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Some thoughts from a new player
#1
Hey there.

Found this game a few days ago and decided to give it a go - I like many kinds of simulation games, but I almost entirely play them offline, which is exactly why this one had me interested. I've been playing for quite a few hours, and thought I'd chime in and maybe start a discussion/get some feedback for the developers. So, here goes.

First off, this game reminds me a lot of Football Manager in the way the UI and menu system is built up - thats actually quite nice, and is a layout that will be familiar to many people since a lot of websites are also built similarly. The major difference between TAP and everything else is, that everything else is much easier to use. In short, it boils down to (imo) a severe lack of quality-of-life features. The absolutely most lacking is the ability to go "back" to the last screen you looked at. This will make airport browsing, checking runway length requirements and building facilities much easier, not to say it'll save countless hours in the long run. This, in turn, will allow us to actually PLAY more, resulting in more testing and helping squash more bugs. I can't really understand how this isn't in, and if it is, it is so hard to find that I haven't managed it - and I have thousands and thousands of hours with all sorts of games and IT-related stuff. If I can't do it, I doubt the average user can. A few other things I'd like to see, which shouldn't be hard to do, would be things like:

- On Airport screen (also on aiport demand screen), have a column show the longest available runway for the airports (this will ALSO alleviate a lot of the back-and-forth). Should fit even on 1080p-displays, and for users with 1440p or wider, there's more than enough room. For lower resolution, make the list scroll sideways as well.

- Make it possible to keep sub-tabs open. For instance, I'd like to keep a tab open for my home base airport at all times, and I'd like to be able to click demand immediately, rather than having to press "home --> my airport --> demand" all the time. Same for the "home" tab, and any other tab.

- Add ability to copy onboard services/facilities between multiple different timespans that AREN'T general. It's time consuming to create the same onboard service for all flights over 5-9 hrs and creating seperate ones for shorter flights/using general.

On the technical side of things (yes, this might be more difficult to do a quick-fix for, I'd like for all systems, even low-end, to allow the game to read more data to memory. There is a lot of lag/slowdown from the game having to load stuff that could easily be loaded to memory, for instance airlines, route data for your own airline, aircraft purchases, airports and much more. My game, where I am admittedly only 8 years in or so, takes up between 150-300 megabytes of memory. By general standards, I run a relatively high-end system with 16GB of RAM, but most normal people today run at least 8GB, so using a little more memory shouldn't be an issue.

One of the more pressing things I've seen mentioned on these forums is the AI. I can see that the AI is already on the to-do list, but I actually believe the more pressing issue is, that the financial side of the game doesn't exist at all. I'd be absolutely fine with not having a decent AI, because making one can take a LOT of effort, if I'd just at least be competing with myself. However, right now the basic "autopilot" formula is: Start game --> Lease 747 --> Fly highest-density route and overcharge massively --> Buy 747 ---> Repeat ---> ??? --> PROFIT $$$. In a year or two, you'll be making so much money that there's no way for you to spend it all. I've read that demand is also being looked at, and that's nice. The more pressing issue is, that maintenance, upkeep on terminal/facilities and so on is non-existent. If only that was actually a thing, then there'd be just a little bit of a challenge for the first few years. Even lease prices could be 10 times higher, and you'd still be making money on the larger routes. In early 1980', I can easily make 20 million dollars a month PER ROUTE I fly with a 747, making the lease on a 747 seem ridiculous. And paying the full purchase price for a new one (about $50million) also just takes 2½ months, meaning if I have two 747's, I can fund the purchase of 747's faster than the aircraft supplier manages to churn them out.

The last thing I'd like to touch on has nothing to do with the game, and all to do with how it is "marketed" if you will. As a relatively new player wanting to try out something new, I was happy to find that the game was free at first. I've tried it out, I quite liked it, and even though there are a lot of issues that need to be ironed out, I am also aware that this is in Alpha, and therefore I am absolutely okay with that. However, my question now is: How do I support this project if I decide later on that I'd like to? Also, what do I get for my support? What I mean is not that I want a reward or something, but there is no way for me to really see how much time is spent on development, how many people are developing, what is next in the pipeline other than a very small teaser, and what the time horizon is for getting some of those features out there. I obviously realise that we are all humans that have a TON of other stuff we need to attend to, but I think it's hard to be a supporter of something if you have no idea when you will get a return on your investment/support. For me persoanlly, that is some of the stuff I'd want to see elaborated on before I'd seriously consider supporting the game financially. It's just not clear enough to me, especially because the website isn't really up-to-date, and while I realise it's not a priority when there's so much stuff to update with the game, I feel it might be a deal-breaker for a lot of people that take a look at this game but then decide to skip it.

Anyway, those are some of my points. I usually don't post on forums for any games, but I really feel like this one has a ton of potential, so I decided to go ahead. I'd also like to end by saying, like I mentioned just before, that I know the developers, like the rest of us, have so many other things to do in life than develop. This post is in no way, shape or form criticism, but simply what I'd really like to see if the game were to REALLY be a big hit with me, and while admittedly it's frustrating that some of them are not in at this point in time, I am absolutely fine with that since this is still an alpha. Thanks for reading, and continue the good work - I can't wait to see this game become more and more fleshed out and get better and better every update Smile
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#2
Welcome to the community! I'm glad you like the game so far. Smile


Most of your questions related to the future will be answered in the next couple of devlogs. (over the course of 1-2 months)
I don't want to release too much too soon, in order to maintain a steady hype build up. I hope you understand. Smile
I plan on releasing a devlog next weekend (worst case the weekend thereafter) with some information on the current direction we will be taking.

Last summer the our lead developer left the team to do other things.
The rest of the team (2 active developers and 1 chiming in every now and then) made sure the project lives on.
We decided we want to make some radical changes to the game. The teaser is a part of this change.


Like you said we're in an early development phase and there is a lot of work ahead of us.
But we are determined to finish this game! We too love the project, and we'd like to play it in its full glory with all the features we have in mind. Smile



Quote:On the technical side of things (yes, this might be more difficult to do a quick-fix for, I'd like for all systems, even low-end, to allow the game to read more data to memory. There is a lot of lag/slowdown from the game having to load stuff that could easily be loaded to memory, for instance airlines, route data for your own airline, aircraft purchases, airports and much more. My game, where I am admittedly only 8 years in or so, takes up between 150-300 megabytes of memory. By general standards, I run a relatively high-end system with 16GB of RAM, but most normal people today run at least 8GB, so using a little more memory shouldn't be an issue.

as far as I know everything is already run in memory. Once the game is running, it doesn't go to the database. (You could even remove it if you wanted to.) The lag is because of the many calculations that need to be done. Perhaps a good idea could be to do these calculations in advance too and store it as soon as you requested the page once.

It's good to note that we regularly perform performance upgrades too.


Quote:One of the more pressing things I've seen mentioned on these forums is the AI. I can see that the AI is already on the to-do list, but I actually believe the more pressing issue is, that the financial side of the game doesn't exist at all. I'd be absolutely fine with not having a decent AI, because making one can take a LOT of effort, if I'd just at least be competing with myself. However, right now the basic "autopilot" formula is: Start game --> Lease 747 --> Fly highest-density route and overcharge massively --> Buy 747 ---> Repeat ---> ??? --> PROFIT $$$. In a year or two, you'll be making so much money that there's no way for you to spend it all. I've read that demand is also being looked at, and that's nice. The more pressing issue is, that maintenance, upkeep on terminal/facilities and so on is non-existent. If only that was actually a thing, then there'd be just a little bit of a challenge for the first few years. Even lease prices could be 10 times higher, and you'd still be making money on the larger routes. In early 1980', I can easily make 20 million dollars a month PER ROUTE I fly with a 747, making the lease on a 747 seem ridiculous. And paying the full purchase price for a new one (about $50million) also just takes 2½ months, meaning if I have two 747's, I can fund the purchase of 747's faster than the aircraft supplier manages to churn them out.

Balancing the costs and profit is indeed a higher priority than AI for now. More about our priorities in the next devlogs. Smile


Quote:The last thing I'd like to touch on has nothing to do with the game, and all to do with how it is "marketed" if you will. As a relatively new player wanting to try out something new, I was happy to find that the game was free at first. I've tried it out, I quite liked it, and even though there are a lot of issues that need to be ironed out, I am also aware that this is in Alpha, and therefore I am absolutely okay with that. However, my question now is: How do I support this project if I decide later on that I'd like to? Also, what do I get for my support? What I mean is not that I want a reward or something, but there is no way for me to really see how much time is spent on development, how many people are developing, what is next in the pipeline other than a very small teaser, and what the time horizon is for getting some of those features out there. I obviously realise that we are all humans that have a TON of other stuff we need to attend to, but I think it's hard to be a supporter of something if you have no idea when you will get a return on your investment/support. For me persoanlly, that is some of the stuff I'd want to see elaborated on before I'd seriously consider supporting the game financially. It's just not clear enough to me, especially because the website isn't really up-to-date, and while I realise it's not a priority when there's so much stuff to update with the game, I feel it might be a deal-breaker for a lot of people that take a look at this game but then decide to skip it.

Updating our website and social media is on our to do list, and should be done in the next couple of weeks. We're not really advertising the game yet, since we're in an early stage. I don't really want to be flooded with the same bug reports and feature requests (that we're already planning on) yet. Big Grin

You can support us -if you want to- on our itch.io page by donating. Though for now I'd recommend waiting a little bit. [WINK]
The time spent developing on the game has increased a lot in the past 2 months. I'm currently running overtime on the game. [WINK]


I have already said a bit too much, but soon it will click. Wink
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#3
(01-10-2020, 09:09 PM)Tjoeker Wrote: Welcome to the community! I'm glad you like the game so far. Smile

Most of your questions related to the future will be answered in the next couple of devlogs. (over the course of 1-2 months)

Hey!

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'd still mostly be interested in knowing if some of the quality-of-life features are in the works, since those are probably the biggest deal-breakers for me along with the financial side. Can you say anything about whats happening with that? Also, I thought of another neat feature that could be nice - the ability to auto-generate a route / routes that are the most popular for your home airport based on either PAX/Business/Cargo Smile
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#4
Of course we will make the game easier to use. I live by 'less clicks to achieve something is better'.


-one of the most requested features is an automatic scheduler.

-Where we're going you won't need a go back button.

-We will be providing better, more and easily accessible statistics

Just to name a few improvements.


I like your idea too so I'm writing it down.
Essentially it boils down to a 'rent slots and create route'-button on the demand page of the airports?

If you have other ideas, let me know. Smile
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#5
(01-12-2020, 10:54 AM)Tjoeker Wrote: Essentially it boils down to a 'rent slots and create route'-button on the demand page of the airports?

Hit the nail on the head there, something like that exactly. Saves having to do a lot of juggling and writing down which routes are already done, and which you still need to make. Especially if you're flying to destinations in Asia/China, where there are 10-15 airports in the same countries with huge demands Smile In the very ideal scenario though, the game identifies the MOST popular route though, so: I click "auto-generate route" --> Select PAX/Cargo --> Select Tourists/Business (N/A for Cargo) --> Press OK --> Game creates the best route based on demand for my selection. Button for this could be in the routes screen, and I think it'd help new players, or players with none/very basic understanding of how the demand works. Secondary, the button you're suggesting fits well in the airports demand page.
I don't mind scheduling the flight(s) myself - that's where some of the fun is!

Another idea worth discussing could be making switching between your affiliated/subordinate airlines a little easier, so that you don't have to go the the "home" tab, select "information" and then press a tiny button. Maybe utilise some of the space near the continue/pause button and make airline tabs? At a similar size to the continue button, they might even fit both the name and logo of the airline. On that note, splitting the current display that shows date/finances in two, and having one show economics and the other one just the date might be an idea that'd help fit more info into that bar as well, while not necessarily taking up more screenspace. Apart from displaying your balance and the fuel price, it might be an idea to also display last months profit/loss as well, just for ease of access. Saves having to to check the mail for that every month. If you then want the individual breakdown of each routes profit/loss, you'd still go consult your mail. The two seperate displays could also act as buttons - the finance one taking you to your finance screen/economic overview, and the date one showing you the calendar.

Speaking of the "mail" tab, I think it should be a more prominent/permanent feature. I've noticed that even as I change the settings, I still get messages about things I'm not subscribed to. A way to alleviate that and still get to display all this information with new airliners, airports and so on, making the "mail" tab more of an "Inbox" tab might be a good idea. I wouldn't want you guys to be like every other game, but a game that really handles this well is Football Manager. They have an "Inbox" tab that then contains multiple on-screen tabs with the information being split up into essential and non-essential info basically. It looks something like this http://www.cubed3.com/media/2016/Novembe...017_03.jpg (Main Inbox tab selected on left side, inbox tabs directly above the news/messages). My suggestion would be for the "Inbox" to contain tabs like: All Messages (everything), My Airline (messages for/from my airline, e.g. finance reports, yearly evaluation, fleet deliveries etc.), Aircraft/Manufacturer news, Airport News and eventually the rules/regulations changes and global events like wars, oil crises and what have you. It'd make the ease of use and readability of the messages much more enjoyable and easy to use. Also, obviously, to make sure that the settings work like they are supposed to Smile. With a system like that, you don't even need to be able to delete messages - just have them auto delete once a year unless you choose to save them.
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#6
All good ideas, I will take note of them. Smile

We will also have a notifications bar for the most important news. Of course you can set yourself what news you'd like to receive here.
And I am aware that the email filter system doesn't work as intended yet. (as are so many things Rolleyes )
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#7
(01-12-2020, 01:08 PM)Tjoeker Wrote: All good ideas, I will take note of them. Smile

We will also have a notifications bar for the most important news. Of course you can set yourself what news you'd like to receive here.
And I am aware that the email filter system doesn't work as intended yet. (as are so many things  Rolleyes )

It's not really a massive issue tbh, there's not that much coming through there anyway. Also, one last thing. Hitting spacebar for pause/continue would be AWESOME Big Grin
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