8th July 2010

Zombies and Wardens Fight The Good Fight

I will be at Casual Connect, which is taking place in Seattle this July 20th-22nd and would love to meet up with Canadian interactive media people who will be there – especially those of you from outside of the BC region, as my opportunities to meet up with anyone from east of The Rockies are somewhat limited. Also, if you’re going to be in Seattle on July 19th, don’t forget that GameSauce is offering a full day of sessions on a variety of tracks – and it’s free for all those who are registered for Casual Connect. I am hoping to make it to Seattle for GameSauce as well, but I haven’t yet confirmed just when I’ll be making the drive down. If you’d like to connect, drop me an “@” message on Twitter, or send me a note via email, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterDon’t forget that tickets are now on sale for the ACM Vancouver SIGGRAPH major event Spark Animation Festival, with all seminar sessions taking place at the ScotiaBank Theatre this September 8th – 12th. As at past events, the VanCity Theatre will host all of the Festival’s film screenings.

Spark Early Bird Ticket Prices (including HST):

Members: $175
Non-Members: $225

On August 1, full prices of the passes will be as follows:
Members: $225
Non-Members: $275

Conference passes include entry to the featured speakers presentations, all conference panels, talks and a SPARK Animation ’10 souvenir t-shirt. Tickets for film screenings sold separately.

Blue Castle GamesThe cover art for upcoming Blue Castle Games‘ title Dead Rising 2 has been revealed, while publisher Capcom also announced a new web site related to the sequel – unfortunately the site is Dead Rising 2at times very slow to load because the number of people trying to visit the site keep pushing the usage load up. Tap It Or Die features the exploits of a quartet of characters from the world of Dead Rising 2. and you can follow the exploits of Lance, Gretchen, Wallace and Johnny Pipes as well as discover exclusive content from Dead Rising 2.

United by a love of zombies and desperate to obtain tickets for the hottest show in town, Terror is Reality XVII, you will follow these four individuals throughout their journey while getting an inside look into Dead Rising 2 that can’t be found anywhere else. Capcom has stated that the site will be updated weekly with new content and surprises as zombie fans around the world await the arrival of Dead Rising 2 this September.

Bioware CorpEA and Bioware confirmed today what many were speculating yesterday after a cryptic Twitter message from the DragonAge account – that Dragon Age™ 2 is in development at BioWare’s Edmonton-based studio. With Dragon Age 2, Bioware is revolutionizing the RPG genre again, infusing the universe with more action, a new, more responsive combat system and a dynamic story that is already among the most multifaceted in gaming.

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6th July 2010

Tungle Corporation Announces Advisory Board

Bioware CorpWhile Dragon Age fans were busy downloading and playing the new Leliana’s Song expansion for Origins, Bioware surprised its Mass Effect community today with new unannounced DLC for Mass Effect 2. Hiding in the shadows of XBL Marketplace is the new Aegis Pack, which for Mass Effect 2 Aegis Pack160 MS Points will gain players a five piece set of Kestrel armour with some high-powered buffs and the M-29 Incisor sniper rifle.

Kestrel Armour Specs:

The Kestrel Helmet adds weapon damage, shield strength, and headshot damage.
The Kestrel Torso Sheath adds melee and weapon damage and shield strength.
Kestrel Arm Sheathing adds melee and weapon damage and shield strength.
Kestrel Shoulder Pieces adds shields and melee damage.
The Kestrel hip-mounted Power Pack ups shields and heavy weapon ammo capacity.

Tungle.meTungle Corp., the company that is revolutionizing the online scheduling and calendar industry (and one which I am hoping will assist me with improving my daily time management challenges), today announced the creation of a board of advisors that will include Robert Scoble, (Scobleizer), Don Dodge (Google), Dave McClure (Geek), Ellen Levy (LinkedIn) and Scott Stratten (Unmarketing).

“Each of these individuals in their own right is a force to be reckoned with. As a group, they become even stronger”, said Marc Gingras, Founder and CEO of Tungle Corp. “We’ve assembled this group because we know that each of them is a thought leader with a unique skill and a finely honed sense of where the sector is headed. Their insights are a key component to ensure our solution remains on the cutting edge of a quickly evolving ecosystem.”

The board of advisors will provide advice and direction to Tungle Corp. as it prepares for its next stage of growth. Tungle.me is used to schedule meetings in over 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies, over 700 Universities, and in more than 100 countries around the globe

LudiaLudia and FremantleMedia Enterprises have announced that the Family Feud game is now available for the PS3 on the PlayStation®Network for $9.99.  Family Feud is already available for the Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PC and iPhone™, with an iPad-sized app coming soon. Based on one of the most successful family game shows of all time – which premieres its 12th season in syndication with new host Steve Harvey on September 13th, PS3™ owners can now play as the leader of a ‘family’ in a contest to name the most popular answers to survey questions posed to 100 people. The game features all of the favorite elements of the show as played on television, including the scoreboard, face offs, strikes, stealing and ‘fast money’ rounds. Players can enjoy a thrilling online multiplayer Family Feud experience as they compete against friends and/or other players from across North America in head-to-head challenges via the PlayStation Network. Additionally, multiplayer local and solo game play is also supported.

“Ludia is happy to extend the ever-popular Family Feud franchise to PlayStation 3 systems via the PlayStation Network,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This new game is another great addition to Ludia’s growing portfolio of game show games for PS3™, and further reinforces our multiplatform strategy.”

Family Feud for PlayStation 3 system features:

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5th July 2010

Entrepreneurship Partnerships and Scholarships

wavefrontWaveFrontAC would like to know if you are interested in turning your innovative wireless idea into a start-up company? Entrepreneurship@Wavefront is a new program being undertaken in partnership with BCIC to support and nurture 8 early-stage B.C. wireless companies. Program participants will receive one-year access to office space in Wavefront’sBCIC collaborative wireless incubation centre and $10k credit toward Wavefront’s advisory and testing services. Exemplary go-to-market services wireless companies would leverage are Wavefront’s handset library, usability services, refinement of business development strategies and industry connections. Participants can also leverage BCIC’s network of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts for additional mentorship and guidance.

EA GamesSkate 3 will be dishing up a virtual Hawaiian skateboarding vacation tomorrow with the release of Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream, an enormous skater’s paradise designed by the skating legend himself. Inspired by the tropical paradise of Hawaii, this all new Skate 3 downloadable content comes loaded with everything from original street terrain to flowing skate parks and of course Danny’s signature Mega-madness. Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream content pack will be available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for 560 MS points or $6.99. The DLC will also include new challenges, Leliana's Songcreate-a-skater gear, an all-new Danny Way playable character, and new achievements and trophies.

While skate fans are busy in Hawaii, I’ll be on a mission with Dragon Age’s Leliana as Bioware adds a new chapter to the Dragon Age: Origins saga. Leliana’s Song will allow gamers to play as the roguish bard in a tale that can lead only to treachery – and the reasons which led Leliana to The Chantry. For 560 MS Points ($6.99 PSN), play through Leliana’s Song to earn a new reward that can be transferred over to your original Dragon Age: Orgins and Awakening campaigns. So now you know what I’ll be doing tomorrow after work.

The Banff CentreNew media makers interested in developing a creative project or reflective essay related to this year’s theme are encouraged to apply to the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive, which takes place at The Banff Centre this August 14 to 20th. Participants will benefit from valuable mentorship across a broad range of new media interests. Applications for projects in all stages of development, from early concepts through to fully developed prototypes, are welcome.

Scholarships are available for up to ten Canadian and international applicants and include focused mentorship and public presentation opportunities, a travel stipend of up to $550, and full financial
support for program tuition, meals, and shared accommodations on The Banff Centre campus. Please visit the Scholarship Information Page to apply.

Local (Vancouver) indie game designer Alex Vostrov (Rocket Bear Games) has officially announced his new game. According to his site, the new game will be called Infested Planet, and is “an innovative real time strategy game where you face a humongous horde of mutating aliens with just 5 marines” will hit the gamer waves in the Fall of 2010.

TreehouseCorus Entertainment and Treehouse are pleased to announce the world premiere of the first ever Dr. Seuss inspired animated series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on Saturday, August 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET starring Martin Short as the voice of the Cat.

Produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse and PBS Kids in the U.S., The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is based on Random House’s bestselling beginner book collection, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.The Cat In The Hat

“We are thrilled to introduce the first ever animated series based on the whimsical adventures of Dr. Seuss, starring Canadian comedian Martin Short,” said Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Production, Corus Kids. “A delightfully entertaining show that opens young minds to science and nature discoveries, this series is sure to appeal to preschoolers’ curiosity for exploration and the world around them.”

With Cat as their guide, best friends Sally and Nick are transported to all corners of the globe, making natural science discoveries of all kinds. Along for the ride are Cat’s two energetic helpers, the mop-headed zany duo: Thing One and Thing Two. Booting around in Cat’s one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, the group can travel to the bottom of the sea, shrink down to the size of a bee to discover how honey is made or find out why owls sleep during the day.

In the first episode, Show Me the Honey, Sally and Nick have run out of honey. Luckily, the Cat knows just where to get more. They visit Queen Priscilla Buzzoo who invites the gang to join her in the bee dance to learn how honey is made.

Beginning on August 7, back-to-back 30-minute episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! will air Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of August. Beginning on Tuesday, September 7, viewers can catch this series in its regular time-slots Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. as well as Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Beginning on August 23, viewers can visit Treehousetv.com to catch clips of the show, access 30 different colouring pages as well as six online games.

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22nd June 2010

Cities Named for Monopoly Canadian Version

Longbow GamesLongbow Games has announced that the studio will be launching a boxed version of their innovative new historical wargame Hegemony: Philip of Macedon at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio from June 24-27, 2010. Recently called “the most in depth ancient world strategic simulator on the market,” by Greg Wild of The Reticule, the boxed version of Hegemony which includes a full-colour printed manual will launch exclusively at the show for $30 (reg. $39.99 + shipping).

“We’d like to invite all fans of history and strategy to come out to our booth at Origins and give Hegemony a try,” says Rob McConnell, lead programmer at Longbow Games. “We’re going to have multiple game stations available where guests can play the full game as well as free demo cds to take home and big discounts for those who purchase Hegemony at the show.” Hegemony Philip of Macedon

Hegemony: Philip of Macedon lets you conquer the ancient Greek world in this PC RTS war game that follows the rise of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Players campaign continuously, unfettered by load screens, across a satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece encountering the full range of warfare from reconnaissance to raids to field battles to mountain blockades. The game also features:

* Innovative supply system – Siege and starve the enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing empire.
* Steeped in history – In-game pedia and 100+ historical objectives recreate the rise of the Macedonian empire.
* Detailed and Stylized World and Map – Transition smoothly between the detailed 3D world and the stylized board-game map while maintaining complete control over your empire.
* Subjugate your enemy – Chase down and capture routed enemy units to create slave gangs to work your mines or build your forts. But don’t leave them unguarded or they could rebel and wreak havoc in your empire’s heartland!
* Conquer the seas – Build or capture a fleet of triremes to protect your coastlines, raid enemy merchants, or drop an army at your enemy’s backdoor.

HasbroAfter passionate campaigns across the country and more than one million votes from Monopoly fans from Kelowna to Kawartha Lakes, 22 of Canada’s favourite cities now have a home on the new Monopoly: Canada Edition game board. Chatham-Kent, Ontario now represents the coveted Boardwalk spot, with Saint-Jean-Sur Richelieu Quebec capturing Park Place to round out the prestigious dark blue property group in the popular game invented by Charles Darrow in 1935.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Canada Day with this new all-Canadian edition of the world’s favorite family game brand featuring cities voted by Canadians!” said Michelle Sinclair, Brand Manager of Games & Puzzles for toy and game-maker Hasbro Canada. “We hope that Canadian Monopoly fans will enjoy playing on a game board that includes an interesting mix of our cities featuring all of the dynamic cultures, sights and history of this country.”Monopoly Canada

Votes were cast during a six-week period in early 2010. The first four weeks of voting determined 20 of the 22 cities featured in the game, picked from 65 pre-selected cities based on the population size of the province in which they resided. The remaining two spots were reserved for a wildcard vote for any city across Canada. Ten cities with the most nominations for the wildcard faced off for two weeks in February 2010 and Beauceville, Quebec and Banff, Alberta earned the brown property spaces on the game board, traditionally occupied by Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue.

The following 22 cities earned spots on the Monopoly: Canada Edition game board, and are listed with the highest rent properties first:Mr. Monopoly

– Dark Blue: Chatham-Kent, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu
– Green: Calgary, Sarnia, Edmonton
– Yellow: Windsor, Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres
– Red: Medicine Hat, Gatineau, Shawinigan
– Orange: Kawartha Lakes, Chilliwack, Montreal
– Magenta: Kelowna, North Bay, St. John’s
– Light Blue: Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver
– Brown: Beauceville, Banff

Along with the 22 property spaces featuring great Canadian cities, the game will include updated Chance and Community Chest cards that highlight events and culturally relevant scenarios from Canada. Players may take flight at the International Balloon Festival in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, skate along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa or win big at the casinos in Niagara Falls. The new Monopoly: Canada Edition also features an Electronic Banking unit with cards instead of cash. Players can collect rent and buy their favourite Canadian cities with the touch of a button! Read the rest of this entry »

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16th June 2010

Meanwhile Back In Alberta

BiowareHot on the heels of Tuesday’s new DLC pack Overlord for Mass Effect 2, Bioware has announced a new DLC expansion for Dragon Age: Origins. In Leliana’s Song, players will assume the role of party-member Leliana, a young bard involved in a criminal ring that deals Lelianain political secrets. While accompanying her mentor Marjolaine on a high-risk mission, Leliana soon finds herself entangled in a game of intrigue that she cannot escape with just her beauty, charm, or stealth. The only way out of this game is to kill or be killed.

DLC Features:

* Explore Leliana’s dangerous past and why she joined the Chantry
* Fully voiced cinematic experience brings the characters to life
* Unlock a unique reward that transfers into your Awakening and Origins campaign

Digital Alberta has put out an official call for applications to become the association’s new Executive digital albertaDirector. There is also a career opening for the position of Executive Assistant. Interested parties are asked to please contact Larry Jacques, Digital Alberta President,  with your resume if you wish to apply.

Alberta’s 2nd Annual All Associations BBQ will be held on Tuesday June 22nd at the Alastair Ross Technology Centre.  Members from 26 industry groups, ranging from such sectors as research, marketing, gaming, investment, design, arts, hi-tech, media, magazine, music, book, tv and film will get together at 5pm for some great food and awesome networking.

Alberta ICTThe Alberta ICT Council will also be hosting a Digital Economy Symposium Luncheon which will offer an overview of the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures initiative, followed by an afternoon symposium on building Canada’s digital media economy. Recommendations will be submitted to Industry Canada as part of their cross-Canada consultation process associated with their Digital Economy strategy announced in May at Canada 3.0. Luncheon presentations also include a welcome by the president of Olds College and a review of sector activities by the Alberta ICT Council. This signature luncheon provides an opportunity for Alberta ICT sector stakeholders to meet and discuss the Alberta Innovates program and related opportunities open to Alberta’s ICT sector. The luncheon will be held at the Olds College Alumni Centre on June 25th and will begin at 11:45a.m. Tickets are available now for $30.00

If you couldn’t make the trek to Banff for the 2010 World TV Festival, fear not – you can find lots of great Banff World Television Festivalarticles, videos and photos online at the Festival’s web site, from opening day to closing BBQ. There have been a number of great announcements since this year’s event began. One such announcement came from the National Film Board, who added to their long legacy of avant-garde technical and creative firsts when Government Film Commissioner & NFB Chairperson Tom Perlmutter, Rob McLaughlin – Director, Digital Content and Strategy, English Program, and Hugues Sweeney – Advisor and Conceiver, Digital Programming, French Program officially launched Interactive.NFB.ca at Tuesday’s NFB Lunch.NFB interactive

As noted on the Banff 2010 Highlights page, Interactive.NFB.ca is a site that hosts a growing “collection of projects – interactive documentaries, video and animations, photographic art and essays, data visualization, mobile and locative media, community media and user-generated media,” which aims to support content that has yet to be, or may never be broadcast . Not without risks, the site is an ingenious way to facilitate conversations and collaborations for creatives in this new media landscape.

Congratulations also to all of this year’s Rockie Award Winners:

2010 Rockie Awards for Fiction:

Entertainment Categories:

* Animation: Le Printemps de Melie/ Molly in Springtime, National Film Board of Canada in association with Folimage, PIWI, Divertissement Subsequence Inc – Canada
* Comedy Programs: Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Table Read, HBO Entertainment, Home Box Office – USA
* Music & Variety Programs or Series: Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, Glassbox Productions, BBC – United Kingdom Read the rest of this entry »

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16th June 2010

More Canadian E3 Goodness

Canada Media FundConfused about the Canada Media Fund? There’s a conversation going on over at Christine Lim-Labossiere’s site, Pentimento Productions. Christine is working on an initiative to assist Digital Media companies who would like to access the new Canada Media Fund-Convergent Stream, and she invites all interested parties to share their thoughts. As announced earlier this month, the CMF has extended its deadline for applications to its Experimental Stream has been extended from June 21 to July 5, 2010.

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games have released a new trailer for Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, which is scheduled for release on June 30th. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will introduce players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene, and game play features of Dead Rising 2 ahead of its release. Available exclusively to Xbox 360 owners via Xbox LIVE, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising and three years before the action of Dead Rising 2. Players purchasing Dead Rising 2: Case Zero who then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as Player Level, to a maximum of five, Prestige Points alongside skills, Combo Cards and a number of alternate outfits. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is not yet listed in the XBox Marketplace.

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TransGaming, Inc. has announced the redesign of its Mac digital distribution portal, GameTreeOnline, as well as the release of exciting new Mac games. As at E3 this week and on our site yesterday, GameTreeOnline features two new Disney Interactive TransGamingtitles, Toy Story 3 and Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey. Both titles are available immediately and only from GameTreeOnline as digital downloads. In addition, GameTreeOnline will release Her Interactive’s first award-winning Nancy Drew franchise title for Mac on June 29, 2010.

These new releases complement two new Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games from Riot Games and LEGO®, League of Legends and LEGO Universe, respectively. The Mac enablement and deployment of high quality franchises, such as LEGO’s first ever MMO title, clearly define TransGaming’s leadership position and adds to the company’s growing collection of award-winning titles that have been enabled for the Mac community using TransGaming’s Cider Portability Technology.

“TransGaming’s announcement of these new games coming to the Mac, at this year’s E3 Conference, clearly demonstrates to the gaming community that leading publishers are pursuing the Mac platform and are focused on releasing a simultaneous PC/Mac hybrid product,” commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “We have maintained our commitment to giving Mac gamers the highest quality gaming content and we are bringing these incredible games to the Mac simultaneously with their PC counterparts, which is possible only through our portability technology. TransGaming is truly delivering on the promise of a low-touch enablement technology for simultaneous multi-platform releases.”

Propaganda GamesDisney Interactive Studios have released the E3 trailer for Propaganda Games‘ upcoming epic, action role-playing game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, which will give gamers an entirely new experience within the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. The game takes place before the events of the blockbuster films. Players will take on the role of a pirate and embark on epic land and sea adventures. Numerous moral and character choices will need to be made that affect their character and the original story within the world. Players will explore a massive open world while fighting enemies, mystical creatures and Mother Nature, both to gain experience and stay alive. Supernatural elements familiar to the Pirates of the Caribbean world will also affect their character’s story and influence their choices. Armada of the Damned is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2010 for next-gen consoles and Windows PC.

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“Armada of the Damned is a dynamic action role-playing game that captures all of the franchise’s excitement, unpredictability and action while delving into narrative elements never before explored within this unique universe,” said Dan Tudge, vice president and general manager, Propaganda Games. “Our team’s collective experience with industry-leading RPGs and action titles provides a strong foundation for us to create and build a compelling action role-playing title.”

Disney Interactive has also released a new and innovative E3 2010 trailer for the TRON: Evolution video game that connects the storyline of the game and the film. The piece features the voice of Bruce Boxleitner as the character TRON, who takes the player through their paces and prepares them for immersion into a world they’ve never seen. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th June 2010

Mafia Wars At 7-Eleven Stores

Mobile Game StudioMobile Game Studio Inc. has released a lite version of their iPhone game, The High Seas. This new action packed game will put you in the boots of a treasureThe High Seas on iTunes hunter fighting against the mighty pirates as you sail the seas in search of treasure chests. You set off on adventure to find hordes of gold and booty, but beware of the pirates who are determined to foil your efforts, as well as barrels full of gun powder that follow you as you pass them by. Take a stand against your enemies with your cannons which you can set off with the touch of a button while your ship’s wheel guides you across the seven seas.

Bioware CorpBioWare™ and FUNimation Entertainment, the leading distributor of Japanese animation in North America, announced today an agreement to create an anime feature film adapted from BioWare’s critically-acclaimed fantasy Action RPG franchise Dragon Age™. Production of the Dragon Age anime movie is slated to begin in May 2010, with a home video release in 2011. Executive producing the film are Bioware’s Executive Producer Mark Darrah and Creative Director Mike Laidlaw, as well as FUNimation’s Fukunaga and Director of Original Entertainment Chris Moujaes.

“Anime is a great medium for us to continue the robust Dragon Age story,” said Mark Dragon Age OriginsDarrah, Executive Producer for the Dragon Age franchise. “Partnering with FUNimation ensures that we are delivering the exceptional quality and entertainment value that our Dragon Age fans expect.”

“We are thrilled to be working with EA and BioWare on the production of the Dragon Age anime feature,” said Gen Fukunaga, President and CEO of FUNimation. “We are going to be bringing the classic visual and storytelling techniques found in anime to create a film that will extend the narrative of the world BioWare has created.”

Dragon Age has been selected as the first title in FUNimation’s slate of major anime movies to be developed through FUNimation’s Original Entertainment team since the announcement of the company’s co-production initiative in November 2009.

Vancouver developer Genius Factor Games is giving away their casual game puzzler Gravity Well for free for the next ten days (June 16th is the last day). Take this opportunity to grab it from the iTunes App Store and see how long it takes you to make gravity your slave. This was one of the first games I bought when I first got my iTouch last year, and I’m still trying to beat this game. It’s not easy.

Last week Digital Alberta announced the resignation of long-time contributor, Executive Director, René Smid, effective Aug 31, 2010.René Smid

“René has been paramount to the Digital Media industry in Alberta,” says Larry Jacques, President of Digital Alberta. “On behalf of the Board of Directors and our membership, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication Rene has provided to our organization. We wish her the best in the future and we are grateful she will support the transition to a new management team. Hers will be tough shoes to fill.”

As a succession plan, The Board will put a call out for replacement of the Executive Director position. Due to the growth of Digital Alberta and the demand of the upcoming programming year, there will also be a call for an Executive Assistant. These positions will be filled as soon as possible.

Heenan BlaikieNational business law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP has released an in depth guide that will be interest to all interactive media houses in the country. Producing in Canada – a guide to Canadian film, television and interactive digital media incentive programs is available for download on legal network & knowledge site Lexology. Sign up is required in order to download the guide.

Pixel to ProductTwo weeks ago at the mesh conference, the Pixel to Product research study was announced by 49 Pixels’ Justin Kozuch, lead researcher and founder of Refresh Events, when he issued a Call To Action and presented an outline of what is planned for the Pixel to Product project over the coming year. According to the Pixel to Product website, the purpose of this study is to create a classification system for Canada’s digital media industry and shed light on the industry’s size and scope.

Since the initial announcement at mesh, Justin has been working on setting the agenda and identifying the deliverables that will emerge from this working group. The first part of this research study is to convene a working session to help define digital media, and in order to make this working session as successful as possible, Justin is hoping to recruit volunteers to help out with the following tasks:

* Facilitator: I’m searching for a facilitator to help lead the event, set the context for the working session and assist with keeping the session on track.
* Photographer: I’m looking to capture photos of the event, attendees and the artifacts generated.
* Liveblogging: We’re using a ScribbleLive blog to capture conversations, photos and other elements.
* Wiki gardening: We’re employing the use of a wiki to capture the various definitions, along with other generated artifacts.

If you’re available to contribute your liveblogging, wiki gardening, or other gifts towards our working session, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Many hands make light work and will help make this event a success.

In this 2 hour casual working session, which is being called The UnConversation: Defining Digital Media, registered attendees will help us define digital media and share ideas on how to promote this research study across Canada.

Currently the group  has not finalized a solid definition for digital media, and the Unconversation is an opportunity to gather industry professionals to have a conversation around defining our industry. This definition will help shape the creation of our classification system, as well as all future tasks related to this research study.

The Unconversation will be held on Monday June 21st, and will open with a pre-event networking session beginning at 5:30pm. Yahoo! Canada has graciously offered the use of their facility for this event, their offices are located in Suite 801 at 201 Queen’s Quay West in Toronto.

This event is being styled as a roll up your sleeves, break-out-your-moleskine working session with clear goals and deliverables. Expect a casual working session with smart and creative industry personalities like yourself working in groups towards a larger outcome.

1. Register online
2. Select the ticket type that best describes you in the list.
3. Add your contact information, and tell us what gifts you’re bringing to the table.
4. Check your inbox for email confirmation of your registration.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can still contribute to this conversation. There will be a liveblog of the event that you can follow and add your voice to.

dhx mediaDHX Media Ltd is pleased to announce that Super WHY!, its award-winning, literacy-based series, has been commissioned for a second season of 15 all-new episodes by PBS KIDS and Canada’s CBC.

The innovative, critically-acclaimed, animated preschool program which is a co-production by Out of the Blue Enterprises and DHX Media’s DECODE Entertainment subsidiary, also airs around the globe on channels including: Nickelodeon UK and Australia and OKTO TV in Singapore; Korea’s EBS, KidsTalkTalk and Tooniverse; ATV in Hong Kong; Astro TVIQ for Malaysia and Indonesia, and Thailand’s True Visions. DHX Media holds worldwide television rights to the series excluding the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th May 2010

United Front Games Has Their First Title On Store Shelves

ModNation Racers Happy Launch Day to everyone over at United Front Games – Congratulations on your first official “Game Now On Store Shelves” milestone, and we wish you every success with ModNation Racers as it karts its way into homes around the world – now on to True Crime!

Vancouver Innovation CampThe next Innovation Camp will be held on May 29th and 30th at Bootup Labs. Get your tickets now for a great workshop that will challenge assumptions, connect ideas, embrace failure and see problems as opportunities for creative solutions in order to take your entrepreneurial venture to the next step. Tickets for Innovation Camp are $119.00 and can be purchased online.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterTickets are also still available for the Vancouver SIGGRAPH presentation of Alice in Wonderland: Creating Underland. Taking place on May 25th at the Empire Theatre Granville, this session features two presentations, the first with animation director David Schaub (Sony Pictures Imageworks), who will give you a look behind the talent and tools that were used to create Alice In Wonderland. Mr. Schaub will focus primarily on the standard creative elements of the show, but he will also provide insight into the surprising challenges and innovative technical solutions that were used to breathe digital life into over 30 inhabitants of Underland including the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the Cheshire Cat.

The second Creating Underland session will be presented by freelance Visual Effects Supervisor Carey Villegas, who will focus on the process of photographing the “live-action” component of the film, as well as the many challenges that he and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Ken Ralston faced in post production while creating the visual and stereo 3D effects. A screening of Alice in Wonderland will follow the technical presentations. Tickets for this event are $20.00 for non-members and $15.00 for members. Please note that online ticket sales for the seminar are now closed, but you can still get tickets at the door.

ICAOur friends over at AnnexPro have just told us about two upcoming seminars for Final Cut Pro editors. Presented by the International Colorist Academy, these two courses will be taking place in Vancouver beginning on June 7th. The first course, Apple Colour, will be held on June 7 & 8th, while the Colourist Strategies session will be held June 9th through 11th.

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) today announced the American Idol Star Experience game will be available as a free download on May 26th to coincide with the Season 9 finale of the smash hit American Idol™ TV show. The game enables fans to continue their Idol obsession as they unleash their creativity by producing jaw-dropping online performances for family, friends and the whole Facebook community to rate and compare against other players.

Idol enthusiasts simply use their existing Facebook login to create a game account to access the free Performance Creator download for PC. The Performance Creator enables players to design their own unique stage performance, including building a custom avatar from head to toe, choosing a song to sing from dozens of hits, choreographing dance moves, and directing a multitude of staging elements like camera angles and special effects. The player can then post the performance to Facebook with one click, to be rated to see how they compare to other performers in singing, styling and staging categories.Play American Idol

Members of the Facebook community can also enjoy the American Idol Star Experience game in a highly social context as members of the “audience” view and rate performances, choose favorites, leave comments for performers and discuss the best (and worst) of the performances- all within the Facebook environment.

“We are excited to release a unique game experience based on American Idol, one of the most important entertainment franchises in the world,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “American Idol Star Experience reinforces our existing multiplatform game strategy, now seamlessly integrated with robust social features.”

American Idol Star Experience features:

* A free downloadable Performance Creator, available via players’ existing Facebook account.

* Personal avatars that players build head to toe, including body type, face, eyes, hair and more.

* Dozens of hit songs available in a wide variety of genres to suit all musical tastes including rock, punk, pop, hip hop, disco, R&B and country.

Players can achieve further customization of all elements of a performance via a simple “drag and drop” interface, including:

* Recorded singing- Players can select pre-recorded voice tracks, or use their own voice to sing karaoke-style.

* Personal styling- Hundreds of hair styles, wardrobe items and accessories to choose from.

* Unique staging- Stages modeled after the famous American Idol stage, with special effects, lighting, camera angles, dance moves and props that players can craft to create a one-of-a-kind performance.

* Social interaction within the Facebook community as members of Facebook can visit the game’s page to view and rate performances based on singing, styling and staging criteria. Players have also the ability to invite select Facebook friends to a private viewing of their performance.

“After more than eight top-rated seasons on television, the Emmy-award winning American Idol is one of the most successful properties on TV,” said Olivier Delfosse, Director, Interactive, FremantleMedia Enterprises, licensor for the program. “We are pleased to extend American Idol to both the existing fan base and new audiences alike with a highly immersive game experience that further deepens consumer engagement with the franchise.”

Ubisoft Montreal has released the North American trailer for Shaun White Skateboarding, which is scheduled for release this fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th May 2010

And The Survey Says Canadian Software Companies Are Doing Quite Well

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario is pleased to welcome Max Berdowski to its growing team. In this new role, Max will be responsible for overseeing the growth of the organization’s many services in collaboration with partners in both the private and public sectors.

“We are tremendously excited to have Max join our team at IO,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO, Interactive Ontario. “Max has a keen understanding of the Canadian entertainment industry and has a Max Berdowskitrack record for delivering high very quality services in the not-for-profit sector.”

Max will be leading the charge in building partnerships around IO’s flagship event IN 2010, as well as for a new business skills training programme specializing in interactive media and digital games entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Interactive Ontario, Max Berdowski spent ten years in Ottawa as the Executive Director and CEO of the recently closed Canadian Screen Training Centre (CSTC) — presenter of the Summer Institute of Film and Television. The national film, television and digital media training institute trained 500 filmmakers each year with all of its programming led by top working professionals. Max was responsible for the STC’s strategic planning, branding and programming. He directed its sponsorship and business development efforts.

Before leading the CSTC, Max’s work aired on broadcasters including CTV, Global television, CBC, CHUM, TLC in the U.S. and TQS in Quebec. From lifestyle series to network specials his numerous credits included Creative Director, Senior Producer and Director. Max was Producer/Director for a number of award-winning station and news image campaigns, most significantly, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters – C.A.B. Gold Ribbon Award for the country’s top Television Station Promotion and the PROMAX International Silver Medallion for the Atlantic Satellite Network’s innovative on-air look.

Max received a Master of Fine Arts in Motion Picture Production from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema from Concordia University in Montreal.Women In Games Vancouver

Women in Games Vancouver have released a three part interview with Vancouver Film School student Shannon Lee. Shannon was the recipient of the first ever Women In Games Scholarship, which was awarded at the Game Design Expo in 2009. You can watch Part One of the interview here, while Parts Two and Three have been posted on the WIGeh! You Tube Channel.

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Based on the overwhelming success of their PC utility software launches, PC HelpSoft™ is pleased to be able to offer Smart System Info & Smart Toolbar Remover free to the public.PC HelpSoft

“We are so touched by the support and feedback we have received on our products that we felt as though we would like to say thank you to the public by making these next software applications free to the public,”  says Vancouver’s PC HelpSoft™ Director of Product Development, Matthew Foland.

Smart System Info is a free tool that complies all the information you need on installed hardware and software. Specific information includes computer ID, processor, BIOS, memory, disks, video, motherboard, monitor, and more. Smart Toolbar Remover deletes annoying toolbars with just a click of the mouse. No more fighting with unwanted toolbars that take up valuable space in your browser.Darkspawn Ogre

In breaking news from Felderen, the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC for Dragon Age: Origins is now available (and waiting in my 360’s download queue) from Bioware. As announced earlier this month, players will now be able to play as the evil (or just misunderstood) Darkspawn. Instead of saving Denerim, players can burn it to the ground and watch Alistair weep in despair.  The Darkspawn Chronicles expansion is rated M and costs 400 BioWare Points, 400 MS Points or $4.99 PSN.

Happy 6th birthday to Maid Marian Entertainment Inc.’s free browser-based MMO game Sherwood Dungeon and to celebrate, the company’s creator has launched the new Sherwood Dungeon: Prophecy of Bane quest series to players.

“Sherwood started out as a hobby while I worked in the console games industry and grew organically. It’sSherwood Dungeon been a game that’s in constant development while it’s live,” says Maid Marian founder, Gene Endrody. “Originally players came back just to see what I had added and this created an interesting player culture because their feedback affected my choices. It’s also a bit of an anti-corporate entity; more like the crazy guy who turned his house into a haunted castle and invited people in to make suggestions.”

In a massive and expanding MMO space, Sherwood Dungeon stands out from a long list of cookie cutter competitors by creating a high-quality 3-D retail-style game experience that’s easy to access for new MMO players with simple controls, runs in any browser and doesn’t require a log-in, monthly fee or sign-up process. It’s the type of formula that might make any seasoned business person cringe but for Maid Marian’s one-man team, the result equals a global fan base of more than a million monthly unique visitors without any marketing plan.

Sherwood Dungeon also deviates from the tenets of modern MMO games. Combat is based on twitch reaction skills with minimal leveling up required to be potentially competitive with any other player in the game. Relying on 100% melee combat with a mere eight actions (attack, five power moves, tally and block), battles with monsters and players is kept close by not including ranged weapons – thus giving it more of a Fight Club-style of play where respect is earned, not given. Unlike other MMO games, Sherwood Dungeon allows players to change their avatar and identity and since skill is the motivation Sherwood Dungeonhere, there are no classes.

Socially, Sherwood Dungeon players have also dictated how they communicate, even with 99 rooms that often serve as meeting areas for clans. Such behaviors make for exciting clan vs. clan wars as players merely move to their opposing clan’s room to get the battle started. A dominant chat interface also keeps communications flowing between friends and foes and with combat being Sherwood Dungeon’s primary goal, none of the chat keystrokes interfere with combat (and yes, there are still control keys for dancing).

Sherwood Dungeon grew from an underground secret to global success through basic word of mouth. And those words come in many languages as 29% of the game’s players live in Poland, 19% in Brazil, 8% in the United States, 6% in Turkey, 5% in France and 4% in Argentina, worlds away from Maid Marian’s humble and suburban Vancouver headquarters. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th May 2010

Darkspawn Possessed Players To Wreak Havoc in Ferelden

In just-released news from Bioware, players will be able to fight as the darkspawn in DarkSpawn ChroniclesBioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins. In the new downloadable content pack, Dragon Age: Origins Darkspawn Chronicles, players have the chance to experience life on the dark side, playing as the corrupted army of the Blight, are enslaved to the will of the Archdemon. In North America, Darkspawn Chronicles will be available for the Xbox 360 videogame system for 400 Microsoft points and PC for 400 BioWare points on May 18th, and on PlayStation Network for $4.99, with its launch date to be announced later.

DarkSpawn ChroniclesThe Darkspawn Chronicles offers players a look at an alternate history in the Dragon Age universe. Darkspawn Chronicles begins as your character dies during the Joining ceremony, and the Grey Wardens now march under Alistair’s command. As a hurlock vanguard, you alone hold the power to make thralls of their fellow darkspawn and drive them into the heat of battle as Denerim burns! This adventure gives you command of genlocks, hurlocks, shrieks, and even the mighty ogres.

 

Key features include:

o Imagine a world without heroes, where the greatest among you never became a Grey Warden
o Play through the Fall of Denerim from the perspective of the darkspawn
o Complete the module and unlock an epic darkspawn item for use in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening
o Use the “Enthrall” ability – recruit any darkspawn you encounter into your party

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