Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 11 Jan 99

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
New!!! Check out Spectrum on the Web at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum

Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Macromedia Adds WebObjects 4 Support to Dreamweaver 2 --XML-Based RightDoc Dynamically Creates Personalized Document Content --Active Concepts Ships Funnel Web 3.0 --Rearden Releases SiteZAP 3.0, SiteCam 3.0 DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Scala iPlay Studio Goes Beta --PerlDirect Provides Support, QA for Perl --O'Reilly Updates Perl Resource Kit-Win32 Edition --Motorola Reveals Streamaster Brand Name for Multimedia Tech IN THE INFOGROOVE --HotSend Lets Users Send Self-Viewing Email Attachments GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --LIPSinc. Announces Ventriloquist Lip-sync 3DS MAX Plug-in --Adobe Announces After Effects 4.0 --MetaCreations Unveils MetaFlash Capture Tech for Web 3D --Superscape Updates Interactive 3D Software --NewTek Adds OpenGL Support to Mac LightWave 3D --BitJazz Enables Lossless Compression for QuickTime Apps --Duck Updates TrueMotion Compression Kit for QuickTime 3 --EM7 Releases VR Charting Software --Sorenson Upgrades QuickTime Video Codec --SPCH to Release Harvard 3D WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits TECHNOTES --Israelis Pioneer Emotion Detection CONSUMER CHANNEL --Versatile Media One Publishes DVD Mag THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Charles River Media Publishes ElectricImage Handbook --O'Reilly Nutshells Web Design, Perl --Tranz-Send Offers $1M Prize for DV DEALS --Adobe Acquires GoLive CyberStudio --C-3D Digital to Acquire Strata --Go2Net Acquires Web21 --Microsoft to Acquire FASA Interactive GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Sierra Ships 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball for Mac --Starsiege Tribes Storms Store Shelves --Sierra, Impressions Upgrade Caesar III --Blizzard Kicks Off StarCraft: Brood War Tourney NUMBEROLOGY --Acclaim Ships Over 1.4 Million Units of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil --Online Holiday Spending: Two Studies --NovaWorld Achieves Million Game Joins DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --Radius Reborn as Digital Origin HAPPENINGS --Miller Freeman, g.o.d to Co-host Independent Games Festival F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ___________________________________

WEBMEISTER

Macromedia Adds WebObjects 4 Support to Dreamweaver 2 Macromedia's Web authoring environment Dreamweaver 2 now provides support for WebObjects 4, Apple's application server. The integration of the two products allows Web site designers use Dreamweaver 2 as a front end to Apple's WebObjects Internet and intranet development platform. Beginning in February, Dreamweaver 2 developers can download 17 pre-coded WebObjects modules for Dreamweaver 2 and related documentation from http://www.dreamweaver.com. Once installed, the WebObjects components allow site developers to insert WebObjects content into documents created in Dreamweaver 2. The modules will be available free to registered Dreamweaver 2 developers. ___________________________________ XML-Based RightDoc Dynamically Creates Personalized Document Content RightDoc Company (http://www.rightdoc.com) announces the availability of RightDoc 1.0, an XML-based content management and publishing engine for Wintel machines. RightDoc provides for the dynamic creation of XML documents in Enterprise or Web server-based Visual Basic, C++, J++, Delphi, Excel, Access applications, etc., and extends the power of those applications by automatically creating personalized XML-based forms, reports, billing statements, legal contracts, letters and more. ___________________________________ Active Concepts Ships Funnel Web 3.0 Active Concepts is now shipping Funnel Web 3.0 for the Mac OS with new streaming analysis for real-time traffic monitoring and for processing large logs, platform-independent remote control, and event messaging and notification. Also new is the ability to control and administer Funnel Web remotely, and be notified when predefined events occur on the site. Available today for the Mac OS only, with WinNT and Unix versions to be available in the coming weeks, at <http://www.activeconcepts.com/>, Funnel Web 3.0 is US$249/standard and US$499/professional, with upgrades, crossgrades and educational discounts available. ___________________________________ Rearden Releases SiteZAP 3.0, SiteCam 3.0 Rearden Technology's spanking new SiteZAP 3.0, a software upgrade for the Mac-based WebCam product to control a camera's zoom, angle and pan (ZAP) from any browser, adds motion detection, enhancements for dial-up users, easy quick-start templates, and other significant software advances. SiteZAP hardware includes Sony's new EVI-D30 Remote Control Pan, Tilt & Zoom Camera, which include 12x zoom, 6 position presets, auto-focus, motion-detection, auto-tracking and an IR remote control. Also new is SiteCam 3.0, Rearden Technology's WebCam software that features streaming video, time-lapse QuickTime movie generation, and image archiving. The new version 3.0 includes dozens of new features and improvements and is described in detail at <http://www.rearden.com/sitecam/>. SiteZAP 3.0 is available for viewing or purchase at for $1,995. Educational discounts are also available by calling 415/643-6708. Users of previous versions of SiteZAP can upgrade for free by contacting mailto:info@rearden.com. ___________________________________

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Scala iPlay Studio Goes Beta Thanks to Metabyte's Laura Stansfield for alerting us to this item: Currently in public beta and scheduled for availability this quarter is iPlay Studio, a tool for producing multimedia presentations for the Internet. Users can create TV-like presentations with pictures, text, video and sound, then publish them as Internet channels. The product's designated markets include home, education and small business users who want to create animated shows on the Internet. Announced features include: * full-screen, TV-like playback with real-time effects and transitions * hundreds of transitions including zooms, pushes, fly-ons, alpha and dissolves * intuitive user interface * WYSIWYG-no rendering * Publishing to Internet Channel, HTML and e-mail * drawing tools * real-time image processing with editing of hue, saturation, brightness, gamma and R/G/B * real-time opacity control and alpha channel support * Tiling of background textures plus Scala's unique "stretcher" tiling format * Digital audio playback and mixing of WAV, MIDI, CD and external input * Multi-language spell check * MMX, DirectX and DirectShow support Get information and download the beta at http://www.scala.com/iplay. ___________________________________ PerlDirect Provides Support, QA for Perl PerlDirect from ActiveState Tool Corp. is the first offering of a complete Perl support program designed for corporate IS/IT managers who would like to expand the use of Perl, an Open Source scripting language. PerlDirect reportedly provides reliability, stability and accountability for Perl through the following features: validated, quality-assured releases of Perl and its popular extensions; advice and support; Y2K Test Suite; and a Perl Alert weekly bulletin. PerlDirect also offers an exclusive opportunity to provide direct input in a leading organization involved in Open Source development. Basic annual subscription rates start at $12,000 USD. Find more at http://www.ActiveState.com ___________________________________ O'Reilly Updates Perl Resource Kit-Win32 Edition The first update of O'Reilly & Associates' Perl Resource Kit-Win32 Edition, Service Pack 1, is now available. For information about the Perl Resource Kits (they have one for UNIX, too), go to http://software.oreilly.com/. Most important in the update are two features. First, the core of the update is based on the latest version (non-beta) of Perl (5.005_02), and brings the kit up to date with Active Perl 509, plus the Win32-OLE module version .1005. Second, the update provides the latest versions of Perl, Perl for ISAPI, ActiveState Perl Debugger, PerlCOM, PerlCtrl and Perl2exe. This means that all the enhancements to Perl since the Kit was originally released are now available to Win32 Perl users. Download the Service Pack at http://www.ActiveState.com/prk. ___________________________________ Motorola Reveals Streamaster Brand Name for Multimedia Tech Motorola last Thursday unveiled "Streamaster" as the official brand name for its open, extensible multimedia architecture for video entertainment and video communications. The Streamaster architecture is defined by a Motorola-owned and -developed operating environment that supports interactive 3-D graphics, Java, MPEG digital video, high-fidelity audio, Internet access, electronic commerce and broadband networking in a single integrated unit. Motorola will be developing a family of standard "Intelligent Broadband Access" and "Intelligent Internet Access" products based upon the Streamaster architecture. Motorola has previously announced the Blackbird Home Media Platform, the first Streamaster-compliant technology product. Dataquest estimates multimedia to be a $10.5 billion industry by 2000. The Streamaster architecture is based upon a foundation of the Microware OS/9000 operating system running David 2.2 and Maui, an HTML engine based upon Spyglass' Device Mosaic 3.0, pJAVA, the Nuon Media Libraries for advanced graphics and media handling, and Motorola-developed network extensions. More information can be found at http://www.motorola.com/semi/streamaster. ___________________________________

IN THE INFOGROOVE

HotSend Lets Users Send Self-Viewing Email Attachments JetFax's new HotSend lets users send self-viewing email attachments that can be read regardless of original file format. The program captures and compresses graphical documents such as Web pages or presentations into a format that links directly to the sender's mail system. JetFax currently offers a beta version of HotSend as a free download at http://www.hotsend.com and will offer the final product in late January at the same Internet address. HotSend will continue to be a free download and JetFax will offer a "bonus pack" of HotSend companion products in the future. ___________________________________

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

LIPSinc. Announces Ventriloquist Lip-sync 3DS MAX Plug-in LIPSinc., a voice digital signal processing company and a developer of automatic lip-synching software for the animation industry, has announced the first product based on its voiceDSP voice processing engine, Ventriloquist. Ventriloquist is a software tool that performs automatic lip synchronization for 3D animated characters. Ventriloquist is being developed as a plug-in for leading animation software packages, with the first product for 3D Studio MAX scheduled to be released in June 1999. Ventriloquist takes in spontaneous or recorded human speech and produces the corresponding lip, mouth, and jaw motions automatically, reducing the time it takes to lip-sync voice with animated characters. The output data is generated as a continuous stream providing up to 100 sets of position information per second Features include: * audio waveform editing, viewing, and playback controls * waveform segmentation with intuitive interface * add "editable bookmarks" anywhere in the waveform to speed navigation through large files * visual lookup tables for phonemes, visemes, and consonant mouth positions * Global Emotion Control for quickly applying a default emotion to a character such as smile, frown, show fear or surprise, grimace, etc. Applications to participate in the beta program are available at http://www.LIPSinc.com. ___________________________________ Adobe Announces After Effects 4.0 Scheduled to ship in early February for Mac and Wintel is After Effects 4.0, Adobe Systems' software for digital video animation, effects and compositing. New features include: * Tighter integration with Adobe applications: import Photoshop adjustment layers, layer effects and all transfer modes; preserve Illustrator layers when importing files as compositions; paths from Illustrator and Photoshop can be used as masks in After Effects 4.0. Premiere projects are imported as compositions into After Effects, with edited clips appropriately sequenced in the Time Layout window. * Greater control: masking capabilities, adjustment layers, new video and audio effects and other new features. For example, users now have the ability to create up to 128 masks per layer. Then they can combine, fill and stroke those masks, and animate them over time. Users can also create adjustment layers to apply effects to multiple layers in one step. New visual effects include new warping and simulation effects. * Enhanced productivity: increased speed and improved frame caching capabilities; new RAM Preview feature lets users see how their compositions will play back in real time without rendering; streamlined interface in which all of the work areas are presented as tabbed windows. After Effects 4.0 will be available in two versions: a Standard Version ($995) and a Production Bundle ($2,195). The latter includes all of the features in the Standard Version plus new warping effects (Bezier Warp, Mesh Warp and Reshape), plus motion control and keying capabilities. Particle Playground is a new Production Bundle visual effect that allows users to create simulation effects such as swarming bees, falling leaves or exploding text. Six new audio effects are also available in the Production Bundle. For more info, refer to http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/aftereffects. ___________________________________ MetaCreations Unveils MetaFlash Capture Tech for Web 3D MetaCreations Corp.'s new MetaFlash technology is designed to let Web developers affordably capture photo-realistic 3D images for interactive use on the Internet. MetaFlash combines a flash attachment designed by MetaCreations for standard digital cameras and software that reconstructs the digital pictures into texture-mapped 3D models. MetaFlash outputs to the MetaStream Intel-based streaming 3D file format, which can then be viewed with the MetaStream client-side engine. MetaCreations is pursuing relationships with key partners to bring this technology to market as quickly as possible. The MetaFlash technology was developed under the leadership of Dr. Sasha Migdal, who heads the MetaCreations Princeton Internet development facility. Migdal is a world-renowned theoretical physicist and an expert in the fields of quantum gravity and quark confinement. He left a Princeton University professorship to pursue his vision for acquisition, streaming transmission, and use of 3D objects via the Internet. MetaCreations can be reached at http://www.metacreations.com. ___________________________________ Superscape Updates Interactive 3D Software Superscape's 5.60 product release reportedly improve visual quality with the company's VRT, SDK, 3D Control and Viscape Universal products. New features include shiny surfaces using specular highlights, realtime shadows across objects and 255 levels of true transparency. To see examples of these new features in action, download Viscape Universal from http://www.superscape.com/download/viscape/index.htm, then go to http://www.superscape.com/download/ViscapeUniversal/examples/index.htm ___________________________________ NewTek Adds OpenGL Support to Mac LightWave 3D NewTek last week shipped its new OpenGL implementation to support Mac OpenGL hardware in LightWave 3D. Features include: * texture mapping up to 400% faster * full color background images in Layout * faster screen redraw * more accurate lighting model * more accurate real-time texture map viewing * enhanced Morph Gizmo performance * viewable real-time Sky Tracer environments The LightWave 3D and Inspire 3D Mac OpenGL upgrades are available free from http://www.newtek.com. ___________________________________ BitJazz Enables Lossless Compression for QuickTime Apps BitJazz Inc. last week announced QuickTime support for the company's BitJazz lossless, photo-quality compression software technology. Available on both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, the new integration enables any software that supports QuickTime to natively read and write PhotoJazz files, which are compressed an average of 2.5X with no degradation of photo-quality images. PhotoJazz images can now also be embedded in standard QuickDraw PICT files, QuickTime image files and QuickTime movies. The BitJazz compression engine has also been enhanced to support high-precision (16 bits per channel) color, taking advantage of QuickTime's new color capabilities. 16-bit channels are now available in both the PhotoJazz QuickTime components and in the upgraded Photoshop plug-in for both Mac and Windows. Developers have access to 16-bit channels through the latest cross-platform BitJazz SDK. BitJazz has added the QuickTime component to its PhotoJazz product line as a free upgrade to all users. The PhotoJazz reader/evaluation copy is free and available from http://www.bitjazz.com. ___________________________________ Duck Updates TrueMotion Compression Kit for QuickTime 3 The Duck Corporation last week released the final version of its TrueMotion 2.0 Compression Tool Kit for QuickTime 3 video, for both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Features reportedly include: * higher quality playback * improved data rate control * optimized profiles for video, rendered animation and film * scalability and optimization for multiple platforms * playback support included in Windows 98 Visit http://www.duck.com to find out more. ___________________________________ EM7 Releases VR Charting Software According to publisher EM7, rich-media, multidimensional Virtual Reality (VR) is the next step in business charting and graphing software. The company recently introduced PORTAL 3D GraphFactory, and ActiveX VR graphing server. Portal's VRML/COM Object Factory automatically generates VRML files for desktop visualization. Its programmable VR-Graph API is available for MS Windows with ActiveX interfaces for EXCEL, Visual Basic, Visual Interdev, ColdFusion and other development environments. Find sample applications with code for Visual Basic, EXCEL and Visual InterDev and demos at http://em7.com. ___________________________________ Sorenson Upgrades QuickTime Video Codec Sorenson Vision newly upgraded Sorenson Video 2.0 codec is said to enhance the performance of the encoding and decoding process for QuickTime compatible CD-ROM-, DVD- and Web-based video applications. New features include variable bit rate (VBR) encoding up to four times faster than the company's original QuickTime video codec, and support for multi-processor workstations, such as those operating under Windows NT. Improved motion handling reportedly further increases the quality and clarity of compressed video clips, reducing the distortion and artifacts common with inferior video codecs. Playback scalability makes it possible to adjust the video frame rate to accommodate end-user systems with lower processor speeds. Watermarking support is included for copyright protection and to add a professional touch to any multimedia presentation. Find more information at http://www.s-vision.com. ___________________________________ SPCH to Release Harvard 3D Software Publishing Corporation Holdings, Inc., publisher of Harvard Graphics 98, expects to ship Harvard 3D, a $30 3D graphics program for rendering scenes, effects and text in late January 1999. The program is intended for business users who cannot afford to devote much time and effort to creating effective 3D-based visual communications, as well as home users' personal communications. Features include 110 text effects and design wizards, created for such publication styles as greeting cards, e-mail banners and Web graphics, plus an interactive "WalkThrough" tour. A visual library provides 150 3D backgrounds and dozens of clipart images, preset objects, lighting schemes, and patterns and textures. Additionally, preset bevel effects for applying depth effects to text can be customized using a slider. Also, H3D offers real-time rendering capabilities, full text or object rotations, adjusting a group of objects to appear closer or nearer in space, and customizable lighting effects. For more information, visit http://www.harvardgraphics.com. ___________________________________

WEBSIGHTINGS

Web Bits Educational Web site Story Arts Online <http://www.storyarts.org> was created by storyteller/author Heather Forest and Web designer/educator Kim Foglia of WriteDesign for teachers and librarians who would like to include storytelling in their classrooms to enhance student's speaking, listening, reading and writing skills ... ExperTelligence has added a Shopping comparison category to WebData.com (http://www.Webdata.com), its Internet database portal. The Shopping comparison category currently queries Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Spree.com, Buscoe Books, ChaptersGlobe, MicroWarehouse, American Computers Shopping Network, CDW, Computer Warehouse, TWEC.com, Blockbuster, Movies Unlimited, Moviehouse.com, CD Universe, CD Now, CD World, Music BLVD, Beyond.com, Software2Buy, and Software Plus ... If your Internet connection is too fast, check out Comcast Online Communications' new broadband portal at http://www.OnBroadband.com. ___________________________________

TECHNOTES

Israelis Pioneer Emotion Detection Tel Aviv-based start-up Emo-Tech, which develops products based on the rationale that speech reflects the emotional state of the subject, recently developed software said to detect emotions from human speech. The software provides real-time results, evaluating speech from live conversation as well as via phone and cellular. Potential applications include personal use (improving relationships), emergency call centers, telemarketing, salesperson training, customer service, and interactive toys. The software operates by constructing an acoustic picture of the human voice while it is expressing various kinds of emotions. At present, the detectable emotions are happiness, sadness, fear/anxiety, anger and hatred. A distinct equation of six speech characteristics specifies the emotion. For example, sadness is characterized by slower speech rate, slightly lower average pitch, a narrower pitch range and lower intensity. Interested parties are encouraged to contact InterAge, The Leading Internet Marketing Company in Israel. Rehov Harehev 4, Tel Aviv 67771, Israel Tel: 972-3-688-7460 Fax: 972-3-535-2856 E-mail: mailto:kobi@interage.co.il ___________________________________

CONSUMER CHANNEL

Versatile Media One Publishes DVD Mag Versatile Media One recently shipped the first issue of its VersaDisc DVD magazine to subscribers. The free disc includes the DVD debut of "Telling Lies In America" starring Kevin Bacon, Brad Renfro and Calista Flockhart. Other features include news, reviews, game demos, music videos and more. Free subscriptions to VersaDisc are available at www.DVD4U.com. ___________________________________

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Charles River Media Publishes ElectricImage Handbook Charles River Media announces The ElectricImage Handbook, for users of the Mac-based 3D software. Tutorials provide tips and techniques for mastering the standard functions, new features in releases 2.8 and 2.9, and third-party plug-ins including Zaxwerk's Vector Lathe, and TripleTools' Power Particles. The companion CD-ROM includes supporting files. A sample chapter of the book is available at http://www.charlesriver.com. ___________________________________ O'Reilly Nutshells Web Design, Perl O'Reilly's new book, "Web Design in a Nutshell (ISBN: 1-56592-515-7, 580 pages, $19.95), written by Web designer Jennifer Niederst (of GNN and Web Review), is a reference for HTML 4.0 tags (including tables, frames, and Cascading Style Sheets) with special attention given to browser support and platform idiosyncrasies. The HTML section also details strange behavior in tables and gives ideas and workarounds for using tables and frames on your site. The book also covers multimedia and interactivity, audio and video (including Flash and Shockwave), Cascading Style Sheets, and emerging technologies like Dynamic HTML, XML, embedded fonts, and internationalization. For detailed information, including table of contents, author bio, and index, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wdnut/ Also new from O'Reilly, Perl in a Nutshell (ISBN: 1-56592-286-7, 654 pages, $24.95) by Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan offers information about Perl and its application to CGI scripts, network programming, database interaction, and graphical user interfaces, and gives detailed coverage for those using Perl within a Win32 environment. The book also covers built-in functions and standard modules; DBI, the database-independent API for Perl; sockets programming; Perl/tk; modules for interfacing with Win32 systems. Visit http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/perlnut/. ___________________________________ Tranz-Send Offers $1M Prize for DV The Tranz-Send Internet Film Festival will hold a $1,000,000 First Prize Incentive. Broadcast-quality shorts and features will be considered for DVD-grade Internet broadcast using Tranz-Send's "File Broadcasting" system. Tranz-Send uses proprietary technology to let consumers order a film, television program or software for electronic delivery to their home systems (including VCRs). Many of the films are provided to consumers free. Film entry information is available at http://www.tranz-send.com. ___________________________________

DEALS

Adobe Acquires GoLive CyberStudio Adobe Systems has acquired the assets of GoLive Systems, Inc., including GoLive CyberStudio Web design and publishing software and the GoLive Web Publishing System. Adobe intends to integrate the Mac-based GoLive software with its design and publishing tools, including Photoshop and Illustrator. ___________________________________ C-3D Digital to Acquire Strata Chequemate Technologies, d.b.a. C-3D Digital, Inc. last week agreed in principle to acquire the technology and principal assets of Strata Inc., a Utah-based 3D computer graphics software. C-3D Digital describes itself as a technology-oriented company in the communication and entertainment industries. On January 1, 1999 C-3D Digital launched a television network to offer 3D programming to satellite dish owners, cable TV subscribers and pay-per-view lodging guests. The company claims the acquisition will broaden its line of 3D technology for broadcast video and the internet. Heading up the Strata division will be Ken Bringhurst, co-founder of Strata. Website: www.3d.com ___________________________________ Go2Net Acquires Web21 Go2Net, Inc. (http://www.go2net.com), a network of technology- and community-driven Web sites, has acquired Web21 (http://www.100hot.com), whose 100hot.com index identifies and ranks the 100 most popular Web sites in such categories as technology, entertainment, business, shopping, lifestyle, games, sports and news. Web21 compiles its listings based on the analysis of log files from cache servers located throughout the Internet. The acquisition was made for approximately $13.5 million in stock. ___________________________________ Microsoft to Acquire FASA Interactive In an attempt to become supreme ruler of the giant-battle-robot universe, Microsoft Corp. will acquire Chicago-based FASA Interactive Technologies. As a result, Microsoft gains electronic rights to the BattleTech property, which includes the MechWarrior computer game franchise and its recent real-time strategy extension, MechCommander. MechWarrior 2 and its related add-ons have accounted for more than $70 million in sales. FASA Interactive's development staff will be integrated into Microsoft's product development teams in Redmond, where they will continue working on upcoming titles including MechWarrior 4 and MechCommander 2. Jordan Weisman, chief creative officer of FASA Interactive and co-creator of the BattleTech universe, has also joined Microsoft, where he will guide the growth of the BattleTech-based franchises. In addition to future MechWarrior and MechCommander games, Microsoft is also exploring opportunities for FASA Corp.'s other properties, including the Shadowrun, EarthDawn and Renegade Legion universes. The acquisition is not expected to affect the anticipated retail release of MechWarrior 3, which will be published in 1999 by Hasbro Interactive and MicroProse Inc. under an agreement entered into prior to the acquisition. More information on FASA Interactive and its products is available at http://www.fasainteractive.com/ and http://www.fasa.com/. ___________________________________

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Sierra Ships 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball for Mac Macintosh pinball/auto racing fans rejoiced last week as Sierra Attractions announced the availability of 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball for the Macintosh. The $29.95, 3D-rendered game features NASCAR vault videos compressed with the new QuickTime 3 Sorenson Codec. Players choose from four NASCAR drivers - Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte, four racetracks and three double-wide pinball tables. Other features include 3D animations, ramps, drop-targets, bumpers, multi-ball play, bonus options and a 3D target indicator system to guide shots. Other information is available at http://www.nascarpinball.com. ___________________________________ Starsiege Tribes Storms Store Shelves Multiplayer Internet game Starsiege Tribes last week began shipping to stores from Dynamix, a Sierra Company. The first-person shooter is said to maximize the multiplayer experience for up to 32 players. Success in the missions is dependent on the ability of the team to work together to meet an objective, such as securing a base. The game includes eight 'training' missions designed to help players practice the game prior to signing on to a server. To date, more than 100 Tribes have formed. Examples can be found at www.gibbed.com/irondragon/ and www.reajun.com/tribes.htm. Additionally, nearly 1,000 gamers have signed up to host the game from their personal computers. Qualifying participants receive a copy of the game. For more information, visit http://www.tribesplayers.com. ___________________________________ Sierra, Impressions Upgrade Caesar III The new Caesar III game enhancement package is available free via download from http://www.sierrastudios.com and http://www.caesar3.com. New features include: * five difficulty levels - very easy, easy, normal, hard, very hard * players can turn off events caused by gods * an option to delete saved games from within the game * right-clicking on market traders and buyers will display where they are coming from, where they are going and what supplies they are carrying * more hot keys * wolves are displayed on the radar map * players can kill sheep and zebras, which often block construction (yeah, they're notorious for that - ed.) ___________________________________ Blizzard Kicks Off StarCraft: Brood War Tourney Hot on the heels of the release of StarCraft: Brood War, Blizzard Entertainment last Friday kicked off the first-ever StarCraft: Brood War tournament over Battle.net, the company's free online game service. Blizzard is providing more than $20,000 in cash and prizes to recognize the world's top players. To qualify for the StarCraft: Brood War Championship, which is scheduled to take place later this year, players must be one of the top 16 finalists in regular season play. Regular season qualifications last for three months with a finals competition to determine the players that will advance to the world championship. Find more info at http://www.battle.net. ___________________________________

NUMBEROLOGY

Acclaim Ships Over 1.4 Million Units of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil According to Acclaim Entertainment, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil has exceeded original sales expectations and ranks as one of the top-selling N64 games of the recent holiday season. Major retailers have already placed re-orders for Turok 2, above the original shipment of 1.4 million units worldwide. Turok 2 for Game Boy Color is also enjoying stronger than anticipated sales. Turok 2 for the PC is expected to ship January 26. ___________________________________ Online Holiday Spending: Two Studies Zona Research, Inc., in conjunction with parent company IntelliQuest, announces the results of a detailed study of over 1,000 Internet users designed to assess consumers' attitudes and experience after the 1998 holiday buying season. Results show online holiday spending by Internet users rose from an average of $216 last year to $629 in 1998, a percentage growth of 191%, with 58% of the sampled buyers having spent nothing online in 1997. Leading the way was the over-50 age group. Spending for respondents aged 50-54 on average grew 545% ($626 compared with $97) while spending for those over 55 rose 547% ($1,819 vs. $281 last year). Curiously, while the under-25 age group is widely believed to be much more Internet-savvy, this group's online holiday spending rose only 36% ($210 vs. last year's $154). More information is available at http://zonaresearch.com . Also, BizRate.com (http://www.bizrate.com) released research findings based on responses from over 33,000 online shoppers who participated in a survey after making online purchases. BizRate.com calculates that consumer holiday sales made between November 26 and January 3 reached $1.96 billion. Demonstrating an increased comfort level of consumers who make purchases online, the more frequent online shopper (someone who has made more than 5 online purchases) reportedly spent almost 20% more than the average first-time buyer. BizRate.com also reports that the peak buying week was December 14 - 20, with almost $394 million in transactions. When asked about factors contributing to overall customer satisfaction, online buyers responded with the most criticism for "on-time delivery," which experienced its most visible decrease during December 8-22. ___________________________________ NovaWorld Achieves Million Game Joins NovaLogic's NovaWorld, a free, online gaming service, achieved one million game joins during the month of December. NovaLogic recently increased NovaWorld's bandwidth to accommodate the growing number of online players and has added more Delta Force games to meet customer demand. Delta Force is based upon the U.S. Army's elite special forces unit. Players conduct missions in outdoor environments with the ability to see and shoot an enemy miles away in every direction. Internet gameplay options include DeathMatch, Team DeathMatch, King of the Hill, Team King of the Hill, and Capture the Flag. More than 30 Delta Force players per game can play cooperatively or against each other via NovaWorld's servers. Matchmaking services are also offered via NovaWorld which lets up to 16 players pit their skills against each other. ___________________________________

DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

Radius Reborn as Digital Origin The former Radius, Inc. changed its name to Digital Origin last week to better reflect its products for the DV camcorder market. These include MotoDV for capturing video for editing on both Macintosh and PC computers; the Windows-only MotoDV Studio, integrated with Adobe Premiere 5.1, and EditDV 1.5, a professional non-linear editor. Digital Origin can be reached at 650/404-6000 or at http://www.digitalorigin.com. ___________________________________

HAPPENINGS

Miller Freeman, g.o.d to Co-host Independent Games Festival Miller Freeman, Inc. and Gathering of Developers (g.o.d.) will co-present the first annual GDC Independent Games Festival. The festival is designed to promote interactive entertainment as an art form and provide a forum for independent game developers to show their work, receive recognition, and meet potential publishers. The festival has also been opened up to entries in Nintendo and online gaming platforms and the deadline for round one written submissions has been extended to January 15. Up to 30 of the top games selected will be showcased during the GDC Expo March 16-18, 1999 at the San Jose Convention Center (San Jose, CA). For festival rules and application procedures, interested developers should go to http://www.indiegames.com or phone (415) 905-2388. Additional information about the GDC can be found at http://www.gdconf.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, 2233 Jefferson Ave., 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 mailto:duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- (c)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.
Spectrum