The thing is that the gate is not assigned until the aircraft has landed so there is currently no way for them to know that. There is no time to start making these changes now, yesterday, I was only going to add the world size to the game saves so that we can have saves with different world sizes. I thought it would take less than 1 hour because it is simply a X and Y value to serialize. It ended up taking 5 hours due to many systems being dependent on the grid size being correctly loaded. This is how software development works and therefore we are not making any major changes at this point as it will jeopardize the release.
A better system could be assigning Gates to planes when accepting contracts. I really didn’t get how the current Flight planning panel works. I was seriously expecting to assign planes to gates.
But yes we want the game for now. Waited too long for it.
Was about to post just that. I also assumed we would assign flights to the gates. Now it sounds like not only would this make sense for us players, but could solve other code issues on the backend.
So what would happen if a flight is delayed while boarding for example and the gate is not available for the next flight? Assigning gates on arrival gives you needed flexibility
In that event maybe a backup gate gets assigned and passengers are told to move to new gate. Happens IRL this way as well. If nothing is avail maybe the plane circles a while, and if too long lands elsewhere and you get a major reputation hit with airline.
I know people don’t like to talk about that other game which-must-not-be-named , but they had a lot of problems due to assigning gates, in case of a delay the following plane assigned to that gate wouldn’t land (cancelling the flight).
Recently they launched a patch which assigns standby gates. I haven’t tried it so I don’t know if you need to assign a specific gate for this purpose or if it considers any free gate as a standby gate. IRL it works kind of this way, so I agree that gate assigning should be somewhat of a priority (if not now, after release).
Yea that is true, the other game did recently add backup gates, but I also didn’t get to trying it out.
One thing that will add to the challenge is assigning gates. If your airport isn’t efficient enough to get planes off on time, it will cause issues downstream. Remember we set the times they land. If you are stacking flights too close together it’s ultimately on you that the problem is happening. Maybe you get 30 minutes past the time the next flight lands, if it’s gate isnt free (or an alternate gate) then, it diverts and you get dinged for a cancel.
Gate assigning adds a great challenge in many perspectives. When connecting flights are added it will be crucial to have same airline flights together (or even partner airlines if we get to have this). If we get to have different staff for different airlines same thing, imagine them walking all across the terminal every time a plane lands.
This is a very important design aspect that today sor of overrules the simplicity of assigning flights to gates. While that might make more sense and give the player the feeling of having a more direct control, delays can cause quite stupid queue build-ups. If that occurs the player must then be alerted so that they can change the gate but that in turn kind of makes the gate assigning procedure sort of unnecessary. Having it automated as it is now makes stuff less interdependent and more flexible.
It’s always also important to step back and look at the game we’re building. Is it Airport CEO or Air Traffic Controller Simulator 2017? While the concept of generic rows and generic flight scheduling without assigned gates may be a bit more difficult to communicate it is a lot easier to handle from a simulation perspective and it is quite unrealistic that the CEO would be tasked with rescheduling flights.
Of course, it could also be so that hiring a COO would make it automatic. I don’t know, we’ll have to think about this one.
- The system reverts to automatic gate allocation - the flight simply goes to the nearest available gate if there is one available. This is essentially the system we have now, but with the additional step of us assigning a gate at the start.
- Manual intervention - the flight clears the runway and holds for instructions, triggering a prompt to the player to assign the flight to a gate. Realistic, but cumbersome for the CEO. And, as has been pointed out, this is not an air traffic control simulator.
- A system whereby you list gates in order of preference - I think this is too cumbersome and just gets moreso as the airport expands.
I’d opt for option one. The gate allocation is respected where possible, but in the event of delays or other problems the computer (your ground crew/ATC) will sort the problem out for you. In the event of this causing further clashes, you could either let the AI sort it out or there would be time for the control freaks (like me) to manually intervene before the next planes land (if the game allocates the flight to a stand that will cause a clash, a message could appear to prompt/inform the CEO). This is probably how most airports run anyway - the gate allocations are assigned in advance, and may be varied at the last minute due to operational issues.
I do think that, to an extent, the management do have some interest in gate allocation. Airlines may request certain gates (perhaps to facilitate connections, or for access to lounges, or even just proximity to customer service desks, or proximity to their other flights to allow the ground crew to be more efficient). If the airline is going to build a lounge and customer service desk in an airport, it will want their flights to be departing nearby. Not much point building a lounge at gate 1 when the flight ends up departing from gate 79G, and when money and reputation are at stake you better believe it would become the CEO’s problem. Similarly, Cheapo Airways might want to utilise their staff to the max to keep costs down, so they’d much rather have flights departing from gates 3 and 4 (allowing ground staff to work with two planes, or at least be able to move from one to the other in a matter of seconds) than going from gates 3 and 48 (which may require additional staff). Again, when it comes to money, it ends up being the CEO’s problem. Remote stands, again, could be a contentious issue for airlines - the more prestigious airlines may not be best pleased with their passengers being bussed half way across an airfield. Lots of these things are features that we have discussed, so allocating gates isn’t too far away from our duties.
And, as I’ve said elsewhere, if you are just using the existing grid but upgrading it to equate a row to a gate (which is probably how I’d use it practically anyway), then it should be no more cumbersome for the casual player who doesn’t really care about gate allocations.
Maybe atleast setting gate priorities.
Maybe a middle road between setting each flight’s gate manually, and leaving the assignment completely up to the path finding algorithm.
I explained this idea a little more here:
I would echo some of what @me123 said.
Personally, I’d like the ability to assign a gate to either “Open” which any airline will use and a gate assigned to an airline. This way I’m able to group all of Maple’s flights for example on the same concourse, also I would be able to build a lounge close to their gates increasing passenger satisfaction, and it makes logical sense once connections are implemented. If it ever gets to the point where airlines may provide their own staff members grouping gates also makes sense.
Optimizing everything to me is half the fun. I look at games like Prison Architect and Factorio and optimization plays a large role in those games.
I really like what your idea. There should at the very least be an option where we can assign a gate to be either “Open” so any airline can be there. Or have the gate assigned to an airline of your choice.
Aerodrome ATC is responsible for giving flight plan clearances, taxi control and runway control. Saying that ATC is responsible for assigning gates is just not accurate. They are the ones who transmit this to pilots, but they are not the ones who define it. Gate assingment is defined by airport administration. We are not going to hate the game if this is not available, but you need to consider the lack of realism that random gate selection creates and consider our wishes of micromanagement.
would we be able to separate terminals from domestic & regional and international
I have to join the gate planners on this one. Gate allocation I think can play a big role for a successful airport. I will not bring up the reasons why, they have already been brought up more than once. Moreover please not say that gate allocation would be a part of the ATC’s job. As someone else stated. This is a part of another department of the airport or even the airline itself if it is a hub. Mostly in Europe I think the ATC guide airplanes all the way to the gate however in the US the most common system is that ATC only guide the airplane to the terminal and that the airlines controls the aprons. (Don’t know why that bother me so much ) Moving on, the argument about what a real CEO would be involved with is according to me used a bit faulty. My idea of an airport CEO is someone how is only a part of the decision making. When an airport is designed the CEO is not a part of the discussion until the design almost is finished. The same with choosing which runway and gates GA can use. The reason for this, I guess, is that the CEO cannot be involved a lot in all aspects of the airport. This is how I think it is in real life however this is a game and it would be quite boring only to say yes or no and let the computer be creative. My point is, I can hear you say “FINALLY” , that sometimes the game allow the player to do more than a real life CEO and sometimes not and unfortunately it feels like gate allocation is in the later category even that it is requested quite a lot. Thumbs up devs for saying that you will have a look at it Also thumbs up if you made it to the end of this post.
Edit: Written on mobile, not the best post I have written
Well, IRL gate assigning works this way. I’m not sure if this is good in the game or not, but in real airports most planes don’t know which specific gate they have to go, they know which zone (each airline has some gates assigned, and their planes go to those). Of course they will usually go to the same gate, but it is not confirmed.
If you go to an airport you will see that arriving flights usually don’t have an assigned gate until it has landed (or it is about to land). And the same goes to departures: you won’t know in which gate you will have to board until the plane has landed.
So I’m good with this system
The thing is it’s so varied.
Some airports do assign the gates very early, I think at Glasgow they assign the gates for the day ahead of time and they are on the screens in each individual pier and I’ve been informed of the gate at check in (although the main departure area displays “please wait”, presumably to mitigate against changes and keep you in the area where you’ll spend more money). Also seen this at Cardiff and Birmingham.
I’d imagine that all airports have a provisional plan for the day.
Due to aircraft movements and having to know where every plane is I’d imagine they schedule gates and flights months or even years in advance so that they know where every aircraft is gonna be at what time. They then deal with delays and reschedule accordingly on a more as it’s needed basis but the basic scheduling is almost certainly done months in advance.
A slight side example of how planned things like this are is that trains in the UK are essentially timetabled 10-40 years in advance and then that timetable is edited and altered depending on the actual requirements within the year it’s used. It’s quite amazing how much work they have to do to make sure no two trains in the entire network are at the same intersection at the same time which would cause queues. I am almost certain that aircraft would work in a similar way.
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