Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 9 Nov 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 --Lotus Design Offers 50 Multimedia Special Effect Java Applets --O'Reilly WebBoard 3.5 Features Enhanced Security, Real-Time Paging --Active Concepts Ships Funnel Web 2.5 DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --Interra Introduces Analysis Software for DVD Production --SPR Updates Software Project Estimator --Liquid Audio Ships Liquid Music System 4.0 GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --Strata StudioPro 2.5.3 Adds Motion Capture Import, MiniCAD Support --Digimation Ships RealModels, Spray Master for 3D Studio MAX --MetaCreations to Update Kai's Power Tools --Guillemot Lowers Voodoo2 Price Point WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits CONSUMER CHANNEL --MetaCreations Ships Dance Studio --Diamond Beats RIAA Injunction THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Miller Freeman Creates Venue for Non-Published Interactive Games --Jupiter: Holiday Online Sales Hit $2.3 Billion, but Gift Opportunity Still Untapped DEALS --Computer Associates Acquires Viewpoint Datalabs --Sierra to Publish Deal Fallout Designer's New RPG GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --LucasArts Ships Grim Fandango --Electronic Arts Ships Small Soldiers for PlayStation --Psygnosis Fights Fire with Fire --Fallout 2 Hits Retail Shelves --Sony Releases Crash Bandicoot: WARPED, Announces Boxing Title --SegaSoft Strikes with Vigilance --NovaLogic Launches Delta Force --Combat Flight Simulator Lands on Store Shelves --Head Games Delivers Remington Top Shot --Microsoft Launches AoE Expansion --Origin Ships Ultima Online: The Second Age --Activision Sets Street Date for Bruce Willis Action-Shooter NUMBEROLOGY --IAB Announces Q2 Advertising Revenue HAPPENINGS --NewMedia INVISION 98 Awards and INSIGHT Conference Hits Frisco F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------


Lotus Design Offers 50 Multimedia Special Effect Java Applets Lotus Design International has announced the commercial release of AllureGold Java Applet Collection, Version 2.0. The collection includes 50 multimedia visual special-effect Java applets for World Wide Web. Users can specify applet parameters such as texts, images, colors and sounds. Some special effects involve video-like animations such as fade, dissolve, ripple, scroll, spin, wave, wipe, zoom, etc. The collection also includes a few 3D applets. Details can be found at http://lotus-Web.com/java/collection.html -------------------------------------------------- O'Reilly WebBoard 3.5 Features Enhanced Security, Real-Time Paging WebBoard, a $699 collaboration, discussion and chat package, will be upgraded to version 3.5 on November 18, according to O'Reilly & Associates. The product includes five new features: real-time paging, broadcasting, email address verification, password notification by email, and an SMTP server enhancement. Real-time paging allows users to communicate instantly with other board visitors. This means important communications are no longer lost or delayed due to unread email, busy phone signals and backlogged voicemail. Recipients logged on to WebBoard are alerted onscreen--the page appears on top of the recipient's open windows--and can respond instantly to messages. Users can choose to activate or deactivate paging. Broadcasting lets WebBoard administrators and board managers contact visitors immediately with board-wide announcements and system-wide broadcasts that appear instantly on the screen of all logged-in users. WebBoard 3.5 expands its security with email address verification, which prevents users from creating accounts using another person's email address. WebBoard administrators can activate or deactivate this feature. WebBoard continues to provide user authentication as well. Tje new password reminder system is designed to save time and effort for both site visitors and WebBoard administrators. A click on "Forgot your password?" brings up the user name box. Once the user enters his or her name in the box, WebBoard 3.5 sends out the correct password to the user via email. Administrators who have an SMTP (email) server besides WebBoard's can save the cost of a second computer with this upgrade. WebBoard's SMTP server can now run on the same computer as another SMTP server. Visit http://Webboard.oreilly.com/ for more information. -------------------------------------------------- Active Concepts Ships Funnel Web 2.5 Australia-based Active Concepts last week announced Funnel Web 2.5, a free upgrade to their Web site analysis software, now with regional reporting, mean path through site, domain aggregating, offsite processing and extended support for several new servers and graphic formats. Available for the Mac OS, with Windows/NT and Unix versions to ship in the coming weeks, Funnel Web 2.5 reportedly provides rapid, detailed analysis, even when processing combined multiple files from different servers. The software is priced at US$249/Standard and US$499/Professional. Upgrades are free to current registered users and available at <http://www.activeconcepts.com/>. --------------------------------------------------


Interra Introduces Analysis Software for DVD Production Interra Digital Video Technologies' (DVT) new Interra Surveyor analysis and quality assurance software provides content authors with tests that can be performed on a variety of DVD data types throughout the DVD production process. Authors are most likely to realize the software's benefit by using it to detect errors in early production stages. Factory-defined tests applicable to specific DVD elements, such as the video manager (VMGM), titles and title sets (VTS), multiplexed video objects (VOB) and elementary video and audio streams. -------------------------------------------------- SPR Updates Software Project Estimator Software Productivity Research, Inc. (SPR) expects to ship SPR KnowledgePLAN 3.0 around the end of November. This new version of the software project estimation tool provides knowledge base customization and vertical industry knowledge bases for the telecommunications and financial services markets. The new features further simplify the development of accurate project estimates. In addition, with this version KnowledgePLAN now features a bi-directional connection to Microsoft Project '98 . For more information, visit http://www.spr.com. -------------------------------------------------- Liquid Audio Ships Liquid Music System 4.0 Liquid Audio, a developer of secure online music and audio delivery systems, has shipped version 4.0 of the Liquid Music System, its solution for mastering, publishing and delivering copyright-protected, professional-quality music over the Internet. New features include higher-quality AAC audio compression, territory management, custom faceplates and support for the RealNetworks RealPlayer G2. Liquid Music System 4.0 is composed of the Liquifier Pro mastering tool, encoding software; the Liquid Music Server, which manages the encoded music content and provides secure delivery and tracking of music over the Internet; and the Liquid Music Player, free software that lets consumers preview and purchase CD-quality music from the Internet, as well as burn their own custom CDs. For more info, visit http://www.liquidaudio.com. --------------------------------------------------


Strata StudioPro 2.5.3 Adds Motion Capture Import, MiniCAD Support The latest update to Strata Inc.'s StudioPro 3D modeling, rendering, and animation software for Mac and Windows platforms utilizes a newly developed file format and associated plug-ins to directly import motion-capture data and rich movement scripting. The Strata Motion Hierarchy, or .shm, format was developed in conjunction with Credo Interactive, makers of the Life Forms motion-capture software. Credo recently announced a Life Forms plug-in to work with StudioPro. With the 2.5.3 update, StudioPro users can apply the movements from a Life Forms motion capture session to an IK structure or import a customizable walk sequence and associate it with an animated character. When using the .shm format, all motion data is brought directly into StudioPro's Project Window, complete with keyframe markers and all associated parameters. Additionally, MiniCAD architectural files can now be output to StudioPro via MiniCAD's Strata-native format option, instead of going through a conversion process. The Strata format maintains MiniCAD's layers and shapes data more effectively than other file formats such as DXF. The update also brings Windows 98 compatibility to StudioPro, previously running on either Mac OS or Windows NT. For more details, contact Strata at 1-800-STRATA3D or visit http://www.strata.com. -------------------------------------------------- Digimation Ships RealModels, Spray Master for 3D Studio MAX Newly available from Digimation, Inc. is their first model collection called RealModels: Tropical Foliage ($295), a series of pre-built, three-dimensional trees and plants for 3D Studio MAX and 3D Studio VIZ. RealModels come mapped with over 300MB of photorealistic textures. There are 14 different plant and tree families, each with several variations, for a total of over 250 complete models. Each model come in NURBS format as well as high-, medium- and low-resolution polygonal formats. There are also special alpha plane versions of each model, suited for backgrounds, still images or projects where face counts must be kept to a minimum. Also brand new from Digimation is a new $95 plug-in for 3D Studio MAX 2.0 named Spray Master. Spray Master is a new creation tool that allows a user to spray geometry, both 2D and 3D, as particles on or around other objects with a freehand brush. Particles emitted by Spray Master can be placed above or below any geometry surface, and users can define layers so that the particles begin to accumulate on top of one another as they are sprayed, enabling the creation of realistic rubble and snow drifts. Visit Digimation on the Web at http://www.digimation.com or contact the company directly at 504-468-7898. -------------------------------------------------- MetaCreations to Update Kai's Power Tools Coming this fall for Mac and Windows PCs at SRP US$199 from MetaCreations Corp. is new version of Kai's Power Tools (KPT), a set of plug-in applications for use within Adobe Photoshop. The new version, to be called KPT 5 (there was no KPT 4), includes real-time 3D tools, particle-growth effects and professional blurs. The interface now offers access to numerical values, real-time interactive previews and user-customizable options. Some details: * KPT ShapeShifter creates shapes and objects with refracting glass edges, 3D light sources on beveled metallic surfaces, soft, curved and lit Web buttons, and text. Resulting elements carry their masks with them for easy compositing. * KPT Orb-It explodes a source image into thousands of spheres with variations in size, density, and realistic 3D lighting. Produce fields of bubbles, raindrops, and giant lenses, text effects, and mind-boggling distortions. * KPT FiberOptix creates furry text, to green shag carpet, pink plastic silly string, and lush creeping vines. Every strand and fiber is a true 3D object. Masks are generated from the 3D data for easy compositing. * KPT Blurrrr filters include the classic zoom, spin, and other blurs with 64-bit color and 128-bit math with new algorithms and variations. * KPT FraxPlorer is the new Fractal Explorer featuring real-time fly-throughs, larger previews, and new fractal styles. Check it out at http://www.metacreations.com -------------------------------------------------- Guillemot Lowers Voodoo2 Price Point Guillemot has dropped the SRP of its Maxi Gamer 3D2 (12MB Voodoo2) to $99.99 after a $30 mail-in rebate. The rebate is not limited to a single card, so gamers with an extra free PCI slot can get into SLI mode for $200. Contact Guillemot at 1-877-Guillemot. --------------------------------------------------


Web Bits EPE Online, a new Web-delivered hobbyist magazine from Maxfield & Montrose Interactive for electronics and computer enthusiasts, features construction projects in each issue. The first edition has just been published and is available for free download at http://www.epemag.com ... InfoTray (http://www.emtec.com) is a $19 utility that monitors and displays data from your system, other programs, files and the Internet in a compact fashion on your Windows desktop ... PCGAME.COM's new GAMESCOOP service (http://www.pcgame.com/gamescoop/) indexes new reviews, previews, cheats, and demos from the major online game mags every 24 hours ... NOVA Online invites viewers to test their science smarts by taking The NOVA Challenge at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/challenge/ ... drkoop.com's new Prevention Center (http://www.drkoop.com/prevcenter/) offers consumers information on drug interactions, tobacco cessation, fitness, safety, nutrition, and stress management. First Auction's (http://www.firstauction.com) new Health & Beauty department offers cosmetics, fragrances, nutrition and skin care products in an auction format ... Microsoft's new Golf 1999 Edition is now available for free multiplayer matchmaking on the MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com) ... Each weekday, TechSightings (http://www.techsightings.com) at least one Website full of information about computing, the Internet or a related subject, claiming honest, unbiased 300-word opinions ... In response to a recent survey that showed that parents and students often overestimate the price of a college education, a coalition of colleges and universities has launched a national education campaign at http://www.CollegeIsPossible.org. WhoBuiltIt.Com (http://www.whobuiltit.com) is a reverse directory for Websites, where users can find out what designer, developer or interactive agency created a site ... If you're in the market for consumer electronics products, check out 800.COM (http://www.800.COM/), which features personalization, comparisons, community, objective editorial content, educational content and book and video sections ... InternationalTimes.com (http://www.internationalnews.com), a new free daily newspaper, can be downloaded in less than a minute for printing and review, and provides international news, domestic U.S. news, business reports, technology updates, entertainment happenings and sports results. Writer On Line, a bi-weekly publication for the Internet writing community at http://www.novalearn.com/wol, addresses fiction, creative nonfiction, international writing, legal issues, public relations, technical writing, and self-marketing ... The National Freedom Scorecard, available on the ACLU site at (http://scorecard.aclu.org), aims to reveal the frequency of Congressional attacks on the Bill of Rights ... InfoMedia's new FamilySeek (http://www.familyseek.com) is a free Internet directory and search engine dedicated to parenting, pregnancy and family Web sites ... Send RealNetworks (http://www.real.com/reallife) a three-minute video telling why the world should spend the day with you, and you might just win $50,000. The "Interactive Web" (http://www.holidaylectures.org) uses JAVA, video, virtual reality and Shockwave to let students and other interested parties explore biology ... Internet shopping mall Shop2Give.com (http://www.Shop2Give.com) aims to advance the "art of giving" by letting shoppers direct a percentage of their purchase to the non-profit of their choice ... Parallel meta-engine Cyber411 (http://www.cyber411.com) simultaneously harnesses 16 search engines on a single query. It automatically reformulates the query to fit the syntax for each search engine. --------------------------------------------------


MetaCreations Ships Dance Studio Dance Studio is an intriguing new product from the innovative folks at MetaCreations. An offbeat combination of music, real-time 3D and advanced motion-capture technology in a highly accessible package aimed at kids, the $50 Windows title was developed by Millennium Rush, a subsidiary of character animation specialist KATrix. Users pick a 3D character, a background, music style (CD, WAV or MIDI) and dance style, and then record a dance sequence using the keyboard to invoke different moves such as spins and kicks. What's really interesting is that the action can be exported in BVH format for bringing into programs such as Kinetix's Character Studio. Find out more at http://www.metacreations.com. -------------------------------------------------- Diamond Beats RIAA Injunction The U.S. Central District Court of California, Judge Audrey Collins, has denied the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) application seeking a Preliminary Injunction to halt shipment of Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300 portable music player. Diamond Multimedia will move forward with its plans to ship Rio during November. The portable digital music player uses MP3 compression for mixing and storing up to 60 minutes of music and up to eight hours of voice from the Internet or a PC. --------------------------------------------------


Miller Freeman Creates Venue for Non-Published Interactive Games Creating a venue for domestic and international interactive game developers seeking a publishing deal, Miller Freeman, Inc. has announced the first annual GDC Independent Games Festival. The competition will culminate during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Expo at the San Jose Convention Center March 16-18, 1999. The festival provides a forum to showcase the work of independent game developers, foster recognition of games as an art form and facilitate relationships between game developers and publishers. Entries for the GDC Independent Games Festival are being solicited by Miller Freeman beginning November 16. Games and game concepts for the PC, Macintosh and Sony Playstation are eligible to enter. From all Round One entries, up to 30 games will be invited to participate as official GDC Independent Games Festival selections. Finalists will be on display during the GDC Expo, where they will be judged by a jury of industry leaders. In addition to a $5,000 Grand Prize for the best independent game of the year, awards will be presented for technical excellence, art, audio and game design. A Festival Audience Award will be selected by popular vote of conference attendees. For festival rules and application procedures, go to http://www.indiegames.com or phone (415) 905-2388. Additional information about the GDC can be found at http://www.gdconf.com. -------------------------------------------------- Jupiter: Holiday Online Sales Hit $2.3 Billion, but Gift Opportunity Still Untapped Shoppers are expected to spend $2.3 billion online during the 1998 holiday shopping season, up from $1.1 billion in 1997, according to research released today by Jupiter Communications. Only 16 percent of online purchases are gift-related, representing a large untapped revenue stream. While holiday sales will bring new customers, online retailers must view this boom season as an opportunity to "increase the value" of each existing customer by encouraging "self-buyers" to also become "gift-buyers." A total of 11 percent of online buyers reported that the majority of their online purchases were gift-related. However, only 59 percent of online buyers report that fewer than 10 percent of their online purchases are currently gift-related. Nicole Vanderbilt, group director of Jupiter's Digital Commerce Strategies research practice, explained that as the online shopping market matures, commerce players will move from an acquisition strategy to a retention strategy. Commerce players should therefore use the gift-buying market as a way to increase their share of online buyers' wallets. "While online retailers have been successful in capturing dollars that consumers spend on themselves, they have been unsuccessful in getting the majority of those same customers to spend their gift dollars online," added Vanderbilt. Jupiter believes that commerce players should develop features such as gift registries that leverage customer databases to maximize lifetime value of their customers. By allowing designated gift buyers to access information about gift recipients, such as preferences and wish lists, commerce players will be well-positioned to capture online buyers' gift dollars. "By providing an attractive service that is unavailable in other channels, retailers are able to both encourage incremental online spending and continue to develop their own all-important customer profiles," said Vanderbilt. --------------------------------------------------


Computer Associates Acquires Viewpoint Datalabs Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA) recently acquired privately-held Viewpoint DataLabs, a specialist in 3D digital content creation and publishing. Financial terms were not disclosed. Viewpoint (http://www.viewpoint.com) is mainly known for its extensive library of 3D digital content and its custom modeling services. The company recently introduced LiveArt graphics productivity software. Viewpoint will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of CA, and will continue to operate with its existing management team and employees in its Utah, Los Angeles, San Francisco and United Kingdom offices. CA plans to use Viewpoint's technology to enhance products such as Unicenter TNG and Jasmine through the use of 3D technology. Viewpoint will also continue to offer and evolve its technologies, products and services for its existing customers in the entertainment, advertising and visual simulation industries. The release of the long-awaited new version of the Interchange 3D-data-exchange program, acquired when Viewpoint bought John Foust's Syndesis, has been pushed back to next year. -------------------------------------------------- Sierra to Publish Deal Fallout Designer's New RPG Sierra Studios announced last week a publishing deal with Fallout creator Tim Cain's new game company, Troika Games LLC. The first, yet-to-be-named title is scheduled for release in the third quarter of the year 2000 and is a role-playing game from the core team who brought the gaming world the popular RPG Fallout, published by Interplay in 1997. This marks the first game from this team as a company. --------------------------------------------------


LucasArts Ships Grim Fandango The adventure game genre lives on in style in Grim Fandango, a new graphic adventure from LucasArts Entertainment Company. A story of crime and corruption set in a surreal world inspired by Mexican folklore, the title combines elements of classic film noir with a search for redemption by Manny Calavera, a travel agent in the Land of the Dead. Inspired by the films Chinatown, Casablanca and The Big Sleep, the game's four-year saga intertwines the themes of film noir with exotic mythology of ancient Mexico. The two genres share elements that are at the core of Manny's struggle: danger, drama, greed, the passage of an innocent person through a dark and perilous realm, and finally, redemption. Graphically, Grim Fandango draws inspiration from Mexican Day of the Dead folklore art and the film Nightmare Before Christmas, showcasing a unique approach never before seen in an interactive title. Characters come to life as skeletons, depicted in a primitive yet realistic folk-art style. Architecture is a combination of Aztec, Mayan and Art Deco, providing Grim Fandango with an exotic and mystical tone. Vehicles are wildly exaggerated custom hot rods, in a style reminiscent of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's outrageous creations from the 1960s. Grim Fandango features more than 50 mysterious characters and 90 locations, all rendered in 3D animation. For additional information, check out http://www.lucasarts.com/products/grim/. -------------------------------------------------- Electronic Arts Ships Small Soldiers for PlayStation Electronic Arts has shipped Small Soldiers for the PlayStation. Developed by DreamWorks Interactive, the 3D combat game, inspired by the feature film of the same name, lets players assume the role of the movie's two main characters as they battle it out in the mythical realms of the Gorgonites and Commando Elite. The title features 14 additional characters, some created exclusively for Small Soldiers for the PlayStation. The action takes place in 14 3- environments ranging from the organic Gorgonite realm of the Dimensional Temple to the militaristic Commando outpost of Garrison Prime. Gamers can strategically direct attacks, set traps and deploy troops in an effort to defeat opposing forces and achieve mission objectives. The game also features six two-player "Frag" or "Flag" levels where players can choose to engage in head-to-head combat as either Archer or Chip Hazard (the latter voiced by actor Tommy Lee Jones). For more information, log onto http://www.smallsoldiersgame.com. -------------------------------------------------- Psygnosis Fights Fire with Fire It's not exactly a Backdraft license, but Psygnosis has just released Rosco McQueen: Firefighter Extreme, a fire-fighting game for Sony Playstation. Hero Rosco battles natural forces and homicidal robots to escape entrapment in a burning tower, while saving hundreds of innocent victims from evil madman Sylvester T. Square and his legions of brain-drained computers. Players 8 to 12 years of age need to overcome 12 different fire hazards including flame-overs, backdrafts, smoke and electrical fire. If your child runs out into the street every time a fire truck careens by, this could be a natural. Cool off at http://www.psygnosis.com. Also, this spring Psygnosis will release Hired Guns for PC CD-ROM. The futuristic first-person 3D shooter features four-character simultaneous action with quad-screen view; large, brightly-colored, neon-filled worlds and levels; combined puzzle solving, strategy and action; Unreal 3D engine and level editor; and support for 8 players. And, Metal Fatigue is Psygnosis' "big" foray into the real-time 3D strategy genre. Set to ship in June '99, the Mark Baldwin-designed title lets players take on the roles of towering heavy metal robots (called Combots) battling for power over 30 single-player and 30 multi-player missions. Players customize and assemble their giant Combots in reconfigurable combinations, often gathering and recreating resource parts from dismembered enemy Combots. The action takes place on three continuous multi-level playing fields: orbit, surface, underground. -------------------------------------------------- Fallout 2 Hits Retail Shelves Black Isle Studios, the role-playing game (RPG) division of Interplay Entertainment Corp., recently released Fallout 2, the follow-up to the popular 1997 title on CD-ROM for Windows 95-based computers. New features include improved combat artificial intelligence, non-player character interaction and more weapons and quests. The game area has been enlarged over 100% more and has no time limit. The story follows the player as the 'Chosen One,' a descendant of the 'Vault Dweller,' the player's character from Fallout. Village elders have selected the 'Chosen One' to wear the sacred "vault suit" of his grandsire and, in time, ascend to the leadership of his community. First the player's character must prove devotion to his people and find the legendary Vault 13 to claim the technology that the tribe needs to survive. More information is available at http://www.interplay.com or at http://www.blackisle.com. -------------------------------------------------- Sony Releases Crash Bandicoot: WARPED, Announces Boxing Title Just out from Sony Computer Entertainment America for PlayStation is the latest episode in the saga of Crash Bandicoot: WARPED, developed, as were the previous two titles, by Naughty Dog. Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh composed the sequel's musical track. Players experience adventures such as swimming in the underwater world of Atlantis, riding on the back of a young T-Rex in the Jurassic Era, and time warping to a futuristic world. A new "time trial" mode lets players race against the clock and earn relics that open secret levels. Also, coming in January is SCEA's boxing title, Contender. The arcade-style game, compatible with the new Dual Shock Analog Controller, features 40 different boxers and 20 playable characters, each with their own unique look, fighting style, strengths and weaknesses. With each fight, players can build a fighter's speed, strength and stamina. These fighters can be saved on to memory cards to fight against friends. Visit http://www.playstation.com -------------------------------------------------- SegaSoft Strikes with Vigilance Newly available from the folks at SegaSoft is Vigilance for Win95/98. The PC CD-ROM game is a 3D mission-based action/strategy venture that recruits players as members of an elite anti-terrorist team and sends them out on 25 different mission objectives, which sound as though they were culled from the headlines. Each of the eight player characters has different skill sets and personalities. Technical features include use of the AnyWorld 3D graphics engine and two "smart" cameras for switching from first-person to third-person view. Multiplayer action is supported on Sega's HEAT.NET Internet gaming service. For more info, visit http://www.vigilance.com. -------------------------------------------------- NovaLogic Launches Delta Force NovaLogic's new Delta force is a first/third person action/strategy game (hmmm, smells like a trend) that lets players sneak up on or shoot down the enemy across miles of diverse environments in over 40 missions. The title also lets over 30 players participate in a single game over NovaWorld, the company's online game service. Environments range from snowy mountains to barren deserts and tropical forests with lakes and rivers. The game debuts NovaLogic's Voxel Space 3 graphics terrain with 32-bit true-color support, which lets players take advantage of the environment by (e.g.) crawling through the grass or positioning themselves between trees and cliffs. Players can also use binoculars or sniper scopes to scan the horizon for enemies. The game also features 3D positional sounds; headphones are recommended. Seek and ye shall find at http://www.vigilance.com. -------------------------------------------------- Combat Flight Simulator Lands on Store Shelves Microsoft's new Combat Flight Simulator, a World War II air combat simulation game, includes eight realistically modeled aircraft, each with its own flight model and detailed cockpit. CFS is built on the Microsoft Flight Simulator engine, but with the addition of air combat and head-to-head competition. Players experience real-world navigation, based upon historical information and atlas data. Combat Flight Simulator allows each PC aviator to define his or her own experience by choosing from a variety of aerial combat scenarios. Options include historical missions and campaigns, Free Flight and Quick Combat. Additional information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs/. -------------------------------------------------- Head Games Delivers Remington Top Shot Remington Top Shot shooting game for Win95 from Activision subsidiary Head Games Publishing lets players select from more than 20 firearms as they practice their aim with a variety of reality-based, target-shooting games. Selecting from more than 10 different shooting games, players can pursue hijackers or perfect their shot at indoor shooting ranges. Weapons include the Remington 870 pump shotgun, the Russian AK-74 assault rifle, the M-60 machine gun, the Walther PPK and the .22 Varmint. The game also allows players to import pictures to be used as custom targets (take that, boss!). It also includes a 19-page illustrated gun safety manual. For more information, visit http://www.headgames.net. -------------------------------------------------- Microsoft Launches AoE Expansion Newly available from Microsoft is Age of Empires Expansion: The Rise of Rome, an expansion pack for the real-time strategy game Age of Empires that focuses on the ancient Roman Empire. The expansion pack was developed by Ensemble Studios, and features the expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-designer of Age of Empires and the Civilization, and Sandy Petersen as lead designer. Features include: * four new civilizations: Carthage, Palmyra, Macedonia and Rome * new units: armored elephant, camel rider, fire galley, scythe chariot and slinger * new buildings, including the Roman Coliseum * four new campaigns made up of over a dozen additional scenarios * new researchable technologies such as logistics, martyrdom, medicine, and tower shield * a larger map size, plus new map types including mountainous highlands, a large island, the Mediterranean and a peninsula * gaming improvements include new ability to queue the production of units, double-clicking a unit to selects all units of that type on the game screen, random civilization option, and in multiplayer games, an in-game option to change the population limit For more information, go to http://www.microsoft.com/games/aoeexpansion/ -------------------------------------------------- Origin Ships Ultima Online: The Second Age ORIGIN Systems has shipped Ultima Online: The Second Age for the PC. The title introduces new features designed to support its global community; specifically a language translation program licensed to ORIGIN Systems by SYSTRAN S.A. The program translates one natural language into another natural language. Four language sets are included in the Ultima Online/SYSTRAN translator: English to German, German to English, English to Japanese and Japanese to English. Other language sets are supported by the program and will be available for download from The Second Age Web site located at: http://www.owo.com. Ultima Online: The Second Age offers new areas for gamers to explore and includes additional creatures, weapons and spells. New terrain includes jungles, rivers, lost temples, canyons, and additional swamps and Arctic regions. The game also features an IRC-style chat system for enhanced communication across entire game worlds. The chat system has both private and public channels, as well as messaging. The Second Age also includes features designed specifically for the new user, including tool tips and an off-line tutorial, a newly designed interface and printed manual. -------------------------------------------------- Activision Sets Street Date for Bruce Willis Action-Shooter Beginning on November 17, gamers will be able to role-play Bruce Willis with the launch of Activision, Inc.'s upcoming game Apocalypse for the PlayStation game console. As Trey Kincaid, a pistol-packing nano-physicist, players must defeat the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they attempt to save the world. Gamers take control of a motion-captured and scanned 3D Willis as they fight their way through a Neo-Gothic world on the edge of annihilation. --------------------------------------------------


IAB Announces Q2 Advertising Revenue The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently announced second quarter 1998 results of its "Advertising Revenue Reporting Program," with total second quarter spending reaching $423 million, an increase of 97 per cent over the second quarter 1997 and the ninth consecutive quarter of reported revenue growth. Leading online spending categories during the second quarter were computing (26%), consumer-related (24%), financial services (13%), new media (13%) and telecom (9%). The survey also found that the overwhelming number of revenue transactions, (95%) continue to be cash-based with barter deals accounting for (5%) of total spending. Banner advertisements continue to dominate spending in the category (58%) with sponsorships (37%), interstitials (3%) and others (2%) rounding out the category. Reflecting the growth of e-commerce, hybrid ads account for 56% of transactions, with CPMs at 40% and performance-based at 4%. --------------------------------------------------


NewMedia INVISION 98 Awards and INSIGHT Conference Hits Frisco NewMedia INVISION 98 features digital media professionals discussing the creative and economic trends and challenges facing the digital media industry. The Festival opens on Wednesday, November 11 with the International Showcase, featuring digital work from around the world. The cornerstone of the INVISION 98 Awards Festival is the INVISION Awards Gala, to be held Thursday, Nov. 12. Awards are given to winners in 40 categories, along with nine Awards of Excellence, plus Best of Show and Best of Web honors. The Awards presentation will be Webcast live from the Argent Hotel in San Francisco on http://www.newmedia.com/invision Also on Thursday, the PlayLand Gallery, an interactive exhibit of 50 INVISION 98 Award winners, opens from the Argent Hotel. The INSIGHT Conference, which takes place within the festival, features a series of information sessions, roundtables and keynotes, plus perspective on new trends and business models. Keynote speakers at INSIGHT are: authors Carl Shapiro (Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy) and Chunka Mui (Unleashing the Killer App: Twelve Steps to a Healthy Digital Strategy). Other session participants include J.G. Sandom, senior partner, Ogilvy One Worldwide; Jay Alan Samit, president, animalhouse.com, and VP, Universal Studios New Media Group; and Ana Serrano, director, MediaLinx h@bitat. --------------------------------------------------


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