Icebreakers - Nettinite experiense

Live on Finnish Television!

  What is this all about:

The Finnish television channel TV4 asked the VLeLv Icebreakers to join an all night net event program. The 6 hour live program came out Friday 07-May-99 and it was a success! We and WarBirds had two big spots on the show...

In addition to the spots we had we managed to show WarBirds to a number of VIP people such as the editor in chiefs of major Finnish magazines. Both had a session online too, no scoring though. We are convinced that this will result even more of Warbirders from Finland (maybe we could even see a plane in Finnish colours again?).

Kill of yumaaz awarded to fin-tv The event planes were recognizeable as being the "fin-tv" and the "fintv-" from the "Live on Finnish TV4" squadron. Thanks to those few who scored us live as well as to all those numerous who bravely gave their life to get their moments of glory recorded. ;-)

  Clip one: 1min 53 sec

Interview translation:

Maisa: Hiya from the gaming hall again. Now we take a deeper look at these interesting things going on here. First of all we're going to take a peek at that aviating game. The aviating game takes place in the Net, and now we'll see how our boys are doing. Well, boys (Lark: &#§&%§& I could've been her father), what's going on? How are we doing? Could you tell us a bit of the action?

The host, Maisa
Maisa the Host. © TV4
Lark: (eek - where's my beer, where're my fags) Well, Zombie here just took off from his base and we don't see any bandits immediately close... except that just now he's got a gold on his six so it COULD look better (mutter: then again, those are just golds).

Maisa: And you're flying prop planes?

Lark: Yeah, in this game we have only WW2 planes.

Maisa: Aaawesome. I thought these'd be some newer *real* planes but it looks like some real good ol' retro rock'n'roll!

Lark explaining the basics to Maisa
Lark explaining the basics to Maisa. ©TV4
Mikko: One more question here: which kind of setup do you need to play this game?

Lark: Well, it depends. You get a choice of different resolutions. If you want a 3D accelerated experience as smooth as here a P2 300 and a decent 3D card are required. And better have RAM 64 or so.

Maisa: So not very cheap to play, is it?

Lark: Well, no. But on the other hand you can play it on a slower machine if you ditch the eye candy. You'll still get everything essential for the experience even though it doesn't look so flashy. The action is still the same. (well, she didn't ask about the 2 bucks per hour... let 'em find out themselves once they're already hooked)

Zomb and Stubit playing, Grendl monitoring and Lark talking
Lark explaining more, Zomb and Stubit shooting, Grendl covering 6. ©TV4
Maisa: Allright. So what is required to play this in the Net?

Lark: A decent Net conn, naturally. But it doesn't take that much. An ordinary surfing rig is more than enough. ISDN or the now standard 56 kbps modem suffices well.

Maisa: Thanks to the aviators, and now onto... (Lark silently cursing: jaysis, I forgot to powder the black circles 'round my eyes)

  Clip two: 6 min 46 sec

Interview translation:

Maisa: Lets go to the pliots. So, what's up in here this time?

Mikko: Are the pilots gone?

Maisa: Noooo! They are happily here. So, what are the situations looking like right now?

Zomb, Stubit and Maisa
Zomb, Stubit and Maisa talking. ©TV4
Stubit: Fellas are currently flying a transition towards the enemy. It'll take a few minutes for them to get to the action.

Mikko: Where abouts is the enemy currrently?

Stubit: You can see it on the radar there...

Mikko & Maisa: But where abouts in the world are you now?

Stubit: This is an imaginary world...

Maisa: IMAGINARY world oh yeah! You are playing in the net or what? And you have you have this kind of community thing here in finland so it is not just flying around alone from home or what?

Stubit: In fact we could be flying any sim but currently the Warbirds just happens to be the best available. The community around the game and online pilots is very tight, there are many who has flown for years, many are professional pilots, some even in the Air Force...

Zomb checking the action, Maisa and Mikko hard right
Zomb checking at the action. ©TV4
Maisa: Yup, and you told me that especially in Finland this is very big thing, relatively (compared with the population) third largest community in the world or what?

Stubit: Yes, there is lots of us (here in Finland). Actually I do not know why, maybe because we have such a good networking infrastructure makes it easy to play and because one of the first online sim serveres was in Finland.

Maisa: Sure thing! There was more players on US and Japan or what?

Stubit: Zomb, help me out here...

Zomb: (mutter mutter) compared to the population there is most in the world ...

Maisa: In Finland most players when compared with the population! Wow! Hey, what is happening in the screen now? What is going on?

StuBit: Boys are closing up the action (F17), they are so close that we should have visuals on connections any second now... And now they are reporting to each other about cons ...

Mikko: What plane is this?

Stubit: The other is flying Japanese Ki61 and the other English Spitfire....

Mikko: So they are old planes?

Stubit: Yes, second world war planes...

Mikko: What can we expect when we get to the target? Lots of gunning and burning planes or what???

Closeup on Stubit
Stubit explaining the details of planes. ©TV4
Stubit: Those yellow dots you can now see are the enemy planes, purple tags are own planes, the small number there is the distance to the con...

Mikko: so this is not a bombing mission but aerial fite?

Stubit: (grinning) no, this is dog fight mission...

Maisa: Hey! Are you all some war loonatics when you play this and you have all the communities and meetings and so? What kind guys are you?

Stubit: I'd rather put it that we are aeronautical loonatics...

Zomb: We go on all air shows in Finland and when you look at the folks in those bigger conventions in US there are people interested in history and the books go around...

Mikko: How long have you had this flying thing as a hobby?

Zomb: Since 1995

Stubit: I have been in this squad two years

Mikko: Do you fly in real life?

Zomb: No

Stubit: Every chance I get

Maisa: Sure thing! Hey, when you do this fly thing so how long does it generally take for a single mission? And how long do you fly in one night, an hour, two hours, two days or what?

Stubit: Well, one mission can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour, and then there are special scenarios or events where the flying is very organised. There can be hundreds ;-) of planes starting at certain time, meeting in certain places, bombers, their ecorts, defence and attack sectors and so on. So it can be very militarily organized. E.g. when capturing fields the planning might take half an hour and the actual action might last 10 to 20 seconds ...

Mikko: Do you get all this background material from the game or are studying books or watching war movies or what??

Zomb: Well, you need to study this stuff, there are lots of very good resources in the net e.g. for combat manouvering. But to begin with one needs to learn how to fly, the flight modelling (in WarBirds) is so good that a beginner needs to study some co-ordinater turns and other need to be learned first. Only then can you start learning combat manouvering...

Maisa: Sure thing! So whats...

Mikko: I have a good question! What if I wanted to join you (Icebreakers), do I need to be an ace or what? Are there some applications or what if I want to fly???

Zomb: At this stage it might be difficult to get to Icebreakers but it is always possible (stares at Maisa). Come fly with us and make your self noted, every now and the we migh invite new members.

Mikko: So you guys are real aces in this? So if I want to start up my pilot career what do I do?? Where do I go? What do I do?

Lark right before he gets his ass kicked
Lark in the frong, Grendl in the back. ©TV4
Stubit: The game it self is freely downloadable from the net e.g. through our www-pages are links to the downloads. After the download go to arena, it costs 2 bugs an hour and e.g. Icebreakers are happy to offer help, we also have an Ice Academy where beginners can see what a squad action could be compared to lonely flying. The difference between organised action and lone flying is very big...

Mikko: So the first day might not be the best for joining a squad? Needs long learning I guess?

Zomb: Yes, you need to learn the basics, but there is lots of help for basics too! And there are other squads in Finland too, and some Finnish players are in foreing squads so this si also a good opportunity to make friends abroad. There are pilots from South-America to Australia...

Maisa: Yes so... Lets see agian what is going on the screen? They are now in the target are or what?

Stubit: Well in fact Lark just got his ass kicked but Grendel on the left is still going in cicrles above the enemy field, he's got an energuy advantage because he is above everyone else and he has got plenty of speed... And now he is attacking another plane, lets see if he hits... (Grendel scores)

Maisa: Yes, lets see what happens...

Mikko: What do we have next?

  Story capture by Lark:

Well, the muthas actually did ask me to write a report on this. Me? I've been offline flying a desk for near a friggin' year now. And just as I was about to make my comeback there's this major hassle up with iMOL. But after all these shortcomings, I guess I'll still go on and start flying again once I get a decent 'puter. And here's why.

The little happening we put together (well, mostly Stubit put it together, that is) did wonders to rekindle one's spirits and to prove WarBirds and being a part of Icebreakers is something much, much more than just playing some Net game with a buncha Net dweebs.

Kill of codsak awarded to fin-tv Me, although I do know what makes my PC tick, I don't know scheisse about networking. So once we arrived at the "Nettinite" con area I could do little else but smile crookedly and shake my head as I witnessed Stubit's and Grendel's frustration. As far as I gathered, we had been promised the required connections to put up our couple of WB workstations in a breeze, after which we could retire to a well deserved dinner, a few cold ones, and the Finland-U.S. world championship ice hockey game until the show would start at eleven or so. Yeah, film at eleven.

As we arrived around eighteen hundred hours, it appeared that everything on the premises had been going straight to hell in a handbasket and the whole con was in a state of chaos. The kind of "fuck this shit and let's go home to watch the hockey game" chaos. We didn't have cables, we didn't have IP addresses, and by God we didn't even have decent power - an unstable power output spiked and almost fried Stubit's rig. While we were waiting for Stub to do his stuff to get at least one 'puter flyable and waiting for Zombie to arrive with his own (which had incidentally broken down), me and Grendel zoomed off in my Ferrari (well, at least the key chain says so ;) to bring my ancient P200 as a last resort. It wouldn't look flashy with a single Voodoo 1 and shitty framerate, but at least it would work...

Driving back like a bat out of hell, losing a few tailing cop cruisers, and crashing through a couple of roadblocks, we arrived just in time to hear Zombie had his own rig fixed and was on the way. DOH! Well, I've seen lotsa times when ol' Murphy's law has been working in significantly more unpleasant circumstances. So I guess that was okay. From now on nothing could go wrong. Or so I thought. The Yanks were leading the hockey match 2 to 1. PANIC! BEER! FAG!

Kill of cuzn awarded to fin-tv This was incredible! A whole university 1st floor full of guys and companies supposed to represent the latest in multimedia and communications tech and NObody had thought of bringing along such an archaic thing as a portable TV. And it looked like there was no Quicktime/Realtime/Whatevertime feed available from the Net either. What the f... is the Norwegian Broadcasting Company living in the stone age or what? Nervously waiting for Zombie to arrive I spent more time outside than inside smoking, practicing VRBC (very rapid beer consumption), and peeking over the shoulders of some Nokia distributor guys who had been smart enough to bring along a tiny handheld TV. KOIVU SCORES 2-2! YESSSSSS!

From then on everything seemed to go on more smoothly :)

  Zomb in killing mode
Zomb in killing mode. ©TV4
Finally, it was the time for the grand opening. Selšnne had just scored 4-3 and from the reported penalties for the Yanks I could see their spirit was broken and the match was as good as over. So I could freely concentrate on what we came for: playing WB and kicking some ass to impress the con visitors and a couple of hundred thousand viewers on TV4.

When the broadcast started, Stubit and Zombie were doing some serious killing and it was up to me and Grendel to introduce our stuff to the TV4 anchor. Which was good because Stub had been ogling her all along and wouldn't prolly been capable of any intelligent commentary before that semi-see-through shirt she was wearing (hope your wife ain't reading this Stub). I was hoping I could utter some grand words to introduce WB and our squad, but all of a sudden this mike was stuck in my mouth asking "hey hey, allright, so whaddya flyboys doin here, like?" Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback. NEVER prepare for a serious interview when TV folks invite you to these kind of happenings - I know that now.

I tried to explain what was going on (Zombie just had a gold up his ass and things looked good for some action), but she didn't seem so interested on the game itself, after all. As it turned out, I was left explaining what were the system and net conn requirements for WarBirds. Hum, okay, I guess I managed in that, but I sure would've liked to do some "cool pilot talk". I haven't seen the tape of the whole show yet but I bet it mostly consists of dull celebrity interviews and sixteen kinds of superficial tabloid media trash. A pity.

Kill of fin-tv awarded to blia So, that was our first little appearance, and we were left on our own to have some fun in the skies. And fun we indeed did have. I had so much fun that when this one kid appeared and started to fly, I got actually jealous because he hogged way too much flying time. Luckily I wasn't tired enough not to understand that we were there on a PR mission. So I didn't interfere to satisfy my selfish urges suddenly to take up to the skies and waste some goldies again.

Besides, that kid was a natural and did that better than I would've done after these several months of desk-jockeying. It was truly astonishing that after a few flights with advice from Zombie and a little bit of advice from me, he was actually scoring kills. Are you guys there getting lame or was this kid something special?

Anyways, to our pleasant surprise, we had very little flight time ourselves as more and more bystanders got interested and wanted to give it a shot. I guess Zombie and Stubit did most of the tutoring while me and Grendel were "admiring" the Playstation stall right behind us. They had Formula 1 '98 running on a big screen and a competition of some sorts going on for the whole night. Well, that's okay. But they did have this extremely irritating broad as a "commentator" on the races. While she was rather cute and had a sexy voice, she obviously knew zilch about F1 or sports commentary in general. And when this English bloke took part in the competition, her already limited F1 vocabulary took a drastic plunge to some "ooohs", "aaahhs", "push it baby", "do it Schumi" to the extent that I had my worst laughing fit of the year when Grendel laconically asked "is this broad dubbing a German porn flick or what?"

Biig trouble, biiiiig trouble While I was having fun watching at the babes and doing some VRBC, the other guys introduced many innocent bystanders to the sinful ways of WarBirds. I particularly remember this one guy who came first to sneer at us and the game as nothing was happening right then (guys were flying transition from home to target). But once he was put into the "cockpit"... man, he was had. Hook, line and sinker.

Well, around 01 hundred hours or so the TV folks came to interview us for earnest. I was tired and intoxicated, but not enough not to understand the talking was better left to the more capable guys. So this time Stubit and Zombie did the PR stuff while me and Grendel were flying. Too bad the TV feed was taken from my plane, as I was a bit rusty and didn't manage to arrange any particularly breathtaking kills for the viewers (we did do some though). Well, I did vulch a few hapless golds with suitably exaggerated shouts of "ahah! take that you bastich!" but as Murphy would have it, all the direct feed sequences happened to be from casual transition flying.

  Zomb and Stubit, hosts Maisa and Mikko
Zomb and Stubit, hosts Maisa and Mikko. ©TV4
Stubit and Zombie did a wonderful job, considering the very limited time. They simply didn't have the time to explain what WB is all about, but they wisely opted to go for plain PR instead, managing to make it sound exciting and teasing people to find out more themselves. I particularly admired the nonchalant way Stubit passed the trick question of us being some kind of "war nuts". "No, we're AVIATION nuts." Beautiful. I must say in that physical condition I would probably have blown it by simply sneering at the TV anchor as some kind of lower form of life.

Well, after that second interview, nothing much happened. They even stopped selling beer around 0130, and we spent the rest of the night mostly introducing new folks to WB, and flying some ourselves. Got past my downer drunkedness, past hangover, and lo, the sun ariseth. What had seemed to be an utter catastrophe the last evening turned out to be a rather pleasant night. The most positive surprise was the amount of all the interested people we got hooked to WarBirds for life, I hope. Nothing gives an old dweeb as much kicks as getting to introduce a newbie to the sport. Heh.

We, and guys and gals of the WB community around the world should have more happenings like this. I mean, take your rigs to some con where everyone's not a hardcore gamer already, and you'll be surprised how many interested bystanders/flight cadets you get.

Oh shit, I didn't get the number of that F1 commentator...


  Story capture by Grendl:

The TV show started in quite suspicious feelings. We had no information, no clue, no idea what to expect. Even the location given was wrong. By a miraclelike chance Grendel found a basic timetable of the show from his workplace and found his way to the place. To the wrong place. After some confusion the right one was found nearby, mobile phones rocked and telegraphed right location data to others. Then it was time for scouting duty.

The start was actually really, really bad. We found no director, nothing was prepared for us, neither for anyone else. At least we got a place, tables and electricity, but shortly put, no network and no information what we should be doing.

Stubit arrived later and we started to make up our stand. As Lark there agrees, frustation levels were very high. There was a big fuss getting the local network to our machines, even more when trying to get IP addresses for the two computers.

But at some moment during the evening things finally started working. We had network. We had both machines. All four of us there. Even had managed to exhance word or two with someone about the program. And best thing of all, one of the organizers gave us tickets for free beer and food. BEERTIME! Relax, relax, relax... We can, we will do it. And oh, there was actually this amazingly surprising moment when Grendel noticed someone came to him asking something professional stuff, someone was actually working to get the show rolling!

The greatest moment was of course when the director stepped in with the announcers. We could talk to somebody about the program! And it was only one hour or something into going live!

Show started, our backs were shown with the comment "and there we have some fighter aces", others in the same room were shown, they rolled away. Hmm. Big show. We famous. Damn good thing they didn't come to us yet since we were still trying to get Zombie's machine up and running WarBirds :)

We had discussed shortly with the announcers what we would like to talk about and were later doing stuff ourselves, maybe trying to decide what kind of situation we would show them etcetc when suddenly....

Zomb and Stubit fighting with pnpg and chkmt
Zomb and Stubit having a fierce fite against golds online. ©TV4
30 SECONDS comes a man yelling at us. PANIC. PANIC. PANIC. 30 secs? I try to yell at them HEY WE'RE NOT READY, WE NEED LONGER WARNING. 20 SECONDS is the answer. PANIC. PANIC. PANIC. Stubit or Zombie was just rolling from an airfield. PANIC PANIC PANIC. I yell horrible things, PANIC PANIC PANIC, and the grounded guy makes a world record shooting WB up, selecting airfield, plane and rolling from same field. By damn great luck there's just two Gold 109s circling above and the guys get instantly into combat, right when the she-announcer rolls in.

Gotta say I would have wanted to say something as well :) But she so much liked Lark's cap that she tried to push the mic down his throat. Guys were giving an excellent show of air combat there, too bad its actual class couldn't be seen. Or their air combat talk heard.

And about as fast as they came they went away. It was a damn freaky moment, that 30 SECONDS. Think THAT when you look at the pictures and interview. We were in total panic until the second we heard we're on camera. Instant calming, "yeah, cool", we're the pilots. Pulled it off pretty nice. I think.

Interesting thing was that the program actually told "virtual pilots challenge competition starts." What competition? We don't know anything 'bout a competition. And neither did they. Somebody had just had a brilliant idea about a competition and typed it into the program. Announcers had actually been told that we have ready lists and rules for the competition while we had absolute no clue. Hmm. Grendel managed to assure them that a competition against the 'normal' people would be total butcher. The planned replacement head2head competition got scrapped as there was no clue when we would go live again.

And the show went on and on. Timetables were shattered after one hour so we just didn't know what is coming and when. Grendel had a long talk with she-announcer, telling about the community, people, game, simulation and so on, trying to give her ideas what we would like to talk. A bit too bad Stubit/Zombie were having a flying session at that moment since Grendel/Lark were flying when we went live again and Stubit/Zombie didn't know about all stuff we had talked.

So the 2nd interview missed one point the she-announcer was trying to dig out. When she asked "what kind of people the virtual pilots are" she got a good though slightly different answer from what we had spoken earlier. As you see, Grendel and Lark had told her how in the pilots are military pilots - and civil service guys, even guys with complete release from the Finnish army as both Icebreakers CO and XO. But Zombie is no freak and gave the picture of civil, intelligent guys who're interested in aviation, and not military warheadnuts.

The waiting for 2nd live feed was quite... interesting. No timetables. Finally we were told "20 minutes, plus or minus one hour." UGH. Stu/Zomb had one certain urge and needed to visit nearest toilet but... When would they come? Finally I told them to GOGOGO and boy they were fast. And then, just as suddenly as the first live feed, 30 SECONDS TO LIVE.

BUGGER. Just as unprepared. Grendel/Lark climbing towards enemy area. Immediate leveling and going into 100% WEP, hoping to find enemies as soon as possible.

Lark getting some vulch kills on F17
Lark getting kills right on top of F17. ©TV4
Sudden going into live and some panicking, but again the interview went really smoothly. Too bad there was one thing that you didn't see. As guys were first still flying into combat Stu/Zomb talked. Then picture changed to Lark's screen, with the SVGA video taken directly from the machine. Lark was flying ok but Grendel had already made two kills that went completely unnoticed. Then, "what's going on now" she asked and picture changed back to Lark's screen. Too bad Lark had just died, while Grendel was riding high on success. Adrenaline flowed as Grendel thought "now im in the picture" and made a spectacular kill that we all thoght went live into the tubes of millions of people. "YESSSSSSSSSSH I made it" Grendel thought. Unfortunately, afterwards it was noted that all that time they had been showing Lark taking off. Daaaaamn.

We generated a lot of interest into WarBirds. Lots of people stopped looking, we told them about the simulation and gave everybody interested a ride, telling about the basic controls and giving them required guidance. We really should be hired as WarBirds PR reps into air shows or something, we really tricked people into it. Can't even imagine how many times we wrote iMagic's and Icebreakers' web site addresses to different people. Should really have printed WB/ICE cards next time.


   DISCLAIMER: Some images in this page are from the live proadcast. The Nettinite program was produced by Hannele Lilja, Pia Parkkonen and Dave Liebkind, directed by Marko Antila, Tommi Tikka and Aulis Moisio. The program was broadcasted by Finnish TV4. All copyrights remain with respective owners.   

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