Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 3 November 1997

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

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.

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- David Duberman

Today's Headlines (details below)

--Motion Blur Media Debuts "Spectrum Reviews," New Online Publication

--Three D Graphics Releases Perspective JavaChart

--Multiactive Technologies Launches Commerce Catalyst Suite

--Adobe Announces WebType for Web Graphics

--Reed Technology Announces Web Publishing Solution

--LightWorks 3D Rendering Toolkit Ships

--NobleNet Upgrades Web-based Software Distribution Package

--KillerSearch! Updates, Saves Internet Searches

--ACT Announces Internet Broadcast Audio Conferencing

--Software Reads to Commuters

--IVBN Launches New Video Streaming Technology

--Satellites to Feed Net Directly to the Home

--Rick Cheng Releases Textures CD

--MetaCreations Announces Bryce 3D, Ships Windows Infini-D 4.1

--Rolls-Royce Sponsors Internet Environment Conference

--Reiner & Brooks to Present 2000 Year Old Man Online Chat

--Virtual Petz Interact via "Multiple-Character AI"

--Apple Announces QuickTime VR Authoring Studio Contest

--Web Journal Explores XML

--Study Proposes Solution to Internet Congestion

--NewTek to Acquire Asset Factory, Online Render Farm

--Creative to Acquire Cambridge SoundWorks

--Berkeley Systems Ships Jack TV; Launches New Online Game

--Red Orb Delivers Riven: The Sequel to Myst

--Fujitsu Interactive Nabs Rights to Internet Detective Game

--Papyrus Ships SODA Off-Road Racing

--Psygnosis Releases PSX Shipwreckers!

--Ubi Soft Announces 3D Tennis Game for PSX

--EA Ships KKND Xtreme; Australian Real-Time Strategy Game

--Sierra to Create Babylon 5 CD-ROMs

--ZD Internet Mag Names Hempseed.com Premiere Free Email Service

--LastSaturdays presents New Media Industry Salon and Benefit

--About Spectrum

 

TODAY'S TOP STORY

Motion Blur Media Debuts "Spectrum Reviews," New Online Publication

Today, November 3, Motion Blur Media, publisher of Spectrum, the electronic newsletter for the interactive media industry, launches a new publication.

Spectrum Reviews, free to current Spectrum subscribers, will feature original reviews of software, hardware, books, events and other entities of interest to the interactive media professional. The newsletter will be published on an irregular basis, to keep readers on their toes. In today's debut edition, contributing editor Jeffrey Abouaf and editor-in-chief David Duberman take an in-depth look at Kinetix's latest and greatest 3D Studio MAX R2, and Duberman reviews MetaCreations' Art Dabbler 1.2 and Interplay's new CRPG, Fallout. Upcoming issues will cover a variety of recent releases, including Activision's Dark Reign, Newtek's LightWave 3D 5.5, Microprose's Dark Earth, Infini-D 4.1, Adobe's After Effects 3.1, Ulead's MediStudio Pro 5.0, Fractal Design's Ray Dream Studio 5 and many others.

For further information, including advertising opportunities, send mailto:duberman@dnai.com

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WEBMEISTER

Three D Graphics Releases Perspective JavaChart

Three D Graphics introduces Perspective JavaChart ($995), with properties, methods, and user interface tools for Java developers who want to create data-driven graphics. Developers can link to data from HTML, JDBC, raw text files, "live" data via a class or method, dynamic data server processes, CGI scripts, and more. Charts update instantly whenever the data changes.

Other features include:

· built-in drill-down support allows specification of URL and target for every single data point.

· JavaDoc-compliant HTML documentation for all code interfaces.

· full property- and method-based API.

Visit the Three D Graphics' Web Site: http://www.threedgraphics.com

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Multiactive Technologies Launches Commerce Catalyst Suite

Canada-based Multiactive Technologies Inc. launches its Commerce Catalyst Suite 1.0 (US$5,000 and up), which provides an integrated suite of tools and technologies for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web Presence Providers (WPPs) to "Internet Commerce enable" small business. The technology suite combines MARKETbuilder 2.0, a simple merchant Web site creation tool, and MARKETplace Engine 1.0, a multi-faceted host management system for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web Presence Providers (WPPs).

Multiactive's Commerce Catalyst Suite is available from http://www.commercecatalyst.com . The suite requires Windows NT Server 4.0 with Internet Information Server and Microsoft SQL Server.

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Adobe Announces WebType for Web Graphics

Adobe Systems Incorporated announces Adobe WebType for Windows and Macintosh, a $50 typeface software package of 12 best-selling Adobe Original typefaces optimized for on-screen viewing. Adobe WebType is the first typeface package from Adobe created to specifically meet the demands of customers creating Web graphics with text. Optimized for the low-resolution environment of the Web, the typefaces reportedly look good at all point sizes and are easy to read, even as part of a tiny button or navigation bar GIF.

The typefaces can be viewed on Adobe's Web site at http://www.adobe.com

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Reed Technology Announces Web Publishing Solution

Reed Technology and Information Services introduces its Web Publishing Solution designed to enable magazine publishers to place a magazine on the Web. The solution features three systems: an Authoring System, a Release System and a Web Delivery System.

The Authoring System features a word processing application such as Microsoft Word that controls fonts, formats, and insertion of graphic elements. This editorial system allows articles to be augmented with hyperlinks to other articles, Web sites and databases.

The Release System, the link between the Authoring System and Web Delivery, enables those authorized to schedule article release to the Web, to set a timetable for removing aging articles off the Web, and keeps the independent servers within the systems in sync.

The Web Delivery System encompasses every aspect of publishing a magazine on the Web--from the look and feel of the printed version to the addition of site usage analysis for marketing purposes. Other features include navigational tools, hyperlinked text, full-text search capabilities, simple search result pages, and online features such as discussion groups and forums and targeted advertising banners.

For more information, visit http://www.reedtech.com or call 800-872-2828.

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DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

LightWorks 3D Rendering Toolkit Ships

LightWork Design announces the shipment of the new release of its flagship product, LightWorks 4.0. The LightWorks 4.0 photo-realistic rendering software toolkit provides a range of new features for professional design studios, particularly automotive and animation designers.

For automotive designers, LightWorks offers features for surface evaluation and auto body styling. The new version release includes feature-following anti-aliasing, lens flares, and surface curvature evaluation shaders.

Animation designers can take advantage of new volumetric lighting effects, motion blur, physically based depth of field, and field rendering features.

The LightWorks rendering engine is used in more than 60 software applications, including products from Kinetix, EDS Unigraphics, SolidWorks, auto.des.sys, and Parametric Technology Corporation (Pro/REFLEX).

Find more info at http://www.lightwork.com/

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

NobleNet Upgrades Web-based Software Distribution Package

NobleNet, Inc. announces the availability of Version 2.0 of NobleNet Web, its automatic browser-based file distribution software that uses the Web as the access page for download and version control. The product includes a Sealer to create and place a sealed package of an application client or a set of binary files and its descriptive information on a Web server. On the client side, the NobleNet Web Opener plug-in provides secure access to the latest version of the sealed package using point-and-click operations through an icon on the server's Web page. A click on the icon automatically downloads the sealed package, verifies and opens the security seal, installs and launches the application client.

Version 2.0 permits customization of the graphics display and associated icons that are used to depict the application on the client machine.

Free demonstration copies of NobleNet Web can be downloaded from http://www.noblenet.com

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KillerSearch! Updates, Saves Internet Searches

ADR Software launches KillerSearch! ($35), a meta-search application that allows searching all the major Internet search engines at once, saving queries by name, and updating and refining these queries by time, sites, keywords and name.

The product can be downloaded at http://www.killersearch.com for a free 30-day trial period.

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ACT Announces Internet Broadcast Audio Conferencing

ACT Teleconferencing announces the introduction of ActionCast, an audio conferencing service broadcast over the Internet. The new application allows participants to access the broadcast of a live or taped conference call, thus significantly saving time and adding more value to long-distance audio conferences.

The company's Internet address is http://www.acttel.com

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Software Reads to Commuters

A PC software package and companion information services, introduced last week by startup Cocomo ID, allow commuters to listen to a personalized narrowcast while driving to the office. The cost is pennies a day, and Internet service is not required.

The software, called the "Personal Audio Librarian" or "PAL", retrieves a small file by automatically dialing into a host server in the early morning hours. The file contains information specially formatted for a speech synthesizer built into the software.

PAL runs on Windows 3.1 or better PCs equipped with a modem and sound card.

Laptops are suitable for PAL because they can easily be connected to a car's sound system. The program starts, stops, pauses, skips and repeats under user control.

More details are available at http://www.audiopal.com

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IVBN Launches New Video Streaming Technology

Interactive Video Broadcasting Network (IVBN) will introduce their video streaming technology this week by hosting live online chat sessions with world leaders, Nobel prize winners and other dignitaries in the fields of humanities, science, business, politics and the arts gathered together at the STATE OF THE WORLD FORUM being held in San Francisco November 4-9.

Discussions will revolve around the challenges of integrating technology with humanity at the turn of the century.

IVBN's streaming technology, Interactive Video Streaming System (IVSS), allows interactive audio/video/chat sessions with clear full motion and color video via the Internet to be received over the end user's analog telephone line.

In addition to the live online chat sessions, IVBN will broadcast roundtables and plenary meetings via teleconferencing technology. People can participate in the scheduled chat sessions by logging onto http://www.worldforum.org or http://www.ivbn.com, which will allow them to see and hear the roundtable discussions via audio and video streaming.

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Satellites to Feed Net Directly to the Home

A new communications era, in which data is beamed by satellite directly into homes across the United States and the rest of the world, is described in the BTTelecom column in this week's edition of subscription-based Web strategy publication, BusinessTech ( http://businesstech.com ).

The column, by Elliot Becker, BusinessTech senior telecommunications analyst, describes a company that is ready to supply "a high-speed satellite connection for home TV sets that eliminates the throughput restrictions imposed by telephone lines and dramatically expands the market for television access to the Internet."

"At the same time, the company announced new satellite communications systems for supporting global corporate intranet systems and designed to eliminate conventional copper and fiber connections to educational, telemedicine and other advanced multimedia applications."

Becker notes that the new system "is an interactive set-top box and dish antenna that can be easily connected to any TV set. The system uses a proprietary CDMA (code division multiple access) transmission technology to minimize cost, speed system implementation and maximize transponder efficiency, while at the same time providing the security required for transaction-oriented applications."

Becker says that the company will begin delivering the new systems early next year, and will do demos at Comdex this month in Vegas.

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Rick Cheng Releases Textures CD

Rick Cheng Studio, a new one-man enterprise based in Mountain View, Calif., has just issued its first $59 CD-ROM of bizarre-looking organic textures.

If you're creating alien 3D environments or creatures, these textures are perfect. The 90 images are available in BMP format at 640 x 480 resolution, and in JPEG at 1334 x 1000. Thus, no alpha channels are incorporated (neither format supports transparency), but the images are so dense that in most cases, it's not necessary. The images are mostly not seamlessly tileable, but they're detailed enough so that you can slap one onto your model at 1 x 1 and get away with it.

No amount of verbiage would suffice to describe these amazing, otherworldly pix: Check out free samples and mapping examples at http://members.aol.com/Rcstudio

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MetaCreations Announces Bryce 3D, Ships Windows Infini-D 4.1

MetaCreations Corporation last week announced Bryce 3D, which lets artists add animation and atmospheric effects to a scene. New animation controls allow any property such as atmosphere, objects, imported 3D models or terrains to be animated. Imported 3D models and objects can be laid down on a simple geometric ribbon-like path. The new animation and effects features will be made possible in Bryce 3D by the hierarchical grouping of objects and events via keyframing.

Artists will be able to simulate real-world camera motion with a choice of several movement modes, including rotation, curves, dips and fly-over motion commands. The new keyframe animator will offer velocity control over each object's timeline, setting the keyframes to fit each adjustment.

Motion paths can be edited and saved as presets, and imported or exported.

Other new features include:

· enhanced sky and fog settings

· new hyper textures that add volumetric properties, producing penetrable atmospheres that objects, cameras or lights can move through

· moons with actual lunar map textures; phases of the moon from waning to full random

· star fields for unlimited choices of star patterns

· rainbows that simulate actual water vapor refractions

· infinite slab in the primitives palette creates an infinite plane, scaleable in depth, width and breadth allowing any volumetric property or texture to be applied

Bryce 3D will reportedly offer increased speed, and a shaded animation/still frame preview that takes advantage of Open GL, DirectX 5 (DX5), and a proprietary software acceleration application developed by MetaCreations.

Bryce 3D is expected to be available by the end of November for Windows 95/NT and Power Macintosh on one hybrid CD-ROM. Suggested Retail Price is US $299; Upgrade Price to registered users is US $99.

And in the more general 3D application area, MetaCreations has just released the $899 Infini-D 4.1 for Windows 95 and NT (upgrade $199). File support for Real Time Geometry lets artists interactively change the resolution of any 3D model and customize the number of polygons used by a model, while maintaining structural integrity, terrific for LOD modelers. A new preview-over-video feature shows how an animation will composite over background video. The scanline renderer has been completely rewritten to provide new effects such as field rendering, non-square pixels, and improved image quality. The new mesh editor allows vertex-level editing.

Interface improvements include a new context-sensitive Command Floater, containing frequently accessed controls.

Find MetaCreations on the Web at: http://www.metacreations.com

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WEBSIGHTINGS

Rolls-Royce Sponsors Internet Environment Conference

Rolls-Royce plc, the aero-engine and industrial power group, is supporting what it claims as the world's first environmental conference to be held entirely on the Internet. Environment97, which runs from November 3 to 14, will allow engineers, scientists and the general public to discuss environmental issues.

Phil Ruffles, Rolls-Royce's Director--Engineering and Technology, said: "It may seem strange that a company that provides power--both aero and industrial--should be sponsoring and participating in an event designed to make air travel unnecessary. But we are doing this because it provides a real opportunity for people to focus on the pressures facing both business and the environment--and how they can be resolved."

In his keynote paper at the conference, Ruffles examines the challenge facing companies such as Rolls-Royce, which means finding the most desirable solutions for energy conversion and factory operations in order to reduce their environmental impact.

Delegates can register for Environment97 on http://www.environment97.org

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Reiner & Brooks to Present 2000 Year Old Man Online Chat

The first-ever online chat featuring comedy legends Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, together, live, in person on the Rhino site, in character as The 2000 Year Old Man and The Reporter, the venerable sage's confidant, and answering your questions (and promoting the new book).

When & Where:

* Thursday, November 20, 6:00 p.m. (Pacific) * http://www.rhino.com

* follow the link to Chat Room 76

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CONSUMER CHANNEL

Virtual Petz Interact via "Multiple-Character AI"

San Francisco-based PF.Magic announces the release of the next generation of virtual Petz II - Dogz II and Catz II, which returns digital pets to their rightful homes on computer desktops.

With the launch of Dogz II and Catz II, PF.Magic expands its virtual Petz family, which has sold more than a million units. Petz II unveils artificial-intelligence technology said to enable Dogz II and Catz II to interact with humans and each other simultaneously. The programs are also expandable with new toyz and breedz delivered through the Internet. The end result is an experience unmatched by any other virtual pet.

Consumers can download free adoption kits/sampler versions at http://www.petz.com

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Apple Announces QuickTime VR Authoring Studio Contest

Apple Computer, Inc. announced the QuickTime VR Authoring Studio "Experience the Revolution" contest. The contest is designed to inspire QuickTime VR (Virtual Reality) enthusiasts to design unique and creative movies with QuickTime VR Authoring Studio and other QuickTime VR tools.

QuickTime VR Authoring Studio is a new professional software application that allows Web designers and multimedia authors to create QuickTime VR panoramas and object movies.

The contest deadline is Jan. 31, 1998 and winners will be notified shortly thereafter.

Winners will be selected in the following categories:

· Objects--QuickTime VR object movies.

· Animation Objects--QuickTime VR object movies containing animation.

· Panoramas--QuickTime VR panoramas with one or more nodes.

· Multimedia--QuickTime VR in a multimedia project.

· Web--QuickTime VR objects or panoramas on an HTML page.

For more detailed information, visit http://quicktimevr.apple.com

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Web Journal Explores XML

The World Wide Web Consortium's XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is poised to take the Web beyond the limitations of HTML. A simple, powerful subset of SGML (Standard General Markup Language), XML allows Web developers to define their own markup language using application-specific meanings. The Fall '97 issue of the World Wide Web Journal, "XML: Principles, Tools, and Techniques," provides a first look at the technical specifications and early applications of this new data format that exponents claim will rock every aspect of the Web: markup, linking, and exchange.

Mathematical equation structures are encoded in XML in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s new MathML specification. Databases can be automatically published to the Web, schemas intact. New metainformation systems can document the structure of Web content using the Web. New XML-savvy access protocols can selectively address and download portions of XML documents.

New browsers and client tools can animate and script XML's object model with ease. Style sheets can automate rendering decisions for new XML tags, not just on the screen, but for printers, aural output, and beyond.

The Journal is chartered to help people implement open systems on the Web.

Single issues of the World Wide Web Journal are available in bookstores or from O'Reilly & Associates; subscriptions are available through O'Reilly.

See http://www.w3j.com to browse past issues and for information on submitting articles.

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Study Proposes Solution to Internet Congestion

Two Bellcore consultants last week issued a "white" paper proposing five network-based solutions to the growing problem of Internet congestion on the nation's public telecommunications network.

Unlike more costly and longer term solutions which call for the creation and installation of entirely new classes of equipment to siphon off Internet traffic from the public network onto dedicated data networks, Amir Atai and James Gordon recommend a packet-switched network approach that uses the features and intelligence already embedded in today's network.

Both Atai and Gordon are members of Bellcore's network performance and operations, administration and maintenance solutions practice.

A copy of Atai's and Gordon's paper, "Architectural Solutions to Internet Congestion Based On SS7 and Intelligent Network Capabilities," can be obtained from http://www.bellcore.com or by calling 1-800-521-CORE (U.S.

and Canada) or 1-732-699-5800 (in all other countries) and requesting document number 00A-1019W.

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DEALS

NewTek to Acquire Asset Factory, Online Render Farm

NewTek Partners, L.P., manufacturer of LightWave 3D, the Video Toaster, Video Toaster Flyer and Calibar, and Asset Factory, Inc., a digital media management services company, have signed a letter of intent for NewTek to acquire Asset Factory. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and are subject to approval by the boards of directors of both companies.

Asset Factory, based in Mountain View, Calif., earlier this year introduced Netrender, an Internet based on-demand rendering service that supports NewTek's LightWave 3D, as well as other high-end professional 3D and graphics software products. Users access Netrender via a client/server software interface that facilitates secure transfers plus real-time monitoring of render jobs.

NewTek plans to promote and market Netrender as a NewTek product, and current Netrender customers can continue to receive the service as before, with no disruption or change in access. In addition, Netrender software will be delivered as a LightWave 3D plug-in tool that optimizes in-house rendering and provides hot-button support directly to the Asset Factory Web site, thus linking the customer to massive off-site rendering capacity.

Find more at http://www.assetfactory.com

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Creative to Acquire Cambridge SoundWorks

Singapore-based Creative Technology Ltd. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cambridge SoundWorks, Inc. of Newton, Mass. Cambridge SoundWorks is the speaker manufacturer and retailer known for its high-performance home theater, home stereo and car stereo speaker systems as well as its critically acclaimed multimedia speakers.

Creative plans to commence the tender offer on Monday, November 3, 1997 at a tender price of US$10.68 per each share of Cambridge SoundWorks. Creative estimates that the acquisition will cost approximately US$38 million, in the aggregate. The tender offer is scheduled to expire at midnight EST, Tuesday, December 2, 1997, unless extended. Creative intends to acquire the Cambridge SoundWorks shares through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative.

Creative currently owns approximately 25 percent of Cambridge SoundWorks' shares.

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Berkeley Systems Ships Jack TV; Launches New Online Game

Berkeley Systems last week shipped You Don't Know Jack Television, the newest themed version in the series. Invented and directed by Jellyvision of Chicago, the new title contains over 800 all-new questions covering 50 years of TV history, from I Love Lucy to Seinfeld. Jack TV is available for Windows and Macintosh, on CD-ROM, with an estimated street price of $30.

Also, today, November 3, Acrophobia, a multiplayer word game, debuts on BerkSys' beZerk ( http://www.bezerk.com ). 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. Players compete against each other in a race against the clock, as they have only seconds to enter their answer. Gamers vote on their favorite phrases and points are awarded for speed and humor. Acrophobia features original music, cool graphics, true multiplayer Internet gaming and in-game chat.

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Red Orb Delivers Riven: The Sequel to Myst

Red Orb Entertainment, a division of Broderbund Software, announces the availability of the Cyan, Inc. production Riven: The Sequel to Myst, for Windows and Power Macintosh. This much-anticipated sequel to the best-selling computer game of all time is said to combine the beauty of a surrealistic world with an intriguing plot that once again casts the player as the central character.

"The story of Riven picks up almost exactly where Myst ended, but after that, it's all new characters and environments," said Robyn Miller, co-designer of Riven. "It's our focus on the story that sets this genre apart from other types of computer games. I believe it is a more powerful genre in which the story has the power to provoke people into looking at the world in a slightly different way."

We expect to feature a review of this title soon in Spectrum Reviews (see Today's Top Story).

Red Orb's Web site is located at: http://www.redorb.com .

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Fujitsu Interactive Nabs Rights to Internet Detective Game

Fujitsu Interactive has acquired publishing rights to PixelMagic's OPERATION S.S.P.I.D.E.R. - The Internet Detective Game. An HTML and email-based multimedia Internet simulation game on CD-ROM, OPERATION S.S.P.I.D.E.R. recruits gamers as special agents within the elite S.S.P.I.D.E.R. organization in a bid to save the world from crime and terrorism. The game is set for release on Windows 95 CD-ROM in Q1 '98.

For more information, refer to http://www.fujitsu-interactive.com

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Papyrus Ships SODA Off-Road Racing

Papyrus Design Group, a division of Sierra On-Line, Inc., announces that its first off-road driving program, SODA Off-Road Racing, is now shipping to stores.

SODA (Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association) Off-Road Racing, a CD-ROM product for PC, is a racing simulation of off-road vehicles modeled after the SODA World Series of Off-Road Racing.

The product includes out-of-the-box Rendition support, an Internet World Wide Ranking System, advanced damage models, several multiplayer options, and twelve pre-constructed tracks for competition. In addition, SODA Off-Road Racing includes an easy-to-use track designer, the first of its kind for off-road driving products. A demo of the product is available at http://www.sierra.com/motorsports.

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Psygnosis Releases PSX Shipwreckers!

Shipwreckers!, a new pirate-themed arcade game for Sony PlayStation, is now shipping from Sony-owned Psygnosis. Developed internally, the title combines a top-down view, single- and multi-player arcade shooter gameplay, puzzle solving, and strategic and exploratory elements. Players travel the high seas of five themed regions, including the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Arctic.

Watch for a review coming soon in Spectrum Reviews. Meanwhile, find more info at Http://www.psygnosis.com

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Ubi Soft Announces 3D Tennis Game for PSX

In Ubi Soft Entertainment's Tennis Arena, scheduled for release this fall for Sony PlayStation, the racket is the weapon, and the game is far from love. Combining motion capture 3D graphics and blistering action, Tennis Arena is said to feature unique characters, exotic locations and the challenge of real tennis laced with an edge of cool.

Tennis Arena offers multiple levels of singles and doubles competition.

Exhibition-style Smash Tennis allows players to hone their skills in pick-up matches where they select their opponents. For a tournament, players can take turns crossing rackets with up to 8 players. Gamers can boom heavy topspin serves and follow them to the net for angled volleys, delicate drop shots, or blistering overhead smashes. Or they can stay in the back court, driving topspin forehands, slicing backhands, and then showing off the touch on their lobs.

For more information, visit http://www.ubisoft.com

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EA Ships KKND Xtreme; Australian Real-Time Strategy Game

Electronic Arts released KKND Xtreme for Windows 95 PC-CD. Developed and published by Melbourne House, KKND Xtreme is a real-time strategy game about two warring parties fighting for the earth's remaining resources in a post-apocalyptic future. KKND Xtreme features enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), detailed 3D rendered landscapes with high-resolution graphics, and network and modem multiplayer support. The enhanced version features 50 single-player missions, 15 multiplayer levels, a new KAOS mode for the ultimate computer skirmish, an improved user interface, strategy guide. Multiplayer options include chat, network support for up to six players, and modem support for two players.

A downloadable demo is available at http://www.ea.com/ead .

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Sierra to Create Babylon 5 CD-ROMs

Sierra On-Line last week announced a partnership with Warner Bros.

Interactive Entertainment to create interactive entertainment products based on J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5 science fiction TV series, set to debut its fifth season in January 1998. Sierra's game designers and Babylon 5's producers will work in tandem to extend Babylon 5 to computer games and interactive CD-ROMs.

The first title, "The Official Guide to J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5," scheduled to ship in fall of 1997, takes viewers to the Babylon 5 space stations, providing an inside look at ships, weapons, governments, main characters and locations. It includes video clips, written descriptions and technical data.

Sierra's second title, due in the fall of 1998, is a space-combat simulation designed to faithfully recreate the look and feel of the TV series, both in graphic detail and accurate flight technology. The game designers will work directly with series creator Straczynski.

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NUMBEROLOGY

Jupiter Receives $8 Million Investment

New York-based Jupiter Communications, LLC, a privately held provider of research and strategic planning services to the consumer Internet and interactive industry, has received an $8 million equity investment from Gartner Group, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. As a result of the transaction, Michael D. Fleisher, president, Emerging Businesses at Gartner Group and John J. Neeson, senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Gartner Group, were appointed to the board of directors of Jupiter.

The $8 million will be used for general corporate purposes, including the expansion of Jupiter's Strategic Planning Services and for funding international growth.

Additional information is available at http://www.gartner.comand at http://www.jup.com

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DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

ZD Internet Mag Names Hempseed.com Premiere Free Email Service

In its November 1997 edition, Internet Magazine has placed Johnny Appleseed's Hempseed.com at the top of its list of free email service providers. As a strong supporter of the reintroduction of cannabis hemp as a natural resource, Hempseed.com uses its free email service as a means of spreading its message. Internet Magazine noted that Hempseed.com is in a league of its own as a free email service provider. Hempseed.com not only provides a non-advertising based service, but its requirements for joining are limited to a basic, non-intrusive questionnaire.

For more information about Hempseed.com, contact Johnny Appleseed by phone at (212) 344-5907 or on the Web at http://www.hempseed.com

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HAPPENINGS

LastSaturdays presents New Media Industry Salon and Benefit

LastSaturdays (415-764-2967 info line) in association with Me!dea Magazine, and MDG, presents The 4th Annual New Media Industry Salon and Benefit, Thurs. Dec 4, 6pm to 10:30pm. Discount tickets ($10 at 415-392-4400) are available until November 14.

Panel Topic: "The New Networks A Market Outlook" A discussion of the emerging delivery/enabling technologies, publishers and digital content on the Web. Plus a market forecast and prognosis for the convergence of the Web with traditional Television.

Where: Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St, SF

The gathering begins at 6pm for a pre-show cocktail reception in the foyer of The Palace. At 7pm the theater presentation will take place. From 8:30 until 10:30, attendees will enjoy a cocktail reception with the panelists and more than 20 high tech companies demonstrating their latest in new technologies and content.

A few demo tables remain for interested companies (email your interest to Bob Ayres at LastSat@aol.com ).

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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.

(c)Copyright 1997 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.

Spectrum