Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

24 November 1997

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

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Today's Headlines (details below)

--Nielsen Media Research, I/PRO Develop New Web Site Measurement Tech

--Galacticomm Releases WebCast v2.0

--ATG Introduces Dynamo Application Server 3.0

--XOOM Introduces Web Clip Empire 75,000

--RandomNoise Coda Available for Sun Solaris 2.5

--Lead Technologies Announces LEADTOOLS 9.0

--Apple Offers Rhapsody Developers Mac OS Compatibility

--Interactive Media Corporation Ships Special Delivery 2.1E

--Concentric Network Launches ADSL Internet Services

--WinWhatWhere for Families Now Shipping

--SatCom Media Announces SATiTV

--JE Mail-Call Makes Email Accessible by Phone

--Videonics Upgrades Desktop Video Editing Software

--CrystalGraphics Releases Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro

--Guillemot International Voodoo 2 Board Due Q1 '98

--Softimage Ships SOFTIMAGE|3D 3.7 Service Pack

--Thomson, DigiTRADE Offer Free Real-time Quotes on the Web

--TEAC to Support New HiFD 200MB Floppy Disk Standard

--Simon & Schuster Interactive Releases Star Trek Titles

--Internet Usage Jumps to Nearly 40 Percent of U.S. Adult Consumers

--Interplay Launches Earth 2140 Web Site Contest

--Westwood Unveils New Product Line

--TEN Secures Dark Reign Online Rights

--Cult Movie Star Campbell Set to Star as Pitfall Harry, Jr.

--Sirtech Releases Virus: The Game

--Electronic Arts Ships Longbow 2

--Videogame Mag Editors Select Top PlayStation Games

--VRML98 Symposium Opens Registration

--Shareware Industry Conference Returns to New England in 1998

--About Spectrum

 

TODAY'S TOP STORY

Nielsen Media Research, I/PRO Develop New Web Site Measurement Tech

Nielsen Media Research and Internet Profiles Corporation (I/PRO) announce the "next generation" of measurement technology for the World Wide Web. The new Nielsen-I/PRO system measures content or advertising each time it is exposed on the PC screen, ensuring accurate counting of impressions and click-throughs. Current Web site measurement and analysis products monitor requests and delivery of content from the host server.

Proxy caching occurs when an Internet Service Provider stores a page and serves it to multiple users. Browser caching occurs when a user's computer stores content and displays it multiple times. With proxy and browser caching, no one knows how many times the content was viewed.

The new technology enables the Web site to report the content that is viewed regardless of whether it was retrieved from the Web site, proxy server, local PC browser cache or PC RAM.

The new technology is also able to register the time spent viewing an ad.

Sites can also increase their ad inventory because the new Nielsen-I/PRO technology can now identify when visitors return to pages previously viewed. The site can then rotate in a new ad.

More information is available at http://www.ipro.com.

 

WEBMEISTER

Galacticomm Releases WebCast v2.0

Galacticomm Technologies, Inc. announces the release of Version 2.0 of its WebCast software. WebCast provides companies and individuals with the ability to broadcast live video and audio over the Internet - or any TCP/IP connection - that can be received with any Web browser with no client or plug-in software required.

Enhancements in Version 2.0 include support for live clientless audio over the Internet; a new WebCast Screen Capture feature that allows users to send portions of any document that can be viewed on the desktop over WebCast; and full support for Microsoft Internet Explorer v4.0. In addition, WebCast ProServer now offers a new Video on Demand feature that enables users to broadcast pre-recorded video and audio files.

Galacticomm's WebCast Personal v2.0, is a live, personal Web broadcaster with teleconference ability that enables live, clientless video and audio broadcasts over the Internet to anyone with a Web browser. It supports both Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Navigator 2.0 or higher, and includes WebCast Screen Capture, four receiver licenses, Viewer ID, Viewer Blocking, password authorization and an address book. WebCast Personal product retails for $49.95, and a downloadable version is available for $29.95 from the Galacticomm Web site at http://www.gcomm.com.

WebCast ProServer v2.0 allows users to broadcast live clientless video and audio from a Web site to up to 255 simultaneous viewers through their Web browsers. It supports both Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Navigator 2.0 or higher, and includes Video on Demand, WebCast Screen Capture, unlimited receiver licenses, lock and key security, teleconference, Viewer ID, Viewer Blocking and an address book. WebCast ProServer provides a modular growth path for added features and functionality, including the ability to add additional broadcast video streams. WebCast ProServer sells for a suggested retail price of $995.

In addition to the Personal and ProServer products, the WebCast product family also includes WebCast Lite, a one-to-two limited time free trial version which includes live video and two receiver licenses. It is available from the company's Web site at http://www.gcomm.com. An upgrade from WebCast Lite to WebCast Personal is available.

 

 

ATG Introduces Dynamo Application Server 3.0

Art Technology Group (ATG) announces the availability of Dynamo Application Server 3.0, a server-side Java platform for rapid deployment of dynamic, mission-critical Web applications.

Dynamo 3 reportedly provides a performance gain of up to three times faster than previous versions, and also features: Automatic Load Distribution for allocating load, user sessions and management of user requests across several processors; Automatic Fail-over Protection for re-directing new user sessions to alternate servers in the event of server failure; the Dynamometer console for monitoring critical application statistics and track application performance at a glance. Additionally, Dynamo 3 is delivered with core services required for building scalable enterprise applications, including scheduling and event logging.

Dynamo 3 provides a server-side JavaBeans component framework allowing server applications to be assembled from modular, reusable components. The component model lets Web developers separate HTML design from Java programming, streamlining both UI design and engineering processes. Any component to be individually inspected, administered or upgraded at run-time without affecting the others.

Technical Specifications:

Server Hardware and OS:

* Sun SPARC with Solaris 2.4/2.5

* Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0

* Silicon Graphics IRIX 5.3

Databases supported:

* Oracle 7.3

* Sybase 11.x

* Microsoft SQL 6.5

(JDBC drivers included)

Pricing per server: $10,000 for 1 processor, $5,000 for each additional processor.

For further information, contact Nancy Morrisroe, director, public relations, 617/859-1212, ext 282; 617/859-1211 (fax).

 

XOOM Introduces Web Clip Empire 75,000

XOOM Software, Inc., a publisher of royalty-free, copyright-cleared Web clip art, announces the availability of Web Clip Empire 75,000. The four CD-ROM set provides more than 75,000 animated GIFs, 3D icons, backgrounds, textures, sound effects, classic photos and other Web objects.

The set features 25,000 GIF animations, including flags, animals, bombs, fire, starbursts and business and professional animations, among others; 41,000 non-animated clips, such as buttons, backgrounds, borders, side bars, textures and other Web objects; 5,500 originally scored sound effects and music tracks, including MIDI and .WAV files and various musical genres such as rock, classical and jazz; and more than 2,500 classic photos and videos.

The Windows- and Macintosh-compatible collection goes for $39.95 for XOOM members and $59.95 for non-members.

Most of the 75,000 clips can be downloaded individually from XOOM's Web site ( http://www.xoom.com ) at no cost for personal, non-commercial use. The 75,000 clips also are accessible from the popular Web sites of Prodigy, go2net (NASDAQ: GNET), Jumbo!, Concentric Network NASDAQ: CNCX), Lycos (NASDAQ: LCOS), CompuServe (NASDAQ: CSRV), ZDNet, InfoSpace and SimpleNet.

 

RandomNoise Coda Available for Sun Solaris 2.5

RandomNoise, Inc. announces the immediate availability of Coda on Sun Microsystems Solaris 2.5 platform. Coda, an all-Java Web site builder, combines the layout metaphor of desktop publishing applications with a variety of customizable Java controls. Features include:

* precision layout and control of objects * component architecture that allows extensibility * object-oriented approach to Web page design * support for object interactivity and communication * WYSIWYG output on any Java-compatible Web browser

 

DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Lead Technologies Announces LEADTOOLS 9.0

LEAD Technologies announces the release of LEADTOOLS V9.0. The latest version of the imaging toolkit offers developers more than 500 functions, properties, and methods to integrate black & white, grayscale, and color imaging into their applications. Among the new features added to version 9 are common dialog boxes to speed development, support for over fifty image file formats, and optional FlashPix, Video, and OCR modules.

The LEADTOOLS Video Module integrates extended multimedia capabilities including motion video editing, recording and creation. The module creates video frames with synchronized sound; creates, edits, plays and saves AVI files; records, plays and saves WAV files; and plays MIDI files.

The new Common Dialog boxes are designed to simplify development by extending Windows common dialogs to provide imaging specific capabilities.

The Common Dialog boxes provide complete code for all common imaging dialogs such as image processing and conversion. Thumbnail previewing of image changes saves processing time and avoids "undos."

LEADTOOLS is available as 16 & 32 bit DLLs, 16 & 32 ActiveXs, and a VBX, and includes example source code for C/C++, MFC, Visual Basic, Delphi, Visual FoxPro, and Access (2.0 & 7.0).

For further info, send mailto:Catherine@leadtools.com

 

Apple Offers Rhapsody Developers Mac OS Compatibility

Apple Computer is extending the capabilities of its recently introduced Rhapsody Developer Release for Power Macintosh by providing developers with the Mac OS compatibility environment, code-named "Blue Box." Rhapsody is the code name for Apple's next-generation operating system. The Blue Box is a version of the Mac OS running under Rhapsody in native mode, reportedly providing excellent speed and responsiveness.

The Blue Box allows the Mac OS to run in full screen on Rhapsody and users can quickly switch between environments. The Blue Box component will be distributed via CD-ROM to all developers that received the original Rhapsody Developer Release seed and can be installed on the existing Rhapsody Developer Release for Power Macintosh.

Apple expects Rhapsody to complement Mac OS in the Company's overall operating system strategy. While Mac OS will move forward as Apple's volume operating system, Rhapsody will be initially targeted at server and high-end desktop applications.

For full details on Apple's operating system strategy, visit http://www.macos.apple.com/

Also, visit the Apple Developer Relations site at http://www.devworld.apple.com/.

 

Interactive Media Corporation Ships Special Delivery 2.1E

Interactive Media Corporation (IMC) announces that Special Delivery 2.1E, a multimedia presentation and authoring tool for Macintosh users, is now available over the Web at a price of $99.00. The original version was priced at $399.00.

Special Delivery 2.1E features a graphical user interface that enables users to employ interactive capabilities without having to deal with programming or scripting complexities.

Some of the key features in Special Delivery 2.1E include: * interactive control of QuickTime movies, including start, stop, fast forward and fast reverse.

* the ability to create rollover buttons that are highlighted as the cursor is moved over them.

* the ability to create background soundtracks that play continuously throughout a presentation. These soundtracks can include all major Mac sound formats, including MIDI QuickTime tracks.

* transitions including rapid dissolves and other special effects.

* button commands that provide for automatic highlighting of active regions of the screen.

* support for multiple master slides, which allow for rapid creation of projects and presentations.

* ability to launch any application from within a Special Delivery presentation.

* an enhanced blueprint of the interactive components of a slide, for rapid editing and revision

The product and free trial versions are available from < http://www.imcinfo.com >

 

IN THE INFOGROOVE

Concentric Network Launches ADSL Internet Services

Cupertino, Calif.-based Concentric Network Corporation is offering ADSL-based Internet services to customers in certain Silicon Valley and East Bay Communities. This comes in the wake of Pacific Bell's limited commercial offering of DSL services.

ADSL is a new digital service that lets users connect to the Internet or to a company LAN at speeds up to ten times faster than a 28.8 kbps modem using a regular phone line. To offer DSL service to its customers, Concentric Network has established a connection to Pacific Bell's ATM network.

The trial service is currently available in Burlingame, Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Danville and San Ramon. To qualify for the service, the business or home must be within 2-3 miles of a central office and have an ADSL modem.

Customers will pay monthly charges from both Pacific Bell and Concentric Network. Concentric's charges are anticipated to range from $95 to $495 a month based on usage. Installation charges are currently being waived.

For more information, contact Concentric at 888-493-6232.

 

WinWhatWhere for Families Now Shipping

WinWhatWhere Corp. today announces the release of WinWhatWhere for Families, time and usage tracking software for families with computers. The product is designed to provide parents with the tools to review their children's computer activities without intruding, blocking, or censoring.

Features include:

* little or no impact on system performance and can be run completely hidden or visible in the system tray. The company claims most family computing mischief can be eliminated by simply letting the kids know they are being monitored.

* security features prevent tampering with the monitoring and reporting abilities

* over 20 predefined reports can be automatically printed when the computer is shut down

* tracks date, time started, elapsed time, program name, caption (Web sites, documents, files), inactive time

An evaluation version is available at http://www.winwhatwhere.com

 

SatCom Media Announces SATiTV

SatCom Media Corporation today announced a high-speed, satellite connection for home TV sets that eliminates the throughput restrictions imposed by telephone lines and expands the market for television access to the Internet. Called SATiTV, SatCom's new home TV system combines home television programming with a low-cost, real-time link to multimedia applications on the Internet.

SATiTV is an interactive set-top box and dish antenna that can be 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.

SATiTV can support data transmission speeds as high as 6 Mbits/second, thousands of times faster than conventional phone circuits.

SatCom, founded in 1995, is located at 3255-7 Scott Boulevard, Santa Clara, California, 95054.

 

JE Mail-Call Makes Email Accessible by Phone

JE Mail-Call from JE Software lets users listen to email messages by dialing a touch-tone or cellular phone. With the JE Mail-Call card, users dial into a central server, enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and listen to email messages read by text-to-speech software. After listening to a message, the user can have it automatically sent to any fax machine.

For a free demo of JE Mail-Call, dial 1-888-462-4348 or, outside the U.S., dial 011-1-913-438-4858, or visit http://www.jesoft.com.

 

GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

Videonics Upgrades Desktop Video Editing Software

Videonics' new Video ToolKit 3.0 adds Internet connectivity to the video editing process as well as the ability to link and control up to seven source and post-production devices through a single computer serial port.

The A/V Net Universal Module enables Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 users to create integrated multimedia video editing studios. The A/V Net Module connects to the computer's serial port and communicates with controllable consumer or professional VCRs, camcorders and post-production devices such as mixers and special effects generators and brings each under VTK's software control.

When combined with a full-motion video capture board, users can assemble an edit list of scenes directly for use in multimedia and other applications.

Movies include embedded timecodes or tape counter location information, allowing users to work with them in non-linear editing packages such as Adobe Premiere.

The software can convert video storyboards (EDLs)--complete with video "snaps" of in and out edit points--into HTML Web pages.

Find Videonics on the Web at http://www.videonics.com/

 

CrystalGraphics Releases Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro

Santa Clara, Calif.-based CrystalGraphics, Inc. announced the release of Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro, a 3D animation software package designed for Web developers and others who want to add 3D titles, logos, objects, buttons and pictures to their creations.

Users can start creating animated 3D graphics with the program's wizards.

For example, the AutoContent Wizard walks users through the five basic steps of 3D title animation creation: lighting, text entry, beveling, adding materials and motion. Each step, except for text entry, is presented as a visual gallery of over 100 customizable choices.

Other features include an Auto-Outline tool, and the ability to position highlights by pointing where they are to appear. The program also offers real-time preview rendering and includes over 100 pre-built 3D objects, with more available free to registered users every month on the company's Web site.

Rendering effects include soft-edged shadows, object reflections, ray-traced refractions, video backgrounds, bumpiness, shininess, transparency, sparkles, perspective and embossing.

A free trial version of Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro (Windows 95/NT) can be downloaded from http://www.crystalgraphics.com.

 

Guillemot International Voodoo 2 Board Due Q1 '98

Guillemot International (GI), a worldwide developer and distributor of multimedia peripherals, plans to develop a next generation graphics accelerator board based on 3Dfx Interactive's Voodoo 2 technology. As a leading distributor of Voodoo cards in Europe, GI plans a simultaneous worldwide launch of their new Voodoo 2 card, the latest card in GI's Maxi Graphics line of graphics accelerators, in Q1 1998.

Voodoo 2 technology delivers 3 million triangles per second and 90 million dual-textured, bilinear-filters, per pixel MIP-mapped, alpha-blended, Z-buffered pixels per second, offering performance over three times faster than the current Voodoo Graphics chipset.

For more information, contact GI at (415) 547-4050, or visit the company's Web site at http://www.guillemot.com.

 

Softimage Ships SOFTIMAGE|3D 3.7 Service Pack

Softimage Inc., a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., is shipping the Service Pack (SP1) for SOFTIMAGE|(r) 3D 3.7. SP1 is the first link to the new Softimage standalone rendering product, currently code-named "TWISTER." Due for release early next year, "TWISTER" is considered a milestone on the road to the next generation of Softimage 3D, currently code-named "SUMATRA."

The mental ray workflow has also been updated to provide quick access to key rendering tools, such as volumetric lights, halos and other optical effects. A new tool called RenderMap allows the prerendering of textures using all scene-rendering parameters, including mental ray shaders.

Prerendering increases interactivity by precalculating all shading information and applying it to each object.

Softimage 3D 3.7 SP1 introduces full support for the Nintendo 64 games platform. Improvements to the integrated 2D and 3D paint, including texture manipulation and conversion tools, reportedly speed the UV editing process.

A detailed list of features can be found on the Softimage Web site, http://www.softimage.com/.

 

WEBSIGHTINGS

Thomson, DigiTRADE Offer Free Real-time Quotes on the Web

All we can say is: It's about time! Thomson Financial Services (TFS) and digiTRADE announced a market-shaking change in the online financial industry. Internet users can now access real-time stock quotes from the NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ for free from http://www.thomsonrtq.com.

Thomson Real Time Quotes is the first in a series of microsites from the Thomson Investors Network, supported by an advertising-based sponsorship model.

ThomsonRTQ will be displayed using the integrated TipSheet format that is one of the most popular features of the Thomson Investors Network.

Real-time pricing is provided by digiTRADE, and a variety of Thomson companies provide an integrated summary of existing research on the selected security. Intraday charts, 12 month charts, key measures, First Calls' consensus earnings estimates, and the Investnet Insider Trend Index are provided for every real time quote accessed.

Users can request up to 50 real-time quotes per day. All users must register and agree to comply with the exchange requirements specified at site registration.

 

 

TECHNOTES

TEAC to Support New HiFD 200MB Floppy Disk Standard

TEAC, a manufacturer of standard 1.44MB, 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, will support the new HiFD floppy disk system that offers 200MB storage capacity and full downward compatibility with standard diskettes.

HiFD was recently announced by joint developers Sony Corporation and Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. The HiFD system's dual discrete gap head features both narrow gap for 200MB storage capacity and a wide gap for storing onto standard 1.44MB or 720KB diskettes. It also features a 3.6MB/second transfer rate, which is approximately 60 times faster than a conventional floppy drive, and 20ms average access time.

TEAC plans to produce its own versions of HiFD to add to its own line of data storage products in spring 1998.

Contact TEAC America, Data Storage Division Headquarters, 7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640. Telephone: (213) 726-0303. Fax: (213) 727-7672.

Web: http://www.teac.com.

 

CONSUMER CHANNEL

Simon & Schuster Interactive Releases Star Trek Titles

Star Trek: Captain' s Chair (PC & Mac hybrid, $39.95), the newest title in Simon & Schuster Interactive's Star Trek CD-ROM series, offers users the opportunity to tour the bridges of the most famous starships in Starfleet Command.

The title includes a digital recreation of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701, Captain James T. Kirk's venerable Constitution Class vessel. Also featured are the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D (flagship of Star Trek: The Next Generation), the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205 (from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), the U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656 (from Star Trek: Voyager) and the U.S.S.

Enterprise NCC-1701-E (from Star Trek First Contact).

Virtual tours of Star Trek: Captain' s Chair are led by such veteran Star Trek officers as Avery "Sisko" Brooks, Kate "Janeway" Mulgrew, George "Sulu" Takei, Jonathan "Riker" Frakes and Michael "Worf" Dorn. Also featured is the voice of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who has been the voice of the computer on every Starfleet vessel since the Star Trek phenomenon began. The product features over 1,500 hot spots, activating starship functions, data displays and surprise components.

Developer Imergy, the team that created Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual, used Apple's QuickTime VR technology for 3D walk-throughs and individual object examinations.

Also new from S&SI and Imergy on hybrid-format CD-ROM is the four-disc Star Trek Encyclopedia, with more than 6,000 entries, 3,000 photos and 400 video clips. See famous TV actors before they hit their stride, including Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Christopher Lloyd, Teri Hatcher and Kirstie Alley.

This is actually an enhanced version of the 1995 title Star Trek Omnipedia, with 40 percent more material, plus a new browser mode in which the computer randomly cycles through images and data (no, not the Next Generation character). Also featured are complete episode guides from the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine series.

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

 

THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Internet Usage Jumps to Nearly 40 Percent of U.S. Adult Consumers

More Americans are surfing the net than ever before. In a survey completed by Chilton Research Services in October, nearly 4 in 10 adults (39.7 percent) reported using a computer to access the Internet or an online service. This percentage represents a significant growth in usage since April, when Chilton conducted its previous Internet survey. At that time, 29 percent of adults reported that they used the Internet.

While the number of consumers who own personal computers, currently about 45 percent, has shown only modest growth in the past six months, the number using the Internet has grown dramatically. The largest area of expansion is among those who access the Internet at work. Six months ago only 15 percent reported using the Internet at work; now more than 20 percent say they do.

As in the previous survey, more people go online from somewhere outside the home than from home.

 

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Interplay Launches Earth 2140 Web Site Contest

It's all-out war on Interplay's Earth 2140 Web site as over 2,000 gamers seek to win glory, fame, and bragging rights. Earth 2140, which has sold over 200,000 copies in Germany, is Interplay's recent real-time strategy release that pits Earth's two remaining clans, the United Civilized States (UCS) and the Eurasian Dynasty (ED), against each other for ultimate control of the planet. The prize for the contest is power and control of the official Earth 2140 site, as winners will determine if losers are permanently exiled or allowed to enter as second-class citizens.

Contestants can register to join in the battle at http://www.earth2140.com

This site was designed to simulate the raging battle between the two clans.

Only, on this site, groups of people will battle each other for control of various pages that will help them conquer the full-version CD-ROM game. The site includes hints and tips from the producer.

A clan may access only those pages under their control and only one clan may control any given area at one time. Control of an area can only be changed by attacking that page and players may elect to follow a commander or declare their own strategy. The computer calculates if the number of attackers is greater than the number of defenders and if that is the case, control of the area passes to the attacker's side and the defenders will no longer have access to it. All information and intelligence on that page will fall into the enemy's hands.

The contest will end on February 28, 1998 when the winning clan will be determined. Earth 2140 is now available in retail outlets from Interplay for IBM compatibles.

 

Westwood Unveils New Product Line

Las Vegas-based developer Westwood Studios announces the formation of a new product line, Games People Play. The new franchise will consist of a series of games geared towards the casual player, including a suite of card games scheduled for release in late November.

Games People Play products will feature solo and LAN play, as well as Internet connectivity on Westwood's free online gaming service, Westwood Online. The first CD-ROM in the new product line is Hearts, Spades and Euchre, and will be in stores on November 26.

For more information, contact Westwood at 702/228-4040 or visit http://www.westwood.com.

 

TEN Secures Dark Reign Online Rights

San Francisco-based Total Entertainment Network (TEN) has secured online rights to Activision's Dark Reign: The Future of War. Featuring up to four-player Internet play and eight-player LAN play, Dark Reign draws players into a sci-fi universe where armies duel for interplanetary domination. The game features options such as true line-of-sight, 3D terrain and "waypoints" that allow players to coordinate attacks. Dark Reign's artificial intelligence detects and adjusts to player tactics. The computer acts as unpredictably as a human opponent would, offering players a uniquely challenging experience each time they play.

A "construction kit" is included, which allows users to create their own Dark Reign combat units and terrain maps, as well as customizing the game's graphics, sounds, and more. In addition to holding contests for the best user-created maps, TEN plans to offer team and individual player rankings and titles, as well as detailed profiles of all Dark Reign combatants.

 

Cult Movie Star Campbell Set to Star as Pitfall Harry, Jr.

Bruce Campbell, star of the "Evil Dead" trilogy, swings into action as the voice of the fearless adventurer Pitfall Harry, Jr. in Activision's new adventure game Pitfall 3D. The Sony PlayStation game is expected to hit retail shelves in March and will carry an estimated street price of $59.95.

While exploring the deep jungles of South America, Pitfall Harry, Jr. falls through a dimensional rift and ends up in a strange and dangerous world.

The ancient Moku civilization has been decimated by an Evil Temptress and her next target is Earth. Players must race through more than 20 treacherous levels to defeat the Temptress' army of sinister creatures, rescue a beautiful rebel leader and ultimately save Earth from destruction.

Activision's Web site is located at http://www.activision.com

 

Sirtech Releases Virus: The Game

Ogdensburg, New York-based Sirtech Software, Inc. recently released Virus: The Game, an action/strategy game where the playing field is inside the user's PC. Battle your enemy, a simulated computer virus, as it "takes over" and "destroys" the files and folders of your PC. Your mission: build a solid base and defeat the Virus while protecting your precious data. The struggle takes place in 3D levels based on your computer's own file structure. (Note: Virus: The Game does not alter or damage your files in any way.)

As a publicity stunt, Telstar Electronic Studios, the UK publishers of Virus: The Game, sent a mock virus email to thousands of PC users across the globe. When the recipient clicked on the attached file, the contents of their hard drive was displayed. The program then appeared to delete all the user's files and the screen went black. After a few seconds the user got the message, 'Thank God this is only a game,' followed by promotional screens for the Virus: The Game.

Visit the company at http://www.sir-tech.com

 

Electronic Arts Ships Longbow 2

Electronic Arts has begun shipping Longbow 2, the sequel to 1996's AH-64D Longbow. Longbow 2 is published under Electronic Arts' Jane's Combat Simulations brand. Jane's is a provider of defense-related information to the world's militaries, governments and businesses.

Longbow 2 features a new graphics engine whose photorealistic flight visuals are said to offer eight times the detail of the original Longbow, plus dynamic lighting effects that enhance night mission realism. The game supports 3Dfx accelerator cards.

The multi-player simulation supports cooperative (pilot/copilot-gunner or separate aircraft), team and head-to-head play via a local area network (four players), Internet, modem or serial cable (two players). Players can fly multiple helicopters including the Kiowa scout (for reconnaissance missions), the Black Hawk (for troop transport) and of course, the Longbow attack gunship itself. The dynamic campaign engine generates a new war every time the player begins a battle in either solo or multi-player flight modes. Campaign missions take place at two locations: Azerbaijan in the Middle East and the Army's National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, California.

More information on Longbow 2 can be found on the Internet at http://www.janes.ea.com.

 

Videogame Mag Editors Select Top PlayStation Games

Industry insiders, retailers and analysts anticipate that this holiday season will be the biggest ever in the video game industry. Currently at the top of the console popularity heap, Sony Computer Entertainment America surveyed the editors from nine videogame magazines to name their "Top Ten PlayStation Picks" for the holidays. In all, 35 different PlayStation games were named.

After polling the editors, Sony tabulated the results based on the number of votes each game received (noted in parenthesis after each game). Here are the "Top Ten PlayStation Picks" for the 1997 holiday season:

--Tomb Raider II (9)

--Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (8)

--NFL GameDay '98 (8)

--Final Fantasy VII (7)

--Street Fighter EX (7)

--Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (5)

--Colony Wars (5)

--Madden NFL 98 (4)

--Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (4)

-- Parappa The Rapper (4)

 

HAPPENINGS

VRML98 Symposium Opens Registration

VRML98 Symposium has set up online registration at the conference Web site.

Attendees to the 3rd annual technical symposium focusing on research, technology and

applications of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language can register directly with the conference through an online registration form. The annual VRML Symposium takes place February 16-19, 1998 at the Doubletree Hotel in Monterey, California. The VRML98 Web site is found at http://ece.uwaterloo.ca/vrml98. Early registration closes Friday, January 10.

VRML98 registration includes:

· attendance at papers and panels sessions

· conference proceedings

· Wednesday Demonstration SIG hosted by VeRGe

· exhibitor demonstrations all day Wednesday and Thursday

· Tuesday dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted by Cosmo Software

The conference will be a four-day technical forum including working groups and workshops on the first day; full-day and half-day courses on the second day; followed by paper presentations, panels, exhibits showcase, and demonstrations on the following two days.

 

Shareware Industry Conference Returns to New England in 1998

The Shareware Industry Conference will return to New England for a second year for its eighth annual event, July 16-19 at the Sheraton Tara Airport Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island. The conference is the only international gathering of the shareware industry.

Shareware, a fast-growing segment of the technology industry, is a marketing channel where users are able to test the programs before making a final purchase. The industry is estimated to ring up nearly $400 million in annual sales and has been influential in the premiere of new technologies ranging from Web browsers to zip programs. Many major technologies companies including Microsoft and IBM have recently begun to offer new programs via the shareware channels before bringing them into retail markets.

SIC 98, as the upcoming conference is informally known, will feature the announcement of the Shareware Industry Awards, the most prestigious honors bestowed upon shareware programs, and the latest round of inductions into the Shareware Hall of Fame, a special pantheon celebrating the pioneering individuals and groundbreaking products which have propelled the shareware industry since its debut in 1983.

Registration for SIC 98 can be handled online at the conference's Web Site at http://www.sic.org. Registrations can also be accepted by telephone at (800) 959-7477.

 

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.

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