25th August 2010

Bioware Announces New DLC for Dragon Age

Bioware CorpMy 360 is going to be very busy Morrigandownloading new DLC from Bioware next month. Earlier this week the studio announced The Lair of the Shadowbroker for Mass Effect 2, which is due out on September 7th. Also coming out on the same day is Witch Hunt for Dragon Age Origins. It appears that this DLC chapter will cost the same as Leliana’s Song, 560 MS Points or $7.00.

The dreaded Archdemon has been slain and the advance of the darkspawn halted by a lone, heroic Grey Warden. The kingdom rejoices, but at least one question remains: what happened to Morrigan? The sorceress joined the Wardens cause, but it is said her true purpose was not revealed until the eve of the last battle. She vanished into the shadows, and while rumours claiWitch Huntmed she crossed over the mountains into Orlais, no trace of her path could be found. She was never heard from again… until now. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon’s death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. She has been sighted in the southern wilderness where she was first encountered, but is it truly her? If it is, then why is she here and what secret does she carry with her? The Warden heads into the forest to find out and tie up this last loose end once and for all.

Key Features:

* Confront Morrigan in this dramatic conclusion to the Origins storylineWitch Hunt
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero

Witch Hunt will also introduce Ariane, a new character who is a gifted Dalish warrior, and her clan’s best hunter. When an ancient artifact belonging to the clan’s Keeper is stolen, one with a history tied to the very roots of the elven people, Ariane is charged with the task of reclaiming it. She is determined to carry out her solemn duty, and when her task turns out to intersect with the Warden’s quest to find Morrigan she realizes that there may be far more to the artifact’s disappearance than simple theft. There are two more character links, but as of right now they are both “sealed” – perhaps more will be revealed in the coming days?

UnityUnity Technologies has announced that Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, will keynote at Unite 2010. Unite 2010 is Unity Technologies’ fourth annual developer conference for artists, programmers, designers, researchers, publishers and enthusiasts taking place November 10-12 at the historic Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal, Canada following the Montreal International Game Summit.

Jesse is a lauded author and lecturer on the subject of games design and his Schell Games studio is using Unity to develop ‘The Mummy Online’ in collaboration with Universal and Bigpoint. This Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) is set to launch in Winter 2010.

“I’ve been dreaming for years about a ubiquitous 3D solution for web browsers, and Unity is that solution,” said Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games. “It’s changing the face of online game development, and we’re just at the beginning of what is possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd August 2010

Ray Ardent Science Ninja Trailer Now Available

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterA-la-carte tickets for Spark Animation are now available. Vancouver’s ACM SIGGRAPH chapter have officially opened the event’s site for individual session or film session purchases. The festival will open with a social mixer on Wednesday, September 8th and will feature a full schedule of inspiring speakers, panels and films.

Vancouver indie studio Ninja Robot Dinosaur has declared Ray ArdentRay Ardent: Science Ninja done. The product of indie developer & design veteran Shane Neville, Ray Ardent: Science Ninja is a high speed platformer where players assume the role of Ray Ardent, a retro pulp combination of Nicholas Tesla and Chuck Norris who saves the world with his unique combination of Science and Ninjutsu. Power-ups like Science Slide, Triple Jump and nine others let gamers customize Ray to play how they want him to. Ray Ardent features 15 levels and is currently up for licensing on Flash Game License. Ray Ardent was built using the Flixel game libraries created by Adam Saltzman of Canabalt fame, with John Tennant providing the audio work.

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Big Blue Bubble Inc.’s newest iOS game, Fighting Fantasy: Creature of Havoc has been released to the iTunes Store. Fighting Fantasy: Creature of Havoc is the fourth release in the Fighting Fantasy series and includes Big Blue BubbleiPhone/iPod Touch support, as well as our new iPad support.

You begin this adventure not knowing where you are or who you are. All you know is that you are some kind of creature of instinct, understanding little. During the course of the adventure, it may be possible for you to begin to control your bestial nature, to find out more about yourself, and even to learn your destiny. But even if you know all this, success is by no means certain, for the traps and terrors of Trolltooth Pass are many.Fighting Fantasy Creature of Havoc

Now you can experience the books that have sold over 15 million copies worldwide, on your iPhone or iPad. Fighting Fantasy fans will love the classic story and original illustrations with a technological twist. No more dice, pencils, or bookmarks. All of the special features are built in:

* New! Player Achievements
* Universal app iPad support
* Scrolling image gallery of unlocked in-game art
* Tap the on screen buttons to flip pages (No papercuts!)
* Shake to roll the 3D dice using the accelerometer (or tap through with ease)
* Inventory items selectable via touch-screen
* Game-save feature allows you to retrace your steps
* Includes both original illustrations by Ian McCaig and digitally re-mastered versions
* Integrated iPod music library access

Bioware CorpBioware has just announced that the newest DLC for Mass Effect 2 for PC and Xbox 360 will be released on Lair of the ShadowbrokerSeptember 7th. Available for 800 Bioware/MS Points, players who purchase Lair of the Shadowbroker will  join Liara T’Soni on her mission to track down the mysterious Shadow Broker. She’ll do anything to recover the man the Broker kidnapped, and the Shadow Broker’s agents will do anything to stop her. Team up with Liara and chase down clues as you adventure from the luxurious heights of Illium to the Shadow Broker’s own secret lair. In this new DLC, players will gain access to the Shadow Broker intel center, new research, and five new achievements. Mass Effect 1 players who carried their characters over to ME2 will also have the chance to continue a relationship with Liara. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st August 2010

Microsoft X10 In Review

Canadian-made video games have been acknowledged the world over as triumphs of their genres; thus it was a real delight to attend Toronto’s Microsoft X10. Held by The Fifth, X10 filled every available space with demonstrations of the Xbox 360’s power to surprise, delight, and thoroughly entertain.

The Welcome Sign

2010 has been a strong year for the Xbox 360, and the holiday season is sure to deliver a grand finale. There are comebacks for many of the console’s best-love franchises, and the debut of the much-talked about Kinect. Canadian offerings for the fall and winter land in both camps-with EA and Ubisoft both making particularly strong showings, and Big Park providing the Kinect with a joyous launch product, great games will arrive this winter from both sides of the border.

 

The doors opened at ten that morning; when I arrived at 10:04, the line still went out the door. The transformation to the club’s interior completely justified the mayhem. EA’s aisle was justifiably packed from sunup to sundown—with three instalments of powerful franchises on display, I was lucky to have the company of both Guillaume Voghel and Dana Sissons, who were eager to share their inside scoops on EA’s releases.

Guillaume Voghel is obviously proud of Dead Space 2 — with good reason. Dead Space 2 looks to deliver more in every imaginable way. The borders of the USG Ishimura have fallen away into the Sprawl, a fantastical space city on Titan that stretches into every plane of the screen. Changes have also been made to Mr. Clarke himself.

“Isaac’s got a face! We have given him a voice, he is no more the silent and vigilant guy. He’s more talkative, and more interested in taking strong action.”

Keep reading…

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17th August 2010

The Games Are Afoot

Toronto and Vancouver Halo fans, get ready to track The Covenant on August 21, 2010 and then Defend Reach in two separate missions on August 28th in Vancouver or September 4th in Toronto.

Locate the Covenant Advance Invasion Forces in either city to prove you’re ready to fight alongside Noble Team, win instant prizing, and be entered to win an exclusive Halo Reach Xbox bundle pack.Fight The Covenant

Join the fight and help UNSC track down Covenant by following UNSC_INTEL on Twitter. You’ll receive up-to-the-minute updates from UNSC pertaining to the whereabouts of the Covenant. Twitter followers of UNSC_INTEL will also be entered for the chance to win a Legendary Edition copy of Halo Reach.

In Defend Reach, Covenant have located and attacked UNSC control points. UNSC has planned a strategic assault and needs recruits. Do you have what it takes? Come down to the control point in your city for an event you’ll never forget. Battle Covenant troupes live using state-of-the-art weapons technology and be one of the first Canadians to get a sneak peak of Halo Reach. The event is free to anyone prepared to kick some serious Covenant butt. And for any die-hards out there who have pre-ordered the game, bring proof of purchase for an exclusive VIP experience at the event.

IUGOWith Microsoft’s announcement of Xbox Live for Windows Phone 7, IUGO is proud to be a launch partner with the upcoming platform. IUGO’s hit physics puzzler Implode XL and rabidly fun 3D tower defense game Zombie Attack! Second Wave are part of the prestigious line up of WP7’s launch titles.

“Early on Microsoft approached us to be a part of the WP7 launch,” explains Sarah Thomson, IUGO’s VP of Business Development. “ From what we had read and seen of the platform along with MS’s aggressive support for developers to bring over their content, we were excited to be a part of it. We believe WP7 is going to be a serious competitor in the smartphone space. The OS has been amazing to work with and implementing Xbox Live features is a brilliant move.”

IUGO now has games on iPhone, BlackBerry and WP7. Android is the next platform users will see IUGO content on. IUGO aims to build content on these specific smartphone platforms. Plans to explore social gaming and cross-platform gaming are also underway for the powerhouse indie studio.

Relic EntertainmentTHQ Inc. and Relic Entertainment have announced that there will be a second stand-alone expansion for the genre redefining real time strategy PC game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II released in the first quarter of 2011.

Jeff Lydell, Producer of Dawn of War II – Retribution commented: “We all love the Blood Ravens here at Relic Entertainment, but there are also a lot of fans of the other races and armies out there so we decided that Retribution should allow the player the freedom to experience the campaign from the perspective they select.” Read the rest of this entry »

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10th August 2010

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Launches Online Series

partnership against cancerBefore I get into today’s digital media news, I want to let you know about this very important resource, because pretty well every Canadian has been touched in some way by cancer, and common themes along the way have the potential to provide insights that can help to improve care and understanding. This is the idea behind the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s new online video series, The Truth of It. Developed in collaboration with the Health Design Lab, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, The Truth of It features interviews with Canadians diagnosed with cancer who were asked to share their story so others could learn from their experience. By providing candid accounts of the personal impact of cancer, the video series will serve as an educational resource for health care professionals as well as patients, survivors and others with a personal connection to cancer.

Reflecting that there is no one common experience in coping with a cancer diagnosis, the people interviewed for The Truth of It range in age from 20 to 73 and have been diagnosed with different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, testicular, and ovarian. Viewers can choose to watch individual stories or compilations of multiple interview clips that deal with challenges common to the cancer journey such as receiving the diagnosis, telling friends and family, talking to kids, body image, and practical advice. The Truth of It series, with 30 videos currently available, was created in collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Wendy Rowland and Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the Health Design Lab of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“The Partnership has created this series as part of our work to better understand and improve people’s cancer experience,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, a psychosocial expert who is Chair of the Partnership’s Cancer Journey Advisory Group and co-lead of the Patient and Family Support Program at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. “By helping health care professionals to tune into the patient’s perspective, The Truth of It will help to enhance patient care – while also serving as a unique resource for people with a personal connection to cancer who can benefit from insight and information from others who have walked the cancer journey.”

Jennifer Smith is one of the people who shares her story in the videos. In 2003 at the age of 38, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and has since undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is married and has two children.

“If this resource were available when I was diagnosed, it would have helped me navigate the many uncertainties and range of emotions that I experienced,” said Jennifer. “Because hearing from others in similar situations can be such a helpful way of coping, I’m hoping that other people can learn from my story.”

The Truth of It is part of the growing collection of cancer control resources, information and services available at Cancer View Canada, the online portal launched by the Partnership with and for the cancer control Canary Derbycommunity.

“Technology is radically changing the way people seek answers to their health questions, but hearing about someone’s actual experience — their ‘story’ — is still the most powerful tool,” said Dr. Michael Evans, family physician and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. “In marrying technology with stories, The Truth of It enables people to engage with other Canadians whose experiences resonate with their own. These firsthand accounts offer a range of perspectives that make this series useful to both patients and professionals.”

The above article can also serve as a reminder of several upcoming fundraiser events that we hope you will help support. The Canary Derby will run in Vancouver/Burnaby on September 25th. This is a soap box derby Canadian Breast Cancer Foundationfor technology companies who want to help fund early cancer detection research, and as an added bonus, the derby is a ton of fun.
Pink Day in Lion's Arch
October 3rd is CIBC’s Run For The Cure, Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs. Who will you be running for?

For Guild Wars players, you can get involved by supporting the Gamers Give Back resurrection of Pink Day in L.A. (Lion’s Arch), which will take place on October 16th. If you don’t play Guild Wars, you can still support the event via its Canadian Cancer Society donation page.

Bioware CorpDragon Age players - today is the day for the latest DLC chapter. Bioware invites you to delve deep underground in Golems of Amgarrak to save a missing dwarven expedition in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs. Only you can uncover the gruesome fate that befell them.
Golems
Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. With an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles this is one add-on for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions that you don’t want to miss.

* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero!
* Face an all-new terrifying creature
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* An advanced challenge for even the most experienced adventurers Read the rest of this entry »

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.Canadian Video Game Awards

Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is Bookcamp Vancouverdesigned to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.

The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.

frima studioFrima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!Zombie Tycoon

Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.

If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.

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Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat United Front Gamesenemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation has released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how toFlip Boom Lite animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:

* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width
* Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate
* Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library

There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to StoryBoard Pro 2undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.

Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.

sillysoftVancouver’s Sillysoft Games has released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010.
Castle Vox
Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.

Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the DreamCatcherrelease of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.

The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.Feature It 2010

Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:

- Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec;
– Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.

Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.

Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.

“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support fFrench Language Project Outside of Quebecrom Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”

Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.

“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”

“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills,French Language Projects Outside of Montreal increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.

Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:

- The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal.
– The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.

Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.

This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.

mytownSFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”

MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.

Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.

rare methodCalgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.

bv mediaRogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.

“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”

“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”

“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.

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29th July 2010

Gaming World Entertainment Network Helps Gamers Give Back

Gamers Giving BackInternet radio fans, check out Gaming World Entertainment Network, an internet station with roots in Canada. While the station is on the air for anyone to listen to, Guild Wars players can interact directly with radio DJs right in the Guild Wars world, participating in special events and fundraisers such as the upcoming Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) whereby players are encouraged to dress their characters in pink on October 16th to show their Pink Day in Lion's Archsupport for breast cancer research. For those who would like to also donate financially to the cause, GW-EN has a donation page on the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising site. Station co-founder Rhonda Head, who lives in Saskatchewan, wanted to not only entertain and interact with Guild Wars players, but also give them a chance to give back to the global community. GW-EN has partnered with Gamers Giving Back, providing a way for gamers to come together as a group and help support a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross for Haiti relief effort and the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Gaming World Entertainment Network plays a wide variety of music, and starting today at 1pm PDT, Michael (a.k.a. The CaveChild) makes his return to internet radio as DJ Behemoth. If you are a Guild Wars player, you’ll be able to find him in Kaineng Harbour rocking it out on one of the boats in American District 1.

Koolhaus GamesKoolhaus Games announces Voting for Round One of its International Contest for Unsigned Bands. The Top 25 Favorites in each Round are being decided by voters to the site. The Top 10 Winner’s Songs will be included in the new soundtrack of their popular iPhone game – iMP:Surf the Music and the groups will earn royalties from game sales.

Just visit the site, click on the Contest link – and go to “Fans: Vote and Enter”. Check out the bands and vote for your favorite by August 23, 2010. Then, Enter to Win an iPod Touch. Enjoy all the great new songs and be part of getting these Unsigned Acts the exposure they deserve! There will be several Rounds and one Voter from each round wins an iPod Touch.

National Film BoardThe National Film Board of Canada returns to 2010 Hiroshima International Animation Festival (August 7–11) with six films in competition. In the running for the Grand Prix are Lipsett Diaries and Drux Flux, two films by Theodore Ushev; Jeu de forme by Malcolm Sutherland; The Spine by Chris Landreth; Runaway by Cordell Barker and Retouches by Georges Schwizgebel. Ushev will be in Hiroshima, and Internet users can stay in touch with him via his blog.

The festival offers several programs in addition to the official competition. No fewer than 11 NFB films are featured at special presentations: Neighbours by Norman McLaren screens at the opening gala; Vive la rose by Bruce Alcock, co-produced with the Canadian company Global Mechanic, screens at the Best of the World program; and When the Day Breaks by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Village of Idiots by Rose Newlove and Eugene Fedorenko, The Big Snit by Richard Condie and Ryan by Chris Landreth, co-produced by the Toronto-based company Copperheart Entertainment, are among the films selected for the program celebrating the festival’s 25th anniversary. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th July 2010

HootSuite Partners with Constant Contact

BiowareBioware has just announced details for more upcoming downloadable content for Dragon Age: Origins on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. However, according to the small print on Bioware’s site, Golems of Amgarrak will not be available as a separate download for the Mac version of Dragon Age: Origins.
Golems
On August 10th, Dragon Age players will be able to delve deep underground to save a missing dwarven expedition who went off in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs, and only your Warden can venture into the Deep Roads and discover what awful fate met the expedition.

Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. Golems of Amgarrak adds an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles to your Dragon Age experience. As with previous DLC add-ons, you will be able to import your highly-developed Warden characters, or begin anew by starting a new high-level hero. You will also be able to earn fully transferable and powerful rewards for your characters, and Golems of Amgarrak promises to challenge even the most experienced Dragon Age veterans. I sense more near-death unconscious experiences in the future of my Warden. Good thing she’s resilient.

DIG London 2010DIG London is looking for your input as to who and what you’d like to see on the conference’s agenda. Head over to the DIG London Facebook account to share your views. This year’s conference will be held November 18th and 19th at the London (Ontario) Conference Centre.

HootSuiteAmerican company Constant Contact has signed a co-marketing partnership deal with HootSuite® through their Constant Contact Partner Program. By partnering with a leader in social media, Constant Contact is again demonstrating its commitment to offer its customers the best social media marketing tools and resources available today whether through acquisition, in-house development, or strategic partnership. As part of the Constant Contact Partner Program, HootSuite will benefit from exposure to Constant Contact’s diverse customer base of more than 350,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations. HootSuite’s customers will also be able to leverage the proven email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools Constant Contact offers.

teletoonTwo major corporations have announced their digital agencies of record today. Teletoon Canada Inc. has partnered up with Tribal DDB Canada’s Toronto office as its digital and social media agency of record, while ING Direct Canada has named Dashboard, also located in Toronto, as their interactive developer.Tribal DDB

Starting immediately, Tribal DDB Toronto will build a social media strategy with an integrated approach to extend consumer awareness and engagement of Teletoon’s three key brands – Teletoon, Teletoon at Night and Teletoon Retro – through digital and social media vehicles. New campaign work is expected to launch later this fall.

“Teletoon has been successfully fostering engagement through various social networking initiatives, however we’re looking to collaborate with Tribal DDB to build on and further optimize our efforts,” says Russell Ward, VP Marketing, Teletoon Canada inc. “We’re impressed by Tribal DDB’s social creativity, strategic thinking and track record of creating ideas that have generated wide appeal and buzz.”

dashboardING DIRECT has been a strong player in the digital space since the bank’s Canadian launch. For over 13 years, they have operated and marketed as a direct bank. A partnership with Dashboard, will further ING Direct Canada’s interactive initiatives. With big news for the bank on the horizon, both teams have already begun working.

“We are thrilled to add ING Direct to our growing roster of excellent clients,” said Daryl Aitken, President, Dashboard. “ING Direct was one of the first digital marketers in Canada, essentially digital veterans, so they are ready to go to the next tier of digital presence that Dashboard delivers on time and time again. Our team is already at work doing smart and innovative work.”

Roaring PenguinThe fight against spam got a little bit easier as Roaring Penguin Software Inc. announced the latest release of their CanIt 7.0.6 software. Roaring Penguin offers an evaluation copy so you can personally test out the following new features, along with all of the previously existing anti-spam capabilities of this software:

1. Direct Injection of Messages into Sendmail Queue: CanIt can directly inject streamed mail into the Sendmail Queue rather than re-mail it with Sendmail. This should significantly improve performance in busy sites that have individual streams for each user. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. 3podFirst, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:

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

Gemini Awards 2010Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.

Ottawa International Animation FestivalWant to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.

Pitch Participation Requirements:

* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages)
* One episode synopsis
* Bios of key executives
* Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
* Concept art (2 or 3 images)

xmg studioXMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.

From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.Cannon Cadets

In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!

Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »

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20th July 2010

Canadian Game Industry Continues To Expand

Silicon SistersVancouver game dev industry veterans Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes have officially announced the formation of Silicon Sisters Interactive, a new Canadian video game company based in Vancouver that will create games for a predominantly female audience.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, female gamers are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics, with women currently accounting for 40% of the overall gaming audience. Silicon Sisters plans to capture and grow this rapidly expanding market by tailoring games to these players’ daily lives and personal interests. Their target customers — women of all ages, from tweens and teens to hard-working women worldwide — comprise an audience that the company’s all-female design staff inherently understands.

“We’re not interested in ‘pinkifying’ games, which is how girl games are typically designed,” says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO. “It’s no coincidence that the games I and many other female gamers are most drawn to have had women involved in their development. Girls and women game differently than boys and men. Silicon Sisters has studied these differences so we can make games that truly appeal to and resonate with the female audience.”

It’s an objective perfectly suited to the founders’ backgrounds. During their combined 18 years in the industry, both have been vocal champions of female representation among video game developers and audiences. The former COO of Deep Fried Entertainment, Bailey Gershkovitch chairs the Vancouver chapter of Women in Games International (WIGeh) and sits on GDC Canada’s Advisory Board. Forbes, previously an Executive Producer at Radical Entertainment, has delivered eleven top-selling games and is a veteran industry advocate for girl gaming preferences.

“The video game industry is experiencing a rebirth of sorts,” says Kirsten Forbes, Silicon Sisters’ COO. “PC online gaming is up, social networking has become pervasive, and mobile platforms are ubiquitous. Women are adopting games on these platforms in droves. It’s time to get serious about delivering quality games into this burgeoning market.”

Silicon Sisters’ predominantly female team, which includes noted designer Brenda Brathwaite as a consultant, is working on two projects for PC and mobile platforms. This summer, company representatives will attend Casual Connect, GDC Europe, and GamesCom to pursue publishing opportunities for their own properties, as well as potential work-for-hire projects that correspond to Silicon Sisters’ corporate vision.

TransGamingTransGaming, Inc. is crossing the Atlantic and entering the European market after securing its first in a number of active agreements to deploy GameTreeTV in the European market before the end of 2010. The first deployment will be with a European Managed Service Operator (MSO) who will begin releasing the new generation of set-top boxes to their subscriber base of multi-millions of households. Financial terms were not disclosed due to confidentiality reasons. TransGaming will be working closely with this MSO over the next few months to prepare for the commercial launch of GameTreeTV, which is currently slated for late 2010.

“This agreement is a major milestone and demonstration of TransGaming’s leading role in revolutionizing the delivery of high-end interactive content in the digital home,” said Vikas Gupta, President and CEO of TransGaming. “We are excited that European consumers will be the first to enjoy the ability to play great games directly through their set-top box and conveniently will be able to transact their games through a variety of consumer friendly business models.”

The GameTreeTV Gaming Platform is an on-demand video games service that gives consumers access to high quality games directly from the comfort of their living rooms through any Intel CE Media Processor based device. Consumers will be able to access a broad assortment of well-known, popular arcade, puzzle, family and adventure style games from the growing library at GameTreeTV. TransGaming first unveiled its GameTreeTV platform at the Intel Developer Forum in September last year while announcing a strategic collaboration agreement with Intel Corporation and an investment by Intel Capital.

Developers are invited to sign up for TransGaming’s Content Developer Program in order to gain access to their SDK game emulation tools, documentation, and hardware requirements to bring your games direct to consumers through the GameTreeTV Games Platform.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that Home Sweet Home Online, the next evolution in the Home Sweet Home series is released on Facebook.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a home decorator? Now you can with Home Sweet Home Online! Build your dream home and show it off to your friends and the rest of the Home Sweet Home users.Home Sweet Home Online

Home Sweet Home Online gives the player complete freedom when it comes to designing rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. They can paint objects different colors and they are not restricted to a grid when placing items. This freedom combined with thousands of furniture pieces allows the player to create a virtually infinite amount of different rooms!

Travel to your friend’s homes to see what ideas they come up with. You can even travel to their friend’s homes and check out what they’ve done. Meet new and interesting people and become an active part of the Home Sweet Home community!

The player can also play mini games to earn coins, unlock new furniture by gaining experience, and visit virtually everyone else’s home to rate their rooms get decoration ideas. With weekly updates of new content and features, players will continually try to outdo each other and win the Room of the Week prizes. Read the rest of this entry »

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