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28th February 2011

Telefilm Canada Helps Support 30 Canadian Companies At GDC 2011

Telefilm Canadavia Telefilm Canada, who is pleased to announce its support of 30 Canadian companies attending the 2011 Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Game Connection America in San Francisco. Taking place February 28th to March 4th, GDC is the world’s largest industry-only event dedicated to the advancement of interactive entertainment. Game Connection America (March 1st to 3rd) is an international marketplace for game developers, service providers and publishers looking to expand their network and find business partners.

For 2011, Telefilm Canada will provide each of the 30 eligible companies with a grant of up to $1,500 to help with individual or booth registration fees, or event-related travel and accommodation expenses.

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“In an increasingly competitive global context, helping Canadian game developers attend and leverage GDC is part of Telefilm’s objectives to support international sales and partnership opportunities for Canadian businesses,” said Florence Moureaux, Telefilm Canada’s Interim Director, National and International Business Development. “This initiative is part of our industry development mandate to help build a sustainable home-grown industry in today’s fast-changing interactive media marketplace.”

In addition to the grant, selected participants will also benefit from a number of on-site business development activities organized by Telefilm and its partner the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). Activities include the popular Canada Networking Event where some 600 industry representatives will congregate. Once again Telefilm will co-host the Canada Business Lounge with DFAIT on March 1st to 3rd featuring open, semi-private and private meeting facilities for Canadians doing business at GDC.

In January Telefilm hosted a GDC orientation Webinar for Canadian participants who received market intelligence on emerging trends and business opportunities, a contact list, and other useful resources.

“Support from Telefilm for an independent developer like us is crucial to our success,” said Sarah Thomson, VP of Business Development of Vancouver-based IUGO Mobile Entertainment. “Assistance with key conventions and promotion at events has contributed to IUGO’s growth and elevated our reputation in the mobile game development market.”

“Attending GDC is central to our business development efforts,” said Neil Smolar, President and Co-founder of Montreal-based Web game developer NDi Media. “We are convinced that the Canadian program’s excellent design and implementation – from the grant, powerful consulate networking event and visibility program, to the orientation webinar and meeting support – will help ensure our success at this event.”

Canada at GDC 2011

Canadians are vying for conference awards, including:

Independent Games Festival Awards

Game Developers Choice Awards

While there are no Canadian companies nominated, there are important nominations for two games produced in whole or in part by teams working on Canadian soil:

  • Mass Effect 2 from BioWare is nominated in several categories: Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Audio, Best Writing and Game of the Year.
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood from Ubisoft Montreal is nominated for Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year.
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28th February 2011

Canada’s Pixel-perfect Business Conditions Touted by Ontario Technology Corridor at GDC 2011

via OCRI: To use a hockey metaphor, the Ontario Technology Corridor has dropped the gloves on Canadian modesty. Executives from Ontario’s talent-rich tech cities are promoting pixel-perfect business conditions for OCRIexpanding digital media companies. The C.D. Howe Institute, which studies social and economic policies, immodestly states that Canada’s international reputation as a destination for capital and investment is better than it has been for a generation.

“As a country Canada is firing on all cylinders,” says Blair Patacairk, Senior Director, Investment, Global Marketing, for the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI). “Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will fall from 18 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent by 2012 — less than half of the top U.S. federal marginal corporate income tax rate, and the lowest in the G7. We have the world’s soundest banking system according to the World Economic Forum. And Canada has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio and the lowest R&D costs in the G7, with a 12.9 per cent advantage over the U.S.”

In Ontario’s collaboratively linked technology regions of Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo Region, London and Niagara, 22 universities and colleges are pumping out more than 18,000 graduates per year. Graduates come from 174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.

Ontario’s digital media tech talent bank has attracted international companies like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Capcom Entertainment. Animation, special effects and mobile apps talent from homegrown firms such as Starz Animation, XYZ RGB, Digital Extremes, Silicon Knights, and RIM also help create exciting cross-platform entertainment products. These products run on everything from gaming devices to smartphones to Internet tablets to personal computers and 3D cinema screens.

In addition to a deep talent pool and strong economy, targeted tax incentives helped the Ontario Technology Corridor push Canada past the UK last year as the world’s third largest centre for video-game development talent, trailing only Japan and the United States. Ontario’s Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is the central catalyst for the province’s cultural media cluster – to date the OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to support 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million – and continues to offer the following incentives, including:

· Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit – refunds 35-40 per cent of eligible production costs
· Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit – refunds 20 per cent of labour costs
· OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund – up to $150,000 in project production funding, up to a maximum of 50% of the project budget. So far in 2011, the OMDC has announced $2.0 million in funding support.

Employing nearly 260,000 people among 6,400 companies within Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors, the Ontario Technology Corridor includes the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa Region, Waterloo Region, City of London and the Niagara Region. The Corridor also welcomes in partnership the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as well as the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The Corridor is supported by the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI), Canada’s Technology Triangle, the London Economic Development Corporation and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation.

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28th February 2011

What’s New On This Monday Morning

Relic EntertainmentThe Cavechild has been doing an hourly countdown all weekend, waiting somewhat impatiently for the release of Dawn of War II: Retribution from Relic Entertainment. He pre-0rdered his special copy on Steam the first day they were accepting orders and he participated in the early beta as well. I will be so happy when Retribution is officially available in just a few more hours, because he is driving me crazy.

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Webcast: If you missed the Canada Media Fund webcast outlining the changes which have been made to funding guidelines, you can view the video in either French or English online. Note, registration and log-in is required to watch the video.Canada Media Fund

Event: The next MoMoVan will be held at the Granville Island Brewing Company on March7th. The topic will be Privacy and Security. Tickets are free for DigiBC members, sponsors, students and partners, $25.00 for non-members. Attendance is limited to 100, so register early.

xnaCompetition: Game developers take note, Dream Build Play 2011 is now open for registration. Once registration closes on May 17th, the game submission period will begin. Entrants will have until June 14th to submit their Xbox 360 creations built using XNA Game Studio 4.0. Winning game developers split Spring Bonus$75,000 USD in prizes and get a shot at an Xbox LIVE® Arcade publishing contract, and their games will be featured on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

grey alien gamesGrey Alien Games has announced its next title. Spring Bonus will be a Spring and Easter-themed match 3 styled game scheduled to launch on April 15th to several platforms including including PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, XBox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone 7 – possibly for Linux as well. Grey Alien’s founder Jake Birkett has released his first dev diary for the new title, you can read about the lead-up to Spring Bonus’ development on the Grey Alien blog.

vblankTrekking around the halls of GDC with Jake is Brian Provinciano, founder of Vblank Entertainment and developer of Retro City Rampage. Brian will be participating in a panel discussion titled The Next Steps of Indie: Four Perspectives during the Indie Games Festival within the GDC umbrella. Retro City RampageAttendees to this panel will get an inside look at the road Brian followed as he developed Retro City Rampage, from NES programming in 2002 right up to our current next-gen consoles. Retro City Rampage will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo WiiWare later this year. Retro City Rampage is also a finalist for the Excellence in Audio category at the Indie Games Festival Awards.

Sale: Endloop Systems has announced that their iPad app iMockups will be on imockups on itunessale for 30% for the duration of GDC. iMockups for iPad is a mobile wireframing and mockup app for your web, iPhone and iPad projects, combining a beautiful interface with intuitive functionality, taking full advantage of the breakthrough touchscreen device. With a comprehensive and growing list of pre-built dynamic controls (for Web, iPhone and iPad) help turn your ideas into full fledged designs at the office or on the go.

New Media Manitoba New Media Manitoba will be very active at this week’s Game Developers Conference, which is just getting underway in San Francisco. The association is leading a provincial delegation that will showcase the Manitoba digital media industry and offer start-ups and seasoned game companies the opportunity to grow their business. New Media Manitoba will be hosting a networking event at Thirsty Bear from 4-6pm on March 3rd.

One of the shiny new yet retro members of the Manitoba delegation is the Winnitron itself, making its first appearance at the GDC. The Winnitron will showcase exclusive Manitoba made games like Leap4Blue, Trash Pilot, C4ke, Sumo Topplers, and Robots Robots Everywhere, along with other high profile indie titles such as Canabalt 2-Player and Super Crate Box. Fans from all over the indie game circuit are already buzzed about playing classic indie games like Space Sushi, Indie Brawl, and N Arcade on the Winnitron for the first time ever. Winnitron Photo Credit: Chrissy Chubala

Four companies will be sharing space at our booth on the Expo Floor—Tomkorp Computer Solutions (creators of Clones ), Cube Force Media (creators of Aerrevan), Cogmation Robotics , and Project Whitecard, which is currently leading development on a multiplayer problem-solving game for NASA.winnitron Photo Credit: Chrissy Chubala

Representing the Winnitron at the booth will be Bit Collective (creators of the Winnitron) members Alec Holowka of Infinite Ammo, Tom Rab of Reborn Games, Noel Berry, Marlon Weibe and New Media Manitoba’s own Kert Gartner. Manitoba game developers Red Reptile Studios and Complex Games, who recently won a Canada New Media Award for Best Web Game, will be making waves at the conference via some targeted meetings.

If you’ve been following news on Indie Game: The Movie, you’ll know that the Globe and Mail and major industry publications (including this site) have already been celebrating the pre-release footage Blink-Works has posted on their web site. The 2-person team behind the project, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, will be chatting about their film at Manitoba Booth #1137 on Thursday, March 3.

New Media Manitoba would like to gratefully acknowledge the amazing support from Manitoba Trade & Investment, Western Economic Diversification, and Red River College for their contributions toward growing the game companies in Manitoba and this Trade Mission, as well as: Complex Games, Agence nationale et internationale du Manitoba (ANIM), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), Industry Canada, Manitoba Innovation, Energy, and Mines (IEM), Economic Development Winnipeg, and Manitoba’s tireless game development community.

ie market researchVancouver-based IE Market Research Corporation has released its 1Q.2011 Global Mobile Entertainment Forecast, 2008 – 2015, which is available now for purchase. IEMR’s forecast provides our quantitative forecasts for Mobile Music, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Personalisation, Mobile TV, and other premium content. It covers 50+ countries and regions, and it is one of the most comprehensive forecasts of its kind in the world.

“We think that the global mobile entertainment market will see significant growth over the next five years. Globally, we are expecting mobile multimedia revenue to rise from $32 billion in 2009 to $52.8 billion in 2015. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2015 will be 9.5%,” said Nizar Assanie, Vice President (Research) at IEMR. “Among different categories of mobile multimedia, we expect that Mobile TV will see the biggest growth in revenues over the next five years. We forecast that global mobile TV revenues (which are broadcast and unicast revenues) will increase from $2.52 billion in 2009 to $6.6 billion in 2015.”

To the comprehensive data set, we are adding a PowerPoint presentation which provides our clients with an overview of key trends in the global mobile entertainment market.

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has secured a new, exclusive membership benefit for members – an airline travel discount. Starting immediately, all IGDA members can get a 5 percent discount on Virgin America flights booked to attend GDC, E3, IGDA Summit, Casual Connect Seattle, PAX Prime and the IGDA Leadership Forum. Naturally, Virgin America appears to fly only out of Toronto on our side of the border, but I guess one could drive to Seattle or take the shuttle bus, and then fly down to the California events from there if the overall savings were substantial.

IGDA members in good standing can access the promo codes online. Please note that discounted tickets are limited and members should reserve their flights as early as possible. Remember to add your IGDA special promo code before purchasing your ticket in order to get the discount.

Your travel on Virgin Airlines must fall within these timelines:

GDC 2011: To SFO: 2/24 – 2/28 and From SFO: 3/4 – 3/8
E3: To LAX: 6/4 – 6/8 and From LAX: 6/9 – 6/11
IGDA Summit/Casual Connect Seattle: To SEA: 7/14 – 7/18 and From SEA: 7/20 – 7/24
PAX Prime Seattle: To SEA: 8/29 – 9/1 and From SEA: 9/5 – 9/9
IGDA Leadership Forum: To LAX: 10/22 – 10/26 and From LAX: 10/30 – 11/3

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28th February 2011

Experience Global Game Jam

Global Game Jam 2011For the last three years we’ve spent the final weekend in January periodically checking in on a group of people who shut themselves in a big room full of computers and ideas for 48 hours. Each of those years has seen this event grow, and 2011 was Vancouver’s largest Global Game Jam event ever, with about 120 participants. One other note of importance – 20-25% of the 2011 Jam participants were female. Awesome. Opening Night

Held in the Main Hall of BCIT’s main Burnaby campus, this year’s Global Game Jam opened with presentations from Scott Jones, co-host of Electric Playground, and Kelly Zmak, the former president of Vancouver’s Radical Entertainment. Unfortunately, due to the demonic nature of traffic in the Lower Mainland, especially for those of us who live out in the Fraser Valley, we completely missed Scott’s opening comments as well as the first few minutes of Kelly’s BCITpresentation. I freely admit that I never tire of hearing a talk given by Kelly – he doesn’t pull any punches, and he will tell you exactly the way things are in this fine industry. Even while he is forcing you to face the reality of how many titles actually become blockbusters, he is still encouraging developers new and veteran, to get out there and give it their best shot anyway. You don’t have to work in a creative studio to benefit from the advice Kelly shares, either. Many of his suggestions are applicable to any discipline, and I never fail to be anything but inspired whenever I’ve been to a Kelly Zmak presentation. Many of the participants in this past Global Game Jam obviously took Kelly’s words to heart as well, because there were some very good products that emerged from this 48 hour exercise in innovation and creativity.

Before I go too much further, I would like to note that the Global Game Jam is an initiative of the International Game Developers Association, and this year took place in 169 registered locations around the world. This total does not include the informal game jams that were also held over the same weekend, such as the one taking place at New Media Manitoba called So Many Rooms, which was a unique twist on the jam concept, but more about that in a different post.Electric Playground on site For more photos of the BCIT event, please see our GGJ Gallery. There are more photos on the Global Game Jam Vancouver web site as well.

The jams also would not happen without the support of venues, schools, corporate partners and of course, volunteers and industry mentors. A large part of the Vancouver Game Jam support comes from these post-secondary educational facilities: BCIT and UBC with the assistance of the Centre for Digital Media and SFU. Other supporting sponsors include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, AirG, Microsoft, Wacom, Radical Entertainment and Electronic Arts Canada. Other supporters and friends of the local Global Game Jam are the Canadian Video Game Awards, the Vancouver Silverlight User Group, and ourselves. It was also very cool to see Electric Playground attending and interviewing participants, as well as giving the jam some airtime on its February 8th episode. You can watch the EP video here.

Global supporters and sponsors of Global Game Jam include Game Salad, Intel AppDeveloper Programme, Autodesk, GameSpy, gamesauce, triOS College and ACM. Once again, a huge thank you to the volunteers, the instructors and the corporations who all work together to make the Global Game Jam such an awesome weekend of inspiration.

This year’s Jam began with everyone gathering in groups based on their disciplines. Each person had a coloured “skill dot” on his or her name tag, which made it very easy for others to find artists, programmers, designers or the Nick Waanders of Slick Entertainmentvery elusive audio folk. Note to those of you with audio skills: come out to next year’s Game Jam, your skills are in high demand. You will be very popular. Once the skills groups were formed, attendees were put through some ice-breaking exercises, discussing their favourite games, super-powers and why their respective disciplines are the best. With the announcement of this year’s theme of Extinction, the jammers were encouraged to come up with some quick game concepts that would then be pitched to the entire room.

Needless to say, in a room full of creative people, there was a huge variety of game concepts that covered everything from dinosaurs to aliens and time travel. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly and reasonably clearly the ideas are formed and presented. After the presentations, it was time to start the team recruiting and previs work before settling in for the next several hours of coding, drawing, editing, testing and reiterating with maybe a bit of sleep mixed in.

When we returned to the Jam on Sunday afternoon, the BCIT Main Hall was still a hive of activity. At first glance you wouldn’t know that a good part of this group was heavily sleep-deprived and that for some, thought processes were by now running at something akin to dial-up mode. However, as we moved among the developers and asked for demonstrations or their thoughts on the weekend, as tired as they were, each team managed to talk about their projects with energy, enthusiasm and passion.

Without a doubt the team with the best game trailer was RawR Games, developers of, coincidentally, the game chosen as Top Pick for the Vancouver event. Dino Fling is a 2D game that asks the player to save dinosaurs from rising post-Ice Age waters by flinging them onto a rescue boat.

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Naturally the game gets more challenging as the water rises, covering the beach and making the distance you need to fling each dinosaur wider and wider. The RawR Games team perhaps had a bit of hand-up as members of the squad had been to previous Jam events and also work in the game development industry, but it was still important to them to get a product completed within the 48 hour time limit, and that the game be fun to play.

Nick Waanders, co-founder of Slick Entertainment, said that one of the challenges for him personally was having each new iteration of Dino Fling better than the last, each one topping the features and fun factor of the previous. He said that it’s very important to get into the habit of taking notes throughout the development cycle, don’t count on your memory to keep all of the ideas straight. He feels that this is a very important part of development discipline that will help keep your work flow from getting all tangled up. Flash Punk creator Chevy Ray Johnston and Tatham Johnston, a Junior Gameplay Programmer at Klei Entertainment while Rachel Simpson is a Game Jam veteran, Testing Pod PanicDaniel Ritchie is a UBC Computer Sciences student and Celeste Medina is a Layout Artist at Luximation (by the way, they’re hiring). One other cool footnote before moving on, Chevy’s Flash Punk engine was used by other teams at the Jam for their games.

Pod Panic was another title which was high on the list of favourite games, with the premise of this title to both learn about the Orca pods who inhabit our coastal waters and the dangers they face every day through pollution and over-fishing. Designed and built by James Karg, Douglas Richardson, Shane Morin, Jacob Kwitkoski, Spencer Daemore and Travis Hilliard, Pod Panic was developed on the XNA platform for Xbox and Windows. The premise of the game is to help your pod of Orca whales navigate several levels, each named for a coastal area and with increasing levels of difficulty. Pod Panic was inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation and the real-life plight of our whale populations and other endangered species.

Another friend of ours, indie developer Jake Birkett, was on the team which created the germ-ridden game Invasion of Giant Planet-Eating Bacteria From Outer Space, along with Alex Vostrov, Steven Pugh, Khadija Ghazi and Samppa Raski. Jake and Alex are the co-founders of Full Indie, a meetup and resource grDreaming Up Galactic Germ Warfareoup for independent developers. The premise behind their flash-based game is to rocket about outer space jabbing the giant bacteria with your Inoculazer, thereby curing different diseases and saving the planets. Of course it’s not as easy as that sounds – each type of bug requires a certain type of cure, and every cure has a side effect. You must match the colour of the cure to the colour of the bacteria, and due to the aforementioned side effects, strategy and timing do play an important part in winning this game. Jake’s advice on game design is to not be afraid to think big and add loads of features to your list, but also don’t be afraid to wield a big axe when it comes time to pare down what parts make it into the game and which don’t. His main take-away from the Jam weekend was a reinforcing of his knowledge and the sharing of experience both as a giver and as a receiver.

Meanwhile another galactic planet-destroying game with yet another twist was being developed just a few tables away. MDP Earth Defender was built using the Unity platform and is for two players who are required to switch between Savior and Destroyer roles. The Destroyer literally tries to destroy Earth with nuclear bombs while the Savior sends up Claw Satellites which need to intercept the bombs before they blow the Earth into tiny little bits. The player with the most survivors at the end of the round wins. MDP Earth Defender was developed by Clayton Campbell, Don Lee, Eric Raue, James Xia, Jason Tseng, and Tiva Quinn.

Another game of galactic proportions (and name) was Super Hyper Mega Deluxe Earth Annihilation – it seems Super Hyper Mega Deluxe Earth Annihilationmore than just a few people were trying to make Earth extinct, but then I guess it’s an easy target, what with being big and round and floating around in space on a pre-determined path. In this game, instead of defending Earth, the player must protect the mother ship death ray that is trying to destroy our fine planet. The Earthlings have the nerve to try and defend themselves by sending out waves of spacefighters, and it’s the player’s job to remove them from existence. This team took their development cycle practically to the wire, finishing up just one hour before the deadline. Developers Alex Mcgilvray and Ryan Sheffer said that one of the most important pieces of advice that they could pass along about participating in a game jam is to get as much coding done as possible early on in the event, because a lack of sleep means coding errors.

One of the most imaginative titles we took a look at over the weekend was Squishy Squid Sex, whereby the gamer must ensure that the squid population increases through recreation…or, re-creation – they both apply.  This team, which learned the importance of early iteration, prototyping and software compatibility, showed a great deal of creativity and imagination in their product. The development team for Squishy Squid Sex was Airlia Hansen, Ben SheftelNathaniel Kopjar, Jonathan Clark and Alice Tai.

ContainmentMoving back to the germ theme was Containment, a top-down infestation elimination game. This browser-based game is kind of like a blind man’s bluff, because the player doesn’t know until a character is killed if it was one of the germ carriers or not, and a process of elimination must be used to search out the three germ bearers. The catch, and you know there’s always a catch, is that if you kill the entire population you lose. You win the game by saving the highest number of citizens as you possibly can. Oh, and of course there’s a timer, too. When this team was formed to come up with a product, they were all strangers, having never met each other prior to the jam weekend. Ben James is a computer programmer by day, but not in the digital media sector, and he said that he has realized how hard it is to make games (actually, we heard that a lot over the weekend), and that it’s important to focus the scope of your project early.  Other team members included Jen Kim, Arnold Ip, Colin Cove and “Got Quail”.

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We did not have time to visit with every game team and participant, that’s something I’d like to be able to accomplish next year, but over-all, the consensus about Global Game Jam is that the event is a lot of fun and a fantastic learning experience. The sharing of knowledge between students, professionals and hobbyists is something that is not always easily obtainable, and there is a combined sense of collaboration and competition – because while there isn’t a prize for making the best game or finishing first, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with the lack of sleep, the software glitches and the new friendships. Much of the success of any Game Jam event, whether it’s a part of the Global weekend or otherwise, falls on the shoulders of its organizers, volunteers and supporters. The willingness of both industry mentors and teachers to help and guide those who strive to be a part of this wonderful industry is sometimes a “thank you” that may not be said loudly or often enough.

If any of you reading this got the “wow this is cool” feeling, I hope you will carry that feeling forward and participate next year, in any capacity be it participant, volunteer, sponsor or leader. In 2011 there were at least a dozen Game Jam locations across the country (72 across North America), wouldn’t it be great if next year there were twice the number of locations, participants and sponsors?

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25th February 2011

Follow Friday News

Reminder: Early Bird Registration for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference closes on February 28th.

Contest: Enflick, Inc. is holding a logo re-design contest for the PingChat logo.
Contest: Best Buy Canada and HP Canada have teamed up to revitalize someone’s home office
Contest: SteelSeries is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge giveaway.

Giveaway: The iPad HD version of Garage Inc from TransGaming Studios is free until February 28th. Get it now.

Pre-Order: Mac Gamers can pre-order Dragon Age 2 and The Sims Medieval from GameTree Mac. Release dates are March 8th for Dragon Age 2 and March 22nd Victor and Scottfor The Sims Medieval.

Appointment: Michael MacMillan has been appointed to the Fuse Powered Board of Directors. In his role on the company’s board, MacMillan will be responsible for working closely with Fuse Powered’s senior management team in solidifying and executing the company’s strategic direction.

Taking Over The World: Electric Playground is now available for American users of Hulu. Congratulations to everyone at the EP studio!

New Release: IUGO’s first music game Pricklees is now available on the App Store. It’s free so go download now! More characters and tracks may be unlocked for $1.99 USD.pricklees

“We see room for creativity and innovation in the music genre,” states IUGO’s VP of BD Sarah Thomson “What companies like Tapulous have done is incredible. They have proven their formula to be successful time and time again. But we feel there is so much opportunity to create a unique game mechanic and appeal to an even broader market. We wanted to combine the brilliance of music-based games such as the Tap Tap series with the cuteness and personality of broad appeal titles such as Angry Birds.”

Cinematic Intro: A preview of the opening moments from Dawn of War II: Retribution by Relic Entertainment is now live on YouTube. This latest chapter in the Warhammer 40 000 saga will be on store shelves on March 1st

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A special pre-launch event for Retribution was just announced on the Dawn of War community forums. A four hour game play special with members of Relic’s game test team facing off against members of the community. The fun begins at 2pm PST on Sunday, February 27th.

Yummy InteractiveYummy Interactive Inc. has announced a partnership agreement with BattleFront.com, worldwide publisher of wargaming and strategy combat video games. BattleFront.com has selected Yummy Interactive’s GameShield to securely manage licensing and activation of downloadable and mail order game products at its game portal.

“Delivering our games in an unobtrusive, simple download and mail order experience to our community members is paramount to us. With GameShield, we will be able to securely extend our digital products to new channels and also be able to offer game bundles and extra downloadable content, such as add-ons and expansion packs, with a smooth user interface for end users,” said Martin van Balkom, President of BattleFront.com.

“By selecting our complete DRM solution for their PC and Mac game downloads and mail order products, Battlefront.com can further expand their online distribution channel and storefront, confident they can support their partners and optimize digital sales with our flexible license management tools,” said Chris Hennebery, VP Software Distribution at Yummy Interactive. “The premium DRM technology that GameShield provides not only protects content but enables new and secured ways of bringing gamers downloadable games and post-sale content.”

Launch Trailer: Rango The Video Game, developed by Behaviour, will be released next week for  the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Here is the newest game trailer.

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Source Studio has released Proto Defense – free downloadable content (DLC) for their space shooter game ProtoGalaxy, on Steam for the PC. The downloadable content delivers a brand new level of play for ProtoGalaxy, enabling players to experience the game’s enhanced editor powers and map-building source studiofeatures.

The DLC will be downloaded automatically for anyone who owns ProtoGalaxy, and to celebrate the DLC launch, ProtoGalaxy is available for 50% off until March 2.  Proto Defense is a completely different genre than the previous levels. The original release of the game consisted of action and adventure levels, where the players were constantly on the offense. The new downloadable content consists of  a tower defense-style level, where players must strategically defend themselves against incoming attacks.protogalaxy

“We’re showcasing a brand new level of game play in ProtoGalaxy that gamers have yet to experience,” said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of Source Studio. “We have been gathering valuable feedback since we released ProtoGalaxy last October, and with the new level added, the game takes on a different dimension of play,” Brown added.

Proto Defense contains the following:

  • New level with tower defense tactics
  • Pick from a big selection of turrets.
  • Reposition your turrets at any time to deal extra damage.
  • Take down huge bosses.
  • Compete in leaderboards for the highest score.
  • Tackle 8 new challenging achievements.
  • Built using the ProtoGalaxy Editor.

In ProtoGalaxy, up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game, players brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles, and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

Game features:

  • Level editor
  • Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
  • Array of weapon choice
  • Ship customization with large selection of parts
  • Use physics to solve problems
  • Save progress online and play from anywhere

Source Studio will be attending the Games Developers Conference and will showcasing  ProtoGalaxy, along with the DLC at the Newfoundland and Labrador booth (booth #1924).

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24th February 2011

Short Bits Are Important Too

Reminder: Submissions for Digital Launch Pad at Banff World Media Festival Close April 22nd. ($100.00 entry fee)

Government of CanadaThe Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, will meet with representatives from the Waterloo-area information and communications technology (ICT) industry tomorrow morning to discuss issues of importance to the industry, including Canada’s forthcoming digital economy strategy. The meeting will be held at The Research Advancement Centre in Waterloo University’s Research and Technology Park.

TransGamingTransGaming Studios has released a new update for Garage Inc in the iTunes App Store. The time management strategy title now features an Endless Day mode and you can now compete against other players via the Game Centre Leaderboard, fixing as many cars as your mechanics possibly can. Battle for automotive supremacy and you help Angelo work towards his dreams and fend off the Mafia.

Big Bad BrushKung Fu Master for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad is now available at the iTunes App Store for 99 cents USD. Developed by Big Bad Brush, this Retina Display and Game Centre-enabled features the venerable Kung Fu Master, who has fallen victim to hordes of zombies and pandas intent on stealing his magic gems and shiny gold. Show them who’s boss by mastering the bamboo poles and gathering all your gold and gems back.

behaviour gamesGet set for some action-adventure play time with Rango The Video Game from EA and Behaviour Studios, because it will be on store shelves this March 1st. Based on the Paramount Pictures full-length animated feature film Rango, the video game invites players to continue on Rango’s wild journey through new adventures inspired by the movie. The game is set in the Old West town of ‘Dirt’ where players romp through a gritty, pint-sized, Wild West filled with wild rides, off-color characters and frantic shoot-outs.

Beenox StudiosThe Quality Assurance Division of Beenox Studio in Quebec City has launched an unprecedented recruitment campaign in order to fill 100 summer jobs for video game testers this summer. Interested candidates must submit their applications (French) before Friday, March 4th. Candidates chosen for the next stage of selection will be invited to the official recruitment day on Saturday, March 19th. These summer jobs are a great opportunity for gamers. We are seeking candidates with an excellent sense of observation, are energetic and who perform as a team.

Quebec Technology AssociationThe 11th edition of the CEO Vision Forum for CEOs of technology companies in Quebec ended on a high note on Saturday, February 19. Record numbers of company CEOs and their partners participated in the “Davos” of Quebec technology organized by the Quebec Technology Association, an indication of the interest it is generating and its importance in the IT and Communications industry. The 117 CEOs who registered took advantage of the opportunity to discuss issues and business practices, recharge their batteries by listening to the well-known conference speakers and meet potential buyers and partners in the industries present.

Decision makers representing major technology buyers and an American investor participated in the VIP Salons, an excellent networking opportunity. VIPs were invited from the following organizations: Aveos, CCSR (a group of purchasing departments for educational institutions in Quebec and Ontario), Cisco, Kirchner Private Capital Group, The Desjardins Group, RBC and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

On the evening of February 17, the 2011 SGF CEO of the Year, (Claude McMaster, President and CEO, D-BOX), was chosen by the CEOs in attendance by using of secret ballots; an article on the subject will appear this week in the newspaper Les Affaires, the media partner for the Award. A video clip of the 2011 SGF CEO of the Year and interviews with the three company heads vying for the title are also available in the file on the Award.

“The ever-increasing interest shown by Directors and the exceptional support for CEO Vision on the part of governments and private partners confirms the level of confidence they have in the role the AQT plays in representing ITC companies in Quebec and in supporting their growth. My warmest thanks to all who contributed to the remarkable success of the 2011 CEO Summit”, said Nicole Martel, Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec Technology Association. Attendance at the forum is limited exclusively to industry partners, the many 2011 CEO Vision sponsors and partners actively participated in the success of the summit meeting. They are as follows:

– Prestigious Partner: Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
– SGF CEO of the Year Award Partner: Société générale de financement
– Platinum Sponsors: BCF, BDC, The DynaVision Group, Heenan Blaikie, NATIONAL and RBC
– Gold Sponsors: Essor Insurance and GCWL-Desjardins Securities
– VIP Salons Pavilion: Public Works and Government Services Canada (partner) and Cisco (sponsor)
– Media partners: Direction informatique and Les Affaires

The Economic Development Agency of Canada and Développment économique, Innovation et Exportation Québec also provided financial support for the event. The 12th edition of CEO Vision will take place from February 23 to February 25, 2012, at the Fairmont Tremblant.

Robert HalfWith the business world being reshaped by mobile technologies, companies are moving to embrace the highly portable, Internet-linked tablet computer. Four in 10 (40 per cent) of CIOs in a recent survey said their companies will increase the use of tablets in the next two years.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CIOs from companies across Canada with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “To what extent, if any, do you think your company’s use of ‘tablet’ computers will increase or decrease in the next two years?” Their responses:

Increase – 40%
Decrease – 6%
No change – 49%
Don’t know/not applicable/no answer – 5%

“More organizations are discovering that tablet computers offer yet another way to increase employee mobility, while maintaining & even improving productivity,” said Lara Dodo, Canadian regional vice president of Robert Half Technology. “It’s no secret that these computers have quickly gained popularity in the market over the last year, and CIOs have recognized the potential of these devices. However, the challenge that IT departments will soon encounter is providing enough support and security in the workplace. ”

Dodo adds that businesses will likely need to hire skilled IT professionals, either on a full-time or project basis, to help manage the implementation, maintenance, development and security of tablets. This will ensure companies makes greater tactical use of these mobile devices, in order to augment their customer service and profitability.

The 11th edition of the CEO Vision Forum for CEOs of technology companies in Quebec ended on a high note on Saturday, February 19. Record numbers of company CEOs and their partners participated in the “Davos” of Quebec technology organized by the Quebec Technology Association, an indication of the interest it is generating and its importance in the IT and Communications industry. The 117 CEOs who registered took advantage of the opportunity to discuss issues and business practices, recharge their batteries by listening to the well-known conference speakers and meet potential buyers and partners in the industries present.Decision makers representing major technology buyers and an American investor participated in the VIP Salons, an excellent networking opportunity. VIPs were invited from the following organizations: Aveos, CCSR (a group of purchasing departments for educational institutions in Quebec and Ontario), Cisco, Kirchner Private Capital Group, The Desjardins Group, RBC and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

On the evening of February 17, the 2011 SGF CEO of the Year, (Claude McMaster, President and CEO, D-BOX), was chosen by the CEOs in attendance by using of secret ballots; an article on the subject will appear this week in the newspaper Les Affaires, the media partner for the Award. A video clip of the 2011 SGF CEO of the Year and interviews with the three company heads vying for the title are also available in the file on the Award.

“The ever-increasing interest shown by Directors and the exceptional support for CEO Vision on the part of governments and private partners confirms the level of confidence they have in the role the AQT plays in representing ITC companies in Quebec and in supporting their growth. My warmest thanks to all who contributed to the remarkable success of the 2011 CEO Summit”, said Nicole Martel, Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec Technology Association.

Attendance at the forum is limited exclusively to industry partners, the many 2011 CEO Vision sponsors and partners actively participated in the success of the summit meeting. They are as follows:

    - Prestigious Partner: Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
    - SGF CEO of the Year Award Partner: Société générale de financement
    - Platinum Sponsors: BCF, BDC, The DynaVision Group, Heenan Blaikie,
      NATIONAL and RBC
    - Gold Sponsors: Essor Insurance and GCWL-Desjardins Securities
    - VIP Salons Pavilion: Public Works and Government Services Canada
      (partner) and Cisco (sponsor)
    - Media partners: Direction informatique and Les Affaires

The Economic Development Agency of Canada and Développment économique, Innovation et Exportation Québec also provided financial support for the event.

The 12th edition of CEO Vision will take place from February 23 to February 25, 2012, at the Fairmont Tremblant.

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24th February 2011

Premier of New Brunswick and Mayor of Fredericton to Provide Leadership for i-Canada

CATA An initiative to boost the Canadian economy through the use of high-speed networking will learn from the examples set by the Province of New Brunswick and the City of Fredericton, according to the Chair of i-CANADA. I-CANADA is backed by Canada’s largest high-tech organization, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) and “ although i-CANADA has not even been officially launched yet, and we already have almost 1,000 signatures from Canadian companies, individuals and institutions pledging support for the idea,” said Bill Hutchison, chair of i-CANADA Two communities in New Brunswick — Fredericton and Moncton — have won awards as “Top Seven” finalists in the Intelligent Communities Forum’s prestigious award ceremony in New York.

“Our vision is that Canada’s networks are the rails of light carrying the engines of the Information Age,” said Bill Hutchison. “We want companies to grow and thrive in Canada because ultra-broadband provides an ecosystem of accelerated business and social innovation and growth. We consider New Brunswick to be a leader in this area as evidenced by the international Intelligent Community awards won by Moncton and Fredericton. An important i-Canada goal is to support the sharing between communities of innovative initiatives and lessons learned and certainly the rest of Canada can benefit from understanding the success formula being used in New Brunswick.”

Premier Alward has agreed to Chair the Leadership Council of i-CANADA, working with other Provincial Premiers, business leaders, and community stakeholders across the country in developing i-CANADA, the “Intelligent Nation.” “Premier Alward’s background as a human resource development and community development expert make him ideal to guide the work of i-CANADA,” said Mr. Hutchison.

Premier Alward noted that “this brings nation-wide recognition that New Brunswick is on the leading edge of developments that are defining economic growth today. I am delighted that our province will gain profile from Canadian businesses and research organizations and participate in sharing information on how to lead other global regions and communities in the creation of tomorrow’s Intelligent Communities.”

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside has also agreed to participate. “We are honoured that Mayor Woodside will add his considerable experience to the program,” said Mr. Hutchison.

Mayor Woodside stated “Fredericton’s long-standing reputation as an Intelligent Community dates back to the early nineties when we set our sights on growing our knowledge industries. “ Since that time, Fredericton has achieved international recognition, named twice as one of the World’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities by Intelligent Community Forum of New York, and one of the North American Cities of the Future by Financial Times of London. “We are successful because we work together – – we have been an integral partner with Enterprise Fredericton, the University of New Brunswick and Province of New Brunswick to advance our Knowledge Park. The park is currently adding two new buildings to its campus including the national Centre of Excellence in Advanced Learning Technology(CEALT), and has attracted companies like RIM and Radian6. The City of Fredericton has recognized the vital importance of intellectual infrastructure as a tool to cultivate the growth of our knowledge-based economy” said Mayor Woodside.
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24th February 2011

Canada At GDC 2011

CanadaFor all of you Canadians lucky enough to be going to GDC San Francisco – and judging from my Twitter feed, there are a lot of you – the Trade Commissioners Service (TCS) and its partners invite Canadian companies to meet existing and new clients at the Canada Business Lounge at the W Hotel from March 1-3 and during the Canada Networking Event at Jillian’s on March 2.

Canada Business Lounge at the W Hotel – March 1, 2 and 3

The TCS, with support from Telefilm Canada, Export Development Canada and several partners including the Canadian Interactive Alliance, British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Innovation PEI, Investissement Quebec, Montreal International, New Media Manitoba, Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Ontario Media Development Corporation, is pleased to announce that the Canada Business Lounge will be at the W Hotel during GDC 2011. The Lounge includes 3 private meeting rooms and a separate open-concept lounge that will be exclusive to Canadian companies and their clients for meetings at no cost.

Location: W Hotel, 3rd Floor, 181 – 3rd Street
Time: 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on March 1, 2 and 3

Private Meeting Rooms: Many Canadian companies booked meeting rooms in advance. During GDC, any remaining private rooms will be made available on a first come first serve basis.

Open Concept Area: 3rd Floor and the XYZ Lounge: No reservations required. Chairs and couches will be arranged to allow for separate discussions in the Canada Business Lounge on the 3rd Floor on March 1, 2 and 3. The XYZ Lounge has been reserved exclusively for meetings with Canadian companies on March 2 and 3.

Meeting Point: There will be a TCS reception desk with officers from Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, China, India and from across the United States and Canada to provide services, take bookings and support companies and partners.

Canada Networking Event – March 2

The Trade Commissioners Service, in partnership with Telefilm Canada, and with support from several partners including Export Development Canada, Canadian Interactive Alliance, British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Innovation PEI, Investissement Quebec, Montreal International, New Media Manitoba, Nova Scotia Business Inc., Ontario Media Development Corporation and Heenan Blaikie, will host the popular Canada Networking Event at Jillian’s. In 2010, over 600 people attended, 50% of whom were international guests invited by the TCS, including Disney Interactive, Activision Blizzard, THQ, CapCom, Sony, Perfect World and Nintendo, among others.

Details: Wednesday, March 2 from 4.30 to 8.30 at Jillian’s, 101 – 4th Street (at Howard)
Invitation Required: RSVP to add your name to the mailing list.

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24th February 2011

Bring Your Animations Home To SIGGRAPH 2011

Siggraph 2011SIGGRAPH 2011 is being held in Canada for the first time ever this year, and the conference committee is seeking cutting-edge Real-Time Live! content to be presented at this year’s  Computer Animation Festival. Taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, SIGGRAPH 2011 could be the chance of a lifetime for many Canadian artists, designers, programmers – heck, anyone who works in the creative sector, really. The world is once again coming to visit, and I urge every one of you out there who has the talent to create something to submit your work, your team’s work, your studio’s work – the world will be watching, will you be ready?

The SIGGRAPH committee will consider any and all content that is interactively controlled and rendered in real-time. Submissions must be able to be demonstrated in front of a live audience.

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

Based on the examples of accepted real-time simulations and graphics submissions sent out with this press release, I know that there are artists and animators across this country who can – and have – produce materials forGreatest Tank Battles any of these areas – some people may not even realize the work was done in Canada, now is the chance to step up and shine the spotlight on your work:

* Military or industrial simulations
* Interactive animation and graphics
* Research projects
* Computer games
* Real-time art explorations
* Scientific visualizations: medical, astrophysics, astronomy
* Interactive data visualization and information graphics

“Since its debut in 2009, Real-Time Live! has featured some of the most innovative and cutting-edge work presented at SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival,” said Jason Smith, SIGGRAPH 2011 Real-Time Live! Chair. “Each year the quality and diversity in real-time submissions showcases the best work going on in the PROTOTYPEindustry. This year’s program will continue this trend of dynamic innovation.”

The Real-Time Live! submission deadline is 15 April 2011. All real-time work will be reviewed by a professional jury of industry experts from traditional computer graphics, video games, and research organizations. Entries will be judged on creativity, innovation, performance, and most importantly, the ability to render in real time in front of a live audience as part of the Computer Animation Festival. The top selections will be played and demonstrated live on their respective platform (PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii).

April 15 is also the deadline for submissions to the Computer Animation Festival at SIGGRAPH 2011. The four-day, international event is celebrating its 38th year, and presents an eclectic array of computer animation genres and styles ranging from narrative character animation to scientific visualization.There is an open competition as well as an in Invited section for works created after January 2010.

Here are the categories, only finished works will be considered for inclusion, and all submissions must be uploaded at final resolution:

* Computer Animation Shortsluna
* Music Videos
* TV and Web Commercials
* Visualizations and Simulations
* Student Projects
* Animated Feature Films
* Visual Effects for Short Films and TV Programs
* Visual Effects for Live-Action Feature Films
* Real-Time Animation
* Miscellaneous
* Traditional and Stop Motion

Please see the Computer Animation Festival Submissions Page for complete details and guidelines.

Come on Canada – SIGGRAPH 2011 – Make It Home!

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23rd February 2011

To The Business of Getting Things Done

More Canadian studios have been named to Pocket Gamer’s Top 50 Mobile Developers List. Congratulations to Trainyard creator Matt Rix, Gamerizon and Get Set Games. Pocket Gamer will reveal the remaining Top 20 over the next two days.Best Buy Canada

Best Buy Canada is holding a random drawing with one of three new Asus eee Slates as the prize. The Contest runs from February 11 – 24, 2011 and is open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province.

An interesting development in the User Based Billing war in Canada is that Netflix has hired two former regulators to help smooth its first international expansion as an Internet billing debate grows. Please see the article over at Bloomberg for the full story.

New software has arrived on the market from several Canadian developers.

diomaticDi-O-Matic Inc. has released Maskarad, a new ground-breaking automatic markerless facial performance motion capture software. With Maskarad, 3D artists now only need a video file featuring an actor’s performance to get started creating lifelike facial animations. Using advanced computer recognition, Maskarad automatically locates and tracks facial expressions all the while using phonetic recognition to create accurate lip motion.

Maskarad is a markerless motion capture technology that literally puts motion capture on the animator’s desktop. You can shoot a video right at your workplace using a webcam or inexpensive digital camera and have it converted to 3D facial animation data in minutes.

“I’ve tested and used a lot of 3rd party software in my years of production on some of the best games of all-time like Bungie’s Halo3, Ubisoft’s Spinter Cell and Prince of Persia to name a few” revealed Jonathan Abenhaim, senior freelance character animator. He continues: “Maskarad is insanely simple, it outputs results in a fraction of the time it used to take me to produce facial animations and I can easily tweak its animation curves.”

No messy or cumbersome face marker setups and no expensive dedicated hardware is required. Maskarad quickly outputs facial animation data ready to be used in your favorite 3D applications. Before Maskarad, realistic 3D facial animation was limited to only a few high-end projects. This was due to the expensive motion capture hardware and laborious post-processing involved either directly or through outsourcing. Maskarad will provide an amazing first pass of animation done in minutes without any complicated setups. This is what Di-O-Matic solutions are about…giving you awesome results quicker than anyone else.

“Maskarad provides a remarkable solution for doing facial motion capture.” share Lee Dickholtz from Meta Motion. “Maskarad is the easiest powerful 3D animation tool that I have ever encountered during 25 years of working with 3D animation and motion capture. Di-O-Matic has done an excellent job creating character animation plugins and standalone programs that greatly simplify the life of character animators. Maskarad is another example of their splendid work!”

corelCorel has introduced Corel® VideoStudio® Pro X4, the new version of its powerful video editing software that lets anyone create and share professional-quality videos. The Cavechild has downloaded the trial version, and he is very pleased with it. He found it very easy to use and was mucking about with video and audio tracks in no time. VideoStudio Pro X4 gets two thumbs up from him.

With outstanding speed and easy ways to bring great-looking movies to the screen, VideoStudio Pro X4 combines power and simplicity to break down the barriers to video editing. Whether you’re a new user or have a long-time passion for video editing, VideoStudio Pro X4 is an ideal choice with its uncomplicated approach to movie making, impressive effects and outstanding speed-to-results.video studio Pro x4

This latest version includes all-new, creative features to enable anyone to add Hollywood-style effects to their movies. VideoStudio Pro X4 offers new Time-lapse tools that let you easily deliver the high-quality, photographic look of professional productions as your movie speeds your audience through time. The new Stop Motion feature automates this traditional, time-consuming animation process, taking away the complexity of bringing objects like toys or figures to life. In addition, there are new capabilities that make it easy to create a 3D look from your 2D video, emulating the immersive feel of 3D movies on the big screen.

Making the editing process faster than ever, VideoStudio Pro X4 delivers unprecedented performance with new optimization for 2nd generation Intel® Core™ (Sandy Bridge) and AMD Fusion processors. For users who may not have the latest hardware, VideoStudio Pro offers the unique Smart Proxy feature as well as support for CUDA, GPU acceleration and multi-core processing to provide quick and responsive editing.

New and Enhanced Features in Corel VideoStudio Pro X4

  • New! Stop Motion animation: Have fun making movies that bring inanimate objects to life. Capture images from webcams, camcorders and DSLR cameras and use the automated tools and settings to simplify the stop-motion animation process.
  • New! Speed/Time-lapse: Easily create time-lapse effects from a series of photos or video clips and give your movies the professional look of speeding up time. With the ability to handle full-resolution files and very large-size image sets, this is a perfect tool for HD-DSLR photographers.
  • New! Processor optimization: Offering exceptional power and speed, VideoStudio Pro X4 is optimized for the new 2nd generation Intel® Core™ and AMD Fusion processors.
  • Enhanced! Integrated HD authoring and burning: Ideal for upgrade customers, it’s easier than ever to author HD movies to DVD and Blu-ray™ Disc with tightly integrated disc creation tools.
  • New! 3D export: Convert 2D video clips into 3D files with presets for 3D output on DVD, Blu-ray™, and AVCHD discs, as well as WMV 3D formats for mobile. Box versions also include a pair of 3D glasses.
  • New! Customizable Workspace: Set up your workspace the way you want – including across dual monitors.
  • Enhanced! Web sharing: With presets for YouTube™, Vimeo®, Facebook® and Flickr® in both HD and SD formats, it’s easy to upload directly to your site of choice.
  • New! Import/Export Movie Templates: Make your own templates and effects that you can upload and share with other VideoStudio Pro X4 users.
  • Enhanced! Corel Guide: Get the tools you need to make great movies with free in-product training videos delivered through the Corel Guide. Click on the Corel Guide inside VideoStudio Pro X4 to access an array of useful information, Help, product updates and add-ons, downloadable media packs, and more.
  • Enhanced! Smart Package: Automatically gather your entire project – video, photo, and audio files – into one folder you can take with you while choosing a custom compression method and secure with password encryption, powered by newly integrated WinZip® technology.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 delivers a complete video editing package for less than $100, giving any business the power to add online video to their marketing mix. With simple drag and drop clips, effects and graphic placement, bloggers and business users can quickly create and share custom branded templates. The enhanced Smart Package, now using integrated WinZip encryption technology, gathers all video, photo, and audio files used in a project into one password protected folder – making it easy to share your work in progress with colleagues or take it to another PC. With presets for uploading directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Flickr, it’s never been simpler to reach your audience.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 makes it simple for teachers to incorporate video into the classroom or digital storytelling projects. X4 offers a 3-step interface; outstanding stability and performance; custom template creation and sharing; and easy-to-use creative tools to help kids create something amazing.

“Video is part of our kids’ language. The introduction of video editing into the classroom gives teachers a meaningful opportunity to bring literacy, conceptualization and creativity together in one engaging exercise,” said Piros. “Corel’s flexible and inexpensive academic licensing, in-product training videos and simplicity make VideoStudio Pro X4, hands down, the ideal choice for schools.”

netsecure technologiesRegina’s NetSecure Technologies, a provider of online transaction security solutions, has announced the availability of its complete product suite – SafeCheckout , PINCheckout and SmartSwipe – to provide security solutions for online transaction security for consumers, financial institutions, credit card companies, online merchants and other organizations under attack by cyber criminals.

The entire product suite leverages NetSecure’s patented Dynamic SSL core technology, an endpoint-to-endpoint online data security system that protects sensitive financial, strategic, or personal information from endpoint threats such as keylogging, keyjacking and man in the browser attacks. Unlike other tokenization solutions, Dynamic SSL can be used to transparently retrofit SSL equipped systems without changing the existing applications.

According to Homeland Security, “cyber threat has become one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face. America’s competitiveness and economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on effective cybersecurity,” cites Daniel McCann, president of NetSecure Technologies. “The government states that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, urging every Internet user to help secure cyberspace. We believe in this shared responsibility, having developed data security solutions for not only consumers, but the organizations that serve consumers, providing a safer online environment for all.”

The company’s award-winning SmartSwipe, an online purchase security system, enables consumers to swipe their credit cards at home while shopping online. Using the same level of encryption found in ATM’s, SmartSwipe encrypts the card information while being swiped, rendering it unreadable to hackers and malicious programs.

NetSecure’s newest endpoint security product PINCheckout, a chip and PIN technology solution, oversees transactions and enables card issuers and financial institutions to offer their customers a secure online shopping environment for their chip and PIN transactions. With PINCheckout, e-commerce transactions are secured by encrypting sensitive information through an external device and remains protected throughout the entire transaction.

SafeCheckout, which powers PINCheckout and SmartSwipe, is a true end-to-end encryption solution within a web browser session. It replaces consumers’ real information with fake information, while the entire transaction is protected with Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SafeCheckout protects users from endpoint threats, such as zero-day attacks.

NetSecure is now offering their products with or without hardware for licensing and cost effective deployment.

prairiefyreOttawa’s prairieFyre Software has released prairieFyre Contact Center for Microsoft© Lync™, a modular software suite that provides sophisticated multi-channel contact center functionality for the Lync unified communications (UC) platform. Developed on the Voice-over-IP and UC architecture of Microsoft Lync Server 2010, prairieFyre Contact Center is ideal for those organizations that wish to leverage the advanced enterprise voice features of the UC platform and require a comprehensive contact center solution.

Microsoft Corp.’s UC applications enable real-time collaboration and information flows by combining presence-aware telephony, conferencing, messaging, and mobility functionality in an easy-to-use Microsoft Lync 2010 interface. The prairieFyre Contact Center takes advantage of these capabilities and combines them with a full-featured Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), enabling agents to provide superior customer service through instant access to key subject matter experts, support teams, and business intelligence across the enterprise.

prairieFyre Ignite combines an ACD soft phone, enterprise presence and real-time contact center information in a familiar Lync 2010-based client. From Ignite, agents can login to queues and control their availability with user-defined reason codes. Agent states are fully synchronized with the enterprise presence capability of Lync Server 2010. prairieFyre Ignite also supports the headsets and desktop sets “optimized for” Lync.

prairieFyre Contact Center automates management reporting, forecasting and scheduling allowing supervisors to focus on their Key Performance Indicators and continually improve operational effectiveness. Reports can be run on-demand or scheduled to be automatically generated and emailed at specific times. Supervisors can chose from 120 report templates or use the Flexible Reporting module to create their own custom reports. Powerful Forecasting and Scheduling modules allow supervisors to create and publish agent shift schedules and ensure service levels are met through real-time adherence alarms. All reports and schedules are rendered from the Microsoft SQL Server database in preformatted Microsoft Excel or Adobe® PDF formats. The suite is designed to work on a single Microsoft server platform with Windows 7 on the user desktop.

With its broad functionality and modular design, prairieFyre Contact Center for Microsoft Lync can be tailored to businesses of any size or industry in departmental, standalone, or geographically dispersed deployments.

speakfeelSpeakFeel, a mobile marketing agency and product development firm based in Guelph, has secured two valuable assets: One of the industry’s top mobile-app developers and a new mobile analytics software that is already generating buzz in the industry.

Harry Scanlan joined SpeakFeel almost a year ago and quickly proved his credentials as one of the industry’s top mobile app developers. Now Scanlan has joined the SpeakFeel management team as a partner and has taken a seat on the Board of Directors of the fast-growing company.

The SpeakFeel partnership group also includes Kelly Brooks, who has over 13 years experience in managing web application projects and online branding strategy, Noel Webb, a nine-year veteran in the field of digital and social media, and Rudy Diemer, founder and President of RKD Web Studios Inc.Harry Scanlan

“Harry’s unique skill is developing bullet-proof blueprints for mobile apps and then leading a team of developers to bring apps to fruition quickly and effectively,” says Brooks, President of SpeakFeel. “A mobile app developer like Harry who works across all the platforms, including BlackBerry, is an extremely valuable asset and very difficult to find. Harry is key to our growth going forward.”

As the new Director of Mobile Technology, Scanlan will manage the team of developers as well as networks, hosting and security. He will also drive research and development with new devices. The SpeakFeel team works across all major platforms including BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.

“At SpeakFeel we’ve aligned our business and technical expertise to position ourselves as leaders in both client and in-house product development for mobile,” says Scanlan. “I look forward to the exciting future we have together, not only with Noel and Kelly but also our talented development and management team.”

SpeakFeel has secured another important building block for the future. In joining the partnership team, Scanlan brings Devilytics to the mobile app agency too. SpeakFeel now has full ownership of the impressive and easy-to-implement online mobile application analytics tool. Devilytics enables mobile app developers and owners to track downloads, usage and other items such as errors, GPS and cell tower location from a beautifully simple online interface.

“Acquiring full ownership of Devilytics allows us to give our mobile-app development clients complete transparency into how customers use their apps,” says Webb, Vice-president/Chairman of SpeakFeel. “Now we deliver leading-edge apps backed by a tool that drills down and delivers data to determine return-on- investment.”

Canada's Walk of FameAnd finally today, after more than 12 years as the symbol of Canada’s Walk of Fame, the emblematic maple leaf “star” evolves to shine ever brighter with the introduction of a new icon commemorating Canadian excellence. The Board of Directors of Canada’s Walk of Fame has announced the launch of a redesigned logo to celebrate and symbolize a new era of Canadian excellence. The new mark was developed by recently appointed agency of record, TAXI 2.

“Never before has Canadian pride been so resonant across this great country and our new star becomes the heart and soul of a legacy that future generations can enjoy,” said Peter Soumalias, President and CEO of Canada’s Walk of Fame. “I’m particularly pleased with the new look as it represents the outcome of terrific creative work on behalf of our new ad agency, who truly embraced the brand and with their insight and understanding of the essence of Canada’s Walk of Fame, produced a truly distinctive graphic branding approach.”

The concept behind the new logo — connecting five maple leaves forming a singular star — is inspired by the bond of Canadian pride that we all share. The logo evokes the notion that as Canadians, we all contribute to the success of our country. Occasionally, Soumalias suggested, exceptional individuals rise to be recognized and our appreciation of their achievements as well as our celebration of their fame can make us all feel part of a greater whole.

“Before we started working with Canada’s Walk of Fame, we thought we knew what it meant to be ‘proud Canadians’,” said Dave Watson, Creative Director at TAXI. “But now our pride is at an all-time high. We wanted the new logo and visual identity to reflect the important work that Canada’s Walk of Fame does in shining the spotlight on Canadian excellence from all aspects of our culture.”

A 60-second video spot, also created by TAXI 2, will play nationally in Cineplex theatres starting March 1.  The new logo has been integrated across all Canada’s Walk of Fame branding initiatives and will be implemented for the 2011 inductions.

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