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Author Topic: Bay12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [Castle Motors: COMPLETE!]  (Read 47708 times)

Sensei

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Our First Car!

Well, we've settled on a family budget car, using the 2.6m 1945 station wagon body. As luck would have it, we can make a van variation of this too, so we're going to try to sell delivery vehicles as well. We're starting a new Model, which takes us to the market screen. Rolling over Family Budget, we can see what they like:

From top to bottom, left column first, these stats are: Drivability, Sportiness, Comfort, Prestige, Safety, Practicality, Size, Offroad, Reliability, and Fuel Economy. So, we can tell right off that more than anything they like the car to be easy to drive and practical, and it has to be reliable too. They also highly value safety, comfort, and fuel economy. Fuel economy might look like the last of our top five, but it also has an effect on affordability, so it's going to be a big deal.

On our body type, we can see some more details as well. For example, the wagon we're looking at has 5 doors and 3 seat rows- great for practicality score.


I've designed the whole car before taking screenshots, so the wheels are on in this picture, but this is the first thing we work with: the Chassis Screen.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
I've chosen some pretty decent suspension for a budget car. Solid axles would be faster to engineer, but they're not much cheaper to build. I have also set the Chassis Quality to -2. That's kind of a big decision because we can't go back and change anything on this screen later. I suppose now is as good a time as any to talk about Quality, and a few other important numbers that come up when designing a car.

Every part in the car has three kinds of costs: Material Cost is raw materials we buy. Production Units are a somewhat abstract representation of labor hours. Engineering Time is how long it will take to design, which also directly affects how much money it takes to design. Material cost can effected by our Engineering Sliders (more on those later) a little but it's mostly going to stay the same. We have a Cost Per Production Unit that depends on our factory setup- various things affect efficiency but the main thing is that the bigger our factory is, the cheaper each production unit is, so big factories make it cheap to mass produce cars. Engineering Time has a cost that is spread across every car we make of this type, but also it takes up actual time, and the whole time we're designing our car, the competition is designing better cars too. We can make our engineering faster at considerable expense, or slow it down to save money and have other benefits.

One more thing- Engineering Time is vector added- values for different parts of the car are squared, added together, and then the square root is taken again. This means that whichever category is biggest has considerably more effect. By taking some quality off the chassis, I saved 6 months overall, and I took some production units off too.

Since this is our first car, I'm going to go through every screen. Normally I'll skip most of them, but you should at least know what all the parts are.

First we have to design the engine:
I've chosen a total displacement just under 1 liter, and about as undersquare as possible, which is the normal choice for a small and fuel efficient engine. On this screen I've also chosen our valve type- push rods! It's really our only option since we need to keep this as cheap as possible. This screen is like choosing the Body for our car. We can update this engine family later, but we can't change anything on this screen.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Bottom End: Cast iron is the only option for our internal parts, we haven't unlocked anything better. Since our engine is small, I can safely reduce the quality to -9. We're making 44 ft-lbs of torque on this motor, and if I reduce the quality to -10, our maximum torque drops below 44 and we start to have stress on the components, which reduces the reliability. At -9 we lose some smoothness and reliability regardless of torque, but it's worth it for the cost savings. On this screen we can also make our engine variant smaller than the maximum family size (the outside stays the same but gets smaller cylinders inside). I haven't done this, though.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Top End: The biggest thing we choose on this screen is our Compression. Basically the more we can compress our fuel, the more powerful and efficient our engine is. However, if we compress it too much, the engine begins to knock (blow up). There's a lot of things that can combat this, using better technology in general and also putting more fuel into the engine. Well, we're trying to save fuel and our tech is primitive, especially our choice of pushrod valves. So, all we can manage is 6.8. Our cam profile affects whether the valves open deeply and for a short time (high RPM performance, sporty) or shallow for a longer time (low RPM performance, fuel efficient). It's dialed in pretty low.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Fuel Distribution: A carburetor mixes air and fuel, using only the vacuum force from the engine cylinder pulling air in. There's two types and we're using the Eco (fuel efficient) one. Improving our engine here is the best way to prevent knock so we can have better compression, which basically makes us better at everything. We're trying to stay cheap so we only have one carburetor. Adding a second would make the engine more expensive, but I have started with +1 Quality here. We also choose our top RPM here. Notice the power graph falls off at high RPM? This is because of our valves. The better valves, the higher we can run the engine. We have crap valves, but we don't want the engine to go fast anyway because we're trying to save fuel.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Exhaust: I went with the cheap components here, of course. We have a pretty narrow exhaust, which actually helps us with power on the low end due to some exhaust scavenging effect mumbo jumbo. We might want positive quality here because it helps fuel efficiency... but later.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Test Screen: You get to hear it on this screen. Vrooom! You probably already noticed, but we're making 27.8 horsepower. The fact that I've felt the need to include the decimal should tell you this is not an impressive number. This is about normal for budget car of this era though. On the top right you can see what is restricting the engine- intake air flow is our biggest factor at 7% loss. Adding a second carburetor would rectify this, but it's not worth the cost right now.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now, we build the car.
Technically, everything after this point is part of the "trim". We can change it later, and we can make multiple trims based on this model at once. In fact that's exactly what we're going to do. We can change our paint color and add appearance parts, as well as choose the actual body shape from the list. But, I'll skip forward to Gearing: I've chosen a two speed manual because it is cheap. Also, it's negative quality, which you're going to see... a lot of on this car. I've set our top gear to, uh... 145 miles per hour. This makes our high gear very, VERY high... so high that the car can't exceed 55 miles per hour with its puny engine.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Why would I do this cruelty to our car, this atrocity against automotives? Well, here's the Fuel Economy Detail Screen. There's way more detail screens that I'm not covering and normally you don't have to look at them to design a car. But, notice the fuel economy at each speed? Cars also get a fuel economy rating at 56 mph, which naturally will be lower. By not going that fast, we get much better fuel economy, ostensibly anyway. Budget markets LOVE this. They do take a score penalty to Drivability because of our low top speed... but only 0.12%.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Wheels: We're using cross-ply tires. Modern cars use radial tires, but we haven't unlocked that technology yet. This limits our tire width severely... which would be a problem if I already wasn't trying to make our tires absolutely as small as possible to keep costs down. We have 110mm rear tires and 105mm front tires (VERY SMALL). This makes the car have more grip in the rear so it can't go into a rear-first spin. The big graph in the center is the steering graph- all you really need to go is that the D should be right on the blue line for easy to drive cars and the S should be right on the red line for sporty cars. In our case, the car is prone to understeer- if you try to steer too hard, you go straight, instead of spinning.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Brakes: In 1946, all brakes suck. Not much choice on that. We have drum brakes on all 4 wheels. Also notice that we have more rear grip than front grip- our car is back-heavy.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Interior: Finally a screen where I don't need the graph. Our wagon allows us maximum seating capacity in the game, 3 rows of seats. I've chosen two full seats in the front, and the back two rows have "+3" bench seats. These aren't "full" seats, they're what you would expect to find in the back of a two door car that has extra seats, and they're less comfortable. However, our budget demographic prefers this because seats are expensive. You might think a 3-person front bench seat is a good idea, since real world cars of the time (especially american) often did this, but Automation demographics almost never like this. Because we have 8 seats, I've set the quality to -13 to get them absolutely as cheap as possible- they probably resemble portable camping benches.
We also have no radio. Our customers just can't afford it. Notice the lowest variety of radio is a "Premium AM Radio"? As the years pass, radios will become more common and cheaper, and we will get Standard AM Radio and Basic AM Radio. New tech always starts in "Luxury" and trickles down. I'll tell you this now: when Basic AM Radios unlock, budget demographics still won't be able to afford them.


Steering and Safety: Power steering doesn't exist yet, but we can add quality to our manual steering rack- or take it away. Safety features add a LOT of weight and engineering time. Like radios, they start off as "Advanced" for the decade and then the simpler, lighter Standard and Basic will unlock. I chose standard. We will have to keep our car's total safety rating in mind, there are minimums to sell in each country. Chassis type is the other big contributor to safety. If we ever sell a premium version of our car this will be the biggest thing to change.


Suspension is the last thing to set up! The steering graph comes back here because it's heavily affected by our settings on this page. But, the main reason I've kept the whole screen is the graph on the right. This includes a lot of different information- we care about maximum load (only 595lbs because the suspension is soft), roll angle (about 7 degrees is best for comfort, lower is more sporty but less comfortable) and tire wear factor (affected by camber). Our wear factor is the lowest possible, 0.85, which means tires last longer. Budget demographics care a lot about upkeep costs!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Here's our car! This post is long as hell and we aren't done yet, so I'm not talking about all the little stats. The only thing I really want to point out is the market scores, the big green squares on the left in most of the previous pictures. First- we're scoring well in a lot of markets. This isn't as good for Family Budget as a 2.1m prototype I put together, but this car has a very wide appeal. For each Market, the first number is the Competitiveness. The baseline is 100: that means we are equal to the top 3 competitor cars, not including ones we sell. 173 is very good, but of course we're better than the average "budget" car because that mostly represents used cars. The other number is our Affordability and this one isn't as good. Only 33.4% of Family Budget buyers (approximately- more on this later) can afford our car. The fact that various markets might buy the car makes up for this.

Oh yeah, I made a van version. This picture is the van. It scores 135 in Light Delivery and awful in standard Delivery and Heavy Delivery. I don't know what's whack with the suspension, but I could only tune it to a max load of 1000 pounds which is pretty poor. Actually this is the first time I made a delivery vehicle that doesn't score well in all three delivery versions, and I've made 3-cylinder versions.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Footnote: I'm not adding any fixtures- that is headlights, door handles, little chrome doohickeys. They're visual only. Later, I'll provide the .car file so you can import it to your own Automation game if you want to do visual design and post it here.

Victory Lap!
Oh yeah, just for fun, I took our car to the test track! We got a time of 4:32. That's just for the wagon version, but when I pull up with the van prototype, they told us we'd used up out allotted time for both cars.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Last Steps

Okay, so we have a car... on paper. Two, arguably: the wagon and the van. Here's a preview of our Factory configuration: there's a lot of inputs here but only three outputs we care about- well, four if you include cost. The total number of cars, cost per car, and recall chance all depend on our automation level (how many manufacturing steps are done by machines as opposed to hand built), tooling quality, and the other ones, you can read them. In short, the base cost was $100M dollars to set up our factory, and cars were going to cost $1.7k to manufacture, but I want to put $150M in to make a greater quantity of cars at lower price each. With this setup, we can make about 1500 of each of the two car types. I predict we'll have no trouble selling that many.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Engineering is the process of actually creating the final design. By adding funding, we can finish it faster. Pressure can get it done faster too, but we lose reliability and we don't gain as much familiarity with the tech we use- familiarity is good because it makes engineering faster next time, for free. I like things that are free. We can also directly improve (or reduce) reliability, we can reduce the amount of materials wasted per car (decreasing cost but taking more production units per car) with Optimization, or we can increase Automation, which means cars cost less production units and we can make more for cheaper. All of this adds time and money. We had a base time of around 43 months, so I increased to 48 months for a few benefits. With this configuration we'd launch on January 1950.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I also have to do the same process for our engine- it gets a factory configuration and engineering. Our factory is capable of making more engines than we can make cars, so it won't be working full time.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Price
Once all is said and done we get to the market projection screen. This is where we can set the price of our car. I've set it to a 15% margin of profit (with factory tooling and engineering costs included for an estimated 5 years production run), so our car will cost $5,500. I didn't screencap the market screen with market budgets, but Family Budget averages around $4900 +/-2900 I think. This means, less than half of them can afford our car, but that's normal. There's 19000 of them or something, and we're only making 1500 wagons.

Also on this screen, you can see new competitiveness numbers. They're estimated, but they account for a couple things: new competitors coming out in the next four years, and the actual price of our car after tooling, engineering etc. They're a lot lower, of course- but these scores are still pretty good.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Sign-Off Screen is the last step before our car actually enters production. The thing I want to draw attention to is the loan slider- we can choose how much of the predicted $250M project cost we want our loan to cover. I suggest we get it covered- technically we can just go into negative money and pay no interest in the current game version, but I'm not 100% sure we won't go bankrupt. If our credit rating is F and we have negative money for 12 months, the game ends. I also suggest a 72 month loan term. That's two years after we start actually producing cars to pay it back.


One last thing. We need to invest in dealerships, and we might want to invest in R&D and marketing. First, let's talk about Awareness. This is a percentage score that represents how many people even consider our brand when they go to buy a car. Awareness is on a per-market basis, and we mostly gain it by selling cars in that market. However, we have a maximum and minimum awareness based on our dealerships level. Our dealership level in each country incurs a monthly cost to upkeep, and it rises quickly depending on the level. Not only that, it takes a full year to level up our dealerships in a country, and we pay for it the whole time. I suggest we get our dealerships to level 2 in both Fruinia and Hetvesia, before our car comes out. We can also invest some in marketing, which I'm pretty sure increases the perceived competitiveness of our cars. This picture shows the cost and benefits of a level 2 dealership network in Fruinia.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

We can also start now on R&D if we wish. Like dealerships, R&D costs us monthly upkeep, and it costs $25k per month at level 1 and doubles every level after. There is an R&D in each quality slider category. For each level we have, we get two effects: we unlock relevant technologies one year earlier, and we get +1 quality automatically, at no extra cost. This will be the key to world domination, if we can afford it. If we feel confident enough, we can get our Fuel System tech to +1 or +2 before our first car comes out, then immediately update it to benefit from the new tech. This will give better fuel efficiency and performance (we'll trade in the performance for even more efficiency), as well as better reliability, which budget customers love. We could also invest in drivetrain tech to unlock front wheel drive as early as possible. But, this is up to you. If we're not careful, the costs can be quite a lot.

That covers everything! Here's what I need from you...
Sorry, this got out of hand. It kind of turned into a comprehensive tutorial. I guess I don't know what to trim out- it took 40 minutes to design the car and all night to write this.

Is our plan good? There's still time to make changes to the car, in terms of both design and engineering.
-If we're feeling really ballsy, we could try to upgrade to a Medium 2 factory immediately.
-Alternatively, we could try to save money or get the car out faster.
-Are level 2 Dealerships (40% max awareness) good enough? Should we focus on just Fruinia, or Hetvesia too?
Research Plan? Should we start R&D now? What tech should we focus on?
We have to name our car!
-We need a name for the Model, and both Trims. Trim names can just be "1946 Wagon" type stuff if you want, though.
-We should also name our engine
-We should ALSO name our factory! Who wants to work at "Car Factory 1"?
What color should we paint it?
-I went for a low-flake mild blue as a generic 1946 paint. But we can paint it whatever we want. I suggest we pick a color to symbolize our company!

Also, how do you feel about live streaming? If we do live streams, you can have a lot more direct input. I should probably figure out how to get Discord to show a chat window in-game, or otherwise try Twitch or something.
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Let's Play: Automation! Bay 12 Motor Company Buy the 1950 Urist Wagon for just $4500! Safety features optional.
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mightymushroom

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Quote
-Are level 2 Dealerships (40% max awareness) good enough? Should we focus on just Fruinia, or Hetvesia too?
Hmm... Based on the screenshots in the first post, Fruinia has much bigger Budget market than Hetvesia, in both Family B and City B. And also the lion's share of demand for Light Delivery. Concentrate on Fruinia dealerships now, worry about exports later. I guess level 2 is fine?

Quote
Research Plan? Should we start R&D now? What tech should we focus on?
With the money we save on dealerships we can invest some research into fuel efficiency. We will dominate the low-end market because our cars will be so affordable to own.

Are warranties a thing? Since we produce nearly twice as many engines as cars, we could have quite a few spare parts for free or discounted repairs. :P

Quote
-We should also name our engine
I don't have any offhand suggestions for model names, but how about our line of engines is "Urist MC __" with the blank filled in by year designation - thus Urist MC 46.

Quote
What color should we paint it?
I like Midnight Blue (RGB 0,51,102) aka the color Dimple Dye Blue is supposed to be.
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King Zultan

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I agree with all of the above accept the colour we should make it red to represent magma and blood.

-We need a name for the Model, and both Trims. Trim names can just be "1946 Wagon" type stuff if you want, though.
Call them both the Urist it sounds fancy, but its not.

-We should ALSO name our factory! Who wants to work at "Car Factory 1"?
We should call it the Carsmith's workshop.
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The Lawyer opens a briefcase. It's full of lemons, the justice fruit only lawyers may touch.
Make sure not to step on any errant blood stains before we find our LIFE EXTINGUSHER.
but anyway, if you'll excuse me, I need to commit sebbaku.
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Sensei

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Wew, that last post was long... I hope I didn't scare everyone off with it. >.>
1950: Our First Sale!

The Urist Wagon 46, in Dimple Dye Blue

...actually, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Most of this post is going to be the road leading up to the release of our car. But, I'll tell you some good news now: we didn't go bankrupt. (That's despite a bug which caused our credit rating to go to F for one month before suddenly springing back to A+, which had me really concerned because I already overwrote the autosave at that point).

It's still 1946. We've just been approved for our loan, and I'm taking our prototype for a test drive (I made a video in Beam hehe). Here's the new naming convention:

Our motors are also Urist MC 46.

Now time can start passing. This is the Hub Screen. Usually I'll refrain from showing the whole thing but we should cover the basics. On the top is our immediate financial information, such as our company valuation and current money. We get a graph of the general economy (good economy = more car buyers), some graphs of our revenue and expenses, etc. The most important part is in the center, our timeline. The red line is the current time, and the yellow bar is the time it will take to engineer the Urist. Below that is the time it will take to set up our factories. This is less than a year, so they won't start until we're almost done. News and research are on the right.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

6 months into development, and we have some expenses and revenue. We're spending money on the engineering for the Urist and on building dealerships. We're getting money in because the loan pays out on a monthly basis, equal to our engineering expense. In the research tab we can see upcoming tech: in 42 months we'll get automatic transmissions. This means if we want, we can begin adding them to our next version of the Urist immediately.


This, uh, scared me so I stopped paying into dealerships. I'm sure I didn't actually need to do that and it set our dealerships back a little.


Here's the dealership tab, it makes more sense now that we're in motion. Our target dealership level is 2, and we will have a minimum 5% Awareness and maximum 40%. That takes time and right now we're at level 0.98, with 3% minimum etc. It's costing us $42k per month- I also put some $14k into marketing, but I didn't screencap it. A dev in discord told me marketing increases awareness today, so now I know how that works!


Factories are expensive! We're not even building new factories, just installing tools to produce the Urist. Both the car and engine factory are costing us.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Release Day! Our car has debuted with a 139 competitiveness for the Wagon, which is good, and 87 for the Van, which is poor. We sold 604 wagons and 133 vans in our first month. We made a lot more cars than that, so we're currently losing money, but the factory will slow down once we have enough cars to sell for 6 months (based on whatever the current sales rates are each month).


Six months later, our sales have improved and we're finally making a profit. Overall the company is still losing money because we're repaying $6 million per month for our loan, but as long as our credit rating is good this is fine. The van is now perceived as even worse. We have a ton of vans to sell off and we're not producing any more, but sales are slowly increasing. The wagon isn't being produced fast enough to keep up with demand. I'd call that a success!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Market Data

Here is our current market Awareness. It's growing very fast, because we're selling cars. Currently we're at about 10% in the markets we actually sell into, and our baseline from our dealership level is nearly 5% now. This will continue to grow, meaning we can sell more cars... if we're producing enough.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Here's our current sales numbers. The majority of our sales are indeed going to budget demographics, but regular Family is buying some too. We're selling well in Passenger Fleet which makes sense because they like fuel efficient cars. Notably, we're actually selling more to Utility Budget than Light Delivery. This might indicate that our van would do better if it was a pickup instead.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Research

One thing I didn't cover in full last time is the research screen. Here it is, so you can see EVERY category. You can also see our unlocks, but you have to mouse over them so it's not much use in a screenshot. We're currently spending $50k on Fuel System research. Not only does this directly increase our fuel economy, it makes our car more reliable AND it means we unlock fuel systems a year earlier. In this case, we've unlocked Two Barrel Carburetors, which are only really of interest to performance engines. Some big ones to watch our for are:
-Monocoque Chassis in 1951- many benefits, but we need to design an entirely new car.
-Radial Tires in 1955- they're better in almost every way, although we'll see if our customers want to pay extra for them.
-Transverse Front Wheel Drive in 1962- almost an absolute must-have for cheap, fuel-efficient cars. But once again, it would need a new car design entirely.
One big thing to keep in mind is our Fuel System Research will benefit the Urist MC Engine next time we update it so we should do that soon.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

What Next?

It's time to update our car. We can change the actual features of the car and engine, and we can also change our engineering sliders. For example, increasing the Automation of our design will allow us to make more cars, for cheaper, but it can take a lot of time. Whatever we do, it might take a few years, so we should start soon.

Do we want to try Automatic Transmissions? In Automation, most demographics LOVE automatic transmissions. However, the budget demographics might not like it early on due to the expense, and they also cause a little power loss. We don't have a lot of power to spare.
What about the van? It looks like the factory can't just produce 3000 wagons when demand for the van dies down. If we can't make the van sell better, we're better off getting rid of it so we can make more wagons. We could see if we can improve it with an auto trans and a new tune, or we could also try replacing it with a pickup. If you want you can specify something like "get the design to 130 desirability or cancel it if you can't".
Research? Do we want to get more research? Any unlocks we should aim for? How much do we want to spend? Also, should we start our update of the Urist now, or wait another 6 months or so for our Fuel System to reach +2? Remember, everything has to be unlocked before we start engineering, and then the car comes out later.

Got Automation? Download the Urist 50. You can try to beat my time in Beam, or do fixture design and post it here.
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Let's Play: Automation! Bay 12 Motor Company Buy the 1950 Urist Wagon for just $4500! Safety features optional.
The Bay 12 & Mates Discord Join now! Voice/text chat and play games with other Bay12'ers!
Add me on Steam: [DFC] Sensei

A Thing

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Wew, that last post was long... I hope I didn't scare everyone off with it. >.>
 
What Next?

It's time to update our car. We can change the actual features of the car and engine, and we can also change our engineering sliders. For example, increasing the Automation of our design will allow us to make more cars, for cheaper, but it can take a lot of time. Whatever we do, it might take a few years, so we should start soon.

Do we want to try Automatic Transmissions? In Automation, most demographics LOVE automatic transmissions. However, the budget demographics might not like it early on due to the expense, and they also cause a little power loss. We don't have a lot of power to spare.
What about the van? It looks like the factory can't just produce 3000 wagons when demand for the van dies down. If we can't make the van sell better, we're better off getting rid of it so we can make more wagons. We could see if we can improve it with an auto trans and a new tune, or we could also try replacing it with a pickup. If you want you can specify something like "get the design to 130 desirability or cancel it if you can't".
Research? Do we want to get more research? Any unlocks we should aim for? How much do we want to spend? Also, should we start our update of the Urist now, or wait another 6 months or so for our Fuel System to reach +2? Remember, everything has to be unlocked before we start engineering, and then the car comes out later.

Got Automation? Download the Urist 50. You can try to beat my time in Beam, or do fixture design and post it here.

I'm still here, I just ended up picking up the game myself yesterday so I was busy learning how engines are tuned and created.

I think we should pass on the automatic for now, I think the cost+power loss (video shows how weak this damn thing is) might be worse than the benefit. Not experienced enough to be sure though.

Think the van might just need to be cancelled. If we can get it to 130 that'd be good but it's probably going to be better to sell the wagon. Replacing it with a pickup seems more viable since it'd do light delivery and utility better.

Research seems fine, and I think we should wait to update the engine.

I'm going to download that car file and I'll post whatever I make here. We'll see if I can prettify our beautiful mess of a wagon.

Edit: here is the Urist Mcfixture https://imgur.com/a/b9326ir
Probably not the most carefully put together thing but at least it has headlights and mirrors now. Here's the updated .car file in case anyone wants to use it or modify it further.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 07:42:36 am by A Thing »
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Wasteland 1 & 2
"Power Couple: Markus Athing & Cyborg 45"

Makes me curious, can cyborgs have future babies too?
On the offchance they can, I know who I want my daddy to be
(finished)Age of Decadence

Fishbreath

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1950: Our First Sale!]
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2020, 08:00:44 am »

If we can make a desirable pickup, that seems like the way to go. If not, we should plow our production into the wagon, where there's demand to spare.

One thing I've always had a hard time with is deciding when to refresh an existing design and when to create a new one. Any input?

King Zultan

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1950: Our First Sale!]
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2020, 08:04:37 am »

Swapping the van for a pickup sounds like the best way to go.
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The Lawyer opens a briefcase. It's full of lemons, the justice fruit only lawyers may touch.
Make sure not to step on any errant blood stains before we find our LIFE EXTINGUSHER.
but anyway, if you'll excuse me, I need to commit sebbaku.
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Can I have the sword when you’re done?

mightymushroom

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1950: Our First Sale!]
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2020, 12:19:04 pm »

Sure, let's market test a pickup instead of a van.

I wouldn't go half-and-half again unless pickup sales really take off, seeing how popular our wagons are. Try 2000:1000 for starters?

-----

What are the mechanics of research if we stop funding? (For instance, to focus on another area.) Does our accumulated boost to fuel systems slowly decrease, or quickly evaporate?
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Sensei

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1950: Our First Sale!]
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2020, 12:57:38 pm »

Sure, let's market test a pickup instead of a van.

I wouldn't go half-and-half again unless pickup sales really take off, seeing how popular our wagons are. Try 2000:1000 for starters?

-----

What are the mechanics of research if we stop funding? (For instance, to focus on another area.) Does our accumulated boost to fuel systems slowly decrease, or quickly evaporate?
I'm not actually sure I can tell the factory to bias towards one trim, but I'll look into it. Honestly I thought that it would do so automatically according to demand, but looking at our numbers I dont think that's the case.

If we stop research, I think our "current unlock month" just stays still until we catch up with it. But, I dont usually decrease tech.

One thing I've always had a hard time with is deciding when to refresh an existing design and when to create a new one. Any input?
  That basically depends on everything, haha. But, usually I do this when I have major features I want to improve on. Stuff like chassis quality and chassis type, or engine valve type, requires a new version. Also when theres a lot of new features, especially big stuff like safety, theres a point when making a new model isn't that much more costly than updating the old one because of the way vector addition works.

Also, I like to update when my cars look obviously outdated. Right now there is a "body age penalty" but it is small because there is a limited body selection, according to dev's. They dont want to give a big penalty when there is no new body that suits your needs to upgrade to.
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Let's Play: Automation! Bay 12 Motor Company Buy the 1950 Urist Wagon for just $4500! Safety features optional.
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Sensei

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1950: Our First Sale!]
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2020, 01:00:04 am »

Urist 1950 Facelift

It's time to update our car! First and foremost are changes to the engine, since that will affect both trims (assuming we keep two trims in production). Every part of the engine benefits from the four years that have passed since our first version, so there's a few improvements we can make. The first thing to notice is that we have some octane to spare immediately from fuel system improvements. I also think we can afford to go to +2 Quality on our fuel system. With something like 86.2 out of our 87 octane budget used, I can knock the cams down from 24 to 17: the engine gains some fuel efficiency, some bottom-end torque, and loses a little power. According to the demographic affordability number, this has made it more affordable overall despite the added quality! I also reduce the quality of our bottom end to the bare minimum again, which is now -11. Exhaust quality goes up to 0 as well. In this graph you can see a directly comparison to our old engine.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Our tires are getting 5mm wider each to compensate for wheelspin. A couple things go up in quality, and it looks like our target of Family Budget buyers would actually like me to reduce the interior quality to -15, the absolute minimum, but I don't want to do that because it will bring our total safety rating below 10. That might get us banned in Hetvesia soon. I did, however, upgrade us to full-size seats!


Also, something I forgot to do last time: I've tweaked the body morphs! You can click-and-drag the body around a little and it affects aero drag, footprint and interior space, as well as weight and material cost. Like most demographics, they like the windshield dragged forward for more room, although I couldn't go far. They also liked the back of the car dragged in as small as possible. That surprised me but they probably benefit from the smaller size for Drivability.


We are, however, sticking with the two-speed manual and a top speed of less than 55mph. It allegedly gets 27 mpg in this configuration. It drops to 19 the moment the car becomes capable of 56 mph, and that's probably a more honest number all around, but oh well. A little retune of the suspension and we're hitting almost 210 desirability in Family Utility Budget. You can see the colored numbers here are in comparison to the average of the top 3 competitor cars for the category on the right... we're worse in almost every way but we're cheap and have a lot of seats, as well as good gas mileage and reliability. I guess that makes us fully twice as good overall? You can also see we get a 15% penalty because the desired body type is a van. It's supposed to include windowed passenger vans (called "people movers" in Automation) and maybe wagons too, but it's bugged right now. Actual van bodies only have one row of seats, which basically disqualifies them from this category where 5 seats are a minimum. I'm not 100% certain but I think this affects the competitor cars too, so it cancels out.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now on to the Van tuning! The wagon looks great, so this will be the hard part. A major sticking point seems to be our load capacity, I can't seem to get it much over 1000lb and if I do, the suspension is way too stiff. There are probably a couple tricks I'm missing, but at this point I decide to start fresh on pickup version. After doing just a couple basic things (most of all, set cooling airflow to 100- utility loves this) we're already at 140.

Either the base cost of the vehicle is a lot cheaper due to the lack 6 rear seats, or Utility Budget has more money, but our affordability is above 40% too. I can afford to turn quality up (to the low negatives) on a lot of features. We have even go for a truly "luxury" feature: upgrading from 10 to 11 inch wheels! Not only do they like the wheels themselves, but the added brake size this affords us helps too (utility cares a lot about stopping with heavy loads). Final score for Utility Budget is 149.9, which I think is good enough to go ahead. What's more, we're proud to announce the Urist Pickup in Magma Red!

 Edit: Actually it's 172 and even gets 128 in non-budget Utility but I don't want to take a new screenshot and upload it. I don't even remember what I changed.

In case you're curious, it doesn't score in delivery. That's mostly down to it not being a van, you can see there's a 25% penalty just for that. Even besides that it would probably have a lukewarm score though. I'm not sure if it's something about this body type but I can't get a good load capacity even with wide tires. Even the Urist Pickup is only rated to carry 900lb, higher than that and the suspension is too stiff.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Engineering! In the "Repair and Refresh" options for factory tooling, we can choose not to update our Building or Major Tooling. These are elements that don't have to be changed for the new facelift, but typically I like to keep them updated rather than try to save 3 million dollars. If our tools get worn out, recall chances increase. Since our cash is in the negative, I'm not improving our factory too much, although we could afford the loan if we wanted.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now, because we've changed so little, our base engineering time is only six months! Engineering Time is the column on the left. Remember it's vector added to get the sum on the bottom. This is the perfect opportunity to up some values to make more cars, for cheaper.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

By aiming for a total time of 16 months to upgrade, I've got a couple hundred more cars per month and the total price is down a little per car too. Similar story for the engines, although I'm not putting a lot of engineering into making more of them because our engine factory is already working around half-time. We can't really make them cheaper without making more of them.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now our cars are really getting cheap! We have a base price of just $3.7k to sell our cars. Now, one catch to this is, our original design was priced to make back the money spent on tooling over 5 years, and it will have had only a 2 year run before being replaced. We're not spending nearly as much this time around (about $10M to retool instead of $150M!) but we want to set enough margin to help make up for that. When all is said and done, we're making a 20% margin on cars, and at a total price of just $4500!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Keep in mind this means that the affordability numbers we saw in the designer were very conservative. Instead of 36% of budget buyers being able to afford our car, probably around 55% can. These are some cheap tin cans! Check out the predicted competitiveness too. It's actually gone up because of the pricing, even estimating for competitor cars to come out in the next 16 months.


That whole project will cost just 40 million too.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now here's the (three hundred) million dollar question:

Should we upgrade to Medium 2?

As you can see, it would cost us another $290M compared to the basic plan. However, it would jump our car production from 3200 per month all the way to 4900. We could do it in 16 months, although 8-12 months of that we won't be producing cars while the factory upgrades. We'd need to take out a big loan, or at least let our cash go way negative and tank our credit rating. But, we could make 50% more cars and probably tack another 5-10% margin on them too, since they'll be cheaper.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Should we upgrade our factory size?
Do we need to change anything about the cars? If we DO upgrade the factory, should we aim for a longer engineering time so we can build up stock of the 1946 model? We can also still drop the pickup, since it is less competitive than the wagon, although I expect it will sell this time.
How do you like Magma Red?
Should we invest in more tech/etc?

I've also exported the final version of the Urist 1950 trims. Dropbox Folder. Note the wagon has been renamed to "final" because the last .car I exported was already renamed the 1950 even though I hadn't changed it yet.
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Aseaheru

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 Eey, this game. I like watching this game.

 I think give it a bit longer before upgrading the factory, perhaps when we are designing our next chassis(or facelift, for that matter). Earn a little more cash before spending it all, and thus have a little more cushion before getting yelled at again by the accountants.
 Im fine with the cars we have now, excepting the possibility of getting a 4-door sedan designed? Not sure we need it. The pickup is nice though. Really, kinda wish that we could have use a boxer instead of inline, but ahwell, thats what I get fer being late to the party, right?
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King Zultan

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I agree the factory upgrade should wait, and I see nothing to change with the car.
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mightymushroom

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The new pickup has much better appeal than the old van, everything looks good to go.
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Sensei

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1952: Turning a Profit!]
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2020, 03:57:27 pm »

Selling the 1950 Urist

I've declined to take out a loan for the project. Strictly speaking, we are losing money at the instant we start the project- while we are making a profit on our Urist '46 sales, it's not enough to cover the 5 million dollar loan repayment from our first tooling costs. Incidentally, the loan repayment began only when our project finished, so in setting our loan repayment to 72 months, I kind of screwed up. Oh well. Also, our credit rating jumped to F and randomly recovered again. I don't know why this keeps happening.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Once our factory starts construction, we actually start turning a 10 million profit overall. This is because we're selling our back stock of cars, but it won't last. I have taken the liberty of upping our marketing slightly and starting Level 1 dealerships in Hetvesia, since it costs very little.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Once we sell off our stock of cars, we're losing about 10M per month, putting us well in the negatives.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

On launch day, we're doing great! Our cars are hugely competitive, and our Family Budget awareness has risen to almost 20%. What's more, our sales margins are up! At least, they are for the wagon. In the current version of the game, if your car is so desirable that you can't keep up with demand, dealerships will automatically increase the price until it balances out. Right now, our wagon is selling at a 40% profit margin instead of the baseline 20% we chose.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

At the end of 1951, we paid $0 in taxes! Woo! Building up lots of cash on hand causes us to pay taxes, so it's important to keep investing our money into factories, engineering, and R&D/dealerships. Otherwise, it's just going to waste.


...Six months later, it's April, 1952. Time to review: our dealers are now selling the car at a 100% markup. We're bringing in $1.2M per month, total, and that's after 5M goes to paying back loans. Don't worry about the fact that our desirability dived from 200 to 110, that's just because of the price increase. They'll bring it back down automatically if we aren't selling all our cars.


This markup has had some odd consequences: apparently our cars are desirable enough to sell to regular Family instead of Family Budget, so that's what they're doing. Also, our truck is hitting some weird demographics. It apparently accounts for the majority of our Light Sport Budget (???) sales. This is probably because it's lighter weight than the wagon, and there are no real competitors in these markets, so they're buying the cheapest car they can get, which is ours. Here's are most recent monthly sales numbers.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
By the way, this system where the dealers set insane markups and you get all the money is going away in the next campaign version, 4.1. Instead you'll choose a price to sell your cars to the dealers, and they try to make as much profit as they can, which they keep for themselves. However, you won't have to pay to upkeep dealerships, and you'll get more awareness if the dealerships are making a good profit margin on your cars.

Here's our Market Awareness. This is an international average- the numbers for Fruinia are higher and the numbers for Hetvesia are lower.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

There's a few concepts I haven't discussed much so far. Down on the factory timeline we can see our factory hitpoints, which are three bars for Building, Major Tooling, and Minor Tooling, the latter of which needs to be refreshed the most often. Next we can see our car factory is running 2.3 shifts, which is the maximum I set for it. Running more than two shifts costs us more money (overtime pay) and it causes the factory to lose hit points much faster, because the maintenance team gets less time with with factory themselves. With our current demand and quick engineering turnarounds (with re-tooling) I could probably set it higher though. Next is our build quality: we're at 104% because our workers have been experienced making the car for a while, at least I think that's how it works. This pertains to those curve graphs on the factory setup screen. Next is Slowdown, which is a consequence of our quality control. Like Build Quality, it's dependent on worker experience and tooling hit points, so it gets a little better in the first few months and then decays when the factory has been running for too long without a refresh. Then we our Recall Chance. It's at 0.5, which is to say, we have a 0.5% chance every month of having a factory recall event. I'll discuss those more when we come to it, but they're bad. Sometimes a little annoying, sometimes very bad.


Up top, we also have our Company Prestige (diamond icon), Company Reputation (star icon), and Score (trophy icon). Score is based on number of cars sold, and smaller demographics are worth more. It doesn't care at all about out profitability, our goal is to sell a lot of cars. Prestige is based on selling cars with a high Prestige stat, as seen in the designer. Selling cars with low prestige decreases it and high prestige increases it- I think it's based on some sort of average score of competitors or something. A lot of things affect prestige, such as high quality, exotic materials, larger engines with more cylinders, luxury features, and high top speed. It's no surprise that ours is negative. Reputation is based on Reliability. It can also be affected by recalls. Our cars have above average reliability thanks to choosing simple tech and a bonus from engineering.


Now, here's the thing: while we can have a different prestige and reputation on a per-country basis (for example, if we only sold luxury cars in Dalluha) it does affect every model sold by our company. Certain demographics favor Reputation and certain ones favor Prestige to greater or lesser degrees, it applies a coefficient to their desirability. This is a hidden stat but you can probably take an intuitive guess which likes which. Also, Killrob said in the Automation Discord that negative numbers have a much stronger effect than positive numbers. At +100, there's a 125% competitiveness multiplier, and at -100, it goes to 0%. I've never really gotten further than 25 either way in a normal game.

R&D: This could certainly be a good time to invest more. Right now we're bringing in about 1 million profit per month, so spending 100-200k per month on R&D might be wise. We can always increase fuel system further, and family type demographics love interior quality too. We could also target specific upcoming technologies. We can also target specific upcoming technologies. Exhaust and Top End are also techs that help a lot with fuel efficiency.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

With regards to upgrading the Urist, the only relevant new technology we have is two-shoe drum brakes. We probably want to run a facelift anyway, we can improve our engineering sliders and benefit from another year of general tech improvements. There's a number of big things coming up in 33 months: Radial Tires (wheel tech) are a big upgrade, Progressive Springs (suspension tech) make the car more comfortable and improve load capacity, and Standard 50's Safety (safety tech) may be a good upgrade, although it will take a lot of time to add it to the design and we're currently meeting foreseeable safety minimums. Also coming up at 21 months is the Basic AM Radio (interior tech). They're going to finally be cheap enough for everyone to afford... maybe.

There's one BIG tech coming in 1962- Tranverse Front Wheel Drive (drivetrain tech). If we are still aiming for the cheap, economical market, this would be a must-have for us and we probably want to design our next model of car around it. If we want to start work on our next model sooner, unlocking this early would be the way to go.

What Next?

We're starting to have a little money to throw around, or at least some credit rating and company valuation to throw around. Since we've now reached the point where our factory can't keep up with demand, I think we'd be crazy not to go for a Medium 2 factory soon. If we keep our engineering under 33 months, we can add a few new technologies to our next facelift as well. The factory upgrade, for reference would be around $300 million. If we really want to go all-in, we could spring for Medium 3 car factory and a necessary Medium 2 engine factory at the same time, which would cost us around $875M. That would be really touch and go with our credit rating, however. Or, we could open a second factory and make a new model for another demographic on the side.

Also, if we want, we could start targeting our car more towards regular than budget demographics. It's apparently doing good there, at least for 1952, and we could potentially make more money this way. We also might consider replacing the Urist MC Engine with an Overhead Cam version which will be more fuel efficient and long-lived. One way to go about this would be to design a non-production prototype which will take a few years, then quickly revise it and add it to our next facelift without a long wait.

As of 1950, we've gained access to Dalluha. They basically only buy luxury cars, although if we open a dealership there, we could probably hit the Passenger Fleet demographic. Or if we want to, uh, REALLY diversify our brand, we could definitely afford to open up a Small size factory and start making luxury or performance cars. They cost a lot less startup than medium factories and it would give us a way to gain familiarity with new tech that's initially too expensive for our regular cars. It would also give us some income for the times when our main factories are upgrading.

Should we upgrade our factory, and how much?
Do we keep the Urist on the track it's on, or should we shift to target our new middle-class buyers?
Should we start another project? We could do a small-factory demographic on the side, or maybe start a new high-tech economy engine ahead of time.
Should we open dealerships in Dalluha? If we upgrade our factory we might want more dealerships in Fruinia too, but for now they're plenty.
Should we invest more in R&D? Think about what tech we want in the long term.

This post got long again, sorry. I think I've really covered all the game concepts we care about this time, though.
Bonus Pic: The Urist Drivetrain. I couldn't get a good angle of the engine with the body showing, but it's truly minuscule, it fills like 1/4 of the engine bay. Note you can also see the different front and rear suspension types.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 04:02:47 pm by Sensei »
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Let's Play: Automation! Bay 12 Motor Company Buy the 1950 Urist Wagon for just $4500! Safety features optional.
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mightymushroom

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Re: Bay 12 Motor Company: Let's Play Automation [1952: Turning a Profit!]
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2020, 06:38:00 pm »

The sales figures hath spoken: refreshing into a more middle class Urist makes sense. So does a level of factory expansion, since obviously we are not selling as many as the market can bear.

R&D: I'm thinking another 50k each in Drivetrain and Interior (who needs a luxury car if a Urist feels just as nice?). The phantom engine design also sounds like a clever thing to do.


I'm still eyeing the Delivery demos and leaning toward making our second full design a purpose-built van. In that case putting any extra money toward knowledge of suspensions wouldn't hurt. I could easily be flipped into opening a small luxury/sportscar marque though, in which case we might want to work on improving engine architecture instead.
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