Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 19 Jan 99

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Elemental Ships Drumbeat 2000 --ParaSoft Launches Linux-based Internet Store App --New Browser from TranDyne has Full HTML 4.0 Compatibility IN THE INFOGROOVE --Classroom Webivore Elevates Tailors Web for Education --InnoMedia Announces Wireless Internet Sharing --ImaginOn to Release All-In-One Internet 'Supra-Search Engine' --LinkPilot: New Way To Surf The Web GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Ulead Systems Launches Special-Effects Plug-in --Viewpoint Releases Free LiveArt 98 Valentine's Day 3D Interactive Art --Nichimen Previews 3D Modeling Package WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Two New Titles In "Photoshop Inside & Out" Video Learning Series Released --O'Reilly Offers UNIX References Bookshelf on CD DEALS --Psygnosis, Activision Sign North American Distribution Agreement GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Activision, Barnes & Noble Offer Heavy Gear II Pre-Order Program --Valve, Sierra Announce Half-Life Update, Add-ons --Close Combat III Retail, Trial Versions Available --Sony Releases Contender; PlayStation Boxing Title --Sierra, Impressions Announce '99 Lineup --EA Developing Beetle Adventure Racing for N64 --Sony Online RPG EverQuest to Ship in March --Connectix PlayStation Emulator Wins MacWorld Expo Best of Show NUMBEROLOGY --Blue Byte Sells-In 500,000 Settlers --Berkeley Systems Bezerk Hits Million Players DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --AIAS Calls for Interactive Achievement Awards Nominations HAPPENINGS --Call For Participation: Web3D RoundUP @ VRML99 --Shigeru Miyamoto to Keynote Game Developers Conference F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ___________________________________


Elemental Ships Drumbeat 2000 Elemental Software last week shipped Drumbeat 2000, the third release of its flagship Web development product. The program, designed for developers building data-driven Web applications, employs a visual drag-and-drop interface plus application Wizards. Enhancements over Drumbeat 2.0, released in June 1998, to include an expanded DataForm Wizard; Point-and-Click Interactions support for server-side COM and ASP objects; VBScript support; and additional prebuilt dynamic application templates. Drumbeat 2000 lists for $399 but is available through March at an introductory estimated street price of $249 from http://www.drumbeat.com. ___________________________________ ParaSoft Launches Linux-based Internet Store App ParaSoft announces the launch of its no-programming-necessary e-commerce solution on Red Hat Linux. Features include a virtual shopping cart, quick pricing as well as secure credit card transactions. The software tracks available inventory levels, preventing "double-selling" of limited-quantity items by simultaneous online purchases or by online buyers and in-store customers. It also provides customer data such as "virtual basket" analysis, demographic breakdowns, and contact information, including name, address, telephone and email address. For more information about Red Hat Software and Red Hat products and technologies, call (919) 547-0012 or visit http://www.redhat.com. For more information about ParaSoft, visit www.parasoft.com. ___________________________________ New Browser from TranDyne has Full HTML 4.0 Compatibility TranDyne is working on a browser with complete HTML 4.0 compatibility, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Scheduled for release in Q3 1999, the TranDyne iXB is a secure, universal browser that interfaces with Linux and Windows 3.x/95/98/NT. It supports such protocols as HTTP 1.x, FTP, Telnet, WAIS, POPx, SMTP and more. It also supports XML 1.0, Document Object Model Level 1, and Cascading Style Sheets Level 1. Find out more at http://www.trandyne.com. ___________________________________


Classroom Webivore Elevates Tailors Web for Education Classroom Webivore, new from Webivore Knowledge Systems, LLC, uses a Web interface to present pre-selected sites indexed and described for efficient access and selection. It's designed to let learners collect and organize information from the Web, add their own notes, and automatically save bibliographic citations. Finally, Classroom Webivore facilitates the creation of a finished research project using Internet sources and materials. Classroom Webivore contains only educational Web sites. They are reviewed and selected by content experts, including scholars, teachers, and librarians, for core curriculum correlation and grade-level appropriateness. Its Web-based COLLECT tool gathers and organizes information via drag-and-drop technology that lets users save information and their own notes in a Classroom Webivore notebook and, with automatically saved bibliographic citations, to produce an organized ongoing research journal. The address for Classroom Webivore is http://www.Webivore.com. For subscription information or other inquiries, call 617-923-9171 or send mailto:clenk@Webivore.com. ___________________________________ InnoMedia Announces Wireless Internet Sharing Scheduled for release later this month and targeted at home offices, home computing users, and families with children is InnoMedia's InfoAccess. Using digital spread spectrum technology, the $200 product provides wireless network capabilities between two desktop and/or portable computers and permits two users to simultaneously access the Internet, using one Internet account, one phone line, and one modem, cable modem, ADSL or ISDN Terminal Adapter. InfoAccess also lets users play games in a network environment. InfoAccess connects through any available COM port within a PC, and is bundled with WinProxy by Ostitis Software, a secure firewall proxy server software which acts as the InfoAccess network's intelligent Internet "gateway." WinProxy provides DNS and HTTP caching, said to reduce access time to frequently visited sites. For more information, call 408-562-3535 or visit http://www.innomedia.com. ___________________________________ ImaginOn to Release All-In-One Internet 'Supra-Search Engine' ImaginOn.com will release its "Supra-Search Engine," WebZinger 6.00, on January 29. Designed for Internet researchers, it searches, it locates, it downloads, it formats, it presents, it slices and dices ... The $45 Java application runs on Windows PCs, and will be available from http://www.Webzinger.com. ___________________________________ LinkPilot: New Way To Surf The Web Linkgram, Inc. announces the release of LinkPilot, a Web browser companion application that allows building collections of graphic bookmarks, or imagelinks. Imagelinks are created by outlining part of a Web page with the mouse. Clicking on an imagelink will open the corresponding page in the Web browser. The bookmark collection appears as an album of colorful pictures. Find out more and download the free software at http://www.linkgram.com. ___________________________________


Ulead Systems Launches Special-Effects Plug-in Ulead Systems' Internet Business Unit last week released Ulead GIF-X.PLUGIN ($30), a new set of Adobe Photoshop 32-bit compatible plug-ins designed to create special effects for GIF animations. Among its twelve effects are Rotation for creating spinning images, 3D Map for mapping images around revolving globes, Bounce to animate images with an effect resembling a bouncing ball, and Flag, which creates a waving flag effect. For further information, visit http://www.Webutilities.com. ___________________________________ Viewpoint Releases Free LiveArt 98 Valentine's Day 3D Interactive Art Viewpoint DataLabs' free Windows-based LiveArt 3D Valentine Collection includes 3D digital sculptures and a selection of artistic styles to help users create personalized romantic images for use in greeting cards, Web sites, love letters etc. Users can turn 3D objects into stylized drawings of winged hearts, arrow-pointing cupids, cherubs, flowers, teddy bears and more. The collection includes a selection of Valentine-themed 3D objects and variety of artistic styles including Toon (cartoon), Pointist (impressionist), Cil (pencil drawing) and several others, that allow users to create hundreds of unique images. Users choose an object, rotate it up to 360°, color it, apply a style, change the background and adjust the lighting scheme until it looks just right. The Download from http://www.viewpoint.com/liveart/3dvalentine or http://www.3dvalentine.com. ___________________________________ Nichimen Previews 3D Modeling Package Nichimen Graphics recently previewed its 3D animation system, Mirai. The software will be formally released in March, replacing Nichimen's N-World. N-World 3.2 includes a polygonal modeler, 2D & 3D paint system, color reduction tools, IK and skeletal animation system, motion capture editing tools, photo-realistic renderer and game-specific preview tools. For additional information, visit http://www.nichimen.com. ___________________________________


Web Bits InvestorMap.com (http://www.investormap.com) is a new directory of online investing and trading resources with 3,000+ listings organized into more than 100 categories ... EA division Maxis offers a free online version of SimCity Classic at http://www.simcity.com. Players can chat and exchange tips while building imaginary cities ... PDA Dash now offers online comparison shopping from PDAPage, an independent consumer pricing site listing the lowest available prices on the Internet for PDAs and PDA accessories, at http://www.pdadash.com/prices ... Jintek offers a public beta of its free calendar and scheduling Web site aimed at small to mid-sized businesses and non-profit organizations, ScheduleOnline at http://www.scheduleonline.com. If you need more trash than Jerry Springer can offer, check out Excite's new online talk show called "Talkin' Trash with Lola Pandora" at http://talk.excite.com/chat/big_events/talkintrash/. Upcoming shows, cybercast Wednesdays at 10pm EST, include I Can't Get Off-line, Cyber Cross-dressing, and My Face-to-Face Meeting with My Online Lover ... Cards fans can now register on Microsoft's MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com) for The Grand Prix of Hearts and Spades, a tournament to kick-off a month of card tournaments on the Zone. Registration is open until Thursday, January 21. Grand Prix competition will begin on January 25 and conclude with the finals on February 8. Visitors to Cyber Pot (http://www.cyberpot.com) get to "light up" and enjoy an on-screen interactive toking session with animated characters who articulate a repertoire of relaxing sounds, including inhaling and exhaling. "The Cyber Pot message is that you don't need drugs to relax or get high," says psychologist Phil Schwartz ... Two new variants of JEOPARDY! Online are coming to The Station (http://www.station.sony.com). JEOPARDY! 2001 Online starts Tuesday, and Sports JEOPARDY! Online launches Feb. 8. ___________________________________


Two New Titles In "Photoshop Inside & Out" Video Learning Series Released IDIG, Inc. (Interactive Digital Intelligence Group) has released the third and fourth videos in its "Photoshop Inside & Out" learning series, "Illustrating with Photoshop [Parts One & Two]". Hosted by artist Bert Monroy, the videos explore techniques to alter (or even recreate) reality and solve real-world illustration challenges. Topics include Using Photoshop with Illustrator, Alpha Channels & Special Effects, Creative Text Effects, Perspective Matching, Using Paths, Simulating Realistic Lighting, Basic Retouching Techniques, Basic Compositing, Exotic Texture Effects, Depth Effects in Photoshop, Photorealism Techniques, Displacement Mapping, Technical Illustration Tips, The Power of Patterns, Simulating Transparent Objects, Advanced Compositing, Advanced 3D Simulation, and Complex Shadow Interactions. The tapes are $59.95 and come in NTSC or PAL format. Get more info at http://www.photoshopio.com, or call 1.415.460.6889. ___________________________________ O'Reilly Offers UNIX References Bookshelf on CD The recently released UNIX CD Bookshelf ($70) contains six O'Reilly books plus the software from "UNIX Power Tools" on a CD-ROM. A bonus hard-copy book--UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition--is also included. Formatted in HTML, "The UNIX CD Bookshelf" can be read by any Web browser. The CD has a master index for all six books and a search engine, and all the text is hyperlinked. The CD-ROM contains the complete text of: * UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition * UNIX Power Tools, 2nd Edition (with software) * Learning the UNIX Operating System, 4th Edition * Learning the vi Editor, 5th Edition * sed & awk, 2nd Edition * Learning the Korn Shell A free sample chapter, Chapter 2: UNIX Commands from "Unix in a Nutshell", is available at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/unixcd/chapter/index.html For more detailed information on the books included and their authors, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/unixcd/ ___________________________________


Psygnosis, Activision Sign North American Distribution Agreement Sony-owned Psygnosis and Activision, Inc. have entered into an exclusive two-year distribution agreement whereby Activision will sell and distribute all of Psygnosis' PlayStation game console and PC CD-ROM entertainment software titles in North America. The agreement, which is effective as of February 1, 1999, makes Psygnosis Activision's first domestic affiliate label. Psygnosis will continue to market and promote its titles through its Foster City, Calif. publishing division. Psygnosis titles slotted for distribution by Activision in the first calendar quarter of 1999 include the fantasy racing game, Rollcage and the sports sim Pro 18: Golf For PC and PlayStation game console; the sci-fi and space adventures Tellurian Defense and Lander for PC CD-ROM; and Blast Radius for PlayStation game console. Second quarter titles include the action/adventure Drakan: Order of the Flame; real-time 3D strategy game, Metal Fatigue; action-shooter Hired Guns; and billiards sim, Expert Pool, for PC CD-ROM. More information about Activision can be found at http://www.activision.com. ___________________________________


Activision, Barnes & Noble Offer Heavy Gear II Pre-Order Program From now through early March, gamers who pre-order Heavy Gear II from Barnes & Noble's online store at http://www.SoftwareForPCs.com will receive a free copy of BradyGames' Heavy Gear II mini-strategy guide. More information about this special promotion can be found on the Heavy Gear II Web site located at http://www4.activision.com/games/heavygearii/. Activision expects to release the game in Q1 1999. The game enlists the player as the leader of an elite strike force that operates behind the enemy lines of a distant planet. Piloting mechanized units, players embark on a series of covert missions to reconnoiter, destroy, sabotage and mislead enemy forces. They can also send complex commands to squad mates, use diversionary tactics to ambush enemies and travel across diverse multiplayer environments such as space, swamps, arctic zones, volcanic areas and urban base sites, as they wage war against sophisticated enemies that will adapt to squad tactics and lay down cover fire to protect each other. ___________________________________ Valve, Sierra Announce Half-Life Updates, Add-ons Valve L.L.C. and Sierra Studios newly available update for Half-Life includes new multiplayer maps, player models, a new team-play mode, and improvements in Internet bandwidth utilization. The maps included with the update are optimized for the new team-play mode. Frenzy is best for small groups of players, especially those with lower-end PCs. Crossfire is for much larger groups of players and allows a team to call in air strikes that will destroy anyone who hasn't been able to reach a protective bunker in time. The update is available via the auto-update facility built into Half-Life, as well as via download over the Internet from game sites, Half-Life fan sites, and from Sierra Studios (http://www.sierrastudios.com). At the end of January, Valve will release Team Fortress Classic as a free add-on for Half-Life. Team Fortress Classic is a direct port of the original Team Fortress developed for id Software's Quake. It will include two new maps from David Sawyer and Matt Armstrong, the developers of the Canal Zone map. Also available in late January will be the Half-Life software development kit. With over 50 Half-Life add-ons already announced (http://www.planethalflife.com/wavelength/tclist.htm), interest in the SDK is high within the Internet gaming community. Valve also said that development on the Linux version of the Half-Life dedicated server was going well, with a shippable version to be available "within a few weeks." ___________________________________ Close Combat III Retail, Trial Versions Available Microsoft's $49 Close Combat III: The Russian Front has started to appear on store shelves, with full domestic distribution expected by January 28. Close Combat III puts players in command of a "fire brigade" of soldiers on the Eastern Front, spanning the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union through the gates of Moscow, the factory complex of Stalingrad, and to the 1945 fall of Berlin. CC3 features real-time warfare at the squad level along with psychological elements. Playing either the Soviet or German side, gamers are challenged to out-think and out-fight opponents while keeping their troops alive. They start as low-ranking commanders and manage unit upgrade and maintenance as they attempt to advance in rank and acquire more troops and equipment. For a free, downloadable trial version of the game and to read Designer Notes from Atomic Games (the game's developer), listen to sounds of game weaponry, view screenshots, or get additional information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/games/closecombat/ ___________________________________ Sony Releases Contender; PlayStation Boxing Title Just out from Sony Computer Entertainment America is its boxing title, Contender. The game offers head-to-head boxing with arcade-style gameplay and control, and is compatible with the new Dual Shock Analog Controller. Contender features 40 different 3D polygonal boxers and 20 playable characters, each with its own unique look, fighting style, strengths and weaknesses. When playing in the Single Player Main Event Mode the ultimate goal is to jab, punch and knock out competitors till you rank as World Champion of the boxing ring. With every fight, players can build their fighter's speed, strength and stamina. Fighters can be saved to memory cards to fight against friends. Visit http://www.playstation.com. ___________________________________ Sierra, Impressions Announce '99 Lineup Sierra Studios and Impressions Software announced last week two key titles in development for 1999: Pharaoh, the next installment in Impressions' City Building Series, and Civil War Generals 3, the follow-up to the Civil War game series. Pharaoh is set in ancient Egypt during the period when the great pyramids were built. This city simulation game allows players to create Egyptian cities, build large monuments and farm at the mercy of the Nile River. Civil War Generals 3 challenges the player to manage the wartime economy and command troops in real-time combat. Strategic resources are managed from a turn-based interface (in which orders are carried out simultaneously), while combat users can choose either a "quick battle" method for rapid resolution or a real-time combat system. For more information, check out http://www.pharaoh1.com, http://www.civilwar3.com and http://www.impressionsgames.com. ___________________________________ EA Developing Beetle Adventure Racing for N64 Electronic Arts plans to release Beetle Adventure Racing this spring for the Nintendo 64 system. The title will combine adventure excursions with racing elements. Game players will race in the New Beetle while seeking out multiple routes, hidden areas and shortcuts, plus power-ups such as nitro for a short blast of speed and bonus points that award the player with additional bonus items and game cheats. The multi-player Beetle Battle mode will let up to four players engage in competitive racing events inside nine battle arenas. Each player must find and collect a series of colored lady bug icons while using defensive and offensive power ups to outwit their opponents. More information can be found at http://www.beetleadventure.com. ___________________________________ Sony Online RPG EverQuest to Ship in March Sony-owned 989 Studios plans to ship its PC title EverQuest, a massive online role-playing game, Mar. 16, 1999. The title, which has been getting positive advance press, features a multitude of adventures and quests in "free-roaming" environments. Visit http://www.everquest.com ___________________________________ Connectix PlayStation Emulator Wins MacWorld Expo Best of Show Connectix Virtual Game Station was awarded Macworld Magazine's "Best of Show" Award at the 1999 MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. The software lets users play some Sony PlayStation games on G3 Macintosh computers. The company claims it sold over 3,000 units at its booth during the show. Connectix Virtual Game Station supports the user's keyboard and mouse, as well as input devices such as game pads and joysticks. The user can define the functions associated with the various buttons and keys. For more information, phone 650/571-5100, 800/950-5880 or visit http://www.connectix.com. ___________________________________


Blue Byte Sells-In 500,000 Settlers Blue Byte Software last week claimed 500,000 units of The Settlers III have been sold into retail stores worldwide. The PC CD-ROM game is a god sim with a real-time, strategic simulation of prosperity, tactics, combat and growth. Said Thomas Hertzler, Blue Byte's chairman and CEO, "... our sales in the past were affected due to nonexistent copy protection, but our latest strict copy protection 'Sysiphus' has certainly paid off." He also attributed the high sales to the game's relatively low $40 SRP, and stated, "tougher copy protection does have its pitfalls. I am aware that a small number of PC's are incompatible with this protection and we have a development team working to remedy this situation. " Visit http://www.bluebyte.com and http://www.settlers3.com ___________________________________ Berkeley Systems Bezerk Hits Million Players To celebrate the milestone of the 1 millionth registered player on Bezerk, Sierra division Berkeley Systems launches a promotion honoring 101 players in the latter half of January. Both new and existing players will be eligible for prizes such as commemorative t-shirts, CD-ROM games, and a grand prize of $500 worth of software from GameDealer.com. Bezerk (http://www.bezerk.com) launched in December of 1996; the current lineup includes the new What's the Big Idea?, Acrophobia, You Don't Know Jack the netshow, and You Don't Know Jack Sports the netshow. ___________________________________


AIAS Calls for Interactive Achievement Awards Nominations The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS), the professional Academy of the $5 billion+ interactive entertainment industry, is now accepting nominations for the second annual Interactive Achievement Awards. Nomination packets are available to the interactive entertainment industry either directly from the Academy (310-441-2280), or through the Academy Web site (http://www.interactive.org). The Award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on May 13, 1999, the first evening of the E3 Expo, which takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Academy will present Interactive Achievement Awards in 30 craft, online, computer and console categories, an increase of four categories from 1998. The event will be highlighted by the presentation of a single Game of the Year award. In addition to 24 content categories and the Game of the Year, the Academy will present five individual crafts awards, for outstanding achievement in art/graphics, interactive design, sound/music, software engineering, and story or character development. Products eligible for the 1999 Interactive Achievement Awards must be publicly available for the first time in their final release form in North America between April 1, 1998 and February 28, 1999. All nominations and submission materials must be received by the Academy on or before March 1, 1999. ___________________________________


Call For Participation: Web3D RoundUP @ VRML99 The Virtual Reality Education Foundation (affectionately known as VeRGe) and The Fourth International Conference on the Virtual Reality Modeling Language and Web 3D Technologies (VRML99) invite you to submit your entries for the legendary Web3D RoundUP, an event that takes place in Germany and looks at the latest 3D work available on the World Wide Web. The group's working definition of "Web 3D" is most any real-time 3D graphics that you can upload (and a juror can download) for review. Examples might include VRML, Java3D, MPEG-4, Superscape, Fluid3D and other 3D technologies. Timeline February 1 Deadline for submission: February 12 Selected and standby participants notified February 25 Event For more information on this event, send mailto:Web3dV99@verge.org. Web3D RoundUP: http://www.verge.org/vrml99/ VRML Conference Site: http://www.verge.org/vrml99/mirror/vrml99/ ___________________________________ Shigeru Miyamoto to Keynote Game Developers Conference Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto will be the main keynote speaker of the 13th annual Game Developers Conference (GDC). Miyamoto is anticipated to speak about his design philosophy, his goals in creating Zelda 64 and what the future holds for game developers. The keynote presentation takes place Thursday, March 18 at 6:15 p.m. in the San Jose Convention Center. Miyamoto serves as General Manager of Entertainment Analysis and Development Department for Nintendo Co., Ltd. in Kyoto, Japan. Since joining the company in 1977, Miyamoto has developed games for the Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), Game Boy, and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In 1981, Miyamoto created his first arcade game -- Donkey Kong; and in 1985, with the introduction of Super Mario Bros., helped to establish the NES as the most popular video game console of that era. To date, Miyamoto has worked on 64 different Nintendo video game titles. Shigeru Miyamoto holds a degree from the Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts and Crafts in Kyoto, Japan. Find more info at http://www.gdconf.com. ___________________________________


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.