I did it - I build an airport so large, the game can't handle it

Hey there,

I write this to show how much performance updates are needed.

I build an airport with:
manually increased building site: 1300x1300
7 runways
200 flights in pattern
10000 passengers simultanously at the airport
~15000 baggage pieces either carried, on cars or on belt
1200 staff
350 field cars

The airport just worked fine with about 15 FPS on highest graphical settings, but when i started building the third terminal and tried to load the save the next day, the game didn’t respond anymore in the loading screen.

I link the save from the steam workshop right here. I would appreciate some of you with good PCs test if this is a game issue or if my PC is just too bad for this (admittingly large save)
(MY PC: 16GB RAM, GTX1060 6GB, i7-3770)

(I Would like to add some pictures but I have taken none yet as I first wanted to finish building…)

Still a great game but I would love to be able to access my savegames again :wink:

so, fly safe and stay healthy
Baum

How long did you wait? At my 200 flight airport with 1100x1100 map, I have about 40 minutes to load the savegame … and I’m not allowed to press anything during this time otherwise it crashes. :smiley:
I guess the issue is the big savegame which has to load every placed object.

/edit also there is a separate file which contains every person which is currently at the airport and each airport genereates also several lines in that json file. 10000 persons will cause several 10000 lines

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Well, there’s a reason we have a set map size for the current version. This is sort of saying like “the game needs X improvements and changes because my custom change Y that isn’t supported by the game crashes it”, the map limitation, and other limitations, are currently in place because of these exact reasons. And even though we will support larger maps and run a lot of performance QA, we cannot optimize the game to infinity and beyond - there’s always gonna be a final limit as limitations with the core architecture of the game in combination with rendering limitations for sprite renderers in Unity will simply not be able to handle it.

Since we have a set of system requirements for the game, the final version of Airport CEO will contain fixed limits on how much you can build and expand. Both in terms of object size but also in terms of map size, however both of these will be able to opt-out of fully with the disclaimer that we cannot guarantee optimal performance. This is because with linear games such as single player experiences, you as a developer will always know exactly the object limits and its simulation instance but with an infinite content generator like Airport CEO you don’t know this, which is why we’ll need to impose hard limits (which again you can opt out of).

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actually I also waited for over an hour, the last time it worked the game finally loaded after 35min. Same thing for me, I wasn’t allowed to press any button during loading screen.

I guess i try again and wait for an even longer time period to see if i can load my save via being patient. :wink:

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Thanks for your comment and your insights on this.

Actually I didn’t intent to criticize the load & save mechanism of the game, as I don’t have any experience or knowlegde in that field.
I just wanted to point out, that there is a limitation and that you reach it quite fast.
I will try loading with new patience now and hope, I can still continue playing my save of this wonderful game.

I’m always tuned for new Updates and Fixes to come, playing the game all day after huge releases :wink:

2 Likes

No worries at all, I fully understand and didn’t take it as harsh critique, just wanted to highlight why it is like it is! Beta already has a good amount of performance optimizations in it and the one thing I can guarantee is that we will do out utter most effort to optimize the game as much as possible given its technical and architectural limitations!

3 Likes

quick update:
still loading (67 min now), but I’m not giving up!!!
I hope sp badly I didn’t overdo it and my save is still somehow playable :grimacing:

How big are your savegame files?

@Olof just as an information to you and the team and to share my experience with oversized maps. May the information below will help you when you work on the planned map expansion.

I am playing now since 10 months most of my ACEO time on maps with expanded map sizes between 900x900 to 1200x1200 and I can say there has been never game bug which couldn’t be reproduced in a normal sized savegame.

Issues which can appear are always caused when FPS drops down as too many objects, persons, flights or zones have to be calculated.

On all the douzends of oversized airports I’ve built during this time, there was always a point where the same 4 main issues were the reasons why the game went unplayable.

No 1: Gameplay Issue - Taxiway blocking of aircrafts
A huge airport means long distances between runway and stand. As planes choose a random runway instead the closest one, it happens all the time, that planes block the whole path between runway and stand. Another plane can’t cross that path. While that plane blocks then the path of a third plane and so on. Arrival and Pushback delays of 1-2 ingame hours are normal then.

The blocking of the whole path was introduced in A34, before that version it worked well.

No 2: Gameplay Issue - Staff does not get on job site on time
Passenger Service Agents and Ramp Agents do not reach gates far awai from the main terminal area on time. Staff rooms close to that gates are never been used as the staff gets new jobs on the other side of the airport.

This result is based on a one-terminal zoned layout or can also happen with multi terminal, when you build sattelite buildings.
Best would be similar to service car parks or terminal zones, that you can assign staff to specific staff rooms and they only catch up jobs close around whenever possible.

No 3: Performance Issue - Huge Savegame filesizes with 10ks of entries to load
When you have a huge map and 5 floors to build, every placed objects fills the json files gets far over 50MB. Same with several thousand of passengers, a huge flight schedule and also hundreds of undeleted email messages. This causes as known, loading times from up to 1 hour to get back in to one of those savegames and crashing the game when you press just one single button during loading. (hardware dependend of course)

No 4: Performance Issue - FPS drop when airport gets bigger and bigger
As more objects, zones and passengers you have built, the FPS drops whenever you are neaby an area where much is going on.

  • When switching floor to the toppest roof floor it helps
  • When you scroll to an empty area on the map it helps
  • For constructions, pause mode is recommended then
  • When you build something or schedule a plane, short lags can occure often and may cause that the it places objects on the wrong spot, flights to the wrong gate or timeslot etc.

I agree that the official map expansion schuld not be too big.
If you can’t find a solution to compress the saves and speedup the read/write process in an active game, I would not allow a max default map size more than 900x900.
Sure, players on high-end machines might can take up more, but the game needs to be playable for the masses.

So from my side, I still have my fun building up huge airports for weeks, but if you find anything to improve that issues, I would be even more happier.

:beers:

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I’m not sure how much dev involvement would take, but I know some games offer a small, medium and large game world size. That could be an option to balance for machine performance?

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Blockquote
How long did you wait? At my 200 flight airport with 1100x1100 map, I have about 40 minutes to load the savegame … and I’m not allowed to press anything during this time otherwise it crashes. :smiley:
I guess the issue is the big savegame which has to load every placed object.

This. My games would take 20 minutes to load 100 medium stands and I think 9 runways. That was something like 18 months ago. increased the map size to 1400 as well. I bet my computer could probably pull this off now.

@Rubble

I’m not sure how much that makes sense from a realism stand point. Airports have to expand incrementally. Certainly there seems to be a reality for a “new airport” built from scratch having secured all the land. I guess then, reality would then make it so your starting map is your starting map, and then acquiring new lands… not so easy, but more complex in how the game would operate from a strategic planning perspective. You can’t dump all of your new desires on a map at once when you have to acquire the land in bits and pieces to expand… It’d add a new component because you’d also add the cost of owning land not in use.

@no-fun responding to your obsevations to @olaf

For reference, when I built monstrosities a while back, my highest was 100 medium terminals and 9 runways. I think I hit 10k passengers at one point.

No 1: Gameplay Issue - Taxiway blocking of aircrafts
A huge airport means long distances between runway and stand. As planes choose a random runway instead the closest one, it happens all the time, that planes block the whole path between runway and stand. Another plane can’t cross that path. While that plane blocks then the path of a third plane and so on. Arrival and Pushback delays of 1-2 ingame hours are normal then.
The blocking of the whole path was introduced in A34, before that version it worked well.

I got around this by learning to always have jets flowing in the same direction. watching 9 runways work beautiflly was a sight to behold. And seeing that airport ground map site I came across confirmed that’s exactly how it should work. It gets clunky when jets are trying to go by eachother… not to mention expensively wider, like 2x the price for 2x the taxiway area.

No 2: Gameplay Issue - Staff does not get on job site on time
Passenger Service Agents and Ramp Agents do not reach gates far awai from the main terminal area on time. Staff rooms close to that gates are never been used as the staff gets new jobs on the other side of the airport.
This result is based on a one-terminal zoned layout or can also happen with multi terminal, when you build sattelite buildings.
Best would be similar to service car parks or terminal zones, that you can assign staff to specific staff rooms and they only catch up jobs close around whenever possible.

The battle is real. It exposed huge problems with break rooms and dispatching. This would actually be completely different now because of automated check in and boarding. I prefer this now in any airport.

Why not give staff rooms caps on the number of occupants? That would make a huge difference in locating break rooms strategically around the airport. Otherwise, they all seem to want to end up in a couple break rooms.

No 3: Performance Issue - Huge Savegame filesizes with 10ks of entries to load
When you have a huge map and 5 floors to build, every placed objects fills the json files gets far over 50MB. Same with several thousand of passengers, a huge flight schedule and also hundreds of undeleted email messages. This causes as known, loading times from up to 1 hour to get back in to one of those savegames and crashing the game when you press just one single button during loading. (hardware dependend of course)

Gets way worse when you add the varius mods for more airlines and business… like 20 minutes to load bad. But once loaded… it worked.

No 4

Never tried to do this on the multi-floor/terminal game yet. It might be fun to do it though to check out today after a really annoying and flustering day of banks…

100 is indeed a big number lol… I play with around 30 medium and 15 large. (Don’t count small, they are just decoration)
I try to keep a realistic setup including the numbers of runways.

The biggest one so far: http://img.christe.net/ACEO/ZRH1-1stLVL.png

Path blocking for planes:

Sorta slow right now at DEN, but notice the direction of most of the planes.

That is insane! You also revealed to me, maybe others how to make diagonal taxiways.

The first thing I would do… never let jets travel opposite directions. I’m about to go all in sandbox and massive map…

For what it’s worth, if I were to try and build this airport, I wouldn’t have room for runways. But they have A LOT of taxiway, and A LOT of de-icing… Denver Colorado, who’da thunk? It also has a subway between the 3 terminals and the check-in building on the bottom there.

@no-fun

You could totally speed this up. Add a runway to each of the ones already there. Make top runway L to R. Left runway Bottomr to Top and bottom runways R to Left. Don’t bother with entry and exit. I’d probably make the bottom one landing only, the left one with one landing and one taking off, and the top taking off only or flip those. The left runways, stagger them, one has an entrance, the other only an exit. Obviously the entrance is only for taking off ruwnay and would be at the bottom.

How do you build these so big without blowing up the construction process and still locating stuff where you think it ought to go?

Another performance issue I see with a large map is the delay when placing and deleting taxiway blocks. In my experience the more taxiway blocks you have, the longer it takes to place/delete them. I’m guessing it’s doing some logic on every other taxiway block on the map. For may large map it takes ~6 seconds when adding any taxiway block, and this is on about the most powerful PC possible.

Look at it another way, small size is current area with four possible area unlocks. Medium adds more and large yet more. You don’t have to remove the land upgrade game element. Larger areas just mean you can unlock more land.

Look at it another way, small size is current area with four possible area unlocks. Medium adds more and large yet more. You don’t have to remove the land upgrade game element. Larger areas just mean you can unlock more land.

Good point. I’m not currently a fan of the manner in which we acquire new buildable area.

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Lol. First. I build without contruction simulation(F10). And second, I build about 5 to 6 other oversized airports first just to try different parts of the airport. At the end it gives the perfect concept putting all areas together. (Yes, I will delete around 6 savegames where I’ve just spent 10 to 30 hours on it. )
The runway concept in the video contains some start/landing + aircraft size restrictions and if the pathblocking issues gets solved, it would run 100% perfect for a capacity of 250 or more L+M flights per day.

“to infinity and beyond”

I am grateful for the permission and right to break my save game files as I so desire. changed map to 1100x1100. Here’s how I avoid the humongous “uh oh” when you don’t fully understand how badly you can break your game.