10th June 2011

Canada Pavillion At ChinaJoy

CanadaChinaJoy is the hallmark gaming industry show in mainland China. It is the best attended show with all the major market players exhibiting, speaking and networking at exhibition halls, business conferences and dinner receptions. Every year the show is visited by over 100,000 visitors (over 140,000 in 2010 event). In 2010, 17,105 professional visitors walked in the show.

There will be a Canada Pavilion at the Business-to-Business (B2B) Section of ChinaJoy 2011 co-organised by the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, the Alberta Beijing Office, the British-Columbia International Trade & Investment Representative Office East China, the Ontario Shanghai Office, and the Québec Government Representative Office in Shanghai.

Canadian game companies are welcome to join the pavilion either by presence at the booth to meet with visitors or to do a catalogue show. There is no cost to join the pavilion however the companies are responsible for their travel expenses.

Apart from the show, ChinaJoy also includes three major conferences: China Game Business Conference (CGBC), China Game Outsourcing Conference (CGOC), and China Game Developers Conference (CGDC). Interested companies can register online at ChinaJoy’s official website.

For detailed information on ChinaJoy 2011 and the Canada Pavilion, please contact Sandra Jiang from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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10th June 2011

Distribution360 to Represent Hit MTV Series Undressed to Non-Linear Platforms

distribution360Distribution360 has announced that it will be representing the worldwide, non-linear rights to the hit MTV series Undressed, on behalf of the show’s producer, at the 2011 Banff World Media Festival. Distribution360 will be looking for a home on VOD, home video, online, and mobile platforms for the 222-episode, award-winning property.

Created and executive produced by British director Roland Joffé, Undressed is an anthology series that follows the sexual and romantic relationships of young people in the Los Angeles area, featuring such notable personalities as Adam Brody, Katee Sackhoff, Brandon Routh, Jason Ritter and Chad Michael Murray. The show is known for its frank discussions on sex, promiscuous behaviour, and gay and lesbian relationships. Undressed ran for six seasons on MTV, and at its peak, aired to well over 10 million viewers per week; the show is also the recipient of a GLADD Media Award.

“We’re very excited to be showcasing this edgy and intriguing property in Banff this year,” says Stéphanie Röckmann-Portier, Head of Sales, Distribution360. “Non-linear platforms are becoming increasingly popular within the ever-evolving media landscape, and we’re thrilled to be presenting Undressed to these mediums.”

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10th June 2011

Flew The Coop Avoiding Farmers on iTunes

flew the coopFlew The Coop is a very simple game with very simple mechanics featuring auto-run and 2D retro-styled graphics. This pick up and play title was developed by Jason Kaplan and Damian Sommer, with Troy Morrisey and Ryan Cox of Darc Productions providing the sound and music.

The premise of this game is to help the renegade chicken avoid the Farmer in his attempts to run away from the farm. You do this by jumping on other farm animals – pigs offer a little extra bounce to chicken-powered flight, by the way. Some quick thinking strategy and running across hay bales or jumping on crows to reach the barn roof will get you to the weather vanes, which can help to propel the renegade chicken beyond the reach of the fun spoiling Farmer.flew the coop

It is necessary to jump the other farm animals, because running into them is not good for your health and slows you down. Simply tap the screen for a quick jump or hold your finger down for a longer flight – sometimes a longer flight is needed, so time your taps carefully. Your success in Flew The Coop is measured in the distance you covered before being nabbed by the Farmer, and the faster you run, the more ground you’ll cover. Unless you run into the Farmer, that is.

Flew The Coop is available now on iTunes for 99 cents USD, supports Game Centre and is rated 4+. The game is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices running iOS 3.0 or later. I can attest to it working on a 2nd gen iPod Touch with the current operating system. The developers may port the title over to Android, WP7, and possibly XBLIG, Steam, or the Mac App Store in the future.

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10th June 2011

Sword of the Stars II Gameplay Trailer Blasts Into Space

kerberos productionsParadox Interactive and Vancouver’s Kerberos Studios unravel more mysteries of the universe in a new gameplay trailer for Sword of the Stars II: The Lords of Winter, sequel to Kerberos’ hit 4X science fiction strategy game. Bigger, better, stronger, faster. Sword of the Stars II comes to your corner of the galaxy this autumn.

Features:

– Lead one of six playable factions, including a mysterious new race with an influence that was felt throughout Sword of the Stars I, as you strive for galactic dominance
– Discover highly detailed star systems featuring planetary orbits, moons, asteroid belts and different space terrain
– Experience 4X space strategy in stunning new ways with the powerful MARS 2 graphics engine
– Design and build your own ships – including the formidable new Leviathan class – with new levels of detail, including specific sub systems, allowing for more fleet strategies and tactics
– Research advanced technology, from the Fusion era to the Anti-Matter era and beyond…
– Engage in fierce multiplayer battles with up to 8 players

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

Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter offers an evolved version of the original six races from Sword of the Stars and its expansions. The game will reveal the deep, dark secret of the Suul’ka. Boasting an all new graphics engine and incorporating new ship details that allow for new fleet strategies and tactics, Sword of the Stars II is poised to revive the 4X space genre and is scheduled for release in September, 2011.

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10th June 2011

Dragons Lair 2 Time Warp Now On iPhone

Digital LeisureDragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp, developed by Digital Leisure and published by EA Mobile is the one and only true follow-up to the landmark Dragon’s Lair created by renowned animator Don Bluth. Just like the famous arcade classic, players can continue the adventures of Dirk the Daring as he bumbles his way through feats of strength and valour.

Only you, Dirk the Daring, can save Princess Daphne from the clutches of the Evil Wizard Mordroc in this fully animated arcade classic from the legendary animator and director Don Bluth. It is a dark time in all the land. The Evil Wizard Mordroc has spirited away Princess Daphne to a wrinkle in time, scheming to force her into marriage. As Dirk the Daring, you must race through time to rescue her. A bumbling old time machine (and all the courage you canDragon's Lair 2: Time Warp muster) will transport you on your mission. But you must hurry. Once the Casket of Doom has opened, Mordroc will place the Death Ring upon Daphne’s finger in marriage – and she will be lost forever in the Time Warp!

On your quest to save Princess Daphne, you will visit 8 different dimensions and eras in time. Encounter characters from literature and history such as Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and Beethoven. As Dirk the Daring, you might wind up in the Garden of Eden, Ancient Egypt – or even in prehistoric times battling dinosaurs.

Customize your adventure – the responsive and intuitive controls let you play with or without move guides. You can choose to use 3, 5, or even infinite lives. And exclusively with iPhone & iPod touch, you can play through the Original version or the new Director’s Cut, which features an alternate ending. Prepare for a grandly goofy good time, whether you’re an arcade enthusiast seeking to relive the adventure or the brave of heart seeing the Daring One shriek at the sight of a monster for the first time.

Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp is available now in the iTunes App Store for $ 2.99 USD and is Rated 9+ for the following:

  • Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence

This game is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices and requires iOS 3.0 or later.

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10th June 2011

Microvolts Charged Up For Official Launch

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd has announced that the free to play online cartoon style third-person action shooter, MicroVolts has officially launched.  Featuring all new content, players can expect non-stop fun and fast-paced action in this much-anticipated release.

“We want to thank all the MicroVolters who participated in the open beta phase of the game and invite them, along with new players,  to experience all the new content and gameplay we have in store for this huge launch ,” said Howard He, President and CEO of Rock Hippo Productions. “We are really stepping up the clan competitions and with the addition of a huge new map, all new weapons, costumes and more, new and returning players alike will all be treated to a great experience in the newly launched MicroVolts world.”                  microvolts

Players will be able to create their own clans and select the best members to join special teams. These teams will form the core of each clan, with reserve members fighting for those spots. This extra level of clan management will bring new strategy options to the game, especially for tournament players. More features such as comparing clan stats and clan leaderboards will be coming in the near future.

Celebrating the launch with a new map, The Studio. A huge new map with an incredible amount of levels and hiding spots, The Studio is a map that Zombie Mode enthusiasts will  especially enjoy as it gives plenty of options for evading those pesky zombies. Just don’t get too freaked out by the giant clown hanging out of the toy box.

Also released with the game’s official launch are new weapons, costumes and character set. The new Colonel Crac  costume set includes the C.H.I.P. character and allows players to outfit themselves in the style of the legendary Colonel. In addition, all characters will receive fresh new parts and accessories, available for both Micro Points and Rock Tokens.  But no character is complete without their awesome weapons.  MicroVolters will be introduced to three new ones including the Steel Hammer (melee), DareDev (Gatling Gun), and Mimic (Rocket Launcher).  Players should also be on the lookout for all new advanced versions of different weapon types!

Rock Tokens currency currency can be purchased from the MicroVolts Web Shop and will be used to purchase special customization items and extend gameplay options. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, Elimination, Zombie Mode, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept.

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10th June 2011

Dear Photograph Brings New Life To Old Photos

Dear PhotographThis morning on Twitter one of my favourite devs from TransGaming Studios sent out a tweet about a new crowd-source site called Dear Photograph, so I went and checked it out – especially as it’s a  Made In Canada (Kitchener-Waterloo to be specific) project.

The brainchild of Taylor Jones, this site offers a modern walk down memory lane, with the ability to add a “Dear Photograph” sentiment to the photo’s caption. The premise is quite simple – take an old photograph, hold it up in front of the place where it was originally taken, matching the scene as best as possible to how the location looks now, and take a new photograph. The new photo is then uploaded, a caption added, and it’s posted to the content stream, to be shared with other visitors to the site, just like the example below:

A Dear Photograph Submission

This site is very cool in its simplicity, offering people a walk down memory lane while giving others a brief glimpse into our collective pasts, witnessing our youth, our feelings on that particular moment in time, and perhaps a view on how much some things change – or stay the same.

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10th June 2011

Canada Media Fund Announces First Round Evaluations for Aboriginal and Francophone Minority Programs

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund released the results of its 2011-2012 first round of evaluation for its Aboriginal Program and its Francophone Minority Program, with twenty projects supported for a total contribution of $9 million.

Aboriginal Program: funding focuses on documentaries and children’s and youth programs.

In the Aboriginal Program, the CMF will fund 9 convergent projects comprised of 8 television components and 9 rich and substantial digital media components out of the nineteen projects submitted in this first round of evaluation. Seven of the nine convergent projects selected are documentary programs and two are children’s and youth programs.

The CMF total contribution to the projects is $3.4 million. The funding breakdown is as follows: $2.7 million for the television projects (79% of the total funding) and $719,000 for the digital media components (21% of the total funding). The broadcast partners on these projects are APTN and Nunavut Independent Television Network. The nine convergent projects selected originate from the following provinces and territories: 3 from British Columbia, 1 from New Brunswick, 2 from Nunavut, 1 from Quebec and 2 from Saskatchewan.

Francophone Minority Program: CMF supports projects in the four genres

In the Francophone Minority Program, the CMF will support 11 convergent projects in the first round of decisions (including 6 rich and substantial digital media components) out of 15 projects submitted. Two of the convergent projects selected are children’s and youth programs , 5 are documentary programs, 2 are dramas, and 2 are variety and performing arts.  The CMF total contribution to the projects is $5.6 million. The funding breakdown is as follows: $5.4 million for the television projects (96% of the total funding) and $211,000.00  for the digital media projects (4% of the total funding).

The broadcast partners of these projects are TFO, SRC and ARTV. The convergent projects originate from the following provinces: 1 from British Columbia, 2 from Manitoba, 3 from New-Brunswick, 4 from Ontario and 1 is a New Brunswick-Quebec coproduction .

The next application deadlines are:

Aboriginal Program: September 19, 2011

Francophone Minority Program: September 12, 2011

 

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10th June 2011

Shannon Tweed Gets Her Game On With Gogii

gogiiGogii Games is proud to announce that an agreement of collaboration has been signed with actress and reality star, Shannon Tweed in the development of a mobile game titled Shannon Tweed: Attack of the Groupies, which is scheduled for an August 2011 release.

Appearing in over sixty films, Tweed has also had roles or made appearances in a long list of television shows including The United States of Tara, SpongeBob SquarePants, Married with Children, and Frasier. Most recently, Shannon TweedTweed has been a regular fixture in the home of millions, sharing the screen with members of her family in A&E’s hit reality television series Gene Simmons: Family Jewels.

George Donovan, CEO and founder of Gogii Games, decided to approach Tweed with the idea for a potential partnership only two minutes after their initial introduction. “Meeting Shannon was completely random, and she was so interesting to speak to, her personality is so vibrant. I knew her life story tied into the type of game we were already building, so I asked her if she’d ever considered being in a video game.”

Tweed was intrigued, and agreed to the idea almost immediately. The legal negotiations have just been completed, and the integration of Shannon, her daughter Sophie Tweed Simmons and her sister Tracy Tweed as focal characters in Shannon Tweed: Attack of the Groupies has begun.

A creative force, Shannon Tweed has invested herself in the process of designing the game, brainstorming potential story ideas and determining just what mechanic suits her best. Tweed says, “It’s really exciting, seeing how a game is developed. I’m new to video games, and George has very kindly given a crash course on the game and industry.”

The most interesting part for Tweed has been watching her family come to life as virtual characters. “It’s incredible, to see the sketches come in, and to be involved in determining the style and the attitude of the characters. Gogii has been very collaborative on that, which is one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working with them.”

Donovan adds, “Shannon and her family have been fantastic. Her life story is so interesting and it’s a great partnership. We’re hoping to leverage her humor into the game, and create something that is as fun and interactive as she is, as well as allowing our customers to learn even more about her lifestyle and family.”

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10th June 2011

Indigo Love Of Reading Foundation Tops 10 Million Dollar Milestone

Chapters IndigoThe Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has selected 20 high-needs schools nationally to receive an annual Literacy Fund grant for the next three years. Since 2004, the Foundation has made a difference to over 29,000 students at schools nationally who have purchased nearly 900,000 books through the grant program.

The grants are vital now that some annual library budgets are as low as $2.81 per child – the equivalent of less than 1/3 of a book per student each year.  Canadians can’t get a cappuccino for what many Canadian provinces invest annually in books per student in some public schools and yet, with only a one per cent increase in literacy rates studies show we can add more than $18 billion to the Canadian economy, according to a Stats Canada study done on June 22, 2004 (Coulombe & Tremblay and Marchand, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa).

Recognizing the importance of investing in the futures of Canada’s children, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation continues to respond to this funding challenge through the Literacy Fund grants. Based on the student population, each new Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy grant recipient school will receive up to $176,000 over three years to help support literacy programs, purchase new books and dramatically improve literacy rates. Through the Literacy Fund grants, schools will be able to increase their literacy budgets to an average of $76 per child per year.

“My heart breaks for Canada’s public school children who are left uninspired by libraries with empty shelves or books that are decades old,” said Heather Reisman, Chair of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. “This is a special time of year for Love of Reading when we are able to help educators end Canada’s literacy crisis. Through the Literacy Fund we know we’ll be transforming the libraries and lives of students at another 20 schools.”

Ms. Reisman advised the recipients via conference call amid joyful tears and whoops of excitement. “You’ve just changed the lives of the children we serve every day,” exclaimed Principal Jill Maar, Armadale Public School, Markham, ON, where the literacy team persevered to receive funding after their third grant application attempt.

This year’s 20 new schools receiving Literacy Fund grants from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation clearly demonstrated a passion and commitment to literacy as an important part of their curriculum, as well as a clear need to update their libraries to help them achieve their literacy goals. Recipient schools include: Read the rest of this entry »

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