Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 16 February 1998

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com

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Today's Headlines (details below) DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --SD '98 Unveils New Software Development Tools IN THE INFOGROOVE --Miora Reveals Internet Security Threat --Sony Develops Living Worlds Software Prototype --Ethical Spectacle Joins ACLU Lawsuit Against Censorware in VA Library GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Intel Announces Intel740 3D Graphics Accelerator Chip --Digimation Ships Cartoon Rendering Engine for 3D Studio MAX --Sven Announces SurfaceSuite Pro, SurfaceSuite Classic CONSUMER CHANNEL --Expert Software Launches Evolution of Man THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --3D Animation Software Market Expanding --Influent Offers Multimedia Courses --3Dlabs Sues TI for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets --Look Before You Link --Developers' Resource Launches Perl, CGI Areas --H+a's Digital Media Studios Launches New Programs DEALS --ION Storm Licenses Epic 3D Engine GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Red Orb Releases Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time --Carmen Goes Numeric --LucasArts Releases Jedi Knight Expansion Disc --Activision Offers Swap-Out Rebate MechWarrior Titanium Trilogy --Vivid Group Tech Enables Gestural Gameplay --Fallout 2 Set to Ship October `98 NUMBEROLOGY --Games Industry Growing Faster than U.S. Economy --PlayStation Widens Sales Lead --"Research Engine" Developer Northern Light Receives $4.2 Million Funding DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --HyperBole Patents VirtualCinema Interactive Engine HAPPENINGS --Game Software Execs to Deliver E3 '98 Keynote F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

SD '98 Unveils New Software Development Tools The following products were shown at last week's Software Development Conference & Show Group in San Francisco: · IBM's Visual Age for Java 1.0.1 provides developers with the new JavaBeans components, and adds AS/400 parts for scalable development on that platform, and includes new JavaBean widgets. For more information, visit http://www.ibm.com. · Symantec's Visual Cafe 2.5 Professional Development Edition adds a customizable user interface, the ability to turn automatic code generation off, and compatibility and API enhancements. Visual Cafe 2.5 Database Development Edition includes database connectivity for enterprise Java developers. For more information, visit http://www.symantec.com. · Uniscape's Global Checker is designed to help independent software vendors reduce the time and expense of internationalizing their products for multilingual global markets. For more information, visit http://www.uni-scape.com. · BE Inc.'s Be Operating System (BeOS) on Intel-based and PowerMac computers is a multithreaded, symmetric multi-processing, protected memory OS with an object API for multimedia applications. For more information, visit http://www.be.com. --------------------------------------------------

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Miora Reveals Internet Security Threat Many of the Internet's most popular Web sites are currently open to outside penetration, according to a white paper released last week by information security specialists, Miora Systems Consulting (MSC). "We were shocked to find this vulnerability at a large number of high profile Web sites, including Internet shopping malls, on-line banks, and even pharmacy Web pages," says Stephen Cobb, CISSP, director of education and research at MSC. According MSC's general manager and chief consultant, Michael Miora, CISSP, the problem, which has been dubbed the MSC Hidden Form Field Vulnerability, has the potential to undermine security at sites built with software from Microsoft, Netscape, Lotus, IBM, Apache, and others. Also affected are so-called "middleware" products that use HTML forms to access database information. "We estimate that over 90 percent of Web sites engaged in on-line transactions suffer from the MSC Hidden Form Field Vulnerability," says Miora. The problem is described in "The MSC Hidden Form Field Vulnerability Report," written by David Brussin, director of MSC Labs and the person responsible for both identifying the scope of this security hole and designing a fix. Working out of MSC's offices in Los Angeles, penetration testing teams from MSC Labs were able to exploit hidden form fields to break into client sites during authorized tests. Brussin's report can be downloaded from the Miora Systems Consulting Web site at http://www.miora.com. The report explains the main areas of concern, which include: broken authentication systems; compromise of sensitive information; new types of CGI program attacks; plus hijacking and replay attacks enabling malicious hackers to gain unauthorized access to financial and medical systems. -------------------------------------------------- Sony Develops Living Worlds Software Prototype The current VRML standard's major limitation for building online communities is the lack of support for multiple users. The Living Worlds proposal, in preparation for over a year, is designed to remedy that. Sony Corporation last week announced the development of prototype software based on Living Worlds. It plans to demonstrate the software during the VRML98 conference held at the Doubletree Hotel in Monterey, California from February 16-19, 1998 (http://ece.uwaterloo.ca/vrml98). The new software allows users of different Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) browsers to connect to Sony's Community Place Bureau multi-user server system. Once connected, users appear as 3D animated creatures called 'avatars' that can interact using avatar animation, texted-based chat, and shared-object functions. The event reportedly marks the first successful application of technology based on the Living Worlds proposal. Sony plans to further develop the technology and make it a standard feature in its Community Place software, as well as to press for the industry-wide acceptance of the Living Worlds proposal. -------------------------------------------------- Ethical Spectacle Joins ACLU Lawsuit Against Censorware in VA Library The Ethical Spectacle (http://www.spectacle.org), a monthly Webzine focusing on the collision between ethics, law and politics in our society, is a plaintiff in an ACLU litigation filed today against the library system of Loudoun County, Virginia. Last fall, the Loudoun County board of library trustees passed the nation's most restrictive Internet policy, mandating the use of censorware on terminals used by adults as well as children. Attorney Robert Corn-Revere of Hogan and Hartson in Washington D.C. filed suit on behalf of non-profits People for the American Way and Mainstream Loudoun, and a group of local parents and educators. The ACLU action, termed an "intervention" in the existing Loudoun litigation, is on behalf of the Spectacle and a group of other Websites blocked by X-Stop, the software from Log On Data Corporation installed by the Loudoun libraries. The two actions argue that the use of blocking software by public libraries violates the First Amendment. "I have no idea why Log On blocks my site," said Spectacle publisher Jonathan Wallace. "It does not meet their criteria of blocking only material that is obscene under federal law." Last October, Wallace, who writes frequently on censorware issues, published "The X-Stop Files" http://www.spectacle.org/cs/xstop.html, an article revealing that X-Stop also blocked the Quaker Website, the American Association of University Women, the AIDS Quilt, and numerous other socially valuable sites. The Ethical Spectacle has also been blocked by four other censorware products. Wallace commented, "This proves that censorware companies, and the people who scan the Web for sites to add to the blacklist, are incapable of distinguishing between illegal speech such as obscenity, and protected speech about censorship, pornography, safe sex and other controversial topics." --------------------------------------------------

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Intel Announces Intel740 3D Graphics Accelerator Chip Intel Corp. last week announced the Intel740, its new graphics accelerator chip optimized for the Pentium II processor platform with Intel's AGPsets. Intel also introduced its HyperPipelined 3D architecture, designed to deliver superior image quality and graphics acceleration at mainstream prices. It includes Parallel Data Processing (PDP) for 3D acceleration; Precise-Pixel Interpolation (PPI) for realistic image quality; and Direct Memory Execution (DME), enabling more memory bandwidth for 3D applications. In a related announcement, Real 3D released its StarFighter family of 3D/2D/video graphics accelerator boards powered by the Intel740 chip, which Real 3D co-developed with Intel and Chips & Technologies. The StarFighter AGP is an AGP2x implementation, meaning it supports virtually unlimited high-resolution textures, and provides support for Direct3D and OpenGL. Other features include: · perspective-correct texture to preserve alignment and create realistic depth · bi-linear MIP mapping to smooth the transition of objects from far away to up close · Gouraud and specular shading to create realistic lighting effects and highlights · alpha blending and fog to create interesting and realistic atmospheric effects · anti-aliasing and dithering to eliminate jagged edges and flickering at the edge of a scene · video scaling to provide crisp images at 30 frames per second · z-buffering to reduce the calculations needed for hidden surface removal · stipple to accelerate cut-away patterns. For more information, contact Real 3D at 800/393-7730; mailto:real3d@real3d.com; visit http://www.real3d.com. Diamond Multimedia Systems (http://www.diamondmm.com) announced that it has selected the Intel740 graphics controller for inclusion in a forthcoming graphics accelerator ubsystem, expected to be available late in the first quarter of 1998. Also, Richardson, Texas-based STB Systems (http://www.stb.com) announced the LIGHTSPEED 740 multimedia accelerator card, based on the chip. Finally, according to a report on the newly-announced Intel740 graphics chip in the Feb. 16 issue of Microprocessor Report, available at http://www.MDRonline.com, analyst Peter N. Glaskowsky discloses his findings of the chip and the results of the 3D WinBench scores performed on Intel740. "The new chip is no faster than today's best 3D accelerator," said Glaskowsky. "But the 740's superior visual quality earns it higher overall test scores on 3D WinBench." Glaskowsky further explained, "The 740 will face stiff competition from even more advanced 3D engines this spring, with higher performance and better visual quality. But the 740 will have at least one advantage over other chips. It's backed by Intel's powerful marketing machine." According to MicroDesign Resources testing, Glaskowsky disclosed: · The Intel740 sets a new record for a single-chip 2D/3D accelerator on 3D WinBench from Ziff-Davis, scoring a 691 at 640x480 resolution on a 333-MHz Pentium II processor. The previous high score was 576 by NVIDIA's RIVA 128. The higher score is due solely to Intel740's support for a single 3D quality feature (MIP-map blending) that is not implemented on the RIVA 128. Excluding that portion of 3D WinBench, the RIVA 128 is about 2% faster. · Because of that feature and others, such as better mathematical precision for 3D calculations, the Intel740 has a significant quality advantage over the RIVA 128 and most current 3D chips. · The Intel740 supports the full set of 3D features required by today's software, but other 3D chips and software scheduled to arrive in 2Q98 will produce even faster, higher quality graphics. · The basic design of the Intel740 is relatively sophisticated and provides a solid foundation for much faster, more capable graphics chips that are anticipated to be released 1H99. In conclusion, Glaskowsky said, "We believe demand for the Intel740 will be very strong. Intel will ship at least 10 million units in 1998, giving Intel about 20% of the market for 3D chips for personal computers." Glaskowsky can be reached at 408/328-3934 or via mailto:png@mdr.zd.com. -------------------------------------------------- Digimation Ships Cartoon Rendering Engine for 3D Studio MAX The latest release from New Orleans-based 3D Studio MAX plug-in specialist Digimation is The Incredible Comicshop, a $695 2D cel-renderer that renders 3D scenes so they appear as 2D cartoons. Comicshop uses three material types--Ink & Paint, Cel Paint and Cel Ink-- which let users independently coordinate the look of the surfaces and edges of their models. With ink controls, users can create outlines that do not have the standard "computer-generated" look. Variable line weights can be generated and controlled to give images and animations a hand-drawn look. Additional features include three levels of paint shading, plus full transparency and mapping abilities (for both Inks and Paints). Users can also mix and match 2D and 3D elements in a single pass by changing Paint materials. Also included is Shadow/Light, a mapping type from West Coast animation house Blur Studios. This map type gives users added control over the Ink and Paint blending process, and can help users produce anime-style images and animation. Visit Digimation on the Web at: http://www.digimation.com or phone 504-468-7898. -------------------------------------------------- Sven Announces SurfaceSuite Pro, SurfaceSuite Classic Palo Alto-based Sven Technologies has reduced the price on SurfaceSuite MAX (see review in Spectrum Reviews, 13 January 1998) from US$995 to US$495, and changed the product's name to SurfaceSuite Pro. The product allows accurately mapping 2D images onto 3D surfaces with edge blending and global (panoramic) map generation. Sven will also begin selling SurfaceSuite Classic, a "lite" version of the product, for $195. Classic will include the texture-mapping capability only. For more info, visit http://www.sven-tech.com or phone 650-852-9242. --------------------------------------------------

CONSUMER CHANNEL

Expert Software Launches Evolution of Man Embark on a multimedia exploration of 70 million years of human development with Evolution of Man, a new title from Expert Software Inc. Based on paleontologists' studies, the title lets users trace 18 of our ancestors on the evolutionary path, learning all aspects of their existence from physical attributes to environment to lifestyles. The program is suitable for children (ages 10 and up) as well as adults, and as a research tool and teaching aid for teachers and students interested in the study of anthropology. Features include: · Travel through prehistoric landscapes · Examine the skulls, skeletons and external features of 18 subjects and determine their ancestry · Utilize morphing techniques to recreate your ancestors in 3D · Access program features including full motion video sequences, animation, music and commentary · Review detailed scientific data from leading paleontologists · Reference the program's detailed bibliography and index · Research information dating from 35,000 to 70 million years ago The title is available at software retail outlets for $14.99 (suggested retail price). Customers can also order the title by calling the company directly at (800) 759-2562. Expert Software can be found on the World Wide Web at: http://www.expertsoftware.com. --------------------------------------------------

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

3D Animation Software Market Expanding According to recent strategic research by Frost & Sullivan, U.S. 3D animation software markets have grown substantially from revenues of $185.6 million in 1997 to $413.8 in 2004 with a compound annual growth rate (GAGR) of 12.1 percent. Currently, the game and broadcasting markets are the largest market in terms of revenues, accounting for $57.2 million and $54.1 million of all 1997 market revenues, respectively. These markets represent the traditional applications for 3D animation and are enjoying rapid growth due to the increase in demand for animation and greater graphic capabilities of home systems, including game consoles. The research breaks the 3D animation market into several vertical markets, including the video game market, the broadcasting/motion picture market, the modeling market, the corporate market, the training market, and the Web market. An analysis of current drivers and restraints is provided for each of these vertical markets, as well as an overall look at each market currently and forecasts through the year 2004. This detailed segmentation provides a unique view of the market and unearths opportunities that traditional views tend to overlook. Also included in this study is an examination of major market trends, particularly growth in processing power which allows more people to use animation-creating software. Once dominated by software run on SGI workstations, the market has now shifted to the Windows NT and desktop platforms. Recent changes in the market are also discussed, including 3D animation's move to the mainstream. According to Frost & Sullivan Information Technology Research Analyst Stephen Woo, "In 1997, most 3D animation is created by professional artists for games, broadcasting, etc. By 2000, the majority of users will be businesses using animation to augment corporate presentations, modeling, training, or Web page development." Companies participating in this market include: 3D/EYE, Inc., Aldus Corporation, Alias/Wavefront, Animated Software, Astound Incorporated, Asymetrix Learning Systems, Inc., Byte by Byte Corporation., Caligari Corporation, CoryPhaeus Software, Inc., Electric Image, Inc., Hash, Inc., Kinetix Division of Autodesk, Inc., LambSoft Inc. Division of Lamb and Co., Lightscape Technologies, Inc., Macromedia, MetaCreations Corporation, Micrografx, Inc., Motion Pixels, NewTek, Inc., Pixar Animation Studios, QuantumWorks Corporation, Side Effects Software, Inc., Softimage, Inc. Subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., Strata, Inc., Visual Information Development, Inc. (VIDI), Digital Video Arts, Ltd., Motionworks, Inc., Totally Hip Software, Inc., and Vividus Corporation. Visit Frost & Sullivan's Web site at: http://www.frost.com -------------------------------------------------- Influent Offers Multimedia Courses The Influent Technology Group (http://www.influent.com) offers five courses for multimedia producers/designers this spring and summer in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and in a couple of cases, Boston. The course, which run two or four days each, are: · How to Design and Develop Computer-based and Multimedia Training ($1,695) · How to Manage Computer-based and Multimedia Training Projects ($1,095 · The Art of Online Visual Interface Design ($1,095) · Designing Multimedia for Maximum Interactivity ($1,095) · How to Plan, Develop, and Evaluate Training ($1,595) 3Dlabs Sues TI for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets 3Dlabs has filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, charging Texas Instruments (TI) with breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets belonging to 3Dlabs. Specifically, 3Dlabs claims that TI · posted certain confidential and proprietary information belonging to 3Dlabs on the World Wide Web, and · made and distributed thousands of printed copies of certain confidential and proprietary information belonging to 3Dlabs. -------------------------------------------------- Look Before You Link Thanks to Josh Duberman for this item: Carol Ebbinghouse lays out the law of the Web land in "Webmaster Liability: Look Before You Link,and Other Admonitions for Today's Webmaster." It's available free at http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/feb/sidebar.htm. -------------------------------------------------- Developers' Resource Launches Perl, CGI Areas Developer.com announced today the addition of two new directory areas for Perl and CGI to its Internet technology offerings. Also, a new content piece, Profiles, looks at the career paths of prominent Internet technologists. It aims to provide readers with insight into the personalities of industry pioneers, as well as an understanding of the job choices they've made and why they made them. Arthur Van Hoff, CTO of Marimba, and John Patrick, VP of Internet Technology at IBM, are scheduled for the initial weeks of the column, with new Profiles appearing on the site weekly. Developer.com's new sections can be viewed at: · CGI Resource Area: http://www.developer.com/directories/dir.cgi.html · Perl Resource Area: http://www.developer.com/directories/dir.perl.html · Professional Profiles: http://www.developer.com/news/profiles -------------------------------------------------- H+a's Digital Media Studios Launches New Programs Toronto-based Digital Media Studios (DMS), the training division of new media developer, publisher and distributor I. Hoffmann + associates (H+a), has launched three new professional development certificate programs to complement its new media courses. Digital Internet Programming and Scripting, and Internet/Intranet Server Management and Administration are two new studio offerings aimed at information technology practitioners who wish to expand specific skills sets. The third new studio course, Digital New Media Management, is aimed at executives, managers and coordinators charged with overseeing and managing digital new media projects. H+a's corporate Web site is located at http://www.h-plus-a.com. --------------------------------------------------

DEALS

ION Storm Licenses Epic 3D Engine Game developer ION Storm has licensed Epic MegaGames' Unreal computer game engine, and is using the engine for lead designer Warren Spector's upcoming 3D role-playing espionage game, Shooter (working title). Shooter is ION Storm's fifth title in development and will be released at retail in late 1998 by Eidos Interactive. Other titles in development use id's QUAKE II engine and AnimaTek's voxel technology. The Unreal engine allows developers to create 3D worlds with dynamic lighting effects, and features a scripting language that enables programmers to control and customize all aspects of the game's environments and characters. Taking advantage of Intel's MMX technology, the engine is said to provide fast gameplay, high-resolution graphics,CD-quality audio and multiplayer options. The engine is designed for the Windows 95/NT platforms and Intel Pentium processor-based computers. Additional information can be obtained at http://www.epicgames.com and http://www.ionstorm.com. --------------------------------------------------

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Red Orb Releases Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time Red Orb Entertainment, the gaming division of Broderbund Software, last week released The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, developed by Presto Studios. The four-CD title for PC and Macintosh streets for $49.95. A DVD-ROM version is coming soon. In this installment, the player continues the adventures of Gage Blackwood, Agent 5 of the Temporal Security Agency (TSA), a secret government body responsible for protecting the sanctity of history. The pursuit of the rogue Agent 3 leads the player to the lost civilizations of Shangri-La, El Dorado, and Atlantis, to find the secrets of the Earth's past, as well as the menacing plan of an alien race to destroy it. Gameplay and design elements new to the Journeyman Project series include character interaction, a larger, more intuitive interface, and cinematic video sequences. A new time-travel Chameleon JumpSuit lets the player assume the guises of different characters encountered in order to extract information needed to solve the intricate puzzles integrated into the story line. The QuickTime VR-like SmoothMove panoramic technology allows graphic images to be viewed in all directions, providing players with the ability to look anywhere and at any angle. Find Presto Studios on the Web at http://www.presto.com, and Red Orb at http://www.redorb.com. -------------------------------------------------- Carmen Goes Numeric In the same way that Broderbund Software has helped kids learn about geography, history and lots more in a fun way, while making lots of money, the company now reaches into the mathematics field with Carmen Sandiego Math Detective. In 12 math activities, players uncover the secrets of Carmen's pilfering power while building a foundation for pre-algebra by solving word problems, practicing geometry, mastering multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages and more. Find more about the $39 Windows/Mac hybrid CD-ROM at http://www.broderbund.com. -------------------------------------------------- LucasArts Releases Jedi Knight Expansion Disc Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, just out from LucasArts, is a collection of 29 new single and multiplayer levels for the game many considered to be the best of 1997. Five years after the events in Jedi Knight, apprentice Knight Mara Jade joins JK hero Kyle Katarn on the remote outpost of Altyr 5, where the duo explores a mysterious Sith temple. The 14 single-player levels take the player from the foreboding palace of Ka' Pa the Hutt to wampa-infested swamps and the catacombs of the Sith temple. Several of the multiplayer levels take place in familiar Star Wars settings like an Imperial Throne Room, the Carbon-Freezing Chamber and Tatooine. New weaponry includes a freezing carbonite gun; a long-range BlasTech electroscope and a heavy-duty repeating blaster cannon. Five new Force powers available are Force Push, Chain Lightning, Lightsaber Throw, Force Projection and Far Sight. The 20 new creatures include a dreaded rancor from Return of the Jedi, plus assassins and torture droids. And an enhanced game engine adds cameras and security systems plus improved lighting. Discover further info on the $29.95 expansion disc at http://www.lucasarts.com. -------------------------------------------------- Activision Offers Swap-Out Rebate MechWarrior Titanium Trilogy It's unusual to see a game publisher ask for its product to be returned, but Activision's giving it a try. MechWarrior 2 fans will be eligible to receive up to $25 off their purchase of Activision's upcoming title, MechWarrior 2: The Titanium Trilogy, slated to ship the week of March 16. The new package features hardware-accelerated versions of three top-selling 3-D action games - MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy and MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries. Owners of MechWarrior 2 and/or MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries will be eligible to receive a rebate on any purchase of The Titanium Trilogy made between March 15, 1998 and November 30, 1998. Gamers who own either MechWarrior 2 or MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries are eligible to receive a $15 rebate, and those who own both games can receive a $25 rebate. In order to take advantage of the special offers, consumers will be required to send in the original store receipt for MechWarrior 2: The Titanium Trilogy along with the UPC code from the bottom of the Titanium box, the original copies of the games, and a completed rebate coupon that can be found inside each Titanium box. -------------------------------------------------- Vivid Group Tech Enables Gestural Gameplay If you know what's good for you, you'll put that finger away ... slowly. Vivid Group announces Video Gesture Control (VGC) technology for enabling a person's live video captured image to take part in a video game. In Holopod, the company's latest offering, players first step into the module and select their "reality." Then, moving in front of the blue screen, players see themselves onscreen within a teleportation platform. Their image is scanned to determine body characteristics such as height, arm-span and length of reach. Next, the player is "beamed" away and reappears on a computer-generated grid, where their chosen environment quickly materializes around them and they are ready to compete. VGC detects the critical movements of the player in front of the video cameras (e.g., what direction they are reaching in, if they are standing up or crouching, and/or when their video image is interacting with animation objects). Their moves control the action on the screen. Players can choose their location from traditional or futuristic sports challenges. For example, Gravball allows players to float weightless in a zero-gravity animated orbiting arena where they jump, dive and lunge around the screen as they try to bump a 'gravitron-ball' back and forth, using their entire body as a paddle. In Virtual Volleyball one or two players set, spike and bump their way through a virtual volleyball match, played on a beautiful beach with sun and sand to spare. VR Netminder Soccer places them in a large net where, as goalie, they must defend against fast opponents. For further information, visit http://www.vividgroup.com. -------------------------------------------------- Fallout 2 Set to Ship October `98 Developer Black Isle Studios, a division of Interplay Productions that specializes in role-playing games, announced the sequel to last year's hit role-playing game Fallout. Set in Northern California 50 years after the original game, Fallout 2 is due to release worldwide in October of 1998 for Windows 95. This new post apocalyptic adventure will continue to use the "SPECIAL" role-playing system used in Fallout, and it will include new locations, weapons and characters. Also, the player will be able to race across the wasteland in a modified '50s-style 8-cylinder Chevy. Other improved features of Fallout 2 include better combat AI, giving the player more accurate control over the actions of his party members while engaged in combat. Weapons can be upgraded to have multiple functions. For example, strap a grenade launcher to the bottom of an M63 automatic rifle, and the player can riddle the enemy with bullets or melt them with a plasma grenade. Gamers will also be able to take advantage of all the new features at their own pace; there is no time limit in Fallout 2. Upcoming Black Isle releases include Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate, Stonekeep 2, and other products using the AD&D licensed worlds of Forgotten Realms and Planescape. More information is available at http://www.interplay.com. --------------------------------------------------

NUMBEROLOGY

Games Industry Growing Faster than U.S. Economy According to a new $2,500 study from New York-based analyst firm Access Media International (AMI), worldwide sales of hardware and software for the home interactive entertainment industry surpassed $23 billion in 1997, with the United States representing nearly 40 percent of the total market,. Propelled by the introduction of more powerful 3D technology that has increased realism in game play and by the promise of online play, the home interactive entertainment market is growing faster in the United States than the economy and will exceed $18 billion in sales here within five years. AMI's study, entitled Home Interactive Entertainment Assessment & Outlook 1996 - 2002, is available by calling (212) 944-5100, or by visiting http://www.ami-usa.com. -------------------------------------------------- PlayStation Widens Sales Lead Sony Computer Entertainment announced that as of Feb. 5, 1998, cumulative worldwide shipments of its PlayStation game console had reached 30 million units. Of those, 10 million shipped in the last six months, an indicator of increasing demand. The breakdown: · North America (Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.): 10.75 million units · Japan (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.): 10.65 million units · Europe: (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.) 8.60 million units. And following is a breakdown for PlayStation software shipments as of Feb. 5: · North America: (Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.) 59 million unitsJapan: (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.) 90 million units · Europe: (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.) 50 million units. Visit Sony on the Web at http://www.playstation.com -------------------------------------------------- "Research Engine" Developer Northern Light Receives $4.2 Million Funding Northern Light Technology (http://www.nlsearch.com) announces the completion of the company's third round of financing from investors associated with the Cambridge, Mass.-based investment firm Bay Resource Corporation. Northern Light, which launched its research engine in August of last year, has now raised a total of $12.2 million, including first- and second-round funding from Dataware Technologies, Inc., and Bay Resource investors. The research engine, named "Best of 1997" in the search engine category by PC Magazine, combines organized searches of the Web with Northern Light's Special Collection of over two million articles from more than 2,900 publications not available on other search engines. In addition, Northern Light's Custom Search Folders, generated on-the-fly based on each search, help users organize and narrow their searches. --------------------------------------------------

DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

HyperBole Patents VirtualCinema Interactive Engine HyperBole Studios' VirtualCinema interactive software engine has been granted US Patent No. 5692212. The patent provides intellectual property rights to HyperBole Studios for methods used by VirtualCinema in creating video-based games and other products. VirtualCinema, currently being used to develop The X-Files for Fox Interactive, is a set of design principles and a cross-platform engine that, hypes Hyperbole, enables developers and producers to unite traditional Hollywood filmmaking, cinematic storytelling, and considerable depth of interactivity to produce elegant, integrated gaming experiences. HyperBole will now license the engine and continue developing a variety of software applications using VirtualCinema, including games and corporate training. See http://www.virtualcinema.com and http://www.hyperbole.com. --------------------------------------------------

HAPPENINGS

Game Software Execs to Deliver E3 '98 Keynote E3 1998, a trade-only event for the interactive entertainment, educational software and related products industries, will offer attendees an opportunity to hear top executives engage in a keynote panel exploring issues and trends affecting the $10 billion worldwide interactive entertainment software business. The 1998 E3 Keynote Panel, set for Thursday, May 28 at 8:45 a.m., will include: o Brian Fargo, Founder and CEO, Interplay Productions o Pete Higgins, Group VP, Interactive Media Group, Microsoft Corporation o Kaz Hirai, Executive Vice President and COO, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. o Howard Lincoln, Chairman, Nintendo of America, Inc. o Sid Meier, Chairman and Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games o Larry Probst, Chairman, President and CEO, Electronic Arts In addition, this year's E3 will include a new series of workshops focusing on industry business topics. The workshops will cover the following topics: o Managing Issues in International Product Development and Marketing o Secrets to Successful On-line Advertising o Developing a Business Plan for An Interactive Media Company o Web Site Development and Maintenance for the Interactive Entertainment Market o Effective Use of Print and Mass Media for the Electronic Entertainment Industry o Maximizing Public Relations as a Component of the Product Marketing Mix o Interactive Software Market Research Revealed! o The Art of the Deal This year's conference tracks include: Financing New Media; Game Developers; Strategic Business Opportunities and Trends; Technology Advances/Remain on the Cutting Edge; Entertainment on the Internet/On-line; Retail and Distribution; and Successful Marketing Strategies. For more information about E3, or to register for the show, visit http://www.e3expo.com. --------------------------------------------------

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review. Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703. If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks. -------------------------------------------------- Please send address changes (with old and new addresses), subscribe and unsubscribe requests etc. to the above address. If you use the Reply function, please do _not_ echo an entire issue of Spectrum with your message. -------------------------------------------------- Publisher's note: We are now accepting limited advertising. If you'd like to offer your company's products or services to Spectrum's elite audience of Internet and multimedia professionals, send an email query to duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- ©Copyright 1998 Motion Blur Media. All rights reserved. No reproduction in any for-profit or revenue-generating venue in any form without written permission from the publisher.
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