Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 27 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 --Agranat, Accelerated to Deliver Embedded Web Server Development Environment --LinkAlarm Service Finds Broken Links DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Microsoft Announces Chromeffects SDK --Arriba Soft Ships Arriba Express for Media Management --JPython-1.0 Provides Java Companion --Microboards Announces DVD-Authoring Software --Motion Factory Drops Price IN THE INFOGROOVE --Aladdin Offers Free File Decompressor --SouthSoft Unveils PMMail 98 Email Client --Dspeed Networks Introduces DSL Access Packages GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --3Dlabs Announces New Oxygen RPM 3D Graphics Accelerator --Kinetix Plug-ins Connect 3DS MAX, Discreet Logic paint* & effect* --Right Hemisphere Updates 4D Paint --Matrox Ships First MGA-G200 Board --StudioPro Localized for Japan, France --MultiGen Announces Products for Windows NT --Animation Science Offers Crowd-Scene Creation, Particle Software --VRML Consortium Expands Charter, Launches NextGen VRML Standard --trueSpace4 Offers Hybrid Radiosity TECHNOTES --Haptic Launches 3D Pen with Force Feedback --Intergraph Unleashes Wildcat 3D Graphics Tech --Sonnetech Introduces 3Deep for Improved Gamma in 3D Games DEALS --Activision Signs Multi-Title Video Game Publishing Agreement with Disney GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Blue Byte Announces Settlers III Online Beta Test DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --Simon Named Blue Byte Development Head HAPPENINGS --O'Reilly to Host Open Source Town Meeting F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------

WEBMEISTER

Agranat, Accelerated to Deliver Embedded Web Server Development Environment Agranat Systems, Inc., a developer of embedded Web server technology, and Accelerated Technology, Inc. (ATI), which produces source code and non-royalty based Real-Time Operating System products, are partnering to create an embedded Web-server development environment. Agranat has ported EmWeb, its embedded Web server and development environment, to the Nucleus operating system. EmWeb uses an HTML-to-C interface that integrates forms and dynamic content with embedded firmware without requiring CGI-based applications. Specifically designed for real-time embedded systems, EmWeb works with any standard browser and TCP/IP stack, has a small footprint, typically 25K bytes, and supports HTTP 1.1, XML, HTML, TCN, and other rapidly changing Web standards. Nucleus PLUS is a portable, scalable, real-time operating system that features a multitasking kernel and is offered with source code and without royalty fees. It is commonly used among embedded engineers working on high-volume, real-time products such as cell phones and PDAs. For more information, visit http://www.atinucleus.com. -------------------------------------------------- LinkAlarm Service Finds Broken Links The LinkAlarm service, launched last week, provides Webmasters with a new ally in the never-ending battle to maintain the quality of their Web sites. By regularly finding broken links, the service helps cure Webmasters' biggest headache - a click that goes nowhere. "A Webmaster usually first finds out about a broken link when a reader complains," said George Bray, Founder and CEO of LinkAlarm. "For every person who complains, there are a multitude of others who just give up on the site out of frustration. The site's effectiveness is impaired and becomes worse if these problems aren't fixed." The LinkAlarm service helps the Web administration staff by regularly checking all the links on a Web site and emailing a summary about the link failures. A report provides statistics on problems with both internal and external links. The monthly service is available for $20 a year at http://www.linkalarm.com. --------------------------------------------------

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Microsoft Announces Chromeffects SDK At SIGGRAPH 98 last week, Microsoft announced plans for the release of the Chromeffects software development kit (SDK), available for download on Aug. 17. Previously code-named "Chrome," Chromeffects interactive media technology is an add-on feature to the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system that lets Web authors and application developers use HTML to take advantage of the DirectX API. According to Microsoft, benefits include: * new interactive media data types to achieve richer interactive graphics with smaller, faster downloads, increased frame rates and real-time performance. XML tags in Chromeffects allow lightweight descriptions to be sent over the Internet for the Windows 98-based client to render and process the media, exploiting the latest PC hardware for acceleration gains in performance and real-time interactivity. * high-fidelity, television-style effects and animations. By utilizing the 16-bit color and 3D compositional space of Chromeffects, designers can create a more entertaining, engaging and memorable viewer experience. * Content optimized for Chromeffects can be used to improve navigation and communication of information. Mapping HTML text or images to a cube can multiply the effective real estate of a page. Rather than navigating through pages, the user can mouse-over a cube to bring a new side of information to the front. Chromeffects also enables bend-away menu bars, to increase focal area on the screen. The Chromeffects SDK provides interactive examples of how the technology can be applied to greatly improve functionality. The SDK documentation itself is said to exemplify how the Chromeffects technology inspires viewers to interact and explore concepts. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/chromeffects/. -------------------------------------------------- Arriba Soft Ships Arriba Express for Media Management Newly available from Arriba Soft Corporation is Arriba Express, a $149 Windows-based "experiential" media manager for users who create, use or manage media -- images, sound, video, Web files, animation and text. Users can: * see, hear and play media components with "one touch" functionality * utilize "visual" support for more than 400 different media file types * obtain material from Web sites rapidly through "Web Vac" * organize and find media in different ways with custom attribution capabilities * move, add, and edit media components within the application * obtain detailed information about media components * integrate with third-party creation tools Web site: http://www.arribasoft.com. -------------------------------------------------- JPython-1.0 Provides Java Companion The Corporation for National Research Initiatives has released JPython-1.0, a free implementation of the high-level, dynamic, object-oriented language Python -- integrated with the Java platform and certified as 100% Pure Java. The product is said to be suited for embedded scripting, interactive experimentation, prototyping applications, and building systems where programmer productivity is a primary concern. Its integration with Java allows programmers to mix JPython and Java code without giving up any of the advantages of either language. "JPython is to Java and JavaBeans what Visual Basic is to C++ and Microsoft COM objects," said Nathan Sharp of Phoenix Integration. JPython code can access any existing Java libraries and JavaBeans. The Java virtual machine allows JPython to statically compile Python source code to Java bytecodes that will run anywhere that Java does. Through Java's support for dynamic class loading, JPython can dynamically compile Python code to allow interactive use while still achieving the performance of a compiler. Check it out at http://www.python.org/jpython. -------------------------------------------------- Microboards Announces DVD-Authoring Software Microboards Technology (MTI) announced two DVD-video authoring software toolkits at last week's SIGGRAPH. DVDAuthorQUICK versions 1.0 and 1.5 run in Windows 95 and Windows NT environments respectively and support output to both the Pioneer S101 DVD-Recorder, and DLT (digital linear tape). Priced at $12,500 (Windows) and $15,000 (NT), the software will begin shipping during the third quarter. MTI will also offer the software bundled with the Pioneer 8101 DVD-Recorder and five pieces of DVD-R media for $29,495 MSRP for version 1.0 and $31,995 for version 1.5. DVDAuthorQUICK version 1.0's logical hierarchical structure was designed for creating informational titles for kiosks, corporate presentations, instructional training and video manuals. Version 1.5 (NT) also features a multitasking environment and adds authoring for karaoke and cartoon animation. Among the key features of both versions are: * an authoring editor, which manages all authoring functions including assigning audio, video and still picture asset files using a browse-and-select action * a premastering function to verify and test the DVD-Video files * disc image output directly to a DLT Contact Microboards Technology in Chanhassen, Minn. at 612-470-1848 or 800-646-8881; Web site at http://www.microboards.com; fax: 612-470-1805 -------------------------------------------------- Motion Factory Drops Price The Motion Factory, creator of the Motivate interactive 3D game authoring system, is introducing a $3,500-per-seat pricing model that enables users to purchase a perpetual license for the Motivate Development Tools and Software Development Kit. The new pricing option is designed to let developers prototype and develop interactive content without incurring large up-front licensing costs. An additional Commercial Runtime Distribution License fee of $50,000 per title is required before shipping a game title produced with Motivate. The company will continue to offer their current "per-title" pricing model of $25,000 per title, plus an additional $25,000 upon release of the title. Web site: http://www.motion-factory.com. --------------------------------------------------

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Aladdin Offers Free File Decompressor Just out from Aladdin Systems is Aladdin Expander version 2.0 for Windows, a freeware product that lets Windows users expand compressed and encoded files downloaded from online services and the Internet. Aladdin claims the program is the only Windows decompression tool that can expand StuffIt-compressed files, the standard compression utility for the Macintosh. Features in Aladdin Expander: * supports long file names and 32-bit operation * decompresses files from most popular archiving and compression formats, including Zip (.zip) and StuffIt (.sit); also expands encoded files in UUencode (.uue), BinHex (.hqx), and MacBinary (.bin) formats. Other archive formats supported include Arc (.arc), Arj (.arj), and gzip (.gz). Also expands self-extracting archives created by StuffIt, Zip, and Arj. * decryption capabilities for Private File (.pf), Aladdin's commercial security software * lets users join segmented archives made by StuffIt Deluxe for the Macintosh * user can configure it to perform periodic checks on the contents of a specified directory (called a "watch directory"), so that any new files added to the directory will be automatically expanded Web site: http://www.aladdinsys.com/expander -------------------------------------------------- SouthSoft Unveils PMMail 98 Email Client New from developer SouthSoft is PMMail 98, an email client for the Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT platforms. The program combines a filtering engine, multi-account functionality and support for emerging Internet standards including HTML, and file attachment protocols such as UUEncode, BinHex and MIME. PMMail's filtering language, the Internet Communication Search Language (ICSL), lets users script complex searches to add to filters. The ICSL was developed to allow the user to define complicated situations with many variables, allowing PMMail's filtering engine to sort through all kinds of mail in all kinds of situations. The program can be set up to perform the functions of a mailing list. Web site: http://www.southsoft.com. -------------------------------------------------- Dspeed Networks Introduces DSL Access Packages Dspeed Networks last week announced a new line of DSL services in speeds ranging from 144Kbps to 1.5Mbps at prices starting as low as $99 a month. Dspeed DSL provides high-speed, "24 X 7" Internet access over standard copper telephone lines at speeds equivalent to T1 connections, but at a lower cost. Dspeed DSL is available in the San Francisco Bay area and Southern California. Pricing including circuit charges is as follows: Speed Monthly 144 Kbps $99 384 Kbps $149 1.1 Mbps $230 1.5 Mbps/384 Kbps $230 Installation charges, including the circuit activation range from $99-325. Dspeed is waiving installation and activation charges until July 31, and is offering a free month of service if service is ordered before that date. Hardware prices range from $199-540 if the customer requires it. For more information, access <http://www.dspeed.net>. --------------------------------------------------

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

3Dlabs Announces New Oxygen RPM 3D Graphics Accelerator 3Dlabs, Inc. Last week announced the Oxygen RPM 3D AGP graphics accelerator card. Designed around the third-generation rendering and texture-mapping engine developed by the recently acquired Dynamic Pictures, the Oxygen RPM 2/64 card will use two parallel graphics processors with 64Mbytes of unified SDRAM graphics memory to provide 3D graphics at a list price of $1,499. A modular architecture will allow end users to upgrade to four graphics processors and 128MB of SDRAM with a snap-on Oxygen RPM x2 expansion card with a list price of $1,199. The upgraded four-processor Oxygen RPM is expected to deliver a peak fill-rate of 120 million bilinear filtered pixels-per-second, 60 million trilinear MIPmapped pixels-per-second and a Viewperf CDRS-03 score of over 120. The AGP Oxygen RPM 2/64 and the Oxygen RPM x2 expansion card are expected to be available through value added resellers in the third quarter of 1998. 3Dlabs expects to ship a PCI version of Oxygen RPM 2/64 in the fourth quarter of 1998. Oxygen RPM will leverage 3Dlabs' PowerThreads technology for multithreaded OpenGL performance, while accelerating true-color shading, texture mapping, anti-aliasing and transparency in silicon. Oxygen RPM is expected to feature true-color resolutions up to 1600x1200, full stereo display in a window, and dual RAMDACs for seamless support of multiple monitors from a single AGP slot. For more information, visit http://www.3dlabs.com or call (800) 464-3348. -------------------------------------------------- Kinetix Plug-ins Connect 3DS MAX, Discreet Logic paint* & effect* New plug-ins from Kinetix enable interoperability between its 3D Studio MAX R2.5 software and Discreet Logic's paint* and effect*. The plug-ins allow MAX artists to use the vector-based, animated Discreet Logic paint* project file format (.ipp) anywhere they can use a bitmap file: as a texture map, background, or displacement map. The 3D Studio MAX Materials Editor now features a new map type, called Paint, that lets users apply resolution-independent textures to scene geometry. The new plug-in launches Discreet Logic's paint* software directly from the Materials Editor for editing an applied texture map or direct, "live" painting on 3D geometry within paint*. paint* can be used to design and update material maps in 3D Studio MAX. Users can paint directly on the unwrapped wireframe of the selected 3D object for which they are creating a material map, making it possible to create animated materials and apply them to animated objects in 3D Studio MAX. paint* and effect* can also be used to add 3D post effects directly onto a 3D Studio MAX rendered .rla bitmap sequence. Effects found in the 3D Studio MAX Video Post (such as 3D Depth of Field, 3D Lens Flare and 3D Glow) and Atmospherics (such as 3D Fog) can all now be added interactively within the paint* and effect* program. The Discreet Logic software takes advantage of the extended information found in .rla files rendered from 3D Studio MAX software. As a result, when rendering a MAX animation to a series of .rla files, the sequence can use the Z depth, material and object IDs, and normal vectors channels to create masks or selection sets, or to apply effects. This allows users to perform color correction or add shadows, fogs, and glows in 3D on the 2D sequence in a post-rendering process. The plug-ins are available at http://www.ktx.com and http://www.discreet.com. -------------------------------------------------- Right Hemisphere Updates 4D Paint Right Hemisphere Ltd. has announced Version 2.0 of 4D Paint, a 3D natural-media paint program, is due to ship Q4 '98. 3D rendering quality and speed are said to be improved, and a ray-tracing render option is included, plus support for Adobe Photoshop plug-ins and a bi-directional interface to Adobe Photoshop. Other products include: * Raygun, a raytracer for 3D Studio MAX 2.x said to offer speed increases of 50 times and more over the internal MAX ray tracer. * Video Manager, a time-based scheduling and programming system for video, audio and stills designed for use with the DPS Perception video system For more details, send mailto:mary@righthemisphere.com, or visit http:\\www.righthemisphere.com. -------------------------------------------------- Matrox Ships First MGA-G200 Board Last week, Montreal, Quebec-based Matrox Graphics Inc. began shipment of its Millennium G200, the first graphics accelerator in the MGA-G200 series. The card's newly engineered 128-bit DualBus architecture is said to deliver faster 2D performance at 24 bits than other graphics products at 16 bits. It supports up to 16MB of SGRAM and refresh rates of over 85Hz at 1600 x 1200. The card comes with 8MB display memory at $149, with an 8MB upgrade module available for $79. Accelerating Direct3D and OpenGL applications with 3D image effects, the G200 features alpha-blending, bi-linear filtering, single cycle tri-linear mipmapping, full screen anti-aliasing and fogging support for 3D at resolutions up to 1600x1200. Vibrant Color Quality (VCQ) rendering is said to allow 32-bit ARGB rendering in 3D applications and 24-bit color rendering in 2D applications without color banding or color quantization. The G200 reportedly lets 3D applications like 3D Studio Max Release 2 run at resolutions up to 1024 x 768 in 32-bit true color while 32-bit Z buffered and double buffered. Find more info at http://www.matrox.com/mga -------------------------------------------------- StudioPro Localized for Japan, France Strata Inc. announced last week at SIGGRAPH that StudioPro, its flagship 3D application, has been localized into both Japanese and French. The Japanese version of StudioPro was localized by Strata's own corporate offices in Tokyo. The French localization of StudioPro forms a cornerstone of Strata's European efforts. The project was accomplished by Paris-based Apacabar, Strata's distributor in France. Strata's corporate offices in Japan can be reached at 813-3446-8135, or through Strata's Japanese-language Website on http://www.strata3d.co.jp. Apacapar can be reached at (33) 01 53 10 32 32 or on their Website, http://www.apacabar.fr. -------------------------------------------------- MultiGen Announces Products for Windows NT At SIGGRAPH '98 last week, MultiGen, Inc. debuted MultiGen Creator 2.1, and introduced its new MultiGen CreatorPro, TerrainPro and RoadPro suite of modeling and terrain generation tools for Windows NT. The products are scheduled for availability in September. MultiGen Creator 2.1 is a new version of the company's polygonal modeling system for visual simulation and entertainment users. The new release builds upon a real-time toolset with a library of over 150 textured models, enhancements to the plug-in tools interface including a plug-in wizard, and new plug-ins for extrusion and support of 3D peripherals. CreatorPro adds tools for modeling instruments and light points, and interactively generating terrain skins from elevation data. It also includes a 2D GIS vector data editor and modeler, with a system for generating polygonal models of roads, rivers, lakes, forests, and buildings. TerrainPro is a terrain generation option for CreatorPro. It produces tiled polygonal terrain databases including photorealistic imagery and geo-specific texture mapping and advanced "cultural feature" generation. Other features include batch operation, advanced terrain skin generation with integrated feature models, global texture mapping, and a full topology-generation system that enables automatic 3D culture generation such as the algorithmic creation of bridges at road and river crossings. MultiGen also unveiled RoadPro for driving simulations used for vehicle design, specialized driver training, accident re-enactment, and real-time entertainment. Featuring the ability to create 3D geometry that conforms to AASHTO standards, RoadPro reportedly uses accurate and advanced algorithms to generate road surfaces across 3D terrain. Also MultiGen is shipping the software conversion tools that enable MultiGen Creator to support Nintendo's NIFF (Nintendo Intermediate File Format). NIFF allows N64 game developers to optimize content created with MultiGen Creator for deployment within new N64 titles. The company also has a beta version of a conversion tool that provides support for Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.'s Hierarchical Modeling Data (HMD), a high-level graphics processing framework available under the PlayStation development environment. Lastly, MultiGen announced the September availability of Virtue's $795 VSimplify polygon reduction tool as a plug-in to MultiGen Creator 2.1. The plug-in lets users automatically reduce geometric complexity of model objects, and is useful for creating levels-of-detail (LOD) of scenes for more efficient real-time rendering. Contact mailto:info@multigen.com for more detailed information on pricing and availability. Information about Virtue 3D and its products can be found at http://www.virtue3d.com. Information about MultiGen and its products can be found at http://www.multigen.com. -------------------------------------------------- Animation Science Offers Crowd-Scene Creation, Particle Software Rampage, a new standalone crowd-scene creation software application from Animation Science (AS), applies the rules of crowd behavior to the animation of objects such as paint drops, dinosaurs, cockroaches, or people. According to AS, scientific rules let the software model both the conscious and instinctive crowd behavior leading to realistic movements of large numbers of characters. The product also has a parameter set that allows users to specify sources (entrances such as doors), attraction points, obstacles (such as walls), events and populations with different types of behavior. Features include: * a rule-based dynamics engine simulation tool that provides the user with complete control over crowd-flow * object manipulation that allows animators to select and manipulate object properties including translation, rotation and scale * a curve editor that provides dynamic modification of sources, populations, goals, obstacles and terrains through the animation of an object's specific parameters * population and entity management to give animators control over characters that share common attributes by defining properties that represent group behavior and selecting goals as attraction points * a terrain selector that allows animators to choose from a variety of 3D terrains objects while controlling the footstep calculation along trajectories based on animation cycle, speed, terrain slope, etc. Rampage is available as a software development kit (Windows NT/SGI Irix 6.x) and as a GUI (Windows NT) with interfaces to Kinetix's 3D Studio MAX and Softimage. Animation Science also announced version 1.5 of its Outburst software, a particle (object) animation system said to bring the benefits of real-world physics to animation. The product allows animators to generate effects such as complex explosions, chemical reactions, or rain dripping off an umbrella by utilizing particle interactions like collisions and transformations. The software's proprietary "soft-landing" system allows realistic effects, such as a flock of birds gently landing on the ground then forming a detailed symbol or logo. Features include: * particle-interaction options for simulating internal, external and complex collisions that scatter upon impact * particle-mutation options for effecting transformation, decay and turbulence (random motion) * global force fields for simulating natural forces such as gravity, wind and electric or magnetic fields * local force fields that influence the area defined within an ellipsoid shape, which can be animated. In addition, custom force fields can be created as expressions depending on the particles' age, position, velocity and direction * particle-decay events such as time-based, relative to birth or absolute, and collision-based relative to obstacles or other particles * particle trails for creating fibers, grass or to quickly add simulated motion blur * predefined effects that users can edit which include fire, snow, sparks, fireworks, explosions, smoke, rain and dust * MAX expression controller to enable users to design unique effects Outburst 1.5 is available both as a software development kit and as a $495 plug-in to Kinetix's 3D Studio MAX. Contact Animation Science at (408) 752-1444 or on the Web at http://www.animationscience.com. -------------------------------------------------- VRML Consortium Expands Charter, Launches NextGen VRML Standard The VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) Consortium, a nonprofit organization responsible for the evolution and standardization of the VRML 3D Web standard, last week announced a proposed expansion of its charter to include all 3D Web technologies. A key part of this expansion is defining the next generation of VRML which is expected to include the following features: * content streaming * binary file compression * XML and DHTML Integration * sample source code implementations Under the proposed charter expansion, the 50+ member Consortium (whose members include 3Dlabs, Apple, IBM, Ligos, Microsoft, Oracle, Platinum Technologies, SGI, Sony, and Sun) will now provide standardization and technical coordination/evaluation of other 3D technologies beyond VRML. New submissions, which must be from member organizations, will go through the existing Consortium process of peer review and ratification. Submissions must also meet Consortium guidelines for intellectual property and platform-independence. This new charter mandates an open forum among members to develop optimal 3D graphics solutions for the Internet and Intranet. Through this expansion, the Consortium hopes to better address the needs of markets as diverse as data visualization and advertising. The charter proposal has been approved by the Consortium's Board of Directors and is pending member ratification in August 1998. Upon member approval, the VRML Consortium will officially change its name to reflect the increased scope of the organization. The VRML Consortium will continue its cooperation with ISO (International Standards Organization) in ratifying 3D Web standards and integrating VRML with other standards such as MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Experts Group). The Consortium will also continue its ongoing efforts to evolve the existing VRML 97 standard to include new features and functionality; a summary of current working group activities is available at http://www.vrml.org. Recognizing the success of open source projects such as Linux, Mozilla and Apache, the VRML Consortium is also using this process to enable widespread VRML deployment and creation. The first contribution of open source code for VRML comes from Sun Microsystems, which is providing the source code for a Java3D-based VRML 97 viewer applet free of charge. With the availability of open source code, it is expected that developers will modify the interface and/or parameters of the applet to best suit their individual needs. The applet and souce code will be available from http://www.vrml.org. -------------------------------------------------- trueSpace4 Offers Hybrid Radiosity Just out from Caligari Corporation is trueSpace4 ($595), with three innovations: new photorealistic renderer with hybrid radiosity, a new 3D user interface and hardware acceleration. Other new features include NURBS-based spline modeling and bones. The integrated hybrid radiosity renderer lets the user combine Phong shading with ray tracing and radiosity in the same picture. The new renderer supports features such as volumetric rendering, area, projector and sky lights, anisotropic reflectance shaders (polished metal), layered materials, lens flares, depth of field and support for multiple processors. Most of the existing modeling tools such as deformations and polygon editing tools work directly on NURBS surfaces in real time. trueSpace4's scripting feature lets the user create custom animation and modeling effects. The user can also reportedly create a simple interactive application or game prototype inside trueSpace4 with minimal or no programming. Among the included scripts are a 3D Pong game, Space Invaders and a simple DOOM clone. Web site: http://www.caligari.com. --------------------------------------------------

TECHNOTES

Haptic Launches 3D Pen with Force Feedback Montreal-based Haptic Technologies last week announced the PenCAT/Pro, a $689 3D pen with force feedback designed to let CAD designers, animators and 3D modelers "feel" curves, edges, and surface textures of the objects they are designing. The unit can also be used to replay motions directly to the user's hand. For instance, an animator can replay a prerecorded action and edit the motion as it plays, or an artist can replay stored brush strokes as they paint. Software developers' packages are available, incorporating the current PenCAT hardware and TouchWare software libraries and utilities. The PenCAT/Pro will begin shipping during the second quarter of 1999. For more information, call (514) 987-9800 or visit http://www.haptech.com. -------------------------------------------------- Intergraph Unleashes Wildcat 3D Graphics Tech At SIGGRAPH '98 last week, Intergraph Computer Systems unveiled its new Wildcat 3D graphics technology. The first, entry-level product based on the Wildcat 3D Graphics Technology, Intense 3D Wildcat 4100 at $2,995 U.S. list, is expected to ship in December 1998 and will reportedly deliver a CDRS Viewperf score of over 200. Intergraph claims such innovations as: * ParaScale architecture: modular, "building block" architecture, scalable by adding dedicated chips for 3D geometry acceleration and rasterization. * Onboard, programmable geometry accelerators: Supports current and future graphics APIs - such as the forthcoming Fahrenheit - with a driver update. Currently supported APIs include OpenGL, Direct3D, RenderGL, DirectDraw, and 2D GDI. * SuperScene anti-aliasing: True supersampled scene-mode anti-aliasing , available for the first time on the Intel/Windows NT platform. Enables stunningly accurate simulations, animations, and imaging without distracting "jaggies" or "crawlies." * 3D volumetric texturing: Enables textures that exist throughout a 3D object, rather than just on the surfaces. For instance, splitting a virtual "tree" would reveal internal wood-grain textures. * New OpenGL 1.2 imaging pipeline supported in hardware: Accelerates performance of imaging applications such as GIS or medical imaging. Phone 800-763-0242 or visit http://www.intergraph.com/ics. -------------------------------------------------- Sonnetech Introduces 3Deep for Improved Gamma in 3D Games The inabilty to enforce a known gamma response on a gamer's PC is a problem for many 3D applications. A game that looks good on one system often displays midtones that look too dark on another system due to differences in gamma response. To "fix" the perennial problem, users often crank up the contrast knob on their display, washing out images and ruining the 3D experience. In an attempt to provide a better answer, Sonnetech Ltd. last week launched 3Deep, gamma-correction software that the company claims can improve the lighting and shading effects in 3D games. 3Deep measures the characteristics of the user's display, and then communicates it to the game via DirectX6. Then the game sets the user's display to simulate an accurate gamma value. Design companies such as Rage, Pseudo Interactive, and Jinx Inc. (makers of the forthcoming Space Bunnies Must Die) will reportedly include the 3Deep functionality in their games. Graphics vendors Creative Labs and Matrox Inc. will bundle 3Deep with their graphics boards. For more information, visit http://www.colorific.com/3Deep. --------------------------------------------------

DEALS

Activision Signs Multi-Title Video Game Publishing Agreement with Disney Activision, Inc. has signed an agreement with Disney Interactive to publish at least six new interactive games on multiple platforms based upon Disney properties. The agreement gives Activision worldwide publishing rights to three video game titles based on Disney's upcoming animated feature films, including "Toy Story 2," and three video games titles based on past Disney feature animation properties to be selected by the parties. --------------------------------------------------

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Blue Byte Announces Settlers III Online Beta Test The Settlers III is the next release in the Settlers series, which currently totals over a million sales worldwide. The Settlers III offers new graphics, expanded naval navigation, new strategic elements and online functions. Developer Blue Byte Software will offer strategy fans the opportunity to participate in an online beta test. Testers will get to play the game online before its release, and can provide suggestions for improvement. To register, go to http://www.bluebyte.com/us/products/settlers_3/beta01.htm. --------------------------------------------------

DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

Simon Named Blue Byte Development Head Germany-based Blue Byte Software last week appointed Erik Simon the new Development Manager. Simon was formerly Senior Project Manager at Blue Byte. Simon has been active in the area of game development since 1988. Before joining Blue Byte, he worked at Thalion, on projects such as Dragonflight, Ambermoon, Lionheart, Extreme Assault and Albion (released 1996). --------------------------------------------------

HAPPENINGS

O'Reilly to Host Open Source Town Meeting The burgeoning open source software community will gather at the first Open Source Town Meeting on Friday, August 21 from 5:00-6:30 pm at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. The meeting is for software developers, corporate IS managers, entrepreneurs, and others who want to take advantage of the open source development and business models. A panel discussion on the topic "Open Source is Open for Business" will kick off the meeting. Moderator Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, will be joined by key open source leaders including: * Larry Wall, creator of Perl and Senior Developer, O'Reilly & Associates * James Barry, HTTP and WebSphere product manager, IBM * Jim Hamerley, vice president, Client Products Division, Netscape Communications Corp. * David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo, which uses FreeBSD, Apache, and other open source tools * Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project * Bob Young, President, Red Hat Software * Brian Behlendorf, a founder of the Apache group and vice president of Web Applications at C2Net Software, Inc. * John Ousterhout, CEO, Scriptics Corp. and creator of the Tcl scripting language * Jordan Hubbard, a founder of the FreeBSD project * Eric Raymond, independent developer; open source evangelist; author of the influential paper, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar." More information and registration is at http://opensource.oreilly.com/townmeet.html. Admission is $10. --------------------------------------------------

F.Y.I.

About Spectrum Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review. Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703. If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks. -------------------------------------------------- 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.
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