Back from the Nine Hells . . . Again
Greetings autoduelists. Like Grimm in Death Race, you can shoot me, you can burn me but you cannot prevent me (this editor) . . . from eventually publishing an issue.
Once again my great work schedule has devastated this newsletter and the current WADA tournament. I am aiming to send out the last issue for this year in December. In 2009, I am going to plan on sending out one issue every two months.
The last time I updated the 2058 WADA League Standings was on March
30th. Please send me results of any game for the tournament held since
that date and I will add them to the rankings before October 1st.
The biggest news for Car Wars fans for 2008, the release of Death Race in movie theaters, occured almost a month ago and now CWIN is reporting about it. At least I am dependable . . . being off-schedule.
When I first saw Death Race, released in the U.S. on August 22nd, the emotions I felt when I first played Car Wars over 20 years came rushing back. Ignore all of the negative reviews and go see this movie in a cinema house (the largest possible) before the movie leaves theaters. This movie must be seen on a large screen with a high-quality sound system. See the movie for yourself and decide how you felt autodueling was presented in the production.
Whether you like the movie or not, Death Race has some of the best vehicular stunts -- all practical, no CGI -- filmed since Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
I posted a review after I saw Death Race on opening night on the Steve
Jackson Games Car Wars Discussion Forum.
In contrast to Death Race, a low-budget film called Death Racers has
been released straight to DVD. Some of the actors are from the band Insane
Clown Posse. According to preliminary reviews, even the low price offered
by Amazon.com probably makes it only worthwhile to purchase this movie
only when its priced as a clearance item.
Death Race 2000
A few weeks before the release of Death Race in U.S. theaters, I learned
Death Race 2000 DVDs are out of print, including the Special Edition DVD
made available in 2005. As Death Race has been in theaters, the starting
prices of Death Race 2000 DVDs on eBay have been set high and the final
prices have been high as well. If you do not have the movie, I recommend
you find a copy now as it will become even more difficult to obtain. If
you can, purchase the 2005 Special Edition.
Doomsday is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Jimmy Anderson of MADHAT
presented a review on a recent episode of the Car Wars Podcast. The movie
has elements of Escape From New York with Chassis and Crossbow vehicular
action. Doomsday has graphic, intense action at times but it is an enjoyable
movie for autoduelists.
Formula D and Formule De: Next Generation
Formula De is being resurrected as Formula D from Asmodee Editions and
Formule De: Next Generation from Play Machines. You may remember Francis
Greenaway of Painted Target wrote rules for combat racing in Formula De
several years ago.
The Really Nasty Motor Racing Board Game
This box of backstabbing fun was received as a birthday gift by a good
friend. I highly recommend the game which is currently only available in
the United Kingdom.
The Dark Knight
Unless you have been sleeping all summer, you probably know The Dark
Knight hit theaters in July. The film has several excellent auto-combat
sequences with the Tumbler.
Wishing you an autumn full of auto-carnage,
First File: Fairbairn
The Daily Illuminator
January 21, 2008
The first new, original GURPS PDF of 2008 is GURPS Martial Arts: Fairbairn Close Combat Systems. We actually uploaded back on the 10th, so sharp-eyed fans are already reading the GURPS write-ups of W.E. Fairbairn's armed and unarmed combat systems, plus templates for commando, cops, and special ops of World War II. Check it out for any game set from the 1920's on -- Fairbairn's techniques are still considered cutting edge among law enforcement trainers!
While Fairbairn was the first original PDF, we'd be remiss if we failed to mention the uploading of a classic: GURPS Autoduel. This book takes the high octane world of Car Wars and brings it into GURPS Third Edition. Although it's nearly twelve years old, if you're looking for a setting book with a ton of background material, covering a world gone crazy, this one's for you.
-- Paul Chapman
Has It Really Been Over 20 Years?
The Daily Illuminator
March 2, 2008
I first played Car Wars in the fall of 1986. We played with the pocket box - and Truck Stop - and it was easily my favorite game for a good four or five years. I spent hundreds of hours designing cars and playing the game, time my parents and teachers thought was wasted. Well, I guess I showed them!
Some chats in the office a few weeks ago led to me dragging out some of my old ADQs again, including the Fall 2037 issue (my very first issue!). Rereading those old issues, especially the stories, was a great way to unwind after a long week of intense meetings. Unfortunately, as I was going through my collection I encountered some gaps. How can I be missing issues? This is bad! Time to hit eBay.
-- Phil Reed
Overloaded Truck Gets $17,000 Ticket In Grays Harbor County
Associated Press and KIRO TV 7 Seattle
Posted 12:51 pm PST February 14, 2008
Montesano, Washington -- The Grays Harbor County sheriff has a new record for the largest vehicle citation ever issued -- nearly $17,000.
Undersheriff Rick Scott said a deputy pulled over a large truck Wednesday transporting a massive piece of logging equipment in the Kalaloch area.
Scott said the equipment was not properly secured and the truck was overloaded by 66,600 pounds.
That resulted in a citation for $16,929.
Independent truckers see the end of the road
Photograph: Robert Griffith stops at a truck stop in Platte City, Mo. Trucking's owner-operators, the self-employed drivers who haul everything from Hummers to hay, are suffering. Many say they're running on the edge of bankruptcy, about to disappear unless they get help.
By Ellen Simon, Associated Press Business Writer
KOMO TV 4 Seattle
Published Mar 1, 2008 at 12:18 PM PST
Updated Mar 1, 2008 at 12:21 PM PST
Trucker Robert Griffith is on the road three weeks out of four, pulling oversize loads like crane booms, railroad ties and air conditioning ducts. One of his biggest worries: How he'll find the money to buy his daughter a prom dress.
As the cost of diesel doubled over the last four years, his take-home pay has plummeted, from $50,000 to $11,000 last year. He's literally burning money; he spent $64,000 on diesel in the last eight months. Since he canceled his satellite radio, he's on citizens band radio constantly (handle: Instigator) talking about what needs to change so truckers like him can survive.
"I had to learn to live totally different," said Griffith, 41, of Lebanon, Tenn.
No more $150 family outings to Shogun sushi. No more weekly washes for his Western Star 4900 EX truck. No more health insurance for him and his family.
"It hurts," he said. "I'm a man who's trying to make a living for my family and I'm not succeeding."
Trucking's owner-operators, the self-employed drivers who haul everything from Hummers to hay, are suffering. Many say they're running on the edge of bankruptcy, about to disappear unless they get help. While a wave of trucking failures now might be invisible to consumers, when the economy rebounds, it would push up shipping rates, helping increase prices.
The housing downturn and decreased consumer spending have cut into loads; the extra trucking capacity is pushing down freight rates. Diesel prices, which are always higher in the winter, have hit such highs that Truckinginfo.com runs ads for thief-stopping fuel-tank locks.
"If you can run all week without a flat tire, you're a little bit ahead, otherwise, you're basically just running to put the money right back into the fuel tank," said trucker Benjamin Stanley, 40, of Spotsylvania, Va. "Truckers are in the same spot farmers were in a few years back."
Reposessor Nassau Asset Management repossessed 110 percent more trucks in 2007 than it did in 2006, according to president Edward Castagna. And it's taking less time to pick up a truck, which he sees as a sign that there's less work to keep them on the road - and out of his reposessors' reach.
"It used to take weeks, now it takes days or hours," he said.
Industries that depend on independent truckers, like logging, are starting to suffer. Maine Gov. John Baldacci declared a civil emergency at the end of November, speeding fuel tax reimbursements for logging truck operators and asking the Department of Transportation to identify roads that could tolerate logging-truck weight, allowing truckers to take more direct routes and save fuel.
About nine percent of the nation's 3.4 million truck drivers are independent owner-operators, according to the Department of Labor. Without the independents, trucking will turn into a group of "regional and national oligopolies" that would send shipping prices higher when the economy improves, said John Saldanha, who teaches logistics at Ohio State University.
A Baird & Co. research report said the one positive note is the likelihood of more bankruptcies could eventually push freight rates up for the survivors.
Truckers, who felt unappreciated in the best of times, say they feel even more marginalized now.
Rumors of a nationwide truck strike are a nearly annual occurrence -
but this year an effort in January generated more talk than usual on MySpace
Sirius Satellite Radio show "Freewheelin."'
"If you eat it, drink it, wear it . . . sit on it, if it is anything other than the air you breathe, an American truck driver made it possible!" wrote trucker Joe Misilewich of Norwich, New York in an e-mail. "Don't forget it! Without truckers, America is nothing!"
Nanette Jenkins Rudd, 40, a third-generation trucker based in Mapleton, Ill., kept her five trucks off the road the week of the strike.
"I pray that this strike is successful, so that we only have to stop rolling for a week -- and not forever," she said.
Like other truckers, she's hoping for government help. "The government stepped in and helped the farmers when they were in trouble," she said. "Why? Because the farmers feed America, the farmers put food on the table. But who do you think delivers that food?"
Truckers say they want caps on diesel prices, or tax credits for truckers, as well as increased regulation for the middlemen who broker truck loads.
While independents struggle, the large public trucking companies seem to be on a different road. Their stocks have, for the most part, climbed since January.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and YRC Worldwide Inc., with more than 10,000 truck tractors each, buy everything from fuel to tractors in bulk. The big companies buy thousands of gallons of diesel at a time on the commodities market, then store at their depots; Griffith buys his at truck stop pumps, where prices increased 38 cents a gallon over two days last month.
Independent truckers are increasingly dependent on freight brokers, middlemen who match shippers with drivers one load at a time, taking a cut for themselves. At one of the country's largest brokers, Landstar System, Inc., revenue from brokered loads was $881.57 million in 2007, more than double what it was four years before. But the company said it paid less for transportation in fiscal 2007, while its revenue per load was nearly flat at $1,612.
Jim Gattoni, Landstar's chief financial officer, said payments were lower because volume was lower. Drivers carrying brokered loads from the company earn between 80 and 90 percent of the value of the freight they carry, he said, depending on the weight and complexity of the load.
"Our margin, at the end of the day, is seven percent," he said.
At brokerage sites like getloaded.com and internettruckstop.com, freight rates are where they were in 2002, said Roger Carpenter, a Binghamton, N.Y. trucker who hauls dairy and chickens. The middlemen behind the boards "are so competitive, they chop each other's rates up like hungry dogs trying to get a scrap of meat," he said.
Truckers complain that the brokerage system is unregulated and lacks transparency: They know what they're getting paid, but they don't know what the shippers are paying the brokers. They say they're also forbidden from showing the shippers their contracts. Many independents have a story about a shipper's shock after finding out what the trucker was being paid.
A load traveling 800 miles that cost a shipper nearly $3,000 to send may pay the trucker $1,000, out of which the trucker would pay all expenses including fuel and insurance.
"It's truly highway robbery," Misilewich said.
Jim Butts, vice president of transportation at C.H. Robinson, a company whose business includes brokering loads, said his company serves truckers well, acting as their sales and marketing arm and paying them even when shippers fail to pay.
"Not all these competitors are playing the same game and not all abide by the same rules," he said.
Griffith, who's been driving a truck for 20 years, stopped working with brokers six months ago and started hauling specialized loads, which pay $2 or $3 a mile more than standard.
Not that it's helping.
Three-quarters of his pay is going to fuel and maintenance, up from half in the past. And how much work he can cram in is regulated, with the number of hours he can drive capped by federal regulations at 11 a day, all of which must be recorded in a log book.
"People will say, 'Run harder,"' he said. "I can't run harder. You can't run beyond your log books."
Back on the CB, "someone will get on about trucking, someone will get on about the fuel prices, then everyone will start arguing and cussing." Listen to CB for an hour he said, "you'll feel the animosity, the hatred, the despair."
Griffith longs for the old Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa, who led truckers in their most powerful - and profitable - years. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and was declared presumed dead in 1982.
"We need to band together instead of fight each other and somebody needs
to help us do that," he said. "I wish Jimmy Hoffa were still around."
Study reveals promise of "brain-reading device"
By Jeremy Manier
Chicago Tribune and Seattle Times
Thursday, March 6, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Chicago, Illinois -- A research team has managed to crack the mind's internal code and deduce what a person is looking at based solely on brain activity, a feat that could pave the way for what the scientists described as "a brain-reading device."
The ability to read minds reliably is still beyond the grasp of science, but the study published Wednesday by neuroscientists at the University of California at Berkeley builds on a growing body of work on how to hack into the brain's inner language.
The Berkeley team, which published its study online Wednesday in the journal Nature, used a brain scan to find patterns of activity when people looked at black-and-white images of ordinary items such as bales of hay, a starfish or a sports car. When the people then looked at different photos, a software program drew on activity in the brain's vision center to guess which images they saw with up to 92 percent accuracy.
Other researchers have stolen glances at people's secret intentions and memories, and the new findings suggest that brain scanners could even reveal the elusive content of dreams.
Such abilities could have positive uses, such as aiding communication for people who are paralyzed or disabled, but some applications might be questionable, such as extracting information from unwilling subjects. Experts said the work's ethical implications should be examined now, while the field is still young.
The deepest problem facing scientists working to understand the brain is how its billions of neurons work together to make our inner life of sensations, ideas and recollections.
The Berkeley group, led by professor Jack Gallant and graduate student Kendrick Kay, did not solve that enduring puzzle. But by using brute computing force, they showed how the raw noise of neurons firing could be linked with specific visual images.
"The finding is very important," said John-Dylan Haynes, a professor
at the Bernstein Center for computational neuroscience in Berlin. "This
is a very sophisticated way of getting around a problem that seems almost
impossible to solve."
Man May Have Stolen As Much As 20,000 Gallons Of Gas
KIRO TV 7 Seattle
Posted 12:15 pm PDT March 20, 2008
Updated 1:46 pm PDT March 20, 2008
Seattle, Washington State -- A man arrested in connection with the theft of what was thought to be hundreds of gallons of gasoline is now believed to have stolen as much as 20,000 gallons, reported KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.
Police said David Beltran Torres stole gas from a Gig Harbor gas station last week and was at first believed to have stolen hundreds of gallons of gas in King County last month, but on Thursday, Gig Harbor and sheriff’s detectives said they believed as much as 20,000 gallons may have been stolen from at least 15 stations from Bellingham down the Interstate 5 corridor and into Oregon.
Authorities said Torres was able to bypass the gas pump mechanism that records the dollar amount of gas dispensed, which allowed him to fill multiple 55-gallon drums in the back of his pickup truck. Torres then resold the gas to various people for about half the normal price, police said.
With gas prices averaging about $3.50 in the Seattle area, the value of the thief's haul may have reached $70,000.
Law enforcement officers are now trying to identify all the victims and determine the total loss.
Authorities told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Kevin McCarty that Torres, 36, led police and deputies on a low-speed chase Wednesday that ended when officers boxed him in. Police used a stun gun after the man refused to get out of his pickup truck.
Inside Torres’ truck, officers found an orange safety vest matching the description of one used by the thief, officials said.
Gig Harbor detectives and King County sheriff's detectives interviewed
Torres before he was booked into the King County Jail on several charges
including theft and trafficking in stolen property. In addition, Torres
had an outstanding Department of Corrections arrest warrant for escaping
from community custody. He is a convicted felon.
Landscaping with the ultimate guy toy -- a flamethrower
Trail Mix by Ron Judd
Seattle Times staff columnist
Thursday, May 8, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
From my cold, dead hands.
That's how they'll take my new flamethrower away from me. Sorry to go all Charlton Heston on you. But it's how I feel.
Once you have your own home/garden flamethrower, you begin making your own rules. Such is the power of the flame, which makes you not only master of your home universe, but Lord of all Weeds.
A short explanation is in order. A few years ago, I penned a column about the unique, spring-ritualistic thrill of pressure washing a Northwest winter's worth of dirt, mildew and grime from various surfaces outside the house. After that, many people wrote to share their feelings of water-blasting joy. But a couple upped the ante.
"Sure," I recall one of them writing. "But you haven't really lived until you've used the ultimate guy tool — the propane blow torch."
The thought stuck in the back of my mind. And since then, I have seen these long-handled flame blasters hanging from the shelves at local home-improvement stores and wondered: How can I possibly find a use for one of those?
Last summer, the answer came: A landscaping project produced a set of wide, gravel parking strips in front of the house and a couple dozen yards of gravel path.
It occurred to me — as it has occurred to many others — that fire might
be a fast, um, environmentally friendly (at least as opposed to spraying)
way to rid
the gravel of weeds that inevitably invade. I went to Home Depot (motto: "We're Here to Help — Help Direct You To Self-Checkout") and came home with
my own flame blower.
It's a simple, $50 device. A 10-foot-long propane hose connects to a
large propane bottle (small, disposable bottles don't work, and in any
case, would be
empty in about 4.5 seconds). A small valve lets the gas into a 3-foot metal wand with a handle and nozzle trigger.
It's the same thing you see road crews using to blaze paint markings off highways or parking lots — not nearly as fun as dandelion crematory uses.
Most people use a large propane bottle and affix it to a hand truck or, in some cases, a backpack device, to lug the thing around. I chose the former, took the assemblage out into the driveway, opened the valve, pushed the trigger and hesitantly flicked the supplied sparker near the soup-can-sized flame dispenser at the mouth.
Let me put it this way: There will be no doubt when your flame has been lit. Small spacecraft have left the atmosphere with less force than this baby lighting itself off with a lusty roar.
Ignoring the neighbors preemptively dialing 911, I rolled my propane tank toward the first clump of weeds — 6-inch high dandelions, in full bloom. I pointed the wand at them, holding it about 2 feet back. I hit the trigger.
Whoosh! A column of flame shot a good 12 inches out of the barrel. The dandelion simmered, sizzled, blackened, popped, crackled, and then -- poof! -- incinerated, right before my eyes.
Now, I don't even have to explain to you weeders out there what a life-changing thrill this can be. Not only was the weed gone, literally in a flash, but it was never going to come back, in any way, shape or form. My heart leapt with sheer delight. I grinned maniacally and went after the next one. And the next. And the next.
What can I say? I love the smell of burnt dandelions in the morning.
The flamethrower gulps propane like a thirsty water buffalo. But it killed all the weeds. Killed the clover. Killed the horsetail! My driveway, after one pass, looked like the smoking, charred site of a napalm strike.
There is, of course, a 12-foot-long sheet of obligatory safety warnings for the device, and they're all true. It should be kept locked away from children, for instance. You probably should wear an asbestos suit and a welding mask. It shouldn't be used anywhere near anything flammable, such as a house or car or even standing trees. Water and a burn center should be close at hand.
In a world where Bic lighters have safety releases, it's sort of amazing, actually, that this thing is even sold to the general public -- especially one that has not yet grasped the concept of keep-right-except-to-pass. The flamethrower is such an imprecise device that it is highly likely that, at some point in the future, it will light my pants on fire. Get it?
So be it. These are the chances you have to take to live on the landscaping edge, my friends.
So, to everyone except for my life-insurance agent -- whom I am informing here, for the record, that I made this entire tale up, and, in fact don't even know what a home/garden flamethrower looks like -- I offer three words of spring-weeding advice.
Flame on, baby.
Ron Judd's Trail Mix column appears here every Thursday. To contact
him: 206-464-8280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robotic suit amplifies human strength
* The Army believes soldiers may someday wear the suits in combat
* The suit can multiply a person's strength and endurance as many as 20 times
* Developers must still overcome cost barriers and extend the suit's battery life
* The current battery lasts just 30 minutes
Photo: Rex Jameson stretches in a robotic soldier suit that can multiply its wearer's strength and endurance.
Associated Press and CNN.com
Updated 2:37 p.m. EDT, Thu May 15, 2008
Rex Jameson bikes and swims regularly, and plays tennis and skis when time allows.
But the 5-foot-11, 180-pound software engineer is lucky if he presses 200 pounds -- that is, until he steps into an "exoskeleton" of aluminum and electronics that multiplies his strength and endurance as many as 20 times.
With the outfit's claw-like metal hand extensions, he gripped a weight set's bar at a recent demonstration and knocked off hundreds of repetitions.
Once, he did 500.
"Everyone gets bored much more quickly than I get tired," Jameson said.
Jameson -- who works for robotics firm Sarcos Inc. in Salt Lake City, which is under contract with the U.S. Army -- is helping assess the 150-pound suit's viability for the soldiers of tomorrow.
The suit works by sensing every movement the wearer makes and almost instantly amplifying it.
The Army believes soldiers may someday wear the suits in combat, but it's focusing for now on applications such as loading cargo or repairing heavy equipment. Sarcos is developing the technology under a two-year contract worth up to $10 million, and the Army plans initial field tests next year.
Before the technology can become practical, the developers must overcome cost barriers and extend the suit's battery life. Jameson was tethered to power cords during his demonstration because the current battery lasts just 30 minutes.
But the technology already offers evidence that robotics can amplify human muscle power in reality -- not just in the realm of comic books and movies like the recently debuted "Iron Man," about a wealthy weapons designer who builds a high-tech suit to battle bad guys.
"Everybody likes the idea of being a superhero, and this is all about expanding the capabilities of a human," said Stephen Jacobsen, chief designer of the Sarcos suit.
The Army's exoskeleton research dates to 1995, but has yet to yield practical suits. Sarcos' technology sufficiently impressed Raytheon Co., however, that the Waltham, Massachusetts-based defense contractor bought Sarcos' robotics business last November. Sarcos also has developed robotic dinosaurs for a Universal Studios' "Jurassic Park" theme park ride.
Jack Obusek, a former colonel now with the Army's Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in the Boston suburb of Natick, foresees robot-suited soldiers unloading heavy ammunition boxes from helicopters, lugging hundreds of pounds of gear over rough terrain or even relying on the suit's strength-enhancing capabilities to make repairs to tanks that break down in inconvenient locations.
Sarcos' Jacobsen envisions factory workers someday using the technology to perform manual labor more easily, and firefighters more quickly carrying heavy gear up stairwells of burning buildings. Disabled people also may find uses for the technology, he said.
"We see the value being realized when these suits can be built in great numbers for both military and commercial uses, and they start coming down in cost to within the range of the price of a small car," said Jacobsen.
He declined to estimate how much the suit might cost in mass production.
But cost isn't the only obstacle. For example, developers eventually hope to lengthen the suit's backpack battery's life and tinker with the suit's design to use less energy. Meanwhile, the suit can draw power from a generator, a tank or helicopter. And there are gas engines that, while noisy, small enough to fit into the suit's backpack.
"The power issue is probably the No. 1 challenge standing in the way of getting this thing in the field," Obusek said.
But he said Sarcos appears to have overcome the key challenge of pairing super-fast microprocessors with sensors that detect movements by the body's joints and transmit data about them to the suit's internal computer.
Much as the brain sends signals to tendons to get muscles to move, the computer sends instructions to hydraulic valves. The valves mimic tendons by driving the suit's mechanical limbs, replicating and amplifying the wearer's movements almost instantly.
"With all the previous attempts at this technology, there has been a slight lag time between the intent of the human, and the actual movement of the machine," Obusek said.
In the demonstration, the bulky suit slowed Jameson a bit, but he could move almost normally.
When a soccer ball was thrown at him, he bounced it back off his helmeted head. He repeatedly struck a punching bag and, slowly but surely, he climbed stairs in the suit's clunky aluminum boots, which made him look like a Frankenstein monster.
"It feels less agile than it is," Jameson said. "Because of the way the control laws work, it's ever so slightly slower than I am. And because we are so in tune with our bodies' responses, this tiny delay initially made me tense."
Now, he's used to it.
"I can regain my balance naturally after stumbling -- something I discovered completely by accident."
Learning was easy, he said.
"It takes no special training, beyond learning to relax and trust the
robot," he said.
Top 5 best video game vehicles
Burn some virtual rubber with these super sweet rides
Updated 6:29 p.m. PT, Wed., March 5, 2008
What's your idea of the perfect vehicle? Is it a fast sports car, or is it something you can take off-road? No matter what you prefer, there's a virtual vehicle out there for you. Check out these sweet rides, which come fully loaded – and then some!
These are our Top 5 vehicles in video games. Read our list then tell us about your favorite rides.
Tell us: What are your Top 5 favorite video game vehicles?
The "Spy Hunter" car has it all: speed, handling and, most importantly,
weapons. Its front-mounted machine guns will take care of any cars blocking
your path, and dropping down an oil slick or smoke screen will get rid
of any tailgaters. On top of that, the theme from "Peter Gunn" plays whenever
you’re driving it, making this one cool ride.
Sweet Tooth from the 'Twisted Metal' series
What vehicle would a homicidal clown drive while searching for his best
friend? If the clown in question is Needles Kane, the star of Sony’s "Twisted
franchise, the answer would be an old, beat-up ice-cream truck with machine guns mounted on the front and a giant clown head on the roof. If that thing
doesn’t make you scream for ice-cream, nothing will.
The "Pole Position" car isn’t on this list just because it was a cool
– although blocky – rendition of a Formula One race car. It’s here because
the arcade version had that sweet cockpit you physically sat in while "driving"
it. You weren’t just playing a game – you were racing!
Chevy Chevelle from 'Forza Motorsport 2'
"Forza Motorsport 2" is full of fine vehicles, each rendered so beautifully
that you’d swear you could reach out and slam their doors. While we could
have picked any of its cars and been as happy as a pig in mud, the Chevy
Chevelle is our favorite. Sure, other cars may be faster and handle better,
but so what? It's an awesome muscle car, and until we can afford one in
real life we’ll have to settle for this virtual version.
Carson GT from 'Burnout Paradise'
You really can't go wrong with any car you choose in the racing/demolition
derby game "Burnout Paradise," but for our money we like the Carson GT.
It has great body lines, good power to help you get up to super fast speeds,
and it looks absolutely gorgeous when it crumples and shatters in a collision.
Mixed martial arts fighting its way into the mainstream
* Ultimate fighting, once controversial, has undergone radical changes
* Mixed martial arts is attracting a growing fan base
* MMA combines various fighting styles into one sport
* "You make one mistake, and it's checkmate," fighter says
By Josh Lubin
Updated 9:19 a.m. EDT, Thu September 18, 2008
Rich Franklin used to spend his days teaching math to high school students. Today, he spends his evenings in an octagon-shaped cage grounding and pounding fighters into submission in front of thousands of screaming fans.
"I do love teaching and working with the students, but I can't imagine sitting at home on a Friday night grading math tests or sitting in a faculty meeting," he said at a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Franklin is one of the new stars of a rapidly growing sport called Mixed Martial Arts.
Their fights are filling arenas and attracting large numbers of male television viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, according to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a pioneering brand in the sport.
Unlike boxing, MMA fighters use a hybrid of techniques from wrestling, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and more.
Franklin began fighting professionally while still working as a teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio. He started playing football at a young age but didn't think he had the talent to play professionally, so he got into martial arts as a hobby after high school.
He trained through college, and on a dare, he entered an amateur fight and won. After his fourth year of teaching, he decided to gamble his job security to fight professionally full time.
"I'd rather be one of those guys who did and failed than wonder what could've, should've, would've been when I was 50," he said.
Having left the classroom behind, Franklin has achieved success as a fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has held the Middleweight title, had commercial endorsements, and recently earned $100,000 with a victory at UFC 88.
Mixed martial arts has a controversial past. Critics view the sport as a bloody free-for-all akin to gratuitous Tough Man competitions, where average Joes with no formal training duke it out for prize money.
Rashad Evans, an undefeated UFC fighter, says that although the fights are full contact, it is not no-holds-barred brawling. "I wish people were more educated about the sport to know that it is not a Tough Man competition," he says.
Franklin views his fights as a physical chess match where fighters must know how to defend themselves against various fighting styles.
Fellow fighter Karo Parisyan, a judo specialist, agrees. He explains, "There are so many ways to win that you have to be constantly thinking. You make one mistake, and it's checkmate."
In a recent bout, although Franklin's face is bruised and bleeding, he waits patiently and releases a lightning-fast kick to his opponent's rib cage. The contact of his shin snaps like a bullwhip. His challenger falls to the floor of the cage, visibly in agony, and Franklin adds another win to his record.
Immediately after inflicting a TKO, Franklin rushes over to his opponent. He congratulates him and says, "Hats off to Matt, he fought a great fight."
Nate Marquardt fell in love with the sport at a young age. Today, at age 29, he already has had 40 professional fights. His fights, especially the losses, have taught him valuable lessons. "After you lose, a champion gets better, and losing was a blessing in disguise for me, because it helped me recognize my mistakes," he said.
Before his last fight, he had to drop 15 pounds, mostly water weight, from his already lean frame only days before the weigh-in. He said it wasn't easy, but he cut his intake of carbs and sodium, and he sat in a sauna, which did the trick.
Marquardt trains year round in pursuit of his dream to become the UFC's next Middleweight Champion. His success has afforded him the luxury to do so. He earned $56,000 from his last victory. When he doesn't have a fight coming up, he teaches at his gym in Aurora, Colorado, a couple of times a week.
He agrees that the lifestyle of a fighter gives him more flexibility to spend time with his immediate family than if he had a regular 9-to-5 job. He works his training schedule around spending time with his wife and caring for his 8-year-old daughter.
Marquardt may not have had his fighting opportunities if there hadn't been a vast overhaul in the sport. MMA was on the verge of extinction because of a political backlash in the late 1990s. One notable critic, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, once called it the equivalent to "human cockfighting."
Dana White, along with his partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, purchased the fledgling Ultimate Fighting Championship for $2 million in 2001. White's goal was to establish the UFC as the Super Bowl of the sport. He helped legitimize it by establishing rules and promoting the fighters' skills instead of showcasing the brutality. Forbes estimates the company will make $250 million this year.
A UFC contract provides the potential for fighters to make a good living. Forrest Griffin, the UFC's current Light Heavyweight champ, earned $250,000 for a recent win in a main event. Sponsorships from sports drinks and apparel also help to supplement their income.
UFC fights have earned more money than concerts by such marquee artists as Elton John and Billy Joel, according to a UFC press kit. At times, the organization says, they have had more viewers than Monday Night Football and NASCAR. In Montreal, they brought in more than 21,000 people to an event, the largest live audience to witness MMA in North America to date.
Televising fights has increased the number of fans embracing the sport. And at live events and autograph sessions, fans can mingle freely with their favorite fighters and take pictures with them.
"So many people are behind the sport now, and people are falling in
love with it, so it's a matter of time before it's everywhere," says fighter
If anyone purchased this item, the individual could have had a V-8 . . . engine-equipped car.
eBay: Warhammer 40K Space Marines 11000 Point Apocalypse Army
Over 200 pro-painted models in a fantastic custom army.
End time: Mar-07-08 12:08:38 PST (3 days 17 hours)
Item number: 380001525859
Starting bid: US $9,800.00
Buy It Now price: US $9,800.00
Car Wars: The Meanest Car Wins in Post-WWIII Wasteland
By Charlie Jane Anders
Posted at 2:35 PM on Tue Feb 26 2008
Five Scifi Miniatures Games That Are Maximally Cool
By Ed Grabianowski
Posted at 8:40 AM on Wed Apr 9 2008
Car Wars: The way it was meant to be played
By Ed Grabianowski
2:30 PM on Sun Jun 29 2008
Frankenstein's Death Race 2000 Monster LEGO Creation
Cannibalist Radioactive Autoduelling Zombie Youth (CRAZY)
DuelTrack.com (Project in Secondary Development) -- Based on the popular
Steve Jackson Game, Car Wars. You find yourself in a not too distant future
where drivers battle other to the death/destruction of the others. Climb
up the ranks of the national, international competions where more money
is earned, better cars are bought. A whole new imersion of RPing online.
Colin Stobbe's Game Pages
Robo Rally Option Cards
Uncle Albert's Car Wars Items
MADHAT Car Wars Podcast
Show 8 -- In Hiding - 4/16/08
Show 9 is being planned -- it will be a "Car Wars player's guide to Darkwind"
Asmodee USA: Formula D
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the most exciting news of the year! Formula D will be available in the US by the beginning of November! Formula D is a new updated version of the 90's best seller 'Formule Dé', a fabulous game which sold more than 100,000 copies all over the world during a 15 year span! This new version will be released simultaneously in French, German, Spanish, English, Dutch and Italian.
Fans of the original will be in familiar territory, as the new version is based on the former mechanics of 'Formule Dé' and will also be playable with the original racing boards. Gamers who are not familiar with the original version will discover that the content of this newer version creates a thrilling Formula One experience.
Formula D has been completely re-designed, the graphic contents have
been updated and modernized and each element has been thoughtfully revitalized
to generate a more realistic gaming sensation. Players now enjoy beautifully
painted cars, super-realistic gear levers, and many more hidden surprises!
Two different rule books are included: a short, simple version for beginners who want to jump directly into the game without blowing a fuse, and a more advanced version for hardcore gamers who enjoy exploring the entangled mechanisms within their brains!
Reach new levels as you step up to the podium.
It's still not over! A second board allows you to feel the speed and excitement of street racing. Get ready to enjoy a wild ride on the big city streets!
Two race boards are included: the legendary Monaco circuit and a street racing track too! Formula D invites you to enjoy two exhilarating experiences in a single box!
Play your cards - or rather your dice - right and you could become the
Play with unrestrained passion! The countdown has started . . . Get on the starting grid!
* September 17th, 2008 -- Asmodée will unveil part of the mystery behind the game, in all six languages, on the official website: www.formula-D.info. News related to Formula D (events, tournaments etc.) will be disclosed regularly.
* October 23rd, 2008 -- The Formula D Premiere at the International Essen Game Fair. Formula D will also be presented formally on the German Asmodée site.
* A fantastic miniature racing car will be included with the first boxes distributed on the European market! Don't miss this Limited Edition pack including a collectible car.
Based near Paris, Asmodée was created in 1995, and is among the leading game distribution companies in the world. Asmodée is present in 5 European Countries as well as in North America. For the rest of the world, Asmodée has developed a preferred distribution network.
For more informations, contact :
Asmodée Éditions, Z.A.C. Le Mérantais angle rue
aux Fleurs/ rue des Tilleuls - BP 00037
78960 Voisins-Le-Bretonneux France
Tel : 01 34 52 19 81
e-mail : email@example.com
Formula D Official Web Site
Download the complete Formula D rule book NOW!
Posted by: admin in Rules
Formula D is to be released in around a month so, in order to help eager gamers bear such a long, hard wait, we have decided to allow them to discover the new rules of the game. A low resolution rule book is now available to download online (We chose a low resolution to ensure quick download speeds).
Formule De Next Generation
Crushing! Official Web Site
Yahoo! Groups: Crushing!
Upstarts: Producer of The Really Nasty Motor Racing Board Game
Board Game Geek: Really The Nasty Motor Racing Board Game
Sand Auto Wars
The Acaeun: Dungeons & Dragons Collecting Forums
The Acaeum Forum Index >> Collecting Appraisal >> Dumpster Diving For Fun
Sometime back in the summer of 2008 (2058 for us die hard Car Wars buffs) this site stopped being updated. Given the choice of refereeing PBEM games or actually getting to play on a regular basis . . . Well, I chose the play route.
Where am I playing Car Wars? Technically, I'm not. I'm playing an MMO called Darkwind. This is what Car Wars would be if it were a computer game . . . Post-apocalyptic, vehiclar combat, peds with guns, racing, death racing,random encounters with NPC cars in the wilderness (complete with AI), etc.
If you sign up for a free account, please give me credit by using my player ID number -- 8949
My username there is jimmylogan -- feel free to look me up, let me know
you're there, etc.
CWIN Interview: Jeffrey Corey "ShotGun Jolly" Locke, NADA Webmaster
1. Who are you?
My name is JC Locke. Or if online, I go by the moniker ShotGun Jolly
2. How long have you been playing Car Wars?
Well, my brother bought a copy of it while he was in college and played
it with me when I was around 10 years old, so that's over 20 years ago
3. Are you a part of a Car Wars group?
Well, I founded NADA (Newfoundland Autoduelist Association) back in
the early 90s. I have been a part of it ever since.
4. What is Vassal?
Vassal is a virtual table top program created by Rodney Kenny (www.vassalengine.org)
which allows you to play board games over the Internet or by e-mail.
5. How did you find it?
I travel a lot for work, and I am gone for long periods of time, so
I wanted something to do so I could interact with my friends at home. And
I found Vassal! It really changed my gaming life. They have tons of mods
for it, one of my other favorites was Squad Leader. That's such a good
6. Was there a Car Wars Mod there?
Well, no, not really. When I was searching through the list of available
mods, I saw one there called Road Rage. I checked it out. As soon as I
got it, I sent it off to my friends and we started to play it, a generic
mod used for playing different types of car combat games.
7. So why did get the idea to make the CW 3.0 mod?
I really love Car Wars. It truly is my all-time favorite game. But it
was so hard to find players for it now where I live. And, don’t get me
wrong, the Road Rage Mod was fun. But there was so much more that could
be done. I really wanted to capture the flavor of Car Wars, so that is
what I set out to do!
8. How long have you worked at it?
Well, before I released it to the world, I only gave it to my friends
at home (and a few away). That was back last February. I didn’t have a
clue about how to make my own mods for Vassal, so I had to learn on my
own. I reverse-engineered many different mods to figure out how to do stuff.
(Really, I broke it and then I tried to fix it.) As I got better with Vassal,
I started to get a little better with making my own mod, and now one year
later, it's out there.
9. Do you really feel it's that good?
Yes, I do 100%. And so do all the other players now that are starting
to show up and play it. If it didn’t have the car wars feeling, I would
still be playing it on my own and by myself and we all know, Car Wars is
not a very good solo game. I feel good enough to put it out to the world
for other players to play. It's pretty much a done deal and fully capable
of capturing that old fashion arena dueling feeling. And that's why it
took so long for it to be released. I didn't want others to play it and
say . . . "mehh . . . It's almost like it."
10. What can it do?
Well, it can do whatever you could do on a real table. And even more,
for example. If the game was going on a little long, then you can just
save it, and play it again next week. Plus, you don't have to worry about
any of the "cat on the table" alarms! Also, you can even save log files,
and watch the whole thing later! There is really a lot it can do, and it
would take too long to describe it all here.
11. What did you want to accomplish with CW 3.0?
Honestly, I am hoping for a full blown comeback in Car Wars! I want
Steve Jackson to get so much mail saying they want Car Wars back because
the game is so awesome, that he will have no choice but to re-release it,
either in paper or at least on e23! Also, I want to be able to duel other
clubs around the world. There are so many little online groups that play,
and this is a way to bring us all together! Just like the old times! I
also want to be able to log on the server and see a message posted from
another club, challenging me to a duel!
12. That's sounds really cool!
Yeah! It sure does!
13. How do you interact with it?
It's a matter of click and drop, and using the commands that are built
into the counters. Move it, pivot it, even wreck it! There is also a built
in LOS tool and arcs of fire lines that show up over the counter when you
need it. It works really well.
14. What do you need to play?
Well, to make sure it was all compliant with the online policy there
are no rules. So you need to either know how to play the game, or get the
CWC 2.5 rulebook. But you don't even need paper or dice. You can even track
the damage with the VDR extension. Its only in its basic format. When I
get more time, I will fix it up and make it the way I want it to be.
15. What is an Extension?
Oh, extension files are add-ons. You can make maps, new counters, what
ever you want, and it will be added to the core file. It's all optional.
You can even make your own! But we will save that topic for another time.
16. Where can you get this mod?
Well, You can get the most current mod file by being apart of my NADA online group.
NADA Yahoo! Group
You can also get there all the NADA Extensions (car packs, arena maps,
etc.). Of course, it's open to anyone. Or you can download it at the Vassal
Web site (vassalengine.org). There, you are only getting the Core Mod and
the VDR Extension but that's all you need to play. Everything else is optional.
The latest version is CW 3.0.2. It's both on my group's page and on (www.vassalengine.org).
17. Is there anything else?
Well, it's easier for me to say, "Go get it, come and play." I can talk
for hours about this. But you will need to see it to get your own feeling
for it. I am usually there online, and I do give walkthroughs on how the
mod works. It's really painless. So try it out and come on by. Plus you
can always find more information on the mod itself on the SJ Games forums.
18. I think I need to go check it out!
Yes, I agree! And tell your friends about it!
Well, you can go here to look at some of the screen shots using CW 3.0
Or here to watch a slide show of a PBEM game I am running at sjgames.com.
Death Race Official Web Site
U.S. Release Date: August 22nd
U.K. Release Date: September 26th
Australia Release Date: October 30th
Death Race Australia Official Web Site
Death Race Movie Game: Death Race Annihilation
Death Race Mobile Game
IMDb: Death Race
IGN: Death Race
Yahoo! Movies - Death Race (2008) - Movie Info
Amazon.com: Death Race DVD
Amazon.com: Death Race Blu-ray DVD
Amazon.com: Death Race Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
Death Race: First Impressions
Steve Jackson Games Discussion Forums: Car Wars
New Death Is More Homage
By Ian Spelling
12:00 AM, 19-FEBRUARY-08
Jason Statham, who stars in the upcoming SF-action film Death Race, told SCI FI Wire that the film is an homage to, rather than a remake of, the Roger Corman-produced Paul Bartel-directed 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000.
"It's fantastic fun," Statham said in an interview while promoting his latest film, The Bank Job. "It's more of [an] homage to the Corman film. It's not really a direct remake. I suppose it's very different. There's a great story to it, and I think it'll do really well. [Director] Paul Anderson was a dream to work with, and I'm really excited about seeing it."
Death Race retains little from the original movie, save for the central auto race. The movie is described as being set in a future version of America, where a prisoner (Statham) who is weeks away from being released is forced by his warden (Joan Allen) to compete in a brutal, deadly car race.
"It's [got] a big budget," Statham said about the film. "It's a great, great, fun film. I'm working with people of immense caliber. I've got Joan Allen there, who I'm doing scenes with. I've got Ian McShane. To be able to work with people like that, it just gets better and better."
Statham added that the role required unusual discipline from him. "I knuckled down quite immensely for that," he said. "I didn't have a drink for about five months, and for a Brit that's quite unusual."
The movie offers plenty for the auto enthusiast. "The cars in this are
really killer," Statham said. "They've got ejector seats, and they spray
out oil and napalm, and they've got rocket launchers. The story is it's
a race to the death, and all the inmates in the prison build these cars."
Death Race opens Sept. 26. It is being released by Universal, which is
owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.
The Cars of Death Race
Made in Atlantis Movies Blog
Posted by deskjet at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2008
The cars in the action-thriller are not just an extension of the men driving them; they are characters themselves. It was key to the production that the Death Race autos were insane modifications of expected models. It was like designing two movies in one; creating the cars was just as difficult as developing the characters.
Look and Specs
Anderson and Austerberry worked with two concept illustrators to begin the process. "We had to pick cars you could easily recognize in the fray of the race -- those that have different silhouettes," explains the designer. "We also wanted cars that would appeal to a broad range of ages."
The industrial character of the autos came from the gritty, bashed-up aesthetic, as these are machines built by the criminals. The actors loved their respective rides, complete with napalm, nitrous-oxide (NOS) tanks and ejector seats. Says Statham, who, as Ames, drives a tricked-out 2006 Ford Mustang GT known as The Monster -- armed with a 3/4-inch steel Tombstone and two mounted mini-guns that spit out 3,000 rounds per minute: "The Mustang’s the signature all-American muscle car. Just the drawings were enough to seduce any man, so to get to see what was available behind the door . . ."
Gibson as Machine Gun Joe drives a weaponized, armor-plated 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4WD. His truck was designed to incorporate a Vulcan machine gun pulled from a helicopter gunship, which makes the car slower than the others but heavier all around. "It’s a big piece of metal, and that makes sense. My car was a reflection of my character in the movie," says Gibson. "I have the biggest car because I'm a bully."
Neo-Nazi Pachenko drives a 1966 Buick Riviera chop top, lovingly known as the "Death Machine." "The arch-villain's car is quite different; it's like a Hot Wheels car," says Austerberry, adding that inspiration came from a picture of a Riviera with a chopped-down roof in Hot Rod magazine. "We combined those things together and created Pachenko's villainous car. It has a bright '60s color on the side and matte charcoal gray on the top to squish it down, with a low roof and narrow windscreen."
The other cars driven by Death Race principal competitors were a variety of fiendish makes and models. They include 14K's 1978 Porsche 911, outfitted with four Hellfire missiles on the roof and four mini-rocket clusters on the hood; Travis Colt's 1989 XJS Jaguar V12 with two M2s (.50 cal.) on the hood front; Grimm's 300 monster car, a 2006 Chrysler 300C with three MAG 58s (.308 cal.), rocket-tube machine guns on the hood front and Hellfire missiles on the back.
Of course, the deciding factor in the design was maneuverability, but that didn't mean drivers couldn’t die in style. Others who meet an early death in the race roll out in a 7 Series BMW (1989 BMW 735i) made to look like an aircraft cockpit. The design team imagined one-half would be cut out of it, and they put the navigator behind the driver (with a mini-gun on the side) to create a different silhouette. There was also a 1971 Buick Riviera "boat tail" with a pointed back nose, quite the contrast to Pachenko's '66 Riviera chop top—with its points on either side, front and back.
Alongside these beauties, Anderson commissioned a rebuilt 1979 Pontiac Trans Am with a cattle guard, .50-cal. gun on the hood front and .308-cal. mini-gun. They were designed to be painted in a way that kept them looking like battered, rusty machines that have seen and done some damage over the six years since the Death Race began. When all cars were lined up in the Bleeker Tunnel, they made an impressive sight.
Finally, Warden Hennessey has control over the biggest, meanest vehicle
of them all. The Dreadnought is the monster of all monsters. It's painted
battleship gray and comes smoking down the track, guns blazing and fire
spitting. With its flamethrower, six heat-guided rockets, PKM machine gun
and wheels of solid Dayton Kevlar, the Dreadnought is designed as a weapon
of last resort, to be unleashed in a fury of destruction whenever Hennessey
feels the playing field is getting too . . . even or boring.
Arming the Death Race Cars
Made in Atlantis Movies Blog
Posted by deskjet at 1:04 PM on July 23, 2008
As head armorer, it was CHARLES TAYLOR's job to weaponize the cars. "The challenge was to take firearms never meant to be mounted on cars and mount them on cars like the Dodge Ram," explains Taylor. "In the original artwork, they had big Vulcan cannons on the side. They didn’t know they were actually available to put on the car. I said, 'A friend of mine has two of them, and I can make it work.'"
Originally, the production intended to fake the weapons' gunfire, but Taylor convinced them otherwise. "There's no better way than to just fire them the way they were meant to be fired," he says. "We put a very simple mechanical or electrical system in, based on the type of gun, so that it would fire the way it was supposed to."
He asserted that, to achieve the proper effect, it should be very noisy. "It had to be that loud because it had to have that kind of pressure to make the guns operate," Taylor states. "On the Ram, we had four .30-caliber 1919 machine guns, along with the two 20 mm Vulcan cannons. That firepower alone would make anybody that knows weapons say, 'Oh my God, what's on the next one?’"
The loudest of all, though, had to be Hennessey's Dreadnought, commissioned by the warden to be created purely for destruction and ratings grabs. With huge, extremely noisy guns, the Dreadnought’s weapons were the most impressive guns to fire because the muzzle flash was so large. Taylor mounted a full-on arsenal on the Dreadnought.
He explains, "You have the cowcatcher on the front and two M3 high-speed,
.50-caliber machine guns on the hood. In the sleeper cab are two M134 mini-guns,
and then on top are a .50-caliber machine gun in the front and a .50-caliber
machine gun in the middle. Underneath that is a flamethrower. In the back,
there's a 76 mm tank turret, and -- on top of the turret -- is the PKM
machine gun. When this thing lights up and is firing all guns and using
the flamethrower, it’s beyond impressive. It's Hell on wheels."
The Asylum: Death Racers Official Web Site
IMDb: Death Racers
Amazon.com: Death Racers DVD
Full Metal Challenge Flash Games
From: Glenn Jupp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 19:39:15 -0500
Subject: Automotive Combat -- Old Flash Game Rediscovered
If you recall the TV series "Full Metal Challenge" then you may also know about the Flash games that were on the Web site promoting the show. I was curious as to whether any were still on the Web. The answer is yes.
Still driving offensively,