20th October 2011

Autodesk Played Virtual Hand In Human Revolution

Eidos-Montreal used some of the latest game development technology from Autodesk, Inc.  to develop the Autodeskcritically acclaimed “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” video game. Autodesk Scaleform middleware helped the developer build immersive user interfaces (UIs) — from interactive world objects and the hero’s Augmented Reality bio-engineered enhancement, to basic menus and heads-up displays (HUDs). Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk MotionBuilder software were used to create and populate the game’s large futuristic world. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th October 2011

Warren Franklin Departs CEO Post at Rainmaker Entertainment

RainmakerThe board of directors of Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. have announced that Warren Franklin has left the Vancouver studio. Rainmaker Entertainment will be recognizing a charge to operations in the fourth quarter of approximately $1 million related to Franklin’s departure. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th October 2011

Winnipeg MakerSpace Grand Opening Event

assentworksWinnipeg’s first and only makerspace, AssentWorks, will open on October 27th, and you’re invited to the party, which will take place from 4:00p.m. until 8:00p.m.. AssentWorks will be a place where inventors, engineers, designers and business people can create practically anything using space-age and modern equipment. It is a public, non-profit organization, aimed at supporting and benefiting Manitoban business today, and in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th September 2011

Blake Tohana Joins marblemedia in Dual C Role

marblemediamarblemedia has appointed Blake Tohana to the newly created role of CFO & COO. He will be working closely with Partners/Executive Producers Mark Bishop and Matthew Hornburg to lead the company’s growth and execute its strategic plan.

Blake will oversee the expansion of new divisions and departments, including marblemedia’s Interactive group and its International Sales & Distribution arm, Distribution360. In addition, he will be responsible for growing the company’s newly-created Factual & Lifestyle division, which is launching its first cross-platform property—What’s in a Name?— on History Television (Canada) on September 12th, 2011.Blake Tohana

“We’re very pleased to welcome Blake to the marblemedia team. Over the past decade, we’ve been fortunate to have grown significantly from a two person start-up to an award-winning multi-platform production studio. Blake will be implementing strategies to further expand our business in Canada as well as in international markets,” said Mark Bishop and Matthew Hornburg, Partners and Executive Producers at marblemedia.

Blake has nearly 15 years of senior management experience in the media and entertainment industry. Prior to joining marblemedia, he spent seven years as Executive Vice-President and CFO of Magna Entertainment Corp., which was North America’s largest horse racing company with media operations that included a U.S. television network and Internet wagering business. Prior to that, he held various senior management positions (including CFO) at Fireworks Entertainment Inc., which was a film and television production and distribution company that he helped take public before it was subsequently acquired by CanWest Global Communications Corp. Blake got his start in the industry as Corporate Controller of Alliance Communications Corp., which was Canada’s largest filmed entertainment company at that time.

Blake currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. He is a Chartered Accountant and has an MBA from McMaster University and a B.Sc. from The University of Western Ontario.

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30th August 2011

N-able Technologies Achieves VMware Ready Status

n-able technologiesN-able Technologies® announced yesterday that N-central has achieved VMware Ready™ status. This designation indicates that N-able Technologies’ N-central has passed a detailed evaluation and testing process managed by VMware and is now listed on the VMware Partner Product Catalogue. Passing the extensive VMware-specified testing helps ensure that N-central makes the best use of VMware technology and is ready for deployment in customer environments.

“We are pleased that N-able’s N-central qualifies for the VMware Ready™ logo, signifying to customers that it has passed specific VMware testing and interoperability criteria and is ready to run in production environments,” said Sheryl Sage, Director, Alliance Programs, VMware.n-able n-central

“Demand for virtualized infrastructure among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is rising, which means the need among our channel partners for greater remote manageability and insight into the health of these virtualized machines is also climbing,” says Robert Grapes, Director of Product Marketing and Management, N-able Technologies. “The VMware Ready™ designation is an important achievement for N-able — one that is critical to our partners’ ongoing success with SMBs, as well as with other customers relying upon virtualization to take their IT environments to the next level.”

The VMware Ready program is a VMware co-branding program for qualified partner products and is a benefit of the VMware Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program. With more than 2,000 members worldwide, the VMware TAP program works with best-of-breed technology partners to provide them a comprehensive set of VMware technical and marketing services, support, tools and expertise to deliver enhanced value to joint customers.

N-able Technologies’ N-central can be found within the online VMware Partner Product Catalogue and hardware products can be found within the online VMware Hardware Compatibility List.

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25th August 2011

Visit Rock Hippo At Fan Expo

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions announced today that its exhibition at Germany’s Gamescom last week in Cologne was a major success. The company estimates that tens of thousands of fans visited the Rock Hippo booth to play Brawl BustersMicroVolts and Brawl Busters. The company also released photos of the winners of two huge competitions held during the convention. The winners of the daily Brawl Busters competitions took home Alienware gaming keyboards while the winners of the daily MicroVolts tournaments took home Alienware gaming mice.

Between August 25th and 28th, Rock Hippo will exhibit its two free-to-play games, MicroVolts and upcoming Brawl Busters, at Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Booth 1445. Players who visit the Rock Hippo booth at Fan Expo Canada will have a chance to play the new action brawler, Brawl Busters, which just recently went into Closed Beta phase. In addition, visitors can participate in the special promotion for the company’s recently released third person action shooter, MicroVolts, to receive microvoltsin-game currency and pick up all kinds of gaming swag.

“Gamescom was a huge success for us. We were able to show off our games to so many of our fans and give out some great prizes. We want to congratulate the winners of our tournaments who took home some awesome Alienware gaming gear,” said Howard He, President and CEO of Rock Hippo Productions. “We aren’t done yet. We are now looking forward to meeting the gamers at Fan Expo Canada this weekend, which is celebrating its 17th year, and we are proud to be part of such a popular convention which celebrates everything from gaming to anime and comics and more.”

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22nd August 2011

Watch The SouthPaw Technology SIGGRAPH 2011 Tactic Demo On Video

Southpaw TechnologySouthPaw Technology, developers of digital asset software Tactic, have released the TACTIC 3.6 demo video from their SIGGRAPH 2011 presentation. If you weren’t able to stop by their booth at the conference, or are looking for a solution to manage your studio’s digital assets, check out this in-depth look at what Tactic has to offer.

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TACTIC is a Web-based Production Asset Management system that combines digital asset management with detailed project management to simplify, secure and speed the complex process of creating digital content. Not only does TACTIC manage assets in a secure database, it moves them through their entire life cycle with workflow automation tools, and automatically tracks their progress in real-time so that a project’s status is never in doubt.  Add to that an open API and a completely configurable Web-based interface, and TACTIC becomes the central pipeline through which all assets flow.

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18th August 2011

Frima Acquires Volta

frima studioFrima Studio has acquired Volta, a visual development studio dedicated to the creation of high-end concept art for video games and film. Established in 2006, Volta has quickly become one of the most respected names in the industry. The acquisition expands Frima’s portfolio of services to high-end concept art capabilities for AAA games, film and television projects. Volta will remain an independent studio in its own Quebec City offices.

An international team of 20 experienced professionals; Volta’s expertise includes the production of concept art, visual development, storyboards, and marketing materials. Since 2006, they have delivered projects to major entertainment companies such as Sony, Disney, Microsoft, and Warner Bros. Recent AAA gaming projects include Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Deus Ex Human Revolution, F.E.A.R. 3, Mortal Kombat 9, Rage, and Red Faction Armageddon.volta demo screen

“The acquisition of Volta advantageously expands each of our three lines of business,” explains Frima CEO Steve Couture. “Volta’s services add to our robust client offerings, their expertise in AAA game art strengthens our capacity for Frima’s own upcoming original IP, and synergy between Frima FX and Volta will complement the development of concept art and 3D modelization for the movie/cinema market.”

Claude Bordeleau, CEO of Volta, explained their reasons for joining forces with Frima as a desire to harness Frima’s experience managing growth as well as create new opportunities between Frima’s partners and Volta’s areas of expertise. “Frima wanted to offer a new service with an existing, intact and fully functional team. We’re excited to explore the advantages of the new partnership while we continue to produce high quality work for our current clients.”

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17th August 2011

Ontario In Full Force At Gamescom

Ontario Technology CorridorDespite various global economic challenges, the digital media and video game industries continue to thrive. People like to play games – especially in tough times. Over the past two years, Canada’s gaming industry has expanded 11 per cent annually and is forecasted to grow 17 per cent in each of the next two years. Executives from the Ontario Technology Corridor are at GamesCom to demonstrate the province’s “winning combination” of talent and tax credits. Canada is one of the world’s top three game producing nations.

Larry MacKinnon, Director of Business Development for Technology in London Ontario and member of the Ontario Technology Corridor, says “Ontario continues to offer the talent and the financial incentitves that make this region such a strong part of the digital entertainment industry. Our job at GamesCom is to add to our tremendous home-grown crop of companies and help demonstrate that Ontario is a prime destination in North America for gaming investments.”

Federal and Ontario provincial research and development tax credits combine to give Canada the most favourable tax treatment among G-8 countries — giving Ontario innovation companies the ability to cut R&D expenditures by up to 63%.

In 2011 Ontario’s gaming advantage has scored several wins:

Arkadium Inc.

On July 19, 2011, this global leader in online games opened a Toronto office to focus on mobile gaming titles. Company executives stated “key factors” in the move were assistance from the Ontario government and the Digital Media Tax Credit, plus help from the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance. Arkadium’s Toronto office has a goal of producing ten new games to introduce to the market within the next 12 month.

Gameloft Inc.

This France-based company has started hiring 205 people for a new Toronto office that will be a state-of-the-art gaming studio. The company also confirms the key role played by the provincial tax credit. The company’s General Manager for Canada, Mario Poulin says, “We remain at the top of our game by partnering with jurisdictions like Ontario where there is a real interest backed by sound policies to make the gaming sector a strong contributor to the economy and the creation of jobs.“ Gameloft posted 15 per cent revenue growth in the first part of  2011.

Silicon Knights Inc.

Also in July, Silicon Knights announced it will nearly double its staff by adding 80 new jobs. Ontario government tax credits combined with the company’s own invesment will allow the studio to improve its technology, create new products and become a self-publishing company.

Morro Images Inc.

Morro is working with Silicon Knights as Morro Images expands their current visual effects operation in St. Catharines. Morro is a sister firm to Morro Images of Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, and is also a supporter of nGen, the Niagara Interactive Media Generator, a hub for business development of digital media companies. nGen hosts the Generator at One motion capture facility which will serve as headquarters for the new Ontario Augmented Reality Network.  Brock University recently received funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation to develop the Network.

Ontario’s lead agency for provincial incentives in digital media is the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).  Darius Basarab, Senior Business Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is headed to GamesCom and says, “Ontario is well positioned to compete with other jurisdictions who are trying to attract gaming firms and we have a lot to offer – that will be one of my message at the conference.” To date the OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million – and continues to offer the following incentives:

  • Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit – refunds 35-40 per cent of eligible production costs
  • Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit – refunds 20 per cent of labour costs
  • OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund – up to $150,000 in project production funding, up to a maximum of 50% of the project budget.

Ontario’s fast-growing entertainment and creative cluster employs nearly 300,000 while contributing $12.2 billion to the province’s GDP. In addition, 22 Ontario colleges and universities produce18,000 graduates per year from174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.

The C.D. Howe Institute, which studies social and economic policies, notes Canada’s international reputation as a destination for capital and investment is better than it has been for a generation.

Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will fall from 18 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent by 2012 — less than half of the top U.S. federal marginal corporate income tax rate, and the lowest in the G7 plus the lowest R&D costs in the G7, with a 12.9 per cent advantage over the U.S. Canada also has the world’s soundest banking system according to the World Economic Forum.

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11th August 2011

Game On Audio To Create Simultaneous Audio Recording MoCap Studios

Game On AudioGame On Audio has taken the first steps towards launching its newest offering: studios capable
of simultaneously recording the highest quality audio while also capturing the full-body and facial performances of video game actors. Game On Audio has tapped Organic Motion’s new “OpenStage” markerless motion capture mo-cap technology, which is making its debut at Siggraph 2011, purchasing three systems.

Organic Motion’s new markerless, suitless mo-cap system delivers many innovative features including multiple actor tracking, fundamental prop tracking, larger scanning space, increased accuracy, as well as eliminating the need for a backdrop. Construction on these precedent-setting studios begins mid-September 2011 in Game On’s Venice facility and is due to be completed January 15th 2012, while the Montreal facility installation will begin in July 2012 and finalized by October 2012. The performance studios will be exact duplicates of each other to maintain quality control in all aspects of the performance capture. Internationally renowned architectural firm, Boto Design will handle the design and construction for the new studios.

The installation of Organic Motion’s “OpenStage” will enable Game On Audio to provide clients in both the gaming industry, and the entertainment industry as a whole, with the ability to simultaneously capture the performances of actors vocally and physically. Standard motion capture stages aren’t outfitted and equipped to capture high-quality sound, which leads to costly dubbing sessions where actors have to add voices to the physical action. With Game On’s new “Performance Studios,” which are fitted to Game On’s company-wide audio specifications, this has been consolidated into a one-step process.

“We’ve seen how costly it can be for clients forced to capture their actors’ motion imagery and voicework separately,” said Sam Girardin, CEO and Founder of Game On Audio. “Organic Motion’s new system allows for actors to immerse themselves in the scene and not worry about the confinements and restrictions that the traditional motion capture process entails. This is a completely different approach that makes sense on many levels, for us and for our clients. We’re proud to be the first company to design studios specifically for this purpose.”

Game On has already been working with facial motion capture, having provided the service on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and many yet to be announced AAA titles. With offices in Montreal and Los Angeles, Game On Audio is a recognized leader in voice recording, casting, direction, facial motion capture, game mixing and audio post-production for the global video game industry. In addition, through a network of partner studios in New York, Paris, Toronto and Vancouver, the company provides clients with access to the most diverse pool of talent in the industry.

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