A Grizzly Confusion

Geez…sometimes you have to wonder if all this is really worth it……

It’s been brought to my attention that someone using the name or handle of GrizzlyMan has been doing some pretty despicable things with various Farming Simulator mods (including maps) and re-uploading them to various mod hosting sites including modhub.  One specific example has to do with the Hobbs Farm map.  Grizzlyman made some edits, created lots of errors and then re-uploaded Hobbs Farm (calling it Texas Dedication of Hobbs Farm) to modhub.

One of my viewers contacted me about this and wanted to bring it to my attention.  Note:  My viewer DID NOT accuse me (GrizzlyBearSims) and GrizzlyMan as being one in the same person.  He was simply bringing this to my attention and simply mentioned some could get confused.  Especially since I’m originally from Texas and proud of it.

My internet persona or identity is GrizzlyBearSims.  With exception to just a few forums where where I may go by FarmingSimJT, my YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, PC-SG, 3DudesGN and of course my own website/blog site are all branded as GrizzlyBearSims.  While I’m not opposed to having my real identity revealed…I prefer to just do everything related to my simulation gaming hobby handled under my branded name of GrizzlyBearSims.

Of course, those who know me…know that I rarely do any modding and again….those who really know the real me, also know that I would never sink to the levels of those who steal from our modding community and violate their wishes by uploading to these dreadful websites.  In addition, while I’ve heard about the Hobbs Farm map, I’ve never downloaded it, never installed it and have never played it.  The only connection I have with the Hobbs Farm map is to be a member of the Hobbs Farm Facebook community.

I don’t know who GrizzlyMan is (also goes by Grandpa Grizzly) and truth be known, I don’t care to know him.  I (Jerry) do not have any sort of trademark or exclusive use to the word “Grizzly”, but I could see where someone might confuse the two of us.

Anyway….I just wanted to write something stating my case and placing it into the interwebz so hopefully there will no confusion going forward.

Until next time….

Happy Simming and thanks for reading!!!

Jerry

Old Guy Farmer Challenge

So I return to work on Monday morning (10 July) after having spent 10 wonderful, relaxing days on vacation.  Over half of this time off was spent near Estes Park, Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.  This was a much needed, highly anticipated and just honestly what any doctor could have ordered break for both my wife and I.  The last few months have been tough on both of us and I honestly think we began counting the days down to this get-away back in the early spring timeframe.

Between meetings on Monday morning, I decided to catch up on a few of my fellow YouTube friends and the videos they released while I was on vacation.  My friend Farmer Klein was the first name that popped up in my list of video recommendations and I noticed the video title was “Old Guy Farmers Single Player Challenge”.  Challenge??? What’s this about seemed to be thoughts that entered in my mind.  Obviously I know who Old Guy Farmer is…that’s Mr. Jerry Ott who created the wonderful Mountain Valley Farm map which I’m currently running a “Let’s Play” series on.  If interested, you can follow my progress on my Mountain Valley Farm series on YouTube.

Anyway…back to this challenge.  I watched with excitement as Farmer Klein started game day 1, episode 1 of the special Goldcrest Valley Edit map which Jerry Ott had designed specific for the challenge.  As more minutes passed, I began thinking…I want to do this.  I want to play this map and I want to participate in the challenge.  I quickly read through the rules/guidelines of the challenge….”Must Use Seasons Mod” Ok…that’s good as I just simply can’t play (nor am I interested in playing FS17 without the Seasons Mod.  “Game mode must be set on Hard”.  OK..that is also OK as I’m playing on MVF set to Hard mode.  “Game play time must be set to x15 speed and can only skip time from 9pm to 6am”  That’s also just fine.  “Game play must be streamed on YouTube or Twitch”  This is also great because I’ve really been wanting to stream my FS17 game play more.  Etc. etc.  I’ll let you read the rules/guidelines at your own discretion.

While I did say several months ago I had no interest in playing another GCV edit map, on Monday afternoon I downloaded the GCV edit challenge map and fired up OBS and kicked off episode one (of 72 total episodes) of this challenge series.  Yes…you did read that correct.  This series will consist of 72 episodes as each episode will be precisely one game day (6 AM ish to 9 PM ish).  72 days is what 3 Seasons Mod years, set to 6 game days per season calculates to.  Yes, this is a major undertaking…but I have until 1 November.  There’s a lot of time between now and 1 November!  Right?  Right????

I’ll admit, my game play during episode 1 certainly was not my finest hour.  I must have appeared as if I was a nube to Farming Simulator 17 or perhaps even a nube to simulation based gaming altogether.  I really do have over 500 hours of game play recorded in FS17 (and over 700 in FS15) and I’ve been using the Seasons mod since early January.

The truth is, I completely underestimated the stress in knowing that from the moment you enter the game, time is ticking away at a fairly fast pace (game play set to x15).  An entire game day (6 AM to 9 PM) passes by at near light speed in just over an hour.  As most of my viewers know, I farm at a fairly relaxed pace and I may spend a few minutes painstakingly comparing tractor specs before making a decision (or no decision at all).  In this challenge, TIME is definitely of the essence.

Long Story Short….so yes…GrizzlyBearSims took the challenge and I’ll do my level best to not only survive the challenge, but also complete it and also try equally hard to win it.  While the rules are clearly defined, I’ve made the decision to follow my own guideline of “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” way of doing things.  Meaning even though time is quickly speeding by, I won’t take shortcuts…I’m not going to drive through my crops etc.  I’m  plowing fields, applying fertilizer, cultivating, seeding and then fertilizing again.  Regardless of the outcome,  FUN is the absolute number one priority for each episode.

While I don’t believe it’s too late for others to take part in this challenge, if you are interested in participating…please visit this website for complete rules and information.  But don’t wait too long as while on paper there are many days between now and 1 November…trust me, before you know it…summer will be over and just remember, time is of the essence.

For my wonderful friends/viewers of the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, Are you interested in winning your very own copy of the Giants Farming Simulator 17 Platinum Expansion Pack DLC?  I’m  gifting a copy to three lucky winners of this expansion pack (via Steam) at the end of the challenge.  All you need to do to enter, is watch my livestreams (either live or via YouTube recorded playback) and listen for me to provide the daily code word.  Each episode will have a unique code word which I’ll verbally announce during the game play.  Once you hear the code word,  just follow the information I’ve outlined to enter.  You can view these contest guidelines and how to submit the code word on the GrizzlyBearSims Discord Channel.  You can enter up to 72 times,  pending you watch (and listen) for the code word.  Obviously, the more episodes you watch, the better odds you’ll have at winning.  I’ll do the drawing and notify the winners on Sunday, 6 November.

If you are interested in catching up with my progress, you may view my archived livestreams here.

Thank you all for reading and thank you for watching.

Jerry

Razer Orbweaver

I recently picked up a new toy called the Razer Orbweaver.  Now I must admit, I have been looking at these types of programmable keypads/gameboards for sometime.  I had been seriously looking at the Logitech G13, but eventually decided on the Razer Orbweaver as I felt it gave me the greatest flexibility.

Essentially this is a USB enabled game pad which gives you 30 fully programmable keys and an 8-way thumb pad.  The primary use (for now) is with flight sim to control my camera views via the add-on Chaseplane.  Chaseplane is a great add-on which allows me to control my camera angles and create cinematic shots while I’m flying in Prepar3D.  But I do have plans to add a few extra key commands for Farming Simulator 17 and both American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2.

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While there are many alternatives in the form of button boxes and other programmable controls, I felt this would serve me best for my intended use.  Of course your mileage may vary.

Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

Jerry

Bad Attitudes have no place in our Hobbies?

What’s up recently with all these bad, rotten attitudes coming out of our hobbies in recent time?  I realize for the most part these situations are not new, for the past several months I’ve been somewhat focused on the Farming Simulator side of the simulation gaming hobby and haven’t spent a great deal of time reading content from the other areas.  However, in just the past few weeks I’ve been reading up on topics related to the flight sim hobby and just truly amazed at the rotten attitudes I’m seeing and hearing.

In the past several weeks, we’ve heard from one after another mod developers dropping out from the Farm Sim mod community due to a variety of reasons.  But mainly these reasons can be categorized under mod theft and abuse.  I’ve discussed this ad nauseam both in written form (on this blog) and in verbal form on the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel.  I really don’t know what else to say regarding these topics other than we (those of us who truly care) need to do our best effort to help the newcomers to our hobbies.  The more we demonstrate good behavior, positive attitudes etc. the better our communities will become.  But unfortunately…not all communities are created equal.

I’ve been involved in the flight sim community even before the internet age.  But just about as far back as I can remember, there’s been a cancer brewing inside and this cancer comes down to ego and attitude towards newcomers to the hobby.  It’s somewhat funny in a way, the flight sim community have been begging for more modern versions of our platforms to be developed.  Just as I blogged about on Saturday, history will claim “2017 A Great Year for Flight Simulation”.     With new versions of both Prepar3D and X-Plane, plus the much anticipated entry from Dovetail Games….you can’t argue that there is no better time to become involved in Flight Sim than the here and now.  But with all these new entries, the saying of “If you build it, they will come” will prove to be very true.  But what will these newcomers think of us old curmudgeons?

Bad Attitudes, Bad Communities

As is the case in all the general simulation gaming communities I’m involved with, there are some good ones, but there are a ton of rotten ones where the cancer of individual bad attitudes is just boiling over.  The truly sad thing is for the most part the admins and moderators of these various communities in many ways are the major source of the cancer as they either refuse to do their job or even worse, they contribute to the overall sense of negativity.

Whether you want it or not, updated releases of our popular simulation based games will generate brand new interest in these hobbies.  In addition, for those of us who produce content on YouTube, Twitch etc.  we are also very much a contributing factor of this revolution.  After all, that’s one of the main reasons I created my YouTube Channel.

It’s always been my policy to not use my blog or YT channel for negative purposes, so with that said…I’m not going to “Call Out” by name or slander the communities I consider to be negative.  But later in this article I will mention one very good community which I not only belong to, but I also serve as an admin.

Pet Peeve

Want to know one of my biggest pet peeves with the various communities attempting to support these simulation game interests???  Well, I’m going to tell you.  My biggest pet peeve is when someone (anyone) asks a question in a forum or community and the response they get is to berate (scold/criticize) them for not taking the time to search or Google for the answer themselves.

When I run into these types of situations I truly feel like asking the owner of the community specifically why they even bother running their forum/community?  After all, isn’t this the reason why we have forums?

I realize there are certain individual types out there that simply expect everything be handed to them.  These are the types of people that instead of trying to learn something on their own, they simply want (and expect) others to do the hard work for them.  These types are easily identified and should be handled on a individual basis.  But this is a small issue overall.  I truly believe that most individuals do try to search first before asking, but sometimes (actually more times than not), the search results can create more confusion for the new person.

Things Change

In just the past week some news broke in the flight sim community regarding a piece of software which had historically been distributed as freeware or donation ware.  However, due to real world issues the original developer of this software either didn’t have an interest to develop it further, didn’t have the time or perhaps some other reasons.  In any event, the software was going to essentially die the slow death.

The software in question is called Prepar3D Tweak Assistance (PTA).  Basically it is a software tool to allow flight simmers to automate the tweaking and fine tuning of different configuration parameters in P3D.  As previously mentioned, the developer of PTA made the decision not to further develop PTA for the brand new 64 bit Prepar3D version 4 flight simulator.

However, another interested party stepped forward an offered his expertise and even offered a dollar figure to purchase the original source code of PTA with the idea this individual would carry the torch forward to keep this tool alive and well for years to come.  With his original offer, this individual planned to continue to leave it as donation ware…but to bring a long-story somewhat shorter, the offer was rejected and after some time the parties agreed on a new offer.  But with this new offer being a larger investment, the decision was made that it would change from freeware/donation ware to a payware product.

OMG!  You would think some how this decision was going to end the world as we know it.  This decision would also lead to catastrophic flooding, the return of the plague etc.  etc.  The reaction this news should have received was “Thank You” for stepping up to save an extremely valuable tool.

Folks, stuff happens.  Plans change….it’s part of life.  While I often think back to the days in the flight simulation hobby where awesome things (aircraft, scenery, utilities etc.) were created/developed and openly shared with everyone…many times these things always died the slow death because the original developer simply lost interest or life simply took over.

While I had never used PTA, I did purchase it when I came out and WOW…Just absolutely WOW!  It has truly been worth the small investment and I’m extremely thankful to Matt for rescuing this wonderful tool and making it available.  If you are a P3D v4 user and interested in the PTA tool, learn more here.

Please and Thank You

While I’ve discussed some things that I feel the leaders within our communities could do a better job controlling, we’re not all innocent.  We all need to remember the manners we were taught in our young age.  Please and Thank You are two of the most important words we can say and if you’re going to say them….you need to mean it.

PC-SG Community

Earlier in this article, I discussed some of the issues concerning many of the various communities designed to support a particular simulation interest.  A community which I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of and also serve as an administrator and moderator is PC-SG.  PC-SG was launched just over two years ago and has become an extremely popular community supporting various PC simulation gaming subjects including Farming Simulator, Truck Simulator (ATS/ETS2) and even Flight Simulator.   Our team of moderators/admins are the best in the business and we’ll never criticize for asking questions.  While much of the conversation in recent weeks has been related to farming, I’d really like to invite those who may be new to Flight Simulation over to PC-SG and help us build up the interest.

Final Thought

The title of this blog post ends with the word “Hobbies”.  Hobbies are meant to be fun, relaxing, entertaining etc. etc.  While I enjoy the ultimate realism these hobbies provide to us, we all need to relax and understand that most involved have lives outside of the gaming hobby (myself included).  Our individual lives including our work, school, family, health etc. SHOULD ALWAYS come first.

Until next time…

Happy Simming and be cool….

Jerry

Reputable Mod Sites for Farming Simulator Mods

In recent days, we’ve heard of even more mods being ripped off and uploaded to questionable mod sites without the original mod authors permission.  In many cases, the individuals who are perpetrating these offenses may also edit out any credit to the original mod author and some will even go so far as to take credit for the work themselves.  These acts are killing our hobby and often lead to two possible outcomes with the first being the modder simply quits modding, or an even more damaging action is to take his/her mods underground where only a select few individuals/friends have access to the work.  I actually view the underground/privatization of mods to be more damaging to the hobby than the modder actually quitting, simply because it limits the audience who can have access to the work.  In other words, this action punishes those who just simply want to enjoy the mods which of course is the intended action.

What can be done?

In today’s environment, the short answer is nothing!  Until there is a secure and reliable system in place which would allow a mod creator to lock, protect, encrypt his/her work AND the software intended to be used with these mods (Example: Giants Farming Simulator 17) offers the mechanism to recognize an authentic mod and ignores un-authentic mods, absolutely nothing can prevent these types of crimes.  YES!!!!  Absolutely, these are crimes.

Mitigating Steps can and should be considered

While it is true that nothing at the present time can be done to stop the mod theft we keep hearing about, there are steps we can all take to help protect and support our modding community.  The first one is actually rather simple and doesn’t require a lot of effort.  It’s something we should have all learned at a very early age and it’s called “showing appreciation”.  I think the vast majority of modders fully understand their work will be subject to theft.  However, I think often the issue might be that we as the majority who make up the user community don’t always show our sincere appreciation of the hard work our modding community does for us.  Often times we act like a bunch of spoiled brats by bugging the modding community asking stupid questions like “When will X Mod be available” over and over and over.  Or even worse, we too easily criticize these works because they don’t work, look or function the way we want them to.  Guess what people???  Just like my favorite artist, Peter Paul Rubens, The modder who most likely created that mod, created it in his/her vision.  They didn’t create it just for you.  So please keep this in mind.  Also, I would challenge everyone to say “THANK YOU” to all the mod creators you know or come into contact with.  A little act of kindness goes a TREMENDIOUS WAY!!!!

But what else can be done????

So here’s where this article will better match up to the title or subject line.  Keep in mind there are dozens and dozens and perhaps even more mod hosting websites on the internet.  Which are reputable and which are not?  Where can you go to ensure you are downloading an authentic mod which hasn’t been stolen and posted elsewhere?  I’m going to share my list of sites which I use and why I use them.  But before I do that, let me also recognize that some mod developers may host their own mods on their own website.  Two really awesome mod developers come to mind and they are Blacksheep Modding and GTX Mods.  This blog posting is more geared towards the hosting sites which are not privately operated and the list of those will now follow.

Giants Mod Hub

The Giants Mod Hub for obvious reasons is my top “go-to” mod site for FS17 mods.  The mods uploaded to the Giants Mod Hub are controlled by Giants and while a mod might be uploaded which has been tampered with without the original mod authors permission, Giants will quickly remove it when they have been made aware of the offense.  The simple fact that mods can be downloaded/installed/updated directly from inside of Farming Simulator 17 is also a really big plus.  While I wish Giants would further develop their mod distribution system to allow for searching and perhaps would organize the mod listings in the same fashion as the game organizes them, would certainly serve as a huge benefit to the users.

PC-SG

I’m not only a proud member of PC-SG, I’m also an admin and part of the management team.  I know the owner of the website and other members of management very well.  Each of us are active in the simulation gaming community and each of us has a passion for helping others.   Last year I wrote a detailed piece about the PC-SG Community and every word of that continues to stand today.  But even since that article was written (11 March 2016) we have expanded our mod hosting capabilities by creating our own Mod Review and Testing Team.  The individuals who make up this team are all outstanding individuals and many are also mod developers.  All mods hosted on PC-SG are stored on our own fast/efficient servers.  We don’t bombard you with rude and crude internet pop-up ads and we don’t throttle our download speeds.  We have earned the respect and trust of some of the best modders including Stevie, Blacksheep Modding, Johnny Vee, SOB Modding (just to name a few).

Modding Central

Like PC-SG, Mod Central is operated by individuals who truly care about our hobby and community.  They have a very professional and easy to use website and offer mod downloads both hosted on their own servers and also some linked to external sources.  Mod Central also offers a friendly member forum to ask questions and obtain support for many of the mods hosted on the site.  Modding Central is also a partner with PC-SG.  The people behind Mod Central are some of the most talented individuals you’ll fine in our hobby.

American Eagles Modding

American Eagles Modding (AEM), is another friendly community with member forums and a variety of mod downloads.  Typically if I’m looking for equipment for an American style map, I’ll first look to AEM.  Many of the John Deere pieces of equipment I feature in my YouTube “Let’s Play” series were downloaded from AEM.  AEM hosts their own mods and I’ve never experienced any delays or rude pop-up ads when using their website.  Like PC-SG, AEM also has a review and certification process for mods uploaded and hosted through their servers.

FS-UK

Finally, FS-UK rounds out the list of my typical “go-to” websites when searching for mods.  I like their mod organization where I can see both new and trending mods and also search based on the version of Farming Simulator.  In addition, they also include a member forum and some of the best modders will feature their “Work In Progress” mods on FS-UK. FS-UK also has a mod review team and I believe they work hard to test and certify many of the mods hosted on their website.

Marhu.net

While Marhu.net may not be as user friendly for us English only speaking individuals as others I’ve previously listed, but with a little effort and using the right internet tools we can still do OK in navigating their website.  Some of the very best mods for Farming Simulator will be posted to Marhu.net by their original mod creator.  Unfortunately, the mods listed on Marhu.net most likely will be hosted somewhere else with a link provided to that location.  These links may direct you to a dropbox location or perhaps to another mod hosting website.  In some cases, the link will take you to a mod hosting website called uploaded.net.  Now if you are a subscriber of my YouTube Channel then you know I often (and very frequently) opine about my dissatisfaction about uploaded.net.  I have my  reasons and for the sake of educating my viewers, I’ll share this information in just a few minutes.  Keep reading!

Other Considerations

If you are an active mod user, you may be thinking that I’ve left out a long list of other mod hosting websites.  Some might be accidental, but some have been omitted intentionally.  For sake of overall professionalism and courtesy, I’m not going to call out or blacklist particular websites or mod hosting services.  As stated, there are many…but most do not go to the same level of not only safe guarding the original mod author, but also safe guarding the individual user from extreme internet pop-up ads, click-baiting schemes and possible mal-ware infested server downloads.  I’m not opposed to internet advertising as it does cost real money to operate a website with the server capacity to host mods.  However, I believe some of these websites could dial down the amount and type of pop-up advertising they are subjecting their visitors to.

But are any of the sites not mentioned used by the original mod creators?  Yes…absolutely!  You’ll find mod developers using a variety of mod hosting websites which I have not listed by name.  I may also visit these sites and very often will download mods.  If you look through my extensive mod list, you’ll see links to many of these sites I’m referring to in this section.  Are 100% of these mods genuine?  Keep reading to find out.

Now just a few moments ago I spoke about uploaded.net and how truly irritating that website is.  I don’t know who operates that website, but I believe it is safe to say that they are only in it for the $$$.  Meaning, I don’t for a minute believe they care anything about the gaming community or the users.  They subject visitors to rude and often times crude internet pop-up ads, click-bait ads and throttle their download speeds for non-paying subscribers to something resembling that of an old school 1200 baud modem.  Again, while I’m not opposed to supporting the costs of running websites and server hosting sites, the cost of membership for uploaded.net is expensive (in my opinion).  Uploaded.net premium membership fees start at $5.99 for 48 hours of access, $10.99 for one month, $27.99 for three months on up to $108.99 for two years.

Of course, the above mentioned fees are also being shared with those who upload mods to that website.  Meaning, a mod developer who uses the uploaded.net website to host his/her mods will earn a small fee for the number of downloads.  I’m not going to get into whether this practice is right or wrong.  I’ll let you decide based on your own feelings whether this is a good or bad idea.  But I will just remind you, that Giants also rewards the top mods (and their developers) with a small monetary compensation.  You can read more about that here.

Verifying Authenticity – Can it be done?

Short answer, yes….longer answer is not easily and certainly not with any absolute accuracy.  The reason behind the longer answer goes back to what I mentioned earlier.  At the present time, there are no security measures in place to prevent someone/anyone from making changes and/or uploading elsewhere.  What I’m going to say next might be somewhat out of character for me.  But for most mod violations where simply a mod has been downloaded from the official location and uploaded elsewhere, the individual doing this is just simply too ignorant to edit the mod to strip away the actual ownership/credit information contained in the mod.  They simply download it and upload it to another site and pretend they are the original creator of the mod.  While it takes some effort to verify this information and of course the mod needs to be downloaded to confirm, it certainly can be done.  But in many cases the operators of these websites are too slow to act in taking down the unauthentic mod and the damage is already done.

I ran into a situation a few months ago where I created a YouTube video to showcase a popular mod.  The video contained artwork which I had created to use as the title and thumbnail artwork, this artwork also contained my YouTube name of GrizzlyBearSims.  Another individual after watching my video, decided to download the mod then take a screenshot of my video logo and upload that to another mod hosting website.  Another YouTube content creator discovered this and mentioned it to me.  At first I wasn’t going to do anything about it.  But after careful consideration I determined this could confuse someone into thinking I had uploaded the mod and I didn’t want to set that impression.  But it took me several emails to the admin of the website to have the mod removed.

Final Thoughts

As I stated at the top of this article, at the present time NOTHING can be done to stop the abuse and unauthorized distribution of mods.   While we can list out every reason why this behavior is bad for our hobby, at the end of the day it is left up to each and every individual (YOU and ME) to do the right thing.  Doing the right thing is more than just not stealing and uploading mods without the consent of the individual mod developer.   I believe it is just as bad to continue to use a mod you know has been compromised, yes…even privately.  Finally, as a YouTube content creator…I believe we have a responsibility to never violate the trust of our modding community by using mods of questionable backgrounds in our videos and live streams.  While I pride myself in maintaining a current mod spreadsheet which lists each and every mod I use, along with the location where the mod can be downloaded from…I will happily place my right hand on a stack of Bibles and swear that (to my knowledge) each and every mod listed is genuine and hasn’t been compromised.  But in an effort to do everything I can to protect the modding community, I plan to perform an extensive review and will remove the physical mods and the listing which I can’t be certain of.  Will you do the same???

Thank you Mod Developers

To any original mod developer who may be reading this article, I believe I can speak for the vast majority of enthusiasts who dearly love and treasure the hard work, dedication, attention to detail and passion each of you put into your works of art.  Many of us just simply can’t do what you do.  Even some of us (myself included) just don’t have the desire to learn…it’s just not something we are interested in doing.  But we genuinely recognize how your pieces of work (regardless of how little or big they are) change the game play for us in such awesome ways.  Farming Simulator is an awesome game.  But without mods, the game wouldn’t be as enjoyable and exciting and certainly wouldn’t be so over a long period of time.  Your mods allow us to lose ourselves in our own little virtual worlds and in my opinion, is better (and less expensive) than any shrink on this planet.  Please don’t stop creating.  Please don’t take your mods underground.  Please know that we love what you do (even though we don’t always show it) and know we will always support you.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!! (with authentic mods only)

Jerry

Is Cattle and Crops a Scam?

Is Cattle and Crops a Scam?  Now before I get too deep in this blog article, let me just say for the record that I DO NOT believe Cattle and Crops is a scam.  However, as I frequently discuss Cattle and Crops (CnC) in my YouTube “Let’s Play” series and on my YouTube, Twitch and Hitbox Livestreams (not to mention I’ve blogged about CnC many times on my blog site) the question does come up from time to time.  Just a few days ago during one of my YouTube Livestreams a viewer asked my opinion of this very subject.  So I thought it might be time to discuss this concern here on my blog.  But before we dive into the question if it’s a scam, allow me to provide a little more insight.

2017 – The Year of Farming

Just a few months ago I wrote about how I felt the year 2017 would go down as the year of farming.  If we count the final few months of 2016, along with the discussions for future agricultural based simulation games with planned release dates in 2017…one could easily say that 2017 would be “The Year of Farming”.  As we were all prepping for the end of 2016, Professional Farmer 2017 came crashing into the scene just ahead of the release of Giants Farming Simulator 17.  For the record, I did take a long hard look at Professional Farmer 2017, but decided to keep my money in my pocket.  I’m glad I did!  Even after many patches and updates, I still think this title has a very long way to go to be considered.  Another title (which really isn’t worth mentioning) is Farm Expert.  Like Professional Farmer 2017, I also gave this one a pass.

If you’ve been watching my YouTube channel, you know I’m very pleased with Giants Farming Simulator 17.  I have over 430 hours in the game (compared to 743 hours for FS15).  I realize I may not be setting any records with the amount of hours I’ve recorded in FS17, but these are all actual game play hours.  Meaning I’ve spent over 430 hours sitting at my gaming PC playing FS17.  Anyway….

In addition to the very promising release of Cattle and Crops (which I’ll discuss in a moment), another title which impressed me and I became excited about is Pure Farming 2017.  The team behind Pure Farming 2017 launched a website and a Facebook page.  Unfortunately, while I’m not saying this is a dead project…there really hasn’t been any new news on this title in some time.  I guess time will tell just what these guys are up to.  I suppose it really doesn’t matter as they haven’t approached the community for any money as of yet.

While my predictions of 2017 going down as the year of farming may not be looking as promising as it was in the Fall 2016 time frame, I suppose only time will tell.  Now, let me get back on subject.

Enter Cattle and Crops

It was early 2016 (February/March timeframe) when I first learned about Cattle and Crops.  The first blog entry I found where I mentioned CnC was dated 8 March 2016.  They released a “pre-alpha” video which really impressed me.  Ok…the video had a cat in it and that pleased me.  But the more I read about this game and their plans for it, the more and more impressed I became.  As the year progressed, the CnC Dev team released more information and more videos.  Sometime in the early Fall timeframe we learned CnC would be funded via a Kickstarter campaign.  I’ve supported many endeavors via Kickstarter in the past, but this would be the first time I would actually support software development.  I signed up immediately…it was a no-brainer.  At the time of the Kickstarter campaign the plan was to provide the financial backers with an early release product sometime in March 2017 with more expanded features afterwards, leading up to the full release sometime in late 2017.  I think everyone will agree, the Kickstarter campaign has been tremendously successful.  Based on the information published on the CnC website, they have a total of 10,071 Supporters who have contributed 460,726 Euro.

Why I don’t believe Cattle and Crops is a scam?

Understand, I absolutely do not have any first hand information to validate my opinions one way or the other.  Like many of you, I’m just simply an investor in the Cattle and Crops Crowdfunding campaign and (again, just like you) I anxiously await the early release and/or any news from the CnC Dev team.  Based on all that I have seen, read about and my own gut feeling….I truly believe this is a genuine software product (not vaporware) which is being actively developed with the intentions it will be released.

I believe much of the concern has to do with the delayed release of early access and the somewhat lack of communication from the CnC Dev Team.  I’ll address communications in a moment, but in the real world I work as an IT Manager for a large US based software company.  While my direct job isn’t in software development, I’m obviously aware of the various lifecycles a software product will go through from the time of its initial concept design to being 100% ready and rolled out to customers.  The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can often be an understatement when talking about software development.  As hard as any development team may try to avoid,  delays happen and it’s generally in everyone’s best interest to press the brake pedal, versus rolling full-steam ahead.  In addition, early release products and any associated dates of release should always be viewed with flexibility.  While I agree any published finished product dates should accompany a more solid commitment regarding the date, early access is just that….it’s an early access product.

In addition to what I’ve already stated, I also believe based on some of the individuals involved with the project who have experience with Courseplay, DriveControl, GearBox mod and Modhoster that we would have learned by now if this was destined to only be vaporware.  Moving along…

Communication, Communication, Communication

Early on, I was extremely impressed with the level of communication the Cattle and Crops team released.  While we’ll never know for sure, but I think it was the CnC communications efforts which drove Giants to do a much better job in communicating and building the media hype ahead of the release of Farming Simulator 17.  But unfortunately, I’m of the opinion that Cattle and Crops have really hurt their cause with their lack of communication in recent weeks.

As I’ve already stated, software development is not a perfect thing.  Delays can and will happen.  I fully support CnC’s decision to delay the early access release originally scheduled for March.  Especially after watching how Farm Expert and Professional Farmer 17 were received.  While I agree it wouldn’t be wise to communicate a new target date as often more delays occur and the last thing you want is to have to constantly communicate more delayed releases.  But at the same time, going almost completely dark isn’t helping their cause.

Now some will argue that it may take too much time to create game play videos and that CnC is better off keeping their nose to the grind stone and not wasting time communicating.  But honestly, I really don’t need a weekly YouTube video to keep me engaged in their progress.  A simple blog posting, Facebook posting or even Tweet on Twitter each week would be all that is needed to keep their audience in the loop.  To make us feel as if we’re still part of the process.

If the original early access release date was end of March (remember what I said earlier about flexibility), we are now one full month beyond that.  Most folks who may have helped to fund CnC may not be as familiar with how the software development process and early access releases work.  Again, a little more frequent communication from the CnC Dev Team is most certainly encouraged.

Now having said all the above, the CnC Dev team did release an inspiring video showcasing how they have resolved leaky barn roofs.  The timing of this video update couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  After watching this video and feeling impressed about what they have achieved, I sat down to record an episode on my Lone Star FS17 Let’s Play.  Before I could get all my work done it began to rain.  As I parked my tractor in the barn I happened to notice that it was raining just as hard inside the barn as it was outside.  See…it’s these little things that have me feeling so excited about the release of Cattle and Crops.  Immersion and realism is very important to me in a simulation based game.

Cattle and Crops a Game Changer

In closing, please allow me to remind you that I have no inside information.  I’m not associated with the CnC Dev Team outside of my financial investment as a crowdfund investor.  That’s It!  But I really, really believe we’re going to be surprised (in a good way) with what we’ll see both in the early access version and the full blown release version.  I stand by what I’ve said many, many times that I would much better wait for the product they intend us to have than to receive something that is half baked and riddled with problems.

Finally, I only have a need for ONE agricultural based simulation game in my library.  The main reason I got involved in the Kickstarter for CnC is I do firmly believe that Cattle and Crops will change the way we experience agricultural based simulation games.  While I think FS17 is an awesome product, I’m disappointed in the similarities with FS15.  Giants most likely (or should be) is in the process of really upping their game.   If history repeats itself (and I see no reason why it wouldn’t) we can expect to see Farming Simulator 19 in October 2018.  I’m more than certain Giants has been watching and we should assume that one (or more) of the 10,071 supporters of CnC are folks at Giants looking to get their hands on the game.  While I don’t like to make dire predictions, but when Cattle and Crops reveals it is everything we hoped it would be AND if Giants releases a product which is just a slightly enhanced version of FS17 but they call it FS19, then that my friends might just spell the end for Giants.  At least it will in my book…

I’m curious what you think.  Please leave your comments below.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

How to change the language of a map in FS17

I truly love helping my fellow farm sim enthusiasts, it’s really the main reason why I launched my GrizzlyBearSims blog site and the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel.  I have been blogging about my simulation based gaming efforts since 2007 and both through this blog site and my YouTube channel, I’ve met some truly incredible people that I happily call friends.  Many of my friends have launched their own media outlets to showcase their game play and also use their platforms in turn helping others as well.    One such friend, Farmer Klein has successfully launched his YouTube channel and is quickly gaining in subscribers and popularity.  I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to feature one of his most recent tutorials on my blog site.

Unfortunately, not all maps are created equal in terms of the written language.  Some of the truly great maps may feature a language other than English and perhaps we see the German language most frequently.  Having a wife who is fluent in several European languages has worked to my advantage many times.  However, I believe she has grown bored with me calling her over to my PC to translate words I don’t recognize and I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to change the language to English.  But I must admit, I’ve never really looked into how one goes about doing this and I really don’t have the time (or the desire) to do much with Giants Editor.  Well…..as Farmer Klein demonstrates in the video below…the process of changing the written, displayed language doesn’t require a degree in rocket science.   All that is needed is the desire, the time and the ability to use Google Translate (or have a multi-lingual wife who doesn’t mind helping).

If this interests you, (no you can’t borrow my wife) please watch the video below by my friend Farmer Klein.  After you watch the video, please show your appreciation of his hard work by subscribing to his channel and liking the video.  I’d like to give a really big Grizzly Bear “Thank You” to Farmer Klein for taking the time to showcase the steps required to change the language of a map.  Now if I can just figure out how to stop the trees and fence posts from jumping out in front of my tractor, I’ll be all set.  Mr. Farmer Klein….got a video tutorial for that?  LOL

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

FS17 Big Bud DLC

We are slightly less than two weeks away from the release of Giants second DLC pack for Farming Simulator 17.  This DLC pack features two different models of the Big Bud tractor and various pieces of equipment suitable for use with either of the two Big Bud tractors or even some of the larger in-game models we have available.  Before I forget to mention, you’ll want to visit the Farmer Klein YouTube Channel and if you’re not already a subscriber, go ahead and subscribe as Farmer Klein plans to record/release a first impression video highlighting 5 – 10 different maps suitable for the Big Bud DLC.

For those who follow my GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, you already know that I’m a fan of large maps, with large fields.  In FS15, I loved maps like Graceland, Oklahoma and States.  These maps allowed me to experience operating the largest equipment mods, operating multiple pieces of equipment working in the same field and just really satisfied my need of “GO BIG or GO HOME” farming.  In FS17, I’ve gently eased my toes into the waters of larger maps/larger fields with Pine Cove Farm and now my brand new series on Lone Star.  More about this in a minute…

Back to FS15, during my private play on the Oklahoma map I did download, install and try out the Big Bud tractor mod.  I honestly wasn’t impressed with it and returned to using my trusty John Deere tractors.  So when I learned about the upcoming Big Bud DLC for FS17, I did go ahead and pre-order, but as I’ve mentioned several times on my YouTube Channel…I really only was interested in the equipment and not the Big Bud tractors.

However, I recently discovered a real-life farming YouTube channel based in the Big Sky Country of Montana called Welker Farms Inc.  Welker Farms Inc. is based in North Central Montana and has been in operation since 1912.  Now I found their channel by way of my interest in aerial drone photography as they have just recently purchased the DJI Mavic Pro drone (same model as mine) and began watching their videos.  So in addition to showcasing their farming operations (which is very cool) they also have several videos featuring their fleet of….you guessed it….several Big Bud tractors.

I must say….the more I watch their channel, the more I see the Big Bud tractor in use on their farm, the more excited I am about the Big Bud DLC release and even using the Big Bud tractor on my GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel.  So yea….I’m sort of having a change of heart with regards to my opinion of the Big Bud tractor.

Yes…the Big Bud tractor is still an ugly beast.  But sometimes an ugly beast is exactly what is needed to get the job done.

Honestly speaking,  I believe much of the dislike I’ve experienced and shared of the Big Bud tractor is based on my experience with it in FS15.  I’m more than certain Giants will release a truly awesome version with their DLC pack.  Just a few days ago Giants released this blog update and how they sent some of their team here to the USA to “meticulously measure the exact details of the Big Bud 747” and “record the authentic engine sounds” for an “authentic as possible” in-game experience.  Knowing this information, I’m really beginning to change my opinion of this tractor.

As I mentioned a few minutes ago, I’m in the very early stages of my brand new Lone Star YouTube series.  I’ve already set the stage in the story line that our local equipment supplier has asked me to become a reference customer for the Big Bud tractor as they have one coming in very soon.  So sometime after the release of the Big Bud DLC, I will feature it on the channel in this fashion.  If my overall expectations are positive of the tractor itself, then you can expect to see it featured more on new maps suitable for the large equipment.

Well this just about wraps up all I wanted to mention in this blog post.  My apologies for not posting new articles on a regular basis.  I’ve somewhat been using my YouTube channel as a VLOG outlet and not spending as much effort in writing content here.  I’ll certainly try to do a better job at multi-tasking in the future.

Until next time….

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Farming Simulator 17– GBS Tutorials–Plowing with Courseplay

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Plowing with Courseplay

In this video, I provide instruction on how to plow with Courseplay.

Please note:  At the time of this recording, Courseplay for FS17 is in beta (work in progress).  As clearly stated in this video, neither the Courseplay development team or myself (GrizzlyBearSims) will be responsible for any possible damage caused to your FS17 game by using a beta mod.  While Courseplay is extremely stable, the use of ANY MOD can cause damage to your game saves.  Use Courseplay at your own risk!

Courseplay for FS17 available here https://courseplay.github.io/courseplay/

I hope you enjoy watching my videos.  If you do, please hit that “Like” button!  Also, if you are new to the channel, please SUBSCRIBE.  It really does help!

Please visit my blog site http://grizzlybearsims.com  You’ll find my complete mod list and various articles and reviews on many of the simulation based games I enjoy playing.

Farming Simulator 17 – Mod Review – Handbrake

Farming Simulator 17 – Mod Review – Handbrake

Back in the days of FS15, we had a wonderful Handbrake mod which provided handbrake or parking brake functionality on all vehicles.  I had actually forgotten about this wonderful mod until recently.  I was harvesting beets on Lawfolds and had an almost full tipper of beets parked (with tractor) on a slight incline.  Upon emptying the beet harvester, the tractor and tipper (filled with almost 31,000 liters of beets) began sliding down the hillside.  At that instance I remembered that wonderful mod and realized I must find it for FS17.

Fate is a funny thing really.  The very next day I happened to see a new video from Disco who shared how to modify the Handbrake Mod for FS17 to add sounds.  Could I do this?  Could I perform the edits and make it work like he did?  Yep…I certainly could and what a joy it is to now have a little added security in knowing I won’t need to go chasing after my tractors any longer.

If I can do it, so can you.  But you’ll need to watch Disco’s video and follow along for yourself as it would be right to share the edited mod.  In addition, you must also respect the work of the original modder and only use these edits for your own personal use.  Information on how to location Disco’s video is contained in the notes section of the video below.  Enjoy and don’t forget to set that handbrake!