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Author Topic: Long-term playability brainstorming  (Read 8675 times)


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2010, 10:32:04 PM »
I've been waiting a thread like this to stick my thoughts... So Here we go

Market System

We should be CEO's not airlines. This will give the players more realism in terms of business dynamics. It also provides a lofty goal of making one's self rich and rising to the top. That being said, Rome wasn't built in a day. There should be pre-existing airlines before the start of the game world and during the game world. In other words AI. On top of that one has to be able to make acquisitions of AI companies, which means a Stock and Board system. Of course not everyone wants to play a stock game so the player should be given a choice. Bullet points...

  • Stock Market System: Allows you to buy and sell publicly traded airlines
  • Board of Directors:Anyone running an airline who does not own majority control must keep their board of directors happy. The board can be changeable by shareholder votes, ceo can be elected by shareholder votes, Live players may not be on the board, however they can vote for CEO's and oust the CEO with majority stake.  Board has an AI mentality(budget airline, domestic airline etc). 
  • AI Airlines: When an airline is CEO-less and before the game begins a number of airlines will be controlled by the game server. The AI will be self declining, as in not opening new routes, not changing prices etc. In order to limit processing times for the server. This also allows the game to "clean" overtime instead of just having airlines bankrupt
  • Player: Are given a preset amount of startup money based on how long the game has been playing. When the player has ran out of money they are bankrupt and must pay the credits again to start over.
  • Player: should be given a choice between starting a public traded airline(% covered by player = % of shares), a private airline(100% cover/shares), or applying to an airline. They may do so as long as they have money and are currently running an airline.
  • CEO Stats: Reputation stats based on past performance. (Making Boards Happy, Wealth)
  • Airline Startup Cost: Should be flexible based on the amount the CEO wants to invest. If a player puts in $5 million into a company he owns 50% of, then the Airline should start with $10 million.

Economic, Political, and World Events and Trends

Purchasing power and traffic of areas should change at least quarterly. Both historical and/or random growths of areas effect pax demand and airport size. A great example would be Orlando. Orlando didn't become a major destination until late late in the 20th century. In the 60s 70s and 80s there was more demand in Sanford than Orlando. Orlando did hit major growth the last 25 years, so why isn't that reflected (if even randomly) in the game? Having Orlando as a major airport in the 70s is asinine specially since most of Orlando still had lime-rock roads at the time. :)

Event/Trend systems that effect PAX demand would greatly improve playability. Wars, Disasters, Olympics, Crashes, Seasonal trends would greatly add some spice. Of course big events will be known to all, but small things like Australian beaches are popular this summer would be known to only those who spend money researching trends. I like List

  • Economic Zones At least regional size. (SE USA, Western Europe, NE Asia, Middle East, etc)
  • Economic Zones Update Economics at least quarterly, thus effecting PAX demand
  • Economic Update Countries/States individually in conjunction with regional changes at least once a year.
  • Economic Power: The purchasing power of the population effects how much they're willing to spend on tickets.
  • Tourism TrendsBased on proximity to tourist attraction and/or random generated points of interest. A few of them per quarter for random amounts of length.
  • Political & World Events: Effect pax demand for area based on event type.
  • Much less static demand...

Running an Airline

Personally I'd like to tighten budgets (increasing the cost of flying), make it harder to grow, allow us to micromanage more, and make it much more rewarding. Lets start out with our CI, lets add in flight services and features to aircraft. There is no such thing as free soda and peanuts. Allow us to mange the maintenance and service levels of each plane with a simple slider. Lets put some scarcity in staffing. There aren't that many people who can fly 747s. Lets bid on their wages, add unions, strikes and make it all regionally based. Chinese pilots are paid less than American pilots. On the flip side Americans pay more in domestic fare(see economic power above). In a long term game, you have to make it costly to stay BIG. Increase cost as employment increases. When an airline hits red force them to take a non-secured loan of the amount + 20%. Way too many companies operate in the red, how the hell are they paying their employees without using credit?   Listalisious:

  • Black Line Keep them low by increasing cost
  • GrowthSlow em down by increasing cost the faster they try to grow.(be hard to buy all the pilots)
  • Services While we don't need an option to give free sodas, lets at least have a slider per plane for services. (Services: none-minimal-avarage.. etc)
  • MaintenanceSame as above, but aircrafts do crash :(
  • Staffing Put out a price bid and the number of pilots you need, let the free market work it self. Update it weekly.
  • UnionsAnnoying airn't they? If everyone else in the area is paying better than you, they might stab you in the back.
  • Forced LoansIf an airline has been in the red for a week force them to take a loan for that amount + 20% (to put them in the black again). If greater than unsecured amount force them to put up assets. If they fail at that start defaulting them.


I've noticed a lot of people have problems with slots. This is specially true if you jump in later in a game. Though slightly unrealistic we ought to have a slot bidding system when the airports get full. Yearly you ought to bid to keep your under-performing slots (makes it harder for hording). Bonuses should be given to HQ airlines, based airlines, and domestic airlines over international airlines. However this is only in the event that the airport can not expand. Each airport should be given a minimum and maximum size. If an airport has a lot of demand, the economics of the area are good, the airport has room, and the airlines can lobby strong enough (again bonuses to hq,base,domestics) then the airport will expand. God not another list....

  • Slot Bidding Yearly bidding system for under-performing slots. Bonuses for HQ, Based, and airlines from the same country.
  • Airport Growth:Airports should be able to expand/shrink based on demand, economics of the area, land area, and government support.
  • Lobby: for airport growth, get bonuses when slots come

Well I'm sick of typing more will come if I remember anything.

Offline lastchancer

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2010, 11:01:40 PM »
I would like to see more fluctuating pax demand/LFs, best randomly and notdepending on historical data.
I could imagine a curve like the fuel prices curve showing the positive or negative growth of worldwide pax demand.

Why not some random events that let this curve decrease enormiously within 1 week and takes a year to recover? (Like happened in RL e.g. 9/11, SARS, global economic crises, wars etc.)

This would lead to more game complexity, harder games and even might kill "autopilot airlines".

Offline swiftus27

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2010, 04:38:41 PM »
Go back to where I discussed multi stage games.

Early on, we play in the 40s.  Many startups but only the large airports.
Next, as we move into the 50s, more airports open up.  You can now build first hub.
As we move into the 60s, the Jet age begins, more airports and international travel starts... next hub allowed.

This way, there are lulls in each era instead after the fast buildup phase.

Offline RushmoreAir

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2010, 05:32:10 PM »
Go back to where I discussed multi stage games.

Early on, we play in the 40s.  Many startups but only the large airports.
Next, as we move into the 50s, more airports open up.  You can now build first hub.
As we move into the 60s, the Jet age begins, more airports and international travel starts... next hub allowed.

This way, there are lulls in each era instead after the fast buildup phase.


I like this idea.  Maybe we could add on some "regulation" too.  Such as you're only allowed to create X amount of routes per year.  Until Deregulation in your country, that is.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2010, 08:17:56 PM »
I think some form of "government regulation" or "competition law" to control the enormous airlines. I am sure they are great fun to grow (requiring time and skill), but they seriously impact on entry into the market. I accept the response that that is just part of business, but in reality there are certain controls that prevent airlines operating monopolies (at least to a degree). I appreciate that in recent times the survival of the airline industry itself may have required a certain amount of relaxation.

No doubt there are a host of ways of achieving this (some good suggestions by others above), but slot allocation is an obvious starting point.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2010, 11:48:29 PM »
Yes, great! A huge problem is that is too easy to get hands on planes.
If we can disable the computer leasing companies after like 1-2 game years, it would both make expansion slower and also make more airlines lease out.

Perhaps find a way to restrict access to it to only those who have just started. Without these dealers, any late starter is screwed.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2010, 01:22:18 PM »
Frequent Flyer Program... has costs but benefits also.

Ground Handling - Own staff or outsourced....benefits - own staff has a better image but higher $$$$ than outsourced.

Lounges.... these have costs, but can also attract J/Fpax.

Possibility to outsource lounges for a fee to other airlines... ie if they pay me $xxx per J pax they have EX my airport.... These would help towards costs of running the lounges.

Offline JJP

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2010, 02:52:06 PM »
A few points that would make the game more interesting to me:

(1) Service Level: this has been mentioned before, but you all know what it means.  Let us choose what kind of food/drink/entertainment we offer on each route.  Let us set costs for these features.  How many "free bags" do we allow the passengers to bring?  How many carry-ons?  Do we assess a fee for luggage? Lots of ideas here.

(2) Type of Airline: this goes hand-in-hand with the first point.  Are you a budget airline? You can charge less because you have less overhead, but you have less amenities.  Are you a luxury/business airline?  You can charge more because you advertise better leg-room and more amenitites.  Different types of airlines can be wildly successful at the same airport because they appeal to different passenger types/demand.  Your type of airline is chosen at the beginning.  It cannot be changed later .  . . or only after x number of years.

(3) Alliances: make alliances much more interesting.  Code-sharing, pricing structure, co-operative advertising, etc.  Getting into a good alliance when you're a small airline can really boost your chance at success. Especially, later in the game.  The alliance may be happy to add your small airline because you feed passengers from an area that was formerly underserved by the alliance.

(4) Passenger Boosting Activities: Allow airlines to purchase/establish travel agencies, commuter airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc.  These items are not represented in-game, they are simply things you can do/buy.  Obviously, purchasing these entities creates more overhead.  Yes, you generate some revenue and increase passengers/CI, but you may also be creating a top-heavy, bureaucratic mess!

(5) Commuter Airines (NPCs): Non-player characters/AI-controlled commuter airlines at many airports across the world.  Some airports may have several.  Players have the option of code-sharing with the commuter for a price.  Player can also buy out the commuter.  Both activities boost passenger demand for the airline.  Obviously, buy-out/code-share may be rejected based on amount of offer, airline rep, governement regulation, etc.


Offline JJP

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On airline startups . . .
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2010, 03:09:02 PM »
I've always considered it a bit silly that everyone does not/is not able to start on an equal footing.  Why not have the scenario set the aircraft everyone starts with?  Yes, different people want different starting aircraft, so . . . allow players to choose which aircraft they wish to start with from a list.  Sami sets the list.  Aircraft have a cost just like now, so you still have the choice: do I want 1 big plane or 2 or 3 smaller ones?  The nice thing is everyone always has the same starting ability/advantage (at least as far as aircraft goes).  All starting aircraft a x years old (set by Sami).  No matter which one you choose, it is the same age and has the same number of months before checks (e.g. all starting aircraft are 7 years old and have 11 months until next C check).

I think it would make sense to allow all starting aircraft to be received immediately.  Why?  This plays hand-in-hand with the choice you make at start: do I want 1 big plane or several small ones?  Also, players should be able to decide on initial aircraft seating config: all aircraft have standard config, but you can pay to change it.  The change happens immediately.  There is no delay for startup aircraft. 

This type of thing would significantly help start-ups later in game.

With such a system in place, I really think the computer generated used aircraft market could be eliminated.  After your initial aircraft, you must purchase/lease new.  This significantly slows growth.  A used market will come about later as airlines get rid of aircraft or go bankrupt.

Offline Minto Typhoon

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2010, 10:02:10 AM »

One of the hardest parts of running an airline is in staffing, yet I wager 99% of players just hit the auto button - problem solved.

Harder game = more staff intereaction, not on numbers, but on salaries, perks, etc

marketing is way too easy here - campaigns make and break an airline.  I would include FFP here.

On board product is not really an issue in todays game, bar seating comparisons - how about meals, etc.   this would enable low cost carriers, and full service competitors.  This is a huge competitive tool for airlines, especially in long haul C and F, that generally ignored in this game.

fare comparison
  an ability to price dynamically (lowest fare on route), etc would really drive competition and send margins downwards. as in real world, airlines understand other peoples pricing and compete. 

HUBs  I'm aware that this will take a huge amount of programming.  Hubs will transform this game, as any medium sized city has a chance to become a major aviation centre, just like SIN, PDX , or CVG.   If you are a point to point carrier in a major city, you are only focusing on a small % of the traffic.  This also increases the competition within the game dramatically.  Just because you are the only airline flying  A -> B, you may have twenty competitors offereing A -> C -> B with better onboard, marketing, prices, etc.

Offline Maarten Otto

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2010, 03:49:47 PM »
A new way of marketing and PAX demand:

The idea explained below is to attract business/pax by generating it through marketing:

Start up, gain demand and go flying:
Say I want to run an airline from Amsterdam-Lelystad airport (currently not modelled) I know I will never ever be able to operate A300's or 747's from that airport. I know the airport is a 45 minutes away from the city centre of Amsterdam and that it can be a good airport to set up a low cost carrier with a new type of pax demand.

What I have to do is start with huge marketing campaigns to let people know my airline is alive and kicking. As a result.... demand will increase fast to nearby (max 1,5 hour flight time) destinations like Stansted and Luton. To promote the route (to gain enough demand for two or three return trips a day) I have to promote the route via route specific marketing, just like the way we do at this moment to increase RI. The amount of marketing spendings will reflect the demand for that route till it gets at it's maximum level. After that you can reduce the amount of marketing specified for the route. Cutting the marketing for the route will result in a drop of demand.

These route demands will be airline specific, so another airline has to do the same trick to operate flights on the same route.

Price structure:
Part of a LCC operation is to specify the amount of seats that go at a certain price.
Say you run a 735 and advertised route fare would be $50 for a Lelystad-London route while the game engine would suggest a route fare of $80
Seats 1 to 20 go for $50
Seats 51 to 65 go for $70
Seats 66 to 110 go for $100
Seats 111 to 126 go for $130

For the first 30 slots at your start up airport you would not need to pay as the airport could gain income from the amount of pax it receives via your airline through taxes.

Reduce on expenditure:
1) Get ground handling contracts. A ground handler can use his people economically more efficient so this might be an attractive solution during the start up phase of your airline.
2) No aviobridges but cheap plane stands. Get 30% discount.
3) Efficiency training for all staff groups that can result in a lower amount of staff required.
4) Pilots would come cheaper

Alliance benefits:
1) A much asked feature is the direct lease of AC's from alliance members. This way a sell and lease back construction can be adopted to rescue an airline in financial trouble. Or a new airline might get a small boost for acquiring a maximum number of planes (say 5) from alliance members to set up a new business.
2) Codeshare, yes again  8)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 03:53:40 PM by Maarten Otto »


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2010, 06:43:29 PM »
Do NOT completely get rid of the used aircraft market ever. Make it smaller if you want, but otherwise leave it alone.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2010, 10:36:47 PM »
I am not sure if this has been suggested before, but what I am missing in this game would be more interactions and more choices.

1) I'd like if it was possible to get more involved in/around your hq or base, for example being able to buy/build terminals to increase the amount of slots you have and/or passenger services in your terminal, or a kind of leasing of terminals where you can have a huge influence of that specific airports terminal. Etc being able to sign contracts with other services like: catering/cafe's/shops/etc.
So you would be able to attract more customers to your base/airline.
This would also give another end game when you have a strong airline and don't just want to buy more planes. It could also help the problems with slots, that you build a new terminal (takes 3-4 years depending on the size) and after then being able to sell slots in your terminal to other companies who could use them too.

2) I would also love to see more configuration like: Meals aboard planes, prices for food/drinks/souvenirs/magazines/etc?.

3) It would also be cool if it was possible to earn more money through cargo, lugages etc so that it is not only passenger tickets but also for example 20 dollars per passenger per luggage they bring or free if you like.

4) Another cool thing would be if we could be able to buy contracts with fuel companies for fixed fuel prices for serveral years, car rentals in airports, etc etc.

5) Airports are usually a very important matter for airlines, so I would like if we could control them more and for example be able to build buildings like hotels which we could use to store our passengers in, in case flights are cancelled which would make your passengers more happy to fly with you again. Or simply use the hotels for attracting more business people/tourists/etc (see nr. 1).

6) I would also like more reality about maintance, what about only being able to get maintance at specific airports. For example as a new airline, you'll have to pay another company (or computer based maintance) to make them fix your plane, and then make your plane scheduled to fly to the airport of your contracted maintance company. Later on you should be able to build/lease your own maintance buildings and hire staff at your main hub or sub bases. Of couse price should fit with airport size.

I think all these things could make the process in a game much longer and the choices bigger. Do I want my own terminal and control an airport much more and sell/lease slots or even terminals to new companies? Or do I more like to create my own tourist airport with car rentals, hotels and seasonal based tourists in a tropical place?

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2010, 04:55:34 PM »
I think the biggest problem in real life for airlines (and in general) are unions.  They can suck all the blood of any (otherwise) viable enterprise.

Fighting unionization should be one of the major challanges for the player as his airline grows.  It should be increasingly harder as the airline gets larger.  There should be an indicator of what % of of employees favor unionization.  Player should be able to to have some variables at his disposal to keep employee loyalty high (morale?) and union popularity low.

If the player fails, and employees unionize, a new host of problems should occur, such as strikes, work slowdown, over-staffing (forced by union), union dues to be paid etc.

This could slow down the growth of larger airlines, add to their costs, and make it easier for upstart airlines (players joining late) to compete.

This would be more under category "Long-term frustration" rather than "Long-term playability" though...

Offline Maarten Otto

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2010, 08:14:25 AM »
To be honest, the only airline fighting the unions is BA. Can't remember any other airline cancelling more then 60% of their flights due to a strike... Even not easyJet.

Keep your staff happy and don't cut in their pockets to hard... Utilise management and make all departments more efficient so your airline can do with less staff required.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2010, 10:18:57 PM »
Every unionized airline is fighting with their union.  With non-unionized workforce, paying fair wages keeps the employees happy.  With unionized workforce, the demands keep going up until the last drop of blood (asset) is sucked by the union.

There is nothing really in the game to keep large airlines from growing.  In reality, large airlines are unionized, and unionized airlines have hard time competing flying smaller planes on less busy routes.

If the goal is to keep the players with larger airlines occupied, they need a challenge, and the challenge is at first fighting unionization, and later, once unionized, dealing with ever growing wage / benefit increases = higher wage costs.  They can say yes to the union every time (just like GM), and go b/k (just like GM), as the wages will go through the roof, and profitability will dissappear.

Or they can fight the union, and endure the strikes, dealing with temp, replacement workers etc.

All of this would give players joining later in the game a fighting chance, because as long as they are small, they don't have to deal with unions, and their wage costs will be lower than high wage costs of larger unionized airlines.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2010, 03:48:37 AM »
Some very good ideas in this thread...too many to mention.

How about permanent delayed turns, similar to the first turn of a new game? Where every 1 hour of real-time = 1 day of game time, only during that period you can commit/un-commit any actions before that hour expires. The actions would have effect in the same way they do now, for example  if you schedule an incoming aircraft it will show up in the schedule/demand window. This would allow people to react/counter-react within a given game hour if it came down to it while still preserving existing game play in terms of you could set everything up and walk away for 6-8 hours.


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2010, 09:06:44 PM »
There are definently some good ideas in this thread. I think the most important though include:

-Different types of airlines (a must): Low-cost (Southwest, Easyjet), regional (flybe, Mesa Airlines), legacy/normal (AA, Delta)
Along with the different type of airlines, a different set of standards/rules. For example, low-costs can only fly domestic but can have many multiple hubs (focus cities), regionals can't operate planes larger than the medium-plane category but can be contracted off to larger airlines (Pinnacle Airlines flys as Delta Connection or Cityjet flying for Air France).

-Stocks/shares. Option to go public or be private. If public, investors invest in your airline based on CI and value. Ability to buy stocks in other airlines or possibly buy them out.


-Significantly smaller used market that gets smaller as time goes.

-Random events; crashes (affected by pay of pilots and maintenance), wars between countries, weather (snow-storm, hurricanes)

-More passenger frills (affects CI) including: seatback TVs, luggage prices (non on low-cost), meals, frequent flyer, airline/alliance lounges

-More realistic alliance benefits including: Alliance lounges (affects CI), Alliance terminals/Alliance reserved slots, Alliance marketing, etc.

-Allow for alliance statistics page to show top airlines in respective airline type (So it is more rewarding to run a regional airline when they don't have to be compared with major legacy airlines)

-A rating like Skytrax showing airlines with best customer satisfaction (thus improving CI)

A few of these changes would increase longterm playability and reward all types of airlines even if their not super huge legacy airlines, plus add many more options in the way to run your airline.  :)


  • Former member
Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2010, 10:42:11 PM »
Government bailouts

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Long-term playability brainstorming
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2010, 01:20:34 AM »
Turning the game into a more true massively multiplayer game, rather than a solitaire or duel, as it is in the current form.  There is very limited, or almost no player interaction, and pretty much none is needed.

The way to do it is to allow players to have something to trade.  The best thing to trade is passenger traffic.

The pre-requisite of this enhancement would be implementing ability for passengers to transfer between flights.  Once implemented, players could establish relationship with other players.  The levels of relationships would be:

- blockade - default, starting option of every player with every other player.  No transfers allowed.
- non-discounted transfers allowed.  Some (but not many) passengers would pay the price for trip from A to C as AB + BC, rather than default price of AC
- discounted transfer.  Maybe a several levels of discount would be pre-set.  At each higher level, more of the traffic would go from A to C via B.

The resulting level of relationship would be the minimum either of the players has set up.  So if Player 1 has blockade with Player 1, and Player 2 has 10% discount offer to Player 1, the result would be a blockade.

With this trading system, there would be some incentive for Player 1 to think, and possibly communicate with every other player who is flying into his base.

These relationships can really make this a whole new game.  Suppose there is a dominant player in, say LAX.  He does not like to "share" with anybody.  He has ability to drive every upstart airline out of LAX.  Suppose this dominant LAX player is competing with Bangkok based Player 2 over LAX - Bangkok route, and has no incentive to help the Bangkok player in any way - hence blockade.  Now, suppose a new airline starts in LAX.  This upstart airline starts flying some routes out of LAX, to which the dominant LAX player responds by oversupplying them, trying to run the upstart out of the game.  But the LAX upstart and the Bangkok players have all the incentives to work together and share traffic against the dominant LAX player...

Similarly, everybody else who hates the LAX player, who is flying into LAX, has an incentive to work with the upstart LAX airline, to weaken the LAX player and to get more traffic out of LAX - passengers transferring from the upstart LAX airline...


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