One of the first highly successful games in the App Store was Majic Jungle's Chopper [App Store], a side-scrolling aerial shooter that's an adaptation of his original Mac release. The game has seen well over one million downloads since its release and is a pretty fun time on your iPod or iPod touch.

We spent some highly enjoyable face time with Dave Frampton, the man behind Majic Jungle, at MWSF '09 and WWDC '09. As such, I've been following him on Twitter and have long been seeing the occasional tweet about the progress of his upcoming sequel, Chopper 2. Yesterday I pinged Dave and demanded a solid update on this title that we've been quite anxious to see. Happily, with minimal threats, he agreed to give us the latest details and an exclusive set of screenshots of the in-progress title, as well.

Chopper 2 is a complete re-write, with full 3D graphics, numerous different landscapes and a realistic Chipmunk based physics system. It still retains the classic side-scrolling shooter gameplay, however. The control system in the game has been completely overhauled, allowing for touch based aim control independent of the tilt based flight control. There's also the option to use a touch based flight control method with a virtual D-pad.

Chopper 2 has eight different enemies with unique weapons and AI. There are also allies in some missions who will help by firing at the enemy. Some enemies fire homing missiles, and some fire multiple missiles in rapid succession. The missions themselves are also much more diverse than in the original Chopper. In one mission, you and your allies defend a base while a long line of enemies attack from both sides. In another mission you pick up a bomb disposal expert, take him to disarm a bomb in an office tower, and defend his position from attacking enemies until he's done. Sometimes you have to kill a certain enemy but are free to ignore others, and sometimes you must not kill any enemies. There is limited ammo and a new health meter that allows you to take a certain number of hits before you die. Most missions have a base or two where you can regain health and/or ammo, but there is a time bonus you'll be sacrificing to do so.

Chopper 2 will be utilizing the OpenFeint network for online scores, with a high score tracked for each of the 12 locations. Each location has three missions, and there will be three difficulties to play through. This makes for a total of 36 missions in each difficulty setting. The progression structure is non-linear, with a map based system where you unlock new locations and missions to choose between.

The story is not yet complete but, similar to the original Chopper, there is instructional story dialog before each mission. However, Dave tells us that Chopper 2 has a unique and impressive way of delivering this dialog, which makes the story a lot more engaging. We'll hear more about that as the title approaches release.

If all this isn't enough to pique your interest, Dave is also working on an iPad version of the game that will be part of the single-app release -- one version for both iPhone and iPad. Having planned to release a Mac version of Chopper 2 following the iPhone release, Dave has had high resolution graphics at the ready all along. He indicates that the work involved in fully utilizing the enhanced features of the iPad is fairly minor and feels that it makes little sense to charge gamers again for it.

Dave was kind enough to provide us with an early iPad simulator screenshot of Chopper 2 in action. The shot doesn't feature all of the graphics of the final iPad version, but it does give some idea of what the device's extra screen real estate offers.


Click for full-sized iPad screenshot

Chopper 2 is not too far from completion, but Dave indicates it won't make the April 3 iPad release. There's no solid release estimate right now, as the developer wants to make sure the game is fully ready in all respects before it lands in the App Store, but he tells us it's coming along quite nicely. Price is yet to be solidly determined, but Dave indicates that it will fall somewhere below $5. Stay tuned for more details on Chopper 2 as we get them.

  • Mort Lodell

    Regarding the "... and iPad" part, I wish Apple could come up with a better term to encompass all of the mobile devices that are using the iPhone OS. It's awkward as hell to say "iPhone/iPad/iPod touch OS." And "iPhone OS" is confusing when referring to non-iPhone devices. They need something that references all of the devices that exist and the many, many more variations that are sure to come.

    • Frog

      You can use iDevice....

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      or "iPhone platform," which is my preferred term.

    • Anonymous

      @Mort Lodell

      There is no such thing as iPad OS or iPod touch OS. They both run a slightly "modified" version of iPhone OS.

      • Mort Lodell

        As an iPhone developer, I know that full well. When you speak dev to dev or to another reasonably tech savvy person, you can, of course, say iPhone OS. My point is that in general conversation, blog posts, or press, it is awkward. And will only become more so, especially as the iPhone becomes less and less a "phone" and more and more a mobile computer.

        Mac, for example, is just generic enough to refer to anything. They don't call it Mac Desktop OS or iDesktop OS. That would be awkward when referring to iDesktop on the the MacBook or the iDesktopBook.

        My point is they need a reskin that makes clear the relationship between Mac OS X and the modified version of same that is used on the iPhone and similar devices. It shouldn't refer to a specific piece of hardware.

      • Mort Lodell

        So, for example, on video game sites (take Gamespot, for example), they refer to iPhone games under the "iPhone" category. And they also have a "PC" category. As Apple products become more game focused (the runaway success of the iPhone as a game platform, the recent announcement of Valve's move to Mac OS X, the impending success of the iPad), will Gamespot have a "Mac" category for desktop games, an "iPad" category for iPad games, and an "iPhone" category for iPhone and iPod touch games?

        You can't put them all under the "Apple" category. You can't put them all under the "Mac" category. You can't put them all under the "iPhone" category.

        They really need to organize their nomenclature otherwise they'll end up heading into Sony territory where no one knows how one product relates to another and naming conventions are all totally unknowable by the people that matter the most, the consumers. This is not a niggling quibble about navigation elements on game sites, it's about cold, hard cash and their product line being clear in the minds of the buying public.

        Much of their success to date against their competitors is delineation. You know what they sell and what each product does. But it's starting to get a bit gray.

    • WiseWeasel

      Apple should just hurry up and trademark "Touch OS" already...

    • Constable Odo

      Apple had said it would be renamed as iOS which is fairly simple to use.
      http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/23820/

  • Mort Lodell

    Regarding the "... and iPad" part, I wish Apple could come up with a better term to encompass all of the mobile devices that are using the iPhone OS. It's awkward as hell to say "iPhone/iPad/iPod touch OS." And "iPhone OS" is confusing when referring to non-iPhone devices. They need something that references all of the devices that exist and the many, many more variations that are sure to come.

    • Frog

      You can use iDevice....

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      or "iPhone platform," which is my preferred term.

    • Anonymous

      @Mort Lodell

      There is no such thing as iPad OS or iPod touch OS. They both run a slightly "modified" version of iPhone OS.

      • Mort Lodell

        As an iPhone developer, I know that full well. When you speak dev to dev or to another reasonably tech savvy person, you can, of course, say iPhone OS. My point is that in general conversation, blog posts, or press, it is awkward. And will only become more so, especially as the iPhone becomes less and less a "phone" and more and more a mobile computer.

        Mac, for example, is just generic enough to refer to anything. They don't call it Mac Desktop OS or iDesktop OS. That would be awkward when referring to iDesktop on the the MacBook or the iDesktopBook.

        My point is they need a reskin that makes clear the relationship between Mac OS X and the modified version of same that is used on the iPhone and similar devices. It shouldn't refer to a specific piece of hardware.

      • Mort Lodell

        So, for example, on video game sites (take Gamespot, for example), they refer to iPhone games under the "iPhone" category. And they also have a "PC" category. As Apple products become more game focused (the runaway success of the iPhone as a game platform, the recent announcement of Valve's move to Mac OS X, the impending success of the iPad), will Gamespot have a "Mac" category for desktop games, an "iPad" category for iPad games, and an "iPhone" category for iPhone and iPod touch games?

        You can't put them all under the "Apple" category. You can't put them all under the "Mac" category. You can't put them all under the "iPhone" category.

        They really need to organize their nomenclature otherwise they'll end up heading into Sony territory where no one knows how one product relates to another and naming conventions are all totally unknowable by the people that matter the most, the consumers. This is not a niggling quibble about navigation elements on game sites, it's about cold, hard cash and their product line being clear in the minds of the buying public.

        Much of their success to date against their competitors is delineation. You know what they sell and what each product does. But it's starting to get a bit gray.

    • WiseWeasel

      Apple should just hurry up and trademark "Touch OS" already...

    • Constable Odo

      Apple had said it would be renamed as iOS which is fairly simple to use.
      http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/23820/

  • Drunknbass

    You sure it uses chipmunk for physics? Chipmunk is a 2d physics engine afaik.

    • Frog

      It is a 2d game, but it looks 3d.

    • http://majicjungle.com David Frampton

      Though it has 3D graphics, it's still a 2D side-scroller. All of the action happens in one plane, so the physics are 2D.

  • Drunknbass

    You sure it uses chipmunk for physics? Chipmunk is a 2d physics engine afaik.

    • Frog

      It is a 2d game, but it looks 3d.

    • http://majicjungle.com David Frampton

      Though it has 3D graphics, it's still a 2D side-scroller. All of the action happens in one plane, so the physics are 2D.

  • Klaus

    Will it still run on an iPod Touch 1st Gen, or are we forgotten?

    • SalsaMD

      I've heard of those devices...

    • http://majicjungle.com David Frampton

      Chopper 2 runs at a fairly solid frame rate on all iDevices. It is being tested, and will run fine on a 1st gen iPod Touch, or 1st gen iPhone.

      • Klaus

        Thats great news, thanks!

  • Klaus

    Will it still run on an iPod Touch 1st Gen, or are we forgotten?

    • SalsaMD

      I've heard of those devices...

    • http://majicjungle.com David Frampton

      Chopper 2 runs at a fairly solid frame rate on all iDevices. It is being tested, and will run fine on a 1st gen iPod Touch, or 1st gen iPhone.

      • Klaus

        Thats great news, thanks!

  • Kenneth

    I have the Beta - Defiantly get this when its out. It is by far the best game I have played on any platform.

    There is slight to no frame rate problems on my iPod Touch 2G. Although I think Box2d is faster then Chimpmunk.

  • Kenneth

    I have the Beta - Defiantly get this when its out. It is by far the best game I have played on any platform.

    There is slight to no frame rate problems on my iPod Touch 2G. Although I think Box2d is faster then Chimpmunk.

  • K

    I'm so excited by this announcement!!!

  • K

    I'm so excited by this announcement!!!

  • Snail200871

    wait... is chopper 2 beta testing for mac or iphone, because if its for iphone i want to test on my ipod touch... if it can run on a first gen, it should be awesome!!!! on mine.

  • Snail200871

    wait... is chopper 2 beta testing for mac or iphone, because if its for iphone i want to test on my ipod touch... if it can run on a first gen, it should be awesome!!!! on mine.

  • http://www.fixpod.com.au iphone

    yes this is amazing game with nice graphics , i play this with my friends

  • http://www.fixpod.com.au iphone

    yes this is amazing game with nice graphics , i play this with my friends

  • http://www.fixpod.com.au iphone

    what are requirements on my iphone to have this game .
    fixpod.com.au

  • http://www.fixpod.com.au iphone

    what are requirements on my iphone to have this game .
    fixpod.com.au

  • rich_952000

    I too have been a MajicDave Twitter follower, for quite awhile. His feed is sometimes informative/educational, but more importantly it's always entertaining :D @dick_952000

  • rich_952000

    I too have been a MajicDave Twitter follower, for quite awhile. His feed is sometimes informative/educational, but more importantly it's always entertaining :D @dick_952000

  • hexme

    do not like. why go "3D"? ruins it

  • hexme

    do not like. why go "3D"? ruins it

  • JohnnyO

    Of course, you could get 3D helicopter action now with the Sea Assault game app. lmao.

  • JohnnyO

    Of course, you could get 3D helicopter action now with the Sea Assault game app. lmao.

  • usher

    potential but not good enough yet...

  • usher

    potential but not good enough yet...