Category Archives: iphone games

Fun and Games

My next mobile app, “Backyard Brat”,  is in development for a January release.  As much as I love building air traffic control games, it’s important that I continually experiment with new game ideas.  And splashdespite the app store already being chock-full of silly games, I plan to submit some of mine anyway.  However, I am most certainly not planning to ever stop making air traffic control games.

Backyard Brat is an experiment.  It is the first of what will hopefully be a series of fun flying games.  If the experiment goes well, you will definitely see more.  The concept stems from an older idea I’d wanted to develop, which was an actual flight simulation.   I’ve been playing with flight simulators such as Microsoft Flight Simulator and XPlane for years, but I’ve been thinking about everything that is wrong with them.  And here it is:  computer flight simulation is boring.  And after 25 years of creating flight simulations, Microsoft has figured this out.  That’s why they have changed their name Flight Simulator to, simply, Flight.  Oh, and they have tossed in some challenges and missions for us.   The problem is, these challenges and missions lack fun.  Find the daily aerocache?  What the heck is an aerocache?  I can’t find the definition online anywhere.

msfsIt’s really hard for beginners to fly these things, too.  I think most people just want to be entertained by their games, not dazzled by how real they seem.  I am a seasoned real-world pilot  and I have a heck of a time landing Microsoft’s RV6 aircraft at Hana Airport in Maui.  It is very dependent on how good your joystick is, and what kind of video card you have under the hood.  If you have a laptop like I do, attempting a landing is a truly brutal experience.  Why even make a game like this?  We should all give up trying to make a computer feel like a real airplane.  It’s never going to happen.  Concentrate on the experience itself.  Leave control realism out of it.  Even my real-world pilot friends don’t give a duck about control realism in their computer simulations.

What users want is entertainment.  These companies should make flight handling a no-brainer, but intensify the challenges.    Why make a game about how one must attempt to land on a very small runway?  That’s dull.  Make a game about how one must land on a small dirt field, in an aircraft that’s loaded with illegal cargo, while being chased by a pair of Military Black Hawks.  I’d pay money for that.  When you add a little story to the flight experience, it becomes a fun game.

Most flight simulators lack story.  There is no fun in these games.  And fun must be baked in, not bolted on afterwards.  Simulators are difficult for most people to play, so the market is small.  Plus, they require a great deal of time and money to make, due to the requirement for 3D rendering.

gtaI envision the ultimate flight simulation as having a little ‘Grand Theft Auto’ to it.  It needs attitude.  It needs story.  You don’t just fly your helicopter through the friendly skies.  No. You bust your friend out of prison with it.  You fly an illegal midnight cross-border cargo run.  You rescue helpless children from the apocalypse.  I have fifty more of these ideas that I’m dying to create for you.

So we must first make our craft a helicopter, not a traditional aircraft.  Flying a traditional aircraft on a computer is boring.  You takeoff, then float around aimlessly, without any further ground interaction. Helicopters, on the other hand, can land on anything.  They can land anywhere.  A chopper opens up the possibilities for fun.

I want to make an easy-to-fly machine, with the wildest challenges you can imagine.  I’m totally giving up on the thought of 3D rendered graphics, and will make mine a classic side-scroller.  Development is faster, and game play is easier.  Backyard Brat is a simple side-scroller helicopter game that’s innocent fun, for everyone.  Hopefully it will find it’s market, and I can further develop these ideas.


Sky Madness Update Now Available

144Four years ago, in an attempt to offer something really simple and straightforward for all audiences, we developed Sky Madness.  It was sort of an “Airport Madness takes to the skies” concept.  The game is extremely simple to grasp, just drag the airplanes to their correct color-coded flight levels, while avoiding other objects.  The first few levels are pretty easy, but the game gets challenging once you get into the double digit levels.

The first version’s graphics were pretty bad, I’ll admit.  Four years ago, I was still a one-man band.  It’s hard to be a one-man band.  You have to play a steady drum beat, while holding a trumpet in your right hand and a tamborine in your left.  Or in my case, you have to know how to write game code, create art, manage a website, and be 24/7 customer support.  I now have lots of help.  The new Sky Madness art was not done by me, but somebody far more qualified.

The game play has also changed dramatically.  I basically modeled it after Angry Birds.  I figure the folks at Rovio have this game dev thing all figured out, so I borrowed a page from their book and set up a structure of unlockable levels.  I think it’s a good fit, and I plan to add this design to future versions of Airport Madness.

Oh, and I also added some cool game logic that detects how good of a player you are.  If you are failing miserably it gets easier.  If you are a rock star, the difficulty increases.  I also plan to add this to Airport Madness 5, due this spring.

Sky Madness can be played on PC and Mac computers, or if you have an iPhone or iPad, get the app!  Enjoy!

Airport Madness Challenge Now FREE for iPhone/iPad

Those of you with an iPhone or iPad can now try Airport Madness Challenge for free.  Although the full version still cost $4.99 for six levels of action, a ‘lite’ version is now available from the App Store which offers two free levels.  Additional levels can be purchased within the app for just $.99 each. 

The high resolution of this app looks stunning on the iPad, although it plays well with iPhone and iPod Touch as well.  Perhaps the greatest leap this app makes beyond Airport Madness Mobile is the multi-player function.   Using Bluetooth you can play against any friend with an iPad, iPhone or iPod in either of two multiplayer modes: Tycoon Mode or Survival Mode. In Survival Mode it is a showdown to see who can last the longest without a midair collision. In Tycoon Mode your goal is to drive the opponent into bankruptcy.

Get it here!

New iOS App: Airport Madness Challenge

We are pleased to announce the launch of our newest iPhone/iPad/iPod game, Airport Madness Challenge! AMC is similar to the original Airport Madness Mobile app, however with 6 different airports plus multiplayer functionality. It has a brilliant large resolution, ideal on the iPad. AMC also supports Apple Game Center.

This application was originally designed for the iPad. It was felt that the iPhone version of Airport Madness Mobile did not show enough landscape to offer players a view of arriving and departing airplanes. However, with the new Retina display of the iPhone 4, we were also able to publish this app for iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPad version of this application offers more landscape view than the iPhone version.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this app. Please give it your honest feedback rating after playing. As always, my email box is always open to you for your feedback and comments.

Will It Fly? Now available for iPhone/iPod

As a bush pilot of a small aircraft you must take off with as much cargo and as many passengers as you safely can, while avoiding terrain and obstacles. Earn points by pushing your aircraft to it’s limit. The more you carry, the worse your aircraft will perform!

Get it here!

How many passengers and how much cargo can you successfully take off with, and still outclimb obstacles and terrain? This game applies the real-world laws of aviation to a variety of challenging scenarios. Earn points by daring yourself to carry as much as you safely can.

As in the real world of flying, a headwind can be your ally. Wind reduces the speed at which you travel over ground, but it does not affect climb speed, so a strong headwind can provide pilots with a steep climb angle.

Hot, High, and Heavy. Any combination of these can produce disasterous results. Hot or high atmospheric conditions indicate thin air, which reduces aircraft performance by lengthening the takeoff roll and reducing your climb angle. Too much weight will have the same effect on aircraft performance.

Airport Madness Mobile Now Available on the iPhone

After months of work, Airport Madness Mobile has hit the iPhone App Store! A huge thank-you to everyone who has supported my efforts with their words of encouragement and by purchasing my products. Please give this iPhone game a try and leave it an honest review.

As there are several air traffic control games with very similar names, please be cautious of which one you are buying. Our iPhone app is called “Airport Madness Mobile“.

“You land a million planes safely. Then you have one little mid-air, and you never hear the end of it.” – Air Traffic Controller, New York TRACON

Do you have what it takes to be an air traffic controller at a busy international airport?

As an air traffic controller it is your job is to keep aircraft from colliding, while avoiding unnecessary delays. You are paid the big bucks for your visualization skills and guts. Just like the real job of an air traffic controller, you must pay attention and keep your eyes moving. There is always something that you could be doing! You must give takeoff clearances, landing clearances and taxi clearances in a strategic effort to maintain safety and efficiency where there would otherwise be total chaos. This is not a spectator’s sport! After successful completion of all 14 levels of this simulation you will become an expert at visualization and managing priorities.

This simulation contains 7 different challenging airport layouts. You will be required to work at night, and occasionally in poor weather conditions. Knowledge of air traffic control is not required to be a top-notch air traffic controller in Airport Madness Mobile, but you do require nerves of steel.

Airport Madness Mobile

We are pleased to announce that Airport Madness Mobile has been submitted to the iPhone App Store and should be available by April 23, 2010. It promises to offer the iPhone community a truly addictive air traffic control game. Unfortunately we could not secure the name “Airport Madness” as it has been taken, so please be aware of which one you are buying on the App Store. There will be an announcement here, as well as in the newsletter (sign up above) as soon as this app becomes available.

Airport Madness 2 iPhone Update

We are extremely excited about the release of our first air traffic control game for the iPhone. Airport Madness 2 should hit the app store by April 30, 2010. Here are some proposed screenshots of the game in action:

At first glance it seemed like porting Airport Madness 2 over to the iPhone would be relatively straightforward. Of couse, the challenges are embracing the advantages and minimizing the disadvantages of a small screen and a touch-based platform. Another challenge will be naming this iPhone application. Unfortunately the name ‘Airport Madness’ exists in the app store already. Naming overlaps do frequently occur on the web, but we will strive to find something unique yet familiar to fans of the Airport Madness series.