22nd April 2010

Happy Earth Day Canada

Readers Digest Trusted Brands 2010Results of the annual Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands Poll are out, and for the techno-Canadians, Duracell topped the Battery category, while Canon is the most trusted Digital Camera, Sony won the broad and vague Entertainment Equipment Manufacturer category; Blackberry is the most trusted Mobile Communications Device and Apple wins for Mobile Entertainment.

This year’s list of Canada’s Greenest Employers was announced this morning by the editors of the Canada’s Olympic Gaming MixerTop 100 Employers project. Fifty organizations across Canada were recognized on this year’s list.

There’s another fun gaming-related mixer coming up in Vancouver – check out the Olympic Gaming Mixer, which will be taking place on the evening of Friday, May 7, 2010 at the Century Restaurant and Bar on Richards. Check out the event’s FaceBook page for the list of challenges to be had at the Olympic Gaming Mixer.

Siggraph VancouverDon’t forget to buy your tickets for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed II featuring Lead Game Designer Patrick Plourde from Ubisoft Montreal, which is generously sponsored in part by AnnexPro and 3vis. He will discuss the challenges faced by the dev team: an enormous scope, one of the biggest development teams ever assembled and a limited time frame. This talk is about sharing our best practices to ship high quality games through a focused and rigorous Design Process while maximizing the output of production. Tickets for this May 18th event at the VanCity Theatre are only $15.00 for SIGGRAPH members and $20.00 for non-members. Annual SIGGRAPH membership is only 35.00 – and gets you special pricing at all of our great chapter events. You should join today.

DigiBCDigiBC has put out a call for speakers for its Vancouver Digital Week 2010 event which takes place May 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Please see their site for more details.

INplay 2010Interactive Ontario is pleased to welcome back Alexander Manu to give a keynote presentation at INPlay 2010. Manu, who delivered a keynote address at Interactive Ontario’s iSummit in 2006, is a strategic innovation practitioner, international lecturer and author. For over 20 years Alexander has enabled global companies as diverse as Motorola, LEGO, Whirlpool, Nokia, Navteq and Unilever, to develop policies and strategies that Goldtooth Creativeaddress emerging issues through strategic foresight and pre-competitive business models.

Goldtooth Creative has once again shown their video magic – check out the Cover Reveal trailer for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11, developed by Florida’s Tiburon Studio. Goldtooth’s incredibly talented teams have produced trailers and cinematics for many of today’s top titles. Need a production team for your project? We recommend them.

BC indie developer Krabbitsoft Studio has released new features and specs for their RPG Krabbit World Origins. Featuring some very unique creatures, Krabbit World Krabbit OnlineOrigins has a very strong player community, and allows for single or multi-player modes. This is a game we’re going to be taking a look at in the coming weeks – look for it to be featured in our review section later in May 2010.

Banff World Television Festival has just released a call for entrants for the nextMEDIA Digital Hot List. This is a competition open to developers, Banff World Television Festivalcontent producers, and digital superstars. This is your chance to showcase your new, innovative digital property and grab the attention of advertisers who are looking for exciting brand integration opportunities. There are four available categories for entry:

*  Media (Does your website stand out amongst the rest?)
* Talent (Are you a proven online superstar with millions of followers?)
* Content Proposal (Got the best new idea for online content and branded entertainment?)
* Technologies (Are you creating the coolest apps, games and digital ad solutions?)

This contest closes on May 3rd, so if you’re interested in entering, you’d better get a move on!

googlyNew children’s mobile application studio Googly was delighted to find its first app, Alphabets in the Zoo featured yesterday in iTunes’ New and Noteworthy section, and amazed to see it reach number one on the education list.Alphabets In The Zoo

Alphabets in The Zoo features a charming new animated alphabet song and story to help children learn their letters as they look, listen, and sing-a-long. Children’s understanding of the alphabet is taught and reinforced as they enjoy Saad Rashid’s colorful animation, listen to the Fauzia Abbasi’s delightful lyrics, and enjoy Dave Klotz’s catchy tune. Googly plans to release an iPad version of Alphabets in The Zoo shortly, and three more original children’s apps in the next 30 days. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2010

ESA Canada Sends Recommendations To The Federal Government

esacESA Canada has submitted ten recommendations to Canada’s federal government for a national digital economy strategy in a paper entitled Game On, Canada! Playing to Win in the Digital Economy (PDF). This paper covers a number of issues critical to Canadian competitiveness. Taken together, these solutions would not only benefit the Canadian video game industry, but would position Canada as a more competitive jurisdiction in which to invest.ESAC Game On Canada 2010

This 22 page report outlines not only the importance of talent development and improving the digital literacy of current and future generations, it also speaks to the very important issue of access to capital and widening the scope of such areas as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development grants. The recommendations also include suggestions in regards to current copyright laws and access to affordable, high quality broadband nationwide. There are many excellent points raised in this ESAC paper, and is an excellent springboard for further discussion about the future of the interactive digital media industry in Canada.

Good luck to the three Canadian-developed games which were named to the 2010 Microsoft XNA Dream Build Play competition: The Shadows in the Underworld, DualityZF and Capsized. Finalists should be announced by Microsoft in the next few weeks. Congratulations to EA Sports’ FIFA 10 on being named to the World Cyber Games official tournament list for the 2010 season.

If you’re going to be in the Toronto area on June 4th, the Branded Content Summit is something you may want to Northern Voicelook at attending. The Branded Content Summit (BCS) will bring people together from marketing, advertising, content production and media to better understand trends, share ideas and learn how to profit from the shift towards branded content. Also of interest is Northern Voice, which will be held out here in Vancouver on May 7th & 8th. The Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference has released its schedule of speakers and registration is now open.

EXPIf you’re an over-19 gamer in the Vancouver area, check out EXP’s first big event this coming Friday night at the VFS Cafe. There will be several gaming stations set up and tournaments will abound. There will be some great prizes offered – but only those who RSVP via the event’s FaceBook page will gain admittance.+

IGLOO Online CommunitiesKitchenerIGLOO Software today announced the launch of the industry’s first Social Media Playbook. This free resource is an invaluable tool for anyone implementing social software solutions – inside the organization, to improve employee productivity, or outside, to enhance stakeholder engagement. The Playbook offers four core community building resources:Social Media PlayBook Read the rest of this entry »

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5th April 2010

Marketing Winners And iPad Title Releases

Toronto – Game devs, get your creative game on for TOJam 2010, being held this April 23 – 25th at George Brown College. The theme for this year’s Toronto Independent Game Jam is “Missing” – no – really, that’s what it is. Please check out Ryan’s blog over at Untold Entertainment for more details about TOJam, then go, dev crunch, create, have fun.

Mi6 Conference 2010As someone who has a marketing and PR background, I pay close attention to the marketing aspects of Canadian studios and titles, and I would like to extend my congratulations to the Canadian titles recognized with medals and certificates at the MI6 Game Marketing Awards held last week in San Francisco:

Gold Medal Winners:

Outstanding TV or Theatrical Ad: EA Sports for “Joy”
Outstanding TV or Theatrical Ad Campaign: Assassin’s Creed 2: 2009 TV Campaign
Best Long Format Promotional Content: Assassin’s Creed 2: Lineage Episode 1 (Segment)
Outstanding Overall Marketing Campaign- Integrated: Assassins Creed 2 Integrated Campaign
Thinking Outside of the Box Award – Marketing: Assassin’s Creed 2 – Twitter Experience
Standout Print Advertisement: Assassin’s Creed 2: Rip Your Head Off
Standout Print Campaign: Assassin’s Creed 2: 2009 Print Campaign
Standout Overal Pop Display Single or Double Campaign: Prototype
Best Use of Online Media: Assassin’s Creed 2: Teaser Campaign
Best Key Art: Dragon Age: Origins

Silver Medal Winners:

Best Key Art: Assassin’s Creed 2
Don’t You Wish You’d Thought of This – Miscellaneous: Assassin’s Creed 2: Lineage Intro Trailer
Outstanding Promotional Trailer: Assassin’s Creed 2 E3 Trailer (2009) and WET “Shot At Love”
Best Showing At a Trade Event: Assassins Creed 2: E3 Outdoor Banner
Best Online Takeover/Roadblock: Assassin’s Creed 2: Big Bang Unit

Bronze Certificate Winners:

Outstanding Promotional Trailer: Assassin’s Creed 2 – TGS Trailer and WET “Shot at Love”
Best Co-Branding In A TV, Theatrical Ad or Video Asset: Assassins Creed 2 UFC Integration
Standout Print Outdoor/Environmental/Transit Advertising:Assassins Creed 2 E3/PAX Environmental Advertising
Best Product Packaging: Prototype
Best Limited Edition, Special Edition or Collector’s Edition Packaging: Assasin’s Creed 2 Limited Edition and Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition
Best Use of Online Media: Guitar Hero Smash Hits

Other Ocean InteractiveCharlottetownOther Ocean Interactive, has partnered once again with SEGA® of America to bring you Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition available exclusively for the highly anticipated Apple iPad. Super MonkeyBall 2

“We are very excited to be part of the iPad launch with this great franchise,” said Andrew Ayre, Other Ocean CEO. “And are very proud to be one of the first developers to have shipped an iPad exclusive title.”

Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition brings all the fun of the immensely popular console and iPhone hit to the iPad plus 4 new mini-games: Monkey Bowling, Monkey Target, Monkey Golf and the iPad exclusive mini-game Monkey Base. Monkey Base lets up to 4 players fight it out on the same iPad by launching orbs at each other to try to be the last monkey standing. And if all that wasn’t enough, players can now experience 10 iPad exclusive levels from the Far East World, in stunning graphics! 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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30th March 2010

New Games, Conferences, Roadshows and Interactive Museums Show That Canada Has It All

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver – Bill Mooney, a Vice President at Zynga and General Manager of FarmVille will deliver a keynote address at the 2010 Game Developers Conference™ Canada (GDC Canada). Additionally, a new set of featured speakers has been announced for the upcoming conference, which will address several key focal points for the event, including new distribution models, developing new global titles, and managing established franchises. Attendees will gain insights into new business opportunities with sessions addressing iPhone Games, Digital Distribution and Social Games alongside tracks focused on best practices in Game Design, Business/Production and Programming.

GDC Canada will return for a second year to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010. The Game Career Seminar also returns to GDC Canada as a one-day event for students and individuals who want to break into the videogame industry. GDC Canada is presented by Reboot Communications and UBM TechWeb Game Network, the organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference. Early registration discounts end tomorrow, Wednesday, March 31st.

A veteran game developer from such major game publishers as Activision and LucasArts, Bill Mooney joined San Francisco-based social games developer Zynga in 2008 and quickly became a Vice President at Zynga and GM of FarmVille. Mooney’s experience extends beyond the realm of videogame development, having worked for 5 years as a trial lawyer, as well as stints writing for television programs, both animation and live-action. At Zynga, Mooney helped develop the wildly popular Mafia Wars and FarmVille titles, helping to establish both franchises as pioneering social games.

Mooney’s keynote, entitled, “Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light,” will touch on the development of FarmVille and Mafia Wars, and the growing popularity and fanbase that has quickly ballooned to over 85 million active users. Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of the rapidly evolving social gaming space and where it is poised to go, and with insight into viral propagation across the world, the low barriers to entry which create agile competition, and the rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace.

“Bill’s keynote is a perfect fit for GDC Canada,” said Izora de Lillard, event director. “Zynga is at the forefront of an exciting gaming space, and the over 85 million players of FarmVille and Mafia Wars can attest to the future prospects of this genre. Mooney’s keynote illustrates the need for continued industry innovation that not only applies to the social gaming space but to the traditional gamer experience as well. GDC Canada will be a great opportunity to learn more about these trends along with how this thinking applies to the core tenets of game development.”

GDC Canada features a roster of speakers that are on the front lines of the technical innovation and business strategies needed to lead their studios to continued success. These featured speakers include:

— Jason Bailey, GM of Virtual Currencies, Adknowledge
Session: Social Games – 85 Million Farmers Can’t All Be Wrong

— Sinjin Bain, V.P. EAP – Worldwide Biz Dev, Electronic Arts
Session: Ask The Decision Makers -Find Out What Publishers Want and How to Get What You Want

— Stephen Hill, 3D Technical Lead, Ubisoft
Session: Rendering with Conviction Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2010

Games For History and Games For The Near Future

On The Path of the EldersThanks to the financial support of Canadian Heritage, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inukshuk Fund and all the project partners, ‘On the Path of the Elders‘ launched as a complete site this past week with a party at the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Terry Hoganson, member of BlackCherry Digital Media, described the event as magical: “It was amazing to have all of these people, who have dedicated countless hours and limitless energy into making On the Path of the Elders a reality, come together and share their stories.”Path of the Elders RPG

Speakers at the celebratory launch included Mr. John Mark Seck, president of BlackCherry Digital Media, Stan Louttit of Neh Naak Ko, Greg Spence of the Mushkegowuk Council, Dr. Kimberly Matheson, Carleton University Vice-President (Research and International), Franziska von Rosen of Our Incredible World (formally Pinegrove Productions), Dr. Elaine Keillor and Dr. John Medicine Horse Kelley Cle-alls, co-directors of Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education, known as CIRCLE.

For those who are not familiar with On The Path Of The Elders, it is a free online educational resource exploring the culture and history of the Mushkegowuk Cree and Anishinaabe Ojibway of Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario, and the signing of Treaty No. 9. Ideal for youth aged 13-17, Path of the Elders reconnects Aboriginal youths with their past, while developing leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

Features:

IUGOIUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a few preliminary screenshots (click thumbnails for a better view) for the first round of Zombie Attack Second Wave XLtitles they will be releasing for the iPad, which will hit stores in just a few more days. Note that all iPad games from IUGO have the XL designation in their title, separating them from their smaller siblings which were built for the iPhone.

For Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL, players will be getting a brand new character, enhanced graphics and a brand new, very cool and intuitive user interface. The Zombie Attack series are a tower defense game where the player is the only survivor of a recent zombie apocalypse. You must destroy the waves of zombie attackers in order to upgrade your shack and weapons. Zombie Attack! Second Wave also makes use of the tilt feature to add to your game-play experience as you fight off the varying types of zombie creatures. You can also listen to your own music as you zap zombies because there is automatic iPod music support.

Cliffed XLMeanwhile over in Cliffed XL, players will have new backgrounds as well as new characters (in addition to the 18 already available), along with pumped up graphics. As you can see in the screenshot, players will be able to engage in head-to-head challenges on one device. Head-to-head play is available on the iPhone version, which allows up to four players to race to the bottom over a WiFi, 3G or Edge connection. With global leader boards, you will find yourself experiencing the “one more time” effect as you race to take over as the worldwide leader of Cliffed. Very addictive. Just sayin’.
Implode XL
Implode! XL will lead to total destruction on a larger scale. For those not familiar with this incredibly addictive game, you have been given the task of destroying old, obsolete buildings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each building requires the careful placement of dynamite bundles, and if you get it wrong, the building does not Implode in the manner it should. There are currently three levels of challenge – Casual, Veteran, and Expert, with three bomb types: traditional, blast and directional with more bomb styles to become available in the future. IUGO has designed a new super slick user interface for this chalkboard styled game – and exclusive to the iPad version is an editor. Both iPhone and iPad users will also receive all-new levels, giving players well over 100 levels to puzzle their way through, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Norm's World Escape XLNew to both the iPhone and iPad is ESCAPE: Norm’s World. Exclusive to the iPad for this puzzle game will be two player interaction with two modes. Gamers will be able to take their friends on in either head to head (see screenshot) or co-op play. Also exclusive to the iPad will be some very cool 3D graphics. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is a game which due to its unique design, offers an endless array of levels and puzzles. There will be two additional difficulty modes which will be introduced through DLC, and this game will also feature simple controls, making it user friendly for all ages. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is also comprised of minimalist graphics and unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects. So remember that while the puzzles may be driving your mind crazy, your psyche is being calmed by the soothing audio.

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26th March 2010

The Canada Media Fund Webcast Made My Head Hurt

Orby - Proud to be CanadianI listened to the Town Hall webcast of the official launch and question period earlier today, and to be honest, as a non-developer, all of the policy is making my head hurt. Kudos to those of you who work with policies and documents such as the Canada Media Fund and understand all of the application processes. Please read on to learn more about today’s CMF announcements – I put it at the end of today’s post so that your minds wouldn’t be frazzled before you could take in the rest of the day’s news from our great Canadian digital media industry. See? There is a method to my Gemini madness…

CanpagesVancouverCanPages has extended their API contest deadline to April 12 2010, so all of you developers out there still have time to enter. All entered applications must be showcased in a video for judging and four finalists will be decided by popular vote. Those final four app entries will be judged by an internal panel of Canpages.ca executives who will determine the $5,000 Grand Prize winner. All applications will be showcased on Canpages.ca, and the final application winners will showcase their app video at DemoCamp Vancouver. dimeRocker

If you haven’t tried the dimeRocker site yet, or want to know how to get started on games using it in conjunction with Unity3D, check out dimeRocker’s PDF Getting Started tutorial. If you are working on a Facebook game but aren’t sure how to get it published, the folks at dimeRocker can help you with that too. Yesterday they published a deployment tutorial which is so easy to follow even I understood it. Now if I could just draw and animate…

Untold EntertainmentUntold Entertainment recently opened a new site dedicated to the best in free flash word games. Enter Word Game World. What makes this new portal different from other free Word Game Worldgame portals is that each game is curated. Speaking on the Untold blog, Ryan Creighton said that every game is tested and properly classified in a word game sub-category. Visitors to the site can choose their favourite type of word game to play and easily find a free, quality title to enjoy. The games even work properly. Untold Entertainment is also developing a new word game title SpellCaster which, according to their site, will combine word-building with a fantastic story, packed with colorful characters, humour, danger, and a magical menagerie of monsters. I was privileged to get a look at an earlier title that Untold had been working on and had lots of fun with it, so I am definitely looking forward to having a go at SpellCaster.

Canadian Video Game AwardsDon’t forget that nominations for the Canadian VideoGame and Digital Arts Awards close on March 31st. Nominations for 2009 titles are free, so what’s holding you back? Get your nominations in today! In related news, GDC Canada has announced more speaker sessions for the May 6 – 7 conference taking place in Vancouver. A sample of the newly added GDC Canada 2010sessions:

* Evolving Episodic for a Growing Digital Audience with Dan Connors (CEO, Telltale Games)
* Forza Motorsport 3 Audio: Design, Process and Pipeline with Greg Shaw (Audio Director, Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft) and Mike Caviezel (Audio Designer, Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft)
* Social Games – 85 Million Farmers Can’t All be Wrong with Jason Bailey (GM of Virtual Currencies, Adknowledge)

Early Bird passes are only available until March 31st, so if you haven’t reserved yours, you should ideally do so within the next few days. Check out the session schedule (note that more sessions may yet be announced) Stir Fry Gamesand then make plans to attend the second GDC Canada conference in Vancouver this spring.

Stir Fry Games has released a new trailer for the PC version of their XBox Live Indie Games title SFG Soccer, an arcade-style sports game featuring 64 customizable teams and tournament play. Both PC and 360 versions of SFG Soccer are available now for purchase, plus you can try the demo before buying the full game. 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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9th March 2010

Kesler Gets a Cover and Yahoo Canada Partners with CBC for More Hockey

Klei EntertainmentVancouver via GDC – Coming out of last week’s exciting announcement of a publishing deal with EA Partners to bring Shank to XBLA, PSN and PC this summer, Klei Entertainment has released a new video of its upcoming 2D cinematic brawler. Showcasing new levels, new moves and new bosses coming to the game.

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

This video supports its showing at this year’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, Calif. March 11-13, 2010. As one of the 2010 Independent Game Festival (IGF) finalists (and recognized for its excellence in “Visual Art”), Shank will be on display at the IGF Pavilion during regular Expo Hall hours.

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has released a new game play trailer for Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands. In Forgotten Sands, the developers are using the setting to take the Prince back to the roots which were a big part of Sands of Time. Our hero will travel to his older brother Malik’s kingdom, which is under attack by the Sand Army. Those gamers who played Sands of Time will be able to make use of the Prince’s signature moves and acrobatics in The Forgotten Sands. Using the same Anvil Engine which was built for Assassin’s Creed, The Forgotten Sands will feature a rich environment with massive battle scenes. Just from watching the trailer, I know that my Prince character will be facing certain death a good amount of the time, however – The Forgotten Sands looks to me like another beautifully crafted historic time piece with lots of room to explore and details to take in.

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8th March 2010

Parties, Departures, New Releases and Upcoming Events

Massive BearVancouver – Last Friday evening we attended Massive Bear Studio’s Launch Party at the Granville Room – your new website is awesome – and I see some upcoming news that looks quite exciting, as well. Massive Bear’s projects have included work on Microsoft-Big Park’s Joy Ride, 2k’s Mafia 2 and Day 21 Studios’ Sky Pirates of Neo Terra. Thank you again to Tim Lewinson for a fantastic time and the invitation to celebrate with you – all the best as you set off for a full slate of meetings and seminars at GDC!

It’s not generally our policy to cover the employment downside of game development, particularly with the way the economy has been over the past year or so and the adverse effect it has had on many Canadian Kelly Zmakstudios. While we will always let you, our readers, know about new studio openings and career positions, we feel that other media outlets provide more than enough coverage about job losses and we don’t really need to add to the mix.

That said, I cannot let a recent development pass without comment. For those who have not yet heard, Kelly Zmak formally announced his departure from Radical Entertainment this past Friday. This truly saddens me, as Kelly has been (and will continue to be, I hope) an integral part of the Vancouver development community. A powerful and motivational speaker, Kelly has worked hard on various Advisory Boards and industry committees. He has many times played host and emcee, and he has given me more encouragement and inspiration than he is perhaps aware. I have the utmost respect for Kelly as a business person, teacher and perhaps most important of all, friend. Kelly leaves some big shoes (or should that be hat?) to fill for his successor at Radical, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him well with his future projects. Read the rest of this entry »

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