6th May 2011

Become An iPhone BeanNCounter Pro

beanNcountersA group of university students in BC have developed and released a colourful and challenging math game for mobile iOS. BeanNcounters by Think At The Park offers 8 levels of difficulty ranging from Grade 1 to PhD, a Daily Challenge and a Leader Board for the mathematically gifted, which I am not. The estimated time to get through each level is around the 1 or 2 minute mark, but they do admit that the more difficult puzzles could take longer. BeanNcounters is available now for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for $1.99 USD. It requires iOS 3.0 or later and is rated 4+. There will also be a version for Android, but a release date has not yet been announced.


The development group also has two fundraising activities tied to the game. For every game purchased, they will donate 10 cents to Water.org, a charity ensuring sanitation and fresh drinking water for developing countries. The other contest is directed at various university clubs. For a one year period, each club has a special purchase code that they can give to fellow students, family and friends. Those people then enter the code when they buy the game, and this code translates into 50 cents for the club whose code is used. The contest seems easy to understand, but not easy to explain, so here’s the video explanation directly from the developers:


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6th May 2011

Vancouver SIGGRAPH Chapter Presents The Work of Look Effects

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterFrom Black Swan to Bones: The Work of LOOK Effects is an evening session event being presented by the Vancouver chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH. Being held at the VanCity Theatre on May 18th, the evening will feature a cash bar networking reception when the doors open at 6:30, prior to the main event, which begins at 7:00. Tickets are $15.00 for Black SwanSIGGRAPH members, $25.00 for non-members, with Group Pricing available at a cost of $20.00 per ticket for groups of 5 or more. Please note that Group Pricing is available only through advance on-line purchasing.

The evening’s presentation will offer insight’s into the company’s most recent work, including Black Swan, Limitless, Bones. LOOK Effects co-founder and visual effects supervisor Henrik Fett will give attendees a peek at how and why LOOK does what they do so well. Mr. Fett supervises digital effects production both on-set and in post production, and he is highly-accomplished in live-action production, 3D animation and digital post production.

Among LOOK’s other film credits are The King’s Speech, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Step Up 3D, Just Wright, and Bounty Hunter. The studio’s television credits include Harry’s Law, No Ordinary Family, Bones, Lost, and the Emmy-nominated effects for Life After People.

This event is sponsored in part by Annex Pro.

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6th May 2011

Frima Signs Partnership With Media Chaperone

frima studioChicago-based Media Chaperone, developer of Piggyback – a first of its kind Facebook application that helps parents monitor their kids’ online game use – has announced a strategic partnership with Quebec’s Frima Studio. The partnership will provide tens of millions of parents the ability to monitor and reward their children’s online gaming activity while playing Frima developed games.

Media Chaperone’s Piggyback application provides parents with important information, parental controls and protection for their kids’ online game play and learning. Parents can obtain, in real-time, an overview (through a parent’s Facebook account) of how their children are navigating the web within online gaming environments, social networks, and virtual worlds—and can easily manage entertainment expenditures, add monies for tokens, credit for continued gaming, while monitoring online behavior.pocket god for Facebook by Frima

Ed Lewis, CEO of Media Chaperone acknowledged the value of partnering with a market leader like Frima Studio, “We are thrilled to partner with Frima Studio. They are a premier game developer, understand kids’ game play and have built outstanding games for market leaders including Build-A-Bear, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon.”

Piggyback simplifies the ability for parents to follow along with their kids’ online game behavior, social activities and learning success—and has already been integrated within several popular online gaming environments, social networks and virtual worlds including: Everloop, Planet Cazmo, Webosaurs Whyville, and Woozworld among others. Frima Studio will collaborate with Media Chaperone to integrate Piggyback into leading kids’ online games to enable incremental revenue for its clients.

“Our clients can now leverage Piggyback to give parents insights and understanding into their child’s online gaming all with built in rewards,” said Frima CEO Steve Couture. “Parent engagement is a key to success for any kids game developer.”

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6th May 2011

Ratrod Studio Releases Hockey Fight Pro

RatRod StudioRatrod Studio Inc. is proudly announcing their latest video game title “Hockey Fight Pro”. The game is presented in collaboration with hockeyfights.com the world’s largest hockey fight collection and community. This action packed title is now available worldwide for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. An Android and Mac OS version is also set to launch shortly.

Drop the gloves and test your skills in this unique 3D hockey fighting game. The game is rough and the stakes are high. Fueled by pride or desperation, when it’s game time, nothing else matters. Once the players are rehockey fight proady to engage, they are bound for an altercation.

Hockey Fight Pro is the only hockey fighting game available on the AppStore. Developed by Ratrod Studio Inc. this new title is now available worldwide on the AppStore for only 99 cents.

Hockey Fight Pro features stunning 3D graphics using the multi-touch capabilities of your device to simulate an authentic hockey fighting experience. Using an intuitive control system, fight your opponents on the ice by executing punch combinations and over 40 unique combos to master. The game includes universal high definition support for regular, retina and iPad resolutions.

Play often to improve your career stats and submit your records to a global cross-platform leaderboard and become one of the world’s toughest hockey fighters. The top 100 positions are also displayed on the leaderboard at the official Hockey Fight Pro game website.


Follow an interactive tutorial to learn the basics. Users can enter a tournament or use the quick fight mode to battle against 9 of the world’s most dangerous hockey fighters.

The game also includes a multiplayer mode where you can challenge a friend using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Post your results on Facebook and Twitter to claim your fame and expose your achievements. View your fighting stats and replay highlights to improve your skills.

Defeat opponents or complete over 14 unique achievements to gain additional respect points. Users are able to hockey fight pro locker roomcustomize and fully upgrade their character’s attributes to improve their skills. Complete the game to unlock a special “hardcore” mode. So whether you are a casual or advanced gamer, you will be able to enjoy hours of challenging opponents to suit your skill set. The game soundtrack features music by Avery Watts album “The Takeover EP”.

Ratrod Studio recently announced a new publishing deal with mobile giant and online game operator “The9” which will be distributing a localized version of their Ratrod’s Android titles in China. Ratrod Studio will also be publishing Android titles with “Cyberhull LLC” which already started the distribution of Drift Mania Championship on all major US mobile carriers store front including Verizon, T-Mobile, H3G and Orange.

Several projects are in development including a long-awaited sequel to their popular Drift Mania Championship title which received over 5 million downloads across all platforms. Information on Ratrod Studio Inc.’s upcoming line of titles will be announced shortly.

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6th May 2011

Friday Business Briefs

pwcToronto has leapt into the number two spot in the world in the just-released PwC survey of “Cities of Opportunity” – the consultancy’s fourth analysis “of the trajectory of 26 cities, all capitals of finance, commerce and culture.” New York is slightly ahead of Toronto in first place, while San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney round out the top five.

In its analysis, PwC ranked cities in ten categories – measures designed, as PwC describes it, to favour “holistic capital market centres with vibrant economies and strong quality of life.” According to PwC, “Our thesis is that a successful city going forward will balance both social and economic strengths so the people and infrastructure support each other.”

Toronto ranks particularly highly in two of the categories most closely correlated with global competitiveness: Intellectual Capital & Innovation (2nd) and Health, Safety & Security (2nd). “The successful modern urban economy,” says PwC, “is reliant on, if not yet solely the product of, intelligence and social well-being.”

Toronto also ranks highly on Demographics and Liveability (#3), Lifestyle Assets (4th), Ease of Doing Business (5th), Sustainability (5th) and Cost (5th).

The PwC report sums up with the observation that, “to sustain success, cities today must continually attract and retain highly educated, technologically adept and digitally connected knowledge workers who increasingly make up the core of their human capital and whose definition of quality of life is exacting and not easily compromised… More than a centre of global business and finance alone, Toronto is a community in which people want to live and expect to lead rich and meaningful lives.”

Samsung Electronics Canada and Zip.ca has announced an exclusive partnership that will soon provide Canadians the ability to enjoy thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Zip.ca to Samsung’s SMART Televisions, Blu-ray players and Home Theatre products.

“Realizing the changing entertainment landscape and the demand for online entertainment, this new partnership will help Canadian’s access Zip.ca’s expansive catalogue and underscores our goal of developing smart technologies that deliver content with convenience to meet consumers needs,” said David Vitale, Head of Marketing, Samsung Electronics Canada.

A Zip.ca app will be available on Samsung’s Internet connected TV and Home Theatre products soon, offering Zip.ca members the ability to instantly watch movies and TV episodes from Zip.ca.

“For the past year, Samsung and Zip.ca have been working together to solidify a service that would provide Canadians with the latest movies and TV programs at the mere push of a button,” said Scott Richards, CEO, Zip.ca. “Consumers want outstanding technology to watch their favourite programs, so Samsung was a natural choice for this partnership.”

Mega BrandsMEGA Brands Inc. has announced that holders of its 10% senior secured debentures passed an extraordinary resolution today approving amendments to the indenture governing the debentures. The amendments, among other things, allow the Corporation to increase available borrowings for working capital purposes under its existing asset-based credit agreement and are effective as of today. The extraordinary resolution was approved by approximately 92% of the votes cast in person or represented by proxy at the special meeting of debenture holders.

Wonestop mediahen the polls closed on Monday evening Jack Layton had made historic gains.  It was a trend in popularity and leadership that the two-week online election game Ballot Blitz had shown from the beginning. Layton finished at the top of Onestop Media Group’s Ballot Blitz leaderboard on Play Onestop with 36%. ballot blitz

Ballot Blitz was an election themed arcade game which posted poll results based on the animated candidates’ popularity.  Users were asked to play as one of five party leaders – Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Elizabeth May, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe – while the other four candidates whizzed across the scene attempting to steal votes.

Layton’s luster was not confined to Ballot Blitz. He and his party rose to the top of almost every poll on PlayOnestop.com’s polling section as well.  These polls measured several leadership qualities including integrity in a fun way.  For example, most users did not believe Layton would attempt to ring 9 items through an 8 item express checkout line.

susan vartySusan Varty, Principal of Wordtree Consulting, has joined HeadStart Solutions Inc. as Director of Digital Strategy. Wordtree is now operating under HeadStart to contribute content marketing, social media initiatives and services for HeadStart’s clients.

“Our partnership will enhance our recruitment and employer branding offerings for our existing client base, as well as attract new clients in the emerging digital technology space. I’m looking forward to working with Sue who brings a wealth of experience in content and social media communications.  This makes it a perfect match for us to collaborate and build upon HeadStart’s foundation,” says Marc Roginsky, Founder and President of HeadStart.

The collaboration between Susan Varty and Marc Roginsky has resulted in an improved approach to recruiting that is now formalized with this announcement.  Susan has been providing content services, digital strategy and technology advice to corporate clients since 2006.

Best Buy CanadaBest Buy Canada is hosting The Windows Experience Tour at select Best Buy stores in Ontario and Quebec. Beginning May 6th until June 26th, the tent activation will be set up in the parking lots of select stores where customers can check out the hot new hardware while experiencing how Windows 7 and free Windows Live services can help them create, connect and share using their PC and the cloud. In addition, customers can speak with Windows brand ambassadors and Best Buy blue shirts and have the chance to win prizes including one of seven ultimate jet-setter experiences to a music festival somewhere around the globe, or many other prizes as part of the Rock the Globe contest.

Two Best Buy locations will feature a Windows “tailgate” parking lot party, complete with a free barbeque and music. The parties will be at the Newmarket location on May 14th and May 15th and the Leaside location on May 21st.

Dates and locations of the Windows Experience Tours:

May 6 – 8: Sherway – 167 North Queen Etobicoke
May 13 – 15: Newmarket – 175 Green Lane East, Newmarket
May 20 – 22: Leaside – 147 Laird Drive East York
May 27 – 29: Laval – 1560 boulevard Le Courbusier Laval
June 3 – 5: Woodbridge – 7850 Weston Road Woodbridge
June 10 – 12: Sherway – 167 North Queen Etobicoke
June 17 – 19: Kitchener – 215 Fairway Road South Kitchener
June 24 – 26: St. Catherine’s – 420 Vansickle Road St. Catherine’s
June 24 – 26: Ottawa East – 380 Coventry Road Ottawa

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6th May 2011

Beep By Big Fat Alien Now On Steam

Big Fat AlienGame industry veteran Kiaran Ritchie’s new studio Big Fat Alien is proud to announce the release of its debut title BEEP, launching today on Steam with a launch special of 10% off the list price of $9.99 USD. BEEP is an action/puzzle, 2d-platformer with physics-based gameplay. You control a small robot equipped with an anti-gravity device that can pick-up and manipulate almost anything in the level, including enemies.
BEEP Fungi Forest
BEEP is the culmination of 18-months of work by three people; a programmer, an artist and a musician. The game presents a unique twist on the platformer genre by allowing the player to grab and manipulate the environment with an anti-gravity device. This multi-use tool is useful for clearing obstacles, solving puzzles and even as a weapon by flinging projectiles at enemies.

The game is presented in a slick 16:9 widescreen format with unique and stylish vector artwork. 24 levels are split amongst 6 different environments on 3 different planets. The player can control a spaceship to deploy BEEP-Bots to the individual levels on the planets. Each level contains anti-matter fuel which, when collected, opens-up new locales.

Try before you buy, download the BEEP demo now. BEEP is also available on BeamDog and Impulse and appears like it could be rated E for Everyone.

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6th May 2011

Pre-Order Deus Ex Human Revolution on Steam

Eidos MontrealDeus Ex: Human Revolution™ is making a triumphant return to its franchise PC roots, with digital availability on Steam®, the leading online platform for PC games and digital entertainment, as well as in boxed copy form at retailers worldwide at launch in August 2011. Eidos-Montreal has chosen this agreement with Steam because of its esteemed capability for an enhanced experience for the PC gamer, with boosted functionality and easy accessibility.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution will support a host of Steamworks® features such as auto-updating, Steam Achievements and Steam Cloud support. Available in the standard version and the robustdeus ex human revolution Augmented Edition on Steam, gamers will be able to enjoy the Deus Ex experience of their choice. The Augmented Edition boasts a digital40-page art book, a “making of” special, trailers, animated storyboard of the CGI trailer, motion graphic novel, soundtrack, and a free download of the Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition.

Telling the story of Adam Jensen, a man cybernetically augmented against his choice who finds himself in the middle of a global conspiracy to which he holds the key, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set in a near-future world where humanity is at a turning point. By offering players the chance to play the game in multiple and vastly different ways, Deus Ex: Human Revolution challenges the foundations of gaming and provides an immersive experience where every choice has a lasting consequence.

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6th May 2011

Intelliware Introduces Roadmap Process for BlackBerry Platforms

intelliwareIntelliware Development Inc. has officially introduced its newest Roadmap process designed specifically  for BlackBerry® platform applications. This tool enables companies to rapidly but strategically plan and launch mobile solutions. Whether your company requires an enterprise application to improve organizational efficiency, or a consumer app to drive customer engagement, Intelliware’s Roadmap jump-starts your initiative. The Roadmap for BlackBerry app is the latest addition to a variety of Roadmaps that Intelliware offers to help clients accelerate their software development initiatives.

“We’ve been developing mobile apps for years and the first question our clients ask is, Where do we start?” explains Greg McKenzie, SVP, Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, Intelliware. “With the explosion of devices in the marketplace and proliferation of apps, organizations are starting to take a more strategic approach to the mobile ecosystem. Our Roadmap for BlackBerry apps results in a strategic, actionable plan that enables companies to get to market quickly with a solution that provides immediate, enduring value.”

On April 19th, RIM’s latest device, the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet was launched and is proving to become popular not only among consumers, but in particular, for enterprises. Companies are trying to determine how best to leverage what this new enterprise-class tablet has to offer. To help, Intelliware adapted its proven Roadmap process to incorporate the unique attributes and opportunities the PlayBook offers.

To coincide with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, Loblaw® launched its President’s Choice™ Recipe Box app for the PlayBook. The app, developed by Intelliware, has been extremely popular and continues to have positive ratings and strong downloads.

“We’ve already used our Roadmap process to produce an opening day hit on BlackBerry App World™ for the PlayBook. Now, we’re working with other partners using this process to plan and develop new apps as well as launch existing apps on the new platform,” comments Dave Scapillati, VP, Mobile Solutions, Intelliware. “The PlayBook is the world’s first true enterprise-class tablet, and, deployed strategically, it can transform how an organization uses technology.”

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6th May 2011

Canadian Short Screenplay Competition Finalists Named

Canadian Short Screenplay CompetitionDavid Cormican, founder of the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition, has announced the top thirteen finalist selections for the 2010/11 CSSC. The list of thirteen short film scripts and writers was determined by the judges and narrowed down from the previously announced Top 25 screenplays as entered in competition from all 2010/11 CSSC entries.

The grand prize winner will receive the Writers’ Block Crystal and an Apple iPad, in addition to the largest cash prize of any short film screenplay competition, $2,500.00. Second and Third place entrants will receive $500.00 and $100.00, respectively. The grand prizewinner will be announced and made official during the Golden Sheaf Awards gala at the Yorkton Film Festival, May 28, 2011 in Yorkton, SK.

All thirteen finalists will receive complimentary Yorkton Film Festival accreditation to attend the Golden Sheaf Awards gala, as well as be treated to the workshops, panels, films and networking social events taking place during the oldest film festival in North America.

One of the top three winners’ script will also be produced into a short film later on this year. Last year’s 2nd place script, “Minus Lara” (written by Surita Parmar), will receive its World premiere as an official selection of the Yorkton Film Festival. “Minus Lara” has also been nominated for the Golden Sheaf Ruth Shaw Award for Best in Saskatchewan.

The 2010/11 CSSC Top 13 finalists (in no particular order) are:

“Shattered Worlds”, Matthew Layden CAN
“The Ridge to the River”, Edmund Jory AUS
“Sudden Death”, Al Kline USA
“Elijah The Prophet”, Zachary Herrmann USA
“Tubby’s Car Project”, Julian Williams UK
“When The Dust Settles”, Suleiman Wali USA
“Strange Music”, Ira Henderson CAN
“The Chicken and the Egg”, Lisa Eismen AUS
“Mother Will Be So Pleased”, Carrie Ann Lee CAN
“The Great Ghouldini”, Ian Johnston CAN
“The Box Social”, Scott Summerhayes CAN
“13?, Sundae Jahant-Osborn UK
“Near Sighted”, Evan Jobb, CAN

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6th May 2011

Endloop X Is Now Massive Damage Inc

massive damage incGame Dev studio Endloop X has relaunched with a new name and a new look – Massive Damage Inc. The company’s official blog states that Endloop X was meant to be a placeholder, a temporary name until they came up with “the right name” – and anyone who has tried to name anything, knows how difficult this can be. The name Massive Damage fits well with the studio’s goals to disrupt the mobile social gaming space, and seemed to be the logical answer to the equation of Massively Multiplayer + Massive Disruption + Massive Impact.

Massive Damage is currently hard at work on Please Stay Calm, a location-based zombie MMO title. Again borrowing information from the studio’s blog, here is Latest Screenshot for Please Stay Calmmore information about the game:

Please Stay Calm is not Mafia Wars with a map slapped on top of it. Here are the game’s key features:

  1. Location is key, it’s not about geography, it’s about people’s inherent affinity to their favorite spots. While the game can be played from your office, players will derive more value from moving around. The studio aims to be able to direct players to specific locations for special events.
  2. A venue is a natural opportunity to drive organic social team play without the usual headaches involve with explicit teamwork. The studio calls this asynchronous dynamic massively co-operative gameplay.
  3. Please Stay Calm integrates existing social graph information into the game narrative. Since the game fiction is layered on top of the real world, people will immediately feel like they are playing in a vibrant active game world even if few people are actually playing in their area.
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