15th August 2011

Calgary To Launch Search-based Web Site

City of CalgaryFollowing a successful preview, The City of Calgary today announced the official launch of the new search-based calgary.ca. The website, which uses Microsoft SharePoint and Google search technology, was available for public Calgary Searchpreview from August 8 to 12. During the preview process, Calgarians were able to test the new site by typing in keywords to find relevant information. Public feedback during the preview process was exceptionally favourable with very few problems reported.

“We were incredibly impressed with the amount of feedback we received. Comments on social media indicated this was a move in the right direction for the City of Calgary” said David Watson, General Manager of Planning, Development and Assessment and Project Sponsor.

“Microsoft is pleased to be part of Calgary’s long term strategic vision to deliver innovation to its employees, Calgary Search Appcitizens and businesses,” said Mike Tremblay, Vice President, Public Sector, Microsoft Canada. “We congratulate The City on the launch of calgary.ca and are delighted that Microsoft SharePoint 2010 was selected as the unified platform to help streamline its government services and foster collaboration between Calgary and its citizens and local businesses.”

Through a competitive bidding process, The City of Calgary hired Infusion Development to complete development work on the website. “The goal from the onset was to ensure that citizens could find information and services quickly and easily.” said, Bill Baldasti, VP Canadian Sales, Infusion. “For this, a custom feed-engine to enable smart searching was developed. On top of this, we built an extensive mapping suite, a completely optimized mobile experience, and online forms that all together will enable revolutionary new ways for the community to interact with their local government.”

The new website marks a movement towards eGovernment and a shift to providing more services and information online. “Our citizens have said this is how they want to interact with their municipal government,” said Watson. He adds, “The upgrades we’ve made to calgary.ca have built the foundation for The City to support future advances in technology and will allow us to better serve and communicate with Calgarians for years to come.”

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15th August 2011

Space Marine Demo Coming Soon

Relic EntertainmentTHQ Inc. has announced that Relic Entertainment will be releasing a playable demo for the upcoming 3rd Person Action/Shooter, Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine® on Xbox Live®, PlayStation® Network and Windows PC. The demo is planned to launch simultaneously for the Xbox 360® and Windows PC on 23rd August and then on PlayStation®3 on 24th August.Space Marine

Players who have pre-ordered the digital PC version of Space Marine through Steam will receive an exclusive early access period starting on the 18th of August, running through the weekend.  Steam will also be running a Warhammer 40,000 bundle sale at a very special rate during the same period.  Check out STEAM for more details.

The Space Marine demo features two very different areas of the game. The first pits the player against an Ork horde outside the gates of a munitions factory. Armed with six devastating weapons, including the iconic bolter and lethal chainsword, the player will get to experience Space Marine’s seamless mix of melee and ranged combat first hand as they take on the rampaging invaders. The second area gives players a taste of the exhilarating Jump Pack sequences where the game’s hero—Captain Titus—takes to the skies to rain death from above.

Space Marine ‘Honour Guard’ community members will also get the chance to play the demo early on August 22nd, 24 hours prior to the public launch. For more information on how to sign up to get the demo visit the Space Marine site and make sure you have registered with the Honour Guard.

 

 

 

 

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15th August 2011

Canadian EA Titles At GamesCom

EA GamesElectronic Arts will showcase the best of interactive entertainment at this year’s gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The company’s top intellectual properties are set to delight visitors, highlighting this year’s blockbuster launches and offerings for console, mobile phones, tablets and the Web. The publisher will also be providing 350 gaming stations at the EA booth allowing more consumers than ever before to get hands-on play with each game.

Jens Uwe Intat, Senior Vice President of EA European Publishing, said, “The old model of making games every few years to coincide with new hardware launches is gone. We have a very powerful set of games for today’s consoles, and now we offer that IP to players as year-round entertainment across all of their devices and platforms. We’re looking forward to our fans’ response when they get hands-on with our line-up at the show – we think they’ll like what they see”.

Canadian-made games at the show include:

  • FIFA 12: Huge space that puts players on the pitch to experience the gameplay action.
  • Need for Speed™ The Run: Get behind the wheel in a race for your life from the Golden Gate to the Empire State.
  • Mass Effect™ 3: Bioware’s high octane alien invasion adventure explodes in an all-out galactic war. The time has come to join the war effort and experience the industry’s most critically acclaimed RPG first-hand.
  • The Secret World: Funcom producers will be showing an exciting live demo in one of many dungeons, highlighting combat, progression and boss fights.
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12th August 2011

What Did We Miss

It appears that there were loads of news announcements made while we were at SIGGRAPH with very sketchy wireless. The media room where we could have had a wired connection was two floors and a long walk away, but we wouldn’t have had long enough on the wired connection to catch up on everything. Here are just a few of the stories that broke during the past few days:

MIGSThe Montreal International Game Summit announced its keynote speakers. The conference will open with Jason Rohrer, an independent Game Designer, and Richard Lemarchand, Lead Game Designer for Naughty Dog, on November 1st and 2nd respectively. Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubisoft, will have the honour of delivering the conference’s closing keynote.

Other featured speakers at MiGS 2011 include David Hego, Artistic Director for Rocksteady Studios, who will be presenting in the Arts & VFX Track. Alain Tascan, President & CEO at Sava Transmedia will be participating in the Business track while Lee Perry, Senior Gameplay Designer for Epic Games will be on the Design track. Over on the Technology track, attendees will find a presentation by Stefan Boberg, Technical Development Director at EA DICE, while the Production track will feature a presentation by David Anfossi, Producer – DX: HR at Eidos Montreal. A new track has been added for 2011, and Tom Salta, Music Composer known for producing scores featured in popular franchises such as R.U.S.E. and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands will be the featured presenter for the brand new Audio track. Please visit the MiGS site for an up-to-date speaker list.Assassin's Creed Revelations Constantinople

ubisoft canadaUbisoft announced that PlayStation® gamers will be able to test their assassination skills beginning on September 3rd with a multiplayer beta of the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Revelations that will run until September 11th. PlayStation®Plus members and Uplay members will enjoy exclusive access to the multiplayer beta on PlayStation®3. The multiplayer beta offers access to nine characters – The Sentinel, The Vanguard, The Guardian, The Vizier, The Thespian, The Deacon, The Bombardier, The Trickster and The Champion, three maps – Knight’s Hospital, Antioch, Constantinople, and four playable modes – Wanted and Manhunt, as well as two new modes, Deathmatch and Artifact Assault. The rest of us will apparently have to wait until the game’s release on November 15th.

BiowareBioware’s Dragon Age franchise has expanded to Google+ games. Dragon Age™ Legends, the Dragon Age Legendspopular dark fantasy Play4Free® RPG developed by BioWare San Francisco (formerly EA 2D) has launched, and is the only game of its kind on Google’s new real-life social project. Dragon Age Legends extends the award-winning Dragon Age franchise and reinvents it for social play on Google+. The game blends accessible and engaging tactical combat, progression and exploration in the Dragon Age universe, and is perfect for co-operative and competitive gameplay across players’ Google+ Circles and Hangouts.

wordlogicVancouver’s WordLogic Corporation, a provider of advanced predictive text software for smartphones, PCs and other devices, has announced the availability of WordLogic Intelligent Input™ technology for licensing to manufacturers and software developers. The technology is ideal for mobile app developers, search providers, and device OEMs looking for the best possible predictive text or search technology.

WordLogic Intelligent Input™ helps make text input on touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics devices faster, more accurate and helpful. Devices like smartphones, tablets, automotive infotainment systems, Internet TV, and game consoles are proliferating by the billions. They enable the Internet and employ touchscreens, body motion, infrared controllers or other non-mechanical keyboards to enter text, search and control applications. WordLogic Intelligent Input™ brings next generation text input to these text-hungry devices.

Current predictive text methods, which rely upon adjacent key prediction or misspellings, are frequently so inaccurate use that people simply turn them off. Alternatives require too much of a learning curve for mass adoption. Voice input has improved, but even server-based voice recognition is frequently insufficient in environments subject to background noise, such as groups where conversation is taking place, in vehicles, and on the street.

gorilla nationGorilla Nation Media Canada has announced that it will exclusively represent the online advertising sales for European news site Figaro Medias in the Canadian market.

“Group Figaro is enthusiastic to join the Gorilla Nation family. We share the same vision of the digital business, which is to guarantee premium, innovative and engaging contents (video, chat session, etc.), to join our audience on all devices and platforms and to respond with care to our advertisers the same way we care about our content. The adaptability and the service quality of Gorilla Nation bring a new dynamic to the Figaro Medias offer in Canada,” says Eileen Lemuet, International Commercial Director at Figaro Medias.

“With the addition of Figaro Medias to our roster of sites, it shows our commitment and seriousness in increasing our offer in the French Canadian market, while complementing some of the new business sites we have recently added,” says Jean-Sébastien Tremblay, Director of sales, East of Canada, at GN Media Canada.

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12th August 2011

We Made It Home To SIGGRAPH 2011

Orby Is At SIGGRAPHI will be writing up our own summary of our experiences at SIGGRAPH 2011 – there is much to digest and process from the week. In addition, I have over 1000 photos to go through and we have video footage to edit (thank you to all who participated in the Hot Seat Elevator Interviews). In the meantime, here is the official press release wrap from the SIGGRAPH Organization – with a few injections from our experiences.

SIGGRAPH 2011 is now over, but while it was here the conference welcomed 15,872 artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students, and academics from 74 countries around the globe to Vancouver this week—breaking the city’s previous conference attendance records. In addition, 156 industry organizations exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2011—representing 17 countries with approximately half from outside the United States.

Content was once again king at SIGGRAPH with approximately 825 speakers participating in the conference through a variety of talks, sessions, panels, papers, presentations, and screenings. We would have liked to have seen a lot more of the panels and talks, and the one panel we really wanted to get into was standing room only Expo Floor Entranceright out the door, so we didn’t get to hear about opening a remote studio in Vancouver.

“It was both an inspirational and incredibly fulfilling week,” said Peter Braccio, SIGGRAPH 2011 Conference Chair from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. “Vancouver was an awesome home for SIGGRAPH and people are leaving with a renewed sense of passion and motivation both in their professional and personal lives. Vancouver delivered on its reputation as a world-class city.”

New to SIGGRAPH this year was the SIGGRAPH Symposium: The Business Think Tank, which was held on Sunday. The objective of the event was to help shape the future direction of the computer graphics industry. A sold out event, we kept hearing comments during the week about what a great event the Think Tank was. We were busy setting up our booth, so were unable to get over to the East Building to check it out.

The conference keynote was presented by science fiction author, blogger and activist Cory Doctorow. As he has done at other events around the globe, Mr. Doctorow presented his views on the state of copyright laws in the digital age, which are vastly different from our own. As we watched the presentation, we found ourselves in disagreement with many of Mr. Doctorow’s statements and conjectures. This was somewhat disappointing, as we feel it could potentially undo much of the excellent work that has been done thus far on copyright reform in Canada. In our opinion, SIGGRAPH could have had a keynote presentation that spoke more to the growth and successes Canada is experiencing in the technology and digital media industry sectors instead of an opinionated keynote that was not entirely accurate.

The SIGGRAPH 2011 Computer Animation Festival presented the world’s most innovative, accomplished, and amazing creators of digital gaming, film, and video. A total of 77 films were shown during the Festival. In addition to film screenings, the Festival included interactive sessions and exclusive learning opportunities to gain industry secrets and advice from some of the most successful professionals in the field.

SIGGRAPH 2011 Computer Animation Festival award winners include:

  • Best in Show Award: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
    Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, Moonbot Studios
  • Jury Award: Paths of Hate
    Directed by Damian Nenow, Platige Image
  • Best Student Project Prize: Flamingo Pride
    Directed by Tomer Eshed, The Konrad Wolf Potsdam-Babelsberg Film and Television University

Technical Papers, the premier global forum for presenting groundbreaking research from today’s leading experts. The SIGGRAPH 2011 Technical Papers program featured 82 Technical Papers, selected among 432 submissions. In addition to core topics of modeling, animation, rendering, imaging, and human-computer interaction, the Technical Papers program encouraged submissions from areas related to computer graphics, including: computer games, design, vision, scientific and information visualization, audio, and robotics.

SIGGRAPH 2011 Art Gallery: Tracing Home explored issues related to the concept of home in the networked age. From more than 300 submissions, the Art Gallery jury selected 16 pieces to be featured, including 2D images, audio, video, and data-driven and mixed-media installations. All pieces explored “home” as both a conceptual category and a physical reality, often blurring the boundaries between the two.

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11th August 2011

Game On Audio To Create Simultaneous Audio Recording MoCap Studios

Game On AudioGame On Audio has taken the first steps towards launching its newest offering: studios capable
of simultaneously recording the highest quality audio while also capturing the full-body and facial performances of video game actors. Game On Audio has tapped Organic Motion’s new “OpenStage” markerless motion capture mo-cap technology, which is making its debut at Siggraph 2011, purchasing three systems.

Organic Motion’s new markerless, suitless mo-cap system delivers many innovative features including multiple actor tracking, fundamental prop tracking, larger scanning space, increased accuracy, as well as eliminating the need for a backdrop. Construction on these precedent-setting studios begins mid-September 2011 in Game On’s Venice facility and is due to be completed January 15th 2012, while the Montreal facility installation will begin in July 2012 and finalized by October 2012. The performance studios will be exact duplicates of each other to maintain quality control in all aspects of the performance capture. Internationally renowned architectural firm, Boto Design will handle the design and construction for the new studios.

The installation of Organic Motion’s “OpenStage” will enable Game On Audio to provide clients in both the gaming industry, and the entertainment industry as a whole, with the ability to simultaneously capture the performances of actors vocally and physically. Standard motion capture stages aren’t outfitted and equipped to capture high-quality sound, which leads to costly dubbing sessions where actors have to add voices to the physical action. With Game On’s new “Performance Studios,” which are fitted to Game On’s company-wide audio specifications, this has been consolidated into a one-step process.

“We’ve seen how costly it can be for clients forced to capture their actors’ motion imagery and voicework separately,” said Sam Girardin, CEO and Founder of Game On Audio. “Organic Motion’s new system allows for actors to immerse themselves in the scene and not worry about the confinements and restrictions that the traditional motion capture process entails. This is a completely different approach that makes sense on many levels, for us and for our clients. We’re proud to be the first company to design studios specifically for this purpose.”

Game On has already been working with facial motion capture, having provided the service on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and many yet to be announced AAA titles. With offices in Montreal and Los Angeles, Game On Audio is a recognized leader in voice recording, casting, direction, facial motion capture, game mixing and audio post-production for the global video game industry. In addition, through a network of partner studios in New York, Paris, Toronto and Vancouver, the company provides clients with access to the most diverse pool of talent in the industry.

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10th August 2011

Activision and GameStop Launch PROTOTYPE 2 Get in the Game Promotion

Radical EntertainmentGamers now have a chance to win their ultimate fantasy with Activision Publishing, Inc.’s and GameStop’s, “Get in the Game,” pre-order promotion for Radical Entertainment’s highly anticipated PROTOTYPE® 2.

U.S. and Canadian players, 18 and older, who pre-order PROTOTYPE 2 at GameStop between now and September 1, 2011 will have the opportunity to go online and enter a random drawing to win a trip for two to Radical Entertainment in Vancouver and become a character in the upcoming open-world action thriller.  To enter the drawing, and for full rules and regulations, go to www.gamestop.com/collection/prototype-2.  The press release said that Canadians who want to enter the contest should go to www.gamestop.ca/prototype-2, however at press time, that link resulted in a 404 error. In fact, GameStop’s Canadian site didn’t mention the contest at all. prototype 2Conspiracy?

“Thanks to this great partnership with Activision and GameStop, we have an incredible opportunity to offer gamers something truly unique,” said Ken Rosman, Studio Head, Radical Entertainment.  “In addition to just seeing themselves in the game, the winners will actually be able to locate their virtual selves and shape-shift Sgt. James Heller into their likeness.  Radical wouldn’t be where it is today without our fans, and this is just another way for us to thank them for all their support.”

The sequel to Radical Entertainment’s best-selling open-world action game of 2009, PROTOTYPE 2 takes the unsurpassed carnage of the original PROTOTYPE and continues the experience of becoming the ultimate shape-shifting weapon.  As the game’s all-new infected protagonist, Sgt. James Heller, players will cut a bloody swathe through the wastelands of post-viral New York Zero (or more simply… NYZ) with unparalleled locomotion, building up a vast genetic arsenal of deadly, biological weapons and abilities as they hunt and consume their way toward the ultimate goal — to kill…Alex…Mercer!

PROTOTYPE 2 is currently in development for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Windows PC.  The game is currently rated “RP” (Rating Pending) by the ESRB, with an expected “M” rating.

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10th August 2011

UBC Student Wins Conversation With Christopher Nolan

wind mobileYesterday UBC student and aspiring filmmaker Ian Holliday, had the conversation of his dreams with his idol: Academy Award nominated film director, Christopher Nolan. Holliday was one of more than 10,000 people to register for WIND Mobile’s competition Best Conversation Ever which offered Canadians the chance to speak to anyone in the world.  By submitting the most creative entry of the competition, inspired by Nolan’s own work, and rallying hundreds of votes, Holliday’s entry won him the conversation of his dreams.

“When my friends and I found out about WIND Mobile’s contest, Best Conversation Ever, we knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime and had a lot of fun creating the video,” said Ian Holliday. “We never imagined that we would actually win so talking to Mr. Nolan this morning was truly an unbelievable experience. I am still in awe.”

Holliday is the third of five Canadians to win their ‘best conversation ever’ through the WIND Mobile competition. He and his classmates, Yuri Cabrera and David Bolen, are film students at the University of British Columbia and all respect and admire Christopher Nolan as a film maker.  Nolan, who is currently filming his latest film, The Dark Knight Rises, took time out of his hectic schedule to talk to Holliday this morning. The first two winners chose to speak with entrepreneur and philanthropist, W. Brett Wilson, and Toronto Blue Jays General Manager, Alex Anthopoulous.

“I am honoured that Ian chose to have a conversation with me,” said Nolan. “I wish Ian the best of luck heading into this industry and hope our conversation provided him with some useful information to make breaking through easier.”

To make these conversations happen, WIND Mobile will donate over a half a million dollars to Canadian charities.  Each of the five personalities who participate is asked to choose one Canadian charity to receive $100,000 for a total of $500,000 in donations. Nolan selected the Canadian Film Centre as the recipient for his donation. In addition to the $500,000, another $100,000 has already been donated to six Canadian charities in the Best Conversation Ever Charity Challenge.

“This first-of-its kind competition is completely unique – it’s not only making dreams come true for several lucky Canadians but it’s also making a real different to several Canadian charities,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman and CEO of WIND Mobile. “As a mobile company, we definitely see this as the power of conversation at its most powerful – it has allowed us to change lives and give back to our communities.”

 

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8th August 2011

Where Are You Today

Orby Is At SIGGRAPHFor those of you visiting the site today and wondering where all of the great Canadian news is that I usually share with you, well, we’re at SIGGRAPH 2011 with limited internet access, so posting any news is going to be a challenge. That said, there are lots of awesome Canadian companies (or international companies with a Canadian location) at SIGGRAPH this year, so I hope you stop by to visit. I’ve listed those with booths below.  We are in Booth 1018 – please stop by for a visit and an interview.Canadian Creative

In the meantime, we have soft-launched our new project. Right now you can only look at our announcement, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for the two of us to work on the new project, work on Village Gamer, get ready for SIGGRAPH and put in appearances at our paying day jobs. So, without further ado, please visit Canadian Creative and sign up for email notifications (we won’t be selling, renting or giving away your addresses) so that you know when the front door is unlocked and the coffee is on.

Canadian Companies on display at SIGGRAPH 2011:

3D3 Solutions – Booth: 879

Autodesk, Inc. – Booth: 429

British Columbia Film Commission – Booth: 889

Campbell River Creative Industries Council – Booth: 580

Capilano University – Booth: 807

Centre for Digital Media – Booth: 938

cebas Visual Technology Inc. – Booth 250

Digital Domain – Booth 343

Emily Carr University of Art + Design – Booth: 947

Eos Systems Inc. – Booth: 273

iDesign Solutions Booth: 609

MPC – Booth: 463

Measurand Inc. – Booth: 252

Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment Booth: 890

Muuun Technologies Inc. – Booth: 690

NDI – Booth: 969

Nelvana Studio – Booth: 708

NorPix Inc. – Booth: 1017

PO-MO Inc. – Booth: 808

Peer 1 Hosting Booth: 283

Pixar Animation Studios Booth: 235

Point Grey Research Inc. Booth: 255

Rainmaker Entertainment Booth: 971

Sheridan College
Booth: 813

Side Effects Software Inc. Booth: 712

Simon Fraser University School of Interactive Arts and Technology – Booth: 151

Southpaw Technology Inc. – Booth: 158

Think Tank Training Centre Booth: 944

Toon Boom Animation, Inc. – Booth: 710

Ubisoft World – Booth 955

VanArts – Vancouver Institute of Media Arts Ltd. Booth: 490

Vancouver Animation School Booth: 381

Vancouver Film School – Booth: 739

Vancouver Motion Capture: Animatrik and Alastair Macleod – Booth: 968

Waterloo Region – Canada’s Technology Triangle – Booth: 480

Note:  booth numbers are as of August 1st, hopefully they weren’t moved – let me know if I missed anyone

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6th August 2011

We Are One Day Away From SIGGRAPH 2011

acm siggraphHave you made Vancouver home for the next six days? If so, that must mean you’re planning to be at SIGGRAPH 2011, which opens tomorrow at the Vancouver Convention Centre and runs until Thursday evening. The Conference and Computer Animation Festival goes from August 7 right through until the 11th and the Exhibition floor with (200+ displays) is open from August 9th through 11th. It is still possible to pick up single day passes, and at just $45.00, they are too good of a deal to miss out on. If you prefer, there are passes still available for the entire week. We got a sneak peek at the expo floor last evening, and it looks awesome. Check out your options on the SIGGRAPH 2011 Registration Info page.

This is the first time the flagship conference for the ACM SIGGRAPH organization has been held in Canada, and is an incredible opportunity for the Canadian digital media and film industry sectors. There are, at my count, 37 Canadian companies – or international companies with a Canadian location – with exhibit booths on the conference floor, including ourselves in Booth 1018. This does not include the number of Canadian companies who may have a booth in the Job Fair area of the conference, nor those like Corel who will be working out of LightBox’s booth. Nor does it include the Canadian studios who will be represented in our booth with their trailers and games or those being highlighted through the DFAIT and provincial economic development booths. There is without a doubt going to be lots to see, lots to learn, and many people to meet at SIGGRAPH 2011.

SIGGRAPH 2011 highlights the full spectrum of the $67 billion annual computer graphics industry, showcasing the world’s finest technology exhibits, interactive displays, and the best in animation and visual effects. Numerous cutting-edge research and commercial products are shown to the public for the first time in interactive exhibit areas. Examples include:

  • Displays: Watch attendees interacting with cutting-edge 3D displays that will change their home theaters and video game experiences.
  • Robotics, Wearables, and Haptics: See people engaging with robots and stimulation devices such as a wearable pregnancy jacket that allows the user to feel a fetus’s temperature, movements, and heartbeat.
  • Mobile Devices: Interact with the next wave of advancements in mobile technological devices such as a “watch” that turns your hand into a mini-keyboard.

You can get a look at the expo floor map (PDF) on the SIGGRAPH web site, it is current as of August 1st, and for those who are not aware, the expo hall is on the lower level of the new convention centre.

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