Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

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

proflightsimulator (1)

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 »

The Flare Path: Thar She Blows!

Half Moby Dick, half Sunless Sea, Nantucket sweats Nineteenth Century nautical drama the way the Charles W. Morgan to this very day sweats Nineteenth Century whale oil. Picaresque’s failure to recreate whaling’s most telling/pathetic scenes (The hopeless marguerite… the confused calf following the whaleship that slaughtered its mother…) worries me, but not sufficiently to cause a rift. I’m in for the long haul. Unlike some of the Flare Path readers who, last Friday, volunteered to crew my ‘new’ barque. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Jets, Jungle, and Jack Yards

DCS World, a combat flight sim made from a superhard composite of Truthite and RTFM, is a few days* away from an engine upgrade that will unify like a drill sergeant and spruce like a Scandinavian forest. Earlier this week I took a break from foliage-shredding in Combat Actions: Vietnam (Assessed below) and whale-worrying in Nantucket (Want to join my crew? Read on) to quiz producer Matt Wagner about the sea change that is ‘2.5’.

* “The 2.5 Open Beta will release on 31 January and the “stable” version a week later.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Catch of the Day

Not an easy week to be a wargame and simulation correspondent. If I bite my lip and try really hard I think I’ll be able to rattle off today’s column without mentioning the lovely DUSK, but I know I won’t be able to get through without acknowledging that cetacean in the room, Nantucket. Released yesterday, Picaresque’s piquant and pacy whaling RPG is far too close to that Age of Sail game we’ve been discussing for years to pass unhailed. I hope it hasn’t arrived too late to influence HMS, Every Single Soldier’s cutaway captaincy title. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: How’s it going?

Operation Pump Handle went rather well, all things considered. Of the ten peanut-powered mechanical magpies dispatched on Monday morning, nine returned home with sim developer status reports in their leg canisters. Only Domino (destination Deadstick) is still out there somewhere. If you live in the Guildford area and have recently had a smoke or spark emitting Pica pica visit your bird table, please let me know. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: How’s it going?

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 »

The Flare Path: Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I was all set to brand Medved-Taiga, the latest expansion for theHunter: Call of the Wild, “the perfect Yuletide mood generator”. Its stunning snow-mantled wilderness was putting me in a seasonal frame of mind almost as effectively as my usual aids –  The Greatest Christmas Movie of all Time and lashings of cream sherry – up until the point last night when I encountered the ‘Euthanize the Wounded Reindeer’ mission. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Regrets Everything

The sound of another year deploying its speedbrakes, dropping its flaps, and lowering its landing gear is the cue for me to switch into Regret Mode. Depressingly, my ‘List of Things That I Wish I’d Done More of in 2017’ is almost identical to my ‘List of Things That I Wish I’d Done More of in 2016’. The top four positions are still occupied by ‘Reading’, ‘Writing’, ‘Exercise’, and ‘Accordion Practice’. ‘Playing OMSI 2’ is still stubbornly clinging to slot #21.

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The Flare Path: Greek Ire

Field of Glory II: Immortal Fire burst into flames on Tuesday and today’s column is crowded with Greek warriors. The pictures above explain, as effectively as any string of letterclots, why these two facts aren’t connected. On the left is RIOT, a handsome crowd control wargame partially undone by its eye-catching aesthetic, and on the right is Trireme Commander, a history-steeped Iron Age naval sim with frustrating martinet tendencies. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Claas War

For the past decade GIANTS Software has had the farming sim sector pretty much to itself. None of the competing agri offerings that have arrived in the years since FS2008 first lowered a plough and spreadeagled a sprayer have succeeded in loosening the Swiss stranglehold. Might Cattle and Crops have what it takes? Now approximately a month away from a Steam Early Access release, C&C’s not-so-secret weapons are physics, mud, and weather. Developer Masterbrain Bytes want to remind us why tractors are such stocky fellows and why they wear such big boots. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Defects

The dystopia at the heart of singular RPG Way of Defector is a truly grim place. It’s a country where you can be imprisoned or killed for criticising the government or for being related to someone who has criticised the government. A land where the state routinely uses detention without trial, torture, and sexual violence against the people, and many go to bed hungry every night. Developers Dev Arc call this repressive totalitarian hellhole ‘North Korea’. Read the rest of this entry »