I have seen this idea on the forum before, but thought it deserved its own post, explained thoroughly.
The problem: The current flight planner does not appear to check whether the schedule can actually be carried out. (For instance, I could plan three 737’s to land at 8 AM even though I only have two medium gates.) As more different types of gates (large, cargo, and possibly XL, VIP, etc.) are implemented, and the larger the airport is, the harder it will be for the player to keep track of all this manually.
The solution: Each row on the flight planner should represent a gate. Rows are added and subtracted as physical gates are built or torn down in your airport. The plane goes to their assigned gate, instead of a random one.
This more accurately models an airport’s role in the gate-scheduling process, without adding a completely new system that models both single gate contracts (current, game-friendly system) and airline contracts (real-world system).
Delays or incidents requiring gate changes could still be handled by the computer to prevent too much micromanaging.
Benefits for new players:
This system is more intuitive. By linking the flight planner and the physical airport, new players will better understand the planning system.
This system prevents overscheduling, as discussed above, preventing confusion.
This system does not require micromanagement if the player doesn’t want it. If the player does not care which gate a plane goes to, they only have to find a gate that matches the plane size, then edit the schedule like normal.
Benefits for micromanagers:
This system provides complete control for players wishing to create “airline-specific” terminals. This is particularly relevant given the emphasis put on airline and store ratings, and passenger preferences. Luxury airlines should want better gate services, and their passengers should want better accommodations. The current system of random gate assignments mean these services provided by the airport (specific stores, passenger lounges, airside services) cannot be guaranteed, without providing these services to all gates in the airport.
For those wanting to min-max, this system allows for greater control over plane, passenger, and baggage movement.
It appears that gates will have upgrade options. This system allows players to schedule flights to arrive at upgraded gates.
While each specific problem could possibly be solved in simpler ways, I think this system solves many problems at once.
What do you all think? Is this too much micromanagement? Does this system change to much on the backend to be implemented? Or, are the changes worth it?
A few of us have pushed for this before. I completely agree with everything that you’ve said.
I think that, for those who do not want micromanagement, the benefits of allocating gates in this way would outweigh the problems (if indeed there are any). I can see myself only having as many rows as gates so that I can play the game in this way, even though the game will allocate gates as it sees fit.
As further features evolve (transfers, lounges, terminals) I can see this becoming an essential feature.
I would also like to expand upon this a bit with the planner idea.
The capacity of your runway and taxi time should also be taken into account. For example my airport has 5 aircraft landing all at 8:00am and let’s assume we have the gates to handle this. My runway though can only handle a plane landing every 3 minutes, and it takes 5 minutes to taxi. My first flight could land at 7:52 am to make it to the gate at 8:00am but the last light wouldn’t arrive at the gate until 8:20am. Quite a bit after the 8:00am slot.
Because you already have a path finding system the taxi time could be calculated fairly easily, and the runway capacity could have a value in the runway type.
By me having a bunch of flights all trying to land at the same time I would cause unwanted delays with the airlines and passengers.
The big reason I think this needs to happen is for game expansion. The talk about airline/store rating having an effect on passenger types, who all have different personalities, seems like such an interesting and deep mechanic, but the inability to control gates/terminals severely limits how the player can take advantage of this at their airport.
I assume that they could have an optional daily flight planner, or just a generic time one with no specific days like they have. Keep the current one, add a detailed and more controlled one for those that want to manage it.
Heck, make it have a requirement to hire a certain executive before you get access to it, add a use for one of them.
But you’re essentially creating two different systems, which would mean additional work instead of focusing on adding new features (I’m assuming this is added post-launch ofc). Plus, having a generic time with no specific days would just mean balking back at the original suggestion (that flights is often scheduled for specific days only).
Regarding the need for executive, I agree with this point. Perhaps such a flight planner would only unlock after you have a Chief Operational Officer (COO), which makes progression from a small GA airport to a larger airport much more cohesive.
I can’t recall if Sim Airport has once a week flights or not, but that throws a wrench into a flight planner. Actually I’m not sure how it is currently handled. I suppose since no specifc gate is used, you just add a line and can add another to the same time without fear of overbooking.
Perhaps all that is needed is instead of a daily flight planner is for flights on only certain days, maybe an extra line drops down showing it isn’t a daily flight, then you can stack more flights on that slot.
I’m sure a good plan can be created to solve what we want. @Fredrik@Olof have shown many times they can provide an elegant solution.
I believe that Sim Airport uses a generic flight planner, so there’s no variation in traffic between days and quite frankly, less depth. That said, it’s system is clean and easy to use and does make sense.
I definitely strongly advocate for having a weekly schedule of flights however because I think it adds a lot more depth to the game. For example, weekends don’t have the same busy morning and evening rush hours of business commuters, and Friday departures are busier as people leave for the weekend etc.
That said, like @coolbrowndog mentioned in the original post, I think delays and gate changes should be handled by the computer to avoid excessive micromanagement (though this might be a clunky system). I don’t think the Sim Airport model of cancelling flights (last I saw) the minute a gate is not available is particularly realistic. So maybe aircraft have to hold on the taxiway (something I’ve had to do at my home airport a few times) while the gate is freed, or has to go to a new gate/remote stand. That certainly is the most realistic way of handling it, but I’m not sure about its pragmatism.
That’s also a possibility, and less work than a gate schedule planner (especially if you have different day to day schedules). However, I think it presents a number of challenges (solveable but challenges none-the-less).
The system would automatically have to work out gate availability (based perhaps on scheduled turnaround times) and restrict you scheduling too many flights to a runway when your airport’s gates can’t handle the traffic. If you leave this up to the player to figure out, I think a gate based system is probably better.
If eventual support for intersecting runways is implemented, wouldn’t that get kinda confusing in terms of scheduling by runway?
Scheduling by runway sort of implies that planes should arrive and depart on the same runway every time, and again, with the implementation of weather etc. in the game already sacrifices a bit of realism and enjoyment out of just watching your airport run in my opinion.
Managing 10 gates is not tiresome… If u can’t do that, then u should play a simulation game instead of Tycoon one.
And I don’t think an average computer can handle more than 10 gates.
@coolbrowndog This can cause deadblocks if the first plane gets delayed… Instead each row should represent a random gate of some sizes. So if we assign the time, the plane lands and get assigned to random gate of the same size.
Don’t think limiting based on runway makes any sense really — if I have one runway and six gates, I can have six planes undergoing turnaround, one at each of my gates, as long as they are staggered in such a way each arrives after the other, and departs before the next.
At Heathrow, there’s more than two planes on the ground!
You are right, either gate or runway availability has to be managed. I see flaws in both systems.
The intersecting runway would indeed complicate things.
I partially disagree with you 3rd point however. You could schedule arrival and departure separately, although the gameplay video shows it isn’t at this point in time.
I just want to play with it and find out the pros and cons from experience:D but i love the discussion
Perhaps the 2 should both be managed separately. With crosslinks so when you schedule a landing, you also schedule a gate and vice versa. Not sure what that would look like though. You have to take into account that it takes time between landing and areiving at the gate.