The Flare Path: And The Long Good Friday

By Tim Stone on April 18th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Traditionally, Christian Flareopaths spend Good Friday deep in prayer, while heathen ones spend it deep in brass, brine, or cumulonimbus. A bad case of housemaid’s knee and a dead PSU means I can’t play or pray today. I’m desperately hoping the ten activities detailed below will prove engaging enough to keep boredom at bay until bedtime.

 

Today I’m planning to…

1. Study the chunky Just Flight Canberra PR.9 manual

MSFS add-on purveyors Just Flight have recently recruited a new in-house development team. The first fruit of that team’s loins is a bat-winged British jet with deep, almost DCS-level, systems and flight modelling, a cracking cockpit, and one of military aviation’s most claustrophobic navigator positions (he sits behind the nose cone). Built with the help of a retired Canberra pilot, and access to a real PR.9 the quirky Cold War sky-spy can be testflown via a 358Mb demo that unceremoniously removes your horizontal stabilizers, nose cone, and instrument panel when you climb above 1000ft but is otherwise feature complete.

 

2. Reread analysis of rFactor 2′s new karts from a man that really knows his karting

RAVSim’s Jon Denton has been lured away from Cornetto Chaucer by nostalgia, terrific tyre physics and lively AI. If you can read his illuminating essay without hankering for some high-speed, low-weight sim racing you’re a colder fish than I.

 

3. Wonder if DS delight Panzer Tactics will survive the sidesteppe to PC

My Nintendo DS spent far more time gripping a Panzer Tactics cartridge than an Advance Wars or Commander: Europe at War one. By rights, I should be cock-a-hoop at the thought of this upcoming PC incarnation, but right now the emotion that washes over me when I survey the screenshots and the feature list is mild concern. Do Sproing realise that they’re venturing onto a battlefield already crawling with Panzer Corps panzers and Open General generals?

 

4. Set aside funds for imminent OMSI 2 adjunct ‘Three Generations’

The husband and wife team that turned Hamburg into one of OMSI’s most enticing destinations, are about to enrich OMSI 2 with three novelty-dotted bendy buses.

Will juvenile passengers finger-draw cartoon genitals on the steamed-up windows of the new fleet if you fail to de-mist quickly enough? Flare Path longs to find out.

 

5. Peer into the crepuscular gloom of the latest Combat Helo: Gunnery vids…

…remembering as I do that this five-years-in-the-making hoveralone Apache sim is now, in theory, just weeks away from the first phase of its rolling release.

 

6. Cheer on Grand Prix Legends circuit craftsman Jim Pearson

A recent batch of screenshots prove that Jim is still toiling away on his GPL magnum opus – a forensic recreation of the 38-mile-long Isle of Man TT course. Back in October 2007, he admitted that the project had already consumed 2000 man-hours, so heaven-knows what the total is now.

 

7. Contemplate finally making the switch from FSX to Prepar3D

Earlier this month, courtesy of the 2.2 update, FSXI-in-all-but-name-and-EULA-small-print acquired handsome cloud shadows, more economical autogen, and a significantly improved mission recorder.

 

8. Inspect Scourge of War: Waterloo images

…while subconsciously reproaching my parents for failing to buy the child-me either the Airfix Waterloo Assault Set or the Airfix Waterloo wargame.

 

9. Inspired by Rab’s Thunder Road recommendation, spend hours googling “Battlecars remake” and “Car Wars TBS PC”. On realising that, inexplicably, no-such game exists, dash-off and dispatch a quick resignation email, and go break it to my family that I’m about to embark on an exciting new career as a Game Developer.

 

10. Watch a foxer get torn limb from limb by a pack of dazzlingly proficient defoxers

 

The Flare Path Foxer

Last week’s foxer was brimful of cobras. Using perspicacity and patience as pungi, supereminent snake charmers Matchstick, Cooper, Spinoza, skink74, foop and Vacuity729 lured all but two of the serpents into the light.

a. HMS Hood
b. Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapee Patty Hearst
c. Player sprite from Cobra
d. Prince Caspian cover (Caspian cobra)
e. Hawker Tomtit (powered by Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose engine)
f. King Henry VII locomotive (king cobra)
g. Cobra tram
h. Otokar Cobra
i. Russian test pilot Viktor Georgiyevich Pugachyov (Pugachev’s Cobra)

*********

It has come to my attention that some defoxers are wading into the weekly collage before the FP silk handkerchief has hit the ground. As page 57 of the defoxing regulations makes crystal clear, the only time such behaviour is justified is when..

a) The handkerchief snags on thorn, barbed wire, hedgehog or Pickelhaube before hitting the ground.
b) The handkerchief is snatched by a Laundry Eagle during its descent.
c) The foxer intro exceeds 200 words and/or implies that Laundry Eagles weren’t hunted to extinction by East Anglian washerwomen during the 1840s.

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43 Comments »

  1. Spinoza says:

    Patti Smith Group – Radio Ethiopia album cover

    Waterloo kit .. so many memories .. of watching the cover picture :-) never got it. It seemed so awesome at that time.Kind of still is.

    • Smion says:

      The jet looks like a Mig 17. According to wikipedia they were flown by the Ethiopian Airforce, so I don’t know

    • Sleeping_Wolf says:

      Chemicals are Potassium Nitrate, for rocket propellant/gunpowder (saltpetre)?

      • Palindrome says:

        The helicopter looks very much like a Seaking.
        The twin engined helicopter is a Bristol Belvedere.
        The slouch hat is from the British 2nd infantry division during the Burma campaign

      • Gap Gen says:

        A sneaky googling suggests that potash (KNO3 is called nitrate of potash) was mined in Ethiopia from the 14th century to the present day. A bit tenuous, perhaps.

        The rifle looks like a G3 variant?

        • Palindrome says:

          Accorinding to Wikipedai Ethiopa has apparently used the G3 in some form or another. I have no idea what could connect the rest to Ethiopia though.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’m beginning to wonder if Ethiopia is the link; the relevance to, say, Amtrak seems pretty tenuous, and I can’t find evidence of the helicopters being operated there, although it’s possible.

        • Imposter says:

          I’m pretty sure that’s actually a SG 550 variant of some sort, the bipod and lower receiver are fairly distinctive. Not a clue what the link would be though.

    • Smion says:

      The route marked on the map seems to be that of the “Cardinal” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_(train) )

    • Spinoza says:

      Interesting though the Tsarist Russia military advisers and volunteers in Ethiopian army as in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Ethiopia.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Vatican City?

      There is an Ethiopian College and the Church of St Stephen of the Abysinnians : 2 References to Ethiopia
      Belvedere Casino, Courtyard and Palace
      Mig-17 is codenamed “Fresco”,
      SG-550 suggests a Swiss military (Swiss Guards?)
      2nd Infantry Division’s insignia is Crossed Keys of St Peter
      Cardinal train?
      Cannot find link to Sea King though

      • Palindrome says:

        A Seaking was the Vatican city’s offical helicopter (detached from the Italian military) until last year.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Very nice work! No idea of Nitrate is supposed to be saltpetre -> St Peter.

        • Rorschach617 says:

          Didn’t think of that.
          Just went looking for Ethiopia and Belvedere references, saw Belvedere linked to the Vatican, remembered Ethiopia was, historically, an important Christian enclave, pored over a map of the city and everything fell into place.

          Unless I am horribly wrong, of course :)

          I will now go on to suggest that Peter comes from the greek for “Stone”, and that this foxer is just Tim Stone’s subliminal campaign to get elected Pope.

      • Razgovory says:

        The Patti Smith Group produced an Album called “Easter” that came a little after “Radio Ethiopia”.

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I wish OMSI2 would hurry up and have a sale. 27 quid is a bit much. £15 is a good spot

    • Llewyn says:

      I’d settle for a demo. I’m prepared to pay bigger numbers for niche experiences if I know I want them (Infinite Hexcells would empty my bank account) but I probably wouldn’t bite even at £15 without a demo.

      Tim hinted before release that he would raise the issue of a demo with them if one wasn’t forthcoming. Hopefully, now they seem to be getting on top of their other issues, he might get the opportunity to do so soon.

  3. Veav says:

    There’s a Car Wars type game (from 2007). Darkwind feels so sexy, a turn-based driving game, but it’s wrapped up in weird “you must create a match, you must wait ten minutes for the match to start, you must devote a guy to the match and now that guy is tied up and you can’t play the game until the guy has returned” stuff. So we really do need someone to step up to the plate.

    • wodin says:

      If the developer could pull out tha racing mechanics and then develop a proper single player game around it it would be perfect. I also think the race mechanics would be great for a WW1 air warfare game..just add a z axis..

  4. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Alas, I am not a defoxer. I’m more of a foxee.

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    OMSI2:
    1. When the windows steam up, can the passengers berate you for being a dick for not switching on the aircon / demisters? More people need to do this to bus drivers, especially the ones in London that let it get to the point where you cannot lean on a window for fear of rivulets of 85 people’s condensed sweat and out-breaths alighting on your head / clothing
    2. Wrong music
    3. Needs a stale ciggies smell-sachet included in the box for use with older buses.
    4. BUSES.

    EDIT: Just discovered the word “f@gs” is now added to the swear-o-tron. A good old fashioned word for the english working man’s cigarette? I sense pan-atlantic shenanigans.

  6. DetCord says:

    I have P3D, but I just can’t see myself leaving FSX anytime soon.

    The P3D UI is still overtly clunky and the sim itself, which is really just the FSX engine with improvements, is still a bug ridden mess. Maybe in a year or two I’ll make the switch permanently but buy that time, they’ll likely be charging for the 64bit version like they did for 2.0.

  7. Gap Gen says:

    On the subject of go karts, I’ll just leave this here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BlcUSfZCMAAdAOz.png:large

  8. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Why did the EULA quote disappear from Prepar3D? Lawyer-induced turbulence?

    Also why would you bother with it? None of the licence options are in any way sensible if you want to use it for gaming, which in any case you would then have to ‘pretend’ not to do anyway lest Lockheed Martin send a spider-inject-o-bot round to your house to give you death.

  9. Martel says:

    Anybody using Prepar3d? How does it compare to say X-Plane? Or should I be starting with something like FSX since it’s a lot cheaper?

    And how feasible is it to play a real flight sim like these with a poor man’s joystick? Say the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I fly X-Plane in preference to FSX/P3D, so take this as a partisan view, but I think it’s a fair comparison.

      FSX/P3D is a “legacy sim” that exists in a weird limbo between Microsoft’s abandonment and the way it’s been taken over (sort of) by Lockheed Martin as Perpar3D. As a legacy sim, it has far more fancy payware scenery and payware aircraft to buy than X-Plane. Don’t assume it’s “cheaper than X-Plane” based on initial cost, because you’ll probably be buying lots of add-ons that can add up quickly. I think it’s fair to say that it’s the add-on content that keeps most people flying FSX/P3D.

      X-Plane is still in continual… if slow-paced… development, which means it’s now a full 64-bit program with a clearly defined future. It lacks as many full-blown airports as FSX/P3P, however, there are a ton of free user-made scenery packs you can download to fill in areas you’re interested in. We’re starting to get some very nice payware aircraft models now from companies like Carenado, and I think it will eventually catch up to FSX in the high-end airliners. On the other hand, AI traffic patterns and AI air traffic control are still a joke, and there are no seasonal effects (yet) so it’s always summer when you fly. Those things will eventually change, but they’re not in the sim right now.

      Flight models and performance — FSX/P3D has some very good, highly tweaked flight models in payware aircraft, but the stock flight model in X-Plane is superior, I think, when comparing the more basic aircraft models. It’s what keeps me in that program instead of FSX — the feeling of bouyancy in flight. The helicopter modeling is also much better in X-Plane. I think you’ll find smoother frame rates in X-Plane, and more stability (less crashing to desktop). It’s a very stable program compared to FSX, and it runs on Windows, Mac or Linux (although some payware add-ons are Windows-only).

      Your Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X will work fine in either sim, although eventually you’ll probably want a set of rudder pedals, especially for the light single engine planes and definitely for helicopters. The twist action action on the stick will get you started, but it’s much easier when the rudder axis is on pedals and the stick is only used for pitch/roll.

      • Martel says:

        Thank you for the thoughtful and thorough breakdown. Dusted off my flight stick while cleaning this morning, so I might have to take a dive into one. I hadn’t realized x-plane offers a demo, so I’ll be snagging that.

        Good call on the costs too, was just looking at the entry point. Thanks again.

      • buzzmong says:

        If you’re talking flight+systems models accross all the modern sims, then DCS has the best hands down.

        However, there’s hardly any third party content available at the moment due to the time taken to develop to DCS’s level, and ED are improving the DCS engine quite a bit with a brand new renderer and landscape system, which is further slowing down third party development as the engine isn’t “fixed”.

        That said, there’s two releases due shortly, with a BAe Hawk T1 and a Mig 21 landing over the next couple of months. There’s also the F-86 Sabre, an AH-1G and potentially a Mirage on the way this year as well.

  10. Baines says:

    The lack of turn-based car combat games on PCs probably comes down to PCs being able to do real-time car combat games.

    In the time it takes to scratch the paint of a car in Car Wars, you could already have wrecked two or three cars in Carmageddon, Twisted Metal, Vigilante 8, or any of the others.

    • wodin says:

      Yes but doing it turn based\wego you can get alot more of a tactical game designed. Dawkind mechanic is prop the best way to do it..again just needs a real good single player part to it that can be played offline etc etc.

    • Veav says:

      Do you notice a pattern to those games? All on consoles. We don’t have any real-time Car Wars games going either. We had Interstate 76, which hasn’t weathered well, and then… what? We had Crimson Skies if you feel generous and that hasn’t returned either (except on console, in arcade form).

      I prefer real-time to turn-based myself a lot of the time, but when it comes to strapping machineguns to muscle cars, man, I will take what I can get.

  11. Klatu says:

    Wish I had one of those laundry eagles.

  12. wodin says:

    I too have been known to obsessively google a TBS Car Wars game and always end up with the same result as you. Darkwind is the closest we can get..wish it had a proper single player experience.

  13. dufus0057 says:

    Theme “Its a long way to the Top if you wanna Rock and Roll”, exemplified by the shitty low pass examples of gear made by renowned manufaturers of mil-goods, the princes helo, and the band nationality represented by the akubra of the ADF. And probably the foxers fave band cover? don’t get the map, is it a long way to the shop? I don’t really get the potassium nitrate ref either but I do know it take a hell of a lot of chem know how to unlock the power of the double linked oxy.

  14. fish99 says:

    GPL!

    I really must get back into sim racing.

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