15th February 2011

A Flood Of Game News Bytes

Dark AcreVancouver indie developer Dark Acre Game Development announced today that its new game, ‘Ball of Steel’ is now available as a free-to-play title via Kongregate.com for gamers with Unity-enabled web browsers.

Ball of Steel is a marble tilt-maze with a twist: in addition to navigating twisting passages, players must guide their ball through high-tech teleporters and avoid burning pillars of scorching flame to clear each table. Players may choose their challenge levels and warp or skip to any of the 20 boards.

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Ball of Steel was built in Unity 3D during two weeks of intensive full-time development. It was developed as an entrant to the Unity Game Contest currently underway at Kongregate.com, and represents the second in a series of free-to-play efforts from Dark Acre. You can check out more information on Dark Acre’s first title on the project’s web page.

frima studioIn the category of receiving the news a day late (honest, I just got this today), Frima Studio apparently celebrated Valentine’s Day by unveiling a host of new updates for Pocket God with Episode III – The Birds! This third episode follows in the footsteps of the recent Episode II: Clash of the Frightened for the social game, which is currently in an open beta and growing rapidly with more than 175,000 monthly active users on Facebook.

The new updates for The Birds include:

* The Return of the Dodo! – While it may have gone extinct hundreds of years ago for being too passive and peaceful, this reincarnation of the Dodo could not be farther from its ancestors – keep an eye out as it will terrorize your island, making short work of your fish and pygmies!pocket god
* New “Dodo Down” Item – Usually there’s a limit on how often you can sacrifice your friends, but with the new Dodo Down power, feel free to resuscitate them and bring them back to life…only to kill them again!
* More Customization – Make Pocket God your own! Players now have the ability to name their individual pygmies so there’s no need to have to settle for the pre-assigned monikers…name them after your enemies and get extra satisfaction from their sacrifice!
* Fat Cupid! – It’s gorgeous, lovely, and quite Rubenesque – it’s Fat Cupid and it needs to be stopped! Band together with your Facebook friends to take down the ultimate evil god.
* Valentine’s Treats – Take a break from drowning your Facebook friends and get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day…send them chocolate treats to let them know that each time you sacrifice them, it’s a gesture of love.

Since its debut on the world’s most popular social network in December of 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is quickly approaching a quarter of a million active users in less than two months. More than 20 million hapless and helpless pygmies have been sacrificed over that time, and one million of those are friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal ways, including electrocution, drowning, shark attack, tornado, volcanic lava and much more! The lucky user who sacrificed the one millionth friend, Jessy Rivas of France, received 350 Pocket Change, the in-game currency for Pocket God!

behaviour gamesWith the city quaking in fear and no help in sight and a rumoured release date of March 23rd*, who ya gonna call? Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, is once again answering the call for gamers everywhere by delivering the first ever Ghostbusters digital title, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. In conjunction with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and developed by Behaviour, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download at Atari.com.
Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.

The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.

* Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime has yet to appear on the Xbox Marketplace or on the Atari store, so the release date as of yet has not been confirmed. Perhaps someone in the know could let me know?

fluik entertainmentEdmonton’s Fluik Entertainment has announced that Gunner Galaxies, the sequel to top-downloaded Gunner Galaxiesgame Gunner will is scheduled for release this March, and will pack new galaxies, new gameplay, fun new unlocks and ship upgrades into this latest chapter. Gunner Galaxies is an asteroid-blasting classic arcade action game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Fluik’s previous game releases include the aforementioned Gunner, Bubble Rainbow (which are free in the iTunes store and now residing on my iPod Touch), the also free Tic Tac Draw and Airport Madness Challenge, Airport Madness Mobile, Will It Fly, and CoolSpell, which all have both free and paid versions.

DreamCatcherToronto publisher DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have confirmed the release date for the official Painkiller Standalone Add-On “Redemption“ as February 25th 2011 – although there is no official page on the DreamCatcher site yet for Redemption, the game will continue the epic Painkiller conflict between good and evil.

The kingdom of heaven is threatened by a ruthless army from hell. Two champions, Daniel and Belial, who we already know as the two previous heroes of the series, combine their forces and join the never-ending battle between good and evil.Painkiller Redemption

“It demands quite a bit of skill to confront the countless hordes of monsters – to vanquish them you can equip some really crazy weapons“, says Markus Reutner, International Product Marketing Manager at JoWooD. “We also have the right soundtrack for the fast-paced action because the atmosphere is particularly important when countless monsters attack you without mercy. An insiders’ tip for Painkiller friends as well as for new fans!“


· 7-10 hours playtime
· Transform yourself into a demon once you’ve collected enough souls!
· Use the occult powers of tarot cards
· More than 6,000 enemies and up to 1,000 monsters on all of the 6 new maps
· Easy to use map editor for your very own Painkiller experience
· Adrenaline pumping soundtrack

gamerkraftAnother Toronto-based publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has unveiled the latest game to come to their free-to-play gaming platform, GamerKraft. Aida Arenas, developed by Korean developer GalaxyGate, is an “MMORPG Brawler” set in the raucous world of Aida – a land where adventuring, treasure-hunting, and good ol’ fashioned rough-housing are the primary pastimes.

“We are excited to announce Aida Arenas’ arrival on the GamerKraft platform in the first quarter of 2011,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager for Game Bridger Entertainment, “the game’s charming cartoon graphics and whimsical game world, plus its accessible controls and gameplay mechanics, are sure to appeal to a wide range of both hardcore and casual gamers.”

Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters, compete with friends, and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft, where you can Combine elements of the classic beat ‘em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs.

Bioware CorpAnd of course I would be totally remiss if I did not even mention the big Triple A game news of the day, which is the announcement that Felicia Day has written a new web series based on Bioware’s Dragon Age series. The six part Dragon Age: Redemption series will star Ms. Day as elven assassin Tallis. In an article on USA Today, (no, I was not one of the lucky ones who were sent a press release about the web series, I found out about it via Twitter) the story will revolve around Tallis’ personal quest to capture a renegade magician and the companions she enlists into her fellowship along the way.

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15th February 2011

VenCorps and Ryerson Looking For Top Toronto Start-Up

Reminder: Economic Development Canada and Big Fish Games are holding a webinar on February 17th, the topic is Doing Business With Big Fish
Reminder: The Hand Eye Society Social #11 is on February 17th in Toronto and will feature speakers Jason Kaplan of Game Prototype Challenge and Damian Sommer from Griddle Jam as well as Miguel Sternberg and Andrew Pilkiw Spooky Squid Games.
Reminder: Interactive Ontario is hosting iLunch 9.04 on February 25th, when the topic will be Details of the Deal: Making Sense of Interactive Digital Media Red Tape

centennial collegeThe Centre for Creative Communications, Centennial College, is seeking innovative and forward-thinking proposals from Canadian media, interactive, creative, technology, business and social entrepreneurs for the next wave of children’s media and multi-platform projects to qualify for $50,000 federal development grants.

The new kidsmediacentre, an industry and creative content think-tank at Centennial College, will hold an information session to interested developers, on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 pm at The Centre for Creative Communications, located at 951 Carlaw Avenue, Toronto.

Centennial College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) has received ten $50,000 Federal Development grants, some of which are available to help small and medium enterprises in the kids’ technology industry launch the next big idea in children’s media. The grants are part of a coordinated strategy between the federal government and colleges to accelerate innovation and productivity in southern Ontario by asking business partners to collaborate on projects and work “hands-on” with college faculty and students in developing new and innovative technologies and services. Businesses are asked to contribute at least $25,000 towards a project in cash and/or in-kind.

“Canada has been a leader in the creation and production of internationally successful children’s entertainment properties for many years,” says Nate Horowitz, Dean of The Centre for Creative Communications. “These federal grants represent an important opportunity for entrepreneurs in the kids’ animation, gaming and interactive industries to build competitive products here and on a global scale. We’re committed to helping nurture these businesses.”

Centennial College’s School of Communications, Media and Design is currently the only college in Canada offering a post-secondary program in children’s content development and is focused on writing, production and business management in the gaming, interactive, educational, publishing, TV and film industries. A key goal of the kidsmediacentre is to act as an innovation catalyst partnering the talents of the College’s students with children’s industry entrepreneurs.

The kidsmediacentre and Applied Research and Innovation Centre will work with qualified partners to ensure their early-stage businesses have the strategic counsel and creative brand development supports to move their innovation forward.

The kidsmediacentre is exploring kids’ media futures by investing in research critical to understanding their 21st century media interactions. Working with Centennial College’s Children’s Entertainment – Writing, Production and Management program and early childhood development specialists, the kidsmediacentre’s goal is to provide a range of R&D support to cross-platform, media and entertainment content providers to ensure the kids’ media industry in Canada is vibrant, indigenous and committed to the healthy growth of children. For more details or to register for the information session, contact: Debbie Gordon, Director, kidsmediacentre, 416-289-5000, ext. 8770.

financial fitness challengeYoung Canadians are invited to take part in the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) ‘Financial Fitness Challenge‘, an online contest that uses videos, Facebook and Twitter tips to help youth get financially fit. The contest is aimed at helping youth increase their financial literacy and offers them the chance to win an Apple® iPad or a grand prize of $2,000.

The Financial Fitness Challenge runs from February 15 to April 15, 2011 and uses interactive tools and scenarios to raise awareness of important financial concepts such as balancing needs versus wants, budgeting, saving and investing. This year, visitors to the site will see four new entertaining and informative videos on budgeting, credit cards, investing and investment fraud.

“With close to 60,000 youth actively participating in the challenge over the past four years, the CSA has presented financial literacy education in a format that resonates with youth,” said Bill Rice, Chair of the CSA and Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Securities Commission. “We encourage parents and teachers to continue to develop financial literacy skills in youth by using the Challenge as a fun and informative learning tool.”

The bilingual contest is open to Canadians ages 15 to 21 and offers youth the opportunity to invite friends to join the Challenge, and to compete and engage with contest participants at a local and national level. Classroom materials including lesson plans are available to download from the Teacher and Parent Resource Centre. At the close of the contest, 13 entries – one from each province and territory – will be randomly selected from eligible participants to win an Apple® iPad, and one national grand prize winner will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Absolute SoftwareVancouver-based Absolute® Software Corporation will be expanding the distribution of its consumer solution LoJack® for Laptops in partnership with SYX Distribution, a company that is an affiliate of, and provides distribution services to, TigerDirect, CompUSA and CircuitCity.com.

“Our research indicates that 40% of consumers have more than seven computer devices in their homes – many of these are treasured laptops, MacBooks and PCs. These represent a substantial investment and target for would-be thieves,” said Mark Grace, vice president of consumer business at Absolute Software. “By making our solution widely available through TigerDirect’s trusted shopping venues customers use to purchase these devices, we are making it that much more convenient for consumers to get proven anti-theft protection.”

Beginning in the first quarter of calendar 2011, LoJack for Laptops will be available to consumers as part of their computer purchasing experience at major online, B2B and retail locations including: CompUSA, TigerDirect, and Circuit City. In addition, these retailers will offer LoJack for Laptops as part of all of their computer service offerings (for example, repair services, technical support services, and software installation services). The product may also be purchased as part of Service Warranty Plans and from the TigerDirect and CompUSA’s B2B sales teams.

“LoJack for Laptops gives computer owners a degree of peace of mind that contributes to a better experience owning a computer,” said Gilbert Fiorentino, CEO of TigerDirect. “This offering is a good addition to the value we can offer our customers.”

LoJack for Laptops is the industry’s leading computer anti-theft solution for home computer users. Powered by patented Computrace® technology, LoJack for Laptops is the chosen consumer theft recovery solution of the world’s leading computer manufacturers.

Features of the subscription-based service include:

* Geolocation – For day-to-day use (in non-theft scenarios), consumers can keep track of their computer on an internet-based map.
* Device freeze – If a computer is suspected to be simply lost and not stolen, customers can freeze their computer and display a custom message for whoever finds it. In addition, an unauthorized user cannot access the content on the computer, keeping private information safe in an effort to prevent identity theft.
* Remote data delete – To protect their personal information, customers can choose to delete a pre-set group of files or all files, including the operating system.
* Managed theft recovery – If a computer is stolen, the Absolute Theft Recovery Team will work with local law enforcement to recover it.

VenCorps is proud to announce the launch of vencorpsthe ‘Top of Toronto’ start-up challenge. The goal of the Top of Toronto Challenge is to invest $25,000 in the best tech company in Southwestern Ontario.
Ryerson University
Making the announcement at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Sean Wise, Founding Partner at VenCorps also revealed that the Entrepreneurship department at Ryerson University would support the competition. “Ryerson is clearly a hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” said Wise “and we are interested in seeing which startup the Ryerson community tells us to fund.” Unlike other venture capital funds, VenCorps invests seed capital (typcially $25,000) based on the collective opinions of thousands of entrepreneurs, students, professional service providers and angel investors (whereas traditional venture funds rely on a handful of experts).

With one of the largest entrepreneurship departments in Canada, Ryerson students are taught by experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that have themselves started dozens of companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs raise financing.

“Our department is committed to furthering a culture of entrepreneurship and the facilitation of start-ups in Canada” said Dave Valliere, Chair of the Entrepreneurship Department at the Ted Rogers School of Management, “working with VenCorpsis directly in line with other entrepreneurial initiatives at Ryerson University including our: StartMeUp Ryerson program and of course our incubator, the Ryerson Digital Media Zone.” Wise agrees, “With everything else that Ryerson is doing, it only makes sense that Ryerson be involved with the hunt for Toronto’s Top Startup” said Wise.

Launching on February 15th, 2011 the Top of Toronto challenge gives early stage tech companies in Ontario an opportunity to showcase their products/services in order to attract community member votes. The winner, as chosen by the community, will receive a $25,000 equity investment. VenCorps will take a 5% equity position in the winner and allow them to leverage the VenCorps community to facilitate rapid growth. Top of Toronto is one of twelve challenges VenCorps plans to pursue in 2011, with future challenges focusing on: mobile software, mass collaboration and women lead startups.

Registration is now open for members of the public to become community members. Participation through comments and votes earns members virtual points. Points which can be redeemed for real and virtual prizes or even a stake in VenCorps companies.

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15th February 2011

Women In Film Toronto Launch Women in Digital Media Summit and Speaker Series

wiftWomen In Film Toronto, with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is pleased to announce the WIFT-T Women in Digital Media Summit & Speaker Series, a two-year initiative designed to promote and celebrate women in the digital media industry.

Divided into three parts, the project consists of an international summit in October 2011, a high profile speaker series ongoing in 2012, and a web portal designed to foster local and international collaboration, research and mentorship.

“Globally, women produce, share and consume digital and interactive content at a tremendous pace,” says Susan Ross, WIFT-T Chair. “At the same time, women remain underrepresented in the digital economy. Through knowledge transfer, networking and mentorship, this initiative will recognize and encourage the participation of women so they can continue to play a key role in innovation and leadership.”

The WIFT-T International Women in Digital Media Summit will take place October 2011 in Stratford, Ontario. Presented in partnership with the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, this three-day summit will focus on digital media content creation, implications for emerging technologies and business models, and the role of women in digital media globally.

“The Waterloo Stratford Campus is delighted to be a partner in the WIFT-T International Women’s Summit,” says Tobi Day-Hamilton, Director, Advancement. “Women are not only the leading consumers of digital media, but are also leading the field in content development and innovation. The Summit will gather visionaries from around the world to showcase talent and technologies and prepare for an exciting future in this fast-paced industry.”

The Summit will bring together traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world, to explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in the content areas of gaming, mobile and social media.

At the Summit, WIFT-T will release a research report to update its 2004 study on employment trends in Canadian screen-based media. The new research will focus on the impact of digital trends and the participation of women and people from diverse backgrounds in all areas of the industry.

The Summit is made possible through the support of OMDC on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in partnership with the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, City of Stratford, Dynamix Solutions, FITC and Rhyzome Networks.

Following the Summit, the WIFT-T Women in Digital Media Speaker Series will occur every three months in 2012. Held in downtown Toronto, these luncheons will feature influential women in digital media and provide guests with key networking opportunities.

Speakers will include national and international leaders in research, social media, entrepreneurship, digital content, publishing, aggregators and distribution. Keynote presentations will be streamed online via WIFT-T’s web portal, a virtual hub where conversations that begin at the Summit and Speaker Series can continue.

Featuring an active database of local and international professionals, the portal aims to foster international partnerships in research and link digital media professionals with academic institutions and mentors.

The Women in Digital Media Summit & Speaker Series will allow WIFT-T to explore the role that women play in digital industries globally, while providing female professionals with the tools they need to become key players. The initiative will highlight Ontario’s digital corridor and showcase our leading digital media professionals to the global community.

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15th February 2011

Domain Name System Hijacking Emerges As New Phishing Tactic

Being a Canadian content site, I don’t often bring in “news from the outside” but I feel that this security release is of huge importance. How many of us have received fake emails about our Blizzard accounts – not that I have one, but I still get them – and I feel that this needs to be shared.

IIDTacoma’s IID (Internet Identity) has released its Fourth Quarter eCrime Trends Report that revealed evidence cyber-criminals are now using domain name system (DNS) hijackings to steal critical personal information like credit card numbers. According to IID, criminals hijacked ChronoPay.com, Russia’s largest payment processor – and one of the largest payment processors in Europe – for several hours on December 25 and 26 via DNS hijacking. By redirecting the ChronoPay domain to a bogus payment site, the attackers collected at least 800 credit card numbers from customers attempting to submit payments with ChronoPay.

While we’ve been warning for years that DNS hijackings could result in financial disaster, we hadn’t seen such a well-planned and successful attack of this nature until this incident,” said IID President and CTO Rod Rasmussen. “With ChronoPay, our worst fears came true. Unlike the recent DNS hijackings of Twitter, Baidu and others, with ChronoPay we have confirmation that people’s vital information was stolen without them being aware of it.”

As the translator between domain names and IP addresses, DNS is the glue that holds everything together on the Internet, from keeping time to conducting transactions to transmitting messages to sharing corporate and consumer data. By hijacking these DNS translations, attackers can drive unsuspecting surfers and corporate users to malicious sites, making large parts of the ‘Net largely insecure. They can also intercept corporate e-mail, financial transactions, and other highly sensitive data and personal information.

Other detailed findings of IID’s report include:

* Phishing attacks impersonating gaming companies increased 489 percent from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010.
* Overall phishing attacks went up 14 percent from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010.
* Phishing attacks impersonating e-commerce companies jumped over the holiday season. In all, these attacks increased 13 percent from Q3 to Q4 2010.

Sources of data and background for the IID 2010 Fourth Quarter eCrime Trends Report include IID’s own security experts and some of the world’s leading security and Internet infrastructure organizations like ICANN and APWG.

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15th February 2011

New Business Etiquette Guide From Robert Half

Robert HalfIn the days when “tweets” were bird sounds and a “text” was a book, workplace blunders had a limited audience. Now, however, these missteps can receive broad exposure — with unhappy consequences: Three out of four (76 percent) human resources (HR) managers polled for a survey created by Robert Half and conducted via telephone by an independent research firm said technology etiquette breaches can affect a person’s career prospects.

To prevent professionals from falling victim to online gaffes, Robert Half has released a new guide, Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age. The comprehensive guide offers tips for successfully minding your manners when using professional networking sites, social media, e-mail, instant messaging, mobile devices and more. The company has also identified five common types of tech etiquette offenders and how to ensure you aren’t one of them.

More than 650 HR managers in the United States and Canada at companies with 20 or more employees were asked, “To what extent, if any, can technology etiquette breaches — for example, sending e-mail messages to unintended recipients, checking e-mail on a BlackBerry during meetings, etc., adversely affect a person’s career prospects?” New Rules In A Digital Age

HR responded with:

Greatly – 15%
Somewhat – 61%
Not at all – 23%
Don’t know – 1%

“Etiquette breaches, such as paying more attention to your smartphone than the people you’re meeting with, can make others feel less important and cause you to miss information,” said Brett Good, senior district president of Robert Half International. “Other mistakes, such as sending a confidential e-mail to the wrong person or impulsively posting an offensive comment on Facebook or Twitter, can have more serious, career-impacting consequences.”

Robert Half identified the top five technology etiquette breachers and gives advice to help workers avoid these labels:

1. The Venter. This indiscreet individual never misses an opportunity to document a bad work situation. Job-related gripes and groans get splashed across Facebook, Twitter and her personal blog. E-mail, too, takes a decidedly negative tone.

Advice: Look on the bright side. To avoid this label, keep the information that you post positive. Sticky or unpleasant situations are best discussed offline and in private.

2. The Noise Polluter. This person’s phone seems to lack a silent mode or an off button. Whether in a meeting or at a colleague’s desk, he freely takes and makes calls, oblivious to his surroundings. Between noisy ring tones and loud public broadcasts of personal conversations, it’s impossible to concentrate when he’s nearby.

Advice: To keep office noise at a minimum, set your phone to silent mode at the office, and hold personal conversations behind closed doors.

3. The Cryptic Communicator. This person relies on texting shorthand for every type of correspondence. Odd or informal abbreviations, poor punctuation, and spelling and grammatical goofs leave people shaking their heads — and pleading for clarification.

Advice: Slow down, and take it easy on the abbreviations. Spending a little more time on your communications can make them easier to decipher.

4. The Pop-Up Artist. While you’re trying to complete assignments, this chat fanatic insists on sending you a flurry of instant messages. Throughout the day, you’re subjected to the pings and pops of incoming IMs: RUTHERE? CYE [check your e-mail]!

Advice: IMs are fine for quick volleys of conversations, but don’t go overboard. And don’t expect that everyone will want to “chat” with you. For many, e-mail is immediate enough.

5. The Conference Call Con. This multi-tasker pretends to pay attention during teleconferences but is so busy checking e-mail he has no clue what’s being discussed. It’s not an unusual problem: 45 percent of executives confessed to frequently doing other things while in these meetings, according to another Robert Half survey.

Advice: Although we all multitask from time to time, pay attention to relevant conversations when on conference calls. It can help to turn away from your monitor so you’re not distracted by e-mail.

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15th February 2011

SIGGRAPH 2011 Vancouver Opens Computer Animation Submissions

Siggraph 2011From the SIGGRAPH 2011 Vancouver website, where you can visit for complete submission guidelines and information on all categories. Canadian digital media designers, get your submissions in – let’s show the world what Canada Creates when visitors gather on our doorstep this summer.

In 2011, SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival celebrates its 38th year as the world’s most innovative exploration of computer-generated animation and visual effects. This four-day, international event presents an eclectic array of computer animation genres and styles ranging from narrative character animation to scientific visualization.

We would like to see ANY and ALL work from the world of animation. (for example, stop motion, scientific visualization, traditional animation, among others.) All entries must be uploaded by 15 April 2011 (22:00 UTC/GMT). Only finished works will be considered for inclusion, and all submissions must be uploaded at final resolution.

Submission Categories – The festival accepts submissions in 11 distinct categories:

1. Computer Animation Shorts – All forms of animated short pieces that contain a significant percentage of computer-generated imagery and/or digital production and are not specifically suited to one of the other nine submission categories. This includes independent shorts, character animation, sponsored creative explorations, narrative and experimental works, opening sequences, game cinematics, selections and/or montages of animated television series, machinima, and new-media formats. Shorts of any length may be submitted, but the Computer Animation Festival reserves the right to show only excerpts of selected works at the jury’s discretion.

2. Music Videos
– Commissioned and/or independent works that use any combination of computer animation, digital effects, and live action to illustrate, enhance, and/or complement a musical creation.

3. TV and Web Commercials – Advertisements created entirely or partially with computer animation and/or digital effects. Also promotional spots, broadcast bumpers and graphics, and public service announcements.

4. Visualizations and Simulations – Computer animations created to explain, analyze, or visualize information for applications including scientific research, architecture, engineering, systems simulations, education, and documentary projects.

5. Student Projects – Computer-animated works of all kinds produced to satisfy a school, coursework, and/or graduation requirement. Entries in this category qualify for Best Student Project Award consideration. The Computer Animation Festival requests that all student works be submitted under this category, regardless of genre.

6. Animated Feature Films – Selections and/or montages of computer animation created for animated feature films.

7. Visual Effects for Short Films and TV Programs – Selections and/or montages of visual effects created for short live-action films and/or for television programs.

8. Visual Effects for Live-Action Feature Films – Selections and/or montages of visual effects created for live-action feature films.

9. Real-Time Animation – Game, web, and mobile animations that are rendered in the same amount of time that it takes to play them back. Real-time technology demos are also encouraged! Real-time technology demos should be submitted to Real-Time Live!

10. Miscellaneous – Computer animations that do not fit in any of the above categories, including technology showcases, previz, and other cool stuff that hasn’t been invented yet.

11.Traditional and Stop Motion – Animation that takes us back to our roots. Without traditional and stop motion animation, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing today!

The Computer Animation Festival reserves the right to place entries in the category that is most appropriate. Stereo 3D work will be considered and can be entered in any of the above categories.

Competition Entries and Invited Entries – The festival includes a Competition Section and an Invited Section. Entries submitted in any of the 11 categories above automatically participate in the Competition Section and are eligible for the corresponding Computer Animation Festival awards and recognitions. The Invited Section consists of special projects invited by the festival committee. The complete list of Competition and Invited Entries will be available on 1 June 2011.

Awards – On the first night of the festival, the Festival Jury will present the Best in Show Award, Jury Award, and Best Student Project Prize. The Best in Show Award qualifies the winner to be considered for nomination in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Best Animated Short Film category. An Audience Award will be announced on the last day of the conference.

Award Eligibility – All films screened in the Computer Animation Festival’s Competition Section are eligible for the Best in Show, Jury, and Audience Awards. Only those works in the Student Projects section are eligible for Best Student Project recognition. Pieces selected for the Invited Section are not eligible for awards.

Screenings – The festival will showcase jury-selected entries alongside invited works in a single program, in the tradition of SIGGRAPH’s original Electronic Theater. In addition, a few thematic and monographic screenings of both juried and curated material complement the Competition Section. For the third year in a row, selected screenings will be open to the general public in addition to conference and festival attendees.

Talks and Panels – The Computer Animation Festival includes presentations by experts on a variety of topics related to creation of computer animation and visual effects, as well as behind-the-scenes presentations by the creators whose works are screened at the festival. You are encouraged to submit a proposal for a Talk (single presenter) or a Panel (multiple presenters) about your project and/or additional relevant topics.

SIGGRAPH – Vancouver 2011 – Make It Home

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15th February 2011

CMF Will Host Webcast To Explain Media Fund Changes

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) will hold a webcast Wednesday, February 23, 2011, to explain the changes to the 2011-2012 Guidelines and to answer possible questions raised by the changes. This broadcast will be hosted by Stéphane Cardin (Vice President, Industry and Public Affairs) and Nathalie Clermont (Director of Program Management). The presentation will be in 2 stages: first in French from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET and then in English from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET. You are invited to review the Summary of Changes to the various Convergent and Experimental Stream programs. Comments and questions can be sent via email, asked on Twitter on the CMF Facebook page.

Please click on the following address to test drive the webcast page on your computer:

CMF-FMC Webcast

To view the webcast, Flash player from Adobe is all you need in your browser. You will be asked to provide your name and email address to access the broadcast page. (Please note that you may need to sign in again on the day of the webcast).

tio networksVancouver-based TIO Networks Corp. has successfully launched the Pacific Gas and Electric P G and E AppCompany’s (PG&E) “mobile bill pay app”. This mobile payment app is an industry first by a major Utility and provides up to six million PG&E customers in Northern and Central California with the convenience of paying their utility bills on an expedited basis through their iPhones and iOS devices.

“Almost immediately from the pre-launch phase in late December 2010, we have had strong consumer interest as several thousand PG&E customers have already downloaded the App and are paying their bills” said Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of TIO Networks. “We will be expanding the payment platform to include Android and Blackberry versions in the near future. This product was a collaborative effort with PG&E and we appreciate their strong commitment to the project.”

Millions of PG&E customers can now download the TIO mobile application from Apple’s app store for free, and enjoy the convenience of bill payment on the go, anytime and anywhere. The TIO payment application features a user-friendly interface on iOS powered devices for real-time access to a customer’s account balance and intuitive instructions, in either English or Spanish, for fast payment with Visa, Master Card or through a customer’s bank account.

Sofame Technologies sofameInc., a Montreal-based manufacturer of environmentally efficient industrial hot water systems and cost effective heat recovery equipment, has turned to Autodesk® to solve a pressing business need: Growing Sofame’s presence in the competitive global marketplace. Sofame’s sights are set on offering rapid delivery of its award winning industrial boiler efficiency systems.  In 2010, Sofame began a program of outsourced manufacturing, which required product redesign and standardization to speed-up manufacturing, eliminate errors, and above-all, reduce costly hours of manual work.  Autodesk Consulting will now work with Sofame to improve its engineer-to-order (ETO) business processes.  New Autodesk solutions will further reduce engineering time as well as produce vessel drawings and P&ID’s more quickly. Sofame plans to shorten sales cycles, and handle more projects with the same number of people.

hbo canadaBeginning Sunday April 17th HBO Canada, a multiplex channel of Astral’s The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central (Western Canada) is taking subscribers inside a land where summers span decades, winters can last a lifetime, and a bloody battle rages for control of the Game of Thrones Sean BeanSeven Kingdoms of Westeros and ultimately, the Iron Throne.

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones is a 10-part epic fantasy series that follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power.

Created with active collaboration from author Martin, the series combines elements of the fantasy genre with a simultaneous focus on character and psychology. HBO shot the series primarily in Northern Ireland and worked with expert language creator David J. Peterson to develop an expansive language for the Dothraki, a race of nomadic warriors.

Featuring a vast cast set to portray the inhabitants of Westeros, Game of Thrones stars (in alphabetical order): Mark Addy as King RGame of Thrones - The Lannistersobert Baratheon; Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy; Sean Bean as Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark; Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister; Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister; Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark; Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (“Littlefinger”); Jack Gleeson as Prince Joffrey Baratheon; Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont; Kit Harington as Jon Snow; Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister; Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark; Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen; Richard Madden as Robb Stark; Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (“The Hound”); Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark; and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Game of Thrones is executive produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; co-executive producers Carolyn Strauss, Guymon Casaday, Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza and George R.R. Martin; and producers, Mark Huffam and Frank Doelger. Directors include Brian Kirk, Tom McCarthy, Daniel Minahan, Alan Taylor and Tim Van Patten.

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