Trucking Digest

As noted in my short post on Thursday, I was at a retirement party and subsequently I’ve had a number of other things to keep me busy including a football match down in Folkestone and Epi taking me out for a meal on Sunday – so it’s a very late Digest this week. In the last Digest I spoke about some of the things expected in Euro Truck and American Truck. That was back on 7th February. We were anticipating version 1.34 to be delivered soon and I speculated that it might include the MAN TGX Euro6 which the community has been awaiting eagerly and which MAN Bus and Truck UK had hinted would soon be with us. On Friday 8th SCS Software released v1.34, breaking one of my unwritten rules about software delivery. ‘You never deploy on a Friday in case there’s a problem – On Friday everyone’s already got their weekend head on!’ In 18 years of software and application work I always delivered our updates on a Tuesday or Thursday πŸ˜‰ I had expected the Euro6 TGX to appear probably in the 1.35 release but no! Here it is in 1.34 πŸ™‚

So the driving in the past week has all been in Euro Truck, trying out some different configurations. What do I think of the new version of the TGX? It’s ok – a little bit underwhelming when compared with the latest Scania R and S series trucks that were released last year. It seems to be a generation behind compared to them. I think that is because it’s been ready to go for at least 2 years but has been mired in Licensing issues. That said, the interior is excellent with the dash very nicely reproduced. The engine sounds are definitely better than those in the Euro5 TGX that we’ve had since the start. There’s a very clear difference in sound between the D26 and D38 series engines. However I did note a discrepancy in the D38 engine ratings compared with those in the current MAN range. The current brochure gives a range in logical steps of 540, 580 and 640HP but what we get in game is 520, 560 and 640HP. This is almost certainly a result of the licensing delay as those engine ratings would have been correct back in 2014 when the D38 series was first announced. Looks like a job for an enterprising modder to provide the current options πŸ˜‰ I initially tried out the 520HP engine before spec’ing the truck in one of the commonest configurations you see in the UK – 6×2/4 midlift chassis with the 440HP D26 engine. Here she is with one of our reefers about to set off from Frankfurt with a load of Smoked Sprats for delivery to KΓΈbenhavn……and here is a view from the interior as we cross the Great Belt Fixed Link between Funen and Zealand…

The 440HP spec performed adequately and I think Martin Transport et Logistique will be rolling these out across the fleet to replace the Merc’s and the Euro5 MAN trucks. However, I will also be using Scania R450 series trucks at some depots. When suitable trailers become available I’ll take a look at the MAN 8×4 truck with the 640HP engine as an option for our heavy-haul division alongside the Scania R580 and R730 or S730. But for now it’s normal hauling that is the focus. I’ve played around with the spec of the truck since the 440HP test. I’ve applied a special livery celebrating 100 years of MAN Bus and Truck and added a blue interior light – I find it enhances the visibility of the gauges at night (My Scania Streamline R580 also has blue interior lighting). And she’s back to the 520HP D38 engine. Here’s some shots of the new livery taken during a run from Montpellier to KΓΆln…

That’s all for ‘last’ week πŸ˜‰ Hopefully we’ll be back on time come Thursday for the next edition!


Trucking Digest

Ordis has been thinking… Who’s Ordis you ask? – Someone you may get to meet in a future post but just like Ordis I too have been thinking. The thinking has been about where this year is going and about what I will be posting on my blog. And, while I’ve been thinking, not a lot has been done. Now it’s time to get back on track. Firstly, Trucking Digest will continue but some weeks it will be replaced by a different post about other games or simulations that I spend my time playing. This was something I was contemplating 12 months ago that never happened. I hope to get back into my transport outings more too – something that has been on hold during the latter half of January due to a swollen joint in my foot 😦 And I also hope to continue my participation in the photography challenges from Cee and Nancy. So that’s the road forward after a period of rag-chewing with myself in the truckstop.

So – Trucking… I think this first serious post of the year should be about what’s coming to Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator. SCS Software have been much better over recent months at feeding the community with information about their intentions. There are regular streamed interviews with the developers and the boss in which we are told of their ambitions. Even so, there’s always a bit of reading between the lines to predict some things and they also like to surprise us sometimes!

Definitely coming is release 1.34 – not that there is much info about what will be in that release. I think I can reliably predict that in ATS it will include changes to the roads in northern Oregon in preparation for the release of Washington – already notified by SCS as the next state to be added to the game and probably arriving sooner rather than later. In Euro Truck I guess that we might get another section of Germany updated to the latest mapping standard. In both ATS and ETS2 I also think the range of ownable trailers will increase. Both games desperately need Low-Loader trailers for us to own – My European heavy-haul division Scania R580 is currently employed helping out with normal deliveries until we can get these dedicated trailers……Rather a waste of her horses!

In the longer term I suspect that we will see a European map expansion into northern Spain and Portugal. I’d be surprised if the whole of the Iberian Peninsula were to be released in one go. But, the Baltic states were a huge area so who knows! That is one of the things hinted at by Pavel during a streamed interview though he didn’t specifically mention those nations. Other things floated in the breeze – I sometimes wonder if SCS work on a “let’s run that up the flagpole and see what bites” philosophy – are seasons. You know; winter, spring and autumn – everything is in summer currently. Pedestrians and cyclists – again, this was not specifically stated but the hint was there. SCS recognise the need to bring more real world life to the game. Cyclists and pedestrians do exist, it’s just a case of getting them to interact with the road.

Now I’m going to add one that hasn’t been hinted at – Police stops for traffic violations, etc. Currently if you break the law on the road you get an immediate fine. In the real world the police would have to pull you over to administer the fine. With the introduction last year of escorting vehicles for special cargoes, police vehicles that interacted with you and your truck were introduced. I think that the code required to achieve that change provides the first step to full interactive policing though I suspect it will be a long job to achieve. Much of what has been said by Pavel on the streamed shows tells me that SCS are in it for the ‘long-haul’ and will continue to produce content and upgrades for the community. I think this officer is going to fall asleep at the wheel if I don’t wake him up with a blast of the air-horn…

Finally, and hinted at by both SCS and MAN Trucks UK on Twitter, the license for the Euro6 version of the MAN TGX is likely to be agreed very soon. Like the Volvo VNL that appeared unannounced in ATS last November, the upgraded MAN TGX could appear in release 1.34 but more likely in 1.35 and it will be very welcome especially for us MAN fans πŸ™‚ The next few months promise to bring lots of good things to both Truck Sim’s and I’ll keep you appraised of them in regular Trucking Digest posts. Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down – Happy Trucking πŸ™‚

Trucking Digest

Christmas… When I penned my previous post I was feeling a little out of sorts. I went down very quickly over Christmas Day with what I can best describe as Man-Flu – high temperature, aching limbs and sore throat. Plans for Boxing Day went straight out the window because I was in no fit state to cook nor eat anything too rich. So that was my Christmas 😦 I’m feeling a little better today although the chill effect seems to come and go during the day. Fingers crossed I’ll be back to normal come New Year’s Eve.

I want to write a bit about one of the changes that was brought into Euro and American Truck with version 1.33. You may recall that v1.32 brought improved realism to trailer stability with new physics based around cargo weight and centre of gravity. This was a major improvement. In v1.33 SCS Software had a one-liner advertising further Physics improvements (suspension, damping, braking, COGs). I was somewhat surprised when I started driving in the new version to find that my trailers weren’t appearing very unstable any more. Surprised? – Perplexed would be nearer the mark! It took a lot of questions to the development team by long time simulation reviewer Squirrel to get to the bottom of what was going on and he shared his findings in a video on YouTube which SCS also promoted through their social media accounts… …I have carried out the necessary changes to the stability and suspension in the background config using the games console and it is such an improvement. Now there is a need to ease back on the speed when approaching sharp corners. If you don’t the truck and trailer will develop an outward lean and ultimately roll over. There is an unforeseen positive – before, in v1.32, there was little warning that you’d reached the critical point for the trailer and it would suddenly go over onto its side. Now, because the truck is also unstable, you get plenty of warning and can take suitable action to avoid reaching that critical point πŸ™‚ In American Truck you won’t notice the effect quite as much in the conventional vehicles such as the Peterbilt 389 because these vehicles are more stable than the European trucks. To have a fun rolling ride you really need to get out and about in one of the old-school cabover’s like the Freightliner FLB πŸ˜‰

The other news was the annual Christmas Event which began on 18th December. We all had to deliver 12 Christmas Loads in ETS and ATS to qualify for the personal rewards and the community had to achieve 1 million deliveries for the community rewards to be released. I finished my last delivery for this on Christmas Day morning and since then I’ve only done one more run because I didn’t feel up to it (that’ll tell you how unwell I’ve been!). I believe the community completed their target later on Christmas Day. The delivery count is still rising though as there are other members trying to complete their personal targets. I’ll probably try and do a few more runs when I’m back up to speed. Some of the community would like to breach the 2 million mark by the time the event closes on 13th January πŸ™‚ Here’s a few shots from my deliveries…

I think that will have to do for this post. Hope you all had a great time over the Christmas period and that you’re getting ready to see in the New Year. Keep on Trucking πŸ™‚