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Solution to Constant Expansion


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#41
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#42
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i could go-on, but i think you gotta start by thinking small & focusing upon the 2 largest unrealistic realities of ae----an airline with 15 hubs & 3,000 planes & an airline making $20 mil profit in a day. the only way to impact those 2 things is have airlines randomly lose airplanes & randomly get hit with fines/strikes/etc that impact the amount of $$$ they have on hand. just some thoughts!

 

Without fundamental game economy changes, these fines would not make a dent in the war chest of most large airlines in AE today. That's like giving a millionaire a monthly parking ticket.

 

Achieving more realistic (read: thinner) profit margins requires costs to scale as an airline grows. If we have more realistic demand, ticket pricing, labor costs, maintenance costs, and remove the physically impossible efficiencies in aircraft/crew scheduling, it would result in lower profit margins overall. Without laying out a timetable, the current 140-hour flying weeks means extremely efficient flight schedules that would not be possible in real life if time-of-day-based demand, gate constraints, and other time-sensitive constraints are applied.

 

That said, I am in favor of having more unpredictability in terms of making worlds more dynamic. For example, there can be major weather events that shut down entire airports in a region for a day or two. This would have strategic implications and discourage airlines from putting all their eggs in one basket. Meanwhile, I think we should avoid gratuitous fines and planes "disappearing" for the sake of dinging airlines without any strategy-enriching value, especially if email alerts are involved.



#43
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How about Unions (sort of)? A small airline will most likely not have pilots in a union, thus doesn't have to pay them as much. Big airlines almost always have unions demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Either those conditions are applied or something happens. That might be a strike (possible in AE?), forced higher wages or a much higher employee leaving rate. Additionally, new employees should cost more.
Some random things would also be nice. So far, every airline can follow the exact same pattern over and over again achieving the same results, which leads to boredom at some point. If there'd be something new every time regardless of place and/or time, one would have to adapt to that.

#44
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Can I put in something of a good word for the system as it currently exists? It's far from perfect, but it does have the advantage that money's easy enough to come by that you can look on the game more as role-playing managing an airline than a hardcore business sim. It's interesting that it seems various people here are complaining about what other people do with their airlines, rather than looking at how their own experience could be better. 

 

Personally, I don't necessarily want to do the same thing all the time. I'm currently running a mega-airline, so probably next time round I'll try something different and run a smaller, more specialised set of routes. I like the fact that the game's open enough that I can do either, and I don't really see an advantage in closing things down to force players to conform to someone else's idea of how they should play.

 

If it's thought to be undesirable for (say) massive airlines to exist, then offer something else which makes them less attractive, or less complaint-worthy,, rather than penalising them. Proper alliances would go a long way towards that - it would be nice to be able to have tie-ups with other player airlines that could be a bit more varied and detailed. For example, a big airline might be happy to build gates, even subsidise aircraft, for a small regional airline that brings passengers into its hubs - maybe getting the regional airline to fly less directly profitable configurations/routes because they make more money for the big one. At the moment that's represented at a very broad level by the alliance system, but more detail would mean that the big airlines would be able to offer opportunities to smaller airlines, rather than just grabbing all the best routes. 



#45
ar157

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Right, one problem I see in the staff wages is that the airline we run pays the pilots the same amount to fly an A380 as well as a B1900D. So some of yous might be saying "well then the wages average out so $XXX,000 is the right amount." Well no. For example a pilot at Colgan flying Q400s is paid ~US$30,000 while a Captain at QF flying A330 is paid ~AU$550,000 a First Officer comes in at around ~AU$300,000 and a Second Officer is about AU$150,000. Some of the mega airlines that decide to flood everyone with WB's would hit a severe penalty as highlighted by the rather varying pilot wages. Okay so the problem is that mega airlines could just flood with smaller aircraft. I highly doubt they would be slot limited as a 200 gate terminal is well, big. 

 

Ok, so I'm thinking: 1. Shrink the max gates you can build at a terminal to 100? 150? 

                                    2. Have varying wages for pilots.



#46
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All the sggestions are very solid & everybody has an opinion of what they would like to see to add realism. My thoughts were more along the lines of what can be done now with the infrastructure that exists to add realism & curb what is unrealistic. I don't think a weather event crushing a hub for 3 days is going to truly hurt the $$$ of a mega-airline w/12 hubs, & everybody would have to get an "admin" email stating that a snowstorm shut down ORD for 3 days. If the admin system can alert a player re: a missed lease payment on a specific plane it can alert for other things that might be more significant. No doubt we would all like to see more realism to the point that pilot pay would be alligned w/ aircraft size...but how much work would that be to develop & code? Alot. The problem is balancing what exists with what we would like to see & the effort to get what we would like to see. Also recognizing it is a game & we all have other things to do...something like scheduling to precise departure times sounds great, but would consume a ton of time & take a bit of the "hands off" enjoyment out of playing. Unfortunately, no real solution exists to constant expanision---it is the way to play the game & succeed. Perhaps a restriction wherein the 5 gates you get @ your "home" airport must be fully utilized before you move onto to building up at another airport is the solution? So if you start @ ORD, you have to first schedule 250 flights from ORD & can only get a single gate @ any other airport, and then after you fill all the initial slots at your home airport---your allowed to build up the next airport. If that next airport is ATL & you have one gate, you have to get 4 more & build it up....and once you have built up like 10 airports to using 5 gates, you can then expand as much as you would like. Just a thought. I am rambling.



#47
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The main thing that will solve constant expansion is a/c scheduling and timetable

ej. When opening a new flight, choosing at what time the a/c will depart, when it will get maintained, etc.

Also, paying per diem to the crew, hotels for them (longhaul) etc.

Lounges is a very good idea. Instead of always expanding, we could upgrade our ground offerings.

Decide where to base cabin, and cockpit crew, etc



#48
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Again, time tabling doesn't solve the issue that, for all intents and purposes, every airline on AE is the same. Extra doo dads like lounges and seat types

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#49
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A point exist when realism is too real. Crew per diem, lounges...what about lost revenue due to Frequent Flyer awards or paying into the requirements of having to buy ground vehicles to service planes & air-stairs @ a specific airport...and then crew scheduling & then "spares" for everything & building a maintenance base to shuffle planes in & out of for D checks??? My point is the list can go & on & on & on & on & on......

 

What time-tabling would do is consume time---add realism---and probably take a lot of enjoyment out of the GAME---I'm not in favor of it---but it would certainly make it "harder" for a player than just scheduling 14 flights, but it becomes a bit too time consuming...not only would you have to schedule the flights, you would probably have to then re-set fares to match demands at that specific departure hours---and the demand model would have to be adjusted to reflect a 24 hour day (sounds like a load of programming because demand in a market of 1500 in coach...would not be what the demand level in that market would be at 2AM)

 

My point was you can't stop constant expansion---but you can curb it to a degree. I simply suggested that:

1) 5 Gates @ ORD to start---flight to EWR-JFK-ATL-DEN-LAX (WHATEVER). You hit 250....

2) You can know add a 4 gates @ any of those cities EWR-JFK-ATL-DEN-LAX (WHATEVER) & when you do, the same thing applies---you need to build up 250 flights before moving on to another city to "build up" & it repeats for the first 10-12 airports. 

 

This would make it more time consuming to build-up a hub...the only drawback is if somebody were playing to focus on a specific airport or replicate their favorite airline. Yet w/ the slow pace of initial aircraft deliveries & now a restriction/limit on the building up of a single airport, the player would need to focus upon building up several airports to the 5 gate/250 flight level before they could just blanket everything out of a single airport.



#50
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I believe the reason to constant expansion is simply - the cost to purchase and maintain any aircraft in AE is simply too cheap. Once you have cash, you could simply stalk the used market and mass buy aircraft. A simple penalty for this would be to split base maintenance cost to engine type, It's not pretty - but it works as a stop gap until a better solution can be found. 



#51
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The problem is that profits grow exponentially, if we make the game harder, it will only take longer to come to the same issue, because eventually, it will still come to the point where an airline has so much money that everything is just too cheap. Weather events for example (though I am all for them) wont damage big airlines as much as you might think, because why worry about an airport closing for 1-3 days when you have 600 billion dollars laying around? 100 million or so profit loss wont damage you. So you might say that we should increase prices on stuff, and decrease profits, but how would that damage anyone? It will only slow things down, since once you have enough routes you will start to get enough money and eventually would come to the same problem (especially in longer worlds, though I am all for longer worlds). 

 

Instead, I think there should be dynamic taxes, which are more noticeable on larger airlines while less noticeable for smaller airlines, its realistic, and should keep things in check.



#52
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Now personally, I'd possibly go as far as to say that in AE, economies of scale should not favour big airlines.

I know this is not entirely realistic, but it strikes me as one of the ways to discourage expansion as opposed to optimisation, and as noted, beyond a certain point (about 5bn usually), your airline is effectively indestructible. I don't think an unwise goal would be to try and keep airline's 'cash on hand' at under 10-20bn, although how this would be done is tricky to know.

 

Overall however, I think the world need to be far more dynamic, and you should have to respond to changes in the world. However, this should definitely not be boring and repetitive.


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#53
ar157

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could introduce an airline supertax ^_^



#54
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Add a monopoly board of taxes that gets, err, unlocked, when you reach $5bn ^_^


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#55
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The common engine suggestion is a good one. Yet I still believe, if you want to look at how to curb expansion & make it more realistic, you must look at the "roots". How does an airline expand? With an airplane. If an airplane is suddenly gone--the airline takes a hit & expansion is curbed. Yet, you need to make it "fair". Ok.

 

Settings exist for paying labor. Excellent. An airline cuts labor costs to have more $$$ to buy planes, the result would be a strike. Thus no airplanes flying & the airline losing on a daily basis whatever they were earning. So the debt is growing larger every day & the cost of labor needs to rise...result less money.

 

Settings exist for in-flight services---great.

 

Settings exist for marketing TV-Newspaper, etc----I don't have a clue how these work & if any true ROI exists.

 

Why not have a setting for Maintenance, instead of it being a fixed cost that the user can't manipulate? A player could then lower the maintenance costs & reap short term benefits of more $$$...however, cost cutting on maintenance, just like with Labor needs to have a real $$$ impact. Cost cutting on on Labor may not result in a Strike, but on the monthly finances it will appear due to attrition & the need to retrain. Cost cutting on maintenance would result in either a loss of a plane due to an "accident" or a grounding & the player would be notified by the admin email that their 767 fleet is grounded...player would then raise the $$$ for maintaining their 767's & after 1 week they would take to the skies again---in the interim the player could do nothing with their 767's except sell them. A real world example----Air Tran....they were ValuJet & had crappy maintenance that ultimately shut them down...but they re-invented themselves.



#56
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The common engine suggestion is a good one. Yet I still believe, if you want to look at how to curb expansion & make it more realistic, you must look at the "roots". How does an airline expand? With an airplane. If an airplane is suddenly gone--the airline takes a hit & expansion is curbed. Yet, you need to make it "fair". Ok.

 

Settings exist for paying labor. Excellent. An airline cuts labor costs to have more $$$ to buy planes, the result would be a strike. Thus no airplanes flying & the airline losing on a daily basis whatever they were earning. So the debt is growing larger every day & the cost of labor needs to rise...result less money.

 

Settings exist for in-flight services---great.

 

Settings exist for marketing TV-Newspaper, etc----I don't have a clue how these work & if any true ROI exists.

 

Why not have a setting for Maintenance, instead of it being a fixed cost that the user can't manipulate? A player could then lower the maintenance costs & reap short term benefits of more $$$...however, cost cutting on maintenance, just like with Labor needs to have a real $$$ impact. Cost cutting on on Labor may not result in a Strike, but on the monthly finances it will appear due to attrition & the need to retrain. Cost cutting on maintenance would result in either a loss of a plane due to an "accident" or a grounding & the player would be notified by the admin email that their 767 fleet is grounded...player would then raise the $$$ for maintaining their 767's & after 1 week they would take to the skies again---in the interim the player could do nothing with their 767's except sell them. A real world example----Air Tran....they were ValuJet & had crappy maintenance that ultimately shut them down...but they re-invented themselves.

Very true, if only some logic can be implemented behind reputation and employee morale which would be based on an expansion index, which would be something along the likes of this per year: first year, index has no impact, other years will be impacted by previous years, expansion index calculation would be something like:

 

(((money spend on new planes (orders/leases)) / number of new planes) + ((money spend on new terminals) / (new gates / 2 )) + ( new flights * 10,000) + ((money spend on upgrading services * 5) / number of upgrades)) - (((money earned by selling planes) / number of sold planes) +  ((money spend on shortening terminals) / (removed gates / 2)) + ( removed flights * 10,000))

 

if expansion index is less than 1, than it is 1

 

and then also have a morale index be something like this: 

 

(current money + profit this year + (profit year before / 2) + (profit two years ago / 2)) * expansion index 

 

and morale would be based on that to emulate employees looking at how airline is doing and judging their paycheck accordingly



#57
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Just a little idea:

 

The current 140 hour a week system has been derided as unrealistic, especially if you are utilizing all 140 hours. Would it be too hard to use a system, where, instead of using age or hours to determine the utilization, maintenance costs etc. of an aircraft, we could use cycles? So, for example, a brand new A320 operating 8 daily flights between, say, London and Manchester, due to the increased wear and tear, would soon cost as much to maintain as an older A320 doing a daily flight to Copenhagen. It could replace the hour system, or the age system for determining maintenance costs, as the options soon would be either a high fleet turnover or sparing (arguably more realistic) utilization, before maintenance costs really shoot up. And on the used market, you could choose between older (but less-fatigued) aircraft or newer (but possibly more stressed) ones.

 

The only problem I can really see is the difficulty in implementing this into the AE system (if there is any difficulty).

 

Oh, and if it is possible, don't hold back. Really make maintenance costs spiral. That will dent Big Spamline's war chests for sure!

 

Thoughts please....Just one of those ideas I absentmindedly get in the shower.....022410-aquanotes.jpg



#58
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As for all the ideas above, I think some of them are very cool. For my personal opinion, I think there could be a few things implemented to increase difficulty and reduce explosive expansion:

  • Variable Tax Rate: Based on Cash and Assets, increase rate as airline grows
  • Maintenance: increase accuracy and costs of maintenance (A/B/C/D checks specifically), regulate outsourcing/inhouse maintenance by having different ratings for different levels of thoroughness. The lower the rating/training level of your maintenance, the more likely something will break and delay flights.
  • Employee Treatment: Allow different styles of employment schemes (employee owned, non-union, union) and base happiness levels on different requirements (e.g. union workers are the most picky and want to be treated well, non-union workers respond well to work-based benefits, employee owned workers focus on doing the best they can because it directly affects their paycheck). Be more specific with benefits allowed (e.g. Stock Options, 401K, Healthcare, Vacation Time, etc.).The categories listed in this bullet could be combined into a single rating system, with descriptions of what kind of cost/benefits come with each level. It probably wouldn't be as effective, but it would help some.
  • Community: Big airlines can afford to run monstrous operations out of illogical airports at the moment. Introduce a factor of bureaucracy and bribes/increased payments to the Airport Board for slots/terminals. Enable markets (example, Greater LA area includes LAX, LGB, SNA, BUR, ONT) to charge extra fees for infrastructure improvement. Allow reduced payments for community outreach (e.g. Sponsoring sports arenas, assisting with education, volunteering at benefits, etc.) The categories listed in this bullet could be combined into a single rating system, with descriptions of what kind of cost/benefits come with each level of commitment in a market.
  • Scheduling: Automagical timetables should prevent crazy overuse of aircraft. For example, a flight that departs at 1 in the morning for a two hour flight wouldn't be popular at all. Filters should allow flights between windows (e.g. no flights outside of 5am-10pm), and turnarounds could be rated with level of cleanliness and aircraft maintenance (opt, overkill, probably). Instead of scheduling a specific aircraft (AC ID 1, 274,1099) to fly a route, it should be done by aircraft type (e.g. B737-800, B757-200) to allow for more flexibility with maintenance (see above).
  • As an airline grows bigger, it may face antitrust/monopoly investigations. Increase the time period between researching and approving flights. For example, when an airline reaches x size, have a letter from the government agency regulating aviation (US would be FAA, I assume) stating that each new route will need to be approved by their office before operations can begin. As the airline gets bigger, increase the time between approval. Also, as a route becomes more established, make it more difficult to shutdown (limit the number of frequencies that can be reduced per month, require approval for completely closing a route).

I think that the IFE/IFS issue has been covered, as well as extra fees that could be added to make gameplay as realistic, but I digress.


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#59
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You are all barking up the wrong tree.  The problem is not that the costs are not high enough the problem is that there are simply WAY to many passengers, and they don't seem to be limited by anything what so ever.  The game as it currently stands doesn't seem to limit the number of passengers between routes, which may be a problem of transfers but the system needs to take into account that if there is a direct flight from virtually every A to B there is no reason to fly through C. 

 

The easiest way to do that from a programming perspective would be to have a hard limit on the number of departures and arrivals in a given airport.  If an airport is full then there can still be transfer flights in and out but only if it connects to an airport that is under the cap. 

 

Right now the big airlines can place a wide body in any airport worldwide and make a profit because of the transfers their network provides, even though that 1 a week service would equal the total amount of traffic that airport receives a year, and they can do it from every hub they have.  It does not make sense.



#60
The Malaysian Kiwi

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To limit the unrealistic aircraft utilisation, maybe reduce the utilisation cap from 20 hours a day (140 hours per week) to 14 hours a day (98 hours a week)? Enterprising Spamlines can still max out their aircraft, but in a slightly more realistic way....






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