Submitted By:
Nimbly Games
Watch Their Video
Game Type:
Game Platform:
Windows, Mac, Linux
Erik Measure

Design and Programming

Karl Sabo

Design and Programming

Game Title:

Nimbly Games’ Indie
Game Challenge Experience

Excellent! The submission process was straightforward, the organizers were responsive and helpful, and the finalist benefits were incredible.


Polish the first five minutes of gameplay and hope for the best. No judging process can reliably identify your work as the greatest independent game ever made (however obvious it might be), but the IGC crew does a pretty good job of it.


A free pass to the DICE summit! The summit provides personal access to tons of important people from the mainstream game industry and, most importantly, 5 star catering between sessions. Legit indie developers will never have eaten so well (nor should they ever expect to again).


I had a lot of fun with Climb to the Top of the Castle, though I hear that Altitude game is pretty great too.


We’re working on patch 32 for Altitude right now, but I can’t say anything about future projects just yet.

Game Background
Game Description:

Altitude is a cartoon aerial brawler that brings multiplayer action gaming to new heights.  Jump into one of five completely unique aircraft and blast your way across the cartoon skies!

Knock your enemies out of the sky with a tactical EMP blast or engulf them in corrosive acid, then seal their fate with tracking missiles from Loopy, the agile skirmisher.  Or blast them to pieces with a devastating volley of bombs from above, grenades from below, or flak from behind with the brutal Bomber.  Choose the Explodet for maximum control: this lumbering beast’s concussive rocket blasts send enemy planes spiraling out of control into walls and hovering air mines.  Light up your enemies with the Biplane’s 20mm machine gun and close-range flechette gun, or equip a massive cannon and snipe away with armor-piercing 75mm rounds.  Disrupt space and time with the frail but fearsome Miranda, a research prototype equipped with plasmoid rounds and laser weaponry.

What was your inspiration for making the game?

We’ve been dedicated multiplayer gamers since childhood, starting with Contra and text MUDs, then huddled around a 13” TV playing GoldenEye on the N64, then StarCraft, Counter-Strike, and most recently, DotA.  The proximate inspiration came from a friend’s fond memories of Intellivision’s Biplanes. 

How is your game unique from others out there?

Altitude features a completely original multiplayer action experience.  This is not another FPS, RTS, or RPG clone – the gameplay is fundamentally and dramatically different from anything you’ve ever played online.  The constant motion of the planes, heavy interdependence between movement and weapon systems and interaction of gravity on a 2D battlefield create refreshingly unique, and most importantly fun, new gameplay experiences.

Altitude is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, runs great on a netbook, and will happily accommodate your gaming schedule: it’s the perfect way to fill the “5 minutes” your friend needs to get ready, or the 45 minutes it actually takes.

How long did it take you to make your game?

The first prototype was created in about a week the summer before I went to college.  It was immediately apparent that an incredible nugget of gameplay lurked within and I became obsessed with building a worthy multiplayer game around it.  The prototype gained a small but dedicated following, but lacking the resources for a commercial release it simmered slowly with only occasional updates.  Fast forward a couple years after graduation, flush with cash and resentment from working for the man, Karl and I decided to quit our jobs and do this thing right.  We’ve been working on Altitude for 3 years now.

What was the hardest part about making it?

We jumped through a few hoops to get Altitude running smoothly on every major OS (Win/Mac/Linux), and I’m happy to say it was worthwhile.  One of our best map designers is a Mac user, and there’s nothing like a half-page bug report from a Linux user who’s correctly identified, discovered workarounds, and proposed solutions for an obscure bug.  The other major hurdles have been auxiliary features (automatic updates, tightly integrated friend system, map editing and server hosting tools, etc) that aren’t much fun to implement but provide lots of value to the community.

Any other unique or interesting facts about your game we should know about?

Altitude is a game built by and for passionate, discriminating, multiplayer gamers.  The controls are tight, the netcode is solid, the gameplay options are varied and well balanced.  Our average buyer logs over 66 hours of play time.  Since launch we’ve updated Altitude over 20 times based on feedback and feature requests from the community.  We have an awesome community full of creative, talented, and generous individuals.  Many of the best maps are user made, with more and better maps created each week.  Competitive gamers will be happy to know there are several player-run leagues and a recently-launched Altitude Ladder.

How did you pick the name of your game?  Did you have any others in mind?

Ultimately fans chose the name, narrowly avoiding such atrocities as “Crazy Planes” and “Daredevil Dogfighting.”

Questions for the Team Leader

Las Cruces, NM


California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

What is your gaming background?

Super Mario Bros on the NES was my very first game: I still remember leaning my entire body to the left in futile attempts to correct overjumps.  Since then, multiplayer games have dominated my gaming life: first BBS games, then text MUDs, Mario Kart on the SNES, GoldenEye on the N64, StarCraft, Counter-Strike, and DotA.

How long have you and your teammates known each other?  What’s the story behind how your team got together?

We’ve known each other since I was born, 26 years. We grew up across the street from each other; our parents shared responsibilities.

What game or games are you playing right now?

Altitude, DotA

What is your favorite all-time game?


What is your least favorite all-time game?

Blueberry Garden

First video game system you owned?


Current system you spend the most time playing?


When you and your team aren’t making awesome games, what other hobbies are you involved in?

Games are our life.