Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 28 Sep 98

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send duberman@dnai.com
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Spectrum will be on vacation this coming week, so there will be no October 5 edition. We'll see you again on October 12.

Today's Headlines (details below)

WEBMEISTER --Adobe Ships PageMill 3.0 for Mac --EMULive Introduces Streaming Media Tools --iHTML Merchant 2.0 Software Announced DEVELOPER'S TOOLBOX --BIAS Resuscitates Deck --Aureal Announces A3D Pro Plug-In for Mastering 3D-Enhanced Audio --Sun Issues Java 3D Programming Tool Beta --Superscape Launches ActiveX 3D Control IN THE INFOGROOVE --White Pine Launches Meeting Point 3.5 GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING --VillageTronic announces MacMagic, $99 3Dfx Voodoo Card --ActionTec Ships Digital Photo Card Reader/Writer WEBSIGHTINGS --Environmental Site Features Redesign CONSUMER CHANNEL --Diamond Offers $50 3D Audio Accelerator THE DIALS & LEVERS OF POWER --Mindbridge Tech Forum Homepage Answers Web Pro Questions --O'Reilly Offers Java Swing Book --WanderingMan Debuts Online Java Resource Center --13 Million in U.S. Use Web/Watch TV Simultaneously DEALS --SouthPeak, Activision Announce Distribution Alliance GAMES PEOPLE PLAY --Activision Ships Tenchu: Stealth Assassins --Looking Glass Reveals First Details About System Shock 2 --Dynamix to Publish NASCAR Pinball --Blizzard Update --Ubi Soft Announces Monaco Grand Prix 2 --Nascar Racing 1999 to Ship Next Month DIGERATI ILLUMINATI --3Dlabs Joins OpenGL Architecture Review Board F.Y.I. --About Spectrum --------------------------------------------------


Adobe Ships PageMill 3.0 for Mac Just out from Adobe is PageMill 3.0 for Macintosh. New features include: * drag and drop support for multimedia and Java * improved support for HTML editing, including more control over tables and source code editing * integrated site management tools enable efficient site maintenance * font face support allows specifying fonts for Web page text * user interface enhancements streamline the work environment and save screen space * enhanced frame features enable the creation of borderless frames For more info, check out http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/pagemill/main.html. -------------------------------------------------- EMULive Introduces Streaming Media Tools Montreal-based EMULive Imaging Corporation announces the immediate availability of their latest suite of products. The 32-bit Windows programs can be used alone or with popular Internet browser software. Together, the products are designed to create, manage, broadcast and play audio, video and audiovisual content over the Internet or corporate intranets at bit rates from 24Kbps up to 2.2Mbps. The complete suite of EMULive products includes the following components: Create: EMULive Audio Producer - Single Source Audio Only Encoder EMULive Video Producer - Single Source Video Only Encoder EMULive MultiVideo Producer - Multiple Source Video Only Encoder EMULive MultiMedia Producer - Integrated Audio and Video Encoder Manage: EMULive JFx Stream Editor - EMULive File Format Converter EMULive Directory Engine - Manager for EMULive Servers Broadcast: EMULive Server - Audiovisual Broadcast/Collaboration Server EMULive Commerce Edition Server - Secure Audiovisual Broadcast/Collaboration Server Play: EMULive Active Theatre - Standalone Receiver for Audio/Video Broadcasts EMULive Theatre ActiveX - Browser-based Receiver for Audio/Video Broadcasts Features include: * maintains the original frequency response of the samples * file sizes are typically only 5-10% as large as the industry standard Microsoft AVI file format * supports up to 20 live inputs from a single server and allows up to 1000 servers to be linked together under a single interface * ScreenScrape technology lets any portion of a PC screen to be used as a live video source for use in applications like distance learning and workgroup collaboration. * collaboration tools include group and private messaging, group browsing and file transfer capabilities Some of the products in the suite, such as the players and the JFx Stream Editor, are free. Other products are priced from $299 USD to $10,000 USD. Every product is available for a 30-day free trial and can be downloaded from http://www.emulive.com. A demo CD is also available. -------------------------------------------------- iHTML Merchant 2.0 Software Announced Scheduled to ship October 7 from Inline Internet Systems is iHTML Merchant 2.0 for developing Web commerce sites. Store administration is done through a browser; no plug-ins are required. The software is built with the iHTML Web programming language. All source code is provided for customization. For the novice user, the store can be managed and modified via a Web browser. iHTML and the iHTML Merchant run on Windows 95/98/NT, Linux, BSD, FreeBSD and Solaris platforms with O'Reilly, Netscape, Apache and Microsoft Web servers. New version 2.0 features include * banner ad management and tracking * multiple sales reports * customer management * new site management tools * handling of product variations * multiple templates * new shipping calculations * Electronic Software Distribution support * improved searching * faster ordering process. The iHTML Merchant v2.0 supports CyberCash, IC Verify, PC Authorize, Authorize Net, Internet Secure, Redi-Check and 4 other transaction payment systems. The iHTML Merchant also includes, shipping, tax, shopping basket, product catalog and searching capabilities. More information is available at http://www.ihtmlmerchant.com. A test store is online at http://merchant2.inline.net --------------------------------------------------


BIAS Resuscitates Deck In December, 1995, Macromedia acquired Deck II from software developer OSC. The program was widely credited by Mac audio aficionados as the best sound editing program on any platform. Unfortunately, Macromedia didn't grow the program significantly, and, according to a story in SF Weekly earlier this year, eventually decided to kill it, much to the chagrin of said enthusiasts. Now there is much rejoicing, as Berkley Integrated Audio Software (BIAS) has acquired the Deck software from Macromedia. Deck 2.6 will be re-released as BIAS Deck on October 31, and BIAS has commenced active development on Deck 3.0 (ship date TBA), with support for the ASIO industry standard for audio hardware and interface options, plus support for VST plug-ins. You can find more at http://www.bias-inc.com. -------------------------------------------------- Aureal Announces A3D Pro Plug-In for Mastering 3D-Enhanced Audio Newly available from Aureal Semiconductor Inc. is new A3D Pro technology for Digidesign Pro Tools audio workstation. A3D, initially developed for NASA, is designed to let users hear three-dimensional audio from two speakers or headphones. The $399 A3D Pro is a new version of Aureal's Protron Plug-in for Pro Tools, used in Hollywood films such as Twister and Cable Guy. From within the A3D Pro window, users can 'grab' a sound source and place it at any location in environments with a variety of dimensions and reflection characteristics. Aureal Wavetracing technology provides reflective surfaces, from stucco walls to concrete floors to studio environments. New capabilities: * optimized DSP (Digital Signal Processor) code enables real-time performance on ProTools TDM hardware * PCI and NuBus Macintosh support * new Crosstalk Canceller Plug-In assures proper imaging of 3D effects through speakers as well as headphones * support for ProTools 4.X automation features enables real-time motion of audio sources through soundfields Information is available at http://www.aureal.com. -------------------------------------------------- Sun Issues Java 3D Programming Tool Beta When Sun Microsystems first announced its Java 3D application programming interface (API), VRML had a full head of steam and was widely believed to be the holy grail of real-time 3D application creation. Now that that little bubble has been punctured, Sun's jumping right back onto the bandwagon with the new beta version of Java 3D for free download and evaluation to anyone interested in exploring the new technology. The Java 3D API is a network-centric, scene graph-based API designed to let Java programmers add 3D content to their applets and applications. Sun is also positioning it as useful to 3D developers who want to create applications with Java. Examples of existing applications include: * DIVISION Inc. used Java 3D to provide viewing tools for large CAD visualization. * Facet Decision Systems used Java 3D for its Cause&Effect business intelligence software, which provides complex decision support to analysts in a range of markets such as forestry, oil and gas, finance and environmental modeling. * Fakespace, Inc. created a virtual environment demonstration running on its Immersive WorkBench Virtual Model Display. The demo is an interactive visualization that enables the user to manipulate virtual models as if they are real objects on a tabletop or workbench. The Java 3D API interacts with Fakespace's VLIB software library to enable user interaction with stereoscopic visualizations on any platform. * Out of the Blue Design's (OBD) application teaches the English alphabet with humor and drama. Users view a dancing 3D vowel that flips and flops in virtual space while a soundtrack makes various vowel sounds, which support the learning message. Download the beta from http://sun.com/desktop/java3D. -------------------------------------------------- Superscape Launches ActiveX 3D Control Superscape announces the launch of 3D Control. The COM-based product, priced on a run-time license basis, is targeted towards interactive 3D developers who wish to improve integration with their other developments tools, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic, Java VM and Visual C++, Inprise Delphi and Macromedia's Director and Authorware products. For more information, visit the Superscape Web site http://www.superscape.com. For images of 3D control, visit http://imagebank.superscape.com. --------------------------------------------------


White Pine Launches Meeting Point 3.5 White Pine Software announces the availability of MeetingPoint Version 3.5, the next generation of its software-based, H.323 group conferencing server. MeetingPoint enables multipoint group conferences and full interoperability between users of standard H.323 clients including Microsoft NetMeeting, Intel ProShare, PictureTel LiveLAN, White Pine CU-SeeMe, and others. Features new to version 3.5 include audio mixing, video switching, improved interoperability, and improved conference administration capabilities in scheduling, bandwidth management, and security. MeetingPoint 3.5 is immediately available on Windows NT. The UNIX version will be available in November. White Pine Software can be found on the Web at http://www.wpine.com. --------------------------------------------------


VillageTronic announces MacMagic, $99 3Dfx Voodoo Card 3Dfx's Voodoo Graphics technology reaches the Macintosh platform as Germany-based VillageTronic announces its new MacMagic gaming board. When asked, "Why not a Voodoo2 card?", a spokesperson replied, "Because you cannot produce a Mac Voodoo2 card that will retail for $99. Besides, Voodoo2 is only needed for high-end games in high resolution (800x600 and beyond). On the Mac there are almost no such games." Features include: • Voodoo Graphics technology for 3D game play • 8 MB RAM allowing resolutions up to 960x720 pixels • tweakable for optimized performance • supports Glide and Rave game titles (e.g., Quake, Myth, MythII, Shadow Warrior, Duke Nukem 3D, Tomb Raider) • connects without adding adapters • standard Mac and a VGA monitor connectors, optional video out module More information is available at: http://www.villagetronic.com -------------------------------------------------- ActionTec Ships Digital Photo Card Reader/Writer ActionTec Electronics' new CameraConnect Pro connects to the parallel port of a desktop computer and reads image cards from digital cameras, reportedly transferring data up to 50 times faster than through conventional serial port connections. The reader is compatible with ATA Flash PC Cards and CompactFlash Cards, and can read and write 16 MB SmartMedia Cards. ActionTec can be reached via the Internet at http://www.actiontec.com, or by phone at (408) 752-7700 or fax (408)541-9003. --------------------------------------------------


Environmental Site Features Redesign Environmental newspaper The Earth Times has launched its redesigned Web site. Published by the not-for-profit Earth Times Foundation, the newspaper offers global news, features and opinion in its daily Web edition. The print edition of the seven-year-old newspaper is published twice a month. The Earth Times focuses on the human environment and interrelated topics such as politics, society, business, media, health, population, education, human rights, science, information technology, arts and culture. Regular columnists include Tom Wicker, Flora Lewis, John Corry and Paul Hofmann, all formerly of The New York Times. Visit http://www.earthtimes.org. --------------------------------------------------


Lucas Publishes Star Wars Insider's Guide If you've always had a hankerin' to find out what goes on behind the scenes at LucasFilm, get a load of LucasArts' new CD-ROM title Star Wars: Behind the Magic. The new two-disc set is an encyclopedic compendium of related lore, with scene-by-scene guides, plus exhaustive info on characters, locations, technology (vehicles, weapons and devices) and events. Resources include over 2,000 photos and production images, 40 minutes of video, 20 minutes of audio including bits from George himself, and 30 ship schematics. There's also a sneak peek at the new prequel, currently being filmed, and info on Star Wars toys and other tschotchkes for collectors. There's even a trivia quiz with hundreds of questions. Get blasted at http://www.lucasarts.com. -------------------------------------------------- Diamond Offers $50 3D Audio Accelerator Now shipping is Diamond Multimedia's new Sonic Impact S90 audio accelerator, based on Aureal Semiconductor's Vortex/A3D 3D audio technology. Features include 64-voice wavetable synthesis and real-mode DOS support, at ERP $49.95. Diamond's Web site address is http://www.diamondmm.com. --------------------------------------------------


Mindbridge Tech Forum Homepage Answers Web Pro Questions Mindbridge.com Inc. has devoted a portion of its Web site to Web professionals for posting technical questions so that others can help them with their development questions and problems. To post a Web development question, go to the TechForum section of Mindbridge's Web Site at http://java.oreilly.com/news/swing_0998.html -------------------------------------------------- WanderingMan Debuts Online Java Resource Center Atlanta-based WanderingMan Consulting announces a new Internet-based Java resource center. The WanderingMan Java site focuses on original articles, code, product reviews, editorials, book reviews, and tutorials for Java and Internet developers Features include a monthly Macintosh/Java guide, a CORBA corner, Java certification tips and tricks, a Linux/Java guide, monthly product and book reviews, code samples, and the largest set of categorized Java links and tools on the Web. Wake up and smell the coffee at http://www.wandering-man.com. -------------------------------------------------- 13 Million in U.S. Use Web, Watch TV Simultaneously Eight million adults in the U.S. use the Internet and watch TV simultaneously at least once a week. So do another five million, but with less frequency. For companies exploring ways to advertise and sell products via the Internet, this emerging group of "Tele-Webbers" offers a unique opportunity to study the future, according to a newly published report from INTECO Corporation. "The characteristics of this group should be of particular interest to advertisers and content suppliers looking for synergy between the two media," said INTECO Analyst Mark Snowden, author of the report, which was based on 2,500 detailed interviews conducted in May. Not unexpectedly, the eight million who simultaneously surf the Web and view TV at least once a week are keenly interested in visual presentation, are highly receptive to advertising and view the Internet as a form of entertainment. What is unexpected, Snowden noted, is the extent to which this group uses electronic commerce. At this early point in the development of Web/TV convergence, the demographic details known about Tele-Webbers do not distinguish them significantly from the general Internet population. However, INTECO said recent research has turned up several distinct attitudinal and behavioral characteristics, including: * Interest in the Internet: The most-frequently cited barriers to increased use of the Internet ("rather do other things," "lack the time," or "difficulty in finding information") are much less of a problem to this group than to the average Internet user. In this regard, Tele-Webbers provide some valuable leading-edge indicators since over time -- as communication speeds increase, searching becomes easier and more Americans become accustomed to using the Internet -- these barriers will be reduced for all Internet users. * Interest in visual presentation: Tele-Webbers enjoy making home videos and also value the visual content of Web pages more highly than the average home Internet user. * Young males prominent: Young males aged 18 to 34 are strongly represented, accounting for 28 percent of Tele-Webbers, compared to 18 percent of all adults who use the Internet at home. * Advertising tolerance and receptivity: Forty percent of Tele-Webbers click on a Web ad at least once a week -- almost four times the level of all other home Internet users. They are also more likely to visit a Web site advertised on TV, and show a higher degree of tolerance for advertising than average. * E-Commerce usage: The level of electronic commerce use by Tele-Webbers of particular interest, Snowden said. Apart from familiarity with the Internet, there is little to indicate that this group should have any greater interest in electronic commerce than the average Internet user. However, between January and March of 1998, Tele-Webbers made 25 percent more purchases than the average for all Internet users and spent 50 percent more. Find INTECO online at http://www.inteco.com. --------------------------------------------------


SouthPeak, Activision Announce Distribution Alliance Activision, Inc. continues to chase EA for the title of #1 game software company as it enters into an exclusive two-year agreement with SouthPeak Interactive whereby Activision will distribute all of SouthPeak's upcoming PC and console products worldwide, excluding the United States and Canada. SouthPeak will continue to publish, sell and distribute its products in North America. The agreement allows Activision to begin distributing SouthPeak's software in the fourth quarter of calendar 1998. Titles slated for release this holiday season include the Video Reality adventure game Dark Side of the Moon and several Warner Bros.-themed products - Animated Jigsaws and Crazy Paint children's entertainment titles, Pinky & The Brain World Conquest, and a Looney Tunes Daily Desktop calendar utility. Activision can be found at http://www.activision.com, and SouthPeak Interactive at http://www.southpeak.com. --------------------------------------------------


Activision Ships Tenchu: Stealth Assassins PlayStation owners will learn the way of the ninja with Activision's new stealth action game, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. Set in the world of feudal Japan, the game sets players in the role of a ninja warrior seeking to serve justice against an evil overlord. >From a third-person perspective, players explore interactive environments in which they must grapple up walls, climb trees, run along rooftops and swim across rivers. The game's scoring system rewards players for stealth and cunning, as well as fighting skills. Players gain access to an arsenal of 20 weapons, devices and magic spells, and perform ninja techniques such as long-distance attacks. The quest takes gamers through 10 missions spanning feudal Japan from forests and dungeons to towns. Motion-capture animations of Sho Kosugi and a team of professional ninjas replicate human movements as players creep, soft-step, jump and wall-climb on their way to their objectives. Find Activision online at http://www.activision.com. -------------------------------------------------- Looking Glass Reveals First Details About System Shock 2 In 1994, during the heyday of DOOM, a first-person 3D science fiction role-playing game with several new twists came along. While System Shock wasn't a commercial success, the critics loved it (PC Games mag recently voted it the sixth best game of all time). Along with the Ultima Underworld series, System Shock was largely responsible for putting developer Looking Glass Studios on the gaming map. Last week, Looking Glass announced preliminary details about System Shock 2, the forthcoming sequel. Co-developed by Looking Glass Studios and Irrational Games, a development studio comprised of former Looking Glass Studios employees and members of the original System Shock development team, System Shock 2 is being co-published by Looking Glass and Electronic Arts. System Shock 2 utilizes an enhanced version of Looking Glass Studios' proprietary Dark Engine, which is first being used in the forthcoming Eidos title Thief: The Dark Project, to create an immersive role-playing world rendered in 16-bit color with colored and dynamic lighting models. The game will also contain role-playing features including character generation and growth, an elegant inventory system, a science fiction world to explore and a multiplayer mode. More information about Looking Glass and Irrational Games can found at http://www.lglass.com and http://www.irrational-games.com. -------------------------------------------------- Dynamix to Publish NASCAR Pinball If you can't get enough of racing and pinball, this game's for you. Coming this November from Dynamix is 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball, the result of a licensing agreement with the racing association. The title will include four NASCAR drivers: Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte. The game will offer 3D animations, ramps, drop-targets, bumpers, multi-ball play, notable double-wide 3D rendered tables, bonus options, 3D target indicator system to guide shots and the industry's best pinball physics engine. Four different racetracks are represented, each offering varied challenges. -------------------------------------------------- Blizzard Update The latest from Cendant-owned Blizzard, which had four titles on PC Data's top 20 best-selling PC games list in August: * This holiday season Blizzard will offer Warcraft and StarCraft action figures. The figures will include Warcraft's Grunt and Footman and StarCraft's Protoss Zealot, Terran Marine and Zerg Hydralisk. The figures will stand about 6 1/2 inches tall and include multiple articulations. * StarCraft: Brood War is on schedule to release this holiday season. * Diablo II will include 3Dfx-enhanced features, which will improve the game's frame rate, as well as the general quality of lighting and other visual effects. * Warcraft II Platinum has been pushed back into next year. This Windows 95 update to Warcraft II will be available the first half of the year and will include free Battle.net support, two all-new scenarios for the Orcs and Humans and new cinematics. The game will retail for about $35 with a rebate to current Warcraft II owners. * The release of the Macintosh version of StarCraft is slated for release before the holidays. A Macintosh version of StarCraft: Brood War will be available early next year. Come in out of the cold at http://www.blizzard.com/. -------------------------------------------------- Ubi Soft Announces Monaco Grand Prix 2 Coming next year for PC CD-ROM, PlayStation and Nintendo 64 (PC first, in February) is Ubi Soft Entertainment's Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 sequel with new game modes, 3D effects and increased customization. To simulate a full season, drivers will take on 17 tracks, 11 teams and 22 opponents, and can control every aspect of the race, from preparing a pit stop strategy to adjusting their car during a race. In addition, new regulations have been added so that players feel the pressure of each Grand Prix heat, including blue, yellow and black flags, the '107 Percent Rule' for qualifying and a choice between brands of tires. Other features include force feedback, 3D sound effects, and light effects, smoke and real-time weather. Players can race in real time over the Internet using Ubi Soft's free Game Service at http://www.ubisoft.com. A demo is available at http://www.monacoracing.com, or go direct to the download at ftp://ftp.ubisoft.com/pub/Sound/mgp/EURO.ZIP. Also, due out in November from Ubi Soft for all three platforms is S.C.A.R.S, a racing combat game developed by UK development studio Vivid Image. Features include nine tracks with surprises such as an underwater world. -------------------------------------------------- Nascar Racing 1999 to Ship Next Month Sierra Sports plans to ship NASCAR Racing - 1999 Edition in October. Developed by the Papyrus team, the title features NASCAR's top three racing series, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, a racing simulation first. Of the included 34 tracks, 12 have been unavailable in previous racing simulations. These include Las Vegas, Homestead, and Heartland Park Topeka. In addition, 3Dfx and Rendition 3D accelerators are supported. Get souped up at http://www.sierrasports.com. --------------------------------------------------


3Dlabs Joins OpenGL Architecture Review Board The OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) has elected 3Dlabs to become a new voting member. Members govern the ongoing development and evolution of OpenGL as an open, platform-independent standard of professional-quality 3D graphics. The 3Dlabs PERMEDIA 2 processor is incorporated in some entry-level Windows NT workstations to provide 2D and OpenGL 3D acceleration. The GLINT Gamma processor is said to be the industry's first commodity, single-chip geometry and lighting processor that encapsulates the entire OpenGL 1.1 pipeline in silicon. 3Dlabs has also developed PowerThreads, a multi-threaded OpenGL driver that currently ships on the 3Dlabs Oxygen cards. Platforms supporting OpenGL include AIXTM, BeOS, HP/UX, IRIX, LINUX, Mac OS, OS/2, Microsoft Windows 9X and Windows NT, Solaris and other operating systems. More information on OpenGL 1.2 and its supporters will be made available on the OpenGL Website at http://www.opengl.org. For more information on 3Dlabs, visit http://www.3dlabs.com. --------------------------------------------------


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. -------------------------------------------------- Please send address changes (with old and new addresses), subscribe and unsubscribe requests etc. to the above address. If you use the Reply function, please do _not_ echo an entire issue of Spectrum with your message. -------------------------------------------------- Publisher's note: We are now accepting limited advertising. If you'd like to offer your company's products or services to Spectrum's elite audience of Internet and multimedia professionals, send an email query to duberman@dnai.com, or telephone 510-549-2894 during West Coast business hours. - David Duberman -------------------------------------------------- ©Copyright 1998 Motion Blur Media. All rights reserved. No reproduction in any for-profit or revenue-generating venue in any form without written permission from the publisher.