YAV Develops CD-ROM for LEGO


YAV Interactive Media
Brederodestraat 47
2042 BB Zandvoort
The Netherlands

Stephanie Yavelow, Marketing Director
voice: +31-23-571-6282
fax: +31-23-571-6245


The Netherlands -- February 12, 1997 -- YAV Interactive Media recently developed what LEGO® calls "the first CD-ROM in the LEGO universe." The CD-ROM, part of the LEGO Technic series, accompanies their yellow submarine model (number 8299) released worldwide in January 1997 and available in the United States in March 1997. LEGO Technic is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. YAV (http://www.yav.com) has been producing interactive media for 12 years.

The CD-ROM features animated building instructions for seven models, LEGO Technic tips and tricks, fact-sheets about the models and underwater life, action video clips of the models, an interactive LEGO Technic catalog, and more. The CD-ROM is not meant to be a substitute for playing with actual LEGO bricks but to add a new dimension to LEGO play. The CD-ROM developed for LEGO by YAV is LEGO's first and should not be confused with a CD-ROM game using LEGO components that is slated for release in late 1997 by a third party based in the US.

Led by award-winning composer and author Christopher Yavelow (photo), YAV programmed this cross-platform (Mac O/S, Windows 3.11, Windows 95) "edu-venture" using content provided by LEGO's new "Darwin" project in Denmark and animators from the U.K. Besides the programming, YAV post-processed all video, animations, graphics, sound, and text found on the CD-ROM and also worked on its human factors. YAV developed custom tools to help compress over a million frames for the product's more than 500 QuickTime movies. Many of the tools used to create the CD-ROM were developed with the aid of an earlier YAV product, YAV's RAD Tools (RAD = Rapid Application Development), which allowed the completion of the entire CD-ROM in less than five months.

When asked how YAV managed to achieve such stunningly large QuickTime dimensions at such fast frame rates, Yavelow responded: "We compressed each SGI-generated animation between 50 and 100 times using minutely different settings. Then, we used our own expert system to examine each version and to determine which ones would provide the best playback on our extremely wide range of targeted hardware -- the CD-ROM requires a minimum of a 50 MHz 486 PC or any 68040- or PPC-based Macintosh or compatible. Several computers at our office ran unattended 24 hours a day on these tasks."

Christopher Yavelow, YAV's president and chief creative director, has received dozens of awards for his music as well as the Computer Press Association's "Best Advanced How-To Book" award for his "Macworld Music and Sound Bible." Acclaimed in 1994 for launching the first opera into cyberspace, he has authored or co-authored landmark interactive media products since the mid-80s for clients such as Apple Computer (Vox Vivarium), Coda Music Software (Finale Guided Tour), Verbum Magazine (Verbum Interactive CD-ROM), Random House (Multimedia PowerTools), and A-R Editions (Experiments in Musical Intelligence).

Before the LEGO CD-ROM, Yavelow directed the production of the first CD-ROM for the popular VPRO Television Network in the Netherlands. Besides being the first cross-platform CD-ROM created with Macromedia's Director software, the VPRO Digital Guide was the first CD-ROM to synchronize itself to a month of television programming.

YAV is currently creating the interactive music exhibit for the "newMetropolis Science and Technology Center," which will open in the Netherlands in June 1997. The building, designed by Erasmus prize-winning architect Renzo Piano -- designer of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, rises 90 meters above the water next to Amsterdam Central Station. The exhibit is built upon the YAV Music Engine, a new technology that uses artificial intelligence techniques to allow anyone to compose music. A CD-ROM version of the exhibit is slated for Summer 1997.

The following URLs provide additional information:

World Wide Web site of YAV Interactive Media: http://www.yav.com
Representative Interactive Media Portfolio: http://www.yav.com/docs/Media.html
YAV Client List: http://www.yav.com/docs/Clients.html
Photo of Christopher Yavelow: http://www.yav.com/images/sbYAV.jpeg

LEGO maintains information about this CD-ROM at: http://www.LEGO.com/catalog/eur/product.asp?number=8299


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