Trucking Digest

A day late this week because yesterday I had another football match to photograph. At this moment in time I’m wishing it would snow and give me a break πŸ˜‰ However, I’m in a position this Friday morning to give an update on Euro and American Truck from both a personal and general game perspective.

Saturday 10th November saw the community complete the Trade Connections Germany event – I missed the last day because I was away at Tiverton with the football team. SCS extended the date deadline for any stragglers still trying to achieve their personal goal in the event until yesterday when it finally fully closed. For me the event had two positive results. It almost wiped out the time imbalance between American and Euro Truck. There’s now only about 20 hours playing time difference. The second positive was that it pushed me very close to the World of Trucks ‘the Longest Journey’ achievement of driving 1 million kilometres on WoT jobs. At the end of the event I only needed to drive another 6000 or so to complete. Witchy Woman took a huge slice out of that total when she shifted a 40T scraper from Coos Bay, Oregon to Tucson, Arizona – 2100km. Here she is driving down the 101 in Oregon……That was a difficult run in Oregon because of the bends and grades but relatively straight forward once we got into California and onto the I5. The FLB has 500 horses but is geared more for general traffic types rather than heavy machinery. The task of crossing the million kilometre line to complete the achievement was given to my favourite Euro truck – the MAN TGX. Here she is on the final 1000km run from our headquarters in Montpellier at a level crossing in Belgium……with a light load of Cars bound for DΓΌsseldorf. And here is the notification of the achievement…
That completes all 26 current World of Trucks achievements until SCS have their next event – Which will probably be the annual Christmas ‘Help Santa’ event. It frees me up to do some more general driving and allows me to get back to hauling my own company’s trailers in Europe…

In ATS there are new roads still to explore and old roads that have changed. The map seems to undergo little tweaks with every release. I arrived in Flagstaff after the 1.32 release to find there are now traffic lights at the western end of the town which weren’t there before! The Arizona map now has a section of the 191 highway up through Clifton so I took the opportunity to explore that with a fuel delivery to Clifton. Here’s the SCS representation of the Gila River crossing……and the San Francisco River in Clifton…. One or two things aren’t quite right with the representations but as mentioned, the ATS map is almost a living, breathing, thing. I expect that next time I have reason to drive this way the railroad bridge, for example, will have changed to look like the real one!

Yesterday, SCS threw open the doors on a Beta test for the v1.33 game release. This will bring more changes to truck and trailer physics for improved realism and also some more ownable trailer types. No date for that release has been announced yet but we are promised the new European map extension into the Baltic states and western Russia for 29th November – Can’t wait for that. SCS have assured their fans in the Iberian peninsula that they haven’t forgotten them, which hints that the next map DLC for Europe after the Baltic’s might be Spain and Portugal though I’d be surprised if they produced the whole of those countries in one hit. Work on upgrading Germany continues and we may see some more map improvements in v1.33 – we are getting a couple of new ports which will be needed for the Baltic expansion. I’m guessing that after Germany has been upgraded the maps team will move on to Austria and Switzerland to improve the roads there. No further news on additions to the in-game Trucks for ATS or ETS2 though perhaps we will get something early next year? I have bought myself a Volvo VNL in ATS and I’ll give you a report on her next week. Drive safe – Best wishes to you all πŸ™‚

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Trucking Digest

We’re a day late for which I apologise. It has been a very busy week with two football matches to photograph and some IRL things that needed to be done. I’m going to start this week with something non-Truck Simulator.

Sometimes we have to make difficult choices in virtual life. These may be driven by those real life issues often referred to as disc space. I wanted to try out a couple of other games and looked long and hard at the games currently installed on my hard drive. I took into account how often I currently play certain games and how likely I am to play them again. I decided that it was time to blow the final whistle on Train Simulator. That was a very hard choice as it has given me much enjoyment over the years but in my heart I knew I would not be going back there. There is an issue with the design of that game when compared with the Truck Simulators. Free roam gives you a clear track with only speed limits to worry about. Scenarios give you issues like unexpected red signals and other delays to your journey but they do not change with each new run. There is no element of randomness like there is in the Truck Simulators. To illustrate the point, I did three runs along the same stretch of road in Euro Truck between DΓΌsseldorf and Luxembourg this morning. The road didn’t change but the traffic situations and weather did meaning that each drive was totally different. That just does not happen in Train Simulator and that is what has killed an otherwise enjoyable game for me 😦 Uninstalled and around 100GB released for other games.

I have recently added My Summer Car to the games on the pc so you may occasionally see something from that madcap game. And I’ve added Fallout 4 which is a post apocalyptic role play and shooter just to give myself a little variety. Ongoing regulars are Car Mechanic Simulator and Fishing Planet. There are a number of other games also being tried out too. Anyway, back to the trucks.

During the past two weeks while the Trade Connections – Germany event has been progressing, one or two interesting bits of news have seeped out of Vlad Dracula’s modern castle in Prague, otherwise known as SCSHQ. Firstly, there is the ongoing ‘missing’ Renault Range-T. SCS completed the build of this truck a couple of years ago so why isn’t it available in the game? It’s down to licensing as always but the Renault situation is more complicated than most because the Renault diamond logo is worn by both the trucks and the cars. Where’s the issue with that? Renault Trucks and Renault Cars are now totally separate companies and SCS have to get agreement from both for any Renault badged vehicles to be added to the game. So, we’re going to have to rely on the venerable Magnum and Premium for a while yet. In America, things are looking better. Reputedly, we will be getting an official Volvo VNL very soon (next month!?) and it’s likely that another company’s trucks (Navistar or Western Star?) will also become available in game soon too. This slipped out in a Twitter conversation post the deployment of the Oregon DLC but is almost certainly a true representation of the state of play. Of course, we have to temper our enthusiasm with the knowledge that SCS don’t use the standard 24hr clock or the Gregorian Calendar when talking about releases πŸ˜‰

How is the Trade Connections – Germany event going? It’s dragging along nicely. In my last post I mentioned my concern that the community was going to be spread pretty thinly and I think that is the case as I see a mix of tweets relating to Europe and to the Oregon DLC. I’ve personally done all my hauling this week in ETS2 – driving in and out of Germany for the Community. SCS set a very big total of Tonnes-hauled for us to achieve – 50 million. At the time of writing we’ve achieved 9.9 million tonnes over a 2-week period. SCS apparently set the total so high to give players whose commitments get in the way of their real job of driving virtual trucks – ‘to give them a chance to complete the challenge and earn the rewards’. Some players have complained about the short duration of these challenges in the past so I can see where they’re coming from. But it’s a big challenge for the community. I’ve personally shifted over 750t so far with 41 deliveries and I’ll keep nibbling away at it until we get there. But next week I’ll be doing a mix of ETS2 and American Truck to break up the party a little – it’ll be nice to get back in the FLB after these modern Euro Trucks.

I have added to our Martin Transport et Logistique fleet this week, buying a Scania Streamline with a 580HP V8 Euro VI engine. This is going to be the first of a small number of trucks in the fleet aimed at Heavy Haul and she’s a full time 6×4. I’ve also expanded the company into Clermont, passed the MAN to my senior driver at Montpellier and moved the original Merc to Clermont for our new driver Jenevive. So we’re up to 4 drivers plus myself and 4 trailers (3 curtainsiders and one flatbed). My fleet will now be comprised of Merc New Actros 4×2’s, MAN TGX 6×2/4 mid-lift’s and Scania 6×4’s. I have one Volvo which will get sold and replaced in the future for reasons of standardisation. In terms of drivers we’re an equal opportunities company – 2 male and 2 female drivers currently. In non-company terms, the current challenge requiring me to do World of Trucks jobs is pushing me rapidly towards that 1 million km Longest Job achievement too πŸ™‚ Here’s some shots of our new Scania…

…The ones without the chrome grill were taken on shakedown runs. Then I completed upgrading her appearance with additional pieces inside and out. Hope you like the colour πŸ™‚

Keep safe everyone and good wishes for the road ahead πŸ™‚

Trucking Digest

As briefly mentioned in the last issue of Digest, The Oregon map DLC became available last Thursday. I bought it immediately and I have had a drive into the new state during the last few days. However, my progress has been a little hampered. Let me tell you my tale of woe…

The recent v1.32 updates to the main game improved the accuracy of trailer stability. I tested this out in Euro Truck and it definitely works. Even yesterday I was watching my trailer wobbling on corners – so I know it works. In American Truck I didn’t get to do any Beta testing as I felt it best to concentrate on ETS2 where I was planning to use the new Trailer Ownership approach to running a company. After the deployment of v1.32 to live I tweaked the background settings for Brakes and trailer stability to match those in Euro truck. So there I was driving my Mack R 600 – the Dawg – on a variety of jobs and I didn’t seem to be seeing any evidence of trailer instability. I began to wonder if it was working at all. So last Wednesday – the day before Oregon deployed – as I was driving south from Tonopah with a double trailer of Gravel I saw a corner ahead that was a bit sharp for the 50mph I was doing. At this point the little red guy with the tri-pointy stick on my shoulder says.. “Go on.. Test it.. You know you want to!” So I did πŸ˜‰ I can confirm that trailer stability is working – we gracefully rolled over and came to a stop with a whole heap of damage πŸ™‚

At this point you’re probably expecting a screenshot. Well there isn’t one. As the Officer said – “Move along – Nothing to see here.” We’re on a country road in the middle of the Nevada desert – there’s no lights to show the scene so there’s no point in a screenshot! If it was daylight I would have – honest πŸ™‚ Unlike most computer games, SCS don’t reward you with lots of pyro-technics and gore when you do a catastrophic act. All that happens in ATS is you lose money on the delivery and put up your insurance. In ETS the consequences are more draconian – but you still don’t get the visual rewards of carnage that players of Grand Theft Auto would expect. There was, however, an unseen consequence of my moment of over-enthusiasm. When I went to complete my company logs I found that the figures didn’t add up. No matter how I checked them, they no longer added up. This is an issue – I can be very OCD about the company accounts. In the end I had to take the difficult decision to restart with another clean profile when I’d reached the point of being able to buy a second truck 😦 Another happy day for the little devil on my shoulder πŸ˜‰

So we restarted as a driver for hire but now I knew I had to move fast to get my own truck for the Oregon Deployment. I got lucky with my very first delivery from Bakersfield – it was to Oxnard. That in turn meant that I could take a job that passed by the Kenworth Dealer in Los Angeles. Just 2 more jobs later and I was in a position to take a $100k loan and the Dawg was born again…

I first ventured into Oregon with a load of meat for Medford. Then I continued up the I5 with a Digger bound for Salem. Oregon welcomed me with some very wet weather which left me wondering if I was actually driving in Euro-Truck! On the I5 we were called into the weigh-station and you can see how bad the rain was……I noted that the weigh-stations are preceded by signs requiring all vehicles over 20000lbs gross weight to stop-by for weighing so I guess we’ll be popping in every time we pass through. This one was located near Booth Ranch but it would perhaps have been more appropriate if it had been located further down the valley at Bear Gulch πŸ˜‰

The consequences of my earlier actions in Nevada would now come back to haunt me. The Mack, as you recall, has just 237HP. I found the jobs up there in Oregon are usually heavier than 35000lbs – in fact from Medford the Digger 1000 at 34000lbs was the lightest job I could find. Clearly when driving in Oregon, to misquote Roy Scheider in Jaws, you’re gonna need a bigger truck! And, because of my rash accident and restart I’m not at the level to be able to buy a truck with the required engine size! We soldiered on regardless taking loads up to 47000lbs but each hill climb was a struggle. We were down in 4th on this climb and barely making 15mph……If we had stalled we probably would have needed the tow-truck to get going again. On the up side, we did find a good place to stop off in the valley beyond……Egg and Chips for dinner and off to bed πŸ™‚ This is actually McDermitt in Nevada but it’s part of the changes necessitated by the Oregon DLC. In the real world the CafΓ© looks like this……Image courtesy of Google Streetview.

I visited Portland very briefly. There’s clearly a lot of ‘photo’ opportunities to be captured around Portland. Here’s a taster as we cross the Marquam Bridge heading south and back to the safety of California……Hawthorn Bridge is there to be seen and I know that somewhere else in the game is the New Youngs Bay Bridge so I’m looking forward to that one πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with this sunset shot in Oregon somewhere on I5……If you’re local and recognise what looks to be a mining facility I’d appreciate knowing where I am πŸ™‚

I’ve since racked-up some serious jobs in the CA-AZ-NM area and raised my profile’s level to 13 which allows me to buy a more suitable truck. Dawg has been relegated to local duties out of Bakersfield with new recruit Josh and I’ve got myself a Freightliner FLB – you’ll meet her next time πŸ™‚ Drive Safe!