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Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

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Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:30 am

I was bored and doing the Steam "Explore Your Queue" thing when I came across Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game. At first blush I thought "Well, just another tycoon business game" but it's not. In this game you get to design a car. And not just some cosmetic stuff, you actually design a lot of the construction, like type of brake, number of pistons, number of valves per cylinder, spring rates, etc, etc. The retired engineer in me went all uber-geeky and I almost smacked the buy button right away till I reminded myself that it was only released eleven days ago to Early Access.

I suggest you watch the second video from the left on the store page (also available direct from YouTube here), it gives the best overview of how you go about designing the car. What is really impressive (to me) is that just like in real design work that as you make design decisions later in the design process you go back and assess how those later decisions have altered your earlier initial design and now you need to tweak and adjust to balance cost, performance, safety and reliability.

Here are some screenies:

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Last edited by jztemple2 on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:55 am

And I just noticed this, there's a demo right on the top of the game's website. What you download is a launcher and when it is installed and fired up it downloads an update, which is about 765 MB, which is the real demo I assume.

You can look through the various menus and screens and design the body of the car (you need to choose 1997 as the year, since it's the only one that there's a body for). You can't build an engine but you can look at the screens and go through the tutorials.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:27 am

One more thing, there are also scenarios to try out in the demo, where you have to design an engine to match certain requirements, like it has to have a minimum power output while not exceeding certain noise limit or be able to run on cheaper gas. There's no single right solution, but if you're lost you can go to their wiki for help.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:26 pm

Well, as someone who eagerly watches every episode of How It's Made: Dream Cars (by the way, I watch them on TV, not YouTube), it was just a matter of time before I got this game, so I picked it up this morning :roll:.

It's in Early Access, but it's been being worked on for a couple of years and parts of it are very polished (pun intended). There are tons of in-game tutorial videos (which btw can be turned off) so for you younger folks who have never rebuilt a carburetor or replaced a head gasket, you can learn all the details of how a car is constructed. The car designs go from 1940 to present day, so there are a lot of options. Seriously, lots of options.

The car designer and the engine designer are pretty complete, although I'm sure there's going to be a lot of tweaking done. What is still in the very early stages is the tycoon portion of the game, how to turn it into something with a campaign and goals. However, there's still a lot to play with right now. Remember the game "The Movies"? There was a tycoon portion to that game as well, but many folks (including myself) just wanted to make movies and so did just that. Automation has that same ability.

I'm in my first pass through the game right now, designing a 1940 four door upscale saloon car, the Washington Presidential. I'll post more about it as I build:
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By the way, the game does fully support UK and USA players as well as those in the more metric oriented areas:
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And there is a test track for your cars. At this time you cannot drive your own car there, but it is driven by someone who I am guess wears white driving coveralls based upon what the track looks like:
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Zekester » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:53 pm

Downloaded demo.

Looks like my kind of toy.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Zekester » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:05 pm

Only got to the test track before it crashed on me (the game, not the car)

I was able to build up the car with most components, and I really liked the engine testing part. Only a 4-banger is available in the demo, so i'm sure this part would take up most of my time with more engine choices.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:03 pm

So I'm still having fun with the game, thirteen hours complete. I've been trying some of the scenarios but mostly I'm in the Sandbox, making up cars. I started like the game does in 1940 and have made a model or two at five year increments. Below is my 1965 Tyler Virgina muscle car.

Image (click image to enlarge)

Update: This is an image of all my cars in the Sandbox mode:
Image (click image to enlarge)
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Daehawk » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:59 pm

554 hp in a 1965 street car?

Looks interesting. Ill keep a watch on it. I had a lot of fun wit han old game like this..i think it was called Detroit or something. I tried to re write Tucker history with that.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:19 pm

Here are the engine specs:
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Unfortunately I had to delete that car because I was running some cosmetic mods uploaded to a fan site and they were causing issues when I restarted the game. However, I built a new car, using the same engine. I present the Fillmore East V8 Rocker:

Image (click image to enlarge)

Image (click image to enlarge)

Image (click image to enlarge)
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:46 pm

Here you go, some more engine and car stuff from the game. It's 1980 and the new Pierce Performer is running a big aluminum block V8 with twin turbos.

Image (click image to enlarge)

And here's the car itself.

Image (click image to enlarge)

Image (click image to enlarge)
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Daehawk » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:53 pm

Top speed 112 with 3400 lbs weight? And a 400+ hp in it? Slow :)
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:13 am

No, here are the Pierce Performer numbers:

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I was just running it on the test track and while you can instantly get the three segment times and the total time, you can also watch and listen to the car go around the track. And the Pierce was really squealing it's tires, more than I remember with other cars. Of course it might be that it took almost twenty seconds off the previous fastest time!
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:21 am

As a point of reference, here's my 2015 Obama Hawaii, a five door luxury sports hatchback with all the latest carbon fiber brakes and whatnot. It's running a 6 cylinder inline engine with front wheel drive:
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It still moves pretty well, about ten seconds slower than the Pierce Performer on the test track, but not bad for a luxury hatchback:
Image
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:37 pm

I reviewed the game on the Steam store page, here's the review:
I've got sixteen hours in the game right now and so I'm ready to give some impressions. Understanding that this is an Early Alpha game and what that entails, here goes:

From the standpoint of gameplay, there's a lot to like here currently. Primarily there are the scenarios and the sandbox. The scenarios give the player various challenges that require tweaking an engine or a car to meet certain goals. It's a good way to understand not only how the game works, but also what is involved with enhancing a car or engine, not simply slapping parts together.

The sandbox is where the player can design a car and it's associated engine with technologies limited to the simulated year, starting in 1940 and continuting to the present day. To help the player "make interesting decisions" (to quote Sid Meiers) the game provides a critique of the final product in five catagories: Drivability, Sportiness, Comfort, Prestige and Safety. Additionally the player can also set his or her own goals, like keeping down costs or achieving a certain performance milestone, like a 0-62 time or top speed. There are a couple of test tracks where a sim driver (not you) drives the car and record a time which can be compared to other times. Additional test tracks are now available from fans via the forum.

In addition to the above two modes of play, there are also plentiful videos that explain pretty much every aspect of designing a car and engine. They are very well done and reasonably comprehensive. The videos play when you first try to use or tweak certain functions or features in the game, like the first time you add a turbocharger or adjust suspension. It's nice that way because you don't get the information till you need it.

The game is missing its campaign portion, but that's been well advertised here on the Store page. It's in Alpha after all. Also there are limitations to the depth of the sandbox, for instance right now you are limited to inline four and six cylinder engines plus V8 types. Also there are a good many but not comprehensive amount of starting bodies.

And there are bugs. I've come across a number of non-fatal LUA pop-ups, usually because I've been adding or deleted files outside of the game structure or been clicking the buttons to switch screens and menus too fast. Also there is a bit of a nasty bug that sometimes causes a car you create to not be saved when you exit the game. The bug has been reported and is actually pretty easy to avoid.

Graphically the game is far from cutting edge but it has all the graphic quality a player needs, there's nothing that limits what a player can do because of any limitation of the graphics.

The developers seem involved on the Steam and their own forum. And in something I can't recall seeing before, they have actually responded to pretty much all of the negative reviews, answering questions and requesting details on what troubles folks might be encountering. That's a nice thing to do, especially since as I understand there are only three of them.

So, do I recommend this game? With the qualifications that it is in Early Access, rough around the edges and not having all the planned final content, I can say that I do recommend this game.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by baelthazar » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:11 pm

My only worry with the game, which I think looks really interesting, is that it has been in development for a LONG time. I remember RPS posting about it and downloading the demo at least two years ago (maybe even three). Hopefully, now that they are on EA, they will get motivated to finish up the missing bits and implement the campaign. Otherwise, it seems like basically a car building tech demo.

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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Zekester » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:24 pm

Didn't get to read all of that yet, bit I was just thinking that we could get a little head to head competition going :mrgreen:
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:12 pm

There are also car bodies to download that are made by fans. These aren't just cosmetic, they include the appropriate data files to allow the car to be used in the game. For instance, Trackpaduser has provided a pretty nice 1980's LMP racer body. I added my own bits and pieces and came up with this, the Lincoln LMP:

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And here is the engine in the back of the tub:
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And the engine specs. 400CI, normally aspirated.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:33 pm

I felt like there was something missing in the Lincoln LMP and then I realized what it was... it needed a turbo! So I created the Grant LMP Turbo. I wanted to keep it at 400 cubic inches but it was a bit too tight in there, so I had to shrink the bore and stroke a bit:
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And here are the specs, 359 cubic inches with 978 hp and 794 ft-lbs of torque. She's hit about 180; it could do more, but the game isn't optimized for race cars and the best I can do for tires is semi-slicks. The reliability is also pretty low at 16.3, it will basically hand-grenade itself after a few hours, but who cares :D

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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:36 pm

I haven't posted here in awhile because I rather burned out on the car building part of the game and am waiting for the tycoon part of it to be released. The developers have been working diligently and posting YouTube updates, like this latest one Little Dev Update: 12. August 2015. Here's a snapshot from the video, showing a prototype grid of marketing demographics information. The video explains more about it, but basically it gives meaning and purpose to your car designing, since as a car company you have to make cars to appeal to the masses as well as those supercars you are itching to make!

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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by jztemple2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:02 pm

Wow, it's been a really long time since I posted about this game. Yes, it is still in Early Access, but the developers have been doing a lot of work on the game. Some of it has been on building a truly in-depth campaign, but some of it has been some really in-depth car design features. For instance, here's a twenty minute video from the developers, Automation How To: Exhaust Tuning. Yes, you can spent twenty minutes just tuning the exhaust. Seriously.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game (Steam EA)

Post by Greybriar » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:53 am

I have been following Automation for quite awhile now. Thanks for the update.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by jztemple2 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:19 pm

It seems like this game has been years in Early Access... wait, it has been in Early Access that long :D . But there is some fairly exciting news, if I might use that phrase. In this announcement, the devs of Automation are teaming up with the devs of BeamNG.drive to allow you to export your creations from Automation directly to BeamNG.drive. So you can drive that cheap, consumer car you built for the mass market in the 3D world of BeamNG.drive. Or that overpowered, V16 beast (see below). Or anything.

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The exporter for Automation will be released in July 13th. Starting on this date, if you own one of the games, you will get a 20% coupon for the other game. However, with the Steam Summer sale coming soon, you might want to Wish List one or both of the games and see if you can get a better discount.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by Daehawk » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:34 pm

Reminds me of Detroit again. So old now. Is this at all fun now? Do you get to set up dealerships and showrooms and do trade shows or is it simply car design, testing, then simulated sales?
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by jztemple2 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:15 pm

Daehawk wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:34 pm
Reminds me of Detroit again. So old now. Is this at all fun now? Do you get to set up dealerships and showrooms and do trade shows or is it simply car design, testing, then simulated sales?
The latter. It's not a tycoon game in the sense that you are running a business empire. Instead you are a designer, surveying the market to determine what vehicles might be popular to sell and then designing those with an eye towards cost and appeal. The campaign itself is still in development, but honestly I haven't paid that much attention to it. The campaign is, in my estimation, just a framework to motivate the player to make cars that aren't the sports cars of your adolescent dreams. And the campaign is optional, you can just sandbox to your heart's content.

The real meat is in the incredible detail in designing the engine and the body and then adding those systems (I.E. anti-lock brakes, high end stereo) that makes the car more marketable. It gets down to the detail of the type of metal you use for the pistons, the airflow for cooling, things like that. The type of fuel you use makes a difference, as does brake size, material and air flow.

And the body designing tools have gotten better and better. I've not really done much with the game in the past year, to avoid burnout, but what I've seen posted is pretty amazing. About the only thing I've seen criticized is the lack of interiors, although that might be coming down the pipe sometime. I'm really terrible at artistic imaginings (not being modest, I really have no talent) so the body tools aren't that important to me, but as a retired engineering I just geek out over the engine designing tools.
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by Lorini » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:46 pm

Have you played cliffski's Production Line? If so how is this different?
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Re: Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game

Post by jztemple2 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:27 pm

Lorini wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:46 pm
Have you played cliffski's Production Line? If so how is this different?
I haven't played it, but they look to be very different.
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