Dispatches from the frontline of wargame development
The Flare Path doesn’t do ‘amiable’ or ‘throwaway’. When I ask a developer ‘How’s it going?’ I’m not being friendly. I’m fishing for cold, hard facts. I want to know if 2017 was an annus mirabilis or an anus hemorrhoidis… why ‘Experienced AI Programmer’ has recently appeared in their site’s Situations Vacant section… what ‘Soon’ next to ‘Release Date’ really means. In today’s column, the people behind some of the work-in-progress wargames I’m most excited about, proffer spin-free progress reports. Read the rest of this entry »
Luke Hughes on war, wargaming, and the Burden of Command
Because Luke Hughes has a master’s degree in neurophysiology and psychology from Oxford, and uses terms like “emotional authenticity” when talking about his upcoming “leadership RPG” Burden of Command, I reached for my little tin of Big Questions when preparing today’s interview. Amongst the sensitive subjects discussed below: the glorification of war through video games, swearing on virtual battlefields, and why players of XCOM resemble seagulls. Read the rest of this entry »
Direct, motivate, preserve
Thirty-five years of computer wargaming have taught me nothing about the art of military leadership. Yes, I’ve learnt how to attack and defend, how to exploit terrain, triage threats, and tell the difference between a Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D and a Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. G, but no dev has ever asked me to build trust… maintain discipline… inspire loyalty. Since falling in love with Arnhem on my rubber-keyed Speccy in 1985 I’ve been a tactician and puzzle solver, never, in any meaningful sense, a leader of men.
Burden of Command [official site] wants to fill this gaping experiential void. A stat-shunning military RPG that mixes interactive fiction decisions with traditional hex grid battling, if all goes to plan it could prove to be one of the most memorable and affecting war games ever. Read the rest of this entry »