You know how it is when you’re excited – you skip a bit… There I was in the last Trucking Digest going into things like skill points before I’d answered a couple of key questions that might plague the beginner when they fire up a Truck Sim game for the first time. So lets ask those questions and hopefully answer them too.

The game wants me to choose a favourite truck – does that mean I’ll have to buy that truck?…

No – in fact the choosing of a favourite truck right at the beginning is only there for two reasons. Firstly, the game wants a truck to display in the User Interface during the period before you buy your own truck – after you do, it’ll display the truck you are driving instead. Your choice of favourite also decides which truck you will be given for your first drive – so picking the biggest truck in American Truck Sim might not be the best idea if the game starts you off in a tight spot😉 To clarify; I chose the International LT in American Truck but I know that will not be the first truck I buy. The game will not lock you into the truck you chose as a favourite right at the start.

I have to choose a city for my base Garage – is it important to choose the right place?…

This is slightly less straight forward – definitely a yes and a no😂 On the original maps, the perceived wisdom was that you should start in a city like Berlin because it had more industries than other cities. Times have moved on and as new maps have been added, the number of cities with 4 or more industries has grown. Rebuilding the original maps has also affected the availability of industries in cities – Stuttgart is now a major player in this regard with lots of cargo producing options…

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…So the choices according to the old wisdom have grown. But, was the old wisdom right in the first place? When you’re doing Quick Job’s to earn that money for your first truck, do you only drive jobs from your chosen base city? No… I didn’t think so! When you get your first truck, are you going to only work from your base city and then return to collect the next load… I doubt that very much. Where you choose to base your company is only going to affect your game in one way – whether to expand your garage beyond small and that choice will be guided by how much work there is at that city for your employees – because they will work to and from the garage they’re based at. You, on the other hand, are a free agent😎 In fact, I think your choice now should be somewhere you feel a connection to. There’s nothing more motivating than being based in your home town or perhaps, a place you know and love👍

There is one other question that predates even these…. Should I buy this game in the first place?

I have over 5000 hours of my life invested in playing these games. On the surface they are simple – collect cargo, drive somewhere, drop off cargo. If only that were all, I’d have walked away several thousand hours ago! It’s a bit like Flight Simulator – you choose to take on a responsibility to deliver the cargo. You face challenges to that goal along the way. Despite those challenges, you seek to drive professionally and it becomes a point of honour to get there safely and on time. You take pride in how your truck looks and possibly even go on to build a company image. But, the most compelling part of the game is the inner peace as you drive through the virtual world that surrounds you, see all the beauty that surrounds you – much of it drawn from reality.

In this game you can drive in places that you may never visit in real life. For people with disabilities it can be a godsend, and also for those of us who are perhaps a little less sprightly than we once were. And when the job is done and you’ve just handled a particularly difficult parking spot…

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…There’s that feeling of satisfaction that warms the soul 😎

Both of the Truck Simulator games regularly go on sale on the Steam Store – here. If you’re someone who wouldn’t normally play computer games because running around shooting aliens is not something you want to do as recreation, perhaps driving a truck is for you👍

Now, I’ll get back to the game-play tips. But if anyone has a serious question about the Truck Sim games, please ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Here we are at the start of June – that means it’s time to share our last photo on the card for Brian’s challenge😎

May is a quiet month for me as the Isthmian League Football Season has ended and that means there are no last on cards for my Canon cameras. That leaves the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the Moto g50.

On the X-Pro, I have a shot of Squires Lane in some moody weather…

…This shot appeared in my ‘May Storms‘ post where it had been straightened and cropped. I had hoped to go out again on the 31st but a Steam Train I was intending to photo was cancelled and the weather wasn’t very good, so I didn’t, making this my last shot of the month with a camera.

The Moto g50 picked up the task of taking a shot of my new pc to send to my Son as he wanted to know what I had bought…

…Early morning and my usual strong cuppa in the foreground😉 Look at the state of the office wall – redecoration needed sometime🙄

As required for Brian’s challenge, no changes made to the photos other than resizing for the web 👍

As reported in my ‘Pain‘ post, I’m going to start my companies in Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator from the beginning. I think I can also show a few tips and tricks about starting out along the way as my last build a company from scratch series was a very long time ago. I won’t be detailing settings by and large as they will vary between players according to their hardware set-up and that makes it pointless. It suffices to say that the game allows for just about any set-up you may have from office laptop to top of the range gamer pc with wheel and pedals. It will probably take the newbie a couple of false starts to find what settings seem to work best for their set-up. The only additional thing to bear in mind is that changes in the core game sometimes mean having to adjust your cherished settings to achieve what you want from the new version.

Starting out is always an exciting time. Like so many things in life, there is a thrill to discovering the virtual world you just entered. You will be surprised how it becomes a lot less virtual when you recognise a place you are driving through! Sometimes it’s just the name and other times it will be a landmark. The two aspects combine to provide a compelling experience. Your first action is to select where you will be based. In Europe, I am based in Montpellier in the south of France. In the USA, I have based myself this time in Ontario, Oregon. I did an explanatory post a few weeks back about how my companies differ in their operations. That’s something that the new player may develop over time once their company is growing but in the beginning it’s all about working towards buying your own truck.

Because you don’t own a truck yet, you have to take Quick Jobs. Here’s a sample for what’s available from Ontario…

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…though that screenshot was taken after I’d done three jobs and I’d used my first Skill Point’s to increase the job distance I can do and to allow me to take high value cargoes. As you can see, there are a range of cargoes and several different truck types.

Doing Quick Jobs is a good time for the player to find out which trucks they like and which are less pleasant to drive. Most players start off with a pre-conceived notion of what truck they want to drive. From my own experience, that is something that changes over time in the game. You may start off wishing to drive a big Scania or Kenworth but somewhere along the way another truck finds its way into your favourites. In my own case, an initial dislike of DAF trucks has turned into a full-blown love affair😁 So use the journey from beginner to owner as a time to refine your view of the trucks that are available in game. Here’s a couple of trucks that I drove today in Euro Truck…

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…and American Truck…

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For the first time virtual trucker, there are now more than enough trucks in the game to provide a good variety of options but, for those wanting something different there are also mods available from a variety of sources. I will look at them later on.

I spoke about Skill Point’s earlier. General consensus is that you should apply these initially to three areas of improvement: Distance, High Value Cargo and Fragile Cargo as I have done in Euro Truck…

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…In general these will provide the best way to increase your earnings and also the points you can gain per job. Just in Time Delivery will increase your earnings when you take an important or an urgent job – just remember that lateness costs money and the deductions build up exponentially. That’s why I don’t recommend using your points in that area early on. As for Ecodriving, that’s really not of any use to you when you’re driving someone else’ truck. If you want a bit of variety over the three options I’ve suggested, you could use a Skill Point to add an ADR ability – I’d suggest choosing Class 2 (Gases) or class 3 (Flammable Liquids) to start with. Both pay well and you get to drive some tankers 😎

I think that’s enough for this post – I’ll continue with some more tips on another day. To finish, here’s my almost virgin US map after 3 trips…

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