Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 1 Feb 99

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
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__________Advertisement______________ CadLab Renamed think3! Go to www.cadlab.com to learn more about the new company. Or share your 2-D to 3-D thoughts until February 28, 1999 and get a shot at winning a PalmIII ___________________________________

Today's Headlines (details below)

TODAY'S TOP STORY --Connectix Defies Sony, Ships PSX Emulator WEBMEISTER --Parasoft Releases Beta of Web Manager WebKing --NEC Updates Web Animation Producer DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --RTIME Supports Linux for Multiplayer Gaming Engine --Steinberg Announces Mixman's Studio LIVE IN THE INFOGROOVE --Direct Hit Announces 'Related Search Terms' Internet Search Tech --Report: E-Commerce Fuels Growth of Webvertising GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Datapump Debuts Online 3D Model Databank --StereoGraphics Launches CrystalEyes Wired for Stereo3D --Nichimen Updates Nendo Software WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits TECHNOTES --Quantum Computing to Change Internet CONSUMER CHANNEL --MusicMatch Releases All-In-One MP3 Software --3D Technology to Transform Television Viewing THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Jupiter: Online Retailers Must Embrace Auctions as New Platform for Discounts --Voices from the Open Source Revolution DEALS --Yahoo! to Acquire GeoCities GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Loki to Launch Activision's Civilization: Call to Power for Linux --Infogrames Announces N64 Lode Runner 3-D --Acclaim's "Machines" for PC Arrives on Earth this April --Simutronics DragonRealms Takes to the Sea --Sierra Posts Quest for Glory V Demo --Kesmai Brings Air Warrior to Mac EA to Ship Meier's Alpha Centauri Feb. 9 --Bergenholtz Announces Sandbox Studios NUMBEROLOGY --Macromedia Reports Record Revenues for Third Quarter Fiscal 1999 --U.S. Video Game Industry Hits All-Time Sales High --Northern Light Claims Largest Search Database DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --Discreet Visual Effects Tools Win Oscar F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ___________________________________


Connectix Defies Sony, Ships PSX Emulator Connectix Corporation announced last Thursday that it is shipping Connectix Virtual Game Station Version 1.1 despite a suit filed by Sony Corporation. For the current users of Version 1.0, an updater is available at www.connectix.com. The new retail version is entering production and is expected to be widely available throughout the U.S., including at the Connectix Web store, with an estimated street price of $49. Connectix Virtual Game Station, which won MacWorld's "Best of Show" award at the recent MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, enables some Sony PlayStation games to run on Apple's G3 Macintosh computers, including desktops, PowerBooks and iMacs. Connectix also sells Virtual PC software that enables Macintosh users to run Windows applications. Connectix denies Sony Corporation's charges and intends to defend itself. "We do not believe that we have violated any intellectual property rights in the creation or marketing of Connectix Virtual Game Station," said a company spokesperson. "We have developed technology specifically designed to prohibit the use of pirated PlayStation titles with Connectix Virtual Game Station. We've worked hard to prevent use of pirated software and have added additional security technology into Version 1.1." ___________________________________


Parasoft Releases Beta of Web Manager WebKing New from ParaSoft is the beta release of WebKing, the main module of ParaSoft's upcoming line of Web tools. WebKing tests internet And intranet sites for: * bad links * spelling errors (HTML-Aware)* * missing sources * malformed URLs * empty URLs * duplicate anchors * missing anchors * orphaned files * site replication * users can automatically check spelling on Web pages without getting false reports caused by HTML tags (i.e. , etc.) WebKing also gives users the option to test single pages or entire sites online or offline. Many errors can be fixed automatically, and all can be fixed almost instantly. WebKing will be available on Windows and Linux in the first quarter of 1999. The beta version is available now at http://www.parasoft.com. ___________________________________ NEC Updates Web Animation Producer NEC Systems last week announced Release 1.5 of Web Animation Producer, its Windows-based multimedia authoring environment that lets users add Java-enabled special effects, animation, sound and interactivity to Web pages. New features include: * support for GIF animations as objects within Web-based presentations * extract, selectively edit and re-order individual images from a GIF animation * add sound effects synchronized to individual frames from an extracted GIF animation * add interactive special effects, including rollover effects, text effects, transitions * save newly modified GIF animations as Java applets, ready for playback in an HTML page * a revised and simplified FTP facility * a faster 1/100 second authoring mode * new support for text objects as hotspots * an entry window for matching the background color of a presentation to that of the HTML page Visit http://www.animation.neclab.com ___________________________________


RTIME Supports Linux for Multiplayer Gaming Engine RTIME's new Interactive Networking Engine for Red Hat's Linux is a client/server networking engine that enables realtime interactive applications and multiplayer gaming over the Internet and local area networks (LANs). Game developers and publishers are said to benefit from the Linux support because of its low cost and high performance/high scalability characteristics required by bandwidth-intensive applications like multiplayer games. RTIME's platform reportedly resolves the critical issues of high and variable latency, limited bandwidth, and high packet loss, using proprietary methods embodied in its networking engine, and it enables developers to design, develop and deploy multiplayer games. The company's solution provides support for a variety of applications that require realtime interaction between multiple, distributed participants, including multiplayer gaming, simulations, education, training, medical and concurrent engineering. This latest release of the RTIME Interactive Networking Engine supports server hardware running Red Hat Linux, as well as client applications that are developed for the Linux operating system. Developers interested in learning more about RTIME and its products can join the RTIME Developers Group at the company's Web site, http://www.rtimeinc.com. Upon joining, developers can download documentation for V3.0 and a White Paper describing the architecture and design philosophy of the product. In addition, developers gain access to the source code for RTIME Rocks!, a first-person, 3D "asteroids" game that supports up to 100 concurrent players and spectators. The source code comes with a 50-page "how to" tutorial that walks developers through every facet of multiplayer game design and development, and includes example code from RTIME Rocks! The RTIME Client runs on Windows 95/98, Windows NT, SGI Irix, SUN Solaris, and Red Hat Linux. The RTIME Server runs on SGI Irix, SUN Solaris, Red Hat Linux and Windows NT. A development-only version is available for Windows 95/98. ___________________________________ Steinberg Announces Mixman's Studio LIVE Steinberg North America last week announced Studio LIVE, a new music software package for Windows developed by Mixman Technologies Inc. Studio LIVE is a remix performance sampler enabling the performer to remix 16 tracks of digital audio in realtime, with up to 256 voice polyphony. It allows musicians to dynamically remix loops and samples while syncing to external MIDI devices, other Studio LIVE set-ups and analog audio sources such as vinyl or live musicians. Features: * MIDI IN: Trigger tracks in Studio LIVE from any MIDI controller * MIDI OUT: Send track on/off events to control other MIDI devices * MIDI Sync: Synchronize Studio LIVE with external devices using MIDI clock * DJ Sync: Tap-tempo, beat-reset and beat-nudge to sync with vinyl. * 25 FX Algorithms: 5 independent FX per track * Import/Export: Stereo WAV files, RealAudio, SoundFonts, TRK * Audio Driver Support: ASIO, Windows WAV and DirectX Studio Live will be available in Q2 1999 from Steinberg dealers in the United States for a MSRP of $249. ___________________________________


Direct Hit Announces 'Related Search Terms' Internet Search Tech Direct Hit Technologies' new Related Search Terms system reportedly enhances search by offering lists of related topics alongside Direct Hit's standard search results. The system is an enhancement to Direct Hit's Popularity Engine. To use standard Direct Hit, an Internet searcher enters a search term into one of Direct Hit's partner search engines and receives a list of the most popular and relevant Web sites chosen by some of the millions of Web searchers who were searching for the same term. On the same Web page, the "Related Search Terms" technology provides a list of additional search topics based on similar queries from other searchers. The Direct Hit technology is available today at the HotBot search engine (www.hotbot.com), and is also currently being integrated into the latest version of the ICQ communications portal, which features a new search function called ICQ IT! ___________________________________ Report: E-Commerce Fuels Growth of Webvertising AdKnowledge, a provider of Web advertising management products, last week released its second annual Online Advertising Report (OAR) Year In Review. A compilation of 1998 online advertising statistics pulled from more than 1,400 Web sites and samples of ads served across hundreds of sites, the 1998 OAR Year In Review reveals three major findings: 1. Increase in e-commerce sites fuel growth of web advertising The report provides data on the number and categories of ad-seeking sites. The OAR indicates growth in every site category with the number of sites seeking advertising increasing 38% during 1998 from 1,033 in December 1997 to 1,424 in December 1998. Two of the fastest-growing categories of sites were classifieds and shopping/transactions; these two e-commerce-driven categories accounted for more than one third of the new sites established in 1998. 2. CPMs continue to soften The report shows online advertising rates continue a downward trend. For the second year in a row, average CPMs were down 6%. The average CPM in December 1997 was $37.21, a number which declined to $35.13 by the end of 1998. However, two of the larger categories, computers/technology and shopping/transactions, actually increased their CPM rates in 1998. These categories were part of 1998's e-commerce growth trend and also had limited ad space. 3.WebTV's market share triples and Microsoft now owns more than 50% of browser market share The report's statistics that show WebTV's market share has tripled from .6% in December 1997 to 2.9% in December 1998. Additionally, when WebTV's market share of 2.9% is combined with Microsoft Internet Explorer's share of 47.8%, Microsoft now owns more than 50% of the browser market share. In addition, according to browser samples taken in October and November 1998, Microsoft Internet Explorer had greater market share on the weekends at 53.3% than weekdays at 48.3%, indicating that more home-based Internet surfers use Internet Explorer than Netscape Navigator. Over the past year, Netscape's browser market share continued to decline from 61% in December 1997 to 46.3% in December 1998. The full report is available at http://www.adknowledge.com/update/oar_yir98.pdf. (requires Acrobat Reader.) ___________________________________


Datapump Debuts Online 3D Model Databank Datapump announces the debut of its new Online Model Databank, with render-ready objects in multiple formats and resolutions for 3D artist and designers. The system uses e-commerce technology to allow real-time shopping and delivery over the Internet. The databank is stocked with objects and CD-ROM collections available for online ordering and download, with more to come. The Model databank is available at http://www.datapump3d.com or contact info@datapump3d.com for more information. ___________________________________ StereoGraphics Launches CrystalEyes Wired for Stereo3D StereoGraphics' new $299 CrystalEyes Wired is an entry-level stereoscopic eyewear system for mechanical design, architectural CAD and scientific professionals who work with complex 3D images. CrystalEyes Wired was developed to take advantage of the new generation of OpenGL graphics cards using the VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) standard 3-pin connector. The user simply plugs CrystalEyes Wired's 3-pin connector into a compatible graphics card and the eyewear is automatically activated whenever a Stereo3D-capable application is running. According to the company, many applications for mechanical CAD, design visualization, earth resource sciences and molecular/chemical engineering support CrystalEyes Wired. Visit http://www.stereographics.com or send an e-mail to sales@stereographics.com. ___________________________________ Nichimen Updates Nendo Software Nichimen Graphics last week announced the next incremental release (version 1.1) of its 3D modeling and 3D paint software, Nendo ("clay" in Japanese). Version 1.1 will include several enhancements to its paint and modeling capabilities, as well as added support for import and export for 3DS, DirectX, .obj, VRML and Game Exchange file formats. Nendo 1.1 will be a free upgrade for those who have already purchased Nendo 1.0 and will continue to be priced at $99 for new customers. The downloadable software is available for upgrade or purchase from www.nichimen.com ___________________________________


Web Bits Sierra/Valve's new Team Fortress 2 site offers new screenshots, updates and information on the upcoming multiplayer game, based on Half-Life technology, at www.sierrastudios.com/games/teamfortress ... If you can't be near a TV on March 7, but can't wait to hear the results of the Screen Actors Guild awards, set your browser to Excite's Entertainment Channel at www.excite.com ... Sellers who have closed auctions on e-Bay can transfer their item information to uTrade.com at http://www.utrade.com, and take advantage of uTrade.com's no-listing-fee promotion. uTrade.com claims this to be the first step in creating an open system among online auction sites ... New kids' site Infoplease Kids' Almanac (http://kids.infoplease.com) combines homework-type information with fun facts and trivia ... Audiobook publisher Recorded Books, Inc. has launched an audio bookstore on the Internet at <http://www.recordedbooks.com>, with _unabridged_ titles available for rent and for sale ... audiohighway.com has begun carrying MP3 audio content on its site (www.audiohighway.com) ... If you're concerned about the "Disneyfication" of American history, check out professor Avon Edward Foote's site at http://chotank.com/disneyrom.html ... Diamond Multimedia Systems is launching an audio portal, http://www.RioPort.com, aimed at promoting legitimate Internet music by providing links to MP3 music and other audio content available on the Internet. ___________________________________


Quantum Computing to Change Internet "Tremendous changes are in store for the worlds of computing, the Internet, and e-commerce as a result of a revolution in physics. The application of quantum mechanics to create quantum computing may change the nature of encryption, and it could start to happen in 1999," says Ed Rosenfeld, the Editor & Publisher of the newsletter, INTELLIGENCE - The Future of Computing. In the most recent issue of INTELLIGENCE, Rosenfeld traces the applications of earlier revolutions in physics as classical physics led to the Industrial Revolution and relativistic physics led to atomic energy and weapons. Quantum computing will be one of the first applications of quantum mechanics. Recent developments in the field, reported over the past months by INTELLIGENCE, indicate that quantum computing is capable of creating systems that search the various parts of a database all at once. Conventional computers now search databases serially. Quantum computing will enable a search to occur at many places at the same time. Develop your mind at http://eintelligence.com/. ___________________________________


MusicMatch Releases All-In-One MP3 Software MusicMatch JukeBox is said to be the first all-in-one MP3 software program, combining CD ripping and MP3 and RealAudio encoding (compression), a music database, programmatic playlist controls and a multimedia MP3 player. The software allows users to build collections of digital music on their PC, composed of their favorite tracks recorded from their CD library or downloaded from the Internet. The tracks are stored in the MP3 format, allowing for superior audio quality in a portable file size. MusicMatch's database and playlist controls let users organize their digital music collections. Find more at http://www.musicmatch.com. ___________________________________ 3D Technology to Transform Television Viewing In a paper presented at the International Symposium on Electronic Imaging, Phil Harman, chief technology officer at Australia-based Dynamic Digital Depth Inc. unveiled how the company intends to change the television industry. Cable and satellite television providers have been eager to include 3D capabilities in their new digital services, but bandwidth requirements are so stringent that there has been little hope of any provider being able to comply. Now, Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD) has launched a range of 3D solutions that allow broadcasters to bring 3D television to the masses. "Historically, 'stereoscopic' 3D programs have required two dedicated channels, thus reducing the number of digital channels available," said Harman. "The impact of this on the broadcasters' revenue has made 3D cost prohibitive." DDD uses Dynamic Depth Cueing (DDC), the company's patented software-based process, to instantly transform 2D television programming to 3D, while using nominal additional bandwidth. DDC also preserves the 2D image, allowing both conventional and 3D programming to be delivered simultaneously. To achieve this, a set-top box allows the viewer to choose whether to watch in 2D or 3D. To view 3D, the set-top box decodes the DDC data and generates the second 'stereo' 3D image dynamically. The result is lifelike 3D with stunning realism on a conventional television set. The company is already in negotiations with a number of cable companies and set-top box manufacturers to license the DDC technologies. Visit www.ddd3d.com. ___________________________________


Jupiter: Online Retailers Must Embrace Auctions as New Platform for Discounts Online business-to-consumer auctions will move $3.2 billion worth of merchandise annually by 2002. This interactive sales format will provide online retailers with better results in liquidating excess inventory than traditional fixed-price discounting, according to research released last week by Jupiter Communications. Jupiter projects that online auction purchasers in the US will grow from 1.2 million in 1998 to 6.5 million in 2002. While these auction purchasers will represent only 11 percent of the total online shopping population in 2002, they will be very valuable to online retailers, visiting and buying from sites more frequently than the average customer. Over the next four years, Jupiter estimates that consumers will spend $7.1 billion dollars via online auctions. "Online retailers will continue to have difficulty anticipating consumer demand for purchasing specific items online. As they look to liquidate excess inventory, retailers should embrace the inherent interactivity of the Web and move beyond traditional fixed-price discounting to online auctions," said Nicole Vanderbilt, senior analyst, Jupiter Communications. Vanderbilt added that online retailers that take advantage of auctions will benefit from higher repeat-visit and purchase rates and greater promotional value. Jupiter research also shows that 1999 will be the year that business-to-consumer auctions move beyond limited technology product offerings to a more diverse product mix. While online auction purchasers have been mostly male, technology-savvy users, the availability of other merchandise, including toys and apparel, will attract a more mass-market consumer to the interactive sales format. For more information, see www.jup.com ___________________________________ Voices from the Open Source Revolution In O'Reilly's new book, Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, leaders of Open Source come together in print to discuss a new vision of the software industry they have created. The essays in this volume offer insight into how the Open Source movement works, why it succeeds, and where it is going. Contributors include: * Brian Behlendorf (Apache) * Kirk McKusick (Berkeley Unix) * Tim O'Reilly (Publisher, O'Reilly & Associates) * Bruce Perens (Debian Project, Open Source Initiative) * Tom Paquin and Jim Hamerly (mozilla.org, Netscape) * Eric Raymond (Open Source Initiative) * Richard Stallman (GNU, Free Software Foundation, Emacs) * Michael Tiemann (Cygnus Solutions) * Linus Torvalds (Linux) * Paul Vixie (Bind) * Larry Wall (Perl) * Bob Young (Red Hat) The book explains why the majority of the Internet's servers use Open Source technologies for everything from the operating system to Web serving and email. Key technology products developed with Open Source Software have overtaken and surpassed the commercial efforts of billion-dollar companies like Microsoft and IBM to dominate software markets. Learn the inside story of what led Netscape to decide to release its source code using the Open Source mode. Learn how Cygnus Solutions builds the world's best compilers by sharing the source code. Learn why venture capitalists are eagerly watching Red Hat Software, a company that gives its key product -- Linux -- away. Open Sources Voices from the Open Source Revolution Edited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman & Mark Stone 1st Edition January 1999 (US) ISBN: 1-56592-582-3, 280 pages, $24.95 http://www.oreilly.com 1-800-998-9938 ___________________________________


Yahoo! to Acquire GeoCities Spectrum doesn't usually cover the "biggest" Internet stories (we leave those to the mass media), but this one's too important to ignore. Yahoo! has signed an agreement to acquire GeoCities, a provider of personal publishing tools and Web-based communities. The acquisition combines two of the largest and most popular services on the Internet. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! will issue 0.3384 shares of Yahoo! common stock for each share of GeoCities common stock. In addition, all outstanding options of GeoCities will be converted into Yahoo! options. The acquisition, which will be accounted for as a pooling of interests and is subject to certain conditions, regulatory approval and approval by GeoCities shareholders, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 1999. Yahoo! expects to record a one-time charge in the second fiscal quarter of 1999 relating to acquisition expenses. ___________________________________


Loki to Launch Activision's Civilization: Call to Power for Linux One way to tell whether an operating system has come into its own is by the availability of commercial games for it. Linux just made the grade, as Loki Entertainment Software of Tustin, Calif. last week announced it will port and market a Linux version of the upcoming strategy game, Civilization: Call To Power. Loki plans to launch the Linux version of the game this spring to coincide with Activision's release of the PC version. Civilization: Call To Power will be the first game marketed for the open source Linux platform, according to Scott Draeker, Loki president. Based on its agreement with Activision, Loki is porting the game from the original source code so that the graphics, action and user interface will be the same as the PC version. The Linux version also will include the new tools, options, combat and graphics featured in the PC game. It will be based on the identical story line and characters, challenging players to create a civilization of their own making through the 7,000 years from primitive history to 3000 AD. Additional information can be found at http://www.lokigames.com. ___________________________________ Infogrames Announces N64 Lode Runner 3-D Originally launched in 1983 as a tile-based side-scrolling puzzle, the "Lode Runner" franchise, which has sold more than 3.5 million units to date, has been a favorite on most platforms throughout the 80s and 90s. Lode Runner 3-D, Infogrames' new N64 title expected this spring, offers a collection of action-oriented puzzle adventures set in a series of five 3D worlds, with 3D stereo sound and automatic camera controls. During the adventure, players must get to the secluded Emperor's realm, recover the stolen gold, eliminate the Emperor Monk and return to Earth alive. Players utilize gadgets and devices found throughout various worlds, which are needed to successfully complete the mission. Items Lode Runner makes use of include drill bits, cable disks, ice slides and plasma launchers. The title is developed by Big Bang Software, based in Redmond, Wash. For more information, see www.loderunner3d.com. ___________________________________ Acclaim's "Machines" for PC Arrives on Earth this April Acclaim Entertainment, known mostly for console games, announced that its upcoming PC CD-ROM game, Machines, will ship to retail this April. Machines is a 3D real-time strategy game developed by the Nottingham, UK-based Charybdis, Ltd. The game allows players to manage their units on a broad scale, but gives them the added ability to get inside individual vehicles and shoot it out in battle, spy on and sabotage their foes. Features include real-time polygonal environments with multiple camera perspectives, including overhead, 3rd-person and 1st person command capabilities. Machines also features resource management, Internet gameplay (via Microsoft's MSN Gaming Zone), and more than 50 different machines with 25 weapons. A free shareware version of Machines will be included with Acclaim's Turok 2: Seeds of Evil for PC CD-ROM, due to hit store shelves on February 9, 1999. The demo will include two single-player campaign levels, one skirmish level and one multiplayer level in which up to four players can battle head-to-head via their local area network or the Internet. Visit www.acclaim.net. ___________________________________ Simutronics DragonRealms Takes to the Sea Just out from online gaming specialist Simutronics is DragonRealms: The Maritime Expansion, which brings the online fantasy role-playing game to the high seas. The centerpiece of DragonRealms: The Maritime Expansion is the fourth province of Elanthia and features new towns, cities, hunting areas and thousands of miles of ocean. With over 3,000 new game locations, the DragonRealms universe now encompasses more than 15,000 unique locations. Activities include sailing, fishing, ship-to-ship combat and underwater hunting areas. New spells include Calm Storm, Underwater Breathing and Raise Wind, and other new features include player-owned houses and player-controlled armor and weapon creation. A 30-day free trial is available at http://dragonrealms.net. Subscriptions to the game are $9.95 per month. ___________________________________ Sierra Posts Quest for Glory V Demo A new demo of Sierra's role-playing adventure game Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire has been made available to fans over the Internet. Sierra FX released the game, developed by Yosemite Entertainment, in mid-December. The fifth and final chapter in the series features a panoramic world with 3D directional sound and real-time combat. With four different character classes available to play, the game offers different endgames, different dialogue - virtually four different games. The game was released as a hybrid Win95/Macintosh game. The Rite of Conquest, one of the seven Rites of Rulership, which players must perform throughout the course of the game, is included in the new demo, as are two of the four character classes available in the full game. The new demo, also available in both Mac and PC versions, can be found at http://www.qg5.com. ___________________________________ Kesmai Brings Air Warrior to Mac Kesmai Corporation recently made its WWII combat flight sim Air Warrior available for the Macintosh through its online games service, GameStorm. Air Warrior pioneered the industry a decade ago as the first graphical online multiplayer game. All missions are in real time against real opponents. Players can choose from such theatres as the World War I arena (with 5 planes to choose from), World War II arena (European and Pacific theaters and a total of 20 planes) or the Korean War arena (which enables you to pilot the F86 Sabre, or fabled Soviet MiG-15). Planes range from WWI classics like the Sopwith Camel or Baron von Richthofen's Fokker Dr1 to WWII legends including the F6F-3 Hellcat and P-38J Lightning. GameStorm is located at http://www.gamestorm.com. ___________________________________ EA to Ship Meier's Alpha Centauri Feb. 9 Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri will ship February 9 to retail outlets from developer Firaxis and publisher Electronic Arts. This Brian Reynolds design features a science fiction storyline of exploration, discovery, empire building and conquest, as well as: * the ability to research mankind's great technological breakthroughs of the future, including secret projects and technologies rooted in today's scientific theories * the capability to design your own war machine: Custom build fighting units that meet your mission's specific needs, or accept your governor's recommendations. * the ability to terraform an alien landscape by raising mountains and leveling hillsides to make the planet more habitable for yourself or harsher for your opponents * diplomatic relations: Dynamic personalities react individually to your actions. Your diplomatic decisions dictate your path to one of five ultimate resolutions. * Replayablity, thanks to a random 3D world generator, unlimited strategies, five paths to victory, six levels of difficulty, seven unique factions, map/game editor, and customizable options * multiplayer support via the Internet, a LAN, modem, or serial link Find more at www.ea.com. ___________________________________ Bergenholtz Announces Sandbox Studios Steve Bergenholtz, who was instrumental in the creation of Utopia Technologies' notorious 1984 "hit," Montezuma's Revenge, has announced the formation of Sandbox Studios, a Texas-based software development company. The new studio will develop entertainment software for the PC, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Nintendo Game Boy systems using the company's proprietary technology. Its upcoming software titles will fall into several genres including kids, adventure, sports and educational. Sandbox is currently pursuing two patents to protect its technologies. The first is for a graphics technology and the second for an Internet technology that will cover a number of claims developed by its core Internet development team. Besides these new technologies, Sandbox has already created a physics engine for the Nintendo 64, which will also be used in another game publisher's title, which has licensed the technology from Sandbox. More information will be made available at http://www.sandboxstudios.com in the coming weeks. ___________________________________


Macromedia Reports Record Revenues for Third Quarter Fiscal 1999 Macromedia last week announced a 44% year-over-year increase in revenues for the third quarter ended December 31, 1998. Revenues for the third quarter were $38,228,000 as compared with $26,579,000 in the same period a year ago. Gross profit increased 45% to $34,520,000 as compared with $23,816,000 in the third quarter a year ago. Net income rose to $5,310,000, or $0.12 per share, during the third fiscal 1999 quarter, compared to a net loss of $7,251,000, or $0.19 per share, a year ago. Revenues for the nine months ended December 31, 1998 increased 27%, totaling $105,789,000 as compared with $83,074,000 in the nine-month period a year ago. For the nine months ended December 31, 1998, gross profit increased 36% to $95,733,000 as compared with $70,436,000 in the same period a year ago. Net income for the nine-month period reached $12,441,000, or $0.28 per share, as compared with a net loss of $8,177,000, or $0.21 per share. "New products now comprise more than 42% of total revenue," said Rob Burgess, Macromedia's chairman and chief executive officer. During the third quarter, Windows-related revenues represented 58% of total product revenues, a 33% increase over the same period a year ago. Macintosh-related revenues increased 35% over the same period a year ago, representing 42% of total product revenues. North American revenues represented 59% of revenues during the quarter compared with 44% a year ago and were flat sequentially. ___________________________________ U.S. Video Game Industry Hits All-Time Sales High U.S. video game retail sales hit an all-time high mark of $6.3 billion in 1998, according to marketing information provider The NPD Group. Sales grew a healthy 22% over a strong 1997. Retail sales remained strong throughout the 1998 calendar year with each month outperforming the same month a year ago. PlayStation and Nintendo 64 both contributed to the success the industry enjoyed during the year. The combined life-to-date installed base of "next-generation" systems in the U.S. is 26 million units. Driving much of the sales growth was console software, up 53% in unit sales and 38% in dollar sales. Next-generation software in particular experienced a significant increase in sales, growing 75% in units and 51% in dollars. Most video game industry categories showed a larger increase in unit sales than in dollar sales due to declining average retail prices. The top-selling console title was GoldenEye 007 for N64. ___________________________________ Northern Light Claims Largest Search Database Northern Light Technology LLC, with over 120 million Web pages indexed in its database, claims to have the largest search engine database on the Web. Internet industry observer Greg Notess cited Northern Light as having the largest search engine database as of January 5, 1999 (see Search Engine Showdown, http://www.notess.com/search/stats/size.html). Extrapolating from his data, the total number of Web pages for each of the nine engines compared on January 5, 1999, was: Northern Light 115,455,526* Alta Vista 100,767,077 Hot Bot [Inktomi] 90,344,759 Snap [Inktomi] 76,763,344 Infoseek 48,331,476 MSN [Inktomi] 43,957,342 Google! 34,939,067 Excite 33,454,022 Lycos 20,007,611. *Since January 5th, Northern Light's Web database has grown to 122,284,401. According to Notess, the author of Search Engine Showdown, "Northern Light ranks first in database size, followed by AltaVista and HotBot. Only Northern Light shows consistent growth out of the search engines compared." Notess compares the size, overlap, unique pages, change over time, and dead links of the nine largest Web search engines. His methodology uses a combination of single keyword and phrase searches which generates comparable results for each of the search engines tested. See for yourself at http://www.nlsearch.com/. ___________________________________


Discreet Visual Effects Tools Win Oscar On February 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the Scientific and Engineering Award to Gary Tregaskis for the primary design and to Dominique Boisvert, Phillippe Panzini and Andre LeBlanc for the development and implementation of Discreet Logic's flame* and inferno* on-line digital effects production systems. Scientific and Technical Awards are given by the Academy for devices, methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures and that also have a proven history of use in the industry. In previous years winners of Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects such as "Titanic" and "Independence Day" used both inferno* and flame* to for special effects. This year, the seven finalists for this award all used inferno* or flame*, including "Armageddon", "Babe: Pig in the City", "Godzilla", "Mighty Joe Young", "Small Soldiers", "The Truman Show" and "What Dreams May Come." In a related story, Discreet Logic reported results for its fiscal 1999 second quarter. Total revenues for the quarter ended December 31, 1998 were $28.4 million, compared to $37.3 million for the same quarter in fiscal 1998. Net income for the second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 1998 was $0.4 million, or $0.01 per share, compared to net income of $6.6 million, or $0.22 per share, for the same period a year ago, excluding a charge against earnings in such period of $5.8 million for purchased in-process research and development resulting from the acquisition of Lightscape Technologies, Inc. Including this charge, net income for the 1998 second fiscal quarter was $0.8 million, or $0.03 per share. For further information, visit http://www.discreet.com. ___________________________________


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