Trucking Digest

I’ve been remiss in updating you on changes to the base truck simulator games. v1.37 released into American Truck Simulator back on April 20th after completion of the Truck at Home event. It brought the ability to open your truck windows and improved sounds. I think the community were generally very pleased with the update. Euro Truck didn’t get the same update until May 5th – SCS neatly sidestepping any Star Wars connotations. Included with the improved sounds for Euro truckers were updates to the maps in the Reims, Metz and Strasbourg areas of France. I suspect, but this is pruely speculation on my part, that these changes are a necessary precursor to updating the Koln, Dusseldorf part of the German map and a preparation for upgrading Switzerland to the latest standard. With changes to the way that the sounds work I was naturally concerned that my favourite mod trucks might be broken as has happened in the past. But, as a result of SCS releasing the update to open beta testing a long time in advance of deployment, the modders seem to have been able to get their trucks updated in good time. Autumn Gal, Harven’s FLB, was certainly sounding good when I drove her after v1.37 release. You’ll note that she’s had a respray since you last saw her……That wasn’t the last of SCS’s presents to the community. More on that in a while.

9th May saw my total distance doing World of Trucks deliveries pass 1.5 million kilometres – which probably means that my total distance driven in-game is closer to 3 million given that I mix and match between in-game jobs and web based WoT jobs. It’s quite an achievement and I guess the next target is the 2mKm in World of Trucks! I was driving our Renault Magnum and exploring rural France at the time…

I’ve continued plugging away at the achievements in Euro truck Simulator. It’s hard but we’re slowly getting there. On 11th May I finally got a delivery to Pirdop in Bulgaria from Marseille! It was a very long run but I had to take it as Pirdop was last but one of the cities I needed to complete the Balkan Explorer achievement – visit all the cities in the Road to the Black Sea DLC map. From Pirdop I was able to get a load for the relatively short trip over to Cernavoda where. After dropping off that load I had to drive into Calarasi for maintenance and, that being the last city I needed, to complete that achievement. Another one down – 17 to go!

I’ve made some progress with the Pathfinder achievement and my map completion currently stands at 81%. I’m also trying to complete the ‘Industry Standard’ achievement which involves delivering 2 loads to each of the paper mills, locomotive works and furniture makers in the Baltic area. Most of these are having to be completed by doing hire jobs as the necessary loads aren’t dropping for me. So I’ve been mixin’ n’ matchin’ to progress that achievement alongside Pathfinder – currently I have 15 out of 24 deliveries completed. As part of my Pathfinder activities in the Romania, I did complete the Ferryman achievement. Nothing complicated about that one, just needed to take a drive up the road between Constanta and Galati…

Back to SCS Software’s updates and hot on the heels of the v1.37 release in American Truck, a much anticipated new truck was released on 28th April – the Mack Anthem. After the first drive I wrote on Twitter… “Mack Anthem – Purposeful looks, good engine/gearbox combos, nice instruments, awful mirror placement! In other words, like the other Mack’s in my fleet! I know I’m going to have a love-hate relationship with this truck… ” It’s true, you could hide a squadron of ai bandits in the blind-spot caused by the main mirrors and the hood mirrors are a must if you want to avoid getting a stiff neck on a long drive. In the real world, where the driver can move their head back to see round the mirror at a junction, I’m guessing it’s not a problem. But I bet most Anthem’s are delivered with hood mirrors! So, it’s time to meet Balto, our first Mack Anthem…

…I’m very impressed with the quality of the modelling by SCS of this new truck. It bodes well for future additions to both Truck Sim games. And she is a very nice drive 🙂

The final gift from SCS for this report – on 7th May, the reward for meeting our personal goals in the Truck at Home event was released and I now proudly display it in some of my trucks. Here it is in Balto – simultaneously giving you a look at the Mack Anthem’s dash…

That’s about it for this Digest. But, SCS have dropped a hint that we have a major event coming up in Euro Truck very soon – so I think we can guess at the subject matter of the next Digest. Keep the shiny side up everyone 🙂

Trucking Digest

I’ve been really struggling to put fingers to keyboard over the last few weeks.  I think it’s a lockdown thing and it’s probably affecting some of you too – though I see there are quite a few people still posting regularly.   I was going to tell you another trucking tale but it just isn’t writing itself at the moment so I guess it will just have to be a factual report on what I’m doing in the American and Euro Truck simulators.

In my last Digest I was almost up to date with my American Truck Sim Steam Achievements.  There were just a couple more Frac Tank deliveries to do and I was having to pick them up as hire jobs.  The last but one of those was a fun drive.  I was given a Mack R with a 285HP engine.  No real issue with that as my own one, Ol’Dawg, has the same engine.  What was different was the gearbox – an Allison 6 speed automatic.  Although these can run at 50-55mph they are really more likely to be found in trucks used for in-town deliveries.  Couple that with the route – Pendleton to Vernal – and you have a recipe for some hard driving to complete the task on time.  Fortunately, I had driven the Pendleton-Burns section twice in the very recent past so I knew the road well.  That gave me the chance to push every bend to the limit on the downhill sections to make up time that was lost on the climbs.  Here’s a shot taken as I passed through Mount Vernon…  South of Burns and on the 95 it was easier to keep the speed up and I needed to as I had targetted Winnemucca as my overnight stop with McDermitt as the fallback if I was running out of drivers hours. That’s when we started meeting traffic that wanted to slow us down. A combine harvester was easy to pass as we were lucky to catch it on a long straight section. But when we caught up with another truck it became apparent that we would need to do a risky pass. I chose a long gentle curve where I could see a long way ahead and began the pass. Winding up the Mack with a 6-speed auto box takes time! I was half alongside the other truck when an opposite direction car appeared ahead. 3 options presented themselves. Stamp on the brakes and drop back behind the slower truck – the correct and sensible option. Or, carry on regardless and hope the car driver would take avoiding action – in the real world self-preservation would probably make them do just that but the in-game ai doesn’t have a self-preservation instinct programmed in 😉 The 3rd option was to leave the road ourselves and take to the desert beside the road, allowing the car to pass between our trucks. That’s what I did – neatly picking a gap between the road markers and avoiding a couple of cacti before returning to the carriageway to complete the pass! A rare piece of reckless driving from me – I’d love to have a screenshot for you but I had my hands full at the time 😉

I subsequently went on to complete the the last of the Frac Tank deliveries and that was all my American Truck Steam Achievements complete… Until the next state gets released when there are sure to be some new achievements to get 🙂 SCS software have announced that they are working on both Idaho and Colorado at present, so we can expect those soon.

I’ve now turned my attention to Europe and the significant number of outstanding Steam Achievements available for Euro truck. Some of these are long term goals – getting 100% of the map for the Pathfinder Achievement will be a labour of love with all the maps that are out there and with the Iberian Peninsula expected sometime later this year along with a re-working of the maps around the Franco-German border area. So, increasing the percentage of completed map is always going to be one step forward – two back. Other long term achievements are dropping in slowly but surely…

The other achievements I can actively work towards are slowly dropping into place. I’ve been utilising a DAF XF105 finished in Michelin colours for some of these. Here she is delivering a Yacht from Turku to Oslo to complete the Sailor Achievement…

I switch trucks quite frequently. Here’s one of my Renault T’s finished in a special Berliet livery, helping to complete the Miner achievement by delivering to a quarry in Stavanger…

Those trucks between them clocked up over 50000km in-game during the period of 11th-30th of April. I have been doing a lot of driving and I think that will continue for the foreseeable future with lockdown ongoing. Having so many achievements to aim for is definitely helping to keep me mentally active but I could do with being able to get out more! I’ll continue with the Trucking updates in another post as there is too much to tell in one hit. Stay safe and well everyone 🙂

Trucking Digest

This week Epi got a message from the NHS telling her that she must not go outside for 12 weeks as she is considered as ‘high risk’ because of her underlying health condition. So, she has to stay home for at least 3 months and I’m gonna have to do all the outdoor things while trying to minimise the risk of bringing in the virus from shopping, etc. For many of us – that’s being caught in a trap with no out. I’m sure you’re going to get bored. So here’s a thought if you’re struggling to keep yourself busy at home… Computer Games!

We’re having to spend time indoors and watch box-sets or, heaven-forbid, read books or possibly even talk to each other! Of Course, those ought to be enough – the read books and talk to each other was all there was when I was a kid! But the world has moved on by quantum steps since then 🙂 In our current ‘lockdown’ circumstances, computer games provide an almost unlimited opportunity to entertain or educate. They’ve been there to do that for quite a while now and maybe it’s the right time to take full advantge of the resource they offer.

You’re probably wondering if you’ve come to the right post – it’s about trucks and simulation isn’t it.. right?? Yes, this is Trucking Digest and we’re going to talk about driving in a major global crisis!

On 30th of March SCS Software announced a new event for us regulars to take part in. Set to run until the 6th of April it was all about showing our support for the real world truckers, out there delivering in the face of Coronavirus, whilst underlining the need for non-essential workers to stay at home. Called #TruckAtHome on twitter, it drew an immediate response from the community. It’s fair to say that we drove our hearts out over that 7 day period, consistently tweeting images with the #TruckAtHome tag to highlight the need for people to #StayHomeSaveLives. I personally drove over 34000 Kilometers in-game and was frankly very tired come monday night when I did my last run in American Truck Simulator from Los Angeles to Pendleton. The community achieved over 584 Million Kilometers! I hope we got our message across to the wider populace! Simultaneously, tied to our community effort, SCS donated money to charities working in the fight against the virus in their area and their mobile team went out delivering to local hospitals. I saw one person ask the question – why am I doing this for people in the Czech Republic. He’s a kid and so can be forgiven – the explanation is simple – help in any location helps us all globally because we are all in this together.

The driving campaign resulted in me finally resurrecting Rolled Gold in American Truck……and giving her a personal trailer. I also, as a result of something else that I was doing (remember those Frac Tanks for the final achievement in the last post?) decided to get a Freightliner Argosy – I’d like you to meet Monster……and she growls like a monster with the Cummins Signature 600HP engine 🙂

In Europe, most of the driving was handled by a new MAN TGX – no names or pack-drill in my European company. Here she is wearing the company blue with the special logo for the event…

One of my younger trucking colleagues from Serbia has been asking me to get a Renault Premium – apparently that’s his favourite because they’re rare in his country… Np, Happy to oblige – here’s a Renault Premium in the standard blue of the special paint job released for the event by SCS.

I hope you’re all keeping well, keeping safe, staying inside (as much as going for essential items allows). Keep the shiny side up!