AirCoaster: The Early Days

We made the iLounge Top 100 Essential apps list two years in a row!!! Yeah!

A lot has been said about AirCoaster since it first appeared on the app store back in Feb 2009. Since then, I've basically thrown everything and the kitchen sink at the app over the course of countless updates and new releases. Game Center integration is the next big thing I would like to add to the app. And perhaps In App Purchases in the future for any major new features (there's only so much your $0.99 can buy).

AirCoaster in the Media
  • iLounge (Aug 31, 2010): “Ziconic has come a very long way over the last year and a half, so we can’t wait to see what’s next. iLounge Rating: B+.” (Link to article)
  • New York Times GadgetWise blog (Apr 8, 2010): “I grew up with a serious roller-coaster addiction, but somewhere around the age of 35 my body started rebelling after two or three rides. For me, this app was a nausea-free return to my youth.” (Link to article)
  • (Apr 4, 2010): “[I]t's functionally filled with fun ways to interact with the iPad, first in building insane rail systems in the game's responsive 3D engine with minimal effort, and then in taking those coasters for a dizzying first-person ride.” (Link to article)
  • (Apr 1, 2010) (Link to article)
  • San Francisco Examiner (Mar 31, 2010) (Link to article)
  • (Mar 30, 2010): “In this version, AirCoaster XL, the developers will finally be able to realize their idea of a full featured roller coaster simulator and editor. ” (Link to article)
AirCoaster 3D in the Media
  • (Aug 7, 2009): “While there’s even more than could be done with this title on the new iPhone, the fact that this new addition and so many others are free provides a very strong incentive to recommend a purchase and supporting this developer’s future endeavors. This is a fun little $1 demo of any iPhone or iPod touch’s capabilities.” (Link to article)
  • (Jul 26, 2009): “AirCoaster 3D by Ziconic is a fun pocket-coaster app that will surely amaze you with it’s many features and great immersive experience.” (Link to article)
  • Featured on (Jun 25, 2009): “Demo of Digital Compass Used in an iPhone App” (Link to article)
  • Featured on (Jun 22, 2009): “iPhone 3G S Benchmarks and Comparisons” (Link to article)
  • Featured on Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish (Apr 27, 2009): “Motion Sickness” (Link to article)
  • Featured on the New York Times Economix Blog (Apr 24, 2009): “The Dow as a Roller-Coaster Ride (Literally)” (Link to article)
  • Featured on (Mar 30, 2009): “AirCoaster iPhone App Turns The Stock Market Into A Scary Ride” (Link to article)
  • Featured on (Mar 30, 2009): “AirCoaster 3D iPhone App Catches Your Constipated Expressions During the Economy Rollercoaster” (Link to article)
  • #1 paid app in the entertainment category in Japan within 3 days of launch.
  • Featured in the Feb 16 edition of the MacWorld iPhone game roundup. (Link to article)
  • “[this] pocket roller coaster makes you dizzy anywhere, anytime” [Feb 18,] (Link to article)
  • “Barf bags sold separately.” [Feb 19,] (Link to article)
  • “Most of us really like rollercoasters. If you’d like to reproduce their thrill on your iPhone, look no further than SkyCoaster 3D” [Mar 4,] (Link to article)

Release History

AirCoaster 1.5 (Current Version)
  • Dropped XL from the name. Now there’s just 1 AirCoaster app for all iOS devices!
  • All new realistic 2-seater suspension car.
  • Add a roller coaster station to your tracks to complete the experience. The cars will always stop at the station for a few moments at the end of each ride if the track has a station. If the track is open-ended, it is possible to make the cars roll back into the station and start the ride over.
  • Place up to 6 trains (sets of cars) for a total of 36 cars on the track to create exciting dueling coasters.
  • Ride properties such as conventional/suspension mode, launched mode, gravity and auto-banking are saved along with the track. Now you can be sure that your users are riding your tracks exactly as you intended.
  • The sound effects now change depending on whether you are in a tunnel or over an invisible segment.
  • Refresh button on every Comments wall makes it easy to retrieve the latest comments on your wall or track.
  • Receiving a push notification or text message while riding now pauses the ride.
  • Smoother Graphics is now OFF by default for users on iPod touch 1st/2nd gen, iPhone 1st gen and iPhone 3G.
  • Numerous issues (e.g. volume control when playing from iPod always set to 50%, car sometimes wraps around an open-ended track, crashes) are now fixed. Lots of UI improvements too. Many internal architectural changes to prepare for future updates.
AirCoaster XL 1.4
  • Sensor Mode now uses the gyroscope on the iPhone 4 for amazing precision and control.
  • 2 brand new beautifully modeled roller coaster cars. The suspension and sleigh cars have been touched up as well.
  • Re-organized Main tab (iPhone version) for easy access to common options.
  • Improved simulation graphics - the tunnels and supports have never looked better. XL 1.4 is the most realistic, best looking AirCoaster ever!
AirCoaster XL 1.3
  • High resolution graphics for the iPhone 4’s gorgeous Retina Display.
  • Anti-aliased 3D graphics (iOS 4 required).
  • Better, faster 3D graphics performance, especially in the track editor (iOS 4 recommended).
  • New “Everyone” tab in Updates shows you all the conversations that are taking place in the AirCoaster community.
  • Fixed random tree placement bug that showed up in XL 1.2.
AirCoaster XL 1.2
  • Choose any song from your iPod library to play while riding tracks.
  • Undo button in track editor (iPad only).
  • App icon changed to AirCoaster XL on iPhone/iPod touch.
  • Lots of improvements under the hood to improve stability and performance, especially for iPad users.
AirCoaster XL 1.1 / AirCoaster Pro 1.4.1
  • OS 3.x is now required for Pro. As of Pro 1.4, OS 2.2.1 is no longer supported. This is also the last update for AirCoaster Pro.
  • Shake to Undo in the track editor.
  • Receive an alert notification when someone posts on your wall.
  • Improved pan/zoom/rotate multitouch controls to make it easier to navigate the track. Only 2 fingers are needed to zoom and pan at the same time.
  • (iPhone/iPod only) Manipulator arrows in the track editor are now shown only in landscape mode, as requested by many users.
  • Color picker for track and car color.
  • Lighting of the roller coaster track now always matches the position of the sun.
AirCoaster XL 1.0
  • Experience AirCoaster like never before, in large format on the iPad!
  • Also includes the iPhone (Pro 1.3) version of the app.
AirCoaster Pro 1.3
  • Much improved search engine for tracks (now available for all AirCoaster versions with search!).
  • See the actual track structure in the track editor - no need to preview the track in the simulator to see how the track will look.
  • The entire app now works with any device orientation (even upside down!). Switch between portrait and landscape mode when riding or in the track editor.
  • Collapsible tool panel in the track editor view gives you a bigger working area for designing tracks.
  • Tap to select a segment in the track editor
  • Drag the segments up and down to adjust the segment height interactively.
AirCoaster Pro 1.2
  • Interactively add and place different types of trees in the scene.
  • Share a picture of your track on your online profile.
  • Mini tutorial for the track editor.
  • 3D engine performance improvements.
  • Wall commands.
AirCoaster Pro 1.11
  • Use the community features (and type) in both portrait and landscape modes. (OS 3.x users only)
  • Place up to 6 cars on the track and ride in any of the cars.
  • Delete comments posted on your tracks.
  • Block people you don’t want to interact with. Blocked users cannot follow you or comment on your wall or tracks.
  • Supports a new XML file format for tracks - email to learn how you can create your own tracks programmatically! You will need access to a computer and some knowledge of XML.
  • (Version 1.11 bugfix update) Customize the color of your track.
AirCoaster Pro 1.0
  • The biggest improvement to the 3D engine since AirCoaster 3D version 1.0!
  • Add supports to the track to create realistic roller coaster structures.
  • New and much more realistic suspension/inverted mode with a new coaster car.
  • Improved two-seater coaster car.
  • Significantly improved 3D rendering engine for enhanced lighting effects.
  • Cool underwater/underground effects.
  • Post pictures and updates to your Facebook account.
  • Improved navigation UI makes it easier to respond to a wall comment update or to wall/track comments.
  • Track thumbnail will match your display mode in the editor (wireframe or shaded).
  • A few surprises just for the holidays!
  • Note: Emoji support was removed at Apple’s request.
AirCoaster 3D 3.3
  • Unlock emoji for AirCoaster and all other apps. AirCoaster users love to communicate using emoji. You shouldn’t have to spend $0.99 on another app to be part of the fun!
  • Threaded conversations. Put an end to the deluge of random user updates.
  • Partial loops - create the perfect C section to construct the perfect cobra roll, chop off the ends of the loop and stack them to create giant corkscrews, etc.
  • Profile descriptions can now be (much) longer.
  • Shows you the speed you are going (kph/mph).
AirCoaster 3D 3.2
  • Awesome push notifications give you real-time updates on all interesting activities happening on AirCoaster. It’s like having IM in AirCoaster!
  • New Updates tab makes it really easy to see if any of your followers has uploaded a track or if someone has written a comment on your wall or on any of your tracks.
  • Post an update to all of your followers in one easy step. No more tedious copying and pasting.
  • User Tracks page now loads faster - tracks are displayed 20 at a time instead of all at once.
AirCoaster 3D 3.1
  • Now compatible with both OS 2.2.1 and OS 3.0.
  • Add tunnels to your track to make the ride even more exciting and unpredictable.
  • Make parts of the track invisible - let your roller coaster experience take flight!
  • Revamped stereographic 3D mode: Themes are now available in stereo 3D for a dramatically improved 3D effect. Different types of 3D glasses are supported: Red/Cyan (also Red/Blue and Red/Green), Brown/Blue (“ColorCode”, aka the Superbowl 3D glasses) and Green/Magenta.
  • +1/-1 step buttons provide precise numerical control over the slider values in the track designer.
  • Refresh button on the My Profile and Shared Tracks page to give you the very latest updates. No more wondering if the other person has already written on your wall or followed you back!
  • New “shaded mode” in the track designer gives you a better preview of how the final track will look.
  • An advanced mode that allows the roller coaster to move backward under the influence of gravity. Create rides where the roller coaster oscillates back and forth on the track.
  • Personalize your track by customizing the text used for the start and finish banners.
  • Create open-ended tracks, i.e. where the first and last segments don’t join up.
  • “POV” mode in the track designer gives you a preview of what the track looks like from the point of view of the rider. Perfect your track without having to do a full preview each time you make a change.
  • Search tracks on the Community tab - tens of thousands of tracks have been uploaded!
AirCoaster 3D 3.0
  • Corkscrews on loops are now allowed.
  • Specify corkscrew turns in increments of 0.5 (to flip the car around).
  • The last track segment will automatically twist and flip around to prevent any discontinuities between the first and the last segment.
  • The track editor now shows the actual track structure, not just the outline.
  • Track segments in the track editor are color-coded (blue to red) to show how fast the car will be at different parts of the ride.
  • The track editor will warn the user if the maximum track size has been exceeded.
  • The track editor interface has been revamped to give you a much bigger working area.
  • Zooming and panning in the track editor are now smoother - easily and precisely zoom in on any part of the track.
  • Speed modifiers can be applied to Basic segments for braking or accelerating. Together with the speed-coded track preview, you now have unprecedented control over how fast your car moves at any point on the track.
  • Everybody gets a wall that anybody can write on. Wall owners can delete any wall post on their wall.
  • Comments (left on walls and tracks) link you to the profile of the person who posted the comment. (Get ready for tons of “Please check out my tracks!” comments....)
  • “Follow” other track creators, i.e. bookmark them so that you can easily access their profile, wall and tracks.
  • Everyone gets a profile page that shows you how many tracks they have uploaded and the number of followers they have.
  • Tracks that you download are now linked to their online counterpart. Easily locate the track online after you download it to rate it or leave a comment.
AirCoaster 3D 2.6
  • “Sensor Mode” (accelerometer + compass support): Tilt and turn your iPhone to look up/down/left/right (iPhone 3GS only). Looking up/down possible on other iPhones/iPod touches without a built-in compass. (YouTube video link)
  • More exciting 3G graphics! Revamped overview mode now lets you fly close to the rollercoaster car as it moves along the track.
  • 3D spatial sound effects.
  • “Game Mode” brings exciting arcade action to AirCoaster for the first time. Use with “Sensor Mode” on the iPhone 3GS for a unique, immersive gaming experience. AirCoaster is quite possibly the first iPhone game ever to use both the accelerometer and the compass!
  • Requires OS 3.0.
AirCoaster 3D 2.5
  • Fully compatible with all iPhones/iPod touches running OS 2.2.1 or OS 3.0.
  • Post comments on user-uploaded tracks.
  • See all the tracks uploaded by a specific user.
  • Ride simulation now models the movement of the rider’s head relative to the roller coaster car - rides are now more vertigo-inducing than ever!
  • Additional, new beautifully textured roller coaster car 3D model.
  • Customizable roller coaster car colors.
  • Height indicator in the track editor helps you keep track of where you are vertically.
  • Tons of UI improvements throughout the app (e.g. you can now quit the track editor without saving the track, status messages when downloading/uploading tracks).
AirCoaster 3D 2.4.1
  • Rate tracks. Now you can hand out 1-star ratings to all those awful, unrideable tracks. :-)
  • Zooming in/out now possible in overview mode.
  • A choice of 4 background soundtracks.
  • Coaster car mode - Puts the user in a full 3D roller coaster car.
  • 2.4.1 fixes a few minor issues in 2.4 and improves the appearance of the coaster car.
AirCoaster 3D 2.3
  • “True 3D” mode - Put on your classic red/green 3D glasses and watch the track come alive! (Note: Will NOT work with Superbowl glasses. If you can’t see the 3D effect, you are using the wrong glasses. Email us for help.)
AirCoaster 3D 2.2
  • Improved auto track banking algorithm for greater realism and more thrills.
  • Look up and down in addition to left and right during the ride. Yes, you can stare down at the track during the ride if you wish.
  • Change your field of view at any time during the ride. Race down the track with a wide angle lens for the trippiest visuals ever seen on the iPhone/iPod touch!
  • Panning (with 3 fingers) in addition to rotation and zoom is now supported in the track editor.
  • Improved UI - better organization and more help content. Ride experience preferences are saved and restored across sessions.
  • Improved stability (fewer or no crashes) when loading very large and complex tracks.
AirCoaster 3D 2.1
  • Online community - Upload your tracks and download tracks created by others.
  • Be sure to download the tracks we created based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Apple’s stock price in recent months! Which other stock charts would you like to ride?
  • Full renaming of the product to AirCoaster 3D (from SkyCoaster 3D).
SkyCoaster 3D 2.0
  • Track editor - create new tracks from scratch or modify existing saved tracks.
SkyCoaster 3D 1.3
  • Added the ability to save tracks and play them back over and over again.
  • Improved user interface and help content.
SkyCoaster 3D 1.2
  • Added roller coaster sound effects and screams.
  • Added a wooden roller coaster track style.
  • Added significantly more themes.
SkyCoaster 3D 1.1
  • Added a more realistic steel track style with connectors across the rails.
  • Added the ability to switch between conventional and suspension mode.
  • Added the ability to look around during the ride and even ride the roller coaster with your back facing forward.
SkyCoaster 3D 1.0
  • First ever 3D roller coaster simulation for the iPhone/iPod touch.
  • Stunning, fully immersive 360-degree panoramic backgrounds.
  • Realistic roller coaster physics.
  • Highly optimized 3D rendering engine.