Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

Wot I Think: Football, Tactics & Glory

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This Wot I Think is destined to go down in RPS history. For the first time ever a review on this site will make use of VAR (Virtual Assistant Reviewer) technology. If I make a “clear and obvious error” while describing Football, Tactics & Glory’s features or extolling its myriad charms, a team of ancillary reviewers known colloquially as ‘commenters’ will notify me of my mistake almost instantly. Heed the following ruddy exhortation to discover whether this revolutionary experiment in game reviewing succeeds or fails. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Jump Jets For Goalposts

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In order to justify that tortured title and maintain the illusion that The Flare Path is primarily a simulations and wargames column, today’s out-of-character love letter to a football game will follow a quick news round-up involving Harriers, Manx motorcycle combinations, Old West wheelslip, Interwar warship design, and American Civil War ambition.

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The Flare Path: This and That

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The mighty Tirpitz spent most of her short life skulking in Norwegian fjords. Fuel shortages and Kriegsmarine caution meant she never braved the Denmark Strait or traded shells with a truly worthy opponent. To get a feel for what the Bismarck’s sister ship might have achieved had she been employed more aggressively, you need a game like Command of the Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Gongs and Gripes

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Although Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord doesn’t do medals, The Flare Path does. If you’ve been following the fortunes of Caent’s doughty defenders for the past three weeks, you may be interested to learn that a) the scenario used is now available for download, and b) several units involved in the action were decorated for their efforts.

(This week’s FP also includes some impressions of 303 Squadron: Battle of Britain, an Early Access air combat game that’s more Defiant than Spitfire at the moment.)

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The Flare Path: No Respite

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War-weary after fourteen days of communal Combat Mission battle reports? Today’s competition and collection of news stories probably won’t help. Apart from a bit of Deadstick pre-alpha footage, and a poor-quality phone snap of two de Havilland beauties I encountered on a recent excursion, everything in today’s FP indirectly celebrates state-sanctioned murder.

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The Foxer

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Sorry, Combat Mission turn tales have put the mockers on this week’s Flare Path. The only Rock, Paper, Shotgun column happy to answer the door in a smoking jacket and fez will return next Friday with a bountiful competition and, possibly, a wargame review. All I can offer today is an invitation to participate in the defence of Caent, and a fiendish word puzzle inspired by the colour green. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission COs required

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A Combat Mission battle orchestrated by a single wargamer invariably furnishes drama. Replace that lone CO with a band of collaborating commenters and the resulting pandemonium can be astonishingly tense, tangled, and resonant. This year’s communal CM challenge involves the very first CM title – Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord (2000) – and a petite chunk of French coastline in imminent danger of liberation. Volunteers like your good self will, I hope, over the next twenty days, arrange a very warm reception for the British forces intent on establishing a bridgehead in the vicinity of the sleepy village of Caent. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Heavily Engauged

How soon is too soon when it comes to developing games based on historical tragedies? I’m really not sure but I guess the fact that Kursk makes me uncomfortable while Titanic: Honor and Glory doesn’t, means I do believe video games have the power to enflame wounds and compound grief if they arrive too early and show too little respect for the truth.

Polish devs Jujubee claim that Kursk will be the “first fully fledged adventure-documentary game in history”. It’s a bold statement and a questionable one when set beside others made by the K-141-obsessed Katowicians… Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: From Early Access to Early Grave

Having spent around eight months in Early Access and then three in a mysterious state called “Phase 2”, Flight Sim World, Dovetail Games’ modernised-but-feature-trimmed-and-unfinished version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, is officially dead. On Monday, out of the blue, DTG announced that work on the project has come to an end. Apparently, there simply weren’t enough customers to justify continuing. As the team assembled by the British train sim tycoons seemed to possess sufficient passion, will and, initially at least, resources to make FSW a success, it’s hardly surprising that some in the flight sim community are blaming the failure of the endeavour on poor project management and the manner in which Dovetail dealt with Flight Simulator’s vital ecosystem of third-party add-on devs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Asks Oskari

Crafted with care and marketed without hyperbole, Diesel Railcar Simulator is that rare thing, a transport sim that transports without crucifying your wallet, cooking your GPU, and burying you under an avalanche of key commands. A conglomeration of incredibly sensible design decisions, it’s been winning friends and gaining content steadily since appearing, seemingly from nowhere, late last summer. In today’s FP I talk to Oskari, the man behind all those sensible design decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: March to Glory

Shenandoah Studio are anti-hexites and proud of it. Equilateral, equiangular, six-sided polygons aren’t common on their battlefields. They prefer more misshapen shapes – the squashed pentagon, the leaning lozenge, the skewed quadrilateral with one wiggly, dog-eared edge. The crazy paving makes for attractive maps but as I’ve discovered during my diverting but disappointingly smooth and brief March to Glory march to glory, creates problems too. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Tank Clashes and Manx Dashes

How annoying. As Wikipedia is adamant Field Marshal Wavell didn’t dote on a Manx cat called Matilda during his time in North Africa, and the 1947 sidecar TT wasn’t won by Rommel’s twin sons riding a stripped-down, souped-up BMW R75, it looks like I’m going to have to introduce this week’s pieces on TT Isle of Man and Desert War 1940-42 with an admission that this week’s pieces on TT Isle of Man and Desert War 1940-42 have flip-all in common. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Kuban Epistle Crisis

Although IL-2 Sturmovik’s new Rise of Flight-style career mode looks decidedly unambitious when set beside the best the genre can offer a solo campaigner, it’s a big improvement on what it replaces and, assuming you’re playing with the ‘iron man’ box ticked and don’t wander too far from assigned routes, a powerful drama amplifier. During his first five randomly-generated sorties over the Kuban bridgehead, my current in-game alter-ego, Nikolai Novichok, had several opportunities to inspect the Grim Reaper’s shrapnel-sharp soul-scythe at close quarters. Will his luck and nerve hold for another five missions? Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Cries “Havoc!”

Gentlemen of England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here to read my IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Kuban war diary, participate in today’s Close Combat competition, assist in the defoxing of this fiendish word puzzle, and pedantically point out that “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war” is from a completely different play to “Gentleman of England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here…”. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Battle-Scarred

Check Your Six! vs Panzer Strategy. In the ‘Battle of the Wargames Wot Have Hit Steam in the Past Week and Feature Hexagons and WW2 and Suchlike’ there can be only one, two, or zero winners. If you’re happy to adopt the role of Reader for the next five minutes, I’ll don the mantle of Critic and, using screenshots and conglomerations of letters arranged in sequence and separated with punctuation marks and spaces of varying lengths, liberally dust you with my novichok-strength opinions. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Buy ProFlightSimulator

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Judging by the “I fell for it too” messages still appearing regularly on flight sim forums, the shameless parasites behind ProFlightSimulator and its equally vile sibling VirtualPilot3D are still persuading unwary online punters to pay 67+ USD for an old, superficially tweaked version of FREE open-source flight sim FlightGear. In today’s Flare Path I examine some of the latest lies the ProFlightSimulator scammers are using to fleece fans of faux flight. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for A7V action

WWI armour sims are such rare creatures, I can’t bring myself to say anything negative about 79p work-in-progress Cry of War. Currently boasting one tiny cosy map and three tank types (the A7V, Mark IV, and Renault FT), the game combines amateurish quirky presentation and crude forgiving movement physics with surprisingly sophisticated ballistics (shells can ricochet… system damage is determined by post-penetration trajectories) and the best ‘tip’ ever to appear on a military game loading screen. Disarmingly honest developer ShanghaiWindy will be coding around his university commitments, hence the 3-4 year Early Access period. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Waives and Waves

All that needs to be said about the tragicomic Flight Sim Labs affair has been said several times over. I could add my tuts to the tut heap or write something confessional about the handful of times I’ve found myself mingling with pirates and cracksmen, but I think I’d rather devote today’s FP to sky sailing and semaphore signals, BoBing wargame makers and bobbing whalegame players. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: PIAT fails and PITA whales

Three of the first four Close Combat games are now back in legal circulation thanks to GOG.com and current licence holders, Slitherine. For years I’ve been telling myself that prolonged exposure to Combat Mission and Graviteam Tactics would make a long-term relationship with Atomic’s top-down tussle series – a series I loved dearly in the late Nineties – difficult today. I now realise I was wrong. Twenty years on Close Combats 2 (aka Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far) and 3 still entertain as consummately as any of the tactics titles that followed them. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Rubber & Blubber

This column covers realistic car games with the same boundless energy and fierce incisiveness with which it covers flight sim hardware developments and human rights abuses in Central Asia. The reasons for this are too complicated to fully explain in an intro (In short: tiny desk, gypsy curse, Princess Diana). All you really need to know is that from time to time an opportune alignment of Mars and Snickers, combined with a Super Bowl upset and a special offer on elbow grease at Boots, produce conditions ideal for some guilt-assuaging arse covering. Covering my arse today are iRacing’s Kevin Bobbitt, Kunos Simulazioni’s Marco Massarutto, Studio 397’s Tim Wheatley, and Forward Development’s Eugene Gubanov. After their studio status reports, more Thar She Blows!, a blood-drenched Nantucket AAR in which doomed FP readers pull oars and hurl harpoons. Read the rest of this entry »