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Airline Traffic Manager Interface Decisions

For those of you who are following the development of Airline Traffic Manager (especially all those people who keep sending us wonderful emails asking about it), there are some decisions  that are starting to be made that will help jump-start the process once again.

First and foremost is how to proceed with the game interface. The original interface was written in Microsoft Foundation Classes. MFC was never meant to be permanent solution. Instead, it was merely a way of visualizing what was going on in the game simulation engine. Unfortunately, MFC is a bit unwieldy. It got to the point where it was more of a hindrance than a help.

We have been keeping an eye open for possibilities during this (very long) lull in development. One option was to go to the successor of MFC, Windows Forms. Windows Forms are based in .NET and are significantly easier to use than MFC and they can be customized nicely to make for an attractive interface. However, there is still that “Windows app” feel to it. That’s not all bad. On the other hand, I’m a little wary of combining my existing C++ code with .NET as that tends to get a little prickly.

Other solutions have been proposed by colleagues including Flash, something from TorquePowered, and even simply using DirectX. One of the drawbacks of  those options is that I would have to bring in someone else to do the interface – which the budget does not support at the moment. Windows Forms I can do on my own for the most part.

Speaking of money, we have been keeping an eye on the rise of community fundraising sites like KickStarter. It’s a way to raise funds from the community by promising contributors a final product and maybe even perks on top of it. If the funding goal doesn’t get met, the contributors don’t pay anything. I have a feeling that a couple of well-placed mentions of the fundraising would generate a ton of money. Again, it’s something we are looking into.

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that we haven’t abandoned what was our original pet project. For all of you people who are dying to play the most detailed, realistic airline management sim ever made, I’m still planning on making it! Hang in there!

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7 Responses to “Airline Traffic Manager Interface Decisions”

  1. Henrik says:

    I am very glad to see that you have not abandoned ATM. Being an airline enthusiast who’s currently working with the airlines (lost luggage department at an international airport) this is a simulator I know I could spend hours and hours playing. I am definitely going to give KickStarter a look and see if I can pledge a little toward the work on ATM.

    As for the interface, I don’t know if it is possible but something like GTK might be an option? I haven’t worked with it myself, but I know it’s a powerful, and cross platform, framework for user interfaces. Maybe worth a look?

    Keep up the great work! Looking forward to seeing it in action!

  2. Dave Mark says:

    Thanks for giving a yell! I haven’t started a project on Kickstarter for ATM just yet. I will announce it here (and everywhere I can) when I do so. (Remember to subscribe to the feed!)

    Since I wrote this yesterday, I’ve had some feedback from colleagues on what I should use for the interface programming. I have some promising possibilities. More later…

  3. Wyatt says:

    For the sake of portability, I’d encourage keeping an eye on cross-platforms toolkits (if you don’t decide to just roll your own), and especially not C#. Please?

  4. Dave Mark says:

    Yeah… one of my best suggestions was from a colleague who is also a Mac user. 😉 I’m thinking in that direction already.

    Thanks, though!

  5. Henrik says:

    Hey, if you decide to go cross-platform, I’m very much willing to help you out testing on Linux based platforms. Got a split install, so I can do testing on both Windows and Linux.

    Again, very glad to hear the project isn’t scrapped! Give a yell when you’ve got the project up on Kickstarter, and I’ll see how I can help you out!

  6. Dave Mark says:

    Will do! And thanks!

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