Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what’s so great about a device and service that you can’t imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It’s given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here’s a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it’s all been for me.
Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I’d had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn’t feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It’s hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn’t show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.
Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!
Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I’ve used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.
A career path: It’s a pretty significant one, but if it wasn’t for the App Store, I wouldn’t be writing this. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It’s changed my life for the better. It’s been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I’m immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.
The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven’t yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That’s got to be a good thing for creativity, right?
Beloved Apps and Missed Titles
Favorites: I’ve struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it’s practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.
Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.
Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I’ve played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble’s use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.
It’s been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring. It’s looking like a pretty rosy future to me!
The soon to be released Real Racing 3 is on a lot of iOS gamers’ minds these days, especially many of us here at 148Apps. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to recap the series. In fact, we might have gone a bit beyond that and created a trilogy. First we’ll be taking a look at the series’ history and the history of Firemint, the Melbourne based studio that created the series. After that we’ll be taking a look at the design factors and what when into creating the first two Real Racing titles as well as a little of the third. And in the third part of this series, we’ll take a look at the new Time Shifted Multiplayer found in Real Racing 3.
One of the best-known examples of how far developers can push Apple’s new iPhone 5 hardware is looming just over the horizon. However, it wasn’t always so. Sure the Real Racing series has steadily become pretty much synonymous with near console-quality visuals on mobile platforms, even going so far as to have a permanent spot on the App Store’s Big-Name Games and Racing Games lists, but there was once a time when no one knew the name Firemint. This was around four years ago, when most mobile games were still easily distinguished from virtually every other platform. You know, when Solitaire and box-pushing puzzles came preloaded on everything and acquiring new games wasn’t anywhere near as convenient as it is now. Oddly enough, the developer’s first major innovation wasn’t even based around graphics.
According to Kynan Woodman, Real Racing 3’s Development Director, the original Real Racing was actually more of an experiment than a real game. Specifically they were trying to figure out how to rig up accelerometer steering for a Nokia handset in a way that wasn’t awkward or unnatural. Keep in mind this was back in 2008, and up to that point attempts at such a control scheme would tilt the view along with everything else which wasn’t exactly conducive to a driving game. “To solve this problem we tilted the horizon dynamically to counter your steering of the device,” he said, “so that regardless of where you moved the horizon in the game would match the real world. It seems obvious now, but no one had done it at the time.” Firemint didn’t just find a work-around for a common problem, the team developed a solution that set a new design standard for accelerometer controls.
Building A Unique Race
Once it had the horizon tilting figured out, Firemint began to construct the game that would eventually become Real Racing around it. “There was a lot more to the Real Racing franchise than great controls,” said Woodman, “but it started with that as a key innovation.” As it turns out, innovation ended up being Firemint’s calling card of sorts.
The developer’s second major task was to construct an interior view that the series has come to be known for, “… so players could actually see the steering wheel move as they steered,” Woodman said. It’s a feature that isn’t uncommon in console racing games these days (Codemasters’ Race Driver: Grid is a prime example), but it’s not prevalent in many – if any – iOS racers. The added level of detail, and by extension immersion, goes a long way to enhancing the “simulation” experience.
The decision to create a racing game built around closed tracks was made fairly early on in the cycle, however, but the rest of the design evolved as the game was developed. No one at Firement (now Firemonkeys) expected their project to become such a juggernaut on the App Store or to be the target of much speculation when early gameplay footage (above) was first revealed on PocketGamer in August of 2008. “We particularly enjoyed all the comments from consumers about how it was ‘clearly fake,’” said Woodman. Encouraged by these reactions, Firemint continued its work on through 2009, listening to fan and potential consumer feedback all the while. “We had a good idea of what people would like from the game,” he said, “because we could read comments and talk to press and consumers about it. Although we couldn’t do everything that players would like, we did use their feedback to help us focus the game design.”
Not Just A Racing Game Studio
Amidst all the hullabaloo surrounding console-quality visuals and innovations up the wazoo it can be easy to forget that Firemint doesn’t only make racing games. In fact, before Real Racing came out, it was already flying high (*rimshot*) thanks to the success of Flight Control. This casual mobile rendition of a day in the life on an air traffic controller began as a simple experiment concocted by Firemint CEO Robert Murray. It was meant to be a simple design exercise created over the winter break when the studio was shut down for the holidays, but garnered so much attention around the studio that fellow Firemint designers, Alexandra Peters and Jesse West, hopped on board to help turn it into a full-blown game–a good call considering that it’s sold over half-a-million copies in its first month and well over three million to date.
The original Real Racing went on to receive plenty of accolades, including 2010’s Apple Design and IMGA’s Excellence in Connectivity Awards, as well as a Best App Ever Award for Best Racing Game, Best Graphics, and Best Simulation Game in 2009. It’s also sold a whole bunch–and that’s just the first game. Not surprisingly, after Real Racing was launched in June of 2009, work on Real Racing 2 began roughly 6 months later.
The sequel to Firemint’s critical darling turned its fair share of heads as well when it was released in December of 2010. In addition to carrying over all the new concepts and special features that made the original Real Racing so noteworthy, Real Racing 2 added plenty of new items to its pedigree. The career mode was greatly expanded upon by allowing players to earn cash to purchase new cars and even upgrade their current ones. More camera options were added along with a special TV broadcast-style instant replay system. Vehicles were given damage models so that particularly rough races would leave telltale signs all over the racer’s cars. Online save options were added to allow players a chance to carry over their racing career when they installed the game to a new device. It was one of the first games to incorporate Apple’s Airplay technology which allowed players to view their games on their TV, using their iOS device as a stand-in for a controller. Actually, it allowed up to four players to view their games on the bigger screen all at once by way of the special Party Mode.
Last but not least, and in keeping with the whole “innovation” thing, Firemint also managed to include 16 player races (against AI in single player or 15 other people online), which was a first for iOS games at the time and no small feat in and of itself. All of these various features reportedly pushed Real Racing 2’s development costs to over $2 million. So it wasn’t just a first for iOS multiplayer, it was also a first for iOS development costs. Real Racing 2 has received a fair share of success with a combined (critic) Metacritic score of 94 to date along with taking the Best App Ever Awards for Racing and Graphics in 2010. With so many hits on Firemint’s hands, it’s no wonder large publishers like EA took notice.
The following year, Firemint was absorbed into the collective that is Electronic Arts. Some were understandably concerned about the acquisition, as it’s not uncommon for smaller studios to lose most of what makes them special (or get dismantled entirely) once they become a part of a much larger whole. However, Firemint CEO Rob Murray, as well as EA Interactive’s Executive VP, Barry Cottle, were quick to put those fears to rest by recalling the developer’s history. Many of Firemint’s pre-Flight Control and pre-iOS releases (Need for Speed Most Wanted, Madden, etc) were created while under contract for EA Mobile. One could even argue that EA helped to shape the folks at Firemint into the dream team they are today. Getting bought by one of the largest video game publishers in the business while being able to maintain their creative freedom made for an exciting opportunity for the already quite successful developer. But it didn’t end there. In July of 2012, Firemint joined forces with IronMonkey Studios (Dead Space, Need for Speed Undercover) to create Firemonkeys. I hope they braced for all the inevitable Infernape jokes beforehand. Since then, EA’s involvement has most likely influenced Firemint’s/Firemonkey’s pricing structures, but overall it seems like they’ve left the developer to do their own thing, which is to make fantastic games.
A more recent and potentially troubling development was the announcement that Rob Murray–former CEO of Firemint, mastermind behind Flight Control, and Executive Producer at Firemonkeys–would be leaving to spend time as a full-time dad. It’s a perfectly good reason to step down and Tony Lay, EA’s Melbourne Studio GM, has more than enough experience to see Real Racing 3 to its release as the new Executive Producer, but it’s difficult not to have a little concern over what this means for Firemonkeys. Development heads come and go from time to time, as is the nature of the industry, but sometimes major shakeups can be difficult to shake off. There have also been rumblings of another kind of shakeup for Real Racing 3. The App Store is still a tough market to predict when it comes to pricing structure, and it’s rumored that Firemonkeys might do away with the premium price tag for their new racer. In fact, if the rumors are to be believed Real Racing 3 just might be free-to-play. It’s not definite by any stretch of the imagination at this point, but it is possible.
It’s impressive to think that Firemint accomplished all of this–several multi-award winning games, millions upon millions in cumulative sales, and a significant acquisition by a major publisher–in about three years’ time. Where they go from here is anybody’s guess, but with Real Racing 3 looming on the horizon, the future definitely looks exciting, and pretty shiny.
Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the design decisions and what it took to make the premier iOS racing game series, so stay tuned.
EA is trying to set themselves up as the dominant player in the mobile and iOS markets, and months after acquiring publisher Chillingo, EA has acquired developer Firemint. Based in Australia, Firemint are known for Flight Control and the Real Racing series, which are responsible for over 4.5 million and 2 million downloads respectively. No details have been released on the terms of the transaction, or if Firemint’s operations will change in any way. While Chillingo is largely just a publisher of apps, any changes on their end have been largely in the background, as they have continued to operate normally on the surface, continuing to regularly publish independently-developed games. Firemint being an actual developer themselves, they may be subject to more changes, although any changes are largely speculative at this point. EA reports that Firemint will be maintained as a studio under the EAi group which includes their mobile, social, and online game offerings.
What this move does for EA is that it brings a pair of successful yet disparate franchises into their tent, and that may have been what made Firemint such an appealing acquisition target. Flight Control is a popular casual game that at one point was possibly the most popular game on iOS around when it was released, and is a progenitor of path management games to this day. Meanwhile, Real Racing is a graphics-intensive game, showcasing some of the best graphics and racing gameplay on iOS. As such, it has always sold at a premium price point, but this hasn’t kept the franchise from gaining popularity of its own, based on the number of downloads it too has gotten.
This move could be based on bringing Flight Control and Real Racing, along with any other future Firemint projects, to other platforms. Firemint has partnered with Namco to publish Flight Control on Android and Windows Phone 7, along with a PC version available on Intel AppUp, but we have yet to see Real Racing leave iOS yet. EA has also recently acquired Mobile Post Production, who have largely worked on cross-platform mobile projects, including the porting of games across various smartphone OSes. This could mean that Real Racing might be popping up on non-iOS platforms at some point, but this is all speculation at this point. While it’s unknown what will come of this move by EA, it’s another example of them making a big splash in the mobile gaming market.
A big announcement kicking off the day today, as Firemint announced that they have acquired fellow Aussie developer Infinite Interactive. The agreement means that Firemint will now be the exclusive publisher of all Infinite Interactive games, which means they’ll need more kangaroo pouches in which to stuff all the money they’re about to make.
“I’m incredibly pleased to welcome Steve (Fawkner, founder of Infinite Interactive) and his team to Firemint,” said Firemint founder Rob Murray. “Steve is an outstanding game designer and our two studios evolved very similar philosophies of developing addictive, fun and polished original games. By bringing our studios’ talents together, we will be able to create even more awesome games – and more of them.”
Fawkner added, “Firemint has had huge success designing, developing and publishing great original games. By joining forces, we now have a way to further develop some of the exciting new concepts we’ve been working on. This new position really frees me up to focus on game design and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”
Infinite Interactive is the studio behind the extremely popular Puzzle Quest franchise, while Firemint is best known for games like Flight Control and Real Racing 2. With the two studios set to work together it likely means that none of us will ever get anything done ever again, so we may as well just all quit our jobs now and wait for the companies’ first joint-venture game. Will their combined power be enough to knock the traditional powerhouses from their perch atop the App Store? It’s impossible to know right now but we wouldn’t be surprised if whatever they come up with makes some major waves in the realm of iOS and beyond. This is truly a powerhouse pairing, and one with a whole lot of promise.
When I first heard about multiplayer gaming on Game Center, the first thing I thought of brutal bouts of casual gaming goodness. There is just something heart pounding about playing someone else in a game that isn’t overloaded with overly caffeinated teenagers screaming “Head shot… loser!” Sure, there are many people, including myself, who are excited about first person shooter/action multiplayer gaming on the iOS, but my heart just wants to beat up on someone in a mellow game of Flight Control… and by golly, now I can.
To celebrate the release of GameCenter on the iPad with iOS 4.2, Flight Control is adding a slew of features to the Apple Design Award winning game. To help scratch that competitive itch, Firemint is adding an iPad exclusive verses mode map that can be played locally in the app or via Game Center or local Wi-Fi/Bluetooth multiplayer. Not to cut out the peaceful gamers out there (and I’m sure there are many), Flight Control is also adding a co-op multiplayer game that can be played universally via Game Center too, in addition to the already available local Bluetooth or WiFi . Like everything else on Game Center, you can either invite your iOS gaming friends or you can play with/against random players all around the world.
Since I have no chance at competing in the single player high scores, maybe it’ll be possible for me to compete with the masses in some co-op multiplayer gaming. The update isn’t out yet, so hang on to your excitement, but Firemint expects the new update to Flight Control to be out right around the release of iOS 4.2. See you online!
Lets just face facts and admit that as much as we would like to believe otherwise, the “match three” puzzle game is here to stay. The success of the gametype could be chocked up to everything from its simple to grasp concepts to the use of bright colors and often flashy animations, but the problem is that no developers are willing to mess with the formula. Hoping to take the nauseatingly stagnant bull by the proverbial horns, a new game named Virus Strike looks to change all of that in one quick swoop of their handkerchief. How are they hoping to breath new life into the stagnant genre? The answer is simple: give it a personal touch. Well, line drawing controls at least.
While much of the competition fumbles with fake analog sticks and gimmicky finger shuffling, Vertigo Software may be onto something with their unique new line drawing scheme that has more in common with Flight Control than it does Tetris. To help you better wrap your brain around how this awesomely simple schema works, glance over the brief gameplay footage below:
After viewing that video, I think it would be reasonable to assume that we have never controlled a “match three” in quite this manner. This may be the kind of change that has been needed for quite some time. Though, I do have to say that I have some concerns over the precision of the above methods; if nothing else, it will give a much needed change of pace that could further drive innovation.
Place your bets on how long these controls are exclusively in Virus Strike. Sadly, I am guessing it will be not long at all before someone from a larger publisher “borrows” it. However, the genre may be better off because of it. Be sure to give credit where it is deserved and take the innovator out for a test spin. The game will only stay free for a limited time.
Eighteen months ago, the then-little-known developer company Firemint published Flight Control – a game where you land increasing quantities of planes on runways with a limited amount of space both on the ground and in air. It was awarded five stars across the board by 148Apps, as well as the Editor’s Choice badge.
Today, Firemint has announced that sales of Flight Control have passed the three million mark – on average, a little over 5500 copies a day are bought by new users for their iPhone or iPod Touch. At $0.99 a piece, with developers earning 70% of revenue, that totals just under $2.1 million for Firemint’s work – or, to put it another way, $3814.67 a day. In other statistics, some two billion planes have been landed according to Flight Control’s online leaderboards, equating to 2548 planes a minute or a little over 42 every second.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced on September 1st that the iPod Touch alone has more than 50% of market share for portable gaming, outselling Nintendo and Sony combined. The App store has already enjoyed over a quarter of a billion downloads to date, reflecting the ever-growing importance of third party application developers and their software.
Firemint, creators of Flight Control and Real Racing, have announced that a number of in-game achievements and leaderboards for their popular games will integrate with Apple’s soon-to-be-released Game Center application, built to bring iPhone and iPod Touch gamers together both socially and competitively.
For Flight Control there are currently three known achievements: Safety Card (read the game tutorial); First Flights (land an aircraft on every level) and Jet Power (land 20 jets in a game). Leaderboards will also exist, presumably for each level, to see exactly who the best flight controller in the world really is, and how you stack up against your friends.
Real Racing will see at least five achievements, including: Real Racer (complete a race using methods B or E); Between the Lines (win the race without going off track); Clean Sweep (get all gold in a championship); Perfectionist (beat the gold qualifying time for all classes) and Cream of the Crop (rank in the top 100 for any track).
What makes Firemint’s integration with Game Center so unique is that the developers won’t be scrapping their established CloudCell platform, which already provides features that Game Center offers, like leaderboards. Instead, where possible, achievements and leaderboards will exist to offer those with older devices a chance to get in on the action. “Originally launched in April 2009, Cloudcell enables extensive connected features and is currently being streamlined to make it even easier to use and even more unobtrusive” writes Firemint. “As well as extensive online leaderboards, both Real Racing and Flight Control integrate with Twitter and Facebook, making it easy to share new personal bests.”
Game Center is supported on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and third/fourth generation iPod Touches, and will roll out next week with the public release of iOS 4.1. If you haven’t yet bought Flight Control or Real Racing, you can read our reviews at the links below. Real Racing was awarded the 148Apps Editor’s Choice badge.
The increased resolution of the iPhone 4 has been the point of a lot of conversation from the moment it was first announced. Most of the conversation focusing on if it really is a “retina display,” one with such a high pixel density that the human eye can’t see the individual pixels. And around that, most of the conversation had to do how great text will look on the display. But what about games? How will the increased resolution impact games? Can they actually approach photographic quality? Wow, that would be staggering — and I can’t wait to see it!
In what I believe are the first games to be approved to take advantage of the Retina Display on the iPhone 4, Real Racing and Flight Control updates are now live. They include increased resolution graphics to fit the new display — rather than rely on pixel doubled graphics. In addition, Real Racing control has been updated to take advantage of the gyroscope in the iPhone 4. It should provide for even better control of the steering in the game.
Firemint has launched an update to its popular Flight Control game for iPhone. The update, available now, includes a new map, updated graphics, safe fast-forward plus new sound and music settings.
Flight Control is a highly addictive strategy game in which users take control of a selection of airstrips and must guide different planes and helicopters to their destination. While things start off easy, you’re quickly swamped by jets and light aircraft that need to be designated a runway before they crash into others.
First things first, the new map. Windy Airfield brings a new dimension to the already frantic action with runways opening and closing at timed intervals. Users will need to keep an eye on a windsock in the middle of the level that moves around to denote a change in wind direction. The direction of the wind affects which runways are open. Aircraft already on approach will still land but you’ll have to find an alternate runway for the rest.
So far, the new map is generating excitement among players with many uploading their score to the online leader board. A Google map is currently displaying where the high scores are coming from around the world. Check it out here
Flight Control’s graphics also receive a boost in this update with much brighter colors to help you spot those incoming planes quickly.
Another big addition to Flight Control is the safe fast-forward option that was launched in Flight Control HD for iPad. There are now three speed settings from “Off” through “Locked Fast Forward”. “Safe Fast Forward” speeds up the game but alerts players when a collision is imminent and slows the game back down to normal speed so you can avert disaster. Fast forward is sometimes required during the game to speed up the action and get on to higher scores but, use it carefully or you could cause an aeronautical pile up.
As far as settings go, Flight Control will now remember a user’s sound and music settings which can be altered in the app’s Pause Menu so you don’t have to change them each time you play the game.
As an added bonus to celebrate the update, Firemint has also released a free Flight Control wallpaper for iPhone users which can be downloaded from the Firemint site here.
iPad and desktop wallpaper is also available.
This is a great update from Firemint and we look forward to many more soon as well as tweaks to the iPad app. Check it out today by heading to the updates section of the App Store via your iPhone or in iTunes and, if you haven’t downloaded the game already, do it now!
Flight Control is one of the best and best selling casual iPhone games ever created. It started the whole line drawing genre and was one of the first iPhone games to sell over a million copies. It has now sold over 2 million copies and spawned Flight Control HD, it’s big brother.
Flight Control HD is more of what you love Flight Control for. It also adds lots of features that you could only appreciate on the iPad. The split-screen 2 player mode sounds like a blast. Firemint have also added a 3D level to the game — but you need the blue/red 3D glasses to see it.
The iPad is the perfect device to play this game on. It’s large screen allows you to see more of the area and not have the planes be as obstructed by your fingers. Some say that Steve Jobs created the iPad specifically so that he would have a larger screen to play Flight Control on*.
Here are the official list of features for Flight Control HD, available now on the iPad.
Flight Control HD contains everything included in Flight Control for iPhone and iPod touch, as well as many additions and improvements for its arrival on iPad:
More ways to play, including multiplayer modes that take advantage of iPad’s innovative Multi-Touch interface.
Split-screen “versus” mode: play competitively by sending your planes to capture aircraft from your opponent.
Co-operative multiplayer on a single iPad: share landing duties with a friend on one of three HD airfields.
Multiplayer on two devices (selected from iPad, iPhone or iPod touch): land aircraft of your own color, and direct others off the screen for your fellow Controller to land.
More space to land your planes and bigger airports thanks to the large iPad screen, with three new HD airfields.
Beautiful high-quality graphics throughout, including an all-new menu and updated graphics for the Classic airfields from the iPhone version.
New Snow airfield with variable wind direction in addition to the four Classic iPhone airfields (Original, Beach, Carrier and Outback) and three HD airfields, for a total of eight single-player airfields.
Quirky “3D view” airfield brings Flight Control to life like never before – use red/cyan glasses to see aircraft floating above the iPad (3D glasses not included, widely available from retailers such as amazon.com at low cost).
Many more enhancements including all-new path continuation, improved collision warnings, a new “safe” fast forward function, and a longer version of the Flight Control song that you just can’t get out of your head!
The Flight Control HD App for iPad is available for US$4.99 from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore/.
Firemint has just released a 1.3 update for their extremely popular Flight Control game that adds the ability to play cooperatively with a friend over bluetooth. Flight Control has sold over 1,000,000 copies on its way to becoming an App Store classic.
Flight Control is a deceptively complicated game in which you must guide planes and helicopters to their proper landing places by drawing paths with your finger. The game starts out very simply with very few vehicles on screen at a time, but quickly ramps up in difficulty as more planes and helicopters of varying speeds appear on screen simultaneously. If anything collides, the game is over. When Christine reviewed the game, she gave it a perfect five stars.
In previous updates, Firemint has added new maps and online leader boards via the Cloudcell service. Now, in order to utilize the new 3.0 software for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Firemint has added bluetooth play so you can share air traffic controller duties with a friend. No wifi is required, as you simply need two devices with bluetooth capabilities (note: only the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPod Touch 2G can use bluetooth).
In this new mode, you and your friend share a cumulative score for a game. Each person has a complete map on screen (you can either use the same map or different maps), but can only land planes of a certain color. If a plane appears on screen that you cannot land, you have to direct it to the side of you screen, which will cause it to appear on your partner’s screen. This makes the game even more hectic, as you have to manage planes that both normally appear on your screen and those redirected by your partner all while trying to communicate with your partner.
I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox today, and I hardly slept last night for playing it so much.
Hot on the heals of their great update to Flight Control, Firemint have submitted to the app store a completely different game, Real Racing. Possibly the best racing game we’ve ever see on the iPhone, it’s coming really soon and I’ve got a final build ad-hoc copy. I’ve commented before about how great of a game this is. The final version is even better. It has amazing fit and finish and looks even better than the previous versions I’ve seen. Well done Firemint!
The racing game features 12 tracks, 26 cars, and five different game modes. The most interesting feature, to me, is the asynchronous multiplayer mode. Very well done, and a ton of fun to play.
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the game specific Twitter account, or become a fan of the Facebook page.
No word yet on price, we’ll see that when the app goes live. And we’ll have a full review ready for when the app goes live. That is if I can stop playing it. For now, check after the jump for the official trailer video, more screen shots, and the official app description.
The once #1 paid application in the App Store just came out with it’s 1.2 update today and I have to applaud it in every way, this is what an update should be.
Firemint has added two more airfields to play on with a total of five new aircrafts with that go along with these levels. Both levels add a new spin on the game. The “beachside resort” contains the red plane, the larger red plane, and the helicopters from the previous level but with the addition of a yellow seaplane that lands in a water-runway. This level has two helicopter pads and throws a lot more helicopters at you, changes the game quite a bit.
I don’t know if this problem has hit your village as of yet, but Flight Control is (still) haunting my dreams. Ever since Christine Morris put five stars on the review I’ve been hooked. I admit, the day I hit 100, I thought that I was the best in the world… and boy, was I wrong.
My feeling of invincibility was dashed after I was sent a youtube link (watch it here) of a guy landing 6000 planes in a row. 6000! Every morning now I wake up screaming, “6000! No way!”, leaving the people I live with in a constant state of panic. In light of this, I am attempting to move on to something that will redirect my focus, in turn giving me a whole new set of nightmare inducing dreams.
Just this morning, I found what could be the answer to my call. The game is called Parachute Panic, and it may just have the slick style/substance that I have been searching for. Parachute Panic, made by FDG Entertainment (known for the Bobby Carrot series), looks fantastic, even in its alleged “early alpha” build. Check out the video, watch it in Hi-Def, and tell me, honestly, if you think my sleepless nights will be coming to an end.
According to the developer, the game should appear on the app store late May/early June. Enjoy!
Firemint Games, the developers of the 148Apps five star rated game Flight Control, have just released their sales figures for the app while it held the #1 spot in the iTunes App Store. The period covered stretches from March 24th to April 25th 2009, which is a sizable amount of time for an app to hold that position.
Flight Control from Firemint has been at the number 1 paid app in the iTunes App Store for an amazing 18 days straight. We reviewed it a few weeks ago and found that it owes it’s perfect score to the fantastically sticky game play, originality, and great difficulty progression. A pretty simple game that keeps the players coming back to beat their or others high scores.
Firemint today announced planned updates for the app that includes online leaderboards and automatic save game. That app update is expected to be out by April 24th. Details below from Firemint:
Online highscores – by far the most requested feature, Flight Control will receive online leaderboards with a simple but clever design, to cater for many of the different ways people are playing. Firemint will use its cloudcell.com technology to go beyond a simple list of names and high scores and offer location based leaderboards and a skill based ranking system. Cloudcell.com has already been used in I-Play’s Fast & Furious game and will also be used in Firemint’s upcoming title Firemint Real Racing.
Save game – if the app exits mid-game (for example, closing with the Home button or receiving a phone call) the player will be able to pick up exactly where they left off.
Firemint also teased us with mention of future updates that might hold new airports and aircraft.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-03-06 :: Category: Games
We’re looking forward to this update that will let us see some of the amazing high scores out there. Let us know in the comments what your high score is and check out our review of Flight Control where reader Perry has commented with some great suggestions on improving your score.
This game is an action / strategy game where you have to plan the flight paths of the airplanes coming into the landing strip. Sounds easy hmm? Don't be too confident, this game is addictive, fun and difficult to land all the planes!
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