Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 29 Jun 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 --BOOMASoft Unveils Web Form Design Software --Macromedia Announces Educational Suite, Mac Flash Server --Oracle Updates Video Server --Hipster rAntman Roasts the Web at URL hURL DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Medéa Ships Affordable External RAIDs for Desktop Video Editing --SN Systems Launches Pro-DG Game Development System --TEAC Plans 6X CD-R Drive --Eighteen-Year-Old Programmer Launches Multimedia Authoring Tool --Sending Big Files? Try Gigex! IN THE INFOGROOVE --Internet Mute Updates Web Ad Blocker GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --MetaCreations Ships Poser 3 --LumaObject 1.1 for MAX 2.5 Released --Canopus Card Reverses Voodoo2 Pass-through Scheme --Diamond Launches RIVA 128ZX-based Viper V330 --Number Nine announces Revolution IV --Matrox Drops m3D Price --Hemera Ships Photo-Objects Image Collection CONSUMER CHANNEL --Smithsonian Teams with Synthonics in 3D Preservation Project THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --U.S. Internet Economy to Nearly Quadruple by 2002, Study Finds --Peddie: 3D Software Market Entering High Growth Stage --Web Design Competition to Benefit Charity DEALS --Kesmai's Gamestorm on the Verge of netWAR GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Sierra Opens Doors to Leisure Suit Larry's Casino --ORIGIN Plans Online-Only Wing Commander --SCEA Launches 3D Jersey Devil --Puzzle Game Developer to Create Online Games for TEN --QUAKE II to Attack PlayStation, Sin Demo Due --VR Baseball to Use Messiah Technology HAPPENINGS --SIGGRAPH Events to Focus on Web 3D, Better Living --O'Reilly to Host Open Source Developer Day F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------


BOOMASoft Unveils Web Form Design Software BOOMASoft introduced BOOMA WebForms at the Web '98 show last week in San Francisco. The program creates Web forms via drag-and-drop methods and requires no CGI scripting, programming or Java coding. As the form is designed, a database is automatically and invisibly created to receive and store the form's data. BOOMA WebForms uses a Java applet to process its forms. Because of this Java applet, the software requires no server applications and is reportedly suitable for virtually hosted Web sites. The program uses MS-Access data structures, enabling users to access the data with a variety of tools. BOOMA WebForms includes an auto responder application that allows users to define automatic responses to submitted forms. The responses can be sent to submitters either immediately or at pre-determined dates and time intervals. Users can customize and personalize each response based on the information submitted in the form. BOOMA WebForms has a suggested retail price of $99 and will ship in August 1998. It runs on desktop computers under Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT and will be available for the Macintosh soon. The program works on many browsers including Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, and Netscape 3.0 or higher. The program can be purchased prior to the August release date for $49 and comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. A beta version will be available to the general public July 1 via BOOMASoft's Web site at http://www.boomasoft.com. A free 30-day trial version of the software will also be available from BOOMASoft's Web site in August. For more information, call (801) 495-3100 or visit http://www.boomasoft.com. -------------------------------------------------- Macromedia Announces Educational Suite, Mac Flash Server Macromedia last week announced Macromedia Web Design 101, a new educational tool suite for faculty of degree-issuing institutions that offer Web design or Web design-related courses. Macromedia Web Design 101 includes six hours of hands-on course curriculum for each of the company's Web design tools -- Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and FreeHand -- including sample files and project assignments. The product also includes full 90-day versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and FreeHand for installation on up to 50 lab computers. Macromedia Web Design 101 will be available directly from Macromedia for US $14.99 in summer 1998. In conjunction with Web Design 101, Macromedia also announced student pricing of US $99 each for Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and FreeHand through October 31, 1998 -- available at Macromedia education resellers. Macromedia also announced a new public beta of Flash Generator for authoring graphic templates on Power Macintosh platforms. Flash Generator can now also output JPEG and PNG files, in addition to binary Flash files, GIF and animated GIF. The new public beta is available for download at no charge at http://www.flash.com/generator. Flash Generator is new server-based software that uses templates created in Flash 3 to create Web graphics on the fly with dynamic data. Web designers can use Flash 3 to create graphic templates, which are linked to a data file and then served by Flash Generator. By automating the process of linking database content to Web site graphics, Flash Generator enables Web designers to create real-time headlines, mastheads, advertising, interactive maps, schedules, charts, graphs and more. -------------------------------------------------- Oracle Updates Video Server Oracle announced the immediate, production availability of Oracle Video Server 3.0 for storing, managing and delivering full-screen video and CD-quality audio to the home and desktop. Combined with Oracle8 database server, the product is said to provide the central components for interactive applications including video-on-demand, news-on-demand, music-on-demand, home shopping and interactive education. Enhancements include: * support for Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) standards provides transition from analog to digital video formats * support for video delivery over Digital Subscriber Loop (DSL) telco networks For more information, visit http://www.oracle.com/products/asd/video/video.html. -------------------------------------------------- Live Picture Image Server Products to be Optimized for Sun Solaris Live Picture and Sun Microsystems plan to optimize Live Picture Image Server solutions to Sun Solaris-based server systems, including its Ultra desktop and Sun Enterprise server computers. With the Live Picture Viewer Java Version, Live Picture Image Servers allow users to zoom into high-resolution FlashPix images without having to install a plug-in. Live Picture will further support the Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.2 APIs. Live Picture Image Server software is itself designed for Java technology. The server incorporates some 30,000 lines of Java code, representing nearly half the software's entire code. Live Picture is on the Web at http://www.livepicture.com. -------------------------------------------------- Hipster rAntman Roasts the Web at URL hURL If you're looking for free, syndicated content for your site, check out case-challenged eyescream interactive, inc.'s new URL hURL (http://www.urlhurl.com), a Web meta-review site inhabited by 90-year-old beatpoet rAntman, arguably the Net's quirkiest avatar. >From his hAunted bAnaña cAbaña in the virtual tropics, rAntman roasts, rebukes, or recommends many of the Web's hippest zines, art spots, e-narratives, weird manifestations, and popculture artifacts. rAntman's intense, espresso-fueled writing style has been described as "baklava dipped in battery acid." Fresh dispatches from rAntman infest cyberspace Monday through Friday via three distinct forms of online distribution, each carrying a mix of sponsorship and advertising: 1) Opt-in free email (eeeee!mail) subscription (http://www.urlhurl.com/eeeeesub.html); 2) A Website crammed with irreverent art/photo media jams and a random-access archive of rAntman rants (http://www.urlhurl.com); 3) Syndicated content -- served in graphic GIF format -- carried by Webzines and commercial Websites (http://www.urlhurl.com/signup.html). --------------------------------------------------


Medéa Ships Affordable External RAIDs for Desktop Video Editing Westlake Village, Calif.-based Medéa Corporation has begun shipping VideoRaid pci disk arrays, said to be the first external hardware-based RAID 0 disk arrays specifically designed and optimized for desktop video editing applications. The two-and four-drive arrays offer sustained data transfer rates of 15 MB/second and 27 MB/second respectively at prices reaching below $100 per GB, including the PCI host adapter. Medéa's proprietary Zone Striping Technology (ZST), reportedly the key to the product's performance, records a part of each data transfer block on the outside tracks of VideoRaid's disks while recording the rest of the data transfer block on the inside tracks. The company claims this striping provides a sustained high data rate even as the disk array fills up with video. VideoRaid pci is compatible with Windows 95/98 and NT. It supports popular analog and DV video capture boards from Canopus, DPS, FAST, Pinnacle Systems, Radius and Truevision, including the new dual-stream, real-time effects boards, such as Matrox's DigiSuite LE, Pinnacle System's Reel-Time and Truevision's TARGA 2000RTX. Call Medéa at (888) BY-MEDEA for a list of resellers. -------------------------------------------------- SN Systems Launches Pro-DG Game Development System The UK's SN Systems Software claims its new Pro-DG Environment for Windows 95/NT provides a single, powerful environment that allows absolute customization for projects It can accommodate SN's build tools and debugger and incorporates SN's View and Pane technology for projects customization. It uses COM components and Windows visual technology. Functionality includes: * Visual Build Manager - no need for makefiles * language-aware editor, with emulation for Brief and other popular editors * integration with the Windows shell and Internet Explorer 4 * instant source code control with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe * control any object in the IDE with JScript, VBScript, and DHTML pages * project wizards to show how to bootstrap a game Contact: Alex Rice, SN Systems Voice: +44 (0) 117 929 9733 mailto:alex@snsys.com -------------------------------------------------- TEAC Plans 6X CD-R Drive TEAC last week announced plans to manufacture a 6X CD-Recordable drive. Exact specifications are not available at this time, although the company claims that the drive's 6X write speed (900 KBps) will create a 650MB CD in approximately 10 minutes. Additionally, the drive will utilize a fast SCSI interface, a tray-loading system and be priced affordably. Web: http://www.teac.com. -------------------------------------------------- Eighteen-Year-Old Programmer Launches Multimedia Authoring Tool Cocktail '98, a Windows-based multimedia authoring program, was designed by 18-year-old Hite Lee of Korea. The program, whose Korean market share is reportedly 75 percent, is now available in the U.S. through Samsung, as well as Japan, Canada, and Australia. Designed for the creation of linear and interactive presentations, the pr says Cocktail '98 will also author multimedia email messages, electronic albums, and encyclopedias with movies, pictures and graphs. Cocktail '98 consists of Multimedia Studio, the main program, and six subsidiary programs: Cocktail Multimedia Player, Cocktail Hypertext, Workshop Artist, Workshop Database, Workshop Word, and Workshop Musician. Features: * support for more than 30 kinds of image files and 114 different types of image effects, screen shots, and scanning. * Record, play, and mix voice and CDs. Audio file format support includes MID, RMI, WAV, and AVI. * support for standard word files such as RTF, TXT, HTM. * support for 20 different kinds of database files including Access MDB, dBASE DBF, Btrieve DDF, Excel XLS, FoxPro DBF, Paradox PDX, plus data searching using SQL. More information is available at http://www.cocktail98.com. -------------------------------------------------- Sending Big Files? Try Gigex! This is an unsolicited testimonial. Netscape Navigator (4.05) is my browser of choice, although I hate how unstable it is. If I spend over 15 minutes or so surfing, or especially if I'm accessing Usenet, it usually crashes. More often than not it takes my Win95 system with it, forcing a reboot. I started downloading a 15MB file from a Web site the other day when something I'd never seen before appeared. It was a download dialog with a big Gigex headline, and lots of useful statistics, including graphical and/or numerical displays of average/current speeds, files in package/transferred, time/bytes transferred/remaining and more. But what really caught my eye was the claim "Survives reboots." I was skeptical, but when Netscape once again sent my system to Siberia (I was reading newsgroups during the download), imagine my surprise when, upon rebooting, up popped the Gigex dialog, showing the pre-crash status and ready to resume the download! I reconnected, the bytes started flying onto my disk again, and all was right with the world! The moral of the story: If you're delivering large files over your Web site, especially to paying customers, Gigex would seem to be the way to go. Check it out at http://gigex.com. --------------------------------------------------


Internet Mute Updates Web Ad Blocker Internet Mute, Inc. introduces interMute 1.1, a shareware Web browsing utility that enables users to block advertisements, animated images, cookies, Java, JavaScript, background music, and other unwanted material from Web pages. Version 1.1 offers no major new functionality, but adds support for the Opera Web browser and provides performance enhancements and bug fixes. interMute does not mutilate the Web pages it filters and no 'broken image' links are left behind. The software is configurable via a simple graphical interface, so users can select or deselect each kind of filtering (ads, animations, etc.) for all Web sites, specified Web sites, or no Web sites. interMute is available from http://www.interMute.com for $19.95, and users can download a free 14-day evaluation copy. --------------------------------------------------


MetaCreations Ships Poser 3 MetaCreations Corporation is shipping Poser 3, a 3D figure posing and animation tool for 2D and 3D artists and animators working on projects ranging from medical illustration to choreography and forensic re-enactment animation. The product is available now as a hybrid CD for Windows and Macintosh at a suggested retail price of US $299. Key new features in Poser 3: * New Super-Realistic Human Models -- realistic and poseable hands, faces (with full facial expression controls), hair and clothes * Animal Models -- five poseable animals with articulated body parts including tails with curves and facial controls * Character Animation -- easy slider controls allow creation of custom facial expressions- or access an extensive library of phonemes and pre-set facial expressions. * New Interface -- intuitive and simple; increased level of access with customizable tools and user interface layout * Walk Designer -- blend walk styles such as sneak, shuffle or run then customize using tweaks such as hip swing, head bounce and arm movement for realistic walk patterns that can be applied to Poser models for animation * Poseable Hands -- new high-resolution hand models are fully jointed and articulated with a full library of ASL (American Sign Language) presets * Motion Capture -- import industry-standard BVH motion capture files for instant animation of Poser figures. Finished results are incredibly realistic and accurate animations of kinetic motions, such as golf swings or complex dance steps. * Sound integration -- import a sound file of speech or music; then sync phonemes or motion to move with corresponding sounds Web http://www.metacreations.com. -------------------------------------------------- LumaObject 1.1 for MAX 2.5 Released German developer Cebas' LumaObject plug-in for 3D Studio MAX and VIZ, newly available for US$250 from distributor Trinity Animation, simulates radiosity and diffuse light using a unique method said to require no precalculation, thus impacting rendering speed minimally. LumaObject works by distributing its own special diffuse lights into selected meshes, and taking color data from the color of the host object at the positions of the new light sources. The diffusion and room reflection attributes of these distributed lights are controllable. Also, the user can set up an object to emit light at all times (as if glowing), or only to emit light from illuminated areas of the object (reflecting light only). By adding LumaObject to major surfaces and brightly colored objects in a scene, an animation with the look of radiosity can be achieved, while still using MAX's fast scanline renderer. Further, where a single "solution" blocks animators relying on radiosity software from animating objects or lights, no such limitation exists using LumaObject for radiosity. For example, a rainbow-striped beach ball rolling down a white hall will reflect the light in the hall onto the floor and walls with the correct colors reflected in the correct places. When functioning in the full "emit light" mode, LumaObject causes an object to illuminate its surroundings as though it were glowing. Because diffusion and room reflection are adjustable, this feature goes beyond enabling glowing orbs and TV screens in dark rooms: Full diffuse lighting is now possible. The new package also includes a second plug-in called LumaParticles, which allows any particle system to emit light. LumaObject and LumaParticles also work with Volumetric lights. A volumetric light beam that hits a LumaObject reflect-enabled object, will bounce the volumetric beam. If applied to particles, a hazy volumetric glow effect is visible around each particle. For more information, visit


or http://www.cebas.com/us/lumaobject_frame.htm. -------------------------------------------------- Canopus Card Reverses Voodoo2 Pass-through Scheme Canopus Corporation's new T3D128DX (The WitchDoctor) is a $139.95 4MB NVIDIA RIVA 128-based AGP 2D/3D card that provides an external "reverse" pass-through connection from any 3Dfx Voodoo2 game board, thus bypassing the traditional pass through the 3D graphics board. Canopus claims this improves on-screen image quality at higher screen resolutions by providing a direct path from the RIVA 128 graphics board to the monitor Other features include TV-out capabilities for big-screen gaming, plus two software controllers: Quick Control with "on-the-fly" keyboard control to simultaneously adjust gamma on the PC monitor and brightness on the TV screen during game play, and Quick Control to dynamically set screen brightness for better visibility during dark scenes. For more information, contact Canopus at (408) 954-4500 or visit http://www.canopuscorp.com. -------------------------------------------------- Diamond Launches RIVA 128ZX-based Viper V330 Diamond Multimedia Systems' new $129.95 8MB Viper V330 mainstream graphics accelerator uses NVIDIA's RIVA 128ZX integrated controller and 8MB SGRAM. The card can display resolutions up to 1600x1200 at 32 bits and 1920x1200 at 16 bits (high color), with refresh rates up to 200Hz. The 3D features set includes alpha-blending, anti-aliasing, Z-buffering, Gouraud shading and hardware triangle setup. Drivers support DirectX 5.0, including Direct 3D and OpenGL, and the card is DVD upgradeable. For additional details, visit http://www.diamondmm.com. -------------------------------------------------- Number Nine announces Revolution IV Scheduled for release in Q3 '98 by Number Nine Visual Technology is the $169 Revolution IV graphics accelerator, based on Number Nine's recently announced, fourth-generation, 128-bit graphics chip, Ticket To Ride IV. The card features a standard 16MB of dedicated video memory. Features include: * 2.0 GB/second onboard frame buffer bandwidth * pipelined memory read and writes * multiple 128-bit 3D/video and 2D engines * proprietary 128-bit WideBus Architecture * integrated 250 MHz. Palette DAC * 128-bit CRT Controller * multiple color look-up tables * 128-bit video engine, said to allow smooth, full-screen, full-motion MPEG playback at up to 1280 x 1024 at 16.8 million colors without dropping video frames * front-end color space converter de-compresses and converts MPEG I/II color data from YUV to RGB. MPEG video clips can be scaled to full-screen resolutions -- even when in true color display modes * advanced 3D pipeline features: * built-in 3D rendering engine, coupled to an IEEE 754 floating point 3D rendering setup engine that runs at 430 MFLOPS (million floating point operations per second) * 3D pixels processed at up to 32-bit color for precision 3D rendering * 32- and 16-bit Z-buffering support processes up to 16.7 million Z-steps, said to improve 3D image quality by reducing texture seams and unsightly artifacts present in 3D game-oriented chips, which offer less precision * 10 levels-of-detail per pixel MIP Mapping * full-scene anti-aliasing * 8KB on-chip texture cache * palletized textures at 8, 4, 2 and 1 bpt * atmospheric effects for specular lighting, interpolated fogging and alpha blending * support for perspective corrected texture mapping with bi-linear and tri-linear filtering * DirectX 5.0 and 6.0 support * optimized Direct3D and OpenGL ICD 3D support * AGP 2X data transfer rates allow for data throughput up to 533 MB per second to system memory * 4x increase over PCI transfers * sideband AGP support * full-screen, 30fps MPEG-II playback Number Nine is located on the Web at http://www.nine.com. -------------------------------------------------- Matrox Drops m3D Price Matrox has reduced the price of its m3D PCI 3D upgrade for gamers to $39.99 (ESP). The upgrade, with 4MB of SDRAM, accelerates 3D games at resolutions up to 1024x768 with 3D features such as bilinear and adaptive filtering, fogging, anti-aliased textures and dithering from 24-bit color to 16-bit to maintain true color display. In addition, it supports 3D at full screen or in a window. Find more online at http://www.matrox.com/ -------------------------------------------------- Hemera Ships Photo-Objects Image Collection Newly available from Hemera Technologies Inc. is Photo-Objects Premium Image Collection, an all-purpose collection of photo-objects designed for desktop publishing, graphic and Web design. The collection includes over 10,000 images, plus PhotoFont Maker, an application for the creation of textured fonts. The product operates under Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 and retails for a suggested list price of $69.95 US. Features: * 600 x 600-resolution images have transparent backgrounds, use proprietary .hpi file format, import into application via drag-and-drop method * thumbnails * search interactively, using plain English commands, by name, by attribute, by category, etc. As the user types keywords, the corresponding thumbnails appear on the screen For more information, visit http://www.hemera.com, or call 819-772-8200 or fax 819-778-6552. --------------------------------------------------


Smithsonian Teams with Synthonics in 3D Preservation Project Synthonics Technologies has delivered a database of three-dimensional (3D) digital images of priceless artifacts housed at the Smithsonian Institution in a first-of-its-kind project that will allow people around the world to view and interact with fragile and irreplaceable museum artifacts. Transforming a Cold War defense technology into what could become a mainstream education tool to be accessed via the Internet, Synthonics has produced interactive 3D digital replicas of seldom-seen wood carvings for Centro Alameda, the Smithsonian's San Antonio, Tex. museum affiliate. The wood statues are part of the Smithsonian's collection of "Santos," icons revered by the Latino community as part of their cultural and religious history. Once objects are converted to 3D digital replicas, students, scholars, researchers and the general public can interact with museum artifacts via the Internet on a standard PC, anywhere in the world. After downloading the image and a viewer from a Web site, people can use a standard computer mouse to manipulate the 3D image to see the front, sides, back or base, enlarge a portion of the object to see detail, perform point-to-point measurements or even inspect critical elements below the surface, much like an X-ray image displays bones inside the body. The Santos project is the first of a series of collaborations between Synthonics and the Smithsonian Institution. Synthonics' Christopher Raphael subsidiary has been commissioned to create a CD-ROM containing 3D digital replicas of seldom seen artifacts, fine art and other objects from each of the Smithsonian's 16 diverse museums and the National Zoo. The CD-ROM will be available this fall. Reach Synthonics Technologies in Westlake Village, Calif. at (818) 707-6000. --------------------------------------------------


U.S. Internet Economy to Nearly Quadruple by 2002, Study Finds The Internet and the World Wide Web have burst upon the business scene and popular culture like no other technology before. A new IDC White Paper sponsored by The Industry Standard predicts that the Internet-related spending of businesses and consumers will hit $124 billion this year and over half a trillion dollars in 2002. Key findings: * By 2002 U.S. businesses will spend over $200 billion on Internet technology deployment -- 20 percent of all spending on technology. By the end of 1998, that spending will reach over $62 billion. * Spending in areas not related to technology, such as content creation, marketing and sales, and professional services, will grow even faster to over $300 billion in 2002. * In head-to-head case study comparisons of selected application investments, first-year return on investment (ROI) for Web applications was 245 percent, compared to leading-edge client/server applications at 95 percent. * The availability of venture capital to invest in Internet companies will nearly double this year to over $8 billion. * Total Internet commerce -- the purchase of goods and services over the Internet -- in the United States will close in on $250 billion in 2002. An IDC survey of 630 "architects" of the Internet economy, conducted in the spring of 1998, confirms these individuals are having a profound impact on the overall market. This powerful group -- whose roles include setting standards, redesigning business processes, financing expansion, and evangelizing the Internet -- are intimately involved in the daily decision making process, interacting with one another and reacting to an ever-changing environment. Key findings from the survey include: * 75 percent of the "architects" have either direct control or significant influence over their company's Internet strategy. * More than 80 percent purchase products and services over the Internet at least once a month. Find IDC's Web site at http://www.idc.com. -------------------------------------------------- Peddie: 3D Software Market Entering High Growth Stage Tiburon, Calif.-based market research firm Jon Peddie Associates (JPA) announced the results of its study, The 3D Tools and Applications Market Study '98 ($4,995). According to the report, by the end of 1998 over 77 million PCs will be 3D hardware enabled, or approximately 84 percent of all PCs. Hardware-enabled PCs will make up 98.9 percent of the total PC market by the year 2003. In 1998 JPA estimates there will be 18 million 3D users, growing to some 79.3 million in five years. Other findings: * Across the board, from animation to CAD and visualization, Windows NT is replacing Unix by rates of 20 to 70 percent. * The visual simulation market is going through an explosive growth period. JPA estimates the current growth rate to be 32 percent annually. * Total software tools revenue for 3D Internet creation is expected to reach $681.7 million by 2001. * The total animation market is expected to reach $2.58 billion in 1998. The full report covers the following topics: * Software market enablers - major trends affecting the 3D market * 3D Animation Software - entertainment markets for animation * CAD - market leaders and applications * Visual Simulation/VR - market shares for leading software vendors * 3D Internet Tools - market analysis of 3D for the Internet For more information, call JPA at 415-759-6555, fax 415-759-1577, mailto:claire@jpa.com or visit http://www.jpa.com. -------------------------------------------------- Web Design Competition to Benefit Charity Masters of the Web is a new annual competition for the country's top Web designers, organized to benefit STARBRIGHT Foundation, an organization designed to empower seriously ill children. The Open Division of the competition will be open to any interested parties including corporate Web designers, Web development firms, interactive agencies, academics and the general public. In addition, there is an opportunity for the new media community to nominate colleagues to participate in the elite Masters Division of the competition. A panel of judges will select the top 50 Web designers to compete against each other in this division. In December, judges will choose 20 sites, the top 10 from each competition division. All finalists will have the opportunity to participate in a public online defense of their site. Winners will be declared at the Demo '99 conference in February. A Web design champion from both the Open Division and the Masters Division will each be awarded $5,000. Registration and nominations can be made at http://www.Webmasters98.com. --------------------------------------------------


Kesmai's Gamestorm on the Verge of netWAR Online multiplayer games provider Kesmai Corporation has licensed the U.S. distribution rights for netWAR, Headland Digital Media's online multiplayer combat game. The game will soon be available exclusively on Kesmai's online gaming service, GameStorm (http://www.gamestorm.com). Launched in November 1997, netWar is fought in a real-time online battle arena where players engage in hand-to-hand combat or cooperate in teams to blast away opposing forces. Each netWAR battle allows up to 30 opponents to compete for the spoils of war through arcade-style action. --------------------------------------------------


Sierra Opens Doors to Leisure Suit Larry's Casino Sierra has just released Leisure Suit Larry's Casino on PC CD-ROM for Windows 95. The title offers free Internet support and an online economy that provides players with ways to spend winnings and places to earn back losses. After checking in, players (both single-player and multi-player) choose one of ten personas from the Leisure Suit Larry adventure game series. Then, they hit the gaming floor in search of big winnings. Players have the option to compete against computerized challengers or live challengers online in five traditional casino games (Blackjack, Poker, Roulette, Craps, and Slots), all featuring authentic casino play. Off-line, four randomly selected characters from previous Larry games sit across a hot tub from the player, while Leisure Suit Larry himself serves as dealer, croupier or stickman. These characters have thousands of lines of dialog and react to hundreds of different conditions. In online mode, up to four characters appear, each a representation of another live person connected through WON.net. Ways to spend online winnings range from buying gifts to impress your friends to upgrading your initial hotel room to something more impressive. You can even give money to your poorer buddies, or to that certain someone special you want to show a good time! For more information, visithttp://www.sierra.com/lslcasino. -------------------------------------------------- ORIGIN Plans Online-Only Wing Commander Late this summer, ORIGIN Systems will release Wing Commander: Secret Ops, an entire game set in the Wing Commander universe and available only through the Internet. The stand-alone product will offer 56 new single-player missions split into seven downloadable episodes. ORIGIN will post a new Secret Ops episode on the Wing Commander Web site, http://www.secretops.com, each week beginning later this summer. The beauty part: ORIGIN is giving away Secret Ops free (except for standard Internet connection charges). -------------------------------------------------- SCEA Launches 3D Jersey Devil Just out from Sony Computer Entertainment America for the PlayStation game console is Jersey Devil, a character-based, action adventure platform game, developed by Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive. The real-time game offers 3D cartoon animation, a 360-degree roving view game environment, challenging platform and puzzle-laden gameplay and wicked character attacks and moves. Players are challenged through 12 3D cartoon-animated levels filled with treacherous passageways, mysterious objects, intricate traps and bonus rounds, and a variety of marauding mutant enemies. Using such moves as the Jersey Devil slide, somersault, glide, tail whip, punch and climb, players must outsmart the sinister Dr. Knarf and his minions. The game's mutant army includes Dennis the Pumpkin Head, the Lovely Olga, the hungry T-Rex, the Sumo wrestling Mole, Spraycula and others. Visit http://www.playstation.com. -------------------------------------------------- Puzzle Game Developer to Create Online Games for TEN Smart Games, Inc. will develop for online game service Total Entertainment Network (TEN) a number of original, online-only, Java-based puzzle and word games, which will be available exclusively on TEN's network of Web sites. Intended to supply TEN with a lineup of easy-to-use recreational games, the new titles from Smart Games will be available for free on TEN's new Java-based technology solution, TEN 2.0. Smart Games' titles will be added to the TEN lineup beginning in Fall 1998. Smart Games' roster of puzzle designers includes Stanley Newman, the record holder for the fastest solution of an entire New York Times Crossword Puzzle (2 minutes, 14 seconds). For more information, visit http://www.smartgames.com. -------------------------------------------------- QUAKE II to Attack PlayStation, Sin Demo Due id Software's QUAKE II, published by Activision, has shipped more than 900,000 units worldwide since its launch in December, and is expected to top 1 million units by this summer. The companies have announced that the title, enhanced with new levels, will become available for the Sony PlayStation at an undisclosed point in the future. Check out more about id Software at http://www.idsoftware.com, and Activision at http://www.activision.com. Also, Activision affiliate Ritual Entertainment delivers salvation to sinners everywhere on Sinday Bloody Sinday--Sunday, July 26--with a demo of Sin, its much-hyped first-person shooter. Find more at http://www.ritual.com/news/index.html. -------------------------------------------------- VR Baseball to Use Messiah Technology Interplay's VR Sports division announced last week that VR Baseball 2000: Series 1 for Windows 95-based computers will utilize the Messiah technology. Developed by Interplay subsidiary Shiny Entertainment, the Messiah technology will allow player models in excess of 3,000 polygons. By incorporating Messiah into VR Baseball 2000, each baseball player has a "bone structure" with muscles and textured skin stretched over the top. The result is players that reportedly look realistic with clothing that creases and muscles that flex. More information is available at http://www.vrsports.com. --------------------------------------------------


SIGGRAPH Events to Focus on Web 3D, Better Living This year SIGGRAPH 98, the 25th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, presents a special event: the Web 3D Round-Up. Based on last year's successful VRML-SIG, the presentation has been expanded to embrace all Web 3D standards and applications. Any real-time 3D application designed to be viewed via a Web browser over the internet is eligible to be included. Those whose project is selected will have the opportunity to give a four-minute presentation at the computer graphics conference. The event will take place at SIGGRAPH in Orlando, Florida at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, July 21. Deadline for submissions is July 1. To find out more and to submit a project for consideration, visit http://www.verge.org/projects/siggraph98/signup.html Also at SIGGRAPH, the new Digital Pavilions will show the work of technologists whose goal is to demonstrate better living through networks and computer graphics in the new Digital Pavilions. Digital Pavilions is a showcase for applications, installations, and sessions from universities and corporate labs that provide a look toward our collaborative future in an increasingly connected world. Among the Digital Pavilions highlights are: * MicroDisplay Camera Phone: This new cellular phone, from MicroDisplay Corporation, lets users transfer images such as faxes, photographs, web imagery, and text, as well as live video. * GestureVR: Gesture Interface to Spatial Reality: A free-moving, gloveless hand is the sole input device in this demonstration of a natural-gesture interface to spatial simulations including a 3D representation of Yosemite Valley and id Software's DOOM. The Hand Gesture Recognition Interface technology, developed at Bell Labs, offers precise control of the viewer's navigation in 3D space or for grasping and moving objects on the screen. * Islands of Adventure in Cyberspace: This project, from the University of Central Florida, demonstrates a series of imaginary experiences based on the Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida, currently under construction. The project aims to simulate what a typical Web entertainment experience will be like when homes are routinely equipped with high-performance 3D graphics- and sound-capable information systems. To learn more, visit http://www.siggraph.org/s98 -------------------------------------------------- O'Reilly to Host Open Source Developer Day O'Reilly and Associates is sponsoring the first Open Source Developer Day on August 21 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, immediately following O'Reilly's Perl Conference 2.0. Open Source Developer Day is designed to provide practical information about how open source software works in the real world. The event focuses on how successful open source software communities have developed, and the business models and licenses which people have created to support them. Topics to be discussed include: * Open Source: Essential Concepts and Models: an explanation of the theory and practice of creating successful open source software * Open Source Project Management and Logistics: how to get a large, disparate group of volunteer developers to work in tandem, coordinating version control, security and bug fixes * Open Source Business Models: presenters will discuss ways they've found to create profitable businesses while still supporting open source communities, including selling enhanced software, services, and books * Licensing and Legal Issues: discussion of the thorny questions and creative solutions critical to the further development of open source software. Complete information and online registration is at http://opensource.oreilly.com. --------------------------------------------------


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