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Laminar Research, the developers of X-Plane 9, have posted about their intense experience porting their popular flight simulator from within Apple's headquarters in the days leading up to the "Let's Rock" media event held on September 9th.

X-Plane 9 [App Store Link] was recently released for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the $9.99 game has received a very positive review at TouchArcade.com. The simulator currently holds the number 6 spot amongst all paid applications on the iPhone.

The developer recounts that on September 1st, he called Apple to see if the company thought it was possible to port their flight simulator to the iPhone. The response was enthusiastic "yes" with hopes that the app could be ready for Apple's upcoming Let's Rock media event. The developers packed up and flew to Apple headquarters in Cupertino almost immediately to start work on the port.
Within 2 minutes, our contact at Apple came down the lobby to get us and bring us to the office that would be our home for the next 7 days as we cranked out the iPhone version of X-Plane on an absurdly tight schedule. Here is the deal: Apple had a Keynote coming up in about 10 days, and wanted to have X-Plane ready to present there, and neither Ben nor I had ever tried to program anything for an iPhone before. Could we get X-Plane into an iPhone in only 10 days? Steve Jobs himself, Leader of Apple, wanted to have a suite of programs ready in only 7 days to present at the keynote, and we had NO PROOF AT ALL that the job even COULD be done... in ANY time-frame! The next 7 days were, to say the least, 'interesting'. Ben and I had an office right in the middle the 'hive-mind', right alongside all the engineers at Apple.
The entire account is a very interesting read and gives readers a unique glimpse into the company. In the end, while the app was completed in time, it was cut from the presentation since Steve Jobs felt it wasn't "fast-paced" enough for a Keynote demo.

Still, the developers are quite pleased with the results and the application is selling very well in the App Store.

Article Link
 

pismodude2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2008
666
0
MacWorld
Wow!

I always wondered if it was just hype over the whole 'easy to learn' coding process for the iPhone/iPod Touch. This amazing account really opened my eyes to what the iPhone really is: one of the most versatile mobile devices on the market. Sweet. :)
 
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EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,677
130
San Francisco, CA
Pretty interesting. Odd that it wasn't picked for the keynote, however. X-Plane looks more interesting than the games that were previewed (plus, it was actually available).
 
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dolphin842

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2004
1,168
28
Wow, all that pressure and effort to make the port on time, only to have the app dropped from the keynote.

Still, I suppose the developers can console themselves with all the money coming in at the moment ;).
 
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boer

macrumors regular
Mar 1, 2006
154
0
The simulator currently holds the number 6 spot amongst all paid applications on the iPhone.
... in the US. Remember that the app store is specific to countries where available just like the music store.
 
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effer

macrumors member
Nov 13, 2007
73
0
Kinda makes the whole game seem rather... rushed. And obviously it was, which I'm not sure is a good thing to boast about.

Yes, a patch is now out for X-Plane, which improves fps among other things, but it highlights the whole issue of selling apps that should still be in beta testing.
 
Comment

dolbinau

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2006
87
33
Australia
Kinda makes the whole game seem rather... rushed. And obviously it was, which I'm not sure is a good thing to boast about.

Yes, a patch is now out for X-Plane, which improves fps among other things, but it highlights the whole issue of selling apps that should still be in beta testing.


There weren't really FPS issues in the first place, It's just an improvement, that's all.
 
Comment

Detektiv-Pinky

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2006
829
162
Berlin, Germany
That sounds like last minute panic to me. :D

Apple not aware 2 weeks before the event that they had to prepare a Keynote!

Hopefully that is not their normal software development process :eek:
 
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Pippen Man

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2008
213
0
But I wonder if Apple will think of this article as a "breach" in how they operate. This article has opened up so many things that go on inside of Apple that I never thought of before... but the real question is, this article was based off of one of the apps that wasn't previewed at the event, what about other ones that were denied/approved? I wonder what there story is behind them:confused:
 
Comment

GreyHare

macrumors member
Nov 14, 2007
43
8
Austin, TX
Pretty interesting. Odd that it wasn't picked for the keynote, however. X-Plane looks more interesting than the games that were previewed (plus, it was actually available).

Flight simulators are boring for the same reason commercial airline flights are supposed to be boring: it's a good thing. X-Plane doesn't support much in the way of weaponry. (EDIT: and only the desktop version supports weaponry or networked flight.)

Programming a simulator in a week -- utterly wow! :cool:

It's a port, and a very chopped-down one at that. The full version lets you do things like edit terrain and aircraft; the iPhone version lets you choose from a list of four aircraft and has only one region (not the whole world, which would be some 66 GB more). The full version has things like fuel management, lights, and radio navigation; the iPhone version has none of that.

The iPhone version is really just a tech demo for the real one.

Yeah, because the two-hour keynotes are totally "fast-paced."

So, 10 minutes of takeoff & flying around like a tourist, then 20 minutes of trying to land intact? (Remember, no radio navigation, so "landing" means "go to the menu and have it put me on final." The Austrian Alps are great for pretty pics but rough when you're trying to visually locate an airport.) That's a half hour they're not looking at Steve. ^_-
 
Comment

maokh

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2007
260
18
Seattle, WA
Nice read, but CALM DOWN on the UNNECESSARY CAPITALIZATION for EMPHASIS in the ARTICLE.

I mean,

:D:D

CAN you BELIEVE we are USING the SAME internet USED by CELEBRITIES and THE PRESIDENT? I mean, WOW. This network MUST be running at 100000% FULL THROTTLE.

... that article was extremely difficult to read, and extremely comical. The author seems easily impressed. wait.. i dont think there's a word for it.

I still love iphone x-plane and thank the author dearly for his contributions. I never would have thought we'd be lucky to have even one flight simulator for the iphone, let alone one of the best engines available. I can't wait for more airports, locations, and .. well .. airplanes maybe.
 
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Xian Zhu Xuande

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
896
74
He does not lie about the cafeteria. That place is incredible!
The food is delicious and it is extremely affordable!
 
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penter

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2006
600
29
i thik he at LEAST deserved some mention in the keynote. his story was VERY enviable!!!

Hope i work for Apple some day....
 
Comment

Diode

macrumors 68020
Apr 15, 2004
2,432
102
Washington DC
Wow, all that pressure and effort to make the port on time, only to have the app dropped from the keynote.

Still, I suppose the developers can console themselves with all the money coming in at the moment ;).

Ehh they still got a free trip to San Fran to develop a app that's making them money.

I don't think the developers care too much.
 
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