The Flare Path: A Flummox Of Foxers

By Tim Stone on August 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

I found a foxer, caught by dogs. He let me take him in my hands.

The Flare Path turns three this week. Here in the UK that means it can legally buy khat, attack bouncy castles with bouncy siege engines, and speculate about Thomas the Tank Engine’s sexuality. To mark the occasion there’ll be no news items or inscrutable intros today. The entire column will be given over to puzzles. Slumbering hypertextually beyond the break is a link to the very first (and – quite possibly – very last) digital foxer collection. Download, then defox with dispatch, and a Good Old Game or a Just Flight sim selection could be yours.

Before retiring to play bees, keep golf, or map abandoned lead mines, all those that blather about games are morally obliged to have a bash at making one. My bash started spiritedly a few weeks ago and ended in triumph weary resignation earlier this morning. Using GameMaker the way an angry Barbary macaque uses a marine sextant, I’ve succeeded in fashioning a compendium of collage puzzles and arcade challenges. That compendium can be downloaded here.

Complete four of the six mini-games and you’ll find your title screen dotted with four codewords. Send these codewords to me using the ‘Tim Stone’ link at the top of the column (timfstone at gmail.com) and, assuming you’ve neither dawdled or tarried, a reply will arrive incorporating one of twenty-five $9.99 codes generously donated by the good eggs at GOG.

To claim the unique first prize – a £50 spending spree in Just Flight’s delight-stuffed online simporium – conquer the entire compendium, sending in all six codewords before any of your fellow defoxers have done the same.

Time and tide wait for no man, but only a prize pillock plunges into the August foxerfest without first perusing the ‘Stuff Worth Bearing In Mind Before You Get Started’ section

 

The ‘Stuff Worth Bearing In Mind Before You Get Started’ Section

  • NO ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS! Advertise dubious Gucci handbags and implausible get-rich-quick schemes if you must, but please don’t let the foxers out of the bag by sharing solutions.
  • Usually foxed by foxers? Don’t be put off! Half of the half-dozen challenges can be completed without any knowledge of weapons or transport. Canny Googling will take the sting out of most of the others.

  • I’ll be sending out the GOG prizes personally, so winners should receive their codes fairly promptly. The lucky Just Flight claimant may have to wait a little longer, but a JF staff-member has volunteered to remain at his post all weekend so, fingers-crossed, you’ll be aloft or entrained (Just Trains stuff is also covered by the prize) within a day of flailing your last land mine or locating your final bomb site.
  • I’ve assured Roman that cheats, cads and twisters don’t read The Flare Path, but he’s insisted I point out that anyone caught hacking or submitting multiple prize claims will be banned from all future competitions and tutted at mercilessly by Zoë from Accounts (A woman that tutted for her country at both the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games).
  • The compendium has been exhaustively tested by Flare Path’s highly respected QA department (Hello Urszula!) and, as a result, is guaranteed 10o% BUG FRE1.
  • Mouse-cursor the question mark in the bottom-right corner of screens to read individual game instructions. Pressing ‘Escape’ during play will return you to the main menu screen. Though unlocked codewords should be automatically saved, just to be on the safe side, it might be wise to write them down before quitting.
  • A SARO Princess-sized ‘spasíbo’ to everyone who has left kind, constructive, or amusing comments under The Flare Path during the past twelve months. Very few word wranglers get to word wrangle in the company of such warm, witty and knowledgeable readers.
  • Best of luck!

*****************

The Flare Path Recommends…

Won a GOG voucher and can’t decide what to spend it on? Until the preposterously entertaining Crab Simulator 2014 came along, The Flare Path’s all-time favourite armour sim was Panzer Elite. Getting the various third-party adjuncts working together flawlessly can be a bit of a struggle but persevere and weeks… months of unusually tense and atmospheric horizon scanning, hill cresting, and hull puncturing await.

Another Golden Age great all self-respecting simmers should have on their shelf is Enemy Engaged: Comanche vs Hokum. An approachable whirlybird sim with a dynamic campaign engine to die for, thanks to community-made updates EECH’s roster of flyables now includes the world’s prettiest/daintiest gunship and the world’s most menacing.

If you’d rather issue orders than ordnance, then consider the sneaky, stabby Commandos 2 & 3 - the love Pyro poured into the level design and art still takes my breath away – or the gloriously intricate Silent Storm Gold, a game in which every grenade blast and LMG burst is a fascinating physics experiment.

Roman reckons the £50 Just Flight prize won’t be claimed because no-one will be able to identify the *** ******* in ‘B Is For Baffled’ or locate all five Mammouth resting-places in ‘Elephant Graveyard’. Me, I’m more optimistic.

By Monday I’d be surprised if some clever so-and-so wasn’t cleaving cumulus in a shiny Canberra PR9 or chirpy Chipmunk, or running through pre-flight checks on the latest Accu-Sim masterpiece.

Just Flight sell standalone sims and TS2014 goodies as well as MSFS expansions, so, theoretically, the prize could be used to broaden simming horizons or bolster multiple titles.

Impressed by my first taste of the company’s ‘Advanced’ train sim add-ons, personally I’d be very tempted to pick up a pack of Choppers or a Clan Class steam loco. The vastness and variety of Marsdonshire also appeals, as does Three Generations, the latest OMSI augmentation, and Robert Miroszewski’s globe-spanning ATC sim. Gosh, too many choices.

, .

32 Comments »

  1. Tim Stone says:

    Communal defoxing will return next week.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      :(

      • Tim James says:

        Sometimes I think that’s all you guys care about. More games, please!

        • Premium User Badge

          phlebas says:

          More games! More foxers! More Tim Stone! More fun!

        • Premium User Badge

          JB says:

          Happy birthday, FP! How the years have flown by.

          Thanks for all your hard work, Tim. Here’s to many more Flare Paths.

          e: This wasn’t meant to be a reply. Oops!

    • Stugle says:

      No Mr. Stone, spasibo to you! Reading the Flare Path is easily the highlight of any Friday morning. I’ll have a stab at the Foxer once I’m home from work (and the pressure of competing for prizes gone) and I look forward to many more Flare Paths to come.

    • Shiloh says:

      For me, the fun of the Foxer is in the communal solving of the thing. I’ve had a crack at the solitaire version but, unlike certain other solitary pursuits, it really isn’t as much fun as the “real thing”.

      So I’m away to attack Sharpsburg, see you next week!

  2. Stugle says:

    Spasibo to you, Mr. Stone, and many happy returns for the Flare Path!

  3. Ross Angus says:

    Lovely work, as always, but the HIND is the prettiest of all the helis. Who could fear that bobbly face?

  4. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    happy birthday FP!

  5. LionsPhil says:

    WHO LEFT ALL THESE BOXES IN THE WAY

    • Tim Stone says:

      Due to budget cuts the Flare Path Museum of Flight has been sharing floor space with the Flare Path Museum of Packaging since May :(

  6. BooleanBob says:

    What a marvel that aeroplane taxiing simulator is. Watching my plane stumble across the airfield like a drunk traversing the surface of a frozen lake with his skis on backwards was the highlight of my gaming month.

    • JustAPigeon says:

      Yes, and I loved the mine clearing off the beach. Such tension! Go on you little guys I can’t afford one more death! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo…

  7. LionsPhil says:

    It is possible to terrorise the mortal men in CRAB SIMULATOR. This pleases me.

    (Got Havoc and Blitz, but not looking like I’m going to make four of them…)

  8. Prolar Bear says:

    I had completed three minigames when I quit – to my dismay I discovered the passwords are NOT saved if you quit. Still, this is amazing.

    • Tim Stone says:

      It looks like this might be an OS-related issued. If you’re using Windows 8 consider writing down your codewords before quitting.

  9. Gothnak says:

    I got Crab, 14/16 Blitz and a pathetic 1/5 on Elephant.

    I’ve never been any good at the usual Foxers not knowing anything about Planes or stamps and the like…

    I feel stupid, which is rare for me.. :(….

  10. Guvornator says:

    Happy Birthday, Flare Path. I have no interesting in sims, simming or sim-like simmery, but always find myself here on a Friday afternoon. A constant delight.

    Also, on a more pedantic note, Good Old Games is just GOG now – they stopped being Good Old Games due to the amount of terrible new games they put on there :)

  11. wodin says:

    Happy Birthday FP. RPS is so much richer for your presence:)

  12. a1ml3ss says:

    I never comment on anything really, but congratulating FP on its third birthday is definitely something i want to do. Really enjoy this column and found a load of great games. Thanks!

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Indeed :) I had got a bit long in the tooth with the game types I had been playing, and was tempted by the exotic new flavours offered by FP. I’ve flirted with wargames I never would have given a second look, and got into the simmier side of life by entering into a happy relationship with a cold war era ground attack aircraft that looks like a shark with mickey mouse ears from the front. HAPPY PANTS BEING WORN

  13. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Happy birthday Flare Path :) You are my favourite corner of the internet. It nurtures that corner of my soul that hands-on exhibits at the Imperial War Museum used to satisfy. All you need now is a flare path gift shop so I can buy a rubber (thats eraser for you american folks) with my name on and some undefinable yet soothing fragrance. Then I can jump on the (simulated) tube and go home, looking fondly at the glossy museum guide (ahh the paper gloss smell) and wish I was still there, eyeing up artillery pieces and being freaked out by the nuclear war exhibit.

    Flare Path is all those things, narrated by a wise and cheery museum guide who doesn’t get overly grumpy when you can’t help but smoosh your sweaty face up against the glass to get a better view of that MP-40.

    • Tim Stone says:

      A bit of sweat or forehead grease on the display cases is fine, but anyone that deposits snot, ear wax, or Um Bongo will find themselves bouncing down the museum steps before they can say ‘Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife’.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Ah yes, Um Bongo, which was, as 1980′s advertising informed us, drunk as part of standard military rations in Queen Victoria’s own 2nd Congolese Fighting Battalion.

        *edges back towards cabinet and subtly wipes something off the little pressy button thing that makes the MG42 mechanism rotate*

  14. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Can you actually buy a gaming licence for Prepar3D now then? That Cherokee appears to be wedded to the stingy anti-fun-o-tron stewarded by Lockheed Boring.

    EDIT: Aha. After flexing my Search Tool muscles I have discovered there are several versions, one of which is happy to play with FSX even though it’s never made sausage rolls for the Defence Industry Rotary Club garden party.

  15. Prolar Bear says:

    I got IL2: 1946 with my GOG code. Neat stuff. Thanks Tim, GOG and everybody else! May the Flare Path shine brightly for a long, long while.