3/13/01 - Come to the Game Developers Conference and see Haptek at Intel Corporation Booth #1120. We will be showing our current version of PeoplePutty! Keep your eyes on our site for upcoming information.
8/21/00 - Stan Lee Media releases Mongorr 1.1.3 the first product to utilize Haptek's Microfriend technology.
7/20/00 - allouttraining.com has deployed Sven, working as a personal trainer on their web site, using VirtualFriend technology. Sven gives straight answers to common fitness questions, free and personally.
5/15/00 - When Crafoord Auction Group needed an online auctioneer capable of instilling confidence and high-fidelty, they had no other choice but to go with Haptek's VirtualFriend technology to deploy Danielle on the Crafoord web site. Users will be able to enjoy the highest quality 3D character technology with top notch auctions from anywhere in the world.
2/29/00 - setiweb.org has created Carolyn's Alien Clinic! Take an adventure aboard an alien spaceship with VirtualFriend 3.
2/2/00 - The Tucows Network's TUKids has awarded Haptek's VirtualFriend 2 a Cool Review of the Week!"...the TUKIDS' Review Staff felt it was amongst the 'Best of the Best' in our software archive."
1/20/00 - VirtualFriend 3 is being used by V-PAGE Incorporated in a variety of spoken word applications (like the on-line shrink). They also have a VirtualFriend rendition of The Three Kings in Spanish.
12/18/99 - Ergo Linguistic Technologies has released their product Roswell Teaches English! The Haptek VirtualFriend character Roswell interactively helps ESL students learn how to use their conversation skills!
12/1/99 - The Stuart Little movie's web site is using Haptek's VirtualFriend 3 technology in the most advanced game on the Internet!
11/20/99 - Intel Weboutfitters has released another version of their CD that includes VirtualFriend 3.
has a VirtualFriend 3 enabled service called the
5/20/99 - CartCities™, a company offering free e-commerce solutions to the public, has added the Haptek logo and Haptek VirtualFriend download links to its web pages. Thanks!
- A review of Haptek's VirtualFriend™
Version 2.0.6 has appeared in the French magazine "Computer
Arts." The unlicensed version of VirtualFriend™ was also
distributed with the magazine's accompanying CD-ROM.
4/14/99 - Three new tutorials added to the Tips & Tricks Page! How to e-mail a movie, Getting Started with Haptek ™, and Using VirtualFriend™ movies on your web site.
- Two new downloads
3.1.7 and VirtualFriend™
4/5/99 - Release 2.0.7 - By changing our internal data formats, we reduced the Full download size to 14MB! - All the textures and morphs are still in there however. Also a few helpful documentation files are now included with the distribution. These will soon be available here.
March / April 1999 - VirtualFriend™ Downloads have really taken off! An average of 500 new copies of VirtualFriend™ go out the door every day!
1/3/99 - VirtualFriend™ Online ordering is now available! It took a little longer than we expected, but it's rip-roarin' ready to go. Get your own licensed copy of VirtualFriend™ right here!
11/1/98 - VirtualFriend™ 2.0 beta is out! New textures, scripts, and capabilities! Check out a preview here, Credit Card transactions will be available within the month, and a lot of other really cool stuff is coming soon!
10/10/98 - Web site undergoes massive reconstruction. Prepare for lots of broken links.
8/18/98 - VirtualFriend™ Software Version 1.2 released.
5/17/98 - Read what Dave Farrel of the Holland Sentinal had to say about VirtualFriend™!
Meeting, making virtual friends
A friend of mine introduced me to a fabulous Web site this week and I've been playing with it nonstop for days. It is one of the most incredible applications I've seen in a long, long time, and everyone I've shown it to has had the same reaction I had -- they simply can't spend enough time playing with it.
It is Haptek Inc.'s Virtual Friend page, and you can find it at: http://www.haptek.com/. This site offers 3-D virtual ''friends'' that you can use to chat with real friends on the Net. These virtual creations are extremely lifelike and realistic looking. You can move them around on the screen and even twirl them completely around while they interact with you.
The best thing about them: You can make them say anything you want while changing their facial expressions and moods. All you have to do is type out a message and they will say it.
I've had my virtual friends deliver personal messages to my wife (she was terrified when she first saw the very real-looking alien calling her name on her computer screen), my boss (he couldn't figure out how a computer character knew details about his business) and my 10-year-old son (he loved it and immediately jumped online to program his own virtual friend).
Getting the software is relatively easy, but if you're a novice on the Web, you might want to get a Net-savvy friend to help you retrieve and install it. The process involves downloading the software to your hard drive and then installing it on your system. It's not a complicated process, but it can be intimidating if you haven't done it before.
Unfortunately, I don't have the space in this column to walk you through all the steps involved, so if you have questions, please try to find someone local to give you a hand.
Haptek's Virtual Friends were created by a software firm in Santa Cruz, Calif. There are currently two friends available, Baba Dim Sun, your spiritual guide, and Roswell, your alien friend. Two more virtual friends are scheduled to be released by June -- Corazon, your love adviser, and Jake, who exists solely to be your best friend and to boost your ego.
The free download version of the friends is a demo version, which means that an annoying ''please buy me'' box pops up on your screen every few minutes. It closes automatically, too, but the interruption it causes is a real annoyance, and it is well worth the $9.95 to get the fully licensed version of the software.
What will you use your virtual friend for? I use mine to add a little spice to personal messages I send to friends. I've also used it to ''read'' my e-mail to me while I'm busy doing other things. I've even used it to send a birthday greeting to a buddy (there are several songs that are preprogrammed into the Virtual Friend software package and ''Happy Birthday'' is one of the tunes).
1998. The Holland Sentinel.