I was going to introduce some of my American Truck fleet this time but SCS Software had other ideas in the shape of an event and an open beta of the upcoming v1.40 release, so perhaps it’s best if I cover those in this post.

The event, called Hauling Hope, ran from mid-January to mid-February and caused some controversy according to PC Gamer and some other ‘gaming’ press sites. Apparently some players thought the idea of celebrating the start of the distribution of COVID Vaccines as being too political. Yes, a few players didn’t like the idea but it certainly wasn’t a case of ‘some blowback from fans who complained about the studio injecting “politics” into the game’ – the insinuation being that a lot of fans were unhappy. The only place where I saw debate around the subject was in the blog post responses to the event announcement and it was a well balanced discussion, if occasionally a little heated. Outside of that forum, most fans just saw it as another excellent event and a good excuse to fire up their trucks! There certainly weren’t any negative comments on Twitter. A storm in a teacup me thinks πŸ™‚

I enjoyed taking part in this short event with Lady Galadriel taking the lead role in Europe…

…and Keystone doing the bulk of the work in the US…

Midway through the event, on February 2nd, American Truck Simulator celebrated the 5th anniversary of its release. So Keystone got a suitably American repaint to mark the occasion…

Immediately after the event’s conclusion, SCS released the next update of both games into Open Beta to allow players to try them out. This will be v1.40 and brings new lighting (daylight, sunshine, weather etc) to the game. This is quite a large change so I’m expecting the Beta to possibly continue into mid-March. Along with the lighting changes, there are additions to the southern end of the France map in preparation for the new Iberia DLC. Updates to Germany continue too, with the Ruhr corridor being brought up to the latest mapping standards. In ATS there are some new truck chassis options coming along with an update to the California map, once again bringing it up to the latest standard.

I took the opportunity to take a look at the new south of France roads in the Beta along with the new lighting and I was quite impressed. Driving in heavy rain is definitely more realistic…

…with the visibility often very poor.

Driving round the new loop from Toulouse via Bayonne to Bordeaux showed some nice new scenery and some hints of the roads to Spain that should soon be open to us…

In case you’re wondering, as it’s a Beta, I’m driving hire trucks in those shots. I also took a brief trip to the remapped Ruhr, noting in passing that the view of KΓΆln from the Rodenkirchener BrΓΌcke is much improved…

Some concerns have been expressed about the vehicle lights and how they are showing up from inside the cab. I also noted that the needles on gauges seem to be almost invisible in certain lighting conditions…

…I think some work is being done on those aspects as the Beta progresses. But, overall, this looks like another great update. I haven’t been into the ATS Beta as a lot of others were sharing shots of that and I have to say it also looks good though there were some amusing incidents reported of trucks falling through the road around Bakersfield πŸ™‚

Back in normal play and I thought I’d conclude with a short video of a drive in our Mack R, Ol’Dawg, from Raton to Albuquerque. It was a pleasant run with few things to trouble us, though I did forget to flip the range switch a couple of times πŸ˜‰ – so just sit back and enjoy the sound of that Mack engine…

I thought, as it has been a while, that I should do a ‘Meet the Team’ type post. The last time I did one of these was in 2017 and a lot has changed since then. I restarted my profiles in both Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator back in May 2019, so my current fleets have been built up in the past 20 months. Looking back and seeing when I restarted, I’m amazed how far I’ve come in both games over such a short period of time. In Euro Truck I’ve reached the Level 114 with the title of ‘Divine Champion’ – quite how that would go down as an epithet in a trucker cafe I’m not sure πŸ˜‰ In American Truck I’m only a ‘Legend’, but divinity calls and I’ll soon cross the threshold of level 100 there too! During the building of my companies in each game some trucks become favourites and others fall by the wayside – left in the hands of employees (I rarely sell a truck). So, the trucks I’m going to talk about in these Meet the Team posts are the ones that have survived the sifting process to become permanent members of my personal fleet.

In this post I think we’ll deal with the Euro Truck heavy-haul team. That is fairly straight forward but defining what counts as heavy-haul requires a brief discussion. So lets start with the first of the team – ‘Renzo’…

…a Euro6 DAF XF with a 530HP engine. Renzo was bought specifically for hauling construction plant during the rebuilding of the Genova Bridge and got named after its architect Renzo Piano. Although part of the heavy-haul team, with a 530HP engine Renzo is also at home on heavier general cargoes like the tanker of diesel fuel on delivery in the image. And that’s where the lines become blurred. I have another DAF called Lady Galadriel, who you will meet in another post. She shares the same engine but is a member of the general cargo fleet. The difference? – Gearbox and differential ratios and chassis arrangement – 6×4 for Renzo vs 6×2.

Actually I have 3 other DAF’s that all fall in the general cargo category. Some of my longer suffering readers will remember a time when I wouldn’t have a DAF in the fleet. A special event set up by SCS Software with DAF changed that – now they stand alongside MAN as my personal favourite truck types. Anyway, on with our heavy-haul team πŸ™‚

Speaking of MAN, meet Charlie…

…Charlie has a 540HP engine – which again means general cargoes can also be taken when necessary. Charlie was bought during the recent Christmas Event at a time when I was doing my bit to clear off jobs in Italy. I tweeted that we were busy doing the Italian Job and thus this truck took its name from the character Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine in the movie.

A note on pronounciation at this point – My company is French, so Charlie should be pronounced in a French manner – Shar-lee. Next up is Vincent, so repeat after me… Van-Son-te

Vincent takes the name of the character played by Jean Reno in the film Ronin and is the only Volvo in the fleet…

…This truck was a rush of blood to the head – I was debating a 640HP MAN but thought “I haven’t driven a Volvo for ages!” Company lore is that Vincent was a secondhand truck loaned from the Limoges Volvo dealer in an effort to gain our custom. I was so pleased with the truck that I decided to keep it. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new one too in the future? Vincent has a 700HP engine, making hauling of the largest loads easy, but fuel efficiency is relatively poor so definitely not for use on general cargoes unless there is no choice!

Next time I’ll cover our American Truck heavy-haul team… Keep the shiny side up! πŸ™‚

In response to Clare’s Challenge I’m sharing my desktop again. We’re once more back in a virtual reality, a fact that is given away by the oversized gifts on the trailer of the truck. My MAN TGX (named Charlie) has just coupled up to the trailer in Bonifacio on a sunny evening on the island of Corsica…

…ready to deliver the gifts to L’Ile Rousse on the north of the island. This screenshot was taken during the annual Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator Christmas Event run by SCS Software. Each year there is a target for the community to achieve and this year it was achieved in 10 days, which was something of a record πŸ™‚ You can read about the event here.