Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 6, No. 5
May 18, 2053

Web Posted September 06, 2003
Updated September 06, 2003


Hello sports fans. After having my first weekend off from work in over six weeks, I now have time to send out this issue. Unfortunately, I still have the same problem -- little news and few submissions -- as I did on May 1st, the target release date of this issue.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of "Washington State's Burp Heard Around the World." Twenty-three years ago, Mt. St. Helens blew its top and made driving to the local grocery store filled with D7 hazards while driving straight. Driving in volcanic ash would be a fun arena scenario. If you have rules for such an event, send them in to CWIN.

Maryland Miniatures Mayhem

Last week I was in Maryland attending work-related training. It was a strange feeling to see an entrance ramp in Laurel, Maryland to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Seeing a sign for that road made me think of the many hours traveling on that highway in the Autoduel CRPG.

Upon arrival (after sleeping a few hours to fight off jet lag), I visited the Kay-Bee Toys store near my hotel. I purchased my first two sets of Speedeez miniatures at the store. Mentioned in CWIN a few weeks ago, Speedeez are identical to the now out-of-print Micro Machines except with ball bearings that increase their speed. Speedeez scale, which is 1.5X, is a nice compromise between 1X and 3X scales, therefore a few packs of Speedeez are a worthwhile investment for autoduelists.

I also visited the Toys R' Us near my hotel and acquired several vehicles in the Hot Wheels World Race collection, including Volume 1 of the World Race animated mini-series on DVD for only $4.99 U.S. My local Toys R' Us is also offering the VHS videotape and DVD of Volume 1 for only $4.99 U.S., therefore the price must be at most Toys R' Us stores in the U.S. I have not watched the movie yet -- because I do not have a DVD player yet -- but it should have action most autoduelists will enjoy.

The prices of World Race cars and movie sets have been lowered to $2.99 and $4.99 respectively. I am guessing World Race has not been selling well, therefore its production, which has been limited, may be cut short. Autoduelists who play 3X scale Car Wars games might consider picking up a few World Race cars before they disappear.

Hot Wheels World Race


The Future is Dark

One highlight of this issue is the launch of Future Highways, a new Web site created by Painted Target's Francis Greenaway for the 3-D auto-combat board game Dark Future. The site is looking fantastic only after a few months of development. Keep up the great work, Francis.

The other special feature this month is "Mad Max: The Bridge," a work of Mad Max fan fiction by Dennis Widmyer. It captures the action of the Mad Max movie trilogy and other fan fiction works well, so check it out.

Road-Kill Rally

August Games is sending out playtest kits of Road-Kill Rally. If you are interested in participating in a long-term playtesting group, visit the August Games Web site and contact Daniel George, the Road-Kill Rally designer. I am told the kits are beautiful and capture the fast-moving action of the game very well.

Blasts from the Past

Legendary Car Wars editor Scott D. Haring is once again the Car Wars Line Editor. All that has been announced is development of Car Wars Fifth Edition is proceeding again. Welcome back to the arena, Scott. The betting pool for how many months you will last this time in The Driver's Seat will probably start in July. (Seriously, it is nice to have a veteran duelist in command again. I hope you will be able to stick around longer than a few months this time.)

The next issue of CWIN will be sent out during the first week of June. As usual, please send me stuff to keep this magazine's engine running.

Drive offensively,

Michael P. Owen


Thu, Mar 07, 2002, 01:03 PM PT

HOLLYWOOD ( -- First, Nicolas Cage culled from 1970s drive-in classics to satiate his need for speed in the hit remake "Gone in 60
Seconds." Now, Tom Cruise, who's had his share of fast cars before in "Days of Thunder," will go to the same well for "Death Race 3000," a
remake of 1975's "Death Race 2000" that he's hankering to star in and produce.

Director Paul Anderson, who's latest picture "Resident Evil" opens March 15, described the project to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cindy
Pearlman. "Tom plays Frankenstein, the best driver in the world," he said. "But he has that nickname because he's been in so many crashes. He's a little bit beat up. He's a little reckless."

With a script turned in last week, Anderson revealed how the new version would differ from the original. "We've updated the movie in that it's not a race across America," he explained. "It's now a race around the world. The cars are just amazing, too. They can fire missiles, become invisible, split and then re-form. It's a real high-tech adventure."

Anderson went on to confide what could be one of the movie's money shots. "One of the best scenes is a car breaking the sound barrier with a sonic blast on a river of all ice," he regaled. "The ice begins to crack and shatter. It will be amazing."

"Driven" star Sylvester Stallone, who appeared in the original "Death Race 2000," may even get a chance to be in the remake if Anderson has his way. "I'd love to cast Sly Stallone and bring him back as the same character he played in the first one," Anderson said. "He was a great Machine Gun Joe."


Loose Cannon Connection

Microsoft Unleashed, Part 2
Six promising games with only one thing in common -- the Microsoft logo
Loose Cannon

CD Magazine
Published by Microsoft
Posted on 03/03/2000

The second surprise of our visit was Loose Cannon, a game we haven't seen in over a year. This first-person shooter/driving game hybrid has all the class of a frat-house movie night, plus gameplay that alternates between Mad Max and Lethal Weapon . . . which is to say that it looks like a lot of good, violent fun.

In the Loose Cannon game world, the year is 2016. Economic collapse has left many government organizations without enough funding, crime is rampant, and licensed bounty hunters are 9/10 of the law. Unfortunately, the full-time police are still in charge, and when main character Ashe goes a bit over the top in bringing down a target, his state license is revoked. As the game begins, explains its producer, "you’re dropped into a city with very little funds, very few resources in terms of weapons or vehicles, nobody likes you, and you've got a bad attitude." Not an auspicious beginning for a would-be hero, and you’ll have a long way still to go.

Loose Cannon will include nine large, detailed cities, plus the countryside that connects them. The understaffed police force is mainly present in the cities, so crime is fairly low there. Bad guys are rampant in the lawless countryside, though, so traveling outside of town without a well-armed car is tantamount to suicide. As a bounty hunter, you'll build up income by listening to your police scanner and accepting missions as they come up -- a bank robbery in progress, perhaps, or an escort assignment from one location to another. Eventually, you'll be able to upgrade your car and your weapon, and venture out to take the big missions from city to city.

The game has two major components: an Autoduel-style vehicle combat mode, and a Quake-type shooter mode. If your car takes too much damage, or if you need to go somewhere your wheels won't fit, you can exit the vehicle and hunt down the enemy on foot. (Then, if the bad guys won't be needing their own car any more, and it happens to be better than yours, who's to notice if you swap?) Between the non-linear mission structure and the extensive maps, the gameplay style sounds more and more like what Autoduel would be if it had been made today instead of a decade ago.

Loose Cannon is still a long way from release, slated for holiday 2000, but its environments certainly seem to be living up to their hype. The city we saw was quite impressive, the traffic seemed to react in a realistic manner, and the overall graphic quality was splendid. Of course, it's always a good sign when an action developer stresses a game's storyline, so we're also looking forward to exploring the sordid tale of evil cartels and human greed.

And although we know that eye candy is no indication of gameplay, we still have to say one thing about the opening cutscene: "Damn!"

Action Trip: Loose Cannon

Publisher: To Be Announced
Developer: Digital Anvil
Genre: Action/Driving
Similar to Autoduel, Grand Theft Auto, Driver
Release Date: Late 2002
Preview added on February 07, 2001
Previewer: Dejan "Dex" Grbavcic

There are games which appear in due time, there are games that are a bit late, and there are games that seem as though they will never be finished. Loose Cannon, unfortunately, belongs to the third group. The development of this game started back in '97, and I have been eagerly awaiting it for about a year and a half now . . . ever since those optimistic reckonings that it might be published by the end of 1999. Then, they decided to postpone it for a year, and then yet another year, so it seems that we'll spend another summer without the Loose Cannon.

To make the mess even worse, Microsoft had bought Digital Anvil, the original publisher, last year. This small company composed mostly of people who worked for Origin, Rainbow studios and Infogrames, sold all the rights for their projects, but it seems that Loose Cannon had somehow been left out of the deal. Not all seems to be clear concerning this, but the result was that Digital Anvil now has to find a new
publisher for their three-year-old-baby. Whatever the case, I hope they will soon sort everything out so that we might fully enjoy Zurovec's new masterpiece.

Tony Zurovec has conceived this game; a man mostly remembered for his two Crusaders games (No Remorse and No Regrets) where he acted as the project leader or Ultima (coding only). As he himself admits, he got the idea for Loose Cannon from a game that appeared in mid-eighties called Autoduel, Atari version of Zaxxon and Car Wars, but I guess younger players will just compare it to Grand Theft Auto.

The plot is fairly simple, and we had a lot of opportunities to get acquainted with it in the last couple of years. To cut the long story short -- Loose Cannon is an on-foot/car combat simulation set in 2016 in the U.S. (I hope it gets released before 2016 -- Ed). The government did not survive the economic collapse and mayhem broke out. You cannot tell who's good or who's bad, you only know there's more people belonging to the second group. The police cannot cope with crime any more and it is massively hiring bounty hunters to do the job. Our hero Ashe, ex-soldier, is one of these bounty hunters in spite of his slightly effeminate name . . .

You probably already started nagging about "just another stupid game that will make you defend justice", but hey, things aren't as simple as they appear to be. Just like all bounty hunters, Ashe is primarily defending his insatiable greed and if we take in regard that he starts his career only with a wrecked car and a semi-automatic handgun, anything is possible (a bit of a Privateer spirit in there -- Ed). Ashe, er, you, that is, will have the freedom to choose both his goals and assignments, and the way to solve them. You will always be able to pull your gun and shoot at some copper, then steel their car, you can help the robbers rob a bank, or spend your free time running over pedestrians . . . the thing is you can do all those things, but they all count. And it sure ain't easy having the entire police force on your back . . .

Loose Cannon will take place in several cities in America, like: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, New York . . . The final version should have nine cities, but the number may be reduced to seven. All cities are extremely big, full of traffic, and sufficiently detailed that you can distinguish a great number of different landmarks. To make things better, the levels are completely open, and the player won't be restricted
to wondering around town. You'll be able to exit the city and go to the countryside or another city at any point without having to load up a new level. There will be altogether three regions (California, Texas, and the East Coast region) and each of them should contain three towns and one huge countryside map.

All this has been made possible thanks to a good engine, capable of dealing with big outdoor environments, vast cities, real physical vehicle dynamics, day/night changes and all other things necessary to create a good and verisimilar in-game atmosphere. The authors decided to license the Havok Engine, which had also been licensed by Blizzard for development of cinematic sequences in its future games (including
Warcraft III). Anyway, the 50,000 objects per map in Havok should require at least a 500 MHz Pentium III or Athlon with 128 MB RAM and nVidia TNT2. I doubt this will pose much of a problem for the majority of players by the time when the game finally appears. It's just that I have this nagging doubt that the requirements will change in time . . . I can recall that two years ago they announced that they might even implement
support for 3Dnow and PIII instructions, and we already need TNT2?! The game is still bound to have controls with which you will be able to increase or decrease visual quality/speed.

Loose Cannon is a mission-based game but it won't be linear… far from it. There will be a main background linear plot that will run through all twenty or something missions, but no events will be fixed. For instance, if you're driving and you see a bank being robbed, it will be up to you to decide if you want to stop the thieves and earn a few bucks or just continue your way (again, Privateer déjà vu -- Ed). The missions will mostly belong to one of these categories: car chases, hostage rescues, escorting convoys, attacking enemy bases. The great thing about all this is that you are able to stop the car at any moment and step out . . . And not only will you be able to do it -- many missions will require you to do so. The developers think that proper balance between the two modes of play should make playability and dynamics far better. Of course, when you're out of your car you have to be extremely careful, especially if you're out of town. The only thing that will not be possible in this little game will be to enter buildings or talk to NPCs. If the game had these features it would simply be too good to be true, but the programmers decided to disregard these aspect from the start and concentrate on doing the rest of the job the best possible way . . .

The game will probably feature 15 vehicles altogether. I say probably because the authors did not intend to feature motorcycles initially, but that might change as they now have a lot of time at disposal. If they don't change anything, you can expect to have a good ride in sports cars, corvettes, trucks, armored cars, hummers, SUVs and police vehicles . . . It is up to you to acquire them (by thieving or purchase) and other equipment (tire repair kits, land mines, spikes).

As for the weapons, you'll have some twenty gadgets at your disposal: 10mm Mini Gun, X-Ray Laser, Grenade Launcher, Ruby Ked Laser, Sniper Rifle, 0.45, flame thrower, Uzi, Micro Missile Launcher, Heavy Cannon, Assault Rifle . . .

The single-player mode will be the most important aspect of the game and the developers claim they've created an exceptionally intelligent AI. AI opponents will become aware of both your and their strong or weak points, and they will try to use that against you. They will be equally inconvenient weather waiting in ambush or hunting you down. Their behavior in combat has been given full attention. First, not all encounters have to end in mortal combat. They will know when it is time to call for help or run away. You will frequently have to leave your car in order to run after them. Their vision will be realistic. They will only see what's in front of them, and have a shorter range of vision at night. They will only hear sounds that are louder than ambience noise. This should open many new tactical possibilities. For instance, if you want to pass your enemies at night, you better turn your headlights off… They will also rationally decide when it is time to go on-foot, or drive a vehicle, or which vehicle to drive depending on the task they have to perform.

You will also have to be a bit smarter, as you won't be able to control just any situation. In some missions you'll have to cooperate with the cops or other bounty hunters. Oh, Ashe will have a partner, Jackson who will keep helping him throughout the game.

Loose Cannon has been focused on providing the best possible single-player experience, but you can hardly have a good game without a multiplayer mode nowadays, can you? The game will support up to eight players over Internet/LAN connection as they fight in Death Match, CTF and Capture-and-Hold AKA King of the Hill mods (no cooperative mods unfortunately). As the single player maps are too big for this number of players the game will have at least five special multiplayer maps. These maps won't be as realistic as the single player maps as they will be designed to have extremely high fun-factor. You can expect desert maps with big ramps, forest maps with bunkers and so on. The CTF mod promises a lot of fun and possible tactics.

One more thing about the multiplayer mode . . . thanks to the stat-loving coders, you'll have precise info on the number of frags, number of crashed vehicles, number of kills with a certain weapon, etc… all this with a complex scoring system, which will grant you bonuses for stunts. The players will have a lot to compete about . . .

There. I have nothing more to add, except that I can hardly wait for this one, as it does sound extremely promising . . .




From: Dennis Widmyer <>
To: Michael P. Owen <>
Subject: Mad Max Fan Script
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 13:42:18 EST

If you're still taking submissions on your Mad Max fan fiction site, I'd love for you to include mine. It's a feature length screenplay I recently completed that stands on its own as a new Max adventure. If you like it and would like to list it, please e-mail me with your thoughts.


Dennis Widmyer



3/24/2003: The New Omaha Vehicular Association (a Car Wars gaming group) has moved to <>.

Arena Watch: Fizbin Memorial Arena
Supplements: Metropolitan Motors
Scrapbook: The Thin Green Line