PC building is a passion of mine. I built my PC from the ground up. It wasn’t exactly an easy thing to do. I had to take time to figure out what components I wanted and see how they would all work together. This was to ensure that when put together, I would get the maximum amount of performance I can get for the work I need to do.
If you are yet to build your first PC and you’re looking to do so, it might seem like a daunting task. Because you haven’t done it before, there’s always that chance of something going wrong. This is where PC Building Simulator comes to the rescue. As the name suggests, it is exactly that. A simulator to build PCs.
Ever curious to see what it is about, I downloaded the game off Steam. PC Building Simulator is still in early access on Steam. This means that the game is not officially launched yet, but is in a working state with constant updates and bugfixes. It costs around $20 which equals around LKR 3,100/-. If that is a bit too much for you, you can always look for a torrent file online and download it. Although, if you do like the game, we encourage you to support the developers by buying the game.
Installing PC Building Simulator
The installation process is fairly straightforward. The game is built using the Unity 3D engine. While there is no exact installation process as such, the game can be launched by the shortcut created when installing the game through steam. Or, if you have downloaded the game through a Torrent site, you can launch it by double clicking the file called “PCBS.exe”.
As soon as you launch PC Building Simulator, the first thing you see is a loading screen. If you’re familiar with PC vendors and brands, you’ll notice names such as Corsair, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, Cooler Master and NZXT. All components used in PC Building Simulator are actually licensed products from these manufacturers. This means that once you’re done building your PC, it will pretty much look like it would in the real world.
Building your dream PC with PC Building Simulator
PC Building Simulator has two main modes. The career mode essentially puts you in charge of your own workshop where customers will bring you their PCs to diagnose and repair. These can range from a simple virus scan, to replacing faulty components, to actually building PCs according to the customer’s specification later on.
Each job you complete not only gives you cash, but also gives you XP points that you can use to level up. Leveling up gives you access to more components which you can use for both your career mode and also the free build mode (which will be explained a bit later on). As you advance in the career mode, you can also unlock extra workspaces so that you can multitask and work on multiple PCs at the same time.
A typical day in PC Building Simulator
You start off your career with a deficit of USD 15. This is covered by undertaking your first job, which is to scan a PC for viruses and clean it. You’re paid $100 to do so. From there, as you build up your credentials as the new owner of the workshop, the word spread around and more customer come to get their PCs repaired.
Communication with customers is done via email. This is where your own PC comes into the picture. It has an email client, an online shopping platform and also a music player. While email is used to accept or reject customer orders and see what new parts are available, the shopping platform is used to order components that you would need to repair customer PCs.
When ordering components, you can choose to have then delivered immediately, the next day or within 3-5 days. This adds a depth of realism to the game as your choice can affect the customer as well. It’s essentially you managing a real PC repair and hardware store.
Gameplay is pretty easy
The controls are pretty easy to get used to. Using the WASD keys, you can walk over to a PC, pick it up and then place it on a workbench. From there, you can install components, remove components and attach cables. Hovering over each component will tell you the component name along with its brand name and model.
As the days pass (by walking towards the door and ending your shift at work), the jobs will also get more complicated. You will also need to use some logic and marketing skills to make sure that components arrive in time. As an example, running a virus scan on a PC will take a lot less time than replacing a graphics card (even though it might be the inverse in real life situations).
It’s just like fixing a real PC
Just like in the real world, PC Building Simulator is rather methodical about installing and removing components in a PC. You can’t just select the Motherboard, and replace it with a new one. There’s a method to the madness. You have to unplug all the cables, remove all the components and the screws holding them in place and then replace the faulty component. A check box on the right side of the screen lists down your objectives. Red means you haven’t met the objective and Green means you’re good to go.
While in the real world, you would wait to see if the PC boots and then seal up everything, in PC Building Simulator, you’ll see a small box saying that the PC has an “incomplete case”. This won’t actually hinder the objective so you can just replace the panels of the case after the PC boots.
It’s realistic to a fault
On the other hand, if you have not connected any cables, or not applied thermal paste (which apparently you have to do each time you take out the CPU cooler), the PC will not boot until you attach said cable or reapply the thermal paste. It’s annoying at times, but actually will make you a better system builder in the long run.
If you need to install additional software such as virus scanner or benchmarking software, you can do so by selecting the USB drive from your Tools category.
Once your work is over and all the PCs for the day have been fixed and are awaiting pickup, you can head over to your own PC to collect the payment for said PCs. This will aid you in future investments such as additional work spaces and even a storage cupboard to stock up on products so you won’t have to wait till they’re delivered. That is unlockable at level 6. I’m currently at level 3.5 so it stands to reason that levelling up isn’t a walk in the park.
You gotta use the ol’ noggin as well
Similarly, if a customer drops off a PC saying it will be collected it 6-7 days and there are two other PCs that need to be fixed by tomorrow, the logical choice would be to fix the PCs that need immediate attention. If you are skilled enough, you can actually get a list of all the components that need to be ordered from all the PCs, put them all into one order and ship it. Of course, you’ll need to have sufficient funds to do that as well.
You’ll also notice that the orders that come from customers are also a tad nonsensical. For example, getting paid $100 to remove viruses, and getting a 16GB RAM upgrade just to play a game may not make sense in the real world, but in game, it gets you ahead in your career. A little while into the game and you will realize, it’s not just about building PCs. There’s actually an underlying level of management-ish simulation to PC Building Simulator as well.
Letting that creativeness fly
If you’re looking for a break from answering to the needs and wants of customers, you can take a moment for yourself and indulge in some PC building of your own. This is done via the “Free Build” mode. Think of it as an all access pass to the workshop where you have all components at your disposal.
You can let your imagination run free as you build the most expensive PCs that money can buy, without spending a single cent. As stated above, you have a variety of components to choose from. This also means that you can build mismatched PCs as well. For example, coupling a Intel Pentium processor with 32GB of RAM and a GTX 1080 Ti graphics card won’t really give you the performance you need. But fortunately, once you assemble everything and power it on, you can plug in your trusty flash drive and then check the rating of the parts you selected to see how they fare.
You can take completed PCs and keep them by the workspace door and move on to a new one if you wish to do so as well. Unfortunately, there is no method to share build with other players (or it hasn’t been implemented yet). That would really up things a notch because it would showcase not only their creativeness, but also the way they picked components.
Overall, PC Building Simulator is a fun game, if you’re willing to pay attention and you have a passion for building (or repairing PCs). One thing that I should give props to is the level of detail that the developers have gone into to make all the components look as accurate to their real life counterparts as possible. Once you zoom into a motherboard or a chassis, you see the little screw holes and the ports on the motherboard as accurately as you would on a real motherboard.
It does have its cons though. For starters, the music tends to be quite repetitive so I just muted the in-game sounds and opened up Foobar on my actual PC and played some songs instead. Despite the game being built via the Unity Engine, it does require a moderately powerful graphics card to turn on all the bells and whistles. Once you do, the game does look amazing.
Another thing I noticed was that despite the vast collection of components available, there are no options for other SSDs or liquid cooler options. There is also no option to add multiple graphics cards either. The cables such as the 24Pin ATX cable too look a bit unrealistic as well. Sleeved cables would have been nice too. Since the game is still in early access, hopefully these features would be added.
If you’re looking to build your first PC and you’re not sure of how it will look, you can try out PC Building Simulator. It’s quite addictive once you start playing around with all the components and how they look. On the other hand, if you want to see what it’s like to run your own PC workshop, this would also be a good opportunity to get a basic understanding of ow your favorite PC store operates.