11th August 2010

Waterloo Prepares to Welcome Programming Elite

IOI 2010More than 300 of the most gifted high school students from 81 countries around the world will put their computing and problem-solving skills to the test against the very best next week when Canada hosts for the first time an elite programming competition – the 22nd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The 82 teams (as host country, Canada is allowed two) representing countries ranging from Albania to Vietnam will spend a week earning the bragging rights that go with bringing home bronze, silver or the coveted gold medals. The full program, which runs from August 14 to 21, also includes a number of sessions to further develop their abilities or to sample and enjoy Canada.

“The students participating really are amongst the next generation of geniuses,” said Troy Vasiga, chair of the 2010 IOI organizing committee. “One consequence of the world being digitized is that everything is information. These students are going to be the people that write computer programs that help solve significant problems in disease, health-care, transportation, energy and other disciplines – in many cases problems we haven’t even yet anticipated.”

An opening ceremony, open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Waterloo Recreation Complex. The event will feature such guest speakers as David Yach, chief technology officer of software at Research In Motion, and Arturo Cepeda, president of the IOI. The actual competition takes place on Monday and Wednesday, when participants spend five hours each day solving a total of eight tasks. Those tasks, which are translated into each team’s official language the night before, challenge such computing skills as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming and testing.

Three sample tasks are available online and one of them is called Guess. “In our sample version,” explains Gord Cormack, chair of the IOI 2010 host scientific committee, “contestants must write a computer program to assume the role of a child playing the popular guessing game, ‘I’m thinking of a number between one and ten, can you guess it?’ The object is to identify the number with as few guesses as possible.”

In between the opening and closing ceremonies, when they are not practicing or competing, team members, leaders and guests will enjoy a range of fun and/or learning activities. Final results of the 2010 IOI, including gold, silver and bronze medal winners, will be announced at closing ceremonies on Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Bingeman’s in Kitchener. Visitors will experience a few of the sights, sounds and culture of Canada. Planned activities include tours of Waterloo, both the university and the region, as well as visits to Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls.

On Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, Waterloo faculty members and graduate students with Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science will give a total of 10 presentations on a range of topics, including one entitled How to See: the Neuroscience of Vision and another on A Short Introduction to Mind Reading. Four will be in English, with the remaining in Arabic, French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

“Students from over 80 countries will shortly be arriving in Waterloo for the 22nd annual International Olympiad in Informatics,” said Richard Forster, executive director of the IOI. “Having seen the preparations that have been put in to the contest by the hosts, I am confident that these students will enjoy a successful event and take away happy memories of Waterloo and Canada.” Read the rest of this entry »

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11th June 2010

Playboy Appears Amongst The Zombies

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games have confirmed that there is a new partnership in place with Playboy magazine to have content from the iconic publication featured in upcoming title Dead Rising® 2, scheduled for release later this year for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and PC platforms.

Players who discover the Playboy magazine in the game will receive a unique and special upgrade for Chuck Greene, the main character in Dead Rising 2. Furthermore, players will come across Playboy ads and billboards that will feature specially selected issues from the magazine’s Playboy in Dead Rising 257-year history.

The new magazine system for Dead Rising 2, which will feature Playboy along with various other publications, is an evolution of the popular book system from the original Dead Rising game. Along with the special Playboy issue, there will be a variety of different themed magazines that Chuck will be able to pick up for bonuses to use to help fend off the zombie hordes along the way.

“The Sin City-type environment in Dead Rising 2, Fortune City, is a natural playground for the Playboy Bunnies,” said Seon King, Senior Director of Licensing for Capcom Entertainment, Inc. “We have integrated the Playboy brand throughout the game in ways that bring even more life to Fortune City and add to the user experience.”

Dead Rising 2 Playboy BunnyFor those unfamiliar with the premise of Dead Rising 2, former motocross champion Chuck Greene arrives at Fortune City, America’s latest adult playground, to participate in the zombie game show Terror is Reality, a gruesome test of strength and agility through excessive and imaginative  elimination of hundreds and hundreds of zombies. While in Fortune City, a zombie outbreak occurs and Chuck must survive the onslaught of the undead for 72 hours. Pitted against bosses and psychos – tens of thousands of zombies and the constant countdown of the clock – while potentially rescuing other survivors of the zombie apocalypse, players must also unravel the greater conspiracy behind the outbreak.

The Dead Rising® series is renowned for letting players pick up and use everyday items to fend off hordes of the undead, but Dead Rising 2 adds a new twist with combination weapons. Take Dead Rising 2 Playboy Magazinetwo objects, add a roll of tape plus the inventiveness and skilled hands of Chuck Greene and an innocent water gun and a can of gasoline become a deadly flamethrower, while a garden rake and car battery combine to create an electrified zombie prod. Using combination weapons to fend off hordes of the undead in fun and grotesque ways is only just the beginning as the more combo weapons a player uses, the more Prestige Points (PPs) they will rack up. Earn enough PPs and Chuck levels up which will helps him along the way.

Equally important is Chuck’s need to to find Zombrex, a drug that stops his infected daughter Katey from turning into a zombie. Players will decimate thousands and thousands of zombies in an increasingly outrageous manner in order to beat the clock and survive 72 hours in the darkly comedic, no-holds-barred confines of Fortune City.

June is also the month when we 360 players are supposed to get a prologue look at Dead Rising 2 with the availability of Case Zero, which was announced in February as being in the XBL Marketplace on June 30th (I am awaiting confirmation on the release date). Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, will introduce gamers to Chuck Greene and provide a link between the original game and the events that await players in the gambling paradise of Fortune City.

frima studioJune has been an incredible month thus far for Quebec’s Frima Studio. On June 1, Mr. Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, Mr. Sam Hamad, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, and Mr. Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio, have announced an investment of  two million dollars in the training of the Québec-based studio’s personnel, specialized in the development of video games. Half of this sum will be invested by the Government of Quebec via Emploi-Quebec and its envelope destined to large-scale economic projects.

“Quebec has become a destination of choice for many multinationals in the interactiveQuebec Government at Frima
entertainment industry. We are known around the world for our creativity and dynamism in that field. This fairly recent reality is owed to people of vision and passion; to people who get involved, and who dare take the necessary risks to build the companies that will, over the years, become symbols of pride for us all,” declared Mr. Charest.

The development of a video game requires the participation of experts in various fields. To ensure coherence and cohesion within the teams of artists, game designers, interface designers, animators, programmers and testers, each employee must develop a certain level of versatility within the framework continuum, which this training plan will enable. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd June 2010

Balancing The Canadian Copyright Act Is Like Walking A Tightrope

Government of Canada…and trying to understand it all is like standing in a tornado. There is so much going on right now in regards to Canada’s copyright reform (Bill C-32) that it is almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, there are an abundance of online resources available so that we can learn more about the processes which have MP James Moore on Twitterbeen followed up to this point, as well as keep current with what is going on right now. The Canadian government has been maintaining a site called Balanced Copyright, and it holds a wealth of information. Naturally, the Pirate Party has grabbed the domain balancedcopyright.ca, but there is no site yet launched for that URL. I imagine that the group will probably use the domain to counter MP Tony Clement on Twitterthe one run by the government, and will count on the public not knowing the location of the government’s site. Speaking of government, both MP James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages) and MP Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) have been engaging the public, media and industry groups on Twitter since the Bill was announced yesterday. I recommend following both MPs, along with copyright expert Michael Geist for continuing updates about Bill C-32’s progress.

Fair Copyright for Canada (administered by Michael Geist) also has an active Facebook group which carries updates and opinions relevant to Bill C-32. One point which seems to be an area of contention is the Digital Lock, and CBC News has written a very comprehensive look at what it could Michael Geist on Twitterentail. I freely admit that I have not had time to read and process all of the information about C-32, and while I will endeavour to do so, I would like to invite someone more expert in the ramifications of C-32 to write a guest editorial explaining the good and the bad of our copyright bill. While many of what we could deem as special interest groups are voicing their opinions about Bill C-32, the most relevant to both us and our readers is what those in interactive media are saying. All of the sites and Twitter accounts above contain links to opinions and press releases from groups such as ACTRA, AFM and the Documentary Organization of Canada, and I invite you to check them out. Here is what ESAC has to say about the reforms:

esacThe Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released a statement about Bill C-32, congratulating the Government of Canada on its introduction of copyright reform legislation which will help protect Canadian content creators and digital media companies. ESAC believes that protecting the intellectual property of industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperity is not only good public policy, but is essential as our economy transitions to more knowledge-based jobs.

“We applaud the government for showing leadership on this complex issue and we look forward to studying the bill more closely,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “Without strong protection for our intellectual property, we’re basically operating in a digital Wild West. Promoting piracy under the guise of ‘user rights’ does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment,” she added.

“Piracy fundamentally undermines the integrity of the marketplace. It forces creators to compete against black market versions of their own products, affecting their ability to recover the considerable investments associated with digital media production. A strong bill – one which prohibits hacking of digital works, trafficking in hacking tools and that makes those who facilitate digital piracy clearly liable for their activities – is critical to the success of Canada’s digital economy,” says Parr.

In the industry’s view, a bill with clear protection for intellectual property will enable creators to decide how and at what cost their products can be accessed and in turn allow consumers to decide which products succeed and fail by voting with their pocketbook. Further, by supporting a diverse range of business models, strong copyright will facilitate increased competition, which ultimately leads to greater pew internetconsumer choice and lower prices.

In related news, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a report about The State of Online Video. While this study was conducted in the USA, the information can be useful to those Canadian companies and individuals who produce web-distributed products. The study is available as a downloadable PDF, or it can be read online.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Canadian game industry news and updates:

THQ has confirmed in an official press release that Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online will Relic Entertainmentindeed be released to the North American market this fall. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online is free to play and offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression, allowing players to strategize on and off the battlefield. Players will also have the opportunity to earn or purchase special units and upgrades and improve their army with each and every multiplayer victory.

Vice President of Global Brand Management Travis Plane commented that, “We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone.”

Capcom MobileCapcom® Mobile and Classic Media, whose portfolio includes of some of the world’s leading kids, family and pop-culture brands such as Where’s Waldo?®, Casper the Friendly Ghost® and Lassie®, have announced the release of Where’s Waldo?® In Hollywood, the sequel to last year’s top-selling mobile phone game.

“The first Where’s Waldo? game was a run-away mobile hit with its addictive mini games and classic search and find puzzles,” said Midori Yuasa, President, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “For theWaldo In Hollywood sequel we’ve built on the winning mix with a whole new crop of puzzles, achievements and even more Waldo fun.”

“Capcom Mobile has done a terrific job translating the search and find experience of Where’s Waldo? for mobile and we are excited to partner with their team on the second game,” said Nicole Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “With its crowds of celebrities and celebrity-spotters, Hollywood is an exciting place for fans to take up their search for Waldo.”

Based on the international publishing phenomenon, Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood, developed by Capcom Interactive Canada, chronicles the world-famous traveler through a series of tinsel-town themed adventures. Players can join the search with multiple search and find games that are based on classic scenes from the book series, as well as five mini games, including Tic-Whack-Wizard, Odd One Out, and Slide Puzzles. As players progress, they will be able to unlock bonus content and earn in-game achievements. Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood is currently available for download on most North American carriers. Read the rest of this entry »

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31st May 2010

Pur Futbol Launches In North America Tomorrow

UbisoftUbisoft Vancouver will be releasing its second sports title to the North American audience tomorrow, June 1st. Already released to the European market, Pur Futbol (also known as Pure Football) is a knock-down, drag-out, no refs allowed soccer duel. Gamers are offered the choice of Quick Pure FootballPlay, Exhibition Mode or Campaign Mode with no penalties and no coloured cards. You will, however, still have to mind your manners on the field.

Quick Play is exactly what it says – you are tossed into a randomly chosen match and expected to hold your own. Exhibition Mode will let you chose your teams, but don’t expect the game to be an easy trouncing of your opponent. Meanwhile, over in Campaign Mode, you can customize your pixelated self to your heart’s desire before heading off for a play-through of 18 tournament matches with varying challenges which you must successfully complete if you want to take part in the ultimate tournament and become the Pur Futbol champion. Take a look at the European launch trailer for the game to check out how it’s done.

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Pur Futbol is not meant to be a technical round of sanctioned world cup soccer. It’s meant to be fun, challenging and rewarding in that there is somewhat less structure than the more rigid, rule-following Pure Football Player Mapsoccer titles out in the game market. You will be granted special team management privileges by completing the challenges set out for you; this means you can upgrade your character, trade or steal other players, building your team up to the ultimate playing machine required to dominate the world on the soccer pitch.

Pur Futbol offers 230 players, 17 of the top teams from the international leagues, as well as 3 legend-status teams. The Hometown Champions feature on the Pur Futbol site lets other players view local Uplay Pure Football Rewardand global leaderboards as well as search for future opponents. With Xbox Live or PlayStation Network accounts, players will be able to challenge friends, families and foes to some fierce online play, further extending Pur Futbol’s replay attraction.

As we saw with Ubisoft Vancouver’s first title Academy of Champions, the game’s environment is full of rich graphics with recognizable locations and fantastical backgrounds. Pur Futbol also ties in with Ubisoft’s Uplay system, where you can get bonus actions and rewards as you earn Uplay points. As shown here, you can get a special Ubisoft team uniform set with 30 Uplay points. Pur Futbol is rated E for Everyone and is available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Pur Futbol is listed at GameStop Canada for $39.99.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterTickets for SIGGRAPH Vancouver’s next event are now on sale. The Making of ModNation Racers, which will feature presentations by Clint Hanson, Lucas Granito and James Grieve from United Front Games, this panel presentation will take place on June 29th at the VanCity Theatre. Tickets will be available to members for $10.00 and $20.00 for non-members.

Chapters will be hosting two book signing sessions with author Neil Pasricha for his  newly published work “The Book of Awesome“, which was inspired by the Webby AwardBook Of Awesome winning blog 1000 Awesome Things, where he posted one awesome thing in life each day. The Book of Awesome reminds readers of little things that make everyone smile. You are invited to join Pasricha as he signs copies of this universal high five for humanity at these Chapter’s outlets:

Chapters Macleod Trail – 9631 MacLeod Trail S.W., Calgary on Thursday June 10th at 5:00 pm
Chapters Robson – 788 Robson Street, Vancouver on Saturday June 12th at 2:00 pm

Crank SoftwareCrank Storyboard Suite 1.1 is now available from Crank Software Inc., an innovator in embedded user interface (UI) solutions. Compared to older, traditional electronic design automation tools, Storyboard enables R&D teams to quickly and collaboratively develop rich and dynamic graphical user interfaces while optimizing hardware performance. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th May 2010

Designing Assassin’s Creed II With Patrick Plourde

Many thanks to Patrick Plourde, Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft Montreal for an in-depth look at Patrick Plourde - Photo Credit: GDC 2010Designing Assassin’s Creed II. Presented by the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter last evening, Patrick’s presentation covered the main design focus followed to cram all of the great features and improvements we saw in Chapter Two of this very successful franchise.

The amount of development that went into Assassin’s Creed II is mind-boggling. With over 230 features and a dev team of over 300, just the massive amounts of data to keep a rein on would bury the uninitiated. Patrick stated that through the entire development process, the most Ezioimportant things to pay attention to are your game play pillars and the need to keep an honest perspective. He said that your game play pillars are used to create the challenge, while your supporting features give meaning and depth to the core, while exotic features are used to change the pace of the game.

Patrick also drew attention to the importance of play tests and making the most of the test feedback in the development of your title. Using a two-fold process of Qualitative and Quantitative Reporting will give developers a very good perspective of what gamers like or do not like, as well as how they are playing your game. The Quantitative portion focuses on data tracking and usability reports, which provide concrete information to orient discussion on data instead of personal opinions. Meanwhile, the appreciative, or Qualitative reports, give context to the data you’ve collected, and you can see what is working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made so that the gamer can more fully experience (and enjoy) the mechanics of the Assassin's Creed Brotherhoodgame.

Patrick also touched briefly on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and how everything learned in the two previous Assassin’s Creed development processes helped the team work quickly through a very short ten month production window. A big part of this was the strength, scope and depth of the team’s design documents. He stated that it is very important to keep your documentation up-to-date right through until the end of the project. Paying attention to your development documentation will cut down on needless questions and distractions, as well as force you to think and keep track of the vision for your title. As has been stated in many, many game dev seminars – it is cheaper to fail on paper than in production – and Patrick reiterated this by saying how important it is to challenge every feature you want in your game on paper first. This is not a perfect process, but it will reduce risk to your bottom line. In reply to a question asked from the audience, Patrick noted that features drove a large part of the story, and have a big part in the future of where the Assassin’s Creed franchise is heading in the future. Too bad he wouldn’t expand on that future…just where is Assassin’s Creed III going to take us? Curious gamers want to know.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterSIGGRAPH Vancouver has two more upcoming events which may interest you. The first is Alice in Wonderland – Creating Underland on May 25th at the Empire Theatre on Granville. This session features Alice In Wonderlandtwo presentations, the first with animation director David Schaub (Sony Pictures Imageworks), who will give you a look behind the talent and tools that were used to create Alice In Wonderland. Mr. Schaub will focus primarily on the standard creative elements of the show, but he will also provide insight into the surprising challenges and innovative technical solutions that were used to breathe digital life into over 30 inhabitants of Underland including the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the Cheshire Cat.

The second Creating Underland session will be presented by freelance Visual Effects Supervisor Carey Villegas, who will focus on the process of photographing the “live-action” component of the film, as well as the many challenges that he and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Ken Ralston faced in post production while creating the visual and stereo 3D effects. A screening of Alice in Wonderland will follow the technical presentations. Tickets for this event are $20.00 for non-members and $15.00 for members.

The other upcoming SIGGRAPH Vancouver event, just announced last night, will focus on The ModNation RacersMaking of ModNation Racers. Featuring Clint Hanson, Lucas Granito and James Grieve from United Front Games, this panel presentation will take place on June 29th at the VanCity Theatre. Tickets will be available to members for $10.00 and $20.00 for non-members. As of press time, this event had not yet been added to the SIGGRAPH Vancouver web site, so you’ll have to check the association’s site later for ticket availability.

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) have announced the availability of The Price Is Right game ($9.99) for the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on the PlayStation®Network. Players can now “COME ON DOWN” for their shot in Contestant’s Row, bid on items in 19 different pricing games, test their luck with spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase.

“We are pleased to extend our tremendously successful The Price Is Right game to PlayStation 3 systems via the PlayStation Network,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This first game release is just the beginning for Ludia games on PS3™, and further reinforces our multiplatform game strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd April 2010

Happy Earth Day Canada

Readers Digest Trusted Brands 2010Results of the annual Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands Poll are out, and for the techno-Canadians, Duracell topped the Battery category, while Canon is the most trusted Digital Camera, Sony won the broad and vague Entertainment Equipment Manufacturer category; Blackberry is the most trusted Mobile Communications Device and Apple wins for Mobile Entertainment.

This year’s list of Canada’s Greenest Employers was announced this morning by the editors of the Canada’s Olympic Gaming MixerTop 100 Employers project. Fifty organizations across Canada were recognized on this year’s list.

There’s another fun gaming-related mixer coming up in Vancouver – check out the Olympic Gaming Mixer, which will be taking place on the evening of Friday, May 7, 2010 at the Century Restaurant and Bar on Richards. Check out the event’s FaceBook page for the list of challenges to be had at the Olympic Gaming Mixer.

Siggraph VancouverDon’t forget to buy your tickets for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed II featuring Lead Game Designer Patrick Plourde from Ubisoft Montreal, which is generously sponsored in part by AnnexPro and 3vis. He will discuss the challenges faced by the dev team: an enormous scope, one of the biggest development teams ever assembled and a limited time frame. This talk is about sharing our best practices to ship high quality games through a focused and rigorous Design Process while maximizing the output of production. Tickets for this May 18th event at the VanCity Theatre are only $15.00 for SIGGRAPH members and $20.00 for non-members. Annual SIGGRAPH membership is only 35.00 – and gets you special pricing at all of our great chapter events. You should join today.

DigiBCDigiBC has put out a call for speakers for its Vancouver Digital Week 2010 event which takes place May 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Please see their site for more details.

INplay 2010Interactive Ontario is pleased to welcome back Alexander Manu to give a keynote presentation at INPlay 2010. Manu, who delivered a keynote address at Interactive Ontario’s iSummit in 2006, is a strategic innovation practitioner, international lecturer and author. For over 20 years Alexander has enabled global companies as diverse as Motorola, LEGO, Whirlpool, Nokia, Navteq and Unilever, to develop policies and strategies that Goldtooth Creativeaddress emerging issues through strategic foresight and pre-competitive business models.

Goldtooth Creative has once again shown their video magic – check out the Cover Reveal trailer for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11, developed by Florida’s Tiburon Studio. Goldtooth’s incredibly talented teams have produced trailers and cinematics for many of today’s top titles. Need a production team for your project? We recommend them.

BC indie developer Krabbitsoft Studio has released new features and specs for their RPG Krabbit World Origins. Featuring some very unique creatures, Krabbit World Krabbit OnlineOrigins has a very strong player community, and allows for single or multi-player modes. This is a game we’re going to be taking a look at in the coming weeks – look for it to be featured in our review section later in May 2010.

Banff World Television Festival has just released a call for entrants for the nextMEDIA Digital Hot List. This is a competition open to developers, Banff World Television Festivalcontent producers, and digital superstars. This is your chance to showcase your new, innovative digital property and grab the attention of advertisers who are looking for exciting brand integration opportunities. There are four available categories for entry:

*  Media (Does your website stand out amongst the rest?)
* Talent (Are you a proven online superstar with millions of followers?)
* Content Proposal (Got the best new idea for online content and branded entertainment?)
* Technologies (Are you creating the coolest apps, games and digital ad solutions?)

This contest closes on May 3rd, so if you’re interested in entering, you’d better get a move on!

googlyNew children’s mobile application studio Googly was delighted to find its first app, Alphabets in the Zoo featured yesterday in iTunes’ New and Noteworthy section, and amazed to see it reach number one on the education list.Alphabets In The Zoo

Alphabets in The Zoo features a charming new animated alphabet song and story to help children learn their letters as they look, listen, and sing-a-long. Children’s understanding of the alphabet is taught and reinforced as they enjoy Saad Rashid’s colorful animation, listen to the Fauzia Abbasi’s delightful lyrics, and enjoy Dave Klotz’s catchy tune. Googly plans to release an iPad version of Alphabets in The Zoo shortly, and three more original children’s apps in the next 30 days. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th March 2010

Strategies, Communities and Software Launches

VancouverAnnexPro has announced two upcoming events to celebrate the launch of Autodesk 2011 software and Autodesk Smoke 2011 for Mac OS X. The first event is being held on April 27th from 10am to 6pm. “Seize the Opportunity with Autodesk 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation Software” is a free all-day event which will be held at the Scotiabank Theatre on Burrard [at Smithe], with specialized tracks for Game Developers and Post-Production. At the end of the day there will be a customer appreciation reception with cold beer, soft drinks and tasty snacks.

The second event is a virtual event directly from Autodesk. ‘Seize the Opportunity at the Autodesk Virtual Event” is comprised of 3 sessions for Digital Entertainment Creation software including Smoke for Mac OS X along with sessions for building, engineering and more. Please see the event listing at Autodesk for details and registration. This virtual event will run on April 19th from 7am – 2pm Pacific Time.

TransGamingTorontoTransGaming, Inc. and Ubisoft®  have collaborated with TransGaming to bring The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™ video game to Mac® via TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine. TransGaming, a leading developer of portability technologies for the electronic entertainment industry, brings the Mac version of The Settlers 7 Paths to a Kingdom simultaneously with the PC release to both traditional retailers and online merchants including, GameTreeOnline.com. This new global release extends TransGaming’s partnership with Ubisoft, that includes Prince of Persia® and Shaun The Settlers 7 Paths To A KingdomWhite titles, and continues the collaboration of bringing great video game content to the Mac community.

The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning strategy game, The Settlers®: Rise of an Empire, The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom will also offer an exclusive Gold/Collector edition of the game available for purchase via download only. The standard and Gold/Collector editions are available immediately for consumers to purchase and download.

“We are pleased to bring another great Ubisoft game to the Mac, and the simultaneous deployment could only be made possible through our Cider engine,” commented Vikas Gupta, President & CEO of TransGaming, Inc. “Settlers is an award winning franchise, and I’m sure the Mac community will be thrilled to have access to this great new release through both retail channels and GameTreeOnline.com.”

“Ubisoft is excited about the simultaneous multiplatform release of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™,” said Carrie Tice, Senior Director of Strategic Sales & Partnerships at Ubisoft. “The partnership with TransGaming to bring our titles to the Mac allows us to expand our business and serve the growing Mac gaming community with new and exciting game releases.”

The standard edition is priced at $49.99 and is available via digital download and at retailers, with the exclusive Gold/Collector edition only available via digital download for $59.99. In addition to the standard edition game play, the Gold/Collector edition provides exclusive unlockable content for consumers, including: one exclusive map, the original soundtrack of the game and additional castle forge elements – including a gate, balcony, bay, gargoyle and two windows – allowing players to customize their castles and make their cities unique

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure has announced their latest title, Chess Challenge! for the Wii. According to the title’s info page, patience will be key going up against the Chess Challengebest players from around the world with Chess Challenge! Perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes or using the Nintendo ® Wi-Fi Connection service to start climbing the worldwide rankings. Win online matches and even see how your chess rating stacks up against the world by viewing the online Leaderboard.

If you don’t have time to play your friends in a live chess game, Chess Challenge! also lets you play up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24. With full Mii support you can really bring your games to life! Start off practicing on some casual games, and work your way up to fully ELO rated matches. With all of these gameplay options you have some serious chess action awaiting you! Read the rest of this entry »

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9th March 2010

Kesler Gets a Cover and Yahoo Canada Partners with CBC for More Hockey

Klei EntertainmentVancouver via GDC – Coming out of last week’s exciting announcement of a publishing deal with EA Partners to bring Shank to XBLA, PSN and PC this summer, Klei Entertainment has released a new video of its upcoming 2D cinematic brawler. Showcasing new levels, new moves and new bosses coming to the game.

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This video supports its showing at this year’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, Calif. March 11-13, 2010. As one of the 2010 Independent Game Festival (IGF) finalists (and recognized for its excellence in “Visual Art”), Shank will be on display at the IGF Pavilion during regular Expo Hall hours.

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has released a new game play trailer for Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands. In Forgotten Sands, the developers are using the setting to take the Prince back to the roots which were a big part of Sands of Time. Our hero will travel to his older brother Malik’s kingdom, which is under attack by the Sand Army. Those gamers who played Sands of Time will be able to make use of the Prince’s signature moves and acrobatics in The Forgotten Sands. Using the same Anvil Engine which was built for Assassin’s Creed, The Forgotten Sands will feature a rich environment with massive battle scenes. Just from watching the trailer, I know that my Prince character will be facing certain death a good amount of the time, however – The Forgotten Sands looks to me like another beautifully crafted historic time piece with lots of room to explore and details to take in.

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5th March 2010

Award Deadlines, EA NFS Beta Test and Student Presentations

Canadian Video Game AwardsVancouver – A reminder that nominations are open for the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards, which will be held May 5th, 2010 here in Vancouver, BC. This event will honour and celebrate the best and brightest in Canadian games, computer animation and visual effects. It will be a great, fun, fast paced night featuring Canadian hosts and presenters, as well as internationally renowned musical talent VideoGames Live! You only have until midnight, Wednesday, March 17th to get your submissions in – all nominations must be made on-line at the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards website.

All awards are for work completed in Canada by December 31st 2009. This includes products that were certified gold during the 2009 calendar year. Please note: videogame upgrades, expansions and mission packs are not eligible.

Technology Impact AwardsVancouver – We’d also like to remind  you that the Technology Impact Awards also has a nomination deadline of March 17th. The BCTIA Technology Impact Awards celebrate the successes of our industry and the companies, people and innovation that continue to put British Columbia on the map and who serve as role models for others in our province. The Technology Impact Awards will be presented at the BCTIA dinner on June 8th. The dinner will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre beginning at 530pm.

Masters of Digital MediaVancouver – Last evening we stopped in at the Masters of Digital Media portfolio presentations, as always we were very impressed with all of the projects going on. The instructors, mentors and administrators at the campus have much to be proud of, and we foresee a very bright future for all of the innovative students in the current class. We invite you to check out the industry projects which we got a look at last night. We were particularly impressed with the innovative eLearning application Wound Care as well as with the Rainforest Project and the Bateman Centre Visualization Project.

 

Vancouver – Following the portfolio presentation we went over to the Pacific Space Centre to attend the VANarts graduation ceremony. VANarts also has many students to be proud of, as witnessed in the many student reels which were presented for 2D and 3D animation, Visual Effects, Game Art and Design and Digital Photography. We wish the graduating class all the best as they venture out into the wonderful world of digital media. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st March 2010

Yummy Inks New Deal, Bioware and Ubisoft Release A Little Information

Yummy InteractiveVancouverYummy Interactive, Inc., developer of premiere digital distribution technologies, has partnered with Metaboli, Europe’s leader in digital distribution of PC games, to improve and enhance Metaboli’s class-leading online video game subscription services in Europe and in North America with GameTap.

“We’re very delighted to have partnered with Metaboli and to be helping them expand their subscriber base across the globe, especially with their many telecom partners in Europe and GameTap’s service in the United States. There is a strong fit between both companies regarding our culture and goals. Core to both of our company’s philosophies is creating the best experience possible for users playing games online,” says Nick Mellios, CEO of Yummy Interactive.

By integrating the Yummy Games delivery platform and associated APIs into its on demand service platform Metaboli has increased compatibility, download speeds and added more games to deliver exceptional value and ease of use for their customers such as British Telecom and France Telecom, along with their 50+ other white-label services.

Metaboli now offers support for games on 64-bit processors along with Microsoft Windows®7 compatibility. A variety of games will also support mods, patches, and custom maps adding even more value to Metaboli’s services.

“By partnering with Yummy we have been able to make a leap forward in our Games on Demand services. Because Yummy’s solution is so easy to integrate and feature-rich, we have been able to innovate for the next generation of online PC gaming, and we are now even better positioned to take advantage of the paradigm shift to downloadable game content,” said Olivier Decrock, CEO of Metaboli.

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has updated the Dragon Age wiki with new information about Dragon Age: Awakening. Players can get more advance information about the enhancements coming when Awakening is released in two weeks for Mages and Rogues. It appears that there will also be new information coming soon for Warriors, Armour and Weapons, but those pages have not yet been added to the Wiki. In the meantime, here is the latest trailer which introduces Mhairi, one of the newest Grey Warden recruits. Read the rest of this entry »

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