July 10 – Weekly Vancouver Game Industry News

Apologies for the late afternoon post… I had meant to get this out earlier, but client meetings took precedence. As always, if you have any Vancouver game industry news you think should appear here, contact me via my website.

And now, in no particular order, here’s what’s new in Vancouver’s game industry this week:


Casual Connect Seattle has Vancouver Connections
Seattle’s Casual Connect conference, July 21-23rd, is a must-attend for anyone not in core games. The conference caters to everything from casual online games (Puzzle Pirates, Kongregate’s stuff, etc) to iPhone to trial-to-purchase casual downloadables. Added for this year is a Leadership Forum on July 20th, hosted by Women in Games International.

Between the main conference and the Leadership forum, there are a few notable Vancouver game companies speaking at the event. Fitbrains (Mark Baxter, Michael Cole), Big Park (Charmie Kim), Deep Fried (Brenda Bailey), Hothead (Dierdra Kiai), A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. (Sandy Spangler), Hellbent (Lee Pederson), No Robots Interactive (Paige Meekison) and my own consulting business, eponymously named Adrian Crook, will all be presenting in the main conference or the Leadership Forum.


The Bigs 2 On Store Shelves
Blue Castle-developed The Bigs 2 was released on July 7th of this week, as tweeted first to me by Tami Quiring of Village Gamer. The Bigs 2 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP and Wii.

Congrats, Blue Castle!


Sherwood Dungeon, Local Virtual Goods Business
Gene Endrody’s North Vancouver-based Maid Marian, developer of Shockwave based virtual worlds such as Sherwood Dungeon (nearly 2M unique users/month), continues to expand its microtransactional revenue stream. Last month, Sherwood Dungeon saw the addition of Lion and Unicorn pets and we’re told the company will soon release Allies, Minions and Henchmen (human-style “pets” you can equip with weapons). This will give Sherwood Dungeon a total of 12 pets for sale in the game to players for $5 a year.

Up until last year, Sherwood Dungeon had subsisted entirely on revenue from Google Ads placed around the game’s frame, which while substantial (some estimates put that revenue alone at over $500K), did not exploit the full potential fo the popular product. Adding user purchaseable pets late last year diversified Sherwood Dungeon’s revenue stream, which came at an ideal time because ad revenue declined sharply after Chrismas. While online ad revenue is now recovering for Maid Marian, pets already comprise about one third of revenue.


Vancouver Unity 3D Events
Cross platform (Flash, iPhone, Wii) game development tool Unity 3D (in partnership with Overactive‘s dimerocker) is hosting two signicant Vancouver events in the near future for those interested in learning more about the toolset. Unity’s most recognized game to date would probably be the Cartoon Network’s Fusion Fall MMO, built in Flash with the Unity engine.


Friday, July 24th, District 319
The Unity Networking Event

  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm Reception, drinks and appetizers.
  • 6:30pm – 7:30pm Key Note followed by Q

Saturday, July 25th, Centre for Digital Media
Intro to Unity 3D Workshop

  • 9:30am – 5:30pm


Adrian Crook is a game consultant based in North Vancouver. With over 14 years experience, Adrian designs and produces social, casual and AAA games for a variety of clients. He has spoken on the subject of free-to-play games at GDC and SXSW and writes articles for trade publications.