The Night Shift

It doesn’t look like there’s ‘Gonna be some sweet sounds coming down’ on this guy’s shift! In fact he looks thoroughly fed up……I guess he’s had a long day! And I’m about to set out into the night with a load of flat-pack furniture – another long drive ahead.

Perhaps the Commodores will cheer him up?

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Mirrors

I think we all know that fictional things usually mirror real life. Certainly that is true of simulations on the PC to a greater extent – they wouldn’t be simulations otherwise. Sometimes that fiction stretches to the possibilities for the human future – Star Trek has often predicted things that are now daily reality. Here’s a personal one…

Much of my driving in Euro Truck Sim recently has been in trucks with automatic transmissions. That’s how the real world is in Europe. In the US I usually drive manual because that seems to be a preference for a lot of privateer drivers that I see on YouTube – though it looks like some companies are going down the automatic road and buying Volvo VNL 670’s and the like. Obviously I’m only seeing the US market third hand so I’m making assumptions.

April 19th was a sad day for me. I consigned my beloved Peugeot 206 HDI to the junk yard. 17 years old and still sharp on her toes. We’ve surprised a few boy racers together over the last few years – I guess they made assumptions because she doesn’t say GTi on the back. Put a 2ltr turbocharged diesel in a very small car and… It’s a shame that she has to go but there is a need to consider all factors. There is a strong anti-diesel movement in the UK currently. This is because of the discovery that diesel engines produce more NO2 emissions than petrol engines and also a lot of particulates if driven hard. Road tax has been going through the roof for older diesel cars. As of May this year the MOT tests change and older diesels will be in the crosshairs of a regime that is intended to reduce pollution. Of course, the new rules will also affect owners of petrol vehicles and other areas relating to safety will be higher on the agenda. Unfortunately, like most changes to vehicle licensing, it will hit the less fortunate hardest. I’m lucky that I got a lump-sum on my retirement last year and was able to earmark money to replace the Peugeot – many poorer people aren’t in that position 😦

So how does this tie in with mirrors? Well in the case of computer game vs real life – I’ve been driving mainly automatic trucks in Europe and my new (secondhand) car is also an automatic. My good lady suggested getting an automatic a couple of years ago but perhaps didn’t expect me to take it on board. Now she’s on the spot because she’s never driven an automatic ever! I told her to practise on the computer 😉 For the record we now have a Skoda Fabia and it’s been a pleasure to drive so far – it hasn’t graduated to being a ‘she’ yet because I’m still getting to know it 😉 It actually has 20HP more than the Peugeot but as you know diesel’s are all about torque which is where the brisk acceleration used to come from. This new car has so much technology built in that I’m going to need another post in a while to tell you all about it but the experience built up driving automatic trucks on the computer has stood me in good stead because driving an automatic is a different technique to the manual. A gentle brush of the pedal when moving off and achieving 94-95% economy In my first few days of driving the car (according to the on board computer)!

So there we go – Life mirroring fiction! While I’m on the subject of mirrors though – there’s a big update due in Euro Truck and American Truck. One of the changes will be to the way the reflections in the mirrors of the trucks are implemented to make them more realistic. I’m guessing that’s gonna break the mods again so it’s time to park up Silver Dollar……Remember the problems I had with the FLB’s mirrors last time! But my Scania S in Euro Truck……shouldn’t be affected because she’s a part of the official game. Fingers crossed, the update shouldn’t affect the mirrors on my Skoda 😉 Otherwise I’ll have to take it back to the factory…

Red Lion Performance

In my last report from Euro Truck I announced that I was driving the 1980’s Scania 113 after a period driving the latest in the MAN TGX line of trucks. Time to tell you about my time in that MAN truck and also the ‘Trade Connections – Sweden’ event that SCS Software launched on 26th March.

After carrying out 18 jobs in the current Scania S series I decided it was time to buy a Euro 6 MAN TGX to get a direct comparison. I was parked up in Milano where I’d also taken the opportunity to buy a garage and expand our company into northern Italy. I ordered the TGX online from the dealer in Marseille for delivery to Milano. She was to have the top of the range XXL cab with highest spec interior. The engine was to be the D38 500HP with a 12 speed Tipmatic gearbox and retarder. Finally, she was going to be finished in a special Red Lion paint scheme. In game configuration and ordering takes longer than delivery; which is instant – don’t you wish it was like that in the real world! On delivery her first job was a delivery of Pesto from Milano to our home town, Montpellier. Here she is after completing that delivery, parking up for the night at our garage……with all our usual spotlight and Michelin add-ons 😉

After rushing some urgently needed medical equipment across to Genève, we took a load of oil filters south through Italy to Napoli. This shot taken as we drove south between Firenze and Livorno shows the instrument layout of the MAN TGX……Rain in Firenze – Reminds me of the first day of our Honeymoon! 🙂 The descent into the port area of Napoli presented this pleasant evening view…

A trip to Taranto with a load of cars provided the opportunity to purchase a second Italian garage in the heel of the boot. Then it was off to Sicily and the city of Palermo before driving back east to Bari. As an aside, in Italy I often see these Polizia di Stato Lambo’s……Eat your hearts out Perps! These do actually exist in the real world but I understand that there’s only two of them used for organ and blood transfer duties. You see them so often in game that one can only assume they are so fast that they have the ability to be in two places at once and sometimes pass themselves on the autostrada 😉

I was kickin’ my heels in Bari when SCS announced the new ‘Trade Connections – Sweden’ event. The storyline for the event was ‘As you know, our ETS map design team is currently working hard on the upcoming Beyond the Baltic Sea world expansion. You can imagine how much material of all types would be needed if this was all happening in the real world. There are so many kilometers of roads to build, so many buildings, intersections, industries and landmarks, so much landscaping! Maybe we can all help shorten the world-building process by transporting any supplies that we can up north? We’ll need to build a new ferry on Sweden’s Baltic coast to facilitate the transport of goods over to Finland!’ The challenge – ‘to complete a delivery of any cargo to or from Sweden with at least 10 different other countries in the rest of Europe.’

Bari is a long way from Sweden. Nevertheless, I took up the challenge immediately and headed north with a load of Computer Processors bound for Kalmar routing via Austria and Germany. It was a filthy night in Austria so I’m afraid there’s no pretty shots of the Alps, just rain…

Any challenge to deliver cargo to and from Sweden is bound to result in multiple crossings of the Øresund bridge. Here we are heading west to København with used packaging for recycling on a beautiful sunny morning……and on a different day, crossing east with a load of tractors bound for Goteborg in the fading glow of evening…

Traffic varies a lot in game. Compare that last late evening shot with this one ‘somewhere in England’……Great Britain is one of the oldest and least accurately portrayed sections of the map so although this is somewhere between Sheffield and Hull it would be rash of me to attempt to say where in real world terms. SCS have dropped a hint that they intend to revisit the core maps and bring them up to the current standard. I’m guessing that Germany will get first dibs on that upgrade which is definitely long overdue. Big thanks to SCS for putting the wheels in motion 🙂

I completed the challenge over a period of a week with deliveries from/to the following countries:- Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Norway and Holland. The last run was a load of flatbed trailers from Amsterdam to Linköping which is illustrated fittingly with a sunset shot…

To celebrate, a few trips later I repainted her in the blue ‘Lion Performance’ livery. Here’s a shot of her at one of the numerous toll stations in France near Paluel……That’s a load of Ice Cream and it’s going to – you’ve guessed it – Sweden! 😉