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 😎👍

It hardly seems like a month ago since we last looked at desktops courtesy of Clare’s challenge. Mine changed back on Jan 28th.

A couple of years back I made a ‘skin’ for trailers in Euro Truck Simulator. This allowed me to have owned trailers painted in our company colours. For those new to my involvement in Truck Simulation, my European company is Martin Transport et Logistique based in Montpellier, France. At the time, I made them in a hands on manner. They worked fine for a year or so and then an update broke them – mods in games often stop working after updates to the main game code. I made a number of attempts to get them working again but couldn’t and, quite often, found myself diverted from that task by wishing to get on with driving – especially when there was an event on that required helping the in-game community.

SCS Software – makers of Euro Truck Simulator 2, and its companion game American Truck Simulator, claim to have the best community ever. It’s fair to say that we often help each other out either with encouragement in events or helping new players with advice (even on things way outside of the games we play!). There is a newer method of adding skins into the game called Mods Studio (created by another member of the playing community) and I had hoped that this would resolve my issue. But I couldn’t get it to work on the pc I use for doing artwork and photography. I mentioned this in passing to one of my fellow drivers and he offered to help. Actually, he said they’d take a look – meaning he was going to get his Good Lady to take a look as she has got Mods Studio working on her pc. All I had to do was send my original artwork. A day or so later and.. Voila!..

…That’s an example of the Best Community Ever at work. This is one of my general haulage fleet, ‘Lady Galadriel’, parked up in my yard at Limoges with one of my company’s curtainside trailers. Come the dawn it will be time to head out on a new day’s work. With the trailer’s now back to displaying the company identity, I’m going to have to review the liveries of all my trucks… But, there’s lots of hauling to be done too 🙂

Firstly, apologies – this is a day late. It’s been a busy week with family things (Alasdair starting a BTEC), football things (away game at Tonbridge) and testing the ETS2 Beta. The latter is the thing this post should be addressing and I’ll waste no more time on small talk 😉

One of the joys of Beta testing is that you take an open view of the world and perhaps renew your acquaintance with some trucks that you might avoid normally. I took a look at the DAF again and yuck! I still can’t like that truck because of the dash. I know other truckers love them but they’re not for me 😦 After setting up the company with a MAN TGX – one of my favourites – I thought I’d give the Mercedes-Benz Actros another chance. It was a borderline decision not to use them last time. Since then we now have the New Actros with the Euro VI engines to buy. I’m currently trying out this truck with the Streamspace cab and a 476HP engine. It’s not a bad looking truck…… going well with the in-game trailer skin. Drives nicely too although the engine-noise is very well suppressed which makes for a comfortable office that lacks a bit of heart and soul 😉 That said, the dash in my exclusive variant looks rather nice……Overall impressions are good and I’ll consider carefully adding the New Actros to my company once we get started in the new world of ETS2 after the game-changing trailer owner update. Expect the main company fleet to still be MAN and Volvo though.

Over in ATS I haven’t done much driving because of the ongoing testing of the changes in ETS2. I know there are a lot of fellow truckers Beta Testing there too but as explained in a previous post I’m dividing my approach to the game – testing in ETS and driving on in ATS. When both games go live in the new version then I’ll have to make a decision about where I am with my Cal Republic profile. With so much going on this week I only managed a single drive in ATS. I took a pressure tank from my home base in Bakersfield CA to Roswell NM. It was a first outing for Night Train…… and a fitting one as we left with dusk falling, drove through the night to Gallup NM and then slept through the day before driving the rest of the way to Roswell, passing through Albuquerque just after midnight…

It’s a lonely road out there in Arizona and New Mexico – nothing much to see at night except when passing through the occasional town! A good time to mention perhaps that pcgamer magazine placed Euro Truck Simulator 2 in the top 100 pc games to play in 2018 and ATS rightly got a mention – I quote “Phil: In many ways I prefer American Truck Simulator. That’s not because I love weigh stations—they’re fine, if that’s your thing—but because America’s vast, terrifying emptiness feels more isolated, more epic, and, dare I say, more romantic. Euro Truck Simulator 2, on the other hand, is dense and busy, but also muted—it’s altogether greyer and more moodily atmospheric. Both games are fantastic, and which one you prefer is likely a matter of which style of road trip speaks more to your personality. How many simulation games can you say that of?” You can catch up with their 100 top games here.

Back to ETS2 and something special. One of the key changes is that we can now own trailers. That opens the door to us having our own virtual trucking companies 🙂 In turn, that means that we can design our own virtual trucking company paintjobs for our new owned trailers. It’s not easy – at least for a skinning novice like me! It’s taken nearly 4 days to create it and then get it to work in game. Big thanks to RedneckRam and JohnnyBoy99 for video demonstration and sample code 🙂 Here is the new Martin Transport et Logistique trailer seen on the run south from Clermont Ferrand to our home in Montpellier……front and rear……This is a new world for us truckers 🙂

I hope that explains why this post was late 😉