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27th April 2010

Showcasing Canadian Talent and Innovation On All Levels

VFS Impact AwardsVancouver Film School will be holding the VFS Impact Awards at the Biltmore Ballmore on the evening of May 3rd. For the very affordable ticket price of $10.00, attendees will receive a buffet-style dinner, be entertained by performances of international artistry from greener grass gamesFlamenco to Electric Violin & DJ and share in the celebration as awards are handed out to some very talented students.

If you have some extra time slots to fill, check out I Am The Night, a free Unity-built browser game from Greener Grass Games. It’s an easy-to-play cute game, and comes complete with a comedic twist at the end.

Canadian Video Game AwardsDo you want to win two tickets to the Canadian Videogame Awards? Make a crazy fan video, upload it to the CVA FaceBook page, cross your fingers! Check out all the details here from that crazy social media guy Ryan (aka @CertainlySocial). The Canadian Videogame Awards take place in Vancouver on the evening of May 5th and feature a performance by Video Games Live. By the way, Ryan…we need to have a talk about stuff in your video clip backgrounds…

CATAPlease take a few minutes to cast your votes for the CATAAlliance Innovation and Leadership Awards. The CATAAlliance will tabulate the results from Canada’s high tech sector and the winners will be announced at the CATAAlliance Innovation Awards Dinner on May 19, 2010 at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

Banff World Television Festival has released more information about the Kids and Animation portion of this year’s Festival. BANFF Kids and Animation will feature invaluable sessions such as “View from the Top”, “Co-Ventures in Kids TV” and “The Anatomy of a Successful Kids Franchise” plus meetings and networking opportunities where you will have the chance to meet with – and learn from – the most influential industry leaders in kids & animation. Attracting the industry’s most highly renowned executives, producers and broadcasters from Canada and across the globe to discuss the newest programming trends and developing international and multi-platform markets, Banff Kids and Animation is the place to be for those in kid’s programming.

Confirmed speakers thus far include:

* David Levine, VP, Worldwide Programming Strategy, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, Disney Channels Worldwide
* Vince Commisso, President & CEO, 9 Story Entertainment
* Joe Godwin, Director, BBC ChildrenScrap Metal Game

Slick EntertainmentCongratulations to the dev team over at Slick Entertainment! During the recent XBLA Block Party Games promotion, their massively fun title, Scrap Metal sold 15000 units during the event. If you haven’t checked out Scrap Metal yet, you definitely need to do so, particularly if you like to race, crash, drift and generally blow a few things up. If you have a 360 and an Xbox LIVE® Silver or Gold membership, add this title to your download queue – it’s only 1200 MS Points and it delivers on the fun factor.

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal currently has several career positions which the studio needs to fill. With a recently hinted-at project, the studio now has three titles in various stages of development, including Thi4f and the long-awaited Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

The chance for everyone to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ became a reality today after Electronic Arts announced that EA SPORTS™ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ is in stores now throughout North America with eight new celebrations for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system. It will be available throughout Asia and Europe beginning April 30, 2010 in anticipation of the real-world tournament which begins in June. The videogame is also available on Wii™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable), iPod® touch and iPhone® and is rated as “E” for Everyone by the ESRB.

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 reproduction of the FIFA World Cup Final™ and feel what it is like to score the goal that lifts a nation. New players to the FIFA Soccer 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. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd April 2010

BC Early Stagers WaveFront AC Has A Programme For You

A reminder that there is a number of upcoming Autodesk events across the country. First up is “Seize the Opportunity” with Autodesk 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation Software for Games and Post Production presented on April 27th by our friends over at AnnexPro. There are three additional events being hosted by 3vis. Their P.I.M.P. My Pipeline events will be held in Toronto (May 11), Montreal (May 13) and Krabbit OnlineVancouver on May 4th.

Congratulations to KrabbitSoft Studios for their signing with Mac Games France, who will be distributing Krabbit World Origins to European Mac gamers. It’s always good to hear about the successes of our small indie studios – keep up the awesome work!IAB Canada

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada has released a paper on their views in regards to online advertising tracking practices and the PIPEDA. The Bureau raises several points in this 10 page PDF, and I feel it is well worth the read as Canada moves forward in dealing with many of the important issues surrounding technology, content, access and privacy in today’s technological society.

DreamCatcherToronto’s DreamCatcher Games and JoWooD Entertainment have released new screenshots from the up-coming RPG Adventure “ArcaniA: Gothic 4” which will be ArcaniAreleased on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The latest installment in the renowned Gothic series is set about 12 years after the events shown in “Gothic 3”, and again invites the player to a fantastic journey through a war-torn world. The ancient, nameless hero, who by now has been crowned King Robar the Third, commands a rigorous regiment over Myrtana and the Southern Islands. Luckily, not all subordinates live in fear and submission to the King and a new hero emerges, with the intention to settle an old score: A seemingly unimposing shepherd from the Isle of Feshyr sets out on the long and perilous journey to the King’s Palace.

wavefrontIf you are a wireless or new media early stage or start-up in the Vancouver area, you will be interested on two offerings from WaveFront AC – With financial contribution support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Wavefront is able to provide a program that offers cost-effective access to the following Wavefront wireless commercialization services:

Strategic Assessment: Utilize experienced wireless experts to assess and refine business strategy and determine actions for market entry

Technical Preparation and Consulting: Prepare and confirm mobile application/technology is commercially ready utilizing Wavefront’s testing resources (usability testing, handset rentals) and test engineers

Business Development Support: Foster company growth and global expansion by leveraging Wavefront’s existing mobile ecosystem connections and distribution channels

Each company will have different requirements depending on their product, distribution channels, funding, business maturity and business strategy. We encourage you to come in for an introductory meeting to customize your personal “Wavefront Accelerated Program”. If you qualify, NRC-IRAP will provide funds to support 50% of the program cost.

Wavefront also offers a unique wireless incubator environment where you have the opportunity to collaborate, learn and grow with other mobile developer entrepreneurs. Going beyond standard office space, Wavefront provides easy on-site access to a suite of services and shared resources that are critical to accelerating the development of your mobile applications, devices and content, including:

Advisory services from seasoned industry experts
Handset library containing 300+ phones for application testing
Fully equipped demo meeting rooms and usability test lab
Carrier-grade 3G network test bed and advanced test equipment
Global connections to key mobile ecosystem stakeholders
Waveguide executive and technical training sessions

Currently available are a variety of rental packages ranging from shared desk space ($350/month) to private offices for 4-5 people. We’re looking for the best and brightest new wireless companies to join our in-house community.

HumberHumber has partnered with the Toronto District School Board to lease the former Lakeshore Lions Arena for 20 years. The 53,000 square foot facility was renovated to house programs in the School of Creative & Performing Arts and the School of Media Studies & Information Technology, including the new four-year Film and Media Production bachelor’s degree program. Students will study in leading-edge studios centred by a “black box” theatre. The building will include acting, cabaret, dance, film, media and television studios, rehearsal rooms, technical labs, a scene shop, a carpentry shop, a lecture hall and offices. The facility will serve more than 700 students, and also includes a gymnasium, funded by Humber, which will be used by the college and the local community. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd April 2010

Happy Earth Day Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21st April 2010

The Collective Interactivity and Networkability of Canada Is Amazing

GDC Canada has announced the addition of three more sessions: GDC Canada 2010

Concrete Practices to be a Better Leader with Brian Sharp (Bungie)
Bringing Dragon Age to Life – Digital Actors in an Epic RPG with Shane Hawco & Clove Roy (Bioware)
Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Vanedge Capital)

If you missed the chance to see the Vancouver SIGGRAPH presentation of Bringing Dragon Age toShane and Clove Life, I highly recommend that you attend the GDC Canada presentation. While overlooking my huge bias as a Dragon Age player, Shane and Clove have put together a great discussion about the processes which Bioware’s dev team went through to get Dragon Age into the gaming universe. Please see the GDC Canada Conference Tracks for a complete list of all announced sessions.

Also announced are some of the official networking and socializing events surrounding GDC Canada:

GDC Canada Opening Night Party Sponsored by Epic – Wednesay, May 5th at 8PM
GDC Canada VIP Party Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – Thursday, May 6th at 7PM
GDC Canada Expo Lounge Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – May 6-7th (during expo hours)
Business to Business Lounge Supported By DFAIT – May 6-7th (during expo hours)

Canadian Video Game AwardsAnd don’t forget that the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards take place on May 5th at 7pm and will feature a performance by Video Games Live (we highly recommend this show); tickets are now on sale, and very reasonably priced. If you haven’t yet had your say for Game of the Year, what are you waiting for? I’ll tell you in advance though, it’s not really an easy choice to make.

EXPVancouver – Last Friday night we joined about 150 game enthusiasts from all walks of the local game development scene – fans, students and studio folk – at the VFS Cafe for EXP Gaming Night of Awesomean evening of pure game enjoyment. From Rockband on the main stage to a plethora of tournaments, Brian Vidovic, owner of EXP Gaming and his team of volunteers put on an excellent evening of socializing and entertainment for the over 19 gaming crowd. In addition to some of the latest games on next gen consoles, there was even fun to be had on the Super Nintendo.

EXP Gaming Night of AwesomeFriday night’s event also sparked the beginning of the Street Fighter IV tournament ladder and the Burnout Revenge team event. Sponsors for EXP Gaming Night of Awesome included VFS, SplitReason, Radical Entertainment, Knot Theory Ties and EA Canada.

Many thanks to Miko Wilson for the photos he has given Village Gamer permission to publish. Please check out Miko’s blog to see of his great photographic work.

EXP Gaming is teaming up with CGVA to present Overture 7 – SSFIV Tournament, which will takeOverture 7 place on May 1st out at UBC. According to the organizers, there are only two simple goals: get hype for SSFIV and welcome the re-birth of the competitive videogame scene. Game play will take place on 360s and PS3s, combatants must bring their own controllers, and the tournament will abide by Arcade Rules. Please see the event’s FaceBook page for complete information on how to participate.

Interactive OntarioTorontoInteractive Ontario has announced their iP3 forum, which will take place in June. The venue and registration information has not yet been finalized, but they will be putting out a call for speakers soon. If you’re an animator in the Toronto area, check out Animation Live Industry Night which happens tomorrow night at The Field House. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th April 2010

Canadians Not Using Their Smartphones Smartly

Our ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter will be presenting Designing Assassin’s Creed 2 on May 18th. Tickets will be on sale next week for this session. And speaking of Assassin’s Creed 2, Ubisoft® has received confirmationEzio from Guinness World Records that Assassin’s Creed II now holds the Gamer’s Edition Guinness World Record for being the most cover-featured video game. Assassin’s Creed II was used as a lead cover story on 127 different publications in 32 countries, between April 2009 and April 2010.

“Assassin’s Creed is one of our most well-loved brands,” said Alain Corre managing director EMEA at Ubisoft. “The worldwide interest for the brand, coupled with the energy and creativity of our press team made for a winning combination and I am proud of receiving this Guinness World Record.”

Gaz Deaves, Editor of Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition, said: “The evidence submitted by Ubisoft was extremely thorough, with full details of every publication that featured the game. It’s been a pleasure researching this category and we were pleasantly surprised that Assassin’s Creed II took the record – I’m sure plenty of commentators (including myself) would have predicted another well-known game winning the title instead, and this achievement is even more impressive in view of the other 2009 releases that Assassin’s Creed II was able to beat”.

Canadian Video Game AwardsAssassin’s Creed II also leads DigiBC’s upcoming Canadian Video Game Awards with seven nominations – and members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite title in the Game of the Year category.

“The lineup of finalists is a stunning collection of global blockbusters,” said Victor Lucas, host of Electric Playground and one of the award show’s producers. “These are among the biggest games in the world and they represent the best in this country’s innovation and creativity.”

The Canadian Video Game Awards (CVAs) will be held just prior to the second annual Game Developers Conference (GDC Canada) in Vancouver this May 5th and will feature musical entertainment by the internationally renowned Video Games Live. Tickets start at $22 andGDC Canada 2010 are on sale now at the event web site. The show will also be broadcast across the country on G4 Canada through the Rogers Network, and are sponsored by G4, XBOX 360, Sony PlayStation and the Canadian Studios of Electronic Arts.

“These awards recognize the significant contribution of BC and other Canadian companies to the global videogame industry,” said DigiBC president Michael Bidu. “DigiBC’s mandate is to promote the success and sustainability of BC’s digital media and wireless industry and to elevate worldwide awareness of our sector. These Canadian Videogame Awards will attract a lot of attention, both inside and outside of Canada. Ultimately, our industry will grow by attracting talented people, and we’ll do that by telling the world about Vancouver’s strong creative class and BC and Canada’s competitive tax environment and friendly business climate.”

“I’m delighted that DigiBC is onboard with us for the launch of these awards,” said Greg Spievak, founder and principal of Reboot Communications, co-producer of the CVAs. “They have a strong vision for the industry and a successful track record for producing exciting events, such as VX Showcase, their 2010 Winter Olympics event, Skate 3as well as their upcoming VIDWeek 2010.”

The Skate™ 3 demo is now available on XBox Live, with both a single and multi-player experience. Learn the ins and outs of skating with the all-new Skate School or team up and throw down in co-op or competitive gameplay. Featuring new challenge types like Own The Lot and Domination, the ability to save and upload clips using the Replay Editor, and to drop objects to personalize your demo experience, the Skate 3 demo has a little something for everyone.

F5 ExpoDid you get the chance to see Malcolm Gladwell speak at F5 Expo on April 7th? Did you like what he had to say? Many people, including F5 Expo’s own TechLinz, disagreed with Gladwell’s perspective on social media. His mile wide and inch deep philosophy may be accurate, but he failed to look at the benefits of a mile wide network for business transactions. Stressing the need for deep relationships, Gladwell feels these are essential for revolutions, but building a business isn’t necessarily about a revolution. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2010

ESA Canada Sends Recommendations To The Federal Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12th April 2010

GDX 2010 Wraps and GDC Canada Ramps Up

Game Design Expo 2010Vancouver – Congratulations to the entire Vancouver Film School team for another successful and educational Game Design Expo, and thank you to all of the esteemed speakers for sharing their knowledge and experience with both current gen and next gen designers. The day featured insight into what has worked in game design, what hasn’t worked, and ideas for the future in the world of game development. I have a massive amount of mostly-deciphered notes from the expo, and I will be sharing them throughout the week, as there is simply too much information for just one wrap article.

The day was opened by William Ho from United Front Games, whose presentation was themed around the processes UFG went through in the development of ModNation Racers. This may be THE game which forces the purchase of a PS3 for the Village Gamer household, although it will require some very creative budgeting to do so.

Armando Troisi, Lead Cinematic Designer over at Bioware was next up, and he discussed how cinematics and gameplay were melded together in one of my favourite franchises, Mass Effect. As a non-designing gamer, it is always interesting to hear about how choices in regards to the user experience are made at the development level, and Armando’s session answered many questions I hadn’t even considered about the dialogue tree and character choices we as gamers make throughout the game.

Rounding out the morning session was Chris Whiteside, Design Director for Propaganda Games. Chris spoke about how teamwork is very important in today’s game design process as he expanded on the relationship of the “in the trenches” designer to other team members as well as to the studio, the stakeholders (money holders) and the end user market. He touched on how important it is to be in touch with your audience, and to make sure that the studio’s relationship with that audience is given voice as games go from concept to store shelf.

Josh Bridge and Jason Leigh from Blue Castle Games opened the afternoon with a perfect post-lunch topic – zombies and their return in Dead Rising 2. The CaveChild has been salivating over this game since its announcement, and all I can say is…combo weapons! Capcom generously permitted the screening of unannounced and non-public information about Dead Rising 2’s progress, and this session was very revealing about the care and attention being put into the Dead Rising sequel.

Obsidian Entertainment’s Lead Systems Designer Matt MacLean lead expo attendees through a session on Crafting the Perfect Challenge. I feel that this was one of the most valuable sessions in regards to getting into looking at the minute details which must be considered when developing a game concept. The goal of playing a game, at least for me, is overcoming the challenges thrown in my way as I journey to the game’s conclusion. Matt covered a variety of ways to craft those challenges in ways to both reward and engage your audience without alienating them.

The final single session of the afternoon was presented by Tyler Sigman, Design Director for Big Sandwich Games. Tyler’s topic was about game mechanics – another very important aspect of game crafting. The mechanics are what you as the developer put in place to both assist and challenge gamers as they try to win their way through your game’s environment. The proper balancing of these mechanics can often make or break a title’s appeal to the mass market, and is something that more than just a handful of studios need to revisit. Good game mechanics can make a player’s experience totally awesome or totally horrid. Which would you prefer – multiple play-throughs of your game, or multiple copies sitting unsold on the back shelf of a game store because gamers don’t like the mechanics?

Ending the day was a panel discussion of The Future of Gaming. Moderated by Reviews on the Run co-host Scott Jones, the panel featured Josh Bridge, Jason Leigh (both from Blue Castle), Ted Nugent (Genius Factor Games), Jay Balmer (Big Park), David Bowring (Volition) and Trent Shumay (FingerFood). This panel, as expected, was highly entertaining while still being highly informative. It’s always interesting to hear where our industry veterans feel the future will lead game design and distribution, and how technology is shaping what we play.

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver Foreign Affairs and International Trade has partnered with GDC Canada to provide a B2B Lounge at the upcoming May 6 & 7 conference here in Vancouver. The Lounge will provide an off-the-floor area to make deals and network with industry business development professionals, fellow developers and leading tool vendors. There is also space if you want to have a private lounge area at the show, details for the private rooms are available on the GDC Canada site.

GDC Canada has also revealed their line-up for the Game Career Seminar, and judging from this line-up, the Seminar, which is a one day event held on May 7th in conjunction with the main conference, this is a must-attend event for anyone trying to build a future for themselves in the game development industry. Tickets for the Game Career Seminar portion of GDC Canada are $149.00, with a limit of 125 seats available. Also added to the GDC Canada schedule is a Main Conference panel featuring Disney’s Howard Donaldson and ex-Radical head Kelly Zmak,on the harsh ‘new realities’ of making major console games. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th April 2010

Avoid Stress Play Games April is Stress Awareness Month

Hothead GamesIn today’s news leads, many of you probably already know that Ron Gilbert has left Hothead Games. On his blog, he stated that with DeathSpank‘s production winding down and heading for certification, his task is complete, although he will still be working closely with EA and Hothead to help promote the game. Ubisoft

Ubisoft Montreal will be holding a world exclusive autograph session with the Splinter Cell core team at the Montreal Future Shop on Ste Catherine Street next Tuesday, April 13th from 10am to Future Shop1pm.  Celebrating the release of Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alexandre Parisot (producer), Maxime Beland (creative director), Patrick Redding (game director/coop mode) and Steven Masters (lead game designer) will be present to meet the fans and autograph the games.

I played through the new DLC for Mass Effect 2 last evening – the availability of Kasumi – Stolen Memory was Kasumi Gotoplagued with server problems yesterday, which made for many unhappy ME2 players who were waiting to purchase the expansion. The new expansion, which adds Master Thief Kasumi Goto to the Normandy squad took me about an hour or so to play through, and while at first glance the 560 Microsoft Points price doesn’t really seem to give much value for the points, it’s important to remember that now an extra squad member and a new SMG will be available for subsequent re-plays of ME2. I guess that will even out the price and the shortness of the required missions. I would like to note, however, that there are areas where your character can (or in my case, will) get stuck. Without giving away the DLC plot – stay away from the chairs in a certain building during Kasumi’s loyalty mission. They act like a one way ramp and you’ll have to reload the game.

Burnaby – Turn up the music, raise your hands and voices and join the celebration! Electronic Arts today EA Sportsrevealed the 28 artists across 20 countries who will usher in the EA SPORTS™ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with an international soundtrack that celebrates the cultural vibrancy of the first FIFA World Cup™ to be held in Africa.

EA SPORTS 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ captures the sounds and history of the musical landscape in Africa with a rhythmic, tribal blend of 28 songs that, through mass exposure to soccer, videogame and music fans, will become synonymous with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ worldwide. Somali-born poet, musician and rapper, K’NAAN, headlines the soundtrack with his song “Wavin’ Flag Coca-Cola Celebration Mix”.

EA Sports FIFA World CupA full playable demo of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system will be available for download at the PLAYSTATION Store, and for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system on Xbox Live Marketplace, beginning April 8 worldwide. Play as Spain or Italy and discover a soccer experience that brings to life the passion and emotion of the actual tournament. New players to the FIFA Soccer franchise will be able to choose to play the demo utilizing new Two-Button controls designed to enable new gamers to pass, shoot and compete for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM with an accessible control scheme that utilizes just two buttons. In addition to playing a match soccer fans and gamers will be able to upload their replays from the demo to EA Football World for other fans to watch.

“2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is a landmark project in the evolution of world music and its African heritage,” says Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Marketing at Electronic Arts. “We’ve brought together such legendary African artists as Nigerian drummer/activist Babatunde Olatunji, Senegal icon Baaba Maal, and ‘The Bob Marley of Ghana’ Rocky Dawuni, with global superstars like Sergio Mendes and Nas & Damian Marley. But we’re perhaps most proud of K’NAAN, the unsigned Somali artist we discovered in 2004 whose music has now appeared in five different EA SPORTS video games.” Read the rest of this entry »

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6th April 2010

Plan Your Conference Calendar Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5th April 2010

Marketing Winners And iPad Title Releases

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

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

Gold Medal Winners:

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

Silver Medal Winners:

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

Bronze Certificate Winners:

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

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

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

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

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