A Hypothetical Vehicle Competition

Recently, having seen Winston’s Rockcrawler I’ve gotten back into Gmod full force - all of a sudden engines and transmissions and shit are suddenly practical. Not server crashing monstrosities that are grossly inefficient and have to be run at like 1/2 physics timescale. This, and a Risk to Conquer have got me thinking; wouldn’t it be nice to get a new competition that’s relatively simple, practical, easy to participate in, and likely to create some activity on this forum?

Now I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never been that great of a builder. I’m always kind of 3rd tier-ish; that is to say that many times while I have found my own ways to do the things all the really good people create, I’ve never quite been able to replicate the practical, or the elegant aspect of the creations which define the best builders. Either it’s always slightly too heavy, too spazzy, too weak, always somehow deficient in some way. If I were narcissistic enough perhaps I’d compare my self to AMD, barely keeping up with Intel through price cutting - making up the difference in clock for clock performance with sheer number of cores, on an older manufacturing process. Their CPUs being larger, running hotter, and eating more power for a given amount of performance. Now generally under normal circumstances this would mean I just suck, but lets save my ego and self esteem a little bit of grief and make it more fun.

What I propose for a competition would be something similar to a Risk to Conquer. Player(s) form teams, except that instead of representing countries in war, you are now the executive head of advertising, engineering, design and all the other shit that happens in a car company. Essentially you have your own car brand. Design your logo, do whatever is fun, but ultimately what happens is that you produce a line of cars under a single brand name. Each car would be relatively realistic, otherwise there would be no differentiation; everyone and their dog can make a box with wheels and a thruster. Instead these cars should include a nice body, suspension, an engine of some sort, and probably optionally a transmission. Ideally if you’re a good marketing person who understands that creating brand image is important, your cars would share some kind of design lineage. Think RR_Raptor’s Roman military vehicles, similar design aspects, but a wide spectrum of individual characteristics and roles represented all along the line. You could perhaps specialize in making expensive sports cars, or make like Mitsubishi and build a whole assortment of motorized transport from trucks to cars to rally cars to pencils.

Now this is where the whole AMD comparison comes in - these cars will be reviewed by professional car magazine reviewing people. By which I mean the general browsing public of the Facepunch Contraption forums - all one of them. Assuming TB’s duplicator receives a working Upload and Download function sometime in the next second/minute/hour/day/week/month/year/decade/century/millennium your average forum denizen will download the dupe, have a fun test drive with it, and give it a review alongside a complete arbitrary rating out of 10. Possible criteria which could be covered in a review would encompass such aspects of a car like interior, body design, ride smoothness, speed, power, grip, and handling. Of course all relative to cost of the vehicle - which would be determined by some presumably reasonable formula involving number of props, weight of total car, and maybe even number of constraints or some shit. A cheap piece of shit third world country junk car with a 10 horsepower motor going for some 20 dollars could perhaps be seen as better than a cheap piece of shit first world country junk car with a 60 horsepower motor going for 1000 dollars. Performance in this situation would be more relative than absolute - elegance in the way which you get power out of your mechanics is paramount as to whether or not you have designed a good car. An engine weighing 350,000 units constructed out of some imaginary blackhole material is not something that would belong in this competition. If you can pull an AMD and somehow produce cars which are price to performance competitive despite being made out of cast pig iron held together with super glue and dog shit than congratulations!

Now finally, the true aim of this competition is to see if we can start an “arms race” in Gmod engine/transmission/suspension construction techniques, and also foster more activity around here. Ultimately it’d be nice if each brand were able maintain its own thread as an exhibition for its cars, maybe increasing the amount of contraption posting around this place. This concept should also hopefully avoid some pitfalls which have plagued other contests in the past, for example having a small group of judges who can’t afford to be online at all times, or having live racing or battle events which tend to cause server crashes and scheduling headaches more than anything else. It’s also designed to be fairly open in allowing all sorts of skill levels to participate, the amount of Wire in a competition like this is relatively minimal, though optionally it can be used to great extent (Possibly a limitation on just how much though, because E2 is very powerful, and if it biases the competition so that it’s practically required to competitive then it has to be limited), the minimum requirement is merely being able to construct a working engine, a suspension rig and a body.

Now I’ve been up for like 30 hours now so this post might be a little ramble-y and it might not cover some important points. If you have anything to add then please post your suggestions, I am quite curious as to what people think of a competition like this.

This doesn’t sound very easy to compete in at all…

Do you have any ideas for making it easier to participate in? One way I’ve got in mind is letting brands be run by groups, so that each individual person can focus on some specific aspect - like a suspension specialist, an engine specialist, and a body specialist. Another possible concept might be like “out sourcing” your engine instead of building it “in house” by borrowing some other brand’s engine while incurring a minor cost penalty. I want to make it more accessible and flexible so that people can do what they want to do. We have a lot of people who can make mechanical things work well, but can’t make things look pretty, and we also have a lot of the opposite. Being able to allow everyone to participate is also one goal that I would have for a competition such as this.

But then you have people like me who are mediocre at mechanics and coding and looks. I’m only good at making rather small contraptions. The idea is good, but I don’t think enough people have the skills to compete competitively with some of the ‘master’ builders we have here. It would just be lopsided.

Well in that case you could team up with more skilled team members and work with them. It could serve as a learning experience while you’re at it.

Well, I’m sure many here will agree that this sounds fun, including Winston (I see you reading this thread).

Only thing is, how will vehicle price be calculated? Is it based on engine power or what?

This is one of the reasons why this competition is listed as hypothetical, some help would be nice on deciding what exactly is fair. At the moment though I’m thinking that perhaps (Coefficient * Total Mass) + (Coefficient * Total # Of Props) + (Coefficient * Total # Of Constraints) could work as a starting point, but there are clearly ways in which could be improved, like a heavy vehicle with few parts should be cheaper as it’s simpler but more robust, or a more inelegant engine which weighs more for the power it provides should cost less. Also material considerations like a car made with magnesium alloys/carbon fiber/aluminium vs cast iron or something and the effect on mass. There’s a lot of factors to consider and I’m not quite sure what is good yet.

Most of this sounds awesome, but the thing is though. The only two people I know of that’s made successful engines engines recently are Winston and Karbine. I mean the idea of creating a car brand and all that sounds awesome but having everything be engine powered will make 90% of the people here on this forum back out.

I dunno man, from personal experience engines are pretty easy to build. Granted getting them to output power in a relatively stable manner is the hard part, but the actual engine part is fairly simple imo. I got two or three fairly stable engines on hand, I’ve just been too busy trying to get caught up with the latest style of suspension to actually build a car around it. Engines really have become a lot more practical these days, but many people’s image of Gmod engines is still filled with the clunky old metal bar PHX gyro timed stuff from a year ago.

[editline]9th January 2011[/editline]

What the hell I think I’ll try to make a guide to show how my own engines work. They tend to be high-RPM and pretty powerful for their weight - though I have to say that they are sometimes just a tad bit unstable. I’ve taken sort of a liking for slappers so my shit kinda doesn’t balance all that great.

If it’s easy to compete in that takes the fun out of it.

I guess what I’m trying to do here is making it easy for people to join and compete, but I don’t imagine that the competition will be easy. Trying to stir up activity here and all that.

Oh you’re talking about slapper engines. Well then that shouldn’t be any problem for anyone. I thought you meant like actual slider-piston engines.

Slider piston engines are a little messier to deal with yeah. I’ve managed to build a few, but they just don’t run as well as my slappers - though they are significantly lighter.

You know there will still be those people that will make slider piston engines… and somehow mop the floor with everyone’s slappers.

I really hope slider engines are allowed (as I’m nearly sure they are), as that’s all I’m good at.

I’m not a keen FacePuncher but this may tempt me to the forums a lot more often, I love this Idea but perhaps allow people to try and compete solo, like some small car manufacturers based in sheds.

I only ever build cars in Garrys mod and none of them have engines but that doesn’t put me off at all, I can soon start.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

Sounds like a pretty awesome idea; Though I must say I disagree with your comparison between AMD and Intel.

Regardless, I’m eager to see this start.

More like AMC hehe.

Things like this require lots of people to join to succeed. Engines are laggy by nature, and everyone has different ideas of what is acceptable as an engine. I don’t use engines due to lag anyway. Besides, gears in gmod don’t seem to be comparable to real world ones.
Comparing suspensions, drive systems, things like that, and a cost system (maybe by amount of props?) would be good though. Fallschirmjaager, one of his friends, and I had a system for LAN battle wars in gmod, where you had a set amount of props you could use (maybe 500) for your army, and maybe 200 at any time, with unparented props counting as 2x or 3x. The rest were reserves. So cheap, simple tanks, could be used many times, while expensive, detailed tanks were rarer. If you disabled but didn’t destroy something (like if I blew the drive sprockets off a tank and destroyed only the gun) you could save it to your folder and use it like “captured equipment”–so it made sense to not always spawn your best stuff, to hold back new ideas until needed.

The reason why I don’t make my cars engine powered is not because I find it hard. It’s that I am incapable of making an engine that gives me a more realistic feeling than thrusters. I mean sure, it’s rad as hell to have an engine powering your car but I enjoy building sports cars. I can’t get an engine to power a car up to more than 40 mph or something and I’ve never heard of a sports car doing 40 mph. That’s pretty much why I’d stay out of this competition.

I realise that the whole engine powered thing is a big part of the competition, but I don’t think the competition would be destroyed by taking it out of the equation. I think it would open this competition up for a lot more people to join. Oh and someone would have to make some really clear outlines of exactly what we’ll be doing. It does however sound quite cool to be your own car manufacturer.

Exactly my thoughts. You said it perfectly.