Hi everyone - I'd just like to briefly outline what we're currently working on, and what updates are planned for the next few weeks. First of all, I'd again like to draw your attention to our Christmas fundraiser, which will remain open until the 24th of December. Anyone who hasn't yet made any donations still has two weeks to do so - remember, you'll walk away with some free credits!
Data Patch D3 and Aircraft Data
There's some good news and bad news to report on these fronts. First the good news: the D3 data patch will be released in December, and will bring with it a large number of new airports, including more than 30 in China alone. The patch also contains a lot of updated airport traffic information, a number of revisions to airport ground connection links and similar changes.
The bad news is that the aircraft data, which we were hoping to release alongside D3, has been a major headache. The patch will see the introduction of two new aircraft models - namely, the Airbus A330-200F and the Bombardier CRJ-1000NG - but our work in preparing for the introduction of these two aircraft has highlighted some significant 'legacy' issues with the way AirlineSim handles performance data. As a result of this, the performance of these new aircraft may in some ways be a little odd - their fuel consumption, for example, may not match their less-advanced predecessors, as a consequence of the (unfortunately well-known) shortcomings in the way fuel consumption is handled internally.
As a consequence of this, we're intending to spend some time conducting a general overhaul of aircraft performance data and the way it's handled, rather than focusing on new or otherwise neglected models. How this may end up looking is not currently clear, but there's a chance the work may lead up to - and develop into - the next major update (i.e AirlineSim 1.6), in which case it'd bring with it a number of new features and major changes. Final decisions on this process aren't being taken until 2011, however, so we'll keep you posted!
Updates to the Payment System
We spent most of the past week working on our payment system. Our aim was to prepare the system for the introduction of new, more internationally-compatible payment methods, including support for foreign currencies. This should make AirlineSim available in a number of countries which have so far been mostly locked out of the game, for want of a suitable payment method for the majority of the prospective playerbase. This has taken - and is still taking - longer than we'd like, but the update will be going live over the next week, and the revised payment system should be entirely online by the end of the year. The German servers will continue to have their payments handled through 4players, so no change there.
The Next Patch: 1.5.5
Last but not least, some informaton on the next game system update. Our original intention was to make 1.5.5 a 'hotfix' for any problems introduced by 1.5.4 and the associated changes to the stock exchange system. However, this hasn't really proved necessary; most of the changes are not very high on our priority list, while preventing stock price surges after IPOs is not really practical right now given the amount of work that would be involved. Therefore, those changes already implemented will make their way into the revised v1.5.5, which we're planning to release in the last week before Christmas. Besides the usual bug fixes, 1.5.5 will probably contain some new and very useful analysis tools, which should help you optimise your existing routes. There's a small preview of them here: Click!
That about wraps things up for the time being! We're also organising our usual Christmas meetup this weekend in Nuremberg - you can find information on the forums, as always.