Year limitations on VVT/VVL

Hey there. It seems to me that being completely locked out of VVT or similar technology until the mid 1990s is a bit strange. This wikipedia article; demonstrates this nicely, as car makers were developing VVT, VTEC and other such systems even in the mid 80s! Just wondering if the option could be there earlier on, just highly cost restrictive.


Technology year is NOT the actual year of production. If these car makers were developing variable valves technology in mid-80s, it just means that they were more advanced than others, and as such, their top end technology year should be raised

This will be a bit of a rant but…

True. However, some of the technology limitations set in the current engine building demo are completely unrealistic. For example the availability of leaded fuels before 1948 (Tetra-ethyl-lead was applied first to aviation fuel as an antiknock agent with turbo/superchargers). Prior to TEL the most common antiknock agent was industrial ethanol in 5 - 15% mixture in gasoline. And when we go back to the early 1900s there was no gasoline mass production, Ford Model-T ran on 100% ethanol, turpentine and lamp oil for availability. So IMHO unleaded fuel should be available from the start, maybe even said ethanol option in some expansion pack.

Another thing is carburators and fuel-injection, (and at the same time turbos, not to mention superchargers) and even an aluminium block. All of the forementioned were commercially viable technology tested soon after the war. Fuel injection systems early 50s and turbochargers in the mid 60s by GM. Both FPT and LPT versions. Their failure wasn’t a technical one but a marketing one, the people of plenty didn’t want to hear of a more fuel efficient, smaller engine that could do the work of a engine twice it’s size when that size is what matters to an american. The aluminium “Rover” V8 began as the Buick 215cid in 1953… Yet again, why isn’t aluminium available earlier if GM considered it a viable material for a mid-class sedan in the early 50s?

Carburetors, in all of their configurations AND superchargers are 1910s technology, it’s ridiculous that you have to slide the tech bar to the 1960s to have access to normal parts from the 1930s.

It’s quite obvious that when you’re goal is to make something that would improve upon i.e. Detroit in spades these issues need to be addressed, that is “what if?” and more importantly “how could you?” succeed where GM and pretty much the whole car industry failed… overspecialization in fuels and fuel types and in setting contradictory trends in marketing like big Cadillac’s as the model for all sedans and then sticking a “small” 3.5l aluminium V8 with a turbo in it and selling it off as a Oldsmobile. (Ok, I admit that here they were a decade too early with a LPT-system which required a Methanol/Wasser 50/50 and a couple of butterfly valves as an ECU to avoid spark-knock (typical of LPT applications with open throttle and without fuel-injection hard to solve) failed in reliability because high maintenance required. However The full-pressure Corvair H6 didn’t)

I do understand that it’s just a demo for now and a work in progress and these are details the developers aren’t going into quite yet. But they need to be addressed none the less.

Yup, in the demo we’ve not exactly spent ages researching the exact moment that a tech should unlock, more work will go into that when we start working on the tech tree etc. But for now I don’t think its a big priority compared to the other stuff we’ve got to work on.

Agreed, however informed discussion over the subject is something I find appealing. I must also point out I was wrong about TEL adoption. It was adopted in the US in the 1920s because of the prohibition and it’s cheapness over ethanol over all once Ethyl corp perfected the synthesis, but in Europe it took until after the second world-war that TEL became de-facto antiknock agent.

This got me thinking. I’m sorry if my thoughts aren’t very collected. But, I see great potential in building the broader game mechanics around this, the car company investing in the fuel industry and the industry of it’s choice. The moral and ethical considerations of early 1900s business practices can also be used as a plot device, suitably softened naturally.

I’m of course (probably in err) assuming you don’t have the game mechanics fully planned out yet and suggesting that a corporation can drive, i.e. through fuel business investments the development toward certain directions and quite drastically so.

For example (I re-read the TEL and Ethyl chem corp articles in wikipedia) GM patented it’s use as a anti-knock additive and some googling reveals that indeed pre-WWII Europe used excess from the alcohol-industry as the main source for anti-knock additive. WIth prohibition in the USA, they didn’t such waste and while TEL was a bit cheaper it also gave other “benefits” to GM and other car manufacturers. It allowed engine manufacturers to start skimping on head manufacturing techniques and fuel-line materials. Ethanol brings moisture with it into the system and tended to over time corrode metallic fuel-lines and also hasten corrosion with in the engine itself, while rubber that didn’t dissolve into the mixture was also more expensive.

This allowed corporations to cut costs in several ways and at the same time increase the power-output by hiking up the compression-ratio with out investing into metalworking techniques and engineering to improve the geometry and materials of the engine (inlet, cylinder, piston etc. ) to gain the same power with lower octane levels and use cheaper fuel-systems.

IMHO this angle opens a whole new avenue for players in their engine design over the long run, they can either invest in non-leaded fuel-additives (simultaniously accidentally investing in bio-fuels) and more durable engines with slightly less power but which can then be, with out a power-loss and development cost penalty for example, adapted for catalytic converter use and run with unleaded from the get go or take the easy way out, invest in lead-additive dependent valve seats and higher octane level for cheap power but when governments start demanding TEL phase-out not have access to higher octane unleaded tech as soon and catalytic converters will cause a penalty.

The corporation investing in ethanol based fuels can compensate the power loss with early adoption of forced-induction power-trains in mainstream applications and has sooner access to E85/100 fuel near the end of the game.

Ok, sounds very Saabish to me… Expensive, specialized and a very small margin for profit if you can’t sell the public on your, costlier cars and lower-octane fuels. So it will eventually fail and the fruits of your labor will be picked off by GM, VAG and Daimler-Benz who either hide them in their labs as something too good to be true (and expensive for them to produce) or like VAG; change strategy, find a protomarket (brazil) and invest in forced induction system development but phase it in gradually.

The history of TEL is very similar to that of public knowledge of tobbacos health effects. At first because the ratio with the additive was so small ( 1 part TEL / 1260 gasoline ) it wasn’t considered an immediate threat but further study “was warranted”. The studies were funded and controlled by the lead-industry and it took until 1962 when a Polish epidemiologist published definitive proof of TELs toxicity to humans. This made GM quickly sell off it’s holdings and patents to EXXON to avoid any possible liability claims.

And since I really do hate the whole TEL episode in the history of the internal-combustion engine, I personally wouldn’t mind if the competing corporation could say… hire a private investigator to expose the neglect business practices of TEL sponsoring competitor and thus crush them by making them financially liable. :stuck_out_tongue:

This little shortcut gave the industry a free pass to not bother with design while poisoning the nature and people. Double fail, I hate inefficient technology and I really don’t like this kind of blatant disregard towards everything and everyone for the sake of a dollar. Corporations have always gotten away with it even if the crime was apparent and liability clear and effects devastating for decades, even centuries. A business, small or big, should understand that by benefiting the society at large through ethical practices and contributing to the community they benefit themselves in the long run.

Anyway, just a couple of murmurings. I hope my enthusiasm isn’t too over bearing, I know you’re working hard with the game. And I do understand if you aren’t interested implementing something this complex.

Yeah, I’ll chime in here and say I kinda feel the same way as meton. It does seem as though some of the ‘phase in availability’ years on technologies are in variance with how it ‘played out.’ Electronic Fuel Injection was one standout example that hit me. As a SAAB owner, I familiarized myself with the ancestors of my 1996 900 SE turbo…

I guess we could talk about the mechanical direct-injection gasoline engines in 1925 or the electronic injection system in 1940, but neither of those were really production vehicle technologies. But, by the late 1950s there were examples slated for production car engines, such as Bendix’s Electrojector in 1957 ($395 at the time), though in fairness, the passive electronics of the day (specifically the condensors aka capacitors) were not really up to the challenge. Then, Chrysler offered a system called Electrojector in '58 on a number of series-production vehicles. Again based on the Bendix technology, and, again, the electronics of the time weren’t really up to it. The rights of these earlier systems were sold to Bosch who spent about a decade developing the technology. The 1970 SAAB 99 was available with the Bosch D-Jetronic system (which itself was used in 1967 by VW), also used in production vehicles by, again VW and SAAB, as well as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, and Citroën. This was hardly niche. Cadillac offered it in '75, the '74 Toyota Celica offered Electronic MPFI on an optional engine. Nissan offered it in '75, etc. etc.

In automation, which is presently introducing electronic CFI/SPFI in 1988 and MPFI in 1992 and omitting continuous injection systems (which had been around for several decades in both SPFI and MPFI guises), these choices I hope will be revised after further review and consideration. Plus, as a suggestion, it would be fun to be able to tweak aspects of these (like injector size, duration, and fuel rail pressure) and would be analogous to the tweaks already allowed on the exhaust system.

Finally, as this is tangential to EFI systems, and because longevity is a component of Automation engine design scenarios, EFI enables one other big thing that is absent in carb systems-- knock detection response. Some engines, such as a variable-geometric SAAB engine offered on the 9-5 sedan, can actually change their compression on the fly to handle E0/E10 vs E85 and respond to varying octanes. Food for thought?