Your First Flight
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” -Nietzsche
Ready to suit up and take the throttle to put your skills against all challengers? There are a few basic things you should learn before throwing yourself head first into an online game. The best place to start is the in game Training mode. The Training throws you behind the wheel of the Loopy, a quick and nimble plane, which serves as a great plane to start earning your wings with. The Tutorial should launch the first time you start the game and can also be accessed from the in game menu anytime you need to brush up on your skills as a Top Gun. It will show you the basic principles of how to control your plane; including how to maneuver your plane, use your throttle, recover from stalls, and shoot down enemy planes. It also teaches you the basics of energy management; that both your afterburner and both your weapons use up your limited energy source. Don't worry though, your energy regenerates, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't learn to use it wisely! The Tutorial also teaches the basics of how to play a TBD (Team Based Destruction) game, a BALL (Plane Ball) game, as well as an FFA (Free For All) game. The in game Tutorial is a great place to start because it allows you to learn the basics of the game without having to deal with "live" players. All the planes you learn against are computer controlled Bots, so no worries if you aren't a Maverick on your first flight!
So you've completed the Tutorial and you are ready to jump into the realm of an online game. Hopefully you have learned a bit of the basics of flying and firing your weapons by now and want to further your skills against some real "live" competition. The best place to start is by selecting the "Join Game" option on the game's main menu. There is a server designed for beginning players and it's called "New Players Join Here." (I think the name kind of gave it away.) This server has it's maximum level capped so that more seasoned flying veterans can't join the game. It's a great place to start honing your skills against some real "live" competition in a less competitive environment.
Once you have reached the point that you think your skills are good enough to match up against the best then it's time to make your move from the new players server to another server. There are a multitude of servers available to you that are displayed when you select the "Join Game" option on the game's main menu. These servers include the Official Altitude Servers as well as privately hosted game servers. There are many important factors you want to consider before joining another server. First, consider your ping to each of the servers. If you have a very large ping, of around 400ms or higher, you should consider the fact that your game will not run as smoothly for yourself or for those playing against you. Second, consider the game's size. Some games will set their player cap at 14 players or possibly lower while some games will set their player cap as high as 34 players (possibly even higher). The amount of players in a game drastically effects how the game is played and it is up to you to decide what you feel is the best suited to the game you want to play. Third, consider the type of game that the server is playing. There are currently four core game modes: TBD (Team Base Destruction), FFA (Free For All), TDM (Team Base Destruction), and BALL (Plane Ball). In addition to these game types are three One-Life modes: 1DE (1-Life Demolition), 1DM (1-Life Deathmatch), and 1BD (One-Life Base Destruction). Their descriptions can be found on their respective pages. The type of game being played can usually be determined from the name of the map that is being played with TBD maps starting with the prefix tbd_, FFA maps starting with the prefix ffa_, BALL maps starting with the prefix ball_, TDM maps starting with the prefix tdm_, etc. However, most servers alternate between game types, so joining a server that is playing one of the game types will most likely switch the the other type as it rotates through different maps.
Below is a list of some of the different facets of Altitude that it is important to know the function and role when playing in a game:
In the BALL game mode, players attempt to pass a soccer-like ball among their teammates and score in the opposing team's goal. Planes can score by shooting the ball into the goal using their power up key ("S" by default) into the front of the goal. Alternatively, a plane can "dunk" the ball by flying straight into the goal while carrying it. When a team scores a goal, their respective score is increased by one. Although customizable in the server_configurator, the default for the BALL game mode is to play until one team scores six goals. Goals can only be scored from the inside front of the object - balls that hit the posts on either side of the score-able area or the back of the goal simply rebound. As such, it is important when playing BALL to weigh the current situation and decide whether shooting or dunking is more practical.
Team Bases are used in the TBD (Team Base Destruction) and 1BD (1-Life Base Destruction) game play modes. Each team's base has a specific amount of health that must be eliminated through damage in order to secure victory for your team. However, the base doesn't only function as a means to win the game, it will also recharge a plane's health back to full for any pilot who successfully lands on it. Don't get confused and land on the enemy base as they won't give you what you are looking for. One of the important aspects of the base is that it can only be damaged by use of the Bomb. Your plane's weapons aren't powerful enough to pierce its armor, so save your bullets for the opposing team's planes!
There are only two types of turrets in the game: those that are trying to shoot you down and those that are trying to shoot your enemy down. Turret's are computer controlled, stationary guns that shoot explosive projectiles at enemy planes. They are often used as a last line of defense for a team's base in a TBD game. Don't be fooled by the fact that they are computer controlled though as turrets shoot "predictive shots" in that they shoot where your plane is going to be rather than where it currently is located. So learn to vary your throttle speed and don't fly in a straight line when you are in range of the incoming fire. Often times it is advantageous to work with your team to destroy a few key turrets in order to gain a less hindered route to drop bombs on an enemy base. The turret's health is displayed in a bar just below the turret on screen. While it takes a substantial amount of your plane's arsenal to destroy a turret, dropping a single bomb on a turret is more than enough damage to destroy it with a direct hit.
There are three categories of perks available to you in the game. The categories are Red Perks, Green Perks, and Blue Perks. The Red Perks are unique to each plane and there are three Red Perks per plane. There are four different Green Perks and four different Blue Perks that are available to use for your plane and all eight of these perks are available to all planes. When configuring your plane you can select one of each of the categories of perks. This allows for a myriad of choices available as you mix and match the perks that work best for you. Every time you spawn in the game, whether it be when you first enter or after you have died, the current selection of perks is displayed for a short period of time under your plane and they are also displayed in the bottom right corner of your screen while you play. The perks can be editing by pressing the 'E' key while you are waiting to spawn in a game.
There are currently 60 different levels in Altitude. As you play games online you gain experience from shooting other planes down, assisting in shooting other planes down, destroying turrets, and successfully dropping a Bomb on an opposing team's base. There are also round bonuses given to winning team's in TBD games as well as to the winning player in an FFA game. Leveling up plays as important role in the game of Altitude as each level unlocks a new perk available for you to use or a challenge for you to complete. When you reach level 60, you have the choice of continuing to play with all game aspects unlocked or to move on to the first Ace prestige level, returning yourself to level 1 and locking all additional perks and planes you freed along the way.
While engaging in battle players can find Power Ups scattered throughout the battlefield. These offer a variety of benefits; from a homing missile that will track down opponents to a shield that can reflect an enemy's shots back at him. Power up spawn locations can be identified by the small blue bubble used as a container. The power up slowly fades into the game field as to indicate when it may become available to pick up.
These are bars that are displayed next to your plane that not only are a badge of honor but increase your plane's health, speed, turning, damage and energy. Each time you successfully earn 10 experience without dying you will earn one bar next to your plane. Each bar is equivalent to an increase of 2% of the previous mentioned categories. The first level is Bronze Bars and after you have earned three of these bars you move on to Silver Bars and then finally to Gold Bars. The effect of these bars can be increased by 50% by using the Blue Perk Ace Instincts. Beware! These bars not only give your plane a boost in its abilities but also make it a prime target for the enemy players! Killing a player with various stages of Veteran Bars will also give the killer more exp depending upon the stage of veteran bars; NO bars= 10exp, 3 bronze=17exp, 3 silver=27exp, and 3 gold=30exp.
Heads Up Display
When you play a game of Altitude there are many on screen indicators that are important to keep an eye on. First are your gauges which are displayed directly above your plane while you play. You learn about these in the in game Tutorial as they display your current plane's health, energy level, and speed. Keep an eye on their levels in order to maximize your ace combat skills.
It is especially important to watch the base health bars located at the top of your screen in the TBD mode. Checking these regularly can be the key to knowing when to defend your base or when to push for a bomb hit. A recent patch implemented percentage indicators to the bars at the top of the screen, which give more precise indications of how much health is left. Every mode has some sort of indicator at the top that displays more exact information about how the game is progressing.
Awards are given at the end of each round of play to players who excel in a number of different categories.
- Most Assists: Awarded to the player who gets the most goal assists. This award is only given out in the BALL game mode.
- Most Helpful: Awarded to the player who gets the most assists. This award is only given out in team game modes.
- Demolition Expert: Awarded to the player who inflicts the most amount of damage to the opposing team's base as well as their turrets. This award is only given out in the TBD game mode.
- Longest Life: Awarded to the player who lives the longest amount of time in a given round. This award is only given out in the FFA game mode.
- Best Multi-Kill: Awarded to the player who kills the most amount of the opposing team in which the kills are strung together in a row. This award is given out in almost all modes.
- Best Kill Streak: Awarded to the player who has the most consecutive kills without dying. This award is given out in almost all modes.
- Most Deadly: Awarded to the player who kills the most amount of the opposing team over the duration of the entire round.
- Most Valuable Player: Awarded to the player with the most amount of experience combined from killing opposing player, assisting in killing opposing player, and damaging the opposing team's base and turrets.