BBCi enlisted the help of animation experts at Cosgrove Hall Films alongside two key figures from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER to ensure its latest serial for the Web, GHOSTS OF ALBION, has plenty of bite. Amber Benson (Tara on BUFFY) and TV writer Christopher Golden (BUFFY and ANGEL) worked with BBCi and Cosgrove Hall to produce a tale of demons, vampires and ghosts. The first episode of the Internet drama will launch March 27, 2003 on www.bbc.co.uk/cult with a new Webisodes available for five consecutive weeks.
Category: Internet and Interactive
Romanian animator Giuliano Draguleanu has launched a Website for his 3D animated short film A HARD LIFE, www.ahardlife.com. Independent Draguleanu, based in Bucharest, said the site serves to " to document the production of the movie and to give reference to anyone who wants to produce a similar project." He hopes this site promotion will net him additional financing. The story is set in New York City in the '30s, where a certain bug is having the adventure of its life, struggling to cross a street. "The idea of the whole movie is actually a very simple one," according to Draguleanu.
Warner Bros. Online and Warner Bros. Animation are soliciting animation fans to watch and vote for their favorite original cartoons online in Cartoon Monsoon, a new area of the Warner Bros.' Website. Up-and-coming creators that have made it past a selection jury are now competing for most popular cartoon. New works are presented every two weeks until the final run-off in May 2003. Visitors to the site may complete a scorecard and discuss the shorts.
The NFBs new youth targeted Website, "Ultrabug Cliposcope," gives visitors a hands-on introduction to moviemaking. Part of the NFB's overall media education initiative, the Ultrabug Cliposcope site lets kids (or adults!) create films, view them and e-mail them to their friends. The site is powered by the Ez-Toons game engine developed by Quebec's Sarbakan.
Discreet's free gaming software gmax, which is based on Discreet's 3D modeling, animation and rendering software 3ds max, has already been embraced by the gaming community, with over 350,000 game "modders" using the free software to expand their favorite games with new characters, levels of interactivity and animated objects. Now developers are realizing the value of creating gmax ready games and Microsoft's latest, IMPOSSIBLE CREATURES, is currently available.
THQ Inc., the exclusive videogame publisher and master interactive licensee of Nickelodeon's animated television and movie properties, will be offering a slew of games in 2003 based on some of Nick's most highly rated series.
Video game publisher Agetec, Inc. has announced COLOR QUEST as the next addition to their "Designer Series" of games. Created by TAITO, the game will be available in early May 2003, exclusively for Sony PlayStation 2. COLOR QUEST is a 3D adventure game that offers a graphics tool that allows players the ability to fully render and animate their own cast of characters. These characters are interactive within the game and become integral parts of the player's success in completing the adventure.
Flipside, Inc., part of the Vivendi Universal Net USA Group, has signed an exclusive three-year agreement with GameHouse, Inc. to distribute all skill-based cash competition versions of GameHouse's popular game titles including COLLAPSE, MAH JONG, BOUNCEOUT, WHATWORD? and GEMDROP. This agreement gives Flipside the opportunity to distribute these games on iWin, its cash-competitions channel. As part of the agreement, Flipside will power GameHouse's cash competitions channel at www.gamehouse.com.
See for yourself whether THE GETAWAY succeeds in blurring the line between movies and video games as this highly anticipated 3D action game for PlayStation2 is now available in the U.S. Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho, THE GETAWAY fuses interactive gaming and cinematic films into one medium, providing players with a one-of-a-kind interactive entertainment experience.
A newly formed technology company named Infinium Labs Corporation plans to develop and market a new game console called The Phantom. Designed to compete with Microsoft's Xbox, Sony Playstation 2 and Nintendo's GameCube, the broadband game console will support games on demand and game rentals, and offer seamless upgrades and patch management. Other features include a broad selection of preloaded games; cross platform capabilities; advanced accessories and wireless capabilities; online connectivity; and game demos before purchasing or subscribing.
Activision, Inc. and DreamWorks SKG have entered into a strategic multi-year, multi-property publishing agreement that grants Activision the exclusive interactive rights to publish games based on DreamWorks' three upcoming CG-animated feature films: SHARKSLAYER, MADAGASCAR and OVER THE HEDGE. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision has acquired the rights to develop and publish games for the console, hand-held and PC platforms.
Action, adventure and pretty dresses, all in one game! THQ Inc. in association with Disney Interactive is in development on the game DISNEY PRINCESSES for Game Boy Advance. Scheduled for release in spring 2003, the game is based on the princess characters in Disney's animated films, and will feature six different stories that are based on each princess' respective fairytale.
THQ Wireless, a subsidiary of video game publisher THQ Inc., has partnered with Konami Mobile & Online for the release of several wireless games through the NTT DoCoMo network. Initially, five wireless games, including WWE MOBILE MADNESS, MLBPA HOMERUN CONTEST, SOCCER, BOWLING and ROTOBALL, will be available to download through DoCoMo's i-mode service, with new games and other content posted on the Website every month. In all, fifteen games are scheduled for release by May 2003.
For those of you who can't wait for the two MATRIX sequels that are scheduled to be released in 2003 (THE MATRIX: RELOADED on May 15, 2003 and MATRIX REVOLUTIONS on November 7, 2003) visit the cool Matrix Website (www.thematrix.com) for updates and a preview of THE ANIMATRIX, a collection of nine animated stories by seven different directors that detail how THE MATRIX came into existence. The first of these stories, THE 2ND RENAISSANCE: PART ONE, will launch on the Website in February 2003.
The Walt Disney Internet Group has entered into content arrangements with two European telecommunication companies to bring Disney Mobile branded wireless content to Italian and French consumers for the first time. As part of the agreement, TIM will be the first distributor in Italy for a range of Disney's wireless content including ring tones, logos, screensavers, wallpapers, picture messages and games, and Bouygues Telecom will bring branded wireless content to French consumers, beginning with ring tones and graphics.
3D content creator DAZ Productions has released its latest female human figure, Victoria 3.0. Touting an enhanced, high-resolution polygon mesh (over 74,500 polygons) with smooth joint rotation and morph deformation, Victoria 3.0 allows users to easily pose and animate the female form. Victoria 3.0's head contains over 250 separate morph targets, and her body has over 150 targets. Improved grouping and mapping have minimized seams and allowed easier mapping of the figure.
On December 19, 2002 the National Institute on Media and the Family released their Seventh Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card and gave the gaming industry a failing grade for the first time in the seven-year history of the report. The report provides a snapshot of the interactive gaming industry with a focus on issues related to child welfare. Areas of special concern include growing levels of video game addiction; inaccuracy of ratings; parental lack of awareness regarding content; and the failure of many retailers to restrict children from "M" for mature-rated games.
THE X-FILES agents Mulder and Scully may be gone from the airwaves, but you'll soon be able to access their alien-hunting antics via your cell phone, thanks to wireless game developer Sorrent. Sorrent and Fox Licensing and Merchandising have entered into a publishing agreement to develop games and entertainment content for cell phones and other connected handheld devices based on the THE X-FILES property. The downloads will include single and multiplayer adventure games, SMS games, downloadable ring tones and wallpaper. They are expected to be released in the beginning of 2003.
Lara Croft may be walking a red carpet next to PacMan, as video game stars are about to get their first awards ceremony. U.S. cable network The New TNN, a unit of the MTV Network's division of Viacom Inc., has announced plans to host an awards show honoring the creators and stars of the best video games. Airing exclusively on The New TNN, the Video Game Awards is scheduled to debut in the latter part of 2003, with a two-hour telecast. The show is the brainchild of and executive produced by Albie Hecht, president of film and television entertainment for The New TNN.
The action of Marvel's latest feature film superhero will soon be available in an action game for Nintendo Game Boy Advance. DAREDEVIL BATTLES THE KINGPIN will be released by Encore Games in conjunction with the February 2003 premiere of the New Regency/20th Century Fox/Marvel Studios film DAREDEVIL, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. The game incorporates many elements of the feature film, including its characters, costumes and Hell's Kitchen setting.
Sweden-based McMullin Animated Productions has launched its official Website, which details the range of services the company offers as well as information about the founders and samples of their work. After working on animated feature films and television series for companies including Hahn Film AG and Fred Wolf Films, Conor and Stina McMullin launched their own company in August 2001. McMullin specializes in timing direction for animated productions.
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. has teamed with game developer ARUSH Entertainment and game publisher Groove Games to create, market and distribute a set of interactive simulation video games. The first Playboy-branded game, which will be playable on multiple platforms including PC, Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox consoles, is based on the world-builder simulation genre of video games, and will allow players to "walk" in the slippers of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, establishing and building the Playboy empire and living the ultimate playboy lifestyle.
Continuing its expansion into the European market, Isreal-based media company Pyramedia has sold its Media Interactive Technology (MIT) system to Swiss broadcaster Star TV. This is another big sale for Pyramedia, which recently sold its MIT software to Nickelodeon U.K. In addition to the MIT system, Star TV acquired Pyramedia's animated interactive game show ELY AND LILLY, which is scheduled to broadcast in German beginning December 21, 2002 on Star TV's weekend kids' line-up.
Internet network Terra Lycos announced that for a second year in a row, anime hit DRAGONBALL Z was the number one most search for term in the year 2002. The Lycos 50 is a weekly list of the most popular people, places and things users are searching for online. "Although it dropped off in popularity compared to last year, DRAGONBALL continues to generate tremendous search activity on the Internet with teens and college-age Japanese animation buffs," said Aaron Schatz, writer of The Lycos 50.
Animation Collective will collaborate with Mirage and 4Kids Entertainment to create the online programming component to the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES television series. Although the exact plans for the site are a closely guarded secret, Animation C ollective promises a site that will allow visitors to experience the Turtle's subterranean lair, learn more about the characters and check out sneak previews.