Dev Blog 125: Branch puzzles, "expanding" the studio and localization

March 13, 2019

Good evening airport CEO!

... and welcome, to the 125th development blog, which is one day late due to some... technical issues. It simply does not matter how much code you write and how much you work with computers and IT, if you're writing a long dev blog text you should back it up or write it in some other tool than the web browser editor... and don’t hit refresh when writing in that browser. Oh well, this text has now been written twice at least so you can rest assure that it’s been through some proper QA.

Time is passing by quickly and in the cold Nordics we’re at an increasingly pace getting a few days with temperatures that could lead one to thin that spring is coming. And speaking of changing times, the studio has sort of recently “expanded” … on the 28th of February. Fredrik’s son Hugo was born! If you’d like to join in on the congratulations you can head over to the Forum thread and send him your best wishes, in the meantime Alexander and Olof will keep the studio running and a slightly reduced pace while Fredrik is tending to his family. But that does not mean that we have less to talk about, so let’s just get into it…

Branch puzzles

Last week we had, from a deployment perspective, a quite hectic week with new updates rolling out on all of our public branches. This is thanks to our, nowadays, well function branching strategy. And by branching we of course mean out git solution, a VCS (version control software) that allows us to keep different versions of the game indifferent folders. This means that the previous week we deployed an important,and the last ever, update on the default branch with important bug fixes (Alpha29.11-12), an experimental update containing the soundtrack update changes (Alpha 30.0-3) and an internal update, containing the contests of the both previous deployments including the previously mentioned new tutorial panel.

Moving ahead is an imminent deployment of Alpha 30 on the default branch including all of the mentioned features above. From that point on we will continue to work on bug fixes, work on the topic below, reset the clock on the community voted turnaround services and finally get them in while the work on the multi-floor feature will be put on hold due to Fredrik’s mentioned absence. You’ll as per usual be the first to know when the soundtrack update goes live on the default branch!

Localization

One of the most requested features and something we’ll have to deal with separately from the community feature requests is the localization of the game. We have far too many CEOs careers end prematurely due to the fact that their preferred language is not supported and with so many complex aviation terms we feel that there’s a very reasonable demand for Airport CEO to get translated. However… this is not a completely uncomplicated process due to a number of reasons. As you’re perhaps aware of, ever since Alpha 29, we’ve been on a continued path to remove a lot of the old, legacy parts of Airport CEO that keep the game and its underlying foundation back. While we’ve dealt with the bulk of the performance issues and are currently working on overhauling other aspects of the game in terms of simulation processes, UI and tutorial and more… the time has come to clean up another major legacy part of ACEO. When we started this project back in late 2015 we never anticipated where it’d end up and consequently all text strings in the game are hard coded into the C# script files.

Yes, yes… we know… please… look away… we’d never think there was a reason not to put those strings there since we didn’t think the game would ever be translated. Now that we know differently, we’ll have to pay the price, fortunately it will hopefully not be that big. The translation system itself has already been drafted and is quite simplistic solution of a text and key lookup mechanism where all corresponding text files are loaded into the game when it boots up. We’re currently working on a solution that’ll quickly allow us to replace all the existing strings in the game without manual labor and hopefully, if we’re successful, it will have us moving onto the second step as soon as possible, i.e. translating the actual text. This will be handled by an external party and we will most likely support a few languages that make sense and possibly add more over time as requests pile up, but if you're eager you will be able to translate the game yourself as the system will be fully moddable.

The last step will be to make sure that the UI can handle the varying length of the text strings. Once we’re starting to make some good progress on this front we’ll let you know!

In other news

… the studio has gotten a new website! But instead of yapping on about it you should just head over and check it out instead!

… there are a lot of community happenings currently going on! Alpha 30 will not only bring the soundtrack update, a new interactive tutorial panel but also a new main menu button where you’ll be able to immediately drop into a default test airport to see how it’s supposed to be done – a feature that’s been requested by CEOs early in their career for quite some time. While we initially intended to build this airport ourselves, another CEO reminded us that there are far more talented airport architects in the community and thus we decided to throw together a contest instead. Head on over and check out a few of the filed submissions, or perhaps take your time and join in– there’s still time left!

… and speaking of community happenings, we’re currently running a new aircraft vote on the forum. There were several requests for a new light non-GA vote, and we decided to respond swiftly with another opportunity to affect Steve’s backlog. Head on over and cast your vote here!

… we’re heading to Reboot Blue in Dubrovnik! This is a small game developer conference taking place in mid-April and if you’re there and want to catch up or whatever then don’t hesitate to contact us.

… Steve is continuing his path on breathing life in new aircraft creations. We’re currently working on the upcoming first large aircraft which is nearing completion and a few other special aircraft that are in the works. Check out two teasers below:

A big bird...
... and a small bird!

So that’s it for this week! Until the next and... fly safe!

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