Airport Traffic Control

The story behind the creation of Airport Traffic Control

Raf Peeters, January 2006

Like many other SmartGames I designed, Airport is also inspired by something in real life. It fascinates me to know that so many planes fly high in the sky but seldom collide. In my imagination the job of a airport traffic controller must be a real puzzle. If you want to experience that yourself from the safe seat in your living room, just fasten your seatbelt and get ready to take off with this single player game.


I normally don’t like to design variations on my existing games, but Airport Traffic Control is an exception to that rule. Hide and Seek Pirates and Safari are basically the same game, but with different levels of complexity. But Airport differs much more from Camouflage, although it uses the same transparent pieces.

There is more variation between the challenges, because the 4 levels have different artwork and game rules. The more difficult the challenges get, the less information is given about the right position of the airplanes. And in this game the orientation of the artwork on the tiles is also relevant, whereas in Camouflage it is not. What's more, the orientation of one plane depends on how you place the other planes on the same route (Junior and Master levels). With a little help from a pilot in my family, I added a lot of details that correspond to what things are actually like in a real airport (as far as the concept allowed). And like Camouflage, the choice of material once again reflects the theme, because air is also transparent, although not solid. ;-)


I like designs that are accurate on the details, even if most people never notice them. This is probably because of my design education. When we presented the prototypes of our designs at school, the teachers always started by looking at the underside of the prototype. The idea being that when even the minor details are done correctly, you can be sure that everything else that matters will also be okay. It’s a sound approach. When I buy anything, I still do the same!

From left to right: examples of a starter, junior, expert and master solution of Airport Traffic Control

Website ©2006 Raf Peeters

Products and images: © Smart