Dev Blog 59: Gameplay Video Release Week!

March 14, 2017

Woho! After several weeks on hiatus, the devlog is finally back! As you hopefully know, it was put on hiatus as we were purely focusing on the development aspects for a while. While it did take some time to get together and shoot the video, development never stopped but instead steamed ahead in its usual pace. What did we really do during those weeks? We’re not really sure, progress is hard to track, but the weekly change-log will make an appearance yet again in the lower parts of this devlog featuring the most notable changes. But first, let’s talk about the video…

Gameplay Video Release

After a long wait we were finally able to show you a 40 minute pure gameplay video of the current state of Airport CEO. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s about time:

We want to start by thanking you for all the amazing feedback and comments we received. It’s insane to think that just within a week over 10k people have taken an interest in the title and also listened to our extremely awkward commenting. As mentioned on Reddit, while we do know that its difficult to record and produce gaming and let’s play-videos, we’ve both discovered a new and profound respect for those who work with this on a daily basis.

Reading through your comments (yes, we read everything), it seems as if you are happy with what you’ve seen. This is not only thanks to us, but also thanks to you, who have been guiding and steering this project for the entirety of the development time. Everyone pat themselves on the shoulder!

Now, we are really glad that many of you are very excited for the release of this game and the discussions have been many and intense around Airport CEO and when it’s time. We’ll get into this below, but we just want to point out that we are still formally in a pre-alpha state and thus there are many things that are not finished and that are un-polished. We’ve carefully collected your feedback and been taking notes and we’ll implement the appropriate changes as we move ahead.

So when will Airport CEO Pre-Alpha Release?

We had setup a goal of having the first release in Q1, which is until end of March. As you could see on the video, the build system is more or less ready for pre-alpha release so now. So now we just need to polish the rest of the game mechanics such as the employee, passenger cycle as well as the economic system and flight simulation. They are in place, and we will show some of it in the next video, but they do need polishing. Will we make it to Q1? That’s out ambition, but we don’t know. We’re not a “real” studio, we’re two people doing this when time allows and thus we are going to move forward from this point on with the ambition of releasing as soon as possible. No more deadlines, the road ahead has a very clear target: Making it releasable.

When will the next video be released?

Hopefully soon enough! All systems are in place, we just really want to make some further improvements before shooting the second video. We’re going to go without deadlines here, and instead let it drop from out of the blue. Expect it when you’re not expecting it!

Fence

One of the most commented thing on the video was that there was no ability to build any fence. This observation was correct and we’ve swiftly implemented a fencing system for you to seal of your airport with.

If (when?) we were to implement roaming animals, the fence would have a real effect of keeping them out.

Baggage

With the introduction of construction material simulation we’ve implemented a rigorous delivery system as well as revamped the “assets” system, an asset is essentially anything in the game that can be handled. Thus it can be delivery boxes, baggage, construction material or even aviation fuel. We’ve implemented a sort of plug and play system for assets meaning that persons can easily pick up and carry multiple assets, such as contractors picking up construction material while also carrying a tool. Yes, tools are just as unique as persons and if we wanted to, we could easily simulate wear and tear on tools as well. We won’t, for now, but its a proof of concept of how versatile the system is. In the future we want to see airports come alive not only by baggage being pulled around, but also boxes, delivery materials, food and whatnot.

We also revamped so important parts of the conveyor belt system, and to celebrate this we built one of those contraptions we’ve always wanted to build. Not the prettiest perhaps, but practice’ll make perfect…

And yes, we’ve exchanged the ugly stock baggage color array.

These Past Week’s Changelog

All the Goodies:
  • Even more effective pathfinding (and we still have more to do here!)
  • Major UI memory leak optimization…
  • … which required a lot of rework on the UI system itself as there not only a lot of legacy but some dire violations to the principles of MVC software architecture
  • Delivery Trucks
  • Commodity Delivery System (construction material, stuff like that, not yet integrated with franchise though)
  • Effects (placement) and overall polishing
  • Rework on the object pooling system, improved logic on how the pooling system checks out and checks in simulated agents
  • Reworked asset handling system (tools, baggage, picking up material, stuff like that)
  • Major improvement on coupling between objects (has no effect on gameplay but eases up A LOT for us on the backend, makes it easier to spawn passengers from different sources in the future (taxis, buses, metro, etc)
  • Added an airport logo system
  • Added a CEO stats panel with map
  • Redesigned some UI components
  • Finished off and improved the start menu screen
  • Squashed a lot of bugs
  • Adjusted serialization to all the above mentioned changes (this needs more testing though)
  • Wrote some camera movement code
  • Improved border graphics outside the playable worlds
  • Added system for generically generating starter road and structures
  • Fencing
  • Overhauled employment system and brought it back to speed
  • Overhauled candidate generation controller
  • Solved person age bugs
  • Solved a bunch of serialization issues
  • Revamped conveyor belt system and made it smarter and more efficient
  • Added a CEO avatar arriving in the game (that’s you!) – will walk around and interact with the world
  • More stuff… can’t remember everything

Next week the changelog will be a bit more structured.

As we released the video we gained a lot of new followers on the various social media outlets. Thanks for this, and thanks for joining the ACEO train! We will continue to develop this title and hopefully soon enough release the next part in the ACEO gameplay video series.

We’ve also got some community related stuff coming up ahead, more about this next week. Until then, see you throughout the week and fly safe!

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