Well, here's what I would like to see as features of the game taking the above into account:
First of all, the aircraft interiors.
I don't mean selecting seat colours or various brands of PTVS, but, I would like to have the option to select and equip certain fleets of aircraft with eiother PTV or overhead screens, at my discretion. I don't want it automatically assigned unless I select a box to have that done. Like, you could make that a "feature" of the game that can be enabled or disabled for the game to automatically choose onboard IFE types, but I'd like to be able to uncheck it if necessary and go through my fleet and say "OK, I want the internation 767 fleet to have PTVs in every seat. I want the domestic 757 fleet to have overhead TVs. I want to have a selection of live and taped entertainment on the PTV-equipped internation fleet and on the domestic, taped only. I'd also like audio."
something like that. There's no question that the more IFE an airline offers, the more enjoyable the flight can be for some pax and is a feature that does win pax over. I'd like to have control over that. But selecting various brands or colours is arbitrary. But I would like to be able to see inside the plane in a figurative sense and know what I'm putting in there for the pax to enjoy. A simple seat map would do, or, a stationary cabin interior pic that, when you select overhead TVs, the images of overhead TVs would suddenly appear in their places. The picture itself doesnt change. It's just overlaid with the feature. This isn't a necessary feature but would be a nice visual perk.
, I understand that it would be very difficult to get thousands of different catering options. How about narrowing it down to three? Three providers of catering service to choose from, each with their own uniqque types of meals. Your competitors also use this catering company. Each company offers a variety of meals from cold serve economy food to warm food to first class food. Sounds complex? Doesn't have to be.
Just give the user a choice: On what length of flight time will passengers be served, and, will it be cold serve or warm serve in economy, and if there is first class, will it be gourmet? You could select from a drop down menu...or even lump ALL
of the domestic flights into one category and all of the internation flights into the other for two types of meal service on the airline's flights. Three imaginary caterers, providing food at a cost..the better the food the higher the cost to the airline. This is reality. Real airlines have to choose here. Some airlines choose not to have meal service at all, and that can be a cost saving option as well.
I'm sure that you guys are planning on having automated competitors in this game, which you will have to compete with for business, and have to deal with real airline issues like temporary competitor price undercuts and being alerted when a competitor launches a new route that competes with yours. For example...if my airline launches a route SLC
...and then competitor airline 1 launches the same route, it'd be nice to have an alert coming up informing me of this and what the competitor plans to offer on that route...time schedule and aircraft type. But like real airlines, price undercuts are rarely permanent. They're usually a temporary, defensive move by the majors. That should be true in the game as well. Don't make it impossible for a small carrier to survive against price undercuts by the majors. sometimes pax will forgo a lower price for better service, and if the airline offers better service it stands a higher chance of surviving an onslaught from the majors.
Some things should be automatic, some things should be automatic as an option only, and some things should just be hands-on.
Stock market for one. That was the major downfall of Airline tycoon, you had to get into these business deals and stock market things that didnt make sense to anyone who doesnt know how the stock market works. Let's let the stock market be handled automatically without requiring the user to get sidetracked with it. Or lets not even introduce it as an equation in the game. That's your call. I just know that was a serious put-off in airline tycoon.
In fact, just don't have this thing resemble airline tycoon in any way...like you mentioned earlier those stupid side trips to see these weird characters and do weird tasks were annoying. I want to run an airline here.
Fares are a very complex math problem to figure out...there's ASM to consider, etc. This should be fairly automatic. And also, it brings another factor into consideration: Classes of service and seat pitch. We should be able to choose what seat pitch we want, and if it's too great for a particular flight, then we should see a loss in revenue just like in real life. For more spacious classes of service...business...first...we should be told just how much needs to be charged to break even and how much would be "recommended" to charge to gain a profit. This can be automatic...i dont think too many people will enjoy pricing each and every individual flight but at least make it somewhat dependent on the player to decide whether this is a low-cost airline or a full-frills, high cost airline with lots of perks.
Complex decisions like calculating and budgeting fuel should also be relatively automatic as well. I'd get lost there for sure.
Employee hiring: At your discretion. Dont know if that will even need to be a factor in this game, though, in real life, employee salaries also help determine the airline's profits. do what you think is best here.
I really want the ability to control my airline as much as I can, but have help through automatic features to not make my life too difficult. A real airline is run by hundreds of people. This game airline is being run by one person. So some realism has to be compromised, but getting it as close as possible would be nice. I would LOVE the ability to choose what kinds of IFE i outfit my planes with.
In fact, here's something. How about a customer averate satisfaction measure? You know, something that tells me which aircraft/routes passengers are consistently satisfied with, and which routes aren't doing so well. And this can be based on an equation involving...IFE...service, meals offered, schedule, aircraft type, etc. I mean, I dont expect that a turboprop flight from JFK
will be very satisfying...but if i switch it over to 737-800...maybe that satisfaction will improve.
I want to know my load factors too...and the profit I'm making off of flights, and total as well.
Quarterly reports, I think you're already planning on that.
Ability to trade aircraft leases for aircraft purchases. Sell aircraft to other carriers. And it would be neat, though difficult, to introduce a way to make deals with other airlines such as codesharing, alliances...and even more interesting....getting a bid from another carrier for some of your assets with the choice of turning it down or accepting. This could help an airline get cash in hard times...at the expense of dumping some lucrative routes. A real airline problem for us to figure out. That would be neat.
Don't make the competitors harsh predators, make them realistic. They'll compete, but they also won't throw 10 planes on a route you're serving with 1, and charge just 50% of what you're charging indefinitely. That's not realistic. short term sales and slashes, sometimes lasting months, are realistic.
Employee satisfaction....this could be a factor. Managing employees could be kept relatively simple, but if you make your employees angry, service decreases, strikes occur, and it harms the airline. This is a real life problem.
God there's a whole world of opportunities and I'm thrilled to share some ideas with you. I realize some won't work, but I'm just throwing out what I've got and seeing what sticks.
Oh here's another thought:
Fleet aging problems. This helped cause the demise of Pan Am and a few other airlines. Aging fleets and increasing maintenance costs over the years. Don't make it impossible to maintain an old fleet, just make it realistically costly. As fleet ages, maintenance costs slowly increase. I heard someone say that on Airline 5 they were running a fleet of Md-80s...and even getting up in age they were real workhorses and earned the airline alot of money. I'd love to see this kind of accuracy reflected in your game.
Oh, and lets use REAL aircraft types, according to the time period. You are going to give us the option to start our airline in the past, correct?
So, say you start the game in 1950...only propliners are available to you, and you choose the aircraft to best meet your needs. As time goes on, more aircraft become available for the time period and you can make fleet changes. In 1960 I may have a mixed fleet of DC-6s and brand spanking new DC-8s, but by 1980 I had better be rid of those DC-6s. See my point?
Realistic routing: Don't let me put a DC-3 on a route from NRT
. That's not realistic. Real aircraft, real ranges. If I buy a fleet of 717s I know I can't do transcons with them, so I gotta build feeder and short-haul domestic routes with them, and then connect the dots with larger aircraft, if I'm dong a hub and spoke system. Don't force me to use hubs though.
And a downfall of that airpro game this morning:
If I put one aircraft on a route from Frankfurt to Berlin, it had a 100 percent load factor. But when I put two aircraft on that route, it dropped to 50 percent for each plane. When I put 4, it dropped to 25 percent. This is not realistic.