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  Dipping Into Toronto’s Flash Pool  
 
 
Posted 2008-06-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Toronto's Flash user group 'FlashinTO' held a public meeting last night that included brief presentations from a handful of local Flash designer/developers, including yours truly. Although I've been working the new media trenches here in Toronto for almost 15 years, and have been working with Flash since version 2, I'm way out of the loop in terms of who's doing what with Flash locally (aside from my clients and a few others). Glad to have had a chance to get a bit up to speed.

Other presenters included Andy Tipping of Mischief Media, Tim Willison of Oddly Studios, Tom George of DesignAxiom, and a dude who gave us a preview of an in-browser media viewer called "Radar." Good to be able to get a nice cross-section of what's going on around town, and meet some folks Flashing it up in Toronto.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  Send Your Kids to GameCamp Toronto [Corrected]  
 
 
Posted 2008-04-16 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Andrei Petrov wrote in to tell me that GameCamp Toronto 2 will be held Saturday, May 3, 2008 at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. Billed as "Toronto's game development showcase," the free event is aimed at "indie game developers, professionals and aspiring students." I'm sure the organizers didn't mean to suggest that "indie" and "professional" are mutually-exclusive terms.

Speakers include Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns (N+ creators), Jean-Luc David (Microsoft), Mathew Di Iorio (Independent Games Project), Nelson Yu (Casually Hardcore Games), David L. Blazetich (Bedlam Games), and Jim McGinley (ToJam).

I didn't attend GameCamp 1, but Ryan Creighton did, and posted a brutally honest review about his experience. Here's hoping that the GameCamp folks learned something from their debut event--I already know they're trying to do a better job of publicity, which suggests they're aware of the earlier problems and are trying to correct them. Nothing wrong with errors if they teach you something.

Register here to attend GameCamp 2.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  Imminent Toronto Gaming Action  
 
 
Posted 2008-04-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Indie warlord Jim Munroe informed his mailing list today that his Artsy Games Incubator is holding an open house in Toronto at the Mobile Experience Lab on Wed. April 23rd at 7pm. Writes Jim, "there'll be short presentations of the games we made using accessible tools... we're also inviting people in the indie games community at large to bring their games-in-progress to demo -- and no, you don't have to identify as an artist." Yes, but how do we define "indie?" And what if I'm not indie but I'm making an artsy game?

The third installment of the Toronto Game Jam was announced to mailing list members today. Registration is now open for the frantic game-making event, which runs May 9 - 11, 2008. From the call-out: "It's FREE and open to anyone in the world with a modicum of game making ability. Coders! Artists! Designers! Musicians! All are welcome." Sounds like fun, if you can stay up for 72 hours straight.

Lastly, the Second Skin virtual world documentary will make its Toronto debut on April 21 and 23. I make a 15-second appearance in the film, so I'm totally biased when I insist that you go see it--more importantly, help the filmmakers get the word out to local media so that the uninitiated flock to the film in droves.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Toronto Indie Games Conference Shrivels  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Toronto Independent Games Conference will not be going ahead in 2008 as was originally planned. Essentially, the conference was too indie for its own good--my impression as an occasional adviser to the organizers is that there wasn't enough motivation, time, or interest from behind the curtain to stage a robust event. Although it drew an enthusiastic crowd of developers, students, and academics last year, failure to hold the event annually will probably kill any momentum the conference might have been building.

Fortunately, TIGC is not the only games-related meetup in town. Unfortunately, I'm not connected with any of the local people organizing these things, and am often the last to know about indie game events in my own city. For example, GameCamp Toronto happened this past weekend, but I didn't hear about it until a day previous. How many other events like this are hiding in the shadows? I only know of one more--the T.O. Game Jam, which was staged last May--no word on a 2008 date yet. I'd be happy to publicize local events, but I can't do that if I don't know about them ahead of time.
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  ‘GameON: Finance’ Inhospitable to Small Indie Developers  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-23 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"GameON: Finance," a just-announced Canadian event described by its organizers as an exploration of "financial models for independent games companies," has been scheduled during the same two days as the Toronto Independent Games Conference. The events will overlap on January 17 and 18, 2008.

GameOn:Finance is operated by industry group InteractiveOntario, and will be hosted at a swank downtown Toronto location. Registration starts at nearly $500 CAD. The Toronto Independent Games Conference is operated by a handful of dedicated indie gamers, and will likely be hosted at a local college. Registration starts at $50 for students.

Continue reading: ‘GameON: Finance’ Inhospitable to Small Indie Developers
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Toronto Joins ‘Half-Life 2’ Conflict  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Canada's largest city becomes the backdrop for an alien invasion in City 7: Toronto Conflict, an unofficial expansion to the Half-Life 2 story created by a team of George Brown College students lead by instructor Sean Guadron. The initiative was the first thesis project of the College's postgraduate Game Design program (in which I teach several courses), now in its third academic year.

City 7: Toronto Conflict puts the player in Gordon Freeman's well-worn boots as he teleports unexpectedly into Mel Lastman square, raining carnage upon a variety of other well-known Toronto landmarks, all recreated faithfully by the students, who spent months taking photos of the city, mapping game levels based on real locations, and making detailed models including recognizable street furniture. The project also involved a scripted storyline and original voice acting.

The expansion has enjoyed more success than its creators hoped for, getting published via DVD in PC Games and PC Action magazines in Europe, and written up on a variety of web sites, including GameSpy, which recommended the student-made project as an alternative to the official Half-Life 2 expansion pack. Personally, I found the landmark recreations to be very impressive--anyone familiar with the city is bound to agree. Congratulations to the team on the recognition they've received.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  A Little Toronto Gaming Action  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Here's a handful of local gaming items for my fellow Torontonians:

1) Three former students of mine have formed their own game development company, chiefly using Flash and Virtools as development platforms. They have recently finished two edugames and are looking for a business manager to help their startup get a foothold in the services market:
The ideal business manager will be an enterprising visionary with a strong desire to make a name for his or her self in the video game industry, be a rain maker able to develop business, and be a project manager able to coach a highly creative team toward on-time completion. On top of all of these hard skills, the right business manager will be an individual of superior character with a heart of gold.
This team is creative, hard-working, and driven--if you can help them, please send an email to photius at shannonware dot com.

2) Every Wednesday at the College St. Diner / Tiger Bar: Show off your Guitar Hero II skillz. "Super Cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon" and no cover. Scary.

Continue reading: A Little Toronto Gaming Action
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-10-11  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  School’s In  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
This week I resume instructing classes at two Toronto colleges. I'll be teaching four classes weekly for the fall semester, but thankfully the roster is pretty small (under 25 students between both colleges). I prefer small classes not just because the workload is smaller, but because I get a chance to work more closely with students on an individual basis.

For George Brown College's Game Design Program, I'm giving students an introduction to the game industry, conducting intensive workshops involving hands-on play and modification of tabletop games, and teaching basic Flash skills in the production of an animatic (or motion-storyboard). I teach two more semesters after this, including non-digital game prototyping, and "Games, Culture, and Society."

For Centennial College's Game Design + Development Program, I'm instructing classes on some development fundamentals, such as a game industry overview, workshops on communication and documentation, and workshops on writing for games.

This is my third year as a part-time teacher, a profession I only profess to dabble in. I really enjoy teaching (it's a great way to develop old and new skills), but my other professional pursuits are just far too fun to give up!
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  FaceBookCampToronto  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Bah, I won't be able to attend FaceBookCampToronto tomorrow. Sounds like a great way to get the creative and technical juices flowing--lots of potential in Facebook Applications still to be tapped, and Toronto's got a solid, long-lived development scene ready to take up the challenge. I noted a few familiar local people and firms on the list of attendees, wish I could join in the fun, but I've got diapers to deal with.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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