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  • Highlights from Harlequin, Bioware, AfterCAD, DigitalLeisure, BCTIA and Cloud Slam

15th December 2009

Highlights from Harlequin, Bioware, AfterCAD, DigitalLeisure, BCTIA and Cloud Slam

This post was updated to include further IGN Award Winners.

HarlequinTorontoHarlequin Enterprises Limited, the global leader in series romance and one of the world’s leading publishers of women’s fiction, and Big Fish Games, the multi-platform developer, publisher and distributor of casual games, today announced the launch of Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire. The hidden object game with a romantic storyline is the first game release following the announcement of the companies’ partnership.Big Fish Games

Inspired by The Royal House of Karedes, a Harlequin Presents® Mini Series, Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire features Allie, a reporter on assignment covering the 30th birthday of the Prince of Aristo. Following her arrival in the Kingdom of Adamas with her photographer, a series of events occur and players assist Allie in her quest to solve the mystery by finding hidden objects and solving puzzles.

“We are thrilled to be working with Big Fish Games to introduce our readers to this new interactive experience,” said Donna Hayes, publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. “Our partnership reinforces our commitment to brand innovation and we anticipate great success with Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire.”Harlequin Presents Hidden Objects of Desire

“Big Fish Games and Harlequin are wonderfully aligned as our audiences are global and largely female,” said Jeremy Lewis, president and CEO of Big Fish Games. “The games we develop together – starting with Harlequin Presents: Object of Desire – will appeal to romance readers and casual gamers alike. We anticipate the partnership will lead to audience expansion for both companies.”

Harlequin Presents: Hidden Objects of Desire will be sold online for $6.99 USD exclusively at Big Fish Games. Players who download the game within the first year of its release will also receive a free digital edition of the first book of the miniseries.

BioWare CorpEdmontonDragon Age Origins has won four more awards, this time from online game magazine IGN. Congratulations to the studio for their Best Xbox 360 RPG, Best PC RGP, Best Story and PC Game of the Year awards. Dragon Age Origins has also been nominated in several categories capybarafor our own Readers’ Choice Awards. Nominations for our awards close on December 31st – be sure to let us know which Canadian titles and studios you think should be in the running.

Congratulations are also extended to Capybara Games, whose new Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes won IGN’s Best DS Stragety Game Award and for Critter Crunch, which won for Best PS3 Puzzle Game.

EA Canada’s FIFA 10 has taken top spot for IGN’s Best PS3 Sports game and Best Xbox 260 Sports Game, while Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed 2 won Best Xbox 360 Action Game and Xbox 360 Game of the Year.

OntarioOntario – Ontario is helping to drive innovation and stimulate economic growth in the creative sector by supporting early-stage development for television, film, mobisodes, webisodes, video games, internet properties and more. The Intellectual Property Development Fund is a one-year pilot programme administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). An extensive list of guidelines have been posted on the OMDC’s website.

The province is investing $10 million to support screen-based companies in moving ideas from the development stage into production and marketing. By providing funding for development expenses, the McGuinty government is promoting the continued growth of Ontario’s creative sector and helping businesses thrive as they develop new and innovative products.

If only there was this much support for the interactive industry in every province – we have the unique position of having a massive talent pool in this country, and yet there are many companies struggling to stay afloat. The Province of BC government would do well to take a serious look at what’s going on east of the Rockies in regards to the interactive and creative sectors.

Ontario’s creative sector is now the third largest source of employment in North America, following California and New York, and according to OMDC, total direct employment in Ontario’s cultural industries (businesses whose main purpose is to create and distribute arts and entertainment) was about 202,000 people. This sector was also responsible for generating almost $12.2 billion of Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product through film and television production, interactive digital media, music recording, commercial theatre, magazine publishing and book publishing.

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure is excited to announce that arcade classic “Dragon’s Lair” will soon be available on Nintendo’s DSiWare™ service.Dragon's Lair

No quarters needed! You’ll soon have your chance to take on all the “Lair” has to throw at you, right in the palm of your hand. For the first time on any handheld Nintendo® system, you’ll be able to play Dirk in his original animated form – no pixel graphics here!

On December 21st in North America and January 1st in Europe, you’ll take on the role of Dirk the Daring, a knight on a quest to rescue the fair Princess Daphne from the clutches on an evil dragon – Now using your Nintendo DSi! Dragon’s Lair is rated E10 by the ESRB forAnimated Blood, Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes.

Cloud SlamToronto – The Cloud Slam Conference, which brings together leading companies and visionaries in business, technology, and cloud computing to showcase the hottest opportunities for driving profitability through sustainability, today announced their call for proposals. Taking place March 23-25, 2010 as virtual event , the conference is also proud to announce it has gathered hundreds of attendees passionate about cloud computing. These announcements reflect a growing trend involving companies that have committed to developing best practice cloud strategies for the emerging global economy that requires innovative, viable and profitable models for business success.

You are cordially invited to participate in Cloud Slam 2010 through paper submission, a workshop or a special session organization, a tutorial, an invited speech, a demo, a poster, an exhibit, a panel discussion, whichever sounds more appropriate and convenient to you. There will also be tutorial sessions, workshops, special sessions, demos, posters, panel discussions.

The conference will include invited presentations by experts from academia, industry, and government as well as contributed paper presentations describing original work on the current state of research cloud computing, their use in business, their design, performance and use, and their applications.

To encourage media coverage of the Cloud Slam 2010, the conference provides up to 2 free press credentials to verified media representatives from each organization. Media partnerships are also welcome, please send cross promotion proposals to media(at)cloudslam(dot)org.

Conference sponsorships are welcomed. To sponsor Cloud Slam or get additional information about event, contact Khazret Sapenov at 510-984-2312 or at sponsors(at)cloudslam(dot)org.

afterCADVancouverAftercad Software is pleased to announce that Novedge LLC, a leading online CAD/CAM store, has become a distribution partner for Aftercad’s new 3D collaboration service Renderjam.com.

Renderjam.com is a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that allows businesses to view, mark-up, manage and publish 3D assets onto the web, without the need for proprietary viewers, providing easy and instant access to project information by all stakeholders.

“Renderjam offers a new lightweight and very easy to use visualization product that enables anyone in the organization to access digital 3D assets. Being distributed as a service it has a very low impact on IT overhead and it is easy to deploy. Renderjam is the ideal tool for architects and industrial designers that need to share their project data.” said Dr. Cristiano Sacchi, CEO of Novedge.

Novedge will offer the Renderjam.com service through its successful Novedge.com portal. “Our partnership with Novedge gives us invaluable exposure and access to market” stated Chris Boothroyd, CEO of Aftercad “and we look forward to marketing this product with Dr. Sacchi and his team.”

BCTIAVancouver – The British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) is pleased to announce the launch of PODIUM, their 2010 business outreach programme. The PODIUM program is designed to connect guests and media of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games with technology sector business partners and media stories while visiting BC.

The centre-piece of the programme is the PODIUM digital guide, an e-book illustrating the talent and ingenuity that makes British Columbia a great place to live, work, study and invest. The PODIUM guide profiles over one hundred world-class companies and includes a number of companies whose technology is being used to power aspects of the Games. The digital guide will be distributed to thousands of contacts, including International Business Development offices, Olympic Sponsors and hosting organizations, Federal and Provincial governments, and media. The PODIUM guide will continue to evolve right-up to the opening ceremonies. The more great companies we have participating, the more buzz we’ll create.

To help guests and media connect with innovative BC companies, the BCTIA will be providing meeting concierge services – coordination services to facilitate introductions before, during and after the games. With non-stop activity during the 2010 Games, we are working to ensure that international business people and media call upon us to connect them with business introductions and unique media stories. Interested parties need only send an email to podium[at]bctia[dot]org.

Alliance-numeriqueMontreal – ELearning Alliance invites you to reserve April 14, 2010 to attend the event eLearning Montreal. This day is specifically aimed at training officers, human resources and people who have to acquire content and e-learning tools. Meet the leading Quebec companies active in this area and to attend lectures offered by industry experts. The location and details of that day will be announced in January.

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12th December 2009

Federal Government Grants Support Funds For Third ORIC

ORICPenticton -Earlier today, the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway announced that a third ORIC location will receive funding support from the Federal Government’s Community Adjustment Fund programme in the amount of $170 000.00. Since its inception in August 2005, the not-for-profit organization ORIC has supported the job creation of over 45 high-paying jobs, has currently 5 high-tech companies in its incubators and has already graduated one successful company RFind Systems.

The focus of the new incubator in Penticton will be on Clean Energy Technologies and Wireless start-ups, emphasizing ORIC’s relationship with the National Research Council’s Radio Observatory (NRC-DRAO) and Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, which is currently under construction. ORIC’s headquarters and first incubator is located at NRC’s Radio Observatory south of Penticton and its second incubator of 15,000 sq.ft. is located in downtown Kelowna.

“The Okanagan Research & Innovation Centre ORIC is very pleased to receive financial support of $170,000 from the Federal Government under the Community Adjustment Fund program to create a technology business incubator in Penticton. This will be our third incubator in the Okanagan Valley and it will be instrumental to the growth of the South Okanagan’s high-tech community”, says Peter Haubrich, President and Founder of ORIC. “Investing in incubators has proven to generate a $30 economic benefit for the region for every dollar spent according to the National Business Incubation Association NBIA, which has 1,900 members in over 60 countries”.

“Our Government, through the Community Adjustment Fund, is providing a timely, targeted stimulus to western Canadian communities, helping reduce the impacts of the global recession,” said Stockwell Day. “This project will help create jobs and maintain employment in the Okanagan Valley.”

“Business incubation is about transforming ideas into business success and accelerating skills acquisition, creating new high-tech jobs and sustainable economic value across the Okanagan, while stimulating new businesses in high growth sectors of the economy, attracting new investment, developing business capacity, and even attracting skilled people to the area” Added David Arsenault – Penticton’s Economic Development Officer.

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9th December 2009

What’s New On Wednesday

xona gamesYarmouth NSXona Games announced this morning that the studio has advanced to Round Three in the InNOVAcorp 2009 I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition for Nova Scotian companies. Xona Games, owned by brothers Matthew and Jason Doucette, is a top 3 finalist competing for $100,000 and $40,000 first and second place award packages for the I-3 Technology Start-up CompetitionYarmouth, Lunenburg, Queens and Shelburne counties. In each of the five geographic zones, three finalists will compete for first and second place award packages, worth $100,000 and $40,000 respectively, made up of cash and in-kind business building services. The companies will pitch their start-up business plans to the I-3 judging panels in mid January. Xona Games is the only game development studio in the competition, and in addition to winning the above prizes, the brothers are also hoping to be the over-all provincial winner which will be selected from the first place zone winners. The provincial award is a $100,000 HPi Microfund investment. Good luck to both of you on presentation day!

Pareto LogicVictoriaParetoLogic has set out to finally put to rest a problem that has plagued PC owners for years: files with unknown or unsupported extensions. Their latest program, FileCure, provides a straightforward way to identify unknown files and open them, as well as repair errors with file FileCureassociations. Adrian Pereira, ParetoLogic’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, explained that “This software really came from our customers. They kept asking us – ‘do you have a program that does this?’ Now we do.”

From Word documents to Adobe PDFs, every file has an associated extension. However, often users will come across a file with an unknown extension, a file that has been associated with an incompatible program, or a file lacking the necessary software. Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same – the file does not open. “Most people don’t have the in-depth Windows knowledge necessary to fix all their file extension and association errors,” Pereira said. The ease of trading files in the 21st century, be it through email, USB keys, file-sharing software, or online downloads, has only exacerbated this problem.

FileCure combines sophisticated software with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Users can perform a full scan with FileCure or simply drag and drop a frustrating file onto the desktop icon. FileCure also scans automatically when a user attempts to open an unsupported file. FileCure then provides users with the two main items necessary to open a file: the type of the file and the program necessary to open it. The required program is delivered through online downloads, linked for easy access through the FileCure application itself. Pereira said of the software: “It’s a simple but important process. You need to know what the file is, and you need a program to open it. FileCure does it all for you.”

meshmixerToronto – I recently came across a programme called MeshMixer, which has been developed by Ryan Schmidt, a computer graphics researcher at the University of Toronto. The goal of MeshMixer is “to make it dead easy to compose new 3D models from existing meshes.” The programme is available free of charge, and Ryan is looking for feedback about it. I don’t have any experience with 3D programmes, so I can’t provide him with any type of useful feedback, but if any of you artists out there care to give MeshMixer a go, I’m sure Ryan would like to hear about your experiences with his programme.

digital albertaCalgaryDigital Alberta and Banff New Media Institute have announced their first workshop of 2010 – Digital Tableau – The Art and Craft of Digital Media. This workshop will start with an evening reception at The Banff Centre Thursday, February 4 and will complete three days later on Sunday February 7 2010.

During the two and a half days of this workshop, studio time will be combined in the areas of illustration, sound, 3D animation techniques with classroom presentations on best practices, character and script development, etc. The first guest speaker that we are very pleased to confirm is Rich Mckain from Pixar Animation Studios who worked on Disney’s ‘Up’. Rich is a Calgary Native and is really looking forward to getting into peeling the layers of the 3D animation process. More speakers will be announced as they are confirmed. Early registration is recommended, as seats are limited.

Digital Alberta is also subsidizing a delegation of Alberta gaming companies to attend GDC 2010 in San Francisco, California. If your company is interested in participating and receiving funding to do so, please contact Rene Smid to request an application form. While GDC 2010 does not take place until March 9 – 13, 2010, Digital Alberta is working closely with DFAIT now on matching our delegates with international buyers. Applications must be received no later than December 31, 2009.

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has announced their first patch for Assassin’s Creed 2. This patch will fix a few bugs and crash issues that players have experienced. The patch will be released today on Playstation 3 and on December 11th for the Xbox 360.

Fixed: Situation specific bugs

Glyph – After the player has resolved a glyph (when the unlock code message appears), if the player presses A and B (for 360, X and O on PS3) repeatedly and quickly, the video will appear in full screen, and he will get stuck in “the truth menu”.
Fast Travel – Some feedback states that Ezio loses the ability to interact with the fast travel stations.
Free roaming/Parkour – In extremely rare occasions a bug allows Ezio to walk on air.
Auditore Cape – When first equipping or re-equipping the Auditore cape, users in the Villa become notorious even if the cape description says otherwise.
Altaïr’s armour – While wearing Altair’s armour the game crashes when performing multiple consecutive double assassinations.
Toscana – The game occasionally crashes if the player dies in Toscana, the player is stuck in the animus loading screen.
Water – Ezio and NPCs may get stuck beneath map if pushed in water.
Animus Loading Screen – There were reports of the game crashing while the player is in the Animus loading screen

Fixed: Mission specific issues

Sequence 05 Mission 01 – The game froze after completing the mission and following certain steps.
Sequence 06 Mission 02 – An extremely rare issue could make the game freeze while Ezio is fighting the guards.
Sequence 07 Mission 02 – Sometimes the civilians knocked down by Rosa could “float”.
Sequence 07 Mission 07 – When the user is in an open conflict, under specific situations the game crashed.
Sequence 08 “Venezia” – If a player desynchronises during the flying machine sequence, the player sometimes spawned near Leo’s workshop and not on the tower.
Secret Location: “Vizitatione” – The user remains stuck after locking onto the agile guard with the gun.
Sequence 11 Mission 05 – The user cannot continue gameplay after quitting and loading the game. They are stuck in the hideout.
Sequence 14 Mission 02 – The user falls through the texture if he is hit with rocks by the guards while climbing

Sound enhancement: 5.1 LPCM support

Visual MultimediaMontrealQA International presents a new downloadable version of the celebrated Visual Dictionary: The Visual Multimedia 4th Edition. An online store was launched this fall to allow for the secure purchase and download of the two versions of the Visual Multimedia 4th Edition, making it possible to obtain the Visual without leaving the comfort of one’s home, and without shipping and handling fees.

“The sheer success of our site, the Visual Dictionary Online, since its launch in the fall of 2007 and the enthusiasm of its users around the world have clearly shown us that the Web is a powerful medium for distributing the Visual. We intend to continue focusing on new technologies to help increase distribution of this superb reference tool entirely designed and produced in Quebec,” says QA International vice-president and publisher Caroline Fortin.

Illustrated thematic content as diversified as the world around us

Whether you’re looking for the name of the small missing part in your dishwasher or the English term for clé à tuyau, or if you want to associate an image with an unknown word, the Visual Multimedia 4th Edition gives you the answer with a simple click, thanks to its unique navigation mode.

Two methods of exploration make the Visual Multimedia 4th Edition a user-friendly reference tool. The exploration can be started by entering a term in the search engine, or through the thematic structure, which goes from the general idea to the precise notion. Users of all ages will easily find the illustrations relating to their search topic, with the illustrations in turn providing access to connected terms and their definitions.

The Visual Multimedia 4th Edition includes some 6,000 hyper-realist illustrations and 20,000 defined terms covering almost 800 topics. These are grouped into 17 themes that present every aspect of everyday life, from sports, astronomy, the human body and the arts to cooking, gardening and the animal kingdom. This diversity makes it ideal for acquiring vocabulary according to one’s fields of interest, and in several languages. The software allows one to listen to the pronunciation of each term in every language of the edition and to personalize the main language displayed. It also offers five different games that measure the knowledge of the user in each subject.

New features

· Downloadable from the all-new Visual Dictionary online store
· Available in a trilingual version (including terminology in English, French and Spanish) and in a multilingual version (including terminology in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German).

Linguistic tools

· Multilingual interface (can display up to five languages at a time)
· Definitions in English and French
· Trilingual version: terms written and pronounced in English, French and Spanish
· Multilingual version: terms written and pronounced in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German

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4th December 2009

Peter Allen Joins CATAAlliance Innovation Nation Platform

CATAOttawaCATAAlliance has announced that Peter Allen, President & CEO, DragonWave Inc., and recognized innovation leader, has endorsed the call for the adoption of the CATAAlliance Innovation Nation Platform, as a compelling model to improve the nation’s competitiveness and prosperity.

Peter Allen joins a growing list of business and community leaders, including Terry Matthews, Chair of Wesley Clover and Chairman of Mitel and March Networks, Dan Dodge, Co Founder & CEO, QNX Software, Dr. James Goodnight, CEO, SAS, Rod Bryden, President & CEO, Plasco Energy Group, Samantha S. Sannella, President & CEO, the Design Exchange, Rob Ashe, President & CEO, Cognos, Lionel Hurtubise, former CEO & Chair, Ericsson Canada Inc., Dennis Melnbardis, Lead Partner, Communications & High Tech, Canadian Practice, Accenture, Micheál J. Kelly, Dean of the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, the Hon. John Manley, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Mike S. Zafirovski, past President & CEO, Nortel, Chris Fawcus, President & CEO, Aon Reed Stenhouse, Dr. Marc Garneau, MP Westmount, Villle-Marie Canada’s first astronaut, Dr. Charles Despins, President & CEO, Prompt and Arvind Chhatbar, President & CEO, Enablence Technologies Inc., to call for the adoption of the Innovation Nation Platform.

“The award of national prosperity will go to those countries that lead the world in the design, development, production and distribution of goods and services,” says Mr. Allen, “These countries will attract and retain investment and talent. For nations to prosper they must become leading innovation nations; we all need to do our part to get there.”

Among the core planks being developed for Innovation Nation is a national brand for Canada based on regional advantages, creating an industrial strategy based on strategic approaches to government procurement and global supply chains, adopting best innovation tax credit (SR&ED) practices, removing trade barriers as part of responding to the flat world and attracting and training and retaining the best talent.

CATAAlliance is also looking for measures that would advance executive leadership and promote the adoption of high technology tools in government and the private sector.

John Reid, CATAAlliance President, concluded, “We are living through an economic revolution created by technology, global interdependence and increasingly open markets” adding, “Canada is already a leader in many business sectors. But to maintain and grow this leadership, we have to expand our markets and be the best in the world. We are calling on all Canadians to work with us to create the necessary entrepreneurship, innovation, risk taking, and public policies for the Innovation Nation.”

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3rd December 2009

Submissions, Seminars, Contests and Now Hiring

GDC CanadaVancouver – The call for submissions to present content for lectures, roundtables and panel sessions for the 2010 Game Developers Conference® Canada (GDC Canada) is now open through midnight, Tuesday, January 5, 2010. GDC Canada serves as a nexus point for established and promising young studios to learn best practices for developing new global titles and understanding emerging digital distribution models. The second annual GDC Canada is presented by Reboot Communications and Think Services, the organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference. GDC Canada 2010 will return to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010.

Canada houses more than 260 videogame and digital entertainment studios and an ecosystem of more than 60 universities focused on gaming studies. With this accomplished community of national and international talent to draw from, Vancouver’s GDC Canada is the premier event for professionals to discover new insights into developing popular international titles, managing established franchises and taking advantage of thriving digital distribution models.

“GDC Canada provides the perfect opportunity for game development teams to share knowledge for developing established franchises and guidance on taking advantage of new game distribution models,” says Izora de Lillard, event director. “GDC Canada really benefits from the incredibly talented community here, and we can’t wait to see what useful and insightful content they bring with them when GDC returns to Canada in early May.”

The session formats for this year’s content include 25 and 60 minute lectures, panels, and roundtables. The GDC Canada advisory board will rate sessions based on the criteria of concept, depth, organization, credentials and takeaway. The topics for this year include:

— Business/Production
— Digital Distribution
— Game Design
— iPhone Games
— Programming
— Social and Casual Games
— Visual Arts

VIATeCVictoriaVIATeC is pleased to announce the opening of the nomination period for the 2009 VIATeC 25. The VIATeC 25 is an annual listing of the largest technology companies headquartered or founded in Greater Victoria based on revenue. To be eligible for inclusion in the VIATeC 25 please check our guidelines.

Companies listed on the VIATeC 25 will be announced at the exclusive VIATeC Christmas Party on December 17 where members will gather to celebrate the end of another successful year. Results will also be published on the VIATeC website and in the media.

For more information or to submit a nomination please contact Michelle. Cut off for nomination submissions is December 14, 2009.

To RSVP for VIATeC’s Members Only Christmas party on Dec 17 at Sauce Restaurant & Lounge from 3:30 pm please email our office.

Pixar CanadaVancouverPixar Canada, who launched their new web site this week, has now announced some of the job openings for their new Vancouver studio. They are currently looking to fill openings for Layout Artist, Production Manager, Manger of Finance and Manager of Information Systems. Upcoming openings include positions in their IT and Software Engineering departments. Future positions to be filled in 2010 include those who work in Modeling, Shading, Rigging, Animation, Lighting, FX, Simulation, Art, Production Staff…and an ex-Navy SEAL? At least they aren’t looking for a partridge and a pear tree…

digital albertaCalgaryDigital Alberta has announced their New Year’s Evolution event with strategic innovation practitioner, international lecturer and author Alexander Manu. Held in partnership with the Canadian Marketing Association and Telefilm Canada, New Year’s Evolution will take place on January 19th at Calgary’s Theatre Junction Grand and Velvet Lounge. Tickets are $55 for DA or CMA Members and $95 for Non-Members.

UbisoftTorontoUbisoft has made a contest out of announcing where their new Toronto studio will be located. Employee #1 has started posting clues on his FaceBook page with a link to this video on YouTube:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The first person to guess the address of Ubisoft Toronto’s new studio location wins a copy of Avatar The Game (from Employee #1 – you must enter via his Facebook page).

Rusty Axe GamesTerrace Rusty Axe Games, a developer and publisher of downloadable game software, is proud to announce the release of Real Estate Empire 2 version 1.0!

Real Estate Empire 2 is the sequel to our popular game, Real E$tate Empire! For the real estate mogul in everybody, Real Estate Empire 2 contains over thirty different levels packed into four different scenarios.

Real Estate Empire 2 features a streamlined upgrade and renovation system that makes the game easier to pick up and play. Real Estate Empire 2 also features a new goals based system that has players leveling up through a variety of different scenarios and goals. The much requested feature of renting has been added – do you wait for good renters who won’t damage your newly renovated bungalow or do you get somebody in there to start paying the mortgage today?

Real E$tate Empire 2’s user friendly difficulty system allows players of all ages and capabilities to enjoy the game. Players will be entertained for hours while learning about real estate management at the same time!

Real Estate Empire 2 is the real estate game that teaches you how to win… at the real estate game!

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26th November 2009

News From The East

audiokineticMontrealAudiokinetic Inc., the leading audio solution provider for the video game industry, released today the latest version of Wwise, its award-winning audio pipeline solution. Wwise 2009.3 introduces new features and enhancements, including access to two McDSP plug-ins. Audiokinetic also unveiled a new pricing structure that will allow customers to save up to 20% on purchase of the company’s product families.

Wwise 2009.3 includes the following new features and enhancements:
• McDSP effects: ML1 and FutzBox
• Peak meters on limiter effects
• Vorbis: major memory optimizations
• New & improved file packager
• Profiler data statistics

Audiokinetic and McDSP had announced a technological partnership a few months ago, and the ML1 and FutzBox plug-ins are the first results of this collaboration.

Audiokinetic also gave a sneak-peek of its roadmap for Wwise for 2010, and revealed that new features will include a convolution reverb. “We’re pursuing our goal to see Wwise become a comprehensive platform for sound design, while answering our customers’ needs,” said Simon Ashby, VP Product Strategy, Audiokinetic. “Our users asked for more high-quality effects and a convolution reverb, so we’re delivering these, and more.”

In parallel, Audiokinetic revealed a new pricing structure based on a “buy more – pay less” approach. The pricing structure allows game developers to qualify for discounts if they purchase several products developed by Audiokinetic.

• Purchase of 2 products grants a 5% discount;
• Purchase of the Power Pack – the combination of Wwise, Wwise Motion, SoundSeed Impact, SoundSeed Air, the 2 McDSP effects and the upcoming convolution reverb – grants a 20% discount.

“Our products are powerful yet affordable, and this new pricing structure offers a great value for money,” said Geneviève Laberge, VP Sales, Audiokinetic. “For example, purchasing the Power Pack for 1 title on 2 platforms now costs $33K – that’s an economy of $8,250 compared to the individual price of these 6 valuable products.”

Wired WomanTorontoWired Woman Toronto is in need of businesswomen who are interested in joining their mentorship programme as mentors. Wired Woman’s Mentorship programs run in both Toronto and Vancouver, and are for women entering or re-entering the work-force and targets women requiring career guidance. This career mentorship experience is enhanced with networking events and education workshops. Applications for prospective mentors and mentees are accepted all year long.

UbisoftMontreal – At some time overnight, an (apparently Russian) hacker took over the official site for Splinter Cell, replacing at least the home page (I didn’t venture through bookmarks to test the other pages) with a black and grey static page and message in Russian, which roughly translates to:

Occasionally the security system will be switched off for planned work and data protection. During such work may be a breach in security from external threats. Thus, all off would be a random character in accordance with a random pattern of Delta-3-6-OscarAvatar the Game

The crest, which first appears on the hacked site and then in a text image makes use of the Romanov double-headed eagle, and the GPS co-ordinates in the lower right corner relate to Saint Petersburg in western Russia. The hacker left a message in the replaced source code, including his hacker handle in order to claim his conquest.

Hopefully the web teams at Ubisoft will be able to reclaim the Splinter Cell site soon and plug the holes which allowed outside access soon.

Still over at Ubisoft, the latest Dev Diary blog has been posted for Avatar the Game; today’s topic is Conquest, which is a real-time strategical mini game in which players must capture and hold territory for their chosen Faction, ultimately gaining control of Pandora.

National Film BoardMontreal – The National Film Board of Canada is proud to release the DVD box set Jacques Drouin: Complete Pinscreen Works as of December 2, 2009. Drouin’s name is inextricably linked to the legendary Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen, with which he produced a unique and poetic body of work.

The box set will be launched at a tribute to Jacques Drouin at the Sommets du cinéma d’animation, at the Cinémathèque québécoise, on Saturday, December 5 at 5 p.m. The event will include a screening of the documentary portrait Jacques Drouin en relief, by Guillaume Fortin.

“Jacques Drouin is a major figure in NFB history,” said Julie Roy, producer of the box set. “For three decades, he was the only filmmaker in the world who was working with the pinscreen, the incredible “dream machine” invented around 1930 by the Russian-born French filmmaker Alexander Alexeïeff. With his high-quality oeuvre, constant experimentation and eminently personal vision, Drouin proved that the pinscreen could express the imagination of people other than its inventor.”

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16th November 2009

Across The Country in Fifteen Minutes

Krabbit OnlineSurreyKrabbitSoft is pleased to announce that KrabbitWorld Origins is now available on Direct2Drive for both Windows and Mac for $14.95. KrabbitSoft has burst out of the gate at full speed, garnering kudos from journalists, gamers and even lawyers. The Davis LLP blog says that “Indie developer Krabbitsoft has done what some thought was impossible, developing and releasing an exciting, graphics-laden Action/RPG based on their own IP.”

Furious hack n’ slash combines with customizable Krabbits and choice to play in Story Mode or Battle Modes including Arcade, Versus, Team and Survival. Six playable Krabbits can be leveled up to 99 in sandbox or linear gameplay style. No grind and loot aplenty, characters level quickly in Story Mode, Krabbit Onlinegaining XP with every action. Building your Krabbit doesn’t stop at level 99. Continue building powers to 999. Character building includes gaining XP, building stats, and changing appearance any time. 3D drag n’ drop inventory and paper doll windows are featured along with account share bins, colour cloning bins, dye vendor, click map to travel and Ruby Slippers of ‘return to Adobe’.

KrabbitWorld Origins is a creative game focused on colour. Players are encouraged to experiment with dying their Krabbits to their heart’s content. Choose from 8 Realms of Origin colour palettes to design a Krabbit influenced by Darkness or Light, Death or Dreams, Solar or Contrivance, Beast or Archetypical KrabbitWorld. Transfer your Krabbits from an earlier version to a newer version or from laptop to desktop PC. Re-install a new version over an older one and still retain your already leveled Krabbits.

New Features This Week:
• Brutal Moves
• Built-in Patcher
• Elemental Bracers & Weapons Packs

Siggraph Vancouver There are still a few tickets left for Wednesday evening’s SIGGRAPH Vancouver presentation of Bringing Dragon Age to Life. BioWare’s Lead Animator Clove Roy and Lead Character Artist Shane Hawco discuss the challenges faced in creating digital actors for BioWare’s newest award-winning role-playing epic Dragon Age: Origins. This presentation will provide an in-depth look in how to tell a huge complex story through an interactive narrative complete with hundreds of emotionally engaging digital actors. I am so not missing this session – and tonight I am playing through the Final Onslaught and taking on the Archdemon for the first time. Soon all of you will be able to find out my thoughts on the entire game. If you missed my first 48-ish hours in Dragon Age, you can catch up here.

Eidos MontrealMontreal – As Day One of MIGS gets underway, all reports thus far say the seminars have been fantastic – along with the weather. Eidos Montreal kicked off their MIGS week with a very successful open house event which saw over 500 guests come through the studio – and get a few glimpses at Deus Ex 3 and Thief 4 goings-on. I’m feeling just a touch of envy here.

Also in Montreal, Bug-Tracker has announced that Wolfgang Klingel is its new General Sales Manager for Europe. This move closely follows Bug-Tracker’s expansion strategy into Asia and Europe and its ever Bug-Trackerincreasing focus on those critical markets.

With over 15 years’ experience in the video game industry, Wolfgang Klingel will be responsible for extending the company’s foothold in the European video game market as well as strengthening its exposure to the publishers and developers in this area. Wolfgang KlingelKlingel’s duties will involve collaborating and developing synergies between the North American and Asian studios in order to improve communication throughout the whole group and thus enhancing overall customer satisfaction. Klingel’s past experience includes Director of Development at Vivendi Games’ Coktel Studio and Vice-President Europe of Enzyme Testing Labs, another major quality assurance and localization company, and helped contribute to its successful development.

“Wolfgang will greatly help reinforce and grow our presence in the market we started out in 10 years ago” declared Antoine Carre, founder and CEO. “He will bring together and integrate key components of Bug-Tracker’s worldwide studios, in order to shape, lead and create new market opportunities. Adding an accomplished European video game business veteran such as Wolfgang to our team demonstrates our commitment to continuously fortify our leadership role in the QA and localization industry.”

digital albertaCalgary via Digital Alberta – Alberta’s minister of culture says the province’s film industry will finally be getting its own state-of-the-art film studio after reaching an “agreement in principle” with the owners of the Canada Olympic Park site to purchase land for a new facility.  The studio, which is estimated to cost $26 million not including the purchase of the land, will be built on four hectares to be purchased from WinSport Canada, which operates Canada Olympic Park. Blackett says he hopes to start building in the spring, but stressed that negotiations between WinSport, Calgary Economic Development and the Government of Alberta were still ongoing.

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9th November 2009

CATA WIT Launches Program To Attract And Retain More Women In The Technology Workforce

CATA-WITOttawa – Today at the Toronto Stock Exchange representatives from the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance Women in Technology Forum (CATA WIT) were on hand to open the markets. The event marks the launch of a CATA WIT initiative promoting employer best practices and a web site designed to attract women to science and technology careers.

The program takes a three-pronged approach to address inequalities in women’s participation in science and advanced technology by focusing on ways to support recruitment, retention and entrepreneurialism. The program was undertaken with the support Status of Women Canada, Ontario Women’s Directorate and a number of corporate partners.

Working with CATA WIT, Dr. Wendy Cukier, founder of Ryerson’s Diversity Institute and Technology Strategy Consultant organized workshops with women across the country to explore their experiences and to take a fresh look at women in Canada’s high tech sector. Over 50 women from all stages of their careers met for roundtables in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary, and 250 women were surveyed online. Discussions were also held with Human Resources professionals and executives in a number of technology companies to explore leading practices on diversity and develop tools to promote the importance of diversity.

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6th November 2009

Interactive Ontario Announces INplay 2010

Interactive OntarioToronto – Interactive Ontario today announced the launch of INplay – a new conference that connects creative industries with interactive kids topics. INplay will take place on May 18 & 19, 2010 in Toronto, Canada, and will examine the creation and commercialization of interactive media content and services for kids ages 4 to 15.

“Interactive Ontario is proud to present this unique event for the global kids media entertainment industry,” says Ian Kelso, President and CEO of Interactive Ontario. “ With tremendous support from our partners, all of whom are leaders in the interactive kids space, we are sure INplay will be a highly valued event for kids content producers and creators worldwide.”INplay 2010

“Ontario is home to a dynamic and growing interactive digital media industry with many talented and award-winning content producers,” says Karen Thorne-Stone, President & CEO of Ontario Media Development Corporation. “INplay will provide a unique two-day forum for Ontario companies to network and to share ideas and strategies with the world’s leading producers and distributors of digital entertainment for children.”

This project is spearheaded by IO in partnership with industry leaders including: The Alliance for Children & Television, Astral Media Inc, Bitcasters, Blue Print Entertainment, Breakthrough New Media, Capybara Games, CBC, Corus Entertainment, Decode Entertainment, Earth Rangers, Kids Can Press, marblemedia, Meridian Artists, Portfolio Entertainment, Spin Master Ltd., and zinc Roe Inc.

“Astral is proud to be one of the founding partners of what promises to be a world-class event that will bring together the best minds in Kids Interactive from Canada and around the world,” says Barbara Baillie, Director of Interactive, Astral Media.

“marblemedia is really looking forward to participating at INplay. We’re always working to make sure our stories are on whatever device kids are using. We see INplay as a chance to be inspired by the latest ideas in how to make fun, engaging experiences for kids,” says Ted Brunt, VP Interactive Production, marblemedia.

INplay is INsight, INgenuity and INterchange with a good dose of fun! INplay is for game developers/publishers, broadcasters, content producers/distributors, interactive/mobile/social media developers, toy/game manufacturers, book/magazine/comic publishers, marketers, researchers/child psychologists and all businesses with interest in the kid’s space.

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4th November 2009

Digital Alberta Upcoming Events

digital albertaBanff – In our interconnected, globalized economy, information is critical. Get a solid grasp on our new knowledge economy with a three-day workshop at the Banff Centre. Join Digital Alberta and the Banff New Media Institute to explore technology-enhanced learning as a valuable economic resource.

This eLearning workshop is designed specifically for professionals working in elearning, education, human resources and knowledge-based digital media. Stimulate learning opportunities and expand your knowledge in this dynamic field. From open source platforms to game-based learning, you will be exposed to capturing, retaining and transferring knowledge in a digital medium. So if knowledge and information is part of your responsibility, this workshop is for you.

The workshop features:

Lance Dublin, Dublin Consulting – Keynote
Dan Rickard, Okaki Health – Open source eLearning
Lou Russell – eLearning Project Management and SMEs
Kevin McNulty, Coole Immersive – Game-based learning
Dr. Jim Parker – Game-based learning
Martha Burkle, Cisco Chair of e-Learning – Training in virtual worlds

The workshop will be presented at The Banff Centre on December 3 – 6, 2009.

Rates: (all prices subject to GST)

$320.00 Digital Alberta Members or Affiliates
$350.00 Non-Member Early Bird (on or before November 18)
$260.00 Student Early Bird (before November 18)
$400.00 Non-Member after November 18
$300.00 Students Non-Member after November 18

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