21st May 2010

International Awards and New Releases

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure has officially announced Mix Superstar for the Wii. Expected to be available on WiiWare in 2010, and according to the game’s site, you’ll be able to create, mix and record your own royalty-free musical masterpieces right on your Wii™. Mix Superstar will allow you to export your music creations or download them to your computer so you can take them on-the-go. You will also be able to use WiiConnect24™ to send those hits to your Wii Friends or collaborate on mixes. Mix Superstar has full support for both the Logitech® USB Microphone and Wii Speak so you will even be able to add your own vocals.

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Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver invites you to discover the value and learn effective strategies for Building a Community Through Social Media, a one-evening seminar taking place on June 14th at UBC Robson Square. Tickets for this event are $35.00 for members or $40.00 for non-members. Wired Woman costs nothing to join, so save a quick $5.00 by joining the network.

What is community in relation to the web? Community is beyond a blog, and a few people following you on Twitter. This evening will help you realize what the new meaning of an online community is, and why it holds an important spot at the new marketing table. Find out how the experts are building, engaging, and managing their communities.

Session Speakers:

Briana Tomkinson – Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West
Carisa Miklusak – SoMedios
Chris Breikss – 6S Marketing
Mhairi Petrovic – Out-Smarts Marketing
Sibylle Tinsel – Club Fat Ass

If you are in Toronto, Wired Woman is hosting an evening event on June 1st titled Social Networking Your Way to Better Work with guest speaker Mark Swartz, author of Get Wired, You’re Hired.

This interactive session covers social networking techniques that are proven to increase your marketability. Get up to speed, find work faster and enhance your employee worth. During this brief but informative session you will learn how to:

* Leverage your virtual contacts for networking into the hidden job market
* Increase your visibility and presence
* Research employers for the inside scoop, giving yourself the competitive edge
* Build your professional brand online and merge this with traditional marketing material
* Boost your value as an employee using Web 2.0
* Differentiate yourself from your peers

namcoNamco Networks is excited to announce its ‘Win a PAC-MAN-themed smart car’ sweepstakes to celebrate the video game icon’s 30th birthday.

“Over the last 30 years, PAC-MAN has continued to evolve and be relevant with his fans—no matter the pacmandemographic or generation. Giving away a smart car that commemorates his 30 years is a way for us to show our appreciation to one of the many fans out there.”

From May 21 through August 20, participants from the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to visit PAC-MAN’s official site and fill out the electronic entry form. No purchase is required to enter but you must be at least 18 years of age. Further information on the sweepstakes, including official rules and regulations, can also be found there. The winner of the brand new 2010 PAC-MAN-themed smart car will be selected on September 3, 2010. *Note: At press time, the electronic entry form was not visible on the site. I haven’t been able to speak with anyone from Namco yet, but perhaps the form will become available on May 22, which Namco has stated online is the “official” birthday for Mr. PacMan.

According to Kenji Hisatsune, CEO of Namco Networks, “Over the last 30 years, PAC-MAN has continued to evolve and be relevant with his fans—no matter the demographic or generation. Giving away a smart car that commemorates his 30 years is a way for us to show our appreciation to one of the many fans out there.” 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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19th May 2010

Designing Assassin’s Creed II With Patrick Plourde

Many thanks to Patrick Plourde, Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft Montreal for an in-depth look at Patrick Plourde - Photo Credit: GDC 2010Designing Assassin’s Creed II. Presented by the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter last evening, Patrick’s presentation covered the main design focus followed to cram all of the great features and improvements we saw in Chapter Two of this very successful franchise.

The amount of development that went into Assassin’s Creed II is mind-boggling. With over 230 features and a dev team of over 300, just the massive amounts of data to keep a rein on would bury the uninitiated. Patrick stated that through the entire development process, the most Ezioimportant things to pay attention to are your game play pillars and the need to keep an honest perspective. He said that your game play pillars are used to create the challenge, while your supporting features give meaning and depth to the core, while exotic features are used to change the pace of the game.

Patrick also drew attention to the importance of play tests and making the most of the test feedback in the development of your title. Using a two-fold process of Qualitative and Quantitative Reporting will give developers a very good perspective of what gamers like or do not like, as well as how they are playing your game. The Quantitative portion focuses on data tracking and usability reports, which provide concrete information to orient discussion on data instead of personal opinions. Meanwhile, the appreciative, or Qualitative reports, give context to the data you’ve collected, and you can see what is working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made so that the gamer can more fully experience (and enjoy) the mechanics of the Assassin's Creed Brotherhoodgame.

Patrick also touched briefly on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and how everything learned in the two previous Assassin’s Creed development processes helped the team work quickly through a very short ten month production window. A big part of this was the strength, scope and depth of the team’s design documents. He stated that it is very important to keep your documentation up-to-date right through until the end of the project. Paying attention to your development documentation will cut down on needless questions and distractions, as well as force you to think and keep track of the vision for your title. As has been stated in many, many game dev seminars – it is cheaper to fail on paper than in production – and Patrick reiterated this by saying how important it is to challenge every feature you want in your game on paper first. This is not a perfect process, but it will reduce risk to your bottom line. In reply to a question asked from the audience, Patrick noted that features drove a large part of the story, and have a big part in the future of where the Assassin’s Creed franchise is heading in the future. Too bad he wouldn’t expand on that future…just where is Assassin’s Creed III going to take us? Curious gamers want to know.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterSIGGRAPH Vancouver has two more upcoming events which may interest you. The first is Alice in Wonderland – Creating Underland on May 25th at the Empire Theatre on Granville. This session features Alice In Wonderlandtwo 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.

The other upcoming SIGGRAPH Vancouver event, just announced last night, will focus on The ModNation RacersMaking of ModNation Racers. Featuring Clint Hanson, Lucas Granito and James Grieve from United Front Games, this panel presentation will take place on June 29th at the VanCity Theatre. Tickets will be available to members for $10.00 and $20.00 for non-members. As of press time, this event had not yet been added to the SIGGRAPH Vancouver web site, so you’ll have to check the association’s site later for ticket availability.

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) have announced the availability of The Price Is Right game ($9.99) for the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on the PlayStation®Network. Players can now “COME ON DOWN” for their shot in Contestant’s Row, bid on items in 19 different pricing games, test their luck with spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase.

“We are pleased to extend our tremendously successful The Price Is Right game to PlayStation 3 systems via the PlayStation Network,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This first game release is just the beginning for Ludia games on PS3™, and further reinforces our multiplatform game strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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18th May 2010

And The Survey Says Canadian Software Companies Are Doing Quite Well

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario is pleased to welcome Max Berdowski to its growing team. In this new role, Max will be responsible for overseeing the growth of the organization’s many services in collaboration with partners in both the private and public sectors.

“We are tremendously excited to have Max join our team at IO,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO, Interactive Ontario. “Max has a keen understanding of the Canadian entertainment industry and has a Max Berdowskitrack record for delivering high very quality services in the not-for-profit sector.”

Max will be leading the charge in building partnerships around IO’s flagship event IN 2010, as well as for a new business skills training programme specializing in interactive media and digital games entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Interactive Ontario, Max Berdowski spent ten years in Ottawa as the Executive Director and CEO of the recently closed Canadian Screen Training Centre (CSTC) — presenter of the Summer Institute of Film and Television. The national film, television and digital media training institute trained 500 filmmakers each year with all of its programming led by top working professionals. Max was responsible for the STC’s strategic planning, branding and programming. He directed its sponsorship and business development efforts.

Before leading the CSTC, Max’s work aired on broadcasters including CTV, Global television, CBC, CHUM, TLC in the U.S. and TQS in Quebec. From lifestyle series to network specials his numerous credits included Creative Director, Senior Producer and Director. Max was Producer/Director for a number of award-winning station and news image campaigns, most significantly, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters – C.A.B. Gold Ribbon Award for the country’s top Television Station Promotion and the PROMAX International Silver Medallion for the Atlantic Satellite Network’s innovative on-air look.

Max received a Master of Fine Arts in Motion Picture Production from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema from Concordia University in Montreal.Women In Games Vancouver

Women in Games Vancouver have released a three part interview with Vancouver Film School student Shannon Lee. Shannon was the recipient of the first ever Women In Games Scholarship, which was awarded at the Game Design Expo in 2009. You can watch Part One of the interview here, while Parts Two and Three have been posted on the WIGeh! You Tube Channel.

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Based on the overwhelming success of their PC utility software launches, PC HelpSoft™ is pleased to be able to offer Smart System Info & Smart Toolbar Remover free to the public.PC HelpSoft

“We are so touched by the support and feedback we have received on our products that we felt as though we would like to say thank you to the public by making these next software applications free to the public,”  says Vancouver’s PC HelpSoft™ Director of Product Development, Matthew Foland.

Smart System Info is a free tool that complies all the information you need on installed hardware and software. Specific information includes computer ID, processor, BIOS, memory, disks, video, motherboard, monitor, and more. Smart Toolbar Remover deletes annoying toolbars with just a click of the mouse. No more fighting with unwanted toolbars that take up valuable space in your browser.Darkspawn Ogre

In breaking news from Felderen, the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC for Dragon Age: Origins is now available (and waiting in my 360’s download queue) from Bioware. As announced earlier this month, players will now be able to play as the evil (or just misunderstood) Darkspawn. Instead of saving Denerim, players can burn it to the ground and watch Alistair weep in despair.  The Darkspawn Chronicles expansion is rated M and costs 400 BioWare Points, 400 MS Points or $4.99 PSN.

Happy 6th birthday to Maid Marian Entertainment Inc.’s free browser-based MMO game Sherwood Dungeon and to celebrate, the company’s creator has launched the new Sherwood Dungeon: Prophecy of Bane quest series to players.

“Sherwood started out as a hobby while I worked in the console games industry and grew organically. It’sSherwood Dungeon been a game that’s in constant development while it’s live,” says Maid Marian founder, Gene Endrody. “Originally players came back just to see what I had added and this created an interesting player culture because their feedback affected my choices. It’s also a bit of an anti-corporate entity; more like the crazy guy who turned his house into a haunted castle and invited people in to make suggestions.”

In a massive and expanding MMO space, Sherwood Dungeon stands out from a long list of cookie cutter competitors by creating a high-quality 3-D retail-style game experience that’s easy to access for new MMO players with simple controls, runs in any browser and doesn’t require a log-in, monthly fee or sign-up process. It’s the type of formula that might make any seasoned business person cringe but for Maid Marian’s one-man team, the result equals a global fan base of more than a million monthly unique visitors without any marketing plan.

Sherwood Dungeon also deviates from the tenets of modern MMO games. Combat is based on twitch reaction skills with minimal leveling up required to be potentially competitive with any other player in the game. Relying on 100% melee combat with a mere eight actions (attack, five power moves, tally and block), battles with monsters and players is kept close by not including ranged weapons – thus giving it more of a Fight Club-style of play where respect is earned, not given. Unlike other MMO games, Sherwood Dungeon allows players to change their avatar and identity and since skill is the motivation Sherwood Dungeonhere, there are no classes.

Socially, Sherwood Dungeon players have also dictated how they communicate, even with 99 rooms that often serve as meeting areas for clans. Such behaviors make for exciting clan vs. clan wars as players merely move to their opposing clan’s room to get the battle started. A dominant chat interface also keeps communications flowing between friends and foes and with combat being Sherwood Dungeon’s primary goal, none of the chat keystrokes interfere with combat (and yes, there are still control keys for dancing).

Sherwood Dungeon grew from an underground secret to global success through basic word of mouth. And those words come in many languages as 29% of the game’s players live in Poland, 19% in Brazil, 8% in the United States, 6% in Turkey, 5% in France and 4% in Argentina, worlds away from Maid Marian’s humble and suburban Vancouver headquarters. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th May 2010

Stimulate Your Brain with Canadian Digital Media Offerings

Canada Media FundLeading our News Briefs today, the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream Application Form is now available for download from the CMF web site. Also announced today were the winners of the CMF Hot Docs Contest.  The two winners were Mark Montague of Saskatchewan, Producer and Director of Minds Eye Entertainment, and Agata Ivanna Pogorelsky of Toronto, Creative Assistant at South American Vision. Both won passes to the 2010 Hot Docs Festival, giving them access to all films and festival events. Super Mario Galaxy2

Nintendo CanadaToronto-area Mario fans of all ages will be among the first Canadians to get hands-on play time with the sequel to the 2007 debut Super Mario Galaxy. A special guest will make a surprise landing during the event, where participants will be able to enjoy on-site entertainment, receive exciting Nintendo giveaways (while supplies last), and have the chance to win 1 of 50 copies of the new game. The Canadian launch party for Super Mario Galaxy™ 2 will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, May 23rd from 12 noon until 8pm.

Fit BrainsFor those who may not already know this, Reader’s Digest Online teamed up with Fit Brains to bring some of their popular word games to the Word Power Rechargedinternet, your PC and yes, your iPhone. Word scrambler Word Power: Brain Sparks is available in the iTunes store for $2.99, while Word Power: Recharged is playable on your PC at the Reader’s Digest site or at Fit Brains, and will be available through other game portals as well. A third game, Word Power: The Green Revolution is downloadable to your PC for only $19.99 from either site. All three games are linked to the Word Power Network, which allows players to see their placing on the leaderboards and share in-game awards.

IUGOToday is the last day that you can grab IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet for the iPhone for free. You’d best hit the iTunes store now and grab this crazy earth-based alien-shoot-em-up while you can, because tomorrow you’ll have to pay for it. This offer is brought to you in part by OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day programme. The aliens don’t stand a chance, because last Saturday, over 125 000 earth defenders joined Daisy Mae and her cause to rid the planet of hostile inter-planetary immigrants.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced new DLC for Mass Effect 2. Overlord will be available in June for 560 MS (or Bioware) points and will offer five new action packed levels Mass Effect 2 Overlordand two new achievements. The action in this next DLC expansion will centre around an experimental and dangerous Virtual Intelligence creature that has been unleashed and is taking over any technology it finds to serve its purposes, including the Geth. Commander Shepard and his (or her) squad must infiltrate the VI’s heavily guarded fortress and shut it down before it can beam itself off planet, continuing its wave of havoc across the galaxy.

innovacorpDartmouth’s Innovacorp will be presenting a breakfast seminar on the morning of May 26th at the Innovation Boardroom, starting at 8:45am. The seminar’s topic is Building Effective Distribution Channels and will feature an expert panel who will discuss insights and advice on distributors and distributor agreements.

The panel will be moderated by Innovacorp’s interim president and CEO, Stephen Hartlen, and will feature Ian Lucas, executive vice president of innovation and strategy, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Robert Nadeau, a partner at law firm Kerr & Nadeau, and Mike Flynn, director of business development at Tether.

PricewaterhouseCoopersAfter six weeks of heated debate from online discussions about Canada’s future in the digital economy, three winners emerged from the ‘crowdsourcing’ competition called Canada’s Digital Compass, hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). The dialogue was spread among contributors from all parts of Canada and included more than 1,200 site visitors and overall, 70 ideas were submitted for voting.

The categories were judged by a panel from a wide range of industry backgrounds as well as community participation. Each week, starting on March 16, a new subject competition was launched and the five topics were: technology, education, media production, connectivity and policy development.

The winners were:

First place: Brady Gilchrist for his ideas on “World Leadership in Digital Health Care.” In his summary, Brady believes that digital health care is the merger of traditional healthcare with new ideas born of digital technology to aid in solving complex problems and infusing “net style innovation into solving complicated problems.”

Second place: Russell Fordham for his thoughts on “Digital Literacy for All Canadians.” Russell suggests that for Canada to be a global leader in the digital economy, all our citizens need to have the basic abilities to function and thrive in this environment, supported with the partnership of government, educational institutions and businesses.

Third place: Alan Sawyer for “Implementing Temporary Advertising Tax Credits to Stimulate Canadian-based, On-line Video Distribution.” Alan notes that implementing tax credits for allowable expenditures on advertising at Canadian-owned, new media content sites would stimulate the development of new Canadian sites and increase Canadian content available for Canadian-owned media distribution.

The winners all received tickets to the Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario which took place May 10-11. The event featured leaders from across the country who continued the conversation on the future of digital media in Canada. “We created Canada’s Digital Compass to encourage new discussions to a broad audience on this topic and our goal was certainly accomplished,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC.

Riley was happy with the turnout of participants to the crowdsourcing event and the wide range of topics that were being debated. During the last day of the competition, voting became more frequent and the leader-board changed hands several times. “We had lots of submissions on mobile and wireless project ideas but we were a bit surprised there wasn’t more discussion on cloud computing and green tech which are very popular topics at the moment,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th May 2010

Prepare the Dojo – Digital Kung Fu Returns

The Centre for Digital Media will once again be hosting Digital Kung Fu, a day of intensive training and professional development workshops, on May 28th at the Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver.

Digital Kung Fu offers a full day of interactive sessions to help inspire new ideas and develop them into realizable goals. Participants will be treated to insider techniques for the conceptualizing, visualizing, prototyping and pitching of ideas, as well as insights into current industry trends and technologies. The day will open with registration at 8:30am and sessions will carry out through the day until 5:00pm. Cost to attend the event is $125.00 or $75.00 for students and professionals who are between contracts.

Speakers include Adrian Crook, Jake Birkett, Shane Neville, Kerry Corlett, Sean Murch and Earl Hong Tai. Topics include Biz Dev – Tips, Tricks & General Advice, If you’re not Indie…Stories From The Front Line, How to Boot-Strap a Successful Digital Media Start-Up: 101 and more. We attended some of the sessions last year, and highly recommend your attendance.

A video recording of  yesterday’s Canada 3.0 Forum’s Keynote Address from The Honourable Tony Clement,  Minister of Industry is now available for viewing, along with a text transcript of his presentation, is now available on the Digital Economy Consultation site.

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Digital LeisureDigital Leisure’s latest game title is now available for download to your Wii (500 Wii Points) or DSi (500 Nintendo DSi Points). Chess Challenge will try your patience quotient as you perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes, or play against your friends in either shared or wireless play via DS Wireless Play or Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection.Chess Challenge

Start by practicing with some casual games, then work your way up in fully Elo-rated matches. You’ll even be able to track all of your game-play stats – win, lose or draw. Chess Challenge! will keep both novice and expert players glued to the screen for hours.

With the Wii version of Chess Challenge, you can play online matches and see how your rating stacks up against competitors around the world by viewing the online Leaderboard. If you don’t have time to play your friends in a live chess game, Chess Challenge! also lets you play with up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24™. With full Mii™ character support you can really bring your games to life. Start by practicing with some casual games, then work your way up in fully Elo-rated matches. With all of these game-play options, you’re in for some serious chess action. Chess Challenge is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Ubisoft® Canada has officially announced new product details for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the next iteration of the critically acclaimed, multi-million unit selling franchise. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood will ship Holiday 2010 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and the PC. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is a worldwide production effort led by the Ubisoft Montreal Studio in collaboration with Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Bucharest, Québec City and Annecy (known for developing Splinter Cell Chaos Theory’s Multiplayer).

The critically acclaimed single player experience of Assassin’s Creed is back and better than ever as Ezio returns in a powerful struggle against the powerful Templar Order. Now a legendary Master Assassin, he must journey to Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart of the enemy. Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood that will rally to his side.  Only by working together can the Assassins Assassin's Creed Brotherhooddefeat their mortal enemies.

And for the first time, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood offers a never-before-seen multiplayer layer.  Players can help the Templars by using Abstergo to train in the art of Assassination to eliminate the Assassins once and for all. Players can choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques, and match their skills against other players from all over the world in different game modes.

·    Master The Possibilities – As Ezio, a legendary Master Assassin, experience over 15 hours of single-player gameplay set in the living, breathing, unpredictable city of Rome
·    Lead a Legendary Brotherhood – Recruit and train promising young Assassins.  Deploy them across the city as you see fit, or call upon them to aid you in your quests
·    Experience A Rich Historical Tapestry – Collaborate with real historical characters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli and Caterina Sforza
·    Win The Heart of a City – Use your hard-won currency to revitalize the crumbling capital city.  Rally the citizens to your cause and unlock extra factions and missions
·    Deploy Secret Weapons – Swiftly eliminate your enemies using tools such as poison darts, parachutes, double hidden blades, hidden guns, and an advanced flying machine at your disposal.
·    Memorable Multiplayer – Choose from multiple authentic character classes, each with their own signature weapons and killing moves.  With richly-detailed maps and a wide variety of unique multiplayer modes, you’ll never fight the same way twice

quickmobileQuickMobile and The Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) Worldwide Short Film Festival (WSFF), have partnered to create both the 2010 Worldwide Short Film Festival App for iPhone and iPod Touch, and a new mobile website to enhance and extend this year`s Festival for attendees and fans worldwide. The 2010 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival presented by TELUS, will take place from June 1st to 6th in Toronto, Canada.

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6th May 2010

Now Playing In Vancouver And Across The Country

Mike Playing ModNation RacersWe had a great time yesterday afternoon over at United Front Games with PlayStation Canada’s Matt Levitan.  We were able to get a more in-depth view of ModNation Racers, and our venerable CaveChild got some hands-on time with the upcoming title. He had plenty of fun roaring around the track and seeing many of the little details that UFG included in the game to make it even more fun and entertaining than it seems at first glance. While we don’t yet own a PS3, Mike said that ModNation Racers is a game he could see himself playing with his sister, which I think was a big part of UFG’s goal in developing the kart title – attracting core gamers and casual gamers in fun family play.  Congratulations again to the entire dev team at United Front Games on their big win last night for Most Promising Game at the Canadian Videogame Awards.

We’re looking forward to a great day at GDC Canada in Vancouver – so many sessions to take in and people to meet! Be sure to stop by the Women In Games Vancouver booth and say hi – that’s where we’ll be when not in a session, talking to people or checking out the cool sights on the expo floor.

Just a final reminder that Video Games Live will be performing tonight in Vancouver, BC at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at 7:30pm.

Aside from updated favorites like Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Warcraft & Halo, they will be playing a lot of new music that hasn’t been played before in Vancouver such as Shadow of the Colossus, Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed II, MegaMan, Bioshock & Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and much more – except for some music suites, which were showcased at last night’s Canadian Videogame Awards, that is – Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed II are fantastic additions to the show. If you’ve never seen a Video Games Live performance before, you will not be disappointed.

Due to VGL’s generous sponsors, 3 new sections of seating have just opened back up this morning and they are some of the best seats in the house!  So if you were thinking about catching the performance tonight, now is a great time to get tickets!

Make sure to go early for the pre-show festival presented by Future Shop, which will include the latest game demos, prize give-a-ways, a costume contest and Guitar Hero: Van Halen competition (with the winner to perform with the orchestra on stage!).  You are also invited to stick around after the show for a composer meet & greet.

Canada 3.0 2010Attendees at next week’s sold-out Canada 3.0 2010 digital media forum will be living proof of the benefits of going digital when they tap into the power of Open Text Corporation’s latest mobile and social workplace solutions using their BlackBerry and iPhone devices. As a key sponsor and supporter of the forum, Open Text is providing the software capability and content so that forum attendees can network, communicate and have access to a full suite of information available regarding the forum including schedules, breakout room locations, speaker data and more. Open Text is Open Textthe preeminent provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software and Canada’s largest software company.

“We announced our Open Text Everywhere mobile platform this spring and we’re pleased to have an opportunity to support a leading digital event with our solutions,” said Eugene Roman, Chief Technology Officer at Open Text. “It gives us the opportunity to showcase the power of mobile applications as a great way to deliver rich content to users in real-time.”

Roman said that smartphones have the potential to take over the role of laptops as technology enables more and more sophisticated capabilities for BlackBerrys, iPhones and other devices.

“They offer an entirely new platform to extend the productivity of workers and change the way people collaborate,” said Roman. “Seeing this empower people at a digital media forum really ‘walks the talk’ of a digital nation.”

Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text, chairs the Advisory Board of the Canadian Digital Media Network which is the organizer of Canada 3.0 2010 with the support of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. Jenkins is a fervent supporter of the Canadian digital media sector and will be leading a forum breakout stream on ‘Imagining’ what Canada’s role in digital media is and should be – and how to get there.

“We want all Canadians to have anytime, anywhere connectivity and equal access to content, and our mobile and social media application showcased at Canada 3.0 is a great example of why that’s important,” said Jenkins. “This is going to help to enhance how people collaborate and will have a positive impact on overall productivity.” Read the rest of this entry »

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5th May 2010

Who Will Take Home The Hardware At The Canadian Videogame Awards

Canadian Video Game AwardsTonight’s the night when we will all find out which game has been chosen as the Canadian Game of the Year as the Canadian Videogame Awards kicks of its inaugural celebration at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Finalists for Game of the Year are: Assassin’s Creed II; Dawn of War II; Dragon Age: Origins; FIFA 10 and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. As you can imagine, making a choice in this category was extremely difficult, and now we’re wondering which Village Gamer resident picked the winner.

Welcome to Vancouver, Canon! Canon Canada has expanded its Vancouver presence, and will be celebrating the opening of its new Business Division Western Regional Sales Office on May 11th. According to a report on Business In Vancouver, Mayor Robertson and Olympic Gold Medalist Maelle Ricker will be in attendance at the official opening ceremonies.

SES 2010Ever wanted to have a professional review of your website, landing page, or paid campaign? Then you’re in luck, because Search Engine Strategies Toronto has announced the inclusion of site clinics to their programme. In these two 1-hour, hands on, classroom style sessions top consultants will deconstruct and reconstruct your website offering critiques – free of charge. SES Toronto takes place this June 9 -11. Be sure to get there early, because the clinics are first-come first-served sessions with limited attendance.

Audiokinetic has announced bundle discount pricing for their wide range of production software. Purchasing two products will net you a 5% discount, three will get you 10%, four earns 15% and the Power Bundle of five or more products will get you a 20% discount.

Autodesk has announced their 2011 Education Suites. Need help getting started? Are you a teacher with students who are interested in digital design careers? Check out the Autodesk Education Community to see how you can help someone get started. If you’re a commercial designer, please visit our friends over at AnnexPro (a major sponsor of Women in Games Vancouver) to see how they can help you with all of your Autodesk software needs.

National Film BoardFrom May 4 to 17, you can vote online for your favourite short among the finalists of the 6th NFB Short Film Contest – Cannes 2010. Now in its sixth year, the contest is organized by the National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with the Cannes Short Film Corner and in association with YouTube. It features ten short films from Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Iran, the United States, the Czech Republic, Algeria and Italy, selected from the numerous Short Film Corner entries. The Short Film Corner is the meeting place for young creators at the Cannes Film Festival, attracting entries from around the world. The ten films from last year’s contest were viewed close to 180,000 times on the NFB’s English and French YouTube channels.

The NFB contest is your chance to join in the fun and frenzy of Cannes by voting online for your favourite short. The winning film – determined by the number of Likes chalked up on YouTube – will be announced during the Short Film Corner Happy Hour, in Cannes, on May 20. The winning filmmaker will receive a digital camera/HD video camera and a laptop computer.

Short film expert Danny Lennon has assembled a fascinating selection this year. The finalists are The Technician, by Simon-Olivier Fecteau (Canada), Love & Theft, by Andreas Hykade (Germany), The Story of My Life, by Pierre Ferrière (France), Crash! Bang! Wallow?, by Jon Dunleavy (United Kingdom), Crash! Bang! Wallow?, by Emma Lazenby (United Kingdom), Forbidden Tree, by Banafsheh Modaressi (Iran), Annie Goes Boating, by Noel Paul (United States), Awake, by Thaid Dhi (Czech Republic), The Last Passenger, by Mounes Khammar (Algeria), and The Report Card, by Alessandro Celli (Italy).

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is also honouring the memory of André Lamy, former NFB commissioner and independent producer, who passed away at the age of 77.

Lamy served as Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson from 1975 to 1979, following a term as Assistant Commissioner under Sydney Newman from 1970 to 1975.

Only the second francophone NFB Commissioner, Lamy played a key role in strengthening the NFB’s ties to the Quebec film sector. He also ensured the release of the then-controversial NFB French program films On est au coton, 24 heures ou plus and Cap d’espoir. He was Commissioner during the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and was involved in the creation of the official Olympics film, Games of the XXI Olympiad.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to get to know André Lamy better during the filming of The Commissioners, a short documentary by Philippe Baylaucq created to mark the NFB’s 70th anniversary. It was clear that André Lamy was not well during the filming, but he was determined to take part, and his commitment to the NFB, to filmmaking and, in particular, Quebec cinema, was undiminished. Everyone at the NFB is deeply saddened by his passing,” said Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th April 2010

Viva La FIFA

freelance camp VancouverAttention Vancouver-area freelancers – there is a full day event planned just for you on Saturday May 29th from 9:00am – 4:00pm at The Network Hub. Freelance Camp Vancouver is an opportunity for freelancers, entrepreneurs, independent business owners and individuals to come together to learn from one another, connect with opportunities by expanding their network, and finding answers to some of the questions enabling them to expand their business, start their business or develop additional income streams. Tickets are only $11. 24 including the paypal fee (all going to charity) and are available online until May 26th.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterThere are still some tickets left for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed 2. This session will take place on the evening of May 18th at the VanCity Theatre. If you’ve never attended one of our local SIGGRAPH events, you don’t know what you’re missing. Tickets are $15.00 for members and $20.00 for non-members. Annual membership is $35.00 ($25.00 for students), with the immediate benefit of lower ticket prices and cool networking opportunities.FIFA World Cup 2010 for iPhone

EA Sports2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ is in stores now with eight new celebrations for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system. The videogame is also available on Wii™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable), iPod® touch and iPhone®.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa videogame will feature all the emotion and passion of the fiercest national rivalries battling on the world’s biggest stage, with all 199 national teams that took part in qualification and all 10 official stadiums to be used in South Africa. Gamers will be able to play as their home nation from qualification right through to a virtual rFIFA World Cup 2010 for iPhoneeproduction of the FIFA World Cup Final™ and feel what it is like to score the goal that lifts a nation.

Fans can unlock the new celebrations through EA Sports and Coca-Cola™ channels in participating countries. After unlocking each celebration, fans can score a goal, use the controller to activate the celebrations and admire the performance via a new dynamic camera angle that delivers the emotion of each goal scored. Consumers can also admire their celebration and share with fans online by uploading to EA Sports Football World.

In addition, to honor the legacy of the FIFA World Cup™, EA Sports unveiled its Classic 11 team that features 35 legendary players from past tournaments, including star striker Roger Milla of FIFA World Cup Player StatsCameroon, who scored four goals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and in 1994, at the age of 42, became the oldest player to play in the tournament. Fans who carry the hopes and dreams of a nation into battle against fans from rival countries and win the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM will unlock the Classic 11 squad.

New players to the FIFA franchise can also compete for the 2010 FIFA World Cup utilizing new Two-Button controls designed to enable new gamers to pass and shoot with an accessible control scheme that utilizes just two buttons. The game is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB

Celsius Game StudioSt. John’s-based Celsius Game Studios is proud to present Chromodyne Lite, the free version of its unique and exciting match-3 puzzle game, Chromodyne! Chromodyne Lite is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, on the Apple App Store.Chromodyne

Chromodyne Lite features a brand new 5 chapter story introducing the player to the Chromodyne as they work their way through the Chromodynamic Academy’s accredited Accelerated Chromodyne Operator’s Course. Through this program, you too can learn the skills necessary to save the world from impending doom from outer space!

Well, you might expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars and rack up years of crushing student debt at some “university” to learn how to save the world. Not so at the Chromodynamic Academy. No, you too can learn all this today for the low, low price of FREE! Read the rest of this entry »

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29th April 2010

Events and Programmes For an Educated and Interactive Canada

GDC Canada 2010GDC Canada has revealed a new set of sessions and networking opportunities tailored to game developers managing established franchises, developing new global titles, and looking to take advantage of new distribution models. GDC Canada 2010 will also present content for professionals looking to develop successful franchises for consoles, iPhone and digitally distributed platforms. The second annual conference is returning to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010 and kicks off with the official opening night party at 8pm on May 5, which is being sponsored by Epic.

The newly-announced sessions from the 2010 GDC Canada are geared towards established studio as well as first time publishers who are grappling with legal and business development strategies needed to identify commercially successful projects in emerging game spaces.

These featured sessions include:

Bringing Your Game to the Web – 73 Practical Tips with Bjarne Rene (Managing Director, Vostopia.com), Tore Birkeland (Technical Director, Vostopia.com)

Console Games – New Realities Require New Strategies to Win with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive), Kelly Zmak (Former GM, Radical Entertainment), Adel Chaveleh (TimeGate Studios, Inc.), Dan Tudge (VP and General Manager, Propaganda Games), Dan Winters (VP Developer Relations, Activision Blizzard)

Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Founder and General Partner, Vanedge Capital)

One Year in the App Store: A Case Study of Backflip Studios with Julian Farrior (CEO / Founder, Backflip Studios)

Tax Credits: How Does This Affect My Decision on Where and How to Produce a Game? with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive)

In addition to the two days of sessions, GDC Canada offers the ideal venue for studio heads, developers and investors to come together and discuss business. Towards that end, GDC Canada 2010 is introducing the Business to Business Lounge, supported by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The lounge is a place for industry business development professionals, fellow developers and leading tool vendors to make deals and network. To help further initiate these important business connections, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service can facilitate introductions between investors and domestic and international developers.

Vancouver Innovation CampTomorrow is the last day to benefit from the Early Bird ticket price for the next Innovation Camp which takes place May 29th & 30th in Vancouver. Innovation Camp offers hands-on learning opportunities which engage learners through real life situations and challenges their assumptions, connects ideas, embraces failure and sees problems as opportunities for creative solutions in order to take any entrepreneurial venture to the next step.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) is proud to support HotDocs 2010, and you are invited to join them at the festival on Monday, May 3rd at 4 p.m. ET for a micro session on CMF programs and funding with Policy Analyst Neal McDougall. The session will be held in Room 323 at Victoria College in Toronto from 4 – 5pm.

The CMF has also announced that the English POV Programme Application Form is now available for those who wish to apply for CMF funding, and an outreach session will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13th from 1:00pm – 3:30pm to provide applicants with details regarding the 2010-2011 guidelines for funding and to answer questions.

The May 13th meeting will be led by Nathalie Clermont, Director, CMF Program Management, along with Roxane Girard, Director, CMF Program Administrator | Telefilm Canada, Francesca Accinelli, Director, English Market, and Stéphane Cosentino, Interim Director, French Market.

INplay 2010INPlay has announced two preschool-focused sessions for the May 18-19th conference. Joining the schedule is Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, whose topic Preschool Play and Games, will take attendees into the minds of pre-schoolers and show how to incorporate developmental psychology research into the games we build. This session will provide an overview on how preschoolers develop, why research is important when designing for this age group, and will give provide examples of how to design games for this age group.

Building Apps for Preschoolers: Case Study of Tickle Tap Apps, presented by Jason Krogh, Founder & Director, zinc Roe design will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the design and development of Tickle Tap Apps – a series of iPhone apps designed for young children. Jason Krogh will share his studio’s experience diving into the world of iPhone development. The discussion will highlight of some of the challenges unique to working in this new and rapidly evolving space as well as some of their insights and refinements that came about through many hours of play testing with kids.

Don’t miss the next iteration of Mentor Speed Dating 2.0, which takes place on Friday, May 7th at 3:30pm. Check out the event’s info page for details on how to participate.

Canadian Film CentreThe Canadian Film Centre has several program application deadlines approaching. The five-month CBC Prime Time Television Program is open for applications until May 12th, and the TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program application deadline is June 4th. Please check out the full list of available programs and deadlines at the Canadian Film Centre’s site. Read the rest of this entry »

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