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13th August 2010

Robert Tercek To Deliver Keynote At Merging Media Conference

merging media conferenceIf you haven’t heard about it already, the Merging Media Conference is set to take the stage in Vancouver this October 28th and 29th with former President of Digital Media at OWN Robert Tercek delivering the Keynote Address. As the former President of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Creative Director at MTV, Tercek has created breakthrough entertainment experiences for digital platforms across the board, from cable and satellite television to games, interactive television and wireless networks.

According to the Conference’s web site, which is still be under construction as the group prepares for their official launch next week, The M+M Conference will bring together 350-400 media professionals from film, television, mobile, games and interactive media, and feature top International cross-media experts to showcase “Best in Class” Case-studies, discuss the rapidly evolving business of cross-media and explore how new platforms and technology can be adopted to help companies stay competitive.

There will be a Master Class led by Anita Ondine Smith which is designed to help 30-40 producers who have cross media development projects in development and are seeking financing for their projects, to fine-tune their cross-media proposals and business plans. Thus far the Conference appears to be scheduling an impressive speaker line-up, including two of our favourite people, Victor Lucas and Rochelle Grayson along with Susan Bonds, Sibley Verbeck, Caitlin Burns and more

MIGSMiGS has just announced that Narrative Bridging: A CIN workshop will be taking place immediately after the Montreal International Game Summit. The two day workshop takes place November 10 and 11 at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel and will focus on developing advanced interactive narratives using Narrative Bridging. This will give the participants tools for designing interactive narratives for video games and show the mechanisms that motivate the player to action in the game world. The focus will be on Narrative Bridging and model and control design. After the workshop the participants will understand how the narrative creates incentives for the players to form strategies in the game world and how to accommodate for that in the narrative design.

Shaw CableThe Competition Bureau announced today that it has concluded that it will not challenge Shaw Communications Inc.’s proposed acquisition of the over-the-air and specialty television businesses of Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Canwest and certain of its subsidiaries had previously filed for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Shaw is a broadcast distribution undertaking, while its affiliate, Corus Entertainment, is a broadcasting company. Canwest owns and operates an over-the-air television network and an extensive portfolio of specialty television channels.

Following a significant review, the Bureau has concluded that this transaction would not likely give rise to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition having regard to a number of factors, including effective remaining competition, the effect of the regulatory environment, and a lack of relevant competitive concerns on the part of market participants. In particular, with respect to the impact on advertising, the Bureau concluded that there were numerous alternative options available to advertisers.

toronto public libraryThe York Woods Branch (1785 Finch Avenue West) of the Toronto Public Library is bringing the past to life through their new Black Creek Living History project. Local seniors and teens will work together to create a resource that will preserve the unique history of this diverse and vibrant Toronto neighbourhood.

“This is an exciting project and a great opportunity for the community to celebrate its past,” said Jessica Rovito, a librarian at the York Woods Branch. “We want the community to be involved in telling their own stories and preserving them for years to come.” Read the rest of this entry »

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.Canadian Video Game Awards

Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is Bookcamp Vancouverdesigned to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.

The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.

frima studioFrima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!Zombie Tycoon

Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.

If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat United Front Gamesenemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation has released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how toFlip Boom Lite animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:

* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width
* Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate
* Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library

There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to StoryBoard Pro 2undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.

Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.

sillysoftVancouver’s Sillysoft Games has released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010.
Castle Vox
Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.

Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the DreamCatcherrelease of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.

The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.Feature It 2010

Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:

– Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec;
– Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.

Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.

Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.

“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support fFrench Language Project Outside of Quebecrom Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”

Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.

“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”

“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills,French Language Projects Outside of Montreal increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.

Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:

– The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal.
– The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.

Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.

This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.

mytownSFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”

MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.

Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.

rare methodCalgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.

bv mediaRogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.

“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”

“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”

“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.

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3rd August 2010

Fall Conferences and New Films On The Horizon

We’re back after a break over the BC Day long weekend and trying to get back into the swing of things. News out of Toronto this morning is that Virgin Gaming has partnered with Ubisoft to be the online tournament provider for some of the publisher’s most anticipated multiplayer console releases. Leading the charge is Tom Clancy”s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier™, the latest chapter in the award-winning franchise.

“Ubisoft is one of the leading video game publishers in the world and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunity to compete in some of their best multiplayer console games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of social networking, video games and Ubisoft and Virgin Gaming Partnershipcompetitive gaming, and we are excited that Ubisoft shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”

“Ubisoft is thrilled to be partnering with Virgin Gaming on its new venture. We have an exciting lineup of multiplayer titles this year that we believe will be a perfect fit for gamers to play and compete against each other in a tournament setting,” said Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America.

Sir Richard Branson unveiled Virgin Gaming to an enthusiastic reception at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The overwhelmingly positive response helped Virgin Gaming to quickly take the industry by storm, being the first online platform for gamers of all skill levels to compete in some of the best games for the biggest prizes. In true Virgin style, Branson kicked things off with dramatic flair, announcing that Virgin Gaming would give away over $1 million in cash and prizes over its first 12 months. Ubisoft headlines a slate of industry partnerships with key publishers and retailers to be announced by Virgin Gaming in the coming months. Additional details on these partnerships will be announced soon.

nextMEDIA has just opened up for 2010 Design Exchange early-bird registration. The conference, which will be held in Toronto this November 29th and 30th, will help you create opportunities for your business by bringing together the highest growth areas of the converging next-generation entertainment marketplace.

Highlights for this fall’s conference include:

* 2 days of learning, strategizing and collaborating across all areas of digital entertainment, including advertising, gaming, TV, mobile, music and publishing.
* Facilitated meetings and networking between established industry leaders and emerging new talent from multiple sectors.
* Sessions, discussions and workshops designed to drive your business forward and provide you with the connections and info you need to stay ahead of your competition.Match Up
* Insight into emerging technologies and platforms that can change your business.

Digital LeisureDon’t forget that Digital Leisure’s Match Up!, designed exclusively for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ game service is available as of today for only 200 Nintendo points.

Flip, match and…kaboom! – How fast can you find the right set in Match Up!? Whether you’re 4 or 40, Match Up! will have you captive for hours. Reveal shapes, colors and even hidden bonuses with a new take on a childhood favorite. Quick hands and a sharp mind are the only way to beat the clock and disarm the explosive cards riddled throughout. Not quite ready for the explosive action? Then start with the absolutely addictive classic concentration play, and see if you can level up. So come on – get matching! Read the rest of this entry »

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30th July 2010

There Is Travel In The Future For Canadian Digital Media Companies

Province of BCIn conjunction with the British Columbia Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, the BC Trade and Investment office in Japan is organizing a BC Pavilion at Tokyo Game Show 2010 (TGS 2010) from September 16-19, 2010. The pavilion will be prominently located in the International Zone in order to highlight British Columbia’s digital media and game cluster, and the BC Trade and Investment office would like to invite BC game developers to join them. Here’s why your company should consider attending:

Japan is the 3rd largest market in the world for gaming industry sales; in 2009, sales of game hardware and software in Japan were US$5.9B. The Tokyo Game Show is the largest videogame show in Asia with annual attendance of 185,000 participants over four days. Attendance at this show is an opportunity for BC organizations to market their products and services to the Asian market and forge new business relationships with companies from Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan.

Recognizing the changing nature of videogames in society, TGS 2010 will also focus on next-generation mobile game devices, smartphones, PCs and other new interface models for home consoles. For BC organizations wishing to attend TGS 2010, the BC Trade and Investment office is pleased to offer the following support:

· Booth space at Tokyo Game Show in the BC Pavilion
· Bilingual staff (Japanese/English) to facilitate on-site meetings
· On-the-ground support for business matching
· Assistance with logistics in planning your trip and preparing to do business in Asia

If you are interested in participating in the BC Pavilion, the BC Trade and Investment office needs to hear from you by the end of July so that they can secure adequate resources and booth space for this event. Please contact Rob O’Brien, Japan Manager with the BC government’s International Relations and Business Development branch via email or at 604-505-5896 to express interest, ask questions, or obtain more information about costs involved.

IUGOOur congratulations to Sarah Thomson, who has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Business Development at IUGO Mobile Entertainment. Sarah has been with the premium games developer for nearly 3 years, and since her joining, IUGO has significantly elevated its reputation and awareness amongst industry peers and mobile game enthusiasts. They also have seen success in the challenging App Store marketplace for iDevices.

“This was a well-deserved move for Sarah,” states IUGO’s CEO, Hong-Yee Wong. “She’s grabbed the reins here and produced significant results for IUGO. I have no doubt she’ll continue to take IUGO into new and exciting areas of growth and prosperity.” Thomson has also been speaking regularly at industry conventions, most recently Casual Connect in Seattle.

“I’m very excited and proud of my accomplishment,” beams Sarah. “The company as a whole has been working very hard to make our mark in this competitive space. I feel like we’re only getting started. IUGO’s foray into social games currently and in the future is going to usher in our next phase of success. I am grateful to lead the company towards its next evolution.”

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has entered into a partnership with Minnesota game developer and publisher Destineer to develop Dragon’s Lair Trilogy, bringing three timeless arcade adventures together on one disc for Wii™: Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp, and Space Ace. For the first time ever on a console platform, you can experience the stunning visuals and engaging storylines from all three of these classic arcade games created by legendaryMatch Up American animator Don Bluth.

The Dragon’s Lair Trilogy will be completely arcade authentic with the original arcade gameplay modes
and remastered animation. There will be standard and wide-screen editions, an all-new movie guide for beginners and a watch mode which will let you check out all of the Dragon’s Lair awesome animation without playing the game, which will be available for the Wii this fall.

Digital Leisure also has a new title coming out on DSiWare this coming Monday, August 2nd. In Match Up gamers will reveal shapes, colors and even hidden bonuses with a new take on a childhood favorite. Quick hands and a sharp mind are the only way to beat the clock and disarm the explosive cards riddled throughout. For a bit of a slower paced gameplay, you can opt for classic concentration play. Match Up will be available for 200 DSiPoints.

Canada Media FundNew policies in regards to Performance Envelope Calculation Factors were sent out by the Canada Media Fund late yesterday. As a result of the consultation with the industry and funders of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), and in view of the policy direction from the federal government, the Board of the CMF has determined that the following factors will apply in the calculation of the performance envelopes for 2011-2012: Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. 3podFirst, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Gemini Awards 2010Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.

Ottawa International Animation FestivalWant to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.

Pitch Participation Requirements:

* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages)
* One episode synopsis
* Bios of key executives
* Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
* Concept art (2 or 3 images)

xmg studioXMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.

From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.Cannon Cadets

In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!

Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »

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26th July 2010

Telefilm Canada Launches Mentor Program

Ph03nix New MediaHere are a few more details about Solitaire and the City from Ph03nix New Media and TRZZonline which was released on Facebook last Friday. This latest social media app fuses the classic solitaire card game with a ‘beat the clock’ type of time management that has never been done for this type of game. “Solitaire and the City”was developed exclusively for Facebook®, and has already started gaining a small following of solitaire fanatics.Solitaire and the City

Solitaire and the City is a unique blend of the classic solitaire card game mixed with the type of speed that will test anyone’s hand-eye coordination. Gamers have 45 seconds to clear as many cards as they can off of the board in order to earn points. The points earned daily go toward unlocking cool items in the gamers’ fashionable closet. Users can also ‘gift’ items to their friends and try to collect every item available. For the competitive gamer, badges are earned for hitting high scores that are displayed on a profile tab, enabling users to show their friends where they stand in the rankings.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the title and fashion infusion are definitely a direct ‘ode to’ the popular “Sex and the City” series and movies. The user gets to fill up their walk-in closets with some of today’s hottest fashion and accessories from Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo and more. As the user clicks on the cards, the on-screen martini glass fills up with a New York Cosmopolitan drink! Competing against friends to earn a high score has never been so fashionably fun.

Relic EntertainmentIn news that is going to make the CaveChild salivate, THQ and Relic Entertainment have announced that Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine®, will be shipping for the Windows PC in addition to the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 in early 2011.
Space Marine
Jonathan Dowdeswell, General Manager of Relic Entertainment commented: “The loyal PC audience is incredibly important to us here at Relic so we are delighted to be able to announce the PC version of the game.”

Combining intense melee and ranged combat, Relic’s 3rd Person Action-Shooter Space Marine puts players into the boots of one of humanity’s elite soldiers, genetically engineered and equipped with state of the art weapons and armor. Players are dropped right into the action as they battle to defend an Imperial Forge World, from an invasion by the savage and brutal Orks, using the most devastating weaponry mankind has at its disposal.

Travis Plane, Vice President of Global Brand Management commented: “Delivering great content the fans want to play is the key goal in the core games division at THQ so we are pulling out all of the stops to make this the best possible game for PC and console audiences alike.”

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is today unveiling its brand-new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants, which includes the names of more than 100 experts, that creators working in Canada’s film industry will be able to access via Telefilm’s website. New applications for mentors and consultants will now be accepted on an ongoing basis and the directory will be updated regularly.

“Telefilm Canada is dedicated to supporting all links in the Canadian film industry value chain,” stated Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Canadian filmmakers are bursting with talent, and we are committed to meeting their needs and supporting their growth and development-which, at the end of the line, will result in the creation of high-quality feature films that will appeal to their target audiences. We are very enthusiastic about the potential of the new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants that we’re unveiling today, which enables Telefilm to act as a catalyst for the industry’s success.”

“When I started my career, I was very lucky to benefit from the patient advice I received from such industry professionals as Michael Miner (Anaconda, Robocop), the wonderful writer and film editor,” said Vancouver writer Michael Giampa, who is included in the directory as a scriptwriting consultant. “Having a mentor who can answer your questions and provide encouragement makes all the difference when you’re starting out in the business. I hope that this directory will foster these kinds of relationships and that it becomes a key tool in the development of a mentoring philosophy within Canada’s movie industry, one that will hep nurture Canadian talent.”

The new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants will enable emerging writers and producers to make contact with industry mentors and veterans, offering them the possibility of developing their skills or finding specific expertise for a given project. All the producer-mentors and writers included in the online directory were chosen by Telefilm following a call for candidates issued in May, and all have agreed to makes themselves available to offer professional advice, coaching and know-how, and thereby help foster the development of talent and projects. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd July 2010

Pitch To Rogers Ventures At Wavefront In August

Blue Castle GamesBlue Castle Games‘ Dead Rising® 2: Case Zero, will be available on August 31st exclusively to Xbox 360® gamers via Xbox Live® Arcade at a cost of 400 MS Points. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero acts as a prologue, introducing players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene and provides a glimpse of the action to come when Dead Rising 2 releases in North America on September 28th, Japan on September 30th and throughout European and Australian territories on October 1st.

Set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising® and three years Dead Rising 2: Case Zerobefore the start of Dead Rising 2, Chuck along with his young infected daughter, Katey, find themselves trapped in the zombie infested desert town of Still Creek. It’s up to Chuck to find a way out of town, and locate the Zombrex Katey must take to prevent her from joining the ranks of the undead.

Just like in the full game, players in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will use Chuck’s handyman skills and a roll of duct tape to combine two items to create powerful combo weapons. Not only do combo weapons make killing zombie sprees more fun but they also have the added benefit of earning Chuck additional ‘Prestige Points’ which in turn result in quicker leveling up.

Players who download Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as ‘Player Level’, to a maximum of five, ‘Prestige Points’ alongside skills, ‘Combo Cards’ and a number of alternate outfits.

“With Dead Rising 2: Case Zero we had two goals: provide newcomers with an easy point of entry to the Dead Rising universe, and give fans of the series an insight into what took place after Frank West survived the outbreak at the Willamette Mall,” said Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s Head of R&D Management Group and Executive Producer for Dead Rising 2. “We have certainly achieved both of these ambitions but I am equally pleased that we are able to give gamers so much unique and entertaining content at such a great price.”
endloop
For all of you developer types with iPads, Endloop has released the newest iteration of iMockups. With lots of bug fixes, iMockups v1.08 also has loads of new features, some of which are featured in this short video:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

iMockups is available now in the iTunes App Store for a very reasonable $9.99.

According to Big Stack’s last tweet, Ph03nix New Media has just launched their latest Facebook game, SolitaireSolitaire and the City and the City. I can’t find much in the way of information about the game other than an icon and its Facebook page thought, which is a little disappointing as this makes it difficult to give you any advance information you’d like to have before giving the game a try.

Mafia® II (2K Games), a title which Vancouver’s Massive Bear Studio had a hand in, will have a downloadable demo available worldwide on August 10 for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360® and Windows PC. Set in the fully realized and immersive 1940’s and 1950’s American urban cityscape of Empire Bay, soon all gamers will be able to experience the decadent and meticulously crafted atmosphere, intense shooting and driving gameplay, and character narrative in the M rated Mafia II that is set to be released on August 24 in North America.Massive Bear

The Mafia II demo invites gamers to dive into the “Buzzsaw” level, where Vito and his buddies, Joe and Henry, are sent to take out a mobster known as “The Fat Man”. While the epic game spans two decades, the Buzzsaw demo takes place during the summer of the ‘50s – a time considered the “Birth of Cool”, and with it, rock ‘n’ roll, hot rods, and rebellious attitudes. The demo showcases the type of vibrant edge-of-your-seat action, as well as a slice of the expansive city of Empire Bay in the colorful era.

Mafia II looks to be the industry’s most compelling action crime game to date. Players take control of Vito Scaletta, who is making a name for himself on the streets of Empire Bay. He’s someone who can be trusted to get a job done. Together with his buddy Joe, he is working to prove himself to the Mafia quickly escalating up the family ladder with crimes of larger reward, status and consequences… the life as a wise guy isn’t quite as untouchable as it seems.

wavefrontWavefront AC has just announced a Rogers Ventures Matchmaking Session for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators that will be held in Vancouver on August 23rd. To reiterate the Wavefront announcement, this is a great opportunity for wireless and new media startups looking for Seed or Series A funding. On average, Rogers Ventures invests $250K-$1M in companies and investment can go larger or smaller depending on the company’s requirements and the opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th July 2010

Peer 1 Officially Opens ServerBeach Canada

CanadaA reminder to Canadian dev studios that the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle is planning activities around Casual Connect Seattle 2010 (July 20 – 22) to promote the Canadian game development industry, including a networking event, a Canada table at the show and a Canada Casual Games Organization Directory. Discounted registration is also available on a limited basis. For information on these activities and how to become involved, please contact Victoria Hayes or Neil Swain for more information. Still with government news, Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo–Prince George is scheduled to make an announcement regarding the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians programme tomorrow afternoon at the Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre in Prince George.iTunes Canada

The Apple Canada App Store recently added a new app category entitled, “Great Canadian Apps“. This feature, as the name implies, recognizes apps created by Canadian-based companies. Only 29 Canadian-made apps have made the short list thus far, for everything from navigating Montreal to finance and productivity. It would be really nice to see a Made In Canada game feature as well, although searching for Canadian games in the App store does yield some interesting results…

Drum StudioAll Seeing Eye Games announced today the release of a title update for the Xbox 360 game Drum Studio. The update for the award-winning drum recording game adds full support for velocity-sensitive drum kits. This new feature allows players with supported Xbox 360 drum kits to control the volume of their in-game drums by how hard they hit their real-life Xbox 360 drum pads.

Lead Programmer Darren Joe says, “This title update is a thank you to all the players who have made Drum Studio a success. For those with compatible drum kits, it adds a whole new dimension to Drum Studio’s already unparalleled recording tools.”

Drum Studio is an award-winning virtual drum recording app for Xbox 360 that allows players to play, record, edit, save and playback their own song creations using their Xbox 360 drum kits or controllers. It features a powerful easy-to-use recording interface, hundreds of high quality drum sounds and fully animated characters. It has received widespread critical acclaim since its release, including an Editor’s Choice Award from teamxbox.com.

The title update also includes fixes for an incorrect sign-in change detection and a conflict with cymbal expansion kits. Drum Studio is available now exclusively on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 80 Microsoft Points or try the free trial on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

snow days gamesSnow Day Games, a new game development studio based in Charlottetown has announced that its original title for iPhone and iPod Touch, Fly vs. Car, is now available. Snow Day Games has partnered with international charity “Child’s Play” to put games and toys in the hands of sick children all over the world by sharing 50% of the profit from sales of the game to charity.

“Fly vs. Car is a fun, casual game for players of all ages and that fits with our goal of making a game that can do good in the world for children,” said Matthew White, chief creative officer of Snow Day Games. “As players dodge traffic in homage to Frogger and other great games where you avoid getting flattened, they can also know that their gaming is helping others.”

In Fly vs. Car, players avoid oncoming traffic for as long as possible by moving their fly from side to side. It’s a challenging and fun, fast paced game where the faster your reflexes, the higher your score. Fly vs. Car features OpenFeint, Facebook, and Twitter integration, so high scores can be shared and players can compete against their friends on the leaderboards.

Cross Media TorontoCross Media Toronto has announced new additions to its line-up of industry executives and technology experts to speak, demonstrate and debate at its symposium this July 21st, 2010. The event is in partnership with NATPE, the MaRS Discovery District, the CFC Media Lab and Bell, with the additional support from Canadian Media Fund, Idea Couture, MarbleMedia and Bellfund.

Newly added speakers include SVP Managing Director of Arc Worldwide Richard Bernstein and Chief Digital Officer of TBWA Worldwide Colleen DeCourcy in a conversation on the future of the advertising industry titled ‘The Changing Agency: Evolution or Revolution. President of Digital Extremes Ltd Michael Schmalz rounds out the super panel which includes SVP Director Digital for Random House of Canada Lisa Charters, Head of Agency Relations for Google Canada Sabrina Geremia and Senior Business Development Manager for RIM Pete Watson, while Core Matrix Creator Jacob Blackstock, President and Founder of Secret Location James Milward and CEO of ES3 Douglas Edwards will be presenting technology demos which will explore the latest innovations in digital media. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th July 2010

DeathSpank Now Dispensing Justice To Evildoers Everywhere

Hothead GamesLeading today’s news is the official release of Hot Head Games‘s justice-seeking, action-RPG blending epic storytelling, addictive gameplay, humor and evil chickens title DeathSpank on the PlayStation Network for $14.99. Xbox 360 gamers will be able to join the fight for justice on XBLA (for 1200 Microsoft points) tomorrow, July 14th. Developed under the direction of The Secret of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank takes players through a heroic adventure in the boots of the titular hero DeathSpank as he hacks and slashes his way through epic quests in a vast world filled with vibrant, eccentric and terrifying characters.

“While DeathSpank is definitely one of the funnier games out there, it’s more than a one trick pony,” said Vlad Ceraldi, Director of Game Development for Hothead Games. “We’ve built a game with fast-paced, addictive combat set in a world that has a tremendous amount of depth that is filled with dynamic characters, colorful environments and tons of cool weapons and loot. And yes, we still have ponies too — trick ponies!”
Death Spank
“The team at Hothead has really made the perfect experience for the summer,” said Jamil Moledina, Outreach Director, Business Development for EA Partners. “DeathSpank is a high-end and fun game, yet incredibly accessible. It’s very easy to pick up and play, both in terms of its classic arcade controls, as well as the convenience of downloading it straight to your console.”

Players who download the game, which is rated T for Teen, will be placed in the boots of the mighty DeathSpank, “Dispenser of Justice”, “Vanquisher of Evil” and “Hero to the Downtrodden”, embarking on his life long journey is to search for and find a mysterious artifact known only as, “The Artifact”. Along his journey, DeathSpank will rescue orphans, defeat a local tyrant, help an aging adventurer, and dive headfirst into an even deeper mystery. The game’s accessibility makes for a fun, addictive experience where players will find themselves solving crazy puzzles, collecting massive amounts of loot and hearing witty dialogue. For those with friends, DeathSpank also features local co-operative gameplay, allowing friends to jump in and out of fighting through this adventure on the same console as both DeathSpank and his trusty, magical sidekick, Sparkles the Wizard.

CAPCOMDead Rising 2 Executive Producer, Keiji Inafune and Producer, Shinsaku Ohara, will be at Comic-Con in San Diego to unveil development stories and discuss the upcoming Zombrex Dead Rising Sun motion picture, with a Q&A session to follow. Their talk will take place on July 22 in Room 25ABC from 12:00-1:00 P.M. If you’re going to Comic-Con, Capcom will be in booth #4844, and the Capcom Store will offer items exclusive to Comic Con – including 10 of the Dead Rising 2 motorcycle jacket.

MIGSThe Montreal International Game Summit has officially launched their 2010 site and confirmed November 7th & 8th as the date for its 7th annual event. Taking place at the Hilton Bonaventure in Montreal, MiGS offers over 80 sessions and activities, addressing continuing professional training needs, fueling the five main themes of the video game industry: business, arts and visual effects, design, programming and technical aspects. In addition to two keynote speakers, there will be an invited speaker for each of the themes. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th July 2010

Zombies and Wardens Fight The Good Fight

I will be at Casual Connect, which is taking place in Seattle this July 20th-22nd and would love to meet up with Canadian interactive media people who will be there – especially those of you from outside of the BC region, as my opportunities to meet up with anyone from east of The Rockies are somewhat limited. Also, if you’re going to be in Seattle on July 19th, don’t forget that GameSauce is offering a full day of sessions on a variety of tracks – and it’s free for all those who are registered for Casual Connect. I am hoping to make it to Seattle for GameSauce as well, but I haven’t yet confirmed just when I’ll be making the drive down. If you’d like to connect, drop me an “@” message on Twitter, or send me a note via email, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterDon’t forget that tickets are now on sale for the ACM Vancouver SIGGRAPH major event Spark Animation Festival, with all seminar sessions taking place at the ScotiaBank Theatre this September 8th – 12th. As at past events, the VanCity Theatre will host all of the Festival’s film screenings.

Spark Early Bird Ticket Prices (including HST):

Members: $175
Non-Members: $225

On August 1, full prices of the passes will be as follows:
Members: $225
Non-Members: $275

Conference passes include entry to the featured speakers presentations, all conference panels, talks and a SPARK Animation ’10 souvenir t-shirt. Tickets for film screenings sold separately.

Blue Castle GamesThe cover art for upcoming Blue Castle Games‘ title Dead Rising 2 has been revealed, while publisher Capcom also announced a new web site related to the sequel – unfortunately the site is Dead Rising 2at times very slow to load because the number of people trying to visit the site keep pushing the usage load up. Tap It Or Die features the exploits of a quartet of characters from the world of Dead Rising 2. and you can follow the exploits of Lance, Gretchen, Wallace and Johnny Pipes as well as discover exclusive content from Dead Rising 2.

United by a love of zombies and desperate to obtain tickets for the hottest show in town, Terror is Reality XVII, you will follow these four individuals throughout their journey while getting an inside look into Dead Rising 2 that can’t be found anywhere else. Capcom has stated that the site will be updated weekly with new content and surprises as zombie fans around the world await the arrival of Dead Rising 2 this September.

Bioware CorpEA and Bioware confirmed today what many were speculating yesterday after a cryptic Twitter message from the DragonAge account – that Dragon Age™ 2 is in development at BioWare’s Edmonton-based studio. With Dragon Age 2, Bioware is revolutionizing the RPG genre again, infusing the universe with more action, a new, more responsive combat system and a dynamic story that is already among the most multifaceted in gaming.

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