The SCS Truck Simulator games have a few minor issues that affect game immersion. Firstly, the companies in the game are made up names rather than real world. I can understand why this should be – real world companies can be very protective of their identity so the game’s developers have shied away from possible conflicts. It has even impinged on the names of Trucks in the early days of Euro Truck with the manufacturers Volvo and Mercedes-Benz appearing as ‘Valiant’ and ‘Majestic’ – despite the fact that the trucks themselves were clearly recognisable!
Fortunately, through a slow process of licensing, every major European manufacturer now has current or recent models in the game. The issue of licensing is very apparent in American Truck Sim where only three vehicles are currently officially available – leaving me awaiting the release of the Peterbilt 389 and no doubt trying the patience of International and Freightliner fans. The other issue is the variety of AI traffic and trailers/loads in game which also impacts player immersion.
This is where Mod’s come in. People create modifications that can be downloaded and added into the game to create new content. So, for example, I can have real gas stations. I can also get different cargoes to those supplied with the game. I can even get trucks that aren’t yet available through the official game. I think a big vote of thanks is due to SCS for allowing the community the freedom to mod the game! And, of course, SCS add their own mod’s to the game in the form of Downloadable Content (DLC’s) – which may be maps or new vehicles. Expected soon is the South of France DLC.
There can be issues with mods produced for the game by members of the community. The mod may well have gaps in its skin allowing the background to show through. Or it may not work with some of the game mechanics – coupling to the tractor unit for example. But, overall, the standard of mods is high with some dedicated modder’s producing excellent in game content. One example is ‘Jazzycat’ who produces an amazing selection of AI traffic mods along with trailers and loads to enhance the game experience. One of his mod’s adds in coaches in a variety of company colours. It was great driving down the autobahn one day to find myself being overtaken by a Belle Coaches vehicle – a company that shows up on Summers lane when Lowestoft Town or Leiston come to visit Wingate & Finchley. It’s things like this that enhance the realism and grow the game for me 🙂
One issue that I have experienced with mods is the spawn rate – one that I loaded into American Truck literally took over all the AI trailers so that any truck out there was hauling an R3000 Reefer in one of the liveries the mod supplied. I disabled that one but will put it in again from time to time if I want to get a screenshot with one of the specific company’s trailers. Other issues include skin textures that don’t load correctly resulting in bright red trailers, sometimes displaying the word ‘texture’, running around in game 😦 Another, less important, issue is the mods that break the game economy. I prefer not to use ones that do that – I could already have a ‘389 but the mod sets the price at just over $50k which is unrealistic as it should probably be closer to the $120k cost of the Kenworth W900. I have recently added the Peterbilt 351 into ATS again. This is a very old truck and the asking price of around $45k probably isn’t economy breaking – I may indulge myself and buy one to drive as a change from ‘Rolled Gold’.
The other type of mod is a Map – either upgrade or extension. Some are merely new roads to drive beyond the current ‘official’ maps and vary in quality quite a lot – probably the best of these from the videos I’ve seen are the Promods ones. However, I’ve decided to leave those alone and wait for the ‘official’ expansions. Upgrades are also available and the best of these are probably the ones from MHAPro. I added the latest version to ATS and was very pleased with the improvements – more towns and settlements (particularly in Nevada) and more places offering cargoes along with realistic roadside rest points. It also adds other trucks to the drop off points and rest areas increasing the challenge of parking. I was so pleased with this upgrade that after the latest SCS code update to Euro Truck I added in the MHAPro map upgrade there too. It precipitated a change of play decision in ETS2 for me as well, of which more in the next trucking post!