Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 8 Jun 98

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com

Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Macromedia Ships Fireworks --PC Data Introduces Broad-based Approach to Measuring Web Traffic --Revision 2 of WEB FM 4.0 Available --Aims Lab M@X Compresses Video Email --Free Website Utilities from Web Post Network -- Guestbooks, Forums, Tracking --Free Service Optimizes Web Graphics --Microsoft Ships Liquid Motion --Elemental Software Releases Drumbeat 2.0 --SPG to Release SPG WEB Tools for Photoshop --Skunk Tech Announces Entao Sessions for Enhanced E-Commerce IN THE INFOGROOVE --PSINet Announces Educational Discount Program --Siemens Prototype System Lets Phone Users Access Email, Web Sites GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Strata Ships StudioPro 2.5 for Macintosh, Windows NT --Kinetix Ships 3D Studio MAX R2.5, 3D Studio VIZ R2 --Enroute QuickStitch 360 Merges Photos for Panorama Shots --BizDesign Ships Assembly Line Art Collection TECHNOTES --Rendition, Fujitsu, IBM Pact to Accelerate 3D Graphics Pipeline CONSUMER CHANNEL --Shark Multimedia Releases Predator PCI Aureal Sound Card --PF.Magic Unleashes Dogz 3, Catz 3 THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --O'Reilly Book Reveals Java Cryptography Secrets --Call for Entries for INVISION 98 Awards DEALS --Activision to Fund Internal Teams in Startup Ventures GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Activision Releases Vigilante 8 for PSX --Berkeley Systems Updates Acrophobia Online Game --Activision to Bring Atari 2600 Titles to PSX --Carmageddon II to Contribute to Road Safety --MPG-Net, AT&T Team Up for New Online Gaming Hub --VR Sports Ships Virtual Pool 2 for DVD --Total Entertainment Network to Go Mass Market --Microsoft Launches NextGen Controllers, Speakers F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------

WEBMEISTER

Macromedia Ships Fireworks Since Macromedia released a public beta of Fireworks, its Web graphics tool, the Internet buzz has been that this was the one to beat. Now that the $299 final version is shipping for Windows 95, Windows NT and Macintosh PowerPC, we'll be able to find out for sure. In addition to features found in the public beta, such as a visual export preview, image compression, and always-editable text and effects, the shipping version of Fireworks provides new enhancements, including: * Symbols, Instances, and Tweening: Symbols and instances enable fast edits across multiple frames of an animation--the user just modifies the master object, and all its instances update automatically. With the new Tween feature, artists can create effects such as fades and zooms, and animate parameters of Fireworks' "Live Effects." * Image Slicing for faster downloads: Users can export images using a mix of compression types, for example JPEG for photographic areas of the image and GIF for parts with text and flat areas of color. Designers can use separate adaptive palettes for different areas of a graphic and designate any region as a button rollover. * WebSnap adaptive palette for small, high-fidelity images: This new palette option combines the strengths of adaptive and "browser-safe" compression formats, producing images that display cleanly on both 8-bit and true-color displays, yet download fast. * Color correction and effects filters for image retouching: Filters enable adjustment of levels, addition of noise, conversion to monochrome and more. Fireworks also offers user-requested improvements including the ability to create alpha masks, support for numeric transformations, context-sensitive menus, performance enhancements, and more. A free, 30-day trial version can be downloaded from http://www.getfireworks.com. For more information, visit http://www.macromedia.com. -------------------------------------------------- PC Data Introduces Broad-based Approach to Measuring Web Traffic Market intelligence firm PC Data last week introduced @PCData, a market research service intended to track how individuals are using the software loaded on their PCs and what Web sites they are visiting. Expanding beyond the current Web measurement techniques, which mainly rely on a static "panel" of selected users, @PCData reportedly has the potential to gather information from hundreds of thousands of individual computer users nationwide. By offering free personalized usage reports and incentives such as frequent flyer miles, PC Data will encourage the voluntary participation of computer users with Internet access. The @PCData software will be available as a free download from the PC Data Web site at http://www.pcdata.com beginning early in the third quarter of 1998; currently, visitors to the Web site can "reserve" a copy to be sent to them via email when it is released. PC Data expects to announce further distribution agreements with several software and Internet companies in the coming months. The first reports are expected to be available by the fourth quarter of 1998. -------------------------------------------------- Revision 2 of WEB FM 4.0 Available WEB FM 4.0 is a plug-in for Mac OS Web servers such as WebSTAR, Quid Pro Quo, WebTEN, and AppleShare IP that enables FileMaker Pro developers to build dynamic, interactive online database applications. Revision 2 of WEB FM 4.0 adds support for W*API 1.3 Virtual Hosting and multiple root Web server directories. It also includes bug fixes and improved compatibility with 68K Mac servers, MSIE 3.0, SSI Processors like NetCloak 2.5, and Web sites using HTTP cookies. And, it includes an updated free version of FM@iler 1.1 for FileMaker Pro. To download a seven-day demo version, visit http://Webfm.com/, or for information on new features, visit http://Webfm.com/Webfm/docs/intro.html#new. -------------------------------------------------- Aims Lab M@X Compresses Video Email Aims Lab is announcing M@X, their new product that allows the video-equipped PC user to email as much as a minute's worth of video in less than a minute. The secret to this speed-up is a compression algorithm said to reduce the size of a video file by about 230 times. Currently available for a free 35-day trial period, the software can be downloaded from http://www.aimslab.com. After the trial period is over, M@X will be sold for $21. -------------------------------------------------- Free Website Utilities from Web Post Network -- Guestbooks, Forums, Tracking Websites are an important means to market your organization, just as they are a fun way to express your creativity and interests. However, the task of designing a Website can be daunting. As a solution to Website building frustrations, Web Post Network is providing free Website tools and utilities. They also have an option for those who don't already have a site to sign up for and design one. With one free account, users of Web Post Network can obtain code and basic information about how to add the following to their Website: * a customizable guestbook for site visitors to leave comments * customized discussion forums, bulletin boards and newsgroups to encourage a sense of community and keep visitors coming back * tracking: check visits to your site, and track the most active pages, how long people stay, and more * billboard advertising: classified-type ads that can be customized to look like they belong on your site. Use these to attract other people to your site and post their own free ads * banner rotation: rotate your own and other people's banners * Web site forwarding: forward visitors to main and subdirectory pages All the options can be explored at http://www.Webpost.net/. -------------------------------------------------- Free Service Optimizes Web Graphics Monte Sano Software last week launched GIFBot, an image optimization robot said to be able to reduce the size of Web graphics by up to 90 percent without loss of image quality. Users visit GIFBot at the NetMechanic site and enter the URL of their image. The robot then downloads the image onto NetMechanic's server and generates different versions of the graphic at different levels of optimization by reducing the number of colors. When finished the robot creates a Web page on the NetMechanic server to display the reduced images. The process is completed within 30 seconds. Users can then access this Web page, pick the image they like best, and save it to their computer. GIFBot can be used in conjunction with NetMechanic's Link Check service to index and optimize all the images in a Web site. The GIFBot is located at http://www.netmechanic.com. -------------------------------------------------- Microsoft Ships Liquid Motion Just out from the software behemoth everyone loves to hate is Liquid Motion 1.0, a $149 Windows-based Web animation program based on technology Microsoft acquired when it assimilated the late San Francisco-based DimensionX. The program uses drag-and-drop functionality to build Java-based animations that run in most browsers. However, 3D animations generated by the program must be viewed in IE4. Features include a library of Web-ready content, including "AutoEffects" such as smoke, bubbles and sparkles. The program supports MPEG audio, DirectAnimation and DirectMusic APIs, Dynamic HTML, and vectors. Download a trial version from http://www.microsoft.com/liquidmotion/. -------------------------------------------------- Elemental Software Releases Drumbeat 2.0 Last week, Elemental Software shipped a new version of Drumbeat 2.0 for Windows, which lets users employ point-and-click interactions to build sites that search and update databases and generate custom pages on the fly; create interactive sites with multimedia effects; and build sites that automatically adapt to multiple browsers, without programming or coding. The $699 (per user) product provides tools for forms validation, record set navigation, streaming media control, and password authentication. For more information, call 760-931-7171, send mailto:info@drumbeat.com, or visit http://www.drumbeat.com. -------------------------------------------------- SPG to Release SPG WEB Tools for Photoshop SPG plans to release SPG WEB Tools, a set of plug-ins for Photoshop and ColorWorks:WEB 4 Web Graphics Suite, by early July. The plug-ins include: * "Internet-capable" image browser * Web saver * GIF animator * Web image cutter * rollover builder * tag cleaner * tag builder * batch Web file format converter * Web server site downloader * Web server site mirror uploader * table gallery/thumbnail generator * GIF player * 3D text renderer * 3D text animator * 3D Web object renderer * 3D Web object animator * flare FX renderer/animator * Web image mapper * Web graphics spider * Web background renderer * tile viewer * JPEG cleaner The ColorWorks:WEB 4 Web Graphics Suite is a suite of the same 23 SPG WEB Tools thoroughly integrated into SPG's own Painter. Full details, specifications, and a competitive analysis of these new programs are available at http://www.spg-net.com. A trial/demo program of both new products will be made when the programs are released in a few weeks. Both the SPG WEB Tools for Photoshop and ColorWorks:WEB 4 Web Graphics Suite will cost $199 when available. -------------------------------------------------- Skunk Tech Announces Entao Sessions for Enhanced E-Commerce Skunk Technologies Inc., a developer of Java software, announces the release of ENTAO Sessions. The program is an avatar-based customer service environment designed to enhance electronic commerce with an array of customizable digital environments, avatars, streaming media and sound. The software, sold directly from Skunk, is available for all platforms with a Java Virtual Machine and costs $3,000 per CPU with no per client limitations. For more information, check out http://www.skunktech.com. --------------------------------------------------

IN THE INFOGROOVE

PSINet Announces Educational Discount Program Internet development and deployment specialist PSINet recently announced PSINet Access for Connected Education (PACE), a suite of Internet solutions for educational organizations. Through PACE, PSINet offers discounted pricing for its Internet and telecommunications solutions including Internet access, email, wireless data communications and more. In addition, eligible K-12 schools and libraries in the U.S. can receive ancillary discounts of up to 90 percent on Internet services through the Universal Service Fund, a program also known as E-Rate. Details are available by calling 800-341-6182 or visiting http://www.psi.net/edu. -------------------------------------------------- Siemens Prototype System Lets Phone Users Access Email, Web Sites Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research, Inc. (SCR) have developed a prototype system that enables users to access email messages or World Wide Web pages using a touch-tone telephone. Called DICE (Delivering Information in a Cellular Environment), the system was developed by SCR scientists Michael Wynblatt, Stuart Goose and Dan Benson in cooperation with Siemens AG's Private Communication Systems Group (PN). DICE uses a computer algorithm to analyze email and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) documents, and then play them back as audio. Speech synthesis tools, which convert text to audio, have been available for years from a variety of companies. What differentiates DICE -- SCR has three patents pending -- is that its algorithm also analyzes the format and layout elements of a document, thereby conveying not only a document's text but also its structure. In this way, even highly structured HTML documents can be converted to an audio format without confusing the listener. The scientists are also working on a means of converting a verbal response back into an email message at the other end. Contact: Guy Pierce, 732-906-3805, mailto:guy.pierce@sc.siemens.com, or Technical: Michael Wynblatt, 609-734-3653, mailto:wynblatt@scr.siemens.com, or Hans Mollenhauer, +49-89-722-25032, mailto:hans.mollenhauer@pn.siemens.de, all of Siemens Corporate Research, Inc. --------------------------------------------------

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Strata Ships StudioPro 2.5 for Macintosh, Windows NT Strata Inc. is shipping StudioPro 2.5, the latest version of its 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and special effects program. The program has been available for Macintosh since its inception, but is now also available on Windows NT for the first time, in an identical version. Standard features include in-context modeling, camera and animation controls, special effects, and comprehensive texture mapping Among the new capabilities: * OpenGL is featured on both platforms which speeds up screen redraws, permits viewing of textures in the modeling window, and allows an image or movie to be used as a background. Mac users can operate with either OpenGL or QuickDraw3D. * a 20 percent (or more) speed increase with all renderers - Scanline, Raytracing, and Raydiosity. Also, the Scanline renderer can now render soft shadows. * Improved Inverse Kinematics (IK) lets multiple bones be applied to a single polymesh object, allowing for better animation of complicated organic shapes. * four different path types. Back-and-forth cycling and the ability to proportionally scale time markers reduce scripting effort. * The particle system supports metaball fountains for realistic liquid effects. Also, any 3D object can be used as a particle to emit from a fountain, raising animation possibilities such as popping popcorn, spewing lava, or blowing dandelion seeds. Collision detection lets particles bounce, ricochet or splat. For more details, contact Strata at 1-800-STRATA3D or visit http://www.strata.com. -------------------------------------------------- Kinetix Ships 3D Studio MAX R2.5, 3D Studio VIZ R2 Just out from Kinetix, the multimedia division of Autodesk, are 3D Studio MAX R2.5, an updated release of the top-selling 3D animation and modeling software for PCs, and 3D Studio VIZ R2 software, a new release of the software for 3D design conceptualization and visualization. New features in 3D Studio MAX R2.5 include: enhanced NURBS; camera tracking; support for the Apple QuickTime 3.0; Kodak Cineon and the Silicon Graphics RGBA support; a new mesh Boolean with superior output; rapid and precise polygon cutting and slicing; a fast, interactive method for face-level material assignments; and VRML import. New features in 3D Studio VIZ R2 are led by DWG Linking, which dynamically integrates 3D visualizations with 2D and 3D AutoCAD files. Also, ARX Object-level interoperability with many AutoCAD Release14 solutions, enhancements to the user interface, ease-of-use scripts; new AEC "smart" objects (stairs, railings); an enhanced asset manager; AEC samples, a new spacing tool; and new AEC-specific materials, and.DGN format input and output capabilities in 3D Studio VIZ R2 software. Upgrades from MAX R2 are U.S. list priced at $95. Upgrades from 3D Studio VIZ R1 to 3D Studio VIZ R2 are U.S. priced at $495. Visit Kinetix on the Web at http://www.ktx.com, or contact the company at 800-879-4233. -------------------------------------------------- Enroute QuickStitch 360 Merges Photos for Panorama Shots Enroute Imaging's $70 QuickStitch 360 panorama stitching software, scheduled for release this month on Mac and Windows, automatically combines overlapping photos into panoramic images of up to 360 degrees. Users can output panoramas to a JPEG or .bmp-format graphics file or QuickTime VR movie, where they can pan around the entire scene of a room or product, or zoom in for more detail. Features include: * automatic camera lens selection * image preview * automatic or manual exposure and contrast correction * automatic cropping * output resolution choice * correction for ghost images caused by movement For more information, contact Enroute Imaging, 953 Industrial Ave., Suite 111, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ph: (650) 843-1122 f: (650) 813-9089 Web site: http://www.enroute.com. -------------------------------------------------- BizDesign Ships Assembly Line Art Collection BizDesign, based in Dallas, Texas, is shipping Assembly Line 1.0 at US$99 for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 95/NT. The product is an art collection designed to work with HTML editors and multimedia authoring software. Features include: * 3,000 pre-designed HTML templates with over 60 customizable user interface designs * 15 categories of 2,100 seamlessly tiling textures and backgrounds * 5,000 textless buttons including different button states * 200 low contrast Earthtones backgrounds * 350 patterns from Africa, Japan, and the Renaissance * 900 photographs in 23 categories * banners, sidebars, dividers, and more. Get more info at http://www.bizdesign.com/assemblyline. --------------------------------------------------

TECHNOTES

Rendition, Fujitsu, IBM Pact to Accelerate 3D Graphics Pipeline A pipeline processing system said to be capable of performing significantly more of the 3D rendering tasks than today's conventional graphics accelerators is the hoped-for result of an alliance among Rendition, Inc., a developer and supplier of graphics and video processors, Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc. and IBM. Based on the Rendition's V2200 graphics accelerator combined with a DSP-based geometry/lighting processor technology developed by Fujitsu, the FGX-1, the technology reportedly constitutes the first mainstream 2D/3D graphics solution to accelerate the complete graphics pipeline in hardware, including geometry and lighting. Hercules Technology will be the first to support this technology. Their add-in card, due to ship in June, will have an estimated retail price of $149.00. Visit http://www.fujitsumicro.com or http://www.rendition.com. --------------------------------------------------

CONSUMER CHANNEL

Shark Multimedia Releases Predator PCI Aureal Sound Card Shark Multimedia announces the release of the second in a family of 3D positional sound cards, the Predator PCI. The card takes advantage of A3, a technology invented by Aureal Semiconductor of Fremont, CA. A3D is enabled by Microsoft's DirectSound 3D, said to surround the listener with sounds in all three dimensions using ordinary speakers or headphones. The $79.95 Predator PCI includes a 3-level version of JediKnight from LucasArts. The product has an enhanced digital game port for faster game play, a built in AMP, AC 97 codec, CD audio connector, and 64 voice wavetable. Unlike other PCI sound cards, the card reportedly works with real-mode DOS games. For more information, contact Shark Multimedia at 1-800-800-3321 or visit http://www.sharkmm.com. -------------------------------------------------- PF.Magic Unleashes Dogz 3, Catz 3 PF.Magic, creator of virtual Petz, recently unveiled Dogz 3 and Catz 3, scheduled for release this fall for Windows 95 at street prices under $30. Dogz 3 and Catz 3 allows owners to create interactive Petz families, with newborn puppyDogz or kittyCatz that look and act like their parents and share characteristics with their siblings. Owners can create new breedz for trading, posting to the Web, or showing to friends. Interactive virtual environments include a beach, backyard, living room and kitchen and other places. A new feature lets owners personalize their petz with a myriad of accessories and clothing such as sweaters, shorts, bows, hats, socks and much more. Also, new modules can be downloaded from the Petz Web site, including: * voice recognition technology * new species, such as pigz and ferretz (how about skunkz?) * additional breedz, play scenes, accessories and clothing Find more online at http://www.petz.com. --------------------------------------------------

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

O'Reilly Book Reveals Java Cryptography Secrets "Cryptography is important for the same reasons that photo IDs are important and fences are important," says Jonathan Knudsen, author of the just-released book, Java Cryptography (344 pages, 1-56592-402-9, $29.95). "In the digital world, cryptography offers three essential services that protect you and your data from theft and fraud: authentication, integrity, and confidentiality." The book's aim is to teach how to write secure programs using Java's cryptographic tools. It includes discussions of the java.security package and the Java Cryptography Extensions (JCE). It discusses authentication, key management, public private key encryption, and includes a secure talk application that encrypts all data sent over the network. Visit http://java.oreilly.com. -------------------------------------------------- Call for Entries for INVISION 98 Awards NewMedia Magazine announced today its sixth annual NewMedia INVISION 98 Awards Festival with a call for entries and new additions to the three-day event, to be held in San Francisco November 11-13. INVISION 98 recognizes the best digitally created content in over 40 categories. Over 70 judges review work in seven major categories including Web sites, DVDs, interactive television projects and other convergence/cross media projects. "Awards of Excellence," "Best of Show" and "Best of the Web" will recognize finalists at a gala award dinner Thursday, November 12, at the Hotel ANA in San Francisco. Entries must be submitted to NewMedia magazine by August 1, 1998. Competition entry forms and additional information are available online at http://www.invisionawards.com or by calling the INVISION office at (650) 573-8522 x247. New to this year's Festival is the "NewMedia INSIGHT Conference," an industry summit on creativity and content featuring digerati from various disciplines. This year's Festival also includes The PLAYLAND Gallery at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The International Showcase and Artists/Media Receptions. --------------------------------------------------

DEALS

Activision to Fund Internal Teams in Startup Ventures Activision will extend its third-party developer relations program to certain development teams in its Los Angeles-based studio by making equity investments in an unspecified number of startup companies. The new business model will provide Activision internal developers with the opportunity to establish their own firms, to be supported by Activision Studios' resources and technologies, publishing and distribution capabilities. Activision will continue to maintain its Los Angeles internal studio, as well as its Madison, Wisconsin-based Raven Studios operation. Activision has recently signed several publishing agreements with development teams that have departed from other industry leading game companies including Nihilistic Software, Redline Games and Aaron Seeler's newly formed Raster Productions. --------------------------------------------------

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Activision Releases Vigilante 8 for PSX Activision's new PlayStation driving-combat game, Vigilante 8, features a proprietary 3D landscape engine and a cast of oddball characters. Set in the desolate Southwest, the title thrusts players into a battle between two rival gangs, the Coyotes and Vigilantes. Players take control of a variety of vehicles and battle through an alternative '70s universe where they must seek out and destroy their opponents. The game engine produces realistic terrain graphics - including lens flares and real-time reflection mapping - and complex car physics. The 10 arenas range from a Colorado ski resort to the lights and action of "Casino City." Players can utilize each of the arenas' specialized features to their advantage, such as causing an avalanche at the ski resort, and strategically damage and eliminate their enemies. More information can be found at http://www.activision.com. -------------------------------------------------- Berkeley Systems Updates Acrophobia Online Game A new version of Berkeley Systems' multi-player word game Acrophobia is now available on the Bezerk network (http://www.bezerk.com). Launched in November 1997, Acrophobia has registered more than 300,000 users, with more than four million games played to date. Up to 14 people meet in a game room where they must come up with witty, creative phrases based on the group of letters (ranging from 3 to 7 in length) and category displayed on the screen. Gamers vote on their favorite phrases and points are awarded for speed and humor. Additional features include new and improved Special Interest Rooms. Some Special Interest Rooms personalize the Acrophobia experience with individual rules that have been adopted by regular players who play there. Rooms can take on the theme of players who share a common interest or are in the same age group. Also, players can create acronyms in Spanish, Italian or Dutch. The new voter's bonus point lets players who buzz in first and receive at least one vote for best answer also receive an extra point. -------------------------------------------------- Activision to Bring Atari 2600 Titles to PSX Thirty classic Atari 2600 games will be available for the PlayStation game console with the launch of Activision Classics this October. The compilation will carry a suggested retail price of $29.95. All the games featured in Activision Classics will look and play exactly as they did on the original 2600 console. The compilation is comprised of such titles as Pitfall!, which brings players face-to- face with killer scorpions, bottomless pits and vicious crocodiles in the Mayan jungle; River Raid, in which players jet down the "River of No Return" using a B1 StratoWing Assault Jet; Kaboom!, in which players douse dropping bombs before they explode; and H.E.R.O, featuring the exploits of R. Hero, who players must maneuver through a tricky maze of mine shafts filled with lava rivers, vile vermin and creepy critters to rescue trapped miners. Also included are Chopper Command, Grand Prix, Boxing, Crackpots, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Frost Bite, Sea Quest, Sky Jinx and Spider Fighting. Find more info at http://www.activision.com. -------------------------------------------------- Carmageddon II to Contribute to Road Safety Once again, gamers will experience the satisfaction of venting their road rage on pedestrians and motorists alike from the safety of their home or office. A sequel to the Carmageddon racing game, is in development with SCi and Stainless Software Ltd., creators of the original title. Interplay will publish the title in North America. A release date of fall 1998 is anticipated for Windows 95 and Sony PlayStation versions of the title, with a Nintendo 64 version planned for winter 1999. "Improvements" over the original title include all-polygon pedestrians and other characters, giving players the ability not just to kill, but also to wound and dismember their unfortunate targets. New scoring systems are also planned, as well as 3Dfx support, 30 new weapons of destruction, 12 fully destructible landscapes, five different tracks of terror, and an improved physics engine. "We consider the game very therapeutic," says Paul Sackman, director of marketing for Interplay. "By giving players the opportunity to vent their driving aggression on their computer, they can race through town unleashing anger and frustration on unsuspecting victims while racking up points, not felonies. The real roads may indeed be safer for it." More information is available at http://www.interplay.com. -------------------------------------------------- MPG-Net, AT&T Team Up for New Online Gaming Hub Multi-Player Games Network (MPG-Net) and AT&T plan to introduce a new online games area by summer's end on AT&T WorldNet Service. GameHub, to be sponsored by MPG-NET, will offer shopping, messaging and chat rooms for GameHub players, and games, including Unreal, Drakkar II, Total Annihilation, Forsaken, Dragon's Bane and more. GameHub products will also include community-oriented games, in addition to familiar board games. GameHub will be powered with MPG-Net's Internet Content Network System (ICONS) infrastructure, which includes game development, game management, and game launch software, as well as back-office functionality. For game developers, GameHub offers exposure to 1.1 million AT&T WorldNet subscribers as well as support with APIs, administrative services, co-marketing, and promotion. For more information, access http://www.mpgn.com. -------------------------------------------------- VR Sports Ships Virtual Pool 2 for DVD Interplay division VR Sports last week shipped its first DVD title, Virtual Pool 2. Developed by Celeris, a former developer of surveillance and tracking software for the military, Virtual Pool 2 offers over 50 new features and carries a money-back guarantee that it will actually improve your pool play. The DVD platform reportedly offers twice the picture quality of VHS coupled with lifelike sound reproduction. "With its video-oriented tutorials and demonstrations," said David Coy, executive producer of Interplay OEM, "we felt that this was the perfect title to take full advantage of DVD technology." More comprehensive information on VR Sports and its products is available through the company's worldwide Web site at http://www.vrsports.com. -------------------------------------------------- Total Entertainment Network to Go Mass Market Online game service Total Entertainment Network (TEN) recently announced distribution agreements with Yahoo! competitors Excite and Infoseek, which TEN will provide with a TEN-branded game "channel" and online game service, respectively. TEN also introduced a lineup of recreational games, and announced the official release of TEN 2.0, the company's new Java-based technology solution. WebDeck software, a developer of classic board and card games will supply TEN with a parlor games, beginning with Euchre, Hearts, Spadesm Chess, Checkers, Crossword and Word Search. -------------------------------------------------- Microsoft Launches NextGen Controllers, Speakers At the recent E3 show in Atlanta, Microsoft introduced two new SideWinder game devices and unveiled its first PC speaker system. The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel, the free-motion PC game controller, SideWinder Freestyle Pro, and the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 are scheduled to be available in stores this fall. The wheel is designed to generate forces that create a realistic driving experience when used with force-feedback-enabled PC driving games. Effects include road textures, crashes, bumps, centrifugal forces, engine, tire and suspension vibration, and other conditions. It will ship with pedals and two Microsoft driving games -- CART Precision Racing and Monster Truck Madness 2. The SideWinder Freestyle Pro uses motion-sensing technology to deliver proportional (sometimes referred to as analog) PC game control in supported games. Gamers control onscreen action along the X-axis by tipping the device left or right, and along the Y-axis by tipping the unit forward or backward. The unit is designed for use with arcade-style drive-and-shoot and fly-and-shoot titles in which gamers maneuver vehicles within a 3D landscape while aiming head, body or weapons. The three-piece USB speaker system, designed in conjunction with Philips Electronics, includes a subwoofer and two satellite speakers plus hardware and software controls. For more information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/games/ --------------------------------------------------

HAPPENINGS

Virtual Humans Conferees to Discuss Digital Actors Virtual Humans 3 announced the addition of the final sessions "Autonomous Humanoids" and "Digital Kidnapping?" on Wednesday, June 17. The former will discuss developments in creating virtual humans with the ability to interact with character and emotion, while the latter will discuss the issues of intellectual property law as it applies to digital actors. The conference, which takes place June 16 and 17 at the Universal City Hilton in Los Angeles, will focus on virtual humans, as well as how technology is transforming how we work, play and interact with each other in the real and virtual worlds. For additional information, visit http://www.vrnews.com/eventsvh3main.html. -------------------------------------------------- WEB.X Set for NYC Next Week The WEB.X (http://www.Webdotx.com) trade show slated for June 16-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The organizers plan to draw business, IT and Web professionals looking for new products, technologies and solutions that address business applications on the Internet, intranet, extranet, e-commerce and online communications. Featured in the keynotes are Eckhard Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Compaq Computer Corporation; Dr. Eric Schmidt, chairman of the board and CEO of Novell, Inc.; John L. Steffens, vice chairman of the board, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; Paul S. Otellini, executive vice president of Intel Architecture Business Group, Intel Corporation; and Halsey Minor, chairman and CEO, CNET: The Computer Network. Encanto Networks plans to launch e.go Webstations that enable users to own and maintain active Internet presences. Interworks Systems, Inc. will launch PipeLive VX which provides users with real-time access to customer service personnel directly from the Web site with features typical to PBXs. MarketWave's Hit List is a real-time Web mining and traffic analysis solution that features improved integration with enterprise-wide operations.

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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