Blogs

  • 18 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    There was an excellent turnout of industry leaders at the Animation & VFX Alliance's first social gathering on December 11th. Accomplishments from the year were highlighted, along with the ambitious projects and partnerships that are underway. Attendees were also made aware of the A&VFX Alliance's efforts to tackle industry challenges and get in front of the key decision makers. The next networking event will be members-only, so joining will ensure you don't miss out! Info on the different membership tiers can be found here.

     

     

  • 18 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    IDM Tax Credit

    DigiBC continues to advocate for the Interactive Digital Media sector for the BC Budget 2019. In the second quarter of the 2018 budget report, the government adjusted the budgeted allotment for the IDMTC from 56M to 46M. DigiBC has expressed concern that recent departures of major global studios (Capcom and Namco Bandai) are indicative of an investment flight, and that BC continuing to have the lowest IDMTC in the country (17.5%) must be addressed. We believe that were BC to raise the IDMTC to 25%, we would be competitive with larger tax credits due to our other advantages – talent, a strong education eco-system, and a desirable city in which to live. We are also advocating to have an additional 10% for those studios outside the Lower Mainland and the Capital Regional District.
     

    Education

    DigiBC was in the news when the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, announced our expansion of the Play to Learn program on December 13th. Secondary students with a passion for coding and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will now have more opportunities to expand their skill-sets and participate in the Play to Learn program, thanks to a one-time $230,000 provincial government grant that will expand the program. Since Play to Learn launched in BC in 2016, the program has engaged over 6,000 students across 96 Lower Mainland schools. The expansion is facilitated by DigiBC and provides students with the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed for video game design and other technology-related and STEM career fields. Read the full article here.

     

    Diversity and Inclusion

    DigiBC’s Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, recently met with Mitzie Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. Ms. Dean indicated that the government is bringing in requirements for gender diversity into funding decisions. We are also seeing these incentives in the private sector and in federal funders, such as the Canada Media Fund.

    DigiBC will be working with our member studios to assist in diversity and inclusion work. We were recently awarded a small amount of funding to do respectful workplace training and will be partnering with Women in Animation and Women in Games Vancouver to roll out this initiative. Stay tuned!

     

  • 12 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    IUGO was founded in 2003 by Hong-Yee Wong with the specific goal of connecting people through mobile games. He was joined shortly after by YK Hun, the current CEO. Fittingly, the studio’s name, IUGO, means “to connect” in Latin. Their vision was to see mobile phones become the most ubiquitous gaming device in history. It was a bold vision as most phones back then only had screens the size of large postage stamps… now that vision is playing out today.

     


     

    Fun Fact: IUGO was credited in the 2009 Guinness World Records for a FPS mobile game called Re-Volt, and was described as “the most advanced mobile phone game of 2009”. Re-Volt was built on IUGO's proprietary engine technology which was cutting-edge at that time.

     

    Since 2003, IUGO has gone on to release a huge number of mobile games. In the feature phone era before 2007, they worked with publishers such as EA, Activision, and Universal to create over 30 mobile titles. Notable ones include Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Spiderman, Gladiator, Neopets, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Star Wars. With the rise of smartphones and app stores between 2007-2011, IUGO went into full self-publishing and produced over 15 original IP games. Many won awards and allowed the studio to successfully transition into smartphones game development. IUGO also became one of a very few select launch partners for the original Apple iPad and notable titles on here include the Toy Bot series, Zombie Attack!, Implode!, and Star Hogs.

     

     

    Post-2011, IUGO successfully navigated the sea-change of the mobile games business and moved into the in-app purchase model. They developed a dozen FTP mobile games which won multiple awards and became some of their biggest commercial successes. Notable titles include Lil’ Pirates, Animal Academy, Knights & Dragons, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Currently, they are hard at work on multiple 3D real-time multiplayer mobile games powered by their proprietary engine, Connexion. These projects also provide the opportunity to get back into creating their own original IPs, which they have not done that since creating the very successful, Knights & Dragons. These new games will go enter soft launch in select countries next year.

     

     

    Fun Fact: IUGO has created a new self-publishing arm and operations will commence in 2019 with two new 3D real-time multiplayer games based on their original IPs.

     

    So what sets IUGO apart from other studios? First off, they have been around for a very long time! The longevity and experience of navigating the turbulent changes in the games industry had shaped how they operate for the better. IUGO attributes their past successes to staying humble and having a genuine eagerness to learn from others. It uniquely shapes how they treat internal teams and external partners with respect. Their eagerness to learn is what fuels a relentless drive to continually improve and evolve their craft. When asked about their company culture, it's described as quite simply as 'the people on the floor'. The studio is privileged to have employees who value hard work and are committed to crafting quality mobile games. Staff can be cut and dry and to the point but also warm and understanding. As one employee summed it up, “we are pretty chill but we get things done, pretty social but not overbearing, and mostly professional but not stiff.”

     

    IUGO is looking for strong game development talents to help propel them to the next level of their growth journey. Even if a position is not explicitly open, talented individuals are encouraged to apply and get in touch. Current openings include Senior Backend Engineer (PHP), Senior Backend Engineer (Node.js), Senior Games Programmer (C++), Senior Game Designer, Senior UI/UX Designer, and HR Generalist. More information on job postings and to apply can be found on their website.

     

     

     


     

  • 11 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Next year will be the launch of the second edition of the Insomnia Gaming Festival. This is Egypt's biggest games festival and will take place in Cairo from October 31 - November 2 at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. The participation of so many companies is what made the first Insomnia Egypt a huge hit and something that has never been done before with the games industry in Egypt. They welcomed over 10,000 people and the crowd ranged from hardcore gamers and cosplayers to casual gamers and their families. Festival zones included Mobile Gaming, VR/AR, Esports Tournaments, Cosplayers, Retail & Expo, and Kids & Families.

    New for 2019:

    • Educational Games: Due to the rapid increase in population (100m+), there is  a huge demand in Egypt for educational games & solutions
    • B2B: After receiving inquiries from government and service providers, they are introducing a B2B section at the event that will consist of a conference and exhibition discussing the latest games, technologies, services, solutions and potential business opportunities available in Egypt and the Middle East
       

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced the launch of a government initiative to train 10,000 young Egyptians to become game programmers and developers over the next three years. Additionally, the government will offer support in the establishment of 100 companies specializing in these sectors in Egypt and across the African continent.
     

    Are you looking to expand your work into the Middle East? It’s become a huge, lucrative market and this is an exceptional opportunity for anyone with an education strategy or is working with educational software. If you are interested in taking part or would like further details, then get in touch with:

    Karim Abu-Seif
    Business Development Manager
    karim@bme-global.com
    www.thebmegroup.com

     

    2018 Media Gallery:
    Photos:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/157251222@N06/albums
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpL8kITHBzK/
    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPv3MpYOzYA

     

     

  • 10 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Based in downtown Vancouver, Claren Academy is the city’s first independent, not-for-profit elementary school that follows the BC curriculum while offering enrichment in the areas of entrepreneurship, creativity, and technology. The school currently has kindergarten to grade three and there are plans to add a grade each year up to grade 12. Claren boasts small class sizes, a mandated policy to promote diversity and gender equality, a staff of outside-the-box thinking educators, and a child-centered approach to learning that incorporates tools and equipment such as an onsite 3D printer, virtual reality, and individual iPads. The idea to start Claren Academy came about when Ryan and Kathryn Clark decided they wanted a different kind of education for their sons, and then it didn't take long for them to turn their dream into a reality. We recently caught up with Ryan and Kathryn to find out how things have been going at Claren since the doors officially opened just over a year ago.
     

    Fun Fact: The rocket in the logo is based on the centennial rocket at the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge.
     


    What is Claren Academy and why was it created?

    “We founded Claren Academy because we believe that, in order to succeed in the future, children will need a very flexible education. When we were kids in the 1980s, who would have believed that in 2010 it would be possible to play video games for a living? So what sorts of jobs will be available to our children in 20 or 30 years' time?  It's very difficult to predict. That's why we focus on teaching children how to learn on their own. Class sizes start small to ensure that students have a strong grasp on fundamentals, and as students age, class sizes grow larger, with more emphasis placed on teaching the students how to teach themselves. A large percentage of students who reach university will drop out -- the jump from a class size of 25 in grade 12 to a class size of 400 in first year university is drastic. We want to ensure that our students know how to learn on their own, and are well prepared for university, for industry, for their first business, or wherever their passions take them.” - Ryan Clark, Founder
     

    Where is the school located and when did it open?
    The school opened in September 2017 and is located at the base of the Cambie Street Bridge in Yaletown. We are steps away from the Roundhouse Skytrain station and within a 10-minute walk of four great parks.
     

    Who are the key people involved in getting it off the ground?
    Board of Directors - Ryan Clark (Founder, Brace Yourself Games), Kathryn Clark (social worker), Katherine Reilly (Partner, McMillan LLP), Jennifer Jones (CPA), Jamie Cheng (Founder, Klei Entertainment)

    Advisors - a huge array of educational and business advisors in Vancouver and abroad jumped on board to lend their support and expertise.

    Teachers - Traci Baillie is the principal and head teacher who designs the curriculum, and all the teachers have to be entrepreneurial thinkers to be able to jump in on a new project and adapt to the challenges that come with being at a startup company.

    Families - there are a lot of families involved in game design!

     

    Parent quotes and testimonials can be read here.


    What makes Claren different from other schools? Why would somebody choose to send their child here?
    The main attraction is the focus on education for the future. The small classes are also a draw, as well as the emphasis on community, both outside the classroom for families and inside the classroom with the students. Besides our academic foundations and focus on creativity and technology, we want students to be happy little humans and there is a big focus on self-regulation and conflict resolution between peers. Another factor attracting families to Claren is the huge shortage of schools in Vancouver. Many people who move here are expecting to get into their community public school and are then are totally shocked to find out that most are over-enrolled. Claren is happy to offer an alternative to these families.

     

    Do you have plans to expand the school and open up other locations in the future?
    This is not a solid no, but it's also not something we have plans to do at this time. We would not be averse to opening a campus in Burnaby or North Van or another part of the city, but we are focused on doing what we are currently doing as well as we possibly can. We will expand into a bigger space as the school grows from elementary to high school, and a long-term priority of the board of directors is to make this education as accessible and affordable as possible, which may mean partnering with public schools or offering free training to educators. We would also love to partner with sponsors who value what we are doing in any creative way we can come together. For example, scholarships, grants for classroom supplies, professional development for educators, or any other way to offset tuition costs.

     


    How many students do you currently have? How big is the teaching staff?

    We currently have 23 students from K-3 with plans to admit between 10 and 15 kindergarteners each year as we add a grade. We have two full-time teachers in the classroom, plus our principal is teaching a few times each week. My full-time role is a mix of administration, secretarial, admission, financial, and basically anything involved in running a school that is not actually teaching. Our principal shares many of those responsibilities with me as well.

     

    What is your curriculum based on? Who put it together?
    We follow the BC curriculum with enrichment. Each student is on an individualized learning plan based on their true level of ability at this time. The principal and our fantastic teachers come up with creative and challenging lessons every day, and input from our advisors is also given.

    What is a typical day like for a student at your school?
    The school day runs from 8:45AM-3:00PM and starts off with the kids catching up each other and getting settled in. The mornings are focused on literacy and math, with students rotating through a mix of self-directed learning, teamwork, and guidance from teachers. There is a morning movement break in the gym, and the kids are encouraged to eat their snack whenever they are hungry. There may be a group lesson on science or social studies in the morning or an inquiry project that the kids are working on long-term. There are a lot of hands-on projects, like cooking, experiments, and design. The kids eat lunch together with a teacher, then have a bit of time to relax and socialize. In the afternoon, they have music and visual arts and are out to a park almost every day. Claren outsources their PE, doing a term at a time at gymnastics, karate, skating, or other local centres. They visit the Vancouver Public Library every three weeks and also do larger learning excursions which supplement the curriculum (Microsoft Garage, the kitchens of the Pan Pacific, Maplewood Farms, and all kinds of theatres). The day ends with a group meeting.

     

    What is involved in the admission process?
    Families start by contacting us and either schedule a visit or come to an open house which we run a few times a year. After that, they complete an application form and we contact a few references who know the child outside the family. Families then come in for an interview and either a classroom visit or play evaluation, depending on the child's age. Our admissions decisions are based on a whole combination of things - availability of space in a grade, diversity in the classroom, school readiness, and very importantly, what the parents are looking for in a school. We are seeking families who are passionate about our philosophy. The school is quite small and new, therefore these families will have a lot of influence in supporting it so they need to be excited about what we are doing.

     

    What is the best way for somebody to get more information? Or for a company to find out about potential partnerships, sponsorship or donations?
    Email or call us! We are actively seeking community partners who would like to support our vision through donations, programs, or any other ideas. There's great potential for companies and individuals to see a real change with their contributions. Another benefit for local companies is to support an educational choice for employees who may be moving here to work in Vancouver's booming tech industry. The biggest challenge for us in the coming years will be to find the next space to expand into and having the resources to make an excellent secondary school. Some help from the community, in the form of finances, networking, word of mouth, or just straight up encouragement is very welcome!

     

     

  • 05 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Apple Entrepreneur Camp’s two-week technology lab in Cupertino, California takes place once a quarter. Applications are accepted worldwide and on a rolling basis, so you can apply for any dates that are currently scheduled. Research shows that women face unique challenges in technology, especially when starting and leading companies. That’s why they created Apple Entrepreneur Camp, for organizations founded and led by women. Apple's goal is to help these entrepreneurs as they work on the next generation of cutting-edge apps and to form a global network that encourages the pipeline and longevity of women in technology.

    During a two-week technology lab, you’ll receive one-on-one code-level guidance on your app from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders. Up to three members of your company may attend, but at least one must be a woman developer, and one must be the woman founder, co-founder, or CEO. The third member of your team may be any gender. After the lab concludes, you’ll get ongoing support and become part of a growing community of other exceptional alumni who can help you build your business.

     

    Further details on the program can be found on the Apple Entrepreneur Camp website.

     

    What's Included:

    Apple Entrepreneur Camp consists of an immersive technology lab, as well as mentorship, education, and support. Selected organizations receive:

    • One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers at a two-week technology lab in Cupertino, California
    • Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year
    • One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program
    • Up to two tickets to WWDC for the woman* founder, co-founder, or CEO and woman developer
    • Access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious senior women leaders

     

    Eligibility:

    • Your organization must have:
      • A woman founder, co-founder, or CEO
      • A woman developer proficient in Swift or Objective-C
      • A developed app or functional build created for any platform that you can demo live
    • You must be 18 years of age or older and proficient in English
    • The woman founder, co-founder, or CEO, the woman developer, and another employee (if applicable) must be 18 years of age or older, proficient in English, and able to attend together for the entire two-week lab
    • Attendees must be able to bring their own laptop to work on their code in the lab

     

    Application Summary:

    The application consists of four parts, which include uploads and prompts for written responses. Your application will be kept on file for one year.

    Organization details - provide info on your organization and contact information for up to three employees who would attend if your organization is selected.

    Your app - provide details about your app and development team. You may include a download or demo link, as well as up to three screenshots or wireframes that best illustrate the user experience.

    The future - describe what you plan to gain from participating in Apple Entrepreneur Camp, as well as your plans for the future.

    Additional information - select the dates for which you’d like to apply and provide any additional comments. You may also apply for travel and lodging assistance if needed.

     

    Upcoming Dates:

    January 28–February 8, 2019
    Apply by December 14, 2018

    April 1–12, 2019
    Apply by January 18, 2019

    July 22–August 2, 2019
    Apply by May 10, 2019

    October 14–25, 2019
    Apply by August 2, 2019