Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News
8 Feb 99
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send firstname.lastname@example.org
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Today's Headlines (details below)
TODAY'S TOP STORY
--Connectix Prevails Over Sony in Request for Temporary Restraining Order
--ParaSoft Releases Beta of CodeWizard for HTML
--MetaCreations to Deliver Headline Studio, New Tool for Web Advertising
--GeoLearning Releases 3D Online Learning System
--Bluestone Software Contributes Freeware to XML/Java Movement
IN THE INFOGROOVE
--IntelliSeek Updates BullsEye Search Tool
--BMT/EmTec Release Yonc Internet Connection Monitor
--Internet-Sales Discussion List Conducts Marketer Survey
--Aladdin Releases WinExpander 5.0 Beta, Mac 5.1 Final
--ImaginOn Delivers "Supra-Search" Engine, WebZinger 6.0
--SurfSaver Update Exports HTML
--Credo Interactive Announces Downloadable 3D Character Motions, Models
--Guillemot Ships Banshee with Xing DVD-Decoding Software
--Avid Unveils New Packages, Pricing Options for SOFTIMAGE|3D
--MAXON Introduces Entry-Level CINEMA 4D Version
--Alias|Wavefront Unveils Maya Complete
--Kenwood Unveils 52X CD-ROM Drive
--Microsoft DirectX 6.1 Introduces DirectMusic
THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER
--V_Graph Granted Patent on New Programming System
--ASCII Entertainment Announces AGETEC Subsidiary
--CNET Acquires NetVentures, ShopBuilder Store Creation System
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
--Maxis Releases SimCity 3000
--Black Isle Announces Baldur's Gate Add-On
--Infogrames to Take "Mission: Impossible" Multiplatform
--Sierra FX Announces '99-2000 Product Lineup
--EA to Develop Need for Speed: High Stakes for PlayStation
--Sony Announces PSX Holiday Figures
--Sierra Announces High Sell-Thru for Caesar III
--VRML 99 Conference in February
--RealNetworks Third Streaming-Media Conference/Exhibition Set for SF/May
--DV Conference/Expo Set for Long Beach in October
Connectix Prevails Over Sony in Request for Temporary Restraining Order
The San Francisco Federal District Court last week rejected Sony's request for
a temporary restraining order on shipments of Connectix Virtual Game Station
Version 1.1, now shipping at SRP $50, features improved game compatibility over
the original Version 1.0 and enhanced anti game-piracy technology. It also
introduces an Auto Launcher mode that launches compatible PlayStation games as
soon as they are inserted into the CD-drive of the Macintosh. For the thousands
of current users of Version 1.0, a free version 1.1 updater has been posted at
the company's Web site, www.connectix.com.
In a related story, Connectix also announced that Virtual PC Version 2.1.2 is
now available for download from www.connectix.com as a free update for all
Virtual PC 2.x customers. This free update to the company's flagship PC
emulator for Macintosh offers improvements for iMac and Blue & White G3 users,
including support for USB floppy drives including the Imation SuperDisk USB
Drive, Newer Technology uDrive, and VST USB floppy drive.
This new compatibility makes it easy for users with USB floppy drives to
install Windows programs from floppies or share floppies with other Windows
users. Also included in this update is a more intelligent PC Hard Drive
Expander utility and improved support for Macintosh systems with multiple
ParaSoft Releases Beta of CodeWizard for HTML
ParaSoft announced last week the beta release of CodeWizard for HTML, an
error-prevention tool that comes as a plug-in for ParaSoft's Web management
tool, WebKing. CodeWizard for HTML is an error-preventing Web tool that
automatically enforces HTML coding standards and helps ensure that Web pages
appear correctly on all browsers.
According to ParaSoft, CodeWizard for HTML:
* helps ensure code is viewed correctly by all browsers and search engines
* standardizes HTML code across Web pages and sites
* makes HTML code more effective
* accelerates the learning curve for HTML
CodeWizard for HTML is currently available for beta-testing. Those interested
should contact ParaSoft at (888) 305-0041.
MetaCreations to Deliver Headline Studio, New Tool for Web Advertising
Coming right up from MetaCreations Corporation is Headline Studio, a $200
software package for creating animated Web-based GIF banner ads that can be
viewed on any browser at multiple bandwidths. The program is planned to be
available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms via e-commerce and electronic
distribution later this month and on retail shelves in March.
Features include video effects such as walk-ins, dissolves and fades for images
and text (either lines, words or individual letters), customizable, Web-safe
color palettes, unlimited undo, and the ability to determine GIF animation size
and frame rate after the animation has been designed.
* Split text: Divide text into individual lines, words or characters for
control over animation possibilities.
* Instant preview of GIF animations: Streamline creation time with the ability
to view animations on the fly.
* Dozens of animation parameters let text and images to flow smoothly into a
banner, "fade" in from a motion blur, bounce like a ball, and more
* Color palettes: Users can choose from preset "Web-safe" color palettes,
create custom palettes within Headline Studio, or import palettes from
MetaCreations' Painter 5.5 Web Edition, or Adobe Photoshop.
Visit http://www.metacreations.com/products/hls for more information
GeoLearning Releases 3D Online Learning System
GeoLearning, Inc. last week launched Geo Learning Center(GLC) -- a training
system that allows organizations to develop and deliver online courses, Webcast
live seminars, and administer tests and surveys using a 3D interface. The
system uses an open architecture design for customization, and allows for a
variety of delivery options.
GLC includes the following:
* Administration and Authoring System: lets users create, publish and
administer online courses. Because it is a browser-based system, authors from
different locations can work on the same course at the same time and then
publish and update instantly. An E-commerce package allows for internal or
external charges and automatic credit card validation.
* Testing and Survey Center: lets users to author and administer online tests
and surveys. Results and reports can also be collected and viewed online.
* Virtual Classrooms: supports asynchronous training delivery, with over 400
courses available in areas ranging from computer and technical skills, to human
resource and other soft skill areas.
* Live Conference Center: allows for presentations of live seminars via
Webcasting technology. Video, audio, and slide presentations are used to create
online sessions. Large and small conference halls can accommodate up to 1,000+
participants, including breakout rooms for small group discussions.
* Research/Resource Center: An entire organizational library can go online. A
multimedia lab lets users download software. 120 master links connect to search
engines, world libraries, and other reference sites.
Geo Learning Center can be viewed at http://www.geolearningcenter.com
Bluestone Software Contributes Freeware to XML/Java Movement
Bluestone Software last week debuted XwingML (pronounced zwing-M-L), a public
domain contribution from Bluestone labs said to accelerate the learning curve
for early adopters of XML/Java tools. XwingML can be downloaded at
According to Bluestone, XML is emerging as the communications standard for the
masses because of its simple English programming and self-documenting
facility. The company claims XML will facilitate application-to-application,
business-to-business communication, and the integration of the virtual
XwingML was developed by Bluestone labs as the framework for creating
Bluestone's commercial XML products: Bluestone XML-Server, a dynamic XML
server, and Bluestone Visual-XML, a toolkit for building XML applications.
XwingML version 1.0 is a development platform for merging XML and Java code. It
comes with a standard Document Type Definition (DTD) that defines the entire
Swing/Java Foundation Class (JFC) set of classes and properties, as well as
providing support for all Swing/JFC Listeners. (Swing is the set of graphical
components in Java 2 that allows users to do Java graphical programming.)
Complete with sample templates for a wide variety of GUI interfaces (i.e.,
menus, frames, and dialogs), users easily author XML documents in simple
English, which XwingML reads and dynamically creates the Java GUI.
IntelliSeek Updates BullsEye Search Tool
BullsEye Version 1.5, a new version of IntelliSeek's Internet search tool,
offers the following enhancements:
* more comprehensive searching of over 450 search engines and databases, plus
* faster loading, smaller disk/memory footprint
* workgroup capability, with the ability to share searches, tracker items and
search results and import/export facilities
* the software can format reports for and deliver them to PDAs
Pricing is $49 for BullsEye, and $149 for BullsEye Pro, which adds the ability
to track changes to Web pages, run searches automatically after hours, and
more. Get a 30-day trial version from www.intelliseek.com.
BMT/EmTec Release Yonc Internet Connection Monitor
BMT Micro, Inc. and EmTec Innovative Software have released Yonc ($19), Windows
software that lets users dial with a single mouse click and redial if the
Internet provider's lines are busy. It graphically displays the line
performance, monitors other information about the Internet connection, and
users can check multiple email accounts while online. Yonc can also records
online time and cost (session, daily, monthly) and writes a log file.
Yonc also keeps the Internet connection active to avoid disconnects due to
inactivity and can be set to disconnect after a defined time, even when using
tools like ICQ.
Find more at http://www.emtec.com/yonc/index.html
Internet-Sales Discussion List Conducts Marketer Survey
Email is getting more and more attention as a marketing tool. But what format
works best? Are people ready for dynamic, graphically enhanced messages, or is
the simplicity of straight text one of e-mail's greatest strengths? The
Internet-Sales Discussion List (I-Sales) is hosting an online survey to find
The survey was created in response to a discussion on the topic in I-Sales over
the last week. The goal is to gather quantitative data in addition to the
qualitative input provided by posts to the discussion list. Participants can
vote for HTML, Text, or indifferent, and receive an immediate cumulative total
of all votes at: http://www.mmgusa.com/isales/survey/
Aladdin Releases WinExpander 5.0 Beta, Mac 5.1 Final
Aladdin Systems last week released a public beta version of Aladdin Expander,
5.0b1 for Windows, a freeware product that gives users access to compressed and
encoded files found on the Internet, including StuffIt and Zip compressed
files. Aladdin Expander offers 32-bit, long file name support and is Windows
95/98/NT 4.0 compatible.
* expands StuffIt 5.X archives (.sit), including self-extracting archives
* decodes MacBinary III encoded files, the new format utilized by Mac OS 8.5
* Unicode support for cross-platform, multilingual file access
* folder hierarchy support for Arc (.arc) compression format
Aladdin Expander 5.0b1 is available from
Also, Aladdin is shipping Aladdin StuffIt Expander 5.1, a free update to its
Macintosh-based expansion and access tool. StuffIt Expander 5.1 adds PC
functionality (Zip and .uu decoding).
* up to twice as fast as the 5.0 version
* .uu decoding
* Roman language text encoding conversion built
* access to Internet Config settings for all supported file formats with new
Internet Config Preference utility that maintains a list of helper applications
to use for processing files downloaded from the Internet
* helper application support is included for processing additional file
formats. StuffIt Expander now searches for an available "helper" application on
a user's hard disk to access files
Find it at http://www.aladdinsys.com/expander/.
ImaginOn Delivers "Supra-Search" Engine, WebZinger 6.0
ImaginOn, Inc. last week launched its "all-in-one Supra-Search" engine,
WebZinger 6.0, a Java-based application software program for Windows PCs.
Versions for the Apple Macintosh and Sun Solaris platforms will be introduced
WebZinger 6.0 incorporates ImaginOn's Transformational Database Processing and
Playback technology which transforms data from a spatial domain, where objects
are arranged in space geometrically, to a temporal domain, where they are
arranged in time sequentially. As applied in WebZinger 6.0, the technology
results in an all-in-one Web software utility said to search, locate, evaluate,
download, format and play back search results in the form of a multimedia slide
show in about 30 minutes while the user continues to run other applications on
his or her PC desktop.
Also, a Fast Mode lets users to compile an abbreviated WebZinger report in
about one minute.
Download a trial version at http://www.imaginon.com.
SurfSaver Update Exports HTML
A new version of SurfSaver now allows users to share information gathered on
the Web. In addition to network support, SurfSaver 1.5 includes the following
* user-definable drive and directory for folders. Store SurfSaver folders on
ZIP drives, network drives, or anywhere else.
* export pages from SurfSaver to HTML (complete w/graphics) so that users can
then modify them with an HTML editor.
* modify the date of a saved page.
* quicksave to the last folder where user saved a page.
SurfSaver 1.5 is available for download at http://www.surfsaver.com.
Credo Interactive Announces Downloadable 3D Character Motions, Models
Vancouver, BC-based Credo Interactive's PowerMoves series will move online and
expand to provide ready-to-use character motions and models in regularly
released, theme-based modules.
The series will feature such character motion collections as "Animal Moves,"
"Sports," "Dance," "Avatar Moves," and specially designed character motion
"sprites" for game development. Individual PowerMoves modules will range in
price from $49US to $249US and be available in multiple formats, including Life
Forms, LightWave 3D, 3D Studio MAX, PowerAnimator, Maya, SoftImage, Biovision,
Acclaim, VRML 97, StudioPro, Cinema 4D, trueSpace, and more.
The first PowerMoves module "PowerPak 1" - a $99US collection of over 50
assorted keyframed character motions - will be available from
http://www.credo-interactive.com beginning March 1.
Guillemot Ships Banshee with Xing DVD-Decoding Software
Guillemot has started shipping the Phoenix with the XingDVD Player. It has
partnered with Xing Technology Corporation to offer the XingDVD Player with the
Maxi Gamer Phoenix. The Phoenix is reportedly the first Voodoo Banshee video
card to offer this unique feature and enable its owners to benefit from DVD
The $90 Phoenix integrates a high-speed 250 MHz RAMDAC with refresh rates up to
85Hz at 1600 x 1200 resolution. It accelerates real-time 3D rendering of Glide
and Direct3D games with 3D image effects including Z-buffering, alpha-blending,
fogging, tri-linear filtering and anti-aliasing.
Optimized for use on systems with Intel Pentium II processors, the XingDVD
Player can decode full-screen, full-motion MPEG video along with MPEG-2 and
Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio, and includes DVD navigation capabilities.
Get more info at http://www.guillemot.com.
Avid Unveils New Packages, Pricing Options for SOFTIMAGE|3D
Avid Technology, Inc., which recently bought Softimage from Microsoft, last
week announced a new set of end-user options for SOFTIMAGE|3D, its modeling,
animation and rendering system, along with a series of revisions that reduce
the entry-level price to $4,995 (U.S. MSRP). The announcement of the new
options and pricing structures coincides with the release of SOFTIMAGE|3D v3.8
SP1, which extends the core functionality of the application.
New options include the SOFTIMAGE|3D Plus and SOFTIMAGE|3D Performance
packages, which result from collaboration with third-party tool and application
developers to deliver extensive new functionality to SOFTIMAGE|3D.
The SOFTIMAGE|3D Plus package includes 17 third-party modeling and animation
tools designed to work specifically with SOFTIMAGE|3D v3.8 SP1, which improve
the overall functionality and workflow. Additionally, customers who purchase
the IRIX version of SOFTIMAGE|3D can choose to add desktop compositing
capabilities with the new SOFTIMAGE|Eddie bundle.
SOFTIMAGE|3D version 3.8 SP1 is now available for $4,995 (U.S. MSRP) from Avid
Find more info at http://www.softimage.com/.
MAXON Introduces Entry-Level CINEMA 4D Version
MAXON has released CINEMA 4D GO ($195.00 US SRP), the entry-level version of
their integrated modeling and animation solution, running on MacOS and/or
Win9x/NT. GO users can upgrade to the professional SE or XL versions.
CINEMA 4D GO includes the Instant Space CD-ROM, a modular construction system
that generates varieties of space ships. The GO edition can output pictures and
animation in broadcast quality (S-VHS PAL with 4x4 oversampling and fields). 3D
titles for video films can be created using the internal compositing
functionality or by using the alpha channels.
Of course, the press release doesn't say what was left out from the more
expensive versions, but if you're resourceful, you may be able to find out at
Alias|Wavefront Unveils Maya Complete
Now Shipping from SGI-owned Alias|Wavefront is Maya Complete ($7,500), an
animation and effects package that includes 3D modeling, rendering, and
animation technology, a Maya F/X particles system with integrated soft-body
dynamics, and Maya Artisan tools for sculpting and modeling with a brush.
Maya Complete includes:
* F/X - particle system plus integrated rigid and soft-body dynamics*
* Artisan - integrated brush interface for digital sculpting and modeling*
* Modeling - NURBS and polygon modeling tools
* Rendering - rendering system with visual effects
* Animation - inverse kinematics (IK), character skinning, and deformation
* MEL - open interface for programming and scripting
* Previously offered as separately priced add-on components.
Visit www.aw.sgi.com or call 800-447-2542 or 978-466-7623 (outside North
Need a new graphics card? Visit http://www.matrox.com/mga/contest/contest.htm
for a chance to win one of three Matrox Millennium G200s. Entries must be
received by March 1 ... Norther Light Technology (http://www.nlsearch.com/) has
added publications from economic think-tank WEFA Group to its online research
library. WEFA content available on Northern Light will include analyses and
forecasts of economic conditions and financial markets in more than 100
countries; regional coverage of all aspects of the U.S. economy; and analyses
of major industries worldwide ... Russia's current online population is
estimated at around one million and is expected to rise to about five million
by the end of the year 2000. Orientation Russia (http://ru.orientation.com)
new gateway to the Russian Web, and Russia's online community ...
Ticketmaster Online's online ticketing service, My Ticketmaster, at
http://my.ticketmaster.com alerts fans to ticket on-sales of favorite events
including concerts, sports, family entertainment, performing arts, etc. It also
features IPIX 360º photographic images and 3D virtual reality images of more
than 75 venues including New York's Radio City Music Hall, the Great Western
Forum in Los Angeles, and Chicago's Comiskey Park ... WWW.VictoriasSecret.com
was flooded with over a million hits within the first hour after the
company's 30-second spot aired last week during Super Bowl XXXIII. According to
Jon Leland of Communication Bridges (http://www.combridges.com):
"The event also resulted in one of the best pieces of streaming media
journalism that I have read to date. The article dubbed an 'Internet Review'
and headlined 'A Sex Metaphor, by Victoria's Secret' by Edward Rothstein
appeared in [the] New York Times. This review is available online at:
Perceptronics, Inc. has opened a Web site around its IC3D Technology for
Internet Collaborative 3D, including the InterGame Framework and related
products and services at http://ic3d.perceptronics.com ... Activeworlds'
(http://www.activeworlds.com/) new @mart, an e-commerce "virtual mall," lets
users in different locations shop simultaneously in a 3D environment by
clicking on the items they want to buy.
Kenwood Unveils 52X CD-ROM Drive
Kenwood Technologies (USA), Inc. last week unveiled the Kenwood 52X TrueX
CD-ROM drive, the second in a family of drives based on Zen Research's TrueX
technology (the first is a 40X). Unlike other "Max" CD-ROM drives that reach
top performance only on the outermost tracks of the disc, Kenwood's $130 IDE
drive (SCSI is in development) reportedly delivers a typical transfer rate
ranging from 6750 - 7800 KB per second across the entire disc.
Zen's TrueX technology enables the Kenwood 52X TrueX to read multiple tracks
simultaneously, dramatically increasing the drive's data transfer rate without
increasing its rate of rotation. A reduced rate of rotation equates to less
noise. Kenwood says its 52X drive delivers a typical performance ranging from
45X to 52X across the entire disc, depending upon the operating environment and
quality of media,. According to the company, an advertised 48X "Max" CD-ROM
drive performs at 19X on its innermost tracks, but achieves 48X performance
only on the disc's outermost tracks (if the disc is full).
Additional information is available at http://www.kenwoodtech.com.
Microsoft DirectX 6.1 Introduces DirectMusic
Microsoft last week shipped version 6.1 of the Microsoft DirectX Software
Development Kit (SDK), including the first public release of the Microsoft
DirectMusic API as well as native support for the Intel Pentium III processor
DirectMusic reportedly addresses the historical limitations of MIDI-based music
playback on Windows by delivering superior timing services, support for the
MIDI Manufacturers Association's Downloadable Sounds (DLS) standard for
wavetable synthesis, and an integrated software synthesizer, which guarantees
users consistent and high-quality playback on virtually any hardware
configuration. DirectMusic also includes a DLS version of the industry-standard
SoundCanvas General MIDI sound set, licensed from Roland Corp., enabling
composers to become immediately productive with the technology and
reverberation technology licensed from Waves Ltd., said to deliver richer, more
complex sound quality.
The DirectX 6.1 SDK is available for download for a limited time at
http://www.microsoft.com/directx/download.asp and can be ordered on the Web at
http://www.microsoft.com/directx/sdkcdorder.asp. The DirectX 6.1 SDK will also
be made available as part of the Microsoft Platform SDK in an upcoming release
of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) developer program. Consumers can
upgrade to the latest version of DirectX by using the Windows Update feature in
Windows 98 or by downloading a copy at
V_Graph Granted Patent on New Programming System
V_Graph Inc. was awarded a patent on Jan. 19, 1999 for OZONE - The Object Zone,
its new system for programming computer software. The patent covers the use of
software components in a way that lets developers create a program without
writing any source code. The system records and saves the settings for the
components in a small script. This is now familiar to people who create Web
sites using ActiveX controls and Java Beans, but in 1994 it was unknown. The
patent was filed Nov. 16, 1994. The patent covers "wrapping" objects with
properties common to all the objects in the system. Software developers are
aware that "wrapping" is exactly what the newer programming systems do.
The new patent also covers the use of a synchronized multi-view development
interface. This allows developers to use the view that is suitable for the
task. During debugging, the developer can view the execution of the project in
any, or all, of the four views at the same time.
For more on OZONE visit the V_Graph Web site (http://www.v-graph.com). For a
look at the patent, visit http://www.uspto.gov and search for patent number
ASCII Entertainment Announces AGETEC Subsidiary
ASCII Entertainment Software (AES) is creating a wholly-owned subsidiary,
AGETEC, Inc. to focus on its videogame publishing business. The new company's
name is an acronym for ASCII Game Entertainment Technology and will be fully
operational March 1. AES' European subsidiary, ASCII Entertainment Europe, will
be re-named AGETEC Europe.
AGETEC's 1999 release schedule includes seven software titles: R-Types, Echo
Night, Shadow Tower, Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within, Fighter Maker, and
Rising Zan for the Sony PlayStation game console; and AirBoardin' USA for the
Nintendo 64. New hardware titles include the ASCII Wireless Pad for the Sony
PlayStation game console and the ASCII Pad 64 for the Nintendo 64.
The company has named 10-year industry veteran Mitch Kampf as vice president of
sales and marketing. Kampf has been contracting with AES since February 1998,
and brings industry experience from companies such as Accolade, Renovation, PF
Magic, and TecMagik. Contact Kampf at 650-780-0800 x 821 or
CNET Acquires NetVentures, ShopBuilder Store Creation System
CNET, Inc. has acquired NetVentures, Inc. in a stock-for-stock exchange.
NetVentures owns and operates ShopBuilder (www.shopbuilder.com), an online
creation system. Under the terms of the agreement, CNET will issue
approximately 100,000 common shares for 100 percent of NetVentures' stock.
With the acquisition, CNET will enable resellers of unbranded computer systems,
known in the industry as "white box" PCs, to build online stores and use CNET's
online sales channel, Shopper.com, to market products directly to customers.
The move reportedly creates the Internet's first marketplace for white boxes,
sales of which account for an estimated 30 percent of the $75 billion U.S. PC
The services will roll out in Q2 '99.
Maxis Releases SimCity 3000
Following the sale of over five million copies in the SimCity line, Maxis, a
division of Electronic Arts, last week released SimCity 3000 Windows 95 and 98.
Players are in charge of creating an entire metropolis from the ground up and
keeping their SimCitizens happy.
New features include the ability to see individual pedestrians and
vehicles--cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats--traveling about their city with
two new close-in zoom levels. Players can spruce up their skyline by choosing
from real-world landmark buildings ranging from New York's Empire State
Building to Turkey's Hagia Sofia. Like the pedestrians and traffic, the sounds
of the city, from sprinklers to school bells, reflect the neighborhood being
New simulation layers include waste management and water pollution. Players can
strike deals to bring certain businesses into their city--from a megamall to a
high-tech research facility--and trade resources with neighboring cities.
Players can check their progress and get advice through an interactive news
ticker, a cadre of advisors and citizen petitioners.
More information is available from http://www.simcity.com.
Black Isle Announces Baldur's Gate Add-On
Baldur's Gate is one of our favorite new RPGs, so it's a treat to hear that
Interplay division Black Isle Studios plans to release an add-on adventure pack
for the game. Entitled Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, the add-on
expands the gameplay area by offering new quests and challenges to the main
game. Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast will be available on CD-ROM for
Windows 95/98 computers this spring, and gamers will need the original Baldur's
Gate in order to play.
Tales of the Sword Coast takes the player through additional areas filled with
intriguing new characters, items and quests. A large island beckons just off
the Sword Coast region of the Forgotten Realms, where Baldur's Gate is set. The
player's band of adventurers must reach the island, explore it and attempt to
unravel its secrets before yet another evil is unleashed upon the Sword Coast.
Another adventure takes place in and around Durlag's Tower, the decrepit keep
whose traps, illusions and denizens have thwarted adventurers for centuries.
Tricks, traps and possibly treasure await those who survive.
More information is available at http://www.interplay.com.
Infogrames to Take "Mission: Impossible" Multiplatform
Mission: Impossible, the spy adventure from Infogrames Entertainment that has
sold more than 1 million units on Nintendo 64 since its release last summer, is
under development for the Sony PlayStation (PSX), PC and Game Boy Color (GBC)
Each of the new versions of "Mission: Impossible" will contain various
enhancements and offer a different number of levels from the original. Both the
PSX and PC units feature a CD-quality soundtrack, a new menu design and sample
speech formats. The Game Boy Color title will let players link the handheld
units and communicate via encrypted messages.
Infogrames' spy simulation engages players on a worldwide crusade of espionage
and intrigue. Players utilize classic Impossible Mission Force (IMF) weaponry
and gadgets throughout the adventures, which place an emphasis on strategy and
cunning, rather than violent rampages.
"Mission: Impossible" will appear first on the PlayStation by mid-1999, with
the PC version shortly thereafter. The Game Boy Color title, expected by fall,
will incorporate modifications necessary for compatibility with the handheld
Infogrames will oversee a team of outside studios on the production of the new
versions. German-based X-ample will produce the PSX game, while Indian
developer Dhruva Interactive will complete the PC title. The Game Boy Color
unit will be developed by Rebellion, located in the United Kingdom.
For more information, visit the Web at www.mission-impossible.net.
Sierra FX Announces '99-2000 Product Lineup
Sierra FX, one of six brand names under the umbrella of Sierra On-Line, focuses
on releasing interactive entertainment titles based on existing licensed
entities such as best-selling books and TV shows. Upcoming products releasing
in the years 1999/2000 include:
* Babylon 5, a space combat simulator based on the TV series, which is being
co-designed and co-authored by the show's creator J. Michael Straczynski,
expected to ship in September 1999 (http://www.b5games.com)
* Richard Marckinko's Navy SEALs, a squad-based 3D tactical simulation using
the Unreal engine, drawing on the exploits of the elite fighting group as
detailed in Marckinko's Rogue Warrior book series, slated for completion in
April 2000 (http://www.navyseals.net)
* J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, a fantasy world online, fully 3D and hosting
up to 10,000 players simultaneously, based on the books by British author of
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, scheduled for final release in summer
All three upcoming titles are being developed at Yosemite Entertainment,
Sierra's design and development studio based in the Sierra Nevada foothills
town of Oakhurst, California.
EA to Develop Need for Speed: High Stakes for PlayStation
Electronic Arts plans to release Need For Speed: High Stakes for the
PlayStation in late March. Key features will include a new "High Stakes" mode,
a revamped "Hot Pursuit" mode, licensed sports and supercars, a game economy
that allows for car purchases, upgrades and modification, visible and punitive
car damage, eight new tracks and special effects.
More information can be found on http://www.needforspeed.com.
Sony Announces PSX Holiday Figures
Sony Computer Entertainment America says it sold a record-breaking four million
PlayStation game consoles during November and December 1998, according to
internal sales data. Specifically, more than 1.1 million PlayStation game
consoles were sold during November 1998 and nearly 2.9 million units during
December 1998. The company sold more than 961,000 consoles during Christmas
week alone, which helped drive December sales up more than 40 percent over the
same period in 1997. These positive year-end sales bring cumulative PlayStation
hardware sales to more than 17 million units in North America.
Also, according to the November and December 1998 TRSTS reports from The NPD
Group, a market research firm that tracks the videogame industry, PlayStation
software sales for both first and third party games exceeded 18.1 million
units. Software market share for 1998 was 65.2 percent for PlayStation and
software-to-hardware tie ratio was more than 7-to-1.
Sierra Announces High Sell-Thru for Caesar III
Sierra Studios announced last week that sales of Caesar III have reached over a
quarter of a million units worldwide since its release at the end of September
1998, and global sales continue to climb.
The strategy game lets players create, rule and defend a Roman-era city of
their own design. The game features a new interface, more progressive career
structure, one-level game play, a new musical score, and detailed animations,
structures and terrain elements.
Sierra Studios and Impressions Software have also released a Caesar III game
enhancement package and Assignment Editor. Both additions bring another level
of intrigue and challenge to this hugely popular strategy game and even further
enhance the spectacular real-time city building and management experience. They
are available free via download from www.sierrastudios.com and
Also, Sierra Studios and developer Impressions Games announced that Caesar III
will be available for Macintosh gamers this June.
VRML 99 Conference in February
VRML 99 takes place February 23-26 at the Heinz Nixdorf Forum, in Paderborn,
Germany. This year the conference is showcasing other 3D technologies that are
used in presentations on the WWW. The exhibit hall will include new
technologies from Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer, Platinum Technology,
SENSE8, Microsoft and others.
For more information, visit http://www.c-lab.de/vrml99.
RealNetworks Third Streaming-Media Conference/Exhibition Set for SF/May
The third annual RealNetworks Conference & Exhibition will be held at the San
Francisco Marriott Hotel, May 5-7, 1999. The conference will offer exhibitors,
classes, lecturers, keynote speakers, a hands-on lab sponsored by Intel, and
sessions from RealNetworks and other streaming media companies. RealNetworks
exhibition, new to the conference this year, will feature more than 80 firms
exhibiting new products and technologies built on RealSystem G2.
To register online or get more information about conference registration, visit
http://www.real.com/conference or call 800-632-5537. To register for free to
attend only the exhibits, visit http://www.real.com/register/.
DV Conference/Expo Set for Long Beach in October
You still have plenty of time to prepare for Miller Freeman's 1999 Digital
Video Conference & Exposition, scheduled for October 19-22 in Long Beach,
Calif. Conference sessions will include video compression, animation and video
for the Web, story-boarding and visual pre-production, automating digital
workflow, creating demo reels, audio mixing and more.
Get the scoop at www.dvexpo.com.
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