Blogs

  • 08 Apr 2019 by DigiBC

    Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a unique library that holds the largest collection of Canadian content in the world. They collect books, magazines, musical recordings, maps and electronic books published in Canada or about Canada. The collection is searchable via their online catalogue and thousands of researchers visit the facilities to consult holdings in person. Building the LAC national collection is a collaborative effort that includes the many publishers and music producers participating in the Legal Deposit program, gifts received from organizations and individuals, as well as selective purchases. More than 20 million items are currently in LAC’s published collection and it grows every day!


    LAC recognizes that Canadians are using new media to create, publish, and share their cultural heritage. To ensure the National Collection is relevant and meets the current and future needs of Canadians, they have launched an informal questionnaire to gather ideas as they consider options for potential selection criteria for Canadian YouTube videos, video games, and podcasts. Your involvement is essential!

     

    How to participate:

    English: http://placespeak.com/LAClibrary

    Français: http://placespeak.com/BACbiblio

     

     

  • 04 Apr 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC Diversity & Inclusion Surveys

    These surveys are open until April 15. We would love to get your input! If you have seven minutes to spare then your voice will be heard. This information is vital in 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. We would appreciate your help in participating and then circulating the survey links within your studio.


    Survey #1 - All Employees (inclusion)
    Survey #2 - Studio Leadership (benchmark on equity, diversity, inclusion initiatives)
    Survey #3 - HR Professionals (measuring outcomes)


    Upon completion of a survey, you will be eligible for a chance to win one of five prizes of ARC’TERYX apparel and accessories!
    Click here for contest rules and details.


    Please note that all data collected is anonymous and will not be tracked by studio. DigiBC and WIA will be sharing the resulting report later this spring. Your participation will ensure results worth sharing.


    We appreciate you taking the time to contribute to this audit. Thank you!

     

     

    DigiBC Inclusive Leadership Training

    As part of DigiBC’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, training is being offered across the digital media sector (video games, animation, VFX, AR/VR), in conjunction with Women in Animation (WIA) and Women in Games Vancouver (WIG’eh). This training is ideal for managers and business leaders who are wanting to learn about ways diversity and inclusion can be incorporated and sustained in the workplace. The training is free to DigiBC and WIA members (if you are a member of the Animation & VFX Alliance, you are a member of DigiBC). A fee of $250 will be charged if you are not.

    Saturday April 13, 2019 | 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    To register, please click here

     

    The session will be facilitated by Alden E. Habacon, one of the country’s leading diversity and inclusion strategists and facilitators. Alden specializes in working with organizations and companies that are historically male-dominated, and his clients include the Vancouver Airport Authority, the Department of Justice, and Clio.

     

     

  • 04 Apr 2019 by DigiBC

    The past couple of months at DigiBC has been focused largely on program delivery. We know that the video game, 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.  We’ve done this in a number of ways including:

    • Leading a panel on the creative industries for 800-1,000 high school students at the #BCTECHSummit Youth Innovation Day
    • Launching Play to Learn outside of the Lower Mainland (the event was held at Cowichan High in Duncan, BC)
    • Running a province-wide competition where students can create original music for video games and animation called DigiMusic


    We also know we can no longer afford to leave people out of our workforce. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are important ways, 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 are leading our sector with the following activities:

     


    #BCTECHSummit Youth Innovation Day Creative Industries Panel

    Brenda Bailey, DigiBC Executive Director, led a panel of successful young creatives. They shared their stories with 800-1,000 high school students and 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. Of the five panelists on stage, three had worked on Oscar-winning properties (two on Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, one on The Revenant) and all shared their contagious enthusiasm for their exciting careers.


    Play to Learn Launch Event

    DigiBC is working to expand the Play to Learn program, pioneered by EA and Everfi, into rural and underserved areas in the province. We launched outreach at the end of February at Cowichan Secondary School, and it was a terrific start to connecting with students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet people working in Interactive Digital Media.  The expansion continues over the next two years and will be going into 66 rural school districts throughout our province.

     

    DigiMusic 2019 Initiative

    DigiMusic is live! Did you ever wish you could compose the perfect score for your favorite video game or animated film? High schools students across the province have a chance to do exactly that and learn about working in the Creative Technology industry while doing it. This novel and exciting competition was the brainchild of James Hursthouse, DigiBC Board member and hardcore metal fan. James worked with his son's high school music instructor to do a classroom session on composing for video games, and it was such a success he thought, why not take this to DigiBC and roll it out across the province? This evolved into DigiMusic and the inaugural competition runs April 2-30th. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect high school students to our sector, have some fun celebrating the budding musical talent out there in our province. Check the website for further details.

     


    We are guessing that you probably play video games and watch movies, but did you know that British Columbia is home to some of the world’s most well-known video game, animation and visual effects companies employing thousands of people with all types of different skill-sets and talents? Have you ever thought that a career in creative tech might be something you’re interested in? DigiMusic 2019 is a competition that gives you a small taste of what it’s like to combine creativity and technology, as we challenge you to compose music for one or more short clips of video games and animated movies that are being created right here in BC.


    We will accept entries from individual composers (students) as well as entries from groups of up to four composers working together. The competition will run from April 2-30, 2019 after which an expert panel of digital media and music industry experts will assess the entries received, and award a range of prizes to both composers and their schools.

     

  • 27 Mar 2019 by DigiBC

    Choosing the right office space for your business is an incredibly important decision. Location, size, style, price, and features all play a part in determining whether a commercial space complements your day-to-day operations, your company’s future roadmap and most importantly, your brand and culture. Blair, Kevin, and Alain from The High Technology Facilities Group of CBRE offer their best advice to tech companies on the available commercial real estate options in Vancouver. With co-working spaces growing in our booming technology ecosystem, finding a suitable spot can seem daunting, so they've broken down the key differentiators to help you find your perfect match!

    In this lesson, they delve into opportunities for start-ups that not only provide ample space for a growing company, but also promote incubation, education, community, and support.

    Sample Start-up Company

    • Size: 2 – 12 people, or 800 – 2,000 SF
    • Location: Downtown and surrounding area, on transit (10-minute walk max)
    • Expansion plans:1 to 2 years
    • Stage in business: Boot-strapping, limited investment, early-stage company

     

    Co-working: Global vs Local Spaces - Which will suit my business goals?
     

    Global Co-working Space

    An explosion of co-working spaces in the Vancouver downtown core now gives small (and large) tenants a wide range of options of flexible, pay-as-you-go, think-tank work environments. These options include larger international brands like WeWork, Spaces, Regus, which have large spaces in large office buildings and provide full-service amenities in today’s leading office design. They offer private offices for single individuals, up to 20 people or up to a full floor, basically no maximum size. The spaces are built and furnished and the snacks, coffee machines, and kegs are stocked. However, these beautifully designed, furnished, turn-key solutions do come at a premium price tag.
     

    Local Co-working Spaces

    The local co-working companies are also benefiting from the growing demand for flexible workspace solutions. They vary in size, location, amenities, and price.  There are larger spaces run by companies like The Profile and The Network Hub, who cater to all businesses, with a focus on the startup community. Other co-working spaces are operated by incubator companies that have a specific focus on what types of companies they cater to, for example, Launch Academy is focused on incubating local startups in tech and recently put space aside specifically for the VR/AR sector and another area for cannabis-tech. This type of focus will continue to evolve as new industries and technologies emerge. In addition, The Cube opened in 2017 to provide a user-friendly space for VR/AR companies. These are great spaces in character boutique office buildings, offering a plug-and-play, furnished and flexible workspace solution, at a price well below what the bigger players charge.


    Key Benefits to co-working:

    • Flexible lease terms (month to month, 6 month, 12 month and longer).
    • Community and networking
    • Events, Workshops, and Investor relations
    • Additional membership benefits: meeting spaces, access to other locations (globally and locally), beer and wine on tap, snacks and more.
       

    While co-working offers amazing benefits that a private office does not, they do have their challenges. Here are a few things to consider:

    • More noise, interruptions, and overall distractions.
    • Challenge in booking meeting rooms and call rooms.
    • Lack of privacy
    • Branding and culture challenges, lack of ability to create your own identity
       

    Overall, there are many co-working options to choose from, especially in Vancouver, and a company should carefully audit its immediate, short term and long term needs as best it can. As your team is still small, your board, management, senior staff or even your full company team should be consulted to understand what your needs are and then compare to what is offered in the market that best meets those needs.  We also recommend that any company evaluate their needs with a broker, as they can also assist in negotiating better terms with co-working options.

    ►Private Office Spaces

    If co-working is not the option you are looking for and you prefer your own Private Office suite, there are a broad range of options that can be summarized in two: short-term and long-term lease commitments. The pros/cons of each are summarized below to help you make sense of what is most appropriate for you.

    Before digging into this, it is important to understand the state of the Vancouver office leasing market:

    • Demand & Vacancy: Vancouver has witnessed strong tenant demand for office space for the past 2 years, bringing vacancy to a near all-time low of 4.5% in the downtown core, 1.5% in Yaletown and 3% in Gastown.
    • Rental Rates: Few available spaces mean landlords have the upper hand, and they have been steadily increasing rents throughout 2018, and this is expected to continue into 2019.
    • New Supply: New buildings are under construction, however, the next few buildings are not expected to have any significant impact on availability until late 2020 and 2021.
    • Tips for Successful Lease Negotiations: start your search early, hire an experienced broker, evaluate all aspects of your needs, plan for future growth (if able), be “market-ready” so when the right space comes along you can secure it quickly. Be prepared for competition and to step-up (if needed), as multiple offer scenarios can occur.

     

    Private Short-term Office Lease (6 - 36 months)

    These opportunities include those ranging from 6-months to 3-year commitments for a dedicated private office suite. Typically these are short term subleases from tenants with that no longer need their space.  Most landlords look for a (minimum) 3-year lease term, so finding a tenant looking to exit their lease early are great opportunities. 

    Pros: branding and “make-it-your-own” capabilities, security and privacy, limited distractions, controlling your space, positive optics for investors/clients and for hiring.  Sublease opportunities may allow for extra savings in free furniture and existing infrastructure to minimize set up costs.

    Cons:  Limited number of available spaces to accommodate this size of office spaces (800 - 2,000 SF). Lease term is set, limited flexibility to expand/contract. Upfront set up costs, ie: renovations and/or furniture. Required to manage the day-to-day office items such as (printers, internet, coffee, etc). Limited flexibility/growth potential, however, there are some ways to work around this with the right lease.

     


    Private Long-Term Office Lease (36 - 60 months or longer)

    These types of space opportunities range from 3 to 5 years, and longer (if desired), for your own dedicated office. Typically these are leases negotiated directly with the landlord, however, sublease opportunities may be available too (possibly with discounted rents!)

    Pros: In addition to most benefits shown above, long-term leases provide security in locking in rental rates for longer, ability to negotiate stronger lease terms, including free rent, improvement allowances and more. Financial setup costs are spread out over a longer period of your lease.

    Cons: long term leases limit growth flexibility, subleasing may be required (this could be an asset, upfront setup costs (ie: potential renovations and furniture), business goals may not align with long leases (ie: investors want easy liquidity for potential sale).  That said, there are creative solutions to many of these issues.

     


    As a starting point, if you’re not sure which option is right for you?  Here are some key questions to ask yourself and your team:
     

    • How long before we grow beyond 12 - 15 people?
    • Are we willing to stay in a co-working space long term, does it drive innovation/productivity, does it fit our culture and brand?
    • What is the 1 to 2 year goal and what is our budget for space for this period?
    • What type of space do we really need? (quiet, private, meeting room space?? And does the co-working solution offer these needs?
    • Are clients, investors or other important contacts visiting us?
       

    A thorough analysis of all these questions should help to give you and your executive team a better understanding of which option is best and give you the confidence to move forward with your decision. It is worth doing this upfront work to make sure you get it right the first time.
     

    To get familiar with what’s happening in the office market and to find out relevant information on culture, hiring/attracting talent, the start-up community, workspace design, and innovations, it is recommended you visit the HTFG’s website and subscribe to their quarterly newsletter here.

  • 25 Mar 2019 by DigiBC

    This month we have a guest blog post from Centre for Digital Media student, Sam Stumborg, telling us about some of the exciting projects that were recently made at the school.
     


    Written by Sam Stumborg

    Three student projects are using games or gamified technology to teach healthy behavioral changes in response to very different problems industry clients posed to them. The student teams (The Goal Diggers, Brain Bros & Viva la Vida) were given varying problems and briefed by different clients, yet they all decided to build digital, gamified solutions.


    Contractor City: An Idle Game for Working Contractors

    The Goal Diggers (Peter Zhengyang Pan, Sam Stumborg, Rubing Bai, Dafne Delgado, and Mikayla Preete) decided to create Contractor City, a mobile idle game after extensive consultation with their clients FortisBC and BC One Call. Ian Turnbull, a construction and pipeline safety expert helped the team discover that younger contractors didn’t know about the BC One Call animated ads (“Call before you dig!” with a talking horse). As a result, these contractors were at an increased risk of striking a pipe. A game was one of the solutions the team proposed to address this knowledge gap. This idea eventually became Contractor City.

    Rather than a traditional “win/lose” video game, Contractor City is an idle game that plays itself while you’re away. Like a stock portfolio that constantly accrues interest, idle games push the envelope of what it means to be a video game because little player interaction is needed. Pocket-sized, easy to play, Contractor City aims to teach the player how important it is to know what’s below by rewarding safe ground disturbance practices and punishing dangerous deeds. As a way of rewarding contractors, there is an option that allows players to turn their real-life BC One Call reference numbers (a number you receive when you call their service) into in-game currency rewarding real-life safety with in-game success. All in all, the game aims to make lasting behavioural change by encouraging repeat use, safe practices, and BC One Call membership.

     

    Viva La Vida: Making Exercise Fun Again
    With a focus on human health, MDM team Viva la Vida’s project is the kind of serious game that could get it invited to the 2020 Serious Games and Applications for Health conference being held at the CDM next summer. Laureen Wales, CEO of Your Viva, approached the Centre of Digital Media looking to build an installation on the University of Alberta campus that would encourage students to get fit on their way to class. Like the Goal Diggers, they were being tasked with instilling behavioural change in a younger audience. After a lot of testing and research, the team convinced Laureen an installation was the wrong solution. Instead, they landed on a game where every step is rewarded, individual actions benefit a team, and specific physical activities are assigned as quests.

    Team Viva la Vida’s product is an augmented reality app with game elements that reward and engage the player. When Pokemon GO! launched no one expected there would be healthy and beneficial outcomes. The members of Viva la Vida (Emily Cao, Ghazal Jenab, Hang Zheng, Isabelle Rash, Shervin Mortazavi, Ziyi Xu) worked backward, from the intended benefit toward an augmented reality game with teams, territories to capture, and a map built from Google Maps. Instead of ignoring the health benefits, they doubled down, tying the player’s progress in the game to in-game exercises, activities, and social engagement. Exercises include activities like “shelving books” where the player has to move their phone up and down as if they were taking books off a high shelf and putting them on a lower one. This is actually a repeated stretching motion under the guise of “shelving books” but it and other activities help the user move and keep active without obviously being exercise. As team Viva la Vida found out, the biggest barrier between an inactive student and exercise is mental and it’s the biggest stumbling block to leapfrog.

     

    Cerebro: Mind Games by Brian Bros
    While the first two groups had to convince the client that a video game or gamified digital content was a solution to their problem, Dr. Claudia Krebs approached the CDM specifically looking to build a game. In this case, a game for medical students that would help them better memorize brain structures for their neuroanatomy courses. After significant research and development, team Brain Bros (Julia Lastovikova, Kimberly Ann Burke, Niccolo Pucci, Oliver Riisager, Sean Jeon, Weiyi Zhang)
    built Cerebro, a 3D game that you play on a mobile phone. In this game, the player aims a robot (named NeuRob) to fly through the parts of the brain and spinal cord. Memorizing the structures helps them rack up points in the game and (one hopes) points on their exams.

     

     
     


    The New
    Genre of Healthy Games

    Both the Brain Bros and Viva la Vida have joined an exciting field that blends health science with video games. Indeed, health and video game professionals are working closer than ever before with neuroscientists like Adam Gazzaley building the case for the medicinal benefits of video games, even nabbing the front page of the prestigious journal Nature in 2013. Rather than simply training doctoral students, encouraging physical activity or behavioural change, Gazzaley’s Neuroscape Lab, Akili Interactive Labs, and others are actively pursuing FDA approval for medicinal video games.

     

    Serious Games Here in Vancouver
    As the world waits for FDA approved medicinal video games the Centre of Digital Media is joining those charging ahead. Vancouver based Biba Venture, Ayogo (on the same campus as CDM), and Mod7 Communications (now a part of Open Road Communications) are all pioneering in the same space which makes Vancouver fertile ground for serious games. The 8th annual international conference for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH) are both coming to Vancouver in 2020, hosted at the Centre of Digital Media. The CDM is a natural fit for SeGAH with a master’s program already building games for real-life applications. With three gamified solutions to professional client problems this semester alone, the CDM can expect to have approximately nine more student projects seriously applying game elements before SeGAH opens August 2020.

     

     

  • 22 Mar 2019 by DigiBC

    Are you an active video game company operating in Canada?

    The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), in partnership with Nordicity, is launching its 2019 research survey for Canada’s video game industry. ESAC is the voice of our industry and they want their research to include all companies who contribute to making Canada a vibrant and prosperous place to create and play video games. By completing this survey, all active video game companies in Canada are contributing to the creation of an accurate snapshot of the industry, and this research will explore trends and provide specific and practical information about it.

    Please take 20 minutes and complete the survey: http://bit.ly/esacsurvey-sondageadl2019

    Survey closes May 10, 2019


    For past industry reports, and information about ESAC, visit theESA.Ca

    Specific questions about the survey? Please contact Kristian Roberts, Partner, Nordicity at kroberts@nordicity.com

    Questions about ESAC? Please contact Corinne Crichlow, Director, Communications & Public Relations at ccrichlow@theESA.Ca

     

     

  • 19 Mar 2019 by DigiBC

    The Irving K Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society provides scholarships and financial awards to help BC post-secondary students achieve their educational goals. The society gives out ten awards annually to recognize women in tech (computer science, engineering or mathematics), and at least one of these is dedicated to a woman of Aboriginal ancestry.

    They are pleased to announce that applications for 2019 Women in Technology & Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships are now available through the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society.  Ten scholarships valued at $10K each will be awarded in June.

     

    Application Deadline:

    The deadline to submit your application is May 15, 2019

    Instructions on how to apply, links to application forms, and full eligibility criteria can be found at https://www.ikbbc.ca/women-in-tech/about-this-scholarship/

    You can learn more about last year’s recipients at https://www.ikbbc.ca/student-stories/


    Further Information:

     

    What You Should Know:

    You must have completed a minimum of one year of full-time studies leading to an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate in computer science, engineering, or mathematics, and be continuing in your studies at a BC public post-secondary institution for at least one additional year. Women in Technology Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement (Minimum B+ GPA required), and a demonstrated commitment to the pursuit of a career in the technology sector.
     

  • 01 Mar 2019 by DigiBC

    British Columbia’s future innovators and science leaders have been preparing projects since the early fall for school, community and district science fairs across the province. 2,000 finalists from these local competitions are now putting the final touches on their presentations for the Regional Science Fairs where they will compete for awards and the chance to attend the 58th Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In celebration of their achievements, the Province of British Columbia has declared March 2019 as 'Youth Science Month'.

    Support from the provincial government and corporate sponsors enables The Science Fair Foundation of BC and The Regional Science Fair Network – the largest volunteer science outreach network in British Columbia - to recognize young scientists and their project work, encouraging them to further develop their ideas and excel beyond their communities. Last year, 67 students from throughout B.C. and the Yukon presented their projects at the CWSF in Ottawa and brought home $187,000 in awards and scholarships, including two platinum awards, six gold medals, 11 silver medals, and 25 bronze medals. Learn More >>

    BC students are also standing out on the international stage. In September, Nicolas Fedrigo earned a spot at the European Union Contest for Young Scientist held in Dublin, Ireland where his project was awarded first prize. In January, Mr. Fedrigo also received a gold medal at the 2019 Taiwan International Science Fair (TISF) competing alongside his teammate, Natasha Burgert, who earned bronze. This marks the fifth consecutive year that both B.C. students attending the TISF have earned top honours for their innovative projects.

     

     

     

  • 13 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC would like to introduce Alden Habacon to our members. Alden has accepted the role of facilitating our respectful workplace initiative and will be helping us to create materials that will assist our member companies with the complexities of diversification. We can’t leave talent on the sidelines! Now is the time to ensure our studios are where talent, from all walks of life, can thrive.

    Ever employ someone with a different experience or background from those in your studio… and before you can even enjoy having made the hire, they quit? We can help with that! Alden Habacon has been helping organizations increase diversity and achieve having a real culture change towards inclusive excellence for the last thirteen years. He works with executive and senior leadership, professionals, and educators to meet the demands of a rapidly diversifying company.

    DigiBC is delighted to partner with Alden in creating the materials and providing the training that will help our studios become inclusive places where folks love to work. We’ll have something to offer you whether your organization has already established a diverse workforce or if your company is just starting out. Our team looks forward to working with you soon!

     

  • 13 Feb 2019 by DigiBC


    Think Tank Training Centre was founded in 2005 and is a private, post-secondary school situated at the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. They specialize in training students with the latest software, techniques, and technologies that cater to the needs of the film, television, and video game industries. Even though they would be considered small compared to many of the other institutions out there, they sure can pack a big punch. The school boasts 92% job placement in the CG industry and in 2018 it ranked 3rd worldwide for VFX (2nd in Canada) and 4th worldwide for game development (1st in Canada) at The Rookies (an international awards competition that ranks the best creative media and entertainment schools in the world).

     


    The booming success of their campus program eventually led them to expand and adapt it, with the end result being the creation of Think Tank Online. TTO officially launched in October 2017 and is touted as a training experience like no other. Students can receive the benefits of their full-time diploma program from the comfort of their own home, and it’s a viable option for those who can’t afford to move to Vancouver. There are many other advantages including a flexible schedule, customizable assignments, live classes, and not having to sit on a wait-list. We recently caught up with TTTC co-founder, Scott Thompson, to find out more about Think Tank Online and to see how things have been going since it launched.

     

    What is Think Tank Online? 

    Think Tank Online is a comprehensive training program created by industry professionals to train artists to become the next wave of great talent.

     

    Who created it?

    TTO is a spinoff of Think Tank's popular campus program. It has been crafted by industry professionals who have a background in education.

     

    Have long is the program?

    The program is 16 months.

     

    How much does it cost?

    The cost is $13,680 CAD, all in.

     

    How is this program different from your campus one?

    The online program is four months longer and allows you to start your specialization sooner. One of the big perks you get with Think Tank Online is access to Portal. This is our custom-built learning platform where you can connect with students and staff, ask questions, share your work, and join in on discussions. Also, the recorded content can be digested at a speed that is comfortable for the student while receiving live support from your assigned supervisor. On-campus offers more face to face and classmate interaction, although we do promote a lot of that through our huge online forums and chat features.  

     

    Who would benefit the most from taking this program?

    TTO is not for the recreational user per se, it is a serious program designed to get you job-ready. That being said, it has a huge wealth of information for anyone willing to put in the effort.

     

    TTO February 2019 Student Scholarship Winners

     

    Do students need to have any previous training or work experience is a certain field before signing up?

    None at all, we start from zero.

     

    Who are the instructors?

    The instructors are a collection of industry professionals drawn from the VFX, TV and video game industries. They are working on the biggest features, video games, and TV shows now playing.

     

    How do you select them?

    They are selected through a process of looking at their past work, skill-sets, and demeanor. We don't believe everyone makes a great teacher so we set out to find the ones that do.

     

    What are some of the possible jobs/career paths someone could go into after graduating?

    We train for many jobs. In film, we place many texture artists, modelers, lighting artists, compositors, and look dev artists. For TV, it's more animation and modeling. In video games, it's modeling for characters and environments and texturing in both areas.

     

    There are quite a few other schools offering online training programs in the same field. What makes TTO different from these?

    It is true there is a lot of competition but I think the difference is in the final output. Our students really excel. In fact, three of our grads are working as instructors at one of our competitors. That says something about the quality of the Think Tank graduate. 

     

    What is the best way for somebody to find out more information about TTO?

    Check out our website at www.tttc.ca or give us a call at 604-990-8265.

     

     

    Portal: TTO's custom-built learning platform

     

     

  • 12 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    In the days leading up to the 2019 Budget announcement, DigiBC has continued to advocate for changes to the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC). These include increasing it from 17.5% to 25% with an additional 10% bump up for those opening or running studios outside of GVRD and CRD.

    Sam Fisher, CEO of Hyper Hippo, Graham Cunliffe, SVP of Finger Food Studios, Peter Greenwood, CFO of Blackbird Interactive and DigiBC’s Games Group Chair, along with Brenda Bailey, Executive Director of DigiBC, met with the Minister of Finance, Carole James in Victoria to advance this position. Sam addressed the valuable impact of creative tech studios in smaller communities, and Graham emphasized the positive spinoff effects of technology and talent from video game studios into more traditional sectors in the province such as mining and health care, helping advance more rapidly than were we not a video game hub. Peter talked about the growth of homegrown video game studios and the potential to develop and produce unique IP in BC for a global audience. Brenda then spoke about the importance of the sector and the competitive threats we are facing. The Minster was engaged and asked informed questions but made no commitment to our recommendations. We will know more on February 19th when the budget is announced. Now is a great time to contact your local representative and let them know you are in their riding and care about these issues!

    Thank you to Sam, Graham, and Peter for making the trek to Victoria and supporting DigiBC in this important pitch.

  • 12 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    Hill staffers enjoying their time with Nintendo’s beloved plumber Mario
     

    On February 4, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) hosted their annual Video Games on the Hill showcase for parliamentarians and hill staff. Held at the Sir John A. Macdonald building in Ottawa, over 250 people were in attendance, including 25 Members of Parliament. Membership participation in the event included Ubisoft Canada, Nintendo Canada, Other Ocean, EA, PlayStation Canada, Xbox Canada, Ludia, and Minors – the winner of ESAC’s 2018 Student Video Game Competition.

     

    Video Games on the Hill was graciously sponsored by MP Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. The showcase also welcomed the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Both Minister Bains and MP Fillmore spoke with great admiration for the Canadian video game industry, highlighting its generous contribution to the Canadian economy and its unwavering leadership in innovation.

     

    The 2019 showcase was proud to offer guests the opportunity to experience cutting-edge technology, including Xbox’s recently released Adaptive Controller, racing sleds, virtual reality and of course blockbuster titles like Assassins Creed Odyssey, NHL 19, Super Smash Bros., Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and many more. Following the showcase, ESAC and members participated in a number of meetings with government officials in Ottawa. ESAC would like to thank its members once again for their immeasurable contribution to Video Games on the Hill and for their participation in discussions that will undeniably shape the future of our industry in Canada.
     

    To watch the full presentation, visit Entertainment Software Association of Canada

    For more information, contact Jayson Hilchie at jhilchie@theesa.ca

     

    The Honorable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, takes the stage to share his ongoing support and interest in Canada's thriving video games industry

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    BC Procurement Strategy

    One of the concerns that tech companies often raise with all three levels of government is that when it comes to sourcing software to support government services, why not shop at home? Government is, of course, one of the largest buyers of good and services in the country.


    The BC government recently launched a new procurement strategy. Their stated goal, according to Minster of Citizen Services Jinny Sims, is to “modernize government procurement and use it to grow local economies, create local jobs, and take advantage of made in BC innovation.”

     

    At a BC Council of Senior Executive Roundtable on February 7, Minister Sims presented the new strategy. The B.C. government spends over $7B a year – and that is just core government. She was aware of criticisms that the bid process was hugely time-consuming, not transparent and there was a perception of favouritism. In efforts to modernize procurement, Minister Sims said she was working to remove barriers so people could interface with government in an open and accessible way while also creating social, environmental, and economic benefits. The procurement strategy includes what she referred to as a “social lens”.  The BC Bid replacement project modernizes a 20-year-old system and will be searchable by regional and topic-specific searches. This is due to be completed in 2020.

     


    She also described the new concierge program where vendors will have support to assist in navigating the system. Furthermore, in the future, problem statements will be posted online and vendors must come up with the solution. According to Sims, this is designed to invite innovation. Historically, it has been the same bid process whether the bid was for a $50,000 or $5M project. With the new changes, Minster Sims says they are doing “right sizing” and will have different processes for different levels.
    The Minster also spoke about the digital railroad. Similar to how the railroad opened up Canada to immigration and development, so too will having connectivity throughout the province. “One cannot have a digital government without a digital railroad,” says Sims. The Minster left her presentation with the message "your government is open for business”.

     

    Is this an opportunity for your software?

     

    Brenda Bailey
    Executive Director
    DigiBC

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    The Colombian Government Trade Commission presents the PROCOLOMBIA: Business Matchmaking Forum. This is the perfect opportunity to experience why Colombia is an attractive destination for outsourcing services such as software and IT services, app development, digital marketing, digital content, and animation. The event will be held on April 3-5, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. Canadian participants will be able to have one-on-one meetings with over 2,500+ suppliers from key industries such as software and digital content services for animation, video games, digital marketing, and other industries (including food, apparel, electronics, automotive parts, among others).
     

    ProColombia can assist Canadian participating companies by providing one round trip airline ticket per company and discounted hotel rates. *upon approval
     

    More information and to submit your registration for the PROCOLOMBIA Business Matchmaking Forum can be found here: https://www.macrorruedasprocolombia.co/macrorruedabicentenario/index.php?tu=comp&ci=4

     

     

     

     

    More than 200 one-on-one meetings have taken place between Canadian and Colombian IT and digital creative companies in the past six months.

    Click here to read about and meet 27 Colombian companies that switched their business models for the Canadian market.

     

    Why Colombia is one of the strongest Latin American contenders on the global stage within IT and digital content industries

    A recent Canada-Colombia market connection program called Gateway to Trade had the objective of utilizing the countries’ free trade agreement to build new, targeted service export relationships for Colombia’s developing economy. As a partnership project between Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) Canada and ProColombia, the program was supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. To add to the local development sustainability, the program also worked with dozens of Colombia-based trainers to expand across the country for future industry participants, including those in other service industry sectors.

    Colombia’s tendency to promote the collaborative, mutually-beneficial aspects of cross-border industry development, rather than positioning itself simply as yet another emerging global source of talented tech teams. Many of the Canadian tech firms that connected with Colombia through the Gateway program were members of Interactive Ontario, one of that province’s most active advocates of the Interactive Digital Media industry. Interactive Ontario has worked closely with ProColombia’s Toronto office to explore north-south opportunities and is currently building on the momentum of Gateway by supporting an early-stage soft-landing project for Colombian tech firms looking to establish a presence in the Toronto area.

    Find out more at https://www.nearshoreamericas.com/canadians-discovering-win-win-colombian-digital-industries/ 

    Canada - Columbia: Teaming Up on Digital

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    While the demographics of key innovation sectors like science, technology, and engineering are changing, women remain underrepresented in many of the fields driving the modern economy. New Westminster Innovation Week will celebrate Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) with a symposium on Friday, March 8th. This full-day event will feature speakers and panels to explore what's working, what's needed, and how to connect the dots using arts-based creativity and computational skills.

     

    Sponsored by Vancity, Advancing Women in STEAM will facilitate a regional conversation with representation from government, non-profits, academia, and private business. Sessions will be dedicated to themes like Why Does Industry Need STEAM?, When Barriers Collide, and Holding Space For STEAM. Innovation Week is honoured to be joined by Aoife Mac Namara, Dean, Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology at Simon Fraser University, who will present the event’s closing keynote address.
     

    This will be held at the Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC

    Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

    Further details can be found at www.innovatenewwest.ca

     

    Advancing Women in STEAM Panelists & Speakers

    The Honourable Judy Darcy: MLA for New Westminster, BC Minister for Mental Health and Addictions

    Kailyn Skuban: Programs Manager, IGNITE, Innovate BC

    Dr. Gillian Judson: Executive Director, Centre for Imagination In Research, Culture and Education, Simon Fraser University

    Dr. Sarah Lubik: Director of Entrepreneurship, Simon Fraser University

    MLA Bowinn Ma: Represents North Vancouver-Lonsdale, licensed Professional Engineer and certified Project Management Professional

    Sarah Clark: President & CEO Fraser River Pile and Dredge

    Jay-Ann Gilfoy: CEO and Director, Vancity Community Investment Bank

    Denise Williams: CEO, First Nations Technology Council

    Sandra Brynjolfson: Coordinator, Centre for BC Women in Trades

    Liza Bautista: Manager, Job Quest and TechWomen programs, Immigrant Services Society of BC

    Maureen McRae-Stanger: New Westminster Schools

    Kate Armstrong: Director, Living Labs, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

    Jennifer Thompson: COO, CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technologies
     

     

     

     

  • 08 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    We had such a blast at the #RockPaperScissors tournament + networking mixer on February 6. The Jolly Brain comedians, Scotty Patey & Joel Fortin, sure know how to host a show and keep the crowd engaged from start to finish. The combination of their backgrounds in improv, acting, and stand-up makes for a non-stop night of laughs and fun! Huge thanks again to our wonderful sponsors, East Side Games & Kabam, for helping make this event possible. We’d also like to thank the ANZA Club, Navas Lab Apparel, and East Side Games for donating some amazing prizes. Last but not least, congratulations to the tournament winner (who had his R/P/S strategy dialed in), Ryan Dunnison from Playful Fox Games!

     

     

     

    We’re already looking to plan more networking mixers and town hall events for later on in the year... so no need to fret if you weren’t able to make it and missed out on this one. In the meantime, be sure to join our mailing list so you can stay up-to-date.

     

     

  • 30 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    On January 24th, DigiBC hosted a 'State of the Union' town hall event on the topic of the challenges, opportunities, and way forward with creating original wholly owned IP in BC. It was a fun and engaging night where members from the creative tech sector came together to hear about DigiBC’s progress with government relations work, gain valuable insight from the panel and, of course, network with their peers. The event took place in the Donnelly Group’s private hospitality suite and it was great to see folks connecting over the delicious food and libations that was provided throughout the night. Huge thanks to our generous sponsors (Truly Social Games, Demonware & Hyper Hippo Games), the Donnelly Group, and our wonderful panelists (Prem Gill, Jamie Cheng, Rick Mischel & Matt Toner). We can't thank them enough!

     


    For those who might be interested, the two DigiBC reports Brenda presented can be viewed and downloaded from the links below. Additionally, Brenda thought some people would like to read the Boston Consulting Group research.


    IDMTC Recommendations Report
    CMF Recommendations Report
    How Governments Are Sparking Growth in Creative Industries
     

    If you would like to get involved in the Creative BC Digital Media Working Group we are putting together, then please contact Brenda (brenda@digibc.org) or Prem (pgill@creativebc.com). The group is being formed to conduct a survey of BC Interactive Digital Media companies and look into why they are not applying for CMF funding. In addition to identifying barriers, let’s collect ideas for positive change. You do not have to be a DigiBC member to join and we already had three people sign up at the event (thank you)!

     

    Joining DigiBC is the best way to ensure British Columbia remains a positive place for creative technology to succeed. Further information on our different membership levels can be found here: https://www.digibc.org/join

     

    If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all of our future events. You can also follow us on social media: DigiBC Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

     

    photos: Melissa Dex Guzman

     

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC is pleased to have been chosen as a recipient of the Creative BC Respectful Workplace, Diversity and Gender Parity Fund. We will use this to enhance diversity and inclusion in the creative tech sector and to create template policies for our member companies to adopt into their studios at no cost to them.


    Most tech studios hold a view that we are doing reasonably well in regard to attracting diverse talent, but when we look at the data, we are often surprised by how homogeneous we actually are. In this time of huge competition for talent, we have to ensure we are drawing on the whole pool of talent and not relying on hiring people who are only like those doing the hiring.


    In order to make sure people of diverse backgrounds have a great experience once they join our companies, we need to ensure we offer respectful workplaces. Research indicates that the recruitment of people from diverse backgrounds often fails due to not having the inclusion side of the equation in place. That’s where respectful workplace training comes in. Respectful workplaces display integrity and professionalism, practice fairness and understanding, demonstrate respect for individual rights and differences and encourages accountability for one's actions. Respectful workplaces are free of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, physical characteristics, mental ability or ancestry. Business with respectful workplaces may have a strong advantage in the competition for talent.


    We have partnered with Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) and Women in Games Vancouver (WIG’eh) to deliver on this initiative. Our four-part plan is as follows:
     

    1. DATA - complete a diversity audit so we can see where we are today and measure growth in the future
    2. REPORT and RECOMMENDATIONS
    3. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION TRAINING FOR LEADERSHIP
    4. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION – create policies and procedures for use by all member studios
       

    We are currently forming our committee to implement this strategy. If you have interest, please contact brenda@digibc.org

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    2018 was a year of significant growth at DigiBC. In mid-February, a full-time executive director was hired with the mandate to expand DigiBC’s focus on education, work with government partners to ensure BC is a place where creative tech companies can succeed and to continue building the creative tech community in the province. We summarize this as our three pillars: Government Relations, Education & Community Building.

     

     

    Pillar 1: Government Relations

    Cultural Trade Mission to China
    DigiBC, in collaboration with Creative BC, attended the Canadian Creative Industries Cultural Trade Mission to China in April 2018.  Attending member companies had the opportunity to meet with potential clients and partners with the support of our Canadian trade delegates. Many participants in the broader delegation closed deals on the trip and DigiBC member companies valued the opportunity to have business development support.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ongoing Advocacy w/Provincial Government

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, has met with the Minister of Technology, Bruce Ralston on numerous occasions to work on enhancing the business environment for our member studios. Minister Ralston has come to understand the important ripple effects of the video game industry – in terms of talent, business leadership, and technology. We have also been working with the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, Rick Glumac, to advocate for IDMTC increases.

     

    DigiBC Caucus Luncheon [10.31.2018]

    DigiBC hosted a luncheon on Halloween at the Legislature in Victoria. Being that it was Star Wars themed, MLAs had the opportunity to operate R2D2 and BB8 droids, as well as enjoy a trick-or-treat basket with Star Wars themed candy. Each piece contained a video game industry fact and we received excellent feedback. Fifteen MLAs were present including the Ministry of Technology, the Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, the Minister of Advanced Education, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, along with many others.

     

     

     

    Rick Glumac Fundraiser

    DigiBC was successful in selling more than 60 tickets for the Rick Glumac fundraiser in Port Moody. Shout out to Ryan at Finger Foods for his leadership and perseverance on this initiative. Thank you!

    Photo: Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, Rick Glumac, hanging out with Phoenix Labs folks at Port Moody Ales

     

     

     

    Government relations have primarily, but not solely, focused on advocating for an increase in the IDMTC in the 2019 Budget. We are also advocating for a better deal for BC IDM studios with the Canada Media Fund (CMF). As this fund falls under the Ministry of Heritage, having the opportunity to connect with him is valuable. Thanks to EA Vancouver for allowing Brenda to participate in his recent studio tour. Minister Pablo Rodriguez is originally from Argentina and was delighted to meet some of the FIFA team, gain insight by witnessing the gameplay team in action and attend a FIFA 2020 mocap session. It is important for the Minister of Heritage to understand the value the IDM sector brings to Canada, not only from a culture and heritage perspective but also because the CMF falls under his portfolio.

     

    DigiBC 2018 Reports

    DigiBC delivered two important reports in 2018:

    IDMTC Recommendations

    CMF Recommendations Report

     

    First, we updated the 2017/18 IDMTC Report to reflect the 2018/19 recommendations to government for the 2019 budget. These are:
     

    1.    Increase the BC Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (BCIDMTC) investment from 17.5% to 25% in all regions

    2.    Create a regional diversification incentive by increasing the BCIDMTC in rural and northern regions by an additional 10 %
     

    Second, we researched and shared our findings on the Canada Media Fund (CMF) Experimental Stream. BC is historically underrepresented and that trend continues in a downward trajectory. Because DigiBC works for our smaller and mid-sized IDM studios as well as larger studios, CMF underfunding is highly concerning to us and we are advocating strongly for changes. Specifically, we have met with Valerie Creighton, CEO and President of the CMF, and requested the following:

    Recommendations:

    Priority

    1. A CMF Director from the Experimental Stream to be located permanently in Vancouver.
    2. Creation of an envelope of funding specifically for the IDM sector in BC and have it administered in BC.  
    3. There should be a requirement for at least one juror member from BC to be present on each jury.

    Secondary

    1. Repayment of the CMF Experimental Stream is very low, yet compliance costs are extremely high. This should be analyzed, and changes made. We recommend the CMF Experimental Fund be turned into a grant with reduced compliance requirements.
    2. Rework the program to incentivize Canadian created IP.

     

    Pillar 2: Education

    In 2018, DigiBC was successful in beginning to roll out our multi-year education strategy. 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 Music Education Initiative: DigiMusic
    September 2018-June 2019

    DigiBC aims to introduce students across British Columbia to the possibilities of music composition in digital media and animation through a province-wide competition. Designed to expose students, parents, and educators to the excellent careers in the creative tech industry, students will learn about the scope, size, and exciting intellectual properties being created in their province.

     

    Program Delivery

    By using the joy of music and the fun in creating it, DigiBC aims to involve kids in digital careers by showing them exactly how pivotal music can be within Interactive Digital Media (IDM, i.e. video games) and animation.

    The details of music’s role in setting the tone and building scene, as well as the role of the composer themselves within the studio will be covered in short educational videos made by DigiBC. Ideally, as part of the Digi on the Road initiative, music professionals and executives from BC game and animation studios will be there in person instead of the video. Either way, the focus will be on these professionals’ stories and follow the often wandering and indirect paths they took to get where they are today.

    Students will learn how music is integrated into video games and animation, how to work as a team and cooperate and begin to think about production challenges such as deadlines, technical limitations, and intellectual property rights. The students will then have until the contest deadline to compose their own music for the age-appropriate clips: one from a video game and the other from animation. After the deadline, a panel of judges will select the winners according to predefined criteria. Prizes will be awarded to winning schools, distributing musical equipment and digital learning programs as rewards. Among the awards being considered are tours of animation and IDM studios, and the inclusion of the winning composition in the final product (if legally viable).  

    Because the aim is to expose as many students, parents, and educators to the opportunities offered by IDM and animation, this contest is meant to be province-wide and available to students in grades 8-10 across 580 schools.

     

    Play to Learn Program Expansion

    Will be delivered into 67 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, close the skills gap, and ultimately drive our technology sector.

     

    EA and Everfi have developed Play to Learn, a digital STEAM learning program. Play to Learn was successfully deployed to select schools during the current and previous academic years thanks to EA's support and generosity. The primary goals of Play to Learn are to ignite student interest in learning to code and pursuing technology careers. EA's education technology partner, Everfi is responsible for implementation in the classroom and liaising with schools and teachers, as they do now with over 20,000 schools across Canada and the USA. EA has granted DigiBC a royalty-free license for the use of Play to Learn and we look forward to continuing to expand the reach of this valuable program.

     

    Play to Learn is aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of STEAM concepts, including the fundamentals of coding. The program provides approximately eight hours towards the government's mandate to provide 20 hours of K-8 coding education.  In addition, Everfi continues to update and enhance the curriculum to ensure it addresses students when they are forming their opinions about STEM careers—in middle school and early secondary school—and stays current in a fast-changing STEAM landscape.
     

    DigiBC’s delivery of this program includes a focus on rural and remote regions in the province. The list of school districts that we are targeting over the three-year implementation period is as follows:

     

    • Kootenay Lake, School District 8
    • Haida Gwaii, School District 50
    • Prince Rupert, School District 52
    • Prince George, School District 57
    • Greater Victoria, School District 61
    • Campbell River, School District 72
    • Kamloops-Thompson, School District 73
    • Cowichan Valley, School District 79
    • Coast Mountains, School District 82
    • North Okanagan-Shuswap, School District 83
    • Vancouver Island North, School District 85

     

    Digi On The Road

    DigiBC will be supporting both the DigiMusic initiative and the expansion of Play to Learn with our Digi on the Road program. This will provide students in more remote areas of the province the chance to meet face to face with some of the talented people working in the video game, animation, VFX, and AR/MR fields. Designed to entertain and inspire, Digi on the Road is looking for volunteers to talk to kids about their career pathways. Contact brenda@digibc.org if you would like to get involved.

     

     

    Pillar 3: Community Building

    2018 saw DigiBC provide numerous opportunities for folks in the industry to get together. Sometimes it is around a particular issue, such as our upcoming State of the Union panel discussion on original IP, occasionally it is just for laughs, (did you hear about our Rock Paper Scissors Tournament on February 6?) and once in a while, it is designed to help people network with their peers. We also strive to provide career and business development opportunities for our member studios.
     

     

  • 17 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The video game industry takes its commitment to parents seriously. It has a comprehensive strategy to ensure that parents and caregivers understand the differences in content when making a purchasing decision. This includes promoting the system to Canadians through information on ESAC's website and also through their partnership with the Retail Council of Canada. The Commitment to Parents program ensures that signage is displayed anywhere games are sold and that retailers ensure that purchasers of M-Rated games are at least 17 years of age. This comprehensive strategy guarantees that the ESRB rating system continues to be one of the most well-known systems in the world for age-ratings.


    In addition to the rating system, all video game consoles have control settings that allow parents and caregivers to lock out inappropriate content. This is done by restricting certain ESRB rated games, limiting screen time, deactivating online functions and locking out payment features. Our industry works hard to educate parents on these available options to ensure their children are accessing video game products in ways that are responsible, appropriate, and healthy.
     

    As part of this commitment, ESAC recently introduced new parental control instructional videos in English and French for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & mobile devices (iOS and Android). Presented by Marc Saltzman and Carl-Edwin Michel, these short videos provide step-by-step instructions on setting up parental controls. Check them out here:


    YouTube: TheESACanada
    Facebook: The Entertainment Software Association of Canada
     

    For more information, contact Jayson Hilchie at jhilchie@theesa.ca

     

     

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