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29th April 2010

Events and Programmes For an Educated and Interactive Canada

GDC Canada 2010GDC Canada has revealed a new set of sessions and networking opportunities tailored to game developers managing established franchises, developing new global titles, and looking to take advantage of new distribution models. GDC Canada 2010 will also present content for professionals looking to develop successful franchises for consoles, iPhone and digitally distributed platforms. The second annual conference is returning to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010 and kicks off with the official opening night party at 8pm on May 5, which is being sponsored by Epic.

The newly-announced sessions from the 2010 GDC Canada are geared towards established studio as well as first time publishers who are grappling with legal and business development strategies needed to identify commercially successful projects in emerging game spaces.

These featured sessions include:

Bringing Your Game to the Web – 73 Practical Tips with Bjarne Rene (Managing Director, Vostopia.com), Tore Birkeland (Technical Director, Vostopia.com)

Console Games – New Realities Require New Strategies to Win with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive), Kelly Zmak (Former GM, Radical Entertainment), Adel Chaveleh (TimeGate Studios, Inc.), Dan Tudge (VP and General Manager, Propaganda Games), Dan Winters (VP Developer Relations, Activision Blizzard)

Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Founder and General Partner, Vanedge Capital)

One Year in the App Store: A Case Study of Backflip Studios with Julian Farrior (CEO / Founder, Backflip Studios)

Tax Credits: How Does This Affect My Decision on Where and How to Produce a Game? with Howard Donaldson (Vice President – Studio Operations, Disney Interactive)

In addition to the two days of sessions, GDC Canada offers the ideal venue for studio heads, developers and investors to come together and discuss business. Towards that end, GDC Canada 2010 is introducing the Business to Business Lounge, supported by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The lounge is a place for industry business development professionals, fellow developers and leading tool vendors to make deals and network. To help further initiate these important business connections, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service can facilitate introductions between investors and domestic and international developers.

Vancouver Innovation CampTomorrow is the last day to benefit from the Early Bird ticket price for the next Innovation Camp which takes place May 29th & 30th in Vancouver. Innovation Camp offers hands-on learning opportunities which engage learners through real life situations and challenges their assumptions, connects ideas, embraces failure and sees problems as opportunities for creative solutions in order to take any entrepreneurial venture to the next step.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) is proud to support HotDocs 2010, and you are invited to join them at the festival on Monday, May 3rd at 4 p.m. ET for a micro session on CMF programs and funding with Policy Analyst Neal McDougall. The session will be held in Room 323 at Victoria College in Toronto from 4 – 5pm.

The CMF has also announced that the English POV Programme Application Form is now available for those who wish to apply for CMF funding, and an outreach session will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13th from 1:00pm – 3:30pm to provide applicants with details regarding the 2010-2011 guidelines for funding and to answer questions.

The May 13th meeting will be led by Nathalie Clermont, Director, CMF Program Management, along with Roxane Girard, Director, CMF Program Administrator | Telefilm Canada, Francesca Accinelli, Director, English Market, and Stéphane Cosentino, Interim Director, French Market.

INplay 2010INPlay has announced two preschool-focused sessions for the May 18-19th conference. Joining the schedule is Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, whose topic Preschool Play and Games, will take attendees into the minds of pre-schoolers and show how to incorporate developmental psychology research into the games we build. This session will provide an overview on how preschoolers develop, why research is important when designing for this age group, and will give provide examples of how to design games for this age group.

Building Apps for Preschoolers: Case Study of Tickle Tap Apps, presented by Jason Krogh, Founder & Director, zinc Roe design will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the design and development of Tickle Tap Apps – a series of iPhone apps designed for young children. Jason Krogh will share his studio’s experience diving into the world of iPhone development. The discussion will highlight of some of the challenges unique to working in this new and rapidly evolving space as well as some of their insights and refinements that came about through many hours of play testing with kids.

Don’t miss the next iteration of Mentor Speed Dating 2.0, which takes place on Friday, May 7th at 3:30pm. Check out the event’s info page for details on how to participate.

Canadian Film CentreThe Canadian Film Centre has several program application deadlines approaching. The five-month CBC Prime Time Television Program is open for applications until May 12th, and the TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program application deadline is June 4th. Please check out the full list of available programs and deadlines at the Canadian Film Centre’s site. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd April 2010

Happy Earth Day Canada

Readers Digest Trusted Brands 2010Results of the annual Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands Poll are out, and for the techno-Canadians, Duracell topped the Battery category, while Canon is the most trusted Digital Camera, Sony won the broad and vague Entertainment Equipment Manufacturer category; Blackberry is the most trusted Mobile Communications Device and Apple wins for Mobile Entertainment.

This year’s list of Canada’s Greenest Employers was announced this morning by the editors of the Canada’s Olympic Gaming MixerTop 100 Employers project. Fifty organizations across Canada were recognized on this year’s list.

There’s another fun gaming-related mixer coming up in Vancouver – check out the Olympic Gaming Mixer, which will be taking place on the evening of Friday, May 7, 2010 at the Century Restaurant and Bar on Richards. Check out the event’s FaceBook page for the list of challenges to be had at the Olympic Gaming Mixer.

Siggraph VancouverDon’t forget to buy your tickets for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed II featuring Lead Game Designer Patrick Plourde from Ubisoft Montreal, which is generously sponsored in part by AnnexPro and 3vis. He will discuss the challenges faced by the dev team: an enormous scope, one of the biggest development teams ever assembled and a limited time frame. This talk is about sharing our best practices to ship high quality games through a focused and rigorous Design Process while maximizing the output of production. Tickets for this May 18th event at the VanCity Theatre are only $15.00 for SIGGRAPH members and $20.00 for non-members. Annual SIGGRAPH membership is only 35.00 – and gets you special pricing at all of our great chapter events. You should join today.

DigiBCDigiBC has put out a call for speakers for its Vancouver Digital Week 2010 event which takes place May 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Please see their site for more details.

INplay 2010Interactive Ontario is pleased to welcome back Alexander Manu to give a keynote presentation at INPlay 2010. Manu, who delivered a keynote address at Interactive Ontario’s iSummit in 2006, is a strategic innovation practitioner, international lecturer and author. For over 20 years Alexander has enabled global companies as diverse as Motorola, LEGO, Whirlpool, Nokia, Navteq and Unilever, to develop policies and strategies that Goldtooth Creativeaddress emerging issues through strategic foresight and pre-competitive business models.

Goldtooth Creative has once again shown their video magic – check out the Cover Reveal trailer for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11, developed by Florida’s Tiburon Studio. Goldtooth’s incredibly talented teams have produced trailers and cinematics for many of today’s top titles. Need a production team for your project? We recommend them.

BC indie developer Krabbitsoft Studio has released new features and specs for their RPG Krabbit World Origins. Featuring some very unique creatures, Krabbit World Krabbit OnlineOrigins has a very strong player community, and allows for single or multi-player modes. This is a game we’re going to be taking a look at in the coming weeks – look for it to be featured in our review section later in May 2010.

Banff World Television Festival has just released a call for entrants for the nextMEDIA Digital Hot List. This is a competition open to developers, Banff World Television Festivalcontent producers, and digital superstars. This is your chance to showcase your new, innovative digital property and grab the attention of advertisers who are looking for exciting brand integration opportunities. There are four available categories for entry:

*  Media (Does your website stand out amongst the rest?)
* Talent (Are you a proven online superstar with millions of followers?)
* Content Proposal (Got the best new idea for online content and branded entertainment?)
* Technologies (Are you creating the coolest apps, games and digital ad solutions?)

This contest closes on May 3rd, so if you’re interested in entering, you’d better get a move on!

googlyNew children’s mobile application studio Googly was delighted to find its first app, Alphabets in the Zoo featured yesterday in iTunes’ New and Noteworthy section, and amazed to see it reach number one on the education list.Alphabets In The Zoo

Alphabets in The Zoo features a charming new animated alphabet song and story to help children learn their letters as they look, listen, and sing-a-long. Children’s understanding of the alphabet is taught and reinforced as they enjoy Saad Rashid’s colorful animation, listen to the Fauzia Abbasi’s delightful lyrics, and enjoy Dave Klotz’s catchy tune. Googly plans to release an iPad version of Alphabets in The Zoo shortly, and three more original children’s apps in the next 30 days. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Animation, Associations, Awards, Business News, Careers, CGFX, Contests, Dev Diaries, Digital Products, Early Childhood, Education, Events, Everyone, fundraisers, Game Dev, Government, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Peripherals, Research Studies, RPG - MMORPG, Social Media, Software, Sports, Teen By: | Print This Post Print This Post

21st April 2010

The Collective Interactivity and Networkability of Canada Is Amazing

GDC Canada has announced the addition of three more sessions: GDC Canada 2010

Concrete Practices to be a Better Leader with Brian Sharp (Bungie)
Bringing Dragon Age to Life – Digital Actors in an Epic RPG with Shane Hawco & Clove Roy (Bioware)
Funding for Game Developers – Do’s and Don’ts with Glenn Entis (Vanedge Capital)

If you missed the chance to see the Vancouver SIGGRAPH presentation of Bringing Dragon Age toShane and Clove Life, I highly recommend that you attend the GDC Canada presentation. While overlooking my huge bias as a Dragon Age player, Shane and Clove have put together a great discussion about the processes which Bioware’s dev team went through to get Dragon Age into the gaming universe. Please see the GDC Canada Conference Tracks for a complete list of all announced sessions.

Also announced are some of the official networking and socializing events surrounding GDC Canada:

GDC Canada Opening Night Party Sponsored by Epic – Wednesay, May 5th at 8PM
GDC Canada VIP Party Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – Thursday, May 6th at 7PM
GDC Canada Expo Lounge Sponsored by BigPark & XBOX LIVE – May 6-7th (during expo hours)
Business to Business Lounge Supported By DFAIT – May 6-7th (during expo hours)

Canadian Video Game AwardsAnd don’t forget that the Canadian Videogame and Digital Arts Awards take place on May 5th at 7pm and will feature a performance by Video Games Live (we highly recommend this show); tickets are now on sale, and very reasonably priced. If you haven’t yet had your say for Game of the Year, what are you waiting for? I’ll tell you in advance though, it’s not really an easy choice to make.

EXPVancouver – Last Friday night we joined about 150 game enthusiasts from all walks of the local game development scene – fans, students and studio folk – at the VFS Cafe for EXP Gaming Night of Awesomean evening of pure game enjoyment. From Rockband on the main stage to a plethora of tournaments, Brian Vidovic, owner of EXP Gaming and his team of volunteers put on an excellent evening of socializing and entertainment for the over 19 gaming crowd. In addition to some of the latest games on next gen consoles, there was even fun to be had on the Super Nintendo.

EXP Gaming Night of AwesomeFriday night’s event also sparked the beginning of the Street Fighter IV tournament ladder and the Burnout Revenge team event. Sponsors for EXP Gaming Night of Awesome included VFS, SplitReason, Radical Entertainment, Knot Theory Ties and EA Canada.

Many thanks to Miko Wilson for the photos he has given Village Gamer permission to publish. Please check out Miko’s blog to see of his great photographic work.

EXP Gaming is teaming up with CGVA to present Overture 7 – SSFIV Tournament, which will takeOverture 7 place on May 1st out at UBC. According to the organizers, there are only two simple goals: get hype for SSFIV and welcome the re-birth of the competitive videogame scene. Game play will take place on 360s and PS3s, combatants must bring their own controllers, and the tournament will abide by Arcade Rules. Please see the event’s FaceBook page for complete information on how to participate.

Interactive OntarioTorontoInteractive Ontario has announced their iP3 forum, which will take place in June. The venue and registration information has not yet been finalized, but they will be putting out a call for speakers soon. If you’re an animator in the Toronto area, check out Animation Live Industry Night which happens tomorrow night at The Field House. Read the rest of this entry »

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20th April 2010

Teaching With Technology Winners Announced

CDW CanadaEtobicoke – CDW Canada has announced the 13 winners of its second annual Teaching With Technology™ Story and Sweepstakes Contest, which saw the number of entries doubled over last year’s competition, with winning submissions from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Six winners were chosen by a panel of judges to receive the grand prize packages in the Story Contest, along with five Sweepstakes winners, as picked by a random draw. New this year, two winners were selected from the Tweet UR Tech Tale Contest, which challenged educators to tweet about their submissions in no more than 140 characters.Teaching With Technology

“We are thrilled with the quantity and quality of this year’s submissions,” said Mary Ann Yule, General Manager, CDW Canada. “These teachers’ poignant stories contain some priceless kernels of wisdom around the use of technology to inspire and motivate students. It’s moving to read how students are truly thriving from different ways of learning. It’s even more invigorating to see how educators are tirelessly exploring new ways to engage students through the use of technology and customizing them to improve the learning process of each and every student.”

CDW Canada’s panel of IT experts picked six grand prize winners who described in 200-500 words how technology has improved or can enhance the learning experience in their classroom or school. Each prize bundle – ranging in value from approximately $2,300 to $3,600 – contains technology products that are useful in today’s classrooms, such as printers, projectors, personal computers, monitors, whiteboards, digital cameras, networking equipment and software.Teaching With Technology Winner #1 - 2010

Winner #1: Crystal Park School in Grande Prairie, Alta. – Gail Grant, teacher

Gail submitted a story about how she uses computers, digital cameras and printers to create images that replace the spoken word, empowering and helping her special education preschool students to communicate in a world full of complicated languages.

In Gail’s words, “Imagine a world where technology opens the world to those previously not able to participate in it. Imagine a world where a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Imagine a world where a boy with autism or Down Syndrome, a girl with cerebral palsy or Prader-Willi Syndrome, children with global developmental delays and those who love them can communicate. I do. I see it every day. That is why I embrace technology as part of my tool kit as a teacher.”

Winner #2: H.J. Cambie Secondary School in Richmond, B.C. – Grace Ho, teacherTeaching With Technology Winner #2 - 2010

Although Grace teaches in a portable classroom with very little access to technology, she explained how she incorporates the limited technology she has into her lesson plans by having students use iPods, digital cameras and home Internet access to create unique and interesting class projects.

Grace wrote, “For a long time, I felt like my hands were tied since I had no classroom computer … no projector … Then I realized that the classroom was bigger than the four walls of my portable. It included my home, my students’ homes and the whole virtual world. I love teaching with technology even when the technology is not in the classroom. Now imagine what we would be capable of if it were.”

Winner #3: Richmond Rose Public School in Richmond Hill, Ont. – Farhana Panju, teacher

Farhana’s entry told the story of how her students used technology to help their peers develop a sense of empathy for the people who were severely affected by the earthquake in Teaching With Technology Winner #3 - 2010Haiti. As a class, they used the Internet, Google Earth, a video camera and iMovie to create Public Service Announcements to raise awareness within the school.

“My class and I are extremely excited to receive the technology prize pack. The new equipment will provide greater opportunities for students to gather, analyze and share information in engaging and meaningful ways,” said Farhana. “With the increased accessibility of online resources, students will further be able to participate in authentic learning tasks which transcend the walls of the classroom and build awareness of the world around them. I look forward to continuing to explore new and creative ways of integrating technology to enhance the learning experience of my students.”

Winner #4: Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Surrey, B.C. – Lee Ferrier, teacher

Lee told the story of John, a student in the Grade 12 remedial English class who had very little interest in learning or attending class. Through his exposure to his post-bachelor training, TLITE (Teaching and Learning in an IT Environment), Lee experimented with various technology tools to engage students. After several failed attempts, Lee used a wiki to transform John from a ‘sleeping guy at the back of the room’ to an active participant. John even assumed a peer-teacher role, showing other students how to create their own web pages. Lee wrote, “I was truly startled by the zeal John had when given the opportunity to learn through a medium with which he was comfortable.” Read the rest of this entry »

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15th April 2010

Canadians Not Using Their Smartphones Smartly

Our ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver chapter will be presenting Designing Assassin’s Creed 2 on May 18th. Tickets will be on sale next week for this session. And speaking of Assassin’s Creed 2, Ubisoft® has received confirmationEzio from Guinness World Records that Assassin’s Creed II now holds the Gamer’s Edition Guinness World Record for being the most cover-featured video game. Assassin’s Creed II was used as a lead cover story on 127 different publications in 32 countries, between April 2009 and April 2010.

“Assassin’s Creed is one of our most well-loved brands,” said Alain Corre managing director EMEA at Ubisoft. “The worldwide interest for the brand, coupled with the energy and creativity of our press team made for a winning combination and I am proud of receiving this Guinness World Record.”

Gaz Deaves, Editor of Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition, said: “The evidence submitted by Ubisoft was extremely thorough, with full details of every publication that featured the game. It’s been a pleasure researching this category and we were pleasantly surprised that Assassin’s Creed II took the record – I’m sure plenty of commentators (including myself) would have predicted another well-known game winning the title instead, and this achievement is even more impressive in view of the other 2009 releases that Assassin’s Creed II was able to beat”.

Canadian Video Game AwardsAssassin’s Creed II also leads DigiBC’s upcoming Canadian Video Game Awards with seven nominations – and members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite title in the Game of the Year category.

“The lineup of finalists is a stunning collection of global blockbusters,” said Victor Lucas, host of Electric Playground and one of the award show’s producers. “These are among the biggest games in the world and they represent the best in this country’s innovation and creativity.”

The Canadian Video Game Awards (CVAs) will be held just prior to the second annual Game Developers Conference (GDC Canada) in Vancouver this May 5th and will feature musical entertainment by the internationally renowned Video Games Live. Tickets start at $22 andGDC Canada 2010 are on sale now at the event web site. The show will also be broadcast across the country on G4 Canada through the Rogers Network, and are sponsored by G4, XBOX 360, Sony PlayStation and the Canadian Studios of Electronic Arts.

“These awards recognize the significant contribution of BC and other Canadian companies to the global videogame industry,” said DigiBC president Michael Bidu. “DigiBC’s mandate is to promote the success and sustainability of BC’s digital media and wireless industry and to elevate worldwide awareness of our sector. These Canadian Videogame Awards will attract a lot of attention, both inside and outside of Canada. Ultimately, our industry will grow by attracting talented people, and we’ll do that by telling the world about Vancouver’s strong creative class and BC and Canada’s competitive tax environment and friendly business climate.”

“I’m delighted that DigiBC is onboard with us for the launch of these awards,” said Greg Spievak, founder and principal of Reboot Communications, co-producer of the CVAs. “They have a strong vision for the industry and a successful track record for producing exciting events, such as VX Showcase, their 2010 Winter Olympics event, Skate 3as well as their upcoming VIDWeek 2010.”

The Skate™ 3 demo is now available on XBox Live, with both a single and multi-player experience. Learn the ins and outs of skating with the all-new Skate School or team up and throw down in co-op or competitive gameplay. Featuring new challenge types like Own The Lot and Domination, the ability to save and upload clips using the Replay Editor, and to drop objects to personalize your demo experience, the Skate 3 demo has a little something for everyone.

F5 ExpoDid you get the chance to see Malcolm Gladwell speak at F5 Expo on April 7th? Did you like what he had to say? Many people, including F5 Expo’s own TechLinz, disagreed with Gladwell’s perspective on social media. His mile wide and inch deep philosophy may be accurate, but he failed to look at the benefits of a mile wide network for business transactions. Stressing the need for deep relationships, Gladwell feels these are essential for revolutions, but building a business isn’t necessarily about a revolution. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2010

ESA Canada Sends Recommendations To The Federal Government

esacESA Canada has submitted ten recommendations to Canada’s federal government for a national digital economy strategy in a paper entitled Game On, Canada! Playing to Win in the Digital Economy (PDF). This paper covers a number of issues critical to Canadian competitiveness. Taken together, these solutions would not only benefit the Canadian video game industry, but would position Canada as a more competitive jurisdiction in which to invest.ESAC Game On Canada 2010

This 22 page report outlines not only the importance of talent development and improving the digital literacy of current and future generations, it also speaks to the very important issue of access to capital and widening the scope of such areas as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development grants. The recommendations also include suggestions in regards to current copyright laws and access to affordable, high quality broadband nationwide. There are many excellent points raised in this ESAC paper, and is an excellent springboard for further discussion about the future of the interactive digital media industry in Canada.

Good luck to the three Canadian-developed games which were named to the 2010 Microsoft XNA Dream Build Play competition: The Shadows in the Underworld, DualityZF and Capsized. Finalists should be announced by Microsoft in the next few weeks. Congratulations to EA Sports’ FIFA 10 on being named to the World Cyber Games official tournament list for the 2010 season.

If you’re going to be in the Toronto area on June 4th, the Branded Content Summit is something you may want to Northern Voicelook at attending. The Branded Content Summit (BCS) will bring people together from marketing, advertising, content production and media to better understand trends, share ideas and learn how to profit from the shift towards branded content. Also of interest is Northern Voice, which will be held out here in Vancouver on May 7th & 8th. The Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference has released its schedule of speakers and registration is now open.

EXPIf you’re an over-19 gamer in the Vancouver area, check out EXP’s first big event this coming Friday night at the VFS Cafe. There will be several gaming stations set up and tournaments will abound. There will be some great prizes offered – but only those who RSVP via the event’s FaceBook page will gain admittance.+

IGLOO Online CommunitiesKitchenerIGLOO Software today announced the launch of the industry’s first Social Media Playbook. This free resource is an invaluable tool for anyone implementing social software solutions – inside the organization, to improve employee productivity, or outside, to enhance stakeholder engagement. The Playbook offers four core community building resources:Social Media PlayBook Read the rest of this entry »

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13th April 2010

Today in The Canadian Interactive World

IUGOVancouver – Get ready to chill out with IUGO’s latest iPhone/iPad title; ESCAPE: Norm’s World XL. Zone out on limitless Zen puzzles with Escape XL. Swipe to jump Norm from stone to stone to eliminate all and solve the puzzle. Norm's World Escape XL

Escape features endless levels and gameplay with 3 difficulty levels for replayability. An unlimited supply of easy puzzles are free, but a 99¢ upgrade will get you medium and hard levels, feeding the addiction you won’t even see coming. Escape also features simple controls for all ages with minimalist graphics, which give it a maximum appeal for all players. You can drive yourself crazy solving the puzzles with unique cerebral game play which is complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects.

ESCAPE XL designed exclusively for the iPad features:

· Versus mode: challenge a friend in a race to solve the puzzle (IAP)
· Co-op mode: Collaborate with a friend to solve the puzzle (IAP)
· 3D graphics!
· 2 camera angles to choose from (single player mode)
· 2 characters to choose from: play as Norm or Norma
· Enhanced UI for larger interface and multiplayer modes

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

ESCAPE: Norm’s World XL is FREE TO PLAY! Users may access unlimited puzzles with the Easy mode. For iPhone and iPad, Medium and Hard levels cost 99¢ as IAP. For the iPad, 2 player modes both Co-op and Versus can be purchased additionally for 99¢. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is IUGO’s 16th iPhone title and their 4th iPad title to launch on the App Store. ESCAPE is also available for BlackBerry devices!

cosmos interactiveVancouver Cosmos Interactive Inc. has released the long awaited game Babylonian Twins for the iPhone and iPad. The new game is based on the original never released Amiga version that was made in Iraq during the economic sanctions back in the early nineties. Since day one, the game hit the top-paid list in the puzzle category on the App Store and received five star ratings and reviews. The game is available now for download on iTunesBabylonian Twins

In 1993, Rabah Shihab, an engineering student at the university of Baghdad, and two of his colleagues defied the difficulties of the sanctions and built Babylonian Twins, a game with a unique theme inspired from authentic history books. Their goal was to promote a positive image about Iraq and its history. However, the game was never released due to the sanctions and demise of Commodore. In 2007, videos of Babylonian Twins were published for the first time on YouTube sparking huge positive reaction from the Amiga retro community. Since then Babylonian Twins received thousands of hits from over 85 countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th April 2010

Awards Shows Are The Topic of the Day

Canadian Video Game AwardsVancouver – The Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards has released its list of finalists for the inaugural awards gala which will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre this coming May 5th in conjunction with GDC Canada, which will take place May 6th and 7th, also at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Game of the Year:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dawn of War 2 – Dragon Age: Origins – FIFA 10 and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Best Console Game:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dragon Age: Origins – FIFA 10 – NHL 10 and Prototype

Best Handheld Game:

Battle of Giants: Dragons – LEGO Battles – MySims Racing – Pandemica and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Best Downloadable Game:

Critter Crunch – Implode! – Osmos – Pandemica and Super Monkey Ball 2

Best Game Audio:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dawn of War 2 – Dragon Age: Origins – Skate 2 and WET

Best Game Design:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dawn of War 2 – Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – NHL 10 and Prototype

Best Game Technology:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – FIFA 10 – Fight Night Round 4 – Prototype and Skate 2

Best Visual Arts:

Academy of Champions – Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dragon Age: Origins – Fight Night Round 4 and Punch-Out!

Best Writing:

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Dawn of War 2 – Dragon Age: Origins – Prototype and WET

Most Promising Game:

Dead Rising 2 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution – TRON: Evolution – ModNation Racers and Need for Speed: World

Best Animated Short:

EcoBuddies – Ormie – Splinter Cell: Conviction E3 2009 Trailer and The Oracle of Aveon

Visual Effects Movie:

Angels and Demons – Assassin’s Creed: Lineage – District 9 – Invictus and Watchmen

In-Game Cinematic:

LEGO Battles – Ghostbusters: The Video Game – NBA Live 10 and Prototype: Web of Intrigue

Voting for the awards is now open – these are going to be some very difficult choices for me to make, because almost all of my favourite Canadian-made games are on these lists. Decisions, decisions.

Georgia StraightSpeaking of awards, the Georgia Straight has published an article by journalist Blaine Kyllo about The Elans, an award show formerly held in Vancouver and now attempting to relocate to San Diego. This article is a must-read for anyone involved in the digital and interactive media industry.

Business In VancouverVancouver – Also in the awards category today, Cybele Negris, Co-Founder of webnames.ca, is one of six women to be honoured at BIV’s Influential Women in Business awards. This is the 11th year BC’s most influential business women have been honoured. Cybele, former president of Wired Woman Vancouver launched the successful mentorship program members have benefited greatly from. Hear from Cybele, along with 5 other honourees April 14 at the Fairmont Waterfront.

Being honoured on April 14 at the Fairmont Waterfront are:

Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Vancouver
Ida Goodreau, Corporate Director and former CEO LifeLabs and Vancouver Coastal Health
Sarah Morgan-Silvester, Chancellor, University of British Columbia
Cybele Negris, Co-Founder, webnames.ca
Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
Lifetime Achievement Award – Julia Levy, Corporate Director and Co-Founder QLT Inc.

Event Details:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Fairmont Waterfront
Waterfront Ballroom
Reception: 11:30am
Awards Luncheon 12:00pm – 2:00pm
BIV Subscribers: $75, Non-subscribers $95

The Influential Women in Business Awards are presented by Business in Vancouver to recognize successful British Columbia business women in British Columbia. The honourees are selected based on their outstanding achievements in business, contribution to their industry, and influence in the local business community.

mob4hireCalgaryMob4Hire, the world’s largest mobile testing and market research community, today announced a significant new platform release. In development for a year, Mob4Hire Version 4.0 offers mobile functional and usability testing, as well as product and market research using it’s crowd of over 40,000 mobile users in 150 countries. This provides valuable opportunities for mobile app and website developers, advertising executives, product managers, market researchers, marketing teams and developer networks / app stores of handset and network operators to reach global users and include user feedback in the mobile development cycle. This results in a good user experience which in turn drives recommendations, top store rankings, discoverability, and ultimately, viral revenue growth.

Mob4Hire Version 4.0 replaces the old system that has been live since Autumn 2008. Since then, Mob4Hire’s crowd-sourced community of 40,000 mobile testers in 150 countries on 364 network operators, have been helping the almost 1,000 mobile developers registered from 81 countries make better mobile apps through functional testing. Testers (also known as “Mobsters”) have already made thousands of dollars for doing quality assurance work while at the same time helping mobile developers save up to 90% in traditional testing costs.

With this announcement, Mob4Hire is also introducing Basic, Premium and Managed Service pricing tiers to accommodate mobile firms of all shapes and size who need to create and run projects using its crowd-sourced methodologies. Managed Services offers efficient and cost-effective project management; using Mob4Hire’s community can save up to 65% in costs over traditional testing methods and has already been used to manage several multi-national and multi-device tests that would have been cost-prohibitive to run using traditional testing techniques.

netsweeperTorontoNetsweeper, a global provider of Internet Content Filtering and web threat management solutions, is excited to announce a series of core feature enhancements, uniquely designed to further protect children from inappropriate content and other web based threats. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th March 2010

Bioware Celebrates Fifteen

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of Bioware Bazaar. Officially open on April 6th, the Bazaar is comprised of a “week-long series of mock online auctions that will feature over 400 items ranging from custom painted PC’s, Alienware laptops, BioWare apparel and more!” Coincidentally, April 6 is also the launch date for the next bit of DLC for Mass Effect 2. Kasumi’s Stolen Memory will be available for 560 Microsoft Points and will feature new crew member Kasumi Goto, new missions and a sweet new weapon – the sound-suppressed Locust SMG, a new achievement and a flash-bang loyalty power.

According to the Bazaar info page, in order “to bid on these items, fans will need to collect tokens through various challenges. The first auction begins at 9 AM PST on Tuesday, April 6th, with new items being made available every 15 minutes, ending 4 PM PST Saturday, April 10th. So tell your friends, start collecting tokens, and get ready to win some amazing prizes!” You can read the full Rules of Engagement on the Bioware Bazaar rules page. Happy Birthday, Bioware!

Canada 3.0 2010Stratford – The Canada 3.0 2010 forum slated for May 10-11 will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making it possible for “anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017”. The second annual forum will bring together the people who can make that happen from industry, government and academia for a two-day event intended to boost Canada’s ability to lead in the digital economy.

“We’ve set this ‘Moonshot’ that might sound impossible, just as putting a man on the moon once sounded impossible, but it is attainable if we harness all the necessary resources and are fully committed to making this happen,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal centre of excellence in commercialization and research. “While the sun is setting on some more traditional industries, there are many opportunities worth shooting for in digital media spanning all aspects of our economy.”

Kevin Newman, Anchor and Executive Editor of Global National, will emcee the main plenary sessions. Keynote speakers and panelists include: Tony Chapman, Founder & CEO of branding and advertising agency Capital C; Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation; Helen McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada; Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO of entrepreneurship community Sprouter.com; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and more to be announced soon.

“This event is critically important to Canada as we re-evaluate our economic foundation,” said Newman. “All sectors of our economy, including our creative artists and storytellers, need to understand the emerging keys to success in an increasingly competitive global economy and culture.”

Staged once again at the Rotary Complex in Stratford, the forum features a select group of speakers in the main plenary session with opportunity for attendee discussion and input in a broader range of breakout sessions and workshops.

Canada 3.0 2010 will build on the momentum created at last year’s forum that attracted some 1500 people, and will have a broad scope given that digital media is defined by organizers as ‘anything created or shared virtually’. The line-up of forum ‘streams’ is led by heavy-hitters in the digital media sector. Topics include:

* Imagining – Global best practices: What does Canada do well? What should Canada be doing?
– Chaired by – Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text Corporation; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and Ian Wilson, Executive Director, University of Waterloo Stratford Institute
* Empowering – Networks, infrastructure and mobility
– Chaired by – René Barsalo, Director Research and Strategy, Society for Arts and Technology, Montreal; Michele Perras, Director of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre; and David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd March 2010

Finding Direction In Canada’s Digital Compass Competition

Toon BoomMontrealToon Boom has released a new version of their Flip Boom Classic animation software. Version 4 now has sound recording ability, so users can add their own voices and sound effects to their animations. Flip Boom Classic 4 is designed primarily for kids who would like to learn computer animation, and today’s new release comes with Easter templates as well as a full tutorial. Flip Boom Classic 4 can be purchased online for only $39.99.

PricewaterhouseCoopersToronto – All signs point to a digital transformation in the way we do business, our lifestyles and the global economy. As Canada tries to find its footing in the digital industry, today PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has launched Canada’s Digital Compass – a ‘crowdsourcing’ competition that will ask Canadians to help define the nation’s role in the future digital economy.

Canada’s Digital Compass will draw a community of Canadians who are passionate about digital transformation to submit and vote on ideas that could help position Canada to lead the digital economy. Weekly competitions will take place on five topic areas and winners from each competition will participate in a final showdown on May 4, 2010 where the top three ideas will be chosen. The three winners will be awarded tickets to the Canada 3.0 conference at the University of Waterloo on May 10-11, 2010 where their submissions could be presented to attendees.

“The best ideas are developed by collaborating with others and Canada’s Digital Compass is a crowdsourcing initiative which is built on this principle,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC. “Canada is home to some of the brightest minds in the digital space and this program will allow a community of digital enthusiasts to contribute, critique and build upon ideas that will help Canada lead in the digital realm.”

In addition to community involvement, a panel of digital experts will also weigh in on the submissions and will assist in selecting the top three winners. Their decisions will be based on the ideas with the most community votes and how well each submission aligns with the three measures of success:  economic potential, how it fits with Canada’s capabilities and how it reflects Canada’s values.

“The panel is comprised of experts from a wide range of industry backgrounds and will play an important part in the campaign,” says Riley. “Along with feedback from the community, the panelists will inject valuable insights on the submissions based on their expertise.”

The panel of judges includes:

– Mike Kirkup, Director of Developer Relations, Research In Motion (RIM)
– Jacob Glick, Policy Counsel, Google
– Barbara Bailie, Director of Interactive, Astral Television Networks
– Olivier Vincent, President and CEO, Canpages
– Jerry Brown, Associate Partner, Consulting and Deals, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Weekly Competitions and Subjects:

– Technology – March 16 – 29, 2010
– Education – March 30 – April 5, 2010
– Media Production – April 6 – 12, 2010
– Connectivity – April 13 – 19, 2010
– Policy Development – April 20 – 26, 2010

Best Buy CanadaSurreyBest Buy Canada will be celebrating the grand opening of its new South Surrey store beginning Friday, March 26 at 15760 Croydon Drive, Surrey, B.C. (at Grandview Corners). The grand opening specials and $500 daily Gift Card giveaways are also included at all Lower Mainland Best Buy locations!

Grand Opening Weekend Schedule of Events:

Friday, March 26, 2010

– Before 9:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 9:45 am: Cheque presentations: $2,500 to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver and $2,500 to Big Sisters B.C. Lower Mainland
– 9:30 am: $20,000 cheque presentation from Monster Cable to Olympic Gold Medalist Chandra Crawford for Fast & Female
– 5 – 7 pm: Iron Man meet and greet Read the rest of this entry »

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