Gearing Up: Automation Demo

Pure mechanical porn.

Do you remember those book fairs that used to happen every now and then at school when you were a kid? Hoards of children, clutching pocket money in grubby hands, unleashed on tables and tables of books of every description. I always gravitated towards the science and technology section and bought dozens of books depicting fascinating cutaways of engines, hydrofoils and hovercraft. Well, Camshaft Software’s forthcoming car manufacturing tycoon Automation places you at the head of a car company from 1946 to 2020. It looks set to recapture that perfect itch of intricately drawn diagrams of complicated mechanisms with the demo of the Engine Designer, one of the systems that will be in the final game.

The demo will arrive on April 22 (or is already available to anyone who’s pre-ordered), but a trailer and a developer narrated playthrough of said demo are idling below.

First, the trailer:

Here’s the developer walkthrough of the Engine Designer:

And, just to really recapture my childhood of lunchtime reading in the library, here’s one of their tutorials explaining proper engine design:

If all that’s not enough for you, then you can watch the devs at work (when they are at work) right here. Don’t blame us if they say something naughty:

Watch live streaming video from automationgame at

That does it, I’m going to buy a used copy of The Way Things Work off Amazon.


  1. Dana says:

    That sure is quite original concept. Not sure how “Gamey” is it.

    • thebluemonkey81 says:

      It’s like an advanced version of detroit, I love it :P

      Now, if only they could make a Gran Tourismo style game with this aspect I could properly OCD over why I lost the race to my car design rather than my piss poor driving.

  2. Dozer says:

    Fascinating stuff!

  3. Njordsk says:

    Seriously some people preorder that?

    On a side note I like how the dev is proud of his engine in video 2. Yeah…yeah… YES !

    • Torgen says:

      This has the possibility of being the Deer Hunter of a good-sized segment of the male population of a certain age. (If it’s easy enough to get into, yet has enough depth.) Some of the gearheads I knew growing up could sling obscure-yet-vitally-important-to-them facts in a manner that would put the most grizzled wargaming grognard to shame.

  4. Torgen says:

    My 2013 lineup will ALL have flared fenders and running boards.

  5. aamosnyc says:

    This is really going to crank my shaft.

  6. zeekthegeek says:

    I don’t know how to drive or how an engine works (mostly) but I enjoy this concept quite a bit, enough that I paid the $25 to play with it early. It is pretty satisfying when you find just the right parts configuration for your engine, and the Tycoon stuff is something that appeals to many gamers. I’m not sure what the problem is.

    Edit (This was in reply to Njorsk, god damnit)

  7. Hentzau says:


    I had no idea engine design was so…. Freudian.

  8. CheesyJelly says:

    This is pretty much what my dad does for a living. Interesting to see it as a game… I’ll be trying out the demo at some point, I expect.

  9. psyk says:

    “you at the head of a car company from 1946 to 2020”

    So an updated “Detroit”? yes please.

    watching vids, eyes getting wider, need for demo rising.

  10. LimEJET says:

    This actually gets my nerd juices flowing.

  11. jellydonut says:

    I realize they’re just two indie devs, but I feel like the launch version will be too limited for me to plunk down my cash for it.

    No diesel? Ack!

    • zeekthegeek says:

      Theoretically it’s mostly a matter of maths and a few new models for the diesel stuff being added later on. Keep in mind that the ‘launch’ content is only that, launch, and they plan to keep working on this as long as they can after, adding new gear to build and so forth.

  12. maninahat says:

    That actually managed to get me interested. I especially liked the friendly sounding dev video.

  13. orange says:

    What engine does this game use?

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      The comment above me deserves more praise than this!

  14. amishmonster says:

    Now I need to go look at my copy of The Way Things Work and revel in mammoth-based education.

  15. grundus says:

    I didn’t ask for this. But, since it exists, I’ll download the demo and see what happens.

  16. cptgone says:

    i’ve been begging for a new, improved Detroit, if this turns into a decent tycoon game it will be more than i hoped for (as the engine building looks like a lot of fun).

  17. pertusaria says:

    Thanks for this – sounds really neat, and I’ll definitely grab the demo. May have to wait a bit for the full version at that price, although I get why it’s relatively dear.

    I wonder whether there’ll be a pure building mode for people who don’t fancy the cut and thrust of the automobile business (i.e. wusses)? I was always one for Experimental Mode in Sim Ant…

    In the meantime, getting The Way Things Work for my nephew. :-)