Suggestions from a mechanical engineer

Just a few thoughts i’ve had whilst playing this great game, sorry if they’ve been said before or are already planned:

Sub-assembly lines
On real car assembly there will be sub-assembly lines for things like front subframe, rear subframe, dashboard. These then get added to the bodyshell as it’s passing down the main line at the appropriate point.
Contents of the front subframe could include: front suspension, front brakes, powertrain (built up in a sub-sub line), and the subframe component iteslf that holds all the bits together.
Rear subframe could include rear suspension, differential (for rear wheel drive cars - another upgrade option for the cars could be drivetrain type which would affect the target market), rear brakes.
The dashboard includes the passenger airbag, any infotainment systems, climate control/heater panel, instruments (another possible upgrade option: std -> electronic -> HUD).

Order of some sections isn’t correct (nit-picking i know!)
For example, on PL, brakes are fitted after tyres, which are fitted after wheels. Brakes should be first, then wheel/tyre sub-asssembly.
Suspension should be after the body shell has been painted, as should windows & wingmirrros and bumpers
Electrics should be before the rest of the interior is done (for wiring loom), and the ancilliary electrics such as infotainment systems fitted as a separate cell or with the other accessories
I could take the current cells and suggest a more realistic order if you wanted?

Different specification of cars
At the moment, once an upgrade is reaserched and added, it’s added to every car on the line. This limits choices for different target markets. It would be better if we could, within a bodystyle, define different specifications such as basic, middle and premium, and choose different options within each one and then set a ratio of bodystyles and specifications to be made at the start of the line (in a new cell perhaps?), with the specification following the car down the line and defining what is fitted to the car at each station. Makes line balancing much harder, but also more accurate to real life car manufacture without seriously compromising the gameplay I think. You could also send different body styles down the same line (such as sedan, wagon, hatchback) needing different parts depending on style.

Within that you could also have different engine types and sizes available, so that you could have 2 or 3 standard models with different engines, a couple of middle, and a premium “halo” model with the big powerful engine. Engines could also be used across different platforms, as in real life, to maximise return on development cost

Quality of product & product development
I understand you are plannning to introduce this later, but I thought i’d add a suggestion here too for you to think on.

Change the way research is carried out so that different teams can be assigned to different areas of the car at the same time, such as body shell, powertrain, suspension etc. As they conduct more reasearch on different areas new features and accessories are unlocked. A higher research level improves product quality as well.

You could also have research into manufacturing to unlock the different cells, and then the different component manufacturing. The quality of the car becomes the sum of the quality of the components, the manufacturing methods and anything else you care to throw in (industrial relations with the workers for example?).

You could also allow the player to purchase in different quality components for the ones they don’t manufacture. It might make the car cheaper, but affect the brands reputation, or make the car so expensive and high quality that you can’t sell it. As each game progresses and you bring more components in-house you need more research teams, increasing fixed overheads but allowing cost reduction from in-house manufacture.

Possible new features/parts for the cars (some mentioned above, some I think you’re already planning)
std instruments / electronic instruments / Heads Up Display
Manual / Automatic transmission
Petrol / Diesel / Hybrid / Electric engine
Straight 4 / Straight 6 / V6 / V8 etc engines
Front / Rear / 4WD
Radio / Premium Radio / Satnav Radio (already kind of in there i know)
Ventilated seats
Basic suspension / Sports suspension
Twin outlet exhaust
Carbon chassis

I hope i’ve not repeated too many things already said, or come across as an “arroagnt idiot” in the way i’ve said it on my first post. I’m really enjoying the game, even though it is a bit like real life for me!

If I think of other things i’ll add them to this thread.

Hey thanks for the feedback and ideas it is very much appreciated. I am very wary of moving the current production slot order, even for realism, because so many people have existing save games that would then be ruined.
I definitely agree that there is a lot of scope for engine choices and complexity, this is one of the reasons I started breaking it out so that the engine block, power train etc is done outside the car to allow such stuff.
Front/rear/4/All wheel drive is definitely in my plans.
I also need to get air suspension in there as an option, because my car has it, and I cant possibly have a feature in my car that is not in the game :smiley:

I would happily get my saves broken to have a bit more realism. It’s an alpha game, you should expect your save to break every single update even if that’s not the case.

For what it’s worth, I wish we had better ways of creating new “trims” for the car than adding new production lines and having the marketing automatically decide pricing for us while reusing the same car model name. I agree with at least that part of the post.

I feel like the chassis could assign a VIN to the car as well as its trim at that moment, and then the rest of the production line could know what to do depending on which car it is (what options to add, what engine to put, etc). This might even let you create special orders in the very far future. Food for thought.

Yeah, breaking saves now and then is inevitable if it´s purpose is to improve the game in some way.
Plan ahead and let every 5th or 10th update to include potential save-breaking features/changes.

I suggest the first “steam-hosted” version to be such a update (0.19/0.20?).

I joined the forum to specifically say what Beardy Dave said, so I will simply say that what he said I think is very important for the game. If sequencing doesn’t matter, then why not have any sequence ? Of course it matters, but if you are busy on game breakers, then I will wait but I do not accept it does not get down because it will kill save games.

Here is another vote for changing the order to be more realistic but keeping the fun game mechanics. I feel over the long term it will add much more to the game. If you are unsure, add it to the next game poll (i.e. * Production Line realism improvements/subassembly lines [may break saves]). Changing order would just involve deleting and replacing the slots in the new correct order.