29th March 2011

IGDA Vancouver Makes A Move Forward

Reminder: Early Bird Registration for Partnerships in Learning close on March 31st. Conference is being held at Dalhousie University this April 26th – 28th.

On Sale: Tickets for HackWaterloo, taking place on April 9th at the Post Rank office in Waterloo.

Panel Event: BCTIA TechForum Series presents Accelerator Programs…Do they really work? on April 19th at the Sutton Place Hotel, featuring speakers Jim Maynard, Wavefront President, Tim Jackson, Waterloo Accelerator Centre CEO, and Iain Klugman, Communitech Hub President and CEO.

Election 41: The Polaris Institute has re-launched TarNation, a popular political video game aimed at highlighting Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff’s unwillingness to take action on the environmentally destructive tar sands. Players spray oil at Conservative and Liberal party leaders to get them out of the tar sands.

Last evening the EA Canada Campus in Burnaby played host to the relaunch of IGDA Vancouver, with pizza supplied by Slant Six Games and beer provided by Granville Island Brewery. There was a pretty good turnout of people from IGDA Vancouver Relaunchthe local development community, which to me says that there is interest in breathing new life into our long-dormant local chapter. IGDA Executive Director Gordon Bellamy and IGDA Community Manager Ryan Arndt were on-hand to answer questions and bring everyone up to speed on what’s been going on with the global association, and it looks like there are some very good initiatives on the horizon.

Work Life Balance, Outsourcing and Collaboration were but some of the topics pursued throughout the course of the meeting, and I hope that as our local industry revamps itself and moves forward, the discussions will continue. As one who is unable to attend events such as GDC San Francisco or the Leadership Forum, due travel and ticket costs being rather prohibitive, I look forward to more localized and affordable events as outlined in Gordon’s preamble to the meeting. What stood out the most for me was the willingness of the IGDA to work with other groups and events, including the BC Interactive Task Force, Women In Games Vancouver, ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver, the Canadian Games Conference and Full Indie for the betterment of all aspects of the digital media industry – not just those who are artists and coders – because not all of us are talented enough to create outstanding artwork or code more than a Hello World function. I hope that the next iteration of DigiBC will also see the opportunity for collaboration, thereby adding even more strength to our local community.

For those unable to attend, Scott videotaped the information and open mic session that took place in the EA theatre, and we’ll be posting that to our YouTube channel as soon as he has a chance to process it. If you would like to find out more about our local IGDA chapter and (hopefully) get involved, please visit the IGDA Vancouver Facebook page and jump into the conversation. There are future events being planned, two of which will be hosted by Next Level Games and Radical Entertainment – I believe there was also mention of Relic Entertainment hosting an event as well.

Decapod StudiosVancouver’s Decapod Studios has updated its Slash Effect WP7 app, which is a news reader for  the Slash Dot website. The studio has also released Photo Search Free to the WP7 marketplace. With fully customizable search parametres, you will be able to search the internet from your phone to find anything from regular photos to clip art and design elements to new wallpaper backgrounds and even faces. Search results can be shared with your friends as well as saved to your phone’s Photo Library.

Bioware CorpThe final chapter of Mass Effect 2 has now landed on my Xbox 360 – and it can land on yours too, as it’s available in the XBL Marketplace today for 560 MS Points. The DLC is also available for PC (560 Bioware Points) and for the PS3 (approx. $9-10) and gives gamers the opportunity to earn three new achievements (or trophies, whichever applies to your chosen platform).  In this new game add-on, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen of Alien and Terminator fame.

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So ends the current adventures of Commander Shepard. Now I can go back and try to earn 100% on the first two titles while awaiting news bits about Mass Effect 3, which Bioware will start releasing in the near future – perhaps in May.

Netflix Canada has begun offering three different viewing options to its Canadian subscribers, which is very timely for those who are concerned about User Based Billing and data transfer caps. Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer for Netflix, announced on the company’s blog today that the new options are designed to enable a 2/3 reduction in transfer usage. In short, these new options are:

  1. “Good” – The default setting with good picture quality and lowest data use per hour (about 0.3 GBytes/hour)
  2. “Better” – Better picture quality and medium data use per hour (about 0.7 GBytes/hour)
  3. “Best” – Best picture quality and highest date use per hour (generally about 1.0 GBytes/hour – or up to 2.3 GBytes/hour when streaming HD content)

Please visit the Netflix blog for complete details on how to manage your Netflix transfer usage.

dhx mediaDHX Media has signed a deal with Discovery Communication’s The Hub for the second season of its hit preschool series Animal Mechanicals. Originally commissioned by CBC in Canada, where it is one of the highest-rating preschool shows, Animal Mechanicals is produced and distributed by DHX Media. It airs around the globe on channels including the Disney Channels in the UK, Italy and Asia; Radio-Canada, Discovery Latin America, Beetle BuggyRomania’s HOP, EBS in Korea; Al-Jazeera Children Channel and Prava I Prevodi, which acquired the title for Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Josh Scherba, SVP Distribution at DHX Media, said: “Animal Mechanicals has really engaged with young audiences on The Hub since its launch last Fall; success underscored by this commitment to the second season. We continue to build the licensing programme for the show including the launch of the Animal Mechanicals app which offers a new interactive element for children and their parents.”

DHX Media has also recently launched a new iOS app based on the show. Animal Mechanicals: Beetle Buggy Race, is priced at $1.99, and available on all iTunes stores worldwide. In licensing deals, Producciones Publiexpress have been signed up for colouring and activity books in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has really been on the move this week (pun intended) – the company has just announced two more Motion Seating agreements with American movie theatres.  Emagine Entertainment will equip two screens at its new Royal Oak, Michigan theatre with a total of 29 D-BOX MFX Seats when the theatre opens in May. D-Box has also signed its first agreement with RC Theatres to equip two of that company’s Pennsylvania complexes. The Hanover Movies 16 will feature 18 D-Box MFX Seats and the Wilkes Barre Movies 14 will feature 22 D-Box MFX seats. These two RC locations will soon be the first in the state to feature the immersive motion technology that completely transforms the movie viewing experience with seats that move in perfect sync with the onscreen action.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Action Adventure, Animation, Associations, Business News, Digital Products, Events, Game Dev, Mature, New Releases, Peripherals. 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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