We have seen your discussion surrounding the future of AirlineSim so we’re really excited to finally share the big news with you: The start of the AirlineSim Technology Demonstrator project (ASTD)!
To give you a general idea of the project, here are some details:
The ASTD will be a prototype that allows us to explore how far we can go with our current concept of an airline simulation given today’s technical possibilities. Overall, we want to test what an AirlineSim of the future could be looking like!
One of the core features of the ASTD will be its new Distribution System (DS) which will focus on recreating real world aviation concepts like interlining and booking classes. It will also let you develop different types of businesses, ranging from low-cost airlines to full-fledged network-carriers!
You can find out more about the ASTD on our blog and on the FAQ page we created, or even on YouTube, where Martin explains the project in detail:
It is mentioned that this is built completely from scratch, and it has none of the things “weighing it down”. I also get that by this we mean it also doesn’t have what “weighs it up” - EG the existing airlines and passengers in older game worlds. This is a dilemma mentioned in BCDPT but it resurfaces again, since the issue of old stagnant servers has worsened as far as I can tell.
A. If you are able to share, what sort of criteria can we expect to be decisive in terms of which worlds to shut down, if any?
B. If a shutdown were to occur, could you outline potential and theoretical steps/any compensation for how AS will go about this, if possible?
C. Will any changes be made to existing game world launch configurations for the foreseeable future? Eg some modifications to short term worlds as outlined in prior forum threads?
D. Will there ever be an “end of the line” for Airlinesim 1.0? Is that in the plans after a successful rollout of Airlinesim 2?
It is mentioned that things like fares and booking classes will form part of the initial deal as well as the elementals and that advanced features will not come at least short term.
Can we get some sort of outlook into what will be “left behind” - and if anything will be added? Such as passenger loyalty, nesting, manufacturer loyalty, ability for reward/“miles” travel?
It is mentioned that passengers will no longer compete for slots.
If possible, could you explain what you see the long term solution to the slot issue is?
How will testers be selected? Will it be open to all premium members? How will this fare with terms of existing server capacity to try it out?
Will ASTD airlines be charged credits? Or will it be “free”?
Can we expect a tutorial not just for the short term ASTD but also for the existing framework? The handbook is incomplete since I can remember, and it’d be a great reference to the new players needed to keep increasing player counts to sustain development.
Could we explore the possibility of communication by AS to be able to be translated as appropriate into the worlds where community game translations have been done?
I look forward to this new phase of Airlinesim. But of course, as I’ve noted before, my point to holding you all accountable will continue to stand regardless of whatever picture we are able to paint. Because as much as we love the team, we (and now the German federal government, and by proxy many of the player’s tax dollars to an extent) are still paying for this… so of course, I look forward to this extensive communication, which has been a missing thing last couple of years, as we’ve noted and aired to these forums…
And I’m sure more questions will pop into my mind over the weekend, so expect amendments…
Will we see Codeshares become a thing or a more advanced version of Interlinings?
Will we be able to make certain airlines get connections before others?
Ex: Airline A owns airline B and both have an IL with airline C.
Airline A flies ORD - HNL and both airline B and C fly HNL - OGG.
Airline A wants people flying ORD - HNL - OGG to fly to connect on airline B before they fly on
Will we see a change in the 2 stop policy for passengers? Especially with the addition of possible lower cost flying options.
If the project fails is there the possibility of hiring freelancers who do the work or is that not a option?
Is the airlinessim 2.0 all web based or is some other form planned or maybe on the list?
General question. Is it a possibility of the game becoming cheaper with you guys still getting the same profit. For example with a new method of server hosting.
IMHO much more important than summer and winter seasons would be the following:
Decrease in passenger volume due to the current pandemic and simultaneous consideration of entry bans for certain countries. At the same time, air cargo volumes need to be increased dramatically in order to maintain some of the most important supply chains around the world.
Not to forget Olympic Games, volcanic aruptions and resulting airport closures and much, much more.
I get that thing like World Cups and Olympic Games would not fit in with the game as explained in the QA YouTube stream that the game should not be too much short-term management and such. But they did explain that weather might be simulated if they find a good way for the system to manage it without the player having to act on it other then overall management decisions (like having additional planes on standby).
In this way I think seasons could work. The game could implement seasons and allow the player to schedule for player determined or pre determined periods and then the game will automatically switch between schedules at specific moments.
For example. When you get a new aircraft you schedule a base schedule flying to large cities that have demand all year round (like Paris, Rome and London). Then you go to you’re second scheduling page which you specify to be active from June 1st to August 31st. With that schedule the aircraft flies more routes to vacation destinations (like Heraklion, Montpellier, Faro and Tenerife). And then you can also implement a third schedule that you use for winter destinations.
This way the player only has to schedule once, but it does implement seasons. And thus this allows for interesting strategic decisions like ‘Do I get another aircraft that is grounded for 8 months a year, but can be highly profitable in summer and winter?’ or do you use these aircraft throughout the year, but at lower ticket prices in the lower demand periods?
Thanks very much for the YouTube presentation, looking forward to things get real
As I understand, this would mean some new factors counting in to passenger demand in the future. I would have 2 things, that would interest me especially, if they are considered as a solution:
a) Seasonality - of course we don´t want a game we have to be attending to 24/7 to manage, but would you consider making demand for different airports flexible by half-year summer-winter seasons, which could be somewhat manually determined, that airports in XY climate would have a XY% hike in demand during summer or winter.
b) Demand by population in catchement area and not an exact airport - it is possible to insert population “heatmaps” from different sources, recently the game NIMBY rails did it. Would You consider generating demand for given airport based on a combination of population in a defined area and an average local GDP/capita for example? Both accessible datasets. I am mentioning this, because today the demand of different airports is set from the real world traffic, which pushes the virtual players to replicate existing real world networks, while in reality the traffic on the big airports is now given historicaly, not necessarily by such demand. For example the demand in the CGN/DUS/DTM area would be very similar for all three airports originally as of population and GDP, but “by accidend” in the real world DUS has the most pax, and CGN is a Cargo hub. But it would be nice if AS players wouldn´t be pushed into doing the same, and instead have the chance to develop concepts on different airports based on a catchment area demand.
I understand it´s a hard thing to do, just saying, that the data needed for these nuances are actually available to be built in to the picture.
I very much agree with the previous post, we need demand to not be airport based. Real-life networks are influenced by operational needs of individual airlines, which don’t exist in the game but still affect the demand. This is particularly true around hubs. While it has been adjusted at major hubs to lower the demand to/from them, it doesn’t really happen “in the opposite direction”, e.g. at regional airports. These are pain to play at today, because the demand is based on the assumption that people from those airports travel to airports that are served from them IRL. But IRL they simply get a route to whatever hub the airline uses. I’ve previously tried to play in Sweden and the game just assumed that everyone from regional airports wants to only travel domestically, because IRL these airports only get domestic flights - completely ignoring the fact that those domestic flights largely serve as feeders to international routes.
Also, passengers will often ignore more attractive airport because IRL it has lower supply. It’s a bit weird that most AS passengers prefer LHR over LCY.
In the ideal world, the demand would be based on population information, socio-economic factors for individual areas, political relationships and some kind of tourism potential. But I don’t think there’s sufficient dataset on that so we can’t go all the way there. But some way to base the demand on population clusters rather than airports would be great.
At least for the most basic factors, the data is there:
Population density and GDP: World Population Density Interactive Map - there is an underlying dataset for this. I´m not a programmer or any kind of IT specialist, but I guess if this dataset has points in a grid, then you can build a programme that recognises a radius in an XY range in the grid and adds the numbers together, and since there will be also data on national borders positioning, it could even calculate the total GDP within the catchment area (and of course if different catchment area collide, calculate how much is used up within each at different airports close to each other) - at the very least national GDP numbers can be simply downloaded from Wikipedia or elsewhere, but for example for EU it is possible to get more exact GDP/capita numbers even for NUTS III regions, I´m sure it will be the same for at least the state level in the US etc.
The seasonality of air travel is dictated by leisure travelers, business travel is more or less constant throughout the year. So for seasonal destinations it could be possible to combine a few sets of information, which should also be quite easy to get:
Average annual temperature at an airport (lots of weather data sites out there): This could help determine kind of medditeran climate, which is where summer leisure goes
Elevation: It´s possible to also get elevation data globally, so it could be used as a definition helper for winter leisure travel
Water: the maps that show where the airports are, show the immediate map in the AS even today - if a software could analyze, how much of a picture of a map, that shows let´s say 100km around the airport, is blue (water), it could be an indicator, that the airport is on an island, at a seaside, etc., which are huge demand factors
I think it would be great if demand in the game is no longer dictated by airport passenger numbers but by more realistic factor like population and GDP. However, these two factors alone, although the easiest to understand, don’t make for a very realistic demand model. You would need different factors like political and historical relations between countries, similar industries or cultural ties.
For example Australia has high demand from the UK relative to other European countries due to the Political ties and shared history of the countries.
And the same can be seen with many West African countries and France, South Africa and Spain or between various Caribbean islands and several European countries.
But also less obvious is the demand between specifically New York and Israel because of the large Jewish population in New York or direct demand between China and San Francisco for a similar reason.
Looking at industry I would expect strong demand between The Bay Area and Shenzhen and Taiwan. Between Detroit and Southern Germany. Between New York, Hong Kong and London. But where the other examples are more focussed on economy passenger demand, strong relations on the basis of industries would be more focused on business passenger demand.
And that still just the fairly obvious. If I’m looking at travel demand to for example Spain in summer, why is it that there are specific cities/regions that the Dutch go to, and other for the British and others again for the Germans? Why does this clustering happen, is it quantifiable and can it be programmed into the game? And I guess there are many more of these quirks all around the world, because we’re dealing with people that don’t always make logical and easy to understand decisions. Not even as a group.
So, I would like a more realistic demand system I do think that it involves a lot of research to get something that feels right.
Of course, there could be infinite number of factors that make demand specific for exact city-pairs, but one can´t really count in all of them, but with some general factors it can be made much more accurate then today. The basic calculation can be based on (as mentioned before)
Catchment area population
Catchment area GDP
Relation between decreasing demand and increasing distance
Basic geopolitical ties can be added manually: as you mentioned, countries of the UK commonwealth, France and ex-colonies, etc., I think it would be possible to cover the big ones manually.
But still, for business oriented travel, population, gdp and distance will be the major factors, then you can add demand multipliers like “island factor” (international travel happens almost exclusively by air), “low population density factor” for bigger countries (increases domestic air travel demand), and similar.
Regarding leisure travel, I think that actually holds lots of potential to go in to slightly different direction compared to real world, but if you think it through, you´ll get back to the case, that that too is mainly dictated by the basic factors I already mentioned - for example why are UK summer leisure travelers mainly going to Spain, Portugal, and compared to that less to Greece, Croatia? Well, Spain and Portugal are closer, hence bigger demand. On the other hand Czech, Polish, Hungarian people are vacationing in Greece and Croatia, and not in Spain (not as much anyway). Turkey or Egypt are interesting for both, because they are cheap, etc., so basically all these can be to a degree be explained by basic economic and geographical rules, that can be built in an algorhytm.