I'm absolutely in love with this fantastic game, but I had a couple of ideas of how some systems could be added/tweaked.
At the moment there are styles of car in the game (sedan etc) and you can upgrade these with different interior components which in real life is nice and easy, but to put a spoiler etc on the back of a car should be a massive thing as it completely changes the aerodynamics of the car and requires a lot of maths etc.
So, perhaps the features that would affect the specifications of the car should be introduced another way - via the development lab.
My idea, would be that you have your 5 types of car (sedan etc) unlockable via research as you have at the moment, then once the type is unlocked you can develop a model in the development lab. This procedure would generate some stats for the car for speed, acceleration, handling, comfort etc. The ratings would depend upon how much time and you give the designers, and what body features you've researched.
So, I'd go to my development lab, click on Sedan, I want quite a fast car, so select the carbon fibre body panelling, the rear spoiler and the turbocharged engine. I then get an estimate of the stats, or maximum possible stats and get told the development time will be X hours.
X hours later I get a pop up from my development team, out of the maximum stats they have only achieved the following ones, should they keep developing the car, to achieve better, or should we finalise the design? - At the moment I'm a bit strapped for cash, so it'll have to do. I get to name the model and sherbang! It's in the game and inserted into the options in my production line. From there I'm able to make different versions with AC, MP3 player etc. as current.
Perhaps when you send the first 10 cars of a model out you then get an pop up with a few bits of reviews "Lovely handling and a comfortable ride, it's a pity that the top speed isn't great - Motoring Magazine", "This car will be twice as good as your current one- assuming your current car is actually a brick - Jezza Clerkson.
The stats don't have to be in any actual units, that way they can be improved continuously without it feeling weird that you've just made a 2000 mile an hour car.
Developing a car sounds really expensive - for many budget cars this stage is skipped by several making the same car under their own brand name and model name. As such, perhaps the idea above is for late game - just like making your own parts. So, at the start of the game you purchase or license designs from other manufacturers? So I can make, say, the Fjord Carnival under my own name, but, I have to pay 10% each time to Fjord. From there I can make my own versions of that car with or without AC etc. as current.
At the start of the game I had 150 going to my showroom, ages later - once I had loads of my sedans driving around the world displaying my logo I still only had 150 people going to my showroom, and, despite presumably getting a reputation as a maker that sells budget sedans, I still had a few people turning up for a high end sports car.
So, perhaps car sales and marketing could be changed a bit:
Once you've made and sold a few cars (budget sedans) you get more people coming to your show room looking for that specific type of car, and fewer looking for others. Thus you'd have a kinda exponential increase in the number of people looking to buy that car. General marketing can give temporary boosts to this (which in turn would mean more sales and thus also provide a long term boost). However marketing would be even more important when bringing out a new type or price range.
When your factory (now known for producing budget sedans) decides to make a luxury sports car the numbers of people visiting your show room for such a car would be very low. So, you'd have a marketing option for the new type of car "hey guys, we make sports cars now!" which would give a temporary boost to the number of people coming to look at for sports cars. After that temporary boost you'd then start to be able to gain the benefit of the slow incremental increase above.
Thus you'd perhaps have 3 types of marketing campaign:
General: Which increases the number of people visiting your showroom and brand awareness by a small amount.
Model: Which increases the number of people visiting your show room for a specific type of car and brand awareness by a small amount.
Brand: Which increases your brand awareness - and thus gives you a boost to incoming numbers, but also gives them a higher chance to buy a car.
Combining the two Suggestions:
When you develop a new car everyone will go mad for it (if they know about it via the model marketing campaign). If it's a good car (stats and marketing) then numbers will increase at the start, and as more people buy it you'll get more people wanting to buy one so sales will quickly increase. But, over time, competitors will bring out cars with better stats and your old car will decline in sales. Perhaps have some kind of 'demand' indicator, showing how many people want it, or, even with the current system people can start rejecting the car "I'm looking for something a bit newer".
So, with sales starting to drop you want to produce a new model. Once you've already made one model the game will allow you (in your development lab) to make a new version of that model, this gives it a boost to sales based on how long ago it was that you made the old one (nobody will buy a car if the old model only came out very recently) and how good the previous one was (if the first was a flop, it's better to just abandon the model name, and start again).
Thanks for reading my long waffle, I do have a lot of other thoughts about both of those ideas, but I'll spare you from having to read through those, but do let me know if you'd like me to post further details on any of the above.
Ooops, one final idea:
Perhaps another feature that could be added to change things up a bit (and so could be turned off in the options) would be contract offers.
So, perhaps you'd get a pop up asking you to build a specific number of a custom car for a client (thus giving you a new, but temporary, make and model etc. in your list of cars to be made), or another manufacturer wants 50 of your engines for use in his new car. All of these would come with a time limit and presumably a penalty for not meeting the number in the time.
Ideas for gameplay improvements and changes. NOT bug reports!
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