Good day! Say it’s time for a challenge, and there’s techpool to use. Time to make a lore accurate and fair techpool distribution for my car.
You see, my super sports car company has been a pioneer in engine block and engine configuration development, with a strong focus on developing and procuring turbochargers. Along with those turbochargers is the need for injection systems. Their cars have always been stylish, but not more than they were functional, and the interior is no exception. Furthermore, with such a good engine needs to come a good gearbox and driveline, so they have that.
Leaving it completely empty usually results in something like this for the people who want to win rather than do something fun and interesting with their company and car.
I’ve seen the idea of community sourced techpool regulations around on the forums a bit, but nothing came to fruition so here I am.
Stuff like using default is going to raise complaint about being unable to do something fun without being punished for it, and for people who (for example) may not be using turbochargers, whatever.
So, opinions? Suggestions? All welcome.
- Techpool limits (still can minmax though)
- Weighted techpool (less easy for the entrant to see if they violated the rules, but should be fair?)
Just going to post here that, at some point in the future that the techpool cost to get and keep will (eventually) show up somewhere in the game, and in the long term, you should basically balance around the cost that spits out.
As mentioned in my other thread (of which i cant currently find) the cheesable items on the list have price multipliers which should in turn balance out the minmax element.
A tech pool limit in some areas, and/or an overall techpool limit (both of which have been attempted in various challenges) could be useful in preventing min-maxing.
As techpool more or less means you get a year ahead for every point you have (+15 means 15 years ahead of your time in game terms) you have to think about where your company stands in those terms.
For example, AWD with front longitudinal engine placement is normally available in 1980, but you can use this combination earlier with techpool - as early as 1965 if +15 techpool is applied to the drivetrain. As a point of reference, the Jensen FF (an AWD version of the Interceptor, and the world’s very first non-4x4/off-road AWD car) came out in 1966.
Techpool is the most powerful tool that has ever been introduced to sandbox and there is nothing that can punish the example TP distribution aside from rules that don’t allow for it.
Until TP has some sort of cost associated with it, or people are willing to accept that TP in some areas is worth more than TP in others and we’ll all just have to do a bit of math to make it work, TP can be only really work by being tightly regulated with a fairly small gap between their set minimum and set maximum.
Sandbox challenges’ best tool historically against minmax have been realism clauses, which have been a hot button topic plenty of times for their varying interpretation from host to host, but we don’t even get that much with techpool, a completely arbitrary figure that loosely represents a company’s R&D spending and decidedly not something you can check on a car’s specsheet.
I have seen more than once users lament that their desired techpool is disallowed in a ruleset and, once the host folds to those complaints, subsequently complained that they weren’t competitive because they weren’t willing to spend their TP in what they deem a cheesy way, and to that I say:
Can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Subjective judging isn’t new - people judge entries for style all the time. I think that what people aren’t fine with is getting a harsh penalty for something subjective, like techpool distribution or (arguably) realism. I’d be interested to see a challenge where cheesy engineering is allowed, but engineering that’s period-correct and restrained is preferred.
I have a clunky but possibly effective idea for a solution: community-approved techpool distribution. Entrants would submit their proposed TP allocation to the host, who builds a multiple-choice poll, keeping the entrants anonymous. Over a certain threshhold of votes would be needed to pass. Entrants may use any allocation that passes, however that’s defined.
I ended up doing pretty much this for JOC3C. The way I modeled it was in the review, the character literally smells cheese coming from different parts of the car, some almost pleasant, others nauseatng. The smell goes into consideration of final ranking, but isn’t a dealbreaker as such, neither in- nor out-of-character.
One element that doesn’t help is that it’s not as straightforward as a year ahead. There’s all manner of little quirks and peculiarities.
Let’s take a look at these four costs:
Base car, 1977, +15 techpool, no entertainment
The same car, with a Luxury CD player added
Base car with 0 techpool in interior, advanced forward 15 years to 1992, more expensive because techpool was discounting the 5-seat standard interior
The same car, with a Luxury CD player added
So, in 1977, a Luxury CD player adds on about $3400 in material costs, 15.3 PU and 4.8 ET. In 1992, that same luxury CD player is just $2100, 12.0 PU and 5.3 ET. Not sure how it’s more ET but the point is clear - advancing the car by 15 years and dropping 15 techpool doesn’t quite keep everything the same. Why? Because there’s an early adopter tax on certain entertainment options! It’s hardly surprising that it’s crazy expensive to have a CD player in 1977 - the format didn’t exist until 1982, after all - but this exists for every interior option. Of course, there are other factors at play - a CD player is more impressive in 1983 than in 1993, and the game reflects that.
This is, almost frustratingly, a mechanic that only seems to exist for entertainment. If you unlock anything else early - safety, for instance - the costs are the same.