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The "utility is a bit borked" thread


#1

So I’ve finally spent time to sit down and have a look at what actually constitutes Utility in automation, and I’m trying to figure out why the delivery segment, and utility segment likes memes over actual cars/engines you’d expect from them.

For example, I made two identical vans with two different engines and gearboxes/brakes/wheels to compensate, and be close to equal. The results were surprising, and honestly really funny in how skewed they were.

  1. Utility markets don’t appear to actually care enough about power more than the van/truck costs to purchase, mostly because they seem to have very low budgets, unless you hit Utility Premium. This is leading to some extreme cases (in almost all cases) where the utility segments prefer tiny, high revving I3/4 engines over large, low revving V6/8 engines.

  2. Compare these vans/engines, and guess which one has the higher score.

    If you guessed the first one, you are wrong. While I admit 100 km/h is pretty fast for a '57 van, the power to weight ratio should be the huge dealbreaker here. The van on top has it’s highest score of 88.6 in Gasmea for Delivery, while the bottom van has a score of 109.8. Making the engines larger, and increasing PWR in fact makes the markets like the van less than they would otherwise. This is especially true once you consider the estimated load capacity, plus towing.

  3. You may or may not already be aware of this, but towing has a math error, which gets it’s final value (whatever it may be) subtracted by the load capacity.

  4. Load capacity appears to be strongly influenced by the size of the body of the vehicle, and less around the springs/suspension choices of the vehicle. For an extreme example, the dump truck mod with the .8L I3 engine can carry over 3k kg of cargo, while still having a basically non functional engine. That might work if the van/truck is stationary, but it’s not going to get the thing moving any time soon.

  5. It’s usually pretty difficult to tell where you should put the brakes on a utility vehicle, and tuning the suspension for one specifically seems to be just not worth doing, using stiff rear springs and dampers like the suspension preset suggests. The markets seem to always prefer the “Normal” preset, or a raised “sport” preset (camber tuned of course).

Suggestions.

  1. Fix towing. Most sports cars can out-tow trucks/vans because of the broken math even though they should be largely similar if their engines share the same power.

  2. Utility should have more preference for engines with power, ideally at the low end if it were possible to define such a thing. They should also care about overall power too, but it should prevent tiny I3 engines from being the predominant cargo moving option.

  3. Suspension choice should probably be a factor considered in advanced calcs for utility. Sure, Leafs give load capacity, but I can also do that with really hard Wishbones too.

  4. Ladder should probably also be a better utility option than it currently is. I dabbled on the topic a bit here. Ladders are still used for a reason on Vans (and I can’t remember them offhand right now, but reasons).

  5. Size&Weight could be changed to Size&Weight÷Power as a base stat in place of point 2 for the suggestions.

After being distracted off of posting this topic several times, and probably forgetting other points, i’ll post this now for some critique of my critique.

Edit: Oh, if you have anything weird/wrong or that doesn’t make sense for utility, post it here.


#2

This was a sales success. When it was released it had 25 hp. Late models could have up to a whooping 52 hp…


#3

Using an old example probably isn’t the greatest idea, but you get similar results with 2000 model fullsize vans with 50 HP too. I just did the 57 body because there are a lot of utility trucks/vans for that year.


#4

Its not the US-Market everywhere in the world. Here in europe we have vans with engines ranging from 1.6L to 3L - both petrols and diesels. While the latter ones are not possible here, the petrols are. The previous gen Merc Sprinter boasts a 156hp 1.8L petrol, the Trafic II had a 115hp 2.0L petrol.
Power ultimatively does not matter in a van or truck, you want to have something fuel efficient and reliable that can have enough grunt on the wheels, and that can be done with a transmission.

Bad example. You go for a 1957 market in a 1957 body without showing the cars primary and secondary stats.
The 4L V8 has:

  • less reliability
  • higher costs of production - 4 times more!
  • higher engineering
  • servicing costs are 2.5x higherr
  • is 10% louder

Plus its 1957 and you want to put a van with 124hp onto the market. You know what had 124hp in 1957? Upper class sedans. Vans in that time an era had - at most - 50hp. Even a Ford Transit in 1980 had 70hp at best. American vans like the chevy started at 90hp in '64, but thats their wonky SAE rating i suppose.

I just made a 1982 Van/Truck with 86hp transverse FWD 2.4l I4 and 142hp longitudinal RWD 3.4l I6 aswell as a 1.6l “meme” AWD I3 with 69hp.

With the I4 i could reach 47.1 Utility / 19.5 Offroad and a Market Rating of 106.4@69.2% in Utility and 152.8@50.4% in Delivery.
With the I6 i could reach 50.7 Utility / 25.2 Offroad and a Market Rating of 91.0@60.3% in Utility and 110@43.9% in Delivery.
With the I3 i could reach 48.3 Utility / 19.5 Ofrroad and a Market Rating of 103.3@66.7% in Utility and 147.2@48.5% in Delivery.

The I3 is so far up mainly due to AWD boosting the Drivetrain&Performance Multiplier from +2% to +20%, which helped a lot.
Optimizing the I6 lead to 56.7 Utility / 42.1 Offroad and a Market Rating of 121.6@56.8% and 139.3@41.7%

It makes sense? If you can load your car has a total hauling capacity of 5 Ton but a cargobay that fits 4 ton that ultimatively means you can only pull an additional 1 ton to it…

Which also makes sense? I cant see a smaller body having more load capacity. Mind you this is basically the cargo volume paired with engine and proper gearing.

Is it? An utility car is more of a truck that can go also offroad (dont confuse with vans). High suspension, AWD and locking diffs help a lot. Driveability is one key factor in most builds, 110% drive and 85% comfort suspension is for most builds better than the 95% drive and 110% comfort setting.


#5

Overall, I do agree with most of the points you make, but what concerned me specifically is that.

  1. Power to weight should have some influence on the ultimate performance of the van, especially once weighed down. I acknowledge that not all markets are US markets, of course, and a V8 might be shooting a bit high. Gearing is a huge factor, and that bit I have no issues with, so I’ll concede for now on the size of the engine, though a .8L I3 is not particurlarly close to a 1.6L I4. When I get time to run the game, I’ll make sure to post secondary stats as well. The utility scores were extremely similar though, by roughly two points in favor of the V8, which feels a bit off to me.

  2. The towing capacity issue is an issue because in general, sports coupes can often easily get the same utility scores as a Truck/Van with stiff suspension. The sports coupe would have 4 base points for load capacity, and 35 base points for towing while the truck/van has 37 points for load capacity, and just 2 points for towing, even though the truck should be able to tow more in theory. I’m just saying that it needs to have another look/pass.

  3. Cargo capacity/density over a larger body should probably take overall engine power into account in order to achieve some base level of speed. It can be 30 km/h, but the vehicle should be able to move at a reasonable pace, instead of stuck down at 5/10 km/h. The only reason I think there’s an issue with size is because it’s not really a measure of density of the cargo like I’d expect it to be. I don’t think anyone is going to be loading a 1 cubic foot block of tungsten into their van, but that’s how I look at capacity.

  4. I won’t argue on the point of suspension tune, since it largely makes sense, however I think that offroad stats are mixed in with utility stats here, which also makes sense. Vans/delivery markets don’t seem to care at all about driver comfort outside of Gasmea it seems, and that’s fair enough I guess.

Here are the secondary stats as promised.


M2 Trim 2 Clone has the V8 and $430 service costs. M2 Trim 2 has the I3 and is at $273 service. M3 is a shorter wheelbase and overall smaller van, yet scores slightly worse then M2, with service costs of $269 with 2/3 the cargo volume and load cap.


#6

Utility definitely needs a pass of tweaking and rewriting, but I think it is nowhere near as broken as you make it out to be in the OP. Pyrlix is making several points which are in line with my thinking when I devised these mechanics in the first place. Power is not everything and not even the most important thing, especially not in the earlier days. Don’t forget tanks back in WWII had a power to weight ratio of about 10 kW / ton, which is half as much as your I3 based “meme” van has. :stuck_out_tongue:

124hp back in those days would be insane for a vehicle like that and would not have sold well for the various reasons already given.

Indeed towing is in a pretty bad state at the moment. It certainly was a design decision and not a math error though with how cargo space affects it. That will need a rework. I put it in to make SUVs less shit, :slight_smile: because they don’t have cargo space but can tow a lot. It is that interplay between the different types of cars that makes this tricky, they do have varying degrees of cargo space and towing capacity, but want to end up at similar utility ratings. Hence the overlap in the calculation.

One thing that was not mentioned is that ladder mostly is not that useful in the game because its additional load capacity is not useful due to the lack of tires that can take enough load… those tend to be the limiting factor. So what you’d see is that ladder frames really start becoming useful if we had duallies.


#7

Okay. Just took some time to sit down and mess with stuff more. Overall, everything looks pretty good. The only thing I wish there was a way to take account of is some sort of grade test. I made a modern van with a 72 HP V6 with 147Nm of torque, and designed it in a way that it can carry over 8000 kg of cargo (you really don’t see the effect of ladder until you start using very large tires and very stiff springs in terms of cargo load). Testing it in Beam, using the grade test for cars, the van stalls on the 33 degree hill, which should be expected carrying 4 2 ton trailers in first.

I do feel that something along those lines might be useful to factor in though, especially for somewhere like Hetvesia.


#8

That already is a factor :slight_smile: we do have a “speed while pulling something uphill” test. If it gets factored in enough is a different question.