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Posts tagged “The Flare Path”

Feature: Derail Valley is a delinquent's delight

The Flare Path: Happy Valley

According to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch the majority of the derailments that occurred in Britain during 2018 were caused by faulty track or rolling stock. No train left the rails because its driver was too busy wagon surfing or wild flower sniffing to notice an approaching sharp bend. Altfuture's Early Access train sim Derail Valley encourages some deeply irresponsible habits and currently has more…

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Feature: Alphabetised sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Altfuture's abject apology. From the tone of Altfuture's last announcement you'd think unconventional, timetable-shunning train sim Derail Valley had run over the last northern hairy-nosed wombat or trumped during an audience with the Queen. Jan 18's “very bad” news turned out to be news of a piffling seven-day release delay. The rescheduled ribbon-cutting should happen today. Expect some thoughts on the sim's 200km…

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Feature: A tourist's take on quadcopter sims

The Flare Path: Drones On

Need to paralyse an international airport, drop hand grenades on infidels, or shoot a spectacular intro sequence for a puffin documentary? You, Sir/Madam, require a drone and drone operator. In preparation for the day when the majority of jobs in the UK involve quadcopters, I've spent the past week learning how to manoeuvre faithful digital facsimiles of these agile aerial peeping Thomases. Thanks to a…

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Feature: Zulus on the brain/ramparts

The Flare Path: Make Mine a Martini-Henry

One hundred and forty years ago today, colonial loose cannon Henry Bartle Frere singlehandedly started the Anglo-Zulu War. By the time London got wind of what was happening, the invasion of Zululand was well underway. Frere, the High Commissioner for Southern Africa, hoped that a quick victory would bring his dream of a British administered confederation of South African states a step closer. He hadn't…

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Feature: A Manchester-Leeds magical history tour

The Flare Path: Crosses the Pennines

The last Flare Path Rail Tours Ltd excursion was such a 'success'* that I've decided to organise another. Once again Train Sim World will be providing the seats and scenery, and I'll be supplying the topographical trivia and light refreshments. At 13.30 on the dot the train now standing at Platform 16 of a circa 1982 Manchester Victoria will depart for Leeds via Huddersfield. Jump…

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Feature: Snippets of sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Altitudinous apogee. When Mudspike's major-domo heads for the edge of space the resulting write-ups are always worth reading. Chris Frishmuth's latest trip into the wild blue-black yonder involved X-Plane 11 and a $10 SpaceShipTwo recreation. Although the lightly modelled add-on doesn't animate SS2's ingenious pivoting wings - the premature activation of which caused the disintegration of VSS Enterprise in 2014 - the dev's…

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Feature: Win yourself a war-torn Christmas present

The Flare Path: A Flurry Of Foxers

Aware that the perfect blizzard of misfortunes* currently battering the North Pole HQ of Mr S. Claus may mean some deserving boys and girls go without historical wargames this Christmas, Surrey philanthropists Slitherine have given me forty Steam activation codes to distribute as I see fit. Regular FP readers will know that I like to make folk work for their windfalls. Below you'll find ten solo 'foxers'…

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Feature: Using and abusing the Aerofly FS 2 Robinson R22

The Flare Path: Collective Irresponsibility

Christmas has come a month early for owners of exceptionally fluent/friendly/fetching flight sim Aerofly FS 2. The overgrown damselfly pictured above is the sim's first rotary wing aerodyne. Priced at an irresistible 0 GBP (0 USD) and engineered with help from a chap who's logged an impressive 16,000+ flight hours in real whirlybirds, it's a faithful facsimile of a Robinson R22 according to developer IPACS,…

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Feature: A Panzer Battles: Battles of North Africa tussle tale

The Flare Path: Capuzzo Counterpunch

As I've never played the evocatively titled “#410616_03v_Battleaxe_Fort_Capuzzo.scn” before and Panzer Battles: Battles of North Africa 1941 screenshots tend to be a bit beige/boring, the following image-festooned combat yarn is something of a gamble. I'm hoping whatever happens during the next few hours will prove that this suntanned grandson of the Campaign Series can deliver believable battlefield thrills almost as efficiently as the likes of…

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Feature: Snippets of sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Aerodynamic angst.   Compressibility, the invisible elevator-clasping air elemental that prevented many pilots from pulling out of high-speed dives during WW2, is now modelled in IL-2. Yesterday's 3.007 update also added new Battle of Bodenplatte and Flying Circus flyables  (P-47D-28, Bf 109 K-4, Sopwith Camel and Pfalz D.IIIa) and enriched careers with three new sortie types. Fighter pilots will now be sent…

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Feature: Fulda Gap

Armored Brigade review (part 2)

How vexing. I'd planned to devote the lion's share of today's column to that portion of Veitikka's debut title last month's overwhelmingly approbatory preview-cum-review didn't cover. Like many I was expecting this friendly top-down conflation of Close Combat, Combat Mission, and Command Ops to ship with something the preview code lacked. A campaign.

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Feature: Replenishing the Reading Room

The Flare Path: Phase 2

Thanks to money raised by the last Flare Path Funicular Fun Run, our somewhat neglected six-year-old Reading Room has recently gained a third wing. While the addition hasn't brought the climb and turn rate improvements that some wags predicted, Joyce, the Chief Librarian, couldn't be happier with the extra capacity. As she said to me this morning while surveying her new vacant tome tenements “We're…

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Feature: Difficult questions

The Flare Path: History or Victory?

The Special Prize at this year's foxerfest was guest editorship of Flare Path for a day. Winner Peter Arnott has chosen to use his 24 hours of authority to send this column to a locale it has never visited before. This week, in accordance with Peter's wishes, I've been thinking about difficulty in computer wargames. Although the Difficulty Compact between historical wargame creator and historical wargame consumer is…

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Feature: Your Friday realism ration

The Flare Path: Tankettes Etcetera

Perfect timing! After the Armored Brigade preview code shook the mothballs from my interest in post-WW2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, along comes an unusually corpulent wargame demo absolutely packed with the things*. Lurking in this five-scenario Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 trial are not only modern warfare yeomen like the M1A1, Challenger 2, Leopard 2 and Bradley IFV, but rarely recreated exotics such as the pint-sized…

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Feature: Armored Brigade inspected

The Flare Path: Iron Curtain Call

Before the Su-17s showed up, the defence of Großenlüder was going like clockwork. Dug in behind wire and minefields, my Chieftains were dominating. Their poppy-brushing 120mm guns had barcoded the eastern horizon with pillars of black smoke. Nothing of Soviet manufacture had made it as far as the village, and nothing looked likely to. But then the napalm came. Tumbling canisters of molten lava delivered…

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Feature: Snippets of sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Attentat approbation The team behind the thought-provoking Attentat 1942 won't forget 2018 in a hurry. After a nomination for Excellence in Narrative at the IGF, the sleuth-em-up centred on the aftermath of Operation Anthropoid, swept the board at the Czech Game of the Year awards (Best Story, Best PC Game, and Czech Game of the Year) and scooped prizes at A MAZE…

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Feature: A surfeit and dearth of war

The Flare Path: Feast and Famine

SystemSoft, the devs behind Daisenryaku, Panzer General’s long-lived Japanese cousin, don't make a habit of courting English-speaking desktop generals. Quite why they've decided to sally across the platform border with Daisenryaku Perfect 4.0 is a mystery. You have to wonder whether there are enough deep-pocketed, rough-edge-tolerant nostalgics amongst Steam's customers to justify the experiment.

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Feature: A Wings Over The Reich diary (Part 1)

The Flare Path: Bigginings

Recently discovered, along with a silver-plated Luger, Shergar's noseband, and a 1940 copy of Razzle, in a hidden wall safe during a house demolition in Eastbourne, Neville Novichok's Wings Over the Reich memoirs were described as “vivid”, “utterly compelling” and “very cheap” by the bloke I purchased them from in the Dog and DUKW yesterday night. Though the few pages I've read thus far don't really justify such enthusiastic…

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Feature: Wings Over the Reich test-flown

The Flare Path: Merlinadequate?

Setting your new combat flight sim in beleaguered 1940 Britain is both a safe and a risky choice. Because helpful individuals have been producing publicity material for BoB sims for almost 80 years, most potential customers won't need to peruse a feature list or read a preview to realise that you're offering them a recreation of an air battle in which the stakes couldn't be…

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Feature: This and that

The Flare Path: Fragments

In all but one of the 32 airliner shootdown incidents listed on Wikipedia, the culprits have either owned up or been convincingly identified by subsequent investigations. Only in the case of Itavia Flight 870 does a shootdown remain veiled in mystery. Progetto Ustica, a free title from RIOT producer Ivan Venturi and games academic Mauro Salvador, sets out to remind and remember rather than lift…

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