Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News
1 Feb 99
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
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Today's Headlines (details below)
TODAY'S TOP STORY
--Connectix Defies Sony, Ships PSX Emulator
--Parasoft Releases Beta of Web Manager WebKing
--NEC Updates Web Animation Producer
--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
--Datapump Debuts Online 3D Model Databank
--StereoGraphics Launches CrystalEyes Wired for Stereo3D
--Nichimen Updates Nendo Software
--Quantum Computing to Change Internet
--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
--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
--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
--Discreet Visual Effects Tools Win Oscar
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
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
* add interactive special effects, including rollover effects, text effects,
* save newly modified GIF animations as Java applets, ready for playback in an
* 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
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
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
* 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
of the ICQ communications portal, which features a new search function called
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
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
The full report is available at
(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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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
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 ...
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
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
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.
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
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
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
* 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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
* the capability to design your own war machine: Custom build fighting units
that meet your mission's specific needs, or accept your governor's
* 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
* diplomatic relations: Dynamic personalities react individually to your
actions. Your diplomatic decisions dictate your path to one of five ultimate
* 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
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
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
MSN [Inktomi] 43,957,342
*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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