Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 23 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 --Macromedia Unveils Director 7, New Shockwave --Internet Company Releases New 3D Page Format --Macromedia Ships Generator for Sun Solaris --O'Reilly's WebBoard 3.5 Available DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --TEAC Announces 8/6/4X24 CD-Rs --Yamaha Announces DirectMusic Hardware Accelerator IN THE INFOGROOVE --Alexa Updates to Version 3.0 --3VR Launches VR Chatter Beta GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --BitJazz Ships Lossless Compression Solution for Adobe Product Family --Credo Interactive to Debut Avatar Movement Tool at Avatars98 Online Conference. --Trinity Releases FreePyro Plug-in for MAX 2.5 --NewTek Introduces DV/Animation Solution for Windows NT --Matrox Ships Marvel G200-TV PCI --Play Inc. Announces Real-Time Digital 3D Sculpting, Painting Tool --CalComp Announces USB Graphics Tablet WEBSIGHTINGS --Web Bits CONSUMER CHANNEL --Activision Ships Teen Digital Diva THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Manning Publications Releases Magical A-Life Avatars --Jupiter: 80 Percent of Consumers Trust Online News As Much As Off-Line --O'Reilly Releases Lingo in a Nutshell DEALS --Cendant to Sell Software Division Havas GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Activision's Asteroids Smashes onto Retail Shelves --Yosemite Entertainment Set to Ship Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire --Acclaim Announces Turok 2, South Park --Eidos Releases Three Titles --Interplay Releases Might and Magic Compilation --Bullfrog/EA Ship Populous: The Beginning --EA Ships ESPN Digital Games' X Games Pro Boarder on PlayStation --Sierra Offers Free Assignment Editor for Caesar III --Activision Announces CIV2 for PlayStation --Return to Krondor Goes Gold --LefKey Introduces Lefty Keyboard for Gamers --Blue Byte Announces Settlers III Demo DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --NewMedia Announces InVision Awards HAPPENINGS --O'Reilly Announces Open Source Conference F.Y.I. --About Spectrum ____________________________________


Macromedia Unveils Director 7, New Shockwave Come December, multimedia authors will have a new version of their favorite tool as Macromedia gets set to ship Director 7 Shockwave Internet Studio, re-architected for the Internet. The company also debuted Shockwave 7, a new release of the popular Web interactive multimedia player. Director 7 features an optimized, redesigned playback engine and set of new Internet features, including support for a wide range of media types as well as effects such as alpha channels and dynamic scaling and rotation. It also supports Internet standard protocols such as HTML, with links to all Director-supported media types (text, graphics, sound, video, and animation); HTTP for media distribution; HTTPS for secure e-commerce transactions; XML for data exchange; CGI POST for two-way communication; and updated support for Java. Super-compressed "Shocked" fonts are designed to solve the problem of cross-browser and cross-platform typeface display, and the anti-aliased text can be edited even at run time. The multi-user server is designed to reduce the cost of creating multi-player games and shared experiences such as media-rich chat rooms by eliminating the need for complex, custom-engineered server solutions. New vector drawing tools and native support for Flash animations allow developers to easily integrate high-quality, compact vector imagery, further reducing download times. New drag-and-drop behaviors in Director 7 include multi-state buttons, progress bars, rotation, quad animation, scale effects, and more. Behaviors are editable, and can be shared across projects via the new Library Palette. Director's Lingo scripting language has been enhanced to control Internet connectivity, vector shapes, alpha channels, scaling, and rotation. In addition, Lingo now supports an efficient dot syntax familiar to users of JavaScript or Visual Basic along with script coloring for faster coding and debugging. Shockwave 7 reportedly offers faster and more stable playback, thanks to optimized event processing, as well as smart media streaming, faster startup, new effects and auto-updating. The Studio includes Macromedia Fireworks for creating and producing Web graphics, as well as Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge XP4 or BIAS Peak LE for professional quality sound editing. Customers also receive a multi-user server for creating distributed Shockwave experiences such as multi-player games and online chat rooms. Macromedia is available on the Internet at http://www.macromedia.com. ____________________________________ Internet Company Releases New 3D Page Format Flatland Online, Inc. has released 3DML (Three-Dimensional Markup Language) and the Flatland Rover software to the World Wide Web. 3DML is a new markup language developed by Flatland designed to let Web page builders to create three-dimensional content on the Internet. The Flatland Rover is a Web browser extension that displays content created with 3DML. Pages created with 3DML (called "spots") are navigable, customizable virtual environments that incorporate image, text, animation, sound and hyperlinks. According to Flatland, 3DML requires no previous experience with 3D modeling or programming, and is as easy to learn as HTML. 3DML uses a basic building block metaphor that enables users to create 3D spaces by arranging ready made blocks into complete environments. Find Flatland Rover, online tutorials and 3DML building guides at http://www.flatland.com. ____________________________________ Macromedia Ships Generator for Sun Solaris Macromedia's Generator Dynamic Graphics Server is now available for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris operating environment. The server-based software is designed for automating and personalizing Web site graphics such as headlines, ad banners, maps, calendars, charts, and other live or frequently updated data. On the Solaris platform, Generator works with Netscape Enterprise Web Server or Apache Web Server to create and deliver dynamic graphics on-the-fly. To see examples of Generator in action, visit http://www.macromedia.com/generator. ____________________________________ O'Reilly's WebBoard 3.5 Available WebBoard version 3.5, the latest upgrade for the popular collaboration, discussion and chat package, is now available, according to publisher O'Reilly & Associates. WebBoard 3.0 runs on Windows NT, 98 and 95, and has a suggested list price of $699 U.S. The new features in WebBoard 3.5 are: * Real-time paging: allows users to communicate instantly with other board visitors. * Broadcasting: WebBoard administrators and conference board managers can make board-wide and system-wide broadcasts that appear instantly on the screen of all logged-in users. * Email address verification: security feature which prevents users from creating accounts using another person's email address. WebBoard continues to provide user authentication and the "no password" option. * Password reminder system: saves time and frustration for site visitors who've forgotten their password. This feature relieves Web administrators from the time-consuming work of searching for and providing forgotten passwords. * Co-existing SMTP server support: WebBoard's SMTP server can now run on the same computer as another SMTP server. This feature has been requested by users at both small and large companies where cost is an important factor. More information is available (http://Webboard.oreilly.com/). ____________________________________


TEAC Announces 8/6/4X24 CD-Rs TEAC three new CD-Recordable combine a 3.6MBps (24X) read speed and a 150ms average access time. The SCSI drives record at 1200KBps (8X24), 900KBps (6X24) and 600KBps (4X24). The 4X24 and 6X24 CD-Recordable drives offer a 2MB buffer while the 8X24 is equipped with a 6MB buffer. Bundled software consists of Adaptec Easy CD Creator, a premastering application that creates data and audio CDs for Windows 95/98/NT, and Adaptec Direct CD, which creates CDs by allowing users to drag and drop files from any source such as a hard drive, floppy or the Internet. The 6X24 CD-Recordable drive is available in both internal and external models at an MSRP of $499 and $599, respectively and both are shipping now. The 8X24 will be available as an external drive in March 1999 at an MSRP of $699. The 4X24 drive will be available in an internal version and will ship in February 1999 with an MSRP of $349. For additional information, contact TEAC America, Data Storage Division Headquarters, 7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640. Telephone: (323) 726-0303. Fax: (323) 727-7672. Web: http://www.teac.com. ____________________________________ Yamaha Announces DirectMusic Hardware Accelerator Yamaha Systems Technology has developed what it says is the industry's first hardware accelerator for Microsoft's DirectMusic application programming interface. The Yamaha DS-X series PCI audio chips will offload DirectMusic synthesis to dedicated hardware, reportedly reducing CPU overhead and latency of sound generation on Windows 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems. DirectMusic, part DirectX, supports MIDI playback and recording, software synthesis, custom instruments (through adherence to the industry-standard Downloadable Sounds (DLS) specification), and interactive, non-repetitious music composition. It will be delivered this winter as an update to Windows 95 and Windows 98, and will be included in the forthcoming release of Windows 2000. It will also be provided to software developers and composers as part of the Microsoft DirectX Software Development Kit. Find more at http://www.yamahayst.com ____________________________________


Alexa Updates to Version 3.0 Alexa Internet announced last week the public availability of Alexa 3.0, the latest release of the company's free surf engine. The new version lets users customize their display of the Alexa data by choosing from four different panels, including Alexa Snapshot, Site Registration, Site Stats and Related Links, and includes additional information such as user reviews and related news. Alexa 3.0 is compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and will support the Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 final release. Other versions of Alexa are available for Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer 3.0 and can be downloaded from http://www.alexa.com. ____________________________________ 3VR Launches VR Chatter Beta At Comdex last week, 3VR, Inc. debuted its new chat program, VR Chatter Beta, which explores the virtual world with animated characters to represent online chatters. Available as a free download, the VR Chatter program and the first six characters are free. The final version of VR Chatter is scheduled for release in January 1999 and will offer additional characters for $9.95 for a five-pack set. VR Chatter was created using Direct X rather than VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) for faster downloading from the Internet. The company claims its simplicity makes it easy and fun to use. With preset animations, the characters can perform actions such as dancing, kicking and laughing while saying corresponding comments. VR Chatter includes specialized chat rooms, e-mail, buddy listing, group chat and the ability to expand into multiple languages. With group chat, different chatters can see the animated characters representing each person in the chat room. Also with limited, secure profiles, chatters can provide only necessary information to retain privacy. System Requirements: Windows 95/98, Pentium 90 MHz or faster, 16 MB memory, 20 MB free disk space, double speed CD-ROM, soundcard and 2MB video card. Find more at http://www.3vr.com. ____________________________________


BitJazz Ships Lossless Compression Solution for Adobe Product Family BitJazz Inc. is shipping PhotoJazz, a $99 Windows and Mac OS solution enabling lossless compression averaging 2.5X in photo-quality images. Designed initially for use with the Adobe product family, the technology used in PhotoJazz exploits a process BitJazz calls 'condensation,' theoretically rooted in quantum thermodynamics and information theory. Additionally, BitJazz uses the same amount of memory for any size image, and compresses 3 times as fast as PNG (Portable Network Graphics). Using PhotoJazz, a 4.5 MB, 1536x1024-pixel photo-quality RGB image typically compresses to 1.8MB, taking 14 minutes for transmission instead of 35 over a 28.8 kbps line. The PhotoJazz plug-in is available for Power Macintosh and Windows (95/98/NT) using interoperable files and is said to offer fuller Photoshop color mode support than all other file formats except Photoshop's native file format, PSD. PhotoJazz supports all high-quality image modes (RGB, CMYK, grayscale, duotone, Lab, multichannel) with any number of alpha and spot-color channels, plus thumbnails, ICC profiles, and other non-image data. Finally, PhotoJazz uses CRC data-integrity verification to detect transmission and disk errors. For further details, consult the online table at http://www.bitjazz.com/analysis.html. Also, BitJazz is shipping its cross-platform BitJazz Software Development Kit (SDK), which lets developers include PhotoJazz support in their Windows and Mac OS software. The cross-platform SDK includes all PhotoJazz interface files, working ANSI C sample code, and documentation. The PhotoJazz reader/evaluation copy is free. PhotoJazz Pro, which sells for $99, has full-write capability. PhotoJazz Lite, priced at $49, outputs RGB only. All products are available at http://www.bitjazz.com/. ____________________________________ Credo Interactive to Debut Avatar Movement Tool at Avatars98 Online Conference. Credo Interactive Inc., a provider of tools for 3D character movement, last week announced new plug-ins for Life Forms 3 designed to let online world users create custom avatar movement in Active Worlds and Blaxxun. The plug-ins will debut at Avatars98, the Contact Consortium's global "cyberconference" held within graphical online worlds. Life Forms' SEQ export format will provide motion data for Active Worlds avatars; Life Forms' proprietary Blaxxun export format will provide motion and model data for Blaxxun avatars. The Contact Consortium's cyberconference will also feature the debut of new technologies, including a 3D exhibit hall with booths from numerous universities, government agencies, internet design studios, and individual netizens. The virtual tradeshow floor offer speakers and virtual community activities connecting two-dozen physical get-togethers around the world. The one-day event occurs November 21, 1998. Find more at http://www.credo-interactive.com, and contact Contact Consortium at http://www.ccon.org. ____________________________________ Trinity Releases FreePyro Plug-in for MAX 2.5 Trinity Animation, Inc. announces the free release of the plug-in "FreePyro" for 3D Studio MAX 2.X. FreePyro is based on Cebas' first commercial release of their PyroCluster environmental system, and includes all the features of that release except for its "a-bomb" particle system. Features of FreePyro include the ability to create and render smoke, fog, dust, steam and clouds. Also, FreePyro's "CoolView" technology lets animators create a rendered preview in the 3D Studio MAX modeling viewport. This rendered preview can remain active, updating itself while changes are made to the scene. FreePyro creates these effects by using particle systems with particle size set to zero. The particle system is animated in the normal way, possibly including space warps and other effects. Then, the invisible (zero sized particles) particle system is attached to the FreePyro effect. The FreePyro plug-in uses 3D data from the particle system and its internal rendering engine to actually fly through shifting, volumetric cloudbanks with little additional render time added by the wispy clouds. Unlike standard MAX volumetric effects, FreePyro effects can create shadow casting and light receiving volumetric effects within 3D Studio MAX. All these lighting effects are naturally created with the help of standard MAX lights - there is no need for the artist to add or use any extra "volume enabled" lights. FreePyro is available at the following: http://www.trinity3d.com http://www.cebas.com http://www.3dcafe.com ____________________________________ NewTek Introduces DV/Animation Solution for Windows NT NewTek's new $4,000 Frame Factory is its first professional hardware and software digital video and animation solution for Windows NT. The product allows 3D animation, real time video capture and playback, 2D animation, 2D and 3D video manipulation and video processing. Features include: * 3/4-length single-board solution for realtime capture and playback of uncompressed ITU-R-601 video * LightWave 3D v. 5.6 3D modeling and animation program * special version of Aura includes 2D animation, paint, video, rotoscoping, and compositing capabilities. * import/export Video Toaster/Flyer clips * video I/O includes component (YUV), S-Video and composite with SDI optional * file format support for IFF, JPG, TIFF, TGA, PIC, SUN, Alias, RAW, BMP, Cineon, Photoshop, RLA, SGI, YUV Frame Factory for Intel will be available Q4 1998. Contact NewTek at 8200 IH-10 West, Suite 900, San Antonio, TX 78230. Phone (210)370-8000. Fax (210)370-8001. http://www.newtek.com. ____________________________________ Matrox Ships Marvel G200-TV PCI The PCI version of the Matrox Marvel G200-TV is now shipping. The card provides 2D, 3D and video acceleration as well as video capture with its hardware Motion-JPEG (MJPEG) CODEC, TV on the PC and out to TV capabilities. Fitted with 8MB SDRAM and an integrated 250 MHz RAMDAC, the card also has a 3D rendering engine that supports Direct 3D and Quake II-based games (the latter thanks to Matrox's D3D wrapper). Applications include video editing, video conferencing and video mail over the Internet. Get the full picture at http://www.matrox.com/mga. ____________________________________ Play Inc. Announces Real-Time Digital 3D Sculpting, Painting Tool Amorphium, Play Incorporated's 3D tool for PC and Macintosh computers, reportedly lets users to interactively sculpt and paint a shaded 3D model in real time. Tools include interactive sculpting, painting, distortion tools, energy balls, displacement mapping, texture mapping, 3D morphing, and 3D text generation. Graphics can be saved in industry-standard 3D and 2D file formats, such as VRML and animated GIF files which can easily be placed on the Web. Amorphium is the first result of the marriage earlier this year between Play and Electric Image. The program will be available in December at SRP $149.95. Contact: 800-306-PLAY or http://www.play.com. ____________________________________ CalComp Announces USB Graphics Tablet CalComp Technology Inc. announced last week the Universal Serial Bus (USB) version of its Creation Station graphics tablet. Said to be the first graphics tablet available offering USB connectivity and multiple monitor support, letting users move the cursor between both screens, the 4"x5" unit also includes a pressure-sensitive pen and mouse. Both the pen and mouse are cordless and batteryless. The USB version of Creation Station includes two software suites - one for freehand drawing and one for Internet creativity. Complimenting iMac's look, the new model comes in translucent purple so users can see the innards of the tablet. USB units will be available in early 1999 through retailers and catalogs for an SRP of $129. For more information, visit http://www.calcomp.com, or call 800-458-5888. ____________________________________


Web Bits Get the scoop on Ubi Soft Entertainment upcoming title Tonic Trouble, a 3D cartoon adventure, at http://www.tonictrouble.com ... New electronic commerce/Internet shopping service Everything4Less (http://www.E4L.com) offers consumers 800,000 brand-name products, all with a low-price guarantee ... Find online software retailer BUYDIRECT.COM's new Web site http://www.buydirect.com ... action/adventure game Claw is now available on Kesmai's GameStorm online games service http://www.gamestorm.com. The service is also running a "free sample" promotion ... APB Online, an Internet news service exclusively covering the criminal justice system, has launched at http://www.apbonline.com ... Designed for parents of children in preschool through ninth grade, SmarterKids.com (http://www.SmarterKids.com) recommends and sells teacher-tested educational books, software programs and games. Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition and Heretic II are now available for free multiplayer matchmaking on Microsoft's MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com/). Also, the revamped zone now features industry news, product reviews, downloadable demos and online shopping, in addition to a broader range of online games ... Win a ten-day Arizona vacation in computer direct marketer Insight's "Dream Week in the Desert Sweepstakes" at http://www.insight.com ... Web Lab's Reality Check encourages public understanding of -- and participation in -- the issues of our times at http://www.RealityCheck.com ... The UNICEF USA ALERT! Web Site at http://www.unicefusa.org/alert/ is for keeping people informed about important issues affecting children around the world ... Startec Global Communications will offer a live Internet broadcast of Mega-Mela 1998, the UK's biggest Asian cultural event at http://www.Startec.com on November 27-29 ... Paladin Staffing Services announces the launch of WORKSITE (http://www.paladinstaff.com), a resource for freelance professionals searching for work and companies looking to hire them. ____________________________________


Activision Ships Teen Digital Diva Teenage girls can create their own Teen magazine and experiment with the newest looks with Activision's Teen Digital Diva. Developed by Girl Games for girls ages 12 - 17, the $39.95 PC CD-ROM title features instant on-screen makeovers, animations, music and over-the-top characters and vibrant colors. As the virtual editor of Teen magazine, girls decide what's hot and what's not by writing articles, including music reviews, customizing horoscopes, giving advice and creating fun personality quizzes for themselves and their friends. Using a digital camera and scanner, teens can import a photo of themselves or a friend and virtually try on everything from clothes and various shades of hair color to face art, piercings and daring hairstyles. Additionally, they can get a sneak peek at the newest trends on Seventh Avenue and shop for hot outfits to feature in their magazine's fashion spreads. Find more information at http://www.activision.com. ____________________________________


Manning Publications Releases Magical A-Life Avatars Instead of seeing the Web as a new form of mass media, author Peter Small sees it as an extension of biological life, which enhances human capabilities and awareness. Exposing a fallacy of push technology, his new book Magical A-Life Avatars (ISBN 1884777589, softbound, 450 pages, $38.95) aims to show, with practical examples using multimedia programming techniques, how client-side software helper modules can promote the application of Website information. As a bonus, programming examples in the book, which mimic biological mechanisms, also throw light on the way humans have evolved to think and behave. Find more at http://www.manning.com/Small ____________________________________ Jupiter: 80 Percent of Consumers Trust Online News As Much As Off-Line A new survey shows that more than 80 percent of U.S. online consumers trust online news as much as they trust newspapers, broadcast television, and cable news outlets, and an additional seven percent view online news as more reliable than other media, according to a report from Jupiter Communications. The report, for which more than 2,200 online consumers were surveyed, also found that consumers' trust goes beyond news accuracy. Most consumers do not question the editorial integrity of online news providers that engage in commerce initiatives. For instance, consumers can accept that a news site's review of a new CD is followed by a button allowing online visitors to purchase that CD via a third-party e-commerce vendor. In fact, nearly 70 percent of online news consumers polled are unconcerned about the objectivity of news sources that also sell goods online. The report indicates that consumers' trust and acceptance with these issues will help news publishers navigate the increasingly uneasy revenue waters by offering a second revenue stream to help support their growing Internet businesses. Jupiter encourages news providers to be more aggressive in developing contextual commerce links to corresponding editorial content. The online news report will help kick off the Jupiter Digital News Forum, a two-day interactive conference focused on the news industry, scheduled for December 8-9 in Atlanta. For more information, visit http://www.jup.com/events/forums/news/. ____________________________________ O'Reilly Releases Lingo in a Nutshell O'Reilly's newest release, Lingo in a Nutshell by Bruce Epstein, explores the syntax, structure, and commands of the language, explaining how Lingo "thinks" and including many programming examples as well as undocumented commands. Features include: * Lingo Keyword Summary with twice as many entries as the Lingo Dictionary * a list of all the enumerated types for every single Lingo command, not just links, transitions and cursors * coverage of the Director.INI and Lingo.INI files * coverage of case-sensitivity and sort order * coverage of the FileIO Xtra and comparisons to the old FileIO Xobject For more information on the book, including a Table of Contents and index, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/lingonut/noframes.html Sample chapters can be downloaded from: http://www.zeusprod.com/nutshell/download.html The sample chapters include a Lingo tutorial, plus chapters on lists, mouse events, keyboard events and Behaviors. ____________________________________


Cendant to Sell Software Division Havas Cendant Corporation announced Friday a definitive agreement to sell its consumer software division, Cendant Software and its subsidiaries, to Paris-based Havas SA, a subsidiary of Vivendi SA for $800 million in cash plus future cash contingent payments of up to approximately $200 million through 1999. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 1999. Cendant Software includes Knowledge Adventure, Blizzard Entertainment, Davidson & Associates and Sierra On-Line. Cendant's stock dropped precipitously earlier this year after news of financial improprieties was revealed. ____________________________________


Activision's Asteroids Smashes onto Retail Shelves Activision's new 3D remake of legendary arcade game Asteroids is just out for the PC and PlayStation game console. Originally introduced by Atari in 1979 as a coin-op arcade game, Asteroids was released in 1981 for the Atari 2600 game system and by 1982 was one of the fastest-selling home video games in the United States. The new version adds 3D graphics, explosive special effects, enhanced fire- power, new space hazards, and multiple modes of gameplay, including a two-player competitive mode. Additionally, players can unlock the classic original arcade version of Asteroids which is hidden in the game. Rock your world at http://www.activision.com. ____________________________________ Yosemite Entertainment Set to Ship Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire Expected on shelves by early December is Yosemite Entertainment's role-playing adventure game Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire, to be released under the Sierra FX banner. Set in the magical realm of Silmaria, the latest and last chapter in the long-running Quest for Glory series promises a 3D panoramic world with seamless movement, continuous gameplay, 3D directional sound and real-time action combat. With four different character classes available to play, the game offers different endgames, different dialogue--virtually four completely different games. To be released as a hybrid Win95/Macintosh game, Quest for Glory has an anticipated street price of $55. Over the course of several quests that takes players from Atlantis to Hades, three heroes must solve the murder of Silmaria's King, bring the villain to justice, and earn the right to succeed the late King as ruler. Characters battle hydras, gargoyles and other mythological villains. Their skills and attributes can be defined and developed continually in a "practice makes perfect" system, unlike games that use a level-based system for improving stats. Other features include self-tuning difficulty and hint levels. Seek ye more info at http://www.qg5.com. ____________________________________ Acclaim Announces Turok 2, South Park Acclaim Entertainment's Turok 2: Seeds of Evil for Nintendo 64 will ship December 10. One of the first N64 products to feature a 32 meg cartridge, the new game is said to be four times larger than the original, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which sold 1.5 million units. In development since the completion of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter over 20 months ago, the game returns Turok to the Lost Land to battle the Primagen, an evil force he unknowingly awakened at the end of the first game. It features six levels, each over five virtual square miles in size. "Softskinned" enemies feature bulging muscles, blinking eyes and wrinkling skin, and "real-time flinch generation" lets enemies to realistically recoil when hit. Gamers battle enemies with over 20 weapons including the Shredder, Flamethrower, Cerebral Bore and War Blade. And a "deathmatch" mode lets four players compete in up to 14 multiplayer maps. Turok 2 also supports the new Nintendo 64 expansion pak, allowing the game to be played in high resolution. Also, on December 21 gamers will be able to experience what life in the hit Comedy Central series "South Park" is like on their N64 in 3D as Acclaim ships the South Park action game. The five-episode adventure game lets gamers play as Kyle, Stan, Cartman or Kenny in single-player mode, or select among a host of 20 South Park characters when engaged in multiplayer mode. The storyline begins when a mysterious comet, visible every 666 years, is discovered to be heading right for the quiet little town of South Park. The comet causes all kinds of silly mayhem: turkeys revolt and wreak havoc, robots attack the townspeople, and aliens abduct the town's cows. It is up to Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan to save the day and bring peace to South Park using a host of gadgets including a Cow Launcher, Sniper Chicken, snowballs, Terrance and Phillip dolls, and everyone's favorite - Mr. Hankey, the Christmas poo. The development team created speech compression technology to include the several hundred soundbites recorded by the show's creators exclusively for the game. The game engine has been modified so that each character's emotions are shown in his facial animations, with dialogue synchronized to mouth movements. The development team is also working on PC and PlayStation versions, which will be released early next year. Visit Acclaim's Web site at http://www.acclaim.net. ____________________________________ Eidos Releases Three Titles Just out from Eidos Interactive: Gangsters blends together three major elements of strategy gaming * real-time game world interaction * man-management * business management The aim of the game is to build your gang and business empire to rule the city. To do this you will have to beat three other gangs operating in the city, and avoid arrest by the authorities. The win conditions balance the need to gain wealth, honor and influence. Next, Thief: The Dark Project is a first-person 3D action/adventure game where players assume the role of a master thief relying on stealth and cunning. Success requires firepower, plus stealth and intellect. Unique weapons include a blackjack to knock out unsuspecting opponents, a noise arrow to throw them off the trail, moss bombs to silence footsteps in stone corridors, and more conventional tools include a fire arrow and sword. The game's "Dark Engine" provides environmental simulation, and AI includes "hearing" creatures that react to sounds in the environment. Provides realistic simulation of fire, water, wind and their effects in the game environment: flammable objects catch fire, buoyant objects float, heavy objects can be used to block doors. Last but not least, Lara's back in Tomb Raider III for more Indiana Jones-type 3D adventuring, with these new features: * Enemies exhibit pack behavior with improved enemy AI. * New landscape system (incorporating triangles) for smoother surfaces and architectural structures such as domes, arches, vaulted ceilings. Organic structures and rocky floors are possible with the new system. * Improved texture palettes for greater detail. * Improved water effects (rippling, transparent water) and new reflection effects. * Faster game engine. * Semi-transparencies on any surface for dramatic lighting effects like shafts of light. * New moves including crawl, monkey swing and speed dash to get Lara out of sticky situations. Find all this and more at http://www.eidosinteractive.com/. ____________________________________ Interplay Releases Might and Magic Compilation Just out from Interplay is The Ultimate Might and Magic Archives on CD-ROM for Windows 95/98-based computers. The collection includes the first five volumes of the role-playing game series plus added bonus Swords of Xeen, a title that had limited availability until now. All of the original manuals and clue books have been added onto the CD-ROM, and reproductions of the original paper maps will be included as well. In addition, The Ultimate Might and Magic Archives also offers gamers the ability to install both Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen, creating the expansion adventure, World of Xeen, which allows journey back and forth between environments, multiple crossover quests and a unique ending. Complete information can be found at http://www.interplay.com/mmarchives. ____________________________________ Bullfrog/EA Ship Populous: The Beginning God-game originator/Bullfrog founder Peter Molyneux has struck out on his own, but his brainchild lives on as Populous: The Beginning, now in stores. Players start out as The Shaman, a mystical priestess with divine powers, and work their way up to the level of a god. On the way, they must defeat other would-be supreme beings by commanding the forces of nature, a devoted tribe of followers and dozens of 3D worlds to shape as they see fit. More information and a demo are available at http://www.populous.net. ____________________________________ EA Ships ESPN Digital Games' X Games Pro Boarder on PlayStation Electronic Arts' new ESPN Digital Games' X Games Pro Boarder on the PlayStation (PC version to be released shortly) lets players compete against professionals for X Games medals and ride down a 3D mountain with no boundaries. The title's nine levels mirror the broadcast presentation of the Winter X Games. Players can create their own style and technique as well as pull off signature moves of the professionals -- from huge 1440 degrees to Judo 720 degrees. For more information, visit http://www.proboarder.com. ____________________________________ Sierra Offers Free Assignment Editor for Caesar III Sierra Studios' and Impressions' new free assignment editor lets Caesar III players build and play custom assignments. Players can design the landscape for each assignment by placing terrain such as farmland, rivers, trees, mountain ranges and plateaus within three graphic sets: Northern, Central and Desert. They can control assignment objectives such as the buildings allowed, winning ratings, starting cash, starting rank and can customize how the assignment plays by adding events like enemy invasions, emperor requests, earthquakes and gladiator revolts. The Assignment Editor also includes two new win conditions: Time Limit, in which the player must race to achieve the victory conditions before a certain year or they lose; and Survival Time, which requires the player to successfully protect their city for a predetermined number of years, in order to win. Grab it now from http://www.sierrastudios.com, http://www.caesar3.com or http://www.gamespot.com. ____________________________________ Activision Announces CIV2 for PlayStation Activision will civilize PlayStation game console players everywhere when it launches the award-winning Sid Meier's Civilization II for the PlayStation this winter. Created by MicroProse, the turn-based, world-building strategy game challenges players to build the world's greatest empire through social, economic and political decision-making. Players command powerful armies and employ 6020 years' worth of weaponry to defend their empire and defeat enemies to achieve one of two ultimate goals -- world domination or the colonization of another planet. Beginning as the leader of a primitive tribe, players can build a society using one of eight forms of government, including fundamentalism, a democracy or monarchy. As their empire advances, players may focus their research on developing principles of law, technology or science, and can attain glory by constructing 28 Wonders of the World, including Leonardo da Vinci's Workshop or the Statue of Liberty. ____________________________________ Return to Krondor Goes Gold PyroTechnix, a software development unit of Sierra Studios, has completed work on RPG Return to Krondor, set in Raymond E. Feist's world of Midkemia. It will hit retail shelves in late November and be available on CD-ROM for Windows 95/98. This story takes players from the heights of Krondor's Palace to the depths of a temple dedicated to an ancient evil. Players guide a party of five heroes through 11 chapters, racing against Bear, an evil madman, to recover the Tear of the Gods, the Ishapian Church's most sacred relic that possesses unimaginable power. For more information, check out http://www.sierrastudios.com. ____________________________________ LefKey Introduces Lefty Keyboard for Gamers Wareham, Mass.-based LefKey International has begun shipping its computer keyboard for computer gamers and left-handed users. The $129 unit's arrow keys and numeric keypad are located on the left side of the keyboard instead of the right. This lets gamers simultaneously use their mouse and the arrow keys to control a game's on-screen action, a configuration preferred by many for first-person shooters like Quake II. Find more at http://www.lefkey.com or by calling toll-free (888) 69-LEFKEY. ____________________________________ Blue Byte Announces Settlers III Demo The first pint-sized footsteps can be taken in the real-time strategy world of Blue Byte Software's new The Settlers III single-player demo for Windows PCs. To assist newcomers and die-hards, a tutorial mission is included in the demo. After the tutorial ends, players' newly acquired skills are put to the test in an intense Roman mission against a computer opponent. The demo can be downloaded at http://www.settlers3.com. ____________________________________


NewMedia Announces InVision Awards Here are just a few of the winners of NewMedia mag's recent InVision '98 awards: * Best 3D/Animation: G SQUARED Demo CD ROM and Varco International, FG SQUARED Multimedia, http://www.fg2.com * Best Digital Storytelling, Best Game: The X-Files Game, Hyperbole Studios, http://www.hyperbole.com * Best Hybrid Web/CD-ROM Application: Spite, EPG Media, http://www.epgmedia.com/spite * Best Interface: SCROLL Website, Behaviour Communications, http://scroll.behaviour.com/ * Best of Show: Ceremony of Innocence: The Mysterious Correspondance of Griffin and Sabine, Real World Multimedia, http://realworld.on.net/rwmm/coi.html Find the complete list at http://www.newmedia.com/invision/winners/winners.html ____________________________________


O'Reilly Announces Open Source Conference The O'Reilly Open Source Conferences--Perl Conference 3.0 plus several new technical Conferences on open source software such as Linux, Perl, FreeBSD, and more--will take place August 21-24, 1999 at the Monterey Convention Center in Monterey, Calif. Attendees will find high-end technical sessions presented by the key developers in each technology, as well as in-depth tutorials. For more information, go to http://conferences.oreilly.com. ____________________________________


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