Dec 102017
 
Tessellation Times #528 - newsletter for AutoDesk 3-D Studio.

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Tessellation Times #528, Weekly Newsletter
covering 3D Topics from the Columbine Pub-
lising, publishers of 3D Artist Magazine.
Issue #28, Wednesday September 06, 1995.


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====================================================
T H E T E S S E L L A T I O N T I M E S #528
Issue #28 of 1995, for Tuesday, September 5th
====================================================
*The Tessellation Times* (*Tess*) is Columbine, Inc.'s weekly electronic
publication usually (but not always) posted overnight Monday as a supplement
to *3D Artist* magazine. The full Web version of this issue starts at:
http://www.3dartist.com/tess/95/txt/28front.htm

E-mail recipient count for this issue: 1,493
Also read in forums, on BBSs, and on Web sites worldwide.
________
CONTENTS

528.00 - Heads Up!
528.00.01 - The Fortnight in 3D
528.00.02 - Shows & Exhibitions
528.01 - VRML Architecture Group Formed - by Rob Glidden
528.02 - Macromedia Acquires Fauve
528.03 - Siggraph '95 Almost Concluded
528.03.01 - Ray Dream Studio
528.03.02 - Lenticular Printer
528.03.03 - 3DS Max Revisited
528.03.04 - Meanderings
528.04 - Readings
528.04.01 - Lotsa New Books
528.04.02 - Infoglutton Quickies
528.04.03 - Game Reading
528.05 - News Wrap
528.06 - Opinions Rendered
528.07 - Follow-Ups

Departments
Masthead - see "Details" below
Calendar - events, galleries, classes & artists call
grab ftp.3dartist.com/3dartist/calendar.txt
Special Offers -
grab ftp.3dartist.com/3dartist/offers.txt
Contacts - see end of file
_______
DETAILS
This file may be passed among individuals and reposted in any online forum
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_not_ recommended. TESS's master files are maintained with corrections on
our Internet sites ftp.3dartist.com and www.3dartist.com, and are the only
TESS files for which we can vouch file integrity. Opinions herein are not
necessarily those of independent sites or forums carrying this file or
pointers to our HTML editions. This file's contents are copyrighted and may
not be reproduced in or with any other print or digital publication without
permission. Converting to HTML is only approved for straight text without
additional markup. Any trademarked names mentioned in this file are the
property of their respective owners. Columbine, Inc. and its publications
are totally independent. No companies or products are endorsed.

Published by and (c)Copyright 1995, all rights reserved:
Columbine, Inc.
P.O. Box 4787, Santa Fe, NM 87502 USA
505/982-3532 (voice); 505/820-6929 (fax)
505/820-6929x3 voice mail
E-mail: [email protected]
_____
Staff
Alex Kiriako, Editor, *Tess*
Rob Glidden, Technical Editor
Sally Beach, Vice Pres., Columbine, Inc.
Bill Allen, Publisher & Pres., Columbine, Inc.

---------

528.00 - Heads Up!

Well, it has been interesting and fun. And it has been a *lot* more work
than I anticipated when we set out to produce a few *Tess* issues in a
fashion more geared toward Web publishing. We've had some nice comments,
thanks, but, starting next issue, we'll go back to what we did for the first
two dozen weeks: produce a straight text *Tess*, then convert that to simple
HTML. The idea of *Tess* is to get news to our readers fast while giving us
more room and time to concentrate on how-to articles for *3D Artist*
magazine. That's also the idea of moving our review process to the Web, but
the *Tess* experiment convinces me that we need to revise what we had been
doing (and almost started posting) so that *3DA Online Reports* will be
simpler to prepare and maintain.
It's easy to see how we could bring you a ton of stuff we already have
inhouse or could assemble in short order if there was nothing else to do.
But seeing isn't doing, and what we want to do will require a ton of time
that we'll have to deliver in ounces and pounds here and there.
I'm happy to say that one project is coming to fruition. *The Santa Fe Web
Walk of Artists' Gallery Pages* is very near inauguration. This is a
selected and annotated list of galleries. Watch for the button "Santa Fe
Walk: Artists' Home Pages" to go active on our home page.
--Bill Allen, Publisher

528.00.01 - The Fortnight in 3D

Sept 11-13, Bellevue, Wash.: Asymetrix Developers Conference. 800/448-6543;
206/637-1504 fax.

Sept. 12-14, San Francisco, Calif.: 8th Multimedia Expo West, Moscone Ctr.
212/226-4141, -4983 fax.

Sept. 17-24, Montreal, Que., Canada: Int'l. Symposium on Electronic Art
(ISEA '95). 514/990-0229, 842-7459 fax; .

Sept. 18, 7pm, Tampa Bay, Fla.: meeting of the 3D Artists and Animators of
Tampa Bay at their new meeting site, the Irwin Technical Center. Contact
Jeff Reisner at or 813/595-7263.

Sept. 18-19, Bryn Mawr, Penn.: Autodesk Mid-Atlantic Expo, Gregg Conference
Center at the American College, 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave. A big AutoCAD show
held by local dealer Synergis Technologies, 215/529-9900 x114, 536-9249 fax.

Sept. 19-21, New York, N.Y.: Video Expo Image World, Jacob K. Javits
Convention Ctr. 800/800-5474; 914/328-9157, -2020 fax.

528.00.02 - Shows & Exhibitions

Nov. 7-11, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Doors of Perception 3: Info-Eco is
asking the question, "How we can use current information technologies to
slow down the wasteful consumption of matter and energy?" It features active
workshops geared toward developing scenarios that will be reported back to
attendees. Seminars and workshops include intriguing titles like Hi-Touch
Telematics, Electronic Songlines, Virtual versus Real Communities, and
Health and Inefficiency. Held by Netherlands Design Institute, Keizersgracht
609, NL-1017 DS Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 31/(0)20-55-16-506, -62-01-031
fax; .

Feb. 21-23, Montecarlo, Monaco: Imagina is a conference for computer
graphics professionals featuring workshops, panels, and debates on topics
like virtual worlds, Internet, special effects, and industrial and business
interests. It also features an international competition called the Prix
Pixel-INA. INA-Imagina, 4 ave. de l'Europe, F-94366 Bry-sur-Marne cedex,
France; 33/1-49-83-26-93, -31-85 fax; .

528.01 - VRML Architecture Group Formed
By Rob Glidden

A semi-official process for managing the VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling
Language) standard seems to be in sight. Last week, Mark Pesce, one of the
original authors of the VRML, announced the existence of the VRML
Architecture Group (VAG), an ongoing group that "is drafting a series of
clarifications and specifications designed to meet the needs of VRML's
users." The VAG is apparently a more formal continuation of an informal
group of VRML leaders [*Tess*#523.01] who met August 21-23 in Half Moon Bay,
Calif..
Of particular note is an apparent acknowledgment by Silicon Graphics of
the legitimacy of the VAG. (SGI's Open Inventor 3D file format is the basis
for the VRML 1.0 specification.) VAG member and SGI employee Rikk Carey
(Director of Engineering for the Digital Media Systems division), is quoted
in the announcement as stating that, "The VRML Architecture Group's mission
is to establish VRML as the world's most reliable, useful, and widely used
open specification for interactive 3D on the Internet and the World Wide
Web, and to chart a course for the future versions of VRML." Furthermore,
according to Carey, "The group established seven criteria against which all
proposals [for extensions and clarifications to VRML] could be graded:
enhancing user experience; performance improvements; scalability;
simplicity; editability; diversity of applications; and extensibility."
The announcement, however, did not specify the formal or organizational
structure of the VAG. Apparently, the group intends to continue at least
some of the Internet community spirit that has fueled interest in VRML.
According to Pesce, "We started with a list of requests drawn up by the
users of VRML, and we'll come back to them with solutions. At that point,
the entire VRML community will work together to develop consensus on these
proposals."
The VAG promises that its proposals for VRML will be made public on
September 15th. In the meantime, notes of the Half Moon Bay meeting are
available at http://vrml.wired.com/VAG.
The members of the VAG (and attendees at the Half Moon Bay meeting) are:
Gavin Bell, Silicon Graphics; Brian Blau, Autodesk; Rikk Carey, Silicon
Graphics; Jan Hardenbergh, Oki Advanced Products; Jon Marbry, Microsoft; Dr.
William Martens, PhD, Headspace; Tom Meyer, Brown University; Mitra, Worlds,
Inc.; Tony Parisi, Intervista Software; and Mark Pesce, co-inventor of VRML.

528.02 - Macromedia Acquires Fauve

Macromedia announced 30 Aug. that, in a stock swap valued around $14
million, it has acquired Fauve Software, Inc. with its paint and image
editing products Fauve Matisse and xRes, along with participation by Fauve's
founding Krueger brothers Fred and Richard at Macromedia's vice-presidential
level. It was stated specifically in the announcement and supplementary
information that no new versions of the software are being announced
presently, but that Macromedia will assume user support and continue the
upgrade path. Also it states that "the xRes technology will be aggressively
developed."
Matisse competes with Fractal Design Painter, which Macromedia currently
includes in its $995 Graphic Design Studio bundle. The annnouncement hedges
about including or substituting Matisse, but describes the GDS bundle and
lists its other constituent programs without mentioning Painter.--B.A.

528.03 - Siggraph '95 Almost Concluded
By Bill Allen, except as noted

Yep, *almost* concluded. For readers on the Web we still have a little photo
gallery yet to run. And there's more to tell you about VRML contacts and
doings--an ongoing story still in its infancy. (Visiting personal gallery
pages, one can see that the VRML bug is catching on with artists whose
sophistication far outstrips what one can do yet in this new *medium*. This
is in contrast to the yawning reaction to VRML we thought we were sensing
among desktop artists, and it should help give a big push that VRML needs to
get real.)

528.03.01 - Ray Dream Studio

The news comes like a jagged lightning bolt. Ray Dream, which has been
around for so long as a 3D still image program for Mac, and more recently
for Windows, is going to get _animation_!
Ray Dream Studio will list at $499 (upgrade $149), and the company says
outright that it expects a street price under $300. So RD Studio will push
the trend that's removing price as a barrier to anyone serious about getting
into 3D animation (assuming the hardware is available).
Another barrier, however, is difficulty in learning 3D tools and how to
get started. Ray Dream has set out to meet that challenge in the RD Designer
4 module with modeling and scene wizards, and by providing 500 render-ready
models and 500 editable texture/shader combinations (including a glow
channel). Experienced users should be pleased with RD Animator's IK, full
object and texture timeline control, behaviors, deformation, constrainable
object linking, and rotoscoping.
It will be interesting to see how an add-on market might develop for a
$300 product, but Ray Dream says every copy of RD Studio, which comes on CD,
will include a full developer's kit. One possibility is VARs and consultants
tailoring RD Studio to specific customers' needs.
RD Studio ships "in the Fall" and will be available for any color Mac with
system 7.x and 8Mb application RAM available (FPU optional), and for Windows
3.1/95/NT on 486 or Pentium with 8-bit or better color and 8Mb RAM. The
program will have 3DMF file support import and export, but, as you might
expect for current cross-platform software, no other QuickDraw 3D features.

528.03.02 - Lenticular Printer

You probably don't have the "approximately $80,000" for "the world's first
3D digital image printer" from Image Technology International (5172-G Brook
Hollow Pkwy., Norcross, GA 30071, 404/416-8848, -8847 fax) but this
refrigerator-sized machine should find its way into service bureaus and thus
help to make lenticular prints and transparencies far more common than they
are today. Each print comes through in minutes, in 4x5" to 8x10" sizes.
Input is from a series of Targas like we described in *3D Artist* #20.
Image Tech announced at Siggraph that it had acquired the Dutch company,
ND3D, which invented the micro-lenticular printer. The list of people
involved in the resulting company includes an amazing amount of experience
in developing photo and graphics stereo imagery. (ND3D itself was cofounded
and partially owned by 3D software publisher ElectroGIG.)

528.03.03 - 3DS Max Revisited

Like many of you, we're still asking questions and trying to understand just
what kind of critter Autodesk's 3D Studio Max [*Tess*#525.01] will be. Here
is some more info.
3DS Max will ship with a renderer presumably much like the one now in
3DSr4, but, whatever it is, it won't be the last word. Max will take plug-in
renderers which should become available from third-party suppliers, and
should finally move 3D Studio into raytracing and radiosity solutions.
Underneath 3DS Max is an architecture called Heidi that was described to
*Tess* as "the daughter of HOOPS." Heidi accelerates 3D graphics without
hardware, but also can be tied into 3D hardware directly or via 3D
application programming interfaces (APIs) such as OpenGL and QuickDraw 3D.
HOOPS is an OpenGL-class API that Autodesk acquired when it bought Ithaca
Software in 1993. (Ithaca is now officially the Graphics Development Group
of Autodesk's Engineering Division.)
Heidi appears to constitute a complete end run by Autodesk around SGI,
Microsoft, Apple, and everyone else for the system-level means to accelerate
3D graphics and to facilitate cooperation among 3D programs. If Autodesk
decides to license the full technology to all comers, it's possible that
someday we'll look back and see the Heidi announcement as more important
than the 3DS Max rollout where it first appeared.
3Dlabs was jolly on the spot announcing that it had been working with
Autodesk on "highly optimized Heidi drivers that directly drive its Glint 3D
processor chip." 3Dlabs' announcement claimed a doubling of speed compared
with running 3DS Max on a Glint board through WinNT's OpenGL layer. The
drivers will ship with Max and should work with "any Glint-based board,"
presumably including Creative Lab's new $350-range 3D Blaster.
Another acquisition by Autodesk around a year ago was inverse kinematics
and skinning technology that will appear in the company's Biped plug-in that
is supposed to ship about the same time as 3DS Max. The programming team is
lead by Michael Girard who, with Anthony Maciejewski, introduced the IK
concept to computer graphics in their 1985 Siggraph paper, "Computational
Modelling for the Computer Animation of Legged Figures." Another team
member, John Chadwick, introduced skeletal deformation in his 1989 Siggraph
paper, "Layered Construction for Deformable Animated Characters." 3D Studio
product manager Bob Bennett tells *Tess* that "that initial research was a
*long* time ago" and that Skinemation and Biped are "based on unpublished
innovative techniques."
"Skinemation" is the code name for a Biped module that can be applied to
any 3DS Max object, not just Biped objects. Pricing has not been announced
for Biped (or for 3DS Max beyond the uprgrade prices of $495 from 3DSr4 and
$995 from earlier releases). However, the Biped news release may be sending
signals when it says that Skinemation is "targeted at very high-end
character animation users and applications."
3DS Max will read 3DS r1 to r4 .3DS files, but will have its own new .MAX
file format.
Things to look forward to: The ability to "create deformation effects
without the need for morph targets." Plug-ins that can run inside the 3DS
Max user interface. Better support for plug-in developers, and software
protection that locks all plug-ins to a user's single 3DS Max dongle.
Support for multiple CPUs through "extensive" multithreading.

[http://www.3dartist.com/tess/95/txt/27max3ds.htm] points to three 3D Studio
Max screen shots supplied by Autodesk

528.03.04 - Meanderings

The Valis Group announced a 1.6 version update for Pixel Putty Solo ($399).
New features include object instancing, a built-in flip book, path
animation, and QuickDraw 3D 3DMF metafile import/export. Extended features
include motion capture, better flex settings control, and improved welding.
Version 1.6 is expected to ship this month. Upgrade pricing from version
1.2 to 1.6 is $200. Pricing from 1.5 to 1.6 is $65.--A.K.

Digimation was showing a 3D Studio metaball IPAS that was literally in
development during the show as two independent programmers, one from Canada
and the other from Russia, combined talents. The resulting $495 metaball and
spline/patch modeler, called Organix, has a preview window, "sticky" mapping
and, of all things in polygonal modeling, refraction mapping.
Animatek World Builder [*Tess*#516.01] attracted a lot of attention in
Digimation's booth. They were selling version 0.9 that basically, they say,
is the final product less shrink-wrapped box, final manual, and a few
program changes. Version 1.0 will get the ability to read DEM data and
support for more video cards. (Our copy came up without a hitch, but you
need a CD drive and, for the full install, almost 300Mb of open hard drive
space.) The price, previously given at $995, is now officially $1,495, but
$995 continues as the introductory offer.

Besides showing its new Digital Fusion [*Tess*#524.02], 4DVision (formerly
Schreiber) was demo'ing their new Sculptor NURBS modeler for 3D Studio r4.
(A version is also expected for 3DS Max, which has splines but not NURBS.)
We don't have price and other details yet, but the beta doc says...
begin quote>>Sculptor objects have no limitations on the 3D geometry they
represent as long as the surface is continuous. They may overhang or
intersect themselves if necessary... Mesh objects may be built from the same
sculptor primitives to have the same vertex topology and therefore be
morphable regardless of the amount of deformation they have undergone.<quote

This was the year, thankfully, that desktop 3D finally got some play in the
Siggraph Electronic Theater (ET). Aberle Films' *Fluffy* got one of the best
receptions during the showing we attended. Created with Animation Master,
this treat not only gives you a different view of canine affections, but
also shows why you don't need a big system to tell a story--assuming that
you have a story to tell and know how to tell it.
Three segments were created in 3D Studio: A four-plus minute piece by
Leslie Baker of Rhythm & Hues, that portrayed "communication, symbols,
emotion, and the goddess in contemporary society." The Sony Pictures
Imageworks segments from *Johnny Mnemonic* deserved their spots even if
SPI's Frank Foster hadn't been an ET co-chair. But that positioning maybe
had something to do with the opening ET retrospective that reportedly was
output to 70mm film directly from 3D Studio. It looked like site-based
entertainment footage produced on a workstation.

Sally's and my thanks to Rob Glidden, who covered the more technical aspects
of Siggraph '95, and to Lou Spivak, who provided logistical support and kept
looking for stories we might have missed. It was the first Siggraph for both
of them. During some very long days, their fresh viewpoints helped us to
remember that all this was supposed to be fun. There were more than 30,000
attendees, which fits the description of Siggraph as a city that comes
together for only six days every year.

And it all happens again next August in New Orleans...

528.04 - Readings

528.04.01 - Lotsa New Books
By Alex Kiriako

>From Adobe Press------
Order from distributor Macmillan Computer Publishing, 201 W. 103rd St.,
Indianapolis, IN 46291; 800/428-5331; 317/581-3500, -3535 fax

Review: *Interactivity by Design: Creating & communicating with new media*,
by Ray Kristof & Amy Satran (ISBN 1-56830-221-5, $40), covers how to design
interactive products from kiosks to training videos to CD-ROM titles. Nicely
presented, this book covers the general design considerations necessary for
getting an interactive project beyond the "wouldn't it be great if..."
stage. While *Interactivity by Design* doesn't attempt to deal with hardware
and software specifics in the fast-changing multimedia world, it
comprehensively covers all the check points for development and production.
It should prove invaluable for the first-time interactive content developer
as well as provide helpful organization and design tips to the experienced
developer.

>From AP Professional------
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101; 619/699-6594

Announced: *Graphics CD-ROM Library* (ISBN 0-12-059756-X, $59.95), is an
electronic compilation of *Graphics Gems* books I to III, *Radiosity and
Realistic Image Synthesis*, *Quick Reference to Computer Graphics Terms*,
and *Virtual Reality: Applications and Explorations*. It runs on Mac,
Windows, and Unix machines, and has keyword searching, indices, and all the
code and images found in the original texts.

Announced: *Graphics Gems V*, edited by Alan W. Paeth (PC ISBN
0-12-543455-3, Mac ISBN 0-12-543457-X, $49.95), features new graphics
techniques from a variety of sources. Contents include the math formulas
needed to perform modeling and transformations. Other topics include curves,
surfaces, raytracing, radiosity, halftoning, and image processing.

>From Coriolis Group Books------
7339 E. Acoma Dr. #7, Scottsdale, AZ 85260; 800/410-0192; 602/483-0192,
-0193 fax; http://www.coriolis.com/coriolis

Review: *Amazing 3-D Games Adventure Set*, by Lary L. Myers (ISBN
1-883577-15-2, $39.99), is an impressive book and CD allowing C programmers
to get started on creating 3D games similar to Doom. It thoroughly covers
design theory, decisions, and techniques necessary for creating contemporary
interactive games. Important fundamentals like working with slices and ray
casting techniques are given detailed discussion.
More than this, it offers the author's PC 3D game development engine
ACK-3D with source code (which runs in either DOS or Windows) for use in
your own games. This game engine is said to have been used in commercial
products making this an extraordinary resource for going "deep" into the
closely guarded secrets of the game world, without spending two years doing
research.
We'd really like to see this type of book made available for the Macintosh
side of things to help create exciting content which can take advantage of
the PowerMac's processing power.

Announced: *Microsoft Network Visual Explorer*, by Luanne O'Loughlin (ISBN
1-883577-66-7, $19.99), covers Q&A on Microsoft Network and lists the most
interesting places to go. It includes info on how to access the Internet
from Microsoft Network as well as detailed instructions on using the vendor
forums, games, special interest groups, etc.

If you're just getting started in Web publishing, Coriolis has several
titles that sound like they would be of help.

>From Peachpit Press------
2414 - 6th St., Berkeley, CA 94710; 800/283-9444; 510/548-4393, -5991 fax;


Announced: *Photos on CD* from Open House (ISBN 1-56609-173-X, $49.95), is a
Mac-only resource CD-ROM with 15,000 thumbnails of high-resolution images
available from a dozen vendors. It's all contained in a Fetch database for
easy viewing and lookup with keywords and information for every image.

Announced: *Director Demystified: Creating interactive multimedia with
Macromedia Director*, by Jason Roberts (ISBN 1-56609-170-5, $39.95), is a
book and CD-ROM covering the Mac version of Director 4.0 for beginners and
intermediate users. It has a series of tutorials geared to get you familiar
with Director 4.0 concepts, and reportedly includes an in-depth Lingo
command lexicon.

528.04.02 - Infoglutton Quickies
By Bill Allen

Announcements from New Riders------
201 W. 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46291; 800/653-6156; 317/581-3500, -3535
fax; http://www.mcp.com/newriders

We're pleased to see more *3D Artist* writers getting into print as book
authors. Heinz Schuller and Jim Lammers are the two latest.
Heinz wrote the new *Kai's Power Tools: Filters & effects* (ISBN
1-56205-480-5, $45). He tells *Tess*...
begin quote>>The book is mostly Photoshop/KPT geared, but has a small
section on the Gradient Designer IPAS for 3D Studio illustrating animated,
layered gradients. It will also include a CD-ROM with tileable &
non-tileable texture maps, preset hub files, final artwork (a lot of it done
in 3D Studio and Vivid with KPT-based materials), Arbitrary Color Maps
(color curve files), and other stuff.< Jim Lammers wrote the new *3D Studio 4 Beginners* (1-56205-419-8, $40)
along with Michael Todd Peterson. It includes a CD-ROM and hands-on tutorials.
A long needed book for both 3D Studio users and developers is Tim
Forcade's *3D Studio IPAS Plug-In Reference* (1-56205-431-7, $55). It
explains and shows in pictures what each of the many IPAS programs can do,
and why, where, and how you would use them. Many of them come in demo
versions on the accompanying CD-ROM.
VRML movement founder Mark Pesce is first out of the gate with a book on
the subject: *VRML Browsing & Building Cyberspace* (ISBN 1-56205-498-8,
$40). Some early examples and applications come on the bundled CD-ROM.

------

Dolice Graphics (163 - 3rd Ave. #321, New York, NY 10003; 212/529-2025,
260-9217 fax) is publishing *Free Computer Media* (ISBN 0935901-02-7, $29),
a 183-page, comb-bound reference to 992 demo programs they say you can get
free for animation, CAD and AutoCAD, paint, animation, architecture, and
more. Also, industry toll-free phone numbers and online connections, and
listings of free magazines, videos, and CDs. (*3D Artist* subscribers can
ask for a discount.)

*Virtual* is "the first Italian monthly magazine about virtual reality and
synthetic images." Contact them at Via Carlo Ravizza 53/A, I-20149 Milano,
Italy; 39/2-498-7826, -2098 fax;

If you are involved in developing third-party products for the CAD market,
you will be interested in the no-holds-barred *Upfront: the Semi-Month in
CAD*, a free E-mail newsletter from XYZ Publishing, Ltd., publisher of the
printed $60 *CAD++ Newsletter* and other publications. Just send the message
"subscribe upfront" to . Issue #8, which just came out,
and previous numbers can be found along with other resources at the WorldCAD
Access Web site at http://nctweb.com/nct/wca.html.

528.04.03 - Game Reading
By Rob Glidden

Want to keep up with 3D games? Check out *Dimension-3*, a new game review
magazine (issue 4 is on the stands) that covers "the next dimension in
electronic gaming." *D-3* is aimed at spotting what's hot for high-end adult
gamers (ages 18-34) with PCs (Pentium 90s preferred), Macs, and 3DOs. And
judging from *D-3*, 3D is definitely what's hot for power gamers.
Some current hot games according to *D-3* are *Need for Speed* from
Electronic Arts/Pioneer Productions (the "new benchmark" for race games);
*Hi-Octane* from Electronic Arts/Bullfrog; and *FX Fighter* from GTE
Entertainment/Argonaut.
For a taste of where power 3D gaming is headed, check *Flight Unlimited*
from Looking Glass ("a 3D world that is truly photo-realistic" but on a P90
"in 1024x768 mode the frame rate was less than desirable"). Anyone remember
the frame rate on Pong?
Check your newsstand or contact Dimension Publishing, Inc., 567 Edna St.,
San Francisco, CA 94112; 908/549-5448.

528.05 - News Wrap

It looks like a dark horse just won the race to produce the first shipping
VRML creation tool, even if VRML output is just an extra capability among
other new features. The new Strata Studio Pro has acceleration and other
benefits from Apple's QuickDraw 3D API, and supports the QuickDraw 3D 3DMF
file format. Our designated reviewer called 1 Sept. to say that version 1.75
had just started shipping.--B.A.

RAD Software reports that it is shipping version 2 of Smacker, a $195 video
and animation compressor for DOS and Windows 3/95/NT. The new version,
according to the announcement, has a good variety of sound capabilities
including sound sync, lossy and lossless compression, multitrack mixing, and
support in DOS for Sound Blaster and in Windows for all Windows sound cards.
Video and animation compression can be controlled on a frame-by-frame
basis, and there is support for WinG, VESA VBE 2 fast linear video
addressing, and full-screen mode for Windows 3 and 95. There are CD-ROM
development tools, file conversion, new scripting commands, and the scriptor
is supposed to be four times faster and playback faster by 30%. Compression
of animations is claimed to be 25% down to 9% of original size, with
playback at 30fps without hardware acceleration.
Upgrade is $95.--B.A.

Creative Labs intends to do for 3D what it did for sound, and details are
starting to be announced for its 3D Blaster acceleration board. It will use
a new 300SX games version of 3Dlabs Glint chip, which "provides real-time,
true-perspective, [and] texture-mapped graphics" and is "designed to provide
arcade-quality interactive 3D performance" with polygonal graphics. The 3D
Blaster board was provided to developers in mid-August and is planned to
ship in volume in time for the holiday shopping season. The race is on to
make sure that game titles that support the board will be ready as well. The
board, which the *Wall Street Journal* says will sell for $349, can work
with a number of 3D application programming interfaces such as OpenGL and
QuickDraw 3D.--B.A.

The American Film Institue (AFI) is offering several introductory animation
seminars for September in Los Angeles.
> 3D Animation Overview introduces animation on the Mac with Infini-D,
Strata StudioPro, and Electric Image, Sept. 14, 7-10pm, tuition $60.
> 3D Tools Sept. 22-24, 10am-5pm ($395), requires basic Mac skills and
explores the fundamentals of how to create animations using Studio Pro.
> 3D Studio Introduction requires familiarity with Windows and the 3D
Animation Overview class listed above. It's a survey of all the capabilities
within 3D Studio which "will leave your head spinning with possibilities."
Tuition is $200 for Sept. 26-27, 10am-5pm.
Contact: Registrar, AFI Professional Training Div., 2021 N. Western Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90027; 800/999-4234; 213/856-7690.

528.06 - Opinions Rendered

*In presenting readers' letters, *Tess* reserves the right to convert text
to our writing standards, to edit for length and focus, and to apply our
flame filter. Anonymous letters usually are not published.*

<>What's the deal about some program that will require 64 megs of RAM? Could
it be 3D Studio? Such a vague comment should probably be left out; it's kind
of like saying, "someone once said that something once happened." Sorry to
be a pain, but Autodesk is not talking, and I'm needing a good upgrade
path.--Anonymous

*An anonymous writer complains about our use of an anonymous source! Though
we all would like to hear otherwise, sorry, the news is as it was, and it is
quite clear.
A highly credible source, who works on one of several coming NT 3D
applications, in April told *Tess* [#509.00.06] of concern that the
potential customer base was still buying 486s. These machines would be
useless for coming production-class desktop PC 3D programs, but that fact
wouldn't become generally known for many months. This source advocated that
professional users either hold off on purchases or spend a little more now
for nothing less than a Pentium 90. 64Mb would be needed for the new apps,
and the machine should have room for 128Mb or more, and also preferably for
multiple CPUs to help leverage such a large investment in RAM.
Since the writer brings it up, let's look at the coming 3D Studio Max. As
we reported in *Tess*#525.01, the stated minimum system will be a "fast 486"
and 32Mb RAM. For perspective, look at 3DSr4's minimums: 20MHz+ 386 with
math coprocessor and 8Mb RAM. How close is that to the system you consider
liveable for your current 3D Studio usage?*--B.A.

528.07 - Follow-Ups

Back in July we reported that the Internet Avalon (now
ftp://avalon.viewpoint.com) model repository had been acquired by Viewpoint.
Recently we heard that people were having a lot of trouble downloading
models, so we asked Viewpoint VP Eliot Jacobsen about the problem and here
is his response:
begin quote>>China Lake had a limit of 75 simultaneous users when they
hosted Avalon... We doubled our access limit to 150 which seemed to be
enough until about a week ago [mid-August]. [We have] decided to double it
again and to make some system level improvements (decreasing the time-out
time) which should help even more.
There is no download limit. People can browse the Avalon site from our Web
page without hitting the actual ftp site. So it is possible to browse
without being counted as one of the 150 [now 300]. But the downloading
process is by definition an ftp function, so if we're over limit, someone
could get [an error] message when requesting a download but not during
browsing.<
In *Tess*#526.03, we told you that Pixar was closing its line of PC and Mac
products. We mentioned (but had not yet seen) Pixar's original posting,
which follows here:
begin quote>>As many of you know Pixar is about to release a feature film,
*Toy Story*. This film is the world's first completely computer animated
film. It was created and produced at Pixar from our original story. *Toy
Story* will be Disney's 1995 Holiday release.
The production of *Toy Story* has brought Pixar a tremendous amount of
valuable experience in rendering and many other areas. To prepare for such a
large project, we have had to make a number of innovations directed at high
end digital productions. During the course of this effort, it has become
clear that the focus of Pixar's rendering tools should be at the high end of
the market. As a result, Pixar will focus it's resources on high-end
rendering tools for Unix and NT platforms.
Pixar's Mac and Windows application products will continue to be available
for sale and will be supported; however, we do not anticipate any new
updates for these products.
We have always valued our Mac and Windows customers. We have learned a lot
from your use and feedback on our products and we appreciate your loyalty.
We hope that you understand the reasons for our new direction.<
________
CONTACTS

Please mention TESS when contacting companies about products reported here!

> 4DVision; 4800 Happy Canyon Rd. #250, Denver, CO 80237; 800/252-1024;
303/759-1024, -0928 fax, -3598 BBS;
> Autodesk, Inc.; 111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael, CA 94903;
http://www.autodesk.com/; vox 415/507-5000; fax 415/491-8311; vox
800/879-4233 or 800/225-6106
> Creative Labs, Inc.; http://www.creaf.com/; 800/998-5227; fax back
408/428-2389
> Digimation; 1000 Riverbend Blvd. #L, Saint Rose, LA 70087; 800/854-4496;
504/468-7898, -5494 fax;
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> RAD Software; 307 W. 200 S. #1003, Salt Lake City, UT 84101; 801/322-4300,
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> Strata, Inc.; 2 W. St. George Blvd., Ancestor Sq. #2100, St. George, UT
84770; http://www.strata3d.com/; vox 801/628-5218, fax 801/628-9756
> Valis Group; P.O. Box 831, Tiburon, CA 94920; 415/435-5404, -9862 fax;

> Viewpoint DataLabs International; 625 S. State St., Orem, UT 84058;
http://www.viewpoint.com/; vox 801/229-3000, fax 801/229-3300; vox 800/328-2738
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[end] Revision: 5 Sep 95




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