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