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!

 

If I were a betting man…

So we now officially know the next US State DLC for American Truck Simulator will be the state of New Mexico.  While this news has been out for over a month, I’ve been checking my crystal ball to see if I could determine what SCS’s next move might be.  Of course, if I really had a working crystal ball…I would be doing more things with it other than attempting to learn what is in the minds of SCS.  Think lottery!  If I could win the lottery, I could retire and that would give me more time to spend playing all the wonderful simulation based games I love and of course blogging about them and creating YouTube content on my channel.  But nonetheless, I think the direction SCS chose for their USA map expansion was absolutely brilliant and makes 100% perfect sense and here’s why.

First, American Truck Simulator is of course an American based truck simulator.  Everything you need to know about this game is right there in the title.  One of the things that keeps America running is the trucking industry and the one thing that allows this to run as efficiently as it does is our interstate highway system.  Our US interstate highway system is truly a thing of beauty.  In the image below you can see the criss-crossing US Interstate Highway System and it is this image that hopefully provides direction to SCS for where to go next after New Mexico.  More about this in a minute.

 

Again, American Truck Simulator is about American based trucking.  While trucks transport cargo in local areas for short distances, in my opinion this game is really more about moving goods over longer distances.  Thankfully, SCS did the right thing by halting all future state DLC projects until the original map rescale was completed.  While many complained about this, it was the right decision and we are all so much the better for it.  Driving up and down I-5 in California or east along I-10 into Arizona really gives you the emersion of being a long-haul trucker.

It’s hard to judge just what the future holds for ATS.  Some speculate if SCS were to actually release each of the lower 48 US States that the project would be completed sometime before 2030 based on the current speed at which we’ve seen states being released.  Perhaps some of this task could be done by the modding community.  Actually a large portion of the US, Canada and Mexico has already been produced.  Unfortunately, it’s not always in the same level of detail as we expect from SCS.  I truly love what Promods have done in the ETS2 world and I wish they would get more involved in ATS.  I’ve driven Coast-to-Coast in ATS, but after the second or third time, seeing palm trees in non-coastal areas and some of the same cut and paste scenery is just a little boring.  But I digress…

If I were a betting man…I would say we will continue to see a more easterly movement with upcoming DLC releases (after NM of course).  I’ve read some comments on forums asking/pleading/demanding that SCS move north out of California to include Oregon and Washington.  While I think those states may be included at a future date, I don’t see this as a smart thing for SCS to do.  The decision for the state of New Mexico to be released after Arizona tells me that SCS will do one of two things and either of these two really excite me.

Option One

SCS could connect my birth state, The Lone Star State of Texas into the game after NM.  This plan would introduce a really HUGE area connecting interstates I-20, I-40, I-30, I-35, I-45 and most importantly continues the Route 66 journey.  The journey from El Paso to Orange, Texas along I-10 is a whopping 762 miles.  How’s that for long-haul trucking?  From LA to Orange along I-10 is a whopping 1,659 miles.  Again….can you say long-haul trucking?

Option Two

Another exciting option would be to drop in Utah and Colorado.  This could be done as either separate DLC state releases or perhaps a bundle and would really begin to fill in the southwest portion of the US map.  While the Texas option would be great for those looking to see how long it takes for their bottom to fall asleep, the UT and CO options could really introduce some challenging driving along I-70.  With the map expansion, driving along I-70 from UT, through Colorado to Denver will give virtual truckers a little “white knuckle” action.  Colorado will also connect to New Mexico and offer the I-25 route which can also be a nice challenging drive.

Either way, I see the best direction for SCS to take the ATS map is mostly east and north and fill in the necessary states along the way to continue utilizing the interstate highway system to its maximum potential.  I feel this is what excites most ATS users.  So if I were in charge at SCS this is how I would lay out the expansion after New Mexico.

Texas, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and continue moving east and north until you reach the east coast.  Of course, time will tell how all this pans out.  Until then…we just keep plugging away with CA, NV and AZ and loving every minute of it.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

Jerry

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Setting up an Equipment Transfer Course

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Setting up an Equipment Transfer Course

After having my arm twisted by my dear friend Eustace Pharmer, I’m going to do a full “how to” series on Courseplay for FS17.  Each video will contain just the information you need to configure Courseplay for the given task.  Over the next few weeks I’ll create these “no-nonsense” tutorial videos which I hope will help you in your virtual farming operations.

In this video, I provide instruction on how to setup an equipment transfer course to move equipment from point A to point B.  In the video, I discuss moving newly purchased equipment from the store to the main farm. But you can also easily setup transfer course from the main farm to a field and back.

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.

New FS17 Courseplay Tutorial Series

Hello Friends,

My apologies in neglecting keeping fresh content flowing through the pages of my simulation gaming blog site.  I’ve been having fun launching my YouTube Channel and producing video content showcasing my virtual farming adventures.  If you haven’t had the chance, please visit the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, Subscribe and dive in.

While I realize many YouTube channels may already feature FS17 Courseplay tutorials, some of these channels are victims of their own success.  What I mean by that is their channels are so BIG, these guys just don’t have time to respond to questions from their viewers.

Part of my day-to-day job in the real world is to write training documentation.  The thing I learned a long time ago is to “Get In, Get Out and Don’t Make Too Big of a Mess”.  I believe I’ve tried to convey this approach in some of my tutorials I’ve recorded for my YouTube Channel over the past 14 months or so.

Starting this week, I plan to release a series of tutorial videos on Courseplay for Farming Simulator 17 in my “no-nonsense” style of presentation.  Each video will contain just the information you’ll need to replicate the same action on your virtual farm.

To kick things off, I’ve recorded this brief introduction to Courseplay for FS17 including how to download, how to install and initial setup.  Thank you for watching!

 

FS17 Let’s Play–Pine Cove Farm by Stevie–Episode 1

FS17 Let’s Play–Pine Cove Farm by Stevie–Episode 1

I realize I once said that I wasn’t interested in playing a map based from the Goldcrest Valley template. But Stevie was the first map modder I was introduced to back in the days of FS15 and I’ve played just about everything he’s ever created. So naturally when I began hearing about Pine Cove Farm….I knew I had to make room for a series of play on this wonderful map. While Stevie used the base Goldcrest template, he’s changed it up significantly and it is a beautiful work of art. The map is version 1.0.0.3 (the final version according to Stevie). The only modifications I’ve made to the map are in the form of starting equipment and the number of owned fields.

In this series, I’ve been asked (along with my silent investor partners) to restore the village of Pine Cove back to the vibrant community it used to be. Most of the local farmers in this area have finally fallen victim to the poor economy and even the local industry has suffered. Through a large scale effort, we plan to return the Pine Cove area back to what it once was. As was the case in my Goldcrest Valley series, I’ll once again enlist the trusty help of Billy Bob, Jim Bob and Stan to help with the daily tasks on the farm.

This series will begin on Day 2, Mid Spring and I am using the Seasons Mod which is still currently in Beta. Each season will consist of three game days, for a twelve day year. We are running large herds of dairy cattle, sheep and pigs in this series and will also be operating the produce market, compost plant and Bio Gas facility. As we have a number of large fields, the operation will employ the use of AI workers in the form of Auto-Combine and Courseplay. In addition, large equipment and multiple combines will be required to get the job done.

I hope you like the color John Deere Green, because you’ll certainly be seeing a lot of Green on the map. PCF requires BIG equipment and that is just how we’re going to play this map. Go BIG or GO HOME!

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!

FS17 Seasons Mod

For most of us long time Farming Simulator gamers, there is a list of “must have” mods which many have already started to appear in FS17.  I’m talking about mods like CoursePlay, GPS Mod, AI Vehicle Extension Mod (AKA Auto-Combine).  Additionally, many of us have truly longed to experience seasonal farming.  Unfortunately, for the Farming Simulator series developed by Giants, it’s always a mix of Spring/Summer/Fall.  But things ARE about to change.

In what I believe will be the game changer in FS17 just like SoilMod was for FS15, the FS17 Seasons Mod is here.  Please note:  The FS17 Seasons Mod is still in BETA.  There are issues, there most likely be many more issues discovered.  This is how beta access works.  In other words, use at your own risk.

Please watch my review of the FS17 Seasons Mod which I cover how to download, install and discuss many of the features of this wonderful mod.  Information on where to download will be included in the video description on my YouTube Channel.  If this video has helped you, please consider visiting my YouTube Channel and leaving a Like.  Additionally, I hope you’ll also become a Subscriber of my YouTube Channel for more videos like this and of course my “Let’s Play” series.

Thank you for your time!  I truly hope this information helps you enhance your virtual farming experience.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

J