Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

17 April 2000

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman

for editorial/subscription inquiries, send mailto:duberman@dnai.com

Search the Spectrum archives at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum

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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER

Paravision Introduces PageGenie XML Capture Architecture

Sun Unveils Web Streaming Solution

Solopoint.com, Be Team up for Broadband Appliance

NameU.com Launches Site for Net Name Creation

DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Microsoft Announces Windows Media Tech 7

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Sonicbox Announces iM Software Tuner

Streaming Media to Accelerate Trad Media Convergence

Free Online Recording Studios At HarmonyCentral.com

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Eos Releases PhotoModeler Pro 4.0 Beta

Adobe Announces Illustrator 9

Alias|Wavefront Announces Universal Rendering Policy For Maya 3

Pinnacle Ships Effects package, Announces Commotion 3

Toon Boom Adds Flash Support

InfoValue Releases MPEG Streaming Video Solution for Linux

SGI Announces Next-Generation Graphics for Silicon Graphics Onyx2

WEBSIGHTINGS

PlanetWare Offers Travel Encyclopedia

TECHNOTES

Xi Graphics Offers 3D Linux Drivers for Voodoo3 Cards

CONSUMER CHANNEL

BrainForest Pro Newly Available for Windows, Palm

Wilco Announces 737 Add-on for Fly!

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Macromedia Announces E-Learning Content Awards

Technology NJ Calls for Entries for Internet Awards

DEALS

MetaCreations Unloads Graphics Apps

3Dlabs to Acquire Intense3D from Intergraph

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Online Games Improve Language Skills

Starlancer Goes Gold

Interplay Announces Sacrifice - New Shiny Title

NUMBEROLOGY

Ovitz Invests in Play

DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

GDC Renames IGF Prize in Memory of McNally

AIAS Announces Finalists for Interactive Achievement Awards

HAPPENINGS

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum

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WEBMEISTER

Paravision Introduces PageGenie XMLCapture Architecture

Paravision Imaging, Inc., a document capture-technology software company, last week announced a new generation XML Content Capture/Creation Solution for the emerging XML Content Management Market. Called PageGenie XMLCapture Architecture, it offers a set of XML content management tools for XML content creation, publishing, and maintenance.

Users can generate XML documents through a "Print" command, edit the XML document in an WYSIWYG "Tagging" environment, then "Convert" into final XML documents, based on user XML DTD/Schema.

http://www.paravision.com/

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Sun Unveils Web Streaming Solution

Coming next month from Sun Microsystems is its StorEdge Media Central Streaming Server software, based on IETF open standards, and when paired with Sun servers and storage. According to Sun, the platform bridges the broadcast and Internet worlds by supporting both traditional audio/video and Web content delivery channels and by offering anytime, anywhere access to a variety of data types.

Analyst firm Multimedia Research Group reported on the exploding streaming media industry in a report entitled "IP Video & Streaming Media: Server and Services Market Overview & Forecast: 1999-2001."

"As of 1998, there were an estimated 36,000 streaming media Web sites. By the end of 1999 that number climbed to 108,000," said Paul Donovan, analyst, Multimedia Research Group, Sunnyvale, Calif. "We expect that by the end of 2000 there will be more than 250,000 Web sites that offer streaming media. This rapid growth means that media-centric content providers and value-added content delivery services will need to deploy an interoperable, open-standards infrastructure that can scale to the soaring demand for broadband applications."

The initial product release provides direct support for streaming Apple Computer's QuickTime technology, which allows content developers to stream content in the same format in which they created it. In future product releases, Sun plans to support plug-ins for other open-standard formats.

Pricing for the streaming software starts at US$2,995.

http://www.sun.com

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Solopoint.com, Be Team up for Broadband Appliance

Solopoint.com, inc., a provider of broadband Internet access and personal communications solutions for the home, and Be Incorporated plan to co-develop a reference platform of solopoint.com's Lifestyle appliance for consumers. Be's software platform for Internet appliances, BeIA, will power the Lifestyle appliance.

Solopoint.com's "always-on" Lifestyle appliance is designed to provide personalized entertainment and information -- such as streaming broadcasts, music, news, and e-mail -- to each family member in the home. The content is tailored to user preferences through broadband Internet connectivity, including cable and DSL.

Third-party hardware manufacturers will license the Lifestyle appliance directly from solopoint.com and the BeIA software platform directly from Be.

http://www.be.com/

http://www.solopoint.com

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NameU.com Launches Site for Net Name Creation

NameU.com's new Website is a free, Web-based service for creating and securing 'Net names. When site visitors register with NameU.com, they become "student body" members and have access to all the tools, content, databases and services on the NameU.com Campus. The process of name generation asks students to enter a key word or term and select a category that conveys the essence of the identity they are seeking.

Then NameDex, the firm's proprietary naming technology, generates name options for consideration, as well as similar names. Once the desirable names are selected they can be saved in a user's private MyNames folder to be checked for availability and to be accessed for future reference.

http://www.NameU.com

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DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Microsoft Announces Windows Media Tech 7

Microsoft last week unveiled Windows Media Technologies 7, its Internet broadband-ready platform for creation, distribution and playback of "broadcast-quality" digital media. Stated features include:

Windows Media Technologies 7, including Windows Media Player, Windows Media Format, Windows Media Rights Manager, Windows Media Encoder and the Windows Media SDK, is scheduled to be available in beta form in May 2000. The Windows Media Player 7 Technology Preview for software developers and technical evaluators is available for download today at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/.

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

Sonicbox Announces iM Software Tuner

This is pretty cool--we've been enjoying the Internet radio tunes while preparing this edition of Spectrum (just for you!). If you've got a broadband connection, check out Sonicbox's new iM Software Tuner. The tuner is the first product to be released by Sonicbox and will be followed by the iM Remote Tuner later this spring. The iM Tuner is now available for free download from the Sonicbox site at http://www.sonicbox.com.

With pushbutton e-commerce capability and targeted one-to-one ad insertion, Sonicbox offers radio stations NTR opportunities and advertisers access to targeted listeners via an Internet-extended cluster model. The Smile and Frown buttons allow listeners to let the broadcaster know whether they like or dislike what they hear and enable the stations to run Internet promotions and conduct opt-in listener market research. The Tell Me More button allows listeners to get information about a particular song they are listening to--when it's implemented, which doesn't seem to be very often, at this point. The feedback from this feature is in the form of an email that tells users the name of the song, the name of the artist, the name of the CD and how and where they can purchase the CD.

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Streaming Media to Accelerate Trad Media Convergence

The availability of broadband Internet access is enabling a new distribution channel for traditional media companies: streaming media. While broadcast and cable companies are racing to put the "Internet on your TV," traditional media companies such as Disney, Viacom and AOL-Time-Warner, are looking to the Internet to increase the exposure of their copyrighted content.

Streaming media (digitized and compressed video) gives traditional media companies a way to extend their brand onto the Internet when their traditional TV audience is at the office. A TV station's news programming is a natural "information portal" for local viewers. Cahners In-Stat Group's latest report predicts local TV stations will use streaming media Web sites to nibble away at the user bases of Yahoo! and America Online.

Gerry Kaufhold, an Industry analyst for In-Stat's Multimedia Broadband Services Group states " Imagine you were around in the '20s, or even the '50s with the birth of radio or television. A similar set of circumstances exists today - streaming media on the Internet is about to explode to people at their place of business and will eventually bring television to people 24 hours a day, at work, at home, and even in their vehicles!"

In-Stat also reports the following:

In-Stat's report, Streaming Media: The Internet Collides with Digital Television ($2,995), examines traditional media companies, their use of streaming media, and the various modes by which they will broadcast content using the Internet. The report also examines business and consumer streaming media infrastructures, and how the Internet and streaming media converge with the rollout of digital TV. The report provides forecasts for multimedia broadband services both inside and outside the United States.

http://www.instat.com/catalog/cat-dt.htm

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Free Online Recording Studios At HarmonyCentral.com

Rocket Network is offering a network of Internet Recording Studios. Emagic GmbH has combined elements of its Logic Audio series with Rocket technology to produce Logic Rocket--software that lets musicians collaborate and produce original work online. Logic Rocket is available free at http://www.harmony-central.com/Rocket.

After a quick free download, HarmonyCentral users can play in free public studios with unique themes. They can also purchase their own private studio space to control and record their session.

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Eos Releases PhotoModeler Pro 4.0 Beta

Eos Systems Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week released PhotoModeler Pro 4.0 Beta, the pre-release of the new version of its software that uses photographs to build 3D models and measurements. Current owners of PhotoModeler Pro 3.1 (unlocked version only) are able to download a free patch and sample the new features. Pro 3.1 users can join the Beta Contest for a chance at a free upgrade to Pro 4.0.

New features include NURBS curves, edges, constraints, new surfacing functions, improved single photo project capabilities, new referencing functions, projections, and field camera calibration.

PhotoModeler Pro 4.0 Beta is a 32-bit program that runs on Windows 95, 98, 2000 and NT 4.0(sp3+). The minimum system requirements are 133Mhz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 25MB hard disk space, 800X600 screen with 32,000 colors, and sound hardware for tutorials. To create models, a method of capturing images is required, e.g., digital camera, scanner, or video capture board.

http://www.photomodeler.com/pm40

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Adobe Announces Illustrator 9

Coming within a couple of months from Adobe Systems is Adobe Illustrator 9.0, an upgrade to its vector graphics software. The major new features are tools for creating and optimizing Web graphics, plus improved transparency capabilities.

Designers can transform editable artwork into vector, raster or animated Web graphics. The new Pixel Preview mode enables envisioning how vector graphics will look rasterized in Web browsers. The software supports the Flash (.swf) and the W3C's Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) formats. Illustrator 9.0 also integrates with Adobe's family of Web applications including Adobe GoLive 5.0, Adobe LiveMotion and Adobe Photoshop 5.5.

The new transparency capabilities let users apply a variety of transparency effects to any object, including raster images and type, so that underlying objects become visible.

New workflow features include live object and layer effects, graphic styles, and layer enhancements that allow designers to edit as they go, without modifying the original artwork.

http://www.adobe.com

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Alias|Wavefront Announces Universal Rendering Policy For Maya 3

SGI-owned Alias|Wavefront last week announced details about its upcoming release of the Maya version 3 software. New features will include a universal rendering policy that enables Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited customers to "float" the Maya Batch Renderer across any number of machines on Windows NT, IRIX and Linux platforms.

Maya 3, the fifth major release of Maya in less than three years, incorporates user interface and workflow improvements. Enhancements include: Trax, the non-linear motion compositor for video, film and games users; fully integrated Subdivision Surfaces, Maya Artisan texture paint; rendering enhancements; plus improvements in user interface and workflow.

Maya Complete 3 and Maya Unlimited 3 with universal rendering will ship this summer for Windows NT and Silicon Graphics IRIX, with the Linux renderer to follow.

Maya Complete 3 has a SRP of $7,500 US, Maya Unlimited 3 has a SRP of $16,000 US and Maya Builder 3 has a SRP of $2,995 US (Maya Builder does not include Universal Rendering). Prices will vary outside of the U.S.

http://www.aliaswavefront.com

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Pinnacle Ships Effects package, Announces Commotion 3

Pinnacle Systems, Inc. last week released Image Lounge for Windows and Knoll Light Factory effects plug-in sets ($395). Image Lounge for Windows offers style tools and image filters for infusing images, text, or backgrounds with graphic effects. Knoll Light Factory, developed by John Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop and visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, includes 25 individual lens components to create custom lighting effects.

Previously only available for Macintosh, Image Lounge is a set of over 20 powerful filters for Adobe After Effects to make dynamic images or motion text. The tool-set includes particle systems for creating natural elements like fire, water, and smoke, perspective shadows, photo-realistic blurs, and a host of time-saving text animation tools.

Knoll Light Factory is now available for After Effects, Avid AVX , ElectricImage, and Photoshop. Use Knoll Light Factory to create an unlimited number of lighting effects and lens flares. Control the brightness, size, color, and angle of individual effect components or the overall lighting effect. Add motion blur to moving lighting effects. Use the Auto Obscuration to automatically hide and reveal a light effect as the light source moves behind another object. With the new Light Factory Spectacular feature, simultaneously apply light effects to multiple individual points in the same scene, such as with a particle system.

Also, coming in June from Pinnacle is Commotion 3.0 ($1,995), a paint, compositing, and effects package developed by Puffin Designs, which Pinnacle recently acquired.

"Commotion 3.0 is essentially a whole new product -- the paint engine has been re-written from the ground up, the interface has an elegant re-design, unlimited layers were added for compositing and painting, and over 75 effects filters are now built into the product, [plus] built-in plug-in sets from Primatte Keyer, Composite Wizard, and Image Lounge … " said Scott Squires, Creative Visionary at Pinnacle Systems, Inc.

The two different versions of Commotion 3.0 are designed to meet the needs of digital video and film artists. Commotion DV introduces the editor working in the DV format to the power of integrated paint, 25 basic effects filters, and compositing for digital video. Commotion Pro includes motion tracking, unlimited resolution, and 50 additional effects filters for video artists who need the most advanced compositing and effects capabilities.

New features include:

http://www.puffindesigns.com

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Toon Boom Adds Flash Support

Toon Boom Technologies' USAnimation software now supports the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format. The software is used in 2D cartoon animation for film and broadcast. USAnimation lets users export static animation frames and render Macromedia Flash movies.

For more information on, or to download, the free Macromedia Flash file format (SWF) SDK, visit http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/licensing/fileformat/.

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InfoValue Releases MPEG Streaming Video Solution for Linux

InfoValue Computing Inc.'s new video streaming solution for Linux workstations is based on its QuickVideo Suite of video-enabling solutions. The QuickVideo Player for Linux is integrated with an MPEG decoder and is compatible with Java Media Framework-compliant decoders.

The IP-compatible QuickVideo V5 integrates video-on-demand and multicast solutions to let organizations and service providers stream broadband video over traditional and wireless broadband network infrastructures. Applications range from training, education and informational kiosks to entertainment, including pay-per-view movies for hotels and airlines.

QuickVideo supports all IP networks, including Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, ATM, Cable modems, ADSL modems, etc. It also supports all video formats and application environments and can be used with most off-the-shelf PC hardware, encoders, decoders, storage devices, and authoring tools.

QuickVideo products for Linux are available now with pricing starting at $4,500.

http://www.infovalue.com

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SGI Announces Next-Generation Graphics for Silicon Graphics Onyx2

If you've just made a killing in the market and need to spend that extra hundred thou, here's a new toy to consider. SGI last week launched the InfiniteReality3 (IR3) graphics engine for the Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visualization workstation. IR3 is suited for applications in the modeling and simulation, oil and gas, manufacturing and entertainment markets.

The primary feature of Onyx2 InfiniteReality3 is the enhanced ability to handle high-resolution image and volumetric information through 256MB texture memory and improved texture mapping techniques. This represents a four-fold increase over the 64MB texture memory delivered by the previous-generation InfiniteReality2 (IR2), at the same price as IR2.

Other features include:

http://www.sgi.com

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WEBSIGHTINGS

PlanetWare Offers Travel Encyclopedia

Taking a trip? You might want to check out the new PlanetWare Travel Encyclopedia at http://www.PlanetWare.com, said to be the largest searchable source of travel attractions data available anywhere on the Web.

Travelers can preview destinations by accessing over 4,500 high-quality travel photos (10,000 by the end of the year). PlanetWare allows students and travelers to print the photos in reports free as long as credit is given. PlanetWare otherwise leases these photos for Web use.

Visitors also get free pages naming top-rated tourist sites, suggested walking and driving tour sequences, plus a free city of the month (currently 550 attractions in London) which demonstrate all the features of the PlanetWare Web site. In total, the free section has 10,000 pages of travel data.

About 100,000 pages of attractions covering 36 countries are available by subscription, priced to be comparable to a standard guide book for one country alone.

The site also includes:

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TECHNOTES

Xi Graphics Offers 3D Linux Drivers for Voodoo3 Cards

Xi Graphics Inc. has released two new drivers supporting the Voodoo3 3D graphics cards from 3dfx. The drivers for the cards -- the Voodoo3-3000 and Voodoo3-3500 -- are downloadable from Xi Graphics' Web site for $29 each and can be installed in 15 minutes.

The 3D Linux graphics drivers -- or LGDs -- are OpenGL 1.1.1 compliant. Both driver packages include one of Xi Graphics' famous Accelerated-X servers, Xi Graphics' libGL 3D rendering library, and the standard libGLU library.

Xi Graphics engineering manager Jon Trulson said that all Linux distributions have freeware graphics software because it's free, not because it's good.

"Unfortunately, users new to Linux are often not aware that the graphics software that comes with their Linux operating system is not part of Linux, but is usually XFree86 freeware," noted Trulson. "When problems are encountered because of the graphics freeware, users often blame Linux, which is quite unfortunate."

http://www.xig.com

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CONSUMER CHANNEL

BrainForest Pro Newly Available for Windows, Palm

Aportis Technologies Corp. today released BrainForest Professional 1.0 for Windows and Palm Computing platform devices. BrainForest Professional for Macintosh and for Palm devices was released previously. BrainForest is an action item organizer, idea tracker, project planner and checklist manager. It is a hierarchical outlining tool that uses a Tree, Branches & Leaves analogy that allows customization of how data is viewed. The desktop programs mimic the handheld version and include printing as well as expanded import/export functions, so data can be exchanged with most other desktop applications. BrainForest Professional files can be used on any Windows computer, Macintosh or Palm Computing platform device.

http://www.aportis.com

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Wilco Announces 737 Add-on for Fly!

Coming in late May is Wilco Publishing’s new Boeing 737-500 Airliner for FLY!, Terminal Reality’s flight sim. The PC- and Macintosh-compatible add-on will put FLY! fans at the controls of one of the workhorses of commercial aviation in a virtual environment.

Wilco’s 737 comes in 14 different liveries ranging from Delta and United to Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and Sabena. The front, overhead, FMC, throttle quadrant and floor panels are faithfully reproduced 3D replicas with shadows.

All switches and buttons are clickable and animated, and all gears, flaps, spoilers and other controls are fully operational, advancing and retreating in response to pilot commands. A 180-degree view of the cockpit and genuine sound effects recorded in a real 737 flight deck heighten the illusion that the user is sitting in the captain’s seat. The fuel simulation system causes the airliner to behave differently according to the fuel level or the balance of fuel in the tanks.

Simmers can either free-fly with air traffic controllers or select from a menu of pre-defined flights that serve both as training missions and personal challenges.

http://www.wilcopub.com

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Macromedia Announces E-Learning Content Awards

Macromedia recently announced its eLearning Innovation Award Program to advance the rapidly growing e-learning marketplace by promoting the exchange of ideas, encouraging the development of computer and Web-based instruction, and rewarding and providing exposure for authors of outstanding instructional content.

The program will run quarterly with entries accepted by June 30, September 30, December 31, 2000, and March 31, 2001. Macromedia will select and award winners in two categories: best corporate training application, and best educational application. Winners will receive Palm Pilots, a choice of any two Macromedia Web Publishing products, and free registration to the next Macromedia User Conference. All winners will be eligible for the eLearning Application of the Year award.

http://www.macromedia.com/learning/innovation/

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Technology NJ Calls for Entries for Internet Awards

Technology New Jersey's 2nd Annual Internet Excellence and Internet Innovator Awards for organizations and individuals are designed to recognize the top 50 companies and organizations, located anywhere, that have created and implemented a Web site or e-commerce site that embodies the best the Internet has to offer.

The Internet Innovator Award will honor the top 10 most influential internet commerce leaders in New Jersey whose outstanding accomplishments and contributions are driving the Internet industry forward.

http://www.technologynj.org

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DEALS

MetaCreations Unloads Graphics Apps

Three different software companies have bought the graphics applications previously developed and published by Metacreations Corporation, which has newly dedicated itself to Web 3D via its Metastream technology.

Germany's egi.sys AG has purchased Poser, the 3D character animation and design tool for digital artists and animators, and Office Advantage, a plug-in application for Windows that runs inside Microsoft Office to create PowerPoint presentations and Excel charts.

Under egi.sys AG, Curious Labs, Inc. will develop, publish, market and distribute future versions of the Poser product. CEO Larry Weinberg, the creator of Poser, together with Steve Cooper, president, and Seath Ahrens, vice president of research and development, are co-founders of Curious Labs. Steve Cooper was the Poser product manager at MetaCreations and Seath Ahrens co-lead engineer. Curious Labs expects to hire additional marketing, sales, service and support professionals from MetaCreations, together with developers and engineers who have been associated with Poser to ensure the smooth transition and continued development of Poser.

http://www.egisys.de

http://www.curiouslabs.com

Also, Corel purchased KPT, KPT Vector Effects, Bryce, and Painter. Corel plans to launch new versions for both the Web and retail distribution channels throughout the year. It also plans to broaden the range of localized versions worldwide. The companies announced the MetaCreations Painter 6.0.3 patch will soon be made available to registered users at http://www.metacreations.com/products/painter6/patches.

Lastly, Adobe Corporation acquired Carrara and Canoma, in connection with Adobe's strategic e-commerce partnership with Metastream Corporation.

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3Dlabs to Acquire Intense3D from Intergraph

3Dlabs has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of the Intense3D operations of Intergraph Corporation in a stock transaction.

Under the terms of the agreement, 3Dlabs will issue up to 3.69 million common shares of 3Dlabs to Intergraph as initial consideration for the acquired assets and goodwill, with an earn-out provision totaling up to an additional $25 million, payable in stock and/or cash. The earn-out will be based on certain performance metrics for the Intense3D operations for the remainder of year 2000 following the closing of the transaction. In addition, 3Dlabs will continue to supply professional graphics and digital media accelerators for incorporation into Intergraph's system products. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close during the second quarter of 2000. 3Dlabs will incur one-time acquisition related charges in the second quarter of 2000.

3Dlabs intends to strengthen the development and worldwide support for both 3Dlabs' Oxygen and Intense3D's Wildcat families of products - which are targeted at separate and complementary market segments. 3Dlabs expects to offer selected Wildcat products through its worldwide distribution channel starting in the third quarter. In addition, 3Dlabs expects to leverage the combined expertise of both companies to develop products targeted at the expanding video and digital media content creation markets.

http://www.3dlabs.com

http://www.intense3d.com

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Online Games Improve Language Skills

Transparent Language, Inc., a developer of language-learning and translation technology for the Internet, consumer and corporate markets, recently announced the Games component of its online language community, Transparent.com. Transparent.com's online language games combine games with the opportunity to improve foreign-language skills.

Transparent.com will feature four language-learning games: Unscramble, Sliding Puzzle, Plug-n-Play and International Cafe. The games currently feature language-building activities in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese.

In Unscramble, players improve foreign-language skills by unscrambling words to form a sentence. Foreign words are presented at random with the English translation of the phrase as a guide, and players race against the clock to unscramble the words correctly before time runs out. In Sliding Puzzle, players test their knowledge of international landmarks by arranging puzzle pieces to correctly display a famous landmark. Players can select either the 3x3 puzzles for beginners or the advanced 4x4 puzzles.

With Plug-n-Play, players increase foreign-language reading comprehension skills with a fill-in-the-blank word game. Players begin with a foreign phrase or paragraph that is missing text and a corresponding list of possible foreign words, and must select the appropriate words from the list to complete the sentence. International Cafe is a Macromedia Flash game where players travel to virtual international restaurants where they must select between two different menu items. Players need to make their selection carefully, or they may be surprised with their meal.

http://www.Transparent.com

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Starlancer Goes Gold

Schedule to hit store shelves in late April is Microsoft's StarLancer, a new game created by Erin and Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame. The futuristic space combat game reportedly combines the action of a first-person space shooter with the drama and intrigue of a classic air combat movie.

In StarLancer, countries from around the world, including the United States, Russia, and Great Britain, have formed strategic alliances and now battle for control of Earth, Venus and other planets across the solar system. As part of a newly-formed, ragtag aviation unit called the 45th Volunteers Squadron, players must prove themselves in this struggle for freedom of the solar system.

More than 80 types of spacecraft are rendered in 3D detail. Players fly in over 25 missions that range from escorting marine boarding ships to free POWs to leading an assault on space stations built right into an asteroid field. StarLancer will also include multiplayer features. Players can work together cooperatively throughout the entire story, with up to four players. Gamers can also dogfight in six different deathmatch modes with up to eight players via LAN or the MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com).

StarLancer was developed by Digital Anvil and Warthog as the prequel to FreeLancer, the winner of the 1999 E3 Best of Show. StarLancer has an estimated street price of US$49.95.

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Interplay Announces Sacrifice - New Shiny Title

Interplay Entertainment Corp. last week announced its newest upcoming title -- Sacrifice. The game, being developed by Shiny Entertainment, will blend 3D real-time strategy with elements of action and role playing, with multi-player online capabilities. Playing the part of a powerful wizard attempting to appease one of five gods, the user will roam huge landscapes engaging in multiplayer battles, all the while casting powerful spells and summoning monstrous creatures.

A total of 55 unique creatures await the Sacrifice gamer, not to mention spells and wizardry. Additionally, hordes of characters are able to do battle with no slowdown in frame rate. The game's weather system that can be controlled through magic, pouring rains of fire or devastating earthquakes that permanently alter the battlefield beneath your enemy's feet. However, it's the gathering of opponent's souls and sacrificing them at your altar, that can ultimately change the complexion of a given confrontation.

Sacrifice also contains a level-editing tool, allowing for customized battles in both single and multi-player games. The environment reportedly lets the player to see for miles without walls or fog.

http://www.shiny.com

http://www.sacrifice.net (coming soon)

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NUMBEROLOGY

Ovitz Invests in Play

Citing the convergence of entertainment and the Internet, Lynx Technology Group, LLC ("Lynx") last week announced a strategic investment in technology developer Play Industries. Under the agreement, Lynx will make a multi-million dollar equity investment in Play and take a seat on Play's board of directors, while Play will become a strategic technology partner to Michael Ovitz's Lynx Technology Group, LLC.

"Play's advanced production tools are already used in the creation of some of the entertainment industry's popular films and network television programs," said Ovitz, a notorious Hollywood big shot. "We look forward to working closely with Play to create new forms of truly interactive programming that can easily be accessed by millions of viewers worldwide."

Play is the inventor of GlobeCaster, an Internet broadcasting system, "studio-in-a-box". The GlobeCaster is distributed and marketed by PSMG (Play Streaming Media Group), an Internet broadcasting service and solution provider recently launched by Play.

http://www.play.com

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DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

GDC Renames IGF Prize in Memory of McNally

The CMP Game Media Group last week renamed the Independent Game Festival's (IGF) grand prize in honor of Seumas McNally. McNally, who succumbed to Hodgkin's Disease on March 21 at the age of 21, was president and lead programmer at Longbow Digital Arts, the team that won this year's IGF Grand Prize. The award will henceforth be called the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

"Seumas McNally impressed everyone with his technical expertise and determination to complete this year's winning game, Tread Marks. He dedicated the last years of his life to finishing the wonderful game. But even more important, he was a caring person who was generous with his time and knowledge. He is an inspiration to us all, and we miss him greatly, " said Alex Dunne, chairman of the IGF. "By renaming the top IGF award in his honor, we hope to uphold that same spirit that Seumas so freely displayed to those who shared his passion for game development."

"Seumas was a joy to live with and fun to work with," said Jim McNally, Seumas' father. "His constant yearning for knowledge will continue to inspire us. We will cherish his memory."

Longbow Digital Arts was headed by Seumas, who worked alongside his parents Jim, vice-president, game and level designer, and Wendy, art director and modeler, as well as brother Philippe, artist and 3D modeler. Their game, Tread Marks, swept the recent IGF awards, taking home the Grand Prize, Best Game Design and the Best Programming awards.

The McNally family plans to reorganize Longbow Digital Arts. Current plans for the company include looking for a publisher for Tread Marks, and building more games with Seumas' Tread Marks game engine as the foundation.

A trust has been set up to provide an annual award to recognize programming excellence in the game development community. For more information on giving a donation in Seumas' memory, visit www.indiegames.com.

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AIAS Announces Finalists for Interactive Achievement Awards

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) (http://www.interactive.org) last week announced the finalists for the third annual Interactive Achievement Awards. Finalists for the top overall honor of Game of the Year are: Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings , Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64), Pokemon Yellow (Game Boy), Soul Calibur (Dreamcast), The Sims, and Unreal Tournament.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, leads the field with finalist nods in 7 categories, including four craft categories. These are: Game of the Year, Computer Game of the Year, Strategy Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering, Outstanding Achievement in Animation, and Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development. The developer of this title is Dallas-based Ensemble Studios. The publisher is Microsoft.

Finalists for the honor of Computer Game of the Year are: Age of Empires II: The Age of King, Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Homeworld, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and Unreal Tournament.

Finalists for the honor of Console Game of the Year are: Crazy Taxi (DC), Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64), Driver (PlayStation), Gran Turismo 2 (PlayStation), Pokemon Yellow (Game Boy), Soul Calibur (Dreamcast), and Tony Hawk¹s Pro-Skater (PlayStation).

Finalists for Online Game of the Year are: Asheron's Call, EverQuest, Get the Picture, Pop-Tarts "Pop" Trivia, and Wordox.

The Academy on May 11 will present Interactive Achievement Awards in 29 craft, console, computer and online categories. Highlights include an overall Game of the Year, as well as Game of the Year Awards presented in the computer, console, and on-line areas. The Academy will also honor Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy, who will be inducted into the Academy Hall of Fame.

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F.Y.I.

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