GDC Canada  has announced the addition of three more sessions: 
Concrete Practices to be a Better Leader with Brian Sharp (Bungie)
Bringing Dragon Age to Life – Digital Actors in an Epic RPG with Shane Hawco & Clove Roy (Bioware)
Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Vanedge Capital)
If you missed the chance to see the Vancouver SIGGRAPH  presentation of Bringing Dragon Age to  Life, I highly recommend that you attend the GDC Canada presentation. While overlooking my huge bias as a Dragon Age player, Shane and Clove have put together a great discussion about the processes which Bioware’s dev team went through to get Dragon Age into the gaming universe. Please see the GDC Canada Conference Tracks  for a complete list of all announced sessions.
Also announced are some of the official networking and socializing events surrounding GDC Canada:
GDC Canada Opening Night Party Sponsored by Epic – Wednesay, May 5th at 8PM
GDC Canada VIP Party Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – Thursday, May 6th at 7PM
GDC Canada Expo Lounge Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – May 6-7th (during expo hours)
Business to Business Lounge Supported By DFAIT – May 6-7th (during expo hours)
And don’t forget that the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards  take place on May 5th at 7pm and will feature a performance by Video Games Live  (we highly recommend this show); tickets are now on sale, and very reasonably priced. If you haven’t yet had your say for Game of the Year , what are you waiting for? I’ll tell you in advance though, it’s not really an easy choice to make.
Vancouver – Last Friday night we joined about 150 game enthusiasts from all walks of the local game development scene – fans, students and studio folk – at the VFS  Cafe for an evening of pure game enjoyment. From Rockband on the main stage to a plethora of tournaments, Brian Vidovic, owner of EXP Gaming  and his team of volunteers put on an excellent evening of socializing and entertainment for the over 19 gaming crowd. In addition to some of the latest games on next gen consoles, there was even fun to be had on the Super Nintendo.
Friday night’s event also sparked the beginning of the Street Fighter IV tournament ladder and the Burnout Revenge team event. Sponsors for EXP Gaming Night of Awesome included VFS , SplitReason , Radical Entertainment , Knot Theory Ties  and EA Canada .
EXP Gaming is teaming up with CGVA to present Overture 7 – SSFIV Tournament, which will take  place on May 1st out at UBC. According to the organizers, there are only two simple goals: get hype for SSFIV and welcome the re-birth of the competitive videogame scene. Game play will take place on 360s and PS3s, combatants must bring their own controllers, and the tournament will abide by Arcade Rules. Please see the event’s FaceBook page  for complete information on how to participate.
Toronto – Interactive Ontario  has announced their iP3 forum , which will take place in June. The venue and registration information has not yet been finalized, but they will be putting out a call for speakers soon. If you’re an animator in the Toronto area, check out Animation Live Industry Night  which happens tomorrow night at The Field House.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers  has put out a request for input on how Canada can foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. They are looking for suggestions and solutions in regards to cultural and commercial frameworks that make things work, such as regulatory, copyright, privacy, taxonomy, fair use, industry standards, cultural policies, digital rights management and more. Please add your ideas to the list  and get involved in Canada’s innovative future.
Attention Ontario developers – don’t forget that the DOCshift Crossover  application deadline is 5pm today! The docSHIFT Crossover Weekend (May 7 & 8 2010) is a pre-cursor to a five-day residential lab this Fall where select projects will move into development with incubation support by the CFC Media Lab and Ryerson University.
The Documentary Organization of Canada–Toronto, National Film Board, Hot Docs, Ryerson and the CFC New Media Lab have joined forces to present docSHIFT: a cutting edge initiative aimed at fostering collaborations and business partnerships between interactive media producers and documentary filmmakers. We are currently seeking applicants interested in participating in a 2-day weekend workshop facilitated by the UK’s Frank Boyd. Frank is the past BBC Director of Creative Development and the visionary behind world-renowned Crossover Labs.
For all of you anime and manga fans, Otafest  is happening at the University of Calgary from May 21 -23rd. There is a great line-up of events this year, including the Otafest Dance and the FanFiction Contest. Special guests  for this year include voice-over artists Michelle Ruff and Scott Ramsoomair, along with the 404s, Synaptic Chaos Theatre and more.
Vancouver – QuickMobile  has collaborated with The Tribeca Film Festival to create both the TFF 2010 App for iPhone and iPod touch and a new mobile website, sponsored by Stoli Vodka, to enhance and extend this year`s Festival for attendees and fans alike. The 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express®, will take place from April 21 to May 2 in New York City.
In addition to the app, TFF is also offering an optimized mobile website for BlackBerry, Android and other Smartphone users. This mobile website, sponsored by Stolichnaya Vodka, extends the Festival mobile experience to all Smartphone users allowing anyone with an internet-enabled device access to many Festival features, including the complete film guide and event schedules with real-time updates; venue info with detailed maps; special event listing and event details; Festival info and frequently asked questions; and more.
Toronto – The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada  today released a new Interactive Advertising Project Brief  (.doc file) designed to help marketers better capture and convey information required for initiation and completion of Interactive marketing and advertising projects.
“Interactive Advertising Project Brief contains questions on technical considerations, analytics, quality assurance and project maintenance that are specific to the digital world, and that are often overlooked by marketers not overly familiar with the various channels within it,” says Olivier Sefler, Associate Director, Marketing Communications, Cogeco and head of IAB Canada’s PQ Advertiser Council.
The Project Brief also contains detailed input areas for universal themes such as project context, qualitative and quantitative objectives, target audience characteristics, strategy, creative considerations, success criteria and approval hierarchies.
“It’s important to note that while it was designed specifically for digital projects, the beauty of the Interactive Project Brief, is that with just a few adjustments, it can be converted for use for offline project initiation as well. By using the document for both programs, Advertisers can be assured that offline and Online projects share similar standards of information gathering and disclosure,” says Sefler.
It might seem incredible to Advertisers that a full 20 years after the launch of the Web, and over 15 years since the creation of the first Online ad banner, the industry has just now created such a document.
“Believe me,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “We were as shocked as anyone else to learn that digital considerations were not being integrated into traditional briefing procedures and documents. So, the hope is that now that we have a standard document that companies across Canada can use or adapt to their own needs, Interactive advertising projects will be better planned and scoped from start to finish. In the end, if the creation of the Brief means fewer unforeseen “surprises” for Advertisers, Agencies and Developers before, during and after projects are initiated, we’re happy with that.”
Vancouver – Mingleverse , providers of a next-generation communications service that allows people to talk and share media live in a browser-based virtual environment, today announced the release of its revolutionary Facebook 3D Voice Chat and Live Media Sharing application . The application is offered free of charge and enables any Facebook user to talk and share their media live with their friends in a virtual ‘mingle room’ within Facebook.
“The Mingleverse app adds a never before seen layer of live communication to Facebook. People can now instantly invite their friends into their mingle room where they can engage in 3D voice chat and share content such as their pictures, YouTube videos, webcam, presentations, and even watch TV via Justin.tv,” said Ron Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Mingleverse.
The application works instantly and does not require any initial download. Mingleverse for Facebook launches a flash-based mingle room right from within Facebook. Facebook users immediately see which of their friends are available online and can invite them into their mingle room. By installing the 3D Voice Chat plug-in, users can talk live to all of the people in their room. Users can opt not to install the 3D Voice Chat plug-in and instead use the text-based chat feature of Mingleverse along with all of the media sharing features.
Calgary – On April 8, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced his iAd advertising platform in a keynote for OS 4, the latest operating system for the iPhone and iPod Touch, due for release in June and followed by a fall launch for an iPad version. Jobs promised the iAd platform would “combine the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web,” famously quipping that existing mobile advertising “sucks.”
The iAd Agency  is the offspring of veteran Alberta-based advertising and branding agency GRAPHOS , and the timing is perfect for the new firm, says its president. “After nearly two decades of creating ad campaigns, video, animation and interactive products for our clients, this is exactly where we were heading,” says GRAPHOS founder Laurier Mandin, who has been a user and fan of Apple product since the 1970s. “We see iAds as something so revolutionary they deserve to be a business focus rather than just another service offering.”
“It’s possibly the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to advertising,” Mr. Mandin says. “Our team can unite our live-action video and animation capabilities for games and interactive three-dimensional product tours, and suddenly the customer is a participant than just a passive audience member. It’s not just about an ad within your app. The user now gets inside the ad and drives it.”
To further the immersive experience, The iAd Agency will be able to make creative use of all the features within the user’s device via iAds, something never seen before in mobile advertising. These can include the multitouch screen, accelerometer, compass, GPS location services, audio and vibration. Ads will take advantage of the new iPhone OS 4 multitasking capability to operate “in-app,” meaning users never leave an application to interact and even make purchases.
The iAd Agency will use its own animation, creative and development resources and its existing network to build the ads initially, and has begun sourcing additional help, says Kelly Grainger, director of new media development at GRAPHOS. “We’ve had a phenomenal response from interested developers and programmers, many with a pile of solid iPhone apps to their credit, so we’re not worried about getting the work done. We’re accepting resumes, especially from experienced people ready to develop with HTML5.”
Though the iAd Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers is yet to be released, the iAd Agency suggests interested advertisers begin planning campaigns now.
“We already know a lot about what the ads will be capable of and how we’ll achieve it development-wise, and it takes some time to work through the conceptual and planning stages of a really great campaign,” Mr. Grainger says. “Businesses that want to get in early, should get the creative process started right away and we’ll make any necessary adjustments once the program officially rolls out. “
As with the App Store, all iAds will need to be approved by Apple, Mr. Grainger notes, though the only ads likely to be denied entry to the platform will be ones containing adult or offensive material.
As for price, most of the information is still to come. “Apple has always been about doing things best,” Mr. Mandin says. “That’s why the company is so consistently successful. Right now this is a platform and a product for clients who want to do something absolutely amazing to connect with their audience in a whole new way.” The iAd agency is prepared to offer ballpark pricing to potential clients based on the number of interactive components in a campaign and complexity of development, he says.
Toronto – Search Engine Strategies (SES) today announced Google’s Maile Ohye as a keynote speaker at the SES Toronto 2010 conference , which will be held on June 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King Street. Ohye, the Senior Developer Programs Engineer at Google, Inc., currently coordinates Google Webmaster Central outreach efforts including the Webmaster Central Blog.
SES Toronto typically attracts Canada’s and U.S.’s leading search engine marketing (SEM) professionals – from the very experienced to the novice. Marketers can take advantage of the special early-bird registration  and save up to $200 by registering by May 21.
SES Toronto, which consists of keynotes, panels, an exhibit floor, training sessions and many networking opportunities, covers such topics as pay-per-click (PPC) management, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, mobile platforms, link building, duplicate content, video optimization, site optimization and other timely SEM topics.
“I’m honored and excited to have the opportunity to speak at SES Toronto this year and mingle with my peers,” remarked Ohye. “The SES conference attendees are always a very eager audience. It’ll be great to chat about Google’s philosophy on real time search – buzz and social media sites, as well as the latest on site performance.”
“We’re happy to confirm Maile Ohye as a keynoter for SES Toronto because she has a wide spectrum of experience,” said Matt McGowan, Publisher and Head of U.S. for Incisive Media. “With her time spent in the private sector, the government sector and, for the past few years, Google, she has a deep technical understanding of the search marketing industry. We’re looking forward to hearing what’s currently going on with Google Webmaster Central, as well as what she sees coming up in the near future.”