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  • Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media Announced at E3

17th June 2010

Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media Announced at E3

GlitchSoftOttawa startup GlitchSoft Corporation has launched their first title for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch platforms. BarStar is a casual, time management, bartending game similar in gameplay style to Sally’s Spa and Diner Dash, that allows the user to enter the world of owning their own bar.

The goal of the game is to quickly serve as many customers and collect tips and bonus points in each of the 35 timed levels. Using the bonus points earned from each level, players are able to barstarpurchase items to upgrade the bar and their bartending skills. By the end of 35 levels, the small, one roomed bar the game starts with will be transformed into a full fledged bar. Featuring an original score, stunning graphics and a deep story line, BarStar is an immediately addictive and engaging game.

“The gameplay is obviously something we have strived to keep engaging and entertaining throughout the entire experience,” says Wes Tam, founder and CEO of GlitchSoft. “Our biggest accomplishment was the innovative, multi-touch approach to mixing drinks that brings you deeper into the game.”

Features include:

– 35 levels of frantic bartending gameplay
– Mix drinks using our innovative multi-touch system. Drinks include beer and wine in the early levels and cocktails including Screwdriver, Caesar and Strawberry Daiquiri in the advanced levels.
– 12 unique customers and 4 secret guest stars with different styles and tastes
– Bar and skill upgrades based on performance with over 200 upgrades (??)
– Made especially for your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

BarStar is available internationally, and is currently on sale at an introductory price from the App store for $2.99.

Silicon KnightsToday at E3, Ontario game developer Silicon Knights announced its exciting collaboration with McMaster University, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) and Mohawk College. The partners will work to create a new research institute around interactive digital media that will pioneer and shape cutting-edge advances in the interactive entertainment arena. The initiative, called “Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media,” will be located at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton and will debut in 2011.

The joint venture centers on the development of the “8th Art,” art that develops technology and creativity beyond the moving image, i.e. film, and adds interactivity. The Institute’s focus will be on the creation and integration of new technologies, new design and innovative artistic concepts for digital media applications. “Eight” will provide a nucleus where staff of Silicon Knights and the AGH and faculty and students at Master University and Mohawk College can move seamlessly between organizations on shared research projects and digital media development. Staff of Silicon Knights and AGH could participate in research, course development and teaching at the new Institute.

“By adding interactivity to moving images such as film (the ‘7th art), we are creating what Silicon Knights’ has dubbed for many years as the ‘8th Art’,” said Silicon Knights President Denis Dyack. “We have been promoting the ‘8th Art’ for many years, and are beyond excited to have aligned with three outstanding partners – McMaster University, AGH and Mohawk College – that share the same vision, and understand the need to grow the talent and resources in this arena.

The partnership brings together several prominent groups whose talents and synergies will result in a groundbreaking initiative. Silicon Knights brings its development and creative expertise, which complements the talented faculty at McMaster, a leading research-intensive university with a track record of world-class research and education capabilities. AGH, a leading public art gallery that positions digital art as one of its key artistic activities through research exhibition and education, has a solid track record of engaging, stimulating and enriching the community through art, and this expertise will be compounded by talented faculty and staff at Mohawk College, with its keen focus on and responsiveness to industry and market trends.

McMaster University’s President, Peter George, believes the partnership will be a catalyst in developing a critical mass of expertise in digital media. “We want to be known as the “8th Art” university, but to achieve that distinction will depend on effective collaboration with great partners,” he said. “Capitalizing on one another’s strengths will create unlimited opportunities for research commercialization, education and training, and economic development and job creation for our region.”

The council of Canadian Academies has identified new media as having the greatest momentum and the highest growth prospects of Canada. Worldwide the digital media sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the knowledge economy, projected to be valued at US $2.2. trillion over the next five years. This program will help grow the innovation and commercialization efforts in this key strategic sector of the new knowledge and creative economy.

“Mohawk College is pleased to be a part of this exciting new initiative that will bring together the best and brightest in the field of digital media,” says Mohawk College president, Rob MacIsaac. “It’s an initiative that will build on Mohawk’s long-standing partnership with McMaster University, draw on our college’s strengths in applied learning and research and leverage our ability to stay responsive to employer needs and industry trends.”

“Many innovative art forms today already incorporate practices and techniques from other disciplines, said Louise Dompierre, president and CEO of AGH. “A key difference here is this partnership extends to the entire process from research, production, dissemination, training and marketing of the end product. It will be most enriching for artists, students and the community to have the opportunity to work closely with world renowned researchers in science and technology and for the AGH to present their accomplishments as it proceeds in the context of an art gallery.”

creativemixCreativeMix is offering the chance for you to promote your creative project or venture this November 4th at CreativeEX, the exhibition at CreativeMIX – Vancouver’s annual ideation and creative collaboration conference. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th June 2010

Ryerson University Students Assist Paris Transit Patrons

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver is presenting Building Community with Social Media on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Starting at 5:30pm, this education session will assist attendees discovering the value of effective strategies for building a community through social media in an exciting, interactive round table discussion with five experts.

What is community in relation to the web? Community is beyond a blog, and a few people following you on Twitter. This evening will help you realize what the new meaning of an online community is, and why it holds an important spot at the new marketing table. Find out how the experts are building, engaging, and managing their communities for themselves and their clients. Tickets for this event are available online at a cost of $35.00 for Wired Woman members and $40.00 for non-members. It is worth noting that you can save $5.00 by signing up for free and becoming a member of the Wired Woman network.

Panel:
Briana Tomkinson – Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West
Carisa Miklusak – SoMedios
Chris Breikss – 6S Marketing
Mhairi Petrovic – Out-Smarts Marketing
Sibylle Tinsel – Club Fat Ass

wavefrontWaveFront has partnered with the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium (MCPC) of Japan, and they are inviting Canadian mobile developers to take part in a unique opportunity for facilitated access to the Japanese wireless market. This two-part programme begins with one-on-one coaching sessions to be held at Discovery Park in Vancouver this June 21st through 23rd.

Following the information session on June 21st, selected participants will meet with visiting MCPC representatives for product assessments and structuring assistance, as well as an overview of marketing strategies over the remaining days of the visit. The information sessions are free to interested companies, but do require registration. If you are unable to attend in person, you can attend via the virtual event which will be hosted on Mingleverse. Part 2 of this partnership will offer those selected companies the opportunity to participate in the 8th annual MCPC Solutions Fair in Tokyo in November 2010.

Ryerson UniversityParis Metro passengers have a new way to navigate the transit system in the palm of their hand. Developed expressly to assist passengers with special needs, the Mobile Transit Companion, a made-in-Canada mobile application, uses context-aware self-adaptive computing to deliver live, customized data to passengers en route. The inclusive application, complete with useful information for all passengers, was created through a partnership between Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Sweden’s Appear Networks.

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) commuters can now download the free software and set up their user profile. Information is then automatically sent to their mobile phones according to their profile and contextual information. For example, they can receive notifications such as the location of station elevators and Metro transfer points; facilities and nearby businesses; updated schedules for connecting trains; and availability of services at each station. For blind and low-vision passengers, the Mobile Transit Companion uses a speech-enabled, gesture-driven user interface. For other user groups, including the elderly, deaf or hard of hearing, or passengers with reduced mobility, the application offers an intuitive and easy-to-use visual interface.

“At Ryerson we see a very niche use for context-aware computing in public transit and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS),” said Hossein Rahnama, project leader, Ryerson postdoctoral student and DMZ Steering Committee Member. “We are specializing in context-aware consumer applications in airports, airlines, trains, subways, buses, etc. and will be working with Metrolinx on a project for GO Transit here in the fall. With RATP, our focus was on passengers with special needs because those communities could really benefit from such applications, even though they are often not considered when developing apps.”RATP

The Mobile Transit Companion’s positioning function is integrated with a web-based monitoring service so that public transit staff can easily locate and assist passengers with special needs. The only existing social tracking application for public transit passengers, this monitoring service has the capability to be shared with friends and family. Using the interface, the transit authority can message selected passengers, which is particularly helpful for Deaf or hard of hearing passengers who can’t hear announcements made over the PA. Messages are communicated to each passenger according to the information on his in her profile, e.g.: the message will be interpreted from text to speech if s/he has indicated Low Vision.

The project was part of European research consortium developing an open-source middleware platform. Ryerson was the only North American player. “There are a lot of advantages to research collaboration with international partners in the Information and Communications Technologies sector,” said Rahnama. “In fact, one of our key objectives in this project is to demonstrate those advantages, such as combining the smartphone popularity and development of North America with the digital mobile telephony advances of Europe. The success of the MUSIC platform has inspired another project with Europe, slated for fall 2010.”

The Mobile Transit Companion is currently being piloted on Android phones in 10 stations along Line 14 of the Paris Metro. Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone at Yonge Dundas Square provides Ryerson University students with the opportunity to develop their digitally based ideas into consumer products with help from mentors and industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd February 2010

OCRI Releases Annual Knowledge-Based Industry Survey

Women In Games VancouverVancouver – A brief reminder that the Women in Games Vancouver (WIGEH) Networking Event takes place tonight at the Wine Room, downstairs at the Steamworks Brew Pub. We invite you to join us at 7pm for an evening of socializing and information.  This event is open to both women and men, and we hope to see you there.

OCRIOttawa – The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) has released its annual Knowledge-based Industry Survey. The study indicates that as of December 31, 2009, the number of companies in Ottawa’s knowledge-based sectors has increased by nearly half of one per cent while the number of employees has decreased by 1.3 per cent. The most current data, garnered from 13 industry sectors, indicates a slight increase of 0.4 per cent in the total number of companies to 1,857 up from 1,850 last year. The survey garnered responses from 88 companies whose primary business focus is in cleantech, contact centre/customer centre, convergent medical devices, defence and security, eBusiness, health and drug discovery, knowledge-based support services, photonics, semiconductor, software, telecommunications, wireless and digital media.

“We certainly expected 2009 to be challenging so we are not surprised by the decrease in employment but we also know that the best time to start a new business venture is during tough economic times. With 222 companies added to the database and a notable increase in employment for small and medium sized businesses we see that the support programs and tools available to new companies and entrepreneurs here in Ottawa are having a positive impact,” says Claude Haw, President and CEO, OCRI. “The entire city has rallied to provide support to help our companies become successful and there are examples of great collaboration all around us. Of course, we must continue to create an environment that is attractive to investors and actively leverages the various funding programs available for small and medium sized companies in order to fuel innovation and propel our economy forward.”

Ottawa’s cleantech sector demonstrated the greatest growth for the third year in a row, with several companies adding more than 50 employees to their staff base. This translates to a 25.2% increase in job positions for this industry sector. Also of note is Ottawa’s recent designation as one of the world’s top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum.

The OCRI report also points out the strength of the region’s digital media industry, stating that “the digital media sector has been gaining traction in our region. In October, Ottawa hosted the International Animation Festival, proving to many who weren’t already aware that Ottawa is a hotbed for digital media creativity. The cluster features 63 companies that have identified digital media as their primary industry and more than 120 others see digital media as their secondary industry. As a result, a formal digital media cluster, GENERATOR, was launched in December.”

Lotusland StudiosVancouver – Hive is a board game originally designed by John Yianni and released by “Gen Four Two Games” in 2001. Independent developer Lotusland Studios has developed Hive as a mobile game, and it is now available in the iTunes App Store for the iPhone™ and iPod touch®. Hive is categorized as an abstract strategy game and is highly unique as the pieces are simply placed on a flat surface without the limitations and constraints of a traditional game-board.

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12th January 2010

Which Cities Will Be Featured in Monopoly Canadian Edition

HasbroToronto – Which Canadian city is your favourite? Hasbro is launching a nation wide vote to find our nation’s 22 favourite cities that will be included on the new Monopoly Canada game board!

The voting began last night at midnight ET, with Monopoly fans casting their ballots for  their favourite Canadian cities to help create a new Monopoly Canada game board. Sixty-five great Canadian cities have been pre-selected for the top 20 city vote and Canadians are invited to cast their ballots for 3 of these great cities each day of the vote, which will be open until February 7, 2010. The city that receives the most votes will be placed on the highest rent property traditionally held by Boardwalk.

The 20 cities that receive the most votes will be part of Monopoly history as the first cities selected Monopoly Canadato be on the Canadian game board through a consumer vote. However, two spaces on the board will be reserved for cities that are nominated through a wild card vote, which means any city in Canada can be nominated for these property spaces. Once the top 20 city vote is complete, the top 10 nominated wild card cities will also be put to a vote and the wild card winners will occupy the low-rent property spaces traditionally held by Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue. The wild card vote will take place from February 8, 2010 until February 21, 2010.

“Monopoly is the world’s most popular branded board game and it transcends cultural barriers,” said Michelle Sinclair, Brand Manager for Monopoly. “More than 750 million people have played the game since it was first introduced 75 years ago and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.”

“The final result of the Monopoly Canada Edition will be surprising and only time will tell how the vote will turn out. We hope that fans will vote early and often for their favourite Canadian city” added Michelle.

The 65 cities pre-selected for the nation-wide vote are:

Monopoly Canada Cities

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8th January 2010

News From IUGO, D-Box, Meridian4 and more

Vancouver – Following IUGO’s massively successful Zombie Attack! Zombie Attack Bridge Defensegames, ZA! and ZA! Second Wave, the indie studio has launched a free version of ZA! Second Wave titled Zombie Attack! Bridge Defense. As the titles suggests, the lite version contains the bridge map for users to sample kill a variety of zombies with cool new weapons. Second Wave features more maps and hordes of challenges in the full version. IUGO also recently unveiled their web site’s nice new design – head on over to check out its shiny awesomeness and all of IUGO’s titles today – and don’t forget to vote for IUGO and other great Canadian games, publishers and studios in our Reader’s Choice Canadian Video Game Awards – only one week left to vote!

palmAt CES: Palm released details about their developer kit for webOS during their 3D gaming announcement at the Expo, where they introduced several graphics-intensive game titles for webOS, from leading game developers EA Mobile™, Gameloft, Glu Mobile and Laminar Research. Demonstrated at Palm’s CES event, the games will be available today in the Palm App Catalog for Palm Pre customers.

“We are very excited about the potential of webOS as a platform for mobile 3D gaming,” said Katie Mitic, senior vice president, Product Marketing, Palm, Inc. “This is a key application category, and we’ve worked closely with some of the leading game developers to deliver a great game experience for our customers.”

“Recent improvements to Palm webOS represent major advancements in enabling world-class mobile gaming,” said Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios for EA Mobile. “These innovations have allowed us to quickly bring our best IP to the platform.”

The developers introducing titles today have had early access to the Palm webOS Plug-in Development Kit (PDK), which extends the Palm webOS Software Development Kit (SDK) with a set of tools, documentation and APIs that let developers write plug-ins for their webOS applications. The PDK lets developers easily integrate C and C++ code into their webOS applications, enabling new functionality, including immersive 3D games. A public beta version of the webOS PDK is scheduled to be available to all developers in March.

“The performance of the platform allowed us to create these great games in a limited timeframe,” said Baudouin Corman, vice president of publishing, Americas, Gameloft. “webOS allows us to deliver an outstanding gaming experience, and we look forward to bringing our best games to Palm customers worldwide.”“We expect the plug-in model to play an important role in the evolution of the webOS platform, just as plug-ins have with web browsers,” said Mitic. “And with this plug-in, we are making it super-simple for developers to bring the hottest games to webOS.” Read the rest of this entry »

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