Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 13 Apr 98

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --mBED Expands Interactor Family DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --FutureTel Announces DVD, MPEG Authoring Tools IN THE INFOGROOVE --W3C Proposes Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Spec --Agents Technologies Ships Copernic 98plus --Trellix Trelligram Enables Sharing Multiple HTML Files via Email --Productivity Works Updates Talking Web Browser --Intel, Microsoft to Align Efforts on Interactive TV Programming --CANAL+ Unveils MEDIAHIGHWAY+ Set-top Platform GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --3DS Plug-ins Produce 360-Degree Spherical Panoramic Views --Softimage Announces Version 3.8 --Alias|Wavefront Announces Maya for Windows NT --ICE Delivers BlueICE Hardware, 2D and 3D Products --Terran Updates Media Cleaner Pro, Offers Sorenson Codec WEBSIGHTINGS --AccountingNet Tax-Time Toolkit Provides Help for Last-Minute Filers --VR Sim Part of HBO "From The Earth To The Moon" Site DEALS --Play, Electric Image Merge GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Interplay Ships Of Light and Darkness --LucasArts Announces Star Wars: Force Commander --Interplay Releases Trek Title, Announces More --Relaunched EarthLink Online Gaming Site Offers 50 Titles --Psygnosis Releases Global Domination for PC, PlayStation --3DO Ships High Heat Baseball '99 --ASC Adventure Game Challenges Emotions --Midway Ships SF RUSH PSX, Rampage World Tour --Mystical Ninja Leaps Into N64 Market --AMF ProBowl 3D Lanes Always Open HAPPENINGS --WEB.BUILDER Adds Andreessen to Keynote Roster F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------

WEBMEISTER

mBED Expands Interactor Family San Francisco-based mBED Software is extending its mBED Interactor product line to include high-end and entry-level Web-centric multimedia offerings. The product family now includes three products: Interactor Professional, Interactor Standard Edition (formerly mBED Interactor 1.1), and Interactor Lite. All three products are available immediately for both Windows and Macintosh. At the core of the product family is a unifying architecture of reusable, multimedia building blocks called mBED Players and an open text file format. Meet the family: · mBED Interactor Professional ($699): a high-end tool for professional designers creating interactive multimedia applications using video, audio and graphics. The product features small streaming runtimes, enabling users to develop hybrid CD-ROM/Internet productions, database-driven intranet multimedia and other high-end productions without complex programming. · mBED Interactor Standard Edition ($249): the mid-range tool for experienced Web designers offers cross-browser support for Dynamic HTML, and also supports other popular multimedia types, including Java, ActiveX and plug-ins. · mBED Interactor Lite ($49): an entry-level tool for "casual" Web designers that enables basic multimedia capabilities such as animated text banners, rollover buttons, triggered path animations and sound playback. Contact mBED via the Web at http://www.mbed.com/. --------------------------------------------------

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

FutureTel Announces DVD, MPEG Authoring Tools FutureTel Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. last week introduced Crescendo, a family of DVD encoding systems. FutureTel's DVD offering consists of three price/performance intersections: · The "Basic Choice" starts at $21,300 and consists of a half-resolution MPEG-2 video encoder, a software AC-3 Stereo encoder, an MPEG-2 decoder, FutureTel's advanced MPEGWorks Pro encoding studio, a VideoMedia V-LAN Express unit and Daikin's Basic Scenarist. · The "Advanced Choice" lists for $46,000 and adds full-resolution single-pass MPEG-2 VBR/ AFF video encoding capabilities, AC-3 Stereo audio encoding hardware and Daikin's Advanced Scenarist. · The "Professional Choice," starting at $62,000, adds Daikin's Professional Scenarist and the Videomedia VLX-I multiple VTR control unit and PRO-I jog-shuttle keyboard. Both the Advanced and Professional choices can be upgraded to Multiple Pass-VBR for an additional $25,000. An emulation package and AC-3 (5.1) encoder will be available as options. All three solutions include the company's new MPEGWorks Pro, a frame-accurate encoding environment capable of supporting multiple tape decks, jog-shuttle keyboard, decode-while encode, dynamic adjustment of color correction and spatial and temporal filters. Its Encoder Control List feature lets users batch encode multiple files in the same session, each consisting of multiple appends and events. FutureTel also announces the availability of its VideoStreamer architecture to systems integrators and OEMs looking to develop MPEG applications for the Microsoft Windows NT platform. The VideoStreamer six-layer architecture encompasses: Layer (1) manages problems with input video timing stability or the temporary absence of a video signal. Layer (2) monitors encoder hardware buffer levels and messages the application. Layer (3), the channel bandwidth manager, can use a network clock as a reference for the audio sample rate. Layer (4) is FutureTel's SureSync technology, a multiplexing technique for maintaining long-term A/V synchronization. Layer (5) performs dynamic stream allocation for fixed rate channels. Layer (6) prevents buffer overflows caused by sudden drops in network throughput. Web site: http://www.futuretel.com --------------------------------------------------

IN THE INFOGROOVE

W3C Proposes Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Spec But will it fix the lip-sync problem? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) last week released the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language specification as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. Created and developed by the W3C Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group, the SMIL specification is an XML-based language for writing "TV-like" multimedia presentations for the World Wide Web. SMIL enables multimedia synchronization over time; an author, for example, can write documents with sequences such as "play audio file 'A' in parallel with video file 'B' or "show image 'C' after audio file 'A' has finished playing". Reportedly, a key advantage of SMIL is that it reduces the bandwidth of TV-like content, eliminating the need to convert low-bandwidth media types (such as text and images) into high-bandwidth video. In addition, SMIL documents can be authored using a text editor, following the model of HTML. Multimedia authors can describe a presentation using three simple SMIL elements without the need to learn a complex scripting language. The SMIL specification is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/PR-SMIL -------------------------------------------------- Agents Technologies Ships Copernic 98plus Newly available from Agents Technologies Corporation is Copernic 98plus professional search agent software. The $29.95 product is said to search 17 content-specific channel sets of Web sites by categorizing the most relevant sites, newsgroups and other Internet data in a given content area, such as sports or personal finance, and lets users customize by adding or prioritizing search targets. In addition, the software has the capacity to simultaneously search 121 engines and direct specific channels. Some searchable channel sets on Copernic 98plus include entertainment (Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Bibliofind, Sony Online), news (ABCNEWS.com, Business Wire, CNN Interactive, Fox News Online, MSNBC, Wired News, ZD News), sports (CBS SportsLine, CNN/Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports), kids (AOL NetFind Kids, Disney, Yahooligans), computing (CMPnet, Filez, FTP Search, ZDNet Software Library, TUCOWS), software (BuySoftware.com, Software.net, Cyberian Outpost), emails (WhoWhere?, BigFoot, Switchboard, InfoSpace), travel (Yahoo Travel), newsgroups (AltaVista Usenet, Deja News, Reference.com) and the Web (AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, etc.). Start the search at http://www.copernic.com. -------------------------------------------------- Trellix Trelligram Enables Sharing Multiple HTML Files via Email Waltham, Mass.-based Trellix Corporation has released a beta of the Trellix Trelligram Utility, available immediately as a free download at http://www.trellix.com/. A Web content distribution utility, the Trellix Trelligram Utility enables to email multiple graphics-rich HTML files. To open the Trelligram file, the recipient double-clicks the attachment icon, launching a browser. The Trelligram technology is based on standard protocols such as HTTP, HTML, and other Web-related technology. The Trelligram Creator packages the HTML and related files along with a special program, the Trelligram Delivery Service, into a single Trelligram file. Related files include GIF, JPEG, XML, DHTML and other browser compatible formats. Users can also unpack a Trelligram file and save the HTML and other Web related files to disk. The Trelligram Utility is also shipped as an add-on to Trellix 1.0, an office application designed for producing multi-page, graphical, HTML Web documents. The Trelligram Utility installs itself automatically on the Trellix 1.0 file menu. -------------------------------------------------- Productivity Works Updates Talking Web Browser Just out from The Productivity Works is pwWebSpeak/32, a $150 32-bit version of its talking Web browser for Win95/NT/98. The product is designed to make the Internet accessible to the blind and visually impaired. The browser interprets Web-based information by translating the HTML constructs into both speech and a simplified visual presentation with variable text size. Users can navigate through the structure of an Internet document based on its contents, links to other Web pages and paragraphs, as opposed to scrolling through and interpret a graphically structured screen display. pwWebSpeak/32 can be used in a dual-mode manner which provides both visual and audio information, using adjustable large-print text and the ability to modify foreground and background colors for those who are able to view the screen, and audio accompaniment for those who cannot. Other new features include: · support for unlimited page sizes and incremental browsing as the page is loading · support for normal and secure transactions, forms, form attributes and long file names · SoftVoice speech synthesizer and supports SAPI (Microsoft's speech API) and SAPI-compliant speech synthesizers · support for HTML standard and user-definable audio style sheets · Support for downloading and FTP · support for RealAudio 5.0 and other audio and video types and RealMedia 4.01 or better · remappable keyboard · compatability with pwEMail and the pwMedia SMIL multimedia Player For more information, contact The Productivity Works, 7 Belmont Circle, Trenton, NJ 08618; (609) 984-8044; fax (609) 984-8048; Internet http://www.prodworks.com or mailto:info@prodworks.com -------------------------------------------------- Intel, Microsoft to Align Efforts on Interactive TV Programming Siamese gorillas Intel and Microsoft will work together to provide an integrated platform for broadcasting interactive television content to PCs and other devices. To further this objective, Intel's Intercast software will be integrated into appropriate Microsoft products, starting with the WebTV for Windows feature of the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system. WebTV for Windows provides TV capabilities on the PC and supports such services as data broadcasting, an electronic program guide and interactive TV programming. Intel's Intercast technology allows television programmers to create full-screen interactive programming by combining TV with digital enhancements based on HTML. The two companies view this as the first step toward development of a common framework for enhancing TV programming with data that will be available on a variety of platforms, including PCs equipped with TV tuners. The initial focus will be on analog broadcasts, expanding to digital broadcasting as the digital infrastructure develops. -------------------------------------------------- CANAL+ Unveils MEDIAHIGHWAY+ Set-top Platform CANAL+, a European pay-television group and provider of interactive systems for digital platforms carried via direct-broadcast satellite (DBS), cable TV and terrestrial networks, unveiled an open digital interactive Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) system based on MEDIAHIGHWAY+, last week during the NAB in Las Vegas. MEDIAHIGHWAY offers a range of interactive applications developed by CANAL+ including Electronic Program Guides (EPG), software download to PC via satellite, home shopping, interactive advertising and job seeking services, home banking, games, pay-per-view and weather reports. Serving as a central node, the digital terminal can be connected to digital consumer devices such as DVD, DVHS, PC, Hi-Fi and Radio and offers open access, enabling multiple service providers to operate through a compatible set-top box. Visit the CANAL+ Web site at http://www.cplus.fr --------------------------------------------------

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

3DS Plug-ins Produce 360-Degree Spherical Panoramic Views Portland, Ore.-based Infinite Pictures' new SmoothMove Panoramas for 3D Studio MAX/VIZ v 2.0 are plug-ins that let users create spherical panoramic scenes. From within the application, users load a 3D model, place a camera in the desired location, and click a pull-down menu item to render the complete, interactive panorama. The resulting rendered images can be navigated in real-time, allowing the viewer to look left, right, up, down and behind. Priced at $549/CD-ROM and $499/electronic download, SmoothMove Panoramas is a bundle of five tools: · SmoothMove Plug-in for 3D Studio MAX/VIZ · SmoothMove Hot Spot Editor · SmoothMove Viewer Kit · SmoothMove Browser Plug-ins for Netscape Navigator 4.x · ActiveX Control for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 or 4.x Visit http://www.smoothmove.com. -------------------------------------------------- Softimage Announces Version 3.8 Microsoft subsidiary Softimage's just-announced SOFTIMAGE/3D version 3.8 combines new features and capabilities for character animation, games development and texturing. The new tools are said to introduce several technologies fundamental to "Sumatra," the code name for the next-generation of SOFTIMAGE/3D. SOFTIMAGE/3D version 3.8 is also designed to work in conjunction with "Twister," the code name for the Softimage interactive rendering system, which will be integrated into "Sumatra." "Twister" is scheduled to ship later this year. New animation features include: · a high-level interface to character animation lets users work with groups of animation called "Actions," which can be managed independently. Groups of Actions can be defined for any character in a scene, then sequenced together on a time line, easing management of complex character animation. · Enhanced Character Skinning tools facilitate character animation by letting the user copy envelope weights between multiple envelopes, including envelopes of different resolution, saving time during character creation. · dopesheet-level support for sound data lets users manipulate sound and animation data independently for the purpose of synchronization. New game development features include: · an interactive polygon reduction tool lets users maintain surface attributes, such as materials, textures and weights, eliminating the need to reapply attributes once a model is reduced. · the ASCII file export/import viewer allows users to convert data between Softimage and a new, customizable file format based on the Microsoft DirectX API. · a color reduction tool uses an improved palette-generation algorithm to display 256 palette entries at once, reduce all the textures of selected models simultaneously and resize source images · a GameFilter tool lets game developers perform both hierarchy filtering and animation compression on a current scene, lightening the overall scene as necessary for download to a target platform. Web Site: http://www.softimage.com -------------------------------------------------- Alias|Wavefront Announces Maya for Windows NT Apply for that second mortgage now so you can be ready this June, when SGI subsidiary Alias|Wavefront plans to ship Maya, 3D software for Intel systems running the Windows NT. Reportedly with the same functionality as the IRIX version of Maya, the NT version offers these capabilities: · characters with embedded behaviors and higher level controls so that animators can interact with them as digital puppets · Visual Effects tools such as a particle system with rigid and soft body dynamics technology for creating simulations that reflect physical forces on objects as they collide, bounce, roll, slide and deform · MEL, a scripting and command language that lets users extend the system to meet specific production needs using scripts ranging from simple macros to complex programs. Additionally, the OpenMaya C++ API lets programmers extend Maya Add-ons include: · Maya F/X -- integrated soft body dynamics, particle dynamics and particle rendering for advanced visual effects and realistic character animation · Maya Artisan -- a modeling and animation tool whose interface reportedly gives users the control of traditional artists' brushes and sculpting tools. Maya for Windows NT will be available starting at $10,000 for the base package, $10,000 for Maya F/X and $7,500 for the Maya Artisan advanced module. Web Site: http://www.sgi.com -------------------------------------------------- ICE Delivers BlueICE Hardware, 2D and 3D Products ICE, maker of the ICEfx "Effects Editor" for desktop special-effects finishing, announced new ICE hardware and software products for 2D and 3D effects finishing. Scheduled for availability in late May, the products are based on the new BlueICE board, a card that fits in a PCI slot of Macintosh and Windows NT systems. The system supports film and HDTV image resolution rendering and is said to provide three times the computing power of the previous generation of ICE systems. Web site: http://www.iced.com. -------------------------------------------------- Terran Updates Media Cleaner Pro, Offers Sorenson Codec New features in Terran Interactive's Media Cleaner Pro 3.0 digital video compression software include support for Apple Computer's cross-platform QuickTime 3, still image processing and a new interface. The Mac-based program reads a wide range of formats and outputs QuickTime, RealVideo, RealAudio, DV, AIFF, WAV, and still images for delivery on the Web, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, kiosk, or intranet. For more information, visit http://www.terran.com. Also, Terran is now fulfilling orders for the Developer Edition of the Sorenson Video Codec, said to deliver the highest quality low-bandwidth QuickTime movies. A basic edition of the codec is included with QuickTime 3. However, for best results content producers will need to upgrade to the Developer Edition of the Sorenson Video Codec. For more information, see http://www.terran.com/prod/SorensonDev.html --------------------------------------------------

WEBSIGHTINGS

AccountingNet Tax-Time Toolkit Provides Help for Last-Minute Filers You've got three days left to file your taxes. The post office is out of 1040s. The IRS Web site is inundated with millions of other people trying to download tax forms. Now there's an alternative for last-minute filers: AccountingNet's Tax-Time Toolkit, at http://www.accountingnet.com. The free Toolkit features tax forms, publications and information to help Internet users with all of their tax filing needs, including: · 676 downloadable tax forms and publications for 1997. In addition, individuals filing extensions can locate tax forms and publications dating back to 1992. · a free download of Adobe Acrobat, the software application needed to download tax forms. · tax tables and schedules · and most importantly, information and tax forms necessary for filing extensions. -------------------------------------------------- VR Sim Part of HBO "From The Earth To The Moon" Site See if you have the right stuff to fly to the moon and back at http://www.hbo.com/apollo. Designed to scale and using the real physics of space travel, the virtual reality simulation lets visitors test the different flight stages from lift-off to final descent. Once on lunar soil, walk around the landing site and plant the American flag. Leave the moon to rendezvous with the orbiting command module, then re-enter the earth's atmosphere for splash down. Watch those hand controls to avoid crashing and burning or spinning off into space. --------------------------------------------------

DEALS

Play, Electric Image Merge Play Incorporated, formed by a group of escapees from NewTek and best known for its still-image video digitizer called DigiView, er, I mean Snappy, has merged with Electric Image, Inc., a developer of Macintosh-based 3D animation, modeling and rendering software. Play officials describe the merger as allowing Play to integrate 3D animation technology with its video technology. Play Incorporated will retain the Electric Image name to signify its 3D modeling, rendering, and animation products. The Electric Image, Inc. offices in Pasadena, California have now become Play's Southern California facility while Play's world headquarters will remain in Rancho Cordova, California. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed. Play's long-awaited Trinity, which recently began shipping, is a D1 video production system that combines live, post and graphics production in a Windows PC-based system. Web Site: http://www.play.com --------------------------------------------------

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Interplay Ships Of Light and Darkness One of the most heavily promoted computer adventure games in years, Interplay's Of Light and Darkness - the prophecy is now in stores. The Win95 title, based on an original design by DeMaria studios, features a motion-captured protagonist named Angel Gemini, who's been captured by Gar Hob, Dark Lord of the Seventh Millenium. The two characters are voiced by actors Lolita Davidovich and James Woods respectively. The object of the game, played in a 3D real-time environment designed by artist Gil Bruvel, is to redeem 21 infamous apparitions, including Ivan the Terrible, Marie Antoinette and Caligula, in order to rescue Angel Gemini and prevent Gar Hob from plunging the world into darkness. The apparitions appear in three progressive time-based levels, which can initially be explored safely in a "free tour." Gameplay is driven by the player's interactions with characters encountered in the levels. Intriguing? You bet. Watch for a review coming soon in Spectrum Reviews. Until then, check it out at http://www.interplay.com. -------------------------------------------------- LucasArts Announces Star Wars: Force Commander Star Wars fans who've been hoping to play a real-time strategy game in their favorite sci-fi universe can look forward to this fall, when LucasArts expects to release Star Wars: Force Commander. Gameplay unfolds through a series of mission-based chapters, letting players direct their forces from two campaign perspectives--as a leader in the Rebel Alliance or a Galactic Empire commander. Missions, which come three to a chapter, span the Star Wars trilogy, beginning prior to the destruction of Alderaan and climaxing after the ending of Return of the Jedi. Mission objectives include establishing a base of operations, capturing strategic buildings and units, and the destruction of enemy forces. Addition missions may involve the devastation of a key target or holding off an enemy's attack long enough to allow allied forces to retreat. The game will feature over 100 Star Wars personnel, vehicle and building units, including ground troops such as Imperial stormtroopers and Rebel soliders, as well as new vehicles such as tanks, missile launchers and troop transports. The use of 3D acceleration will enable a floating camera with multiple perspectives, plus camera options such as tilt, pan and orbit. Take a look at http://www.lucasarts.com. -------------------------------------------------- Interplay Releases Trek Title, Announces More Interplay Productions' exploitation of its Star Trek franchise hit warp speed last week as the company shipped an add-on and announced strategy and space combat titles based on Gene Roddenberry's brainchild. Just out from the Irvine, Calif.-based developer and publisher is STAR TREK: Starfleet Academy Chekhov's Lost Missions. The pedagogical title features seven new missions and two new multiplayer net games, plus new features such as external views, shield indicators and the ability to change game speed. Walter Koenig and George Takei provide instruction and inspiration. STAR TREK: Starfleet Command is a real-time strategy game, set in the Star Trek universe and due to beam into retail stores for Christmas 1998 for Windows 95-based PCs. It will combine in-depth strategic planning with cinematic, head-to-head action for up to six players via LAN, modem to modem, null modem cable and Interplay's Internet matching service. The title will feature classic Star Trek television and movie footage in its introduction plus engaging audio clips throughout the game. The gamer can play one of several races including Federation, Klingon, Romulan, and some new races. There will also be a random campaign game generator. The player will be able to command a squadron of up to three ships, each with their own officers, special weapons, and abilities. The game features over 50 customizable, detailed ship hulls for the different races, plus dozens of planetary systems, nebulae, and asteroid fields, no two players will ever experience the same game. A number of famous historical missions for the gamer to reenact will also be included. Scheduled for release in October for Windows 95-based PCs and Sony PlayStation, STAR TREK: Klingon Academy places cadets under the command of General Chang, the greatest living warrior in the Klingon Empire. Cadets will take the helms of numerous, large scale warships of original design. The game includes over 30 missions plus a mission builder that allows players to create an almost unlimited number of missions. More information is available at http://www.interplay.com. -------------------------------------------------- Relaunched EarthLink Online Gaming Site Offers 50 Titles EarthLink Network last week reintroduced The Arena, the company's dedicated online gaming site at http://www.thearena.com. The new site has been expanded to give gamers direct access to more than 50 titles. EarthLink has partnered with eight online-game services: 2AM, Passport 2, GameStorm, On-line, iMagic, MPG-Net, UPROAR and Bonus.com. Single- and multi-player online games available include Air Warrior, Quake, Chain of Command, The Invisible Hand, Kingdom of Drakkar, Puzzle A-Go-Go, Iron Wolves, SuperSite for Kids and Jack Nicklaus Online Golf Tour. Also showcased is WarBirds, which was named Online Game of the Year by PC Gamer Magazine for both 1996 and 1997. The Arena also features board and card games, including poker, bridge, chess and backgammon. -------------------------------------------------- Psygnosis Releases Global Domination for PC, PlayStation Psygnosis' new Global Domination for PC CD-ROM and Sony PlayStation combines 3D strategy, war gaming and arcade combat shoot 'em up. It's you versus the computer in single-player mode or you versus 15 other recruits over a network. In the year 2015, you start off as a newly trained recruit working for ULTRA (Universal Tactical Response Agency) resolving small conflicts. Eventually, one country comes under your control, and you know what they say, "Give 'em a country and they want the world!" As you work your way to the top, it falls to you to save the earth from the oppressive grasp of World Order Enterprises or WOE (not that being supreme ruler of the planet doesn't have its side benefits). You can play 20 preset scenarios or design your own game with the scenario editor. Global Domination's AI system lets all countries -- even those not directly controlled by a player -- to respond appropriately to friendly and hostile actions. Find more at http://www.psygnosis.com. -------------------------------------------------- 3DO Ships High Heat Baseball '99 3DO's new PC game, High Heat Baseball '99, was developed by the company's Team .366, the industry's only baseball studio. The title is said to give accurate and complete control over both the pitcher and batter, and provide accurate fielding and base-running, plus speedy gameplay that delivers three hours of baseball action in 30 minutes. Team .366's artificial intelligence (AI) for the game, called TruPlay, reportedly models the pitcher's pitches accurately, models the physics of the pitch and swing correctly, and provides the user with a toolset to think, act, and react like major league hitters and pitchers. For example, using the innovative "guess pitch" option and the batting interface, the batter can react to the speed of a pitch and location with split-second timing. The AI not only checks who is batting and pitching but it checks the count, the inning, the score, who is on base, who is on the bench, and who is waiting to warm up in the bullpen. Additionally, the playing logic of the runners and fielders also checks every aspect of the game before taking any action. More information can be found at http://www.highheat.com. -------------------------------------------------- ASC Adventure Game Challenges Emotions On April 30, publisher ASC Games will unlock Sanitarium, described as a darkly disturbing new PC adventure game. Developed by DreamForge Intertainment, the three-CD title thrusts players into a world of tenuous reality, mental chaos and abject fear. The title challenges players to reassemble their shattered identities and escape from what they believe to be a nightmarish institution. According to ASC, Sanitarium is the first game that challenges players to solve puzzles and situations wrapped within a storyline driven by players' emotions - not just their intelligence. Players establish a strong emotional connection with the main character through visions, flashbacks and video sequences. Features include an ambience of dreamlike uncertainty found in movies like "Jacob's Ladder," with 80 characters, 3D-rendered environments and digital soundtrack. Grab the demo at http://www.ascgames.com/ -------------------------------------------------- Midway Ships SF RUSH PSX, Rampage World Tour Midway Home Entertainment's San Francisco RUSH Extreme Racing 3D driving game is now available for Sony's PlayStation game console. The title offers an "intense" solo driving game and a simulated EXTREME racing competition for two players. Options include split-screen or link-cable competition and a choice of eight cars, plus four driving models, each featuring its own handling characteristics. Additionally, players get a choice of optional, automatic or 4-speed manual transmission driving modes, day, night, and snow modes, adjustable steering feedback, drone disablement options, and more. Four race course track options feature hidden shortcuts allowing players to jump across rooftops, through sewers, or fly off suspended freeways. Also, Midway is now shipping Rampage World Tour, an updated version of the classic Rampage video arcade game, for the Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Up to three players can embark on a "rampage" that includes eating good stuff - such as tasty and nourishing humans - for health boosts, while avoiding regurgitation-inducing bad stuff. In addition, secret moves let players fend off bullets, fire, and explosives. Get fogbound or tear it up at http://www.midway.com/. -------------------------------------------------- Mystical Ninja Leaps Into N64 Market Konami of America has just shipped Mystical Ninja, a new game for Nintendo 64 that combines adventure, arcade, action and RPG elements. The title features giant 3D bosses and enemies, hidden bonus games, surprises and new puzzle adventures and also lets the user play as one of four different unique characters. Plus, Mystical Ninja will be available for Game Boy users. More information can be found at http://www.konami.com. -------------------------------------------------- AMF ProBowl 3D Lanes Always Open I don't know how it is in your neck of the woods, but here in the Bay Area, bowling alleys are so sparse that the remaining few are always overbooked. But now you never have to wait for a lane, thanks to Head Games' new AMF ProBowl 3D for PCs. Head Games used 3D and motion capture technologies to replicate the bowler's movements and the lights, sounds and excitement of an AMF Bowling Center. The BowlCam lets bowlers view the lanes from multiple perspectives, including straight ahead, pin view, ball view, bowler view, etc. Visit http://www.headgames.net. --------------------------------------------------

HAPPENINGS

WEB.BUILDER Adds Andreessen to Keynote Roster Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen will conduct a special keynote presentation for attendees of WEB.BUILDER SAN FRANCISCO, CNET's semi-annual conference for Web developers. WEB.BUILDER SAN FRANCISCO takes place April 14-16, 1998 at the San Francisco Hilton and will also feature longtime Apple evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, as a keynote speaker. More information is available at http://Web.builder.com/sf98. --------------------------------------------------

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review. Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703. If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks. -------------------------------------------------- Please send address changes (with old and new addresses), subscribe and unsubscribe requests etc. to the above address. If you use the Reply function, please do _not_ echo an entire issue of Spectrum with your message. -------------------------------------------------- Publisher's note: We are now accepting limited advertising. If you'd like to offer your company's products or services to Spectrum's elite audience of Internet and multimedia professionals, send an email query to duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- ©Copyright 1998 Motion Blur Media. All rights reserved. No reproduction in any for-profit or revenue-generating venue in any form without written permission from the publisher.
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