30th July 2011

XMG Long Weekend Dual Title Sale

xmg studioTo celebrate the long weekend, XMG Studios wants to give mobile gamers a reason to pick up some new titles. Two of the studio’s releases are available in the iTunes store for the sale price of 99 cents.

Drag Racer: Pro Tuner, a reinvention of the classic flash game Drag Racer, this game will appeal to those of you who enjoy burning up the race track and saving $2.00 at the same time. Drag Racer: Pro Tuner offers new features, more customization and new racing modes, as well as the ability to share your car designs with your friends on social media. Drag Racer Pro Tuner

Each car can have its own unique look, with custom paint jobs and over 70 decals to choose from. If you want even more customization, you can create your own decals from photos or images on your device for a truly one of a kind car.

Once you’ve created your dream car it’s time to race. Drag Racer: Pro Tuner lets you race head to head in more than 20 challenges, including a new Street Race mode which puts you bumper to bumper with some of the toughest drag racers on the street. Fans of Drag Racer: Online will be happy to hear that Nitrous Oxide, gear tuning, and other performance options have been included in Drag Racer: Pro Tuner as well as the ability to race against your friends over BlueTooth or Wi-Fi.

If designing the next greatest fashion look is more your thing, Style Studio is also on sale for $2.00 off the style studio fashion designerregular price. Style Studio: Fashion Designer allows users to create a full line of men’s and women’s clothing from dresses to tops, outerwear, pants and skirts.

The easy-to-use interface is simple enough for the younger user, but provides options to keep even the most experienced designer entertained. Users can choose one of the basic product designs, and alter it to fit their style. Then they can choose from thousands of materials, prints, belts, buttons, zippers, bows, pockets and accessories to further customize their design. Clothing can be tried out on any of the models included within the application, or designers can upload a photo of themselves or friends to try on the new fashions.

Once clothes have been designed, they can be showcased on fashion magazine mockups or turned into an entire fashion show. Designs can be shared with friends through Facebook, Twitter and Email integration into the app. Additional styles, materials and accessories can be purchased through the in-app store with more content being added all the time.

Style Studio: Fashion Designer has the most extensive customization engine for clothing design ever seen on the iPhone. It takes XMG’s powerhouse customization engine and applies it to the world of fashion, making this App for more compelling then the many dress-up-doll types of applications found in the App Store.

Style Studio: Fashion Designer is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch in both a free version and the full version, as well as for the iPad. Style Studio has been featured by Apple in their Fashion Week roundups and in the App Store’s “What’s Hot” sections.

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24th June 2011

IUGO Launches New Mobile Cruise Line

IUGOIUGO is pleased to announce the launch of its next mobile social title Sunshine Cruise Lines. Sunshine Cruise Lines is a free-to-play title offering a fresh and innovative spin on social games. Begin your cruise today by visiting the iTunes App Store and downloading Sunshine Cruise Lines for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad device running iOS 3.0 or later.

“We have strived to create a new and unique experience for mobile gamers, and I think we have succeeded with Sunshine Cruise Lines,” states IUGO’s CEO Hong-Yee Wong. “It is engaging, easy to play, and you can share the experience with your friends.”Sunshine Cruise Design Your Ship

Sunshine Cruise Lines App Description

Welcome aboard your very own cruise ship! Build, customize and manage your one-of-a-kind dream cruise. Play with friends, earn rewards and have the most fun in the sun.

  • Customize your own cruise ship with over 40 different facilities, unique crew members, color schemes and more
  • Choose your play style! Fun, fast-paced en-route gameplay or take it easy and let the crew handle it for you
  • See the world! 50 different ports around the globe (and more to come)
  • Take on the role of Captain while getting to know your lovable and quirky crew
  • Rich storyline infused with personality and humour
  • Play with friends through Facebook (optional)
  • Gamecenter achievements give you and friends plenty of rewards
  • 100 beautiful postcards to collect and share with friends
  • Hundreds of fun destination facts
  • View friends‘ routes on your world map
  • One-of-a-kind art style, signature IUGO polish and quality
  • In-app purchases optional with Cruise Bucks
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14th June 2011

Wild Game Studio Releases Three New Trailers

Wild Game StudioThe first of today’s Wild Games Studio video releases features the five minute E3 trailer for Dhaila’s Adventures, which focuses on the games’ three open worlds and the dungeons.

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The second trailer, also from E3, introduces the studio’s new IP World Circus, an innovative and original game that allows players to build and manage their own circus. World Circus is scheduled for release in 2013 and offers 3 game modes – career, simulation and multi-player.

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The third and final E3 video presents Wild Games’ new iPhone game Kung Fu Lobster, a colourful undersea world where you control a well-armed lobster and take on other denizens of the deep to prove that only the strong survive.

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7th June 2011

Beeline Interactive Cooking Up Some Zombie Grub

Capcom MobileA dash of kitchen simulation, a smattering social elements and a heaping spoonful of Zombies is on the Fall 2011 menu over at Beeline Interactive Canada (formerly Capcom Mobile Canada). Play as a Zombie Chef and cook Zombie Food, prepare ingredients and put them in the stove or oven for just the right zombie cafeamount of time. A brand extension of Zombie Cafe, players of both games will be able to unlock unique content across both titles.

While Zombie Cookin’ is free to play, players can accelerate gameplay or acquire unique items by purchasing “Bones,” the game’s in app premium currency.

  • Master more than 50 recipes
  • Send your zombie hoard out to discover macabre, unusual and downright disgusting ingredients.
  • 18 finger cleaving, brain scooping mini games.
  • Decorate and increase the efficiency of your kitchen with better stoves, windows, floor coverings and more.
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6th June 2011

Ubisoft Announces Just Dance 3

ubisoftUbisoft® announced the joint development of Just Dance® 3 by Ubisoft Paris and Ubisoft Montreal. The third game in the multi-million selling Just Dance franchise, Just Dance 3 marks the debut of the Just Just Dance 3Dance series on Kinect™ for Xbox 360®and the PlayStation®Move forPlayStation®3, and the latest installment of the series on the Wii™ system from Nintendo. Developed by Ubisoft Paris and Ubisoft Montreal, Just Dance 3 will be released worldwide on October 11.

“The Just Dance brand has truly become a worldwide phenomenon with over 30 million people playing Just Dance,” said Olivier Ernst, director of Ubisoft Canada. “Fans play Just Dance at parties with friends, at home with the family, and as part of an active lifestyle to stay fit or even lose weight. Ubisoft is excited to bring Just Dance 3 to all motion platforms and give even more people the opportunity to enjoy the fun.”

Featuring more than 40 tracks across a wide range of musical genres, including pop, hip-hop, rock, R&B, country, disco, funk, and more, Just Dance 3 introduces a number of new game features that take advantage of the unique mechanics of each console. To get the party started, Just Dance 3 includes some of today’s hottest hits as well as classic dance tracks that everyone loves.

Confirmed tracks for Just Dance 3 include:

  • 2 Unlimited – “No Limit”
  • Black Eyed Peas – “Pump It”
  • Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”
  • Groove Century – “Boogie Wonderland”
  • Gwen Stefani – “What You Waiting For”
  • Katy Perry – “California Gurls”
  • Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”
  • Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up (Giddy On Out)”
  • LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock – “Party Rock Anthem”
  • MIKA – “Lollipop”
  • Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”

In addition to this exciting tracklist, Just Dance 3 introduces exclusive new game features on all three motion-control platforms, such as four-player choreographies and dynamic environments on Wii and the new “Shout Out!” feature on Kinect, which allows players to score extra points by belting out their favorite song verse. This, combined with the entertaining and unique choreography developed by professional dancers, will provide players with the fun and accessible challenges they are looking for and ensuring that Just Dance 3 will get the world dancing.

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6th June 2011

Style Studio Hits One Million Milestone Mark

xmg studioXMG’s Style Studio has hit its one millionth design milestone. Since its release in May of 2010, Style style studio fashion designerStudio has remained the only app that allows you to create, customize and share your own original fashion designs. A player can choose between colours, prints and styles, and superimpose them onto one of many articles of clothing. If there’s something they want to change, the designer also has the option of making alterations. For anyone hoping to bring style into their life in a fun, portable way, the app is perfect. Now, less than one year after its launch, more than 1 million items have been designed in Style Studio.

“Style Studio has the most extensive customization engine for clothing design ever seen on the iPhone” said Ray Sharma, Founder of XMG Studio. “While there are a few apps out there that allow you to apply colors to pre-set clothing items and mix and match them, Style Studio is the first app that actually allows the designer to choose different materials, make alterations, customize prints and apply add-ons or decorative elements to each piece of clothing.”

Style Studio is available in the iTunes app store for $2.99 for any Apple mobile device running OS 3.0 or higher.

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11th March 2011

Games For Rainy Days

Last Chance: Registration for the Great Canadian Appathon closes at 5pm tonight.

IUGOLast week during IUGO’s GDC Smartphone Summit Session, their VP of Biz Dev, Sarah Thomson, announced IUGO’s latest social game venture; Sunshine Cruise Lines. IUGO’s first social title, Lil’ Sunshine_ContinentViewPirates (published by Capcom Mobile), launched in November 2010 and was a breakout success earning accolades from users, critics and fellow industry colleagues alike. Lil’ Pirates went on to win Pocketgamer’s best FREEmium title of 2011.

Having proved their chops as a solid social game developer, IUGO plans to launch several social titles during the course of 2011/2012. “Lil’ Pirates was a great experience for us,” enthuses Thomson. “We saw that we could build a unique experience that users loved. It was amazing to see how “into” the game players got. On top of that, the game was monetizing really well solely from virtual items, which was a testament to our design strengths as a studio,” Sarah adds.

“Now, with Sunshine Cruise Lines, the team is super excited to build a game around a theme that appeals to Sunshine-ShipViewvirtually everyone: Travel,” offers Thomson. Setting sail later this Spring/early Summer of 2011, Sunshine Cruise Lines is a FREEmium game in which players manage their own cruise ship while traveling the world. “There is so much we can do with this theme,” she explains. “This is an opportunity for us to play on users’ imaginations while having the world at their fingertips. Players will find the game familiar and easy to play as we’ve kept a foundation of tried and true mechanics. But the team has been really amped to try new things in Cruise,” alludes Sarah. “With Cruise players will enjoy a more dynamic environment that encourages experimentation. Players will have a number of different options for how to make their cruise ship unique, while offering deeper social interaction. The team is focused on making every facet of the Cruise experience special and fun from the art style, the UI, the audio to how they all tie in and enhance each other. We can’t wait for people to play our game!”

frima studioDon’t get caught dead in that island wear, it’s so last season! Quebec’s Frima Studio and SFO’s Bolt Creative have announced that the Pygmies of Pocket God on Facebook have arrived dressed to impress with Episode IV: Dressed to Kill. This latest addition to the Pocket God world introduces new items, including St. Patrick’s Day accessories, as well as a new dance taking the island by lightning storm.PocketGod Dressed To Kill

Since its debut in December 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is attracting more players every month. More than 40 million loyal, unquestioning Pygmies have met their demise over that time, with two million of those being sacrificed by volcano alone (that’s approximately the same amount of people who visit Pompeii every year – coincidence?). Another two million sacrifices can be attributed to friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal and irreverent ways, including electrocution, shark attack, venus fly traps, tornados, tar pits, and more! What good is a friend if you can’t sacrifice them every once in a while?

The new updates for Dressed to Kill include:

• All New Customizations: Fans have been waiting for the chance to dress up their Pygmies and the time has come! Pygmies can now be customized in a variety of ways, including wearing t-shirts, bow ties, life jackets (no worries, they won’t actually work), an oh-so-taboo censor bar, and more!PocketGod Customizer
• All New YPDA (Youth Pygmy Devotee Association) Dance: It’s fun to hang with the Y-P-D-A! Even though the Pygmies constantly meet death, it doesn’t dampen their spirits, and they’re now prepared to show the world their latest dance craze. Go ahead and join in already, we swear no one is watching!
• St. Patrick’s Day-themed Items: For the Pygmy leprechaun in all of us, players can now customize their favorite faithful followers with holiday-themed items such as clover hair ties and fashionable green suspenders to hold that grass skirt up. Players can also do a little jig with the new St. Patrick’s Day dance. All holiday-themed content is available for a limited time.
• Brand New Quests: Of course, we have added more quests for all the deities out there looking to bring their sacrifice count to an all-time high.

Stir Fry GamesThe National Lacrosse League, which is comprised of teams from Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto (along with some American teams) has announced that NLL 11, the NLL’s officially licensed video game by Pittsburgh’s Crosse Studio in conjunction with Guelph’s Stir Fry Games, is in development for Lacrosse11release this spring on Xbox 360’s Indie Game Channel.

The game will feature all ten NLL teams and the league’s 230 players, a completely new game engine, franchise mode, player statistics, celebrations and much more. For the first time, NLL 11 will include fighting in the video game. NLL Lacrosse 2011 will be available on the Xbox 360’s Indie Game Channel and will be priced at $5.00 USD.

While you’re waiting for NLL11 to debut, you could check out Stir Fry’s latest game, Office Brawlers, which is available on Xbox Live Indie Games. You can try it before you buy it, the price is 240 MS Points. Playing as your Avatar, you fight your way through Story Mode with 11 crazy weapons. You can play against your friends either on or off-line. Be the greatest Office Brawler of all time and achieve the highest score by playing in Survival Mode.

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What started out as a very small Meetup group for independent developers in the Vancouver area has now become Full Indie. The new group was unveiled to a packed house of over 100 devefull indielopers at Tuesday night’s monthly event for what is now the largest collective for independent game creators in Vancouver.

In May 2010, game developers Jake Birkett and Alex Vostrov founded the aforementioned Meetup group in order to connect with their peers. After only nine meetings with overwhelming event attendance and community input, Jake and Alex agreed that a formal brand, mission and web presence were the next logical steps. The group’s mandate will be to continue with its very successful monthly events which include presentations and networking as well as develop the Full Indie web site as a community-sourced endeavour, with centralized resources to assist indie developers not only in Vancouver, but around the world, with the development, publishing and publicizing of their work.

In keeping with the National Film Board’s commitment to digital production, and reflecting the evolution of National Film Boardaudiences into dynamic participants, the eastern section of the NFB Mediatheque in Toronto is currently being transformed into an interactive hub that will provide new ways to connect with the NFB. Its redesign guided by the principle of engaging and communicating with Canadians, this area of the Mediatheque will soon offer access to , where visitors can check out recent web-based projects via the NFB Interactive portal, the Online Screening Room featuring more than 1,800 streaming films, and news and information about the NFB.

This flexible new space will also be outfitted with ceiling-mounted projectors, floor-to-ceiling screens and a state-of-the-art audio system, providing a venue for innovative new content such as participatory programming and immersive multimedia installations based on NFB online productions. The space will also host exhibits and screenings; its resources will be creatively incorporated into the Mediatheque’s many workshops and camps, and it can be tailored for private event rental. A webcam-enhanced touchscreen will allow the public to further connect with the NFB and record instant feedback on their experience such as film reviews, workshop recommendations and programming suggestions. Visitors will continue to enjoy over 5,500 NFB titles on free digital viewing stations, and services and events at the Mediatheque will not be affected. This new area will open to the public in early April, 2011.

This is a good start, but doesn’t go nearly far enough; I hope that MP Tony Clement will keep the pressure up in regards to telecom pricing in all areas:

CRTCIn response to numerous requests, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today clarified the form and scope of its proceeding to review wholesale residential high-speed Internet access services, which was launched on February 8, 2011.

Canadians will have an opportunity to share their views at a public hearing starting on July 11th in Gatineau, Que. The CRTC will also hold an online consultation. Details of both the hearing and consultation will be announced shortly.

Although the scope of the proceeding will not be limited to reviewing usage-based billing proposals, the CRTC intends to focus on issues such as:

  • usage-based charges, whether aggregated between the Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs) or applied to each Small ISP
  • usage-based charges driven by peak traffic periods, and
  • an examination of network capacity and congestion.

The CRTC will not be expanding the scope, as requested by several parties, to include the billing practices for retail Internet services. There is no evidence that market forces are not working properly in this unregulated market.

Finally, the CRTC will not review, as was also requested by several parties, the overall regulatory framework for wholesale high-speed Internet access services. The overall framework was not part of the decision that is being reviewed, and it would not be appropriate to initiate such a wide-ranging review within the current proceeding.

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3rd March 2011

Social Media and Geek Culture Inching Into Canadian Daily Life

Event: Early Registration for Canada 3.0 2011 has been extended until March 17th.
From GDC 2011: Congratulations to the Bioware Mass Effect 2 team for picking up the Best Writing award at the GDC Choice Awards and to the University of Montreal for winning at the IGF Awards with FRACT being named as the top Student Game.

Big Blue BubbleCatching up with Big Blue Bubble this morning, the studio has released Geeks Unleashed to the Mac App Store for $3.99 USD. This game is a strategic puzzle game that pits the player against some of the smartest, yet geekiest opponents on the planet. The storyline, which for some reason makes me think of Big Bang Theory, follows the player as they enter a geeks unleashedcollecting convention, attempting to accumulate collectibles from different categories such as Sci-Fi, Fashion, Comics, Plush Toys and Role Playing Games.

Another popular Big Blue Bubble game also made its debut on the Mac App Store this week. Home Sweet Home, available now for $4.99 USD, is a game that invites you to play Interior Designer. You choose the furniture, patterns, and colors to create a masterpiece that will blow your client away. You can email photos of your newly designed rooms to yourself or your friends, and you can also replay levels or your designs.  With simple controls, a fun graphical style, and an easy to use interface, Home Sweet Home allows you to nurture your creative side.

Government of CanadaCitizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has launched a fun and educational Facebook application that tests your knowledge of Canada’s history, values, symbols and political institutions. The quiz can also be downloaded to mobile devices like iPhone, Blackberry and Android. TheMP Jason Kenney 20 questions are randomly selected from a bank of 122 questions, allowing the quiz to be played more than once.

“Download the app, take the quiz, and share it with your friends,” Kenney said. “You might be surprised to find out just how Canadian you are!”

The initiative is part of an on-line resource called “A Fun Path to Learning” that was launched in April 2010 by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for students and teachers. The educational tool draws from material in the popular new citizenship study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship and aims to help students from grades five to 12 learn about Canada’s history and political institutions through games and activities. There are a number of learning resources on the Youth page, making learning about Canada’s history fun.

The “How Canadian Are You, Eh?” application is a cross platform application that can be found within Facebook, at the iTunes app store, in the Blackberry app world, and in the Android marketplace.

radian6Radian6 has announced Radian6 for Salesforce, bringing new social capabilities to the Salesforce Service Cloud experience. Monitoring the overwhelming volume of social conversations that matter to enterprises, and connecting them to existing sales, service and marketing processes is a major challenge for companies today. To address this challenge, the Radian6 integration will connect the social capabilities within both the Salesforce Service Cloud and the Radian6 platform, enabling enhanced social customer service.

The Radian6 platform monitors social media, including blogs, forums, comments, photo and video sharing sites, Twitter, public content within Facebook and more. Radian6 leads the industry with its ability to surface social metrics on everything it gathers, enabling valuable time savings through sorting and prioritization. With its pending arrival on the AppExchange, Radian6 for Salesforce will let agents work entirely within the Service Cloud, with fully automated case creation that adds social media content to Salesforce based on the customizable Radian6 workflow rules engine.

In addition to the recently added feature that allows users to interact with Salesforce Chatter directly within Radian6 Engagement Console™ additional capabilities that leverage the Service Cloud will include the ability to create new or view existing cases, leads and contacts from within the Radian6 Engagement Console™. Radian6 for Salesforce is currently scheduled to be available to early adopters in April 2011 while a full public release is currently scheduled for Q3 of calendar year 2011.

zipzoomzipzoom is a brand new patent-pending anonymous communication technology changing the way consumers and businesses find each other. The service was officially launched today in Simcoe County, choosing Barrie because it is one of the fastest growing cities in North America.

“A dynamic, friendly and booming community like Barrie is the perfect place to launch this revolutionary service,” said Reg DesRosiers, the founder of zipzoom.com. “We offer residents the ability to make quick, informed decisions about any products or services they need, while also providing new streams of customers to Barrie’s local businesses and salespeople.”

zipzoom.com recently launched a beta version of its site, which acts like a personal shopper for overwhelmed consumers. zipzoom.com-registered consumers just make an anonymous personal inquiry and zipzoom immediately, through its exclusive communication platform, sends the inquiry to all relevant contacts and businesses using a brilliantly designed product keyword search association, saving time, money and effort. Businesses and salespeople also benefit by having direct access to “ready-to-buy” customers 24/7 without increasing their advertising costs. zipzoom is free of charge to register for consumers, businesses, service providers and salespeople. zipzoom finally answers the question consumers ask themselves every day: “How can I find the best deal, person or business to work with?” On the vendor side: “How do I consistently find ‘ready-to-buy’ customers?”

In addition, zipzoom is offering weekly giveaways via their social media networks on Twitter and Facebook, where randomly chosen registered vendors will receive a no-charge lifetime membership subscription.

original joe'sStaying true to its friendly, down-to-earth and down the street philosophy, Original Joe’s has announced that, starting today, it will be providing a free pound of wings to each individual who ‘likes‘ them on Facebook.

“Each person who decides to participate by liking Original Joe’s on Facebook will be able to print off a coupon which they can redeem at any of our 37 locations for a pound of wings on us,” says Derek Doke, President of Original Joe’s. “We appreciate the support and loyalty of our existing customers and this is one way to express our gratitude to our regulars while encouraging newcomers to find out for themselves why so many people choose Joe’s as their preferred neighbourhood pub.”

Joe’s is expecting thousands of individuals to take advantage of this promotion, and are prepared to give away up to $100,000 worth of wings (estimated Canadian dollar amount based on 10,000 pounds of wings and gift cards). With more than a dozen wing flavours available ranging from dill pickle, Caribbean jerk and industrial strength, to the more traditional honey garlic or salt and pepper, Joe’s has something for everyone.

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28th January 2011

Canadians Like Hippos In Their Digital Media

koboKobo Wireless eReader is now available at Best Buy Canada, both in-store and online. You can pick up the Onyx, Pearlized Lilac or Metallic Silver eReaders for $149.00 each from Best Buy, Chapters-Indigo or Walmart stores across Canada.

Canada 3.0The 2011 Canada 3.0 conference has opened registration for this year’s event, which will take place in Stratford on May 2nd through 5th. The Early Bird rate of $495.00 + taxes and service charge will be available until midnight on March 3th, when ticket prices will go up to $695.00 + taxes and processing charge. There is a StartUp/Small Business/Non-Profit price available for $225.00 + taxes and service charge as well as ticketing options for students. If you register before February 18th you will automatically be entered for a draw to win a copy of MacroWikinomics, personally addressed and signed by author Anthony D. Williams. Please see the Canada 3.0 web site for this year’s confirmed speakers.

bug trackerMonde Media and Bug Tracker have made two personnel announcements this morning – Jean-Robert Michel, Monde Media’s former General Manager has moved into the dual role of Production Director for both Bug-Tracker and Monde Media, while Monde Media’s former COO has become the new Client Relationship Director for both entities.

In other comings and goings, the BC Technology Industry Association announced today that its President, Pascal BCTIASpothelfer will leave the organization June 30th to return to the corporate sector. Spothelfer was appointed President & CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association in November of 2007, and since that time has successfully raised the level of recognition of the organization and BC’s technology industry through his leadership, commitment to collaboration, and tireless advocacy efforts.

“My past three years at the BCTIA have allowed me to get to know our technology community on a very different level. It has been most rewarding both personally and professionally,” said Spothelfer. “I have met and worked with incredibly smart, engaged and inspiring people – experiences that will fuel my passion to assist in the further growth of BC’s technology industry not just until my departure from the BCTIA, but in whatever role I pursue in the future. “

Paul Gorton, Chair of the BCTIA commented, “We will greatly miss having Pascal’s passion and vision. On behalf of the Board, I thank Pascal for his commitment to the BCTIA, and we wish him the utmost success in the future.”

Pascal will continue to lead the BCTIA and work with the board on the leadership transition until his departure at the end of June. A formal search has been initiated by the BCTIA and will be facilitated by Odgers Berndtson. Please contact Caroline Jellinck at 604 602 2556 for more information.

Canadian developers seem to have a thing for hippos – here is some info from three Canadian enterprises which contain “hippo” in their names.

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd has launched the second closed beta for its cartoon-style third person action shooter, MicroVolts. This second phase of testing will continue for approximately two weeks in preparation for the official release day. In addition, the company has released all-new screen shots of the game and is holding a special “Free-for-All” tournament which will kick off Saturday, February 5th. Winning players will be awarded their choice of any weapon they want to use with the launch of the Open Beta. Players who visit the game’s website will be able to learn more about the game and the events as well as register for a beta key.
MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years. No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World. All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!

With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept.

tiny hipposTiny Hippos, a start-up based in Waterloo, has a product which will be of interest to all of you mobile developers out there. According to its site, this product, which is named Ripple Emulator, is a multi-platform mobile environment emulator that runs in a web browser and is custom-tailored to HTML5 mobile application testing. Ripple aims to reduce the challenges being faced by mobile developers caused by today’s platform fragmentation in the marketplace.

Ripple is built as a Chrome extension, running as part of the Chrome browser and takes advantage of our back-end services to perform some of the more complex operations. It offers the ability to look under the hood of your mobile applications, gaining full visibility into what your it is doing. It also allows for the use of existing tools to perform JavaScript debugging, HTML DOM inspection, automated testing, as well as multiple device and screen resolution emulation in real-time without having to redeploy the mobile application or restart the emulator.

mercury groveMeanwhile, just down the highway a bit from Tiny Hippos is Mercury Grove, an Ottawa-based developer who has an enterprise called Network Hippo, which according to network hippoMercury Grove’s site connects to users’ email, address books, and social networks to consolidate all of their professional contacts, remind them to stay in touch with important people, and makes it easy to connect online or through email. Mercury Grove also offers a service called Web Collaboration, which is an online workspaces for internal teams, partners, and clients. Unlike other team sharing services, Web Collaboration can be setup in minutes and requires no download, installation or administration.

JostleAnother collaboration-style service I stumbled across is Vancouver-developed Jostle. I found this site because the person behind Jostle’s Twitter account retweeted one of my Game Design Expo live tweets. According to the Jostle web site, a People Engagement Platform™ that glues enterprises together. This platform enables innovative companies to clarify their organization, reveal hidden expertise and engage their employees. Jostle is enterprise software that is accessible from any web-enabled device and works like a website, without the need to install software.

blue74Toronto’s Blue74 Labs has released a statement announcing that IIA, the studio’s critically acclaimed real-life massively multiplayer “outdoor” role-playing game sold tens of thousands of memberships in the first 48 hours of its release, making it the fastest-selling ARG game of all time. The IIA Spy Game is being compared to blockbuster hits “The Game”, “Spy Game”, and “Halting State”, a book by Charles Stross.

The IIA (International Intelligence Agency) is a real life multi-player game that gives players a real life, real feel, “off computer” role-playing game. Players don’t know about the actual game play until they are engaged in the game, which was made globally available on January 24th via a small posting on the popular “Ycombinator: Hacker News”, a web site for Internet start-ups. Expectations were less than 100 memberships to be sold the first day, Mike Curry noticed a very heavy load on his web server – realizing the game had gone viral. Registration for the game is $5.00, which interested players send via PayPal.

The company does have an official site for the game, however they are not releasing the information until its members exercise a critical classified mission. It’s believed that the mission entails a Remote Controlled UAV helicopter taking aerial photographs of the building that houses their website. It’s believed they are doing this to antic entertainmentensure the security of the building.

In an article released yesterday on Gamasutra, Nexon America VP of Business Development Won Il Sue spoke with reporter Chris Nutt about the million dollar Nexon iNitiative, during which the publisher asked for game dev submissions from studios around the world. Coming out at the top of heap with signed deals: One2Tribe from Poland, and Ontario studio Antic Entertainment. Nexon did not reveal exactly what type of game the London, ON Antic team is working on, other than to say one of the studios is working on a Facebook game and that both games, while somewhat of an unusual nature for Nexon, will be of the social media genre. In the meantime, check out Antic’s free to play Junk Battles, a teletoon retrobrowser-based free-to-play fast-paced vehicle combat game.

All’s fair in love and war in cartoon-land as TeleToon Retro couples pursue the love of fans and a spot in TeleToon Retro’s Hall of Fame as the Top 5 Sweethearts in honour of Valentine’s Day. Starting today and running until Sunday, February 6, viewers can vote online for their top 5 favourite cartoon love matches, for a place in TeleToon Retro history.

TeleToon Retro has narrowed the field to 18 classic animated admirers and is inviting fans to select which couples are the Top 5 Sweethearts of all-time. The list of nominees for the Top 5 Sweethearts is made up of the following cartoon couples:

  • Smurfette and Hefty Smurf
  • The Baroness and Destro (G.I. Joe)
  • He-Man and Frosta
  • Pepe Le Pew and Penelope cat
  • Fred and Wilma Flintstone
  • Batman and Catwoman
  • Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Alvin and Britney
  • George and Jane Jetson
  • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo
  • Clark Kent and Lois Lane
  • Granny and Tweety
  • Fred and Daphne (Scooby Doo)
  • Optimus Prime and Elita One
  • Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble
  • Josie and Alan M (Josie and the Pussycats)
  • Wonder Woman and Superman (Superfriends)
  • She-Ra and Pirate Sea Hawke

Following the voting period, the Top 5 Sweethearts will be announced on Friday, February 11 and a special programming marathon featuring all five couples will air as part of the “Retro Rewind” programming block on Sunday, February 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. These winners will be inducted into the TeleToon Retro Hall of Fame, joining the Top 5 favourite cartoon characters of all-time as chosen by the fans in December 2010.

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6th January 2011

Garage Inc Is Open For Business

Garage IncThe news all over twitter today has been the announcement that Garage Inc. has officially launched into the gaming arena. As we revealed in yesterday’s preview, Garage Inc. is a dynamic, multi-platform time-management game featuring a visually vibrant and imaginative style that will take players into 1920’s prohibition-era Chicago. The game, which is already receiving 4 star+ ratings in iTunes, revolves around the life of Garage IncAngelo Marito, a car mechanic and recent Italian immigrant who is trying to make a life for himself by opening his very own car garage. Garage Inc. will deliver to players the excitement and challenges of managing a busy repair shop through core time-management gameplay as well as through minigames. The game also features colorful characters and an immersive story, revealed in part through an innovative online social media campaign.

Garage Inc. was developed by TransGaming’s Studio Division in partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment and is based on an original concept from GlobalFun. The iPhone version is made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

“Garage Inc. taps into the popular time management genre of the growing casual Garage Incgaming market, providing entertainment value in bite-sized pieces for gamers at home or on the go”, commented Wojtek Kawczynski, Managing Director of TransGaming’s Studio Division. “We are thrilled to be able to provide quality entertainment across multiple platforms quickly and easily by leveraging TransGaming’s own core technologies.”

“Our partners at TransGaming Studios have created a original gaming experience with the Garage Inc. property”, said Dorothy Vreeker, Director, Digital Media at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We are proud to have collaborated on this very immersive and entertaining game.”

Garage Inc. is now available for purchase in the Apple Mac App Store (Mac required), iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad, as well as GameTree Mac, as well as other retailers and distributors.

Big Blue BubbleNeed a room designed in High Definition? You’d better call the Home Sweet Home team! Big Blue Bubble Inc. is proud to announce the release of Home Sweet Home HD for the Apple iPad, available immediately!home sweet home HD

With the added luxury of bigger rooms and highly polished art, Home Sweet Home HD will give you the chance to unleash your hidden talents as an Interior Designer. You choose the furniture, patterns, and colors to create a masterpiece that will blow your client away.

With simple controls, fun graphical style, and an easy to use interface, Home Sweet Home HD allows you to nurture your creative side. Remember, a house is not a home until it is a Home Sweet Home!

THQ Inc. has announced that a collector’s edition as well as six individual race packs for its upcoming real time strategy game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Relic EntertainmentRetribution™, currently in development at Relic Entertainment, are available now for pre-order.

Leading the charge, the Dawn of War® II -Retribution™ Collector’s Edition will give the most dedicated Warhammer® 40,000® fan access to all of the available bonus war gear for each of the six playable races in the game. It also includes an exclusive poster, six race dawn of war 2 Retributionart cards and a high-quality collector’s box all for $39.99. Gamers in North America can only get the collector’s edition by pre-ordering through the THQ store. Limited quantities are available.

Fans of a specific race can pledge their allegiance by pre-ordering one of the six available specific race packs for the same $29.99 suggested retail price as the regular version of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II -Retribution. These race packs are available for electronic distribution and are ONLY available at pre-order stage. Each race pack includes four unique ability and Wargear items that can be used to enhance the single player campaign. The Ork Race Pack is exclusive through STEAM Digital Extremesand the Tyranid Race Pack exclusive through THQ.com. The Space Marine, Chaos Space Marine, Eldar and newly announced Imperial Guard race packs are also available for pre-order through THQ.com, STEAM and other electronic distribution partners. After launch, gamers will have the option of purchasing the individual race packs digitally through STEAM for a nominal fee. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution is scheduled to be released for Windows PC in North America on March 1st, 2011.

In addition to the news about Dawn of War, THQ has released Part 3 of the Dev Diary videos for Homefront, which is scheduled for release on March 8th. The PC version of this title is under development at Digital Extremes.

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D-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed its first agreement with CineLux Theatres to equip its Morgan Hill, California theatre with 28 D-BOX MFX Seats. Cinelux Tennant Station D-BoxStadium 11 will introduce D-BOX’s technology January 14 with the debut of the 3D action-comedy, The Green Hornet. This is the first CineLux location to offer the incredibly, immersive movie experience and one of just a 49 auditoriums worldwide screening the new release in D-BOX format.

“The California market is our largest to-date worldwide with 14 theatres in the state offering D-BOX,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “As we continue to introduce moviegoers to our motion technology, expansion into new markets and demand in existing markets continues to rise at a steady pace. We look forward to announcing many more new theatres in 2011 and growing our global footprint.”

“Our theatres boast some of the most technically advanced features in the industry allowing us to provide a cutting-edge entertainment experience,” said Paul Gunsky, President of CineLux Theatres. “We’re always looking for new innovative ways to improve the movie experience and see incorporating D-BOX at our theatres as a natural progression of the future of movies”

Kik Messenger, the lightning fast, cross-platform mobile instant messaging service, has Kik’d off 2011 with its three millionth user, Kik Interactive Inc. announced today. kik interactiveRe-launched on Oct. 21, 2010, the Kik community continues to grow by 10-15,000 users a day. The growth rate, driven by Android and iPhone users, has held steady even though new BlackBerry downloads ended in late November.

“We are excited that so many people all over the world have embraced Kik and are more confident than ever of our future as the mobile community of choice for smartphone users,” said Ted Livingston, President and CEO, Kik Interactive, Inc. “We look forward to making the Kik user experience even better with new features and service enhancements.”

Over and above user growth, the number of messages sent by active Kik users continues to increase, from less than 10 messages a day in late November to almost 20 now, on average. Kik will introduce new features including picture messaging (very soon!) and group chat (soon-ish).  Service on iPhones will also be improved with a new version that makes it much faster to retrieve messages when users first open the app. As before, once the app is open, message delivery is real-time.

To the growing number of Windows Phone 7 users, Kik is coming soon! We are now putting the final touches on development, so it won’t be long before you can join the Kik community. KiK recently released an update that adds profile pictures and a feature that lets users easily find new Kik friends. The new address book feature not only lets users check for new Kik friends, but also provides much more control over users’ contact lists. The “Find more people on Kik” button scans user contacts and lets them choose whether or not to add newly identified Kik friends to their contact list.

We also recently improved Kik’s overall stability and reliability. Further out, we will unveil an incredibly powerful and unique technology that wirelessly connects users’ smartphones to any PC or TV. Hang tight for details. And, as promised, Kik’s much-anticipated mobile streaming music service is coming up soon.

Kik works with all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch’s, and all Android devices – anywhere in the world. All you need is a mobile data plan. Each Kik message uses only a tiny amount of data – less than 1Kb per message. Kik Messenger provides lightning-fast delivery and receipts that tell users when messages are sent, delivered and read, and when friends are typing a reply. Every message appears in real-time, making Kik feel almost like a real conversation.

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