Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 8 September 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)

--Sega Reacts to 3Dfx Lawsuit

--Shafir Launches JCT Chart of Java Toolkits

--Headspace Offers Free Kit to Add Music to Web Sites

--Syndicated Web Show Offered

--Plug-in Adds Internet Music Publishing to Digidesign Pro Tools

--DeMorgan Ships Web Designer Catalog

--Valve Upgrades Action Game Level Editor

--Netscape, Trend Micro Announce Virus Prevention for Netscape Server

--O'Reilly Discontinues Statisphere Beta Development

--Internet World Mag Proclaims Hotbot Best Search Engine

--Auto Channel Publishes '98 New Car Prices Online

--Interactive Auction Online Launches New Site

--Employee Satisfaction Survey Available Online

--Eastgate Releases New Hyptertext Novel

--Mindscape Licenses nFX Living Clipart for PrintMaster

--O'Reilly Publishes Guide to Java GUI Development

--CSCI Computer Security Canada Launches Library

--BlueGill, CyberCash Team for Interactive Billing Solutions

--Activision to Publish Redline Games Titles

--RealMedia, White Pine Reach Bundling Agreement

--Game of the Week: Outpost 2

--LucasArts Releases Free Outlaws Missions

--Sierra to Publish Diablo Add-on Disk

--Sega Releases Worldwide Soccer for PC

--Sierra Offers Credit Card

--Warren Spector Joins ION Storm as Fourth Lead Designer

--Lalich Joins AdOne as President, CEO

--Radnet Hires George Chamberlain as CFO

--VR Pioneer Lanier to Speak Live at NTT New Media Minds Forum

--About Spectrum

 

TODAY'S TOP STORY

Sega Reacts to 3Dfx Lawsuit

Last week Sega of America, Inc. said that the company is reviewing the complaint filed August 29, 1997 by 3Dfx Interactive, regarding Sega's decision not to use 3Dfx's technology in a forthcoming video game console.

Sega's statement regarding the complaint is as follows:

1. Sega takes exception to 3Dfx's allegations of improper conduct 2. Sega is an investor in 3Dfx, and it would not be involved in any activities that would disclose 3Dfx's proprietary information 3. Sega has strategic partnerships with numerous entities and, in the course of the relationships, receives proprietary information. Sega has always respected the proprietary rights of its partners, and expects the same treatment in return; and

4. Sega plans to aggressively defend itself against 3Dfx's complaints.

The company will not comment further on this lawsuit at this time.

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WEBMEISTER

Shafir Launches JCT Chart of Java Toolkits

Shafir has recently release JCTChart. This is the third toolkit in Shafir's family of Java Toolkits for development of intranet (thin client) and Internet applications. Built as an application-specific extension of JCT 2.0, JCT Chart provides a set of tools for the construction of applications targeted at professional users.

JCT Chart is compliant with JDK 1.02/1.1. It is also compatible with other Shafir products including JCT 2.0 and JCT-DB. Together with these additional toolkits, JCT Chart provides a platform to develop applications that can chart out data sets. The data can be sourced from static text, local/remote files and databases.

Other tools have been added to JCT Chart so that a professional look and feel can be given to an application. By allowing any graph surface to be rendered with a graphics image (JPEG, GIF or bitmap), complex charts can easily be constructed. By including advanced user controls, the charts can be rotated. Hot buttons can be added to link to other applications and display additional information relating to the chart. This will allow users to "drill down" through the graph data. By allowing live updates, the chart can automatically reflect the current values of the source data. Sample applications are included.

JCTChart can be ordered directly from Shafir's Web page at http://www.shafir.com/Products/JctChart/Content/index.htm The Web page also contains product support information, demos, and an evaluation copy of the product

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Headspace Offers Free Kit to Add Music to Web Sites

Headspace, a creator of software technologies for audio on the Internet, has released a free kit, said to enable Webmasters to put professional music and sound effects on their Web sites. A 15-minute walk-through shows users how to "sonify" sites utilizing the Beatnik Plug-in, and includes free licensed examples from Headspace's RMF Music Collection. The kit is available at: http://www.headspace.com/beatnik/doc/authoring/15-minute/

The entire series of Headspace RMF Music collections are available for preview and licensing at

http://www.headspace.com/beatnik/index.html?collections/index.html.

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Syndicated Web Show Offered

The Web's first syndicated show, FFWD, is now showing on Web sites nationwide. Rated Web-PG, FFWD is billed as a combination of a Twilight Zone- or Outer Limits-style show with the old-time movie cliff-hangers.

FFWD segments are produced by cyber-savvy Hollywood writers and artists, such as Dave Bischoff, the writer of the FFWD segment Masters of Chaos, who has co-written episodes of STAR TREK: The Next Generation. Another FFWD segment, Delinks, features actors on virtual sets and is produced by Phil Flora--who made the first feature length movie created entirely on a personal computer.

Television stations, newspapers and other local media companies make up most of the sites on the FFWD distribution list.

Each syndication site gets ad banner spaces to sell for revenue or use to promote other products or features on their Web site.

Setup takes less than 10 minutes to copy the six show control files to a Web server. One-time installation is all the site manager has to do. Then the control files pull in new episodes automatically every week.

A sample episode of FFWD can be screened at: http://www.Webmovie.com/ffwd For more information, send mailto:info@Webmovie.com

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Plug-in Adds Internet Music Publishing to Digidesign Pro Tools

Liquid Audio, a developer of secure Internet music delivery systems, announces the availability of its Liquifier Plug-In for Pro Tools. Pro Tools, from Digidesign, is a digital audio workstation for recording, editing and mixing. Audio engineers can use the Liquifier to encode the music for Internet streaming or download at multiple delivery rates. Users can also add media information such as liner notes, artwork and copyright information to be displayed on the consumer's Liquid MusicPlayer. The final result is then published to the Liquid MusicServer in one compact file, known as a Liquid Track, ready for distribution via the Internet.

The Liquifier Plug-In for Pro Tools is available from Cameo International (888-33-Cameo). (International callers dial 408-399-0008). To email Cameo, send mailto:info@cameoworld.com

Liquid Audio's MusicPlayer CD is available for free download from the Liquid Audio Web site at http://www.liquidaudio.com

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DeMorgan Ships Web Designer Catalog

Stamford, Conn.-based DeMorgan Industries Corporation announces the shipment of their second commercial software product, WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition (PDE) for Macintosh and Windows PCs, as well as Unix boxes. The product, a collection of more than 1,000,000 Web-ready images on four CD ROMs, uses a Web-page catalog to organize the images and lead users through the design process.

The design guide leads the user through the process of creating a Web site.

The inspiration for including a Design Guide came after observing users facing "blank page syndrome," a form of Web-page writer's block. The guide helps the user decide upon the purpose of their Web site, after which the user can select a layout from a series of thumbnail sketches. The user is then given choices for a color scheme, with two- and three-color designs to choose from.

The image selection wizard is designed to help the user find the right style, size, texture, and color of the image. WebSpice 1,000,000 PDE includes the most important image types for a Web site: arrows, backgrounds, bullets, buttons, rules and textures.

The suggested retail price is $149, and the estimated street price is $99.

WebSpice is available from software retailers or direct by calling 800-860-2139.

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DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX

Valve Upgrades Action Game Level Editor

Game developer Valve today announced the release of Worldcraft 1.5, a major upgrade to its level editor.

The original Worldcraft, developed for Quake players who wanted to create customized levels, was released independently by creator Ben Morris in September of 1996. In May of this year, the tool was purchased by Valve for use in its premiere game, the first-person action game Half-Life, set for release this November by Sierra On-line. At that time Morris became a member of the Valve team.

The 1.5 upgrade is free to registered users and is available at the Worldcraft Website, http://www.gamecraft.com. New users will be charged $35.00.

Worldcraft 1.5 features include:

Vertex manipulation - lets users customize and reshape brushes (the individual building blocks or objects of level design) by clicking and dragging individual vertices.

Face splitting - Each brush has multiple faces. This feature splits any single face into two faces, making it easier to introduce more detail to the brush.

Clipping planes - cut an object along any plane for quicker customization.

Texture alignment locking - align a texture to an object, then lock it into place so that later changes to the position of the object will not alter the way the texture appears.

Interface improvements include a texture browser that lets users filter the library of available textures, plus previewing the results of moving grouped objects.

Multiple cameras - switch among several points of view or "cameras"

Worldcraft 1.5 will allow level developers to build levels for Quake, Hexen 2, and other legacy 8-bit gaming environments. Additional Worldcraft FGD files will be made available on the Worldcraft download site to support additional Quake-based games as they are released.

Next up, Worldcraft 2.0 will include vertex merging and scaling, which lets users merge faces on an object or scale an object around a specific vertex; the path corners tool, which makes it easy to specify a complex path for an entity within the game; and entity reports, which help users see the relationships between groups of entities (like buttons, switches and doors). Worldcraft 2.0 will also let users take advantage of features native to the Half-Life engine, including artificial DSP sound, 24-bit color palettes and libraries of prefabricated objects.

More information about Valve is available at http://www.valvesoftware.com

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IN THE INFOGROOVE

Netscape, Trend Micro Announce Virus Prevention for Netscape Server

This story caught our eye because we've been spending way too much time lately fighting Word macro viruses contained in press releases emailed to us as file attachments. Please, please, please send press releases in the body of your message, not as file attachments!

Leading server-based anti-virus vendor Trend Micro, Inc. and Netscape Communications Corporation have announced a dedicated anti-virus solution for Netscape Messaging Server 3.0 software to protect corporate networks from viruses carried in email attachments.

The solution consists of the email scanning component of Trend Micro's InterScan VirusWall operating on a separate server and acting as a mail buffer between Netscape Messaging Server and the Internet gateway.

InterScan VirusWall is available for Windows NT, Solaris, and HP-UX operating systems.

A survey released in April by the National Computer Security Association found that virus infections have increased fivefold in the past year in American medium and large corporations in North America. About 80 percent of the infections were caused by macro viruses, which are most often transmitted by email.

Trend Micro maintains the Antivirus Support Center at http://www.antivirus.com

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O'Reilly Discontinues Statisphere Beta Development

O'Reilly & Associates has announced that the company will not proceed with the commercial release of Statisphere, a Web traffic analysis application, which had been scheduled for October, 1997.

"This was a difficult decision to reach. Given the development delays we encountered and the rapidly changing character of the Web traffic analysis market during the past six months, we believe it is the correct choice," said Gina Blaber, Director of the Software Products Group, O'Reilly & Associates. "We are focusing our software resources on supporting and enhancing our current software products."

 

GreenTree Debuts Web-Based Utility for Updating Software, Drivers

GreenTree Technologies, announces the availabilty of Update AnyWare, a Web-based utility designed to keep PC software up to date. By tapping into its database of software products, PC users can automatically receive free updated versions and patches of their programs.

The product is available in retail packaging or on the Web. Web-based installation requires pointing the Web browser to the Update AnyWare Web Site ( http://www.updateanyware.com ).

Update AnyWare allows PC users to schedule downloads at any time, including deferred downloads and scans to less hectic online traffic periods.

Multiple downloads can also be scheduled.

Update AnyWare is available for an annual subscription fee of $39.95. It is designed for Windows 95 and Windows NT; browsers supported include Internet Explorer 3.0, Internet Explorer 4.0, Netscape Navigator 3.0.

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Internet World Mag Proclaims Hotbot Best Search Engine

Internet World magazine has just released the results of tests it conducted to determine the best of the Internet search engines, finding Hotbot the clear winner.

In the special online report, "The Right Search Engine," Internet World tested the leading six--AltaVista, Excite, Hotbot, Infoseek, Lycos, and WebCrawler--and excluded directories such as Yahoo or Magellan which don't search the entire Web. The criteria: The search had to find everything listed but remain simple to use.

Commented editor-in-chief Gus Venditto, "HotBot's search results were unmatched. Its user interface was both the simplest to use and the most customizable, and it provided the most refined search results with relevancy rankings that were very reliable."

Access the report at http://www.iw.com

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WEBSIGHTINGS

Auto Channel Publishes '98 New Car Prices Online

The Auto Channel announces the online publication of its 1998 New Car Buyers Guide, said to be the Internet's first comprehensive listing of 1998 prices.

At the heart of the guide is a dynamic relational database, which includes retail prices, wholesale dealer prices, option packages, and shipping charges. Attached directly to the database are categories containing Recall Information, NHTSA Crash Test Results, and a Clic-2 comparison feature that compares over 150 different dimension and performance data categories.

The guide features SPEC-IT BID-IT BUY-IT, which allows car shoppers to quickly fill out a TACH New Car Purchase Request form. This form lists the make, model, and options chosen; along with actual factory codes, total MSRP, and dealer invoice cost. It can then be immediately printed out, to be taken or faxed to the dealer(s) of their choice. A separate database on The Auto Channel contains every new car dealer in the United States.

The New Car Price Guide can be accessed through The Auto Channel at http://www.theautochannel.com , and then by clicking through to the New Vehicles area of the Vehicles section. It can also be reached directly at http://www.theautochannel.com/index/newcar97.html .

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Interactive Auction Online Launches New Site

The best deal we've seen yet on a PII/266 system (yes, we admit it, we lust for one) was from an online auction house (http://www.onsale.com), so with that in mind: Interactive Auction Online, a Kirkland Washington-based live Internet auction house, has successfully launched its live real-time Web auction featuring name-brand consumer and home electronics goods. The auctions, which currently run two times per week, also offer computers and computer equipment.

While IAO is not the first Internet auction launched, the web site ( http://www.iaoauction.com ) and the company itself are said to have been designed to have distinct advantages over the competition: site design and customer service. Each item up for bid has a picture, but the site is not bogged down by heavy graphics, meaning it loads quickly for slow and fast modems alike. IAO also claims the site is also nicely organized and very easy to navigate.

"We realized early on that providing top-notch customer service was the biggest piece of the Internet business puzzle. If customers are frustrated and cannot get prompt answers to their questions, they will certainly go away and not come back," observed IAO founder and president Tim Black. "All customer service inquiries are answered within 24 hours, most within three hours."

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Employee Satisfaction Survey Available Online

The Business Research Lab has released a solution to reduce employee turnover; the E-Value2 Employee Satisfaction Survey. The questionnaire, which can be downloaded from http://www.busreslab.com/evalue2.htm , gives small-to-mid-size businesses the opportunity to implement a "professionally designed" employee survey for less than the cost of a custom survey.

"With unemployment at its lowest level in 24 years, it has become more difficult to retain and acquire quality employees," says Dr. Stewart Goldberg, managing partner. The questionnaire, in Microsoft Word format, can be downloaded free of charge. If potential users want to use the survey, they only need to register by paying a fee, which covers additional services.

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CONSUMER CHANNEL

Eastgate Releases New Hyptertext Novel

Just out from hypertext publisher Eastgate Systems is A Dream with Demons, Edward Falco's story of a lawyer/novelist whose torment leads him to write about a sadly streetwise adolescent, her mother, and her mother's lover.

The $19.95 floppy-based title is available for Mac and Windows PCs.

The hypertext structure of A Dream with Demons dramatizes how the past can compel the present, through the fragmentary, unreliable, but ultimately persistent medium of memory.

Falco is the author of numerous works of poetry and fiction, including Winter in Florida, and Plato at Scratch Daniel's & Other Stories. His short story, "The Artist" was a 1995 Best American Short Story, and his hypertext poems, Sea Island, were featured in The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext volume 2 number 1.

For more information, visit http://www.eastgate.com/press/Dream.html

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Mindscape Licenses nFX Living Clipart for PrintMaster

Santa Clara, Calif.-based nFX Corporation announced that Mindscape has incorporated nFX's "Living Graphics" technology in its upcoming release of PrintMaster Gold Deluxe 4.0. A custom nFX "Cartoon-O-Matic" module designed for PrintMaster 4.0 allows users to create their own unique cartoon faces for inclusion in their PrintMaster documents.

After selecting from a variety of cartoon models including Santa Claus, a monster, a witch or a clown, users can manipulate their character in real time. Each model has between fifteen and twenty controls allowing the user to change everything from head size and expression to nose and ear shape.

Push the "Dice" button to roll a random image.

The core nFX technology is said to be based on neural nets and vector graphics. nFX claims its technology and models learn to produce new images based on examples. The technology doesn't restrict the extent of artistic expression by the user. For example, if a user opens or closes a character's mouth, the other facial features respond accordingly.

To download an example of the Cartoon-O-Matic technology, go to http://www.nfx.com

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THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER

O'Reilly Publishes Guide to Java GUI Development

O'Reilly & Associates has released "Netscape IFC in a Nutshell" (370 pages, ISBN: 1-56592-343-X, $19.95), a desktop quick reference and programmer's guide to the Internet Foundation Classes (Version 1.1) from Netscape.

Co-authored by "Java in a Nutshell" author David Flanagan, the book also offers more than 20 tutorial-style, example-based chapters that introduce each of the features and GUI components of the IFC. These features include:

- A "Pure Java" platform-independent, customizable look-and-feel, with a complete suite of GUI components

- Intra-application drag-and-drop

- Multi-font formatted text display, with a built-in HTML parser - Pre-defined color, font, and file-selection dialog boxes - Timer objects that simplify animation by replacing threads - Constructor, an interface builder application available from Netscape

The IFC 1.1 library is freely available on the Internet, for use in any Java application or with any Java-capable Web browser, and is bundled with Netscape's Navigator 4.0 Web browser.

According to O'Reilly, the Netscape IFC classes will strongly influence the development of the Java Foundation Classes (JFC), under development by Sun, Netscape, IBM, and others. The JFC will reportedly merge IFC technology with Sun's AWT GUI toolkit. Although the JFC will eventually supersede the IFC, the IFC is a powerful class library, is available now, and is said to be a useful and stable predecessor to the JFC.

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CSCI Computer Security Canada Launches Library

CSCI Computer Security Canada Inc. ( http://www.csci.ca/ ) announced the opening on its Web site of a virtual library of high-level computer security breaches that have recently occurred world-wide. This data collection informs executives and experts in government organizations and private corporations of the dangers of lax security measures. As well, it is intended as a useful resource for the Canadian media who must explain complex security issues in a simple manner with the use of relevant examples.

CSCI's collection of Media Examples of Security Breaches ( http://www.csci.ca/breach.htm ) documents some of the most embarrassing Web security breaches that have occurred worldwide in government, military, academia and industry. As well, the CSCI site has links to electronic magazines that contain graphic portrayals of the damage caused by determined computer hackers. Examples include the defacing of the CIA Homepage with politically incorrect slogans and the indecent addition of Nazi paraphernalia and sexually explicit graphic images to the US Department of Justice's prime Web site.

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DEALS

BlueGill, CyberCash Team for Interactive Billing Solutions

BlueGill Technologies, Inc. and CyberCash, Inc will offer an Internet billing solution that incorporates CyberCash's payment services and BlueGill's 1to1Server.

1to1Server enables billers to generate personalized Internet bills and email from existing print applications. BlueGill's technology reportedly leverages a company's investment in their legacy billing systems, and enables launching an Internet billing initiative without re-writing legacy applications or the conditional processes, which generate the personalized messages.

To complete the billing cycle, CyberCash will add its PayNow Secure Electronic Check Service, enabling billers to accept payment online, directly at their Web site.

As companies have already begun to exploit marketing messages in their legacy documents, they can also leverage the traffic driven to their Web site from paying customers to cross-sell other products and services.

Companies can extend their services and customer base by providing links and advertisements for new or existing products and services, which are placed strategically throughout the customers' statements. And since it typically takes months to plan a marketing campaign, process for printing, complete inventory, and deliver the inserts with paper bills, companies can additionally reduce their marketing expenses and accelerate their online marketing campaigns.

For an online demonstration of how a bill is presented and paid online, visit http://www.bluegill.com/prodserv/

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Activision to Publish Redline Games Titles

Activision, Inc. has signed a long-term exclusive agreement with Redline Games to publish the company's first three titles and acquire an equity interest in the newly formed game developer.

The first Redline title will be a role-playing/strategy game which Activision expects to release in 1998. The recently formed development company is headed by James Anhalt and Ronald Millar, two programmers and designers who have worked on a number of hit games including Diablo, Warcraft II, MechWarrior 2 and Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure.

More information on Redline Games can be found at http://www.redlinegames.com

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

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RealMedia, White Pine Reach Bundling Agreement

RealMedia, Inc., a developer of audio/video applications for email, has reached a software bundling agreement with White Pine Software. RealMedia recently released SeeMail 3.0, an application that creates multimedia email. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

White Pine will have a 30-day demonstration version of SeeMail 3.0 bundled with White Pine's CU-SeeMe videoconferencing software demonstration CD in September. In addition, the two companies will exchange hotlinks on both the RealMedia site ( http://www.realmediainc.com ) and the White Pine site ( http://www.wpine.com ).

SeeMail 3.0 is compatible with Windows and Macintosh-enabled video cameras and sound cards. SeeMail allows users to create or import any combination of audio messages, still pictures or videos and send them as attachments via MAPI-compliant email applications.

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Game of the Week: Outpost 2

You have to hand it to Sierra: The company has guts for releasing the sequel to one of the most widely hated games of the past decade. While we didn't have the misfortune of interacting directly with Outpost, by most accounts the title was released well before it was ready.

Outpost 2, for Windows 95 only, on the other hand, seems quite good, if fairly time consuming. According to the game's premise, the last remaining remnant of the human race finds itself relegated to a new, fairly hostile planet, where it divides into two factions: Eden, which wants to remake the planet into a facsimile of Earth, and Plymouth, which wants to live on the planet as it is.

As with most such real-time resource-management games, the bulk of gameplay consists of balancing the needs and morale of your fellow colonists while researching and developing ways to survive on New Terra. Busywork includes mining and refining ore, building various types of facilities and vehicles, fighting the enemy and trying to avert freak catastrophes such as quakes, electrical storms, volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts.

The 12 tutorials do a good job of teaching the basics, covering map navigation, vehicle commands, using the game's various types of reports, using scientists for research and so on. Then it's on to the actual game, which you can play in campaign mode as Eden or Plymouth (the two sides' campaigns are remarkably similar), or in colony mode where you have to build your population or achieve space travel, or in multiplayer mode over a modem, local-area network or the Internet. Up to six players can vie for superiority, or play cooperatively.

Structures include the agridome for growing food, factories for creating structures and vehicles, a garage for repairing vehicles (some vehicles can repair buildings), laboratories for researching new technology, and various types of morale-building buildings. Among the many vehicle types are the cargo truck for transporting stuff, various combat vehicles, construction vehicles, scouts and more. The Spider unit, available only to Plymouth, can capture enemy vehicles, while the Eden-only geothermal constructor can transform itself into a geothermal plant, once it has found a fumarole (yes, we learned a new word in Outpost 2!). There are other slight differences between the two factions, but they're mostly superficial.

Sierra subsidiary Dynamix deserves credit for designing a friendly user interface, including the ability to group vehicles, jump instantly to different map areas, and keyboard shortcuts for everything. There's an online manual, and even four substantial illustrated strategy guides on the CD, with a Word viewer for reading them. The guides aren't referred to in the documentation--just look in the Strategy folder.

Thanks to its well-crafted design and variety of gameplay, we had a good time playing Outpost 2, although we didn't get too far. The first two campaign missions are all too easy, while the third is very tough--even at the intermediate difficulty level! Our main problem with Outpost 2 was the game's speed, or rather lack of it. At the top game speed, you often have to wait several minutes or longer for a vehicle to reach its destination, or for a necessary new technology to be researched, with nothing else to do. Hopefully, Sierra will release a patch that increases the game's highest speed.

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LucasArts Releases Free Outlaws Missions

Just out from LucasArts Entertainment is Handful of Missions, a collection of four single single and five multiplayer levels for the spaghetti western-inspired first-person shooter Outlaws. They're available free to owners of the original game via download from http://www.lucasarts.com or on a CD-ROM disc through a mail-in coupon, available at retail.

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Sierra to Publish Diablo Add-on Disk

When Blizzard Entertainment released real-time action RPG Diablo earlier this year to massive sales and critical acclaim, its single-player aspects were overlooked in favor of the free multiplayer Internet play. However, we found it a vastly entertaining single-player game as well, and are glad to see this new development: Sierra On-Line is developing and publishing Hellfire, an add-on disk for Diablo. Scheduled for release in November 1997, Hellfire adds universe enhancements and gameplay features for the single-player mode. Developed by Sierra's Synergistic Software division, Hellfire is the only add-on based on the original Diablo program code.

Hellfire's quest ushers players into the realms of 20 new monsters, challenging novice and advanced players alike to find entirely new methods of combat. Players will confront The Lich, an Undead, skeletal sorceror; the Psychorb, a floating, be-tentacled eyeball that fires spells; the Hork Demon, a gnarled monstrosity that attacks viciously in between "horking up" little Hork Spawn demons; and the Grave Digger, a shovel-toting zombie.

With 30 new magic items and five unique new spells - including Immolation (fires fireballs in all directions), Lightning Wall (generates a wall of lightning), and Warp (teleports player to the nearest exit in a dungeon) - players are offered new ways of defeating the offending opponents and developing their character's skills and abilities. Players will also find new unique items, armor and weapons in the quest, offering a greater variety of strategies and tactics.

Also new to the Hellfire player is a new player character class - The Monk. With a mix of abilities not found in the other classes, this mysterious priest of an unknown faith comes wandering from distant lands with a plethora of defenses up his sleeves.

Hellfire requires the full original Diablo program.

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Sega Releases Worldwide Soccer for PC

Sega Entertainment, Inc. (SEI) has released, "Worldwide Soccer" for Win95 PCs. The title offers 3D graphics, 360-degree camera angles, on-the-fly color commentary and instant replay options. Gameplay begins with 48 of the toughest teams in the world, five playing modes ranging from Exhibition to the Worldwide Cup, and real-time four-player network play via LAN, modem, serial link and the Internet.

"Worldwide Soccer" features detailed polygon-based characters and motion-captured animation. In addition, players can customize games using the stat tracking feature with 25 categories to help select individual players, evaluate their moves, and factor in suspensions and injuries to create the ultimate offensive and defensive team set-up.

The title, now available for $39.99, operates on a minimum specification of a 90 Mhz Pentium with memory of 16 MB. Players can use a keyboard or any Windows 95 compatible peripheral.

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Sierra Offers Credit Card

Game developer Sierra On-Line will offer a Sierra MasterCard through an arrangement with MBNA America Bank of Wilmington, DE.

Upon first use of the card for a purchase or cash advance, customers will receive their choice of one free Sierra software product from 23 selections (customer pays shipping and handling.)

Customers receive an automatic 10% discount on all Sierra software products purchased with the MasterCard through Sierra by phone, mail order or Internet.

Cardholders earn points based on 1% of all purchases charged to the Sierra MasterCard. After accumulating 20 points, a $20 coupon will be sent to the customer. The coupons are valid for six months and can be used for any Sierra software purchased through mail order.

Customers can apply by calling 1-800-821-9749, priority code QZ4B.

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DIGERATI ILLUMINATI

Warren Spector Joins ION Storm as Fourth Lead Designer

Dallas-based ION Storm announces the hiring of game designer Warren Spector, formerly of Looking Glass Technologies (LGT), as the company's fourth lead designer and head of its newly established Austin office.

"ION Storm was organizationally set up with modular design teams, allowing each team to be autonomous, yet at the same time, reap the benefits of the greater organization. This allows us to immediately take advantage of great opportunities such as the chance to bring Warren and his awesome Austin crew on board," said John Romero, chairman.

Spector brings to ION Storm over 14 years of game industry experience. As executive producer and general manager of LGT's Austin office, he oversaw the development of The Dark Project and Junction Point titles.

Prior to LGT, Spector served as the producer at Origin Systems for a slew of games including Cybermage, Crusader: No Remorse, System Shock, and several of the Ultima games. He also has several role-playing and board games to his credit. Other members of the Austin team include Chris Norden, Albert Yarusso, Dave Beyer, Steve Powers and Kraig Count, who have experience with LGT's The Dark Project and British Open Championship Golf, and Origin Systems' Ultima and Wing Commander series

Visit http://www.ionstorm.com

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Lalich Joins AdOne as President, CEO

AdOne Classified Network, Inc., an online solutions provider for publishing classified ads on the Web, announced that David Lalich has joined the company as president and CEO. Lalich brings over 20 years experience in the advertising, new media and entertainment industries--including senior executive positions with AdValue Media Technologies and Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.

"This is a very exciting moment in the expanding, global marketplace," Lalich commented. "Traditional media, communications technologies and the computer industry are converging, opening new markets and creating significant new opportunities."

Find AdOne at http://www.adone.com

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Radnet Hires George Chamberlain as CFO

Cambridge, Mass.-based Radnet, Inc. announced that George Chamberlain has joined the company as chief financial officer. With more than 30 years of management experience in high-technology enterprises, Chamberlain is said to have a proven track record of developing comprehensive strategies to help companies achieve optimal operations during periods of fast growth.

Chamberlain comes to Radnet from Marcam Corporation Inc., a supplier of enterprise software applications and services for process and discrete manufacturing companies worldwide, where he was the company's chief financial officer.

His career in financial positions in the high-technology field includes a 23-year tenure at Digital Equipment Corporation, where he held many senior financial positions, including vice president and treasurer; vice president, manufacturing and engineering finance, and vice president, marketing finance.

Radnet provides businesses and organizations with products designed to let them to build and deploy applications that take advantage of Internet standards to improve productivity and share vital information. Radnet's WebShare is an applications platform that transform common Web browsers into interactive collaborative tools.

Additional information about Radnet can be found on the Web at http://www.radnet.com.

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HAPPENINGS

VR Pioneer Lanier to Speak Live at NTT New Media Minds Forum

"If we treat computers as conduits between imaginations, rather than as things that are real in their own right, then the new art will be born." Jaron Lanier

The man who coined the term "virtual reality" will launch the NTT New Media Minds Forum, "Intelligence, Technology and ARTificial Society: Who or what are we becoming?" Jaron Lanier will speak on Thursday, September 11, 7:30 pm at the Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens.

Jaron Lanier is a composer, computer scientist, performer and author, but is probably best known for his work in virtual reality. He founded the first VR company, VPL Research, Inc., which produced most of the world's VR equipment for many years. He is the co-inventor of fundamental VR components, such as interface gloves, and was the first to make virtual reality a shared experience with VR networking.

A pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, Lanier has combined technology with his first love, music, and pioneered the use of virtual reality in musical stage performance.

The four-part forum will gather leaders in new media to examine the human side of the digital age. It is presented by the SFSU New Media Institute in association with the SFSU Multimedia Studies program (MSP).

The Forum at Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens is located at 701 Mission St. To purchase tickets, call the Center for the Arts Ticket Office at (415) 978-ARTS (2787). For information and updates, check the SFSU Multimedia Studies program Web site at http://msp.sfsu.edu , call (415) 904-7740 or send mailto:msp@sfsu.edu

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F.Y.I.

About Spectrum

Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review.

Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703.

If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks.

 

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