Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

30 August 1999

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman

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

Check out Spectrum on the Web at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum

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Editorial: Is Sega Dead?

In a little over a week Sega's Dreamcast console will hit the stateside streets. I predict the sound it makes will be a resounding thud. As a fan of progress and technology, not to mention great games, it pains me to say this, but the signs are all there. Japanese sales haven't come close to expectations. And several top executives have left the company's ranks in recent months, the latest being Sega of America COO and top cheerleader Bernie Stolar, on August 11. Sega's press release announcing Toshiro Kezuka as the new COO mentioned Stolar's abrupt exit (rumored to be an ouster) only in passing.

Meanwhile, Sega's San Francisco public relations firm has been bombarding the media with increasingly frantic press releases touting wacky promotions like a "paint yourself blue" Sonic the Hedgehog costume contest. Yes, Dreamcast sounds nice, but most gamers in the know are holding out for Sony's next-generation PlayStation, which should blow Sega's little tschotchke away next fall. To keep them busy till then, console gamers have a continuing flood of new PlayStation titles and the occasional N64 gem.

Sega flopped miserably with Saturn, and Dreamcast doesn't look like it'll do much better, despite the slick gaming magazines' all-too-obvious hype. If I were a game developer, you couldn't pay me enough to work on a Dreamcast project. Sega has some good software talent; they might want to look into becoming a developer for the NG PSX.

- David Duberman

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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER

Blue World Announces Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver

DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Negativlander Offers New Audio Library

BIAS to Bring Peak to BeOS

Smart and Friendly Unveils 12X CD-RW

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Flash Player Coming to Linux, Solaris, Irix

Copernic Announces Mac Meta-Search Tool

Activeworlds.com to Launch Online 3D Community for Educational Institutions

White Pine Updates Thin Client

RealPlayer G2 to be Integrated into BeOS

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

McNeel Announces Rhino 1.1

NewTek Ships Wintel Video Toaster

Station X Announces Project Messiah LW Plug-in

Deneba Unveils Canvas 7

MGI Launches PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition

WEBSIGHTINGS

Web Bits

TECHNOTES

Sony Digital Camcorder Records Mega-Pixel Stills

CONSUMER CHANNEL

Dr. Brain Gets Unreal

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

IDIG Releases Channels and Masking Video

O'Reilly Releases Perl Algorithms Book

AdKnowledge Says Click Rates Ineffective for Web Marketing Optimization

Jupiter: 64 Percent of Online Consumers Unlikely to Trust Web Site

DEALS

Philos, Gaumont Sign with Ubi Soft

Monolith to Develop Games for Fox Interactive

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Psygnosis Ships Drakan Action/Adventure

Um Jammer Lammy Rocks PlayStation

Blizzard Bits

Kasparov-Inspired Puzzle Available For Download

Fox Interactive Introduces The X-Files on Playstation

Westwood Ships C&C Tiberian Sun

NUMBEROLOGY

Be Inc. Reports Revenue Growth

Sony Drops PlayStation Price to $99

Q1 '99 Internet Ad Revenues Double Over Q1 '98

Digital Still Cameras to Hit 29 Million by 2003

NVIDIA Reports Q2 543% Revenue Increase

DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

Interplay Promotes Edelstein to Tech Director

HAPPENINGS

NBMA Presents Rushkoff

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum

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WEBMEISTER

Blue World Announces Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver

Coming this fall from Blue World Communications is Lasso Studio for Macromedia Dreamweaver, a Web application development environment for building database-driven Web applications. The product will introduce a visual, structured development environment for building Web apps based on FileMaker Pro and other ODBC-compliant databases. A configuration wizard links database schema information for dynamic display throughout the software. A form builder lets beginners create database-linked Web forms. Developers can create programming constructs using the property inspectors, tag editor, sub-tag editor and more.

http://www.blueworld.com/LassoStudio/

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DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Negativlander Offers New Audio Library

Sound designer and Negativland member Chris Grigg has worked on feature films, his own music, and computer games for years. His new sound library for game developers, Digital Dysfunctions, has just been published by San Francisco-based Rarefaction. According to the press release, it's "dedicated to the proposition that digital processing makes it possible to absolutely ­_murder_ sound in lots of new, complex, rich, grating, harsh, orginuic (sic), electronic, alien, unpredictable ways." The $149 CD-ROM contains 16-bit 44.1kHz stereo and mono audio samples of "futuristic electronic device sound effects and scads of other, completely uncategorizable, manipulated sounds." Sounds like a must to us!

www.rarefaction.com

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BIAS to Bring Peak to BeOS

Berkley Integrated Audio Software Inc. (BIAS) plans to port its Peak digital audio editor to BeOS, a broadband multimedia operating system from Be Incorporated. BeOS will reportedly afford Peak a number of performance advantages including low-latency, master timecode source, symmetric multi processing, multithreading and an extremely responsive user interface. BIAS claims these benefits will enable Peak to process audio virtually in real-time. Since BeOS runs on Intel PCs, Peak will be available for the first time to users of those machines.

Peak is a stereo waveform recording, editing, processing and delivery program.  It includes non-destructive editing and processing, a customizable user interface, support for Internet authoring formats including MP3, Shockwave, and RealAudio, support for multiple compression formats, CD authoring direct from the Playlist, QuickTime movie support, SMPTE synchronization, batch processing, on-board DSP processes, sampler support, and looping tools, as well as support for a wide variety of audio formats.

http://www.bias-inc.com

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Smart and Friendly Unveils 12X CD-RW

Smart and Friendly's new Rocket Mach 12 CD-RW offers 12X write, 4X rewrite and

32X playback speeds at and an estimated street price (ESP) $399 ($499 external). It reportedly lets users create a full 650MB CD in six minutes. The unit is due Q4 1999. Bundled software includes Adaptec's Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe for creating audio and backup CDs, accessing music on the Internet, fine tune music tracks, enhancing photos and videos, and creating personalized CD labels.

http://www.smartandfriendly.com

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

Flash Player Coming to Linux, Solaris, Irix

Versions of Macromedia's Flash Player will be available free on 1 September for Linux, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Silicon Graphics Inc.'s Irix platforms. Flash is used for creating vector-based Web sites with motion, sound, interactivity, and graphics.

http://www.macromedia.com

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Copernic Announces Mac Meta-Search Tool

Copernic Technologies has just introduced a Macintosh version of Copernic 99, its desktop search tool. The free software simultaneously consults a number of Internet search engines in the following search categories: The Web, Newsgroups, E-mail Addresses, Buy Books, and a new search category, Mac News, targeting Macintosh-related news sites. Mac News includes the following search engines: MacAddict, MacCentral, MacNN, MacTopia, and TidBITS.

The $30 Plus version includes the same categories as its Windows equivalent with the addition of Mac News and Mac Downloads. Mac News allows searching for Macintosh-related news, while Mac Downloads combs through specialized Macintosh download sites. Mac Downloads includes the following search engines: Download.com, Shareware.com, FileMine, MacDownload, TUCOWS, and VersionTracker.

www.copernic.com

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Activeworlds.com to Launch Online 3D Community for Educational Institutions

Activeworlds.com, Inc.'s new EduVerse online 3D community aims to serve the early-childhood through higher-education markets. Set to debut in September, Activeworlds.com, Inc. hopes the service will encourage educators to explore new concepts, learning theories, creative curriculum design, and discover new paradigms in social learning.

"Learning is a natural application for virtual reality," said Mandee Tatum, vice president of educational technology for Activeworlds.com, Inc. "The unique collaborative environment of Active Worlds complements any educational curriculum; and has already been implemented by dozens of educational institutions worldwide. The EduVerse will provide educators and students with the tools to become pioneers of 21st Century education, as well as develop their own unique educational community."

As part of the EduVerse package, Activeworlds.com will offer the following components to qualified participants:

free 400x400 Active Worlds Servers (hosted by Activeworlds.com)

free starter package of 20 Citizenships

a subscription to the EduVerse Virtual Learning Discussion ListServ

33% discount on additional server expansions and citizenships as required.

access to a selection of 3-D object paths and avatars.

Educators interested in participating in the Active Worlds EduVerse should contact mailto:edu@activeworlds.com

http://www.activeworlds.com

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White Pine Updates Thin Client

White Pine Software's connectivity products division has released a new version of its "thin" Web-to-host terminal emulation client for Windows and Macintosh. WebTerm version 1.5 features support for Microsoft CAB installer files and Netscape Navigator JAR installer files, said to make broad-based administration and deployment faster and easier.  WebTerm allows network administrators to change terminal emulation session configurations from a central location with no end-user involvement, speeding network-wide deployment.

http://www.wpine.com

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RealPlayer G2 to be Integrated into BeOS

Under a recent agreement, RealNetworks will work with Be, Inc. to develop RealPlayer G2 for BeOS and include it on the BeOS CD.

Be, Inc. recently began shipping BeOS Release 4.5 with such new features as Media Kit additions that manage and synchronize multiple streams of audio and video and other real-time data coming from various hardware inputs and outputs. BeOS Release 4.5 also ships with an array of services including a Web-Browser, an e-mail client, media player, TV viewer, 3D audio mixer, utilities, translators, and an integrated development environment. In addition, there are over 800 applications currently available for BeOS including audio, video, graphics, office productivity, Internet and networking, development tools, utilities and games.

http://www.be.com

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

McNeel Announces Rhino 1.1

Coming this fall from Robert McNeel & Associates is Rhinoceros 1.1, a new version of their NURBS modeler for the Windows platform. The primary new feature is incorporation of Gazelle, McNeel's proprietary non-linear optimization technology for surface creation, fitting, and deformation. Gazelle will first be used in Rhino's new "surface from curve network" (NetworkSrf) command. Gazelle enables surface creation from less-than-ideal input curves that needn't touch where they cross or smoothly meet the edges of adjoining surfaces to create a continuous surface connection.

Rhino 1.1 also expands file compatibility by adding support for ACIS, Parasolid, Autocad 2000, 3D Studio MAX R3, and OptiCAD. It also has enhanced file support for CATIA, Adobe Illustrator, VRML, and OBJ.

A streamlined user interface includes at-the-cursor pop-up icon toolbars and a recently used-command list, plus configurable middle mouse button functionality. New analysis features include draft angle, zebra stripes, environment map, Gaussian curvature, mean curvature and more. Also, for annotation, users can add dimensions, text blocks, leaders, and hidden line removal.

www.rhino3d.com

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NewTek Ships Wintel Video Toaster

NewTek's new Video Toaster for Windows is shipping to dealers worldwide at SRP $2,995.00. The new version is the heir to the original Video Toaster for the Amiga, which initiated the desktop video industry in 1990.

The Video Toaster offers users a suite of tools for video creation including all the essential components for video editing, compositing and 2D/3D animation. The uncompressed D1 (Composite, Component, Y/C), Windows NT solution includes technology developed by NewTek that reportedly turns a standard Pentium II or III processor into a specialized video DSP (digital signal processor) for time base correction and other capabilities typically associated with expensive custom chipsets. 

The Video Toaster includes a version of LightWave 3D animation software, Aura paint and compositing software and in-syncs Speed Razor 4.5 SE video editing software, and requires no proprietary drives.

http://www.newtek.com

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Station X Announces Project Messiah LW Plug-in

Station X Studios plans to license the production version of its proprietary animation software tools, code named "Project: messiah," as a commercial software product. The LightWave 3D add-on software, developed to animate the studio's forthcoming live-action/CGI feature film "Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie," will be licensed for $395 per seat.

Some of its reported features include: fast IK; fast bones; fast expressions; easy character setup; real-time interactivity; local/world coordinates on-the-fly; forward/inverse kinematics; procedural/key-frame animation blending; and interactive soft-body dynamics. Effects can modify multiple objects so users can animate one skeleton and let it operate on an entire army.

www.stationxstudios.com

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Deneba Unveils Canvas 7

Expected to ship in October at ESP $375 from Deneba Software is Canvas 7, the newest version of the integrated vector illustration, image editing, Web design, page layout, and presentation application. The new version introduces these new features:

For more new features, see http://www.deneba.com

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MGI Launches PhotoSuite III Platinum Edition

MGI Software's new PhotoSuite III - Platinum Edition lets users get, prepare, compose, organize, share and print photos. New functionality includes stitching, which lets to create a single panorama from a series of photos taken of a subject, and PhotoTapestry, which replicates a photo by combining many small thumbnail-photos in the form of the original. The latter applet works by analyzing the original photo's hue, saturation and brightness, then using a large database of thumbnails, selects the best photo thumbnails to represent each area of the original.

The software now includes over 1,200 templates for creating home and business projects such as signs, labels, stationary, business cards, certificates, and promotional materials.

www.PhotoSuite.com

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WEBSIGHTINGS

Web Bits

Creaticity's new interactive product review system, Creaticity Expo (http://www.creaticity.com/expo.html), offers more than 300 graphic design industry products and services and lets users read and write reviews and assign ratings using a five-star scale ... FreeShop.com's third satellite store, Free Magazine Shop (www.freeshopmagazines.com and www.trymagazines.com), currently offers over 200 magazines at low prices, and plans shortly to feature over 500 … Revolution9 bills its new Sourcebank.com (http://www.sourcebank.com) as a search tool for Web developers with over 5,000 searchable and browsable resources.

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TECHNOTES

Sony Digital Camcorder Records Mega-Pixel Stills

 Sony Electronics says its new compact mini Digital Video Handycam camcorder (DCR-PC100) is the first camcorder with mega-pixel digital still and video imaging capabilities. Besides digital video at up to 520 lines of resolution, the unit can capture still images at 1152 x 864 pixels. Still images can be captured in mega-pixel or VGA (640 x 480) resolutions in super fine, fine or standard picture modes. Sony also announced an optional 64 MB capacity Memory Stick media that holds approximately 304 mega-pixel images (the supplied 4 MB Memory Stick media holds approximately 18 images).

Other features include "HAD" CCD technology (1/4" CCD), a Carl Zeiss (Vaio-Sonner) lens system, and 10x optical/120x digital zoom. Also, NightShot 0 Lux with Slow Shutter Mode reportedly lets the camcorder record in total darkness up to 10 feet away. Picture effects include Black and White, Sepia, Negative Art, Solarization, Pastel, Slim, Stretch and Mosaic. Digital options include Old Movie, Luminance Key, Flash Motion, Still, Slow Shutter and Trail. In addition, users can combine still pictures and video with Memory Chroma Key, Camera Chroma Key and Memory Luminance Key.

Connectivity options include a Memory Stick PC card adapter (MSAC-PC2) and a new Memory Stick floppy disk adapter (MSAC- FD1A) facilitates easy image transfer to a desktop PC. The supplied serial port interface (RS-232C) also connects the DCR-PC100 to a desktop PC.  The camcorder also offers Sony's bidirectional i.LINK digital video interface (aka FireWire) that allows for the transfer of information between two digital camcorders or a camcorder and a computer.

The DCR-PC100 will be available in October at SRP $2,199.

Phone 1-800-222-SONY (7669) or visit http://www.sony.com.

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CONSUMER CHANNEL

Dr. Brain Gets Unreal

Just out from Knowledge Adventure is Dr. Brain: Action Reaction, touted as the first children's educational title to utilize Epic Games Inc.'s Unreal 3D engine. Developed for kids ages 10 and up, Dr. Brain: Action Reaction challenges players with action throughout 45 missions with multiple difficulty levels. To overcome obstacles and solve puzzles, players are required to employ the principals of geometry, physics, mechanics and logic.

http://www.drbrain.com

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

IDIG Releases Channels and Masking Video

IDIG, Inc. (Interactive Digital Intelligence Group) last week released Channels and Masking [Part One], a new video in its Photoshop Inside & Out learning series. Channels are at the heart of most advanced image-processing tasks in Photoshop, and Photoshop master David Biedny discusses the power of Photoshop's channel processing and image modes, including details of the issues involved with converting images between color modes, when to use specific color modes and more.

The technical aspects of channels are critically evaluated, while practical applications of inter-channel processing (such as evaluating images in Lab mode for detecting and removing "hidden" scanning artifacts) are demonstrated. The video teaches how to put these Photoshop techniques to work in a professional, real-world production environment.

Visit www.photoshopio.com or call 1-415-460-6889.

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O'Reilly Releases Perl Algorithms Book

"I bristle whenever I hear Perl described as 'just' a scripting language, because real programmers know that Perl is every bit as powerful as other languages," says Jon Orwant, co-author of the just-released book Algorithms with Perl. "By weaving Perl's pragmatism with traditional computer science, Algorithms with Perl helps Perl programmers employ the best techniques of a university algorithms course while showing the rest of the world how useful and powerful the language is."

The book assumes a basic understanding of Perl sytax and functions, but not necessarily any background in computer science. The authors explain the reasons for using various classic programming techniques, the kind of applications that use them, and -- most important -- how to code these algorithms in Perl.

For more information, including Table of Contents, index, author bios, and samples, see:

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/maperl/

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AdKnowledge Says Click Rates Ineffective for Web Marketing Optimization

AdKnowledge's Q2 Online Advertising Report (OAR) a compilation of Web advertising statistics and trend analyses gathered from the AdKnowledge System, and analyzed by the new AdKnowledge eAnalytics division. Leading the report’s findings are statistics reportedly demonstrating that click rates have little value as indicators for return on investment (ROI) optimization because their correlation to conversion rates is so low.

"There has been a lot of talk lately about declining click rates," said AdKnowledge Vice President Steve Findley. "This new data proves that Web advertisers who are just looking at click rates are missing the bigger picture. The Web is fast becoming a more sophisticated advertising medium.

"Because it’s so measurable, data mining will be increasingly used by smart marketers to optimize current campaigns and point the way towards more efficient campaigns in the future." he added.

The AdKnowledge System’s database contains more than 2,100 Web sites, which, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, reaches over 94.1% of the overall Web audience. The full OAR is available at http://www.adknowledge.com/oar_2ndqtr99.pdf (requires Acrobat Reader).

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Jupiter: 64 Percent of Online Consumers Unlikely to Trust Web Site

A new report from Jupiter Communications reveals that 64 percent of online consumers are unlikely to trust a Web site--even if the site prominently featured a privacy policy. The report identifies the media and government attention to this issue as the fuel for consumer fears, which will affect both online advertising and digital commerce revenue unless sites take action and educate and communicate with online consumers.

For sites to head off the possibility of losing online advertising and digital commerce revenue due to lack of consumer trust, they must take a proactive approach to contain and shape the privacy issue. A proactive approach to privacy involves the following actions:

http://www.jup.com

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DEALS

Philos, Gaumont Sign with Ubi Soft

Theocracy (working title), a long-delayed real-time strategy game title developed by Philos Labs, will be published globally for the Wintel and Linux platforms by Ubi Soft at the end of 1999.

The player's goal is to conquer Central America during the Aztec civilization. Players can choose diplomatic or strong-arm tactics to make their community thrive, ally themselves with other tribes, develop magical powers in order to defeat the Spanish Conquistadors and change History. The game's innovation lies in the strategy: numerous units commanded at the same time (a few hundred) and the unedited management of formations.

Also, Ubi Soft will publish Stupid Invaders from Gaumont Multimedia, known for previous titles Les Visiteurs and The Fifth Element, in early 2000 for PC CD-ROM, Macintosh and Sega Dreamcast.

In Stupid Invaders, Etno and his friends will take the player on misadventures as five blundering extraterrestrial evaders try to escape the clutches of the evil Doctor S. and his psychopathic assistant. The 3D graphic adventure reportedly features slapstick humor and zany adventures.

http://www.gaumont.fr

http://www.ubisoft.com

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Monolith to Develop Games for Fox Interactive

As part of a recent deal, Fox Interactive will publish and distribute two upcoming Monolith Productions titles - Sanity and No One Lives Forever (working title). Monolith will also develop games based on Fox properties for the PC and PlayStation 2 platforms utilizing their proprietary Lith Tech 3D Engine. The developer is perhaps best known for its popular first-person shooter Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

www.foxinteractive.com

http://www.lith.com

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Psygnosis Ships Drakan Action/Adventure

Psygnosis' new PC CD-ROM action/adventure game, Drakan Order of the Flame, has shipped after over two years in the making.  A fantasy plot provides the starting point for the action that takes place across 11 levels within four large, organic worlds. The game features two characters; Rynn, an athletic heroine, and Arokh, a fire-breathing dragon, who together must reclaim their once-peaceful world from the evil sorcerer Navaros and his army of brutish beasts.

Designed by Surreal Software (Seattle, Washington), DRAKAN combines hand-to-hand combat with aerial dragon-dueling.  The proprietary design technology offers seamless indoor/outdoor environments during gameplay. 

DRAKAN features three different multi-player games via LAN and Internet – Dragon Duel (aerial deathmatch), Melee Deathmatch (ground sword combat) and Master of the Dragon (players on the ground vie for control of a single dragon).  There are 10 multi-player levels in all.

www.pysgnosis.com

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Um Jammer Lammy Rocks PlayStation

  Sony Computer Entertainment America recently released Um Jammer Lammy, a rock 'n' roll videogame from the makers of Parappa the Rapper. The game follows Lammy, a guitar-rockin' lamb in an up-and-coming all-girl band called MilkCan, through a series of adventures and mishaps as she tries to make it to their first big gig on time. Featuring "Simon Says" style gameplay, one or two players jam with Lammy and her assorted band members and cohorts in a series of seven jam sessions and bonus stages, as they try to make it to their first big, on-stage concert. Gamers can utilize wah, flange, harmonizer and other effects to create their own realistic guitar sounds, and are judged on their rhythm and style as they strum to the tunes of classic rock, heavy metal, surf punk, pop beats and more, earning ratings ranging from "Cool" to "Bad."

The original music score was produced by the multimedia music industry composer of Parappa the Rapper, Masaya Matsuura, who is the developer of the concept and design of both games. Similarly, all of the visuals and characters were designed by the pioneer in the computer graphics industry, Rodney Alan Greenblat.

http://www.playstation.com

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Blizzard Bits

The latest news from Blizzard Entertainment includes these tasty tidbits:

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Kasparov-Inspired Puzzle Available For Download

Microsoft today announced the availability of a free, downloadable Kasparov vs. The World puzzle on the MSN Gaming Zone. Based on Pandora's Box, a new game developed by Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, the puzzle demo illustrates Garry Kasparov's opening move -- PAWN TO E4 -- in his ongoing, online chess match against the world. To download the Kasparov puzzle, go to:

http://www.zone.com/kasparov/morenews.asp

The full retail version of Pandora's Box, with over 350 visual puzzles in 10 categories, is expected to hit store shelves in September. More information about Pandora's Box can be found on the game's official Web site, at:

http://www.microsoft.com/games/pandorasbox/

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Fox Interactive Introduces The X-Files on Playstation

Fox Interactive will ship The X-Files for PlayStation October 13. Fox claims the live-action adventure, featuring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, will offer the highest quality video footage ever on the game console, thanks to the video transfer technology and VirtualCinema game engine.

Players join Mulder and Scully as special agent Craig Willmore in a storyline developed for the game by X-Files creator Chris Carter. Characters include FBI Assistant Director Skinner, the Lone Gunmen, and the Cigarette Smoking Man as well as other recurring personalities from the television series. The artificial intelligence is said to have been enhanced for PlayStation to add authenticity to the game and heighten the mystery and suspense as characters realistically react to players' actions and interrogations. The newly optimized user interface for PlayStation is compatible with the standard digital or analog controller. 

www.foxinteractive.com

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Westwood Ships C&C Tiberian Sun

Westwood Studios has begun shipping Tiberian Sun, the latest title in its Command & Conquer real-time strategy franchise. Set in the early 21st century, Tiberian Sun once again pits the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) against the Brotherhood of NOD in an epic struggle for control of the planet. New features include dynamic 3D terrain, realistic physics and a reactive environment. Explosions leave craters. Lakes and rivers freeze. Ion storms cripple high-tech weapons. Forest fires rage out of control, and winds carry poison gas clouds.

Multiple levels of warfare allow players to cripple opponents from afar or get up close and personal in an all-out ground war. GDI and NOD have distinct styles, units and abilities, providing tactical and strategic choices in the struggle for global domination.

Players can travel under, over, or on the terrain as they employ new weapons, including the Devil's Tongue, Hunter-Seeker Drones, Jump-Jet Infantry, Disruptors, Stealth Generators, genetically engineered cyborgs, the Firestorm Defense and many more.

http://www.westwood.com

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NUMBEROLOGY

Be Inc. Reports Revenue Growth

Be Incorporated recently reported financial results for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 1999.

Net revenues for the second quarter of 1999 were $537,000, an increase of 74% from $309,000 reported for the first quarter of 1999, and a decrease of 11% from $602,000 in the same period in 1998. For the six months ended June 30, 1999, the company reported revenue of $846,000, an increase of 27% from $666,000 reported in the first half of 1998.

Excluding non-cash expenses associated with the amortization of deferred compensation and preferred stock accretion, the company reported a net loss of $4.7 million for the second quarter, and $8.9 million for the first half of 1999.

In July 1999, Be Incorporated completed an initial public offering of 6.0 million shares. Net proceeds to Be Incorporated from the offering totaled approximately $32.4 million.

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Sony Drops PlayStation Price to $99

Sony Computer Entertainment America recently lowered the price of its PlayStation console to $99, a nearly 25 percent reduction from the previous SRP of $129. As the product approaches its fourth anniversary -- the system was launched in North America on September 9, 1995 -- Sony boasts of a North American installed base of more than 20 million consoles, and life-to-date software shipments exceeding 159 million units. According to the unadjusted life-to-date figures in the June reports from the NPD Group, a source of information on the videogame industry, PlayStation currently enjoys a 56 percent market share for next generation hardware and 64 percent market share for next generation software. There are now more than 600 PlayStation titles available to consumers.

The company also announced the inclusion of several franchise titles to its "Greatest Hits" lineup, a series of PlayStation games available for as low as $19.99. They are:

http://www.playstation.com

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Q1 '99 Internet Ad Revenues Double Over Q1 '98

Internet advertising revenue hit $693 million for the first quarter of 1999, nearly doubling the $351 million that was recorded in the first quarter of 1998, according to online advertising association Internet Advertising Bureau.  The latest figures further underscore several themes characterizing industry growth: increased advertiser confidence in the medium, consumer advertisers leading the charge, and continued strength in hybrid pricing models. The bureau's new Internet Ad Revenue Report report is conducted independently by the New Media Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers for the IAB.

The categories which lead online spending during the fourth quarter were consumer-related (27%), financial services (21%), computing (20%), retail/mail order (13%) and new media (8%). The report also found that the overwhelming number of revenue transactions, (92%) continue to be cash-based with barter/trade and packaged deals accounting for 7% and 1% of total revenues respectively. Banner advertisements continue to be reported as the predominate type of advertising, up slightly this quarter and accounting for 58%, with sponsorships (29%), interstitials (6%), email (1%), with all others at 6%. When looking at pricing models, hybrid pricing accounted for 51% of 1999 first quarter revenues, with CPMs or impression-based deals at 43% and performance-based deals at 6% of revenues.

Share of market among the top 50 online publishers continued the trend with the big getting bigger, due in part to industry consolidation. The top 10 publishers received 75% of the revenue in the first quarter of 1999, up from 71% in Q4 of 1998. The top 25 moved from 86% to 88%, with the top 50 notching up to 93% from 92% in 1998.

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Digital Still Cameras to Hit 29 Million by 2003

In a recent report on digital cameras, market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group predicts the digital still camera market to grow rapidly from 1998-2003, reaching more than 29 million units in 2003. This rapid growth will be driven by higher quality cameras reaching the masses. The high-tech market research firm expects the sub-$500 market to increase its majority share during this period, owning 65 percent of the market by 2003.

Semiconductor advances are definitely the major enabling factors behind these trends.

"The heart of the digital camera is the image sensor and is a battleground between CMOS and charge coupled device (CCD) sensors," explains Joyce Putscher, Director for Cahners In-Stat Group's Consumer & Convergence Group.

"Eventually CMOS sensors will win the under-$500 digital camera category while CCDs will dominate the over-$500 market."

Cahners In-Stat Group also believes:

Olympus surprisingly moved into third place in the digital still camera market in 1998. The market is still small enough that any of the third-tier manufacturers could move into a top slot.

The report--Opportunities in the Digital Still Camera Market: Sensors to Digital Film, #MM9909DI--covers digital still camera vendor market shares, geographic segmentations and provides a directory of camera manufacturers' models.

Semiconductor trends and opportunities explored include the front end, buffer memory, digital film (flash memory), interfaces, back end, video out, flash bios and power management, in addition to LCDs.

http://www.cahnersinstat.com

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NVIDIA Reports Q2 543% Revenue Increase

NVIDIA Corporation reported operating results and profit for its second quarter of fiscal 2000 and for the six months ended August 1, 1999.

Revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2000 ended August 1, 1999 was $78.0 million, an increase of 543 percent compared to revenue of $12.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 1999. Net income for the second fiscal quarter was $6.7 million, compared to a net loss of $(9.7) million for the second quarter of fiscal 1999.

Introduced in March, NVIDIA's RIVA TNT2 Ultra combines 3D and 2D performance with 32-bit true-color rendering, 32-bit Z-buffer and a 32MB frame buffer. NVIDIA has secured OEM design wins for the TNT2 with Dell, Compaq, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Micron, Gateway, Acer, ABIT, ASUSTeK, Leadtek and others.

Also in the quarter, NVIDIA announced a broad patent cross license and strategic partnership with Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI). This initiative is expected to bring a significant price/performance discontinuity to the visualization market and accelerate product time-to-market of new products. Under the terms of the partnership, SGI will incorporate NVIDIA's graphics technology into new desktop graphics systems.

http://www.nvidia.com

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DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

Interplay Promotes Edelstein to Tech Director

Interplay Entertainment Corp. has promoted industry veteran Paul Edelstein within its internal development staff. Edelstein was named to the position of technology director by Trish Wright, Interplay's vice president of development.

Edelstein will focus on research and development and external hardware vendor support. An eight-year employee with Interplay, Edelstein is now responsible for research and development on areas such as audio and physics, developing relationships with hardware vendors and interfacing with various Interplay divisions on a consulting basis to ensure smooth product flow.

http://www.interplay.com

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HAPPENINGS

NBMA Presents Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff's six books on cyber-culture, technology and media have earned him a role as consultant to the U.N. Commission on World Culture. Now Rushkoff is back with a new book, "Coercion: Why We Listen to What 'They' Say". This one aims to expose the manipulative marketing ploys used by Fortune 500 companies and high-rolling Web merchants who have turned a means of creating community with interactive communication into a means of interactive commerce.

Having once been a willing media consultant to some of these marketing professionals, Rushkoff now shines a glaring light back into the faces of the powers that be.

Come meet this veteran of the media wars for an enlightening and entertaining evening and be reminded of why living in an on-line world is supposed to be fun.

"How Commerce Swallowed Community: Wasn't This Supposed to Be Fun?"

Hosted by the North Bay Multimedia Association

When:  Thursday, September 16

Time:      Social 6:00 Presentation: 7:00

Where: Autodesk Atrium, 111 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA (Off 101 in Terra Linda behind Embassy Suites)

Admission:   Free to NBMA members, $10 for non-members

See program details and directions at www.nbma.com

More about Douglas Rushkoff at www.levity.com/rushkoff

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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, 2233 Jefferson Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703.

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- David Duberman

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©Copyright 1999 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.