Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 25 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
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Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Totally Hip Intros LiveStage for Mac --WebSideStory Premieres HitBOX Tracker Traffic Analysis Tool --Scala Introduces iPlay Studio, Internet Multimedia Presentation Software --Electrifier Wins In 'Best Of Show' Category at Showcase '99 DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Antec Updates PhotoChute for Downloading from Digital Cameras IN THE INFOGROOVE --Media Station to Deliver CD-ROM Content Via Broadband --Macromedia Delivers Shockwave 7 GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Etalon Announces 3D PhotoClay --Ulead Updates MediaStudio Pro --TechImage Releases ArtiFace 1.5 for Maya --Fakespace Launches Transportable 3D Display System --Adobe Demos Web Vector Graphics WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits CONSUMER CHANNEL --CMaufroy Updates Explor2000 File Manager --BrainForest Pro for Mac, Palmtops Released --Metabyte Announces Personalized TV Software THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Study: Broadcasters to Challenge ISPs for Interactive Service Dominance --Jupiter: 14 Percent Fewer Online Shoppers Satisfied After Holiday Season --GameAgents Launches Interactive Entertainment Industry Agency DEALS --Viewpoint to Provide 3D Content for Virtus OpenSpace3D --Kodak Licenses MetaFlash From MetaCreations; Intel to Co-Develop Tech GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Civ2 Comes to PlayStation --3Deep Software Improves Lighting, Shading for PC Games --EA to Ship SimCity 3000 Next Week --Microsoft Announces Midtown Madness Racer --Activision Announces Vigilante 8 Sequel --Sierra Sports Recalls NFL Football Pro '99 NUMBEROLOGY --Blizzard's StarCraft Biggest-Selling Computer Game of '98 HAPPENINGS --DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition Announces Keynote F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ___________________________________

WEBMEISTER

Totally Hip Intros LiveStage for Mac LiveStage, Totally Hip Software's new Mac-only Web authoring package, combines QScript and QuickTime to create interactive Web presentations for e-commerce, education and distance training. Features include: * QScript, a QuickTime scripting language from Totally Hip, provides access to the capabilities of QuickTime * "wired sprites" including control of 3D, VR, and all other QuickTime media types * QScript can execute when loaded, be timed using idle handlers, or be attached to any mouse interaction or custom events * integrates with popular standard format images, sounds, and animations * manipulates interactive path animation and images over time, represented graphically in the Stage editing window, or enumerated from the Objects editing window * integration of both background soundtracks, and interactive sound triggering * path creation and editing * playback of interactive movies anywhere that QuickTime plays, including Web browsers and authoring tools, Acrobat PDF files, and Microsoft Word * 1,000+ royalty-free animations, sample scripts and projects * includes WebPainter 3 for vector and bitmap content creation and editing Find more, including a downloadable demo version, at http://www.totallyhip.com. ___________________________________ WebSideStory Premieres HitBOX Tracker Traffic Analysis Tool WebSideStory's new HTML-based HitBOX Tracker is a generational upgrade of HitBOX, a Web-site traffic-analysis tool. HitBOX Tracker, like its predecessor, is free and can be found at http://www.hitbox.com/tracker. Web site analysis requires adding a few lines of code to a Web page. The new referring data section of HitBOX Tracker shows where visitors were previously, which domains and URLs send the most traffic to the site, which banner ads are the most effective and the ISP of the visitor. In addition, more than 125 statistics provide Web site analysis and reporting. HitBOX Tracker also includes the same real-time traffic information as the original HitBOX: impressions, unique visitors, reloads, new visitors, one-hour return and same-day return visitors. Statistics provided can be viewed in HTML, Java or within a Windows application due for release in late January. ___________________________________ Scala Introduces iPlay Studio, Internet Multimedia Presentation Software Scala, Inc. last week launched iPlay Studio multimedia software for creating television-like presentations incorporating photos, text, video and sound, to be published on the Internet. Features include real-time image processing, opacity control, drawing tools, and the ability to publish content via the Internet. The software was designed to maximize the features of technologies such as the Pentium II, DirectX and DirectShow. iPlay Studio also offers transitions such as zooms, pushes, fly-ons, alpha and dissolves. For more information, phone (818) 673-1300 or visit www.scala.com. ___________________________________ Electrifier Wins In 'Best Of Show' Category at Showcase '99 Electrifier, Inc. was one of six companies selected to receive a "Best of Show" award last week at David Coursey's Showcase '99, a conference highlighting new technology products. Electrifier won for its flagship product, Electrifier Pro. Electrifier Pro 2.0 multimedia Web authoring software features include: * create real-time streaming multimedia suitable for various connection speeds * drag-and-drop authoring allows modifiable actions and effects, accurate to 1/1000th of a second, to be applied to any element, with URL hotspots, highlighting, and volume or playback controls. * use rich-media content such as vector and bitmap animation, digitized audio, synthesized music (MIDI), video, 3D, virtual reality panoramas, "No-Bandwidth" media like fire, clouds and ripples, and special effects such as emboss, fade, fire and ripples * integrate with existing content and authoring tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Adobe PageMill, Microsoft FrontPage, NetObjects Fusion, Macromedia Dreamweaver and Macromedia Director * output creations as QuickTime or animated GIFs Electrifier Pro 2.0 will be available for Windows and Macintosh in Q2 1999 with a suggested retail price of $595. Electrifier Pro 1.0 users will receive a free upgrade to Electrifier Pro 2.0. A 30-day trial version of the Mac OS version is available at http://www.electrifier.com. ___________________________________

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Antec Updates PhotoChute for Downloading from Digital Cameras Just out from Antec, Inc. is PhotoChute 3, a Universal Card Reader that can reportedly transfer digital images at speeds of up to 50 times faster than the standard serial port connection offered by digital cameras. The product supports SmartMedia, CompactFlash and PCMCIA Type I, II, & III ATA cards, and also allows hot swappable insertion and removal of any of these varieties of cards. The $99 PhotoChute 3 consists of an external drive unit with parallel port cable, a CompactFlash adapter, power keyboard cord, software diskette and a user's guide. For more information, contact Antec by phone at 510/770-1200, via fax at 510/770-1288, by e-mail at kpowers@antec-inc.com, or visit http://www.antec-inc.com. ___________________________________

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Media Station to Deliver CD-ROM Content Via Broadband Media Station, Inc.'s just-announced MediaRemote System is an Interactive Media On-Demand technology that enables home PC users via xDSL (Digital Subscriber Lines) or cable modem broadband connections to access CD-ROM software instantaneously on demand, eliminating the need to download or go through a lengthy install process. The MediaRemote System will enable the delivery of MSI's upcoming family interactive media service, SelectPlay, which will offer families interactive entertainment, education and knowledge-based content. MediaRemote compresses and secures CD-ROMs without altering the application code or data, and uses the cable or DSL system as the delivery vehicle. The system has three core components: * The MediaRemote server resides at the Broadband Service Provider and contains the library of CD-ROM titles * The Remote Media Device Driver (RMDD), a "virtual" device driver, is delivered once to the consumer's PC * Predictive Block Transfer analyzes available bandwidth on the network and delivers content to the RMDD at a block level, rather than a file level, which optimizes data transfer. The use of Predictive Block Transfer also enables the MediaRemote System's platform independence. In addition, MediaRemote server software tracks the detailed usage of each title, providing market research for publishers and billing information on each subscriber. Contact Media Station's Allan McLennan at 415-391-9913. ___________________________________ Macromedia Delivers Shockwave 7 Macromedia last week made the Shockwave 7 Web player available at its site. New capabilities include an auto-update feature, and it is said to download and start faster. In a related announcement, Macromedia and Intel announced that Intel's Web Design Effects software is included in Macromedia's new Director 7 Shockwave Internet Studio. Intel's software, optimized for its MMX series of Pentium CPUs, lets Director 7 developers create distortion effects, such as ripples in a pond, a rolling ocean, or a waving flag; or naturalistic effects such as rain, snow, fire, smoke, and clouds. Shockwave 7 is available free from www.macromedia.com. ___________________________________

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Etalon Announces 3D PhotoClay Etalon Corporation's 3D PhotoClay is a new-3D based digital imaging product for consumer and business use. Based on the Microsoft Direct 3D graphics API, the product lets consumers transform their personal photographs, scanned images, and other digital documents into 3D objects with such effects as 2D and 3D warping, lighting, and navigation with up to 6 degrees of freedom. Results can be saved as VRML 2.0 applications for Web-based navigation, images for printing, or AVI movies. 3D PhotoClay is priced at $39.95. It is available for free trial and electronic purchase at http://www.etaloncorp.com. ___________________________________ Ulead Updates MediaStudio Pro Ulead Systems last week released MediaStudio Pro 5.2, an updated version of its Windows-based non-linear video editing software, with faster rendering, plus decreased video-overlay and moving-path rendering times. It also allows users to read and write 32-bit MOV/QT video files and AU/AIFF audio files. More shortcut keys and other usability improvements have also been included. New support for Microsoft DirectShow Playback reportedly allows for better audio/video synchronization over a variety of boards as well as hardware-independent playback from the timeline. Also, a new $50 Bonus Pak bundles the upgrade with special video file format support, filters and applications. It features streaming video support for both Real Networks RM format and Microsoft's ASF format. Applications included are Intergraph Vizfx, a set of filters that plug into MediaStudio Pro, and Ulead's own COOL 3D software for 3D manipulation of text for use with videos or as animated GIFs. Visit www.ulead.com or call 1-800-858-5323. ___________________________________ TechImage Releases ArtiFace 1.5 for Maya Herzelia, Israel-based TechImage, Ltd.'s $7,995 ArtiFace 3D facial animation software, now supports Maya, Alias|Wavefront's suite of design and animation software (SGI only). ArtiFace captures the facial movements of a human actor in 2D video form, extracts 3D motion data using image-analysis techniques, and transfers the movements to 3D models. ArtiFace 1.5 reportedly offers increased automation and simplified workflow. For a free 14-day trial version of ArtiFace 1.5, visit http://www.techimage.co.il. ___________________________________ Fakespace Launches Transportable 3D Display System Mini WorkBench ($56,995), just introduced by Fakespace, Inc., is a transportable Virtual Model Display (VMD) that enables stereoscopic viewing and manipulation of dimensionally accurate, three-dimensional (3D) visualizations. It can also be configured with an on-screen digitizing tablet to support real-time, direct input design in a two-dimensional (2D) viewing mode. The adjustable, drafting table-style rear-projected display system enables real-time viewing and manipulation of computer-generated models, which appear to have a real presence in space when viewed through stereoscopic shutter glasses. The display, which measures 44 inches diagonally, is designed for viewing product designs, scientific visualizations and other complex 3D images. It is the first Virtual Model Display with a footprint suitable for use within a typical office environment, and it is designed to fold down for movement within a facility, shipment to exhibitions, and storage. Visit http://www.fakespace.com. ___________________________________ Adobe Demos Web Vector Graphics At Showcase '99 last week, Adobe Systems showed off Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a proposed open standard to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In addition, Adobe unveiled the first implementation of an SVG plug-in within its newly acquired GoLive CyberStudio Professional Web authoring product. In addition to faster download speeds, rich graphics and dynamic Web experiences, SVG features include high-resolution printing, zooming and panning inside of graphics without reloading, and the ability to search text within the graphic with any search engine. Plus, SVG ensures color accuracy with over 16 million colors, instead of the traditional 256. SVG is a part of XML, so it also works with JavaScript, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and DOM (Document Object Model) Web standards. This, if nothing else, could give the technology a leg to stand on when it goes head-to-head with Macromedia's well-established Flash Web-vector graphics standard. Adobe is located at http://www.adobe.com. ___________________________________

WEBSIGHTINGS

Web Bits Tickets.com's site, www.tickets.com, offers a database of events and venues plus a real-time ticket auction accessible via the Internet as well as the telephone ... Auto Network Online's new AutoNetworkOnline.com (http://www.autonetworkonline.com) purports to bring together auto buyers and sellers from around the country ... CyberTip4theDay <http://www.CyberTip4theDay.com> is a new Internet-based service for email users who want to increase knowledge in one or more of 21 different categories, ranging from tips on car buying to dieting to job search and development ... For $50 a year, a new service called LinkBank (http://www.linkbank.net) lets you have your own mini-Yahoo. It automatically checks every link each night, notifies visitors of new links, and takes suggestions for new links (but only if they really exist) ... Freaky Freddie's Free Funhouse <http://www.freakyfreddies.com> offers over 64 categories of stuff that's free for the asking, from games to graphics, cosmetics to candy, T-shirts to travel ... Live@ <http://www.live-at.com>, a new online event directory from At Point Technologies., is a Web-based program guide for live audio and video events on the Internet ... Peakhealth.net is a new interactive resource for the health- and fitness-conscious ... The updated D.Film Digital Film Festival site (http://www.dfilm.com) lets you download films, make your own film online, and more. ___________________________________

CONSUMER CHANNEL

CMaufroy Updates Explor2000 File Manager Windows users who are fed up with Explorer's limited functionality might want to check out the new Version 1.1 of Explor2000 from CMaufroy of Lyon, France. The $32 file manager enhances Microsoft's Explorer browser, adding such features as double views, a drive bar, folder comparison, folder printing, built-in zip/unzip support, file highlighting, file filters, file viewers, a picture browser and a hexadecimal editor. Explor2000 is available in English, French and German, and CMaufroy plans to develop a Spanish-language version. Download a free 30-day trial version from http://www.cmaufroy.com. ___________________________________ BrainForest Pro for Mac, Palmtops Released Aportis Technologies Corp. recently released BrainForest Professional 1.0 for Macintosh and Palm Computing platform devices. BrainForest is an action item organizer, idea tracker, project planner and checklist manager. Its hierarchical outlining tool uses a Trees, Branches & Leaves analogy that allows customization of how data is viewed. BrainForest files can be used on desktop computers and Palm Computing platform devices. The product is available as a download from http://www.aportis.com, for US$39.95. BrainForest Professional for Macintosh can be used on any Macintosh running System 7.1 or greater. A Windows version is in testing. ___________________________________ Metabyte Announces Personalized TV Software Metabyte, Inc.'s new MbTV is a software application designed to be integrated in set-top boxes, enhanced televisions, or personal computers to enable the recording of broadcast programming without requiring any user intervention. The software learns viewers' television watching habits in order to suggest and/or record future programs, and is customizable for users that want to record specific programs, conduct searches, or fine-tune the operation of the system. It also encompasses storage management functions said to ensure the availability of the most desirable programs. MbTV is available for licensing, along with Metabyte's system integration services to help realize solutions for specific hardware, EPGs, and program data. Contact Metabyte, Inc. at 39350 Civic Center Drive, Suite 200, Fremont, CA 94538. Phone: (510) 494-9700. Fax: (510) 494-9100. Web: http://www.metabyte.com. ___________________________________

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Study: Broadcasters to Challenge ISPs for Interactive Service Dominance The Internet will face a powerful new competitor in the next decade, according to Strategy Analytics. Emerging technologies will finally allow broadcasters to offer compelling interactive services which will drag consumers from their PCs back to their TV sets. A new report from Strategy Analytics' Interactive Home Services concludes that rapid developments in hard disk drive storage technologies will allow broadcasters to build new revenue streams from value-added interactive services. Many of these will challenge the dominance of today's Internet based on PCs and telephone wires. US-based start-ups such as TiVo and Replay Networks have pioneered these developments, and are now being supported by leading service providers and electronics manufacturers such as DirecTV and Philips. First deliveries of the new advanced set-top boxes should take place later this year. "Delivering interactive video is the ultimate goal for ISPs," says David Mercer, IHS director. "The broadcast industry now has the chance to leapfrog current Internet technology in delivering compelling interactive video-based applications to the mass market." The report predicts that high-capacity hard disk drives will become a regular feature in next-generation set-top boxes, allowing temporary or permanent storage of massive amounts of data, including high-quality video. Consumers will be offered premium services such as "Virtual VCRs," Video-on- Demand and fast access to interactive information and transaction content. "Broadcasters have two key strengths for the interactive future," says Mercer. "First, they control video content; second, they own distribution channels. If they can successfully integrate these new interactive technologies with their existing business models, they will be able to offer attractive alternatives to today's PC-based Internet." For more information, contact Kelly Quinn, +1 617-738-1300, http://www.strategyanalytics.com. ___________________________________ Jupiter: 14 Percent Fewer Online Shoppers Satisfied After Holiday Season While many online shoppers are happy with their 1998 holiday season experience, a Jupiter/NFO survey of a sampling of 2,300-plus online households shows that fewer are satisfied now than just six months ago. The research indicates that online retailers should resist the temptation to focus exclusively on growing market share and focus their efforts on customer service and retention. The Jupiter/NFO survey concluded that 74 percent of respondents who did shop online during the holiday season felt satisfied. However, this satisfaction level is 14 percent below an identical Jupiter/NFO survey conducted in July 1998. The Jupiter report also found that 44 percent of US online households shopped online during the months of November and December 1998 and spent an estimated $3.14 billion. "The combination of retailers that launched or relaunched their sites within weeks of the holiday season, coupled with the significant, unanticipated increase in traffic led many sites to underperform," said Nicole Vanderbilt, senior analyst for Jupiter Communications. "Companies spent considerable dollars to acquire the customers that visited their sites. If they do not shift their efforts to alleviate technology issues and improve customer service in the coming months, they risk losing the customers they spent so much to acquire." Online shoppers cited problems with merchandise availability (15 percent), the additional costs of shipping and handling (14 percent), and slow site performance (13 percent) as the top three reasons for dissatisfaction. The Jupiter research indicates that the drop in satisfaction can be attributed to two main factors: As result of immense growth in the volume of orders, retailers were unprepared to fulfill promises made to consumers this holiday season; in addition, online shoppers are now mass-market consumers that are far less forgiving of technical shortcomings than the early adopters that previously dominated online shopping. An alarmingly low 37 percent of online shoppers indicated they would spend more next holiday season, while 58 percent said they would spend the same and five percent said would spend less. Find more info at www.jup.com. ___________________________________ GameAgents Launches Interactive Entertainment Industry Agency GameAgents Corporation, a licensing agency to the interactive entertainment industry, last week commenced operations in Canada and Germany. To commemorate the launch, the company announced the negotiation of a licensing agreement between Aztech New Media and Monolith Productions for the exclusive North American rights to the development and publish an add-on pack for Monolith's runaway hit PC game, SHOGO: Mobile Armor Division. The product, tentatively titled SHOGO: Legacy of the Fallen, will be developed by GameAgents clients Utah-based Anarchy Arts, and is slated for availability in the first quarter of 1999. Says George Donovan, GameAgents Corp. President, "Artists in virtually every sector of professional entertainment have some sort of representation, whether it's an author, musician, actor or athlete. The model we're applying here really isn't that different from the traditional role of Hollywood film agents, it's just that it's being applied to this particular arena. "We're seeing a trend lately where more and more publishers are choosing to work with agents," said Donovan. "We help filter, or pre-qualify a developer and their project by making sure everything is in place before we go shopping for a potential publisher on behalf of our clients. " Contact: Andrew Sturgeon, GameAgents Corporation Voice: 506-382-3806 - Direct Email: info@gameagents.com Web: http://www.gameagents.com ___________________________________

DEALS

Viewpoint to Provide 3D Content for Virtus OpenSpace3D Virtus Corporation has entered into an agreement with Viewpoint DataLabs to deliver interactive 3D content components for Virtus' recently announced OpenSpace3D product line. Virtus plans to work with Viewpoint to create a series of OpenSpace3D content component libraries to be used across a range of interactive 3D applications. The partnership will create standard 3D content, as well as behaviors and other application properties. Virtus and Viewpoint are building a number of content libraries that will serve as "starter" content components for customers of Virtus' recently announced product, OpenSpace3D for Director, the first product based on OpenSpace3D. This initial content will include basic animations and behaviors that can be integrated into any Director application. The companies also plan to provide a series of add-on content products for OpenSpace3D customers, the first of which will be available in early 1999. For more information, visit http://www.viewpoint.com and http://www.virtus.com/. ___________________________________ Kodak Licenses MetaFlash From MetaCreations; Intel to Co-Develop Tech MetaCreations Corp. last Wednesday announced agreements with Eastman Kodak Co. and Intel that regarding the production of photorealistic 3D images for the Web and other applications. Kodak has licensed MetaFlash 3D image capture technology for use with future products. In a separate agreement, Intel will co-develop and acquire a license for MetaFlash technology. Intel will assist MetaCreations in efforts to support swift market adoption of MetaFlash. MetaFlash technology employs a specially developed flash and powerful software that converts digital pictures into texture-mapped 3D wireframe models. The companies believe that MetaFlash, in conjunction with MetaStream streaming 3D technology, will reduce the time and cost involved in producing photorealistic 3-D Web images. In addition to being shipped with Windows 98 and Windows 2000, the MetaStream client-side engine is available as a free browser plug-in for Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator for Windows. To see examples of MetaStream in action, visit http://www.metacreations.com or http://www.metastream.com, hosted by MetaCreations. The MetaStream 3D open file format for Intel Architecture enables streaming and scaling of 3D objects over the Web; The technology was co-developed by Intel and MetaCreations. Web users can view and manipulate 3-D objects with the MetaStream client-side engine. As announced on Nov. 30, 1998, Microsoft is shipping the MetaStream engine as a component of Windows 98 and Windows 2000. ___________________________________

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Civ2 Comes to PlayStation Activision shipped its PlayStation version of the classic strategy game Civilization 2 last week, and if first impressions are any indication, it's a winner. Unlike most PlayStation titles, a game of Civ2 requires a significant investment in time, so you might as well get comfy on the couch rather than hunched over the computer, right? According to Activision's publicist, the differences between the PC and PCX versions involve presentation rather than the gameplay itself. Indeed, the interface has been nicely adapted for the console controller's limited number of "keys" (buttons), and a Beginner mode leads newbies into the game's intricacies kindly and gently. All of the great gameplay features are here, including exploration and cultivation, warfare and diplomacy, and much more. The only drawback is the humongous save-game file size (10 blocks), which means that you can save only one per memory card. But you can save any time you like, which is unusual for a console game. If you're tired of twitch games, and are looking for something with more depth, but don't like the idea of spending extended gameplay time at the workstation, pick this one up. Discover more at www.activision.com. ___________________________________ 3Deep Software Improves Lighting, Shading for PC Games Finally, a practical use for color-matching technology! Sonnetech, Ltd. new $30 3Deep software reportedly improves the lighting and shading effects in PC games. Games are often too dark or too washed out to play properly on PC systems. 3Deep measures the characteristics of the user's video system and communicates with DirectX 6 to make the necessary adjustments to the display. Game developers can specify how 3Deep should display their images and can convey their desired lighting effects for the entire game or scene by scene. Sonnetech, Ltd., the developer of Colorific, develops color-matching technology for computer displays, video cards, Web browsers, digital cameras, and printers. For more information, visit www.colorific.com/3Deep. ___________________________________ EA to Ship SimCity 3000 Next Week Electronic Arts' SimCity 3000 will begin shipping to stores in the US on January 26 and should begin appearing on shelves by February 2. The game is also expected to be available in Europe in February. Enhancements include realistic traffic and pedestrians, detailed 3D rendered buildings, dozens of animations and a 3D sound engine that lets players listen to children playing in the suburbs and factories bellowing in the inner city. Players will gather rewards and make decisions as they pilot their fledgling town through events and disasters. And they'll be able to check their progress and get advice through an interactive news ticker, advisors and citizen petitioners. SimCity 3000, developed by Walnut Creek, California-based Maxis, will be available for Windows 95 and 98 for an estimated retail price of $49.99. A Macintosh version will be released this spring. ___________________________________ Microsoft Announces Midtown Madness Racer Scheduled for release this June is Microsoft's Midtown Madness, a racing game that combines competitive racing with unrestrained exploration in a city driving experience. Set on the streets of downtown Chicago, Midtown Madness includes of shortcuts, neighborhoods, interactive objects (from working bridges to parking meters) and city landmarks such as Wrigley Field, Meigs Field Airport and the Sears Tower. A "living city," Midtown's rendered Chicago also comes complete with ever-changing weather, traffic jams, a "live" police network and hundreds of pedestrians to add to the fun. Midtown Madness features a unique selection of 10 vehicles -- from new and classic Ford Mustangs to police cruisers to the 18-wheeler semi-truck -- each of which handles the terrain differently. The game also offers five different types of racing scenarios -- from strategic "checkpoint racing" to free-form "circuit racing" plus an online option. For screenshots, please check out the Midtown Madness FTP site located at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/deskapps/games/public/midtown/new/ ___________________________________ Activision Announces Vigilante 8 Sequel Activision will go off road this fall with the release of the vehicular combat game Vigilante 8: Second Offense for Nintendo 64 and PlayStation game consoles. Developed by Luxoflux Corp., the sequel to the favorably received PlayStation-based original offers new vehicles, larger and more challenging quests with diverse objectives, plus new power-ups, weapons, special moves and modes of play. Additionally the game introduces an improved level of graphical detail including exhaust, fog, water effects, brake lights and bigger explosions. ___________________________________ Sierra Sports Recalls NFL Football Pro '99 In a time when most games are released before they're ready, it's a novelty to see a company admit it, and actually do something about it. Sierra Sports last week recalled the just-shipped NFL Football Pro '99 due to errors in the program's code. All retail copies of the game will be removed from store shelves and consumers will be given a full refund and reparation. The existing code for NFL Football Pro '99 will be enhanced and released as NFL Football Pro 2000, scheduled in August of 1999. Stated Sierra president David Grenewetzki, "I want to apologize ... for releasing a product before it was ready. We came through 1998 with one great product after another only to stumble on virtually the last title we shipped in the year. We knew the potential for this product but we let the impending end of the football season influence our decision process." Consumers who purchased the game before January 20, 1999, the date of the recall, may return the game CD, along with a copy of the original receipt, to Sierra for a full refund (1-800-757-7707; Send returns to: Sierra Software Returns, 4100 W 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504). In addition, returnees will receive a certificate good for a complimentary Sierra product (suggested retail price of $29.95 or less) of their choice. ___________________________________

NUMBEROLOGY

Blizzard's StarCraft Biggest-Selling Computer Game of '98 Real-time strategy juggernaut Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft earned the top spot for 1998 as the year's biggest selling PC game, according to PC Data figures released last week. Additionally, based on domestic and international retail data, the game finished the year with more than 1.5 million copies sold worldwide, becoming Blizzard's third back-to-back game to reach the sales milestone. As commander of the Terrans, Protoss or Zerg species, StarCraft players face 30 missions while battling in space, on planetary surfaces and within installations. The game includes three intergalactic species with unique units, technologies and abilities; a campaign editor to customize gameplay; and free multiplayer support over the Internet for as many as eight players using Blizzard's online game service, Battle.net. Phone (800) 953-SNOW or visit www.blizzard.com. ___________________________________

HAPPENINGS

DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition Announces Keynote Laura Buddine, founder and general manager of IACTA Design and Development, will keynote the DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition to be held in San Francisco, August 16-17, 1999. IACTA (http://www.iacta.com) is a consulting and development company specializing in consumer interaction via the television and publishes Net4TV and Net4TV Voice (http://Net4TV.com/voice), a portal and online newsmagazine for the WebTV community. As founder and CEO of Tiger Media, Inc., from 1986 to 1992, Laura Buddine produced the first multimedia CD-ROM for a number of television settop platforms. She also has worked as a consultant on several ITV trials, designed the Thomson "ThomCat" multimedia settop box (1985) that became Thomson's CD-I player, and also designed the Commodore CDTV (designed 1987, launched 1991 [died shortly thereafter -Ed.]). DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition is targeted to executives, producers, developers, investors, and industry professionals. The conference and exhibits cover authoring tools, recordable DVD formats, dual-layer replication, settop DVD appliances and more. For more information on DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition or the upcoming DVD PRO University, March 14-16, 1999, in Santa Barbara, CA, visit http://www.dvdpro.net. ___________________________________

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.
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