Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

12 January 1998

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

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Today's Headlines (details below)

TODAY'S TOP STORY

--Support Human Rights in Cyberspace

WEBMEISTER

--O'Reilly Ships WebSite Professional 2.1

--StarNine Announces WebSTAR 3.0 Public Beta

--Colada 2.0 Expands Canvas 5's Web Publishing Tool Set

--Parable Releases ThingMaker

--Design Tool Brings PANTONE Colors to Web Pages

--PowerProduction Releases WebBurst FX

--Free SiteCam Upgrade Supports Java

--Unicom Announces Web Content Products

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

--RISS Releases Ovation Studio Pro Authoring Tool

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

--Macromedia Announces FreeHand 8, Design in Motion Suite

--Digimation Ships Ultrashock Plug-in for 3D Studio MAX

--NewTek Ships LightWave 3D 5.5 for Power Mac

--Vertigo Releases 3D PopArt Tool for Illustrator

--Puffin Designs Introduces Commotion Player

WEBSIGHTINGS

--Nosferatu, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Available for Free Download

CONSUMER CHANNEL

--Alpha Software Rolls Out 747 Jumbo Jet Add-on for MSFS

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

--Datamerge Releases DPO Instructional Manual

--PowerGrid Offers Online Resources for Website Owners, Designers

--Call for Entries for Internet Marketing Awards

--Charles River Releases Animation:Master Book

--Interesting Stats on Gamers

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

--Interplay, Infogrames Enter Joint Venture for Heart of Darkness

--Dark Reign Expansion Slated for March

--THQ to Publish CyberFlix's "Red Jack: Revenge of the Brethren" for PC, Mac

F.Y.I.

--About Spectrum

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TODAY'S TOP STORY

Support Human Rights in Cyberspace

One of the reasons the annual Digital Be-In is always the highlight of the week of the Macworld expo in San Francisco is that its organizers pay heed to bigger issues. This year, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Michael Gosny et al made human rights in cyberspace the theme of last Friday's Be-In. Friend of Spectrum Bob Gelman got up on stage and talked about the Declaration of Human Rights in Cyberspace, based on the principles of the Universal Declaration. It starts out:

"Whereas recognition that the Internet and its related networks represent an open avenue for potential improvement of the human condition, including freedom, justice, equality, and peace worldwide ..."

You are invited to participate in the discussion forum about this document and also to bring it to the attention of individuals, companies, social organizations and political groups you are connected with. By involving ALL who use the Net or who may have the need or desire to do so in the future, we can make cyberspace a place that fosters the best of human thought and ideals.

Please go to http://www.be-in.com, click on the Human Rights in Cyberspace link, and get involved.

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WEBMEISTER

O'Reilly Ships WebSite Professional 2.1

O'Reilly & Associates' WebSite Professional 2.1 server package is now available. The new upgrade to version 2.0 includes expanded Java support and full-strength encryption, along with other enhancements and all "hot fixes" since WebSite Professional's 2.0 release in September. Suggested list price for WebSite Professional 2.0 is $799; the upgrade to version 2.1 is free to registered version 2.0 customers.

Live Software's JRun technology, included with WebSite Professional 2.1, enables developers to use both WebSite servlets and JavaSoft's servlets simultaneously on the same server, and in the same Java virtual machine.

JRun software combines a class library and specialized bridge-code which lets applications run JavaSoft Java servlets on a server. The servlets can be used as building blocks for database retrieval, document formatting, or even creating other servlets. Small servlets can greatly expand server capabilities and performance when they are strung together, and can be used repeatedly (write once, run anywhere).

O'Reilly claims its SSL-based 128-bit encryption can provide up to 164-bit encryption where the browser can support that level. Information encrypted at 128 bits is said to be billions of times more difficult to decipher than the same information protected with 40-bit encryption, the most commonly used standard on the Web today.

For more information, visit http://Website.oreilly.com/

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StarNine Announces WebSTAR 3.0 Public Beta

Quarterdeck-owned StarNine Technologies announces the public availability of the beta version of WebSTAR 3.0, scheduled for final release in January.

This major upgrade to the MacOS Web server software includes new FTP and Proxy servers, multi-homing, a revamped WebSTAR Admin interface and support for the latest Internet standards including HTTP 1.1, Javasoft's Java Servlet API and WebObjects. The beta version of WebSTAR 3.0 can now be downloaded free from <http://www.starnine.com/>. The upgrade will be priced at $199 for current users of version 2.x, or $299 for users upgrading from version 1.x.

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Colada 2.0 Expands Canvas 5's Web Publishing Tool Set

Deneba Software has added powerful features to Colada, its Java-based Web publishing technology for Canvas 5. Deneba's Colada technology lets Canvas 5 users convert Canvas-readable documents into cross-platform, Web-ready, navigable documents without requiring a proprietary plug-in. Version 2.0 of Colada, currently in beta test, adds performance improvements plus new features including:

· Zoom in and out or pan across any Canvas 5 illustration, as vector-based designs retain their precision

· Create tri-state "rollover" buttons within Canvas 5. Button actions can be programmed to play or stop a sound, run an animation sequence or link to a separate page.

· Similar to animated GIFs, the new Animation palette lets users design animations that can play once, loop, or play on cue within a browser.

Unlike GIF animations, they can incorporate both raster and vector elements and can even include sound effects as part of any animated sequence.

Telephone Deneba at: (305) 596-5644; Fax: (305) 273-9069; Internet: http://www.deneba.com

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Parable Releases ThingMaker

Parable announces the release of the first version of ThingMaker, a multimedia authoring tool for Windows-based Web publishers. ThingMaker offers a drag-and-drop interface, features for creating basic or detailed multimedia, and support for art creation and HTML editing tools. In addition, ThingMaker embeds copyright and credit information into each Thing.

Things are "three-state objects." In the "default" state, a Thing is in its initial form with no interaction from the user. Things react to the user in the "mouse-over" state (when the cursor passes over the Thing) and the "mouse-click" state (when the cursor clicks on the Thing). Each state can contain a variety of multimedia elements such as animation, image, motion, sound, Web address etc.

ThingMaker features include:

· drag-and-drop, object-oriented editing environment.

· support for all media types

· support for all art creation and HTML editing tools.

· support for Microsoft's Active Desktop and Channel Definition Format (CDF) .

· actions including: collision detection, copyright, drag, hide/show, location, layer, lock, keyword, mail address, path, swap, and Web address

ThingWorld ( http://www.thingworld.com ) is an online multimedia community where Things, people who make Things, and Parable's tools can be found.

Find Parable at http://www.parablecorp.com

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Design Tool Brings PANTONE Colors to Web Pages

Pantone, Inc., has begun shipping PANTONE ColorWeb Pro ($69.95), an upgrade to PANTONE ColorWeb, which lets Web authors select the 216 "Internet-safe" colors for their Web page designs. ColorWeb Pro is a set of tools for designing and managing solid colors for publishing and viewing over the Internet. ColorWeb Pro adds the ability to incorporate PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors into popular Web authoring software applications.

ColorWeb Pro contains two Apple Extensible Color Pickers: the PANTONE Internet Color System (PICS) with the 216 "Internet-safe" colors that will not dither on 8-bit (256) color monitors, previously available in PANTONE ColorWeb, and the new Color System with 1,012 Pantone Matching System colors. Users can also select one of the 1,012 Pantone Matching System colors and then click on the PICS palette to identify the closest equivalent of the "Internet-safe" colors.

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PowerProduction Releases WebBurst FX

Los Gatos, Calif.-based based software company PowerProduction Software presents WebBurst FX for creating interactive elements for Websites. The new program is targeted at graphic artists and desktop publishing professionals who want to use existing skills to create interactive buttons, banners, animations and more.

Transitions, or FX, available in the new product include slide, wipe, zoom, jump, flash, dissolve and more. Web authors can initiate and combine effects such as colorize, change opacity level, even highlight. Text can be scrolled and objects and font changes can be made on the fly. WebBurst FX also enables Photoshop Filter Plug-ins, has full alpha channel support, provides image libraries and produces Java output.

For more information, visit http://www.powerproduction.com or http://www.Webburst.com or call 1.800.457.0383.

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Free SiteCam Upgrade Supports Java

Rearden Technology, a provider of MacOS WebCam software, announces the immediate availability of SiteCam 1.2, a free upgrade to its WebCam software, now with a Java WebCam applet for wider browser compatibility.

SiteCam 1.2 runs on any Macintosh with video capabilities. Available today, SiteCam 1.2 is free to current SiteCam users and can be downloaded at < http://www.rearden.com/ >.

Rearden also announces SiteZAP for controlling a pan, tilt and zoom camera over the Internet. With a list price of $2,795, SiteZAP includes a complete package of hardware and software. SiteZAP is programmable--for example, building a QuickTimeVR Panorama can be automated using Apple's scriptable QuickTimeVR Authoring Studio.

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Unicom Announces Web Content Products

Unicom Communications announces "SlamDunkware" ( http://www.slamdunkware.com/ ), a suite of products for expanding a Web site's content. Among the first phase of products are press releases, job opportunities, products, events, and news. All are complete sections that automatically add pages as new entries are made. Planned for release in the near future are user-controllable JAVA banners, mailing list recruiter/manager, dealer/reseller locator, and several database-related site sections.

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DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

RISS Releases Ovation Studio Pro Authoring Tool

Rhode Island Soft Systems (RISS) announces the retail release of its Ovation Studio Pro Authoring Tool ($595), a multimedia development product for Windows. Previously, the product had been used exclusively by the RISS development staff in the development of its product line, including the Internet-distributed screen savers Hey Macaroni!, Holyear vs. Teethson and Princess Diana Tribute.

Features include:

· WYSIWYG development environment and a WYSIWYG editor for creating animated sequences from bitmaps, and synchronizing with sound

· royalty-free, redistributable run-time

· interactive, real-time testing from the development environment

· extensibility, allowing programmers to add new features at any time, call their own .DLL functions from script, and create add-on object types

· context-sensitive Script Assistants for fast development of script without need to memorize the entire scripting language

· parent & child screens, providing object inheritance features for the creation of reusable templates--update the parent screen, and all child screens automatically inherit the changes.

· thousands of clip-art and royalty-free graphics images.

For more information, contact Rhode Island Soft Systems, Inc. at (800) 959-RISS or (401) 767-3106, or write to RISS at P.O. Box 748, Woonsocket, RI, 02895, or via the Internet at http://www.risoftsystems.com or mailto:info@risoftsystems.com.

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Macromedia Announces FreeHand 8, Design in Motion Suite

Macromedia last week announced FreeHand 8, the newest version of its design software for Windows 95/NT and MacOS. Scheduled to ship in March, FreeHand 8 provides features such as Lens Fills for dynamic transparency, integrated support for Macromedia Flash, customizable user interface and keyboard shortcuts, and platform-specific performance optimizations.

FreeHand 8 helps artists move their work to the Web with built-in support for Macromedia Flash. Designers can now export URL-linked illustrations, layouts and animations from FreeHand in native Flash vector format. Vectors on the Web are compact, scaleable and precise, enabling the creation of rich content with small file sizes. Macromedia's new Universal Media Initiative ensures these Flash files will play back via Java as well as Shockwave.

FreeHand 8's new transparency Lens Fill lets designers lay translucent text over bitmaps and create glass-like effects in a Postscript environment.

Also new is a Magnify Lens, which allows artists to create dynamic zoomed views-invaluable for annotating technical illustrations. FreeHand 8's new Freeform drawing tool lets users quickly create organic forms. The program provides object transformation handles directly in the workspace, allowing artists to move, rotate, and scale selected objects without changing tools.

Other new functions include a Graphics Hose, and one-button Shadow, Mirror and Emboss effects.

Macromedia also announced the Design in Motion Suite, which includes FreeHand 8, Macromedia Flash, and Insta.html 2, available for $100 more than the standalone price of FreeHand 8.

For detailed info on Flash 2, see Spectrum Reviews 5: 12 December 1997.

The newly updated Insta.html 2 is a utility for converting FreeHand layouts into WYSIWYG HTML pages that can be read by Web browsers. The new version features a streamlined user interface and the ability to export FreeHand graphics as either Flash elements or high-quality GIF or PNG images.

Moreover, Insta.html 2 takes advantage of the latest absolute positioning and cascading style sheet HTML specifications to create compact HTML pages from FreeHand documents while preserving the original page design.

For more information, phone (800) 288-4797 or visit http://www.macromedia.com.

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Digimation Ships Ultrashock Plug-in for 3D Studio MAX

New Orleans-based Digimation, Inc. has released Ultrashock (US$295), its new MAXimizer plug-in enhancement for 3D Studio MAX (R1 & R2) by Kinetix.

Designed for 3D artists looking to do smoke, fire, sparks and other special effects, Ultrashock works in concert with all of built-in and most third-party particle systems (including Sand Blaster and Pandora), and applies a volumetric effect on top of each particle to create the overall look. Users can control every aspect of the Ultrashock effect, including shape, color and composite method. In addition, Ultrashock ships with a special "Ultrashock-aware" light that allows the volumetric effect to cast shadows on other scene objects.

The Ultrashock architecture allows users to code their own effects, which can be managed through an internal Plug-in Manager.

Visit Digimation on the Web at http://www.digimation.com or contact the company directly at 504-468-7898.

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NewTek Ships LightWave 3D 5.5 for Power Mac

NewTek Partners, L.P. has released LightWave 3D 5.5 for the Apple Power Macintosh with more than 100 new or enhanced features said to improve character and background animation, a new volumetric rendering engine, and improved support for multiprocessor hardware systems.

The new user interface is designed to convey a more standard flavor that adheres to UI trends in the computer industry. LightWave 3D 5.5 also takes advantage of fast 3D acceleration hardware and software to improve user interactivity, such as real-time texture viewing and lighting controls.

The new Morph Gizmo feature improves character animation, particularly for facial movements such as lip-synching. Another new feature, called the Super Cel Shader, enables animators to convert 3D models into 2D-style animations, much like the Japanese Anime style.

A new rendering engine provides volumetric rendering and volumetric lighting, allowing animators to add realistic-looking fog, smoke, etc. to their scenes and letting users see lights as physical elements, such as sunlight streaming through a window or through tree branches, or light glowing from a distant source. When used in tandem with the new integrated particle system, the engine can create effects such as dust, smoke and atmospheric haze.

NewTek has sped inverse kinematics calculations by more than 500 percent, and improved accuracy in inverse kinematics reportedly creates far more stable and smoother animations. The addition of joint stiffness and matched goal orientation gives users increased control of the inverse kinematics chain.

Find NewTek online at http://www.newtek.com.

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Vertigo Releases 3D PopArt Tool for Illustrator

Vertigo Technology 's $39 3D PopArt, the company's 3D tool for Adobe Illustrator, is now shipping. Used by graphic artists creating content for print and the Web, Vertigo 3D PopArt enables users to easily create 3D objects from 2D illustrations.

Launched from the Illustrator window menu, Vertigo 3D PopArt allows users to choose and direct one of eight light sources at their selection. In addition, Vertigo 3D PopArt, in conjunction with Illustrator, provides control over all three dimensions and the ability to extrude artwork.

Contact Vertigo at 1-888-4-VERTIGO or at http://www.vertigo3d.com.

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Puffin Designs Introduces Commotion Player

Puffin Designs' new product, the Commotion Player ($399), due in February, will reportedly let users play back uncompressed, resolution-independent footage in real time on a Macintosh without the need for additional hardware. The standalone product delivers the playback engine found in Puffin Designs' professional paint and rotoscoping tool, Commotion, introduced at SIGGRAPH '97.

The Player is being touted as an affordable adjunct to Adobe After Effects users who have felt the need for real-time playback of multimedia, video, or film resolution images directly on their Macs.

In addition to loading and playing back files, the Commotion Player also allows users to save files in various formats, providing a means of changing a Quicktime movie's compression. PICT, Quicktime 3.0, and ElectricImage file formats are supported, as are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects file format plug-ins, including TIFF, TARGA, SGI and others.

For further information contact Puffin Designs at 415-331-4560 or browse http://www.puffindesigns.com.

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WEBSIGHTINGS

Nosferatu, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Available for Free Download

The Sync, an Internet audio/video broadcasting company, announces the Internet debut of two of the most influential horror films of all time. The Sync has arranged with Lennane Communications and the Jeff Aikman Archive to present Internet audiences with the world's very first vampire film, Nosferatu, and the production considered to be the first "cult film," The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Both films are available for free download in RealVideo format.

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CONSUMER CHANNEL

Alpha Software Rolls Out 747 Jumbo Jet Add-on for MSFS

Alpha Software Corporation, a subsidiary of SoftQuad International Inc., introduces 747 Jumbo Jet ($24.95), an add-on to Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 and 95. With photo-realistic graphics of real-life instruments and control panels, plus a complement of special effects, 747 Jumbo Jet is designed to convey the experience of commanding the largest passenger plane in the sky.

Endorsed by Lufthansa Airlines, the program provides users with a pilot's-eye view of the 747 cockpit. In conjunction with Microsoft flight simulator, the program replicates the full cycle of flight, from first throttle up of all four engines, to maneuvering through realistic weather conditions including high winds and thunderstorms, to negotiating other emergency situations.

The program features ten new planes, consisting of four types of 747s, including the 747-100, 747-230B, 747-230F and 747-238B. Once users have a few successful flights under their belts, they can try simulating emergency takeoffs and landings, just as pilots-in-training do. They can also install six new airports (joining the 3,000 already included in Flight Simulator): Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Main in Germany, Cannes, Nice, La Mole and Frejus in France. At Frankfurt Main, users can even taxi right up to the gate.

747 Jumbo Jet features a browser-based interface, photos and movies of 747s in action, technical specifications for the planes, realistic exterior views, landscapes and buildings, and working gauges. The program takes advantage of the new features of Flight Simulator 98, including multi-player gaming, autopilot, dynamic scenery and direct 3D and MMX support for faster frame rates, and accurately rendered navigation aids.

Find SoftQuad at http://www.softquad.com/.

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Datamerge Releases DPO Instructional Manual

DataMerge, Inc., a Denver-based developer of software and information for companies seeking financing, announces the release of "Self-directed IPO, Raising Capital with SCOR," a two-volume manual that guides companies first through the Small Corporate Offering Registration (SCOR) process, and then the process of marketing the offering directly to investors.

SCOR was developed by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1992 as a way to help small business gain easier access to equity capital, while still satisfying SEC requirements.

According to DataMerge, the guide shows small businesses how to use new and little-understood methods of locating investors over the internet, taking advantage of relaxed regulations for advertising and marketing smaller public offerings under SCOR.

The $249 manual is targeted at small business owners, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, accountants, and anyone wishing to become a SCOR consultant.

For more information, call (800) 580- 1188 or visit http://www.datamerge.com/scor.html.

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PowerGrid Offers Online Resources for Website Owners, Designers

Pangalactic Ltd. and Multimedia Marketing Group announce "PowerGrid" < http://www.pangalactic.com/powergrid/ >, a free categorized and commented listing of resources for Website owners and designers.

Categories covered run from links to basic HTML tutorials to server software, discussion groups, shopping carts, marketing, affiliate programs, general and platform-specific utilities, dealing with search engines, and multi-cultural connections. Visitors may submit their own favorite resources and can even register to receive notifications when the PowerGrid is updated or enhanced.

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Call for Entries for Internet Marketing Awards

You just finished the flawless execution of that major online marketing campaign. Now what are you going to do? Submit it to the 4th Annual Tenagra Awards for Internet Marketing Excellence, of course.

The Tenagra Awards nominating and review committee is looking for success stories related to marketing, promotion and advertising on the Internet.

Awards will be given in five categories:

· Successful Internet Business Model

· Online Public Relations Success

· Online Advertising Success

· Publication Focused on Internet Marketing

· Individual Contribution to Internet Marketing

Complete information on the awards and how to apply is available at: http://awards.tenagra.com/

The deadline for nominations is March 3, 1998. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Ad:tech Chicago Conference, May 6-8, 1998.

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Charles River Releases Animation:Master Book

Rockland, Mass.-based Charles River Media announces The Animation:Master Handbook (ISBN: 1-886801-71-1, $49.95) by Jeff Paries with foreword by Martin Hash, the developer and founder of Hash, Inc. This is the first and only book to cover the 3D animation program, Animation:Master. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this product are answered, along with explanations and tutorials that illustrate and teach advanced techniques.

The companion CD also includes a demo version of MH3D.

Features:

· Covers basic modeling, advanced modeling, mechanical modeling, materials and decals, constraints, animation, lip synch, compositing, rendering, and directing

· CD runs on both PC and Mac and includes many of the book's models, supporting image maps, and patch color information to assist users with the construction of their own characters.

Phone and secure Internet ordering:

PHONE: 1-800-382-8505

FAX: 1-703-661-1501

Internet: http://www.charlesriver.com

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Interesting Stats on Gamers

Print mag Computer Gaming World has announced the results of a new study, "Computer Gaming in America." Chief among the findings were:

· The vast majority of households with computers have games installed (32 million out of 41 million households)

· Gamers are divided into two segments: casual gamers and core gamers

· Core gamers, while only representing 14 percent of the population, account for 52 percent of game sales volume

· Casual gamers are just that--casual game players and infrequent game buyers. The casual gamer buys an average of 3.4 games per year. They are most likely to play games that require less time commitment such as board/family games, card games and some adventure games.

Casual gamers are most often advice seekers; they look to others for game recommendations. While the casual gamers make up the lion's share of the market (86 percent or 27 million), they are responsible for less than half of sales.

Core gamers, on the other hand, represent just 14 percent (4.5 million) of the total gaming population, but wield the greatest spending power; they buy an average of 24 games per year, accounting for 52 percent of the category's sales volume (about $810 million of the $1.4 billion computer game sales in 1996). Core gamers rate themselves as computer gaming experts and spend an average of more than 11 hours a week gaming. They prefer adventure, action and role-playing games--games that require more time and attention commitment.

Core gamers are also big Internet fans--40 percent currently game online.

They are also the advice-givers that the casual gamers turn to for game recommendations and advice. The core gamers have an average of 42 games currently in their game library (versus 15 games for casual gamers).

Computer gamers describe themselves as people who work hard, play hard, and of course, as competitive. However, their self-images are slightly out of whack with how others may see them. Despite their long hours with computers, they do not view themselves as geeks or nerds. They also don't see themselves as loners, though they spend most of their time alone. They are also 43 percent more likely to consider themselves in tune with pop culture, and 25 percent more fashion conscious than the average gamer.

Core gamers are 85 percent more likely to describe themselves as easily offended. In addition, core gamers are 78 percent more likely to view gaming as life and 19 percent more likely to blow off steam playing computer games. Casual gamers are more likely to see themselves as more helpful, self-sufficient and communicative than core gamers.

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Interplay, Infogrames Enter Joint Venture for Heart of Darkness

Irvine, Calif.-based Interplay Productions has entered into a joint venture with Infogrames Multimedia for Heart of Darkness. In the venture, Interplay will publish the title in North America and Infogrames will publish the title in Europe with the remainder of the world split between the two companies. The title, in development for over four years by France-based Amazing Studio, will be simultaneously released for the Sony PlayStation and Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0/5.0-based PCs. The action adventure platform game is scheduled to ship in the spring of 1998.

Gamers assume the role of Andy, a young boy who must journey deep into another world to rescue his beloved dog, Whiskey, from the forces of evil.

Players will climb, swing, twist, swim and shoot their way through a nine-level world of mystical mazes, outlandish landscapes and evil enemies.

Heart of Darkness is rendered with 3D Studio and relies on traditional computer animation. Andy takes up more than 2,000 frames of animation in one direction alone while maintaining seamless transition between actions.

This mixing of transitions allows for a greater and smoother level of interaction.

More information on Interplay is available at http://www.interplay.com.

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Dark Reign Expansion Slated for March

The Reign continues with Activision's upcoming Dark Reign Expansion: Rise of the Shadowhand, the new add-on to the popular real-time strategy game.

Currently slated for a March 1998 release, this Windows 95 title requires the purchaser to also own Dark Reign and is being developed and published by Activision, Inc.

Dark Reign Expansion: Rise of the Shadowhand features 18 single-player missions, over a dozen new units and new cooperative multiplayer missions that enlist players in a race for control of a newly discovered technology.

Up to eight Internet players can wage war, choosing one of four fierce armies, including the new Freedom Guard Xenite and the Imperium Shadowhand armies. Gamers can shape the battlefield with real-time terrain deformation by building roads to speed access to vital resources or by creating marshes to bog down enemies. In addition, gamers can jointly change the course of the war by playing cooperatively against AI opponents. The game's enhanced construction kit allows players to create their own multiplayer missions.

Dark Reign Expansion will also feature the best player-created Dark Reign conversions--conversions are new games utilizing the Dark Reign engine--as well as the prize-winning mission and map from Activision's Dark Reign Mission and Map Building Contest.

Since its initial launch on September 17, 1997, Dark Reign has shipped more than 400,000 units worldwide and was released simultaneously in 58 countries with localized versions in English, French, German and Spanish.

Activision's World Wide Web site is located at http://www.activision.com.

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THQ to Publish CyberFlix's "Red Jack: Revenge of the Brethren" for PC, Mac

THQ Inc. has signed an agreement with Knoxville, Tenn.-based CyberFlix Inc., an original-content developer, to publish and distribute "Red Jack: Revenge of the Brethren" for the PC and Macintosh platforms. The games are scheduled for release in the United States, Europe and Asia (except Japan) in the middle of 1998.

"Red Jack: Revenge of the Brethren" is being developed by CyberFlix, the creators of "Titanic: Adventure Out of Time" and "Dust: A Tale of the Wired West." The game utilizes CyberFlix's proprietary technology, DreamFactory, which enables the creation of 3D-rendered, animated characters that inhabit navigable virtual environments.

The interactive, graphic action adventure is set during the golden age of piracy. The player, hurled into treachery and villainy, travels to exotic ports of call, battles cutthroat pirates, and meets assassins and ghosts while trying to solve the mystery of Red Jack.

THQ has headquarters in Calabasas, Calif. and located on the Web at http://www.thq.com.

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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.

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- David Duberman

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