20th July 2010

Canadian Game Industry Continues To Expand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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16th July 2010

Three Out of Ten Pax Prime Featured Indie Games Are Canadian

pax 10Congratulations to three homegrown developers whose titles have been named to 2010’s Pax Prime The Pax 10. For those who are not familiar with what this means for indie developers, The Pax 10 is a featured booth area at the Penny Arcade Expo events. Pax Prime takes place in Seattle this September 3 – 5th, and any indie game featured in The Pax 10 booth has the potential to be played by several thousand gamers over the course of the weekend. Gamers can also meet with the development teams and learn more about the game’s background. At the end of the expo, one game will be awarded The Audience Choice Award as the Best of The Pax 10 at Pax Prime.

The three Canadian titles which were chosen for this year’s Pax Prime Pax 10 are:

Hegemony: Philip of Macedonia by Longbow Games (Toronto)
Fowl Space by Pixelante (Vancouver)
Retro City Rampage by Vblank Entertainment (Vancouver)

Interactive Exchange 10Today is the final day to get the Super Early Bird registration rate for IN 2010, a unique cross-platform interactive media event that features two action-packed days of inspiration, insight and interaction between top creative and business minds from across Canada and around the world. Interactive Exchange 2010 takes place this September 12th through 14th in Toronto.Shot In The Dark

Toronto’s Shot In The Dark Mysteries is pleased to announce it will be sponsoring The Campaign to Save Parent’s Summer Sanity this year on Facebook. The campaign, aimed at providing parents with physical activities to keep their kids engaged through the summer months, is a lighthearted approach to a very real frustration.

“Many parents feel as though they spend the summer months trying (and often failing) to amuse their children,” says Shot In The Dark Mysteries owner Leigh Clements. “The result is stress, exhaustion and, sadly, a bit of resentment. We believe if parents have a constant stream of positive, creative activities to keep their kids both physically and mentally entertained, the result will be happier kids, happier families, happier parents and, of course, earlier bed time!”

The campaign has kicked off with a one minute viral commercial and a Facebook page. Simply clicking “Like” on the Facebook page will link parents to a daily stream of activities for kids, as well as a discussion forum and “wall” where they can interact with other parents, post their suggestions and get new ideas.

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“The aim is for a community of parents who are banding together to save their sanity!” says Clements. “The Facebook format is perfect for parents. Already, we don’t have a lot of time to be surfing the internet to find activity ideas. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we have a few minutes a day to pop on Facebook and check in with our friends and family. This format puts an idea right into parents’ ‘newsfeed’ so they don’t have to go out of their way to remember to check it.”

On Fridays, Shot In The Dark Mysteries will offer a special “Sponsored” activity idea relating to a kids mystery game available through Shot In The Dark Mysteries.com

wavefrontI would like to take this opportunity to welcome new Community Engagement Manager Brad Lowe to the awesome team over at Wavefront.

“Wavefront values its engagement with the community and its advisory and market linkage role for local wireless businesses trying to get their technologies and applications to market,” said James Maynard, President of Wavefront. “Brad’s background and ties to the local technology and academic community are instrumental in further strengthening our contributions and we’re excited to welcome him to the Wavefront team.”Brad Lowe

Lowe has been active in the Vancouver technology community for 20 years, holding management positions at national and international technology corporations including Nokia, Redback Networks, Abatis and MacDonald Dettwiler. At Wavefront, Lowe will help to facilitate greater interaction between industry and universities, and ensure better integration through regular exchanges of information, knowledge and insight. This collaborative approach will provide greater opportunities for the conversion of innovation in wireless research and technologies into commercial products and services that can be harnessed by a broader range of companies. Lowe will also lead the Entrepreneurship@Wavefront program in partnership with BCIC. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th July 2010

GameStop Canada To Host Dragon Quest IX Tag Mode Events

Nintendo CanadaSelect GameStop/EB Games locations across Canada are hosting exclusive Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Tag Mode events on Saturday, July 31, from 2pm – 4pm. Along Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies with trading maps with other attendees, players will also be able to download an exclusive map, and have the chance to win a Midnight Blue Nintendo DSi XL.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the latest game for the Nintendo DS family of systems. The game combines imaginative game play with social fun, setting players out on an epic adventure. Maps allow players to find otherwise inaccessible special dungeons called grottoes, which can contain rare items or enemies. In Tag Mode, treasure maps and customized greetings can be exchanged automatically by players who come within range of one another. For a complete list of participating GameStop/EB Games locations across Canada please visit the Dragon Quest product page on the GameStop web site.

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal has announced an Assassin’s Creed comic book mini-series is currently in development and due for release this fall. Developed by Eisner Award nominees and Shuster Award-winning illustrators Cameron Stewart (Batman & Robin, Seaguy and Catwoman) and Karl Kerschl (Superman and The Flash), the Assassin’s Creed comic mini-series will be unveiled during a panel to be held on July 22, 2010 from 3:30–4:30 p.m. in Room 7AB at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Moderated by G4TV’s Morgan Webb, the panel entitled “Assassin’s Creed: Behind and Beyond the Brotherhood” will include details of the new comic series and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game release. Featured panelists will include Stewart and Kerschl, along with Jeffrey Johalem, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game scriptwriter. Stewart and Kerschl recently visited Saint Petersburg, Russia on a research trip for the upcoming project. That visit, along with the teaser video released today, will give fans an inkling on where and when the new Assassin comic series will be taking place. Additional details on the project will be revealed at the Comic-Con panel.

The new comic series is part of Ubisoft Montreal’s UbiWorkshop initiative that encompasses a number of the studio’s projects related to leveraging Ubisoft intellectual properties in entertainment mediums outside of video games, such as comic books.

“We always thought that the Assassin’s Creed universe would be perfect for transmedia initiatives like this new comic series,” said Mathieu Ferland, transmedia senior producer at Ubisoft Montreal. “We are excited to have the fantastic and acclaimed artists Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl working on the project. Ubisoft is looking forward to showing Assassin’s Creed fans what these talented artists have been up to at next week’s Comic-Con panel.”

CAPCOM Following last week’s news that Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, the full feature film based on Capcom’s popular video game, Dead Rising, will be distributed in Europe and North America, we are pleased to confirm more details on when and where fans can view Inafune-san’s directorial debut. Split into a number of episodes that will be distributed over a number of weeks, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, will be made available as a free download exclusively on Xbox Live from August 4th, before going live on www.deadrisingsun.com a week later. As an added bonus, certain episodes will begin with interviews featuring Inafune-san where he will provide insight into the film making process. The movie will also be available on the North American Dead Rising 2 Zombrex Edition as mentioned below. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th July 2010

Apparently Not All Turtles Are Ninjas

Hothead GamesHot Head Games‘ justice-seeking personality DeathSpank has officially celebrated the grand opening of his auspicious new fan club and “spanking” new website, and he’s inviting everyone to join. He promises lots of announcements and pretty well anything else you will need to know before he takes his fight against evil to the realms of PSN and XBL next week. DeathSpank has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB and will sell for 1200 MS Points on the Xbox Live MarketPlace or $14.99 on the PlayStation Network.

Alien Concepts‘ newest project, At Risk: The Turtle Survivor Challenge, commissioned by the Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Programme is now live. A downloadable free title, this flash game is aimed primarily at kids to teach them about turtles that live within city parks.At Risk

“It has lots of educational content about the threats that face turtles and turtle conservation efforts, but it’s fed to the player, we hope, in a way that’s not pedantic or intrusive upon the gameplay. The gameplay we tried very hard to make on par with other sidescroller-type games that kids and adults alike would be familiar with, and features high-end graphics,” said Alien Concepts Studio Director Jamie Richards. “All of the animations are pre-rendered frames from fully-3D scenes constructed in Maya, and there are even several short movie clips of the player’s turtle avatar performing various actions at different points in the game.”

The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme provides teachers, students and community groups with information resources and educational opportunities to conserve, restore and create wetland habitats.

CorelCorel Software is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a contest. Enter your best illustration, painting or photo created with Corel software and you could win an Ultimate Design Studio or other great prizes – even those who vote on entries can win prizes. All entries must be submitted in the original Corel software format and must be received by August 31, 2010. There is a limit of one (1) entry per person, and the contest is open to residents of  Canada (excluding Quebec), the UK, USA and Germany only.

sysomosToronto social media analytics company and former MaRS client Sysomos has been acquired by Marketwire Inc. MaRS extends its congratulations to everyone at Sysomos, and is proud to have been a part of Sysomos’ success. MaRS’ influence on the “lab to market” success of the social media start-up is evidence of the centre’s ability to work with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders.

Sysomos became a MaRS client in 2006, following its birth in 2005 as an advanced research project for content aggregation and analysis at University of Toronto’s Department of Computer Science. MaRSSpearheaded by then faculty member Nick Koudas and graduate student Nilesh Bansal, Sysomos took advantage of MaRS advisors and mentors to help with their business development and was introduced to other key Canada-based resources including Scott Vanderwel, Head of Monitor Canada’s Toronto office and volunteer advisor at MaRS; Vanderwel later joined the Sysomos board.

“We’re grateful for the work that MaRS did over the years to help us move the company forward,” said Koudas, President and Co-Founder of Sysomos. “We are also grateful for the counsel and high degree of engagement Scott demonstrated as a member of our board.” Read the rest of this entry »

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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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1st July 2010

A Canadian Summer of Interactive Tours

Village Gamer is giving away a copy of Ubisoft Vancouver’s Pure Football for the Xbox 360 (NTSC) and an Pure Footballofficial T-shirt. All you have to do to enter is hop over to our Facebook page and answer a very easy World Cup question, then wait for the random draw results this weekend. This game is rated E for Everyone, so entry is open to all those who have an NTSC 360. If you are still looking for something to do on this Canada Day, don’t forget to check out the Pure Football interactive display at Canada Place. You’ll find Ubisoft Vancouver set up in the BC Soccer World area along with loads of other great things to do and see before tonight’s fireworks celebration.

Tangible InteractionVancouver’s Tangible Interaction has launched The Social Media Portal, a sleekly designed touch-screen kiosk that helps unlock the virtual potential of real world events. Where people socialize, congregate or gather in the real world, the Social Media Portal acts as gateway to the virtual world. It generates site-specific content — such as photos and accompanying messages — and uploads it instantaneously to existing social networks, custom web sites, or unique graphic creations.

Many campaigns begin online and climax with a real world event. The Social Media Portal makes it easy to creatively and conveniently take the excitement and spirit of the event back online. It’s the missing link in a campaign cycle that transforms brand experience from online to offline back to online.

The Social Media Portal extends the life and dimensions of a campaign at an event or for extended periods. Clients Tangible Interaction Kioskcan install it at a dedicated site or house it in-store. They can use it to entertain and dazzle, inspire meaningful feedback from valued customers — or both. Tangible Interaction can customize the Social Media Portal to realize inventive branding experiences for its clients.

Currently the Social Media Portal takes high quality photos and instantly posts them with messages to a personal or brand account on Twitter, Facebook and Facebook Pages. People can also email photos and text. The elegant design and intuitive interface make for a fun experience.

Future versions will feature audio recording, custom photo overlays, face recognition (for dynamically positioning graphics on a portrait), on-site printing, green screen (for dynamically changing backgrounds), augmented reality, ability to tag content with text, vote, rank, and so on.

2K Sports2K Sports today announced The REAL Hockey Experience on Wii™, an unprecedented NHL® 2K11 cross-country tour featuring NHL players, an array of fan-friendly giveaways and contests, and hands-on play with NHL 2K11 months before it is released exclusively for the Wii system. Traveling throughout the northern United States and Canada, 2K Sports will bring the excitement of NHL The REAL Hockey Experience on Wii Tour Bushockey to more than a dozen cities in a custom-designed NHL 2K11 recreation vehicle rigged with portable video game gear created especially for fans and gamers. The trail of pucks, prizes and playable demos will also feature appearances by NHL stars, including Vancouver Canucks® forward and NHL 2K11 cover athlete Ryan Kesler, Los Angeles Kings® defenseman Jack Johnson, New Jersey Devils® forward Travis Zajac and more.

“We really wanted to do something fun for this year’s NHL title to recognize our loyal fans across Canada and the United States,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “Hitting the road and enabling hockey heads hands-on time with NHL 2K11 before it ships, as well as giving them access to some of hockey’s premier players, is a great way to showcase our game and passion for the sport.” Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd June 2010

Celebrate Canada At Casual Connect

SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. have launched a video contest to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 19th anniversary. Two lucky grand prize winners, one from North America and one from the UK, will each receive a trip for two to Tokyo to visit SEGA Japan and meet the Sonic development team.

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“In honor of the nineteenth anniversary of our favorite hedgehog, we wanted to find a special way to thank Sonic’s fans throughout the years,” said Haruki Satomi, executive Sonic the Hedgehogvice president of SEGA of America. “We think this contest is a great way to give fans a chance to express their creativity, enthusiasm and support for Sonic.”

Over the course of the next two weeks, contestants can upload their videos showing their appreciation and love for Sonic the Hedgehog to YouTube and then submit them for judging on the official Sonic 4 Contest Page. Videos will be judged on creativity, entertainment and effort; the ten best will be chosen by SEGA and showcased on the official Sonic the Hedgehog 4 website.

Sonic fans and the entire SEGA community will then choose their favorite to win either the grand prize trip to Tokyo, or a prize of a 32 GB iPod touch®. Contest void where prohibited.

CanadaThe Consulate General of Canada in Seattle is planning activities around Casual Connect Seattle 2010 (July 20 – 22) to promote the Canadian game development industry, including a networking event, a Canada table at the show and a Canada Casual Games Organization Directory.  Discounted registration is also available on a limited basis.  For information on these activities and how to become involved, please contact Victoria Hayes.

Don’t forget that Women In Games Vancouver will be participating in GameSauce, the gamesauceconference-before-the-conference. GameSauce will take place in Seattle on Monday, July 19th and will feature many educational tracks and opportunities for networking.

Can’t get enough FIFA World Cup Action? As part of its tribute to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, BC Soccer and a team of partners, including Ubisoft Vancouver, will be showcasing BC Soccer World on Thursday, JPure Footballuly 1st, at Canada Day at Canada Place.

The staging of soccer and sport activity zones, demonstrations and other special events will serve as a new addition to the award-winning Canada day at Canada Place festivities. BC Soccer World will go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT under the five sails at the iconic Canada Place venue in downtown Vancouver.

“We see it as a natural coming together of a special day for Canada with a special year for the global soccer community,” said Bjorn Osieck, Chief Executive of BC Soccer. “BC Soccer World will celebrate our ‘Global Game’ with ‘Universal Passion’ and will help showcase sport, active living and the beautiful game of soccer.”

The 2010 event at the largest Canada Day celebrations in British Columbia is seen as a pilot project for similar community outreach events in other major centres throughout the province in the coming years.

“Our model is simple: provide an introduction to soccer and sport for children, young people and their families by offering a wide variety of soccer activities and sport demonstrations in a festival style event,” said Osieck. “Those coming to BC Soccer World at Canada Day at Canada Place will have the chance to check out the history and heritage of our game in BC and what it stands for in terms of active, inclusive and team play for young people of all ages.” Read the rest of this entry »

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21st June 2010

Mentor Programs and Competitions Expand Futures for Young Canadians

bookriffLet me start the week by sending out a huge congratulations to our friend Rochelle Grayson on her new position as CEO at Vancouver startup BookRiff. Rochelle is an incredible lady, and I know that with her awesome talent and drive, great things will be happening for BookRiff and its parent entity D&M Publishing. Congratulations also to the Deus Ex: Human Revolution team over at Eidos Montreal for all of their nominations and awards from E3, including Best of E3 from Gamepro and 1up, plus Best E3 trailer from JeuxVideo.

CIXCIX, the Canadian Interactive Exchange has sent out their annual call for showcase presentations. Submissions deadline is October 1st, so companies who “consider themselves to be the very best in the fields of ICT, Digital Media and Cleantech should complete a profile in order to be selected to present live at CIX in the showcase of Complex GamesCanada’s Hottest Innovative Companies.” CIX takes place at Toronto’s at MaRs Discovery District on December 7th.

Complex Games has announced that BattleBears -1, a prequel to Skyvu Pictures’ BattleBear Zombies, has been sent off to iTunes for release approval. Check out this trailer for a preview:

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

There are two Canadian creations out on Nintendo’s DSiWare today. First up is Puffins: Let’s Fish from Other Ocean Interactive. Available for only 500 Nintendo DSi Points, this E-rated title lets gamers dive into the deep blue sea and fill their virtual bellies with delicious fish. Puffins: Let’s FishOther Ocean Interactive is an action game that has you swimming the beautiful ocean in search of a puffin’s favourite meal: the elusive capelin. However, the ocean can be a dangerous place, and you’re not the only one hunting for food. Throughout 18 underwater stages and two game modes, you’ll be avoiding sharks, jellyfish and other fearsome predators who are very interested in making you their next meal.

Digital LeisureToday’s other new DSiWare title comes from Digital Leisure. Also available for 500 DSi Points and rated E (with cartoon violence) is Mega Words, where you need to put on your thinking cap and see how many of the hundreds of puzzles you can solve in Mega Words. Three classic puzzlers are included in this puzzle pack: Word Scrambler, Anagram Hunt and Hangman. There’s no need for erasers here! These portable editions feature extensive dictionaries to challenge novices and expert players alike. See how fast you can unscramble words, sharpen your vocabulary and stretch your mind with Mega Words.

EA SportsWinnipeg-born Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks will be the new face of the NHL® 11 videogame from EA Sports™. With last year’s title featuring Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, NHL 11 marks the first time that EA SPORTS has put back to back players from the same team on the cover of the NHL franchise. The 22 year old’s image will be on the front of all packaging when NHL 11 is available in North American retail stores this September for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® with an MSRP of $59.99.

“I am really excited to be on the cover of NHL 11,” said Toews. “It’s been an amazing year for me and the team, and it’s nice to end it by being a part of a game I played growing up. The NHL games have always been great, so it’s an honor for me to be a part of the EA Sports family.”
Jonathan Toews
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary with NHL 11, the EA Sports NHL® franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year awards over the past three years and is poised to raise the bar yet again. With a revolutionary real-time physics engine that brings an unprecedented amount of realism to the franchise, gameplay innovations like broken sticks and a revamped face-off system, as well as the addition of the Canadian Hockey League, NHL 11 is set to be the most complete hockey videogame ever created.

After being selected third overall in the 2006-07 entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Toews has emerged as one of the most skilled centers in the NHL after just two seasons. After helping lead team Canada to a gold medal win during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Toews locked up the Conn Smythe, given to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs, after playing a crucial role in leading the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961. Toews is currently the youngest captain in the NHL, and has registered more than 65 points in each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th June 2010

Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media Announced at E3

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

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

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

Features include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9th June 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 Technology Impact Award Winners

EA SportsElectronic Arts Inc. has revealed that its top-selling franchise from EA Sports™ will redefine player authenticity when FIFA Soccer 11 launches this Fall. FIFA Soccer 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch with Personality+, an all-new feature that sees individual abilities reflected in game, enabling clear differentiation for every player.

“Personality+ is the evolution of individual distinctiveness that sees a player’s abilities on the pitch mirrored authentically in our game, creating individual personalities in FIFA Soccer 11,” said Executive Producer Kaz Makita. “We have reached a level of sophistication within our game engine where players in our game will behave and perform as true individuals.”FIFA 11

Personality+ distinguishes individual players from one another by utilizing a database that evaluates and grades each player’s skill-set over 36 attributes and 57 traits. The EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise utilizes a network of 1,700 scouts, editors and reviewers positioned around the world to evaluate each player, creating one of the world’s most comprehensive databases to drive its market-leading soccer engine. Personality+ will be integrated everywhere in-game. Elite players are now empowered to showcase their world class skills. Real Madrid’s Kaka will deliver crisp, creative passes, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta will utilize tighter turns and close control to dribble through defenses, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney will hold off defenders and strike shots from distance with pace, and top-flight defenders like Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus will anticipate, predict and react to offensive players to win back possession. New body types and player models will further distinguish each player on the pitch. In addition, goalkeepers have also been injected with Personality+. The real-life personality of the keeper, whether acrobatic or traditional, will dictate his style in game. Dive attributes will determine the keepers with the ability to reach for further shots while reflex attributes determine reaction times, so a keeper like Petr Cech of Chelsea FC will be able to showcase world-class skills.

FIFA Soccer 11 introduces new Pro Passing where pass accuracy is determined by a gamer’s ability on the control pad, and player skill, situation and urgency on the pitch, yielding a deeply rewarding passing system. Poor decisions or over/under striking the ball will mean error-prone outcomes. New types of passes such as swerve passes will enable players to make a safer and more effective play.

Building on FIFA Soccer 10 gameplay that won 50 sports game of the year awards, FIFA Soccer 11 continues to listen to its growing legion of EA Sports FIFA fans around the world to refine gameplay in ways that matter most to fans.  FIFA Soccer 11 will be available in stores world-wide this Fall for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Wii™, PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and mobile.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that ‘Open Mobile’ Author Ajit Jaokar, Founder of futuretext in London, UK will keynote the iP3 Forum on June 21st in Toronto. During his keynote presentation, Ajit will explore the future of mobile and web technologies, and how an open ecosystem could drive innovation in technical and business strategies.

“As member of the Economic World Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet, and with his intensive experience and research into open mobile strategies, Ajit will provide key insights into the world of technological innovation past and future,” says Sarah Baird, Co-Chair of the iP3 Forum Advisory Board and VP, Programmes and Operations at Interactive Ontario. “We are thrilled Ajit will kick-start the iP3 Forum with mind-expanding ideas of where we’re all headed.”

realtech vrrealtech VR has released Beware of the Bad Seed 1.0, a new fast-paced arcade game for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (in high resolution) where players must protect the magical garden and save the daisy against never ending waves of naughty carnivorous plants. Beware of the Bad Seed is an addictive and sweaty revamped version of the arcade room classic “Whack a mole” with a 3D, vegetable twist. Use your finger to hit all the carnivorous plants and make sure not to hit the daisies that appear on the screen.

Feature Highlights:

* Includes universal version with full realtime 3D rendering for iPhone, iPhone 3GS and iPad with high resolution support.
* Three game modes: Time attack, Arcade and Tic-tac-toe.
* Landscape and Portrait orientation with auto-rotation.
* Personal scoreboard and ever increasing challenge.

Future updates with iOS 4 Game Center integration coming this summer with leaderboard, friends and more. To celebrate this release, realtech VR will be offering a discount on their other titles from June 10th through June 12th.

* Iron Fist Boxing Prestige Edition (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) for 0.99$ instead for 4.99$
* Iron Fist Boxing Lite Full Version Upgrade for 0.99$ instead of 3.99$
* SkyORB 3D Premium Upgrade for 0.99$ (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) instead of 2.99$
* Laserlink for Free instead of 0.99$

Tecagora SolutionsVictoria’s Tecagora Solutions is pleased to announce that Snapact Photo Manager is now available through the Intel AppUp Center.

The Intel AppUp Center allows netbook users to browse, purchase, download, and install software applications that have been optimized to operate on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor through the AppUp Center on their netbook. The AppUp Center is specifically designed for netbooks as a mobile store font that is launched as an application on the netbook. When launched, users can search for netbook software applications based on category type, or they can view featured software titles, “Staff Picks,” “What’s Hot,” or “New Releases.”

“Snapact Photo Manager has been designed to be fast and light on system resources,” states Bruce Kwan, President and CEO of Tecagora Solutions. “When installed on a computer hard drive, Snapact is less than 6 MB in size. Therefore, the software does not use up a lot of hard drive space making more room available for other software applications and files. Because of its speed and file size, Snapact is a great fit for netbook users looking for a photo viewer, manager, and sharing tool. We are excited to offer our solution for all netbook users to use through the AppUp Center,” says Kwan.

The AppUp Center is a tool for netbook users to quickly search for and find software applications that have been optimized, quality tested, and verified to run on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor. Netbook users can download, install, launch, uninstall, and purchase software applications directly through the AppUp Center on their netbook. Many of the netbooks shipped in 2010 will include the AppUp Center pre-installed, however, the AppUp Center is also available for direct download from Intel.

Manic With more than 200,000 applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, more and more companies are reaching their customers through iPhone apps – a trend that is expected to grow rapidly following the recent release of Apple’s iPad touch-tablet.

Push notifications allow companies to stay in touch with app users or to allow them to interact with each other. Manic’s server software puts companies tapping the burgeoning market for iPhone and iPad apps in full control of theiiir push messaging, allowing for unlimited messages without additional cost.

“Our idea for the Manic APNs came out of our experience developing our unique multi-player gaming network,” says Randy Byers of Ottawa-based Manic Networks. “But we quickly realized that a way to reach millions of users within a matter of minutes at no additional cost would have huge appeal to many types of companies doing business on the iPhone/iPad platform.”

Manic’s Linux-based server software runs on company-owned servers or on hosted cloud servers for a fraction of the cost it would take to develop in-house – and with no limits or per-message cost. Depending on hardware and connectivity, Manic APNsServer can send 400,000 messages per minute or more – close to 25 million messages an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Associations, Awards, Business News, Careers, Casual, Contests, Digital Products, Education, Events, Everyone, Government, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Rating Pending, Research Studies, scholarships, Software, Sports, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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