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New games studio founded by author

New games studio founded by author

Michael Crichton, top-selling author of thrillers and director of hit movies, is turning his attention back to computer games.

Crichton, who wrote a book about information technology, Electronic Life in 1983, and created an electronic game called "Amazon" in 1982, announced late last week that he is having another stab at creating computer games by forming Timeline Studios, to be based in Cary, North Carolina.

Calling himself "a computer gamer for the past 20 years", Crichton said in a statement that three-dimensional games now feature monsters, different worlds, and puzzles, but offer users only limited interaction with the gaming environment.

Timeline will be using Virtus Corp's OpenSpace 3D development tool, designed to let game developers create environments in which gamers can interact with multiple characters and objects.

Timeline co-founder Michael Backes, who has worked with Crichton on several movies in roles ranging from display graphics supervisor to co-screenwriter, will act as the company's executive producer. Backes has worked in the past with Virtus founder David Smith, creating one of the first 3D computer games, "The Colony", in 1988, according to a press release.

Financial details of Timeline were not immediately available. The company expects to release its first games in the first half of 2000, according to Joe Marich, a public relations representative for Crichton.

"When Michael Crichton is involved in a project the whispers start. We wanted to release the details about Timeline early, before tongues (in the press) started wagging," Marich said.

More information on Timeline Studios, as well as a demonstration version of OpenSpace 3D, can be obtained at

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