Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 7 Dec 98

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
New!!! Check out Spectrum on the Web at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum

Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --RealNetworks Ships RealSystem G2 --Java/Perl Tool Available as Open Source Software --Superbase Announces Peer-to-Peer Internet Database --Yesler Alive Available for DIY Multimedia Web Presentations DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Pacific Media WorX to Release Open Media Toolkit 1.40 IN THE INFOGROOVE --Opera Updates Browser to 3.50 --WorldFlash Enhances Real-Time News Ticker --Parable Changes Name to Thingworld.Com --SplatMail Adds Expression, Mood to Email GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --MetaCreations Ships Kai's Power Tools Version 5 --Quantum3D Ships Heavy Metal PC-IG Systems --Ulead Updates Web Graphics Products --Independent Study: LightWave 3D is Leading Hollywood Solution --Credo Announces 3D Models, Life Forms Extension for trueSpace 4 WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits TECHNOTES --QED and IGST Announce MIPS-Based Set-Top Multimedia Platform --FireWire Notes CONSUMER CHANNEL --Animated Programs Releases ToonTalk - Computer Programming for Kids --Pilot Island PalmParrot Offers Digital Recording --Modified Ships Interactive HipHop Products --CE Software Releases QuicKeys, Windows Automation Tool --Diamond Releases Monster Sound MX300 Audio Accelerator THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Nearly Half of Internet Users Say Internet Online Becoming a Necessity GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Looking Glass' Thief: The Dark Project Sneaks Into Stores --Combat Flight Sim Mission Editor, Downloads Available --id, Activision Deliver QUAKE II Net Pack, Other News --Eidos Offers Assistance to Tomb Raiders --Interplay Sports Announces Virtual Deep Sea Fishing --Mindscape Offers Holiday Lineup --Ubi Soft Ships S.C.A.R.S. --Green Flag Drops on 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball NUMBEROLOGY --E-LOAN Provides Nearly $4 Billion in Mortgages --Northern Light Raises $9 Million in Equity Financing DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --Grammies Considering Game Music Award F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ___________________________________


RealNetworks Ships RealSystem G2 RealSystem G2 has shipped as a final product for Windows. Mac and Unix versions are expected Q1 1999. The new content-creation applications include: 1. RealProducer G2, which creates basic RealAudio and RealVideo, is available for free download at http://www.real.com/products/tools/producer/index.html 2. RealProducer Plus G2 is available at http://www.real.com/products/tools/producerplus/index.html. Features include: * dynamically adjusts to congested network conditions * allows content creators to specify data rates, Codec selection, and video frame rate * allows a file to dynamically adjust its transfer rate to visitor's bandwidth * enables users of RealPlayer 5.0 to receive content, even if they do not have a G2 player * includes scriptable commands for batch encoding single files or entire directories * allows user to specify a capture device and perform multiple simultaneous encoding sessions on a single machine * can embed up to six target audience connection rates and a backward-compatible stream in a single file 3. The free RealProducer G2 Authoring Kit contains tools for creating streaming presentations using RealAudio, RealVideo, RealText, RealPix, and SMIL, for both live and on-demand delivery. Available at: http://www.real.com/products/tools/authkit/index.html ___________________________________ Java/Perl Tool Available as Open Source Software Java/Perl Lingo (JPL), software that enables programmers to use the use the strengths of both Java and Perl in the same environment, is now freely available as open source software. Until now, the tool was available only in O'Reilly & Associates' Perl Resource Kit-UNIX Edition, a commercial product. JPL was developed by Larry Wall, creator of Perl and senior software developer at O'Reilly & Associates. JPL's goal is to seamlessly unite the two popular languages in a way which lets them complement each other's strengths. Java excels at helping computers across a network or the Internet communicate and share data; Perl is used especially for system administration and interactive Web sites. JPL enables programmers to implement Java methods with Perl, and for Perl code to access Java via the Java Native Interface (JNI). It includes a translator and build system for creating JPL applications. The JPL tool and its source code are available as part of the latest development release of Perl (version 5.005_54) and can be obtained at http://www.perl.com/. Subscription information for the JPL mailing list is available at http://www.perl.org/maillist.html/. ___________________________________ Superbase Announces Peer-to-Peer Internet Database London-based Superbase Developers Plc. will launch in January 1999 Superbase 3.6i, its peer-to-peer Internet database. Designed for small- to medium-sized enterprises and remote workers, the program lets users utilize any remote workstation as a server for querying, processing, printing, and even running applications, without the need for a centralized server. As a client, users can access application programs, forms, queries, and database files on any remote station using any of the supported communication methods; LAN, WAN, Internet, modem, serial link, etc., one at a time or concurrently. Contact Superbase at http://www.superbase.com. ___________________________________ Yesler Alive Available for DIY Multimedia Web Presentations Yesler Software, Inc., a Seattle, Washington-based Internet applications company, last week released Yesler Alive 1.0. The $195 Web-based desktop application is designed to let non-programmers create media-rich presentations and reports and post them to the Web. Functionality includes recording audio and video, synchronization of media with other data, and publishing it all to the Web or network. A free, downloadable 90-day evaluation version is available from http://www.yesler.com. ___________________________________


Pacific Media WorX to Release Open Media Toolkit 1.40 Pacific Media WorX will begin shipping version 1.40 of the Open Media Toolkit 2D and 3D cross-platform development framework on December 15. The new version contains new features, upgrades, and performance enhancements said to accelerate single platform or hybrid development times frames, and increase desktop speed. As well, the release of version 1.40 resolves compatibility conflicts that emerged with new upgrade releases of other engineering tools, such as Microsoft VC++ 6.0 & Metrowerks Code Warrior 4.0. OMT is now compatible with these recently released products. New features and tool enhancements include: * includes an upgraded release of the OMT MediaMeister which now allows the import of complete 3D Studio MAX shapes, including texture coordinates, materials, bounding spheres, etc., directly into a project * smart real-time texture caching automatically unloads unused texture(s) from VRam. If insufficient VRam is available to render a frame, OMT will downsample the farthest polygon's textures to lower mipmap level. * smart VRam support with DirectDraw. OMT is able to recover lost surfaces. * support for mipmap at both at pixel or polygon level. * integrated for Direct3D on Windows and Quickdraw Rave on Mac machines. * support for force feedback devices * object-oriented polygon-generating mechanism advancements for creating custom 3D objects. * upgraded 3D card support * smarter 3D card texture-mapping format support * implemented 2D collision detection at pixel precision * able to differentiate between pixel formats * support for changing thread priority * added support for DirectSound, looped sound, frequency, and volume, etc. Change your threads at http://www.pacmedia.com. ___________________________________


Opera Updates Browser to 3.50 Opera Software's new Opera 3.50 Web browser offers the following features: * reportedly the most complete CSS1 implementation of all commercial Web browsers, enhanced by customization options for both users and Website designers * support for the most compliant and most recent version of Java. As a stepping stone to internal Java support, access to applets has been made possible by supporting the plug-in from Sun Microsystems * supports Transport Layer Security (TLS), the successor to Secure Socket Layer (SSL). * support for file upload, required for some Web-based email services. Also, an offline browser mode, name completion, a turbo mode, the ability to turn off tables, a new download window with multiple functionality, and wider plug-in support * users can implement their own toolbar icon designs Opera has also launched PeopleLink, an instant messaging application and service <http://www.peoplelink.com/comnet/operasoftware/>. For more information, email mailto:sandra@operasoftware.com or visit <http://www.operasoftware.com>. ___________________________________ WorldFlash Enhances Real-Time News Ticker WorldFlash Software last week released Version 1.5 of its WorldFlash news and information ticker. The free (ad-supported) program delivers a low-bandwidth customized stream of current news headlines, stocks, finance, sports, science, health, lifestyle, high-tech, entertainment and more to individual desktops. Version 1.5 highlights include: * browse the headlines * 20 new dynamically updated content sites * stock ticker with programmable alerts * sports ticker * personal weather station * email alert and screen system * connection to major search engines URL: http://www.worldflash.com/ ___________________________________ Parable Changes Name to Thingworld.Com To better reflect its business emphasis on Thing-based technologies, tools and services and its Web site, Parable officially adopted the name ThingWorld.com (http://www.thingworld.com) last week. The announcement came amid various milestones for the company, including partnerships with entertainment, music, pro sports and consumer brand organizations, as well as with portal and community sites. Things are dynamic multimedia experiences that can be animated scenes and characters, puzzles, games, digital collectibles, point-of-purchase and associates program buttons, digital kiosks and more. ___________________________________ SplatMail Adds Expression, Mood to Email Boston-based Splatware's new SplatMail is a graphics add-on that augments email with colorful, clip-art-like vector-graphics designs. The product, which currently works only with Outlook mail, sends both the SplatNote and the message like regular email, which can be viewed by other SplatMail users. Recipients not running SplatMail see a standard email message. SplatMail is available at http://www.splatmail.com for $29.95. A full version of SplatMail can be downloaded on a 15-day trial basis. ___________________________________


MetaCreations Ships Kai's Power Tools Version 5 MetaCreations last week released a new version of Kai's Power Tools (KPT), a set of 10 plug-in applications for use within Adobe Photoshop. The new version, KPT 5 (US$199, upgrade $99), provides designers and illustrators, Web authors, photographers, and digital artists with new powerful effects to enhance their digital creative content. KPT 5 is suitable for creating Web buttons, banners and backgrounds. KPT 5 includes 10 new plug-in applications, divided into real-time 3D tools, particle growth effects and professional blurs. The interface has been refined to offer access to numerical values, real-time interactive previews of all operations and user-customizable options. New plug-in applications featured in KPT 5: * KPT ShapeShifter creates shapes and objects with refracting glass edges, 3D light sources on beveled metallic surfaces, soft, curved and lit Web buttons, and text. Resulting elements carry their masks with them for compositing. * KPT Orb-It explodes a source image into thousands of spheres with variations in size, density, and realistic 3D lighting. Produce fields of bubbles, raindrops, and giant lenses, text effects and distortions. * KPT FiberOptix creates anything from furry text, to green shag carpet, pink plastic silly string, and lush creeping vines. Every strand and fiber is a true 3D object. Masks are generated from the 3D data for compositing. * KPT Blurrrr is a suite of nine filters including the classic zoom, spin, and other blurs updated with real-time previews, pro-precision 64-bit color, and 128-bit math with new algorithms and variations. * KPT Noize includes a large collection of noises for textures and painting effects. * KPT RadWarp warps the edges of an image to correct or create a camera effect known as a "barrel distortion." * KPT Smoothie cleans up "dirty" masks quickly. * KPT FraxPlorer is a Fractal Explorer with real-time fly-throughs, larger previews, a new infinite zoom tool and new fractal styles. * KPT Frax4D lets users explore 3D and 4D fractals in 3D space. Create 3D fractal sculpture and wrap with any environment maps (such as gold, silver or gels). * KPT FraxFlame creates ethereal fractals that look like natural phenomena. Choose from a selection of different flame styles, then explore the fractals and render them as images. Check it out at http://www.metacreations.com. ___________________________________ Quantum3D Ships Heavy Metal PC-IG Systems Quantum3D of Santa Clara, Calif. last week demonstrated Mercury and Cobalt, the next generation of Heavy Metal PC-IG (PC Image Generation) 3D visual systems. Incorporating antialiasing technology, Heavy Metal offers scaleable solutions, ranging from selective edge to full scene, for up to sixteen synchronized channels. Scaleable antialiasing options include: * Heavy Metal Iron - Software enabled selective edge antialiasing * Heavy Metal Cobalt - Hardware assisted full scene edge antialiasing * Heavy Metal Mercury - Hardware enabled full scene antialiasing A single-channel Mercury system with dual Xeon processors, delivering 180 Megapixels of antialiased graphics, is introductory priced at $20,000. Check your jaggies at http://www.quantum3d.com. ___________________________________ Ulead Updates Web Graphics Products Ulead Systems announced last week new versions of its Web imaging utilities: * Ulead SmartSaver Pro ($60) is an optimization tool for preparing images and animations for the Web that supports GIF, JPEG, PNG and animation files. New features include a new user interface, WYSIWYG image slicing, HTML map tags support, improved optimization, enhanced batch commands, and new optimization presets. * Ulead GIF Animator 3 ($40) has added of a new palette building engine. Other new features include more accurate color conversion when importing graphics from different sources, greater cut and paste flexibility with layers, new creativity options with built-in automatic sprite creation and new video effects, and support for Adobe Photoshop plug-ins. * The newly released $90 Ulead WebRazor Pro suite ($130 after December 31) includes Ulead SmartSaver Pro, Ulead GIF Animator 3, Ulead COOL 3D 2.0, and Ulead Photo Explorer 4.2. COOL 3D 2.0 lets users create 3D text and titles, and Ulead Photo Explorer 4.2 is a thumbnail browser for keeping track of and managing images and multimedia files. Contact Ulead at http://www.Webutilities.com or call 310-297-5755. ___________________________________ Independent Study: LightWave 3D is Leading Hollywood Solution In the recent 3D Tools and Applications Market Study, an independent research study conducted by Jon Peddie Associates, NewTek's LightWave 3D is identified as the leading 3D design and animation software in the Hollywood market. According to the report, LightWave 3D accounts for 50% of the seats in the film and video supplier market and 53% of the seats in the broadcast-animation software suppliers market. The $4,995 study is 390 pages, with an additional 206-page appendix detailing the companies participating in the study. Contact Jon Peddie Associates at 4 Saint Gabrielle Ct., Tiburon, CA 94920-1619. Phone: 415-435-1775, fax: 415-435-1599, Website: http://www.jpa.com. ___________________________________ Credo Announces 3D Models, Life Forms Extension for trueSpace 4 Vancouver, BC-based Credo Interactive, a specialist in tools for 3D character motion, last week announced PowerModels, its collection of ready-to-animate 3D character models. The collection provides over 40 linked and constrained Life Forms-ready models, including human characters and six insects. The characters are also provided 3D Studio (3DS) and LightWave 3D (LWS) formats. The PowerModels collection includes 24 multi-racial human characters from Zygote Media Group, 13 human characters from Geo-Metricks, and 6 original insects created by Credo Interactive. Availability: January 4, 1999 Pricing: $249, $199 introductory price on orders processed before shipping date Also, newly available from Credo is a Life Forms extension for trueSpace 4 from Caligari. With import and export support for the Life Forms animation format, the extension allows trueSpace 4 to share models and character motion with Life Forms 3.0. Get animated at http://www.credo-interactive.com. ___________________________________


Web Bits ExperTelligence's (http://www.ExperTelligence.com) WebData (http://www.Webdata.com) is a database-only portal for the Internet, and its WebData Network (http://www.Webdatanetwork.com) is a link exchange service featuring a query-based banner ad exchange ... Online gaming service Gametropolis (http://gametropolis.com), for casual gamers, emphasizes non-violence, with multi-player and chatting capabilities within each game. Current games include Mission Moon, cribbage, chess, Memory, HyperBlaster, Stoplight, and BFL,a multi-player social-based football game ... i/us Corporation's free JumpList2 (http://www.jumplist.com) service is designed for Web site owners who need to build and maintain a categorized directory of links to either internal or external pages, or other Web-based resources. It features email notification of visitor-submitted or broken links. Toys Through Time, a new multimedia site from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online at http://toys.eb.com, uses video, animation, photos, and illustrations to look at the hit toys of the past 500 years ... The U.S Space Foundation's AstroZone at http://www.spacefoundation.org features a variety of space-related merchandise, including rocket lamps, Space News books, logo merchandise, and Fisher space pens, used on all manned space flights ... Free to senders and recipients, Macromedia's ShockRave FlashCards (http://www.shockrave.com/flashcards) topics include Birthday, Love, Friends & Family, and Daily Grind (work-related cards). Software BuyLine (http://www.softwarebuyline.com) offers a selection of more than 30,000 software titles through a deal with Ingram-Micro ... Can't figure out what to give? Online gift certificate store Giftpoint.com (http://www.giftpoint.com) offers a variety of national and local gift certificates from a large selection of companies ... MicroProse's Top Gun: Hornet's Nest is now available for free multiplayer matchmaking on Microsoft's MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com) ... The Sync's "Meeks Unfiltered" is a new weekly Internet-exclusive RealVideo talk show focusing on the bizarre world of techno-politics. See host Brock N. Meeks get "insightful and iconoclastic" at http://www.thesync.com ... The Green Travel Network (GTN) has just launched an online Adventure Guide to the Caribbean at http://www.greentravel.com/caribbean.htm. ___________________________________


QED and IGST Announce MIPS-Based Set-Top Multimedia Platform QED, Inc., and IGST will make available a reference platform for next-generation digital set-top boxes. The platform contains QED's MIPS RISC microprocessor, the RM5231 and IGST's CyberPro5300, a multimedia processor that integrates seven functions of the next generation of advanced digital TV set top boxes in a single chip. QED's RM5231 64-bit MIPS microprocessor, designed for embedded applications, executes 325 Dhrystone2.1 MIPS and 500 MFLOPS of floating point operations in parallel at 250MHz. Both the integer and floating point unit have high-speed multiply-accumulate instructions that are the core of DSP code. This provides designers with the flexibility of a general-purpose MIPS RISC microprocessor. The seven major functions that the 5300 integrates include ZeroZ 3D/2D Graphics Accelerator, CPU Bridge, NTSC/PAL TV encoder, Video Processor, Hardware Alpha Blending, AC97 Audio Processor, and SoftModem support Web Site: http://www.igst.com. ___________________________________ FireWire Notes The world's largest consumer electronics company, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and its subsidiary, Matsushita Electronics Corporation, have licensed Apple's FireWire technology for use in their semiconductors, consumer products and other applications. FireWire was invented by Apple in the early 1990s and was adopted by IEEE as a standard (IEEE 1394) in 1995. FireWire has been adopted by major camcorder manufacturers, such as Matsushita, for transferring digital video from digital camcorders to other devices such as personal computers. The FireWire standard is being adopted in other consumer multimedia devices, such as set-top boxes and digital VCRs such as ReplayTV. In addition, FireWire is said to be poised to become the next generation industry-standard for connecting personal computers to high-speed peripherals such as printers, scanners and disk drives. Also, the 1394 Trade Association has launched a new Web site featuring the latest products and technology based on the powerful 1394 multimedia bus. The new site is located at http://www.1394showcase.com and complements the association's home site at http://www.1394ta.org Launched at this year's Comdex, the new site features all of the ICs and software technology introduced over the past two years from leaders in 1394 development, along with a range of computers and consumer electronics products and systems from the U.S., Japan and Europe. ___________________________________


Animated Programs Releases ToonTalk - Computer Programming for Kids According to Ken Kahn, its creator, ToonTalk is a new way of programming computers - from the inside of an animated game-like world. The central idea is that a user (typically a child) can master ToonTalk and create a range of programs (including games) by understanding computational ideas in terms of concrete analogs. The child learns to train robots, to give birds messages to deliver, to load up trucks to construct new houses, to use animated tools to manipulate things, and so on. In doing so, the child is really programming. The user can automatically generate a Java applet of whatever she builds in ToonTalk. ToonTalk also includes a tutorial game that teaches programming. Narrated demos are included as well. A free 30-day trial version is available for download. The product CD-ROM and manual (in the form of 33 trading cards!) is available at the introductory price of $49.95. Visit http://www.toontalk.com for more information. ___________________________________ Pilot Island PalmParrot Offers Digital Recording Jealous of the Windows CE palmtops' built-in digital audio? Fret no more: Pilot Island Publishing's new $129 PalmParrot for 3Com PalmPilot and Palm III is a snap-on sound card that provides digital recording and playback, wavetable synthesis, DTMF auto dialing, and a simple voice recognition program. Smaller than the PalmPilot modem, the unit runs on two AAA batteries, has a built-in microphone, and includes a stereo headphone jack. Visit at http://www.pilotisland.com. ___________________________________ Modified Ships Interactive HipHop Products UK new media group Modified last week announced the following: PC and Mac: Immediate availability of frEQuency '99 CD-ROM <http://www.modified.com/freq99.htm> January release for Chillas 2001 CD-ROM <http://www.modified.com/chil21.htm> Sony PlayStation: Chiller Killers on the PlayStation <http://www.modified.com/sony.htm> ___________________________________ CE Software Releases QuicKeys, Windows Automation Tool Just out from CE Software is QuicKeys for Windows, new automation software for Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0. The $50 program automatically performs such tasks as opening programs, typing text, choosing from menus. It also automates longer tasks that require several consecutive steps, such as compressing and sending files via E-mail. It records the keystrokes and mouse-clicks involved in the task, then plays the entire sequence back when the user presses the hot key or clicks the toolbar button designated for that task. Other features include: * control of windows, volume, screen settings and an audio CD or DVD player via hot keys or a toolbar * a list of hot keys and sequences available via a mouse-click. * three varieties of custom toolbars * internet time-savers including automated Web surfing and one-step file transfer via email A free 30-day demo version is available from http://www.quickeys.com. ___________________________________ Diamond Releases Monster Sound MX300 Audio Accelerator Diamond Multimedia Systems shipped its new $100 Monster Sound MX300 audio accelerator to North American customers last week. Featuring Aureal Semiconductor's Vortex 2 processor and A3D 2.0 positional 3D audio support, the card also provides Dolby Digital support and interactive positional 3D audio rendering technology. Other features include DLS-compatible 320-voice wavetable synthesis and audio playback through headphones and two or four speakers. Diamond's Web site address is http://www.diamondmm.com. ___________________________________


Nearly Half of Internet Users Say Internet Online Becoming a Necessity Nearly half of Internet online users say the medium is now becoming just about a necessity, and almost three-quarters use it to make better buying decisions, according to a study released last week by America Online and marketing research and consulting firm Roper Starch Worldwide. The sample of 1,001 adult Americans who subscribe to online and Internet services from home (+/-3% margin of error) reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of the online population believe that being online has made their lives better and 8 in 10 say that it makes many activities easier and more convenient. Key findings include: * 71% of the online consumer population has been online for under three years and 29% has only been online for a year or less. * Yet almost half (44%) already say the interactive medium is just about a necessity to them and 77% believe it has made their lives better. * When asked about 16 everyday activities, more than eight in ten respondents said engaging in those activities online was either "much or somewhat easier" than "the way they used to do it." Leading this list of activities deemed "much easier" to do online were tracking stock portfolios and trading stocks. * 71% of the online consumer population say they regularly or occasionally go online to get information about products to buy, both on- and off-line. * 87% say they regularly or occasionally go online to communicate with friends and family and 94% say that the online medium makes communication with friends and family much or somewhat easier than methods they used before. * 80% of those using Internet and online services today have suggested to friends and family that they get online. * 79% of users said the computer would be considered the most important invention of the 20th Century. * Of those in the population who own a laptop computer, almost half (47%) take it on vacation. ___________________________________


Looking Glass' Thief: The Dark Project Sneaks Into Stores Thief: The Dark Project, a $50 first-person 3D action/adventure game from developer Looking Glass Studios, has shipped to retailers. Published by Eidos Interactive, Thief reportedly favors cunning and deception over an itchy trigger finger. Utilizing the new Dark Engine, the game transports players into a techno-fantasy world of intrigue, deception and combat. Assuming the role of a master thief relying on stealth and cunning, the player embarks on a series of adventures that are woven into a compelling story of seduction, betrayal, and ultimate revenge. In order to survive, gamers must use sly, evasive maneuvers to progress through a world where the shadows are your only allies, trust is not an option, and confrontation usually results in death. Look into the glass at http://www.lglass.com ___________________________________ Combat Flight Sim Mission Editor, Downloads Available Microsoft last week announced the availability of a free downloadable Mission Editor for Combat Flight Simulator, its new World War II air combat simulation game. The Mission Editor is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs/downloads.htm Players must have Microsoft Excel 97. The editor lets players build their own missions and campaigns by using an Excel spreadsheet that contains fields for all the mission and campaign parameters. Players simply enter their desired mission data into the spreadsheets, click a macro button, and the new mission file is generated and ready to fly. Also last week, Microsoft posted free downloadable voice files for Combat Flight Simulator at the above site. The new voice files let gamers hear authentic pilot radio voices in their native languages. Microsoft employed professional voice talent to record the original pilot dialog for Combat Flight Sim -- German actors recorded dialog for the Luftwaffe, American actors for the USAAF, and British for the RAF. The game was initially shipped with all characters speaking English for the version released in the United States, Canada and the U.K, and all characters speaking German for the game's release in Germany. This was done so gamers would be able to understand their wingmen calls. By popular request, today's release of the new voice files allows English speaking users to hear Luftwaffe pilots' radio chatter in German. In addition, voice files are being released in Germany that allows gamers there to hear the English radio calls of the American and British pilots. ___________________________________ id, Activision Deliver QUAKE II Net Pack, Other News QUAKE II enthusiasts will be able to blast through id Software's favorite gamer-created modifications and deathmatch levels with the new $14.99 QUAKE II Net Pack #1: Extremities. The boxed collection compiles id's top all-time favorite modifications and level maps from the Internet, including such fan favorites as Rocket Arena 2, Action Quake 2, JailBreak, CAPTURE!, and Rail Arena. Also included is a limited-edition QUAKE III Arena poster with screen shots from the highly anticipated action-packed adventure. In other Activision news, the company plans to release its upcoming X-MEN 3D fighting game simultaneously on the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 game consoles. Based on Marvel's worldly mutant franchise, the X-MEN title is expected to ship in the fall of 1999. And Marvel's Spider-Man will bring action and adventure to the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 when Activision releases the first ever Spider-Man 3D game (date not disclosed). Also, Activision is offering a free Sin update disc (v1.01) and an additional bonus Deathmatch level to all gamers who e-mail their name and mailing address to mailto:sinupdate@activision.com. The company will confirm receipt of all e-mails and contact consumers when the disc is mailed. This offer is only available to U.S. customers. Find more information at http://www.activision.com. ___________________________________ Eidos Offers Assistance to Tomb Raiders Stuck in Tomb Raider III? It's the biggest Tomb Raider adventure yet, so don't be embarrassed. Just log onto http://www.tombraider.com/tr3/fasttrack.html and get on the fast track. Just don't expect Lara to return your calls, because she's not real! ___________________________________ Interplay Sports Announces Virtual Deep Sea Fishing If you're tired of hunting virtual deer and are ready to off some fake fish, get a hook into Interplay Sports' newest title - Virtual Deep Sea Fishing. Compatible with Windows 95/98, the title lets users host fishing clubs and tournaments for multi-play with up to eight people via serial connection, modem, IPX or TCP/IP. Featuring real-time 3D environments, this game employs 18 different varieties of the world's biggest game fish including Sharks, Marlins, Tuna and Tarpon, as well as complete profiles of 13 exotic locations including Sydney, Kauai Island and Cabo San Lucas, each with unique wave variation and weather conditions. Players can also select from eight different types of boats, each with their own characteristics, as well as 12 different types of bait. In being sensitive to wildlife needs and desires, Virtual Deep Sea Fishing offers the option of tag and release after landing a trophy. The game also comes complete with tournament and world record tracking, in addition to a photo gallery to store pictures of prized catches. Developed by Taff System of South Korea, Virtual Deep Sea Fishing is scheduled to ship during the first half of 1999. Land the big one at http://www.interplay.com. ___________________________________ Mindscape Offers Holiday Lineup New titles from Mindscape, which include Broderbund titles, are: * Ages of Myst - full versions of Myst and Riven: The Sequel to Myst, plus a hardcover clue-keeping journal and a 14-minute "Making of Riven" movie on CD. * John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles - psychological thriller set in the imaginary world of Blackstone, created by author John Saul in his serial novel "The Blackstone Chronicles." The game takes place inside a 25-room asylum that has recently been renovated after being abandoned for 40 years. Tortured spirits from the asylum's grim past offer your only hope as you search desperately for your missing family. * People's General - superpowers wage high-tech warfare in the 21st century. Based on the Panzer General II engine, the wargame features a sleek new interface, 16-bit game maps and next-generation weaponry such as M1A3 and T-99 Battle Tanks, enhanced Comanche and Werewolf attack helicopters, and Crusader self-propelled artillery. * Chessmaster 6000 - new tutorials from chess coach Bruce Pandolfini and new annotated games from Josh Waitzkin, International Master and subject of "Searching for Bobby Fischer." Earn a rating by challenging any of 64 "human" or 30 grandmaster personalities. * Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - pits the Ultramarines against the Chaos Marines in turn-based tactical action that spans the galaxy. Create and customize your Space Marine squad, choosing from 32 different soldiers including Terminators, Assault Troopers, and Devastators. Command Predator tanks, Rhino APCs, Land Speeders, and Dreadnoughts. Get hammered at http://www.mindscape.com. ___________________________________ Ubi Soft Ships S.C.A.R.S. Developed by UK-based Vivid Image, Ubi Soft's S.C.A.R.S. is now available for PC CD-ROM, N64 and Sony PlayStation. The year is 3000 A.D., and the supercomputers that now rule the Earth have created nine mean racing machines, modeled after the most savage beasts in the animal kingdom. The Lion LK, Tiger Shark, Rhino Roadster, Cheetah V12 and other members of this menacing menagerie are poised to attack, each with its own armor and weapons. Players face such decisions as: Take the numerous alternative routes to recharge your vehicle or stick to the main thoroughfares? Go for the time bomb, the boomerang, the turbo boost or another weapon or pickup? Which enemies should be blown away at first sight, and which should you challenge to tooth-and-claw combat? Visit http://www.ubisoft.com. ___________________________________ Green Flag Drops on 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball NASCAR racing meets bumper-to-bumper with pinball as Sierra Attractions releases 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball for Windows, the fourth 3-D Ultra Pinball title developed by Dynamix Inc. The $30 title includes four NASCAR drivers - Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte, four racetracks, actual NASCAR video footage and three double-wide 3D rendered pinball tables. The 10 different modes of play include Chase the Flag, Accident Hurry-up, Collect the Oil Drums, Super Ramp, Redline, Collect the Tires, Catch the Flag, Avoid the Black Flag and Get that Car Otta (sic) Here. A Macintosh version will be available in January. A strategy guide, playing tips and other information are available at http://www.nascarpinball.com. ___________________________________


E-LOAN Provides Nearly $4 Billion in Mortgages Online mortgage broker E-LOAN announced last week its total online volume mortgage origination of $3.975 billion worth of residential mortgage loans projected in 1998. Earlier this year, Killen Associates predicted that online loan volume would top out at $10 billion for the year. Get mortgaged at http://www.eloan.com/. ___________________________________ Northern Light Raises $9 Million in Equity Financing Northern Light Technology LLC, (http://www.nlsearch.com/), the developer of the first research engine, has raised $9 million in the first closing of its new round of equity financing. The investment was led by investors associated with Prime Consulting Group, of Holden, Massachusetts. Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation acted as placement agent for the financing. Northern Light's research engine combines a Web search engine with access to over 5,000 premium full-text sources previously available only to users of expensive online services like LEXIS-NEXIS, Dow Jones Interactive and Dialog. ___________________________________


Grammies Considering Game Music Award As a first step toward a potential game music Grammy Award, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences last week held a summit with a dozen game industry music professionals. The San Francisco meeting, titled "Working Group on Game Music Awards and Membership," was intended to lay the groundwork for a game music study committee, a Recording Academy symposium on the interactive arts, and possibly also a panel presentation at GDC. The Grammy campaign's architect was Chance Thomas, a senior music producer at Sierra On-Line's Yosemite Entertainment division and composer of the forthcoming Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire. His proposal is an award for Best Original Soundtrack from an Interactive Game. Your editor's somewhat cynical take on this is that since the Grammies do little more than celebrate corporate mediocrity, I can't help wondering why someone as creative as Thomas is putting so much energy into such a mission. But hey, if that's what he wants, more power to him. ___________________________________


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