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7

The Flare Path: Heard Through An Open Window

Snatches of sim and wargame news

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“She comes down in the middle of the night and finds him on the sofa pleasuring himself with a plastic Ankylosaurus.”

“Nietzsche was your radical Islam – I get that – but it didn’t turn you into a mass murderer did it? You may have hated the human race for a year or two but you didn’t actively plot their extermination.”

“And these are? Giraffes. Of course! So the nice giraffes are helping the firemen save the people in the burning house?”

“No, you’re thinking of Fields of Glory, the old Microprose Napoleonic thing. Field – singular – of Glory was a Slitherine title released circa 2010. Moderately entertaining ancient warfare on a bed of dowdy hexagons. That’s the one that’s about to be sequelled. Slith are using the Pike & Shot engine this time which is great news.

Contemplate: “Field of Glory II allows you to command the armies of any of 48 nations and factions covering the whole of the ancient world from Britain to India from 280 BC to 25 BC…75 different army lists (force compositions altered during the period) and a random map custom battle mode means you’ll never run out of new matchups to try.”

It sounds like the campaigns are going to be decision-padded scrap sequences inspired by notable historical commanders rather than freeform strat map affairs. A bit odd that –  I thought the Sengoku Jidai system worked rather well.”

“It’s basically paintball meets skiing. Stag parties fly direct to Jasna or Bansko for a weekend of James Bond and Jägerbombs. Marcus reckons it’s going to be massive.”

“Anywhere except the Phoenix. The carpet in there smells like ferrets.”

“What I don’t understand is why it isn’t optional. Let the Sunday simmers trundle about with their nasty cruise-control throttle, but give the genuine ‘rail fans’ the option to use the real deal.

It’s bonkers. Dovetail have produced the best looking train simulation ever – lighting, cabs, GUI… all lovely – yet they’ve neglected to simulate one of the most important aspects of their subjects. The Geeps in vanilla MSTS accelerate more plausibly than the ones in Train Sim World for heaven’s sake!

And don’t get me started on the audio. Beethoven on a bloody Stylophone. Alex and Irena live in an apartment next to the biggest marshalling yard in Lithuania now. We stayed there for a week in May and every time a freight train went by it was like a caravan of stroppy Banthas tramping past the door. The clanking, the snorting, the wheezing, the squealing… fantastic racket. TSW conveys maybe 20% of that magic. Unforgivable.”

“Norton plays the special needs lad. Well, he’s not really special needs. He’s just pretending to be special needs so the people in the bank… the customs warehouse place… will trust him. How can you not remember it – we literally watched it last week!”

“Assuming the Internet is back on, Sailaway and a San Miguel or two. I want to take the new catamaran into the Adriatic. Do Montenegro and the Dalmatian Coast.

Leaps and bounds, mate. Leaps and bounds. Orbcreation have been working their socks off since the release. Sail management is tons friendlier now – it’s possible to keep an eye on the telltales as you trim – and one of the latest updates introduced wind shadows and wave surfing. You can now ride waves for extra speed and frustrate opponents in races by depriving them of wind. The day engines and proper ports arrive is the day I retire Virtual Sailor for good.”

“If you can see a burnt-out Renault Clio, you’ve gone too far… Okay, you’ve missed us. Turn where it says ‘No Turning’ and drive back down the lane until you come to the farm on the corner. We’re the flint building opposite with the big fibreglass beholder over the door.”

“It’s listed on Steam as ‘OMSI 2 Add-on Busbetrieb-Simulator’ but the blurb refers to it as ‘Bus Company Simulator’. As far as I can tell some talented German chappy has managed to bolt an economic layer to OMSI 2. Decisions relating to staff, fleets, routes and so on, are made in a 3D office-cum-depot rendered using Unreal Engine 4. Going by the screenshots simple 2D management screens might have been preferable.

Sorry, missed that. £19. And for that you also get an integrated add-on manager, working speed cameras, vehicle maintenance, multiplayer compatibility… a whole mass of stuff.

The London add-on? The last I heard it was still timetabled for an October release. Licencing issues mean the New Routemasters will be patched in later. I guess we’ll have to make do with the Volvo B5LH Geminis and Alexander Dennis Enviro400s until the shapely NRMs arrive. Given the extent of the featured routes, and the apparent quality of the bus modelling, I don’t imagine there will be too many complaints.”

“Nathan! Nathan! Nathan! NATHAN, YOU DICKHEAD!”

“Don’t rush her. If she thinks you’re rushing her you won’t get anywhere. Put some sachet food – not tin food – at the bottom of the steps then wait. If she miaows, ignore her. If she pats the cat flap, ignore her. Sometimes it helps to pretend you are asleep.”

“If you enjoyed Cold Waters, you should definitely keep an eye on work-in-progress UBOOT. What started out as a modest Das Boot-inspired crew-management game continues to acquire simmy subtleties at an impressive rate. The latest delays have been caused by Deep Water Studio radically improving the ways coastlines are represented, substantially expanding their selection of AI vessels, and implementing a sophisticated sub upgrade system. Being English, I’ll definitely be improving my Type VII’s WCs before bothering with fripperies like the snorkel, radar, and deck gun.”

I’m living in a dream world? Blimey, that’s rich coming from someone who’s spent the last two years trying and failing to make a living as a professional Anne Boleyn impersonator.

“I’m just off to the defoxing annexe. You’re welcome to tag along.”

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Tim Stone

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