Dev Blog 46: It’s Alive! The Revival of the Baggage Belt System…

November 15, 2016

Time flies by as we roar towards more christmassy(?)  times and while we are somewhat crippled in terms of development progression as Fredrik is busy renovating and moving to his new apartment, we have still managed to make some significant progress over the past week! In excess of finishing of serialization and deserialization of the weather, which required some hacking as we are using nested queues to cycle the simulation, work has solely been put into reviving the baggage system.

It’s Alive!

As we’ve mentioned before and as you are probably well aware of, this summer included the removal of the physics library. We’ve talked about this multiple times before but to recap, it was simply impossible to simulate thousands of agents by using rigid bodies, colliders and effectors at an acceptable frame rate. ACEO was originally not intended to simulate this many agents which was why we relied on physics components and thus physics based calculations to execute the simulation. As the game concept grew, as a result of an amazingly creative community, this was a necessary decision.

The current baggage system testing site. Please ignore the shitty image quality, it’s not representative.

The baggage system was one of the most physics intensive part of the code base, and have until now thus been abstracted out. As we progressed through the serialization to-do batch and started serializing assets (bags, tools, products, packages, etcetera) we decided that it was time to once and for all fix this. What we’ve ended up with is a much more powerful and intelligent system for simulating baggage. We’ve gone from a sort of a static concept where bags were “dead” objects being pushed around, to bags now being packed with logic while still having to live by conveyor belt principles. We’re now combining an A-star path finding system, so that bags can correctly find and plot paths to baggage bays, waiting areas (baggage belt loops, baggage warehouses and ultimately baggage claim areas), and rules enforced by the way you construct the baggage belt system, effectively simulating the same kind of conveyor belt we previously had but now without the use of physics. In the meantime, we’ve enhanced a ot of logic related to the baggage system both in regards to how it operates and how its built.

Right now, we are essentially as progressed with the baggage belt system as we were before we removed the physics library. Well, a bit further including the completed implementation of the underground baggage belt and… baggage congestion! Moving ahead with a much smarter system, we’ll be able to swiftly implement remaining parts such as…

  • Tilt Tray Sorting
  • Baggage Warehouse
  • Baggage Claim Areas

… and then finish the systems involved with shipping bags via baggage trains and stuff like that. But now, let’s check out some new .gifs of a new and improved baggage system simulation:

Congestion is nothing fun and something that could seriously clog up your airport operations. Not being able to sort bags quickly enough could have bags lining upp all the way to the check-in counters and thus effectively stalling passengers and ultimately creating passenger queue pileups. Obviously, our testing site was not capable of handling this many bags. Over the coming week we’ll implement the remaining items and start testing the system together with real gameplay, including serialization aspects. Looking forward to sharing the progress with you as soon as possible!

Thanks for reading, see ya soon!

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