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Author Topic: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling  (Read 268 times)

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Offline Freahk

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[Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« on: January 11, 2020, 08:04:28 PM »
Another airport feature...

What's the request?
I'd like airport towers to be related to the amount of traffic they can handle, which is not neccessarily the same amount as
A tower that can handle more airplanes will be more expensive than one that can handle fewer airplanes.

Why?
James Mentioned ingame, the tower is supposed to simmulate airports fixed costs.
In that case it will be impossible to balance the cost of a tower as it will either be negligible for huge airports or too expensive for small ones.
Additionally, it would add a slight bit of decision-making for airports, which is currently nearly nonexistent compared to rail and road modes of transport.

How?
- Airport towers should have a semaphor(informatics term, not a railway signal), the number of vehicles they can handle depends on the size of the tower.
- Airplanes approaching the airport will try to register themselves at the tower. If the tower does not have a freee communication slot or there is no free terminal at the airport, the airplane will be holding until it can get a free slot.
- When registered, it will continue to the airport as usual, eventually holding again just in front of the runway if it's occupied.
- When arrived at a terminal, the airplane will unregister again.
- When departing from the terminal, it will again register itself at the tower. If towers capacity is exceeded, the airplane will have to "wait for clearance"
- As it is registered, it will again move toward the runway and takeoff as soon as the runway is free.
- A while after the airplanes takeoff it will unregister from the tower.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 10:25:06 PM »
This is very interesting and innovative idea for a mechanic. I suspect that it would take a while to code, but I can see this feature working quite well if done properly. It may be a considerable time before this is the highest priority for me, however.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2020, 02:53:38 AM »
And what if multiple towers are constructed? Or that no available single tower is large enough to handle the desired traffic volume?

Maybe it would be better if the cost automatically scaled by how many flights land at the airport during the month. Different tower sizes have a different limit to this past which a penalty is applied.

For example:
Small Tower: £500/month, 10 landings/month, £100/landing, 225% penalty
Medium Tower: £5,000/month, 40 landings/month, £90/landing, 125% penalty
Large Tower: £20,000/month, 160 landings/month, £85/landing, 75% penalty

This avoids the need to have slot logic as well as handling aircraft which cannot reserve a slot. It still gives financial incentive to choose a tower appropriate to the airport size.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 12:12:13 PM »
And what if multiple towers are constructed? Or that no available single tower is large enough to handle the desired traffic volume?

Maybe it would be better if the cost automatically scaled by how many flights land at the airport during the month. Different tower sizes have a different limit to this past which a penalty is applied.

For example:
Small Tower: £500/month, 10 landings/month, £100/landing, 225% penalty
Medium Tower: £5,000/month, 40 landings/month, £90/landing, 125% penalty
Large Tower: £20,000/month, 160 landings/month, £85/landing, 75% penalty

This avoids the need to have slot logic as well as handling aircraft which cannot reserve a slot. It still gives financial incentive to choose a tower appropriate to the airport size.

This mechanic appears to be hackish in the sense that it does not appear to replicate in a data based way any real life dynamic. I aim to avoid all such hackish mechanics. However, I agree that the algorithm needs to handle the case of multiple towers (probably by assuming that only the best of them is operating).

Offline Freahk

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 01:11:06 PM »
Note, that sharing the same runways with multiple simutrans airports, works perfectly well and each airport in simutrans requires its own tower anyways. In the following, an airport will always be the whole thing including runways and could also include multiple, in whichever way interconnected, simutrans airports. I will refer to these simutrans airports as terminals.

And what if multiple towers are constructed?
Currently it is not a problem to build multiple towers for the exact same airport, thus we could simply stick with it and internally merge tower capacities in that case, which would also solve your next point.
Alternatively, we could simply disallow multiple towers for a single terminal, in which case we can still interconnect multiple of such terminals to a huge airport. This will also solve your next point, as going out of tower capacity can simply be solved by splitting the airport into multiple terminals, which in that case is often better for transfer times anyways.

The imho best, in terms of gameplay mechanics and reality, but also most difficult to implement solution, would be to bind runways and terminals to towers, instead binding terminals to towers, that means ech tower can control multiple runways and multiple terminals but a terminal nor a runway can be controlled by multiple towers.
To prevent abusal of this, e.g. controlling multiple small airports around the map from a single large tower, a tower should have a maximum control range.
In that aspect, a tower would roughly be for air transport what signalboxes are for rail transport.
The association towers to terminals is neccessary to allow for zeppelins, which don't require runways and thus would not require towers if there was no such relation.
Additionally, this will prevent single terminals from using diferent runways controlled by different towers, which would be quite odd behavior imho.


However, this will leave a mentioned issue open:
Or that no available single tower is large enough to handle the desired traffic volume?
To solve this, we should introduce different tower extension buildings, that can increase tower capacity.
This is roughly realistic, as there are many different air traffic controller types working at an airport in the real world of which one is the "tower control", which is only responsible for runways, assisting takeoff and landing itself. "Ground control", "Flight data and clearance delivery" and "Approach and terminal control" (taken from wikipedia as I didn't know the english terms) often are, but not neccessarily have to be located in the tower itself, thus that kind of extension buildings are perfectly realistic up to some point for sure.

Later on, afaik the first commercial use of it was 2018 at Saarbrücken, one could even create remote towers with infinite range to control multiple low-frequented airports from a single tower.

For sure tower extension buildings would also work with the one-tower-per-terminal approach but I don't think there will be a requirement for such in that case.

Maybe it would be better if the cost automatically scaled by how many flights land at the airport during the month. Different tower sizes have a different limit to this past which a penalty is applied.
This would have the advantage of being rather simple but it would not add-up much decision making to airport design imho nor to flight scheduling requirements as it does not consider spikes in service at all.
It would be roughly the same as calculating station maintainance costs based on the number of passengers using that station instead of using station capacities.


Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 07:12:11 PM »
This would have the advantage of being rather simple but it would not add-up much decision making to airport design imho nor to flight scheduling requirements as it does not consider spikes in service at all.
That is kind of the point of the idea. It keeps things simple and prevents stuff from breaking. In a game where you spend 70-90% of your time late game upgrading what you already made earlier during the game it is important to keep down how much micro management the player has to do.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2020, 07:48:04 PM »
That is kind of the point of the idea. It keeps things simple and prevents stuff from breaking. In a game where you spend 70-90% of your time late game upgrading what you already made earlier during the game it is important to keep down how much micro management the player has to do.

Not in a way that introduces mechanics that do not simulate some real world dynamic.

Offline Freahk

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2020, 08:49:18 PM »
About the micro management, I don't think placing tower extension buildings or upgrading a tower requires more micromanagement than upgrading a signalbox. Build a new one, transfer connected entities from the old one to the new one, done.
Rearranging airports by splitting it into multiple terminals is another point, but that's required at some point anyway, even with the current system.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2020, 09:57:21 PM by Freahk »

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: [Feauture] Airplane tower size scaling
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 08:20:15 AM »
I think that counting simultaneously landing (circling) planes is better than landing /month