Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Monday, January 27, 2003

PC Game & Hardware News

Flightsim.com Warbird Contest Winners
Flightsim.com have announced the randomly-drawn winners' names in their “Name The Warbird” contest.

Web Page: Contest Results
Web Site: Flightsim.com

F-16 Tops Simviation.com Top 20 Downloads
The F-16 22nd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem, Germany aircraft for FS2002 is the top download this week at Simviation. Check it out.

Web Page: Simviation Top 20
Web Site: Simviation.com

Battlefield 1942 Updates Galore!

Tall grass in BF1942

How can you tell that a game is really popular? Just count the number of mods and other goodies that you can get for it. Using this rule, we'd have to say that BF1942 is very, very popular. Check out the just a few of the goodies we found on the PlanetBattlefield.com website: For an even more detailed listing, visit the PlanetBattlefield.com website:

Web Site: PlanetBattlefield.com

Want to Work in the Game Industry? BioWare is Hiring!
Looking for a job in the gaming industry? Here's your chance!

BioWare Corp. is hiring for a number of positions in Art, Production, Design, Programming, Sound, Community Development, and Quality Assurance!

The following positions are currently available:
  • Art
    • Senior 3D Artist
    • 3D Visual Effects Artist
    • Senior Level Artist
    • Modeler
    • Multiple-Skills Artist
    • Technical Animator
    • Experienced Art Director
    • Senior Technical Artist
  • Community Development
    • Korean/Asian Development Coordinator/Community Manager
  • Design
    • Writer
    • Technical Designer
  • Production
    • Senior External Producer
    • Producer
    • Localization Producer
  • Programming
    • Art Utility Tools Programmer
    • Art Pipeline Tools Programmer
  • Sound
    • Sound Designer
  • QA
    • Director of QA
Website: Bioware Jobs

Third Space Empires IV Gold Patch
(Cary, NC) Shrapnel Games announced today that the the newest Space Empires IV Gold patch is available from their website. This patch, v1.84, adds features changes and enhancements and fixes bugs.

Among the changes and additions are two new target types added for components: "Ships\Planets\Sat" and "Ships\Planets\Sat\Drone", option to strategems to control how many drones are launched per target in combat, and changes to weapons platform damage when planets are under attack. There are also over 25 fixes in this patch. A complete list of additions, changes, and fixes can be found at Shrapnel Games website.

Patch Highlights:
  • Full TCP/IP Support.
  • Drones fully implemented in code.
  • New System Graphics and Types: stellar core fragments, organic infestations, comets, stars forming, spacial ruptures, red giants, and more!
  • All sounds reworked from 8 bit to 16 bit 44.100 khz Stereo.
  • Along with updated old sounds an entire new set of sound effects and a game option to choose either for game play.
  • New 120+ page manual written by experienced computer game industry technical writer.
  • Map Editor included on CD.
  • 200 megs of user created "mods" for the game new technologies, new components, new race styles, and more.
  • Mod Selection utility on CD.
  • Expanded info and support for SE:IV PBW site (seiv.pbw.cc).
  • Additional features requested by modders data file changes history, satellite and weapon platform range bonuses, more empire settings in the AI files, increased number of system types, control over number of starting AI players, more facility families, multiple bitmaps per vehicle size, and more.
  • Improved AI tactics.
Web Page: Space Empires IV
Website: Shrapnel Games

American Conquest Screens from the French and Indian War

COMBATSIM.COM Info: American Conquest Preview
Website: American Conquest Homepage

IL-2 Updates: Story, Preview, Video Competition
Cartix has been busy updating the IL-2 Sturmovik site with new info:
  • Forgotten Battles War Story by Ian Boys
    Ian Boys has been at it again and created another Forgotten Battles war story. Check it out here.

  • IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles Preview
    Looks like we weren't the only ones caught flat-footed by this pre-emptive preview. Seems IL2Center.com has an actual hands-on preview. Hmmmm? We were told the code wasn't ready yet. Another beta tester not reading his non-disclosure agreement, perhaps? <vbg> Oh well, it can't be that big a deal if Cartix is posting it on the official IL-2 Sturmovik website. Check it out here.

  • Video Competion Closes
    The end-user video competition is officially closed. However, Cartix says he will continue to work with those who were having difficulty sending in their videos before they judge the entries.
Website: IL-2Sturmovik.com

More Jungle Action! Men Of Valor: Vietnam
(Bellevue, Wa) Last year, 2015 released one of the more exceptional World War II first person shooters - Medal of Honor Allied Assault - on January 22, 2002. On the anniversary of that release, Vivendi Universal Games announced today the development of Men of Valor: Vietnam for the PC and the Xbox (video game system from Microsoft. Men of Valor: Vietnam, developed by 2015, Inc. and published by Sierra Entertainment, is a historical first-person shooter that portrays infantry combat during the Vietnam War. Combining the latest Unreal technology with the gameplay expertise of 2015, Men of Valor transports the player to the humid jungles of Southeast Asia in the most controversial conflict of the modern era.

"With Medal of Honor Allied Assault, 2015 took steps towards developing a new type of first- person shooter that highlighted the excitement and danger of military conflict during World War II. Rather than place the player in the role of a traditional first-person shooter, the player was made to experience the vulnerability and heroism of the soldier taking part in a great crusade," said Tom Kudirka, President, 2015, Inc. "In the same way, Men of Valor: Vietnam aims to recreate the tension, risk, and excitement of the jungle battlefields of the Vietnam War."

The storyline follows the player through the major actions in the conflict, from search and destroy missions around Danang airbase to the Tet offensive and the counterattack on Hue. A cast of AI controlled characters accompanies the player through the missions, and he learns their value and mourns their loss as the war progresses. The game will support a cooperative mode that allows the player to experience the entire tour of duty with his friends, and various multiplayer modes allow the player to experience the war from the perspective of North Vietnamese Army or Viet Cong guerillas as well as US Forces.

Men of Valor: Vietnam will be available in 2004 on Xbox and PC with an ESRB rating pending.

Website: Vivendi Universal Games
Website: 2015

Activision And The Creative Assembly Develop Rome: Total War
(London, UK) Activision, Inc. today announced the development of Rome: Total War for the PC, the next game to be released in the Total War series and the follow-up title to The Creative Assembly's multi-award winning Medieval: Total War. In the game players return to the golden age of antiquity to take command of the most fearsome armies in a bid to rewrite the annals of history and be proclaimed Imperator.

"One of the biggest challenges we've faced so far with Rome: Total War is getting people to believe what they see when we show them the game," states Tim Ansell, Managing Director, The Creative Assembly. "The cinematic battles are beyond anything ever before seen in a game. So, when people see a screenshot or the game running, they automatically assume that we're showing a cutscene or that it's going to take a super computer to run the game. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even before final optimisations the engine performance and the system specs are already very competitive."

Exceptional graphics in Rome: Total War

Following more than two years of development, the revolutionary, all new Total War engine brings to life epic, cinematic battles beyond anything ever seen before in a game. The player controls mighty armies of up to 10,000 fully polygonal, highly detailed, motion-captured warriors clashing in panoramic real-time battles. Players can fight as, or against ancient history's most legendary generals including Julius Caesar, Hannibal and the rebel Spartacus.

At players' disposal will be hundreds of different troops including legionaries, hoplites, barbarian hordes, war elephants, gladiators and scythe chariots to colossal war machines such as siege towers, battering rams and catapults hurling flaming missiles. Additionally, more than 10,000 unique battlefields based on the topography of Europe and North Africa set the stage for the carnage. However, conflict is not the only way to gain favour with the senate and people of Rome as, politics, diplomacy the gladiatorial games will play key roles in the player's quest to be declared Imperator.

Website: Rome: Total War

NVIDIA GeForceFX Reviews
Does NVIDIA finally have a card that can go toe-to-toe with ATI's Radeon 9700? If so, does the price warrant the investment? Reviews of the beefy, doo-dad-encrusted NVIDIA GeForceFX can be found at the following sites:

NVIDIA's response to ATI's Radeon 9700

Tom's Hardware: Brute Force Attack Against the King
ExtremeTech: GeForceFX: Not a Home Run
HardOCP: GeForce FX 5800 Ultra Preview

Simulations in the News

Simulation Techs Needed!
By Cindi Brownfield
DAYTONA BEACH -- David Bartlett won't ever fire a tank in the desert or pilot a jet over Iraq, but he may soon have a chance to help the military in the war on terrorism -- thanks to a new degree in simulation technology at Daytona Beach Community College.

DBCC launched the two-year degree -- the first of its kind -- this month to fill a growing need for technicians who maintain and fix hardware on simulators used for training in tanks, aircraft and other vehicles, as well as in the health, entertainment and law enforcement fields.

With 150 modeling and simulation companies, Central Florida is locked and loaded for a predicted boom in simulator demand.

Full Story: Daytona Beach News Journal

Flight Simulator Seeks to Aid Pilots
By By Bill Kaczor, Associated Press
(ENSACOLA, Fla.) - Pilots flying on instruments when the sky is too dark, cloudy, or stormy to see the ground must slow their procedures while they scan a myriad of gauges one at a time and determine the significance of each number.

"The question is why?" said vision scientist David Still. "The pilot's the same. The airplane's the same. The atmosphere's the same. The only difference is how the pilot's getting information about how things are going."

Still and his research partner, Leonard Temme, believe they have a better idea in OZ, a computerized system that provides pilots with a symbolic picture of how things are going without asking them to slow down to read instruments.

OZ would replace cockpit gauges with a single computer screen that uses lines, circles, and streaming "stars" to graphically show where an airplane is going, how fast and high it is flying, and other vital data in a single glance.

Full Story: Boston Globe

Blue Angels Simulator
By Callie Clark - Southeast Missourian
The engine rumbles, then the passengers gasp simultaneously as the F/A-18 Hornet lifts roughly off the runway, throwing riders against the backs of their seats. After that, it's nothing but blue skies and white clouds as the jet gains altitude, soaring over dense forests, fields and cities.

Area residents had a rare chance to experience life in the cockpit of a Blue Angels fighter jet when one of the Navy's full-motion flight simulators made a short landing Sunday at Westfield Shoppingtown in Cape Girardeau.

The simulator, one of only two of its kind in the United States, doesn't offer a smooth ride. The machine's hydraulics and pneumatics jolt and jostle passengers through a variety of sharp turns and nose-dives over trees, buildings and along the Florida coastline.

Full Story: SE Missourian

This War Game May Be Lifesaver
By James B. Meadow, Rocky Mountain News
(FORT CARSON) - Out of the vast, beige desertscape, the Russian-made BMP2 loomed, a scant 1520 meters away, implacable, menacing, ominous.

But also vulnerable.

Across the dunes, inside the M2 Bradley's dark-lit turret, a makeshift crew sprang into action. Quickly, the laser range finder "lased" the target and a sweaty but steady 53-year-old finger squeezed the trigger, loosing a sextet of 25mm armor-piercing projectiles.

The bullets carved low, whispery arcs over the sand and then, within seconds, flames erupted from the enemy infantry vehicle's turret - and a thin smile of pride creased the face of the middle-aged man playing commander.

But if the commander was really just an antique journalist and the "vehicle" he was in wasn't real, it emphatically wasn't a toy. The M2 Bradley simulator is a $1 million piece of sophisticated training equipment, part of the $40 million Closed Combat Tactical Trainer the Army uses to train and hone the battle skills of soldiers in its heavy units (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, etc.).

Full Story: RockyMountainNews.com

Looking to Invest in Simulations?
By Jason Kirby And Peter Verburg
Even great managers have a tough time making their stock perform when the industry they operate in is out of favour with investors. Case in point: CAE Inc. (TSX: CAE).

The Toronto-based maker of flight simulators and military training systems is a technology company that builds products for the airline industry in other words, it has ties to a sector of the economy that is in the dumps.

Not surprisingly, CAE's share price has been pummelled over the past year, dropping from a high of $14.60 last spring to a low of $3.25 when markets bottomed out in October.

The stock has bounced back somewhat since then, after the company announced a series of new contracts in December and January. The shares closed Friday at $5.22. But that's still about 63 per cent off the 52-week high.

Full Story: Toronto Star

Defense / Aerospace News

Lockheed Martin Extends Navy's Antiaircraft Warfare Range
(SUNNYVALE, Calif.) -- Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company today announced that it has successfully tested a proof-of-concept system that will extend the range and effectiveness of the U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) by thousands of square miles.

CEC significantly improves battle force anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) capabilities by integrating the sensor data of cooperating ships and aircraft into a single, real-time, fire-control-quality composite track picture that supports integrated engagements. By simultaneously distributing sensor data on airborne threats to each ship within a battle group, CEC extends the range at which a given ship can engage hostile aircraft and missiles to well beyond its own radar horizon, significantly improving area, local, and self-defense capabilities.

Funded by the Missile Defense Agency and managed by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA - PMS465), the CEC Space Systems Integration contract is a joint effort between The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif. The effort is developing a prototype CEC satellite range extension (SRE) capability using the DoD's Milstar satellite constellation with both anti- aircraft warfare and ballistic missile defense applications. The Milstar constellation provides protected, global communication links for the joint forces of the U.S. military and can transmit voice, data, and imagery, in addition to offering video teleconferencing capabilities.

"This is an example of the transformational, network-centric warfare capabilities the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy are pursuing. Our tests to date confirm the benefit of Milstar satellite communications range extension for CEC's anti-air warfare mission, and we are eager to extend the testing to show benefits to ballistic missile defense, as well," said Doug Graham, vice president, Defensive Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

Two of three progressively more challenging anti-air warfare/ballistic missile defense virtual engagement demonstrations have been completed at land- based sites using CEC satellite range extension hardware. The team working on the new architecture recently completed the first two tests, which confirmed that CEC with Milstar II satellite range extension enables Aegis cruisers to defend against air breathing threats beyond their own radar horizons.

The tests employed land-based ship simulators to represent two CEC- equipped Aegis cruisers and one CEC-equipped aircraft carrier, and made the first live use of Milstar II's medium data rate (MDR) satellite to provide the equivalent of a ship-based force multiplier. The first test, completed in March 2002, demonstrated an Aegis anti-air warfare cued engagement over the horizon using INMARSAT. In the second test, conducted in October, an Aegis anti-air warfare launch-on-remote and engage-on-remote dual communications network, consisting of the organic CEC Data Distribution System and Milstar II, successfully tracked hundreds of airborne targets.

A third experiment is planned for mid-2003 to demonstrate ballistic missile composite tracking, again using Milstar II.

Three-Five Systems Picked For Head-Mounted Display
(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Three-Five Systems, Inc., a leading provider of display products and systems, today announced that the company's Brillian LCoS SVGA Microdisplay has been selected for a next-generation head-mounted display (HMD) developed by Shimadzu, one of Japan's preeminent aerospace companies.

Shimadzu evaluated all the available technologies and performed rigorous laboratory testing before selecting Three-Five's nematic-based LCoS as the best available solution. As a reflective technology, this SVGA display features high image quality and eliminates the "screen door effect" or granulated image quality that is noticeable with color-filter based technologies, like polysilicon or OLED-on-silicon, which require light to shine through the RGB filters to create color. Three-Five's Brillian Z86D-3 features long lifetimes, wide operating temperatures and is currently production ready. In addition, the display facilitates the ability to create compact support electronics, an important attribute in head-mounted devices.

LCoS Near to Eye viewing system

The Shimadzu device is a wearable display that allows hands-free viewing of a PC-class high-resolution 13" virtual image. The extra-light weight, small form factor head-mounted display is comfortable to wear and provides for a clear and wide 30-degree (diagonal) field-of-view image. The device is well-suited for battery powered applications that require mobile access to Internet/Intranet/Extranet content or devices that require mobility when accessing stored content such as user instructions, drawings or video content. A unique application that this technology has enabled is utilizing the HMD as an automated tour guide in museums for handicapped patrons.

In addition to the wearable computing and communications applications that are already available with this head-mounted display, Shimadzu is actively working on relationships with additional commercial and industrial OEMs who are interested in integrating an HMD into their video products to replace or augment current display systems. Applications include test and measurement, inspection systems, videography and a variety of military programs.

The light weight, monocular, head-mounted display has already been designed into three wearable computing devices and is currently available to OEMs for applications that require or can be improved with a wearable viewing system. Three-Five has begun production shipments of the Brillian Z86D-3 Microdisplay to Shimadzu.

Website: Three Five Systems

ThalesRaytheonSystems to Upgrade Norwegian Surface to Air Missile Sys.
(Fullerton, Calif.) ThalesRaytheonSystems LLC, has been awarded a $45 million dollar firm-fixed price contract to upgrade TPQ-36A Air Surveillance Radars for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). The RNoAF's TPQ-36A is the predecessor system to the AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel Air Defense Radar, a highly mobile ground-based air defense unit currently fielded within the US Army and four other nations.

AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel Air Defense Radar

The development and production program for the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System, known in Norway as NASAMS II, will result in installation of upgrade kits for the TPQ-36A radars. This upgrade will convert systems into units similar to that of the most recent AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel product improvement. Enhancements included in the kit are a new transmitter power amplifier, receiver/exciter, signal/data processor and antenna motor controller. All kits will be assembled in the U.S., with a portion of the manufacturing work to take place at the Raytheon Consolidated Manufacturing Center (CMC) in Forest, Miss. The upgrade installation for the first two radars will take place in the U.S. The remaining kits will be delivered by ThalesRaytheonSystems to Norway for on-site installation.

In addition to the ThalesRaytheonSystems radar upgrades, the Surface Launched AMRAAM NASAMS II program consists of other RNoAF hardware upgrades (missile launcher, fire direction control, etc.). ThalesRaytheonSystems serves as a subcontractor to HKV, a joint venture between Raytheon and Kongsberg Defense of Norway. All ThalesRaytheonSystems elements of the NASAMS II program will be accomplished over a 42-month period.

ThalesRaytheonSystems is an equally owned transatlantic joint venture (JV) between Raytheon Company and Thales Group. ThalesRaytheonSystems is a worldwide supplier of air defense command and control centers (ADCC) and ground based battlefield radars. Annual income is close to 700 million dollars with 1300 people employed.

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