Softimage Increases Focus on Game Developers With New Products and Programs

LOS ANGELES, May 16, 1996 — At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) today, Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., announced new products and programs that will make it easier for game and interactive content developers to produce the industry’s highest-quality 3-D graphics animations and imagery. These include a new release of Softimage®
3D with more powerful, cutting-edge game development tools, enhanced data import and export capability with popular game-play platforms and file formats, and a robust application development environment for creating plug-in applications.


What Softimage has done for feature-film visual effects, this new release of
Softimage 3D will do for game development,”
said Daniel Langlois, founder of Softimage and senior director at Microsoft.
“Softimage 3D version 3.5 is loaded with new, innovative tools that will make it easier and faster for developers to create visually amazing games.”

Softimage 3D version 3.5 will help developers quickly produce both high-quality real-time rendered characters and high-resolution introduction scenes for games and interactive titles. Benefits include the following:

  • Advanced polygon and color reduction tools improve run-time performance of models while retaining image quality. In the new release of Softimage 3D, these tools automatically maintain the best ratio of complexity vs. quality and preserve texture and material boundaries.

  • A new texture editor allows customers to paint on 2-D textures and see the results applied immediately to 3-D models. Also, customers can edit select textures interactively.

  • Polygon, patch and NURBS modeling offers the industry’s most complete way to create characters.

  • New inverse kinematic features enable more lifelike movement of characters.

  • Softimage 3D includes more than 100 MB of motion-capture data, such as fighting, dancing and sports sequences, that can be used to animate models.

  • Geometry, materials, textures and animations can be imported and exported into the most popular file formats, including Sega® Saturn, PlayStation®
    game consoles, the Direct3D
    ™
    API and VRML. Game developers for Softimage 3D can also view on target with Sega Saturn systems.

  • Softimage 3D (Extreme version) includes enhanced particles and the mental ray distributed rendering system with hundreds of ready-to-use effects such as rain, fire and smoke.

  • Included are particle, shader and motion-capture libraries that can be used to create hundreds of visual effects. These libraries will be updated continually at no charge on the World Wide Web.

  • Softimage Live viewing technology allows developers to quickly and easily produce prototype games in an interactive environment.

  • Support for Intel® Pentium® Pro, Alpha and MIPS® R4400-based workstations and servers, based on the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system and Silicon Graphics®
    systems, offers developers the widest range of hardware platform choices.

In addition, game developers can take advantage of Softimage’s powerful new software development kit (SDK) to create plug-in applications. The Softimage SDK is a comprehensive API that allows direct access to modeling, animation, rendering and motion-capture controls in
Softimage 3D. Applications can stand alone or be fully integrated into Softimage 3D. In addition, to help bolster a community of plug-in applications, Softimage introduced the Softimage Developers Connection program in February. Through this program, qualified developers and customers receive extensive technical support and development software, as well as support in marketing their applications.

The new version of Softimage is offered in two packages: Softimage 3D and
Softimage 3D Extreme. Softimage 3D includes all modeling, animation and rendering features, except meta-clay modeling, particles, mental ray and Softimage Live, which are available in Softimage 3D Extreme. Softimage 3D and Softimage 3D Extreme for Silicon Graphics systems are available today; versions for Intel Pentium Pro, Alpha and MIPS R4400-based workstations and servers for Windows NT are scheduled to be available in August.

The approximate price for Softimage 3D is $7,995 (U.S.); Softimage 3D Extreme is approximately $13,995 (U.S.). Customers licensing Softimage 3D version 3.0 for Windows NT after May 16 will receive a no-charge upgrade to Softimage 3D version 3.5 when available. Pricing is per concurrent user, and licenses can be used on either the Windows NT or Silicon Graphics platform. Other upgrade prices vary. Licensed users of Softimage 3D version 3.5 (both configurations) can purchase standalone mental ray rendering seats with prices starting at approximately $2,495 per seat. Registered developers for PlayStation game consoles and Sega Saturn can license import and export kits for approximately $995 (U.S.) each. All products are available through Softimage’s network of authorized resellers.

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include Softimage 3D (high-end modeling, animation and rendering), Softimage Eddie (compositing) and Softimage Toonz (2-D cel animation). The company was acquired in 1994 by Microsoft Corp. Additional information about Softimage and Microsoft can be found via the Internet at http://www.softimage.com/ and http://www.microsoft.com/ respectively.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Softimage is a registered trademark of Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft, Direct3D and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Sega is a registered trademark of Sega of America.

PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corp.

MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Computer Systems Inc.

Silicon Graphics is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc.

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