Category Archives: radar simulations

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 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!

The Ultimate Radar Game

When I was fourteen, I was introduced to the game of Chess. At first glance, I thought the game seemed like a waste of my time. I would never figure out the subtle differences between all of the various pieces. I would never brag about such activity to my friends at school. “Dude, I totally check-mated my brother with my rook yesterday!”. However, I quickly fell in love with the game and a lot of my friends at school did, too. The game of Chess is similar to air traffic control games and simulations because of how addictive the play action is.

Managing a whole bunch of airplanes on a radar screen truly is one of the more interesting things you could ever try doing. It is such a mental rush to be responsible for thousands of lives at once, all of them hurtling through the troposphere at over 500 miles per hour, in a seemingly archaic fashion. Unlike air traffic control games or simulations, in real life the bottom line is safety. We don’t “push tin” like they do in the movies. Instead, we “cautiously manage said tin in an organized manner, as though our very lives depend on it”.

Air traffic control provides the world with a fantastic concept for potential new games, and this has yet to be truly explored by game developers. All of the popular classics like Risk, Monopoly, Checkers and Chess offer the same intellectual challenges as ATC does. What the casual game community lacks is an ATC game that invites everyone to the table to play. My mother tried our game Airport Madness 2 and really got into it, but she could not grasp our simulation. The world needs a radar game that starts easy and then builds, not just by intensity, but in complexity as well.

It is my vision to develop a radar-based game similar to Air Traffic Controller that maintains a reasonable degree of realism yet is simple enough for anyone ages 6 and up to jump in and start playing, without requiring 12 months’ training at an ATC institute to even get started. I envision such game consisting of a variety of radar puzzle-like challenges. For example, one challenge may be to carefully vector numerous aircraft through a complex maze of terrain, and another challenge may require using only speed control to funnel enormous volumes of air traffic into an arrival stream for a busy international airport.

We may be getting rather ahead of ourselves, as we are still assembling Airport Madness 3, Airport Madness Mobile for iPhone, as well as a 3D version of Airport Madness from a tower perspective (no release date on that!). I’d like feedback on our proposal for a simple “puzzle-style” radar game. Please feel free to email us directly with your thoughts.

Update for Radar Game “Air Traffic Controller”

Version 1.23 is now available for our radar game Air Traffic Controller. The full version of this air traffic control game now has much lengthier levels. In comparison to the free version, which has a total of just 24 arriving aircraft and a game duration of approximately 30 minutes, the full version now provides players with a full 60 minutes of game play. Updates are free to those who have previously purchased this ATC game.

Although we are mainly focused on our new games such as Airport Madness 3 and Airport Madness Mobile for the iPhone, we have not abandoned our existing products but continue to tweak them and make changes whenever we have the opportunity to do so.

Realism in Air Traffic Control Simulations

One thing that I have come to realize after building more than five air traffic control simulations: You cannot simulate the real thing on a 19″ screen. There, I said it. My air traffic control simulation weighs in at an impressive 997×738 pixels, which is as large as I can make it while still serving the lowest common denominator. 20% of my customers are still running on a screen resolution of 1024×768, which makes it a tight fit. Any larger, and you wind up with the dreaded scroll bars.

It amazes me how developers of similar ATC simulations insist on giving you a ‘radar scope’, which in my opinion wastes valuable screen real estate. I wouldn’t dare waste screen space on a pretty radar dashboard with all of the switches and dials for brightness and contrast, not to mention the old-fashioned round radar scope. I’m pretty sure that’s only in the movies. I highly doubt John Cusack would be expected to push tin on a screen the size and shape of a small pizza.

A typical computer screen is simply not big enough to display an 80 mile-wide sector. With such an enormous range, you can’t vector airplanes. The details are too darn small. Since I can’t change your monitor into a 35-inch monstrosity, my simulation zooms you in on the action with its’ relatively small sector. It is only 40 nautical miles from edge-to-edge. Things happen pretty fast in a small sector like this one, and there is very little wiggle room when you get backed into a corner.

One more brag point before I finish: This simulation obeys the laws of air density. You must understand that in the real world (and in this simulation) a pilot’s airspeed under-reads at higher altitudes. So if a you assign a pilot at 10,000 feet a speed of 210 knots, you will observe a groundspeed of about 250 knots. At sea level, there is no error. It’s a simple concept, but it does require some getting used to. In my opinion, it’s not a realistic simulation without this principle.

Air Traffic Control Radar Simulation

I have received a number of emails lately, regarding my air traffic control radar simulation. Some of these emails are from real-world air traffic controllers who would like to see even more advanced features, such as auto-overs and amended missed approaches. Others are from buyers who are struggling just to get a handle on the simulation. One thing that I have tried to be upfront about is that this is not a game. It’s a sim. There is no ‘score’, there is no dramatic music and there are no ‘levels’. This air traffic control simulation was designed to be as real as possible, right down to the pilot voices that you hear.

I am encouraging users to first try my radar game, called Air Traffic Controller. Air Traffic Controller is basically a light version of the sim, and just about anyone should be able to grasp the concepts pretty quickly. This sim is a natural next-step, and that is why I am selling both of these apps together as a combo.

I have put together a 20-minute video demonstration of the ATC simulator in action. It was originally intended to be a tutorial video, but with all of the action and pilot voices, the video became rather busy once I laid my voice down over top of it all. So the video is simply 20 minutes of me clicking away at my keyboard, doing my best to bring heavies down safely at Orange Island International, a fictitious airport located 50 nautical miles south of Maui, Hawaii. The adjacent control sectors are appropriately named after obscure Hawaiian locations, such as Miko sector to the south, and Kapaa sector to the east.
Be sure to maximize this video for best resolution!

You may have wondered about the tiny price tag of $5.95. This application offers just one sector. We plan to offer a ‘full version’ of this application next year, with 4 different sectors and a variety of additional features, and should sell for about $30.