Background & Premise
Because of the nature of their subject, games related to serious matters such as aviation, shipping, warfare, etc, invariably tend to have a serious, even sombre atmosphere which tends to border on dreariness. And because of the element of repetitive actions built into them, they are inherently monotonous, too, to varying degrees.
Realizing this, many a game-maker have resorted to the time-tested & proven strategy of making their gameplay witty, humorous & constantly engaging, without making it seem childish, comical, silly or absurd.
The devs at WOA were mindful about this, too. But, unfortunately, they went just to the extent of casting airport people in the style of the Wobblies on the main UI, and placing a news ticker related to real-world aviation on the starting page (which I stopped reading anyway after the first few days. Sorry!) And now, even the Wobblies appear to be an endangered species!
I personally feel that the mood of gameplay at WOA could & should be somewhat lifted, made jovial & more attractive. The measures that I am suggesting, combined with feasible ones that other players might suggest, & those that the devs may introduce of their own, should nicely set up the atmosphere in which the players can then carry on the dead-serious business of running an airport and managing an airline. The first of my propositions is as follows.
Appearance, Purpose, Structure & Style
Placed by the margin of the screen on the same page as the current news ticker, this would appear either as a quivering or a flashing newspaper icon, alerting players that news have arrived.
When clicked, it would splash the screen with the front page of a fictional daily wherein news would be presented in one of the traditional structures (headline, lead, body, or tail, or even in portions thereof), depending on how painstakingly the devs create the AI for it. The format, along with the news, would vary each time the icon is clicked, and the players shall have no objection to it.
This artificial newspaper would have nothing to do with the real aviation world - the already existing ticker would continue to see to that. The proposed paper would EXCLUSIVELY cover the WOA players, their activities, accomplishments AND debacles, as well as plans for the future, albeit in a most entertaining style.
To this end the devs would have to develop an input page with a number of fields (including space for pictorial material), the content for which the players would provide. The AI would take those inputs and generate captivating news reports.
The AI would, however, faithfully reproduce the core content as the players want it to be shown (and have entered it in the relevant field).
For example, in the fields where I am asked to mention a particular action that I want covered, along with reason as to why I took that action, and I have entered “Bought an AN-22” & “Oh, for the heck of it”, respectively, and also submitted a screenshot of the plane, the AI could generate a news item displaying the pic of the plane with the news report beneath, a portion whereof would report the purchase & the reason behind it in the style “When asked as to why the airline bought an AN-22 when it already had a fleet of (xyz planes), the CEO of AeroNMS stunned the gathering by saying ‘Oh, for the heck of it’.”
Other newsworthy events such as the opening or abandoning by players of hubs/airports, routes, connections, and their good/bad performance as airport managers/ATCs would get reported in a similarly delightful manner.
Interestingly, there already exist games that update & entertain players every few minutes in a style somewhat similar to this! So it isn’t as if I am suggesting a novelty.
So, give it a good, long thought, devs!