Syzygy's Digital Universe v1.03 Available on CD-ROM for Half Price


What is "The Digital Universe"?

"The Digital Universe" is an award-winning astronomical simulator package for the Amiga computer. Since release, it has become the standard software package for the amateur and professional astronomer. With our new lower price, we expect the software to become more accessible to the casual astronomy enthusiast, and to those interested in generally learning more about astronomy.

For more information on the capabilities of "The Digital Universe", please refer to on the web.

The New CD-ROM Distribution

The original distribution of "The Digital Universe" consisted of 14 floppy disks and a printed user manual, all enclosed within a binder. Since more and more Amiga owners now have CD-ROM drives, we have decided that a CD distribution of "The Digital Universe" is now more practical than it would have been a few years ago.

In addition, the entire printed user manual is available online as a context-sensitive help system. We had many comments from individuals who said that with the online help and the general user-friendly nature of the package, they have never needed to consult the printed manual.

With these factors in mind, and to keep costs down, the new CD-ROM distribution consists of single shrink wrapped CD-R, with no printed documentation, box, or user manual. Online documentation is provided to explain how to install the software, start the program, and access the online help. For most people, this is all that is required.

The software and databases included on the CD are the complete functional version of Digital Universe V1.03 that was being shipped on floppy disk until now. For this reason, existing owners of the original V1.03 distribution have no reason to upgrade to the new CD distribution.

Cost of the V1.03 CD Version of "Digital Universe"

With the original floppy-based distribution of "Digital Universe", we had a complicated price structure reflecting the widely varying costs of shipping the package around the world. The new CD distribution is much smaller and lighter, and thus shipping charges do not vary as much. Therefore, we are happy to be able to offer a single price of $75 Canadian for the package, which includes shipment via air mail to anywhere in the world.

The lower cost of shipping means that international customers will be able to obtain "The Digital Universe" for even less than half of its original cost.

As a rough guideline, you can use the following table to estimate the equivalent cost in your own currency. The amounts quoted below were obtained from the interbank rates on April 11, 1998 based on $75 Canadian, and will naturally fluctuate:

United States: 52.62 USD
Germany:       95.84 DEM
UK:            31.44 GBP
France:       321.53 FRF
Switzerland:   79.62 CHF
Italy:         94860 ITL
Finland:      291.20 FIM
Sweden:       414.06 SEK
Australia:     79.82 AUD

Canadian residents must add 7% GST. Keep in mind that your country may charge duty or import taxes on software sent from Canada (some countries charge as high as 25%), which would be payable to your country's customs office when the package arrives.

Bulk Orders

If a large group is interested in obtaining several copies of the software in a single order, you may be eligible for a "bulk order" rate of $65 Canadian per copy (a discount of $10). The bulk rate will be given if either: A) A group makes a single order of 5 copies or more, which are to be sent in one batch to a single address
B) A group makes a single order of 10 copies or more, whch are to be sent to individual addresses.

What about a Version 2.0 for the Amiga?

Some of you may be aware of the decision-making process we have been going through as to whether or not to develop a V2.0 of DU for the Amiga. So far, we have had a rather encouraging response from our online survey available on the web at - if you haven't already filled it out, we encourage you to do so. At any rate, we are planning on using a combination of the results from this survey and the sales of this CDROM V1.03 to help us decide whether or not to develop a V2.0.

If V2.0 is developed, it will sell for our "regular" Digital Universe price of $150 Canadian.

What about PPC support?

A beta version of a patch to allow the SAS/C compiler to create code for PPC machines is currently available. In the next little while, we will be looking at porting "The Digital Universe" to PPC. If you own a PPC board, are a registered owner of "Digital Universe", and may be interested in beta testing Digital Universe V1.03 for the PPC, please let us know. If the PPC version is relatively easy to complete, we hope to offer it as a free upgrade (via email) to anyone who purchased V1.03, either on floppy or CDROM.

If you already own the previous floppy-based Digital Universe V1.03, how are you affected by this release?

Since the software and data files of the CDROM distribution are exactly the same as what you already own, you have no reason to obtain the V1.03 CDROM yourself. But since sales of this CDROM will have a large impact on our decision of whether or not to develop V2.0, you may want to encourage other Amiga owners to think about purchasing the CD. See "Referral Program" below for more details.

If you were planning on waiting for a V2.0 release of DU, how are you affected?

If you are in this situation, you are the perfect candidate to obtain V1.03 on CDROM now. Since purchasing V1.03 on CD now will entitle you, as a registered owner, to obtain future upgrades for half of the regular price, you will be able to obtain V2.0 when and if released, for $75 (half of the planned $150 price). The net result is that you pay the same amount to obtain V1.03 now and upgrade to V2.0 later as you would to buy V2.0 directly. Plus, you have the added benefits of being able to use Digital Universe now, as well as helping us obtain the resources required to develop V2.0.

What if the regular cost of DU ($150) has always seemed a bit expensive for you?

If we develop V2.0 for the Amiga, we would expect to sell it for $150 - the same as what the original floppy-based V1.03 sold for. If you are only casually interested in astronomy, and the $150 price seems a bit expensive, we strongly encourage you to consider the purchase of the CDROM Version 1.03 now for $75. We may discontinue the CD-based V1.03 if a CD-based V2.0 is developed, and if this happens, you will no longer be able to obtain Digital Universe for $75.

Referral Program

In an effort to reward those "Digital Universe" owners who help to promote our software, we'd like to announce our referral program. If you are a registered owner of "Digital Universe", tell someone about our software, and they consequently purchase V1.03 of DU on CDROM from us, we'll give you a $10 discount on your upgrade to V2.0 if and when it is released. You can accumulate discounts for each referral made, up to the point at which you get a free upgrade. Note that this must be a "personal" referral (ie: just linking to our web page won't count), and that the person ordering the package must provide us with your name when letting us know where they heard about "The Digital Universe".

How can you try out Digital Universe first, before purchasing it?

A demo version of "The Digital Universe" is available on Aminet, named Dig_Universe.lha and located in the biz/demo directory. It lets you try out all the features of "Digital Universe", with the following restrictions:

Nevertheless, it should give you a good indication of whether or not "Digital Universe" is for you.

How can you get a copy of V1.03 on CDROM?

If you would like to purchase a copy of Digital Universe, you can do so either directly from us or from one of our distributors. If you want to contact a distributor, let us know your location and we'll be able to tell you who might be able to get a copy to you the quickest. Keep in mind that all prices quoted in this messages are our "suggested retail prices" and that distributors may sell for more or less.

We are also always on the lookout for new distributors of "The Digital Universe". If you think you may be interested in distributing our software in your region, give us a rough estimate of the volume you might expect to deal with and we'll send you out more information about our requirements of distributors and the benefits you'll receive. Please note that we do not accept exclusive distributorship arrangements.

If you'd like to order your copy of the V1.03 CD directly from us, or have any questions about the package, you can contact us at:

   Before June 26, 1998
   Syzygy Research & Technology Ltd.
   B 1204-17a St. N.E.
   Calgary, AB
   T2E 4V5

   Phone: 403-276-1250

   After June 26, 1998
   Syzygy Research & Technology Ltd.
   Box 83
   Legal, AB
   T0G 1L0

   Phone: 403-961-2213

We can accept payment by Visa, Mastercard, or cheque in Canadian, US, or UK funds. If you wish to order your package online via credit card on our secure server, you can do so by clicking on the "Ordering via credit card" link on our web page at

Redistribution of this message

We would appreciate the redistribution of this release announcement whereever possible (ie: Amiga-related mailing lists, BBSes, newsgroups, word of mouth, etc). The more copies of the DU V1.03 CD that are sold, the more likely we will continue to improve and upgrade the package.

Thank you for your support. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us.

Dan Charrois
President, Syzygy Research & Technology Ltd.

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