28th June 2010

The Dead Will Rise Again On September 28th

Before we get into today’s news, just a reminder that submissions are now open for the 2010 Canada New Media Awards. Get your nominations in now, the early bird deadline is July 16th.

Updated with link: Mattel Canada is taking the new Hot Wheels® Colour Shifters™ collection for a road trip across Canada this summer. They are stopping over at 50 Canadian community festival events between now and September. Mattel Canada’s Assistant Brand Manager Melissa Chau will officially launch the summer tour tomorrow morning at Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square. The summer road trip is meant to show off the new life-size Colour Shifter Ford Mustang, and kids who attend the launch event tomorrow can help change the colour of the car, play with Hot Wheels® toys and also receive a special Hot Wheels® collector booklet, T-shirt and more.

Interactive Exchange 10Tickets for Interactive Ontario’s IN 2010 are now on sale, with Super Early Bird and special rates for those delegates who attended the event last year expiring on July 16th. This cross-platform, multi-stream conference about the business and ideas of interactivity will take place from September 12-14 at the Carlu in Toronto. The conference will be divided into the following streams:

Mobile: The IN Mobile stream will present sessions from case studies to discussions about the latest and greatest key developments, the current status and future development trends in wireless technology.

Social Media: Social Media at IN will focus on the creative and business opportunities in a sector which is continuously reinventing itself through user-generated content. Showcasing leading-edge projects and discussions about the newest communication platforms, these sessions will explore marketing, collaboration, information sharing, and experimental crossovers.

Games: The video games industry continues to be one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. With an eye toward intellectual property, which is exploitable along multiple entertainment verticals, this stream brings creative, production and business perspectives to the table at IN 2010. Industry veterans will discuss current trends, explore leading-edge projects and examine the challenges and opportunities that exist in crossover projects.

X-Platform: This stream focuses on the opportunities that lie in the digital media content space as it continues to grow by showcasing the interconnectedness of various interactive sectors within cultural and digital media industries. This stream highlights the potential creative and business opportunities that exist between platforms.

Visionary: The visionary stream is dedicated to showcasing thought-leaders. Made up of the innovators, originators, inventors and explorers of big ideas. These forward-thinkers share their vision and in turn, incite new ways of thinking about business models, interactivity, and technology.

Dead Rising 2A release date has been set in zombie blood for Dead Rising 2. Fans of this survival-horror title from CapCom and Blue Castle Games can assimilate the persona of motorcycle racer Chuck Greene on September 28th. Dead Rising 2 is listed at Future Shop for $59.99 (Xbox 360) and $64.99 (PS3), while Best Buy lists both versions at $59.99. Neither store lists a PC version, and the CapCom US store doesn’t yet list Dead Rising 2 at all. GameStop Canada also neglects the PC version, but it does offer the strategy guide for pre-order.

CapCom also confirmed late last week that Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, a motion picture inspired by the Dead Rising universe, will be distributed free of charge in both Europe and North America this summer. Written and directed by Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s global head of research and development, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun follows two brothers as they try to escape the zombie outbreak that has hit Japan. Exploring the darker side of human nature and filmed entirely on location in Japan, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, both pays homage to the zombie movies of the 1960s and ‘70s and provides links with the videogame world of Dead Rising®.

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Zombrex Dead Rising Sun will be released digitally in a series of eight episodes which Dead Rising and zombie movie fans can watch for free. Featuring an English voice over, the episodes will also be available as separate versions with French, Spanish and Italian subtitles.

Vancouver indie studioAll Seeing Eye Games has launched its debut title exclusively on Drum StudioXbox LIVE Marketplace. Drum Studio, available for 80 Microsoft Points, allows players to play, record, edit, save and playback their own song creations on their Xbox 360 drum kit. It utilizes the full potential of the drum kit to put the power of music creation in the players’ hands.

Game Designer Joel Cappelletto says, “Drum Studio takes music games to a new level with its creation and customization tools. We’re very excited to finally share it with the world.”

Drum Studio does away with playing along to pre-determined drum lines. Instead, players create their own jams on drums they’ve customized from a library of over 320 sounds. A simple & elegant recording interface allows players to layer in multiple tracks and hone their songs to perfection before they save the song, kick back, and watch an animated drummer play back their creation.

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24th June 2010

For The Canadian APPetite

iStockphotoiStockphoto has untethered its community today with the delivery of a free iPhone application iStockPhoto-lightboxthat allows users to browse iStock’s vast library of photos, illustrations and audio files from an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch – with an iPad-sized app coming soon.

“Inspiration and ideas often strike when least expected,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “This application lets us be there for our community whenever and wherever that happens.”

The application uses iStock’s industry-leading search engine to help customers find the perfect file quickly and easily. Customers can access and manage lightboxes of stored files from their existing iStockphoto account or create new lightboxes to save files for future viewing or purchase. The app also allows files to be e-mailed to clients and colleagues for discussion and evaluation. The new app also allows the more than 80,000 contributing artists whose work is sold on iStockphoto to track their sales and view download statistics, even while on the go.

Magmic GamesMagmic Inc. has launched the official Rubik’s Cube application for iPhone, iTouch and iPad. The app, which does everything including doing the cube for you, is now available on iTunes for $2.99. Magmic’s Rubik’s Cube is the only iTunes application endorsed by Erno Rubik, the original cube’s inventor.

“Rubik’s Cube is the greatest puzzle ever invented,” said Magmic’s Director of Product Management, Jeff Bacon. “We were excited to take it to a powerful Rubik's Cubesmartphone, and to enrich the experience. It’s nothing short of a rebirth for this amazing invention.”

have you reached an impasse in solving your real-life cube? Simply take a picture of a real Rubik’s Cube with your iPhone and the app’s built-in Solver gives you a step-by-step solution.

Other features include:

- Anaglyph 3D mode (glasses not included)
– 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4 & 5x5x5 Rubik’s Cubes
– 24 different game styles
– 360 degree view using iPhone 4 gyroscope
– Personalized cubes with stickers and photos
– Easy-to-understand solution guide
– All-new, extra-challenging CRAZY Cube

BCICBCIC invites entrepreneurs and startups to attend Connect, a conference for early-stage tech entrepreneurs who want the answers to “what’s next for my company”. Taking place on October 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (west building), tickets are priced at a very reasonable $50.00 (buy now for the early bird price of $40.00), and students can attend for only $25.00. The keynote presentation will address the topic of Making It Beyond BC, and attendees will have the chance to meet face-to-face with several (the site says 30) tech leaders who will be there to offer advice and encouragement.

CDMNCanadian digital media innovation will be in the spotlight when leaders from around the world attend the G-8 and G-20 Summits this June 25 – 27th. The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) has attracted high-tech participants from CDMN-affiliated organizations across Canada to the Experience Canada marketing pavilion in downtown Toronto where they will showcase unique digital media capabilities.

“All eyes will be on Canada during the G-8 and G-20 Summits, and the CDMN is serving as a conduit to the high-tech sector, demonstrating the power of Canadian innovation and potentially attracting future investment,” said Kevin Tuer, managing director of the CDMN, which is dedicated to furthering commercialization of digital media in Canada. “Experience Canada at the International Media Center will be high-impact, with imaginative displays, giant video walls and creative use of technology capturing the essence of Canada’s tech leadership.”

The CDMN, which links digital media-related organizations across the country, has attracted tech companies, universities, research houses, and public sector organizations to participate in the 20,000 square foot Experience Canada marketing pavilion. The experiential pavilion will have global impact, as key displays will be digitized, virtualized and shared online. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd June 2010

Celebrate Canada At Casual Connect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21st June 2010

Mentor Programs and Competitions Expand Futures for Young Canadians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17th June 2010

Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media Announced at E3

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

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

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

Features include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10th June 2010

Patrick Beaulieu Launches Animation Insiders

Just a reminder that if you haven’t already, time is running out on your chance to have your say about Canada’s digital economy strategy. This incentive is meant to benefit our Canadian digital industry, so get involved in the discussion today. digiBC has released the 2010 BC Digital Media and Wireless Survey report (PDF) which was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The report covers key sectors of British Columbia’s rapidly developing Digital Media and Wireless industries.

dabble dbTwitter announced earlier today that it has purchased Vancouver company Smallthought Systems, the powers behind Dabble DB and Trendly. A message on Dabble DB’s landing page about the sale of the company reads:

“Obviously this represents a new chapter in the life of Dabble DB, both for us as a team, and for the product itself. We’d like to assure you that, for now, we will continue to provide our software and technical support to current Dabble DB customers. However, we will be disabling new account signups effective immediately.

There will be further changes to Dabble’s ongoing operations, and when those happen, we want to do right by you. We will provide you with 60 days advance notice of any major change. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure that, at any time, you can export all of your data, including attachments, in a structured format suitable for import into other systems.”

animation insidersPatrick Beaulieu, Animation Artistic Director at Ubisoft Quebec City, has launched his first 3D animation collection book Animation Insiders. A rich and complete work of knowledge sharing, this collection of testimonials gives a lot of tricks and hints as well as anecdotes from renowned animators at Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Pixar, to name a few. The book is now available worldwide on sstudiopress.

“Gathering all these people from all over the world and putting together all of these testimonials was a lot of work, says Patrick Beaulieu, but the result gives us a privileged vision on what is going on back stage in animation. Each collaborator had a clean slate to share his experiences, works, methodologies, philosophy, etc…. even if some aspects are more technical, Animation Insiders remains open to a wide audience, from the animation fan boy to the experienced animator. Everyone passionate about animation, movies and video games will find himself in this book, he will also find details and insides about his favorite animation movies or games” he adds.

You will find testimonials, visuals and illustrations from 13 renowned animators such as:

Jason Ryan (USA, Dreamworks, Shrek 4)
Andrew Gordon (USA, Pixar, Nemo)
Jason Martinsen (USA, Animation Mentor, Ice Age)
Jason Schleifer (USA, Dreamworks, LOTR)
Anthea Kerou (USA, Dreamworks, Bolt)
Victor Navone (USA, Pixar, The Incredibles)
Ana Maria Alvarado (USA, Sony Image Works, Spiderman)
Mike Nguyen (USA, Rainplace, Iron Giant)
Pedro Blumenbaum (Spain, Nocturna)
Pablo Navarro (Spain, Nocturna)
Emilio Ghorayeb (Canada, New Breed VFX, Madagascar)
Matt Stangio (USA, Pixar, Toys Story 3)
Reno Armanet (France, Tigobo Animation)

gamesauceThe schedule for the GameSauce Conference has been posted to the web. This conference takes place on July 19th, immediately prior to Casual Connect Seattle (July 20 -22). Registration is $100.00 USD or is free to those registered for the Casual Connect Seattle conference. There are some great topics, panels and roundtable discussions on the slate, so plan to be in Seattle one day early in order to take advantage of this event. Along with the great topics being offered through the GameSauce Game Development Track, the following areas may also be of interest to you, and like me, you will need a clone in order to take it all in.

The Leadership & Professional Development Track, produced in partnership by Women In Games International, Women In Games Vancouver and Women In Games IGDA offers some great panels and roundtable discussions about career building and talent nurturing.

If game audio is your thing, The Audio Track, produced by Game Audio Alliance, has much to offer, and the Nvidia Tegra Mobile Game Development Track, which is making its debut at this year’s GameSauce Conference is a must for those looking for opportunities in the mobile market. The Alternative Funding and Exit Strategies Track, produced by The Corum Group is a four hour crash course discussing the positives and negatives of funding as well as what to do with your company once you are successful.

trainyardiPhone developer Matt Rix has released his first title in the iTunes App Store. Trainyard is a challenging puzzler that requires the safe movement of coloured blocks (trains) from one station to the next. Each of the 100 puzzles ramps up in difficulty, adding colour and track-changing blocks into the mix while you try to draw tracks from one locale to the next, hopefully avoiding train pile-ups. There are no set solutions to the puzzles, so you are free to try as many options as you like. Trainyard also includes bonus levels as well as the ability to share solutions that worked for you on the game’s web site. Trainyard is available now for only $1.99. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th June 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 Technology Impact Award Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feature Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8th June 2010

Ryerson University Students Assist Paris Transit Patrons

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver is presenting Building Community with Social Media on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Starting at 5:30pm, this education session will assist attendees discovering the value of effective strategies for building a community through social media in an exciting, interactive round table discussion with five experts.

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 for themselves and their clients. Tickets for this event are available online at a cost of $35.00 for Wired Woman members and $40.00 for non-members. It is worth noting that you can save $5.00 by signing up for free and becoming a member of the Wired Woman network.

Panel:
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

wavefrontWaveFront has partnered with the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium (MCPC) of Japan, and they are inviting Canadian mobile developers to take part in a unique opportunity for facilitated access to the Japanese wireless market. This two-part programme begins with one-on-one coaching sessions to be held at Discovery Park in Vancouver this June 21st through 23rd.

Following the information session on June 21st, selected participants will meet with visiting MCPC representatives for product assessments and structuring assistance, as well as an overview of marketing strategies over the remaining days of the visit. The information sessions are free to interested companies, but do require registration. If you are unable to attend in person, you can attend via the virtual event which will be hosted on Mingleverse. Part 2 of this partnership will offer those selected companies the opportunity to participate in the 8th annual MCPC Solutions Fair in Tokyo in November 2010.

Ryerson UniversityParis Metro passengers have a new way to navigate the transit system in the palm of their hand. Developed expressly to assist passengers with special needs, the Mobile Transit Companion, a made-in-Canada mobile application, uses context-aware self-adaptive computing to deliver live, customized data to passengers en route. The inclusive application, complete with useful information for all passengers, was created through a partnership between Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Sweden’s Appear Networks.

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) commuters can now download the free software and set up their user profile. Information is then automatically sent to their mobile phones according to their profile and contextual information. For example, they can receive notifications such as the location of station elevators and Metro transfer points; facilities and nearby businesses; updated schedules for connecting trains; and availability of services at each station. For blind and low-vision passengers, the Mobile Transit Companion uses a speech-enabled, gesture-driven user interface. For other user groups, including the elderly, deaf or hard of hearing, or passengers with reduced mobility, the application offers an intuitive and easy-to-use visual interface.

“At Ryerson we see a very niche use for context-aware computing in public transit and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS),” said Hossein Rahnama, project leader, Ryerson postdoctoral student and DMZ Steering Committee Member. “We are specializing in context-aware consumer applications in airports, airlines, trains, subways, buses, etc. and will be working with Metrolinx on a project for GO Transit here in the fall. With RATP, our focus was on passengers with special needs because those communities could really benefit from such applications, even though they are often not considered when developing apps.”RATP

The Mobile Transit Companion’s positioning function is integrated with a web-based monitoring service so that public transit staff can easily locate and assist passengers with special needs. The only existing social tracking application for public transit passengers, this monitoring service has the capability to be shared with friends and family. Using the interface, the transit authority can message selected passengers, which is particularly helpful for Deaf or hard of hearing passengers who can’t hear announcements made over the PA. Messages are communicated to each passenger according to the information on his in her profile, e.g.: the message will be interpreted from text to speech if s/he has indicated Low Vision.

The project was part of European research consortium developing an open-source middleware platform. Ryerson was the only North American player. “There are a lot of advantages to research collaboration with international partners in the Information and Communications Technologies sector,” said Rahnama. “In fact, one of our key objectives in this project is to demonstrate those advantages, such as combining the smartphone popularity and development of North America with the digital mobile telephony advances of Europe. The success of the MUSIC platform has inspired another project with Europe, slated for fall 2010.”

The Mobile Transit Companion is currently being piloted on Android phones in 10 stations along Line 14 of the Paris Metro. Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone at Yonge Dundas Square provides Ryerson University students with the opportunity to develop their digitally based ideas into consumer products with help from mentors and industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th June 2010

Deus Ex Human Revolution E3 Trailer Debuts Worldwide

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal has released the E3 2010 full trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The trailer, which draws from the game’s characters, environment and storyline, was produced by Vancouver’s Goldtooth Creative in partnership with Eidos Montreal and Square Enix’s Visual Works (Tokyo). The trailer promises strong writing, a large cast of important characters, intrigue and destruction. Deus Ex 3 is scheduled for release in 2011, and it is definitely on our list of Games We Must Have.

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If you are a fan of Studio B’s animated offerings, The City of Vancouver Archives is holding a special event which will chronicle the legacy of a local company that has become a leader in kids’ entertainment. Studio B’s popular animated series include Kid vs Kat, Martha Speaks, George of the Jungle and Class of the Titans, among many more.Studio B

Taking place at the VanCity Theatre on the evening of June 10th, the presentation will relate the studio’s rapid development from a two-man operation into its current status as a world-renowned production house composed of more than 200 artists and staff. Studio B has been donating its records from 12 original productions and many examples of its service and other work to the City Archives since 2006, preserving these records for generations to come. Tickets for this screening are very reasonable, with the most expensive ticket priced at $10.00.

Peace Arch EntertainmentFor fans of the Ireland-Canada series The Tudors, it is now possible to create your own intrigue on your iPhone. The Tudors, developed by dTales and Slitherine in conjunction with TV production giants Showtime and Peace Arch Entertainment, is an intriguing and exciting adventure game based on Season 1. Follow in the footsteps of King Henry VIII at the beginning of his epic 40-year reign or choose the path of Anne Boleyn, and realize your dream to become Queen of England. As the story unfolds, you will meet over 20 characters from the series, including Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Sir Thomas More and roam the corridors and staterooms of the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the King.

In an evolving sequence of dramatic events, you will be faced with danger, treason and intrigue. As King Henry VIII, you will be challenged by your closest friends and threatened by the menace of war with France. As Lady Anne Boleyn, you will pursue your dream to wear the crown of England no matter the cost. Only you can decide the course of history.

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The Tudors Game is currently only available for purchase from the US and Canadian App Store.

Main Features

- Two characters to choose from: King Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn
– Explore over 30 rooms at the Palace of Whitehall
– More than 20 historical characters to meet and talk to
– Play engaging mini-games to solve mysteries and progress in the game

Black BoxEA Black Box has announced the first downloadable content pack for the critically acclaimed skateboarding game SKATE 3 – The Maloof Money Cup 2010 NYC Pack. The content pack hits Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on June 8 for 400 MS points or $4.99 and an additional 100 achievement points and 5 trophies.

The all new DLC lets players compete in the largest pursed event and one of skateboarding’s biggest annual contests – The Maloof Money Cup. For the first time ever, this year’s competition will be traveling east to Flushing Meadows, New York, where the site of the 1964 World’s Fair maloof money cuphas been converted into one gnarly skate mecca. Gamers will have the opportunity to compete against some of the biggest names in skateboarding as they shred an all-new custom built street park for the ultimate cash purse.

The award-winning SKATE franchise breaks new ground with SKATE 3 and shreds the streets of the all-new skaters’ paradise, Port Carverton. Delivering the definitive co-op skateboarding experience, it’s up to players to build the ultimate team and change the face of the city with their brand by taking on unique team challenges and competing against rival crews online. The game also features the ability to create and share custom built skate parks and a revamped Thrasher Hall of Meat mode that will have players spending countless hours pulling off bone-crushing carnage.

EA SportsAlso announced today was EA SportsFIFA Online, the first downloadable FIFA soccer game designed for PC (A broadband internet connection and an average spec laptop computer or desk-top personal computer required), is available to soccer fans everywhere around the world to play for free (Internet connection required). EA Sports FIFA Online will be released around the world in stages. The UK English language Beta version is available now, with plans over the next 12 to 24 months for FIFA Online to launch in other languages across the globe. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd June 2010

Balancing The Canadian Copyright Act Is Like Walking A Tightrope

Government of Canada…and trying to understand it all is like standing in a tornado. There is so much going on right now in regards to Canada’s copyright reform (Bill C-32) that it is almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, there are an abundance of online resources available so that we can learn more about the processes which have MP James Moore on Twitterbeen followed up to this point, as well as keep current with what is going on right now. The Canadian government has been maintaining a site called Balanced Copyright, and it holds a wealth of information. Naturally, the Pirate Party has grabbed the domain balancedcopyright.ca, but there is no site yet launched for that URL. I imagine that the group will probably use the domain to counter MP Tony Clement on Twitterthe one run by the government, and will count on the public not knowing the location of the government’s site. Speaking of government, both MP James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages) and MP Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) have been engaging the public, media and industry groups on Twitter since the Bill was announced yesterday. I recommend following both MPs, along with copyright expert Michael Geist for continuing updates about Bill C-32’s progress.

Fair Copyright for Canada (administered by Michael Geist) also has an active Facebook group which carries updates and opinions relevant to Bill C-32. One point which seems to be an area of contention is the Digital Lock, and CBC News has written a very comprehensive look at what it could Michael Geist on Twitterentail. I freely admit that I have not had time to read and process all of the information about C-32, and while I will endeavour to do so, I would like to invite someone more expert in the ramifications of C-32 to write a guest editorial explaining the good and the bad of our copyright bill. While many of what we could deem as special interest groups are voicing their opinions about Bill C-32, the most relevant to both us and our readers is what those in interactive media are saying. All of the sites and Twitter accounts above contain links to opinions and press releases from groups such as ACTRA, AFM and the Documentary Organization of Canada, and I invite you to check them out. Here is what ESAC has to say about the reforms:

esacThe Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released a statement about Bill C-32, congratulating the Government of Canada on its introduction of copyright reform legislation which will help protect Canadian content creators and digital media companies. ESAC believes that protecting the intellectual property of industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperity is not only good public policy, but is essential as our economy transitions to more knowledge-based jobs.

“We applaud the government for showing leadership on this complex issue and we look forward to studying the bill more closely,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “Without strong protection for our intellectual property, we’re basically operating in a digital Wild West. Promoting piracy under the guise of ‘user rights’ does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment,” she added.

“Piracy fundamentally undermines the integrity of the marketplace. It forces creators to compete against black market versions of their own products, affecting their ability to recover the considerable investments associated with digital media production. A strong bill – one which prohibits hacking of digital works, trafficking in hacking tools and that makes those who facilitate digital piracy clearly liable for their activities – is critical to the success of Canada’s digital economy,” says Parr.

In the industry’s view, a bill with clear protection for intellectual property will enable creators to decide how and at what cost their products can be accessed and in turn allow consumers to decide which products succeed and fail by voting with their pocketbook. Further, by supporting a diverse range of business models, strong copyright will facilitate increased competition, which ultimately leads to greater pew internetconsumer choice and lower prices.

In related news, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a report about The State of Online Video. While this study was conducted in the USA, the information can be useful to those Canadian companies and individuals who produce web-distributed products. The study is available as a downloadable PDF, or it can be read online.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Canadian game industry news and updates:

THQ has confirmed in an official press release that Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online will Relic Entertainmentindeed be released to the North American market this fall. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online is free to play and offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression, allowing players to strategize on and off the battlefield. Players will also have the opportunity to earn or purchase special units and upgrades and improve their army with each and every multiplayer victory.

Vice President of Global Brand Management Travis Plane commented that, “We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone.”

Capcom MobileCapcom® Mobile and Classic Media, whose portfolio includes of some of the world’s leading kids, family and pop-culture brands such as Where’s Waldo?®, Casper the Friendly Ghost® and Lassie®, have announced the release of Where’s Waldo?® In Hollywood, the sequel to last year’s top-selling mobile phone game.

“The first Where’s Waldo? game was a run-away mobile hit with its addictive mini games and classic search and find puzzles,” said Midori Yuasa, President, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “For theWaldo In Hollywood sequel we’ve built on the winning mix with a whole new crop of puzzles, achievements and even more Waldo fun.”

“Capcom Mobile has done a terrific job translating the search and find experience of Where’s Waldo? for mobile and we are excited to partner with their team on the second game,” said Nicole Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “With its crowds of celebrities and celebrity-spotters, Hollywood is an exciting place for fans to take up their search for Waldo.”

Based on the international publishing phenomenon, Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood, developed by Capcom Interactive Canada, chronicles the world-famous traveler through a series of tinsel-town themed adventures. Players can join the search with multiple search and find games that are based on classic scenes from the book series, as well as five mini games, including Tic-Whack-Wizard, Odd One Out, and Slide Puzzles. As players progress, they will be able to unlock bonus content and earn in-game achievements. Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood is currently available for download on most North American carriers. Read the rest of this entry »

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