Helicopter: A Plane Jam Game

by Darius Kazemi on October 18, 2010

in music,plane jam

A pixelated image of a helicopter and a city skyline, both silhouetted in black against a 6-color sunset. The screen is split vertically.

I took a red eye flight back from Indiecade last Sunday. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to make this thing. I’m not sure it’s much of a game — it’s more of an aesthetic jaunt, precisely timed to play along with a particular song. The game takes about 3 minutes, 51 seconds to play.

Download Helicopter here. Windows only.

In order to play this game properly, you need to own the songĀ “Helicopter,” by M. Ward (you can buy it for $0.99 from Amazon at the link). Place the mp3 in the same directory as the helicopter.exe file andĀ rename the mp3 to “Helicopter.mp3″. Otherwise no music will play. If you find the song streaming somewhere, you could probably also hit play on the stream and then immediately after run helicopter.exe. The timing is important.

Development notes

I have a bunch of designs in my head for games about being the helicopter evac pilot for a team of heroes. (Blame it on too much SimCopter as a kid.) One of those designs is about how boring it would be to be an evac pilot like 99% of the time, but how satisfying it must be to actually evacuate the hero.

This game is mostly waiting around and listening to a really good song until the song climaxes and you finally get to do something.

I greatly enjoyed picking the palette for the sunset, and my most surprising discovery was how disorienting it can be to see yourself and your target from two different frames of reference on a split screen.

The skyline is randomized at the start of the game, so, you know, infinite replayability!

The entire game was created on the flight, and the only change I made from the version I had when I landed is that it now uses an audio library that supports MP3.

{ 1 comment }

Joshua Hufton October 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Very cool stuff, Darius. Damn impressed this can be done in one short flight. Oh, and thanks for the music reference! M. Ward’s stuff is great!

I gotta admit, I let the game play in the background while I read a review of Vanquish, and almost missed the very best part. Literally jumped when I saw my chopper appear on the bottom screen.

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