 9:00am until 5:00pm on February 25th.

Open TextOpenText will be bringing content analytics capabilities to market for improved business productivity through an Intellectual Property (IP) licensing agreement with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The NRC innovations will be incorporated into OpenText’s flagship Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Suite, with the first version expected to be available by Spring 2011.

Businesses and governments are increasingly engaging with workers, partners and customers across a range of electronic and social media to collaborate, find new ideas, measure sentiment, identify important trends and predict future outcomes based on content analytics. With added content analytics capabilities incorporated into the OpenText ECM Suite, businesses will gain more value from their content through improved data mining and analysis.

Research and development for the new project is already under way in the Ottawa NRC facilities in collaboration with OpenText’s Montreal R&D center that develops its content analytics solutions, based on the acquisition of Nstein Technologies last year. The project is focused on developing software for analyzing large collections of structured and unstructured data that reside within organizations.

Content Analytics addresses the discovery of answers to those important business questions through the use of semantic technologies such as natural language processing and sentiment analysis. The collaboration between the National Research Council of Canada and OpenText will enable more efficient data mining capability to locate entities –names, product brands, geographic locations, currencies, ticker symbols for example – plus uncover facts such as financial statements, merger and acquisition announcements, etc. and then connect relationships between those entities and facts. The software can search for pieces of text or metadata that cannot be specified in common search engines, and the results from those queries can be presented much more flexibly than would be possible using traditional business intelligence solutions.

Project X LtdBoutique advisory and technology services company Project X Ltd. has completed the QuickStrike Mobile Application training program from MicroStrategy, a global leader in business intelligence technology. Project X is among the first MicroStrategy alliance partners to complete the training program and become lead facilitators for the MicroStrategy Mobile QuickStrike Program in Canada.

As MicroStrategy Mobile QuickStrike Lead Facilitators, Project X will work with clients to accelerate their mobile BI application strategies from concept to production with a proof of concept mobile application, storyboard and video overview in two weeks. With mobile business intelligence on the verge of widespread adoption, companies are looking to deploy their business data on devices that make it easy and convenient to access critical data.

pooling peoplePoolingPeople.ca, a new web-based business, provides employers with a unique platform for cost-effectively sharing employees directly with each other. The first online service of its kind, PoolingPeople.ca allows companies to reduce overhead costs during idle time by temporarily or permanently sharing employees with other member companies. Conversely, PoolingPeople.ca allows employers to find experienced people when they need additional part-time or full-time staff.

With more than 15 years experience in the recruitment industry, McKinnon knows first-hand the problems and costs businesses face trying to fill a vacancy with a qualified candidate.  Equally, she understands the difficulties involved when layoffs occur.

For a $250 US annual subscription fee, employers can use PoolingPeople.ca in various ways:

  • If a company is suddenly overstaffed because of a project delay, they can use PoolingPeople.ca to connect with another company experiencing a temporary worker shortage due to vacation schedules, for example. The two companies solve their staffing issues by lending or borrowing well-qualified employees on a short-term basis.
  • A business that must downsize can find other member companies looking to permanently hire talented staff.
  • If a company needs to reduce a full-time employee to part-time, it can enter the individual’s qualifications on PoolingPeople.ca and connect with another company needing a part-time employee – resulting in the employee working for both firms.

level platformsLevel Platforms Inc. has launched Managed Workplace® 2011, a comprehensive, integrated remote monitoring, management and automation software platform designed for IT service providers offering managed services. This historic major release features comprehensive Automation OnDemand, an optional Device Manager agent to supplement Level Platforms award-winning agentless architecture, and further advances in the platform’s seamless integration with the full IT ecosystem found in most organizations today, including local infrastructure, applications and Cloud services. Managed Workplace 2011 is available in Cloud and On Premise versions.

In conjunction with the release of Managed Workplace 2011, Level Platforms also announced the Managed Workplace 2011 Road Show to take place in 19 cities across North America this February 8th through 24th. In addition to an introduction to the highly anticipated Managed Workplace 2011, attendees will benefit from new industry research and information, open forums led by successful MSPs sharing their insights and experience, and significant exclusive industry announcements from leading vendors working with Level Platforms to help the managed services community enhance the growth and profitability of their businesses in 2011.

Disney FriendsThe Nature Conservancy, Protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest has become the first Canadian incentive to ever receive funding from Disney Friends for Change. The Nature Conservancy: Protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest took second place in the recent round of voting by kids on the Disney Friends for Change website. Disney Friends for Change is a multiplatform environmental initiative that helps kids help the planet. Protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest is a project trains local students to monitor local wildlife in an effort to protect the rainforest, home to such animals as grizzly bears and wolves.

The voting is part of an overall call to action for kids to make a difference in their local communities. Registered participants make personal promises to reduce their impact on the environment by changing their everyday actions. They can also help allocate Disney’s $1 million commitment to fund environmental programs worldwide. This round of voting is the first to include kids from around the world since Disney Friends for Change expanded into Latin America and Europe.

Voting is continuous throughout the year, giving kids the opportunity to vote on five different projects per quarter. Each project is managed by leading environmental nonprofit organizations. The projects are centered on Disney Friends for Change’s four focus areas — climate, habitat, waste and water. With nearly 2.5 million votes, Disney Friends for Change kids have helped direct almost $2 million to 41 projects in 21 countries since the program was launched in May 2009.

The award amount is contingent upon how many votes each project receives. This is the third round of award voting, and the first to include international votes. BirdLife International, Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands received the first prize allotment of $100 000.00 The project contributes to the conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a unique and highly threatened migratory shorebird. The project raises awareness among local governments and communities about the importance of the species and of the inter-tidal wetlands that are vital for its survival.

destiny mediaDestiny Media Technologies Inc. has received conditional approval from the TSX Venture Exchange for its Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Under the Plan, employees of Destiny are able to contribute up to 5% of their annual salary into a pool which is matched equally by Destiny. Independent directors are able to contribute a maximum of $12,500 each for a combined maximum annual purchase of $25,000. The maximum annual combined contributions will be $400,000. Money in the pool will be used to purchase shares out of the market on a biweekly basis. All purchases will be made through the Exchange by a third party plan agent and no purchases will be made on the OTC or German exchanges. The third party plan agent will also be responsible for the administration of the Plan on behalf of Destiny and the participants. The Plan is subject to shareholder approval at Destiny’s next AGM.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Associations, Awards, Business News, Careers, Government, National News, Software By: | Print This Post Print This Post

25th January 2011

The Game Design Expo Gets Better With Age

Game Design Expo 2011This past weekend we attended the 2011 Game Design Expo hosted by our friends at the Vancouver Film School Game Design Programme. As with previous years the sessions were informative and entertaining, leaving us with many areas for further research and ideas on how to apply these new ideas to what we are trying to accomplish. For a more in-depth look at the sessions as they happened, search the #gdexpo hashtag on Twitter for my live-tweets as well as those from VFS staff.

My favourite session of the day was that of Holistic Design, presented by Mitchell Lagran. Sometimes all it takes is hearing a different way of approaching a project to spark new ideas and enthusiasm, and as the GDX Attendeesday progressed it became evident that the theories presented by Mitchell are those that have merit as other developers referred to his session in their own presentations.

Important take-aways from Mitch’s session, which took place right after lunch, was that developers need to focus their intent – doing what they set out to do well, without distracting the gamer with extraneous mechanics that will not serve the game. In other words, try not to require your gamer to do more than what is necessary to keep the game flowing. Do not jar your gamer out of the experience, because if you disconnect the audience from the action too many times, they will not be inclined to continue playing. Mitch sited Bioware’s Mass Effect franchise as an excellent example of holistic game design – know where you are going and what you want to do before you start the journey. Make sure that all components of your game’s design work well together and serve the purpose of an enjoyable, replayable escape from the mundane.

I think that what I enjoyed most about the Industry Day sessions was that the speakers went beyond the art work and programming, opening the door to practices and principles brought into play long before the Our Favourite Game Personalitiesfirst world object is placed and characters are animated – as well as ideas that can be put into place once the game is shipped to help it become noticed in the mass market.

Jaakko Iisalo, Senior Game Designer and Matthew Wilson, Marketing Manager for Rovio Mobile opened the day with How to Design a Hit Game for the iPhone. The designing duo talked about the concepts, designs and marketing behind the hit game Angry Birds. The secret to their success was in part keeping everything simple, with the marketing plan following the basic premise of engaging their audience and letting the product speak for itself.

The four members of the Angry Birds team have learned how to seek out opportunities for their product and take advantage of them. Through smart marketing and an appealing product, Rovio was able to watch Angry Birds move up the sales charts and become an industry phenomena. With a very small to non-existent marketing budget, the developers took advantage of today’s social networking sites and social media basics to engage those who had already bought the game and to draw in those who had yet to put out their dollar in the various App Stores. One of the top take-aways from this Wii at the VFS Open Housesession were to never give up and to never treat your titles like a disposable object once it is released – find out ways to give your audience more, add to their experience to keep them playing your game.

The second session was presented by United Front Games‘ Lead Producer Jeff O’Connell and Lead Producer Mike Skupa, whose topic was Action Game Mechanics In An Open-World Game. The pair took us on a photographic tour of Hong Kong, sharing a few of the 20 000 photos the studio shot on location in Hong Kong as they prepared to work on the upcoming action title True Crime: Hong Kong. What I enjoyed most about this presentation was how the development team planned to incorporate real-world elements into the game’s play mechanics while also capturing the essence of Hong Kong’s culture.

Some important take-aways for those who want to develop an open-world game are mission mapping and fast travel options for the player. Be mindful of where your missions begin and end – is there a disconnect between locations, PS Move at the VFS Open Houseand how will you keep the game-flow smooth for the player. Make sure that your features and environment serve to move the story forward while keeping the player constantly engaged, while remaining true to the physical setting you’ve chosen.

In Novel Game Designs With PlayStation Move and Eye, Sony Computer Entertainment R & D Software Engineer Anton Mikhailov led the audience through a very entertaining and informative session about the importance of your game’s controller system conveying your player’s sense of immediacy and accuracy, which serve to immerse the player in your product. PlayStation’s goal with Move was to give the player six degrees of movement through hand gestures, whether that player was wielding a sword, fighting in hand to hand combat or painting. The most important message in this session was that expressiveness in your controls is paramount, as this is what will give your players a feel for the experience, drawing them into an immersive and emergent style of gaming.

Those who aspire to become Community Managers in the game development community would have been very appreciative of the efforts which drove the Halo Waypoint team to design and launch a fully immersive experience for the Halo game community over three screens – Xbox 360, PC and mobile phone – while ensuring that they Vancouver-developed Drumskulls was very populardelivered the right content and features to the appropriate screen. This initiative helped to drive user loyalty as well as add to the ways gamers interacted with the Halo gaming community as a whole. Paul Parsons, Senior Game Designer at 343 Industries led an excellent session discussing the premise behind and the four key steps taken to launching WayPoint – and he was also one of the very first graduates of the VFS Game Design Programme.

Alan Shen, Senior Design Programme Manager for Microsoft’s Entertainment Experiences Group demonstrated the scope and design of Kinect’s Natural User Interface, touching on the expectations placed in the market by Hollywood through such futuristic films as BladeRunner, Iron Man, Minority Report and Star Trek. Part of the challenge was how to develop a system that would connect the gamer to the experience while working towards meeting those Hollywood expectations. As there is no common, global gesture language that would translate easily into game mechanics, the development team had to look at what actions would be intuitive, as well as fun and meaningful ways to educate gamers in regards to their playspace environment and full body game play.

The VFS Open House Arcade Relic Entertainment Game Director Raphael van Lierop took the audience through a very engaging and entertaining session titled Steering The Rocket: Harnessing the Power of Creative People. One of the most important take-aways from this session is that creative people need to feel some type of empowerment and ownership of their creative process. Collaboration and communication is key in establishing this basis, providing you build the process on a firm base of ground rules which serve to create a climate of respect and encourage a guided form of idea generation and motivation. Micro management of your team will kill their creativity; you need to allow for creative freedom while following a clear line of communication in regards to decision making and assistance with issues that may arise. Raphael noted that he would be publishing the screens from his talk online, you can follow him on Twitter to be kept up to date on this.

Jonathan Gallina, who served as the Lead Game Designer on Tron: Evolution built on the day’s theme of collaboration, discussing the importance of co-operation in building a movie-based game and overcoming the stigma long associated with the cross-over of theatrical and game experience. The Tron: Evolution team were in a unique position, as the film and special effects were all done in Vancouver, giving each team the opportunity to work together, sharing VFS Instructor Roger Mitchell with an Open House attendeeboth assets and ideas. One of the most important factors that cannot be overlooked when developing a game to accompany a movie’s debut is the time required to produce a game that will not end up on the pile of movie-game failures. As with previous sessions, Jonathan stated the importance of establishing ground rules for the project scope, prototyping and iteration, as well as working to mesh the story’s canon within the game.

EA-Visceral Lead Designer Seth Marinello covered many design features that can be used to create fun through fear as experienced by the gamer in Dead Space and Dead Space 2. Some of the most important factors to build into a horror-survival game are the ways in which environment, lighting and music all inter-connect to create the emotion of fear, while also giving the gamer some breathing room to recover from each scary episode before building to the next one. As also stated by previous speakers, do not jar your players out of the experience  – draw on their fears while still giving them the cushion of knowing that the horror is not real without making it apparent that the situation is contrived. Put your players in a position of power at key points in the game, but then take it away to enhance the scariness of the scenario. A loss of the feeling of empowerment will build on the player’s fear in a given situation, while the ability to work through the scene and survive will drive the triumphant feeling a gamer needs to carry on through the entire story.

VFS Open House Points of InterestThe speaker sessions were concluded by Cory Stockton, Lead Content Designer for Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft franchise. The most insightful parts of his presentation was how to use tools such as mind-mapping, Adobe Illustrator and Visio Flowcharts will provide designers with the ability to create a game which is true to scale and follows a logical flow. It is important for design teams to make use of the tools available to them, adapting them into a process which works for that particular project and its goals. Creative people are visual – build on their ability to see flaws and nurture ideas by giving them visual guidelines, whether it’s a wall poster of the game’s world or a chart showing every person on the team and his or her areas of responsibility. Flowcharts are also excellent for tracking missions, quests and production times while wikis are useful in keeping the entire team up to date with production changes, assets and storyline. The important take-away from this session is to find the right tools and make full use of them throughout the entire production process.

Once the sessions concluded and just prior to recognizing BigPark’s contribution to the game development programme at VFS with its annual Service Recognition plaque, VFS  Head of Game Design Dave Warfield introduced Relic Entertainment General Manager Jonathan Dowdeswell. Jonathan spoke of a tragic event last year which many of us were sadly familiar with – the untimely death of Company of Heroes’ lead game designer Brian Wood in a motor vehicle accident last September. Jonathan related how touched Brian’s wife and family were by the outpouring of support shown to them by both the gamer and game developer communities around the world, and that he was Brian and Erinpleased to announce that to both honour and continue Brian’s contribution to the international game community, as well as in memory of his passions in life, Relic will be awarding a four-month internship to three graduating VFS Game Design students each year who exhibit a similar passion and excellence in game design.

“Relic Entertainment has worked with VFS for a number of years and in the past has had employees who taught classes as part of the Game Design curriculum,” says Dowdeswell. “Continuing this partnership in a meaningful and long lasting effort by introducing the Brian Wood Memorial Game Design Internship was a natural fit for all concerned.”

The inaugural internship will be awarded in February 2011, and the chosen VFS Game Design graduate will have the opportunity to work directly with a team at Relic, pioneering exciting projects that impact the development of titles at the Vancouver-based studio.

“We are honoured and humbled to be a part of carrying on Brian’s legacy with this memorial,” says Dave Warfield, Head of VFS Game Design. “Not only does it represent the values of game design and supporting new designers that were such a big part of his passion, but it allows us to share that with the community that was so affected by his tragic death.”

Women In Games VancouverSunday’s programme for the annual Game Design Expo consisted of the annual Open House, when the school invites future students and their parents to take part in some hands-on development classes, pass some time in the VFS Arcade and interact with programme instructors. Also taking part in the Open House was the Women In Games Vancouver group, who offer networking and advice to women who work or who are interested in working in interactive media. As with Saturday’s attendees, the locally developed zombie killing game Drumskulls was a popular point of participation for the 500 Open House registrants. Congratulations to the entire organizational team, students, volunteers, sponsors and speakers at this year’s Game Design Expo for a job very well done.

Currently 0 Comments - Share Your Thoughts

posted in Careers, Education, Events, National News By: | Print This Post Print This Post

  • Archives

  • Subscribe to our Newsletter

  • Select a list:

  • GWEN Radio
  • Gamers Giving Back

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE