Dev Blog 97: Alpha 24 Deployed, Airline & Livery Modding Enabled, Steam Cloud Saves Enabled and the Future of the Airline Contract System

December 19, 2017

Hello airport CEO and welcome to this week’s executive briefing! What a week it has been and today’s update, Alpha 24, on the default branch is probably the biggest update of Airport CEO yet. In short, we’ve added a lot of new content and have focused on replacing the bulk of the in-terminal art style but a lot more has happened under the hood. If you’ve joined our experimental branch journey you won’t be surprised but if you’ve decided to stay on the default branch you’ll definitely have a lot of new things to look at and test. We’ve got a lot to go through so let’s just jump into it.

Alpha 24

Alpha 24 has after a months work made it to the default branch. Testing and soaking on the experimental branch by determined airport CEOs has brought Alpha 24 features to an enough stability grade for default deployment and consequently early access. We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, as you know, but this marks an important step in the development process and more importantly, there are some very important changes that you need to be aware of for your airport to remain functional. If you have been playing on the experimental branch, you have probably already accommodated for these changes but just in case, please read below so that you won’t have to file any unnecessary bug reports.

  • Airlines does not specify contract class (star rating) anymore! This is preparations for the new contract system that we will present below.
  • Push back vehicle is now required for medium stand operation. Make sure you purchase enough push back trucks for your airport.
  • With the implementation of many new furniture and an updated variations system, both plants and gate seating will load as the default object (single row gate seating and small plant). The solution is to rebuild the object and save the world to store the correct variation.
  • Runway operation has been updated and the following changes are required by players on the default branch. You might see aircraft warning that they cannot find a runway so it important to check below list.
  • The desired allowed aircraft types must be set in the runway panel. Once this is set, save the game to store your settings.
  • Medium aircraft now require either asphalt or concrete runway foundation to land/take-off.
  • Medium aircraft now require at least 800 meters (or 2625 feet) of runway length.

Please refer to this above list if you run into any issues, you are also always welcome to get our attention via the Forum and we will try to help you out. It is not impossible that we’ve shipped critical bugs for Alpha 24 to the default branch as more players are expected to use the default branch and if such arise we will per usual deploy hotfixes and, per usual, you will get notified of these.

The full Alpha 24 patch note list can be found here.

Airline and Livery Modding Enabled

We believe that user generated content is what makes a game and its community really thrive. As Airport CEO develops from an early access title to a full game, we will gradually convert game components to become modifiable. We can now happily announce that Airport CEO officially support business, airline and livery modding. As of now it is only possible to add your own airlines and mod existing aircraft types, however, we are also looking into custom aircraft types modding in the future. Currently, Steam Workshop is not supported but this is a priority after the holiday period. We recon it will not take too long to create the necessary integration to get Steam Workshop up and running soon but since this implementation is queued with everything else we have to do we will not set any specific date.

If you are interested in starting your Airport CEO mod career, visit the official mod-page and join the discussion on Discord.

Steam Cloud Save Enabled

Airport CEO now supports cloud saves! This has been a heavily requested feature and it now means that saves can easily be synced between multiple devices. Steam cloud saving is in most cases activated on your Steam account by default and when you now launch Airport CEO the game client should take a few minutes, depending on your connection speed, to synchronize your saves. Some really huge saves might not, due to limitations of available Steam Cloud storage space, not be able to be synced. Just as everything else with Airport CEO, when we first enable something its considered experimental so do contact us if you experience any issues with the syncing.

The Future of the Airline Contract System

Since the release of the Alpha version we have been paying close attention to discussions on our forum, Steam, Twitter and many more channels. We have been swamped with a lot of great feedback and realized that the current flight planning system was not as enjoyable and challenging as we had hoped. We decided that once things settled down from the initial release a bit we would revise the contract and flight planning system to make it a less tedious and repetitive task while also enabling a sense of pride and accomplishment when dealing with airlines. Judging from your feedback we also want to throw in some more dynamic elements to make it more interesting to sign and plan flights. When designing the new system we have done our best to both listen to community feedback and as well designing a system that is possible to implement within the boundaries of the current contract system to prevent breaking the existing airport businesses system such as food and shop franchises, contractors and aviation fuel suppliers.

The proposed new airline contract steps are therefore as follows:

  1. Sign a master contract with an airline. This contract will define overall aspects such as pricing and general terms. The master contract should be viewed as a framework agreement and does not specify number of flights nor have an expiry date.
  2. Once you have signed the master contract, flights will be proposed by the airline depending on demand and at random or at variables determined by other factors. The airline might propose a set of bulk flights or reoccurring flights.
  3. You can then choose to accept or reject flights proposed by the airline. You will still be responsible for scheduling the flights but we will in conjunction with the new contract system also implement an auto-scheduler for the CEO who wants fancy automation.
    4. Each flight will have a star rating from one to five, higher rating will require more airport services such advance security processing, shops, cafes, refueling and or baggage service. Of course, the higher the rating, the more you can earn from that flight.
    5. Once a flight has been completed, an evaluation will be done by the airline looking at aspects such as satisfaction in regards to passenger and baggage handling as well as potential delays. This will determine the overall satisfaction rating for that particular airline. If the rating drops below a given value the airline may cancel your master contract. If you are doing well and the airline rating increases, the airline might be willing to increase the base prices as well as offer higher rated flights. This also gives logical room for any potential implementation of airline hubs and similar but this will not be implemented in this contract revision.

Note that the system and UI is not yet implemented and that this is only a proposition and initial draft! However, as always we are interested in hearing what you think, any feedback is highly appreciated. We have seen many great suggestions and we have gathered inspiration from these to come up with something that is both doable within reasonable time and not overly complex to understand for new players and non-aviation fans.

Beyond Alpha 24

As Alpha 24 is now available on the default branch where the main focus has been updating and adding new content we will now once more again revert back to really taking a deeper look at performance and quality. We will for the foreseeable future, in excess of more focus on bug fixing, mainly target three bigger components where the airline contract system is one of them, another is in relation to passenger path finding, behavior and general script performance and the last one being the UI. And while we will focus on making the next versions of Airport CEO to be a better, faster and more stable our amazing artist Jettuh will continue his steady work and start to deal with overhauling some of the external structures. But more on these new components and the continued art work journey in the next devlog.

Since we’re celebrating holidays in Sweden and parts of rest of the world next week there will be no devlog and we will try to work a little bit less than usual. Now we will get back to monitoring your feedback on the default branch, see you soon, happy holidays and fly safe!

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