Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: In Search Of A Sub Title Subtitle

By Tim Stone on January 30th, 2015.

The eyecatching Yellow Pages advert that is currently serving as my bookmark, is tucked between the pages of Bob Whinney’s ‘The U-Boat Peril’ at the moment, a fact that may explain why work-in-progress sub sim Wolves of the Atlantic is on top of this week’s word heap. A mobile game destined for the PC, WOTA seems eminently dismissable until you glimpse the screenshots, peruse the feature list, and realise that lone creator Mark Hessburg is drawn to realism like a GNAT is drawn to propeller noise. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Dreadnoughts And Droid Thoughts

By Tim Stone on January 23rd, 2015.

Though my Battle-of-Jutland-through-the-eyes-of-a-ship’s-cat war movie remains unfunded, untitled and largely unwritten, I have mentally sketched out the final scene.

EXT. FIRTH OF FORTH. DAWN.

Passing under the awesome edifice of the Forth Bridge, the bruised and battered HMS Warspite is pelted with coal by disappointed railway workers. Tickles, asleep in her customary spot atop ‘A’ turret, wakes and dashes for cover. Scampering across the bloodstained, shrapnel scored deck, she is struck by a flying lump of anthracite and drops down dead. As the camera rises incorporeally into Warspite’s swirling smoke plume, we see Able Seaman Peters run to where Tickles lies, and fall to his knees beside her.

THE END Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Arrivals And Departures

By Tim Stone on January 16th, 2015.

Afflicted by something clinicians call ‘a bad back’, I’ve been playing Nonagenarian Simulator 2015 for the last couple of days. It’s an eye-opening game. Mission 3. Pick up that dropped pen in under sixty seconds. Mission 7. Put on both of your socks without wincing, grimacing, or turning the air blue. Mission 10. Stoically refrain from mentioning your condition while writing the intro to a Flare Path on Vietnam ’65 progress, PicaSim experimentation, the next instalment of World of Subways, and the death of one of wargaming’s most influential designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Full Steam Astern

By Tim Stone on January 9th, 2015.

The labyrinthine Steam department store now stocks mind-blowingly rich historical strategy epics, military-grade battle sims, and flight sim add-ons so dense they can punch through Chobham armour like it was damp loo roll. Is there any chance My Wargame of 2014 will be appearing on its shelves any time soon? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Continuum

By Tim Stone on January 2nd, 2015.

What a con! So far ‘2015’ feels a lot like a re-badged ‘2014’. I know you shouldn’t look a free update in the mouth, but gosh, a few improvements would have been nice. How much longer must we wait for that Ebola fix… that promised ‘Peace in South Sudan’ scenario? Surely ISIL-seeking killer bees and colourblind-friendly rainbows don’t take that long to code. I’m beginning to think the devs behind this cruel-yet-compelling massively-multiplayer Homo sapiens sim don’t care a jot for us end users. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Bulges

By Tim Stone on December 26th, 2014.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

But forget ye not war’s cruel folly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

Ringed by corpses and burning tanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

70 years ago, Bastogne gave thanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Accosts Accomplished Add-On Artisans

By Tim Stone on December 19th, 2014.

2014 wasn’t exactly a bumper year for standalone flight sim releases. Apart from the flak-nibbled IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, and eccentric WWI curios like ILYA Muromets and Canvas Knights simulated clouds had simulated skies almost all to themselves. Fortunately the add-on sector was as vigorous and ambitious as ever. Today in The Flare Path I catch up with five top flight sim supplementers, all of whom have worked their windsocks off this past twelve months. Recently discovered the delights of DCS World or purchased the A380-sized bargain that is FSX Steam Edition? Beware! What follows may pluck at your purse strings.

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The Flare Path: Wages War In The West

By Tim Stone on December 12th, 2014.

Grigsby, Billings, and Brors are to PC wargaming what Stock, Aitken, and Waterman are to pop music… what Freeman, Hardy, and Willis are to shoe retailing… what Rock, Paper, and Shotgun are to outdated Anglocentric intro references. They started making hexagonal militaria in the days when Tyrannosauri and Triceratopses grappled, and dragonflies the size of Dragonflies dragonflew. Their latest release, War in the West, is their biggest and most elaborate design yet. Suitably intimidated, I spent Monday and Tuesday eyeing the colossus through fieldglasses, and Wednesday and Thursday prodding it with a long stick. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Wargaming – Where To Start?

By Tim Stone on December 5th, 2014.

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, Combat Mission: Red Thunder… most of my favourite wargames of recent years are hulking beasts studded with obscure units, potentially overwhelming scenarios, and abstruse tactical subtleties. I’m not sure I could wholeheartedly recommend any of them to a genre newcomer. A fellow or fellowess just arrived in the land of hexes, morale checks, and myriad Sherman variants would be far better off starting with… um… errr… sorry, I’m going to have to consult my notes at this point… hmm… be with you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail… maybe three shakes.

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The Flare Path: Is Lost For Words

By Tim Stone on November 28th, 2014.

I’ve been robbed! I got up this morning to find my office ransacked and my mahogany word cabinet agape. Among the items taken were the words listed above. In the circumstances, covering this week’s wargame releases could be tricky. Perhaps I should stick to sim-related news, interviews and observations today.

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The Flare Path: Learns To Stop Worrying And Love BOMB

By Tim Stone on November 21st, 2014.

It has come to my attention that some Flareopaths are not obeying all 1405 tenets of The Flare Path Pledge. I have it on good authority that last Saturday a reader from Leeds watched Battle of Britain from beginning to end without wincing slightly every time an Me 109-impersonating HA-1112-M1L ‘Buchon’ appeared. Incredibly, I’ve also heard of cases where FPs have referred to railway stations as ‘train stations’ and failed to genuflect when Donald Featherstone was mentioned. Most disturbing are the reports that some of our brethren are routinely ignoring Tenet 933. Yes, it seems there are those among us who, on spotting a ‘We need a Crimson Skies sequel!’ forum post, stay silent instead of pointing out that a spiritual sequel already exists. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: And The Disappointed Dervish

By Tim Stone on November 14th, 2014.

In the fast-moving world of Flare Path, new games, like Armour Piercing shells and commandant-impersonating stalag escapees, only get one chance to make a good first impression. This week three titles have trooped into the converted Pickett-Hamilton Fort I use as a workspace, only to troop out again a short time later looking like shellshocked Dragons’ Den survivors. The first of those games was shown the door in under 10 minutes.

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The Flare Path: A Ponce In A Ponsse

By Tim Stone on November 7th, 2014.

Forestry was one of the industries the Industrial Revolution forgot. The tools used by a British forestry worker at the start of the Twentieth Century would have been instantly recognizable to a forestry worker of 1700. It would be another two decades before the oil dripping, smoke breathing dragon of progress appeared in the UK’s pine stands and oak woods. First came the lumbering tractor, then the chainsaw, an increasingly portable petrol-fuelled marvel that quickly saw off the crosscut saw and eventually banished the axe too. Finally, in the 1990s, something truly remarkable arrived. A machine that, in favourable terrain, made a hard-working chainsaw flourisher look like a hopeless slacker, an anachronism, an irrelevance. Read the rest of this entry »

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