Following on from my previous Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 introduction, here are some thoughts on gameplay and the changes from the 2018 edition. I think the launch screen is a major improvement although it retains the same profile options…

…clicking on Play takes you to your profile slots…

…If you are creating a new profile you can select one of 4 modes. If you are new to the game I’d go with Normal as that gives a good enough level of help for most players and you’ll be soon be making lots of money. Experienced players like myself will choose Expert.

The biggest change from the 2018 edition is the separation of tools and facilities from progression. You still upgrade your skills as before and get benefits like cheaper parts purchase…

…Things like the Test Path that used to be opened as you reached a certain level are now bought when you have the cash…

…That allows you to choose when you want to buy certain things. Using the Test Path as an example, I didn’t buy that until after I’d bought things like the car wash and paint shop – The test track (accessed via the map screen) finds most of the same suspension things and you can usually spot brake issues with a simple visual inspection. The screenshot above taken at level 2 shows that I bought the OBD Tester and the Multi-Meter. These are the two most useful tools you can have in early game when most of the vehicles you will be offered to work on are modern – I recommend buying them first 🙂 You can see that expanding your garage is expensive and so are most other major improvements, so choose when you think it is best to buy those.

Once you have reached a level where you can reliably fix parts and have plenty of money in the bank (at least Cr60k) you may want to visit a barn and see what nice vehicles you can buy to rebuild. Barns and the Junkyard are accessed via the map…

…Check the prices carefully – sometimes a car will be a bargain but they can be overpriced too. Ideally, until you have fully upgraded your skillset, you want a vehicle that has generally good body and interior condition. One of my first rebuilds in game this time was a Chevy Impala which had good bodywork. I only rebuilt the mechanical parts and gave it a respray to make a good profit. Here’s the finished car…

…Once you’ve got to level 6 on your renovation skills though, you can rebuild total wrecks from the junkyard. Here’s a BMW that I bought – I’ve just washed off all the muck so I can see what I’m looking at…

…Later, after sourcing most of the bodywork items that were missing from barns and the junkyard, it was time to move it inside for the rebuild…

…Here’s the finished car…

…Chrome with black wheels 🙂 Behind is another barn find that just needs a full mechanical rebuild to make a good profit.

All of this rebuilding is probably the main activity in game but there are lots of story jobs to work through and doing jobs is a good way to keeping your cash flow under control 🙂 Here’s an example of a story job from level 8…

…There are also two normal jobs listed below. There are 72 vehicles in the base game and you can add more with DLC’s – Currently there are Nissan and Electric Vehicles available to purchase. You can also add in mods from the Steam Workshop.

I hope that’s given a good insight to the general gameplay. I think the balance of relaxed play and the occasional head-scratching fault makes for a good game to fit between those other more stressful things in life 🙂

I set the scene with a story and I was going to continue the tale. I prepared lots of screenshots to illustrate it too. Then I made the decision to install a mod called Seasons…

I should have done this a while back but I was busy playing through my Oak Glen Farm series and enjoying myself. I should really have done it before starting on a new map. But I didn’t and hindsight is a wonderful thing! I tried Seasons out in a different save slot and the effect of seeing the farm in the early spring was mesmerising – to see the land laid bare at the end of winter’s chill. I think that sold me on the idea. But Seasons also drags the game into a much more realistic state, taking control of the growth cycle and much more to bring an experience for the player that is much closer to the trials of real world farming. At least that’s what it says on the tin 🙂 I shall be finding out on Boundary Farm.

When you start a new map save with Seasons enabled you are presented with the bare landscape of early March. There are no crops in any of the fields with the exception of a few that have withered – everything else has been harvested. It’s a time to start preparing your fields for sowing. If you read my original description of the start point on the Six Ashes map and GBModding’s challenge you’ll know that there was equipment to be sold and a crop to harvest. With Seasons installed the equipment is still there but your crop is now a field of stubble. That changes the priorities – Starting out this time I won’t be needing a harvester immediately and there we hit the ‘Continuity error’ for my story as initially told in my last post. With money tight, I’m not about to spend on an item I don’t yet need when my priority will be getting the equipment I need to sow the next crop. So you can forget about the TX32 harvester – it didn’t happen 😉

Lets take a look at the farmyard and buildings with Seasons installed……you can still see the junk and the old equipment in these shots and get a clear impression of the state of the yard at the start of the game. It’s fair to say it’s a mess!

As in my story post, I got the junk cleared and sold all the equipment with the exception of the Strautmann trailer and the Kuhn Subsoiler – the latter now having an immediate use! As before I bought the New Holland T6.155. Instead of buying a harvester and, as a direct result of the short period of gameplay experience I now have on this map, I prioritised clearing the area of the farmyard – removing the bushes and cutting back some of the trees. For that task I needed a Chainsaw and a Flail Mower. Here’s the Ino 270 Elite attached to the tractor ready to remove those bushes……and here we are at work – the yard is looking clearer already!..…Then it was time to hack at the trees with the Chainsaw before deploying a stump-grinder – the Biobeltz UM300……to remove any last vestiges of wood. I bought both items rather than hiring as I will probably need to do some more clearing in future.

Unlike Spinney Field in Oak Glen Farm, this wasn’t a mass hack down of the trees – just removal of the low growth that was getting in the way of moving equipment around the yard. I loaded the wood into the Strautmann……and took it to the Sawmill……Where I was pleasantly surprised by a £2700 payout – that’s covered the cost of the stump-grinder! That trailer is filthy – so on the way back I bought a washer to keep the equipment clean.

Where does that leave my story? I think it will have to be untold (unless little bits creep in here and there). The Six Ashes map has only been out for 12 days. This is my first time playing FS19 with Seasons installed. Who knows what little bugs / problems I may experience? I think there may be too many variables to allow me to tell a convincing tale. So I’ll be more in the play-through mode as I continue on Boundary Farm – Sorry to those readers who like a story. Now I’d better get on with preparing my field 🙂

I still can’t believe the situation. I read the solicitors letter twice when it arrived last week and then I read it again. My Grandfather has left me his farm! My Father has long been disappointed in me – I didn’t go into a financial institution like he wanted. Instead, I’ve worked for the electricity company fixing faults in the network and hauling cables. Then I took a redundancy offer and spent the last couple of years house-flipping with a mate. I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty! Now I’m standing here in an overgrown yard at half-Seven in the morning with my brother, Jon, looking at a pile of junk…Barn contents on Boundary Farm

…Jon is another of Father’s disappointments – he runs a successful car mechanic’s business just outside Bridgenorth. He’s here to help me get the old farm machinery working so I can assess it and decide what to keep and what to sell. He’s brought a battery booster kit and a load of tools with him. Now we’re waiting for the Junkman to turn up – I’ve hired him to remove the rubbish which he says he will do for £100.

He showed up around five-to-eight with a his son and a labourer. Initially he glumly surveyed the mix of general rubbish and the carcasses of long-dead farming machines. “There’s more than I thought you said?” – angling to get more money for the clearance. “There’s a lot of scrap metal there,” I pointed out “So you should make good on your time.” He shook his head again and fished out a phone to call in a couple more labourers who were waiting with the truck in the lane outside. Once started, it took the seven of us couple of hours to shift out most of the junk. The old muck-spreader still rolled, albeit with a particularly shrill squeak from one of the bearings. Most of the other stuff could easily be carried by two people. There were some metal beams in the side lean-to. The Junkman’s face broke into a smile – “Now those are really good!” he said. In the end we were left with just the tractor carcass behind the working Fendt tractor. Jon hooked up the battery booster to the Fendt and punched the button. It turned over immediately and settled into a reassuring rumble. We used it to drag the wreck out of the barn and then, with a set of rollers that the junkman had brought, slowly pulled it round to the road. It took a lot of manoeuvring to drag it onto his trailer but once it was tied down we had finally finished and said our farewells as he went on his way.

Jon and I looked around the barn and the yard and made a list of the equipment left on site……”You could keep the Fendt.” he said. “I don’t know, it needs a lot of work. I think I want to start with a new tractor.” The Bizon harvester was a horror story hidden away at the back of the barn. “He can’t have still been using that can he?” “I don’t think so.” Jon looked at the engine, “Might start…” he said, after checking the oil levels, and went off to get the battery booster again. We cranked the engine four.. five.. six times and each time it showed not sign of firing then on the seventh it coughed once. We tried again and it burst into unsteady life filling the barn with a cloud of black fumes. We both stepped back outside for air and waited for the fog to clear. After a few minutes Jon went back, climbed to the driving seat and slowly reversed the Bizon out into the light – I swear it blinked at the sunshine!

In the end I decided that only the Strautmann trailer and the Kuhn subsoiler were worth keeping. The Capello corn-header for the harvester gave a ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ moment but in the end I decided that should go too. Leaving the Bizon’s engine running, Jon took his leave of me and headed off to Bridgenorth. I climbed onto the Bizon and set off for a meeting with the local New Holland dealer…Driving the Bizon to the dealer past Boundary Farm’s only field

My meeting with the dealer – Graeme – was an interesting one. I’m not sure whether he wanted to laugh or cry when he saw the Bizon. “Don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those – probably belongs in a museum – you sure you don’t want to donate it to the Severn Valley Railway or something?” On the basis that I was doing a trade-in for a new tractor and a small harvester he decided to make me a reasonable offer. I left him to take the harvester away to his storage area while I walked back to the farm and collected the Fendt with the Einboch seeder. Graeme was much happier with the Fendt – “You sure you want to sell? – Nice tractors these – But not as good as ours of course!” he hurriedly finished. I told him of the Capello and he offered to send a couple of his team round to collect it later in the day. Then we settled down to discuss my needs and what I could get with my limited finances.

The tractor was quite easy – “I’d suggest the T6.155 – power should be plenty and it’s a nicely balanced compact machine with take-off’s front and rear.” The harvester was harder and a secondhand TX32 was the only one that I could truly afford. I expressed my concern about the size of my field for the harvester. “Well, we can’t do anything about the hopper capacity.” he said, “But I think I can help you with the header. Normally these come with a 4m width but I happen to have a 6.1m cutter and trailer that will fit. You’ll be taking a bigger bite each row but, of course, you’ll have to empty into a trailer more often. You do have a trailer?” I assured him that I did have a trailer – “But I will probably need to get a larger one quite soon.” I added. We shook hands on our deal and I took the Harvester home, then walked back to collect the tractor and header…New Holland T6.155 with harvester header and Graeme’s New Holland dealership in the background

…As I rolled down the road I pondered on the future – would I settle into farming or fold under the strain? Only time would tell.