Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News
19 Jan 99
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
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Today's Headlines (details below)
--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
--Ulead Systems Launches Special-Effects Plug-in
--Viewpoint Releases Free LiveArt 98 Valentine's Day 3D Interactive Art
--Nichimen Previews 3D Modeling Package
THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER
--Two New Titles In "Photoshop Inside & Out" Video Learning Series Released
--O'Reilly Offers UNIX References Bookshelf on CD
--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
--Blue Byte Sells-In 500,000 Settlers
--Berkeley Systems Bezerk Hits Million Players
--AIAS Calls for Interactive Achievement Awards Nominations
--Call For Participation: Web3D RoundUP @ VRML99
--Shigeru Miyamoto to Keynote Game Developers Conference
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
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
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
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
Download from http://www.viewpoint.com/liveart/3dvalentine or
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.
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
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
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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
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"
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
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
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.
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
Find more info at http://www.gdconf.com.
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