1st October 2010

Mega Bloks Playground App for Kids Now Available

Mega BrandsFrom stacking rocks to pieces of wood, the building block may have very well been the first toy ever played with by children, but with the help of MEGA Brands, the building block evolved and children can now create beautiful structures with Mega Bloks®. Today, the modern child is exposed to a whole world of digital entertainment and MEGA Brands is proud to bring the realms of children’s toys and virtual reality together with the release of their first iPhone and iPad application Mega Bloks Playground, developed by Quebec’s Budge Studios.

“What better way to celebrate 25 years of Mega Bloks, then by taking the founding construction toy to a whole new level for today’s preschoolers with our first-ever iPhone/iPad app,” said Jean Gauvin, Content & Creative Director at MEGA Brands. “With the help of Budge Studios, we are thrilled to bring the Mega Bloks® world to life for preschoolers, ages two to five, in an interactive digital platform with ‘Mega Bloks Playground’, a new creative and innovative way to build and play with Mega Bloks®, while developing fine motor skills.”Budge Studios

“It is not unusual for a parent to hand their iPhone or iPad to their child and allow them to play with it”, said Michael Elman Partner and Creative Director at Budge Studios “But not all of these applications are suited for toddlers and preschoolers. With the ‘Mega Bloks Playground’ application, our goal is to create something for children that engages their imagination and creativity. It is not a ‘video game’ by any means, that gives you set goals and sets you up to ‘win’ or ‘lose’. ‘Mega Bloks Playground’ is first and foremost a toy – which puts the control and the adventure back in the mind of the child using it. The goal is pure, engaging, and safe playtime.”

‘Mega Bloks Playground’ is available now on the Apple iPhone and iPad platform. The preschool interactive world includes two playable Mega Bloks® buddies, a boy and a girl, who interact with a full set of in-world elements, such as swing sets, slides, teeter-totters, playful animals, a lake with a sailboat, and even a hot air balloon. It’s the ultimate digital playset for preschoolers! Parents will appreciate how the app’s intuitive touch-play controls are designed to help foster fine motor skills in children two to five years old, while children will certainly be delighted in discovering piles of colorful bloks throughout the playground that will ultimately piece together to form new Mega Bloks creations.

Mega Bloks Playground At-A-Glance

– Discover over 15 active touch points with your two Mega Bloks® buddies.
– Drag or tap the Mega Bloks® buddies with your finger on the iPad/iPhone screen and watch them play in the playground.
– Explore an interactive playground featuring a hot air balloon, sailboat, pond, swing set, teeter-totter, slide and lots more.
– Collect piles of Mega Bloks® and build a variety of Mega Bloks® structures.
– Easy-to-use interface even for the tiniest of fingers
– Superior touch-play with rich graphics, vibrant sounds, and cheerful music.
– Open-ended, unlimited play; it’s always playtime at the ‘Mega Bloks Playground’

Both iPad and iPhone versions is available as of today. Mega Bloks Playground is $1.99 (iPhone) and $3.99 (iPad) and available worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store in the Game – kids section. Starting on the day of the launch, the app will be 50% off for the first 48 hours.

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10th August 2010

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Launches Online Series

partnership against cancerBefore I get into today’s digital media news, I want to let you know about this very important resource, because pretty well every Canadian has been touched in some way by cancer, and common themes along the way have the potential to provide insights that can help to improve care and understanding. This is the idea behind the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s new online video series, The Truth of It. Developed in collaboration with the Health Design Lab, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, The Truth of It features interviews with Canadians diagnosed with cancer who were asked to share their story so others could learn from their experience. By providing candid accounts of the personal impact of cancer, the video series will serve as an educational resource for health care professionals as well as patients, survivors and others with a personal connection to cancer.

Reflecting that there is no one common experience in coping with a cancer diagnosis, the people interviewed for The Truth of It range in age from 20 to 73 and have been diagnosed with different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, testicular, and ovarian. Viewers can choose to watch individual stories or compilations of multiple interview clips that deal with challenges common to the cancer journey such as receiving the diagnosis, telling friends and family, talking to kids, body image, and practical advice. The Truth of It series, with 30 videos currently available, was created in collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Wendy Rowland and Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the Health Design Lab of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“The Partnership has created this series as part of our work to better understand and improve people’s cancer experience,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, a psychosocial expert who is Chair of the Partnership’s Cancer Journey Advisory Group and co-lead of the Patient and Family Support Program at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. “By helping health care professionals to tune into the patient’s perspective, The Truth of It will help to enhance patient care – while also serving as a unique resource for people with a personal connection to cancer who can benefit from insight and information from others who have walked the cancer journey.”

Jennifer Smith is one of the people who shares her story in the videos. In 2003 at the age of 38, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and has since undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is married and has two children.

“If this resource were available when I was diagnosed, it would have helped me navigate the many uncertainties and range of emotions that I experienced,” said Jennifer. “Because hearing from others in similar situations can be such a helpful way of coping, I’m hoping that other people can learn from my story.”

The Truth of It is part of the growing collection of cancer control resources, information and services available at Cancer View Canada, the online portal launched by the Partnership with and for the cancer control Canary Derbycommunity.

“Technology is radically changing the way people seek answers to their health questions, but hearing about someone’s actual experience — their ‘story’ — is still the most powerful tool,” said Dr. Michael Evans, family physician and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. “In marrying technology with stories, The Truth of It enables people to engage with other Canadians whose experiences resonate with their own. These firsthand accounts offer a range of perspectives that make this series useful to both patients and professionals.”

The above article can also serve as a reminder of several upcoming fundraiser events that we hope you will help support. The Canary Derby will run in Vancouver/Burnaby on September 25th. This is a soap box derby Canadian Breast Cancer Foundationfor technology companies who want to help fund early cancer detection research, and as an added bonus, the derby is a ton of fun.
Pink Day in Lion's Arch
October 3rd is CIBC’s Run For The Cure, Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs. Who will you be running for?

For Guild Wars players, you can get involved by supporting the Gamers Give Back resurrection of Pink Day in L.A. (Lion’s Arch), which will take place on October 16th. If you don’t play Guild Wars, you can still support the event via its Canadian Cancer Society donation page.

Bioware CorpDragon Age players – today is the day for the latest DLC chapter. Bioware invites you to delve deep underground in Golems of Amgarrak to save a missing dwarven expedition in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs. Only you can uncover the gruesome fate that befell them.
Golems
Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. With an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles this is one add-on for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions that you don’t want to miss.

* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero!
* Face an all-new terrifying creature
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* An advanced challenge for even the most experienced adventurers Read the rest of this entry »

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29th June 2010

Tap Apps, Temperamental Bears and Digital Influence in Canada

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released the official guidelines for its Diverse Languages Program. The Diverse Languages Program, which forms part of the CMF’s Convergent Stream, ensures that Canadians have access to content that reflects the variety of languages they speak. The program will provide funding support for the creation of Canadian content for television and digital media platforms in languages other than English, French, and Canadian Aboriginal languages, which are served by the CMF’s other funding programs.

zinc RoeCongratulations are due to Tickle Tap Apps developer zinc Roe, the proud recipient of three Parents’ Choice Awards in the highly competitive Mobile Apps category. Sound Shaker and Sort Slider both earned Gold Awards for highest quality apps while Count Caddy was recognized with Silver Honors for excellence. These popular apps are educational iPhone games preschoolers love and parents can feel good about.

To celebrate the awards, zinc Roe will be giving away Bug Builder, the newest app in the Tickle Tap series, for free! Visit the iTunes App Store on Saturday, July 3 or Sunday, July 4 and type “Bug Builder” into the search to download your free app.

The venerable Parents’ Choice Foundation has been reviewing and recommending quality children’s media for more than three decades. This year it was inundated with entries for its new Mobile Apps category. Apps were judged based on overall ratings for how each app amusedTickle Tap and offered new ways to learn. The judges describe Tickle Tap Apps as “a charming introduction to learning anytime and anywhere.”

“zinc Roe design offers a suite of bright and colorful apps for the youngest users,” says the Parents’ Choice Awards review of the Tickle Tap apps. “With its welcoming continuity of voice and characters, this age-appropriate playful prologue is deliciously intriguing to those eager to learn.”

Tickle Tap Apps are attractive, simple games that help kids learn about numbers, shapes and patterns. The apps are developed by child gaming experts, vetted by educational researchers and tested by kids. These portable games help transform trips, line-ups and car rides into fun, educational experiences for young children.

A2MU.S. publisher 505 Games and Canadian developer Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M) have released the bears – Naughty Bear is now available for the Xbox 360™ and PlayStation®3 platforms. The game allows players to take on the role of the infamous Naughty Bear, who is driven to seek retribution after his fellow bears snub him one time too many times. After the other bears exclude him from Daddles’ big birthday party, Naughty Bear finally snaps and slashes a grisly path of revenge and destruction across the Island of Perfection.

Waging psychological warfare against all things cute and fluffy, as Naughty Bear, players engage in sadistic scuffles on all that crosses their path. Using a hilarious array of weapons, interactive objects and endless scare tactics, gamers create chaos on the Island of Perfection to earn Naughty Points as they inflict physical and psychological harm on Naughty Bear’s numerous enemies. This all-new scare-based points system allows players to win the most rewards for being truly deviant and maniacal. As the ill-fated bears become more difficult to harass and terrorize as the game progresses, the variety of scare-based attacks allow for a completely new experience each time players pick up a controller.

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Rated by the ESRB as “T” for Teens with a “Violence” content descriptor, Naughty Bear features more than 28 single player levels to unlock as well as competitive online multiplayer modes filled with unique characteristics and weaponry encountered at every stage. Players battle an endless barrage of bears recruited to wage war against Naughty, including Soldier Bears, Ninja Bears, Robo Bears and even an Alien Bear invasion. As they scour the Island of Perfection to unleash their naughtiness, players can collect all the hidden party items locked away by the other bears to win wearable items and unlock special Achievements and Trophies. Nancy Drew Trail of the Twister

TransGamingTransgaming has just announced that Her Interactive’s title Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister is now available on GameTree Online for Mac gamers. Download the game for only $19.99 and then go undercover as a storm chaser, immersing yourself in meteorology by studying clouds, reading Doppler data, and surviving tornadoes – all while trying to find a saboteur.

Read the rest of this entry »

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16th June 2010

More Canadian E3 Goodness

Canada Media FundConfused about the Canada Media Fund? There’s a conversation going on over at Christine Lim-Labossiere’s site, Pentimento Productions. Christine is working on an initiative to assist Digital Media companies who would like to access the new Canada Media Fund-Convergent Stream, and she invites all interested parties to share their thoughts. As announced earlier this month, the CMF has extended its deadline for applications to its Experimental Stream has been extended from June 21 to July 5, 2010.

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games have released a new trailer for Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, which is scheduled for release on June 30th. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will introduce players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene, and game play features of Dead Rising 2 ahead of its release. Available exclusively to Xbox 360 owners via Xbox LIVE, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising and three years before the action of Dead Rising 2. Players purchasing Dead Rising 2: Case Zero who then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as Player Level, to a maximum of five, Prestige Points alongside skills, Combo Cards and a number of alternate outfits. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is not yet listed in the XBox Marketplace.

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TransGaming, Inc. has announced the redesign of its Mac digital distribution portal, GameTreeOnline, as well as the release of exciting new Mac games. As at E3 this week and on our site yesterday, GameTreeOnline features two new Disney Interactive TransGamingtitles, Toy Story 3 and Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey. Both titles are available immediately and only from GameTreeOnline as digital downloads. In addition, GameTreeOnline will release Her Interactive’s first award-winning Nancy Drew franchise title for Mac on June 29, 2010.

These new releases complement two new Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games from Riot Games and LEGO®, League of Legends and LEGO Universe, respectively. The Mac enablement and deployment of high quality franchises, such as LEGO’s first ever MMO title, clearly define TransGaming’s leadership position and adds to the company’s growing collection of award-winning titles that have been enabled for the Mac community using TransGaming’s Cider Portability Technology.

“TransGaming’s announcement of these new games coming to the Mac, at this year’s E3 Conference, clearly demonstrates to the gaming community that leading publishers are pursuing the Mac platform and are focused on releasing a simultaneous PC/Mac hybrid product,” commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “We have maintained our commitment to giving Mac gamers the highest quality gaming content and we are bringing these incredible games to the Mac simultaneously with their PC counterparts, which is possible only through our portability technology. TransGaming is truly delivering on the promise of a low-touch enablement technology for simultaneous multi-platform releases.”

Propaganda GamesDisney Interactive Studios have released the E3 trailer for Propaganda Games‘ upcoming epic, action role-playing game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, which will give gamers an entirely new experience within the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. The game takes place before the events of the blockbuster films. Players will take on the role of a pirate and embark on epic land and sea adventures. Numerous moral and character choices will need to be made that affect their character and the original story within the world. Players will explore a massive open world while fighting enemies, mystical creatures and Mother Nature, both to gain experience and stay alive. Supernatural elements familiar to the Pirates of the Caribbean world will also affect their character’s story and influence their choices. Armada of the Damned is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2010 for next-gen consoles and Windows PC.

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“Armada of the Damned is a dynamic action role-playing game that captures all of the franchise’s excitement, unpredictability and action while delving into narrative elements never before explored within this unique universe,” said Dan Tudge, vice president and general manager, Propaganda Games. “Our team’s collective experience with industry-leading RPGs and action titles provides a strong foundation for us to create and build a compelling action role-playing title.”

Disney Interactive has also released a new and innovative E3 2010 trailer for the TRON: Evolution video game that connects the storyline of the game and the film. The piece features the voice of Bruce Boxleitner as the character TRON, who takes the player through their paces and prepares them for immersion into a world they’ve never seen. Read the rest of this entry »

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10th June 2010

Patrick Beaulieu Launches Animation Insiders

Just a reminder that if you haven’t already, time is running out on your chance to have your say about Canada’s digital economy strategy. This incentive is meant to benefit our Canadian digital industry, so get involved in the discussion today. digiBC has released the 2010 BC Digital Media and Wireless Survey report (PDF) which was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The report covers key sectors of British Columbia’s rapidly developing Digital Media and Wireless industries.

dabble dbTwitter announced earlier today that it has purchased Vancouver company Smallthought Systems, the powers behind Dabble DB and Trendly. A message on Dabble DB’s landing page about the sale of the company reads:

“Obviously this represents a new chapter in the life of Dabble DB, both for us as a team, and for the product itself. We’d like to assure you that, for now, we will continue to provide our software and technical support to current Dabble DB customers. However, we will be disabling new account signups effective immediately.

There will be further changes to Dabble’s ongoing operations, and when those happen, we want to do right by you. We will provide you with 60 days advance notice of any major change. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure that, at any time, you can export all of your data, including attachments, in a structured format suitable for import into other systems.”

animation insidersPatrick Beaulieu, Animation Artistic Director at Ubisoft Quebec City, has launched his first 3D animation collection book Animation Insiders. A rich and complete work of knowledge sharing, this collection of testimonials gives a lot of tricks and hints as well as anecdotes from renowned animators at Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Pixar, to name a few. The book is now available worldwide on sstudiopress.

“Gathering all these people from all over the world and putting together all of these testimonials was a lot of work, says Patrick Beaulieu, but the result gives us a privileged vision on what is going on back stage in animation. Each collaborator had a clean slate to share his experiences, works, methodologies, philosophy, etc…. even if some aspects are more technical, Animation Insiders remains open to a wide audience, from the animation fan boy to the experienced animator. Everyone passionate about animation, movies and video games will find himself in this book, he will also find details and insides about his favorite animation movies or games” he adds.

You will find testimonials, visuals and illustrations from 13 renowned animators such as:

Jason Ryan (USA, Dreamworks, Shrek 4)
Andrew Gordon (USA, Pixar, Nemo)
Jason Martinsen (USA, Animation Mentor, Ice Age)
Jason Schleifer (USA, Dreamworks, LOTR)
Anthea Kerou (USA, Dreamworks, Bolt)
Victor Navone (USA, Pixar, The Incredibles)
Ana Maria Alvarado (USA, Sony Image Works, Spiderman)
Mike Nguyen (USA, Rainplace, Iron Giant)
Pedro Blumenbaum (Spain, Nocturna)
Pablo Navarro (Spain, Nocturna)
Emilio Ghorayeb (Canada, New Breed VFX, Madagascar)
Matt Stangio (USA, Pixar, Toys Story 3)
Reno Armanet (France, Tigobo Animation)

gamesauceThe schedule for the GameSauce Conference has been posted to the web. This conference takes place on July 19th, immediately prior to Casual Connect Seattle (July 20 -22). Registration is $100.00 USD or is free to those registered for the Casual Connect Seattle conference. There are some great topics, panels and roundtable discussions on the slate, so plan to be in Seattle one day early in order to take advantage of this event. Along with the great topics being offered through the GameSauce Game Development Track, the following areas may also be of interest to you, and like me, you will need a clone in order to take it all in.

The Leadership & Professional Development Track, produced in partnership by Women In Games International, Women In Games Vancouver and Women In Games IGDA offers some great panels and roundtable discussions about career building and talent nurturing.

If game audio is your thing, The Audio Track, produced by Game Audio Alliance, has much to offer, and the Nvidia Tegra Mobile Game Development Track, which is making its debut at this year’s GameSauce Conference is a must for those looking for opportunities in the mobile market. The Alternative Funding and Exit Strategies Track, produced by The Corum Group is a four hour crash course discussing the positives and negatives of funding as well as what to do with your company once you are successful.

trainyardiPhone developer Matt Rix has released his first title in the iTunes App Store. Trainyard is a challenging puzzler that requires the safe movement of coloured blocks (trains) from one station to the next. Each of the 100 puzzles ramps up in difficulty, adding colour and track-changing blocks into the mix while you try to draw tracks from one locale to the next, hopefully avoiding train pile-ups. There are no set solutions to the puzzles, so you are free to try as many options as you like. Trainyard also includes bonus levels as well as the ability to share solutions that worked for you on the game’s web site. Trainyard is available now for only $1.99. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th May 2010

Departures And The Canadian Entrepreneurial Outlook

Clint HockingAs many of you have probably heard by now, Clint Hocking has resigned from his position at Ubisoft Montreal. He made the official announcement yesterday on his personal blog, and while he does not state where he is going on his new journey, I will always remember the incredible Rant Keynote he delivered at the 2009 Game Design Expo here in Vancouver. It was one of the best keynotes I’ve ever attended – entertaining, educational and insightful. I wish Clint all the very best as he begins the next stage in his life, and I hope that we in the Canadian game development industry are far from done hearing from Clint and playing games he’s helped put on our game shelves.

Lotusland StudiosLotusland Studios has released an update to Truck Modz on Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPod touch®. In case you didn’t know, Truck Modz is an interactive 3D truck-building game for kids of all ages. The premise is simple: build, paint and hit the road with your very own truck! This game goes beyond any other mix-and-match title by allowing you to build your ideal vehicle from a huge collection of fronts, backs, and wheels, and then being able to interact with your creation: from snow plows to squeaky toys, everything is animated. Everything is triggered by a touch or a swipe, simple enough for everyone to get addicted!Truckmodz Dump Truck

In this updated version, audiences of all ages will enjoy even more mix-and-match fun with the introduction of a new cab to the collection, as well as an animated Easter-themed surprise.
Truck Modz is essentially an entire pocketful of toy trucks: creative, non-aggressive play is the emphasis of the game, and the user interface is wordless and simple enough for a child of 18 months to understand, while adults will enjoy the CB banter, cool sirens and endless combination of trucks.

Truck Modz Update Highlights:

* Totally intuitive, easy enough for a toddler to enjoy
* Mix and match parts at any time, the combos are endless!
* Cruise down the highway through an endless ever-changing landscape
* Listen to hilarious trucker banter on the CB radio!
* Shake device to check out your ride from 4 different camera angles
* Rocking soundtrack by Billy Joe Huel

Toronto Pinball and Gameroom ShowNow in its fourth successful year, the Toronto Pinball and Gameroom Show remains the only show of its kind in Canada. Aimed at both enthusiasts and the general public, the show features pinball machines, classic arcade video games, console game systems, home theatre, jukeboxes, slot machines, soda machines, billiard tables, shuffleboards, Pachinko games, vintage 1950’s diner memorabilia and other coin operated and home Gameroom equipment and antiques.

Machines, games and accessories will be available for sale to collectors, hobbyists, restorers and gamers looking for that certain cool piece of gear for their gameroom. The show also offers free play on over 100 pinball, classic arcade and other games. Even if buying a game is not in the cards, guests can still get the best deal in town playing all day or all weekend for one low entry fee.

Although pinball machines aren’t easy to find these days, they continue to hold their iconic status in pop culture and have maintained popularity with game fans both young and old. “There’s no way to truly simulate the analog experience of flipping a ball on a computer or video game” says Nick Angel, organizer of the event. “Pinball has always been the anchor attraction of the show and this year’s venue will be jam packed with more games from the past and present than all of our previous shows combined”. 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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10th March 2010

Chaos Rises Today

Relic EntertainmentVancouver – The highly anticipated expansion to Dawn of War 2 has gone live today. Chaos Rising is now available for download on Steam – although on the game’s Steam page, there is a message (as of 12 noon PST) which says the game will unlock in ten hours. Also, if you purchase the game right now for $29.99 usd, you will also get a free copy of Saints Row 2 for PC.Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - Sorcerer

In Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising you will take command of the Blood Ravens and defend the sector against the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. Purge the chaos filth and hold the chapter together as traitorous forces work from within to try bring down the Blood Ravens.

* New Single Player Missions – Continue your fight against the enemies of the Emperor and use your squads’ wargear, abilities, and experience to battle Chaos in 15 new missions
* New environment and Multiplayer Maps – New ice planet graphics set will increase the visual diversity and adds 7 new PVP maps
* Aspire to Glory – Build your existing squads up to level 30 and unlock even more devastating abilities
* Chaos Corruption Mechanic – New single player mechanic allows you to equip incredibly powerful equipment that corrupts your squad and will guide the story towards or away from the corrupting influence of Chaos
* New Multiplayer Race – Swear loyalty to the Chaos Gods and play as the bloodthirsty Chaos Space Marines in multiplayer battles against both Chaos Rising and Dawn of War II owners
* New Units – New units for the Space Marines, Ork, Eldar, and Tyranid armies in multiplayer.
* 2 New Last Stand Heroes – Face off against the relentless horde as either the Chaos Sorceror or Tyranid Hive Tyrant

VIATeCVictoria – Nominations are now open for the 2010 VIATec Awards. Nominations close at 4:30pm on Friday March 19th. Recognizing technology companies in the Greater Victoria (BC) area, there are several award categories open:

* Technology Company of the Year
* Emerging Technology Company of the Year
* Product of the Year
* Innovative Excellence
* Online Strategy of the Year
* Executive of the Year
* Employee/Team of the Year
* The Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion
* Environmental Excellence
* VIATeC Member of the Year
* Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year
* Employer of the Year Award

The VIATeC Awards Gala will be held on May 13th at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Toon BoomMontreal – Emmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the upcoming release of Toon Boom Animate 2, a new version that provides professional animators with more power and flexibility for creating traditional, digital, cut-out and Flash-style animation. Toon Boom has listened to the animation community and is now delivering a new Animate version that reflects its requests. Animate is totally dedicated to animators and takes care of their needs from start to finish of their animation projects.Animate 2

New feature highlights include:

• Fast distribution of character parts to layers
• Easy adjustment of velocity on multiple character parts
• Efficient creation of richer-looking ambiance
• Full-fledged SWF export with effects
• Direct import of scanned drawings (TWAIN)
• Convenient text capability

Key benefits
Whether preferring traditional or digital methods, animators will greatly benefit from Animate 2‘s superior feature set throughout their entire production process. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th March 2010

Canadian Companies Ink Publishing Deals and Release Great New Products

EA GamesVancouverElectronic Arts has announced two new partnerships involving local studios. First, EA announced that it has inked an exclusive deal with Klei Entertainment to bring the studio’s provocative new game Shank to Xbox LIVE® Arcade, PlayStation®Network and PC this summer. Featuring a unique art style inspired by graphic novels and golden age comics, Shank Klei Entertainmentblends the intensity of classic 2D side-scrolling action games with a gripping and mature storyline. The cinematic brawler is a finalist for “Excellence in Visual Art” at this year’s Independent Games Festival and will be featured at the IGF Pavilion during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.

“Our mission at EA Partners is to work with the best talent across the game industry, and we are thrilled to extend our expertise to the leading creative developers in downloadable indie games,” said Jamil Moledina, Outreach Director, Business Development at EA Partners. “The team at Klei Entertainment is among the best in the world at developing fun and engaging titles for digital distribution platforms, and Shank is an amazing experience.”

“As an independent development studio, we always focus on creating great, authentic experiences for players. Working with EA Partners expands our distribution and allows us to bring Shank to a much wider audience,” said Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “They have been a fantastic partner and their understanding of the space is incredibly exciting.”

Taking place in a stylized, modern-Western setting, Shank tells a classic betrayal story directed through a sophisticated cinematic lens, with addictive action gameplay found in classic 2D side-scrolling games.

EA’s second announced deal today is another exclusive publishing deal, this time with Hothead Hothead GamesGames and their newest title DeathSpank, which will be coming to Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network in 2010. Developed under the vision of The Secret of Monkey Island creator and industry icon Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank blends a story filled with Gilbert’s unique humor and wit with classic and addictive action RPG gameplay. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Animation, Awards, Business News, Careers, Casual, Digital Products, Early Childhood, Education, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Platform, Puzzle, RPG - MMORPG, Social Media, Software, Sports, Studios, Teen, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

3rd March 2010

Clicktoy The Meadow Now Available in the Apple Store

Clicktoy InteractiveVancouverClicktoy Interactive is pleased to announce the release of its software “The Meadow“for the Apple Mac. The award winning interactive software for children ages 1 to 5 is now available for purchase at local Canadian Apple Stores and select US Apple stores, and online at store.Apple.com.

Colourful 3-D graphics, nature sounds and original music bring nature to life on screen where children can join Mr. and Mrs. Bunny as they visit their friends living in The Meadow. With the simple press of a key, your child can guide the animals through the beautiful meadow environment.

“Any parent can tell you that when they’re working on their computer, the little one will come along and want to sit on their lap and press buttons,” said Ken Kavanagh, developer of The Meadow and president of Clicktoy Interactive. “As every key has a function, children are free to interact with the computer without worry.”

With The Meadow, parents and children can explore this charming and peaceful place together, featuring:

* Four detailed scenes
* ClickSafe locks the keyboard, prevents your child from exiting the application
* Stunning graphics and immersion in a virtual nature-walk
* Make up your own stories and imagine together

Available on the PC since 2008 “The Meadow” is now available for the Mac OS. Offered in over 17 languages the game sells for $24.95 and is available now for the Mac or PC.  Village Gamer congratulates Ken Kavanagh and Clicktoy Interactive with this new release – and fully recommends “The Meadow” to anyone who has a toddler and/or pre-schooler in their family.

VFSVancouverVancouver Film School is pleased to present the $30,000 Women in Games Scholarship for the second straight year. This Scholarship covers the full tuition for a female aspiring game designer to attend VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

With International Women’s Day on March 8 highlighting the achievements of women and the need to create a more equal and rewarding future for girls, the announcement of the Women in Games scholarship is timely. In an industry traditionally dominated by men – around 90%, according to Game Developer Magazine’s 2009 Salary Survey – the scholarship was established as a concerted effort by VFS to encourage greater opportunities for females wishing to pursue Game Design as a career. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Animation, Careers, Casual, Digital Products, Early Childhood, Education, Events, Everyone, Game Dev, Government, Mature, National News, New Releases, Platform, RPG - MMORPG, scholarships, Software, Studios, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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