Dev Blog 144: Soon releasing Alpha 34, beginning work on Alpha 35 and the Airport CEO soundtrack now available!

January 29, 2020

Good evening airport CEO and welcome to yet another edition of the bi-weekly dev blog in the Airport CEO saga. We’ve been as busy as ever with continued daily bug fix and improvement deployments for Alpha 34, continued initial development on Alpha 35 and a few different side projects. That said, time is of the essence and we need to simply just get into it...

Experimental testing of Alpha 34 and The R&D Update

Good news: Alpha 34 and The R&D Update departs for the default branch tomorrow evening! We’ve yet again spent a lot of time making sure that we’re delivering a stable experience and as of right now Alpha 34 is way, way more stable than Alpha 33 which is currently available on the default branch. We’ve as of today deployed a final experimental version of Alpha 34 with the last minor fixes and balancing, Alpha 34.4-0, which will soak on the experimental branch during the night and could, if needed, be hotfixed before the default release tomorrow. We’re very much looking forward to having The R&D Update be the default experience when you play Airport CEO, switch pages and start writing on a new chapter in the Airport CEO book of updates.

Looking forward, we’ve got two more major content release updates before Airport CEO goes into a final beta stage. The beta stage will be, compared to the rest of the full-length Airport CEO development life-cycle, a relatively short period and only focus on ruthless bug fixing, balancing and improvements: No new content will be added. Since we as of the Alpha 34 release tomorrow will be in a sort of conjunction between still having a lot of work to do before final release but as mentioned, compared to the years during which ACEO has been developed, not really that much. We’ve therefore decided to adopt a slightly faster development schedule for these two coming content updates as they are both extensive in content but also change a few of the playing rules of the game. We don’t want to spend a lot of time patching and fixing stuff in Alpha 35 that might then be subject to change in Alpha 36 but instead get through those two updates fairly quickly and then do a full and ruthless validation of the entire game during the final beta stage. We will of course still make sure that both of these updates are fully enjoyable and that they don’t break existing functionality, just try to deploy them and their respective minor updates at a slightly faster pace than usual.

Alpha 34 will be deployed tomorrow evening together with full official support for Simplified Chinese and experimental support for Italian.

Alpha 35: Passport and immigration

Speaking of Alpha 35, we want to take the opportunity to dive a little deeper into one of the many features coming in this update, but also some of the reasoning behind how we approach adding new features on top of all of the already existing content in Airport CEO. One of the arguably more exiting such is passport immigration, i.e. the process where passengers arriving or departing to places far away will need show credentials detailing their persona to border enforcing personnel.  Now, as it stands, Airport CEO is already a very, very complex game as a result of the operational difficulty running (and simulating) an airport impose. We’ve worked hard and learnt a lot these past years how airport works and operate but perhaps more so how to translate those workings of an airport into intractable, designable features that are easy to get started with but difficult to master. Throughout the design process of Airport CEO we’ve always followed the principle of “easy if you want, hard if you can”. Airport CEO is also a legacy construction, it’s software that’s been developed over many years and by people who’ve learnt a staggering number of lessons throughout those years which means that we have a unique set of technical challenges to hurdle anytime we implement something big and overthrowing. And it’s not only the purely technical code changes we have to deal with, it’s also all of the tens of thousands of already built airports that we need to ensure remain compatible with new features across the board.

Passport immigration will at its core consist of an international area zone type, two types of passport validation booths and a set of requirements and effects on your airport as a result of its presence. The international zone is a minor zone type similar to staff zone and can only be constructed within secure zone areas. Passengers entering and exiting the international area we need to pass through a passport validation booth and provide valid credentials. Boarding desks being connected to a large stand will require itself being placed in an international zone while boarding desks being connected to a medium stand can be both within, or outside, an international zone depending on player preference while boarding desks being connected to a small stand will enforce not being in an international zone. Thus, passport and immigration control will be a requirement to operate large flights and the efficiency of your immigration operations will we fed into your passenger rating, i.e. queue load and booth availability and the skill and productivity of your security officers operating those of course affect their own ability to detect person that do not have the correct credentials and thus affects your security score.

There are a few more aspects to this system which has not been laid out in detail yet and since it’s currently under implementation there may of course be changes to it in either direction, but considering gameplay complexity, technical compatibility and save integrity this is what we’ve deemed as the most viable solution. All assets have been completed and are about to be implemented as the zone part of the required grid changes are already completed. Hopefully in the next dev blog we’ll have some screens to share with you of the first ever Airport CEO border control!

More information about the contents of Alpha 35, including everything from multi-terminal to walkalators and flower beds will emerge in future updates, with Alpha 34 soon be fully deployed we’ll again revert to primarily working on new development.

The Airport CEO soundtrack now available!

We’re happy to announce that the official Airport CEO soundtrack can finally be enjoyed outside of Airport CEO! Over the past few weeks we’ve added the soundtrack to a few different platforms including as a standalone soundtrack DLC on Steam, Bandcamp and even Spotify!

A digital LP...

In other news

... the move we performed last week went, although exhausting, very well and we’re now up and running in the room next door. We’re waiting for a few more thing to fall in place, for some renewed energy to plug in the last things but after that we’ll make sure to give you the long-awaited studio tour.

So that’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by and we hope we’ll see you in another two weeks. Fly safe!

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