Since the new year started it's been rather quiet around AirlineSim. Therefore we'd like to give you a brief insight into what we are working on right now.
Planning for 1.6
In our last status report we already mentioned that the aircraft and performance system will probably be at the center of the next major update. But while we are at it we'd like to take the opportunity of using this considerable change to the system to improve and polish AirlineSim in as many aspects as possible. To do so we have started a thorough definition process to find - as the first step - all the things positive, negative and otherwise noteworthy about AirlineSim which make it the game it is today. Given this catalogue we will take a close look at all these features and rate them according to an overall concept we are working out for 1.6. The goal of this procedure is to identify and eliminate the many conceptual shortcomings the game is suffering from due to its long and rich history.
The overall process is in its starting phase right now. We aim to finish it within 2 to 3 months and we will most definitely involve the community at some point in time as well. We will keep you posted!
New payment methods
We've spent a lot of our development time last month to extend our payment system. The primary goal of this effort was to allow for more international payment methods and local currencies. As a first result, players from Argentina as well as Mexico have been able to use paysafecard in their local currencies for a few weeks now and we are happy to announce that we will introduce a new payment method within the coming weeks: Mobile payments! Users from an initial set of about 20 countries will be able to use their cell phone to pay for credits. As soon as this feature is implemented, additional information will follow.
The "stuck aircraft bug"
Some of you have been affected by this issue, while some of you might just have have read about it on the forums. Either way: Due to a bug, aircraft get stuck sproradically. Subsequent flights are consequently cancelled, and can generate considerable costs for the affected operator. Unfortunately we have not been able to identify the exact cause of this issue. Maybe this can illustrate why it is so hard to find: In an average game world about 1 million flights are operated every week. Since we estimate that the bug occurs about a dozen times a day - spanning all game worlds - the result is an error ratio of 0.008%. Judging from the error reports we got so far no particular connection to any in-game action (like scheduling flights, doing transfers or similar) exists, which leaves us with no clue at all about the origin of the bug. And as long as we are unable to reproduce the bug there is almost no way of fixing it.
To get rid of the problem we are working on a workaround - namely, bypassing the affected part of the program altogether, which should effectively fix the issue for the players. Until this is implemented we ask all affected players to send in an email to our support containing the registration of any stuck aircraft along with the game world you are playing in; given that, we can get it moving again. Please excuse the fact that we are not able to refund the costs incured in-game.
As soon as the problem described above has been taken care of we will apply a maintenance patch. As usual this patch will include various smaller fixes and changes. We are also working on a new costing feature which is still in an experimental stage and will be covered in detail in a dedicated blog post.
Beyond that we have another data patch in the pipeline which has not been tagged with a specific date yet. If you come across data bugs or missing airports please let us know by dropping an email to our support and we will include the respective fixes in the patch.
Of course we do not want to withold another major reason for the relative silence around AirlineSim: In parallel to AirlineSim we are also working on prototypes for potential new game projects to launch later this year. After asking for your opinions concerning this last year we are now in the phase of working out various concepts in detail. Basically the top candidates right now are another browser-game and a single-player desktop game - both business simulations of course - while other concepts have not been ruled out completely. This thorough preparatory work requires a lot of time and effort but we are confident that it will pay off later in terms of quality.
We will keep you informed about the development in this area as well, so stay tuned!