There’s this illusion that working for a video game company involves countless hours of playing games on a couch, paired with bottomless popcorn and slacking off.
Well, the amount of work that goes into making video games exciting for all ages is tremendous! Just take local company, TinyMob Games, who have been building M.E.R.C. for a year and a half and just released it.
M.E.R.C. is a game that allows users to step into the world of non-stop, real-time tactical engagements with a 4-person squad. You can upgrade and recruit units, learn and enhance special abilities, while acquiring better weapons and gear. You can also take your toughest and bravest recruits into action in co-op multiplayer to kick some serious “Manta butt” and save the world.
There’s been lots of excitement in Victoria’s video game community lately, including Wizard Games releasing Cowbots and Aliens and VicVideoGames.com going live.
VicVideoGames.com gives information on a Student Video Game Work Experience Program and allows students to register, and even select which weeks they can do a work term.
The Student Video Game Work Experience Program provides students with the opportunity to learn what it is like to work in a video game company.
To see some of our incredible video game companies up close, make sure you attend Discover Tectoria on February 24th!
Listen below as Dan Gunn talks about “the gateway drug to the tech sector” on the Zone at 91-3FM.
There’s something undeniably special about Christmas music. There’s also often something about traditional Christmas music so agitating that it can make you want to tear off your sweater vest in protest. Christmas music can inspire warmth, nostalgia and the magic of the season, but at times it can also feel like uninvited festive pathways are being seared into your brain.
This conundrum gave the band members of Weird Party the idea to deconstruct and reinvent Christmas songs for a new generation of holiday listeners. They formed Astrocolor, and are preparing to release their Christmas album “Lit Up” this November.
Weird Party is a Victoria-based band that released a debut album last year, called Mellow Funk – Vol 1. The band combines elements of ambient, jazz, psychedelic and funk, and is primarily driven by live instrumental improvisation using repeated musical themes. They were also recently nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (and played ON A BOAT during Experience Tectoria earlier this month)!
The band is made up of 5 local friends – Piers Henwood, Bill Farrant, Andrew Poirier, Chris Mackenzie, and Anand Greenwell. They enjoy smooth grooves, feeding off each others’ improvisations and the occasional deafening suit.
Astrocolor and “Lit Up”
Astrocolor is a new side-project that the members of Weird Party formed, in order to release this experimental Christmas album for the coming holiday season. Band member Piers Hendwood explains the forming of Astrocolor: “The creative direction and tone of the Christmas album felt like a different enough beast that we wanted to brand it as a separate entity.” With regards to “Lit Up”, Piers says it “was designed to be played as background music at a lounge or cafe or house party in December…for a seasonal tone that is ambient, jazzy, dubby, and experimental. People who like bands like Air, St Germain, Massive Attack and Portishead should like this album.”
“Lit Up” will come out Nov 13 on Last Gang Records. It will be available on vinyl (email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-order now) and via all digital providers.
While Weird Party was playing on the Experience Tectoria boat, whales could be seen groovily snapping their flippers, seagulls landed on the railing to start tapping their toes, and a sea otter drifted by pounding a smooth beat on it’s stomach. This band plays mesmerizing music that compels you to dance, and they look super cool doing it too!
If you’d like to see Weird Party perform live, they are playing this Friday Oct 2 at Lucky Bar as part of the Garden City Grooves Festival. Onstage at 9:30pm.
It’s nice to have company over during the holidays, but it would be even nicer if you didn’t feel obligated to sarcastically play Mariah Carey and The Backstreet Boys in order to satisfy your festive urges. Perhaps it’s time to get a little experimental this Christmas, and put on some Astrocolor!
After our courageous firefighters have won the battle over the current wildfires in BC and the rain clouds finally bless us with some precipitation, the clean up and reforestation will commence in order to get BC’s beauty as close to pristine as possible.
This got us thinking of the thousands of tree planters out there who work season after season, planting an average of 1600 trees a day. They lift a cumulative weight of over 2200lbs, bend more than 200 times per hour, drive the shovel into the ground more than 200 times per hour and travel over 16 kms with a heavy load, every day of the entire season. The reforestation industry has an average annual injury rate of approximately 22 claims per 100 workers, per year (1). It is often difficult and sometimes dangerous. But people have been doing this for centuries in order to give back to Mother Nature and make memories that last a lifetime.
Buuuuuut it would probably be nice if there were robots to do all the labour, wouldn’t it?
Well, there’s one that already exists and it was built right here in Victoria…
TREE ROVER, TREE ROVER, PLANT OVER AND OVER
Tyler Rhodes and Nick Birch, two third year UVic electrical engineering students, have built the TreeRover through their company Iota Enterprises.
This first version of TreeRover moves between planting sites using a 4 wheeled electric drive platform. The planting process involves penetrating the earth with a pneumatic ram, opening a hole and releasing a seedling, then tamping down the soil surrounding the seedling to ensure it’s roots are covered. It’s kind of like an RC Car, on steroids (organic, of course).
Yes, it still needs to be controlled by a human via remote control, but at least the back breaking work is eliminated.
“Its mission is simple: Maintain our beautiful forests, one tree at a time, by combining exponential technologies with community involvement,” commented Rhodes. “With help from supporters we plan to build a much more advanced version of the TreeRover and plant trees more efficiently than ever before.”
SEARCHING FOR THE MONEY TREE
“The first goal is to produce a proof-of-concept prototype. It will be used to conduct a crowd funded tree planting campaign to raise money for technical upgrades,” commented Rhodes “Supporters of the campaign will be able to purchase a tree seedling which will be planted by the TreeRover. They will receive a video clip of their seedling being planted to share with friends.”
The second and third versions of the TreeRover will be capable of traversing more difficult terrain, typical of replanting sites and will provide a cheap and efficient alternative to traditional hand planting methods.
Hmmm maybe this group actually built phase one…
Rhodes and Birch both hold Diplomas in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology (Renewable Energy option) from Camosun College and are currently working through the Electrical Engineering degree program at UVic. Two co-op work terms in the marine and forest technology fields have provided them with valuable experience in technical environments.
“Growing up in BC, we have both spent a lot of time in the outdoors. We have always wanted to put our education to use by helping to preserve the environment. Tree planting is an extremely labour intensive process and if it could be automated there is potential for huge improvements. We did some research and found that there is a serious need to increase reforestation rates. Future models of the TreeRover could outperform traditional planting methods and help significantly with reforestation efforts.”
In addition to being inspired by Camosun College faculty members, some of their motivation has come from local company, FTS (Forest Technology Systems). FTS builds and maintains equipment for environmental monitoring and remote data collection and plays an important role in the prevention of forest fires. “Their dedication to protecting the environment through the use of technology is something we find admirable.”
Art Atelier is taking shape at 546 Yates Street (Two doors up from Ferris’ Oyster Bar), and it’s opening to the public this Saturday, April 18th at 7pm with a free event Victoria residents and visitors will love…
Victoria: Past, Present and Future will celebrate Victoria as seen through the eyes of over 20 of Victoria’s top Fine Art photographers through over 100 images. This is an extensive photography exhibit that plans on evoking emotional connections, nostalgic memories and shared experiences. The community can get involved by voting for the Viewers’ Choice Award up until the end of the show on May 22nd.
IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
The owners, artist Guillermo Mier and photographer Laurie June, are thrilled to add Art Atelier 546 to Victoria’s rich art culture. It will include a working studio space (“Atelier” means “workshop” in French), with alternating exhibits in multiple medias featuring Canadian and international Fine Art and photography. The gallery is also equipped with a projector and sound system, allowing them to host art films, presentations and talks that are current and intriguing, adding another vibrant touch to Victoria’s unique downtown.
Co-Owner, Guillermo Mier
Co-Owner, Laurie June
THE ARTISTIC PATHWAY
Laurie and Guillermo crossed paths in 2013, got married and started collaborating on multiple pop-up art galleries before finally opening something permanent.
Guillermo Mier’s artistic background consists of working with texture and pigments over wood panels. Each panel goes through several stages of preparation and he uses Canadian Birch mainly, primed with shellac several times. Guillermo picked up a talent for art at an early age in Chile and travelled to Brazil and Spain before heading to Canada 22 years ago. He spent a few years in the Yukon before finding his home on Vancouver Island.
Laurie studies photography, art history and cello. Travelling the world and raising five children gave her the inspiration she needed to take the leap towards professional photography. She has a background in film and digital photography.
“Everyone and everything in Victoria inspires us,” commented Laurie. “We love walking around downtown day and night and are constantly observing people, buildings, and the general downtown landscape. The city intrigues, amuses, inspires us.”
Getting ready for the unveiling at 546 Yates Street.
WHAT TO EXPECT
“The purpose [of the event] is to showcase new and unknown talent. We want people to know to expect interesting and intelligent art in many mediums,” commented Laurie. “Victoria is an evolving city, especially downtown. We need to articulate what is important to us about Victoria. For example, The Johnson Street Bridge project… Images of the blue bridge will be archived at the first show along with street scenes, shipyards, marinas and architecture.”
Sponsored by Phillips Brewery and GMC Projects Inc, the opening night will have the room bustling full of photographers, artists, art lovers, buyers and the media. It runs from 7pm to 10pm, open to all ages, and light snacks and refreshments provided.