New aircraft types, better performance, more dynamics

It’s been rather quiet here recently and I’m glad I can break the silence by saying that we’ve been very busy working on some exciting new stuff. The customer project that took a lot of our time during the last half year is about to go live and I can finally dedicate more time to AirlineSim again.

So let’s get right to it:

New aircraft types

I know many of you are waiting desperately for new aircraft types like the 787 or the 747-8. Therefore, a few weeks ago we broke with one of our principles and decided that we will introduce the new types despite the new aircraft performance system being far from ready. We announced that it would probably take roughly two weeks to introduce them since simply hacking the data into the database hardly takes any longer. But during the tests on our internal test servers we figured that a lot of tuning had to be done and that we wanted to touch some of the older aircraft types again that are too far off performance-wise. Especially the latter poses a problem to existing game worlds as to how the parameters affect current operators of the types. We have not come to a conclusion yet and we have yet to decide on how we proceed with this. Until then we have to ask for little bit more patience.

What we know for sure: We will soon (as in: date has yet to be determined) launch a new game world that will include all new aircraft types and the adjusted old ones. No existing airlines - no legacy issues! This brings us to the next topic of…

…more dynamics

When we applied a necessary performance fix to Nicosia lately which caused a temporary 10% revenue dent for the airlines in this game world, we were faced with a hefty outcry in the community which we did not see coming like this. Besides the mood on the team sinking to an all-time-low, this event got us thinking about what caused this emotional reaction in the first place. Why do so many players react allergic to demand variations? What if the dent wasn’t caused by a technical issue but an economic crisis, a terror attack, a natural disaster or any other unforeseen event that real airline managers have to face all the time?

Our conclusion was: AirlineSim has become too deterministic, too static. In a game world running smoothly without technical issues, other than the varying amount and size of opponents, there is hardly any dynamic component to the game that causes existing airlines to adjust to a mutable environment. Once an airline has conquered its spot on a certain airport or in some region, there is almost nothing that can kick it off its throne. It will just continue to grow to humongous size until there are no more slots and/or traffic left and build up an enormous cash reserve that makes it even less likely for the enterprise to tumble. Once in that state, you start to feel very uncomfortable should anything mess with this monotonous growth because it will be extremely work-intensive to adjust a 1000+ aircraft airline to the new scenario.

Based on this conclusion, we have decided to implement the measures described below. We know some of you are seriously going to hate these, but we will go forward with them either way because we see them as a long-term improvement of the overall game. As with the new aircraft types, the changes will be first introduced in the new game world mentioned before.

  • AGEX - the AirlineSim Global Economic Index: The idea behind this one is that AirlineSim simulates the airline industry of a virtual world. As such it only simulates a small part of a global economy and if this surrounding economy changes, it will have strong effects on the airline industry. In reality, there is a rule of thumb that a general change in economic growth affects the transport industry 3-fold, so if the global economy shrinks by 2%, in transport figures go down 6%. We don’t do it this complicated: The AGEX will simply provide an index of the current economic situation. This will affect passenger and cargo numbers and airlines will have to adjust on a regular basis. Each game world will have an individual AGEX curve, so if you’re looking for a challenge, pick a game world with a recession going on. If you want easy airline building but are happy to accept that the next dent will arise sooner or later, choose one with an increasing AGEX. In-game the index is represented like in the picture below (subject to change). Important: This feature will be introduces on all game world, including all existing ones. But we will make sure that the AGEX factor at the time of introduction corresponds to the current demand level of the game world. Therefore there will be a soft transition to variable demand numbers.



  • Revised demand calculation: This has been on our list for quite some time but we thought: When we’re about to cause a stir anyhow, this would be right time to get this done. Currently, all traffic is country-based. This causes quite weird traffic flows like people in Algeria having a string tendency to fly to the Caribbean due to their strong ties to France, while almost German-only holiday destinations in the Northern Sea have traffic to all major cities in the world. The new system works on more fine-grained regions that are hand-crafted after real circumstances and will be adjusted continually. They remain invisible to the user though.

  • New (temporary) traffic data: As you might know, AirlineSim used actual traffic data from a world airline schedule file several years old. We have been replacing this with more up-to-date data but we see it as a temporary solution. Since real-world schedules represent capacities and strategic airline decisions rather than actual traffic flows and as such cause a buttload of problems in our demand calculation, we want to switch to a custom system that allows us to model the traffic flows based on economic and cultural factors instead. Exampe: Right now Dubai is a huge airport with gigantic demand in AirlineSim because Emirates has built its hub there. But in fact, local traffic to Dubai is very limited and most passengers only use it for transfer. They actually represent Asia-Europe or some other traffic. We do not have a timeline for this new model yet, but you will hear about it here as soon as there are news.

  • Future changes: Part of the new “more dynamic paradigm” is that we keep our options open for further changes to all systems, including those that affect demand. In the past 2 or 3 years we avoided such changes at all costs because we were afraid of the stir they might cause. No more. We think change is good, change keeps this game alive. We are 10 years old this year not because we remained in the same spot forever but because we adjusted, tried new things, moved ahead. It’s time to get back to this!

Performance improvements

As recently mentioned, we are working on fixing our most urgent performance issues right now. The most important one is the statistics or rather the long response times they cause on some pages. We have a new team member that is currently in the “boarding process” and who might be able help us tackle these issues. Naturally, we do not have concrete dates for these changes, we just know that the probably won’t make the new game world yet but that we work as fast as possible to get them out the door.

Ok, in case you did not want to read this resemblance of War & Peace, here’s the TL;DR for you:

  • New game world will be starting "soon"

  • Will feature new and adjusted aircraft types

  • Will feature several changes to traffic calculation and data

  • Will introduce the new AGEX ecnomic index that affects global booking numbers

  • All changes will also be installed on existing game worlds after a testing phase on the new server

  • We will change our policy regarding changes to the game affecting demand from “Hell, don’t touch this!” to “Yeah, go for it!”

  • Performance improvmenent for existing and new game worlds are in development.

I simply :wub: your ideas!

Just one thing: You shouldn’t change economic situation on a weekly basis - that would make AS implayable for not-full-time CEO’s :excl:

sounds cool!

nice stuff,

but where does the AGEX get its data from?

It’s (largely) random. It does not use any real-world or other indicators, but it’s based on a formula that makes the development look and feel natural.

GREAT! I’m really looking forward to this! Change is good!

Hmmmm … :unsure: So in this regard no news at all for the players, who want to stick to their gameworlds … :excl: There will “maybe” be adjusted a/c performance and new planes on the existing servers “in the future”.:excl:

Beside that, I respect and appreciate all your efforts to improve the game. Also the other ideas sound exciting!

Unfortunately nonetheless, the post includes no news on the issue, which is mainly on my AS-mind.

Thanks anyways!!

First look: sounds very good! :excl:

A nice announcement you made . I am looking forward to the things to come :rolleyes:

The global Index is a good idea but In my opinion should (and based on my poor understanding of the inner works of the game could) but be a factor of the economic growth in the various geographic markets (countries or regions) that should make the game more realistic. Instead of adding or reducing overall capacity you could now operate previously unprofitable routes or expand in a different way.

Another Idea is that the global (or local) economic index affects not the volume of passengers but their available income, they are more interested on price* than quality and thus more likely to opt for a low cost flight than a legacy one.Again the number of people wanting to go from one place to another is pretty much stable but the price they are willing to pay is lower even if that means less leg space and no free beverages.

Finally thank you for stirring things up. I just hoped for something like this to challenge established carriers, and it turns out you exceeded my expectations.

(*) this could affect the distribution of the demand between economy/business/first classes.


you know how hard it is to care about 2 different running systems?

First of all, your ideas do sound very good! I am looking forward to play on the new server with the AGEX and so on ;)

But, anyhow, i am somehow disappointed that all these things won’t come to the existing servers soon. Right now, there is nothing happening here, only this steady growth you are also talking about. In the past, with new aircraft, the old servers kept being exciting, because there was at least a bit of a movement going on. You had the chance to buy new AC, replace the old ones, and make the whole airline system even more advanced and efficient. But, with no new aircraft and no actual changes, this becomes boring. I like AS, and i do like your ideas, but i think that simply letting the old worlds be like they are right now is not an option.

There are currently 8 servers with nearly 5000 accounts. Please don´t forget about them, and bring at least new aircraft asap.

If I understood this right this changes will made to the existing server but just after a test period on a new server.

Well, all i can see concerning the old servers is this:

"[color=#1C2837][size=2]Especially the latter poses a problem to existing game worlds as to how the parameters affect current operators of the types. We have not come to a conclusion yet and we have yet to decide on how we proceed with this. Until then we have to ask for little bit more patience."[/size][/color]



…and this does not tell anything about what is going to happen to the old servers, and if there will be any changes or new a/c on the existing servers. Only that the decision here is still to come (or even to be made). Please see my post above as an appeal to the AS-Team to bring at least something new to the old servers.

Had this sentence in my head:

“All changes will also be installed on existing game worlds after a testing phase on the new server” - Which in the past nearly always was “two weeks”, but things change… :D

yep. That’sd a clear contradiction.

"No decision made" vs. "all will be installed" on existing game worlds … Hope some team member can clarify this.

Great to hear that things are moving within AS. I like especially the idea of revised aircraft performance. It just too annoying that all the AS world is full of DH4 (even on longer routes) when in reality things are different.

Thank you for your work!

No, they don’t contradict each other at all: yes, everything will be installed on new game worlds, but a decision as to when and how has not been made, pretty much exactly what Martin wrote in the first paragraph.

Could it be possible that you write this announcement also in german for our just german language reading users ?

If you now change the word “new” with “existing”, I’m slowly becoming pritty confident that one day, my big(gest) Embraer fleet on Stapleton will become more profitable! …