So this was the big one. I was working in a Miami lumber yard, I didn’t know anyone. I was pretty much on my own. I needed a playmate. Then one day, while sorting the board stacks, I came up with a neat World War One flying idea.
Planes could have a percentage chance to turn 90 degrees (else they went straight and THEN turned in their next move). Diving increased their chances, climbing decreased it. Same thing for speed – each plane might go one or two squares, based on their speed percentage. Simple yet elegant. I wrote it using a series of fonts to animate the plane movements and, on a lark, sent it to Strategic Simulations Inc, the powerhouse of computer military simulations.
And they bought it.
This was one of the headiest things that ever happened to me. To see my game in magazines and in shops. To get big royalty checks (I took my entire evening computer science class out to pizza). It was really, really cool. Fame is a very intoxicating drug.
I still have the game on the shelf, and the original art hanging in my kitchen. Every now and then I look at it and think, you know, it wouldn’t be any trouble at all to write this grid-based game in Excel, to duplicate what I’d done and advance it further (how about hundreds of planes on various patrols, allowing you to play at a tactical AND strategic level?).