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The Flare Path: Beardy Bits And Bobs

Simulation & Wargame Blather

I think it's about time I cut my beard. This morning while Brylcreeming my eyebrows (they probably need a trim too) I discovered the above items nestling in my W.G. Grace-inspired chin thicket.

They weren't alone either. Further rummaging revealed:

- One Mills Bomb pin
- A 1/4 scale replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy
- A wren's nest (unoccupied)
- A Wren's vest (unoccupied)
- The Bruce-Partington plans
- A Pike & Shot news story
- A speedboat sim news story
- Topical paragraphs on DCS World and Copa Petrobras de Marcas


Lock up your turnips! Priesthole your ladyfolk! Disguise your pigs as elderly relations! Pike and Shot, a turn-punctuated Seventeenth Century wargame beloved beliked by Yours Truly is about to hit the campaign trail.

Pike and Shot Campaigns, due on August 13, will combine the original P&S, its Tercio to Salvo expansion and - the real attention grabber - a completely new strat layer. Having scrutinised the feature list and the available screenshots with my most powerful Hastings Triplet, I can tell you the following about this intriguing prospect:

  • There will be opportunities to orchestrate the English Civil War, the Great Turkish War, and the Swedish phase of the Thirty Years War.
  • You'll also be able to map roam in a less specific pick-any-European-nation campaign.
  • Penury, supply issues and sieges will complicate province snaffling.
  • It will be possible to split armies.
  • Tactical-layer battlefields are likely to be randomly generated.
  • Owners of P&S will get Campaigns at a reduced price.
  • A month or two after purchase, unless you're extremely careful, the fetching-but-fragile campaign maps will be striped with sellotape.



Does anyone reading this happen to have a Live and Let Die licence sitting around doing nothing? I only ask because Todd Wasson, the sim physics maestro behind VRC Pro's incomparably life-like miniature vehicles, is working on a standalone speedboat sim at the moment that might benefit from a pinch of 007 and Sheriff J.W. Pepper.

Watch on YouTube

I'm worried that without a dash of theme, whimsy, or competition, Design It, Drive It: Speedboats could end-up a little too buoyant/bone dry for its own good. Yes, the physics look and sound amazing...

"The physics code is a proprietary system that solves hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, skin friction, buoyancy, and aerodynamic forces separately on every triangle in the boat mesh as well as the individual propeller blades. When the jack plate is raised or the trim is adjusted so the propeller comes partly out of the water in the search of maximum speed, there is a paddle wheel effect that turns the boat which must be compensated for in the steering. Just keeping the boat on the water and pointing in the right direction at top speed can keep you busy."

"The aerodynamics are complete enough for the boat to blow over if the speed and angle of attack get high enough. The boat can also rise up onto the pad and virtually fly with only the stern skimming the surface of the water. With the physics model acting on the individual propeller blades, the engine trim has a large effect on bow lift and the attitude of the boat."

But once you've experienced the terror of a beautifully simulated blow-over or chine walk a few times, and fiddled with the integrated boat designer for an hour or three, it seems there won't be much left to do except tear around disappointingly flotsam- and jump-free lakes.

Watch the following video then tell me that map wouldn't be vastly improved by a sprinkle of leapable levees, rotting jetties, and rusting LCTs.

I think I'll enjoy Design It, Drive It, Speedboats. I know I'd adore Motoboat Madness: Everglades Escape

Watch on YouTube



DCS World 2's release date remains shrouded in fleecy 15-tog fog, but a recent Mudspike preview includes some tantalising glimpses of the new engine in WW2 mode and some heartening news of the inbound performance improvements.

Watch on YouTube

Module artisans don't seem put off by the slow-to-arrive Second Coming. The list of planned DCS payware steeds grows longer with each passing month. It now includes...

Having watched a rare aerial arachnid fly several surprisingly wobbly approaches at a local airbase this week, I'd love to see Textron/AirLand's budget jet appear on that list at some point.



It looks like owners of top-notch race sims Stock Car Extreme and Formula Truck are in for a good year. With a few days left to go, Reiza's Indiegogo funding drive is within a Tigrina whisker of reaching its $78,000 goal.

Watch on YouTube

The Brazilian devs plan to use the cash injection, together with a newly acquired ISIMotor source code licence, to enhance and expand their current titles. Several extra race series and circuits are on the cards. Grids crowded with Lancer Evos, Copa Montana pick-ups, ramp-happy Supertrucks, V8 Supercars and Formula V10 open-wheelers are now guaranteed, as are custom championships, dynamic track conditions, tyre damage, better drivetrain physics and sundry graphics and UI improvements.

The RPS post announcing the start of this whip-round prompted a Copa Petrobras de Marcas recommendation from commenter Grizzly that's well worth repeating. The free six circuit (Brasilia, Curitiba, Goiania, Interlagos, Taruma, Velopark) three car (Focus, Lancer, Corolla) mini-sim is an excellent introduction to Reiza's work. Offering talkative rides, persuasive physics, and close competition, it's far far better than its mystifying 6/10 Steam score suggests.

Watch on YouTube


The Flare Path Foxer

Two of the objects have gone AWOL! Award yourself a Flare Path Flair Point if you can identify the missing pair *without inspecting the original image again*.

Roman described last week's foxer as "easier than a Grade 1 pianola exam". Me, I'm not so sure.

(Theme: prizes)

a Colonel Gadaffi (Shiloh)
b Dassault Mercure (corinoco)
c Nobel Fuldamobile (Llewyn)
d Short Stirling (AFKAMC)
e Polaris missile (billy_bunter)
f Frankfurt Stock Exchange (operated by Deutsche Börse) (Stugle)
g SpaceShipOne (AFKAMC)
h Richmond K. Turner quote (Stugle)
i Operation Wolf (Artiforg, JB)
j Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam (Stugle)


Blimey. It only seems like yesterday you and me were sharing a school desk. Now look at us. Grey hares. White rabbits. Rusty eagles.

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