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"Automation, Inc" Succession: 2020!


#1

The game has started! Wait list spots are OPEN!

Wait list
  • Open!
Repeat list

What’s a succession game?

Simple! It’s like a Let’s Play, only we take turns. You play a few years of the campaign, write about your experiences with a few screenshots, then upload the save file. The next person on the waiting list downloads the save file, and we repeat until we hit 2020 or go bankrupt.

As for rules, I’m thinking we would play for 5-10 years each. You choose your own stopping point in this range, but it should be enough to introduce a new model and start a facelift. We’d have 8-15 players, on a waiting list, and if there aren’t that many sign-ups, we loop around to the start of the list. Also, don’t actively sabotage the company (if this happens, we can revert to a previous save) but other than that, there’s no requirement to actually be good at the campaign. In fact, having players with various levels of experience. is part of the fun.

Original post

The other big question would be our starting difficulty and country. Starting with a small factory will force us to make upmarket cars and is more difficult, while starting with Medium would let us target any market with steel cars, and starting with Large should just make the game pretty easy. Personally, I’m partial to 100% competition difficulty, they don’t use turbos or R&D anyway. We could also start with a goal of roleplaying something specific, if a lot of people want to- trying to make the fastest cars in the world, or trying to make inexpensive fiberglass cars like Reliant.

If this is something you might want to participate in, just let me know. Experience with the campaign is not required! I also have a few people interested from the Bay 12 forums, but not enough to fill up a game, so I’d probably direct them over here.


#2

I would be interested. I would prefer to loop it once, so that I could experience what has changed from the first hand. I would be up for some lore. Other ideas that I was saving for my 4.1 playthroughs:

  • always going for the highest revving engines possible :slight_smile:
  • go full Murican. With ~8 litter push road engines, large, non sophisticated cars first

#3

By upmarket cars, you may have meant limited-production sports and/or luxury cars intended for wealthier demographics - in particular, it makes the former easier to produce, given that fiberglass and space frames only require small (not medium) factories at minimum, whereas steel and other metals generally require a medium or large factory.


#4

This sounds like fun! I’d love to participate. I’m open to any kind of role-playing, and I agree with 100% percent competitor difficulty. My vote would be to start with a medium factory for maximum flexibililty and easier early-to-mid game growth.


#5

Alright, let’s hear some votes on a starting country! If I don’t hear otherwise, I leaning:

Gasmea
Medium 1 Car Factory, medium plot
Medium 1 Engine Factory, medium plot
$200M starting cash (just enough to keep us afloat if our first car flops)
+1 Base Tech (gives us a little advantage)
Level 2 Gasmean dealerships
Level 0 foreign dealerships

This gives us a 3.47x score multiplier. I can make our first car, or some other volunteer can. If I go first, I’ll probably make some large displacement car targeting a premium segment.


#6

All sounds good to me! Feel free to take the first model, that will let you set the early trajectory of the company.


#7

sign me in!

we might want to get into the 4.1b upgrade later, with that kind of setup a 4.0 game will become unplayable in late years


#8

I’ll take a turn.


#9

I’m starting two player lists: a wait list, and a repeat list. New players join the back of the wait list. After finishing, you join the repeat list. We’re going to prioritize new players first, and only use the repeat list when the wait list is empty. You can, of course, abstain.

Wait List:
  • B4nditOo
  • abg7(?)
  • Markus248
  • LoSboccacc
  • lukerules117
Repeat List
  • SenseiB12 (will remain on the bottom of the list)

Turn 1: SenseiB12, 1946

Well, I don’t see anybody with strong opinions about who should start, or how we should start, so I guess it falls to me! First I’m naming our company: Automation, Inc. It’s nice and neutral, for whatever aspirations we may have. [spoiler]normal or turbo lmao[/spoiler]

We are a Gasmean company, and we’re established: we have baseline Level 2 dealerships, +1 tech, and $200M in the bank. The automotive world is our oyster.

It also falls to me to make our first car. You might assume that since I did pretty good in my other Let’s Play, I’m going to make something super optimal. Nah, I’m going to follow my true Gasmean spirit! (And probably make a car with a lot of room for you guys to improve on later.) Well, we have a medium factory, and our Level 2 dealerships will us a maximum of 40% awareness. So, I should pick a demographic where 40% is enough to buy all of our output, which will probably be around 3000 cars.

Looking at the demographic sizes in the market screen, there are 10,992 Family Premium buyers. That sounds like our market.

What do they want? Easy to drive, safe, comfortable, and BIG (6.4% size preference is a lot). Well, obviously I’m going to pick the 3.1m body.

Every true Gasmean knows there’s only one way to build a car! Ladder frame, all steel, solid rear axle to handle the RAW POWER. Don’t worry though, we’re high-tech! We’re going to give it independent front suspension.

Speaking of RAW POWER, we’re going to get a really high-tech engine- a V8! Even out of character, I’m pretty sure this is a big deal for a consumer engine in 1946. We’re going to want it pretty big, of course. There’s no replacement for displacement!

Engine

https://i.imgur.com/A8rHY2o.jpg

86mm bore, and 112mm stroke gets us all the way to 5.2L! When they see that badge, they’ll know this is a real de-luxe car. Of course it’s got pushrods (how else do you make an engine?) and, well, it’s got so much torque it’s liable to make too much power for the tires, so it’s just got one carb and a little exhaust pipe. That’s all you need, really.

Oh, it also needed heavy duty conrods. This limits our RPM, but RPM is no replacement for displacement. When it’s got mufflers on, it makes a little under a hundred horsepower, but it’s smooth.

The car itself is RWD (how else do you build a car?) with a manual gearbox. It’s got two speeds, high and low, and the low speed runs up to 50 miles per hour. It’s sitting on 18-inch wheels and staggered tires, otherwise it’s a little hard to control. Since we only have drum brakes, part of the purpose of the huge wheels is just to get decent brakes on it. Even I have to admit, decent might be stretching it for our current braking tech. Trying to stop a car this heavy on four drum brakes is ambitious.


Somehow, this counts as a Sedan rather than a wagon.

It’s also got Premium interior (5 seats), a radio, and Advanced safety (seatbelts). I put a little extra quality into the interior, and the steering, since it’s a premium car after all. I think people will like it! In fact, anyone who doesn’t is a coward who can’t handle the power, or a poor person who can’t afford the 600 pounds of cast iron that go into our beautiful engine.

Market Scores

This is with Hetvesia turned off, we don’t actually have dealerships there.
https://i.imgur.com/vdVYpXh.jpg

I’ll name it the Atlantis, because it’s the size of a whole city and handles like a boat. The engine is the Bullshark V8, which keeps the nautical theme, and the variant is the 52L-46, for a 5.2 liter, tuned for Luxurious driving, signed off in '46.

Lastly, I added a convertible trim. I wanted to do a utility but the scores were just too awful, and I couldn’t stop it from oversteering without comically small front tires that gave it 0.34g cornering.

With a little extra funding and cutting the corners on reliability, I can get the car and the engine out of engineering in five years. I’m also going to use my position as a company founder to make a little bit of an aggressive decision for us:

Factory

https://i.imgur.com/C7zLV75.jpg

We can upgrade our factory to Medium 2 before we even start production. If I do this, we avoid having to stop production while we upgrade. I could maybe have upgraded it to Medium 3, but that would require an engine factory upgrade as well, and we’d be in a tight spot after spending that much money.

Our company valuation is $1.6B. This means we can comfortably leverage a lot of debt, but upgrading both factories to Medium 3 would be about $1.4B, even before tooling costs. However, I think we can safely afford the total cost of this project. I will, however, be taking out a large loan.

With our first (massive) vehicle signed off, it’s time to start engineering. Everything is going smoothly, our loan is covering 99% of our costs.

However, in 1949, two years before the debut of the Atlantis, I’ve decided to start spending some money on marketing. Upgrading our dealerships to level 3 as well as running some advertising will cost us about 5 million dollars between now, and the time the car actually launches. I think this should be worthwhile. People are going to know how great our car is before they’ve even driven one!

July 1950, we’re only a few months away from launch, and factory construction is well underway. Despite putting some money into Company Prestige marketing, we don’t seem to have actually gained any prestige. I could have sworn Killrob said that’s what company marketing does, is it bugged? We’ve also lost some company valuation, down to 1.4B from 1.6B earlier. This might be because of the interest value of our loan. It also might improve as our factories finish construction, it was 1.3B a couple months earlier. We’re also losing money, but we’re not even close to using up all of our cash on hand, much less damaging our credit rating. A tip for you: we can go into a LOT of negative money before it causes problems.

Hub Screen

https://i.imgur.com/j21E63J.jpg

Now, you may have heard some rumors about how I’m spending Automation Inc’s money, and I want to assure you they’re totally false. The money I’ve put into marketing is all legitimate, and I don’t know why our prestige hasn’t improved. Those women visiting my office are just from the marketing company. Also, Killrob is a completely legitimate business partner.

images

Uh, it looks like I’m going to have to be away from the company offices for a while until I can get this all sorted out. B4nditOo, I’m nominating you as acting company president! Make sure the launch of the Atlantis goes smoothly! The pension funds cabinet key is in the fountain our front, but, if anyone asks, you don’t know where it is!

Edit: Here’s the save file. That’s kind of the most important part, isn’t it?
Automation_Inc_Autosave.zip (773.9 KB)


#10

so we settled for 5 year turns?


#11

I would still say, anywhere between five and ten. Choosing our very first car and choosing to upgrade our factory are decisions that will have long lasting consequences, so I’m content to stop early. On the other hand if you want to spend enough time to introduce a new model, see how it does, and start a facelift, then you can take enough time to do that.


#12

Edited to add the save file to the bottom of the last update post. I can’t believe I forgot that.


#13

Turn 2: B4nditOo, 1951
First couple of months as the new CEO I was busy with cleaning up fallout of the Killrobgate. After convincing the law enforcement agencies that the fraud was strictly limited to the Killrob and @SenseiB12 (sorry for throwing you under the bus :man_shrugging:) , I managed to diffuse risk of crippling fines and settlements that would bring the company down.

After that being dealt with, I focused on the Atlantis premiere. I bumped marketing spendings and invested into opening dealerships network in our southern neighbor Hetvesia. Marketing was hoping to grab it’s big Premium market and there were big hopes for Atlantis Sedan doing well in that segment. Unfortunately Atlantis premiere was… not an outstanding success.


Convertible 46 was doing quite fine, but Sedan 46 didn’t meet the expectations. All in all project was loosing money. After accounting for the loan repayments company was loosing money in staggering paste, reaching credit ranking F.

First I met with the engineering teams and we discussed options to facelift Atlantis. Some quick examination gave an answer, that Automation Inc. would need to find new markets to stay afloat. First plan was to keep Atlantis as Family Premium, Premium and Convertible platform, while at the same time, design a separate GT car on a completely new platform. 1950 2.6m steel monocoque body with double wishbone front & back, was selected for this task, codenamed Poseidon. However quite quickly engineering teams realized a sad truth.

  1. Despite being smaller platform, Poseidon was out performing Atlantis in almost every segment.
  2. We simply didn’t have money to finance another medium factory with steel presses.

Hard decision had to be made, and Atlantis would have to be abandoned after 5 years :frowning: As the replacement engineering came up with three Poseidon trims:

  1. GT 2 door coupe, targeting primarily GT, but hopefully Muscle Premium markets as well.
  2. GTL 4 door sedan, targeting primarily Premium market, but also Commuter P., Family P., Fun P and Fam. Sport P. segments.
  3. GTC convertible sedan.

All of them using an updated Bullshark V8 engine, featuring larger exhaust, better intakes and carburetors. All in all that gave us hefty 140HP, while not being significantly more expensive compared to the predecessor. The most important thing was that sales team was expecting quite a bit of profit from the Poseidon (especially taking into account that the analytics still couldn’t correctly account for our expected market awareness upon release).


The total project cost was estimated to $410M when re-using Atlantis factories. (Atlantis’s facelift would cost similar amount, but with worse financial results).

As Poseidon was using automatic transmission and didn’t have any sportiness aspirations, I wanted to push for a small scale production of a small ~2.1m front engine Sports car, using the same Bullshark V8 engine, but specially tuned for the sport application. However, project would cost additional $200M including a new small 2 factory in Hetvesia, which board of directors deemed to risky in 1951 with crashing economy, so the project was put on hold :frowning: I still decided to engineer the 215HP higher revving sport variant of the Bullshark engine (Bullshark V8 is definitely proving to be a versatile and very good platform!), hopping for situation to improve in a couple of years.

The only thing what was left, was to wait, and increase marketing efforts to move more Atlantis of the lots. In the first months of 1951, we managed to regain credit score D-, but then recession stroke back. Sales and evaluation plummeted and vindicators started knocking to our doors

1952
1952 was marginally better. Atlantis project was still loosing money, Automation Inc as a whole was loosing even more, but somehow we managed to stay afloat reaching credit score E-


1953
1953 was finally looking better. We were still loosing $16M each month, and we already had -$500M in the bank (before factory retooling costs for Poseidon!), but thanks to improving economy, we finally over time creeped towards credit score B.

As I also invested into research, especially +3 into the bodies, better financial results and the appearance of the new 1955 small coupe body, sparked me (against the board of directors) into updating Aqua project onto the new platform. Ladies and gentleman, I present you our latest project Aqua Man:

  • Manual transmission RWD
  • Aluminum panels, steel space frame chassis
  • Full double wishbone suspension front & back
  • 215HP 4420CC (very loud) engine (frankly that’s a bit too much for the tyres… I was barely able to gear this thing)

Limited production in small 2 factory on a medium plot.

Small overview how we were doing with Atlantis

1954-1955


Unfortunately 1954 turned out to be worse. Another economic downturn caused our credit score fall to F for the 4th time and again vindicators started to knock to our doors! And we still haven’t started paying for the retooling Atlantis factory and new Aqua factory!.

It was getting more and more difficult to keep the board of directors calm. Luckily in the 1955 economy improved a bit, and we managed survive yet another time…

…but then we had to pay for the retooling and construction of our new factory started, and we hit the credit score F for the 5th time. At this point of time board of directors decided to kick me out of the CEO chair just before the Poseidon release and the board started to frantically look for a new CEO. In the mean time…

August 1956


Poseidon hit the markets saving company! For the first time in it’s brief history Automation Inc. was actually making some money. With growing market awareness it should get better over time. Quick look at the revenue and the competitiveness


Summary
What’s next? The company is looking for a new CEO, however the immediate future looks secure. Aqua Man’s_ premier is still ahead of us. Who knows what the future will bring? The new CEO will need to make a couple of hard decisions

  • Will the revenue stream from Poseidon and Aqua suffice to build new factory for a new model?
  • Should we focus on increasing Poseidon’s production capacities?
  • What to do with crazy rumors of some concept engine named Pigeyeshark V12 that someone from engineering team is reporting has just finished engineering? The board of directors didn’t know about it! Nobody knows how the previous CEO was planning to use it. Here it is compared to the Bullshark V8 in it’s luxurious variant.

Savegame Automation B4nditOo.zip (1.9 MB). @abg7, are you next?

note: I really hope that I didn’t overextend ourselves too much and that I left some wiggle room for a totally new project if my successor deemed to do so. I was hoping new sales to bring eventually our evaluation towards $2B+, which should allow us to build some new factories but who knows :man_shrugging:


#14

Normal people playing Career:
3 cars in span of ~15 yr
Me;
3 cars in span of whole career


#15

It looks like we’re at three cars in the span of ten years, which is rather impressive actually!

Of course, some of that is due to the Atlantis being bad. It’s a good thing B4ndit seems to know what he’s doing, I meant to give you guys a little challenge but I didn’t realize it would straight up lose money the whole time. Seems like I made things a little too spicy by accident! Come to think of it, I also got into the habit of setting no minimum margin (because my cars were usually good) so that was probably a big part of the issue. Either way, I’m not surprised it was more profitable to replace it. Automation reallllllly hates solid axles on regular cars. I still think 1946-era independent suspension should be more expensive or less comfortable to level the playing field, but ah well.

I managed to get in contact with some of my marketing guys, and they took some pictures! Well, these are just models, that’s why they haven’t got headlights. But, the Aqua is on the left and Poseidon on the right.


#16

Unfortunately I have no experience in campaign play nor any interest in resuming the campaign, so I’m afraid I must decline this offer. If any other players are interested in it, please let us know.


#17

It looks like that means @Markus248 is our next CEO.


#18

I just finished a campaign so I would like to give a try at this. Let me know when my turn is.


#19

Do you mean 3 cars over a period of whole campaign? Or 3 models simultaneously?

Something like the latter would be an interesting idea for another succession game: trying to maximise revenue/demographics coverage with some fixed number of models. Here we don’t have specific theme/goals/restrictions, which I hope will create it’s own charm, with people pulling towards their preferred playstyle.


#20

I’ve added pcmoreno to the waitlist. I’ve also updated all the player lists in the OP to use profile links.