I’ve spent the much of my recent driving time in American Truck Sim getting to know New Mexico and assessing the impact of the changes made in the v1.29 release. Now I think it’s time to give my thoughts.
The first thing to note about the release is its scale. It could have been just connecting map sections to join Arizona with New Mexico. But in map terms alone it was so much more. New sections of road to explore all over the existing states. There’s so much of it that I haven’t explored everything there yet. And, along with those new roads came additional scenery beside the new roads and in other locations too. For example……beside the I40 – I don’t remember those tanks being there before! Roadsigns have been improved in many locations and I expect that will be an ongoing improvement with each release as the devs work back over the existing areas. But there’s other less obvious changes which may be a mix of improved map and improved physics. Some of the hills seem to be even more of a grind than they were before 🙂
Which brings us handily on to AI improvements. One of the most frustrating things prior to this update was the AI trucks and their ability to ignore the laws of physics. You could be struggling up a hill with an 8t load and an AI truck would blast past with a load you know weighs over 20t. Either the AI trucks all have 1000HP engines or something was wrong with the programming. Well, that’s all changed. Now you find most of the other trucks on the road struggling up hills too 🙂 There’s also a lot more variation in how they are driven. I normally cruise around 55mph and every truck would scream past me. Now I find some trucks doing similar speeds to me even in states where a higher limit is permitted. So some AI truckers are now behaving as if fuel economy is their priority too! Another new AI improvement is the slower vehicle. We used to find the occasional pick-up that overtook and then settled into the lane in front of us and slowed to around 50mph which it then maintained for a long time – this is vaguely realistic behaviour. That’s changed – now you can be cruising along and you’ll gradually come up behind a slower moving van. Close inspection reveals it to be a glaziers van with glass sheets on one side or a builders van with ladders on the roof both of which may have a good reason to be travelling more slowly 🙂
Random events – definitely the WOW factor in v1.29. You can meet these just about anywhere in any state. There’s quite a variety like this aircraft that has made a forced landing……also available in ‘undamaged’ 🙂 Or a fellow trucker who’s in a shedload of trouble……having shed his load all over the carriageway! And there are the roadworks closing off a carriageway……available in many different configurations including a mobile barrier trailer that you can get as a haulage job 🙂
Yes, v1.29 brought a whole plethora of improvements and I’m probably still to discover some of them. It also has one well known bug which should be fixed in the next release. The weigh stations at Grants Road on the New Mexico border don’t work properly. The westbound one doesn’t give any indication of whether you can pass or not (so we just drive past). The eastbound one is ok if it calls you in but if it says you can pass, the indication doesn’t clear. The only way to clear it is to swap trucks and have a kip! There’s always something that slips through isn’t there 😉
Meanwhile, over in Europe… Oh God – It’s Broke! Yepp, the update for the Italian DLC dropped in last week and it has broken the mods big time. So I have to go and sort that mess out now. A quick check last night revealed that all the traffic mods need to be disabled for the game to run at all. All the drive train mods are probably broken too – by changes to the engine mapping code. I’ve lost all interior sounds in the MAN TGX. What this means is that until the mods I have been using are brought up to speed with the new version of the game our Build a Trucking Company project is on hold. I think we’ve covered much of what we needed to cover anyway for a game walkthrough but it’s disappointing none the less. I’m going to clear out the mods in my main profile first and gradually feed them back in to see what works and what doesn’t – that should keep me busy for a couple of weeks!