Work in progress: Dynamic Turnaround Times

As I started to write this post, I was a bit shocked when I realized that the initial post announcing the Dynamic Turnaround and Delays (DTA) feature was written more than 4 months ago. So it’s about time for a status update and an explanation as to what in the world is taking us so long!

But first, a quick summary what this feature is all about: Firstly, after we added Speed Overrides and Departure Offsets, this feature will allow for even more flexibility in scheduling because overlaps will cause delays instead of rendering your whole flight plan impossible to operate. And secondly, the dynamic turnaround times are calculated based on a large number of parameters, most of which can be directly or indirectly influenced by the player. This opens all new possibilities to create different airline types and operational models.

The basic system has been working for several months now. What was and is taking us so long is modeling the individual turnaround activities. We worked with very simple, generalized formulas in the beginning but quickly realized that some things simply cannot be addressed like this. So we had to do something I originally tried to avoid: Research additional data specific to each aircraft type. For example, we now have more detailed information in our database on what kind of cargo compartments a certain aircraft type has, how many doors can be used for boarding using jetways or what the refueling rate is.

This adds a lot of depth to the DTA feature, but as you might have guessed, it also adds a lot of extra work to our to-do list. We’ve only now more or less finalized the new data structures and will commence the next iteration of tuning and testing shortly. Once we are confident that our current model works as intended we will commence full-scale data research for all the aircraft types in our database.

In the meantime, we will also continue to polish the new look of the visual flight plan as well as improve the presentation of the turnaround activities to make them as easy to understand as possible.

To get this feature shipped as quickly as possible, we are reducing the „random fluctuations and delays“ part to a minimum for now and I intend to add on these things once the first early-access game world has launched with the DTA.

That’s it for this update...back to work!