In the previous post I explained my decision about play choices in the Truck Simulator programs. So now I think it’s time to introduce you more fully to Mystery Blue. The Iveco Stralis is one of the less popular vehicles in Euro Truck. Most favoured of the trucks provided by SCS are the Scania’s and Volvo’s. But although I indicated my preferred truck in game set up to be the MAN range, buying the Stralis is a logical first step to working through all the in game trucks as it is the cheapest.

iveco-stralisThe external appearance of the truck is neat and quietly attractive – an appearance that is ruined in the Hi-Way version, or that is my opinion anyway. I don’t think this truck is going to look good in custom paint schemes over and above a simple metallic. The stock colours that you can choose when buying are ok. I’d stick to the white, blue or the graphite grey as my personal preference.

iveco-officeHow is the office? The seats look ok in a very grey shade of bland. The mirrors are great – especially when you’ve driven with what passes for mirrors in American truck! The location of mirrors just seems better on the Euro trucks. The dash is plastic… Very plastic! Even my car has a better looking dash. I would like to see something a little less granular-grey! I do like the info panel in the centre of the instruments but the colour-coding on the rev-counter that I see in most European Trucks showing economical revs and risk of engine damage revs is missing. That’s a shame because I can drive an old school US truck on engine sound but the engines of EU trucks are so insulated from the cabin that the indications on the rev counter are very useful. I’ll be interested to see what dashboard options become available as I level-up. And that’s something that I will need to take into account as I move through the trucks in this game. To be fair in my appraisals I will need to start at a basic level in each and work up. Anyway, for the Iveco, looking good on the outside doesn’t equate to a good looking interior.

The engine at 310HP is a serious issue, especially as driving outside The Netherlands invariably involves some lumpy bits of road. Experience in both versions of Truck Sim has taught me that ideally you want somewhere in the 450HP range (and preferably a bit more) for the normal style jobs. I suspect that real world applications for the 310HP engine are in fixed chassis trucks rather than tractor units. I have to say that I found the vehicle pretty gutless with this engine and after only 4 trips I took the chance to upgrade to the 360HP engine which brought a minor improvement. I don’t know how accurate the engine sounds are and I need to do a bit of research in that area – something I have been doing in American Truck.

Let me quickly cover those first 4 journeys. My initial run was from Dortmund to a farm near Dresden hauling 14t of wood shavings – I guess that might be for the chickens to bed down? The screenshot in the Maps and Mod’s post was taken at the farm. I picked up 18t of Eggs bound for Magdeburg. On the way to Dresden I had passed through some very rough road resurfacing work, so going back towards my new destination, I made a point of avoiding that road with my ‘fragile’ cargo on board! It was already apparent on these two runs that climbing hills with such loads was hard work.

The third run from Magdeburg took me across the sea to Sweden and the city of Helsingborg with a 7t load of cars. This was much more to the truck’s liking and we had little difficulty making good time. The last trip with the 310HP engine was from Helsingborg to Olsztyn in Poland with 14t of Carrots. This really demonstrated the short-comings of the low horse-power (and probably my driving too!). Coming out of the port area there is a climb to a set of traffic lights which steepens as you near the top. Murphy’s law states that lights will turn red as you reach them so you have to do a hill start  I actually took a look outside while waiting to see if I could frame a screenshot and found daylight under the front wheels – graphics glitch or what! Anyway, when I tried pulling away I just could not get her moving at all – full revs and gently easing the clutch in resulted in a stall every time. In the end after checking behind and finding no one there I eased her back down the hill to a gentler slope. Then timing my run with the sequence of the traffic lights I was able to pull away and complete my journey. I’m sure this is partly a game glitch because if it isn’t there’d be stalled trucks at a lot of traffic lights in England! For the record, 14t is a 30000lbs load which in American Truck is one of the heavier standard loads you get to haul. Anyway, that decided me and I upgraded to the newly available 360HP Iveco engine and replaced the gearbox with the Retarder fitted version. For the record, my profits over those 4 runs were €18805 after expenses and upgrades.

Cars for Helsingborg on the Autobahn in Northern Germany
Cars for Helsingborg on the Autobahn in Northern Germany

In Maps and Mod’s I suggested that one upshot of adding in the map upgrade to Euro Truck simulator was likely to be a different way of playing the game. Apart from the resident truck types and the different scenery, the basic premise of the game side of both simulations is the same. You start out as a driver for hire; then get your own truck and ultimately build a huge company with garages in every major city.

However, you don’t have to play that way. You could choose to just work as a hired driver for ever, just taking what jobs are available. You will make money but a lot slower than if you buy your own truck. Then again, there’s no reason after getting your own truck why you shouldn’t stay as a self-employed driver – no one is forcing you to start a global enterprise! And that is what I’ve decided to do in Euro Truck.

Here’s how I intend the two games to work going forward. In American Truck I will continue to grow my company and, as there are lots of drivers making money for me, I will take the opportunity to build a small personal fleet within the company. I can upload various ‘mod’ trucks and test them out alongside ‘Rolled Gold’, my Kenworth W900. I will probably review them as I go and decide which ones I wish to keep. First into the Bakersfield base is the Peterbilt 351 I shared a shot of yesterday.

In Euro Truck I will stay as a freelance with my own truck. The aim here is to own each of the truck types available in the game, upgrading them as I earn money. With only the basic garage I will only be able to own one truck at a time. I have decided to do this in Euro Truck because of the mechanics of the game based around maintenance and repairs. In American Truck you have an ‘insurance’ which results in all maintenance and repairs costing no more than around $205. This is an unrealistic compromise. Euro Truck doesn’t have insurance, so maintenance is much more expensive and accidents will cost you a lot of money – a bad collision could cost €30k to repair! This factor makes being freelance in Euro Truck more challenging.

I have cleared my previous game saves and started from scratch. I built up funds of €50k working as a driver for hire before taking a €100k bank loan to buy my own truck. I could have taken out the loan the moment it was available to me – after the 5th job. But I know that one accident could bankrupt me (see above regards insurance) so I waited until I had a good balance to act as a safety net. The daily loan repayments are also a concern at €2888 – that means you have to factor those in alongside the cost of fuel, the regular maintenance and any fines you may get for traffic offences. If you use a Ferry, the fare comes out of the payment for the job too.   Oh! and don’t forget Toll Roads 😉

With my loan secured I have bought my first truck. The cheapest truck in the game – an Iveco Stralis. I chose to stick with the fitted 310HP engine to start with and changed the paint on the stock model to a cheaper version. I did upgrade the tyres to a more fuel-efficient make – which the cheaper paint partially paid for. I will be writing a bit about our journeys together in future posts. The colour I chose is called Mystery Blue and I think that is a good name for a truck, so here she is: Mystery Blue…