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  • New Book – The Game Jam Survival Guide By Christer Kaitila

10th April 2012

New Book – The Game Jam Survival Guide By Christer Kaitila

Game Jam Survival GuideThe game development community knows him as McFunkyPants, but on the cover of his newly published book, he’s Christer Kaitila, B.Sc., from Victoria BC. As many of you know, Christer is one of the administrators for the very popular game jam group Ludum Dare, which, by the way, has a game jam event coming up on April 20th – 23rd. But, I digress – back to his new book, The Game Jam Survival Guide from Packt Publishing, available now for purchase. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th March 2012

Rework – Book Review

Title: Rework
Authors: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Publisher: Crown Business
Published: March 9 2010
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages – many of the pages are unused white space or illustrations
Disclaimer: Clicking on the book cover image or title link will take you to Amazon.ca through our affiliate link Read the rest of this entry »

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11th March 2012

Teens Gone Wired – Are You Ready By Lyndsay Green – Book Review

Title: Teens Gone Wired: Are You Ready?
Author: Lyndsay Green
Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers
Published: 2011
Paperback, 280 Pages
Cover Price: $19.95
Disclaimer: Clicking on the book cover or title link above will take you to Amazon.ca through our affiliate account. By purchasing this book through our account, you are helping to keep Village Gamer online.

Without a doubt, Teens Gone Wired: Are You Ready? by Canadian author, researcher and sociologist Lyndsay Green should be required reading for all parents. While both of my kids are well past their teen years and have been wired for years, this book still contains a lot of important information about one of the greatest challenges on being a parent: communication. I would go so far as to also recommend this book to teachers and caregivers who also play a part in the upbringing of our future generations. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th March 2012

Powerful Exhibit Marketing By Barry Siskind – Book Review

Title: Powerful Exhibit Marketing
Author: Barry Siskind
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.
Published: 2005
Paperback, 320 pages including index
Cover Price: $34.95
Disclaimer: Clicking on the book cover or title link above will take you to Amazon.ca through our affiliate account. By purchasing this book through our account, you are helping to keep Village Gamer online.

It is early in the 2012 conference season, but some of the biggest events are already behind us or currently underway. Either way, it’s not too late to read Powerful Exhibit Marketing – The Complete Guide To Successful Trade Shows, Conferences and Consumer Shows by Canadian exhibit marketing specialist Barry Siskind. I picked this book up at the Wiley Canada booth at last year’s SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, wishing as I read it that I’d seen it before the conference – but we are now well-prepared for 2014 when SIGGRAPH returns, as well as any other event we may participant in as either exhibitor or attendees. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th March 2012

Titanic Murder Mystery Launches On The Centennial Anniversary

mini-orbyToronto author Alexander Galant, who worked as historical researcher for the NY Times Best Seller Dracula the Un-Dead, will be publishing his first full length thriller novel The Depth of Deception, just in time for the centennial anniversary of the RMS Titanic. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd January 2012

Little Bets By Peter Sims – Review

Title: Little Bets – How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries
Author: Peter Sims
Publisher: Free Press (April 19, 2011)
Pages: 224
Cover Price: $28.99 Disclaimer: Clicking the cover graphic or the book title will link you to Amazon.ca through our Associate account. Purchasing the book through this link will help us earn money for the site.

I picked this book up on our way home from Merging Media 2011 in Vancouver, having heard one of the speakers recommend it during his presentation. Through the wonders of the internet and cell phone technology, I was able to ascertain that our local Chapters outlet had one copy, and called ahead to have it held for me. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th October 2011

Review: Game On – Energize Your Business With Social Media Games

Title: Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games
Author: Jon Radoff
Publisher: Wiley (2011)
Pages: 390
List Price: $35.99 CAD Disclaimer: Clicking the cover graphic or the book title will link you to Amazon.ca through our Associate account. Purchasing the book through this link will help us earn money for the site.

I’ll admit that I was leery of reading this book, mainly because I’ve grown tired of the over-used buzz term gamification, which is a main topic area for this title. I’ll also admit that I was quickly converted – not to gamification of business, but to delving into the contents laid out by Mr. Radoff. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st June 2011

New Book Release – Cloud CIO Strategy

Cloud CIO StrategyToday’s markets are all about velocity and differentiation. Businesses need to compete hyper-aggressively in a price driven environment that’s saturated with choices for the consumer.  In his new book Cloud CIO Strategy, Toronto author Bruce D’Sena describes the pivotal transformation that’s required if companies want to keep up the pace and stay profitable.

Social networks, The Internet of Things, Wireless connectivity and the Cloud are just some of the disruptive forces dramatically changing the way consumers and businesses interact.  Yet, despite technology’s progress, the chasm between what a business typically needs and the value that their IT department provides is widening. The fundamental approach to how businesses apply information technology as well as their operating culture needs to change.

“Cloudsourcing and the Cloud’s utility service models can bring simplicity, flexibility and speed to businesses, with significantly lower expenditures and a much better cost structure,” says D’Sena. “But many companies approach this the wrong way and make things difficult for themselves. This is not an IT project, but a better approach to IT itself. To succeed, a Cloud strategy must be executed through partnerships that are properly matched, and must deliver incremental value to the business right from the start. Cloud CIO Strategy shows how this can be done.”

Traditional approaches are simply no longer relevant.  Companies that rely completely on their internal IT infrastructure are putting themselves on a path to certain extinction. The knowledge and currency lag, ridiculously high expenditures and other management overheads will drive them to the ground. The social and product frameworks that drive consumer ecosystems are also transitioning to the Cloud, so companies that wait too long are just going to be left behind. The most dynamic new players are already taking advantage of opportunities that Cloud models provide, and getting ahead of the game.

This book is meant to be an eye opener for business and technology executives, as well as for the investment and entrepreneurial community in general. Cloud CIO Strategy conveys a sense of urgency and provides the direction and tools to get started. Filled with ideas and examples, the book addresses Cloud concepts and their relevance to business strategy as well as their application in practice. Topics covered include Cloud fundamentals and architecture, the unique characteristics of utility computing and Cloudsourcing partnerships, organizational aspects, distribution of responsibilities, strategic planning, and many other insightful perspectives on leadership, transition and culture.

The book also includes an engrossing commentary on the Cloud’s confluence with disruptive areas like Wireless Payments and Augmented Reality, and their related impacts on online commerce. Cloud CIO Strategy is available in hardcover and paperback from Lulu Press.

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21st June 2011

Indie Ink Releases Challenge to Find Tayna

Indie Ink Publishing announced an unusual contest today as part of the launch of its new young adult contemporary fantasy novel release, Strange Places, by Saskatoon’s Jefferson Smith.

Raised as a modern-day kitchen slave in an orphanage run by child-loathing nuns, and now stalked by disturbing strangers, the novel’s 13-year-old heroine Tayna gambles everything on a desperate journey to discover her origins that will lead her to the far corners of two strange worlds: one filled with shopping malls and televisions, the other with Gnomes, Djin and magic.Strange Places

One part book launch, one part community celebration, and with a healthy dollop of strange, the launch promises to be memorable. How else would you describe a night that goes beyond plain readings, and includes a dramatic interpretation by school kids, an original musical score, an original pop song about events in the book (written by Jefferson and his daughters), and even an original new drink recipe from the book called boh-cho?

“We’re so proud to launch this amazing book and series,” said Indie Ink founder Suzanne Paschall, “Not to mention this bizarre contest Jefferson has dreamed up.” The series is called Finding Tayna, so readers are encouraged to follow Jeff online and at appearances, where he’ll be giving out clues throughout the year. All you have to do is find Tayna. What makes the contest so unusual is the prize: In addition to traditional prize packages, two winners will be immortalized as non-trivial characters in the second book of the series (planned for 2012 release).

“Jefferson’s wonderful sense of fun and magic has involved young people from the beginning,” Paschall says. “His eldest daughter was the inspiration for the protagonist, and all three daughters formed the dinner-table editorial committee, reacting to each chapter as it was written. When a fourth daughter was born, the family decided that there could only be one name for her: Tayna, the book’s heroine.”

Jefferson, a creativity theorist at the University of Saskatchewan, carried this inclusive style of creation into local schools, too, workshopping scenes with classes and inviting students to critique the book in advance, resulting in writing that captures an authentic youth voice, making it unique among the plethora of other young adult fantasy books written by adults.

Advance praise from independent readers is already coming in. Agnitha, 12, from Saskatoon says, “Holy crap, this book freaking powns!” Connor, 11, from Austin, Texas adds, “A strong beginning with powerful, flowing ideas. Exciting and suspenseful throughout…a wonderful novel for experienced young readers.”

The book officially launches tonight, June 21 (7:30 p.m.) at McNally Robinson and Friday, June 25 (9:00 a.m.) at Caswell Community School.  A list of sales outlets can be found on findingtayna.com. The hard cover book retails for $22.95. Strange Places will also be available in e-book format in all major online e-book stores.

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13th September 2010

Unity 3D Book for Beginners Penned by Toronto Developer Ryan Creighton

Untold EntertainmentIf you have been considering switching to Unity 3D for game development but are unsure of where or how to start, Ryan Henson Creighton, founder of Untold Entertainment, has written a book just for you. Available now for pre-order, Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginner’s Guide is due out later this month.

Overview of Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginner’s Guide:

* Build fun, simple games using the free Unity 3D game engine even if you’ve never coded before
* Learn how to “skin” projects to make totally different games from the same file – more games, less effort!
* Deploy your games to the Internet so that your friends and family can play them
* Packed with ideas, inspiration, and advice for your own game design and development
* Stay engaged with fresh, fun writing that keeps you awake as you learn

What you will learn from this book:

* Find out how people are using the amazing new Unity 3D game engine
* Develop and customize four fun game projects, including a frantic race through hospital hallways with a still-beating human heart and a catch game with a jilted lover that morphs into a space shooter!
* Create both 2D and 3D games using free software and supplied artwork
* Add motion, gravity, collisions, and animation to your game objects using Unity 3D’s built-in systems
* Learn how to use code to control your game objects
* Create particle systems like shattering glass, sparks, and explosions
* Add sound effects to make your games more exciting
* Create static and animated backdrops using multiple cameras
* Build crucial elements you’ll use again and again, like timers, status bars, title screens, win/lose conditions, and buttons to link game screens together
* Deploy your games to the Web to share them with friends, family, and adoring fans
* Discover the difference between game skins and mechanics, to earn more money from your games

PadWorx Digital Mpadworxedia, Inc., an independent developer of a new category of interactive eBooks for tablet PCs, today announced that it is set to debut a series of eBooks on September 15th that combine text, gameplay and interactive touch screen technology to create a new digital book experience completely controlled by the reader. The series of interactive eBooks will be released on Apple®iPadTM in Fall 2010. There will be two debut titles, the first of which is for teens and adults, with the second title being suitable for families.

“With user interaction on almost every page, our books put the power to bring stories to life into the hands of the reader,” said Jeffery Alan Schechter, director and producer of Padworx Digital Media, Inc. “This is not your typical passive eBook experience. Because we develop our eBooks on our own game engine, our readers get engaged not only with the text of the story, but also with the interactive graphics and the gameplay elements. The reader, the graphics and the text form a partnership to create the ultimate reading experience.”

Schechter, a two-time Emmy-nominated writer and producer who is well-known for creating Contour, Mariner Software’s award-winning story development software system, founded PadWorx Digital Media in 2010 with his partner, Tod Baudais, a game programmer and the head of software for a feature animation film studio. PadWorx Digital Media is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of tablet PC capabilities in order to create unique ways for readers of all ages to experience both literature and entertainment.

Desire2LearnDesire2Learn Incorporated (Desire2Learn), a leading provider of mission-critical enterprise eLearning solutions, is the recipient of a Best in Category Award for Learning Management based on the results of the 2010 IMS Learning and Education Technology Satisfaction and Trends (LearnSAT) survey.

For the 2010 competition, only 12 awards were made for “Best in Category.” Recipients were honored at the awards ceremony and presentation held earlier this year during the Learning Impact Conference in Long Beach, CA. Jeremy Auger, COO, Desire2Learn was on-hand to receive the award.

“Congratulations is extended to Desire2Learn on receiving this unique and meaningful award,” says Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive of IMS Global Learning Consortium. “It is the only award we are aware of where the end-user institutions and school districts can express their satisfaction with the vendors.”

The survey, conducted by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, in cooperation with Campus Technology magazine, is unique, for an open web-based survey, in its qualification process of the respondents and cross-check to eliminate any vendor responses or “ballot box stuffing.”

The LearnSAT report, and underlying research, is conducted to provide level of satisfaction information in the use of technology to support teaching and learning to a new and rapidly evolving marketplace. Through the LearnSAT report, those responsible for implementing and supporting solutions in this new marketplace have additional information to supplement that supplied by vendors as to the level of satisfaction expressed by current clients.

“We are honored to be the recipient of this prestigious award from IMS,” states John Baker, President & CEO, Desire2Learn. “The award provides external verification of our continuous commitment to our mission of focusing on our clients and providing them with outstanding client service and support as they continue to strive to ensure program and service excellence to their learning communities.”

A unique aspect of this research is that it also looks at trends in how these technologies are being used and supported, as well as the technologies themselves. It is based on over two years of research uncovering best practices for success in Internet-Supported learning. The IMS Global Learning Consortium LearnSAT is the learning community’s number one source for satisfaction and trends in the use of technology to support learning. Further information on the survey can be found online.

Desire2Learn was also the first LMS provider to have attained the IMS Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (IMS Basic LTI) standard. LTI is a standard developed by IMS Global Learning Consortium to allow Tool Consumers (Learning Management Systems primarily) to easily link to and pass user / organization / course information to Tool Providers (other online applications for eLearning such as wikis, simulations, protected content, assessment tools, etc.).

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