Automation is a tycoon-style game which puts the player in control of their own auto company. Rather than start at the dawn of the automotive era, the game begins in the year 1946, just after World War 2 and focuses on bringing modern engines, platforms and automotive concepts to market through the year 2020.
Game Play Details
Game play is divided into three sections; the engine designer, car designer and company management. Players will have the ability to create a wide range of engine styles - from economic 3-cylinder engines to turbocharged 12 and 16-cylinder race motors, and nearly everything in between and mate them to a sophisticated car design tool which allows for the creation of nearly endless car and truck platforms.
Engine Layouts included at launch
- Inline 3, 4, 5 and 6
- V6, V8, V10, V12
- V16s as preorder DLC.
- Flat 4, Flat 6
Aspiration included at launch
- Naturally Aspirated
- Single Turbo
- Twin Turbo
Car Building features included at launch
- Engine placement at front, middle and rear, transverse or longitudinal
- front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive (with power distribution options)
- 3,4,5,6-speed transmissions with and without synchro
- varied clutch and differential types
- Non-visual Interior customization
- varied vehicle types; sports cars, family cars, trucks (with car shape manipulation)
- platform creation with model-specific variants (i.e. chrome vents on a deluxe version)
Company Management features included at launch
- Manage imports, exports of parts and supplies
- Manage a network of factories and dealerships
- Research new parts, buy expanded manufacturing capabilities
- Market and Sell your cars, gain a company reputation
- Play against AI Car companies
- Multiplayer with co-op
- Create sub-brands within your company
Development of the title is actively underway with the developers at Camshaft Software offering frequent updates and a livestream of the process. The current targeted release for the full game is sometime in the near future, with incremental demos being offered along the way. The game was Greenlit by Steam in July 2013.
Playable Demos & Alpha Code
There are two demos of Automation which offer a few engine layouts, basic vehicle shell design as well as challenging scenarios which put the player in the position of having to create the ideal engine for a range of increasingly difficult clients.
The first demo includes inline 4 engines and basic hatchback shell design and is free for anyone, the second is a more complete demo with 6 and 8-cylinder engines and is available for those who pre-order the game and support the development.
As the development of Automation progresses, new additions to the demo continue to be added, including the vehicle design and testing portion of the game, as well as a test track system.
The cosmetic vehicle designer, added in July 2013, allowed the player to modify basic car shapes and apply fixtures such as headlamps and grilles.
In September 2013 the addition of multiplayer support was added and allowed the challenge scenarios to be done against an opponent rather than purely for a score and bragging rights. Later in development, many more multiplayer modes will be added, including an interactive multiplayer version of the Grand Campaign.
Automation has continued to improve over time and, as of an April 2014 open beta, includes a more refined vehicle designer which includes transmission, brakes, suspension, safety and interior refinement.
Vehicles can also be tested on a road course and will receive rankings based on a number of factors including safety, sportiness and exclusivity.
The UI of the game has also recently received a huge overhaul, improving the game's looks and usability.
April 2012 The first demo was made available which included basic, inline 4, naturally-aspirated engine design. At first, it was available only to pre-order customers (it was released for them on April 8, 2012). After two weeks, it was made free to anyone.
July 2012 The pre-order engine designer demo was updated to include crossplane V8s
August 2012 The flatplane V8s were added to the engine designer demo.
March 2013 Turbocharged engines were included into the engine designer demo.
May 2013 The engine designer demo was revised to provide more accurate calculations along with more challenges.
July 2013 The cosmetic vehicle design was added to the pre-order demo package and included 3 body shell types.
August 2013 Additional fixtures were added as well as a limited free version of the vehicle design demo was released.
September 2013 Multiplayer scenarios were added to the game allowing two players to compete in the engine design challenges
November 2013 Additional vehicle primitives were added as well as the first look at platform design which allows the user to actually put their engine design inside a car body and test the results
January 2014 Refined platform design with more vehicle primitives as well as a new soundtrack were added to the game
April 2014 A massive update in the form of an open beta was released which includes the first glimpse of end-to-end car building and testing. Now all aspects of the car from the engine to the interior details can be created and the resulting design can be tested on a road course and ranked.
August 2014 Another large update, adding the ability to build mid-engined cars, a suspension easy-mode, and quality sliders for all aspects of the car designer. As well as many other small changes including rim offsets, automatic gearboxes, multilink suspension and the addition of 9 Car Designer scenarios, which allow the player to build an engine, and an entire car to meet certain limits and needs. The game also switched to using LuaJIT, which increased the calculation speed for stats by 2x-3x.
March 2015 A massive update, bringing the game to Steam Early Access. It completes the functionality of the Platform Designer with platforms and models, while also creating engine families and models. It also fixes balancing issues with scenarios and allows for borderless windowed mode. However, the Engine Designer Multiplayer mode has had to be removed for retooling but will be back in the next release with more modes.
Expansion Packs and Future Paid Content
The developers have crafted a list of future expansions they would like to create and have stated that development of these will be dependent on the success of the title at launch.
- W-layout engines; W8, W12, W16, W18
- Rotary motors
- Flat 8
- Inline 8
- Two Stroke motors
- Alternative fuel; diesel, electric, hybrid
- Motorsport series