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25th May 2010

United Front Games Has Their First Title On Store Shelves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Idol Star Experience features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21st May 2010

International Awards and New Releases

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure has officially announced Mix Superstar for the Wii. Expected to be available on WiiWare in 2010, and according to the game’s site, you’ll be able to create, mix and record your own royalty-free musical masterpieces right on your Wii™. Mix Superstar will allow you to export your music creations or download them to your computer so you can take them on-the-go. You will also be able to use WiiConnect24™ to send those hits to your Wii Friends or collaborate on mixes. Mix Superstar has full support for both the Logitech® USB Microphone and Wii Speak so you will even be able to add your own vocals.

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Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver invites you to discover the value and learn effective strategies for Building a Community Through Social Media, a one-evening seminar taking place on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Tickets for this event are $35.00 for members or $40.00 for non-members. Wired Woman costs nothing to join, so save a quick $5.00 by joining the network.

What is community in relation to the web? Community is beyond a blog, and a few people following you on Twitter. This evening will help you realize what the new meaning of an online community is, and why it holds an important spot at the new marketing table. Find out how the experts are building, engaging, and managing their communities.

Session Speakers:

Briana Tomkinson – Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West
Carisa Miklusak – SoMedios
Chris Breikss – 6S Marketing
Mhairi Petrovic – Out-Smarts Marketing
Sibylle Tinsel – Club Fat Ass

If you are in Toronto, Wired Woman is hosting an evening event on June 1st titled Social Networking Your Way to Better Work with guest speaker Mark Swartz, author of Get Wired, You’re Hired.

This interactive session covers social networking techniques that are proven to increase your marketability. Get up to speed, find work faster and enhance your employee worth. During this brief but informative session you will learn how to:

* Leverage your virtual contacts for networking into the hidden job market
* Increase your visibility and presence
* Research employers for the inside scoop, giving yourself the competitive edge
* Build your professional brand online and merge this with traditional marketing material
* Boost your value as an employee using Web 2.0
* Differentiate yourself from your peers

namcoNamco Networks is excited to announce its ‘Win a PAC-MAN-themed smart car’ sweepstakes to celebrate the video game icon’s 30th birthday.

“Over the last 30 years, PAC-MAN has continued to evolve and be relevant with his fans—no matter the pacmandemographic or generation. Giving away a smart car that commemorates his 30 years is a way for us to show our appreciation to one of the many fans out there.”

From May 21 through August 20, participants from the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to visit PAC-MAN’s official site and fill out the electronic entry form. No purchase is required to enter but you must be at least 18 years of age. Further information on the sweepstakes, including official rules and regulations, can also be found there. The winner of the brand new 2010 PAC-MAN-themed smart car will be selected on September 3, 2010. *Note: At press time, the electronic entry form was not visible on the site. I haven’t been able to speak with anyone from Namco yet, but perhaps the form will become available on May 22, which Namco has stated online is the “official” birthday for Mr. PacMan.

According to Kenji Hisatsune, CEO of Namco Networks, “Over the last 30 years, PAC-MAN has continued to evolve and be relevant with his fans—no matter the demographic or generation. Giving away a smart car that commemorates his 30 years is a way for us to show our appreciation to one of the many fans out there.” Read the rest of this entry »

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20th May 2010

News As Diverse As Our Country

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund’s business policies are now available. This document, Appendix B: Business Policies (PDF), includes the following information:

Default Policy
Accounting and Reporting Requirements
Producer’s Fees and Corporate Overhead Policy
Completion Protection Policy
Production Insurance Policy
Standard Recoupment Policy
Treatment of Tax CreditsMIGS

The Montreal International Game Summit has unveiled its web site for 2010. Although much of the content is still focused on last year’s conference, more information will be available soon for the November 8 & 9th event.

IUGOSince the launch of Implode XL’s latest update which brought the level editor to the iPhone on May 11, 2010 (a little over a week ago), new levels have exploded into the game. IUGO is happy to share some exciting stats about the accumulating user-generated content:
Implode XL
There is now over 10x the amount of content for users to play. IUGO has done updates providing users with 170 levels to play, and there are now over 550 levels are being downloaded and played every day. In total over 100,000 levels have been downloaded and played to-date and over 2,300 levels have been rated by players.

“We are beyond pleased with the reception and engagement that our users have had with the newly launched level editor for Implode XL,” beams Sarah Thomson, IUGO’s Director of BD. “There are some incredibly challenging and creative levels being built and we’re excited that Implode XL fans now have fresh puzzles to solve all the time. We will continue to create games with compelling features that encourage user interactivity and a meaningful social layer. We’re just getting started!”

Implode XL featuring the new level editor for all iDevices is available on the App Store for $2.99 US.

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal is recruiting playtesters for its new PlayTest facility. If you live in or near Montreal, this could be a great opportunity for you to put all those hours of gameplay experience to good use. For those looking for other employment in the game development industry, Eidos Montreal also has a number of career positions open.

Need For SpeedThis morning on Twitter, Team Need For Speed announced a new build project with Vaughn Gittin Jr. This project involves a 1969 Mustang which Vaughn has been working on since December 2009. Team NFS unveiled a first look at the classic muscle car, which will be unveiled at SEMA 2010 as well as making an appearance in a future Need For Speed title. Check out the details and picture on the Team NFS blog.

MaRSMaRS, a Toronto-based not-for-profit innovation centre, is the newest addition to the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). The collaboration will enhance levels of technology commercialization and help develop successful companies in the digital media sector. The announcement follows on the Canada 3.0 2010 digital media forum in Stratford held May 10-11 where Industry Minister Tony Clement emphasized the importance of digital media to Canada’s economy.

“Bringing together MaRS and the collaboration network of the CDMN will enable powerful progress for digital media in Canada,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the CDMN. “Helping more start-up digital companies bring products to market and creating opportunities for growth in the Information and Communications Technology field is critical both for Ontario and all of Canada.”

MaRS advisors have been helping tech companies with advice, education, market insight and access to capital since 2006.

“At MaRS we are dedicated to furthering growth in the ICT sector by enabling the success of emerging technology companies,” said advisor Krista Jones, ICT Practice Lead. “We’re located in the heart of Toronto and have worked with hundreds of early-stage companies across Ontario to help them build their ventures into global successes.”

Together MaRS and the CDMN, which is headquartered in Waterloo Region and now connects nodes throughout Canada, will share and develop knowledge through surveys, data-mining and reports; develop programs to enhance entrepreneurial skills; promote the capabilities of digital media industries in Canada; and more. The CDMN was the organizer, with the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, of the Canada 3.0 2010 forum.

wavefrontWavefront and SFU Present Developing Apps for Symbian. This seminar is targeted at developers who would like to learn the basics about developing apps on the Symbian platform. According to ABI Research, more than 330 million cell phones run Symbian OS with a 48% global market share for smartphones. Developers will learn how to leverage the Symbian Horizon Program, an application-publishing platform that allows developers to write an application once and publish it in dozens of Symbian app stores worldwide, and how to port apps from other platforms to Symbian. This seminar will take place on the morning of May 28th at Discovery Parks in Vancouver. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Social Media ClubCurious about how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to enhance your business? Wondering what your competitors, customers, and prospects are talking about? Or unsure of how to tell what’s working and what isn’t? Join the Social Media Club Vancouver at Social Media 101 where the answers to all of these questions will be explored.

With three light-speed presentations: 20 minutes for lecture, 10 minutes for Q&A, join Guacira Naves, Kemp Edmonds, and Tris Hussey, the clutter will be cleared and you will gain the critical information you need to advance your social media plans. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th May 2010

Designing Assassin’s Creed II With Patrick Plourde

Many thanks to Patrick Plourde, Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft Montreal for an in-depth look at Patrick Plourde - Photo Credit: GDC 2010Designing Assassin’s Creed II. Presented by the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter last evening, Patrick’s presentation covered the main design focus followed to cram all of the great features and improvements we saw in Chapter Two of this very successful franchise.

The amount of development that went into Assassin’s Creed II is mind-boggling. With over 230 features and a dev team of over 300, just the massive amounts of data to keep a rein on would bury the uninitiated. Patrick stated that through the entire development process, the most Ezioimportant things to pay attention to are your game play pillars and the need to keep an honest perspective. He said that your game play pillars are used to create the challenge, while your supporting features give meaning and depth to the core, while exotic features are used to change the pace of the game.

Patrick also drew attention to the importance of play tests and making the most of the test feedback in the development of your title. Using a two-fold process of Qualitative and Quantitative Reporting will give developers a very good perspective of what gamers like or do not like, as well as how they are playing your game. The Quantitative portion focuses on data tracking and usability reports, which provide concrete information to orient discussion on data instead of personal opinions. Meanwhile, the appreciative, or Qualitative reports, give context to the data you’ve collected, and you can see what is working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made so that the gamer can more fully experience (and enjoy) the mechanics of the Assassin's Creed Brotherhoodgame.

Patrick also touched briefly on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and how everything learned in the two previous Assassin’s Creed development processes helped the team work quickly through a very short ten month production window. A big part of this was the strength, scope and depth of the team’s design documents. He stated that it is very important to keep your documentation up-to-date right through until the end of the project. Paying attention to your development documentation will cut down on needless questions and distractions, as well as force you to think and keep track of the vision for your title. As has been stated in many, many game dev seminars – it is cheaper to fail on paper than in production – and Patrick reiterated this by saying how important it is to challenge every feature you want in your game on paper first. This is not a perfect process, but it will reduce risk to your bottom line. In reply to a question asked from the audience, Patrick noted that features drove a large part of the story, and have a big part in the future of where the Assassin’s Creed franchise is heading in the future. Too bad he wouldn’t expand on that future…just where is Assassin’s Creed III going to take us? Curious gamers want to know.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterSIGGRAPH Vancouver has two more upcoming events which may interest you. The first is Alice in Wonderland – Creating Underland on May 25th at the Empire Theatre on Granville. This session features Alice In Wonderlandtwo presentations, the first with animation director David Schaub (Sony Pictures Imageworks), who will give you a look behind the talent and tools that were used to create Alice In Wonderland. Mr. Schaub will focus primarily on the standard creative elements of the show, but he will also provide insight into the surprising challenges and innovative technical solutions that were used to breathe digital life into over 30 inhabitants of Underland including the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the Cheshire Cat.

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

The other upcoming SIGGRAPH Vancouver event, just announced last night, will focus on The ModNation RacersMaking of ModNation Racers. Featuring Clint Hanson, Lucas Granito and James Grieve from United Front Games, this panel presentation will take place on June 29th at the VanCity Theatre. Tickets will be available to members for $10.00 and $20.00 for non-members. As of press time, this event had not yet been added to the SIGGRAPH Vancouver web site, so you’ll have to check the association’s site later for ticket availability.

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) have announced the availability of The Price Is Right game ($9.99) for the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on the PlayStation®Network. Players can now “COME ON DOWN” for their shot in Contestant’s Row, bid on items in 19 different pricing games, test their luck with spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase.

“We are pleased to extend our tremendously successful The Price Is Right game to PlayStation 3 systems via the PlayStation Network,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This first game release is just the beginning for Ludia games on PS3™, and further reinforces our multiplatform game strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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18th May 2010

And The Survey Says Canadian Software Companies Are Doing Quite Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17th May 2010

Canada 3.0 Forum Wants to Keep The Conversation Going

Canada 3.0 2010Although the two-day forum has ended, the conversation continues. Get involved as Canada’s digital nation plans move forward – read the Wrap-up Session summary notes and reply with your thoughts on the paper. The Canada 3.0 Interactions team is also venturing out here to the west coast. They will be stopping in Calgary on May 26th for a panel presentation at the Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market on Barclay Parade S.W., where a panel will discuss how connectivity relates to collaboration and competitiveness. Panel members include Peter Singendonk, Alberta Director for Systems Engineering, Cisco Systems Canada, Claudia Moore of Charodix, and Patrick Lor, President of Fotolia North America. A tentative date of May 28th has been set for Vancouver, but further details have yet to be announced.
Bioware Corp
Check out the latest Mass Effect 2 showcase video featuring an interview with ME2 Executive Producer Casey Hudson and the upcoming DLC expansion Overlord.

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Trend MicroAccording to threat data collected by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network infrastructure, cybercrime is thriving in Canada: Per million people, the country is just behind the U.S. in the number of customers targeted by malware. In addition, Canada ranks fourth in the amount of malicious files and URLs originating from the country – right behind Japan.

Trend Micro’s first Canada Threat Awareness Week, May 17-21, will raise awareness on what these data-points mean to citizens and how cybercrime is impacting Canadian businesses and consumers. Trend Micro CTO, Raimund Genes will start his tour in Quebec, where he will be speaking this evening at the Montego Resto Club in Quebec City. He will then visit Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, delving into the Canada threat landscape and sharing his investigative findings that compare how Canada sits in relation to international trends and independent security metrics.

A special bonus session that includes VMware will outline how virtualization is dramatically changing IT organizations, from small business to very large enterprise. This session will highlight the factors driving the need for virtualization security and will provide guidance on approaches that can be taken to secure today’s virtualized and cloud environments in the future.

“Trend Micro Canada is excited to introduce its first Threat Awareness Week, kicking it off with a multi-province tour to educate and raise awareness on how cybercrime is affecting our citizens,” said Ian Gordon. “Internet safety is more than just technology products – that’s only half the story. Education andSCC-InsurgencyPack awareness are key and our goal is to help the citizens of Canada get smart about online safety.”

UbisoftUbisoft has announced new DLC for Splinter Cell Conviction. The Deniable Ops “Insurgency Pack” will deliver brand-new missions for Archer and Kestrel on four additional maps for Deniable Ops modes. Achievements hunters will be glad to know that 250 new points can be unlocked in this DLC. The Insurgency Pack will be available for download on May 27th, for both the Windows® PC and the Xbox 360® versions, for 800 points or $9.99USD.

Don’t forget that Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands will hit store shelves tomorrow. Here’s a look at their launch trailer:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video Read the rest of this entry »

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14th May 2010

Decapod Releases Debut Title Murphid

DecapodDecapod Studios, an independent game development company in Vancouver, is pleased to announce the release of their first title. Murphid is now available for download on XBOX Live Indie Games channel. In Murphid players must use their puzzle solving skills and fast reaction to withstand attack of gorgeous marble hordes and bring those beasts under control. MurphidDeep, yet simple core game mechanics coupled with astonishing graphics, immersive sound effects and adaptive gameplay result in intense climatic moments that modern gamers have come to expect. Murphid has been optimized for XBOX Live platform, works flawlessly with XBOX controllers, and looks dazzling in high definition.

Among the game’s features are:

• Engaging Campaign spawning more than 70 levels of marble blasting madness
• Three game modes for players to choose from to suit their playing style.
• More than 10 powerups to help players redefine the game field and wreak havoc in a blink of an eye.
• 8 Exclusive Awards to boost the replay value further by throwing extra challenges at the player.
• Pre-filled Leaderboards to give the game nostalgic, old-school touch.
• Awe-inspiring 720p HD visuals with full widescreen supportMurphid
• Charming sound effects to create the ambience.
• Adaptive gameplay technology for challenging and fun gaming experience for players of all ages.

“We are very excited to share the joy of Murphid with gaming community and hope everyone will have as much fun playing Murphid as we had developing it. I hope you dig it!”, says Dennis Brandis, Decapod Studios’ Managing Director.

Murphid is available on XBOX Live Indie Games channel for 240 MS points (approx $2.99) in the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

EA SportsEA Sports™ is giving its fans an opportunity to create their own one-liners for the upcoming EA Sports NBA Jam videogame (no purchase necessary). Fans can submit and vote for their favorite lines to be read by the original voice of NBA Jam, Tim Kitzrow, who reprises his role as the legendary announcer.

Fans can submit their one-liners the game’s Facebook page, and 64 finalists, as chosen by the EA Sports NBA Jam team, will go head-to-head in a single elimination bracket with fan votes determining the winners. The four finalists will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their one-liners included in the game and heard by millions of people around the world. Eligibility restrictions do apply, please see the Contest Rules for complete details.

Contest Schedule:

May 13th – Contest Submissions Open
May 19th – Contest Submissions Close
May 24th – 64 Finalists Announced
May 25th – Fan voting begins
June 23rd – Winners Announced

“NBA Jam is one of the most popular and culturally influential arcade basketball games ever made, and is widely known for its one-liners like Boom-Shaka-Laka and He’s on Fire,” says Kitzrow, the original voice of NBA Jam. “I am really excited to be a part of the remake and for fans to create the expressions that could become culturally iconic in the years to come.” Read the rest of this entry »

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13th May 2010

Stimulate Your Brain with Canadian Digital Media Offerings

Canada Media FundLeading our News Briefs today, the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream Application Form is now available for download from the CMF web site. Also announced today were the winners of the CMF Hot Docs Contest.  The two winners were Mark Montague of Saskatchewan, Producer and Director of Minds Eye Entertainment, and Agata Ivanna Pogorelsky of Toronto, Creative Assistant at South American Vision. Both won passes to the 2010 Hot Docs Festival, giving them access to all films and festival events. Super Mario Galaxy2

Nintendo CanadaToronto-area Mario fans of all ages will be among the first Canadians to get hands-on play time with the sequel to the 2007 debut Super Mario Galaxy. A special guest will make a surprise landing during the event, where participants will be able to enjoy on-site entertainment, receive exciting Nintendo giveaways (while supplies last), and have the chance to win 1 of 50 copies of the new game. The Canadian launch party for Super Mario Galaxy™ 2 will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, May 23rd from 12 noon until 8pm.

Fit BrainsFor those who may not already know this, Reader’s Digest Online teamed up with Fit Brains to bring some of their popular word games to the Word Power Rechargedinternet, your PC and yes, your iPhone. Word scrambler Word Power: Brain Sparks is available in the iTunes store for $2.99, while Word Power: Recharged is playable on your PC at the Reader’s Digest site or at Fit Brains, and will be available through other game portals as well. A third game, Word Power: The Green Revolution is downloadable to your PC for only $19.99 from either site. All three games are linked to the Word Power Network, which allows players to see their placing on the leaderboards and share in-game awards.

IUGOToday is the last day that you can grab IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet for the iPhone for free. You’d best hit the iTunes store now and grab this crazy earth-based alien-shoot-em-up while you can, because tomorrow you’ll have to pay for it. This offer is brought to you in part by OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day programme. The aliens don’t stand a chance, because last Saturday, over 125 000 earth defenders joined Daisy Mae and her cause to rid the planet of hostile inter-planetary immigrants.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced new DLC for Mass Effect 2. Overlord will be available in June for 560 MS (or Bioware) points and will offer five new action packed levels Mass Effect 2 Overlordand two new achievements. The action in this next DLC expansion will centre around an experimental and dangerous Virtual Intelligence creature that has been unleashed and is taking over any technology it finds to serve its purposes, including the Geth. Commander Shepard and his (or her) squad must infiltrate the VI’s heavily guarded fortress and shut it down before it can beam itself off planet, continuing its wave of havoc across the galaxy.

innovacorpDartmouth’s Innovacorp will be presenting a breakfast seminar on the morning of May 26th at the Innovation Boardroom, starting at 8:45am. The seminar’s topic is Building Effective Distribution Channels and will feature an expert panel who will discuss insights and advice on distributors and distributor agreements.

The panel will be moderated by Innovacorp’s interim president and CEO, Stephen Hartlen, and will feature Ian Lucas, executive vice president of innovation and strategy, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Robert Nadeau, a partner at law firm Kerr & Nadeau, and Mike Flynn, director of business development at Tether.

PricewaterhouseCoopersAfter six weeks of heated debate from online discussions about Canada’s future in the digital economy, three winners emerged from the ‘crowdsourcing’ competition called Canada’s Digital Compass, hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). The dialogue was spread among contributors from all parts of Canada and included more than 1,200 site visitors and overall, 70 ideas were submitted for voting.

The categories were judged by a panel from a wide range of industry backgrounds as well as community participation. Each week, starting on March 16, a new subject competition was launched and the five topics were: technology, education, media production, connectivity and policy development.

The winners were:

- First place: Brady Gilchrist for his ideas on “World Leadership in Digital Health Care.” In his summary, Brady believes that digital health care is the merger of traditional healthcare with new ideas born of digital technology to aid in solving complex problems and infusing “net style innovation into solving complicated problems.”

- Second place: Russell Fordham for his thoughts on “Digital Literacy for All Canadians.” Russell suggests that for Canada to be a global leader in the digital economy, all our citizens need to have the basic abilities to function and thrive in this environment, supported with the partnership of government, educational institutions and businesses.

- Third place: Alan Sawyer for “Implementing Temporary Advertising Tax Credits to Stimulate Canadian-based, On-line Video Distribution.” Alan notes that implementing tax credits for allowable expenditures on advertising at Canadian-owned, new media content sites would stimulate the development of new Canadian sites and increase Canadian content available for Canadian-owned media distribution.

The winners all received tickets to the Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario which took place May 10-11. The event featured leaders from across the country who continued the conversation on the future of digital media in Canada. “We created Canada’s Digital Compass to encourage new discussions to a broad audience on this topic and our goal was certainly accomplished,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC.

Riley was happy with the turnout of participants to the crowdsourcing event and the wide range of topics that were being debated. During the last day of the competition, voting became more frequent and the leader-board changed hands several times. “We had lots of submissions on mobile and wireless project ideas but we were a bit surprised there wasn’t more discussion on cloud computing and green tech which are very popular topics at the moment,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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12th May 2010

Social Media and MicroBlogging Reflects on Business Partnerships

CNIE-RCIÉThere are some upcoming events whose registration deadlines are fast approaching. If innovation in educational technology is where your interests are focused, check out the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education conference which takes place this May 16-19 in Saint John, NB. Registration deadline is May 12th (that’s tomorrow). Another education-based conference which is rapidly approaching is ModSim World 2010, which takes place in Montreal this June 14 -17th. If you’re a freelancer, I’d like to remind you about FreelanceCamp which will be held at The Network Hub in Vancouver on May 29th.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterVancouver’s SIGGRAPH chapter has confirmed that there will be a very limited number of rush tickets available for the May 18th presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed 2. If you missed out on buying an advance ticket, I recommend getting to the VanCity Theatre early for your chance at one of the rush tickets. There are still advance tickets available for the May 25th presentation of Alice in Wonderland – Creating Underland, which will be held at the Empire Theatre.

Tungle.meWhen Vancouver’s Boris Mann recently tweeted that he’d like to see an integration between social CRM product BatchBlue and appointment scheduling application Tungle, both companies were there to hear it.

Start-up investor Boris Mann uses both services to help run BMann Consulting, and as “BatchBook and Tungle have become my go-to tools for contacts and calendaring,” says Mann, Boris Mann“Individually, they’ve both been impressive with their customization and integration capabilities, so I thought it would be really great to see them work together.”

Mann’s brief Tweet suggesting a dream of product integration became a reality as the two companies traded a few more Tweets and phone calls and joined forces to make it so. By the time a second BatchBook customer tweeted about a possible BatchBook/Tungle connection just a few days later, talks between the companies were already well underway.

“BatchBlue does a terrific job of pulling together a complete social profile of contacts and shares our vision of connecting the dots in the social graph to bring people together for meaningful conversations,” said Richard Zeidel, Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Tungle. “The Tungle.me integration with BatchBook makes a lot of sense because now, businesspeople can easily view their contacts’ availability and schedule meetings right within the same tool they use to manage their contacts and conversations.”

The Tungle product was a good fit from Rhode Island-based BatchBlue’s perspective as well, and something they knew their customers would love. The fact that the deal was sparked on Twitter underscored both companies commitment to using social media tools in new and exciting ways.

“When we discover a cool product, we want to share it with our customers. And if we hear a great idea coming in via Twitter or other social media channels, we’re definitely quick to explore it,” explains Pamela O’Hara, President of BatchBlue Software. She added that the BatchBlue On-Boarding Team was already using Tungle to schedule consultations with customers. “We took it a step further and integrated the Tungle.Me scheduling widget into BatchBook. Now, the BatchBook/Tungle integration makes scheduling meetings as easy as pushing a button.”

Tungle also just announced a WordPress Plugin – and yes, it just popped up on Twitter. Literally. This is an edit to the orginal post, so that I could get in the news about the plugin. According to the plugin’s description, Tungle can now instantly become an integral part of your blog and facilitate the connection between you and your audience.

The benefits to bloggers are wide reaching. For example:

  • An entire team can be set up with personal scheduling pages to make it easy for readers to book time with them.
  • An organization of more than one publisher, all working from different locations, can easily get the entire team on Tungle.me.
  • New contributors can instantly be brought into the scheduling loop.
  • Issues of double bookings and time zone mishaps can be handled easily, at no cost, and in a way that really helps bloggers save time for the important stuff – creating content.
  • Bloggers can gain back all lost productivity due to back-and-forth emailing and phone calls of trying to find a time to meet, all without leaving their blog space.

CanadaThe Government of Canada has formally unveiled its national consultation process for the new Canadian Digital Economy plan. Aimed at building consensus among governments, the private sector, academia and the Canadian public in developing a digital economy strategy for Canada, the development of this strategy was outlined in both the government’s Speech from the Throne and Budget 2010, with its goal set as positioning Canada for leadership in the global digital economy.

The announcement was made jointly by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development at the Canada 3.0 Forum in Toronto.

“Canada can and should be a leader in the global digital economy,” said Minister Clement. “Now is the time for the private sector to step up and contribute their ideas for a digital strategy and, when that strategy is in place, to implement the plan.” Read the rest of this entry »

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11th May 2010

Prepare the Dojo – Digital Kung Fu Returns

The Centre for Digital Media will once again be hosting Digital Kung Fu, a day of intensive training and professional development workshops, on May 28th at the Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver.

Digital Kung Fu offers a full day of interactive sessions to help inspire new ideas and develop them into realizable goals. Participants will be treated to insider techniques for the conceptualizing, visualizing, prototyping and pitching of ideas, as well as insights into current industry trends and technologies. The day will open with registration at 8:30am and sessions will carry out through the day until 5:00pm. Cost to attend the event is $125.00 or $75.00 for students and professionals who are between contracts.

Speakers include Adrian Crook, Jake Birkett, Shane Neville, Kerry Corlett, Sean Murch and Earl Hong Tai. Topics include Biz Dev – Tips, Tricks & General Advice, If you’re not Indie…Stories From The Front Line, How to Boot-Strap a Successful Digital Media Start-Up: 101 and more. We attended some of the sessions last year, and highly recommend your attendance.

A video recording of  yesterday’s Canada 3.0 Forum’s Keynote Address from The Honourable Tony Clement,  Minister of Industry is now available for viewing, along with a text transcript of his presentation, is now available on the Digital Economy Consultation site.

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

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure’s latest game title is now available for download to your Wii (500 Wii Points) or DSi (500 Nintendo DSi Points). Chess Challenge will try your patience quotient as you perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes, or play against your friends in either shared or wireless play via DS Wireless Play or Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection.Chess Challenge

Start by practicing with some casual games, then work your way up in fully Elo-rated matches. You’ll even be able to track all of your game-play stats – win, lose or draw. Chess Challenge! will keep both novice and expert players glued to the screen for hours.

With the Wii version of Chess Challenge, you can play online matches and see how your rating stacks up against competitors around the world by viewing the online Leaderboard. If you don’t have time to play your friends in a live chess game, Chess Challenge! also lets you play with up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24™. With full Mii™ character support you can really bring your games to life. Start by practicing with some casual games, then work your way up in fully Elo-rated matches. With all of these game-play options, you’re in for some serious chess action. Chess Challenge is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Ubisoft® Canada has officially announced new product details for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the next iteration of the critically acclaimed, multi-million unit selling franchise. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood will ship Holiday 2010 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and the PC. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is a worldwide production effort led by the Ubisoft Montreal Studio in collaboration with Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Bucharest, Québec City and Annecy (known for developing Splinter Cell Chaos Theory’s Multiplayer).

The critically acclaimed single player experience of Assassin’s Creed is back and better than ever as Ezio returns in a powerful struggle against the powerful Templar Order. Now a legendary Master Assassin, he must journey to Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart of the enemy. Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood that will rally to his side.  Only by working together can the Assassins Assassin's Creed Brotherhooddefeat their mortal enemies.

And for the first time, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood offers a never-before-seen multiplayer layer.  Players can help the Templars by using Abstergo to train in the art of Assassination to eliminate the Assassins once and for all. Players can choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques, and match their skills against other players from all over the world in different game modes.

·    Master The Possibilities – As Ezio, a legendary Master Assassin, experience over 15 hours of single-player gameplay set in the living, breathing, unpredictable city of Rome
·    Lead a Legendary Brotherhood – Recruit and train promising young Assassins.  Deploy them across the city as you see fit, or call upon them to aid you in your quests
·    Experience A Rich Historical Tapestry – Collaborate with real historical characters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli and Caterina Sforza
·    Win The Heart of a City – Use your hard-won currency to revitalize the crumbling capital city.  Rally the citizens to your cause and unlock extra factions and missions
·    Deploy Secret Weapons – Swiftly eliminate your enemies using tools such as poison darts, parachutes, double hidden blades, hidden guns, and an advanced flying machine at your disposal.
·    Memorable Multiplayer – Choose from multiple authentic character classes, each with their own signature weapons and killing moves.  With richly-detailed maps and a wide variety of unique multiplayer modes, you’ll never fight the same way twice

quickmobileQuickMobile and The Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) Worldwide Short Film Festival (WSFF), have partnered to create both the 2010 Worldwide Short Film Festival App for iPhone and iPod Touch, and a new mobile website to enhance and extend this year`s Festival for attendees and fans worldwide. The 2010 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival presented by TELUS, will take place from June 1st to 6th in Toronto, Canada.

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