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Wednesday - August 15, 2001
- Shogun: Total War Warlord Edition Ships
- Softimage 3D 4.0 Announced
- eStudio Gets The Kellys
- News Link of the Day - Final Fantasy Special Effects Rate an Oscar

Shogun: Total War Warlord Edition Ships
(by EA Games has shipped an expansion to last year's award winning strategy game, Shogun: Total War. The expansion, called Shogun: Total War Warlord Edition features a new enemy who threatens to destroy the country, as well as offers an array of new and improved features while reintroducing players to the original Shogun: Total War. In addition, there are many new animated segments, that added to the interest of the original.

Features include:

-- Ten new battlefield units.
-- New region upgrades, including new buildings such as the Drill Dojo, to improve holdings.
-- Multi-player game types -- up to six players via LAN or the Internet in new multiplayer games.
-- New strategy map scenarios for quick tactical battles.
-- Multiple Battle Modes -- two new additions whose goal is to defeat the enemy or capture tactical points such as castles.
-- Map and Scenario Editors -- Define the strategy map starting positions and set up individual campaigns for both single and multi-player games.
-- Unit Training -- Improve solider skills and equipment.
-- Crisp Full Motion Video animation and high resolution still art.

For more information or to order, click here.

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Softimage 4.0 Announced
(by Softimage Co. has announced that a new version of Softimage, version 4.0, will begin shipping this fall. New features and enhancements include additions and improvements such as multiple UV texturing vertex color shading, interactive editing of shading normals, and additions to the Saaphire SDK. Softimage 3D, version 4.0, will also support the Linux platform.

Key new features and enhancements to Softimage 3D, version 4.0, include:

--Multiple UV Texturing - enables designers to assign multiple UV mapped textures on polygon mesh domains, using a UV domain of their choice.

--Dopesheet Control for Shader and Custom Fcurve - provides increased control over animation function curves for plug-ins and mental ray(R) shaders.

--Interactive Normal Editing - allows designers to interactively edit selected shading normals on polygon mesh models. The shade view provides instant feedback on the shading modifications.

--Enhanced Vertex Color Shading - provides more flexibility for controlling use of vertex colors, especially for developers of next-generation console games.

--Polygon Hide / Unhide - adds the ability to hide and unhide selected polygons.

--All the new features in v.4.0 are exposed programmatically via the Saaphire plug-in SDK.

Until 4.0 is officially released, Softimage is offering version 3.9.2, at promotional pricing of $1,995. When version 4.0 ships, it will cost close to $4,000.

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eStudio Gets "The Kellys"
(by You've heard of The Simpsons, now here comes The Kellys, an upcoming animated series based on professional stock car auto racing. Nancy Cartwright's SportsBlast, Inc. company announced that it has contracted eStudio as a partner to bring the animated series to life.

eStudio will provide all the visual elements for "The Kellys," including character design, storyboards and animation.

"The technical wizardry of this series is going to significantly raise the bar on web animation, " says eStudio Executive Producer and Co-Founder Ken Martin. "We intend to pull out all the stops to deliver on SportsBlast's phenomenal development concept."

Note: Nancy Cartwright is known as the voice of Bart Simpson on The Simpsons.

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News Link of the Day - Final Fantasy Special Effects Rate an Oscar

According to The Star Bulletin (originally published July 11):

"They can mail the Oscar to the Square One people now for Final Fantasy. But it will be limited to 'best special effects,' and possibly 'best song,' a category that should be dropped since songs are often included just to win an Oscar. The special effects at Monday's pre-premiere showing at the Waikiki Theatres -- which began a record 45 minutes late, long even by Hawaiian time, due to traffic and logistics -- wowed everyone. You'll have nightmares about the phantoms, the non-humanistic bad guys lurking about everywhere..."

Click here for the full story.

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