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3D DIRECT • April 24, 2000

The Scarlet Pixel

by Matthew Hoover and Abby Albrecht

A Pulse in Your Pocket

Pulse Entertainment (www.pulse3D.com) announced it will push streaming, interactive content to Windows powered Microsoft Pocket PC devices (www.microsoft.com). Industry leaders including Warner Brothers (www.warnerbrothers.com), MTV (www.mtv.com), and NBC (www.nbc.com) will stream the data to devices manufactured by Casio (www.casio.com), Compaq (www.compaq.com), and Hewlett Packard (www.hp.com). Pulse Entertainment's authoring technology will be optimized with new features and templates to format streaming content for Pocket PC devices equipped with Pocket Internet Explorer. Pocket PCs are expected to be available in the first half of this year. An interactive-product presentation using the Pulse rich-media platform is available at Microsoft's web site.

Wildcat on Solaris

Intense3D (www.intense3d.com) and Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com) announced that Intense3D's Wildcat graphics technology—which powers its industry-leading Wildcat 4110 and dual-pipe 4210 graphics cards—has been optimized to drive the new Sun Expert3D graphics in the Solaris OS. With drivers developed by Sun, Expert3D is designed to deliver hardware-based texture mapping on mutiprocessor Sun workstations, plus support high-res displays, including HDTV. This is the Wildcat's first foray into the UNIX world, where large data sets can be visualized in 3D. Visualization is used in geology, oil and mineral exploration, medical, GIS, MCAD, and content-creation fields.

Electronic Arts Goes Vocal

LIPSinc. (www.lipsinc.com) announced that Electronic Arts (www.ea.com) has agreed to license its technology for use in an upcoming online, interactive entertainment product. Using LIPSinc's facial animation and lip synchronization technology, EA's developers will be able to create more realistic game characters that can talk to players or provide player-to-player communication via character interaction. The technology also enables visual chat and messaging so game players can interact with each other.

Moving On

Moving Picture Co. (www.movingpicturecompany.com) has a new head of its 3D Animation Studio in the form of Sean Schur, former Industrial Light & Magic (www.ilm.com) technical director and CG supervisor. His responsibilities include creative and technical direction of the department, supervision of feature film and commercial special effects, and day-to-day creative management. Schur's credits include Mission to Mars (2000), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace (1999), and Speed 2 (1997).

Less Chipmakers, More Internet Appliances

The CG world lost another chipmaker, albeit not a big player in the 3D world. NeoMagic (www.neomagic.com), known for its graphics chips for laptop computers, announced its restructuring to focus on manufacturing processors for Internet appliances and wireless communications devices. About one-third of its employees will be let go, NeoMagic said.

S3 (www.s3.com), a bigger force in the 3D arena, also announced a restructuring last week. It has sold its PC graphics division to a S3/Via Technologies joint venture for more than $300 million. The new joint venture will continue to market chips to OEM vendors. S3 itself will be rallying 'round—guess what?—Internet appliances. As demand slows for PCs and rises for new communications devices, the market for PC chips is diminishing and that for non-PC chips is growing. Analyst Jon Peddie (www.jpa.com) estimates there are 10 to 15 companies developing graphics chips today—compared to almost 70 five years ago—and he predicts that roster to keep shrinking until we have just a few major suppliers, a few second-tier suppliers, and "some uncountable number of ne'er-do-wells."

Matthew Hoover is the news editor for 3D magazine and 3Dgate.com. Send news about technologies, products, and projects to [email protected].

Abby Albrecht is the web editor for 3Dgate.com. If you couldn't tell from the titles she chose this week, she'd like to see The Scarlet Pimpernel again. (Rrrrrrrrr!) She can be reached at [email protected].