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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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3rd June 2010

Balancing The Canadian Copyright Act Is Like Walking A Tightrope

Government of Canada…and trying to understand it all is like standing in a tornado. There is so much going on right now in regards to Canada’s copyright reform (Bill C-32) that it is almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, there are an abundance of online resources available so that we can learn more about the processes which have MP James Moore on Twitterbeen followed up to this point, as well as keep current with what is going on right now. The Canadian government has been maintaining a site called Balanced Copyright, and it holds a wealth of information. Naturally, the Pirate Party has grabbed the domain balancedcopyright.ca, but there is no site yet launched for that URL. I imagine that the group will probably use the domain to counter MP Tony Clement on Twitterthe one run by the government, and will count on the public not knowing the location of the government’s site. Speaking of government, both MP James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages) and MP Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) have been engaging the public, media and industry groups on Twitter since the Bill was announced yesterday. I recommend following both MPs, along with copyright expert Michael Geist for continuing updates about Bill C-32’s progress.

Fair Copyright for Canada (administered by Michael Geist) also has an active Facebook group which carries updates and opinions relevant to Bill C-32. One point which seems to be an area of contention is the Digital Lock, and CBC News has written a very comprehensive look at what it could Michael Geist on Twitterentail. I freely admit that I have not had time to read and process all of the information about C-32, and while I will endeavour to do so, I would like to invite someone more expert in the ramifications of C-32 to write a guest editorial explaining the good and the bad of our copyright bill. While many of what we could deem as special interest groups are voicing their opinions about Bill C-32, the most relevant to both us and our readers is what those in interactive media are saying. All of the sites and Twitter accounts above contain links to opinions and press releases from groups such as ACTRA, AFM and the Documentary Organization of Canada, and I invite you to check them out. Here is what ESAC has to say about the reforms:

esacThe Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released a statement about Bill C-32, congratulating the Government of Canada on its introduction of copyright reform legislation which will help protect Canadian content creators and digital media companies. ESAC believes that protecting the intellectual property of industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperity is not only good public policy, but is essential as our economy transitions to more knowledge-based jobs.

“We applaud the government for showing leadership on this complex issue and we look forward to studying the bill more closely,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “Without strong protection for our intellectual property, we’re basically operating in a digital Wild West. Promoting piracy under the guise of ‘user rights’ does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment,” she added.

“Piracy fundamentally undermines the integrity of the marketplace. It forces creators to compete against black market versions of their own products, affecting their ability to recover the considerable investments associated with digital media production. A strong bill – one which prohibits hacking of digital works, trafficking in hacking tools and that makes those who facilitate digital piracy clearly liable for their activities – is critical to the success of Canada’s digital economy,” says Parr.

In the industry’s view, a bill with clear protection for intellectual property will enable creators to decide how and at what cost their products can be accessed and in turn allow consumers to decide which products succeed and fail by voting with their pocketbook. Further, by supporting a diverse range of business models, strong copyright will facilitate increased competition, which ultimately leads to greater pew internetconsumer choice and lower prices.

In related news, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a report about The State of Online Video. While this study was conducted in the USA, the information can be useful to those Canadian companies and individuals who produce web-distributed products. The study is available as a downloadable PDF, or it can be read online.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Canadian game industry news and updates:

THQ has confirmed in an official press release that Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online will Relic Entertainmentindeed be released to the North American market this fall. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online is free to play and offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression, allowing players to strategize on and off the battlefield. Players will also have the opportunity to earn or purchase special units and upgrades and improve their army with each and every multiplayer victory.

Vice President of Global Brand Management Travis Plane commented that, “We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone.”

Capcom MobileCapcom® Mobile and Classic Media, whose portfolio includes of some of the world’s leading kids, family and pop-culture brands such as Where’s Waldo?®, Casper the Friendly Ghost® and Lassie®, have announced the release of Where’s Waldo?® In Hollywood, the sequel to last year’s top-selling mobile phone game.

“The first Where’s Waldo? game was a run-away mobile hit with its addictive mini games and classic search and find puzzles,” said Midori Yuasa, President, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “For theWaldo In Hollywood sequel we’ve built on the winning mix with a whole new crop of puzzles, achievements and even more Waldo fun.”

“Capcom Mobile has done a terrific job translating the search and find experience of Where’s Waldo? for mobile and we are excited to partner with their team on the second game,” said Nicole Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “With its crowds of celebrities and celebrity-spotters, Hollywood is an exciting place for fans to take up their search for Waldo.”

Based on the international publishing phenomenon, Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood, developed by Capcom Interactive Canada, chronicles the world-famous traveler through a series of tinsel-town themed adventures. Players can join the search with multiple search and find games that are based on classic scenes from the book series, as well as five mini games, including Tic-Whack-Wizard, Odd One Out, and Slide Puzzles. As players progress, they will be able to unlock bonus content and earn in-game achievements. Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood is currently available for download on most North American carriers. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th May 2010

Today We Honour, Share, and Learn

Vancouver’s Genius Factor Games has published a seven point article laying out the company’s current and future involvement with the social media culture. The seven points denoted in this article can easily provide a starting point for any company who has not yet plunged into the massive and constantly changing world of social media. While I encourage you to visit the Genius Factor Games blog to read the article in its entirety, here are the seven points the company raises:

1. Connect With Players
2. Leverage Technology
3. Connect With Customers on their Terms
4. Word of Mouth/Viral Marketing
5. Connect with Investors and Strategic Partners
6. Lead the industry forward
7. Encourage Positive Change

UbisoftUbisoft Canada has announced that several of its upcoming titles will be featured at E3, along with several yet-to-be-announced titles from across the Ubisoft network. Games exhibited at the Ubisoft booth will include the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed™ Brotherhood, Shaun White Skateboarding, Tom Clancy™ ’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier™, the next iteration of the blockbuster franchise Driver®, and many other titles that are yet to be announced. Ubisoft’s website will host select information sent directly from Ubisoft’s booth at E3 as well as the press conference, giving fans access to exclusive interviews and trailers of Ubisoft games.

To kick-off its E3 activities, Ubisoft will host a press conference at the Los Angeles Theatre on Monday, June 14, 2010 at 5 pm (doors open at 3.30 pm). Ubisoft is thrilled to announce that Joel McHale, star of NBC’s “Community” and E!’s “The Soup.” will return as the host of its E3 press conference. The press conference is by invitation only to Ubisoft partners, investors, retailers and select media. Attendees will be treated to live demonstrations of Ubisoft’s upcoming releases and special guests in this not-to-be-missed event that will set the tone for one of Ubisoft’s most impressive line-ups to date. Toon Boom

Toon Boom Animation has put many of their creative software titles on sale – check out their limited time specials – they will be ending soon. Also available today is a very cool “how-to” article on rotoscoping for beginners – a process that could even help me make an animation, and I definitely can’t draw.

Electronic Arts Inc. and Black Box Studios have announced that Need for Speed™ World, the massively multiplayer online action racing game, will go live on July 20, 2010. Need for Speed World thrusts gamers into an enormous, socially-connected white-knuckle Need for Speed experience featuring an all-new power-up system and deep RPG style progression. Need For Speed World

Beginning July 20th, Need for Speed World will be available as a free client download, which will give gamers a taste of the action with access to all races, pursuits and career progression up to level 10.

Players looking for the ultimate experience can purchase the Need for Speed World Starter Pack which includes a credit for $20 worth of SpeedBoost, full access up to level 50, a bundle assortment of power-ups like Nitrous and Traffic Magnet to help you get started, and an exclusive limited edition vehicle – all for MSRP $20.00 (*Conditions and restrictions apply. See details at point of purchase). Owners of the Starter Pack also get the added benefit of being able to purchase items like power-ups, double XP periods and even rental cars starting at just a few cents.

Players who pre-order Need for Speed World will have a one-week headstart to the game on July 13th, Need For Speed Worldwith increased Rep (XP) gain for the duration of the headstart event and guaranteed access to all upcoming Need for Speed World beta events. Finally, players will also be able to reserve their driver names in advance of the game going live and have VIP status permanently displayed in their driver profile. Pre-orders are available now at EA’s Online Store or at participating digital retailers nationwide.

Need for Speed World brings together best in class action racing with an unparalleled social experience. Players can compete against any one of their friends, family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits across 150 miles of sprawling open world. Need for Speed World combines new content with the most popular cities from Need for Speed Most Wanted and Need for Speed Carbon to create the biggest, most exciting race world ever released in the Need for Speed universe.

TransGamingLos Angeles-based Riot Games have announced that they are working with TransGaming, Inc. to expand their debut title, League of Legends™, and releasing a version for the Mac that will be available for download this summer. The new Mac version of the session-based online multiplayer strategy game, powered by TransGaming’s Cider™ Portability Engine, will bring millions of Mac owners the same fast-paced gaming action that more than one million PC gamers have enjoyed since the game launched in October, 2009.Cider Portability Engine

“Millions of gamers across the world are accessing their gaming content on Macs but until now they have not been able to play League of Legends,” said Brandon Beck, co-founder and CEO of Riot Games. “The first competitive phase of the game will be kicking off this summer, and we’re excited that Mac gamers will also be able to participate and have a chance to vie for top prizes.” Read the rest of this entry »

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25th May 2010

United Front Games Has Their First Title On Store Shelves

ModNation Racers Happy Launch Day to everyone over at United Front Games – Congratulations on your first official “Game Now On Store Shelves” milestone, and we wish you every success with ModNation Racers as it karts its way into homes around the world – now on to True Crime!

Vancouver Innovation CampThe next Innovation Camp will be held on May 29th and 30th at Bootup Labs. Get your tickets now for a great workshop that will challenge assumptions, connect ideas, embrace failure and see problems as opportunities for creative solutions in order to take your entrepreneurial venture to the next step. Tickets for Innovation Camp are $119.00 and can be purchased online.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterTickets are also still available for the Vancouver SIGGRAPH presentation of Alice in Wonderland: Creating Underland. Taking place on May 25th at the Empire Theatre Granville, this session features two presentations, the first with animation director David Schaub (Sony Pictures Imageworks), who will give you a look behind the talent and tools that were used to create Alice In Wonderland. Mr. Schaub will focus primarily on the standard creative elements of the show, but he will also provide insight into the surprising challenges and innovative technical solutions that were used to breathe digital life into over 30 inhabitants of Underland including the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the Cheshire Cat.

The second Creating Underland session will be presented by freelance Visual Effects Supervisor Carey Villegas, who will focus on the process of photographing the “live-action” component of the film, as well as the many challenges that he and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Ken Ralston faced in post production while creating the visual and stereo 3D effects. A screening of Alice in Wonderland will follow the technical presentations. Tickets for this event are $20.00 for non-members and $15.00 for members. Please note that online ticket sales for the seminar are now closed, but you can still get tickets at the door.

ICAOur friends over at AnnexPro have just told us about two upcoming seminars for Final Cut Pro editors. Presented by the International Colorist Academy, these two courses will be taking place in Vancouver beginning on June 7th. The first course, Apple Colour, will be held on June 7 & 8th, while the Colourist Strategies session will be held June 9th through 11th.

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) today announced the American Idol Star Experience game will be available as a free download on May 26th to coincide with the Season 9 finale of the smash hit American Idol™ TV show. The game enables fans to continue their Idol obsession as they unleash their creativity by producing jaw-dropping online performances for family, friends and the whole Facebook community to rate and compare against other players.

Idol enthusiasts simply use their existing Facebook login to create a game account to access the free Performance Creator download for PC. The Performance Creator enables players to design their own unique stage performance, including building a custom avatar from head to toe, choosing a song to sing from dozens of hits, choreographing dance moves, and directing a multitude of staging elements like camera angles and special effects. The player can then post the performance to Facebook with one click, to be rated to see how they compare to other performers in singing, styling and staging categories.Play American Idol

Members of the Facebook community can also enjoy the American Idol Star Experience game in a highly social context as members of the “audience” view and rate performances, choose favorites, leave comments for performers and discuss the best (and worst) of the performances- all within the Facebook environment.

“We are excited to release a unique game experience based on American Idol, one of the most important entertainment franchises in the world,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “American Idol Star Experience reinforces our existing multiplatform game strategy, now seamlessly integrated with robust social features.”

American Idol Star Experience features:

* A free downloadable Performance Creator, available via players’ existing Facebook account.

* Personal avatars that players build head to toe, including body type, face, eyes, hair and more.

* Dozens of hit songs available in a wide variety of genres to suit all musical tastes including rock, punk, pop, hip hop, disco, R&B and country.

Players can achieve further customization of all elements of a performance via a simple “drag and drop” interface, including:

* Recorded singing- Players can select pre-recorded voice tracks, or use their own voice to sing karaoke-style.

* Personal styling- Hundreds of hair styles, wardrobe items and accessories to choose from.

* Unique staging- Stages modeled after the famous American Idol stage, with special effects, lighting, camera angles, dance moves and props that players can craft to create a one-of-a-kind performance.

* Social interaction within the Facebook community as members of Facebook can visit the game’s page to view and rate performances based on singing, styling and staging criteria. Players have also the ability to invite select Facebook friends to a private viewing of their performance.

“After more than eight top-rated seasons on television, the Emmy-award winning American Idol is one of the most successful properties on TV,” said Olivier Delfosse, Director, Interactive, FremantleMedia Enterprises, licensor for the program. “We are pleased to extend American Idol to both the existing fan base and new audiences alike with a highly immersive game experience that further deepens consumer engagement with the franchise.”

Ubisoft Montreal has released the North American trailer for Shaun White Skateboarding, which is scheduled for release this fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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20th May 2010

News As Diverse As Our Country

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund’s business policies are now available. This document, Appendix B: Business Policies (PDF), includes the following information:

Default Policy
Accounting and Reporting Requirements
Producer’s Fees and Corporate Overhead Policy
Completion Protection Policy
Production Insurance Policy
Standard Recoupment Policy
Treatment of Tax CreditsMIGS

The Montreal International Game Summit has unveiled its web site for 2010. Although much of the content is still focused on last year’s conference, more information will be available soon for the November 8 & 9th event.

IUGOSince the launch of Implode XL’s latest update which brought the level editor to the iPhone on May 11, 2010 (a little over a week ago), new levels have exploded into the game. IUGO is happy to share some exciting stats about the accumulating user-generated content:
Implode XL
There is now over 10x the amount of content for users to play. IUGO has done updates providing users with 170 levels to play, and there are now over 550 levels are being downloaded and played every day. In total over 100,000 levels have been downloaded and played to-date and over 2,300 levels have been rated by players.

“We are beyond pleased with the reception and engagement that our users have had with the newly launched level editor for Implode XL,” beams Sarah Thomson, IUGO’s Director of BD. “There are some incredibly challenging and creative levels being built and we’re excited that Implode XL fans now have fresh puzzles to solve all the time. We will continue to create games with compelling features that encourage user interactivity and a meaningful social layer. We’re just getting started!”

Implode XL featuring the new level editor for all iDevices is available on the App Store for $2.99 US.

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal is recruiting playtesters for its new PlayTest facility. If you live in or near Montreal, this could be a great opportunity for you to put all those hours of gameplay experience to good use. For those looking for other employment in the game development industry, Eidos Montreal also has a number of career positions open.

Need For SpeedThis morning on Twitter, Team Need For Speed announced a new build project with Vaughn Gittin Jr. This project involves a 1969 Mustang which Vaughn has been working on since December 2009. Team NFS unveiled a first look at the classic muscle car, which will be unveiled at SEMA 2010 as well as making an appearance in a future Need For Speed title. Check out the details and picture on the Team NFS blog.

MaRSMaRS, a Toronto-based not-for-profit innovation centre, is the newest addition to the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). The collaboration will enhance levels of technology commercialization and help develop successful companies in the digital media sector. The announcement follows on the Canada 3.0 2010 digital media forum in Stratford held May 10-11 where Industry Minister Tony Clement emphasized the importance of digital media to Canada’s economy.

“Bringing together MaRS and the collaboration network of the CDMN will enable powerful progress for digital media in Canada,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the CDMN. “Helping more start-up digital companies bring products to market and creating opportunities for growth in the Information and Communications Technology field is critical both for Ontario and all of Canada.”

MaRS advisors have been helping tech companies with advice, education, market insight and access to capital since 2006.

“At MaRS we are dedicated to furthering growth in the ICT sector by enabling the success of emerging technology companies,” said advisor Krista Jones, ICT Practice Lead. “We’re located in the heart of Toronto and have worked with hundreds of early-stage companies across Ontario to help them build their ventures into global successes.”

Together MaRS and the CDMN, which is headquartered in Waterloo Region and now connects nodes throughout Canada, will share and develop knowledge through surveys, data-mining and reports; develop programs to enhance entrepreneurial skills; promote the capabilities of digital media industries in Canada; and more. The CDMN was the organizer, with the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, of the Canada 3.0 2010 forum.

wavefrontWavefront and SFU Present Developing Apps for Symbian. This seminar is targeted at developers who would like to learn the basics about developing apps on the Symbian platform. According to ABI Research, more than 330 million cell phones run Symbian OS with a 48% global market share for smartphones. Developers will learn how to leverage the Symbian Horizon Program, an application-publishing platform that allows developers to write an application once and publish it in dozens of Symbian app stores worldwide, and how to port apps from other platforms to Symbian. This seminar will take place on the morning of May 28th at Discovery Parks in Vancouver. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Social Media ClubCurious about how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to enhance your business? Wondering what your competitors, customers, and prospects are talking about? Or unsure of how to tell what’s working and what isn’t? Join the Social Media Club Vancouver at Social Media 101 where the answers to all of these questions will be explored.

With three light-speed presentations: 20 minutes for lecture, 10 minutes for Q&A, join Guacira Naves, Kemp Edmonds, and Tris Hussey, the clutter will be cleared and you will gain the critical information you need to advance your social media plans. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th May 2010

Departures And The Canadian Entrepreneurial Outlook

Clint HockingAs many of you have probably heard by now, Clint Hocking has resigned from his position at Ubisoft Montreal. He made the official announcement yesterday on his personal blog, and while he does not state where he is going on his new journey, I will always remember the incredible Rant Keynote he delivered at the 2009 Game Design Expo here in Vancouver. It was one of the best keynotes I’ve ever attended – entertaining, educational and insightful. I wish Clint all the very best as he begins the next stage in his life, and I hope that we in the Canadian game development industry are far from done hearing from Clint and playing games he’s helped put on our game shelves.

Lotusland StudiosLotusland Studios has released an update to Truck Modz on Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPod touch®. In case you didn’t know, Truck Modz is an interactive 3D truck-building game for kids of all ages. The premise is simple: build, paint and hit the road with your very own truck! This game goes beyond any other mix-and-match title by allowing you to build your ideal vehicle from a huge collection of fronts, backs, and wheels, and then being able to interact with your creation: from snow plows to squeaky toys, everything is animated. Everything is triggered by a touch or a swipe, simple enough for everyone to get addicted!Truckmodz Dump Truck

In this updated version, audiences of all ages will enjoy even more mix-and-match fun with the introduction of a new cab to the collection, as well as an animated Easter-themed surprise.
Truck Modz is essentially an entire pocketful of toy trucks: creative, non-aggressive play is the emphasis of the game, and the user interface is wordless and simple enough for a child of 18 months to understand, while adults will enjoy the CB banter, cool sirens and endless combination of trucks.

Truck Modz Update Highlights:

* Totally intuitive, easy enough for a toddler to enjoy
* Mix and match parts at any time, the combos are endless!
* Cruise down the highway through an endless ever-changing landscape
* Listen to hilarious trucker banter on the CB radio!
* Shake device to check out your ride from 4 different camera angles
* Rocking soundtrack by Billy Joe Huel

Toronto Pinball and Gameroom ShowNow in its fourth successful year, the Toronto Pinball and Gameroom Show remains the only show of its kind in Canada. Aimed at both enthusiasts and the general public, the show features pinball machines, classic arcade video games, console game systems, home theatre, jukeboxes, slot machines, soda machines, billiard tables, shuffleboards, Pachinko games, vintage 1950’s diner memorabilia and other coin operated and home Gameroom equipment and antiques.

Machines, games and accessories will be available for sale to collectors, hobbyists, restorers and gamers looking for that certain cool piece of gear for their gameroom. The show also offers free play on over 100 pinball, classic arcade and other games. Even if buying a game is not in the cards, guests can still get the best deal in town playing all day or all weekend for one low entry fee.

Although pinball machines aren’t easy to find these days, they continue to hold their iconic status in pop culture and have maintained popularity with game fans both young and old. “There’s no way to truly simulate the analog experience of flipping a ball on a computer or video game” says Nick Angel, organizer of the event. “Pinball has always been the anchor attraction of the show and this year’s venue will be jam packed with more games from the past and present than all of our previous shows combined”. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th April 2010

Plan Your Conference Calendar Canada

There is a plethora of expos and conferences coming up right across the nation that will be of interest F5 Expoto many of you – I’m highlighting a few right here, but you can check out a more detailed list on our Upcoming Events page. First up is the F5Expo which takes place tomorrow (April 7th) in Vancouver. There are still tickets available, and I highly recommend this event to anyone who is involved in, or is thinking about getting involved in, social media.

AnnexProAlso in Vancouver is “Seize the Opportunity” which is a free event being presented by AnnexPro. This is your chance to check out the new Autodesk® 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software — and discover how upgrading to DEC can open up new opportunities for creativity in game development, film production and television entertainment creation. Canada Media Fund

Register now for the Canada Media Fund outreach seminars which will be taking place in several Canadian cities over the coming weeks. The first events take place in Victoria and Vancouver on April 12th, and then bounce around the country. Don’t miss this opportunity to get more in-depth information about how the CMF can help with your production costs and grow your projects.

Wired WomanWired Woman is holding an educational session on April 27th at the YWCA Hotel in Vancouver. This seminar, which is titled “Don’t Go Home From Work Exhausted” features speaker Karen McMullan, an expert on dealing with professional burn out. Tickets for this seminar are $25.00 for members, $30.00 for non-members. (Note: membership in Wired Woman is free.)INplay 2010

The Early Bird rate for Interactive Ontario’s upcoming INplay 2010 has been extended until April 8th, so if you haven’t yet registered for tickets, now is the time. The conference takes place in Toronto on May 18th and 19th and features three tracks: Insights, Inspiration and GDC Canada 2010Investment. Early Bird tickets are $489.00 for IO members and $699.00 for non-members.

Don’t forget to get your ticket for GDC Canada, which is taking place in Vancouver on May 6th and 7th. This is your chance to investigate new business opportunities available in today’s digital media world with sessions addressing Digital Distribution, Social Games, and iPhone Games alongside tracks on Game Design, Business/Production, and Programming.

Taking place the night prior to GDC Canada is the first annual Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards. The Canadian Video Game Awardsnominations are in, so all that’s left is for you to get your show ticket. The evening will feature a performance by Video Games Live along with a fun-filled evening honouring the best in Canadian interactive media.

Speaking of Video Games Live – don’t miss their public performance on May 6th over at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy decades of the video game music we’ve come to know well – and a great way to introduce the younger generation to the world of BCTIAsymphonic music in a way that is very family-friendly.

The BCTIA Technology Impact Awards will be held on June 8th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Hosted by the BCTIA, the Technology Impact Awards celebrates the achievements of BC’s technology industry in a gala event.

We’re only a month away from the second Canada 3.0 Forum, which is slated for May 10-11 in Toronto. This conference will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making Canada 3.0 2010it possible for “anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017?. The second annual forum will bring together the people who can make that happen from industry, government and academia for a two-day event intended to boost Canada’s ability to lead in the digital economy.

MIGS 2010Also, a reminder that the Montreal International Game Summit is looking for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with your fellow developers.Banff World Television Festival

Looking for a reason to visit the Rockies? The Banff World Television Festival takes place in Banff this June 13th – 16th. BWTF is much more than “just a TV Fest” – check out the incredible schedule of events and then register today for a great experience in a very scenic city. Early Bird pricing is in effect until April 20th.

EA GamesBurnabyBlack Box has announced that the demo for the highly-anticipated SKATE™ 3 will be available on Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network this April 15th. The demo will give players a taste of the University District in the all-new skater’s paradise of Port Carverton. Players will shred through a series Skate 3of single and multiplayer challenges including Domination, Own the Lot, and the bone-crushing Hall of Meat.

In addition to the modes and challenges, players can learn the ropes or perfect their skills in the all-new Skate.School featuring Coach Frank. Gamers can also sample the all-new object dropper by using 24 different items to tweak and alter the University District to create a personalized demo experience. Once players have that perfect trick nailed, they can capture the moment with the in-game Replay Editor and upload footage of themselves with the Skate series’ immensely popular Skate.Reel.

SKATE 3 is the definitive co-op skateboarding experience as players build the ultimate team to take on unique team challenges, compete against rival crews online and shred the streets. In the end, SKATE 3 takes skateboarding to a new level with more tricks, improved off board actions, and gnarly Hall of Meat carnage. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd April 2010

Canadians On The Go

EA GamesMontrealEA Mobile™ has announced five best-selling titles available immediately for Apple’s iPad. These include SCRABBLE, under license from Hasbro in the U.S. and Canada only, Tetris®, Need for Speed™ SHIFT, Mirror’s Edge, and Command & Conquer™ Red Alert™. In addition to these five titles designed specifically for iPad, gamers can access more than 40 EA titles already available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. Any previously purchased iPhone or iPod touch game can run on iPad in its original size or can be expanded to fill the iPad screen. All games will be available in Europe with the worldwide launch of iPad later this month.

“As one of the leading publishers on the App Store, EA is delivering five games today that take advantage of the Scrabble-iPadunique capabilities of iPad for a broad range of gamers, from the casual to the hardcore, and today’s product slate is just the beginning,” said Travis Boatman, Vice President of Worldwide Studios, EA Mobile. “For example, with SCRABBLE, we have modernized this family favorite game by developing a fun, interactive ‘Party Play’ mode. For our more hardcore fans, Need for Speed SHIFT becomes the ultimate immersive driving experience. We are thrilled to offer EA games with the launch of iPad — a device that is like no other.”

SCRABBLE for iPad spells F-U-N! EA Mobile has created fans’ favorite crossword game, with a fresh interface uniquely designed for iPad that lets players pass ‘n’ play or go solo, in portrait or landscape mode. Social and multiplayer capabilities also enable players to challenge friends on Facebook, or through a local Wi-Fi network. In the all new “Party Play” mode, up to four iPhone or iPod touch players can connect their devices to be used as private tile racks and seamlessly play their words onto the iPad “game board” with a simple flick. And for newcomers, the exclusive “Teacher Feature” shows players the best word choice for the previous play.

Celebrating 25 years and more than 100 million paid downloads, the world famous Tetris game launches on iPad with all-new, high resolution graphics and exclusive features including highly anticipated D-Pad controls which give players the option to play the way they want and stay in control of the game. The iPad version also introduces an all-new “Endless” mode for the ultimate extension in game play. Tetris is a must have for any iPad user.

NFS-iPadNeed for Speed SHIFT races to the App Store with exclusive features, multiplayer capability, 18 unique tracks and a variety of race modes. Players can feel the adrenaline rush of an immersive experience when they choose from 28 of the fastest, hottest cars and enjoy physics-based 3D graphics optimized for iPad. New driving controls include the addition of visual accelerator and brake pedals, manual shifting, and a rearview mirror to see who’s coming from behind. The most visceral, aggressive simulation racing game on iPad will make hearts pound!

Mirror’s Edge debuts on iPad with a graphically rich, addictive experience, and 14 nail-biting levels of unrivaled 3D action. Unique to iPad is a multiplayer feature which utilizes a split-screen interface, letting players battle against each other face to face in two thrilling modes. Exciting gameplay has players running on walls, sliding down ramps and leaping between rooftops as they out-maneuver enemies in pursuit of their mission.

With more than 30 million units sold across the Command & Conquer franchise, Command & Conquer Red Alert optimizes iPad’s Multi-Touch controls, large screen and high-fidelity graphics to create an expansive experience. Three-finger, Multi-Touch controls let players select and maneuver their armies, manage inventory and make maximum use of camera zooming to navigate battlefields with photorealistic visuals. Players command units across a wide variety of maps and levels with different environmental conditions which add more layers of strategic depth. Players can challenge friends in Head-to-Head multiplayer mode via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth between iPad and iPhone devices.

Tungle.meMontreal – Online scheduling company Tungle Corp., has announced a strategic partnership with leading enterprise cloud computing and Google Enterprise Partner LTech. Through the partnership, LTech will offer the Tungle.me online meeting scheduling application to its clients as an integral part of the LTech cloud migration services and tools.

LTech helps organizations successfully migrate, integrate and operate cloud computing programs as a means of achieving strategic business goals. It offers a range of services and tools to a growing and diverse set of clients – from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies – making LTech a trusted name in enterprise-class cloud computing solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th March 2010

Dragon Age’s Newest Chapter Awakening In Stores Now

VancouverBig Fish Games has released their latest social game title, My Tribe™ on Facebook. My Tribe is the second in a series of social game initiatives that Big Fish Games is launching in 2010. My Tribe was first released in 2008 as a highly addictive, immersive downloadable SIM game for Mac and PC. Now redesigned and extended to the Facebook platform by the Big Fish Vancouver studio, My Tribe offers its characteristically fun and emotionally enriching gameplay to the social gaming audience.

“Social gamers are increasingly drawn to game experiences that offer greater depth of gameplay in easilyMy Tribe accessible, social formats,” said Will O’Brien, vice president of Social Games at Big Fish Games. “My Tribe is precisely that. What’s cool about My Tribe is that when you’re actively playing, you govern your tribe, but while you are away, your tribespeople will take matters into their own hands. Your teenage tribespeople, for example, may choose to sleep or eat instead of chopping wood!”

Players begin by selecting an island from among billions of options. Each island is unique with varying levels of natural resources and mysterious objects that are revealed through gameplay. Ryan Clark, My Tribe executive producer, provided more detail about the game: “With a player’s guidance, tribespeople develop areas of specialty – for example, construction – to help them accomplish larger tasks like building a ship or a storehouse. They grow from child to youth to adult, learn new skills, have children of their own, and eventually become respected elders. And because gameplay is continuous – your tribe is living, learning, fishing, eating and surviving even when your computer is turned off – it’s especially important for players to check in regularly on the tribe’s progress.” Read the rest of this entry »

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10th March 2010

Chaos Rises Today

Relic EntertainmentVancouver – The highly anticipated expansion to Dawn of War 2 has gone live today. Chaos Rising is now available for download on Steam – although on the game’s Steam page, there is a message (as of 12 noon PST) which says the game will unlock in ten hours. Also, if you purchase the game right now for $29.99 usd, you will also get a free copy of Saints Row 2 for PC.Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - Sorcerer

In Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising you will take command of the Blood Ravens and defend the sector against the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. Purge the chaos filth and hold the chapter together as traitorous forces work from within to try bring down the Blood Ravens.

* New Single Player Missions – Continue your fight against the enemies of the Emperor and use your squads’ wargear, abilities, and experience to battle Chaos in 15 new missions
* New environment and Multiplayer Maps – New ice planet graphics set will increase the visual diversity and adds 7 new PVP maps
* Aspire to Glory – Build your existing squads up to level 30 and unlock even more devastating abilities
* Chaos Corruption Mechanic – New single player mechanic allows you to equip incredibly powerful equipment that corrupts your squad and will guide the story towards or away from the corrupting influence of Chaos
* New Multiplayer Race – Swear loyalty to the Chaos Gods and play as the bloodthirsty Chaos Space Marines in multiplayer battles against both Chaos Rising and Dawn of War II owners
* New Units – New units for the Space Marines, Ork, Eldar, and Tyranid armies in multiplayer.
* 2 New Last Stand Heroes – Face off against the relentless horde as either the Chaos Sorceror or Tyranid Hive Tyrant

VIATeCVictoria – Nominations are now open for the 2010 VIATec Awards. Nominations close at 4:30pm on Friday March 19th. Recognizing technology companies in the Greater Victoria (BC) area, there are several award categories open:

* Technology Company of the Year
* Emerging Technology Company of the Year
* Product of the Year
* Innovative Excellence
* Online Strategy of the Year
* Executive of the Year
* Employee/Team of the Year
* The Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion
* Environmental Excellence
* VIATeC Member of the Year
* Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year
* Employer of the Year Award

The VIATeC Awards Gala will be held on May 13th at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Toon BoomMontreal – Emmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the upcoming release of Toon Boom Animate 2, a new version that provides professional animators with more power and flexibility for creating traditional, digital, cut-out and Flash-style animation. Toon Boom has listened to the animation community and is now delivering a new Animate version that reflects its requests. Animate is totally dedicated to animators and takes care of their needs from start to finish of their animation projects.Animate 2

New feature highlights include:

• Fast distribution of character parts to layers
• Easy adjustment of velocity on multiple character parts
• Efficient creation of richer-looking ambiance
• Full-fledged SWF export with effects
• Direct import of scanned drawings (TWAIN)
• Convenient text capability

Key benefits
Whether preferring traditional or digital methods, animators will greatly benefit from Animate 2‘s superior feature set throughout their entire production process. Read the rest of this entry »

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