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Subject: "Car Mechanic Simulator 2021"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Conferences Games Topic #179
Reading Topic #179, reply 9
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Aug-15-21, 06:25 PM (EDT)
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9. "unexpected crisis"
In response to message #0
   LAST EDITED ON Aug-15-21 AT 10:46 PM (EDT)
I just discovered that it's possible, through a combination of carelessness and what I would contend is a missing gameplay mechanic (as it were), it's possible to screw a customer in this game without meaning to, and bankrupt yourself in the process. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure this would also be possible in CMS 2018, but for whatever reason I never committed the particular act of incompetence that brought it about in the many hours I played that version.

It went down like this: A customer sent in a car for repair that turned out to have a bad crankshaft. Now, in case you're not au courant with how internal combustion engines work, the crankshaft is at the very heart of the engine. It's the shaft that the pistons are attached to, so that as the cylinders fire in sequence they cause it to rotate, and this rotation is what makes absolutely everything else in the car's power train happen.

What this means is that, to get it out and replace it, you have to remove the engine from the car and completely dismantle it. To accomplish that, you have to take off whatever drive mechanism the car has (in this case, it was a front-wheel-drive car, so that means removing the drive shafts and transaxle, or, as they are called in CMS games, the front drive axles and gearbox). By the time you're actually in a position to remove the crankshaft from the engine block, you've taken off pretty much every oily slidey bit the car has and put them all in your inventory.

Another of the gameplay mechanics in the CMS games is that you can sell off the contents of your inventory. After you've been working for a while, you've amassed a huge pile of broken, worn-out scrap parts, and they just clutter up the inventory screen. (I think there's a maximum number of items you can have in there, too, but I've never hit it.) To alleviate this, and make a bit of extra money, you can sell everything in the warehouse by clicking the appropriate button and setting a condition slider (e.g., setting it to "sell all parts with condition less than or equal to 99 percent" will sell everything that isn't absolutely brand new). You don't get anything like as much money as the equivalent new parts are worth, of course. (In fact, you don't get full value back if you sell a new part, if for instance you accidentally bought a part you didn't need. Which is realistic, if nothing else.)

Anyway, I think you can probably see where this was going. I got right to the midpoint of the crankshaft job very late last night and decided to come back and finish it in the morning. When I started the game back up today, I forgot that I was in the middle of a job and decided to start the session off with an inventory cleanout.

And here's the gameplay thing I think should really be there: It didn't stop me from selling parts that weren't mine. Things you've taken off a customer's car just to get them out of the way, but which will have to go back on, are in the same inventory as stuff you bought from the store, leftover broken pieces from previous jobs, and everything else, and the game doesn't flag them as not being your property. So I unthinkingly sold all the customer's running gear for scrap. Transaxle, drive shafts, all the bits of the engine I hadn't put back on, the works.

This meant that to return the customer's car in a complete and running condition, which is the only honorable way to finish a job, I had to buy brand-new replacements for all of those parts, and I haven't been playing long enough to build up the kind of surplus fund balance that would make it possible to eat that kind of loss. I couldn't even afford the gearbox, let alone all the other bits and pieces. After buying what I needed to finish rebuilding the engine, I was damn near broke.

At first, I didn't know what to do, or if there was even anything I could do. The game runs in what strategy gamers know as "ironman" mode, meaning it autosaves and you can't go back. I was about six hours in, so it wouldn't have been the end of the world if I had to wipe the save and start all over, but still, shiiiit.

Ultimately, what I ended up doing was stashing the customer's gutted car out in the yard to free up the garage bay, then very carefully scrutinizing the new jobs coming in and taking only the ones that looked like I could get them done without spending much money. In the new game, you occasionally get seriously penny-ante jobs--I had one that was literally just "refill windshield washer fluid," which, I'm one of the laziest and least handy people I know and even I would not hire a professional mechanic to do that and only that to my car. But it's cheap to do, about $10 worth of fluid, and it makes a small profit.

Earning $20 at a time is a slow way to make a couple of grand, which is what I needed to unfuck the crankshaft job's car, but at least as I built up more of an overhead, I could take more ambitious jobs and start making cash faster. Although there was peril in that, too, because the game doesn't always tell you exactly what's wrong with the car before you take the job. Someone comes in with a car that needs brake work, you think Hell yeah, brake parts are cheap, let's go, and then it turns out one of the things they need is a $950 ABS pump and oh nooooooo.

It was touch and go for a while, but I did eventually manage it. I'm not entirely sure, since the bills aren't itemized, but I think the game was able to take into account the fact that the crankshaft car didn't actually need a replacement gearbox and didn't bill the customer for it, because cash flow was still tight for a few jobs after I finally got that car back to its owner.

The whole incident was a surprising disruption to a style of game that can be pretty routine after a while, and it reminded me of something I think I said in the CMS 2018 thread. Namely, I think it would be cool if the game had a more detailed, RPG-like "career mode" available, where you could choose whether to be an Honest Mechanic or screw people over, with a reputation system of some sort to give those decisions consequences. Such a system would have made an incident like that even more tense, but with the right RP mechanisms in place, it would've been possible to play it so that your shop comes out of it poorer, but with reputation enhanced, which would be kinda neat.

TLDR: I fucked up and sold a bunch of parts I contend the game shouldn't have let me sell, and nearly made my save unsalvageable and had to restart, but was barely able to squeak through with some strategic job selection.

Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 [View All] Gryphonadmin May-07-21 TOP
   RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Peter Eng May-08-21 1
      RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin May-09-21 2
          RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 StClair May-09-21 3
              RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin May-09-21 4
          RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Peter Eng May-09-21 5
              RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin May-10-21 6
   RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 MoonEyes May-21-21 7
   RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin Aug-09-21 8
  unexpected crisis Gryphonadmin Aug-15-21 9
      RE: unexpected crisis CdrMike Aug-16-21 13
   new things Gryphonadmin Aug-15-21 10
      RE: new things The Traitor Aug-16-21 11
          RE: new things Gryphonadmin Aug-16-21 12
              RE: new things The Traitor Aug-16-21 14
          RE: new things Nova Floresca Aug-16-21 15
              RE: new things Gryphonadmin Aug-16-21 16
                  RE: new things Nova Floresca Aug-16-21 17
                      RE: new things Gryphonadmin Aug-17-21 18
   RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 CdrMike Aug-18-21 19
      RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin Aug-21-21 20
          RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Kendra Kirai Aug-21-21 21
              RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin Aug-21-21 22
                  RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Kendra Kirai Aug-21-21 23
                  RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 ImpulsiveAlexia Aug-21-21 24
          RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 CdrMike Aug-22-21 25
   RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin Aug-22-21 26
      RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 CdrMike Aug-24-21 27
          RE: Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 Gryphonadmin Aug-24-21 28
   This Would've Been an Incident Gryphonadmin Jan-31-22 29
      RE: This Would've Been an Incident Zemyla Feb-03-22 30
          RE: This Would've Been an Incident Gryphonadmin Feb-03-22 31
              RE: This Would've Been an Incident MoonEyes Feb-05-22 33
                  RE: This Would've Been an Incident Gryphonadmin Feb-05-22 34
          RE: This Would've Been an Incident mdg1 Feb-05-22 32

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