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by Douglas Helmer

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Monday, February 10, 2003

PC Game and Hardware News

IGI2: Covert Strike MP Demo v0.90 Released
Apparently, this is the near-release version. The previous MP demo was labelled as only a beta.

Download: IGI2: Covert Strike MP Demo v0.90 [113 MB] (from 3DGamers)
Sub Command Retail Patches v1.07
In a news release attributed to SimHQ, we have learned from 3DGamers that there are now two new patches for Sub Command. The patches are for both the English and German language editions. You can either patch from v1.05 to v1.07 or do a full patch from the base install. This latest patch includes new sound, fire control, AI, networking, gameplay, TMA, and other changes and bug fixes. See the README for details.

Download: Sub Command V1.07 Patch (from Sonalysts)
Aircraft Repaints (5 items)
  • FLY II: P-51D by Chris Salviejo (AVSIM):
    This is a repaint of ROTW's original "P51D", a FLY!II aircraft.

  • Strike Fighters: USAF Euro One by Nathan Anderson (AVSIM):
    141st Tactical Fighter Squadron wearing USAF Euro one paint scheme and hi vis tiger markings on the nose. The skin includes an alternate set of drop tanks appropriate for this skin.

  • FS2002: Mirage 2000C EC 3/2 "Alsace" by Frank Safranek (FSPlanet)
    This aircraft represent Mirage 2000C No. 20 (2-LE) as it appeared in 1990 while assigned to Escadron de Chasse (EC) 3/2 "Alsace" of the French Armée de l'Air. It operated out of BA102 Dijon-Longvic (LFSD) in Central France. Original Aircraft by OXYD. Air file adaptation by Benoît M. Dubé. New paint by Y-Raymond. Alsace repaint.

  • FS2002: "P-38 Triple Play" Lockheed P-38F, G & H, ver. 1.0 by David C. Copley (FSPlanet)
    Three historic P-38s, including the recently-restored 'Glacier Girl.' Full-featured FSDS2 models, dynamic VC, animated parts (control surfaces, Fowler flaps, landing gear, gear suspension, rolling wheels, cooling vents, canopy, yoke, etc.) realistic flight model, Complete package, including authentic P-38 sounds from the real Glacier Girl and files to help re-create its historic return to the skies. Freeware.

  • FS2002/CFS2: Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket by Paul Clawson (FSPlanet)
    This FSDS2 project has moving parts, sliding transparent canopy, pilot figure and a slight specular shine. Roger Gilmore has created a custom panel based on a real photo for this project. The .dp file includes 4 nose mounted machine guns. This airplane will work in both FS2002 and CFS; see the readme for specifics.

New "Fair Strike" Helo Sim
Biohazcentral is reporting that G5 Software and Buka entertainment are working on a new, highly authentic helo sim called Fair Strike. Check out Mad Jeff's feature report on Biohazcentral.com.

Website: Biohazcentral.com
Website: G5 Software (timing out last we checked)
Website: Buka Entertainment (timing out last we checked)
Battlefield 1942 Updates (13 items)
  • New Linux Server Build
  • Detailed R2R Maps
  • New Featured Mod: Trench Rats
  • Soldier9's Realism 2.2 Mod Released
  • BF1942Live 2.0
  • Hidden Soldier? EasterEgg
  • Merciless Creations Mod: Omaha Beach TexturePack
  • Codename Eagle Mod Release Date
  • Codename Eagle Trailer
  • New Desert Combat Movie
  • Poll Reminder
  • Desert Combat Mini-Mod for R2R
  • Weekly Poll Results: How many hours / day played?

Website: PlanetBattlefield.com
NVIDIA nForce2 Perfect Platform for New AMD Processors
SANTA CLARA, CA—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, today announced that its NVIDIA nForce2™ platform processors—which have been lauded by major industry publications and Web sites as “the best core-logic chipset” for the AMD Athlon™ XP processor family—are designed to support the full power of the new AMD Athlon XP processors 3000+ and 2800+ CPUs announced earlier today.

“The design of our NVIDIA nForce2 architecture is optimized to take full advantage of AMD technology that was not yet available publicly,” said Drew Henry, senior director of platform products at NVIDIA. “The new AMD Athlon XP processors 3000+ and 2800+ announced today have more on-die cache than any other desktop processor, and are a perfect match to the award-winning and industry-leading performance that our NVIDIA nForce2 technology is world-renowned for.”

Since its introduction last year, the NVIDIA nForce2 product family has been unambiguously declared the performance leader in the AMD-based core-logic desktop PC market, and motherboards and PCs based on the NVIDIA nForce2 architecture have been recognized with thousands of reader recommendations and editor’s choice awards worldwide, including commendation from 3D Velocity, AMDMB.com, AMDZone.com, AnandTech, BJORN3D, ExtremeTech, FirinqSquad, GamePC, Hard|OCP, Hexus.net, ign.com, Maximum PC, OC Workbench, PC Magazine, Sudhian Media, TechSeekers, Tom’s Hardware Guide and others.

“If you’re going to be purchasing an Athlon XP motherboard in today’s market, you’d be insane not to choose a motherboard based on NVIDIA’s nForce2 platform,” wrote Evan Lieb of AnandTech, a major online source for hardware analysis and news.

“Our benchmarks underlined the fact that nForce2 is currently the best chipset,” reported Patrick Schmid of Toms Hardware Guide, the definitive Web site for hardcore PC enthusiasts, who concluded that “[nForce2] helps the Athlon XP make its level of performance affordable in contrast to the Pentium 4.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to the response of NVIDIA nForce2 in the marketplace,” continued Henry. “Features and performance are the two key ingredients that form the foundation for the industry’s best PC platform, and with our DualDDR memory architecture and support for up to a 400MHz frontside bus, NVIDIA nForce2 is, and will continue to be, the world’s best platform for AMD Athlon XP processors.”

Motherboards and PCs based on the NVIDIA nForce2 architecture are currently available from thousands of system builders, motherboard companies and PC OEMs worldwide, including Abit, ABS, Albatron, Alienware, Aopen, ASUSTeK, Atlas Micro, Biostar, Chaintech, Epox, Falcon Northwest, FIC, HyperSonic, Leadtek, MSI, Shuttle Computer, Soltek, Tatung, Totally Awesome, Vicious PC, VoodooPC and others.

Website: NVIDIA
AMD Introduces AMD Athlon XP Processor 3000+ aka "Barton"
SUNNYVALE, CA—AMD (NYSE: AMD) today introduced the AMD Athlon™ XP processor 3000+ — the world’s highest performing desktop PC processor. Featuring increased cache memory for greater performance, the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ outperforms competing desktop PC processors by up to 17 percent on a variety of industry standard software benchmarks.

Systems based on the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ are immediately available from NEC-CI in Europe and soon from other computer manufacturers around the globe.

“AMD leads the desktop PC processor industry by delivering unsurpassed application performance for business and home consumers,” said Rob Herb, AMD executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. “We are absolutely committed to listening to our customers and responding with the best products to meet their computing performance needs.”

The AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ features 640KB of total on-chip cache memory – an increase of nearly 70 percent over previous AMD Athlon XP processors and the highest amount of on-chip cache memory of any desktop PC processor. Increased cache memory allows more information to be stored closer to the processor, leading to greater performance on software applications such as digital content creation, 3-D gaming, media encoding and office productivity.

“Consumers should be aware that PC performance is more than just processor frequency alone,” said Kevin Krewell, senior analyst of The Microprocessor Report. “Today’s PC processors can deliver higher performance through architectural enhancements such as increased cache memory and faster bus speeds. The overall performance of a system is what’s important, and that’s what buyers should focus on when making a purchasing decision.”

Industry support for the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+
“Packard Bell, the consumer brand of NEC Computers International and one of Europe’s home PC leaders, is happy to broaden its product line-up with the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ in order to offer a full range of solutions to its customers,” said Aymar de Lencquesaing, vice president, sales and marketing, consumer division, NEC Computers International.

“ATI is committed to pushing the leading edge of graphics technology and creating the ultimate visual experience,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president, marketing and general manager, Desktop, ATI Technologies Inc. “With the introduction of the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+, with more on-chip cache, AMD is demonstrating its dedication to the same goal. The RADEON 9700 PRO, the world’s first and most advanced cinematic VPU, in combination with the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+, unleashes an unbelievably realistic and immersive gaming experience.”

“The high-performance AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ combined with our consumer-friendly software will help home users produce professional-level photos and videos that amaze their friends and family,” said Mike Mickes, director of product management, Ulead Systems, North America. “With software such as our Ulead PhotoImpact and upcoming VideoStudio 7, consumers can have an enjoyable editing experience made faster and more productive by improved processor performance.”

Systems based on the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ are immediately available from NEC-CI in Europe and soon from other computer manufacturers around the globe.

The AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ is priced at $588 in 1,000-unit quantities. For additional information on pricing, please visit www.amd.com/pricing.

Website: AMD
AMD Athlon XP Processor 3000+ Reviews (8 items)
Further to the above press release, all the hardware sites were poised to post their reviews of this latest CPU by AMD.

IL-2: Forgotten Battles Screenshots
Cartrix has posted eight new screenshots from Forgotten Battles.
Click this image to see a larger version. Click the link below to see all eight.

Webpage: More Screenshots (IL-2 Sturmovik Official Site)
Micro Flight v3.0 Demo
PR Info: Micro Flight is a state of the art flight simulator specializing in simulating ultralight flying vehicles and micro meteorological conditions.

Unlike other flight simulators, Micro Flight simulates the intricate flow of air over the ground and the effects of thermals created by the sun, making it ideal for simulating gliders of all types.

Micro Flight also simulates types of vehicles not simulated by other general aviation programs, such as: Hanggliders, Paragliders, Gyroplanes, Helicopters, Trikes, Balloons and more.
You get to fly the glider (not that seagull).

Flight instrumentation and navigational aids were made to resemble real ones, this includes the hand held GPS, standard flight instruments, head up display and more.

The whole enviroment which the user interacts with is three dimentional, even operating the instruments in the cockpit is made by manipulating them with the mouse and not just by pressing keys.

The terrain model used is detailed and optimized, giving the terrain a photorealistic look while still maintaing a high frame rate during run.

The program supports a wide variety of scenery formats, and can import aerial photography and USGS digital elevation data directly.

The program includes flight recording and anaylis, giving the user the ability to study the flight in detail and export it's path in digital form for any purpose.

The program has netplay mode which enables users to fly and communicate with each other.

All this and more make the program a unique and valueable tool for flight simulation.

Download: Micro Flight v3.0 Demo (From 3DGamers)
Battle of Britain / MiG Alley v0.95 by BDG Released
The BDG (Battle of Britain / MiG Alley Development Group) has announced the release of version 0.95 of their improved BoB exe. According to their press release, it is, to their knowledge, only the second available combat simulation with native TrackIR support and the first that natively supports the new interface of TrackIR software 1.40 and 2.0.

  • TrackIR: native DLL (not message based) interface, gunner uses TrackIR for head movement and the joystick or mouse for the gun, "Padlock Overrides TrackIR" option.
  • High resolution landscape.
  • Flak improvements: Better effect, better tracer, more than one Flak shape, new bullet.
  • Tweaked fighter damage behaviour.
  • New options "no head bobbing while on padlock", "music fades out", "track view range", enabling certain dialogs.
  • No more automatic quitting of 3D after bailing out etc, so you can watch the fight after being shot down.
  • Better landscape dither (also called detail texture)
  • The user is now able to change the way the labels look (they become more transparent in the distance).
  • Autopilot mode, for example to have a stable plane while taking screen shots.
  • 'Track other Aircraft' view
  • Too many bug fixes/stability enhancements to list here, see manual

Website: BDG
Website: TrackIR

Defense & Aerospace News

VTOL Fire Scout Helo Undergoes Testing
SAN DIEGO — Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems sector continued its successful flight testing of the U.S. Navy RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned system in January with the first flights of the second engineering and manufacturing development air vehicle (E-2); the first flight fully operated with the U.S. Navy S-280 ground control station, and a three-hour flight to demonstrate ship-landing approach profiles and wave-off maneuvers. All tests were conducted at the Webster Field annex of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

During the flight operated by the Navy ground control station, the tactical control datalink was used to uplink payload command and control and to downlink imagery. The ARC-210 datalink was used for air vehicle command and control. This test was the first time both datalinks were used for uplink command and control, demonstrating the versatility and robustness of the system's datalink suite.

Unmanned Firescout UAV

Fire Scout ground control system software integrated in the S-280 was used for the first time for air vehicle command and control. Use of this command and control software will significantly reduce risk as the system is prepared to qualify and test the tactical control system software during flight test later this spring.

During the system's three-hour flight, the aircraft successfully conducted more than 20 approaches and wave-off profiles and successfully executed over 200 waypoints in preparation for planned testing of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Common Automatic Recovery System (UCARS). Fire Scout uses UCARS to land aboard ships. Fire Scout will demonstrate shipboard landings with UCARS and the Light Harpoon restraint system later this year.

The Fire Scout payload, which is supplied by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, Baltimore, Md., consists of electro-optical and infrared sensors and a laser designator/rangefinder, which provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery and data.

As in previous Fire Scout flight tests, each of these fully autonomous missions included vertical takeoff, accurate navigation and return to a predetermined hover point in preparation for landing -- all without operator intervention.

The ongoing flight series has successfully demonstrated the system's ability to take off, fly, navigate and land autonomously and collect imagery from its onboard sensor payload. Flight tests to demonstrate weapons targeting are also being considered for later this year.

Flying at altitudes up to 20,000 feet, Fire Scout can employ its advanced payload to provide intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and precise targeting information with pinpoint accuracy. The Fire Scout's communications suite is designed to allow simultaneous voice/data communications relay much farther than the "line of sight" limits of current systems.

Fully autonomous, Fire Scout can fly high above deployed Marines to watch for threats within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station. The system then directs Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or the laser designator.
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