The Flare Path: Łódź You Believe It!

By Tim Stone on September 6th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

According to Flare Path’s contacts in Moscow, Obama’s failure to secure Russian backing for air strikes against the Syrian regime had nothing to do with traditional enmity or Putin’s long-standing relationship with Assad, and everything to do with the US president’s unwillingness to publicly state that A) “Company of Heroes 2 was deeply insulting to the people of the former Soviet Union”,B) Going East’s lack of Kamaz trucks and Russian locations has brought shame on SCS Software and the entire Czech Republic”, and C) “Anyone that fails to back RRG’s WW2 flight sim kickstarter is a massive knob.”

Christ-on-a-Kettenkrad! Have you seen this?

Apparently, if we shovel enough Rubles into the pockets of Oleg ‘IL-2′ Maddox, Igor “DCS: Black Shark” Tishin, and Ilya “Pacific Fighters” Shevchenko, they’ll give us an IL-2 sequel set over the hedgey hell of pre/post D-Day Normandy! While Oleg and Ilya’s last collaboration – Cliffs of Dover – did their reputations no favours, and 777 seem to be well on the way to delivering a rather fabulous sim set in the same period, it’s hard not to swoon at the prospect of DCS: WW2.

Built around a free-to-play three aircraft (Spitfire, Thunderbolt and Bf 109) core, with stretch goals that encompass Ardennes and Romanian maps, flyable Typhoons, Me 262s and (gulp) Mosquitos (all free if you plump for the $40 tier), the basic version of the sim could be in our hands as soon as next Summer if the $100,000 target is hit (Which, at the current pledge rate, looks highly likely).

Can the DCS engine deliver a faithful yet fluid depiction of 1944-era NW France? Can Oleg and Ilya keep a lid on feature creep? Will their passion for realism mean those of us after a 21st Century European Air War (Microprose, 1998) or Operation Overlord (Rowan, 1994) wind up overwhelmed and under-enchanted? I’ve got more questions than a B-17G has gun turrets (8) but a sneaking suspicion a $40 pledge could turn out to be money extremely well spent.

 

Eastward Ho!

The stench of bitumen and sweat emanating from SCS Software’s Prague office is particularly pungent at the moment. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is about to get its first piece of DLC. Going East! will let fans of 2012′s most moreish sim speed across shrunken versions of Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. I’ve spent the last five days criss-crossing the new lands for pleasure, profit, and public information purposes.

The £8.50/$13/€10 add-on (release date: September 20) pushes the already vast European map eastward from Western Poland and the Czech-Slovak frontier to the borders of Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Thirteen new cities – heavily stylized of course – await, along with hundreds of miles of blacktop liberally lined with interesting vistas, and generously dotted with challenging junctions, slopes and bends. I’d love to have seen sense of place further bolstered by a few country-specific police cars or billboards, but it’s impossible to drive the new areas without admiring the work that’s gone into the landscaping.

Looking back over the past week, I honestly can’t recall a single stretch of roadside scenery where I found myself thinking “Blimey, this is getting monotonous” or “Looks like this bit was done at 4.30 on a hot Friday afternoon.”. If SCS’s map team are all dispirited clockwatchers, there’s no sign of it whatsoever in their work. A glimpse of onion-domed church, sprawling rail yard or meandering river here, an unusual bridge design, power station, or castle ruin there… there’s always something to draw the eye and distract you from the fact you’ve just spent the last four hours doing very little except contentedly tap brake, accelerator and gear keys and slide a mouse left and right.

Some of the landscape details, like the Turul statue perched atop Gerecse Mountain in NW Hungary, are easy to miss. Others like the extensive WW2 war memorials in Dukla Pass north of Košice, Slovakia demand schedule-threatening stops and free-camera leg-stretching.

With the Carpathians cutting the add-on area roughly in half and motorways still less common east of the Oder than west of it, longer intra-region trips inevitably involve an engaging mix of motorway and minor road driving. Until you’ve experienced both the soothing rhythm of multi-lane motoring and the white-knuckle terror of risky overtakes on winding, rain-lashed mountain roads (ideally on the same trip) you really haven’t experienced ETS2 or this well-crafted add-on, at its beguiling best. Bring on Scandinavia, SCS! Bring on Italy and Iberia! Bring on the Balkans!*

*But not before you’ve added some hedges to the UK, got rid of those silly dry stone walls just north of Southampton, and added motorbikes and roadkill.

 

The Flare Path Foxer

While the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, the quick brown foxer prefers to distract him with a cryptic collage like the one Zephro, Syt, FuryLippedSquid, skink74, WildebeestGames, NofWoof, and All is Well deftly deciphered last Friday, then hit him over the head with a sock filled with wet sand. In truth the lazy dog isn’t lazy at all, he’s permanently concussed.

A) Lima Army Tank Plant, Ohio, birthplace of numerous M1 and M1A1 tanks.
B) Chell ‘The Hammer Man’ Puddock, one of many excellent reasons for buying The Victor back in the Seventies.
C) Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, the USA’s first supersonic fighter.
D) Hotel Hartenstein, the site of the British HQ during the battle for Arnhem.
E) Nakajima Ki-43 ‘Oscar’, the manoeuvrable yet vulnerable backbone of the IJAAF’s fighter force during WW2.
F) Team Yankee, armoured warfare game inspired by the Harold Coyle novel of the same name.
G) Zulu class sub, Cold War Soviet submarine inspired by Michael Caine film of the same name.

Last week’s hidden theme was the NATO phonetic alphabet. This week’s probably isn’t the NATO phonetic alphabet, but knowing what you know about Foxers it’s probably wise to rule nothing out at this point.

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38 Comments »

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Call of Duty 2 – M1918A2 BAR automatic rifle. I think.

    Morris Minor Traveler.

    Gotta be Australians, lol.

  2. Zephro says:

    Morris Minor in the bottom left?

  3. All is Well says:

    I think the helicopter is a Sikorsky S-64 “Skycrane”. Wikipedia tells me it might be the military CH-54 “Tarhe” instead, and that the Skycrane is now in fact called the S-64 “Aircrane”.

    • All is Well says:

      Also, I think the Soviet aircraft is the Douglas A-20 “Havoc”.

      EDIT: Possible other names would be “Boston” (the Commonwealth designation) and “Box” (NATO reporting name)

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Hang fire old bean, why would a Douglas be in Russian livery?

        Wrong shape too, by the looks of it.

        Edit: Nope, looks like you’re right, odd!

        • All is Well says:

          Well, not so odd at all, considering they sent lots and lots of them over as part of the lend-lease program. Good thing you’re looking out for mistakes though!

          • FurryLippedSquid says:

            Yeah, don’t know what I was thinking there, really!

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      So, we have Guidelines for Travelers causing Havoc in BARs.

      Can’t see the Skycrane fitting in here, heh. Tarhe was an American Indian warrior chief nicknamed “The Crane” who fought against the invaders.

  4. Retro says:

    Any news about Oculus Rift support for ETS2?

  5. Utsunomiya says:

    A new Maddox flying sim? How can I resist?!

    • Meusli says:

      I knew kickstarter would get me one day and this is the one. Have to wait till the end of this month though as plopping $40 down when I have to fork out for school uniforms etc will make the wifey angry.

  6. Kinch says:

    Łódź? I wonder how many people actually got the pun. Thanks for that, Tim Stone. :D Do you actually know Polish?

    • Perjoss says:

      pronounced kind of like “oots” isn’t it? I have a friend from there and that’s how she pronounces it anyway.

        • edwardoka says:

          My first thought on hearing this was “Łódź please! Gold please!” from Age of Empires 2…

        • hungrytales says:

          Yeah. And also it means ‘a boat’ in Polish and you’ve got no major river, no lake there and 300km to the nearest coast. There’s probably logic in it somewhere but nobody in Poland seems to know exactly where.

          • Skiv says:

            Not true. Closest lake is Jeziorsko, then Wisła as the river. In the industrial ages Łódź had couple of rivers that came though. It was, in fact, a textile town. One of the biggest in Poland. Also it was named earlier as Łodzia, something similar to “Boaty”

          • Rosveen says:

            @Skiv
            Yeah, but Wisła doesn’t go through Łódź. Back in the Middle Ages when the city got its name, there were no rivers used for water transport there. No logic that I can see, sorry.

          • DaeL says:

            @hungrytales Yeah, but that’s not how things used to work in middle ages. Before Lodz became a city it was a village. It probably belonged to a nobleman, whose name was similar to Lodz (Lodzicki? Lodzinski?) or who had a coat of arms with a boat in it. For all we know that guy might have been granted his title and this village because he threw an awesome boat party for the king. Anyway, since people in the middle ages rarely came up with awesome names like Mega City 1 or Megalopolis, he went with something, that reminded people that this village belongs to him. Hence – Lodz.

    • Spoony_Bart says:

      I found it amusing enough to share it with the rest of the Polish-speaking part of the office so mission accomplished.

    • Henson says:

      I was pleased to get it, and my knowledge of Polish is pretty much limited to Wiedzmin.

    • ramirezfm says:

      First time I looked at the title I thought I actually misclicked something and wound up somewhere non-RPSy. But look at that, my hometown name in RPS article title, I feel so proud :) Surprisingly I haven’t noticed that Łódź you is so close to would you :)

    • Wut The Melon says:

      I was very impressed to see a multilingual pun, and a Polish-English one at that (I was also very impressed that I actually got the pun, but the internet’s no place for bragging). We’ve reached a new pun-high, methinks. Apologies for not having a pun here, by the way.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    Flare Duty X, obviously.

  8. Waleebe says:

    I always think it’s pronounced Woodj but it throws me every time I see it.

    (I can’t open Skiv’s link as I’m on my phone)

    This was meant to be a reply to Perjoss

  9. Snuffy the Evil says:

    A new WW2 flight sim from the guys who brought us Cliffs of Dover?

    I think I’ll pass, thanks.

  10. guygodbois00 says:

    Or d) All of the above.

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    The WWII monument at Dukla Pass consists of a T-34 crossing barrels defiantly with a Panzer IV, if I recall correctly. Eurotruck only has a lonesome T-34?

  12. Napoleon15 says:

    The mere mention of European Air War makes me miss the 90s\early 00s era of sims. It seemed like every time I went to the game shop as a kid, there would be a new flight\tank simulation on the shelves from somebody like Microprose or Janes. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Eagle Dynamics and friends are keeping the genre alive, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of DCS, but their sims lack the feeling of something like Falcon 4.0 or Longbow 2, where you jump into a campaign and there’s a dynamic war going on around you. DCS just feels more sterile in comparison.

  13. Solanaceae says:

    How can they produce a flight sim for $100,000?

  14. racccoon says:

    Product placement Pepsi! lolz
    Well I play sims a lot n’ love em, the one thing that bugs me is they never seem to give realism to the sim you are trying to be. Meaning we never are anyone just a modeled object, not a model life, I like to see a sim where we are able to move around like we are someone in the game not just a car, boat, plane or train, it maybe a good move to give us something else in game. I love the sim’s, I just miss the sim’s inability to step out of it and show a life within it.
    P.s. i do know Star Citizen is trying to do that but we need more innovations like it.

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