TAP NG: The Airports Project
The Airports Project
One of the biggest updates for TAP NG are the airports. The first plans for this update were already set up back in summer 2017. The update contains so much new data for the airports, it got us very excited. As the amount of ideas grew, we soon realized the project wouldn’t be done in a month, 2 months or even a year. Hence the project needed some careful planning. We had to make sure every airport received its update in a consistent way. We set up many tables for every aspect of the database to make sure we implement the 4000+ airports in a balanced and historical accurate manner. Please give Stefan (a.k.a. Tomcatter) a warm applause for the work he has done for this project!
Gone are the days you can park an A380 at the tiniest airport simply because its runway is long enough. Gone are the days you can let your entire fleet depart at the same time at the same airport. Gone are the days your domestic and international flights depart from the same gate. Say hello to the next generation!
Terminals, Runways and Slots
The terminals received a big update, adding a lot more depth and realism to the game. In TAP NG, airports will no longer just exist out of a couple of terminals each with a set number of gates and slots. Instead, we brought the terminals to live: we divided them into piers and security zones. Where you schedule your flight will have an impact on the minimum required connection time. The connection time is based on the walking distance (change terminal, change pier or remain within the same pier) and whether the passenger has to leave a secure zone or pass border control.
Piers and security zones can have different settings. Some piers will be low cost (minimal passenger services available), which will influence the price of renting a slot as well as the passenger satisfaction. Piers can also be set to only accept domestic flights or international flights. (Intra Schengen for example is considered Domestic in this case)
The gates themselves also receive more depth. Each gate has been given a size. So you can’t park your jumbojet at an apron meant for regional traffic. Besides each gate is given a parameter defining whether it can be accessed by a jetbridge or by foot/bus, again affecting passenger satisfaction and slot price.
Gates are now given an actual schedule, meaning that you can’t park 2 jets at the same gate at the same time. Runways are given a maximum capacity as well. This all adds a lot of complexity to your flight scheduling puzzle. We will counter this and make your life easier by letting the manual scheduler make suggestions. The auto scheduler will also be shipped with the very first version of the game.
In TAPv2, many European airports as well as a couple of American and Asian airports are slot controlled or ‘coordinated’ airports, meaning that you have to request slots a season in advance, just like in real life. In TAP NG however, we will let all airports start as ‘non coordinated’. As the airport becomes more and more full and slots become harder to achieve, the airports start to become more restricted. We think this is a more realistic representation of the real world. It makes no sense to coordinate London Heathrow for example when there are only a handful of flights into this airport in your particular game.
General Airport Variables
In some cases you might want to expand the airport yourself. And we will let you do so, but only if there is room to do so. Airports are now given a variable for how much room there is to expand terminals, build new runways or set up service buildings. At an airport in the middle of a desert for example you are completely free to do with the airport whatever you want. On the other hand you will have a tough time expanding an airport in the middle of a city.
Airports are now given a altitude and average temperature, which will affect the performance of your airliners.
Some airports had a really high demand in TAPv2 because they are huge connecting hubs in the real world. We gave these airports a penalty based on how many connecting passengers they had in reality. This means you can now pick another large airport that is not a big hub in real life and create your own hub there, while having a better chance at success. (Yes connecting flights will be a thing 😊 )
Historical Accuracy and a more Dynamical World
For all of this data, we are doing our best to have everything as historically accurate as possible. We have a massive dataset listing for each airport what expansions they had in what year. Every airport looks exactly like it did back in the day from 1920 until now. Every detail is handled with care.
In the early years for example you will find every airport has either a grass runway or a water runway. Big terminals are non-existent, just basic flight halls. Steadily you will see the airports grow and you will become more familiar with your home airport with every expansion they make.
Our airport historical database is not only restricted to the expansions. We also have the correct passenger and cargo demand values for each airport in the game. This fluctuating demand will make the world more dynamic.
But again, it wouldn’t make sense to let airports endlessly grow if there are not that many flights on it in the game. So we will be giving you the option to let airports only grow if it makes sense for them to do so. If the expansion isn’t executed, the airport stores the plans for later when the need arises. This again makes the world more dynamic as every game will be different, depending on where you and your opponents are positioned.
If you like to play with wars enabled, airports get bombed or closed due to military reasons. But which airports will close will vary from game to game. Adding even more unpredictability to the game.
Of course, some users may like this and that feature while they don’t want to play with others. We opt to give the user many settings so that the player can fine tune how the game behaves to his needs.
What else have we done this month?
A lot of time has been spent this February (and January) launching a company for the game. But not all the paperwork has been finished yet. We should be able to start making official expenses early March. This is later than expected. For this reason we will be delaying the Kickstarter launch and the mailing list.
Let’s finish this blogpost by showing an ingame gif:
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