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by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

PC Games & Hardware News
CFS3 Patch Details Released

CFS3 patch details released

From MicrosoftGamesInsider.com
Latest News on the CFS3 Patch
As you all probably know, an update to CFS3 was announced prior to the holidays. There has been a lot of online discussion about what this update might or might not address, what the current status might be, and when it may be available. As in most such discussions there's quite a bit of speculation going on, so we thought this would be a good time to offer up some status and address some of the common questions.

Where we are…
A lot of work has gone into investigating issues that have come to our attention from online forums, comments to the "Tell_CFS"email alias, or through our own testing. We're rapidly reaching the point where most of our high priority fixes have moved into the final testing phase.

Expect an official announcement on the update's release toward the beginning of February.

What will it do?
Obviously, we won't be able to release the full list of issues we are addressing until we are confident we have completed the work. However, there are a number of completed fixes in place that we can share with you. This isn't a comprehensive list of changes. We are still examining and testing fixes, so if you don't see a specific issue mentioned here, we may still be working on it.

Force Feedback Joysticks
Previously, the force feedback effects were not initializing properly, resulting in erroneous feedback. Forces will now correctly initialize and center on Force Feedback joy sticks.

In Flight Map
A simple in-flight map has been added. Pilots can now press "M" to bring up the in-flight briefing and map.

Hit Sounds
Hit sounds will now play during Multiplayer games.

Hits at Close Range
Previously if you flew too close to the enemy (inside 50 yards), your hits were not registered. In the update, gun hits are logged correctly at close range.

Padlock View
Padlock view no longer auto-switches to the next available target when the previous target is destroyed. The new behavior returns to the default view to allow the player to select the next target for padlock.

Level bombing
Level bombers will now drop bombs properly in response to orders. AI in formation with the player will drop bombs when the player does.

Drop tanks
AI will now drop tanks as they engage in air-to-air combat.

Gun Pods
Gun pods no longer fire on their own.

Cockpit Art
The cockpit for the P 51B, P 51D, and the gun stations for the B26 and B25 have been improved.

Gun Stations
Models now support a sufficient number of gun stations to model heavy bombers.

What about configuration and performance?
We continue to investigate improvements that will yield enhancements to performance. Our work must span a wide variety of PC configurations; each with their own unique characteristics. We have made changes that demonstrate improvements to some systems, but not others. We continue to investigate, but it is possible that some configurations may not see a significant improvement in performance as a result of this patch.

How big will it be?
One very good piece of news it that the downloadable update will be reasonably sized, even for people without high-bandwidth connections. The current size is under 6MB though it will probably grow a bit before we release it. Don't jump to the conclusion that this is a modest update, though. We're using a program called RT Patch to create our update, and this utility shrinks the update to include only those bits which have actually changed. The current total size of the update without shrinking it this way would be approximately 18MB.

Final words
No update ever addresses every issue that every user would like to see addressed, so it's possible (even likely) that some of you may not see your pet issue addressed in this update. However, the issues we've addressed were the ones most mentioned as crucial to improving game play. We believe that the update will be a welcome improvement, and we'd like to thank all of you for the useful feedback that made it possible.
Thrustmaster Renews Contract With The U.S. Airforce
Croydon, January 22nd, 2003 - Thrustmaster, well known for designing and developing the ultimate in flight simulation accessories, is thrilled to announce a three-year renewal of its close collaboration agreement with the U.S. Air Force.

Thrustmaster renews contract with U.S. Airforce

Under the agreement, the U.S. Air Force provides Thrustmaster with support in the development of high-end flight controllers. Thrustmaster will thus keep offering the most realistic flight simulation devices, life like in design, life like in performance as the actual controllers found in the American USAF or US Navy. USAF and Thrustmaster join forces to transport gamers to the further reaches of FlightSim technology.

"Thrustmaster is very pleased to renew its partnership with the U.S. Air Force, whose expertise in flight technology and support have been an invaluable complement to our own extensive developments over the past years," states Gilles RAULET, Thrustmaster's General Manager - Development and Production. "This collaboration resulted in the design and release of the HOTASTM Cougar joystick in 2002, considered as the reference in flight simulation controller by members of the PC trade press and gaming communities worldwide."

HOTAS Cougar is the most realistic flight simulation controller ever created, a replica of the F-16 fighter aircraft controls used by the U.S. Air Force; the joystick is so realistic it is even used in pilot training. With its rugged die-cast metal construction, HOTAS Cougar incorporates complete keyboard and mouse emulation and features 28 buttons plus multiple hat switches, all of which are programmable. Future product developments will add to the high quality standards and minute attention to detail that have made HOTAS Cougar an international success.

The renewal of this collaboration agreement serves to reinforce Thrustmaster 's commitment to creating the most exciting products in the industry over the years to come.

Website: Thrustmaster
Website: Cougar World

Korea: Forgotten Conflict Screenshots
The game is in the style of ´Commandos´ where the player takes on the role of the leader of a group of military specialist in the Korean War. Along with innovative features (some never seen before), you are offered the customary classic intuitive user-friendly features.

Set in Korea during the conflict between North and South Korea, the game offers an authentic setting from the period, along with all its nuances. Diversity in locations such as enemy bases, airfields, railway stations, factory facilities, Prisoner of War camps, bridges and tunnels, as well as harbours, historical palaces or monasteries will bring each scenario to life. One particularly attractive setting is based on a real model of a part of the capital, Seoul. The area of these locations varies from several metres to several kilometres.

At present, the game comprises 5 campaigns consisting of a total of 15 missions. Every mission is a self-designed environment with its own graphic design based on a real world location. Missions will lead the player through the Korean War. With a focus on attention to detail, the player will notice the changes of weather and passage of the seasons throughout the year.

The basic characteristics of the game includes:
  • A variety of military specialists including Ranger, Sniper, Demolition Expert, Medic, and othersPlanning operations
  • High quality graphical 3D surroundings.
  • Detailed graphics including interiors of buildings, weapons and technical facilities.
  • Freedom of camera movement, detailed zooms, natural rotation and angle of the game camera.
  • In game video sequences which underline the atmosphere.
  • Interactive environments including the possibility of manipulating and destroying objects.
  • Variety of missions.
  • Weather effects including, rain, snow, wind and fog.
  • Seasonal changes (spring, summer, autumn and winter).
  • Military tactics in a commando style.

All members of the military Commando unit have special abilities and the best possible training techniques for carrying out tasks behind enemy lines. Every one of your men and women has particular skills, which you may put to the test the moment you command.

Website: Korea Forgotten Conflict

Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield MP Demo Patch Announcement
From the RS3:RS website:
In line with our mission to make Raven Shield as cheat free as possible, we will be releasing the MPDEMO 1.2 patch tomorrow. This patch prevents players from using the thermal scope and high capacity magazines.

Better get in line early!

Website: Raven Shield

Win a 64-Bit System
Depending on who you talk to, 64-bit computing may, or may not be, the NBT (Next Big Thing). If it does come through on its promise, 64-bit computing is going to be big and it will be looked upon as a major evolution in computing power. We can only imagine what our combat simulations will look like on a 64-bit system! It may even spawn a renaissance in our beloved but beleagured combat flight simulation category.

AMD's 64-bit Opteron Processor

AMD is attempting to raise awareness for their 64-bit processor by running a contest giveaway. The giveaway is based on a survey of what you feel are the biggest breakout events in history (see, 64-bit computing is going to be this big breakout thing, so, well...you get it, right?) All you have to do is tell them all about yourself first so you can enter the survey.

Entry Form: Breakout Performance Survey
Website: AMD.com

Tom's Hardware: Powerline Wireless Network
Powerline Wireless Network: sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms, no? Yes, yes, your powerlines are in fact wires, but you don't need to install new, Category 5 wiring, and you won't need any wires from your laptop to the wall outlet. This is yet another option for you combat simmers who want to move around the house with the ol' laptop and still have Internet access.

Wireless Networking on your home's power lines

Tom's has a review of the SpeedStream SS2521 Powerline Wireless Access Point. Basically, it uses your existing electrical outlets and house wiring to create a "wireless" network. As always, there are pros and cons to this technology and Tim Higgins does an excellent job of explaining them all.

Website: Tom's Hardware

Defense / Aerospace News
CAE to Build Additional C-130J Cockpit Trainers for USAF
(Toronto) CAE today announced that Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company has awarded CAE USA a contract valued at more than C$24 million (US$15.6 million) to design additional C-130J training devices and provide training support services for the United States Air Force.

C-130J Hercules

CAE will design and manufacture a C-130J Integrated Cockpit Systems Trainer (ICST) and C-130J Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT) under a program called the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System (C-130J MATS). CAE will also provide training support services at Little Rock Air Force Base, which is the primary schoolhouse for USAF C-130 training and the base where these training devices will be delivered.

“CAE has a long-term agreement with Lockheed Martin as their training partner for the C-130J and we’re pleased to continue this relationship on the C-130J MATS program for the U.S. Air Force,” said Donald W. Campbell, Group President, Military Simulation and Training, CAE. “Ultimately, the USAF will be the world’s largest operator of the new C-130J Hercules and we’re committed to helping ensure the C-130J aircrews and maintenance personnel are well-trained and mission ready.”

The C-130J ICST will be used to support maintenance training by providing practical experience in the operation, servicing, troubleshooting, and repair of various C-130J aircraft systems. The C-130J CPT will provide cockpit familiarization and procedural training for C-130J aircrews.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is the prime contractor on the C-130J MATS program and has overall responsibility for program management, procurement of aircraft equipment and spares, and provision of training services such as curriculum updates and training system configuration control.

As part of the C-130J MATS program, CAE is already under contract to design two C-130J Weapon Systems Trainers and a C-130J Avionics Systems Management Trainer for the USAF, as well as providing contractor logistics support and aircrew instruction on the training devices. These training devices will be delivered in 2003 to Keesler AFB in Mississippi and Little Rock AFB in Arkansas.

CAE is a global leader in providing advanced simulation and controls equipment and integrated training solutions for customers in the civil aviation, military and marine markets. With annual revenues in excess of $1 billion, CAE employs more than 6,000 people in Canada, the United States and around the globe.

BVR's Commissions Flight Simulators for Israeli Airforce
(ROSH HA'AYIN, Israel) BVR Systems, Ltd., a diversified world leader in advanced military training and simulation systems, today announced the successful commissioning of its AMOS trainer simulator for the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The three flight simulators delivered under this project were declared operational for the training, testing and screening of Israel's flight cadets by the IAF Flight Academy.

360° Field of View Full Dome

BVR Systems' Chief Executive Officer Yoel Katzir commented that BVR is honored to play an integral role in the screening of potential pilots for one of the most advanced airforces in the world. "The success of this contract reinforces BVR's position as a leading supplier of simulation and training systems to the Israeli Defense Forces."

During the commissioning ceremony, a commander from the IAF Flight Academy commented that the upgrade to the AMOS trainer simulator system represents significant progress in its critical process of screening flight cadets. The upgraded system broadens and enhances the ability to screen for more characteristics, while facilitating the screening process. It enables the cost-effective and convenient screening and testing of pilot cadets in a user-friendly environment while saving time.

The program included an upgrade of the existing Fouga Magister ("Tsukit") aircraft flight trainer developed by BVR and the delivery of two new additional simulators. An upgrade to the software and simulation analysis in conjunction with the installation of a PC-based statistical package which was supplied as well, along with an instructor operator station, mission debriefing capabilities, and the ability to create hypothetical scenarios.

Mr. Katzir declared that the project has achieved all of its goals and was delivered on time to the satisfaction of the Israeli Air Force Academy. "The success of this project illustrates the potential for this kind of simulator to be cost-effectively customized for screening in other areas of defense," he added.

Website: BVR Systems

FlightSafety International Gives 1,000th Simulator Lesson
(SOUTHAMPTON, Pa.) Environmental Tectonics Corporation and FlightSafety International Academy at Vero Beach, FL announced today the training of FSI's 1,000th lesson using the GAT-II(R) General Aviation Trainer.

FlightSafety International Academy is one of the most widely recognized flight training schools and uses their GAT-II(R) to train their students in the hazards associated with spatial disorientation during flight.

GAT-II Trainer

According to Cliff Loar, FlightSafety Academy GAT Training manager, "On January 3 of this month, FlightSafety Academy conducted the 1000th lesson in the GAT. Students are required to complete four lessons in the GAT before they graduate. The training is organized into two VFR and two IFR orientated lessons. In addition to the ETC provided illusions, the Academy has developed several alternative scenarios that create a more typical flight environment where illusions may occur, thus increasing the learning experience for the student. The feedback from the students who have attended this training has been very positive and supportive of the program."

Spatial Disorientation training emphasizes the physiological hazards which pilots could experience. FlightSafety International Academy is the first in Florida to offer this type of advanced pilot training. FAA statistics show that when spatial disorientation is involved in a mishap, nine out of ten of those mishaps are fatal.

"The aviation training capabilities offered by the GAT-II(R) will significantly complement FlightSafety International's Pilot training curriculum," states Glenn King, ETC's Aircrew Training Systems, Applications Manager.

ETC recently introduced the GAT-II(R) family of General Aviation Trainers. GAT-II(R)s are available in Single Engine, Multi-engine, Helicopter and Regional Jet versions.

Each GAT-II(R) supports VFR, IFR, Mishap Prevention, as well as Spatial Disorientation (SD) training. The motion platform provides roll, pitch, and yaw in response to pilot input. The visual display provides a photo-realistic terrain database and accurate modeling of major cities and terrain features. The list of impressive features includes selectable meteorological conditions, instructor selectable malfunctions; various map views and contains all FAA listed airports and navaids.

Website: Flight Safety
Website: Environmental Tectonics

Successful Tomahawk Launch Precursor to SSGN Conversion Testing
(ABOARD USS FLORIDA (NNS)) — Two Tomahawk missiles were successfully launched from a missile tube of USS Florida (SSBN 728), an Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, during demonstration and validation (DEMVAL) tests recently in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of western Florida.

The successful launches provided confirmation that a key element of the planned conversion of SSBNs to SSGNs – the delivery of conventional weapons from the submarine’s missile tubes – will work.

USS Florida (SSBN 728) makes its way to its new homeport at Naval Station Norfolk. Florida is one of four Ohio-class submarines on the list to be converted to conventional-weapon (SSGN) submarines. (U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class B.L. Keller.)

“This first at-sea launch should demonstrate that all the modeling and engineering estimates, calculations and predictions were correct,” said Capt. Brian Wegner, SSGN program manager. “All signs point to the fact that the entire concept is feasible.”

The first launch Jan. 14 was of an instrumented Tomahawk Block III missile configured with an MK-106 rocket motor assembly to obtain a boosted energy profile similar to the Tactical Tomahawk missile currently in development. The unarmed missile was launched vertically from one of the submarine’s missile tubes and transitioned to cruise flight, flying its planned mission at the Eglin Air Force Base C Range using global positioning satellite navigation, with recovery occurring at Eglin.

A second launch Jan. 16 was also successful. While very similar to the first test, instead of launching a Tactical Tomahawk-type missile, the second test launched an unarmed instrumented Block III missile configured with an MK-111 rocket motor assembly to obtain a normal Block III missile boosted energy profile.

For both tests, the missile was placed within a multiple all-up-rounds canister (MAC) in a configuration similar to the tightly-packed cluster of Tomahawk all-up-rounds (AURs) planned for SSGN Trident tubes. An instrumented test vehicle was collocated in the Trident launch tube to measure the effect of nearby launches on adjacent missiles.

“This was a test of the MAC more than anything else,” noted Wegner. “We wanted to make sure that in the design of the MAC, we mitigated risks associated with a missile firing in close proximity to others.”

The DEMVAL included the collection of underwater launch risk assessment data, which will be used in the system development and design for the MAC being performed by Northrop Grumman, with the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) serving as the design agent.

The MAC will provide the support structure for up to seven Tomahawk AUR missiles in each of the large diameter Trident tubes on an Ohio-class submarine. To date, the MAC development process has included conducting land-based DEMVAL tests as part of an overall risk reduction plan culminating in this week’s at-sea launches.

USNS Waters (T-AGS 45), a launch area support ship, also participated in the DEMVAL test. The ship's radar gathered information that will supplement other accumulated test data.

The test also provided underwater videotape for evaluation of launch phenomenology, temperature and pressure transducer data related to hatch opening, closure and adjacent closure survivability, debris radar data for characterization of debris patterns, and flow field instrumentation from above the launch tube for correlation with launch models. This data will be analyzed and used to correlate the results of previously completed ground-based DEMVAL testing and computer-based simulation.

The at-sea DEMVAL was coordinated by the SSP, in conjunction with the SSGN Program Office, Naval Sea Systems Command, and the Tomahawk Missile System Manager, Naval Air Systems Command.

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