I’ve had a couple of weeks experimenting with Euro-Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) and American Truck Simulator (ATS). Sharing the same game engine you’d expect the games to be very much the same and on the surface they are. In both you are expected to start as a hired driver doing deliveries while you build up enough cash to buy your own truck and begin to build your own empire. There are some differences however. Log in to ETS2 and you will find a plethora of trucks appearing in the jobs screen for a journeyman driver from all the western European truck companies. In ATS you will only find 2 Kenworth’s and a single Peterbilt 579 which initially is a bit of a disappointing. But the list of available trucks will undoubtedly grow; the Kenworth W900 was added after release as a free dlc and now ships with the game.
As you might expect with ATS being newer than its European counterpart, it only has limited coverage on the USA with California, Nevada and Arizona being the only states available at present. There is another anomaly too – the maps are to a smaller scale than those in ETS2. It is somewhat ironic then, that I find the open roads in ATS more compelling than those in the European version of the game. There are some truly grand vistas to gaze upon assuming you can take your eyes off the road. The game’s makers, SCS, have now decided that going with smaller scale maps was a mistake and before issuing any new states they are going to rescale the maps to match ETS2. As that will increase the driving time the game clock and truck speeds will get reworked too. You can read all about it on the SCSSoft blog .
From the above, you may be wondering how I have been driving around in trucks other than those provided? Trucking simulations have a big following and the community contains many people who create mods for the game. Many of these are different trucks or skins for trucks to give more realistic paint jobs as seen in the real world. There’s even a mod for realistic US gas stations! I did notice an anomaly – the prices of ‘mod’ trucks seem low compared with those supplied in the game. So I did a bit of research and found that the in-game prices are about right for the real life trucks advertised for sale in America. So a ‘mod’ Peterbilt 389 costing $53,000 should really be priced around $120,000 if it’s new (and there is no second hand facility in the game’s truck dealer mechanic). Such things make the game easier and I would prefer to play the game as intended – at least until I have passed beyond setting up my company and employing an additional driver. It’s a personal choice. So, having experimented for a week or so, I deleted my save and cleared out the mod trucks. I have added in a couple of other non-play affecting mods recommended by youTube poster Squirrel . One of these improves the appearance of the game by adjusting the default weather settings which did have a yellow tinge and removing the ‘bloom’ that is apparent in my screenshot of a Kenworth W900 a couple of posts back.
After resetting my profile, it was time for Chisum Trucking to go out into the world and make a living. I did a lot of work for other people improving my skills up to level 5. I taught myself to drive in a fuel efficient manner. Then, having reached a cash balance of $40k in the bank, I felt it was time to buy my first truck. I took a $100k loan from the bank. Kenworth or Peterbilt – That is the question? You may recall that Chisum Trucking is based in Bakersfield, CA. That was what decided me – I supported my local dealer and bought a Peterbilt 579 Day Cab. She has a 370HP Cummins ISX engine and Eaton-Fuller 10 speed gearbox with retarder. Top quality tires and a custom metallic paint job. After that I was left with a bank balance of $12k. To cover the bank loan and maintenance I will need to make a minimum of $2,500 per day. Fortunately, that should be ok with the payments being offered for fragile and hazardous cargoes. So here she is…