"Internet The City", 1996 Joey Award. 1996, "Best of Show" PC Expo, NYC.

   

Project Timeline:

06-1995 Meet with Bob and Dean Rositano of Digital Data Express, a small company, developing Internet education products on VHS tapes. We’ve discussed the possibilities of CDROM-based interactive tutorial. I’ve suggested to build the entire product around the virtual fantastic city that would represent the vast world of Internet. The user would hop from building to building, each representing one of the Internet tool (email, FTP, chat, www, etc.)

06-1995 Started designing some preliminary screens, first in 2d (FreeHand). Then showed them some 3d environments, modeled with formZ and rendered in ElectricImage. Wow effect! We’re going 3d, all the way.

08-1995 "SimplyInteractive Internet Technologies" (first, SimplyInternet) is founded with the big investment and impressive board of directors. I quit InfoNet and became SI Art Director.

11-1995 The product started taking shape. Thanks to Michael Sherain of Entasis, who helped with video, live actors and blue screen. Our guide, an abominable, but charming Url, is a cabbie now. Buildings are getting more detailed, and the whole city starts looking more like, oh well.., unused footage from Blade Runner.. Another thing to learn: try to animate someone with 5 fingers and you will understand why Micky Mouse had only three.

04-1996 The management starts getting serious about it: we hire 6 more modelers and animators. Need to complete the light version by 07-1996 - the trade show. We try to run it on 6 networked Macs, rendering day and night. For the “human” animation of Url, we travel to SimGraphics, Pasadena to do real time motion capture. Our storyboard guru, BJ Henley, as the most “animated” of us all, is wired. When you work with the company that charges $1000/hour, you get very serious..

06-1996 The “light” version is finished. Not much of a package, just the sleeve.

07-1996 Big day! NYC, Jacob Javits Convention Center. We have a booth, that is bigger than the Iomega and Compaq ones put together. Crowds are flocking to our real time interaction show with Url running on 6x6 video wall. Iomega people are getting pissed and try to evict us for making too much noise.

They fail. We are in the news!

Url was in fact Marcus, our VO guy, sitting behind the scene. He had a censor taped to his lower jaw. I manned the motion controls.

 



09-1996 The full version (2 CD set) is finished. In October it hits all electronic boutiques and Fry’s Electronic.

11-1996 The marketing deal with Netscape didn’t get through. The company needs $3M to market it nationwide. The investors decided to fold the company.

07-1998 Bob and Dean try to salvage what’s left of SI. In July 1998 they formed Nettaxi Internet Community, which later become the 12th most visited site.