4th June 2009

VFS Grads Present Projects

VFSVancouver – Last evening, the GD12 students at Vancouver Film School presented their grad projects to an evaluation audience in the VFS Main Theatre. The students spend several weeks in pre-production developing their game concepts, and then an additional 12 weeks in production, bringing their concepts to life.

The first group up to the podium was Team LightSpeed, presenting their 2D Action Platformer game Travis’ Terror. The target audience for this imaginative and colourful game is children under 10, and to that end I feel that they came very close to making a product appropriate for the age group. Developed on Citrus

Lightning Speed

Light Speed

flash engine, the game’s environment is comprised of artwork which resembles colouring book drawings. The gameplay involves two modes: dreamtime and nightmare. In dreamtime mode, the environment is bright and colourful while nightmare mode has a darker colour palette. The premise of the game is to help Travis get through the game and defeat the boogeyman lurking in his closet. As the player advances through the levels, he is confronted by monsters such as dinosaurs and robots. In dreamtime mode, the monsters are small and easily defeatable. In nightmare mode the monsters are bigger and more challenging. Game progress can be saved at nightlight checkpoints, and there are toys and candies to collect along the way. The player can choose several different paths through the game, each path presenting different challenges. Travis’ Terror is a game which I feel showed hard work and attention to detail on the part of the development team, who overcame many challenges including losing a team member partway through the project.
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1st June 2009

Ubisoft Trailers Surprise Thrill and Tantalize

UbisoftMontrealVia E3 – Earlier today Ubisoft unveiled their lofty list of upcoming titles at E3 – and I will admit that they did surprise, thrill and tantalize my tingly gamer senses. Ubisoft’s trailers have always been well done, but in this round, I have to say that the creativity, especially with the Red Steel 2, Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage and R.U.S.E. trailers, has advanced to new levels. Even the new Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Convictions may have won me over – this new incarnation of Sam Fisher looks like my kind of game hero – and the trailer appears to have some pretty intense game play and storyline happening.

A very pleasant surprise in the bevy of trailer reels was the preview of Academy of Champions. The game is very colourful with stylized characters and a highly-detailed environment, and judging solely from the trailer, Academy of Champions looks like the kind of game a player could end up investing a lot of time in. It would be easy to become drawn into the story and work hard to make sure that the good guys are victorious over the bad. My favourite though, is of course Assassin’s Creed 2. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the continuation of the story will unfold – along with all of that sneaking about with shiny blades stuck up my sleeves.

Continuing on with Ubi’s big announcements, filmmaker James Cameron made a surprise appearance on the press stage, introducing the first details for Avatar: The Game along with Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal.
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1st June 2009

EA SPORTS Launches New Online Hub for Sports Community Competition and Content

EA SportsBurnabyVia E3EA SPORTS™, a label of Electronic Arts Inc., announced today the relaunch of EASPORTS.COM, a brand new online destination in public beta that features unprecedented levels of digital content, new ways for fans to connect and share, and product enhancements that carry over into some of the most popular EA SPORTS console games. EA SPORTS existing sites, www.easports.com and www.easportsworld.com, are merged into the all new destination, currently available at beta.EASPORTS.COM, creating a single EA SPORTS hub on the Web.

“EASPORTS.COM is a logical extension of the EA SPORTS brand – it creates a truly immersive experience that puts the control in users’ hands, and once you do that, the options are endless,” said Steven Chiang, SVP and Group General Manager for EA SPORTS. “The new EASPORTS.COM will give our fans a gateway to competition and feature more ways in one place to connect with their passion for sports and share content. It will also allow EA SPORTS to push the boundaries of customization and new online features to bring gamers around the world coming back for more.”
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29th May 2009

Roundhouse Interactive adds Trish Stratus to The Game Cartel

Roundhouse InteractiveToronto – Renowned celebrity Trish Stratus will bring her entertainment experience to The Game Cartel, as it develops the industry’s first player conceived console video game. “We are so pleased that my good friend, Trish Stratus has become a part of The Game Cartel. She will bring a great new dynamic to our executive board.” Says Mike Montanaro of Roundhouse Interactive. Trish, along with other entertainment and gaming

Trish Stratus

Trish Stratus

personalities will act as advisors, reviewing user submissions and ultimately deciding which ideas will be presented to The Game Cartel member community for voting and approval. Trish is excited to take part in the decision making process saying “I am very happy to be a part of The Game Cartel. I’m looking forward to working with Mike and the other Game Cartel members during the game creation.”

Taking its inspiration from online games, The Game Cartel lets paid members conceive, develop and vote on the direction of select commercially available console games. The current game in development by our members & customers is a first/third person shooter game. The game development will be officially launched to the public at E3, June 2nd to 4th at the L.A. Convention Centre.

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28th May 2009

Smoking Gun Interactive Partners with Visionary Author Douglas Rushkoff for New Studio Property

Smoking Gun InteractiveVancouverSmoking Gun Interactive Inc. a premier independent video game studio announced today that it is collaborating with the award-winning writer Douglas Rushkoff for the story of its as-of-yet undisclosed new property. Rushkoff will work closely with the team at Smoking Gun, to develop story narratives across a range of media formats that can feed off one another and exist concurrently.Douglas Rushkoff

“Our vision at Smoking Gun Interactive has always been to deliver interactive entertainment content in new and exciting ways that push the medium forwards”, said John Johnson CEO and Creative Director of Smoking Gun Interactive, “We are delighted to announce our collaboration with Douglas. His astounding skill in creating compelling narrative is the perfect fit for the themes and scenarios we are introducing in our first property”.

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is a bestselling and controversial author, comic’s writer, intellectual, and documentarian. His ten books on new media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, and Coercion, winner of the Marshall McLuhan Award for best media book. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G, as well as the recently released Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back.
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18th May 2009

Audiokinetic’s Wwise now Bundled with Emergent Gamebryo LightSpeed

audiokineticMontrealAudiokinetic® and Emergent™ have teamed up to provide the video game industry’s only cross-platform, multi-genre development system that fully addresses the audio needs of programmers, game designers, artists and sound designers by including Wwise Emergentright out of the box with every Gamebryo® LightSpeed™ license. The flexibility of LightSpeed’s core technology allows the art of game development to easily evolve across every function of development.

Audiokinetic’s Wwise offers audio programmers and sound designers a complete audio authoring tool with a powerful sound engine, greatly improving workflow while pushing the limits of sound design. Coupled with LightSpeed, Wwise allows developers to audit, profile, and modify sounds in real-time within the current build of the game. This new bundle further simplifies workflow by allowing designers and artists to generate and iterate on any type of asset during all phases of development without recompiling. Content creation is sped up and programmers are free to devote their efforts to game?specific tech for new kinds of gameplay instead of adding and tweaking game content.
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11th May 2009

Is Canada Sliding on The World Stage of Game Development?

develop 100UKDevelop Magazine, a UK-based magazine for the game development industry has released its annual Top 100 worldwide studio list. While there are more Canadian studios listed this year than in previous years, there is a large shift in their placings.

EA Canada, who held the number one position on the Develop 100 list for 2005, 2006 and 2007, was toppled from that position in 2008 by Nintendo, and this year both were moved down a notch by Blizzard Entertainment. Rockstar North took third place, effectively knocking Canada out of the top three. EA Canada, however, still hangs on to the top Canadian spot at number 4 while Ubisoft Montreal finishes at sixth, down three from 2008. Fourth place is the lowest position EA Canada has ever held in the Top 100, while Ubisoft Montreal has moved up and down the list while always remaining in the Top 10; the studio placed 10th in 2007, 6th in 2006 and 5th in 2005.
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8th May 2009

Digital Extremes to Develop BioShock 2 Multiplayer Experience

Digital Extremes2K Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., announced today that it has signed a partnership with Digital Extremes to develop the multiplayer experience for BioShock® 2. Under this partnership, Digital Extremes is working closely with the creative team at 2K Marin to develop a new and substantial element that enhances the lore and fiction of the BioShock universe.BioShock 2

“The fans asked for a multiplayer experience and we answered,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “With Digital Extremes delivering a multiplayer experience for BioShock 2 that features all of the things that make BioShock unique, we’re holding ourselves to a high standard so that we can deliver the depth and variety that fans of the BioShock universe demand.”
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7th May 2009

Big Park To Be Acquired By Microsoft

Microsoft CanadaVancouverMicrosoft Corp. today announced its intent to acquire BigPark Inc., which was founded in 2007 by a group of industry veterans who led the creation and growth of two hugely successful software companies, Distinctive Software Inc. and BigParkElectronic Arts Canada. BigPark’s founding team is composed of business leaders with over 80 years of collective experience in the video game industry, having produced or overseen blockbuster franchises including “Need for Speed,” “FIFA Soccer,” “NBA Street” and “SSX.”

The acquisition will bring BigPark’s talented developers into Microsoft Game Studios, where the team will continue development on an exclusive Xbox 360 game. Over the past year, Microsoft and BigPark have worked closely on this project, providing Microsoft with a clear view into the caliber of talent and innovation at BigPark.
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4th May 2009

Piranha Games Chooses Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine for Upcoming Titles

Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine is the Power Behind Upcoming Titles The Hunt and The StrikeInfernal Engine

Piranha GamesVancouver – Tired of fighting aliens? Maybe its time to take a trip to the great outdoors: or at least the virtual outdoors. Terminal Reality officially announced today that the award-winning Infernal Engine is the technology behind Piranha Games‘ bass fishing title The Strike, as well as their hunting simulation The Hunt.

“The world of videogames is a varied one. Everyone knows about Ghostbusters, but we at Terminal Reality believe in the extreme versatility of the Infernal Engine,” said Joe Kreiner, VP Sales and Marketing at Terminal Reality. “The inclusion of The Strike fishing pole and The Hunt rifle by Griffin International shows how well the Infernal Engine works with gaming peripherals.”
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