Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 22 April 2002
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
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Today's Headlines (details below)
IN THE INFOGROOVE
--Nvidia, Keyhole Partner for 3D World View --Digital Insight Introduces Payment Tech --Report: Internet Usage Cannibalizes Moms' TV Watching
--Viewpoint Offers Macintosh Media Player --Cycore Updates Cult3D VIZ Exporter
--Consumers Adopt Home Networks to Keep Up
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
--Free Fall Announces New Solitaire Card Games --Sony Announces First-Party PlayStation Titles --Sega Launches Wireless Gaming Unit
--GiN Announces GOTY Awards
IN THE INFOGROOVE
Thanks to Clark Dodsworth for this item: Brad Paley's new Website describes his innovative TextArc as "some funny combination of an index, concordance, and summary, [which] uses the viewer's eye to help uncover meaning." Unfortunately, it relies heavily on Java, which, in Microsoft's implementation, isn't very fast. So if you want to check it out, dust off that Netscape browser (or download 6.2), or be patient.
Nvidia, Keyhole Partner for 3D World View
Nvidia Corporation has formed a partnership, including an investment commitment, with Keyhole Corporation, a mapping software and service provider. As a result of the agreement, Nvidia will become the exclusive distribution partner for the consumer version of the EarthViewer 3D program, starting with an online promotion beginning this week at http://www.nvidia.com. The two companies are also working together to integrate new capabilities in the EarthViewer 3D product, including optimized support for Nvidia's next-generation Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), for both the consumer and professional markets.
EarthViewer 3D delivers geospatial information to broadband-connected PCs as a three-dimensional model of planet Earth. It offers a stream of high-resolution satellite images, aerial photographs, maps, point-of-interest databases and other location-critical data. It also allows users to pan, zoom and tilt the view of any location, from Mount Everest to the Grand Canyon.
From April 22 to May 5, Nvidia will host a limited online promotion, giving 10,000 consumers up to a two-week trial of the EarthViewer 3D program. In addition, those who download the trial version will have the chance to win a notebook computer by participating in a global treasure hunt.
Digital Insight Introduces Payment Tech
Digital Insight Corp. says it is augmenting its online payment offering with inter-institution transfer and person-to-person payment technologies.
These latest eFinance developments permits end-users to transfer funds back and forth between their primary account and their other accounts at other institutions. They also let end-users send money electronically to friends, colleagues and businesses. Digital Insight's client financial institutions will be able to integrate these advanced payment solutions into their Internet Banking offering.
Made available through Digital Insight's partnership with CashEdge, Inc., a provider of online-payment solutions, these new one-step payment solutions reportedly let end-users bypass the check-writing process and exercise greater control over their finances.
Report: Internet Usage Cannibalizes Moms' TV Watching
Jupiter Media Metrix reports that Internet usage more heavily affects the television viewing habits of women with children than women without children in the U.S. According to the first report from Jupiter's new Online Behavior & Demographics service, 44 percent of women with children admit that their usage of the Internet decreases the time they spend watching TV. Jupiter analysts forecast that marketers and publishers will have the opportunity to reach more than 49 million women online between the ages of 18 and 49, in addition to another eight million female college and graduate students by 2006.
"Because women with children often have time constraints, and therefore a limited time budget for media consumption, increased use of the Internet is more likely to cannibalize time that was once spent watching television," said Jon Gibs, Jupiter Research analyst. "Advertisers and programmers interested in reaching mothers should therefore consider increasing their online marketing efforts relative to TV advertising."
The debut Report from Jupiter's newly launched Online Behavior & Demographics service -- titled "Demographic Profile: Women Online" -- reveals that women with children enjoy using the Internet to play games online (29 percent), download music (29 percent) and conduct research for school and homework-related projects (40 percent). In contrast, women without children are more inclined to turn to the Internet for utility-related activities, such as making travel arrangements (54 percent), doing research for work (41 percent), checking stock quotes (20 percent) and reading the news online (47 percent). In addition to segmenting female Web users by popular online activities, the Jupiter Research Report examines women's Web site visitation habits, attitudes toward online advertising and online shopping patterns.
Viewpoint Offers Macintosh Media Player
New from Viewpoint Corporation is the Macintosh version of its Media Player, (VMP). For more technical information and to download the Mac player, visit: http://developer.viewpoint.com.
The Mac version of the Viewpoint Media Player is capable of two-way scripting on the Mac in both Internet Explorer and Netscape. Like the Windows version of the Viewpoint Media Player, the Mac version is "windowless" in both Internet Explorer and Netscape, and works with hiding and showing layers on the Mac.
Viewpoint says its Mac plug-in introduces functional parity between the Mac and Windows platforms, offering Mac users and content creators the same experience regardless of platform or browser.
Viewpoint Experience Technology (VET) features for the Mac include: * ZoomView: Now available in Adobe Photoshop 7.0, this serverless "pixels on demand" imaging technology enables the delivery of large 2D images over a narrowband connection.
* 3D: Viewpoint claims its tech offers the most realistic 3D objects, at the smallest file sizes possible.
* Flash: The VMP supports playback of .swf files, enabling the integration of Macromedia Flash with more complex and interactive 3D and 2D media files.
* HyperView: Lets viewers interactively expand rich media content beyond the browser window and utilize the entire desktop as real estate for animations and user interactions. HyperView can be viewed independently from ZoomView on the Macintosh.
* Other media: The VMP also supports other media types such as Audio, IPIX and QTVR.
The Mac version of the Viewpoint Media Player is designed for Mac OS 8.5 through Mac OS 9X and runs in the "Classic Mode" browser for Mac OS X.
Cycore Updates Cult3D VIZ Exporter
Sweden's Cycore, a developer of interactive 3D tools for e-business, last week shipped its new Cult3D VIZ Exporter 4.0 software. The lets users of Autodesk VIZ 4 software export models created in the 3D design visualization tool directly to Cult3D with built-in collision detection and navigation, for instant publication on the Web or electronic documentation.
Autodesk will begin shipping Cult3D VIZ Exporter with each copy of Autodesk VIZ 4 sold.
Cult3D VIZ Exporter 4 turns architectural Autodesk VIZ 4 models into interactive presentations, ready to be published online or in electronic documents such as Adobe Acrobat PDF files or Microsoft Office files such as PowerPoint. Architects can automatically generate an HTML page with a virtual walkthrough environment of their building or landscape scene, viewable by virtually anyone, anywhere. Navigation controls and automated collision detection enable viewers to "walk through" rendered architectural models and landscape scenes in real time, using keyboard and mouse.
To publish models for commercial use, a $395USD license must be purchased from Cycore. Users can then publish Cult3D objects on an unlimited number of URLs and offline applications.
Consumers Adopt Home Networks to Keep Up
As the popularity of home networking in the U.S. increases, the demographics of those using the technology are evolving, according to a recent survey conducted by In-Stat/MDR. The high-tech research firm found evidence of increased interest in home networking by nearly all segments of the population, refuting the common perception that their usage is restricted to tech-savvy, early adopters.
In-Stat/MDR believes the total percentage of owners who would purchase and install a home network would be higher if they were educated about the benefits. The vendor community has begun, both individually and collectively (through such efforts as the Internet Home Alliance), to educate end-users about the benefits of home networking and broadband.
"While we can point to a number of demand drivers, including wider availability of low-cost and easy-to-use networking gear and increased awareness of end-users, perhaps the best way to understand the increased interest is to examine what end-users are using their home networks for." The survey found the following:
* 42% of those with home networks pointed to broadband as the primary application. With the number of broadband users in the U.S. growing to approximately 13 million by the end of 2001, the home networking industry has benefited greatly. This is indicative in the strong end-use demand for affordable broadband sharing devices from the likes of vendors such as Linksys and NetGear. These two vendors alone shipped over 2 million cable/DSL routers in 2001.
* The 45-54 age bracket has become the largest segment of the home network owner population as they react to the needs of their tech-savvy late-teen children and home networking products become easier to install and manage.
The segment accounts for 28% of all home networked households in the U.S.
* Of the respondents planning to purchase a home network, 41% plan to purchase from a retailer. This is a key opportunity for vendors such as Linksys, D-Link, and NetGear with strong retail presence. 37% do not know where they plan to purchase their home network. This indecisiveness indicates a lack of loyalty to any particular channel other than retail.
The $2,495 report, "Networking The Joneses: Examining End-User Adoption of Home Networks" (#IN020235RC), examines end-use adoption and usage patterns for home network and non-home network owners, focusing specifically on the purchase decisions and usage related to home network ownership. The cross relationship between home network installation and sale of other technology products and services is examined.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Free Fall Announces New Solitaire Card Games
New from Free Fall Games, developer of the classic title Archon, among others, is Triplicards Volume One. The PC product is said to combine the appeal of mass-market card games with the possibilities of an entirely new deck. FFG promises its patented playing cards, with three suits and three independent colors, allow more choice and challenge than an ordinary deck.
Triplicards Volume One contains five solitaires: * Eureka looks and plays like standard "Solitaire" (Klondike) but is easier to win.
* Fifteen, which is a bit like Blackjack without the complications or the "house" edge, is a simple introduction to the 60-card Triplicard standard deck.
* Heredity is described as an uncomplicated but sometimes confounding solitaire that obeys few of the expected rules of play, suited to either casual or intense play.
* Pokingo is a blend of Bingo and Poker Squares that takes advantage of the enhanced scoring possibilities of Triplicards.
* Fanatic is a game of three-card "fans" for those who prefer an intellectual challenge in their solitaires.
Two versions of Triplicards Volume One are now available online for Windows-based PCs running Windows 95 or newer. A free-trial version allows newcomers to play the games for two weeks; the unlimited version, an inexpensive upgrade, can be played indefinitely. Each is slightly over two megabytes in size.
Sony Announces First-Party PlayStation Titles
This summer, Sony Computer Entertainment America will release three first-party titles for PS one:
* Disney's Lilo and Stitch (June 2002) - The mismatched pair of Lilo and Stitch embark on an adventure around the island of Hawaii, based on the forthcoming Disney animated feature. A lonely little girl, Lilo, adopts what she thinks is a dog. She names her new "pet" Stitch, unaware that he is a dangerous genetic experiment that has escaped from an alien planet.
Play as Lilo or Stitch and learn the true meaning of "ohana," Hawaiian for family, in platform-style gameplay.
* Stuart Little 2 (July 2002) - Based on the upcoming summer movie, the 3D adventure introduces gamers to Stuart Little and his new friend Margalo as they embark on a journey through a variety of Manhattan locations. Players will explore the Littles' immense house, take a swim in the aquarium, and race through Central Park as they assist Stuart on his mission to recover stolen jewelry. Features eight levels based on the feature film's locales, various movie clips and 12 mini-games involving skateboarding, mine-carting and flying airplanes.
* c-12: Final Resistance (July, 2002) - From SCEE Cambridge Studio, the creator of the MediEvil series on PlayStation, the third/first-person action-adventure game offers dark, detailed environments with more than 35 different missions and objectives. Players experience armed combat, exploration and puzzle solving.
Sega Launches Wireless Gaming Unit
Sega.com, Inc. last week debuted Sega Mobile, a new division expected to bring Sega gaming to cellular phone and PDA users in North America. With over 2.5 million subscribers to wireless games and other entertainment-related content in Japan, Sega Mobile seems to think it could well in the U.S. as well. Wireless gaming is expected to take off in the next few years, with Ovum, an analyst and consulting company, guessing that the global revenue for wireless gaming will reach $4.4 billion by 2006, up from $124 million in 2001.
Sega Mobile is tapping into Sega's content library, launching titles such as Pengo, Flicky, Puyo Puyo, and Monaco GP. Beginning this summer, Sega Mobile will be bringing the title Monkey Ball to wireless devices. The division also plans to publish new puzzle, sports and entertainment titles.
Sega Mobile is headed by Ryoichi Shiratsuchi, a 23-year veteran of the IT industry, and Sega employee since 1999.
GiN Announces GOTY Awards
The Game Industry News site recently announced its 2001 Game of the Year reader awards in no fewer than 26 categories. With 10,000 votes cast, the overall winner was Grand Theft Auto III, which also won in the PS2 category. Other winners included:
* Family entertainment - Nancy Drew: The Final Scene, by Her Interactive * Best environment - Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, by Codemasters * Educational - Mindrover: The Europa Project, with its emphasis on scientific learning, by Cognitoy
* Most innovative - Max Payne, Take 2 Interactive (for the bullet-time feature)
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.
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