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Best of Casual Gameplay 2008 - Simulation Game,

As odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents ... You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.

Review & the Award

2nd Place Wizards of the Coast Award
for Strategic Gameplay

Every action players take has an effect on other players in the thriving online game world. Skyrates is an experiment in sporadic play, meaning the game can be experienced in several short play sessions rather than one large chunk of time. This accommodates players interest at all levels, regardless of whether they choose to be a peaceful trader, a careful diplomat, or a bold fighter.




(Flash MMO, 6 person team, 1 semester along with some intermittent work after graduation)


You can click on the image to the right to go to the game website. Feel free to signup and play!



Skyrates is game design and development project that I was part of during my graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.


Skyrates was first developed in 2006 as an experiment of 'sporadic play.' That is to say, a game that you play in small bursts throughout the day (like checking email).


Skyrates is a free Flash MMO. At its highest count, it had about 1,500 people in the air, and (to-date) has been responsible for two real-world marriages.


I was personally responsible for the Skill, Crew, and Tutorial systems, as well as dabbling with the rest of the client. I also worked on community management, enemy scripting, and big world roleplay events.


One my great joys was working on the mythos and history of the world. What started as just a few blocks of flavor text for various aircraft, became a concerted effort to give players snippets of a larger world history.


Creating the game was a lot of fun, but making it a living, breathing, vibrant world for a number of players was truly rewarding.

One of the floating platforms that players can fly between in real time.


Click this to go to the Skyrates post mortem at Game Career Guide


A picture of the crew, hard at work.


The trading screen.