Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Bleeding Edge of Game Development

Some days I feel like I’m stuck inside Flash.  By Flash, I’m referring to the internet development software by Adobe.  It’s considered by many to be “old school”, since Flash is not supported by mobile devices and is gradually losing it’s place as the leader of internet game development software.

I’ve attended countless game development conferences over the past six years, and one thing I hear over and over, is that Flash is dead.  Well, it sort of is.  But I like Adobe’s software, as it allows me to build multi-platform native apps for iOS, Android, PC and Mac devices.  All in a single click.  I can’t imagine how expensive and time-consuming it would be to teach myself five different programming languages for five different types of game development software.

If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it.  The problem with using Flash for my games is performance.  The primary complaint that I hear is from Android device users, any time one of my games displays a weather effect. It’s a small deal, one that I can either fix, optimize, or work around.

Try blue! It's the new red!

Try blue! It’s the new red!

What I really hate are the bleeding-edge enthusiasts who insist that any development software that is more than two years old is garbage.  When I tell people that I use Flash Pro and Flash Builder, they say, “Flash?  Flash is dead.  You should be using XYZ software.  It’s cooler.”  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I’ve tried using Starling, a powerful code library that was used to make the online version of Angry Birds.  I’ve used xCode for iOS development, which is fantastic, but I can only use it for one platform (I’m currently developing for four).  Unity Pro looks incredible, but it’s not without it’s own performance issues, and is really intended for 3D content.  I’m anticipating using this software for a 3D “Tower View” version of Airport Madness some time in 2015.

There are several things I hate about trying to exist on the cutting edge.  For starters, the cutting edge is always moving.  So if I go out and buy XYZ Development Software for $2000, there’s no guarantee it will still be in style a year from now.  And since it’s new software, it’s bound to have technical bugs.  And when I need help, there isn’t much community around me to help.  Most people are using yesterday’s software.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.20.48 AM

The image above is a screenshot of me building shadows for the airplanes of Airport Madness: World Edition. Very old-school methods, but they work. I try not to be stubborn about things.  When the day comes that Flash Technology truly starts to suck for me, I’ll toss it like a week-old banana.  But presently, it’s perfect for what I’m doing.

Moving Forward With Our Games

The past year has been a great deal of fun and work for me.  I’ve tried a number of different game ideas, and have learned a great deal about the game industry.  Aside from learning that I must stick to my current niche market that is air traffic control games, I’ve also realized that the market has moved to mobile.  Sure, there are many who still download and play games on their PC or Mac, and many who realize that ours are more suited to such devices, but getting our games into Google Play and the App Store was a wise move.

Um… this is highly  unlikely.

I’ve made five Airport Madness games so far, the sixth currently in production.  Airport Madness World Edition and Radar Chaos World Edition were originally intended to have three, possibly four versions.  However, at this time I am considering launching only a single version of these games, but offering some lifespan to them, by continually adding on.

I just released Radar Chaos World Edition, which contains five maps.  This month I will add a map.  Next month, one more.  And so on, until it has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 maps.  Keeping it all together in one version will not only be cheaper for the customer, it will likely work out well for me, in terms of profit, because the games will hopefully continue to pick up steam and momentum, as a result of their longer lifespan.  I’ve been accused of my past games being “hit and runs”, where I release them, spend a month our two fixing bugs, then move on to the next endeavor.

My vision is to have two solid games on my site.  Radar Chaos World Edition and Airport Madness World Edition, both available on as many platforms as possible.  My other games will always be there, but won’t clutter the home page with noise.

My dream is to come up with a third air traffic control game.  I’ve given a great deal of thought to creating something 3D, that puts you directly inside the control tower with a swiveling chair and a 360 degree view of an airfield.  I’ve also been considering a “ground control” game, that focuses purely on the airfield itself, the taxiways, aprons, deice stations and gates.  I’m not convinced that either of these would necessarily be a fun game, but we’ll see.   I’ll put together a very rough prototype and let the testers decide what they think.

Look for Airport Madness: World Edition, coming this September!

Airport Madness 6

We never actually referred to Airport Madness: Time Machine as being number 5, but I’m keeping count.  Like any software that offers several versions, it’s important to come up with a naming strategy.  After all, who’s going to buy Airport Madness 19 ?  For that matter, Airport Madness 6 ?  The next three versions will be named Airport Madness: World Edition.

I haven’t decided which airports to build.  I could simply copy Radar Chaos: World Edition’s list of five airports, for sake of consistency.  But I won’t, because I don’t believe that these airports would necessarily be fun Madness airports.   I like Las Vegas McCarran.  The runway/taxiway layout looks like fun, in terms of conflict points and overall confusion.  Plus, it’s Vegas, Baby!

I’ve been making games for nearly six years now, and one thing I’ve learned about success in game development is, you’ve got to be lucky.  How is it that Airport Madness became as successful as it did, yet my other games fared so poorly in comparison?  I read all of my emails, and I take all ideas and suggestions very seriously.  I try to give people exactly what they want, when dreaming up my next big game.  Seems like Airport Madness is what people are after, so I shall stick to that.  Hopefully I don’t exhaust the concept!


I’m working on “the look” of Airport Madness: World Edition right now.  Up until now, each new version of Airport Madness looks more “realistic” than the previous.  The very first Airport Madness had flat colors and very simple detail.  It was just a simple 640×480 Flash game.  Madness 3 offered earth textures.  Madness 5 had every detail, right down to the duck pond located behind the unfinished hangar construction.  I’ve read emails from people saying, “You should totally use Google Earth for your maps“.   Besides the cost of acquiring Google Earth imagery, I don’t believe this would make for fun game play.  Each increase in detail reduces a player’s ability to identify airplanes.  The game loses it’s contrast, between airplanes and earth.  Airport Madness: World Edition art will take a necessary step backward, in an effort to improve game play.  I think you’ll like it.


Release date?  August 29, 2014.  Stay tuned!