Monthly Archives: August 2012

Radar Games

It has been a busy month with the release of Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition. The product has so far done very well. However, it’s not a game for everyone. Those who enjoy it are the ones who truly get the concept, and love the idea of managing a sky that is jammed with thousands of human lives. Some see that as fun, others do not.

Air Traffic Control Games

Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition

We try to be as clear as possible about what you are getting for your $15, on each of our product pages. Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition offers several videos, and a free version is in the works for September. We’ve tried to create an enticing ad (above) that will hopefully serve to show people that radar games are cool. They are thinking games that involve many decisions and require the player to remain calm, cool and collected in order to manage the airplanes.

Airport Madness on the other hand, is an “everyone” game. It’s point-and-click. No instructions. Just move airplanes without smashing them. That’s why we remain dedicated to Airport Madness, and keep it at the forefront of our website, with Radar Chaos being the game we offer to hardcore air traffic control junkies who want to know what ‘stress’ really means.

Development Platforms

Big Fat Simulations develops games and simulations using Adobe Flash Technology. This is our preferred platform, as Flash is capable of producing web-based content as well as desktop applications.

All of our games have free versions that rely on the distribution power of game portals all over the web. The full versions, however, are too big to fit in the browser space, and owners of our full versions do not want their purchase to be dependent on a web connection. Hence the need for both an ‘online free version’ and a ‘downloadable desktop version’.

Adobe Flash has always been great for being able to deliver both. However, a number of users have experienced difficulty with Adobe AIR, and so we develop ‘alternate files’ for our games, which work fine, but have ugly icons and don’t contain our ‘digital signature’.

What development alternatives do we have? Should we hire new coders that can write the C++ language, and learn a new platform like Unreal Engine? Or switch to mobile development using Apple’s xCode, requiring coders who are familiar with the Objective-C language?

We could use Unity, which delivers for both, like Flash does. It requires a knowledge of C# and Javascript languages. And it has better performance. However, it’s content cannot be circulated throughout the online game portals as well as Flash content can.

The time I spend thinking about all this would probably be better spent focusing on simply making fun games.

So is Flash the best platform for what we do? Considering the time and money required to port our games over to another platform, a change would have to offer very substantial improvements to make it worthwhile. Almost all of our user complaints involve missing game features or bugs, but very few involve performance.

“But everyone’s playing games on mobile devices now!”. There is money to be made with mobile games, but there’s a lot of noise out there. To make a buck in the mobile world, you need to create a truly stellar game. As for PC and Mac game opportunities, there are more PC’s and Macs being sold now than ever before.

Since 2008, mobile games have steadily grown in popularity, and many have asked us to port our games over to iOS and Android. We have done this, with the assistance of our partner company, who specializes in mobile development. Android is extremely difficult to serve, as there are so many different device resolutions and device capabilities. The app stores that are available on Android are still evolving, and not quite as good as developers would like, compared to iOS.

Airport Madness is our biggest seller, and we have more versions coming, but it definitely won’t last forever. In fact, next year we will begin development of 3D games. At that time, we will likely transition to Unity technology.

Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition Now Available

The impossible is never easy, but we’ve managed to do it.  Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition is now available for instant download.

We were fashionably late, as usual.  I must learn to better estimate a project’s size before making promises.  Initially, RCHE seemed like a simple spin-off of the original Radar Chaos.  However, we were determined to pack more features into the control panel, add life-like procedures and a real-world location.  In the end, the entire project was basically rewritten from scratch.

Our first instinct was to add “Hawaiian” music, since the location of this radar simulation is the Hawaiian Islands. However, this gave the simulation a feel which we did not like.  We hated it, actually (especially after some 50+ hours of testing the beta version, which contained such music with ukuleles and flutes).  Ukuleles and air traffic control?  They don’t go together.  One is relaxed, happy and care-free.  The other is intense, and it puts you at the edge of your seat, stresses you out, and causes you to mutter, “How am I gonna handle THIS mess?” repeatedly.  So we went with that.  In fact, the music we chose for Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition is filed under the genre of “horror”.  You may think that sort of music wouldn’t fit inside a game,  but I actually like the fit.  It is suspenseful, dark and haunting, created by composers Roland Rudzitis and David Flavin.  Music only exists during the introductory screens of the game, not during game play.

Our coder worked hard until late last night (and early this morning) to get everything functioning exactly as it should.  We are now in ‘wait and see’ mode, poised at the computer with the email program open, waiting for any complaints or bug reports we can jump on.

We really hope that you enjoy Radar Chaos Hawaii Edition.  It truly is a fun game, for those who love aviation.  Airport Madness 4 is by far more popular, but it’s content aims at a much broader spectrum of users.  Radar simulation is a niche market.  It’s my favorite type of game, by far.  In fact the very first game we ever created was a radar simulation, originally intended to be a commercial training product.

It’s not easy to write instructions for air traffic control.  Our original promise was a radar game with “no instructions required”, but that quickly became an impossible promise.  We have created nearly a dozen tutorial videos for this game, as well as several pages of written instructions, which should be enough to get you going.