DevLog 115: Gamescom 2018 Post-mortem & Alpha 28.1-5 Experimental Release

DevLog 115: Gamescom 2018 Post-mortem & Alpha 28.1-5 Experimental Release
September 4, 2018 Airport CEO

Dear airport CEO,

Hello, and welcome, to this 115th episode of the bi-weekly Airport CEO development blog. In today’s issue we’ll go through our experience at Gamescom 2018 as well as what’s packing in the recent experimental release, Alpha 28.1-5, which features the first version of the large feature request known as remote stands, as well as some new tooling for CEOs to construct better taxiway systems than ever! So with that said, as usual, we have stuff to get through and very limited time so let’s just jump into it.

Gamescom 2018 Post-mortem

As some of you probably already know we attended Gamescom this year and did so as part of the Sweden Game Arena booth in the trade area of the fair, who amongst various other services mainly sorted us out with sponsoring the fair tickets and a small demo station to run the game on. Our main purpose with the expo was to meet new and interesting people in the business, learn more about the industry and how it functions as well as market ourselves, the game and the company. We had a few business meetings that were quite interesting but all in all we mostly kept to spontaneous networking and enjoyed the conference, and of course headed over a few times to the entertainment area to check out what the AAA studios are working on. Overall it was from a business perspective time spent really well and we see it as a long term investment for Apoapsis Studios. A lot of new people now know who we are and what we do and vice versa.

As mentioned, we did spend some time walking around and viewing the incredible displays over in the entertainment area. It was extremely impressive and interesting to see these massive companies and their epic battle of attention to bring as much eyes on them as possible… but instead of drooling over AAA games in the crowded entertainment area we mostly hung around the indie and trade parts. We talked to many different indie developers and played each others game as well as exchanged feedback and ideas. We even got a chance to exchange a few words with the devs of an upcoming airport tycoon game in 3D, and while they seemed a bit shocked to see us at first we ended up having a really interesting discussion about the similarities in the challenges we face when creating realistic airport games; they were really super nice guys! We also had a brief discussion with an indie developer from Chile who where working on a tycoon style game that in some ways were quite different from Airport CEO but in other ways shared similar challenges. They were especially interested in learning about our community process and engagement which from their perspective was regarded as huge success. This is something that we’ve personally realised way back, what a massive boost it is to have an active and engaging community to work and develop the game with, and is something we hear more and more from people within the industry agree on. Unfortunately it seems as if a lot of indie developers forget about their community and don’t start working on that aspect until their game has already been released… which is usually way too late.

We also got a chance to meet up with Jettuh, our graphics artist, who was awesome enough to take a day of his regular work to come visit us and the fair all the way from The Netherlands. We got a chance to discuss some art challenges in person and had a nice dinner together by the canal before he had to head home. While in Cologne we also took the opportunity to take a short city tour of the beautiful city and went into full tourist mode around the massive Cologne Dom church. It is a really impressive and breathtaking building which is highly recommended to visit if you are ever in the area. So to summarize, we had nothing but a fantastic time in Cologne experiencing Gamescom for the first time around but after all it’s almost a good thing that it’s only held once a year because we were completely drained of energy once we got home and needed the weekend to recover. But… would we do it again and will we be there next year? Hopefully!

Alpha 28.1-5 Experimental Release

Before the weekend we did a silent deployment of the first version of the next series of updates for the experimental branch and, eventually, the default branch. We’ve written about remote stands and the new taxiway system improvements in, what, the last three devlogs so we’re not going to bore you with that again (and if you haven’t read about it you can quickly get up to speed in this forum thread) but that’s essentially what this first update is centred around. We’ve already received a number of great bug reports and will throughout this week provide daily updates to the experimental branch, rectifying the bulk of issues that are coming in as well as addressing visual glitches and other improvements efforts. Aside from stabilizing the current experimental version we’re continuing to look into the many other development tasks we’ve written about recently such as passenger animation improvements, multiple floors and the remaining turnaround services. We also have a lot of new art and items waiting to get into the game so we’ll most likely take a short break from the big implementations and do a minor content blast to get you all some new stuff to play around with.

In Other News

We’ve now recieved the full length soundtrack in an un-polished demo version by our friends over at Sinephony in Stockholm and can happily report that we are nothing but absolutely thrilled over their progress. We can’t wait to share their final results with you in an exclusive soundtrack update and we think that the results will be nothing short of what we envisioned: A 60 minute long soundtrack with music that reflect the core style and feel of Airport CEO. The songs are many and varied and are crafted with a mindset of balancing great ambiance music with interesting elements such as challenging harmonies and time signatures. We expect at least a few more months of work, especially since the studio we’re working with are using several real life musicians for the recordings, before we ship this update. But we’ll make sure to keep you in the loop as usual!

And finally… let’s talk about those darn promised office photos. This was actually the one devlog in which we’d prepare for the office pictures to go on display… however, as it turns out, we will most likely change offices within the next coming two weeks. We’re happy to announce that we soon will be a part of a new initiative in Malmö, run by a non-profit organization called Game Habitat, known as the DevHub – a house where several game developers in Malmö ranging from AAA-studios such as Avalanche to smaller studios like ours. It will for sure be a very interesting and lucrative environment to work in and we’re super excited to make this move which means that we’ve already started tearing stuff down in the office we have now. Once we’re all set up in the new space, you’ll be the first to see how it looks.

So that’s it for this update… come join us over at the Forum is you want to be a part of the experimental release train and see remote stands getting more stable over time. If nothing else we’ll see you in two weeks, until then: Have a safe flight!