Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 20 Jul 98

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

Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Live Picture Launches Enterprise Image Servers --Vertigo Ships Liquid Tools for MS Liquid Motion --Forman Releases Free Internet Creator E-Commerce Edition --RealNetworks Releases RealSystem G2 Beta DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --NDimension Ships SimStudio for Creating Real-Time 3D Apps IN THE INFOGROOVE --Jupiter Advises Music Labels to Screw Retailers, Thwart Pirates --Marimba Castanet to Manage Updates to AltaVista NextGen Search --askSAM Updates SurfSaver --Hermstedt Launches ISDN File Transfer Software --Auto-Activism Site Lets Surfers Speak Directly to Congress GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Sven Announces Stand-alone SurfaceSuite PRO --MUSE to Debut NT Version of Multi-Dimensional Visualization Software --Vicon Unveils New MoCap Tech --Viewpoint Announces 3D Plug-In Publishing, Distribution Program --NewTek Introduces SpecialFX Toolset for Aura, DTV Package --TechImage Launches ArtiFace for 3D Facial Animation --Free Cinema 4D Upgrade Available --Credo Ships Plug-ins for Cinema 4DXL, LightWave, StudioPro --Ulead Systems Updates Photo Express Photo Editing Software WEBSIGHTINGS --Inman to Supply Content for MS Real Estate Site DEALS --3Dlabs Acquires Dynamic Pictures TECH NOTES --Toshiba Motion Processor Recognizes Gestures in Real Time GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Crime Killer Swerves, Crashes into Retail --Shiny to Develop Stunt Copter for Midway, PSX --Warcraft II Comes to Battle.net with New Platinum Edition --Mindscape Ships Chopper Sim --Zone Adds Mind Aerobics, Launching Free Puzzle Games Category --Sony Releases 3D Boat Racer, RPG/Platformer --KKND2 Free Demo Posted DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --Mijenix, Lincoln Beach Win Shareware Industry Awards HAPPENINGS --Game Developers Conference Announces RoadTrips 98 --IGDN Announces Game Development Conferences F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------


Live Picture Launches Enterprise Image Servers Live Picture, Inc., a specialist in Internet imaging, is shipping the new Enterprise Editions of its Live Picture Image Servers. The new Enterprise Editions give Web and enterprise users controlled viewing of detailed Zoom images in real time over any network without the need for Web browser plug-ins, and are designed for enterprise applications including online commerce, image asset management, medical imaging, and defense and intelligence applications. The Enterprise Servers are available in three versions. The Enterprise Edition provides controlled or monitored access to varying levels of resolution, along with the ability to track which images are viewed. The Open Enterprise Edition features APIs that support integration with enterprise imaging systems, electronic commerce servers, and databases. The Developer Edition is a limited-capacity version of the Open Enterprise Edition designed for system integrators, value-added resellers, and independent software vendors to develop extensions and to integrate the image server into rich, high-speed, enterprise applications. Live Picture's Universal Viewing lets users examine and zoom into multi-resolution Flashpix images without the need for client software or plug-ins, and it works with standard Web browsers and in non-traditional PC environments such as WebTV, network appliances, and Windows CE devices. Web site: http://www.livepicture.com -------------------------------------------------- Vertigo Ships Liquid Tools for MS Liquid Motion Canadian 3D software developer Vertigo Technology is now shipping Vertigo Liquid Tools (US$39), the first in a suite of animation tools designed to work within Microsoft's Liquid Motion Web multimedia and animation tool. The product is said to let Web designers to create real-life, organic animations within Microsoft Liquid Motion. The package includes VertigoBounce, VertigoJiggle, VertigoStretch, VertigoShear, VertigoSquish, VertigoRicochet, VertigoTeleport and VertigoShove. For a limited time, users registering online will receive a free bonus behavior, VertigoMoveTo. Designers can use default controls to create animations quickly, or they can have control over acceleration, deceleration, elasticity, X, Y and Z directions, and more. Contact Vertigo at http://www.vertigo3d.com or 1-888-4-VERTIGO. -------------------------------------------------- Forman Releases Free Internet Creator E-Commerce Edition Forman Interactive Corp.'s Internet Creator E-Commerce Edition, the latest version of Forman's e-commerce Web authoring tool, is now available for free from the Web (http://www.internetcreator.com). Internet Creator E-Commerce Edition incorporates new technology including transaction processing, Shopping Cart Ordering technology, Java applets, Interactive Forms, and WYSIWYG editing. Internet Creator E-Commerce Edition competes with Yahoo's Viaweb, Open Market's ShopSite, Site Technologies' QuickSite, Mercantec's SoftCart, and other e-commerce HTML authoring tools. Features include wizards that help users build a Web storefront, shopping module and site search capabilities, plus interactive forms and email ordering. The program can import information from popular database formats including Access, Peachtree, Quickbooks, or other flat database files. -------------------------------------------------- RealNetworks Releases RealSystem G2 Beta RealNetworks last week released a beta version of RealSystem G2, its next-generation streaming media delivery system for the Internet and corporate intranets. The company also announced that more than 50 leading media companies are providing programming through branded RealChannels on RealPlayerG2, and more than 20 leading media companies are providing SMIL-based programming for RealPlayer G2 users. The beta release of RealPlayer G2 is available for free download at http://www.real.com. RealSystem G2 includes a new music codec said to increase the frequency response of audio by 80 percent for both 28.8Kbpbs and 56Kbps modem connections, and new video post-filtering capabilities that reportedly create smoother images for end users. RealNetworks says its new Stream Smart transport technology delivers reliable and continuous end-user playback under real-world network conditions. The addition of two new media types, RealText and RealPix, combined with support for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), are said to enable rich multi-stream programming to be delivered over typical modem connections. RealSystem G2 also includes native support for most existing media file formats on the Web including ASF, AVI, JPEG, MPEG, VIV, and WAV. --------------------------------------------------


NDimension Ships SimStudio for Creating Real-Time 3D Apps NDimension Simulations' new SimStudio is a development environment for creating 3D applications on Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT. The product suite consists of three primary components: * The SimStudio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) -- a visual development environment featuring drag-and-drop data importing, easy placement and editing of entities, detailed access to object properties, a plug-in dynamics, behavior and artificial intelligence (AI) architecture, resource management and facilities for automated application maintenance * The SimStudio Real Time Simulation Executive (RTSX) -- an operating system extension that provides run-time features needed by 3D applications. The RTSX manages application-system interaction, performance features as well as multithreading and multi-processor usage * The SimStudio Developer C++ Application Programming Interface (API) -- a C++ development kit for creating and managing SimStudio custom plug-ins and extensions. Using the API, developers can create dynamics, behaviors and AI plug-ins which then become a part of the SimStudio IDE SimStudio is aimed at such sectors and industries as aeronautics, civil engineering and planning, entertainment, marine, marketing and sales, military simulation, computer based training, and virtual design/prototyping. Additional information can be obtained at http://www.ndimension.com or by sending mailto:info@ndimension.com. --------------------------------------------------


Jupiter Advises Music Labels to Screw Retailers, Thwart Pirates Sales of online music via digital distribution, wherein a consumer purchases and downloads music directly from the Web, will reach only $30 million, or 2.2 percent, of total online music sales ($1.4 billion in the US) by 2002, according to new research from Jupiter Communications at the company's third annual Plug.In '98 conference in association with the Intel New York Music Festival. Despite this anemic revenue potential, Jupiter advises record labels to reverse their traditional aversion to digital distribution and embrace it as a marketing tool, as a means of combating rampant online piracy, as a way to *cut out retailers* and earn more revenue, and as a less expensive distribution model. MP3 technology, an encoding and compression format that allows fast and easy downloads of recorded music, is already prevalent on the Web and could thwart the labels' opportunity to make money from digital distribution unless they act now. If the labels support development of a new encryption technology that offers superior sound and a faster download time, it could help to mitigate their concerns of piracy by surpassing MP3 as a viable technology. Jupiter delineates four stages in order of feasibility for digital distribution rollout: * special promotions (where a consumer can download a single song before deciding to purchase the entire album) * out-of-print records * catalog back lists * new releases as possible products for digital distribution Although many big labels are concerned that consumers would be able to download an album and then distribute it at will, Jupiter believes the security solutions and ultimately the benefits of digital distribution assuage such concerns. For more information, visit http://www.jup.com/. -------------------------------------------------- Marimba Castanet to Manage Updates to AltaVista NextGen Search AltaVista Search Service has selected Marimba's Castanet application distribution and management (ADM) technology for use with AltaVista Discovery -- a new extension of the Alta Vista Search Site (http://altavista.digital.com), featuring advanced search tools. AltaVista Discovery lets users search in both local and public domains without changing applications -- including the Internet, email and more than 100 document and file types. -------------------------------------------------- askSAM Updates SurfSaver The latest version of SurfSaver (1.02) incorporates a new "Page Grabber" technology, said to let users save virtually any Web page, including dynamically generated pages (like airline reservations), framed Web sites, or secure pages (for example subscriber-only sites), complete with graphics. SurfSaver currently runs with Internet Explorer 4.0. A Netscape version will be available later this month. Download the new version of SurfSaver from http://www.surfsaver.com/download/ -------------------------------------------------- Hermstedt Launches ISDN File Transfer Software Hermstedt has launched Grand Central Pro 1.3, which lets Mac clients download or upload files to FTP sites over an IP connection. The software features full protocol auto-detection for incoming data calls, auto-detection of the X.25 protocol, and lets a connection be re-established at a later stage should it be interrupted during file transfer. This allows a partly transferred file to be sent completely, with the remaining blocks uploaded to complete the file. Grand Central Pro 1.3 is also said to be optimized for Mac OS 8.5, and offer improved navigation. The user can now write Applescripts to support more complex operations, such as group sending of data to more than one ISDN number. Web site: http://www.hermstedt.com -------------------------------------------------- Auto-Activism Site Lets Surfers Speak Directly to Congress The Automated Activism Web page on Pop Conscious gives micro radio (aka pirate radio) supporters, currently beleaguered by the courts, a voice with which to address Congress directly via email. By logging onto Automated Activism at http://www.we-2.com/popc/aa.html and clicking the link entitled, "End Corporate Monopoly of Public Airwaves," listeners can send a pre-written letter instantly to the Vice President and Tipper Gore, 41 members of Congress who have direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission, and the chairman and four commissioners of the FCC. Micro Radio is Automated Activism's third project. Automated Activism is part of multimedian/musician Keith Metzger's Web site entitled Pop Conscious, designed to help busy people become politically active. "The airwaves are supposed to belong to the public, not just to those with millions of dollars in their pockets," said Metzger. "That's why it is so important to support micro radio now--because it puts the public back into radio." --------------------------------------------------


Sven Announces Stand-alone SurfaceSuite PRO Sven Technologies, Inc. will release in mid-August a $595 stand-alone version of SurfaceSuite PRO, its Adaptive Texture Mapping application for 3D artists, animators and designers. Adaptive Texture Mapping is a technique pioneered by Sven to facilitate texture mapping by treating texture maps as sheets of rubber that can be placed, warped and blended on a 3D model in real time. The stand-alone version of SurfaceSuite PRO offers all the adaptive texture mapping, blending and compositing functionality of the earlier plug-in version and includes new features, including: * standard 3D file format import and export: Users will be able to import and export 3D objects in several common 3D file formats, including .3DS, .OBJ, .DXF, .LWO, .VRML and others. * real-time texture blending: 3D content creators can interactively alpha-blend layered textures to see real-time blending effects. * "Relaxer" object-dependent texture mapping: Users can generate a texture-coordinate mapping that is optimized for even surface-area distribution of textures over an object. Sven claims this results in the elimination of texture streaking, pinching and stretching effects that result from standard projective or parametric UV texture-coordinate mappings. * LiveLinks: extensions that create a bi-directional data pipe between SurfaceSuite PRO and various 3D modeling applications, letting users work on the same object simultaneously in SurfaceSuite PRO and a modeling application. Sven plans to release LiveLinks for Softimage, 3D Studio MAX, LightWave 3D and Maya later this year. Additionally, users can access the SurfaceSuite PRO API to write their own LiveLinks for other 3D modeling applications. * NURBS and Patch texturing: directly texture map NURBS and patch objects, reportedly a first in the 3D graphics industry For further information, browse to http://www.sven-tech.com or call (650) 852-9242. -------------------------------------------------- MUSE to Debut NT Version of Multi-Dimensional Visualization Software MUSE Technologies, Inc. (MTI) will debut a Windows NT version of the MuSE interactive environment at Siggraph '98 on July 21 in Orlando. MuSE (Multidimensional user-oriented Synthetic Environment), previously available only on the Unix platform, is touted as a device-independent software shell that can operate with any hardware device technology or software application to fuse virtual reality, multimedia, and interactive technologies into a powerful multi-sensory human-computer interface. Built-in features let users automatically incorporate into their applications features such as voice synthesis and speech recognition; active or passive stereo vision; auditory cues; auditory data mapping; head tracking; 2-, 3- and 6-degree of freedom joysticks/pointing devices; desktop controls (e.g., pedals; dials; sliders; buttons); mechanical and magnetic tracking. These are designed to let users in everyday office environments create customized multi-sensory environments to integrate and understand complex data, develop solutions or extend the capabilities of, for example, existing CAD, PDM, FEA or database systems. Continuum, a companion product to MuSE (also developed by MTI), extends MuSE's individual capabilities into a shared multi-user environment that operates over standard network links. Multiple users in different geographic areas can enter the same multi-sensory environment and freely interact with the information and each other. MuSE is capable of utilizing any type of data, including but not limited to complex databases of virtually any type or size; real time asynchronous data; time-dependent variables; photographic data; CAD models; dynamic 3D vector flow information; topographical contour maps; kinematic simulation data, and audio/video. Web Site: http://www.musetech.com -------------------------------------------------- Vicon Unveils New MoCap Tech Vicon Motion Systems' Vicon 8 Optical Motion Capture System, unveiled at SIGGRAPH this week, is a new platform based on the latest 32-bit NT workstation technology. Highlights of the VICON 8 capabilities: * 24 cameras -- large capture volumes and improved marker definition reduce post processing and further reduce the production pipeline. * unlimited motion capture -- allows continuous capture to hard disk with as many markers and/or characters as the user wishes. * integrated movie capture -- an external color video camera digitally records the motion capture session and synchronizes it with the motion capture data. This video data can later be viewed in concert with the motion data as a reference. * SMPTE & EBU timecode support Web Site: http://www.vicon.com -------------------------------------------------- Viewpoint Announces 3D Plug-In Publishing, Distribution Program Viewpoint DataLabs plans to publish and distribute 3D software plug-ins for leading animation systems via an initial offering of 48 plug-in products available now, and more to come. As a first step, Viewpoint will distribute plug-ins from Digimation, REM Infografica, Dynamic Realities, MetroGrafx and Prem Subrahmanyam Graphic Design. Viewpoint is also releasing its own software products, including a new version of its Interchange 3D file translation and content management tool; On-the-Fly, a logo-scene-generation plug-in for Lightwave 3D; and LiveArt, desktop illustration software for Web, print and electronic presentations. Viewpoint can be reached by calling (801) 229-3000 or by visiting http://www.viewpoint.com. -------------------------------------------------- NewTek Introduces SpecialFX Toolset for Aura, DTV Package Scheduled for availability in Q3 from NewTek is the $395 SpecialFX tool set for Aura, NewTek's software tool for animation, video paint and video layering. Features include digital transitions, wipes, a full featured particle system, fades, digital video effects such as page turns, explosion tools, and fire, smoke, lightning and texture painting. All effects can be performed on any animation element, still image or animated brush in Aura. Users can now create multilayer video style transitions, blends and effects in Aura with the new SpecialFX toolset. The particle system is integrated with paint and animation operations and allows users to use any paint brush type (watercolor, oil, chalk, etc.) or paint system operations (erase, smear, merge, etc.) with particles. NewTek also announced plans to develop Resolution Studio, a suite of DTV-compliant software for digital content creation, animation, modeling, video paint and real-time High Definition Television (HDTV) playback. The package combines DTV versions of LightWave 3D, Aura, and RamPage, a software-only player for real-time DTV preview and playback including HDTV resolutions. Web: http://www.newtek.com. -------------------------------------------------- TechImage Launches ArtiFace for 3D Facial Animation Israel-based TechImage, Ltd., today unveiled ArtiFace, a $7,995 software tool for Silicon Graphics workstations running Softimage|3D and Alias/Wavefront PowerAnimator 3D animation packages that lets digital artists create 3D facial animations without key-framing. The product captures the facial movements of a human actor in 2D video form, extracts 3D motion data using image-analysis techniques and transfers the movements (by applying an anatomical muscle structure) to a 3D model. The software also reportedly achieves exact lip synching, in any language, automatically. How it works: One video camera is required to record the motion of the actor's face. The 3D motion data is extracted using image analysis from the 2D video and then mapped onto a models, without the need for markers or additional hardware devices. Exact lip synching occurs automatically. In addition, ArtiFace lets animators modify their animation sequences. The software includes specialized sculpturing and enhancing tools that can be used solely or in combination with automatic motion capture, to produce special effects without losing synchronized speech motion. TechImage will be demonstrating ArtiFace in its Booth #3629 at the SIGGRAPH Conference, being held this week in Orlando, Fla. Web: http://www.techimage.co.il/ -------------------------------------------------- Free Cinema 4D Upgrade Available Maxon announces a free upgrade to Cinema 4D XL, its 3D modeling, animation and ray-tracing package for Windows 95/NT, Power Macintosh and DEC Alpha machines. Version 5.2 features include: * real-time texture maps: view textures in real time while you move, place, scale, resize and rotate your materials in the editor window. * MIP and SAT Mapping: eliminate buzzy or jagged artifacts in animations when using high frequency texture maps--includes control over Offset and Blur strength. * new alpha channels: Render scenes with or without alpha, separate or imbedded. Provides Soft Image Alpha and Invert settings. * new function curve editor: tweak the path, velocity and acceleration of an animated object in new Time Control window--keyframe based tool lets you add, select and modify control points with soft, hard, stepped and flat interpolation. Visit http://www.3d-gear.com or http://www.cinema4dusa.com. -------------------------------------------------- Credo Ships Plug-ins for Cinema 4DXL, LightWave, StudioPro Credo Interactive Inc., a provider of tools for 3D character movement, today announced that Maxon Computer's BioVision motion capture plug-in for Cinema 4DXL will be bundled with Life Forms Studio 3.0. With support for BioVision BVH motion capture files, Life Forms Studio 3.0 users can export movement data directly from Life Forms Studio 3.0 to Cinema 4DXL. Also, Credo announced LightWave 3D and Strata StudioPro plug-ins for Life Forms Studio 3.0 that let users of the latter program share common file formats with both LightWave 3D and Strata StudioPro. Dedicated to character movement, the Life Forms software provides a figure editor and an instant walk generator. For more information, visit http://www.credo-interactive.com -------------------------------------------------- Ulead Systems Updates Photo Express Photo Editing Software Ulead Systems has a new version, 2.0, of Photo Express, its consumer photo editing software. New features include a "one-click" feature that automatically applies standard post-processing techniques, plus over 300 templates, including 60 calendar guides, that can be selected and then added to. Smart Template technology remembers specific settings for each template. And, to encourage experimentation, version 2.0 has 10 levels of undo and redo. New special effects include lighting, colors and light intensity, a particle system that turns a sunny day into a rainy one or a snowstorm, warp effects like ripple and whirlpool, and a gallery of ready-to-use objects, from holidays and animals to nature and signs, can add sparkle to any picture. Images can be downloaded from online photo processing centers, shared by email or posted to a Web page. Users can also create an HTML thumbnail Web page with music and a background interface. Contact Ulead at 800-858-5323 or http://www.ulead.com. --------------------------------------------------


Inman to Supply Content for MS Real Estate Site Real estate news and information company Inman News Features will provide HomeAdvisor, Microsoft's new real estate Internet site, with real estate editorial information. Under the terms of its agreement, Inman (http://www.inman.com) is supplying HomeAdvisor consumer-oriented home buying information, including questions and answers about buying, selling, financing and trading real estate. HomeAdvisor is available on the Web in a preview at http://www.homeadvisor.com. Inman also is providing Microsoft's new site with online consumer real estate guides, a word glossary defining real estate terminology and acronyms, daily mortgage news reports, and a library of the most common defects found in homes. --------------------------------------------------


3Dlabs Acquires Dynamic Pictures Chip maker 3Dlabs Inc., Ltd. last week acquired Dynamic Pictures, Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction. Dynamic Pictures, a privately-held company based in Santa Clara, CA, is a supplier of professional 2D/3D graphics boards for the Windows NT-based PC workstation market. It is best known for its Oxygen brand of products which it supplies through the VAR channel. 3Dlabs is known for its GLINT and PERMEDIA graphics processor families. The acquisition marks 3Dlabs' entry into vertically integrated board-level products for the PC workstation market, augmenting its continuing GLINT chip business in this segment. --------------------------------------------------


Toshiba Motion Processor Recognizes Gestures in Real Time In development by Toshiba Corporation is a prototype motion processor that supports real-time recognition and display of kinetic, three-dimensional objects on a PC. The company claims its motion processor's ability to recognize and detect the movements of hand images points the way to a more natural, gesture-based interface between people and computers. A commercialized version of the processor will facilitate access to computers for the physically challenged and aged, and provide children with a simpler-to-use interface than the keyboard. Gesture recognition depends on the ability to separate an object from its background. In conventional approaches, this object segmentation requires a simple background, or the use of special markers affixed to the object to make it stand out. Toshiba's new approach has produced a motion processor able to detect a hand against any kind of background, however complex, and display it in real time as a moving 3D image. The new motion processor receives infrared light which is emitted from a light source and reflected by the hand. The dissipation of the light ensures that the intensity of reflected light from the background is too weak to detect. Moreover, by using the reflectance and directional information of the object surface, the motion processor is able to use variations in reflected light intensity to construct a 3D image of the hand. The interactive potential of the motion processor can be seen in two successful test applications: playing the traditional Japanese game of rock, paper, scissors against a computer, and a virtual conductor game, in which different hand movements generate various sounds. The commercialized image processor will provide support for computers that recognize sign language and advanced interactive applications in multimedia and edutainment. A Software Development Kit is available now: Contact Toshiba's Kenichi Sugiyama at +81-3-3457-2105; mailto:kenichi.sugiyama@toshiba.co.jp --------------------------------------------------


Crime Killer Swerves, Crashes into Retail Crime Killer, Interplay Productions' arcade title for the Sony PlayStation, has shipped to retail outlets nationwide. Reportedly boasting 60 frames per second, the game takes players through high-speed missions and deadly criminal pursuits in an effort to bring justice back to the futuristic streets. In a variety of real-time 3D futuristic environments, players must complete 17 levels of high-speed police pursuits in order to contain the city's rising gang violence and growing population of organized crime. The game can be played in first or third person perspective with two-player split screen and analog support. Both views feature jolts, shakes and camera tilts. More information is available at http://www.interplay.com. -------------------------------------------------- Psybadek, Psygnosis' 3D PSX Platformer Due Q4 Psybadek, an "alternative" 3D platform game coming this winter from Psygnosis, will feature characters that maneuver via "hoverdeks" through a fantastic, "rolling-3D" game-play environment. Catch some air performing hoverdek 'stunts' as you combat enemies and rescue your friends from the evil Kracken and his henchman. Features: * 3D environments let players determine path through 5 zones and 50 levels * Gouraud-shaded landscapes * anime style characters are described as smart, hip and funny * 20 'baddies' including psycho Penguins and ferocious Cacti and end-bosses the likes of Phat Boy and Roll-E the polar bear. * Weapons including Magnetic Mines, Snowballer Bomb, Boomerang Bomb, Dek Stunt Weapons, the Stomp, Tow Weapons and more. * collectibles and Pick-ups including the Golden Ankhs (collect the 5 Golden Ankhs from each level and open a secret section), Dek Charges (to power up the dek), Jump Jets (help player gain massive extra height off a jump), and Kaos (give player super strong dark powers becoming 5 times more powerful than normal). * Teleports & Wormholes: the former sends players form one location to the next allowing back-and-forth entry while Wormholes send players through zones on a one-way trip. Web site: http://www.psygnosis.com -------------------------------------------------- Shiny to Develop Stunt Copter for Midway, PSX Midway Home Entertainment is creating R/C Stunt Copter in conjunction with game designer Dave Perry and his Shiny Entertainment development studio,. Expected to be released in November 1998 for the PlayStation game console, R/C Stunt Copter lets players perform helicopter stunts in the comfort of their own homes. Gamers are challenged to operate one of five different remote-controlled stunt helicopters through adventures and missions. Pilots follow 3D aerial tracks and stunt courses as they direct the helicopter to fly through hoops, pop hot air balloons and coast through the sides of barns. Visit Midway's Web site at http://www.midway.com -------------------------------------------------- Warcraft II Comes to Battle.net with New Platinum Edition With the release of Warcraft II Platinum later this year, the popular real-time strategy game Warcraft II will be playable over publisher Blizzard Entertainment's free online game service Battle.net for the first time. Updated for Windows 95, Warcraft II Platinum will include two all-new veteran campaigns, offered exclusively in the Platinum edition, as well as the original game and the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion set. Contact Blizzard at (800) 953-SNOW or http://www.blizzard.com. -------------------------------------------------- Mindscape Ships Chopper Sim Mindscape Entertainment has shipped Team Apache, a helicopter combat sim based on AH64A model currently used by the U.S. Army. The game includes campaigns in Colombia, with the United States assisting a Colombian government counterinsurgency campaign against Marxist "narcoguerillas," and in Latvia, in a NATO action peripheral to a general civil war in Russia. Combat missions include typical Apache flight profiles: route recons, deep attacks and suppression of enemy air defenses, plus counter-insurgency activities and rescue missions, alongside the traditional tank-busting roles. In total 16 missions are available as cooperative missions, allowing up to six pilots to fly together. The Team Apache world includes a heavily populated terrain and a number of weather scenarios. There are various types of network games for up to eight players. -------------------------------------------------- Zone Adds Mind Aerobics, Launching Free Puzzle Games Category Microsoft last week announced that Mind Aerobics, created by the designer of Tetris, is now available on the Zone (http://www.zone.com). Adding a whole new Puzzle category to its list of online games, Microsoft plans to offer additional puzzle games at no cost to users. Developed by Alexey Pajitnov, best known for the addicting '80s phenomenon Tetris, Mind Aerobics presents three different puzzles every day, categorized into "logic," "word" and "image" puzzles, with "easy," "medium" and "hard" levels of difficulty for each . Players have 21 minutes to complete the brain-teasers in a battle against the clock. The game supports individual scoring, with a Champions Room offering fame to those achieving high scores. The previous day's puzzles will be available non-competitively for players who missed a day or who prefer to play only against themselves. Libraries of sample puzzles will also be available for practice sessions, along with tutorials for each puzzle title. -------------------------------------------------- Sony Releases 3D Boat Racer, RPG/Platformer Turbo Prop Racing for the PlayStation game console is a new 3D speed boat racing game that runs at 60 frames per second, along with advanced lighting effects. When the 18 courses are completed, players have the option to compete on hundreds of randomly generated tracks. Upon collecting five yellow buoys while racing, and placing first, the option to ride the bonus tracks is offered. Upon completing the bonus track, the boats can be upgraded by replacing different parts. A two-player mode allows players to choose a vertical or horizontal split screen. The game reportedly gives players the feeling that they are actually in the boat by applying the resistance they would feel while flying through water. The boats smack against the wake and are thrust from side to side by currents and waves, which crash against the hull in violent sprays of foam. Also just out from Sony is Tomba!, said to set itself apart from traditional side-scrolling platform games by combining a platformer with adventure and RPG elements. The game features a pink-haired jungle boy who battles evil pigs in a wacky storyline. On his quest, he runs through rolling hills and other environments, visiting magical places and battling humorous yet challenging enemies. Tomba must search for new items and weapons, unveil hidden paths and discover secret sub-levels. Gameplayers also manage an inventory system similar to those in classic RPGs. Movements include running, jumping, climbing, hanging, biting and hitting enemies and swinging on tree branches. Tomba can also move into and out of the background, resulting in two playable game paths. Web: http://www.playstation.com. -------------------------------------------------- KKND2 Free Demo Posted The third and final demo for KKND2: Krossfire has just been released onto the Internet. The 10.5MB demo can be found at: http://www.melbournehouse.com/kknd2/downloads.html They've also put up all three missions in one 15.1MB file on the page, for those who have not already grabbed the previous two. --------------------------------------------------


Mijenix, Lincoln Beach Win Shareware Industry Awards FreeSpace, a utility from Mijenix Corporation of Boulder, Colorado, which optimizes hard drive space by selectively compressing files, won the Most Innovative New Product Award at the 1998 Shareware Industry Awards. The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, July 18, at the Shareware Industry Conference in Warwick, Rhode Island. Both the awards and the conference are sponsored by trade association the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation. Download Butler, from Lincoln Beach Software of Ballwin, Missouri, which provides PC users with the means of collecting and categorizing downloaded files as they are received, won the Best Internet Program/Utility Award. In addition to honoring the year's best programs, the Shareware Industry Awards also presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to a pair of shareware pioneers: Jim Green, founder of Software Labs and an early disk vendor, and Ray Kaliss, founder of the Shareware Distribution Network. The award ceremony also featured inductions into the Shareware Hall of Fame: game programmer Nels Anderson; pioneer Windows product author Art Metz; TapCIS, the first program to allow quick access of CompuServe; TechnoJocks, a programming tool collection; and WUGNET (Windows Users Group Network), an online support organization for Windows-related products and technology. For more information, contact http://www.sic.org. --------------------------------------------------


Game Developers Conference Announces RoadTrips 98 Game Developers Conference (formerly the Computer Game Developers Conference) announces the Second Annual GDC RoadTrips. The 1998 RoadTrips will bring additional two-day conferences and expos to various cities around the U.S. (see below for details). Leveraging the expertise gained from many Game Developers Conferences (the next National GDC to be held in San Jose, March 15-19, 1999), the conference brings together speakers and local talent for a networking and learning event. The two-day events promise to deliver customized content developed in conjunction with local advisory boards to serve the region's unique needs. The main day of each RoadTrip offers, in trademark GDC style, as many as 28 classes taught by professional game developers, covering key areas of interest, including: production, art, game design, audio, programming and business & legal. Pre-conference days are also offered in each city, covering a specific topic of interest with tutorials and workshops. The dates and pre-conference themes: * Seattle - November 9-10, Storyplaying * Austin - TBA, Engine Programming Laboratory * San Francisco - November 21-22, Production & Management of Game Art * Baltimore/DC - December 10-11, Analyst Briefing * Boston - December 12-13, Team Management Workshop For more information, see http://www.gdconf.com -------------------------------------------------- IGDN Announces Game Development Conferences The International Game Developers Network will hold two game development conferences in Los Angeles and Dallas, and will co-sponsor the Game Developers Only Conference 2 (GDOC2) in Union City, California, all during October of this year. The Los Angeles, California event will be held October 3rd on the UCLA campus. The Dallas, Texas event will be held October 10th at the Plano Centre. Registration and further details on both are available at http://www.igdn.org. The Game Developers Only Conference 2 (GDOC2) will be held on October 25 at the Radisson Hotel in Union City, California (in the San Francisco Bay area). Registration and further details are available at the GDOC2 Website at http://www.fairgame.com/gdoc. Over 20 individual sessions are offered at each conference on topics such as Game Design, Game Programming, Sound & Music, Art & Animation, Business & Production and Getting into Game Development. Speakers at the events include Scott Miller, Chris Crawford, John Romero, Noah Falstein, Eric Goldberg, John Eberhardt, Bob Jacob, and Josh White. --------------------------------------------------


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. -------------------------------------------------- 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 duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- ┬ęCopyright 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.