1st December 2010

Shaw Rocket Prize Winner Named

notsoftOshawa indie game studio NotSoft is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away the full version of their casual game, Wytches Brew, free of charge.

Wytches Brew features five modes of play, including an epic 52 chapter quest that has the player share a year long journey with 3 Wytches as they travel around their island brewing up magical potions for those in need. With four other play wytches brewmodes, including timed modes and modes with relaxed rules, Wytches Brew offers something for casual gamers of every skill level.

“We don’t have much of a marketing budget, and with the game’s story mode beginning on Yuletide we thought giving it away during the holiday season would be a great way to attract new players,” said Steven J. Hill (aka bignobody), the man behind NotSoft, “Especially since people’s budgets are often tight at this time of year.”

I have been playing Wytches Brew off and on for a few months now, and while I haven’t yet completed the game, I have found it to be a different take on the match 3+ genre. I will be writing a review for this game once I have played through to the end, but as I have often confessed, I am more of a console gamer than a PC gamer – my PC is just too closely related to…work. 😉

shaw rocket prizeCongratulations to Dino Dan from Sinking Ship Entertainment, winner of the prestigious $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize for 2010 after being voted the best in Canadian kids’ programming for ages 6-12. Dino Dan is an entertaining and educational TV show about a 10-year-old boy who loves interacting with dinosaurs in his imagination and learning about them. This show was favourited by kids of all ages across Canada as well as in the US, where it recently achieved the record as the highest watched debut episode on Nick Jr. in its history. Dino Dan was judged for quality and content both for the TV show and its online content. The kids jury loved playing games and digging up dinosaurs on dinodan.com.

Other titles in the running for this year’s Rocket Prize were:

How to Be Indie (DHX Media)
In Real Life (Apartment 11)
Jimmy Two-Shoes (Breakthrough Entertainment)
League of Super Evil (Nerd Corps)

OpenFeint DevelopersAs the freemium model continues to gain momentum in the mobile gaming space, developers are looking for the best ways to apply the lucrative model to their games. Today, OpenFeint is encouraging developers sell downloadable content in their games by announcing a $1 million free-to-play mobile games challenge.

The OFX Freemium Challenge waives the revenue share on OpenFeint’s just released OFX software development kit for up to $10,000 per developer, available to the first 100 games that go live. With this challenge, developers can implement OFX and sell up to $10,000 in downloadable content in game before sharing any revenue.

“With the OFX Freemium Challenge, developers will see how easy-to-use and profitable OFX can be in their games with little commitment,” says Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint. “We’ve all seen that the freemium model is generating some amazing results. OFX gives developers the tools they need to take advantage of this emerging model.”

Mega Jump has proved to us that the freemium model is a great way to earn revenue as an independent developer,” said Derek van Vliet of Get Set Games. “Since changing the game to freemium we’ve seen a 400% increase in overall revenue.”
Mega Jump Celebrates 7 million
Mega Jump celebrated 7 million downloads, and stated on their site that “hot on the heals of Update 10, Update 11 is just around the corner, featuring the astonishing new upgradable Jump Boots and a couple of new rascals who will be joining the growing Mega Jump family of characters.”

Released today, OFX is a set of client and cloud based services that help game developers sell new content in their games without having to submit full game updates to Apple. Future updates will allow game developers to offer virtual currency and virtual goods for sale in their games. OFX is completely free for game developers to download and implement in their games. OpenFeint only shares in revenue earned from the sale of paid downloadable content in games sold with OFX.

intuitIntuit’s online personal finance service Mint.com is now available to Canadians. Mint helps people see where their money goes, keep their spending on track by creating budgets they’ll stick with, and uncovers opportunities to save them money. And it’s free.
mint
“Canadians are global leaders when it comes to the use of online banking, social media and other online activities, so bringing Mint.com to Canada was a natural next step,” said Aaron Patzer, general manager and vice president of Intuit Personal Finance and founder of Mint.com. “A uniquely Canadian version of Mint will help Canadians make informed decisions as they plan their financial lives.”

Setting up a Mint account takes about five minutes – users register anonymously using a valid e-mail address, and then add login information for the online banking, credit card and other financial accounts they want to consolidate. Mint connects securely to more than 40 Canadian banking financial institutions, and is adding more. Users can ask Mint to add support for their favourite bank from within their account.

After users register, Mint automatically aggregates their accounts and transaction information, and provides up-to-date and accurate views of their financial life. Mint offers many ways to view and graph information, and the flexibility to scan the big picture or focus on specific details:

* Analyzes spending – Mint reveals spending patterns by automatically categorizing expenses, showing how much a user pays for gas, groceries, parking, rent, restaurants, entertainment and more.
* Makes recommendations – Mint also saves users money by providing unique, money-saving and money-making suggestions based on users’ individual spending patterns. Slowly paying down a high-interest credit card? Mint will recommend a lower-interest card. Paying more for life insurance than others of a similar age in your region? Mint can often find a better deal. Offer data for the recommendations is provided by RateSupermarket.ca, Canada’s largest independent and impartial rate comparison service for personal finance products.

In addition, Mint is available for those on the go. Users can view their Mint account from a password-protected website or check in on the go with the free Mint.com mobile applications for iPhone and Android mobile phones, available on the iTunes Canada app store and Android Market. Read the rest of this entry »

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26th November 2010

Two New iOS Titles from EA Mobile

EA Mobile has announced two new iOS titles:EA Mobile

Pictureka challenges players to spot and tap objects hidden on their within pictures crammed with crazy cartoons – just like the original board game. Delve into the all-new Adventure Mode or Pass ‘N Play with family and friends. Get drawn into the popular picture-pointing puzzler that’s as easy to play as it is challenging.

PicturekaAdventure Mode: Turn Pictureka into an adventure! Hunt for quirky items on 5 intriguing islands. Encounter different game boards and bonus challenges. Race against the clock and score more time for every challenge you successfully complete. Think fast on your daring, drawing-filled journey!

Pictureka With Your Friends: Pass ‘N Play with up to 3 other players right on your iPhone or iPad. It’s great for play on the go or for a stay-at-home game night! Pictureka is made for fun with friends and family.

Pick Up and Play Solo: For casual fun, you can also enjoy a solo challenge or take on the crafty computer. Fun for everyone, Pictureka is easy and intuitive to play – especially on iPhone & iPad. So start right in!

Designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch, High Calibre Hunting is designed to maximize the visual intensity of Retina Display, focus on the strategy of the hunt as you escape into realistic natural environments and seek more than 20 types of wild game. Capture the noble feeling of the ultimate sport with brand-name firearms and precision gear. Whether you’re a dedicated or recreational sportsman, EA™ is proud to bring you the most authentic hunting simulation game on the App Store.High Calibre Bears

Enter A Wild World:
All the hunting environments spring to life in stunning detail, especially with Retina Display. Hunt in dawn, daytime, and dusk scenarios. No detail was overlooked to deliver the most honest hunting experience possible.

Encounter A Wide Range of Game: Hunt various Deer (including Whitetail, Mule, Sitka, and Fallow), plus Bear, Moose, Boar, and smaller critters like Squirrel, Fox, Rabbit, and Raccoon.

High Calibre DeerHunt and Shoot In Multiple Locations and Modes:
Use your best hunting strategies to make trophy kills up in up to 6 locations, including Texas, Alaska, Canada, and Iowa – plus additional downloadable treks in Africa and Australia available for purchase at a low price.

Get A Bullet’s Eye View: Strategically navigate the map, and then scope out an animal using “Vital Vision” to get an X-ray or thermal view of its heart, lungs, and brain. Trigger the “Bullet-Cam” with a heart shot and trace your ammo’s point-of-view from your firearm right to the heart of the animal for a clean kill. Experience hunting from a whole new perspective.

Access Over 30 Real, Brand-Name Firearms and Equipment Items: Remington® rifles and shotguns…Bushnell scopes…PSE bows, plus Calls and more. Equip yourself with the finest hunting products from real-world manufacturers and enjoy an added touch of authenticity.

robots and pencilsI’ve come across two release notices for two new iOS games from Calgary studio Robots and Pencils, but as these titles are not listed on their web site, I don’t know if they are the actual developers or are acting as publishers. I had sent the studio an email earlier this week in regards to CookBookie, another title credited to the studio, but as yet have received no reply or clarification from them. So, barring any response from them, here are three new products now available in the App Store: enchanted cave

For the iPad, there is Enchanted Cave, a classic adventure game with a casual play style. Equip your character with the best equipment as you dive into 100 levels of critter packed adventure, playing the hero in a quest to reach a horde of treasure and a princess in distress. If you run low on health, you can warp back to the beginning of the cave – but be warned, you will only get to keep the rarest of artifacts that you find.

TextTilesThe second title, which is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is TextTiles, a word game that is OpenFeint enabled and tests your word knowledge by challenging you to try and complete the words when given just a few letters as a hint. Any word that matches will work – but – answer quickly or your time will run out.

Test your brain power against TextTiles in an onslaught of words and puzzles. In Rapid Fire mode you’ll be given the first three letters of a word. All you have to do is enter any word that matches to keep playing. With each lightning fast response, you’ll earn bonus points and extra time. In Puzzler mode, you are given a word definition and the first three letters. If you can guess the word that matches, you’ll move on to the next round.

For the cooks in your house, this third app release listed for Robots and Pencils is CookBookie, which allows you to search for recipes in your cookbooks. Why search the internet for recipes when the thousands of dollars invested in your cookbooks sits unused on your bookshelf. Cookbookie has over 100,000 recipes from the Cookbookiemost popular cookbooks in its database so that you can search them as you would the internet.

Cookbookie comes fully equipped with the following features:

Recipe searching: Searching for “+beef pasta -parsley” will bring back all recipes that have beef, optionally pasta and no parsley in the title.
Ask a foodie: Take a picture of unknown foods and ingredients and Cookbookie will use its special network to identify what it is.
Socialize your kitchen: Use Cookbookie to post your favourite recipes to Facebook and Twitter. Just watch that all your friends don’t show up at your house asking for meals that have sugar, bacon, chocolate but no broccoli.
Recipe Diary: Keep track of your favorite recipes and keep notes about modifications to each recipe.
Great support: Can’t find your favorite book? No problem, Cookbookie will help you out by setting up an email to our team so we can get it in there right away!

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22nd November 2010

A Trio of New and Upcoming Indie Titles

rocketfuel gamesAlberta’s Rocketfuel Games has announced the online availability of Seek Your Own Proof Season One: The Guardian’s Guild, an online puzzle adventure game that lets players of all ages investigate science and history mysteries as secret agents of a time travel organization called the Central Institute for Exploration (C.I.E.).

Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild ($9.95USD) draws players into a chase through time and history against enemy agents plotting to rewrite the past, present and future. Players are led by field seek your own proofagents – Aidan (Agent Slingshot), Milanie (Agent Firefly), and Heiko (Agent Hardcover) Munro – three investigative siblings who discovered the secret underground agency.

They must locate the eospheres – energy orbs that power time travel – that have been entrusted to famous figures in history, before they fall into the hands of the evil Frostbite. Along the way, the Munro kids encounter a series of historical figures known as the Eosphere Guardians and find out more about their father Dr. Sebastian Munro, a famous scientist and co-founder of the C.I.E., who went missing years ago without a trace.

In the spirit of learning based adventure games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild combines a cast of heroes and villains, historic settings like Renaissance Italy, Colonial America and Ancient Greece, and is seeded with over 50 brain teasing puzzles that players discover as they progress through the adventure. Players can also sign up for a free agent membership that provides access to bonus puzzles, missions and other extras.

vblankVBlank Entertainment has announced the first of many Retro City Rampage fan art contests, and it’s open now for entries. Round One requires that entrants draw the Player carjacking a flaming DLX-88 sports car with a light gun. The developers are allowing the creation of said fan art to be done in any medium, including Digital Art, Pixel Art, Paintings, Claymation, Retro City RampageLego, Cake, Hamburgers, Tacos and Ground Beef.

All entries will be posted in the game’s brand new Fan Art Gallery, and the winner will receive a signed Retro City Rampage NES cartridge case. All entries must be submitted by December 6th, with the winner being announced on December 13th.

Also new on the Retro City Rampage site is the ability to download the RCR Soundtrack Mixtape, which is available as an mp3 and music video. You can also read about the three music artists responsible for the soundtrack – Freaky DNA, Virt and Norrin Rad. The developers have also let slip that there are clips of some debut game footage in the music video which reveal some upcoming additions to Retro City Rampage. The game is also has some hands-on details featured in this month’s Nintendo Power, GameFan and Edge magazines.

spooky squid gamesSpooky Squid Games has released an early game-play trailer on YoutTube for They Bleed Pixels, which according to the studio (and their design doc), is a fast paced, gothic, low-fi pixel art, platforming beat’em up. A collaboration project with musician Shaun Hatton (aka DJ Finish Him), the trailer was first viewed at the recent GamerCamp event in Toronto.

They Bleed Pixels is being developed for Xbox Live Indie Games, and according to Spooky Squid designer Miguel Sternberg, the game was “inspired by by games like Niddhogg. I wanted to experiment with a more abstract, simple style that would let me really focus on smooth and stylish animation. They Bleed Pixels is about game feel. The kinetic joy of moving and interacting with the game and creating beat’em up combat that isn’t button mashy or button heavy. We also wanted it to be a game that was radically different from our others so we could switch back and forth and keep our brains active.”

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19th November 2010

Two New Game Titles And A Bit of Business News

binary dawnNewfoundland studio Binary Dawn Interactive has updated and improved the PalmOS game WordUs for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The studio made so many enhancements that they Word Us 2named it WordUs2. The aim of the game is to guess the word in a varying number of attempts. Help comes in the form of colored symbols which indicate when letters are correctly placed or if a letter exists within the word.

WordUs2 is a fun and smart game suitable for all ages, and with a dictionary of thousands of words, that’s weeks of entertainment. WordUs2 has four exciting game modes: Calm & Collected, Every Guess Counts, Think Fast, and Six Minute Sprint. Each game mode features different twists and challenges sure to keep you guessing! WordUs2 features OpenFeint integration with achievement rewards for completing different gameplay tasks. WordUs2 is available now in the iTunes App Store for $0.99 USD.

Sensory robotics software company Flurple2 has unveiled Trivio™, a new trivia game app that flurple 2allows users to say their answers out loud. In its first week on the App Store, Trivio launched onto the Top 50 list in the USA. In Canada, Trivio climbed to the iTunes Top-5 New and Noteworthy board for Free Games & Trivia apps.

The television game show-style app, Trivio is the first trivia game to incorporate voice activation, speech recognition plus artificial intelligence (AI). Trivio works with all Apple products, including the iPad™, iPhone® 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, the original iPhone, and the iPod touch®.

Gaming is simple and fun — you tap the big red button on the screen and speak your answer. If you miss, your opponent gets a chance to answer the question. Points are scored for the fastest correct response. The more difficult the questions, the more points you get.

“With Trivio, it’s challenging to think fast — and speak the answer. Other quiz games are based on a simple multiple choice setup. Trivio is a quantum leap forward in mobile, interactive gaming”, states Pete Deschamps, Flurple2 CEO.trivio

Flurple2 is pleased to announce that Trivio is powered by Sensory®, the leader in speech technologies for consumer products. “Trivio is a fun and challenging game that uses speech recognition technology in a very effective way to enhance the interactive gameplay beyond multiple choice or the hassle of typed in responses”, said Todd Mozer CEO Sensory.

Trivio can revolutionize family game night, allowing parents and kids to form “teams” to play against each other and “buzz in” when they think they have the right answer. The app uses Bluetooth for lightning fast multiplayer games, and has four levels of question difficulty, from ‘Easy’ to ‘Killer’.

Trivio uses Apple’s Accessibility features for the disabled – seeing-impaired players can have the questions read aloud to them. Deschamps sees the technology being used to help people, as well as for pure entertainment.

“Helping people help themselves is something I’ve never forgotten from my time in the local Burlington Rotary Club. Trivio can be used to assist stroke victims, and help people with disabilities learn how to talk again, while having fun at the same time”, says Pete Deschamps.

Trivio’s robotics can be franchised and serve-up any company’s content and media, including trivia and educational content licensing. The educational and medical applications are endless”, states Pete Deschamps.

Currently Trivio is available on the App Store worldwide. In its first week on the free app iTunes market, Trivio ranked in the Top 200 Free Games/Trivia category in 37 countries around the globe. Trivio was deemed New & Noteworthy in 5 countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Webnames.ca Inc., Canada’s original domain registrar and an “ally on the web”™ to Canadian businesses, has launched a new professional services arm called Power for Small Business™. Power for Small Business™ provides small businesses the tools they need to succeed online and offline including website design, online strategy, search engine optimization and logo and collateral development, among other professional services.

Power for Small Business™ builds on Webnames.ca’s strong foundation of exceptional customer support. The cornerstone of the new program is a comprehensive website and online strategy package called Essentials™. Covering all of the bases small businesses and start-ups need to establish a strong online presence, Essentials™ includes a custom designed, search engine friendly WordPress website, an online strategy that integrates Twitter and Google Analytics, and personalized training on how to use each of these tools.

Essentials™ provides exceptional additional value by positioning small businesses for continuous growth at a competitive price. “Understanding peoples’ needs is what Webnames.ca has always done best,” said Webnames.ca CTO Matt Lane. “We developed Essentials™ to give small businesses a complete online presence and a professional website they can build on for years to come. Whether you want to redesign an existing website or launch a new business on the Internet, Essentials™ will you get found and help you grow your business.”

For a limited time the Essentials™ package by Webnames.ca Power for Small Business™ is being offered at a special introductory rate of $1895. Recognizing that many small businesses are stretched for time, Webnames.ca has also launched a comprehensive selection of affordable support plans for WordPress.

beyond the rackMontreal-based online shopping club Beyond the Rack has announced that after only 20 months in operation it is now serving over 2.5 million members. The company reached the 1 million member milestone at the end of April, 2010, and so has grown its membership by 150% in the past six months. To help celebrate this milestone, Beyond the Rack is offering its members the chance to win two luxury vacation packages to any Sandals or Beaches Resort.

At the same time, the company has refreshed its Web site. The upgrade includes an enhanced shopping calendar with event category tabs, drop-down menus, and category-specific calendar pages to help customers find what they’re looking for more quickly; a pop-up shopping bag which remains visible throughout each shopping session; larger product images and in-depth brand information; and a more robust blog which now features exclusive fashion tips and trends from Beyond the Rack’s style editor.

“As our growth continues to accelerate, we remain committed to providing our customers with the most pleasurable shopping experience we can give them,” says CEO, Yona Shtern. “Many of the improvements came directly from feedback from customers themselves.”

SimplyCastNova Scotia’s SimplyCast.com, a leader in multi-channel marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for organizations worldwide, announced today it has released an application integration with WordPress. The downloadable plug-in allows for a streamlined process to manage contacts between the world’s largest blogging solution and the most innovative all-in-one marketing platform.

”By integrating with WordPress, we are making it that much easier for users to access their contacts without the hassle of storing them in multiple places. Customers can now simplify the sales cycle and build stronger customer relationships regardless of where they store contact information,” said Saeed El-Darahali, president and CEO of SimplyCast.

Users can now easily and accurately share their WordPress contacts with their SimplyCast multi-channel marketing account. As a result, those that limit access to their blogs with a login feature, can now connect their WordPress contacts to their online marketing using SimplyCast. This makes for more accurate and efficient maintenance of customer contact information that results in more targeted communications. The application is free to SimplyCast customers at www.simplycast.com and can be accessed immediately within SimplyCast’s multi-channel marketing platform.

SimplyCast’s 10-in-1 multi-channel marketing platform is a web-based solution designed to create, track and deliver targeted online marketing campaigns such as email, survey, event, autoresponder, fax, SMS and link tracking services.

Camouflage Software Inc., the leader in data masking technologies, is pleased to announce its support for the camouflage softwarelatest changes to the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) and Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) version 2.0, which was released October 28, 2010.

The new PCI DSS clarifies the requirements of the existing security standards necessary for the protection of payment card data. It also confirms the current industry best practices related to ‘remaining ahead of the threat landscape.’ In addition to mandating that ‘all locations of cardholder data are included in scope of PCI DSS assessments’, this amendment also allows ‘vulnerabilities to be ranked and prioritized according to risk.’ PCI 2.0 becomes effective January 1, 2011 and becomes mandatory by January 1, 2012.

In allowing for a strategic approach to compliance, PCI 2.0 also confirms that there is a clear preliminary requirement to audit and locate all cardholder data, regardless of where it may reside. This involves i) a comprehensive inventory of cardholder data and ii) a threat analysis of that inventory. The Camouflage Discovery Module™ provides a compliance advantage by automatically identifying and classifying cardholder data located in applications throughout the organization. It features a powerful search engine and standard search templates customized to facilitate PCI compliance. These templates offer a significant head start to your compliance efforts by providing search rules aimed at locating cardholder data out-of-the-box.

The Camouflage data classification functionality allows organizations to automatically categorize discovered data according to the data classification scheme that best represents the given sensitive data and intended uses. Once the cardholder data has been located, the Data Discovery Module can classify specific sensitive information which can then be used for reports, including threat analyses.

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18th November 2010

Swarm in 2011 Preview AC Brotherhood Soundtrack and A Christmas Carol

Hothead GamesHothead Games and UTV Ignition Entertainment Ltd. have confirmed that Swarm is coming to both PlayStationNetwork and Xbox LIVE Arcade in early 2011. The as-yet unrated Swarm lets players take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.

“Swarm is perfect for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade because of its unique art direction and gameplay,” said Nigel Fox, Head of Publishing for UTV Ignition. “We’re thrilled to be partnered with Hothead because we share their passion for bringing unique experiences to gamers through these innovative digital platforms.”swarm

“We’ve been working hard on Swarm for a while now and think it’s our most addictive game yet,” said Joel DeYoung, Director of Game Technology for Hothead Games. “The Swarmites are both lovable and deliciously expendable at the same time-the game’s creation is proof positive of the dangers of excessive exposure to Saturday morning cartoons we were warned about so many years ago. Swarm is exactly the genocidal romp your parents hoped you’d grow up and marry someday.”

Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where you move all 50 Swarmites at once. Steer your swarm 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 your friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way.

UbisoftUK retail store ShopTo.net recently an Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Q&A competition asking customers to send in their questions about Brotherhood, Ubisoft and making video games for Julien Laferrière, the Production Manager on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Julien and his team chose the best questions and have produced this exclusive Assassins Creed developer video for ShopTo.

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The submitters of these questions will each be receiving an Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Poster, and the best question (as picked by Julien) will be given an exclusive Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood hoodie not available anywhere else.

Ubisoft Montreal has also released the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood soundtrack for digital download, making it available via iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, 7Digital and Qobuz. Visit the Ubisoft Music site for song previews.

padworxThe beloved Christmas story that defines the true spirit of the season is coming to Apple®iPad™ and iPhone™ as a new, delightfully interactive experience! PadWorx Digital Media, Inc., an independent developer of a new category of interactive eBooks for tablet PCs, announced today it will release A Christmas Carol on the App Store® in time for the holidays!

“This is unlike any version of A Christmas Carol ever seen before,” said Jeffery Alan Schechter, CEO and producer at PadWorx Digital Media, Inc. “Charles Dickens’ remarkable book reminds all of us not just about the importance of gratitude and charity, but about the power of personal transformation. Running with this idea and borrowing from the ‘steampunk’ art style more closely associated with Jules Verne, we’ve designed our A Christmas Carol to feel as if the iPad or iPhone you’re reading it on has been itself transformed into a steam-powered machine.”

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Readers will not only witness Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart-warming transformation through 130 pages of lovingly abridged text, but for the first time they will become part of the story through revolutionary interaction. Turn the key in Scrooge’s door and watch as the door knocker changes into the deceased Jacob Marley, or try your hand at cleaning pages of the grime of industrial-era London. Whether you’re traveling through time and space with Scrooge and the spirits of Christmases Past, Present, and Future, or powering up and manipulating an assortment of wonderful steam and gas-powered inventions, PadWorx A Christmas Carol’s steampunk-style animation, illustrations, original score and sound effects will captivate readers through the story’s unforgettable images and lessons of darkness, despair, joy and life.

The design and execution of PadWorx’s A Christmas Carol is so innovative that it has been endorsed by the Dickens family. “Reading A Christmas Carol has become a holiday tradition for many and we’re delighted to see PadWorx’s interactive version give families an entirely new way to experience the cherished story and perhaps even introduce the well-known classic to a younger generation,” said Mark Charles Dickens on behalf of the Dickens family.

A Christmas Carol is the second title in a series of new interactive eBooks developed by PadWorx Digital Media. The company released its debut title Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition last month, which quickly garnered national attention and praise from critics and consumers alike, becoming Apple’s iPad App of the Week the day after release.All interactive titles released by PadWorx Digital Media are built from the ground up using a proprietary game engine and create a brand new, fully-immersive reading experience through the combination of text, animation, gameplay elements, touch screen interaction, social media, sound effects and more. A Christmas Carol will be released first for the iPad, followed shortly afterwards by a version for the iPhone.

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2nd November 2010

Transgaming Launches New Site

TransGamingTransgaming Inc. has launched a brand new web site for its game development studio. Transgaming Studio features information about its launched titles, In The Mix Featuring Armin van Buuren, G-G-Goal, and the recently released PuzzleQuest: Challenge of the WarLords for iOS. Also featured is news about its latest game in development, Garage Inc. for the Mac, PC, iPhone and GameTreeTV. Garage Inc., a time management game set in 1928 Chicago, is based on an original IP by Global Fun and is being produced through a partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment. Players will guide recent Italian immigrant, Angelo Marito, as he tries to manage and grow a car garage. Game play features include the ability to diagnose and fix cars, hire workers, and try to steer clear of the ever-present mob while pursuing the American dream.

NinjaCAPCOMCapcom has announced that the Dead Rising 2 Ninja Theme Pack is now available on Xbox Live, Games for Windows Live and the PlayStation Network. With the new ninja pack, Chuck gains a “stealth mode” that allows him to evade zombies by making it harder for them to detect Chuck’s presence. Sword-type weapons (broadswords, katanas, etc.) have their attack power increased and will allow Chuck to perform new special attacks. Stackable items and throwing items such as nails, plates, gems, etc. will also do more damage and Chuck’s throwing speed is increased. The Dead Rising 2 Ninja Theme Pack is available for 160 Microsoft points, or $1.99 on the PlayStation Network.

audiokineticAudioKinetic’s Wwise 2010.1.2 platform has been nominated for a Game Developer magazine 2010 Front Line Award in the Audio Category. Also named as nominees in this category are FMOD Designer 4.32 (Firelight Technologies), Miles Sound System 8 (RAD Game Tools), ProRemote 2.0.1 (Far Out Labs) and ProTools 8.0.4 (Avid Technology). Read the rest of this entry »

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18th October 2010

DBox Shakes Up Pilots and Noel Berry Releases Leap 4 Blue

D-BoxQuebec’s D-BOX Technologies Inc. announced today that is has entered into its first agreement with California-based Precision Flight Controls, a leading manufacturer of flight devices for both pilots and educators.

Precision Flight Controls will be offering D-BOX’s motion technology as an option for all new cockpit sales, as well as a retrofit option for units sold, giving their already 10,000 customer-base, comprised of Colleges, Universities, flight schools, governments as well as individual users, the opportunity to have the most accurate experience in flight simulation.

“We are very pleased with this agreement, yet another achievement in our strategy to sell products which derive from our core motion technology to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). We can only stand optimistic in regards to our future when we have the support of important players like Precision Flight Controls, who is well positioned and perfectly understands the challenges of its respective markets,” stated Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies Inc.

On behalf of Precision Flight Control, Mr. Mike Altman, Chief Executive Officer added: “The precision engineered D-BOX motion system greatly enhances our flight simulation environment. We can now offer “seat of the Pants” motion cuing only found in much higher level flight training devices. The addition of motion adds the type of realistic feedback that we have been looking for as pilots can now experience the feel of roll, pitch, yaw, turbulence, stall and much more. D-BOX has definitely added the “wow” factor to leap 4 blueour devices.”

Independent game developer Noel Berry has announced the release of his game, Leap 4 Blue, on the Bored.com network. He started working on this latest title at the Winnipeg Game Jam this past spring, with the game’s premise including the creation of platforms needed to leap your way to blue while avoiding lasers, enemies along with an assortment of hazards and puzzles. You can read about Lead 4 Blue’s journey from conception to launch in Noel’s dev diary.

mozilla game labsMozilla has launched its Game Labs competition – open to game developers around the globe, the finished product must be built using open Web technologies, including (but is not limited to) HTML, CSS, JavaScript as well as server-side code such as PHP, Python, Ruby or Java. The use of libraries is permitted, however plug-ins are not. The competition submission period closes on January 11, 2011, when an expert panel along with the public will be invited to play your game and judge it against the competition. No additional features, fixes, or modifications are allowed during the judging period, or you will be disqualified.

Categories Include:

* Best Overall – the best overall score
* Best Technology – the highest technology score
* Best Web-iness – the highest web-iness score
* Best Aesthetics – the highest aesthetics score
* Most Original – the highest originality score
* Best Polish – the highest polish score
* Most Fun – the highest fun score
* Community Choice- the entry with the highest official average score

Grand Prize- Trip for two to GDC!

* Get the red carpet treatment!
* Entry to the Indie Game Developer Conference
* A visit to Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountain View
* Includes flight and 7 nights of hotel accomodations in San Francisco
* A veritable boatload of Mozilla swag
* Promotion on the Game-On Gallery

Details: One (1) Grand Prize is available: A trip for two (2) persons to the 2011 GDC Conference in San Francisco, scheduled for February 28 – March 4, 2011. Prize will include coach air travel, conference tickets and 7 nights double-occupancy hotel accommodations. See complete official rules for details. Mozilla Game Labs is also working on a whole bunch of awesome prizes for category winners and runners-up.

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28th September 2010

New Developments From Complex Games, Battlegoat and Kerberos

Complex GamesWinnipeg’s Complex Games has announced the impending release of their latest iPhone game, but the game’s name is a total mystery! Further details about the title will be released in the following weeks, but in the meantime visitors to the game’s site can for a limited time win prizes by guessing the name of the mystery game. The game will be available on both the iPhone and the iPad.

Although there are no details available yet regarding the title, the Canadian-based game developer has promised that a game trailer will be available shortly after the winners of the contest are announced.

“We expect this game to make #2!”, says Complex Games Lead Programmer Frano Sailer in his usually cryptic way, “once this game launches, it’s really going to hit the fan!”

Battlegoat StudiosBattlegoat Studios and Paradox Interactive today announced the launch of the first Supreme Ruler: Cold War developer diary. In addition, to celebrate the occasion, they have released a selection of new downloadable wallpapers.

In Supreme Ruler: Cold War, players will enter the world of the 1950’s and navigate their nation through many of the historical headlines. Prepare to battle economic challenges, unstable governments and worldwide tensions in this grand strategy experience. Supreme Ruler Cold War

“With Supreme Ruler: Cold War as our first historical title, it brings the very exciting new realm of ‘what if’ into the gameplay of Supreme Ruler,” said Stewart Braybook, Battlegoat CEO. “History tells us about the Cold War, but there are so many turning point events and personalities that the end result was never certain. Supreme Ruler: Cold War will allow players to see if they can change history, improve upon it or succumb to it.”

Game Features:

– Play as the United States or Soviet Union in Campaign Mode
– Control any Nation in Post-World War II Era in Sandbox Mode
– Use Diplomacy, Trade and Espionage to influence the policies of other nations
– Research new Technologies to give your nation an edge
– Grow and Modernize your Economy
– Control Military production and deployment, or let your Ministers take care of the details
– And when Diplomacy Fails… Sophisticated Real-Time Strategic and Tactical Control of your Military Forces
– Enhanced Graphics and Sound including New 3D Terrain
– Experience the redesigned GUI with improved On-Map feedback and streamlined controls
– Up to 16 players in Multiplayer over local network or Internet

kerberos productionsStill with publisher Paradox Interactive, they, along with Vancouver’s Kerberos Productions have released a new engine teaser trailer for Sword of the Stars II, the follow-up hit to the 4X franchise, Sword of the Stars. The game offers an evolved version of the original six races from Sword of the Stars and its expansions, Sword of the Stars II reveals the deep, dark secret of the Suul’ka. Boasting an all new graphics engine and incorporating new ship details that allow for new fleet strategies and tactics, Sword of the Stars 2 is poised to revive the 4X space genre and is scheduled for a 2011 release.

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10th September 2010

XGen Studios Announces Two New Titles

XGen StudiosEdmonton’s XGen Studios, the independent developer behind hit WiiWare™ title Defend Your Castle™ is pleased to announce the upcoming release of the all-new Super Motherload™ on Nintendo’s WiiWare. Featuring the classic arcade-style digging gameplay already enjoyed by millions, Super Motherload is a new 4-player digging adventure for Nintendo Wii™ players.

“We’re pleased to announce that the next title in the Motherload series, which has already garnered in excess of 50 Million plays online, will be multiplayer co-op digging adventure Super Motherload. Fans already familiar with classic Motherload should be pleasantly surprised with the addition of many new features alongside gameplay which holds true to the series’ originator” said Skye Boyes, Founder & CEO of XGen.super motherload

Super Motherload challenges players to dig deep into the substrata of Mars as they collect increasingly rare and valuable minerals. Players can purchase powerful upgrades and supplies for their mining pods as they progress through the storyline and prosper, encountering hidden dangers, quakes, and more than a few other surprises.

* 4-player jump-in gameplay (Mine Martian minerals with up to 3 pals!)
* Un-lockable pods, each with their own unique abilities
* New, never-before seen minerals, treasures, and dangers
* More areas to explore, including subterranean facilities
* Classic digging action with an expanded storyline and extended gameplay
* Upgrade your digging machine with lightning-fast drills, powerful engines, mega-tough hulls, and special abilities
* Use explosives, quantum teleporters, and nano-bots in your search for the fabled Motherload

Motherload received the Best Action Game award in Miniclip’s 2005 Online Game Awards, where it also received a nomination in the “Best Online Game” category. Official ratings for Super Motherload are pending.

Xgen is also pleased to announce that it is partnering with Czech studio Amanita Design to bring Amanita’s award-winning puzzle-adventure game Machinarium™ to Nintendo’s WiiWare.

“As the subject of enormous critical acclaim, this is an honor long overdue for Machinarium.” said Jordan Dubuc, Director of Operations for XGen. “We’re very fortunate to be working with the talented team at MachinariumAmanita to share this interactive work of art with a whole new audience of gamers.”

Machinarium is a point-and-click adventure game filled with fun and devious puzzles, released in 2009 for PC & Mac. Set in a richly detailed world and filled with charming characters, the game features a little robot hero who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city and must return to confront the Black Cap Brotherhood and rescue his robot girlfriend. Featuring dozens of beautiful hand-drawn environments and a meticulously crafted musical score, Machinarium is a visual marvel and a pleasure for the senses.

Machinarium received the Excellence in Visual Art award at the 12th annual Independent Games Festival, as well as the Best Soundtrack award from PC Gamer in 2009. It was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and a Milthon award in the Best Indie Games category at the Paris Game Festival. Various publications have named it Adventure Game of The Year and Best Indie Game, as well as runner-up for PC Game of the Year 2009.

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30th August 2010

SpinTop Games Invites You To Solve A Mystery In San Francisco

SpinTop GamesSpinTop Games, Popcap Games’ Vancouver studio, has released Mystery P.I.™ Stolen in San Francisco, a new “hidden object” puzzle game set in the Golden Gate City. Stolen in San Francisco is the latest addition to the immensely popular, award-winning Mystery P.I. series, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times since the series began in 2007.Mystery P.I.™ Stolen in San Francisco

Mystery P.I. Stolen in San Francisco challenges players to solve the biggest theft in San Francisco history by exploring dozens of locations for hidden “clues.” Mystery P.I. Stolen in San Francisco carries a retail price of US$19.99, and a free trial of the deluxe version is available now for download. The game will also be available on other leading game portals, including Gamehouse, MSN Gaming Zone, Pogo and Yahoo! Games, later this quarter.

“Since San Francisco is sometimes affectionately dubbed the Golden City, we thought it was the perfect setting for a gold heist. Glittering and gritty locations alike make this seek-and-find mystery a fun adventure for the whole family,” states Duncan Magee, co-director and co-founder of SpinTop. “We focused our efforts on creating the best visual locations ever to keep our millions of Mystery P.I. fans happy. We’ve always kept our artistic standards high, and I think we’ve exceeded them with Stolen in San Francisco!”

In Mystery P.I. Stolen in San Francisco, $250 Million in solid gold has been stolen from an armored car. The gold’s owner has hired you, the world famous Mystery P.I., to find and return the gold before the trail goes Mystery P.I.™ Stolen in San Franciscocold. Seek and find over 2100 hidden objects in 25 amazing San Francisco-centered scenes to track down the stolen gold! Locations include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman’s Wharf and many more.

Mystery P.I. Stolen in San Francisco features three enthralling ways to play: In ‘Find the Stolen Gold’ mode you must find clues that will lead you to the gold. Collect all the Keys & Peace Symbols to unlock two bonus game modes: Unlimited Seek & Find and a Match-3 bonus game. Go for a ‘Perfect Investigation’ and speed bonuses to maximize your points to become a Master P.I.!

Key features of Mystery P.I. Stolen in San Francisco include:

– More than 2100 cleverly hidden objects to find.
– 25 stunning San Francisco locations to explore and investigate.
– 3 fun game modes: ‘Find the Stolen Gold’ plus two Unlimited game modes
– 7 unique mini-games: Match-3, Word Search, Circle Rotation, Spot-the-Differences and Jigsaw, plus a unique final puzzle.
– Locate the secret Keys and Peace Symbols to unlock two Unlimited game modes.

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