The Flare Path: Explains Rumpelstiltsims

By Tim Stone on October 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Any reasonably competent sim dev can turn heads with a finely modelled Tiger tank, Vulcan bomber, or Schienenzeppelin railcar. It takes a rare talent to do the same with a vehicle so ubiquitous, so achingly ordinary, even a picture of it has the power to… power… to… ZZZ ZZZZ ZZZZ ZZZZ ZZZ ZZZ.

 

My trousers are not for sale, Mr Nkomo. NOT FOR SALE!  

Crikey, nodded-off for a second there. Now where was I? Oh yes, rumpelstiltsims… sims that spin gaming gold from deeply unpromising vehicular straw. A2A’s lastest FSX add-on is a shining example.

The $50 Accu-Sim C172 trainer takes flight simulation’s most anodyne aerodyne and turns it into something improbably charismatic and incredibly physical. Right now, if hungry flames were devouring my multi-hectare MSFS hangar and I could only save one machine, this Cessna would be the one I’d shove to safety.

I’d brave the smoke and heat not for the flight or visual models – though both are superb – but because A2A have supplied me with a vivacious virtual machine rather than a desiccated data table with a pretty 3DS file attached. They’ve made my Skyhawk persistent and crammed it with interconnected components that age and fail… components that can be individually inspected and repaired. Every fouled spark plug, scored cylinder and FUBARed flap is an acerbic comment on my piloting prowess and the laxness of my maintenance regime.

We’ve seen this holistic approach before in other Accu-Sim releases like the B-17 and P-40 but Scott Gentile and co. take it to new levels with the C172. Using a new pre-flight inspection interface, aviators can now circle their parked steeds waggling flight control surfaces, peering at linkages, and examining dipsticks. Is your engine oil espresso-dark? Is your baggage door rattling? Are your tyres bulging? Missed or ignored faults may result in engine misbehaviour, handling issues, unplanned landings or worse.

With problems obvious and overhauls free and instantaneous in hangar mode, there’s no real excuse for unchecked dilapidation. Until A2A get together with Duncan Murray – the man behind Air Hauler (see on) – and attach prices to spares (many of which are officially licensed), mechanic man-hours, and mods like wheel fairings and propellers, this add-on’s impressive attempts at simulating aircraft ownership as well as aircraft flight will always have a slightly soft edge.

All developers of serious flight sims are passionate about their subject matter. A2A – as the development vid below proves – combine that passion with perfectionism and imagination. Collecting audio at night… recording ‘identical’ switches just in case their clicky signatures are subtly different… manually verifying turn rates at various taxi speeds… this is a team doing everything in its power to generate Belief. If there was a way to include the smell of exhaust or upholstery in an FSX adjunct, they’d almost certainly be the first to offer it.

I suspect many flight sim add-on purchasing decisions boil down to “How much do I like the depicted aircraft?”. With this C172 that question is irrelevant. Anyone eager to experience simulation at its most ambitious and successful will fall in love with the A2A C172.

 

Bern Return

Remember aeroflyFS, the German-made GA revelation that wowed Simulatia back in early 2012 with its sun-kissed Swiss scenery, workmanlike flight models, and sky-high framerates? After a year and a half of add-on and sequel rumours, the game and its dev, IPACS, has been taken under the wing of seasoned British sim supplementers Just Flight.

Starting with a Piper Archer III and a Beechcraft Duchess III, JF plan to enlarge the default aircraft fleet with a selection of planes adapted from their FSX range. Once that’s done, the new collaborators will look at expanding the sim’s stunning-but-slightly-claustrophobic airspace.

Will we eventually get true day-night cycles, improved cockpit functionality, and AI traffic? If I was able to attend tomorrow’s bally tempting Flight Sim 2013 show at RAF Cosford, I’d corner a JF representative and find out.

Assuming I wasn’t too busy bombarding Duncan ‘Air Hauler‘ Murray, with questions, that is. The maker of the brilliant MSFS air cargo company adjunct, will be talking about a recently announced sequel in a presentation at 15.00hrs.

 

Instead of St Peter’s

Euro Truck Simulator 2 turned left onto massively multiplayer boulevard earlier this week. Presently, users that register at www.worldoftrucks.com can do little but customise licence plates, upload profile portraits, and share pics of their tastefully embellished rigs, but one day soon, mark my words, they’ll be competing for cargoes and honking impatiently at each other on rain-lashed Polish bypasses.

 

The Flare Path Foxer

Want directions to the nearest T-34-topped war memorial or Grumman Guardian gate guardian? Ask Matchstick. With a little help from plane-speaking newcomer Kakarot, one of defoxing’s most practised practitioners located six of last week’s seven mystery monuments.

Only a pillbox on Anzio’s Riviera Zanardelli remained foxy.

Until now all the losswords that have appeared in Flare Path have been bog-standard Grade Is. Yesterday, while reading my breakfast tea leaves, I saw the unmistakeable outline of Desmond Tutu wingwalking on a Tu-2. The meaning was clear. You’re ready for Grade IIs! In a Grade II not only are vital words missing, clues have been stripped of their vowels. To find the missing words, simply flesh-out the skeletonized clues, guess the theme, and work out the pattern shared by the five component puzzles.

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35 Comments »

  1. Matchstick says:

    I think the clues are
    4 – Trident
    7- Bremen
    13-Great Britain
    15- Hunter
    17-Thunderbolt

    • phlebas says:

      2. Sea Sparrow?

    • SuicideKing says:

      19 across is Thunderbolt, not 17.

    • LordBilisknir says:

      Might I suggest
      18) Comet or Swift
      20) Nimrod
      All Rolls Royce Spey engined Hawker Aircraft…

    • Zephro says:

      World War 2 ships?
      There was an HMS Hunter and HMS Trident back then…
      There’s also several ships named after Bremen it seems.

      • Matchstick says:

        HMS Thunderbolt was a rather unfortunate WW2 submarine aparently (“one of the few military vessels that have been lost twice with her crew in their service history”) , but I can’t find any ships named Great Britain other than Brunel’s

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        ? Flying Submarines with a country link! Anti submarine plane variants

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          SS Bremen and Europa were fitted with catapults to launch mail-planes

    • deejayem says:

      Hawker Hunter broke the air-speed record in 1953.
      Thunderbolt broke the land speed record in 1937 …
      Does this get us anywhere?

      Edit: Ugh – except judging by previous losswords the same elements have to go in the same slots in the pattern, so that’s no good.

      Edit edit: Was SS Great Britain the largest ship afloat when she was constructed? That might count as a world record. I’M VERY CONFUSED.

      Edit edit edit: Aha – Triumph Trident motorbike took world records for standing start in the 60s. And SS Bremen broke speed records for Atlantic crossing in 1929.

      • deejayem says:

        Ok, so we have:

        1 Lusitania
        2 Mauretania
        7 Bremen
        9 Europa

        Holders of Blue Riband for fastest Transatlantic crossing.

        • deejayem says:

          3 Streamliner
          4 Trident
          5 Vincent
          10 don’t know enough motorbikes …

          Motorbike land speed records.

      • Zephro says:

        Other largest ships may be US Aircraft carriers. Nimitz or midway maybe? Could go in 8 across.

        • deejayem says:

          That makes sense. I’m thinking Adriatic or Himalaya for 11 across.

          For the cars, I reckon 16 might be Golden Arrow, and 14 could be Triplex, in which case 12 is likely to be Bluebird.

          There’s also Sunbeam, which could go in 14 across.

          • deejayem says:

            Apparently Eureka was the largest wooden passenger ferry ever built. (I’m reduced to random Googling now so I might leave it to someone who knows what they’re talking about to finish off.)

        • skink74 says:

          Everyone is assuming SS Great Britain, but I think that’s a wrong turn. All the other puzzles are collections of speed records of a particular type, so maybe this is too. Steam Locomotive speed records…
          6. Locomotion
          8. Rocket
          11. Antelope
          13. Great Britain

          Also looking at the car land speed record it seems very possible (and very Foxer) that both 12 and 17 are Bluebird.

          • deejayem says:

            Ach, yer a genius – well done! Should have thought of trains. Don’t suppose you can fill in that last motorbike to finish the job?

          • skink74 says:

            Best I can do for 10 is “Phantom” .. After following a maze of links it seems Eric Jakob Henne’s record setting BMW was called the “White Phantom”

  2. bit_crusherrr says:

    Where the fuck do I get the dekotora trucks in Euro Truck 2?

  3. Llewyn says:

    I’m a big fan of mundanity over exoticism in sims, but only where the creator provides an environment suitable for mundane toys. I’d far rather have a sim A35 than an Aventador, though the former’s more appropriate to the Tom Pryce straight than the Mulsanne (or preferably a snowy industrial estate with lots of roundabouts…)

    Still refusing to buy the apparent master of mundanity – OMSI – though, until they provide a demo of some sort.

  4. Phoibos Delphi says:

    Mister Tim Stone has gone wrestling… yeahyeahyeahyeah.

  5. jimmyrfr says:

    RPS has been part of my morning routine for more years than I care to admit, but today Mr. Stone has made my day – that shot of the blue & white C172 further down in the article, was my repaint. :)

  6. Stuart Walton says:

    This ][ close to ordering that A2A Cessna C172 Trainer.

    • JustAPigeon says:

      The best feeling aircraft I have yet found in FSX, it is outstanding. It even caused me to put the fantastic PMDG 777 on the backburner. Recommend getting rid of the GPS in the cockpit, who needs that when you have your trusty VOR/NDB receivers and a DME?

      By the way, for anyone interested in VFR flying in FSX, google “Plan G”. It’s a nifty VFR flight planning software, for free, and it’s brilliant.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      I use PlanG. It can get a bit system-hoggy if you turn all the overlays on though. But it’s free and it does the job. I’ve used it to make plans for flying in MS Flight. No GPS and just vfrmap.com and VOR/DME to fix and fly.

      Also started using FSrealWX Lite, a free weather injector that’s a lot better than FSX’s real-time weather as it fills in the blind spots that FSX misses. Not as good as the payware stuff but better than stock FSX.

    • drinniol says:

      Anyone know how it compares to Carenado’s planes in flight model?

  7. Skabooga says:

    I fully support the continued use of the face-star rating system, even if I’m not entirely sure whose face that is exactly.

  8. ruthj240 says:

    My Uncle got black Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Sedan just by parttime work from a laptop… ………. http://WWW.JOBS60.COM