Tower is a game whereby the player can become an air traffic controller. The main objective is to ensure the safe passage of landing and departing aircraft. All aircraft activity is reported to the text-based console and can be heard on the radio, awaiting player response. Communicate orders directly to the pilot from the tower console, warn of any dangers or tell them to use another runway (if available). Try to operate one of three airports or take on a whole scenario, which gradually progresses from a typical airport to O'Hare in Chicago, one of the busiest in the world. Each scenario offers flexibility to select a time of day, the number of runways and the rate of traffic with a maximum of 150 planes every two minutes.
The main view outside of the tower is a total 3D 360-degree display. Switch to tracking or binoculars displays to closer watch planes. Several instruments help to make more informed decisions such as a compass, wind gauges, a clock, and a panel of shortcut buttons for quick and easy access to different functions from control over lights, arrival and departure details, bright display Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE), and viewing angles.
Points are earned for the ability to manage issuing commands, while they are lost for runway separations or crashes, the ultimate aim being to gain highly sought-after perks including the award for controller-of-the-month, time-off with pay or paycheck bonus.
Multi-player games are possible over a modem or null-modem cable to owners of Microsoft Flight Simulator v5.1, enabling a pilot (second player) to come in to land at the player's airport.*Follows FAA and Transport Canada rules.
Undoubtedly one of the best air traffic controller simulations ever made, Tower is an outstanding Windows update of the venerable sim ATC (a.k.a. Tracon 2) by the master of flight simulators and longtime partner of Microsoft, Tower is undeniably the best simulation of air traffic controller on the market today. The myriad of options include weather options, adjustable difficulty level, and excellent on-line help thanks to Windows.
As a testament to how amazingly realistic Tower is, imagine a 360 degree panaromic photo from KDCA tower where arriving and departing planes actually move realistically across the environment. The interface takes some getting used to, but the versatility and complexity is well worth the effort. The pilot voice is very realistic. The plane types match what's on the flight strips -- which can print out just like the real thing. Definitely not to be missed!
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