29th March 2010

Bioware Celebrates Fifteen

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of Bioware Bazaar. Officially open on April 6th, the Bazaar is comprised of a “week-long series of mock online auctions that will feature over 400 items ranging from custom painted PC’s, Alienware laptops, BioWare apparel and more!” Coincidentally, April 6 is also the launch date for the next bit of DLC for Mass Effect 2. Kasumi’s Stolen Memory will be available for 560 Microsoft Points and will feature new crew member Kasumi Goto, new missions and a sweet new weapon – the sound-suppressed Locust SMG, a new achievement and a flash-bang loyalty power.

According to the Bazaar info page, in order “to bid on these items, fans will need to collect tokens through various challenges. The first auction begins at 9 AM PST on Tuesday, April 6th, with new items being made available every 15 minutes, ending 4 PM PST Saturday, April 10th. So tell your friends, start collecting tokens, and get ready to win some amazing prizes!” You can read the full Rules of Engagement on the Bioware Bazaar rules page. Happy Birthday, Bioware!

Canada 3.0 2010Stratford – The Canada 3.0 2010 forum slated for May 10-11 will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making it 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.

“We’ve set this ‘Moonshot’ that might sound impossible, just as putting a man on the moon once sounded impossible, but it is attainable if we harness all the necessary resources and are fully committed to making this happen,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal centre of excellence in commercialization and research. “While the sun is setting on some more traditional industries, there are many opportunities worth shooting for in digital media spanning all aspects of our economy.”

Kevin Newman, Anchor and Executive Editor of Global National, will emcee the main plenary sessions. Keynote speakers and panelists include: Tony Chapman, Founder & CEO of branding and advertising agency Capital C; Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation; Helen McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada; Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO of entrepreneurship community Sprouter.com; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and more to be announced soon.

“This event is critically important to Canada as we re-evaluate our economic foundation,” said Newman. “All sectors of our economy, including our creative artists and storytellers, need to understand the emerging keys to success in an increasingly competitive global economy and culture.”

Staged once again at the Rotary Complex in Stratford, the forum features a select group of speakers in the main plenary session with opportunity for attendee discussion and input in a broader range of breakout sessions and workshops.

Canada 3.0 2010 will build on the momentum created at last year’s forum that attracted some 1500 people, and will have a broad scope given that digital media is defined by organizers as ‘anything created or shared virtually’. The line-up of forum ‘streams’ is led by heavy-hitters in the digital media sector. Topics include:

* Imagining – Global best practices: What does Canada do well? What should Canada be doing?
– Chaired by – Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text Corporation; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and Ian Wilson, Executive Director, University of Waterloo Stratford Institute
* Empowering – Networks, infrastructure and mobility
– Chaired by – René Barsalo, Director Research and Strategy, Society for Arts and Technology, Montreal; Michele Perras, Director of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre; and David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion Read the rest of this entry »

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26th March 2010

The Canada Media Fund Webcast Made My Head Hurt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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25th March 2010

Strategies, Communities and Software Launches

VancouverAnnexPro has announced two upcoming events to celebrate the launch of Autodesk 2011 software and Autodesk Smoke 2011 for Mac OS X. The first event is being held on April 27th from 10am to 6pm. “Seize the Opportunity with Autodesk 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation Software” is a free all-day event which will be held at the Scotiabank Theatre on Burrard [at Smithe], with specialized tracks for Game Developers and Post-Production. At the end of the day there will be a customer appreciation reception with cold beer, soft drinks and tasty snacks.

The second event is a virtual event directly from Autodesk. ‘Seize the Opportunity at the Autodesk Virtual Event” is comprised of 3 sessions for Digital Entertainment Creation software including Smoke for Mac OS X along with sessions for building, engineering and more. Please see the event listing at Autodesk for details and registration. This virtual event will run on April 19th from 7am – 2pm Pacific Time.

TransGamingTorontoTransGaming, Inc. and Ubisoft®  have collaborated with TransGaming to bring The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™ video game to Mac® via TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine. TransGaming, a leading developer of portability technologies for the electronic entertainment industry, brings the Mac version of The Settlers 7 Paths to a Kingdom simultaneously with the PC release to both traditional retailers and online merchants including, GameTreeOnline.com. This new global release extends TransGaming’s partnership with Ubisoft, that includes Prince of Persia® and Shaun The Settlers 7 Paths To A KingdomWhite titles, and continues the collaboration of bringing great video game content to the Mac community.

The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning strategy game, The Settlers®: Rise of an Empire, The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom will also offer an exclusive Gold/Collector edition of the game available for purchase via download only. The standard and Gold/Collector editions are available immediately for consumers to purchase and download.

“We are pleased to bring another great Ubisoft game to the Mac, and the simultaneous deployment could only be made possible through our Cider engine,” commented Vikas Gupta, President & CEO of TransGaming, Inc. “Settlers is an award winning franchise, and I’m sure the Mac community will be thrilled to have access to this great new release through both retail channels and GameTreeOnline.com.”

“Ubisoft is excited about the simultaneous multiplatform release of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™,” said Carrie Tice, Senior Director of Strategic Sales & Partnerships at Ubisoft. “The partnership with TransGaming to bring our titles to the Mac allows us to expand our business and serve the growing Mac gaming community with new and exciting game releases.”

The standard edition is priced at $49.99 and is available via digital download and at retailers, with the exclusive Gold/Collector edition only available via digital download for $59.99. In addition to the standard edition game play, the Gold/Collector edition provides exclusive unlockable content for consumers, including: one exclusive map, the original soundtrack of the game and additional castle forge elements – including a gate, balcony, bay, gargoyle and two windows – allowing players to customize their castles and make their cities unique

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure has announced their latest title, Chess Challenge! for the Wii. According to the title’s info page, patience will be key going up against the Chess Challengebest players from around the world with Chess Challenge! Perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes or using the Nintendo ® Wi-Fi Connection service to start climbing the worldwide rankings. Win online matches and even see how your chess rating stacks up against 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 up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24. With full Mii support you can really bring your games to life! Start off practicing on some casual games, and work your way up to fully ELO rated matches. With all of these gameplay options you have some serious chess action awaiting you! Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd March 2010

Finding Direction In Canada’s Digital Compass Competition

Toon BoomMontrealToon Boom has released a new version of their Flip Boom Classic animation software. Version 4 now has sound recording ability, so users can add their own voices and sound effects to their animations. Flip Boom Classic 4 is designed primarily for kids who would like to learn computer animation, and today’s new release comes with Easter templates as well as a full tutorial. Flip Boom Classic 4 can be purchased online for only $39.99.

PricewaterhouseCoopersToronto – All signs point to a digital transformation in the way we do business, our lifestyles and the global economy. As Canada tries to find its footing in the digital industry, today PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has launched Canada’s Digital Compass – a ‘crowdsourcing’ competition that will ask Canadians to help define the nation’s role in the future digital economy.

Canada’s Digital Compass will draw a community of Canadians who are passionate about digital transformation to submit and vote on ideas that could help position Canada to lead the digital economy. Weekly competitions will take place on five topic areas and winners from each competition will participate in a final showdown on May 4, 2010 where the top three ideas will be chosen. The three winners will be awarded tickets to the Canada 3.0 conference at the University of Waterloo on May 10-11, 2010 where their submissions could be presented to attendees.

“The best ideas are developed by collaborating with others and Canada’s Digital Compass is a crowdsourcing initiative which is built on this principle,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC. “Canada is home to some of the brightest minds in the digital space and this program will allow a community of digital enthusiasts to contribute, critique and build upon ideas that will help Canada lead in the digital realm.”

In addition to community involvement, a panel of digital experts will also weigh in on the submissions and will assist in selecting the top three winners. Their decisions will be based on the ideas with the most community votes and how well each submission aligns with the three measures of success:  economic potential, how it fits with Canada’s capabilities and how it reflects Canada’s values.

“The panel is comprised of experts from a wide range of industry backgrounds and will play an important part in the campaign,” says Riley. “Along with feedback from the community, the panelists will inject valuable insights on the submissions based on their expertise.”

The panel of judges includes:

– Mike Kirkup, Director of Developer Relations, Research In Motion (RIM)
– Jacob Glick, Policy Counsel, Google
– Barbara Bailie, Director of Interactive, Astral Television Networks
– Olivier Vincent, President and CEO, Canpages
– Jerry Brown, Associate Partner, Consulting and Deals, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Weekly Competitions and Subjects:

– Technology – March 16 – 29, 2010
– Education – March 30 – April 5, 2010
– Media Production – April 6 – 12, 2010
– Connectivity – April 13 – 19, 2010
– Policy Development – April 20 – 26, 2010

Best Buy CanadaSurreyBest Buy Canada will be celebrating the grand opening of its new South Surrey store beginning Friday, March 26 at 15760 Croydon Drive, Surrey, B.C. (at Grandview Corners). The grand opening specials and $500 daily Gift Card giveaways are also included at all Lower Mainland Best Buy locations!

Grand Opening Weekend Schedule of Events:

Friday, March 26, 2010

– Before 9:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 9:45 am: Cheque presentations: $2,500 to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver and $2,500 to Big Sisters B.C. Lower Mainland
– 9:30 am: $20,000 cheque presentation from Monster Cable to Olympic Gold Medalist Chandra Crawford for Fast & Female
– 5 – 7 pm: Iron Man meet and greet Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd March 2010

Canadian Technology Taking Off In The Global Market

MIGS 2010The Montreal International Game Summit has put out its call for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. More congratulations are in order for the FIFA 10 development team, as the game picked up two BAFTA Game Awards this past Friday evening – one for Best Sports Title and the other for Best Use of Online. DreamCatcher Games and The Adventure Company have announced the release of new content on an updated website for Sherlock Holmes VS. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. You can check out new screenshots and a new trailer on the site, as Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripperwell as put in your pre-order at GameStop. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper will be in stores near the end of April and is rated T by the ESRB.

Kasumi GotoBioware has released more details about Kasumi Goto, the newest member of the Normandy’s crew in Mass Effect 2. Kasumi,  the galaxy’s most enigmatic and cunning master thief, will be introduced in the DLC pack Stolen Memory. In addition to being able to recruit Kasumi in all new missions, players will be able to utilize her special skills as a member of Commander Shepard’s squad throughout the entire game. In return for her help, Kasumi has asked for Commander Shepard’s help on a dangerous heist to infiltrate the vault of a deadly master criminal named Donovan Hock. Players must gain Kasumi’s loyalty on the planet Bekenstein, where Hock is throwing a party for some of the galaxy’s richest and most deranged criminal minds. The mission: recover data of great importance to Kasumi and the galaxy at large. In addition to this new mission, players will also receive a new research upgrade, one Hover Tanknew weapon, and a new achievement in this PDLC pack. The Kasumi – Stolen Memory PDLC pack will be available this April for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system at a cost of 560 Microsoft points, and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Don’t forget that tomorrow (March 23rd) will be the release date for the Firewalker DLC pack, which includes five heart-pounding missions taking place on five uncharted worlds. Players will be able to explore planets and engage in combat in the new Hammerhead hover-tank. The Firewalker pack will be available via the Cerberus Network console. Mass Effect 2 is rated M by the ESRB.

Toronto Comic ConToronto – Fans 10 and under attending Toronto Comic Con, March 26-28, 2010, at the Direct Energy Centre will receive a free Gogos Crazy Bones toy, courtesy of Toronto-based Irwin Toy. The popular items will be distributed while supplies last at the Registration area upon arrival.

Gogos Crazy Bones are a collectible, mini game toy sensation. They are small, colorful figures whose gaming origins date back to Ancient Greece, where children played by bouncing and throwing knuckle bones. These more refined, plastic characters are available in the hundreds, each one having a unique face and name.

“We are pleased to be providing free Gogos Crazy Bones right in our backyard at Toronto Comic Con,” said Gogos Crazy BonesPeter Irwin, Irwin Toys. “It is extremely special for Irwin Toys to participate in the inaugural show here, since Gareb has been a family friend for as long as my father and I can remember.”

Gogos Crazy Bones was named the 2009 British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) Collectible Toy of the Year. The characters have recently been hugely popular in Europe and Australia and were first a big hit in the U.S. more than a decade ago, when 31.5 million packages were sold from 1998-2000.

“Having an international sensation like Gogos Crazy Bones available free to kids is a great bonus for Toronto Comic Con attendees,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard Entertainment CEO. “It’s particularly gratifying to be partnering with Irwin Toy, which in addition to being based in Toronto, has been a leader in the industry for more than 80 years.” Read the rest of this entry »

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17th March 2010

The Journey Continues in Dragon Age Origins Awakening

Dragon Age Origins: AwakeningI started playing Bioware’s newest release last night. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is full of gaming goodness, thus far I am quite pleased with the expansion – other than not being able to connect to the Dragon Age servers, that is. I only had time to play it for a couple of hours last night, but I am really liking the new skills and abilities. So many more decisions to make on character development and tactical slots. There are undoubtedly many players who are much further into the chapter than I am, but I haven’t gone looking on the Bioware Community Forum for any reports back because I don’t want any spoilers. I am kind of missing having my warrior dog and the companions from Origins, but thus far Oghren and Anders are keeping me amused. I am only just starting to venture out from Vigil’s Keep (yes, I play slow because I Bioware Corpexplore absolutely everywhere I possibly can and I talk to the NPCs often, because you never know what you may find out. There was a surprising turn of events during the Joining ceremony near the beginning of the chapter, but you can be sure I will be playing this chapter more than once to see what other differences or surprises there may be, depending on the choices I make. Now on to getting the rest of today’s news posted so that I can go and continue my journey in Ferelden.

EA GamesBurnaby – The dev crews over at EA Black Box have been very busy. Yesterday the studio announced the official Need for Speed World beta launch, and today they’re inviting gamers to team up and throw down in Skate™ 3, the latest installment in the award-winning franchise. Skate 3 will be in stores in North America on May 11th, 2010 and worldwide on May 14th, 2010. Redefining the skateboarding experience, Skate 3 breaks new ground by letting gamers build their ultimate skate team both offline and co-operatively (*internet and EA account required for online play) to take on new challenges or competitive battles against other teams. Skate 3

“Since the very beginning of the Skate franchise, we have captured the true essence of skateboarding, be it from the feel of nailing that perfect trick, to the feeling of just hanging out and sessioning with your friends,” said Jason DeLong, Senior Producer. “For us, SKATE 3 is the culmination of this endeavor – the most connected, accessible and social skateboarding experience yet.”

In the all-new Skate.School, Coach Frank acts as a mentor and teaches newcomers the ropes by showing them all the ins-and-outs of skateboarding as they hone their skills on the sticks before hitting the streets with their team. Veterans will also feel right at home in Skate.School as they refresh their skills but also learn all the new tricks SKATE 3 has to offer including darkslides and underflips.

Gamers can hit the streets with the pros in the all-new city of Port Carverton – a true skater’s paradise with unique districts, skate parks, and endless lines. For fans with a creative flair, the new Skate.Park editor allows gamers to create their own dream plaza or mega-ramp park from scratch or use the Object Dropper to alter the landscape of Port Carverton to truly change the face of the city. In the end, SKATE 3 delivers a completely immersive and connected experience, giving gamers the tools to build and share their own skate parks, videos, and photos with all their friends by uploading them via the internet directly from their console or by importing custom created graphics & logos from the Skate website (*internet and EA account required).

SKATE 3 features a deep roster of the world’s greatest skaters including several Thrasher Skater of the Year winners:

Andrew Reynolds Eric Koston Mark Appleyard
Benny Fairfax Jason Dill Mike Carroll
Braydon Szafranski Jason Lee (as Coach Frank) P.J. Ladd
Chris Cole Jerry Hsu Pat Duffy
Chris Haslam Joey Brezinski Ray Barbee
Colin McKay John Cardiel Rob Dyrdek
Dan Drehobl John Rattray Ryan Gallant
Danny Way Josh Kalis Ryan Smith
Darren Navarrette Lizard King Terry Kennedy
Dennis Busenitz Lucas Puig

 

SKATE 3 will be available on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

Cultural Human Resources Council of CanadaOttawa – The Cultural Human Resources Council has asked The Conference Board of Canada to examine the cultural sector workforce in Canada. They want to learn about your opinions on the opportunities, challenges, trends and issues that you face; as well as your suggestions for enhancing the quality and sustainability of Canada’s cultural sector.

The Cultural Human Resources Council works for and with all the cultural industries and arts disciplines in the cultural sector including: Live Performing Arts; Writing and Publishing; Visual Arts and Crafts; Film and Television Production; Broadcasting; Digital Media; Music and Sound Recording; and Heritage.

To help to maintain funding and programs specific to the need of the cultural sectors, please take the time to complete the survey. There is a survey tailored to employees, freelancers and employers. The survey can be accessed online.

Sault Ste Marie – There is plenty of activity going on at Algoma University as well. The University will be hosting the 3-day Digital Storytelling Workshop organized by the Queer Voices of the North Film Festival. The workshop will be held in the Round Room at the George Leach Centre March 22nd to the 24th, 2010, and is intended to provide a venue for local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, two-spirited, and other transgendered or queer (LGBT2SQ) youth to share their stories about living in the North.

Algoma University’s Diversity Advisory Committee first became involved with the festival in February, 2010. It is Northern Ontario’s only LGBT2SQ film festival and seeks to provoke important discussion on queer topics, to increase queer visibility in the North, and to celebrate local LGBT2SQ history. “Algoma University embraces the diverse composition of its student population.” said Diversity Advisory Committee Chair Dawn Elmore, “This workshop and festival provide an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited youth to come together and share stories about their experiences in the north. This sharing of perspectives enriches our learning community and promotes respect and understanding in our community.”

“Algoma University’s on-campus club Proud Algoma hosted the very first Queer Voices Film Festival, and since then it grew to be a size that required use of both Galaxy Cinemas and the Grand Theatre.” said festival co-director, Sarah Broad, “It really feels fitting that at its 5-year anniversary, it will be back at the University for the capacity-building piece.”

The Digital Storytelling Workshop is being conducted by Toronto’s Centre for Digital Storytelling. The workshop will bring 10 LGBT2SQ youth through the process of creating their own digital stories which participants can opt to screen on Saturday, March 27th, during the Queer Voices of the North Film Festival. Digital stories are two to five minute videos created by individuals sharing their own stories through voice, images, music, and other found objects in their lives. The digital storytelling workshop blends creative writing, oral history, and digital video production to support individuals and communities in making connections between their own lives and the lives of others.

The workshop is quickly filling up, and any interested individuals are asked to apply soon. Applications are available at the Queer Voices web site, and can be submitted online or they can be picked up and returned in person to Desireé Beck, Healthy Sexuality Co-ordinator at HARP, located in the Group Health Centre offices at 262 Queen St. East. Applicants must identify as a member of a minority sexual or gender identity (LGBT2SQ) and be under the age of 30. Some subsidies are available for Northern youth from outside Sault Ste. Marie to attend the workshop.

Algoma U has also opened its Games for Health studio, which is student-run and will focus on developing video games which have therapeutic benefit.  Over the past few months, Algoma Games for Health has been working with Toronto Rehabilitation on a prototype for recovering language skills after a stroke. The concept is to develop a game that can be used remotely by patients and therapists.

Speaking about the partnership in a press article released today, studio director Dwayne Hammond stated that “games can bring value to so many different areas. In health care, there is enormous potential for games to be employed therapeutically. Traditional rehabilitation techniques can be tedious for the patient, but by adding interactive gaming style content, patients are often more motivated to stick with their therapy.”

Games can also automatically collect valuable research data and monitor patient progress, and they can be delivered to those in need in a cost effective manner that is not restricted by geographical concerns or proximity to therapists.

Furthermore, Algoma Games for Health presents an excellent opportunity for its bachelor’s and master’s students to work in a professional studio on real-life projects. Last year, two students worked on the prototype of the language skills recovery game.

Algoma’s innovative MSc program in gaming (linked by videoconference over advanced networks such as ORION and CANARIE to the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland) has graduated its first crop of graduates – some of whom have found employment in the field in the Sault Ste. Marie region. In addition, the Algoma Games for Health initiative is not only an ideal learning ground for students in real-world gaming applications, it may also become an incubator for program graduates to work on specific projects.

With funding from the municipal, provincial and federal governments and now with a full-time staff of four developers, Algoma Games for Health is also exploring the potential of videoconferencing technology to connect therapists to patients in their homes.

Portfolio EntertainmentTorontoPortfolio Entertainment Inc. has brought together a diverse and prominent pool of jurors from across the globe to weigh-in on the top 15 finalists and select the winner and runner-up of the company’s recently launched “In Toon With Tweens” animation contest.

Lending their expertise to select the two most entertaining, innovative and bold projects are Carole Bonneau (TELETOON Canada inc.), Marc Buhaj (Disney Channels EMEA), Rick Clodfelter (Cartoon Network), Jocelyn Hamilton (Corus Entertainment), Linda Simensky (PBS KIDS), Andra Sheffer (Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund) and Shari Cohen (Ontario Media Development Corporation). Contest prizes total $10,000 CDN in cash as part of Option and Development Agreements and winners will be notified on September 15, 2010. The announcement was made today by Portfolio Entertainment’s Co-Founders & Presidents, Lisa Olfman and Joy Rosen.

“We are thrilled to have such a diverse group of industry experts involved with our inaugural animation contest. Each juror was chosen for their extraordinary background in kids entertainment as well as their valuable understanding of the market,” said Olfman. “We want animators and creators to know that we want to encourage them by providing this opportunity to unleash their creative talents, articulate their distinct visions and gain unprecedented access to the insights of our judges.”

Hailing from one of Canada’s leading children’s broadcasters, Carole Bonneau is VP, Programming for TELETOON Canada inc. where she oversees the acquisition, original production and scheduling strategy for four distinct nationwide specialty television channels, TELETOON English and French, and TELETOON Retro English and French.

Representing the world’s most recognizable mouse, Marc Buhaj currently serves as SVP Original Programming for Disney Channels EMEA overseeing all aspects of Disney Channels Europe, Middle East and Africa’s content including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Playhouse Disney and Disney Cinemagic.

Providing support from global powerhouse Cartoon Network, Rick Clodfelter, serves as Director, Acquisitions & Co Productions and is responsible for acquiring pre-produced series, specials, short-form product and series co-productions that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands.

Representing Canada’s leading kids broadcaster, Jocelyn Hamilton, VP, Programming and Production, Corus Kids, oversees the programming and content strategies for YTV, Treehouse and Nickelodeon in Canada, as well as Nelvana Studio.

Stepping-in to represent the renowned U.S. public broadcasting service, Linda Simensky is Vice President of Children’s Programming for PBS KIDS. In her role she collaborates with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast for existing and new series.

Offering insight from the world of digital media, Andra Sheffer, Executive Director for Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund manages three private funds supporting the Canadian television and new media industries: the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, the Independent Production Fund, and the COGECO Program Development Fund.

Rounding out the panel of judges, Shari Cohen, Program Consultant for Ontario Media Development Corporation, brings decades of animation production and entertainment law experience to the table. Currently, she specializes in facilitating the development and production of creative content for screen-based delivery platforms through programs such as the OMDC Screen-Based Content Initiative and the new Intellectual Property Fund.

The “In Toon With Tweens” animation contest is an initiative designed by Portfolio Entertainment to encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking by throwing the doors open to new voices within the global animation community. Animators and creators with serious comedy chops are invited to submit their original television or multiplatform projects targeting kids 8 to 12 years old for a chance at $10,000 CDN in cash as part of Option and Development Agreements. Entries must be received by June 15, 2010 and winners will be notified on September 15, 2010. Complete guidelines, eligibility requirements and instructions for submission can be found online.

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15th March 2010

Beware the Ides of March and Enigmatic Thieves

mingleverseVancouverMingleverse is holding a promo contest and giving away A 50-Person Mingle Room with all features, including live video, for 1-year, built to the winner’s personal specifications. The contest winner will get to spend an hour with our Mingle Room designer to discuss room design, along with a $50.00 Google Adwords credit to spend on promoting your mingles or your mingle group. This contest is open to everyone. Please visit the Mingleverse contest page for details on how to enter.Kasumi Goto

EdmontonBioware has officially announced the next downloadable character for Mass Effect 2 (I mentioned her yesterday in my review of ME2). Kasumi Goto is a thief. More specifically, she is an enigmatic human thief and the Illusive Man has requested that Shepard add her to his (or her, depending on the gender of your Commander Shepard) elite squad. As with all of the other squad members, Kasumi will come along with her own baggage in the way of a quest which Shepard will have to help her with in order to win her loyalty. Kasumi is tentatively scheduled to be available in early April. It is interesting to note that on the Mass Effect 2 character page, there are still two slots marked “Classified” so I think we can safely say that there is lots more to look forward to from Bioware. Like…M57 Hover Tanks…and more missions.

D-BoxLongueuilD-BOX Technologies Inc. has announced its first agreement with Walt Disney Pictures to feature its groundbreaking motion technology with the studio’s new film from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, opening in theatres May 28.Prince of Persia Sands of Time

“We are very proud to count Walt Disney Pictures as a supporter of our technology. Disney has a very good reputation within the industry and has demonstrated over the years much dynamism and vision. Following last year’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, which complements their already broad portfolio, this studio is well positioned to produce movies which will fit particularly well with our technology”, declared Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies.

From the team that brought the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to the big screen, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, an epic action-adventure set in the mystical lands of Persia. A rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) and together they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time – a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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12th March 2010

Deus Ex Human Revolution Updates and INplay 2010 Keynotes Announced

Eidos MontrealMontreal/Vancouver via GDCEidos Montreal has unveiled the first trailer for Deus EX 3: Human Revolution. The trailer, developed in conjunction with Visual Works and Vancouver’s Goldtooth Creative, has made its debut at the Game Developers Conference. Comments from gamers around the globe reflect the growing anticipation for this next chapter, which will go back to the roots of the original Deus Ex and meld the FPS genre with RPG. As with a number of different recent titles, the player will be able to choose from multiple paths and outcomes, which in my opinion, increases the re-playability for the game.

The development team is also striving for a more open world feel, which will also give the player a bit more freedom in respect to game play. Human Revolution will be a single player title and a prequel to the previous two Deus Ex games. Eidos Montreal has stated that there will be areas to explore, treasures to find and of course weaponry to master.

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According to information on the Human Revolution web site, the “lead character is Adam Jensen, a security response specialist who’s been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America’s most experimental biotechnology firms. You, playing as Adam, are all-human, all organic…. for now, that is. You start pure, but as the story unfolds you are forced to augment yourself in order to survive and achieve objectives. Adam has a history leading up to the events that start the game, so his background is well fleshed out and we will learn more about him and his past, and his future, as the game progresses.”

Team members from Eidos Montreal have previously told me that E3 2010 will be a very important show for Human Revolution – and the end of the teaser trailer promises that more will be unveiled. The concept arti which I’ve seen on their site is very impressive, and the revealed (thus far) weaponry looks like there will be all kinds of opportunities for massive mayhem.

Eidos Montreal General Manager Stephane D’Astous states on the the studio’s site that “GDC 2010 marks the first part of our communications campaign for Deus EX. We have a lot to unveil and we’re excited to get started; there will be a lot more to come.”

Deus EX 3: Human Revolution will be available for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, but no firm release date has been announced, but I can safely say that Human Revolution is on our Wanted list.

INplay 2010TorontoInteractive Ontario today announced the first keynote speakers for INplay 2010, a conference about the art and business of kids interactivity. Jon Berrett, Executive Producer and Christian Jacobs, Co-creator, Director and Writer of the hit kids TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba, will be keynote speakers at the conference, taking place on May 18 & 19, 2010, at the Liberty Grand in Toronto, Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th March 2010

High Definition Clash of Heroes Coming This Summer

UbisoftMontreal Ubisoft announced that it will bring the critically acclaimed Might & Magic Clash of Heroes to the Playstation® Network (PSN) from Sony and Xbox LIVE Arcade (XBLA) from Microsoft. Developed by Capybara Games, the creators of Might & Magic Clash of Heroes for the Nintendo DS ™ system, Might and Magic Clash of Heroes XBLA/PSN will give players the opportunity to enjoy the remarkable gameplay now in high definition (HD).

Might and Magic Clash of Heroes in HD“We’re very excited to bring Might & Magic Clash of Heroes to PSN and XBLA,” said Senior Producer, Romain de Waubert de Genlis. “Not only have we had the chance to adapt all of our graphics to High-Definition, but we’ve also had the opportunity to improve the game even further, both in single-player battles and in the main campaign. We took many of the community’s recurring wishes into consideration, allowing players to match their strategic skills and taking full advantage of the online capabilities of PSN and XBLA.”

Might and Magic Clash of Heroes XBLA/PSN will take advantage of the next-gen console’s capabilities to increase its visual appeal and enrich the multiplayer experience. With a unique mix of RPG and an exceptional puzzle battle system. This upcoming release will give Might & Magic fans something to look forward to this Summer 2010.

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Key features include:

* Rich Might & Magic Universe
* High-definition environments with manga art design
* Five different factions and five different heroes with five different stories
* Fresh turn-based puzzle battle system with offensive & defensive combos
* Unlockable heroes
* Online Level-up & Ranking
* Multiplayer mode for 2-4 players local and online.The Architect

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has released information about new Dragon Age Origins: Awakening baddie The Architect – the first darkspawn to develop a will of his own and an unusual outcast who seems not to be subject to the call of the Old Gods, nor to the other darkspawn compulsions. Even though he is highly intelligent, the Architect has little understanding of humanity, and treating him as anything other than the darkspawn that he is would probably be detrimental to your character’s health. Awakening will be unleashed on the gaming public this coming Tuesday.

robots and pencilsCalgaryiPhoneDevCamp 2 (YYC), produced by Robots and Pencils Inc., is taking place this weekend at Calgary Technologies Inc. The 1 day barcamp style un-conference starts at 9am and is open to people wanting to learn more about iPhone Apps development, marketing, business models and funding.

The list of speakers confirmed for iPhoneDevCamp 2 includes:

* Jon Lam of the iPhoenix Fund 1 and BigStack Studios Inc.
* Michael Sikorsky of Robots and Pencils Inc.
* Michael Loh of iKingdom Corp.
* Stephen Gazzard of Broken Kings Inc.
* Brenden Duddridge of TapForms.com
* Trevor Doerksen of MoboVivo Inc.
* Paul Thorsteinson of Big Nerds in Disguise
* Isa Goksu of ThoughtWorks Inc. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Adult Only, Associations, Business News, Casual, Digital Products, Education, Events, Everyone 10+, Game Dev, Mature, New Releases, Puzzle, RPG - MMORPG, Social Media, Software, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

11th March 2010

dimeRocker Opens Platform For Unity Developers To Socialize and Monetize Games

Overinteractive MediaVancouver via GDC OverInteractive Media Inc. (OMI) announced the official open-beta release of dimeRocker, the company’s premiere self-publishing platform that enables Unity developers to deploy and monetize their games across the social web from a single, centralized account.dimeRocker

The launch will allow Unity game developers – 100,000 downloads of the engine to date – to create an account at dimeRocker and access an ever-growing feature-set that includes the following turn-key API:

• Deployment to Social Networks (Facebook and MySpace )
• Real-time global and Social Leaderboards
• Achievements
• Scalable Hosting
• Social Engagement (Wall Posts, Challenges, etc.)
• Microtransaction System

“These initial beta developers will be invaluable in helping to shape dimeRocker’s technology moving forward, and will receive many “first-look” opportunities as we roll out new tools and services,” said OverInteractive Media CEO Jason Joly. “We currently have over 150 Unity developers signed up and expect to be see some exciting games using our platform in coming months.”Downtown East Side Games

In tandem with the open-beta launch of dimeRocker, OMI is showcasing two next-gen social games inside the Unity booth at GDC. The first, “Air Traffic Complex GamesCommander”, is developed by Downtown East Side Games, in partnership with Complex Games. The game shows-off a wide range of dR functionality, from social engagement to microtransactions.

The second is a browser-version of the popular iPhone/iTouch title “Battle Bears”, downloaded more than two million times via Apple’s App store. The game took under two weeks to port over to the web and deploy via dimeRocker. SkyVu Pictures, the company behind “Battle Bears” sees this opportunity as way to not only market the App, but also provide a secondary stream of revenue from social networks like Facebook with its 400 million users. In coming months, OMI will keep expanding the dimeRocker platform by offering real-time analytics, in-game advertising and iPhone connectivity.

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