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Solution to Constant Expansion


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#1
Yuxi

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When reading through the aircraft deliveries thread, I realized that we need to consider a deeper problem first in order to have any "realistic" delivery/backlog system work for AE. I think the root cause of the ridiculously high demand for aircraft lies in the fact that AE gameplay is mostly about constant expansion. Think about it: what do you do when you play AE? Especially for the large airlines, most of the playing time is spent adding new routes and assigning aircraft to them. If we want to have realistically sized airlines and number of aircraft in service, it would involve shifting the bulk of gameplay away from constant expansion. However, what we shift that playing time to cannot be some tedious, repetitive chore like scheduling maintenance for each aircraft or going down a huge list and lowering ticket prices one route at a time.

 

So if* we really want to get rid of the perpetual expansion aspect of AE, we'll have to make the airline maintenance and improvement aspects more substantial but also fun. Maybe aircraft scheduling doesn't have to be a tedious chore. Or exploring and expanding into new markets should be a more involved process than just magically seeing the exact supply/demand and plopping some planes down. Or we should make the product aspect of an airline more important and dynamic, and include opinions from passengers evaluating their choices between you and your competitors. With more realistic (read: thinner) profit margins, you would also be affected by and forced to respond to dynamic aspects of the world like spikes in fuel prices. In summary, we would need to add substance to parts of the game other than the "open new route" button.

 

* I know some people like AE for its simple, fast expansion and don't want to get bogged down in other details of their airline. We do have the option of keeping the gameplay the way it is and accept the unrealistically high passenger/aircraft volume as a side effect. It is a game after all, and making it less fun to play for the sake of realism may not be a worthwhile tradeoff.

 

Thoughts? :discuss:



#2
Oliy.

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sounds good

#3
Oggey

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I'm super pro this


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#4
Yuxi

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sounds good

 

That wasn't a yes/no question...it was meant to start an open-ended discussion about what parts of gameplay people would and wouldn't like to spend time on. :P



#5
Stevphfeniey

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I'd totally be in favour of having the actual details (aside from scheduling, which I'm not exactly in favour of) of our airline have greater focus. Meaning, going beyond basic IFS/IFE and Branding and introducing such things as types of seats on board, maintenence quality, and other things I can't remember right now. I mean, beyond the actual branding of the airlines, there is almost nothing else that makes your airline your's. I mean every airline I've ever run started, ran and ended in roughly the same fashion, and I feel this process could be far more dynamic. 


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#6
Oliy.

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That wasn't a yes/no question...it was meant to start an open-ended discussion about what parts of gameplay people would and wouldn't like to spend time on. :P


well, what i meant was i do get very tired of Constant expansion and routing planes 24/7 as it gets dull and boring very quickly and i think making the game more in depth would be a very good idea and would enhance gameplay massively :P

#7
Northern

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Hmm, I'm stuck on the white picket fence :S

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#8
davedave

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I'd also say I find constant expansion relatively dull - but as things stand, it's the 'best' use of my game time from the point of view of total profits.

 

I've only played O2, but from what I've seen there, the problem is that either there are far too few aircraft, or they're far too cheap - simple supply and demand. There's no doubt that if aircraft on the second-hand market were auctioned, they'd fetch much higher prices than those set. Similarly, if the new ones were auctioned to the highest bidder, it would be worth paying much more than the list price given the profits that can be made. Of course, in real life if aircraft were fetching such high prices, either the manufacturers would start building them much faster, or competitors would appear in the market: the supply would increase greatly. It would appear the obvious solutions are either to bring in auctions, or to vastly increase delivery rates.

 

Of course, if delivery rates are increased, it'll become even more of a chore to allocate aircraft than it is currently. The system would need something of a revamp to make it far easier to add routes, which would in turn take the emphasis off current aspects of routing. If there are lots more planes about, and it's easier to add routes, then there'll be much more competition between airlines; tweaking the details to bring costs down and maximise revenue would become much more important - and that's more like what I imagined the game would be when I started playing. 

 

Going slightly off-topic, but still on the subject of improvements, is there any actual reason why routes display the pax per day instead of per week, since we allocate flights per week? I'm getting lots of practice at mental arithmetic, but it would be a lot easier if the capacity of a plane was shown in the same form as the demand on a route.



#9
NYCFlyer

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I'd love to be able to set times and scheduling for my flights so I can get realistic utilization instead of having airplaes flying 24/7. And setting my own turn times would be good as well (obviously longer than the minimum).

And for those airlines that do still grow very large, I would love to see the 200 gate cap on hubs be done away with. ;)

#10
Andy-J

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Love to be able to see times of flights, make flight #s, and name a/c. Maybe you could even look into a Website function for each airline (in that world.) I wouldn't touch maintenance or deliveries at all. However, there seem to be airlines that are able to get 1000s of aircraft. Stop that,Yuxi.
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#11
stitch626

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Id def like to see more depth to the game. 

 

Features that I think would be fun to explore would be more ground services- club rooms for example. I also think you should be able to add fees for checked bags or even more classes such as premium economy. Real life airlines have it, they use it as a revenue source, so why not in AE?

 

In flight services could be expanded so you could pick and chose your seat types for each class- so you could chose to never upgrade your first class from the 1970's style seats, or once the seats become available upgrade to lie-flat bed seats with turn down service.

 

Id like to see more about the service side. For example offering ground services such as lounges within your hubs, choice of seats types on the planes (for example.like you could go cheap and use the same 1970's seats the entire game life, or you could upgrade in 2000 to life flat bed seats).

 

On the maintenance side what about adding necessary refurbishments of your airplanes, perhaps based on customer feedback. Similar to the PC game Airline Tycoon, which as passengers disembark you receive feedback such as old planes, or awesome seats/interior/service.



#12
Northern

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The first two are decimates for AE 4 as they are on the list also the latter two could have problems :P

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#13
Stevphfeniey

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One good example I know of is Airline 6 (now 7), which is a payware airline simulator from Australia. In a nutshell, Airline 7 allows you to control pretty much everything you could want about your airline (although, it does cost about $60ish :P ). If memory serves me correctly, one could set up deals with car rental and hotel companies, pick which seats one wants on their planes, how nice they are, it even limited the number of those seats you could put on those aircraft (like, you could have infinite s*** seats, or a few nice ones). Also I think one could purchase a building to serve as their headquarters if they so choose. Actually, in the newest version one could choose to invest in biofuels if they wanted, which I think is pretty cool.

 

Point being, there's a lot to do in Airline 7 :P However, it is of course a payware application, and it has a whole team of individuals behind it. Conversely, AE has Yucky. So, I think we could probably tone down some of the features available to our little freeware community. Maybe keep the seat quality part of it, passenger services extending beyond what they eat and do in-flight, and other neat things like that. As I said before, for all intents and purposes, every airline on AE is the same airline, just with slight variations, and I've never felt that airlines I start are "my" airline, per se. So, if we could put in more methods of customization, I could mix up the types of airlines I run (ie: attach a ton of s*** seats to a s*** aircraft, and we've got Ryanair).


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#14
Mobeer

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I think the high demand for aircraft comes from:
A) Demand being too high; Yuxi found himself that demand in one world was about 5 times higher than real life. I think reducing the calculated demand between smaller airports could help.

B) Customers being willing to pay too much, leading to huge profits.

C) Replacing old planes is a chore; just replacing like-for-like planes can take a long time. I actually find for my large airlines that this takes far more time than anything else, because I try to keep the fleet age down. Replacing old planes actually seems to give very little benefit.

So for example:
* Real world airline replaces 747 with 777 to reduce costs, increase load factor (same number of passengers) and hence increase profit
* AE airline replaces 747 with new 747 as old plane has a 100% load factor, makes big profits and doing anything else would take too long

 

I would like to see:
1 - Lower demand in general, occurring at lower ticket prices. Maybe 50% of current passengers, mostly by reducing demand to small airports, with 10% lower default prices

2 - Demand that grows over time, so that an airline has to respond to demand. Any completely new route should have to be grown over time by slowly building route reputation. This should also allow for demand to grow about the original calculated levels. It would be nice to build somewhere like Kent International (MSE), but start with almost no demand, rather than have permament low demand.

3 - More reason to use newer planes
 - financial penalties for using old planes (representing hush-kits etc)
 - customer dislike of very old planes (hurting route reputation)
 - more emphasis on flight time when passengers choose an airline
 - much higher maintenance costs for old planes

4 - Competition between similar routes (e.g. all London to Tokyo compete together)

5 - More non-price competiton for airlines with similar prices (a route reputation mentioned above)

6 - Much lower willingness to pay for scam IFE and IFS
 



#15
Mobeer

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...

 

Going slightly off-topic, but still on the subject of improvements, is there any actual reason why routes display the pax per day instead of per week, since we allocate flights per week? I'm getting lots of practice at mental arithmetic, but it would be a lot easier if the capacity of a plane was shown in the same form as the demand on a route.

 

Off-topic posts are probably better in a better topic.  But try looking under settings when logged into a game world - the routes can be displayed as passengers per week.  Look for Settings at top right.



#16
KJS607

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I very much like this idea of harder, more realistic, more involved gameplay :P

It would make you really think about your airline and give you a feel for the aviation world-ish.

And it should definitely stop people with so many spam-lines as they probably can't be arsed :P


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#17
Yuxi

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I mean, beyond the actual branding of the airlines, there is almost nothing else that makes your airline your's. I mean every airline I've ever run started, ran and ended in roughly the same fashion, and I feel this process could be far more dynamic. 

 

That's a good way to look at the situation. We'll definitely have to fix that :P



#18
Appassionata

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As a person who played AE from 2009, I believe one of the biggest problems with over-expansion is that we can cram too many seats in an airplane. (Especially for widebodies. Narrowbodies seem to have generally realistic seat-count, as real airlines now also cram seats in.)

 

For example, a 747-300/400 can seat 660 economy seats, and with 8F/50C, it seats about 500Y. However, the ballpark figure for the same aircraft type in real airlines seat 300~400Y with same number of F/C seats.

 

This makes revenue per flight on widebodies about 10~20% higher than real world, and in turns makes profit a lot higher than it should be.

 

We might add bigger seat size options (I mean, flat-bed or lie-flat, with more pitches) to make the seat count realistic - For example, we could make an option for lie-flat seats that counts as 5 Y-class seats, and fully flat seats 7 Y-class seats, and so on. We could then apply as IFS section: F-class gets fully flat seats, C-class get lie flat seats and so on.

 

In addition, this also could make flight frequency a bit more realistic. (Well, almost no long-haul route in AE can support a daily 747 flight now...)

 

ps. Also requesting is the speed of aircraft affecting reputation quite severely. As prop aircraft (Even old ones like Viscount 800) are far more fuel-efficient than jet ones, in AE worlds like R1 where length is very long, it makes sense to cram DC-7s, DC-6s on transcontinental routes, costing a lot more time, but making more profit. We should change this a littlle bit too.



#19
ar157

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As said above, pax are willing to sit in 28" Y for $10 cheaper than 32" Y with top notch IFE/IFS is a definite problem. Furthermore, I'd thought I'd note that the price of aircraft in game are substantially cheaper than in real life. Now, I realise that airlines in the real world are offered discounts, but this is AE, where money grows on trees. 

 

For example the A320-200 - One of the most common aircraft in game and in the world. In game it costs ~$50,000,000, however Airbus reckons the average price for the A320 is US$91,500,000 as of 2013. Ok so what currency are we using in AE again? :P



#20
davedave

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For example the A320-200 - One of the most common aircraft in game and in the world. In game it costs ~$50,000,000, however Airbus reckons the average price for the A320 is US$91,500,000 as of 2013. Ok so what currency are we using in AE again? :P

 

1988 dollars? $50m in 1988 - launch date of the A320-200 - is a hair under $100m, according to some dollar inflation calculator I just found online. 






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