The Flare Path: And The Judgement Of Solomon

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…

 

  • Contentment
  • Financial security
  • Fluent French and German
  • Trombone virtuosity
  • Private airstrip, pilot’s licence and Spitfire Mk I

Thank goodness video-games evolve faster than people. Assetto Corsa for instance, was declared ‘feature complete’ mid-week having spent just three years in the developmental nursery.

Ensuring v1.0 stood out from the usual Early Access updates, Kunos Simulazioni packed the milestone build with lashings of new content and improvements. On Wednesday the sim acquired a career mode, elaborate damage modelling, a spiffier sound engine, and some rather handsome shader effects, not to mention a generous dollop of extra tracks and rides. I’ve yet to try added steeds like the Ferrari LaFerrari and new venues like Spa Francorchamps but the forum buzz and the rash of vids appearing suggest Stefano Casillo & Co. may have saved the best for last.

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Pike & Shot also scurried across the Finish Line this week. The Sixteenth/Seventeenth Century battlefield TBS cursorily Flare Pathed in early September is already available at Matrix Games and Slitherine, and will be arriving on Steam later today.

I’m in the process of finding out whether the $30 ($40 after Oct 23) price tag is justified. While there’s little evidence of the GUI and graphical enhancements I wishlisted in the preview, the game does come with the ten English Civil War and the ten Italian Wars battle originally flagged as expansion packs, so is plumper than expected. A few battles into my playtest, my enthusiasm for the automatic pursuit mechanism is waning somewhat (I’d like to see victorious units occasionally maintain their position after engineering a rout) but the enemy AI still feels dangerous, the shape and rhythm of engagements pleasingly distinctive.

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As the above developer-organised poll vividly illustrates, many IL2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad fliers are disappointed with the current state of the campaign engine. Sadly, some chose to vent that disappointment by cluster-bombing the sim’s Metacritic page with misleading and malicious ‘0 out of 10’ user reviews.

On Tuesday, the situation prompted a rather desperate forum appeal from the studio’s Lead Community Manager, Zak

“Pilots.

There’s quite a picturesque scene on our page at metacritic.com. Most of the comments left by players (there’s no proof that they actually played the game thou) are blankly negative. These people have a direct, vivid and purposeful intention to finish the very existence of IL-2 brand. They want this remarkable and world-renown flight sim franchise to die. I’ve discussed the situation with Loft earlier today. So, if the user opinion shown by metacritic is what the community believes in, then we, as he says, will need to close the project this December. If their attitude prevails, if haters win and dominate over those who love IL-2 Sturmovik then the game is over – it’s out of the shelves, out of hard drives, out of memory.

If you want to shut down the series then just leave the situation as it is now, and let a bunch of trolls and haters finish it.

You want the game to live, to develop and to turn into the best WWII combat flight sim over time? You love it? Then speak it out. Tell you virtual and real friends, tell the new younger pilots, tell it to the group of 30 men who is not on the forum and whose days and nights are devoted to creating IL-2 for you.”

The appeal was swiftly replaced by something a little less apocalyptic/threatening but seemed to do the trick. Almost immediately the 0/10 reviews found themselves competing for screen space with a rash of equally helpful 10/10 reviews. The farce ended on Wednesday when Metacritic, possibly after an approach by 1C/777, took down the IL2BOS page. Maybe everyone can now get back to the serious business of improving a sim that’s still a few courageous design decisions away from fulfilling its huge potential.

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Go to the window and take a peek at the street. See that KHTV van parked under the chestnut tree on the corner? That’s no TV van.

On Monday, Door Kickers, KillHouse’s top-notch top-down tango topping tactics game, will push open the squeaky screen door separating Early Access from Full Release. I’m planning to share my Wot I Thoughts ASAP. In the meantime, here, for the uninitiated, is a taste of the kind of delicate combat situations regularly served up by this firm Flare Path favourite.

The Solomon Islands Embassy is one of DK’s oldest levels, but at some point during the summer, it was given a nasty new twist. Originally a straight ‘exterminate the bad guys, extricate the hostages’ challenge, the level now features a hostile who’s run out of patience. Forty seconds after the mission commences, said embassy occupier will cull one of his captives with a bullet to the head.

What he doesn’t realise is that his murderous plans are about to be derailed by a 4-man SWAT element of unrivalled experience and skill. Between them, Paul ‘Pinko’ Hibbs, Rob ‘Rat Trap’ Witter, Patrick ‘Scarecrow’ Burden, and Jason ‘Game Boy’ Jenkins, have slain over 1000 tangos during their careers; they’re a big part of the reason all 72 levels on my mission selection screen now sport completion stars. With their battle-boosted stats and my knowledge of the level, I’m fairly confident the combat commentary below will have a happy rather than a harrowing ending.

There are two possible deployment zones on the map. Because the western one (labelled ‘D1’) is a considerable distance from the room containing the eager executioner (‘X’), I’ll be deploying all my troops in the southern zone (‘D2’). In normal circumstances I’d probably use breaching charges to gain entry to the building (the blast from charges can temporarily stun nearby foes) but today, time is so tight that I’ve got little option but to fling open the front doors and attempt a swift, direct and, fingers-crossed, overwhelming mass entry.

Pinko and Rat Trap, armed with suppressed UMP45s for this outing, will push open the doors from positions of cover, allowing the M4 carbine-equipped Scarecrow and Game Boy clear shots at any targets in the centre of the entrance hall. Actions prepped I hold my breath and dab the space bar to unpause the action.

0003. The heavy doors swing open revealing a Nameless Thug gripping a MAC-10. Milliseconds before trigger squeezes from Scarecrow and Game Boy have felled this gatekeeper, a burst from the tango’s stunted SMG wings the fractionally-too-slow-to-get-clear-of-the-doorway Pinko. Not a brilliant start, but there’s no going back now.

0006. Peeling left and right as they enter, Pinko and Rat Trap simultaneously dispatch two more doormen before either have fired a shot. That’s more like it. Time to press pause and have a bit of a ponder. Where should I drag my team’s destination dots next?

0010. A plan of sorts. Rat Trap and Scarecrow are going after the executioner, while Game Boy remains by the front door, and Pinko takes up a position in a corridor on the left of the entrance hall.

0011. Pinko’s ‘assault shooting’ rating is almost maxed-out now which is very bad news for the badman that, hearing the commotion in the entrance hall, decides to investigate via the western corridor. Four hostiles down, around ten remaining.

0013. Make that eight remaining. Scarecrow and Rat Trap are currently stepping over two twitching corpses at the southern end of the right-hand corridor. It all happened in a flash but I believe both fell to silenced shots.

0016. The sound of UMPs hiccoughing and surprised thugs slumping onto parquet doesn’t seem to have disturbed the nearby patroller pacing the short side-corridor Rat Trap has just turned into. Team members usually fire automatically but because Rob is stealth class for this mission (operatives can switch class freely) and the target is walking away from him, I’m given the option of manually ordering a shot or letting nature take its course.

0021. There’s only one way into the execution chamber and that’s through an outer office with a door opening onto the eastern corridor. As Rat Trap hurries to join him (Only eighteen seconds now, before the hostage is topped!) Scarecrow de-pins a flashbang, and hurls it through the half-open door.

0022. The grenade is still in flight when the over-eager Scarecrow bursts in and slots the room’s sole occupant. Distinctly amateurish. If there’d been multiple targets inside, his haste may have been punished.

0026. Unsettled by the muffled clap of the flashbang, a tango exits the conference room (where the majority of the the hostages are cowering) and is immediately cut down by rounds from Game Boy’s carbine.

(Considering this incident post-operation, I realise I was rather lucky; Game Boy’s position was potentially disastrous. If there’d been another tango on the far side of the table when the conference room door was opened then hostages could easily have been caught in the crossfire.)

0028. A single door is now all that separates Rat Trap and Scarecrow from the executioner and any out-of-LOS comrades. With a mere eleven seconds left before the dastardly deed is done, I decide to forego a sneaky spy-cam examination of the execution chamber, and rely on speed, sniping and a well-aimed flashbang instead. A stun grenade hurled into the centre of the small room should temporarily incapacitate everyone inside. The second the grenade goes off I’ll order my sniper (represented as an off-map asset in DK) to ‘take the shot’ and slay the one tango visible through the north-facing window. Then Scarecrow and Rat Trap will bundle in and – touch wood – finish the job.

0029. A tossed metal cylinder the size of a deodorant can plinks onto a polished wood floor. In unison three desperate men spot it, understand, and begin to…

0030. The metal cylinder bursts with a tympanum rending crack. Condensed starlight expands, bleaching colours and bathing retinas.

0031. The sharpshooter’s bullet arrives at its intended destination at precisely the right moment and – thanks to DK’s simplistic ballistics – helpfully refuses to go any further. Rat Trap is inside the room now, his UMP45 pivoting crisply between the two dazed tangos standing on opposite sides of the room. PUTTT-PUTTT. PUTTT-PUTTT. There’ll be no executions today.

0033. Well, not planned ones anyway. There’s still the five hostages huddled in the conference room to be freed. I drag Scarecrow and Rat Trap’s destination dots towards the conference room’s eastern door, and send the impatient Pinko to explore two rooms on the western side of the building.

0043. The rooms are empty, but as Pinko exits the second he glimpses, and is glimpsed by, a foe standing, half-hidden by a doorjamb, at the end of the corridor. Six or seven metres apart, it’s the man in brown toting the discreet German SMG that reacts quickest.

0044. Awkward! Rat Trap’s swivelling spy camera has revealed that there are three hostiles in the conference room. Their semi-randomized positions (DK arranges its adversaries slightly differently every time you play) – one in the NW corner, one by the eastern door, and one close to the hostages and now-open southern door – mean a single-point assault could very easily end in calamity.

0046. I think my best option is to storm all three entry points simultaneously. In readiness for this tricky tridental coup de grace, I send Pinko through the as-yet-unexplored kitchen to the western door, and mouse-draw a broken white line from Game Boy to the southern portal.

0051. As Game Boy advances across the emblem emblazoned on the entrance hall floor, he probably isn’t thinking “An eagle, a shark, a crocodile, turtles, frigate birds… the Solomon Islands coat-of-arms is a veritable bestiary!”. (People easily distracted by eye-catching décor seldom make it through SWAT selection.)

0054. As Pinko navigates the deserted kitchen, he probably isn’t thinking “That pear frangipane tart looks amazing. I wonder if they’d mind if I had a slice” (People easily distracted by mouth-watering desserts seldom make it through SWAT selection.)

0060. Everyone is now in position; route lines have been unspooled, order dots placed. When I press the ‘A’ go-code button, three flashbangs will be tossed through three doorways. When I dab the ‘B’ go-code button, four men with the reflexes of preying mantises will burst into the conference room and totally fail to admire a rather beautiful Persian rug.

0061. ‘A’

0063. ‘B’

0064. Job done. Shame about the rug.

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The Flare Path Foxer

Roman’s lack of self control meant last week’s Louis XIV collage lacked Bourbon creams. That didn’t stop the Grade 1 Listed mrpier sunspotting the Sun King link.

a. Louis Blériot
b. Benoist flying boat (mrpier)
c. T14 heavy tank (Rorscach617)
d. Colbert-class ironclad (lilD)
e. Thierry la Fronde (ztorm, M. Caillou)
f. Bagnold sun compass (Kasper_Finknottle)
g. Watermans pen advert (foop)

(October 03’s puzzle continues to fox)

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Preparations for ‘Foxed’, the TV quiz show version of The Flare Path Foxer, are now at a fairly advanced stage. The format has been finalised, the set (inspired by the Battle of Britain ops room at RAF Uxbridge) constructed. Really, all that’s left to do is decide on a host. Currently the shortlist looks like this…

* James May
* Victoria Coren
* Richard Osman
* Alan Partridge
* Richard Osman
* Basil Brush
* Richard Osman
* Richard Osman

The collage below may well appear in the pilot.

All foxer guesses in one thread, please.

84 Comments

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Kublai Khan?

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      Top Right: George C Scott playing Gen. ‘Buck’ Turgidson in Dr Strangelove

      • deejayem says:

        And is that a mineshaft in the background image?

        • Stugle says:

          It’s not so much a mineshaft as an open-pit mine. My pedantry is not very helpful, I know…

          • Rorschach617 says:

            Going by “mine” and the possible colour theme, I have looked at Red Dog Mine, Alaska, and Red Lake Mine, Canada. No joy so far.

            Giving up on searching this haystack :(

      • Rorschach617 says:

        What if Buck is here to lead us to “Dr Strangelove”, which was loosely based on the novel, Red Alert?

    • Shiloh says:

      The rooster looks like a Rhode Island Red.

      • deejayem says:

        Or an Orpington? Seems more ginger than red.

      • AbyssUK says:

        or is the rooster a shout out to rooster teeth.. makers of Red vs. Blue ?
        The overall theme could be team fortress two.. mineshaft level (back ground image) then the red vs blue references..

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      Missile in the middle may be a De Havilland Firestreak

      • deejayem says:

        Codenamed Blue Kay, according to Wiki – maybe a woodland animals theme?

        • Rorschach617 says:

          The Firestreak was further-developed into the Red Top. Cannot find an image of Red Top missiles with that glass nose though.

          • Stugle says:

            Could a theme be crafted around ‘Red versus Blue’? ‘Red Alert’, ‘Rhode Island Red’, ‘Blue Jay’, ‘Blue Kay’?

    • All is Well says:

      I think the aircraft tail might be a Tupolev Tu-95, NATO name “Bear”.

      • Shiloh says:

        The Himalayan Brown Bear is also known as the Himalayan Red Bear, apparently, while “The Red Bear” was also a colloquialism for the Soviet Union.

        • Rorschach617 says:

          Better than my theory, that it was a Tu-95 (or Tu-142, ASW version of the Bear), that they were often used to probe NATO airspace, and that there was a “colour”-based codename for these incursions/interceptions.

    • Shiloh says:

      Is that little armoured car a variant of the Ferret, do we think?

    • All is Well says:

      The bird looking down from up above looks like the symbol of the Toronto Blue Jays.

    • phlebas says:

      Possibly Genghis. It’s the cover of Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.

  2. iainl says:

    Assetto Corsa is looking very shiny, and I hear good things about the handling. But with mere weeks to wait until Project Cars it seems very silly to not wait until reviewers have had a chance to compare the two (and/or for me to run scared from simulation handling entirely, buy a PS4 and play Drive Club on a pad. Yes, I know that’s the wrong answer.)

    • P.Funk says:

      Well Assetto Corsa is basically a no holds barred realism sim. Apparently with the new release candidate you can maul the gearbox of a manual H shifter if you’re bad enough at it. Of course there are assists that allow you to be shite and overcome that, but still its not meant to be a casual sim.

      PCars seems to want to thread that needle a bit more. I think it’ll be safe to say that it won’t be as realistic in the end, or at least the modeling of the physics won’t quite live up to Assetto Corsa which is mad in its detail.

      What I will say is that PCars succeeds more than any other racing sim at looking like a Michael Bay movie.

      • iainl says:

        Thanks – I guess it all boils down to how brave I feel; my wheel is an ancient and fairly rubbish one, so I may go for pCars of the two. Any controller money that gets spent is bound to be on a Hotas for Elite.

      • J Arcane says:

        Rather disappointed to hear that, honestly. The early builds had a more Forza-ish handling model, and I would’ve been all over it then.

        Can’t get anywhere in Simbin-level games. They just seem to have been designed with a version of automotive physics that would make it a nightmare just to get round to the shops in a Mini.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          It’s mostly that the early builds had some seriously understeery cars like the Elise SC and the gamepad input wasn’t as refined as it is now, it was way too filtered and corrected which didn’t really give you the freedom needed to put yourself in danger ( or to perform better stunts and countersteers if you’re good ). Sure you could change that even before, but it was hardly optimal, you’d end up at the opposite site of the spectrum because the whole thing lacked a more granular tuning.

          I’m assuming you’re using a gamepad for the simple fact that i’m not willing to believe you had a Forza vibe with a wheel ( and i love Forza, mind ).

          Eitherway, i’ve played all builds and most of the difference was found in the ever changing gamepad support, some aspects of the physics got retuned and rebalanced but it’s still ultimately the same game you enjoyed when you had your “Forza vibe”.

      • iainl says:

        Ah. I’ve just seen that pCars has been delayed until March 20th and DriveClub is still dead at the server level. Well, that probably answers that question of which to buy.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          It was quite funny / disappointing (depending on POV) to see the Oculus, Kunos and Steam forums devolve into a bitter slanging match over the release of the DK2 patch, then instantly turn into outpourings of gushing automotive gusset ripping when a dev realised they’d accidentally written a ‘0’ where there should have been a ’63’.

          Turns out the IPD setting (interpupillary distance) had somehow set itself to zero causing the game scale to be off and… absolutely no 3D. Oh and AA causing a black screen for a lot of people. THE INTERNET WAS NOT AMUSED. AND THEN IT WAS AGAIN.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Obligatory mention of our RPS Racing Subforum! link to rockpapershotgun.com

      Join us, we’re a friendly bunch. Oh, and do not dismiss Assetto Corsa – it’s a full blown simulation, but it’s quite accessible, with some easy starter cars. Just remember to brake and to use gentle inputs and you’ll be just fine.

  3. DrollRemark says:

    I haven’t played Door Kickers since one of the very earliest versions – it seemed like a good game, but I didn’t quite click with it. Guess now is as good a time as any to give it another go.

  4. P.Funk says:

    So the IL-2 developers threatened the community with closure of the project if everyone didn’t start leaving positive metacritic scores. They threatened this based on the strength of reviews that they said weren’t necessarily left by people who even played the game. The developers put the health of the game not on the community paying for the product as they already have but in them being instead rabit fanboys who must proliferate positive reviews.

    Apparently buying a game isn’t enough. One has to become a mouth piece for it too.

    Fucking Russians.

    • All is Well says:

      Aren’t 777 Americans? But yes, that quote seems almost impossibly inappropriate. I’m suddenly very put off the idea of buying BoS.

    • iainl says:

      When you put it like that, I find myself wondering if Metacritic pulled the user reviews because the developer asked them to remove the bad ones, or because they knew the developer had called for people to spam good ones. Surely that’s rather unethical, to say the least?

    • Flying Penguin says:

      I was on the fence, but that’s BoS firmly in the “don’t buy” category now for me unfortunately.

      Shame, I really wanted it to be good but if that’s the shit being pulled (by both sides), I’ve now zero confidence that it can survive and thrive and that makes buying it for ~$90 a complete no-go.

      • Synesthesia says:

        What a shame.

      • gi_ty says:

        While I would never advocate buying into anything until it has been reviewed, I think that if your throwing out the possibility of buying a potentially great historical military flight sim based around one man’s emotional reaction it seems incredibly arbitrary and petty. Simulations like this should be considered on their merits not based around some petty perceived scandal.
        Do we need to judge developers as well as their created content? Is it now impossible to support projects you like or games you enjoy because one of thirty of them once kicked a puppy?
        This isn’t just applicable here and I apologize for the rant, I just expected a more rational reaction from fans of a column like the flare path.

        • Flying Penguin says:

          No, it’s not arbitrary or petty. As I’ve said before on TFP, I struggle to find anything to give me a reason to buy BoS, whilst it has the potential to be a market leading flight sim, it currently isn’t and unless the developers change direction, isn’t on course to become one. DCS (and even patched CloD) are more in depth, RoF and patched CloD are better for single player, War Thunder has a more active multiplayer community. I can’t find one solid reason to buy it other than it being shiny and Eastern Front, and I’ve owned every Il-2 game ever released. I really want to like it but I can’t find a big enough USP to get me to buy.

          Given the proximity to release, the only hope to win me over was post-release development, but that relies on a strong community and engaged developers. This whole incident illustrates that both of those points are on shaky ground, if you’ve read the BoS forums over the last few weeks there is an enormous amount of animosity between the Devs and the community, none of which augers well for future development, added to that the design decisions taken to date suggest the devs and I do not share a common vision of what Il-2 should become (not that they have to, but it’s something I will take into account when assessing BoS). Without significant further work, BoS is valueless to me, my preferences being for in-depth and single player, neither of which are handled well by BoS in it’s current state. In the last 5 years we have had a Renaissance in high quality flight sims, unfortunately BoS is a long way from standing shoulder to shoulder with it’s peers.

          In the meantime I’ll entertain myself in DCS, Prepar3D, RoF and CloD, I’ll not be short of high quality flight sim action while I wait for Il-2 to either mature nicely or end up in the bargain bucket.

        • All is Well says:

          While I am tending towards agreeing that this particular statement by Zak isn’t enough to warrant a non-purchase in and of itself, I don’t agree that flight sims such as this should be considered solely “on their merits” (by which I take it you mean the quality of the final product).

          The practices and policies of the developers and publishers are important to consider too, because the purchase of their products is a tacit endorsement or acceptance of the practices and policies that allowed them to be produced. This is why we don’t, for instance, buy products made with slave labor, regardless of the quality of the final product – because that would be supporting an immoral practice (this is an analogy, not an attempt to liken or equate 777 to slave owners).

          The statement offered by Zak is relevant in this regard because it is directly related to the production and marketing of the product in question, and not just something bad he happened to do once in an unrelated instance (such as kicking a puppy), which would be less relevant.

          I don’t really feel I should have to explain why the statement elicits bad reactions, but seeing as how you and a couple of others have characterized it as “asking for help” or “encouraging” and don’t seem to understand what’s so bad about it, here follows an explanation:
          What Zak is essentially saying is that
          A) If the negative Metacritic reviews are allowed to stand, BoS will be pulled from shelves and forgotten about,
          B) Inaction by the reader will result in shutting down the series, and
          C) In order to prevent a complete shutdown, the reader should spread positive information about it.

          The key here is B (“If you want to shut down the series then just leave the situation as it is now, and let a bunch of trolls and haters finish it”), because what he’s doing here is shifting the blame from the people posting the reviews to the forum members, most of whom I presume haven’t actually done anything. He is explicitly saying that it is their choice whether BoS gets shut down or not, and thus their fault if it does.

          This is not asking for help, nor simple encouragement. This is very clearly an ultimatum, and it is very clearly claiming that the customers have a responsibility that they actually don’t. That is why it is ill received and why it was replaced.

          This was rather long (sorry), and I hope you’ll excuse me if I make it even longer by adding a disclaimer here at the end, but it’s more or less necessary to avoid misinterpretations and the like.
          Disclaimer: Again, given that it seems to be representative of only Zak and Loft and not the devs as a whole, I don’t think the statement is enough to warrant not buying. What I have tried to argue is that it *is* relevant, and it *is* a reason for not buying (a “con”). I do not support the 0/10 reviews (arguing against the statement is *not* implicitly arguing that the reviews are uncontroversial), nor am I trying to pass a general judgment on BoS or the developers themselves. I am also not at all angry. Have a nice weekend!

          • gi_ty says:

            Thanks to both of you for taking time to reply. Your criticism is much more nuanced and logical than I first perceived. As you say luckily we have had a resurgence of quality flight sims that allow for us to be more discerning. I do still think however that your claim of this reaction as being inherently immoral speaks to a larger symptom of the era we live in. It is sadly common to see people out on moral internet crusades every time someone misspoke or made a statement in haste or will stressed. There seems to be less and less thought for the fact that people are human everyone says dumb things from time to time, and this prevalent attitude to condemn people outright for such things is damaging to the community and industry we all love.
            Due to my lack of knowledge of the history of this particular situation and your statements there does seem to be cause for concern. That being said I hope I have better described my position against such hasty judgement as I originally perceived from your statement.

    • Reapy says:

      I’ve been to metacritic once in my life. Why do people care so much about it? It can be manipulated either way pretty easily, so offers nothing of value. Best value is raw uncut gameplay and overall word of mouth post release to judge a game’s merits.

      Though really the dealings of ww2 sims seems pretty ugly behind the scenes, following what happens with all the companies in terms of people going here or there, burning bridges behind them, failed exceptions and the like.

      I guess it just might be flight sims are hard, and don’t have a lot of money behind them is what is causing it, and the small number of players means everybody is in on eachother’s business. I had high hopes to pick up this game but their pricing model has scared me away for the time being.

      We’ll see in a few years though when I have an oculus rift and am looking for games.

    • Goodtwist says:

      Fucking P.Funk

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Are you? Its polite to at least offer to buy someone a drink first.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Somehow you sound like one of the fuckers who would spam 0/10 reviews, and who always find a reason to blame the developers, no matter what they do.

      Discouraged to the point of abandon by bad ratings and asking for help to counter them? They’re obviously holding the community hostage on purpose to manipulate ratings.

      Ignoring the morons like you and working silently to improve things, waiting until they’re ready to announce something positive? They’re purposedly ignoring feedback and looking down upon the community.

      But by all means, keep doing what you do. Treating developers like shit is obviously the correct way to have them make better games for us. What could go wrong? Selling the game to Microsoft? Ha ha.

      • itchy01ca says:

        Developers are dime a dozen. If I don’t like one, I go around the block and get another one :) They cater to the populace. We don’t have to put up with their bullshit, and shit like this makes me hate developers even more. Do your fucking job. Stop complaining that you got shitty reviews when you put out a shitty product. If we don’t like it, go back to the drawing board and make us a fucking game we like. Or you won’t get your fucking money. Plain and simple. Want food and to live? You cater to me. Now get down and grovel at my fucking feet.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I don’t understand why it’s even possible to rate games on Metacritic that are still in early access.

  5. Stugle says:

    Very enjoyable report on Doorkickers. More than enough to add it to the ever-growing pile of ‘interesting when I have time and money’. :) Curses, the Flare Path fontinues to threaten my wallet …

  6. RARARA says:

    I cannot imagine a stupider name than Ferrari LaFerrari.

  7. jpm224 says:

    Not one mention of Ultimate General: Gettysburg’s official release yesterday? It’s easily one of the best strategy titles we’ve gotten in recent memory, and has evolved a lot since your last mention when it first came to early access.

  8. tumbleworld says:

    My utterly unscientific opinion is that the Web 2.0 thing of crowd-sourced quality metrics has been a disaster for quality.

    Producing a good piece of work has become a tiny concern compared to the importance of social media PR. It doesn’t matter whether you produce a good game (book, app, &c) any more; all that matters is how skilled you are at getting people to jabber on about you.

    Unfortunately, creativity and social manipulation skills rarely seem to go together.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Agreed, I’ve only looked at metacritic as a way of getting a list of professional reviews for a game, which I then check out individually.
      The community score I ignore, as it’s mainly a whole bunch of “10/10 BEST GAME EVAR” warring against a pile of “0/10 THIS IS SIHT”, but with worse spelling and less objectivity.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Edward Bernays it not considered one of the most influential and important men of the last century for no reason.

  9. Shiloh says:

    The TV version of the Foxer sounds great. I don’t think Alan Partridge can do it, though – his military-based general knowledge quiz show Skirmish on digital cable channel UK Conquest (it had the largest audience share for a digital channel at that time of day in the Norfolk area) has just been recommissioned.

  10. Rorschach617 says:

    Very disappointed that Stephen Fry has not made the shortlist to host the “Foxed” pilot. Is he ill?

  11. Duke of Chutney says:

    Pike and shot looks right up my alley so im interested to see if it is worth the matrix asking price. I can understand why the devs made pursuits compulsory. This was endemic in warfare of the period. Part of the reason the New Model army was so successful was that Cromwell’s cavalry did come back after a pursuit and keep on fighting.

    Also Door Kickers looks awesome, if rather similar to Frozen Synapse.

    • JB says:

      It seems the article has given us very similar thoughts re: Pike & Shot and Doorkickers. I suppose I should look into P&S once it’s been out for a little while. In the meantime I might go and watch some Doorkickers videos.

      PS – Mmmm, chutney.

  12. Stellar Duck says:

    I lost interest in BoS when the campaign and always online marlarky for the sake of unlocks showed up (unlocks?! In my flight sim? I think not!) but that post firmly shoved me from ‘Eh, it might improve so I’ll wait and see.’ to ‘Eh, even if it improves and becomes the best sim ever I’m sticking to DCS and IL-2 1946, thank you very much.’

    The nerve of that guy.

    • Flying Penguin says:

      +1

    • Zenicetus says:

      They lost me too, at least as a beta or first release purchase, when I first heard what they were doing with the so-called campaign. Even for a fan of Rise of Flight like me, that was hugely disappointing.

      They already had a tough sell with this singular focus on Stalingrad. I understand the appeal for a Russian developer, but it was always going to be more difficult to interest the larger air combat community in this one fixed time and place, with a limited selection of aircraft. And then they botched the campaign design, when they knew that the largest complaint in the RoF community was the static and uninteresting “campaign” in that game. And then… unlocks? I just don’t get this company.

      Maybe I’ll pick it up later on sale, but they managed to kill all my early enthusiasm for the game. I guess it’s time to see what modders have done with Cliffs of Dover.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      You will fly missions in the order they prefer.
      You will unlock aircraft in the order they prefer.
      You will leave the Metacritic scores they prefer.
      It is their game, not yours. Be grateful for the privilege of paying for it.
      -_-

      • soulis6 says:

        This seems like an insane attitude to me.

        That is literally what game developers do. Structure games in the order they prefer (design).
        Playing missions and unlocking things in the order the developers choose, is pretty much how ALL games work (at least ones that have missions and unlocks).

        While you might not like the idea of this series with missions and campaign with unlockables, I think it’s a pretty poor attitude to be angry at the developers for trying to actually design a game instead of just a sandbox.

        It is their game, in the sense that ya know, they’re the ones actually making it. I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean, are you suggesting that all their game should be open source and owned by ‘everyone’?

        The outrage over this all seems pretty ridiculous to me, the announcement by the community manager seems like a frustrated person asking the community for help after being unfairly review bombed (by people who have never played the final version). I really don’t see a “threat” in there, so much as saying “we can’t keep going if the game doesn’t do well.”
        Granted I haven’t played the game yet, so maybe there’s something i’m missing, but it seems like a pretty out of proportion response to game that isn’t even finished yet.

        • gi_ty says:

          I couldn’t agree with you more. All this ridiculous anger directed at a guy that was merely trying to encourage his fans to mitigate the ill effects of a troll campaign. How is that shameless? The shameless part is people that take an early version of something they dislike and do everything in their power to hurt that project in anyway they can. Yet here I read multiple comments full of self righteous attitudes towards a guy that was probably panicking and made a knee jerk reaction to very obvious troll abuse.
          Ah yes lets all gather round and blame the victim for being human.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Look, unlocks is shitty design and if I wanted to grind them I’d play Warthunder. At least that’s free unlike this dlc laden game.

          It’s not complicated. If 777 want me to buy their game all they have to do is remove unlocks and grind , make a good campaign, remove the drm and stop acting like children.

        • itchy01ca says:

          The fact of the matter is IM PAYING FOR A SERVICE. I expect a level of good service, not by YOUR metric, or the developers, but by MY metric. I don’t care what your views or their views are on a subject. I care about mine. Screw developers who attempt to shape my views to theirs. I just won’t buy their games. Design a game I like and I will support you. Don’t, and you won’t get my money. It’s pretty simple and a very fair way of looking at things. This IS capitalism we live in right? Rule by money. Nothing else. Fuck the developer who doesn’t understand that.

    • baristan says:

      You would think there would be lots of discussion on the Steam and il2sturmovik forums about an early access DEV threatening to rage quit production. Couldn’t find anything about it. Looks heavily ‘moderated’ in both places.

  13. CookPassBabtridge says:

    THAT PLANE HAS GOT BLUE BOOBS

  14. BobsLawnService says:

    So Ihave a question for the Flare Path faithful. I’m wondering if anyone knows of any good turn based wargames based in ancient history? I was thinking of my own Games Wot Made me earler today and I suddenly remembered playing The Ancient Art of War when I was knee high to a grasshopper about ooh, what, 25 years ago?

    I enjoyed Rome Total was but I’m looking for something different.

    • All is Well says:

      There’s a game called Alea Jacta Est that’s in the right timeframe. I haven’t played it so I can’t comment as to if it’s any good, but I think there’s a demo out and I think Tim did a WIT or something like it, so you should check that out!

    • Philopoemen says:

      Gates of Troy by Slitherine, but it may have aged badly – haven’t played it for a few years now. Pretty much any of the Slitherine games (including the aforementioned Pike and Shot) are worth a look.

    • Llewyn says:

      You might look at the HPS/Paul Bruffell Ancient Warfare series; primitive in visual and UI terms, but I understand they’re well regarded for the important bits. Tim briefly mentioned them in a previous FP: link to rockpapershotgun.com.

    • Shiloh says:

      Gates of Troy (and its predecessor Sparta) were OK as far as the strategy screen went (every time you gave a unit an order, it would acknowledge in Greek [modern, not Attic or Laconic but still…]), but fell down badly on the battle screen, when the troops would end up milling around like a crowd after a footie match… good atmosphere though.

  15. jellydonut says:

    I have played too much Rainbow Six to allow myself to modify a plan mid-mission in Door Kickers. If any of my preplanned moves fail, it’s back to the drawing board.

    I have a seething hatred for the bomb defusal missions where I am forced to control the troopers manually.

  16. CookPassBabtridge says:

    To all DCS’ers, there is a flash sale starting tomorrow (18/10) lasting for 2 days. 70% off everything :) I will be picking up the Dora, Combined Arms and probably the F15 and Su25 even though the last two aren’t clickable pits.

    To anyone who hasn’t dipped their toe in the water WHY HAVENT YOU, YOUR TOE WILL THANK YOU and the base game is free, comes with a mustang and a cut-down version of the Su25 (russian ground attack aircraft), and given the low prices, now is a good time to get hold of the wonderful A-10C or Black Shark.

    If you have a DK2 this is an experience not to be missed (IMHO of course) :D

    • Genchou says:

      Just buy FC3.

      And the free Su-25T is not a “cut down” version of the Su-25, quite the contrary.

  17. Llewyn says:

    I keep looking at AC screenshots and thinking I should really buy it, then remembering that I did but haven’t made time to play it yet. I should also make some time to play Door Kickers properly, although backing that one has felt like money well spent from a very early stage. Perhaps definitive releases of both should be the kick up the backside that I need.

  18. JustAchaP says:

    Door Kickers didn’t play exactly what I thought it would play like. So it took me a bit to get used to it.

  19. Halk says:

    Dude, so annoying, your post on your game pops up as Assetto Corsa news WHEN IT IS NOT.
    But I bet your SEO people taught you well to mention AC so you pop up in there, taking advantage of steam’s crappy categorization.