What you could do...is tell the vehicle to "drive by" an area and then control one of the passangers yourself....and let the computer car drive around, and you can do the shooting yourself if you want. This will really benifit you because you'll have much better judgment than one of your dumb henchmen.
They will check for a police presence before opening fire and things like that...but you'll be much better off doing the major orders yourself just to limit the risk of sending more than one of your gangsters to jail at once. Gangsters that are in jail count against your "population limit"/gangster limit, and this could have a huge impact early on in the game.
Here's a screenshot of what the vehicles look like with the doors/trunks totally animated. You'll be able to transport things in the trunks, things like dead bodies, drug shipments, the piles of money that your gang is making, etc.
The size of your gang is limited by your gang's "Respect" level (cheesy I know, but hey...if you have any better ideas...I'm open ;-) ) Respect is one of the resources that you'll have to manage. Respect/Money/Property/Guns/Cars/Drugs, beeeotch.
Another area that I'm making some interesting progress is the interaction between people. This is very straight forward from the commanders view...but when you take control of one of your gangsters I really want the player to feel like they can do anything. I'm going to have tons of things you can do to civilians (in the 3rd and 1st person modes) for instance....
As you walk closer to a civilian and have your cursor over them, the Actions menu will pop up in the left side of the screen, it will look something like this...
1: Get Attention
8: Sell drugs to
..And so forth, some of the commands will have submenus that pop out of the side. For instance the Talk menu would branch out another menu that will have all the things you can say to the person.
You'll navigate these menus with the 1-9 keys.
I hope to make a somewhat realistic conversation possible...most of these actions will only apply in some situations...ie: if you try to extort a random civilian on the street they'll laugh and walk away.
But if you use that action on a shop owner inside his business with 2 other gangsters, all brandishing weapons.... the results will be much different...you'll increase your gang's respect points, and your territory will be expanded to include the business you just extorted....but only if it's close enough to your territory. If you try to extort a business too far from your headquarters given your current respect level, the order will fail, and the shop owner will probably call the police, and/or the gang that's currently extorting them.
I've still got some holes in the gameplay I've got to patch together, but I should have most of this in a playable state within a few days.
I've recently got the speech bubbles all figured out, as well as some generic indistingishable voices to match up with the text that's in the speech bubbles. The bubbles are now scaled to match the extents of the text. Overall I think it looks/sounds pretty good.
And here's an image of the territory overlays I just added into the game, this is one way to tell who owns what parts of the city. The smaller pictures show what the gangsters look like inside the vehicles.