The Flare Path: Heard Through An Open Window

“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.”

7 Comments

  1. Blastaz says:

    Giraffes helping people? Unbelievable, everyone knows they are heartless creatures!

  2. Faldrath says:

    Great read as usual, Tim. Still waiting for a deeper (it’s a pun! I am not a great writer) review of Cold Waters, too :)

    Is OMSI2 better these days? I remember that when it was released the general view was “stick with OMSI1”.

    • VFRHawk says:

      Be interested to know if OMSI2 has improved too – I’ve stayed away from it because of it’s reputation for being a bit wonky in places.

  3. DeadCanDance says:

    I still too want a proper review of cold waters! It’s on 1.04b right now and just keeps getting better.

  4. Gothnak says:

    FoG2 looks like my favourite old wargame as a kid…

    Encyclopedia of War: Ancient Battles on the Spectrum.. Huzzah.

  5. trjp says:

    For eons now, Train Sim players have been talking about the “new UE4 engine” but I think it’s arrival/positioning as an entire new game hasn’t yet sunk-in with them.

    They expected a new engine into which the existing content could be placed and then refined/improved but that’s clearly not Dovetail’s plan.

    I don’t mind either way – but the state of TSW is really worrying, because it has all the same issues that TS has (performance issues, shonky design, poor QC) and (at time of writing) there’s no word on enabling content creation (without that, it may-as-well not exist)

    Dovetail just don’t seem to understand the market they’re the leader of – they put a man in-front of the trains on the box ffs…

    • LewdPenguin says:

      I’m kind of concerned too.

      Having old content work would have been the dreamworld scenario, but realistically I appreciate that would likely have been pretty challenging to pull off to say the least, and even if it was possible there’s no way DTG would have done it and let all that content carry over when they can plan to resell it to everyone again. That professional 3rd party developers are still in the dark as to being able to release content at all, combined with the reported shenanigans regarding the EULA requiring you to either give your work to DTG for free if you release freeware content, or sell it through them if you want to make paid stuff makes the current future look pretty bleak on the content front however.

      Then there’s the various issues with the actual driving itself, it seems like rather than noticing that the tendency has been towards more realistic sim behaviour they’ve thrown everything out of the window and gone with something more akin to how Railworks was when it launched, if not worse. As the honorable Mr Stone mentions I don’t mind how easy they want to make a casual ‘drive now’ mode so long as the game can actually handle a somewhat close approximation to the real thing, yet I keep reading about how the brakes are wrong, traction is unlimited, throttles feel wrong, and not jsut in ‘that doesn’t seem quite right for that class’ ways but rather ‘that’s nothing remotely close to any kind of reality’ ways.

      If they haven’t even got it running properly I do wonder why they released it already, I and probably many others would have settled for something that did nothing better than TS other than run decently, as you say it has all the problems of TS, plus a bunch more, if they weren’t able to get a single thing right for launch I’m wondering if they have the people at the company able to do actual game developement right or if they’ve become so focussed on content creation over the years that’s all that’s left. As is usually the case when badmouthing a product I hope to be wrong in the long term because TS is horribly aged, but it’s on DTG to show they can actually get it right.