Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News

10 November 1997

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

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- David Duberman

 

Today's Headlines (details below)

--Newfire Ships Catalyst, Internet Game Development Environment

--Astound Announces Dynamic HTML Authoring Tool

--EveryWare to Upgrade Tango Enterprise

--Apple Announces QuickTime VR Authoring Studio

--Digital Processing Systems Ships EditBAY

--MultiMedia Access Announces Multi-Stream Video Broadcast

--Microsoft, Tut Systems to Deliver High-speed In-home Networking

--Diamond Shotgun Technology Doubles Modem Speeds

--AnimaTek Ships Windows World Builder 2.0

--AnimaTek Launches Caviar Converter for Real-time Animation Viewing

--Sony Pictures Imageworks Creates Starship Troopers VRML Game

--Interplay Game to Use New Kind of Motion Control

--3Dfx Interactive Announces Voodoo 2 Graphics Chipset

--S3 Announces Trio3D 2D, 3D Accelerator

--Netnames Launches Top-level Domain Info Site

--Web Developers Launch Site for Peers

--Guide to Bay Area High-Tech Debuts

--Diamond Multimedia to Acquire Binar Graphics

--Activision Ships Zork Grand Inquisitor

--Red Orb, Presto Announce Journeyman Project 3

--VR Sports Announces VR Baseball `99

--TimeSink Defines Multiplayer Internet Game Standard

--Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 3 Due Christmas 1998

--Red Storm Releases Politika, Tom Clancy Java-Based Game

--Westwood Prepares to Ship Blade Runner

--Starfleet Academy to Support Aureal's A3D Interactive 3D Audio

--Gamers' League Secures $2 Million in Sponsorship

--About Spectrum

 

WEBMEISTER

Newfire Ships Catalyst, Internet Game Development Environment

Newfire Inc., creators of software for authoring real-time 3D titles for the Internet, announces the worldwide availability of its $1,995 Catalyst game development environment. The product is designed to let game authors develop immersive, console-quality entertainment experiences for CD-ROM and Web browsers.

Newfire also announced today that video game veteran Randall Thier, whose 15-year career has included executive posts at Stormfront Studios, Sony, Accolade, and Electronic Arts, has joined the company as president and CEO.

Additionally, the company has struck an international distribution agreement with Tokyo-based software firm ASCII Something Good Corporation.

Lastly, Newfire also unveiled a Higher Education Partners Program.

Catalyst core capabilities include scene composition; an interactivity editor; real-time playback and analysis; a performance optimizer; and a project manager. Content developers also receive a full-featured developer's version of Torch, Newfire's 3D game engine, with drivers for OpenGL, Voodoo Graphics from 3Dfx Interactive, and Newfire's software rasterizer.

Bonus tools, modules, plug-ins and demo content include: * TorchView, a real-time 3D game profiling tool * Precomputed Lighting and Shadows plug-in * Anti-Gravity, a demonstration version of the next-generation title from Gravity, Inc.

* Newfire Ignition Education Series, a set of tips and guidelines for developers of Internet game content.

Developers can join the Newfire Ignition program today at http://www.newfire.com , where the Torch player is available free.

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Astound Announces Dynamic HTML Authoring Tool

Recently announced by Astound, Dynamite is designed to let Webmasters, graphic designers, developers and business professionals create interactive Web pages without the need for scripting or programming. The program is scheduled for November 14 delivery at SRP US$124.

"Dynamic HTML will transform Web content from brochure-ware to interactive television," said Kailash Ambwani, president and CEO of Astound.

Features of Astound Dynamite include:

· support for templates and master pages that allow the content creator to standardize pages' look and feel

· graphics and layout tools

· multimedia capabilities such as path animation tools, media tools and transition effects a Timeline window for precise synchronization of multiple events and objects

· point-and-click interactivity that provides control of other objects on the page, rollover and trigger effects, timeline control and complex branch navigation

· an Internet Component toolbar that allows users to embed Java applets, ActiveX controls, JavaScript, VB Script and HTML in their pages

Find more on Astound at http://www.astound.com

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EveryWare to Upgrade Tango Enterprise

Canada-based EveryWare Development Inc. plans to release a major upgrade to Tango Enterprise, its cross-platform, team-based visual Web application development tool. Tango Enterprise 3.0 will be released later this month with over 50 new features.

Tango is a Web application development tool designed to let Web developers and corporate IS departments create complex business applications for the Web. Tango supports direct native connections, ODBC, and Data Access Language to integrate corporate databases with Web servers. The open standards approach utilized within Tango enables Web developers to also integrate existing business applications written in C/C++ or Java, providing a cross-platform application server enabling the integration of diverse enterprise systems.

Tango has two components, the Tango Development Studio and the Tango Application Server. The development studio enables developers to build Tango application files that are then executed by the Tango Application Server.

New features include:

· improved visual development interface

· collaborative project development

· transaction processing

· the ability to execute server-side Java

· JavaScript 1.2 compatibility

For more information on EveryWare or any of EveryWare's products call 888-819-2500, 905-819-1173 or email info@everyware.com .

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DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Apple Announces QuickTime VR Authoring Studio

Apple Computer announces the availability of QuickTime VR Authoring Studio ($395), a new professional software application that allows Web designers and multimedia authors to create QuickTime VR (Virtual Reality) panoramas and objects. The product replaces existing difficult-to-use QuickTime VR tools, which were based on MPW (Macintosh Programmers Workbench), a scripting-based application.

QuickTime VR Authoring Studio incorporates features such as project manager, scene maker and object maker to help create multi-node QuickTime movies containing objects and panoramas.

Users interact with QuickTime VR content with a 360-degree perspective and control their viewpoint through the mouse, keyboard, trackpad, or trackball. Using Authoring Studio, panoramas and objects are automatically 'stitched together' from digitized photographs or 3D renderings to create a realistic visual perspective.

For more information, in the U.S. call 800-293-6617; in Canada, call 800-361-6075.

Apple's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.apple.com

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Digital Processing Systems Ships EditBAY

Now shipping for PCI-based Windows 95 systems from Toronto-based Digital Processing Systems is DPS EditBAY (US$849). DPS EditBAY combines a video capture card with AVI acceleration, and the DPS Video Action full-featured editing application.

EditBAY's PCI bus mastering card provides broadcast-quality resolution (720x480 NTSC) and video signal processing audio with data rates exceeding 6.5 MB/second, supporting S-VHS, Hi8, VHS and Video8 formats. On-board CD-quality audio IS SAID TO guarantee perfect lip-sync. The real-time video overlay allows for motion video display on a PC monitor driven by a Direct Draw-compatible graphics board, eliminating the need for a separate video monitor.

The bundled DPS Video Action editing software provides more than 1000 transitions, special effects filters, titling, advanced keying options and Deluxe/3D Effects software including 3D explosion, 3D repetition, advanced video screen animation and more.

For further information, contact David Jones of DPS, 905-944-4086, or send mailto:david.jones@dps.com

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

MultiMedia Access Announces Multi-Stream Video Broadcast

MultiMedia Access Corporation announces new internet video streaming capabilities in its ViewCast server. MMAC combined its Osprey-1000 plus ClearVideo Live codec with the new multi-stream software to add these capabilities to its ViewCast product line. ClearVideo Live, from Iterated Systems, is the commercial release of MCI's Fractal Real-Time Video Codec which utilizes fractal compression technology. The multi-codec ViewCast technology enables event producers and content providers simultaneously to transmit video at different video and audio encoding bit-rates such as 14.4Kbps, 28.8Kbps, 56Kbps and ISDN rates.

Find out more at http://www.mmac.com .

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Microsoft, Tut Systems to Deliver High-speed In-home Networking

Microsoft Corp. and Tut Systems Inc. have signed a cooperative marketing agreement centered on Tut's HomeRun networking technology. The two will work with third-party vendors to release consumer hardware and software products that enable a plug-and-play, Ethernet-compatible platform in the home. The platform will enable multiple PCs, peripherals and other devices, such as IP telephones, to simultaneously connect to each other and to high-speed Internet and intranet services.

HomeRun creates 1.3 Mbps Ethernet-compatible LANs using existing in-home telephone wiring. It connects multiple devices across distances of up to 500 feet--200 feet greater than distances achieved by standard 10Base-T Ethernet--without Ethernet hubs or new Category 5 wiring.

Tut Systems's phone number is 800-998-4888.

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Diamond Shotgun Technology Doubles Modem Speeds

Diamond Multimedia Systems last week announced a new technology designed to double the speed of current analog modems by simultaneously utilizing two ordinary phone lines for speeds up to 112 Kbps. The two analog modem data streams are combined inside the PC into one, faster connection.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), of the 100 million total U.S. households, 25 million currently have multiple phone lines, and that number is expected to approach 30 million in the next three years. The growth of second line installations can be attributed primarily to the increase in residential use of commercial online services and the Internet.

The technology has three bandwidth-on-demand and voice priority features:

Bandwidth-on-demand

-- Connects second phone line during times of peak Internet usage--Disconnects second line during times of low Internet traffic

Voice priority

-- Monitors second line and disconnects for incoming and outgoing voice calls while maintaining an Internet connection on the first line

Diamond's Shotgun technology incorporates Multichannel Protocol Plus (MP+), developed by Ascend Communications and in testing since 1992. MP+ allows any Internet Service Provider (ISP) that uses Ascend equipment to support Shotgun bonding. MP+ bonds two modem calls on the ISP side of the connection. MP+ has been included in Ascend's products since 1993 and is currently available in Ascend's MAX family of WAN access switches.

Diamond claims that, as a result of Ascend's broad MP+ protocol deployment, ISPs should be able to easily offer Diamond Multimedia's Shotgun technology to customers.

Visit the Ascend Web site at http://www.ascend.com

Diamond's Web site address is http://www.diamondmm.com

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GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING

AnimaTek Ships Windows World Builder 2.0

AnimaTek International, Inc. of San Francisco and Moscow, Russia, recently released World Builder 2.0, Yosemite Edition, for WinNT and Win95. An upgrade of the previous DOS version, starting at SRP $799, the program offers animators, architects, game and multimedia developers new tools for creating realistic animated landscapes including underwater, extraterrestrial and fantasy world scenes:

· drag-and-drop selected objects into a scene to build a customized, copyright-free world

· import real-world landscape data for photo-realistic renditions of existing or planned environments created by artists, landscape architects, city planners etc.

· virtually all parameters can be animated, such as plants blowing in wind storms, clouds billowing across the sky, elongating shadows as the sun sets, sparkling waterfalls cascading into rivers, etc.

· new libraries of hundreds of pre-built objects such as botanically-correct trees, shrubs, plants, underwater vegetation and an expanded variety of skies, rock formations and water

· multi-processor network rendering allows quick implementation of creative ideas

· seamless integration with 3D Studio MAX and backward compatibility with AnimaTek's World Builder 1.0

For more info, phone 1-800-471-1233 or visit http://www.animatek.com.

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AnimaTek Launches Caviar Converter for Real-time Animation Viewing

AnimaTek also announced the launch of Caviar Converter, a set of tools for converting 3D models into Caviar format (CVR files) for real-time viewing.

Based on AnimaTek's surface pixel real-time rendering engine, Caviar Technology, Caviar Converter lets animators view and display their creations on a local PC, send via email, or post on the Internet in real time, reportedly with a high level of quality.

Once files are converted to CVR files, they can be viewed from any point of view in real time using the bundled Caviar Player, which AnimaTek is freely distributing.

The $99 Caviar Converter converts the surface of objects to a set of 3D pixels, storing the geometrical position and animation, color and surface normal vector of each pixel. It also serves as an inexpensive way to check out Caviar Technology, AnimaTek's full-motion 3D animation engine. The technology wraps rendered objects with electronic strings of 3D pixels, providing continuous reference points for movement, light and shadow.

Because of the small data size, characters in motion appear on screen quickly, with a high level of detail.

Caviar Converter is compatible with polygon-based 3D objects created in 3D Studio R4, 3D Studio MAX, LightWave, and some SGI formats.

For distribution information, contact Roger Springer, AnimaTek, at 415-477-0610 Ext. 302 or send mailto:roger@animatekusa.com

Caviar Player comes bundled with the converter for viewing capabilities and is also available for free download at http://www.animatekusa.com

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WEBSIGHTINGS

Sony Pictures Imageworks Creates Starship Troopers VRML Game

With Sony Pictures Imageworks Starship Troopers VRML game, based on the new TriStar Pictures release directed by Paul Verhoeven, citizens can do their share in humanity's war against the alien menace. The Trooper outpost on Planet P has been overrun by huge, killer bugs with major attitude problems. If you're in the mood for a little bug barbecue, check out the Starship Troopers VRML game at http://www.starshiptroopers.com

Working with Sony's Architecture Lab in Tokyo, Imageworks has created a product that it claims breaks common perceptions of VRML's capabilities.

The single-player game has a feel similar to traditional first-person 3D shooters. It is VRML 2.0 compliant and takes advantage of custom features of Sony's Community Place browser. A keyboard interface allows climbing and strafing, while a Java-powered status window keeps track of health, weapons, and score.

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TECHNOTES

Interplay Game to Use New Kind of Motion Control

Technology that a UC Berkeley doctorate developed is making waves in the gaming industry. Interplay Productions is possibly the first multimedia company to launch this type of gaming innovation entitled, VSIM Motion Control. The technology will debut in Interplay's new 3D combat/adventure game, Die By The Sword, which is releasing in March 1998 on Windowsr 95-based PCs.

VSIM is Treyarch Invention's trademark for its patent-pending Real-Time Human Motion Engine. This new engine gives the player direct control over characters' actions. Most games currently use preset moves or motion capture, which means they capture the human figure in various positions, then import the positions in the game to use as character's movements.

Dr. Peter Akemann, the mind behind VSIM, states, "VSIM creates character motion from a physics model which eliminates the need for motion capture." The physics model generates human motion through mathematical calculations.

These mathematical equations generate the entire range of human movement, providing the player with full control over character motion and attacks.

"In Die By The Sword, the VSIM engine allows you limitless freedom of motion. You can take a broad swing of the sword from above your shoulder down to your opposite foot, slashing the belly of your opponent in the process and continuing your swing from your foot moving up, slicing your opponent's arm off. This [type of] freedom of movement is what makes this game revolutionary. There is nothing else like it," states Alan Pavlish, executive producer on the product. Alan is optimistic about VSIM being used in future games, "We ... will probably be using the same VSIM technology with a lot of future Interplay games ..."

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3Dfx Interactive Announces Voodoo 2 Graphics Chipset

3Dfx Interactive last week announced plans for the introduction of their new standard in 3D acceleration, Voodoo 2 Graphics. The company predicts the new silicon will be available at the consumer level in Q1 1998 and will retail for under $300.

Voodoo 2 is an expandable architecture with a base configuration of a 192-bit memory architecture and 2.2 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth, delivering over 50 BOPS (Billions of Operations per Second).

This configuration is said to deliver 3 million triangles per second and 90 million dual-textured, bilinear-filtered, per-pixel MIP-mapped, alpha-blended, Z-buffered pixels per second, over three times the performance of the current Voodoo Graphics.

Voodoo 2 contains a full floating-point hardware triangle setup unit for maximum triangle throughput on Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II powered systems. Voodoo 2 is also an AGP-capable technology with resolutions up to 1024 X 768.

"We believe that Voodoo 2 will not only change the way people play games, but the way that people design games," stated Greg Ballard, president and CEO, 3Dfx Interactive.

Since Voodoo 2 maintains full software compatibility with Microsoft's Direct3D, 3Dfx's Glide and OpenGL, current 3Dfx accelerated games will run on the new chipset.

Two technologies developed specifically for 3Dfx's arcade customers have now been made available to PC game players. The basic chipset for Voodoo2 contains two texture processing units that simultaneously apply two textures to a triangle for single-pass, single-cycle rendering of effects such as trilinear filtering, sophisticated lighting, spotlights and detail texturing. Dual texture units effectively double the texture fill rate and provide performance increases in games such as id Software's Quake and Quake 2, which will run upwards of 110 frames per second.

Customers will also be able to purchase a second board of the same type and connect the two for faster gameplay. Voodoo 2 will automatically detect a second chipset and will begin operating in Scanline Interleave (SLI) mode, where the first chipset draws the even scanlines of a frame while the second chipset draws the odd.

Diamond Multimedia announced plans to deliver a second-generation Monster 3D accelerator, based on the new 3Dfx silicon, in mid-to-late Q1 1998.

Visit http://www.3dfx.com

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S3 Announces Trio3D 2D, 3D Accelerator

S3 Incorporated announces today the newest member of its Trio family of business acceleration solutions, the Trio3D accelerator. Aimed at corporate and SOHO PC users, S3 claims the accelerator delivers the industry's highest 2D graphics performance, advanced video conferencing/video training capabilities and "business-ready" 3D graphics.

Features of the Trio3D's 2D engine include a 128-bit pipelined architecture, support for 125MHz SGRAM memory and S3's Burst Command Interface - a proprietary protocol technology that works in conjunction with either the PCI or AGP bus to increase the command and data efficiency of the Trio3D architecture.

2D features include video manipulation (blending/stretching/scaling) and the ability to simultaneously accelerate dual video windows.

The Trio3D implements the industry standard Video Interface Port (VIP) bus, which provides a dedicated interface from the graphics accelerator to digital video devices and streamlines the movement of this data versus current PCI bus solutions.

S3 also announced the following products in its Software Productivity Program:

· LiveWork3D--enables users to add real-time, interactive 3D content to popular productivity applications.

· VisiDrive3D--Jointly specified and developed by S3 and InXight, a spin-off of Xerox PARC, VisiDrive3D is a 3D visualization tool for PC file systems, allowing users to better manage and understand information contained on their local or network drives.

The Trio3D is sampling now and will be in volume production in the first half of 1998. In quantities of 10,000, the Trio3D will be available for $22 USD.

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

Netnames Launches Top-level Domain Info Site

Domain Name registry NetNames last week launched an information Web site at http://www.gtld.com . The site aims to provide information about the forthcoming Top Level Domains. The launch is announced as NetNames announced its membership of the Council of Registrars (CoRE) based in Geneva. "CoRE is charged with setting up and running the new Domains. It will have them up and running by March of next year," said Pope.

The seven new gTLDS are expected to be .Web, .info, .arts, .firm, .store, .nom and .rec.

 

Web Developers Launch Site for Peers

InfoWest, a provider of information resources and Internet services, last week announced a comprehensive Web site for Web developers called DEVSHED.COM. The site provides news, discussions forums, resource areas, and developer tools covering HTML tutorials, graphics design, multimedia, JavaScript and more. Its graphics, HTML, and multimedia development resources have been scored, ranked and categorized saving time hunting and sifting through Web sites.

For more information, see http://www.devshed.com

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Guide To Bay Area High-Tech Debuts

Digital Station, a guide to the high-tech world of the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, debuted recently on AOL and the Web. The new site can be found on AOL through keywords "Digital Station" and "Silicon Valley," and at http://www.digitalstation.com

Digital Station features a database of more than 900 Bay Area high-tech companies and related organizations. Visitors can sort the list by 22 different types of companies, by area, or by keyword.

The results contain descriptions of the companies, plus links to their home pages and employment pages. Users can also take advantage of Digital Station's message boards, which contain job postings from local companies and recruiters.

Digital Station's event calendars list computer and Web-related conventions, classes, social gatherings, and user group meetings throughout the Bay Area.

The site also offers news items, articles, and editorials. Upcoming feature articles will focus on the region's computer game companies, service organizations, and the history of Silicon Valley.

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DEALS

Diamond Multimedia to Acquire Binar Graphics

Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. of San Jose, Calif. has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Binar Graphics, Inc., subject to approval by the State of California and customary closing conditions.

Binar Graphics is a provider of 3D, 2D and digital video device drivers to computer, chip and board manufacturers. Their driver technology has been licensed and incorporated into products from companies such as 3Dlabs, Cirrus Logic, Diamond Multimedia, IBM Corporation, S3 Incorporated and Toshiba, among others. Binar is also the developer and publisher of several retail software products.

Additionally, Diamond announced the appointment of Scott D. Vouri, president and founder of Binar Graphics, to the newly formed position of general manager of Diamond Multimedia's core graphics business unit.

Diamond's Web site address is http://www.diamondmm.com

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Activision Ships Zork Grand Inquisitor

Now shipping from Activision for Win95 is the eighth title in the legendary Zork adventure series, Zork Grand Inquisitor ($49.95). The game centers around restoring magic to the ailing Great Underground Empire so its inhabitants can be freed from the Dark Ages of Zork. In an effort to maintain control of the citizens of the lands and because of his own weakness, the Grand Inquisitor of the Empire outlawed the practice of magic in the kingdom. The player must join forces with the magic resistance and the disembodied spirit of a Dungeon Master to battle the Grand Inquisitor's regime. Along the journey, players time travel back to classic Zork eras to restore three enchanted treasures to Zork--returning magic to the lands.

We've had a chance to preview this title, and it looks excellent. Watch for a review coming soon in Spectrum Reviews.

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Red Orb, Presto Announce Journeyman Project 3

The past lies in ruins. Now the future is at stake. Travel through the channels of time and navigate your way through forgotten civilizations in The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time. Developed by Presto Studios, and published by Broderbund division Red Orb Entertainment, Legacy of Time is scheduled for a January 1998 release on four CD-ROMs for PC and Macintosh for a suggested retail price of $49.95.

The third installment of the Journeyman series has you continuing the adventures of Gage Blackwood, Agent 5 of the Temporal Security Agency (TSA), a secret government body responsible for protecting history by controlling time travel activity. As Blackwood, you are in pursuit of the rogue Agent 3, a fugitive colleague who framed you for crimes you did not commit in The Journeyman Project 2?: Buried In Time.

New elements include the Chameleon Jumpsuit, which enables you to take on the roles of different characters in order to extract information needed to solve a series of intricate puzzles integrated into the storyline. Other features include a 360-degree spherical panoramic viewpoint and a more intuitive interface with a larger window size.

Presto Studios can be found on the Web at http://www.presto.com (send mailto:presto@presto.com ). Red Orb's Web site is located at http://www.redorb.com

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VR Sports Announces VR Baseball `99

VR Sports will release its next baseball simulation game, VR Baseball `99, for Sony PlayStation and Windows 95 in time for the opening of the 1998 season. Highlights include:

· faster frame rate, load times and game play

· more detailed polygon player models with improved texture and smoother motions

· in-game player and crowd comments, player/crowd reactions to situations

· richer stadium colors and detail

· intuitive base running controls

· smarter AI for both human and computer opponents

· customizing feature to create players, teams

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

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TimeSink Defines Multiplayer Internet Game Standard

Multiplayer Internet Games are the coming wave in an evolving $1.6 billion industry, but what constitutes a true multiplayer game is the subject of much hype and little reality. In an attempt to clarify a muddy picture, online gaming developer TimeSink has created what it claims is the first set of standards for true Multiplayer Internet Games.

In TimeSink's opinion, a true Multiplayer Internet Game (MPIG) offers players unlimited avenues to success, an option not available with existing CD-ROM games that are converted to Internet multiplayer format.

"It takes a tremendous amount of artistic, design, technical skill, and knowledge of the Internet to make a true Multiplayer Internet Game," said Marty Schoffstall, CEO of TimeSink, Inc., creators of WarSport, a free multiplayer game designed for the Internet. "Traditional gaming companies do not possess the skill sets needed. When I review the Internet games available that claim to be multiplayer, I can't find one that passes any kind of a truth test."

TimeSink has created a threshold test. Most Internet games possess some of the following characteristics however, it is the combination of all the following that gives a gamers a true MPIG experience.

Instant - Gamers should be able to download the game off the Internet.

Traditional CD-ROM distribution channels, by contrast, create many barriers to trying new games, including lack of availability on store shelves.

Free Play, Free Software - Internet users are accustomed to downloading free software and to accessing free content. They want the same price tag for games and other forms of entertainment.

Continually Refineable - Creators of Internet games should have the ability to refine and improve them, based on the feedback of gamers, who use the Internet to communicate. Games should be built with an eye toward gathering this input and with technology for players to impart their advice to developers to help shape their online gaming experiences. Unlike CD-ROM games, an Internet MPG can be refined and distributed at low cost.

Foster Communication and Develop a Social Model - Most CD-ROM games were built to let a person face off against a computer. But a true MPIG allows players to compete against other players and requires players to communicate with each other--via chat or Internet based audio--to win.

That communication is an important step to building community. Another important step in building community through the sharing of experience. For gamers, part of that experience is their game scores, which should be posted immediately on the Internet for everyone to see.

Technically Address Internet Issues - These games should be designed to overcome the Internet's many networking issues, which result in, among other problems, latency--a time gap between actions. Latency and other problems hamper a game's playability and fun.

WarSport is playable on Mpath ( http://www.mplayer.com ) and available via http://www.warsport.com

TimeSink can be found on the Web at http://www.timesink.com

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Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 3 Due Christmas 1998

Papyrus Design Group, a division of Sierra On-Line, Inc., announces its NASCAR Racing 3 is due to ship to stores in time for Christmas 1998.

New features include:

* new "third-generation" physics model * Internet multiplayer mode

* additional customization options

* 1998 season teams, drivers, and tracks * enhanced artificial intelligence

The NASCAR Grand National Series Expansion Pack shipped last week. It adds 30 new drivers, teams and cars and 10 tracks from the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division to the NASCAR Racing 2 experience, as well as two fantasy tracks.

The company's site is located at http://www.sierra.com/papyrus

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Red Storm Releases Politika, Tom Clancy Java-Based Game

Red Storm Entertainment last week released "Tom Clancy's Politika," a game of intrigue and espionage set in post-Yeltsin Russia. Set in Russia after the sudden death of President Boris Yeltsin, up to eight gamers represent prominent Russian factions (the Russian Orthodox Church, Mafia, KGB, Nationalists, Military, Reformers, Communists and Separatists). Via the Internet, they compete and collaborate to stockpile enough money, resources and power to win ultimate control of Russia. A single-player computer version of the game is included in the retail package.

Clancy, co-founder and chairman of RSE, said, "Today's release is the first step towards the realization of my dream--to create an entirely new art form in which we present a story to the consumer, one which the consumer will not merely observe, but in which he or she will fully participate, coming to an outcome he or she will generate."

Politika is said to be the first multiplayer game developed using IBM's Java-based InVerse software technology, which can host a variety of interactive, multi-user Web sites from simple chat rooms to elaborate virtual communities.

For more info, visit http://www.redstorm.com

Also, Headland Digital Media announces the launch of the Politika Web site http://politika.power-plays.com

Visitors to the site will be able to test their knowledge of Russian history, geography, and culture in the "Politika Challenge," chat with other Tom Clancy fans, enter to win autographed copies of the book, and register for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in the Politika "Tour of Duty" sweepstakes.

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Westwood Prepares to Ship Blade Runner

Westwood Studios will ship the Blade Runner CD-ROM to retailers on November 13. The four-CD title is a real-time, 3-D adventure game that portrays the mysterious and futuristic society, culture and characters from the 1982 sci-fi film.

Blade Runner features key actors from the original film, as well as such technological advances as a goal-oriented AI that gives each potential ally or foe free will and unpredictable agendas.

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

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Starfleet Academy to Support Aureal's A3D Interactive 3D Audio

Interplay OEM, Inc. and Aureal Semiconductor Inc. announces that Interplay OEM, Inc.'s development team has integrated support for Aureal's A3D Interactive 3D audio technology into Interplay Productions' recently released STAR TREK: Starfleet Academy. The A3D Interactive version of STAR TREK: Starfleet Academy takes advantage of Aureal's positional 3D sound.

Game players will now be able to hear a Klingon Bird of Prey decloak off the stern of the USS Enterprise, locate it using 3D auditory cues, face the enemy and begin firing.

The A3D Interactive version of Starfleet Academy will be available for release to the OEM bundling market in single-CD and two-CD versions.

Interplay OEM has also developed an A3D Interactive technology patch for gamers who already own a copy of the game, to be available for download at http://www.interplay.com

STAR TREK: Starfleet Academy is expected to be the best selling title ever for Interplay Productions with retail sell-in units projected at 300,000 and sell-through of total channel inventory approximately 25 percent in the first seven days of release.

A3D Interactive technology is supported on a number of PCI audio chip sets, and on retail sound cards such as Diamond Multimedia's Monster Sound, Xitel's Storm 3D and Shark Multimedia's Predator 3D.

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NUMBEROLOGY

Gamers' League Secures $2 Million in Sponsorship

The AMD Professional Gamers' League (PGL) officially kicked off its first season last week, and announced that advertisers and other league partners have driven the value of sponsorship support to $2 million dollars to date, reportedly making the AMD PGL the highest-grossing site launch in Internet history. The league will award more than $250,000 in cash and prizes during its first year. The PGL also named Nolan Bushnell, electronic entertainment visionary, as founding commissioner of the new league

The AMD PGL, created and hosted by online gaming service Total Entertainment Network (TEN), is the first pro sports league for computer game enthusiasts, and is already being viewed by technology providers and industry observers as an innovative advertising and sponsorship vehicle.

More information on the PGL can be found at http://www.pgl.net

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