Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

5 May 2003
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
For editorial/subscription inquiries, send mailto: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net
Search the Spectrum archives at http://www.3dlinks.com/spectrum
___________________________________
Today's Headlines (details below)

FEATURE REVIEW
--Pinnacle Instant CD/DVD

WEBMEISTER
--4D Ships Dreamweaver MX Plug-in 

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX
--NXN alienbrain to Enhance Software Configuration Management 
--eMotion Updates Digital Asset Management Products 
--Alias/Wavefront Expands Third Party Developer Program 

IN THE INFOGROOVE
--Judge Rules P2P Software Legal

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING
--OpenGL ES 1.0 Spec Ready for Final Review 
--Toon Boom Ships USAnimation OPUS

WEBSIGHTINGS
--Slashdot Announces New Games Section

TECHNOTES
--Iogear Launches FireWire 800 Cards

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER
--Serious Games Initiative Announces Call for Papers
--O'Reilly Releases Web Programming CD Bookshelf

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
--The Sims Superstar Goes Gold 
--Second Life Opens Public Beta
--NCsoft Unveils E3 Lineup 
--Activision Ships X2 Wolverine's Revenge
--Infinium Labs Launches Web Site for Phantom Console 

F.Y.I.
--About Spectrum
___________________________________


FEATURE REVIEW

Instant CD/DVD Review Today's DVD burner is a marvel of technology. You can store 4.7 gigabytes of data on a disc the size of a CD-ROM. You can use recordable DVDs to create videos playable on most set-top players, to back up data from your computer hard drive, or to create ma sters for DVD-ROMs. And because most of these drives also write to CD-R and CD-RW discs, you can create CD-ROMs, audio CDs, and so on. Typically a DVD recorder (or computer with built-in burner) comes with some bare-bones software that doesn't really let you take full advantage of everything the drive can do. Filling the gap is Instant CD/DVD, a new software suite from Pinnacle Systems that retails for $100, but is available for far less to online bargain hunters. Instant CD/DVD consists of the following utilities: InstantBackup backs up files to a destination of your choice. When you start the program, you can choose to create a complete backup of all local hard drives using a wizard, or a selective backup, or to restore or verify a backup, or to create a disc labe l for your backup. I'm not about to try to fit my entire hard drive contents on DVDs, capacious as the medium is, so I first tried the selective backup. Options include the ability to skip locked files, back up hidden and system files, verify after backup, create a log file , and keep archive flags. You can set three compression levels: none, quick, or maximum. And you can use encryption, exclude files by name, and perform incremental backups. The selective backup's Windows Explorer-style interface is a bit finicky. Sometimes clicking a check box for a folder in the hierarchical list in the left pane expanded the directory, and other times it didn't. Fortunately, this isn't a problem in the lis t-view right-hand pane. So I told it to back up my Windows directory, which would fit on a single DVD. I turned off the option to skip locked files, with the result that it choked on the locked files, such as the Windows swap file, and I couldn't get a complete backup of the Win dows system. It stands to reason that a Windows program can't access files Windows is actively using, but clever programmers should be able to come up with a way around this. Next, I added my Program Files directory to create a very large backup, just to see what would happen (the manual says nothing about spanning discs). I noted that the main UI didn't tell me anything about the size of the backup. Fortunately, after digging around a bit I discovered a View Summary menu command that generates a backup size report, albeit slowly. It took about a minute to determine the size of the Windows folder, vs. a few seconds for Windows Explorer. Long story short, after filling the firs t DVD, InstantBackup asked for another disc, so I guess it does create multi-disc backups. The Restore tool allows options such as selecting files to restore, restoring only newer files, and restoring to a different location. The Verify tool and label edi tor are simple and straightforward. The next utility is InstantDrive, handy for keeping a single CD or DVD online without need for the physical disc. Installing Instant CD/DVD creates a virtual drive that uses the first available drive letter after any fixed drives; in my case, the hard dri ves are C and D, so the virtual drive was created as E, bumping the DVD-ROM and DVD burner each up a letter. This can confuse installed programs that require a CD or DVD; instead, the virtual drive should be assigned the first available letter after all e xisting drives, but there doesn't seem to be an option for that (the entire documentation consists of a scant 16 sentences). When you run InstantDrive, you get a wizard that lets you either assign an existing disc image to the virtual drive, or run InstantCopy to create a disc image. That's about it; there's no provision for creating additional virtual drives. Of course, Instan tDrive doesn't help with copy-protected game discs (see GameCopyWorld.com). And, unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be compatible with audio CDs. InstantCopy can also copy CDs and non-protected DVDs. The InstantWrite utility works much like the DLA utility included with most drives, which lets the system regard a specially formatted disc as another hard drive. Because I already use the DLA software that came with my HP DVD burner, and InstantWrite doe sn't seem to offer any distinct advantages, I didn't try this utility. InstantDisc is a standard mastering program. It lets you create discs in a variety of formats, from garden-variety CD audio and data formats, to more advanced formats such as raw ISO, Apple HFS, UDF Video and UDF Audio (Audio DVD), and MP3. By default, it uses a wizard whose options conform to the project at hand. For instance, to create an audio CD or MP3 disc, you can using existing WAV or MP3 files, or rip tracks from a CD. The audio-CD wizard also lets you record audio directly from devices connected to your sound card, such as a microphone or radio. If you choose not to use the wizard, InstantDisc gives you a Windows Explorer-style interface in which you can create and store projects for easy later reuse. Unlike InstantBackup, you get a display of ho w much data you're attempting to write, both in graphic and numeric terms. The InstantMusic utility is based on two modules: Arranger, where you combine audio samples into a song or mix, and a sample editor. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work; it always crashed on startup, even after a reboot. Probably the most important utility, at least for videographers, is Expression, which is also available as a separate program. It's not exactly on a level with Adobe Premiere, but it's a very capable program for those who simply want to transfer video to disc and dress it up a bit. It creates videodiscs in three formats: VideoCD, S-VCD, and DVD. With the two latter options, you can set the quality to Automatic (the highest quality that fits on the disc), Best (fits 59 minutes on a DVD), Good (fits 124 min utes on a DVD), or Custom, where you specify the bit rate and it tells you how many minutes will fit. I used the DVD format at Best quality to test the program. Expression works in three stages. In the first, it transfers video from a camcorder to your hard drive using a capture card or Firewire connection. While doing so, you can see a low-resolution preview, but you can't hear audio except directly from the cam corder. During the capturing process, Expression optionally senses discontinuities in the video stream and automatically breaks these up into different scenes, adding them as thumbnails, three at a time, to successive menu screens that it creates automati cally. It also shows how much remaining time is available using the current quality setting and disc capacity. The capture stage also lets you import video and still-image files. Next is the editor, where you can split and rearrange scenes, choose a thumbnail for each scene, and combine successive scenes into one. You can also choose a different menu style and background from a list of presets, or create your own by importing back ground video footage, title music, and changing the layout and text style. And, of course, you can change the menu text. With the video I captured from a digital camcorder, Expression titled each scene by default with the date and scene number. The editor also lets you preview your videodisc with a virtual remote control. When you're ready to burn, you go to the recording stage, where you specify how many copies of the disc to make, and optionally where the temporary files go. I probably don't need to tell you that digital video requires lots of hard disk space. Transcodin g the video to the format used by the specified target machine is the most time-consuming part of the process. In my case, with half an hour of video at Best quality, running on a 1-gigahertz PC, Expression took about three hours to transcode the video, b ut only a few minutes to burn the disc. The results were very satisfying. Playing the disc all the way through, it transitioned flawlessly from scene to scene, and I was able to use the menus to skip instant to any scene. And the video quality was top not ch. All in all, using Expression was a smooth, relatively painless experience. Conclusion The utilities are all accessible individually from Start menu > Programs, or you can access them from the Instant CD/DVD main program, which organizes the software into Create, Copy/Backup, and Tools categories, and also provides additional material such as links to the PDF-format manual and the Support Website. A printed manual is also included. I liked the software overall, but I have to subtract significant points for lack of stability. Regularly, attempting to run one or another of the utilities generated a spate of error messages, or sometimes no response at all. Rebooting resolved this, exce pt with InstantMusic, so the culprit might have been something left over from another program (possibly one of the other Instant CD/DVD utilities). Also, quitting a utility sometimes created a blue-screen system error. I was able to recover from this, but , of course, it makes me nervous about entrusting important data to such software. I should mention, however, that I was running it under Window Me; not the most reliable of operating systems. It'd probably run more stably under Windows XP or 2000. If you are running WinMe, I'd wait for a patch; otherwise, it's worth buying now if you can use it. http://www.pinnaclesys.com ___________________________________

WEBMEISTER

4D Ships Dreamweaver MX Plug-in 4D, Inc., publisher of the 4th Dimension RAD/RDBMS Environment and 4D WebSTAR Server Suite, last week released 4D for Dreamweaver MX, an extension plug-in for Dreamweaver MX that inserts 4D tags into Web sites designed in Dreamweaver MX. Engineered to pro video deployment of sites designed in Dreamweaver MX, 4D for Dreamweaver MX provides a GUI interface that allows designers to generate technically accurate 4D tags. The 4D for Dreamweaver MX plugin is available today free from www.4D.com/dreamweaver/. The plug-in is certified for use with 4D 2003 on Mac OS 9.1 or higher, Mac OS X v10.1, Windows 98, 2000 and XP. ___________________________________

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

NXN alienbrain to Enhance Software Configuration Management NXN Software, a supplier of asset-management solutions for the digital entertainment and computer graphics industries, said last week that the next major releases of its NXN alienbrain product family will introduce a new change-management concept based on "change sets." The new feature will apply to all upcoming editions of the company's asset-, configuration- and production-management products: alienbrain Engineer, alienbrain Studio, and alienbrain VFX, all slated for release this summer. Change sets let users collect all files associated with a single change request in a logical change set instead of making changes to the software product on a physical file level. Once all modifications are completed, the entire change set is submitted to the server in one transaction. This mechanism lets users maintain modifications in logical groups and ensures that the server always stores a consistent set of data. NXN claims its change management goes beyond the functionality currently available on the market, which is also referred to as "changelist," "task" or "change package." For example, the next releases will feature an advanced versioning process that tracks and stores preliminary versions within the change set even before the user submits the entire set, making it available to the rest of the team in an atomic transaction. The new change-management functionality will be accessible through APIs, command-line tools, and graphical user interfaces on all platforms supported by NXN alienbrain (Windows, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris and Irix). http://www.nxn-software.com/ ___________________________________ eMotion Updates Digital Asset Management Products eMotion, Inc. last week released version 5.0 of its digital asset management software for its family of products: MediaPartner Enterprise, CreativePartner and ArchivePartner. New features include: * XML Media File Export lets users transfer media files along with their thumbnail images and file metadata to a Web portal or other application that can read XML. * New search tools, including an improved Advanced Search feature, let users search across specified collections and sort search results. * added support for Adobe InDesign file formats in addition to existing support for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Acrobat files. * improved support of Kodak PhotoCD image files * password security features let users to customize login security * improved user interface http://www.emotion.com ___________________________________ Alias/Wavefront Expands Third Party Developer Program Alias/Wavefront says its third party developer program--the Conductors Program--will now offer three levels of participation for developers seeking to create plug-ins and other add-ons for Maya and StudioTools software. The levels are: Conductor, Semi-Con ductor and Conductor Community. The Conductor-level membership is designed for developers of commercial third-party products. Available for an annual fee of $1,999 USD, it includes all Conductors Program benefits, including four seats of Maya Unlimited or StudioTools software, full hotl ine technical support, beta software access, participation in the bi-monthly newsletter, access to a members-only Web site with API knowledge base access, a product catalog page on the Alias Conductors Web page and other co-marketing activities. The new Semi-Conductor level membership is tailored for third-party developers of both commercial and non-commercial plug-ins, scripts, or those who ensure data compatibility with other applications that work with Maya and StudioTools software. It offers up to three seats of DesignStudio or Maya Complete software, participation in the bi-monthly newsletter, members site and API knowledge base, catalog Web page and all other co-marketing activities for $999 USD. For developers who work in Maya Embedded Language (MEL), Alias is introducing a new free level of participation called Conductor Community. The Community level offers members site API knowledge base and Maya and StudioTools software branding for members W eb sites. http://www.aliaswavefront.com/conductors ___________________________________

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Judge Rules P2P Software Legal Judge Stephen Wilson, a federal judge in Los Angeles, last week handed a victory to users of peer-to-peer file sharing services by deciding against the record and movie industries in their lawsuit against file-sharing companies. The ruling appeared to state clearly that decentralized peer-to-peer software such as LimeWire is legal. "Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his opinion. "Grokster and Streamcast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights." In his ruling, Judge Wilson recognized that it is not the peer-to-peer file-sharing companies who are illegally placing and downloading the MP3s on the networks, but rather the network users themselves. The LimeWire file-sharing software (www.limewire.com ) (Lime Wire runs on the Gnutella Network) allows anyone to publish material on the Internet. However, Mark Gorton from Lime Wire LLC warns, "This is not the last we have heard from the army of lawyers at the RIAA. I expect to see more lawsuits aimed at both peer-to-peer companies and users of file sharing networks." ___________________________________

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

OpenGL ES 1.0 Spec Ready for Final Review Khronos OpenGL ES Working Group members announced last week that at a summit meeting held April 14 & 15 in Cambridge, UK, the OpenGL ES 1.0 specification was agreed upon and is now ready for final review and ratification by Khronos Promoting Member vote. On track with milestones set a year ago, the public release of the specification is expected in July 2003. The availability of the royalty-free, open-standard, 3D-capable graphics API is expected to enable new classes of platforms, each with many potentia l new users. In a related announcement, Khronos members Texas Instruments and Symbian say they will collaborate to develop a Symbian Multimedia Framework plug-in based on OpenGL ES 1.0 to improve graphics handling on TI's OMAP processor family. Also, Khronos member Fa thammer has integrated the TI Graphics Library into its X-Forge 3D Game Engine SDK, enabling improved performance and superior gameplay on TI OMAP processor-based mobile devices. For the next several months, Khronos OpenGL ES Working Group members will focus on developing OpenGL ES 1.0 conformance-testing and implementation procedures and commence the development of the OpenGL ES 1.1 Specification. Concurrently, Khronos Members su ch as Seaweed Systems, 3Dlabs and others will drive completion of the "Safety-Critical" subset of the OpenGL ES specification for avionics, aerospace and automotive markets. Khronos invites all interested companies to join and participate in these develop ments. The Khronos Group is a member-funded consortium founded in January 2000 by graphics and digital-media companies to promote the creation and deployment of rich media through the development of open-standard APIs that will enable the authoring and playback of dynamic media on a variety of platforms and devices. http://www.khronos.org ___________________________________ Toon Boom Ships USAnimation OPUS Just out from Toon Boom is its USAnimation OPUS (aka version 6) software for 2D animation. Features include multiple view windows for building animations and visualizing scene data. The user can arrange view windows to suit workflow, tasks, and preference s, as well as create multiple layouts to suit the different tasks they perform. All views of scene data are interconnected so that any change is instantly updated in all other view windows. Toon Boom has also enhanced the vector model to provide increased support for line textures, resulting in resolution independence and small file size. Also new is the ability to paint with bitmap images and gradients in this release. Lastly, the new versi on supports text-based scene data, which the user can manually edit or automatically build, and expressions, which let the user modify and reuse exposure sheet data to build complex effects or movements. The new release is available for Linux RH 7.3 and Windows 2000. http://www.toonboom.com ___________________________________

WEBSIGHTINGS

Slashdot Announces New Games Section OSDN's Slashdot (www.slashdot.org), a technology news and discussion site, last week launched Slashdot Games, a new information section of the site aimed at serving the needs of the gaming community. The new site provides Slashdot-style editorial to conso le and PC gamers, developers and designers. Slashdot Games (http://games.slashdot.org) features daily articles, new product announcements, discussion of game development and programming, interviews with game developers and designers, reviews, and open commentary from site visitors. "We've wanted to run a game section on Slashdot for years. We constantly have an abundance of game-related content that we don't have room for on the main page, and now all of that will have a home. Besides, now I can count 'Zelda' on my timesheet," said Slashdot site director and co-founder, Rob Malda. According to OSDN's January 2003 Laredo Survey, 89% of site visitors play electronic games and use computer games, while more than half use console games and online games. Almost half plan to make some type of game purchase in the next 12 months. Slashdot Games editor Simon Carless will share editorial responsibilities with Slashdot editor Jon "Cowboy Neal" Pater. Carless's credits include writing columns and articles for industry Web site Gamasutra, and designing PC and console titles for compani es such as Atari and Eidos Interactive. ___________________________________

TECHNOTES

Iogear Launches FireWire 800 Cards Iogear has launched the first PCI cards for the new high-speed peripheral standard FireWire 800, also known as IEEE 1394b. The cards allow computers to become FireWire 800-enabled for users to network and access upcoming FireWire 800 devices, including ha rd disk drives, digital cameras, scanners and video camcorders. At data transfer speeds of up to 800 Mbps, double the current FireWire 400 standard, Apple's FireWire 800 reportedly provides more than two times the available bandwidth of Hi-Speed USB 2.0. The FireWire 800 interface is backward compatible with existing 100, 200 and 400 Mbps FireWire peripherals. The PCI cards allow both Mac and PC computers to become FireWire 800 compatible. One card offers three FireWire 800 ports, while the second offers two FireWire 800 ports and one standard FireWire 400 port. With FireWire 800, high-speed peripherals can be connected externally. Both versions of the cards are priced at $99.95 (MSRP). http://www.iogear.com ___________________________________

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Serious Games Initiative Announces Call for Papers The Serious Games Initiative last week announced a general call for papers to comprise the first Serious Games Annual. The Annual will be published at the end of 2003/beginning of 2004 depending on final editing, production, and printing needs. The Annual will be distributed at various events throughout 2003-2004. Papers may be submitted now and are due no later than 8:00pm EST on October 1, 2003. Full details can be found at http://www.seriousgames.org/callforpapers.html. Papers must be original or very lightly published works (e.g., from a corporate Web site, Blog, etc.). If a paper has had some previous publishing history please include dates, form, and location of publication. Authors may also submit an abstract, outline, or proposal for a piece prior to writing it, editors will try to reply within two weeks time to these requests. Affiliated with the publication of the first Serious Games Annual will be the first D.C. Serious Games Day to be held at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. this fall. The one-day event is meant to foster discussion and interaction between devel opers/supporters of game-based technology and various government and non-government organizations who are interested in building game-based tools. The Woodrow Wilson Center launched the Serious Games initiative in 2002 and since then it has published several papers and articles and hosted a workshop in February 2003 that resulted in design treatments for several serious games for parks, hospitals, a nd high schools. These treatments are now being shown to a number of organizations that may result in their development. The initiative is working to address four interrelated questions: * What public policy and management issues or challenges are most amenable to computer-based gaming techniques? * What existing and emerging game technologies (such as multi-user, virtual environments) might be particularly useful when applied to policy or management issues? * How can we quickly expand the application of computer-based games to a much wider range of key challenges facing our government and other public or private organizations? * How do we identify and proactively deal with any social, ethical, and/or legal issues that might arise through the application of game-based tools to public policy and management issues? Digitalmill (www.dmill.com), a project development firm that manag es the development of Virtual U (www.virtual-u.org), a game based simulation of university management is assisting on Serious Games. http://www.seriousgames.org ___________________________________ O'Reilly Releases Web Programming CD Bookshelf "The Web Programming CD Bookshelf, Version 1.0," a new title from O'Reilly (US $129.95), combines six books for Web programmers into a CD. Formatted in HTML, the disc can be read by any Web browser. It contains six O'Reilly Web programming guides--more th an 4,600 searchable and cross-referenced pages--so programmers can search either the individual index for each book or the master index for the entire collection. Included are the complete versions of these titles: * Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference, 2nd Edition * JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition * Programming PHP * Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL * PHP Cookbook * Webmaster in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition As a bonus, the CD also includes the new paperback version of "Webmaster in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition." http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wprogcdbs/ ___________________________________

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

The Sims Superstar Goes Gold Ready for your close-up? Your chance to grab virtual fame and fortune takes the form of The Sims Superstar expansion pack, scheduled for release on May 13, 2003. In The Sims Superstar, players can pursue the dream of being a rock star, movie star, or a supermodel and live the lifestyle of a celebrity. The expansion pack offers new gameplay, new social interactions, and a new in-game destination. Players will also be able to experience real-life celebrities in the game. http://www.maxis.com ___________________________________ Second Life Opens Public Beta Linden Lab says its private beta test of Second Life is now open to the general public. Second Life is a new online society, shaped by its residents. Participants can explore a changing 3D world, create stuff, connect with friends and acquaintances, and c ompete for fame and fortune. The public beta follows a limited beta test that began November 2002. Said Philip Rosedale, CEO and founder of Linden Lab, "Our residents have built thousands of unique structures to explore: museums, nightclubs, even entire cities. Over 3,000 people have attended in-world parties, contests, events, and classes. And the in- world economy is booming: Residents have bought and sold everything from designer fashions to sophisticated weapons in over 30,000 transactions." Features include: * avatar customization * fly through a living 3D landscape of houses, stores, clubs, sports arenas, and cities, all created by other residents. * meet and socialize with other residents at events such as dance parties, treasure hunts, private get-togethers, and fashion shows * use 3D creation tools to build houses and communities, design furniture, create clothing and art, and invent weapons and other objects * compete in contests and games such as sword- and gun-fights, enter trivia, dance, or comedy contests, play in sports events, compete in games of their own invention, or try to outsmart the economy or build their reputation to become the wealthiest or mo st popular resident Technological aspects of Second Life include: * thin client - A 10Mb download delivers persistent desktop access to Second Life. All content resides on the Second Life server grid, so that all users need on their computer is a small, easily updateable viewer. * expandable landscape - Second Life exists on a scalable server grid running Linux, capable of supporting thousands of simultaneous Second Life residents and allowing the world to grow infinitely in any direction by adding more Linux boxes. * real-time 3D streaming - Content is streamed to the user's desktop in real time at DSL/cable modem bandwidths using compression. * contiguous, persistent world - Residents can go anywhere in Second Life's expansive, persistent landscape. * built-in creation capabilities - Residents can modify and create objects and add special effects in-world, without separate tools or applications. Second Life's persistent, streamed environment allows any number of residents to collaborate on building p rojects in real time. * realistic environment features dynamic lighting and shadowing, a weather system, rigid-body physics simulation, and uploadable textures and audio http://www.secondlife.com ___________________________________ NCsoft Unveils E3 Lineup NCsoft Corporation, a developer of online computer games, last week announced its lineup of games for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 14-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A variety of games will be on display, including Lineage II and C ity of Heroes. The products that will be on display at NCsoft's booth are: * Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle-From the creators of Lineage, an online roleplaying game, comes a new experience in medieval massively multiplayer games. Set 150 years before the time of Lineage, Lineage II uses Unreal technology to provide a 3D world in which to adventure, siege and conquer. * City of Heroes-Developed by Cryptic Studios, the MMORPG allows players to live the life of a super-powered hero or heroine, fighting villains, organized crime groups and creatures from other dimensions in the 3D backdrop of Paragon City. * Guild Wars-The first title by ArenaNet (founded by key members of the StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo development teams), the online fantasy role-playing mission-based game rewards players for their skills instead of the number of hours they've played, o ffers balanced competitive play in addition to cooperative play, and features Internet streaming technology to enable dynamic world changes every time players connect. * Exarch-Built in a large 3D world that blends elements of science fiction and fantasy, the online title is being developed by Realm Interactive under the creative direction of comic book artist Joe Madureira. It promises fast-paced combat plus questing a nd faction systems. * Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders-Created by Phantagram for play on the Xbox, the real-time combat/strategy game takes place in a medieval setting. Players battle against their choice of nemesis: Dark Legions or Humans. * Shining Lore-Also developed by Phantagram, the MMORPG currently released in Asia promises bright colors, cute characters and monsters, and combat, party and social systems. http://www.ncsoft.net/e3 ___________________________________ Activision Ships X2 Wolverine's Revenge The clock is ticking and it's up to gamers to uncover Wolverine's mysterious past in Activision's X2 Wolverine's Revenge. Inspired by the new X-Men movie, and written by comics guy Larry Hama, the game pits Wolverine's instincts and superhuman abilities a gainst foes such as Lady Deathstrike and Magneto. The game takes players to the Weapon X facility in 1968 when Wolverine's skeletal adamantium-bonding experiment was performed. Then then fast-forward to the present and find Wolverine in fellow X-Men comrade Beast's lab undergoing tests, when Beast and Pr ofessor X tell Wolverine that a viral time bomb has been activated in his body and he has only 48 hours to find an antidote by returning to the one place it all began - the Weapon X facility. Armed with his adamantium claws, senses, stealth techniques, and martial arts moves, Wolverine enlists the aid of allies such as Colossus and Rogue as he travels across the Canadian wilderness and finds himself in and out of danger in various Department H facilities and boss battles. The game features the voices of Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Mark Hamill as Wolverine. http://www.activision.com ___________________________________ Infinium Labs Launches Web Site for Phantom Console Infinium Labs last week launched of a new Web site for its on-demand console system, the Phantom. The site offers consumers a preview of what lies in store when the Phantom is released in 2004, and provides potential partners with the opportunity to learn more about the partner programs that Infinium Labs is offering. Additionally, they can register their information in order to speak with a channel manager about specific details. The Phantom is a next-generation game console that supports games on demand, game rentals, game demos, upgrades and patch management. Infinium claims the console will be the fastest console on the market at launch, and will include a broad selection of pr e-loaded games, games on-demand and game rentals. The game console is an "always-on " broadband device whose options will include wireless connectivity, massive multiplayer capability, etc. Infinium Labs is expected to reveal the Phantom to the public for the first time this summer. http://www.infiniumlabs.com ___________________________________

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 busi ness, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media/online-development tools and end product for review. Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news by email only to: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net. 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 mailto: spectrum1@broadviewnet.net. - David Duberman ___________________________________ (c)Copyright 2003 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.