Trucking Digest

Here we are in the middle of testing Euro truck v1.35 Beta when SCS and DAF announce a joint ‘competition’ called #IDriveDAF. There is a link to a DAF promotional video in the post and we are exhorted to look at it closely and “Take an in-game screenshot of your DAF truck (XF 105 or XF Euro 6) at a location similar to that in the video.” I’m always up for a challenge, even when I’m cash-strapped by being in the middle of testing with a new profile! That same morning I was heading up to the suspension bridge in the early part of the video and got this shot as I crossed it in horrible weather…… I decided to splash some cash on an upgrade of the DAF I was driving and subsequently got this shot on the return leg as I crossed the Storstrømmen once more…

Twitter has been awash with lots of images from my fellow truckers showing many of the different suspension bridges in the game and also some of the industrial type environments from the video. I don’t think DAF realised just what level of response they were going to get – though I’m sure SCS trusted their community to come up with the goods 🙂 The screenshots have expanded from suspension bridges to just about anywhere on the map (as long as there is a DAF in the shot) and there have been some lovely scenic views. Here is one I took on the road in to Nuremberg while testing the new Container Trailer. This is one of the latest roads to be updated to the new standard in central/southern Germany and it looks really good in the moody lighting of late afternoon…… I spotted one new addition along the roadside between Nuremberg and Stuttgart – signs banning trucks from using the fast lane. I quipped in a tweet – “Does this mean the Autobahnpolizei will be issuing fines for being in the wrong lane SCS software? I know… be careful what you wish for!”

Testing itself has been going well. I tried out the experimental DirectX11 upgrade and found that it ran well. That upgrade is not due for deployment in v1.35 as there SCS still have a lot of work to do on it, so we’ll soldier on in the ancient DirectX9 for the time being. It’s great to see the game being brought up to more modern standards. I have been trying out the new ownable trailers and these are working well. What isn’t working well is my company trailer skin, which is a shame. I have also tried out the demo skin that I used for tuition when making my own skins and that is broken too. I guess that I’m going to have to investigate why when I get the time. However, that means issues with my existing profile when v1.35 releases – lots of trailers that will crash the game! I think I may find myself starting the company from scratch yet again… sigh! That may not be a bad thing (actually it won’t) because I’ve suddenly found my DAF mojo and maybe it will be a DAF / MAN / Scania company. We could run using a mix of the Krone-liveried curtainsiders and other in-house ownable trailers – perhaps specialising more in containerised loads. Anyway – on with the testing for now! To close, here are screenshots of my current DAF in an ‘industrial’ setting – departing a farm with a load of Apples……and crossing one of my favourite suspension bridges, Pont de Brotonne over the Seine…

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Roads Less Travelled

This is very much a trucking post. With the Open Beta testing of v1.35 in full swing I have been doing my bit to identify any problems with the changes being delivered. Testing has meant starting from scratch and working up to owning a first truck and trailer. For this I have been doing almost all my testing in Euro Truck as one of the key changes this time is in the World of Trucks arena. We are going to be able to use our own trailers for WoT jobs and Martin transport et Logistique will be in a position to take advantage of that. I’m not looking to test this in American Truck because Republik is a Bakersfield based truckers Cooperative offering haulage power to anyone who needs it. “Truckers Cooperative? – Sounds downright Communis’ to me” – Senator McCarthy will be spinning in his grave! 😉 So that’s why I’m concentrating on Euro truck for this testing.

Because I’m testing, I have started from scratch in a clean test profile. I’ve built up to the level where I can afford to buy a truck with a loan and then pushed on to buy a trailer to go with that truck. Again, because I’m testing this is not part of the Martin company but just a solo build, so you won’t be seeing our normal colours in this post. I decided to buy a basic level DAF XF with no additional features. The only concession was a slightly higher powered engine (410HP). Everything else is stock and that includes no GPS – of which more later.

Another change that I was eager to try was the ownership of Schwarzmüller trailers. I believe this was one of the first trailer manufacturers to come on board with SCS and allow their trailers to be accurately portrayed in the game so it’s good to be able to buy them for our companies. Yesterday I reached the point where I had the money to buy their curtainside trailer for my testing. Here is the DAF XF and Schwarzmüller trailer combo sitting outside my basic garage in Montpellier……I think that’s a good looking combo 🙂

One thing that always surprises me is the way that our choices influence the way that things pan out in the SCS truck sims. I’ve been driving all over Europe to the point where I’ve achieved close on 1500 hours in the game. Yet, possibly because I drive in a company orientated manner, there are some roads that I rarely travel. In fact this first example is a road that I don’t think I have ever travelled! The delivery was from Montpellier to Torino and we routed via Rousset. There’s no way I would have forgotten crossing that dam (not least because I’ve seen it when watching the Tour de France!), so I guess I’ve never driven this road before…

Then it was north from Torino to Zurich and another road that I don’t think I have used more than once routing through the Alps to Bern…
…and that’s one of the joys of Beta Testing – it gets you out of any rut you may be running in 🙂 But it also got me thinking. Here I am doing lots of driving without a GPS. It adds a level of challenge assuming I don’t turn on the game’s own HUD for the route I should follow. I’ve really enjoyed the additional burden of checking the map before leaving, and if unsure of position, pulling over somewhere safe to recheck where I’m going. There may have been some missed turns and moments of being lost along the way but that adds to the fun 🙂 I think this may become a sub series of Trucking Digest – ‘Travels with my Aunt’ comes to mind as a title with the truck being Auntie Daph. Of course in ATS it could be travels with Uncle Mack 😉 We’ll see!

Trucking Digest

As mentioned last week, v1.35 is now in open Beta test for both Euro Truck and American Truck.   This is a massive update affecting most areas of the game.   Firstly, we are getting new roads in both Europe and America – although ATS gets more of those mainly to fill in gaps in the Oregon road system.  To make up, Euro Truck is getting more updates to the core Germany map – looking forward to driving those!   There are changes to the controls to allow all players to easily adjust the stability and suspension settings – something only possible through the back end console before.   And that’s just the basics!

There are going to be lots of new ownable trailers in both versions of the game – and we’re going to be able to use our own trailers in World of trucks jobs!  I appreciate that means nothing to most of my readers but, trust me, it’s a huge thing for those of us playing the game!  Ok – lets take a short break and share a couple of images because I don’t want to bore you to tears 🙂  Here I am testing the new stability and suspension settings.  These are at their most realistic and now you really have to drive sensibly to avoid a roll-over

Pleased to report that I caught both of these incipient roll-overs 🙂  And – No! I don’t normally drive like this 😦

This update also paves the way for the next mapping DLC’s – Washington in the US and the Road to the Black Sea in Europe.  Biggest surprise though is the addition of Sardinia in the Italian DLC – another free upgrade!   As an aside – I see so much anger in the gamer community about the behaviour of the ‘Triple A’ games publishers.  Everything seems to be about making money by ripping off a captive audience.  It’s refreshing to see the SCS model where you buy DLC’s to increase the size of your map but upgrades later on come free.   There are no loot-boxes and all purchasable DLC’s are non-essential to the basic game.   Can you see any of the major publishing houses going back to 6 year old content and upgrading it to the latest standards for free?  I think not!

Now, the next change has cost me some cash (a personal choice).  This release brings the ability to connect the Tobii 4C Eyetracker into the game.  It does what it says on the tin – tracks your eyes to see where you are looking on the screen.  It also tracks your head.   This is potentially a significant improvement over the TrackIR head movement recognition software/hardware that many of us use – though it does have some issues of its own.  The first issue is getting the settings right – I have a stiff neck from working through that process over the last two days!  Once up and running well, it is generally a bit better than the TrackIR system but it can feel more twitchy because it follows your eyes as well as your head.   Where it loses out is being able to look back along your truck while parking – something that the TrackIR system can do – unless I’ve missed a setting?   I’ve surprised myself by finding that I can park on mirrors alone!  Anyway, the ability to look back is something that SCS and Tobii will need to address.   I also found that you can’t easily do a head-forward to see around window pillars and mirrors when at a junction, which is an issue though sitting a bit further back from the junction can negate this.   What the Tobii 4C does do is remove the need for me to wear either a hat with a reflective attachment or wear headphones with a set of LEDs attached, either of which are required for trackIR.  Effectively it frees me up to move easily.  With this type of tracker I can choose to drive without the headset which is a boon when I’m expecting a delivery, for example – though I’d normally prefer to wear the headset to avoid the rattling noise from the force feedback steering 😉

There are so many new things coming in this release that I’ve run out of words for this post.  All I can say is Thank You SCS Software – keep on Truckin’ 🙂