23rd February 2011

Digital Developments

Note: The World Wide Short Film Fest has opened Screenplay Giveaway to submissions.
Note: Nominations now open to Canada’s emerging technology companies for PricewaterhouseCoopers 2011 Innovator of the Year Award.

Game Prototype ChallengeThe third Game Prototype Challenge ended earlier this week with a total of ten game submissions centering around the theme of Loneliness and Dimensions. There are some very cool ideas in this last round, and considering that they were all done as side projects between February 14th and February 21st just makes them even better. The Challenge just keeps growing with every iteration, and I am looking forward to seeing comes out in the next one in March.Hothead Games

The final installment of the Ask Dr. Mike video series has been released by Hothead Games. Check out the in-studio rivalry between Producer Joel DeYoung and Lead Designer Pete Low as Joel tries to trump Pete’s new high score in the upcoming platformer Swarm.

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Watch the gameplay carefully and listen closely to the commentary for some inside secrets on game-play and high scoring tactics. See how the sacrificing of squishy blue guys will lead you to multiplier supremacy and achievement completion.

University of WaterlooPost-secondary students these days have so many cool new specialty areas to study, sometimes I wish I could go back to school full-time. Yes, I liked school. Except for Math. And Science. History, Law and English – those were my favourites. There weren’t really any courses leading towards any specific type of creative career when I was in high school, not counting the classes for performing arts or traditional trades like welding and wood-working.

A new graduate studies programme has been introduced at Waterloo University’s Stratford Campus. The Master of Digital Innovation (MDI) is a one year project-based interdisciplinary degree programme. Students will work through the programme as they would if they were working for an employer, in teams, working on core projects. Throughout the process of completing these projects, students will consult with faculty and industry partners, gaining hands-on experience in many areas, including Team Building, Design Thinking and Business Modelling as well as Marketing Strategy and Critical Cultural Analysis. That last one sounds like it involves Math.

This new full-time program, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2011 pending final Ontario Council on Graduate Studies approval, will take place over three consecutive terms: Fall, Winter and Spring.

The Fall Session will focus on Working in Teams, Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World, Digital Media Solutions Design and New Perspectives on Media History and Analysis.  During the Winter Session, students will continue Working in Teams as they look at Digital Media Solutions: Project Management, Media Innovation and Impact as well as Understanding the Consumer Universe. The Spring session focuses entirely on Projects.

Longbow GamesLongbow Games has launched the latest game in their Hegemony series of historical RTS wargames. Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece expands upon last year’s PAX 10 finalist Hegemony: Philip of Macedon, adding two new campaigns and an all new diplomacy system plus an open sandbox mode with 26 playable factions and significant gameplay upgrades and refinements. The game is available online from Longbow, priced at $29.99 for the complete version or $9.99 as an upgrade from the original game.

“After spending the last year building a community and talking to fans about what they liked best in the first Hegemony, we’re really excited to show off all that we’ve added for Hegemony Gold,” said Jim McNally, President and Lead Designer of Hegemony Gold Wars of Ancient GreeceLongbow Games. “Not only do the new features significantly expand the range and depth of the tactics in Hegemony but the new campaigns and sandbox mode exponentially increase the amount of gameplay available.”

Conquer the ancient Greek world in Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, a real-time strategy wargame that expands and refines the award-winning Hegemony: Philip of Macedon with brand new content and features. Experience the full range of warfare from reconnaissance and raids to field battles and mountain blockades as you campaign across a continuous satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece. Siege and starve your enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing kingdom. Play as Macedonia, Athens, or Sparta in the three historical campaigns, or choose one of the 26 factions in the epic sandbox mode and forge your own empire. With a dynamic new diplomacy system and greatly expanded tactics, Hegemony Gold sets the new standard for ancient IUGOwarfare.

IUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a trailer for its latest announced title, Pricklees, which has been submitted to Apple for approval. Jump, duck and roll to the beat with the Pricklees in this new music game that features 3 adorable characters you wish you could cuddle, if they weren’t covered in prickles.

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There are 3 levels of difficulty in the game: easy, medium and hard for tons of replayability, with more unlockable content through IAP. Dead easy controls and intuitive UI in dynamic 2D/3D environments allow for unique rhythm-based gameplay with 7 Fresh Electronic tracks and more songs coming in future updates.

TVOTVO is pleased to announce the launch of its new digital Public Archive, a free online resource that unlocks four decades of made-at-TVO educational programming that stands the test of time. The centerpiece of TVO’s 40th anniversary celebrations, TVO’s Public Archive is full of rare moments in television history including:

* popular Saturday Night at the Movies host Elwy Yost’s conversations with film legends of the 70s and 80s;
* insights from some of the greatest minds in science and technology like Richard Dawkins, John Polanyi, Carl Sagan and Steve Wozniak;
* interviews with political leaders including every Ontario Premier since John Robarts;
* rare moments with Canadian icons like Mordecai Richler, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and John Candy;
* and Canadian heroes like Jane Jacobs, June Callwood and Roberta Bondar.

TVO’s Public Archive is a valuable resource for researchers, filmmakers, writers, bloggers and anyone who wants to learn more about the cultural history that has made Ontario what it is today, and features beloved TVO programs that have defined TVO over the years. It launches with over 375 programs and segments that would take more than five days to watch.

The site includes episodes of Polka Dot Door, Today’s Special, Prisoners of Gravity, Imprint, Realities, Studio 2, the interviews portion of Saturday Night at the Movies, The Education of Mike McManus, Between the Lines and more. It also includes the new “Think Again” podcast series where programs are re-cut and re-mixed, examining important issues and placing them in context of the world today. New content that can be searched by program title, year, guest, subject or playlist will be added to the Public Archive regularly.

OMDCThe Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) today launched a major international TV, print and online campaign to showcase Ontario’s thriving cultural media sector. The campaign encourages consumers and investors to “be part of it” by buying Ontario’s award-winning cultural media products and investing in the province’s dynamic companies.

The six-week television campaign, showcasing more than 80 Ontario companies and world-renowned cultural exports, features a soundtrack by indie band Metric, which won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. The campaign was created by Toronto ad agency Brandworks International Inc. and will be supported by print and online ads in a variety of Canadian, U.S. and U.K. publications, along with an interactive website.

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Ontario’s entire creative cluster includes: book and magazine publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, music, performing arts, radio, advertising, architecture and design. Together, they contribute more than $ 12.2 billion to the provincial GDP and employ more than 300,000 people.

ubisoftUbisoft is going on tour with its Kinect titles, but it seems BC is not on the list, at least not yet. One would think that BC would be on the list considering that Ubisoft has a development studio in Vancouver. The only confirmed locations thus far are for Halifax, when they will be visiting the Halifax Discovery Centre on February 25th and 26th before moving on to the Wal-Mart at Halifax Shopping Centre on February 27th. All other provinces are listed as “Coming Soon” with BC and all three territories not appearing on the schedule at all.

frima studioFrima Studio has earned two of the five nominations given out for the Best PS3/PSP Mini Game by Sony Computer Entertainment of America for its 2011 PlayStation®Network Gamers’ Choice Awards. Frima’s latest effort, the aptly named A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!, has recently crossed the 100,000 downloads mark, and Young Thor is one of the most critically-acclaimed Minis in history.

Voting will be open for one week until Tuesday, March 1st, with PSN users across North America choosing their favorite game in each of the four categories by downloading a free XMB theme corresponding to that game, voting for one game in each category. When the voting is over, the winning game from each of the four categories will go on sale for 30% off at the PlayStation Store and 50% off to PlayStation Plus subscribers.

NexonNexon America has kicked off the second round of the Nexon iNitiative, a million dollar program designed with the intent to seek out the most promising independent video game projects and provide funding to support the next generation of game developers from around the world. Open for submissions until April 30th, the Nexon iNitiative will award game developers a share of $1 million in development funds for projects that align with Nexon’s focus on community building and long-term user engagement.
antic entertainment
The first Nexon iNitiative was launched in March 2010, which saw Canadian developer Antic Entertainment and Polish developer one2tribe chosen from a pool of more than 100 candidates in 2010. Each of the studios earned a share of more than $1 million in development funding. Both companies are currently creating online game projects that will be co-developed and published through Nexon’s global distribution network, which currently services 30 games in more than 71 countries.

Through the Nexon iNitiative, Nexon is looking for potential games that have wide-ranging audience appeal and which encourage community and social interaction. Flash, client-based games or ports from other platforms are all welcome submissions. Games with strong online and multi platform elements will get serious consideration, as will game concepts that align with Nexon’s goals.

Rogers Digital MediaRogers Media (RMI) today announced the appointment of Jason Tafler to the newly created position, Chief Digital Officer.  A veteran of the U.S. and Canadian digital sector, Tafler comes to Rogers from PointRoll, a leading provider of innovative digital marketing solutions and technology based in Pennsylvania.Jason Tafler

Tafler will be responsible for strategic and operational leadership for the Digital division of Rogers Media with accountability for financial and operational targets.  Rogers Digital Media is responsible for over 250 Rogers Digital products including brand websites, mobile products and client microsites as well as pure digital plays such as Sweetspot.ca,  BRANCHEZ -VOUS!, PoolExpert and Canadian Parents.  The range of partnerships and acquisitions brings Rogers Digital Media over 16 million unique viewers per month and reaches 65% of Canadians online.  As well, Rogers Digital Media provides ad solutions and content for Rogers Communications and ad representation for foreign clients.

Tafler grew up in Toronto and has spent most of the past decade of his career in the U.S. building, advising and investing in entrepreneurial growth-oriented companies in the media, advertising and technology industries.  He joined PointRoll in 2005 and became CEO in 2008.  Prior to PointRoll, he worked in a boutique investment bank in New York and with Zoomer Media and First Marathon Securities in Canada.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 10:57 am and is filed under Awards, Business News, Careers, Casual, Contests, Digital Products, Education, Game Dev, Government, Mobile, National News, Platform, RTS, Shooters. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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