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27th October 2010

Digital Media Production Program Looking For Applicants

CMPAApply now for this great opportunity through the Canadian Media Production Association:

The Digital Media Production Program offers participants the opportunity to gain work experience in the film, television and interactive media production industry. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Career Focus Program, the Digital Media Production Program emphasizes administration, management and technical skills in today’s rapidly changing knowledge economy in the digital world.

Deadline: November 29, 2010
Spots Available: 40
Duration of Placement: 24 weeks
Intern Stipend: $14,000 (minimum);
$10,000 from the Program and minimum $4,000 from mentor
Age: 15 – 30. Must be post-secondary graduate.

Intern Eligibility

*Open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents legally entitled to work in Canada
*Must be between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive) at time of application
*Must be unemployed or under-employed at the time of application
*Must be a post-secondary graduate
*Must be out of school
*Must not be receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
*Must NOT have previously participated in a program sponsored by the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy
*Cannot be an employee, family member, or current CFTPA participant of the mentor company with whom he/she is submitting a joint application
*Applicants should note that the intern MUST become an employee of the mentor company for the duration of the placement.

Mentor Eligibility

*An eligible member of the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) at the time of application. Eligible companies must be CMPA members and fall under one of the following CMPA categories: general member, service producer, interactive media, broadcaster affiliate or publicly traded
*The mentor company will be responsible for providing career assistance, feedback, guidance during, and debriefing following the completion of the placement
*The mentor company must contribute a minimum of $4,000 toward the participant stipend
*A mentor applicant cannot be an employer, family member, or current CFTPA mentor of the participant whom he/she is submitting a joint application
*Applicants should note that the intern MUST become an employee of the mentor company for the duration of the placement.

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3rd September 2010

Canada Company Awards Eight Scholarships To Children of Fallen Soldiers

Canada CompanyThe Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence; Blake Goldring, Chairman of Canada Company and Chairman and CEO, AGF Management Limited; along with Rear Admiral Andrew Smith, Canadian Forces Chief of Military Personnel; today presented scholarships to eight surviving offspring of fallen Canadian Forces personnel.

The scholarships are provided as a tribute to fallen Canadian Forces personnel by a charitable business group called Canada Company. Each recipient will receive up to $16,000 each – up to $4,000 per year for up to four years – to help defray the costs of their post secondary education.

The third annual awards ceremony was conducted aboard the HMCS Frederiction. The Halifax-based frigate is currently on a five-week Canadian tour, including seven port visits along the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

“The HMCS Fredericton is a fitting backdrop to honour these fine students,” said Blake Goldring. “Their parents made a commitment to serve our country and today our commitment is to help them pursue their education. Canada Company provides the means for both businesses and individuals to support our military and their families to ensure they are taken care of with ongoing initiatives like these scholarships.” HMCS Fredericton

“The Government of Canada recognizes and deeply appreciates the ultimate sacrifice these families have paid for their country,” said Minister MacKay. “The Canada Company Scholarship helps the deserving children of our fallen to pursue post-secondary education and start on the road to their future careers.”

“The families of our fallen remain an important part of the Canadian Forces family who need our support,” said Rear Admiral Andrew Smith. “The Canadian Forces greatly appreciate the support that Canada Company and Canadians from coast to coast to coast have shown to the families of our fallen soldiers.”

The 2010/11 recipients of Canada Company’s educational scholarship fund awards are:

* Robert Girouard of Orillia is studying Law and Justice at Laurentian University.
* Kirsten Hess-von Kruedener of Burlington is studying at the RCC Institute of Technology Interior Design.
* Sheralynn Kennedy of Winnipeg is attending the University of Winnipeg working towards a doctorate in Psychology.
* Matthew Mellish of French Lake is attending the University of New Brunswick.
* Myriam Mercier of Quebec City is studying Nursing at Cegep de Sainte-Foy.
* Adam Naismith of Moose Jaw is studying Arts and Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.
* Jocelyn Ranger of Pembroke is studying business at Algonquin College.
* Natasha Roberge of Hamner is studying English and Music at Laurentian University.

The Canada Company Scholarship Fund provides $4,000 per year, for up to four years, to support the post-secondary education for children who qualify. Children of Canadian Forces members who have died on duty while serving in an active role in a military mission of the Canadian Forces or reserves since January 2002 are eligible to apply. The Canada Company Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship grants to children dating back to January 1, 2002.

Canada Company scholarships have received leadership funding in the amount of $1 million from CIBC. Additional financial support was secured from Power Corporation; Peter Munk, Founder and Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation; Jim Balsillie, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Research In Motion (RIM); RBH Inc.; The W. Garfield Weston Foundation; The TD Bank Financial Group, BMO Financial Group; Scotiabank; Standard Life; Laurentian Bank of Canada / B2B Trust and AGF Management Limited. Canada Company is calling on other members of the corporate community to contribute to this important initiative.

Canada Company oversees the fund through an independent committee, along with members of the Tour de Force 2010Canadian Forces, to ensure that bereaved children have the opportunity to receive this scholarship.

One way which you can show your support for Canada Company Scholarships is to take part in the upcoming North American Van Lines Tour de Force, an exhilarating cycling trip through southern Ontario and Quebec. The bike/run will kick off at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto with celebrities in attendance including players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and former NHLer’s and will last for seven days ending in beautiful downtown Montreal. The trip will be broken down into seven 85-kilometre intervals. Cyclists can register for the entire trip or certain legs of the journey. At the end of each leg of the trip there will be a celebration in the evening.

editor’s note: While this article may not be directly related to Canada’s digital media industry, it is directly related to a game we all play every day: life. As a military family and supporters of our Canadian Forces,  from time to time we carry related stories. We hope that you will join us in supporting those who serve our country now and in the future, and in remembering those whose patrol has ended.

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16th August 2010

Mixed Media Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5th July 2010

Entrepreneurship Partnerships and Scholarships

wavefrontWaveFrontAC would like to know if you are interested in turning your innovative wireless idea into a start-up company? Entrepreneurship@Wavefront is a new program being undertaken in partnership with BCIC to support and nurture 8 early-stage B.C. wireless companies. Program participants will receive one-year access to office space in Wavefront’sBCIC collaborative wireless incubation centre and $10k credit toward Wavefront’s advisory and testing services. Exemplary go-to-market services wireless companies would leverage are Wavefront’s handset library, usability services, refinement of business development strategies and industry connections. Participants can also leverage BCIC’s network of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts for additional mentorship and guidance.

EA GamesSkate 3 will be dishing up a virtual Hawaiian skateboarding vacation tomorrow with the release of Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream, an enormous skater’s paradise designed by the skating legend himself. Inspired by the tropical paradise of Hawaii, this all new Skate 3 downloadable content comes loaded with everything from original street terrain to flowing skate parks and of course Danny’s signature Mega-madness. Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream content pack will be available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for 560 MS points or $6.99. The DLC will also include new challenges, Leliana's Songcreate-a-skater gear, an all-new Danny Way playable character, and new achievements and trophies.

While skate fans are busy in Hawaii, I’ll be on a mission with Dragon Age’s Leliana as Bioware adds a new chapter to the Dragon Age: Origins saga. Leliana’s Song will allow gamers to play as the roguish bard in a tale that can lead only to treachery – and the reasons which led Leliana to The Chantry. For 560 MS Points ($6.99 PSN), play through Leliana’s Song to earn a new reward that can be transferred over to your original Dragon Age: Orgins and Awakening campaigns. So now you know what I’ll be doing tomorrow after work.

The Banff CentreNew media makers interested in developing a creative project or reflective essay related to this year’s theme are encouraged to apply to the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive, which takes place at The Banff Centre this August 14 to 20th. Participants will benefit from valuable mentorship across a broad range of new media interests. Applications for projects in all stages of development, from early concepts through to fully developed prototypes, are welcome.

Scholarships are available for up to ten Canadian and international applicants and include focused mentorship and public presentation opportunities, a travel stipend of up to $550, and full financial
support for program tuition, meals, and shared accommodations on The Banff Centre campus. Please visit the Scholarship Information Page to apply.

Local (Vancouver) indie game designer Alex Vostrov (Rocket Bear Games) has officially announced his new game. According to his site, the new game will be called Infested Planet, and is “an innovative real time strategy game where you face a humongous horde of mutating aliens with just 5 marines” will hit the gamer waves in the Fall of 2010.

TreehouseCorus Entertainment and Treehouse are pleased to announce the world premiere of the first ever Dr. Seuss inspired animated series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on Saturday, August 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET starring Martin Short as the voice of the Cat.

Produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse and PBS Kids in the U.S., The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is based on Random House’s bestselling beginner book collection, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.The Cat In The Hat

“We are thrilled to introduce the first ever animated series based on the whimsical adventures of Dr. Seuss, starring Canadian comedian Martin Short,” said Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Production, Corus Kids. “A delightfully entertaining show that opens young minds to science and nature discoveries, this series is sure to appeal to preschoolers’ curiosity for exploration and the world around them.”

With Cat as their guide, best friends Sally and Nick are transported to all corners of the globe, making natural science discoveries of all kinds. Along for the ride are Cat’s two energetic helpers, the mop-headed zany duo: Thing One and Thing Two. Booting around in Cat’s one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, the group can travel to the bottom of the sea, shrink down to the size of a bee to discover how honey is made or find out why owls sleep during the day.

In the first episode, Show Me the Honey, Sally and Nick have run out of honey. Luckily, the Cat knows just where to get more. They visit Queen Priscilla Buzzoo who invites the gang to join her in the bee dance to learn how honey is made.

Beginning on August 7, back-to-back 30-minute episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! will air Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of August. Beginning on Tuesday, September 7, viewers can catch this series in its regular time-slots Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. as well as Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Beginning on August 23, viewers can visit Treehousetv.com to catch clips of the show, access 30 different colouring pages as well as six online games.

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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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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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1st June 2010

Canada Will Digitize The Globe One Pixel At A Time

VFSVancouver Film School has awarded the second annual Women in Games Scholarship to Anne Dickerson, a former 4th grade teacher from Washington, DC.

Established as a means to encourage aspiring female game designers and provide them with greater opportunities for a career in the game industry, the scholarship is valued at $49,250 and covers the full tuition to VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

A worthy recipient, Anne was an elementary school teacher at a challenging city school when she first began designing games in an effort to increase literacy and math skills, address behavioural issues, and encourage a love of learning amongst her students. The scholarship to VFS will allow Anne to experience one intensive year learning every facet of game design, from game theory to level design to game interface design, and help further Anne’s ambition to create educational games.

“I am beyond thrilled to receive this great honor,” says Anne. “As an elementary school teacher, I realized the significant impact games can have on student achievement, and since leaving the classroom, I have aspired to create effective educational games. I am confident that this award, along with the excellent education I will obtain through the VFS Game Design program, will bring me one step closer to achieving my goal of effecting systemic change in the field of education through games.”

“Anne was the clear winner, despite intense competition with an increased number of applications compared to last year,” says Benjamin Colling, Director of Admissions at VFS. “Anne applied to VFS’s Game Design program with the intent of expanding her storytelling ability and game design skills so that she can learn how to make groundbreaking educational games that rival titles across all genres, including popular blockbusters. We are pleased to support her, and are confident that with her talent and drive she will be successful in accomplishing this goal.”

Female VFS Game Design graduates have gone on to work successfully in the industry, from Tara Mustapha and Charmie Kim of Microsoft Game Studios to Pamela Livara of Vancouver’s Slant Six, and Melanie Genereux of Longtail Studios in PEI.

In addition to the Women in Games Scholarship, VFS also awarded three other scholarships, thanks to the contributions of a number of Game Design Expo 2010 sponsors.

Congratulations to the following scholarship winners:

Aubrey Tennant (Ontario) – $7,000 G4TechTV scholarship
Jie (Jacky) He (British Columbia) – $5,000 Annex Pro scholarship
Brooke Fargo (British Columbia) – $2,500 Radical Entertainment scholarship

ThoughtFarmerThoughtFarmer 3.7, a social intranet application from OpenRoad Communications has been released with many new features guaranteed to not make your IT staff pull their hair out. According to the product’s website, ThoughtFarmer 3.7 opens up new deployment options, introduces Active Directory password management, improves cut & paste from Word, and includes several other useful enhancements.

dimeRockerVancouver’s dimeRocker has also released a product update today. Version 1.3 of the dimeRocker API is now available for download via their website. Also recently announced their Game Tune-up Programme, where developers can submit their best ideas, prototypes or finished games and dimeRocker will provide the support and expertise to help the project grow. Check out the programme’s information page for more details.

The World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications is an annual AACEconference organized by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). The event serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the discussion and exchange of information on the research, development, and applications on all topics related to multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications/distance education. The Conference will take place June 29th through July 2nd in Toronto, and there is still time to register.

TO JamIf you  missed TO JAM #5, held recently in Toronto, but would like to try out the fruits of labour produced by Toronto’s indie game developers, then you need to head out to the Imperial Pub at 54 Dundas Street East this Saturday and check out the super-showcase TO JAM Arcade event. Sponsored in part by Tall Tree Games, Big Blue Bubble and Notebook Empire, the To Jam Arcade is guaranteed to be lots of fun.

Modeling and simulation are becoming increasingly common in our corporate, educational and personal CeLEA - ACEeLlives. From video games to flight simulators, we are becoming accustomed to these new and powerful tools that entertain and educate us. To better understand where the world of modeling and simulations is going, CeLEA has invited the Mr. Jacques Hamel (President, Artifact Software), to join us in a webinar on Thursday June 3 at 12:00 PM Eastern, to chat about this growing and important field, and to talk about the upcoming MODSIM WORLD Canada conference that begins on June 14 in Montreal.

The webinar is designed to provide you with an overview of the kinds of technologies that are driving this field, and how modelling and simulation are being applied in many different contexts and sectors. There is no charge for attending this event, but you must register to receive additional information on how to access the webinar site.

TransGamingToronto’s TransGaming Inc. has announced a new partnership with Netherlands company Metrological, which will see TransGaming’s GameTreeTV Games Platform globally deployed  to cable operators and managed service operators, as part of Metrological’s Mediaconnect TV. Through this partnership, Metrological’s customers around the world will have the ability to offer video games to their subscribers as part of a fully integrated digital entertainment solution.

The GameTreeTV Games Platform delivers a unique and compelling interactive entertainment video games experience to consumers from the comfort of their living rooms. Consumers will have access to a rich catalogue of games through an easy to navigate on-demand service model. With GameTreeTV consumers can browse, download, and play their favorite video games from leading content creators, through an on-demand business model of games purchase, rental, or subscription.

Mediaconnect TV, a next generation hybrid consumer TV entertainment platform based on Intel CE Media Processing technology and powered by the Metroconnect Operating System, provides consumers with a wide range of high-value applications and services. The GameTreeTV Games Platform will be integrated into Metrological’s master catalogue of services, thereby offering TV viewers a broad set of on-demand games.

“Metrological has developed a comprehensive and highly interactive turn-key digital home entertainment solution that advances the consumption of interactive services and applications for consumers”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “Mediaconnect TV is transforming the living room experience and we are thrilled to announce Metrological as a strategic deployment partner for GameTreeTV. Video games are the primary source of leisure entertainment around the world and this partnership will make high quality video games available to million subscribers over the next few years.” 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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3rd March 2010

Clicktoy The Meadow Now Available in the Apple Store

Clicktoy InteractiveVancouverClicktoy Interactive is pleased to announce the release of its software “The Meadow“for the Apple Mac. The award winning interactive software for children ages 1 to 5 is now available for purchase at local Canadian Apple Stores and select US Apple stores, and online at store.Apple.com.

Colourful 3-D graphics, nature sounds and original music bring nature to life on screen where children can join Mr. and Mrs. Bunny as they visit their friends living in The Meadow. With the simple press of a key, your child can guide the animals through the beautiful meadow environment.

“Any parent can tell you that when they’re working on their computer, the little one will come along and want to sit on their lap and press buttons,” said Ken Kavanagh, developer of The Meadow and president of Clicktoy Interactive. “As every key has a function, children are free to interact with the computer without worry.”

With The Meadow, parents and children can explore this charming and peaceful place together, featuring:

* Four detailed scenes
* ClickSafe locks the keyboard, prevents your child from exiting the application
* Stunning graphics and immersion in a virtual nature-walk
* Make up your own stories and imagine together

Available on the PC since 2008 “The Meadow” is now available for the Mac OS. Offered in over 17 languages the game sells for $24.95 and is available now for the Mac or PC.  Village Gamer congratulates Ken Kavanagh and Clicktoy Interactive with this new release – and fully recommends “The Meadow” to anyone who has a toddler and/or pre-schooler in their family.

VFSVancouverVancouver Film School is pleased to present the $30,000 Women in Games Scholarship for the second straight year. This Scholarship covers the full tuition for a female aspiring game designer to attend VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

With International Women’s Day on March 8 highlighting the achievements of women and the need to create a more equal and rewarding future for girls, the announcement of the Women in Games scholarship is timely. In an industry traditionally dominated by men – around 90%, according to Game Developer Magazine’s 2009 Salary Survey – the scholarship was established as a concerted effort by VFS to encourage greater opportunities for females wishing to pursue Game Design as a career. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th February 2010

Game Design Expo Reveals 2010 Lineup

Game Design Expo 2010Vancouver – The fourth annual Game Design Expo will take place April 10 and 11, 2010 in Vancouver. This popular event for video game industry professionals and gamers will be tackling the most pressing challenges and trends in the game industry now and for the future, and features the game industry luminaries responsible for today’s most innovative games.

Hosted by the Game Design program at Vancouver Film School (VFS), Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution, Game Design Expo begins with the perennially sold-out Industry Speaker Day on Saturday, April 10: a chance for pros and enthusiasts to come together for a day of talks and panels.

This year’s speakers include Armando Troisi, Lead Cinematic Designer on BioWare’s runaway hit Mass Effect 2, to discuss the game’s groundbreaking approach to interactive narrative, and United Front Games’ William Ho, who will explore user-generated content through the lens of the highly-anticipated PS3 title ModNation Racers.

Other speakers include creative movers from the legendary California-based developer Obsidian Entertainment (Alpha Protocol), Blue Castle Games (Dead Rising 2), Propaganda Games (Tron: Evolution), and Big Sandwich Games (Sky Pirates of Neo Terra). The day culminates with a spirited industry panel hosted by Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas called “The Future of Gaming.”

Tickets to Industry Speaker Day, which have sold out quickly every year, are on sale now at $75 (CDN). For ticket purchases, schedule, and more about the event, visit gamedesignexpo.com.

On Sunday, April 11, VFS will throw open the doors to its acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named a top 10 school “most favoured by video game industry recruiters” by the Los Angeles Times, for a free, day-long Open House. Sunday’s event offers a hands-on look at the program, providing visitors with the opportunity to test-drive student- and alumni-created games, take sample classes, and meet faculty and students.

The Open House will also launch the 2010 Women in Games $30,000 scholarship to VFS. Inaugurated last year, the scholarship is part of VFS Game Design’s ongoing initiative to actively support women entering the game industry – the only one of its kind in the world.

Because space is limited, anyone interested in attending the Open House is strongly encouraged to register now, before it fills to capacity.

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