29 March 2014

Some Very Bad News...

For those that have been wondering what the hell is going on with FWS...here is the answer. Since Wednesday, I've been back home in Tulsa, after my father was rushed to Hillcrest Hospital. My father was in poor health for years, and spend 4 months at the same hospital back in 2007 in the ICU, nearly dying then, and it seems that it caught up with him. At 1623 hours on March 28th, my father was taken off of life support and passed in less than four minutes. He suffered a massive pulmonary embolism that caused a brain bleed that ended all he was while at home. My mother called me while rushing him to the hospital, and I knew that after seven years, the other shoe had finally dropped. After the negative CT scan of his brain, and the complete lack of neuro functions, we made the decision as a family to remove him off of life support. That would complete the worse 24 hours of my life, and losing my father has been hard that I could have imagined. The service will be Monday, and then he will transported to Dallas, at Restland where his mother and father are interned, to be put to rest. While family is all around now, and we are making arrangements that cost more money that one can believe, I still feel quite alone. FWS should be updated soon, and I would like nothing more than to lose myself in writing. This picture was taken the day we left the hospital for good after his death. The day was beautiful...and some sense of peace washed over me when the sun hit after being in a waiting room for 24 hours.

25 March 2014

FWS News Feed: New EDGE OF TOMORROW Trailer!

Well, we are getting another, even longer, trailer that explains more about new Tom Cruise/ Emily Blunt Military sci-fi flick, Edge of Tomorrow. Here we begin to see more of the situation on Earth, the massive beach invasion combat that looks fucking sexy, and the Groundhog Day temporal loop that causes Tom and Emily to be repeating the same time frame over and over. This trailer full informs the audience of the bleakness that is the war against the aliens, and we see a little more of the aliens..but the film is keeping that one more of secret. However, unlike the other trailer, this one starts off towards the end of the film with Emily and Tom talking about their situation while in an abandon house. I still do not like the song that they are using in the trailers, it reminds me of the song used in the trailers from Battle:Los Angeles. The more I see of this film, the more I am hoping that we are finally going to get our long-awaited gritted Saving Private Ryan like battle scene. Summer, everyone, summer. I am planning on seeing this one in 3D IMAX.
FWS should be updated Wednesday with the FWS Topics female soldier blogpost...took much longer than expected...don't worry, I'm still alive.

Here is the New Trailer:

14 March 2014

FWS News Feed: SyFy's new show: ASCENSION!

It seems that the SyFy Channel is getting back into the space opera business with the upcoming "Ascension". According to the press release, Ascension will be a limited "retro space opera" series that is one part BSG and another part Downton Abby, which will be interesting (since I watch both). The idea is an alternate history were the United States and allied nations engineer a 100 year starship to colonize another world...in 1963. IN 1963!! At the point were the ship cannot turn around, there is a murder onboard, and threats the shipboard life and unity. The genesis of the long-term space mission is the threat of nuclear war around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Okay...I gotta say this, the world, as a whole, lacked the basic understanding and technology to embark on a interplanetary colonization mission in 1963. This was just after Alan Shepard and John Glenn became the first Americans in Space, just after Yuri Gagarin. For this retro space opera to work, there had better be some reverse-engineered Roswll UFO hardware at work here to allow for a deep space mission in 1963. This overall plot reminds me of Ronald D. Moore's failed series pilot Virtuality. I guess we shall see...

12 March 2014

FWS News Feed: This War of Mine

Just a few hours ago, 11 Bit Studios released a teaser trailer and limited information on a new type of war video game: This War of Mine. The company is saying that their game, due out in 2014, will not focus on Special Forces Operators or even soldiers for that matter, but on the plight of civilians caught up in the conflict. As the game tagline says: "In War, Not Everyone Is a Soldier". With video games being able to tell stories in a different way than convention media, This War of Mine could be quite interesting and bring light to the stories of those trapped in the middle of a war. There is no word on the background of the conflict itself or how this game will be played, but there is hints of a survival game aspect. However, the company did make mention of avoid snipers and looking for supplies to survive. This game, if done well, could be revolution in what stories are told in gaming and how they are told. 11 Bit Studios has their work cut out for them.

10 March 2014

FWS News Feed: Is This the Gun that Killed Osama Bin Laden?!

Rumors are flying around the internet that this glorious and holy Heckler & Koch 416 is the carbine that took down the shit stain Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2010 in Pakistan. According to many sources, the weapon used was a sound supressed H&K 416 5.56x45mm assault carbine with all manner of toys-on-rails (FWS covered the gun hunt back in 2010). More evidence was mounted that the 416 was the correct firearm used, by its appearance in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty in the hands of ST6 Operators on the faithful mission and the 2012 book No Easy Day by Mark Owen, who also mentions the use of the H&K 416. For those not in the know, the 416 is an improved various of the Colt M4A1 Carbine and uses a gas-operated piston instead of the normal gas-operated bolt, and was developed by H&K in America with input from former DELTA Operators. This was a military firearm developed for missions just like Operation: NEPTUNE SPEAR. Since 2005, the H&K 416 has found itself in the hands of SWAT Teams, TIER-1 groups, the US Marines, and various European nations as their primary weapon. So, is this really the gun that killed UBL? This specific H&K 416 was outed by none other than former DELTA Operator Larry Vickers, who helped with the 416 development project. To me, and I am a REMF, this assault carbine looks correct for the perimeters of the mission and other pics of TIER-1 used 416s. If this is indeed the gun that took down UBL, than it needs to be an museum.

08 March 2014

FWS Topics: The Grandfather of TITANFALL

Giant mecha battling on off-world colonies has been a staple of military science fiction since the heady days of Macross, Fangs of the Sun Dougram,and of course, Battletech. This fascination with combat manned robots as tall as apartment buildings continues today with Titanfall being the latest example. With the Xbox One online mecha combat game about to drop, I thought we should look at the grandfather of this mecha combat game: the Battletech Combat Centers. While FWS as covered the early Battletech game-simulators in the blogpost about Mecha, I came across this old video from a TV program Beyond 2000, was this segment was all about the Battletech gaming center located in Chicago around 1990, the home of FASA, the creator of Battletech. Back when these centers in the USA and Japan went online, they were the only way at the time to wage mecha combat against real players, something that we do today with the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
Beyond 2000 was an Australian TV show that aired, in different forms from 1981-2007 and covered then cutting edge technology and future developments that were in prototype phase. In America, Beyond 2000 was aired on a variety networks, including Fox and PBS, and was then aired with new episodes on the old Discovery Channel. All of these I watched, and my first glimpse of the Battletech center came when I watched this episode back in the early 1990's. For about a dollar-a-minute,  Battletech Gaming Centers would allow a dozen players square off in virtual mech combat via the Tesla II pods on a variety of environmental conditions with several mech types and weapons.
People could channel their inner voyeur by watching the battle in the lobby of the combat center while buying some FASA swag. Video monitors inside the combat center played CNN type news updates on the events across the Inner Sphere. Players inside the Tesla II pods were treated to a lavishly designed cockpit with all manner of controls and buttons to make your first mech battle like the first time you had sex...short. There was a real attempt to capitalize on the interest of this type of gaming with the opening of "Virtual World" locations that were an successor to the Battletech Combat Centers. Virtual World locations were networked to other locations, allowing players to engage in mecha combat with players around the globe. As the virtual Battletech games continued, they were dumbed down for less skilled players and more of a rec/arcade feel, rather just appealing to the  Battletech, Mobile Suit Gundam, or ROBOTECH fanbase. While cool, the party didn't last long for the Chicago Battletech combat center, closing around 1992 or 1993. The Tesla II pods would float around, and even today, you can still track down these pods and play your own game of VR Battletech...or you could pour a Jack & Coke, and play some Titanfall at home, which is what I plan on doing. I do think it is important for gamers today to understand that it has all happened before and it will happen again...see you out there. FWS will return with the blogpost about female soldiers...just taking longer to write it than I planned...typical of me. 

Here is the Beyond 2000 Video