The fifth incarnation of our Quimby game world is now live. It runs with a fairly standard configuration: No used aircraft at launch and multiple holdings per account allowed. The only real difference is that twice the usual amount of slots is available. The game world will run for 8 months again until July 21st 2017. If that is all you know you can head over to the new game world right away.
Quimby V runs the latest version of AirlineSim that's also been deployed to all other game worlds today. The respective changes are outlined below.
New rules, directly in the game
Up until now, our game play and naming rules resided in our wikis. Since we do not really maintain our wikis anymore and will phase them out eventually, it made sense to move our rules directly into the game. If you open the database menu in any game world now, you will find three new links to the game rules, naming rules and the list of prohibited country and airport pairs.
Before integrating the rules directly into the game, we asked the User Advisory Board to modernize and harmonize them. The previous rules had been around for many years and were somewhat dated. Also, there were some major differences between the (original) German version and the English translation that was added later. These issues have now been addressed so that we once again have clear and non-conflicting sets of rules in the two most important languages spoken around AirlineSim.
Since the rules are now a part of the game's codebase, our volunteer translators have the chance to easily translate the rules to any other language currently available as well.
Automated measures against slot blocking
Unfortunately, when done on purpose, slot blocking is the most common kind of cheating in AirlineSim. But even when new players flood large airports with small (and therefore seemingly cheap) aircraft because they don't know better, slot blocking is an annoyance to any player interested in a realistic and fair simulation.
Although it's impossible to find a definite solution to this problem, the November patch at least brings a few counter-measures against the primary means of slot blocking:
- Small aircraft are now prohibited from operating between large airports. The exact combinations that are prohibited are type-specific and a new matrix on any aircraft type's information page will show you exactly where it can be employed. You can find more information on this in the Q&A section at the end of this article.
- Intra-city flights have always been prohibited according to the rules and a list of the respective city pairs existed somewhere. But the restrictions were not automatically enforced by AirlineSim, leading to wide-spread violation of this rule. From now on, the game won't allow you to schedule flights on the affected city pairs.
Once again, these new rules have been worked out with and passed by the User Advisory Board.
As stated above, the new rules aren't the final solution to this problem. But it takes away the most obvious ways to block slots, especially for unexperienced players. Now, if anyone still blocks slots, our staff can more or less assume bad intentions and act quicker and more confident against offenders.
Questions & Answers
How does the new anti-slot blocking system work?
The system determines whether it is reasonable to use a certain aircraft type on a given route. This is based on the combined market sizes of the connected airports. For example, a Q400 could still be used between a 10- and a 4-bar airport but not between two 10-bar airports. The respective limits have been set by the User Advisory Board. The limits range from rather strict ones for very small aircraft like Cessnas to somewhat relaxed ones for regional jets/props like CRJs. All bigger types (like A32x, B737, CSeries and larger) can be scheduled the same way as before the patch.
What about cargo flights?
No limits have been set for cargo planes since the economic conditions are considerably harsher on the freight market. Instead of an automatic solution we'll continue to rely on a case-to-case treatment of cases brought before the User Advisory Board or the AirlineSim team to prevent slot blocking.
Are there expcetions?
Yes, for any flight from or to airports with runways shorter than 1000m the above restrictions do not apply.
Do I have to adjust my schedules now?
For now, the new rules will not be applied to existing schedules. They only affect the addition or update of flights. The introduction of automated checks is planned for no earlier than January 2017. From then on, flights that break the new slot blocking rules will be deactivated automatically.
What about other restrictions?
The banned intra-city connections that have only previously been listed in the game rules will be automatically blocked by the system during scheduling from now on. The list has also been extended by the User Advisory Board.
Flight bans between countries will also be enforced by the system now. This way, you cannot accidentally schedule flights that are affected by political restrictions in AirlineSim.