Reminder: IGDA Vancouver soft-launch and Global Game Jam Post-Mortem takes place tonight. More info on the event’s Facebook page .
Reminder: Ontario companies, get your submissions in for the INplay Ontario Show & Tell Kids Interactive Showcase , the deadline is April 1st. Also note that the INplay  Kick Off registration rate for attendees will end tomorrow.
Reminder: There is one week left to get your nominations in for the Canadian Video Game Awards . I nominated at least a dozen, is your favourite Canadian-made-in-2010 game nominated? No? Make it so – nominate it today.
Congratulations to VFS Game Design  graduate Zach Williams, who has been named as the very first recipient of the Brian Wood Memorial Internship , an internship that will be awarded three times annually to celebrate the life of Relic employee Brian Wood, who was killed in a tragic car accident last year. Zach, who has previously worked in the local industry as a QA Tester, will begin a four-month internship at Relic Entertainment .
Relic’s General Manager Jonathan Dowdeswell stated on the VFS blog  that “Zach’s personal drive to become a great game developer, his broad skill base across a number of the disciplines, as well as his passion for Relic and knowledge of the culture and practices that we maintain were the things that made him stand out as a clear choice for this internship, he even had a Relic shirt ready to put on when we announced the winner to the class!”
Unless you have absolutely no interest gaming, you will be well aware that today is the launch of the demo for Dragon Age 2 , available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Bioware  will, as we told you last week, unlock two perks should the demo be d ownloaded and played by 1 million gamers before March 1st. The key to answering this Call To Arms, as the demo phase has been dubbed, is that you must sign in to your EA  account. So in our house, at least, that has been achieved by two of us on two separate Xboxes. I’ve played a few minutes of the demo, and thus far Dragon Age 2 looks awesome – the only part I’m concerned about is that the text is awfully small and sometimes difficult to read on a CRT television, even with a large screen.
Of course downloading two demo files also burned up 3.96gb of our new lower monthly cap of 100gb, and upon checking our nifty new Shaw Bandwidth Monitor we are now at 80gb with two weeks still to go on our billing cycle. Yes, we’ll be over – again. We are such bandwidth hogs – especially since Shaw decided we could do with 25gb less per month, but still pay them the same amount of money. Good thing that Shaw is holding off on charging for overages until after they hold their Customer Consultation sessions. I know there will be one in Langley next month, and Shaw has confirmed that my request to attend a session, but I have not yet been emailed about the exact location and time. 
Speaking of User Based Billing, Open Media  is still fighting the good fight, and have issued their own call to arms  as Rogers and the other obese telecoms meet to find ways to defeat the right of Canadian consumers to have access to fair and affordable internet services. In a post on their site, Open Media asks for the support of consumers in continuing the fight for our rights, and yes, this fight will require funding . We don’t have a huge amount of disposable income in our house, but honestly I would rather help Open Media with a $20.00 donation than pay it to any telecom for an already overpriced cable plan. If Open Media can raise $15 000.00 in the next 48 hours, indie ISP providers TekSavvy  and Acanac  will match those funds. Please help if you can.
What really, really irks me – besides the high prices for less service, that is – is that the telecoms are telling the CRTC how we internet hogs are clogging up the interwebs so steps must be taken to curb our overuse, yet they continually come up with new “limited special deals” to sign up new customers. If those of us already using the Net are clogging it up, stop trying to sign up more people, because they’re just going to clog it up even more!
While I want to direct you over to Open Media’s site to read their plan in full , here is a quick look at their initial plan of action:
1. Unleash the creativity and ingenuity of Canadians. People from all walks of life — innovators, educators, students, entrepreneurs, and everything in between — are getting together on February 26th for a Day Of Action to educate our fellow Canadians about Internet metering.
2. Put together a united front of public interest groups, creators, indie ISPs, online service providers and half a million Canadians to put forth a well-researched, evidence-based submission to the CRTC.
I would like to add to this plan of action by asking all of you to write your MP and Industry Canada – don’t just accept the bullying of the telecoms as a done deal. We can fight back – we’ve already shown that with the delay of User Based Billing – and we can make a difference. I found an old flyer the other day when I was making an attempt at cleaning up the clutter in my office. This flyer was from our local MP, Mark Warawa (Conservative) and the headline phrase on this flyer is that the Conservatives stand up for Canadian consumers. Well? Let’s see some action behind that statement. Not sure how to contact your MP? Check here . And don’t forget – the CIRA-hosted Canadian Internet Forum  being held in Ottawa on February 25th will be available via webcast (yup, burning up more of those gigabytes), so remember to tune in and watch the discussion about the future of Canada’s internet and digital economy. There is also an active discussion group on the CIF site, registration is required to view and post on it.
Ubisoft  has finally confirmed a release date for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood . Those of you who prefer to battle the Templars and Borgia on your computers will be able to do so beginning on March 22nd. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for PC will be available at retail stores and for digital download in two different versions:
Retail and Digital Standard Edition:
Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance
·Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance
o Assassin’s Creed® Lineage: discover the story of Giovanni Auditore, Ezio’s father, by watching this three episodes short movie.
o Exclusive additional content featuring the Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood original soundtrack, galleries, Making-of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood…
o Exclusive unlockable content:
* One Multiplayer Character: The Harlequin, a deadly assassin lying behind a gaudy costume and a twisted smiling mask
* One Multiplayer Character: The Officer, a stealthy assassin who can assassinate his targets with a swift and powerful attack
* One exclusive single player indoor map: The Trajan Market
* One exclusive single player outdoor map: The Aqueducts map
* Ezio “Drachen Armor”
Microsoft  has announced that it will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit from Microsoft Research  later this spring, followed by a full commercial version of the SDK later in the year. This “starter kit” for application developers is intended to make it easier for academic research and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences using Kinect technology. Through its collaboration with the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), Microsoft Research is hoping to support a growing community of academic researchers and enthusiasts who are exploring potential applications built using Kinect.
The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor. Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI), which is a part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us. The fruits of those investments manifesting across many of Microsoft’s products, including Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Surface 2.0, Bing for Mobile and Office 2010 Mini Translator.