Car Selling and other ideas

Hey Cliff et al,

I’ve been thinking how I would like to see the game develop, mainly around the car sales side of things and whilst I’m sure a lot of this has already been considered, I thought I’d put my two pence in.

The Market

At the moment the aim of the game seems to be to push out as many cars as efficiently as possible, with the most upgrades as this will give you the most cash. This doesn’t feel like the right end goal as there is only ever one right outcome for a factory and reduces the replayability. Instead, I’d be interested in building different lines to serve different needs in a complex market place and being more demand-led.

  • The market can be made up of a number of different purchaser profiles (student, golfer, school-run etc) who demand different parts more than others, but are not willing to pay for other parts (students/young drivers are pro Music player but not arsed about aluminium bodies) and the marketplace will only have so many of each profile (ie 20% students, 5% Gearheads).
  • Marketing can be used to push a car towards a particular buying group
  • Introduce different basic car shells which better target a particular group.
  • Introduction of more variation in engine parts for different market profiles Gearheads, boy racers etc. (I’m sure you can come up with better names!)
  • Market research can be a tech tree to better understand the needs of customers, and be a refreshing tech to keep the research team occupied ad infinitum.
  • Have car colour as a defining characteristic?
  • Other companies in the market could make cars that alter the demand in the market, even mimicking very popular player designs to undercut or divide demand, which might be a more natural way to manage car values than the current fix of reducing the value of the basic car over time.

The market profiles could be modelled so that it changes either by each playthrough to increase replayability (or during each game but this may annoy players who like to play in a straight efficiency mindset as the goalposts may change too much for their liking). I could flesh this out more but I think if this was in place, my factory would have to be built to either focus on one market segment (with a risk of saturating said market if throughtput or cost was too high) or have lots of lines to target many segments.

I’ve worked in an FMCG factory, and in established factories the issues (relevant in part to the game) are:

  • Introduction of machinery usually leads to a decrease in people requirements, and lost heads means redundancy packages which should mean there is a payback period on implementation. Not sure if adding machines reduces headcounts currently, but as they aren’t for cost-saving but instead for improved efficiency they currently operate in a different manner. However it would be good to manage the labour force in some small way.
  • People join unions who negotiate salary increase and protect jobs, so this could be a new interesting annual negotiation mechanic (we’ll take a lower payrise but want to ensure at least x manufacturing jobs in the factory this year, or strike action). I enjoyed moving the big hand in negotiations in Theme Park but maybe that was just me! Unionisation could be a start state or an outcome of too many robot upgrades being put into the factory.
  • Improvements on machine operations usually comes from the workforce, especially a motivated one. This could be as simple a mechanic as each employee in the factory gives a 0.001% chance of finding a throughput or cost improvement on a particular machine each day, but the link would need telegraphing so that it becomes a conscious decision by players. More training would boost this.
  • Inefficient lines are not always upgraded, even when there is money available. Usually this is driven by market demand forecasts whereby the line is “efficient enough” for forecast demand. The Marketplace suggestions in the above section should make this happen.
  • Breakdowns and missed deliveries drive production schedules. This is probably too granular for Production Line, as whilst it would be easy to implement breakdowns or a period of non-delivery of an item, unless the player is having to hit an order objective then it’ll just be a nuisance and currently I can’t see good solutions to the problem in game other than “build a new one” or “make it out of raw materials” or “wait”. A lot of design decisions would probably be needed before you would look at this. I’ve known high absence levels to alter production schedules too, which might be an easier way to implement. Someone else might see a good way to implement this sort of idea though.
  • Selling off by-products - Okay, no bi-products or waste in Production Line, but we do have WIP and components. It would make sense to sell components into the marketplace, especially as they have price fluctuations. You could even implement a “sell stock when market price hits £x” option.
  • Waste reuse in production. It would be interesting if certain processes created steel waste which we could then funnel into a reworker that then creates steel. It would create a new interesting problem to solve. Not sure if they do this with cars but other FMCG do it regularly.

A couple of quality of life changes:

  • Make it so that clicking an upgrade doesn’t close the upgrade window, reduces the clicking required by the player
  • Visual cues that upgrades have been applied.
  • Ability to move existing machinery around the factory.

Anyway, those are my major thoughts on the development, feel free to build on or disagree with anything in there.

+1 made alot of sense ! well done

I’ve done a few posts about market stuff now…they aren’t very organized but they will add things to think about if you have the time.
Re: Real World engineering - Market share, categories & demand
Re: Price Increase / Difficulty Levels - R & D effects price

I like your manufacturing ideas…
I think these are the most interesting ideas because they would have a huge effect on the way you play the game.

Currently the more stations you plop down the more employees you have. This brings up a good point that some stations should not require any oversight- thats the whole point of having a QA station, to catch mistakes for less money than hiring an employee at each station. I think it would be great to add item rejection into the game because the quality is lower than desired for the end product.

I really like the idea that your workforce becomes more familiar with your production line as time passes, if you make no changes, and can increase efficiency up to a certain point but require you to pay them higher wages. This would be a great addition to the game and I don’t think it would be that hard to implement. Its somewhat of a game changer though, in that more experienced players will make better designs and can focus their research on other things and never update certain production lines until you want to replace it.

This is probably the most game changing idea…
This would be part of the solution for rejected items being redone so that they meet quality requirements. I think this could be something to add to the manufacturing and making it more efficient by wasting less material. This would require adjusting the values of how much steel is required to make X and Y and you will have Z left over. What would make this worth it is that it would be cheaper to remake raw materials than just throwing the left over materials away. For creating certain items I would imagine there would be a lot of wasted material that could be reused. The problem is how do you treat items on the resource conveyor that are not whole numbers? We might have to convert them into “scrap metal” etc to generic material that you can make a few different things out of them. You could even designate stockpiles specifically for this.

BTW I 100% agree with the quality of life changes that you suggested, they have been brought up before- I think most people agree with them.

This is something i think we need to discuss at a higher level.

Looking at the marketing ideas it seems that most people want AI competition, i stand i that line for sure…
This is why i would suggest the market as it is now is a bit flawed, well its great if you would set your “import” standards as “buy cheepest avalible”, this should ofcourse give you the lowest quality of products. Putting in a Kia door will most likely be worse in defects then a BMW or Volvo door, atleast in theory.

By applying Car ID’s to each car in the production line togheter with the optional upgrades (that should go high on the wish list for most) i would also suggest that the Car ID would include a “Quality: %” range that you would have to increse via the QA stations (these should be “optional” Btw… )

Say you buy doors from a supplier offering them at a discount price (here i want to add a bulk buy option!) like below

Menu > Source products > Doors

Supplier 1; 1000 doors, Quality 77%, Price 77$/each
Supplier 2; 1900 doors, Quality 80%, Price 66$/each
Supplier 3; 500 doors, Quality 100%, Price 100$/each

it gives you the option to either buy bulk of one of the above or buy from all of the above based on the cheepest avalible price right now (as the order is placed)

Ofcource these resources should be impacted by demand and so on so the price goes up or down depending on requests from other producers.

this would give you the possiblity to “sell on market” and get money not only for building cars but also for creating parts.

I second different quality of importers, would make it more strategic. Competing for imports with ai, selling your own creations etc.
Having a build quality that varies would also help, so introduce the need for quality checks. want high quality cars, put in many check stages. or dont bother but may affect yuor reputation, and so sale price.

i also like the idea of an option to buy parts at various quality points, numbers im sure this could be worked out so as to off set the end sale price. i would also like to see lets say a map of the uk to see where your cars are going and also the demand in that area, i would also like to see big corporate companies, coming in and offering you a contract on an amount of cars to be produced, and penalties if not delivered on time. my list could go on. i deliver to JLR every day in my truck. and maybe you could even go down the route of transport costs to car sales places etc. well loving the game keep up the good work