Dev Blog 149: Experimental testing of Alpha 35, new airlines and the studio tour!

April 23, 2020

Hello airport CEO and welcome to the 149th development blog! It’s been a while since we last spoke and it’s simply due to the very heavy workload we’ve been pulling the past two weeks. Getting Alpha 35 out of internal testing and onto the experimental branch has been a challenging task but thankfully we are finally there. But we’ve got a lot more to do before Alpha 35 and the terminal update is ready for the default branch, which means that we’ve still got no time to spare so lets just jump into it...

Experimental testing of Alpha 35

Alpha 35 has now been deployed on the experimental branch and has since its initial deployment of course already seen a series of updates. Since this update, with both the addition of full support for multiple terminals and international zones, is another fundamental change to the game’s grid system we’ve spent a lot of this initial experimental testing time to resolve some technical debt relating to the zone construction system. We’re also investigating and solving various issues related to passenger AI and player influence on passenger AI as the agents get accustomed to move about these new terminals with international zones and whatnot. It’s an equally challenging as fun process and we expect the experimental testing phase of Alpha 35 to last a bit longer than Alpha 34 due to the extent of the features we’ve deployed.

The experimental branch has seen an update for every day of the week this week and will most likely do so during the next as well as we continue to squash the bugs and issues you send in to us. We’d therefor like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your extensive testing and will reward you with future updates to come.

If you want to join in on the more interactive experience of testing and fixing Alpha 35, you’re welcome to do so in the official Alpha 35 forum thread and once the terminal update goes live on default you’ll hopefully be the first to know.

An overhauled airline fleet

One part of Alpha 35 that has sort of stayed in the cloud (almost literally) is the airline fleet overhaul. Last year we decided to make some fundamental changes to the vanilla airline and fleet structure we have in Airport CEO as a result of extensive feedback from the community. There were several concerns raised regarding the realism of each respective airline’s fleet. And those concerns were of course as per usual accurate as the fleets until now have been somewhat random, ultimately leading to a few somewhat unusual airline constellations. For example, an airline could previously both fly a small prop aircraft like a Cessna as well as a large wide body jet. This is of course quite unrealistic as most airlines stick to aircraft types within a certain category and thus have distinct ways of operating their business and trafficking routes. With the help of the community in general but especially with the aid of a few very devoted members, we’ve now setup a new fleet structure for all airlines in the vanilla game. We’ve divided them into five categories (in order to match the structure of the game’s other businesses) and made sure that each airline’s setup consist of as a realistic fleet as possible given the various constraints game development bring. For airlines with a lot of aircraft types already implemented we simply divided that airline into a subsidiary company. For example, Air Strada now also has Strada Regional which traffics a fleet of smaller aircraft while Maple has Maple Express and so forth. Each subsidiary airline has an updated livery to match well and we also added two more smaller airlines, Jumper and Edwards Bay. Given the extensive amount of graphics related 2D artwork, this was a pretty big task where we decided to take help from a local student, Lucas Eliasson, whom are the designer of the two new airlines and each new subsidiary. They turned out really great and we are excited to release them as part of Alpha 35 and currently flying on the experimental branch.

These airline changes is the first step in revising the current overall airline system. The next step will be an update to the contract and rating system where the plan is to remove “flight rating”, where each flight pays a different amount, and instead have some form of negotiation system where airlines will contract to fixed prices. Higher rated airlines will bring larger jets, require more services and thus pay more. These changes will drop either late in Alpha 35 but most likely as part of Alpha 36 and the final content update of Airport CEO before we’re departing for a full release.

If you haven’t taken flight on the experimental branch yet, here are a few of the new airlines on their maiden voyages...

Edwards Bay

Jumper Airlines

Maple Express

Strada Regional

The studio tour!


The studio tour is finally here! But not right here, instead you’ll have to jump over to the Apoapsis Studios website and check out the latest blog post.

In other news

... Steve has been extremely busy in the aircraft factory producing new high-quality birds ordered by multiple Airport CEO airlines. He’s happy to share these two latest renders with you of two upcoming models.

Any...

... guesses?

... we have nothing else to report! Everyone is staying healthy and work is progressing well, planning of Alpha 36 has started and we’ll continue to spend the coming weeks with continued stabilization of Alpha 35 on the path toward a default release.

That's it for this week and we hope to be back on Wednesday in two weeks. Until then, stay and fly safe!

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