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13th October 2010

Clickbox Releases ilumii Social Learning Community and Marketplace

clickboxToronto-based start-up Clickbox Software has unveiled the full commercial release of ilumii.com, the world’s most complete Social Learning Community & Marketplace. ilumii.com allows individuals to take their knowledge and skills and teach them to people around the globe by offering live, online classes–for fun and for profit–and by connecting those who want to learn with those who want to teach.

Clickbox Software CEO, Daniel Del Mastro, says, “ilumii.com is a revolutionary concept because it completely reshapes who can deliver educational services, the earnings potential of teaching, and the breadth of topics a person can teach or learn online. ilumii.com is ushering in an era of collaborative learning that will forever change the face of education.”
ilumii
ilumii.com gives individuals everything they need to make live, online teaching fun and simple: it lets users offer courses on any subject–ranging from academic tutoring, to language lessons, to hobbies and skills, to whatever else they can imagine. It allows instructors to easily schedule lessons, manage course enrollment, and securely accept payments from learners around the world. And, of course, it provides both learners and instructors with a state-of-the-art Live Learning Space with video and audio, an interactive whiteboard, presentation and file sharing, and other features that replicate the feeling of being in a real-world classroom like never before.

Clickbox Software’s Chief Digital Officer, Raquel Torres, says, “In a time when unemployment has affected millions of people, ilumii.com gives anyone with the ability to teach a channel to transform his or her intellectual capital into a new way to earn a living. Our goal with ilumii.com is to create a space where people can leverage technology to exchange knowledge and skills, and to be able to monetize their services.”

ilumii.com is powered by the concept of “Knowledge on Demand” – the idea that anyone around the world can find live, instructor-led classes on any topic imaginable through a single web destination. Users can sign-up for free at ilumii.com to be a part of the world’s best knowledge marketplace.

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1st October 2010

Gnosis Games Releases New Title For iPad

gnosis gamesVancouver’s Gnosis Games, developer of award winning Facebook games Candace Kane’s Candy Factory and Piñata Bash, today announced the release of Seek and Find, a fun, fast-paced, and colorful brain and reflex trainer exclusively for the Apple iPad that will have kids and adults alike clamoring to grab high scores while also sharpening their recognition and memory skills. Seek and Find is available for immediate download and is priced at $2.99.

Seek and Find features 45 levels and various mini-games that require players to find and identify cute, funny faces hidden among a plethora of different faces. With each game type, players will be given the task seek n findof locating a particular face amidst a slew of others and touch it with their finger, nabbing more points the quicker a face is found. Mini-games like Find the Odd One or Find Three of My Kind will require the player to seek and find one or several faces among static or moving faces. As levels progress, the movement and speed at which faces are to be found increases, challenging even adults as they play along with their children. Seek and Find also supports multiple profiles and tracks each person’s score on a leaderboard, advocating friendly competition that will have everyone vying for that top spot on the ladder!

“As kids, we all remember playing board games with our parents, creating a bond through quality time shared over friendly competition. Seek and Find on the iPad can be used to create this same experience, with parents and children challenging themselves, and their dexterity and speed, with the hours and hours of content Seek and Find has to offer, ” said Dan Irish, CEO of Gnosis Games. “I’m sure kids will love trying to, and undoubtedly will, beat their parents’ best scores!”

UbisoftUbisoft® revealed it’s developing Petz® World, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) free-to-play game tied to its multimillion unit-selling Petz brand. Petz World is an online pet simulation adventure game for kids and tweens being developed by Frima Studios and will be available in 2011 for the PC.
frima studio
“Ubisoft is excited to be propelling its popular Petz brand into the MMO space. This game is a unique way for children and parents to play games together,” said Chris Early, vice president of digital publishing at Ubisoft. “Petz World allows players to share their progress and adventures, helping each other to receive more coins, achievements and unlockables.”

In Petz World, players can adopt unique pets with their own personality and embark on remarkable adventures in realistic environments around the world. The Petz will be able to explore and learn about exotic locations, meet new and exotic animals and even save them. Petz World will be ever-growing with more locations to visit, more animals to unlock and more places in the world to discover.

Wicked InteractiveOn the heels of a successful weekend which saw the debut of ladder competition in Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.), publisher Wicked Interactive has announced that the World Online Gaming League (WOGL) will extend competitive gameplay for its popular free-to-play online shooter through the end of October. The competition, celebrating the third explosive week of the game’s open beta, begins today, Friday, October 1 and runs through Sunday of every weekend through October 31, Halloween.

“Last weekend was about getting players comfortable with the new ladder system,” said Stephen Tucker, CEO, World Online Gaming League. “Now we have teams in place as we add more and more players each weekend throughout the competition.”
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15th September 2010

PadWorx Digital Media To Release Dracula This Halloween

The original vampire who gave us a reason to fear the dark is coming to Apple®iPad™ as a whole padworxnew, frightfully interactive experience! PadWorx Digital Media, Inc., an independent developer of a new category of interactive eBooks for tablet PCs, announced today it will release Bram Stoker’s Dracula on the App Store® in time for this Halloween. Dracula will be the first eBook title for the Apple iPad built from the ground up on PadWorx Digital Media’s proprietary game engine, giving readers the chance to experience a new level of entertainment through the combination of text, animation, gameplay, touch screen interaction, social media, original soundtrack and music, sound effects and more.

“Our new interactive version of Dracula is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the iPad,” said Jeffery Alan Schechter, director and producer at PadWorx Digital Media, Inc. “From fans of the original classic tale, to the blood and romance fans of the Twilight books and movies, to tech savvy enthusiasts, there are plenty of elements to keep everyone reading for hours. We’ve created original illustrations, animation, sounds and touch screen elements that work together with the text on each page, drawing readers in and allowing them to uncover a new tale worth telling.”
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dracula for the Apple iPad puts a new twist on the classic novel written by Bram Stoker in 1897. The interactive eBook features 300 pages of text, animation, gameplay, and touch screen technology that creates the definitive interactive, user-driven experience. From lighting up the words of the page with a lantern, unsealing the mysteries of letters and journal entries, blowing the leaves off of tombstones to reveal the writing beneath, and even using their own “blood” to reveal hidden text on a page, readers will bring Dracula to life page after enthralling page.

Beyond text and animation, PadWorx Digital Media’s Dracula will break new ground in the world of eBooks by featuring both an original soundtrack as well as eighteen songs from the indie rock performers and bands Adaline, Eve and the Ocean, Ingela, Nadia, and Emily Spiller. Each song will set the tone for a different chapter from the book, creating a whole new way of experiencing this classic story. The Dracula soundtrack will also be available for separate purchase on the iTunes Store®. Pricing for the eBook and for the separate soundtrack will be announced at a later date.

HasbroPeople have watched Gary Brolsma lip-sync and dance in his world-famous “Numa Numa” video more than a billion times since it was first posted to the Internet in 2004. But, how do you think he would do in a game of Trivial Pursuit? The star of the video is joining a cast of YouTube stars for an online Trivial Pursuit challenge to find out if the stars of YouTube, the world’s largest online video community, can outsmart, well, everyone else.

YouTube Trivial Pursuit began on September 8th, and players are invited to participate in the Trivial Pursuit You vs. YouTube challenge to determine who’s the better bet – YOU, the people’s team, or the stars of YouTube. For the first time ever, visitors to the world’s number one video sharing site can play an interactive game with the celebrities of YouTube to try their hand at the new betting game play of the brand new Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It game.

Just like in the new board game, players don’t need to know the answers to win – what counts is if they bet correctly on whether or not their opponent will answer the question correctly. In the online game, players are first asked to answer three questions to earn chips. Then, they bet their chips on whether or not the YouTube star will answer the next question correctly. If players bet wisely – regardless of whether or not the star answer is correct – the points go to the global collective. If not, the points go to YouTube.

Joining Brolsma are more than a dozen YouTube sensations, including Harry and Charlie Davies-Carr of “Charlie Bit My Finger” fame (currently the No.3 most viewed video ever on YouTube), Michael Buckley from the “What the Buck?” show (currently the No.13 most subscribed to channel ever on YouTube) and Tay Zonday, best known for his original work, “Chocolate Rain,” which has had more than 55 million views since it was first posted. Everyone has an inner genius when they play Trivial Pursuit. Find out which of the YouTube stars is a car expert, who is the life-long Trivial Pursuit player and who has a degree in Psychology.Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It

“You vs. YouTube is an incredibly exciting innovation for Trivial Pursuit,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, Global Brand Leader for Trivial Pursuit. “We’re excited that people can try the new Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It game online by betting on YouTube stars.”

Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It Edition brings high stakes betting to trivia, giving each player a stake in their friend’s every turn. As ever, answer one of 1,800 fresh trivia questions to win a wedge, or if you’d rather, use chips acquired throughout your game to purchase a wedge for that elusive category that has you stumped. On your friends’ turns bet on the likelihood of them getting their question right or wrong. A correct bet will earn you more chips!

Questions in Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It Edition include contemporary topics such as Supermodels, Hot Dogs, Horror Movies, and Heavy Metal, in a variety of new formats like multiple choice and image-based questions to make each turn a unique experience. Play and discover your inner genius in a game where knowing your friends is just as valuable as knowing the trivia.

Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It Edition is recommended for two or more adults and is available at mass merchandise retailers for a suggested retail price of $29.99.

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31st August 2010

Game Design Expo Makes Session Vidoes Available

Game Design ExpoVancouver Film School has announced that the 2011 iteration of its Game Design Expo will be held in Vancouver on January 22nd and 23rd. The school has also made exclusive session videos from the 2010 Game Design Expo available online. just made exclusive video from the most recent Game Design Expo available for free online at the Expo’s website. These interviews, panel discussions, and presentations let you hear from the makers of ModNation Racers, Mass Effect 2, Dead Rising 2, and many more.

AutodeskAutodesk and EA Sports present the Game Developer Webcast, featuring a discussion with Simon Sherr, Animation Director for Electronic Arts Tiburon, focused on how EA Sports MMA heavily leveraged Autodesk® HumanIK® in their production of complex character interaction. In this session we discuss implementation of HumanIK features for EA’s Mixed Martial Arts fighting game including: dynamic Footplanting, Non-Uniform Player Scaling, Interaction-based player scale compensation, and partial body “Relative IK” interactions. This Webcast will take place at 10:00A.M. PDT on September 9th. The one hour session is free, but registration is required.

gametreeonlineAttention all of you Mac-using Dragon Age fans: Bioware’s Dragon Age Origins Awakening is now available for your platform over at GameTree Online for $29.95.

“The Dragon Age franchise has been exceptionally well received by Mac gamers and we’re excited about Dragon Age Origins: Awakeningcontinuing the saga through the release of this expansion pack and all DLC add-on game content for the Mac community”, commented Vikas Gupta, President and CEO of TransGaming. “Our strategic partnership with Bioware provides Mac gamers with some of the industry’s most acclaimed RPG games and illustrates yet another example of how TransGaming’s technology and distribution channels are empowering EA to bring their best games to the broadest consumer audience.”

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is available now, plus Mac gamers can also enjoy great DLC add-on content packages such as Return to Ostagar, Darkspawn Chronicles, Leliana’s Song, and many more this year. Players are encouraged to sign up for GameTreeOnline news updates or Twitter alerts, as more great DLC add-on content releases for the Mac will arrive over the coming months, aligned with the PC releases.

Bioware CorpExecutive producer and Project Director on Mass Effect, Casey Hudson will reveal how BioWare navigated the challenge to create an (even more successful) sequel to Mass Effect in a keynote address at Future Game On. The new conference, which is the new European annual gathering for developers, creators and game and apps researchers in every field, will be held on September 9th and 10th at the Parc des Expositions de Paris – Porte de Versailles, hall 7. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th August 2010

Go On A Scavenger Hunt in History of Biology from Spongelab

spongelabOntario educational game company Spongelab Interactive is set to launch their new History of Biology game on September 7th, just in time for the upcoming school year. History of Biology gets high school students to unlock the secrets behind biology. Students Grades 8 – 12 act as detectives to decipher the truth behind some of the greatest monoliths in science. History of BiologyHistory of Biology, presented by Spongelab Interactive is an online science-themed scavenger hunt where students learn about the key figures and discoveries throughout history which have influenced the field of science. The game will lead players to discover the impact of these people and events on today’s society, ethics, politics and culture.

This new game is just one of the interactive simulations available for play in the Spongelab Biology educational game portfolio. Last February, Spongelab Interactive took home first prize in the National Science Foundation’s 2009 Visualization Challenge in the Interactive Media Category for their award winning Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) which allows students to explore the story of energy and ‘play the biology’. Currently used in over 65 countries, GDL has been transforming the way students and teachers interact with biology in the classroom, at home and from any internet connected computer they have access to.

Products like Spongelab Interactive’s GDL and the soon to be released History of Biology are helping teachers connect to their students in a fresh new way. “It can be a challenge for students to visualize the parts of the cell and the processes that occur within them; Genomics Digital Lab not only gives students a great visual tool but allows them to explore the biology. Good resources in French are particularly difficult to Genomics Digital Labfind, and GDL offers their product in both English and French,” says
Sabrina Amato, Grade 11&12 Biology Teacher, French Public School Board (CSDCSO).

“Our students have changed and so must our education system. It is our duty to prepare our graduates for a technology and innovation based work force. The ability to interact with technology has the potential to play an enormous role in student development and their future success,” says Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, co-founder of Spongelab Interactive.

With enrollment in Science and Math declining it’s critically important that we get students engaged, but is Canada ready? In Texas, the legislature adopted a bill in 2009 that provides funds and supports technology for e-textbooks. States like Indiana and Michigan have purchased software for schools that, much like History of Biology and all Spongelab Biology products, have included metrics and assessment tools to give teachers an accurate understanding of how their students are learning. and progressing through the content, while facilitating grading. In June 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support in adopting e-textbooks and e-learning. It’s imperative that Canadian Ministries and School Boards also take steps to ensure that our students have access to technology and are supporting Canadian businesses committed to innovative learning and educational assets.

College alliance proves winning combination for game development When Spongelab set out to create the History of Biology in a way that teachers, students and gaming enthusiasts would connect with, we knew that the game had to deal with this subject matter in a very unique way and would require a specific game engine.

The result gained through a solid partnership with Centennial College’s Paula Demacio, biotechnology professor and students from Centennial’s Game Art and Design program; is an interactive on-line scavenger hunt. Alex Maslov, Centennial student and now employee with Spongelab’s parent company, was challenged to build an engine that randomizes types of missions posed to players and how the answers are received to ensure different experiences for each player.

The project has been partially funded by the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation. The partnership between Spongelab Interactive, Centennial College and its Applied Research and Innovation Centre has proven to be a strong one. The Applied Research and Innovation Centre connects students to businesses like Spongelab Interactive. The results are noteworthy as seven Centennials students contributed to the development of the History of Biology game.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterVancouver ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to announce its 3rd annual SPARK Animation Conference and Festival, after a very successful SPARK FX Conference and Festival in January. In its third year, this prestigious 3-day speaker series and 5-day film festival is intended to educate and inspire professionals, pioneers and enthusiasts in the world of animation.

Taking place September 8 – 12, 2010, SPARK Animation ’10 will be filled with informative and inspiring learning sessions, panels and presentations. Previous events have attracted a coveted line-up of some of the most talented animators and innovators in the industry from such acclaimed studios as Blue Sky, LAIKA, Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Spark Animation 2010

This strong presentation series will be complemented by screenings chosen to exemplify innovation and excellence in the field held in the evenings at the Vancouver International Film Centre,1181 Seymour Street (& Davie).

Early Bird special pricing for this 5-day conference is available until August 15: Members $175 and non-members $225 (HST included). Regular pass admission is $275 for non-members and $225 for members (HST included). A-la-carte tickets for the individual presentations will go on sale on August 30. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th July 2010

Apparently Not All Turtles Are Ninjas

Hothead GamesHot Head Games‘ justice-seeking personality DeathSpank has officially celebrated the grand opening of his auspicious new fan club and “spanking” new website, and he’s inviting everyone to join. He promises lots of announcements and pretty well anything else you will need to know before he takes his fight against evil to the realms of PSN and XBL next week. DeathSpank has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB and will sell for 1200 MS Points on the Xbox Live MarketPlace or $14.99 on the PlayStation Network.

Alien Concepts‘ newest project, At Risk: The Turtle Survivor Challenge, commissioned by the Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Programme is now live. A downloadable free title, this flash game is aimed primarily at kids to teach them about turtles that live within city parks.At Risk

“It has lots of educational content about the threats that face turtles and turtle conservation efforts, but it’s fed to the player, we hope, in a way that’s not pedantic or intrusive upon the gameplay. The gameplay we tried very hard to make on par with other sidescroller-type games that kids and adults alike would be familiar with, and features high-end graphics,” said Alien Concepts Studio Director Jamie Richards. “All of the animations are pre-rendered frames from fully-3D scenes constructed in Maya, and there are even several short movie clips of the player’s turtle avatar performing various actions at different points in the game.”

The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme provides teachers, students and community groups with information resources and educational opportunities to conserve, restore and create wetland habitats.

CorelCorel Software is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a contest. Enter your best illustration, painting or photo created with Corel software and you could win an Ultimate Design Studio or other great prizes – even those who vote on entries can win prizes. All entries must be submitted in the original Corel software format and must be received by August 31, 2010. There is a limit of one (1) entry per person, and the contest is open to residents of  Canada (excluding Quebec), the UK, USA and Germany only.

sysomosToronto social media analytics company and former MaRS client Sysomos has been acquired by Marketwire Inc. MaRS extends its congratulations to everyone at Sysomos, and is proud to have been a part of Sysomos’ success. MaRS’ influence on the “lab to market” success of the social media start-up is evidence of the centre’s ability to work with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders.

Sysomos became a MaRS client in 2006, following its birth in 2005 as an advanced research project for content aggregation and analysis at University of Toronto’s Department of Computer Science. MaRSSpearheaded by then faculty member Nick Koudas and graduate student Nilesh Bansal, Sysomos took advantage of MaRS advisors and mentors to help with their business development and was introduced to other key Canada-based resources including Scott Vanderwel, Head of Monitor Canada’s Toronto office and volunteer advisor at MaRS; Vanderwel later joined the Sysomos board.

“We’re grateful for the work that MaRS did over the years to help us move the company forward,” said Koudas, President and Co-Founder of Sysomos. “We are also grateful for the counsel and high degree of engagement Scott demonstrated as a member of our board.” Read the rest of this entry »

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29th June 2010

Tap Apps, Temperamental Bears and Digital Influence in Canada

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released the official guidelines for its Diverse Languages Program. The Diverse Languages Program, which forms part of the CMF’s Convergent Stream, ensures that Canadians have access to content that reflects the variety of languages they speak. The program will provide funding support for the creation of Canadian content for television and digital media platforms in languages other than English, French, and Canadian Aboriginal languages, which are served by the CMF’s other funding programs.

zinc RoeCongratulations are due to Tickle Tap Apps developer zinc Roe, the proud recipient of three Parents’ Choice Awards in the highly competitive Mobile Apps category. Sound Shaker and Sort Slider both earned Gold Awards for highest quality apps while Count Caddy was recognized with Silver Honors for excellence. These popular apps are educational iPhone games preschoolers love and parents can feel good about.

To celebrate the awards, zinc Roe will be giving away Bug Builder, the newest app in the Tickle Tap series, for free! Visit the iTunes App Store on Saturday, July 3 or Sunday, July 4 and type “Bug Builder” into the search to download your free app.

The venerable Parents’ Choice Foundation has been reviewing and recommending quality children’s media for more than three decades. This year it was inundated with entries for its new Mobile Apps category. Apps were judged based on overall ratings for how each app amusedTickle Tap and offered new ways to learn. The judges describe Tickle Tap Apps as “a charming introduction to learning anytime and anywhere.”

“zinc Roe design offers a suite of bright and colorful apps for the youngest users,” says the Parents’ Choice Awards review of the Tickle Tap apps. “With its welcoming continuity of voice and characters, this age-appropriate playful prologue is deliciously intriguing to those eager to learn.”

Tickle Tap Apps are attractive, simple games that help kids learn about numbers, shapes and patterns. The apps are developed by child gaming experts, vetted by educational researchers and tested by kids. These portable games help transform trips, line-ups and car rides into fun, educational experiences for young children.

A2MU.S. publisher 505 Games and Canadian developer Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M) have released the bears – Naughty Bear is now available for the Xbox 360™ and PlayStation®3 platforms. The game allows players to take on the role of the infamous Naughty Bear, who is driven to seek retribution after his fellow bears snub him one time too many times. After the other bears exclude him from Daddles’ big birthday party, Naughty Bear finally snaps and slashes a grisly path of revenge and destruction across the Island of Perfection.

Waging psychological warfare against all things cute and fluffy, as Naughty Bear, players engage in sadistic scuffles on all that crosses their path. Using a hilarious array of weapons, interactive objects and endless scare tactics, gamers create chaos on the Island of Perfection to earn Naughty Points as they inflict physical and psychological harm on Naughty Bear’s numerous enemies. This all-new scare-based points system allows players to win the most rewards for being truly deviant and maniacal. As the ill-fated bears become more difficult to harass and terrorize as the game progresses, the variety of scare-based attacks allow for a completely new experience each time players pick up a controller.

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Rated by the ESRB as “T” for Teens with a “Violence” content descriptor, Naughty Bear features more than 28 single player levels to unlock as well as competitive online multiplayer modes filled with unique characteristics and weaponry encountered at every stage. Players battle an endless barrage of bears recruited to wage war against Naughty, including Soldier Bears, Ninja Bears, Robo Bears and even an Alien Bear invasion. As they scour the Island of Perfection to unleash their naughtiness, players can collect all the hidden party items locked away by the other bears to win wearable items and unlock special Achievements and Trophies. Nancy Drew Trail of the Twister

TransGamingTransgaming has just announced that Her Interactive’s title Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister is now available on GameTree Online for Mac gamers. Download the game for only $19.99 and then go undercover as a storm chaser, immersing yourself in meteorology by studying clouds, reading Doppler data, and surviving tornadoes – all while trying to find a saboteur.

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21st June 2010

Mentor Programs and Competitions Expand Futures for Young Canadians

bookriffLet me start the week by sending out a huge congratulations to our friend Rochelle Grayson on her new position as CEO at Vancouver startup BookRiff. Rochelle is an incredible lady, and I know that with her awesome talent and drive, great things will be happening for BookRiff and its parent entity D&M Publishing. Congratulations also to the Deus Ex: Human Revolution team over at Eidos Montreal for all of their nominations and awards from E3, including Best of E3 from Gamepro and 1up, plus Best E3 trailer from JeuxVideo.

CIXCIX, the Canadian Interactive Exchange has sent out their annual call for showcase presentations. Submissions deadline is October 1st, so companies who “consider themselves to be the very best in the fields of ICT, Digital Media and Cleantech should complete a profile in order to be selected to present live at CIX in the showcase of Complex GamesCanada’s Hottest Innovative Companies.” CIX takes place at Toronto’s at MaRs Discovery District on December 7th.

Complex Games has announced that BattleBears -1, a prequel to Skyvu Pictures’ BattleBear Zombies, has been sent off to iTunes for release approval. Check out this trailer for a preview:

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There are two Canadian creations out on Nintendo’s DSiWare today. First up is Puffins: Let’s Fish from Other Ocean Interactive. Available for only 500 Nintendo DSi Points, this E-rated title lets gamers dive into the deep blue sea and fill their virtual bellies with delicious fish. Puffins: Let’s FishOther Ocean Interactive is an action game that has you swimming the beautiful ocean in search of a puffin’s favourite meal: the elusive capelin. However, the ocean can be a dangerous place, and you’re not the only one hunting for food. Throughout 18 underwater stages and two game modes, you’ll be avoiding sharks, jellyfish and other fearsome predators who are very interested in making you their next meal.

Digital LeisureToday’s other new DSiWare title comes from Digital Leisure. Also available for 500 DSi Points and rated E (with cartoon violence) is Mega Words, where you need to put on your thinking cap and see how many of the hundreds of puzzles you can solve in Mega Words. Three classic puzzlers are included in this puzzle pack: Word Scrambler, Anagram Hunt and Hangman. There’s no need for erasers here! These portable editions feature extensive dictionaries to challenge novices and expert players alike. See how fast you can unscramble words, sharpen your vocabulary and stretch your mind with Mega Words.

EA SportsWinnipeg-born Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks will be the new face of the NHL® 11 videogame from EA Sports™. With last year’s title featuring Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, NHL 11 marks the first time that EA SPORTS has put back to back players from the same team on the cover of the NHL franchise. The 22 year old’s image will be on the front of all packaging when NHL 11 is available in North American retail stores this September for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® with an MSRP of $59.99.

“I am really excited to be on the cover of NHL 11,” said Toews. “It’s been an amazing year for me and the team, and it’s nice to end it by being a part of a game I played growing up. The NHL games have always been great, so it’s an honor for me to be a part of the EA Sports family.”
Jonathan Toews
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary with NHL 11, the EA Sports NHL® franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year awards over the past three years and is poised to raise the bar yet again. With a revolutionary real-time physics engine that brings an unprecedented amount of realism to the franchise, gameplay innovations like broken sticks and a revamped face-off system, as well as the addition of the Canadian Hockey League, NHL 11 is set to be the most complete hockey videogame ever created.

After being selected third overall in the 2006-07 entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Toews has emerged as one of the most skilled centers in the NHL after just two seasons. After helping lead team Canada to a gold medal win during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Toews locked up the Conn Smythe, given to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs, after playing a crucial role in leading the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961. Toews is currently the youngest captain in the NHL, and has registered more than 65 points in each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th June 2010

DrinkBox Studios Announces its First Original Title

drinkbox studiosToronto indie developer DrinkBox Studios has announced that its first original console title will be coming to the PlayStation®3 system via the PlayStation®Network toward the end of the year.

Tales from Space: About a Blob is a game about an innocent little creature that grows and grows until it eats the whole world. In development since January of 2009, the game features a monster movie setting and theme, a retro-inspired art style and puzzle-focused platforming gameplay.

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“Players will interact with the game environment using unique growth and absorption control mechanics, experiencing the world at vastly different scales as they progress. Both single-player and co-op play will be supported.” said Ryan MacLean, CEO of DrinkBox Studios. He continued: “We’re extremely excited to be releasing the game on the PlayStation®3 system.”

49 Pixels has announced plans for an open forum which will allow for the gathering of Pixel to Productpeople and facilitate an open conversation in regards to Canada’s digital economy. Please see the the Pixel to Product blog for complete conversation details. The first online conversation is scheduled for Friday June 18th at 4pm ET.

United Front GamesGrammy Award winning recording artist, producer and musician Pharrell Williams brings his unique blend of pop, hip hop and soul to headline the soundtrack for United Front GamesTrue Crime: Hong Kong, the company’s forthcoming open-world/action game. Also on the soundtrack is up and coming R&B, pop and jazz singer Rhea who frequently collaborates with Williams and has performed with N.E.R.D. With orders to “do whatever it takes to become one of them,” players assume the role of undercover detective Wei Shen as he engages in visceral, fast paced martial arts combat, explosive gunfights, high-octane action driving and acrobatic free-running chase sequences in order to infiltrate and bring down one of Hong Kong’s most notorious Triad organizations. In order to survive, Wei must think like them, fight like them, and even kill like them.

Bioware CorpThe Mass Effect™ 2 phenomenon rages on! BioWare™has launched a demo for Mass Effect 2 on Xbox Live® and PC. Designed to help introduce the rich Mass Effect fiction to all-new players, the demo features the first two missions of the game as well as one bonus mission, totaling over 90 minutes of the action-packed game play and rich storytelling that have made Mass Effect 2 one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. BioWare is releasing the demo with a “Story-so-far” video, narrated by actor Martin Sheen, that provides a recap of past events aMass Effect 2 Overlordnd plot twists in the Mass Effect universe.

In the demo, players step into the role of Commander Shepard and must escape from a Cerberus space station under siege. Players can jump ahead to a later mission where they must rescue Subject Zero, a hardened, dangerous criminal from a heavily guarded prison ship. Once they play the demo, players will be able to create a save and carry over their character along with the experience points, story decisions, achievements and weapons earned into the full version of the game – picking up right where they left off, on both PC and Xbox 360.

BioWare also announced today that the new DLC chapter “Overlord”, which will add five new areas and two new achievements will be available on June 15th for 560 Microsoft points and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Also on June 15, BioWare is releasing a new premium theme based on Omega and new avatar items for Xbox Live will follow on June 17.

“Mass Effect 2 is one of our greatest achievements to date at BioWare,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and Group General Manager of the BioWare Group, and Senior Vice President of Electronic Arts. “The Mass Effect team continues to deliver on our promise to add exciting new content to the universe for our loyal fans, and we’re also excited to be able to give all gamers a chance to experience this amazing game through a free demo!”

Down at E3, Target and Ubisoft have teamed up for an exclusive preview of four upcoming Ludiafamily fun games. Target’s Bullseye Lounge will feature two upcoming video game adaptations of the hit television game shows, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?™ and Hollywood Squares™. Playable on Wii™, these demos will offer Expo attendees a chance to engage in competitive gameplay. The new Who Wants To Be A Millionaire video game is created by Ludia and is based on the Disney-ABC Domestic Television hit game show, which will premiere its ninth season in syndication this fall. The Millionaire video game, on display in the Bullseye Lounge at E3, will put the brains of expo attendees to work as they compete against one another to answer increasingly difficult trivia questions. Visitors to the Bullseye Lounge will be able to experience the drama and intensity of the pop culture game show sensation first-hand, as they test their trivia knowledge and give their “final answers.” Read the rest of this entry »

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10th June 2010

Patrick Beaulieu Launches Animation Insiders

Just a reminder that if you haven’t already, time is running out on your chance to have your say about Canada’s digital economy strategy. This incentive is meant to benefit our Canadian digital industry, so get involved in the discussion today. digiBC has released the 2010 BC Digital Media and Wireless Survey report (PDF) which was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The report covers key sectors of British Columbia’s rapidly developing Digital Media and Wireless industries.

dabble dbTwitter announced earlier today that it has purchased Vancouver company Smallthought Systems, the powers behind Dabble DB and Trendly. A message on Dabble DB’s landing page about the sale of the company reads:

“Obviously this represents a new chapter in the life of Dabble DB, both for us as a team, and for the product itself. We’d like to assure you that, for now, we will continue to provide our software and technical support to current Dabble DB customers. However, we will be disabling new account signups effective immediately.

There will be further changes to Dabble’s ongoing operations, and when those happen, we want to do right by you. We will provide you with 60 days advance notice of any major change. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure that, at any time, you can export all of your data, including attachments, in a structured format suitable for import into other systems.”

animation insidersPatrick Beaulieu, Animation Artistic Director at Ubisoft Quebec City, has launched his first 3D animation collection book Animation Insiders. A rich and complete work of knowledge sharing, this collection of testimonials gives a lot of tricks and hints as well as anecdotes from renowned animators at Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Pixar, to name a few. The book is now available worldwide on sstudiopress.

“Gathering all these people from all over the world and putting together all of these testimonials was a lot of work, says Patrick Beaulieu, but the result gives us a privileged vision on what is going on back stage in animation. Each collaborator had a clean slate to share his experiences, works, methodologies, philosophy, etc…. even if some aspects are more technical, Animation Insiders remains open to a wide audience, from the animation fan boy to the experienced animator. Everyone passionate about animation, movies and video games will find himself in this book, he will also find details and insides about his favorite animation movies or games” he adds.

You will find testimonials, visuals and illustrations from 13 renowned animators such as:

Jason Ryan (USA, Dreamworks, Shrek 4)
Andrew Gordon (USA, Pixar, Nemo)
Jason Martinsen (USA, Animation Mentor, Ice Age)
Jason Schleifer (USA, Dreamworks, LOTR)
Anthea Kerou (USA, Dreamworks, Bolt)
Victor Navone (USA, Pixar, The Incredibles)
Ana Maria Alvarado (USA, Sony Image Works, Spiderman)
Mike Nguyen (USA, Rainplace, Iron Giant)
Pedro Blumenbaum (Spain, Nocturna)
Pablo Navarro (Spain, Nocturna)
Emilio Ghorayeb (Canada, New Breed VFX, Madagascar)
Matt Stangio (USA, Pixar, Toys Story 3)
Reno Armanet (France, Tigobo Animation)

gamesauceThe schedule for the GameSauce Conference has been posted to the web. This conference takes place on July 19th, immediately prior to Casual Connect Seattle (July 20 -22). Registration is $100.00 USD or is free to those registered for the Casual Connect Seattle conference. There are some great topics, panels and roundtable discussions on the slate, so plan to be in Seattle one day early in order to take advantage of this event. Along with the great topics being offered through the GameSauce Game Development Track, the following areas may also be of interest to you, and like me, you will need a clone in order to take it all in.

The Leadership & Professional Development Track, produced in partnership by Women In Games International, Women In Games Vancouver and Women In Games IGDA offers some great panels and roundtable discussions about career building and talent nurturing.

If game audio is your thing, The Audio Track, produced by Game Audio Alliance, has much to offer, and the Nvidia Tegra Mobile Game Development Track, which is making its debut at this year’s GameSauce Conference is a must for those looking for opportunities in the mobile market. The Alternative Funding and Exit Strategies Track, produced by The Corum Group is a four hour crash course discussing the positives and negatives of funding as well as what to do with your company once you are successful.

trainyardiPhone developer Matt Rix has released his first title in the iTunes App Store. Trainyard is a challenging puzzler that requires the safe movement of coloured blocks (trains) from one station to the next. Each of the 100 puzzles ramps up in difficulty, adding colour and track-changing blocks into the mix while you try to draw tracks from one locale to the next, hopefully avoiding train pile-ups. There are no set solutions to the puzzles, so you are free to try as many options as you like. Trainyard also includes bonus levels as well as the ability to share solutions that worked for you on the game’s web site. Trainyard is available now for only $1.99. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Animation, Associations, Business News, Careers, Casual, Digital Products, Early Childhood, Education, Educational, Events, Everyone, Game Dev, Government, Mobile, Music, National News, New Releases, Puzzle, Research Studies, Social Media By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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