2nd March 2011

Not All Of The Action Is At GDC 2011

Note: The Toronto International Film Festival (September 8 – 18th) is now open for submissions.
Event: WaveGuide™ Technical Workshop: Samsung Bada Code Camp presented by WaveFront. This free seminar takes place tomorrow in Vancouver from 1:30pm – 8:00pm. Pre-registration is required.
Event: Global Insights Conference is taking place in Victoria on March 17th.
Event: The Basics of Intellectual Property is a free seminar on March 10th presented by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and hosted by nGen.

Decapod StudiosVancouver’s Decapod Studios, creators of one of my favourite XBLIG games, Murphid, has released iStopwatch for Windows Phone 7. The free app is a simple, fast and elegant stop istopwatchwatch. It features a stopwatch timer, split timer, lap timer and countdown. It supports logging unlimited split and lap times and shares results via email.

The studio has also submitted an update for its measurement units converter app, Convert Units PRO for Windows Phone 7. The update includes faster application loading and adds in-app feedback options. The update will be available for free for all existing users once it receives Microsoft certification.

Convert Units PRO features include:

• U.S., Imperial and metric units.
• Convert length, mass, area, volume and temperature with ease.
• More than 100 measurement units are supported.
• Rarely used and old units are available.
• High precision conversion.

industrial brothersIndustrial Brothers has released a new 99 cent USD game on the iTunes Store. 2Bit is a challenging 2Bit The Gridretro-inspired puzzle game that will challenge your nerves and co-ordination as you try to navigate through The Grid, a landscape full of dangers. Yes, that’s right, The Grid is rife with shooting turrets, trip wires, hydraulic plugs, screwblades and more dangerous too frightening to talk about. At launch, 2Bit offers 20 challenging levels contained within 2 Grid areas, each with 10 levels of puzzles to negotiate.

2Bit’s current features include:

• Select between 2D or 3D views
• Personal High Scores and Global Leaderboard and Online Registration
• Original retro-themed sound effects and music
• Additional Grids and Levels to be released over the next few weeks at no extra cost

The Cavechild has released his first non-narrated gameplay video for Dawn of War II: Retribution by Relic Entertainment. His army is the one decked out in patriotic red and white, in Last Stand on The Anvil of Khorne as the Space Marine Captain.

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Strangeloop has partnered with Exclusive Concepts, Inc. to offer its proprietary Site Optimizer service to Yahoo! store merchants worldwide. Yahoo! Merchant Solutions is Strangeloop Networksthe largest hosted platform for ecommerce stores, with more Internet Retailer® Top 500 retailers using Yahoo! than any other hosted solution. Exclusive Concepts, the leading resource for online stores seeking to convert online shoppers into loyal buyers, provides a breadth of marketing services – from advanced search engine marketing to conversion testing – to more than 800 merchants around the world. As an authorized Yahoo! partner, Exclusive Concepts will be the exclusive provider of Strangeloop’s website acceleration technology to this market.

The Strangeloop Site Optimizer, utilized by companies such as Petco, Travelocity, Visa, Sodexo, and O’Reilly Media, is the only automated web performance optimization solution that functions at the scale demanded by global ecommerce sites and enterprise applications. Through partners like Exclusive Concepts, Site Optimizer can be offered as a hosted service, making Strangeloop’s advanced optimization technology accessible to businesses of all sizes.

vaencoCalgary tech company Vaenco, Inc. has officially launched its interactive media platform called ZoweeTV. An end-to-end multi-screen media platform that delivers movies, TV shows, music, games and other interactive media to Internet-enabled devices including TVs, Blu-ray players, media extenders, set-top boxes and game consoles for both ‘over-the-top’ delivery as well as integrated solutions for service providers and operators.

Key features include a fully integrated cross-platform user interface that includes a media management system for consumers as well as social networking capabilities through ZoweeTV’s proprietary system-wide network. zoweetvZoweeTV was built for content owners by content owners, offering a fully customizable content management system enabling dynamic ‘self’ distribution with a turnkey content management dashboard including asset management, metadata integration, windows, pricing, territories and other key policies with detailed ‘back-end’ reporting.

According to recently released In-Stat research, Web-to-TV Video content revenue will grow by 750% to $17 billion by 2014. “We built ZoweeTV from the ground up, built for complete customization for any platform, any video format on any device, anywhere in the world — ZoweeTV will optimize content distribution opportunities for content owners and deliver a robust, quality user experience to the end user” said Ronald Domes, CEO.

ZoweeTV will be widely available to consumers Worldwide by Summer 2011 through strategic partnerships with device manufacturers as an operating system or through stand-alone apps and web browsers. More announcements will be made in the upcoming weeks.

Government of CanadaFour initiatives that support northern innovation and knowledge will move forward thanks to investments by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, has announced an investment of $426,000 for research and training projects to help the Northwest Territories and Nunavut strengthen information technology (IT), energy, and educational sectors of the economy. With additional contributions from project proponents and the Territorial governments, the projects have a total value of more than $500,000.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that by investing in research and training, we are enabling the long-term sustainability of communities and businesses across the North,” said Minister Duncan, who is also Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.

“Research has shown that there is a strong positive correlation between investments in IT infrastructure, capacity development and economic growth,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Member of Parliament for Nunavut, Regional Minister for the North and Minister of Health. “These investments will create new educational, social and business opportunities in both territories that will provide long-term benefits for northerners and northern businesses.”

CanNor’s funding will support four projects in the NWT and Nunavut, including new mining and remediation training programs, research into the potential to use local willow as biomass fuel, and two projects to assess and support the potential for establishing broadband internet in Nunavut.

Funding for these projects came from CanNor’s Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, which provides funding for northern projects that contribute to long-term economic growth, economic diversification, and capacity building in the three territories. SINED is one of a number of economic development programs delivered by CanNor in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

RCMPOn this past Sunday, February 27th, members of the London RCMP Detachment Federal Enforcement Section seized thousands of pirated DVDs from a booth at the Gibraltar Trade Centre on Dundas Street East in London.

Pirated DVDs in flimsy plastic sleeves were openly displayed for sale at space rented by the accused at the Gibraltar Trade Centre, where it is alleged they sold the pirated movies. The accused were found in possession of approximately 4000 movies for sale including recently released DVD movies, movies still in the theaters and others yet to be released. Titles included: The King’s Speech, The Fighter, Black Swan, True Grit, and Inception amongst many others.

“This isn’t a victimless crime,” stated Inspector Dwight Blok, Officer in charge of the RCMP London Detachment. “We are committed in our efforts to combat this type of criminal activity.”

The accused, a 25 year old man and a 24 year old woman from Toronto, face charges under the Copyright Act for allegedly offering for sale an infringing copy of work where copyright subsists. If convicted the accused could faces fines not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

bits republicBits Republic Technologies, Inc., a Vancouver-based developer of cloud security applications and licensed technologies, has unveiled the new name for its popular ultra-secure Document Management System. The application formerly known as MOnet has been renamed PrivyDocs in order to better reflect the complete privacy that this application provides.

PrivyDocs is entirely browser-based. Unlike past versions, PrivyDocs requires no software installation and can be run on Mac or PC through most major browsers. This represents a major unique advance in cloud computing in that security and privacy are so complete that neither the application host nor storage hosts have access to stored data, yet control by the user extends to file sharing with other parties replete with advanced file and folder permissions.

“PrivyDocs is designed to replace a key part of in-house systems; that part that deals with guarded data dissemination both within and outside the organization.” explained Charles Chung, owner and founder of Bits Republic Technologies, Inc. “In the past, placing such data online and managing it `through the cloud` has necessitated complete trust in the application provider – they can see your data. With our solution, professionals and enterprises retain control of their sensitive data and the providers have no access to it. Our solution enables the users to control advanced permissions by file, to track file access and versions, and even to customize the look and feel of the application for their particular needs”.

PrivyDocs uses the patent-pending Bits republic security engine which provides a very flexible platform for client-side encryption and server side ‘blind’ hosting and management. This technology assures that only authorized users are able to access secured data and metadata, and that not even the application or storage hosts have access to it themselves.

dhx mediaDHX Media Ltd has been authorized to purchase at market price up to 3,629,576 common shares of the Company being approximately 10% of its public float of 36,295,762 common shares as of February 28, 2011, and representing approximately 5.9% of its issued share capital, by way of a normal course issuer bid (the “Bid”) through the facilities of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). As of February 28, 2011, there were 61,617,565 common shares issued and outstanding. DHX is making the bid to reduce the number of outstanding shares in the corporation and to improve earnings per share. The Bid will commence on March 4, 2011, and end no later than March 3, 2012, observing the purchasing restrictions during ‘black out’ or ‘close’ periods.
Kid vs Kat
The Company intends to implement an automatic share purchase plan to allow it to purchase shares under the Bid while in such ‘black out’ or ‘close’ periods. The Bid will be funded from the Company’s existing cash resources. Any shares purchased under the Bid will be cancelled. The TSX rules permit DHX to purchase daily, through TSX facilities, a maximum of approximately 26,467 common shares under the Bid, being 25% of the average daily trading volume of 105,870 over the last six months.

In the opinion of the Company’s board of directors and senior management, DHX shares may occasionally trade in a price range which does not adequately reflect the value of underlying assets based on the Company’s business and financial position. Consequently, the Company may, from time to time, purchase common shares of the Company under the Bid. DHX has not purchased any shares of the Company pursuant to a normal course issuer bid during the preceding 12 months.

veerCalgary-based Veer, a provider of affordable visual elements that makes it easier to be creative, today announced the launch of an exclusive new font collection named Agency 26, as well as the addition of fonts from the Filmotype foundry and several other leading designers.

The new Agency 26 collection has 10 new typeface families and 23 fonts, all of which are Veer Exclusives.  The collection is inspired by the bold wood typefaces of 19th century America, and takes a modern slant on the traditional representations of these historical fonts with the addition of features like a full Western European character set, alternate widths, lowercase and other features not found in their historical counterparts.

All Agency 26 fonts are designed by Brian Jaramillo, who has been designing typefaces for more than 10 years, but typically kept them for his own custom projects. He is inspired by the graphic language of the surf and skate industries, and a childhood of drawing band logos on notebooks. Brian’s previous font designs for VersusTwin Foundry can be found in Veer’s Umbrella™ Collection. Brian is also the force behind the blog Lettercult, a showcase of hand lettering arts.  The Veer creative team has produced an animated short to help show off Agency 26.

Veer also welcomes Filmotype, a foundry that brings 16 new fonts evoking classic American lettering of the 1950s and 60s. At the historical crossroads between lead type and the computer revolution, the original Filmotype library grew to encompass several hundred fonts available to designers, providing typeface designs on 2-inch filmstrips. Filmotype initially manufactured a manual phototype machine enabling headline and display typesetting using a photochemical development process, helping to revolutionize the process of advertising layout and lettering.

In 2006, Stuart Sandler and Font Diner revived the Filmotype marque, intending to create high-quality digitizations of this historic collection, adapted for the modern age. A gallery of Filmotype fonts on Veer.com reveals that they have a retro vibe and contain lots of brush scripts and condensed gothic sans, particularly Filmotype Zanzibar and Filmotype Macbeth. The original designs have been brought up to date with the inclusion of a full international character compliment, automatic fractions, ordinals, and a set of automatic alternate contextual characters and ligatures.

“Agency 26 is a fun, playful font collection that evokes the days of wood type broadsides and wanted posters,” says Joe Newton, Product Manager, Type for Veer. “The fonts include playful details like alternate widths, lowercase and ornaments that are perfect for evoking the worn, weather look of vintage leatherpress, or for lending rustic charm to food packaging and signage.”

Other new additions to the Veer font collection include:

•   Steinweiss Script – Known as the father of the album cover, Alex Steinweiss’ distinctive “scrawl” has been faithfully recreated by Michael Doret in homage to the original. Available in three weights, each including a number of variations including simple, fancy and tilting. Steinweiss Script is part of the Umbrella Collection.
•   Yana – Designer Laura Worthingon set out to create a versatile, swashy serif usable in logos, headlines and body copy. Along the way it gained an old-style Victorian aesthetic, upper and lowercase characters, over 200 swash capitals, and regular, bold and italic variants. Yana is part of the Umbrella Collection.
•   Torino Pro – Originally designed in 1908 by Alessandro Butti, Torino is a modern italic Didone that has been revived, redrawn and expanded by Jason Walcott. It contains a large number of elegant swashes, discretionary ligatures and lining figures. Torino Pro is a Veer Exclusive and part of the Jukebox Collection.
•   Hiatus – This is a contemporary script that blends casual and formal elements with the warmth of hand lettering. Stephen Rapp’s low body height and full connection of the characters make for a versatile script. Hiatus, which includes a large number of swash alternates and ornaments, as well as extensive international language support, is a Veer Exclusive from the Umbrella Collection.

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1st March 2011

Fight Night Champion and Rango The Video Game In Stores Now

EA SportsEA SportsFight Night Champion is now available in North America and will launch worldwide on March 4, 2011. Fight Night Champion is an intense and deep new mature experience that builds on the rich legacy of the Fight Night series, which is one of the most critically acclaimed sports franchises of the past five years. Fight Night Champion full version and demo version are available for the Xbox 360® and the PlayStation®3. The game has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

Fight Night Champion features new gameplay innovation that delivers the rawness and brutality of the most realistic boxing simulation ever created. The title is packed with a deep menu of new modes and features, including: the all-new cinematic, narrative-driven Champion Mode; more than 50 licensed boxers including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao; Full Spectrum Punch Control; the deepest career mode yet, Online Gyms, and much more.

“The EA Sports Fight Night franchise has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in sports videogames, from ushering in the new console generation in 2006 with Fight Night Round 3, to Fight Night RoFight Night Championund 4 which introduced real world physics to the franchise two years ago,” said Dale Jackson, General Manager, Fighting, EA Sports. “Fight Night Champion advances the critically-acclaimed series with genre-defining new gameplay innovation, a deep feature set and an all new type of experience for the EA Sports gamer.”

Champion Mode brings cinematic storytelling to the Fight Night franchise and is the first such story mode in EA Sports history. Written by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Will Rokos, Champion Mode allows players to step into the shoes of up-and-coming middleweight prospect, Andre Bishop, as he discovers that the road to becoming a champion in professional boxing is one that is filled with corruption, personal struggle and more than just what happens between the ropes.

Fight Night Champion also introduces a host of gameplay improvements. The refined punching system, dubbed “Full Spectrum Punch Control”, brings the most accessible and responsive controls ever to a Fight Night title. A new anaerobic stamina system tracks individual muscle groups separately, punishing a player’s over-dependence on a single punch and encourages combination punching and diligent stamina management. In addition, improved visuals, multiple control schemes, realistic damage, boxer-specific animations and multiple stun states round out the key gameplay improvements players will experience in Fight Night Champion.

behaviour gamesParamount Digital Entertainment, Electronic Arts Inc. and Behaviour Interactive would like to remind you that Rango The Videogame, rated E by the ESRB, is now available worldwide for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Wii™ and Nintendo DS™. This action-adventure game is inspired by the forthcoming Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies animated feature film, Rango in theaters on March 4th . Set in the gritty, Wild West town of Dirt and filled with wily and whimsical characters, Rango The Videogame invites players to continue on Rango’s wild Rango Zombiesjourney with all new tall tales, brimming with intense action and outlandish scenarios inspired by the movie.

“Rango’s fondness for telling tall tales allowed us to push the limits in creating new adventures for players of all ages to enjoy,” said Thomas Lesinski, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment. “We worked closely with the Rango filmmaking team on a unique game storyline and integrating stunning visuals from the film to create a game that delivers a great variety of game play that has already impressed the critics.”

Rango The Videogame lets players explore a wide variety of environments featured within and beyond the film and challenges them to achieve near-impossible feats as they work to uncover a plot that threatens the entire population of Dirt. Along the way, players will encounter Zombie rodents, Alien spaceships and even an 8-bit shootout inside an arcade machine. This family-friendly title captures the spirit and humor of the movie, with an extended storyline that goes beyond the vivid world of Dirt. Some of the features include:

Rango’s All New Tall Tales – Play as the quick-thinking chameleon Rango, the best Sheriff the town of Dirt has ever known, and explore a variety of new missions and environments that expand beyond those seen in the film.
Ride Roadrunners and Desert Bats – Speed through the desert atop these unconventional chariots as players engage in extraordinary acrobatic gunplay and more.
Interact with the Dirtonians – From a group of mariachi birds that provide color commentary to a gang of wild rabbits, the townsfolk of Dirt will provide no shortage of fun and entertainment.
Wild West Action and Adventure – Face hordes of hostile zombie rodents as you show the town who’s boss in good, old-fashioned shootouts where fists are flyin’ and spurs are shinin.’

pocketgamerI just realized that I forgot to check on which studios UK-based PocketGamer named to the top 10 and top 20 sections of its Top 50 last week, and upon checking see that GameLoft and EA Mobile were listed at number 1 and number 10 respectively. While neither developer/publisher produces 100% Canadian product, they do have a large number of mobile games developed in Canada, and both have major dev houses in Quebec, so congratulations to both of them. PocketGamer has also revealed the winners of its 2011 Awards, and again Canadian-made products were honoured.

Best iPhone Freemium Game: Lil’ Pirates (Capcom Mobile) – developed by IUGO Mobile Entertainment
Best Developer: GameLoft – in both iPhone-iPod Touch and Mobile categories
Best Publisher: EA Mobile – in iPhone-iPod Touch and iPad categories
Best Developer: Hemisphere Games in iPad Category
Best Action/Arcade Game: Mirror’s Edge for iPad (EA Mobile)
Best Sports/Driving Game: Madden NFL 11 for iPad (EA Mobile)

QuickPlay MediaQuickPlay Media has unveiled Pocket Cinema™ – a service that offers consumers the ability to download, rent and watch popular movies on their video-enabled mobile device. Initially, the service is available exclusively for BlackBerry® TorchTM 9800 smartphone customers in the UK. Over time, QuickPlay plans to extend the service to additional mobile platforms and geographical markets. Customers who purchase a BlackBerry Torch from UK retailer Phones4U in March 2011 will receive a voucher for a complimentary movie download from the service.

Beginning today, BlackBerry Torch users will have access to a catalogue of hundreds of films by simply downloading Pocket Cinema on BlackBerry App World™. Users will then be able to access the movies on their BlackBerry® smartphone. Once downloaded over Wi-Fi®, the film is cached on the device and available for an unlimited number of views for 48 hours. Users don’t need a mobile signal or network connection in order to view films they have downloaded.

techdataTech Data Canada has introduced the StreamOneSM Software License Selector, a new application only available on techdata.ca. The Software License Selector is the first in a series of exclusive e-business services the company is building on its new StreamOne software platform, which improves how the channel sells and distributes software by making it more efficient and less complex.

The StreamOne Software License Selector significantly surpasses contemporary software license tools in breadth and ease-of-use. In four simple steps, the StreamOne Software License Selector guides resellers through the entire software-purchasing process, sifting through hundreds of thousands of software SKUs and each vendors’ complex licensing rules to identify the right software part number, the most accurate pricing and the correct license type.

The StreamOne Software License Selector establishes the industry’s most accurate and efficient software license distribution channel, reducing the cycle time from quote to license from days to minutes. For resellers, it lowers licensing processing costs, instantly provides accurate pricing and makes it easy to attach software to all hardware sales. For vendors, it provides the opportunity to increase their channel partners as more resellers will now be able to sell software using the Software License Selector.

The StreamOne Software License Selector automates tasks like SKU selection and order qualification for 27 major software vendors—representing more than 99 percent of the software licenses purchased through Tech Data. The StreamOne Software License Selector aims to quickly solidify Tech Data’s position as the premier software license distributor for the world’s leading software companies. Additionally, the StreamOne Software License Selector will help Tech Data strengthen software sales, especially among small and medium businesses.

Software vendors supported by the StreamOne Software License Selector include: Absolute Software, Acronis, Adobe, Autodesk, BitDefender, Computer Associates, Check Point, Corel, Diskeeper, Double-Take, Filemaker, Ipswitch, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Parallels, Red Hat, Sage Act!, SAP, SCO, SolarWinds, Symantec, Trend Micro, Vasco, VMware.

Wicked InteractiveMission Against Terror (M.A.T.), a free-to-play shooter published by Toronto’s Wicked Interactive, has teamed with GamerSaloon.com, the world’s largest player-to-player videogame tournament network, for cash prizes. To get things started right, GamerSaloon.com is hosting a special kickoff competition.

“We are very excited to be working with Wicked Interactive. Mission Against Terror is an excellent addition to our competitive roster,” said Justin Becker, Director of Affiliated Partnerships, GamerSaloon.com. “Whereas other pay and free-to-play titles claim to be perfectly balanced for robust, satisfying competitive gameplay, M.A.T. delivers, thanks to the significant investment that was made in developing the title along with the constant user-generated improvements and enhancements.”Mission Against Terror

“We are thrilled to be part of this opportunity,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “GamerSaloon.com is a gamer community unlike any other. Rather than just talking big, games on GamerSaloon.com back up their talk with cold, hard cash.”

How to Get Started:

1. Download M.A.T. from GamerSaloon.com (www.gamersaloon.com) to be entered into a sweepstakes to win $50 Bonus Cash
2. Spend your Bonus Cash however you see fit on tournaments, generating winnings and what-have you.
3. Invite your friends to join you for the chance to win. (4- and 8-man competitions available)

Special Kickoff Competition Prizes:

1st Place: $100 + headset
2nd Place: $25 + headset
3rd Place: headset

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28th February 2011

What’s New On This Monday Morning

Relic EntertainmentThe Cavechild has been doing an hourly countdown all weekend, waiting somewhat impatiently for the release of Dawn of War II: Retribution from Relic Entertainment. He pre-0rdered his special copy on Steam the first day they were accepting orders and he participated in the early beta as well. I will be so happy when Retribution is officially available in just a few more hours, because he is driving me crazy.

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Webcast: If you missed the Canada Media Fund webcast outlining the changes which have been made to funding guidelines, you can view the video in either French or English online. Note, registration and log-in is required to watch the video.Canada Media Fund

Event: The next MoMoVan will be held at the Granville Island Brewing Company on March7th. The topic will be Privacy and Security. Tickets are free for DigiBC members, sponsors, students and partners, $25.00 for non-members. Attendance is limited to 100, so register early.

xnaCompetition: Game developers take note, Dream Build Play 2011 is now open for registration. Once registration closes on May 17th, the game submission period will begin. Entrants will have until June 14th to submit their Xbox 360 creations built using XNA Game Studio 4.0. Winning game developers split Spring Bonus$75,000 USD in prizes and get a shot at an Xbox LIVE® Arcade publishing contract, and their games will be featured on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

grey alien gamesGrey Alien Games has announced its next title. Spring Bonus will be a Spring and Easter-themed match 3 styled game scheduled to launch on April 15th to several platforms including including PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, XBox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone 7 – possibly for Linux as well. Grey Alien’s founder Jake Birkett has released his first dev diary for the new title, you can read about the lead-up to Spring Bonus’ development on the Grey Alien blog.

vblankTrekking around the halls of GDC with Jake is Brian Provinciano, founder of Vblank Entertainment and developer of Retro City Rampage. Brian will be participating in a panel discussion titled The Next Steps of Indie: Four Perspectives during the Indie Games Festival within the GDC umbrella. Retro City RampageAttendees to this panel will get an inside look at the road Brian followed as he developed Retro City Rampage, from NES programming in 2002 right up to our current next-gen consoles. Retro City Rampage will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo WiiWare later this year. Retro City Rampage is also a finalist for the Excellence in Audio category at the Indie Games Festival Awards.

Sale: Endloop Systems has announced that their iPad app iMockups will be on imockups on itunessale for 30% for the duration of GDC. iMockups for iPad is a mobile wireframing and mockup app for your web, iPhone and iPad projects, combining a beautiful interface with intuitive functionality, taking full advantage of the breakthrough touchscreen device. With a comprehensive and growing list of pre-built dynamic controls (for Web, iPhone and iPad) help turn your ideas into full fledged designs at the office or on the go.

New Media Manitoba New Media Manitoba will be very active at this week’s Game Developers Conference, which is just getting underway in San Francisco. The association is leading a provincial delegation that will showcase the Manitoba digital media industry and offer start-ups and seasoned game companies the opportunity to grow their business. New Media Manitoba will be hosting a networking event at Thirsty Bear from 4-6pm on March 3rd.

One of the shiny new yet retro members of the Manitoba delegation is the Winnitron itself, making its first appearance at the GDC. The Winnitron will showcase exclusive Manitoba made games like Leap4Blue, Trash Pilot, C4ke, Sumo Topplers, and Robots Robots Everywhere, along with other high profile indie titles such as Canabalt 2-Player and Super Crate Box. Fans from all over the indie game circuit are already buzzed about playing classic indie games like Space Sushi, Indie Brawl, and N Arcade on the Winnitron for the first time ever. Winnitron Photo Credit: Chrissy Chubala

Four companies will be sharing space at our booth on the Expo Floor—Tomkorp Computer Solutions (creators of Clones ), Cube Force Media (creators of Aerrevan), Cogmation Robotics , and Project Whitecard, which is currently leading development on a multiplayer problem-solving game for NASA.winnitron Photo Credit: Chrissy Chubala

Representing the Winnitron at the booth will be Bit Collective (creators of the Winnitron) members Alec Holowka of Infinite Ammo, Tom Rab of Reborn Games, Noel Berry, Marlon Weibe and New Media Manitoba’s own Kert Gartner. Manitoba game developers Red Reptile Studios and Complex Games, who recently won a Canada New Media Award for Best Web Game, will be making waves at the conference via some targeted meetings.

If you’ve been following news on Indie Game: The Movie, you’ll know that the Globe and Mail and major industry publications (including this site) have already been celebrating the pre-release footage Blink-Works has posted on their web site. The 2-person team behind the project, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, will be chatting about their film at Manitoba Booth #1137 on Thursday, March 3.

New Media Manitoba would like to gratefully acknowledge the amazing support from Manitoba Trade & Investment, Western Economic Diversification, and Red River College for their contributions toward growing the game companies in Manitoba and this Trade Mission, as well as: Complex Games, Agence nationale et internationale du Manitoba (ANIM), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), Industry Canada, Manitoba Innovation, Energy, and Mines (IEM), Economic Development Winnipeg, and Manitoba’s tireless game development community.

ie market researchVancouver-based IE Market Research Corporation has released its 1Q.2011 Global Mobile Entertainment Forecast, 2008 – 2015, which is available now for purchase. IEMR’s forecast provides our quantitative forecasts for Mobile Music, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Personalisation, Mobile TV, and other premium content. It covers 50+ countries and regions, and it is one of the most comprehensive forecasts of its kind in the world.

“We think that the global mobile entertainment market will see significant growth over the next five years. Globally, we are expecting mobile multimedia revenue to rise from $32 billion in 2009 to $52.8 billion in 2015. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2015 will be 9.5%,” said Nizar Assanie, Vice President (Research) at IEMR. “Among different categories of mobile multimedia, we expect that Mobile TV will see the biggest growth in revenues over the next five years. We forecast that global mobile TV revenues (which are broadcast and unicast revenues) will increase from $2.52 billion in 2009 to $6.6 billion in 2015.”

To the comprehensive data set, we are adding a PowerPoint presentation which provides our clients with an overview of key trends in the global mobile entertainment market.

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has secured a new, exclusive membership benefit for members – an airline travel discount. Starting immediately, all IGDA members can get a 5 percent discount on Virgin America flights booked to attend GDC, E3, IGDA Summit, Casual Connect Seattle, PAX Prime and the IGDA Leadership Forum. Naturally, Virgin America appears to fly only out of Toronto on our side of the border, but I guess one could drive to Seattle or take the shuttle bus, and then fly down to the California events from there if the overall savings were substantial.

IGDA members in good standing can access the promo codes online. Please note that discounted tickets are limited and members should reserve their flights as early as possible. Remember to add your IGDA special promo code before purchasing your ticket in order to get the discount.

Your travel on Virgin Airlines must fall within these timelines:

GDC 2011: To SFO: 2/24 – 2/28 and From SFO: 3/4 – 3/8
E3: To LAX: 6/4 – 6/8 and From LAX: 6/9 – 6/11
IGDA Summit/Casual Connect Seattle: To SEA: 7/14 – 7/18 and From SEA: 7/20 – 7/24
PAX Prime Seattle: To SEA: 8/29 – 9/1 and From SEA: 9/5 – 9/9
IGDA Leadership Forum: To LAX: 10/22 – 10/26 and From LAX: 10/30 – 11/3

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25th February 2011

Follow Friday News

Reminder: Early Bird Registration for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference closes on February 28th.

Contest: Enflick, Inc. is holding a logo re-design contest for the PingChat logo.
Contest: Best Buy Canada and HP Canada have teamed up to revitalize someone’s home office
Contest: SteelSeries is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge giveaway.

Giveaway: The iPad HD version of Garage Inc from TransGaming Studios is free until February 28th. Get it now.

Pre-Order: Mac Gamers can pre-order Dragon Age 2 and The Sims Medieval from GameTree Mac. Release dates are March 8th for Dragon Age 2 and March 22nd Victor and Scottfor The Sims Medieval.

Appointment: Michael MacMillan has been appointed to the Fuse Powered Board of Directors. In his role on the company’s board, MacMillan will be responsible for working closely with Fuse Powered’s senior management team in solidifying and executing the company’s strategic direction.

Taking Over The World: Electric Playground is now available for American users of Hulu. Congratulations to everyone at the EP studio!

New Release: IUGO’s first music game Pricklees is now available on the App Store. It’s free so go download now! More characters and tracks may be unlocked for $1.99 USD.pricklees

“We see room for creativity and innovation in the music genre,” states IUGO’s VP of BD Sarah Thomson “What companies like Tapulous have done is incredible. They have proven their formula to be successful time and time again. But we feel there is so much opportunity to create a unique game mechanic and appeal to an even broader market. We wanted to combine the brilliance of music-based games such as the Tap Tap series with the cuteness and personality of broad appeal titles such as Angry Birds.”

Cinematic Intro: A preview of the opening moments from Dawn of War II: Retribution by Relic Entertainment is now live on YouTube. This latest chapter in the Warhammer 40 000 saga will be on store shelves on March 1st

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A special pre-launch event for Retribution was just announced on the Dawn of War community forums. A four hour game play special with members of Relic’s game test team facing off against members of the community. The fun begins at 2pm PST on Sunday, February 27th.

Yummy InteractiveYummy Interactive Inc. has announced a partnership agreement with BattleFront.com, worldwide publisher of wargaming and strategy combat video games. BattleFront.com has selected Yummy Interactive’s GameShield to securely manage licensing and activation of downloadable and mail order game products at its game portal.

“Delivering our games in an unobtrusive, simple download and mail order experience to our community members is paramount to us. With GameShield, we will be able to securely extend our digital products to new channels and also be able to offer game bundles and extra downloadable content, such as add-ons and expansion packs, with a smooth user interface for end users,” said Martin van Balkom, President of BattleFront.com.

“By selecting our complete DRM solution for their PC and Mac game downloads and mail order products, Battlefront.com can further expand their online distribution channel and storefront, confident they can support their partners and optimize digital sales with our flexible license management tools,” said Chris Hennebery, VP Software Distribution at Yummy Interactive. “The premium DRM technology that GameShield provides not only protects content but enables new and secured ways of bringing gamers downloadable games and post-sale content.”

Launch Trailer: Rango The Video Game, developed by Behaviour, will be released next week for  the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Here is the newest game trailer.

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Source Studio has released Proto Defense – free downloadable content (DLC) for their space shooter game ProtoGalaxy, on Steam for the PC. The downloadable content delivers a brand new level of play for ProtoGalaxy, enabling players to experience the game’s enhanced editor powers and map-building source studiofeatures.

The DLC will be downloaded automatically for anyone who owns ProtoGalaxy, and to celebrate the DLC launch, ProtoGalaxy is available for 50% off until March 2.  Proto Defense is a completely different genre than the previous levels. The original release of the game consisted of action and adventure levels, where the players were constantly on the offense. The new downloadable content consists of  a tower defense-style level, where players must strategically defend themselves against incoming attacks.protogalaxy

“We’re showcasing a brand new level of game play in ProtoGalaxy that gamers have yet to experience,” said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of Source Studio. “We have been gathering valuable feedback since we released ProtoGalaxy last October, and with the new level added, the game takes on a different dimension of play,” Brown added.

Proto Defense contains the following:

  • New level with tower defense tactics
  • Pick from a big selection of turrets.
  • Reposition your turrets at any time to deal extra damage.
  • Take down huge bosses.
  • Compete in leaderboards for the highest score.
  • Tackle 8 new challenging achievements.
  • Built using the ProtoGalaxy Editor.

In ProtoGalaxy, up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game, players brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles, and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

Game features:

  • Level editor
  • Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
  • Array of weapon choice
  • Ship customization with large selection of parts
  • Use physics to solve problems
  • Save progress online and play from anywhere

Source Studio will be attending the Games Developers Conference and will showcasing  ProtoGalaxy, along with the DLC at the Newfoundland and Labrador booth (booth #1924).

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22nd February 2011

Relic Names Intern and Open Media Turns Up The Heat

Reminder: IGDA Vancouver soft-launch and Global Game Jam Post-Mortem takes place tonight. More info on the event’s Facebook page.
Reminder: Ontario companies, get your submissions in for the INplay Ontario Show & Tell Kids Interactive Showcase, the deadline is April 1st. Also note that the INplay Kick Off registration rate for attendees will end tomorrow.
Reminder: There is one week left to get your nominations in for the Canadian Video Game Awards. I nominated at least a dozen, is your favourite Canadian-made-in-2010 game nominated? No? Make it so – nominate it today.

Congratulations to VFS Game Design graduate Zach Williams, who has been named as the very first recipient of the Zach and Jonathan Photo Credit: VFSBrian Wood Memorial Internship, an internship that will be awarded three times annually to celebrate the life of Relic employee Brian Wood, who was killed in a tragic car accident last year. Zach, who has previously worked in the local industry as a QA Tester, will begin a four-month internship at Relic Entertainment.

Relic’s General Manager Jonathan Dowdeswell stated on the VFS blog that “Zach’s personal drive to become a great game developer, his broad skill base across a number of the disciplines, as well as his passion for Relic and knowledge of the culture and practices that we maintain were the things that made him stand out as a clear choice for this internship, he even had a Relic shirt ready to put on when we announced the winner to the class!”

Unless you have absolutely no interest gaming, you will be well aware that today is the launch of the demo for Dragon Age 2, available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Bioware will, as we told you last week, unlock two perks should the demo be dDragon Age 2ownloaded and played by 1 million gamers before March 1st. The key to answering this Call To Arms, as the demo phase has been dubbed, is that you must sign in to your EA account. So in our house, at least, that has been achieved by two of us on two separate Xboxes. I’ve played a few minutes of the demo, and thus far Dragon Age 2 looks awesome – the only part I’m concerned about is that the text is awfully small and sometimes difficult to read on a CRT television, even with a large screen.

Of course downloading two demo files also burned up 3.96gb of our new lower monthly cap of 100gb, and upon checking our nifty new Shaw Bandwidth Monitor we are now at 80gb with two weeks still to go on our billing cycle. Yes, we’ll be over – again. We are such bandwidth hogs – especially since Shaw decided we could do with 25gb less per month, but still pay them the same amount of money. Good thing that Shaw is holding off on charging for overages until after they hold their Customer Consultation sessions. I know there will be one in Langley next month, and Shaw has confirmed that my request to attend a session, but I have not yet been emailed about the exact location and time.  open media

Speaking of User Based Billing, Open Media is still fighting the good fight, and have issued their own call to arms as Rogers and the other obese telecoms meet to find ways to defeat the right of Canadian consumers to have access to fair and affordable internet services. In a post on their site, Open Media asks for the support of consumers in continuing the fight for our rights, and yes, this fight will require funding. We don’t have a huge amount of disposable income in our house, but honestly I would rather help Open Media with a $20.00 donation than pay it to any telecom for an already overpriced cable plan. If Open Media can raise $15 000.00 in the next 48 hours, indie ISP providers TekSavvy and Acanac will match those funds. Please help if you can.

What really, really irks me – besides the high prices for less service, that is – is that the telecoms are telling the CRTC how we internet hogs are clogging up the interwebs so steps must be taken to curb our overuse, yet they continually come up with new “limited special deals” to sign up new customers. If those of us already using the Net are clogging it up, stop trying to sign up more people, because they’re just going to clog it up even more!

While I want to direct you over to Open Media’s site to read their plan in full, here is a quick look at their initial plan of action:

1. Unleash the creativity and ingenuity of Canadians. People from all walks of life — innovators, educators, students, entrepreneurs, and everything in between — are getting together on February 26th for a Day Of Action to educate our fellow Canadians about Internet metering.

2. Put together a united front of public interest groups, creators, indie ISPs, online service providers and half a million Canadians to put forth a well-researched, evidence-based submission to the CRTC.

I would like to add to this plan of action by asking all of you to write your MP and Industry Canada – don’t just accept the bullying of the telecoms as a done deal. We can fight back – we’ve already shown that with the delay of User Based Billing – and we can make a difference. I found an old flyer the other day when I was making an attempt at cleaning up the clutter in my office. This flyer was from our local MP, Mark Warawa (Conservative) and the CIRAheadline phrase on this flyer is that the Conservatives stand up for Canadian consumers. Well? Let’s see some action behind that statement. Not sure how to contact your MP? Check here. And don’t forget – the CIRA-hosted Canadian Internet Forum being held in Ottawa on February 25th will be available via webcast (yup, burning up more of those gigabytes), so remember to tune in and watch the discussion about the future of Canada’s internet and digital economy. There is also an active discussion group on the CIF site, registration is required to view and post on it.

ubisoftUbisoft has finally confirmed a release date for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Those of you who prefer to battle the Templars and Borgia on your computers will be able to do so beginning on March 22nd.  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for PC will be available at retail stores and for digital download in two different versions:

Retail and Digital Standard Edition:

Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance

Digital Deluxe Edition:Assasins Creed Brotherhood for PC

·Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance

o Assassin’s Creed® Lineage: discover the story of Giovanni Auditore, Ezio’s father, by watching this three episodes short movie.

o Exclusive additional content featuring the Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood original soundtrack, galleries, Making-of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood…

o Exclusive unlockable content:

* One Multiplayer Character: The Harlequin, a deadly assassin lying behind a gaudy costume and a twisted smiling mask
* One Multiplayer Character: The Officer, a stealthy assassin who can assassinate his targets with a swift and powerful attack
* One exclusive single player indoor map: The Trajan Market
* One exclusive single player outdoor map: The Aqueducts map
* Ezio “Drachen Armor”

Both the Standard Digital Edition and the Deluxe Digital Edition can be pre-ordered at the Ubiworkshop Store.

Microsoft CanadaMicrosoft has announced that it will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit from Microsoft Research later this spring, followed by a full commercial version of the SDK later in the year. This “starter kit” for application developers is intended to make it easier for academic research and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences using Kinect technology. Through its collaboration with the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), Microsoft Research is hoping to support a growing community of academic researchers and enthusiasts who are exploring potential applications built using Kinect.

The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor. Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI), which is a part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us. The fruits of those investments manifesting across many of Microsoft’s products, including Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Surface 2.0, Bing for Mobile and Office 2010 Mini Translator.

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18th February 2011

New DLC For Assassins and Perks In The Dragon Age Demo

ubisoftUbisoft has announced that new downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 will be arriving next month. This new DLC chapter is called “The Da Vinci Disappearance” and will be available for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99.

The Da Vinci Disappearance will include both single-player and multiplayer content for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. After the fall of the Borgias in Rome, Leonardo Da Vinci is kidnapped by the Hermeticists, an underground cult dedicated to transforming mankind. Ezio will embark on a relentless quest to recover stolen paintings in order to find Leo before it is too late, discovering two new locations and two new gameplay features along the way.

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The multiplayer addition is the biggest expansion to the award-winning multiplayer yet, including one new map, four new characters and two new game modes. The new multiplayer map, Alhambra, is a lush environment set in AlhambraSpain’s Albaicin of Granada and provides multileveled indoor and outdoor areas perfect for predators to lurk in the dense crowd for unsuspecting targets. The four new characters will undoubtedly be a huge hit with Assassin’s Creed fans, consisting of the Dama Rossa, the Knight, the Marquis and the Pariah. The two new gameplay modes, Escort and Assassinate, will provide a whole new gameplay experience for Brotherhood players. In Escort mode, two teams of four players compete in this team-based mode where each team must protect their VIP target or assassinate the other team’s VIP target. In Assassinate mode six to eight players are pitted against each other deathmatch style in one ten minute round.

BiowareEveryone who has an EA account MUST download the Dragon Age 2 demo when it’s released on February 22nd. Why, you may ask. Well, because if the demo is downloaded far cliffs of kirkwalland played by one million EA account holders before March 1st, Bioware will release special bonuses, that’s why.

If the Dragon Age 2 demo reaches the one million milestone across the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms combined, we will all receive in-game items that will give bonuses to our characters’ financial and experience stats. I want The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall, which rewards players with extra money, and I definitely need the experience boost offered by Lothering’s Lament, so you all have to do your part and follow procedure so that Bioware unlocked these perks.

Inlothering's lament the actual demo, we get to play through the prologue of the game, choosing from among three character classes before venturing off to the new region of  Kirkwall and meeting a new romantic prospect, Isabela the Smuggler. Playing through and completing the Dragon Age 2 demo will unlock Hayder’s Razor, a dwarven blade which will provide various ability boosts when the full game is released.

With the perks and bonuses already due to arrive from my pre-orders, and if the Dragon Age community pulls together to unlock these two new perks, my characters are going to do quite well for themselves, I think.

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15th February 2011

A Flood Of Game News Bytes

Dark AcreVancouver indie developer Dark Acre Game Development announced today that its new game, ‘Ball of Steel’ is now available as a free-to-play title via Kongregate.com for gamers with Unity-enabled web browsers.

Ball of Steel is a marble tilt-maze with a twist: in addition to navigating twisting passages, players must guide their ball through high-tech teleporters and avoid burning pillars of scorching flame to clear each table. Players may choose their challenge levels and warp or skip to any of the 20 boards.

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Ball of Steel was built in Unity 3D during two weeks of intensive full-time development. It was developed as an entrant to the Unity Game Contest currently underway at Kongregate.com, and represents the second in a series of free-to-play efforts from Dark Acre. You can check out more information on Dark Acre’s first title on the project’s web page.

frima studioIn the category of receiving the news a day late (honest, I just got this today), Frima Studio apparently celebrated Valentine’s Day by unveiling a host of new updates for Pocket God with Episode III – The Birds! This third episode follows in the footsteps of the recent Episode II: Clash of the Frightened for the social game, which is currently in an open beta and growing rapidly with more than 175,000 monthly active users on Facebook.

The new updates for The Birds include:

* The Return of the Dodo! – While it may have gone extinct hundreds of years ago for being too passive and peaceful, this reincarnation of the Dodo could not be farther from its ancestors – keep an eye out as it will terrorize your island, making short work of your fish and pygmies!pocket god
* New “Dodo Down” Item – Usually there’s a limit on how often you can sacrifice your friends, but with the new Dodo Down power, feel free to resuscitate them and bring them back to life…only to kill them again!
* More Customization – Make Pocket God your own! Players now have the ability to name their individual pygmies so there’s no need to have to settle for the pre-assigned monikers…name them after your enemies and get extra satisfaction from their sacrifice!
* Fat Cupid! – It’s gorgeous, lovely, and quite Rubenesque – it’s Fat Cupid and it needs to be stopped! Band together with your Facebook friends to take down the ultimate evil god.
* Valentine’s Treats – Take a break from drowning your Facebook friends and get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day…send them chocolate treats to let them know that each time you sacrifice them, it’s a gesture of love.

Since its debut on the world’s most popular social network in December of 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is quickly approaching a quarter of a million active users in less than two months. More than 20 million hapless and helpless pygmies have been sacrificed over that time, and one million of those are friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal ways, including electrocution, drowning, shark attack, tornado, volcanic lava and much more! The lucky user who sacrificed the one millionth friend, Jessy Rivas of France, received 350 Pocket Change, the in-game currency for Pocket God!

behaviour gamesWith the city quaking in fear and no help in sight and a rumoured release date of March 23rd*, who ya gonna call? Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, is once again answering the call for gamers everywhere by delivering the first ever Ghostbusters digital title, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. In conjunction with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and developed by Behaviour, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download at Atari.com.
Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.

The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.

* Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime has yet to appear on the Xbox Marketplace or on the Atari store, so the release date as of yet has not been confirmed. Perhaps someone in the know could let me know?

fluik entertainmentEdmonton’s Fluik Entertainment has announced that Gunner Galaxies, the sequel to top-downloaded Gunner Galaxiesgame Gunner will is scheduled for release this March, and will pack new galaxies, new gameplay, fun new unlocks and ship upgrades into this latest chapter. Gunner Galaxies is an asteroid-blasting classic arcade action game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Fluik’s previous game releases include the aforementioned Gunner, Bubble Rainbow (which are free in the iTunes store and now residing on my iPod Touch), the also free Tic Tac Draw and Airport Madness Challenge, Airport Madness Mobile, Will It Fly, and CoolSpell, which all have both free and paid versions.

DreamCatcherToronto publisher DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have confirmed the release date for the official Painkiller Standalone Add-On “Redemption“ as February 25th 2011 – although there is no official page on the DreamCatcher site yet for Redemption, the game will continue the epic Painkiller conflict between good and evil.

The kingdom of heaven is threatened by a ruthless army from hell. Two champions, Daniel and Belial, who we already know as the two previous heroes of the series, combine their forces and join the never-ending battle between good and evil.Painkiller Redemption

“It demands quite a bit of skill to confront the countless hordes of monsters – to vanquish them you can equip some really crazy weapons“, says Markus Reutner, International Product Marketing Manager at JoWooD. “We also have the right soundtrack for the fast-paced action because the atmosphere is particularly important when countless monsters attack you without mercy. An insiders’ tip for Painkiller friends as well as for new fans!“

Features:

· 7-10 hours playtime
· Transform yourself into a demon once you’ve collected enough souls!
· Use the occult powers of tarot cards
· More than 6,000 enemies and up to 1,000 monsters on all of the 6 new maps
· Easy to use map editor for your very own Painkiller experience
· Adrenaline pumping soundtrack

gamerkraftAnother Toronto-based publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has unveiled the latest game to come to their free-to-play gaming platform, GamerKraft. Aida Arenas, developed by Korean developer GalaxyGate, is an “MMORPG Brawler” set in the raucous world of Aida – a land where adventuring, treasure-hunting, and good ol’ fashioned rough-housing are the primary pastimes.

“We are excited to announce Aida Arenas’ arrival on the GamerKraft platform in the first quarter of 2011,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager for Game Bridger Entertainment, “the game’s charming cartoon graphics and whimsical game world, plus its accessible controls and gameplay mechanics, are sure to appeal to a wide range of both hardcore and casual gamers.”

Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters, compete with friends, and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft, where you can Combine elements of the classic beat ‘em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs.

Bioware CorpAnd of course I would be totally remiss if I did not even mention the big Triple A game news of the day, which is the announcement that Felicia Day has written a new web series based on Bioware’s Dragon Age series. The six part Dragon Age: Redemption series will star Ms. Day as elven assassin Tallis. In an article on USA Today, (no, I was not one of the lucky ones who were sent a press release about the web series, I found out about it via Twitter) the story will revolve around Tallis’ personal quest to capture a renegade magician and the companions she enlists into her fellowship along the way.

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11th February 2011

Snowed In Studios Turns One

snowed in studiosHappy first anniversary to Snowed In Studios. The Ottawa studio is currently working with Eidos Montreal on the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution and recently worked with Artech Studios on The Undergarden for Atari. The Snowed In team has also worked with two other studios on our Favourites List, Behaviour and TransGaming. Here’s to many more years of gaming goodness for the team at Snowed In! vertigo towers

Vancouver indie developer Josh Brown has released his first Android title. Vertigo Towers is a physics based 3D action puzzler with 3 game modes which requires the player to match sets of three or more bricks and create chains for huge points. Vertigo Tower is OpenFeint-enabled complete with a Leaderboard and Achievements. There is both a paid version (1.99 USD) and a lite version available in Android Marketplace. I would buy this game if it became available for iPod Touch.

Relic EntertainmentRelic and THQ have opened up the Warhammer®40,000®: Dawn of War®II – Retribution™ BETA to anyone who has bought a Dawn of War game through STEAM or has registered a Dawn of Dawn of War 2 RetributionWar II product on their STEAM account. In addition, gamers can get access to the beta by registering on the Dawn of War Community site and following the instructions under the Beta Key giveaway tab.

Featuring all six multiplayer races including the new Imperial Guard faction, the beta will run through the end of February to test the new Steamworks network and matchmaking features and help balance the multiplayer mode. All new units for each race will be available in the beta along with the new multiplayer maps that will ship with Retribution. The Dawn of War II – Retribution multiplayer beta is currently planned to run until midnight on February 24th, at which point the developers will take all feedback into account to create a day-zero Dawn of War 2 Retributionbalancing patch.

The Cavechild checked out the Retribution Beta last week, and his thoughts thus far are: HOLY WTF WIN! FREAKIN’ EPIC OMG WEEEEEE. That pretty much sums it up, there is more and all but that is for another time.

Retribution is very very VERY pretty, it a new thought out army panter so that you can see what many of you squads will look like, they made it a little less shiney and more grungy like the old dawn of war which is freaking amazing! The sound in the game, the effects, ambiance, voices, yelling, gunfire, tanks, orcs and so on are very clear even in the middle of a giant war with 2 Imperial guard armies taking down Dawn of War 2 RetributionOrcs, more Orcs and some weird looking Eldar.

In my opinion the Imperial Guard are just a little OP considering I was able to beat down the Orc Warboss pretty easy, same with the Eldar Farseer. The game play is the same as the two games previous so none of you have to worry about changing style and how to do things. If I remember correctly you are allowed to import everything for Last Stand mode which is you versus a ton of AI which aren’t too hard then casually grow in difficulty. Dawn of War II: Retribution is by far one of the best games for 2011 and the year has only started…

EA GamesCongratulations to the Mass Effect 2 team on all of the hardware they picked up at last evening’s AIAS Awards, winning in three categories: Outstanding Achievement in Story,  Role Playing / MMO Game of the Year and Game of the Year – and of course congratulations to Bioware co-founders Doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk on their induction into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Congratulations also to the FIFA 2011 team over at EA Sports for picking up the Sports Game of the Year award.Widgets Odyssey

frima studioFrima Studio titles Widgets Odyssey I and Widgets Odyssey II are now available in Europe as a single game bundle for the super low price of £1.74 / €1.99! As PlayStation®Mini titles, Widgets Odyssey I and Widgets Odyssey II are playable on both PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®Portable. Both titles are rated as PEGI 7 (ESRB rated E for Everyone).

In the Widgets Odyssey saga, five robots aboard their space vessel have just one simple mission…to save the universe from the tyrannical Yagor and his evil henchmen! Armed with the unique abilities of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmut, and Monk, players will guide each robot along their exciting adventures filled with puzzles, mazes, minigames and intense platforming challenges.

BCTIAIf you’re in the Vancouver area on March 9th, you may be interested in attending BCTIA’s TechBrew event being held at the Stanley Park Pavilion. The mega-mixer invites entrepreneurs, investors, professional service providers or anyone interested in technology companies to meet, talk, and make new connections in a casual setting. Featured companies at the March event include: D2D Campaign Solutions, Gogiro, ikamobile, Jostle, Nexterra Systems Corp., NGRAIN, REV, Rx Networks, SewerVUE, Snap Technologies, Solegear Bioplastics and Wishpond. Tickets for TechBrew are $34.95 for BCTIA members, $44.95 for Non-Members or $19.95 for Students.

bantbant, an iPhone based application to help adolescents improve diabetes self-management by capturing, analyzing, and sharing their blood glucose data, is being tested by teenagers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Diabetes Clinic in Toronto. The pilot program will assess the impact that social networking and rewards that encourage and reinforce self-management behaviours have on young teens as they become more independent in managing their diabetes. The pilot will run for three months.

bant was developed by University Health Network (UHN) in collaboration with SickKids and with input from patients, families, doctors, nurses and engineers. The multidisciplinary teams from SickKids’ Diabetes Clinic and Division of Adolescent Medicine worked closely with colleagues at UHN to design the application. bant is partially funded by the Saint Elizabeth Health Care ACT research grant program.

People with type 1 diabetes need to maintain their blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible to decrease diabetes-related complications, such as kidney and heart disease. Optimal blood glucose is very hard to achieve; requiring frequent measurement of levels, detailed analysis of the results, and continued adjustments of the treatment plan.

A free version of bant is already available in 10 languages at the Apple App Store. An advanced version of the application has been developed for use in the pilot which will use a LifeScan OneTouch Mini blood glucose meter to collect and wirelessly transfer readings directly into bant using a Bluetooth adapter developed by the UHN team. The data are then displayed and organized visually. Teens can customize the tool to categorize readings according to their activities and daily schedule to enable accurate decision-making and medication adjustments. They will also be able to share their experiences in a private social network within the app and earn experience points leading to rewards in the form of iTunes redemption codes to purchase music and other apps. bant is integrated with TELUS health space, Powered by Microsoft HealthVault, giving pilot participants the ability to store, review, and control the sharing of their personal health information with their care team and family members.

sierra wirelessSierra Wireless has unveiled a multi-purpose wireless gateway that defines next-generation intelligent machine-to-machine (M2M) networking. The powerful Sierra Wireless AirLink™ GX400 gateway offers a leading-edge combination of features, including cloud-based device management, extensive hardware and software enhancements, mil-spec ruggedness, GPS and associated location-based services, and advanced configuration options with comprehensive expandability for both hardware and software features.

Flexible and powerful enough to meet the needs of a wide range of applications in the transportation, industrial M2M and enterprise markets, the AirLink GX400 will make solution deployment faster, easier and less expensive for mobile system operators, OEMs, application service providers and end customers. With the AirLink GX400, system integrators can standardize on a single gateway platform to serve the needs of all of their customers.

Sierra Wireless also announced AirLink Management Services (AMS), which will facilitate comprehensive cloud-based device management for the AirLink GX400, as well as other AirLink intelligent gateways and routers. Based on the Sierra Wireless AirVantage™ Platform, this powerful hosted device management service means small and large deployments can affordably take advantage of the comprehensive AMS management features from any location with Internet access.

Sierra Wireless boosted processing performance five-fold, basing the AirLink GX400’s design on an ARM 11-class microprocessor architecture operating with high-capacity DDR memory. This provides a powerful foundation for exploiting existing and new features and functionality. Other hardware enhancements include external antenna connectors, Ethernet, Serial and USB “OTG” (On-the-Go), as well as an expansion slot to accommodate future integrated add-on capabilities such as additional physical interfaces and wireless local and personal area networking and communications.

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8th February 2011

Darkness 2 Web Site Launches

Digital Extremes2K Games has unveiled the new web site for The Darkness™ II, the sequel to the million unit-selling 2007 title, The Darkness™, will be coming to the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and Windows PC in fall 2011. Developed by Digital Extremes and based on the supernatural horror comic book series created by Top Cow Productions, Inc., The Darkness II takes players down a brutal and personal path as Jackie Estacado, wielder of The Darkness – an ancient and ruthless force of chaos and destruction.

The Darkness II breaks out of the sea of conventional first-person shooters with its fervid Quad-Wielding gameplay, which will allow players to slash, grab, and throw objects and enemies with their Demon Arms while simultaneously firing two weapons. The game is layered with the use of dark versus light, steeped in deep and twisted storytelling, and engulfed in stylistic violence that is visualized through a hand-painted graphic noir technique that stays true to its comic book origins.

“The Darkness II is a well of dark and imaginative violence, and it’s a stylized and beautiful nightmare,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “The Darkness II continues the 2K Games tradition of delivering quality, innovative games that are filled to the brim with atmosphere and deep storytelling. The game takes a unique stance on fighting in the dark versus light. Combined with the arsenal of weapons at Jackie’s disposal and the gruesome attacks of the supernatural Demon Arms and Darkness powers, we’re proud to announce another title that delivers on our core values of creating games for gamers.”The Darkness 2

The Darkness II will feature award-winning comic book writer, Paul Jenkins, who will provide a tightly integrated narrative that weaves dark humor with hardcore tenderness.

Take a step back from the familiar and comfortable, and prepare to embrace The Darkness.

It’s been two years since Jackie Estacado, now the Don of the Franchetti crime family, used The Darkness to kill the men responsible for his girlfriend’s murder. He’s been unable to shake the memory of Jenny’s death since bottling up his supernatural power, and now The Darkness wants out. A sudden, unprovoked attack on Jackie’s life heralds the start of a full-scale mob war, which has clearly been orchestrated by some outside force. The botched attempt opens the door for The Darkness to reemerge, and sets Jackie on a journey to hell and worse, as he unravels the mystery behind the attack and the motivations of The Darkness itself.

“Sometimes that whooshing sound you hear is that of comic fans holding their collective breath,” said Marc Silvestri, founder and CEO of Top Cow Productions and co-creator of The Darkness comics. “So often disappointed when a favorite character gives birth to a lame movie or video game, us fans have come to expect the worst. And sometimes we get it. But not with The Darkness II. Yeah, call me biased, but this second installment of Jackie Estacado’s epic saga is – in my humble opinion – one of the most brutally cool games I’ve ever played. 2K Games hammered this one out of the park.”

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4th February 2011

From Ducks to Pinball to Politics and A Human Revolution

Reminder: Confoo 2011 is March 9th – 11th in Montreal.

Digital ExtremesDigital Extremes, developers of the PC version for the upcoming HomeFront game is participating in a session on Video Games and the Next Generation of Literacy in partnership with the Child & Youth Network, London Public Library and the United Way of London and Middlesex. The session will take Retro Pinballplace at the Museum London, 421 Ridout Street North in London, Ontario on Thursday, February 10th from 4:30pm until 8:00pm.

There will be a Keynote presentation by Dr. James Paul Gee, Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University and author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. The event will also feature a panel discussion, networking and refreshments. Donations to support literacy initiatives are welcome.

Digital Extremes has also launched a new iOS title. Available now for 99 cents US, Retro Pinball includes three handpicked tables (Crash and Burn, Super Android, Pangea) from original creator James Schmalz, all with updated graphics and sound to enhance your gaming experience on your favorite Eidos MontrealApple iOS device.

Eidos Montreal has released a new trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Take an up-close and personal look at player character and game hero Adam Jensen.

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and according to GameStop Canada, will be in-store on April 1st.

Little Guy GamesPuzzle Pond from Little Guy Games is a featured FreeAppADay game today, so hurry over to the iTunes App Store and grab this cute match-up game. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Puzzle Pondyou play Puzzle Pond by matching two creatures with a swipe of your finger to make them kiss and explode with joy. There are three game modes, Speed, Puzzle and Zen, with the ability to conduct combos and streaks for huge points and power-ups. There are currently sixty brain teasing puzzles in this Game Centre and OpenFeint-enabled game has twenty different achievements and a leaderboard.

Banff World Media FestivalMike Farah, President of Production at comedy website Funny Or Die, and key members of his creative team will deliver a Feature Panel on the future of online comedy at BANFF 2011. Farah and his team will offer an in-depth look at the production strategy behind the phenomenal success of the site, which averages 8 million unique users and over 30 million video views per month.

“In only three years, Funny Or Die has become the destination for comedy fans online, with some of the best content out there,” said Ferne Cohen, Executive Director of the Festival. “We are all looking forward to what I’m sure will be a compelling and entertaining panel.”

As President of Production, Mike Farah oversees the creative day-to-day operations of the premier comedy site, along with Funny or Die’s television and feature projects. With Funny Or Die for over two years, Farah has produced the award-winning video “Prop 8: The Musical,” the Ron Howard-directed “Presidential Reunion,” and Marion Cotillard’s “Forehead Tittaes,” among many others. Under Farah’s leadership, Funny Or Die’s creative team produces over 25 original videos each month. In November 2010, The Hollywood Reporter named Farah one of the top 35 Hollywood executives under 35.

gogo6Montreal’s gogo6 inc., a leading provider of IPv6 products, community and services has released gogoCPE version 1.0 – a small v6 adaptor for the home that can be installed and providing IPv6 within a minute. Designed to work with, rather than replace home networking equipment, the gogoCPE can be used to deploy IPv6 using IPv4 or to deploy IPv4 using IPv6 – both resulting in a dual-stack home network. Early customers of the gogoCPE include SingTel, Comcast and Globe Telecom.

The gogoCPE is plug ‘n’ play simple and designed to be installed by the end user without any support. The gogoCPE uses the same code as the gogoCLIENT which has reliably provided IPv6 to over 150,000 users of the Freenet6 service.

The gogoCPE supports the most popular transition technologies including TSP, DS-Lite, 6RD, DSTM and L2TP. It is compatible with the gogoSERVER and other manufacturer systems. Its wide technology support allows it to work in any IPv4/v6 network scenario, including:

* Providing IPv6 to existing and new customers with IPv4 home routers in an IPv4 network.
* Providing IPv4 to new customers with IPv4 home routers in an IPv6 network.
* Providing IPv6 to new customers without IPv4 home routers in an IPv4 network.

“Hands down the most difficult part of introducing IPv6 into a broadband network is the home. This is where a majority of the IPv6 costs lie and where service providers have the least control. In a vast majority of the cases the home networking equipment is either not upgradable or owned by the end user making IPv6 synonymous with installing new equipment,” said Bruce Sinclair, gogo6 CEO. “The recent depletion of IPv4 addresses from the IANA pool increases the pressure on service providers to find a simple yet effective solution to offer v6 and v4 by way of v6. Service providers can quickly introduce IPv6 into their networks with a single 1U gogoSERVER and one gogoCPE per home.”

The gogoCPE is available today after being tested by service providers around the world. In addition to being sold in volume individual gogoCPEs are available on the gogo6 website. These units are preconfigured to work with Freenet6 making them plug ‘n’ play ready out of the box. Individual units cost $99 plus shipping and handling. Volume pricing is lower.

Microsoft CanadaIf I owned a Mac, I would be downloading the trial version of Office for Mac from Microsoft Canada right now, because they are holding a contest in partnership with LiveNation. Entrants could win a chance to see any band in the Canadian city—and seats—of his or her choice. Please see the contest rules for complete prize and entry details.

Roaring PenguinRoaring Penguin Software has updated its CanIt Reputation List, which collects IP reputation data on e-mail servers from a worldwide network of sensors. Roaring Penguin currently aggregates this data into four DNS-based block lists:

Spam Source: A list of IP addresses that have sent mostly spam and very little non-spam.
Dictionary Attackers: A list of IP addresses that have sent to many nonexistent recipients and very few valid recipients.
Greylist Stumblers: A list of IP addresses that have been thwarted by greylisting. Such machines are typically compromised personal computers.
Good: A list of IP addresses that have passed greylisting, have sent to very few nonexistent recipients, and have sent mostly non-spam. These machines are very likely legitimate mail servers.

To these block lists Roaring Penguin has added a new list called “Mixed” for hosts that send a mixture of spam and non-spam. Roaring Penguin found that the old “SpamSource” list would often list outbound mail servers for large e-mail providers. These servers tend to send a lot of spam, but they also send a lot of non-spam e-mail. The change to Roaring Penguin’s Reputation Lists means that about 5600 machines formerly listed on the “SpamSource” list are now listed on “Mixed”. This still leaves almost 1.9 million machines listed on the “SpamSource” e-mail reputation list.

CanIt 8.0 is available as:

* CanIt-PRO, an anti-spam / anti-virus appliance or a soft appliance.
* CanIt-Domain-PRO, spam filtering software that allows service providers such as MSPs to host anti-spam for their customers.
* Hosted CanIt, a fully outsourced anti-spam solution.

online party of canadaThe Founder of the Online Party of Canada, Michael Nicula, will be holding a press conference on Saturday February 5, 2011 in the Art Room of the Gladstone Hotel to discuss CRTC policies in the context of decision 2011-44 to impose User Based Billing (UBB) on the whole Canadian market. Nicula will be joined by Iain Calder of TorFree.Net as well as affected consumers and small ISP providers.

In a move aimed to calm angry consumers, already dissatisfied with the internet service market in Canada, the CRTC president as well as many senior MPs vowed to review or strike down decision 2011-44. Internet service quality in Canada is not a new issue; it just happened that the latest CRTC decision has touched a nerve, as consumers are now enjoying data-rich social networking, livestream and television programs more than ever before.

Online Party of Canada wants to take the opportunity to broaden this discussion. Why has Canada slipped in the world ranking of country infrastructures in terms of speed and service quality? Countries like Romania and Bulgaria clock more than twice the average speed, and the leaders Korea and Japan boast speeds as much as three times faster. Is government intervention into the CRTC the right thing to do?

Online Party of Canada (OPC) is an Internet-based Political Party, pending registration. OPC is a non-traditional political party; it focuses on issues instead of platforms or individuals. OPC operates exclusively online and promotes an innovative voting system inspired from today’s popular technologies such as like/dislike, share, tweet, comment.

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