Here we are back behind the wheel and riding towards new maps that are coming for both ETS2 and ATS. There were unannounced deployments to both games yesterday which may only be bug fixes but could also include preparatory work for these map releases. In Euro truck we’re expecting some more of the eastern European countries including Romania, Bulgaria and european Turkey. American truck will finally see the state of Utah – often predicted as the next state but previously subverted by New Mexico, Oregon and Washington!

This week, with The Hunter COTW taking quite a bit of my time and a short term special event in Euro Truck, I fitted in a couple of drives in ATS. The first was north from Ehrenberg to Winnemucca. This entailed driving east to Kingman to pick up Route 93 up and over the Hoover Dam to Las Vegas whose evening lights and sights we were able to enjoy as we passed through……From Las vegas we picked up Route 95 and made our way up to Beatty where we pulled into the rest area for the night. Here we are creeping through the town looking for the darn thang!…

Next morning and refreshed we continued up the 95 to Tonopah. Now, I don’t drive this route very often. As the only town with a delivery point between ‘Vegas and Winnemucca, Tonopah rarely appears on my available manifests. Most of my jobs either take me up the main interstates in California or I’m continuing up the east side of Nevada on route 93 to Ely and Elko. So the road less used becomes less familiar. Even so, there were quite a few bits along the route that looked new and when I got to Tonopah I didn’t recognise the place! The SCS Software mapping teams have clearly been back in there improving the standard once again. The new road layout is now true to the real road layout at Tonopah where we divert off the 95 and pick up the 376…… SCS’s willingness to go back into existing maps and improve them for free is a welcome change from the gaming norm and to be applauded.

A swap onto Route 50 and a quick refuelling stop in what I take to be Austin (another improvement waiting to happen?)… …before picking up the 305 to Battle Mountain and driving on to Winnemucca from there – Job done. There is a certain irony that having not driven that route for a long time, my very next job should take me back down the same trail as I took a load of Ethane all the way across to Farmington in New Mexico. I doubt that, when we get the state of Utah, a run from Winnemucca to Farmington will go anywhere near Tonopah and this route will become even more of a road less travelled! Here we are on the return journey, about to take a break at that seedy rest area in Beatty…

I mentioned at the start a special event in Euro Truck. There is a new Goodyear Tyres dlc and the event was to announce it and to give the community an opportunity to get it for free. All you had to do was carry out 10 deliveries of the special trailers but you only had 4 irl days to do it. Here is my Renault on my first delivery. Anyone spot an issue?……Yes – conflict of interests with Monsieur Bibendum of rival tyre manufacturer Michelin on display! So, at the earliest opportunity I popped into the DAF dealer in Bordeaux and bought an XF 105.460 – passing the Renault on to an employee. Here are some shots from the rest of the event in the new ‘non-partisan’ DAF…

Hope you enjoyed that quick look at what’s been going on in my Trucking world. Who knows, maybe the next Digest will be about a new map release? Keep the shiny side up everyone 🙂

Well, with my Wife away, the opportunity to enjoy such things as Rubber is there  My regular readers will have already clocked a fish – to mix metaphors quite brazenly. My rubber fetish is all about achieving realism in my truck simulations.

I’m back in Euro Truck after saying farewell to my personal trucks in American Truck sim as the rescaled map approaches. If you recall, I was driving a MAN TGX with a 440HP engine whilst growing the company. I passed on my original TGA to my first employee Jan over at Kraków and then bought a new Mercedes Actros for another new employee, Katie, at Düsseldorf. The company has moved on – Jan now has a nice new TGX and the TGA is with a young driver called Magnus, growing the Kraków side of the business. With money coming in I decided to risk all once again and get myself a new TGX XLX – passing the TGX XL to a new driver in Dortmund where I had relocated again.

Prior to getting the new truck I had imported a rather nice pair of modifications for the MAN trucks which gave realistic drive trains and better gauge displays. I was trying these out in Unter den Linden – my gold TGX XL – and discovered a minor problem in that I sometimes could not couple up to a trailer with advanced coupling turned on. A bit of a mystery. I shrugged it off as probably mod related and more testing required. With my new TGX XLX purchased however, I felt the need to investigate further.

When a truck couples to a trailer the plate on the chassis – referred to as the 5th Wheel – passes under the lead edge of the trailer, usually making contact and being forced down as it does so. Then as the truck continues to reverse the pin on the trailer, with its ball, slots into the v-shaped cut in the 5th wheel and clicks home. After that the Trucker has to complete the coupling manually and connect the brake hoses and light cables before driving off. This is all very well simulated in the game if you have advanced coupling turned on. My issue was the truck not getting past the edge of the trailer some of the time – on other trailers it seemed to work fine. Time to investigate!

I love all attempts at realism in a simulation game. That’s why I play them. In the early days of Train Sim there were a lot of compromises which have been improved in subsequent upgrades to the game. The same is true of the truck sim games. I now get a reasonably accurate impression of how a MAN TGX is to drive as I do also with a Kenworth W900. Those in-game delivered trucks are pretty good but, and this is not a criticism of SCS, they probably make it a little easy by smoothing the behaviour and making compromises. The Truck manufacturer wants their vehicle to look good and SCS want the game to be playable for the newbie. That’s where mod’s come in and more power to SCS’ elbow for allowing the community to mod the game!

So as mentioned above I have MAN driveline mods to improve the accuracy of the truck engine and gearbox performance. I also have a ‘Real Tyres’ mod which provides a selection of proper truck tyres alongside the three in-game tyres. And here we hit the problem – how many of us actually understand the meaning of the designations on the sides of the tyres we buy for our cars? I bet you’re like me – go into the tyre shop and ask for a new set on the front. When the tyre man asks which you just say ‘Pirelli’ and he knows what sizes your car needs. So you never get to understand what all those numbers mean! I have now, as a result of this game, got to know just what those little numbers mean and potentially their effect on my driving. I’d definitely read up what the numbers mean before your next tyre purchase in the real world!

My issue with the coupling of the MAN TGX was caused by using too large a tyre – too big a profile making the truck sit too high. In the real world it probably would not be an issue but things are a bit finer in the game. I discovered that MAN’s ideal tyre for regional travel in 2015 was the Michelin 315/70 X Multiway 3D whilst for long distance efficiency I should be using their X Line Energy Z tyre of the same dimension. The 315 is the width of the tyre tread in millimetres whilst the 70 is the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the width. So, if I fit 315/80’s that tyre is going to make the truck sit higher. MAN in 2014 suggested using the Goodyear KMAX range also at 315/70. So either will do a good job for me. I’ve fitted the Michelin because I use them IRL and find them a great tyre in the wet (most days in the UK 😉 ) In ATS most of my trucks are using the Goodyear KMAX tyres (I lucked out there!). So there we go – probably one of the best examples of how playing a simulation game can help to give real world knowledge. I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew more about our aircraft tyres than I did about the ones on my car!!! It’s a useful lesson 🙂

Anyway – please meet my new MAN TGX XLX with her Michelin X Line Energy 315/70 boots. I have yet to name her so watch this space!