CD Greeting Card had Mice Stirring this Holiday

Woodlands, TX - January 19, 1998 - If you opened your mail and were lucky enough to get a corporate greeting card from Cap Gemini this past holiday season, then you experienced first hand how multimedia is changing the world of business. When you are one of the largest international computer-consulting firms, a simple printed greeting card just won't cut it. So what made this company's card so special? First it was packaged in a self-mailer with a beautiful snow scene on the outside jacket. Open the mailer and inside you find a CD-ROM imprinted with a colorful holiday wreath. Yes, this card is digital and it includes a number of interactive objects all aimed to get you in the holiday spirit.

Now, fire up your computer, clear your mouse pad and turn down the room lights to set the mood. Pop the CD-ROM into your computer. Unlike most CD-based computer programs, this one runs directly from your CD drive with no installation required. Just two simple clicks and you'll find yourself at the front door of a home all decked out for the holidays.

Your job is to find the interactive elements on the front door and inside three rooms of the house. As you roll your mouse over various items in the scene, the cursor changes from an arrow to a hand signifying an interactive element. For example, roll over the doorbell and click your mouse to hear it ring. Knock on the door, it opens and you find yourself in the living room complete with oak logs burning brightly in the fireplace.

Now it's time to explore the room and look for the hidden items. Click on the clock, and the program counts off the hours, minutes and seconds until the start of the New Year. Do those cookies on the table look good? Click on them to find the recipe. After you explore this room, move onto the den where you will find a television that plays a corporate video clip and three full length feature cartoons. And if that's not enough, the interactive card includes two games, holiday music, and a number of surprises to discover as you move around the house.

"If it looks like we had fun creating this program, we did," said Vic Cherubini, President of the epic software group, inc., a Woodlands, (Houston) Texas based company that designed and programmed the card. Cap Gemini approached epic in mid-October with an idea for a CD-ROM based greeting card. "Tracy Patters, the Marketing Manager for Cap Gemini, wanted a photo-real look. That meant we would have to build virtual rooms comprised of all original 3D art," Cherubini went onto say.

"With the popularity of computer games like Myst and Riven, we knew the 3D graphics and animation sequences would be well received," said Kurt Larsen, Project Manager for epic. If you want to check to see if you found all the hidden elements, the interactive greeting card also contains links directly to the Cap Gemini web site. For example, click on the newspaper on the kitchen table and for those with Internet access, the program will load your web browser and take you to the Cap Gemini web page that features 1997 news releases.

Twelve artists, programmers, and animators worked non-stop over a three-week period to get the card completed. At the same time, epic designed and had the mailing piece printed. Over 8000 CD-ROMs were duplicated and dropped in the mail in mid-December. About half of the cards went to Cap Gemini employees, and the balances were sent to customers. The card has been getting rave reviews. That's why epic is planning to do a number of interactive corporate greeting cards for 1998. "Once you have experienced a greeting card that comes to life on your computer screen traditional greeting cards seem bland by comparison" said Cherubini.

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