The Flare Path: Bog Standards

The mud on the T19 was always bad, but that Spring it had to be seen to be believed. Bergmann, TransGlobus, Hipponaut… everyone was losing two or three vehicles a week. Even with jug-floats and plutos fitted, you didn’t stand a chance. Which is why all of us barons eventually got together and bought The Matriarch. She arrived on three special trains from Port Hendy. Took a week to assemble. Your Uncle Fergus won the driver ballot. It was only because he went down with appendicitis at the last minute, that the second-place man, Canter Spriggs, took the reins. I can still see Canter up there in that cockpit, grinning like a pookaduke. The poor bastard had no idea what he was heading into.

But I’m detouring. You didn’t stop by to listen to an old fool yacking about The Great Quag. You want to know about this new demo that all the mud-pluggers are talking about. Well, Spin Tires is the work of a UK studio called Oovee. They started out making add-ons for RailWorks and FSX, and now they’re trying something a little bolder – a cross-country trucking sim with sludge so real you’ll be digging it out from under your fingernails for weeks.

There’s three vehicles included in the trial, but only the industrious will see them all. Cargo crates are scattered about the hilly, heavily forested map. Port enough of them to warehouses and eventually you get to trade-in your Kamaz starter truck for the more rugged and rangy Kraz. Put the work in with the Kraz and the eight-wheeled Stryker is yours.

I’ve earned my APC, but I’m still a Kraz man at heart. I love the way it growls and belches black smoke as it drags itself up steep trails. The way its pudgy tyres furrow soft sod and its mud flaps flop as you tear about.

The same Havok-powered physics that playfully wobbles aerials and jostles jerrycans can turn nasty in the blink of an eye. Misjudge a bend or slope and you can very easily find yourself jammed between birch trees, seesawing foolishly on a crest, or thoroughly mired. There’s a reset button (F1), but as using this means sacrificing cargo and self-respect, chances are you’ll rev, and wheel-turn and gear-grind for at least five minutes before admitting defeat.

Thanks to some very intuitive terrain interaction (the way saplings lean and uproot is particularly nice) often the wiggling and the shuttling will pay off in the end. Switching from automatic to manual transmission using the pleasingly tactile on-screen shifter, activates diff-lock – a lifesaver in some situations. At least one crate is impossible to reach without manual gear use.

Hopefully, by the time the as-yet-unspecified release date rolls around, Oovee will have addressed the camera deficiencies (currently there’s no cab interiors, and externals views are a tad cramped) implemented some damage modelling, and added a clutch. At present Spin Tires feels like the lovechild of Rigs of Rods and Tricky Truck. That’s no bad thing, but with a few extra options – a little more tread on its steaming, mud-clogged tires – it could also qualify as the PC’s first serious automotive orienteering sim.


For Your Rubiconsideration

Seven good reasons why you should be excited at the prospect of Alea Jacta Est:

And three good-ish reasons why you might want to temper that excitement:

  • The 2800-region map takes in Asia Minor, and significant tracts of Russia and the Middle East.
  • The Athena engine isn’t to everyone’s taste (the army management interface can be confusing, some of its minor rules opaque)
  • If you spend all your sestertii on Alea Jact Est you might not have the cash to purchase the Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic Wars sequel that is rumoured to be in production.


The Flare Path Foxer

FP’s collections of fire and arms are legendary, but did you know he also collects firearms? He’s got eight at present. Every Friday he takes them out, caresses them, then replaces them in their mahogany cabinet using a different ordering scheme. Last week they were arranged according to weight, the week before according to menace. This week he wants to order his bullet-spitters by year of design. Can you help?

Last week’s Foxer measured 9.8 on the Stone-You-Insufferable-Swine Scale and even managed to confuse the setter for a spell (Apologies for the unintentional misdirection). Impressively, that didn’t stop several glider sliders sleuthing their way to a solution…

…that seemed unbeatable until Horsa forcer extraordinaire Luke managed to find room for an extra glider in Gretel at 13.57 this afternoon.

Fantastic work, Luke! Your FP flair point is solid  gold and stamped with the Glider Pilot Regiment motto:

‘Nihil est Impossiblis’


  1. sith1144 says:

    Unfortunately I’ve never played an AGEOD game, any recommendations?
    – edit, deleted something, i need to read before i post

  2. stahlwerk says:

    O, the famed Alpha Screenshot Peninsula!


  3. buzzmong says:

    Hmm, foxy foxer.

    E, F, C, H, D, G, B, A.

    Not too sure about G and H, and E and F might be the other way around.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      I’m going with:

      F, E, C, G, H, D, B, A

    • mrpier says:

      I’m gonna say f,e,g,c,h,d,b,a

      f Frank Wesson Derringer 1869
      e Winchester pump action rifle ca. 1890
      g Shattuck Unique pocket pistol early 1900s
      c Enfield no.2 mk 1 spurless hammer 1928
      h Lee-Enfield no. 5 mk.1 1944
      d m60 1940-50s
      b Colt Python 4″ 1955
      a SVD Dragunov 1958

  4. Devrey says:

    The Romans never used the letter ‘J’.

    • The Tupper says:

      How did they spell ‘Jupiter’?

      • Harlander says:


        Fo’ reals.

        • neonordnance says:

          Except without the double P, so Iupiter.

          And for anyone who wants to know, “Alea Iacta Est” means “The Die is Cast,” as uttered by Caeser when he crossed the Rubicon to seize power. So, roughly, “there’s no going back.”

      • Faxmachinen says:

        In writing they spelled it “IVPITER”.

    • sith1144 says:

      they did use the J, altough im fairly certain its alea iacta est

      • Devrey says:

        Sure, the J is in the Latin alphabet and the J is used as a letter in medieval Latin, but the Romans never used the J as a letter. Although they did used a shape resembling the J when they wrote their crazy numerals.

      • Pattom says:

        I’m pretty sure (but not certain) that the Romans used I to make both the I and J sounds, depending on its place in the word. Same thing as in modern English, where C can sound like either C or S based on the letters around it.

  5. The Tupper says:

    Re. The Foxer, the only gun I can attest to is ‘f’, which dates to 1978 and the back of my primary school jotter. Known as “The Gnife”

  6. Luke says:

    I’m afraid to say I think you’re still one short in Gretel.×239.jpg

    You can squeeze one more in the 6th row by landing from the west first, then from the east, then from the north.

  7. Smion says:

    Well, let’s show off some vaguely creepy (and quite probably false) knowledge of “things to kill people with”:
    f , e , h , followed by either g or c (though I’d say c is more likely),then d , again g or b and finally a !

  8. Turbobutts says:

    I’ve earned my APC, but I’m still a Kraz man at heart.

    You’re not alone. I played Spin Tires for a few hours straight the other day, and I simply love the ruggedness and simplicity of the Kraz. And it’s a really fun game, too. Can’t wait for more content.

    • Bhazor says:

      Weirdly niche yet surprisingly engrossing sims are one of the great joys of PC gaming.

      I have to say that’s the first driving game to actually use mud that I’ve seen. Thats a surprise honestly. Maybe it’s just living in rural England the lack of mud stands out.

      • Turbobutts says:

        The recently (2011?) released Off-Road Drive has fully functional mudpits, too. In fact the mud so functional that in many cases there’s no way out without a winch.

    • Zeewolf says:

      It looks awesome. I must have it.

    • Henke says:

      My favourite part of the gameplayvideo they had on the website was when the truck drove through the water and THE WATER GOT MUDDIED by the dirt on the tires!

      *mind blown*

      Downloaded trial and installing now. I loved Tricky Truck and had a lot of fun with Offroad Drive, so I’m sure this will be right up my alley. :)

    • Aardvarkk says:

      I’m almost giddy from looking at the depth of the ruts from the tires in the mud! You all can debate the structure of ancient languages, Imma get muddy!

    • Blaaaaaaag says:

      Anyone know if it’s got gamepad support? I don’t have a wheel, and driving with a kb/mouse is something I pretty much refuse to do…

      • Henke says:

        Sadly it doesn’t support gamepads. Keyboard worked just fine though, and you use the mouse to gearshift and look around.

        • Blaaaaaaag says:

          Thanks for the response… as long as steering isn’t done with the mouse, than I may be able to stomach it. I shall download the demo and give it a go.

    • LionsPhil says:

      the lovechild of Rigs of Rods and Tricky Truck

      Yes please.

      Wonder if that terrain deformation is voxel-based, like a few other soft-surface tire-rut demos kicking around, or something else.

      Edit: This is pretty fun. And even if it’s not proper torque converter territory, at least once the automatic gearbox option is a little more than “manual with the computer selecting the gear”, what with it also controlling the diff.

      Edit 2: …ooh. I just managed to lose the gearstick somehow. I’m stuck in neutral.

    • Henke says:

      Made a gameplay video for this, if anyone wants to see: linky

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you want more packages to aim for with your fully-upgraded Kraz, set it up how you like it (since once the packages are back, stuff locks again), look under C:\Users\You\AppData\Roaming\SpinTires (modify as appropriate for your Windows install) for UserConfig.xml, crack it open in your text editor of choice, and wipe out the value of ‘Models’ in the ‘DeliveredPackages’ element. Bingo, new stuff to deliver without losing your current truck. (Sadly the Stryker can’t pick stuff up.)

      Me, though, I think it’s time to see if they can all be got with the lowly Kamaz. Chief strategy: RAMMING SPEED.

      • Turbobutts says:

        This is brilliant. Thanks very much, dearest Phil.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It works! Got every package on the map using only the Kamaz, no recoveries :D

        …I did spend half an hour stuck in a muddy forest valley, but that’s because of some bad pathing that avoided losing momentum to turn around near that bright cyan tree to instead lose momentum on a ridge that was just a bit too steep, and rolling back into hell. But a strategy of going everywhere you can in high gear, diff-locked, skims over a lot of muck, and even the auto box has its uses in getting up to speed without digging holes like the low-gear does if you aren’t already entrenched.

  9. TC-27 says:

    “Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic Wars” is an excellent game and shows that a deep and thoughtful strategy game doesnt have to have thousands of menus and a cliff face UI.

    Alea Jacta Est looks interesting – I never really got into the other Athena engine based games though.

    • malkav11 says:

      And can be flipping gorgeous and stylish, too. I’m going to have to check it out.

  10. Tim Stone says:

    The firearms Foxer remains wide open. ‘g’ appears to be bamboozling a lot of people.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      So not an early to mid-war OSS/SOE gizmo then? Blast.

  11. Commander_Zeus says:

    My suppositions: E, C, B, H, D, A. Currently no idea on F or G though :-/

    • PleasingFungus says:

      I’ll confess, it’s certainly baffling me.

      e: this was supposed to go to Mr. Stone’s post, above! Curs’d comment system.

  12. Smashbox says:


    Teetering so precariously on the line between punishable and brilliant.

  13. Phasma Felis says:

    I desperately want to read the rest of the first-paragraph story. Even if most of the words are made up.


  14. Vinraith says:

    A Roman Civil War game from AGEOD on the Athena engine? Should I just start throwing money at the screen now?

  15. Bonedwarf says:

    I think A is a gun.

  16. wodin says:

    I’m really looking forward to this ageod game far more than any other of their releases. Actually I lie WW1 Gold is a superb game and the only game that does WW1 well. Still looking forward to Rome, however 2,800 sounds alot. To much. Does the game really have to cover that much territory?

    Spartacus the TV series gave me an itch for a Rome game. Hopefully the third series is out when it’s released. (Yes the second wasn’t as good due to the sad loss of Andy RIP but hey it was still fun)