Dev Blog 87: Release Week

October 3, 2017

Hey there, airport CEO!

Have we longed for skipping that “almost”, “future”, “soon to be” and other versions of the word? Yes, for two long years, but ACEO has finally made it out as an Early Access title in an Alpha state. The release weekend has been very intense and without question the most challenging, terrifying, insightful and fun experience we’ve ever had, hands down. We don’t really know where to start this devlog but we’d like to thank every single one of you who has been here from the beginning supporting us, those who have just now joined us and also those who have been with us but discovered that this is not the game for them. We’d also like to thank those who downloaded ACEO, tried it, returned it and gave their honest opinion about it, it is just as crucial feedback as the one we receive from those who feels it’s a better fit for them.

Surveying the input we’ve received and the current Steam rating it seems as if the release, over all, has been acceptable. We’ve since the released deployed nine patches that were intended as “structured hotfixes” to the issues that were most pressing. We launched with an undiscovered serialization issue which was by far the most critical one, it had gone undetected throughout the closed alpha testing program but noticeably grew as people started and playing the game. It did not affect everyone as it only occurred in a very specific state but it was none the less very pressing. Another important issue that was reported in a wider scope was an issue with loading saved files, which was due to a Windows file reading permission issue of a (completely useless), for which a fix was sorted and deployed. The last notable issue that was reported was the game’s insane learning curve. We have drastically underestimated the playability of ACEO and it has been very insightful to receive your feedback. We have had about 1000 logged bugs where roughly 50 percent is in fact not bugs but the game failing to communicate how it should be played to the player. The “tutorial” is definitely lacking and we are currently in the process of overhauling it so that those who have left the game behind but still have an interest in it might be able to come back. We’re trying to be as active as possible via the different channels to guide players and help out with what’s wrong and in the meantime we are rebuilding the tutorial to better incorporate new players into the experience (based on your input). We want to give a massive thanksto the community who’s managed to learn the basics of the game by themselves a lot better than the tutorial could teach, your efforts in helping out immensely opens up the time we have for core development and bug solving.

We’re also doing general patch work as well, watching your feedback and trying your saves. There are a lot of variables involved in the different processes and so various deadlocking is one of the more common issues. To properly solve all of them we need your help by you saving the game in the state where it is deadlocked, file a report via the main website and attach the save so that we can have a look at it.  If the issue is of the nature that it resolves itself when saving and reloading, we need you to take screenshots, both zoomed in and zoomed out, so that we can understand what’s going on. Each structured and well written bug report that includes all relevant files is extremely helpful for us to solve the bugs quickly and efficiently. We’ve also received reports on performance issues for rendering large terminals and are currently testing a new solution for this which will hopefully bring some relief to those poor hardware components.

But what have the airport CEOs actually built? Well, let’s check a few of the airports out…

Airport built by J.Gango (steamcommunity.com/id/JGang48).

Very impressive! We bring the tools, you bring the solutions. If you are the builder of this airport and would like to be mentioned, send us a tweet and we’ll include your Steam handle below it.

We’d also like to mention that if you in any way still experience critical issues with ACEO such as failing to save or load the game, crashes or have issues with not being able to run the game in a 16:9 or 16:10 (which is converted to 16:9) resolutions, file a bug report and return the game so that you don’t lose your money. In almost every instance of a critical bug occurring at this state it has to do with a user specific hardware or OS configuration and those are difficult for us to analyze, especially without an ouput_log file. In general we recommend that people check if they’re running the game in admin mode, if there are any issues related to anti-virus or firewalls that block functionality or other software aspects such as DirectX configuration and more.

Trying to sum up the initial days of Airport CEO as released in the wild is hard. We know that were are on to something that can become a really great game, with your guidance. We also know that there is very much a lot of work left to be done. Us, the developers, now have a few important life related decisions to make moving ahead (in relation to our current jobs). This project has been completely un-funded for the last two years and we have been developing on, compared to the industry, very limited equipment. With you support, we will now be able to bring ACEO to a completely new level, expand the team with a proper artist and realize its true potential. The road ahead is to keep stabilizing the game so that we can get rid of the deadlocks, fix the tutorial so that new and existing players can join in and then start building on new content. We will keep deploying the most important fixes to the default branch as we want you all to be on it and at later stage we will discuss how new features will be launched and how work will progress.

We have seen a few comments that this project is a quick cash grab. To that we will not respond, but instead let Churchill do the talking:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

The patch notes for the release weekend can be found on the Airport CEO Steam page.

That’s it for this week. There’s a lot more to discuss and inquiry about but time is limited so it will have to wait. If you have any questions you’re welcome to drop them where we hang out. As always, fly safe, and catch you out on the net!

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