Various suggestions, and item movement needs an overhaul

1] For the sake of consistency, in the stockpile menu Alloy Wheel should be under Wheel, Nappa Leather Seat should be under Seat, and Sunroof and Panoramic Sunroof should be under Roof, just like PowerTrain, Steering Wheel, Light and WingMirror. Or, none of them should be grouped.

2] We should be able to toggle the automatic stocking of upgrade items in fitting stations, for example fitting the varieties of Lights. Likewise, we should be able to toggle purchased upgrades in stations which manufacture these items. Some fitting stations do not perform well with all of them enabled (Insufficient Resources), and the only way to turn some of them off is to sell the building, make a new one, and selectively re-purchase only some of the upgrades. It would be better to be able to toggle the automatic stocking of individual items corresponding to purchased station upgrades.

3] We should be able to change the global default for Configure Imports. Currently, it is “Any”. It’s tedious to change every station to, for example “Prefer local”. It should be changed such that either A] every new station you place is preset to your selected global default, or B] even better, a fourth option (beside Any, Prefer Local, and Local Only) is added which causes it to always use whatever the global setting is (and it should default to this fourth setting, obviously).

4] There’s a useless nappa leather item in the game, we can make normal seats from leather, we can make LED lights, alloy wheels, Start-Stop engines, etc. but we can’t make nappa leather seats. This is an inconsistency. The technology “Nappa Leather Seats” should have “Unlocks upgrade at slot: Make Seat”. Also, the technology “Climate Control” should probably have “Unlocks upgrade at slot: Make Aircon”, because currently we cannot make it. “Aluminum Body” upgrade at “Fit Body Shell” currently replaces the “Body Shell” requirement with 3 Aluminum. For consistency’s sake, it should probably replace it with “Aluminum Body Shell” instead, which would have to be a new item, and “Aluminum Body” technology would have “Unlocks upgrade at slot: Make Body Shell”.

5] Here’s a suggestion to help with insufficient importer speed, and which allows manufacturing to freely use more items than it produces without the usual gross disadvantage via occupying more importer time. How about, raw materials may be ordered in bulk, say in packages of 8, but only by stockpiles. In the stockpile configuration menu, every raw material is listed twice, one is the usual and the other indicates “(bulk)” in the name, and the stockpile may not request both bulk and singlet varieties of the same item at the same time. Then, you’d set crafting stations to prefer local for raw materials, and you’d set stockpiles to import the bulk goods. When the bulk shipment arrives at the stockpile, it is unpacked and laid out. When the stockpile places an order, it reserves the full 8 slots instead of the usual 1, and does not place the order if it doesn’t have 8 free slots. The stations would still be able to request individual raw materials from the importers as they do now. Every raw material (everything which cannot be manufactured) can be requested by stockpiles in bulk or as singles, or by stations but only as singles. Most likely, for stockpiles which hold a large variety of items for a fitting station (like electronics) and therefore don’t have room to unpack bundles, you’d set them to “prefer local”, the raw materials to “singlet”, and you’d make separate stockpiles for importing the bulk-packaged raw materials. It would be a very playable solution, with the expense being more storage space and logistical complexity. Managing stock and on-site warehousing is a task in real production lines as well.

6] A related problem. When a station manufactures multiple items per cycle, it should not run if it doesn’t have enough space to store the output. My “Make Sensors” station consumes it’s materials, 1 chip and 1 steel, every time a single sensor is removed. It makes 6 sensors at a time, so the other 5 are just wasted I guess, they disappear. It should not begin a cycle if there is not 6 empty spaces on the output pile.

7] The station pads only hold 16 items. If items for different upgrade types must be stocked, each item should be kept to a sane maximum so that it doesn’t push out others. For example, this Fit Steering Wheel station shouldn’t have 12 stocked servos, 4 heated steering wheels, and no normal steering wheels, when each fitting uses 2 servos and 1 wheel and it has an upgrade for an alternate wheel (heated). At absolute most, it should only have 8 servos. It doesn’t make sense that it is capable of ever having more than 8. It should adhere strictly to sensible limits which are proportionate to the task, much like a manually configured stockpile. 4 steering wheels, 4 heated steering wheels, and 8 servos, is a sensible proportion to use with the heated wheel upgrade. I often feel compelled to configure these piles manually, except I can’t because they are automated. The problem is not that these systems are automated, it’s that the automation is not very good. Here’s an example, this Fit Lights station only has Autosteer headlights and Automatic Headlights upgrades. As you can see, every time it restocks to 15 Directional Light and 1 Sensor, but requires 4 Directional Light and 1 Sensor per car. 16/5=3.2, so there should be at least 3 Sensors. Probably 4 Sensor and 12 Light, the less numerous item (Sensor 3.2 to 4) should be the one to round up, not the more numerous (Directional Light 12.8 to 12). It should not be possible for it to have more than 13 Directional Light.

8] In general, the ‘intelligence’ behind stocking and part movement is kind of… terrible. It could be vastly better, and the game would be more satisfying as a result. I understand that manual control of this sort of thing is intended to be kept to a minimum, but that requires the automated management to actually be good. Management of: conveyors, importers, non-configurable station stock, and stockpiles should be more intelligent. Probably, the game logic behind it should be completely reworked. This is the kind of thing I happen to be good at, I could maybe propose a cohesive alternative if I could see the source. Or maybe I could try to come up with and describe a generic framework. In any case, the problem is simple enough that it should only use a method which only chooses optimal routes and import scheduling.

9] I would really like to see an alternative, smaller stockpile which is otherwise identical to the existing 6x6 pile. Sometimes, you want to stock some resources in a particular location, but you don’t need or can’t fit the 6x6 pile. I think, a 4x4 option would be nice, the same size as the automated piles built-in to the fitting stations.

10] Placing belts and rails on top of tiles which already have them, should not cost money. There have been scenarios where I could click on the same tile repeatedly with the same belt or rail, and it would charge me the price of placing a tile each time. The per-tile price of placement should ONLY be charged exactly one time per tile that does not already have the belt/rail on it. If it already has the belt/rail, you should not be charged. If it’s a station connection, you should not be charged, whether belt or rail. So for example, if you want to connect two stations and you only need to fill one empty tile in between their piles, you could drag from one pile to the other, and you should only be charged for ONE rail segment. Same thing for belts. You shouldn’t be charged for making or changing connections between belts/rails and stations, nor for the connection points, only for the tiles which don’t already have the belt or rail in it. This would be the most consistent behavior which would prevent overcharging. Belts should still be able to be laid on existing belts, for example to change their orientation, but it should be free. Doesn’t make real-world sense, but it makes video game sense.

11] Menus which automatically pause the game, should leave the game paused when you close them if it was already paused when you opened them. This means: Options, Save, Marketing, Car Designs, Achievements.

12] This (persistent “upgrade all” buttons):

13] This (minutes, or days:hours:minutes, not hours:minutes):

14] Three stations with the same abbreviated name in the slot list, “Make Engine”, is not very informative and a little annoying. “Make ECU”, “Make Assembly”, and “Make Block” would be much better. The stations are, and these full names appear on rollover, “Make Engine Control Unit”, “Make Engine Assembly” and “Make Engine Block”. The full title on rollover, menu context, and icons should be enough to show that they are Engine-related.

15] By the way, I think “Station” is a much better name for the “Slot” menu. More descriptive and accurate.

16] “Make Steel Sheets” station should be named “Make Steel Sheet”. The only other stations which ‘make’ a plural item, are wingmirrors, sensors and servos, each of which does produce more than one at a time. Steel Sheets is the only station which is named plural, but only produces one. There are no stations named singular which produce plural. Seems like an oversight.

(I’ve continued making edits here and there since the post was made. Last, 9-14-2017)

Thanks for this excellent list, its full of good ideas, some of which are awaiting the next patch, some of which I can add to my todo list. The whole issue of component re-ordering is way, way more involved that it appears at first glance, but its getting better (hopefully!) each update

Still, I bet I could come up with a great conceptual solution on the first try. The current system at least creates an excellent problem description. But that requires thinking and energy, psh. It might not WORK on the first try…