Anouncements and News

What’s big news in the Auotmation world?

This one has been a little more slow and complex to develop than expected, but after a long 3 months (4 really, but one was taken up with our first holiday in 4 years!) B1414 is now live for everyone.

This update brings more complete car design aspects, along with car designer scenarios and a much improved user interface. There are also quite a few more new car bodies to base your designs from.

What’s next?

The next few months will be dedicated to some fairly unexciting but very important work, ready for release on Steam. We’ll be making major improvements aimed at making Automation more polished, easier to learn, and all around more professional looking.

More improvements to UI and the process of model designing will make it much more logical and simple to design a big range of models based on one particular car. Pop-ups/Tooltips will be added for many thing, and tutorial videos will be done/redone covering every techincal part of the game.

We’ll also be aiming to add a bunch of improved multiplayer modes, including Lap Time and Rally Stage Time challenge modes, with the ability to set your scores over the a few days, so you don’t need to all be online together to compete.

This update will be the first one to release on Steam, which is an exciting milestone, and will hopefully bring in more sales allowing us to bring further people on to work on car body art and other new content, And after this update is out of the way, it’s finally time to start work on the Tycoon aspect of things!

Change Log for B1414

Car Designer Features & Changes

Added Mid Engine Cars
Suspension Easy Mode
Added Quality Sliders and dependencies for all car designer tabs
Adjustable Rim Offsets
Added Multilink Suspension
Added the first automatic gearboxes
Reliability and Environmental Resistance stats
Passenger Space and Cargo Space stats
Production Units, Costs and Service Costs stats
Offroad and Utility stats
Rebalanced Sportiness, Tameness, Comfort, Prestige and Safety calculations
9 Car Designer Scenarios
Rebalanced material properties
Many new part year dependencies
Limited Cars to a Maximum of 2 wings, and 2 lips
Added tire profile year limitation
Base safety will stop progressing 10 years after a body first unlocks
Bodies sorted by Year. Newest at the top
Revised the “Bottoming Out” calculations to be less harsh
Wings/Lips no longer punch holes in the body shell

Car Designer Fixes

Fixed the crash caused by using MPH + dragging the top speed slider to top for high-revving engines (finally!)
Fixed the Yaw Rate graph cut off when using mph as a unit for speed
Fixed Certain cars not being able to complete a lap
Fixed the proper gear delay being used on the test track

Fixed Front Longitudinal AWD engine placement issues
Fixed the sensitivity of resizing various fixtures, making it more responsive
Fixed “steamroller” bug where wheels would become comically wide

New Car Bodies

Large 60s Coupé
2 Large 70′s Coupés
Large 90′s Coupé
Large 60s Sedan
Large 00′s Sedan
Small 80s Supercar
Small 10s Supercar
Large 10s Supercar

UI & Sound

Completely reworked UI and UI flow
Car Design Wizard for the whole car design process
All new UI sounds
Ambient sounds
Added test track sounds
New Car & Engine Manager
Temporary changed the Platform/Model game mechanic
Many more stats on the three different testing pages
Updated graphs
Updated test track UI
Manual start for car testing on testing page

Engine Designer Fixes / Rebalances

Reduced power gain when riching up fuel mixture
Octane rating in VVL systems uses the lower cam setting
Added bypass valve year limitation
Fixed the “your engine was created in a previous version” message bug
Fixed bore and stroke having two decimals too few using imperial units
Fixed a bug where loading a VVL engine set the wrong lower cam setting
Fixed an engine loading bug that caused the block config lua error

General Things

Changed “MTBF” to “Reliability” for less confusion
New scenario scoring system implemented for car designer scenarios
Fixed various aerodynamics calculations and exploits
Changed all “Man Hours” to “Production Units”
Added Console can be accessed by pressing tilde (~). Commands are help(), HideBuildings(), ShowBuildings().
Changed to saving screenshots as PNG. If you turn off FXAA, and use the HideBuildings() command, you can take pictures of engines/cars on a transparent back-drop.
Useful for taking screenshots of Engines and Cars with no backdrops.
Fixed the tutorial video sound cutting off after a minute
Thumbnails are now deleted when you delete the model / engine it belongs to
Many more little fixes…

All is going well with the next update, with the Car Design Scenarios playing very well and the new UI looking and working great.

We’re just polishing off the final few bug fixes, and should hopefully have an optional Open Beta update for everyone in the next few days, with the actual automatic update for everyone coming once we’ve fixed any problems in the Open Beta.

Thanks for your patience, I think this update will be a huge improvement in quality compared to what you’re used to from Automation.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel, where Killrob does regular Dev Diary videos showing off new features in the works.

The team is now back on deck in NZ after a great trip thanks to our old school, The Academy of Interactive Entertainment. If you’re in the US or Australia and want to get into the games industry, have a look at www.aie.edu.au or www.theaie.us

We got to meet up with Killrob, Der Bayer and Pyrlix and have some excellent design meetings, as well as checking out Rob’s work (Particle Accelerator!) and a quick drive around the Nurburgring :)

Team

Left to right, front row: Robert (Killrob), Caswal (Zeussy), Andrew (Daffyflyer).
Back Row: Roland (Pyrlix), Martin (Der Bayer)

So! Now we’re all back to work, what are we working on?

Well, the next step on the car designer is to tie together all the remaining car stats and get some Car Design Scenarios implemented. Rob has a bit of a chat about that in the video below.

As well as that we’re working on a few other smaller things like a couple of extra car bodies, mid engine configurations and some general bug fixing and polish.

Development Strategy

We often get questions like “Why haven’t you done V6s yet?” which I agree from the outside looks kind of strange that we’d have gone so long without releasing any new engine types or anything. I thought I’d give a quick explanation of why we do things in the order which we do.

The main reason is that It’s better for the overall quality of the finished game to tackle the hard problems first “How do the stats work”, “How does suspension tuning work”, “How do factories work” etc. And then once we’ve got a solid framework of the game in place, it’s an easy task to come back and add more content (engines, cosmetic choices, chassis types etc.)

Design choices in those aspects may also mean reworking previous engine work too, so it’s better to get the “Design” stuff out of the way before adding too much more “Content”

The other reason is that we will most likely be moving to the Unity game engine. The engine we’re currently working on was the best possible solution at the time we first started Automation, but that was many years ago now, and Unity has improved immensely to the point where we’d be stupid to stay with our current outdated in-house engine which is very hard to maintain and slow to develop with.

At this point the few months of converting to a new game engine will be earned back very quickly in how much easier and more powerful Unity is. It’ll allow us a much quicker and easier work flow, a much nicer UI, better performance, and better graphics all around.

However, doing lots more engine types before moving to Unity would just make even more things we need to go and rework for Unity later, creating senseless extra work.

I know this may be somewhat frustrating, particularly if engine design is the only aspect of Automation you’re interested in, but I think it’s best for the quality of the final product.

Steam Release

The Steam release IS still coming later this year.
Our next major project/update will be lots more polish and bug fixing for Steam as well as Steamworks integration/Achievements etc. Also we’ll be doing a more complete set of video tutorials and manual documentation to make sure we have a nice high quality & easy to learn game for our first foray into Steam sales :)

Over the past few weeks we’ve been properly getting into the flow of getting work done in our New Zealand location :)

We’ve been focusing on finishing the last few car stats, as well as a big rework of both the look and functionality of the UI to help the process of designing a car from start to finish make more sense.

Check out the UI prototypes and videos from Killrob below.

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Europe Trip

Thanks to the generosity The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (where most of the dev team studied) and Wargaming.net, we’ll be heading off to an AIE Alumni meetup in Lucca, Italy. We’re also taking the opportunity to extend out the trip for a few weeks to catch with with family, as well as have some design meetings with Killrob, Der Bayer and Pyrlix.

We will be out of the office starting tomorrow, and will return on the 25th of June. Robert and the beta team will continue to work on the testing and design of car scenarios, but aside from that, there won’t be a great deal of progress for a few weeks. Support emails will be answered by Robert where possible, but some account & technical issues may take longer than usual to be responded to.

We’ll be doing a few fun car related things while we’re over there too, so we’ll be sure to post some pics on facebook of anything you guys might be interested in.

After a few delays, caused partially by the fact that we’ve moved ourselves and our company from Melbourne, Australia to lovely Wellington, New Zealand. Update B1362 is now out as a public release.

New Features

A lot more car stat calculations, the foundations for how the cars will be evaluated in the Tycoon aspect. New stats include:
Tameness
Sportiness
Comfort
Prestige
Safety
More options and controls added. We are more or less at the final design of all designers.
A new test track mode. Where the car is driven virtually around a track from a birds eye perspective.
Custom Tracks can be made, check the forums for player made tracks and competitions.
New bodies added.

Bavarian Rally Challenges

To take advantage of the new test track features, our car physics expert Der Bayer is running a set of rally challenges. Build cars to various class specs and try for the best stage times down a challenging set of stages. Details can be found in the video and forum thread below

http://automationgame.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=3970

What’s Next?

Next project is further work on the car designer and will focus on some of the stats that are still missing, such as Cargo Space, Off Road Ability, Passenger Space etc. It’ll also add some car design scenarios, visual feedback on ride height and some more car bodies.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a picture of the new home of Camshaft Software

WellySmall

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