Feedback on restricted office space

I know some people were surprised when we changed the game to restrict research and marketing offices to defined areas, but its been a while now and I wonder what players of the current game think about this mechanic?
It was included because I thought that having no cap on office placement made research way too quick, and too overpowered, and also liked the idea of making the decision on where to expand more interesting.

Did anyone hate it, but now accepts its improved the game?
Anyone wish it was still the old freeform build idea?
Do you think its made the game more of a challenge?
Thanks in advance.

Hi Cliff. Greetings from Germany.

I think the mechanic you implemented does not match the idea why you thought of implementing it.


  • just for example: in ‘tight budget’ you have space for 9x(1x3) special buildings in the starting area. That is still enough to research with almost lightspeed and go for a mixture of tech and marketing later. The ‘Medium Factory’ has way more. I did not count the other one’s. So where is that limitation here? It feels like you’ve set the limitation above the demand (rule of thumb basis? =) )

  • Improvement of the game/Challenge!? -> still lightspeed

  • Freeform build idea: This needs to be split down into the amount of possible special buildings and the placement of them. For me it is ok when the game has some hard set limits on the amount of buildings, but I AM THE MANAGER (^^), so why on earth can’t i build in freeform?

So how could it look like in a ‘clean’ way?
-> the total number of cars unlocks further free slot of placable special buildings
-> the overall peak ratio of cars manufactured per hour allow the amount x of labs
-> 1 corner of the map holds x slots which can be unlocked (for a higher square price)
-> the total amount of m² allows x (freeplacable) special buildings
-> new special buildings (the amount) has to be researched.

Don’t think the restriction has the correct effect and I find it more annoying that I have to build my factory around it.
A more effective way would be to double to cost of research station for every research station you put down.
So 1st one costs for instance 2000, then next one 4000, the one after that 8000 etc. So building a lot of them will get very very expensive.

I think part of the problem is tied to the economic system. Currently the player makes different models (Basic, Mid, Expensive, Luxury) due to the total costs and markup. The sure number of features required leads to the research race just to get more profitable cars. Your idea was to make the player decide between research and marketing in the limited space and to limit filling whole areas with research just to burn through the tech tree in a couple of hours.

Currently I don’t think the fixed office space is working out as intended. People are still spamming research to do the research race. I feel that having some kind of diminishing return on both research and marketing would be a better approach and not limit build area. Maybe reduced efficiency in ideas/research points if placed near manufacturing or assembly lines. Better efficiency if similar offices are placed together. Add a limit of offices that are placed unless an Admin offices (i.e. payroll, human resources, middle management, etc) is placed to manage those employees. This would increase power usage and labor costs significantly and force players to slow down research and maybe hire a marketing instead to sell cars in order to keep the company profitable.

Also the different models (Basic, Mid, Expensive, and Luxury) should be based on number of rare features instead of overall costs. A player should not be marking up 70% just to reach expensive category threshold. In the 1970’s, a car with air conditioning, 8-track radio, leather seats and interior, and a sun roof was considered expensive. Today these items are basic (leather being mid). At the start if you researched 4-6 very rare tech and include it all in a model, that model should be declared expensive or luxury even if the car only costs $19K. Changing the tech tree to be more like reality where people research things like heater, air con, power windows, central locking (i.e. things in the 1970/80s) and not reversing camera and keyless entry and then make the AI competitors research similar tech as the player will force the player to further research more things to keep the expensive and luxury rating and continue to drive up the cost of all cars over time while dropping profit margins like reality. Maybe break it at percentage of all known technology so 25% of known features would be Mid, 50% would be expensive, and 75% would be expensive. There would be a minimum of at least 2 features on Mid and up to 5 ot 6 for luxury. Also limit markup to more realistic numbers. I think the mechanic of very rare to universal is sound. The problem is the hard economic costs limits for the car models that lead to the research race and led to the office space fix.

Sorry for getting a bit off topic but I think the issues are linked.

The only thing i hate about these office areas is the fact that they are in the way and I have to build around them.

Otherwise im fine with them. I do think that research stations should cost more but thats just me :slight_smile:

The problem with arbitrary limits, such as 'you can only build 3 research facilities until you place X, or research Y, is that such things are not immediately obvious and need to be explained to the user by a tutorial, that often many players will skip. One of the things that I like about the limited office zones is that the placement GUI very quickly makes it apparent how the limitations work.
It might be that the current layout is just too generous, and we need to restrict the size of those office spaces in starting zones a bit more?

Sorry to be blunt, but it’s that players own fault if they skip tutorials and then don’t know how the game works and starts to ask stupid questions he wouldn’t have to ask by reading the tutorial.

New purchaser of the game, new user to the forums, howdy!

Ideas on office footage restrictions:

Offer some in-game method of relocating / consolidating office square meterage. Obviously this would require a research unlock first*, and there would likely have to be a per-transaction cost to act as a balancing mechanic – possibly an escalating cost. The cost can be a time-delay period where both the old and new locations are greyed out, with an elapsed in-game timer until the old tiles are released to production and the new tiles are released to office. A financial cost, obviously. Possibly even a point-cost of a generate-over-time resource such as research points / “design” points / etc. Or even a no-take-backsies element to prevent repeated relocations – default mapgen office tiles are green, but office tiles placed by this relocation mechanic might be purple, whereupon only green tiles are relocateable. If more colors are used, this can dovetail well into a nested-research unlock, where RE-relocating an office tile would obviously be more expensive / longer cooldown, and would even possibly come at a small loss of square meterage, where 10 purple tiles are deselected but only 9 tiles are spawned into the newly designated location. This has the gameplay benefit of incentivizing and rewarding the seasoned / veteran player on a new map to zoom out and foresee future expansion locations so that they can decide up front which neighboring plot will eventually house a single contiguous block of office space.

*You explicitly state that you are hopeful to disincentivize research-spamming and tech-racing. Break up the mapgen office tiles into smaller segments of the same overall aggregate number of floor tiles. The code logic would need to ensure that at least one office segment in the initial play area would have to be no smaller than 1x3 in order to guarantee that there would not be an auto-loss instance of not being able to place even a single research bench. Have a semi-random chance of errant 1x1 or 1x2 segments possible, but generally favor a 2x3 to 3x5 area of the bell curve. Sub-logic to ensure that there’s a 95% or greater chance that any 1x1 or 1x3 would be a maximum of 4 tiles taxi-distance from a hard-corner of the production floor area (with some lottery possibility of having a single 1x1 appear in a random dead-center location, which can easily be navigated around in early game.) I’m re-reading what I’ve typed so far, and honestly it sounds like I’m advocating for procgen map configurations…?

At any rate, for both topics above, game-difficulty sliders can influence these mapgen variables. Noob-settings would ensure more office tiles in fewer discrete sections, and could also influence edge-portal distribution as well. HardcoreQQ mode could guarantee “dead pixel” floorspace distributions, with edge-portals in corner-bottlenecks that would guarantee that an in-game relocation transaction would be necessary in order to free up all input lines, or even allow for a portal relocation entirely. With procgen, maybe the initial play area on hardcore would only indicate expansion edges without revealing future overall floor areas, thereby forcing the veteran player to make strategic and expensive expansion decisions with reduced information. Hell, allow for a 3-time research unlock to be able to reveal past a fog-of-war boundary for unexpanded territory for a flat calculated cost of 1x the revealed floorspace’s monthly rental cost, with the second costing 2x, and the third and final reveal transaction carrying the heavy pricetag of 4x (exponential increase.) This allows for deeper game tree randomization, since procgen could simply await revelation before spawning in the unexpanded arena chunks, necessarily meaning that the player would want to conserve such a finite supply of cost-prohibitive reveal transactions (since cost is both financial as well as research.)

I’d like to see office space segments be independently controllable, or even have segregations between office segments be changeable in-game, such that you can differentially prioritize various short term / high priority and long term / low priority research goals. Segregation segments would be another use for floor tile overlay color. Maybe delineate user-segregated (generally free or inexpensive) distinctions with hue and shade, whereas actual RBG colorwheel distinctions would convey information as to how many times before the same office tile was previously relocated. If the GUI could allow for those colors to be toggled between palette-view of all colors verbose, and a normal factory runtime display mode of monochromatic and low-saturation binary distinctions as between production tiles and office tiles.

These hue / color distinctions could allow for production slot manipulation as well in some not-yet-designed slot manager gui. We can differentiate smart-junctions in either conveyor species by color-zone overlay, and different line segments based on model or options packaging. I’m imagining that higher-tier luxury and hypercar models would have paint booth options for higher gloss, color-shifting paints, UV-reactive, iridescent. Maybe even a special “mod-bay” slot for lategame to fulfill VIP custom orders. I’m imagining a tooltip description of a fictional crown prince places an order for a new-line copy of a previously-archived vehicle model that sold very well. This is a perhaps-hidden (or at least not tutorial-described) easter egg achievement where a model of vehicle sets such high sales benchmarks when it’s in live production that there’s a nostalgia element to the vehicle as a collector’s item after the line is discontinued and archived. Maybe even impose a limit to the number of models that can be archived at any given time, so that the player can discover that they opted out of archiving and can therefore not fill the legendary-rare order for $1.2M for a 1985 Impala with undercarriage lighting, a flamekit in the exhaust, metallic bubblegum-pink paint, sectioned hood scoop, windshield-projected HUD instrument display, dual-side steering wheel dashboard, and the back seat folds flat into the floor to create a closed-shell “convertible” interior-theater area where someone can stretch out to watch a movie while parked. Component costs for such a legendary-rare order could be further reduced by having had the foresight to develop research tech and production line preparation for custom-fabrication of low-demand high-cost parts, such that the hood with scoop and turbo intake could be fabricated against the original design’s form factor that never offered the sectioned hood as a dealer option.

Uncommon-rare custom-booth orders might involve converting an SUV into a stretch limousine. A common-rare would be a Lincoln Town Car form-factor limousine. A custom-booth production slot could be cost-justified by allowing for it to be repurposed as a pull-aside bay for line vehicles that failed QA because they missed having a single option component installed due to a supply-line shortage early in the drivetrain process, for example. This would benefit from a research unlock to allow for conveyer belt segments to accommodate vehicle chassis on a rollaway palette-cart so that human workers can detach the mid- or even late-stage vehicle from the conveyor belt and manually wheel it into the pull-aside bay (at a penalty to speed, since it takes humans to do it and those workers would at least temporarily have to leave their assigned post while the vehicle is in transit to the pull-aside bay.) The baseline research unlock would upgrade the conveyors themselves to be able to accept such chassis-carts, and a secondary unlock would allow the carts to be pulled off the line entirely with no prejudice to the rest of the conveyor line.

Also, please note that my professional background is in commercial transportation – buses, trucks, lorries, etc. Lategame and / or high-difficulty playthroughs would allow a player to reskin their sprite set to allow for diversification into larger vehicles, such as campers / camper trailers / work vehicles. Pickup trucks with external chassis-rig configurations, large passenger vans with stripped cargo interiors as moving vans, extended-body utility vehicles for conversion to first responder equipment variants, etc. Land fleet supply contracts with car rental fleets at the local airport, a fictional reference to a contract with an Uber-type provider, partnerships with a fictional-Google for a test fleet of self-driving cars prototyping a new design of street-grid navigation infrastructure in a city like London or Boston or Melbourne. An ultra-rare contract might be for a small run of 15 copies of an iconic vehicle used in a blockbuster film (think KITT from Knight Rider, the next version of the Batmobile, the yellow Camaro used as Bumblebee in Transformers, etc.)

And note, for gameplay purposes, the code-efficient method of reskinning can be used as a stopgap measure until later in game development when full vehicle-type diversification becomes more feasible. Ford and GM and Volvo all have healthy industrial-variant operations, as a lot of large work vehicles carry their drivetrains housed in industrial-only chassis variants (International trucks are a division of GM, Freightliner is a division of the company formerly known as Daimler-Chrysler, Mack trucks were owned in common with Volvo for a few years back in the 90s, etc.)

I really need to drink less coffee. :-\ I hope even 1% of my ideas inspire something that ends up in the game. Awesome alpha game, I bought it on Steam a few days ago, played it for the first time a few hours ago, no regrets. Love it! 7.7 / 10!

Whoah. Thanks for taking the time to type out suggestions like this, its much appreciated.

I sort of like what you’ve done in terms of game balance, but I very much dislike the concept of arbitrary restrictions in general. I mentioned this with regards to import slots a while ago, but as a business owner/manager, I choose to locate my business where I can get the most out of the resources I invest into it. If I’m artificially hamstrung by some condition on the property, I don’t buy/rent it, I find somewhere else more suitable. This applies to the issues with importers just as it does with available office space (both research and body design). I dislike how I’m artificially restricted to how many offices I can place and I dislike that the available office space interferes with my production line layout, even when I’m not using it.

Here is the fix I would suggest that solves both the issue of arbitrary restriction and deterrence of research spam: Diminishing returns on additional offices. For each office built, the overall efficiency of all offices decreases, thanks to phenomenons such as overhead and increased management costs… The efficiency should never drop (maybe if you literally fill an entire unit with offices) such that placing new ones reduces your overall research rate, but placing, say, twenty offices instead of just ten won’t double your research rate, it might only increase its by a total of ~25%.

I think this would work well for research items, particularly with further balance tweaks. It won’t work so well on body design IMO. Body design seems to cap out a little too quickly and the relative lack of tiers (only one or two) means that this trick won’t really have a beneficial impact there. If you’re introducing a lot more research options for body designs down the line, then maybe that’ll become an option too.

i love it