Farewell 2023, now boarding for 2024

Just like that, another year has passed. Today I want to look back at all the things that happened in 2023 but also take a peek at what’s up ahead in 2024.

But first things first: If you want to treat yourself to a fresh batch of credits over the holidays, make sure to use voucher code HOLIDAYS23 for a 10% discount, valid until December 26th.

2023 in review

This year, we had two community events, one in Munich and one in Nuremberg, and we’re already in the process of planning the events for 2024. We wrapped up the translation of our new handbook to German and with Yeouido, we launched an unlimited game world for the first time in a long while.

Mostly invisible to you as a player, but very important to us as a company, we completely migrated all our IT infrastructure to be managed by a new external partner. This was a massive undertaking, affecting many internal and external services, dozens of bare-metal servers and close to 40 AirlineSim game worlds. Except for a few remaining low-priority things, this move has successfully concluded just in time for the holidays and it means that Sven aka pugnacity, our long-time admin, does not have to bear the responsibility of operating this sort of infrastructure next to his full time job anymore. It’s the end of an era and I can’t thank Sven enough for his services throughout all of these years. It’ll be with a fair amount of sadness when I switch off the last remaining server some time in the next few weeks.

But the elephant in the room is of course the AirlineSim Technology Demonstrator: If you are a premium user, you might have been following our internal devlog. But even if you haven’t, you might be aware of the fact that the public preview we promised hasn’t materialised. There are several reasons for this.

The first and most important one is probably the general outlook: One core goal of the ASTD was to make it the foundation of a potential “AirlineSim 2”, using follow-up funding by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to partly finance the production of said successor. But with the funding scheme already frozen in mid-2023 and the future of it being more than uncertain given the current political circumstances, we decided not to bet on the availability of those funds and more or less shelved the idea of an “AirlineSim 2” for the moment.

Other reasons were both practical and personal: Especially the UI part of the project took a lot more effort than we anticipated and never got to a point at which it would have been usable to players, despite most of the backend logic being done and in place. And with my personal circumstances changing in early 2023, I simply wasn’t able to invest the amount of (quality) time that was needed for a project of this scale next to all the other things going on (see above).

So towards the end of 2023, we decided to shift our attention to things that would actually have an impact on the existing game and benefit players in the here and now. Among other things, we’ve started work on revised aircraft performance formulas that should see the light of the day in early 2024. We’ve also completely rebuilt our “data pipeline” - partly an outcome of the ASTD - to make it easier for us and all the volunteers to get aircraft and geo data updates into the game quicker and in higher quality. Additional smaller improvements are in the works, which brings us to…

Our itinerary for 2024

With the above in mind, we will more than ever focus on what we’ve got rather than looking way ahead into the future. We will work on improving current-generation AirlineSim and get more players into the game.

At first, we will continue where we left off in 2023 and wrap up a (data) patch, hopefully in January or February. After that, we’ll give the technical foundation of the game a much needed update and then look into the development of an actual new feature or two.

Following this will be the likely largest initiative of 2024: Due to the experiences we gained with our other game Prosperous Universe we plan to bring AirlineSim to Steam to make it visible to a much broader audience. To make this possible, we’ll have to add a lot of UX and visual improvements to the game that’ll benefit the player-base as a whole, not just Steam players.

Once that’s wrapped up, we’d love to take as many of the things we developed for the ASTD and integrate them into existing AirlineSim. Most importantly the so-called Distribution System which would dramatically change and enhance the AirlineSim experience. That is a big project in and of itself, of course. So we still have to work out the details and figure out what’s feasible.

So all in all, 2024 promises to be an exciting year. Stay tuned for more updates!

That’s a wrap!

If you’re in a part of the world that celebrates around this time of the year, I hope you get to spend some quality time with friends and family. As the small simulogics team will do so, please excuse our response times to be a bit longer over the next couple of weeks.

In the name of the whole team, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!