I am new to the forum, but have read frequently here. I wanted to comment on the tower simulations, which are a big passion of mine. Perhaps anybody has more information on them.
Tower Simulator by Wilco Publishing
I have read a lot of comments and posts about it and must say that a number of them are inaccurate!
1. The graphics and object behaviors are in fact debatable and for sure improvable. They are far from real and therefore make this software a game and not a simulation.
2. The complexity is actually quite good. If you share my definition that a simulation must not be featured by gaining points and taking scenario levels (like in ATC3 - I am an air traffic controller) this software has actually a very good basis to start with. In fact, the classic ground controller problem of going for speed in operations and avoiding bottlenecks (!) can be very well confronted in this software.
3. The inclusion of most actual runways and especially taxiways of Chicago, Paris and Munich is just great! Here one of my critique towards many comments that I have read: If you use the commands "a/c go to runway 22L" the plane will take the shortest and most logic route to there. This works however only when there is little traffic at your airport. Once you 30-40 planes taxiing at Chicago e.g. it will lead to absolute chaos and blockage. The actual challenge is to steer this traffic without blockings and collisions. If you find this challenge appealing as I do, then TS might be a great software. In fact you can command the a/c to use the exact real taxiways at the airports. This way, you have to craft your own traffic system, which is a great challenge (ID go to runway XC via taxiway A and B and C and D and E and F..."
4. While the idea and its basic implementation is good, the software suffers some very awkward malfunctions.
4.1 Inbound a/c
Incoming planes contact you quite late. I regularly had a/c approaching and contacting me for landing clearance 25 seconds before touchdown. Considering that you have to texttype the reply it gives you no time to figure out if the concerned runway is cleared. Further, if you are busy at the "with you" hand-over message typing a taxiway command to a plane on the ground, your challenges becomes less the logistical and structural overview, but more the speed of your reply to get the a/c down. Further, the number of commands and enquiries to planes in the air have no effect - e.g. enquire for air speed without having any possibility to send modifications... Also, I regularly had a bunch of aircrafts flying directly over my airport passing at probably 1000 feet or less! This is far from realistic and those were no inbound or outbound planes. It does not hurt you in any way, but makes your radar extremely full and difficult to control. Further, the "go around" command simply does not work. I attempted it several times, but never had that flight coming back on the radar, after it left radar sight.
4.2 Landing a/c
The graphical details are not debatable, but probably easily improvable. A/c landing runways cannot be modified, which is pretty awkward, since it is important to logistic efforts, avoiding bottlenecks. The a/c runways can be seen in the flight list, however. When the planes land, it is impossible to tell them which taxiway to use to leave the runway. They stop at those intersections and await your commands. Just from simple a/c size, those waiting positions off the runway should make it impossible for other planes to pass by the interconnecting taxiway, but in the software, they can, which is not good. Once the a/c have landed, they can be ordered to "go to terminal". However, you cannot see to which gate these aircrafts are headed! You have to click on the plane after it started moving and activate "show path" and then follow the route visually, to find out if it will interfere with your other traffic logic. You can then command the a/c to go to terminal via taxiway A and B. But when issuing this command, the a/c suddenly generates a new gate target and has trouble following your route because you can only name two taxiways to use for going to terminal, while multiple for a/c going to the runways! Although the function is obviously available for the outbound traffic, you cannot apply it to inbound on the ground, which is so sad because it destroys your whole system and the fun. Also on ground radar, I cannot see which plane is inbound or outbound when taxiing on the airport, which makes you click in the planes each time to find out it is or not, by commanding a path visible on command. Pretty sad.
Navigating your a/c to the different runways is very well done. You can describe every taxiway to use and which runway to use. Preserve your traffic and craft your own system. I love it. However, handing over the plane to departure does not seem to make any difference in flight behavior, so I do not know why it was integrated at all.
A big flaw is the lack of parking or holding positions. You cannot move planes to specific locations on the airport, although there are many available. E.g. an a/c heavy comes in and finds no free gate (which is a cool feature!), you cannot move it off the runway! The impossibility to assign or at least know gate destinations for inbound is crazy, e.g. at Paris you will have a plane land on 08R and taxi to Terminal A. In order to give it a taxiway route, you can only design two taxiways and have to stop the plane manually every second corner and give a new command. This leads to the generation of a new gate destination, perhaps on the opposite side again. But if you do not correct the taxiways, the plane will simply go its rational route, leading to violation of the classic N and F one-way taxiways at Paris, making everything stop and you end up removing that a/c. While it is great to have a software that uses real airline names and planes, it is too bad that they do not deliver the airport maps, which you need to get from the internet. For one thing, I actually found it hard to find maps where you could read the designations well, when printing Paris or Chicago on an DIN A4 paper sheet. For another, it is not stated from which date the airport design originates. So you have to test out, which taxiways are actually working on your radar. E.g. at Chicago the important taxiway M does not work, making all a/c in the east go over taxiway D. Also the inbound connection from 32R via E does not work when assigning taxiway R or E as final interconnection to A/B corrdiros. Also, runway 10 does not work in the software, but it might have been under construction in real at that time.
In comparison to ATC3 (I am an air traffic controller), Tower Simulator comes closer to the actual challenge, when talking about simulations. ATC3 is extremely easy and simple and the brain design of your traffic system is not necessary. However, ATC3 is very well equiped with gate destinations (although also surreal for you choose a gate when the plane comes in) and parking position transfer to terminals. Therefore, the simulative aspect of TS is good, but has been implemented very, very badly. I do not see any approximation to international regulations and I can only that no professional worked on that, as they advertised it - because it is simply not correct. If they could only improve on those functions the software has the potential to become an entertaining piece for At passionates like myself.
I was not able yet to install update 1.1 nor 1.2 since I had to register in their forum and await a verification which has not yet come in (1 week after purchase and installation). As far as I have read, those performance limiting features have not been removed however. If you have any information on whether I have missed some new development here, please let me know.
In any case, please feel free to frankly critisize my observations and impressions.