Here's my take 11 hours into the game.
There needs to be a way to change settings or mods for every section of the factory, for example when I started manufacturing my own goods I had to go through each and every one and prioritize local materials, please have a factory management window where you can adjust upgrades, settings, and priorities globally.
This is more just logic than anything, but late in the game my competition had researched spoilers and they became necessary for all car models, so I was compelled to add a spoiler to every model of car, even though it looked ridiculous. Certain upgrades like spoilers should be considered always optional, while things like heat and power windows can be considered must haves.
Factory routing seems pretty straight forward, but my biggest complaint is that when I have to re arrange and subdivide the section it loses all its upgrades, I'd like to see a move or re-arrange option, rather than a delete and sell-off and then rebuild.
I'm assuming that there will be UI improvements to buttons, fonts etc.
Scenarios are okay, but lack depth. It would be interesting to see there be a historical campaign mode. Where you get a old broken down warehouse and the year is 1910 and you're making the first assembly line for cars. You could have that model T style body, add engine, tires, doors, interiors, etc. Each section of the campaign could be broken up into different eras, with the dawn of a design studio and the styles changing year to year, each adding new improvements, or in the case of government requiring improvements like seat-belts or bucket seats for drivers, or head-rests, air bags, etc. Eventually you phase employees out for robots and complete automation.
This historical method starts the player out small, then slowly adds features. To continue the production line management aspect of the game you could have a large map with other locations for factories, while still managing the old ones. Certain models of cars would be produced at different factories.
I'd like to see the design strategy reflect the actual automotive industry. Whereby a design for a new car has a deadline, with its features etc, then it goes into production and up for sale and then run of those cars stops when the next year's model comes out and production begins again. Its sort of what is going on with the change in features, but it would be more interesting I think to associate year, make and model into it, with the optional extras. Tell the factory to make a spread of cars, one in 10 with sun-roofs, etc. I'd like to see a way to subdivide the company into different makes, like how LEXUS is made by TOYOTA, and AUDI by VOLKSWAGEN, to have a luxury brand, an average brand, and maybe even a budget brand. If a certain car looked and sold well it could achieve collectible or classic status, driving up brand awareness and increasing the price after the car is 20 years old.
Also it may be worth considering designing cars strictly for business use. The automotive industry makes billions on cars with minimal features sold to businesses, whether they're passenger vans, shipping trucks, rental cars, golf carts etc.
Overall, throughout the historical campaign, the player would build notoriety with things like designing rally cars to compete in races, sponsoring car shows where people can see prototypes, and compete against other brands. Essentially one could follow the path of their car line like that of Ford or BMW or Mercedes.
I don't like unlocking the colors, and if you must unlock the colors go by order of least expensive to most expensive paint. Red paint is one of the most expensive colors in the automotive world, while black is the cheapest, it doesn't make any sense to not start out with black and white, but have access to red, yellow, and blue.
Engine Sizes. Difference in power and performance in car engines is one of the most deciding factors in automotive value. There should be an engine research and development team whose sole purpose is to improve mileage, power, cylinders, efficiency, and reliability for engines. Have 4 cylinder, v6, v8, v12, and v16 options.
Crash Tests! Eventually the government requires crash tests for every car. This could be a fun mini game where the player sets up a model of car and watches it crash into various things and record data, that goes into the cars safety rating.
Competition: The enemy needs a face, have several randomly generated rivals who release competing cars, either they're bad copies of your successful cars, or the go-to standard for commuter travel. But I have no sense that I'm actually selling these cars or competing as it sits now.
Also car manufacturers do not usually have showrooms where cars are sold directly to consumers, they sell to dealerships and its up to them to sell the missing features, which is why cars are designed in runs by the hundreds of thousands. It would be more realistic for the design group to finish a design for next years model, then have a dealership chain request an order, say 200 of this 1500 of that, etc, and and then have to produce that many before a deadline. That makes way more sense than selling cars out of the factory to individual drivers. Each contract you accept comes with a starting fee, bonuses for being early, penalties for being late, and payment upon completion. Then it becomes not only about managing production but also gambling a little on how much your factory can produce.
Happy to discuss this further.
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