Needs to have at least 5 letters and start with P

Police Interceptor……a Skoda VRS parked outside my house 🙂

Pompeian Child……Painting by Arcadi Mas i Fondevila – Collection Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

Photographic Portrait (Candid)……Carol in Blue, Pink and Purple Scarf.

Catch up with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and other entries Here.

I’ve spent the much of my recent driving time in American Truck Sim getting to know New Mexico and assessing the impact of the changes made in the v1.29 release. Now I think it’s time to give my thoughts.

The first thing to note about the release is its scale. It could have been just connecting map sections to join Arizona with New Mexico. But in map terms alone it was so much more. New sections of road to explore all over the existing states. There’s so much of it that I haven’t explored everything there yet. And, along with those new roads came additional scenery beside the new roads and in other locations too. For example……beside the I40 – I don’t remember those tanks being there before! Roadsigns have been improved in many locations and I expect that will be an ongoing improvement with each release as the devs work back over the existing areas. But there’s other less obvious changes which may be a mix of improved map and improved physics. Some of the hills seem to be even more of a grind than they were before 🙂

Which brings us handily on to AI improvements. One of the most frustrating things prior to this update was the AI trucks and their ability to ignore the laws of physics. You could be struggling up a hill with an 8t load and an AI truck would blast past with a load you know weighs over 20t. Either the AI trucks all have 1000HP engines or something was wrong with the programming. Well, that’s all changed. Now you find most of the other trucks on the road struggling up hills too 🙂 There’s also a lot more variation in how they are driven. I normally cruise around 55mph and every truck would scream past me. Now I find some trucks doing similar speeds to me even in states where a higher limit is permitted. So some AI truckers are now behaving as if fuel economy is their priority too! Another new AI improvement is the slower vehicle. We used to find the occasional pick-up that overtook and then settled into the lane in front of us and slowed to around 50mph which it then maintained for a long time – this is vaguely realistic behaviour. That’s changed – now you can be cruising along and you’ll gradually come up behind a slower moving van. Close inspection reveals it to be a glaziers van with glass sheets on one side or a builders van with ladders on the roof both of which may have a good reason to be travelling more slowly 🙂

Random events – definitely the WOW factor in v1.29. You can meet these just about anywhere in any state. There’s quite a variety like this aircraft that has made a forced landing……also available in ‘undamaged’ 🙂 Or a fellow trucker who’s in a shedload of trouble……having shed his load all over the carriageway! And there are the roadworks closing off a carriageway……available in many different configurations including a mobile barrier trailer that you can get as a haulage job 🙂

The Police vehicles have improved. The non-descript star that sufficed in the early days is gone. Now they identify with their locality…

Yes, v1.29 brought a whole plethora of improvements and I’m probably still to discover some of them. It also has one well known bug which should be fixed in the next release. The weigh stations at Grants Road on the New Mexico border don’t work properly. The westbound one doesn’t give any indication of whether you can pass or not (so we just drive past). The eastbound one is ok if it calls you in but if it says you can pass, the indication doesn’t clear. The only way to clear it is to swap trucks and have a kip! There’s always something that slips through isn’t there 😉

Meanwhile, over in Europe… Oh God – It’s Broke! Yepp, the update for the Italian DLC dropped in last week and it has broken the mods big time. So I have to go and sort that mess out now. A quick check last night revealed that all the traffic mods need to be disabled for the game to run at all. All the drive train mods are probably broken too – by changes to the engine mapping code. I’ve lost all interior sounds in the MAN TGX. What this means is that until the mods I have been using are brought up to speed with the new version of the game our Build a Trucking Company project is on hold. I think we’ve covered much of what we needed to cover anyway for a game walkthrough but it’s disappointing none the less. I’m going to clear out the mods in my main profile first and gradually feed them back in to see what works and what doesn’t – that should keep me busy for a couple of weeks!

I’ll leave you with a shot of Midnight Cruiser parked up for an early morning breakfast in Roswell…

As reported in my previous post, after the new 1.29 version of American Truck simulator dropped I did have some issues. Those are now largely resolved as I have identified the mods causing issues and either updated or removed them. Two trucks are still awaiting updates (Mack Ultraliner and Freightliner Cascadia) but others like the K100 and FLB are now fully functional which is great for the Lone Star Project as our existing K100 will drive ok and when I’m ready, a Freightliner FLB will once again grace the fleet 🙂 The only ongoing issue (until today) was the bloom on HDR settings. I turned off the HDR setting and after finding things were a little dark I decided to download Piva’s weather mod which I have used before in ATS to good effect.

I’ll digress at this point because internet security is an issue we should all be aware of and I want to give some basic advice. Many mods are too large for Steam’s Workshop. Also, some mod makers don’t like to entrust their stuff to Steam for whatever reason. So we sometimes have to go get those mods from one of a number of game specific mod sites. These use upload sites to store the files and those sites rely on advertising revenue to fund their existence. So each time you attempt a download a pop-up will open to one of the advert sites… Except it sometimes isn’t. It is very good practice to be conversant with how to deal with browser hacks – I had one of these when getting the download of Piva’s Weather mod. Not the fault of Piva but some blame should attach to the storage server owners who should really police their advertisers more carefully. But be aware that there are worse. While I was trying to get the latest version of the Kenworth K100 I found that on certain storage sites the file was not as expected. I ducked out before downloading. Key advice – Always confirm that the name of the file and its size are as expected before you download and check the file type! Be especially wary of .exe files because normally the files you are going to download shouldn’t be executables. And always install good Anti-Virus software on your PC!

With that out of the way it’s time for me to show some shots from the 1.29 update of ATS and also the FLB that has joined our Lone Star fleet. But the first images belong to Nightshade from our main profile. She bore the brunt of testing out the game after the new changes…
…She’s seen here drifting past one of the new Random Events on I15 on the way to San Diego from Las Vegas with a load of transmissions. Two Customs Cars and an Audi – gotta be a drugs bust?! We continued down the I15 and found that the intersection with the I10 has suddenly grown because I15 now goes all the way down to San Diego……That wasn’t there before!!! And a bit further down the road at the junction with I8 we passed the Qualcomm Stadium – home of the San Diego Chargers until this season. I understand they’ve moved up the road to Los Angeles. Such things are frowned upon in the UK where, with a couple of exceptions, a football club is seen part of the community rather than a franchise to move where you will! Don’t worry – we have our own ways of creating football scandals 😉

Nightshade had the honour of the first run into New Mexico as reported in the previous post but in our Lone Star project Midnight Cruiser took the first run for the team. The cargo was Car Parts from Flagstaff to Albuquerque. We received the traditional welcome to a new state – called into the weigh station by the New Mexico police……Coming back with a load from Vista print bound for Phoenix. we passed a police car with a pulled over car – officer rendering assistance or a speeder?……Then we passed a nasty multi vehicle accident with police, ambulance and fire brigade in attendance……These are examples of the new Random Events now in-game since v1.29 was released 🙂

Phoenix offered the chance to buy our third truck for the Lone Star project. Once again this is a slightly older truck unlike my main profile where I will be driving current vehicles. We’ve replicated a 1995 Freightliner FLB with a Detroit Diesel Series 60 500HP engine. She’s got a 13 speed Eaton-Fuller gearbox and a retarder. The paint job is one produced by Lucasi while the truck is the work of Harven and represents the latest iteration in a long history of this mod by a variety of authors over the years. Here she is climbing out of Phoenix with a load of Dried Milk for Alamogordo… I see we have a Krusty Clown truck on our tail 😉 My nickname for CRST trucks in-game as they tend to be quite aggressive – Though I recall being carved up by a Knight’s truck recently 😦 I’m sure the real life drivers are ok – though some of my US readers may wish to comment otherwise 😉

I closed off last time joking about ‘back in France’. I have got some material to relate from there so we will be looking at what my MAN and I have been up to soon 🙂