My Summer Car

My Summer Car is an open world[1] survival game[2] in development by Finnish developer Johannes Rojola of Amistech. It was released on Steam's Early Access program on October 24, 2016 and is expected to be out of Early Access in 2021. It is of age rating 12A.

My Summer Car
My Summer Car logo.jpg
My Summer Car header on Steam
Developer(s)Amistech Games
Publisher(s)Amistech Games
Designer(s)Johannes Rojola
Kaarina Pönkkä
EngineUnity
Platform(s)
Genre(s)Vehicle simulation game, survival
Mode(s)Single-player

Gameplay and settingEdit

 
The Datsun 100A, after which the main car of the game is modeled.

My Summer Car is set in the fictional rural area of Peräjärvi, Finland during the summer of 1995, where the 18-year-old player character has the family home to himself while his parents are on holiday in Tenerife. The player has to assemble, restore and upgrade his father's dilapidated Satsuma AMP (modeled after the Datsun 100A) using the car parts scattered inside the garage, as well as by purchasing new parts. To earn money for parts, the player can perform various countryside chores for neighbours such as delivering firewood on a tractor-pulled trailer, using a vacuum truck to empty their septic tanks, making kilju (Finnish homebrew sugar wine) and selling it to an alcoholic neighbor, and picking up the aforementioned neighbor from the town pub in the early morning in exchange for a small sum of money.[3] After passing the Satsuma at the vehicle inspection office and installing the appropriate aftermarket parts (which can be obtained by mailing an order form to a parts dealer), the player's car is eligible to enter a weekly amateur rallying event for a chance to win a trophy and prize money. In addition, a computer can be bought in the local convenience store for recreational purposes only.

Building the car is not obvious[2] as the player must build the car from the ground up. At the start of the game, the car is entirely disassembled down to the last bolt, and the player must place each part in its correct location, including bolting them in one-by-one with the correct size spanner.[3] While most parts only fit together correctly, it is entirely possible to assemble the car wrongly, e.g. leave out an engine gasket or a bolt, which will, in turn, lead to the failure of the vehicle. In addition to gasoline, the car also requires maintenance of additional fluids, including motor oil, radiator coolant, and brake fluids for the brakes and clutch, which deplete in use and time. The car can be damaged both externally and internally; the windshield can be broken and panels can be dented (the latter being repaired with a sledgehammer or through paying the local mechanic), while the engine can be damaged by things such as downshifting at high revs or careless usage of nitrous oxide.

The player also has access to various other pre-assembled vehicles that only require refueling as maintenance, such as a cargo van owned by his uncle that is capable of carrying large loads, a tractor and a septic truck (which is also owned by said uncle) for utilitarian uses, a two-stroke moped, and a small two-stroke launch at a nearby dock that allows for travel across the map's massive lake. Both the moped and the boat require two-stroke fuel, while the van, tractor and septic truck requires diesel. Fuel oil can also be used for diesel vehicles, though this will result in a fine by the police if caught. The local mechanic will also lend his muscle car while servicing the player's vehicle, but will trash the player's vehicle if the muscle car isn't returned in time. Finally, the player could win a dilapidated station wagon from a ventti dealer infested with a wasp's nest. All of the player's road-going vehicles have the added ability to tow each other as well as salvageable car wrecks. High speed crashes will likely kill the player; the game optionally features permadeath.[3] A small, lakeside cabin (serves as the second safe house) can be acquired by winning the bet against the local gambler, who also bets his own car as stated earlier.

Meanwhile, the player must also cater to various survival game aspects as balancing hunger, thirst and fatigue, but also unusual ones such as urine, stress, and dirtiness. For nutrition, the player can buy food and can drink beverages from the store, drink water directly from faucets or taps, and fatigue can be restored by sleeping or by making coffee or drinking it in a pub. Quite humorously, the player can freely urinate anywhere except when sitting in a vehicle. Be warned, as urinating in the house could result in an unremovable stain appearing on the floor of the house. Dirtiness can be decreased by taking a shower, or swimming in the nearby lake. Drinking too much beer (or hard liquor) will eventually get the player drunk, which first causes the player to waver and his vision to distort; further consumption of alcohol can lead the player to pass out and wake up at a random place on the map the next day. Stress can be alleviated by using a sauna, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or other means such as successfully getting the Satsuma registered; failing to reduce stress to acceptable levels will eventually lead to a fatal heart attack. Police traffic stops randomly spawn along the main road of the in-game world, issuing fines for any traffic violations (speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt, drunk-driving, etc.); if the player fails to pay for a fine, police officers will eventually surround player character's home to arrest and imprison him in jail for a period of time scaled based on the cost of the fine.

Much of the game's originality comes from its irreverent tone:[2] The game's world is largely populated by low-class residents, many of whom are slovenly or drunkards, and the game includes drunk driving. There are three distinct buttons for cursing and flipping people off – none of which has any consequences other than the occasional response.[2] The game's dialogue is entirely in Finnish, with English subtitles. The player may also save the game's progress at his toilet at home or at any of the outhouses dotting the countryside,[3] which also serves to advance the in-game time to the next even hour. The game also features a minor backstory involving the drunkard neighbor who hid a suitcase full of two million markkas in lottery winnings from his wife; if the player finds it and keeps it for himself, the same neighbor will eventually intrude into the player's house and attempt to murder the player with an axe. If the attack fails, a note can be found attached to his front door, stating that he's had a miserable life. He can then be found hanged from a bridge to the north of the world.

The game does not have Steam Workshop as of now, but modifications can be done by using Unity Asset Explorer, mostly texture modifications or with MSC loader (My Summer Car loader) for assets additives. Thanks to this, one can make their own car paint job, edit the rear window stickers and even change the appearance of other vehicles and buildings. There are also unofficial mods such as cars and objects made in Blender, two of the most notable are the Lada 1200 Station Wagon, and Satsute/Tangerine ( both are Satsuma pickups, with the Satsute being an appearance of Satsuma, while Tangerine is a standalone car unlocked by giving fish/groceries to your grandmother) mod.

DevelopmentEdit

My Summer Car is primarily developed by a small independent development team consisting of Johannes Rojola ("ToplessGun"/"RoyalJohnLove") and Kaarina Pönkkä, as well as friends assisting in music and voiceovers. Closed development and beta testing of the game had been documented as early as the middle as 2013, with early snippets of development progress previewed on Rojola's YouTube channel and Twitter accounts. Development commentary hinted of the game intentionally designed to be a life simulator as well as a car simulator, with greater difficulty earning a living and owning, maintaining and driving the Satsuma on top of survival mechanics. The game would later be released as an early access game via Steam's Greenlight program on October 24, 2016, and continues to be incrementally updated with new features and overhauls made available through its development branch and public updates. On May 29, 2020, a sequel; My Winter Car was announced.[4]

ReceptionEdit

Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Brendan Caldwell called the game "Funny, detailed and thoroughly confusing";[3] while writing for Kotaku, Nathan Grayson called the game "Janky and weird as fuck, but fun".[2] Both Caldwell and Eurogamer's Martin Robinson[5] compared the game's difficulty curve to Dark Souls.

My Summer Car has also been the subject of praise from within the Finnish gaming community, winning the People's Choice Game of the Year 2016 "Kyöpelit" award in the 2017 Finnish Game Awards [fi],[6] and being inducted into the Finnish Museum of Games among the museum's 100 game entries in 2018.[7]

See alsoEdit

  • Yttilä - The inspiration for Peräjärvi.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kauppinen, Jukka O. (26 October 2016). "Suomalaisesta tietokonepelistä tuli yllättävä hitti – kömpelö ja ruma My Summer Car on ehtaa ysäriä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Sanoma. Retrieved 9 December 2016. Sitä [My Summer Caria] voisi kuvailla jopa suomalaiskansalliseksi Grand Theft Autoksi, sillä molemmat ovat avoimen maailman hiekkalaatikkokohelluksia, joissa pelaajille on vapaat kädet touhuta.
  2. ^ a b c d e Grayson, Nathan. "22 Life Lessons I Learned From A Permadeath Car Game".
  3. ^ a b c d e Caldwell, Brendan (7 November 2016). "Premature Evaluation: My Summer Car".
  4. ^ Rojola, Johannes. "UPDATE 29.05.2020". Steam Powered.
  5. ^ Robinson, Martin (27 October 2016). "My Summer Car is the most hardcore driving game yet".
  6. ^ "The best games made in Finland were awarded at The Finnish Game Awards". visionist.fi. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  7. ^ "The Finnish Museum of Games > 100 Finnish Games". Vapriikki Museum Centre. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External linksEdit