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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2nd February 2011

Catching Up On The Indie Scene

drinkbox studiosCo-op PlayStation®Network platformer Tales from Space: About a Blob is now available to North About A BlobAmerican PlayStation®Plus members! Developer DrinkBox Studios has also confirmed that the European release of the game will occur on February 9th – the same week the title will be made generally available to North American PlayStation®Store users.

DrinkBox CEO Ryan MacLean had this to say about the company’s release plans: “We’re very excited that the game is finally coming out! The release is definitely a big milestone for our studio. After two-plus years of development we’re ready to sit back and watch OTHER people have fun with the game!”

Tales from Space: About a Blob is a side-scrolling action-platformer about alien Blobs that land on an Earth-like planet and begin eating everything around them. The game features local co-op play, puzzles, special Blob powers and a healthy dose of humour.

Rusty Axe GamesRusty Axe Games is proud to announce the first playable demo of Dungeon BrawlDungeon Brawl, a free, retro arcade-style RPG. This demo features the first 5 of 9 game levels, with the other levels are expected to be released in early March. Travel back in time with the studio’s free 80′s style arcade RPG dungeon romp, a browser based ode to the great games of our youth. No download is required, you can just click and play.

Wild Games StudioWild Games Studio, creators of Dhaila’s Adventure, has released a trailer for its upcoming game Qwon Tribe, which is expected to be launched for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in March. This energetic game is addictive and will come loaded full of surprises for players. The ultimate goal in latest mobile title is to survive through forty levels of high resolution game play to save the tribe Qwon.

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Just in time for all of the political fun going on in BC, D2D Campaign Solutions would like you to know about their online, mobile, d2d campaign solutionsvolunteer management solution that provides election campaign managers unprecedented power in mobilizing door-to-door campaign volunteers, identifying vote-swinging issues, and growing candidate support at the grass roots level like never before.

Use D2D Campaign Solutions to unlock new voter power, make use of the latest mobile technology, and win your election. Central to differentiating the product are engaging more volunteers into the campaign and enabling real-time geographic and trend analysis allowing you to respond quickly with precision. D2D was founded by Julian Haigh and Andrei Iancu, is based in Vancouver and will soon be launching an app called Canvass2Go.Battlegoat Studios

RTS game Battlegoat Studios has released a ten page PDF version of their comments and thoughts in regards to the Canadian copyright reform progress. The report looks at what the government has said, as well as what is right and what is wrong with the future of Canadian copyright initiatives.

Single Digit LabsNew Vancouver studio Single Digit Labs has released Dog Booth, an iPhone app that puts dog faces on people’s bodies. dog boothSome dogs are funny, some are cute and some look mean. You can say endless things with this app.

According to the app’s description, it only takes seconds to take a picture, have the app find all the faces for you and put 3D dog heads on them. Editing an image is simple and fun, sharing it with everyone you know is extremely fast. Amaze your friends, show them what they don’t expect and make them laugh out loud.

DreamCatcherToronto’s DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have officially announced the launch of ‘Painkiller – Redemption’, the newest addition to the Painkiller Universe. The player will continue the story of Daniel and Belial as they join forces for the first time to end the bloody conflict between heaven and hell. You will discover all new maps, fight off literally thousands of demonic fiends, and lose yourself in the intense gameplay rounded off with an absorbing heavy metal soundtrack.

Reinhard Pollice, Producer at JoWooD is looking forward to the release:”The newest addon brings the Painkiller franchise back to its roots. Breathtaking action, thousands of monsters and exotic weapons are a solid foundation for a Painkiller game! With Painkiller: Redemption we deliver 6 new, thrilling levels for an unbeatable price!”Painkiller Redemption

The game also features a tactical component! While reaching your objectives in each level, you unlock Tarot Cards, which will soon prove to be very helpful! In additional to that, collecting souls of fallen enemies will temporarily transform you into a mighty demon!

Features:

· 7 to 10 hours of playtime
· Collect souls to transform into a demon
· Better graphics with detailed ambience
· Over 6000 enemies, more than any previous PK game!
· Equip yourself with powerful tarot cards which can be found in secret rooms
· Up to 1000 monsters per map to ensure an intense battle with the army of hell
· Two heroes – play as the characters Belial and Daniel
· Better AI – there is nowhere to hide! Enemies will get you

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2nd February 2011

Three Different Kinds of Fight From Electronic Arts

EA SportsIf you’ve been itching for a good fight, you’ll be pleased to know that the Fight Night Champion demo from EA Sports is now available on Xbox LIVE™ and the PlayStation®Network. The demo features four of the biggest names from boxing’s past and present and will be the first demo in EA Sports™ history to include head-to-head online play.

In the Fight Night Champion demo, players can jump into the ring for three rounds of action at the famed Boardwalk Hall boxing venue with heavyweight legends, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, or three rounds of welterweight action with current boxing stars, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

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As the first EA Sports title with head-to-head online play included in the demo, players will also be able to take the four boxers online and showcase their skills to the world before the game is released on March 1, 2011.

Fight Night Champion, which is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, introduces a host of gameplay improvements to the long running, critically acclaimed franchise. 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 the demo.

BiowareBioware has released a trailer for Dragon Age Legends, which according to the game’s information,  takes place thirteen years after a group of warriors led by the Templar Ravi banded together to prevent an abomination from destroying the Free Marcher city of Kaiten in a hedonistic orgy of narcissism and opulence.

The former Viscount Khedra spent most of his life as a venerated ruler, celebrated for his wisdom. Late in life, he started to change, beginning with the construction of a great coliseum where nobles’ chosen champions competed for pride and glory. What began as games of entertainment quickly devolved into great spectacles of carnage punctuated by outlandish pageantry. The lesser nobles of Kaiten no longer settled their disputes in court, instead grievances big and small were decided by sword for the pleasure of an increasingly bloodthirsty populace.

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The Viscount’s nephew, Ravi, and his allies discovered the source of Khedra’s odd behavior: Khedra was possessed by a powerful Pride demon and was now an abomination. These heroes were able to defeat the demon in a fearsome confrontation, and mysteriously, you were there to aid them.

Now, Ravi is the Viscount of Kaiten and you are one of his most trusted allies. When a mysterious set of circumstances begin to form around his son Eiton, you are the only one he trusts to save his son. Biwaore invites you to return to Thedas in Dragon Age Legends with your friends on Facebook, where you can battle demons and darkspawn in preparation for the launch of Dragon Age II next month.

FIFA 10 UltimateTeamEA Sports has also announced a major new update for FIFA 11 Ultimate Team, the new way to play FIFA 11 via downloadable game modes for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360®. The update, which includes new features Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards plus over 50 improvements, will be live on February 17th. This is the first time major new features for FIFA Ultimate Team have been developed after the game mode released, as the FIFA franchise continues to lead the way in digital experiences for EA Sports.

“We have a thriving global community of over two million fans playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team,” said Kaz Makita, Executive Producer for FIFA. “Our commitment to these fans is that we will continue to listen to their feedback to improve and enhance their experience year round. Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards are both new innovations and features requested by the fans, and will enable players to better connect and compete with friends while playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team.”

FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer trading and team building football game . Gamers and football fans are challenged to build a squad of the world’s best players by earning, buying, selling and even trading players with other FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers. Players can take their strategically crafted squads onto the pitch to compete in online and single-player tournaments which are updated weekly. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers can access their console experience from the web for full auction and trading systems.

After only three months, FIFA 11 Ultimate Team continues to grow due to constantly updated weekly tournaments and daily item promotions. According to internal EA date, the game now boasts more than 65 million game sessions played, 171 million trades made, and 275 billion coins spent in the auction house. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is available for free (restrictions and conditions apply, please see back of pack for details) and can be downloaded through the main menu in FIFA Soccer 11 on any connected PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.

The update also includes over 50 additional refinements that were included based on the feedback from the FIFA community. Some of the additional changes include updates to the auctions to make it easier to track auctions or repost expired items, Power Passing assistance is switched off by default in online matches, and a number of general stability improvements as well as the following:

Play A Friend Challenge

* Play A Friend Challenge enables you to test your skills against your friend’s Ultimate Team, even when your friend isn’t online. Take on your friend’s squad whenever you like with the CPU controlling your friend’s squad. Results are recorded and presented to your friend the next time they log on to their console. Now you can prove who has the best Ultimate Team whenever you are ready to play. Plus, when you return to your console, you can see who played your squad, left you a message, and challenge them to a rematch when you want to play.

Friends Leaderboards

* Compare your progress in FIFA 11 Ultimate Team against friends automatically with personalized leaderboards. Regardless of how you choose to play, you can now compete and compare your progress whether you are a trader, expert team builder, top entrepreneur in the auctions, or simply want to compare the value of your club.

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28th January 2011

Canadians Like Hippos In Their Digital Media

koboKobo Wireless eReader is now available at Best Buy Canada, both in-store and online. You can pick up the Onyx, Pearlized Lilac or Metallic Silver eReaders for $149.00 each from Best Buy, Chapters-Indigo or Walmart stores across Canada.

Canada 3.0The 2011 Canada 3.0 conference has opened registration for this year’s event, which will take place in Stratford on May 2nd through 5th. The Early Bird rate of $495.00 + taxes and service charge will be available until midnight on March 3th, when ticket prices will go up to $695.00 + taxes and processing charge. There is a StartUp/Small Business/Non-Profit price available for $225.00 + taxes and service charge as well as ticketing options for students. If you register before February 18th you will automatically be entered for a draw to win a copy of MacroWikinomics, personally addressed and signed by author Anthony D. Williams. Please see the Canada 3.0 web site for this year’s confirmed speakers.

bug trackerMonde Media and Bug Tracker have made two personnel announcements this morning – Jean-Robert Michel, Monde Media’s former General Manager has moved into the dual role of Production Director for both Bug-Tracker and Monde Media, while Monde Media’s former COO has become the new Client Relationship Director for both entities.

In other comings and goings, the BC Technology Industry Association announced today that its President, Pascal BCTIASpothelfer will leave the organization June 30th to return to the corporate sector. Spothelfer was appointed President & CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association in November of 2007, and since that time has successfully raised the level of recognition of the organization and BC’s technology industry through his leadership, commitment to collaboration, and tireless advocacy efforts.

“My past three years at the BCTIA have allowed me to get to know our technology community on a very different level. It has been most rewarding both personally and professionally,” said Spothelfer. “I have met and worked with incredibly smart, engaged and inspiring people – experiences that will fuel my passion to assist in the further growth of BC’s technology industry not just until my departure from the BCTIA, but in whatever role I pursue in the future. “

Paul Gorton, Chair of the BCTIA commented, “We will greatly miss having Pascal’s passion and vision. On behalf of the Board, I thank Pascal for his commitment to the BCTIA, and we wish him the utmost success in the future.”

Pascal will continue to lead the BCTIA and work with the board on the leadership transition until his departure at the end of June. A formal search has been initiated by the BCTIA and will be facilitated by Odgers Berndtson. Please contact Caroline Jellinck at 604 602 2556 for more information.

Canadian developers seem to have a thing for hippos – here is some info from three Canadian enterprises which contain “hippo” in their names.

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd has launched the second closed beta for its cartoon-style third person action shooter, MicroVolts. This second phase of testing will continue for approximately two weeks in preparation for the official release day. In addition, the company has released all-new screen shots of the game and is holding a special “Free-for-All” tournament which will kick off Saturday, February 5th. Winning players will be awarded their choice of any weapon they want to use with the launch of the Open Beta. Players who visit the game’s website will be able to learn more about the game and the events as well as register for a beta key.
microvolts
MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years. No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World. All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!

With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept.

tiny hipposTiny Hippos, a start-up based in Waterloo, has a product which will be of interest to all of you mobile developers out there. According to its site, this product, which is named Ripple Emulator, is a multi-platform mobile environment emulator that runs in a web browser and is custom-tailored to HTML5 mobile application testing. Ripple aims to reduce the challenges being faced by mobile developers caused by today’s platform fragmentation in the marketplace.

Ripple is built as a Chrome extension, running as part of the Chrome browser and takes advantage of our back-end services to perform some of the more complex operations. It offers the ability to look under the hood of your mobile applications, gaining full visibility into what your it is doing. It also allows for the use of existing tools to perform JavaScript debugging, HTML DOM inspection, automated testing, as well as multiple device and screen resolution emulation in real-time without having to redeploy the mobile application or restart the emulator.

mercury groveMeanwhile, just down the highway a bit from Tiny Hippos is Mercury Grove, an Ottawa-based developer who has an enterprise called Network Hippo, which according to network hippoMercury Grove’s site connects to users’ email, address books, and social networks to consolidate all of their professional contacts, remind them to stay in touch with important people, and makes it easy to connect online or through email. Mercury Grove also offers a service called Web Collaboration, which is an online workspaces for internal teams, partners, and clients. Unlike other team sharing services, Web Collaboration can be setup in minutes and requires no download, installation or administration.

JostleAnother collaboration-style service I stumbled across is Vancouver-developed Jostle. I found this site because the person behind Jostle’s Twitter account retweeted one of my Game Design Expo live tweets. According to the Jostle web site, a People Engagement Platform™ that glues enterprises together. This platform enables innovative companies to clarify their organization, reveal hidden expertise and engage their employees. Jostle is enterprise software that is accessible from any web-enabled device and works like a website, without the need to install software.

blue74Toronto’s Blue74 Labs has released a statement announcing that IIA, the studio’s critically acclaimed real-life massively multiplayer “outdoor” role-playing game sold tens of thousands of memberships in the first 48 hours of its release, making it the fastest-selling ARG game of all time. The IIA Spy Game is being compared to blockbuster hits “The Game”, “Spy Game”, and “Halting State”, a book by Charles Stross.

The IIA (International Intelligence Agency) is a real life multi-player game that gives players a real life, real feel, “off computer” role-playing game. Players don’t know about the actual game play until they are engaged in the game, which was made globally available on January 24th via a small posting on the popular “Ycombinator: Hacker News”, a web site for Internet start-ups. Expectations were less than 100 memberships to be sold the first day, Mike Curry noticed a very heavy load on his web server – realizing the game had gone viral. Registration for the game is $5.00, which interested players send via PayPal.

The company does have an official site for the game, however they are not releasing the information until its members exercise a critical classified mission. It’s believed that the mission entails a Remote Controlled UAV helicopter taking aerial photographs of the building that houses their website. It’s believed they are doing this to antic entertainmentensure the security of the building.

In an article released yesterday on Gamasutra, Nexon America VP of Business Development Won Il Sue spoke with reporter Chris Nutt about the million dollar Nexon iNitiative, during which the publisher asked for game dev submissions from studios around the world. Coming out at the top of heap with signed deals: One2Tribe from Poland, and Ontario studio Antic Entertainment. Nexon did not reveal exactly what type of game the London, ON Antic team is working on, other than to say one of the studios is working on a Facebook game and that both games, while somewhat of an unusual nature for Nexon, will be of the social media genre. In the meantime, check out Antic’s free to play Junk Battles, a teletoon retrobrowser-based free-to-play fast-paced vehicle combat game.

All’s fair in love and war in cartoon-land as TeleToon Retro couples pursue the love of fans and a spot in TeleToon Retro’s Hall of Fame as the Top 5 Sweethearts in honour of Valentine’s Day. Starting today and running until Sunday, February 6, viewers can vote online for their top 5 favourite cartoon love matches, for a place in TeleToon Retro history.

TeleToon Retro has narrowed the field to 18 classic animated admirers and is inviting fans to select which couples are the Top 5 Sweethearts of all-time. The list of nominees for the Top 5 Sweethearts is made up of the following cartoon couples:

  • Smurfette and Hefty Smurf
  • The Baroness and Destro (G.I. Joe)
  • He-Man and Frosta
  • Pepe Le Pew and Penelope cat
  • Fred and Wilma Flintstone
  • Batman and Catwoman
  • Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Alvin and Britney
  • George and Jane Jetson
  • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo
  • Clark Kent and Lois Lane
  • Granny and Tweety
  • Fred and Daphne (Scooby Doo)
  • Optimus Prime and Elita One
  • Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble
  • Josie and Alan M (Josie and the Pussycats)
  • Wonder Woman and Superman (Superfriends)
  • She-Ra and Pirate Sea Hawke

Following the voting period, the Top 5 Sweethearts will be announced on Friday, February 11 and a special programming marathon featuring all five couples will air as part of the “Retro Rewind” programming block on Sunday, February 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. These winners will be inducted into the TeleToon Retro Hall of Fame, joining the Top 5 favourite cartoon characters of all-time as chosen by the fans in December 2010.

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posted in Animation, Associations, Business News, Careers, Digital Products, Events, Everyone 10+, Game Dev, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Peripherals, Shooters, Simulations, Social Media, Software, Studios, Teen, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

27th January 2011

Step Into the Creatisphere

There is a ton of news coming out of the Canadian Creatisphere today. Grab a coffee and let’s take a look at what’s going on so far. Congratulations to the team over at Capcom Studios Vancouver whose Dead Rising 2: Case Zero game was the top selling title last year on XBLA with 689 000 units downloaded to Xboxes around the world. Congratulations also to the Assassin’s Creed team over at Ubisoft Montreal for being named as the Guinness world record holder with Assassin’s Creed II being featured on 127 international publications between April 2009 and April 2010.

The BallsA free version of The Balls! Extreme Sports Ball Busting has been released by Savant Inc. The Balls game is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; the paid version is listed at 99 cents USD. The free version offers OpenFeint and the same great graphics, audio, and frantic gameplay as the paid version, with a teaser for another mode coming in the future.

Riese Battle for EleysiaRiese: The Battle for Eleysia by Genius Factor Games has had an update to its features, along with a bug fix. Add features include the addition of Head-to-Head Multiplayer (via local wifi), stability improvements and aforementioned bug fixes, along with updates to the battle screens, How To Play help and screen-flow for editing decks. Riese: The Battle for Eleysia sells in the iTunes App Store for $2.99 USD.

Drift ManiaDrift Mania Championship is now available worldwide on the Mac AppStore for $2.99. This new high-resolution version includes all the in-app purchase items that are available as options in the iOS version. As with all previous platform versions, the Mac AppStore version is loaded with new features like real drifting, as well as the ability to compete with users who are on other iOS or Android devices. Experience longer burnouts, taking 11 different vehicles through 3 levels of difficulty on 8 tracks as you compete to take over the global leaderboards.

ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver has just announced its latest event, which will be held on February 8th in the Djavad Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterMowafaghian Cinema at the SFU Woodward’s campus on West Hastings. Tron – Cult Favourite to Franchise will feature two presentations that will take a look at this convergence of  Vancouver film and game development teams. The first presentation will cover the visual effects used in the making of TRON and TRON: Legacy. This session will be presented by TRON animator and programmer Frank Vitz and Darren Poe, Digital Supervisor at Digital Domain Vancouver.  In the second presentation, former Propaganda Games Technical Art Director Gary Snyder and Art Director David Patch will share their experiences working with the TRON: Legacy film team to recreate the TRON assets and storyline in the video game TRON: Evolution. Tickets for this event are $25.00 for non-SIGGRAPH members or $15.00 for members and include a pre-event social mixer.

Hothead GamesHothead Games has released part two of the Ask Dr. Mike video series with Dr. Mike Hayward. Watch this intense and dramatic documentary which studies the habits of Swarmites as they weave their way through diabolical and unrelenting gauntlets of death and destruction, attempting to be the last pudgy blue moron still standing. It is highly recommended that those who are planning to take over their own Swarm colonies study the video series closely, so that you will be prepared for any situation into which your Swarmites will undoubtedly  place themselves. If you have the opportunity to practice herding cats, I suggest you take advantage of the experience.

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

As part of the PlayStation®Network “11 for 11” sale, players can grab Big Sandwich’s thrilling dragon-themed game Big Sandwich GamesHOARD™ for half-price until January 31st. With game play for 1 to 4 players, HOARD™ combines action and strategy elements to create an innovative gameplay mix unlike anything else on the store. The game features over 35 levels, 4 game modes, 100+ badges to earn, trophy support, leaderboards, and anyHoard-Screenshot combination of couch and online players. Best of all, HOARD™ puts the dragon in the hero’s role, where he must strive against cruel knights, fierce wizards, conniving burglars, and even rampaging giants.

Critics and consumers alike have appreciated HOARD’s unique design. IGN recently honored HOARD™ with the “Best Quick Fix” Best of 2010 award, and the game was also nominated in the “Best Competitive Multiplayer” category. Joystiq says “HOARD’s gameplay shines,” and 1UP reports “the game hides a surprising layer of complexity and strategy.”

“If you’ve been keeping an eye on HOARD™ but have been waiting for the right time to try it, now’s officially that time,” says Glenn Barnes, Big Sandwich’s Creative Director. “For less than 8 bucks you get a proven, acclaimed game Technology Impact Awardswith over 20 hours of gameplay. It’s a no-brainer.”

Don’t forget to get your nominations in for The Technology Impact Awards. The BCTIA will be accepting submissions for BC’s top technology innovations, companies and individuals from all sectors until March 11th. The TIAs will be held on the evening of June 9th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Award categories are as follows:

Technology Awards: Most Promising Pre-Commercial Technology, Excellence in Product Innovation and Best Application of Technology

Company Awards: Most Promising Start-up, Emerging Company of the Year and Company of the Year

Personal Recognition Awards: Team of the Year, Community Engagement and Person of the Year

Canadian Marketing AssociationThe Canadian Marketing Association invites you to attend the 2nd Annual CMA Awards Case Study event, where attendees will join Master of Ceremonies Aldo Cundari in a close-up look at some of today’s top creative works and better understand how they came to be CMA Award winners. The Case Study event will be held in the Victoria Room at  Toronto’s Metropolitan Hotel on February 2nd from 3:30 – 5:30pm, with a networking social immediately following the session. All-inclusive tickets are $75.00 each for CMA members or $95.00 earch for non-members. Tickets for the cocktail party only are $25.00 each for CMA members or $30.00 each for non-members.

merging media conferenceMerging+Media has announced that there will be a Spring session featuring Anita Ondine-Smith, who will present an exclusive Transmedia Seminar + Lab on April 28th and 29th at the VanCity Theatre in Vancouver. The focus of this session will be a 1/2 day Seminar with a 1 ½ day hands-on in-depth lab on the full cycle of Transmedia development, writing, production and distribution from Conception to Consumption. Event participants will obtain a framework for production as well as Creative Toolkit and Business Strategies for Transmedia production. This Transmedia theory, Case studies and architectural workshop is designed to provide tools to create successful transmedia productions. The seminar portion of the event will be open to 100-150 people, while 20-24 producers, writers, broadcasters, commissioning editors will be selected to take part in the workshop.

Merging+Media has also confirmed that the next full conference and master class will be returning in October. Like the first conference held last fall, this event will feature world class speakers and experts who will present “Best in Class” case studies and high calibre discussions on the business of cross-media production. The two day programme will include a Masterclass + Conference, International B2B Matchmaking, Networking receptions, M+M Socializer + Digital Gallery to showcase our latest local technology. The Merging+Media 2011 Masterclass will include the Merging+Media Pitch and Development Prize. Keep an eye on the Merging+Media site for confirmed dates and speakers.

Canadian Telecom SummitThe Canadian Telecom Summit has early bird pricing available until February 28th, which means you can save $200.00 off the regular registration price. The 10th annual Canadian Telecom Summit will be taking place in Toronto on May 31st through June 2nd and offers three days of discussion regarding the key issues and trends surrounding the Canadian Telecom industry.

swarmjamGroup buying site SwarmJam, which launched across all Postmedia Network properties in December has expanded to the Winnipeg area through a partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press. The promotion-based system uses a platform through which consumers are connected with local businesses. SwarmJam’s group buying service offers savings of 50% or better, which for some deals can actually grow progressively better as more people sign onl For “progressive deals”, when the offer closes, the number of cumulative purchases determines the actual discount. So, these deals become better as subscribers share the promotion with friends, family and people in their social network. Users of the service simply sign up for a free subscription to get the SwarmJam Winnipeg Daily Deal emailed directly to their inbox. They can then click on deals they like, pay online, print the certificate and visit the business to redeem it. There are currently thirteen major urban and suburban areas which offer SwarmJam deals.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive, publisher of Mission Against Terror, has launched Occupation Mode with a twist. Alongside the hotly anticipated new game mode which brings hardcore, capture-the-flag-style gameplay comes the chance to win the most unique and priceless weapon so far seen in the popular, free-to-play shooter – the Golden AK-47.

“We have been saving this announcement for just the right moment,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “With the frenzy of excitement over Occupation Mode, it seemed like the perfect time to blow everyone’s minds with this news. The Golden AK-47 is the ultimate showpiece for the M.A.T. community.”Golden AK47

The Lottery System enables players to take a break from a raw competition of Occupation Mode. Just like any other lottery, players step up, lay down their ticket and spin an actual wheel that appears right in the middle of the screen. The Golden AK-47 is merely the ultimate prize; there are plenty more for those who are feeling lucky.

“There are a whole assortment of weapons that the Lottery System offers,” added Ho. “Many, like the Golden AK-47, are one-of-a-kind items that cannot be purchased. We hope the M.A.T. Community enjoys the new System. It’s our way of helping them forget the winter doldrums.

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posted in Action Adventure, Associations, Awards, Business News, Card Games, Careers, Casual, Dev Diaries, Digital Products, Driving, Education, Events, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Game Dev, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, RTS, Shooters, Teen, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th January 2011

Six Canadian Game Franchises Receive Interactive Achievement Award Nominations

marblemediamarblemedia interactive and Teletoon have flipped the On skatoonyswitch for Skatoony’s web page, which is filled with games, show information, downloadable craft projects and videos. Skatoony is a combined live action and animation quiz show for kids. Each week the two hosts, Chudd Chudders and The Earl pit 3 animated characters against real kids who hope to survive the show’s shenanigans, temperamental producer and environmental challenges to be declared victorious.

aiasSeveral Canadian titles have been named as finalists for the AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards which will be presented at DICE Las Vegas this coming February 10th. The dev teams from EA Canada will be competing against each other in the Sports Game of the Year category with both FIFA Soccer 11 and NHL 11 receiving nominations. The debut title for United Front Games, ModNation Racers, has been named to the Racing Game of the Year category.

Relic Entertainment’s Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising has been nominated in the Strategy Game of the Year category, while Ubisoft Montreal action title Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is competing in the Achievements in Animation category. Bioware has been named to the Outstanding Character Performance category for Mass Effect 2 – Male Shepard, while Mass Effect 2 was given the nod for both the Outstanding Achievement in Story,  Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year and Game of the Year categories.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Award as well as Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play. The Ubisoft Montreal blockbuster will also be going head to head with Bioware’s blockbuster Mass Effect 2 as they compete in the  Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction category. Best of luck to all of our Canadian nominees!

krangGAMESVancouver Film School graduate Nicholas Yonge has officially launched his indie game development studio krangGAMES, which will initially be focusing on flash games with an eye to expanding its products to other platforms in the future. The studio is currently developing DotGuy vs The Galaxy, which is an action-puzzle game where the player must successfully guide DotGuy out of a damaged spaceship. According to the game’s description, DotGuy vs The Galaxy will feature a campaign mode, unlockable modes of play, multiple playable characters, and user-made content via the Assembly Level Editor. krangGAMES also developed a game named Prior, which was created for the Ludum Dare Competition #19. Prior is a msyterious 2D platformer that was built in Adobe Flash, and in following with the LD19 theme of Discovery, players must navigate through a dark facility in an effort to figure out who they are, what has happened, where they are, and why they are there, developing their story piece by piece.

Hothead GamesHothead Games has brought Swarm creator, Dr. Mike Hayward, out of his dark and windowless office for a few short minutes to explain how players can control their “Swarm” in this first edition of “Ask Dr. Mike.”

Since Dr. Mike tends to speak in programming code without even realizing it, Hothead brought in “man of the people” and “regular guy”, Lead Designer, Pete Low, to bridge the gap and explain to us laypeople the unique and fun way to control your Swarm. Swarm is the upcoming and ultra addictive action game from UTV Ignition and Hothead Games set to release early this year. Dr. Mike did his PhD research in the field of artificial intelligence, and while his research didn’t directly relate to causing the horrific deaths of little cute and pudgy blue creatures, he has harnessed his work to realize that vision in Swarm. In the newly released video, Dr. Mike shows us everything from how to jump, group up, huddle and even stack and bash your Swarmites.

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

Swarm gives players control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drives them through an intense and often suicidal battle of survival. Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where players move all the Swarmites at once. Steer the flock of pudgy, clueless little blue morons through the game and they naturally flock and flow around obstacles. Creatively combine swarm moves to work your way through a relentlessly dangerous and hilariously brutal environment. Compete against friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way. Swarm is rated T for Teen by the ESRB

EA SportsEA SPORTS™ and Virgin Gaming™ have penned a new agreement which names Virgin Gaming as the official worldwide provider of online tournaments for EA SPORTS. The agreement covers all head-to-head competitive play, pay-to-enter and sponsored tournaments for select EA SPORTS console video games.
virgin gaming
As part of the agreement, the Virgin Gaming tournament platform will integrate directly with select EA SPORTS titles offering seamless web functionality and enhanced community tools for competitive gaming across Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 consoles. The first tournaments will begin early 2011, with details to be announced in the near future.

“EA SPORTS is the leading sports video game brand and publisher in the world, and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunities to compete in some of their very best multiplayer sports games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of competitive gaming, video games and social/community networking, and we are excited that EA SPORTS shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”

“Competitive online gaming is an increasingly popular component of our industry and a great way for EA SPORTS and Virgin Gaming to help connect gamers around the world through the global language of sports,” said Peter Moore, President of EA SPORTS. “Virgin Gaming demonstrates the system-wide integrity we desire, and this is a great opportunity for EA SPORTS fans to experience secure and impeccably managed online tournaments for some of our top titles.”

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) today offered a first look at Occupation Mode, the eagerly anticipated update which brings hardcore, capture-the-flag-style competitive action to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.

“Gamers have been extremely curious,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Since there hasn’tMAT Occupation Mode been an Old School hardcore competitive title in quite some time, gamers seem like they can’t wait to get their hands on Occupation Mode. We hope that these screenshots hold them over until Occupation Mode goes live, which, we promise, will be very soon.”

What’s New in Occupation Mode:

· New maps
· Territory capture and control – the two essential ingredients of a competitive title
· New team-based action and coordination
· Ability to set time-challenges – game creators determine how long one team has to hold all points on map for the win
· Opportunity to test out recently purchased or unlocked weapons in new, challenging environments

“With Occupation Mode, we offer players a great mix of flexibility and raw competition,” added Ho. “Some players want an experience that is nothing less than a fight to the death, with matches lasting countless rounds until one team finally emerges victorious from the firefight. For others, it’s about light, scrimmage with friends. We are proud to serve both communities of gamers with this latest update to M.A.T.”

Mobile IT management solution provider Rove has announced the rapidly growing adoption of its award-winning solution, Rove Mobile Admin, a secure smartphone- and tablet-enabled IT management solution giving IT staff unprecedented mobile access to incident detection, diagnosis, triage and resolution.

Spurring the surge of interest and uptake has been Rove’s Dashboard, functionality that aggregates alerts, alarms, notifications and tickets from IT monitors and incident management systems, presents them to IT administrators directly on their mobile device’s screen, and makes it possible to drill down quickly into problem details to identify the cause and implement a fix.

“We use Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager to monitor a wide variety of security and server health issues,” said Jeff Rountree, Global Network Manager for Dover’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG), a world-leading manufacturer of industrial pumps and compressors. “While email alerts for warnings and errors are available to us, setting them up takes a number of steps and our time. With the Rove Mobile Admin Dashboard my team can view alerts directly, without the need for any email escalations. The added value is being able to receive alerts regarding our Exchange and/or Blackberry servers even if they’re offline – as long we have network connectivity we can get the Rove Dashboard alerts and begin taking corrective action.”

“There is a growing awareness within IT organizations that robust, proven mobile solutions are required to effectively manage their networks and infrastructure,” said Russell Ure, President and COO, Rove. “Rove Mobile Admin is increasingly seen as the preferred solution to address these needs.”

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18th January 2011

Zombies Robots Aliens Heroes and Assassins Make For Busy Gamers

endloop xEndloop X has announced their game Please Stay Calm, and the studio claims that you have not played this type of game before. Not only will it amuse you and your online friends, it will also help prepare you for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Well, if not apocalypse, then at least a mild case of zombies.please stay calm

If this sounds like your cup of tea and you have an iOS device for the initial roll-out, feel free to here sign up here as Endloop X is taking applications for early access.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the unique features we are building for Please Stay Calm:

* Innovative co-operative gameplay
* Unique location based exploration that lets you play on-site as well as remotely
* Immersive alternate reality

The team will be rolling out the title city by city, as well as platform by platform. On a side note, Endloop X is looking for a PHP developer to fill a contract position. Know anybody?

thandros mediaHoping to show that not all robots are purely cold and mechanical, Thandros Media presents “Fun With Thandros,” a playful new iPhone app featuring a fun-loving robot who is sure to thrill little ones and big kids alike. This delightful app features four classic games: Play, Maze Quest, Stories, and Twins.

Jeffrey Pierson, the creator of the characters featured in the app, worked with the programmers at Thandros Media and author Mike Jackson. The team understood that children love digital gaming and grasp it at a thandrosfaster rate than anyone else, but for their first app wanted to incorporate a classic style and varied gameplay mode that many apps seemed to be lacking – and thus, “Fun With Thandros” was born.

“I first drew Thandros for my nephew,” says Pierson, “and he really liked him, so I started to think about what he would act like, and who some of his friends could be. It was a lot of fun to come up with this world, and I’m looking forward to adding to it in the future.”

The new app introduces kids and their parents to Thandros, a happy, friendly robot who loves to go on adventures and isn’t afraid to undertake a quest or a challenge. Toddlers can enjoy meeting Thandros in the “Play” mode, where they can tap on the robot and see how he reacts. The preschool set and older can choose “Stories,” with their choices throughout the course of the tale affecting its ultimate outcome, or “Twins,” a matching game that reinforces memory skills. Finally, big kids are sure to love “Maze Quest,” which takes Thandros on a journey through simple to complex mazes in his efforts to halt the evil Professor Stouch’s dastardly plans.

With its colorful, hand-drawn graphics, cheerful music, and exciting sound effects, “Fun With Thandros” is sure to provide hours of entertainment for children of all ages, while teaching them important lessons about sharing, hard-work, and determination. Fun With Thandros 1.0 is $0.99 USD and available worldwide exclusively through the iTunes App Store in the Games – Kid’s section.

UbisoftUbisoft announced today that the Animus Project Update 2.0 downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system is now available on XBOX LIVE® and PlayStation® Network for download for free.

The Animus Project Update 2.0 includes a brand-new game mode and brand new map for Assassin’s Creed Assassin's Creed BrotherhoodBrotherhood Multiplayer. The Pienza Map provides the perfect free-running playground where predators and targets can blend and disappear.

In the new Chest Capture Multiplayer Mode, two teams, comprised of three players each, partner with fellow Templars to either defend or capture Chests. The “Capturers” must use their HUDs to locate and capture the chests, while “Defenders” must use their skills and quick reflexes to track down their foes and protect the chests.

Also included in Animus Project Update 2.0 is the new “Templar Score” feature. To achieve order and maintain competition, Abstergo created the Templar Grade. Updated weekly and based on the users scores of the previous four weeks, the Templar Grade splits recruits in 10 specific slices – each representing part of the hierarchy of the community. The goal is to reward diligent work by Abstergo recruits. Assassins’ Creed Brotherhood is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

Bioware CorpBioWare™ and Electronic Arts Inc. announced today that Mass Effect™ 2 is now available on the PlayStation 3 for $59.99 in North America at retail and on PlayStation® Network*. The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2, which received a perfect 10 out of 10 score from PlayStation: The Official Magazine, will include six hours of bonus content, including ” Kasumi – Stolen Memories”, “Overlord” and the award-winning “Lair of the Shadow Broker”.
Mass Effect 2 for PS3
“The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 offers gamers a great entry point to the Mass Effect experience,” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect franchise. “We’re extremely excited and proud to now bring PlayStation 3 owners the opportunity to explore the rich and tumultuous universe of Mass Effect and shape the story and events within it by the individual choices they make.”

Mass Effect Genesis, an interactive comic from Dark Horse Comics and BioWare, will also be available today exclusively on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, giving players a high-level overview of the events of the original Mass Effect. The interactive comic offers players the chance to make critical choices that will affect their storyline in Mass Effect 2 and beyond. Mass Effect Genesis is included in the Cerberus Pack, a downloadable content pack included for first time purchasers of Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3. Players who do not have original access to the Cerberus Pack can purchase it for $14.99 on the PlayStation Network. Mass Effect 2 on the PlayStation 3 has a MSRP of $59.99 in North America and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

reverie world studiosInternational publisher 505 Games and Ontario developer Reverie World Studios have penned a publishing deal for the studio’s upcoming massively multiplayer online real time strategy (MMORTS) title Dawn of Fantasy. Set in the massively multiplayer fantasy world of

Mythador which supports its own living economic, trading, development and diplomacy systems, players will be given the opportunity to leave their mark on the land’s already war torn history when Dawn of Fantasy for PC is launched on June 3rd, 2011.

Offering a fresh perspective on the fantasy RTS genre, Dawn of Fantasy will deliver a persistent world war experience like none before.Thousands of Players living, building, exploring and fighting together to crush with AI controlled strongholds and empires, in a rich tapestry of story-driven encounters that help to build upon the already weighty single player campaign experience. In a world that continues to trade and evolve even after logging off, Players will also be able to test their armies’ constitution in matched head-to-head, multiplayer encounters on their road to becoming the biggest city-state in Mythador.

Each of the three different races available to players – elves, men and orcs – offer a radically different playing style based on a carefully balanced system of strengths and weaknesses. With an in-game narrative driven by a dramatic historical background, Dawn of Fantasy will combine rich storytelling with compelling gameplay to provide a strategy experience to appeal to MMO and RTS fans alike.

Dawn of Fantasy“Dawn of Fantasy is nothing short of the next step in the genre, highlighting the best elements that MMORTS games have to offer with just the right level of considered innovation,” commented Ralph Pitt-Stanley, 505 Games. “In what we feel is an underrepresented genre, we’re confident that Dawn of Fantasy will have what it takes to stay in the hearts of MMO, RTS and fantasy fans for a long time to come.”

“As we catch a glimpse of the finish line after many years of development, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with 505 Games,” said Konstantin Fomenko, Reverie World CEO.“Their dedication, ambition, and extensive history in the strategy genre will prove indispensable as we work toward completing our upcoming MMORTS, Dawn of Fantasy.”

Designed with low system requirements in mind, the Dawn of Fantasy engine will nonetheless render armies of thousands of units and hundreds of terrain objects on screen for epic battle encounters. Once the dust settles on the in game campaigns, players can try exploring their creative side by using the powerful map editor to design the fantasy encounters of their dreams.

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14th January 2011

Garage Inc Now Available for PC Gamers

Garage IncGarage Inc., TransGaming Studio’s latest title, which launched to critical acclaim last week, is now available for the PC. The strategic time management game can be purchased at GamersGate for $9.99 USD. Now PC gamers can experience the challenge of operating an auto repair shop as Italian immigrant Angelo while dealing with finances, prohibition and the mob in 1920′s era Chicago. Earn money and live the American dream while keeping your customers happy, hiring new automotive specialists and dealing with special jobs for the local Mafioso.

Bioware CorpBioware has released information on another region in the Dragon Age 2 world. Sundermount is the highest mountain the range surrounding Kirkwall, and folklore gives the mountain a fearsome reputation. Legend says that Sundermount was the site of a vicious battle sundermountwhere both sides unleashed horrors into the waking world, and unholy creatures prowl the heights to this very day, unaware that the war for which they were summoned is long since over.

bnotionsbnotions is inviting people to sign up for the beta of their upcoming location-based squad espionage game Urban Ops. According to the game’s blog, bnotions is hoping for a Toronto launch around February 15th, when they hope to add some fun for the users of FourSquare and other location-based services. The premise behind Urb-Ops is to turn your city into a game board complete with teams, upgrades, competitions and prizes. The company also states that they have some cool long term plans built around: real-time, augmented reality, minigames, sponsorships, playing cards, social media integration.

Content 360Developers are invited to enter the Content 360 Digital Creativity Festival Competitive Showcase to pitch your newest concepts in audience engagement to the global TV & media industry at MIPTV 2011 in Cannes, France this April 4th – 7th. The competition features four categories and offers your company the unique opportunity to win international recognition, meet new business partners and secure development contracts from prestigious media groups. Entries will be accepted until February 14th 2011

Interactive & Cross-Media Digital Entertainment Formats: FremantleMedia and RTL Group are looking for ideas that are strongly anchored in the digital space and fully adapted to the all-digital, all-connected world of today. Ideas should go beyond a TV experience with an online extension, focusing on multi-platform implementation and transmedia consumption. Submissions can include online apps, mobile apps, social media and gaming concepts.The winner of this category will be awarded €10,000 (approximately $13 000.00 CAD) in funding to further development and jointly exploit the winning idea.

Smart Phone App For Youth Engagement: The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is looking for apps to be developed as a companions or standalone products in relation to the NFB documentaries “Sexy Inc.” and “Staying Real,” which explore sexual stereotypes and hypersexualisation of preteens and teens in media. The winning app should demonstrate that smart phones and rich media tablets can be effective educational tools while being entertaining and engaging through the use of the latest digital technologies. The winner of this category will also receive a €12,000 (approximately $15 000.00 CAD) development contract.

Online & Social Game: Showcase your original social and online gaming ideas with innovative game design and similarly creative business models. Submissions should employ interactive features, social media elements and in-game revenue sources that engage the player community, such as play-along or pay-along content. Ideas can be based on a TV programme, film, toy character, or an original concept with a strong focus on a social, online or mobile experience.

Rich Media Tablet & Social TV Apps: Showcase the latest rich-media applications for smartphones or tablets that create deeper interaction with TV content through dual-screen viewing. These TV Apps can be downloadable on rich media tablets and smart phones or can be accessed online through web browsers. Concepts can be innovative new TV/Web interfaces, ideas and apps that create communities around TV programmes.

Loud Crow InteractiveLoud Crow Interactive has announced that the studio has partnered with bestselling children’s author and illustrator Sandra Boynton to develop and publish digital interactive versions of Boynton’s popular children’s books. Boynton has written over fifty books including four that reached the New York Times best sellers list, and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

The partnership will see Loud Crow develop and publish interactive digital books under a new imprint, Boynton Moo Media. The digital books will be based on Boynton’s titles, which include the popular Moo Baa La La La, The Going To Bed Book, and Barnyard Dance. The book apps will be produced for a variety of Going to bed bookdevices such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Boynton is also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and record producer, with three gold record albums, and future plans also include musical apps that will feature Boynton’s well-known recordings.

Boynton Moo Media joins the PopOut! line of digital books including PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit which has earned industry awards for design and innovation. “As soon as I saw Loud Crow’s exquisite PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I knew I’d at last found the perfect collaborator for bringing my books into the digital realm, says Sandra Boynton. “It’s so exhilarating to work with Loud Crow’s elite team of wildly original developers. Plus they all have very cool Canadian accents.”

“Loud Crow has been seeking partnerships that would build upon the early success of our PopOut! brand of books. We’re extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sandy and her team to bring her line of popular children’s books to the digital medium. The Boynton Moo Media imprint allows Loud Crow to further diversify its catalog with quality interactive content that will provide a unique and rich reading experience to Sandy’s already wonderful books,” says Calvin Wang, Founder and President.

The first Boynton Moo Media title that will be produced is The Going To Bed Book which Publishers Weekly names as being one of the best selling children’s books of all time. The digital book will feature innovative interactive elements including touch and gesture-based animations, audio, and narration. Like all of Loud Crow’s books, The Going To Bed Book app will offer the educational read-to-me mode and word-repeat-by-touch functionality and will be narrated by British invasion singer, Billy J. Kramer. The Going to Bed Book app is currently scheduled for release in February of 2011.

CIXThe Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced that Chris Arsenault – Managing Partner at iNovia Capital Inc. – will become the third Co-Chair of Canada’s principal innovation conference. A veteran early-stage investor and technology entrepreneur, Mr. Arsenault will join standing Co-Chairs Rick Nathan and Robert Montgomery in overseeing the organization and execution of CIX.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris Arsenault to our leadership team,” said Rick Nathan, Managing Director of Kensington Capital Partners Limited. “As an experienced technology investor and proven entrepreneurial success, as well as major figure in the Quebec Chris Arsenaultinnovation community, Chris brings an invaluable perspective and a wealth of expertise to CIX.”

“An active Advisory Board member for several years, Chris has already made a profound contribution to the success of CIX,” continued Robert Montgomery, CEO of Achilles Media Ltd. and First Maximilian Associates. “We’re looking forward to seeing Chris take an even more integral role in directing the conference. With his help, I am confident CIX will deliver an even greater value to the innovation community in the years to come.”

Chris Arsenault is Managing Partner at iNovia Capital and has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for seventeen years. In addition to CIX, Mr. Arsenault currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Airborne Technology Ventures, DFT Microsystems, Fixmo, Plastic Knowledge, Reflex Photonics, and Woozworld. Mr. Arsenault is an active board member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association and of the Silicon Valley-based C100 Organization (the Top Canadians in the Valley).

EA Sports FIFA World CupThe FIFA President had the pleasure of welcoming a special guest to the Home of FIFA this week when Nenad Stojkovic, FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion 2010, joined Joseph S. Blatter to celebrate the tournament’s entry into the latest version of the Guinness Book of Records.

The FIFA Interactive World Cup is now officially the largest gaming tournament in the world, with 775,000 competitors taking part in the 2010 edition of the event. This event climaxed in Barcelona in May 2010 when Nenad was crowned champion after defeating all challengers at the Grand Final.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup is of great importance to FIFA’s portfolio of events” said Mr Blatter, “the tournament gives us the opportunity to engage with a wider target audience through a platform which is of high relevance to the next generations of football fans”.

These words were echoed by the Chief Editor of the Guinness World Records, Gaz Deaves, who congratulated FIFA and its Partners EA SPORTS™ and Sony Playstation, saying “The strength of the FIFA Interactive World Cup is a hugely impressive achievement and its 775,000 participants are a testament not only to the popularity of sports videogames but also to the incredible effort it takes to organise the biggest gaming tournament in the world. We are pleased to award this record to FIFA and look forward to seeing it broken in 2011.”

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This year’s edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup now promises to be larger than ever, breaking its own record for the number of competitors. The tournament has a new format this year, with six online seasons making the event more accessible than ever. FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion Nenad has also committed himself to helping to improve the skills of fellow players all over the world. Every Friday a selection of Nenad’s favourite tips and tricks will be hosted on the FIFA Interactive World Cup section of the FIFA web site.

ipipelinePennsylvania-headquartered iPipeline®, a leader in on-demand software that supports marketing, selling, and processing solutions for the nation’s top insurance companies, has acquired the assets of Vancouver-based GaleForce® Solutions. GaleForce is a market leader in providing advanced CRM with client management, productivity, compliance and security tools, and industry-specific integrations to broker-dealers, banks, wealth management advisors, insurance agents, and other financial services professionals. The strategic acquisition establishes iPipeline’s immediate Canadian presence and brings additional key employees with CRM and related experience in financial services. iPipeline currently does business with a significant number of Canadian customers.

“The acquisition of GaleForce supports our strategy to establish a presence in Canada and penetrate the wealth management, banking and broker-dealer markets, while expanding our capabilities in the insurance industry. With diversified customers in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Oceania, South America, and the US, we have taken the first step in creating a global footprint in the financial services industry,” said Tim Wallace, CEO, iPipeline. “GaleForce provides their target markets with comprehensive CRM solutions designed to enhance advisor and agent productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, and safeguard transactions, delivering a 360-degree view of all business activities with customers. GaleForce’s SaaS-based model and solutions portfolio mesh perfectly with iPipeline’s vision to transform ideas into solutions that revolutionize the financial services industry. The integration of their products with iPipeline’s Velocity platform will enable straight-through processing for Canadian as well as global financial services clients. We are thrilled to have the GaleForce team join the iPipeline family and are excited about expanding our solutions portfolio.”

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