Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

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Waterman are to pop music… what Freeman, Hardy, and Willis are to shoe retailing… what Rock, Paper, and Shotgun are to outdated Anglocentric intro references.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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The Flare Path: Ultimate General Knowledge

By Tim Stone on October 31st, 2014.

“My favourite game of 2016? Unquestionably, Ultimate General: Austerlitz. Game-Labs spectacular turnless wargame series has been edging towards Greatness for a couple of years now, and finally took the VL in September. The flaws that tarnished the original release (Ultimate General: Gettysburg) are now distant memories. It’s hard to believe I once grumbled about annoying cannon combat, glaring GUI gaps, and an unexpected lack of challenge.”

The Flare Path, January 6, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: And The Judgement Of Solomon

By Tim Stone on October 17th, 2014.

Are you ‘feature complete’ yet? Have you written that novel, made that parachute jump, found that special someone? By my calculations my own personal beta test still has about 250 years left to run. Circa 2264 the handful of people that backed my 1970 Kickstarter campaign will get an email thanking them for their patience. The email will include the following changelog.

New in Version 1.0

  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Charm
  • Gravitas
  • Wisdom…

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The Flare Path: Lochs And Unlocks

By Tim Stone on October 10th, 2014.

Today’s column bestrides Europe like an unusually colossal colossus. Quite why an unusually colossal colossus would be standing with one foot on Fort William, Scotland and the other on Volgograd, Russia is, frankly, anybody’s guess. He could be doing his pre-breakfast callisthenics. He could be admiring the Northern Lights. He might have got a sudden urge to urinate on Finland or Algeria. There’s just no way of knowing for sure. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Allday Breakfast

By Tim Stone on October 3rd, 2014.

Flare Path War Hero #31. Major Leonard Allday. A trained watchmaker and keen amateur ornithologist, Allday joined SOE in August 1940, and spent much of the war working on a series of top-secret bird and bat-based schemes. While his carrier pigeon munitions and ‘Pocket Pipistrelle’ personal sonar never progressed beyond the testing stage, Project Pantheon – a plan to disrupt the Axis war effort using thousands of specially trained magpies – was implemented. Trained to steal keys, nuts, bolts, and small machine parts, Allday’s corvids were delivered in batches of 24 by lone low-flying Blenheims (later, Mosquitos). By April 1945, over 4000 birds had been dropped behind enemy lines. While the overall impact of Project Pantheon is difficult to assess, evidence gathered after the war by SOE historian G. M. Birkin indicates that magpie mischief seriously damaged production in several key industries and may have delayed the introduction of the formidable Me 262 fighter by up to six months. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Breaks The Golden Rule

By Tim Stone on September 26th, 2014.

Back in 2004 a mix-up in a Japanese maternity ward led to one of gaming’s finest armour simulations emerging as a PlayStation 2 exclusive. Hobbled by platform limitations and exiled from its natural audience, Panzer Front Ausf.B failed to flourish. Many potential paramours missed out on its incomparably atmospheric Desert War scraps, its refreshingly Tigerless tank duels. It’s taken modern emulator technology to right the decade-old wrong. Now, thanks to free marvel PCSX2, Panzer Front Ausf.B is where it belongs – on PC and prettier, faster, and more convenient than ever before. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Is Worn To A Frazzle

By Tim Stone on September 19th, 2014.

…having spent the last seven days touring Scotland in an SA Scamp* on behalf of the ‘Better Together’ campaign. If you live in Dumfries, Stranraer, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Fort William or Balamory, you may, at some point during the past week, have seen/heckled/pelted a corduroy-suited Sassenach while he teetered on a soapbox and rambled about the Battle of Waterloo, HMS Hood, Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, and the Collected Works of D.C. Thomson. That Sassenach was me. Apologies if the following Naval Action, X-Plane, Train Simulator, and Volo Airsport news snippets contain more typos and tripe than usual.

*And a BMW R75 (the Scamp expired on the outskirts of Prestwick) Read the rest of this entry »

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