Issue No. 1.0 July 7th 1997


Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Index

If you're reading this, it's a sure bet that you are a digital mechanic. One of the digerati whose creative work has been changed by the computer and you love it. You're almost certainly working towards the multimedia future in film, video, sound, CD-ROM or the Web, if not all of them at once. Convergence is just another word that your spell checker slides smartly over as you prepare your latest business proposal or funding submission.

At Digital Mechanics we believe in that future too, and have turned our hunger for what's new and significant into this newsletter. While it's not our day job, we feel it is important both for ourselves and the local Australian industry, that there is a source of up to the minute multimedia information. So we spend far more time doing this than we should (don't tell me you don't do the same. I saw that last demo reel!). If you like the newsletter's concept and how we handle it, check in often and tell your fellow mechanics about it. If you have suggestions as to how we can improve it, or a press release and news items to share,
please tell us. If you'd like to link to us or include us in your site content, just ask.

Fred Harden & Doug Bailey

New(s):

~ Goodbye, Hello. Just as the announcement hit that Internet Australasia magazine was 'no-more' and was being sold to Next (who publish internet.au), a press release came from APN Computing Group P/L announcing that Alan Power is starting a magazine called Internet Magazine Australia. That should confuse the punters searching on the news stand. ~ The other confusion will come with the first issue of Multi-Media & Digital Video from VideoCamera Publications up against Australian Multimedia & Desktop Video. It makes John Teerds choice of the title Moz for his digital mag look visionary (while we reckon that WIRED still wins in the computer mag name stakes).

~ Ad News Ad. The fullpage AltaVista ad in the 4 July issue of Ad News didn't get any payoff in editorial space in the article by Jason Walker in that issue. Although the sub-head promised something about 'search engines are powerful ad vehicles', tacked onto the end of the story about Web ad sales and 'Push', was a reference to AAA Matilda as " one of the few search engines actually based in Australia" . That must have stung a bit at AltaVista, busily indexing Australian sites at Yellow Pages. Maybe we'll see a make-good mention next issue. (Matilda is a good source for Australian only sites but it has still the most amateurish looking site design)

~ IdN Competition deadline extended. If you thought you'd missed out on a chance to grab some of the $200,000 in prizes in the IdN magazine Design Awards '97 ,you've now got until 1st of August to enter your digital artwork. Details are on the web site at www.idnworld.com.

~ Icon. The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday liftout computer magazine has dropped fully formed into a willing market of advertisers. Ad response is very good and Tony Sarno's formula of lots of product mixed with Internet info seems right on target. The web site is an amazing adjunct to the magazine and we've moved the bookmark to the top of our list. Drop in at www.smh.com.au/icon with your plug-ins ready. There's fun (even if a little awkward in performance) video clips from the featured journos, and all it's waiting for is broadband. If you don't get the SMH on a Saturday, browse the web site for a taste test now.

If you've missed the 1997 Clio Awards screenings around the country, you can catch up with at least the results online. Along with the usual press and display ad awards, there are categories for Film and Computer animation, and Websites. It's all at www.clioawards.com, and has been updated over the last week or two of June (albeit in a pretty boring form. Where are the frames from the TVCs?). You can search for work by production company, agency or credited creative principals and the site promises to add extra material on a regular basis. Previous year's results ('95, '96) are there and you can download a text, Quark file or an Adobe Acrobat version of the complete results (but again with no pictures).

There's also a web version of the Clio's print magazine called The Work TM (yep Work is now trademarked so be careful how you do it). This is meant to be an inspirational collection of writing from top creatives but unfortunately it mostly comes across sounding hollow and trivial. We did like the story of the two time winner of the Student category though.

 

The July issue is out of our favourite online animation magazine Animation World , themed on Comics and Animation. The magazine is as good as a free online magazine gets and the AWN site must be the best place to advertise an animation based product on the Web (end of plug).
The picture is of Ben Edlund's The Tick © Fox Children's Network.


One of those Clio winning Web sites is the Cape Town bid to host the 2004 Olympics. At www.ct2004.com , it's on a slow link from Cape Town but worth waiting for as an example of a tourist web site or if you're web building a site for the 2000 Olympics (we are, and from conversation around the traps, it appears as if everybody else is too!).


From the clean front page with a daily weather update, you can tour the city and surrounds, see local cultural information and follow an extensive explanation of their Olympic bid (to be decided in September).

The site has a neat JavaScript 'selector knob' navigation option, and uses all the 'right' plug-ins such as VRML (PC and Mac), and Quicktime VR for some excellent panoramas. After a statement on the front page about preferred browsers and plug-ins and how to get them, the site then makes no concessions to older browsers (by adding text menus etc. Hooray!), so it looks clean and works well.

The content includes daily news from the Cape Argus newspaper, a diary of sporting events and a history of the Cape. The site has an animated gif banner for one of it's commercial sponsors and the main pages have a listing of the site's official sponsors,
IBM (South Africa) and the local telco Telkom. It was created by Electric Ocean and is hosted by ISP Intekom. The email technical contact is Luqman and editorial contact is Goolam


After a big build up to the Psygnosis City of Lost Children CD-ROM game, the final result is slight as a game, although the animation content is terrific. There's a good technical review (June 97 issue and on the New Media site) by Jeff Sengstack, and some new pictures and information on the Psygnosis site. Psygnosis approached Marc Caro back in 1994 while the movie was being made and Caro has worked with the developers on the CD-ROM so it looks great. Blame the weak gameplay on someone else.

There's a
short Developer Q&A on the site which explains further the mix of 3D Studio backgrounds and Softimage animation of the characters. The animation involved motion capture by a Dutch company (the best available at the time) and all the 3D characters are rendered in real time in the game.

Also on the Psygnosis site you will find a
good link page for all the sites for the Junot & Caro City of Lost Children movie. (Psygnosis quaintly call Caro the movie's Cinematic Director, I'm not sure what that makes Junot).
 


While we are talking about new games, did you follow the URL on the tree in the tasteful double page spread in the July Wired? It's another link in the promotional buildup to the Miller Bros. follow up to Myst. Type in the URL and you'll go to a promotional site for Riven. If I'd been a true Myst aficionado, I would have heard on April 21st about the Riven Journals, a teaser online game that introduces some of Riven's concepts. The web site is attractive, and the PR build up is clever. The game is due to be released 'Fall 97' in the North, but you can sign up on the site now for advance notification and purchase.




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