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GoldFire Studios Signs On For Game Development Panel

We are pleased to announce that James Simpson and Luke Simkins of GoldFire Studios have signed on for participation in a SUPER! BitCon panel on video game development.  Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity not only to learn about what the game dev scene is like in this region, but also just what it takes to get into the field!  This panel will feature a Q&A session after the initial discussion portion (time permitting).

GoldFire Studios is pioneering the next generation of social gaming by bringing real-time multiplayer games to your tablets and computers with cutting edge web technologies. GoldFire is located in downtown Oklahoma City and has been in operation since 2008. In addition to two previously released browser-based games, GoldFire has reached nearly 250,000 users on its social gaming platform, and is gearing up for the launch of an ambitious new MMORPG in the fall of 2013.

Stay tuned to the S!BC website or S!BC Facebook page for future updates!

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Outreach Day In Moore, OK

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Today a group of seven RGS members from the Oklahoma branch ventured out to Moore, OK to volunteer with Serve Moore.  This organization started just after the Moore tornadoes hit and has been reaching out to the local community to find out what people need and how to fill that need.  Surrounded by mountains of donated supplies we were greeted by the staff along with over a hundred other volunteers.  We were assigned two tasks: building a shade tent at a playground for local children (their previous tent was mangled in the tornado) and cleaning up the countryside out at the Orr Family Farm.  You may remember hearing about this farm on the news — over a hundred horses were lost to the destructive storm that leveled the property (warning: graphic images).

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The debris field out at the farm was vast, but dozens of volunteers worked feverishly into the afternoon to pile up the wreckage so it could be easily hauled away for disposal.  It can be hard to grasp the destructive power of a tornado — until you find a copy of Assassin’s Creed in the middle of a field where horse stables once stood.

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Thanks to our RGS volunteers for making the trip out — and thanks to those of you who make the decision to come and volunteer on future Outreach projects.  While it may not be as fun as scrounging through flea market booths on a Saturday morning, it is far more fulfilling! ♦

Brandon Cole Phillips

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Independence Day Salute: The Army’s MACS System

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So most of us are familiar with the Zapper, Super Scope, Phaser, Justifier, Menacer, and many other popular light guns for our retro consoles.  However, today I won’t be talking about any of them – I want to introduce you to the Multi-purpose Arcade Combat Simulator (or M.A.C.S.) for the Super Nintendo.

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This training set consisted of: an M-16/M-4 replica with a light pen module, the Basic Rifle Markmanship Program, a small 13” Magnavox or (13” equivalent) television, a SNES system with controller, manual, and carrying case. Most sets were all serial numbered and had a set number under that serial (pictured below). The case design for these sets consisted of no more than a plywood box with slots and tray for storage of items during transport. The light rifles would be transported in a gun case.

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Developed for the U.S. Army in 1993, this system was designed to train soldiers for proper marksmanship proficiency. The game focused on five main points: steady positioning, aiming, breath control, trigger squeeze, and shot location. It was used at many Army basic training programs and several Army training centers. The simulator would have you zero the weapon on the screen then place you on a simulated target range to allow you to get the chance to score a weapons zero. Following that, you would move forward to the pop-up target range, where you would then qualify for your marksmanship skills.

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The light gun works just like the zapper – you see your target, pull the trigger, the screen flashes, and the gun detects whether it’s a hit or not. Now, the trigger is a little different on the version I used due to the fact that the gun chosen was a rubber dummy rifle.  There had been some necessary modifications. They had to hollow out and remove the whole right side of the M16 to retrofit the electronic trigger. Then the cord would be run up through the inside of the body to the light pen located on the top of the barrel.  From there, a cord would be run to connect it to your SNES console – simple and practical for the time period and technology.

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Now for the collecting aspect…

There are two different systems: the one shown, which is the Super Nintendo version, which has three different type of carts and several different M16/M4 gun variants.  There was the Jager AP74, both M16A1 and CAR-15 models, an M16A2 dummy rifle converted like the one shown, and the M4A1 dummy rifle conversion. I have personally seen and handled the dummy conversions and I have only seen the Jager AP74 models in photographs.

According to Video Game Price Charts, the average price for one would be a whopping $600-800 price tag.  Many were simply destroyed by the Army.

There is a second “rumored” Commodore 64 version. Not much is to be known… besides the rumors. So if you know anyone with one or have any info, please drop us a line.

After long, technology improved and the Army moved on to the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) Simulator. This system is about as close to video game combat as it gets. Almost all of the U.S. military’s portable or small arms weapons are usable: .50cal Ma Duce, M240B ,M249, AT4, Javelin anti-tank rocket, HMMWVs in a live fire situation – and the list goes on.

I want to close this tale of the Army and video games coming together by focusing on what Independence Day is all about.  It is the day we gained our independence from England thanks to some of the greatest men and women in our nation’s storied history.

Today we salute those men and women: those amazing dudes who fought to liberate us, so that we unified and became one of the best countries in the world! Patrick Henry said it best: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

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GOD BLESS THESE STATES, GOD BLESS AMERICA! ♦

Kingsley Blancher