Before we get in to the content we just want to make a quick shoutout to all of you who are following the progress and contributing: Thanks! Each week we get a lot of encouraging messages with support and feedback which really helps to keep the steam going. The Airport CEO subreddit just passed 900 users which is insane, each week we’ll continue to pay you people back by realizing your suggestions, ideas and ultimately, your airport building dreams. Now, let’s get into it.
Let’s start by talking some code. For calculating movement paths of simulated objects such as passengers and employees we use the popular A-Start Pathfinding Algorithm (which appears to pretty much be the tycoon industry standard). Since we want the game to eventually handle several hundreds and hopefully even thousands of passengers, we are of course already at this stage very serious about writing low-impact code in order to preserve power and enhance performance. So this week Fredrik has worked a lot on reducing bottlenecks related to path finding operations as well as overseeing the performance cost of these calculations by going through the entire code base whilst closely watching performance metrics in Unity. For those of you that are more into code, we had some lag issues caused by spikes due to some methods throwing a lot of garbage as a result of bad variable caching. This has now been fixed and the pathfinding is much faster and unnoticeable to the player, during the coming weeks we’ll keep tuning the code in order to maximize performance and see how many passengers we can simulate. We have also taken important steps towards the playable build by doing a lot of work on textures in order to improve rendering performance, another vital part in order to free up computational power so that we can analyze passengers bladder level, if they want to get a hamburger or a salad and more important stuff like that.
Dropping Off and Picking Up
As you know, we have to this date only been simulating bus services to transport passengers and employees to and from the airport. This was due to testing reasons as we needed something quick to test the basic logic of the game components. As a fun break between code screening we decided that it was time to implement something new which turned out to be drop-off and pick-up point for cars. It is not any stranger than it sounds, the cars arrive with some passengers or employees, drop them off and drive away. Later on we will also add the pick-up function so that arriving passengers can be picked up by family and friends. The next step from that is to add long-term parking spaces and parking houses and garages so that you can really please your airport’s initial transportation needs. Since we haven’t really finalized the design of the parking space we won’t show it to you this time, but you’ll be blasted with other .gifs if you just keep scrolling.
While Fredrik was improving performance and overseeing code, Olof tended to one of the community’s most anticipated functionalities: Simulating construction. Initially we were actually quite hesitant to implementing this feature due to a several different reasons but as the requests piled up we realized that this was something that you really wanted. While we of course have a lot of tweaking left to do (like making sure they’re correctly rotated, lol), we have answered your call and now you can really experience what its like to be an airport CEO having to deal with contractors. Let’s take you through the basic process:
After signing a contract with a building company stating how many contractors you want to utilize and so forth (insert important financial numbers), you start off with an empty world and so you need to get zoning. By selecting the construction zone type you lay out an area that you wish to construct upon. You’ll also see that we’ve fixed the badly cropped drag text.
Dragging out the terminal foundation will create a blueprint for the constructors to start build and that also triggers your first construction order, this will have the contractors brought to your construction site by shuttle.
Then, they build.
As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to capture the process in gifs but yes, they build everything from small plants to taxiways and runways. And no, we haven’t finalized how the contract with a contractor will work and stuff like that. It’s not very realistic for an airport to employ a large number of builders skilled with laying foundations and taxiways and stuff like that but on the other hand it can be annoying having to wait for a crew to set you up with a single plant. What’s your input?
As we’ll continue to advance the construction simulation over the coming weeks it sort of marks an important milestone as this was one of the last major things on our list that we haven’t attended to. Moving on, we will now focus less and less on adding more content and more and more on sewing it all together and creating gameplay. Yes, we do have more ground to make, such as the rest of the baggage simulation, arriving passengers and so forth. While we keep developing that we’ll also tend to UI and serialization (saving and loading). We’re getting closer each day.
As we discussed the previous week we’ve been thinking about how to handle the cluttered subreddit (which has grown a lot quite recently) and figured that we perhaps should move on to a more traditional forum. We do not have a lot of experience here and would love to hear your input on this. What forums or platforms have you used for similar purposes like discussing ACEO and have had a great experience doing that? We’d gladly receive any tips you have.
Thanks for this week! Next week will bring more on the progress of Airport CEO, advancements on the arriving passenger parts as well as new content on businesses and how you interact with contracts. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter for the absolutely latest!