All posts for Tag: gaming

Calling All Ladies: The Difference Engine Initiative

The Hand Eye Society invites you to apply to one of two free Game-Making incubators!  These incubators are part of TIFF Nexus and supported by the OMDC.  They will take place in August-September and October-November.  Applications for the incubators are being accepted now and are due by midnight on Sunday July 31st.  There will be an info session hosted at TIFF Bell Lightbox on July 26th at 7pm.

The Incubators

Each incubator has a maximum of six participants. Participants will attend a 3-hour session once a week for six weeks.

These sessions will provide participants with:

  • experience with several point-and-click gamemaking tools that do not require programming;
  • feedback and support on their gamemaking process from experienced gamemakers;
  • a peer-mentorship atmosphere that has more in common with crafting circles or writers’ groups than a traditional classroom setting;
  • snacks, drinks and good times.

Between sessions, participants will have required assignments generally needing 2 to 4 hours.

Visit this site http://handeyesociety.com/project/the-difference-engine-initiative/ to read more about the coordinators, FAQs and find out how you can be involved!

You have to be there: Crossmedia TO!


Crossmedia TO 2011 aims to bridge the gap between the media sectors, this month’s focus is on publishing.

On Wednesday July 20th, Crossmedia TO will host several interesting speakers including: Candice Faktor, Vice President of Strategy and New Ventures Torstar Digital, Gavin McGarry, President of Jumpwire Media LLC, Dr. Eric McLuhan, Bryan Segal, Vice President of comScore Inc, Jordan Van Schyndel, co-founder of Present Feedback as well as alumni James Milward, co-founder of HERD.FM.

HERD was conceived at the CFC Media Lab’NBC Universal Multiplatform Matchmaking Program where co-founders Romeo Candido, Davin Lengyel and James Milward challenged themselves to find a new way to share music. HERD is a new mobile application and community platform that uses GPS technology making it possible for artists, brands and music lovers to connect through music and locations that matter to them.  (www.herd.fm)    (www.facebook.com/herd)

Details

When: Wednesday July 20TH at 6:00 pm
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M3
Register: http://crossmediato.eventbrite.com/

Crossmedia TO takes place on the third Wednesday of every month, be sure to attend them all!  To stay in the loop on the schedule and focuses of the sessions please visit  http://crossmediato.com/future-events/ .

See you there: Startup Festival

Another amazing festival you can’t miss is coming up!

The International Startup Festival is a two-day conference on the business of startups. It brings together industry veterans and fresh faces, thought leaders and technology giants from around the world, for a series of lean, fast-paced events. It includes startup launches, inspiring keynotes, and deep-dives into hot sectors like mobility, social networking, and gaming. The festival brings a global audience together to cover the entire startup lifecycle: early-stage innovation; scaling the business; and achieving a successful exit.

Details

When: July 13-15 2011
Where: Alexandra Pier, Old Montreal (Adjacent to Centre des Sciences)
Register Now: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/869924969/
Schedule: http://www.startupfestival.com/en/speakers/

Amon Tobin premieres ISAM at MUTEK

Greetings! I’m Aylwin Lo, CFC Media Lab’s newest staff addition. As a Tech Coordinator, I provide technical and design support to many of the Media Lab’s exciting activities. Last week I took a trip out of the lab to attend the 12th edition of MUTEK, Montreal’s prestigious and groundbreaking festival for electronic music and digital art.

As in previous years, this year’s MUTEK promised an array of acts ranging from seasoned acts premiering their latest audio-visual work to up-and-comers making a break for it. One of our own current residents, Laurel McDonald, has performed at MUTEK and was recently featured on their website for her performance project combining vocals and visuals, Videovoce.

It was my privilege to be able to interview four of the acts performing at this year’s festival. We’ll be posting roughly an interview a week until they’re all up. Be sure to visit Stabletalk once a week if you aren’t already subscribed to our RSS feed or email updates.

Read More »

Retro Activity

It seems like wherever I go these days, I wind up looking at the past. Half of the photos my friends share on Facebook and Twitter are run through a gamut of filters to look like they were shot in 1969 (that’s even the name of one of Hipstamatic’s workflows), and now the same thing is happening with video thanks to apps like 8mm Vintage Camera.

While a major trend of late in digital content creation tools has been the retro styling of interfaces and artifacts, the last several years of PC and console gaming could be seen as a pilgrimage in the opposite direction. Solid Snake, Nico Bellic, and Nathan Drake all furrow their blemished brows and glower at us menacingly in 1080p… at least Master Chief had the decency to put on a helmet.

But not all games operate within this paradigm of photorealism – there are families of titles evolving on the plains outside of the Uncanny Valley, and groups of developers more interested in experimenting with gameplay than participating in the arms race of shader technology.

A great example of this trend towards retro visuals is the Swedish indie juggernaut known as Minecraft. The premise of the game is simple – wake up in a wilderness, prance about exploring for most of the day, find a way to build shelter before nightfall, avoid becoming dogfood for a menagerie of roving monsters – but the really interesting stuff at work in Minecraft is in the context of sandbox gameplay and open collaboration. You can work with friends online to architect elaborate in-game underground fortresses, treehouses, or even working arithmetic logic units; but everything you build has to be crafted from natural substances mined from the world around you and represented by blocks about one foot by one foot in size. While the world of Minecraft is vast, it’s also quite graphically granular. The experience looks and feels more like the result of some macabre mash-up of panspermia and Tetris than other sandbox games like Garry’s Mod, Little Big Planet, or Second Life. The easiest way to describe Minecraft’s gameplay to newcomers is as a digital version of Lego… a version where each block must be carefully smelted from elusive minerals at the core of the earth.

Trevor Haldenby's Minecraft Kingdom

My Minecraft Kingdom... not so meta-meta.

What could have compelled the game’s creator Markus “Notch” Persson to employ such a distinctly retro style in the creation of such an innovative game? And what features of the game are responsible for the sale of more than 1.8 million units in the last year?

Performance
Minecraft is built and sold as a Java application. As many have discovered, it runs in a corporate web browser approximately as well as it will on a dedicated gaming rig. 1999‘s Quake III finally moved into the browser as “Quake Live” last year after heavy modifications, but Minecraft was there from the start by drawing in the thousands of blocks making up each world dynamically and by not using particularly elaborate textures. You can customize your in-game character on the minecraft.net site using a 32×32 pixel image… about a third the size of what made for a decent LiveJournal icon ten years ago.

Familiarity
It seems like it’s often assumed that hyper-real graphics will feel good because they’re similar to how we perceive the world with the HD cameras embedded in our faces. The purveyors of gigabyte-packing graphics cards surely presume that visual accuracy is what’s behind the verisimilitude of a good gaming experience. But what about those of us who grew up under the supervision of the Super Mario Brothers and a 12” TV, or their ancestors from the Old Country of Atari? I think it stands to reason that 8-bit graphics and simplistic animations make the average 20 or 30-something gamer feel more at home than anisotropic filters.

Mechanics in Focus
When you’re playing a photorealistic 3D title you’re probably going to invest less effort into considerations of underlying gameplay mechanics than you might if you were enjoying a basement romp in a refrigerator box. Games defined by shiny pretty things certainly have a time and place, but when you’re playing a title that deliberately immerses you in a lo-fi look-and-feel, you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised by the ingenuity or complexity of the mechanics at work.

Kenfagerdotcom's Minecraft Kingdom

Kenfagerdotcom's Minecraft Kingdom... meta-meta to the power of meta.

Minecraft isn’t alone in utilizing retro graphics to get audiences engaged, before challenging them with innovative gameplay concepts. Jason Rohrer and Daniel Benmergui are both developer-artistes putting out engaging and genre-busting titles with beautiful 8-bit looks.

Screenshot from Jason Rohrer's PASSAGE

Screenshot from Jason Rohrer's PASSAGE

If you’re hungry for a particularly well-executed experiment in innovation through nostalgia, there’s a brand new Toronto-bred iPad title you’ve got to check out: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, a collaboration between Capybara Games, the Superbrothers squad of visual artists, and Jim Guthrie. If you spent any time with Sierra’s King’s Quest in 1990 (itself a visual retooling of the Adventure Game Interpreter 1984 original, rebooted once more last year), you’ll feel eerily at home here. But after only a few minutes of play it becomes clear that Sw&Sw is about experimenting with social gaming features that the retro aesthetic might have prevented you from anticipating. For instance, all of the game’s dialogue takes place in the form of 140-or-fewer letter exchanges – enabling players to tweet conversations as they progress, from within the game’s HUD. It’s quite a clever little innovation, allowing players to share their progress through a game that doesn’t quite align with the High Scores ‘n Headshots model of friendly competition familiar to many console gamers. Even the title of the game is displayed on my iPad’s home screen as a hashtag.

Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP Screenshot

Screenshot from Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Could Capybara have gotten away with encouraging Sw&Sw players to tweet their progress in a photorealistic first-person shooter version of the game? Possibly. Could they have maintained as much of the delightfully corny Your Highness-esque dialogue with such an approach? Perhaps. But could they have made audiences from 15 to 35 feel immediately comfortable with the title while embracing its innovative idiosyncrasies? I’m skeptical.

For a particular group of gamers born in the final decades of the 20th century, 8-bit is the definitive visual vernacular – the lingua franca spoken by fans of racing, RPG, and shoot-em-up titles alike. Perhaps these audiences simply take comfort in the styles associated with a particular era of game development (just as classic rock inevitably trumps auto-tune in the minds of members of my parents’ generation), or perhaps there are valuable lessons to be learned here about how innovation can emerge from the juxtaposition of new ideas with the obviously ancient.

Trevor Haldenby is a producer and photographer living in Toronto. He has attended Wilfrid Laurier University, Rhode Island School of Design, CFC Media Lab, and is presently completing a Master’s of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University.

Gentrification: The Game! selected for TIFF’s Future Games

Indie games are hot!  If you weren’t already convinced, this April marks the launch of a new games program called Future Games within TIFF’s Sprockets, a film (and now games!) festival for children and youth.

Gentrification: The Game! was selected to be part of this inaugural Future Games program, which aims to showcase a selection of the ‘most challenging and innovative’ games created by Canadian post-secondary students.  Alumni and faculty, Kate Raynes-Goldie, co-creator of Gentrification, who is also a visiting PhD student at Ryerson University’s Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab (who was the technology sponsor for Gentrification) will be talking to high school students about the development of the game as well as her work at the EDGE Lab.  She’ll be joined by game co-designer David Fono, who is also a Research Associate at the EDGE Lab.

Atmosphere Industries is thrilled to have this opportunity to talk to the next generation of pervasive game designers.  One of their overall goals is to encourage a thriving pervasive and urban gaming community in Toronto, and they believe this starts with students.  To this end, they would also like to announce the official launch of our monthly sandbox event – recess.to – which is open to anyone to come and run a game test, get feedback, or just along to play some fun innovative games. Whether you’re a pro, a hobbyest, a student or have never made a game before, they are looking for you!  The first sandbox is March 26, 2011.  See you there!

HB Studios Seeking Head of Production

HB Studios is seeking an experienced Head of Production to join their team! If you are creative, hard-working, have a passion for video games, and thrive in a dynamic working environment, HB Studios is the place for you.

HB Studios is the largest video game developer in Atlantic Canada with over 100 staff across two locations (the Lunenburg HQ and a Halifax satellite studio). Founded in July 2000, HB have shipped 29 titles with over 200 SKUs across PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox selling more than 15.5 million units. Behind HB Studios is a passionate team of game designers, producers, programmers, artists, animators, graphic artists, audio engineers and support staff known in the industry for their high quality sports games, and with publishers for their professional and reliable delivery.

APPLY NOW:

Position:

  • Head of Production

Location:

  • Primarily at HQ in Lunenburg but also the Halifax studio

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage the company’s projects
  • Operational Management – Regularly audit existing production, resourcing, budgets and schedules
  • Departmental budget – Overall accountability for all project budgets and timesheets
  • Staffing Strategy – In consultation with the CEO, GM and HR develop a long term staffing strategy to build core production capability over time
  • Member of the Executive Team – Work as a member of the Executive team to set, communicate and execute the company strategic plan
  • Project Planning – In conjunction with the GM and department directors take new projects into production by organizing the resourcing and establishing scheduled targets and goal
  • Project Management – Present project plans to the CEO for approval. Track, manage and report on projects to ensure that the project goals are being met. Take responsibility for ensuring that issues (support, infrastructure, hiring or technical) affecting projects are resolved
  • You will be responsible for all financial aspects of the project financials including direct project labour costs, change orders and other associated project hard costs. You are expected to work closely with finance department in actualizing project reports and maintaining or growing margins
  • Project Manager Management and Performance – Provide mentoring and drive annual performance reviews of senior project management roles and core production roles
  • Project Debriefs – Manage the documentation and organization of debriefs at the end of each project

TO APPLY:

  • Please submit a concise covering letter highlighting how your training and experience qualifies you for the position and a resume to jobs@hb-studios.com Attention: Human Resources. Please quote competition number P1105-CB when applying!

The full listing can be found here: www.careerbeacon.com/search/en/0/3/62/-1/0/-1/-1/-1/-1/100/3/MB1011058445

HB Studios would like to thank all applicants for their interests. Only those candidates selected for the interview process will be contacted. To learn more about HB Studios, please visit www.hb-studios.com.

Good luck to all applicants!

Call for Proposals: HTMlles Festival of Media Art + Digital Culture 2010, Montreal

homeland

Calling all talented femmes!

The HTMlles Festival of Media Art + Digital Culture 2010 (htmlles.net) is currently seeking proposals for its 9th edition, to be held in Montreal, under the theme of <home></land>.

Initiated by Studio XX (www.studioxx.org) in 1997, and evolving as quickly as technology itself, the HTMlles Festival is an international platform dedicated to the presentation of women’s independent media artworks from all facets of contemporary technological creation, including but not limited to:

  • digital storytelling
  • cyber art
  • short film and video art
  • audio and electronic art
  • installation
  • locative media
  • 3D animation
  • game art
  • virtual reality
  • electronic publishing
  • design
  • performance
  • interdisciplinary practices

As a meeting place at the crossroads of creativity, technology and a wide spectrum of feminist perspectives, the HTMlles Festival focuses on the public presentation of innovative media artworks, panel discussions and workshops, creating dynamic connections between audiences, artists, cultural practitioners, curators, producers, educators, scholars, students and technophiles.

The Deets!

THE WHEN: November 13 – 20, 2010
THE WHERE: Montreal, QC

THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS: Monday, September 13, 2010 (9:00 PM)
Check out the Submission Guidelines here: htmlles.net/2010/en/callforproposals.html

Save the Date, Toronto – Gentrification: The Game! Coming July 25

gentrification_to

Whether you’re a strategic collector of railroads or would rather invest in hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic, here is your official invitation and reminder to come out and play award-winning Gentrification: The Game! developed by Atmosphere Industries (www.atmosphereindustries.com) comprised of CFC Media Lab Alumnus and Guest Faculty Member, Kate Raynes-Goldie, with Luke Walker, David Fono and Alex Raynes-Goldie.

Gentrification: The Game! is a game*! But not your usual kind of game.
It’s a game that happens on the street, with sidewalk chalk, parades, and even a mobile web app if you feel like it. It’s called a Big Game by festivals like Come Out and Play in NYC, who awarded us Best in Fest and Best Use of Technology this summer, out of 40 other games from organizations like Disney Imagineering and NYU. Ditto for the Hide & Seek Festival in London, who are flying team across the pond this month for an ultra-exclusive edition of Gentrification: The Game: The British Expansion Pack.

But never fear! The party’s coming back to Toronto as part of Kensington Pedestrian Sunday (as promised: stabletalk.cfccreates.com/2010/05/28/gentrification-the-game-created-by-cfc-media-lab-alumnus/)

The Deets!

THE WHEN: July 25, 2010 at 1 PM
THE WHERE: Kensington Market, Toronto: Corner of Augusta Ave & Denison Sq (by Amadeus Cafe)
ADMISSION: FREE (but registration is advised because there will be a limited number of walk-ups)

Find out more and register to play at www.atmosphereindustries.com/gentrification

*Gentrification in a nutshell: 30 people, divided into teams of developers and locals, fight to collect real-life properties, build chain coffee shops, form BIAs, and bend the neighbourhood to their will. They’ll craft slick advertising campaigns, deliver impassioned speeches, and probably run around a bit. It’s part Monopoly, part public space hacking, and part something else entirely.

Congrats on your new job Ryan Fitzgerald!

images-162

Ryan Fitzgerald has just been hired as Executive Director of Fortune Cat Games Studio in Winnipeg.  Fortune Cat is an incubator that selects game dev SMEs twice a year and provides business development, mentorship and infrastructure like workstations and meeting rooms so they can move out of their garages and parents’ basements.

Previous alumni include Khal Shariff’s company Project Whitecard which was tapped to partner with Virtual Heroes in the development of a NASA MMOG.
http://www.fortunecatgames.ca/

You have to be there: Crossmedia TO!

Crossmedia TO 2011 aims to bridge the gap between the media sectors, this month’s focus is on publishing. On Wednesday July 20th, Crossmedia TO will host several interesting speakers including: Candice Faktor, Vice President of Strategy and New Ventures Torstar Digital, Gavin McGarry, President of Jumpwire Media LLC, Dr. Eric McLuhan, Bryan Segal, Vice President of […]

See you there: Startup Festival

Another amazing festival you can’t miss is coming up! The International Startup Festival is a two-day conference on the business of startups. It brings together industry veterans and fresh faces, thought leaders and technology giants from around the world, for a series of lean, fast-paced events. It includes startup launches, inspiring keynotes, and deep-dives into […]

Amon Tobin premieres ISAM at MUTEK

Greetings! I’m Aylwin Lo, CFC Media Lab’s newest staff addition. As a Tech Coordinator, I provide technical and design support to many of the Media Lab’s exciting activities. Last week I took a trip out of the lab to attend the 12th edition of MUTEK, Montreal’s prestigious and groundbreaking festival for electronic music and digital […]

Retro Activity

It seems like wherever I go these days, I wind up looking at the past. Half of the photos my friends share on Facebook and Twitter are run through a gamut of filters to look like they were shot in 1969 (that’s even the name of one of Hipstamatic’s workflows), and now the same thing […]

Gentrification: The Game! selected for TIFF’s Future Games

Indie games are hot!  If you weren’t already convinced, this April marks the launch of a new games program called Future Games within TIFF’s Sprockets, a film (and now games!) festival for children and youth. Gentrification: The Game! was selected to be part of this inaugural Future Games program, which aims to showcase a selection of the ‘most […]

HB Studios Seeking Head of Production

HB Studios is seeking an experienced Head of Production to join their team! If you are creative, hard-working, have a passion for video games, and thrive in a dynamic working environment, HB Studios is the place for you. HB Studios is the largest video game developer in Atlantic Canada with over 100 staff across two […]

Call for Proposals: HTMlles Festival of Media Art + Digital Culture 2010, Montreal

Calling all talented femmes! The HTMlles Festival of Media Art + Digital Culture 2010 (htmlles.net) is currently seeking proposals for its 9th edition, to be held in Montreal, under the theme of <home></land>. Initiated by Studio XX (www.studioxx.org) in 1997, and evolving as quickly as technology itself, the HTMlles Festival is an international platform dedicated […]

Save the Date, Toronto – Gentrification: The Game! Coming July 25

Whether you’re a strategic collector of railroads or would rather invest in hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic, here is your official invitation and reminder to come out and play award-winning Gentrification: The Game! developed by Atmosphere Industries (www.atmosphereindustries.com) comprised of CFC Media Lab Alumnus and Guest Faculty Member, Kate Raynes-Goldie, with Luke Walker, David Fono and […]

Congrats on your new job Ryan Fitzgerald!

Ryan Fitzgerald has just been hired as Executive Director of Fortune Cat Games Studio in Winnipeg.  Fortune Cat is an incubator that selects game dev SMEs twice a year and provides business development, mentorship and infrastructure like workstations and meeting rooms so they can move out of their garages and parents’ basements. Previous alumni include […]

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