18th August 2010

Digital Extremes To Provide Homefront PC Version

Klei EntertainmentKlei Entertainment has started to reveal some of the Costume Unlocks that will be available in Shank, which is due for release on the PlayStation Network on August 24th and Xbox LIVE Arcade on August 25th. By completing challenges and amassing points, you will be able to unlock costumes such as the Yellow Jumpsuit Shank. Klei will be unveiling a new costume every day, so follow them on Twitter to get the daily costume news. According to the dev blog, the studio has made more progress on re-mastering the game’s soundtrack and as gamers requested, the soundtrack will be available in mp3 format.

Digital ExtremesTHQ Inc. today announced that the Windows PC version of the hotly anticipated first-person-shooter Homefront™ from Kaos Studios, is being developed by a dedicated team at Digital Extremes and will be available early in 2011.

“Digital Extremes has a superb track record in PC development,” said David Votypka, General Manager at Kaos Studios, THQ. “While the team here at Kaos is completely focused on the core Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Homefront, our partnership with Digital Extremes means that PC gamers can look forward to a version of the game tailored to the demands of the discerning PC gamer.”

“We’re building on the great game that Kaos Studios is making and enhancing it with specific PC relevant features,” added Frank De Lise, Executive Producer, THQ. “PC players will be able to set up and host Homefront dedicated servers and enjoy additional community features including clan support. We believe the core PC first-person-shooter fan will really appreciate these features, which are becoming increasingly rare.”

Relic EntertainmentTHQ Inc. also announced that it will be launching a rewards program for Relic Entertainment’s upcoming 3rd Person Action/Shooter Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine® for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and Windows PC. The loyalty program, dubbed ‘Honor Guard’, will allow gamers to become part of an elite group of Space Marine fans who will be given the opportunity to become involved in the success of the game. Honor Guard members will get the latest news, exclusive access to first look assets and receive reward points for viral activity, which could result in rewards of exclusive Space Marine branded items.Space Marine

Travis Plane, Vice President of Global Brand Management commented: “Rewarding community for their role as opinion formers is important to us so we are delighted to be able to unveil the Honor Guard program.”

To kick off the Honor Guard program THQ will be handing out an Ultramarine cloth patch at Gamescom with directions on how to register for a free “For the Emperor” ring tone. The patch will also be handed out at Games Workshop’s US Games Day event in Baltimore on August 21st, 2010, and the UK Games Day event at the Birmingham NEC on September 26th, 2010. This item is the first of five items that fans are encouraged to collect over the next few months at various shows around the globe. More details about these items will be released throughout the year.

Combining intense melee and ranged combat, Space Marine puts players into the boots of one of humanity’s elite soldiers, genetically engineered and equipped with state of the art weapons and armor. Players are dropped right into the action as they battle to defend an Imperial Forge World, from an invasion by the savage and brutal Orks, using the most devastating weaponry mankind has at its disposal.

Cosmic LogicKelowna indie developer Cosmic Logic Inc. is proud to officially announce details on their upcoming XBLIG and PC title, Doc Logic, an arcade-style platformer with an emphasis on explosive action and survival. Doc blasts across the screen with upgradeable weapons and abilities through expanding levels of increased difficulty that will challenge and engage the true gamer in you. Unique level designs combined with increasing enemy difficulty makes “Doc Logic” an intense sci-fi adventure. Do what you can to keep the clock running as you collect points, destroy enemies, and collect time bonuses. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th August 2010

Mixed Media Monday

Strategy FirstMontreal’s Strategy First and U.S. based Nvinium Games are expanding the Space Empires: Battle For Supremacy franchise which began on the PC in 1993. The five-title franchise has been infiltrating social media and casual game platforms, and with versions for the iPhone and iPad due to launch in 2011, social gamers will now be able to connect with Space Empire gamers anywhere and at anytime, including those on Facebook.

“The avid Space Empires audience pushed us to expand from the PC to Facebook. We have been extremely pleased by the response to the new social network version of the game both in terms of excellent reviews and the exceptional take up of the game by the Facebook community. Accordingly we are expanding to the iPhone and the iPad platforms which will allow us to make the game available to these popular and growing social game audiences”, said Strategy First’s President Emanuel Wall.Dead of Night

big stack gamesBig Stack Studios has released a new game in the iTunes App Store. In Dead of Night, you will travel back to the 19th century and direct the vampire army through their conquest of Europe. In this 40 level quest you will capture villagers with your vampiric gaze and defend your legions from those of Van Helsing and the Werewolves. This title, which is OpenFeint-enabled, blends elements of castle defense and line-drawing gameplay and is available now for $ 0.99USD.

UbisoftThe Zellers store located at 8925 Torbram Road in Brampton will be holding an in-store BattleTag event with the game’s producer, Gael Seydoux, who will be on hand to talk about the new game and answer questions. The event will run from 10:00a.m. until 3:00p.m.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund will begin a new round of consultation sessions with the industry this fall. Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, and Stéphane Cardin, VP of Industry and Public Affairs, will meet with stakeholders across the country to gain input on key issues to be resolved prior to releasing the program guidelines for 2011-2012 in December.

If you wish to attend one of these sessions, you are asked to please register by selecting a location near you. Exact times and locations will be provided to registrants by email prior to each event. New this year, stakeholders who are unable to attend a session in person can participate through an online discussion forum. More details will be provided by CMF in the coming weeks.

Tungle.meScheduling site Tungle.me has once again expanded its services, allowing users to add their Facebook Events to their Tungle.me account. With this new integration users can now see their entire schedule in one, simple calendar view, allowing them to factor Facebook events into their availability, thereby avoiding those pesky double bookings. As users RSVP to new Facebook Events, those events will be added to their Tungle.me calendar, automatically updating available time slots.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaThis past Saturday marked a momentous occasion for Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and its long-standing partner Future Shop as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships program. And what better way to celebrate than to give the gift of education to 25 Boys and Girls Clubs youth across Canada. Future ShopPresented with scholarships based on their outstanding contribution to their Boys and Girls Club and local community, good academic standing and financial need, the deserving 25 recipients will use their bursary to pursue their careers and life goals through higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th August 2010

Robert Tercek To Deliver Keynote At Merging Media Conference

merging media conferenceIf you haven’t heard about it already, the Merging Media Conference is set to take the stage in Vancouver this October 28th and 29th with former President of Digital Media at OWN Robert Tercek delivering the Keynote Address. As the former President of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Creative Director at MTV, Tercek has created breakthrough entertainment experiences for digital platforms across the board, from cable and satellite television to games, interactive television and wireless networks.

According to the Conference’s web site, which is still be under construction as the group prepares for their official launch next week, The M+M Conference will bring together 350-400 media professionals from film, television, mobile, games and interactive media, and feature top International cross-media experts to showcase “Best in Class” Case-studies, discuss the rapidly evolving business of cross-media and explore how new platforms and technology can be adopted to help companies stay competitive.

There will be a Master Class led by Anita Ondine Smith which is designed to help 30-40 producers who have cross media development projects in development and are seeking financing for their projects, to fine-tune their cross-media proposals and business plans. Thus far the Conference appears to be scheduling an impressive speaker line-up, including two of our favourite people, Victor Lucas and Rochelle Grayson along with Susan Bonds, Sibley Verbeck, Caitlin Burns and more

MIGSMiGS has just announced that Narrative Bridging: A CIN workshop will be taking place immediately after the Montreal International Game Summit. The two day workshop takes place November 10 and 11 at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel and will focus on developing advanced interactive narratives using Narrative Bridging. This will give the participants tools for designing interactive narratives for video games and show the mechanisms that motivate the player to action in the game world. The focus will be on Narrative Bridging and model and control design. After the workshop the participants will understand how the narrative creates incentives for the players to form strategies in the game world and how to accommodate for that in the narrative design.

Shaw CableThe Competition Bureau announced today that it has concluded that it will not challenge Shaw Communications Inc.’s proposed acquisition of the over-the-air and specialty television businesses of Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Canwest and certain of its subsidiaries had previously filed for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Shaw is a broadcast distribution undertaking, while its affiliate, Corus Entertainment, is a broadcasting company. Canwest owns and operates an over-the-air television network and an extensive portfolio of specialty television channels.

Following a significant review, the Bureau has concluded that this transaction would not likely give rise to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition having regard to a number of factors, including effective remaining competition, the effect of the regulatory environment, and a lack of relevant competitive concerns on the part of market participants. In particular, with respect to the impact on advertising, the Bureau concluded that there were numerous alternative options available to advertisers.

toronto public libraryThe York Woods Branch (1785 Finch Avenue West) of the Toronto Public Library is bringing the past to life through their new Black Creek Living History project. Local seniors and teens will work together to create a resource that will preserve the unique history of this diverse and vibrant Toronto neighbourhood.

“This is an exciting project and a great opportunity for the community to celebrate its past,” said Jessica Rovito, a librarian at the York Woods Branch. “We want the community to be involved in telling their own stories and preserving them for years to come.” Read the rest of this entry »

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11th August 2010

Waterloo Prepares to Welcome Programming Elite

IOI 2010More than 300 of the most gifted high school students from 81 countries around the world will put their computing and problem-solving skills to the test against the very best next week when Canada hosts for the first time an elite programming competition – the 22nd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). The 82 teams (as host country, Canada is allowed two) representing countries ranging from Albania to Vietnam will spend a week earning the bragging rights that go with bringing home bronze, silver or the coveted gold medals. The full program, which runs from August 14 to 21, also includes a number of sessions to further develop their abilities or to sample and enjoy Canada.

“The students participating really are amongst the next generation of geniuses,” said Troy Vasiga, chair of the 2010 IOI organizing committee. “One consequence of the world being digitized is that everything is information. These students are going to be the people that write computer programs that help solve significant problems in disease, health-care, transportation, energy and other disciplines – in many cases problems we haven’t even yet anticipated.”

An opening ceremony, open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Waterloo Recreation Complex. The event will feature such guest speakers as David Yach, chief technology officer of software at Research In Motion, and Arturo Cepeda, president of the IOI. The actual competition takes place on Monday and Wednesday, when participants spend five hours each day solving a total of eight tasks. Those tasks, which are translated into each team’s official language the night before, challenge such computing skills as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming and testing.

Three sample tasks are available online and one of them is called Guess. “In our sample version,” explains Gord Cormack, chair of the IOI 2010 host scientific committee, “contestants must write a computer program to assume the role of a child playing the popular guessing game, ‘I’m thinking of a number between one and ten, can you guess it?’ The object is to identify the number with as few guesses as possible.”

In between the opening and closing ceremonies, when they are not practicing or competing, team members, leaders and guests will enjoy a range of fun and/or learning activities. Final results of the 2010 IOI, including gold, silver and bronze medal winners, will be announced at closing ceremonies on Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Bingeman’s in Kitchener. Visitors will experience a few of the sights, sounds and culture of Canada. Planned activities include tours of Waterloo, both the university and the region, as well as visits to Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls.

On Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, Waterloo faculty members and graduate students with Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science will give a total of 10 presentations on a range of topics, including one entitled How to See: the Neuroscience of Vision and another on A Short Introduction to Mind Reading. Four will be in English, with the remaining in Arabic, French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

“Students from over 80 countries will shortly be arriving in Waterloo for the 22nd annual International Olympiad in Informatics,” said Richard Forster, executive director of the IOI. “Having seen the preparations that have been put in to the contest by the hosts, I am confident that these students will enjoy a successful event and take away happy memories of Waterloo and Canada.” Read the rest of this entry »

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8th August 2010

Certified ScrumMaster Training Vancouver BC – August 18th – 19th, 2010



Certified ScrumMaster Training

SolutionsIQ Certified Scrum Master Training gives you all the tools and information you need to effectively apply Agile Scrum Project Management principles to your project or program.

Students will learn how to:

  • Maintain and use a burndown chart
  • Manage Product Backlogs
  • Plan Releases and Iterations (Sprints)
  • Conduct Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Reviews & Retrospectives
  • Track and Report progress
  • Effectively apply the principles of the Agile Manifesto

All SolutionsIQ Agile training courses are highly interactive. Students will participate in discussions group-based exercises, and simulations.

When: August 18th – 19th, 2010 – 9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. each day
Where: Listel Hotel – Vancouver, BC
Cost:

$960 Early Bird
Also, 5th Seat Free!
When registering 5 or more, registration for 5th student is free

Who should attend:
All software team members, including project managers, team leads, development managers, product managers, architects, developers, testers, as well as executives (e.g. CIOs and CTOs).

Note: This course provides a ScrumMaster certification through the Scrum Alliance.

PMI Credits: This course can be claimed for 14 PDUs with the PMI institute.

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5th August 2010

Go On A Scavenger Hunt in History of Biology from Spongelab

spongelabOntario educational game company Spongelab Interactive is set to launch their new History of Biology game on September 7th, just in time for the upcoming school year. History of Biology gets high school students to unlock the secrets behind biology. Students Grades 8 – 12 act as detectives to decipher the truth behind some of the greatest monoliths in science. History of BiologyHistory of Biology, presented by Spongelab Interactive is an online science-themed scavenger hunt where students learn about the key figures and discoveries throughout history which have influenced the field of science. The game will lead players to discover the impact of these people and events on today’s society, ethics, politics and culture.

This new game is just one of the interactive simulations available for play in the Spongelab Biology educational game portfolio. Last February, Spongelab Interactive took home first prize in the National Science Foundation’s 2009 Visualization Challenge in the Interactive Media Category for their award winning Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) which allows students to explore the story of energy and ‘play the biology’. Currently used in over 65 countries, GDL has been transforming the way students and teachers interact with biology in the classroom, at home and from any internet connected computer they have access to.

Products like Spongelab Interactive’s GDL and the soon to be released History of Biology are helping teachers connect to their students in a fresh new way. “It can be a challenge for students to visualize the parts of the cell and the processes that occur within them; Genomics Digital Lab not only gives students a great visual tool but allows them to explore the biology. Good resources in French are particularly difficult to Genomics Digital Labfind, and GDL offers their product in both English and French,” says
Sabrina Amato, Grade 11&12 Biology Teacher, French Public School Board (CSDCSO).

“Our students have changed and so must our education system. It is our duty to prepare our graduates for a technology and innovation based work force. The ability to interact with technology has the potential to play an enormous role in student development and their future success,” says Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, co-founder of Spongelab Interactive.

With enrollment in Science and Math declining it’s critically important that we get students engaged, but is Canada ready? In Texas, the legislature adopted a bill in 2009 that provides funds and supports technology for e-textbooks. States like Indiana and Michigan have purchased software for schools that, much like History of Biology and all Spongelab Biology products, have included metrics and assessment tools to give teachers an accurate understanding of how their students are learning. and progressing through the content, while facilitating grading. In June 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support in adopting e-textbooks and e-learning. It’s imperative that Canadian Ministries and School Boards also take steps to ensure that our students have access to technology and are supporting Canadian businesses committed to innovative learning and educational assets.

College alliance proves winning combination for game development When Spongelab set out to create the History of Biology in a way that teachers, students and gaming enthusiasts would connect with, we knew that the game had to deal with this subject matter in a very unique way and would require a specific game engine.

The result gained through a solid partnership with Centennial College’s Paula Demacio, biotechnology professor and students from Centennial’s Game Art and Design program; is an interactive on-line scavenger hunt. Alex Maslov, Centennial student and now employee with Spongelab’s parent company, was challenged to build an engine that randomizes types of missions posed to players and how the answers are received to ensure different experiences for each player.

The project has been partially funded by the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation. The partnership between Spongelab Interactive, Centennial College and its Applied Research and Innovation Centre has proven to be a strong one. The Applied Research and Innovation Centre connects students to businesses like Spongelab Interactive. The results are noteworthy as seven Centennials students contributed to the development of the History of Biology game.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterVancouver ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to announce its 3rd annual SPARK Animation Conference and Festival, after a very successful SPARK FX Conference and Festival in January. In its third year, this prestigious 3-day speaker series and 5-day film festival is intended to educate and inspire professionals, pioneers and enthusiasts in the world of animation.

Taking place September 8 – 12, 2010, SPARK Animation ’10 will be filled with informative and inspiring learning sessions, panels and presentations. Previous events have attracted a coveted line-up of some of the most talented animators and innovators in the industry from such acclaimed studios as Blue Sky, LAIKA, Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Spark Animation 2010

This strong presentation series will be complemented by screenings chosen to exemplify innovation and excellence in the field held in the evenings at the Vancouver International Film Centre,1181 Seymour Street (& Davie).

Early Bird special pricing for this 5-day conference is available until August 15: Members $175 and non-members $225 (HST included). Regular pass admission is $275 for non-members and $225 for members (HST included). A-la-carte tickets for the individual presentations will go on sale on August 30. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd August 2010

Fall Conferences and New Films On The Horizon

We’re back after a break over the BC Day long weekend and trying to get back into the swing of things. News out of Toronto this morning is that Virgin Gaming has partnered with Ubisoft to be the online tournament provider for some of the publisher’s most anticipated multiplayer console releases. Leading the charge is Tom Clancy”s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier™, the latest chapter in the award-winning franchise.

“Ubisoft is one of the leading video game publishers in the world and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunity to compete in some of their best multiplayer console games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of social networking, video games and Ubisoft and Virgin Gaming Partnershipcompetitive gaming, and we are excited that Ubisoft shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”

“Ubisoft is thrilled to be partnering with Virgin Gaming on its new venture. We have an exciting lineup of multiplayer titles this year that we believe will be a perfect fit for gamers to play and compete against each other in a tournament setting,” said Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America.

Sir Richard Branson unveiled Virgin Gaming to an enthusiastic reception at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The overwhelmingly positive response helped Virgin Gaming to quickly take the industry by storm, being the first online platform for gamers of all skill levels to compete in some of the best games for the biggest prizes. In true Virgin style, Branson kicked things off with dramatic flair, announcing that Virgin Gaming would give away over $1 million in cash and prizes over its first 12 months. Ubisoft headlines a slate of industry partnerships with key publishers and retailers to be announced by Virgin Gaming in the coming months. Additional details on these partnerships will be announced soon.

nextMEDIA has just opened up for 2010 Design Exchange early-bird registration. The conference, which will be held in Toronto this November 29th and 30th, will help you create opportunities for your business by bringing together the highest growth areas of the converging next-generation entertainment marketplace.

Highlights for this fall’s conference include:

* 2 days of learning, strategizing and collaborating across all areas of digital entertainment, including advertising, gaming, TV, mobile, music and publishing.
* Facilitated meetings and networking between established industry leaders and emerging new talent from multiple sectors.
* Sessions, discussions and workshops designed to drive your business forward and provide you with the connections and info you need to stay ahead of your competition.Match Up
* Insight into emerging technologies and platforms that can change your business.

Digital LeisureDon’t forget that Digital Leisure’s Match Up!, designed exclusively for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ game service is available as of today for only 200 Nintendo points.

Flip, match and…kaboom! – How fast can you find the right set in Match Up!? Whether you’re 4 or 40, Match Up! will have you captive for hours. Reveal shapes, colors and even hidden bonuses with a new take on a childhood favorite. Quick hands and a sharp mind are the only way to beat the clock and disarm the explosive cards riddled throughout. Not quite ready for the explosive action? Then start with the absolutely addictive classic concentration play, and see if you can level up. So come on – get matching! Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

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

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

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

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

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

Pitch Participation Requirements:

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

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

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

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

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

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23rd July 2010

Pitch To Rogers Ventures At Wavefront In August

Blue Castle GamesBlue Castle Games‘ Dead Rising® 2: Case Zero, will be available on August 31st exclusively to Xbox 360® gamers via Xbox Live® Arcade at a cost of 400 MS Points. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero acts as a prologue, introducing players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene and provides a glimpse of the action to come when Dead Rising 2 releases in North America on September 28th, Japan on September 30th and throughout European and Australian territories on October 1st.

Set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising® and three years Dead Rising 2: Case Zerobefore the start of Dead Rising 2, Chuck along with his young infected daughter, Katey, find themselves trapped in the zombie infested desert town of Still Creek. It’s up to Chuck to find a way out of town, and locate the Zombrex Katey must take to prevent her from joining the ranks of the undead.

Just like in the full game, players in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will use Chuck’s handyman skills and a roll of duct tape to combine two items to create powerful combo weapons. Not only do combo weapons make killing zombie sprees more fun but they also have the added benefit of earning Chuck additional ‘Prestige Points’ which in turn result in quicker leveling up.

Players who download Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as ‘Player Level’, to a maximum of five, ‘Prestige Points’ alongside skills, ‘Combo Cards’ and a number of alternate outfits.

“With Dead Rising 2: Case Zero we had two goals: provide newcomers with an easy point of entry to the Dead Rising universe, and give fans of the series an insight into what took place after Frank West survived the outbreak at the Willamette Mall,” said Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s Head of R&D Management Group and Executive Producer for Dead Rising 2. “We have certainly achieved both of these ambitions but I am equally pleased that we are able to give gamers so much unique and entertaining content at such a great price.”
endloop
For all of you developer types with iPads, Endloop has released the newest iteration of iMockups. With lots of bug fixes, iMockups v1.08 also has loads of new features, some of which are featured in this short video:

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

iMockups is available now in the iTunes App Store for a very reasonable $9.99.

According to Big Stack’s last tweet, Ph03nix New Media has just launched their latest Facebook game, SolitaireSolitaire and the City and the City. I can’t find much in the way of information about the game other than an icon and its Facebook page thought, which is a little disappointing as this makes it difficult to give you any advance information you’d like to have before giving the game a try.

Mafia® II (2K Games), a title which Vancouver’s Massive Bear Studio had a hand in, will have a downloadable demo available worldwide on August 10 for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360® and Windows PC. Set in the fully realized and immersive 1940’s and 1950’s American urban cityscape of Empire Bay, soon all gamers will be able to experience the decadent and meticulously crafted atmosphere, intense shooting and driving gameplay, and character narrative in the M rated Mafia II that is set to be released on August 24 in North America.Massive Bear

The Mafia II demo invites gamers to dive into the “Buzzsaw” level, where Vito and his buddies, Joe and Henry, are sent to take out a mobster known as “The Fat Man”. While the epic game spans two decades, the Buzzsaw demo takes place during the summer of the ‘50s – a time considered the “Birth of Cool”, and with it, rock ‘n’ roll, hot rods, and rebellious attitudes. The demo showcases the type of vibrant edge-of-your-seat action, as well as a slice of the expansive city of Empire Bay in the colorful era.

Mafia II looks to be the industry’s most compelling action crime game to date. Players take control of Vito Scaletta, who is making a name for himself on the streets of Empire Bay. He’s someone who can be trusted to get a job done. Together with his buddy Joe, he is working to prove himself to the Mafia quickly escalating up the family ladder with crimes of larger reward, status and consequences… the life as a wise guy isn’t quite as untouchable as it seems.

wavefrontWavefront AC has just announced a Rogers Ventures Matchmaking Session for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators that will be held in Vancouver on August 23rd. To reiterate the Wavefront announcement, this is a great opportunity for wireless and new media startups looking for Seed or Series A funding. On average, Rogers Ventures invests $250K-$1M in companies and investment can go larger or smaller depending on the company’s requirements and the opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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