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Some questions and suggestons (mostly UI ones)

Hello everybody

I bought the game as a part of Steam Summer sale and in the past month I’ve managed to sink something to the tune of 200 hours into it (insert random no-life joke), and so far I’m loving it, but there’s a couple of rough edges here and there…

I have a couple of questions and perhaps a feature suggestions based on things that I’ve encountered.

Feel free to rate the suggestions on a scale

  • Already part of the plan, will be implemented whenever
  • Good idea, will be implemented whenever
  • Not a bad idea, but beyond the scope of Automation 1… Maybe in the sequel?
  • Not a bad idea, but impossible / difficult to implement
  • Bad idea even as a concept / wouldn’t fit the game direction

Also feel free to suggest anything in this list is an issue originating from between my keyboard and chair.

Note that
a) Some of the suggestions aren’t my own ideas - I found them somewhere else and liked them enough to pass them along
b) The only thing I’ve really checked is the FAQ, I have taken only cursory glances at other peoples’ suggestions, so if you see a suggestion that shows up about once every 30 minutes but isn’t in the FAQ, my apologies

A) Spreadsheet files
In the dev diary videos you show spreadsheet with roadmap, current progress and some others with calculations. Are those documents internal only or can they be viewed by general public (esp. the roadmap / progress)?

B) Country-specific models / trims

  • From the UI it looks like there are long term plans to that point, is my guess correct or am I reading too much into things?
  • Like having country-specific trims (car X has variant A for Gasmea and Hetvesia and variant B for Fruinia that’s slightly feature poorer and can run on unleaded gas)
  • In the same vein - would it be possible to also show desirability (or whatever’s replacing it in 4.2) in the designer for individual countries? For example show these modes - average / best (+ in which country) / values per country…
  • As an aside, I think country tastes could be more influential than they’re nowadays, or perhaps the current game setup just plain hates American-style cars…

C) Gas gas gas
Is it possible to use leaded gas in an engine set up for unleaded gas (assuming it has no cat that can be ruined)?

D) Slight rant re: documentation/tutorial/wiki

  • Are there any plans for tutorials and documentation in written form (Help files etc), and do you have any control/input on the wiki? Esp. w/r to the light campaign…
  • This probably comes from being very much work in progress and subject to sweeping changes every now and then…
  • Even +/- popups and red/green cell backgrounds like they are in car setup would help immensely.

E) Bug? - Engineering times

  • I’ve had this happen to me repeatedly - engineering (esp. on engine facelifts) finishes later than indicated by the signoff screen or the bars in the hub UI. Sometimes by just one month, but I’ve had even much longer delays, up to about a year.
  • In one of those cases it was caused by me adding another factory to the project well after signoff (= the whole project was delayed to match the new factory opening, which also shouldn’t happen), but for the others I have no idea what the cause could be.
  • Unexpected engineering delays might make a nice random event though…

F) Bug? and a suggestion - information in the car model part of main hub
Once the project is signed off the main hub (and also the project window on reopening) shows desirability, affordability and dealership happiness for what the game sees as a “best fit” (read: either highest desirability, or defaulting to Family car with no regard to affordability) demographic rather than the original target one.

  • Would it be possible to always force show the manually set target demographics and show any others as a supplement to that?
  • (already reported multiple times, plus probably changing in 4.2, but just for the sake of completeness) - Currently there’s no option to change price on a superseded trim, could that be added (make the price cell in the hub list clickable or w/e)?
  • runaway preorders (again, a known issue, plus maybe fixed in 4.2, but just adding my voice to the herd) - could an “accept preorders” checkbox or yes/no button be added?

G) UI feature suggestions - Factories and engine variants
Okay, this is a big one. As things stand now, there’s no way to be able to tell which engine variants an engine factory produces, both in the hub factory list and in the factory screen, and the engine and factory list in the hub has very little interactivity and can get very messy.

My feature suggestions would be:

  • Add basic factory sortability in both hub factory list and factory control window (Name / Type / Location / Size / Current project…)
  • Allow for factory grouping (user-defined)
  • Show the specific produced engine variants a factory produces (mouseover tooltip?) along with other relevant info - For example "Factory F / Automation X, tooling Z / Currently produces variants A, B and D until Date X / is scheduled to start production of variants G and H from Date Y)
  • The same can probably be done for car factories, although here you can at least figure it out from the car trim list, which shows the factories producing individual trims
  • Speaking of that, would it be possible to add the same feature to the engine variant list?
  • Engine list gets super messy over time, as it hides superseded engine variants on a basis that I couldn’t quite fathom (straight replacement vs. copy and delete the original)… I can see this being improved in two ways that aren’t mutually exclusive:
    • A sort of “quick declutter” checkbox in the list header that hides all engine variants that aren’t:
      • current generation
      • in production
      • in demand by a currently produced car trim
    • Let us hide individual variants manually (when we try to do this to one of the above groups, a popup saying “really do this, y/n” could show)
    • Of course there also should be a checkbox in the list header that shows all hidden variants

H) UI feature suggestions - Fixtures

  • Automatic hole in bodywork under fixtures placed in 3D that have transparent bits (currently the body shows between the transparent glass and the reflector behind it). Perhaps optional (via a checkbox?)
  • Fixture grouping (think a complex grille / headlight combo that you’d want to scale/move as a unit, and yeah, it’s been suggested a lot and not something we’ll see in Automation 1, but still - adding my €0.02 to the pile)
  • Fixture import - from another trim (even if from another facelift) or even another model (basically - I like to mess with fixtures on facelift to update the looks, and some way to achieve a consistent look on same-generation trims without having to do it all by hand would be most welcome). “Some manual adjustment may be necessary” is perfectly fine - after all, going between various body types on a given model is rarely 100% seamless either.

I) UI feature suggestion - Time
Correct me if I’m wrong, but time in automation works similarly to time in Paradox strategy games, that is - essentially turn based, where turns are basic time units (days / months) that are taken continuously unless paused…

In that case - could we please have an “advance until the start of next month” button (and keyboard shortcut)?

J) UI feature suggestions - Minor

  • Measurements setting - allow dual power units (kW AND hp)
  • transmission saw graph - also show engine RPM on the vertical axis (or a second vertical axis)
  • engine power/torque/efficiency graph - as all of them are a function of engine RPM and both graphs featuring efficiency have a second vertical axis anyway, it would IMO be best to merge those three graphs into one
  • When comparing a newly created car model to some other you’re manufacturing, the manufacturing costs (materials and PU) are hidden. Makes sense when comparing to other companies’ products, not so much with one of your own (you ought to have that data on hand). Could these be shown?

K) Game limitations - steel presses, concepts/limited production
What rationale is there behind restricting steel presses to medium and above sized factories, “just” game balance?
I get that they’re large pieces of machinery and are perhaps the single most expensive piece of hardware found in the factory, but this really puts the kibosh on any sort of limited production vehicle and prices scale with factory size anyway (so they could do so disproportionately when combining steel presses with small factories, for example)…

  • Is there any plan to implement concept / limited production cars?
  • Plus IMO the same versatile English wheel used to shape aluminum can also be used to shape steel, it “just” needs more effort to be formed (in game terms: severely limited production efficiency or no mass production). Kinda pointless from an economic perspective (what you save on the raw materials you lose on the extra work), but may be nice for flavor.

L) Family/variant reshuffle
In 4.2 the option to mount VVL is moved to variant features as opposed to base features.

  • Would it be possible to treat the number of valves (if the valvetrain supports it) in the same way? After all it’s fairly common IRL to have a 2 and 4 valve variants of the same family engine
  • (entering Automation 2 territory) - maybe rearrange engine family system into 3 tiers:
    1. Family - sets engine layout (Inline, vee-angle, boxer), block material, valvetrain, max cylinder size
    2. Major variant - no. of cylinders (if possible), head material, no. of valves, VVL, maybe supercharging?
    3. Subvariant - everything else

M) Game difficulty settings
There’s currently a 36-month discount on engineering time for the first model a company produces. Would it be possible to have (as a game start difficulty setting):

  • the discount amount tweakable as a slider (going from 0 to 60-ish months) - default would still be 36, but if you want more challenge or more sandbox-y experience, you can change it
  • expanding on the above, having separate sliders for up to 3 models to represent you being an established pre-war manufacturer that doesn’t have to start completely from scratch would also be nice, but we’re probably not getting it
  • cheeky challenge mode (as a checkbox) - discounted models are limited to 1940 (1945 at the latest) bodies

N) The MPV body
Currently there’s no demographic that would prefer an MPV / passenger van body…
Could it be an acceptable alternative to station wagon body for some/all of the family utility demographics? Essentialy “prefers station wagon OR an MPV”

First of all, hello :smiley:

That’s actually already in - you can click the flags in the markets screen and thus toggle markets on or off, affecting which ones will count in your average scores (and yes you can leave just one to see the score in one country).

I really like the factory suggestions, they seem useful. I get a bit lost there as it is now.

I can’t really see how allowing steel presses in smaller factories, but with a penalty would be useful though. As you wrote yourself, kinda pointless from an economic perspective. And there are things like space frames, semi space frames (IIRC they don’t require anything special either) and glued alu or carbon fibre monocoques - all fitting nicely (with an alu/CF bodywork) a kind of car that would be produced in tiny numbers.

Suggested a few times I think, not going to happen. The devs said more or less that they had to divide it somewhere and the current idea is an optimal spot. IMO this could be solved by project cloning, as we can in sandbox, requiring full engineering cost and time only for the things you actually change (touch a slider = BAM, reengineer that thing) and facelift-like ones for all the rest. System unchanged, reused functionality, limited exploitability.

That’s actually already in - you can click the flags in the markets screen and thus toggle markets on or off, affecting which ones will count in your average scores (and yes you can leave just one to see the score in one country).

Huh, TIL… But there have been other instances of me writing down a feature to suggest only to find it already hidden in the game…

I’m still poking the game here and there, so I might expand this list a bit, but mostly I’m waiting for 4.2…

Okay, another thing on the list

N) Engine project list UI (although the same can be done for car project UI)
Depending on how long you keep an engine family up and how many variants and facelifts you do, you can end up with quite a few.

  • Could the scrollbars scale with the number of engine families and variants in both ways?
  • Could there be a way to hide long-superseded variants?

O) Hub window - car and engine list
Could the title rows in each table be anchored (I hope that’s the proper Excel name for it)?

Time to go through these, reply and make notes. :slight_smile:

A) Those are internal documents, some of which I can share in video format, but they are not for public consumption. Basically the whole game is designed in those 10s of thousands of rows of spreadsheets. So your only window into those are the LDUs

B) A past feature that likely will make it back into the game at a LCV5.x stage, including stronger tastes and potentially taste progression.

C) You’d pretty quickly destroy an engine with using the wrong fuel type I believe. Google around a bit on that :slight_smile:

D) Nah, not from our end, writing that stuff up is just way too much work. For the finished version of the game we’re aiming to have more and better tutorials, but not in wiki / outside-of-game form.

E) If that happens then it is a bug. Could be due to some tech being unlocked early maybe? No idea, but sounds like a bug. In regards to factory builds doing that after sign-off: did you add the factories via the hub factory manager?

F) It would be possible to show the target demographic there, yes. A preorder toggle is a good idea, even though the mechanic needs to be fixed for 4.2. :slight_smile: Changing prices will be possible from the market screen in 4.2, that includes older facelifts.

G) Factory management being messy, yeah, and engine management too! We have some ideas for how to clean this up a bit, but that is a big construction site in general. Not sure if we get around to that for already very heavy 4.2.

H) Fixture grouping is difficult, but definitely something we’d like to do (again! I think we partially had that working in Kee Engine).

I) Time in Automation is quantized into months, all calculations happen for full months. The time progressing is basically just a timer that triggers the “next turn” when full. Making it fully turn based as an option… hmm, would you prefer to click 12 times with significant wait time between clicks instead of just letting it run and pausing at the correct time? I don’t really see the benefit.

K) The scale of production needed to make the immense cost of dies for presses viable is about medium sized factories. That is a realistic thing, not so much just a game mechanic that works. Limited production and concept cars are planned, yes.

L) No, this is a forbidden topic ;D because 10s of millions of players have asked for that already, out of the 300000 who have the game. You got to draw the line somewhere, and we have chosen that somewhere to be where it will be in 4.2. VVL being thrown around is a matter of not mattering because of how niche the usecase is anyway. All that would be reassessed for the elusive Automation 2, of course.

M) Interesting! Something to consider.

N1) That is solved via the car body type desirability matrix coming with 4.2. It no longer will be a “yay or nay” kind of thing but more nuanced. The MPV bodies do tick a lot of boxes.

N2) Sure, more usability features will make it into the game, this seems reasonable.

O) Yes, it should be, if it is not then we need to make that happen.

Thanks for the write-up! Much appreciated :slight_smile:
Cheers!