Blogs

  • 20 Feb 2020 by DigiBC

    The Canadian Game Awards will be taking place on April 9. We have learned that the Selection Committee has been asked to provide the names of five games made in 2019 in Canada to the Judging Committee. DigiBC would like to compile a list of all the games made (at least 50% of content) in BC in 2019 to get the Selection Committee thinking about games they may not know were made here. Please submit your info to team@digibc.org and we'll include you on the list. Closing date is February 28 @ 4:00PM PST.

     

  • 20 Feb 2020 by DigiBC

    Play to Learn Program

    DigiBC is delighted to share that we have 19 new schools throughout the province adopting the Play to Learn platform into their classrooms. If you have connections to a high school or middle school outside the Lower Mainland that would benefit from this excellent and free program, please introduce us! We want kids throughout our province to know about the great jobs that are available in video games, animation and VFX.
     



    The new video game module created by Everfi and EA is now rolling out in our Play to Learn programming in BC. It's great! Each character is clickable and leads to information on title, role in studio, educational background and the kind of skills and interests needed, should you wish to have this type of career.

     

  • 19 Feb 2020 by DigiBC

    It's been a very busy few months here at AMPD Technologies and we appreciate DigiBC's offer of this opportunity to update our friends and colleagues across the digital media industry on what's been happening.
     


    After a rather intense summer of preparation, AMPD went public on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) on October 24th, 2019 with the ticker symbol AMPD, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on November 4th, 2019 under the ticker, 2Q0. CEO, Anthony Brown traveled to Toronto to ring the opening bell at the CSE on November 28th in the company of a number of investors, customers and other stakeholders. It's been an exciting, stimulating, and sometimes challenging few months as the organization gets to grips with the additional operational components of being public, but ultimately we continue to be confident that the public market is an appropriate funding framework for AMPD.

     


    As a little bit of background for those not familiar with AMPD Technologies, the company was founded by digital media infrastructure and content veterans with the goal of developing the next generation of computing infrastructure with state-of-the-art, high-performance computing solutions hosted 'at the edge' in sustainable urban data centres. Current cloud infrastructure has many shortcomings when it comes to hosting latency sensitive applications such as multiplayer video games, next-generation digital media production, and big data analysis and visualization.  AMPD is ‘rethinking the Internet’ with a singular mission to reduce latency and improve performance. We’re building a network of distributed AMPD HPC Data Centres within urban environments to properly support low-latency applications in an environmentally conscious way. Systems inside the data centres repurpose heat and potable water for use in the surrounding environment, turning waste into valuable assets.

     

     

    Despite the best efforts of 'Snowmageddon' to thwart us, our first urban data centre, AMPD DC1, was officially opened last month, with over a hundred leaders from the digital media sector in BC braving the weather to join us at our launch party on January 16th. DC1 is now fully operational and, due to better-than-expected demand for DC1, plans for a second data centre, DC2, have been accelerated. As we announced back in December, DC1 is home to the initial implementation of the AMPD Remote Render Service, which employs the latest AMD EPYC 7742 processors for unprecedented speed and performance. We were also pleased to announce that one of the first major customers to begin utilizing the service is Bardel Entertainment, who are using the platform to render content for shows including the popular Rick and Morty for Adult Swim / Cartoon Network, and a new Magic: The Gathering animated television show for Netflix. 

     

     

    As we head into 2020, AMPD is excited to be expanding our team across many areas of the company, from account executives, through sales engineers, to data centre specialists. We are also looking forward to continuing to support the community through participation in and sponsorship of community events and initiatives, and membership of organizations including DigiBC, the Animation & Visual Effects Alliance, and the Spark CG Society. Our new offices are located in the heart of the Centre for Digital Media campus on Great Northern Way (in fact, DigiBC shares our space), so if you're in the neighborhood, please feel free to drop by and say 'hello'.

     

    AMPD would like to thank everyone for their support to date - we look forward to working with you all in 2020. For more information please visit: www.ampd.tech

     

    James Hursthouse
    Chief Strategy Officer
    AMPD
    Technologies

     

     

  • 13 Feb 2020 by DigiBC


    UME Academy teaches elementary school students how to think, design, and problem solve by using technology to create video games. With a focus on computational thinking skills, these young game makers learn how to take big ideas and turn them into playable experiences. Through game design, students transition from consumer to creator as they take on the roles of artist, engineer, producer, and play tester. Founded by Daniel Roizman and Jean Mistrot, who both have extensive experience in visual effects, animation, software and video game development, UME’s programs have been created to engage kids through a medium that they are passionate about.

    UME Academy has a number of upcoming game design camps that will be held over spring break in March. These would be ideal for 9-12 year olds and DigiBC members can take advantage of an exclusive 10% discount (applicable to camps held at BCIT).
     

     

    << Click here for program details >>
    *** use discount code: digibc ***

     

     

     

  • 12 Feb 2020 by DigiBC

    East Side Games (ESG) is a Vancouver-based video game studio with a reputation for making top-notch narrative idle games, as well as creating the technology that developers use to tell amazing stories. The company is proudly one of the city’s original independent studios and was founded in 2011 by Josh Nilson (CEO), Jason Bailey (CPO) and Galan Akin (CCO). Since then, they have made quite a name for themselves by producing a number of highly successful and profitable mobile games, in addition to earning a slew of awards and accolades. We recently caught up with ESG to find out what new and exciting things are happening at the studio and what’s on the horizon.

     

    Josh Nilson, CEO


    What awards and accolades has ESG received?

    ESG made the Deloitte Technology Top 500, for the fastest growing startups in North America and the Deloitte Technology Top 50 in Canada in 2017 & 2018. The studio was also recognized in the Globe & Mail Report on Business - Canada’s Top Growing Companies 2019. Recently at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards, ESG was a finalist in the ‘Best Developer’ category, and also in the ‘Best Marketing’ category for Always Sunny: Gang Goes Mobile. ESG was also just announced as a finalist in the first ever BC Business: Business of Good Awards in the ‘Indigenous Prosperity’ category.


    What games has ESG released? Which of these are you most proud of?
    In 2017, ESG launched Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money (TPB). TPB was a top 100 game in over 100 countries with great player reviews and excellent fan engagement. This title allowed us to pioneer the genre of narrative idle games, currently one of the fastest and most profitable genres. We have redefined what quality storytelling looks like. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Goes Mobile launched in 2019 and is still growing and delighting its amazing fan base. We started 2020 with great momentum with the launch of Dragon Up: Idle Adventure, a collaboration between ESG and the brand new Night Garden Studio.


    What projects are you currently working on?

    ESG just launched Dragon Up: Idle Adventure, which was a collaboration with the brand new Nightgarden Studio. IdleKit, which is a branch of East Side Games, recently launched FUBAR: Just Give’r in collaboration with Kano Apps, and has three additional games coming out in the next couple of months!

     
     



    How would you describe your company culture?

    It would be impossible to talk about our culture without starting with our core values which include: 

    • Take Ownership
    • Have Impact
    • Be Humble
    • Communicate
    • Move Forward
    • Hustle

    We created these values in 2016 and they speak volumes to the way we operate as a whole. Rather than picking a handful of values arbitrarily on day one, we worked and lived in a way that was passionate and thoughtful. Then when we met to discuss what the values should be, they emerged naturally. This set of ethics is authentically practiced on every level, especially by our founders and leadership team. This in turn, makes an epic difference to the studio at large.

    The primary focus of our unique culture is our commitment to our people. We live by our values, as we have already talked about. ESG is and always has been fully transparent with our employees. This transparency establishes trust and mutual respect that in turn supports them to emulate our values, in particular by taking ownership and having impact. We have placed incredible value on both mental and physical health initiatives. Our extended medical is best in business and we have just rolled out an industry-leading maternity and paternity program. We support several clubs and meetups within the studio to encourage social interaction to combat depression. We also have team workouts at the gym, and if that’s not your jam, our benefits cover all kinds of activities. This unique culture has been crucial to our success at East Side Games, and it’s integral to the success and growth of the games industry as a whole.

     

    What would you say sets your studio apart from other ones?
    Our commitment to our community. Our focus this year is to invest in Indigenous people in tech, women in tech and the Downtown East Side in Vancouver.

     

     

     

    Are there any exciting facts about your studio we may not know about?
    We have a massive swag culture and we produce some of the best branded merch around. Most of the office is outfitted with local designers, products and vendors (our desks are from East Van and we have Barkerville beer from Northern BC)! The studio is also aiming to be virgin plastic waste free in the next five years. We are proud supporters of the Vancouver Canucks and Cypress Mountain, our team uses the season tickets and lift passes all the time. We love coffee. We have a HUGE in-house community team that supports our amazing fans seven days a week. Every ticket is answered by them personally.

     

    Are you currently hiring? If so, what are the open positions?
    https://www.eastsidegames.com/careers/jobs/

     

     

     

     

    Want to be featured in the DigiBC newsletter? We chose to highlight a member company each month to help keep the games, animation, and visual effects space in BC connected. Let us know if you’d like to be featured! It’s a great way to reach potential talent and network your studio (free and available to members only). Please email us at team@digibc.org

  • 11 Feb 2020 by DigiBC


    2019 was a year of significant growth and revitalization for DigiBC. We continued to expand our main focuses by implementing education initiatives, building the creative tech community in the province, and working with government partners to ensure BC is a place where creative tech companies can carry on succeeding.
    We summarize this as our three pillars: Government Relations, Education & Programming, and Community Building. 

    We welcomed six new directors to our board [DigiBC BoD] bringing the total to 14. These individuals bring a broad range of business skills to the table and represent what is great about the creative technology industry in BC. With representation from Victoria, Kelowna, and Vancouver, we will continue to grow the sector throughout the entire province. Moreover, we are proud that the Board is now comprised of 36% female leaders. As creative technology continues to expand in diversity, DigiBC is delighted to lead by example. 

    Our member companies are characterized by the balance of creative and technology roles within their organizations, blending cutting-edge technology with artistic and creative genius to bring stories, worlds, and experiences to life on digital devices for an ever-increasing number of consumers around the globe. Thanks to BC’s rich history of video game development, animation and VFX, the province is becoming a hotbed for AR/VR/MR development across multiple sectors.


    Pillar 1: Government Relations

    DigiBC was responsible for the introduction of the
    Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) in 2009, and once again spent a great deal of time engaged with the provincial government to help educate, guide and inform on the importance of the credit to the stability and growth of our sector. We delivered our IDMTC recommendations and continue to be engaged in a series of ongoing consultations with multiple ministries across government in the run-up to the budget February 18, 2020. Our key asks include:

    • A 5% Regional diversification for studios that are located in or expanding to areas outside of Vancouver and Victoria.
       

    • A 5% diversity incentive bump up to the IDMTC available to studios hiring women, individuals with disabilities and indigenous people, ie. groups who have historically experienced barriers.
       

    • A 5% small/medium studio incentive for studios that have fewer than 100 employees. 

    Our role in the ecosystem is now clear, and we are developing closer cooperation with organizations such as Creative BC, MPPIA, and BC Tech, all of whom contribute to the success of our creative technology companies in various ways. But we understand that the Creative Technology sector has unique characteristics, opportunities, and challenges that demand a distinct voice.



    Pillar 2: Education & Programming


    We know that the video ga
    me, animation & VFX sectors will not continue to grow without securing the talent we need now and into the future. As such, we have been working to raise awareness of creative technology in the province, increasing the knowledge young people have about opportunities in our industry, and enhancing skills in high school students while teaching them about our sectors. Ensuring there is domestic talent flowing into the BC creative tech sector and helping kids see themselves in this burgeoning industry is a classic win-win.

    DigiBC is working to expand Play to Learn to 60+ new schools (11 new school districts) from September 2018 to June 2021. DigiBC has partnered with the Ministry of Education to help the Interactive and Digital Media sector in BC engage more fully with educational initiatives throughout the province. With over 150,000 technology-focused jobs in BC today, and 200,000 anticipated by 2021, DigiBC will work with local government to help build a pipeline of skilled technology professionals and close the skills gap. We see teaching kids about video game creation as an access point to learning about tech generally.

    Executive Director Brenda Bailey led a panel of successful young creatives at the #BCTECHSummit Youth Innovation Day. Attended by 800-1,000 high school student the panelists spoke about how they found their way into creative tech, what their backgrounds are, where they trained, what they wished they knew when they were 16 and what a “day in the life” looks like for programmers, game designers, producers, filmmakers, and emerging leaders. Students were engaged and excited to learn about creative technology as a potential future career.


    DigiMusic
    introduced students across British Columbia to the possibilities of music composition in digital media and animation through a province-wide competition and celebration of talent. Designed to expose students, parents, and educators to the excellent careers in the creative tech industry, students learned about the scope and size of exciting intellectual properties that are being created right here in the province. DigiMusic engaged with more than 3,800 students and our Career Pathways videos told a powerful message welcoming students into the creative technology industry. The videos were all created with a race and gender lens, ensuring that diversity and inclusion was subtly communicated.

     


    IndigiGeeks
    was piloted in Nanaimo on November 27 at the Tsawalk Indigenous High School. Learners were taken through the creation of a simple video game in Game Maker, and we had three volunteers from 81monkeys who introduced basic game design concepts. DigiBC is currently looking for funding for this program designed to transition indigenous youth from consumers to creators of video games.


    Digi on the Road took industry professionals out into rural and remote BC classrooms to introduce kids directly to folks working in the Creative Technology sector, as well as share our stories and passion for our industry. We used this as a gateway to introduce schools to Play to Learn. This year it took place from September 15-20th and we travelled to Prince Rupert, Sicamous (North Okanagan) and Campbell River. From the border with Alaska to the border with Alberta, DigiBC worked with middle school youth to explore how creative technology is created. Teachers in Campbell River sent in student comments following the workshop that was delivered to their classes from Stephane Cotichini (CEO, 81monkeys Game Studio), Brenda Bailey (Executive Director, DigiBC and former CEO, Silicon Sisters & COO, Deep Fried Entertainment), and Jonathan Gerlach from Everfi.


    We also know we can no longer afford to leave people out of our workforce. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are important
    ways to not only to have more diverse perspectives and creative ideas in our studios but also to enhance our talent pool. As such, DigiBC and Women in Animation collaborated to implement Diversity & Inclusion leadership training sessions and put together an industry-wide survey. The information gathered is helping us gauge where things currently are at in BC's creative tech sector and seeing what we can do to grow it going forward.



    Pillar 3: Community Building


    2019 saw DigiBC provide numerous opportunities for folks in the industry to get together. We strive to provide career and business development opportunities for our members. Sometimes it can be around a particular issue, such as financing, legal for video games, eSports or creating original IP. Occasionally, it can be just for laughs (like our Rock*Paper*Scissors tournament + comedy show events) and once in a while it is designed to help people network with their peers. We have also recently partnered with the Reveal Events Group to co-produce the F*ckup Nights Vancouver events which are geared towards the creative tech, tech and entrepreneur sectors. We want to get rid of the stigma of failure as this is a part of reaching success and we can learn from our mistakes as a communit
    y. Entrepreneurs suffer from higher rates of depression and suicide than other occupations, and sharing our challenges in a safe environment is designed to fight this isolation.


    DigiBC 2019 Events

    01.24 - State of the Union: Creating Original IP in BC
    02.06 - Rock*Paper*Scissors Comedy Tournament + Networking Mixer
    04.04 - Inclusive Leadership Training
    04.06 - Inclusive Leadership Training
    04.13 - Inclusive Leadership Training
    04.17 - Financing Panel
    05.01 - Creative Industries Week
    06.03 - DigiMusic Celebration of Talent
    06.11 - Time Factory Presentation
    06.19 - RPS Comedy Tournament + Networking Mixer
    07.25 - eSports Screening & Panel
    08.14 - Summer BBQ + Patio Networking Mixer
    09.24 - F*ckup Nights Vancouver vol.2
    10.22 - RPS Comedy Tournament + Networking Mixer
    11.06 - Legal Symposium
     

     

    In closing, we would like to thank all our members and sponsors for their ongoing support and participation. We also encourage you, if you’re reading this and are not already a DigiBC member or you have let your membership lapse, to sign up or renew. Together we are stronger, so join us as we continue to grow this fabulous creative tech sector in the province. We work day in and day out on your behalf. For example, if you file an IDMTC, you benefit from our efforts. Without DigiBC’s ongoing government relations work, this tax credit would very likely not have been renewed past it’s sunset clause August 2018. Please support us to ensure a healthy future for our industry
     

     Join Us!

     

    Sincerely,

    Brenda Bailey              &        Colleen Arndt
    Executive Director
                     Marketing & Communications Manager


     

  • 25 Jan 2020 by DigiBC

    We had a great time last night at our first event of the year, DigiBC F*ckup Nights vol. 4! Huge thanks to our wonderful speakers, James Hursthouse (CSO, AMPD Technologies), Brenda Bailey (Executive Director, DigiBC) and Ed Douglas (Filmmaker & Video Game Developer) for each sharing a fascinating story of professional failure. It was an engaging night with a supportive crowd that got to hear about the challenges our 'FuckUppers' faced and how they dealt with adversity. The goal was to learn from each other's mistakes while supporting entrepreneurial growth... and it seems that people walked away with just that. We'd also like to thank David Doyle (Reveal Events Group) for moderating the event, Cineplex Fifth Avenue Cinemas for sponsoring the venue, and Melissa Dex Guzman for the fantastic photos.
     

    DigiBC has formed a partnership with Reveal Events Group to collaborate on the F*ckup Nights Vancouver series for 2020. The events that we co-sponsor will focus on the creative tech sector, and we are always looking for new speakers to add to our roster. If you’re interested in sharing a failure story then we’d love to hear from you! Please contact team@digibc.org for further details. You can also join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on events and news related to the creative tech industry - http://bit.ly/2IOW6bo

     

  • 12 Dec 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC is deeply sorry to hear about the recent closure of the MPC Vancouver office. In light of how many people have been affected, DigiBC and the Animation & VFX Alliance of BC are co-organizing an industry hiring fair for all former employees. We’ve had a terrific response from a number of companies in the industry, so let's work together to keep all this great talent here in BC. It would be ideal if the folks impacted could have a soft landing. Thanks to the Centre for Digital Media and the Great Northern Way Trust for the venue sponsorship.

    While we are focussed on supporting the recently released artists from MPC, we would welcome anyone interested in talking to these companies about employment opportunities. There will also be a government representative from the Immigration Programs Branch (Ministry of Jobs, Trade & Technology) who will be providing advice to those in a PNP or in the PR process.

    Date: Tuesday, December 17
    Time: 2:00PM – 5:00PM
    Location: The Hangar @ Centre for Digital Media, 577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver
    Bring: resumes, portfolios, etc

    Participating Companies:

    Animal Logic
    DNEG
    Framestore Montreal

    Cinesite
    Image Engine
    Atomic Cartoons
    WildBrain Studios
    Industrial Light and Magic
    Method Studios
    Blackbird Interactive

    FuseFX
    CVD VFX
    EA Vancouver
    Mainframe Studios
    SkyBox Labs
    Sony Pictures Imageworks
    ICON Creative Studio
    Relic Entertainment
    Ziva Dynamics
    Scanline VFX
    Zoic Studios
    Digital Domain

    Kabam
    Stellar Creative Labs
    Dreamcraft Attraction
    Titmouse

    Atmosphere VFX

     

    ***If you are hiring and would like to be part of the job fair, you can email Sarah McNair (sarah.mcnair@blackbirdinteractive.com) for more info***

     

     

  • 25 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    Government Relations

    For many in our industry, the fall season signals gearing up for release dates but here at DigiBC it's government relations time. With the BC Budget coming out each February, now is when we work with our government connections to ensure the importance of our sector is recognized. Executive Director, Brenda Bailey is spending a great deal of time in Victoria representing your interests. What are we hoping for in the Budget 2020?
     

    • We need to ensure the BC IDMTC remains in the budget. The recent cancellation of the IDMTC in Alberta points to the immediate cessation of growth that occurs when government no longer prioritizes the creative tech sector. Growth plans are on hold in our neighboring province and we are working hard to make sure our 17.5% remains or increases.
       
    • This year we are encouraging the government to consider expanding the credit to 25% to create a more even playing field with Ontario and Quebec. BC has additional benefits like world class talent, a vibrant ecosystem, and a highly desirable climate. Even so, our growth has been tempered by a moderate tax credit.
       
    • We hope to support studios who are expanding in areas outside of Vancouver and Victoria. Regional diversification is good for industry and good for the province. We are encouraging government to consider a 5% increase to studios who are expanding in these areas.
       
    • Recent research by ESAC indicates that our rate of including women in the video game industry is lagging behind other Canadian hubs. We are asking government to create a 5% diversity incentive bump up to the IDMTC available to studios hiring women and others who have historically experienced barriers.
       
    • Lastly, we are asking government to consider a 5% small/medium studio incentive for studios that have under 100 employees. These studios are particularly feeling the pinch with larger entities like Amazon drawing talent.

     

    If you are a BC Interactive Digital Media studio and are not yet a member, please consider supporting our efforts by becoming a member now.

     Join Now

     


    Representation @ Industry Events


    Girls in Esports Camp [October 26]

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey participated in the first ever Girls in Games Esports Camp on October 26 that was put on by Adamas Esports and sponsored by Logitech. This was held at the EA Vancouver campus and she presented on the opportunities available in video games, animation and VFX to a room full of 50 keen girls.

     

    Reboot Develop Red 2019 Conference [October 30 to November 1]

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey attended Reboot Develop Red in Banff, AB. The conference is the first one in North America, moving the high-end boutique brand from one event per year in Dubrovnik to two. Approximately 500 game developers attended, mostly from Canada and California, with some Europeans. Additionally, the conference had an AR/VR track sponsored by Oculus, who also hosted the closing party.

     

    Girls STEAM Institute at NASA [November 8-10]

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey had the opportunity to present on the creative technology sector at the Girls in STEAM Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Centre (San Jose, CA). The Institute is focused on exposing teen girls to opportunities in STEAM and guest lecturers included Kate Edwards (Executive Director, Global Game Jam), Ray Kurzweil (President/Founder, Kurzweil Enterprises), Dr. Carly Kocurek (Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology), and Megan Gaiser (formerly of Microsoft and Her Interactive).

     

  • 22 Nov 2019 by DigiBC


    The Entertainment Software Association of Canada released its 2019 economic impact study – The Canadian Video Game Industry 2019. The study was carried out by third-party research firm Nordicity, and it explores and highlights industry growth and contributions to Canada’s economy. As the voice of Canada’s video game industry, ESAC serves its membership by engaging with government, public, and policy stakeholders across the country and abroad.

    The Canadian Video Game Industry 2019 looks at our industry through five lenses: economic impact, size and structure, geography, employment impact, and workforce. Canada’s video game industry is well-positioned for continued growth; in the last two years, the number of Canadian video game companies increased by 16%, to 692 active studios. The industry contributed $4.5 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2019; and, supports an estimated 48,000 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) of employment including 27,700 FTEs directly employed by video game companies.
     

    “While companies are thriving in Canada’s strong video game development sector, our industry continues to sit at the centre of an innovation ecosystem that is driving growth in Canada’s Digital Economy.”, said Jayson Hilchie, President & CEO of ESAC. “With many of the world’s biggest franchises driving strong job growth in this country, our industry will continue to punch above its weight and lead the world in the development of exciting and innovative digital entertainment.”


    Our research is intended to provide insights into industry growth as well as context for policymakers and legislators. In support of this mandate, ESAC has profiled industry professionals to provide an insider’s look at exciting talent opportunities and innovations across the country.

    We are pleased to invite audiences to view video profiles from five studios Other Ocean Interactive, Ubisoft, EIDOS-Montréal, EA-Bioware, and Kabam. These studios are known for creating iconic Triple-A games, and now we want to you to meet the people behind those games and learn about how they are advancing our industry and growing the game.

     

     

     

    For further information, please contact:
    Corinne Crichlow

    Director, Communications & Public Relations
    ccrichlow@theESA.Ca
    (416) 620-7171

     

  • 20 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiMusic @ BCMEA Conference [October 25/26]

    DigiBC had a booth and participated at this year’s BC Music Educators' Association (BCMEA) Conference in Richmond. The event hosts music educators from around the province and was an ideal place to promote DigiMusic 2020. Zoltan Virag, DigiMusic Advisory Board Lead, presented on how to use the online resources and the great materials that were created for DigiMusic 2019. We also shared highlights from this year's program and collected contact info from attendees who were keen to get on the mailing list for DigiMusic 2020.

     

     

    Launch of IndigiGeeks [November 27]

    DigiBC will launch our new program, IndigiGeeks, in Nanaimo on November 27 at the Tsawalk Indigenous High School. Learners will be taken through the creation of a simple video game in Game Maker, and we have three volunteers from 81monkeys who will be introducing basic game design concepts . Tsawalk opened in 2016 as a partnership between Vancouver Island West School District, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Mid-Island Métis Nation and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island, to help students who aren’t finding success in traditional high schools to reconnect with education. Learn more about Tsawalk here - https://www.tsawalk.com/

     

  • 19 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    Atomic Cartoons was founded in 1999 by former Studio B Production colleagues, Trevor Bentley, Olaf Miller and Rob Davies, along with Mauro Casalese. One day, Davies received a call from Sunwoo Entertainment to help produce Milo's Bug Quest. He brought Bentley, Miller, and Casalese into the fray and the four friends soon decided to venture out on their own and create Atomic Cartoons. A lot has changed over the years but three of the four founders are still with the company, and things really ramped up in 2011 when Jennifer Twiner McCarron was brought on as Head of Development. In 2014, Atomic Cartoons was acquired by Thunderbird Entertainment Group and shortly after Jenn was named President and CEO (2016), and then CEO for Thunderbird (2018). There's been a number of new and exciting things happening at the studio since then, so we recently caught up with Atomic's HR Manager, Colin Beadle, to find out the details.

    What projects are you currently working on? 

    We are currently working on additional episodes of our own IP series The Last Kids on Earth for Netflix. We also produced the recently premiered 101 Dalmatian Street and Donald Duck and the Three Caballeros for the new Disney+ streaming platform, as well as Hello Ninja for Netflix which is based on the popular kid’s book by N.D. Wilson.  In addition, our animated film, Curious George: Royal Monkey, recently premiered on NBCUniversal and Hulu. It’s always fun to bring a classic like Curious George back for new generations to enjoy!

    In development, we have Princesses Wear Pants, an animated series based on Savannah Guthrie’s New York Times Bestselling book series of the same name. It is being produced in collaboration with Drew Barrymore’s production company, Flower Films. Centered around the wide-ranging adventures of the courageous and thoughtful Princess Penelope Pineapple and her friends, the series encourages children to be brave, ambitious, and unafraid to make a difference in the world.

    We are also developing an animated series based on the tokidoki’s Mermicornos line.  Based on an original concept by tokidoki’s founder Simone Legno, the comedy-adventure series will follow a team of Mermicornos as they set out to stop an evil force determined to take over their world. Much like tokidoki itself, the animated series will be centered on exploration, discovery and self-belief. It will be up to these fearless Mermicornos to overcome the odds and their differences to bring peace across all of the sea.

     

    How many shows has Atomic produced? Which of these are you most proud of?

    Atomic has produced approximately 50 series and films over the years, and we are proud of every single one. Recent favourites include The Last Kids on Earth and 101 Dalmatian Street. Our series Beat Bugs won two Daytime Emmy Awards, so naturally we are extremely proud of that too.

    Another recent series we are very proud of is Molly of Denali, which has been recognized in the United States as the first nationally distributed kids show to feature an Indigenous lead character. As a company seeking to make a positive difference in the world, we are thrilled with how global audiences are embracing Molly, and how it encourages kids of all ages to recognize just how much we have in common, despite different cultures, religions or places we live.  Between 2004 and 2008, we produced a series called Atomic Betty. Many credit that production as our studio’s fully original creation, and it definitely served as our mascot for a few years. And, of course, we would be remiss to not mention our studio’s very first series Milo’s Bug Quest. The first will always hold a special place in our heart.

     

    How would you describe your company culture and what sets your studio apart from others?

    Atomic’s team is made up of industry veterans and emerging talent at all levels. We take making cartoons very seriously, and we believe it’s important to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries. However, that doesn’t mean we are pushy in the traditional sense. We are an artist-driven company that understands that mistakes can happen despite the best of efforts. By creating a company where our employees do not work under fear of failure, we cultivate a collaborative team where people are able to be their most creative. We also offer ‘Bagel Tuesdays’ and all the gourmet coffee you can drink.

     


    Has Atomic won any awards or received any accolades?

    At the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards, our series Beat Bugs won for Outstanding Sound Mixing in a Preschool Animated Program. We also won a Daytime Emmy for this series in 2017, alongside an AACTA Award for Best Children’s Television Series.  In 2016, Beat Bugs won an AWGIE Award in animation.


    Are there any other interesting facts about Atomic we may not know about?

    Our company is growing really quickly. We currently employ 600 in Vancouver and we opened a second studio in Ottawa in December 2018. By June 2020, we expect that Atomic will employ more than 750 people between both facilities. It’s exciting to be part of a company that is growing so quickly but always remaining true to its artist-driven culture.

    We are currently developing a merchandise line based on our owned-IP for the Last Kids on Earth with Jakks Pacific and Cyber Group Studios, which is scheduled to launch in 2020. The line will include action figures, games, plus toys and much more. We are also working on a Last Kids video game with Outright Games, scheduled for a 2021 release. It’s pretty exciting that we will soon see kids of all ages playing with action figures inspired by our work, not to mention gamers gaming with our characters.  And yes, we will be playing with both at work from time to time!

    On Princesses Wear Pants, we actually landed the deal to collaborate with Savannah Guthrie and Drew Barrymore over DreamWorks, so that’s also pretty cool. While the series is still in development, we are very excited to bring the adventures of Princess Penelope Pineapple to girls and boys around the world.

    We also proudly support students’ interest in animation and encourage all those interested to join the industry. In November, we announced a new $30,000 grant to increase access to the 2D and 3D animation programs at Capilano University in North Vancouver.  Starting this fall, the annual ‘Atomic Cartoons Entrance Scholarship’ will award two incoming high schoolers with $5,000 apiece to help cover costs related to their respective programs at CapU.

     

    Are you currently hiring? If so, what are the open positions?

    We are currently hiring for many positions in both Vancouver and Ottawa. These include multiple roles in animation and design, plus other positions such CG modeling and software development. Our Los Angeles Office is also looking to fill a senior desktop support position. To stay up to date on what roles we are looking to fill, please visit: http://atomiccartoons.com/careers/

     

     


    Colin Beadle, HR Manager, Atomic Cartoons

    Colin Beadle has been with Atomic for the past four years and working in HR for the past two years. In 1999 he started as a CG animator and then moved into television/game production. His love of animation and games has given him the opportunity to work at studios such as Disney Interactive, Titmouse Inc, and Lucasfilm Animation.

     

  • 14 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    We held our ‘Legal 101 for Video Games’ symposium on November 6 in the Hangar at the Centre for Digital Media. This was an exclusive event we offered to our members and it gave them the opportunity to learn from leading lawyers and advisors practicing in the Vancouver video game industry. The panel featured Karam Bayrakal (Fasken), Ryan Black (McMillan) and a number of their colleagues who presented a half-day interactive session that explored the risks and opportunities created by the rapid legal changes in games. It also covered an assortment of essential topics such as employment and game regulation, immigration, tie ups, cybersecurity, data protection and privacy, investments, and patents. The panel ended with a keynote from Dr Tyler Black MD, who gave an interesting presentation on video game violence, the questionable construct of "addiction", the science of "loot boxes" and "problem gaming", and the impending regulatory effect of WHO gaming addiction classifications. We then capped off the day with an informal ‘beer & bevvies’ reception for the attendees and speakers. Huge thanks to Fasken and McMillan for hosting and sponsoring the event!

     

  • 13 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    Join a cohort of Indigenous digital creators and attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) next March.


    The imagineNATIVE GDC Scholarship Program is an opportunity for Indigenous game designers and digital creators from around the world to receive a free Conference + Summits Pass to GDC. Indigenous creators residing in any country are welcome to apply.  Join thousands of industry peers in exchanging ideas and shaping the future of the industry. Held at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, the GDC spans five days of lectures, panels, and roundtable discussions.

     

    Apply for GDC Scholarship

    Applications close November 30th. Successful applicants will be notified by December 11th. Inquiries can be directed to mbyrne@imaginenative.org

     

  • 12 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    We have two more F*ckup Nights events planned for later this year (April & October) and are currently looking for speakers to add to our roster. If you have a failure story that you would like to share then we would love to hear from you! Please email us at team@digibc.org for more info. You can also check out these videos from previous events to get an idea of what goes on and how the night is run.

     

  • 04 Nov 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC welcomes Sam Fisher, Tim Teh, Jeanne-Marie Owens, Sarah Nathanson, Sara Maseko, and Nick Facey. Many thanks to outgoing board directors, Eric Jordan, Ryan Peterson, Karen Randhawa and Tim Bennison for their contributions to DigiBC.



    Sarah Nathanson is General Counsel at Thunderbird and Atomic Cartoons where she provides legal and business affairs support to both the production crew and the corporate team. She has more than 12 years of experience in entertainment law, both in private practice and in-house. Sarah was previously Director, Business & Legal Affairs at DHX Media ad has worked on numerous productions from development and production, through to licensing and merchandise opportunities. Sarah currently sits on the BC Branch Council of the Canadian Media Producers Association and is a Vice-Chair of the Animation and Visual Effects Alliance of BC.


     

    Jeanne-Marie Owens is the VP of Operations at Phoenix Labs, the Vancouver-based game development studio behind the hit free-to-play action-RPG, Dauntless. Jeanne was the first non-founder team member at the studio and has led hiring, HR, and operations as it has grown from a small start-up to a 100 person studio across three locations. She cares deeply about ensuring that working in the games industry is a positive and fulfilling experience for her teammates, and has focused on diversity and inclusion improvements and education for the studio. She hopes to help add perspective on that topic to the Vancouver games industry as a whole through her work with DigiBC. Prior to Phoenix Labs, Jeanne-Marie started her career at BioWare in Edmonton and then moved to Vancouver in 2011 to work at EA Canada.  

     

    Hyper Hippo is an entertainment company connecting people around the world through fun!  Sam Fisher has overseen the growth of Hyper Hippo to include teams in Kelowna, Vancouver, and Seattle.  Hyper Hippo created the AdVenture brand, including the hit mobile games AdVenture Capitalist and AdVenture Communist. Sam lives in Kelowna, where he enjoys sports, music, and time with his family.

     

     

    Sara Maseko is a CPA currently working as the Controller for SkyBox Labs. She’s spent 14 years continuously developing skills and expertise in accounting and finance, previously working freelance as well as in public practice. As a Vancouver native, Sara loves to be involved in her community and is excited in her board appointment to be able to participate in DigiBC’s continued growth.  

     

     
     

    Tim Teh is the Founder and CEO of Kano, a Victoria, BC-based indie game developer. Building meaningful connections through social games, Kano has reached over 30 million players worldwide. Teh attributes Kano’s success to its hyper-focus on the customer and on building a values-driven organization around amazing talent.

     

     

    Nick Facey is currently the Senior Director of Innovation at Finger Food Advanced Technology Group and prior to that was Chief of Staff for the Minister of Innovation, Technology & Citizens' Services and the Ministry of Education.

     

     

     

  • 30 Oct 2019 by DigiBC

    We had such a blast at the Rock*Paper*Scissors comedy tournament + networking mixer last Tuesday. Mr Scotty Patey sure knows how to host a show and keep the crowd engaged from start to finish. The combination of his background in improv, acting, and stand-up makes for a night of non-stop laughs! Once again, we’d like to give a huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors, AMPD Technologies, Relic Entertainment & Fasken, for making this event possible. We’d also like to thank eStruxture Data Centers, the Anza Club, East Side Games & PayDay Productions for the generous prize donations. The tournament had quite a number of entertaining throw downs but in the end it was Kenny A who took top honours and was crowned the winner.

    No need to fret if you missed out on this as we’re already looking to plan more events for next year. We'd love to host this one every few months and will be looking for sponsors. Sponsorship is a great way to connect with industry professionals and promote your brand to decision makers in the creative tech sector. Please contact us (team@digibc.org) if you are interested and we can provide you with further details. In the meantime, be sure to join our mailing list so you can stay up-to-date on the creative tech sector in BC.
     

    Newsletter Signup

     

     

  • 26 Sep 2019 by DigiBC

    Experimental AI Storyteller: Not the Only One
    Presented by Stephanie Dinkins

    Tuesday, October 8 @ 7:00PM

    RSVP Link

    Tickets are free, but limited

     

    Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialogue about artificial intelligence (AI) as it intersects race, gender, aging, and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more inclusive, fair and ethical artificial intelligent ecosystems.

    VIFF is thrilled to have Ms. Dinkins participate in a Creator Talk and present Not The Only One (N’TOO), a multigenerational memoir of one black American family told from the "mind" of an artificial intelligence with evolving intellect. It is a voice-interactive AI designed, trained, and aligned with the needs and ideals of black and brown people who are drastically underrepresented in the tech sector. The AI storyteller is trained on data supplied by three generations of women from one family, but the story is told from the first person perspective of the AI.

    N’TOO’s narrative comes from the experiences and demographic information culled from three generations of a close-knit family. The principal character narrates in the form of voice-driven AI that uses machine learning to expand and extend its story. The eldest contributor to the foundation of the storyline was born in the American south in 1932. As a teenager, she moved north with her family for better education and opportunity. She worked forty years in the same factory, breaking ground and advancing from line worker to respected supervisor in the company. The middle contributor to the project was born in 1964. She went to the same suburban high school as her mother. Part of one of few black families in a small suburban town, she had racial challenges, but she also had opportunities her mother could never have dreamt of. Contributor three was born in 1997. She is the biracial daughter of the family who grew up with the privileges of whiteness, yet identifies as black and is currently trying to understand what it means to be black and white in ‘Black Lives Matter’ America. The stories of all three will be gathered from extensive interviews. The data will be used to seed a deep-learning, emotionally intelligent AI.

     

  • 25 Sep 2019 by DigiBC

    Piranha Games was founded by Russ Bullock and Bryan Ekman in early 2000 and is one of the oldest independent game developers in Vancouver. From the humble beginnings of their first title, Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza, Piranha has focused on working with beloved brands in the action gaming genre. Best known for the Free-to-Play game MechWarrior Online, PGI is committed as ever to creating world-class games that engage players and deliver unforgettable experiences.
     


    What projects are you currently working on? 

    The launch of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (PC) is slated for December 10, 2019 on the Epic Games Store. This title has been in production since January 2016 and it's developed and self-published.


    What sets your studio apart from others?

    We have a tenured and happy staff with a 97% retention rate.
    At PGI, there is a genuine sense of collaboration, respect and a strong commitment to our projects and to each other. We strive to foster a positive and inclusive environment where everyone feels supported, comfortable, and part of the team.
    Being that the studio is boutique sized, it allows for close-knit staff and well-developed relationships. You are not just an individual — you are part of the family. Our camaraderie extends beyond work projects into company outings, daily game hour, charitable endeavors and of course, Beer Fridays!
     

    What games has the studio released?

     

     

     

    How would you describe Piranha's company culture?
    Passion, Creativity, Humility. As an accomplished studio, our team members are avid gamers, skilled in their individual fields and immensely creative hard workers. We strive to foster a positive and inclusive environment, where everyone feels supported, comfortable, and completely part of the team.

     

    Are you currently hiring? If so, what are the open positions?
    We are currently hiring and all open positions can be found on our website - https://piranhagames.com/careers

     

  • 25 Sep 2019 by DigiBC

    Our first Fuckup Night © is a wrap!

    Entrepreneurs and indie devs can become isolated and feel like they are on their own especially when encountering failure. But the truth is, failure can be quite common and a part of each person’s road to success. We want to take some of the pressure to succeed down a notch or two, share learning from failure, and provide encouragement and support to dust yourself off and try again. We’re only human and at the end of the day… we have all f*cked up at one point or another!

    Fuckup Nights is a global movement and event series that shares stories of failure. Three to four people get up in front of a room full of strangers to present their own professional fuck up. Each speaker has seven minutes and 10 slides to present their story… it’s like a dev post-mortem meets Pecha Kucha with a dash of humour. 

     

    DigiBC has formed a partnership with the Reveal Events Group to collaborate on the Fuckup Nights Vancouver series. We had a great time at our first event on September 24 at Kafka’s Coffee Shop. Huge thanks to our wonderful speakers, Anthony Brown (CEO, AMPD Technologies), Joe Bonar (Studio Head, Truly Social Games) and Galan Akin (Co-founder & CCO, East Side Games) who each shared a personal story of failure. It was an engaging night with a supportive crowd that got to hear about the challenges our FuckUppers faced and how they dealt with adversity. The goal was to learn from each other's mistakes while supporting entrepreneurial growth, and it seems that people walked away with having experienced just that.


    We are planning to run these events once every quarter and are always looking for new speakers. If you’re interested in sharing a failure story then we’d love to hear from you! Please contact team@digibc.org for further details.

     

    photos by: Melissa Dex Guzman

     

     

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