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$199.99 $149.00 list($289.99)
1. Final Draft 7
$219.99 $165.00 list($249.99)
2. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting
$146.99 $139.00 list($249.99)
3. Movie Magic Screenwriter
$274.99 $269.88 list($349.99)
4. Final Draft 7/Final Draft AV2
$30.99 $29.89 list($49.99)
5. 40 Years Of The Amazing Spider-Man
$42.99 list($49.99)
6. SnapStream Firefly PC Remote
$189.99 $148.95 list($269.99)
7. Dramatica Pro 4
$59.99 $47.99 list($69.99)
8. Beyond TV 3
$34.99 list($59.99)
9. Writer's Dreamkit 4
$36.99 $34.84 list($59.99)
10. Hollywood Screenwriter
$26.99 list($24.99)
11. Movie Edit Pro 2004
$84.95 list($99.99)
12. Screenblast Movie Studio 3.0
$199.99 $158.95 list()
13. StoryView 2.0
$189.99 list($219.99)
14. Final Draft 6.0 and Syd Field's
$19.99 $16.75 list($29.99)
15. Marvel Comic Book Library Vol.
$9.99 $5.50
16. Harry Potter: Quidditch World
$27.88 list($29.99)
17. Law & Order: Dead on the Money
$9.99 $9.69
18. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
$89.95
19. Dr. Format Screenwriting Software
20. SERIOUS USA Stargate SG-1 CD Cardz

1. Final Draft 7
list price: $289.99
our price: $199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNGZ2
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 186
Average Customer Review: 2.69 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
  • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
  • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
  • 100-percent cross-platform compatibility; easily import/export files
  • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you

Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great formatter with poor font rendering.
As a screenplay formatter Final Draft 7.0 works as well as its predecessors, but still has a rotten font rendering quality. I would have thought that this would the number one priority to attend to at this stage in Final Draft's development cycle.

That gripe aside - and it's a really significant one - everything else works very smoothly.

Because of this issue, I would recommend Screenwriter 2000, which does everything that Final Draft can do, and doesn't have any issue with its ability to render fonts cleanly. In addition, screenwriter 2000 has a more useful suite of associated products, notably: Dramatica 4 pro and Storyview 2. The tech backup is superior, too.

2-0 out of 5 stars If you're a new user, DON'T BUY IT!
I've used Final Draft since version 5 through version 6, and although it was antiquated and clunky compared to contemporary word processing software, it was at least useable and relatively stable.

HOWEVER - I recently upgraded to FD7, and it's a mess. It implemented new features in such a way as make them impractical in daily, minute by minute by use, while simultaneously dumping several genuinely useful features from previous versions. It's been through two patches since it was released already, and it's still clunky, bug ridden, crash prone, and less usable in practice than the previous version.

If you are a first time buyer, I'd recommend delaying your purchase for at least six months till they sort out the bugs (assuming that's possible), or consider buying another of the many products available, e.g. Screenwriter or Sophocles.

ADDENDUM:

I'd also recommend you read some of the reviews on this site with a pinch of salt - there are a couple that I would consider suspiciously glowing. There's nothing to stop someone from the manufacturer adding a review, is there...?

1-0 out of 5 stars Just add words?
I have to work every day with FD 7 (Mac OSX) as the production company I write for asked me to do so. To cut it short: I have never ever seen a programme with so many bugs and crashes! Unfortunately recent updates have not changed anything. :-(

3-0 out of 5 stars Weird (on a PC anyway)
I have a friend who uses the Mac version and swears by it. I purchased the PC version and it's certainly interesting. It behaves like no other text editor I've ever seen. Simple operations like cut and paste become strange exasperating games to see what text Final Draft will actually decide to let you cut and paste. I guess it's trying to keep script elements contiguous--but there are times when you just...want...to move...the damn...WORDS. Final Draft makes the mistake of assuming too much.

Edit: I hereby redact the rest of my review. I still think the program could use some polish on a PC...but my previous ire was more from ignorance than the program itself. It ain't so bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finished Another First Draft With Final Draft
I have written or re-written over 30 scripts, both hits and flops, both TV and Feature, with Final Draft. Like most people who have made the mistake of buying Movie Magic Screenwriter, I switched when the program didn't work and they made me angry on the phone. I have never had a problem with my fonts, or tech support, or upgrading or updating. Ever. They even make their own font to make the switch from Mac to Win seamless and it is. The other programs are okay, but not as 'finished', maybe because just about every TV show and Film is made with Final Draft. It really is combat tested. I just bought another copy from amazon.com for my office and both companies are great! ... Read more


2. Final Draft 7/Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD Bundle
list price: $249.99
our price: $219.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNKP8
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 332
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Word processing combined with professional script formatting
  • Designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics, and stage plays
  • Automatically paginates and formats script to industry standards
  • 50+ templates; text to speech, have your script read back to you
  • Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD for all skill levels included

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars What They Write With & How To Do IT!!
Okay, so I found out that Final Draft is the Industry Standard in Tinsel Town. Great. I'll buy one. Check out who uses it on their website. Wow! But the software alone doesn't tell us, say, what goes where and why in a screenplay. It just lays there, blank, with blinking cursor... waiting for some brilliance to be entered by me. Enter Syd Field. I have his books on screenwriting and, although the DVD is a little 'talking head'-like, it did make me understand more about the craft of screenwriting, like plot, story structure, action points and character arcs - the things that make up a really great movie. Take notes while watching the DVD! It made me better and less insecure about taking the movie idea out of my head and Final Draft is a cool tool that formats for you and types things you type alot for you. An excellent combination!! Highly recommend. ... Read more


3. Movie Magic Screenwriter
list price: $249.99
our price: $146.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005V7FW
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 689
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Sorry... Final Draft is better... NOT Buggy
I tried this and Final Draft side by side while evaluating what to buy. Final Draft is just less buggy and more professional.

Movie Magic pops the cursor around the screen after an operation. It also has these windows 3.1 looking interface windows. The speech system is too dependent on windows and not self contained like Final Draft.

True, there is more customization with Movie Magic... but I like Final Draft MUCH better. Run them next to each other and u will see.

Mike

5-0 out of 5 stars Professional's tool
I am both a working screenwriter and script supervisor. I use Movie Magic Screenwriter for both those jobs. Its an excellent, straight-forward, and cleanly built program for formating and writing professionally styled scripts.

Compared to Final Draft Movie Magic's formatting simply looks cleaner - with more accurate and useful spacing, sluglines, and transitions - and is far easier to use. Now this doesn't mean it will teach you how to write or what to write, but it does mean what you do write will at least look good.

Minor problems I've had and things that could change for the better...Screenwriter is a tad unstable with Windows XP and occasionally crashes at start-up (although I have yet to lose a file because of that). Some of the production tools - like scene numbering and CONTINUEDs - are buried deep in the program and not the least bit easy to get to. Also they still have annoying and non-standard formatting in there sluglines and transitions. For instance you can select Continuous and Moments Later for a time portion of your slugline. Any oen that works in production knows that there is no Continuous or Moments Later. Simply either DAY or NIGHT. For transitions they still have CUT TO which is no longer used.

Aside from those minor things Movie Magic is an excellent script writing program.

3-0 out of 5 stars not as easy as they make it sound!
I am just getting started using the program so I can not yet judge the overall product. I can tell you that the product description said: just load the software and you will be writing scripts in minutes regardless if you are a first timer or a pro.

That is a stretch. I had to get a tech guy to load the program and then it really is not walking me through the "how to" part of script writing.

Just be prepared to spend some time at the beginning.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good script writing software.
For years, I used to use Microsoft Word to develop all of my scripts in. While it could be done, it wasn't the best nor the easiest way to do it. I had always put off buying specialized software to do something that but the problem is that I spent more time formatting and paginating my scripts than I did writing.

Finally, I decided to break down and buy scripting software. But before deciding on which one to buy I did a little research on the titles that were currently available. I wanted to make sure I got the best product for the right price. What ultimatly sold me on Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 was that both the Writers' Guild of America and Project Greenlight both recommend this software.

One of the claims made by the software company is the ability to get up and running right out of the box. I found this to be--for the most part--true. Upon receiving my copy, I was entering my first script in about 30 minutes (including installation time). There are some things that you may need to know, but the software company was intuitive enough to add booklets that contain this information in it so that you didn't have to hunt through the manual.

There are also a nice collection of templates included with the software that allows you to write for both movie and television (like I do). The templates for the TV shows comes in many different flavors (Sci-fi, sit-coms, dramas, etc.) and are even set up in the format used by several different shows.

What I especially appreciated was the fact that Screenwriter 2000 kept track of the names of my characters. I used to have to do this on scratch pads and Post-It notes or I would have to read back in the script to find a name. In Screenwriter 2000, I can call up a list of names to find the one I'm looking for. I'm able to do the same thing with scene heading, so I can keep my scenes in a consistant format.

Since I post some of my work on Zoetrope.com for review by other writers, the fact that I can create an Adobe file (.pdf format) was also of importance to me. While I could use a translation program to turn my Word document into an Adobe file, such translators have their problem and don't always retain the format that you created. With Screenwriter 2000, my Adobe documents come out looking the same as the original file. But this feature wasn't as intuitive as I had thought it would be. I was expecting this feature to be a part of the file exporting system. Instead, it's part of the print function. (You "print" a .pdf file.)

While there are a lot of pros about the software, there were also several cons, which is why I only rated it four stars. One is that this software is set up to installed on both the Mac and the PC from the same box. Becuase of that, they designed the user manual to address both opperating systems by printing it as a flip book. (One side has the instructions for the PC--flip the book over--the other side has the instructions for the Mac.) This means that the index is in the center. If you use an index as often as I do, plan on placing a bookmark there.

Another problem is that not all of the features available to the PC user is available to the Mac user. As of this review, only one feature--the Storyboard Linking--was not available on the Mac. However, this should be of little consiquence to the average user (unless you're a professional writer in Hollywood with a Mac).

Finally, one feature that was touted to me time and again was the voice readback capability. By using a Text-to-Speech engine, you can have your script read back to you, even to the point of assigning different voices to the different characters. It took a little effort to get this feature working on my PC, and when I did it sounded like a room full of Stephen Hawkings reading my screenplay.

Still, as softwares goes, this is possibly the best product out on the market.

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes the act of film creation a breeze
I've been using this product for about a year and it's about as easy as a program like this gets without sacrificing its professional end product. It's a cinch to learn, with easy fast-keys, a WORD-like interface, and a ton of features you may never get to. Great for plays, video game scenario building, etc., but its strength clearly lies in screenplay creation. All I have to do is think of the story I want to tell, know a few choice commands, and I'm flying with this program.

Great paper tutorial and a reasonable price for this type of program. ... Read more


4. Final Draft 7/Final Draft AV2 "Scriptwriter's Suite"
list price: $349.99
our price: $274.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XNKOY
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 2264
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

5. 40 Years Of The Amazing Spider-Man Win/Mac
list price: $49.99
our price: $30.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006Q7FEM
Catlog: Software
Manufacturer: Topics Entertainment
Sales Rank: 112
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Topics Entertainment (CS-531s) Marvel 40 Yrs of Spiderman ... Read more

Features

  • 11-disc CD-ROM collection of 500+ Spider-Man comic books
  • Covers 40+ years of all Amazing Spider-Man comic books printed
  • Mind-blowing 10 Milestones of Amazing Spider-Man
  • Spider-Man's debut issue: The Amazing Fantasy #15
  • All articles and vintage ads, Spider's-Web column, and Bullpen Bulletins

Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Tim Robertson MyMac.com Review
40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man CD-ROM
Company: TOPICS Entertainment
Price: $49.99
http://www.topics-ent.com/

As a comic book reader, I was very interested in this product when I first started seeing advertisements for it six months ago. As the title suggests, 40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man CD-ROM is just that, all the issues of the Amazing Spider-Man comic on eleven CD-ROMs. Actually, the series also includes the original 1962 Amazing Fantasy #15, which is the first appearance of Spider-Man. From then on, however, it's all Amazing Spider-Man.

Each issue on the CD-ROM is an Adobe PDF file. You do need Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or later to view the files, which is included on the disc #1 in both Mac and Windows versions. If you try using another PDF viewing application, such as Apple's own Preview, you get to see the watermark Topics Entertainment placed on every page of every issue. I don't know why they bothered to put the watermark in the files, as that constitutes the level of anti-piracy they employ. Otherwise, these are simple PDF files.

The forty years include every issue from the above mention first appearance all the way up to issue #500 (December 2003). A curious omission, however, is the yearly annuals.

One of the problems, if you can call it that, is issues that crossover to other comics, be it another Marvel comic such as X-Men or Fantastic Four, or another Spider-Man title, such as Spectacular Spider-Man or Web of Spider-Man. This happened quite often in the late 1980's, and throughout all the 1990's. So sadly, while all the Amazing issues are present, not all the stories that go with those issues are.

Quality-wise, the stories are what they are. Some issues are fantastic, some not so much. I won't try and review every issue, that would be crazy. But there is a quality issue I'm a little disappointed with, and that is the picture quality of the PDF's themselves. But more on that in a moment.

I enjoy that each issue is complete from cover to cover, including the original ads on each page. Nothing like looking back at the older "Prizes for Cash" ads from the 1980's. I also like the fact that the covers are not only included, but the back cover as well. 99% of the time, the back cover is an advertisement, but occasionally, especially when you get into the special anniversary issues, a cover would be a wrap-around, so had they omitted the back cover, there was a chance that half the artwork would have been missing.

The problem is that while supplying these back issues of Amazing Spider-Man is a great concept, it's obvious that Topics Entertainment didn't work with Marvel Comics to acquire the best electronic format or physical copies of these issues. Rather, they simply used a flatbed scanner to scan each issue, page by page, to build the PDF files. They also did not use very high quality issues, as many of the copies are yellowed and flawed. More, there are some issues cocked at a slight angle, rather than laying them completely horizontal and true. This can be annoying to read. Even worse, there was not much care given to cleaning up the pages within Photoshop. I ran one page through Adobe Photoshop and applied the Auto-Color correction to the page and got fantastic results, at least three times better picture than the supplied PDF file.

Still, to have forty years of Amazing Spider-Man in electronic format on my computer (I copied all the CD-ROMs to an external FireWire Hard Drive for easier access) is a treat. As a long time comic book reader, it feels strange to read these comics on a computer screen. I have many of the physical issues myself, most of which are in better condition than the copies Topics Entertainment used when scanning. But to be able to quickly pull up an issue for reference is fun.

All in all, for $49.99 US (you can find it MUCH cheaper online, such as Amazon.com where the current price is $32.99) you can have a piece of comic book history that never goes out of style.

MyMac.com Rating: 3 out of 5. Good concept, nice format. I would prefer that more care be given to these comics, such as running batch color correction on each issue. I do like the index PDF for each year as well, but all it shows is a miniature version of the cover, not too handy.

2-0 out of 5 stars Excellent idea, poor execution
I've been reading Spider-Man for over 30 years now, and when I saw this Advertised I thought it was an excellent idea. The actual product has some significant flaws, however. First and foremost is the quality of the books they scanned. Many of the issues, especially from 1962-65, are so tattered and banged up that they'dbe graded 5.0 (out of 10) at best. The omission of the annuals and giant-size issues from the compilation is a curious oversight. And although I understand their desire to not have people printing up copies of their work willy-nilly, stamping "MARVEL" across every single page is distracting and disruptive.

You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger Spidey fan than me, but I can't recommend this software. If you want to read these issues you'd be better off buying physical reprints, which are plentiful and inexpensive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Performs exactly as described...
I almost gave this one 3 stars because it fell kinda short of my expectations.After I counted to 10 and took a deep breath I realized that this set contains exactly what the box claims it does...nothing more, nothing less.
What you get is "40 Years of The Amazing Spider Man".As others have pointed out, that encompasses only the "Amazing Spider-Man" title.Not "The Web of Spider-Man" or "Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man" or other Spin-Off titles (some of which had storylines which were tied into ASM).
The really big let down for me was that I had gotten used to the Broderbund Series of magazine/ comic reproductions (National Geographic, MAD Magazine, et al), and Broderbund runs a software program which features such bonus as a search engine.

Had Broderbund done this title, a user would have been able to do a search such as 'all issues in which The Lizard appears' and the user would be provided that information whether or not those issues existed on the particular Disk the user was view at the time.But alas this title is in Adobe Acrobat so such is not the case.

Nevertheless it is a good collection and I don't regret the purchase at all. That the collection could have been packaged and presented better is besides the point because what the box says you get is, well- what you get

4-0 out of 5 stars 501 issues of Spider-Man on CD-Rom is an Amazing deal
It should be very easy for you to decide if you are going to like "40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man" because here are the two things that you might consider major shortcomings.First, what you are getting here are digital scans of each two-page spread from copies of the original comic books.So these are not the originals or whatever Marvel uses when they reproduce early Spider-Man comics for their Masterworks or Essential series of reprints.The copies are pretty good, even the really old ones, but they are not perfect and they are not always lined up straight.Basically, then, you are looking at photographs of somebody else's collection of "The Amazing Spider-Man" comic books.

Second, you have to view these comic books through the Adobe Reader, the 6.0 version of which you can install from the first disc (this is important because otherwise the "Marvel" that pops up as a sort of watermark when you try to print these pages pops up when you start reading each page.Unless you have a really big monitor (I thought I did before this) you have to choose between seeing the pages real size, where you cannot see an entire two-page spread at the same time, or you can reduce them in size to where you can see the entire two-page spread in which case the question is whether your eye sight is good enough to still read the print (I appear to be older than I thought).Beyond this it is a question of how powerful your computer is for being able to move from one spread to the next at a decent rate.Some people will find this maddening, and if that is the case you will not enjoy what this CD-Rom has to offer.

There are minor problems in that what you get is each CD-Rom in its own envelope, which means you can undoubtedly find some better way of keeping them around, and each disc only indicates what years are covered (e.g., 1962-1966), so you need to come up with your own way of remember what issues are on each disc (you can jot the numbers down on the envelope).The top choice on my list of Spider-Man comics I wanted to read again was #257, the one where Mary Jane finally told Peter Parker she knew he was Spider-Man.After I checked out the first disc I made a calculated guess as to which one it was on and I was right, but including the range of issues on each disc or at least on the box (to go along with the "mind-blowing 10 Milestones") should have been a no-brainer.Still, all of these "problems" are easily fixable.I am surprised that the annuals are not included, but expecting to have the crossovers (as some of the "Essentials" volumes do, e.g., "Tomb of Dracula) is rather unrealistic, so I would not count it as a major or minor problem.

Yes, it would be nice to sit in a chair that was not in front of a computer and read "The Amazing Spider-Man" from nicely bound books.But the "Marvel Masterworks" series is a rather expensive way of getting these comic books, the "Marvel Essentials" series is reprinted in black & white, and combined those two have not reprinted half of what is collected on these 11 CD-Roms.Even if you have the comic books, taking them out of their bags and backing boards seems like heresy, especially with the old ones.However, I do not have that problem because many years ago when my brother and I split up who was going to collect which Marvel comic books, he got the Spider-Man titles (we had from #28 on in the original comics, with everything prior to that being the original reprints in "Marvel Tales").All I have are the six "Essential" collections and the four "Masterworks" trade paperbacks, which means I only have about a quarter of what is here in book form.When it comes to being economical, you are not going to be able to beat what this collection has to offer, and that is the key factor for putting its shortcomings in perspective.

"40 Years of The Amazing Spider-Man" begins with "Amazing Fantasy" #15 and ends with what became "The Amazing Spider-Man" #500 when "Volume 2" took advantage of the "Volume 1" numbering to mark a significant milestone in the history of the web-slinger.The touching coda in that last issue, drawn by John Romita, Sr. (who was Spider-Man's artist when I bought my first "Spider-Man" comic book, #62), makes for a fitting place to end this collection.I suppose a disc 12 could be out in 2007, but I do not have the same qualms about taking the latest issues out to read again that I do about the original Stan Lee and Steve Ditko issues.I am not overly excited about having the "complete" comic books, with all of those ads we remember from out childhood and the letters to the editor, but I do like seeing the covers of the other titles Marvel was putting out in the Sixties.

I gave up on Spider-Man when the whole clone thing was getting way out of hand.The alien costume bit was okay, but the clone bit was just too much for me.I started reading the comic books again (we live in the age of multiple titles for any successful comic book character) when I started teaching an Introduction to Popular Culture class in which I use "The Essential Spider-Man, Volume 1."The class also looks at a recent issue of one of the main Spider-Man titles, so I started reading "The Amazing Spider-Man" again with #482 (nee #42), almost a year after J. Michael Stracynski started scripting the book.I have gone back and gotten all of "Volume 2" of the book, and these CD-Roms allow me to fill in the gaps.It is just going to take a while to get through all of these and I feel like I should write some sort of academic treatise on it all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant Amazing Spider-man collection on CD-Rom.
-I've been collecting the Amazing Spider-Man comics for awhile, and this collection on CD-Rom is great!! It's authentic scans of real issues.Unlike the reprinted and released hard backs. With this CD-Rom collection you get to view first printings of the issues ( I can almost smell the pages)!!!You can seriously enlarge the scans, and no matter how large you go the images stay crisp and clear!It appears not a page of any issue is missing.All adds, covers, and story pages are there.It's a Marvel released collection, not some boot-leg or pirated item. This CD-Rom collection will bring my little spidey fan son and I, years and years of enjoyment. ... Read more


6. SnapStream Firefly PC Remote
list price: $49.99
our price: $42.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002808S4
Catlog: Software
Publisher: SnapStream Media
Sales Rank: 779
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Play movies, music, photos, and other media stored on computer
  • Navigate PC from another room with full-screen interface
  • Skip, fast-forward, rewind, and change volume like with current home theater
  • Use SnapStream Spotlight to access online media services
  • Compatible with over 80 media applications

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great PC Remote
I use this remote to control the Snapstream Beyond TV 3 application (great PVR software for live tv and recording TV shows) and the included Beyond Media Basic software (very similar to a Windows Media Center interface for viewing photos, playing music, etc). The remote works great, the button layout is very intuitive and the RF type- recevier and transmitter provides excellent range (I have tested at 40 feet through walls and it worked perfectly). On top of the that, the Snapstream website has an excellent support forum. Highly recommended! ... Read more


7. Dramatica Pro 4
list price: $269.99
our price: $189.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYCR
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 1538
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Aspiring and seasoned writers take note: gone are the days of handwritten note cards, extensive plot revisions, and hand cramps. Dramatica Pro promises to be your writing coach, your secretary, your guide, and even your therapist as you develop sharp, focused storylines together.

Getting started in Dramatica Pro as a beginning user is intuitive and easy. In the StoryGuide segment, there are three levels of story forming, and we tried out the most advanced (which is estimated to take three to four days of work). Dramatica Pro comes with 32,768 potential "storyforms," all of which incorporate structural, thematic, and dynamic elements of your story. After answering about a dozen of the multiple-choice Dramatica Query System questions, we were able to decide on one storyform. For those that choose not to pursue the multiple-choice route, there is also the Story Engine, which allows for a more holistic and freeform method of sketching out your basic story.

One thing you'll notice right off is the unique language of Dramatica Pro. While many terms--motivation, pursuit, antagonist--will be familiar to most writers, there are a number of terms that are used in specific relation to Dramatica Pro's capabilities. Fortunately, at each stage of the story-creation process, there are a number of help buttons (such as Explain, Theory, Usage, and Context) that provide further definition of terms and their usage. And after a few sessions, we found ourselves thinking about "signposts," "journeys," the four "throughlines," and other features that bring a story into focus.

Dramatica Pro's main desktop is the portal for allstory-building activity. Its 12 tiles present users with options for developing just about every aspect, from character creation and polishing, to plot-progression charts and reports on your progress and story. Because Dramatica Pro does not try to be a word processing application, every nook and cranny is filled with developmental prowess to help hone your skills while discovering your story.

One aspect of the application that we appreciated was the opportunity for writer growth. After becoming familiar with the application's interface, we were able to use Dramatica Pro's Story Engine and Story Points to access our story's "master controls" without all the exposition and explanation. Also, Dramatica Pro offers a Brainstorming command that allows the program to intelligently tweak your storyform into something new should you experience writer's block.

Overall, Dramatica Pro is a great resource for writers. By enabling you to focus more on your stories and less on the mechanics of storytelling, you'll feel empowered to try new things and explore your creativity. --Emilie Dirks ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very sophisticated approach to story development
Dramatica provides a tool to use the most sophisticated story model ever developed. The dramatica model is surprisingly general and adds quite a bit of force to your story without constricting creative freedom. Some structures, like a ladder, provide more freedom, not less, and Dramatica's structure is like that.

If the idea of following the dramatica story model still seems formulaic to you, you are free to tweak it or change it as much as you want, or even use it's best ideas to form your own model. The point is that a sophisticated model produces a sophisticated story.

The software is actually quite easy to use. The hard part is learning the model, because it is quite sophisticated. It will take a few weeks to get it, and probably a couple of tries to make it really work well for you. You can also get help from the community of dramatica users on the internet, who are supportive and friendly.

If you're the kind of author to employ both a creative and analytical side to your craft, you will learn to love this tool. You'll hate how hard it makes you work, exploring every nook and cranny of your story in new ways, but you'll love the result as it pushes you into forming characters and plot rich with dramatic tension, thematic development, and thorough development of your story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful tool.
Dramatica is a way to organise your thoughts about theme, plot-theme, and characters into a story form as opposed to something that isn't.

Using its own terminology allied to templates, the user is required to fill in a set of questionnaires, which act as the input from which their story is distilled. This can be amended at will if the user feels that they are being too boxed in.

The end result is more easily managed than stacks of cards and papers. It can also be easily shared with other Dramatica users by distributing files across the internet to each other (given that version sync isn't an issue).

It's like having a collaborator in front of you all the time - if needed - with regard to the structure, but won't be of any help with poor prose, prose-style, bad dialogue, lack of motivation or any other essential aspects that the writer would need to know about. A badly written story, which is bang-on structurally, as far as Dramatica is concerned, is not a useful end product. In other words, the user would need to be a decent writer in the first place, using Dramatica as a tool to refine and focus their work, and not regard it an easy way out. It's not.

So bearing that in mind, Dramatica shouldn't disappoint so long as the user is prepared for the discipline of story writing, in its strictest sense.

3-0 out of 5 stars I have seen better!!!!
This program is ok. But FictionMaster better for pro's and WritePro is better for newcomers. I can't understand why Amazon doesn't seem to have either (try writepro.com for both.). Both have won alot of praise from both computer pros, and writting pros. And the Software is done by a real pro writer, one of the finest writing teachers around, Sol Stein. I have taken some of his workshops. He teaches the pros.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gets me where me needs to be.
Noticing that quite a few contemporary made-for-TV movies have a distinctive and polished intricacy, suggested this was probably to do with Dramatica, that I had noticed a friend using for a novel-cum-screenplay. So I read the comprehensive manual from her installation, and concluded that this was a good way for me to go, too.

Progress was slow to begin with, mostly because one needs to be patient and go through it all, ( a few times) in good order, to avoid getting mightily confused, since a great deal of the explanation is often another way to convey what is already known - sort of - from many other sources. So it needs to be taken all as a piece to make satisfactory progress.

Which makes sense, because the Dramatica application is a self-contained system, with its own terminology, which responds to your accurate and considered input to a set of inter-related questions about the characters, plot, motivations, outcomes, etc. The accuracy of your answers is an important to the result, so clear thinking has to be applied.

I'm far from hero status with Dramatica, but have found its use to be extremely helpful because it makes me THINK about what I am writing about. It doesn't write the piece for me, or box me in, in any way, as others have suggested it does.

In conclusion, I am very satisfied with Dramatica and how it has improved my writing. It's also good to be able to discuss and share files with other users ( internationally), who are all pretty much on the same wavelength, which avoids/minimises having to navigate different terminologies and approaches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahead of the curve.
Having worked with, and studied the Dramatica theory of story development, and also looked at and read a few of the examples it is based on, it seems to me that Dramatica 4 is a product somewhat ahead of itself.

By this I mean, that to convey the principles of Dramatica the prior art examples are either too archetypical with no real requirement for the use of Dramatica by those who intend writing such archetypes, or are too flawed so that they do Dramatica no favours due to them being little more than the nearest point of common reference.

But by treating Dramatica as a philosophy and an abstraction, and not using it to see how prior art can be aligned to its principles, one can quickly see how Dramatica will enable the writer to create stories and forms hitherto unattainable, simply because the organisation of the story's elements and form would have been too difficult to keep track of.

Therefore, in order to get the desired results from using Dramatica, the user has to gain expertise in the way of defining and structuring a story's elements with Dramatica, and not be trying to defend the outcome on prior art which is a close call. This is the hard part to Dramatica, since ideal prior art probably doesn't exist, from which to refer, except for the possibility of future works skilfully created with Dramatica.

Now there's a chicken or the egg paradox. ... Read more


8. Beyond TV 3
list price: $69.99
our price: $59.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00022I1FC
Catlog: Software
Publisher: SnapStream Media
Sales Rank: 363
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Media server that changes PC into a TV/DVR combo
  • Pause live TV; use instant replay; skip forward or back
  • Program guide; search for shows by title
  • Skip commercials or parts of TV shows in one click
  • Shrink files and replay them on portable devices

9. Writer's Dreamkit 4
list price: $59.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYC7
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 273
Average Customer Review: 3.05 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

If you're looking for a writing package that provides guidance but isn't overbearing, the Writer's DreamKit package from Dramatica is a great solution. This package is targeted at beginning to intermediate writers, and attempts to get you involved in working out the mechanics of your story before you even begin writing it.

You'll get started with the StoryGuide: the central location for establishing your "storyform" and structure. You can work with the StoryGuide either directly or by creating scenes, but either way, the creative work done in this portion will be tracked and available in all other parts of the application. For the fastest route, you can start with one of three structure templates: novel, screenplay, or short story. In these templates, the essential characters are already created. Using these in conjunction with the StoryGuide gives a writer both efficiency and flexibility.

One of the strongest features of the StoryGuide, however, is the Dramatica Query System. This system offers aquestion and answer approach to storyforming, and allows you to focus on one element, relationship, or idea at a time. In the DQS, the questions may be very straightforward or somewhat indirect; regardless, newer writers will appreciate the help buttons that appear for each question, offering an explanation, the theory behind the question, usage, illustrations, definitions, context, and story examples.

If aquestion and answer bombardment or too much structure is not your thing, you can find relief in the Story Engine, which offers a more holistic and freeform approach to identifying your storyform. The Story Engine does lack help, which makes it more suitable for experienced users, and also looks somewhat daunting on the first few uses. However, it also is the quickest way to get to your underlying structure.

While the Writer's DreamKit is somewhat linear in progression, there are many opportunities to diverge from the standard path. You can create characters, one of the most enjoyable parts of the creative process, at any time. You'll do more than just assign a name and a few stock attributes: you'll build your people from scratch (or from a template) and instill in them the complex characteristics that will guide them through your story.

If you've never taken a creative writing class or are looking to refresh your skills, the Writer's DreamKit definitely offers a great foundation for structuring your story. However, it's still up to you to write your great American novel or the next box office hit. --Emilie Dirks ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're serious about writing then this is for you!
I've been writing for a while now, and am enrolled in a correspondence course, and although I am learning a lot, this Dreamkit helped me so much more than I could have imagined! It is easy to use, and helps you see where your story is going, and where it needs work. It takes the guess work out of your story. I highly recommend this to anyone who is serious about their writing! The templates are easy to use and understand. The Query system takes you through some questions about your plot, characters and scene structure and helps you consider things you may not have thought of. It shows you your beginning, middle, and end, so that you can get to writing your story faster. It even has a character builder, so you can visualize your characters. The Dreamkit will not write your story for you, but it is of imense help. Move over Writer's Block! The users manual is a bit vague, but half the fun of this was in finding all the goodies on my own! It is fun and easy to use. It is money well spent!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Stressful and irritating format
I found that this program did not help me at all. The format is very irritating and confusing. It is hard to learn to use it and I am a professional computer programmer. Once I did learn it, I found thhere is not much there. It is very limiting and in many ways stifles creative flow.

I would reccomend trying Storycraft instead, which I found to be helpful and user intuitive.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just sit down and write.
Want to waste a lot of time when you could be writing your masterpiece? Buy this "program". Face the facts: There simply is no software that's going to write a book for you or anyone else, including me. I screwed around for several days with this thing. Then I got the final print out of "how" I should write my novel. It was impossible for me to follow the "guidelines" provided. They simply did not pertain to the way I wanted to write my story. I tried to imagine some of my favorite books having been written using the generic guidelines the program produced. It assumes that all fiction novel writing is generic and takes the form that the producer of the program dictates. I feel that each and every successful fiction writer has their own individual writing traits and point of view on how they themselves (not F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mark Twain, John Grisham, etc, etc) should produce a work of art. JUST WRITE! Don't give up. That's my free advice and it's worth more than anything this software has to offer.

2-0 out of 5 stars Waste of money
When I first ordered the product I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail, but after receiving it I must say I am disappointed. I am a beginner and I have purchased three books on writing and was very pleased with all three of them. So with a brand new Dell computer with a matching laptop, reference books, a good dictionary, and good old microsoft word I was as ready as ready could be to begin my novel. I think I let the word template rope me into this product. I thought a template was a formatted blank form that would get me started and I found this product very confusing and mind boggling. I do not want to discourage anyone from purchasing it but if I had it to do again I would not have made the purchase, however I am thankful that I did not pay a whole lot for it and I will just have to chalk it up to a loss. I have thought about looking into purchasing another product such as this one but why get burned a second time. I think I will stick to the guide books, microsoft word, and my imagination and who knows, perhaps in the future this product may help me but for now I am rather disappointed. I could have made my own template with the books I had purchased. This product was a waste of time and money in my opinion. I didn't expect it to write my novel for me but to do like it said and hold my hand and guide me thorough with a "template".

3-0 out of 5 stars a little stressful
I think I would have been very pleased with this product except for a problem that developed on my computer after I installed the software. I have windows xp and after I installed the software a serious error occured on my computer. I had never had a problem with my computer before I installed it. ... Read more


10. Hollywood Screenwriter
list price: $59.99
our price: $36.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYC4
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 918
Average Customer Review: 3.09 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Show business loves its archetypes. One chestnut that won't go away is the image of the feverish screenwriter, hunched over a word processor, ideas flying so thick and fast that the chore of punctuation would invite creative disaster. Hollywood Screenwriter is a script-writing program that promises to simplify the mundane stuff--like proper script formatting--so creative juices can flow freely.

The only keys a writer needs to move between script elements in this program are TAB, ENTER, and (. Since scripts have a logic and order that's fairly standardized, the program can intuit what's next, placing time of day after scene headings or formatting for dialogue or a parenthetical after a character's name. This is a less-complicated program than some of the more expensive screenwriting programs out there, but it doesn't do as much as those other offerings either.

Hollywood Screenwriter is designed for writing spec scripts: speculative screenplays designed to get the attention of stage or screen producers. This program will help you format your script correctly, ensuring that it won't get tossed out based on appearance. But if someone decides to produce your masterpiece, you won't be able to make a production script with this program. Then again, if that happens, you might feel flush enough to go buy one of those spendy programs that does A and B pages.

No other place clings to dated stereotypes of how things are done quite like Hollywood does. Included in Hollywood Screenwriter's instruction manual are painstakingly detailed instructions on how to assemble a script correctly. Which begs the question: Are there really people out there who would reject a possible Oscar winner because it's not punched by a three-hole press and bound by two solid-brass Acco No. 5 brads? --Anne Erickson ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great starter program
For a quarter to a fifth of the price of the full programs, you get a fine spec script writing package. Like Movie Magic 2000, Final Draft and Scriptware, you get the TAB and ENTER system of entering Scenes and Character Names. You'll lose some of the higher end features (like card view) but for basic script input (especially for spec scripts) Hollywood Screenwriter will probably do what you need, especially if you're a beginner.

You do need to download the latest updates from Screenplay Systems, especially if you are using Windows Me, 2000 or XP (othewise you might get an "Error 32 Message"). You should also look at the new spec script formats that can be downloaded from Screenplay System's web site. They allow you to stop using Character CONT'Ds in your scripts, as this is becoing outdated.

Hollywood Screenwriter doesn't have as many export options as its bigger brother, Movie Magic 2000, but it *does* have RTF and ASCII, which means it should interact with just about any Windows word processor or Screenplay software.

For the price and features, Hollywood Screenwriter is a great program. Check Screenplay System's comparison chart for feature differences between it and Movie Magic 2000 before buying, but there's a good chance that if you are writing a spec script, Hollywood Screenwriter will do the job.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I bought this to import a script from MS Word and have been very disappointed. It's not very intuitive, lacks a clear description of the elements and has limited help functions. I am used to using MS Word and found this very frustrating. I just wanted a simple program without all the bells and whistles of the more expensive products, but am disappointed in this. Perhaps it could be different if I was starting from scratch and hadn't imported my script.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product, great Tech Support!
I entered the Project Greenlight screenwriting contest three years ago and needed a program immediately so I could retype my screenplay into the exactly perfect formatting of "standard industry format," which was a rule of the Project Greenlight Contest (a rule they never enforced). I didn't have money to buy a program at that time and discovered that Hollywood Screenwriter had a free trial period so I downloaded it.

I somehow missed the part where either the free trial did not allow saving or if it did, I didn't understand how to do it. I had no problem whatsoever using Hollywood Screenwriter, it was easy to understand right from the start. But the deadline to enter the contest at Project Greenlight was only one more day away and there I was, stuck with a screenplay that I could not save to the required .pdf format.

I got in touch with Tech Support and these guys were absolutely wonderful and supportive of me. They emailed back and forth with me for half the night, trying to figure out how to get my script to .pdf format. They finally hit on the idea of saving my script to .rtf then going to Adobe for their free conversion to .pdf. Although the Adobe conversion alters page breaks, that's not Hollywood Screenwriter's fault.

I will never forget how nice their Tech Support was and how much effort they put into helping me and I was only using the free trial version! There are many companies out there who wouldn't go to all that bother even for their paying customers.

If there is any part of this software's interface that you don't "get," or if you have any problems at all, be assured that their Tech Support will go to any lengths to help you. I wouldn't worry about the interface, though. As I stated, it is very easy to use, very quick to learn.

Not having to worry about formatting really frees up your creativity. I do recommend this product.

2-0 out of 5 stars A cheap program with some big gotcha's
Sure, this program is [cheap] compared to [the expensive] Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 or Final Draft, but this program is so loaded with technical glitches and gotchas that I can't recommend it unless you're planning to write and print a single short screenplay for a school assignment or something like that. The documentation says you can export your text into other programs, but you can't! So whatever you write is locked into this limited-feature program forever, unless you want to retype it all. There are lots of other things promised by the manual or box cover but not delivered in the program. If you have any fantasies of actually writing and selling a screenplay, don't buy this product. Save your money and buy one of the industry standard programs instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars I know why the other reviewers hated this product-I LOVE IT
This software is great for writing scripts for movie you want to sell or make yourself! It is so easy to use just press TAB and ENTER to go to diffrent sections of the script. The reason why other reviewers disliked this product was because they didn't have the upgate. Just ... download a small upgrade so it will work on all the computers it says it will and will not give you an Error 32 message. This program is great for all users! ... Read more


11. Movie Edit Pro 2004
list price: $24.99
our price: $26.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000AFX5Q
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Magix Entertainment
Sales Rank: 315
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Simply, powerful, and complete desktop video editing
  • Make cuts, build special effects and 3-D transitions, and create your own soundtracks
  • Easy DVD and CD authoring
  • Watch your movies on TV, share on disc, or post them on the Web
  • Cut, edit, and create titles

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Best Buy"
I have searched for months for a cost effective and feature-filled video editing program. I looked at Pinnacle, Ulead, Cyberlink, and so on. Magix's movie edit pro seems to be the best product out there for under $100. This program is loaded with features. First off, there is a bonus content cd with tons of extra video and audio clips. Plus, the installation cd has many more video clips, audio clips, and transitions that are either included in the program installation or just on the cd, totalling up to around 2,000 media files. The options are endless integrating those media files into your own videos.

The program itself is incredibly awesome. I have only run into a few problems (such as one crash and some glitches) during the time I have owned it. You can do things like add commentaries, reverse the film, do picture and picture effects, add 3-D transitions, do green, blue, white, or black screen effects, and many more. Another really cool features that you don't see in cost-effective video editing programs is the ability to create video menus on DVDs. I recorded about 30 minutes of DV footage onto my computer, and there were no dropped frames.

I would say that this programs only competitor for a similar price range is Apple's Imovie. Although, this program comes with many more specific features, which almost puts it in the catagory of the higher priced video editing programs such as Adobe Premier Pro.

Another feature I am particulary interested in is it's ability to function in real time. I am running a 2.8 GHZ processor with 512 ram, and it seems that the program always runs pretty smooth.

I called this program "the best buy" because programs like pinnacle studio 9 and Ulead Video Studio 7 lack some important features that this program has.Overall, Magix's Movie Edit Pro 2004 is a fun, and professional tool to edit videos.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad
I like this product. I have tried several movie editing/DVD burning software products trying to find one that meets my needs without costing me an arm and a leg. I am working on a project that involves converting the contents of old VHS tapes into DVD. My PC is equipped with the following hardware:
1.0G AMD processor
1G memory
2 - 120G hardrives
Hauppage WinTV 250 video capture card
HP DVD burner

My problems with video software seemed to occur after I tried to edit the video. I don't know what happened but I believe that each software product has a different compression method because the quality of the video never was as good after being processed (ArcSoft Showbiz, Ulead MovieFactory). I downloaded a copy of Ulead MediaStudio Pro and it performed great. The quality of my movies was just as good after editing as they were before. MediaStudio Pro is expensive. I read about Magix and their other video editing products got decent reviews so I thought I would give Movie Edit Pro 2004 a try. The price was right and I have not been disappointed. First off, I was shocked that I actually received a usable user's manual with the software. The tutorials provided are helpful. The user interface was intuitive for me (but I have used several products now, I have and idea of what to expect) There are a few screens that use terms that are confusing especially some of the audio and video cleaning screens. The video editing functions are very easy to use as are the DVD menu creation functions. After a great deal of trial and error, I was able to create some decent DVDs from my VHS tapes. I also created some clips for use on the web.

This software is not without problems. There are quirks. I think every piece of video software that I have tried has had some issues. Sometimes the audio and video would get out of sync. Unexplainable white flashes would occur during scene transitions. The audio/video thing can be dealt with but it is annoying to play a DVD (4-6 hours to process and burn) and find that half-way through the thing, the audio gets behind the video. Magix has a decent user's forum on its website. You might want to check that out before purchasing the software. It gives some insight to the kinds of problems users are finding. ... Read more


12. Screenblast Movie Studio 3.0
list price: $99.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000A0VG7
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment
Sales Rank: 2055
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than the rest.
So I bought a MiniDV Camcorder with FireWire (IEEE 1394) out and I wanted the best video editing software, but I also wanted something intuitive and fairly easy to use I also wanted something stable that wouldn't lock-up or crash my computer all the time. In my quest for the perfect video editing, burning package I tried Unlead VideoStudio, Sonic MyDVD/Mr. ShowBiz, Pinnacle Studio 8 and then finally ScreenBlast MovieStudio. All the other programs mentioned I found extreemly unstable (save Sonic MyDVD) and while some of them were super easy to use (e.g. Pinnacle Studio 8) that easy of use came at the price of flexability.

For video editing (primary what I was looking for) ScreenBlast Movie studio stood out above the rest with drag and drop video editing, it was the only program I found that took a multi-track approach to video and audio editing, this provides a great iterface for some of its FX (some of which are common only to high-end packages, such as Choma-Keying/bluescreening), the core engine of ScreenBlast MovieStudio is the same of Sony's higher end Vegas 4 product (Vegas 4 is the video editing counterpart to Adobe Photoshop and ProTools in my book, it has no equal for what it does), perhaps a better name for ScreenBlast MovieStudio would have been Vegas 4 Lite, but Sony wanted to make this product target a very specific market.

DVD burning is only average (this is the reason I'm only giving this 4 stars), Screenblast renders the MPEG-2 then hands it over to another program to burn the DVD (Sonic MyDVD actually), so you're limited to the average consumer grade menu editing structure, this is the weak point of this software, but you can always use a seperate program to burn your DVDs and author your menus (I perfer TMPEG DVD Author). This design seems awkward, but it's required because ScreenBlast Movie Studio (like Vegas 4) were designed to be a general multi-track audio/video editing software package, MPEG-2 (DVD preped video) is one of many codecs supported, the reach of this program goes out much further (you can even use it as a multi-track recording studio and ignore the video editing all togeather) the higher end Vegas 4 doesn't even come with DVD authorware unless you buy Vegas 4+DVD, you have to keep in mind these two products are both developed by Sonic Fondary and started off as the same application.

So if you want the most simple all-in one solution and you don't want to spend any time learning you might look elsewhere, if you want real power in the video/audio editing department (beyond cheesy effects) and you don't mind investing a few hours, look no further.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Value for the Price, with Some Exceptions
You get a lot for your money in an easy to use package. The instructions are easy to follow and the timeline approach is the best. Integrated Mpeg 1 & 2 output is a strong plus.

I have two gripes regarding this software. The software opens correctly, but as soon as I move the cursor over any area of the Media Pool window, the program instantly shuts down and exits back into Windows. This consistently happens after dozens of attempts to access the Media Pool window. There are no error messages. I can move my cursor over and access any other area of the screen including accessing the Transitions, Video FX, Text & Backdrops and Explorer tabs. I can still use the software using the Explorer tab, but this one bug still bothers me. I've heard from others that this is a fairly bug free and stable program, but I have run into this bug.

The claim that this software has "integrated" DVD burning is totally false. It comes with Sonic MyDVD 4.5, which is a purely standalone package and not a good one at that. Sonic should have included a lite version of DVD Architect with this package.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Editing Very Good Output
I've used Adobe Premiere in the past, excellent but too expensive, I tried Ulead what a horrible experience, pinnacle reviews said crash after crash. Based on the reputation of Video Vegas I gave this product a try and it is really excellent.

I've used it so far to create 2 online projects for work documenting team meetings and posting the video online. It's easy to work with different pieces of the timeline and then output them in an appropriate format like Windows Media 9.
Excellent integration with external codecs - quicktime, wmv, mpeg1 and 2, and real video. The only drawbacks I've found so far are no control over the output only fixed templates. For example if you wanted to fine tune the audio bit rate, SB will not let you do that. Oh well I guess it is an entry level package. Secondly, the outputted MPEG is a little bit halo prone. It's supposed to be main concept encoder, but since you are not allowed to tune it at all, there's no way to fix it.

Lastly the NTSC mpeg2 video it creates is actually non-compliant for DVD production, since it only supports mpeg audio. In the US you really should output either PCM or AC3 Stereo. Neither of those are an option. I've filed a bug against Sony, but they have not responded. If sony would allow a little more control over the output I would definitely give this package 5 stars.

First the pros: excellent stability, very easy to use capture, good editing capability, easy to generate output.
Cons: lack of control over output.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get this if you want a "better" home movie.
Look, you want to make your home movies interesting to watch...right!? You want some flexibility in your video effects and transitions...right!? You want to score your clips to existing CD tracks...right!? You're not afraid of spending a few hours on your PC instead of using a cut/paste video editor...right!? Get Screenblast. This software is great for someone who is interested in quality video editing. Even if you're a beginner, the tutorials will walk you through every step. The only part I didn't like about the package, is the DVD authoring software from Sonic DVD (Not part of Screenblast). It's like working on Windows 98 with 32MB of RAM. Buy the cheaper version of Screenblast without My Sonic DVD and find something that let's you display more than five buttons per screen. Anyway, good luck and enjoy this crash-free, easy to use video editor.

2-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating
I wish I had not purchased this software. It has many flaws. One, if you have several pictures on your timeline and wish to extend or shorten the play time of that particular picture, you have to edit ALL the pictures after it. Not much fun when you have 50 pictures up there! Pinacle automatically moves surrounding pictures, much easier! ... Read more


13. StoryView 2.0

our price: $199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001XE0QG
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 1404
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Use the powerful Outline or Timeline Views to get a stronger visual sense of your story
  • Tracking tool helps you show connections between events and characters, objects or key words
  • Customize StoryView to fit your personal writing style, or choose any of the pre-built templates
  • Import a story or script that's been pre-written for deeper analysis
  • Represent the size and duration of your story events and their importance with Event Boxes

14. Final Draft 6.0 and Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD combo
list price: $219.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008IAO8
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Final Draft
Sales Rank: 2934
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Time-Saver
Writing a screenplay can be a very daunting task, especially for someone who is not familiar with the format. Before purchasing Final Draft, my previous screenplays were written in your basic, custom-formated Microsoft Word document.

Final Draft 6 does it all the formating for you. A function called "SmartType" finishes off character names for you, so you don't have to keep typing in names. This is wonderful when you have two or three characters talking to each other in a string, so you can quickly type the conversation, as if it were going on in front of you.

When I transferred my previous screenplays into Final Draft, it took about an hour or so to reformat a 106-page document correctly. Final Draft was able to interperate about 80% of the formatting correctly, getting confused on mostly transitions and telling the difference between some scene headings and actions. Although, it knew exactly what was dialogue just by where it was placed in the word document, which I thought was remarkable.

Some of the templates for actual T.V. shows are a little silly, but they serve their purpose: giving you the raw format for a certain show, which can vary greatly depending on the series. If you have your own show you've created, you can save a blank document with the initial beginings of the script as a template and be able to have a fresh document ready for your next episode.

Final Draft is a great purchase for the novice screen writer learning the format, and a wonderful time-saver for the somewhat-established to established veteran.

2-0 out of 5 stars Final Draft 6 Needs Revision
Even though it remains the Hollywood standard, Final Draft 6 leaves a lot to be desired. For lack of a decent alternative, I've used this application for the better part of a decade, and it remains clumsy to use and well behind the curve of technology.

The big issue: Onscreen text looks atrocious. After a year on the market, Final Draft 6 still doesn't use Mac OS X's technology to render beautiful anti-aliased text. Third-party fixes, like Silk, work only halfway to solve Final Draft's shortcomings. But should an application that costs $ need fixing at all? Unacceptable.

And beware of WYSIWYDG, or "What You See Is What You Don't Get." You might find the perfect font in the Font Menu, but good luck applying it to your screenplay. Worse, there are occasional text hiccups, where the text-rendering is garbled and screen redrawing is skewed.

'Authorization' remains a nuisance, too. (Bet you didn't remember to 'deauthorize''before a system reinstall or upgrade.) I know of no other software that requires such an unwieldy process just to stay running smoothly.

Final Draft 6 is still better than a typewriter or a standard word processor for writing scripts, but not by much. Considering the steep price, maybe it's time to revisit the competition.

1-0 out of 5 stars Quirky program made useless by copy protection
Buyer beware: Final Draft incorporates an archaic copy protection scheme that will drive you nuts. Every other category of computer software did away with this kind of user-unfriendly copy protection scheme in the mid-80s, but the screenwriting software vendors persist. You're probably better off using Microsoft Word (which is far more robust) and using a simple formatting utility when you're project is finished. If you have any hard drive crashes or hardware upgrades and you forget to de-install Final Draft you will lose your install keys. Tech support is scarce and the online help system is only good for the most basic information. While it should make your life simpler this product will make your life hell. Avoid it like the plague.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best investment I've made for writing.
I purchased Final Draft a couple of years ago, and it was the best investment for writing I've made yet. I had loads of story ideas in my head, but had no idea how to write a screenplay or teleplay, and didn't have the patience to read a book about it.

I am a VERY basic computer user and feared formatting software would be nothing short of a nightmare, but within a month I formatted three one-hour teleplays, started on a screenplay, and knew how to navigate the software fairly well. The Smart-type feature is a lifesaver, and the various view, outline, and report features are incredibly helpful and save loads of time.

There are a few features that were more complicated to learn, and as an absolute novice I had some questions that I couldn't find answers for in the program, but overall - I'm thrilled with it and use it everyday.

I'd recommend this software to anyone, rank amateur or paid professional ,who's looking for a user-friendly, helpful, and reliable formatting system.

5-0 out of 5 stars There's a reason the whole world uses it -- it's the best
Final Draft is simply the best there is. Screenwriter is buggy [I borrowed an install from a friend], Scriptware is a joke [based on the demo I tried] and Sophocles doesn't even run on my Mac. If you follow the directions it does exactly what it says it's going to do. It's a professional-grade tool [even though I'm not a professional-grade writer - YET], it's got 24/7 help [that I haven't even come close to needing] and everyone I know uses it [and I do work in the industry]. As far as I can tell the people who have problems with it aren't using it right or they have crappy computers.

Don't mess around with other programs. This one is the one to use. ... Read more


15. Marvel Comic Book Library Vol. 1
list price: $29.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000DFHQ3
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Topics Entertainment
Sales Rank: 1880
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • The first 10 adventures of 10 classic Marvel characters on 1 super-powered CD-ROM
  • 100 complete comic books highlight the storylines of this famous band of heroes
  • Includes the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Avengers, The Sub-Mariner, Iron Man, and Silver Surf
  • Character bios and 3 free bonus Comics

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stands Above The Rest -
What you should know:
TOPICS Entertainment, one of the fastest-growing software publishers in the nation, is introducing a new CD-ROM titled: MARVEL COMIC BOOK LIBRARY COLLECTION COLLECTOR'S EDITION VOL.1. This rich treasure of 100 complete comic books on one CD-ROM will retail for $29.95 in software and comic book retailers nationwide. Marvel Enterprises, Inc. one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment provided content to TOPICS Entertainment. Marvel Comic Library Collection delivers the first 10 adventures of 10 classic Marvel characters on one super-powered CD-ROM. The set includes SPIDER-MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, DAREDEVIL, X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, AVENGERS, NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER, IRON MAN AND SILVER SURFER. Also included are character bios, comic book computer wallpaper and screensavers.

What happened:
Where else can you find 100 classic Marvel Comic issues, valued at nearly $230,000 ... in a convenient pocket-sized package and for only $30? Well, before TOPICS Entertainment came along, you simply couldn't, but they've now made all of your favorite heroes' classic adventures available to anyone on one easy-to-use CD-ROM.
What makes this product stand above the rest isn't its packaging, but rather its content.

100 complete issues of your favorite characters and comics from the 1960's and 70's! So you can sit down in front of your computer and read the original stories ... such as AMAZING FANTASY #15, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, AVENGERS #1, FANTASTIC FOUR #1, INCREDIBLE HULK #1, DAREDEVIL #1, GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 and 93 other classic issues ... in your choice of full-color or black & white, inked pages.

Other features include the ability to print the pages, so you can take them with you on the road or share them with a friend. You can also search detailed character bio's, taken from the recent MARVEL COMICS ENCYCLOPEDIA.

It's like the ultimate ESSENTIALS book, with all your favorite characters crammed into one disc! It's great for comic collectors as well as those who want to remember the Silver Age of comics, without breaking their wallets in the process! From a personal standpoint, I can tell you that they're also very helpful to aspiring comic book creators to use as reference material in Marvel Comics submissions. This disc has something for every comic aficionado.

Ryan Scott Ottney
Media Sharx

4-0 out of 5 stars Read Comics you can't afford
This is a great way to read old comics you can't afford. You get ten different issuses per character/group at a price thats less than one printed collection, and in color not like the Essential series of Marvel reprints. I did have a couple gripes with this product however. It advertised that you get to read the first ten comics of each hero, however in the case of Capt. America, Namor and some Hulk issues they shared thier books with another hero and you don't get those stories. In other words in some cases you get half comics. Also it has the new X-men (issues 94-102) not the first 10 issues of the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm about to vomit all over myself.
Pat, you're in no position to criticize the writing in these comic books. You couldn't tell the difference between real literature and a hole in the ground. So why don't you go back to the renaissance fair, buy yourself a big crock of mead, and take in a Shakespeare play? What gets me is the way you think you're stylin' when you trot out words like "dulcid." Gee, I had to look that one up. Where did you read Classics? Christ Church, Oxford back in the 19th century?

5-0 out of 5 stars Lo! How the Mighty Have Fallen!
As a Marvel fan since 1968 onward, I've dreamed of a collection like this. The classic icon heroes of my youth forever preserved in pristine condition, dynamically digitized, electronically enumerated! Herein, find, if ye dare, the original appearance not only of most core heroes of the Marvel Universe, but the supremely villanous counterparts: Dr Doom, The Mandarin, Doc Ock, Magneto. A rogue's gallery! Art by the incomparable Jack "King" Kirby and Steve Ditko! Scripts by Stan "The Man" Lee! Who could ask for more! Make mine Marvel!

Yeesh! Can you tell I was raised on the dulcid dialogue of Stan Lee?

Technical notes: Each page of the comic (as previously indicated, story only, no ads or letters) appears in an Explorer window. Problem is that comic books are drawn in "portrait" and computer displays are in "landscape". So you have a choice of seeing the whole page but having black bars on each side of the screen, or blowing the page up but only being able to see half the page at a time. A lousy choice, but one made necessary by the natures of the media.

The initial display is a single page with each of the ten series lead characters, selecting from there gives you a view of the original covers of the 10 issues. Clicking on a cover brings you to a full size screen, and you can use PgUp/PgDown or arrow buttons to move from page to page. This is rather a slow process, probably due to the detail of the art & color. Use your cursors "Back" button to return to the menu levels.

A nice feature: Special buttons along the top row allow you to view either the uncolored art, or the colors without the black ink. The quality of the reproduction is excellent. Even when grossly blown up, there is no sign of digitization in the display.

Another unfortunate side-effect of this presentation is that two page spreads cannot be viewed together. Makes for some awkward reading on Cockrum's X-men art.

I recommend this for any comic afficianado over 20. Not because the material is inappropriate for kids, but because, and it pains me to say this...

The writing is just awful.

Characters endlessly talk to themselves, explaining details to nobody in particular. Co-incidences so improbable as to be laughable. Dialogue so inane that it is unreadable. And plots so silly it beggars the imagination.

Examples: In FF2, the Skrulls are convinced, based on comic book clippings, that Earth is inhabited by monsters. In FF3, the villain is a mass-hypnotist who bring a monster to life at the televised premiere of a movie. (Mass hyponosis works on TV?!?) In FF4, the Human Torch runs into an amnesiac Sub-Mariner only seconds after reading a 20 year old comic featuring him.

But I forgive all this. Truly I do. These tales, sometimes awful as they are, were the foundation for and inspired greater works to come. The Galactus trilogy, the Kree-Skrull wars, Days of Future Past.

I'm hoping this release is a sampler, intended to test the market. If they release future editions of the first 100 issues of X-Men, Spidey or, particularly, the Fantastic Four, count me in!

Excelsior!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great value to visit the "roots" of Marvel
As a 28-year-old life-long Marvel fan, I could not pass up this CD collection, even though I already own the Essential Spider-Man vol. 1 and the Essential X-Men vol. 1 (the contents of both books are covered on this CD).

I was glad to see that it was Mac-compatible; however, if you own a Mac, don't run this collection on Safari, as it doesn't handle the Dj-Vu plug-in properly (it works just fine with Explorer). Basically, instead of using an application like Adobe Acrobat Reader, you use your browser (with the Dj-Vu plug-in) to navigate through the pages.

Each book is easy to access to, and the fact that it can be read in color or in black and white is a great feature. The image quality is top-notch, and the colors are vibrant (I would say that the visual quality in general is on a par with the great reprint of the Marvel GI Joe comics of 2 years ago).

My only real gripe is that Wolverine's popularity is not enough to justify detracking from the promise of the CD-ROM's "first ten issues" and include the "New" X-Men of 1975 (Storm, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler) instead of the original 1960s Uncanny X-Men. It also would have been great to see the wartime version of Captain America and the Submariner, if only to compare them with their 1960s revival.

All in all, it's a great product that definitely gives out a great value for its price. I really hope that future volumes will focus on one series at a time though (which would be a great alternative to Marvel's paperback reprints). ... Read more


16. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009V3KL
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Sales Rank: 812
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Action sports game featuring Harry Potter fantasy world
  • Fly your broom to victory
  • Play as any one of four Hogwarts houses and numerous characters from the books
  • Play all the Quidditch positions and execute all the high-flying moves
  • For 1 or 2 players

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not without flaws
I like the Harry Potter book and film series, but the video games have always been lacking something, and QWC is no exception. Of course, I'm 24 and these games are made more for kids.

Straight off, game play is VERY easy. There is no difficulty setting. You don't have altitude control; the game assumes this for you, and makes it fairly easy to maneuver about the field.

It's also very detailed with the characters. I'm not sure JK Rowling has detailed team rosters written up or not, but I recognize a lot of names from the books. I don't think they come right out and say it, but you're playing Second Year students; Draco Malfoy is the Slytherin seeker, and he didn't get that position until "Chamber of Secrets."

I've noticed that there are some Potter fans who don't like Harry and his friends; this game cleverly caters to these fans as well. You don't have to be Gryffindor; you can be Slytherin, or my favorite, Ravenclaw. When I played Gryffindor, I beat them 500 to nothing (again, attributing to how easy this game is) and Harry walked away disappointed.

The biggest problem I have with this game is the skill level. It's so easy, a 5 year old could play it. However, rather than adapt to your skill or offer a better difficulty, the game "cheats" at times to catch up. You'll be playing and all of a sudden it will cut to a cinematic, where the other team will pull off a fancy score. They're fun to watch the first and sometimes second times, but after that they're a drag, and you can't skip them. There's also a few other nasty tricks the computer-controlled team can pull on you, but if you have some skill, you can still win every time.

I disagree with other reviewers' assessments of EA Games. They're a very well known publisher, but I have had really odd problems in the past I won't go into here. When I play a game from EA, I expect problems. One issue I had was in the Japanese field. Sometimes the Chasers would fly through the buildings on the side; other times, the Chaser could get "stuck" on one side.

The Golden Snitch aspect of this game is rather funny. You don't get a run as the Seeker until the Snitch is "spotted," which doesn't happen until so many points are made. Each team's score counter has a bar with half the Snitch, and as the other team scores, your bar increases. When the two halves meet, the Snitch enters the game, and you take over as the Seeker. The computer controlled Seeker has about 8 times more "turbo" than you do, but that just means yours refills faster! Refill turbo by staying in the Snitch's slipstream. I catch it every time... (Also, for some reason, they call it the Snidditch, though it's clearly Snitch in the books.)

Despite this game's quirkiness and strange difficulty, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a fun game. If you're a parent, there are a few things that make this game appealing, for example, at the end of the match, it shows members of opposite teams congratulating one another. (The Seeker never shows good sportsmanship, however.)

5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL
Controls: AMAZING
Color: PERFECT
True to the book: Yup
Idea: EXCELLENT
EA games has created the sport of Quidditch into na amazing 3-D computer adventure. You can now play as any Hogwarts house (something you couldn't do in the other games). I for one always have wanted to control Draco Malfoy as a seeker in a computer game and now I can. Also, you can play in an internation team. The Hogwarts field represents the one in the movie wonderfully and the internation fields are EXTREMELY creative and well done. They were a HUGE surprise. The images are excellent. This is the best Harry Potter PC game that they ahve yet come up with and my favorite. I LOVE playing it and if oyu ahven't tried it out yet click the yellow ADD TO SHOPPING CART button (If you're a kid tell your parents to click the yellow ADD TO SHOPING CART button.)

4-0 out of 5 stars An out of control game
This game is really fun and has good 3-D appearances, but sometimes when you are flying it sort of goes out of control. For example, you're flying up the field and you're aiming for the goal hoop opposite the keeper and you're about to shoot the quaffle through the hoop when you're player suddenly passes the quaffle towards the other team and the other team catches it without you controlling the pass. It just does it by itself. It can make you lose a game easily and instantly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what it could be
A friend of mine suggested that this video game wasn't very good because Quidditch was an invented game, not a real game, and so it hasn't had all the flaws worked out of it through practical experience the way soccer, basketball football and the like have over time. That may be true, but I think Quidditch could be a great game, but Electronic Arts just didn't put the effort into it that they could.

My biggest complaint is that Quidditch is clearly designed to be a 3-dimensional game with players able to fly right left, forward and backward, and up and down. In the video game, the up and down flight is automatic and out of the players' control. This really just turns it into a weird version of soccer which it shouldn't be.

The other flaw is in the AI. It's just too easy, and the opponents aren't good enough at the game. In all fairness, the game was designed for a younger age group and for younger kids it probably is close to the right difficulty to make it challenging but not frustrating. Electronic Arts could have spent more time on the AI and offered people a few difficulty levels to make the game more challenging for older players, or for younger players who succeeded at the easy level and wanted to keep playing with a new challenge.
If EA were to revisit Quidditch in the future, and they fixed the Up down element and made the opponents tougher, I'd be willing to try again before writing off Quidditch as a poorly thought out sport. I still think Rowling was on to a great idea with the game, it just hasn't been done right for gamers.

4-0 out of 5 stars What a game!
This game is so very fun. When I got this game, I couldn't stop playing it. The only way I got off was when my mom made me.
Here are the Pros:
1. The graphics are TIGHT!
2. You can play for Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw too.
3. I love the special moves.
4. The international stadiums are amazing.
5. You get to play as chasers and beaters too.
Here are the cons:
1. YOU CAN'T PLAY AS IRELAND.
2. GAMEPLAY IS TOO EASY.
Other than that, the game is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Read more


17. Law & Order: Dead on the Money (Mac)
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009NFPI
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Aspyr Media
Sales Rank: 4900
Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrible game - The victim is you and the perp is Aspyr
This is about the worst piece of software that I have come across in recent times. It is reminiscent of the early days of software development when all manner of quirky, buggy junk used to make it onto the shelves of retailers.

But that was 20 years ago. Since then software development has matured considerably and although there are bugs they don't impede the general purpose of the game - which is to challenge and entertain.

Well there's no entertainment here. The graphics are dreadful. The sound is non-existent and there's no way to exit out of the game without having to reboot the computer. Something our Windows cousins are well accustomed too but is a very rare occurrence on the Mac these days with the release of OS/X.

So how does a lame piece of rubbish like this get on the shelves of respectable ret retailers ? That's a good question. I guess that with all the software out there it is difficult to check every game out. Retailers probably look in the box figure out that there is a CD and a manual and assume everything is ok.

It is ironic that a company that sells this type of software calls itself Aspire - misspelled ASPRY - it should more aptly call itself DSPYR for despair.

All I think of is that in the end of all of this process you - the buyer - are the victim in this transaction if you buy this game and the perpetrator the company called ASPYR. Hopefully the good people in Law & Order will catch on to this con and throw ASPYR's arse in the clinker.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy This Game
I've tried to get it to work on two different platforms, a G3 Macintosh running the lastest Jaguar and a G4 running the latest Panther. Aspyr technical support is absolutely no help. Don't buy this game until they fix the bugs (freeze-ups and virtually no sound). It's a $40 ripoff.

1-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't work
This game doesn't work. It freezes up. I tried to work with Aspry and when it still didn't work after all their suggestions, they said that it must be a problem with my system. Some other program must be interrupting play, which of course wasn't tremendously helpful. I recommend not buying this game until or unless Aspry discovers a solution.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless
I bought this game for my dad as a Christmas present. Unfortunately it's not much of a gift since it doesn't work. Even after making sure our system software was completely up-to-date, it locks up constantly and is basically unplayable. I even attempted to install it on my own system with the same results. Aspyr doesn't offer any solutions to this problem which seems to be widespread. Don't buy this game until Aspyr offers a patch. ... Read more


18. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Combo Pack (Mac)
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009LI59
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Aspyr Media
Sales Rank: 5195
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (248)

4-0 out of 5 stars Resistance is futile... but frustration may vary!
I was surprised to receive a copy of Activision's Star Trek: Armada II for Christmas. The mid-morning of the 26th, I turned on the computer and loaded up this bad boy. After a complete installation of 1.3 gigabytes (that's including the need for an extra 100 megabytes of hard drive space for a Windows swap file), I sat back and let Patrick Stewart's voiceover carry me through the opening movie.

Armada II picks up six months after the events of the first game ends. Although the Borg were beaten back by the combined Federation, Klingon, and Romulan fleets, they have returned with a deadly new planetary assault vessel capable of assimilating an entire world. To prevent the Borg from gaining a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, the Federation is launching the first-ever assault against the Borg in the Delta Quadrant. (In one of the battles you capture a new kind of transwarp portal that allows Starfleet to travel to the Delta Quadrant.) With Starfleet off in the Delta Quadrant, the Klingons are left playing peacekeeper in the Alpha. But the Klingons are having problems of their own - the Cardassians. In the mix for good measure are the Romulans and Species 8472. Got all this so far? Ok. That's just the story. Armada II as a game is a whole other story.

Visually, Armada II carries over the best elements of its predecessor. The graphics are great for an RTS - the colors rich and vibrant; the ship and station textures distinct. With the new 3-D perspective (which you can toggle between that and 2-D) and the new tactical feature of fleet formations, Armada II has gained much ground over the original. Game play has changed significantly also. The new structures, ships, and enemies make Armada II more challenging. Combine this with the new economic component, players gain a more tangible, realistic perspective to the managerial tasks of interstellar combat. The need to colonize worlds for crew reinforcements; building orbital mining facilities to extract metal to build your fleet, and the need to harvest both dilithium and latinum to purchase or trade with other players or non-player characters is a unique consideration missing from other Star Trek games, while not taking away from your combat objective. Now for the bad news: Armada II can be very frustrating to play.

Even without the economic considerations, new ships, technologies, and races, Armada II is still a difficult game to play... and at times even boring. I've just gotten through the first nine mission of the Federation campaign after many grueling hours of game play and a lot of saves. Yes, the objectives change from mission to mission, but to keep fighting the Borg successively is a bit draining. In the original Armada, your mission varied between fighting your enemy to locating a lost ship or outrunning an enemy fleet while still remaining within the original context of the story. So far it's just hunt and kill, which stays with the story but gets redundant after awhile. Couple this with some game restrictions like the 600-officer cap (which limits the number of ships and stations you can build) and the frustration mounts. I began the game employing the same tactics I used in the first Armada but I had to quickly discard that strategy. This might seem like a plus because the game wouldn't be like too much like the original because that would be predictable, right? Wrong. The AI in this game is less responsive when you need it to be and more aggressive when you don't want it to be. In addition, the older ship classes are not as resilient as in the first Armada, which means they can't hold up as long in a firefight as they used to. I used to send in my construction ships as a decoy to lure enemy forces away because they had stronger shields and a high crew compliment. Not anymore! Also, the construction time for ships and facilities is drastically shorter making combat that much longer. The faster a fleet can be built the more you have manage and the more the game becomes cumbersome. Don't think this is a problem? Try sending a fleet of Defiant-class ships against a Borg cube while trying to build your support stations and then we'll talk. Or did you think you'd have enough metal or dilithium or crew personnel to amass your defenses? Still unphased? Now try to go on the offensive. You'll score little damage against an enemy shipyard when it can build a dozen ships in under five minutes to defend itself. Although this creates a higher degree of difficulty and lends credence to the war-aspect that Armada II is centered around, it can turn a two-hour mission (real-time) into a three day event! I like a game that won't end in two hours but I don't like taking two weeks to complete one board - and I'm not even up to the Klingon campaign!

Gameplay aside, Armada II hangs from time to time during the cinematic cutscenes. The audio and visual sputter probably because of a RAM drop (a technology issue) and I'm running a full install with over a gig free of storage, 128MB of RAM, and a 40x CD-ROM drive on a PIII 733 processor (you computer geeks understand what I was saying). Other than load time and minor performance problems, Armada II, so far, is a worthy successor to the original. The story is enticing (the voiceover work by Patrick Stewart, Alice Krige, and J.G. Hertzler a plus), the combat challenging, and the game play generally fun. Although my review is mixed, I do like the game, but I still have a lot to go. I don't think anything will change my opinion, but if it does, you'll be the first to know. Right now, I recommend Armada II to any Star Trek gaming nut who enjoyed the first one and has been disappointed by almost every other Star Trek title published in the last two years.

4-0 out of 5 stars The politcally correct version of Unreal 2; sort of....
Good? Yes. Just as good as the original Elite Force? No.

Elite Force II is a worthy sequel of it's prequel-hardly.

Ritual Entertainment failed to execute the original star trek expansive level design that Raven did in the original, and feeling. Music is cheesy. There's a lot of big guns and blowing up huge aliens with alotta surprises, at least. Thank god theres no geekish "Set phases to stun" crap! Multiplayer isn't as well established as the original but still holds it's poor boy scene. Graphically, elite force 2 pushes the limits of a enhanced version of quake 3 arena engine. It provides pretty good detail in both characters and environments using direct-x 9 and opengl software and opengl hardware capabilities. Thus the graphics need a bit more polish. The game is twice as short as the original and is easier by a long shot. There is no gender choice like there was in the original. At least ef2 provides two exclusuive multiplayer models. Voice acting is big budget and top notch, and sound effects really depend on what your PC is capable of, but on state of the art systems, elite force 2 manages very nicely sound effects wise. Weapons are very cool! 10 weapons of mass destruction really shines during game-play. Enemies are tough big and don't hold back a punch! Physics are pretty realistic though could have been written more efficiently. A.I is poor and pathetic, whoever wrote the A.I needs 12 months in the school of "A.I scripting", really! Overall game-play is good, but not great. The game performs lousy on systems that are below the high-end system specifications. (P4/AMD 3ghz, GeForce FX 5900 Ultra/Radeon 9800 pro 256, 1GB+ of RAM) Interface is decent and can be cool at times. LAN play is a smooth buttah! Online play isn't so smooth, that' for sure! Cut-scenes aren't the best. They could be better. There are a variety of hardware and software accelerated graphics and audio options, and really make their apperance well. The same quality real-time shadows that were used in Jedi Outcast are used in elite force 2 as well, which is great! Hopefully a patch will be released soon for ef2. Other graphics effects are the standard, you know. high quality 44khz sound output rates, A3D-EAX, 16-bit+ sound quality, and surround sound options are implemented into audio options. Of course. The average. But what really is disapointing is how EF2's disapointing worthyeness of it's presedood really impacts my hype and drooling trek anticipation. Elite force 2 overall is a good game, but not great. Pretty good, actually. But isn't quite the worthy sequel I expected. But that's not all to say about it! There's a lot more to ef2, as you know! [hopefully], so the bottom line is:

The game is pretty good but not very good.

And that's a fact!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Game.
As in most of my reviews, I use the word "solid." While this game doesn't match up to Aliens Vs Predator 2, I enjoyed it much more than the original Elite Force. For me, the graphics were much improved. I found this game a bit more challenging than the first. It was hard enough at times, to get me frustrated. Yet not too hard to throw in the towel. You'll battle aliens on different ships in the galaxy. Sound and effects rate a 3, controls a 4, and the graphics 4+ but not a 5. AvP 2 is still my favorite shooter, but this is a pleasing experience for both Trek fans and gamers alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars This game is pretty good
I love Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Combo Pack it pretty good and i love the Cd and it got cool 3D Style idea sorry my spelling it is dead and tried too. and you can play again your friend and you chat and it like you are in the movie it like you are the charater of the show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bridge Commander, a game with so much potential
When I fist saw the pics of bridge commander I thought it looked fun, probrably more so than the other star trek games I've played like SFC III. I was wrong. It's a whole lot better than those could ever hope to be. Yeah, the story game is fun, but the real fun lies in quick battle. You go into it, though, and think where are all the ships. The fact is this game doesn't come with much but has a good basis. Since I first got this game I've gone many times to www.bcfiles.com and downloaded mods, ships, and other fun things for the game. Now the once empty bridge commander is full of all sorts of ships and other interesting things. So, if you want a fun game that's true to star trek and are willing to do a little work online to make it better, bridge commander is the game for you. ... Read more


19. Dr. Format Screenwriting Software

(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002H4CCI
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Dr. Format Software
Sales Rank: 6270
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Dr. Format turns your copy of Microsoft Word (for Mac or PC) into a professional screenwriting program.
  • Dr. Format is the only program designed and endorsed by Dave Trottier, best-selling author of The Screenwriter's Bible.
  • With a built-in interactive tutorial and manual, Dr. Format is fast and easy to learn.
  • Customized toolbar and keyboard shortcuts lets Dr. Format guarantee you a perfectly formatted screenplay.
  • Bonus TV and Storyboard Templates Included

20. SERIOUS USA Stargate SG-1 CD Cardz (Windows)

Asin: B00007J6HF
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Serious Usa
Sales Rank: 12771
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Included on these cards -Character profiles, production stills, screensavers, movie trailers and do-it-yourself artwork
  • There's also a set of sound effects directly from the show and behind-the-scenes featurettes

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