Hum, I wonder if a good but not great engine competition would be possible? The Mediocre Engines of Legend Contest! How would you judge the best of mediocrity?
I really should read more threads before I ask this as it has probably been addressed... What is the AI going to be like?
It would be nice if it was basically the computer doing what the player is doing and trying to beat him at it, but that can be tough to design and program. On a small scale and as a college student long ago, I messed with AI and it will warp your mind as you try to build it. However, this way you could build in difficulty levels by having competing car companies start with more or less resources and start earlier or later than the player. Imagine trying to break into America in years past while competing with the Big Three. It is more dynamic and more fulfilling for the player.
I could see it being a sort of high level quasi AI that is just sort of there to keep the player interested and automatically comes out with prebuilt platforms every decades and prebuilt cars every few years. While not dynamic, it would be fairly quick and easy and that might be important as the project runs farther into 2015.
At the risk of feature creep, what about economic cycles, fuel worries, government and environmentalists? The auto biz is interesting because it has more variables than most other industries. It is very sensitive to the economy both to car prices as buying power fluctuates and and to the price of gas. It is a high profile polluter, so sees pressure to 'clean up' as we are witnessing now with the push to hybrids that no one but Democratic politicians seem to want. There can also be political pressure to assemble cars in the country you are selling them so they are 'Made in (Home Country)'. Countries also have street legal definitions.
Again feature creep alert. What about 'events'? It could be fun to have earthquakes shake up your factories, one of your researchers make a great discovery that allows for more power per liter but produces more heat, a nightwatchman sneak a smoke in the fuel mixture lab, a deranged message board user who suggests crazy ideas on your website or PETA protesters showing up outside your office because your luxury car uses lambskin upholstery.
OK off to suggest ways to make games that actually function without patches on the EA boards. They will love me!