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by Gail Helmer

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Monday July 30, 2001

PC News

Aces High to Get Roads, Rivers, Trains
The upcoming version of Aces High, the massively multiplayer WWII air, land, and sea sim, will be getting a more sophisticated ground-based supply system. Truck convoys will travel on roads, barges will ply the waters of new rivers, and trains will steam along railroad tracks. These transportation arteries will connect each airfield to an associated town. "We're not sure if the airfields will supply the towns or vice versa, but that's the basic concept," says Aces High creator, Dale Addink.

Addink went on to tell us that the Map Room, which is the capture objective on each airfield, will be moved off the airfield and into its associated town located about 3 miles away. In addition to housing the Map Room, "the new towns will also have plenty of other bombable objects too," says Addink.

We asked if the road system would allow the player-drivable tanks to travel from their spawnpoint to the enemy's town. Addink tells us that the roads are primarily for the AI-controlled convoys and that most inter-town ground travel will still have to be done overland.

Steel Beasts Upgrade 1.17 Released
eSim Games and Strategy First announced today that the latest free upgrade for Steel Beasts is now available for download. Version 1.17 adds over two dozen new features, including customizable ammunition load-outs, a more accurate gunnery model for the M1A1, improved infantry AI, and much more. A complete list of new features and bug fixes can be found at eSim Games' web site, as well as in the ReadMe file included in the upgrade. Click here to download.

Green Berets Has Shipped
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc announced that Green Berets (Powered by Myth II) began shipping to retailers nationwide today, July 30th 2001. Green Berets is a squad based tactical game set in the treacherous jungles of Southeast Asia. Powered by the magnificent Myth II engine, the game offers 10 missions through several different types of environments ranging from rice paddies to underground tunnels. Players can use both ground and air units for completing specific mission objectives, which include rescuing POWs, sabotaging communications towers, or finding stranded pilots.

Air Command 3.0 Patch Released
Shrapnel Games announced today that they have released a patch for Air Command 3.0. Air Command 3.0 is a simulation of air traffic control that gives players a feel of what it is like to direct air traffic at a major international airport. Multiple difficulty levels, pilot digitized voices, pilot errors and miscommunications, and an airport editor provide for many hours of nail biting game play. The patch addresses several bugs and also adds new features as well as enhancing existing game play. Click here to download.

  • Fixed certain combinations of shift time and number of planes chosen in the custom game setup dialog caused AC3 not to start properly on subsequent game plays - rare.
  • Fixed turning music on and sound effects off that prevented AC3 from running on some systems.
  • Fixed random cloud patterns at the beginning of the game that caused an access violation and shutdown - rare.
  • The player will no longer be able to access the Control Panel while the game is paused, thus eliminating a "cheat".
  • The New Game Dialog has been improved to provide easier airport/setup selections with airport layout graphics and better UI.
  • The Hi Score Dialog now provides additional information on the components of the score such as number of near misses, successful handoffs/landing, etc.
  • A new game option: Military Flyby's. If enabled, military jets (sometimes single, sometimes multiple in formation) may cross the radar screen. The players can't control these, and must keep traffic clear and away from them.
  • The option of using your own audio CD instead of the internal music during game play.

Military News

WWII Pilot Rex T. Barber Dies at 84
Rex T. Barber, a World War II fighter pilot who spent most of his life seeking sole credit for shooting down the bomber carrying the mastermind of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, has died at 84.

Barber, who had been a mint and hay farmer in recent years, died Thursday.

Barber was one of 16 pilots in specially equipped long-range P-38 Lightnings who were dispatched 400 miles on April 18, 1943, to intercept Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Japanese Imperial Navy, over the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. American forces had broken a Japanese code to learn his flight plans.

Though the American Fighter Aces Association gave sole credit to Barber, the official U.S. Air Force record said that Barber shot off the tail of the Betty bomber carrying Yamamoto and set it on fire. According to the Air Force record, pilot Tom Lanphier blasted the plane before it plunged into the jungles of Bougainville Island.

Urged by Barber and his supporters, authorities reviewed the record several times, with no change in the official account. A federal appeals court in 1996 ruled against Barber's challenge of the record.

US Air Force Selects Global Hawk Operating Base
The US Air Force has selected Beale Air Force Base in California as the first Global Hawk main operating base. Air Force officials recently completed an environmental assessment and found basing 18 of the unmanned aerial vehicles at Beale would result in no significant environmental impacts.

This decision follows an earlier Air Force announcement declaring Beale as the preferred location for the beddown of the UAV. Other bases under consideration included Edwards AFB in California, Ellsworth AFB, in South Dakota, Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, and Wright-Patterson AFB, in Ohio.

Global Hawk provides Air Force commanders high-altitude, long-endurance, near-real-time intelligence.

"Collocating Global Hawk with Beale's 9th Reconnaissance Wing and the U-2 (Dragon Lady) mission will ensure Global Hawk transitions smoothly from initial beddown to full operational capability," said Gen. John P. Jumper, commander of Air Combat Command. "It also ensures cultural issues associated with transitioning from manned to unmanned reconnaissance are in the hands of our current high-altitude reconnaissance experts at Beale. They are best suited to complete the transition with the least disruption to the mission.

"The first beddown location will be just that -- the first, not the last," Jumper said. "It is important the first Global Hawk site be the best place for us to find out all we can about its capability, and the best place to fold it into a critical ongoing mission."

The Air Force anticipates the first of the 18 primary aircraft and personnel to begin arriving at Beale in 2002 and 2003, with initial capability to support limited operations beginning in 2003.

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