In my last report from Euro Truck I announced that I was driving the 1980’s Scania 113 after a period driving the latest in the MAN TGX line of trucks. Time to tell you about my time in that MAN truck and also the ‘Trade Connections – Sweden’ event that SCS Software launched on 26th March.

After carrying out 18 jobs in the current Scania S series I decided it was time to buy a Euro 6 MAN TGX to get a direct comparison. I was parked up in Milano where I’d also taken the opportunity to buy a garage and expand our company into northern Italy. I ordered the TGX online from the dealer in Marseille for delivery to Milano. She was to have the top of the range XXL cab with highest spec interior. The engine was to be the D38 500HP with a 12 speed Tipmatic gearbox and retarder. Finally, she was going to be finished in a special Red Lion paint scheme. In game configuration and ordering takes longer than delivery; which is instant – don’t you wish it was like that in the real world! On delivery her first job was a delivery of Pesto from Milano to our home town, Montpellier. Here she is after completing that delivery, parking up for the night at our garage……with all our usual spotlight and Michelin add-ons πŸ˜‰

After rushing some urgently needed medical equipment across to GenΓ¨ve, we took a load of oil filters south through Italy to Napoli. This shot taken as we drove south between Firenze and Livorno shows the instrument layout of the MAN TGX……Rain in Firenze – Reminds me of the first day of our Honeymoon! πŸ™‚ The descent into the port area of Napoli presented this pleasant evening view…

A trip to Taranto with a load of cars provided the opportunity to purchase a second Italian garage in the heel of the boot. Then it was off to Sicily and the city of Palermo before driving back east to Bari. As an aside, in Italy I often see these Polizia di Stato Lambo’s……Eat your hearts out Perps! These do actually exist in the real world but I understand that there’s only two of them used for organ and blood transfer duties. You see them so often in game that one can only assume they are so fast that they have the ability to be in two places at once and sometimes pass themselves on the autostrada πŸ˜‰

I was kickin’ my heels in Bari when SCS announced the new ‘Trade Connections – Sweden’ event. The storyline for the event was ‘As you know, our ETS map design team is currently working hard on the upcoming Beyond the Baltic Sea world expansion. You can imagine how much material of all types would be needed if this was all happening in the real world. There are so many kilometers of roads to build, so many buildings, intersections, industries and landmarks, so much landscaping! Maybe we can all help shorten the world-building process by transporting any supplies that we can up north? We’ll need to build a new ferry on Sweden’s Baltic coast to facilitate the transport of goods over to Finland!’ The challenge – ‘to complete a delivery of any cargo to or from Sweden with at least 10 different other countries in the rest of Europe.’

Bari is a long way from Sweden. Nevertheless, I took up the challenge immediately and headed north with a load of Computer Processors bound for Kalmar routing via Austria and Germany. It was a filthy night in Austria so I’m afraid there’s no pretty shots of the Alps, just rain…

Any challenge to deliver cargo to and from Sweden is bound to result in multiple crossings of the Øresund bridge. Here we are heading west to KΓΈbenhavn with used packaging for recycling on a beautiful sunny morning……and on a different day, crossing east with a load of tractors bound for Goteborg in the fading glow of evening…

Traffic varies a lot in game. Compare that last late evening shot with this one ‘somewhere in England’……Great Britain is one of the oldest and least accurately portrayed sections of the map so although this is somewhere between Sheffield and Hull it would be rash of me to attempt to say where in real world terms. SCS have dropped a hint that they intend to revisit the core maps and bring them up to the current standard. I’m guessing that Germany will get first dibs on that upgrade which is definitely long overdue. Big thanks to SCS for putting the wheels in motion πŸ™‚

I completed the challenge over a period of a week with deliveries from/to the following countries:- Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Norway and Holland. The last run was a load of flatbed trailers from Amsterdam to LinkΓΆping which is illustrated fittingly with a sunset shot…

To celebrate, a few trips later I repainted her in the blue ‘Lion Performance’ livery. Here’s a shot of her at one of the numerous toll stations in France near Paluel……That’s a load of Ice Cream and it’s going to – you’ve guessed it – Sweden! πŸ˜‰

That may seem strange to those of you who live in the real world where shops and streets have had decorations up since early November and the post-Christmas Sales have become pre-Christmas Sales. In a world where Mice Pies are now in store from September. But for those of us who live a half-life in a virtual world, the arrival of Christmas is signalled by the now annual call to help Santa deliver the presents.

Normally the call goes out in early December – around the 7th – and we virtual truckers find ourselves tasked with a set of delivery goals to complete before 1st January in the ‘Christmas Event’. The date usually gets extended beyond that because for some of our drivers the real world and family commitments get in the way of the job. And, as completing the allocated tasks brings rewards, SCS would like everyone to have the opportunity to complete the Event.

This year was different. In a minor planning faux-pas SCS already had an event running to deliver 300000lbs of cargo in the USA using double trailers and that was due to complete on December 3rd. Then, there was the small matter of the Italian DLC which released to an eager community on December 5th. With a new cargo type and the new Scania trucks also appearing it has been a very busy time for the developers.

However, on 20th December the Christmas Delivery Event was finally announced and it should run until 18th January. So if your presents are a little bit late this year…

I was in Sicily where I picked up the first load of gifts from Catania bound for Pescara. This being Mafia country I was very thorough with the manifest but everything seemed in order and we had no problems with the Carabinieri on the trip.
Yesterday morning we took a load from Verona up to Praha. I’m looking to lay up the old Scania over Christmas so I may buy a Renault Magnum from the Praha dealership. I’ve also got my eye on one of the new Scania S trucks for a future purchase. I’ll be dropping Megan off in Praha too as she’s going to her parents for Christmas. I know – it’s a game – but sometimes it’s fun to make up stories as you drive along πŸ™‚
In the US I picked up a load of gifts from the railyard at Albuquerque (NM) yesterday evening and delivered them to Ehrenberg (AZ).
You can see that I’ve put up my Tree now that Christmas has finally arrived… And in the real world the tree has also been erected and bedecked with lights and baubles. Just got to wrap some family presents though my efforts won’t be as professional as the wrapping on the gifts we’re delivering for Santa πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚