Dev Blog 95: Conveyor Belt System Pack (and more), Airlines and Airline Modding

December 5, 2017

Gooooooood evening airport CEO and welcome to yet another executive briefing on the development progression of Airport CEO! We’ve had another productive week and being able to devote ourselves to this project, now full time, is an amazing opportunity which is something that we’re slowly realizing and is slowly sinking in. Something else that is also slowly sinking in is Alpha 23.5 which is now available on the experimental branch. It contains a lot of new goodies but we’ll get into that below. Check it out and, if you have time, maybe also read the below text. Let’s go…

Last Week

So last week was naturally focused on continuing the implementation of new art and updating the overall look of Airport CEO. However, we also had time for a little bit of QA work and put some effort into polishing visual details. This was mainly centered around going through each buildable object and making sure that default values and visual look is as intended, as the Airport CEO item folder grows it is important to maintain all existing objects. We’ve also squashed a few bugs here and there, and have done some slight UI improvements to the object description panel (still not fully complete) but time has in general not been devoted to such things. However, this will change as this final large content pack has been deployed and we will now slowly shift our focus back to aspects of quality and stability within game play and performance. We’ve also had time for some organizational tasks this week and it has now been decided that we will finally establish an office and that it will be located, as mentioned in the earlier devlog, in Malmö. For the sake of efficiency we plan to move there as soon as practically possible as working from home is becoming more and more tiresome. Having an office, an actual studio, means a fixed place for us to work together and for sure that the last productivity gear can finally be switched on. Some airport CEOs have requested to see an image of the office once its set up and we will happily provide once we’re fully moved in.

Conveyor Belt System Pack and… well, a lot more

As you now know Alpha 23.5 is now out and contains the third “and last” (no, not by any means) graphics pack and this time around we’ve focused mainly on new conveyor belt parts. However, as implementing these turned out to go quicker than expected we got some extra time on our hand and continued with a few extra objects. We have received great feedback on the previous packs and once again our artist Mitchell has done a fantastic job so in excess of conveyor belt stuff we’ve also freshened up on the bathroom items, the shop items as well as implemented new tree sprites. Let’s have a look at some new creations with the new, or refreshed, objects.

A nice and open cafe area!
A serene (well, mostly) looking bathroom.
New shelves! We’re currently working on a range of new and different product sprites to populate them with.
The cargo (baggage) bay was in desperate need of an overhaul.
The new tree sprites! Design may still be iterated on but this is the general look we are experimenting with.
And at night… soothing.

During the week as hot fixes for 23.5 will deployed more shelve versions and a new bathroom item will be implemented. More details on these will be included in the patch notes!

Looking at version 23.5 on the experimental branch and the current 23.0 version on the default branch a lot has happened. Over the coming week we will focus on stabilizing 23.5 and once we are confident in it, most likely before the end of this working week, we will convert it to Alpha 24 and deploy it on the default branch. More details on this major change will of course follow!

Stripe Air Saved by the Community

As a result of the airline design contest we have several new and exciting upcoming airlines in the implementation pipeline. Because of this we initially had plans to decommission Stripe Air as we felt the design was a bit outdated and not very well fitting with the modern look of the other airlines present (and those soon to be implemented) but in a discussion on the official Airport CEO Discord server it was clear that the desire to save Stripe Air was very strong. So instead of removing it from the game we ultimately went with the decision to keep it and instead do a re-branding of it, bringing it up to true Airport CEO quality. Forum user Nace888 was kind enough to help us with some ideas and creating a base model which we then applied some final touches to, finally settling on a brand new livery for Stripe Air. The new livery is now flying on Alpha 24.5!

Airline Modding and Contest Winner Designs

Speaking of those new airlines we have started that work by collecting and adapting the contest winner designs and we expect to implement the first ones within the next week. If you are one of the lucky winners and have not yet heard from us make sure to head over to the forum for more information. Implementing 14 new airlines on several different aircraft types of varying size and shape is no easy task and so we decided that the easiest way to go about this is similar to how we would implement airline modding. Yes, airline modding is not that far away as we are now working on a change to the airline generation system, aligning it with how the other businesses in Airport CEO is generated and finally integrating it with Steam Workshop. Airline modding will be implemented in increments but basically we want to, as mentioned, apply a similar JSON-system that we have for the other business as this for airlines today is more or less hard coded. The reason to this is partly dreaded legacy  code and technical debt but also complexity as airlines contains much more complex aspects such as connection to all liveries, compared to traditional shop and food franchises. We also have to consider that once modding is implemented it will be very difficult to alter any fundamental aspect around the modding system without the risk of breaking every modders hard work. But as we are now in the process of getting  a clearer picture of how we will implement airlines and airline generation so that it is possible to mod just like other businesses, we’ve started working on implementing and testing it.

Next Aircraft Voting

As previously promised we have this week also launched a new “Next Aircraft for Airport CEO” poll, last Thursday. This time we are putting forward five commercial and five general aviation aircraft for the community to vote on in two separate polls. The rules are very easy: The winning picks will be the next aircraft types we implement! For the commercial aircraft we are still keeping to only implementing medium body aircraft as we want to improve the path finding algorithm and general performance an stability aspects before we start bringing in the heavies. The poll will run until Tuesday 5th of December (23:59 CET) so hurry up and cast you vote here if you have not already done so. The Boeing 757 is currently leading the commercial poll and the Beechcraft Baron G58 the general aviation poll.

That’s it for this week! As we have now delivered three major visual updates focus will again revert to game play and performance epics. We will begin to plan those this week and they center around the flight planner and flight contracts, the general UI including menus and the management panel as well as path finding performance and logic for various agents. More on these next week! Connect with us via our social media outlets and if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask us or the community. See you next week and fly safe!

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