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12th August 2009

Montreal International Game Summit Announces 2009 Keynote Speakers

MIGS 2009MontrealMontreal International Game Summit (MIGS) has officially revealed the five headline speakers who will address the more than 1,500 attendees expected at the sixth edition of the popular industry event. Yoichi Wada, President and CEO, Square Enix, Paul Holden, Lead Architect, Media Molecule, Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development, Valve, Heather Chaplin, Author and Chris Hecker, Technology Fellow, Maxis/EA will be at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel on November 16 and 17 in Montreal.

The official keynote speakers include:

Yoichi Wada is President and CEO of the Square Enix Group, which has the corporate philosophy: to spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences. During his conference, Mr. Wada will share the steps the group has taken in order to build a new, group-wide game development environment in an effort to make full use of the unique individual characteristics of its three core brands – Square Enix, Taito and Eidos and will share his vision of the future of video game development.

Paul Holden is Lead Architect at British-based studio Media Molecule. Developers of the breakout 2008 hit, Little Big Planet, Media Molecule’s Holden will speak about the unique challenges company encountered in developing LBP and its strategy to leverage user-generated content to its fullest.

Jason Holtman is Director of Business Development for Valve. Among other things, Holtman manages the distribution of Steam, an online platform enabling more than 15 million gamers to access hundreds of games, and video game development via the Source engine.
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12th August 2009

Judge Grants Permanent Injunction against Microsoft in Favour of Toronto’s i4i

i4iToronto – Yesterday, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, the Honorable Leonard Davis issued a Final Judgment which upheld the verdict won on May 20, 2009, by i4i, a global technology company headquartered in Toronto. The Final Judgment is an award in excess of $290 million and includes a Permanent Injunction against Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) for custom XML in Word 2003 and Word 2007.

The Final Judgment includes the following:

(a) Defendant Microsoft is found to have unlawfully infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449 (the “449 patent”).
(b) Microsoft is found to have infringed the ‘449 patent willfully.
(c) The ‘449 Patent is valid and enforceable, and Michel Vulpe is found not to have engaged in inequitable conduct with respect to the ‘449 patent.
(d) i4i LP’s and Infrastructures for Information Inc.’s (collectively “i4i”) damage award is found not barred by latches.
(e) The Court awards damages to i4i for Microsoft’s infringement of the ‘449 patent in the amount of $200,000,000.
(f) i4i is further awarded enhanced damages of $40,000,000 for Microsoft’s willful infringement.
(g) i4i is further awarded post-verdict damages of $144,060 per day from May 21, 2009 until the date of this Final Judgment.
(h) i4i is further awarded pre-judgment interest of $37,097,032 up to May 20, 2009 and $21,102 per day thereafter until the date of this Final Judgment.
(i) i4i is entitled to post-judgment interest as provided for by 28 U.S.C. – 1961 for any time period between the entry of this Final Judgment and the date upon which i4i receives payment from Microsoft as ordered herein.
(j) Microsoft is permanently enjoined from performing the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than colorably different from
Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007 (collectively “Infringing and Future Word Products”) during the term of the 449 patent:
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12th August 2009

The League of Super Evil and Dragon Age Origins Lead Today’s Coffee Break News

League of Super EvilVancouver – The official League of Super Evil site is now fully operational and ready to unleash its evilness on the unsuspecting world wide web from their secret headquarters, A.K.A. Nerd Corps Entertainment. Visitors can now sign up for an account and create their own evil avatars to “play games and earn Evil Points so you can dress to impress. Or blow stuff up, your choice. Then, fill your Lair with evil gadgets so after a long, hard day you have a place to call “home sweet home.” Okay maybe not sweet but you get the idea! And remember, the only way to win, is to LOSE!”

According to recon information gathered via YTV, which seems to be the source of their regular, animated transmissions, “The League of Super Evil (a.k.a. L.O.S.E.) follows four Super Villains who have set their sights on nothing less than total neighbourhood domination! L.O.S.E. is helmed by the diminutive Great Voltar, whose grandiose plans are generally miniscule and child-like and give new meaning to the term lowered expectations. Then there’s gadgeteer Doktor Frogg, whose evil genius is diminished only by his incredible bad luck. Bringing the muscle is fresh-faced former farm-boy Reginald “Red” Menace, who prefers to channel his energy into gardening, cute animals and bouncy castles. And we can’t forget the completely unpredictable Doomageddon, a pan-dimensional creature who brings the term “bad dog” to a whole other level. Between using a Shiruken anime robot to win a playground slam dunk competition, inventing a super-computer to protect Voltar’s sweet new evil BMX bike, or hosting a neighbourhood barbeque and not inviting ANY of the neighbors, L.O.S.E. struggles ever-onward to its goal of total mindless fun!

EA GamesDragon Age™: Origins Collector’s Edition and pre-order incentive program. The Collector’s Edition is a premium package available in limited quantities featuring exclusive Dragon Age: Origins collectibles including a unique steel case, a cloth map of the world of Dragon Age, a Making-of documentary DVD, a digital version of the Dragon Age: Origins BioWaresoundtrack, game trailers, wallpapers, strategy tips and a concept art video, plus three exclusive downloadable items that will provide special advantages to the player. The Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order today for an MSRP of $74.99 (console) and $64.99 (PC) in North America.
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12th August 2009

RC Helicopter for Photography Made In Canada

Draganfly InnovationsSaskatoon – Aerial photographers and videographers will be excited to see the newest product from Draganfly Innovations Inc. – the Draganflyer X4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The Draganflyer X4 is a computer-stabilized, miniature airborne platform with a wireless video downlink and remote flight control.

The four-rotor, 680 gram electric helicopter is a flying platform capable of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), and is classified as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The Draganflyer X4 helicopter is designed for uses such as surveying, industrial inspection, military reconnaissance, aerial photography, real estate marketing, and inspection of hazardous locations. It is lightweight, compact, easily transportable, and draganflyer X4measures only 30.5 inches (77.5cm) across.

The Draganflyer X4 helicopter is aimed at industrial and commercial users, providing reconnaissance and inspection information using an on-board wireless high definition video and high resolution still camera. The Draganflyer X4 helicopter is stabilized electronically using an on-board processor running thousands of lines of code and receiving data from seven sensors (three accelerometers, three gyros, and one barometric pressure sensor). The helicopter is able to determine its own orientation and motion based on the data it acquires through these sensors and can be piloted by a user with minimal training. Remotely controlled by its operator, the Draganflyer X4 automatically handles the complex attitude and altitude adjustments required to move at the specified speed and in the specified direction. Without this computer stabilization, the operator would have to constantly adjust the speed and orientation in order to move smoothly or stay in one place. An altitude hold feature allows the Draganflyer X4 to maintain its position in the air, even without user input. “The Draganflyer X4 provides users with amazing performance and stability” says Zenon Dragan, company president. “The Draganflyer X4 will hover stably even with the pilot’s hands removed from the controls.”
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11th August 2009

National News Briefs

PhasedGamesToronto’s Phased Games has released Snax Lite on the Xbox 360. Priced at 80 Microsoft points, Snax Lite is available on the Xbox Live Indie Games service. In Snax Lite, you’re the chef at your barbecue and all your friends are dying just to get a piece of the grill action! Cook up and serve your guests in a limited time frame. It’s a race against the clock and the grill! Snax Lite (Cooking Arcade Game) features 6 Challenging levels of fast game play action and a Massive 80 Minute Marathon Mode. Do you have what it takes to become the Master Chef?Klei Entertainment

Nexon has taken down the web site previously used to publicize Sugar Rush, a game developed by Vancouver’s Klei Entertainment. A spokesman from Klei thanked all of their beta testers, but there is unfortunately no further word regarding the future of the game, which was well received by the gamer community. Klei Entertainment, who owns the rights to the title, is actively seeking a new publishing partner.

Fit BrainsFit Brains has added a new game to their site. Paradise Island 2 is a word game designed to help with improving word stem recognition, deduction and concept formation as well as combining syllables and fragments. Just a few minutes per day spent with the games on FitBrains will help keep your cognitive abilities sharp – or even teach you a few new skills – all for free. Village Gamer highly recommends Fit Brains for everyone.

Three Canadian developed games are gracing the FAQ page of the new Xbox 360 Games on Demand site. The featured games are Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed and Need For Speed: Carbon. Games on Demand is available for purchase on Xbox LIVE as part of today’s Xbox LIVE Update. You will be able to browse and purchase games through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web starting August 13. Village Gamer was selected to experience the preview of the Xbox Live, and so far we’re liking the additions, even though some of the Avatar Marketplace add-ons seem to be a bit pricey and I haven’t really seen anything in the Avatar Marketplace that I would like to purchase for my avatar. I’m not sure yet how I feel about being able to purchase new titles directly from Xbox, and I’m sitting on the fence as far as “the end of retail” models. I’m one of those people who will purchase Collector’s Editions for certain titles (like Assassin’s Creed 2), and I would hate to see those options disappear, even if it is far off in the future.

The folks from Bioware have departed for GenCon, with promises of cool stuff for Dragon Age: Origins fans, and then they’re headed for GamesCon in Germany. I guess we’ll just have to wait for PAX to see all the cool stuff for ourselves.

And in my final note for the morning, just a reminder for those of you who are thinking about going to GDC Austin – early bird pricing ends in two days.

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11th August 2009

Interactive Ontario Adds Canadian Dimension to Edinburgh Interactive

Interactive OntarioOntarioInteractive Ontario (IO) in partnership with the Ontario International Marketing Centre (OIMC) will be heading over to Scotland to team up with Edinburgh Interactive at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on 13th & 14th August 2009. Representing over 200 companies capybarawithin the Ontario interactive digital content industry, IO will be joined by Capybara Games, who are set to showcase two soon-to-be-released titles.

As a non-profit trade association committed to the growth of Ontario’s Digital Media/Video Game industry, IO represents content producers and distributors, as well as stakeholders from a range of industry sectors including e-Learning, games, mobile, television, online, social media, marketing and academia. The Ontario International Marketing Centre, based in London, UK, facilitates trade and investment between the UK and Ontario.

Critter Crunch PSN

Critter Crunch PSN

Joining IO at Edinburgh Interactive this year will be IO member Capybara Games. Starting out as an award-winning mobile games developer, Capybara Games have since successfully branched out into the development of iPhone, Nintendo DS and downloadable console games. Capybara Games is an independent games studio from Canada’s fastest growing hub of video game production.

Capybara Games will be showcasing two soon-to-be-released titles at Edinburgh Interactive this year; Critter Crunch and Ubisoft’s Might & Magic Clash of Heroes. Critter Crunch is set in a magical place filled with cute, colourful critters frolicking in the sun, smelling the flowers and eating each other! Winner of the 2008 IGF Mobile Best Games & Achievement in Audio Awards and IGN Wireless 2007 Best Puzzle Games & Biggest Surprise Game Awards, Critter Crunch is a PlayStation® Network arcade-puzzler, and will be released later this year.
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11th August 2009

New Media Employment News

Toronto’s Recruiting Now, a recruitment firm specializing in placement of senior and executive media, Recruiting Nowmarketing and IT professionals, has partnered with Media Job Search Canada, a Canadian job search web site dedicated solely to the needs of marketing and media professionals and their employers. These two companies will join forces to assist their clients in finding the perfect fit for their particular staffing and recruitment needs.

“The synergies in this partnership will provide our marketing and interactive media-related clients with a powerful suite of consulting and search services for employers and job seekers alike. Our tight focus in marketing and media has significant advantages over those huge employment services and job boards that try to cater to all professions,” said Judith Mallard, Director of Recruitment for Recruiting Now.

Both companies bring an abundance of expertise to their service offerings. Recruiting Now has a dedicated team of consultants with over 60 years of combined experience sourcing media, IT, and marketing professionals for top employers. Media Job Search Canada has been providing employment search tools to media and marketing professionals for over 10 years. “This partnership adds a new dimension to our online tools suite by bringing industry-specific recruitment consulting into the mix. In a nutshell, what this means is that a team of media recruitment specialists will be scouring our site, looking to match top talent with some of the best employers in the country. For the employers and job seekers we serve, that’s very exciting,” said Corey Fuchs, President of Media Job Search Canada.

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11th August 2009

ProTech Media To Expand With Three More Learning Centres

TorontoToronto – Together with Toronto Mayor David Miller, Microsoft Canada has announced the expansion of the successful ProTech Media Centre program to three Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment. “This is a perfect example of private and public-sector partners coming together to provide innovative opportunities in Toronto’s Priority Neighbourhoods,” said Mayor Miller. “It’s especially important that local youth have been involved in this project from the start, and that many more youth will pass through these doors. The creative possibilities and career benefits provided by ProTech are boundless.” The ProTechannouncement was made at the opening of the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre, located within the Toronto Public Library – Kennedy/Eglinton branch at 2380 Eglinton Avenue East.

The Pro Tech program offers free digital arts and technology skills training. The expansion effort is made possible by a Microsoft Canada Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills grant of $1 million in cash, digital learning curriculum and Microsoft-based technology. “The overwhelming success of the Rexdale ProTech Media Centre in Jamestown is motivating Microsoft Canada, the City of Toronto and community partners to expand the program to three additional neighbourhoods,” said Eric Gales, President, Microsoft Canada. “Today’s youth incorporate technology into every part of their daily lives. By providing access to technology and education we’re feeding their curiosity and creativity with the hope of generating interest in pursuing careers in technology related fields.” The City of Toronto is also supporting the program through its Partnership Opportunities Legacy Fund, which has set aside $13 million for Toronto’s 13 Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment, to be leveraged by funding from outside partners for youth-focused social and recreational infrastructure projects.
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10th August 2009

Zombies In Vancouver and Other Events

Zombie Walk VancouverVancouver – The Zombie Walk has returned to the city. Taking place this weekend on August 15th, those who thirst for brains will be gathering on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery at Hornby and West Georgia. The zombies will begin gathering at 2pm, with the walk beginning at 3pm and lasting until 5pm. At this point in time, the route to be taken by the zombies has not been revealed, but you can find out more information on the Zombie Walk Vancouver’s Event Page on Facebook.  Thrill the World Vancouver will also be participating in the Zombie walk; this group is part of the worldwide Thriller dance event. Last year Thrill the World Vancouver raised over $1400.00 for the Vancouver Food Bank during their event which was held at Kits Beach. This year’s Thrill the World dance event will be held at 5:30pm on October 24th. This year reinforcements from across the water will be arriving via BC Ferry from the Sunshine Coast, where a new zombie colony was formed in July.

Toronto’s IGDA Chapter will be hosting a moderated discussion session on iPhone Game igdaDevelopment this Thursday night. The meeting, which will take place at Metro Hall Room 313, will consist of several short presentations from local developers, followed by a discussion moderated by Owen Goss, from Streaming Colour Studios. Presentations will be given by:

Jason MacIsaac and Keith Makse from Cerebral Vortex Games
Dave Wood from Cerebral Gardens
Harry Mack, Audio Designer

The session opens at 7pm, and will be followed by a social mixer at the Elephant & Castle’s back room.

BCTIA has several Vancouver events coming up, open to members, non-members and students. First up BCTIAis their TechForum on Financing Tech in the Wake of an Economic Crisis, taking place on September 10 at the Sutton Place Hotel. Guest speaker for this seminar will be Doug Irwin, a founding partner of Capital West Partners. As an experienced investment and financing thought-leader, Doug will guide you through the opportunities and pitfalls of the current investment climate.

This will be followed by the annual CTO Roundtable, where BCTIA member CTOs meet to discuss this year’s hottest issues and pressing concerns. This discussion will identify the full slate of topics for the upcoming year of roundtable sessions offered by the CTO Peer Group. Last year topics ranged from technology management to talent strategy. Your input is needed for this year’s lineup. For more information on these and other upcoming BCTIA events, please see their Events Page.

BCITIf you are a student considering a variety of career paths in the IT field, don’t forget about the BCIT technology course Info Sessions taking place on August 19th and 26th at BCIT’s downtown campus. The BCIT Aerospace programme had an awesome display out at the Abbotsford Airshow this weekend.digital alberta

Digital Alberta is subsidizing a delegation of Alberta gaming companies to attend GDC Austin which takes place September 15 – 18th.  If your company is interested in participating and receiving funding to do so, please email Rene Smid to request an application form by August 21, 2009.

For the first time ever, FITC comes to Edmonton for a 2 day festival with some of the most well known FITCFlash designers and developers from around the globe.  Taking place at the NAIT, Shaw Theatre on October 17 & 18th, attendees will experience two solidly packed days of presentations. Topics covered will be both technical and creative, with presenters from around the world who have been hand-picked for their skill and talent, and all are eager to share and meet you. Flash Designers. Flash Developers. Motion Graphic Artists. Digital Artists. Students. Anyone in or having an interest in Flash and digital Game On Financemedia should be at this event.

Also, a reminder that registration for GameOn Finance 2009 is open. GameOn Finance is taking place this October 27 and 28th in Toronto.

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7th August 2009

Game Briefs

CanadaCanada – First, a shout-out to our readers over at DFAIT – Happy Friday everyone! Also best wishes to Monika and Michael for a life full of adventure and happiness – make sure you come back to Vancouver every so often for a visit. Our other local adventurers, Brenda and Eli have reached Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, where you can apparently buy a Wii at the RankinSnowbirds Inlet Co-op for only $799.00. Wow.

This weekend, Village Gamer will be at the Abbotsford Airshow. We’ll be at the VIP Chalet on Sunday, so if you’re on Chalet Row, stop in and say hi. We’ll also be visiting with our friends from the Canadian Armed Forces out on the static display field. Sadly, Captain Phil “Ritz” Smith and our friends from the US Air Force Strike Eagle demo team appear to be scheduled for a show in Ohio – but there is a flypast scheduled. Makes conversation difficult, though. Our favourites, though, will always be the Snowbirds.  Both Nintendo Wii and Microsoft 360 had a presence at last year’s airshow. We’ll be checking to see if they’ve returned to the static area as well.

The cavechild flew in one of Bud Granley’s Yak 11 planes yesterday – usually he flies with stunt pilot Ken Pietsch, but Ken was booked up with media types. Mike took video of the flight, but he hasn’t finished his editing yet so we can’t show you this year’s pre-show flight adventure. He was disappointed that they only hit a low G-force once or twice during the flight. Now he’s decided he wants his pilot’s license.

IUGO’s new game Spy Bot Chronicles has officially launched in the iTunes App Store with an IUGOintroductory price of $0.99 usd. Toy Bot has been kidnapped by Thief Bot, and he needs you to rescue him. Play through four different zones to find the hidden levels and collect all of the rewards while experiencing the high quality of IUGO’s game design.

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal is asking for gamer input on some of the achievements for Assassin’s Creed 2. You can vote for one of these four achievements, as well as leave your comments. If you are a member of Ubi’s community, you can vote here; if you’re on Facebook, you can vote here.

The four achievements to vote on are:

The taste of revenge – Kill X Brutes (heavy guard)
Weapon Master – Use all weapons at least once
Victory lies in preparation – Get all available upgrades for Ezio
Mighty traveler – Travel X kilometers within the game

My choice was Mighty Traveler, because putting on lots of in-game miles means taking a look at the scenery and taking in all of the incredible artwork which has been done by the artists and level designers.

Dingo GamesVancouver’s indie developer Dingo Games has just announced its latest project, The Three Musketeers: The Game. Closely following the story of Alexander Dumas’ original masterpiece, The Three Musketeers: The Game is a unique action-adventure game for Mac and Windows.
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