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Automation + BeamNG: First Impression Car Reviews


#1

What Is This?


Exactly what it sounds like. This is all about sight-unseen evaluations of cars.

The problem with first impressions is that you only get one, so it better be good else you missed the biggest opportunity in winning somebody over. You send me a car, tell me just enough to get going on it / figure out what evaluations to run, and I give it a wheel in BeamNG. This will be in a “Lets Play” format where I do a voice over as I drive it so you know exactly what I am thinking: First Impressions. Unscripted. Brutally honest.

Think of me as a potential customer or a historian; the reason I say historian as if it is something different is because I’m not limiting this to so-called “good” cars. You can send me cars that are intentionally supposed to be awful* . Your goal is to make me experience on first impression alone what you wanted me to experience, be that disgust, bemusement, ambivalence, etc.

* Please do note that when I say “awful”, I don’t mean “low effort”. I mean well-crafted, well-thought-out cars whose designs you deliberately sabotage to a reasonable extent. Think American Malaise Era Cars

What gave you the idea to do this and what exactly will it be like?


Glad you asked. I find its best to tell by example but a little background first.

This all started a little in early November 2018 as a half-assed comment I made to Automation Discord user RapidKebab during the “Show off your shameless Land Rover clones” fever that was going around then. Rather than a clone, he made a parody – an insane machine with a 16.3L V12 and well over 3,000 hp. I made a jab that I just had to drive it. And RapidKebab agreed!

…under the condition I post a video of the results. So I did. And it was a fully on “Lets Play” style review:

I later found out he was expecting nothing more than a 30 second carnage clip. But this was a happy accident and soon after @uuhidontknow requested a similar “Lets Play” style review of his actual Land Rover clone followed by @asami. I did so for @uuhidontknow 's but this time around, I took things a little more seriously:

As I’ve had time to do more and more of these, I consider the following to be exemplars of my reviews; this is what you can expect:

Please note that if you are considering submitting you should watch these next two first! Because I am VERY FAR from nice to cars sometimes and you had better be prepared to take the heat!

So now that we’ve seen all that we can see what I intend to do:

  • I will run at least one test to see how well it stacks up against your description
  • Optionally run a few additional tests as needed to pinpoint how I would actually describe it.
  • Then I will:
    • Complete the Automation Circuit
    • Launch the car off the spillway
  • And finally, I will give a comprehensive rundown.
    • When it comes to final evaluations, I am very resistant to NUMERICALLY RANK OR SCORE these cars like say Doug Demuro because scoring in my opinion poorly substitutes real nuanced assessments and irrevocably discards important information in the name of making tidy easily comparable figures. I may compare performance figures where relevant but that is as far as I will go.
  • Maybe something extra? Who knows. Depends on if I have the time, inspiration, etc.

The Tests and Evaluations


What tests and evaluations specifically? you ask.

The short answer is “Its subject to change” based on the class of vehicle its both portrayed as and that which I think it actually is. Here are my guidelines so far:

  • Hardcore offroaders will attempt to scale tough mountain trails.

  • Street oriented SUVs / Crossovers will be put through their paces on backwoods dirt trails steep and rough enough to clobber an ordinary car. If you are familiar with BeamNG, Jungle Rock Island has these sorts of trains in abundance.

  • Softroaders / rally machines (e.g. a Subuar Impreza STI) will be expected to blast around dirt roads / rally tracks similar to if not the one leading to up to the dam.

  • Roadsters and sports cars will be blasting windy mountain roads for epic hill climbing and cornering action.

  • Track cars will be put through additional paces on handling circuits.

As I review more cars, the tests for each particular class of vehicle will be created (if nonexistent) and/or maintained if they start becoming outdated or insufficient.

The Rules


Should I submit a car?
Only if you understand and agree with the following:

  1. These are car reviews! Understand that your creation will be subject to extreme scrutiny and critique both good and bad. If you can’t stomach what I did to the Sinistra Cinder, DO NOT SUBMIT!

  2. As I sincerely hope you have gathered by now, I have a bit of a Mr Regular personality, especially on automotive topics. I have fiercely-held beliefs that may not be popular and I often express them in raunchy and what some may call “politically incorrect” ways. If you can’t stomach my joke delivery like in particular on the Corsica Vienna review, DO NOT SUBMIT!

    • And also realize that my jokes and wisecracks may go outside the scope of your car too. See the Daito Alissa review :slight_smile:.
  3. Only submit cars you have authority over. That means you do NOT submit other people’s cars without their authorization. If they want to submit the car, ideally they can come to me, not you. Alternatively, they must give me direct written confirmation that they have seen the rules and seen examples of what I intended to do with their car if you submit the car on their behalf.

    • Why? Well intellectual property for one; I respect people’s right to have control over their creations. And two: read rules 1 and 2. They might not be okay with me tearing their creation to shreds.
    • inb4 tuneups and derivatives. If you receive a car from someone and put your own touches on it, it IS NOT YOUR CAR in my opinion and thus may not be submitted unless you meet the requirements laid out above.
    • If you disobey this rule and I find out, the review will be binned – even if already live – and you will NEVER be allowed to submit again.

Though I will not make it an explicit rule, I highly suggest you have BeamNG and test the car to your liking before sending it! Why? Because Rule 1 and 2 - this way you won’t get unexpected surprises when Automation’s graphs don’t quite capture the qualitative aspects of your creation that you were shooting for.

What kinds of cars are you accepting?


Everything. Yes, even parody and meme cars but be warned… they have to be good! The Terrain Navigator XD and Bridgell Hope have set a high bar.

Note that I am more likely to “get” cars that are rather plebeian. I don’t own a supercar nor have I ever driven one. I have however driven farm trucks, FWD econoboxes, AWD Subarus, RWD sport saloons and coupes (generally old mind you, think E30s and NA Miatas), and old school American land yachts.

Basically the point here is that I expressly admitting a lack of empirical knowledge of really really expensive shit! Do not let that stop you from submitting the car you truly want feedback on though. This is more of a disclaimer to let you know why I might fowl something up or critique it strangely.

How do I submit a car?


Please PM me either here on the forums or in Discord. My handle is the same: @kmBlaine.

Note that in the future this may change but for the moment, I trust our community and our community only. Helps keep out the rifraff.

Your message should contain the following:

  • Full name of the car and trim you want me to review

  • A short quip describing the car. Note here that your description may powerfully predispose my expectations and whether that is desireable or not I will leave up to you. For instance, saying “This is like a 1980s Buick Regal” predisposes my expectations a hell of a lot more than “This is a 1980s premium car”, but that predisposition may help me zero in on how well you have achieved the implicit goal which in this case is making a Malaise Era turd.

  • A screenshot of the car

  • The car / a link to it:

    • I strongly prefer the already-exported .zip file. This is because it reduces my exposure to the car before driving it and also it prevents issues with mod fixtures and such.
    • If you cannot, for whatever reason, provide the exported .zip file, the .car file may be submitted.

Reviews Schedule:


The schedule is a simple first-come-first-serve (or FIFO for any programmers out there :smirk:) queue.

New reviews will come out regularly. Expect 7 to 14 days between each though the period can be shorter or longer.

Waaaaaah but why?

Well, 1) this is just a hobby of mine; 2) I have a life outside Automation that is rarely monotonous; and 3) given how some of these cars turn out, sometimes its hard for me to get motivated to make the final cut. Sorry; I’m only human :neutral_face:.

Anyways, current backlog below!

User                  Car
----------------------------------------------------------
loflyh                Retro Age Motors Saint Vasia
goblin95              Kasai Yama
DriftinCovet1987      1986 Gatz Valerian 600-6TDE
Nicking_HC            CSM Balendos SL
iihs                  TARA Sahara
yurimacs              Lagau Targa Uno
Mr.Computah           2019 Vega Saetta ASCAR Cup
On3CherryShake        Hokuto Sakuta 2.8 Saloon
th3maldonado          BL Viva VIII VSi WRC (gravel tune)
Nicking_HC            Hugi Fleuma Mk2 GT
Marcus_gt500          Modo Prego Turbo EFI
CorsicaUnknown        1984 Corsica Lazer Turbo
F12OM                 2018 Ursula F5 200T
HybridTronny          1960 Gilbert Uranium Concept Mk1
Mad_Cat               Petrov Fortune
Gooles                1955 MTS Due Forza

#2

“It’s like you have the entire planet earth as a flywheel”

And I’m ded.


#3

I might have to send you a car with the express purpose of forcing me to update my lore thread into the 00’s.


#4

<3


#5

That pink “Land Rover” might be the ultimate meme machine outside of a 5,000-horsepower V16 limo. Almost nothing’s going to top that thing. RapidKebab, you are the hero we deserve.

And I might have a car that I could submit…admittedly, it probably (definitely) won’t drive all that great (cheapo viscous diff + 500+ pound-feet of torque = one-tire fires for days), but it could be interesting.


#6

I’m sending you a Bridgell Supergrass lawnmower for review. It is a red unit, refused by other testers. I think they don’t liked the color. It’s a standart 13 hp riding unit.


#7

Turbos seem to be working well on your rig so I’d like to send you this:

Klinos III - Kerasion Derrickson.car (49.6 KB)

The 1991 FAAL Klinos Kerasion, by Derrickson. Think “Safrane Biturbo meets Lotus Omega”. a Grand Tourer for the person who made it to the top, but still feels connected to the middle class. Only a few hundreds made.


#8

Benson Bayside - Special.car (31.2 KB)

Probably one of the most famous and recognizable BR (Benson and Yard) cars, the pre-facelift Benson Bayside can still be found today in reasonable numbers. The brain-child and final vehicle designed under the last remaining co-founder, Alfred Yard, the Bayside was meant to be a great middle-class sedan, and it was, until it would start to rust away…

(Unfortunately, the .zip file for BeamNG.drive was too big).


#9

Red unit
Green body

:thinking:


#10

1948 Bechov Z1000Z Land Speed Record Car
Kept under wraps until its public debut in 1948, the Z1000Z was the official codename for Bechov’s first attempt at the Land Speed Record. Little is known about the exact specifications of this vehicle, as it was conducted under the direct control of the Government and most details were secret. What was released was that it utilised twin 19.4L V16 engines originally designed for a military bomber plane; one engine was located in the front driving the front wheels, and one engine was located in the rear driving the rear wheels. Power was directed to the wheels through two massively toughened 3-speed gearboxes, each with its own gearstick and clutch (although situated next to eachother), which made changing gears a tricky manoeuvre.

Initial testing was conducted mid 1948 with only one engine installed, and the official figures of a top-speed of over 290km/h (~180mi/h) was released to the public. Unfortunately for Bechov, after the second engine was installed, during testing the car lost control whilst changing gears and was involved in an accident, and thus the proper top-speed was never uncovered.


#11

Saint
A Division of
Retro Age Motors
Presents the 2018 Vasia. Powered by Legacy Auto Works’ Project Casia


Saint - Enjoy the Experience
Retro Age Motors-Saint - Vasia.car (35.7 KB)


#12

Hey there sport! :soccer:

Do you prefer driving large, heavy, powerful cars? :articulated_lorry:

Do you live in a big city with proper, well-maintained tarmac roads? :city_sunrise:

Do you have a tree-hugging, “save the earth” attitude and/or mindset? :peace_symbol:

If you answered “no” to at least two of these questions, then this car is not for you! :-1:

Kasai Yama. Conquer the hills like it conquers mountains. :mount_fuji::mountain:

We also provide tester units for everyone to try because we’re that confident in our product quality
Kasai Yama - YM08 - Offroad Tune.car (62.6 KB)


#13

New Review: The SFG KX8 504


Thanks to @asami

Enjoy!


#14

640HP! And it seems that the exhaust and rims are messed up because of mods…

So, obviously, I am absolute garbage at suspension tuning


#15

That was awesome. Especially seeing that thing bouncing off the rev limiter on the test track lap.


#16

I like your reviews! The KX8 sounds too powerfull haha
I hope you’ll try one of my cars :wink:


#17

I know that feeling of missing mod fixtures FAR too well. But great review of the KX8.

Anyway, here’s one of my favorite cars I’ve ever built. It might be a bit slow-feeling (if my experience in Beam is anything to go on), and it’s definitely got a TON of…different engineering choices, but it should be worth a few good laughs.

1978-1989 Gatz Valerian 600-6TDE (1986 second facelift shown)
Desperation to meet CAFE standards, insanity to even think of such a wild idea, and sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness all wrapped up in a glorious malaise-era sleeper. This thing’s got over 300 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque from a truck-sourced 6-liter OHV turbo"diesel" straight-six with multi-point EFI, going through a 4-speed manual to a (really not-that-great) viscous diff at the rear. According to Automation, this thing should be able to crack 145 miles per hour and reach 60 in 7 seconds - pretty fast for the time. Also, this thing was built for fuel economy - all 18 mpg of it -
luxury and sport on a “budget”, so that explains all the technical discrepancies I made with this vehicle.

Unfortunately, the .zip file was too big for Automation, so here’s the .car file. It shouldn’t have any mods you need to download (since I try not to use mods when and where I can - which is often).
Gatz Valerian - 600-6TDE Clone.car (61.0 KB)


#18

New Review: The 1966 PMI Puma Prototype 3DR


Thanks to @Private_Miros

Enjoy!


#19

Hahaha! Brilliant, glad you love it!

It is actually my go-to relaxation car on Beam. I can drive it for hours as well (on twisty circuits).
I don’t have any camera issues, but I think I don’t use that particular camera that bugged out (the chase one?) - although the export is indeed from two or three Beam updates ago.

I didn’t change anything in the jbeam file for this one. A few of the others on my BeamNG mod page have got adapted gear ratios, but that’s all I occasionally tamper with.


On the review itself: good job! Your explanations are clear and enthousiasm (I might be slightly biased here) is contagious. You could probably cut some content and make it shorter (to keep people’s attention), and maybe structure more. Announce in the beginning you will give an overview of positive and negatives at the end for example (for other users that might have had enough after a few minutes, that’s at the 24:50 mark).


#20

What’s the map you used with the american road?

Nice video again btw !