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30th June 2010

CTV Series FlashPoint Announces Upcoming Online Game

Happy Social Media Day, Canada – a good warm-up for tomorrow’s National birthday celebrations. Speaking of Canada Day, don’t forget that if you’re in Vancouver, there will be an abundance ofPure Football activities happening at Canada Place on July 1st. If you haven’t tried Ubisoft Vancouver’s latest soccer title, Pure Football, stop by the the BC Soccer event area at Canada Place and give it a go. In celebration of Canada Day and the World Cup, we will be giving away a copy of Pure Football tomorrow, courtesy of Ubisoft Vancouver. Check back tomorrow for the details on this giveaway.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterAdvance tickets for our local SIGGRAPH chapter’s Spark Animation conference go on sale tomorrow. There isn’t very much information available yet, but word at last night’s Making of ModNation Racers event was that there will be Early Bird prices available, so check the site tomorrow for more details.

National Film BoardStarting today, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has its own iPad app, available free of charge at the iTunes Store or at the NFB’s download page. One of the first Canadian film apps for the iPad, the NFB app allows users to enjoy over 1,000 NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers, streamed over Wi-Fi and 3G wireless networks. It includes a selection of NFB-iPadfilms in 3-D and stunning high definition. Users will also be able to download and store a film for up to 48 hours, for off-line viewing.

The app has the same features as the NFB’s iPhone app but has been optimized to take advantage of the inherent qualities of the iPad:

• Watch over 1,000 free movies
• Access a kids’ channel with fun and educational content for children
• Store films for up to 48 hours for off-line viewing
• Browse films by channel/category
• Search for films by title
• Bookmark your favourite films
• Browse related content while viewing a film thanks to split-screen technology

The NFB’s iPad application builds on the success of its popular iPhone app, launched last fall. The NFB’s iPhone app was selected as one of the best apps of 2009 by iTunes Canada and named Best Use of Content in 2009 by TheAppleBlog. Since its launch in October 2009, the NFB’s iPhone app has been downloaded more than 235,000 times, with 821,000 film views, as of June 1, 2010. Dragon Age Issue 2

Fans of  Dragon Age: Origins will be pleased to know that Issue 2 of the Dragon Age comic book series  from IDW has been released and is now on store shelves. You can get an inside look over at Issuu’s web site.

CTVCTV announced today that the Gemini Award-winning series FlashPoint will present a special Season 3 sneak peek episode on Friday, July 16 at 10 p.m. on CTV. A quick-hit teaser of a third season locked and loaded with hard-hitting storylines, painful decisions, and Team One’s toughest adversaries yet, the mid-summer primer is a can’t miss target for FlashPoint fans. Earlier this month CTV announced the pick-up of a fourth season which will begin production in Toronto for the 2010/2011 season. Following its television broadcast, the Season 3 sneak peek will be available on demand on the CTV Video Player at CTV.ca.

In the Season 3 sneak peek, entitled “Unconditional Love” (July 16), Team One must resolve a standoff at a seedy motel with a fugitive whose shot two police officers and taken a teenager, Paul Wilder (Devon Bostick, BEING ERICA), hostage. At first, Paul seems like a good kid in a bad situation, but as the team digs deeper it uncovers chilling secrets that reveal Paul is far from FlashPoint's David Paetkauinnocent. What began as a standoff ends as a desperate chase through the city’s sewer system, and it’s up to Parker (Enrico Colantoni) to stop Paul from making a mistake that will change him forever. Meanwhile, Ed (Hugh Dillon) discovers that his cop brother Roy (Colin Cunningham, Da Vinci’s Inquest) might have been responsible for one of the officers getting shot… and that his wife is, unexpectedly, expecting.

Also launching on Friday, July 16 is FlashPoint: Training Day, an interactive, online simulation game that gives FlashPoint fans the chance to become virtual members of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Adopting the role of a rookie recruit, website visitors enter FlashPoint: Training Day and explore SRU training with tactical and strategic training modules, including real time negotiations with a hostage taker. FlashPoint: Training Day uses actors from the show to create a realistic training environment, bringing players inside the SRU. Players undertake a recruitment test and training modules and eventually the final tests to see if they have what it takes to become an SRU officer. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th June 2010

For The Canadian APPetite

iStockphotoiStockphoto has untethered its community today with the delivery of a free iPhone application iStockPhoto-lightboxthat allows users to browse iStock’s vast library of photos, illustrations and audio files from an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch – with an iPad-sized app coming soon.

“Inspiration and ideas often strike when least expected,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “This application lets us be there for our community whenever and wherever that happens.”

The application uses iStock’s industry-leading search engine to help customers find the perfect file quickly and easily. Customers can access and manage lightboxes of stored files from their existing iStockphoto account or create new lightboxes to save files for future viewing or purchase. The app also allows files to be e-mailed to clients and colleagues for discussion and evaluation. The new app also allows the more than 80,000 contributing artists whose work is sold on iStockphoto to track their sales and view download statistics, even while on the go.

Magmic GamesMagmic Inc. has launched the official Rubik’s Cube application for iPhone, iTouch and iPad. The app, which does everything including doing the cube for you, is now available on iTunes for $2.99. Magmic’s Rubik’s Cube is the only iTunes application endorsed by Erno Rubik, the original cube’s inventor.

“Rubik’s Cube is the greatest puzzle ever invented,” said Magmic’s Director of Product Management, Jeff Bacon. “We were excited to take it to a powerful Rubik's Cubesmartphone, and to enrich the experience. It’s nothing short of a rebirth for this amazing invention.”

have you reached an impasse in solving your real-life cube? Simply take a picture of a real Rubik’s Cube with your iPhone and the app’s built-in Solver gives you a step-by-step solution.

Other features include:

– Anaglyph 3D mode (glasses not included)
– 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4 & 5x5x5 Rubik’s Cubes
– 24 different game styles
– 360 degree view using iPhone 4 gyroscope
– Personalized cubes with stickers and photos
– Easy-to-understand solution guide
– All-new, extra-challenging CRAZY Cube

BCICBCIC invites entrepreneurs and startups to attend Connect, a conference for early-stage tech entrepreneurs who want the answers to “what’s next for my company”. Taking place on October 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (west building), tickets are priced at a very reasonable $50.00 (buy now for the early bird price of $40.00), and students can attend for only $25.00. The keynote presentation will address the topic of Making It Beyond BC, and attendees will have the chance to meet face-to-face with several (the site says 30) tech leaders who will be there to offer advice and encouragement.

CDMNCanadian digital media innovation will be in the spotlight when leaders from around the world attend the G-8 and G-20 Summits this June 25 – 27th. The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) has attracted high-tech participants from CDMN-affiliated organizations across Canada to the Experience Canada marketing pavilion in downtown Toronto where they will showcase unique digital media capabilities.

“All eyes will be on Canada during the G-8 and G-20 Summits, and the CDMN is serving as a conduit to the high-tech sector, demonstrating the power of Canadian innovation and potentially attracting future investment,” said Kevin Tuer, managing director of the CDMN, which is dedicated to furthering commercialization of digital media in Canada. “Experience Canada at the International Media Center will be high-impact, with imaginative displays, giant video walls and creative use of technology capturing the essence of Canada’s tech leadership.”

The CDMN, which links digital media-related organizations across the country, has attracted tech companies, universities, research houses, and public sector organizations to participate in the 20,000 square foot Experience Canada marketing pavilion. The experiential pavilion will have global impact, as key displays will be digitized, virtualized and shared online. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd June 2010

Celebrate Canada At Casual Connect

SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. have launched a video contest to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 19th anniversary. Two lucky grand prize winners, one from North America and one from the UK, will each receive a trip for two to Tokyo to visit SEGA Japan and meet the Sonic development team.

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“In honor of the nineteenth anniversary of our favorite hedgehog, we wanted to find a special way to thank Sonic’s fans throughout the years,” said Haruki Satomi, executive Sonic the Hedgehogvice president of SEGA of America. “We think this contest is a great way to give fans a chance to express their creativity, enthusiasm and support for Sonic.”

Over the course of the next two weeks, contestants can upload their videos showing their appreciation and love for Sonic the Hedgehog to YouTube and then submit them for judging on the official Sonic 4 Contest Page. Videos will be judged on creativity, entertainment and effort; the ten best will be chosen by SEGA and showcased on the official Sonic the Hedgehog 4 website.

Sonic fans and the entire SEGA community will then choose their favorite to win either the grand prize trip to Tokyo, or a prize of a 32 GB iPod touch®. Contest void where prohibited.

CanadaThe Consulate General of Canada in Seattle is planning activities around Casual Connect Seattle 2010 (July 20 – 22) to promote the Canadian game development industry, including a networking event, a Canada table at the show and a Canada Casual Games Organization Directory.  Discounted registration is also available on a limited basis.  For information on these activities and how to become involved, please contact Victoria Hayes.

Don’t forget that Women In Games Vancouver will be participating in GameSauce, the gamesauceconference-before-the-conference. GameSauce will take place in Seattle on Monday, July 19th and will feature many educational tracks and opportunities for networking.

Can’t get enough FIFA World Cup Action? As part of its tribute to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, BC Soccer and a team of partners, including Ubisoft Vancouver, will be showcasing BC Soccer World on Thursday, JPure Footballuly 1st, at Canada Day at Canada Place.

The staging of soccer and sport activity zones, demonstrations and other special events will serve as a new addition to the award-winning Canada day at Canada Place festivities. BC Soccer World will go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT under the five sails at the iconic Canada Place venue in downtown Vancouver.

“We see it as a natural coming together of a special day for Canada with a special year for the global soccer community,” said Bjorn Osieck, Chief Executive of BC Soccer. “BC Soccer World will celebrate our ‘Global Game’ with ‘Universal Passion’ and will help showcase sport, active living and the beautiful game of soccer.”

The 2010 event at the largest Canada Day celebrations in British Columbia is seen as a pilot project for similar community outreach events in other major centres throughout the province in the coming years.

“Our model is simple: provide an introduction to soccer and sport for children, young people and their families by offering a wide variety of soccer activities and sport demonstrations in a festival style event,” said Osieck. “Those coming to BC Soccer World at Canada Day at Canada Place will have the chance to check out the history and heritage of our game in BC and what it stands for in terms of active, inclusive and team play for young people of all ages.” Read the rest of this entry »

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17th June 2010

Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media Announced at E3

GlitchSoftOttawa startup GlitchSoft Corporation has launched their first title for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch platforms. BarStar is a casual, time management, bartending game similar in gameplay style to Sally’s Spa and Diner Dash, that allows the user to enter the world of owning their own bar.

The goal of the game is to quickly serve as many customers and collect tips and bonus points in each of the 35 timed levels. Using the bonus points earned from each level, players are able to barstarpurchase items to upgrade the bar and their bartending skills. By the end of 35 levels, the small, one roomed bar the game starts with will be transformed into a full fledged bar. Featuring an original score, stunning graphics and a deep story line, BarStar is an immediately addictive and engaging game.

“The gameplay is obviously something we have strived to keep engaging and entertaining throughout the entire experience,” says Wes Tam, founder and CEO of GlitchSoft. “Our biggest accomplishment was the innovative, multi-touch approach to mixing drinks that brings you deeper into the game.”

Features include:

– 35 levels of frantic bartending gameplay
– Mix drinks using our innovative multi-touch system. Drinks include beer and wine in the early levels and cocktails including Screwdriver, Caesar and Strawberry Daiquiri in the advanced levels.
– 12 unique customers and 4 secret guest stars with different styles and tastes
– Bar and skill upgrades based on performance with over 200 upgrades (??)
– Made especially for your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

BarStar is available internationally, and is currently on sale at an introductory price from the App store for $2.99.

Silicon KnightsToday at E3, Ontario game developer Silicon Knights announced its exciting collaboration with McMaster University, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) and Mohawk College. The partners will work to create a new research institute around interactive digital media that will pioneer and shape cutting-edge advances in the interactive entertainment arena. The initiative, called “Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media,” will be located at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton and will debut in 2011.

The joint venture centers on the development of the “8th Art,” art that develops technology and creativity beyond the moving image, i.e. film, and adds interactivity. The Institute’s focus will be on the creation and integration of new technologies, new design and innovative artistic concepts for digital media applications. “Eight” will provide a nucleus where staff of Silicon Knights and the AGH and faculty and students at Master University and Mohawk College can move seamlessly between organizations on shared research projects and digital media development. Staff of Silicon Knights and AGH could participate in research, course development and teaching at the new Institute.

“By adding interactivity to moving images such as film (the ‘7th art), we are creating what Silicon Knights’ has dubbed for many years as the ‘8th Art’,” said Silicon Knights President Denis Dyack. “We have been promoting the ‘8th Art’ for many years, and are beyond excited to have aligned with three outstanding partners – McMaster University, AGH and Mohawk College – that share the same vision, and understand the need to grow the talent and resources in this arena.

The partnership brings together several prominent groups whose talents and synergies will result in a groundbreaking initiative. Silicon Knights brings its development and creative expertise, which complements the talented faculty at McMaster, a leading research-intensive university with a track record of world-class research and education capabilities. AGH, a leading public art gallery that positions digital art as one of its key artistic activities through research exhibition and education, has a solid track record of engaging, stimulating and enriching the community through art, and this expertise will be compounded by talented faculty and staff at Mohawk College, with its keen focus on and responsiveness to industry and market trends.

McMaster University’s President, Peter George, believes the partnership will be a catalyst in developing a critical mass of expertise in digital media. “We want to be known as the “8th Art” university, but to achieve that distinction will depend on effective collaboration with great partners,” he said. “Capitalizing on one another’s strengths will create unlimited opportunities for research commercialization, education and training, and economic development and job creation for our region.”

The council of Canadian Academies has identified new media as having the greatest momentum and the highest growth prospects of Canada. Worldwide the digital media sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the knowledge economy, projected to be valued at US $2.2. trillion over the next five years. This program will help grow the innovation and commercialization efforts in this key strategic sector of the new knowledge and creative economy.

“Mohawk College is pleased to be a part of this exciting new initiative that will bring together the best and brightest in the field of digital media,” says Mohawk College president, Rob MacIsaac. “It’s an initiative that will build on Mohawk’s long-standing partnership with McMaster University, draw on our college’s strengths in applied learning and research and leverage our ability to stay responsive to employer needs and industry trends.”

“Many innovative art forms today already incorporate practices and techniques from other disciplines, said Louise Dompierre, president and CEO of AGH. “A key difference here is this partnership extends to the entire process from research, production, dissemination, training and marketing of the end product. It will be most enriching for artists, students and the community to have the opportunity to work closely with world renowned researchers in science and technology and for the AGH to present their accomplishments as it proceeds in the context of an art gallery.”

creativemixCreativeMix is offering the chance for you to promote your creative project or venture this November 4th at CreativeEX, the exhibition at CreativeMIX – Vancouver’s annual ideation and creative collaboration conference. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th June 2010

Meanwhile Back In Alberta

BiowareHot on the heels of Tuesday’s new DLC pack Overlord for Mass Effect 2, Bioware has announced a new DLC expansion for Dragon Age: Origins. In Leliana’s Song, players will assume the role of party-member Leliana, a young bard involved in a criminal ring that deals Lelianain political secrets. While accompanying her mentor Marjolaine on a high-risk mission, Leliana soon finds herself entangled in a game of intrigue that she cannot escape with just her beauty, charm, or stealth. The only way out of this game is to kill or be killed.

DLC Features:

* Explore Leliana’s dangerous past and why she joined the Chantry
* Fully voiced cinematic experience brings the characters to life
* Unlock a unique reward that transfers into your Awakening and Origins campaign

Digital Alberta has put out an official call for applications to become the association’s new Executive digital albertaDirector. There is also a career opening for the position of Executive Assistant. Interested parties are asked to please contact Larry Jacques, Digital Alberta President,  with your resume if you wish to apply.

Alberta’s 2nd Annual All Associations BBQ will be held on Tuesday June 22nd at the Alastair Ross Technology Centre.  Members from 26 industry groups, ranging from such sectors as research, marketing, gaming, investment, design, arts, hi-tech, media, magazine, music, book, tv and film will get together at 5pm for some great food and awesome networking.

Alberta ICTThe Alberta ICT Council will also be hosting a Digital Economy Symposium Luncheon which will offer an overview of the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures initiative, followed by an afternoon symposium on building Canada’s digital media economy. Recommendations will be submitted to Industry Canada as part of their cross-Canada consultation process associated with their Digital Economy strategy announced in May at Canada 3.0. Luncheon presentations also include a welcome by the president of Olds College and a review of sector activities by the Alberta ICT Council. This signature luncheon provides an opportunity for Alberta ICT sector stakeholders to meet and discuss the Alberta Innovates program and related opportunities open to Alberta’s ICT sector. The luncheon will be held at the Olds College Alumni Centre on June 25th and will begin at 11:45a.m. Tickets are available now for $30.00

If you couldn’t make the trek to Banff for the 2010 World TV Festival, fear not – you can find lots of great Banff World Television Festivalarticles, videos and photos online at the Festival’s web site, from opening day to closing BBQ. There have been a number of great announcements since this year’s event began. One such announcement came from the National Film Board, who added to their long legacy of avant-garde technical and creative firsts when Government Film Commissioner & NFB Chairperson Tom Perlmutter, Rob McLaughlin – Director, Digital Content and Strategy, English Program, and Hugues Sweeney – Advisor and Conceiver, Digital Programming, French Program officially launched Interactive.NFB.ca at Tuesday’s NFB Lunch.NFB interactive

As noted on the Banff 2010 Highlights page, Interactive.NFB.ca is a site that hosts a growing “collection of projects – interactive documentaries, video and animations, photographic art and essays, data visualization, mobile and locative media, community media and user-generated media,” which aims to support content that has yet to be, or may never be broadcast . Not without risks, the site is an ingenious way to facilitate conversations and collaborations for creatives in this new media landscape.

Congratulations also to all of this year’s Rockie Award Winners:

2010 Rockie Awards for Fiction:

Entertainment Categories:

* Animation: Le Printemps de Melie/ Molly in Springtime, National Film Board of Canada in association with Folimage, PIWI, Divertissement Subsequence Inc – Canada
* Comedy Programs: Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Table Read, HBO Entertainment, Home Box Office – USA
* Music & Variety Programs or Series: Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, Glassbox Productions, BBC – United Kingdom Read the rest of this entry »

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16th June 2010

More Canadian E3 Goodness

Canada Media FundConfused about the Canada Media Fund? There’s a conversation going on over at Christine Lim-Labossiere’s site, Pentimento Productions. Christine is working on an initiative to assist Digital Media companies who would like to access the new Canada Media Fund-Convergent Stream, and she invites all interested parties to share their thoughts. As announced earlier this month, the CMF has extended its deadline for applications to its Experimental Stream has been extended from June 21 to July 5, 2010.

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games have released a new trailer for Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, which is scheduled for release on June 30th. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will introduce players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene, and game play features of Dead Rising 2 ahead of its release. Available exclusively to Xbox 360 owners via Xbox LIVE, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising and three years before the action of Dead Rising 2. Players purchasing Dead Rising 2: Case Zero who then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as Player Level, to a maximum of five, Prestige Points alongside skills, Combo Cards and a number of alternate outfits. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is not yet listed in the XBox Marketplace.

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TransGaming, Inc. has announced the redesign of its Mac digital distribution portal, GameTreeOnline, as well as the release of exciting new Mac games. As at E3 this week and on our site yesterday, GameTreeOnline features two new Disney Interactive TransGamingtitles, Toy Story 3 and Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey. Both titles are available immediately and only from GameTreeOnline as digital downloads. In addition, GameTreeOnline will release Her Interactive’s first award-winning Nancy Drew franchise title for Mac on June 29, 2010.

These new releases complement two new Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games from Riot Games and LEGO®, League of Legends and LEGO Universe, respectively. The Mac enablement and deployment of high quality franchises, such as LEGO’s first ever MMO title, clearly define TransGaming’s leadership position and adds to the company’s growing collection of award-winning titles that have been enabled for the Mac community using TransGaming’s Cider Portability Technology.

“TransGaming’s announcement of these new games coming to the Mac, at this year’s E3 Conference, clearly demonstrates to the gaming community that leading publishers are pursuing the Mac platform and are focused on releasing a simultaneous PC/Mac hybrid product,” commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “We have maintained our commitment to giving Mac gamers the highest quality gaming content and we are bringing these incredible games to the Mac simultaneously with their PC counterparts, which is possible only through our portability technology. TransGaming is truly delivering on the promise of a low-touch enablement technology for simultaneous multi-platform releases.”

Propaganda GamesDisney Interactive Studios have released the E3 trailer for Propaganda Games‘ upcoming epic, action role-playing game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, which will give gamers an entirely new experience within the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. The game takes place before the events of the blockbuster films. Players will take on the role of a pirate and embark on epic land and sea adventures. Numerous moral and character choices will need to be made that affect their character and the original story within the world. Players will explore a massive open world while fighting enemies, mystical creatures and Mother Nature, both to gain experience and stay alive. Supernatural elements familiar to the Pirates of the Caribbean world will also affect their character’s story and influence their choices. Armada of the Damned is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2010 for next-gen consoles and Windows PC.

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“Armada of the Damned is a dynamic action role-playing game that captures all of the franchise’s excitement, unpredictability and action while delving into narrative elements never before explored within this unique universe,” said Dan Tudge, vice president and general manager, Propaganda Games. “Our team’s collective experience with industry-leading RPGs and action titles provides a strong foundation for us to create and build a compelling action role-playing title.”

Disney Interactive has also released a new and innovative E3 2010 trailer for the TRON: Evolution video game that connects the storyline of the game and the film. The piece features the voice of Bruce Boxleitner as the character TRON, who takes the player through their paces and prepares them for immersion into a world they’ve never seen. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th June 2010

DrinkBox Studios Announces its First Original Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10th June 2010

Patrick Beaulieu Launches Animation Insiders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9th June 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 Technology Impact Award Winners

EA SportsElectronic Arts Inc. has revealed that its top-selling franchise from EA Sports™ will redefine player authenticity when FIFA Soccer 11 launches this Fall. FIFA Soccer 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch with Personality+, an all-new feature that sees individual abilities reflected in game, enabling clear differentiation for every player.

“Personality+ is the evolution of individual distinctiveness that sees a player’s abilities on the pitch mirrored authentically in our game, creating individual personalities in FIFA Soccer 11,” said Executive Producer Kaz Makita. “We have reached a level of sophistication within our game engine where players in our game will behave and perform as true individuals.”FIFA 11

Personality+ distinguishes individual players from one another by utilizing a database that evaluates and grades each player’s skill-set over 36 attributes and 57 traits. The EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise utilizes a network of 1,700 scouts, editors and reviewers positioned around the world to evaluate each player, creating one of the world’s most comprehensive databases to drive its market-leading soccer engine. Personality+ will be integrated everywhere in-game. Elite players are now empowered to showcase their world class skills. Real Madrid’s Kaka will deliver crisp, creative passes, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta will utilize tighter turns and close control to dribble through defenses, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney will hold off defenders and strike shots from distance with pace, and top-flight defenders like Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus will anticipate, predict and react to offensive players to win back possession. New body types and player models will further distinguish each player on the pitch. In addition, goalkeepers have also been injected with Personality+. The real-life personality of the keeper, whether acrobatic or traditional, will dictate his style in game. Dive attributes will determine the keepers with the ability to reach for further shots while reflex attributes determine reaction times, so a keeper like Petr Cech of Chelsea FC will be able to showcase world-class skills.

FIFA Soccer 11 introduces new Pro Passing where pass accuracy is determined by a gamer’s ability on the control pad, and player skill, situation and urgency on the pitch, yielding a deeply rewarding passing system. Poor decisions or over/under striking the ball will mean error-prone outcomes. New types of passes such as swerve passes will enable players to make a safer and more effective play.

Building on FIFA Soccer 10 gameplay that won 50 sports game of the year awards, FIFA Soccer 11 continues to listen to its growing legion of EA Sports FIFA fans around the world to refine gameplay in ways that matter most to fans.  FIFA Soccer 11 will be available in stores world-wide this Fall for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Wii™, PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and mobile.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that ‘Open Mobile’ Author Ajit Jaokar, Founder of futuretext in London, UK will keynote the iP3 Forum on June 21st in Toronto. During his keynote presentation, Ajit will explore the future of mobile and web technologies, and how an open ecosystem could drive innovation in technical and business strategies.

“As member of the Economic World Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet, and with his intensive experience and research into open mobile strategies, Ajit will provide key insights into the world of technological innovation past and future,” says Sarah Baird, Co-Chair of the iP3 Forum Advisory Board and VP, Programmes and Operations at Interactive Ontario. “We are thrilled Ajit will kick-start the iP3 Forum with mind-expanding ideas of where we’re all headed.”

realtech vrrealtech VR has released Beware of the Bad Seed 1.0, a new fast-paced arcade game for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (in high resolution) where players must protect the magical garden and save the daisy against never ending waves of naughty carnivorous plants. Beware of the Bad Seed is an addictive and sweaty revamped version of the arcade room classic “Whack a mole” with a 3D, vegetable twist. Use your finger to hit all the carnivorous plants and make sure not to hit the daisies that appear on the screen.

Feature Highlights:

* Includes universal version with full realtime 3D rendering for iPhone, iPhone 3GS and iPad with high resolution support.
* Three game modes: Time attack, Arcade and Tic-tac-toe.
* Landscape and Portrait orientation with auto-rotation.
* Personal scoreboard and ever increasing challenge.

Future updates with iOS 4 Game Center integration coming this summer with leaderboard, friends and more. To celebrate this release, realtech VR will be offering a discount on their other titles from June 10th through June 12th.

* Iron Fist Boxing Prestige Edition (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) for 0.99$ instead for 4.99$
* Iron Fist Boxing Lite Full Version Upgrade for 0.99$ instead of 3.99$
* SkyORB 3D Premium Upgrade for 0.99$ (with up to 200,000 download on the App Store) instead of 2.99$
* Laserlink for Free instead of 0.99$

Tecagora SolutionsVictoria’s Tecagora Solutions is pleased to announce that Snapact Photo Manager is now available through the Intel AppUp Center.

The Intel AppUp Center allows netbook users to browse, purchase, download, and install software applications that have been optimized to operate on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor through the AppUp Center on their netbook. The AppUp Center is specifically designed for netbooks as a mobile store font that is launched as an application on the netbook. When launched, users can search for netbook software applications based on category type, or they can view featured software titles, “Staff Picks,” “What’s Hot,” or “New Releases.”

“Snapact Photo Manager has been designed to be fast and light on system resources,” states Bruce Kwan, President and CEO of Tecagora Solutions. “When installed on a computer hard drive, Snapact is less than 6 MB in size. Therefore, the software does not use up a lot of hard drive space making more room available for other software applications and files. Because of its speed and file size, Snapact is a great fit for netbook users looking for a photo viewer, manager, and sharing tool. We are excited to offer our solution for all netbook users to use through the AppUp Center,” says Kwan.

The AppUp Center is a tool for netbook users to quickly search for and find software applications that have been optimized, quality tested, and verified to run on netbooks and the Intel Atom processor. Netbook users can download, install, launch, uninstall, and purchase software applications directly through the AppUp Center on their netbook. Many of the netbooks shipped in 2010 will include the AppUp Center pre-installed, however, the AppUp Center is also available for direct download from Intel.

Manic With more than 200,000 applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, more and more companies are reaching their customers through iPhone apps – a trend that is expected to grow rapidly following the recent release of Apple’s iPad touch-tablet.

Push notifications allow companies to stay in touch with app users or to allow them to interact with each other. Manic’s server software puts companies tapping the burgeoning market for iPhone and iPad apps in full control of theiiir push messaging, allowing for unlimited messages without additional cost.

“Our idea for the Manic APNs came out of our experience developing our unique multi-player gaming network,” says Randy Byers of Ottawa-based Manic Networks. “But we quickly realized that a way to reach millions of users within a matter of minutes at no additional cost would have huge appeal to many types of companies doing business on the iPhone/iPad platform.”

Manic’s Linux-based server software runs on company-owned servers or on hosted cloud servers for a fraction of the cost it would take to develop in-house – and with no limits or per-message cost. Depending on hardware and connectivity, Manic APNsServer can send 400,000 messages per minute or more – close to 25 million messages an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Associations, Awards, Business News, Careers, Casual, Contests, Digital Products, Education, Events, Everyone, Government, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Rating Pending, Research Studies, scholarships, Software, Sports, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

8th June 2010

Ryerson University Students Assist Paris Transit Patrons

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver is presenting Building Community with Social Media on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Starting at 5:30pm, this education session will assist attendees discovering the value of effective strategies for building a community through social media in an exciting, interactive round table discussion with five experts.

What is community in relation to the web? Community is beyond a blog, and a few people following you on Twitter. This evening will help you realize what the new meaning of an online community is, and why it holds an important spot at the new marketing table. Find out how the experts are building, engaging, and managing their communities for themselves and their clients. Tickets for this event are available online at a cost of $35.00 for Wired Woman members and $40.00 for non-members. It is worth noting that you can save $5.00 by signing up for free and becoming a member of the Wired Woman network.

Panel:
Briana Tomkinson – Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West
Carisa Miklusak – SoMedios
Chris Breikss – 6S Marketing
Mhairi Petrovic – Out-Smarts Marketing
Sibylle Tinsel – Club Fat Ass

wavefrontWaveFront has partnered with the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium (MCPC) of Japan, and they are inviting Canadian mobile developers to take part in a unique opportunity for facilitated access to the Japanese wireless market. This two-part programme begins with one-on-one coaching sessions to be held at Discovery Park in Vancouver this June 21st through 23rd.

Following the information session on June 21st, selected participants will meet with visiting MCPC representatives for product assessments and structuring assistance, as well as an overview of marketing strategies over the remaining days of the visit. The information sessions are free to interested companies, but do require registration. If you are unable to attend in person, you can attend via the virtual event which will be hosted on Mingleverse. Part 2 of this partnership will offer those selected companies the opportunity to participate in the 8th annual MCPC Solutions Fair in Tokyo in November 2010.

Ryerson UniversityParis Metro passengers have a new way to navigate the transit system in the palm of their hand. Developed expressly to assist passengers with special needs, the Mobile Transit Companion, a made-in-Canada mobile application, uses context-aware self-adaptive computing to deliver live, customized data to passengers en route. The inclusive application, complete with useful information for all passengers, was created through a partnership between Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Sweden’s Appear Networks.

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) commuters can now download the free software and set up their user profile. Information is then automatically sent to their mobile phones according to their profile and contextual information. For example, they can receive notifications such as the location of station elevators and Metro transfer points; facilities and nearby businesses; updated schedules for connecting trains; and availability of services at each station. For blind and low-vision passengers, the Mobile Transit Companion uses a speech-enabled, gesture-driven user interface. For other user groups, including the elderly, deaf or hard of hearing, or passengers with reduced mobility, the application offers an intuitive and easy-to-use visual interface.

“At Ryerson we see a very niche use for context-aware computing in public transit and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS),” said Hossein Rahnama, project leader, Ryerson postdoctoral student and DMZ Steering Committee Member. “We are specializing in context-aware consumer applications in airports, airlines, trains, subways, buses, etc. and will be working with Metrolinx on a project for GO Transit here in the fall. With RATP, our focus was on passengers with special needs because those communities could really benefit from such applications, even though they are often not considered when developing apps.”RATP

The Mobile Transit Companion’s positioning function is integrated with a web-based monitoring service so that public transit staff can easily locate and assist passengers with special needs. The only existing social tracking application for public transit passengers, this monitoring service has the capability to be shared with friends and family. Using the interface, the transit authority can message selected passengers, which is particularly helpful for Deaf or hard of hearing passengers who can’t hear announcements made over the PA. Messages are communicated to each passenger according to the information on his in her profile, e.g.: the message will be interpreted from text to speech if s/he has indicated Low Vision.

The project was part of European research consortium developing an open-source middleware platform. Ryerson was the only North American player. “There are a lot of advantages to research collaboration with international partners in the Information and Communications Technologies sector,” said Rahnama. “In fact, one of our key objectives in this project is to demonstrate those advantages, such as combining the smartphone popularity and development of North America with the digital mobile telephony advances of Europe. The success of the MUSIC platform has inspired another project with Europe, slated for fall 2010.”

The Mobile Transit Companion is currently being piloted on Android phones in 10 stations along Line 14 of the Paris Metro. Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone at Yonge Dundas Square provides Ryerson University students with the opportunity to develop their digitally based ideas into consumer products with help from mentors and industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Associations, Board Games, Business News, Careers, Casual, Digital Products, Education, Events, Everyone, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Party, Social Media, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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