IGHQ Interviews VENT Regarding Upcoming Automobile Business Sim GearCity

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GearCity is an upcoming automobile manufacturing business simulator for PC, and we spoke with VENT’s Owner and Lead Developer, Eric Jones, to get the scoop on what gamers can expect. With no set release date as of now, and an upcoming beta, GearCity is definitely a game to keep your eye on.


About GearCity:

Have you ever dreamed of running your own car company? Now you can in GearCity. Whether you want to be the next Henry Ford or Enzo Ferrari, GearCity is for you.

Start out in your office and control every facet of your company. Design chassis, engines, transmissions, and bodies. Set up branches to distribute vehicles to dealerships. Build factories and set production lines. Handle marketing and racing budgets and hire lobbyists to get juicy government contracts. Make sure your products target the correct demographics and are the right price or your competition will crush you. If you can dream it, you can build it, with GearCity.

Armed with a realistic economic simulator, historical economic data for 274 cities, hundres of AI competitors, a detailed automobile design system, and power Ogre3d graphics, GearCity aim to provide the most realistic and enjoyable automobile management game to date.

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Indie Game HQ: Thanks for speaking with us today. Tell us a little about Visual Entertainment and Technologies.

Eric: Thanks for the interview.

Visual Entertainment and Technologies is based in sunny North Central Florida with contributors from all over the globe. We’re focused on niche market business games and in the near future, general NPC AI solutions for RPGs and FPS products.

Indie Game HQ: Can you tell us a little bit about the project? Is this your first game?

Eric: GearCity is an automobile manufacturing business simulator. In essence you run a car company. The “managerial simulation” genre was popular in the early 90s but died out in the late 90s as everyone moved to 3d graphics. Casual business games sprang up with the popularity of “tycoon games”, but these game lack realism and often left the player feeling like they really weren’t doing anything. With GearCity we aim to fix this by resurrecting the managerial genre. We’ve taken great pains to simulate world economic conditions as well the difficulties in running a real car company, while providing the player enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment. We want the player to experience their dreams of running a General Motors or a Ferrari.

This is the first product produced by VENT. However, most of our contributors have experience in the gaming industry. Personally I’ve been involved in the mod/indie gaming scene for over 10 years.

Indie Game HQ: What inspired you to make Gear City?

Eric: GearCity was heavily inspired by David Lester’s Detroit (aka Rüsselsheim) and Max Design GesMBH’s Motor City (aka Oldtimer). As a child I was given a copy of Detroit and played it extensively. It was a great game but I thought it had many flaws. Every game started in 1908, which means if you wanted to make a 1980s exotic car company, you’d have to play 72 years worth of game. Car customization was limited to whatever was the newest tech on the tech tree. There were only 4 companies in the game and very few territories to sell your vehicles.

Later in life I ran across Motor City which fixed many problems Detroit had, but it was severely limited. In Motor City the game ended in 1940 and you could only play in western Europe. I still couldn’t make a 1980s exotic car company.

So when it came time for me to make GearCity I merged what I liked from Detroit, what I liked from Motor City, eliminated some of the frustrating things, added some 3d graphics, sprinkled in some morph animations, and then included a bunch of real world data So far I’ve been pleased with the results. I can finally make my 1980s exotic car company!

Indie Game HQ: How long has Gear City been in development?

Eric: GearCity was started between July-August 2010. Work on the engine began in early 2010. I was digging through my old floppies looking for Sargon IV, and I ran across my copy of Detroit. I loaded it up in dosbox (yes I still have a 3.5″ drive on my computer) and the next thing I knew, GearCity was born. I originally thought about doing an airline game, but i chose cars first.

Indie Game HQ: How many different customization options can we expect?

Eric: Each body has at least 20 morphs. Most have more. A morph is simply a time line between two positions. On top of the body morphs we have various “parts” and tires, each of which have morphs of their own. These “parts” can be placed anywhere on the body or on top of each other. Almost everything is paintable and we have a huge selection of colors and materials. I believe the customization options are near limitless.

Indie Game HQ: Is Gear City targeted toward more experienced gamers, or can anyone pick up and play?

Eric: Most experienced gamers haven’t played a game like this. There is a slight learning curve although it’s not as bad as a flight sim. If you have played Detroit/Rüsselsheim or Motor City/Oldtimer you’ll have no problem picking up this game.

Indie Game HQ: Will the players need to be somewhat knowledgeable with automobiles?

Eric: No, although a basic knowledge of automobiles won’t hurt. We’ve tried to make the parts of the game that deal with mechanical issues as accessible as possible without limiting the knowledgeable players’ ability to create what he wants. Most options that deal with automobile design will have text explaining what you’re doing.

Indie Game HQ: What is the era that Gear City is based in?

Eric: The game runs between 1900-2020. The player has the option of starting a company in 1900, 1930, 1950, and 1980.

Indie Game HQ: Can we expect future DLC; such as different body styles, more modern customizations, etc?

Eric: The game is very moddable. I suspect we’ll see the user base generating some downloadable content. As for VENT, the release will be the entire game. If sales justify, we’ll work on a multiplayer expansion which will probably include more bodies, motorcycles, big trucks, and a few more goodies.

Indie Game HQ: As of now, what is the expected release date and price?

Eric: We don’t have a date or a price set in stone yet. Most likely fall-winter 2013. I can guarantee the game will retail for $20 or less.

Indie Game HQ: What platforms will be supported upon release? Do you plan to support others in the future?

Eric: Windows XP or newer.
OS X 10.4 or newer.
Linux Kernel 2.6 with glibc 2.3.6 or newer.

We might spin off the car designer as a mini game for iPhone/Android but the port won’t be handled by us.

Indie Game HQ: What distribution services will the game be sold through?

Eric: Currently we’re only signed with Little Indie. We will be looking at other options such as Steam or Desura after our open beta.

Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers?

Eric: I’d like to thank you and your readers for giving me this opportunity to speak. We’ve started a weekly “Feature Feature” released on Mondays and a “Weekly Report” on Fridays. Be sure to check them out on the forums and like us on Facebook.

Thank you all again!

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About Visual Entertainment and Technologies (VENT)

Visual Entertainment and Technologies is a software company focused on niche market simulators, AI, visual AI representation, and general video gaming products and solutions.


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