2nd February 2011

Catching Up On The Indie Scene

drinkbox studiosCo-op PlayStation®Network platformer Tales from Space: About a Blob is now available to North About A BlobAmerican PlayStation®Plus members! Developer DrinkBox Studios has also confirmed that the European release of the game will occur on February 9th – the same week the title will be made generally available to North American PlayStation®Store users.

DrinkBox CEO Ryan MacLean had this to say about the company’s release plans: “We’re very excited that the game is finally coming out! The release is definitely a big milestone for our studio. After two-plus years of development we’re ready to sit back and watch OTHER people have fun with the game!”

Tales from Space: About a Blob is a side-scrolling action-platformer about alien Blobs that land on an Earth-like planet and begin eating everything around them. The game features local co-op play, puzzles, special Blob powers and a healthy dose of humour.

Rusty Axe GamesRusty Axe Games is proud to announce the first playable demo of Dungeon BrawlDungeon Brawl, a free, retro arcade-style RPG. This demo features the first 5 of 9 game levels, with the other levels are expected to be released in early March. Travel back in time with the studio’s free 80’s style arcade RPG dungeon romp, a browser based ode to the great games of our youth. No download is required, you can just click and play.

Wild Games StudioWild Games Studio, creators of Dhaila’s Adventure, has released a trailer for its upcoming game Qwon Tribe, which is expected to be launched for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in March. This energetic game is addictive and will come loaded full of surprises for players. The ultimate goal in latest mobile title is to survive through forty levels of high resolution game play to save the tribe Qwon.

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Just in time for all of the political fun going on in BC, D2D Campaign Solutions would like you to know about their online, mobile, d2d campaign solutionsvolunteer management solution that provides election campaign managers unprecedented power in mobilizing door-to-door campaign volunteers, identifying vote-swinging issues, and growing candidate support at the grass roots level like never before.

Use D2D Campaign Solutions to unlock new voter power, make use of the latest mobile technology, and win your election. Central to differentiating the product are engaging more volunteers into the campaign and enabling real-time geographic and trend analysis allowing you to respond quickly with precision. D2D was founded by Julian Haigh and Andrei Iancu, is based in Vancouver and will soon be launching an app called Canvass2Go.Battlegoat Studios

RTS game Battlegoat Studios has released a ten page PDF version of their comments and thoughts in regards to the Canadian copyright reform progress. The report looks at what the government has said, as well as what is right and what is wrong with the future of Canadian copyright initiatives.

Single Digit LabsNew Vancouver studio Single Digit Labs has released Dog Booth, an iPhone app that puts dog faces on people’s bodies. dog boothSome dogs are funny, some are cute and some look mean. You can say endless things with this app.

According to the app’s description, it only takes seconds to take a picture, have the app find all the faces for you and put 3D dog heads on them. Editing an image is simple and fun, sharing it with everyone you know is extremely fast. Amaze your friends, show them what they don’t expect and make them laugh out loud.

DreamCatcherToronto’s DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have officially announced the launch of ‘Painkiller – Redemption’, the newest addition to the Painkiller Universe. The player will continue the story of Daniel and Belial as they join forces for the first time to end the bloody conflict between heaven and hell. You will discover all new maps, fight off literally thousands of demonic fiends, and lose yourself in the intense gameplay rounded off with an absorbing heavy metal soundtrack.

Reinhard Pollice, Producer at JoWooD is looking forward to the release:”The newest addon brings the Painkiller franchise back to its roots. Breathtaking action, thousands of monsters and exotic weapons are a solid foundation for a Painkiller game! With Painkiller: Redemption we deliver 6 new, thrilling levels for an unbeatable price!”Painkiller Redemption

The game also features a tactical component! While reaching your objectives in each level, you unlock Tarot Cards, which will soon prove to be very helpful! In additional to that, collecting souls of fallen enemies will temporarily transform you into a mighty demon!

Features:

· 7 to 10 hours of playtime
· Collect souls to transform into a demon
· Better graphics with detailed ambience
· Over 6000 enemies, more than any previous PK game!
· Equip yourself with powerful tarot cards which can be found in secret rooms
· Up to 1000 monsters per map to ensure an intense battle with the army of hell
· Two heroes – play as the characters Belial and Daniel
· Better AI – there is nowhere to hide! Enemies will get you

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28th January 2011

Canadians Like Hippos In Their Digital Media

koboKobo Wireless eReader is now available at Best Buy Canada, both in-store and online. You can pick up the Onyx, Pearlized Lilac or Metallic Silver eReaders for $149.00 each from Best Buy, Chapters-Indigo or Walmart stores across Canada.

Canada 3.0The 2011 Canada 3.0 conference has opened registration for this year’s event, which will take place in Stratford on May 2nd through 5th. The Early Bird rate of $495.00 + taxes and service charge will be available until midnight on March 3th, when ticket prices will go up to $695.00 + taxes and processing charge. There is a StartUp/Small Business/Non-Profit price available for $225.00 + taxes and service charge as well as ticketing options for students. If you register before February 18th you will automatically be entered for a draw to win a copy of MacroWikinomics, personally addressed and signed by author Anthony D. Williams. Please see the Canada 3.0 web site for this year’s confirmed speakers.

bug trackerMonde Media and Bug Tracker have made two personnel announcements this morning – Jean-Robert Michel, Monde Media’s former General Manager has moved into the dual role of Production Director for both Bug-Tracker and Monde Media, while Monde Media’s former COO has become the new Client Relationship Director for both entities.

In other comings and goings, the BC Technology Industry Association announced today that its President, Pascal BCTIASpothelfer will leave the organization June 30th to return to the corporate sector. Spothelfer was appointed President & CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association in November of 2007, and since that time has successfully raised the level of recognition of the organization and BC’s technology industry through his leadership, commitment to collaboration, and tireless advocacy efforts.

“My past three years at the BCTIA have allowed me to get to know our technology community on a very different level. It has been most rewarding both personally and professionally,” said Spothelfer. “I have met and worked with incredibly smart, engaged and inspiring people – experiences that will fuel my passion to assist in the further growth of BC’s technology industry not just until my departure from the BCTIA, but in whatever role I pursue in the future. “

Paul Gorton, Chair of the BCTIA commented, “We will greatly miss having Pascal’s passion and vision. On behalf of the Board, I thank Pascal for his commitment to the BCTIA, and we wish him the utmost success in the future.”

Pascal will continue to lead the BCTIA and work with the board on the leadership transition until his departure at the end of June. A formal search has been initiated by the BCTIA and will be facilitated by Odgers Berndtson. Please contact Caroline Jellinck at 604 602 2556 for more information.

Canadian developers seem to have a thing for hippos – here is some info from three Canadian enterprises which contain “hippo” in their names.

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd has launched the second closed beta for its cartoon-style third person action shooter, MicroVolts. This second phase of testing will continue for approximately two weeks in preparation for the official release day. In addition, the company has released all-new screen shots of the game and is holding a special “Free-for-All” tournament which will kick off Saturday, February 5th. Winning players will be awarded their choice of any weapon they want to use with the launch of the Open Beta. Players who visit the game’s website will be able to learn more about the game and the events as well as register for a beta key.
microvolts
MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years. No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World. All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!

With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept.

tiny hipposTiny Hippos, a start-up based in Waterloo, has a product which will be of interest to all of you mobile developers out there. According to its site, this product, which is named Ripple Emulator, is a multi-platform mobile environment emulator that runs in a web browser and is custom-tailored to HTML5 mobile application testing. Ripple aims to reduce the challenges being faced by mobile developers caused by today’s platform fragmentation in the marketplace.

Ripple is built as a Chrome extension, running as part of the Chrome browser and takes advantage of our back-end services to perform some of the more complex operations. It offers the ability to look under the hood of your mobile applications, gaining full visibility into what your it is doing. It also allows for the use of existing tools to perform JavaScript debugging, HTML DOM inspection, automated testing, as well as multiple device and screen resolution emulation in real-time without having to redeploy the mobile application or restart the emulator.

mercury groveMeanwhile, just down the highway a bit from Tiny Hippos is Mercury Grove, an Ottawa-based developer who has an enterprise called Network Hippo, which according to network hippoMercury Grove’s site connects to users’ email, address books, and social networks to consolidate all of their professional contacts, remind them to stay in touch with important people, and makes it easy to connect online or through email. Mercury Grove also offers a service called Web Collaboration, which is an online workspaces for internal teams, partners, and clients. Unlike other team sharing services, Web Collaboration can be setup in minutes and requires no download, installation or administration.

JostleAnother collaboration-style service I stumbled across is Vancouver-developed Jostle. I found this site because the person behind Jostle’s Twitter account retweeted one of my Game Design Expo live tweets. According to the Jostle web site, a People Engagement Platform™ that glues enterprises together. This platform enables innovative companies to clarify their organization, reveal hidden expertise and engage their employees. Jostle is enterprise software that is accessible from any web-enabled device and works like a website, without the need to install software.

blue74Toronto’s Blue74 Labs has released a statement announcing that IIA, the studio’s critically acclaimed real-life massively multiplayer “outdoor” role-playing game sold tens of thousands of memberships in the first 48 hours of its release, making it the fastest-selling ARG game of all time. The IIA Spy Game is being compared to blockbuster hits “The Game”, “Spy Game”, and “Halting State”, a book by Charles Stross.

The IIA (International Intelligence Agency) is a real life multi-player game that gives players a real life, real feel, “off computer” role-playing game. Players don’t know about the actual game play until they are engaged in the game, which was made globally available on January 24th via a small posting on the popular “Ycombinator: Hacker News”, a web site for Internet start-ups. Expectations were less than 100 memberships to be sold the first day, Mike Curry noticed a very heavy load on his web server – realizing the game had gone viral. Registration for the game is $5.00, which interested players send via PayPal.

The company does have an official site for the game, however they are not releasing the information until its members exercise a critical classified mission. It’s believed that the mission entails a Remote Controlled UAV helicopter taking aerial photographs of the building that houses their website. It’s believed they are doing this to antic entertainmentensure the security of the building.

In an article released yesterday on Gamasutra, Nexon America VP of Business Development Won Il Sue spoke with reporter Chris Nutt about the million dollar Nexon iNitiative, during which the publisher asked for game dev submissions from studios around the world. Coming out at the top of heap with signed deals: One2Tribe from Poland, and Ontario studio Antic Entertainment. Nexon did not reveal exactly what type of game the London, ON Antic team is working on, other than to say one of the studios is working on a Facebook game and that both games, while somewhat of an unusual nature for Nexon, will be of the social media genre. In the meantime, check out Antic’s free to play Junk Battles, a teletoon retrobrowser-based free-to-play fast-paced vehicle combat game.

All’s fair in love and war in cartoon-land as TeleToon Retro couples pursue the love of fans and a spot in TeleToon Retro’s Hall of Fame as the Top 5 Sweethearts in honour of Valentine’s Day. Starting today and running until Sunday, February 6, viewers can vote online for their top 5 favourite cartoon love matches, for a place in TeleToon Retro history.

TeleToon Retro has narrowed the field to 18 classic animated admirers and is inviting fans to select which couples are the Top 5 Sweethearts of all-time. The list of nominees for the Top 5 Sweethearts is made up of the following cartoon couples:

  • Smurfette and Hefty Smurf
  • The Baroness and Destro (G.I. Joe)
  • He-Man and Frosta
  • Pepe Le Pew and Penelope cat
  • Fred and Wilma Flintstone
  • Batman and Catwoman
  • Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Alvin and Britney
  • George and Jane Jetson
  • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo
  • Clark Kent and Lois Lane
  • Granny and Tweety
  • Fred and Daphne (Scooby Doo)
  • Optimus Prime and Elita One
  • Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble
  • Josie and Alan M (Josie and the Pussycats)
  • Wonder Woman and Superman (Superfriends)
  • She-Ra and Pirate Sea Hawke

Following the voting period, the Top 5 Sweethearts will be announced on Friday, February 11 and a special programming marathon featuring all five couples will air as part of the “Retro Rewind” programming block on Sunday, February 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. These winners will be inducted into the TeleToon Retro Hall of Fame, joining the Top 5 favourite cartoon characters of all-time as chosen by the fans in December 2010.

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27th January 2011

Step Into the Creatisphere

There is a ton of news coming out of the Canadian Creatisphere today. Grab a coffee and let’s take a look at what’s going on so far. Congratulations to the team over at Capcom Studios Vancouver whose Dead Rising 2: Case Zero game was the top selling title last year on XBLA with 689 000 units downloaded to Xboxes around the world. Congratulations also to the Assassin’s Creed team over at Ubisoft Montreal for being named as the Guinness world record holder with Assassin’s Creed II being featured on 127 international publications between April 2009 and April 2010.

The BallsA free version of The Balls! Extreme Sports Ball Busting has been released by Savant Inc. The Balls game is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; the paid version is listed at 99 cents USD. The free version offers OpenFeint and the same great graphics, audio, and frantic gameplay as the paid version, with a teaser for another mode coming in the future.

Riese Battle for EleysiaRiese: The Battle for Eleysia by Genius Factor Games has had an update to its features, along with a bug fix. Add features include the addition of Head-to-Head Multiplayer (via local wifi), stability improvements and aforementioned bug fixes, along with updates to the battle screens, How To Play help and screen-flow for editing decks. Riese: The Battle for Eleysia sells in the iTunes App Store for $2.99 USD.

Drift ManiaDrift Mania Championship is now available worldwide on the Mac AppStore for $2.99. This new high-resolution version includes all the in-app purchase items that are available as options in the iOS version. As with all previous platform versions, the Mac AppStore version is loaded with new features like real drifting, as well as the ability to compete with users who are on other iOS or Android devices. Experience longer burnouts, taking 11 different vehicles through 3 levels of difficulty on 8 tracks as you compete to take over the global leaderboards.

ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver has just announced its latest event, which will be held on February 8th in the Djavad Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterMowafaghian Cinema at the SFU Woodward’s campus on West Hastings. Tron – Cult Favourite to Franchise will feature two presentations that will take a look at this convergence of  Vancouver film and game development teams. The first presentation will cover the visual effects used in the making of TRON and TRON: Legacy. This session will be presented by TRON animator and programmer Frank Vitz and Darren Poe, Digital Supervisor at Digital Domain Vancouver.  In the second presentation, former Propaganda Games Technical Art Director Gary Snyder and Art Director David Patch will share their experiences working with the TRON: Legacy film team to recreate the TRON assets and storyline in the video game TRON: Evolution. Tickets for this event are $25.00 for non-SIGGRAPH members or $15.00 for members and include a pre-event social mixer.

Hothead GamesHothead Games has released part two of the Ask Dr. Mike video series with Dr. Mike Hayward. Watch this intense and dramatic documentary which studies the habits of Swarmites as they weave their way through diabolical and unrelenting gauntlets of death and destruction, attempting to be the last pudgy blue moron still standing. It is highly recommended that those who are planning to take over their own Swarm colonies study the video series closely, so that you will be prepared for any situation into which your Swarmites will undoubtedly  place themselves. If you have the opportunity to practice herding cats, I suggest you take advantage of the experience.

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As part of the PlayStation®Network “11 for 11” sale, players can grab Big Sandwich’s thrilling dragon-themed game Big Sandwich GamesHOARD™ for half-price until January 31st. With game play for 1 to 4 players, HOARD™ combines action and strategy elements to create an innovative gameplay mix unlike anything else on the store. The game features over 35 levels, 4 game modes, 100+ badges to earn, trophy support, leaderboards, and anyHoard-Screenshot combination of couch and online players. Best of all, HOARD™ puts the dragon in the hero’s role, where he must strive against cruel knights, fierce wizards, conniving burglars, and even rampaging giants.

Critics and consumers alike have appreciated HOARD’s unique design. IGN recently honored HOARD™ with the “Best Quick Fix” Best of 2010 award, and the game was also nominated in the “Best Competitive Multiplayer” category. Joystiq says “HOARD’s gameplay shines,” and 1UP reports “the game hides a surprising layer of complexity and strategy.”

“If you’ve been keeping an eye on HOARD™ but have been waiting for the right time to try it, now’s officially that time,” says Glenn Barnes, Big Sandwich’s Creative Director. “For less than 8 bucks you get a proven, acclaimed game Technology Impact Awardswith over 20 hours of gameplay. It’s a no-brainer.”

Don’t forget to get your nominations in for The Technology Impact Awards. The BCTIA will be accepting submissions for BC’s top technology innovations, companies and individuals from all sectors until March 11th. The TIAs will be held on the evening of June 9th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Award categories are as follows:

Technology Awards: Most Promising Pre-Commercial Technology, Excellence in Product Innovation and Best Application of Technology

Company Awards: Most Promising Start-up, Emerging Company of the Year and Company of the Year

Personal Recognition Awards: Team of the Year, Community Engagement and Person of the Year

Canadian Marketing AssociationThe Canadian Marketing Association invites you to attend the 2nd Annual CMA Awards Case Study event, where attendees will join Master of Ceremonies Aldo Cundari in a close-up look at some of today’s top creative works and better understand how they came to be CMA Award winners. The Case Study event will be held in the Victoria Room at  Toronto’s Metropolitan Hotel on February 2nd from 3:30 – 5:30pm, with a networking social immediately following the session. All-inclusive tickets are $75.00 each for CMA members or $95.00 earch for non-members. Tickets for the cocktail party only are $25.00 each for CMA members or $30.00 each for non-members.

merging media conferenceMerging+Media has announced that there will be a Spring session featuring Anita Ondine-Smith, who will present an exclusive Transmedia Seminar + Lab on April 28th and 29th at the VanCity Theatre in Vancouver. The focus of this session will be a 1/2 day Seminar with a 1 ½ day hands-on in-depth lab on the full cycle of Transmedia development, writing, production and distribution from Conception to Consumption. Event participants will obtain a framework for production as well as Creative Toolkit and Business Strategies for Transmedia production. This Transmedia theory, Case studies and architectural workshop is designed to provide tools to create successful transmedia productions. The seminar portion of the event will be open to 100-150 people, while 20-24 producers, writers, broadcasters, commissioning editors will be selected to take part in the workshop.

Merging+Media has also confirmed that the next full conference and master class will be returning in October. Like the first conference held last fall, this event will feature world class speakers and experts who will present “Best in Class” case studies and high calibre discussions on the business of cross-media production. The two day programme will include a Masterclass + Conference, International B2B Matchmaking, Networking receptions, M+M Socializer + Digital Gallery to showcase our latest local technology. The Merging+Media 2011 Masterclass will include the Merging+Media Pitch and Development Prize. Keep an eye on the Merging+Media site for confirmed dates and speakers.

Canadian Telecom SummitThe Canadian Telecom Summit has early bird pricing available until February 28th, which means you can save $200.00 off the regular registration price. The 10th annual Canadian Telecom Summit will be taking place in Toronto on May 31st through June 2nd and offers three days of discussion regarding the key issues and trends surrounding the Canadian Telecom industry.

swarmjamGroup buying site SwarmJam, which launched across all Postmedia Network properties in December has expanded to the Winnipeg area through a partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press. The promotion-based system uses a platform through which consumers are connected with local businesses. SwarmJam’s group buying service offers savings of 50% or better, which for some deals can actually grow progressively better as more people sign onl For “progressive deals”, when the offer closes, the number of cumulative purchases determines the actual discount. So, these deals become better as subscribers share the promotion with friends, family and people in their social network. Users of the service simply sign up for a free subscription to get the SwarmJam Winnipeg Daily Deal emailed directly to their inbox. They can then click on deals they like, pay online, print the certificate and visit the business to redeem it. There are currently thirteen major urban and suburban areas which offer SwarmJam deals.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive, publisher of Mission Against Terror, has launched Occupation Mode with a twist. Alongside the hotly anticipated new game mode which brings hardcore, capture-the-flag-style gameplay comes the chance to win the most unique and priceless weapon so far seen in the popular, free-to-play shooter – the Golden AK-47.

“We have been saving this announcement for just the right moment,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “With the frenzy of excitement over Occupation Mode, it seemed like the perfect time to blow everyone’s minds with this news. The Golden AK-47 is the ultimate showpiece for the M.A.T. community.”Golden AK47

The Lottery System enables players to take a break from a raw competition of Occupation Mode. Just like any other lottery, players step up, lay down their ticket and spin an actual wheel that appears right in the middle of the screen. The Golden AK-47 is merely the ultimate prize; there are plenty more for those who are feeling lucky.

“There are a whole assortment of weapons that the Lottery System offers,” added Ho. “Many, like the Golden AK-47, are one-of-a-kind items that cannot be purchased. We hope the M.A.T. Community enjoys the new System. It’s our way of helping them forget the winter doldrums.

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posted in Action Adventure, Associations, Awards, Business News, Card Games, Careers, Casual, Dev Diaries, Digital Products, Driving, Education, Events, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Game Dev, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, RTS, Shooters, Teen, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

20th January 2011

Six Canadian Game Franchises Receive Interactive Achievement Award Nominations

marblemediamarblemedia interactive and Teletoon have flipped the On skatoonyswitch for Skatoony’s web page, which is filled with games, show information, downloadable craft projects and videos. Skatoony is a combined live action and animation quiz show for kids. Each week the two hosts, Chudd Chudders and The Earl pit 3 animated characters against real kids who hope to survive the show’s shenanigans, temperamental producer and environmental challenges to be declared victorious.

aiasSeveral Canadian titles have been named as finalists for the AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards which will be presented at DICE Las Vegas this coming February 10th. The dev teams from EA Canada will be competing against each other in the Sports Game of the Year category with both FIFA Soccer 11 and NHL 11 receiving nominations. The debut title for United Front Games, ModNation Racers, has been named to the Racing Game of the Year category.

Relic Entertainment’s Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising has been nominated in the Strategy Game of the Year category, while Ubisoft Montreal action title Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is competing in the Achievements in Animation category. Bioware has been named to the Outstanding Character Performance category for Mass Effect 2 – Male Shepard, while Mass Effect 2 was given the nod for both the Outstanding Achievement in Story,  Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year and Game of the Year categories.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Award as well as Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play. The Ubisoft Montreal blockbuster will also be going head to head with Bioware’s blockbuster Mass Effect 2 as they compete in the  Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction category. Best of luck to all of our Canadian nominees!

krangGAMESVancouver Film School graduate Nicholas Yonge has officially launched his indie game development studio krangGAMES, which will initially be focusing on flash games with an eye to expanding its products to other platforms in the future. The studio is currently developing DotGuy vs The Galaxy, which is an action-puzzle game where the player must successfully guide DotGuy out of a damaged spaceship. According to the game’s description, DotGuy vs The Galaxy will feature a campaign mode, unlockable modes of play, multiple playable characters, and user-made content via the Assembly Level Editor. krangGAMES also developed a game named Prior, which was created for the Ludum Dare Competition #19. Prior is a msyterious 2D platformer that was built in Adobe Flash, and in following with the LD19 theme of Discovery, players must navigate through a dark facility in an effort to figure out who they are, what has happened, where they are, and why they are there, developing their story piece by piece.

Hothead GamesHothead Games has brought Swarm creator, Dr. Mike Hayward, out of his dark and windowless office for a few short minutes to explain how players can control their “Swarm” in this first edition of “Ask Dr. Mike.”

Since Dr. Mike tends to speak in programming code without even realizing it, Hothead brought in “man of the people” and “regular guy”, Lead Designer, Pete Low, to bridge the gap and explain to us laypeople the unique and fun way to control your Swarm. Swarm is the upcoming and ultra addictive action game from UTV Ignition and Hothead Games set to release early this year. Dr. Mike did his PhD research in the field of artificial intelligence, and while his research didn’t directly relate to causing the horrific deaths of little cute and pudgy blue creatures, he has harnessed his work to realize that vision in Swarm. In the newly released video, Dr. Mike shows us everything from how to jump, group up, huddle and even stack and bash your Swarmites.

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Swarm gives players control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drives them through an intense and often suicidal battle of survival. Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where players move all the Swarmites at once. Steer the flock of pudgy, clueless little blue morons through the game and they naturally flock and flow around obstacles. Creatively combine swarm moves to work your way through a relentlessly dangerous and hilariously brutal environment. Compete against friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way. Swarm is rated T for Teen by the ESRB

EA SportsEA SPORTS™ and Virgin Gaming™ have penned a new agreement which names Virgin Gaming as the official worldwide provider of online tournaments for EA SPORTS. The agreement covers all head-to-head competitive play, pay-to-enter and sponsored tournaments for select EA SPORTS console video games.
virgin gaming
As part of the agreement, the Virgin Gaming tournament platform will integrate directly with select EA SPORTS titles offering seamless web functionality and enhanced community tools for competitive gaming across Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 consoles. The first tournaments will begin early 2011, with details to be announced in the near future.

“EA SPORTS is the leading sports video game brand and publisher in the world, and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunities to compete in some of their very best multiplayer sports games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of competitive gaming, video games and social/community networking, and we are excited that EA SPORTS shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”

“Competitive online gaming is an increasingly popular component of our industry and a great way for EA SPORTS and Virgin Gaming to help connect gamers around the world through the global language of sports,” said Peter Moore, President of EA SPORTS. “Virgin Gaming demonstrates the system-wide integrity we desire, and this is a great opportunity for EA SPORTS fans to experience secure and impeccably managed online tournaments for some of our top titles.”

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) today offered a first look at Occupation Mode, the eagerly anticipated update which brings hardcore, capture-the-flag-style competitive action to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.

“Gamers have been extremely curious,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Since there hasn’tMAT Occupation Mode been an Old School hardcore competitive title in quite some time, gamers seem like they can’t wait to get their hands on Occupation Mode. We hope that these screenshots hold them over until Occupation Mode goes live, which, we promise, will be very soon.”

What’s New in Occupation Mode:

· New maps
· Territory capture and control – the two essential ingredients of a competitive title
· New team-based action and coordination
· Ability to set time-challenges – game creators determine how long one team has to hold all points on map for the win
· Opportunity to test out recently purchased or unlocked weapons in new, challenging environments

“With Occupation Mode, we offer players a great mix of flexibility and raw competition,” added Ho. “Some players want an experience that is nothing less than a fight to the death, with matches lasting countless rounds until one team finally emerges victorious from the firefight. For others, it’s about light, scrimmage with friends. We are proud to serve both communities of gamers with this latest update to M.A.T.”

Mobile IT management solution provider Rove has announced the rapidly growing adoption of its award-winning solution, Rove Mobile Admin, a secure smartphone- and tablet-enabled IT management solution giving IT staff unprecedented mobile access to incident detection, diagnosis, triage and resolution.

Spurring the surge of interest and uptake has been Rove’s Dashboard, functionality that aggregates alerts, alarms, notifications and tickets from IT monitors and incident management systems, presents them to IT administrators directly on their mobile device’s screen, and makes it possible to drill down quickly into problem details to identify the cause and implement a fix.

“We use Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager to monitor a wide variety of security and server health issues,” said Jeff Rountree, Global Network Manager for Dover’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG), a world-leading manufacturer of industrial pumps and compressors. “While email alerts for warnings and errors are available to us, setting them up takes a number of steps and our time. With the Rove Mobile Admin Dashboard my team can view alerts directly, without the need for any email escalations. The added value is being able to receive alerts regarding our Exchange and/or Blackberry servers even if they’re offline – as long we have network connectivity we can get the Rove Dashboard alerts and begin taking corrective action.”

“There is a growing awareness within IT organizations that robust, proven mobile solutions are required to effectively manage their networks and infrastructure,” said Russell Ure, President and COO, Rove. “Rove Mobile Admin is increasingly seen as the preferred solution to address these needs.”

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12th January 2011

Winter Has No Effect On Canadian Interactive Media Industry

Reminder: The CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa conference is February 16th – 18th, tickets are available online.
Reminder: Desire2Learn RoadShow presentation will be in Toronto on January 26th &  Ottawa on January 27th.
Reminder: CFC Features application deadline is January 28th & the Cineplex Entertainment Film Programme deadline is January 21st.
Reminder: The deadline for nominations for the 2011 Worldwide Short Film Fest are open until February 4th.

Shot In The DarkShot in the Dark Mysteries has launched its inaugural podcast. Hosted by company president and head writer Leigh Clements, this first podcast in the series will introduce you to the concept of mystery parties. Additional podcasts will  offer listeners many excellent tips on planning that special, and memorable, party or corporate event.

The Youth Media Awards, presented by the Youth Media Alliance, are now open for nomination Youth Media Alliancesubmissions. The Awards are open to all Canadian-made, youth-oriented productions originally broadcast or released online in English between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010. Programs and interactive content must be submitted by no later than Monday, February 21, 2011, at 5 p.m. The Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on June 2nd.

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver presents a session with Tod Maffin, podcasting pioneer, technology trend blogger and Digital Marketing Strategist on Monday, February 7th. Tod will discuss the 7 successful action steps for launching an impactful and measurable viral campaign using his ASSURED ROI™ methodology. Tod’s energetic, highly entertaining presentation style has audiences captivated, engaged, entertained and inspired. This session will be hosted at the ING Direct Cafe game developers choice awards 2010on Howe Street. Advance registration for this event is required, tickets are $35.00 for members and $40.00 for non-members. Note: membership is free, sign up and save.

Congratulations to the two Canadian nominees in this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards:

Mass Effect 2, nominated for Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Audio, Best Writing as well as Game of the Year, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, nominated for Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced a new pre-order incentive for the fast approaching release of Dragon Age 2. Those who pre-order the game before March 8th (the scheduled release date) will receive access to the following additional in-game content at no extra cost.

* The Lion of Orlais Shield, whose legend begins at the height of the Summer War, when all of Orlais was embroiled in fierce battles, with dozens of contenders for the Imperial Throne emerging. Most are long forgotten except as footnotes in scholarly tomes, but everyone remembers the gallant young lord Emile Deveraux, “The Golden Prince”. Thought outnumbered at every turn, he racked victory upon victory culminating in the Seventh Battle of Roses. While wearing this shield he broke through his uncle’s vanguard to win the day. Never knowing New Shield and Swordthe taste of defeat on the battlefield, this gallant hero is said to have met his end at the hands of a jealous lover in the dead of night. Now you can carry this magnificent shield into battle, adding to your health and XP gained, you can also increase its power with magical runes which will fit nicely into two special slots.

* The Fadeshear Sword, whose core is very old – as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond. This sword has fought the demonic hosts in countless battles, sometimes being held high in triumphant victory. Other times, it has lain broken beside its dying owner. But after every defeat it has always been reclaimed, reforged, and made stronger. Fadeshear has passed through many hands before yours. Now it is your turn to make the demons of the Fade pay for crossing the Veil into the waking world. Make use of the FadeShear Sword against demons and the undead, its power growing as your character levels up.

Original purchasers of Dragon Age 2 will receive:

* A fighting Mabari War Hound who can be summoned by a whistle to fight at your side in battle.
* The Mirror of Transformation which will allow you to change your very appearance. Hair, eyes, tattoos, and more can be changed with the click of a button.
* Access to The Black Emporium exclusive Magic and Crafting Stores that have some of the best equipment and powerful, unique recipes you’ll find in the game. It’s restocked with better items as you progress through the story.

This is a double bonus for those of us who also took advantage of the Signature Edition pre-order incentive, which ended on January 11th, because we also get access to all of this newly announced bonus content. Here is the latest Dev Diary trailer, which talks about story development.

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GamerizonMontreal’s Gamerizon has announced that over 8 Million of its Chop Chop™ games had been downloaded on the App Store in a span of less than 10 months. Each of the six existing Chop Chop™ games – Chop Chop Ninja™, Chop Chop Runner™, Chop Chop Tennis™, Chop Chop Soccer™, Chop Chop Hockey™ and Chop Chop Caveman™ – have received critical acclaim and have reached top ranking positions chop chop cavemanin their respective categories in most countries around the world, with specially strong performances in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.

“We reached the milestone with an incredibly strong performance of 1.4 Million downloads in the last 6 days alone and are well on our way to make the Chop Chop™ franchise one of the world’s best known mobile gaming franchises” said Alex Sakiz, CEO of Gamerizon.

The success of the Chop Chop™ franchise is primarily a function of the unique one-finger gameplay mechanics developed in all games and the innovative hybrid Paid/Free Business Model adopted. Three new games – Chop Chop Rocket™, Chop Chop Kicker™ and Chop Chop Alien™ are scheduled for release in February and March.

Toon BoomEmmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. has entered into a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore’s leading institution of higher learning, to set up a paperless digital animation production hub on their campus, fully equipped with a Toon Boom pipeline.

This first animation hub will serve as a great launch pad for the students in the interactive digital media courses to learn animation and create projects in a true digital production environment. In addition, Toon Boom will collaborate with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology to assist in faculty development, student development, academic and professional networking, as well as in granting prizes of excellence in the form of special awards and scholarships.

“Toon Boom is fully dedicated to the development of the animation industry in Singapore. As a result, our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic represents a great accomplishment in combining Toon Boom’s field proven expertise with Singapore’s impressive creative talent,” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.

EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champion. Setting the stage for a new standard in sports games, Fight Night Champion will deliver the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category. Check out this video about fighter stamina:

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In just a few weeks, Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.

TeradiciBurnaby’s Teradici Corporation, developer of the innovative PC-over-IP® (PCoIP®) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, has announced a strategic investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Teradici PCoIP protocol is an innovative remote display technology that allows the user’s desktop operating system, applications, and data to reside in the datacenter, eliminating the need for traditional desktop workstations, PCs and thin clients, and delivers an uncompromised user experience to each person, anywhere, without incurring the security risks associated with having data reside in remote PCs. PCoIP technology provides high resolution, full frame rate 3D graphics and high-definition media, with full USB peripheral interoperability, locally over a LAN or remotely over a high-latency WAN. It compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenter and transmits it ‘pixels only’ across a standard IP network to secure, stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.

The protocol is implemented in silicon for hardware accelerated performance and enhanced security, as well as in several software configurations, including VMware View™, the industry leading desktop virtualization platform. A growing ecosystem of over 25 third-party vendors provide a wide variety of PCoIP products including server plug-in cards, rack and tower workstations, blade PCs, zero clients, integrated monitors, and IP phones with added PCoIP capability.

CMPAThe Canadian Media Production Association has filed an intervention (PDF) with the CRTC, confirming that it does not support BCE Inc.’s application as filed, to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia Inc. The CMPA disagrees with BCE’s contention that tangible benefits are not payable as a result of this transaction. The CMPA similarly disagrees with BCE’s proposal that the valuation of benefits payable amounts to only $221 million and that a mere $40 million of that amount will go towards supporting the creation of Canadian programming. The CMPA expects to make its arguments before the CRTC when it commences hearings into the proposed acquisition on February 1, 2011.

“The benefits package proposed by BCE represents a very significant departure from the CRTC’s long-standing tangible benefits policy. It is also extremely self-serving and very largely focused on activities that are normal capital expenditures for such a company,” says Norm Bolen, the CMPA’s President and CEO.

In its intervention, the CMPA argues that the tangible benefits policy must be respected. This means that:

* the payment of tangible benefits are indeed fully required in this transaction;
* the quantum of these TV benefits must represent 10% of the total value of all CTV television assets;
* BCE must not be allowed to exclude or discount any of its television-related assets in this calculation;
* a minimum of 85% of the total tangible benefits must be allocated to the creation of Canadian programming;
* a minimum of 75% of the amount allocated to the creation of Canadian programming must be earmarked to third-parties from the independent production community; and,
* the resources allocated to the creation of independent Canadian programming must be administered by a third-party, and must not be limited to projects that are ultimately broadcast only on CTV or its many television properties.

“If BCE’s proposal is accepted by the Commission without considerable modifications it would fall extremely short of what is in the best interest of our broadcasting system and the Canadian public,” says Bolen.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) have announced that the long-awaited Occupation Mode will be coming soon to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.. With Occupation Mode, M.A.T. gains one of the most essential elements of a competitive title – territory capture and control.

“We are thrilled to offer this intense level of action to our community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “We invite gaming clans of all skill levels to see for themselves just how crazy things can get. Mission Against TerrorWe know that gamers will put Occupation Mode right up there with Old School, hardcore multiplayer classics like Counter-Strike 1.6 and the Battlefield series.”

Occupation Mode brings with it new maps and new opportunities to put that weapon you just bought to work. The real challenge, of course, is to protect yourself and your team as you keep moving forward as a unit, attacking new positions and then defending them before time runs out. When your team holds all points on a map, you win the game. When both teams fail to complete the mission, beware…you can end up spawning infinitely for a lengthy and engaging firefight over a single capture point.

“At the request of the community, we have left it up to the game creators to set just how severe the time-keeping will be,” added Ho. “For those who love a good challenge, this is the mode for you. The two teams are in constant struggle for territory control until the best team finally emerges as the winner, involving not only brute force advancement but also endurance and holding key locations.”

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6th January 2011

Garage Inc Is Open For Business

Garage IncThe news all over twitter today has been the announcement that Garage Inc. has officially launched into the gaming arena. As we revealed in yesterday’s preview, Garage Inc. is a dynamic, multi-platform time-management game featuring a visually vibrant and imaginative style that will take players into 1920’s prohibition-era Chicago. The game, which is already receiving 4 star+ ratings in iTunes, revolves around the life of Garage IncAngelo Marito, a car mechanic and recent Italian immigrant who is trying to make a life for himself by opening his very own car garage. Garage Inc. will deliver to players the excitement and challenges of managing a busy repair shop through core time-management gameplay as well as through minigames. The game also features colorful characters and an immersive story, revealed in part through an innovative online social media campaign.

Garage Inc. was developed by TransGaming’s Studio Division in partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment and is based on an original concept from GlobalFun. The iPhone version is made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

“Garage Inc. taps into the popular time management genre of the growing casual Garage Incgaming market, providing entertainment value in bite-sized pieces for gamers at home or on the go”, commented Wojtek Kawczynski, Managing Director of TransGaming’s Studio Division. “We are thrilled to be able to provide quality entertainment across multiple platforms quickly and easily by leveraging TransGaming’s own core technologies.”

“Our partners at TransGaming Studios have created a original gaming experience with the Garage Inc. property”, said Dorothy Vreeker, Director, Digital Media at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We are proud to have collaborated on this very immersive and entertaining game.”

Garage Inc. is now available for purchase in the Apple Mac App Store (Mac required), iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad, as well as GameTree Mac, as well as other retailers and distributors.

Big Blue BubbleNeed a room designed in High Definition? You’d better call the Home Sweet Home team! Big Blue Bubble Inc. is proud to announce the release of Home Sweet Home HD for the Apple iPad, available immediately!home sweet home HD

With the added luxury of bigger rooms and highly polished art, Home Sweet Home HD will give you the chance to unleash your hidden talents as an Interior Designer. You choose the furniture, patterns, and colors to create a masterpiece that will blow your client away.

With simple controls, fun graphical style, and an easy to use interface, Home Sweet Home HD allows you to nurture your creative side. Remember, a house is not a home until it is a Home Sweet Home!

THQ Inc. has announced that a collector’s edition as well as six individual race packs for its upcoming real time strategy game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Relic EntertainmentRetribution™, currently in development at Relic Entertainment, are available now for pre-order.

Leading the charge, the Dawn of War® II -Retribution™ Collector’s Edition will give the most dedicated Warhammer® 40,000® fan access to all of the available bonus war gear for each of the six playable races in the game. It also includes an exclusive poster, six race dawn of war 2 Retributionart cards and a high-quality collector’s box all for $39.99. Gamers in North America can only get the collector’s edition by pre-ordering through the THQ store. Limited quantities are available.

Fans of a specific race can pledge their allegiance by pre-ordering one of the six available specific race packs for the same $29.99 suggested retail price as the regular version of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II -Retribution. These race packs are available for electronic distribution and are ONLY available at pre-order stage. Each race pack includes four unique ability and Wargear items that can be used to enhance the single player campaign. The Ork Race Pack is exclusive through STEAM Digital Extremesand the Tyranid Race Pack exclusive through THQ.com. The Space Marine, Chaos Space Marine, Eldar and newly announced Imperial Guard race packs are also available for pre-order through THQ.com, STEAM and other electronic distribution partners. After launch, gamers will have the option of purchasing the individual race packs digitally through STEAM for a nominal fee. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution is scheduled to be released for Windows PC in North America on March 1st, 2011.

In addition to the news about Dawn of War, THQ has released Part 3 of the Dev Diary videos for Homefront, which is scheduled for release on March 8th. The PC version of this title is under development at Digital Extremes.

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D-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed its first agreement with CineLux Theatres to equip its Morgan Hill, California theatre with 28 D-BOX MFX Seats. Cinelux Tennant Station D-BoxStadium 11 will introduce D-BOX’s technology January 14 with the debut of the 3D action-comedy, The Green Hornet. This is the first CineLux location to offer the incredibly, immersive movie experience and one of just a 49 auditoriums worldwide screening the new release in D-BOX format.

“The California market is our largest to-date worldwide with 14 theatres in the state offering D-BOX,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “As we continue to introduce moviegoers to our motion technology, expansion into new markets and demand in existing markets continues to rise at a steady pace. We look forward to announcing many more new theatres in 2011 and growing our global footprint.”

“Our theatres boast some of the most technically advanced features in the industry allowing us to provide a cutting-edge entertainment experience,” said Paul Gunsky, President of CineLux Theatres. “We’re always looking for new innovative ways to improve the movie experience and see incorporating D-BOX at our theatres as a natural progression of the future of movies”

Kik Messenger, the lightning fast, cross-platform mobile instant messaging service, has Kik’d off 2011 with its three millionth user, Kik Interactive Inc. announced today. kik interactiveRe-launched on Oct. 21, 2010, the Kik community continues to grow by 10-15,000 users a day. The growth rate, driven by Android and iPhone users, has held steady even though new BlackBerry downloads ended in late November.

“We are excited that so many people all over the world have embraced Kik and are more confident than ever of our future as the mobile community of choice for smartphone users,” said Ted Livingston, President and CEO, Kik Interactive, Inc. “We look forward to making the Kik user experience even better with new features and service enhancements.”

Over and above user growth, the number of messages sent by active Kik users continues to increase, from less than 10 messages a day in late November to almost 20 now, on average. Kik will introduce new features including picture messaging (very soon!) and group chat (soon-ish).  Service on iPhones will also be improved with a new version that makes it much faster to retrieve messages when users first open the app. As before, once the app is open, message delivery is real-time.

To the growing number of Windows Phone 7 users, Kik is coming soon! We are now putting the final touches on development, so it won’t be long before you can join the Kik community. KiK recently released an update that adds profile pictures and a feature that lets users easily find new Kik friends. The new address book feature not only lets users check for new Kik friends, but also provides much more control over users’ contact lists. The “Find more people on Kik” button scans user contacts and lets them choose whether or not to add newly identified Kik friends to their contact list.

We also recently improved Kik’s overall stability and reliability. Further out, we will unveil an incredibly powerful and unique technology that wirelessly connects users’ smartphones to any PC or TV. Hang tight for details. And, as promised, Kik’s much-anticipated mobile streaming music service is coming up soon.

Kik works with all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch’s, and all Android devices – anywhere in the world. All you need is a mobile data plan. Each Kik message uses only a tiny amount of data – less than 1Kb per message. Kik Messenger provides lightning-fast delivery and receipts that tell users when messages are sent, delivered and read, and when friends are typing a reply. Every message appears in real-time, making Kik feel almost like a real conversation.

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4th January 2011

Look Out 2011 Canadian Devs Are On A Roll

EA MobileEA Mobile has released new screenshots for Dead Space, giving mobile gamers a look at what’s coming for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. EA has not yet revealed a ship date for the title, but I am already imagining gamers on transit playing this game and having to explain to other transit passengers why they just screamed like a little girl and jumped in their seat.

Dead Space for iPad

“Sorry, playing a game. It’s got scary bits. It’s okay, I’m not having a psychotic episode. Really.”

EA Mobile will also be launching Tetris on the PlayStation Network for North America later today, according to a behaviour gamesTwitter post by game developer Behaviour Interactive. Playable on the PlayStation 3, this iteration of the all-time favourite casual game will have 12 Trophies to be earned, including some that reward teamwork in clearing levels. PS3 Tetris is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and boasts these features:Tetris for PS3

  • Slide, rotate and drop your Tetriminos into place in Marathon Mode or any of 12 variants – you can even challenge the best Tetris replays worldwide.
  • 6 Multiplayer Modes: Up to 6 players worldwide can knock each other out in 2 minute Timed Battle or be the last person standing in Battle Mode. Play Marathon Mode or variants with up to 3 friends locally, as well.
  • Exclusive PS3 Content: Use power-ups in Battle Mode for even more fun. Clear lines together with friends worldwide in Shared Mode or experience Team Battle, the ultimate 2-on-2 competitive Tetris variant.
  • View Tetris leaderboards, watch replays of the world’s best players.

EA SportsEA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champions. Scheduled for release from EA Canada on March 1st, 2011, Fight Night Champions features a fully developed Champion Mode, which allows players to develop their character’s career while following a compelling storyline. Fight Night Champions will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

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Transgaming Studios has just announced that its latest title, Garage Inc., will be launched on iTunes this January 6th. Garage Inc., a time management game set in 1920’s Prohibition TransGamingChicago, will be available for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac and PC. Help Italian immigrant Angelo build his Garage Inc Mobster Carautomotive repair shop while avoiding the mob, all in pursuit of the American Dream. Garage Inc. is rated Teen for T as the game involves:

  • Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
  • Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence

Last month, Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) and LucasArts, a division of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., in collaboration with TransGaming, Inc. launched Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, a free-to-play family-friendly online virtual world, for Macintosh® Platform users. Clone Wars Adventures is an action-packed browser-based virtual world where fans can live out the thrills and excitement of Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™ animated TV series on Cartoon Network.

clone wars“The demand for game content on the Mac platform has increased significantly, and we are excited to bring our games to this growing audience,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “Through our collaboration with TransGaming, Mac and PC players are able to play together seamlessly on both Free Realms™ and now Clone Wars Adventures, and we will continue to look for opportunities with future games to do the same.”

Clone Wars Adventures is the ultimate virtual destination for fans of the TV series where players go online to experience fun mini-games, daily activities, events, rewards, lively social environments, and competitions. Players can battle alongside their favorite Star Wars characters like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is updated every week with new content pulled from that week’s new episode.

There will be a Game Jam happening at the New Media Manitoba offices over the weekend of January 29 – 30th. This New Media Manitobaweekend jam will feature a bit of a twist – each team will develop an idea as a separate 640×480 Flash game.The idea for this themed jam came from Interactive Developer Devin Reimer, proprietor of Almost Logical. Please see the Infinite Ammo blog for complete information and the registration link.

Other upcoming NMM events this month include a two day Apple Aperture 3 Certification Course ($325.00) on January 8th and 9th, a full day seminar on Google AdWords with Google advertising expert Perry Marshall on January 11th, a three day introductory course for Final Cut Pro 7 this January 15th through 16th ($495.00) as well as a three day introductory course for Adobe PhotoShop CS5 beginning on January 25th and running until January 27th ($495.00). Game Prototype Challenge

Game Prototype Challenge is holding an informal meet-up evening for Toronto-area participants on January 18th beginning at 8pm. This event is being held at The Spotted Dick (wow, that name doesn’t conjure up bad images at all), and is open to anyone who’d like to find out more about the Game Prototype Challenge or just meet some of the other developers who participate in the Challenge. RSVP to this event’s Facebook page if Fresh Finderyou’re interested in attending.

Subway Canada has a released a new Fresh Finder app for the iPhone. Developed in partnership by teams from Veritas Canada and Endloop Studios, this free app lets you find the closest Canadian Subway® Restaurants quickly & easily. Using Facebook, Twitter or email, you can invite friends to meet you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Fresh Finder applications puts Subway® Restaurants in the palm of your hands with one tap of the screen. It also makes the latest Subway® Restaurant news, updates and special limited time offers easily accessible to you, even while you’re out and about.

More children around the world will soon have safe places to live, learn and play thanks in part to the support of kids Club Penguinwho play in the popular snow-covered virtual world, Club Penguin. The fourth annual Coins For Change event, conducted from December 17 to 27, 2010, allowed the children who play Club Penguin to help change the world by donating the virtual coins they earned playing games online to real world causes that matter to them.

Kids could donate virtual coins to provide medical help, build safe places or protect the earth. At the end of the event, the virtual donations to the three cause categories served as votes to determine how a $1M cash contribution from Disney Online Studios would be divided among charitable projects aimed at helping children, families and the planet.

Thanks to more than 3.4 million players who donated in excess of 12.2 billion virtual coins, Disney Online Studios will donate:

* $290,000 USD to support medical clinics in Malawi and Lesotho, Africa (conducted by Partners in Health).
* $50,000 USD to fund operations for sick and disabled children in Cambodia (conducted by Children’s Surgical Centre).
* $75,000 USD to provide school programs for kids displaced by war in Sudan, Africa (conducted by War Child).
* $75,000 USD to protect children from violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (conducted by War Child).Club Penguin Change The World
* $150,000 USD to fund projects to provide water to communities in India (conducted by Free The Children).
* $180,000 USD to teach kids and families to care for watersheds and rainforests (conducted by Rare).
* $180,000 USD to protect endangered animals in Columbia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Andes Mountains (Conducted by Wildlife Conservation Network).

“Our players work hard to earn virtual coins on Club Penguin, but when a need is expressed they give freely and generously, and I’m always blown away by their passion for helping others and protecting the earth,” says Lane Merrifield, one of Club Penguin’s co-founders and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “It was particularly exciting this year to see even more kids from around the world rally together as part of Coins For Change.”

Club Penguin is one of the largest virtual worlds for children with a reputation for providing fun for kids and peace of mind for parents. Millions of children and families in more than 225 countries play Club Penguin in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information.

Club Penguin is free to play, however special features such as front-of-the-line access to game features, exclusive parties and opportunities to customize your penguin and igloo require a membership. A portion of the proceeds from each membership purchased supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the globe. In recent years, the kids who play Club Penguin have helped more than two million people get medical care, enabled 200,000 children to go to school and helped protect more than a dozen endangered species and their habitats.

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30th December 2010

eBooks Games and Apps To Occupy Your New Year

Ripe AppsRipe Apps has two of their latest iPhone apps on sale. Get GPS and Location-based reminders with Geo Alerts, on sale now for 99 Cents USD. Need a simple to do list with reminders? Pick up Reminders! Simple ToDos and Alerts, which is on sale for $1.99 USD. You may also want to check out their other app, I’m Right Here, which allows you to let your friends know where you are by sending them an email with map image, or SMS a link to same. This app isn’t “on sale” but it is available for the regular low price of 99 Cents USD.tale of the madeus

Dark AcreVancouver developer Dark Acre has just launched a novella for Amazon Kindle titled Tale of the Madeus (The Solarus Cycle) in the first in a series, and is currently available via download for only $1.99 USD. Written in the style of a science fiction space opera, Tale of the Madeus takes place in the Far Vacuum of the Solarus system and follows a series of events which occur between the Oslean Stellar Trade League Transport Vessel ‘Madeus’ and the pirate vessel ‘Staine’, and was written as a supporting background piece for Dark Acre’s game Project Zero Zero, which is currently in development.

Indie developer Celsius Games has announced that there will soon be an update for its inertial survival shooter game Red Nova. It looks like players are in for at least one new mode of transport – or maybe a new enemy, as the image isred nova teaser Celsius Gamesonly showing up as a shadowy blip on the Village Gamer game spotter. Still available for the launch price of 99 Cents USD, Red Nova is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. As the person in control, you have been sent on a mission to test a number of prototype fighters which could be destined to replace the Earth Colonial Fleet’s aging Starhawk. While voyaging across the galaxy in your carrier, the ECS Red Nova, you discover the dastardly deeds of a previously unknown alien fleet as they prepare to stage a sneak attack on Earth’s space colonies. Being the hero that you are, it’s up to you and your crew to save humanity from certain destruction at the hands of these alien foes.

If you want to see the Best of 2010’s Xbox Indie Games included on the dashboard, head over to this article written xona gamesby Matthew Doucette of Xona Games to find out how you can vote on this issue. As a supporter (and purchaser) of our Canadian indie dev-made products, I would like to see the indie games front and centre just like all of the big-budget (and sometimes nowhere near as fun) titles.

Bioware and i09 are offering a sneak preview at who the Illusive Man really is (surprise, he’s not really Martin Sheen). Bioware CorpThis brand new comic from Dark Horse will peel back the layers of secrecy we first got a glimpse at in Mass Effect 2.

According to the comic’s official description, “Mass Effect 2 Lead Writer Mac Walters reveals the origin of our galaxy’s most mysterious powerbroker—The Illusive Man! With co—writer John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) and artist Omar Francia (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2), Walters chronicles humanity’s first deadly days on the galactic stage and uncovers the pivotal role The Illusive Man played in it all! Available only in comics, this essential piece of Mass Effect canon offers new insights for existing fans, while the focus on humanity’s first steps into the wider Mass Effect universe provides a riveting story of action and intrigue for sci-fi readers of all stripes!”

Please visit the i09 site for a look at the 5 page Mass Effect Evolution preview.

doritos unlock xboxDoritos®, in partnership with Microsoft, has announced the winner of its Unlock Xbox competition, with Crash Course taking first place. Crash Course was developed by Behaviour Interactive’s Chile studio Wanako from a concept by North Carolinian Jill Robertson. Her game concept was inspired by one of her favourite shows, Wipe Out – and is loads of fun. As the winner, Jill was awarded a $50 000.00 USD game consulting gig with Doritos, but in an unprecedented move, Doritos also awarded $50 000.00 to second place contestant Justin Carpenter of Ogden, Utah. His game concept, Harm’s Way, was also extremely well received – both titles had well over Xblox Live Arcade 2 million downloads between them – and they are both well worth the effort, offering tons of replayability and gaming fun. Both titles are still available for download, and at free, you certainly can’t scoff at the price for so much fun.

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24th December 2010

Last Minute Gifts and Santa Tracking

Happy Holidays to all of our readers – Stay safe and we’ll see you on the other side of Christmas. Christmas Orby

OnStarIf you’re on the move with kids today in an OnStar-equipped vehicle and they’re worried about missing Santa, never fear, your OnStar connection will set their minds at ease. OnStar advisors will be prepared to give subscribers specific location-based updates on Santa Claus’ journey around the world based on data received in partnership with NORAD. Individuals without an OnStar subscription can visit NORAD’s Santa Site or dial 877 HI-NORAD (877-446-6723) for Santa’s location (hands-free in BC, please – Santa won’t be looking for you in a ditch).

Beginning at 6 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve, OnStar subscribers can press the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to request a “Santa Update”. OnStar advisors will share Santa’s whereabouts through 5 a.m. EST Christmas morning.

“It’s great to provide our customers with a fun, highly informative benefit during the holidays,” said Scott Kubicki, OnStar, executive director, OnStar Sales, Services and Marketing. “Our advisors also enjoy hearing children’s surprise and joy when they learn that St. Nick is only hours away from their home.”

For more than 54 years NORAD has used its North Warning Radar System, geo-synchronous satellites with infrared sensors and other technologies to monitor Santa’s Christmas Eve travels and share the information with children and families around the world.

“We are excited that OnStar is a NORAD Tracks Santa program sponsor once again this year,” said James Graybeal, deputy chief of staff for communication, Headquarters NORAD and USNORTHCOM. “OnStar adds another layer to the program. In addition to tracking Santa on the web or by calling in to the operations center, it’s neat that you can locate Santa by pushing a button in your car, wherever you are.”noahs ark

homick labsHomick Labs has released Noah’s Matching Ark, a fun and educational application for the iPad and iPhone, geared for children aged 2 and up. Kids will love matching the tiles of the various themes and earning stickers to be placed in their sticker album. According to the app’s information page, there are currently three themes available – matching Animals,  Shapes and Numbers; additional themes are downloadable within the app, and parents can configure the app’s difficulty to match their child’s ability.

This free application is currently available for the iPad only, the iPhone version has a projected release date of January 2011.

gametree mac For the Mac gamers in your life, check out all of the Gift Guide Specials over at GameTree Mac; they have a door crasher sale on for Kung Fu Panda at 35% off, and other titles such as Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and Assassin’s Creed II are available for 10% off. There is a good selection of titles for everyone from kids to adults, including Nancy Drew and Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, with sale prices in effect until January 3rd, 2011.

EA MobileGive the gift of gaming to Android™ device owners this holiday season! EA Mobile™ offers sale prices on a full selection of games for select Android-based mobile phones – perfect for everyone on your gift giving list.Game Of Life

“Expanding our world-class franchises onto the emerging Android marketplace brings our popular, award-winning games to more phones, more carriers and ultimately, more consumers,” said Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing for EA Mobile. “This lineup brings fun to everyone – from families playing MONOPOLY to sports fans scoring goals with FIFA 10 – no matter where you are.”

The Sims™ 3, Need for Speed™ Shift, FIFA 10 by EA SPORTS™ and Tetris®, as well as MONOPOLY and THE GAME OF LIFE (under license from Hasbro Inc.) are available on the Android platform. Additional upcoming releases include Worms™ and Bejeweled® 2 from PopCap Games. The games can be downloaded directly to an Android phone by visiting EA’s store on the device or on a PC.

Digital LeisureFor those of you visiting us from Europe, you can now grab a copy of Digital Leisure’s Mix Superstar for your Wii. For 500 Wii Points, you can create, mix and record your own royalty-free musical masterpieces right on your Wii™ system. There are over 1,000 Dance,Mix Superstar Hip Hop and Techno loops included across multiple instruments like Drum, Bass, Synth, Guitar and even voice tracks.

Looking to give your mix a unique flare? Over a dozen new music loop packs will be releasing via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play™ to enhance your music creation experience. Thousands of additional loops from packs like Rock, Pop, Latin, House and even World.

Once you’ve got that next hit created, it’s time to show it off. Mix Superstar allows you to export your music creations, and download them to your computer so you can take them on-the-go. You can also use WiiConnect24™ to send those hits to your Wii Friends and even collaborate on mixes. Also included is full support for both the Logitech® USB Microphone and Wii Speak™ so you can lay down your own vocals on that next hit.

Wicked InteractiveMission Against Terror knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, and Toronto publisher Wicked Interactive says “that’s why for all you naughty people out there M.A.T. is bringing you some extra-special holiday cheer. From Saturday, December 25 through Monday, December 27, the action will be non-stop and the stakes never higher. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Christmas, M.A.T.-style.”Mission Against Terror

M.A.T. Special Surprise Xmas Events:

· December the 25th, 2010 @ 4:30-6:30 EST – Login Event -> Snowball Grenade (1 Day), Silver Coins +200%, Christmas Hat (1 Day)
· December the 26th, 2010 @ 4:30-6:30 EST – Silver Coins +200%
· December the 27th, 2010 @ 7:30-9:30 EST – Silver Coins +200%

“These events are a perfect complement to the newly unveiled AI Mode,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Think of them as the ultimate way to test out the AI-controlled robots, the 4 new difficulty settings, the Weapon Casting Machine and all the other goodies that AI mode brings.”

Special prizes will be awarded to those with the highest scores at the end of the weekend. But because Christmas is all about surprises, M.A.T. is keeping those prizes a secret until then.

poyntPoynt Corporation and Yellow Pages Group (YPG) have formed an agreement for YPG to provide Canadian business content to the Poynt mobile local search application for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The five-year agreement, which includes an annual licensing fee, uses Yellow PagesYPG’s public API (YellowAPI) to grant the Poynt app access to the 1.5 million business listings it currently holds. The partnership provides the Poynt app with mobile banner advertising, through Mediative, a recently launched division of YPG which services national accounts.

“YPG has been a tremendous partner as we have evolved and grown,” said Andrew Osis, CEO of Poynt Corp. “We are pleased to continue this relationship as we continue to provide relevant, compelling data to consumers as they go about their daily lives.”

“Our agreement with Poynt emphasizes the opportunities our content can create for local search apps and how YellowAPI can drive additional visibility to our advertisers through partners such as Poynt,” said Stéphane Marceau, Chief Marketing Officer of Yellow Pages Group.

Poynt recently won RIM’s BlackBerry “Super Apps” Developer Challenge and is one of the leading mobile applications for BlackBerry. Poynt is available for download from m.poynt.com or from the respective smartphone app stores.

Photo ZoomMarin Media Group, located in Concord, ON, is pleased to announce the launch of a new & free online photography magazine called Photo Zoom, a publication designed to entertain and inform both amateur and professional photographers. It will be providing you with industry news, reviews, trends, articles, interviews, tutorials, galleries, competitions, advice and much, much more. PhotoZoom Magazine will also be attentive to the reader’s thoughts, viewpoints, reviews, suggestions, and, most importantly, featuring their photos.

“Photo Zoom is a magazine dedicated to the art of photography. In every issue we will go over the ins & outs, the tricks & tips and everything else that has to do with photography”, says Scott Howard, Editor.

PhotoZoom will be viewed and reviewed by local photo clubs, Universities and Colleges offering photography courses, various online social media sites, and online directories pertaining to photography related companies. Whether you are an amateur using a simple point and shoot camera or a professional who relies on photography as his main source of income, as long as you love this inspirational art form, you will enjoy PhotoZoom magazine.

CanadaPassing along a bulletin from International Trade: the following events to take place in March 2011 in Brazil.  The Canadian Consulate in Sao Paulo will be providing support to any Canadian companies planning to attend. Please contact Fernanda Whitaker, Trade Commissioner for New Media and Cultural Industries at the Canadian Consulate General in Sao Paulo for further information and application forms (or your local in-Canada DFAIT rep may also have the applications available).

Brazil-Canada Coproduction Forum *** March 15-16, 2011 – Rio de Janeiro *** On its 4th edition, this event is designed to allow content producers (digital media/TV/Film) from both countries to understand each other’s business environment, markets and discuss potential opportunities for co-production. The Forum will happen in the margins of the Rio Content Market and will be organized by two local industry associations with full support from the Canadian Consulate. The organizers of the Brazil-Canada Coproduction Forum will invite and pay the expenses for a select group of about 15 Canadian delegates to participate . The deadline for Canadian companies that want to be considered for financial assistance granted by the organizers is January 16th, 2011.

GameWorld 2011 *** March 11-13, 2011 – São Paulo *** Three-day event for the gaming industry, including exhibition and conferences. This event takes place over a weekend and traditionally targets end uses. However, for the 2011 edition, GameWorld organizers will prepare a business forum on Friday, March 11th, with matchmaking activities and one-on-one meetings. The Canadian Consulate in Sao Paulo will work with the event organizers to support any delegates coming from Canada.

Rio Content Market *** March 16-18, 2011 – Rio de Janeiro *** This is a large, Brazilian TV Producers (BTVP) initiative that has gained great support from different levels of the Brazilian Government. Rio Content Market is an international conference and market expected to gather over 500 decision makers to discuss the creation and distribution of digital media and multi-platform content. Guest participants and speakers will be invited from the USA, UK, Canada, Europe and Asia. There will be a large contingence of television/feature film/digital media production, broadcasters, telecom operators, etc.

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23rd December 2010

Lots and Lots of Sales

Development studio Capybara Games held its first internal 48 hour game jam earlier this week, and they’ve now posted the results on the studio’s blog. Working in teams of 2 or 3, the Capy-devs came up with some very interesting concepts, and the studio said on their blog that there will perhaps be some more playable jam titles available after the holidays.

There are lots of holiday sales from our Canadian developers to take advantage of this season, either as gifts for those who are looking for something new to play:

frima studioFrima’s 2D point-and-click Big Bad Wolfadventure game for puzzle lovers, Big Brain Wolf is part of the 5 game Indie Brain Pack available on Steam until January 3rd 2011 for only $4.99 USD. This crime story takes place in a fairy tale kingdom inhabited by a vegetarian, asthmatic wolf, a bipolar Genie, a chubby Red Riding Hood, a long-nosed lawyer, and a slew of hilarious characters. To clear his mother of the murder charges brought upon her, our lupine friend will have to train his brain through 60 puzzles and riddles.

IUGOIUGO Mobile has also gotten into the spirit of the season, putting all of their great titles on sale for 99 cents USD each until early January. Now’s the time to grab these IUGO hits:IUGO Holiday Sale

Toy Bot Diaries 1,2,3, the Toy Bot Compilation, Spy Bot Chronicles and the Toy Bot Mini Missions
Zombie Attack! and Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL
Shaky Summit
Freeballin’
Star Hogs
A.D.D.
Implode! XL
Cliffed XL
ESCAPE: Norm’s World
Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet

Celsius GamesCelsius Games’ new title Red Nova, which has rocketed up the iTunes game chart is still available for its special introductory price of 99 cents USD for both the iPhone and iPad versions. This price won’t last forever, so you’d best grab your spaceship now and make your file screen even more festive because Red Nova is red, which puts you 50% closer to decorating everything you own in Christmas colours. kung fu santa

Speaking of holiday colours, you really should pick up Kung Fu Santa by Big Bad Brush and help save Christmas. This highly colourful and simply fun to play title is also available for the low, low price of 99 EA Mobilecents in the App Store.

EA Mobile’s massive library of iOS titles is also on sale for just 99 cents USD per title – this means some huge discounts on some games, so whether you need some last minute gifts or just want them for yourself, now would be the time to be proactive and scoop them up before the sale ends. Death Spank

Deathspank really wants to move in to his own little home on your PC’s hard drive this Christmas, can you spare him a little change? This amusingly inept super hero game from Hothead Games is currently on sale on Steam for 50% off its regular price. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you really should – and then you can continue helping the downtrodden in Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue, which is also currently on sale.

Cshankoincidentally, Klei Entertainment’s vigilante platformer Shank is also on sale, available for the low price of $10.04 USD, so if you feel the urge to help Shank deal with his anger issues by slaughtering the underworld’s deadliest assassins, you should take advantage of this holiday sale.Dead Rising 2

Feel the need to eradicate zombies? Good news for you! Dead Rising 2 for the PC from Blue Castle Games (or Capcom Studios Vancouver, if you prefer) is also on sale at Steam for 50% off the published price. Head to Fortune City and try your luck – don’t forget your Zombrex!

Bioware CorpIf you’ve been living off-planet this year and haven’t yet gotten Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 for your PC, you’re in luck – Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 2 Digital Deluxe Edition are all on sale at Steam as well. Not to be outdone by its studio mate, Dragon Age and all of its ilk are also on sale in the Steam store.

Loud Crow Interactive is giving away promo codes for their interactive iPad books The Tale of Peter Loud Crow InteractiveRabbit and The Night Before Christmas. Head on over to their Facebook page for details on how to grab a code while they’re still available.Doras Christmas Carol

If you’re looking for other great holiday treats to share with youngsters, may I suggest Dora’s Christmas Carol from Budge Studios. It’s not on sale, but you can get it for your iPhone for $2.99 USD or your iPad for $4.99 USD. Guaranteed to be a hit with any Dora fans living in your house.

I could probably spend all day looking for Canadian-made games on sale, but I do have to go to work. I also apparently have to go Christmas shopping, because my daughter is horrified that I haven’t done so yet. A few other great deals currently lurking around on Steam are all of the Company of Heroes and Dawn of War II titles from THQ and Relic Entertainment, plus there’s 150+ indie titles also on sale. If you see a Canadian title on sale somewhere, send me a message on Twitter, and if I have time I will try to get another posting of sale prices and links done before Christmas.

Wicked InteractiveToronto game publisher Wicked Interactive has launched AI Mode, the newest and most challenging level that brings robots and other surprises to the free-to-play shooter Mission Against Terror.

“This is our holiday gift to the massive and awesome M.A.T. community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “They have been so supportive since the early days of Closed Beta, we felt thisMission Against Terror update is the least we could do.”

What’s New in AI Mode:

· 8 players vs. slew of AI-controlled robots in a war for survival
· 2 new stages (of four) available now
· 4 new difficulty settings
· 4 new scenarios
· Weapon Reward System for completing stages at current difficulty levels
· Weapon Casting Machine, allowing gamers to create weapons from the parts of destroyed robots
· The chance to do battle with the Robot Captain

The National Post has launched its free National PostNational Post Reader App, available now on the App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Simple and sophisticated, the National Post Reader App provides a customizable news feed that brings users straight to the day’s breaking news as well as the latest opinion pieces from Canada’s favourite writers and commentators. As with all National Post products, the app features coverage from across the country and around the world, delivered with a distinctly Canadian voice.

“Our readers like to stay up to date on important news, analysis and commentary wherever they are,” said National Post Publisher Douglas Kelly. “The National Post Reader App delivers this to them in a very personal and convenient way on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.”

Features of the National Post Reader App include:

* Delivery of Top Story content as soon as news breaks
* Quick and easy navigation tools
* The ability to save stories to read later, including when offline
* Social media sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, email, and more

Pinewood StudiosPinewood Toronto Studios, Canada’s largest purpose-built film and TV studio complex, will use a $34.5-million financing arrangement to secure the studio’s long-term growth and enhance the City of Toronto’s ability to attract big-budget films and TV projects, as well as help strengthen Toronto’s role as one of the world’s great production centres.

This investment in vital, long-term Ontario film and television infrastructure will support Pinewood Toronto Studios, Ontario’s premier studio complex, in attracting large-scale production work that would not otherwise be drawn to Toronto.

Pinewood Toronto Studios Chairman Paul Bronfman says, “Toronto is one of a handful of truly exceptional production capitals. This repayable loan will benefit every Ontarian, as well as the film and TV industry throughout the city and province. The ripple effect to the broader Ontario economy will be enormous.”

The financing will permit improvements to Pinewood Toronto Studios facilities, strengthening and propelling its ability to attract bigger and more specialized film and television projects. Among the films and TV series shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios over the last two years are: Battle of the Blades, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The Thing, Devil, Dream House and Chloe. The loan, provided by Infrastructure Ontario and facilitated by Build Toronto, was secured by the Pinewood Toronto Studios Board of Directors and received unanimous approval earlier this month.

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