Codename Entertainment

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Thanks to people like the panelists, and the rebellious youth, there's an extremely bright future... see more

    Source: Betakit.com
    Author: Wyatt Fossett
    Photos: CrackerJackFlash

    Discover Tectoria panel says tackling unconscious bias, education part of building inclusive workplaces

    The ever-quiet sibling of the mainland metropolis that is Victoria, British Columbia continues to surprise and grow. With help from groups like the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council, the veil is lifted—if ever so slightly—a few times a year, and it truly exposes the veins of an astounding technological sector which just so happens to be the leading employment industry within British Columbia’s capital city.

    The secret to Victoria’s innovation

    There’s no shame here. Everyone is more than happy with their growth, and their success from the shadows of Vancouver. Maybe it’s key to their evolution. Perhaps it’s this climate, sans spotlight, that makes people in Victoria willing to try things a little more on the unconventional side.

    Discover Tectoria is an annual event held by VIATEC in Victoria, filled with panels and a show floor that puts over 75 of the most innovative companies on Vancouver Island on display. Integral to the growth of their industry, the Discover Tectoria event works to promote the often unknown, or forgotten $4 billion tech sector. It’s a full day of expo floor that includes demos and plenty of local companies looking to hire — the free-to-attend event is big for those seeking work.

    Want to keep tabs on your boat using smart-home-like technology? BRNKL has you covered. Maybe, for some reason, you’re looking to replace all of the lights in your abode with fixtures that react to noise, or dance while you sing? Limbic Media has just the thing for you. Perhaps you’re looking to engage children in the field of engineering? Well, there’s a group doing just that.

    Victoria is even home to some of Canada’s most successful independent video game companies (see: KANO apps, Codename Entertainment, and Double Jump). With over 20,000 video game projects launched in Canada alone last year, it’s a sector of the tech industry that will not be going away anytime soon.

    The VIATEC showcase

    VIATEC does an outstanding job gathering some of the most interesting and prospering companies that call Victoria home and puts them on display to continue working towards promoting their tech sector.

    Some of the standouts on this year’s Discover Tectoria show floor were:

    Victoria Makerspace

    A lot of people go about their creating alone. But whether it’s in robotics or gaming, collaboration is essential to the growth of our technological industry. The Victoria Makerspace is a member-operated space where imaginative technology developers can share time, tools, and work with their peers. It’s absolutely key that spaces like these exist, and it’s often difficult to get the word out; Victoria’s Makerspace is the best place to grow and collaborate with like-minded people.

    FIRST Robotics BC

    What inspires young minds the most? Is it reward? Is it play? One of the most influential things to dreamers are heroes. FIRST Robotics BC promotes robotic sciences to children from kindergarten and throughout high school, creating heroes for young scientists in the form of their competitions and mentorship.

    Codename Entertainment
    A flagship in the Victoria technology industry, Codename Entertainment cut their teeth on the gaming world with Facebook titles like EggBreaker and BushWhacker back in the day.

    Recently, they’ve exploded with their clicker-based fantasy game Crusaders of the Lost Idols that came out on nearly every platform you can think of. On the shoulders of that big success, they were granted the enviable task of adapting a beloved role-playing intellectual property Dungeons and Dragons into something like Crusaders.

    EchoSec

    In a world where breaking news happens on Twitter, and our social media feeds are a far more viable source for what’s going on than most news outlets, a lot is lost in a sea of voices. Echosec wants to change the idea of smart news and uses billions of social media posts to collect data and report on the happenings of the world based on geofencing technology. The company is gathering interest from government and security firms, social coordinators, and news sites (ironically).

    Loc’elle

    Targeted to women in technology, Loc’elle is a women-only social networking platform that enables like-minded women to easily connect in person or digitally. This is not just LinkedIn for women. Whether you’re looking for new friends, a mentor or running buddy, Loc’elle’s mission is to provide a safe platform for women to connect. The goal is to provide groups that are underserved and underrepresented with more ability to connect and support one another.

    Innovation theatre

    In addition to the trade show, a special stage and seating area on the upper level of the Crystal Room in the Victoria Conference Centre held panels all day. The talks—a collection of four or five experts and a moderator—ranged from cryptocurrency security, creative storytelling, local gaming takeover, all the way to “how do I land that gig.”

    It was a vibrant theatre throughout the day, with a ton to take away with you for those that managed to catch a talk or two.

    When discussing the future of the technology industry — a world with a high-demand for more talent — there’s a lot of weight on the industry to adapt in order to be more inclusive. Wrapping up the day of panels was, by far, the best of the bunch: Industry Enhanced by Inclusion. Unfortunately, it was also the one talk with the least amount of people in the audience.

    Young people are key to breaking barriers in tech

    It is essential in our changing social landscape to be on the inclusion end of a movement currently breaking down long-standing barriers faced by underrepresented groups in tech. True, major strides have been made. But it’s not enough.

    Inclusion isn’t a concept solely related to mainstream, front page topics such as women in tech and how they’re treated, though that is very much a part of it. Rather, it’s a generalized term referring to all kinds of inclusion. Gender identity, disability, race, and other intersecting identities are at the forefront of the conversation. But what is the industry and the people within it to do in order to encourage inclusivity?

    The final panel of the Discover Tectoria event included moderator Rebecca Kerstein (Rethink Thinking), and speakers Jeff Hopkins (Pacific School of Innovation & Inquiry), Bobbi Leach (RevenueWire), Nigel Livingston (UVic), and Dawn McCooey (Women’s Enterprise Centre). Two women who are developing the world of women entrepreneurs and the support systems in place for them, one disability researcher, and the founder of a revolutionary education system.

    The panel kicked off with a simple introduction, followed by an intriguing question: “How is the diversity perspective changing, and what does it look like today?“ asked Kerstein.

    viatec

    It’s fundamental that we assess and speak to what the current climate is. If we’re not aware of where we are, it’s difficult (or impossible) to map out how we get to where we need to be.

    “Social media has done a great service in giving those with disabilities—namely an inability to speak—a voice. Or anyone a voice, for that matter. Young people are the most sure-of-themselves generation yet,” Livingston says.

    “There’s a new awareness and support for women in the tech industry, and it’s extremely positive. Though the pace is not enough.” adds McCooey. “At our current rate, some estimate it would take 400+ years to reach a state of equality.”

    The conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic.

    While there is a lot of conversation happening around supporting women in tech, Leach cautions against falling for hype. “We hear and see all of these stats and headlines like a recent one that read ‘women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies grew by 50 percent last year’ but it’s disingenuous. It did grow 50 percent, but that 50 percent increase only put the number up to [32] out of 500. Outlets are using catchy titles to breed complacency,” said Leach.

    This is a major problem. Like Livingston points out, social media has done a fantastic job in allowing anyone a voice (see: Florida students fighting against NRA and Trump). Unfortunately, it’s also an easy tool to manipulate the public consciousness, and has spurred the growth of inaccurate representation of facts.

    When you take the current social media tools into account, the conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic. “It’s a systemic unconscious bias,” says WEC founder McCooey (echoed by the rest of the panel) on the inherently non-inclusive, grandfathered structure of many industries. “The way we speak to one another, and the predetermined roles within offices, who succeeds and who fails, are pre-formatted. So much so that we ‘expect it’, due to the pattern in the industry’s history.”

    Our best bet? Well, that comes down to how much power we give our youth. Millennials are a strong force and possess the drive and determination to shake up any structure already in place. They (as a collective) are the most progressive age of humans and have done valuable work to force the world onto an inclusive path.

    viatec

    “How do we ensure that our future is brighter, and we’re more inclusive?” asked Kerstein.

    We’re always told that you can’t change the rules from the outside, and it was reflected here as the panel discusses ways we can adopt an change for the future. The key for older generations is to learn the ways of the new world. For those on the cusp, it’s important to nurture that world. For the youth of the world, it’s to continue understanding yourself, being free within that self, and remain inclusive of all types.

    “Working with teenagers in an abnormal education environment like I do, it’s evident. People — and I don’t know if it’s exposure to social media or places like Reddit — are more comfortable with their own identity,” said Hopkins, as he’s on the front lines of a shift in the inclusive educational structure.

    “Yes!” exclaimed moderator Kerstien. “It’s also important to jump in and educate when finding yourself face-to-face with an opportunity to dissolve others’ ignorance.”

    “It’s very much about language, and our awareness of such a thing, that is the key to being inclusive,” added Leach.

    The language in question is an overall term used here to describe a shift in the way we speak to one another, or speak for ourselves. “When it comes to identifiers, I always open with my own, and ask for their pronouns afterwards. It opens up a safe conversation, and as a member of an older generation, displays my desire to be inclusive right out of the gate,” said Hopkins, in response to an audience question of how he uses language to ask someone about pronouns.”

    There are many other ways to ensure that the language we use is inclusive. “Women need to adapt away from passivity, in a sense, but it has always supported a more comfortable environment, so it’s still very much a work in progress,” said McCooey on how we should present our at-work selves. The common use of aggressive language to achieve goals, or put into action one’s climb up the “ladder,” is something that has to die. Inherently, this language brews a lack of inclusion.

    “We can be more thoughtful. We can ask more questions. We can try to help each other, or ensure that others are more comfortable in any environment,” said Leach.

    It is only a revolution, on the brink of toppling an entirely predetermined path, that is going to be the foundation of a tech industry (or any industry) that will progress through the inclusion of all people.

    The problem is a poison that many don’t even know they are perpetuating. This systemic bias is something that caters to an already privileged group. A lot of the world is missing out on some of the most qualified personnel out there, all because of an archaic structure or uninviting workplace. There is turmoil now, but thanks to people like the panelists here — and the rebellious youth — there’s an extremely bright future.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game... see more

    Source: Business in Vancouver
    Author: Tyler Orton

    Victoria video gamers grapple with HR challenges amid growth

    Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game sector

    It’s been nine years since three University of Victoria (UVic) grads launched their first video game aimed at Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) users.

    Viking Clan was monetized almost instantly and managed to gain 250,000 players within weeks of its launch, and by the end of its first year on the market, Kano/Apps CEO Tim Teh said the Victoria-based company was profitable after generating $1 million in revenue from the game.

    “We try to create games that are built around communities that last for a really long time,” said Teh, who met his co-founders on their first day at UVic.

    Kano/App’s latest game, Free Rider HD, is the fifth game the team has developed for iOS after expanding beyond Facebook games. The company recently moved into its second office after growing from the initial UVic trio to 25 developers.

    Despite Kano/Apps’ significant growth, Vancouver Island-based video game developers still face talent recruitment challenges.

    There are 5,500 full-time employees at 128 companies in B.C.’s video game industry, according to a 2015 Entertainment Software Association of Canada report.

    Vancouver Island accounts for “roughly” 250 of the province’s developers, according to Eric Jordan, a DigiBC board member who also serves as CEO of Victoria-based Codename Entertainment.

    The talent pool is significantly smaller, which makes recruitment from within the industry tricky.

    But Jordan said the broader tech industry has usurped tourism as Victoria’s main economic driver.

    BC Stats’ 2016 profile of the B.C. tech sector estimated the tech industry accounts for 20,000 jobs on Vancouver Island.

    “Certainly there’s a love of video games in the broader tech community, so we can recruit people out of the broader tech industry,” said Jordan, whose company just released Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed game.

    Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan, left, says his company is recruiting from Vancouver Island’s broader tech industry | Submitted

    Kano/Apps has been using the same tactic of recruiting from the broader tech industry already living on Vancouver Island.

    “The rising cost of Vancouver definitely helps in terms of trying to drive talent Island-side,” Teh said, adding Kano/Apps also recently recruited a game designer from India.

    Meanwhile, Jordan said flattening distribution channels – app stores, for example – has made it easier to develop and release games into the market anywhere in the world.

    “And so that then combined with, ‘So if I don’t have to be in Vancouver, well, where would I like to be?’ You have studios in Victoria, of course, but then you’ve got some really interesting stuff happening up-Island, too.”

    Jordan added that Vancouver Island developers like Cloudhead Games are in locations “that make Victoria look astronomically large.”

    As for future growth, Jordan said gaming is acting as a “natural bridge” between the public at large and the tech sector.

    “And the tech sector’s really growing so much here in Victoria, it’s been a real boon for video game companies.”

    torton@biv.com

  • Codename Entertainment posted an article
    Codename Entertainment announces Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms in Early Access see more

    VICTORIA, BC – Sept 7, 2017 - Codename Entertainment is proud to announce that Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is now available in Early Access on Steam. Gamers and Dungeons & Dragons fans around the world can begin their quest on PC and Mac today.

    Idle Champions is an idle clicker game where players must assemble and organize a party of Champions and master the art of Formation Strategy. Players unlock new Champions, upgrade them to reveal special abilities and collect epic gear. The key to success is learning how to combine each Champion's abilities to maximize damage or the amount of gold earned.  Only then can the player defeat an onslaught of increasingly powerful monsters.

    As players upgrade Champions, they choose specializations to increase their power further. Specializations need deep strategic thinking by the player as one specialization may increase the power of an ability but at the cost of another ability. Choices are permanent until the player completes each adventure.

    Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, the world's first idle clicker game set in the celebrated universe of the Forgotten Realms. The game is the award-winning studio's first licensed video game in partnership with Dungeons & Dragons.

     

    Key Features:

    Unlock Renowned Champions

    Collect renowned Champions from the world of Dungeons & Dragons, including fan-favourites from the Force Grey series. Unlock more Champions and gear to add to your party that will be added to the game in limited-time events after launch.


    Formation Strategy
    Mastering the position of each Champion to maximize their special abilities is the key to completing each adventure. Each Champion's abilities and gear requires careful thought to create the best combination. Only the most powerful formations will defeat the waves of Dungeons & Dragons monsters.


    Explore the Forgotten Realms
    Take your Champions on a journey through the Sword Coast. Players will be able to explore familiar locations within the Forgotten Realms as they tackle each adventure. After launch, the game will be updated with content inspired by the official Dungeons & Dragons adventures, starting with a trip to Chult with the Tomb of Annihilation.


    Regular Events
    The game is updated regularly with limited-time events. Completing events unlocks new Champions and gear to add to the player's collection.

    Digital Press Kit: http://bit.ly/IdleChampionsDPK

    Go to www.IdleChampions.com for further information and search for 'Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms' on Steam.

    About Codename Entertainment

    Codename Entertainment Inc. is the award-winning indie video game studio based in Victoria, British Columbia. The studio's last game, Crusaders of the Lost Idols, has remained popular since launching in 2015. It has stayed in the Top 1% of games by current player count on Steam. It's also one of the Most Played games out of more 113,000 on Kongregate.com, and it is consistently ranked in the Most Popular Games on Armorgames.com.

    About Wizards of the Coast

    Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Wizards' players and fans are members of a global community bound together by their love of both digital gaming and in-person play. The company brings to market a range of gaming experiences under powerful brand names such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. For more information about our world renowned brands, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at www.wizards.com

    ©2017 Wizards. Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons, their respective logos, and Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Used with permission. Hasbro and its logo are trademarks of HASBRO, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Jordan expects players will be able to try the game on the Steam platform this year. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Local studio Codename to release Dungeons & Dragons video game

    A Victoria game developer is giving his inner child — and he hopes thousands of others — a major treat after announcing Tuesday that his studio has been working on a Dungeons & Dragons video game.

    Eric Jordan, chief executive of Codename Entertainment and a lifelong Dungeons & Dragons fan, and his team have been working since last fall on Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, an official Dungeons & Dragons game.

    It is expected to be released this year.

    “This is a huge coup. It’s a dream come true,” said Jordan, who first played the table top board game Dungeons & Dragons in 1981 as a 12-year-old.

    “Dungeons & Dragons launched all the role playing games. It was the genesis of it all.”

    Dungeons and Dragons was first published in 1974 and is now published by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro.

    Rough estimates suggest more than 20 million people have played the game while it has been responsible for more than $1 billion in book and equipment sales.

    Codename, with 18 employees, has a licence from Wizards of the Coast to produce the game, which will be set in the Forgotten Realms universe.

    “That’s one of the iconic D&D settings, like Middle-Earth is a setting for the Lord of the Rings,” said Jordan.

    “Dungeons & Dragons has a very rich world with characters and monsters, and people will get to see and interact with some iconic characters.”

    The game takes players on a quest with the goal of recruiting champions, increasing their strength and power, completing storylines and advancing to become more powerful, collect more loot and better gear.

    The game, which is initially free to play, allows players to advance just by playing or advancing faster by buying items to help.

    It is also an idle-clicker game, which allow players to put as much time and effort as they wish into a game as it does not require active play.

    Jordan said the motivating factors in this game are advancing and completing quests and collecting gear and loot along the way.

    Jordan expects players will be able to try the game on the Steam platform this year.

    It will feature monthly updates with new campaigns.

    A 2014 study found that the Victoria gaming industry had grown to 20 studios employing 250 people

    It has experienced growing pains, with studio closures and contractions. But new ones have also opened and others have added staff.

    Jordan said the net result is the same number of studios employing the same number of people.

    ‘‘The hope with a brand like Dungeons & Dragons is it can do a fair amount not just for us but the community,” he said.

  • Clive Gorman posted an article
    Victoria high school robotics team sponsored by local tech companies take top honours. see more

     

    Local Victoria high school students were honoured with two prestigious awards ahead of more than 1,200 international students at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics contest in Houston, Texas last week.

    The team is sponsored by local Victoria tech companies and organizations; Codename Entertainment, Actuonix, Prototype Equipment Design, and Makerspace have donated money, space, or materials, to the team as part of their ongoing support and advocacy for growing the tech industry both locally and for Canada.

    Team member, Aila Simpson, was selected for the 'Dean's List' award, the first time that a Canadian FTC student was chosen for the honour in the seven-year history of the award.

    The team also won the Inspire Award, the highest FTC award that recognises excellence in robot design and teamwork.

    The FIRST Tech Challenge International Championships was held in Houston, Texas in the United States on April 19-22, 2017. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

    FIRST Founder Dean Kamen said: “It is critical to develop more kids with the toolset, the vision and the ability to work together to deal with difficult problems. At FIRST, we inspire enthusiastic young people to learn, work hard and one day – change the world."

    About Team FIX IT 3491

    Team FIX IT 3491 are five local students that attend Mount Douglas Secondary School, Victoria High, Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, and one home learning student. The Victoria team is one of only three teams from Canada out of the 120 international teams.

    The team coach is Christine Nicholls, a local member of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) non-profit organisation, a role she has performed for the last ten years.

    The team is sponsored by local Victoria tech companies and organizations; Codename Entertainment, Actuonix, Prototype Equipment Design, and Makerspace have donated money, space, or materials, to the team as part of their ongoing support and advocacy for growing the tech industry both locally and for Canada.

    About FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship

    FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

    The Championships is also an opportunity to showcase talent to attending recruiters from leading colleges and universities, including MIT and Yale University. All participants have the option to apply for $50 million in scholarships from colleges and universities around the world.

  • Article
    Canada takes its $3 billion video game industry seriously as it pushes sector to new levels see more

    Canada takes its $3 billion video game industry seriously as it pushes sector to new levels

     

    SAN FRANCISCO — In the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) takes place each March at the Moscone Center and surrounding city blocks. Sessions by industry members teach new tricks to those who make video games, business meetings take place behind closed doors and two large expo floors are filled with booths from companies small and large.

    In one corner, for the second year in a row, a Canadian takeover took place with rows of independent game studios all showing off their new titles — and taking a shot at stardom. Being there is only half the battle, however. A key element of their success is a makeshift Canadian pavilion, staffed by members of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) who work with the studios to identify their objectives and arrange meetings with publishers from other countries through its large trade network in hopes of generating exports. For many studios, these connections, together with financing through the Canada Media Fund, can help their games go international.

    “The world owes a little bit of a debt to the Canadian government for what the Canada Media Fund has done in helping jump-start a lot of really amazing games,” said Seattle-based Chris Charla, director of Microsoft Corp.’s independent developer program for Xbox. “The government support for video games in Canada has been tremendous and the net result is that Canadian games are by far some of the best in the world.”

    The TCS, which works with other sectors, has been involved with GDC but in a smaller capacity, since 2008. At the GDC, decision-makers from around the world gather in one place. In the past two years, a Canadian booth and separate rooms have been set aside for meetings that the TCS helps set up in advance or right on the show floor.

    Canada ranks third in the world for developing video games, behind the U.S. and Japan, according to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. Last year, the industry employed 20,400 people in more than 470 studios and contributed $3 billion to the country’s GDP. Canada — a country known for its tech savviness and high mobile adoption rates — now has the leading countries in its sights in terms of becoming a gaming powerhouse.

    On a federal level, the Canada Media Fund acts like a loan and helps develop, promote and finance projects. Tax credits can also help cut labour costs by 17.5 to 50 per cent. All told, there is a 30.6-per-cent cost advantage when compared to the U.S., according to a recent KPMG study.

    There are additional provincial tax incentives in places such as Quebec, B.C. and Atlantic Canada — all of which were present at GDC — and funding to help give recent graduates work out of school.

    Chad Hipolito/National Post

    Chad Hipolito/National PostCodename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan at his office in Victoria. Canada is becoming a video game powerhouse and the government is giving tools and resources to help independent developers like Jordan get off the ground to make games.

    Victoria, B.C.-based Codename Entertainment creates computer and mobile titles in the strategy and role-playing genres, with titles such as Crusaders of the Lost Idols and Bush Whacker 2 receiving tens of millions of plays. The company uses funding programs and tax incentives from different levels of government to help make its games, but CEO Eric Jordan said the Trade Commissioner Service’s matchmaking program on the business-to-business side is a major help.

    “In the national economic strategy for Canada, video games are one of the focus industries so the Trade Commissioner provides a lot of support,” Jordan said in an interview during the show that ran Feb. 27 to March 3.

    “My day today and part of tomorrow is mostly back-to-back meetings (set up by TCS) with various people. I really don’t know much about Asian publishers, for example … so I was meeting with folks from Japan, China and others.”

    The TCS put together a whopping 117-page book for this year’s GDC to give international businesses an overview of the industry and a database of the dozens of Canadian developers that were at the weeklong event. Information includes company objectives, size, types of services offered and genres.

    “Usually what they do is they ask for your objectives … and then go from there and cross-reference with their contacts based on being a great fit,” said Jean Simon Otis, co-founder of the six-employee Chainawesome Games based in Quebec City. “Then they’ll send an e-mail to both of us and see if we can meet at GDC.”

    Not all Canadian developers use government funding such as the Canada Media Fund, since they may have other ways of financing their titles. But most studios opt for the matchmaking service once they find out about it. Other companies around the world may not answer the phone for a small independent developer, but they will for the Canadian government.

    For some companies, however, the Canada Media Fund and other financial resources are crucial to getting off the ground.

    “It completely lit the fuse,” said Ryan FitzGerald, creative director of Winnipeg-based Evodant Interactive Inc., which has an AI-driven role-playing game for PC and consoles called Gyre. “By getting the production funding from the CMF, we can finally staff up. Winnipeg in particular has some extraordinary talent, both on the engineering and arts side, and it’s been a pleasure to hire and work with the people we have now.”

    The amount of funding a studio receives from the fund depends on the scope of its approved project, and it’s up to the company to decide exactly how to use it. For example, if overhead costs are kept lower than expected, more features could be added to the game before it is completed.

    “We knew that with the money we got, eventually the cupboard would be dry, especially if we were irresponsible with it,” FitzGerald said. “We work with the stakeholders and the CMF to make sure that the budget was responsible and appropriate.”

    With a significant provincial and federal push across all regions of Canada to support both independent and major studios alike, the video-game industry in Canada shows no signs of slowing down. The boom is also helping generate interest and create jobs for future generations that some sectors struggle to match.

    “Video games have this really important role to play in (Canada) for helping to go to high school and middle school students and say, ‘You know those things that you really enjoy as hobbies? Those are very viable careers,’” said Codename’s Jordan, who is also on the board of directors of DigiBC, a digital media industry association.

    “Video games are a subsector of this exploding, broader tech sector that’s just really understandable and identifiable.”

    Financial Post

    jomcconnell@postmedia.com
    Twitter.com/JoshMcConnell

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my! see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Michael Reid

    Around Town: Geeking out at Discover Tectoria

    There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my!

    It wasn’t just super-cool technological crowd-pleasers like these that made Discover Tectoria, the high-tech showcase that packed them into Crystal Garden on Friday, such a blast.

    As one visitor remarked, almost as impressive as the high-tech doodads was that there were so many We’re Hiring signs displayed by dozens of local technology companies that participated.

    While this family-friendly event did to some extent have the feel of a hiring fair, it was a predominantly educational and entertaining showcase for the region’s thriving tech sector.

    “What is Tectoria, anyway?” was one question overheard from those not already in the know about the catchy moniker created by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) in 2011.

    To quote its playful slogan, Tectoria, the umbrella title for the capital region’s tech sector, is “home to 100 killer whales and 1,500 killer apps.”

    To describe the products and opportunites on view as mind-blowing would be putting it mildly, whether you were marvelling over the fun and games or the scientific applications.

    Popular draws included Victoria Hand Project’s low-cost 3D-printed prostheses, used in developing countries where amputees have limited access to prosthetic care.

    Another eye-catcher was Tango, the revolutionary glove designed to overcome the communications barrier between deaf and hearing individuals by using a glove equipped with sensors and a microcontroller.

    A user’s hand gestures correspond to phrases or letters that, via Bluetooth, appear on a smartphone screen in a text format that can be output as a digitized voice.

    Kamel Hamdan, Alaa Dawod and Abdul-Rahman Saleh head the development team for the University of Victoria project, working in association with Coast Capital Savings’ Innovation Centre.

    Other highlights included LimbicMedia’s interactive blinking-light installation; VRX Ventures’ massive racing simulator; and the Holografx station’s Instagram photo booth.

    “We’re creating a new prototype, our biggest screen at 49 inches,” said Anamaria Medina, a Colombia-raised electrical engineer who works at the Esquimalt-based company.

    The tech firm develops innovative holographic tools used to showcase products, services and company logos, she said.

    “We did the Instagram photo booth because this is what teenagers do now,” she said, pointing to giant hashtags and other social media tools.

    Matthew McCormack said he joined a capacity crowd for an afternoon seminar on Victoria’s video game sector in the Innovation Theatre to learn about employment opportunities.

    “I want to know how to get into the video game arts. What’s the best route to get my first job, to skip over working at the grocery store and get right to where I want to be working?” the Claremont student said.

    McCormack, an avid gamer who plays Rainbow Six, a first-person shooter, and the futuristic vehicular soccer game Rocket League, learned being a fan isn’t necessarily enough.

    “It’s a highly competitive industry. We don’t just hire you if you’re really into games,” said Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment, with a smile.

    “You’ve got to be really good at art, or marketing, or businesss or programming, depending on what we’re hiring you for.”

    Jordan offered the crowd some pointers, including VIATEC’s Student Video Game Work Experience Program, which gives students a chance to work in a gaming studio.

    Moderator James Hursthouse of DigiBC got a few laughs when he asked if “there is something in the water here” to explain why so many tech types come to Victoria.

    “I think it’s where people want to live,” said Magda Rajkowski of Kano Apps. “It’s beautiful here, and there’s a lot of creativity.”

    Even before you entered Victoria Conference Centre, it was hard to miss UVic Centre for Aerospace Research’s sleek carbon fibre-and-fibreglass drone parked outside.

    “This is our workhorse, an aircraft designed to carry payloads, conduct research for companies or collaborators who want to test equipment,” explained operations manager Eldad Alber.

    One software developer, for example, asked the team to design wings that would be flexible based on their software designed for such a purpose.

    “Hopefully we’ll get more students interested in aerospace,” said Alber. “A master’s program for aeronautics is going to be available soon, so it would be nice to see more exposure and people applying for it.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Eric's passion and voice for the video game sector HAD to be heard in The Zone... see more

    Source: TheZone.fm
    Author: Jon Williams

    Talking Victoria’s video game industry with Eric Jordan

    I first met Eric Jordan at the Discover Tectoria event in Crystal Gardens last year. The Boss said I was going to broadcast The Midday Zone from the event for four hours, and good luck trying to meet all the amazingly talented people that will be gathered there.

    He was right! What an amazing event, that I might add is completely free to attend. Discover Tectoria is a one-day exposition of more than 70 Greater Victoria technology firms and research agencies [which is this February 24th].

    Eric Jordan is the head of Codename Entertainment. Doesn’t he look good in that kilt :).

    His passion and voice for the video game sector had to be heard in The Zone. So as we approach the Discover Tectoria 2017 event, I had to get him in for a chat about his world, and how others can get involved in it.

    AUDIO CLIP

    Here’s our natter.

    With regard to our chat, here is some further information that Eric sent me...

    Student Work Experience Program Details
    Runs: April – May 2017
    Each week placement will run Mon – Thur.
    Hours will be 9:30 am – 3 pm
    Open to grade 11 and 12 students only.
    Details HERE.

    Tsukino Con – this is an anime convention at UVic on Feb 17-19. Eric will be moderating a panel discussing working in the video game industry.
    Details HERE.

    LANTasy is a local gaming convention that takes place at Perks Arena on Mar 18-19. There will be a panel discussing working in the video game industry, plus there will be a booth which once again showcases various facets of the industry in Victoria. Details HERE.

    In terms of local resources that folks can check out, Eric suggests IGDA Victoria. This is the local chapter of the International Game Developer Association. They have regular events (several a month), plus 2 big game jams a year: Global Game Jam and OrcaJam. Details HERE.

    In terms of tech stats, according to VIATEC’s 2014 Economic Impact Study, tech in greater Victoria has $3.15 billion in annual revenues from 884 local tech companies which employee a total of 15,000 people, plus another 8,000 people who work to support the tech industry or in tech focused jobs in other industries. Details HERE.

    Recently (last week), C Stat’s released their “Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector: 2016 Edition”. This showed that for the first time the total number of people working in technology has exceeded 100,000 (which is more than the employment of all natural resources combined). Combined tech revenue reached a new record of
    $26.3 billion and the tech industry average salary is 75% more than the average BC wage. Details HERE.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Jon

     

     
  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    BC's tech sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 ppl now working in its ranks see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    B.C.’s tech job force bigger than mining, oil and gas, forestry

    British Columbia’s technology sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 people now working in its ranks.

    Data Wednesday from the province show the tech sector — which employs about 20,000 in Greater Victoria — employs more people around B.C. than the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.

    According to B.C. Stats’ Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, technology employs 101,700 who earn a weekly average salary of $1,590 — 75 per cent higher than the average wage in B.C. and higher than the Canadian technology sector average of $1,480 per week.

    “For the fifth year in a row, B.C. has seen significant growth in its diverse technology industry. We have more technology companies than ever, with more technology workers earning higher wages than the Canadian average,” said Amrik Virk, minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

    “Our strategy is further creating the conditions that are helping the sector continue to grow and thrive.”

    B.C.’s tech sector, which has more than 9,900 companies, also leads the country in terms of job growth. Employment in the sector rose 2.9 per cent over the previous year, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 2.5 per cent and national tech-sector employment growth of 1.1 per cent.

    Technology now employs about 4.9 per cent of B.C.’s workforce and is the third-largest tech workforce in Canada.

    The gross domestic product of the province’s tech sector grew by 2.4 per cent in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output. At the same time tech revenue increased five per cent to a record $26.3 billion.

    “I think it is wonderful news and a long time in the making,” said Victoria tech veteran Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment. “This didn’t happen overnight, but is the result of decades of effort from many people and organizations in our community.”

    Jordan said Victoria’s tech community has a lot going for it. “Victoria continues to be a great place to build technology companies, including video-game companies. We are large enough to have a variety of critical supports, such as educational institutions like UVic and Camosun, as well as easy access to key hubs such as Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto and San Francisco,” he said.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Two gamers are taking up the Extra Life challenge to play games for 24-hours straight. see more

    24-Hour Video Game Marathon for Charity in Downtown Victoria, B.C.

    Event to be hosted at VIATEC’s Fort Tectoria venue this coming weekend, November 5th and 6th

    Victoria, BC (November 1, 2016) - Two gamers are taking up the Extra Life challenge to play games for 24-hours straight. Victoria-based Enigmatic Events, specialists in live game experiences, will be hosting the marathon at VIATEC’s Fort Tectoria, to raise funding for the Children’s Miracle Network a network of 170 children's hospitals, 14 of which are in Canada.

    The challenge will require local volunteers, Delek Turner and Chris Smith, to endure a total of 24 hours of games without a break. Their target is to raise $1,000. Delek will play Doom, dying repeatedly until he cracks it. Chris Smith will be going head-to- head against his friends (and enemies) in a series of casual multiplayer games, covering 24 different games in 24 hours.

    The video game marathon will run concurrently with the Day of Board Gamers event, a bi-annual event that invites local board game and tabletop game enthusiasts to play their favourite games and meet fellow fans.

    • The challenge runs from 5pm on Saturday, November 5 th until 5pm on Sunday.
    • Day of Boardgamers will start in the same space from 11am on November 6th
    • The event is sponsored and supported by local video game studio, Codename Entertainment.

    Members of the public who would like to donate to the cause and learn more should visit their Extra Life pages:

    • Delek Turner : http://bit.ly/2egk53r
    • Chris Smith : http://bit.ly/2f2MdIL

    For more information contact Chris Rudram on chris@enigmaticevents.com.

    About Enigmatic Events:

    Enigmatic Events provides mysteries, puzzles and games for both entertainment and personal development. A wise man once told us that a day is never wasted if you did three things in it: improved yourself a little bit, improved the world a little bit and found some joy. Enigmatic Events uses this philosophy behind the ideas and events it develops and runs.

    About the Children's Miracle Network

    Children's Miracle Network® raises funds for 170 children's hospitals, 14 of which are in Canada. These hospitals, in turn, use the money where it's needed the most. When a donation is given, it stays in the community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Established in 1983, Children's Miracle Network raises funds to support critical research, education, purchase life-saving equipment, and ensure excellence in care, all in support of our mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at ChildrensMiracleNetwork.ca.

    About Day of Boardgamers

    Running since 2012, ‘day of boardgamers’ is a laid back board game convention, getting people to play new games with old friends; or old games with new friends. The event has always showcased new designs by local designers in the last two years as well, showcasing a small, but active tabletop game development community in Victoria. Learn more: http://bit.ly/DayofBoardGamersX

    About Codename Entertainment

    Codename Entertainment was founded in 2008 in Victoria, B.C. by David Whittaker and Justin Stocks. They started making games for Facebook and evolved into making games for platforms like Kongregate.com, ArmorGames, and Steam. In 2015, the company launched Crusaders of the Lost Idols. Codename Entertainment and Crusaders of the Lost Idols are trademarks of Codename Entertainment Inc. All other products named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

    www.enigmaticevents.com

    Play Better. Work Better.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    As an active contributor to Victoria’s game development community, Dylan was the first recipient... see more

    Source: University of Victoria

    “I could feel the electricity in the room … see sparks shooting with every idea generated.” Dylan Gedig and the UVic Game Dev Club helped create that energy. They put on the Victoria installation of the Global Game Jam, a worldwide event that brings together artists, designers, musicians, programmers and writers for 48 hours of collective creativity.

    Alumnus and CEO of Codename Entertainment Eric Jordan knows working together like this is reflexive in Victoria’s vibrant technology sector. He brought VIATEC, DigiBC, OneBitLabs, KANO/APPS, InLight Entertainment, Electronic Arts Canada and Codename Entertainment on board to create a scholarship for computer science students who mirror that collaborative nature. As an active contributor to Victoria’s game development community, Dylan was the obvious first recipient. He shared this passion at UVic by volunteering with the course union and teaching coding to new students.

    Dylan laid the groundwork for a career in video game development through UVic’s Co-op program. This scholarship gave him confidence for the next step. Under Eric’s mentorship, Dylan launched a video game publishing company and his first product will be released before his convocation ceremony.

    “That recognition meant a lot to me,” he says of the scholarship. “I wouldn’t have started my own company if the local scene wasn’t so supportive. As a new member of that community, I’m excited to do what I can to help develop new talent.”

    Click here to watch the video!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Gaming studio has partnered with game publisher Kongregate to release the game on Android and iOS see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Victoria’s Codename Entertainment will be taking its popular game, Crusaders of the Lost Idols, on a serious road trip this summer.

    The gaming studio has partnered with game publisher Kongregate to release the game on Android and iOS platforms, meaning players will soon be able to play it on their smartphones and tablets.

    “This is two major milestones for us,” said Codename chief executive Eric Jordan. “First off, it is a milestone to launch a game into such a large market. There are more mobile devices on the planet than people, which makes the mobile market the single largest video-game market in the world. Additionally, this is the first time that we have worked with a major publisher.

    “The business interest shown by a company of that size is a testament and recognition of the talented team we have established here in Victoria.”

    Codename is also likely to increase staff as a result, said Jordan, who would not provide financial details of the partnership.

    Until this deal, players could only play Crusaders on websites such as Kongregate.com and Facebook after it was launched last year.

    Jordan said the experience on the web has allowed them to refine the game before launching on mobile platforms.

    “Mobile is a large market, but it is also a tremendously competitive market,” he said. “Last year, over 450 games were submitted to Apple Inc. every day.”

    “We’ve seen great success helping developers to optimize and perfect their games on Kongregate.com before tackling mobile together, and we think this game further validates that strategy,” said Emily Greer, co-founder of Kongregate.

    Crusaders of the Lost Idols follows a group of fighters who take on a variety of villains, including a giant panda with lobster claws. As an “idle” game, it allow players to put as much time and effort as they wish into a game as they do not require active play. Players can leave them to idle and play themselves.