12th June 2008

Open House at Great Northern Way Campus

Come celebrate Vancouver’s emerging centre of innovation in sustainability, arts & culture, and digital media.

Concepts for the future development of GNWC will be on display. Join us for live performances, an exhibition of works by local artists, and fun hands-on activities. Entertainment for the whole family!

Date: Saturday June 21 2008 – 10:00am – 3:00pm
Location: Great Northern Way Campus – 577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver

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11th June 2008

Vancouver Firms Nominated For New Media Awards

New Media The Canadian new media industry will gather on November 19th to honour this year’s winners in front of hundreds of their peers, showcasing previous years’ highlights, and focusing on the promising future of the Canadian new media industry.

In the meantime, the list of nominees has been announced, with some 20 digital media content creation and new media technology companies among the honourees. Among this year’s studio nominees are Vancouver’s Next Level Games, Inc. with two nominations, Goodison Design, Kinzin, Vision Critical and Taunt Media of Burnaby. Congratulations also to Masters of Digital Media Executive Director Dr. Gerri Sinclair and Producer Michael Fergusson for their respective nominations in the Educator of the Year and Producer of the Year categories.

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10th June 2008

Botnet Case Ends in Guilty Plea

In a statement issued earlier today, the US Attorney’s office in Sacramento, California announced that Greg King has pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting code to cause damage to a protected computer. As part of the plea agreement Greg King agreed to a two-year US Federal prison sentence. As this is a US Federal case, Greg King will be required to serve the full sentence without parole. Actual sentencing for the case is scheduled to take place on September 3, 2008 at which time the presiding Judge may make additional conditions within the sentence, including court-ordered restitution.

This case arose from Greg King’s continual botnet attacks and hacking attempts against Village Gamer’s parent company, KillaNet Technology Ltd., dating back to early in 2004. The non-profit volunteer-run digital media resource community often withstood DDoS attacks of thousands of megabytes per second, which often resulted in damage to web files and databases or total web server downtime, not to mention lost time in regards to community development and the loss of many hours of family time.

Thanks to their commitment to the case and the hard work of FBI Special Agent Brian Scott and US Attorney Matt Segal, the KillaNet Technology community is very happy to see an end in sight to this ordeal, and will be looking forward to the date of Greg King’s sentencing to US Federal prison.

A copy of the official US State Attorney’s office press release is available here in pdf format.

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3rd June 2008

VFS Hosts Upcoming Events

* Vancouver Film School will be hosting an open house on June 18th for their Film Production Programme:

VFS Film Production Open House
6pm – 8pm at the VFS Café, 390 West Hastings Street (corner of Homer and Hastings)
RSVP to openhouse@vfs.com or 604.631.3591

– See what makes the VFS Film Production program one of the best in the world.
– Meet award-winning Film Production Department Head David Hauka.
– Hear from instructors in Directing, Cinematography, Post Production & Art Design as they discuss their areas of expertise.
– Get the straight goods from students and alumni.
– Watch award-winning student films made at VFS and find out more about all the projects Film Production students tackle.

* This coming weekend, Vancouver Film School will be co-presenting the Screenwriters’ Summit, which will be taking place at the VanCity Theatre in Vancouver. Featured speakers are: Syd Field, Linda Seger, Michael Hauge, and John Truby.

The weekend will include half-day lectures with each speaker, with very little content overlap: the speakers have worked together to build their lectures to complement one another. Major topics include: character goals and desire, character arcs, the nature of conflict, universal themes and symbols, understanding your demographic, key genre conventions, deep structure, and the 7 steps to a great premise. Each half-day will culminate in a Q & A session with the speakers.

Screenwriters Summit
Saturday June 7- Sunday June 8, 2008
8:30am – 6:00pm each day
Vancouver International Film Centre @ Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street
Cost: $425.00 per person – seminar seating capacity: 175

Registration and Further Information

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3rd June 2008

Vancouver Film School Scholarship Winners

Way back in March of this year, Vancouver Film School announced that they were partnering with YouTube to create a scholarship challenge. YouTubers were given the chance to win one of three full scholarships for whichever VFS programme they wanted to pursue, all they had to do was produce a three minute short film around the subject “What Matters To You”.

The response to the competition was widespread, with hundreds entries coming in from all over the globe. The Vancouver Film School team whittled through the entries, and placed the top ten on the VFS YouTube channel and allowed the public to vote on their favourites.

The top three videos have been announced, and they are:

Jorge R. Canedo Estrada, 17, of Mexico (Digital Design)

Christopher Harrell, 25, of the United States (Digital Design)

Stefan Ramirez Pérez, 19, of Germany (Foundation Visual Art & Design)

You can view the three winning entries right here on VFS’ YouTube channel.

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2nd June 2008

Just A Little Fire

…and a big explosion.

If anyone is wondering where all of our servers disappeared to, there was an electrical fire and explosion in the Houston data centre Saturday afternoon which effectively knocked the whole building offline as there was no power, and the fire department ordered the generators disconnected. I know we should be very grateful – and we are – that the explosion and resulting fire weren’t much worse. At least we still have our servers and didn’t suffer any data loss. Of course, it’s also a great thing that no one working at the data centre was injured.

As you can tell, the centre now has power and we are once again online with all servers and sites functioning, including the IRC. So – welcome back. 🙂

There may be some intermittent outages over the next two weeks as rebuilding takes place in the data centre, and when they take Phase 1 off of generator power and integrate it back in with full building power. This will most likely be done on a Saturday night, which is when our servers are at their quietest. In the meantime, we will hopefully remain online without problems and continue moving ahead with the development of this site.

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28th May 2008

The Book of Games Volume 2

Originally written for KillaNet Community Resources in 2007

Book of Games Volume 2The Book of Games Volume 2
Authors: Bendik Stang, Morten A. Osterholt, Erik Hoftun, Jorgen Kirksaeter, Hans Christian Bjorne
Publisher: gameXplore N.A. Inc.
Paperback: 448 pages
October 2007

I was privileged to be sent an advance PDF copy of The Book of Games Volume 2 by author Bendik Stang, and having now completed my reading of this volume in one evening, I am eagerly looking forward to the print version. The Book of Games Vol. 2 has matured exponentially over its previous incarnation, which I feel is very appropriate as Volume 2 has a very pointed focus on the maturity which the videogame industry as a whole is experiencing. While I am still disappointed in regards to the lack of coverage in regards to the Guild Wars properties, that is largely due to personal bias, as I am a casually hardcore Guild Wars player. Now that I have my only truly negative viewpoint out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff.

I was extremely impressed with the amount of research which had obviously gone into the production of Volume 2, as well as the new features which had been added for the individual game listings and ratings. These additions show that the authors listened to those who took the time to give them feedback on Volume 1, and as such have made themselves a part of the gaming community in a way which some authors never achieve, no matter how knowledgeable they may be on their topics. Another interesting sidenote was seeing another book which I am in process of reviewing featured in a sidebar in this book. As a journalist with a heavy research addiction, I always consider how useful a publication will be to me on my endless quest for knowledge, and The Book of Games Volume 2 passed that consideration with ease. There are many, many sources for further reading and education.

While The Book of Games Volume 1 was a handy reference for the parents and relatives of gamers, Volume 2 fully opens up the changing videogame industry, from development to tournaments and beyond. The authors have successfully put the industry into a nutshell – one which gamers, teachers, parents and even grandparents will appreciate. This volume has every component of the videogame world between its covers, and takes a look at every aspect in a well-worded, well-researched, and well-presented manner. Every chapter contains evidence of how videogames have become an integral part of our lives in the 21st century – from those who pick up a quick game of solitaire to those who travel the pro-gamer circuits. One photo I could immediately relate to was that of Norway’s Olav Undheim, winner of the 2007 World Cyber Games Grand Final Warcraft III Tournament. I saw that match, along with all of the other events held on that final game day in Seattle this past October. I was there when Olav hoisted that $ 20 000.00 cheque over his head at the medals presentation – and that’s what this industry called videogaming has at its core – a vibrant, global community – one which we experience at our own annual LAN tournament, and one which The Book of Games Volume 2 has opened to the world.
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28th May 2008

Mendella Confirmed For Digital Storm 2008

Mendella

UK rock group Mendella has officially added Digital Storm LAN to their summer tour schedule, and will be performing at 8pm on Saturday, August 2, 2008. The performance will only be open to tournament participants, invited guests, event sponsors and members of the media. Mendella is graciously appearing at the event without charge to Digital Storm. The performance is open to corporate sponsorship, and Digital Storm still has many opportunities for companies and individuals to get involved with the tournament in return for promotional considerations. This year’s Digital Storm LAN is being held at the Vancouver Croatian Cultural Centre, located at 3250 Commercial Drive and features 48 hours of gaming competition and fun. There is still some exhibit space available at the LAN, which is a great opportunity for technology vendors, game developers, publishers and others involved in the game industry to promote and sell their products.

Digital Storm LAN is a World Cyber Games qualifying location for those gamers wanting to compete at the WCG Canada Nationals and the World Cyber Games Grand Finals being held in Cologne, Germany this fall. Digital Storm is also a fund-raiser for KillaNet’s Technology Education Centre which is slated for opening in the Spring of 2009. Corporations already involved with this year’s tournament include Shaw Cable, G4 TechTV Canada, Blade Internet Radio, RedBeard, SteelSeries, Argus Cameras, VisionTek, CPU Magazine and VS Gaming Arena. Competitor’s tickets for the LAN may be purchased either online through the Digital Storm web site, or in person at VS Gaming Arena, located at 128 E. Broadway between Quebec and Main.

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25th May 2008

VIDfest and PopVox Awards 2008

VIDfest

Yes, it’s been a very busy week for me – and for an information junkie like myself, it’s been a boon week. The seminars and topics offered by this year’s VIDfest committee were both timely and informative, and all guest speakers were a treat to hear as they imparted with their wisdom and good humour. This was the first time I was able to attend VIDfest, and I found the event to be very worthwhile. Candidates who attended the pitchfest and the Convergence sections of VIDfest were able to get positive, applicable feedback about their products from industry professionals as well as from others who sat in on the sessions. As with VIGS, I will be posting article wrap-ups for all of the seminars which I was able to attend, along with photos from both VIDfest and the PopVox Awards. Speaking of the PopVox Awards, I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the nominees and winners, who are listed below.

· Best Digital Animated Short: PSYOP, for Coca-Cola “Happiness Factory, the Movie”
· Best Digital VFX: Ubisoft, for Assassin’s Creed
· Best Game (Console/PC): Metanet Software and Slick Entertainment, for N+ on Xbox 360 / XBLA
· Best Game (Casual): Acronym Games, for Rocketmen: Axis of Evil
· Best Mobile (Game): The Saints, for NavBall
· Best Mobile (Application): CellMap Inc, for CellMap
· Best Digital Campaign: Rainmaker Entertainment and Zeros2Heroes Media, for A ReBoot ReLaunch
· Best User Generated/Crowd-sourced Content Site: Invoke Media, for Memelabs.com
· Best Digital Score: Clicktoy Interactive Inc., for The Meadow
· Best Do-Gooder site (Social Change Initiative): smashLAB, for DesignCanChange.org
· Homegrown Award (Best BC-based Venture): smashLAB, for MakeFive.com

Congratulations to all of you, and to the VIDfest/PopVox teams who put on a great event.

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25th May 2008

2nd Annual VIGS Was Great

vigs logo

For any of you who had a chance to attend this year’s Vancouver International Game Summit, you know what a great networking and educational experience it was. From the media reception on Tuesday evening hosted by Slant Six Games to the closing keynote featuring a post-mortem on the success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and the combined VIGS-VIDfest reception at the Vancouver Art Gallery,  I had ample opportunity to meet new people and catch up with friends in the industry. VIGS is definitely a great place to learn and network, although sometimes it is very difficult to choose which seminars to attend on which track, as the tracks run simultaneously. This is when cloning would definitely come in handy. Over the coming week, I will be posting articles about the various seminars which I attended, along with many of the photos I took at VIGS. The folks at Reboot Communications can congratulate themselves on a job very well done, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year’s Summit.

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