This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

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1. Automation Game

Quick description:  This is a car industry tycoon game where you build the cars from the ground up; engine, chassis, bodywork and then on to running business operations.

Currently, a free demo can be downloaded. and a $25 early access download is available as well. Having been greenlit by the Steam Community, awareness has gradually and naturally developed over the past year. The full version is “likely” to be released in 2015.

As one of the first games to promise a robust car development interface, Automation Games defines their place in the marketplace with the following statement:

It’s not just about building cars; it’s about running an entire car company, you’ll be designing cars and engines, researching new technology, building new factories, setting prices, exporting cars to new markets, managing your company’s finances etc. If you’ve ever played “Detroit”, “Car Tycoon” or “Motor City”, we’re basically building a more technical, more fun version of those.

(Shots fired!) The team is only a trio so “robustness” is more subjective to their small team. The only platform currently supported is Windows PC, but depending on the reception of its early access an full release we’ll hopefully see additional platforms supported.

The primary features are:

Engine Design

Players may create a variety of engines for both car and truck platforms. The designer covers the bottom end, top end, aspiration, fuel system, and exhaust, while monitoring power/torque, oil pressure, VAC, and RPM testing. Air flow, noise reeducation, material costs, and the man hours needed to build are also factors of the overall engine equation.

Primary engine layouts include:

  • Inline 3, 4, 5, 6
  • V6, V8, V10, V12
  • Flat 4, Flat 6

And the full release promises more engine configurations.

Car Design

Players can choose between a plethora of chassis and materials, suspensions types, bodies, styling tools, cosmetics, and more. We can test and tune car performance and prioritize tests to improve handling, aerodynamics and acceleration.

Gearboxes, ranging from 3/4/5/6-speed, synchro/no-synchro, to sequential manual or automatic shift are available as well as various clutches and differential types.

A checklist of car design features include:

  • With engine placements at front, middle, rear.
  • Front wheel, rear wheel and all wheel drive configurations.
  • Different suspension types.
  • Various types of brake.
  • Malleable car body shapes.
  • Various fixtures, e.g. head lamps, tail lights, door handles.
  • Different cargo space configurations.

Business Management

business management

Players get the full spectrum of running a car company; including factories, dealerships, research, import and exports in different regions over the globe – with each region offering a unique change in demands, costs, taxes, tariffs, and regulations.  Personally, I find the business side the most promising in terms of evolving from community suggestions. Things like time acceleration and depreciation could be applied – for example – as a way of forcing a company to pivot and adapt with changing markets and materials. Even the consumer side of car ownership could be factored in to the point where sustainability costs are important marketplace factors.

All three previously covered areas continue receiving updates and improvements from the small but passionate dev team.

For those with a background or just an interest in car design, I suggest starting on the forums and working your way through the engine and car design sharing forums to get an idea of the variety of applications/realizations, as well as connecting with fellow gearheads. Here’s a screenshot of a very cool car design sharing post that kicked off with a background story and original concept art:

car design forum concept

Lastly, the game hopes to include the following elements as expansions and future DLC:

Engines: W8, W12, W16, W18, Wankel Rotaries, Flat 8, Inline 8, V4, Two Strokes, Diesels, Hybrids, Electric

  • High Quality Driving Simulator
  • Ability to run various production and non-production motorsport teams.

The community is thriving and this is one greenlit game that seems primed to make a big impact in their niche.

2. Insomnia RPG

insomnia style

Quick description: This is a non-linear, tactical real- time RPG mixed with CO-OP gameplay and sandbox elements; such as randomly generated missions.

Currently, a free demo can be downloaded; however, it’s a technical version, meaning bugs or crashes can be common.

Having originally released as an MMO back in November 2013 and falling $65,000 short of their $70k Kickstarter goal, the team at Studio Mono has done a 180 spin with a new approach; a non-linear RPG. With the same goal of $70k and 12 days left, they’re only $9k shy of hitting their goal. As a non-linear RPG, there are many narrative outcomes based on tangents of difficult choices we have to make as we explore.

The main adventure takes place on a semi-abandoned space station, investigating the remains of humanity. A dark atmosphere mixed with time travel and apocalyptic elements envelops the world of Insomnia. Interestingly, Insomnia includes hints of references to historical missteps and events that extrapolated into downfall.

The developer team is particularly proud of the non-linear storyline and realistic combat physics – where tactical approaches are rewarded. Mono also mentions some neat future plans; such as PVP content that supports up 58 players at a time.

Personally, I think the dieselpunk scene as a theme in any media format is an ambitious vision to create. I love the wartime objects and bruised up, grainy/metallic textures. Bioshock obviously captured the dieselpunk style in a renowned fashion and I’m particularly interested in the idea of a 58 player tactical combat game (even though it seems to be a longshot from now).

3. Project D Online

project d classes

Quick description: This is a self-published game; a non-targeting action MMORPG, developed by one person. The game is made to support Windows PC and Windows Phone in the Windows App Store.

Currently, a free full version client can be downloaded; however, it’s essentially beta and the developer has noted that player data can be deleted at any time. The “official” release date is slotted for September 2014 (the English version). If English is your native language and you want to play, you’ll have to select the Japanese servers, as US-EAST/WEST will not allow members/accounts to be created until September.

The business model of the game is kind of up in the air. Last week the developer responded with this statement when asked about the business model:

project d developer on biz model

We can expect a relatively small pay-to-download fee, and possibly micro-transactions sprouting in the future.

On to the game itself…

project d gameplay

Remember, this is allegedly a one main operation. An English version/translation is still in the works while the Japanese version is built out. The mob-AI system has been commented on by a few, and the opinion seems to boil down to “basic”. The hit boxes in combat seem to have too much cushion currently but should hopefully be better optimized during the beta stage.

The big draw is a pretty dam impressive anime style that should capture a big enough niche group of players who favor the “cuter” side of MMO-JRPGs.  Another big draw is support for the Windows Phone, which looks pretty sweet:

I think for this game to significantly improve during this critical beta stage, at least one community member needs to step up (who is hopefully bilingual in English and Japanese or Korean) and help translate bugs, suggestions, and feedback as well as promote the game in niche MMO forums and sites.  The US/EU/CA market for this style could lend a ton of members and free word-of-mouth spread, but the limits of one person are pretty clear at this stage.

Which greenlit games do you recommend checking out?