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29th July 2009

An Audio Guy’s Perspective of Casual Connect Seattle 2009

After 4 days of seminars and networking events, I was beat. But, boy was it worth it.

Day 1

The first day was devoted almost entirely to the Casual Connect Leadership Conference organized and supported by Women In Games International (WIGI) and Women In Games Vancouver (WIGeh). Numerous speakers presented a variety of topics, each with a particular interest in the role that women play in games, games play in the lives of women, and the portrayal of women in games.

As a person interested in the breakdown of stereotypes, thus allowing everyone’s true potential to shine, I was very engaged in the presentations of the day, which in the end left me feeling very hopeful and empowered about the potential of gaming.

Not long after, a set of roundtable discussions were set up with a variety of topics ranging from working as a contract vs employed worker, owning a small business, and moving up in the games industry.

A networking event followed with the inclusion of other folks from a more general Casual Connect audience, and it was a great night!

Highlight of my day: Megan Gaiser of Her Interactive’s presentation on “The Importance of Leadership”

Day 2 (Day 1 of Casual Connect officially)

Audio day! The entire day had an option to hear speakers who are professionals in the audio for casual games environment. Great ideas were shared including a glimpse into how other professionals create their sound design assets. It was entertaining, welcoming, and I learned a great deal. Speakers covered a wide range of aspects including the creation of stings, sfx, composition, recording, and producing. I would recommend this to any person interested in the audio for casual games arena. A very cohesive day in the audio stream.

Highlight of my day: Barry Dowsett of Sound Rangers on “The Birth and Life of a Sound Effect”
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17th July 2009

Coffee Break News Friday Edition

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal is looking for programmers for its Thi4f development team and also has a few other job openings. Interested? Apply online.

Vancouver’s Klei Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Creative Artists Agency. “The CAA Klei Entertainmentare quite selective in their clients, so I’m happy that they’ve agreed to represent us,” says Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “Klei is known to create great original properties, and the CAA will help spread that love around.” Creative Artists Agency also represents such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg and has offices around the world, with a Canadian location in Calgary.

For Cheng, their partnership with CAA signals how within the gaming industry, the importance of creative talent is becoming more important. “It’s inspiring to see the industry grow as a creative medium and this is another step in the right direction,” continues Cheng. “And with their experience and backing during negotiation, we are able to focus on building the best creative studio possible, which of course is what Klei is all about.”

Longueil’s D-BOX Technologies has announced that the next movie title to feature its immersive motion technology will be Focus Features’ new film, “9” debuting on Sept. 9, 2009. “We are proud to announce our D-Boxfirst agreement with Focus Features and the fourth movie title to feature D-BOX Motion Code™,” said President and CEO of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “Since unveiling D-BOX motion technology in movie theatres in April, we have continued to experience steady growth and enter new markets in the U.S. and Canada. This latest film will Prototypebe the first animated film to feature D-BOX’s innovative motion technology and we look forward to announcing additional movie titles and theatre locations in the near future.”

The NPD group has released stats that show EA Sports Active finished in the Number 3 spot for games, with more than 289,000 units sold in the USA last month, while Radical Entertainment’s PROTOTYPE finished in top spot for console titles.

The report continues with other important sales stats: Nintendo’s consoles and handhelds still EA Sports Activeown the markets in United States – despite reports of console and game sales falling by 31% in June. According to their figures, Americans purchased more than 424,000 Nintendo DSi systems and more than 342,000 Nintendo DS, more than all current-generation consoles combined. The Wii™ marked its 21st consecutive month as the top-selling U.S. home console, with nearly 362,000 finding new homes in America – all while experiencing a 45% sales drop. Even with the Wii’s sales figures falling and with sales increases for the Xbox 360, Microsoft still could not break Nintendo’s stranglehold on the top console spot. The Sony PS3 experienced a 59% drop in sales, once again leaving it in the dust of the other consoles. We have considered several times purchasing one, but until the price comes down, we simply can’t justify buying one just for the few PS3 exclusive titles we may or may not play.

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6th July 2009

Ubisoft Announces New Toronto Studio

UbisoftToronto – In a just-concluded press conference held at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, with an introduction by the Honourable Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, announced a 263 million dollar commitment and a 10 year partnership with Ubisoft to open a new development studio which will employ a staff of 800 people. Ubisoft’s net investment in the new studio will be over half a billion dollars in the new studio, which will begin operations in late 2009.

“Today’s announcement marks a strategic move for Ubisoft as we continue to expand our internal

Premier McGuinty

Premier McGuinty

development force,” said Yves Guillemot, president and chief executive officer at Ubisoft. “We are in an excellent position to grow and after extensive analysis we are thrilled to have reached an agreement with the government of Ontario to found our new studio in Toronto. The city is one of North America’s economic and cultural epicenters and our expectations are high. We’re excited to be able to count on the exceptional local talent, who will contribute to our accelerated growth and will have a profound impact on the video game industry with the excellence of their creativity.”

Three years in the making, Premier Dalton said that some of the primary reasons Ubisoft chose Toronto for their newest studio was the amazing talent, innovation, and ties to the movie industry enjoyed by Toronto’s creative industry. Collaborating with local film industry veterans to enhance video game production and extend Ubisoft’s convergence strategy, Ubisoft Toronto will contribute to Ubisoft’s global plan of extending its brands to complementary platforms and mediums, including books, comics, short films and other products.
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2nd July 2009

Women In Games Vancouver At Leadership Development Forum

WIGVVancouver – Several founding members of Women In Games Vancouver (WIGV), along with several women (and men) from Vancouver’s game development community will be participating in a new Leadership Development Forum taking place on July 20 in Seattle. The Forum, being held one day prior to the start of Casual Connect Seattle, will offer a variety of topics relating to business, development, careers and community. Presented in partnership with the Casual Game Association, Women In Games International and the IGDA Women In Games SIG, topics will be presented on three consecutive tracks: Business, Design and Production.

Taking place at The Triple Door, the Leadership Development Forum will begin with registration and networking at 11am. Attendees will be welcomed by Jessica Tams, Managing Director at Casual Games Association and Annie Sumi Nam of WIGV. They will be followed by keynote presenter Megan Gaiser, President and CEO of Her Interactive, who will speak on the Importance of Leadership. Please read on for information on the full schedule, and a special thank you to Kerry and Kalinka Corlett over at AnnexPro for their generous sponsorship and support of WIGV’s first official international speaking event.

Anyone who is attending Casual Connect will have full access to the Leadership Development Forum. For those who only wish to attend the Leadership Forum, tickets are $25.00 (USD) and include networking, panels, roundtables and the post-event mixer.
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1st July 2009

Biz Books Announces Directing and Cinematography Workshop

Biz BooksVancouverBiz Books is offering a rather unique opportunity to learn the art and craft of directing and cinematography from two of the best filmmakers in the film industry.biz books workshop

Course Details
This 2-Day Directing and Cinematography Course with multi Emmy award winning director/cinematographer/producer, Michael W Watkins, featuring Emmy nominated cinematographer, Joel Ransom, will be an information filled and inspiring weekend for both novice and professional filmmakers.

In this seminar, attention will be focused on how director and cinematographer work together toward a goal in creating the ’Moment’ through exploration of scene visualization, actor staging, camera blocking, positing and movement, camera/actor choreography, color, lighting, shot size, lens choice to, ultimately, express the director’s vision for the overall look of the film.

The workshop will be beneficial to professional and amateur directors alike — film enthusiasts, cameramen, corporate and home video entrepreneurs. The course will also suit actors who want to establish their directing career.
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30th June 2009

Call For Nominations Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

CanadaOttawa – The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), is pleased to announce the Call for Nominations for the 30th Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The awards were instituted by the Governor General in 1979 to honour the 50th anniversary of the “Persons Case” and the five Alberta women whose determination led to a landmark victory in the struggle by Canadian women for equality. The Famous Five achieved not only the right for women to serve in the Senate, but also paved the way for women to participate in other aspects of public life.

“Equality for women and their full participation in society are important for women, their families, their communities and our country. More than ever before, we need women leaders of all ages to help keep our country strong, economically, socially and democratically,” said Minister Guergis. “The Government of Canada is proud to recognize those who work to promote the equality of girls and women in Canada. Recipients of these awards continue the tradition of dedication and determination that the Famous Five inspired to enrich their communities.”
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30th June 2009

Art Institute Grads Strut Their Stuff

Art Institute of VancouverBurnaby – We attended the AI Grad Presentation last Friday night, and once again we were reminded first hand just how many talented young people are ready for careers in game design, animation, audio design, film and VFX. We spent so much time talking to students and viewing projects that we weren’t able to make it around to everyone – which brings to the forefront the one challenge many of the students said they had problems with during their tenure at AI  – time management. This seems to be a problem wherever we go – perhaps there needs to be a study done about the phenomena and why so many people have difficulty with the issue.

Pritika Prasad

Pritika Prasad

We were pleased to meet the team behind TikiWiki, the 2009 PopVox Award winner for Best Student Project. The tribal sports game was developed on the Unreal Engine and uses team play to collect stone tablets and score points.

All of the students present were well spoken about their projects, and quick to acknowledge any assistance they received from others, as well as to recognize members of their teams on class projects. It was also promising to see so many talented female students in this graduating class, in particular Environment and Prop Modeler Pritika Prasad (right), whose work is very impressive and very professional.
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2nd June 2009

Banff World Television Festival Announces Winners and a Free Seminar

Banff World Television FestivalBanffTelefilm Canada presents Shelly Palmer’s one day GetDigital seminar at BANFF, Tuesday June 9th 2009. Whether you are interested in workforce development, continuing professional education, honing your digital skills or playing catch-up, this course is designed to help you become more competitive and make you more productive in the digital economy of the 21st century. Join a crash course in digital literacy that will change your life. With only 50 places available, this course is FREE for BANFF attendees. Space will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

The Festival has also announced the winners of the TV 360 competition. The TV 360 Program is designed to train Canadian writers, directors, developers, interactive designers, show developers and TV, film and new media producers, to develop multiplatform projects and pitch them successfully both to Canadian and international buyers. Prior new media experience was not necessary to enter, however applicants were required to be professionals from the new media, film and television industries.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:
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28th May 2009

Ontario Government Invests In Animation Centre

OntarioToronto – The Ontario government is investing nearly CAD$23 million in Starz Animation Toronto to help expand its studio and create or retain over 250 jobs. This investment in Ontario talent and equipment will help Starz Animation Toronto attract more international business. The company is also investing CAD$130 million over the next five years. Many of the new Starz Animation staffers will be local new media Starz Animationgraduates

One of Canada’s largest 3D animation studios, Starz Animation Toronto creates computer-animated movies, TV series and commercials for clients. Ontario’s investment will help Starz Animation Toronto, a world-class studio, develop and produce its own feature films — allowing it to compete with the best studios in the world.
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26th May 2009

MSP Partners Announces the Launch of MSP Pro

MSP PartnersOttawaMSP Partners, an alliance founded by Cisco, Ingram Micro, Intel, Level Platforms and Microsoft in conjunction with the active participation of more than 20 leading IT vendors and thousands of solution providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), today announced with IT industry trade association CompTIA and Everything Channel’s research division the Institute for Partner Education & Development (IPED), the availability of MSP Pro, a new third tier of membership that allows MSPs to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Managed Services best practices.

This new level of membership entitles members to take the “MSP Pro…powered by CompTIA” exam, which thoroughly tests members on Managed Services best practices in Marketing, Sales, Operations and Finance. The exam is based on the extensive IPED training and education resources available on the MSP Partners member website. Once successfully completed, MSP Pro members receive the MSP Pro logo, plaque and certificate demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of established Managed Services best practices. MSP Pro membership is available through the MSP Partners website for $399 annually or $200 for current Master members.
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