Development Log 2017-02

A few months have passed since our last development log so it's about time for a status update before I leave for two weeks of vacation! Work on the new booking classes feature continues slowly but steadily while some overdue work on infrastructure hinders progress a little bit.

Infrastructure Updates

AirlineSim isn't just the game itself but a whole range of systems required to keep itself and the development process running. Just a few examples:

  • A configuration management system makes sure that our almost 20 physical servers are always configured correctly and up to date.
  • A monitoring system has to ensure that all services are running as they're supposed to and that there are no hardware problems going undetected.
  • A whole set of tools is required for development purposes, for example a build server, a repository server, a translation tool and a tool to manage our airport database.
  • Central systems for account management, authentication and payment.
  • Various actual infrastructure systems, for example to send emails and to collect statistical data.

And there are quite a few more that I didn't mention. So all in all, there's quite a bit of stuff that needs to be kept up-to-date and running. With some of the respective systems and servers having been online for almost a decade it was about time to do a general clean-up of many of them. So we are in the process of replacing several servers, completely rebuilding our configuration management and streamlining the deployment processes both for our own as well as third-party tools and systems.

A large part of that has already been finished, but we're not quite done yet and I expect this to keep us busy for another few weeks.

Booking Classes and Diverse Passenger Types

To be honest, this has turned out to be quite a bit more complex than originally planned and, as is to be expected, progress is slower than it should be. I've reduced the initial scope of the feature to a minimum to make sure that the foundation is working before plugging on more advanced functionality. That means that initially you will be able to define booking classes which allow you to better control interlining and connection pricing, but many of the more advanced functions like baggage settings, cancellation policies etc. will have to wait until a later point in time. Testing, balancing and optimizing the new feature in combination with thew new passenger types (and hence, a completely new rating system) will prove to be challenging enough as it is :-)

That said, this "Phase I" of the project is now more or less feature-complete and ready for larger-scale testing. We're still contemplating internally what such a test could look like, but you can expect news on this within Q3 of 2017. So stay tuned!