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.

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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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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.

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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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12th January 2011

Winter Has No Effect On Canadian Interactive Media Industry

Reminder: The CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa conference is February 16th – 18th, tickets are available online.
Reminder: Desire2Learn RoadShow presentation will be in Toronto on January 26th &  Ottawa on January 27th.
Reminder: CFC Features application deadline is January 28th & the Cineplex Entertainment Film Programme deadline is January 21st.
Reminder: The deadline for nominations for the 2011 Worldwide Short Film Fest are open until February 4th.

Shot In The DarkShot in the Dark Mysteries has launched its inaugural podcast. Hosted by company president and head writer Leigh Clements, this first podcast in the series will introduce you to the concept of mystery parties. Additional podcasts will  offer listeners many excellent tips on planning that special, and memorable, party or corporate event.

The Youth Media Awards, presented by the Youth Media Alliance, are now open for nomination Youth Media Alliancesubmissions. The Awards are open to all Canadian-made, youth-oriented productions originally broadcast or released online in English between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010. Programs and interactive content must be submitted by no later than Monday, February 21, 2011, at 5 p.m. The Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on June 2nd.

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver presents a session with Tod Maffin, podcasting pioneer, technology trend blogger and Digital Marketing Strategist on Monday, February 7th. Tod will discuss the 7 successful action steps for launching an impactful and measurable viral campaign using his ASSURED ROI™ methodology. Tod’s energetic, highly entertaining presentation style has audiences captivated, engaged, entertained and inspired. This session will be hosted at the ING Direct Cafe game developers choice awards 2010on Howe Street. Advance registration for this event is required, tickets are $35.00 for members and $40.00 for non-members. Note: membership is free, sign up and save.

Congratulations to the two Canadian nominees in this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards:

Mass Effect 2, nominated for Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Audio, Best Writing as well as Game of the Year, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, nominated for Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced a new pre-order incentive for the fast approaching release of Dragon Age 2. Those who pre-order the game before March 8th (the scheduled release date) will receive access to the following additional in-game content at no extra cost.

* The Lion of Orlais Shield, whose legend begins at the height of the Summer War, when all of Orlais was embroiled in fierce battles, with dozens of contenders for the Imperial Throne emerging. Most are long forgotten except as footnotes in scholarly tomes, but everyone remembers the gallant young lord Emile Deveraux, “The Golden Prince”. Thought outnumbered at every turn, he racked victory upon victory culminating in the Seventh Battle of Roses. While wearing this shield he broke through his uncle’s vanguard to win the day. Never knowing New Shield and Swordthe taste of defeat on the battlefield, this gallant hero is said to have met his end at the hands of a jealous lover in the dead of night. Now you can carry this magnificent shield into battle, adding to your health and XP gained, you can also increase its power with magical runes which will fit nicely into two special slots.

* The Fadeshear Sword, whose core is very old – as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond. This sword has fought the demonic hosts in countless battles, sometimes being held high in triumphant victory. Other times, it has lain broken beside its dying owner. But after every defeat it has always been reclaimed, reforged, and made stronger. Fadeshear has passed through many hands before yours. Now it is your turn to make the demons of the Fade pay for crossing the Veil into the waking world. Make use of the FadeShear Sword against demons and the undead, its power growing as your character levels up.

Original purchasers of Dragon Age 2 will receive:

* A fighting Mabari War Hound who can be summoned by a whistle to fight at your side in battle.
* The Mirror of Transformation which will allow you to change your very appearance. Hair, eyes, tattoos, and more can be changed with the click of a button.
* Access to The Black Emporium exclusive Magic and Crafting Stores that have some of the best equipment and powerful, unique recipes you’ll find in the game. It’s restocked with better items as you progress through the story.

This is a double bonus for those of us who also took advantage of the Signature Edition pre-order incentive, which ended on January 11th, because we also get access to all of this newly announced bonus content. Here is the latest Dev Diary trailer, which talks about story development.

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GamerizonMontreal’s Gamerizon has announced that over 8 Million of its Chop Chop™ games had been downloaded on the App Store in a span of less than 10 months. Each of the six existing Chop Chop™ games – Chop Chop Ninja™, Chop Chop Runner™, Chop Chop Tennis™, Chop Chop Soccer™, Chop Chop Hockey™ and Chop Chop Caveman™ – have received critical acclaim and have reached top ranking positions chop chop cavemanin their respective categories in most countries around the world, with specially strong performances in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.

“We reached the milestone with an incredibly strong performance of 1.4 Million downloads in the last 6 days alone and are well on our way to make the Chop Chop™ franchise one of the world’s best known mobile gaming franchises” said Alex Sakiz, CEO of Gamerizon.

The success of the Chop Chop™ franchise is primarily a function of the unique one-finger gameplay mechanics developed in all games and the innovative hybrid Paid/Free Business Model adopted. Three new games – Chop Chop Rocket™, Chop Chop Kicker™ and Chop Chop Alien™ are scheduled for release in February and March.

Toon BoomEmmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. has entered into a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore’s leading institution of higher learning, to set up a paperless digital animation production hub on their campus, fully equipped with a Toon Boom pipeline.

This first animation hub will serve as a great launch pad for the students in the interactive digital media courses to learn animation and create projects in a true digital production environment. In addition, Toon Boom will collaborate with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology to assist in faculty development, student development, academic and professional networking, as well as in granting prizes of excellence in the form of special awards and scholarships.

“Toon Boom is fully dedicated to the development of the animation industry in Singapore. As a result, our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic represents a great accomplishment in combining Toon Boom’s field proven expertise with Singapore’s impressive creative talent,” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.

EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champion. Setting the stage for a new standard in sports games, Fight Night Champion will deliver the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category. Check out this video about fighter stamina:

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In just a few weeks, Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.

TeradiciBurnaby’s Teradici Corporation, developer of the innovative PC-over-IP® (PCoIP®) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, has announced a strategic investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Teradici PCoIP protocol is an innovative remote display technology that allows the user’s desktop operating system, applications, and data to reside in the datacenter, eliminating the need for traditional desktop workstations, PCs and thin clients, and delivers an uncompromised user experience to each person, anywhere, without incurring the security risks associated with having data reside in remote PCs. PCoIP technology provides high resolution, full frame rate 3D graphics and high-definition media, with full USB peripheral interoperability, locally over a LAN or remotely over a high-latency WAN. It compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenter and transmits it ‘pixels only’ across a standard IP network to secure, stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.

The protocol is implemented in silicon for hardware accelerated performance and enhanced security, as well as in several software configurations, including VMware View™, the industry leading desktop virtualization platform. A growing ecosystem of over 25 third-party vendors provide a wide variety of PCoIP products including server plug-in cards, rack and tower workstations, blade PCs, zero clients, integrated monitors, and IP phones with added PCoIP capability.

CMPAThe Canadian Media Production Association has filed an intervention (PDF) with the CRTC, confirming that it does not support BCE Inc.’s application as filed, to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia Inc. The CMPA disagrees with BCE’s contention that tangible benefits are not payable as a result of this transaction. The CMPA similarly disagrees with BCE’s proposal that the valuation of benefits payable amounts to only $221 million and that a mere $40 million of that amount will go towards supporting the creation of Canadian programming. The CMPA expects to make its arguments before the CRTC when it commences hearings into the proposed acquisition on February 1, 2011.

“The benefits package proposed by BCE represents a very significant departure from the CRTC’s long-standing tangible benefits policy. It is also extremely self-serving and very largely focused on activities that are normal capital expenditures for such a company,” says Norm Bolen, the CMPA’s President and CEO.

In its intervention, the CMPA argues that the tangible benefits policy must be respected. This means that:

* the payment of tangible benefits are indeed fully required in this transaction;
* the quantum of these TV benefits must represent 10% of the total value of all CTV television assets;
* BCE must not be allowed to exclude or discount any of its television-related assets in this calculation;
* a minimum of 85% of the total tangible benefits must be allocated to the creation of Canadian programming;
* a minimum of 75% of the amount allocated to the creation of Canadian programming must be earmarked to third-parties from the independent production community; and,
* the resources allocated to the creation of independent Canadian programming must be administered by a third-party, and must not be limited to projects that are ultimately broadcast only on CTV or its many television properties.

“If BCE’s proposal is accepted by the Commission without considerable modifications it would fall extremely short of what is in the best interest of our broadcasting system and the Canadian public,” says Bolen.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) have announced that the long-awaited Occupation Mode will be coming soon to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.. With Occupation Mode, M.A.T. gains one of the most essential elements of a competitive title – territory capture and control.

“We are thrilled to offer this intense level of action to our community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “We invite gaming clans of all skill levels to see for themselves just how crazy things can get. Mission Against TerrorWe know that gamers will put Occupation Mode right up there with Old School, hardcore multiplayer classics like Counter-Strike 1.6 and the Battlefield series.”

Occupation Mode brings with it new maps and new opportunities to put that weapon you just bought to work. The real challenge, of course, is to protect yourself and your team as you keep moving forward as a unit, attacking new positions and then defending them before time runs out. When your team holds all points on a map, you win the game. When both teams fail to complete the mission, beware…you can end up spawning infinitely for a lengthy and engaging firefight over a single capture point.

“At the request of the community, we have left it up to the game creators to set just how severe the time-keeping will be,” added Ho. “For those who love a good challenge, this is the mode for you. The two teams are in constant struggle for territory control until the best team finally emerges as the winner, involving not only brute force advancement but also endurance and holding key locations.”

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7th January 2011

New Adventures Await

Reminder: The deadline to pre-order Dragon Age 2 and get the free upgrade to the Signature Edition is January 11th.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new companion character for Dragon Age 2. Enter Sebastian Vael, an archer of noble birth. Join the Exiled Prince in his quest to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his family and direct his righteous wrath on your enemies. Sebastian is a full companion character, complete with his own series of side missions. Gain the prince’s allegiance as part of The Exiled Prince downloadable pack included in the BioWare Signature Edition, or available separately for $7 or 560 Microsoft Points.

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Dragon Age 2 is a stand alone chapter in the Dragon Age franchise, and while it is not a pre-requisite to have played through the previous titles, players can import their Dragon Age files and impact how the story unfolds for them in this new chapter. Dragon Age 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled for release to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 8th.

psychicparrot gamesPsychicParrot Games has released a free iPad app for pre-schoolers. My Own Farm is an interactive educational title, as each tap on the screen generates animal movement accompanied with that animal’s My Own Farmsound, in turn helping young children learn about the sounds farm animals make while keeping them entertained.

PsychicParrot is also the developer of Farm Jump, an Open-Feint enabled iOS mobile game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Will’s friends, so grab them when you can.

citeremisQuebec’s Citérémis has released Aztaka Developer’s Edition, with the objective of bringing together the independent developers and the gaming community into our “Quest for profitability.” According to the original game’s description, “Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling actionaztaka developers edition RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to wield both the spear and the spell. The watchful Gods have returned to their slumber and the evil Ehecalk becoming ever stronger is plotting. A mad power struggle to hold the seven Ancient Phonograms will ensue. You are the last hope of your people! Race across your once great land, reunite the Phonograms and restore prosperity to the Aztec Empire!”

Aztaka Key Features

* Plunge into a new and fresh universe.
* Manipulate spiritual energy, through an innovative hybrid control scheme to solve puzzles and vanquish foes
* Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts.
* Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold.
* Acquire potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels.
* Twenty-one unique and detailed levels with grand, richly-detailed backdrops and fluid character animations

Purchasers of this Developers’ Edition will be able to enjoy the latest Aztaka release, the Aztaka OST and the Exotic Your Shape AppFrench Art book, as well as the complete game source code – all for the low introductory price of $9.99, which is 50% off the regular price.

UbisoftIn celebration of the New Year and a “New You,” Ubisoft has released the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App, which lets users view and manage their Your Shape profile and stats on-the-go, allowing them to quickly and easily track how many calories they’ve burned and monitor progress made towards their fitness or weight loss goals.

The Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App is a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Even if you don’t own the game, discover the breakthrough technology used by Your Shape, check out our videos and meet the game’s fitness experts.

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6th January 2011

Garage Inc Is Open For Business

Garage IncThe news all over twitter today has been the announcement that Garage Inc. has officially launched into the gaming arena. As we revealed in yesterday’s preview, Garage Inc. is a dynamic, multi-platform time-management game featuring a visually vibrant and imaginative style that will take players into 1920’s prohibition-era Chicago. The game, which is already receiving 4 star+ ratings in iTunes, revolves around the life of Garage IncAngelo Marito, a car mechanic and recent Italian immigrant who is trying to make a life for himself by opening his very own car garage. Garage Inc. will deliver to players the excitement and challenges of managing a busy repair shop through core time-management gameplay as well as through minigames. The game also features colorful characters and an immersive story, revealed in part through an innovative online social media campaign.

Garage Inc. was developed by TransGaming’s Studio Division in partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment and is based on an original concept from GlobalFun. The iPhone version is made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

“Garage Inc. taps into the popular time management genre of the growing casual Garage Incgaming market, providing entertainment value in bite-sized pieces for gamers at home or on the go”, commented Wojtek Kawczynski, Managing Director of TransGaming’s Studio Division. “We are thrilled to be able to provide quality entertainment across multiple platforms quickly and easily by leveraging TransGaming’s own core technologies.”

“Our partners at TransGaming Studios have created a original gaming experience with the Garage Inc. property”, said Dorothy Vreeker, Director, Digital Media at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We are proud to have collaborated on this very immersive and entertaining game.”

Garage Inc. is now available for purchase in the Apple Mac App Store (Mac required), iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad, as well as GameTree Mac, as well as other retailers and distributors.

Big Blue BubbleNeed a room designed in High Definition? You’d better call the Home Sweet Home team! Big Blue Bubble Inc. is proud to announce the release of Home Sweet Home HD for the Apple iPad, available immediately!home sweet home HD

With the added luxury of bigger rooms and highly polished art, Home Sweet Home HD will give you the chance to unleash your hidden talents as an Interior Designer. You choose the furniture, patterns, and colors to create a masterpiece that will blow your client away.

With simple controls, fun graphical style, and an easy to use interface, Home Sweet Home HD allows you to nurture your creative side. Remember, a house is not a home until it is a Home Sweet Home!

THQ Inc. has announced that a collector’s edition as well as six individual race packs for its upcoming real time strategy game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Relic EntertainmentRetribution™, currently in development at Relic Entertainment, are available now for pre-order.

Leading the charge, the Dawn of War® II -Retribution™ Collector’s Edition will give the most dedicated Warhammer® 40,000® fan access to all of the available bonus war gear for each of the six playable races in the game. It also includes an exclusive poster, six race dawn of war 2 Retributionart cards and a high-quality collector’s box all for $39.99. Gamers in North America can only get the collector’s edition by pre-ordering through the THQ store. Limited quantities are available.

Fans of a specific race can pledge their allegiance by pre-ordering one of the six available specific race packs for the same $29.99 suggested retail price as the regular version of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II -Retribution. These race packs are available for electronic distribution and are ONLY available at pre-order stage. Each race pack includes four unique ability and Wargear items that can be used to enhance the single player campaign. The Ork Race Pack is exclusive through STEAM Digital Extremesand the Tyranid Race Pack exclusive through THQ.com. The Space Marine, Chaos Space Marine, Eldar and newly announced Imperial Guard race packs are also available for pre-order through THQ.com, STEAM and other electronic distribution partners. After launch, gamers will have the option of purchasing the individual race packs digitally through STEAM for a nominal fee. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution is scheduled to be released for Windows PC in North America on March 1st, 2011.

In addition to the news about Dawn of War, THQ has released Part 3 of the Dev Diary videos for Homefront, which is scheduled for release on March 8th. The PC version of this title is under development at Digital Extremes.

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D-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed its first agreement with CineLux Theatres to equip its Morgan Hill, California theatre with 28 D-BOX MFX Seats. Cinelux Tennant Station D-BoxStadium 11 will introduce D-BOX’s technology January 14 with the debut of the 3D action-comedy, The Green Hornet. This is the first CineLux location to offer the incredibly, immersive movie experience and one of just a 49 auditoriums worldwide screening the new release in D-BOX format.

“The California market is our largest to-date worldwide with 14 theatres in the state offering D-BOX,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “As we continue to introduce moviegoers to our motion technology, expansion into new markets and demand in existing markets continues to rise at a steady pace. We look forward to announcing many more new theatres in 2011 and growing our global footprint.”

“Our theatres boast some of the most technically advanced features in the industry allowing us to provide a cutting-edge entertainment experience,” said Paul Gunsky, President of CineLux Theatres. “We’re always looking for new innovative ways to improve the movie experience and see incorporating D-BOX at our theatres as a natural progression of the future of movies”

Kik Messenger, the lightning fast, cross-platform mobile instant messaging service, has Kik’d off 2011 with its three millionth user, Kik Interactive Inc. announced today. kik interactiveRe-launched on Oct. 21, 2010, the Kik community continues to grow by 10-15,000 users a day. The growth rate, driven by Android and iPhone users, has held steady even though new BlackBerry downloads ended in late November.

“We are excited that so many people all over the world have embraced Kik and are more confident than ever of our future as the mobile community of choice for smartphone users,” said Ted Livingston, President and CEO, Kik Interactive, Inc. “We look forward to making the Kik user experience even better with new features and service enhancements.”

Over and above user growth, the number of messages sent by active Kik users continues to increase, from less than 10 messages a day in late November to almost 20 now, on average. Kik will introduce new features including picture messaging (very soon!) and group chat (soon-ish).  Service on iPhones will also be improved with a new version that makes it much faster to retrieve messages when users first open the app. As before, once the app is open, message delivery is real-time.

To the growing number of Windows Phone 7 users, Kik is coming soon! We are now putting the final touches on development, so it won’t be long before you can join the Kik community. KiK recently released an update that adds profile pictures and a feature that lets users easily find new Kik friends. The new address book feature not only lets users check for new Kik friends, but also provides much more control over users’ contact lists. The “Find more people on Kik” button scans user contacts and lets them choose whether or not to add newly identified Kik friends to their contact list.

We also recently improved Kik’s overall stability and reliability. Further out, we will unveil an incredibly powerful and unique technology that wirelessly connects users’ smartphones to any PC or TV. Hang tight for details. And, as promised, Kik’s much-anticipated mobile streaming music service is coming up soon.

Kik works with all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch’s, and all Android devices – anywhere in the world. All you need is a mobile data plan. Each Kik message uses only a tiny amount of data – less than 1Kb per message. Kik Messenger provides lightning-fast delivery and receipts that tell users when messages are sent, delivered and read, and when friends are typing a reply. Every message appears in real-time, making Kik feel almost like a real conversation.

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4th January 2011

Look Out 2011 Canadian Devs Are On A Roll

EA MobileEA Mobile has released new screenshots for Dead Space, giving mobile gamers a look at what’s coming for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. EA has not yet revealed a ship date for the title, but I am already imagining gamers on transit playing this game and having to explain to other transit passengers why they just screamed like a little girl and jumped in their seat.

Dead Space for iPad

“Sorry, playing a game. It’s got scary bits. It’s okay, I’m not having a psychotic episode. Really.”

EA Mobile will also be launching Tetris on the PlayStation Network for North America later today, according to a behaviour gamesTwitter post by game developer Behaviour Interactive. Playable on the PlayStation 3, this iteration of the all-time favourite casual game will have 12 Trophies to be earned, including some that reward teamwork in clearing levels. PS3 Tetris is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and boasts these features:Tetris for PS3

  • Slide, rotate and drop your Tetriminos into place in Marathon Mode or any of 12 variants – you can even challenge the best Tetris replays worldwide.
  • 6 Multiplayer Modes: Up to 6 players worldwide can knock each other out in 2 minute Timed Battle or be the last person standing in Battle Mode. Play Marathon Mode or variants with up to 3 friends locally, as well.
  • Exclusive PS3 Content: Use power-ups in Battle Mode for even more fun. Clear lines together with friends worldwide in Shared Mode or experience Team Battle, the ultimate 2-on-2 competitive Tetris variant.
  • View Tetris leaderboards, watch replays of the world’s best players.

EA SportsEA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champions. Scheduled for release from EA Canada on March 1st, 2011, Fight Night Champions features a fully developed Champion Mode, which allows players to develop their character’s career while following a compelling storyline. Fight Night Champions will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

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Transgaming Studios has just announced that its latest title, Garage Inc., will be launched on iTunes this January 6th. Garage Inc., a time management game set in 1920′s Prohibition TransGamingChicago, will be available for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac and PC. Help Italian immigrant Angelo build his Garage Inc Mobster Carautomotive repair shop while avoiding the mob, all in pursuit of the American Dream. Garage Inc. is rated Teen for T as the game involves:

  • Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
  • Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence

Last month, Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) and LucasArts, a division of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., in collaboration with TransGaming, Inc. launched Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, a free-to-play family-friendly online virtual world, for Macintosh® Platform users. Clone Wars Adventures is an action-packed browser-based virtual world where fans can live out the thrills and excitement of Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™ animated TV series on Cartoon Network.

clone wars“The demand for game content on the Mac platform has increased significantly, and we are excited to bring our games to this growing audience,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “Through our collaboration with TransGaming, Mac and PC players are able to play together seamlessly on both Free Realms™ and now Clone Wars Adventures, and we will continue to look for opportunities with future games to do the same.”

Clone Wars Adventures is the ultimate virtual destination for fans of the TV series where players go online to experience fun mini-games, daily activities, events, rewards, lively social environments, and competitions. Players can battle alongside their favorite Star Wars characters like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is updated every week with new content pulled from that week’s new episode.

There will be a Game Jam happening at the New Media Manitoba offices over the weekend of January 29 – 30th. This New Media Manitobaweekend jam will feature a bit of a twist – each team will develop an idea as a separate 640×480 Flash game.The idea for this themed jam came from Interactive Developer Devin Reimer, proprietor of Almost Logical. Please see the Infinite Ammo blog for complete information and the registration link.

Other upcoming NMM events this month include a two day Apple Aperture 3 Certification Course ($325.00) on January 8th and 9th, a full day seminar on Google AdWords with Google advertising expert Perry Marshall on January 11th, a three day introductory course for Final Cut Pro 7 this January 15th through 16th ($495.00) as well as a three day introductory course for Adobe PhotoShop CS5 beginning on January 25th and running until January 27th ($495.00). Game Prototype Challenge

Game Prototype Challenge is holding an informal meet-up evening for Toronto-area participants on January 18th beginning at 8pm. This event is being held at The Spotted Dick (wow, that name doesn’t conjure up bad images at all), and is open to anyone who’d like to find out more about the Game Prototype Challenge or just meet some of the other developers who participate in the Challenge. RSVP to this event’s Facebook page if Fresh Finderyou’re interested in attending.

Subway Canada has a released a new Fresh Finder app for the iPhone. Developed in partnership by teams from Veritas Canada and Endloop Studios, this free app lets you find the closest Canadian Subway® Restaurants quickly & easily. Using Facebook, Twitter or email, you can invite friends to meet you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Fresh Finder applications puts Subway® Restaurants in the palm of your hands with one tap of the screen. It also makes the latest Subway® Restaurant news, updates and special limited time offers easily accessible to you, even while you’re out and about.

More children around the world will soon have safe places to live, learn and play thanks in part to the support of kids Club Penguinwho play in the popular snow-covered virtual world, Club Penguin. The fourth annual Coins For Change event, conducted from December 17 to 27, 2010, allowed the children who play Club Penguin to help change the world by donating the virtual coins they earned playing games online to real world causes that matter to them.

Kids could donate virtual coins to provide medical help, build safe places or protect the earth. At the end of the event, the virtual donations to the three cause categories served as votes to determine how a $1M cash contribution from Disney Online Studios would be divided among charitable projects aimed at helping children, families and the planet.

Thanks to more than 3.4 million players who donated in excess of 12.2 billion virtual coins, Disney Online Studios will donate:

* $290,000 USD to support medical clinics in Malawi and Lesotho, Africa (conducted by Partners in Health).
* $50,000 USD to fund operations for sick and disabled children in Cambodia (conducted by Children’s Surgical Centre).
* $75,000 USD to provide school programs for kids displaced by war in Sudan, Africa (conducted by War Child).
* $75,000 USD to protect children from violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (conducted by War Child).Club Penguin Change The World
* $150,000 USD to fund projects to provide water to communities in India (conducted by Free The Children).
* $180,000 USD to teach kids and families to care for watersheds and rainforests (conducted by Rare).
* $180,000 USD to protect endangered animals in Columbia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Andes Mountains (Conducted by Wildlife Conservation Network).

“Our players work hard to earn virtual coins on Club Penguin, but when a need is expressed they give freely and generously, and I’m always blown away by their passion for helping others and protecting the earth,” says Lane Merrifield, one of Club Penguin’s co-founders and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “It was particularly exciting this year to see even more kids from around the world rally together as part of Coins For Change.”

Club Penguin is one of the largest virtual worlds for children with a reputation for providing fun for kids and peace of mind for parents. Millions of children and families in more than 225 countries play Club Penguin in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information.

Club Penguin is free to play, however special features such as front-of-the-line access to game features, exclusive parties and opportunities to customize your penguin and igloo require a membership. A portion of the proceeds from each membership purchased supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the globe. In recent years, the kids who play Club Penguin have helped more than two million people get medical care, enabled 200,000 children to go to school and helped protect more than a dozen endangered species and their habitats.

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30th December 2010

eBooks Games and Apps To Occupy Your New Year

Ripe AppsRipe Apps has two of their latest iPhone apps on sale. Get GPS and Location-based reminders with Geo Alerts, on sale now for 99 Cents USD. Need a simple to do list with reminders? Pick up Reminders! Simple ToDos and Alerts, which is on sale for $1.99 USD. You may also want to check out their other app, I’m Right Here, which allows you to let your friends know where you are by sending them an email with map image, or SMS a link to same. This app isn’t “on sale” but it is available for the regular low price of 99 Cents USD.tale of the madeus

Dark AcreVancouver developer Dark Acre has just launched a novella for Amazon Kindle titled Tale of the Madeus (The Solarus Cycle) in the first in a series, and is currently available via download for only $1.99 USD. Written in the style of a science fiction space opera, Tale of the Madeus takes place in the Far Vacuum of the Solarus system and follows a series of events which occur between the Oslean Stellar Trade League Transport Vessel ‘Madeus’ and the pirate vessel ‘Staine’, and was written as a supporting background piece for Dark Acre’s game Project Zero Zero, which is currently in development.

Indie developer Celsius Games has announced that there will soon be an update for its inertial survival shooter game Red Nova. It looks like players are in for at least one new mode of transport – or maybe a new enemy, as the image isred nova teaser Celsius Gamesonly showing up as a shadowy blip on the Village Gamer game spotter. Still available for the launch price of 99 Cents USD, Red Nova is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. As the person in control, you have been sent on a mission to test a number of prototype fighters which could be destined to replace the Earth Colonial Fleet’s aging Starhawk. While voyaging across the galaxy in your carrier, the ECS Red Nova, you discover the dastardly deeds of a previously unknown alien fleet as they prepare to stage a sneak attack on Earth’s space colonies. Being the hero that you are, it’s up to you and your crew to save humanity from certain destruction at the hands of these alien foes.

If you want to see the Best of 2010′s Xbox Indie Games included on the dashboard, head over to this article written xona gamesby Matthew Doucette of Xona Games to find out how you can vote on this issue. As a supporter (and purchaser) of our Canadian indie dev-made products, I would like to see the indie games front and centre just like all of the big-budget (and sometimes nowhere near as fun) titles.

Bioware and i09 are offering a sneak preview at who the Illusive Man really is (surprise, he’s not really Martin Sheen). Bioware CorpThis brand new comic from Dark Horse will peel back the layers of secrecy we first got a glimpse at in Mass Effect 2.

According to the comic’s official description, “Mass Effect 2 Lead Writer Mac Walters reveals the origin of our galaxy’s most mysterious powerbroker—The Illusive Man! With co—writer John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) and artist Omar Francia (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2), Walters chronicles humanity’s first deadly days on the galactic stage and uncovers the pivotal role The Illusive Man played in it all! Available only in comics, this essential piece of Mass Effect canon offers new insights for existing fans, while the focus on humanity’s first steps into the wider Mass Effect universe provides a riveting story of action and intrigue for sci-fi readers of all stripes!”

Please visit the i09 site for a look at the 5 page Mass Effect Evolution preview.

doritos unlock xboxDoritos®, in partnership with Microsoft, has announced the winner of its Unlock Xbox competition, with Crash Course taking first place. Crash Course was developed by Behaviour Interactive’s Chile studio Wanako from a concept by North Carolinian Jill Robertson. Her game concept was inspired by one of her favourite shows, Wipe Out – and is loads of fun. As the winner, Jill was awarded a $50 000.00 USD game consulting gig with Doritos, but in an unprecedented move, Doritos also awarded $50 000.00 to second place contestant Justin Carpenter of Ogden, Utah. His game concept, Harm’s Way, was also extremely well received – both titles had well over Xblox Live Arcade 2 million downloads between them – and they are both well worth the effort, offering tons of replayability and gaming fun. Both titles are still available for download, and at free, you certainly can’t scoff at the price for so much fun.

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28th December 2010

When Zombies and Hungries Attack

footloose gamesFootloose Games has launched an open beta of their new title, Munchies’ Lunch. The munchies lunchCavechild took the game for a spin this morning, and while it only took him about 15 minutes to puzzle his way through the 16 Adventure Mode beta levels, he had nice things to say about the game, including the clean graphics, crystal-clear soundtrack and effects, as well as the ramping difficulty of the puzzles. In Munchies’ Lunch, players must help the Munchies journey across their world, gathering food while avoiding the Hungries, who mirror your moves as you gather food in the crop fields. Use your PC to out-manoeuvre the Hungries and trick them into picking up the red-hot peppers. If you enjoy casual puzzlers, the Cavechild recommends taking the Munchies’ Lunch beta for a spin.

CAPCOMJust in time for the New Year, there is a new case for Dead Rising 2 (at press time, the official DR2 site was not loading). See Frank West and Chuck Greene team up for the first time ever beginning today! Dead Rising 2: Case West brings the intrepid photojournalist and star of the original Dead Rising, together with Dead Rising 2’s Chuck Green as they embark on a brand new case set in the Phenotrans Facility on the outskirts of Fortune City. Set immediately after the events of Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Case West allows players to join up for some serious co-op action to take Dead Rising 2 Case Weston the hoards of zombies. Along with new challenges and new enemies, Chuck and Frank will also have access to new weapons, items and the ability to create a number of new Combo weapons such as the janitor’s favorite, the ‘Zap & Shine’ and the ominous sounding ‘Reaper’.

Wherever he finds himself, Frank is always ready to capture the moment with his trusty camera and Dead Rising 2: Case West is no exception. Frank is able to take photographs of key evidence that will provide indisputable proof of Phenotrans’ part in the zombie outbreaks, not just in Fortune City, but across the United States. As the story unfolds expect to see cameo appearances from other characters from Dead Rising that will provide further links to the original game. If enjoyed as a solo experience, the player will take control of Chuck with Frank’s Dead Rising 2: Case West is now LionHeartavailable on Xbox LIVE for 800 MS Points.

Vancouver’s Atomic Cartoons has announced its latest property, atomic cartoonsLionheart, which follows the comedic adventures of Mac and Sir Lionheart of Mane, who, as a decorated member of the Explorers Guild, goes off on daring adventure, often surviving only by the seat of his pants. Often overlooking important details, Lionheart is lucky to have travel companion Mac along, as he tends to keep things somewhat together, at least until the next destination. A mix of adventure and comedy with a nod to classic cartoon styling, Lionheart promises to deliver good “olde time” fun.

koboIt appears that Christmas 2010 was the holiday for eBook sales, with Kobo revealing its Holiday 2010 sales success. With readers around the world receiving new eReaders and iPads and other eReading devices under their tree, Kobo saw over a million people connected to its service, and hundreds of thousands of devices were activated each day since Christmas Eve, fuelling the highest eBook download rate in the company’s history. People around the world chose Kobo this Christmas, with the popular easy-to-use Kobo Wireless eReader, dozens of compatible eReaders, top-rated applications for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and one of the largest catalogues in the world with over 2.2 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines. I also noticed this morning that Kobo has a “First Book” promo offer on – if you’re downloading your first book from the Kobo Store, they give you a promo code for 35% off the purchase price of the title.

“Earlier this month we predicted that Christmas would be a record breaker for Kobo, and we have exceeded our expectations driving several ebook downloads per second since Christmas Eve, or an equivalent number hardcover books stacked as high as 50 Empire State Buildings,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “I would like to thank our customers for choosing Kobo to start building their digital library this Christmas. Our success this holiday season is a pre-cursor to a New Year with people reading more than ever thanks to eBooks and Kobo.”

Kobo’s holiday growth also included:

* Total registered users nearly doubling from the six weeks prior
* A 50X increase in purchases from previous Holiday weekend last year
* A 5X increase in purchases from the previous biggest weekend (also in December)
* Customer purchases from over 130 countries, with some of the biggest gains outside of US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, occurring in Germany, Netherlands, and Singapore
* A significant increase in device mix, with eReaders and Tablets accounting for the largest percent in sales

Kobo became the first eReading service to launch an eBook gifting and gift card program and for the first time in history, eBooks “arrived” digitally in people’s email accounts this Christmas morning. The top three most popular eBooks gifted this holiday were:

* “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson (#2 in Canada)
* “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson (#1 in Canada)
* “Room” by Emma Donahue (#3 in Canada)

Kobo’s recently-announced Kobo Reading Life program, now available on the iPad, marked the industry’s first comprehensive social eReading experience, personalizing eReading and creating a fun, engaging, and meaningful experience. Over 250,000 Reading Life awards have been given out since its recent launch – simply for reading. Tens of thousands were given out this Christmas, including the “Milk and Cookies” award, and the “Holiday Cheer” award for reading on Christmas Eve and Day.

This holiday season, open standards and the ability to read on any device is a consistent theme. With Kobo, customers can to build their lifetime libraries as they choose, and read on multiple devices by downloading a free eReading app. People can also download books for free, borrow and read eBooks from their local library on the Kobo Wireless eReader – and alternatively can read Kobo eBooks on other dedicated eReaders like the Sony eReader and Nook.

RandomHouseAs evidenced by the popularity of eBooks on Kobo, December 25th and 26th were the two biggest ebook sales days ever for Random House, Inc. Combined ebook sales across e-retailers on December 25th and 26th rose more than 300% over last year’s sales for the same two-day period, which had been Random House’s best two-day ebook sales period ever.

Random House, Inc. leading titles from this two-day holiday selling period include Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy — The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — with a combined 115,000 units sold in ebook format across e-retailers. Other top Random House, Inc. titles include John Grisham’s The Confession, George Bush’s Decision Points, Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

For the first time, Random House also saw a significant sales increase for its children’s picture books available in ebook format, including Go, Dog, Go, a classic children’s book (which was one of the Cavechild’s favourites when he was younger) written and illustrated by P. D. Eastman, published by Random House Children’s in 1961.

“We are delighted by the volume of consumers flocking to Random House books across all our e-retailers, and not just to our best-selling titles which are clearly as popular in e as they are in print. Consumers are also using their e-reading devices to discover titles deeper in our list, including David Nicholls’s One Day, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Max Brooks’ World War Z.” said Madeline McIntosh, President of Sales, Digital and Operations, Random House, Inc. The publisher currently has more than 17,000 of its front and backlist titles in ebook format and has been encouraged by the exponential growth in demand for its ebooks across the wide spectrum of the Random House catalogue.

Canadian Short Screenplay CompetitionThe Canadian Short Screenplay Competition, the most prestigious screenwriting competition in Canada, announced earlier today a holiday gift for short filmmakers worldwide in the form of a completion fund for short films looking for that little bit extra to complete the post-production and or marketing of their finished film. The Short Film Fund, described as having no deadline for submissions, will award up to $1,500 cash to up to three successful short film filmmakers per year, until funds are exhausted each calendar year.

The fund is being generously supported by the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition and Year of the Skunk Productions. CSSC founder and producer David Cormican reminds interested filmmakers in putting only their best foot forward. “The fund is highly competitive, very selective and will only invest in the best and most deserving projects “, says Cormican. “We’re looking to support filmmakers with a unique, strong, professional and commercial vision”.

The fund is a first for the CSSC and joins the ranks of Bravo!FACT, National Film Board and the National Screen Institute as being amongst only a handful of private and public organizations financially supporting the making of short films. “Besides, provincial and local funding agencies, short filmmakers don’t really have that many avenues to find money to make their art beyond Bravo!FACT, the NSI and NFB programs. So, we’re happy to be able to help support a few extra projects each year to that same end”, offers Cormican.

While interested filmmakers and producers are asked to limit their number of submissions to two projects per year, they can apply to the fund free of charge through the entirely online submission process available on the CSSC’s website. The Short Film Fund is open effective immediately. Complete Short Film Fund details and guidelines, including the online submission form, can be found online.

GrouponGroupon officially launched in Kelowna just prior to Christmas, and during its first week in town, Groupon’s featured deals included a massage package, a putting course and a coffee shop. Upcoming deals include hair salon services, cooking classes and a local teahouse. Groupon Kelowna joins 20 other Canadian markets currently enjoying Groupon deals.

“With its fine dining, unique shops and vibrant culture, Kelowna is an ideal Groupon market,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “We look forward to bringing unbeatable deals to Kelowna residents, while driving new streams of revenue to local merchants.”

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