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Hot Air Balloon Maker

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Balloonmakertitle
Balloonmakericon
The game icon for the Balloon Maker before it was taken down
Play It Taken down
Levels None
Game Type Main game
Genre Accompaniment/Utility
Websites Nitrome.com
Controls
Instr-keyboard

PC Mouse Left Click - Draw on balloon

Credits Programming
Heather Stancliffe
Artwork
Jon Annal
Mat Annal
Music
Lee Nicklen
Special It is unlike most main games (i.e. no levels, no plot, etc.)

Hot Air Balloon Maker, also called Hot Air 2 Balloon Maker or just Balloon Maker was a game made to accompany Hot Air 2 by Nitrome. It allows a design for Hot Air to be made and used in Hot Air 2. On March 5th 2009 the Balloon Maker was removed due to a massive amount of balloons (over 10 million)[1] and that a lot of the balloons were offensive.[2] Suggested by the Steam Greenlight comment by Nitrome, Hot Air Balloon Maker may return after profiles are set up.

Nitrome revealed on March 22nd 2013, in a comment replying to a fan on Steam, more information on why Balloon Maker was closed.

Controls

Mouse - draw on a balloon

Making balloons

If a balloon is chosen to be made, a blank ball attached to a basket with the driver in it will appear. A template can be selected, that make it look like Hot Air's actual face with color differences. Then, it can be drawn upon and coloured as necessary. Finally, the driver's color can be chosen and a name given.

Click [show] to see this video
Nitrome Toxic Pixel Art03:06

Nitrome Toxic Pixel Art

full

Click [show] to see this video
Nitrome Pixelart 1 The Pixelpop guy01:06

Nitrome Pixelart 1 The Pixelpop guy

full

Gallery

Although the time was not certain, Hot Air Balloon Maker eventually gained a gallery, this being spoken of by Mat Annal during an interview with FreeGamesNews. This gallery page was a separate page in the domain of nitrome.com/games/hotair2/, under the URL of http://www.nitrome.com/games/hotair2/gallery.html[3] It is likely a link to this page would have appeared on the page for Hot Air 2, or possibly in the game somehow, as all versions of the Hot Air 2 page during the life of Balloon Maker do not have a link to the game's Balloon Maker Gallery [4]

Game page

The page for the Hot Air Balloon Maker gallery appeared mostly as a regular Nitrome.com 1.5 game page, however, this page lacked a bottom bar which explained the game (many Nitrome.com pages at the time had a small bottom bar at the bottom of the game area, explaining in shot how the game would be played and what the game's objective was), and simply had a large vertical screen which stretched from the top of the game area down to the bottom, even into the regions where the instructions for the game would have been mentioned.

It likely lacked an instructions bar likely because the gallery was not a game, but a a place for people to look at created balloons.

Functions

Due to the surplus of URLs that have the same URL of the Balloon Maker, but with an added ?id=# on the end of the URL[5], # being either a one digit or three digit number, it is quite likely that when browsing the gallery, the gallery would allow the viewer to see other balloons, the viewer having to click a button to see these other balloons.

If this method of viewing balloons existed, clicking a button to go to another page within the game would likely take the viewer to another page, but it would not seem like this as all that would be done would be that ?id=# would be added to the URL, # being a number that was either one digit or three digits long, the numbers likely be consecutive and starting from the number one and going upwards (three, four, five, etc.).

Submitting a Balloon

Once a balloon was created in Hot Air Balloon Maker, the creator could submit the balloon to Nitrome, for a chance for the balloon to enter the Balloon gallery. Nitrome would then moderate the entry, and if it was seen as good enough to go into the Balloon gallery, it would likely be entered into the gallery to be publicly visible to all.

Downfalls

Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions entered, Nitrome eventually had to remove Balloon gallery as the time needed to moderate them all would have required "a member of staff to permanently stop making games just to deal with them all"[2], which would have essentially meant that Nitrome would have to hire a person solely to moderate balloons. Furthermore, Nitrome has stated that the majority of submissions were "rude"[2], likely implying most were offensive.

Uses

To be put on Hot Air 2, a save file must first be created.

Conception

The idea for Hot Air Balloon Maker came when Nitrome began receiving fanart of differently coloured Hot Air Balloons. They thought it would be a fun little idea to make a game that allowed people to make balloons, this idea later expanding into a side game.[6]

Beta elements

When interviewed by Free Games News about Hot Air 2 being released in February 2007, the topic shifted to Hot Air Balloon Maker. Mat explained the basics of Hot Air Balloon Maker - how it allowed players to create their own balloons with a limited pallete - and also revealed what content would be soon added to the game.

This soon-to-come content would have allowed players to browse a gallery of balloons other people have made. Furthermore, the player would be able to send their balloons to friends. Mat stated that this was yet to be added to the game. [7]

Although it is known that the gallery function was released, the method of sending balloons to friends apparently was never released.

Closure

Balloon Maker was closed on March 5th 2009. Over 10 million balloons were made during its lifetime. [1] The entire reason Balloon Maker was shut down was, at the time, Nitrome was changing hosting, as the previous hosting they had "wasn't really up to the task of serving the games to all of you .[Nitromians]".

Nitrome was unable to swap the files from Balloon Maker over to the new hosting, as there were over ten million files to swap, and due to the size, Nitrome was unable to swap over all the balloons.

Further information

Nitrome revealed in a comment on Steam - four years after the closure of balloon maker - more on the problems of Balloon Maker. In response to a fan's comment of allowing fan-made Flightless levels to be created and sent for others to play, Nitrome stated how they had experimented with something like this for Hot Air 2 - in Hot Air Balloon Maker.[2]

What they also revealed was more on the decision to close Balloon Maker. Nitrome stated how Balloon Maker "crippled the running of the website [Nitrome.com]"[2], and due to the vast numbers of balloons made, it would require a member of the staff to permanently cease work on games just to moderate all the balloons[2]. This, coupled with how the majority of the balloons made were obscene (referred to as "rude")[2], were issues that caused the closure of Balloon Maker.

As of January 2014, Nitrome has very little interest in bringing Balloon Maker back.[note 1]

Trivia

  • Hot Air Balloon Maker is considered a main game, even though many of its features are mini-game like.
  • The URL address says it is a link of Hot Air 2, but there is no link on the page.
  • These personalized balloons can be used on the Hot Air 2 highscore rankings.
  • Suggested by the Steam Greenlight comment by Nitrome, Hot Air Balloon Maker may return after profiles are set up.

Notes

  1. Information from Nitrome: "[There is] very little interest in bringing balloon maker back...it's so old now!"[8]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nitrome blog: - Maintenance WorksYou might also notice that the Balloon Maker has disappeared. Unfortunately this became so popular that the number of balloons created grew to such a size that we were unable to retrieve the files to swap them over to the new hosting. You guys made over 10 million balloons!! At the present time we are not sure what is going to happen with the balloon maker however we might resurrect it at some point in the future.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Steam Greenlight - User ContentComment:
    Nitrome:

    I think we would need to release a game that has an editor in it with a server-side infra-structure to handle and curate all of the user levels.

    This was experimented with with the Hot Air 2 balloon maker. It crippled the running of the website and the number of submissions to look through (most of them rude) was so large that it would require a member of staff to permanently stop making games just to deal with them all. So it had to be switched off.

    Let us get user accounts working first...

    GreenlightCom1

    The comment

  3. Hot Air 2 gallery - Wayback Machine
  4. Hot Air 2 - Wayback Machine
  5. Archive of links in the domain "http://nitrome.com/games/nitrome/hotair2/", notice all the links with "gallery?id=" in them.
  6. FreeGamesNews - Nitrome: Hot Air 2 to be released in February? - Mat: The big feature we have been working on for the game is the ability for people to make their own balloons for the game. The idea came about when we started receiving fan art with people making their own balloons. It started a fun little idea to satisfy the people that wanted to do this but it has ended up becoming a self contained application that you use outside of the game that we have called Hot Air Balloon Maker.
  7. FreeGamesNews - Nitrome: Hot Air 2 to be released in February? - Mat: ...There is also a gallery where you can browse through what other people have made and you will be able to send them to your friends (although that part isn’t in yet).
  8. Nitrome blog: - Play Pause Ahead! → Nitrome's comment:
    Yes the email is real

    In response to a comment to the user named "NOBODY". NOBODY's comment:

    ...where you stated about these creatures that "They are from a game that we briefly started but then gave up on deciding that there was not enough to it.....it didn't actually have a name as it was too early but you had to navigate a few different robots using the mouse to solve puzzles."

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