19th June 2008

Radical Raises the Audio Bar


Radical Entertainment has unveiled their brand new audio post-production suite – the very first THX 7.1 surround sound game audio studio in Canada. Lin Gardiner, Senior Audio Engineer at Radical worked with designer John Vrtacic of Vrtacic Design to plan the new suite. Sonotechnique, THX and Electra Systems assisted with the technical specs and installation. Rob Bridgett, Radical’s Senior Sound Director is looking forward to putting the new studio through its paces as upcoming titles such as Prototype advance through development. It looks like we’re going to have to add to our own surround system to take full advantage of what promises to be new achievements in game audio.

In other Radical news, Sound Effects Designer Cory Hawthorne from Radical Entertainment was featured, along with Prototype, on a recent segment of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet technology show.

Take a look:

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19th June 2008

Get Your Vote On For Relic


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm, a game developed by Vancouver’s Relic Entertainment has made it to the shortlist vote for a Golden Joystick Award. Nominated in the PC Game of the Year category, if enough Relic fans go and vote, they could bring home the gold. As long-time supporters of Relic Entertainment, we’ve already cast our vote for them –  and we hope that our readers will do the same and support our local developers in gaining this award. Best of luck to everyone over at the Relic studio, and congratulations on your nomination.

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18th June 2008

Building An Elephant

[Press Release]artifex
Building An Elephant…

Vancouver, Canada June 15, 2008.

Artifex Studios created a photorealistic 3D elephant for Nissan.The carefree elephant hitching a ride on the back of a Nissan pickup truck was built and animated for Filmmates Productions (Mexico City) and Clemente Camara & Associates  in collaboration with The Oranj Group out of New York City. The spot opens on a beautiful field, warm sunlight and an endless winding road.  The new Nissan product carries a statuesque elephant.  The elephant, moved by the view with the wind in its ears and the fantastic looking vehicle it rides on, slowly lifts its hind legs and opens its arms in a human-like gesture that seems to say “I’m the King of the World”. Although a live elephant was used for parts of the commercial, the realistic movement for the last sequence was completed in full CG utilizing a realistic 3D elephant modeled after the live action animal.

The Plates: Since there was a ‘stand-in’ elephant that needed to be painted out prior to moving forward with 3D, there was a great amount of prep work completed on the plates even before animation took place.  First, the plates needed to be tracked in 3D since both the camera and truck moved throughout each shot. Camera solutions were exported to both Maya and Nuke.  Maya was then used to create projection geometry, which was then exported to Nuke.  In Nuke a combination of stills were painted onto the geometry and the exported camera data from the 3D tracking software was used to create a clean sequence without the stand- in elephant.

The Animation: The elephant model was achieved by creating a base mesh in Maya.  ZBrush was used to create high-resolution detail such as wrinkles and folds.  Existing photos were used as reference and colour maps were created by painting.  With the combination of the colour and displacement map, a photoreal elephant was rendered using HDRI photography for lighting and subsurface scattering to help simulate skin.  In addition, for the elephant’s close-up Maya Fur was utilized for an added touch of realism and detail.  Rendering was achieved through Renderman.

Animating the elephant required a balance of realistic motion and pushing the limitations of an elephant’s actual range of motion to achieve the client’s objective, all the while maintaining a sense of believability. Artifex Studios Ltd. is located in Vancouver, BC and has been creating digital effects and 3D animation for film and television since 1997.

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12th June 2008

nextMEDIA 2008 Concludes In Banff

nextMEDIA – The Future of Digital Content wrapped Sunday in Banff, Alberta, concluding two days and threenextmedia1 evenings of presentations, keynote addresses, workshops, and networking events. This was the fourth year for the event, which has consistently delivered a ‘look forward’ on issues affecting both the broadcast and digital media sectors.

“nextMEDIA continues to grow alongside the digital media industry,” said Mark Greenspan, Director of Digital Content at Achilles Media. “For the second year in a row, we have staged a sold-out event that has attracted players from across North America in all media sectors.”

This year’s event was all about content with nextMEDIA taking a leadership role with the launch of ‘nextMEDIA Exposed’, a video and blogging channel covering daily events at the three-day conference.

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12th June 2008

Open House at Great Northern Way Campus

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

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

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

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11th June 2008

Vancouver Firms Nominated For New Media Awards

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

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

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10th June 2008

Botnet Case Ends in Guilty Plea

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

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

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

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

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3rd June 2008

VFS Hosts Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

Registration and Further Information

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2nd June 2008

Just A Little Fire

…and a big explosion.

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

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

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

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28th May 2008

Mendella Confirmed For Digital Storm 2008


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

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

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