A is for Alphabetised wargame, sim, and site news. Now and again, assuming I can persuade Austerity’s Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier engine to perform the miracle of internal combustion, I spend a few days scouring Simulatia and Grognardia for stories with the potential to fascinate, startle, cheer, dismay or amuse. Those stories are then dehydrated, alphabetised and delivered, via articles like this one, to people who’ve got better things to do than plough through puff and platitudes.
B is for Bang up-to-date?
As SmartWargames’ Karl Müller explains in this Let’s Play, although winSPMBT now includes drones and Russo-Ukrainian War scenarios, until Camo Workshop revise ATGM capabilities, Steel Panthers will struggle to provide totally convincing recreations of the fighting in Ukraine.
C is for City clashes
Strategy Game Studio’s last release encompassed a continent, the previous one a country. The next two, Battle for Madrid and Battle for Hue, will be far more intimate affairs. 95% complete and well into beta testing, Madrid should be available by the end of the month.
D is for Deep State’s deliciously dated alpha demo
Black Site Cobalt makes Abu Ghraib look like Disneyland as you’ll discover if you play this mostly fantastic nod to classics such as GoldenEye, Deus Ex, and Resident Evil. “Mostly”? Developer Frogman Interactive has yet to implement planned stealth mechanics and the Afghan foes that populate Cobalt could, I feel, use sharper hearing and exhibit a dash more curiosity and cunning.
E is for Experience life aboard a prison hulk during the Napoleonic Wars…
…in AGO BRISTOL 1775, a free VR curio from Canada. If I’ve understood the Steam blurb correctly, as well as allowing users to shrink down small enough to explore a scanned ship model, the software also allows museum curators to lead guided virtual tours of the miniature vessel in real time.
F is for Furball like it’s 1985…
…in free retro jet sim SEAD/DEAD.
G is for Grimy Gagarins
If I’d been brought up in the Eastern Bloc, Cuba, or North Korea rather than Britain, the portion of my heart currently set aside for Class 47 adoration would, I suspect, be reserved for M62 worship. Exported in significant numbers from the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation between 1965 and 1995, the M62s are one of the smokier stars of free Polish rail sim, MaSzyna.
H is for Hard act to follow
MicroProse have a ‘lite’ WW2 sub sim in the works. I hope they realise Silent Depth 2: Pacific will need to be bally good in order to compete with the current king of friendly Gato games, Crash Dive 2.
I is for Interminable incubation
James Warshawsky of Forced March Games has been working part-time on a sequel to the much loved Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic Wars for over a decade. One of the reasons game #2 is taking so long is James is tackling a much bigger chunk of ancient history this time. Fall of Rome’s grand campaign map will stretch from Iberia to Persia… Scandinavia to the Sahara. New civil and military mechanics are also adding to the workload.
J is for Just about done
Operation Austere Thunderbolt is drawing to a close. The purchase, delivery, and assembly of ‘Ada’, my new fun-furnisher/toe-warmer, went pretty smoothly, all things considered. Ignore a couple of “Where on earth does this plug go?” moments and a spot of I/O shield wrangling (Genuine questions: Why are they so flimsy and why aren’t they integral parts of the mobo?) and the build was entirely perturbation free. True, I’ve yet to stress-test my handiwork by playing the likes of Flight Simulator, DCS World, and SimRail. And I have just remembered I meant to replace the thermal paste on my video card before installing it!
To all those Cornerites who funded Ada via subscriptions or one-off donations, and to everyone who helped me design her, I’d like to say a big Ta.
K is for Key West and Keflavik
“Discover the most famous airports in the world”? Whoever scripted this trailer clearly has never heard of London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Los Angeles International etc. Released on October 19, the demo-equipped AirportSim lets players tend airliners in Warsaw, Vagar, Key West, and Keflavik. Despite the absence of big name hubs and the lack of saving and synthetic workmates, most Steam customers seem content.
L is for Lots more to come
Giant Flame isn’t finished with The Troop yet. The “easy to champion” Operation Overlord wargame might have left Early Access and gained its full complement of campaign missions (35) recently, but work on ‘Battlegroup Mode’ – semi-random campaigns with unit purchasing and carry-over – continues. And if sales are healthy, a US forces expansion pack is a strong possibility.
M is for Marvellous machine-made maps?
Headquarters: World War II, the fairly imminent Battle Academy-reminiscent TBT from Starni Games and Slitherine, will come with an endless supply of skirmish-suitable violence venues. There’s a glimpse of the random map generator UI about 100 seconds into the above video.
N is for No bestsellers
The flat you scour for clues in the diverting Scene Investigators demo is occupied by a couple with seriously weird taste in books. Forget figuring out the identity of the killer and the motive for their crime, the real mystery is why Henry and Clara don’t own any books published after 1958.
O is for Open October might be over…
…but if you’d like to use Tally-Ho Corner to evangelise, educate, share stories, guide greenhorns, or provoke thought, chances are I won’t look your gift horse in the hayhole.
P is for Problems aplenty
Two weeks and nine patches after it launched, players of Alaskan Road Truckers are still reporting myriad problems. Peruse the massive bugs thread on the Steam forum and you’ll find page after page of crash reports, performance grumbles, and complaints related to graphics, audio, handling, physics, career progression and collision detection. Worryingly, some of the issues appear to have been caused by recent patches rather than alleviated by them.
Q is for Quick tea card
The SS Great Western – the vessel depicted on card #27 of Brooke Bond’s 1970 set ‘The Saga of Ships’ – had an inauspicious birth. A shipwright was fatally injured during her launch in 1837, and while sailing to Bristol to begin her maiden transatlantic voyage, an engine room fire almost killed her designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Happily, that was the end of her major misadventures. For a couple of years the largest passenger ship afloat, the first purpose-built transatlantic steamer went on to make forty-five round-trips to the USA, fourteen to the West Indies, and nine to Brazil. She ended her working life ferrying Tommies to and from Russia during the Crimean War. If the SS Great Britain Trust’s ambitious plans come to fruition, one day visitors to Bristol’s Albion Dockyard will be able to walk the decks of a full-size replica of this maritime milestone.
R is for Radar realism
The fact that the vast majority of DCS World users probably have no idea the sim’s AN/APG radars have realism shortcomings, hasn’t stopped Eagle Dynamics from aiming higher. On the way are a bevy of sensor improvements that are sure to make life more challenging for Viper and Hornet pilots.
S is for Slow Roads 2
The sequel to mesmerising procedural driving game Slow Roads is so close its “IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!” bumper sticker is legible. As this Discord message explains, although all of the benefits of a rewritten environment engine won’t be available from the outset, SR2 will eventually sport improvements such as shadows and 3D trees.
T is for TERCIOS: Honor and Glory
Mortal trait-endowed avatars… extensive unit customisation options… meaningful weather… TERCIOS – Honor and Glory aspires to be more than a pike and shot-era Total War. Judging by these videos, it won’t be all that long before Seville-based Tree Games Studios deliver a demo or offer the first Early Access build.
U is for Unmarked snow
The latest version of aerofly RC includes an atmospheric winter flying area and a model Ju 52. Sadly, IPACS has yet to figure out how to combine their handsome photo-based sceneries with deformable snow, and dynamic trains and chimney smoke.
V is for Veitikka Studios…
…is there any chance you could include round replays in Armored Brigade 2? One day I’d love to run a play-by-comment game using something other than Battlefront’s brainchild, and it strikes me AB + 3D graphics + CM-style WEGO functionality could be just the thing.
W is for Wargamer.com now openly trolling its readers
X is for Xtremely unexpected news
Y is for Yak-141
Although Tiny Combat Arena’s tool pack only arrived on Wednesday, mods like this Soviet Harrier equivalent are already appearing.
Z is for Zeppelin Raider…