Category Archives: Radar Chaos

Progress Report 2: Radar Chaos: World Edition

For the past three weeks, I’ve seen nothing except radar screens, and radar code. The most frustrating thing about this upcoming game is how much I enjoy playing it. Officially, it’s ‘testing’, but I’ve always loved ATC games and tend to get caught up in the radar scenarios.  I think this is going to be a fun game for everyone!


The above image is Hong Kong.  Lots of terrain in this sector, and all traffic funnels into a single approach path. I should remind everyone about something I mentioned in an earlier blog: RCWE takes a step backward from ‘realism’, in that there are no pilot voices, nor are the SIDs and STARs off the real-world charts.  This game is designed from the ground-up to be fun, with plenty of midair conflict points.


The above image is Los Angeles.  Plenty of traps in this sector!  Too many airplanes jammed into too small an airspace.  Fun!


Above is London, which offers a ‘parallel’ operation.  You can have aircraft on ILS approaches side-by-side if you like!  This enables us to move lots and lots of traffic.


Rio de Janeiro is depicted above.  Please note that all maps are based on real-world charts and highly accurate.  In this sector, there is only one lie, in that we decided it needed some restricted airspace to the southwest, just to mess with you even more.


Las Vegas above.  Not sure if this sector is as fun as being in the city of Las Vegas itself, but guaranteed not to put you to sleep.  Plenty of terrain to watch out for here.  Radar Chaos: World Edition will be available May 31, 2014, on all platforms!

Progress Report: Radar Chaos World Edition

I got an email the other day from someone telling me, “The next words out of your mouth had better have something to do with the upcoming Radar Chaos”.  As always, I am fashionably late with my game deliveries.  I’ve been sidetracked lately with porting games over to the mobile space, something I really should have been doing three years ago.

I am now full-steam-ahead with real-world versions of both Radar Chaos and Airport Madness.  Here’s a screenshot of the Las Vegas sector in Radar Chaos: World Edition:


Las Vegas offers plenty of terrain, plus some bizarre flight paths, sure to keep you stressed out and gulping your coffee as you play.  This next version of Radar Chaos will offer 5 levels and sell for $9.99, available for PC, Mac, and most tablets.  Stay tuned!  I’ll post another screenshot in a few days!

Radar Chaos: World Edition Progress

Now that Backyard Brat is finished, it’s full steam ahead for our next air traffic control game, Radar Chaos: World Edition.   This one is guaranteed to raise your anxiety level. Based on real-world airports this time, RC3 will offer five difference airspaces, like Los Angeles shown below. The simulation will be based on the game engine from the very first Radar Chaos, but with improved graphics. The airspaces will contain real-world airport details, tailored to promote the likelihood of midair conflict. “Challenge” is our goal in this version.











The unofficial list of airport sectors included in Radar Chaos: World Edition are:

  • Los Angeles International
  • Las Vegas McCarran
  • Hong Kong
  • London Heathrow
  • Memphis

A Word On Realism

Those of you who have played the first and second versions of Radar Chaos may have noticed a large difference in the level of realism between the two.  The first edition was entirely fictitious.  The airports came straight out of our imagination, custom-designed to be challenging and fun.  The second edition was based on the Hawaiian Islands and was highly realistic, right down to the aircraft types for each airline.  Radar Chaos: Hawaii Edition had real-world SIDs and STARs, too.

Unfortunately, adding realism does not necessarily add ”fun” to such games.  In fact, the first version is still our favorite of the two.  We’ve received a few emails already, asking why the third edition of Radar Chaos is taking a step backwards in terms of realism.  We’re receiving the usual  feedback, like “How come you aren’t using real-world STARs?  Los Angeles arrivals should cross MERMA at 14,000 feet on the LEENA STAR, Fillmore Transition”.

I don’t know how to say this, but “real-world ATC” isn’t always fun.  If you are looking for a fun air traffic control game that’s highly realistic, you may not find one.   I love the idea of basing my games on real-world locations.   However, the routes and procedures will be at our discretion, with words like “fun” and “challenging” in mind.


The maps will be fairly realistic, but not spot on.  Take LAX, for example.  The range is inaccurate.  Burbank airport and Los Angeles International are actually much farther apart.  But how much fun would that be?  So we’ve lied here and there, in an effort to make midair conflicts happen more often.  I think you’ll like it.  It’ll be a fun game, I promise.

We really do value your feedback and ideas! As always, we can be reached at  We never sleep, so feel free to send us your thoughts, 24/7.

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.

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.

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!

Radar Chaos Update 1.04 Available

If you’ve purchased Radar Chaos, be sure to grab the latest update.  Simply open the application and click on the bottom link, “An Update is Available”.  The update will install itself automatically.   Should you have any difficulties with the update, please email us.  We usually respond very quickly.

Radar Chaos Update: Version 1.04

  • Added lines to connect data tags to aircraft
  • Level 8: Numerous flight plan errors
  • Reduced frequency of emergencies
  • More stringent altitude compliance in beginner levels
  • Level 5: Added waypoint images
  • Reduced music volume
For a complete list of updates, read more here.

Radar Chaos Free Demo

If you haven’t yet decided whether or not to buy Radar Chaos, we now have a free demo you can try.  This demo is a single-level, traffic-limited taste of what the full version offers.  Be sure to check out our instructions and tutorial videos prior to playing.

The full version gives you 10 chaotic levels of radar with unlimited traffic, emergencies and weather.

Play the demo here!

Radar Chaos: Fun From Basic to Advanced

It is interesting how a game evolves during it’s creation. We have put much more thought into Radar Chaos‘s target audience than we ever did with our other games. There are actually two target audiences: the Casual Gamer and the Aviation Nut. Radar chaos will consist of 12 maps. Four of these are basic mazes that don’t require any understanding of aviation. The remainder are realistic air traffic control sectors that require, at the very least, for users to read the included instructions.

The basic maze, a 2-dimensional challenge with no data tags

My favorite map so far is the very first maze, aimed at the radar newbie. This map will also package as the ‘demo’ version on Facebook. Initial bet testing suggested that it was still a rather complex game for newcomers to jump right into, so we’ve designed Map 1 to be a basic 2-dimensional “keep ’em apart” exercise. It’s basic in concept, but challenging. My highest score is embarrassingly low, and I am certain that many will do far better than I.

An advanced map with realistic data tags and aircraft targets

Radar Chaos becomes complex and highly realistic in the advanced levels.  These levels offer optional selections such as true airspeed, realistic targets and data tags, as well as realistic delayed aircraft response.  In real-world air traffic control, a control assignment such as a turn or a speed change is not observed for several seconds.  In the real world, there is a great deal of airspeed error which must be incorporated into any simulation that claims to be realistic.

Options for realism are offered in the advanced maps

Having said that, I’ve had to pass on several ideas received from real-world controllers, such as ‘visual approaches’,  ‘auto overs’ and ‘point-outs’.  These options don’t add to the fun.  These items would add realism, but if you truly want to know what it’s like to be an air traffic controller, assemble six friends and have separate simultaneous conversations with all of them at once.  That’s the only part that is missing from any online air traffic control simulation!

Radar chaos is on schedule for a release in early March 2011.