Blogs

  • 13 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

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

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

     

  • 13 Feb 2019 by DigiBC


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

     


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

     

    What is Think Tank Online? 

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

     

    Who created it?

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

     

    Have long is the program?

    The program is 16 months.

     

    How much does it cost?

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

     

    How is this program different from your campus one?

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

     

    Who would benefit the most from taking this program?

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

     

    TTO February 2019 Student Scholarship Winners

     

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

    None at all, we start from zero.

     

    Who are the instructors?

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

     

    How do you select them?

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

     

    Portal: TTO's custom-built learning platform

     

     

  • 12 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

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

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

  • 12 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

    BC Procurement Strategy

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


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

     

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

     


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

     

    Is this an opportunity for your software?

     

    Brenda Bailey
    Executive Director
    DigiBC

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

    Canada - Columbia: Teaming Up on Digital

     

  • 11 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

     

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

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

    Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

    Further details can be found at www.innovatenewwest.ca

     

    Advancing Women in STEAM Panelists & Speakers

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

    Kailyn Skuban: Programs Manager, IGNITE, Innovate BC

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

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

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

    Sarah Clark: President & CEO Fraser River Pile and Dredge

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

    Denise Williams: CEO, First Nations Technology Council

    Sandra Brynjolfson: Coordinator, Centre for BC Women in Trades

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

    Maureen McRae-Stanger: New Westminster Schools

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

    Jennifer Thompson: COO, CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technologies
     

     

     

     

  • 08 Feb 2019 by DigiBC

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

     

     

     

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

     

     

  • 30 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

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

     


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


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

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

     

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

     

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

     

    photos: Melissa Dex Guzman

     

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

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


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


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


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

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

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

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

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

     

     

    Pillar 1: Government Relations

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ongoing Advocacy w/Provincial Government

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

     

    DigiBC Caucus Luncheon [10.31.2018]

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

     

     

     

    Rick Glumac Fundraiser

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

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

     

     

     

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

     

    DigiBC 2018 Reports

    DigiBC delivered two important reports in 2018:

    IDMTC Recommendations

    CMF Recommendations Report

     

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

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

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

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

    Recommendations:

    Priority

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

    Secondary

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

     

    Pillar 2: Education

    In 2018, DigiBC was successful in beginning to roll out our multi-year education strategy. Ensuring there is domestic talent flowing into the BC creative tech sector and helping kids see themselves in this burgeoning industry is a classic win-win. 
     


    DigiBC Music Education Initiative: DigiMusic
    September 2018-June 2019

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

     

    Program Delivery

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

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

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

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

     

    Play to Learn Program Expansion

    Will be delivered into 67 new schools (11 new school districts) from September 2018 to June 2021
     

    DigiBC has partnered with the Ministry of Education to help the Interactive and Digital Media sector in BC engage more fully with educational initiatives throughout the province. With over 150,000 technology-focused jobs in BC today, and 200,000 anticipated by 2021, DigiBC will work with local government to help build a pipeline of skilled technology professionals, close the skills gap, and ultimately drive our technology sector.

     

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

     

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

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

     

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

     

    Digi On The Road

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

     

     

    Pillar 3: Community Building

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

     

  • 17 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

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


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

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


    YouTube: TheESACanada
    Facebook: The Entertainment Software Association of Canada
     

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

     

     

  • 17 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The original founders of Truly Social Games are Cooper DuBois, former Creative Director at Double Down Casino, and Patrick Tougas, previously Design Director at Capcom and Crystal Dynamics. In 2015, after spending a summer hunting for gold in centuries-old Mexican haciendas, Cooper returned to Portland wanting to replicate his experiences in the form of a game. He soon teamed up with Patrick and Truly Social Games was born. The founders of Cooper’s New Reality Garage, which became Truly Social Games Vancouver (TSGV) in 2018, are James Hursthouse, Joe Bonar, and Rob Baxter. James was a co-founder of Roadhouse Interactive, Joe was Studio Head at Roadhouse, and Rob was Senior Game Designer at Phoenix Labs and Capcom Vancouver. It’s safe to say, they all have one thing in common that brought them together… a love for making games!

     

    TSG Vancouver team

     

    Truly Social Games is extremely proud of their 2017 release, Planet Gold Rush because it’s an incredibly polished and innovative product that gives players the opportunity to win gold. Now, you're probably thinking - Is this real? Can we actually win gold? Where does the gold come from? Well, yes it is absolutely true that you can win gold and they get it from gold miners... they genuinely do! One of the greatest accolades from this game is having people create, upload, and share unboxing videos of winning actual gold. Here’s a fellow who won 1/8oz which is one of the daily prizes.

     


    Fun Fact: TSG has an actual stockpile of gold dust which they have hidden in a number of secret locations. They will be giving away prizes for quite some time to come!


    TSG is currently in full swing on a new-and-exciting update to the Planet Gold Rush franchise. They are also working on an incredible super-secret AR project and have just filed a patent application in the field of AR which is being folded into the new venture. Additionally, their Minsk office is working on a number of highly engaging ‘Hyper Casual’ games (worthy of the capitalization right there).


    TSG’s describes their company culture as coming down to hiring excellent folks to get the job done, making sure there is cohesion between employees and that their goals, aspirations, and ideas are shared, understood, and lived every day. It's an environment where people know that if they raise an issue, there will be a discussion and then it gets resolved without any judgment or stress. It's a place where employees have the power and permission to continually help improve things. The company stands by being ‘truly social’, so doing and suggesting 'truly social things' is encouraged.

     

    TSG is currently hiring and looking fill a number of roles including engineers, designers, customer service reps, and a community manager. They also love chatting to excellent people to see if there’s a fit for the company, even if they are not looking for a specific position. Check out their careers page for further details and to submit an application.

     

    TSG Vancouver office

     

  • 15 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    Are you a technology startup company in need of professional office space?  The Generator awards free furnished office space on a competitive basis for 12 months to startups deemed most-likely to succeed and grow. An initiative developed between Discovery Parks and the City of Vancouver in 2011, The Generator enables startup companies to focus solely on their businesses which, in turn, results in increased job growth, investment, and revenue. With access to mentors and programming provided by Discovery Parks, BC TECH and LifeSciences BC, the companies also have support available to thrive and grow.

    Ideally suited for teams of 1-10 people in size, each company is awarded one private office plus the appropriate number of workstations. The Generator also has a formal boardroom, meeting rooms and a communal kitchen. Telus internet is included along with coffee. 
    Located in the heart of Chinatown, The Generator is close to the technology hubs of Gastown and Railtown and the financial districts of Downtown and Yaletown. With its unique neighbourhood character and plentiful coffee shops and eateries, Chinatown offers Generator companies many nearby amenities for their employees. It is a location where startups want to work.

    2019-20 will be the ninth cohort of the Generator selected by a panel of judges from Discovery Parks, BC TECH, LifeSciences BC and the Vancouver Economic Commission. The Generator is based on the concept that free-flowing ideas, minimal barriers and a belief in serendipity accelerate the growth and success of technology companies. The winners move-in date is slated for June 2019.

    Full competition details can be found here: http://www.discoveryparks.com/the-generator/competition-details/

    To apply, submit your business plan by February 8, 2019.
     

  • 09 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The #BCTECHSummit is the largest technology conference in Western Canada. It showcases our province's vibrant tech and innovation industries, and this year's theme is The Reality RevolutionAre you ready to navigate the new age of innovation? How will we use emerging technologies to solve the biggest challenges facing BC and the world? Explore the possibilities, prepare for the future and join us from March 11-13, 2019. Look forward to seeing new and improved activation areas, programs, activities, a mix of sessions, masterclasses, workshops, and so much more!

     

    Click the link below to purchase a pass and use the code BCTECH19-INDUSTRY to receive $400 off the regular ticket price.

    TICKETS & REGISTRATION

     


    Here is a list of some of the sessions and events we thought would be of interest to those in the creative technology sector. We hope to see you at the summit!

     

    Women in Tech Showcase
    Monday, March 11, 10:00AM - 5:00PM


    Lessons from BC's Fastest Growing Companies
    Tuesday, March 12, 11:00AM - 12:00PM


    Meet the Super 5 (Superclusters)
    Tuesday, March 12, 11:00AM - 12:00PM


    XR: The Infinite Potential of Virtual Worlds
    Tuesday, March 12, 2:00PM - 2:45PM


    0 to 100: From Scaling Startup to Successful Exit

    Tuesday, March 12, 3:54PM - 4:15PM


    Youth Innovation Day
    Tuesday, March 12, 8:00AM - 3:30PM


    Insights for Innovation
    Wednesday, March 13, 11:15AM - 12:15PM


    Reinventing Sports: Digital Technologies Transforming a Millennia-Old Activity
    Wednesday, March 13, 1:15PM - 2:00PM


    How to Build a Successful Tech Company Anywhere
    Wednesday, March 13, 2:00PM - 3:00PM


    Tech@NIGHT Events
    Kick Off Party, March 12, 7:00PM - 10:00PM
    Tech@NIGHT Afterparties, March 11-13
    Community Collab, March 11
    Techapolooza, March 13

     

     

  • 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!

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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!

     

     

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