AirwaySim is happy to announce an update package to the core engine of the simulation. This update consists mainly of a complete rewrite of the passenger distribution system (in other words the background magic that puts the virtual passengers to your virtual planes).
There are no changes or updates to the user interface this time but a lot has changed in the background. Parts of the update are also made with future in mind, when we start to think of additional functionality like passenger connectivity and even more dynamic passenger demand allocation.
All changes of this update affect only on game worlds that are started after this announcement. Current game worlds do not receive this update, as it would potentially make too big changes overnight and cause other problems. Do note that the game engine version number stays still the same (v.1.3) due to other reasons. This update package has been in testing for some time with our users and will be now deployed on the Modern Times #7 game world which is due to start in a few days (exact starting date will be posted in separate announcement).
Here are some things related to the update that users should consider when running their airlines:
- Passenger demand calculation (= how many passengers travelling from airport A to B) is technically updated to allow addition of new features in the future. The most notable change of this is that any demand changes do not happen overnight and suddenly, but any demand increase or decrease is gradual over several months.
- Passenger demand distribution (= how many passengers wish to board each flight on a certain route) is also rewritten almost completely. The focus of the update has been to for example make the distribution of passengers more dynamic and to make various flight variables more effective. For example flight pricing is a more effective tool than before.
- Route Image plays now a more important role than in the past. RI itself is still the same as before, growing from 0 to 100 over a period of time, but it's effect is greater when RI is low. Route Image measures practically the number of people who know about your route. If RI is 0 only about 10-20% of the potential overall demand knows of your route and this is the maximum you may expect to sell until your RI grows. For a game tip this means in essence that it is advisable to start either on high demand routes, or keep a low frequency (like 1 flight a day) until the RI grows. Another option is to use a smaller aircraft in the beginning, or just wait and pick up some losses at the beginning of each new route destination.
- Route related marketing campaigns are now more effective than before. It is advisable to use the route marketing when ever a route to a new destination is opened to get the Route Image to a higher level faster.
- Ticket price effect is also greater than before, and it is now also perfectly safe to increase the prices too, much more than in the past. Especially when there is no competition on a route you may safely increase the prices even +20-40% and still attract a large number of the demand to your aircraft. And other way around, decreasing your ticket prices will lead to increased overall passenger demand, and also have greater effect to your sales than in the past.
- Seat quality effect is also much more noticable than before, and on longer routes High Density seating is not recommended.
- Avoid using too small aircraft over too long routes. Cross-Atlantic routes on a B737 for example are frowned upon by the passengers - but may work if there is no competition. This again may be compensated by lowering the ticket prices for example, or by offering better seating quality. On shorter routes too an excessive frequency of flights does not have any meaningful effect if the route has competition.
- Please also remember to keep your flight schedules realistic; in other words it is a bad practise to make your flights depart at the same time to the same destination.
- There are also many other adjustments but these are the most important ones to keep in mind. You may read about the general route planning rules from the manual: http://www.airwaysim.com/game/Manual/Routes/Open/#Basic
- In new game worlds the start up money is also increased compared to past. But a word of warning: Do not spend all your money on airplanes when you start. With the route image effect being more realistic now, you may not expect full bookings on your new routes until the Route Image grows. This means that you should be prepared to endure some losses during the first 2-3 months of operation.