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9th March 2010

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

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

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

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

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8th March 2010

Parties, Departures, New Releases and Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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5th March 2010

Award Deadlines, EA NFS Beta Test and Student Presentations

Canadian Video Game AwardsVancouver – A reminder that nominations are open for the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards, which will be held May 5th, 2010 here in Vancouver, BC. This event will honour and celebrate the best and brightest in Canadian games, computer animation and visual effects. It will be a great, fun, fast paced night featuring Canadian hosts and presenters, as well as internationally renowned musical talent VideoGames Live! You only have until midnight, Wednesday, March 17th to get your submissions in – all nominations must be made on-line at the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards website.

All awards are for work completed in Canada by December 31st 2009. This includes products that were certified gold during the 2009 calendar year. Please note: videogame upgrades, expansions and mission packs are not eligible.

Technology Impact AwardsVancouver – We’d also like to remind  you that the Technology Impact Awards also has a nomination deadline of March 17th. The BCTIA Technology Impact Awards celebrate the successes of our industry and the companies, people and innovation that continue to put British Columbia on the map and who serve as role models for others in our province. The Technology Impact Awards will be presented at the BCTIA dinner on June 8th. The dinner will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre beginning at 530pm.

Masters of Digital MediaVancouver – Last evening we stopped in at the Masters of Digital Media portfolio presentations, as always we were very impressed with all of the projects going on. The instructors, mentors and administrators at the campus have much to be proud of, and we foresee a very bright future for all of the innovative students in the current class. We invite you to check out the industry projects which we got a look at last night. We were particularly impressed with the innovative eLearning application Wound Care as well as with the Rainforest Project and the Bateman Centre Visualization Project.

 

Vancouver – Following the portfolio presentation we went over to the Pacific Space Centre to attend the VANarts graduation ceremony. VANarts also has many students to be proud of, as witnessed in the many student reels which were presented for 2D and 3D animation, Visual Effects, Game Art and Design and Digital Photography. We wish the graduating class all the best as they venture out into the wonderful world of digital media. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd March 2010

Clicktoy The Meadow Now Available in the Apple Store

Clicktoy InteractiveVancouverClicktoy Interactive is pleased to announce the release of its software “The Meadow“for the Apple Mac. The award winning interactive software for children ages 1 to 5 is now available for purchase at local Canadian Apple Stores and select US Apple stores, and online at store.Apple.com.

Colourful 3-D graphics, nature sounds and original music bring nature to life on screen where children can join Mr. and Mrs. Bunny as they visit their friends living in The Meadow. With the simple press of a key, your child can guide the animals through the beautiful meadow environment.

“Any parent can tell you that when they’re working on their computer, the little one will come along and want to sit on their lap and press buttons,” said Ken Kavanagh, developer of The Meadow and president of Clicktoy Interactive. “As every key has a function, children are free to interact with the computer without worry.”

With The Meadow, parents and children can explore this charming and peaceful place together, featuring:

* Four detailed scenes
* ClickSafe locks the keyboard, prevents your child from exiting the application
* Stunning graphics and immersion in a virtual nature-walk
* Make up your own stories and imagine together

Available on the PC since 2008 “The Meadow” is now available for the Mac OS. Offered in over 17 languages the game sells for $24.95 and is available now for the Mac or PC.  Village Gamer congratulates Ken Kavanagh and Clicktoy Interactive with this new release – and fully recommends “The Meadow” to anyone who has a toddler and/or pre-schooler in their family.

VFSVancouverVancouver Film School is pleased to present the $30,000 Women in Games Scholarship for the second straight year. This Scholarship covers the full tuition for a female aspiring game designer to attend VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

With International Women’s Day on March 8 highlighting the achievements of women and the need to create a more equal and rewarding future for girls, the announcement of the Women in Games scholarship is timely. In an industry traditionally dominated by men – around 90%, according to Game Developer Magazine’s 2009 Salary Survey – the scholarship was established as a concerted effort by VFS to encourage greater opportunities for females wishing to pursue Game Design as a career. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st March 2010

Yummy Inks New Deal, Bioware and Ubisoft Release A Little Information

Yummy InteractiveVancouverYummy Interactive, Inc., developer of premiere digital distribution technologies, has partnered with Metaboli, Europe’s leader in digital distribution of PC games, to improve and enhance Metaboli’s class-leading online video game subscription services in Europe and in North America with GameTap.

“We’re very delighted to have partnered with Metaboli and to be helping them expand their subscriber base across the globe, especially with their many telecom partners in Europe and GameTap’s service in the United States. There is a strong fit between both companies regarding our culture and goals. Core to both of our company’s philosophies is creating the best experience possible for users playing games online,” says Nick Mellios, CEO of Yummy Interactive.

By integrating the Yummy Games delivery platform and associated APIs into its on demand service platform Metaboli has increased compatibility, download speeds and added more games to deliver exceptional value and ease of use for their customers such as British Telecom and France Telecom, along with their 50+ other white-label services.

Metaboli now offers support for games on 64-bit processors along with Microsoft Windows®7 compatibility. A variety of games will also support mods, patches, and custom maps adding even more value to Metaboli’s services.

“By partnering with Yummy we have been able to make a leap forward in our Games on Demand services. Because Yummy’s solution is so easy to integrate and feature-rich, we have been able to innovate for the next generation of online PC gaming, and we are now even better positioned to take advantage of the paradigm shift to downloadable game content,” said Olivier Decrock, CEO of Metaboli.

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has updated the Dragon Age wiki with new information about Dragon Age: Awakening. Players can get more advance information about the enhancements coming when Awakening is released in two weeks for Mages and Rogues. It appears that there will also be new information coming soon for Warriors, Armour and Weapons, but those pages have not yet been added to the Wiki. In the meantime, here is the latest trailer which introduces Mhairi, one of the newest Grey Warden recruits. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th February 2010

ParetoLogic Introduces Long-Awaited Anti-Virus Feature For Gamers

ParetoLogicVictoria – For far too long, PC video gamers faced an unpleasant dilemma: keep their anti-virus software active and suffer the loss of game performance, or disable their protection and risk infection by a myriad of online threats. PC gamers must be constantly aware of system resources, RAM usage, processor speed, as well as the added threat of malware and virus infection. An innovative feature makes this a lot easier.

Newly introduced to the PC security world, the so-called “Game Mode” gives users the ability to tweak their anti-virus activity, and thereby conserve power for gaming.ParetoLogic Anti-Virus Plus

ParetoLogic Anti-Virus PLUS added the feature with a recent program update, and users of the software can now select the unique Game Mode from the software settings page. Norman Eldridge, Technical Product Manager at ParetoLogic, explained that “a Game Mode should be a perfect balance between safety and performance – we think we’ve got that here.”

In modern gaming, visual graphics have grown incredibly, requiring more advanced memory cards and processors. Gamers are forced to squeeze their systems for every ounce of power. ”Anti-virus database updates, scheduled scans, and active protection can really be a drain on system resources,” said Mr. Eldridge. “The new Game Mode allows users to switch to a log-only state, where the program will avoid processor-intensive tasks.”

Gamers, and all PC users, can download ParetoLogic Anti-Virus PLUS from the ParetoLogic homepage. All editions of the anti-virus software are equipped with Game Mode capability.

Pug PharmVancouver – Word is out that Pug Pharm’s Snoget is now in open beta. The social networking game puts a new twist on finding and making friends on a global scale – and is dubbed by its creators as a “Web 3.0 Social Discovery Engine.”snoget

Players register for a free Snoget account, and then spend time collecting items and connecting with people who have like interests. For those who want to expand and fully experience all that Snoget has to offer, Snoget will soon include a selection of premium features and abilities that are available for purchase for those who are interested in an enhanced experience. The first 20,000 participants who sign up during this phase of the open beta will receive 20 exclusive board collection slots that will remain free even after the open beta has concluded. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd February 2010

Dawn of War 2 Chaos Rising Goes Gold

Relic EntertainmentVancouverRelic Entertainment’s Warhammer® 40,000™: Dawn of War® II – Chaos Rising™, the highly anticipated standalone chapter in the critically acclaimed RTS series, has reached the gold master stage of development and entered manufacturing. Chaos Rising features the traitorous Chaos Space Marines army as a playable race, a new single-player campaign, a level cap increase from 20 to 30, more powerful war-gear and a suite of innovative multiplayer options. Scheduled for a nationwide release at all major retail and online outlets on March 11, 2010, Chaos Rising will be available as a Games for Windows LIVE® PC title for a suggested retail price of $29.99.

“Chaos Rising is the perfect follow up to Dawn of War II, 2009’s RTS Game of the Year, offering an incredible amount of new content for an amazing value,” said Travis Plane, Vice President of Global Brand Management, THQ. “Relic Entertainment is the industry’s leading RTS developer and will once again deliver bone-crushing action, breathtaking visuals and unprecedented innovation in the genre.”

“Chaos Rising builds on the success of Dawn of War II to create a truly epic and memorable experience for fans and newcomers alike,” said Jonathan Dowdeswell, General Manager, Relic Entertainment. “The game features an intense single player campaign with 15 new action-packed missions and our most brutal multiplayer army yet, the Chaos Space Marines.”

CNIE-RCIÉ St. John – The CNIE-RCIÉ Awards Festival, which recognizes excellence in the innovative educational practice and use of learning technologies in all educational settings has issued a call for Submissions and Jurors. Distributed learning, open/distance education, and institutional contexts including government, commercial and or industrial sectors, both nationally and internationally, are invited to participate in the competition which will be adjudicated by a committee of professional peers from across Canada.

A total of approximately 20 Awards are available for presentation in English and French.

Two different CNIE-RCIÉ categories are open to competition:

· Awards Festival

· Graduate Student Stipend Award

The deadline date for submission for the Awards Festival program is February 25th, 2010, with the Awards presented at the Festival which takes place in St. John NB this coming May 16-19. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st February 2010

GDC Canada Reveals First Look At Sessions

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver – A first look at some of the sessions taking place at GDC Canada 2010, which is happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre this May 6 & 7 was released at the end of last week. GDC Canada 2009 offered many opportunities to learn, exchange ideas, network and socialize, and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year. With the addition of the Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards, Video Games Live and the return of the Game Career Seminar, GDC Canada is growing, and this is a great thing to see in our city.

Haven’t registered yet? Alumni Registration, for those who attended GDC Canada 2009 or VIGS 2008, closes on February 26th, with Early Bird registration open until March 31, 2010. There are also many opportunities for event sponsorship, from general sponsorship to networking events and more.

Check the GDC Canada site often for the latest schedule updates.

* Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light
Speaker: Bill Mooney (Zynga)
Topic: Social & Casual

The social gaming market is exploding – viral propagation across the world, low barriers to entry which create agile competitors, and a rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace. Bill walks through key learnings from his time making Zynga franchises Mafia Wars and FarmVille.

* A Tale of 14 Apps: IUGO’s App Store Journey
Speaker: Sarah Thomson (IUGO Mobile Entertainment)
Topic: iPhone

IUGO Mobile Entertainment, one of the leading independent mobile developers delves behind the scenes to reveal their successes and failures on the App Store. IUGOs Director of Business Development, Sarah Thomson, shares details on which of their 14 titles have been hits and which underperformed. Through thoughtful and compelling analysis Sarah discusses why some titles excelled while others failed; which were a surprise and how some were a disappointment. Take a rare glimpse into one of the most prolific producers of premium games on the App Store and find out what the future holds for IUGO and the iPhone. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th February 2010

Game Design Expo Reveals 2010 Lineup

Game Design Expo 2010Vancouver – The fourth annual Game Design Expo will take place April 10 and 11, 2010 in Vancouver. This popular event for video game industry professionals and gamers will be tackling the most pressing challenges and trends in the game industry now and for the future, and features the game industry luminaries responsible for today’s most innovative games.

Hosted by the Game Design program at Vancouver Film School (VFS), Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution, Game Design Expo begins with the perennially sold-out Industry Speaker Day on Saturday, April 10: a chance for pros and enthusiasts to come together for a day of talks and panels.

This year’s speakers include Armando Troisi, Lead Cinematic Designer on BioWare’s runaway hit Mass Effect 2, to discuss the game’s groundbreaking approach to interactive narrative, and United Front Games’ William Ho, who will explore user-generated content through the lens of the highly-anticipated PS3 title ModNation Racers.

Other speakers include creative movers from the legendary California-based developer Obsidian Entertainment (Alpha Protocol), Blue Castle Games (Dead Rising 2), Propaganda Games (Tron: Evolution), and Big Sandwich Games (Sky Pirates of Neo Terra). The day culminates with a spirited industry panel hosted by Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas called “The Future of Gaming.”

Tickets to Industry Speaker Day, which have sold out quickly every year, are on sale now at $75 (CDN). For ticket purchases, schedule, and more about the event, visit gamedesignexpo.com.

On Sunday, April 11, VFS will throw open the doors to its acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named a top 10 school “most favoured by video game industry recruiters” by the Los Angeles Times, for a free, day-long Open House. Sunday’s event offers a hands-on look at the program, providing visitors with the opportunity to test-drive student- and alumni-created games, take sample classes, and meet faculty and students.

The Open House will also launch the 2010 Women in Games $30,000 scholarship to VFS. Inaugurated last year, the scholarship is part of VFS Game Design’s ongoing initiative to actively support women entering the game industry – the only one of its kind in the world.

Because space is limited, anyone interested in attending the Open House is strongly encouraged to register now, before it fills to capacity.

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15th February 2010

Award Nominations, Demo Reels and Product Announcements

Orby - Proud to be Canadian

Village Gamer is Proud to Be Canadian

GO CANADA GO!


appboyEdmonton – A Smartphone as an x-ray machine? “There’s an app for that.” This phrase is starting to become as commonplace as saying “hello” when answering the phone. According to Gartner Research, Smartphone consumers are estimated to spend more than $6 billion and download over 4.5 billion mobile applications this year. With the mounting popularity of this phenomenon, AppBoy launched an easy-to-use, revolutionary social network that aims at connecting mobile app developers and users.

“AppBoy was developed to help developers get their apps discovered and to help users navigate through the thousands of available apps to find the ones they like,” says Thorren Koopmans, Director of Operations for AppBoy.

With more than 100,000 apps on the market, it’s difficult for app entrepreneurs to stand out. AppBoy gives app developers of multiple platforms (Android, iPhone, Palm and Blackberry) an opportunity to easily showcase their work and market their creations to mobile app lovers. Through personal developer profile pages created on the site, developers can share their ideas and even create their own app store. Apps sold through the social network also earn the developer a share of the profits.

AppBoy also has a lot to offer for those who aren’t building their own apps. Any user with ideas that are useful, smart or just plain entertaining can submit them to the website. Visitors to the social network have the ability to vote and comment on submissions. If the ideas generate enough votes, AppBoy rewards the user $250 and creates the app.

“We already have a great value proposition for both developers and end users, but we’re just getting started. There are big updates coming that are going to make AppBoy that much better.” Read the rest of this entry »

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