Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

5 December 2005
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman

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Today's Headlines (details below)

--GarageGames Updates Torque Game Engine
--GameShadow 2.0 Launches

--Cinema 4D R9.52 Update Available
--Cosmic Blobs 3D Graphics Software Hits Japan

--Maxell Holographic Media Offers 1.6 TeraBytes
--Contex Unveils 3D Printers for Transforming Digital Data into 3D Physical Models

--IGDA to Confer 2006 Game Developers Conference Scholarships
--Overview of 2005 Digital Creation Software Industry Released
--New O'Reilly Book Covers Amazing People/Inventions
--Wiley Offers Maya Books

--StereoVision Announces Plan to Launch 200 3D Theatres

--DEMX Winners Announced

--GDC Mobile 2006 Assembles Advisory Board

--About Spectrum



GarageGames Updates Torque Game Engine

GarageGames has released the new Torque Game Engine (TGE), version 1.4, featuring technology enhancements such as improved work flow and tutorials, localization support, and editor updates.

The free upgrade offers improvements said to make the engine easier to use right out of the box, enhance the localization process, and make the GUI and World editors simpler through a new, integrated graphical tree-view. Additionally, version 1.4 features integrated Unicode font rendering, enhanced map2dif interiors, and better support for Mac OS X and Theora video codec.

The Torque Game Engine, one of three game engines available from GarageGames, is now in its fifth year of release. Version 1.4 represents the last free update, though new licenses are extremely affordable and a major reason why the game engine is so successful. Full commercial usage on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms is $495, while the company's indie license is $100 for developers making less than $250,000 annually. Both licenses are royalty-free, offer unlimited publishing, private forum access, membership in the Torque Developer Network wiki, and access to the company's vast online resources and documentation.

The Torque Game Engine is a cross-platform, commercial-quality, game engine with seamless indoor/outdoor rendering, skeletal animation, drag-and-drop GUI creation, and a built-in world editor. TGE also features scripting, geometry, particle effects, documentation and multiplayer networking code. TGE started life as the technology behind Dynamix's Tribes series and is currently being used by developers to make games such as Marble Blast, Orbz, and ThinkTanks.



GameShadow 2.0 Launches

GameShadow Ltd, a provider of videogame patching and update management tools, announces the launch of GameShadow 2.0. GameShadow provides automatic videogame patch and update tools; its core product automatically updates all of a user’s games and graphics drivers. GameShadow 2.0 provides additional features that, as well as bringing a more personalized service.

Key enhancements include:

GameShadow 2.0 can be downloaded at www.gameshadow.com. It is also distributed with some games including Crazy Frog Racer, to be published by Digital Jesters and Ubisoft this month.



Cinema 4D R9.52 Update Available

Software developer Maxon has released a free upgrade for Cinema 4D Release 9.5. In addition to a number of bug fixes, the update offers over a dozen optimized features and additional improvements. The update is also available for 64-bit version of the program.

The R9.52 update includes such improvements as changes to the Content Browser that make it easier to use, expanded drag & drop functionality, and an improved menu structure. In addition, the new ChamLum shader illuminates the surface of objects with a soft, slightly fuzzy look, suitable for rendering realistic skin. Also, a Content Browser library containing shaders, light setups and a bunch of useful goodies is also available for free download.



Cosmic Blobs 3D Graphics Software Hits Japan

Dassault Systemes says its Cosmic Blobs 3D graphics software for kids is now available for retail sale in Japan. The software is available in Apple retail stores located in: Aichi, Nagoya Sakae; Tokyo, Ginza and Shibuya; and Osaka, Shinsaibashi. The Apple Company stores will be Cosmic Blobs' exclusive retailers in Japan through the end of the year. Cosmic Blobs software is also available in Apple stores in the U.S. and U.K., and at Apple's online store at www.apple.com.

Cosmic Blobs has experienced success, including awards from influential sources. For example, Cosmic Blobs has earned "Mom-Tested!" approval from Parenting magazine, a four out of five rating from MacAddict magazine, and four and a half stars from Children's Technology Review. It also drew interest at The 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan, validating its appeal to the Japanese market.

Initially released for the Macintosh platform in June 2005, Cosmic Blobs gives children ages seven to 14 options for sculpting, decorating, and animating 3D computer models called Blobs. Kids start with basic shapes and use an array of tools to bend, pull, stretch, and sculpt their inventions into creatures, objects, and vehicles. They can then decorate them with colors, textures, and decals before animating them.




Maxell Holographic Media Offers 1.6 TeraBytes

Maxell Corporation of America and InPhase Technologies are bringing a new technology to market - holographic media. With storage capacities achieving 1.6 TeraBytes per disk and data rates as high as 120 MBPs, the companies characterize holographic technology as a breakthrough in optical media. These features, along with a 50+ year archival life, make holographic media a suitable choice for storage and archival requirements. The media is expected to have the lowest cost per gigabyte of any commercial quality removable storage.

Holographic recording technology utilizes intersecting signal and reference laser beams to store data in a number of 3D hologram images capable of saving hundreds of data pages in a single location. One 5 1/4 inch-diameter optical disc can store up to 150 million pages - more than 63 times the capacity of DVD. Also, with holographic recording, a multiple of form factors, such as discs, cards, etc., and laser wavelengths (red, green, and blue) can be used.

InPhase marketing veep Liz Murphy said, "Unlike other technologies that record one data bit at a time, holography allows a million bits of data to be written and read in parallel with a single flash of light. This enables transfer rates significantly higher than current optical storage devices."

The first generation of holographic media is scheduled for release in September 2006.



Contex Unveils 3D Printers for Transforming Digital Data into 3D Physical Models

Contex, a manufacturer of wide-format document technologies, last week unveiled its first line of 3D printers, enabling organizations to create physical 3D models in office environments.

Just as conventional desktop printers emit hard copies of documents, 3D printers build physical models of real-world objects, such as engine parts, buildings, and landscapes. Engineers use these physical representations of electronic design concepts to communicate more effectively with customers, partners, and suppliers. Applications include concept models, presentation models, functional testing, Finite Element Analysis, sales presentations, and market research on style, color, and packaging options. 3D printing is widely used in engineering markets including computer-aided design (CAD); geographic information systems (GIS); and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC).

The value-priced Contex DESIGNmate Mx, with 300x450 dpi resolution, creates physical models directly from digital data. The monochrome DESIGNmate Mx's user interface and affordable price make it a suitable entry-level prototyping system for office environments and educational institutions.

The top-of-the-line Contex DESIGNmate Cx produces high-definition (600 x 540 dpi), full-color 3D models, eliminating the traditional weeklong waiting period for custom-fabricated prototypes. Inkjet printing technology creates parts with defined features and 24-bit color, so engineers can evaluate accurate models of design concepts in their nearly finished state. Users can leverage color capabilities to highlight and annotate physical models just as they would with a 2D drawing.




IGDA to Confer 2006 Game Developers Conference Scholarships

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is preparing to select a group of promising university students to receive Game Developers Conference (GDC) Student Scholarships. The recipients will be granted full access to all sessions, roundtables and keynotes at the 2006 GDC. More importantly, students will be given an opportunity to take part in discussions, network with professionals, and witness the future course of the industry firsthand. The conference is slated for March 20-24, 2006, in San Jose, California.

Students can now apply online at www.igda.org/scholarships. The deadline to enter is Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. Recipients will be announced by mid-February. To apply, you must be a full-time university student (or in an equivalent educational program) and an IGDA Student Member in good standing.


Overview of 2005 Digital Creation Software Industry Released

Now available from Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c28642) is Digital Content Creation Software Market - 2005 Edition. The report provides an overview of the digital content creation (DCC) software market for applications running on PC-based computer platforms or UNIX workstations. Digital content creation software enables the creation or modification of digital content, such as animation, audio, graphics, images or video, as part of the production process before presentation in its final medium.

Digital content is audible or visual material stored in a binary format represented by one of the following data classifications:

The report covers DCC software in the following segments (in alphabetical order):

The PC-based computer platforms include: Workstation, Performance, Mainstream, and Value PC.

Potential end users for DCC software applications fall into two primary groups:


New O'Reilly Book Covers Amazing People/Inventions

Mixing the tool-shed mentality of yesteryear with the products, gadgets and technologies of today--a new breed of inventor has emerged for the 21st century. In "Makers" (O'Reilly, $24.95 US), author Bob Parks profiles some of the world's most colorful Do-It-Yourselfers and more than seventy-five of their outrageously wacky projects, including:

-The bacon-cooking alarm clock: Matty Sallin missed his childhood memory of waking up to the smell of bacon in his family's Idaho cabin. His Homer Simpson-esque solution: an alarm clock that actually cooks bacon!

-Much more than thin mints: Meet the three 16-year-old girl scouts who decided on a whim to build an 8-inch Dobson telescope from scratch...and succeeded!

-From Wall Street to Burning Man: Proving that Do-It-Yourselfers aren't limited to garages, basements and Star Trek conventions, this investment banker is also an innovator of electric clothing, like his shirt with thirty-eight working fans!

-The "wheel" deal: "You feel like you're floating," explains Kerry McLean when discussing his eclectic monowheels, a rare form of transportation where you ride inside a motorized wheel.

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and samples, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/makers/


Wiley Offers Maya Books

Introducing Maya 7: 3D for Beginners
Dariush Derakhshani
ISBN: 0-7821-4434-9; Paperback with CD-ROM; 415 pages; List Price: $34.99

Discover how to render and animate your own digital characters and scenes with Maya. You’ll begin with the author’s approach to teaching concepts and foundation and move on with a combination of text and examples. The CD includes lessons with files for experimentation, Maya Personal Learning Edition software, a searchable glossary, and more.

Read the table of contents:

Discover the Game with Alias: An In-Depth Look at Game Art Creation in Maya and Alias MotionBuilder
Alias Learning Tools
ISBN: 1-897177-10-0; Paperback with DVD; 415 pages; List Price: $59.99

Learn the Alias-endorsed workflow for creating a game in Maya with this full-color book produced by Alias. This is the only book available that also teaches animation techniques in MotionBuilder. Included are two DVDs: one with instructor movies, scene files, and PLEs of Maya and MotionBuilder, and another with Maya Techniques such as Polygon, Texturing, Lighting, and Shading.

Read the table of contents:

Learning Maya7 The Modeling & Animation Handbook
Alias Learning Tools, Doug Walker (Foreword by) ISBN: 1-894893-87-5; Paperback with DVD; 745 pages; List Price: $69.99

This full-color Maya Press title offers a new approach to teaching modeling and animation with the characters from the Academy Award-winning short film The ChubbChubbs. Along with the book is a DVD featuring instructor-led tutorials, scene files, artist interviews, and Maya Personal Learning Edition.

Read the table of contents: http://dmmsclick.wiley.com/click.asp?p=1864191&m=2967&u=32809

Learning Maya 7 The Special Effects Handbook
Alias Learning Tools
ISBN: 1-897177-01-1; Paperback with DVD; 687 pages; List Price: $69.99

This full-color guide takes a new approach to Maya special effects, using characters and effects from the Oscar-winning short film The ChubbChubbs to teach rendering and dynamics. The book includes a DVD with instructor-led tutorials as well as scene files, artist interviews, and Maya Personal Learning Edition.

Read the table of contents:



StereoVision Announces Plan to Launch 200 3D Theatres

StereoVision Entertainment Inc. plans to develop a 200-theatre SVX TRU 3D theatre network. The theatres will show polarized 3D films. Founder and CEO Jack Honour stated, "Simply put, SVX TRU 3D theatres bring amusement-park quality 3D to your local multiplex. Gone are the days of the anaglyph red and blue paper glasses."

In contrast to the cost of Disney's digital 3D theatre retrofit of approximately $150,000 per theatre for their planned 85 theatres, the SVX TRU 3D theatre utilizes a theatre's existing film projector with 3D projection lenses and a comparable silver screen for a total installation cost of under $5,000 per theatre.

The company believes that the earnings potential for its plan is substantial for a number of reasons. The company says the viewing quality in its theatre system is equal to digital and much less expensive to install. StereoVision will "four wall" its theatres, allowing it to keep a portion of the distributors' and exhibitors' cut of the gross as well as, for self-produced films, the producer's share of the gross.



DEMX Winners Announced

The Digital Entertainment & Media Expo (www.demxpo.com) is perhaps not the most prestigious event in our little corner of the world, but we thought you might find the awards at the recent show in L.A. of passing interest. With no further ado, the finalists and winners (marked with * in each category):


Visionary of the Year
- Lucy Hood, President, Fox Mobile Entertainment
- *Jon Miller, Chairman & CEO, America Online, Inc.
- Nicholas Negroponte, Professor of Media Technology, MIT
- Hugh Panero, Chief Executive Officer, XM Satellite Radio

Innovator of the Year
- HDNet for the “Day-and-Date” Movie Release Concept
- *Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade
- Napster for Napster to Go
- Sony Pictures Digital for Spiderman 2 on Mobile Memory Cards

Brand of the Year
- Apple
- Blizzard Entertainment for the Warcraft Brand
- Google
- *Yahoo!


Game Innovation of the Year
- *Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade
- NCsoft for Guild Wars
- Nintendo for Nintendo DS
- Tira Wireless for Advanced Technology for Mobile Content Deployment

Console Game of the Year
- *Halo2, MS Game Studios and Bungie Software
- Jade Empire, Bioware Corp.
- Resident Evil 4, Capcom
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Ubisoft

Mobile Phone Game of the Year
- Asphalt, Gameloft
- *Doom, Jamdat Mobile
- Pac-Mania, Namco
- Zuma, Glu Mobile

Casual Game of the Year
- Bewitched, Sony Picture Digital
- *Chuzzle Deluxe, PopCap
- Diner Dash, PlayFirst
- Poppit, EA Games/Pogo

Multiplayer Game of the Year
- City of Villains, NCsoft
- Delta Force Black Hawk Down, NovaLogic
- Guild Wars, NCsoft
- *World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment

Advergame of the Year
- *America’s Army, U.S. Army
- Hot Wheels Battle X, Shockwave
- Mojo Master, Conductor & WildTangent
- Watch Me Change, Fuel Industries

Best Use of Sound in a Game
- Darkwatch, Capcom, High Moon Studios
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar Games
- Resident Evil 4, Capcom
- *SSX on Tour, Electronic Arts


Digital Music Innovation of the Year
- Groove Mobile’s Complete Music Gateway
- Motorola’s iRadio Service
- Napster to Go
- *Sonos Digital Music System

Best Use of Technology by an Artist
- 50 Cent and Vivendi Universal Games for “Bulletproof”

- Coldplay and Cingular
- *Lil’ John
- Prince and the NPG Music Club

Best Radio Service
- AOL Radio Network
- *Motorola iRadio
- Yahoo! Music’s LAUNCHcast Radio Service
- XM Satellite Radio

Best Downloadable or Subscription Music Service
- Apple iTunes
- Napster
- RealNetworks’ Rhapsody
- *Yahoo! Music Unlimited

Music DVD of the Year
- Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Geneon Entertainment
- Cream Royal Albert Hall, Reprise / Rhino
- Live 8 Concert, EMI Music
- *Paul McCartney Live in Red Square, Blink Digital


DVD of the Year
- Deadwood, HBO
- From the Earth to the Moon, HBO
- The Incredibles, Buena Vista Entertainment
- *The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Ed.), New Line

Television Technology of the Year
- *GoldPocket's Event Matrix iTV System, GoldPocket Interactive
- GoTV Networks’ Innovative On Demand Mobile Television
- thePlatform
- Veoh Networks’ Internet Television Peercasting Network

Best Interactive Television Programming
- *AOL’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire (AIM) Integration
- Ball State University’s The Holocaust Museum Experience: Exploring Our Daily Decision Making
- NASCAR in Car, NASCAR Digital Entertainment
- MSN Music’s Rock Star INXS

Best Use of Technology for Educational Programming
- Baby Einstein: Baby Wordsworth First Words Around the House, The Walt Disney Co.
- Ball State University’s Discovering Our American Spirit
- BoxWrench Media’s Box Wrench 8 Point Rebuild
- *Inside 9/11 DVD Set, National Geographic

Most Innovative Use of Technology for Advertising
- *Atom Films’ Mobile Movie Theatre PSP
- Conductor’s Evan and Gareth / Mojo Master
- HBO’s Rome Goes Digital, Deep Focus
- Shockwave’s Hot Wheels BattleX: Arena

Best Video On-demand Service
- AOL Music on Demand
- GoTV Networks’ Innovative on Demand Mobile Television
- *Live 8 on AOLMusic.com, AOL
- MSN Video



GDC Mobile 2006 Assembles Advisory Board

Game Developers Conference (GDC) Mobile has appointed a new advisory board comprising executives from carriers, technology and handset providers, as well as game publishers and developers, to set the agenda for discussion at the event.

GDC Mobile is a two-day event dedicated to the development of mobile games, set to take place March 20-21, 2006, during GDC, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Calif.

The GDC Mobile 2006 Advisory Board includes:
• Matthew Bellows, General Manager, Floodgate Entertainment
• Robin Chan, Senior Director, Verizon Wireless
• David "DC" Collier, Founder, Pikkle KK
• Jason Ford, General Manager, Games, Sprint Nextel
• Tim Harrison, Head of Games, Vodafone Group
• Jani Karlsson, Senior Manager, N-Gage Platform, Nokia
• Kyu C. Lee, General Manager, Gamevil
• Chris Melissinos, Chief Gaming Officer, Sun Microsystems
• Mark Ollila, Executive Director, Telcogames
• Jyri Ranki, Producer, Sumea / Digital Chocolate
• Lincoln Wallen, CTO, Worldwide Mobile Gaming, Electronic Arts
• Mike Yuen, Director, Gaming Group, QUALCOMM
• Robert Tercek, Founder, Venture Intellect, and Founding Chairman, GDC Mobile

GDC Mobile 2006 will bring together professionals from the game development community with representatives from publishers, traditional platform game developers, handset manufacturers, aggregators and operators. They will discuss opportunities, challenges and viability in the space. More than 40 lectures, panels and roundtables will explore the future of the medium, and will cover areas such as 3D development, sound design production, licensing and distribution.

A complete list of GDC Mobile 2006 event and speaker information is available at http://www.gdconf.com/conference/gdcmobile.htm.



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.

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