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This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

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Noodle

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Post Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:25 pm

This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

Automation isn't a game I've dedicated most of my time to, rather its something I've dabbled in here and there. I've had it for some time now (though I can't remember exactly how long, the forums say I joined back in 2012 to give some perspective).

I really enjoyed playing it back in the day. Despite its lack of organization (and features, for that matter), it was fun since I could quickly hammer out car designs and make multiple trims of one model by copying and pasting. Some time ago, there was an update that completely changed the interface and attempted to organize cars by manufacturer, trim, etc. It was confusing and clunky to me, and to this day I'm still not sure how to use it (I certainly could have figured it out better if I persevered, but the very fact that it was there in a game that I player only infrequently drove me away from it entirely). Recently I've tried to get back into the game, and I've been disappointed to find that it has only gotten worse. The organization methods haven't changed much from what I can gather, but its now riddled with bugs. If I do something the game doesn't like, I get a lua error about nil values thrown at my face. When this happens, I usually can't edit things like I'm supposed to, and it often causes whatever I've been working on to be (presumably) corrupted, therefore throwing errors every time I try to work on it. It isn't uncommon either - I've had it happen numerous different times in different situations. What gives? I'm only trying to build cars and engines like I used to. It isn't like I'm messing about with brand new, rough features. Shouldn't this sort of thing be ironed out by now?

I don't mean to discredit the devs' hard work, but it seems to me like the development of this game seems to be heading in the wrong direction. I've come across some new features such as the demographic testing in different fictional areas, and I think there's some new scenarios or something like that, but quite frankly these features mean nothing to me if the basic core of the game (building and designing cars) is flawed and I can't enjoy it like I used to. Though it may seem less interesting, I'd much rather the devs focus on consolidating and perfecting the features that have been added before moving ahead and adding new ones that, quite frankly, I really don't care for.


That's just my two cents.


P.S.-
Why is the year that EFI becomes available so... late? I owned a 1982 model Toyota with EFI, but for some reason it only becomes available in-game in the late 80s IIRC.
Killrob Edit: This is changed in the version coming out in a week, 1982 is the new MPFI unlock year, 1978 for SPFI.
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Vri404

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Post Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:10 pm

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

Have you heard of the term "InDev" or In Development? The game is nowhere near finished, and as new things are added, new bugs begin to appear. Things will get better in the long run. :D
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UMGaming

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Post Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:30 pm

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

So your saying you don't want V12s or pushrod suspension?





Ok...
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strop

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:51 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

So you're saying that the game is more buggy due to the expansion of features? I see some of what you're saying but the argument that the game is heading in 'the wrong direction' seems a bit nebulous and, well, not entirely informed, considering that the direction the devs have been taking the game is something that has been planned since pretty much the beginning (you can see evidence of this in both the guide post on the forum, as well as the dev video updates).

It's probably harder to adjust to when playing it intermittently, but you may need to consider that the bugs you are experiencing aren't common to everybody. As a regular player (and beta tester) I've used and abused my build enough to know where the bugs lie, the advantages being I know which ones are slated to be fixed, but the disadvantage is that it also molds habits such that I can avoid the usual pitfalls. Where you can help the most is bring up examples of these in bug reports, because on one hand we know they exist but they need to be pointed out, and on the other, since the devs keep a track of the bugs and do progressively fix them, you'll also be able to find out where the problem may actually be on your end.
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Noodle

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:24 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

Vri404 wrote:Have you heard of the term "InDev" or In Development? The game is nowhere near finished, and as new things are added, new bugs begin to appear. Things will get better in the long run. :D


I undertand what InDev means, and this game is by no means the first or only game I've bought in development. My issue is that I'm having problems with things I never had problems with before, and that hasn't happened in any game I've followed during early development.

UMGaming wrote:So your saying you don't want V12s or pushrod suspension?

Ok...


No. I would definitely like to see V12s or pushrod suspension someday, but not if I still can't play the game to begin with.

strop wrote:So you're saying that the game is more buggy due to the expansion of features? I see some of what you're saying but the argument that the game is heading in 'the wrong direction' seems a bit nebulous and, well, not entirely informed, considering that the direction the devs have been taking the game is something that has been planned since pretty much the beginning (you can see evidence of this in both the guide post on the forum, as well as the dev video updates).

It's probably harder to adjust to when playing it intermittently, but you may need to consider that the bugs you are experiencing aren't common to everybody. As a regular player (and beta tester) I've used and abused my build enough to know where the bugs lie, the advantages being I know which ones are slated to be fixed, but the disadvantage is that it also molds habits such that I can avoid the usual pitfalls. Where you can help the most is bring up examples of these in bug reports, because on one hand we know they exist but they need to be pointed out, and on the other, since the devs keep a track of the bugs and do progressively fix them, you'll also be able to find out where the problem may actually be on your end.


I'm saying the game is more buggy, that's for certain, but whether or not it has any direct correlation to the new features is unclear. It very well could be one of the new added features causing problems, but the fact of the matter is I'm finding bugs while doing things that, in the past, never caused and bugs or other issues for me. If a game is moving forward and adding new features while old ones with issues are either being neglected or broken in the process, then yes I do believe the game is heading in the wrong direction developmentally.

Also, the bugs I'm experiencing don't seem to be terribly consistent. Exactly what triggers them and the extent of the damage they do seems to vary a lot. The only consistent thing about them is that it throws some sort of lua error about nil values at me, and that trying to work around it afterwards (should it not completely destroy everything when it first goes off) usually causes it to cause even more problems. What it really all boils down to is this: the last three to four times I've tried getting back into this game by building some cars, I've had my work completely destroyed thanks to these errors. This is a big step backwards in my opinion, especially when I could quickly make multiple different models and trim levels with no issue at all in earlier versions of the game.
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Killrob

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:36 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

Fair enough, let me explain the bigger picture for you so that you can better understand why we seemingly head into the wrong direction.
First off, while your experience with the game definitely isn't something that everyone has, it is true that many have at least some of the problems you experience, too many, in fact.

Automation at its core was built pretty modular, which comes with great advantages: like being able to release a reasonably polished version with new features every three months or so (although you might argue the "polished" attribute). Also, it makes it easier for us as inexperienced developers making their first big game to keep track of things and divide and conquer the HUGE project in a better way. The downside is that the communication between the modules is complicated and from ground up, without knowing, we have built in severe design flaws that actually make it nigh impossible for these modules to properly communicate. It is a product of having a shaky basis and then adding lots of features on top.

This has among other things led to the really bad saving bugs and weird non-repeatable crashy behavior in the recent updates. Mind you, knowing "the correct way" of playing gives a pretty much flawless and bug-free gameplay experience, but as you correctly point out that is not the case for everyone. These underlying issues cannot be fixed easily, it would require a complete rewrite of all underlying structures. For example, did you know that the Model design, Trim design and Engine design are completely different processes which need to be forced to talk to each other? I guess you can see the "communication issues" between them pretty clearly.

Obviously the current state is not acceptable in the long run and can't be in the finished product, on the other hand we can't afford to add another year of development time for a complete rewrite. This is where the port to Unreal Engine comes into the picture. Currently our new programmer Isaac is working on porting the game to Unreal Engine and we all use this opportunity to make right the inherently flawed program-structure decisions made back when we started over 4 years ago. Everything becomes unified and much simpler to keep track of, but the port does take a while to complete. Currently you can already build engines in the Unreal version of the game and use some menus, but it takes time to make this stuff happen.

The original plan was to to port the game over to Unreal when we are balancing the grand campaign, but considering how messy and difficult to maintain the game is right now we decided to do this earlier. Our lead programmer spent a week during the start of this subproject to look into the possibility of creating a hybrid of our old homebrew game engine and Unreal. It worked. We can now run our DX9 game within DX11 Unreal. This means that we can port the game gradually, getting rid of the old things step by step while continuing game development normally. It also allows for the Unreal part track all the different states and saves, etc. This is something we want to get into the public release as soon as possible, but it may take another 6 months to get there (instead of the 12-18 months waiting before doing a direct port later).

Most if not all of the problems you mention will be either resolved by doing so, or much easier to fix once we are there. For now all we can do is acknowledge the problems and ask players to be patient with the process.
We think this solution is much better in the long run than spending a lot of time now fixing flaws deeply ingrained in the game when that naturally disappears once we port the game, it would set back development too much and people would not see any updates for a good 6 months.

I hope this helps clarify a few things and considering how many people have these kind of problems, I'll sticky this thread. :)
Cheers!
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autofrank

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

I am waiting for the day the game is ported over to the new engine. I agree it would be better to do that sooner than later, so you can learn to build the game and fix bugs in the new engine, rather than figure that stuff out later. Killrob didn't you also say it would make the building process easier? With parts snapping into place and such? I mean I think it would be cool for car building to have a unibody or frame, and then snap the various bits and pieces (bonnet (hood,) boot (trunk,) doors, roof, fenders, etc for car design) - and then build the rest in a similar way to how it is now.

On another note, I think you should leave out the tycoon portion until the entire process of building a car is finished and polished up. Then work on how we can build a company and put the cars to market.

Thanks guys.
Personally I'd like to see manhours and MTBF return rather than production units and reliability score of 0-100.
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Daffyflyer

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:45 pm

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

autofrank wrote:On another note, I think you should leave out the tycoon portion until the entire process of building a car is finished and polished up. Then work on how we can build a company and put the cars to market.


That's pretty much what we've done, with the next update we will have done pretty much as much of the polishing of that side of things as can be done without having the tycoon aspects in place. (besides the bugs we're talking about, of course)
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Noodle

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Post Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:29 pm

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

I'm glad to see that the devs are taking this kind of position with regards to the issues.

I'm thankful you guys took the time to respond to me, and I eagerly await the upcoming port. Good luck with the challenges to come.
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ArnRno

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Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:59 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

UMGaming wrote:So your saying you don't want V12s or pushrod suspension?


I for one don't - I'd rather spend my time in the sim building Tercels than Gallardos, but hey, maybe that's just me.
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autofrank

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Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:55 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

So once the car building portion is finished, will you port the game to the new engine? I'm sure the tycoon portion can be built then, and there's a lot to work out on paper with that as well.
Personally I'd like to see manhours and MTBF return rather than production units and reliability score of 0-100.
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Killrob

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Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:11 am

Re: This Game has Been Frustrating me Recently

autofrank wrote:So once the car building portion is finished, will you port the game to the new engine? I'm sure the tycoon portion can be built then, and there's a lot to work out on paper with that as well.

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'll try to respond as best as I can. We currently are adding tycoon aspects since going into Early Access. The plan is to build all the new tycoon aspects directly in Unreal to not have to port them over to Unreal later. This is made possible by the hybrid game engine we're working on. Please clarify your question if this doesn't answer it.

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