Well, it’s the middle of May and that means it’s time to Share my Desktop for Clare 😎

I’m, once more, using a screenshot from a Truck Simulator game but this time it’s American Truck Simulator. The makers of the Truck Simulator Games, SCS Software, have taken many big steps forward over the last couple of years. They have upgraded the sounds and the lighting of the game while going back to older parts of the map system and improving the level of detail. Every change takes both games forward in terms of realism 😎

In some ways this was driven by the original release of American Truck Simulator in 2016. As the new kid on the block, it had to show it was up to what Euro Truck Simulator 2 was offering – it failed… SCS Software released ATS at a smaller map scale than ETS2 – a disappointing option that didn’t go down well with the fans of the original series.

Now it’s time to give credit where credit is due – they went back and resized the maps to the same scale as a free upgrade. I don’t know of many software development companies that would even consider that, let alone, carry it out! We got some beautifully scenic maps with some great details. But, ETS2 was now looking a little tired as a result. Cue an upgrade and remaking of the maps in Europe. These improvements are ongoing – Austria has just been updated and released as a free update last Thursday. Not to mention the free upgrades to the US maps – California is being rebuilt currently too! That has been the story throughout and explains why most of us who play these games take pride in supporting SCS when they are releasing new maps and other DLC’s.

So, back to the lighting. Last year, SCS updated this to show much more realistic sky effects. Now we get some beautiful sunsets and sunrises as a direct result and in general the days and nights look much more true to life. I think my Desktop this month illustrates that pretty well…

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…It’s dawn and the sky is threatening rain as I turn Smoky Bennett’s nose northwards on our way to Boise (ID) with Hay from Riverton (WY). We’ve just passed through the DoT station at Echo and we’re climbing away from the I84/I80 intersection heading towards Ogden. It’s a long grind ahead but we’re up to the job👍 And, yes, I can recognise this location on the real-world map 😀

You can catch Clare’s Share Your Desktop Challenge here. I know she’d love you to take part 😎👍

After a number of restarts – sometimes not of my own volition – I know how I want my companies to work or, at least, I think I do. In a number of ways I expect them to be a little like the way things work in the real world. The result is that I have a company in American Truck Simulator that is very different to its counterpart in Euro Truck Sim. I think both companies have grown enough since my last enforced restart to allow me to talk about the differences and what drives them.

In American Truck Sim I have told a story in posts over time. I’ve always felt that driving in American Truck Sim is a bit like the early days of the settlers in the old west – you take opportunities where you find them. My regular readers will know we started as Republik of Bakersfield. Some game updates and a few map expansions later, I wrote a story post about setting up an offshoot company based in Idaho to capture the plant and farming supplies market. That was my way of acknowledging that with the growth of the mapped area in ATS, a new headquarters was needed in a more central location. So Republik Plant and Supplies was born. Initially the offshoot company was based in Twin Falls. That’s the history.

I started out with an old Mack R and a flatbed trailer. We shifted ploughs, fertilizer and Hay with that truck. It was a struggle. Then we picked up some lucrative work shifting building materials – lumber etc. Well, that fits with the supplies don’t it? I expanded, buying a brand new international LT and a small lowbed trailer – now we were in the plant business, shifting diggers, rollers and other smaller bits of machinery including the occasional tractor.

Time moves on – I have a couple more trucks and some employees. I’m currently driving an old Kenworth K100. She’s named Smoky Bennett and seems to turn heads (IRL – she is liked by a number of my fellow truckers on Twitter!). We’re still mainly hauling farm and building supplies but sometimes we pick up other loads like these Buoys…

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The growth in such loads and the predominance of building supply loads lead to a relocation to Ontario (OR) earlier this year. We use a mix of modern and older vehicles and value the older Cabover’s when delivering to tight spots.

I’m planning for the future. We’ll probably be getting some larger lowbed trailers so we can take bigger plant and I think we’ll be getting some drop-deck trailers too to give more flexibility to what we can carry. This company works on ‘See a Load, Take a Load’ – we go where the load takes us and pick up the next load from there. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow, let alone next week. Currently I’m parked up in Bellingham (WA).

In Euro Truck things work differently and, I like to think, mimic a European way of working. Where my US company hauls plant and supplies, my European Company shifts produce and manufactured items. We specialise in Logistics. It actually says it on my company trailers. Like in ATS, my ETS2 adventure started off somewhere other than where I’m now based. My first HQ back in 2016 was in Dusseldorf. A lot of water has passed since and my true company didn’t begin until after the Vive La France! map expansion dropped. Since then I have been based in Montpellier and that will not change.

Martin Transport et Logistique use a mix of curtainside and refrigerated trailers to deliver general produce and materials. We don’t handle plant or other heavy machinery. Our main objective is to expand within the South of France and Northern Spain. It is possible that we will also move into North Italy, Switzerland and Germany in the future.

Our operations differ from those of Republik in that trucks are expected to return to home territory within a few days. Most trips out of our home area are expected to result in a return delivery that brings the truck home. Very occasionally a truck will take a delivery that doesn’t meet this but that is a rare occurrence So, my operations are normally limited to those countries that border France. No truck is ever away from home longer than perhaps 3 days.

The Martin fleet is mainly DAF trucks and standardisation will see the phasing out of other makes over time. Queen of the Fleet is Lady Galadriel, a DAF XF 530hp. She is an indulgence and the majority of trucks we own are in the 450-480hp range, though 530hp engines are provided on trucks based in Bilbao and Ajaccio because of the terrain in those areas. I’m currently looking at the next generation DAF trucks. One of my drivers in Ajaccio has a new generation DAF XG 530hp on trial. Unusually, as boss, I’m driving the smaller new generation XF with a 480hp engine. She doesn’t have a name yet, but here she is completing a delivery in Barcelona…

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Our future plans are to consolidate in our home area – we need to purchase a garage in Barcelona to capitalise on the port traffic. With access to the ports of Barcelona, Bordeaux and Marseille, we may move into container traffic too, but that will need specialised trailers. For the time being though, we have plenty of traffic to handle.

So, reader, you’ll gather that when I play one game, I wear a different hat to when I play the other. I think choosing to play each in a different way gives me a good amount of variety in my game play while getting close to some sort of reality. Heavy plant and supplies companies operate differently to Logistics companies, and I hope I’m reflecting that within my choices. The approach in Europe may seem a little constricted but I find I have plenty of variety across the areas that I drive with some fun challenges 😎👍

Here we go trying out a different challenge and a thank you to Cee for bringing it to my attention 🙂 This is a new challenge started this month by Clare on her Clare’s Cosmos blog. If you follow the link you can read all about it and how it came to be.

Being me, I’m already going to bend the rules a little. You see, my desktop isn’t always a photo. Quite often it’s a screenshot from a game and that is the case this month with an image from American Truck Simulator…

You can catch up with Clare’s inaugural post Here and hopefully join in too!

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