Sim-Deck

Building A Retro Rig

 

Over the years I have purchased simulations from the past that I never played because my job at the time (Army) simply didn’t allow me to. There was a period of time from when I left school up to the point of joining up when I was on my ZX Spectrum flying and playing various sims. I missed out on all of the Jane’s combat simulations. So now thanks to eBay I have a good collection of them.

These old games from the 1990’s don’t run well on modern systems. I can get the going but they frequently crash and the install process is tedious. So I am going to build a retro PC. It will be based around Windows 98se.I have read some good articles on how this is best achieved but one of the most striking things for me was to get out of the mindset that fast is always good. These games were not designed to be played on super fast PC’s. I tried Janes longbow 2 on my rig and it was like flying at the speed of light.

So I am now trawling through car boot sales and auctions in order to get hold of these old parts.

Does anyone have a Voodoo FX 3 graphics card gathering dust anywhere 🙂

Tank Sims

 

I have quite an array of Tank simulations on my computer. Over the last few months I have leaned more towards land and sea simulations as opposed to flight. The retro games are worth looking at. These sims/games were built for the PC only. I’m not bothered about stunning graphics and to be honest I never have been. If the game at some point puts a grin on my otherwise miserable face then it’s a keeper.

Recently I was browsing GOG and decided to download a few of the old games that run  well on Windows 10. That in itself is quite an achievement. I got Panzer Elite for a couple of quid. It’s a little gem which is still supported by mods to this day. You command a group of tanks while sill being the commander of your own tank. I’m still learning the concepts and controls. It’s stable and I am enjoying getting shot to bits while I navigate the coordination of my Platoon etc.

The other tank simulation I still play quite often include the following. I would  recommend any of these titles  if you have any interest in tank sims. None of these are games and all need  tactics and strategy to master. Which I haven’t yet.

In no particular order .

Steel Beasts Pro

Steel Armor Blaze Of War

Panzer Elite (no not the one your thinking of)

Steel Fury Kharkov 1942

M1 Tank Platoon 2

 

 

Hearts Of iron IV

 

I have been waiting to get this for a long time. So when the release day finally came, of course I couldn’t get it due a lack of funds because I’m taking my family on holiday to Greece this year.  So I found myself looking around for something to sell. The wife was strongly against selling the kids for some reason?

My mobile phone contract recently ended so I got a new phone contract which came with a new phone leaving me free to sell my old phone. This didn’t take long and a few days later I was pleased to get the game.

It’s great. Other people say they have dumbed it down a bit and to that I say good! Hearts of Iron 3 was a good game and still is but I ended up spending many hours just micro managing my Army’s into the correct structure to get the most powerful figures ready for battle only to get my ass whooped for not having the latest artillery or something. This and other aspects took away the fun of the game for me.

 

HOI4

 

Hearts of Iron 4 in my opinion have made this more user friendly without losing the complexity and reducing all the micro management. I can now think about the bigger picture which is what it’s all about, it’s called a grand strategy game for a reason and Paradox Interactive are to be congratulated for it.

The interface is lovely to look at and the atmosphere of the game is stunning. I am currently playing as Italy and have so far won the war against Ethiopia, declared war on Yugoslavia and mangled to beat them, annexed Albania giving me access to mass my forces on the border with Greece which I will attack as soon as some of my national focuses are aligned.

If you found HOI3 to much but still hanker for this grand strategy World War 2 stuff then I can honestly highly recommend it you will have a blast. That learning curve is still steep but that is the beauty of this title, it’s not a grind it’s a pleasure.

 

Space Simulation

 

I had a week off work last week after falling down stairs and hurting my back. This gave me a great chance to catch up with some stuff I have been wanting to do for ages. I managed to get going in Elite Dangerous. I know this isn’t strictly a simulation in the truest sense but in some ways it has a lot of elements of simming built in which I found appealing. The game-play however after 20 hours is just to repetitive for me, It feels like a grind getting from one system to the next. I can’t see what else I can get out of it now which is a shame.

 

elite-dangerous-ship

 

It did make me look further into other games like this and I inevitably came across Star Citizen. This does look more interesting but it also looks very expensive. There is whole internet argument going on about the pricing policy (you can buy a package for $18000) I’m going to leave the whole money thing there. There is no arguing that it looks fantastic and promises a lot which it looks like it can deliver. This one is for the future (tee hee) when I get some cash.

starcitizen_0

Orbiter which I have posted about previously has been getting the dust blown off it. This is a proper simulation of physics, orbital mechanics and much more. It’s fascinating to learn and I’m thoroughly enjoying the process of calculating burn times much more than one man should.

orbiter

I got caught out on Steam by Ranger for buying Goat Simulator. My kids nagged me to death to get it for them so I did. I also have other titles on my library list which you will find equally amusing.

I know this has nothing to do with space. I’m saving up to get Hearts Of Iron 4 and I’m reading reports that this Paradox game is much more accessible to new players which is great news.

I’m now off to see if I can dock the Shuttle with the International Space Station.

Flight Preperation

fsx icons

All of the above programs are used before and during a typical flight I do in FSX. I realised this when I started organising my desktop in a more logical manner (I have nothing better to do) So this lead me on to see how long it takes before I even leave the virtual ground. It turns out in some cases over an hour! I suppose I enjoy the process of preparation as much I do the challenge of flying a big jet aircraft.

I always start with downloading the latest real world weather. From this most of the other programs rely heavily on that data to calculate fuel etc. I then calculate how much weight I will be carrying and then from there can start thinking about the route. I then get take off and landing performance data and then send all this to the air traffic control and navigation programs I use. Make a cup of tea and start cockpit preparation, load the FMC, taxi and take-off.

All this when I’m not organising my desktop.

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