Page 1 Daily News
by Gail Helmer
Friday, February 9, 2001
Combat Mission Patch v1.12 Released.
Battlefront, Inc. has announced the availability of a new patch for Combat Mission. This latest patch brings the game up to v1.12 and should resolve all the reported gameplay issues as well as correcting and improving some unit behaviors.
Combat Mission v1.12 details:
Combat Mission Patch for Windows
Combat Mission Patch for Mac
China Provides World War II U. S. Aircraft Crash Sites.
The Department of Defense announced today that it has received preliminary information from the Peoples Republic of China on two U.S. World War II aircraft crashes in Tibet. During his delegation's meeting with Chinese officials in fall 2000, Robert L. Jones, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, was informed by the Chinese that they were developing more information regarding these crashes. Last month, Chinese officials forwarded updated information through the U.S. Embassy to the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO).
The first of the two crash sites in Milin County, Lang Gong Region, may be that of a U.S. C-46, lost on March 27, 1944, with a crew of four aboard. It was on a flight from Kunming, China to Scokarating, India. The names of the crew are among those listed as missing in action. Attempts to locate their families are now underway.
Information on the second aircraft is still under development by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI). Specialists at CILHI will seek to verify, from World War II records, more information that might match the known mission profiles of missing U.S. aircraft. DPMO will seek Chinese approval to send a CILHI survey team to the two sites to gather information that may lead to a full-scale excavation.
US Navy Trials BAE SYSTEMS Helicopter TERPROM®.
The United States Navy has selected BAE SYSTEMS Helicopter TERPROM® for flight demonstration onboard US Navy helicopters. This programme follows closely upon similar highly successful trials, undertaken in the UK, using British Army Lynx helicopters.
The first of these trials, which will continue until mid-2001, has been successfully completed at the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, on an SH-60B Seahawk trials platform. The focus of this initial phase was operational demonstration of the TERPROM® terrain referenced navigation and ground proximity warning functions during low level and contour flight.
The second phase of the programme, scheduled to begin later this year, will demonstrate TERPROM Eagle OWL®, which combines sensor-based obstacle warning with digital terrain and obstruction data. By warning of imminent collision with wires, trees, terrain and obstructions, TERPROM Eagle OWL® provides enhanced situational awareness and safety during low-level helicopter operations, including map-of-the-earth flying.
F-22 Decision Delayed by Bush Administration.
The Department of Defense still has plenty of homework to do before making a final decision on acquiring the F-22 Raptor for the Air Force. The Air Force and the program contractor, Lockheed Martin Inc., say they have completed preliminary flights and testing required before a Defense Acquisition Board can rule on further funding.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said that a final decision might still be a long way off, in part because of the "strategic review" being planned by new Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Development of the F-22 has been proceeding on $350 million in interim funding, which runs out March 31. To proceed with initial production, the acquisition board must approve releasing the additional appropriated $2.1 billion. Quigley said DOD still has "a lot of homework." "The flights and testing have just been completed," Quigley said. "You've now got to collect all that data (and) put it in an orderly fashion to prepare for the Defense Acquisition Board process."
Rumsfeld's as-yet-undefined strategic review, directed by President Bush, is adding even more uncertainty to the process. Rumsfeld plans to look closely at defense strategy, programs and structure before making high-dollar decisions, Quigley said. "I think you'd be hard-pressed ... to make any significant acquisition decisions for big dollars absent an understanding of where they fit into the overall picture," Quigley said.
No time limit has been placed on the review, but the secretary has said he expects it to last "some number of months," Quigley said. "(Rumsfeld) has not put any more boundaries on it than that. 'Not days and not years' were his words." Should the review process last longer than a couple months, funding could be affected for other programs -- including the Marines' V-22 Osprey aircraft and the Navy DD-21 destroyer, Quigley said. (Courtesy of American Forces Press Service)(Photo USAF)
Thursday, February 8, 2001
Ubi Soft Acquires Blue Byte Software.
COMBATSIM.COM has received the following Press Release from Ubi Soft:
Ubi Soft, a global leader in the field of interactive entertainment, today announced the acquisition of a major German video game firm, Blue Byte Software.
Blue Byte is behind two of the most popular series in the history of video games in Germany: The Settlers Series® and The Battle Isle Series™. The Settlers Series® is a well-known economic strategy simulation. Sales figures for the latest in the series, TheSettlers III, topped 700,000 in the German market alone. A total of 2.7 million units in the series has been sold worldwide. The next installment in the series, The Settlers IV, will be released on 15 February 2001. There are already a large number of pre-release orders, pointing to sales of 300,000 copies as soon as it comes out, in the German-speaking territories alone. The Battle Isle Series™, which features futuristic combat strategy, has sold a total of 650,000 units worldwide. Blue Byte is also the creator of Great Courts, the first tennis simulation that can be played online and over the internet.
Blue Byte, one of the pioneers of video games in Germany, was founded in 1988 by the current head of the company, Thomas Hertzler. The company develops, publishes and distributes video games, mainly in PC format. It operates in three countries: Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, and has a workforce of 64 people. Blue Byte is the only German publisher to have launched a portal for online gaming, The Blue Byte Game Channel, which brings together a huge community of online players. In 2000, total sales for Blue Byte came to 9.5 million euros. The expected success of The Settlers IV should push sales up to about 16.5 million euros between now and March 2002. The company’s business plan currently projects total annual sales in the medium-term of over 20 million euros.
This acquisition will be consolidated into the Ubi Soft accounts as of 6 February 2001, and will have a positive impact on the group’s results in 2001.
This transaction is in keeping with Ubi Soft’s strategy of selective acquisitions. It adds two new very well known names to the Group’s broad range of games for players of all ages. Ubi Soft aims to make The Settlers and The Battle Isle global leaders and develop them on a variety of other platforms, including PlayStation® 2, Game Cube…In addition, this move will bring new expertise to the group in the field of strategic games, and will strengthen its production capabilities with the addition of a German team. Following its expansion in the United States with the acquisition of Red Storm Entertainment of Morrisville, North Carolina in August 2000, Ubi Soft now assumes a leading position in Germany, which is the second largest PC market in the world, and, in terms of all platforms, the 4th largest. Video game sales in Germany totalled more than 1.3 billion euros in 2000 (source: Media Control). Moreover, Germany is a favoured route to Eastern Europe, which represents a market for the future. This acquisition will permit Ubi Soft to move from the #10 to the #5 position among video game publishers in Germany.
Thomas Hertzler, founder and head of Blue Byte, stated: “I am convinced that this operation is the right choice for the future of Blue Byte. I have complete confidence in Ubi Soft’s capacity to safeguard the unique features of our games. Ubi Soft’s backing will help make our products better known because it will allow them to be adapted quickly to new generation consoles.” Yves Guillemot, President and CEO of Ubi Soft, added: “I am particularly happy with this acquisition. Germany is the country par excellence of strategy games, and Blue Byte’s teams are the leading specialists in the field. Our goal is to invest in Blue Byte and to make available to them any tool they need to extend the influence of their leading products. Together we will endeavour to see to it that, having garnered such enormous success in Europe, these wonderful games will soon captivate players around the world.”
This acquisition confirms Ubi Soft’s strategy of acquiring medium sized business structures to complete its internal production forces. Just one more step in bringing Ubi Soft closer to its goal of being one of the top publishers in the world in 2005.
How this will affect IL-2 Sturmovik is not known. We will keep you posted on any further developments.
DICE Seeking to Hire Game Developers for Battlefield 1942.
Digital Illusions CE has sent us an email that they are hiring game developers for their upcoming title, Battlefield 1942. The positions available are a Game/Level Designer, a 2D/3D Artist, a general Programmer, and an AI Programmer. DICE is a Swedish based company. For further details and contact information go to the: DICE Website
Lockheed Martin Awarded $60 Million Contract from US Navy.
Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems (M&DS), has been awarded a $60.2M modification to its Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) development contract with the US Navy. The modification implements an enhancement to TTWCS by integrating the Naval Fires Control System and a new capability to control the launch of Land Attack Missiles within the TTWCS hardware and software architecture. The new system is called TLN to represent the three integrated capabilities, Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System/Land Attack Missile Fire Control System/Naval Fires Control System.
As the implementation of the first phase of the Navy's Common Land Attack Warfare vision, the TLN will be capable of supporting any future land attack missiles within one integrated system operated via common operator positions. Initially, TLN will provide: engagement and launch platform mission planning and launch control for the family of Tomahawk missiles; mission planning and launch control of the Land Attack Standard Missile (LASM); and mission planning for the conventional five-inch gun weaponry for present and future rounds, including the Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM). The Initial Operating Capability (IOC) schedule for TTWCS is 2003 and for TLN is 2004.(Photo Lockheed Martin)
Urban Blitz Convention Held in Finland.
The finnish virtual pilots (WarBirds, Aces High, Combat Flight Sim 2) help the traditional, annual Urban Blitz convention last weekend (2-4th feb 2001) at Tampere, Finland. The convention was a great success and was further a great happening, as for the first time real WW2 pilot veterans attended the meeting. Three vets kindly participated and visited the con during saturday, spending whole evening with the younger virtual pilots. They talked about their own flying and stories, asked dozens if not hundreds questions and were told/shown much about the WW2 simulators. The vets were very happy to see the "young guys" hang on their memories and continuing their traditions in the current day.
Prepared videos about the convention.
Realmedia, english subtexts, 20 MB
MPEG, english subtexts, 49 MB
MPEG, fixed english subtexts, high quality fullscreen picture & sound,
Icebreakers Web Ppage
Fast Jet Flight Simulations New Addition.
Presenting: FJFS - Flight Control. In addition to the latest news, files and utilities for all your PC flight simulation controllers, this site will investigate the real world functions of modern H.O.T.A.S systems and apply this to your favourite sim. Naturally due to the Thrustmaster H.O.T.A.S design, Falcon 4.0 will be the first simulation to feature.
While some areas of the site are still under construction, two features have already been published:
Take your F22 / FLCS / TQS a step closer to the real thing...This feature will show you how to recreate the placards that appear on the actual F16 throttle and stick adding the final touch to the most realistic flight simulation controllers available.
The aim of this feature is to give flight simulation cockpit artists and builders an insight into the nature and types of fonts used in modern western aircraft.
Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Wilco Publishing Announces Airport 2000 Volume 3.
Wilco Publishing announced today that Airport 2000 Volume 3, the third title in it’s series of add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000, will be released in March. Volume 3 features seven new airports, three new aircraft, and 10 adventures with new intermediate and advanced designations.
Age of Sail II patch v1.01 released.
Talonsoft has made an upgrade available for Age of Sail II. Patch v1.01 contains numerous improvements to details and gameplay. Highlights of the changes include improved multi-player game speed, addition of a campaign defeat briefing, improved fort functionality, addition of ability to assign crew while the game is paused, addition of the ability to transfer marines, and improvements to Voodoo 3 support. Click here for the: Age of Sail II Patch Download
Just Flight Announces Expansion To Flight Simulator 2000.
Just Flight, Ltd. announced that they have developed an expansion for Flight Simulator 2000 called Real Airports. The expansion features the addition of detailed replicas of seven of the world's large airports to the game. The expansion includes London Gatwick, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Zurich Kloten, Rio de Janeiro Galeao, Milan Malpensa, Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer, and Paris Orly. Also added to enhance the simulation experience are five flyable Airbus aircraft. Real Airports is set to be released in the Spring or early Summer of 2001.
Just Flight to Release WWI Add-on For CFS2.
Just Flight in Great Britain plans on releasing a World War I add-on for Combat Flight Simulator 2. Combat Aces will be available in March. It includes the Somme frontline, players will be able to fly a wide variety of planes(Camel, SE5A, Spad VII, Fokker D.VII, Albatros D.Va, Zeppelin-Staaken R-4 bombers and others). Some beautiful fighter and bomber airfields with parked aircraft complete the scenery. Winter weather will also be available, with the same quality as FS2000. Information can be found on Alpha Simulations
NAVAIR Orders Inspection Of All F/A-18's.
Last week, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) ordered all Navy, Marine Corps and foreign sale F/A-18 A, B, C and D aircraft to be inspected for cracks in the attaching lugs of their Wing Fold Transmission systems prior to the aircraft's next flight. This order was issued due to results of routine inspections being conducted as a part of the Integrated Maintenance Concept (IMC).
These recent inspections have revealed corroded lugs on a number of aircraft and some fewer aircraft with lug cracks due to corrosion pitting. This inspection, directed by NAVAIR, will take approximately one hour per aircraft, and all inspected F/A-18s with fractured lugs will be removed from flight status pending an engineering disposition and review. Aircraft will be inspected daily after the initial inspection. Preliminary inspections of 400 aircraft to date have resulted in the discovery of six aircraft with fractured legs. There are more than 750 F/A-18 A-Ds in the U.S. inventory. There is no impact on F/A-18 E/F aircraft.
First Gripen Flight With Helmet Mounted Display
The integration of a helmet mounted display, to further enhance the combat capability of the SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen fourth-generation swing-role fighter has passed a significant milestone, with a successful series of test flights in Linköping, Sweden, using a 'Guardian' helmet-mounted display system (HMD). Flown by test pilot Magnus Olsson, the compatibility of the 'Guardian' display with Gripen's advanced avionics and cockpit was verified, ahead of a programme to fully integrate the system for export launch customer South Africa, which has a requirement for 28 aircraft.
The system is also being optimised for use with the IRIS-T advanced short range air-to-air missile which is being adopted as the standard air-to-air combat weapon for Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters. It provides Gripen aircrew with flight reference data, weapons information and a weapons aiming capability through the pilot's visor, without the need to look down at cockpit instrumentation or forward through the head-up display. Weapons aiming, using this system whatever the pilot's viewing angle of the target. This benefit is retained no matter where the pilot is looking and provides a 'look and shoot' capability. It allows optimum use of Gripen's fully integrated digital information system and precision engagement weapons, including advanced short-range air-to-air missiles, during combat missions.
Close range combat performance is further enhanced by Gripen's advanced aerodynamic configuration, employing delta wing and canard foreplanes. This gives excellent performance in close combat situations and ensures optimum agility and high turn-rates at all speeds and altitudes, even when heavily armed.
Odds & Ends
New Book, "One Day In Vietnam".
First-time author Gary Hook has just published ONE DAY IN VIETNAM: THE TRUE STORY OF AN ARMY BIRD DOG PILOT. The book tells the life story of the author's cousin, Army Lt. Lloyd Rugge, a Silver Star-decorated "Bird Dog" reconnaissance pilot killed in action in Vietnam in 1967. ONE DAY IN VIETNAM is a gripping look at air combat in Vietnam as well as a moving record of the author's search to discover the man he never knew. For info visit: iuniverse.com
Gamecenter Shutting Down After 4 1/2 Years.
Gamecenter is closing shop at the end of this week, wrapping up a fun-filled, four-and-a-half-year run. The reason for the close? CNET, parent of Gamecenter, is taking steps to significantly reduce costs. "Given the size of the gaming market, we feel it is better to put all our resources behind one brand, GameSpot, the larger of the company's two gaming sites".
Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Flanker 2.5 Screenshots.
Yestereday SSI announced they will be giving the Flanker 2.0 upgrade away as a free download. The 80mb download will be available sometime this month. Until then, SSI has released these screenshots.
Eidos Launches Startopia Cam.
Eidos has launched the Startopia Cam which features live in-game screenshots every 60 seconds, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. A counter beneath the image displays the number of seconds left until the next shot is posted. According to Mucky Foot, Startopia developer, the images are taken from the test versions of the game as the developers play, so if the game is paused for a few minutes, it is possible the cam will post the same screenshot repeatedly. Mucky Foot also posted a reminder that since the company is based in the UK, people viewing the Web site in other time zones may find the same shot for several hours while the developers are sleeping.
Startopia takes you to a once thriving galactic network of starships, space stations and planets left lifeless after an apocalyptic war. Your aim is to rebuild the network of space stations reuniting the surviving alien races under one banner. Click here to check out the Startopia Cam
Naval Warfare Gets Go Ahead for Fighting Steel Add-ons.
The Naval Warfare Simulations Team has recently been given permission to move forward with designing new patches and addons for Fighting Steel. This means that the Fighting Steel Project will be now be focusing not only on data enhancements, but also additional navies, improvements to various combat mechanics, higher resolutions. For more info go to:Naval Warfare
F-22 Closer to Production Decision.
Lockheed Martin has cleared the way for an F-22 production decision with the completion of the final two requirements -- the first flight of Raptor 4006 and initiating radar cross section testing, Air Force officials said Feb. 5.
Raptor 4006 flew for 72 minutes after taking off from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company facilities in Marietta, Ga., Feb. 5. "I had every confidence the flight would be successful," said Brig. Gen. Jay Jabour, F-22 system program director. "A carbon copy of Raptor 4004, it posed no technical challenges, but it is great to have this achievement behind us."
The other requirement, initiation of radar cross-section testing, which validates the aircraft's "stealthiness", was satisfied recently. An F-22 was previously checked for its degree of stealth on the ground during the RCS turntable measurement at the Marietta facilities. The aircraft was then flown and checked aerodynamically. The test flight dynamic results can now be compared to the turntable results to gain confidence in the manufacturing methods that produce stealth capabilities, officials said. "The RCS characteristics of the F-22 are some of the most advanced in the world," Jabour said. "Combine this stealth capability with the F-22's first look, first shot, first kill capability and you have the premiere fighter aircraft in the world for the next 20 years.(USAF Photo)
F-15e Tests Third-Gen Infrared Targeting Pod.
The Boeing Company recently flight tested an advanced third-generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) targeting pod on an F-15E, the latest test that demonstrates the aircraft's capacity to accept a new system without time-consuming modifications. During two early December flights on F-15E1, Boeing test pilot Joe Felock and weapon system operator Rick Junkin validated the basic functional operation of the Northrop Grumman Litening II pod and the pod's interoperability with aircraft sensors and avionics. For nearly four years Boeing has used E1, the first F-15E, as a technology demonstration platform.
The F-15E's digital interfaces and advanced hardware and software permit easy integration of new systems. The Boeing-Northrop Grumman team completed installation and checkout of the Litening II pod within three weeks of receiving it. No changes were made to the aircraft, and only minor changes were made to the pod so it operated with the aircraft's standard system interfaces. "The ability to rapidly and efficiently integrate next-generation technologies, with little or no change to aircraft hardware and software systems, demonstrates the F-15E's growth potential," said Bob Lutter, Boeing F-15E1 program manager.
Boeing has used E1 to demonstrate a prototype of the Advanced Display Core Processor and the 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition among other systems, and plans additional sensor and system of system tests with the aircraft. Such efforts allow the U.S. Air Force to quickly transition emerging technologies into full development programs, with less risk. Boeing will deliver 10 more F-15Es to the Air Force by 2004, boosting to 236 the total number produced. In addition to the U.S., Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia operate F-15s. The Republic of Korea is evaluating an F-15E variant as part of the F-X fighter competition that's expected to conclude this year.
KFOR soldiers keep peace in Mitrovica.
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - More than 200 U.S. soldiers spent the weekend helping restore peace in the town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, after violence broke out there last week. Rioting in Mitrovica last week reportedly injured more than 100 civilians and NATO peacekeeping troops from other nations. The violence began when Serbs launched a grenade into the city's Albanian sector Jan. 29, according to the London Times. Then after Albanians were prevented from crossing a bridge into the Serb portion of the city, they attacked French troops with grenades Jan. 31, injuring 20 of them.
While in Mitrovica, the company-size element occupied seven traffic control points and established communications with the Multi-National Brigade(North), United Nations Mission in Kosovo Police and MNB(East). The soldiers also secured the Concorde bridge and east bridge over the river Sitnica in Mitrovica. The U.S. soldiers accomplished their mission without violence, officials said, and returned to Camps Monteith and Bondsteel Monday after three days in Mitrovica.(KFOR News)
Monday, February 5, 2001
Flanker 2.5 upgrade to be free.
SSI announced today that the upgrade to Flanker 2.0 will be provided free of charge. The upgrade will be available initially for download. The download will be approximately 80 megabytes and will be available at the Flanker 2 website sometime in late February 2001.
With Matt Wagner's permission we have reprinted his statement in its entirety.
Our decision to make the Flanker 2.5 upgrade available for free is based on several factors. With our recent departure from Mattel Interactive, our access to their e-commerce capabilities has ended. The infrastructure to support our own e-commerce sales unfortunately is not available at this time. Additionally, it would be uneconomical for us to attempt to put it on store shelves as it has become difficult to justify placing upgrade products on retail shelves instead of stand-alone new releases. It is doubtful that the costs of packaging and distribution would be recouped in sales. Rather than cancel it, or delay the release of the upgrade any further, we have decided to give it away.
This will be the last stage of the Flanker 2.0 series, patches included. It is time now to invest in the future and concentrate all resources in our next flight sim project, which we are very excited about and we believe most of you will be as well. We will be providing additional details on our next title in the next few weeks.
New Features In Flanker 2.5
Features added in the Flanker 2.5 upgrade include:
GAME Studios / SSI
A Division of The Learning Company
For more details on the Flanker 2.5 upgrade visit the: Flanker 2.0 Site
Two new Fly! II Screenshots.
Terminal Reality and Gathering of Developers have obtained the exclusive Pilatus PC-12 plane license for FLY! II. The Pilatus PC-12 unanimously won Gathering's e-mail poll as the number #1 desired aircraft by the user community.
FLY! II will also feature the Bell 407, the most popular helicopter in the world. More advanced than the Bell 206 featured in MS Flight Simulator, this rotary prop craft will be available for many of the adventure missions in FLY! II. Terminal Reality and Gathering of Developers will continue to provide updates on FLY! II until the simulation lands in stores in late March. For more information visit: Fly! Site
Armored Task Force Alpha released.
ProSIM has announced the Alpha of Armored Task Force has just been released at our website as a free download. The Alpha Technology Release is intended to test the stability of the new Armored Task Force wargaming engine. This release, by no means, represents all of the features of the final release of Armored Task Force. It is intended to be functionally equivalent to BCT: Brigade Combat Team. It lacks all of the friendly and enemy AI features which will eventually be added. Also, it is missing the higher-echelon layers which will allow players to give high-level orders to companies and platoons. It is also missing many of the vehicle types, such as fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and ammo carriers, which will be included in the final release. Download available at: ProSIM
USMC Harrier Down, Two Marines Killed.
A USMC Harrier AV8-B jump-jet crashed Saturday on final at Cherry Point (NC), killing two Marines aboard. The names of the dead are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin. The cause of the crash, is under investigation.
© 1997 - 2000 COMBATSIM.COM, Inc. All Rights Reserved.