We are busy developing our next version of Radar Chaos, and hope to release it by July 1, 2012.
The original Radar Chaos, although fairly realistic, was based on fictitious locations. We dreamed up what we felt would be “really cool” airports, adding in conflict points where we felt they were necessary. The aircraft behavior in this game was highly realistic. However, the control interface was extremely simple, basically offering up-down-left-right actions plus a few other features. We were catering to Joe Gamer, who probably knew nothing about things like mach transitions and such.
When we asked ourselves where the Radar Chaos series would go next, we decided upon two things. The control interface should offer more realistic control options, and the simulation should be based on a real-world location, with adherence to real-world procedures.
An improved control interface which allows holding patterns, direct waypoint assignments, mach assignments, and “mach transition” assignments will be a welcome addition. The panel has an entirely new feel. Rather than ask users at the very beginning of the game to choose their flavor, basic or advanced, we give the freedom to choose this during play. Initially, the control panel is simple, offering speed, heading and altitude control. But tap the “advanced” icon, and it expands to offer heaps of additional features, such as conflict management tools and the ability to give handoffs and frequency assignments.
As for real-world locations, we have chosen Hawaii. One thing we noticed right away during initial testing is that sometimes “real” isn’t much fun. So with that in mind, we have tailored the procedures and airspace delegations slightly. For example, the real-world high-level sectors of Hawaii contain some degree of non-radar air traffic control, which requires a great deal of coordination work, but offers limited screen action. When we discovered that an aircraft required 45 minutes to travel from the left side of the screen to the right, we knew that we would again have to make a decision between “keeping it real” or making something that is going to be addictive and fun.
I fully expect to receive emails from Oakland and Hawaii air traffic controllers (both real-world and vatsim) telling me, “That’s not right. Oceanic traffic has much more than just 10 miles of lateral spacing!”. Or even, “Hey, the Molokai Four Departure isn’t shaped like that.”. I will thank them for their input, but politely explain that “real” isn’t something people are going to enjoy on their computer. Nobody wants to stare at a an airplane for two hours as it crawls across the screen at glacier speed. After all, this is supposed to be Radar Chaos!
So that’s where we are at. We want to have our cake, and eat it too. We want real, but we want to have fun also. So how do we put chaos into radar? By loosely basing everything on real world airports, terrain, sectors and procedures, but making the sector sizes smaller for faster screen motion and limited room to manoevre traffic.