26th April 2011

Game Prototype Challenge Sets New Record

Game Prototype ChallengeAt only Challenge #5, the Game Prototype Challenge has grown even more than its creator could have imagined. When the Challenge first launched last November, six developers submitted titles. In this fifth challenge, eighteen prototypes were submitted. Game Prototype Challenge is not a competition, there are no prizes and these games are not meant to be fully polished ready-for-launch products. They are prototypes meant to convey an idea, giving it life through a playable platform. Developers simply take the challenge’s theme and run with it, honing their skills while letting their imaginations roam the wide open fields of their creativity. There are no production limits beyond time – each prototype must be completed within one week.  Themes have been varied, starting with Dreams and Collectibles and venturing to areas such as Immortality, Loneliness, Burdens, and in this latest round, visiting the idea of Companions and Rising.

Here then, without further ado, are the latest Game Challenge Prototype creations, one of which I think has the longest game title ever:

Los Dos Escaladores by Jason P. Kaplan
Mech Survivor by InEvoWare Studios
Sea Lift by Kai Skye
The Seed by Alexander Barabash
Stratosfear by Quick Fingers
Climbers by Sergey Tikhonov
Boreas & Notus by Alexis Andre
A Bit Of Life by Ben Simms
Bread Duck by Kyle Rodgers
Cloud Cat by Jesper Oskarsson
Fun Time Jump Game: The Game by Cale Bradbury
Guzzy by MisfitBYTE
Bread Rising by Michael Gi
Obsolescence by Charles Amis & Ian Gil
Terror of the Lost Girlfriend by Stan MacDonald
Shoot For The Stars Super Conjoined Twins May All Your Dreams Come True by Jon Remedios & Rachel Kahn
100th by Alexander Martin
Close Support by Dylan Van Cleave

Game Prototype Challenge is open to everyone – you do not need to be a full-time game developer, you don’t even need to be employed as a game developer. If you love mapping out ideas and making games, that’s all you need – you don’t even have to go it alone. Pair up with a friend, collaborate on possibilities and get prototyping. If you need help getting started, call on Game Prototype Challenge founder Jason Kaplan – he’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. The next Challenge is expected to take place in June.

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26th April 2011

Your Survey Input Requested

CATACATAAlliance has sent out the following call for survey input:

PRO5, a research group whose team members are students of graduate studies in project management at the Université du Québec, are conducting research on “The Forgotten Dimensions of Success and Failure“. While the survey should only take a few minutes of your time to complete, the data collected will yield rich results in support of project management research, and will be shared with the participants. Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated. All completed surveys are strictly confidential.

Research on the success and failure of projects has generally focused on three traditional criteria: time, cost and scope – known as the “Triple Constraint”. The purpose of this survey is to explore what other dimensions may exist – beyond the triple constraint – that are worthy of exploration as to their discrete or collective impact on project success or failure, and how these results may be similar or different, across a number of industry sectors. We call these “The Forgotten Dimensions of Success and Failure.”

agent wildfireAgent Wildfire has also sent out a request for survey input. The 3rd annual Buzz Report survey is conducted by Agent Wildfire and  is comprised of 30 questions, which should take 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey provides a pulsecheck among business leaders for shifts in attitudes, adoption and perceptions of marketing, media, digital life and customer culture.

In 2009 and 2010, over 300 people responded to our survey each year and we hope over the next six weeks to have an even bigger pool of talent responding and establishing a third annual benchmark on how these trends are changing.

The target audience for this survey are: business executives, marketers, media people, consultants, strategists, digiterati, PR, creative and communications staff, web operations staff, academia and other new media enthusiasts regardless of level of skill or experience.

The coolness factor? To our knowledge, there isn’t another survey that attempts to get after insights about the ecosystem surrounding new and progressive alternative media and marketing formats.

In return for filling out this survey, we are also offering the chance to win one of five Wikibrands books and opportunity for free workshop. Please let us know in the contact information area at the end of this survey whether you’d like a copy of the top-line results and we would be happy to share them with you when they are finalized.

Also, if you’re interested in attending our Buzz Report live event in Toronto (June 14th) and webinar (June 21st) with the first release of these results, discount codes will be provided for survey respondents.

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26th April 2011

MyCorporation Expands To Canada

MyCorporationCalifornia-based MyCorporation.com, a business-focused document filing services, is expanding its services to Canada. MyCorporation provides a multitude of services for startup and existing businesses, including corporation and LLC formations, business licenses, and trademark registrations. With over 15 years experience and over 200,000 incorporations filed, MyCorporation brings unmatched expertise, quality, and customer service to Canada. Customers in the U.S. have come to rely on the efficiency of MyCorporation and Canadian customers can plan to reap those same services and benefits when the site is launched.

The United States is not the only country with a need for document filing services. Canadian entrepreneurs are in need of MyCorporation’s services as well. MyCorporation will assist customers in order to form one of four business entities: C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Non-Profit Corporation, or Professional Corporation. Services will start at $49.00, with packages being offered at $99.00, $199.00.

MyCorporation will initially give Canadian entrepreneurs the opportunity to file federally or in the province of Ontario. The decision to incorporate federally or provincially depends on the goals and scope of the company. Corporations that file federally will be able to do business in all provinces and territories, as long as the corporation is registered in the provinces in which they do business. The corporation will also be able to use the same name in each province or territory, even if another company is already doing business under a similar name. Filing in Ontario specifically saves money on federal fees, and the corporate maintenance is less formal.

“My Corporation has been in business longer than any other online filing service on the market, and our experience gives us a crucial familiarity with laws governing start-ups in all 50 states,” said MyCorporation CEO Deborah Sweeney. “Our services provide one of the most comprehensive and cost-effective packages on the market and are a necessity for anyone who wants to start a business. We are looking forward to sharing these services with Canadian businesses owners and entrepreneurs.”

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26th April 2011

Telefilm Canada Returns To Hot Docs As Presenting Partner

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce that it is a Presenting Partner to Canadian international documentary film festival Hot Docs, taking place in Toronto from April 28 to May 8. Telefilm is also a proud sponsor of the Hot Docs Forum, one of the leading international documentary business markets in North America. This year, Hot Docs is presenting over 200 films from more than 40 countries and welcoming hundreds of international filmmakers and industry delegates. hotdocs

“Congratulations to Hot Docs on 18 years as an essential meeting place for the international documentary industry,” said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s Executive Director. “With our continued sponsorship of this first-rate festival and our industry financing most notably through the Theatrical Documentary Program – a unique public-private partnership between Telefilm and the Rogers Group of Fund – we are a proud supporter of this mobilizing art form.”

Five Telefilm-financed documentaries in the Hot Docs spotlight

Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson, Trish Dolman
Feature-length documentary about a man on a mission to save the planet and its oceans. Part Captain Nemo, part Grizzly Man, the film follows Watson in the act as he repeatedly flouts the law, so that he may apprehend what he sees as the more serious law-breakers – the illegal poachers of the world.

The Future is Now!, Gary Burns and Jim Brown
Documentary-drama hybrid in which a young journalist leads “Everyman” on a quest for knowledge from experts in art, science and philosophy. The Future is Now! was recently part of the International Festival of Independent Cinema of Buenos Aires’ prestigious retrospective on Canadian director Gary Burns.

The Guantanamo Trap, Thomas Selim Wallner (Canada/Germany/Switzerland co-production)
Recounts the story of Murat Kurnaz, who was born in Germany of Turkish heritage and detained and tortured at a US military base in Afghanistan, and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was held for five years.

Family Portrait in Black and White, Julia Ivanova
From Variety Magazine: “Engaging docu Family Portrait in Black and White considers the much-extended household of Olga Nenya, a middle-aged Ukrainian woman who’s foster mother to 17 children, many mixed-race.”

Beauty Day, directed by Jay Cheel
Before there was Jackass… before there was Tom Green… there was Ralph Zavadil. His cable access television show, The Cap’n Video Show, ran from 1990 to 1995, challenging the sensibilities of his small Southern Ontario audience.

D-BoxSticking with film-related news, D-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed its first agreement with Regency Theatres to equip Regency Agoura Hills Stadium 8 in Agoura Hills, Calif. with 32 D-BOX MFX Seats.

“California remains one of our largest and fastest growing markets to-date,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “As we continue to introduce our motion technology, demand in our existing markets remains on the rise. We’re delighted to once again announce a new theatre in the area and new partnership.”

“At Regency Theatres we strive to provide our customers with the most extraordinary entertainment experience imaginable,” said Lyndon Golin of Regency Theatres. “With state-of-the-art audio and visual technologies, and dedication to quality, customer service, the addition of D-BOX is an ideal complement. We anticipate great success at the box office.”

D-Box also announced today that Paramount Pictures’ summer sci-fi thriller Super 8 will feature D-BOX Motion Effects in select theatres when the movie is released June 10.

“The opportunity to feature our motion technology with one of the most anticipated films of the summer will continue to drive expansion into new and existing markets,” said President and CEO of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “It’s a great pleasure to once again partner with Paramount Pictures. The content of this new picture is an ideal match for our incredibly realistic motion effects.”

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26th April 2011

Funding Store Now In Canada

funding store CanadaThe Funding Store, a business portal that matches businesses needing financing to the most appropriate funders and advisors, is now open for business in Canada. Behind the easy-to-navigate web pages, a search engine quickly filters requests for financing, enabling the businesses to locate sources of funds or funding advisers in just a few mouse clicks. FundingStore.com helps everyone in the funding process (owners, advisors, lenders, financiers and investors) by fetching the best possible prospects for a new loan, investment capital or a new client.

FundingStore.com, the brainchild of  British Chartered Accountant and author Nick Montague, is unique in that it covers all types of business funding, including business angels, loans, bank funding, asset finance, leasing, private equity, venture capital and other sources including public sector finance.

The site was opened in the UK in late 2010 and has generated interest from all over the UK, with early adopters coming on board, including Addleshaw Goddard, Pannone, RSM Tenon, Bibby Financial Services, Access To Finance, CBG Group and Yorkshire Bank. In February 2011, Michael Badham, a Chartered Accountant with 30 years of corporate finance experience in Canada purchased the rights to FundingStore.com in Canada.

“We know how difficult and time consuming it can be to find possible funders – over the years I have worked with many businesses who have reached a stage where further funding is crucial for their growth, but they are unsure who to approach or how to do it. It has long been a career long goal of mine to make it easier for small and medium sized businesses connect with the right funders. Our mission is to help business find financing fast”, says Michael Badham.

Businesses are also attracted to the site by the education content, templates and other tools, which help them prepare their financing requests and determine the appropriate type of financing.

Funders and investors only see the opportunities that match their criteria. They spend their time saying, “yes we can!” to opportunities that have been sourced and filtered to meet their requirements. Initial response at the launch has been very positive.

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26th April 2011

Bunny The Zombie Slayer New on iTunes

Hothead GamesBunny the Zombie Slayer, the first iOS title from Hothead Games is now available on the App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for 99 cents USD.Bunny The Zombie Slayer

In the game, players control a heroic but slightly unstable bunny who must protect children from relentless waves of Zombie Hordes. These once-deceased characters (nurses, businessmen, cheerleaders, chefs and more) will stop at nothing to reach the innocent children and spoil their fun. In response, Bunny unleashes his projectile weapons of fury to dismember and decapitate the undead, aiming at their heads for a clean knock out!

“At Hothead, we strive to produce the most innovative, fun games possible with a unique twist and I’m happy to say Bunny the Zombie Slayer follows that mold”, said Hothead Producer Joel DeYoung. “Like most heroes, we felt that this Bunny had attitude and a fearless streak and we are happy to give gamers of all ages a fun way to interact with a very brave rabbit.”

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Bunny the Zombie Slayer is rated 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The game requires iOS 3.1.3 or later

 

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26th April 2011

TransGaming Launches GameTree TV in France

TransGamingMulti-Platform game company TransGaming Inc. has announced the commercial launch of GameTree TV, TransGaming’s innovative on-demand Smart TV gaming platform, with France’s pioneering top-tier broadband service operator Free.

With GameTree TV and the Freebox Revolution, a next generation set-top box launched December 14, which transforms the television experience into a fully connected Smart TV experience, customers can now instantly play on-demand games directly from the cloud. The launch puts GameTree TV at the forefront of the ‘connected living room’ era, giving French consumers easy access to exciting, family-friendly interactive entertainment.

TransGaming’s GameTree TV platform is fully optimized for the Freebox’s Intel CE system-on-chip processor, one of the most popular choices for Smart TV hardware.

“We see a bright future for on-demand gaming on Smart TV,” said Lance Koenders, director of worldwide marketing, Intel Digital Home Group. “TransGaming has put itself ahead of the curve with the GameTree TV platform, which is a great example of the enhanced entertainment experiences that Intel CE-based devices can deliver.”Screenshot From Garage Inc

“The GameTree TV platform adds a compelling new dimension to our entertainment portfolio, further differentiating our unique offering” said Maxime Lombardini, CEO of Free’s holding company, Iliad. “Our subscribers now have access to a whole new gaming experience thanks to our partnership with TransGaming. This is a truly exciting time for home entertainment.”

GameTree TV launches with 25 titles on the Freebox Revolution, such as Bejeweled 2, Garage Inc. and World of Goo, with new games added weekly. Consumers will be able to enjoy games through a variety of flexible pricing models and billed directly by Free in the monthly invoice. This simple business model means broadband service providers are able to provide consumers with interactive entertainment on demand, while achieving a sustainable value-added revenue opportunity.

“Today’s commercial launch of our innovative platform, GameTree TV, represents the culmination of years of innovation and strategic investment and also marks the start of an exciting new revenue stream for the company,” said Vikas Gupta, CEO & president of TransGaming. “As the first broadband operator to offer GameTree TV, Free has more than lived up to its reputation as an innovator in the consumer Internet market. France is demonstrating its leadership position in on-demand Smart TV gaming, and we expect many other markets to follow soon.”

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26th April 2011

THQ And Games Workshop Extend License Deal

THQTHQ and Games Workshop have announced a multi-year extension to their successful video game license agreement, extending THQ’s current exclusive rights to publish video games based on the popular Warhammer® 40,000® universe through titles across all relevant platforms including core, social and mobile rights.Relic Entertainment

Since entering the licensing agreement with Games Workshop, THQ has published several highly successful titles based on the intellectual property (IP), including the Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® real-time-strategy games for PC systems that have shipped 6.5 million units to date. Two fresh interpretations of the Warhammer 40,000 IP are currently in development; one by THQ Relic Entertainment: Warhammer® 40,000®: Space MarineTM – a third-person shooter for the Xbox 360® , PlayStation®3 and PC set to release later this year – and Space MarineWarhammer® 40,000®: Dark MillenniumTM Online, a massively multiplayer online game exploring the deep fiction and myriad races of the IP which is in development at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas.

“The complex, futuristic war-torn universe created by Games Workshop equipped THQ’s award-winning development teams with the material to create one of the most loved PC franchises – Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War,” said Brian Farrell, THQ President and CEO. “Our envisioning of the Warhammer 40,000 universe will continue to grow with top quality games across all platforms, including the upcoming launches of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online.”

“The impressive translation of the Warhammer 40,000 universe from the tabletop to the video game space by THQ certainly highlights the potential of our most successful intellectual property in the right hands,” said Mark Wells, Games Workshop CEO. “We know that the depth of the storylines, characters and imagery of the Warhammer 40,000 universe positions the IP to excel across many media platforms – and extending our agreement with THQ will help ensure that Warhammer 40,000 maintains a strong and growing presence in the video game space.”

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26th April 2011

Shopify Launches Build A Business Version 2

shopifyOttawa SaaS eCommerce company Shopify has launched its second annual Build-A-Business Contest. The company is offering over $500,000 in winnings, including a $100,000 first prize, to inspire entrepreneurs to start an online business. To provide entrepreneurs with additional support, Shopify has teamed up with industry titans Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferriss to provide ongoing advice, education and encouragement to contestants. The concept is simple: think of something to sell, create an online store and then build your business.

The contest runs from May 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011, but participants can sign up any time as long as they’re selling for at least two months. The store with the highest grossing two months (non-consecutive) wins the grand prize, with six $20,000 prizes awarded to winners from designated categories: Apparel and Jewelry, Food and Health, Sports and Hobbies, Art and Photography, Home and Office and Other. Because of Shopify’s easy-to-use platform, previous technical or eCommerce experience is not needed.

“The prize money is significant, but don’t forget the spirit of the contest: to give a kick in the pants to all those people who have wanted to start businesses but haven’t,” said Tobi Lütke, co-founder and CEO of Shopify. “The real prize is having a business of your own at the end of the contest.”

Shopify, a company that is deeply rooted in entrepreneurial spirit, is committed to helping participants along the way by offering world-class marketing and sales tips through a special Build-A-Business website, which will offer knowledge and insight from its partners and sponsors, including Google, MailChimp and PayPal. Shopify has also built out significant prizes for the winners to help their businesses succeed long after the contest:

  • Grand Prize: $100,000 cash; VIP trip to New York for lunch with Seth Godin (he’s cooking); one-hour power session with Gary Vaynerchuk; trip to Google Headquarters to chat with Google experts; and a dinner with Tim Ferriss.
  • 6 Industry Prizes: $20,000 cash each; VIP trip to New York for lunch with Seth Godin (he’s cooking); $7,500 Google AdWords credit.
  • Canadian Prize: $5,000 at the Apple Store; VIP trip to New York for lunch with Seth Godin (he’s cooking); $15,000 Google AdWords credit.

The winner of last year’s contest – which created nearly 1,400 businesses and generated over $3.5 million in combined revenue – was DODOcase, a San Francisco company that makes iPad cases using traditional book-binding techniques. The founders, Patrick Buckley and Craig Dalton, are now running a company with projected annual earnings of $4-5 million.

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26th April 2011

Queens U Study Says More Technology Time Means More Risky Behaviour

Queens UniversityResearchers at Queens University have found a strong association between computer and Internet use in adolescents and engagement in multiple-risk behaviours (MRB), including illicit drug use, drunkenness and unprotected sex.

“This research is based on social cognitive theory, which suggests that seeing people engaged in a behaviour is a way of learning that behaviour,” explains lead researcher Valerie Carson, a doctoral candidate in School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. “Since adolescents are exposed to considerable screen time—over 4.5 hours on average each day—they’re constantly seeing images of behaviours they can then potentially adopt.”

The researchers found that high computer use was associated with approximately 50 per cent increased Valerie Carsonengagement with a cluster of six MRB, including smoking, drunkenness, non-use of seatbelts, cannabis and illicit drug use, and unprotected sex. High television use was also associated with a modestly increased engagement in these MRB.

One explanation behind this finding is that a considerable amount of advertising that used to be shown on TV is now being shown on the Internet. In addition, computer usage by adolescents has increased considerably in recent years.

“TV and video games have more established protocols in terms of censorship, but Internet protocols aren’t as established,” says Ms Carson. “Parents can make use of programs that control access to the Internet, but adolescents in this age group are quite savvy about technology and the Internet. It’s possible that these types of controls aren’t effective in blocking all undesirable websites.”

This research, recently published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, suggests that future studies should examine the specific content adolescents are being exposed to in order to help strengthen current screen time guidelines for youth.

While this study may have some merit in regards to adolescent behaviour, I find that I must add my own thoughts as a parent to its findings. Those of us who are intimately familiar with the video game industry know that this study will give those who blame video games and technology for many of society’s woes more fuel for their fires.

As a parent, I have never used parental controls to limit what my children saw on television, the internet or in video games when they were younger. Instead I used the oldest parental control of all time – conversation. I did not use spy ware to see where my children had gone while on the internet, and while I bought age-appropriate games for my kids when they of elementary school age, when they were nearing or in their teens, I was not quite as strict because I knew that through conversations with my children and in playing alongside them, they knew the difference of what was real and what was not.  My kids may at times shock my parents with the things they do or say, but they aren’t bad children and they aren’t out emulating the behaviours they saw portrayed in media.

Just because I let my son watch Power Rangers when he was in elementary school did not mean that he was going to go out and beat on his class mates. He knew that what he saw on the screen were stunts, and that to try the same moves on a friend in real life would hurt his friend – and him, when his friend retaliated. Instead of banning him from watching the show like his school wanted all parents to do, I had a conversation with him and we compared Power Rangers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We talked about how getting hit with big sticks or shot by a ray gun would hurt, and how pretend can be fun, but hitting with sticks, hands or feet will hurt – and now that he’s all grown up, he every once in awhile puts on armour and hits other grown adults with swords made of rattan and wrapped in duct tape – and he knows that it can hurt, even with the armour.

There are those parents who will use the “well we had parental controls in place” as a scapegoat for not taking responsibility for the basics of parenting – interaction with their children. There are those bleeding heart Liberals who will blame television, advertising and video games for the errant behaviour of teens. We all know that new media is not the base cause of bad behaviour. It may be a catalyst, and in rare occasions the trigger, but seldom is it the root cause.  Children need to know the difference between acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour, and as parents that is part of our contract with society, a responsibility we take on by becoming parents.

Children have been pushing the envelope of risky behaviour ever since the time when there was more than one child. It’s what children do, it’s what teenagers do, it’s what young adults do, and it’s even what some aged adults do when they check items off of their bucket lists.  There also people who, no matter what you do or say, will do bad things. The important part of the equation is that as parents we give our children the tools they need to know the difference between right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and how to live lawfully in a law and order society. Have we raised our children to have compassion for their fellow human beings and the other living things who share the planet with us? Have we raised them to have a social conscience? I can honestly answer yes to those questions, because I had and still have those conversations with my kids – and while I know they aren’t perfectly angelic examples of the modern child, we can at least talk about it.

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