Calling All Automation Players

Welcome to the first Oppositelock Automation design competition! The theme: Build A Better Miata! This post will contain the rules of the competition, and all submissions will be due in exactly one week from post time. Think you can design the best car on Oppo? Then read on!

A Brief Introduction

Since this is the first competition, nothing is set in stone. I’m very interested in getting as much feedback as possible to determine what the community would like to see from future competitions, so please give it a try, and if there’s something you think should be changed, let me know! I apologize in advance for any unbalanced rules, poor competition design choices, or scheduling difficulties. There will be a poll for contestants at the end of the results post in one week, so make sure your voice is heard! Thank you for participating.


The Fun Rules

These are the rules that constrain your design. Every submission must conform to each of these rules, with no exceptions. Read them very carefully, and please triple check that no rules are being violated before you submit your design. Should you submit a design that doesn’t conform to the rules, it will still be presented in the results showcase, but it will have a big fat asterisk of shame next to it. If you are confused about any of the rules, or need some help knowing where to check within the game, please ask me!


Build A Better Miata!

What better way to kick off our Oppositelock Automation challenges than by improving on one of our most beloved cars? Your goal is to design a small, fun, affordable sports car for the 1990s. You can choose to improve upon the classic formula, add a high tech twist like forced induction, or go completely radical and start the 2.0L mid–engine V8 revolution. To approximate the constraints faced by real designers, your design must meet the following conditions:

  • Build year: 1989
  • Wheelbase: 6’7”—8’2” (the second shortest option in the filter box)
  • Body style no older than 1979 (click “last 10 years” button)
  • RWD or rear–biased AWD drivetrain
  • Total Cost: $6700 maximum
  • Average reliability: greater than 55
  • Street legal: this means headlights and taillights. There will be an appearance contest, so make it look pretty! Your design should include a tailpipe as well.
  • Loudness no greater than 60
  • Passes emissions: must have a catalytic converter
  • Uses Regular Unleaded gasoline (RON 91)
  • Uses Medium Compound Road Tires
  • No race intakes

Anything you design that meets these rules will be eligible for competition, so go nuts! Again, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


The Boring Rules

These are the rules for how and when your design must be submitted, as well as how it will be evaluated for the competition. No less important than The Fun Rules, so please read on, and make sure you have the same diligence ensuring your design conforms to these rules as well.


RULE NUMBER 1: You absolutely must have the latest version of Automation. No exceptions. The game is still in development, so things are being rebalanced and calculations being reworked all the time. I know immediately after the Steam release, there was a period where the standalone version of the game lagged behind in updates. I believe they’re at parity now, but just to be sure, please tell me which version of the game you’re using when you submit your design so any issues that arise can be worked out.

Additional rules:

  • One submission per contestant
  • All submitted designs are final*. Tweak it right up to the deadline if you like, but no changes allowed once it’s been sent to me.
  • * If your design is found to be in violation of the design rules, I will give you ONE chance to resubmit your design before the deadline with only the offending parameter changed.
  • The deadline is one week after this post, to the minute. If you have a conflict at that time, send the design to me early.
  • Have fun!

The Competition

Submitted designs will be evaluated in at least three, most likely four, independent categories. The categories are as follows:

Lap time: Each car will be ranked according to how quickly it completes one lap of the airport (Top Gear) test track. The fastest car wins.


Audience Favorite: There will be a poll embedded in the results showcase where members of the larger Oppo community can vote on their favorite design. The design which receives the most votes wins.

Beauty Contest: Similar to the audience favorite, except the cars will be evaluated exclusively on appearance.


Score (possibly): A formula will be devised to calculate a score based on various attributes of the car in an attempt to mathematically determine which car best met the spirit of the challenge. The precise formula won’t be revealed until the end of the competition, to avoid putting contestants who were forced by schedule conflicts to complete their designs early at a disadvantage. HELP NEEDED: I may or may not have time to do this. If you think you can contribute by coming up with the formula or putting numbers into a spreadsheet, it would be greatly appreciated.

How To Submit Your Design

All designs should be submitted by emailing the .lua files to me (sail5670 at gmail dot com). I don’t check this email very often, so please comment on this post when you send it to me so I can get to it as early as possible. For reference, the .lua files are located in C:\…\My Documents\My Games\Automation\Cars (or Engines for engines). Please send me the .lua files for the car model, car trim, engine family, and engine. This should be four files in total.


If you are having difficulties with your .lua files, please get in touch with me. I will help you find them and send them, and if there’s really some terrible technical difficulty, we can work out something else.

Additional Details

If you have a name for your car (which you should!), include it in the reply or the email submission. If you have a company name, feel free to include that as well. Any additional details (company history, logo, etc.) are welcome and encouraged, and might seal the deal for audience favorite if you play your cards right. Please keep any text you wish to be included with your entry no longer than one concise paragraph.


If your car or engine has a particular angle that you find most flattering, feel free to send me a screenshot to use in the showcase. Otherwise I’ll just find a decent looking one myself and throw it on there.


If you know you’d like to compete already, reply to this post. If you’re not sure, I will be accepting submissions at any time throughout the next week, so no hurry to make a decision. Any and all questions, comments, or critiques are welcome. I look forward to seeing your submissions, and may the best car win!

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