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Formula to estimate costs in the sandbox?


#1

Does anyone know what the basic formula is for determining the $ cost of production units and engineering time? I want to be able to come up with a more realistic price estimate than the sandbox provides, but without plugging in random numbers that might upset balance. A little experimentation in campaign mode has made it clear that it isn’t static, but it is far too laborious for me to reverse engineer in this way.


#2

That is the point though, why do you think it is “simplistic” in sandbox mode? Probably because we have the exact same issue you have with it right now :stuck_out_tongue: so when you are over the

it is far too laborious for me to properly engineer it

hurdle, please share it with us :wink:


#3

From the outside it is baffling to me why it would be so difficult. Surely there is a hand-tuned balance of ET/PU/material costs? Or do you use AI or something?

The only obviously ‘tricky’ thing is accounting for facility costs (forge, etc.).


#4

How do you place a cost on a car without it having gone through a factory. What type of factory do different cars go through? If you answer those questions you solved the problem.


#5

Why do ET and PUs not have a $ value regardless of the factory (or at least, a ‘generic’ factory)? Staff get paid in $, do they not? Engineers get some salary on average, production line techs get some wages.


#6

Ohh yeah, that works brilliantly for a Königsegg for sure ;D
You see the problem yet?


#7

Presumably you are referring to economics of scale, but can the scale not be set at some ‘generic’ middle value?


#8

If you set it at a generic middle value, you may be able to reflect what a generic middle value car produced in a generic middle value factory in a generic middle value economy at a generically middle value point in the car industry’s economic growth within that setting. But that would be it.

No doubt this is related to our own more recent attempts to more accurately model car prices for what they actually seem to be. I would say that it’s still left best to those individual efforts although we could pool our resources and brainstorm some kind of ad hoc measure to make things a bit more consistent. I just wouldn’t ask for it to be included in the game mechanics unless it were really robust.


#9

And that’s all that is needed for a price estimate, especially when using said estimate to compare cars in competitions. I have no idea how the current sandbox price is generated, but simple experimentation shows that it is a lot worse that the generic estimate above–very low ‘resolution’ (price changes in increments), inconsistent treatment of changes in all three of the main costs (e.g. often possible to swap simple cast exhaust manifold for high PU tubular with no increase in final cost).


#10

I suppose an option could be to add the Lite Campaign’s mechanics to sandbox mode. Allow us to choose engineering time and a factory, so that a more accurate price could be attained. Ideally, you could simplify it into “quick buttons”, kind of like turbocharger and suspension set-ups. So have an engineering selector that lets you choose let’s say 1 to 10 years, and a button for a small, medium, or large factory. That’s likely a lot of work though.

A built-in currency converter would be pretty cool to have as well; but that’s another topic.


#11

I see what you’re saying. My skepticism comes from feeling that there’s too much variation from every variable to properly define generic, so even an “improvement” in the estimate would still be unsatisfactorarily poor.

This was actually the case for a while.

Suffice to say it didn’t really help at that point, because picking a static point in time gave us no real context in terms even of the company building the cars! My specific beef was that it was literally impossible to build a realistic hypercar due to engineering time which may have been alleviated by engineering familiarity and R&D bonus, but that’s just me :stuck_out_tongue:

Perhaps when the tycoon mechanics are all in place we could reassess these things by being allowed to specify certain scenarios. I wonder if it’s be too much to eventually ask for a scenario generator where we could also determine the economic well-being of a market in a particular point in time…


#12

Been there, done that :slight_smile: like @strop says there are too many factors that all are significant in effect that it eventually boils down to “you need to place the whole thing in a campaign setting, in a given company, with given factories, with a given history”. That is one of the reasons why we got rid of the engineering and factory part from sandbox. I’ve spent weeks thinking about this, building models for this, and still I can’t see a good way of making any calculations for it apart from having full context.

Now for a moment I shall stop being a sarcastic hard-ass and help you out and work around those issues. :wink:
Make the challenge provide a campaign save file that creates the context for what you want. With that save file they are supposed to design the one car the challenge is about. Done… simple as that you have ALL context and correct calculations you’d want. Economy is not random after a game is created, so it would play out the same for all participants. They deliver the result in form of another campaign save.


#13

Anyway, my point is not to get the sandbox estimate changed (although that would be nice), it’s to have some frame of reference for how to value PU and ET. You might say ‘just use the lite campaign mode’, but that is both limited in the years allowed (for starting a new campaign), builds in potential country bias (unless PU/ET/material costs are in fixed proportion regardless of country?), and provides insufficient explanation of how the engineering cost is calculated so that you can port it to a spreadsheet (base engineering cost + ??? = total engineering cost).


#14

Hmm, my previous post was made in a bit of a rush and wasn’t thought out too well. Pardon me.

@Killrob’s suggestion is indeed the best solution for Challenges.

As for Sandbox mode… it does seem a bit impossible to create an “accurate” price tag due to the massive amount of variables involved… and in a way adding more options makes it even worse than just having an arbitrary baseline like we have now. The only other thing I can really think of is to have familiarity for everything in Sandbox mode ramp up by a set amount per year; say 1% for example, and maybe grant one tech pool point per category every decade or so. Just some sort of emulated progression. I don’t know if that’s really needed though… I’m kind of lost on what a good system for Sandbox mode could be.


#15

Why not ask for the formula used for the BRC 1976 challenge?
Ask @Der_Bayer if you can use what he used in his BRC 1976 Tool.


#16

Material cost + 20 * PU. Maybe the factor was different. So I don’t think this has anything to do with reality :smile:


#17

What’s wrong with just comparing ET and PU? If everyone in the challenge also has those numbers then that is the easiest solution too. Just have to get the supreme overlord of challenge to incorporate ET and PUs instead of “price estimate” in judging


#18

The point of better understanding the value of ET and PU is so that designers are free to trade between them (e.g. high tech I4 or low tech V6 for the same overall price). Of course, ET also reduces the length of the production run given a fixed end-of-run date and PU reduces the production rate, both assuming constant engineering and production resources/facilities; this again could be factored into competitions to add another dimension of choice (e.g. partial simulation of campaign mode).


#19

This depends on how much Automation immersion you wish to achieve i.e. whether you also want to divide the world into Gasmea, Archana and Fruinia, or whether you want to model a specific market in the real world instead (the beauty of not having these things more rigidly defined).

For example Rk38 is currently using my price estimator from the CSR round that you won, in the current round of the CSR. Why? It works surprisingly well across multiple markets… specific to Australia.

The downside of that of course is that everybody has to think very hard about how to model their own pricing etc. as a function of ET and PU and material costs.

ALTERNATIVELY, why not set up specific competitions with scenarios in campaign mode? Koolkei did this, I think, with a WWYD type scenario. It’s not that difficult to say: you are a such and such sized company in this and this stage with this and this much money and your job is now to do such and such a model for this and that. Trouble with this: 1) you can only achieve limited scenarios without having to do significant playthrough of your own to export a company file if, for example, you wanted your company to be established in more than one region 2) you’re locked to the 3 region map 3) you can’t then just tell people to go and play through the next decade themselves as the markets may then behave differently for each player which wouldn’t be fair.