Coloring by Numbers

I hinted in my previous post about American Truck Simulator that this next post would be about skinning. Whatever you were expecting, I’m not about to show you a newly made Davy Crockett hat or an Alligator handbag 😉

In a number of sims and games you get the chance to change how your vehicle or character looks. How much depends on the amount of freedom the game’s developers want to give you and is usually ruled by the potential impact on profits should players be given too much leeway. One regularly voiced complaint on the forums of Elite is the lack of ability to custom paint your ship to your own design. Instead, new paint schemes are offered via the game’s shop for a fee, as are some modifications which do not affect your ship’s capabilities and therefore are not ‘pay to win’. I can understand this approach – generation of additional revenue and control over content (preventing inappropriate images in a multiplayer game with a target age range of 7 to ancient). Other game developers have taken an approach where allowing the game community to create additional content is actively encouraged. This is true of the train simulator games and SCS’s Truck sims – ‘niche market’ games with a small but enthusiastic community. The upshot is that the means to create new trucks, trailers and other in-game items is freely available for anyone wishing to modify Euro Truck or American Truck simulator. Additionally, those modifications can be shared with the community which is why I was able to show some trucks not available in the game as supplied a few posts back.

The simplest form of modification you can make is to create a skin for an existing vehicle. The means to do this are freely available and there are tutorial videos on YouTube. Ones I found helpful are: –

MisterMoose video
Benji Video

Both contain links that will get you the mechanical pieces you need to carry out the skinning process. The reason I wanted to do this was to make my fleet of trucks my own. However, that did raise a problem – I wasn’t sure how I was going to create a ‘corporate’ Chisum Trucking image. I had thought about utilising some graphics from the John Wayne film (which was in my line of sight when choosing the company name initially). But it all looked rather complicated – I wanted something simple for a first attempt.

Lateral thinking time – how about I start a new company? In game terms that’s just another profile. This time, the company is called Martin’s. I originally was going for Martin Logistics but I see there’s a company with that name already and they’re involved in government work (were they once part of Lockheed-Martin I wonder?). Anyway, plain old Martin’s will do and that gives me the chance to introduce a simple logo as our brand. So, here’s the first attempt as seen in the Upgrades screen of the game after I uploaded my skin…
Martin_skin_01
…spot the immediate issue – Logo and mirror mount conflict! The truck templates don’t show where the mirrors are mounted on the doors 😦 Doh! I re-did the skin, moving and resizing the logo and the writing to accommodate the mirrors and this shot taken in my Bakersfield HQ shows the outcome…
Martin_skin_02
You’ll note that in the shade the color is a very pale blue. A new issue – out in the sun it becomes dazzling and you can’t read the company name 😦 Back to the skinning workshop and a re-color to a blue-grey based white. This time the result is ok and Martin’s has a corporate livery to be applied to all our trucks when we finally have a fleet!
Fertilizer to Tonopah
Only… Now I’m not happy with how the text sits in relation to the design of the door! Back to the workshop one last time…
Here’s the finished articleFinal Skin
Now, that looks OK 🙂 So, next time you have a load to shift, don’t forget to call Martin’s – Contract Haulage Specialists of Bakersfield, CA 🙂 Actually, please don’t call the number on the truck door… it may be a Bakersfield number but I have absolutely no idea whose it is! And the USDOT number is false too. Both were added to give an impression of reality. I’m hoping to find an image of a Clean Air California sticker to add too. And… Perhaps I should add the Californian Flag when I differentiate my truck from the one’s belonging to the employees 🙂

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