Suggestion for Improving Scenarios

Right now, in my opinion, the scenarios in the game feel very void of any significance. They seem more like arbitrary objectives thrown at each map with no meaning to them. I think that by adding some relatively “small” (nothing is ever small in development, but c’est la vie) features to the game this experience could be significantly improved. In reality all this would really end up doing is answering the question of “why” to the existing goals that are already in the game.

An easy example to point to for this is Tesla. They had an arbitrary goal to produce 5,000 Model 3 produced per week. On its own this goal seems pretty meaningless, but in the grand scheme of things it was a “bet-the-company” situation that nearly left them bankrupt. Replicating that same situation in Production Line is not only entirely possible, but also very reasonably plausible.

The scenario would start with an existing line building a luxury sedan and SUV and the player would be expected to create a brand new line to produce a new mass-market vehicle (or use the existing one if they think they can make it quick enough for all three vehicles). You could even have some research that needs to be completed as well for the new vehicle to make it even more of a challenge. The user simply has to start producing vehicles at a rate of X per week (would have to be determined as a realistic number for the game, probably not 5,000) before they run out of money (or before a certain timeframe). There would also be an additional goal to keep the existing lines running at a certain rate. This additional goal would prevent the user from simply switching the existing line to the new vehicle and winning that way. You could also have a goal for selling the car at a price of $XX,XXX while also turning a profit within X days (would obviously both have to be realistic numbers for the game).

Throughout the scenario the user could receive notifications/popups about what is happening in the “real-world” (say the CEO just Tweeted saying you are adding a brand new feature to the vehicle that requires a station on the line you weren’t accounting for, for example) that would either just be extra information or could affect the gameplay (by altering the goals, or potentially affecting the factory directly (strike, sabotage, etc.)). You could also have popups when certain milestones are reached to encourage the player to keep pushing to accomplish the goals.

This would help keep the player engaged throughout the scenario, as well as give meaningful context to the goals they are trying to accomplish. Also, if this was written in a way that it pulled from external files, you would immediately open the game up to mod support for custom scenarios that add infinite degrees of difficulty and creativity from the community.

Changes Needed

  • Large popup at the beginning of the game, maybe with an image or two, explaining the scenario (yes this would require more translation work, but at least the context for it is itself instead of gameplay text)
  • Popups during the game explaining changes that occur to goals, when certain goals are met, or as encouragement when a certain progress is reached towards a goal (again more translation work, but simpler context for translators)
  • The ability for goals to change when certain criteria are met (X time has passed, X cars have been produced, X cars made per day/week is met, etc.)
  • The ability for goals to require specific features for a vehicle
  • Optional - “Events” within the factory causing certain parts of the line to shut down/be slower for long periods of time due to sabotage, strikes, etc. (piggy-backing on the existing breakdowns, but for much longer times and directly correlated to scenario events)
    • This might be much more work than adding some extra popups (and the supporting code to read the info from files, display at the right points in time, etc.), but it adds an extra dynamic to the way the scenario plays

Another cool scenario might be the current state of Ford (basically shutting down all car production, continuing to make SUVs and trucks, and then starting to create electric vehicles without going bankrupt). The goals for that scenario would be something like “Sell X SUVs and Pickups per day/week”, “Stop producing gas-powered cars within X days”, “Make X electric cars per week”, and “Sell X electric cars per day within X days/weeks”.

That goal of stop producing cars would require a “future” kind of goal, which I don’t think fits within the current structure of the goals. So the system would have to know that there is an upcoming goal it should be displaying to the user, even though there is no current goal it will be modifying. A bit trickier, but definitely doable.