Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: Laminar Floes

There’s a saying in my village:

“When sloes and cobnuts early fall,
And goatsuckers in daylight are heard to call,
You’ll be playing a spiritual sequel to MicroProse’s Red Storm Rising and a new instalment of X-Plane in no time at all.”

The local sayings related to wargame pricing and acceptable frame-rates in heli sims scan better but are less relevant to today’s column so I’ll save those for another day. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path Grand Prix

Vaguely aware that we’re living in a race sim golden age? Not sure which of the ‘Big Six’ you should invest your precious time and money in? Me too! Hopefully, by the time the inaugural Flare Path GP is over (Oct 14) little of that bewilderment will remain. Guided by the preferences and observations of that section of the RPS community that knows and loves realistic Cars Wot Go Fast games, it shouldn’t be hard to find a high-quality race sim that suits you and me to a GT. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path And The Sea Lion Tamer

I’m glad Strategic Command 3’s camera is a tad myopic. Not being able to see the Panzers parked in Parliament Square… the SS Sturmgrenadiers marching down The Mall… Mosley and Hitler shaking hands on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, means I can push north towards unconquered Scotland with a spring in my goose-step. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: The Man Who Listens To Trains

In the light industrial districts that have sprung up around FSX, X-Plane, and DCS World, genuine craftsmen aren’t all that hard to find. The machine tools that whirr and thump and whine in the workshops of add-on makers like A2A Simulations and PMDG are operated by passionate perfectionists – driven micrometer wielders whose scrap bins brim with components that look, on first, second and third inspection, absolutely flawless. Elsewhere in Simulatia, it’s a different story. Just about the only sim that can boast a third-party add-on as lovingly fashioned as this Texan or this Fishbed, is Train Simulator. I enthused about that add-on – a delightful Class 205 DEMU – a few weeks ago, and in today’s Flare Path I talk to the outfit behind it, Armstrong Powerhouse.

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The Flare Path: Modern Life Is Rhubarb

I remember the days when you could get a hundredweight of hand-picked sim and wargaming news delivered to your door by a man in a tailcoat and a velvet top hat for sixpence. Now look at us. You, peering into your digilink screen like a person who’s dropped their monocle into a bowl of consommé. Me, stripped to the waist in a bomb-damaged Pat Garrett, shovelling raw press releases into the maw of a humming Wordshine 6000. If this is progress, you can keep it! Want to know what 777, Panther Games, Old Brown Dog, and John Tiller Software are up to at the moment? Unplug yourself and head down to the abandoned liquorice processing plant on Canal Street. I’ll meet you there in ten minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Tankless Tasks

With the 100th anniversary of warfare’s first armour action less than a week away, I was rather hoping I’d be able to fill today’s gaping word trench with a fat fascine of WW1 tank game news. Graviteam are working on a landship sim! Rev Sudasana is to release a Whippety version of Armoured Commander! Noble Empire are going to let us assemble A7Vs! As it’s now Friday morning and my OPs have yet to sight a single rhomboid on the horizon, it looks like Plan B will have to be put into operation instead. A few inches below yonder html parapet lurks news of Dovetail’s TS replacement, plus talk of the latest Sengoku Jidai add-on and a WW2 MP tactics game with hints of Close Combat, Men of War, and Jagged Alliance. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Thumping Great Thumper Fan

Newly released German coach sim Fernbus Simulator has spent the week hiding my car keys, flicking rubber bands in my direction, and thumbing through my favourite books with jammy fingers. Exasperated by its anti-social antics I’ve put it aside until TML improve controller configuration facilities and patch away the most infuriating bugs and performance issues. Instead of a Fernbus impressions piece radiating frustration, today in FP you’re going to get a Train Simulator 2016 article radiating admiration. Today I’d like to talk about why Armstrong Powerhouse’s new Class 205 ‘Thumper’ has just elbowed out a very miffed Su-25 Frogfoot from my All-Time Favourite Sim Steeds top ten. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Faustian Packed

How does this sound? I describe my last Steel Beasts Pro Personal Edition battle then show you the emails that three publishers sent me following last week’s “old wargames are too expensive” rant. In return you give me ten minutes’ worth of a substance more precious gram for gram than saffron, platinum, or petrified rainbow. Deal?

Ah, the old walking away gambit. You win! Fine, I’ll also throw in a picture puzzle so fiendish no individual can solve it unaided. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Slash Or Spurn

Recent research at the Flare Path Institute of Ludology has identified the chemical that prevents some wargames and sims from depreciating over time. High levels of myopium sillycate means certain martial and vehicular entertainments can go ten or more years without a tariff drop. In today’s FP I highlight some particularly distressing examples of price paralysis and urge the publishers and designers responsible to think again about the business strategies that are ensuring thousands of potential customers never encounter or purchase their wares. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A Flush Of Foxers

The Flare Path turns five this week. Here in the UK that means it can no longer travel for free on funiculars, steam tinkers, or Bounding Billies, and risks prosecution if found in possession of an imaginary dog or an impish grin. Growing up sucks. Thank goodness there are occasional distractions like this compendium of word and picture puzzles. In the dappled glade beyond the break five unusually approachable foxers lounge. Tackle these solo brainteasers (co-op defoxing will return next week) within the next 48 hours and you’ve a chance of winning various top-notch wargames and sim add-ons(Competitions now closed)

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The Flare Path: Topical Titbits

In the alphabetical news round-up waiting like a pre-pounce puma beyond the break ‘A’ is more likely to be for ‘airship’ or ‘angry house’ than ‘apple’. Stripy ungulates probably won’t feature in the entry for ‘Z’ but simulated Bf 110s or Mitsubishi A5Ms might. If you’ve an eye for a shapely engine nacelle or a finely chiselled turret – if you’ve an interest in the bloodier bits of history – I guarantee your curiosity will be piqued by something in the 26-compartment specimen drawer below. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Bird Sim Blueprint

For the last 35 years the makers of serious flight fare have been studiously ignoring the true masters of flight. Thousands of amazing aerodyne types have gone unsimmed. Countless dramatic combat scenarios have been cold-shouldered. Today’s Flare Path is a call for this madness to cease. Below the break I sketch out a sim focused on flesh-and-blood falcons, hawks and eagles rather than the clumsy, confusing man-made imitations that have dominated simulated skies for the past three decades. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Submarine Dreams

Subsim.com proprietor Neal Stevens and myself stand on opposite sides of the great dreamer-doer divide. When I see a promising in-development sim struggling for funding or heading in a direction I don’t much like, I sigh and pen a few plaintive words for this column. Neal, on the other hand, contacts the devs, and offers to fund development of the game for a year in return for design influence. When the studio accepts his offer, he then up sticks, and moves five thousand miles to be closer to his new business partners.

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The Flare Path: Firefights

Firefight at its best: You’ve moved Squad 4’s stretchable/rotatable destination bar to the house at the end of the road and now you’re zoomed in, studying them intently as they advance towards their goal. Without prompting, your men shun the centre of the street, opting to hug walls and shelter in doorways as they move. When an undetected MG34 opens up, the only casualty is Sgt Pierce. Shot in the right foot he yells for a medic. Almost immediately a tiny khaki soldier sprite diverts, rushing to the wounded man’s aid… Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path Invites You To…

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

I’ve fought many wargames acrost the years,
An’ some of ’em was good an’ some was not;
But when it comes to ‘exes an’ new frontiers,
Koger’s Age o’ Rifles was the finest o’ the lot.
It’s a daisy, it’s a ducky, it’s a lamb,
It’s an injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
It’s the on’y title that doesn’t give a damn
For a Regiment o’ British Infantree!
So ‘ere’s to you, Age o’ Rifles, an’ your battles so diverse;
Though you’re o’er-bloody, an’ your retreats can be perverse,
I gives you your certificate, an’ if you want it signed,
I’ll come an’ ‘ave a romp with you whenever you’re inclined. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Swings The Lead

Sorry. The county of Cornwall has spirited away this week’s column. Searches of sea-sluiced caves and Bucca-infested tin mine shafts have turned up nothing. My animal scouts – grey seals, peregrine falcons, and beadlet anemones – have probed and quartered and frisked fruitlessly. The only thing I can offer you today is bafflement. Beyond yonder html horizon lurks not one, not three, but two foxers. Assuming you aren’t too busy plotting the demise of fish-fixated Italian soldiery (the last seven days/minutes of communal Combat Mission have gone well though the commenter-controlled Kiwis are now fighting without Crecy, their lionhearted Crusader) I invite you to spend an hour or two reinstating vowels and decrypting collage components. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Africa 2016

The dimmed lighting, the rearranged seating, the bowls of hydrogenated corn snacks… by the time you’ve put two and two together it’s already much too late. Your persuasive host – Tedious Tim from next-door – is directing you towards a chair and fussing with his laptop. After the interminable ‘SE Asia 2014’ and ‘South America 2015’ you vowed never to attend one of his holiday photo slideshows again yet here you are, jammed between Bella the Bull Terrier and Old Mr Richardson from across the road, contemplating 2? 3? 4hrs? of ‘Africa 2016’. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Welcomes Combative Commenters Again

Click to go to latest turn.

The Flare Path’s first attempt at play-by-comment Combat Mission proved rather exciting. Over the course of five days mountains of orders were issued, multiple Shermans were slain, and numerous fingernails were nibbled. I think it’s about time we had a second scrap. Anyone fancy a spot of sandy skirmishing courtesy of the olden-but-golden Combat Mission: Afrika Korps? Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Ferrets

If it wasn’t for a splendid organisation called Writers Bloc this column probably would have vanished years ago. Every week WB sends out thousands of specially tailored writing challenges in an attempt to keep its members ennui-free. This week my challenge was tripartite. I risk censure, and public humiliation in WB magazine, The Wordist, if today’s Flare Path doesn’t include…

A) Previews of two Early Access flight simulations.
B) The phrase “The ferrets danced until daybreak”.
C) A reference to a fictional organisation that motivates its members with specially tailored writing challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Exit Rows And Brexit Rows

Flare Path Air Services isn’t like other airlines. Both of the aircraft in our fleet remember where they were when JFK was shot demobbed. Daisy, our DC-3, is as happy hauling live poultry and frozen prawns as lairy tourists and prayerful pilgrims. The WC aboard Old Red, our Piper Cub, consists of a funnel and a beer bottle. And currently we’re the only airline in the world brave/visionary enough to have built a fireworks factory on its home airfield. Read the rest of this entry »