Random Solutions

As reported in my previous post, after the new 1.29 version of American Truck simulator dropped I did have some issues. Those are now largely resolved as I have identified the mods causing issues and either updated or removed them. Two trucks are still awaiting updates (Mack Ultraliner and Freightliner Cascadia) but others like the K100 and FLB are now fully functional which is great for the Lone Star Project as our existing K100 will drive ok and when I’m ready, a Freightliner FLB will once again grace the fleet 🙂 The only ongoing issue (until today) was the bloom on HDR settings. I turned off the HDR setting and after finding things were a little dark I decided to download Piva’s weather mod which I have used before in ATS to good effect.

I’ll digress at this point because internet security is an issue we should all be aware of and I want to give some basic advice. Many mods are too large for Steam’s Workshop. Also, some mod makers don’t like to entrust their stuff to Steam for whatever reason. So we sometimes have to go get those mods from one of a number of game specific mod sites. These use upload sites to store the files and those sites rely on advertising revenue to fund their existence. So each time you attempt a download a pop-up will open to one of the advert sites… Except it sometimes isn’t. It is very good practice to be conversant with how to deal with browser hacks – I had one of these when getting the download of Piva’s Weather mod. Not the fault of Piva but some blame should attach to the storage server owners who should really police their advertisers more carefully. But be aware that there are worse. While I was trying to get the latest version of the Kenworth K100 I found that on certain storage sites the file was not as expected. I ducked out before downloading. Key advice – Always confirm that the name of the file and its size are as expected before you download and check the file type! Be especially wary of .exe files because normally the files you are going to download shouldn’t be executables. And always install good Anti-Virus software on your PC!

With that out of the way it’s time for me to show some shots from the 1.29 update of ATS and also the FLB that has joined our Lone Star fleet. But the first images belong to Nightshade from our main profile. She bore the brunt of testing out the game after the new changes…
…She’s seen here drifting past one of the new Random Events on I15 on the way to San Diego from Las Vegas with a load of transmissions. Two Customs Cars and an Audi – gotta be a drugs bust?! We continued down the I15 and found that the intersection with the I10 has suddenly grown because I15 now goes all the way down to San Diego……That wasn’t there before!!! And a bit further down the road at the junction with I8 we passed the Qualcomm Stadium – home of the San Diego Chargers until this season. I understand they’ve moved up the road to Los Angeles. Such things are frowned upon in the UK where, with a couple of exceptions, a football club is seen part of the community rather than a franchise to move where you will! Don’t worry – we have our own ways of creating football scandals 😉

Nightshade had the honour of the first run into New Mexico as reported in the previous post but in our Lone Star project Midnight Cruiser took the first run for the team. The cargo was Car Parts from Flagstaff to Albuquerque. We received the traditional welcome to a new state – called into the weigh station by the New Mexico police……Coming back with a load from Vista print bound for Phoenix. we passed a police car with a pulled over car – officer rendering assistance or a speeder?……Then we passed a nasty multi vehicle accident with police, ambulance and fire brigade in attendance……These are examples of the new Random Events now in-game since v1.29 was released 🙂

Phoenix offered the chance to buy our third truck for the Lone Star project. Once again this is a slightly older truck unlike my main profile where I will be driving current vehicles. We’ve replicated a 1995 Freightliner FLB with a Detroit Diesel Series 60 500HP engine. She’s got a 13 speed Eaton-Fuller gearbox and a retarder. The paint job is one produced by Lucasi while the truck is the work of Harven and represents the latest iteration in a long history of this mod by a variety of authors over the years. Here she is climbing out of Phoenix with a load of Dried Milk for Alamogordo… I see we have a Krusty Clown truck on our tail 😉 My nickname for CRST trucks in-game as they tend to be quite aggressive – Though I recall being carved up by a Knight’s truck recently 😦 I’m sure the real life drivers are ok – though some of my US readers may wish to comment otherwise 😉

I closed off last time joking about ‘back in France’. I have got some material to relate from there so we will be looking at what my MAN and I have been up to soon 🙂

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Oh God!! It’s Broke…

…The game just crashes! 😉

SCS have finally delivered the New Mexico expansion. One of the joys of SCS Truck Sim’s is the updates. These wonderful events bring great new gameplay and scenic improvements (mostly). But, if you’re using mods to improve your immersion or provide additional gameplay like a truck that isn’t in the main game then be prepared for trouble when the new version update drops 🙂

Updates installed I fired up the game in my main profile – the one with official SCS trucks. The game crashes almost as soon as I start the truck. First step – check the game logs. Looks like something to do with colours and some vehicles. I remove all mods relating to vehicles – that’s Jazzycats ai mods and all the special trailers and my non-standard trucks. Try again…

Game still crashes 😦 Turn my attention to the less obvious candidates. Real Companies, Real Gas Stations. I umm and ahh about the realistic traffic mod and a couple of others but decide to try again. Success…

Game loads and runs ok including the mods that give Nightshade her distinctive colors and the Cummins N14 CELECT engine. In fact there are several other mods that are working ok. So we start driving from Elko – the game relocated me and Nightshade there as a result of the upgrade. This was billed as a new map expansion but to achieve it the SCS team also looked at improving the existing states. Some things have definitely changed and I don’t think SCS actually told us everything about the changes. Coming south from Elko I passed a disused motel that I don’t think was there before and I certainly hit some grades that were steeper than I recall – clearly some more wide spread changes have been undertaken!

Diving off in a brief tantrum… One other mod that isn’t working but isn’t causing the game to crash is the ‘No_Bloom’ mod. This takes out the horrible splashes of haze around any bright light source. The sooner that is fixed or SCS finally realise how annoying that bloom is, the better! It’s ghastly and is one of the reasons why this post is lacking a lot of screenshots. The author of the mod knows of the problem and is working to fix it and as it’s a Steam Workshop mod it should auto update very soon 🙂

I picked up my first new section of road just past Barstow. However, I was already seeing the ‘Random Events’ in the shape of potholes and re-tarmac’d sections of road from early in the journey. And there was a stationary ambulance on the opposite carriageway. The traffic in general seemed a bit more realistic but I am still running DP’s realistic traffic mod so I’m watching this area closely to see how it pans out. On this first run all Jazzycat’s mods were removed, which also has a bearing.

On the run down to El Centro after leaving I10 I met a pick-up on the wrong side of the road – that’s a first and probably an import from Poland in ETS2 😉 (I had the same on the return trip too!) In the small town along the same road we hit an ‘AI in a Tis-Was’ situation and I had to close the game and start it up again to resolve the issue – not a first for this location and clearly an intermittent ongoing bug!

From El Centro I picked up a load to Flagstaff – probably aiming to seek sanctuary from the mayhem by hiding in one of my garages 😉 By this time I’d downloaded some ai traffic updates from Jazzycat and I tried out the Buses one to see if it causes issues. The run proceeded smoothly and we saw some buses which means that the updated Jazzycat mods are working fine. We also got to meet one of the new random events in the shape of overnight road works. The first I knew was a bright yellow light flashing. I slowed and then picked my way into the open lane as we passed the team working on creating more potholes in the road 😉 I should have taken a screenshot but I was just enjoying what I was seeing – I’d normally be running through here in cruise and yawning – the new random events really rock!

I feed in some more of the Jazzycat mods including the cargo ones that haven’t been updated along with Cyrus’ Kenworth K100 that has been updated and we set off to Santa Fe – our first New Mexico destination. No issues encountered with mods. I did find that the AI seems more realistic in the variation of the traffic. It’s good to be watching the action up ahead and being able to adjust speed around realistic traffic flows. That’s one of the skills in game that I enjoy – perhaps not one that the ‘race and crash’ merchants take note of though 😉

The run up to Santa Fe went pretty well but the delivery drop off was fun – driving around between heaps of gravel in the dark can be a bit disorientating! But we found our way round to the drop-off point and took advantage of the adjacent rest area 🙂 A ‘fun’ day of fault finding and driving!

Now back in France… something for another post perhaps 😉

Beep, Beep

So, SCS have broken with tradition! Last Thursday they announced that the New Mexico map expansion for American Truck Simulator will be released to an expectant computer truckers community this coming Thursday. I can’t remember SCS ever giving an actual release date for an expansion – at least, not in recent times. Usually we get teaser posts on the SCS blog and then one day we see a game update downloading on Steam and the new DLC is available in the store. You get in the habit of estimating how long the open beta testing will take based on previous experience 😉 To be actually told when an expansion will be available??? Never in a month of Sundays – at least until now!

New Mexico will bring some important changes with it. Perhaps the stand out change will be the arrival of Random Events in the game. Until now things like road works and broken down trucks have been hard coded so you know where they are. If this new feature works the way I hope then we will see such things appear from time to time at random locations. Quite how random remains to be seen but it will make each trip a little less predictable which is a good thing. We’re also going to see potholes and the like as we drive along – I wonder if they will cause damage if you bounce through them?

Not content with bringing a new state and random events into the game, SCS are also revisiting some of the existing states and adding sections of road that were missing from the original rescale of the map. We’re going to get CA-190 through Death Valley! US93 is getting extended south from Kingman down to Phoenix. All-in-all a total of over 600 miles of new road are going to be added to the existing states when version 1.29 drops in on Thursday! The AI is also getting ‘improved’ – which could mean all sorts of things. I do know that we will see cars parking at service stations. But out on the road, I think I’ll wait and see what the experience with the programmed nutters is once we start driving 😉

All these improvements will mean that certain mods will stop working pending updates by their authors. Cyrus’ Kenworth K100 will almost certainly need a new download as the author usually ties his versions to the game versions. Whether Viper2’s Peterbilt 379/389 will be affected I don’t know but I anticipate problems in the first couple of weeks. Much of my driving in that period will probably be in my main profile with the official SCS trucks as they should have been tested by the developers.

And once we’re driving in New Mexico, I wonder if we’ll see aliens around Roswell? And will we meet Road Runner and Wile E Coyote going about their cartoon capers? Beep, Beep…