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Author Topic: Player operated non-airline companies  (Read 2051 times)

Offline Sami

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Player operated non-airline companies
« on: June 30, 2014, 05:45:55 AM »
Had a long flight and a bit of time to think. Just throwing this out here for discussion, there may be earlier related threads also.

I would like to introduce major changes to the whole concept by introducing player controlled service companies to the system. In other words corporations that run the airline support business, such as training/maintenance/catering/leasing companies.

The idea has been all along to introduce such companies to training and maintenance (etc.) that are run by AI, in similar manner than fuel suppliers (which test the concept and technical systems already). In other words in the future the player's airline would not run in-house maintenance and training facilities, unless he wants to, but he'd buy them from separate firms, specializing in some a/c types and so on.

But to expand this idea, in addition to AI companies, also players could start these companies and sell services to other players. This adds a whole new dimension to the game and gives the people a LOT more things to do than just scheduling their planes.

You could now focus solely on being aircraft lessor for example, without any restrictions of an airline has currently. Or run training and maintenance business; start off at some airport, and expand it to other airports around the world as you grow.


In practise I would suppose this would mean that we'd have to create a holding company model to make it businesslike and proper in that way, allowing perhaps stock trading and such in the future.

Player is given $$$ amount when he joins the game. He chooses the type of company to start first, airline is the default, and he also has the option to choose the amount of $$$ of his cash to invest to this company, which will be the initial capital (and if it's below certain level, rest would be loans). <-- this has been in plans long time now, separate thread exists. Well, at the same time the system will create a holding company for you which basically owns 100% of the airline you created, and you own 100% of the holding company. At this stage, if you choose to start an airline, this all would be invisible to keep it simple (you could alter the specs if you like though, but most don't need to know of this here).

When you like, you can change the interface from the current 'airline' mode to the 'holding firm' mode where you can then start new companies. It would be limited to 1 airline per player/holding (I guess), but you could start new companies, for example an aircraft leasing company. It would be again 100% owned by the holding firm, but separate from the airline. The firms would have their own interface (utilizing the current UI where ever possible to minimize work). Leasing company would sell used planes, or also have the ability to buy new planes. And when ever some airline player seeks to buy new planes of certain type he could get offers from this non-AI lessors too  .. and so forth, you get the idea.

Or just leave the holding company out from the equation to make it simpler and make the airline own all the other companies? Though it wouldn't really make any difference.


..would then also enable airline buyouts perhaps and other stock related business magic, if we take it to a very long fetched ideas (unlikely to happen).

So this all would add an entirely new level to the game and would be the 'next big thing' in my mind. Something for 2015 ...


Thoughts? Think of the big lines, not details yet please. Like I mentioned there are also plans for many smaller aspects of this like AI controlled companies and you as CEO being able to 'carry over' your money and earnings between airlines, etc, but this would expand it even further.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 05:50:05 AM by sami »

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 08:39:26 AM »
Great ideas.  Here are some comments on Maintenance Companies.

I think separate maintenance company (separate from the airline itself) would open the most new playability options.  It would have certain capacity, to be able to simultaneously do certain number of checks.  The checks would be queued, and it would only start when there is capacity for it.  All the checks would not be miraculously performed simultaneously, as is the case now.  There would be cost to number of checks done at the same time, so scheduling of all of the checks, say at midnight Saturday would create a huge queue.  Aircraft would stop flying until the maintenance staff is done with the checks.

The maintenance company would be able to handle 1 or more fleet types.  Each additional fleet type will take capital investment and staff.  Most of the maintenance staff would be taken out the airline itself.  Each increase in size of the maintenance company would increase it's efficiency (fewer employees needed per task performed), which would allow bigger maintenance companies to either be more profitable or charge lower fees..

Player's airline company would be able to set up preferred maintenance companies.  If the first one in priority list is not available, the aircraft would be send to 2nd, etc.  Player, especially small airline, starting late, would be able to go without it's own maintenance company.  There should probably be a few AI companies at the beginning, charging higher fees, as maintenance companies of last resort.  And they can eventually go under or shrink in size.

The maintenance company could set its prices, depending on airline.  For example, certain price for players own airline, different price for players in the same alliance, yet another price for everyone else.  And also limits of how much business it would take from these types of players / airlines.

I am not sure if the location of the maintenance bases should matter.  For example, if the maintenance facility is at a different location from where the aircraft is based, then some time would have to be added to fly there...

Offline CUR$E - God of AirwaySim

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 09:51:31 AM »
Maybe one of the most rare things one will ever read from me:

I'm totally against this idea as you describe it. Of course I will explain why and I think my arguments are valid. ;)


The biggest "plus" of AirwaySim is a single thing: Easy and well working interface and a nice mix of makro and micro management.


With your idea you would basically destroy all these things - I simply can't imagine how to keep it clean and easy with those added features. There is another Airline Business Simulator on the market that heavily focuses on the Holding model (I'm sure you know it, if not, I can PM it to you...) and the biggest downside is, it becomes more and more to a bad stock trading simulator. And they have a very good interface (for Holdings) and working design. It's just dividing the game into two parts.


There's another downside: AirwaySim has unfortunately not an unlimited player base. If the community is splitted, there are less airlines on the field - especially with city based demand this will create environments without major competition.



So, I still like the idea of player managed facility companies and I might have a solution if you share my negative points: Make it completely additional to existing airlines. No stock market, no airline specialization.
You found your airline and you take the steps as you take right now, but you can additionally found maintenance services, catering or whatever and offer them.



This would exclude the complex stock market (I want to play an Airline simulation, not become the Wolf of Wallstreet) and complex airline focus decisions - but would add the player based companies.





A general downside of those companies are to make them actually useful and not just eye-candy or a marketing buzzword. Even an alliance centralized D-Check facility is, in my eyes, with the current AWS model not worth the action.
1) The gameworlds end too early
2) The jump from 3rd to 4th fleetgroup makes it basically necessary to change around aircraft fleets as soon as possible. Together with 1) this cancels away the only aircraft fleet types you might have longer (because there are no newer ones then)

So, with the introduction of such player management facilities I see a huge MUST to make it possible to run at least 5 fleetgroups without major penalties. I have some ideas for that, but to be honest I would love to see your (sami :)) general willingness to go that step before I put more and more time in such ideas and then it was for nothing. ;)

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 11:12:11 AM »
I agree that the trading of stock would be a diversion, and is unnecessary for AWS.  However, I would make a small modification to the CEO wealth calculation.  Maybe CEO could be assumed to have 1% of the company and CEO wealth would be a combination of his salary and value of his shares (at book value would be fine).  That way, players from low wage countries would not be automatically shut out of the CEO wealth competition.

As far as holding company, most of it can share the existing interface of Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow.  The current interface already has a drop down of Corporate wide (would apply to holding company), individual bases.  As far as current system and interface, I think HQ should be segregated from any base.  The main base should not be HQ, it should be just a base.  Corporate / HQ overhead should be separate.

In the same interface, the maintenance company would have its own selection, the same way, HQ and bases of the airline would.  Something similar could be done with the staffing page...

As far as individual companies, right now, they can assumed to be integrated.  The system is assuming an integrated maintenance company, integrated leasing company, if company leases out aircraft.  These integrated companies could be segregated, and given some additional interface and functions.  Hopefully, in a way it would not overwhelm a new player.

As far as fleet commonality, it could be split between the airline and the maintenance, each bearing only part of the brunt of the cost of additional fleets.  For example, you cold keep maintenance facilities for only 1 or 2 fleets, while the airline has 4 fleet groups.  That way, the airline would be hit with only part of the cost, and fleet transitions would not be as painful.  The same would apply for the training companies, how many fleet types they can train the staff for.

These additional interfaces, ability to add / subtract fleet types to have in-house maintenance could be part of the "advanced" mode, and new users would not have to touch them.  As a default, the system could automatically set up a maintenance company to maintain players current fleet types, or would automatically contract out those services.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 11:28:06 AM by JumboShrimp »

Offline Sami

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 11:39:58 AM »
C - this whole concept is meant to be optional if you read what I tried to say.. Like I described, >80% of thr players would probably not even notice the holding company thing, at first. Players running an airline do NOT have to make any of these, they can just purchase services (manually or automatically) from any company, which can be AI or player run, that's the beauty, since it will not change the present "airline side" of the game, but adds another level to play.

Only if player wishes to offer mx/training services TO OTHER PLAYERS, he'd need to set up a company for that, he could still perform those for his own airline like now, or buy them from AI or other player's company. And in "airline mode" you can continue to sell and lease planes to others like now, but you cannot then be one of the new aircraft's "initial lessors" (which players could choose and negotiate already when they make the order for the new plane), and lessor players have also the all airline restrictions on commonality and so on.

(I am also not familiar with other sims, haven't played /tested them in last 5-6 years..since I'd like to keep all ideas original and not copy stuff)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 11:52:17 AM by sami »

Offline CUR$E - God of AirwaySim

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 12:37:40 PM »
Of course I read what you said, I mostly do.  :-[  8) I hope you just don't make it too complicated and get the focus away from the beautiful simulation of the airline. Sometimes more choices and features (like running an operation that has no airline business included) could do more damage than good.

I'm also still a bit askant to how useful such facilities could be in the current AWS meta, like I said.


Original ideas are good of course, I also thought more about avoiding than copying. They added more and more and more to the stock market and went far over the initial goal and I don't even consider this game as aviation simulation anymore (despite the fact it has massive other flaws). Would be bad if such would happen to AWS, too. ;) (or maybe I then could just purchase the competition and then eliminate the company... hmmmmmmmm)



Btw, you speak about that as a big feature of 2015. I guess City Based Demand is then scheduled for 2014 as the big feature? *runs insanely around and changes all Germany flags with sami-flags* ;D You know, if you need some crazy powerplayer to find bugs in the new system's alpha/beta...

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 12:45:01 PM »
As far as the current airline lessors, the commonality penalties have been pretty much eliminated, since only scheduled aircraft is counted.

As far as a player starting out as a leasing company, that might lead to some problems, since the leasing company needs extra capital, and if a player starts as a leasing company, then he would funnel this extra capital to his airline for faster initial growth.

So probably, the order should probably continue to be that the player needs to earn the capital to become a leasing company by being an airline.

As far as setting up a leasing company that would be eligible to bid, to become a lessor of new aircraft players order, that is a fantastic idea.  I think there needs to be some sort of check on the capital availability for leasing of the new aircraft.  It should not just come from thin air, as it currently does, where the AI lessors have unlimited credit lines.  Both AI and player lessors should all be subject to credit availability.  As the demand for aircraft explodes, so should the interest rates and leasing rates.

The manufacturer may have a price of their aircraft, but for aircraft to be purchased, capital has to be obtained.  For example, if a player goes to order an aircraft, all the lessors will be willing to bid on that.  But all the lessor could be completely tapped out, there are no bids from leasing companies, and a player could just get an answer that lessor could not be found.  So the player would have to lease a used aircraft from the stock of the leasing companies, which would allow them to build up capital.

As far as lessors, they could have standing bids (so that the leasing for an airline would be instantaneous).  For example, a leasing company can have a standing bid to finance 500m worth of aircraft in 767 and A320 fleet types, and the leasing company would be able to set the leasing rate - monthly lease rate as a fraction of the manufacturer price of the aircraft.  And further, the leasing company can set different rates based on credit rating of the lessor.  The system would go through the leasing companies, and get aircraft from lowest rate to highest rate, with order possibly being split between several lessors.

The leasing companies should be able to use their down payments on aircraft as security for loans immediately, and their credit limit should be substantially expanded.

The AI leasing companies should be subject to market forces, and eventually (hopefully) all will go out of business, and only player leasing companies will remain.  When a leasing company (AI or player) goes out of business, all their aircraft should be dumped on the UM as Purchase Only, at substantial discount, so that other leasing companies that are healthy (or airlines) can get this aircraft at deep discount, and in turn become healthier / more profitable.  No longer would the leases be automatically be taken over AI lessors with money pulled out of thin air.

All lessors being subject to credit availability will finally put the breaks on the exponential growth of airlines early in the game.  As the orders for new aircraft start to come in at a frantic rate early in the game, the demand for credit will go up (so should the interest rates) and in turn, the leasing rates will go up - which will lower profitability of airlines, slowing them down.  Or the airlines will have to slow down their growth, accumulate their own capital for aircraft purchases.

The Beginners World could have AI lessors with unlimited credit, so that airlines there can just keep ordering (Maybe the Holding company concept could be hidden from the Beginners World, with the UI being either "Normal" or "Advanced", with Advanced being available only in full game worlds.  But the full game worlds should have constraints on capital availability, which can slow down these worlds to a crawl, until capital is earned (flying pax, profits from leasing) and reinvested into more aircraft.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 12:56:13 PM by JumboShrimp »

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 02:35:10 PM »
My vote: implement cargo and "business plans" first :)

The problem with service companies etc is right now they are a commodity.  Using a good one does nothing for your airline versus contracting to a bad one.  Until you add additional layers of complexity to enable players to truly play with strategy and establish competitive advantages, everything else is just a distraction.

What do I mean by that?  Right now CI is the penultimate factor in creating a competitive advantage.  Air travel is viewed as a commodity and price is the biggest factor for most passengers.  To change this, if a player could select a premium catering service with premium seats etc. they can establish a competitive advantage when competing for first class passengers.  The same goes with economy--many pax in the US will fly jetBlue because of their DirecTV/XM at every seat.  Many pax fly Allegiant because they strip away everything and can charge you $39 round trip.

So if you want to take the game to the next level, I would do three things: automated pricing algorithms (gives players back a LOT of time), cargo, and business plans that will ultimately allow for the implementation of things such as in flight entertainment, VIP lounges, etc. (players can use all that extra time they got back on this).

Oh yea, and terminals is still a big deal IMO.  With the new basing system you should be able to build the terminal system on this infrastructure with relative ease.

The end result would be a more realistic simulation where you have terminal space and flights are restricted based on gate/tarmac space (not runway space), pricing was handled by a revenue management team, cargo can be used to plug the holes (or be an exclusive cargo carrier), and true competitive advantages can be created with inflight entertainment, VIP lounges, flight attendants in lingerie, etc.

As far as overall development strategy, I would pose the question to you sami of "does adding services or any of these other features serve your educational clients?"  I went through the Marketplace simulation in grad school which seems to be standard fare (I'm told it is used over 20,000 times/year by colleges around the world), but if you can elevate AWS with the ability to create competitive advantages, there is real opportunity to penetrate the educational market because Marketplace IMO is terrible (in it's defense, what we did with it was 6 standard deviations beyond what it was designed for).  Another leg up AWS has on the Marketplace simulation is that it is real time versus turn based, which is the way it should be since running a business is a process and not an event.  Being able to create competitive advantages would also remove the "scorched earth" view of competition in AWS where players are working to BK their competitors versus coexisting.  IRL if a firms goal is to BK their competitors, they will likely BK themselves first because if a firm is successfully competing then they are establishing competitive advantages where price is irrelevant (see the iPhone).  Based on previous posts, Mr. HP went through the marketplace simulation and should be able to add to these comments.  It is largely based on Michael Porter's Five Forces and building a value chain.


Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 03:20:54 PM »
Before (or if ever) we get to the point of where we are pondering peanuts vs. pretzels, I think 3 of the existing variables should be more of a differentiator, and we already have them modeled, just the pax allocations is not weighing them sufficiently:
1. Price - Pax responsiveness to price is very limited.  Especially below 30% discount.  It has almost no impact on which airlines the pax will chose.  In fact, some players have noticed the inverse effect.  More of the additional demand (created by lower prices of Airline A) goes to the competition (Airline B) charging default prices.
2. Quality of seating - HD vs. standard vs. premium does not make enough difference
3. Speed (time of travel) - should have a lot more impact.  Turbo Prop can fly 1000nm and still steal a plenty of pax from jets.  Instead creating artificial variables (Jet vs. TP, non-stop vs. tech stop) just have let the time of travel have a substantially higher impact, and remove the other exceptions / special cases (Jet vs. TP, non-stop vs. tech stop).

None of these need any new user interfaces, new models, just some additional tweaks to pax allocation algorithm.  Seating quality is a good proxy for quality (before we get to any other minutia).  Seating quality means the passenger is more comfortable.  Higher cost of seats may mean there is a higher quality entertainment system in place.  It also means there are fewer seats with the same number of flight attendants, so that each one of those pax in a premium seating is getting more of a VIP treatment.  Do we really need to go beyond one proxy of quality, down to the peanuts vs. pretzels?  I think not.  Let's just use what we already have to its full extent.

Offline Sami

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2014, 03:38:10 PM »
Instead creating artificial variables (Jet vs. TP

There has never been such thing..

But off-topic already

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 03:45:07 PM »
Do we really need to go beyond one proxy of quality, down to the peanuts vs. pretzels?

Yes, we do.  If a competitive advantage is easy to copy, it is no longer a competitive advantage and becomes a requirement for entry into the market.  Having a cell phone with a camera used to be a competitive advantage.  Then technology caught up and now if you are selling a cell phone, it better have a camera in it because it is a requirement for entering the market.

So the solution isn't simply utilizing what we have, but creating additional layers to create true competitive advantages.  If you want to go after the low end of the market a la Allegiant, you have to strip away many of those extra costs--something that can't be done in AWS today.  If you want to go after the super high end, you need to be able to add premium services such as VIP lounges, extra flight attendants, etc.  All of those little factors can be replicated by the competition, but when you add up the entire package and all the factors working together--that is what creates competitive advantage.

Look at IKEA--there is not a single aspect of IKEA that hasn't been replicated by a competitor, but no one has replicated every aspect to create an IKEA Junior.  Thus, IKEA's competitive advantage is that they are IKEA.  AWS needs to be like this where no single factor makes/breaks an airline, but is rather a small piece of the puzzle supporting a larger overall strategy.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 05:00:15 PM »
Yes, we do.  If a competitive advantage is easy to copy, it is no longer a competitive advantage and becomes a requirement for entry into the market.  Having a cell phone with a camera used to be a competitive advantage.  Then technology caught up and now if you are selling a cell phone, it better have a camera in it because it is a requirement for entering the market.

So the solution isn't simply utilizing what we have, but creating additional layers to create true competitive advantages.  If you want to go after the low end of the market a la Allegiant, you have to strip away many of those extra costs--something that can't be done in AWS today.  If you want to go after the super high end, you need to be able to add premium services such as VIP lounges, extra flight attendants, etc.  All of those little factors can be replicated by the competition, but when you add up the entire package and all the factors working together--that is what creates competitive advantage.

Look at IKEA--there is not a single aspect of IKEA that hasn't been replicated by a competitor, but no one has replicated every aspect to create an IKEA Junior.  Thus, IKEA's competitive advantage is that they are IKEA.  AWS needs to be like this where no single factor makes/breaks an airline, but is rather a small piece of the puzzle supporting a larger overall strategy.

The pax allocation algorithm is already very complex, only to become a lot more complex when we enter the new demand system and pax connectivity.

We have one measure of quality that is used maybe to 10% of what it should, why not use the one proxy of quality to 100% of its effectiveness?  It will need no new UI, no new concepts would be introduced.

You are suggesting creating new branches of specialization, measurements of quality / desirability of the airline, requiring a ton of new programming, testing.  I just don't see it as cost effective use of limited programming resources before what we already has is fully used.

I experimented with premium seating on a highly competitive routes, long enough where it should make a difference (2000nm+), and the effect of it was completely lost in the randomness of demand.  If a premium seating makes almost no difference, there is pretty much no point in adding any new variable that will have 50%, 25%, 10% of impact of seating quality (and the correspondent more attentive flight attendants).  50% of nearly zero is not really even worth talking about.

On the other hand, what Sami is proposing would be true branches of specialization / differentiation and new playability.  Setting up a maintenance company (or not) and using it efficiently can be a differentiator.  Finding extra customers for it can be a new level of interaction between players.

And leasing companies operating in a dynamic world, full of constraints, without ability to print money or pull money out of the thin air, that can certainly add a new dimension to the game.

Your idea of the Terminals can in essence be an equivalent of the types of venture / subsidiary Sami is talking about.  You can either use a generic one provided by the airport or you can invest in one of your own, you can perhaps rent out a part of it.  It will have its own economics, staffing etc.  I think it would fit right into what Sami is talking about.

As far as CI being the only measure, CI itself can be made more effective / fully functional if it became CI per airport.  The pair CIs of airports at both ends of the route would replace current, global CI.  Then the various levels of advertising would actually have its intended effect.  Regional company would invest all within its region, and CI would go up at the airports of its region. It would be targeted.  Domestic Pakistani airline can safely operate with CI of zero at all the US airports.  Having a terminal at an airport would also add to CI at that airport.  So again, just using concepts already in the system more effectively (although CI per airport would need some additions to the database).
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 05:05:43 PM by JumboShrimp »

Offline Longbow

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 05:59:15 PM »
well... I'm not so experienced in AWS but I know something about holdings and company management.

At the moment AWS is just a demisimulation (some parts of the game are arcade or just made to let the game flow) but could be a great idea to being able to invest in an NPG Airline or, better more, in a PG airline: airline A is getting in troubles or the player is getting bored, so I could buy the 100% of the airline or sortof. This could lead to opening many new small airlines and sell them to only one, in order to create an overtaking net, but the buiyng operation could be limited at 1 per player...

back on track: AI (or NPG) airlines could be to have them in the in game

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 06:14:15 PM »
Jumbo--these service companies wouldn't provide any differentiation to attract passengers.  People don't fly an airline because of their choice of catering, but rather because of the type of food that is served regardless of the catering company.  It is features versus benefits, and right now you can plug all the features in that you want with different fuel suppliers etc, but it doesn't provide any benefit to the passengers, which is what we are competing for (their money and the subsequent profits).    While I believe there is some utility in being able to start your own service company, it does not provide any level of differentiation and doesn't add to the competition between players.  You can argue that you'll make more money or drive down costs, but the problem in AWS isn't the lack of money, but the ability to spend the money to upgrade your airline and create a true competitive advantage.  Yes, lower costs can be a competitive advantage (see Allegiant), but it shouldn't be the only level we can pull.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 07:27:54 PM »
Jumbo--these service companies wouldn't provide any differentiation to attract passengers.  People don't fly an airline because of their choice of catering, but rather because of the type of food that is served regardless of the catering company.  It is features versus benefits, and right now you can plug all the features in that you want with different fuel suppliers etc, but it doesn't provide any benefit to the passengers, which is what we are competing for (their money and the subsequent profits).    While I believe there is some utility in being able to start your own service company, it does not provide any level of differentiation and doesn't add to the competition between players.  You can argue that you'll make more money or drive down costs, but the problem in AWS isn't the lack of money, but the ability to spend the money to upgrade your airline and create a true competitive advantage.  Yes, lower costs can be a competitive advantage (see Allegiant), but it shouldn't be the only level we can pull.

We have major levers to attract pax:
- Price
- Quality
- Speed
They just don't do that much.  And you are asking for more levers to pull, more dials to turn.  Why?  (Very important question)

You can already spend money, substantially improve your service, make your airline more competitive by upgrading your seating from HD to Standard to premium, slow Turbo Prop fast Turbo Prop to Jet.  The AWS pax just yawn.

You can cut your per seat costs substantially by introducing HD seating, and again, AWS pax mostly yawn.  Enough of them will sit in the HD seats, spend perhaps extra hour flying in a TurboProp for the same price they could fly a fast jet in a standard seating.  The pax will fill the small Turbo Prop with HD seating to the capacity, while a Jet will have empty seats, at the same price.

Now, if both of these huge differentiators don't differentiate enough, how much difference Macadamia nuts vs. Peanuts vs. Pretzel will make?

For this reason, there is absolutely no point talking about minor differentiators if the major ones (price, speed, quality) don't differentiate enough.

Suppose you have 100 pax demand, 800nm route and 2 aircraft flying:
Fokker 50 at Mach 0.40, HD seating
Airbus A319 at Mach 0.79, Standard seating.

Prices are the same.  Suppose they leave at the exactly the same time.

Only when pax allocation for Fokker 50 is such that it rounds to zero and nearly all are on the A319 - meaning major things that should make a difference actually do make a difference, only then we can talk about really minor things, such as Nuts vs. Pretzels, Metal vs. Plastic forks.

Besides, there are already about 100 threads about personal LCD displays, movie and food selections.  Sami might just as well split this portion of the thread off and merge it with one of the 100s of those threads...

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 09:35:10 PM »
Jumbo--I don't disagree with you.  My point was that instead of spending the effort building out the site for service companies, there are more relevant features that would (should) actually make a difference when it comes to competition.  Right now, price is the only real feature we can use to compete, which isn't really competing.  When it comes to quality, simply going from HD to Premium seating isn't a sufficient enough feature to differentiate.  If a player upgrades to Premium and gets higher load factors, a competitor can upgrade to premium and thus having premium seating because a requirement for entering the market versus a competitive advantage.

Now if a player were able to compete with strategy and had the supporting infrastructure with VIP lounges, priority security lines, free checked bags, in flight entertainment, etc. to attract the premium demand, simply putting premium seats on an aircraft isn't going to be enough to effectively compete for passengers.  Thus, players will be forced to pick a strategy and execute instead of trying to be everything to everyone, which is what we've got currently in AWS.  If you're an Allegiant operating a very low cost airline with no frills, you can't simply put premium seats in an aircraft and expect to generate the same demand.

When it comes to aircraft speed, I'm not sure this matters much when you consider connecting pax as it is better to have a 2 hour flight with a 1 hour layover than a 1 hour flight with a 3 hour layover.  However, I know most pax would prefer to fly in a relatively quiet and stable jet than a small loud prop getting pushed around by the wind, but this more about quality than speed.

So to reiterate, you're correct.  Right now price is all we really have, which is why I say that AWS pax view air travel as a commodity.  In order to un-commoditize air travel in AWS, we need to be able to create strategic advantages where premium prices can be charged for the same flight based on other quality characteristics.

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 09:58:06 PM »
Mmmmh, I'm not sure... On one hand, it seems really prematurate; On the other hand, it would give players arriving in the middle of a game something to do without being crushed by other companies. On one hand, it will give even more advantage to players who can connect during the day - and not only the evening; on the other hand, it adds strategic depth.

Is the added complexity worth the effort, the complexity? Isn't it a risk to crush new players even more(by giving the big old ones even more lever to crush the competition)?

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2014, 12:05:59 AM »
Mmmmh, I'm not sure... On one hand, it seems really prematurate; On the other hand, it would give players arriving in the middle of a game something to do without being crushed by other companies. On one hand, it will give even more advantage to players who can connect during the day - and not only the evening; on the other hand, it adds strategic depth.

Is the added complexity worth the effort, the complexity? Isn't it a risk to crush new players even more(by giving the big old ones even more lever to crush the competition)?

Joining in the middle / 2nd half of the game, you have the UM flooded with choice of aircraft from player lessors, that is generally better and often cheaper than the AI leasing companies offer.  You may have a similar choice of maintenance, training, catering companies, if all of these are implemented.  So if you are not directly competing with one of the Mega Airlines, a player starting late may find it easier to start, where some substantial costs can be contracted out, perhaps at discount to in-house facilities.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2014, 12:25:57 AM »
@LemonButt

There was a reason I brought up the example above.  A passenger   has a choice to fly:
- 4:00 hours in HD seat in Fokker 50
- 2:30 hours in Standard seat on A319

Same price, same takeoff time.

The system would tend to allocate the pax 50:50.  But there is an overwhelming difference: torture vs. pleasant experience.

What does this overwhelming advantage buy you?  Maybe 3 pax, for ratio of 53:47 in favor of A319?

Another example, identical aircraft, one standard, another premium seating, premium may buy you between 0 and 1 pax, too small a difference to really observe it in the randomized environment.

So if these huge differences really buy you almost nothing as far as attracting more passengers, what will a lounge or amenities get you in competing for passengers?  0.0125 of a passenger?  You will never be able to observe it (through the noise of randomization), it will just be an article of faith.

That is why I say, forget the articles of faith, forget about elements that need a lot of programming that have no effect, just fix what we already have:
- and increase sensitivity to price further
- time of travel significantly (maybe by 5x of the current difference, which will allow dropping the tech stop penalty)
- seating quality to 10x-20x the current effect, so that it is actually observable.

Once what we have works fully, other differentiators may make sense / difference, but not before.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 12:52:46 AM by JumboShrimp »

chris.abrams67

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Re: Player operated non-airline companies
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2014, 02:16:20 PM »
Further to discussion about player owned non-airline operating companies, but, I guess separate (so I'll hijack this thread!) because  I was interested to read Sammi would consider Holding Companies as a concept. I've searched and seen it discussed before so while Sammi possibly has the door open a little I thought I would push at it a bit!

I agree with Cur$e that stock markets and stock market simulations should not be included in AWS, and that AWS is an Airline simulation game.

A holding company would allow players to create a separate airline for different functions. A low-cost commuter line, a long haul line etc. When they are bored, or one isn't consistent anymore with what they want to get out of the game, by having a subsidiary in place they could sell that bit of the business. This would allow other players, who were concentrating on that area to buy it. Valuations would not be set by the stockmarket, but as they are in private transactions in the real world. You could use the current measure of Share holders equity as a bench mark, and allow players to offer above or below for that subsidiary. You would need to enable other players to do "due diligence" on the subsidiary, so the owner could open that business up for (say) 2 game days for the other player to kick the tyres. Obviously it's up to the seller to decide whether he trusts the potential buyer to have that privilege, whether he is desperate enough to want to sell it, or he could decide not to open it up and the buyer may bid, sight unseen (presumably for a lower price).

This would have a number of potential aspects.

1) It would mean that slots would now have intrinsic value (which they don't at the moment) and could be correctly regarded as an asset rather than the expense that they should be at the moment. I could over pay for a commuter airline because my LH wants the slots that the subsidiary owns. This is more realistic. (I really think, and the various debates on the forums suggest that slots are the biggest issue in AWS)

2) Alliances would have even more relevance. I could sell or swap my commuter subsidiary for a partner's LH subsidiary so we could concentrate on our respective interests.

3) If my airline is struggling, I could sell off a business to reinvest in the struggling side thereby avoiding bk and giving a more realistic opportunity to restructure.

4) If the valuation of the business is included in the player's wealth then profit and losses on the sales of business' would give a fairer valuation and impression of the players skill rather than just accumulated salary.

5) Some players could specialise in turn around situations, hop from dog to dog and accumulate personal wealth, not just by building Mega Airlines, but prove their worth in turning small airlines around, selling them on for a profit and moving onto the next opportunity.

6) Leasing companies could also exist (and I guess this is where the original suggestion came from) and change hands without detracting from the airlines' proper business, with different valuation measures (i.e. not just income related).

7) It's just more realistic. Situations such as Deutsche BA could be replicated. Countries/regions/strategies could be flexible and other players could decide that they could run a business better.

At the moment AWS seems to be, mostly, about getting bigger and bigger. That could still be an aim, but this way, people who prefer to concentrate on, say, profit rather than passenger or aircraft numbers and efficiency rather than number of countries supplied etc would have a longer interest span.

 

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