Trucking Digest

I don’t think the digital ink was dry on my last digest when we had yet another SCS Software surprise.  Friday morning and I was planning to have a drive in Oregon.  I was just checking on Twitter for anything regards Saturday’s football match (home to Leatherhead) when in popped a tweet from SCS – All drivers complete your World of Trucks jobs because the servers will be taken down for maintenance in, I think, 30 minutes.  Oh! well – perhaps I’ll have a run out in Oregon this afternoon 😦   I went and played with some household chores for a while 😉

Before that announcement I had been out and about mainly in American Truck Sim quite a bit.   I had been driving the Dawg for, I realised, over a month – that’s a long time in one truck!  I like to have a bit of variety and as I reported at the end of the last Digest I had finally bought a different truck – the Freightliner FLB.  This, like the Dawg, is another workshop mod from Harven and a really fun truck to drive.  After driving that Mack for so long I was amazed at how wibbly-wobbly the cab is on the FLB.  It is something that a couple of fellow drivers have commented on but I hadn’t really noticed it so much before.   Apparently it’s actually quite realistic and I have heard a tale from a trucker on YouTube about the need to strap yourself into the bunk of an FLB when running a crew operation because otherwise you end up on the floor, wedged behind the drivers seat!   I’ve equipped her with a 500HP Detroit Diesel 60 Series engine and a 13 speed Eaton-Fuller gearbox (with a retarder).  This should give enough power for those heavier jobs in Oregon that I was talking about last time.   She’s also painted in a rather fetching metallic – and looks a little ‘evil’ as a result.   I’ve also added a ‘Turbo Wing’ – that’s a first for me as I thought that these were just an in-game fashion accessory but I’ve now found videos of real world FLB’s sporting them and it really does go well with the dark colorscheme.  I’m thinking of a name for her at present but ‘Witchy Woman’ is a possibility.  Here she is running through a nicely wooded area on the road to Newport from Bend…

We’ve done a bit of sightseeing up the coast in Oregon now, visiting Yaquina Point Lighthouse……and crossing the Historic Yaquina Bridge too…
…The rain never seems far away in Oregon compared with California!

Then came the bombshell from SCS – Server update done and here is a new ETS2 Community Challenge! Deliver cargoes to or from Germany using 10 different countries. Then continue delivering with a community goal of 50 Million Tonnes transported. The idea is that we can show our support to the team working hard to bring those wonderful improvements to the older sections of the map starting with Germany. I sometimes wonder what SCS are thinking! A lot of people have just bought the Oregon DLC and like me are exploring its wonderful scenery. We’ve just got trailer ownership and once again, players are exploring how that works and creating their own trailer skins. To throw a Community Challenge into the mix at this time is, not to put too fine a point on it, asking the community to spread itself very thinly! That said, as you will expect from the previous Community challenge, a lot of us are rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in!

Despite a Saturday’s football I completed the personal aspect of the challenge on Monday. I also decided to change my Euro VI engines only rule during this challenge because I wanted the home comforts of the MAN TGX so we completed in one of those……Now we’re shifting tonnage as best possible. These shots are from a run early this morning – driving across the newly reworked sections of the German map from Hamburg to the Polish border with a load for Bialystok…

…I’ve since done two more runs, back to Nurnberg and then out to Szeged in Hungary. That’s a lot of driving and 85 tonnes shifted – which is a drop in the ocean with 45 million tonnes still to go for the Community Total. Thank the Lord I’m not alone!

Back in America and this left me having a giggle…… Has to be good for a caption competition 😉

“I sure did but I ain’t paying California rates for diesel!”

“No Herbicide being committed here Officer”

“Honest Officer – They told me it was Hay!”

I’ll leave you with a bit of C.W.McCall – though you’ll need to be quick with your ears to keep up…

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Meeting the Challenge

When I set up a Trucking Company even though it’s not ‘real world’ I apply values to my company. In Europe, Martin Transport et Logistique have a smartly turned out corporate livery that I hope gives our computer generated customers confidence in our ability to deliver. I had a humorous bit of banter from one of my football colleagues on Twitter. He hoped that we ‘deliver more accurately than TeeJay delivers a free kick’ – a reference to one poorly placed delivery into the area from a free kick in a recent game 😉 I can truthfully report that Martin Transport have not missed a delivery time despite undertaking important and urgent deliveries for our customers and we take great pride in that 🙂

In Euro Truck we’re doing Cargo Market jobs and we play those in game-time which gives me the opportunity to select contracts as appropriate for the time I have available between rest requirements. Selecting an Urgent delivery when you’re going to have to rest part way along the route would not be a good idea! So with careful selection we avoid late deliveries 🙂

In the US we’re in a different situation. Republik currently looks like a rag-tag operation – we have no corporate livery yet. We’re taking hauling jobs for other companies that need someone to haul their trailers. These are World of Trucks jobs and they work in real time. If Republik is going to do well then we have to convince our customers that we can deliver on time despite the old machinery we’re driving. Most of the WoT jobs give many real-hours to complete – you could park up on the way and have IRL dinner before continuing your journey on most of them 🙂 Yesterday was different!

I’m pushing on in ATS to get the money for that garage upgrade. I took a nice little job from Flagstaff to Show Low in the morning. When you drop off a load at a customer, since the latest game update, you can see if there are any jobs available from the same customer. So I took a look at what was on offer work wise from the Walmart where I’d delivered. I found a juicy job available among the normal dross. Show Low to Oxnard – that’s across the width of Arizona and California. The real world time to complete in? 1Hr 13 mins! My experience of ATS tells me that’s a really tight schedule. I’d expect this to take close on an hour in a modern 475HP-500HP truck hauling 25000lbs. This load was 39000lbs and we have 237HP – which carries the risk of stalling on a steep grade somewhere! Republik Trucking is always up for a challenge and will deliver (we hope!). Here we are ready for the off with one of the new trailers – it’s a big one!, well compared to Ol’ Dawg anyway 😉

The route is already there for you when you couple up to the trailer. I took a look and immediately decided to change it. The shortest route from Show Low to Interstate 40 is on AZ route 77 down into Salt River Canyon and then back up to Phoenix. That’s a bad idea for a number of reasons – I don’t know how this new trailer type handles, the corners are sharp with low speed limits on a lot of that route and the climb out of the canyon is brutal. I reprogrammed the GPS – we’d route round via Flagstaff and Camp Verde, picking up the original route at Phoenix. It’s longer but I believe it to be faster with a low powered truck.

Sometimes it seems that the game knows when you’re tight for time 😉 I hit 4 major disruptions as we made our way along the route. The first on the I17 could have killed the job in its infancy – a police incident on a steep upgrade just south of Camp Verde requiring a change of lanes that fortunately saw a gap in traffic. If I’d have had to stop I probably wouldn’t have been able to get going again without a tow truck! Picking up the I10 from Phoenix I twice met roadworks requiring a change of lanes and adjustment of speed to filter in with other traffic with each event burning off valuable momentum and costing time. Then, just after Quartzsite there was a car on fire closing the right lane and once again we had to swap to the fast lane. This time a van in front decided to slow down to rubberneck which meant some serious braking for me and dropping down to 20mph. From there it’s a very long drag up the climb to Chiriaco with a heavy load trying to get back up to speed and losing valuable minutes all the time – I hate VW Transporter drivers!! That delay put me dangerously close to being late but we pushed on. The GPS wanted to route us through Barranca Street but we stayed on the I10 to connect directly with the I5. Then we picked up route 118 to take us into the north side of Oxnard and to the Fed Ex depot to deliver our consignment with 4 minutes to spare 🙂 Republik Delivers – Anytime, Anywhere but Always On Time! 🙂 And all done without exceeding the speed limit, so no Bear Bites either 😉

Footnote – if some of the map references in our run don’t seem right remember that this is SCS’s 1:20 scale map which sometimes distorts the real world to achieve a good driving experience for the players

Trucking Digest

Another week driving in the Beta Test environment for Euro Truck. There have been lots of new code drops over the past week and sometimes it’s very difficult to see what change was made. The game now seems to be very stable so that’s good. In the circumstances I have been concentrating on trying out the playability of the new truck and trailer company owning role.

A further week down the road of testing this and I have a clearer idea of the impact of this change on the game. Everything takes much longer despite the fact that you earn a little more using your own trailers. This is because your have to buy both truck and trailer to benefit. So an initial expenditure of around €130k becomes closer to €170k if you go for a basic curtainside trailer. Don’t take this as a negative – this is much closer to reality and therefore to be welcomed. Growing a company becomes much more of a slog despite the relatively well paying jobs in the game. Now you need to look closely at when you buy the second truck and when you get another trailer. Your drivers can still take other work without using an owned trailer as can you, but it’s better (more realistic?)if you can each use your own trailer to handle the majority of jobs.

This raises an interesting dilemma – what is the ideal trailer type and what should your ratio of trailers to trucks/drivers be. So far it looks like there should ideally be 4 trailers to 3 trucks/drivers to allow flexibility in operations. Even then some of the work that your drivers do will be freight market using other peoples trailers rather than your own. The best general trailer is the Curtainside – handling a wide range of general dry goods. For a small garage with three drivers I’d recommend having 2 of these. Then the trailer compliment should be completed by 1 flatbed for things like pressure tanks, etc. And a cool-box on wheels – a reefer or an insulated box van. This seems to give the drivers the necessary options to use your own trailers most of the time. From a personal driving point of view, don’t spend too long with a flatbed trailer in tow. There are very few cargoes so you’ll soon get fed up with the lack of choice. Fortunately, your ai drivers don’t give in to boredom 😉

In the last Digest I showed a shot of our new trailer skin. That was while driving the Mercedes-Benz New Actros. Very pleased with that truck and I’ll be looking to buy a couple more for the staff and myself in future. When looking to employ my 3rd new driver I passed the Merc onto Danny and set out to buy a new truck in the MAN TGX with the 400HP engine. This time I had intended to part exchange the MAN for a new truck but I decided instead that it was time to expand the company. I paid off the original €100k loan and took out a new €400k loan. This allowed me to buy myself a new truck – a Scania R with a 500HP engine – and pass the TGX on to new employee Izabella. She promptly nicked the refrigerated trailer and I haven’t seen any sign of her since – except for the money she’s making me 😉

My new Scania R has a lot of extra’s and set me back €280k but she’s a lovely truck that I will enjoy driving for a long time. Then it was time to pursue buying the second garage. I had decided that Clermont Ferrand was the right choice for the amount of different cargo opportunities around that city. So that garage was purchased. Subsequently I’ve moved 2 older trailers there in readiness for use and added 2 more to our Montpellier fleet. Now I just need to buy a new truck… So much planned spending to do 😉 Here’s a couple of shots from this week’s action…

Before passing the Merc on to Danny – Here I was minding my own business, driving within the speed limit with a sneaky Gendarme hiding in my blind-spot. They’ll do anything to get an arrest!

I took this shot as I blasted through Belgium with an urgent job in the new Scania R while using the flatbed for yet another Ventilation Shaft delivery. It has been modified using tonemapping for effect…

Now we can own our trailers it makes sense to have our own skins. You’ve seen my Martin Transport et Logistique skin. I thought I’d do a special skin for my local football club. I shared it on Twitter and it seems to be popular with the supporters and club chairman :-)…

I have a skin for a refrigerated trailer in the design stage and I will probably do a special one for Remembrance Day and Christmas too. Watch this space 😉