Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

18 August 2003

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman

For editorial/subscription inquiries, send mailto: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net

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

___________________________________

Today's Headlines (details below)

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Riverdeep Updates ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Digimation Updates SpeedTree

Electric Rain Updates Swift 3D for Mac OS X

Curious Labs Ships Poser 5 for Mac OS X

Singapore School, SGI Unveil VR Center

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Magazine Offers Game Career Guide

DEALS

ATI to Power Future Xbox

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Warcraft III Expansion Sells Over Million Copies

Atari Announces Humorous Medieval Fantasy Adventure

Square Enix Announces Online Final Fantasy for Windows

HAPPENINGS

Coming Soon: Silicon Valley 4.0

Indie Games Con ’03 Registration Opens

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum

___________________________________

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Riverdeep Updates ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall

Riverdeep, Inc. last week shipped ZoneAlarm Pro 4, firewall software designed to shield computers from hackers, data thieves, and malicious email attachments. Developed by Zone Labs and distributed by Riverdeep in the United States, the $40 Windows-based program promises new security features, advanced personal privacy tools and faster, safer Web browsing.

Hacker ID is a new feature that pinpoints and tracks hackers, making it possible for users to report serious offenders to their ISP. The new Outbound MailSafe feature helps to halt transmission of virus-infected email before it can do damage. And CacheCleaner is said to speed overall PC performance and remove temporary files, search history and other "file clutter" from users' computers.

 

 

http://www.riverdeep.net

A feature-limited, free version is available at http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp.

 

 

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Digimation Updates SpeedTree

 

Digimation last week began shipping SpeedTree 2.0 for 3ds max 4.x/5.x (a version will be available for 3ds max 6 when it ships), and SpeedTree VIZ 2.0 for Autodesk VIZ 4. The update to the SpeedTree plug-in, launched last year, includes support for palm trees, trees with smaller polygon counts, and a rewritten foresting tool.

 

SpeedTree 2.0 comes with a standalone tree-editing package called SpeedTree CAD Lite. It also comes with a set of plug-ins for 3ds max 4.x/5.x to import and work with SpeedTree trees inside 3ds max. The software includes a library of approximately 36 different tree species, each in two or three different resolutions and polygon counts. In addition, SpeedTree 2.0 supports network licensing and license transfers.

 

http://www.digimation.com

Electric Rain Updates Swift 3D for Mac OS X

Developer/publisher Electric Rain last week released Swift 3D version 3.0 for Mac OS X. Swift 3D is a standalone application for designers to build and export 3D animations to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format, as well as other major vector and raster formats.

The new version is said to offer advantages over previous versions by utilizing Mac OS X's dynamic memory management and multi-tasking capabilities, providing faster rendering speeds and enhanced workflow.

New features include:

  • RAViX III Rendering Engine: With options including reflections, transparency, specularity and multiple shadows, users can create higher-quality output without creating oversized files.
  • SmartLayer Technology: Lets users render scenes to layers.
  • EMO Ray Tracer: Supports bitmap texturing, and a second rendering engine exports images and animations to raster-based file formats as well as Macromedia Flash (SWF).

http://www.erain.com

Curious Labs Ships Poser 5 for Mac OS X

Curious Labs, Inc. last week release of Poser 5 for the Mac OS X platform. The 3D-character animation tool offers new features including:

  • FireFly Renderer: hybrid micro-polygon and Ray Trace render engine with subdivision surface rendering of polygons, which enables render-time polygon smoothing, displacement mapping, 3D motion blur, depth of field, and procedural textures
  • shader trees with material nodes
  • ray-traced refraction and reflection
  • dynamic hair with growth, styling and physics controls
  • dynamic cloth with physics and parameter-controlled attributes
  • photo-based facial mapping, with a database of scanned 3D human heads and textures
  • Morph Putty tool for interactive sculpting, and direct manipulation of facial expressions
  • hierarchical parameters palette with parameter grouping functionality
  • hierarchical libraries with support for multiple Runtime folders
  • new 3D human figures with fully articulated hands and feet, featuring photorealistic texture maps and facial morphs
  • collision detection

http://www.curiouslabs.com

Singapore School, SGI Unveil VR Center

SGI and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore last week announced the opening of the NTU Reality Theater, Southeast Asia's first virtual reality center for institutions of higher learning. A joint project between NTU and SGI, the facility will enhance collaborative research in biological and medical science, scientific visualization, virtual engineering, civil contingency planning, education, and digital media.

The Reality Theater will be made available to all NTU faculties for teaching and research and will also be available to external enterprises and government agencies for relevant applications and projects. CAMTech, a joint research and development center between the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics of Darmstadt, Germany, and NTU, will manage the theater.

The Reality Theater provides seating for up to 91 participants. Powered by a 16-processor SGI Onyx 3800 visualization system, it provides a collaborative computing environment within which users can engage in such activities as interactive, real-time engineering and design review, data analysis, critical training or command-and-control operations.

SGI is working with NTU to implement a Visual Area Network, SGI's anytime, anywhere, any-device visualization solution enabling interactive, collaborative analysis of large amounts of information. Through Visual Area Networking, researchers can now share visual data sets with peers on other continents in real time.

http://www.sgi.com/visualization/onyx/3000/ip/success.html

http://www.sgi.com/realitycenter/

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Magazine Offers Game Career Guide

Game Developer's 2003 Game Career Guide is now available at newsstands and bookstores, and by download.

The U.S. videogame industry experienced record-breaking growth in 2002, which continues in 2003. As a result, more and more people are seeking to break into the game industry. Game Developer magazine's annual Game Career Guide provides info for students, recent graduates wishing to enter the field of game development, and professionals changing careers.

Topics covered include:

  • what courses to take for different game-development jobs
  • students' experiences in university and vocational game-development programs
  • what game industry hiring managers are really looking for
  • A firsthand view of an average day at Ion Storm Austin, working on Thief 3
  • how games are built and sold
  • a directory of almost 100 North American game-development schools and programs, updated for 2003

http://www.gamasutra.com/education

DEALS

ATI to Power Future Xbox

Under a new agreement, ATI Technologies is developing custom graphics technologies for use by Microsoft in future Xbox products and services. Nvidia, left in the lurch by Microsoft by this announcement, provided graphics tech for the current Xbox. The next Xbox is expected to launch in about two years.

http://www.xbox.com/

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Warcraft III Expansion Sells Over Million Copies

 

Blizzard Entertainment announced last week that Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has surpassed 1 million units sold worldwide, according to EDI sell-through, internal company estimates, and reports from key retail accounts around the world. The title is the eighth Blizzard product to sell 1 million copies and also to reach #1 in U.S. sales. The game began shipping on July 1.

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne provides gamers with a new chapter in the epic Warcraft saga. In the single-player campaigns, players revisit the war-torn world of Azeroth. Several months have passed since Archimonde and the Burning Legion were defeated at the battle of Mount Hyjal, but now a new evil threatens to plunge Azeroth into darkness once again.

The expansion in cludes new heroes, monsters, magical items, merchant shops, tilesets, over 20 new missions for the single-player campaigns, a bonus RPG-style mini-campaign, and an enhanced user interface. Each army has new units, and expanded multiplayer options include support for automated tournaments, extensive clan support, and new maps. The game's World Editor has also received enhancements, including the ability to link maps together to create custom campaigns.

http://www.blizzard.com

Atari Announces Humorous Medieval Fantasy Adventure

Coming in September from Atari, Inc. (formerly Infogrames) is Once Upon A Knight, a fantasy-based interactive PC game. The title combines elements of real-time-strategy (RTS) action and role-playing-game (RPG) adventure into a game where players battle evil, save damsels and are generally noble and just.

The game offers a milk-based economy, mothers-in-law, flying witches, and secretive knights named Floyd. Players can either jump into battle in RTS mode, or build up a character's attributes over time in RPG mode.

Once Upon A Knight is set in a 3D environment that features over 20 missions, hundreds of quests, creepy monsters, 80 different characters, and spells and weaponry. It also offers LAN and online play for up to eight gamers.

http://www.atari.com

Square Enix Announces Online Final Fantasy for Windows

Square Enix U.S.A. says that Final Fantasy XI for Windows will begin shipping to North American retailers in late October. The first online title in the world-renowned series is a cross-platform, cross-continent massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Gamers can connect to the same world regardless of whether they are playing on the personal computer (PC) or PlayStation2, and whether they are playing in North America or Japan.

The game's "persistent world" evolves, transforms, and develops, even when gamers are not playing. Final Fantasy XI was released in Japan in May 2002 (PlayStation 2) and November 2002 (Windows), and has over 250,000 registered users who have created more than 600,000 characters.

Players will undertake multiple adventures through large environments in the world of "Vana'diel," which has more than 100 areas to explore, including mountains, forests, ice plains, deserts, oceans, rivers, castles, and dungeons. Players travel through these areas using various modes of transportation including chocobos, boats, and airships. Players will also experience time and climate changes, including desert sandstorms, thunderstorms, fog, and snow.

Vana'diel's persistent world is composed of three nations: the Republic of Bastok, known for industry and might; the Kingdom of San d'Oria, called a "City Within A Fortress"; and the Federation of Windurst, founded on the "Fruits of Knowledge." While these nations enjoy friendly relationships on the surface, territorial expansion is a constant and natural desire for all leaders. Players choose one of these nations as their home, and then carry out quests and missions not only to benefit their nation, but also to uncover the history and story of Vana'diel.

Final Fantasy XI for Windows will include the "Rise of the Zilart" expansion pack, which was released separately in Japan last April. In addition to the $50 game price, players will pay $12.95 (USD) a month, which includes one character for FINAL FANTASY XI. Players can create additional characters for an additional charge of $1.00 (USD) per character, per month.

 

 

Final Fantasy XI for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system will be released in conjunction with the internal hard disk drive (40GB)(for PlayStation 2) by Sony Computer Entertainment America. Specific product details, including release date and price, will be announced by the company at a later date.

http://www.playonline.com/

 

 

HAPPENINGS

Coming Soon: Silicon Valley 4.0

 

The Churchill Club and Garage Technology Ventures will co-produce Silicon Valley 4.0: The Future of the Future, a conference designed to consider "the next big thing" in high-tech: what it will be, who it will come from, how it will be financed and how it will be different from the "last big thing."

 

Silicon Valley 4.0 will be held Tuesday, October 7, 2003 at the new Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. The one-day event is being ballyhooed as a gathering of industry leaders--past, present and future--who will predict next-generation technology developments and share lessons learned that transcend generations.

 

 Silicon Valley has produced three incredible generations of technology: semiconductors, personal computers and the Internet. Our goal with Silicon Valley 4.0 is to assess where the next bet is likely to be placed,” said Guy Kawasaki, CEO of Garage Technology Ventures. “Will it be nano, wireless, biotech, Internet 2, or something not currently on the radar?”

 

Among the lineup of speakers confirmed for Silicon Valley 4.0 are:

  • Joseph Chamie, Director - United Nations Population Division
  • Judy Estrin, Chairman of Packet Design and former CTO - Cisco
  • Irvin Federman, General Partner - US Venture Partners
  • John Freund, Managing Director - Skyline Ventures
  • Craig Johnson, Chairman & Co-Founder - Venture Law Group
  • Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director - Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Rich Karlgaard, Publisher - Forbes
  • Harry Kellogg, Vice Chairman of the Board - Silicon Valley Bank
  • Geoffrey Moore, Chairman, Founder & Managing Partner - TCG Advisors LLC
  • Mike Moritz, Partner - Sequoia Capital
  • Gerry Purdy, Principal - MobileTrax and Partner - Diamondhead Ventures
  • Janice Roberts, General Partner - Mayfield
  • Heidi Roizen, Managing Director - Mobius Venture Capital
  • Ted Schlein, Partner - Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • John Toole, Executive Director & CEO - The Computer History Museum
  • Les Vadasz, Director Emetrius - Intel
  • Ann Winblad, Partner - Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
  • Magdalena Yesil, General Partner - US Venture Partners

Kawasaki will be joined by Bill Reichert, President of Garage Technology Ventures, as moderators for the forum, amongst others. Sponsors for the event include Silicon Valley Bank and Venture Law Group.

 

To provide a glimpse into the future, Silicon Valley 4.0 will feature a number of "cool stuff" product demonstrations. Conference attendees may submit demo ideas for consideration by the Silicon Valley 4.0 staff. To honor the past, the conference also will provide the opportunity to peek in on the Computer History Museum's Visible Storage Exhibits.

 

http://www.siliconvalley4.com

Indie Games Con ’03 Registration Opens

Registration is now open for GarageGames IndieGamesCon ’03, to be held this fall in Eugene, Oregon. Onsite check-in begins at noon on October 10 with the final session wrapping up at 4pm on October 12.

The event is described as a fun, informal and informative gathering of independent game developers. IGC is designed to be a summit meeting of developers with the shared goal of focusing on collaboration and building community. IGC provides connections and content for programmers, artists and indie entrepreneurs.

Highlights include the keynote speech by GarageGames president/cofounder Jeff Tunnell, presentations by industry leaders, a ShowOFF Center where teams can take their latest games out for a spin and get feedback, and a LAN party.

http://www.indiegamescon.com

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/online-development tools and end product for review.

Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news by email only to: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net.

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 mailto: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net.

- David Duberman

___________________________________

©Copyright 2003 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.