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  • The Journey Continues in Dragon Age Origins Awakening

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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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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4th March 2010

Canadian Companies Ink Publishing Deals and Release Great New Products

EA GamesVancouverElectronic Arts has announced two new partnerships involving local studios. First, EA announced that it has inked an exclusive deal with Klei Entertainment to bring the studio’s provocative new game Shank to Xbox LIVE® Arcade, PlayStation®Network and PC this summer. Featuring a unique art style inspired by graphic novels and golden age comics, Shank Klei Entertainmentblends the intensity of classic 2D side-scrolling action games with a gripping and mature storyline. The cinematic brawler is a finalist for “Excellence in Visual Art” at this year’s Independent Games Festival and will be featured at the IGF Pavilion during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.

“Our mission at EA Partners is to work with the best talent across the game industry, and we are thrilled to extend our expertise to the leading creative developers in downloadable indie games,” said Jamil Moledina, Outreach Director, Business Development at EA Partners. “The team at Klei Entertainment is among the best in the world at developing fun and engaging titles for digital distribution platforms, and Shank is an amazing experience.”

“As an independent development studio, we always focus on creating great, authentic experiences for players. Working with EA Partners expands our distribution and allows us to bring Shank to a much wider audience,” said Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “They have been a fantastic partner and their understanding of the space is incredibly exciting.”

Taking place in a stylized, modern-Western setting, Shank tells a classic betrayal story directed through a sophisticated cinematic lens, with addictive action gameplay found in classic 2D side-scrolling games.

EA’s second announced deal today is another exclusive publishing deal, this time with Hothead Hothead GamesGames and their newest title DeathSpank, which will be coming to Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network in 2010. Developed under the vision of The Secret of Monkey Island creator and industry icon Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank blends a story filled with Gilbert’s unique humor and wit with classic and addictive action RPG gameplay. 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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26th February 2010

Rebates, Releases, Calls for Speakers and Submissions

Ph03nix New MediaCalgary – Two announcements from Ph03nix New Media today. First they announced their rebate offer for Hottie Hookups through their innovative iPhone Game Rebate program. Starting today through March 10, customers who purchase Hottie Hookups from the App Hottie Hookups on iTunesStore qualify for a $1.99 cash rebate. There are only 1,000 rebates available so act fast!

Hottie Hookups is a unique time-management game from the creators of the acclaimed #1 iPhone game Sally’s Spa. Blending elements from line drawing and castle defense games, Hottie Hookups is an irreverent, ironic game where you must connect hotties on the dance floor while defending them from nerds, fatties, and geezers using a variety of techniques.

To receive iPhone Game Rebates, follow these three simple steps:

1. Register
2. Send in your iTunes receipt
3. Receive the cash rebate once the proof-of-purchase has been confirmed

Triple Hippo StudiosThe second announcement from Ph03nix New Media involves their casual games division, Triple Hippo Studios, who has released their much anticipated casual PC title, The Tarot’s Misfortune. Available exclusively for the next month on Big Fish Games, The Tarot’s Misfortune leads players on a mysterious and dangerous adventure as they solve puzzles and uncover intriguing clues about the missing Villagers of Luzio. The Tarot's Misfortune

“We believe we’ve succeeded in creating a game that will keep players of all levels captivated by intertwining challenging puzzles along with an intriguing storyline,” said Michael Grills, Director of Operations at Triple Hippo Studios.

In The Tarot’s Misfortune, players take on the role of tarot reader, Rosalee, who awakens disoriented in prison and must embark on a thrilling journey. Exploring the town of Luzio, players will piece together cryptic clues and find the lost tarot card deck to uncover the secrets of the village. To advance through each of the 12 beautifully detailed levels, players must uncover specific hidden objects in Luzio. Gameplay is intuitive yet addicting so both experienced casual gamers and newcomers to the genre will be entertained and enchanted. The Tarot’s Misfortune will be released to other game portals at the end of March 2010.

modsim world CanadaMontreal – The MODSIM World Canada organizing committee has put out an official call for speakers and Papers. MODSIM World™ is a unique multi-disciplinary International Conference & Exposition for the exchange of knowledge, research experience, and technology in modeling and simulation across industry, government and academia. Issues include: 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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19th February 2010

Sony Pictures ImageWorks Vancouver Looking for Studio Manager

imageworksVancouverSony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. is an Academy Award winning studio dedicated to the art of visual effects production and character animation. The company’s achievements have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars for its work on Spider-Man 2 and The ChubbChubbs! Other recent Oscar nominated projects include Surf’s Up! The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Spider-Man. Movies currently in production include Watchmen, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, G Force, Cats and Dogs 2 and Alice in Wonderland.

We are looking for a Manager of Studio Operations to work in our Vancouver Studio which is set to open in spring of this year.now hiring

The Manager, Studio Operations manages the day-to-day administrative operations of the SPI Vancouver studio. This position manages the administration of the policies, procedures and programs as directed by SPDP/SPE. The Manager, Studio Operations interfaces with the General Manager of the SPI Vancouver studio and various departments in Culver City and facilitates communications and work flow. The Manager, Studio Operations carries out responsibilities in the following functional areas: departmental development, employee relations, training coordination, recruiting, benefits administration, on/off boarding, facilities & finance. Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

•recruiting and staffing logistics;
•organizational and space planning;
•performance management and improvement systems implementation;
•implementation of organizational development programs;
• compliance to regulatory concerns and reporting;
•immigration (liaise with immigration legal dept. and HRBP)
•employee orientation and on-boarding;
•manage payroll and timekeeping processes, including data entry;
•studio employee communication;
•compensation and benefits administration;
•employee safety, welfare, wellness and health;
•employee services;
•facility maintenance;
•Manage invoices, expense reports, travel

Candidates must have at least 5 years combined experience in Human Resources, facilities coordination and /or operations. Experience with a start up company or office in animation, production and/or CG games helpful. Candidates must have demonstrated knowledge of basic concepts, practices and procedures of Human Resources, to include but not limited to, the following: employment regulations and immigration, benefit plans, payroll and HRIS processes and reporting, recruiting and selection, basic group facilitation (such as new employee orientation). Candidates must also have experience with basic finance and expense data entry and reporting. Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal required. Bachelor’s degree preferred.

The Manager, Studio Operations reports to the General Manager, Vancouver Studio and has a dotted line to the Sr. HR Business Partner at SPI Culver City.

Interested parties are requested to email their resumes to CANrecruiting.

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17th February 2010

Event and Association Updates

There is so much going on across this vast country of ours – it’s becoming a massive challenge to Orby - Proud to be Canadiankeep up on the digital media events while I have one eye on the Olympics and two hands on the 360 controller. It may become necessary to hook up a second TV in the living room so that I can game while watching The Games. Regardless of the controversy, warm weather, glitches, whining, protests and other Olympic foibles, I am really proud to be a Canadian (not that I wasn’t before the Olympics) – the inspiration, heart and sacrifice of our Canadian Olympic athletes is nothing short of amazing.

DemoCamp VancouverVancouver – Registration for Democamp Vancouver 10: Geo Edition is now open. Attend this event on March 4th and hear from Matt Galligan, cofounder of Boulder, CO-based SimpleGeo. Learn about SimpleGeo’s challenges to develop an infrastructure to power the geo layer of your app so you don’t have to build it all from scratch. This event is free to attend, but pre-registration is required.

Also coming up in Vancouver is CloudCamp, a free unconference taking place at Discovery Park CloudCamp Vancouveron March 13th. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place where we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate

VIATeCVictoriaVIATeC invites you to join them on March 2 for an interactive seminar focused on your getting your business ready for the market. Featuring speaker Dave Thomas (Rocket Builders, Canadian Financing Forum), the seminar will cover many topics, such as marketing research, technology adoption models, “whole” solution offerings, product positioning, and pricing. Review what it means to be a technology entrepreneur and help you develop a business opportunity statement that can be used to take your idea or business to the next level. Tickets for this seminar, which is part of the New Ventures BC Seminar Series, are $10.00.

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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12th February 2010

Points of Reference

Orby - Proud to be CanadianWith the opening of today’s Winter Olympics it’s a busy day in the city, and with all of the great things we’ve been hearing about the Opening Ceremonies, I might even be persuaded to take a break from the Xbox to watch them on TV. Later this weekend we’ll be taking a look at Mass Effect 2, Dante’s Inferno, Army of Two: 40th Day and Assassin’s Creed 2: Discovery for the DS. In the meantime, here’s a bit of the game play that’s been going on in the cave. I didn’t know that Mordin could sing. Interesting. Must investigate.

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The IGDA is conducting an ARG SIG demographic and salary survey; if you are involved in the field of Alternate Reality Games, the IGDA would like a few moments of your time.

PsychometricsFor today’s article, I would like to draw attention to a study of leadership in the Canadian workplace which was done by Edmonton’s Psychometrics Canada. An assessment publisher and consultant for the development and selection of people in business, government and education. There is a quick form to fill in prior to viewing the complete study, but I feel that the information which this study contains is worth the time.

In many cases strong leadership has resulted in dramatic effects on work engagement, team performance and innovation. However, the report also shows that poor leadership has negative effects on employee morale, project success and working relationships. I feel that in today’s Psychometrics Studybusiness climate, good leadership is important not only in the success of a company, but also in the development of employees and their quest for career and creative satisfaction.

The study, which involved a poll of 517 human resources (HR) professionals across Canada, confirms that leadership is seen as an important area of organizational functioning and development. The majority (63.2%) see leaders as having a lot of influence over their organizations’ success, with only 2.5% reporting that leaders have very little influence. The most common effects of good leadership are increased motivation (85.5%), improved working relationships (85.1%), higher team performance (80.7%), better solutions to problems (68.9%), and major innovations (41.6%).

Leadership does have its downside, however. When not properly used, leadership can have negative effects. HR professionals have witnessed good people quitting and a lack of morale (91.7%), employees’ skills not being utilized (87.2%), feuding staff members (68.3%), and failed projects (60%). Three-quarters (76%) have also witnessed a disconnection between the organization’s goals and its employees’ work. Read the rest of this entry »

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