Production Line - Cliff Harris takes on car manufacturing


I imagine I will be at final release at the end of the year, although thats very variable.

The current build has a LOT of stuff in, but its lacking marketing, some further complexity in the economics model, defect & quality stuff, mod support, cross platform support & non-english languages. We also only have placeholder sound effects. There are some future techs still to go in such as hybrid/electric engines, diesel vs petrol, catalytic convertors and a bunch of engine related tech stuff. We will probably make the tech tree quite a a bit bigger (its already big :D)

Research is a big part of the game. its currently divided between process-related (factory) research, and tech research such as GPS, Anti-lock brakes, heated seats etc.

Staff are less of a concern, although I do plan eventually to support upgrading staff to be robots. Currently each production slot has 2 robots, and you can research upgrades to 4, 6 or 8 robots. Better robot quality/speed and reliability will come eventually, as will robot breakdowns and maintenance.

The economic model is relatively basic at the moment. The sale price depends partly on your output volume, and partly on the novelty of your tech vs the established AI competitors. A more complex economic model which has different market for bidy styles (ie compact vs sedan vs SUV…) is in planning.


If we already bought it a few months ago via humble we’ll be getting a steam key, right?

Oof, nevermind. It’s already in my library. Duh. :) I think, at least. I’m not at my gaming PC.

Edit: I was wrong, I just downloaded it off of humble. So we’re getting steam keys, right?

Edit 2: if anyone is wondering, it wasn’t finished enough for me to comment on my opinions of it yet. :)


yup, just waiting for someone at humble to respond to my email about steam keys… but yup pre-order customers will get them!




Spoke to humble, and all the steam keys are uploaded now, although they shouldn’t work until Thursday as far as I know :D


Just updating to point out we released in Early Access today. Woohoo!


I went to my Humble order page and was able to get a Steam key.



Looking forward to frustrated shouting at my robots.


Man, the “other car companies” move way, way too fast in this game.

“Your next three thousand hours of research is already common on literally every other car on the market!” is really disheartening.


Yup, big nerfing of competition coming in the next update. Just try to ignore the AI for now…


Found a bug in the loan screen. You cant pay the loan back and the days dont count down, so the loans are permenant for now.


Hmmm really? I haven’t seen anyone else report that. I shall dig into it


Just as a followup, im not sure how the loans are suppose work. I still see messages that a new loan is available but when i check the loan screen i see the three loans i took out and a fouth unused loan. My first loan has 20 days left, second 17 and third 8. the 4th unused loan says it has 7days on it and its for 2mil or so. which seems steep to pay back in a short amount of time. Im not sure when they stopped counting down because until recently i couldnt pay them back. Im not sure if there is a way to check how many ingame days have past. Ill also register on your site and add stuff there as well.


Hmmm interesting. We just added a feature where your ‘risk’ rating to the banks is affected by how many loans you already have, and how large they are, so you should expect interest rates to shoot way up if you have a bunch of big outstanding debts.


started a new game with the new update. i took out three loans and i took pictures, the loan amount is going down but the days remaining isnt changing. so it may end up being a visual bug. unsure if the loan will go away once paid off though.


The most recent Idle Thumbs has a discussion of the game, which of course in true Idle Thumbs fashion devolves into predictions about our future as organic batteries for driverless cars.


I spent a few hours playing through the most recent release. It has potential, but also some annoyances in its present early-access form.

I like

  1. The concept: all the factory management and process optimization bits of Big Pharma, without as much puzzle as Big Pharma.
  2. The style: it looks good and runs smoothly.
  3. The complexity: lots of parts make up a car. The assembly lines are complicated.

I don’t like/couldn’t figure out

  1. The market: it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me what controls the price of a car. My sedan with Very Rare features out the wazoo simply wouldn’t sell at anything less than a 10% discount. I couldn’t find any feedback on why cars in stock weren’t selling.
  2. The loss condition: the game ends when your cash on hand goes to zero, which seems odd to me.
  3. The limited information on production costs and efficiency: I couldn’t find a way to get the total production cost, counting raw materials and worker time, of a car. (Prices pop up in the click-on-it display, but that looked like sale price to me?) Given that one of the decision points seems to be “should I keep buying this component or produce it in house?” it feels like a big loss being unable to really determine how my decisions are affecting the bottom line.
  4. The lack of planning tools. I found myself saving the game once or twice, then trying to lay out a new production line, then realizing I didn’t actually have the money for it and having to go back to the save.
  5. The setup for different models of car. I couldn’t figure out how to produce two submodels on the same line: one premium car with bluetooth and satnav, say, and one basic model without.

None of those issues are flaws in design, and all of them are things I expect to improve, especially the ones concerning access to data. (Cliffski’s games are always a breath of fresh air in that regard.) I’m looking forward to its ongoing development.


Thank you for making this game @Cliffski. Can I ask, is there a way to change the floor textures for the included scenarios without modding the game? The “background noise” from the grey tiles is making it difficult to see the fantastic detail of each workstation. It’s like those pictures where the image is obscured by patterns, except in reverse. The floor might look more bland without alternating squares, but then I could see better. The darker shades of grey are distracting even though I know they shouldn’t be.


I saw the Big Pharma thread get bumped and wondered how this game was doing, not much life here in the thread.

@jpinard did @cliffski ever get back to you? If not , then bad dev! :p

I checked his blog and he is working on the UI:

Also has a new video blog thing from November 1st.:

And he talked about how not to go bankrupt at some conference here:


I really love the game, but I’ve never played a production type game before so I don’t know if that diminishes my opinion. I actually modded the tiles bothering me so I can see/appreciate all the little things going on. I wish I could fast forward Earth to see how it looks when Cliff finally has everything added in.