So I’ve noticed the pricing model has had a few iterations recently. However, it always seems to revolve around the market value, rather than on simple markup. I’m not a fan of this because the “market” in the game is only a simulation which I cannot predict nor react to - it’s simply an algorithm that insists that I set my cars at some magic value. I don’t feel like I’m making any intelligent decision nor basing my prices on actual data.
So why not switch it up where we have a “Car Design” UI that shows the break-even value for a given model based on component costs, overall staff time and energy costs involved in the manufacture of the car. Beyond that, we set our own markup.
The market should revolve around the cars we output. If we produce slowly, we’ll probably enjoy high markups; if we produce quickly, we’ll probably have to settle for lower markups, but will likely enjoy higher profit overall.
In doing this, we’re not forced to react to invisible market forces, but instead can set our own pace, with the game increasing the challenge as we manage to squeeze out cars at an increasing rate.
TL;DR: Make the Car Design UI much more simple, and simply set a markup over fixed cost.
Ah but how do you determine the cost of making the car?
Do you include rental for all the slots? and for all sections of the production line? if so, what about the unusable gaps between some production slots? do you include their rental too? and how about any areas of totally unused space? how are research costs proportioned to each car? and what about capital costs and loan repayment costs?
The question ‘how much did it take to manufacture that car’ is widely open to interpretation. I do accept that I need to make more information along those lines available though. For example the total component costs could easily be calculated (although if they are made ‘in-house’ even that is not true).
Split the responsibility for this task between yourself and the player. As the component cost is the most significant, you could probably get away with just setting an “estimated cost” at that. You could possibly go a step further and factor in the total staff time spent building the car, plus energy costs. I wouldn’t put anything else on you though, leave it to the player to figure out their overhead and desired profit margin. Don’t worry about unused floor space, idle time and other costs - the player should worry about that. The result that if the player attempts to sell at break even, you’ll actually steadily lose money. The advice to them is to price for growth.
The difficult bit for the developer is designing a “market” that reacts to the price of the cars and their supply.
I wouldn’t over think it. I’m making this suggestion merely so that the game can offer the player a basic value upon which they can build an actual selling price.
Again, I’d value the price of components made on-site as a function of component value (possibly adding staff time & energy costs as mentioned earlier). Of course, there’s the opportunity cost to factor in, amongst other things, but again, I’d leave it to the player to decide how much money they want to make from the parts they manufacture.
You know the price of the parts used. You know the hourly cost of your building and staff and electricity.
A way to calculate the cost of the car could be like this.
When the car is start to build there is a timestamp on it, and in the end there is a timestamp so you know exactly how long it take to build that car.
Now you just add the cost of all the parts used, take the hourly or daily staff costs and divide that with the time it took to build the car. Same for rent and power costs. Added all together you get an estimate of how much the car cost to build.
This way, having bottlenecks in your factory will make it that your cars cost more, as they spend more time in the factory.
Another way and maybe better way could be to only add up the time a car spends on each station. Then if there is a bottleneck, it will not increase the cost price of the car and the price of each car will be stable. And upgrading your stations with faster and more robots will reduce the time your car spends on the stations and with that potentially reducing the cost price of the cars. But more and high tech robots will need more power, so the power cost of your cars will go up, but you can counter that by producing your own power instead.