Ready For Takeoff: The Unofficial Guide to Altitude

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Imagine. You're in a sleek loopy, flying towards a seemingly wide open enemy base, carrying the game-winning bomb. As you get closer, you spot a biplane lurking around a corner, ready to snipe you with a 75mm cannon and two mirandas swooping in to collect an easy kill. Your fat explodet team-mate lumbers up behind you, taking out the biplane and disabling one miranda, but there is still another one left between you and the base. Will you lead your team to victory, or will you perish? This is what Altitude is all about.

Altitude is a 2D cartoon aerial brawler of epic proportions. Continuous updates, highly competitive matches, responsive developers, and a community produced ladder makes this game arguably one of the best games of its type out there. PC Format says "Altitude is pretty much as feature packed as it could possibly be ... every component has been so very well polished it would burn the retinas of Mr Sheen ... at just $10 (update: now FREE), you'll be hard pressed to find a better value investment." (From the altitude website).

But before you jump into this game, you need to know the basics. Which is why the Altitude community presents to you: The Unofficial Guide to Altitude.


Altitude is designed to be fun — you fly in cartoony planes and shoot enemies down from the sky. But as simple as it may seem, there is much more to this game than meets the eye. The first step to is to understand the menus.

Splash Screen

First things first: when you open Altitude you should see a splash screen. The two main buttons will take you to the training levels (Training) and the server list (Play Online). The button on the bottom labeled “Unlock Skins” allows you to trade in Community Points to unlock skins for your plane (Community Points will be discussed in-depth later). The button labeled “Expert Guides” opens a webpage to the guide section of the forums, which will be discussed later as well. The button labeled “Map Contest” also opens a webpage but will take you to the map-making section of the forums.

Friends List

Let’s take a look at the list of buttons on the left side of the screen. First, the friends list. Let's say you already have around 10 people on your friends list. Each of you friends will be displayed in one of three ways:

Example of a friends list
  • Offline — If their name is dark and there is no join server or message icon next to their name, they are offline.
  • Online — If their name is blue and there is no join server icon, they are online but not on a server.
  • Online and Playing — If their name is green and there is a join server icon, they are online and playing on a server. Clicking on the green icon will bring you to that server.

If a player is online (playing or not) you can click on the blue icon and privately chat, or "whisper" with them.

Adding Friends

There are three main ways to add friends to your list in Altitude.

  • Through the Scoreboard

One of the most common ways to add friends is through the scoreboard. To open up your scoreboard, press the tab button while playing in a server. Then, right click on the name of the person whom you would like to be friends with and click "Add friend". They will receive a message that you would like to be friends with them.

  • Through Your Friends List

The second way to add friends is found right on your friends list. Navigate to your friend sidebar by going to the main lobby and clicking the "friends" button on the left. At the bottom of the friends sidebar, you should see a button that says Add Friend. Once you click on this, it will bring up a window showing all of the players that you have recently played. You can then browse through this list to find the person you are looking for, then press the Add Friend button next to their name. You can also type in their nickname in the prompt box near the top of this window.

  • AltBouncer/Console Command

A final way to add friends is by using the "/wiki/addFriend" command. Anywhere in the game, you can open up the console (press F1) and type in "addFriend <vapor ID>". To find the vapor ID of a player in the server that you are in, open up console and type in "listPlayers". This will give you a list of the player's nicknames and their corresponding vapor ID's. If you want to add someone who is not in the server, you can use a system called AltBouncer which was created by tec27 to match their nickname to their vapor ID.

After following one of these steps to add your friends, you're on the way to becoming a part of the Altitude community.


Another important button on the left side of the screen is labeled "Options". In the options section you will find the following:

  • Graphics
    • Fullscreen - This allows you to toggle on and off Full screen mode
    • Gamma - This allows you to choose which brightness you would like to play at
    • Resolution - Sets the resolution of the Altitude window on your screen
    • Stretch to fill screen - This allows you to stretch the game so it fits your personal screen
    • Texture detail - Changes the level of detail of map textures to accommodate older computers with limited processing power
    • Color blind mode - Selecting this will cause the team colors to always be to red and blue
  • Controls - In this panel, you can reconfigure your keyboard and mouse control scheme
  • Sound - In this panel, you can adjust the volume of game sounds and effects
  • Gameplay
    • Tips - By enabling tips, a message will appear at the bottom of your playing screen giving you advice on what to do (i.e. switching teams, using powerups, etc.)
    • Show skins - If you enable custom skins, you will be able to see other players' skins (fancy paint jobs on your plane that you can buy for 100 Community Points)
    • Show fps and ping - This allows you to see the frames per second and your ping in the bottom left corner of your screen
    • Show XP log - Enables/disables the older experience log that displays assists and kills on the bottom of your screen
    • Show kill popups - Enables/disables the popups which display when you kill or are killed by another player. These popups contain the player's rank and plane setup.
    • Show notifications - This will give you notifications in the bottom right corner about your friends and friend requests
    • Chat transparency - This slider adjusts the chat box to be more transparent or more opaque.
  • Account
    • Email - This is the email that nimbly games will use to send you things like news and the email you use to log in
    • Nickname - This is the name that other players will see, and can be changed once every 24 hours
    • Password - This will be your log in password for the game. If you want the game to automatically log you in without a password, you can leave this blank
    • Disable chat - This will disable the chat throughout the game
    • Suppress names - Displays player names as "Player 1," "Player 2" - designed as an additional parental control
    • Filter swear words - By checking this, the game will filter any word that it deems offensive. If you find a word that the game has not filtered, you can add this new word to the filtered swear words list (add new words or delete some under .../altitude/config/filtered_swear_words.txt).
    • Verify content - A child safety option that will prevent the user from opening non-official maps
    • Nimbly news - This sends you notifications about the game via your email
    • Account ID - This is the vapor ID that you can tell people if they want to add you through the /addfriend command
  • Facebook
    • Altitude app - Links your altitude and Facebook accounts and gives you access to the Altitude Facebook app
    • Show welcome screen - Shows or hides the welcome screen logging in
    • Show news feed events - Shows or hides the news/feed/events window when logging in
    • Link/Unlink altitude and facebook accounts - Links or unlinks your altitude and Facebook accounts

Hangar Deck

Once you click on the Hangar Deck icon you'll be brought into a screen with a list of options on the left hand side and stats on the right hand side. I'll start by explaining the right hand side. At the very top, once you become level 60, you will see a logo appear saying "Become a rank 1 ace". Clicking on this button will give you a nifty badge that will display next to your name, but you will start over from level one. ONCE YOU ACE UP YOU CAN NO LONGER GET YOUR PREVIOUS BADGE BACK. IF YOU ACE, YOU LOSE ALL YOUR PERKS, CHALLENGES, AND PLANES UNTIL YOU GET THEM BACK IN THE NEXT ACE RANK. The first 5 times you rank up you will be granted an additional slot for custom planes. You start off with 10 custom slots, and you can get up to 15.

Further down the screen you can see your total playtime as well as the day you created your account. It should be noted that simply having altitude open will not add to your total time played. For instance, sitting in the hangar deck or talking with friends while you're not in a server does not add to this counter.

Below the time played is your level. If you aren't yet level 60 the bar below your level will show how much you've progressed through your current level. If you move your mouse over it - it will tell you the amount of experience you need to reach the next level. To the left of both of these you'll also find your "medal". If you have not yet "aced" (upgraded to the next rank), you will get a new medal every few levels. Once you ace, your medal will stay the same for the entire 60 levels until you ace again.

Continuing down, the next significant part of the screen is "Experience." You'll be shown both your lifetime experience and, if you have aced, your experience at your current ace rank. Experience is obtained by accomplishing various things in-game such as shooting planes down, hitting the base, scoring a goal, destroying a turret, etc. It should be noted that after you ace up you can no longer get experience from killing bots repeatedly - only from killing actual players. It will still say "you got xyz experience", and you will still get veteran bars, but it will not actually add to your experience total.

The last section on the right hand side of your Hangar Deck is your plane stats. Next to each plane you will see you total kills, deaths, and kill/death ratio for that plane. If you've aced up you will be able to see both your stats since you aced and your lifetime stats. Don't get discouraged if your ratios are not very impressive - most game modes involve much more than killing planes. Also, don't listen to those people who brag about their stats. While it's good to be able to kill, that alone will do very little to help you work with your team. If you'd like to learn more any particular plane, please visit the Guides Forum where many helpful guides are posted by veteran players.

Let's jump back to the left hand side of the screen. You will see these buttons: Stats and Community Points at the top, and below that "Challenges" followed by Training, Loopy, Bomber, Explodet, Biplane, and Miranda.


Challenges are various specific achievements you can accomplish with each plane. Completing a challenge will give you a boost in experience, and they are a fun way to track your progress with each individual plane. There are 6 types of challenges - the Training challenges and one for each plane - and each of these challenges will reset once you ace up, allowing you to complete them again for additional experience. Training is the only challenge that does not require you to level up, so we'll address that first.


If you click on the training button on the right side you will be shown a list of various objectives. These objectives, once completed, will help you to understand the basic flow of the game. You might notice that these correspond directly with the options listed in the Training menu on the main screen. For each training mission you complete you will gain 50 experience points and get a star next to that mission in the training screen.

It should be noted that in training you will be playing entirely against bots. Furthermore, if you are playing on "Easy" you will be granted additional health, speed, and damage to help you get started. These buffs you will not carry over into online game play, so it is advisable to work up to playing against Hard or even Expert bots to get a feel for how the game is played competitively.

Here are the 6 challenges in training:

1) Plane Certification - Learn to fly. Here you'll be taught the basic controls of how to fly your plane: how to fly, break out of a stall, etc.

2) Splanelunking- This is your first challenge where you actually have to shoot planes. You have to be the first person to reach 10 kills.

3) We Fly High (Ballin) - This challenge will introduce you to the game mode of BALL. The basic idea is just to take the ball and shoot it or fly it into your opponents goal while dodging or destroying the enemy team. You can push S to shoot the ball or just fly directly into the goal to score. Note that in training you win with only 3 goals - in a typical ball match you win when your team reaches 6 goals, or alternatively until the timer runs out.

4) Nuclear Launch Detected - In this training mission you'll be introduced to the TBD game mode. Here you must take a "nuke" and drop it on the opponents base while the other team attempts to do the same to your base. Similarly to Ball, pressing S in Team Base Destruction will cause your plane to drop the bomb. Note that in training it only takes one nuke to kill the base. In an online game it will generally take 4, or in rare cases 3.

5) Multiplaner Mayhem - Now that you have the basic training in the other game modes you revisit the Free For All game mode from the second challenge, but this time you must reach 20 kills.

6) Air Ball - The very last of your training objectives. Here you will actually play a full game of ball (to 6 goals instead of 3). Other than that it's not different from the previous challenge.

After you finish all of the challenges, you can still play against bots in the training screen. Just click on training, then choose your map, mode, bot level, and bot count and you're ready to fly!

Plane challenges

Back to the Hangar Deck! The buttons right below training show a list of the five planes in the game, and the challenges associated with them. However, you can not complete some of these challenges until you reach a certain level. Not all of the planes are unlocked at the beginning of the game, and you must progress in levels to unlock them. The challenges for each plane are unlocked the level after the plane is unlocked. (Biplane is unlocked at level 16, Biplane Challenges are unlocked at level 17.) Each of these challenges you complete will grant you some additional experience, the amount of which is highlighted next to each challenge if you click on it. You will also be able to see which challenges you have completed. The challenges themselves are as follows:

  • Kill Markings 50
  • Kill Markings 100
  • Kill Markings 150
  • Multi-kill x2 (killing two planes within 4 seconds of one another)
  • Multi-kill x3 (killing three planes within 4 seconds of one another)
  • Multi-kill x4 (killing four planes within 4 seconds of one another)
  • 3 in-a-row (killing three planes without dying)
  • 6 in-a-row (killing six planes without dying)
  • 10 in-a-row (killing ten planes without dying)

The challenges themselves are the same for all planes.

Community Points and Skins

Clicking on the community points button will bring you to a screen with a giant link in the middle and a list of custom skins for the planes below that. The primary method of earning community points is being on the winning clan in a league or tournament (2nd and 3rd place clans may earn CP as well).

For each 100 points that you obtain you will be able to purchase a "skin" for a particular plane. To equip the skin, simply go to the plane customization screen (press "e" when you're in a game and not flying) and click "edit" on the plane that you bought the skin for. On the edit screen you should see a slot where you can change the skin to your plane. There are currently five skins for each plane: Zebra, Shark, Checkerboard, Flames, and Santa. To learn more about the available skins and how to earn them, visit the Community Points and Skins page.

Aside from doing the official things listed above - some people have been rumored to get community points for helping out on certain projects. For instance, writing maps, programming add-ons, editing the wiki, etc.

Note: If you really don't like your skin or other people's skins because it makes it harder to tell who is on which team, you can easily turn them off by going to options -> gameplay -> and checking off "show custom skins."

Server Select

Click Join Game to access.

You can select a server and start playing online by clicking the 'Join Game' button on the menu bar. Once you click that button, a list of the servers will appear; It is subdivided in three parts:

  1. On the top, you have the servers in which your friends are playing and the servers that you have marked as your favorites. This group is called 'Favorites and Friends'.
  2. After that block of servers, you can see another part which includes the servers which are currently hosting players; This group is called 'Servers'.
  3. Eventually, the last block shows the inactive servers, the ones that are empty. This last group is called 'Filtered Servers'.

If you find a server you like, you can right click it and tag it as your favorite. This also works for servers that you don't want to play in; simply right click and mark it as bad.

If a server is full, you choose to auto-join, which means that you will get into the server once a slot is freed.

Useful information is displayed about each server and arranged in columns to on the server list:

Lock Column - A little lock in this column means that the server will ask for a password in order to join the game.

Level Restriction Column - Some servers have level restrictions; they don't allow all ranks to get in. A green tick means you can join the server, and a red cross means you cannot.

Server Name Column - The server's name is displayed in this column.

Players Column - In this column you can see the server's maximum capacity and how many people are in it at the moment.

Mode Column - This column indicates the mode that is being played. E.g: TBD, Ball, TDM...

Map Column - This column shows the name of the map that is currently being played.

Walls Column - In this column, if a server is marked with a cross, it means it has hard walls.

Ping Column - This column indicates the approximative ping you will have when in the server. Try joining servers with low pings in order to minimize lag.

A tiny green icon next to the server's name means that your friends are playing in that server. A tiny purple icon next to the server name means you are auto-joining that server.

On the bottom of the 'Join Server' screen there are 6 more buttons;

Join Server - allows you to join the selected server.

Update - updates the full server list.

Refresh - obtains refreshed information about the servers.

Help - helps you in joining a server.

Host your own server invites you to host your own server.

Filter - the server filter is a great tool, because it allows you to display only the servers in which you are interested. To set up the filtering, click on the 'Filter' button and select your options, such as Hard Walls, Game Mode, Level Appropriate, etc.

The total number of servers is displayed right above the previous buttons.

Game Interface and Information Feed

Plane Selection

Plane select screen (press E to access).

Choosing or editing your plane is easy. First, make sure you are connected to a server. You can change your plane setups either before you start to play or while you are waiting to spawn. First, press E. This will pull up a display with ten plane slots (+1 additional slot for each Ace Rank above Rank 5). Click any slot, and you will see the options to either 'Play', 'Edit', or go 'Back'. To pilot the plane you have selected, click 'Play'. You can also select a plane slot by clicking the number (0-9) associated with it. To change your setup, click 'Edit'.

You will see a menu display with 5 categories: plane class, skin design, red perk, green perk, and blue perk. To change any of the categories, simply click on the appropriate box and choose an alternative from the menu that appears. Planes and perks that you have not unlocked will have a lock over them, as will any skins that you haven't bought.

Tip: A neat little shortcut for plane selection and editing is to use the arrow keys to go from option to option, any of the F, D, and S keys to "select" that option, and the esc key to back out of a menu. This allows for quick plane switching and editing in-between spawns and is often more convenient than mouse clicks.


Press TAB.

The scoreboard can be consulted by pressing TAB while in a game. It shows the two teams, the players on each, and spectators.

For every player, the following is displayed:

Nickname - the player's in-game name.

Kills, Deaths and Assists - Kills are in green, Assists are in gray and Deaths are in red. These statistics will be reset if the player leaves the game and then comes back. However, hey won't be affected if he spectates or switches team.

Ping - the player's ping is being shown on the right of the kills, deaths and assists. It is green if he has a good ping, orange if he has an acceptable ping and red if he has a high ping. Lower numbers mean less lag. Be careful when playing with a high ping, because some servers will ping-kick planes with numbers over a certain limit.

Rank - on the left of the player's name, you can see a little icon showing his badge and a little number on the low right of that icon indicating his level.

Status - If the player's badge is crossed with red, it means the player is dead and is waiting to respawn.

Red/Green Stars - Stars over a player's badge: a red star means you have that player muted, and a green star means you have that player friended.

The color in which the player's nickname is written indicates his team, and a name written in gray means the player is spectating. You can also Right-Click or Control-Click on a player's name to commit the following actions: Mute(you won't see what they type), Add as Friend, or Spectate (watch them play).


The console allows you to chat with other players and to enter commands that are not associated with in-game buttons. To access the console, press the default console key (F1) or open the chat window (return).


To chat with other players in a server, press return, type your message, and then press return to display it to the other players. Chat messages from other players will show up at the bottom-left of the screen. To view older chat messages, press return and then press the up arrow key to scroll back up.

To team chat (chat only with players on your team), press the team chat key (shift by default).

Note that if you are spectating in a server with a tournament, league, or ladder match occurring, you may be asked to "spec chat" aka "team chat" with other spectators.


Command Console - Press F1 to operate.

To issue commands when in a server, press F1 or return to open the console and then type /<command> <parameters> ... <parameters> and press return.

For example, /vote changemap ball_grotto will issue a vote to the players in the server. If the vote passes, the server will change the map to ball_grotto.

<parameters> depend on the command. To learn more about parameters, enter a command (such as /vote) followed by a space and then either type in or click on the next parameter from the list that appears. For example, if you type /vote and press space, and then type or click on changemap, you will see a list of maps on that server.

<command> can be one of the following:

General Commands
  • /addFriend Add a player to your friends list. You will have to submit his VaporID.
  • /blockUser Block a player and remove them from your friends list.
  • /captureMode You can hide the chatbox using this command. It makes recorded games look cleaner.
  • /castBallot Allows you to manually select 1, 2, or 5 after a vote has been called. Somewhat useless since you can do this without opening up the console to begin with.
  • /chase Switch from Free Camera and Ball/Bomb Camera to a specific player's camera. You will now only spectate this player. You will have to submit his nickname.
  • /connect Connect to a server. You will have to enter the IP adress and the port of the server.
  • /custom Run a custom command, such as the /custom start_random command on the Ladder servers. Administrator powers may or may not be required.
  • /disconnect Disconnect from a server.
  • /dnd Enable or disable "do not disturb" mode. When DND mode is enabled, anyone trying to whisper you will get an automatic message that says you wish not to be disturbed. Whispers will not show up as they normally do in the in-game chat while in do not disturb mode.
  • /exit Closes the altitude application
  • /listCommands Display a list of the commands that can be used and their current values.
  • /listFriends Display a list of your friends.
  • /listMaps Display a list of the server's maps.
  • /listPlayers Display a list of the players and their respective Vapor ID's currently in the server.
  • /mouseControl Enable or disable mouse control.
  • /mutePlayer Mute a player by entering his name.
  • /optionsGraphicsColorBlind Enable or disable the 'Color Blind' feature.
  • /optionsGraphicsDrawParallax Display or hide the parallax views.
  • /optionsGraphicsFullscreen Determine if the game will be displayed in full-screen or not.
  • /optionsGraphicsResolution Choose your resolution.
  • /optionsGraphicsStretchToFillScreen Choose if you want the screen to stretch to fill your screen.
  • /optionsGraphicsTextureQuality Choose the quality of the game's textures.
  • /optionsGraphicsVsync ...
  • /optionsSoundEnabled Toggle the game sounds on or off.
  • /quit Quit the game.
  • /rconPassword Allows you to enter an RCON password to access administrative abilities on the server. If the password you enter matches the one set in server_configurator, you will temporarily be granted admin powers until you leave the server.
  • /removeFriend Remove a player from your friend list.
  • /reply or /r Reply to the last person to whisper you.
  • /reportBug Report a bug to the developers.
  • /testTargetFps Sets the target frames per second that the game will attempt to achieve (the default is 60). Slower or older computers may benefit and experience less choppy playback when this is set to lower values.
  • /unblockUser Unblock a player. To add the player to your friends list again, use /addFriend.
  • /unmutePlayer Unmute a player.
  • /vote Call a vote to change a map, change to the next map, kick a player, call a custom command, or start/stop the tournament. Press 1 to vote Yes, 2 to vote No, and 5 to close the vote window. If a vote has the restricted majority of yes votes, it will pass. You will have to specify a parameter (see below), such as map name or player name, depending on the type of vote.
  • /whisper or /w Whisper to a friend. You will have to specify his name.
Restricted to Server Admins

Note: Depending on server settings, these may or may not be available to non-admins.

  • /addBan You will have to specificate length of the ban, and you can add a reason.
  • /assignTeam Assign a player to a team.
  • /balanceTeams Balance the teams.
  • /ban Ban a player from the server, same as AddBan.
  • /changeMap Change the map to one of the server's maps.
  • /custom Run a custom command, such as the /custom start_random command on the Ladder servers. Administrator powers may or may not be required.
  • /kick Kick a player from the server for 2 minutes. If the player gets kicked repeatedly, the lengh of the kick will increase. You will have to submit the player's name.
  • /listBans Display a list of the server's bans.
  • /nextMap Change the current map to the next map on the server's list.
  • /removeBan Remove a player's ban.
  • /serverMessage Announce a message as the server. The message will be displayed in white text and will beep once.
  • /serverWhisper Whisper a message to a player under the name "server"
  • /startTournament Start the tournament to prevent players not currently on a team from spawning.
  • /stopTournament Stop the tournament.
  • /testCameraViewScale Changes the camera scale (the default is 100, values can be entered in the range of 40-300).
  • /testCustomDisplayMode Can only be executed by developers for testing purposes
  • /testDS Can only be executed by developers for testing purposes
  • /testEM Can only be executed by developers for testing purposes
  • /testHM Can only be executed by developers for testing purposes
  • /testPlaneScale Change the size of the planes.



From the Mumble website: “Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat software primarily intended for use while gaming.“ Mumble is free to download but requires a server. Many players and clans use Mumble for voice chat during games. To download and configure Mumble, follow these forum instructions.


A constantly user-updated database of Altitude nicknames, vaporIDs, and last time played, created by tec27. The database can be found here. Search by nickname or vaporID, and use it to find vaporIDs, past names (for smurfs), and when someone last played. To help keep the database up-to-date, click the "Upload Your 'Played With' List" button at the top, and...well...upload your list. File can be found at ~AltitudeFolder\config\played_with_<Your VaporID>.xml

Screen Capture


There are multiple ways to take a picture of the screen while playing Altitude. The default built-in command is F5. This will save a screenshot to …/Altitude/screenshots. On a Mac, you can use Shift-Command-3 to take a full-screen capture. By default, this saves the image to your desktop. If you need to include a screenshot in a forum post, use a service like ImageShack to host the image and then copy and paste the URL into the forum post using the Insert Image button in the toolbar.

Video Recording

There are various programs that can be used for recording video of in-game footage. There is also a group of players called Lens Flare that specializes in recording requested matches, such as for tournaments. On a Mac, you can use Quicktime Player to record the screen (requires Quicktime Player 10 or later): click on File-->New Screen Recording. On a windows computer, you can download Fraps for free and record videos.


Current Maps

Walkthrough/Tutorial on making a map:

Creating the layout

First open an image-editing program (e.g. Photoshop, Gimp, Pixelmator). In my case I am going to use Photoshop, but it should be pretty similar from program to program. Create a new image. For a ball map, a good starting size would be 3000x1600. Now it’s time to make a background for your map. Just for tutorial purposes we are going to make a solid color for the background.

Now we are going to make the layout for your map. While making your layout, make sure you put every single object/wall on a different layer. This is a very important key in making sure your map ends up working. Create a new layer, and create your layout by using the pen tool, brush tool, ellipse tool, and any other tools you need. If you want to add textures or graphics to your obstacles/walls, this is when and where you would do it.

After you’re finished making your layout, Save the whole project as a .psd file (or any file that keeps the layers intact). You want to keep this file safe, because this is how you are going to update/change your map later on. Now hide (press the eye beside the layer) the background layer leaving only the obstacle/wall layers visible. Save these layers as obstacles.png. Make the background layer visible again, and hide all the obstacle/wall layers, and save the background layer as background.png. Make sure you saved these files as .png. Now you should have 3 different saved files.

Moving on to the map_editor

Open the map_editor and go to File>New>Map, Choose the name of your map; we are going to use Tutorial just for tutorial purposes (you can change the name later). Fill in the dimensions the same as the layout you made (for example width:3000 height:1600). The background color does not matter because we are going to put in the background we made earlier. Now in your operating system go to Applications>Altitude>Editor>Maps>Tutorial (the name you chose for your map). Now copy the two .png files we saved, and paste them into the Images folder.

Go back to the map_editor and go to Edit>Refresh Resources, this could take a couple of minutes so be patient. Go to the View Editor window (if you do not see this, go to Window>Show View Editor). Right click on “Game” and click New View. Name it Background and make the Width and Height the same as your map (for example width:3000 height:1600) and then click Apply. With the Background layer/view selected, move it to the top by pressing the Up button. Still on the Background layer/view, go to Map>Import Large PNG, navigate to your maps folder again, open the Images folder, and click on the background.png file and then on Select File. Now click on the Game layer/view and do the same thing as the last step but select the obstacles.png file instead.

Navigating the map_editor

To zoom in/out of your map, use +/- keys or the mouse scroll wheel. To move around within the editing window, use the arrow keys. If you happen to lose the map and cannot find it, just go to the view editor window and click on the layer/view and it should pop back into the center of the window.

Placing Special Items

Now it’s time to place your Spawns, Powerups, Goals, and Balls. Let’s start with the Spawns. Go to Window>Show Create Special, select Spawn Point and place it in your spawn area. Repeat this process until your spawn area is full and you are satisfied. We are going to Select all of your spawn points by holding shift and clicking on every one separately until you have all of them selected. Next, right-click on the selection and change the team color to red. With all of them still selected go to Selection>Mirror left/right to mirror the spawns to the other side of the map, and then right click-on the second selection and change the team color to blue. Now we are going to add the ball spawn points. Go back to the Create Special window and click on Powerup Spawner. Place the powerup in front of the red team's spawn area, right click on the Powerup, change the team to the Red Team, and change the Type to Ball. With the ball still selected, Mirror it to the other side again using Selection>Mirror left/right, and then right-click on the ball and change the Team to the Blue Team. Create another Powerup Spawner from your Create Special window and place it somewhere in the middle of both spawn areas. Right-click on the Powerup, put a Check beside Spawn at Round Start, and change the Type to Ball. Leave the team as "All Teams." Now we are going to make the goals. Go back to the Create Special window and click on Goal. Place this goal on the Red Team's side. Now mirror it to the other side using Selection>Mirror left/right, and then right-click on it, and change the Team to the Blue Team. You can also place Powerups (Missles, Walls, Shields) If you wish, by going to the Create Special window, and clicking on Powerup spawner.

Note that Spawns, powerups, goals, etc. can be resized or rotated by using that object's handles. Hold down shift when rotating to restrict rotation to certain angles.

Your map is now playable. You can go ahead and Save your map using File>Save As. Warning: The map_editor does not auto-save and does not warn you if you quit without saving. You can export your map so you can host it on your server using Export>Export Downloadable Map. The default save location for exported maps is .../Altitude/maps. Now you have just created your own map. Enjoy!


Purpose of the Forums

The forums are a place where people can do a wide variety of things - ranging from simply information gathering to actually influencing the game. When you arrive at the forums you'll see a list of top-level places. I'll address each of them accordingly.

Forum Rules - here is where you'll find what is and is not acceptable on the forums. Make sure to read these first because if you don't - you could be infracted or have your posts deleted by a moderator. Each infraction adds a point to your account and once you reach 5 points you'll be banned from the forums until your points drop below that threshold. Each infraction generates a point that lasts 1 month.

Suggestions - here is where you can post your ideas about the game. The developers read pretty much every thread in here but don't always respond (so don't get discouraged if they don't respond to you). It should be noted that the developers have no plans to do any major additions to this game (such as new planes, new game modes, etc). However, it does not hurt anyone to pose a possibility. You never know what might happen. The ball mode came to be from a player movement and series of suggestions. You also can talk about plane balance here and whether you feel certain planes are overpowered or underpowered. Please take the time to search for threads that might relate to your own before posting, though. For instance, there are a million threads complaining about the miranda being overpowered. If you have something to contribute it would be better to post in one of those threads rather than starting a new one.

Tech Support - here you can get assistance with the game if your game is not functioning properly. You can also post here if you've found a bug in the game. Many times your issue is more complicated than the base players knowledge - so don't be discouraged if it takes a little bit for someone to respond. The developers will respond eventually (most of the time). Like with suggestions - you may find that your bug or issue has been posted before along with steps on how to fix it if you use the search feature.

Map Making - here you can find threads relating to maps that users are creating. Most of the maps you play have been created by users. People will often have download links or ask for advice on the design of their map. It's very rewarding to help them out - as you could potentially add another map to the game!

Dedicated Server - here you'll find information on how to run your own altitude server. A new player should probably not start here - especially if you're not technically inclined. You'll find advice on Virtual Private Servers, dedicated servers, addons, and much more. If you need help with your server you should post here and not in "tech support."

General Altitude Discussion - here you can discuss anything related to Altitude that doesn't belong in another forum. Events and thoughts can be discussed, and questions that don't belong in the 'tech support' forum can also be asked here.

Guides - here you will find guides that have been written by experienced players and that have been approved by the community, by also guides that are considered uncomplete or that are still being worked on in the 'Beta Guides' subforum. You can easily access this forum from the start screen of the game through the Expert Guides button.

Ladder Discussion - Everything related to ladder is being discussed here; maps, players, bans, issues and much more. For more information about the Altitude Ladder, read the 'Ladder' section or visit

League Organization - This forum is meant to be the place where leagues and tournaments get organized. It is strictly moderated, any irrelevant thread will be immediatly moved. In this forum, you can sign up for tournaments and leagues, check your play times, look up what team holds the leading score, share thoughts and make suggestions about organization.

The Water Cooler - This is a place where you can discuss anything you want with other players. It is being moderated loosely, but don't forget to follow the forum rules.

Clan Organization - Here you will find information about the active Altitude clans (teams). You can post about your clan, post a recruitment request, organize scrims and discuss between clans. It is being moderated strictly, threads that are not clan-related will be moved.

Server News - This is a forum where you can find information and discuss about the privately hosted servers of Altitude. If you want to report an issue, an unruly player that diserves a ban or anything else related to a server that has a thread in this forum, this is where you should post.

Mafia - This forum is dedicated to the Mafia forum game- it contains all the information you need in order to play it.

Getting Started

You can already view the forums without an account, but if you wish to post or make new threads making an account is easy. First, click the "Register" link on the far left side of the top bar of the forums page. Here you will have to agree to the terms of service. Once past that enter all your information and set the time zone. (Note: you cannot change your nickname after this.) Once finished, Click the submit button at the bottom. That's all there is to it! Now you can post and have all the abilities of a normal member (although you will need three posts before you can use Private Messaging).

If you just signed up, I suggest you first post an introductory post in the Altitude Welcome and Introduction thread - that way, people will know a little about you when you start posting. The player Sunshineduck has also written a guide for new posters which can be helpful.

If you respect the rules, stay kind and respectful there is no doubt that the other players will like you.

Have a great time on the forums!


What is a Clan?

Clans are organized groups of players led by one or more players who then recruit additional members. Clans can be competitive – playing in tournaments and league, such as Altitude Pro League (TBD) and Sky League (BALL) – or casual in nature. While most clans specialize in a game mode (e.g. TBD, BALL, Co-Op), some clans play all game modes or do not specify a certain mode.

Clans often participate in scrims (competitions against other clans) or play together on servers. Although size varies, most clans have between 10-30 members. Some members may also be inactive. Most members of a clan display a “tag” within their in-game name, such as (||), {arr}, or [TC]. Clans are listed in the Clan Organization forum.

Getting Into a Clan

To join a clan, talk to one of the clan members in-game or send a PM to the clan leader as identified in the clan’s thread on the forums. Clans may have defined requirements for joining (e.g. total number of hours played, plane type) or may just want to observe you playing. In some cases, clans will hold formal tryouts to assess your skill level. The best way to get noticed and accepted into a clan of your choice is to perform well in ladder. The invitations will come in due time.

Making Your Own Clan

Before making your own clan, consider joining an existing clan to get a feel for how clans are structured and how they work in Altitude. Many new clans fold within the first two weeks because they aren’t organized well. If you do decide to create your own clan, read the Guide to Creating a Respectable Clan so that you know what the community will expect of your clan.

At the moment, the best way to get noticed and accepted into the team of your choice is to do well in either TBD or BALL ladder games.

The Ladder servers (see the 'Ladder' section of the guide) are also a nice place to meet influential players of the community and proving your skill before them.



Personally, I find the best part of Altitude when there are no league games going on is ladder. The Altitude Ladder was created by three players and programmers; Nobodyhome, Eth, and Maimer (see: famous people section). You can read all about its philosophical purpose and whatnot here, but basically you play 5v5 tbd (or in the case of ball ladder, 6v6) games with teams that are picked out using an autobalance algorithm and gain and lose points for winning and losing, respectively.

Before You Join

Ladder isn't the place to learn the basics of the game. If you've just started playing, check out the tutorial and learn to fly in the "pubs", or public servers (like Official #1, #2, and #3). If you want to play ladder or get into competitive Altitude sometime in the future, you should stick to playing in hardwall (labeled as "normal" walls in the server browser) servers. Rank up through the levels, unlock and experiment with new perks, and ditch rubber hull as soon as possible. You won't need it once you've mastered flying. Try to learn at least one light plane (Loopy/Miranda/Biplane) and one heavy plane (Bomber/Explodet). Biplane is not advised.

Once you feel you've got a decent grasp on the basics in flying and killing other players, go to the forums, browse through some of its well-written guides, and make sure you're familiar with the strategies of your plane(s) and either tbd, ball, or both. Read the rules of ladder carefully, and consider joining the ladder server and spectating a few matches to get the feel of what you're supposed to be doing, where you're supposed to be on the map, and when.

Points System

Season 1 used an autobalance algorithm to determine teams in conjunction with a modified version of the ELO rating system, which was originally originally made to calculate relative skill levels of players in two player games. The modification allowed for teams to play each other while the rating of each player was calculated individually. The result was a gain of 24 or 25 points for a win and a deduction of 24 or 25 points for loss.

In Season 2, the autobalance algorithm no longer picked teams so that average ratings were as close as possible, but were instead balanced in a 1, 4, 5, 8, 9 vs 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 fashion. The rating system was also changed in that the number of points gained and lost was influenced by a number of additional factors and varied from game to game.

For the full explanation on how a player's rating after a game is calculated, see this thread.

Plane Composition

A team's plane composition is the combination of the different planes and perks that the players on that team are using. Some combinations are better for certain maps and worse for others. Most of the time, plane composition is a deciding factor in your ladder team's victory, so it is important to pay attention to it. Holding down tab (default key) brings up the scoreboard and displays (along with kills/assists/deaths) the perks of each player (plane can be inferred from the red perk). The standard set up for a team bomb map is 3 heavies and 2 lights, while neutral bomb maps are usually played with 2 heavies and 3 lights (need confirmation here). If your team is too light or too heavy, someone will usually ask for a plane switch, which shouldn't be a problem since you've learned both a light and a heavy plane (hopefully).

Optimal Perk Set Ups

Altitude offers over 200 possible perk combinations to choose for your different planes. Of those, only a handful or so are considered the "best" set ups, tested over the years by countless games and trials. These perk set ups are what ladder players will expect you to play, as they're the set ups you'll be the most effective with.

Ideal Perk Setups
Loopy Bomber Explodet Biplane Miranda
Rsz loopyladder.jpg
Bomberladder rsz2.jpg
Explodetladder rsz2.jpg
Biplaneladder rsz2.jpg
Mirandaladder rsz2.jpg

Play with each set up, switch perks around, and see what works for you. For detailed explanation and analysis of certain plane set ups, check out the guide that corresponds to the plane(s) here.

Elitism, Rage, and You

With every competitive game there is always a negative side-effect: nerd rage. Altitude is no exception to this. As people work tirelessly to try and obtain the highest ranking possible, they often blame other people for negative outcomes. Sometimes this is justified, btu other times it's just them being upset and looking for a scapegoat. Regardless, if you are starting off, chances are you will come under attack. As with any other online argument - the best thing to do is to mute the offensive player and move on. Getting involved in long and drawn out arguments will only hurt your online experience.

That being said, some of the rage can be helpful as long as you can filter through the cuss words, hatred, etc. There might be something you hadn't considered or a new style of play you should try. Maybe you should even consider going back to official 1, 2, or 3 for a little bit to hone your skills. If you wish to continue to play, remember that you can't be banned solely because of how bad you are.

Further Reading: Evan20000's Guide to Having an Enjoyable Ladder Experience

Common Altitude Knowledge


  • afk: away from keyboard
  • b: bomb, meaning the bomb is about to spawn (or has already spawned) and the designated bomb runner should grab it
  • bg: bad game
  • brb: I'll be right back
  • btw - By the way
  • d/def: defend the base/goal
  • ftw - For the win
  • gg: good game, could also mean good goal in ball games
  • gj/nj: good job/nice job
  • gl, gluck: good luck
  • gogogogogogo: the majority (if not all) of the other team is dead and the way to their base is clear- hurry up, bomb runner or ball carrier
  • gtfo: get the **** out
  • gtg, g2g: got to go
  • gw/nw: good work/nice work, although 'nw' can also stand for 'nice wall'
  • hf: have fun
  • imho: in my humble opinion
  • imo: in my opinion
  • jk: joking/just kidding
  • kk: okay
  • n1: nice one
  • nb: nice block
  • noob: new player (usually derogatory)
  • np: nice pass or nice play (or no problem, depends on situation)
  • ns: nice shot
  • nt: nice try
  • nvm: nevermind
  • op: overpowered (more commonly seen on the forums, but can also be seen in-game)
  • pro: very skilled
  • push: go on offense; to shift your team's control of the map further towards the opposing team's base
  • s: drop the bomb or shoot the ball away
  • wb - welcome back

Commonly Used Emoticons

  • :) C: :> :] 8] 8) =) =] - A smiley face
  • ;) ;]- A winking smiley face
  • :D - A happy face
  • :( :< :[ :{ - A sad face
  • :*( :'( T.T T_T Q.Q Q_Q ;_;- A crying face
  • xD or XD - A laughing face
  • :p =p - A face with a tongue sticking out
  • :X - Sealed lips
  • D: DX D= - A very sad face
  • XP - A laughing face with a tongue sticking out
  • :O O.O O_O 0_o - surprise or shock
  • c.c C.C - rolling eyes
  • :\ :/ =\ =/ :S - Skeptical, annoyed, hesitant
  • :| - Grim
  • B ) B-) - A face with shades
  • <3 - A heart, commonly referred to as love
  • </3 - A broken heart, commonly referred to as no love
  • :3 - Cute face meant to look like a kitten
  • :V - A face trying to say that you're talking too much
  • :& - Fail face
  • :U - A gaping face
  • >.> or <.< - annoyed face, suspicion
  • >:) - Evil face
  • }:} - Very evil face
  • :O - Gasping face

Nicknames/Shortened Names

  • acid: loopy's red perk Acid Bomb
  • bip: biplane plane
  • DF: loopy's red perk Double Fire
  • dombs: dumb bombs (Random Trivia: this name comes from the fact that the "dumb bombs" used to be "smart bombs" and would track opponents. This was removed because of how overpowered it was)
  • explo: explodet plane
  • flak: bomber red perk Flak Cannon
  • flexi: green perk Flexible Wings
  • HA: green perk Heavy Armor
  • HC: biplane red perk Heavy Cannon
  • loco: The map locomotion
  • randa: miranda plane
  • remote: explodet red perk Remote Mine
  • repair: green perk Repair Drone
  • rev: blue perk Reverse Thrust
  • roids: The map asteroids
  • rubber: green perk rubber hull
  • Sniplane: A Biplane using reverse thrust and heavy cannon. Name popularized by the player Beagle who wrote the Reverse Thrust / Heavy Cannon Biplane Guide.
  • TA: miranda red perk Time Anchor
  • thermo: explodet red perk Thermobarics
  • trick/trix: miranda red perk trickster
  • turbo: blue perk Turbocharger
  • ultra: blue perk Ultracapacitor
  • whale: explodet plane


The developers of the Altitude Game are Erik Measure and Karl Sabo.

Erik Measure and Karl Sabo

Karl Sabo "used to write missile defense software for the US Government. Keep that in mind next time Altitude crashes on you."

Erik Measure "is a wannabe entrepreneur who's split his productive life between video games and theoretical physics. He better hope this 'indie game studio' thing works out."

Visit the official Altitude About Us Page for more info.

Notable Players

Volunteers/Developers' Helpers

The people who helped in creating Altitude are:

  • Vi Hart (responsible for soundtracks)
  • Shawn Frison (design)
  • Somatone (sound effects and title music)
  • William "Redshift" Lee (maps+music)

Of course, the game has also been tested and balanced by the Altitude community.

Additional Roles

The following roles are volunteer positions either appointed by the developers or by individual players, such as server owners. In most cases, the people who serve in these roles have no formal association with Nimbly Games.

  • Forum Moderators: Forum users given additional powers to moderate forum threads and posts. Moderators (aka "Super Moderators" as designated under their username) have the ability to move, edit and delete posts by other users. Moderators are charged with the task of keeping the user base in step with the forum rules.
  • Server Admins: Server owners or players given administrative powers on a server. Admins have the ability to kick or ban a player, to change maps, and to use various other server commands.
  • Ladder Admins: Server admins on the ladder servers (e.g. Ladder #1, Ladder #2, etc.). Ladder admins make sure that players follow the ladder rules and hand out bans as necessary to players who do not comply.

Closing Words

We hope that this guide will help you with whatever problems you may have. If it doesn't, don't hesitate to send someone a message or post on the forums. After all, if people are willing to spend hours of their time creating and doing all of these things for altitude, chances are they'll be willing to answer a question or two. This is part of what sets altitude apart from every other game out there: the community is, in general, very helpful. It's constantly evolving and people are working together to produce new and exciting things. It's small enough so that you can really get to know each other - but large enough so that big projects can be done. Even the developers interact closely with the players - so don't be surprised if you see them shooting down planes or posting a random joke on the forums.

Incidentally - if you're looking for someone to thank for getting this whole guide started - you can thank Flexio :)