Since the last Digest there have been a couple of events – in game and irl…

When I write about my experiences in SCS Software’s Truck Simulator games I never know if I have encouraged anyone who reads my tales to give the games a try. The posts do get a fair number of hits outside my immediate community of friendly bloggers. But I don’t think I have ever seen a comment from someone saying they decided to give the games a try. I hope some of those who have passed through did go on to take a closer look and possibly buy into the trucking dream. One thing I have found out, and it post-dates my starting out in the game, is that you can now download a demo to try it out. The demo is available from the Euro Truck Simulator 2 website and also on Steam. There’s also a demo for American Truck Simulator but that appears to only be on Steam. So, if you want to give either title a try there’s now no excuse! 🙂

A couple of weeks back Euro Truck Simulator 2 was on sale – it happens for both titles 3 or 4 times each year and you can then get the games for £3.74p each. Anyway, I decided to flag up the sale to my Twitter community – which mainly comprises friends from football. Over the last couple of years chatting with the fans I’d found some who were at least vaguely interested in the games after seeing my tweeted screenshots. I’m pleased to report that my tweet advertising the sale resulted in two of our teenage fans trying the demo (which is how I learnt of it’s existence) and then purchasing the game. I did have a minor concern that their parents might not be happy with me introducing them to another computer game when they’re coming up to their GCSE’s. Last Saturday when they were dropped off to catch the coach to our away match I took the opportunity to approach their Mother and apologise. She was having none of it – she thanked me for getting them involved as it’s a relaxing game and just what they needed at a stressful time! In fact, she reckons that she’s going to have a go at the game too! Result!!! 🙂

It seems that everything is happening in Euro Truck currently. Last Digest I was reporting on the new Mercedes-Benz Actros Tuning Pack and showing shots of that truck. Now, with a lot of hype on Twitter, SCS finally released the Renault T. It has been a long wait for the community as negotiations for the rights to publish the truck have been very difficult. But finally Renault Trucks, and the other holders of rights to the famous diamond badge, are all on board. 🙂 Reading between the lines of the pre-release media, there has been a concerted effort between Renault Trucks and SCS Software to bring the modelling of the vehicle fully up to date resulting in a really polished final model. Release to live was finally announced on Tuesday as being 13:00 yesterday. And that left me with an issue for yesterday morning… I had just completed a delivery to Kotka in Finland and I really wanted to buy a Renault T from the nearest Renault dealer to our home base. That meant making my way back to Lyon in France!

Fortunately I was able to pick up a job from Kouvola carrying a load of tree saplings to Milan. That’s a very long drive – here’s the route……and here’s a few shots from along the way…

…Then I had to pick up a simple job across to Lyon……a much shorter drive but a grand total before I even got to the dealership for my new truck of 4415km.

So I spent around 4hr45min real time just getting back to Lyon yesterday. Sometimes this is not a game for the casual player 😉 I hope you liked my inclusion of route maps – something I’ve been toying with for a while. I’ll introduce you to my new Renault T in another post 🙂

Here we go with a quick look at a game that I’ve recently started playing – Farming Simulator 19. There is a bit of previous with this title. 3 years back I bought the 2017 version of the game. I did a few hours in it but in many ways it just couldn’t hold my attention. Looking back, I think this was because of the starting set-up which in normal difficulty mode gave you a farm with much of its infrastructure and machinery in place. The idea was to farm your 3 fields and do work for other farmers in the area so that you could ultimately expand your farm by gradually taking over the other fields on the map. But you were stuck with machinery that was already a maintenance costs liability and you might not have really wanted to do the type of farming dictated by the machinery anyway!

FS19 changes all that. The normal difficulty mode has changed name to Farm Manager – but that’s not telling the story at all. Now you start with nothing but €1250000. It’s up to you to choose what land you buy and what equipment you buy. And that means you can choose from the start what type of farmer you want to be. The game starts by placing you in the bottom rh corner of the map. There is a nice set of 3 fields there which the dev’s seem to be offering as a good place to build your farm. But, like in most games, it’s best to look at the other options before making your land purchases. One issue with the fields in that ‘suggested’ area is that they already have crops – two of those crops require more specialised equipment so you’d be spending a lot of money on diverse equipment right at the start if you want to make the money from those crops. I chose 2 medium sized fields elsewhere that also had crops but Barley and Wheat are common crops and you only need one type of Harvester to benefit from these.

And that’s how I started the game. After buying the land, you build a farmhoue assuming you want one, and probably a shed for your machines to live in – it’s up to you how you spend that starting money! And that flexibility is why I’m enjoying this most recent version of the game. Here’s some shots of life on my farm…

Crops harvested – it’s time to decide what the next crop should be and whether to get into livestock of some sort. I think this game may need its own posts like Trucking Digest and Birdshot – now I need to think up a title 🙂

I promised to show some views from Southern Africa – the Vurhonga Savanna Reserve. But first I should tell you that this cost me dear. The virtual person writing this is the third person – the two other persons were killed on Vurhonga Savanna. I should clarify…

In Hirschfelden and Layton Lakes you can get killed. But, this is usually a consequence of getting inadvertently caught in the middle of a herd of Deer that are panicking. The Bears in Layton Lakes do not pose much of a threat and usually run away as you approach. In fact, the Wild Boar in Hirschfelden are probably the most dangerous animals out there but again, only if you get real close to a big family group. Vurhonga Savanna is a totally different ball game. Here you will find one badass carnivore in the shape of the Lion. Time to tell the story. I took this photo of the savanna just for you……I was standing just outside of a stand of scrub – loosely growing short trees – a bit like a spinney. I heard a faint growl in the distance behind me and turned to see if I could find the source. Then I saw her running fast through the trees towards me. I barely had time to fish out the .338 rifle and get off a shot that was never going to be anywhere near the target before she was in my face and then I was dead! I did get my revenge though – after respawning at the nearest outpost, I found her still hanging around the location where I died. 110 meters with the .338 and a nice new Lion-skin rug!

This experience led me to buy a .470 rifle – it’ll stop anything assuming you can get the shot on target. And that’s the issue isn’t it – getting the shot on target. Somehow I think I’m walking around with a Linus Blanket 😉 For the record, the other time I have been killed since restarting the profile after the initial learning play was also in Vurhonga Savanna. I was hunting Scrub Hares with my pistol loaded with Birdshot when suddenly I was hit hard from behind. The animal that was attacking me ran round and charged me again – I did get a couple of shots away but birdshot wasn’t going to do any good – before killing me with a final charge. I guess the noise of my hunting had woken the beast and left it very annoyed! My assassin on that occasion? The Cape Buffalo or as I know it the Water Buffalo. These beasts kill more people than all the big cats in southern Africa. I can accept that death and unlike the Warthogs and Lions, I haven’t placed Cape Buffalo on my shoot on sight list 🙂

Here are some more shots of the scenery for you to enjoy…
…And here’s a shot through the binoculars with some Gemsbok and Warthogs in the distance……When I get them Piggies..Grrrr!

Sadly, the real world is nothing like this – Lions and other animals are killed by trophy hunters all too often, sometimes with the conievence of governments seeking international currency and using the desire of rich people to collect physical stuffed animals as a means of getting it. Playing at hunting on a computer is fun but I feel that trophy hunting in the real world needs to stop 😦 There’s a big difference between a new stuffed trophy and shooting something for the dinner table!