My friend Ali Arya (a former Vancouverite) is the Assistant Professor of Interactive Multimedia at Carleton University’s School of Information and Technology. I asked him to give me an update about the tech industry in Ottawa and what we can expect to see in the future.
On the academic side, Carleton University started the Interactive Multimedia & Design (IMD) program offered by School of Information Technology (CSIT) in 2003, which trains students for game development, computer graphics and animation, audio/video production, web design and other multimedia applications. This was followed by a Game Design stream in School of Computer Science and a joint graduate program on Human-Computer Interaction. These academic programs complement a variety of research activities related to digital and interactive media at different departments at Carleton U. Some research projects are the use of sensor networks for full-body interaction in games, using avatar-based virtual environments for education and health applications, designing personality-rich virtual characters, procedural and real-time intelligent animation, collaborative online multimedia communication and production, physics-based simulation, designing new intelligent user interfaces, and virtual dance environments. The School of Information Technology & Engineering at University of Ottawa also hosts a variety of research projects related to new media and virtual environments. Example of projects at CU and uOttawa can be found here and here.
What are some other niche events or industry-side companies that we need to note?
Every year CSIT hosts the annual IMD Senior Project Fair that showcases the achievements of IMD students and this past winter, CSIT was the host for the 1st Annual Global Game Jam, a worldwide 48-hour game development competition sponsored by International Game Developers Association (IGDA). On the industry side, some major game development companies to note are:
Some other high-tech companies located in Ottawa are also active in the area of virtual environments. One example is the Web.alice 3D virtual environment developed by Nortel. Recently a group of private sector companies with support from government and universities started a new initiative to form a new media development centre in Ottawa. This project is expected to strengthen the research and development activities even more. Ottawa also hosts one of the largest animation festivals in North America, digital media programs at college level, and a variety of federal and provincial organizations and museums that support development of new media applications.