Running a little later than normal with my entry for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge 😐

Here’s something to give you square eyes…

Pixels

…Pixels – click on the image to take a closer look!

Here’s some Pyracantha blossom…

Pyracantha

…I’ll probably be able to use the berries for the August CMMC 😂

Finally, here’s a close up of the catch on my toolbox…

Stanley

I have had a fraught weekend. As reported, my existing pc has had an ongoing intermittent stuttering issue. Some games, like the Truck Simulator and Farming Sim games, it’s possible to play around that problem – when it manifests itself, just pull over and come out of the game. The Truck / Tractor will be where you left it when you return. The same cannot be said for games like The Hunter – you get dumped back to the last chalet you started out from, making it impossible to make meaningful progress in the game. For this reason, I haven’t played The Hunter for many months.

I decided to buy a new pc last week as it seems that prices have finally achieved some level of stability. It arrived on Saturday – a couple of days earlier than expected. At that point I had to re-locate the old photo-pc to a safe place downstairs – it hadn’t been used since covid lockdown as I migrated the photo tasks to my games pc before last football season. This was pre-planning for buying a new gaming pc. Then, the existing games pc, re-designated as the photo pc, had to be repositioned on the floor below my desk and the connecting cables re-run. Finally, the new pc had to be unpacked and carried up to my office for installation on my desk where more cables had to be rerun. After all that, my knees and back were killing me!

Sunday was spent installing my favourite games from Steam.- they’re in my Steam Library. This is a slow task, even with fast broadband, because many of these games are very large. We’re not talking Minesweeper or Solitaire here. I even managed to fit in a couple of games of online Chess while I was waiting😉 I still have several games to do! However, the Truck Sim and Farming Sim games are done along with The Hunter and Hardspace: Shipbreaker – another game I couldn’t play due to the pc issue.

Now for the next stage in the process – checking that the games are working as expected. This is where we hit some of the foibles of each game and of Steam itself. Let’s start with Farming Simulator 22. It runs fine and my Career save was there but when I tried to load it, it reminded me that I have to re-download and activate the associated mods that my save was using. What it doesn’t do is give a comprehensive list of all the mods that need to be re-attached – just some samples in the warning box. Inevitably, I missed one and that was my Ferme du Vieux Chêne save wrecked. SCS Software do the mod thing much better, including telling exactly which mods are missing in a table form – Giants Software, please take note! I hope to update where we are with Ferme du Vieux Chêne in a post later this week so I’ll give the full picture then.

Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator – both uploaded and only one of my profiles visible in each. That’s a Steam Cloud thing – for some reason despite having two profiles that are both backed up to the cloud, it only ever loads one when you install the game on a new pc. I do have a way around this – go to the previous pc and copy the ETS2 / ATS folders, then use those to overwrite the ones Steam has created on the new pc. However, I think I may restart my company profiles in both games. A few months of experience has further distilled how I wish to play each company and, for example, I decided that I wanted to relocate my ATS HQ after a few weeks of gameplay because the original choice proved to not be quite what I wanted from a traffic point of view. Someone with my level of experience doesn’t take long to grind through hire jobs to the point of owning that first truck and trailer😂 I did do a drive yesterday in ETS2 on my non-company profile. Here’s Carmen with a heavy Volvo A25G dumper on route from A Coruña to Le Havre…

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The Hunter – Call of the Wild: I haven’t played this game in months and there have been a number of changes, some of which are not entirely to my liking (turning off poi icons not only disables them as you’re hunting, it removes them from the map too). I needed to get my feet back under the table with this game – it would have been nice to be able to start a second profile to get my eye back in, but the developers don’t allow second profiles. I decided to restart – it’s always fun wandering around the reserves regardless of what gun you’re carrying😎 Actually, it didn’t take very long to get my eye in…

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…Though I’d forgotten how far a mortally wounded Bear can run before it goes down…

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…and I got whacked twice in repayment despite a good lung-shot! Nice to get a Gold level Bear so early on though👍

Hardspace: Shipbreaker: I don’t even know what to expect here – the game was early access and has had a lot of improvements since I last played. It actually went full release last Tuesday! I will have to take a look sometime later this week.

That was the weekend of pain – now I hope there will be some fun 😎

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’ 🙂