Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

7 February 2000

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman

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

Search the Spectrum archives at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum

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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER

Web Consortium Issues Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines

LifeF/X Inc. Introduces Face of Web 3D

VizStream WebKit Enables Publication of 3D on Websites

DDD Unveils Web 3D Strategy

DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Jasc Releases Media Center Plus

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Opt out of DoubleClick Double-Cross with CDT

AdKnowledge Reports Increase in Ad-Seeking Sites

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Dosch Releases Three New Textures Products

Roland Debuts Combo 3D Scanner/Milling Machine

E&S Ships 3D Solution for Linux

LAVA.com Offers Artists 3D Music Video Authoring

Nikon Announces 3.34 Megapixel Camera

TECHNOTES

DirectX to Feature Real-Time Voice Technology

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

O'Reilly Launches Linux Tech Portal

Survey: Workers Playing

DEALS

Gold Creek Licenses Unreal Tournament Engine for 3D RPG

DigiScents Secures $10M Funding

Sony Consolidates Business Operations to Prepare for Playstation2

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

EA Ships The Sims

Activision Licenses Wolfenstein 3-D

GT Interactive Ships 1602 A.D.

Westwood Plans Tiberian Sun Expansion

Activision Announces Wizards & Warriors RPG

NUMBEROLOGY

PC Data: Games Industry Sales Top $7.4 Billion in 1999

MetaCreations Announces Q4 Results

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum

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WEBMEISTER

Web Consortium Issues Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) last week released the "Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0" (ATAG 1.0) specification, providing guidance to developers on how to design accessible authoring tools that produce accessible Web content. As a W3C Recommendation, the specification is stable, contributes to the universality of the Web, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership. W3C encourages developers to promote Web accessibility by implementing this Recommendation.

The guidelines explain how developers of authoring tools, such as HTML editors and site management tools, can encourage and assist in the production of accessible Web content through prompts, alerts, checking, repair functions, and help files in their tools. In addition to their value to accessibility, many of the principles addressed in the specification, such as the importance of producing and preserving valid markup, promote interoperability of the Web in general.

ATAG 1.0 consists of 28 requirements, called "checkpoints," for developing accessible authoring tools that produce accessible content. The checkpoints are organized

according to seven overriding design principles, called "guidelines."

http://www.w3.org/

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LifeF/X Inc. Introduces Face of Web 3D

LifeF/X Inc., a developer of photo-realistic, 3D, digital human faces for the Internet, has unveiled its 2000 business strategy.

Using patented technologies, LifeF/X is creating the "face" of the Internet through its "Stand-Ins" said to interact in real time on virtually any computer with a minimum 28.8 kb/s bandwidth. LifeF/X Stand-Ins will serve as customer service and sales representatives, trainers, entertainers, game characters and personalities for Web businesses, and will be incorporated into e-mail, chat rooms and instant messaging.

LifeF/X plans to release consumer and commercial versions of its software that can be animated in real time by text or speech files. At launch, the downloadable LifeF/X player will be available free over the Internet. By sending in a digital photo to the LifeF/X Web site or mailing an analog photo to LifeF/X, anyone will be able to receive via email their own customized Stand-In to use in e-mail messages, in chat rooms and in instant messaging.

The company is focusing on business-to-business applications based on research that points to customer service and support as a continuing issue for e-commerce providers.

Contact LifeF/X's Dick Guttendorf at 617/551-5849.

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VizStream WebKit Enables Publication of 3D on Websites

RealityWave, developer of VizStream streaming 3D technology for the Internet, last week announced the latest upgrade of the VizStream WebKit, version 2.0, for easily distributing 3D models and environments on a Website. The upgrade reportedly offers new viewing capabilities and faster overall rendering. Large models are said to appear almost instantaneously, even over a 28.8 KBPS modem.

The product lets developers post large, complex 3D models and environments on a Web site. Visitors to the site can then interact with the 3D content by examining a model or by walking through an environment. Examination features include rotating, zooming in/out and inspection of separate parts, as well as sub-assemblies. The walkthrough environment includes moving forward and backward through the environment, panning left and right, looking up and down and flying above the scene.

www.realitywave.com

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DDD Unveils Web 3D Strategy

Canada-based Dynamic Digital Depth Inc.'s new DeepSee Studio Pro technology reportedly allows any existing 2D content to be converted to stereo 3D and formatted for distribution on standard Internet-enabled PCs. Viewable in either 2D or 3D, the file is embedded with 3D data that increases the file size by as little as two percent.

DDD has developer agreements in place to deliver DeepSee capabilities for the three major Internet video players, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime and the Real Networks RealPlayer.

A DeepSee plug-in lets surfers activate the 3D capabilities and view content using low-cost DeepSeer glasses, or more-expensive DeepSeer+ electronic 3D glasses.

www.ddd.com

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DEVELOPER’S TOOLBOX

Jasc Releases Media Center Plus

Jasc Software, publisher of Paint Shop Pro, last week released Jasc Media Center Plus ($39), which lets users manage, catalog, and publish digital photos, Web graphics, MP3 sound files, MPEG and AVI video files, and more.

Features include:

http://www.jasc.com

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

Opt out of DoubleClick Double-Cross with CDT

By now it's common knowledge that Web banner ad service DoubleClick has been using cookies to track consumer visits to commercial sites. When a user fills out a form on one site, they sell the info to other sites without user permission or even knowledge. According to The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the company "has begun to link up online surfing habits and purchases with offline names, addresses and other identifying information, putting in place the last piece of a comprehensive Internet tracking system and threatening to deprive consumers of control over their identity online. DoubleClick's network includes such large Web sites as Altavista, the New York Times and Sesame Street."

Fortunately, CDT is trying to do something about it, including giving you the ability to opt out of DoubleClick's nefarious scheme. Check it out at http://www.cdt.org/action/doubleclick.shtml.

More resources:

The story by Will Rodger in USA Today that first revealed the DoubleClick practice:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/cth211.htm

CDT's testimony on online profiling and advertising companies, including DoubleClick:

http://www.cdt.org/testimony/ftc/mulliganFTC.11.30.99.shtml

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AdKnowledge Reports Increase in Ad-Seeking Sites

Engage-owned AdKnowledge last week released its 1999 Online Advertising Report (OAR) Year-In-Review. The report is a compilation of 1999 online advertising statistics pulled from more than 3,000 Web sites.

Four major findings are revealed in the 1999 Year-In-Review report:

1. CPMs continue to soften

2. Burgeoning e-commerce economy fuels growth of web advertising

3. Rich media ad acceptance continues to grow

4. Banner size standardization continues

The full OAR is available at http://www.adknowledge.com/update/oar_yir99.pdf (requires Acrobat Reader).

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Dosch Releases Three New Textures Products

Just out from Dosch Design are three new titles in the company's Dosch Textures product range. The titles Special-Effects, Industrial-Design, and Reflection-Maps are available for LightWave3D, 3D Studio MAX/VIZ, Cinema4D and as a multi-application version that can be used in any 3D animation and CAD/CAM-program.

The products are available for US$59 each and directly available for LightWave3D, 3D Studio MAX/VIZ, Cinema4D and in multi-application versions.

http://www.doschdesign.com

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Roland Debuts Combo 3D Scanner/Milling Machine

Roland DGA Corporation last week introduced a combination 3D scanner and 3D modeling machine, the MDX-15 ($2,995), at the Pacific Design & Engineering Show in Anaheim.  The product is equipped with interchangeable scanning and milling units.

The 3D scanning unit utilizes the same Roland Active Piezo Scanner (RAPS) technology as Roland’s PICZA 3D scan-only devices. All Roland 3D scanners offer a scanning resolution of 0.200” to 0.002” and are capable of scanning physical objects of any material - metal parts, wax or clay models, and glass - and generating data files or wireframe models for export to a variety of 3D graphics and CAD/CAM software applications. The MDX-15’s rescanning option lets users scan at a low resolution, highlight a more detailed area, and then scan that area at a higher resolution, decreasing the overall scan time for the object.

Scans from the MDX-15 can be output directly from the same machine simply by exchanging the sensor for the spindle unit to generate physical models, prototypes or molds. The MDX-15 mills ABS, acrylic, chemical wood, jewelers’ wax, and light metals like aluminum and brass. The unit connects to the PC's serial port.

The MDX-15 ships with Windows software, including Dr. Picza, Modela Player, Virtual Modela and 3D Engrave. Dr. Picza allows control of the scan area including X-Y scan resolution and rescans. Modela Player is a numeric control (NC) software application that allows uniform 3D scaling, selection of the milling direction and automatic generation and display of the tool path. Virtual Modela enables simulation of finished shapes and estimates production time. 3D Engrave allows characters to be engraved on a complex curve.

For additional information, visit www.roland3d.com or call (949) 727-2100.

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E&S Ships 3D Solution for Linux

Evans & Sutherland (E&S) is now shipping the E&S Lightning 1200LX, its hardware-accelerated 3D solution for the desktop Linux market.

E&S says the card delivers to Linux users OpenGL graphics features that were previously available only on UNIX and NT-based systems. In addition, E&S Lightning 1200LX supports a number of design and visualization applications for Linux, including Side Effects Software's Houdini 4.0 and Engineering Animation Inc.'s WorldToolKit 9.0.

Based on E&S's REALimage technology, the 1200LX's features include 24-bit Z-buffering, MIP-mapped texturing, antialiased lines, transparency, fog, and overlay planes.

It also provides resolutions up to 1280x1024 at true color, with performance rates up to 4.0 million triangles per second and a sustained fill rate of 90 Mpixels/second.

www.es.com

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LAVA.com Offers Artists 3D Music Video Authoring

New from Creative Labs' Lava.com is Lava Producer, an authoring tool designed to let artists construct 3D music video scenes to accompany their songs without the need for software programming skills.

Features include:

The Lava Producer will be available in March for $29.95 via download at http://www.lava.com.

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Nikon Announces 3.34 Megapixel Camera

Nikon last week introduced the Coolpix 990, a new digital camera with 3.34 megapixels of resolution and a 3x Zoom-Nikkor lens. The camera will hit retail shelves in April at an MSRP of $999.95. Its CCD with true (non-interpolated) image resolution of 2048 x 1536 produces file sizes of almost 10MB. Other features:

http://www.nikonusa.com

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TECHNOTES

DirectX to Feature Real-Time Voice Technology

Microsoft Corp. plans to incorporate real-time voice technology, called DirectPlay Voice, into the next version of its DirectX suite of multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs). The innovation was adapted from the Battlefield Communicator (BattleCom) application created by ShadowFactor Software Inc., a Canadian company acquired by Microsoft in June 1999. The new DirectPlay Voice technology will be integrated into the DirectPlay networking API in DirectX and optimized for use in multiplayer games.

In addition to allowing voice communication among players of multiplayer of PC games, the incorporation of voice technology into DirectX will enable Windows-based computers to be used for the development and operation of such PC-to-PC voice solutions as voice-rich Web pages, real-time document sharing with voice collaboration, and Web-based customer-service voice applications.

The BattleCom voice application has been available to consumers for purchase though the ShadowFactor Web site since 1997. However, effective Feb. 18, 2000, Microsoft will offer BattleCom as a free download at www.shadowfactor.com. The ShadowFactor Web site will continue to function as the distribution site for BattleCom until the release of the next version of DirectX, scheduled for this summer. At that time, BattleCom and the ShadowFactor Web site will be phased out in lieu of voice technology applications derived from the next version of DirectX.

The most current version of DirectX, DirectX 7.0a, is available for free consumer download from the DirectX Home User Web page, at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/homeuser/downloads/default.asp or by using the Windows Update feature in Windows 98. Likewise, the DirectX Software Development Kit (SDK) can be ordered from the DirectX Developer Downloads Web page, at http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/downloads.asp. DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia APIs built into Microsoft Windows operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code.

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

O'Reilly Launches Linux Tech Portal

O'Reilly Network has announced the launch of its technical portal (http://www.oreillynet.com) and, in conjunction with LinuxWorld Expo, its new Linux DevCenter (http://oreilly.linux.com). The portal provides technical resources and information for developers interested in open and emerging technologies, including new platforms, programming languages, and operating systems.

The O'Reilly Network, a subsidiary of technical publisher O'Reilly & Associates, has launched with five affiliates in addition to the O'Reilly Linux DevCenter: XML.com, Apache Week, MySQL.com, Servlets.com, and www.perl.com. DevCenters are planned for several of the affiliates, to be rolled out in 2000. More affiliates will also be added during the coming year. O'Reilly Network plans to sustain the sites through advertising revenue.

The O'Reilly LinuxDevCenter will be featured on linux.com through an agreement with VA Linux Systems. The DevCenter features original content as well as information from highly-regarded O'Reilly & Associates Linux books and authors. The site includes a database of Linux distributions, daily news, weekly features, technical resources, tutorials, and the Linux discussion forum. The DevCenter is designed for system and network administrators, application developers, operating system developers, and Linux power users.

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Survey: Workers Playing

According to a new Greenfield Netpulse Study commissioned by pogo.com, surfing employees -- using company equipment during work breaks -- engage in some activities that might be a surprise to their employers:

Men are nearly twice as likely as women to surf at random with no specific objective.

Looking for a new job - at work.

Male employees are more than twice as likely as females to use company equipment looking for a new job on the Internet.

Playing games is the most popular, focused-Internet activity during work breaks.

Playing games during work -- hours per week:

What else?

Porno at work?

White collar vs. blue collar: executives more likely to be viewing porno.

http://www.pogo.com/

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DEALS

Gold Creek Licenses Unreal Tournament Engine for 3D RPG

Epic Games' Unreal Tournament game engine is being licensed by Gold Creek Technology, L.L.C. for its upcoming Second Genesis role-playing game. The game, which is being developed by Gold Creek Technology's creative business unit Alternate State Entertainment, will be released in fall of 2001.

Second Genesis is a science-fiction adventure game that transports players to alien worlds populated with many different races and cultures. Taking on the role of a mercenary soldier, fighter, pimp, or even a good Samaritan, players embark on quests while exploring environments and flying through space. Gamers learn and execute a variety of martial arts offensive and defensive techniques in addition to traditional weapons use while controlling inventory and weapons systems. As players progress through the single-player game, they encounter several gladiator or arena matches for multiplayer action.

As of this announcement, a total of 16 games based on the Unreal engine have been announced, including Epic's recently released Unreal Tournament. The engine is designed to let developers create worlds with 3D environments and dynamic lighting effects, and features a scripting language enabling programmers to control and customize the game's environments and characters.

http://www.gold-creek.net

http://www.epicgames.com

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DigiScents Secures $10M Funding

DigiScents, Inc., the Oakland, California-based creator of Digital Scent Technology, has raised US$10 million in cash financing from Hong Kong-based Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited. PCCW is the technology flagship of the Pacific Century Group. In the coming months, DigiScents threatens to unveil its ScentStream software and iSmell computer peripheral device, bringing scent to Web sites, DVDs, games and other digital media.

PCCW's investment represents a 12.5 percent stake in DigiScents, the most substantial financial investment in Digital Scent Technology to date. The deal will bring DigiScents Digital Scent Technology to the Asia-Pacific market via Pacific Century Convergence or PCC's broadband digital video and Internet service, NOW (Network of the World, to be launched mid-2000).

DigiScents CEO Joel Bellenson claims, "We believe that over time, digital scent will … become ubiquitous in most forms of media. The same way you can click on and hear a song over the Internet, now you can click on an image and smell it with a computer speaker-sized device."

http://www.digiscents.com/

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Sony Consolidates Business Operations to Prepare for Playstation2

Effective April 1, 2000, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. (SCEA Inc.), the company responsible for the PlayStation business in North America, will combine its operations to prepare for long-term business objectives, including the anticipated introduction of the PlayStation2 platform. The consolidation unifies the company's two operating divisions.

SCEA will merge its publishing and development group, 989 Studios, with Sony Computer Entertainment America. The company remains headquartered in Foster City, Calif., and will be led by the current SCEA management team, steered by Kazuo (Kaz) Hirai, president and chief operating officer for the entire North American operation. Hirai continues to report directly to Ken Kutaragi, the individual responsible for direction and leadership of the global corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

In addition, Shuhei Yoshida will be joining the organization as vice president, product development, Sony Computer Entertainment America. Yoshida, a 14-year Sony veteran and software developer, is one of the individuals responsible for the creation of the company's 170-person internal product development operations. His credits include the original Gran Turismo (executive producer), Ape Escape and The Legend of Dragoon.

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

EA Ships The Sims

Electronic Arts last week released The Sims, a "people simulator" created by Will Wright, the designer of SimCity. The game lets players control the lives and relationships of a neighborhood of their own simulated people, known as "Sims."

First, players give their Sims a unique appearance and personality. Players can create any imaginable character, such as a sloppy jock, a shy bookworm, a playful child or a grumpy couch potato. Or they can recreate themselves, their friends and family. Players then move their Sims into a pre-built home or they can build their own from the ground up using the game's architect mode.

Sims can fend for themselves--they won't just stand around waiting for the player's commands--but they live more interesting lives with direction. Players can help their Sims find a job and then send them off to work to make money. Then they can take that money and buy furnishings for the house or build an addition. To be happy, Sims must maintain relationships with other Sims and have time for recreation. Players can instruct their Sims to throw a pool party, find romance or shoot hoops with the kids in the backyard.

"We tried very hard to make this game intensively open-ended," said Wright.

"Most players start by testing the limits of our simulation. They try to get them mad, overwork them, embarrass them and exhaust them. We needed to cover all these bases. There are also many aspects of human behavior that are expected that we had to include: love, hate, privacy, jealousy and so forth."

One of the game's most original features is the ability to use the game to tell stories that can be published on the Web. As a user plays the game, they enter "camera mode" and take snapshots of game scenes. These pictures are saved in a photo album along with their narrative comments. When you save the game, an HTML home page is generated for each family in the game that includes the scrapbook as well as other information about the home. The players can then directly upload these pages to the Web to show the world.

"When we were conducting early user testing, we found that players would begin telling stories about what was happening on screen," continued Wright.

"We added the scrapbook and Web publishing tool to encourage this storytelling."

http://www.thesims.com

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Activision Licenses Wolfenstein 3-D

id Software has licensed the rights to develop a sequel to its groundbreaking first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3-D, to Activision, Inc.. The new title, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, will be developed by Gray Matter Interactive Studios, a newly formed game developer founded by designers formerly from Xatrix Entertainment, the developer of games such as Redneck Rampage and Kingpin. Return to Castle Wolfenstein will be published by Activision with id Software overseeing development of the game.

Like the original id game, players assume the role of William J. "B.J." Blazkowicz, the Allies' bad boy of WWII espionage. The fate of the free world hangs in the balance as B.J. battles against the sadistic machinations of a Nazi war machine bent on world domination. The title will use the Quake III Arena engine and a new scripting system.

Separately, Activision announced today that it has made a 40% equity investment in Gray Matter Interactive Studios with an option to acquire the remaining 60%. Activision's investment follows the company's acquisition of Neversoft Entertainment.

www.activision.com

www.idsoftware.com

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GT Interactive Ships 1602 A.D.

GT Interactive Software last week released the U.S. version of the PC CD-ROM game 1602 A.D. ($30). Developed by German publisher Sunflowers, 1602 A.D. presents a blend of empire-building and real-time strategy gameplay. Players are in charge of discovering new lands, building civilizations, and defending those territories.

Reportedly the best-selling PC game of all time in Germany, 1602 A.D. has sold more than one million copies worldwide.

1602 A.D. is the year, cities are overcrowded, poverty and starvation abound. A small band of voyagers set sail to discover new territories and, hopefully, a new life. In 1602 A.D. players join the ranks of explorers and pioneers in colonizing new cities, juggling the demands of diplomacy, developing industry, setting up trade routes, and engaging in warfare to save their new civilization. 1602 A.D. utilizes empire-building skills such as colonization, trade, diplomacy, and industry while civilization defense and warfare are carried out through real-time land and sea battles. Victory can be achieved in many ways, including through the use of trade and diplomacy, by reaching civilization milestones, and even by conquering all other opponents.

The U.S. version of 1602 A.D. incorporates the original game, its expansion pack, a map and scenario editor, new campaigns, new structures to build, new islands to explore, an upgraded artificial intelligence, and more.

www.sunflowers.de

www.gtinteractive.com.

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Westwood Plans Tiberian Sun Expansion

Westwood Studios last week announced World Domination, a multiplayer mode that will be introduced with Firestorm, the soon-to-be-released expansion pack to Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun.

After the expansion pack is installed and players log onto to Westwood Online for a multiplayer game, they'll have the option to help their chosen side, either Nod or GDI, take control of world.

Commanders will find a continent, either Europe or North America, broken up into four sectors. Within each sector will be 30 or more territories to fight in. They can chose to fight in one of the territories, along with thousands of others, each advancing the cause of either GDI or Nod.

Once one side claims all the territories in a sector, that sector will be conquered in the name of the victor. Once all four sectors in a continent are claimed by either GDI or Nod, the war will be over and the victorious side declared.

The rules and battle maps will be preset for each sector. Players can choose to go head to head or two versus two, but they will not be able to change what battle map they play on. They will be able to alter some gameplay options before the battle begins.

Created by the original Tiberian Sun team, Firestorm contains 18 new single-player missions, 15 new multiplayer maps and new units, including the Juggernaut, the Mobile War Factory, the Mobile Stealth Generator, and the Cyborg Reaper.

www.firestorm.westwood.com.

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Activision Announces Wizards & Warriors RPG

Activision will bring D.W. Bradley's first-person fantasy RPG, Wizards & Warriors, to the PC this fall. The game, created by designer Bradley and developed by Heuristic Park, whose credits include Wizardy V, VI and VII, takes players on a quest through the mythical realm of Gael Serran. Originally called Swords and Sorcery, the game reportedly offers over 120 hours of gameplay.

Players take control of a party of six adventurers in a quest to defeat the evil Lord Cet. To accomplish their goal, players must find the legendary Mavin Sword, a blade forged of twin metals, one cursed by evil, the other blessed by the divine, which is the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Lord Cet.

Combat in Wizards & Warriors is handled through a new system called "Adaptive Time-Phasing" (ATP) which allows the single player to progress through the game at his/her own pace, ranging from a "turn-based" style of play to full "real-time." When the player progresses at a "real-time" pace, so will the game, and when the player stops to make a decision (such as selecting a particular magic spell, or contemplating strategy) the game action will stop and wait for the player. Thus, slower or more calculating players are not penalized, and rapid high-speed players are never restrained.

http://www.activision.com

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NUMBEROLOGY

PC Data: Games Industry Sales Top $7.4 Billion in 1999

U.S. retail sales of interactive console and PC games reached a new high with more than $7.4 billion in 1999, according to figures by PC Data. This represented a 20.7 percent increase over 1998 with most of the growth coming in the videogame market.

Of the three segments that comprise the industry, sales of console video game software were $3.75 billion and accounted for 50.5 percent of the industry's total revenues. Console video game hardware and PC game software split the remaining 30.9 percent and 18.6 percent respectively.

The Sony Playstation remained the dominant console platform and accounted for 47.4 percent of all video game hardware and software units sold and 43.2 percent of revenue.

Nintendo's Game Boy platform demonstrated the greatest growth. With the late 1998 release of its Game Boy "Color" system and four hugely successful Pokemon titles, unit sales for Game Boy software increased 185 percent. Likewise, revenue increased 226 percent over 1998.

Nintendo reclaimed its title as the leading video game software publisher, claiming all of the top five best-selling video games titles. With 43 percent of Nintendo's total software sales, the Pokemon franchise in turn spurred Nintendo's unit sales by 46.6 percent, broadening the publisher's software market share from 22.6 percent in 1998 to 25.3 percent in '99.

As a result, Nintendo's dollar sales increased 29.9 percent, which raised its share of the video game software revenue from 23.6 percent to 25.5 percent. The year's top five best-selling video game titles (in descending order) were Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Pinball and Donkey Kong 64.

Sony (including 989 Studios) was the video game industry's second leading publisher in 1999 with 13.9 percent of unit sales and 17.3 percent of revenue. For the second consecutive year, Gran Turismo was Sony's top-selling title and was the top title on the Playstation platform.

Rounding off the top five video game publishers in 1999 were Electronic Arts with 10.7 percent unit share and 11.6 percent dollar share; Midway with 4.7 percent unit share and 5.1 percent dollar share; and Acclaim, with 4.3 percent unit share and 4.7 percent dollar share.

Sega re-entered the video game market with the September '99 release of its Dreamcast system and eleven supporting titles. It ranked as the Number 13 video game software publisher with 2.6 unit share and 3.5 percent revenue share.

In the PC game arena, Havas Interactive again claimed the year's leading publisher spot with two titles in the 1999 top-sellers list -- Half-Life (Number 6) and Starcraft (Number 5). Havas claimed a unit share of 16.8 percent and a dollar share of 15.7 percent.

The second most popular PC game publisher was Electronic Arts with 13.1 percent unit share and 14.3 percent revenue share. Electronic Arts' Sim City 3000 was the second best-selling PC game title of the year. Hasbro Interactive, publisher of 1999's top seller Roller Coaster Tycoon, accounted for 12.5 percent of unit sales and 12.3 percent of revenues. Its long-standing hit Frogger placed ninth for the year.

    Top Selling PC Games of 1999

    Rank      Title                                Publisher            Price

    1         MP Roller Coaster Tycoon             Hasbro Interactive   $28

    2         Sim City 3000                        Electronic Arts      $42

    3         Who Wants To Be A Millionaire        Disney               $19

    4         Age Of Empires II: Age Of Kings      Microsoft            $43

    5         Starcraft                            Havas Interactive    $28

    6         Half-Life                            Havas Interactive    $32

    7         Command & Conquer 2:

              Tiberian Sun                         Electronic Arts      $40

    8         Microsoft Flight Simulator           Microsoft            $43

    9         Frogger                              Hasbro Interactive   $19

    10        Baldur's Gate                        Interplay            $39

    Top Selling Console Video Games of 1999

    Rank       Title                Publisher          Format           Price

    1          Pokemon Yellow       Nintendo           Game Boy         $25

    2          Pokemon Blue         Nintendo           Game Boy         $26

    3          Pokemon Red          Nintendo           Game Boy         $26

    4          Pokemon Pinball      Nintendo           Game Boy Color   $29

    5          Donkey Kong 64       Nintendo           Nintendo 64      $60

    6          Gran Turismo         Sony               Playstation      $27

    7          Pokemon Snap         Nintendo           Nintendo 64      $50

    8          Super Smash Bros     Nintendo           Nintendo 64      $51

    9          Final Fantasy VIII   SquareEA           Playstation      $50

    10         Driver               GT Interactive     Playstation      $40

http://www.pcdataonline.com

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MetaCreations Announces Q4 Results

MetaCreations Corporation last week announced financial results for the fourth quarter ending 31 December, 1999.

The company reported a net loss of $39.5 million, or $1.59 per share, for the fourth quarter of 1999, as compared to a net loss of $3.7 million, or $0.15 per share, for the fourth quarter of 1998. This loss is said to be the result of the company's decision to focus on its e-commerce visualization solution, MetaStream, and to correspondingly divest itself of all its prepackaged graphics software products.

MetaCreations' continuing operations are focused exclusively on its subsidiary, MetaStream.com Corporation, a provider of solutions for creating and deploying virtual products for e-commerce. The core of the future business is the licensing of MetaStream 3.0; license fees are expected to scale in accordance with usage and the value to the licensee.

MetaStream 3.0 will reportedly feature these improvements: enhanced photo-realistic image quality, including shadow and reflection effects; improved compression, allowing for faster download of the "virtual product"; interactive animation; virtual product security, with the ability to "lock" content to particular URLs to prevent unauthorized copying and use by third parties; integration with other media types, such as audio, panoramas and vector graphics; datatrack service, reporting aggregate data of the users' interaction with virtual products; and automatic updating over the Web, so that once the user has MetaStream 3.0 (a 50K "core" file), new effects, functions and components are automatically downloaded and installed when visiting any updated MetaStream site.

MetaStream.com will provide authoring tools and access to proprietary 3D-capture technologies, as well as financial incentives for any broadcast licenses acquired by their clients. MetaStream.com will also provide training and support at its New York facility.

http://www.metacreations.com

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F.Y.I.

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