Dev Blog 63: Baggage Handling, Design Contest Finish & Literally Easter Eggs

April 18, 2017

Hello there, soon to be airport CEO! We’ve had a wonderful week here in Sweden celebrating Easter and have had som extra time with our families but also with Airport CEO (nice to get that job and school shit out of the way). We are steaming ahead and are working hard on the final aspects of the passenger and baggage cycles, the break has allowed us to make significant progress on this area and we’ve managed to overcome a major milestone. Before we get into it, we just want to say that the .gifs featured in this post are from a test run of four domestic flights (DHC-6 Twin Otter) scheduled at the same time on a small domestic airport.

Baggage Handling

The complete baggage handling system was originally intended to be fully implemented months ago but had to postponed due to major reconstruction of the game engine itself. As of this week, we finally feel that we’ve reached a high enough quality for our main game engine systems so that we’ve this week have been able to fully focus on baggage handling.

This week’s effort has resulted in a fully simulated baggage handling from the point of a passenger checking in a bag, all the way through the conveyor belt system including scanners and tilt trays ending up in a baggage bay to then be offloaded to a waiting baggage truck with attached carts which, upon loading completion, is driven off the the stand and to be loaded into the aircraft. Yes, every single bag is simulated!

The arrival direction is also correctly simulated with aircraft offloading to the baggage bay and the baggage can then make its way to the baggage claim area, however we have yet to implement the baggage claim simulation which is expected to be finished by next week (we’ll start as soon as this is posted). Additional features to be implemented is a belt loader, needed for supporting larger aircrafts when unloading.

A lot of work has gone into this system as its principles are very complex to say the least. Baggage affects everything and is affected by everything and while we want to correctly simulate the entire lifecycle we don’t want to make it so that it is unplayable, it’s important that it still feels purposeful for the player to construct and expand the airport with baggage handling capabilities. We won’t go into further details now, those will be discussed in the upcoming video, instead enjoy this .gif… it appears as if the easter bunny placed a rather larger order of eggs to be shipped by air.

Anyway, this was a major milestone in the project as we’ve now implemented the last missing part (well except for baggage claim but that’s expected to go fast) of all the processes we want to ship with. From here on now we’re only doing polishing and testing!


The Design Contest

We’ve had an amazing community participance submitting a total of 100 designs on a very short time, resulting in us having to close the contents way earlier than expected. The submissions we’ve received are all in their own way amazing and its incredibly difficult to try and select a top 10 out of all the great designs.

We will launch the vote on Wednesday over at the forum and everyone is invited to partake. When the voteis live we’ll announce it through all the usual channels.

What Else…

So much. We’re polishing and refurbishing stuff all the time, the snapshot below is a small representation of all the tickets we’ve crossed off our internal development Kanban. Stuff like performance improvement (we’re currently running the game without any GC spikes(!)) are always on top of the list and then of course we have the major milestones such as the baggage handling system.

In excess of planning the third and last video, we’re currently also planning the Greenlight trailer and complexities around the campaign. Just though we’d let you know.

This Week’s Changelog

  • Fixed a sprite glitch
  • Cleansed prefabs and fixed aircraft type specific positioning points for agents interacting with aircraft (ramp agents, vehicles, etc…)
Economy and Business:
  • Added sliders for altering baggage bay shift length
  • Fixed an offset issue when placing rotated items
  • Fixed an issue with some taxiway lights were always on
  • Baggage belt arrows can now be toggled on and off
  • Fixed an issue when removing door when path has been plotted
  • Implemented a dynamic zone system to add correct zones to specific items
  • Pathfinding calculation has been tweaked and improved to reduce calculating times
  • Various performance improvements
  • Occurrence of GC spikes reduced to zero
  • Complete baggage handling simulation from point of check in, through conveyor belt, to and from aircraft implemented
  • Dynamic queueing system fully implemented (for example, if a static queue is full this will cause a queue pile up as seen in .gifs)
  • Various fixes and bug squashes in regards to passenger activities
  • Re-implemented ramp agent service rounds
  • Overhauled aspects of how aircrafts order turnaround services
UI and Other:
  • Fully automated build pipelines for Windows, macOS (and Linux) supporting various types of builds (dev, test box, full) implemented to facilitate future releases (we want to go as much devops as possible here…)

That’s it for this week. Nothing more to say, so instead here’s a screenshot of the four DHCs captured in the .gifs (they’re all white since its a generic test airline). See you next week!

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