Monthly Archives: February 2012

Real Enough?

We are in the early planning stages of a new Radar Chaos game, based on the Hawaiian Islands.  While the current version is designed to assist beginners by offering a collection of newbie mazes, the Hawaii edition will be more a simulation than a game.

There are many, many things that must exist in a radar game before it can be regarded as a simulation.  The list has no end.  And no matter what you add, there will always be emails from users who want more.  If you add enough realism, the game becomes unplayable for many, due to complexity.  Finding this balance has been our primary struggle since creating our first simulation four years ago. 

There are many features that we could add to Radar Chaos.  Many have asked for hand offs, frequency assignments and visual approaches.  While some of these features make it feel a little more ‘real’, they don’t build on the core challenge and fun aspect of the game.  For example, in order to properly give a ‘hand off’, one must simply remember to do it.  In order to properly give a frequency assignment, one must memorize frequencies.  Giving a visual approach does not add to a game’s challenge either, as it is designed to relieve controller workload and reduce flying miles.

Is it even possible to develop a  realistic air traffic control simulation for the home computer?  Can you fit the most complex job in the world onto one screen?  There are a couple of organizations that have taken radar realism farther than all others.  However, the instructions are quite daunting for most people and, like the real world of air traffic control, it gets really boring at times.  Our goal is to make games that capture what is truly stressful about the job, without a lot of instructions.  In Airport Madness for example, players of all ages can manage a complex traffic situation just by a few mouse clicks.  Is it like the real thing?  Well, not exactly, but probably more fun!

This week Microsoft will launch their newest flight simulation, called ‘Flight’.  While they have removed the word ‘simulator’ from the name, they insist that it is more than just a game.   They have realized that their market could be larger by making the concept a little more ‘mainstream’.  They don’t just want the aviation junkies anymore.  They want everybody.  While their software has always included worldwide scenery and 30 different aircraft types, Microsoft has figured out that most users aren’t interested in flying a Boeing 777 from Mumbai to London.  The majority of players only fly the Cessna, never venturing too far from their home airport.  Like us, they have figured out who their target audience must be.  Let the hardcore flight simulation enthusiasts go and buy X-Plane.  Most flight enthusiasts will likely use Microsoft Flight because of it’s simplicity.

Like Radar Chaos, Microsoft Flight will also be based on the Hawaiian Islands.  This is a great idea.  Why not specialize one one particular area and do it well, instead of giving users a thousand choices?   Our Radar Chaos pipeline will likely bring a new location, such as San Francisco, in 2013.  Each edition will evolve and improve upon the previous.

Website Gets New Look

Since its inception four years ago, Big Fat Simulations has maintained the same website graphics, which consisted of a banking Boeing 737 against an orange sunset.  In 2008 we were busy creating our first game, The Simulator.  The website needed to be created quickly.  We found a beautiful image on, sliced it up and uploaded it to the server.  Presto!  A website in just 5 minutes.

An overhaul has been long overdue.  This week we gave the website a new look, which summarizes the spirit of our games.  We’ve got the serious-looking control tower on the left, and the Boeing 747 clumsily taxiing through the web page at the top.  A huge thank you to our artist, Sarah Radford, for her creativity and skill.

In addition to this new background image, we will be gradually overhauling the entire site, including a reorganization of our product line.  In our early days, a simple table on the home page containing all of our games was sufficient.  By the end of 2012 we will have enough products to demand categorization.  The likely categories will be Airport Madness Series, Radar Chaos Series, and More Games.

Upcoming Games

We have just released update 1.14 for Airport Madness 4.  Those who have purchased this game can update directly from the main game page.  We have also published a free version of Airport Madness 4 on facebook as well as our website (the facebook version is a bit smaller, due to the space constraints of facebook, but the site version is a full 1024×768.  Airport Madness 4 has moved over 15 million airplanes to date, and we plan to unlock content in the free version as we achieve certain milestones.

Okay, here is an exhaustive list of everything we have in the pipeline for you this year.  Please be sure to buy each and every one of these 🙂  Well, at least give the free versions a try. 

We are planning an update for Airport Madness 3 in March, fixing framerate performance issues, as well as difficulties users are reporting with the ability to click on aircraft. In April we plan to add an additional ‘Easter’ level to Airport Madness 4 (free and full versions).  Look for similar updates at Halloween and Christmas!  In May we are planning an update to our iOS Airport Madness, adding airports and features.  In June there will be a major update to Radar Chaos, as well as an ‘enroute’ version of Radar Chaos.  The enroute version will be more simulation than game. 

There is a great deal of work here at Big Fat Simulations that will keep us busy indefinitely.  We are already in the planning stages of the next Airport Madness, due next Christmas, and it should be a great deal of fun.

Stay tuned!