cliffski wrote:Although we do have plans for more features (higher performance engines, more expensive leather, interior lighting, and hybrid/electric engines, air suspension and parking assist), we are probably still falling short of the prices required at the high end.
I think I said this elsewhere, but it isn't just that features that drive the price of a car. The biggest one is probably the engine. I think that right now the engine is well undervalued in terms of production cost and value added. Part of that is because the engine itself is just factored in as part of "basic car" (more on that later). But in the real world the difference in price between what engine goes into a 20k sedan and what goes into an 80k sedan are huge. I'd wager that the engine in an 80k car costs almost as much as the 20k car does in total. There was a story online where a guy with a 2008 Mercedes AMG car (not sure the exact model but it was 110k+ brand new in 2008) had his engine blow. The dealership's quote to him to replace the parts and do the labor was 59k. Yes, there is likely a high labor rate there but AMG engines are all made by hand to begin with, hence the cheapest car with an actual AMG engine in it is almost 70k.
Second issue is car size. A 100k car is typically going to be the largest size car that the manufacturer makes (except for some specialty sports cars). A bigger car requires a bigger chassis, more sheet metal, bigger engine, better suspension, etc. The difference between a 50k-60k BMW 5 series to a 100k BMW 7 series is less about interior features than it is the cost to produce a bigger car. Plus you add in that you need a separate production line for the larger car that you sell less of and the production per unit cost goes up. I built a 5 series online with almost all the options that came standard on a base 7 series and came up about 14k short in price of what the 7 was (and the couple options that weren't on there weren't only worth a couple grand at most).
Another smaller issue is that there is no consideration for the interior of the car outside of the leather seat upgrade. There is no associated materiel cost for all the bits of the dash, or the console, or what goes onto the doors. All the bits and bobs that go onto more expensive cars are of a higher quality (and cost) then what goes on lower cost cars. That right there is several grand and that doesn't account for some of the interior upgrades you can get on higher end cars (like actual wood trim or full leather everything basically).
A lot of this comes down to how the game needs to be simple so that it is easy to understand and build upon, which is a perfectly good thing. But now you are trying to add realistic things like price categories but building upon a simplified formula of how that realistic thing is produced. So that comes back to the idea of "basic car". A 100k car isn't a 20k car with a ton of extra features and a huge mark-up. The "basic car" component for a 100k car is going to cost significantly more to produce then the "basic car" component for a 20k car. I think it will be very hard to get to those 100k cars with just features and have it feel like it makes sense to people because I think most people that play this game will understand cars (unlike pharmaceuticals, for instance). You are also going to start bumping into the issue of people expecting this to be more like Automation (a car tycoon game being made) and less like a puzzle game where you are trying to be as efficient as possible.
So the conclusion I have after my rant is, honestly, don't worry about it right now. Unless you intend to change some basic pillars of this game I think you just add the features you want to add and then back into the price ranges you need instead of trying to figure out how to change/increase feature costs to hit arbitrary numbers. That doesn't mean certain features don't need to be changed (an aluminum body for instance is something I've only seen on fairly expensive cars and it is worth 150 or 200 right now) but I think there are probably other things that are higher on the list of things that need to be looked at (just my opinion though).