So, I wanted to bring up a something I have been thinking about after playing through the game again, reading some of the changes you are making to the financial system, and seeing features you are considering adding. I guess the biggest question I have is what sort of game are you looking to make? Is it a car production line game or is it a production line game that features cars?
To explain what I’m really asking lets look at the progression you normally have in a game now. You start with the basic production of a sedan and you learn new techniques that allow you to add new features to that car and you research new features as well. These new features add additional components that are needed to be added at a certain station so that makes the supply chain a little more difficult to manage. You eventually research new body styles and those can be added to the production lines as well. Ultimately, you are striving to make the most efficient factory you can.
This all works just fine but it just seems a bit off to me. The addition of new features to you care is neat and it is fun to make cars that have different set-ups. The problem is, I feel like ultimately in the current set-up you just are striving to make what we will consider expensive or luxury cars in the newer updates. I feel like most of that revolves around how stations are handled in the game. When you add new tech the whole station is upgraded to need the new material. So when you upgrade a station to make, let’s say, leather seats, then every car that goes through that station should have the leather seats option. It doesn’t matter if the car doesn’t have leather seats as an option, the station uses the materials that you upgrade it to. Add heated and power seats and that is several hundred in parts that are consumed (best I can tell) that aren’t actually put on the car. Then when you get to the new body styles you just basically make the best version of that and throw it down the same line. I know that you are looking to add different sales factors into the game for body styles, but as it is now it feels like they are just another option that doesn’t really change how you run the factory. As it stands now, each line is basically going to be a line for a certain price level.
Compare that to how a car production line works. I got the chance to do a tour of the Audi factory in Ingolstadt so I’m going to use that as my baseline. I’m sure other companies have variations on this but they should be roughly similar. In Ingolsadt they make a bulk of their models (including all the SUVs) but we mainly toured the A3 line of cars. Each line there is broken up by the body style that is being built. So we toured the Sportback (5-door or hatchback depending on what you are used to calling it) line that produces the base 30k model all the way up to the 60k RS model. All those types of car stay on the same line and each station puts on the appropriate feature that individual car is supposed to have/ So the computer controlling the roof part knows if that car gets the regular or panoramic sunroof. The workers that put the seats in get the seats that are supposed to be in that car when it gets to their station. Different body styles don’t mix because they have different size parts that go onto them. Heck, the sedan version of the A3 is made in Hungary because the tooling to make the shell of the car is different.
So the question is how complex or game-like you want the finished version of the game to be. I personally think the game would be more interesting if it was more dependent on body style so that lines had to be built or re-tooled if you wanted to build a new style of car. So moving into the SUV segment should feel like you are doing something different than what you were doing with a sedan. The different styles should have things make them a bit unique and require some different logistical choices. Of course, more complex and more realistic does not necessarily mean fun and that is what a game ultimately needs to be. If the game is going to basically mean you build different lines for different price sectors, that is fine. There just needs to be a reason to actually invest in building stripped down cars and not always just aiming for the top end of the market.