Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival today announced it is inviting Canadian film students and emerging filmmakers to enter its fifth annual short film festival. Each year, a jury selects the best short films and broadcasts them to a large international audience on Air Canada’s inflight entertainment system.
The winner of Best Short Film will receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex Entertainment. Other awards include Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, and Achievement in Animation. All award winners will receive an exciting new destination prize to Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France.
Past jury members have included Jason Priestly, Denis Villeneuve, Donald Sutherland, Alan Cumming, Dan Aykroyd and Rémy Girard, among many others. This year’s jury will be announced this summer.
Selected films will be broadcast on Air Canada’s personal seatback entertainment system on the Canadian Movies channel viewed by millions of Air Canada customers around the world. A free public screening and awards celebration will be held in Toronto at the end of the year to honour the winners.
Worldastronauts.com is excited to announce the launch of a new network of sites featuring space news, travel, multimedia and blogs. VirtualSpaceHotel.com will be the first of its kind and offer a limited number of commercial and personal advertising opportunities. The sites will use 3D Graphic and Web Design granting visitors and members a truly unique virtual experience. This Virtual Space Hotel is aimed at those interested in participation of a global network solely dedicated to space exploration. The site will also offer the opportunity for affiliates to link to their sites and homepages. Creative web design, development and maintenance of the World Astronaut’s Network is managed by the Toronto Canada’s Discotoast Inc. and owned exclusively by New Hampshire-based URL Development.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Digital Alberta Awards. Formerly known as the mediaFresh Awards, the Digital Alberta Awards recognize companies, individuals and technologies that have shaped Alberta’s digital landscape. Through nominations the Digital Alberta Awards notes the excellence achieved in Alberta’s industries where digital media has significantly strengthened, improved or innovated. These awards will be presented to outstanding companies, individuals or organizations in industry sectors who have demonstrated the greatest impact on the market using digital media and technologies. The deadline for nominations is May 6th, with the winners announced and awards presented during a Cocktail Reception in Calgary at the Hotel Arts on June 6th from 6:00 pm-9:00 pm.
The Categories Are:
* B2B Innovation
* B2C Innovation
* Best Agency
* Best Combined Hardware & Software Experience
* Best Digital Design
* Best Digital Startup
* Best in Cross-Platform Content
* Best in E-learning
* Best in Financial Services
* Best in Gaming
* Best in Social Media
* Best Social Impact
* Best Use of Film, Animation or SFX
* Best User Experience
* Government 2.0
* Mobile Innovation
* People’s Choice Award
* The Student Digital Award
A reminder to all Digital Alberta members, your Annual General Meeting will be held on April 19th. If you’re in Edmonton, the meeting will be held at the Advanced Technology Centre boardroom. If you’re in Calgary, it will be held at the Alastair Ross Technology Centre. The Association is currently seeking three new Directors as well as people who are interested in volunteering to help out with the Association. Click here if you could be that person.
Last month XMG Studios and The National Post, along with sponsors Microsoft, KPMG, Telus, triOS College, Doritos and Flip Video presented the first Great Canadian Appathon. A national event, this development marathon was open to Canadian students who wanted to develop a new app for Windows Phone 7. There were six hubs open across the country at UBC, trIOS College, Carleton University, Nova Scotia Community College, University of Waterloo, Concordia University and Telus House Toronto for those who wanted to develop together in person. Each hub location had development mentors from XMG Studios to give guidance and assistance when needed, and we ventured out to UBC to meet up with Adam Telfer, VP of Game Development for XMG Studio.
The competitors were given resources for building their apps, which could not be started until 5pm on the Appathon weekend. These resources included engines, physics and compiling. Email support was available for those who were not able to participate at one of the hubs while hands-on guidance was given to those at each of the hubs. The app being developed had to be a game, and XMG Studios would gain a non-exclusive license for publishing. At the end of the Appathon coding period on Sunday, all apps were to be submitted online to begin the review process. Each team was limited to creating one game, and by the end of the competition period, 50 games were completed by approximately 300 students on 100 teams.
In talking with Adam Telfer, we learned that the Appathon was the brainchild of XMG Studio President and Founder Ray Sharma, and was borne of the internal jam hackathons held at the studio. The hackathons are an opportunity for the studio’s personnel to show off their skills without fear of office politics or bureaucracy getting in the way. There were no boundaries put in place and creativity was encouraged. One of XMG’s latest releases came out of a hackathon, and as I’ve played the game, I can safely say that Adam’s 99 cent Cows vs Aliens is fun, challenging and addictive. Adam told us that the game took two days to prototype and two weeks to develop, which goes to show what can be accomplished in the right studio atmosphere. By the way, at the time of our interview with Adam, the studio was actively hiring, I encourage you to check out their career page to see if there’s an opportunity for you at XMG.
While XMG has not yet released a title in the WP7 Market, it is very active in the iOS and Facebook sectors, with a view to publishing in the Android Marketplace as well. As the studio pushes towards the expanding markets for casual games, Adam remarked that the WP7 platform has good dev support and follow through, although there does need to be improvement particularly for independent developers in regards to player achievements and discoverability. He felt that offering more features may not be the best answer in moving the casual and mobile game market forward, noting instead that a better alternative could be to make all features available to all developers, which would in turn give more options to the end user, resulting in more downloads and purchases, thereby benefiting all sectors of the marketplace.
While at UBC we also had a chance to talk for a few minutes with Team Sheldon (yes, the team was named for the venerable Big Bang Theory’s own Dr. Sheldon Cooper), a group of UBC computer science students who were working through the challenges of working with an emulator, and whose game ultimately went on to take second place at the finals.
Team Masheen Photo Credit: XMG
First prize for the Appathon was a cash prize of $25 000.00 plus the chance to interview for a 3 month (non-guaranteed) intern position at XMG, the National Post or Telus, along with an LG Optimus 7 smartphone (excluding phone plan). The second place team would receive a $10 000.00 cash prize along with the smartphone. In addition to the top two prizes were 25 category prizes, with each winner being presented with $1000.00 cash.
Based on a scoring system of 20 points, the games were judged on many quality points, including innovation, art, design, polish, fun and entertainment factors as well as stability to name but a few. Any ties in the score would be broken by ranking in the innovation standings. As the games passed through the stages of judging, scoring would start anew, again with any ties broken by the innovation standings.
Three teams would ultimately be chosen as finalists and flown to Toronto for the big prize announcement, which was held this past Thursday at Yonge and Dundas Square where the games were previewed to both the public and local media on giant screens. Each of the three finalists played their game live for the judging panel prior to the final placings being decided.
While the top game will gain a publishing guarantee in the WP7 Market, all 25 of the entries stand a good chance of being published if they prove to be of quality – however, all of the entries are co-owned with the Great Canadian Appathon, and cannot be individually published right away.
Prior to the awards announcements, I had the opportunity to ask each of the three finalist teams a series of questions, read on to learn more about the three top teams and their humourously quirky yet awesome answers : Read the rest of this entry »
Reminder: You have two days left to apply to be one of 20 media professionals at Anita Ondine’s groundbreaking Transmedia Lab on April 28-29, presented by Merging Media Productions and CMPA-BC. Deadline: MiGS 2011 Speaker Deadline is Monday. Get your proposals in now. Register: Toronto Startup Weekend is June 3 – 5th. Launch: Firefox 4 and Mozilla’s Vancouver Office Launch Party is on April 15th
Funcom and EA have released a new Secret World video – and apparently all of those conspiracy theories are … true …
Also new today from EA Sports is the SSX franchise re-launch video for the upcoming Deadly Descents.
Ludia and Disney-ABC Domestic Television today announced the availability of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game on Facebook platform, giving a true-to-TV experience with thousands of questions and hundreds of categories from the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” TV show, complete with authentic theme music. Based on the exciting and unpredictable “shuffle” format of randomized questions seen on the hit TV game show, players can now enjoy a multiplayer experience with friends and other Millionaire fans across North America on Facebook.
Contestants simultaneously compete to correctly answer ten multiple choice trivia questions from various categories, with the ability to use the “Jump The Question” lifeline for a stumper question as well as use their Facebook friends as lifelines to earn bonus points and increase their chances of winning. The champion of the multiplayer “Round 1” goes on to play a “Classic Millionaire” round of four questions, each with a progressively higher dollar value that leads to the simulated $1,000,000 grand prize.
Congratulations to Ubisoft, who came out as big winners at last night’s MI6 Game Marketing Awards, hosted by California-based PromaxBDA, an international association for entertainment marketing professionals. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picked up the following medals:
Gold Medal Best GamePlay Footage Trailer for “Enter Rome” Single-Player Gameplay Trailer Gold Medal Best Product Packaging Gold Medal Best Limited Edition or Collector’s Edition Gold Medal Best Swag for the “Doctor Jack-in-the-Box” Collectible Silver Medal Outstanding Promotional Trailer for its E3 trailer Bronze Medal Best Co-Branding & Video Asset by Gamestop TV, Harlequin Doodle Dandy and Ubisoft
Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell franchise also won two Bronze Medals, the first for Best Use Of Online Media or Use Of Online Social Media Marketing for Splinter Cell: The Search for Sam Fisher (by Liquid Marketing), and the second for Splinter Cell Conviction “Set in Stone” Buzz Tactic in the Most Effective Buzz Creation category.
Not to be left out, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Boot Camp Pre-Launch Campaign picked up a Bronze Medal for Most Effective Viral Marketing/Promotion and a Gold Medal for YourShape Fitness Evolved: Outtakes (Pereira & O’Dell) in the Best Work Never Seen category.
EA Sports NBA Jam picked up a Bronze Medal for NBA Jam in the Standout Print Advertisement category while Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 won a Silver Medal in the Best Online Take-over/Road Block/Rich Media Unit for Mass Effect 2 – Diorama produced by draftfcb San Francisco & Wieden+Kennedy
Speaking of awards shows, the voice over community is banding together in an effort for their industry to be recognized at the Oscars, which currently recognizes just four acting awards for live action. Animated films are eligible for the Best Picture and Animated Feature Film categories but there is no category to honour the voice actors in these films.
Canadian company Voices.com initiated the idea for a change to the Oscars program on their Facebook Group. When the company asked if talent were willing to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk and sign a petition lobbying for a voice over performance category, the fan-base gave them a resounding thumbs-up.
“Our initial research shows that many people are in support of the Academy Awards introducing a category for voice over performance,” says Stephanie Ciccarelli, Voices.com Chief Marketing Officer. “We were amazed by the outpouring of support in our endeavor to get the ball rolling in this regard. Recognition in the form of an Oscar for voice actors not only acknowledges their work at this level but also esteems voice acting and its significant contribution to film.”
The purpose of the petition is to achieve recognition for actors who perform behind the scenes. Outstanding voice over performances breathe life into animated films thereby creating iconic characters that are memorable, lovable and real. Recognizing the art of voice acting by designating a voice over performance category for voice actors in the Oscars could result in the fulfillment of many collective dreams.
Ubisoft and Gatorade have announced a new partnership to deliver a workout series designed specifically for fitness athletes for Ubisoft’s popular video game Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Gatorade enlisted the talents of celebrity-trainer Gunnar Peterson to develop a workout series created around the G Series™ FIT, their new line of innovative products for fitness athletes. The Gatorade-inspired workouts are available to download now for free on the Xbox LIVE marketplace.
The ‘G Series FIT Workout with Gunnar Peterson’ offers personalized training sessions with one of the country’s top celebrity and athlete trainers and the workout plan is designed to inspire and fuel the inner athlete in everyone. The downloadable workout plan includes a 30-minute full-body toning program, and introduces new exercises including jumping jacks, squat raises, lunges, and other new moves that integrate free weights and dumbbells.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is available exclusively on Kinect™ for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system. G Series FIT was developed specifically for fitness athletes to provide fuel, fluid and nutrients before, during and after a workout. The products, each inspired by fitness athletes and designed by Gatorade, are currently available nationwide.
Reminder: The Gamers Heart Japan television special will be airing on SPACE and G4 on April 4th. Watch, Enjoy, Donate.
PlayTest: zinc Roe is looking for kids (ages 3-6) in the Toronto area to playtest some of the studio’s upcoming projects. Contact them via their website or email if you’re interested.
Yannis Mallat, President & CEO of Ubisoft Montréal & Toronto will be offering a glimpse into the secrets which enabled Canada’s video game developing industry to grow into the world leader it is today when he makes a presentation to the Canadian Club of Montreal on April 4th. Mr. Mallat’s speech is titled Myths and Realities of the Canadian Video Game Industry, and during his presentation, Mr. Mallat will also address what he considers to be the type of strategic thinking that should be encouraged in order to ensure a sustainable Canadian economy.
Yesterday Quebec newspaper Rue Frontenac broke the story that Ubisoft Montreal has fortified its court injunction barring THQ Montreal from further actively recruiting Ubisoft staff. THQ has already successfully obtained the development services of Mark Besner, Jean-Francois Boivin and Alex Drouin, all of whom worked on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise, and it’s suspected that other Ubisoft developers will be switching work addresses if they haven’t already. The first inkling of trouble between the two Montreal studios came last spring when THQ signed Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets, who was named to head up the THQ studio beginning this May.
And with that news bit, I will segue over to some Dawn of War II news. Owners of Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Retribution™ will soon be able to purchase a custom Dark Angels Space Marine chapter for use in multiplayer. The Dark Angels Pack is scheduled to be available for download on Steam, the THQ E-Shop and select digital retailers on 6 April for a suggested price of $7.50 USD.
The Dark Angels Pack adds the iconic Space Marine chapter to the game with eight unique models for the major multiplayer units as well as new color schemes for the others. The Force Commander is replaced by a Dark Angels Company Master complete with winged helmet, the Tactical Marine squad all sport the iconic Dark Angels robes. Additionally, the Scout Squad, Assault Marine Squad and Terminators all receive similar chapter-specific revisions. The Space Marine vehicles also get a visual makeover with this DLC pack, adding custom designs and emblems to differentiate them from the standard vehicles.
Activision Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Entertainment, LLC have officially announced Spider-Man™: Edge of Time, where Spider-Man faces one of his greatest challenges ever — saving Spider-Man. Developed by Activision-owned studio Beenox, Spider-Man: Edge of Time challenges the player to take on the roles of both classic Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 to correct a time-stream gone awry and prevent a catastrophic future brought on by the early and untimely death of Peter Parker.
“The first Spider-Man entry by Beenox, Spider-Man™: Shattered Dimensions, was touted as one of the wall-crawler’s best Spider-Man games to date from both critics and fans,” said Vicharin Vadakan, Director, Global Brand Management. “Beenox is once again taking a fresh and different approach to bring a fast-paced and high-octane adventure and unexpected story to life in Spider-Man: Edge of Time.”
“At Beenox, we are constantly listening to the fans and looking for new and creative ways to innovate the gameplay experience for them,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head, Beenox. “We want to create a totally distinct experience in Spider-Man: Edge of Time by working with Peter David on the story and creating this urgent, high-stakes experience where time is working against you and the fate of Spider-Man hangs in the balance.”
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a focused, action-packed adventure set in two connected and evolving timelines, from the contemporary times of the Amazing Spider-Man to the corrupted future world of Spider-Man 2099, against the backdrop of a rich, tightly crafted narrative by acclaimed Marvel veteran Peter David (co-creator of the comic book series Spider-Man 2099). The game features all-new “cause-and-effect” gameplay, where players will see how the immediate and sometimes unexpected effects of their actions as one Spider-Man changes the timeline of the other Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Edge of Time is slated for release this fall.
Congratulations to Frima Studios, whose Zombie Tycoon: IceField Demo has reached the FITC finals for Technical Excellence in Flash and Excellence in 3D. The title is also nominated for an FITC People’s Choice Award. Voting is open now and will remain open until midnight on April 22nd. You can play the Zombie Tycoon Interactive Demo on Adobe Molehill.
“We’re honored to be nominated for two FITC awards,” said Steve Couture, Frima’s CEO. “Our R&D team has worked extremely hard to ensure we’re always on the leading edge of technology and it feels fantastic to be recognized.”
Built using a combination of Adobe’s Molehill technology and Frima’s proprietary IceField 3D engine, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most advanced Flash games to be released. In Zombie Tycoon, players control their very own horde of ravenous zombies! Developed in just a few months by Frima Studio’s R&D team, the Zombie Tycoon: IceField Demo offers three levels of zombie madness. Two game modes are available to try; mild, which offers players a chance to explore and conquer the game world, and chunky mode which offers players the chance to see the full power of the new technology with over a hundred zombies moving on the screen at the same time.
Held from May 2-4, 2011 in Toronto, FITC is a three day event of presentations, demonstrations, networking opportunities and parties about the creative, technical and business aspects of Flash and digital media. Topped off with the FITC Award Show, the event aims to leave the attendees inspired, energized and awed while covering the Flash and digital media industries.
Following its successful launch on iPad, Shaw Media today announced their Global Video App is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. The Global Video App offers Canadian viewers on-the-go access the network’s blockbuster library of premium content, including full episodes of House, The Good Wife, NCIS: LA, The Office, Rookie Blue and Survivor along with previous broadcasts of Global National and 16:9:The Bigger Picture.
Highlights of the Global Video App include:
* Full-length episodes and clips
* Superb video quality
* Sleek interface design with user-friendly features
* Progress bars to indicate runtime – allowing viewers to exit the app and to resume viewing at the same spot
* Schedule guide for Global programs with listings up to two weeks in advance
* Behind-the-scenes footage and Web-exclusive content
As college enrollments surge to record levels, thousands of students are arriving to campus finding they lack the basic math and English skills needed to succeed in their studies. Many of these students are coming from the high-school system, are non-native speakers or are displaced workers looking to improve their workforce skills, necessitating enrollment in remedial programs that help address basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Providing students with a way to quickly improve their math, reading and writing skills is the basis for MyFoundationsLab from Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Suitable for multiple college and career readiness programs, including boot camps, high school bridge programs and student success centers, MyFoundationsLab is a complete online resource for assessing and remediating developmental skills. The program also includes comprehensive learning modules to improve students’ general skills, such as note taking, test taking and critical thinking.
Built specifically for Canadian students in mind, MyFoundationsLab delivers interactive, customizable features, including a comprehensive diagnostic tool, personalized content modules specific to each student’s skill level and self-paced learning activities that allow students to measure their progress toward the skills needed for continued academic and workplace success. “Colleges need flexible resources to help students learn the math and English required to succeed in their courses, and MyFoundationsLab can be tailored specifically to the needs of any learning environment,” said Steve O’Hearn, President of the Higher Education division of Pearson Canada. “Pearson’s investments in new technologies and learning solutions like MyFoundationsLab are designed to support institutions and instructors in their efforts to improve student achievement and retention.”
Pearson’s award-winning MyLabs and Mastering programs have personalized learning for millions of students around the globe, delivering proven results for institutions looking to improve student performance and lower costs. Available in a range of subjects including math, English composition, the sciences, foreign languages, economics and IT training, the programs provide immediate feedback and targeted help where and when students need it the most. Students learn at their own pace, in their own style, while educators are able to monitor student progress and communicate with their students online to keep them engaged and accountable for their work.
Vancouver studio Silicon Sisters has submitted its debut title, School 26, to the iTunes store for approval. Official launch is imminent. Designed for girls ages 12 to 16, School 26 is a unique casual game built around the complex social hierarchy of high school. Versions for iPad ($4.99) and iPhone or iPod Touch ($2.99) are expected to arrive in the App Store in April, with PC, Mac and Android versions coming soon after.
School 26 follows Kate, a student whose nomadic family has made it difficult for her to maintain long-term friendships. As she enrolls at her 26th new school, she and her parents strike a deal: if Kate makes good friends here, the family will stay put. Now the player must help Kate use intuition, empathy, and strategy to build friendships and navigate the moral dilemmas of high school. These dilemmas range from power struggles to peer pressure, from romance to betrayal, from alienation to acceptance — real and relevant situations teens face every day.
School 26 is inspired by academic research that identifies social engineering as a prominent element in the lives of teenaged girls. In the game, Kate must get to know her new classmates’ personalities, resolve their issues, and strengthen her connections to them. These objectives are met through various types of gameplay including dialogues during which players pick up on social cues and select appropriate emotional responses, quizzes that provide insights into other characters’ (and the player’s) personalities, and a card matching game with shifting rules that reflect the evolving social dynamic among the School 26 crew.
While Silicon Sisters ultimately plans to develop games for all age ranges and demographics, the company decided to lead with School 26 after considering where they could make the biggest impact. “With the workplace shifting to knowledge-based industries and women leading in university enrollments and professional degrees, today’s teen girls are poised for better success than any other generation,” says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO. “By highlighting and rewarding the social activities girls engage in every day, School 26 legitimizes ‘soft skills’ such as communication, empathy, and networking. Girls need to understand that these skills will give them a competitive advantage not only in high school, but also later in life.”
Capcom and Slant Six Games have released the debut trailer for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. As I mentioned yesterday, this game is scheduled for release in Winter 2011, and players can expect the return of familiar faces, including police rookie Leon S. Kennedy, iconic landmarks and classic enemies as the Umbrella Security Service battles to destroy all evidence of the deadly T-Virus.
Coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, Resident Evil™: Operation Raccoon City is expected to deliver a true third person team based shooter experience set within the dark and sinister Resident Evil universe and a reinterpretation of the events depicted in Resident Evil™ 2 and Resident Evil™ 3. The setting of the Resident Evil universe not only provides a rich backdrop to the action but delivers a unique and thrilling triple threat battle. Zombies and Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.W’s) add to the mix as players not only compete against an opposing squad but also tackle this third unpredictable element, creating a brand new style of gameplay and breaking the conventions of traditional team based shooters.
Decapod has released another app to the WP7 Marketplace. According to the information available for Emergency Alerts Free, it provides extended information and useful tips for survival in case of various natural and man-made disasters. Along with the provision of emergency phone number for various countries, this app allows you to tapp into the live feed of nationwide FEMA alerts. The Emergency Alerts app shows location, status, time of occurrence and detailed description of most calamities known to mankind.
Probably the most tweeted-about news today is the acquisition of Radian6 by American-based SalesForce. SalesForce is an enterprise cloud computing company with offices around the globe – including a Canadian corporate presence in Toronto. The 5 year old Radian6, which is based in New Brunswick, is a leader in the social media monitoring platform. SalesForce will be assimilating the Radian6 for approximately $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock, net of cash acquired, with the expectation that the transaction will be completed during SalesForce’s fiscal second quarter ending July 31, 2011, and it is subject to customary closing conditions.
Earlier this month Radian6 had announced that it was releasing a new platform for SalesForce clients, connecting social capabilities within both the Salesforce Service Cloud and the Radian6 platform, enabling enhanced social customer service for SalesForce Clients. Apparently SalesForce liked it so much, they bought the company. Radian6 had also done a little acquiring of its own this month, welcoming the UK’s 6Consulting into the fold. The London company provided social media monitoring services to corporations in the UK, and had been a Radian6 platform reseller for the past two years.
And as one startup is acquired, another makes its official launch. Vancouver’s Summify, a new company founded by former Google and Microsoft interns and backed by its first round of seed funding. Investors include Accel Partners, Rob Glaser (RealNetworks), Stewart Butterfield (Flickr, Tiny Speck), Steve Olechowski (Google, FeedBurner), and Canadian super angel Boris Wertz. Company founders Mircea Pa?oi and Cristian Strat have been programming together since high school in Romania. They built two successful services there, connecting programmers to competitions and jobs, and were pursued for full-time jobs by Google and Facebook. Opting for entrepreneurship, they relocated to Vancouver to start up Summify.
For connected people with hundreds of friends and followers, it’s impossible to keep up with relevant news, and what friends are saying, sharing and posting. Summify analyzes and filters your streams, so you can read less but get more out of it. Summify distills the social web, boiling down the torrent of daily information from Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader into a summary of the top five or ten most important and relevant stories that day. An easily consumable summary arrives in email or on the web, with mobile coming soon. Summify is based on a highly refined algorithm that analyzes, among other things, what people you interact with most, what stories your friends are sharing most, and global reaction in social media to important stories worldwide.
To celebrate the launch of the new Nintendo 3DS™, Best Buy Canada is offering hot deals to help Canadians get the most out of their portable 3D entertainment device. With 18 Nintendo 3DS game titles to choose from, a wide selection of accessories to protect your device and hot offers to trade in your old DS systems, Best Buy is making it easy for customers to maximize their Nintendo 3DS experience.
Best Buy is offering two trade in promotions with the Nintendo 3DS until March 31:
Trade in your Nintendo DS and save $50 off of your 3DS
Trade in your Nintendo DSi XL and save $100 off 3DS
Trade in three Nintendo DS games and receive a $10 credit
Until April 7, purchase any two Nintendo 3DS games from the selection of 18 game titles Best Buy is carrying and save $10.
Google wants Canadian businesses to get a web site – the upside is that it’s free – for one year. The downside is that they are not using Canadian web hosts or designers. For business owners who aren’t internet or design-capable, this is a good initiative on Google’s part. It’s also an easy way to serve ads, and to help businesses get started with Adwords, Google is also offering a Get Your Business Online badge, a listing and a $200.00 for an Adwords account. Google has been trying very hard to get Canadian businesses using Adwords – I’ve received at least a half dozen snail-mail gift cards from them – some of them with the right mailing address, but the names they were addressed to weren’t even close. Don’t know who Killian is, but apparently he works for us.
“Students live on social networks and media, and this campaign and website engages students and politicians online,” said Zach Dayler, National Director of CASA. “This might be the first ‘Twitter election’, which means that the conversation will be taking place on our doorsteps.”
The campaign features key information about parties’ post-secondary education policy, important voter information for students, a student blog. It will also feature a video vault, and throughout the campaign students and others will be asked to contribute their own videos on the importance of student and youth voting.
Kicking off the collection is a video from comedian and CBC Host Rick Mercer. “Rick Mercer’s message on student voting speaks directly to the important role that we can and should play during an election,” said Dayler. “It is ready-made viral, and we expect to see many more like it between now and May 2nd.”
CASA is calling on politicians to make a firm commitment to post-secondary education this campaign, calling on them to introduce policies that improve access to and enhance the quality of Canada’s university and college system. CASA has also invited all party leaders to help encourage youth participation by posting videos on education and join the online dialogue with students.
PARTA Dialogue Inc. has announced that its social media hubs, including ecomobility, energy 2.0 and alternativechannel have been white-listed by Facebook as video-serving sites that can embed their players directly into Facebook pages. This status places Parta’s web-video sites on par with recognized leaders such as Youtube, Dailymotion and Blip.tv, whose video players can also appear directly through Facebook. An expert in social media engagement, Parta’s strategies for generating online conversation involve the building of a central debate hub and active outreach and participation in the social networks where publics congregate. The company has already created and deployed DialogGeneratortm , a Facebook application which allows for two-way penetration between discussions happening on the social network and those on Parta’s proprietary sites.
Reminder to all Canadian IDM developers: Take the Pixel To Product Digital Economy Survey. It’s important, and it only takes a few minutes. Follow Pixel To Product on Twitter at 49Pixels
So we are starting our weekend with a non-confidence vote in Parliament, which means we technically have no government and are headed for a Federal election. This also means that all of the Federal parties will be stepping up their campaigns of nastiness. As I said on Twitter earlier – please, please, please stop with the finger pointing. Instead of telling us why every other party is evil, tell Canadians truthfully why your party is awesome, be prepared to back it up with quantifiable proof, and let’s move on. Enough with the playground bully tactics, okay? Act like the intellectual adults you’re supposed to be and take the responsibility you are asking voters to give you more seriously.
The bonus is that it’s Friday, and that means tomorrow is Nintendo 3DS Launch event day, so if you’re in Toronto or Vancouver, you can get some hands-on time with the 3DS before the midnight sales events at Future Shop. Vancouver’s pre-launch event will be taking place from 6pm until midnight at TD Square (corner of Granville & Georgia streets) and then moving over to the Robson & Granville Future Shop for the midnight opening.
The Toronto pre-launch event will be taking place at Yonge-Dundas Square also from 6pm until midnight, with the midnight sales launch at the Future Shop located at 325 Yonge Street. In support of Earth Hour between 8:30pm-9:30pm, Nintendo Canada will turn off the lights and not draw any electrical power at its dedicated event space. Follow Nintendo on Twitter.
Last evening was the second iteration of the Women In Games Vancouver Martini Night, and while there weren’t as many ladies as at the first event, there was still a good turnout and new connections were made amongst those who attended. Last evening’s Chun Li Martini, created by our awesome Rogue bartender, also appeared to be a big hit; I was driving, so didn’t try it. Martini Night, which for now is supposed to be a ladies only social event, is intended to give women who work in the creative industry a place to network and talk about issues in the industry that are important to them. We hope you will come out for the next Martini Night in April – details to be announced. Follow Women In Games Vancouver on Twitter.
The Canadian Games Conference is a two-day conference/exhibition that brings together some of the industry’s top innovators, businesses and talent responsible for the explosive growth of the gaming industry, providing a platform to share knowledge and develop industry partnerships. The Conference, which takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 19th and 20th will be preceded by the Canadian Video Game awards on May 18th, at the Centre for Performing Arts. The Awards will be hosted by Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas and will featuring a live performance by Video Games Live. As an added bonus, tickets start at just $30 for CGC pass holders, $37 for ESAC and CIAIC members, or $45 for the general public. Tickets for the Awards show can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Public voting for Game of the Year will start April 15th on the CVA website. Follow Electric Playground, Victor Lucas and Video Games Live on Twitter
The news that everyone (especially The Cavechild) has been waiting for and that you all probably already know is that THQ and Relic Entertainment announced late yesterday that Triple A title Space Marine finally has a release date – or, release month, anyway. Set in the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe created by Games Workshop®, Space Marine is a single-player 3rd person campaign-styled action-shooter. This latest entry into the Warhammer 40 000 franchise will not only feature the brutal and feral Orks, but also the dark and sinister forces of Chaos.
Space Marine puts players into the role of one of humanity’s elite soldiers, as they battle to protect an Imperial Forge World from a millions-strong Ork invasion. But this isn’t all that faces Captain Titus of the Ultramarines. When Titus makes planet-fall, he soon realizes that the forces of Chaos are lurking in the shadows pulling the strings for their own nefarious purposes.
The addition of Chaos forces adds more variety to the Space Marine single-player campaign by complementing the animalistic and horde-like Orks with a much more powerful and strategic enemy. While Titus can dispatch dozens of Orks alone, the Chaos Space Marines are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with him, especially with the support of Renegade Militia, Tainted Psykers and Bloodletter Daemons, among other units. Space Marine is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. Follow Relic and SpaceMarine on Twitter.
Dev studio Tiny Hippos has been acquired by Research In Motion. A press release on the Tiny Hippo states that the studio is “extremely excited about our future at RIM and continuing to grow and support Ripple. This is a great step towards our goal of providing a cross-platform mobile application development and testing tool to developers worldwide. Specifically, we will be working to bring BlackBerry support to the Ripple product.
We also want to reassure all new and existing users that we expect that the Ripple product will continue to be offered for download and the team will continue to develop features, provide support, and help grow the mobile application developer community. We would like to extend a special thank you to all of you that have supported and believed in us.” Follow Tiny Hippos and RIM on Twitter.
Toon Boom Animation Inc. has released the first of its first line up of fun mobile apps for the iOS App Store. Toon Boom has launched Flip Boom Lite for the iPhone and iPod, a fun app that lets your fingertips doodle, scribble or draw fun animations. Flip Boom Lite is already available for the iPad and has received rave reviews. Both apps are free in the App Store and let you discover the fun of animation creation. The company will be releasing more features for their apps in future updates.
“Toon Boom’s fun applications lend themselves perfectly for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. You can discover how easy creating animation can be while having coffee or waiting for a meeting,” said Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toon Boom Animation. Follow Toon Boom on Twitter.
Rock Hippo Productions Ltd is pleased to announce that after only two weeks in the open beta phase, the MicroVolts player population has soared and continues growing rapidly every day. To celebrate its success, MicroVolts will host a number of events where players will have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes including an iPad 2. The events start tomorrow March 26 and will continue through April 11!
To thank the active and growing community, MicroVolts will host the MicroVolts iPad 2 contest where they will be giving away two custom MicroVolts iPad 2′s. Players who rack up 10 hours of play in one week will automatically be entered into the drawing. The first event will take place between March 28 through April 4, and the second iPad 2 drawing for 10 hours of play will take place between April 4-11. Additionally, this weekend between March 26th and 27th, MicroVolts will give out 2,000 bonus experience points for everyone who plays at least three hours!
MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years. No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World. All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!
With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept. Follow Microvolts on Twitter.
Family Channel is giving viewers a sneak preview of Canadian live-action tween show Debra! on the evening of April 22nd. Produced by Cookie Jar Entertainment, Debra! follows Debra Delong, an effervescent teen with a unique style and outlook on the world who is determined to start her own business. Debra’s best friend Preston is sometimes reluctant to become embroiled in Debra’s ambitious schemes but always manages to stick by her side. Debra! was created by Andrew Nicolls and Darrel Vickers (Jimmy Neutron, Fairly OddParents, Back to the Barnyard) and marks Cookie Jar Entertainment’s first live-action series for Family Channel. Follow Family Channel on Twitter.
Absolute® Software Corporation has announced that the company will be presenting at the Government Security Conference & Expo (GovSec) on next-generation solutions for endpoint security and management of mobile devices in Washington, DC on March 31.
Geoff Glave, senior product manager at Absolute, will discuss the growing challenges facing IT in managing and securing the endpoint. He will focus on the need for a layered approach to security, which is now, more than ever, essential to an environment that consists of multiple devices across multiple platforms.
“The mobile landscape is changing dramatically for IT organizations and they need to be prepared more than ever to mitigate the risks posed by mobile data,” states Rob Chase, chief operating officer at Absolute Software. “Absolute is uniquely positioned with cross platform and device support, persistence, and emergency response services. Our solutions provide organizations with actionable intelligence to effectively secure and manage their endpoints and the valuable data on them.” Follow Absolute on Twitter.
The season finale of the TELETOON original series Total Drama World Tour premieres on Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and TELETOON is keeping everyone in suspense – even the contestants. This season’s winner will be decided by the fans through an online vote beginning Sunday, March 27, with the winning contestant revealed during the final episode on Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Before the winner is revealed, TELETOON will pay tribute to the three remaining contestants, Alejandro, Cody and Heather, with special episodes in the weeks leading up to the finale. One tribute episode will air on each of the first three Sundays in April at 8 p.m. ET/PT taking a look back at each of the finalists’ journeys from the beginning of this season all the way to the finale. On Sunday, April 24, the finale will air as part of a special four-episode marathon beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT with the three most recent episodes followed by the season finale at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
When viewers visit the Teletoon site to fill out their ballots for the winner beginning Sunday, March 27, they can also enter a contest for the chance to be animated into their very own Total Drama character and conduct an interview with animated host Chris MacLean.
Total Drama World Tour brings an international twist and musical spin to the popular Total Drama animated franchise. This season continued the series’ hilarious tradition of parodying reality shows by bringing back some of the fan-favourite past contestants and a few exciting new faces. The crew’s latest chance at fame and fortune saw them fly all over the world for a chance at another million-dollar grand prize while facing the kind of scary, embarrassing and even disgusting challenges that Total Drama fans have come to expect. Total Drama World Tour is created and produced by Toronto’s Fresh TV Inc. Follow Teletoon on Twitter.
Digital Leisure announced this morning that the Dragon’s Lair action figures are selling fast, and there are fewer sets available now than there were before. Don’t miss your chance, get them now – $49.99 (+ shipping and taxes if applicable) gets you the starring cast of Dragon’s Lair – Dirk, Daphne, Mordroc and Singe, along with their weaponry and select items from the story. I know this group would look mighty fine on my game collectibles shelf, if I had an expense budget that wasn’t currently screaming out in pain.
New from Behaviour Interactive, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is now available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade and Windows PC Download at Steam and Atari.com. Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be released on PlayStation®Network on March 30th. The new four player, ghost busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions in either single player, or cooperative (online or local).
Play progresses as gamers explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. The rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghost busting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.
Those lovably squishy and doggedly determined little blue Swarmite creatures have invaded the tubes at Xbox Live Arcade, and for only 1200 MS points you can welcome them into your home where you can dismember, squash and push them over the edge in the privacy of your living room. Yes, the long-anticipated new release from Hothead Games has been released to the masses. Get it now while the little blue guys are still breathing. You PlayStation 3 owners can also pick up Swarm for $14.99. If you want to know how many Swarmites have been sacrificed for the greater good, check out the Swarm Global Death Counter – at press time it was closing in on 2.4 million. Poor little guys!
Also available now on Steam is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for PC. The regular digital version is priced at $49.99USD while the Digital Deluxe version is priced at $59.99USD. The Digital Deluxe version includes all of the basics plus:
* Map of Rome
* 1 Ezio Skin – Helmschmied Drachen Armour
* 2 Exclusive Single-Player Maps: The Trajan Market & The Aqueduct
* 2 Multiplayer Characters, The Officer and The Harlequin
* The Original Codex Written by Altaïr: The history of the Assassins and art of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
* Multiplayer Characters Collectible Trading Cards
* Assassin’s Creed Lineage – The Complete Movie
* Making-Of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – Behind the Brotherhood
* Game Soundtrack: 22 songs from the original game soundtrack by Jesper Kyd
Digital Premium Edition content is only available via download, and both Steam versions also include the Animus Project 1.0, 2.0 and the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC add-ons.
Incubator Games has launched its newest kids’ title. This follow-up to Kelvin’s Space Ranch is called The CO2 Connection, which was built for Science Alberta as an educational game whose main premise is to teach kids about the extraction, compression, transportation and storage of CO2 while decreasing Alberta’s carbon footprint. You can read the development post-mortem on the Incubator Games site and learn about the background and challenges for this game. The CO2 Connection is also available as a free download in the iTunes App Store and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
IBM and Nova Scotia’s MediaSpark Inc. have won a national tender to provide 900 Ontario schools with educational games and simulation software designed to sharpen their business and financial skills as they prepare to meet the growing demands of the 21st Century. MediaSpark worked with IBM Canada to win the tender issued by the Ministry of Education through the Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee.
Four of MediaSpark’s GoVenture educational games and simulation software solutions will provide students from grades seven to 12 with highly realistic simulations emphasizing Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Financial Literacy, and Personal Finance skills.
“Games and simulations are revolutionizing education,” says Mathew Georghiou, CEO of MediaSpark Inc. “We are encouraged to see Ontario take a leadership role in adopting new methods of learning. Not only will these simulations help Ontario students, but we believe they have the potential to play an important role in enhancing the grassroots entrepreneurial culture in Ontario, resulting in future prosperity.”
Learners gain experience by being immersed in simulated worlds created with advanced experiential learning and gaming techniques. For example, in the Entrepreneurship module, students learn how to run a clothing or sporting goods store by testing their abilities with scenarios that map to real challenges faced by new entrepreneurs. They conduct business, get advice, attend training seminars or sell their companies. In the Personal Finance module, students live up to 50 years of their financial futures, virtually, making decisions about money and credit.
“Today’s students are demanding more digital applications and support for alternative learning methods,” said Ralph Chapman, Vice-President, Public Sector, IBM Canada. ”Our ability to deliver this type of advanced learning to Ontario schools provides students with the modern tools they need to better prepare themselves for the new demands of the work world.”
Historically, simulation gaming has been used extensively in the military, by athletes and by scientists to discover effective new strategies and techniques and develop the skills needed to implement them. Businesses have realized the value of this technique and are deploying their own games to create life-like simulations of real markets, customers and business situations that they deal with every day. Gaming technology is also increasingly being used in higher education institutions to complement and extend traditional teaching methods. Currently, more than 1,000 colleges and universities use IBM games in their curricula.
Two Alberta students and one from Ontario who participated last fall in a contest organized by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) that encouraged enrolment in The City, have won laptop computers. The City is an online interactive resource that teaches basic financial skills. Students learn from eight “life stage characters” who face various financial circumstances that young people can relate to. The City is a free, Web-based learning program developed by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC). In order to qualify to win the laptops, the students had to complete four modules and score 100% on a follow-up quiz. The three winners were then chosen randomly from a draw of all qualified entrants. A school in Toronto has a SMART Board™ thanks to the efforts of teacher Clarence Sze-chun Yeung, a math teacher at SATEC@W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute who enrolled his class in The City.
Another contest is now underway for students and teachers who enrol in The City in the second term. To be eligible, students and teachers in any Canadian province or territory must register and participate in The City before March 31, 2011. The contest rules are available on FCAC’s website
Via Canadian Heritage & Official Languages: Youth, artists, festivals, and arts training organizations are thriving in Vancouver, thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. Support for a total of 40 projects was announced today by the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Minister Moore made the announcement at the Vancouver Playhouse in downtown Vancouver alongside leaders of Vancouver’s arts and cultural community.
“With Canada’s economic recovery still fragile, we are focused on creating jobs and economic growth throughout British Columbia,” said Minister Moore. Supporting Canadian culture means supporting Canada’s economy. Arts and culture bring communities together and contribute to the economic strength of cities. We are proud to support our artists and arts organizations, because investing in the arts is central to strengthening communities in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.”
The funding announced today will support a range of projects that create cultural experiences, strengthen communities, and bring people together. Projects benefitting from today’s announcement include the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, the DanceHouse performance series, Vancouver Takes the Stage, the Vancouver Early Music Festival, and the Bard On The Beach Theatre Society.
“We are very excited about the opportunity that the Government of Canada has provided to the youth of Vancouver,” said Lucille Pacey, President of Arts Umbrella. The Act One: Youth project will provide the opportunity for youth to work with seasoned Canadian artists in the community and to take those lessons into the classrooms in a leadership role.”
Today’s announcement includes the following Vancouver-area projects:
Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage
The Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program provides Canadians with more opportunities to take part in activities that present local arts and culture and celebrate local history and heritage.
A.I.A. Arts In Action Society – In the House Festival; $5,500
Celebrate Vancouver’s 125th Advisory Committee – Vancouver Takes the Stage (Vancouver Celebrates 125); $109,200
Collingwood Neighbourhood House Society – Collingwood Days Festival; $24,500
First United Church – First United Church 125th Anniversary; $8,400
Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver – Festival Ha’Rikud 2011 Celebrating Love/Ahava; $12,500
Hellenic Community of Vancouver – Greek Heritage Month/Greek Day; $16,400
New Westminster Hyack Festival Association – Hyack Festival; $31,100
North Vancouver Community Arts Council – Art in the Garden Tour; $2,600
Richmond Arts Coalition – 8th Annual Richmond Maritime Festival; $92,000
Richmond Museum Society – Doors Open Richmond 2011; $6,700
Scandinavian Community Centre Society – Midsummer Festival; $9,000
Seabird Island Band – 42nd Annual First Nations Festival; $18,900
Think City Society – Think City Tours; $7,900
Valerie Dudoward Foundation – Teach Me the Ways / Vancouver Aboriginal Heritage and Arts Festival; $4,300
Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration – City of Bhangra 2011; $16,200
Vancouver Korean Dance Society – Soaring: The 15th Annual Korean Dance Festival; $6,500
Canada Arts Presentation Fund
The Canada Arts Presentation Fund gives Canadians increased access to the variety and richness of Canada’s culture through professional arts festivals, presentations of live professional performances, and other artistic experiences.
Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver – 22nd Festival d’été francophone de Vancouver and 2011–2012 season; $40,000 (2011–2012)
Coastal Jazz and Blues Society – Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Winterruption, and Concert Season; $300,000 (2011–2012)
Rosario Ancer Flamenco Arts Society – Vancouver International Flamenco Festival; $18,000 (2011–2012)
Seismic Shift Arts Society – DanceHouse; $80,000 (2011–2012)
Powell Street Festival Society – 2011 and 2012 Festival and Season; $28,000 (2011–2012) and $28,000 (2012–2013)
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Society – PuSh International Performing Arts Festival; $220,000 (2011–2012) and $220,000 (2012–2013)
Vancouver Society for Early Music – Vancouver Early Music Festival 2011 and 2012 and The Early Music Vancouver Winter Concert Season 2010–2011 and 2011–2012; $93,000 (2011–2012) and $93,000 (2012–2013)
Western Front Society – Western Front New Music 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 programs; $20,000 (2011–2012) and $20,000 (2012–2013)
Canada Cultural Spaces Fund
The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund seeks to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and innovation. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing arts, visual arts, media arts, and to museum collections and heritage displays.
Presentation House Cultural Society – Theatre lighting equipment upgrade; $48,170
Bard On The Beach Theatre Society – New Mainstage and Studio Stage Theatres; $1,050,337 (2011–2012) and $149,663 (2012–2013)
Canada Arts Training Fund
The Canada Arts Training Fund supports non-profit organizations that offer training to Canadians aspiring to a national or international professional career in the arts.
Mandala Arts and Culture Society – Training in the Arts; $40,000 (2011–2012)
Full Circle: First Nations Performance Society – Training in the Arts; $155,000 (2011–2012) and $155,000 (2012–2013)
Canada Cultural Investment Fund (Strategic Initiatives Component)
The Canada Cultural Investment Fund’s Strategic Initiatives component provides funding for initiatives supported by multiple partners and impacting multiple organizations. Supported projects help arts and heritage organizations build and diversify their revenue streams, and strengthen their management capacities/business competencies.
Assembly of Bristish Columbia Arts Councils – Development, delivery, and expansion of a special projects program in capacity and sustainability; $157,200 (2010–2011)
The Playhouse Theatre Centre of British Columbia – Next Generation Arts Leadership; $28,000 (2010–2011)
Canada Cultural Investment Fund (Endowment Incentives Component)
The Endowment Incentives component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund provides funding to match donations from the private sector to arts organizations’ endowment fund. This year, the Government of Canada is providing 71 cents for every dollar donated by the private sector.
Arts Club of Vancouver Theatre Foundation – Arts Club of Vancouver Theatre Society; $388,961
Vancouver Foundation – Chor Leoni Men’s Choir; $21,883
Vancouver Foundation –Vancouver International Dance Festival Society; $4,258
Vancouver Foundation – Vancouver Society for Early Music; $7,182
Vancouver Foundation – VDC Dance Centre Society; $46,291
Vancouver Foundation – West Vancouver Arts Centre Trust; $71,108
Vancouver Foundation – Théâtre la Seizième; $9,091
Vancouver Opera Foundation – Vancouver Opera Association; $342,888
Vancouver Symphony Foundation – Vancouver Symphony Society; $434,899
Youth Take Charge Program
The Youth Take Charge program supports youth-led projects and is getting young Canadians involved in a range of activities designed to strengthen their knowledge and attachment to Canada.
Children’s Arts Umbrella Association – Act One:Youth; $137,896
IGDA Members: Today is the last day of voting for your Board Members. If you have not yet done so, please check your email for the Election Notification and voting link. We are very close to a quorum, please make sure you cast your vote before 11:59PM tonight. I’ve done my part and voted – now it’s your turn. Please pass along the word to other IGDA members, let’s get this election into the Tasks Successfully Done column. If you did not receive the email or are having problems please contact Ryan Arndt via email at email@example.com right away.
SIGGRAPH 2011 Tickets Now Available For Purchase. Early Bird pricing is in effect until June 17th. Member, non-member and student prices are available for all categories: full conference, full conference single day, basic conference, basic conference single day, computer animation festival. Please see the ticket information page for full details on categories and pricing.
SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver – Make It Home
Congratulations to onX Enterprise Solutions, who has received two Cisco Partner Summit regional awards for Canadian Managed Cloud Partner of the Year and Canadian Borderless Network Partner of the Year.
Don’t forget that nominations are open for the 2011 VIATeC Awards. A little saddened that VIATeC is using the current tide of attention being paid to that recently fired TV personality as part of their promotional efforts, but here are the categories open to Vancouver Island technology companies:
Technology Company of the Year
Emerging Technology Company of the Year
Employer of the Year – can only be nominated by staff
Online Strategy of the Year
Executive of the Year
Employee/Team of the Year
Product of the Year
Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year – can only be nominated by a technology company.
The Awards ceremony will take place in Carson Hall at the Victoria Conference Centre on June 2nd. Tickets are $150.00 for VIATeC members and $200.00 for non-members.
Here is the launch trailer for Hothead Games‘ latest entry into the digital download realm. Swarm is scheduled for release on PSN March 22nd (March 30th in Europe) and XBLA worldwide on March 23rd. This is definitely one game I’m looking forward to getting my hands on – I’ve been hoarding most of the MS Points I was given for Christmas just so I can see how many ways there are to squish and dismember these little blue guys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will already know that Swarm is an action-platformer that allows you take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.
Atari has released the second developer diary from its upcoming XBLA, PSN and PC download top-down arcade shooter Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, which was developed at Behaviour Interactive. Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is out on XBLA and PC download on March 23rd and will launch on PSN on March 30th (even though the dev diary says it’s available now).
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.
The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.
Big Blue Bubble’sBurn The Rope is bigger and better than ever with a version for the iPad launching today! Now is the time to join in the flame-lighting fun with bigger graphics, brighter fire, and Wickman as you’ve never seen him before! Burn the Rope HD also features an innovative new touch control scheme exclusive to the iPad that lets players rotate the puzzle onscreen.
Burn the Rope is a casual puzzle title that was originally released on the iPhone in December 2010. The goal of the game is to burn as much rope as possible on each level – which is not as easy as it may sound. The fire only burns upwards, so the player must rotate the rope to keep the flame going – once all the flames are out, it’s game over! With clever, hard to master puzzle designs for each level and some insects that add to the gameplay in unique and interesting ways, Burn the Rope been one of the hottest apps in the App Store for the past several months.
With 116 exciting levels (and more on the way), Burn the Rope is incredibly fun and addictive, and the new features in Burn the Rope HD for iPad let players experience the game in a whole new way
Additional HD Features Include:
• Apple Game Center support with 30 achievements and iTunes library support
• All-new Bug-Blasting Bonus Rounds!
• Lights Out! Mode – light the way as you burn!
BioWare will be releasing Mass Effect: Arrival, the thrilling final mission for Mass Effect 2 on March 29th. This conclusion to Mass Effect 2 and preamble to Mass Effect 3, Arrival will also include three new achievements (or trophies) for the Xbox 360®, PC and PlayStation®3. The PDLC pack will be available for 560 MS Points on Xbox 360, $6.99USD on PlayStation Network and also available for PC for 560 BioWare Points.
In Mass Effect: Arrival, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen (Alien, Terminator).
“All year, we have been extremely honored and humbled by the reception we have received for Mass Effect 2 from players around the world, including our post release DLC”, said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer, Mass Effect series. “Mass Effect: Arrival is an exciting extension to Mass Effect 2 and will show players just how close the Reapers are to returning and completing their deadly harvest.”
Only two weeks after launching, TVO’s new applications for BlackBerry® smartphones for early learners and school aged-kids, have been downloaded from BlackBerry App World™ over 250,000 times.
Flower Frenzy and Polka Dot Shorts support learning objectives from the Ontario school curriculum and are teacher and classroom tested. Both are designed for BlackBerry smartphones running OS 5.0 and higher. Polka Dot Shorts is a sequence matching game for kids aged 2-5 that supports the early-learning and kindergarten math curriculum. Flower Frenzy is an entertaining and educational game with three levels of progressive difficulty that uses pictures of flowers to help kids ages 6-11 learn to create sequences.
Both apps teach kids pre-cursors to patterning skills which help build the foundational knowledge required for mathematics in later years. Each app also has a safety feature to prevent young users from making phone calls or sending emails.
“We’re really excited that so many kids are embracing TVO’s latest digital media offerings,” says CEO Lisa de Wilde. “There is a real need for digital content that will engage kids in learning that complements what happens in the classroom environment. We’re happy to help fill the gap.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today simplified the process for Canadians who want to change providers for their television, home telephone, wireless or Internet services. Consumers will now be able to switch service providers with only one phone call. Once it has obtained the proper consent, the new provider will make all the arrangements on behalf of consumers to have the services transferred over. The CRTC requires that customer transfers be completed within two business days, except for wireless service where transfers must be completed within 2.5 hours.
“In a competitive marketplace, consumers are always encouraged to explore different options for their broadcasting and telecommunications services,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The new rules will make the transfer process a seamless and convenient experience, while enabling Canadians to benefit from receiving retention offers from their current providers.”
If they prefer, consumers can also cancel their services by contacting their service provider directly, which can make them offers to retain their business. The CRTC reminds consumers that, when switching to a new service provider, they are still responsible for any termination penalties or other terms associated with their existing contract. Additionally, the CRTC has established safeguards to prevent service providers from sharing confidential customer information with their internal sales and marketing groups during the transfer process.
Following today’s decision, the CRTC has also launched a new proceeding seeking views on whether these safeguards are still in the best interests of consumers and whether they limit a consumer’s ability to receive offers from a service provider. Interested parties may submit their comments by April 18, 2011. They may do so by completing the online form, by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or by fax at 819-994-0218.
Nominations are now open for the Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship, which is presented to the woman who has shown the most outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership — leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada’s advanced technology industry. The purpose of the Award is to celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship and create positive role models for women. The Sara Kirke Award for outstanding woman in technology innovation and corporate leadership for 2010 was awarded to Carol Leaman, CEO of PostRank Inc.
Sara Kirke is considered by many to be North America’s first entrepreneur. She arrived in Newfoundland in 1638 with her husband David Kirke, who was soon recalled to England. Sara, however, continued to reside in Avalon, and conducted business as usual from the Pool Plantation. Lady Kirke was a remarkable individual as she managed affairs at the Pool Plantation and became one of the most successful merchants on the English Shore — and was almost certainly North America’s first and foremost woman entrepreneur.
The BCIC-New Ventures Competition: 2011 is now open for applications until April 18 at midnight, with the first seminar in the new nine seminar series taking place on April 4th. The competition dates and seminar schedule have been officially set and now it’s up to the competitors to invest $200 in their technology business idea and learn how to develop it into a profitable company.
As one of North America’s largest technology business idea competitions, BCIC-New Ventures attracts applicants from a wide range of industries including cleantech, media, Internet, information technology and life sciences. BCIC and the New Ventures BC Society invite BC entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to the 11th annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition offering the chance to win a share of the more than $360,000 in prizes.
Added to the mix of prizes to be won this year are the $15,000 Vancity Social Venture Prize and two prizes for Agricultural technologies, valued at $30,000 and $20,000. The competition has also launched a separate stream for Agritech competitors, with events starting March 30.
The competition is open to any BC person, resident or business with a technology-focused idea that has not yet secured significant financing from external investors (i.e. investors other than friends, family and company founders).
The series of nine business education seminars, open to both the public and competition applicants, will take place in Vancouver at the SFU Beedie School of Business beginning April 4, 2011. Students with valid ID can register to attend these seminars at no cost.
Learn from some of BC’s top business experts at our business-education seminars
Network with top professionals in business, law, finance, government and academia
Improve your business and strategies during each round of competition
Receive advice and insight from mentors In Round 3
Present your condensed business plan to a panel of ‘angel’ investors, venture capitalists and industry experts in Round 4
Now in its eleventh year, the main BCIC-New Ventures Competition attracts applicants from a wide range of industries. This year we’re launching a new stream of the competition focused on Agritech ventures in the categories of: primary production, food, and bioenergy/bioproducts (for or from agriculture).
This new program is funded through Growing Forward, a federal/provincial agreement between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to support agri-food technology innovation and commercialization.
There will be two specific prizes – a $30,000 first prize and $20,000 second prize for Innovation in Agricultural Technology – plus specific events for Agritech competitors who proceed through the four rounds of the business competition. Applicants who register will also be placed into the larger competition with the chance to compete for more than $300,000 in additional prizes.
AOL Canada is proud to sponsor the Interactive Category of the 2011 National Advertising Awards (NAA) that celebrates and rewards outstanding Canadian advertising creativity, delivering fresh new ideas to Canada’s leading brands. In addition to the recognition they receive with the award, category winners will attend the 58th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival June 19 to 25, 2011 in France.
“Sponsoring the interactive competition aligns with our commitment to high-value, premium quality and creativity online,” says Graham Moysey, AOL Canada General Manager, “At AOL, it’s all about creating a vastly improved online consumer experience – what better way than to get Canada’s best and brightest creatives engaged?”
AOL is also working with agencies that are submitting entries to consider using AOL’s award-winning HD content delivery platform, Pictela, now available in Canada. Pictela provides agencies with a broad and highly unique canvas for demonstrating their creativity.
In the Interactive Category, participants are challenged with a brief from Biotherm to recruit new users to their BioLab Skin Solutions. All category briefs were made available on March 2 and the deadline for creative submissions is March 31. Winners will be announced at the National Advertising Awards Gala on May 5 in Toronto.
“Participating in the National Advertising Awards Interactive Category is a fantastic opportunity to submit the challenge of taking our BioLab recruitment animation to the next level to the best Canadian creative minds,” said Bradley Smith, Biotherm Marketing Director. “I can’t wait to see how they’ll translate Biotherm’s biological expertise and its strong Canadian heritage into a complete interactive brand experience that will attract new consumers to the brand.”
“The National Advertising Awards are unique because they are North America’s only major brief-based competition,” says Cam Gardner, President, Adcam Media Group, Owner of The National Advertising Awards. “It’s always a thrill to see the results of unleashed creative thinking against the needs of major Canadian brands. We’re grateful for the support of sponsors like AOL Canada who help make the awards possible.”