16 June 2003
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
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Tech Soft America (TSA), a provider of core graphics component technology to the engineering industry, has released version 9.0 of its HOOPS Stream Toolkit (HOOPS/Stream) in the latest.
HOOPS/Stream is the read/write SDK for the HOOPS Streaming Format (HSF), which provides the foundation for the rapidly emerging OpenHSF Initiative visualization standard. (www.openhsf.org), and the foundation for building custom streaming formats such as the eDrawings design intent format from SolidWorks.
With the 9.0 release, developers can create HSF files that include animation information which acts on the visualization data in the file. These files can be then played back in any of the HOOPS 3D Part Viewers or the HOOPS Stream Control (all downloadable free from www.hoops3d.com) or any custom viewers built using HOOPS components. To test this functionality and create animation data directly, users can test-drive the new Animation Authoring capabilities available in the new release of the HOOPS 3D Part Viewer demonstration application downloadable from www.hoops3d.com.
Beyond the new animation capabilities, key features and enhancements to HOOPS/Stream include:
New from E-Book Systems is FlipPublisher ($299), which creates 3D page-turning digital "FlipBooks" with rich media content such as text, audio, video, photographs and music. Output lets users "turn" pages as if reading a hard copy of a book, eliminating the need to scroll through documents. Magazines, newsletters, novels, textbooks, catalogs, brochures, portfolios, company manuals, financial reports and more can be created as a "FlipBook" with FlipPublisher. Once a FlipBook is created, it can be electronically delivered via the Web, or formatted onto CD-ROM for offline delivery.
CDs that are distributed are self-contained and launch automatically on the reader's PC. No installation of software is necessary. Flipbooks posted online can be viewed using a free version of E-Book System's FlipViewer 2.2, or FlipViewer Lite 2.2. Readers can bookmark individual pages, and access hyperlinks on the pages by simply clicking on the links.
Eedo Knowledgeware Corporation, a developer of browser-based knowledge transfer solutions, last week released ForceTen Version 2.0. The software is designed to let organizations deploy and update learning content and knowledge assets in real-time across multiple databases and across multiple domains.
Enhancements include development of soft-skill simulations and robust 'hard skills' simulations via 3D models and animations that are easily integrated using ForceTen's object-based tools.
Additional features include:
Oakland, Calif.-based Reiss Studio, in cooperation with Curious Labs, the publisher of Poser, has developed and released BodyStudio 2.0 for Windows. BodyStudio integrates Poser 3D character animation technology into Discreet 3ds max. The plug-in software allows Poser users to render and play Poser animations directly inside of 3ds max.
New features include:
New from Kajima Corp. is Windows-based REALS 2.0, a rendering and animation program for architects. The new software is said to offer fast rendering, raytracing, indirect light simulation, partial rendering, lighting effects such as glow lighting, a large material library, a variety of special effects, panorama, multiple object movement in an animation, and network animation.
REALS is a stand-alone Windows application, priced at $429. It accepts 3D models in standard DXF or 3DS file formats. Kajima has plans to develop direct translators in the near future so that a variety of native CAD formats can be read. A free, full-featured evaluation program is available for download at the Cadalog.com Web site.
Pinnacle Systems has begun shipping Liquid chrome, a new $15,000 compositing and editing system. Designed for professional postproduction, Liquid chrome combines three components--Pinnacle Liquid editing software, the TARGA 3000 compositing engine, and the K2 single-chip 3D DVE--into a turnkey editing solution. Included are codecs for I-frame MPEG-2 4:2:2 up to 50 Mbps, uncompressed and DV25 video formats, as well as real-time 2D and 3D DVE capability, four real-time video streams, unlimited layering, and multi-layered effects without interrupting workflow. Software includes the TitleDeko Pro character generator, Commotion Pro image editing and compositing, Impression DVD Pro authoring, and Pinnacle Liquid CX color correction.
Calimetrics, Inc. says it has demonstrated the commercial viability of its MLTM (MultiLevel) recording technology to double the capacity of dual-layer DVD read-only discs (DVD-9) with sufficient transfer rate to provide a cost-effective path to extend DVD to next-generation high-definition (HD) video and interactive games.
Calimetrics developed “ML HD-DVD” discs using industry-standard DVD mastering and replication equipment currently utilized in a large-scale manufacturing operation. This demonstrates that ML HD-DVD is commercially viable and can be implemented in a high-volume production environment with no major changes to manufacturing infrastructure. The discs were tested and proven to meet DVD-9 standards for data integrity under specified stress conditions.
Calimetrics has developed proprietary ML codes and error correction algorithms for implementation in a single integrated circuit (chip) to add HD capability to DVD players. With ML HD-DVD technology incorporated into the electronics of an existing DVD system, consumer electronics makers can offer the market high-definition video players without any changes to the optics and mechanics of a standard DVD player. Thus, HD-capable DVD video players that also read existing DVD libraries can be built using currently available components. Proposed blue laser-based systems for with HD capability will require two lasers, adding to both complexity and cost.
On the DRM front, the proprietary ML format is said to provide flexibility, revocability and multiple levels of security that can be tailored by content owners for their specific applications.
Join leading developers to exchange ideas and advance the state of the art of games at the Game Developers Conference in March 2004.
For more information on speaking and submitting proposals to the 2004 Game Developers Conference, visit:
Activision, Inc.'s Star Trek Elite Force II has gone gold and is headed to retail. Set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe, players take command as head of the elite Hazard Team in the first-person action game. Gamers will arm themselves with an array of weaponry as they hack, battle and vaporize a relentless onslaught of enemies including hordes of nightmarish creatures, new alien species and familiar franchise staples such as the Borg and Romulans. The title was developed by Ritual Entertainment,.
Best of Show: Half-Life 2 (Valve LLC/Vivendi Universal Games for PC): interaction with NPCs, vehicle driving, object manipulation and cinematic action sequences
Best Original Game: Full Spectrum Warrior (Pandemic Studios/THQ for Xbox/PC): for realism and squad-based gameplay.
Best PC Game: Half-Life 2
Best Console Game: Halo 2 (Bungie Studios/Microsoft for Xbox)
Best Peripheral/Hardware: EyeToy (Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 2)
Best Action Game: Half-Life 2
Best Action/Adventure Game: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Ubi Soft Montreal/UbiSoft for All Game Systems):
Best Fighting Game: Soul Calibur 2 (Namco for All Console Systems)
Best Role Playing Game: Fable (Big Blue Box/Microsoft for Xbox)
Best Racing Game: Gran Turismo 4 (Polyphony Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 2)
Best Simulation Game: Full Spectrum Warrior
Best Sports Game: Tony Hawk's Underground (Neversoft/Activision for All Console Platforms)
Best Strategy Game: Rome: Total War (Creative Assembly/Activision for PC)
Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game: The EyeToy Games (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for PlayStation 2): Scheduled to hit store shelves this holiday season at under $40, Sony's EyeToy is essentially a USB camera that maps the player's physical movements into games. Because the games Sony developed to go with the device require only intuitive body movements, not complicated button combos, the EyeToy should be fairly accessible to non-gamers. Sony Computer Entertainment of America's chief Kazuo Hirai drew laughs from the normally jaded E3 press by flailing his arms in front of the EyeToy in a demonstration of a window washing game. Sony said it will bundle 12 mini-games with the EyeToy, but executives hope that developers will integrate the device into future games.
Best Online Multiplayer: City of Heroes (Cryptic Studios/NCSoft for PC): upcoming massively-multiplayer superhero-based role-playing game developed by San Jose-based Cryptic Studios (to be published by NCSoft) lets players create and customize a superhero from scratch and set out in the metropolis of Paragon City to do just about anything.
Special Commendation for Graphics: Half-Life 2
Vincent John Vincent, virtual reality (VR) / new media pioneer and cofounder of JesterTek Inc. and Vivid Group Inc. was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Canadian New Media Awards to recognize his 20 years of new media vision, creativity, excellence, and industry advocacy.
"This is an honor I share with my amazing creative collaborator, and business partner, Francis MacDougall," states Vinent John Vincent. "We have worked as one team on everything we have accomplished in the VR and New Media fields. It has been a great journey so far, and I look forward to what we can accomplish next."
Vincent and Francis graduated from U of Waterloo in 1985. They co-founded the Vivid Group, and invented the Mandala VR system, a video gesture analysis/control technology, which keyed a user's live real-time video image into 3D computer-animation worlds on the screen in front of them. It allowed the user to manipulate animated objects, and navigate virtual worlds with their video image. They had installations at the Smithsonian Institute, Canadian World Expo Pavilions, Disney, and other galleries, museums, science centers, and entertainment facilities. Now known as the Gesture Xtreme system, there are over 600 installations worldwide.
Vincent also gained renown as the pioneer of VR performance in over 200 VR performances around the world.
The technology has also been applied as the first Interactive Virtual Set for TV production (1988) and is now used in the industry, and as an interactive virtual videoconferencing system (1989). The system is now also being used as a rehabilitation exercise system for physiotherapy and disabilities. http://www.irexonline.com
In 1999 they created the first stereo camera-based VR control system. This JestPoint system enables the computer to see in 3D space and deduce the distance and composition of the moving objects in front of its "eyes," allowing users to control all aspects of dynamic onscreen content on large screens with hand gestures from any distance. JestPoint has been installed in retail locations and windows, trade shows, museums, and advertising.
Nearly 1,000 digital design pioneers will gather at the 10th Flashforward conference and Flash Film Festival in New York City, July 9-11. Featuring Macromedia Flash development, the show will offer four half-day workshops, 22 seminars, 20 Q&A sessions, 17 Ask the Experts sessions, and 11 Technology Showcase sessions. In addition, the three-day event includes a Flash technology exhibition area and a Flash Authors Book Signing Reception and Networking Party.
On the evening of July 10, the 10th Flash Film Festival showcases 60 Flash projects and awards winners in 16 categories including best animation, motion graphics, interactivity, art, application, education, commerce, experimental, game, cartoon, story, technical merit, 3D, typography, and the People's Choice award. View the finalists' work online at the address below.
Session titles include Rich Application Development, Video, The Flash Communication Server, Remoting, Interface Design, E-Learning, ActionScripting, Audio, 3D, Wireless Flash Applications, The Drawing API, The Making of a RIA, Interface Design, Storytelling, XML, Deconstructing the Rich Interactive Experience, Design and Marketing, ColdFusion, Data Visualization, Usability, OOP & Design Patterns, Creating Usable Interfaces for RIAs, Workflow, Component Development, The First Ever All-Flash E-Commerce Site, Game Development, Developer Resource Kits, Photoshop and Flash, Accessibility, Macromedia Central, 3D Vector Rendering with Maya 5, Visualizing Data with Charts, Graphs, and Maps, Templates for Rich Media Storytelling, The Creation of Flash Illuminations, Flash Avatars - Developing Interactive Conversational Agents Using [V] Host Technology, Compressing Dynamic Video Content, Enhancing Animation with Toon Boom Studio, and Unlimited-Resolution Images in Flash.
GDC Europe's Mobile Day brings together leaders from the mobile communications industry with Europe's leading game developers. Network operators, content aggregators, technology and infrastructure providers and game developers explore next generation technology, platform issues, and current business tactics.
GDC Europe, 26-29 August 2003, Earls Court, London, UK
GDC Europe Mobile Day, 26 August 2003, Earls Court, London, UK
GDC Europe Mobile Day Sessions Include:
Mobile Operator Spotlight Session: Robert Tercek, Machines That Go Ping, Bradley De Souza, mm02 (UK), Luis Ezcurra, Telefonica Moviles (Spain), Tim Harrison, Vodafone Live (UK), Martin Péronnet, i-mode/Bouygues Telecom, Alan Welsman, Orange (UK)
Mobile Games: Japan and the Future: David "DC" Collier, Gamelet.com
Case Study: China: Norbert Chang, Enorbus Entertainment
Great Mobile Game Design: Matthew Bellows, Wireless Gaming Review
Cross-Media Mobile Games: Monique Van Dusseldorp, Van Dusseldorp Partners
Designing Multiplayer Games for Mobile Audiences: Dan Scherlis, Etherplay
Practical Implementation of Mobile Multiplayer Games: Graham Thomas, CEO, Cash-U
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- David Duberman
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