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

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

Peterbilt 389 by Viper2

I guess this could be classified as a mod review.  But then again I’ve already reviewed this mod some time ago.  While there are many outstanding mods available for both ATS and ETS2, it is my opinion that the Peterbilt 389 by Viper2 is the VERY BEST!  Just to be clear, I’m not saying his Peterbilt 389 is the best truck mod.  I’m actually saying this Peterbilt 389 is the BEST MOD PERIOD!  At least it is my favorite.

I spent a long, long time playing ATS on the multiplayer servers where mods like this are not allowed.  I really…really….I mean I really missed playing ATS with mods.  As with other simulation based games I enjoy, the mods really make the experience.

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The Peterbilt 389 by Viper2 not only looks fantastic…it performs very well.

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Why haul for Walbert when you can haul for Snap-On Tools?

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The sun may be setting on this game day, but the Peterbilt 389 by Viper2 will see many sunrises and sunsets.

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If you are a fan of American Truck Simulator and you have not tried this Peterbilt 389 by Viper2, what are you waiting for?  You’ll find it in the Steam Workshop.

Enjoy!

Happy Trucking!!!

Jerry

ATS Rescale News

On Monday, 5 September SCS Software released brand new screenshots for the much anticipated ATS map rescale project.  While the screenshots are certainly welcome, the better news from SCS is they are “finishing work faster than initially anticipated”.  The info went on to state that they believe internal testing could begin in several weeks and after (only after) will the open beta be made available.

I truly must say that SCS Software is perhaps the best at keeping its users informed of changes and projects for the simulation based games I enjoy.  You can read more about the ATS rescale project and view the screenshots here.

As I’ve previously mentioned in an earlier blog posting, my summer has been extremely busy.  What little time I’ve had for game play I’ve spent farming.  ATS and ETS2 are certainly sim based games I still enjoy and I’ll return to them when time permits.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

Jerry

More like this please…

I’m slowly starting to explore more and more of the new Arizona expansion map for American Truck Simulator.  While Arizona has been available for several weeks, between my work schedule and a much needed long vacation, and even spending a little more time in Euro Truck Simulator 2, Farming Simulator 15 and Flight Sim….I’ve only recently discovered something that I really enjoyed. 

This past Sunday, I delivered a load of Yoghurt from Bushnell Farms in Holbrook to Tidbit in Kayenta.  The drop point is shown below in the captured screenshot. 

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SCS Software, Please, Please, Please….more like this!  This delivery point was a slight challenge (not super hard, but also not super easy).  But the important element I’m wanting to make here is this delivery point really pushes the Realism through Simulation element that I strive for.  I’d really love to see more delivery points just like this as SCS Software expands ATS into future states. 

Finally, I realize my blogging efforts have slowed to a mere trickle in recent weeks.  Again, this is mostly due to my work schedule and a recent European family vacation.  As I get caught up at work, as I get over both a cold and jetlag…and as I spend more time with all my favorite simulation games….THERE WILL BE more blog postings.  So please stay tuned…

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!

Jerry

American Truck Simulator Arizona

The very highly anticipated map update to include the US State of Arizona was officially made available yesterday (Monday, 6 June) for American Truck Simulator.  In addition to this new US State, several features and enhancements were also included for both ATS and ETS2.

I’ve had a really busy last couple of weeks and my blogging efforts have suffered.  I did not participate in the Arizona beta as I was busy and two, well…I just typically steer clear of beta projects.  It simply reminds me too much of my real world job.  Anyway, I did manage to take a short drive from Las Vegas, NV to Page, AZ.  I would have spent more time exploring Arizona, but I spent about an hour tinkering with my Logitech G27 as it seemed to have forgotten it was a steering wheel controller.

Thankfully the issue with the G27 WAS NOT due to the Arizona update but was an issue caused by a recent Microsoft Windows 10 update.  Many other users who have the G27 and run Windows 10 are reporting the same issue.  I think this update must have dropped about a week or so ago as I began noticing some really odd behavior from my G27 at that time.  Simply, normally when I boot up my sim PC my Logitech G27 will make a few movements as the software identifies the device and calibrates it.  But about a week ago, the G27 wheel would turn and pause, turn and pause…over and over and over.  It seemed possessed.  But I was spending time flying and just eventually unplugged the G27 until last night.

The fix for me was simply to uninstall the Logitech Profiler software (for the G27 it is version 5.10) and re-install.  This corrected the issue and I was 100% back in business.  However, as I’ve been reading on the Steam forums this morning, other users haven’t been so lucky.

If a simple uninstall and reinstall of the Logitech Profiler software does not fully resolve your issue, then you may consider following the steps below.  These were posted on the Steam ATS Discussion Group page.  Please note that I’ve not tested the below steps, so your mileage may vary.

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**** ALL CREDIT TO USER AGENTZ86 ON LOGITECH FORUMS FOR THE FIX *****
Re: G25/G27 is detected as Driving Force – FIXED – SOLVED [ Edited ]
Here is my fix: – Works on Windows 10 too
Turn off / exit the GS 5.xx software
•Go to – Control Panel / Hardware Sound / Device Manager
•At the bottom of the device list you will probably see a item shown as (Universal Serial Bus Device) This will show you USB devices
•One of them will be the G27 (it might be in another location on that list but usually in (Universal Serial Bus Device)
•Right click on the G27
•Select (update driver software)
•Select (Browse my computer for driver software)
•Select (Let me pick from the list of device drivers on my computer)
•There will be a list of a few things perhaps G27 or even some assistant thing showing up in there (just fyi)
•The one you want is (USB device). This will remove that assistant thing that is creating this paradox.
** NOTE: If there is no choice for a USB device then (uncheck the option for *show compatible devices)
This will show a huge list of manufacturers etc.
From here scroll to the top of the list and select (Standard system devices)
Then on the right you scroll down to select (USB input device)
This will cause the Driving Force which gets selected by the assistant device to be removed and all association with it.
Now the G27 will show up under the (Human Interface Devices) Instead and will work perfectly without forgetting who it is.
Turn on your GS 5.xxx profiler and BOOM all should be well no rebooting and no reloading anything at all.

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Well that is all I have time for at this time.  Of course, multiplayer will not currently work with the ATS update.  TruckersMP are working hard to update their multiplayer servers and software to accommodate all these changes (including Arizona).  No timeframe has been given on when the update will be made available.  I think the last major update (custom wheels) took TruckersMP about a week.  So just be patient….enjoy Arizona in offline mode and multiplayer will be ready when it is ready!

In closing, I’m sure the Steam Discussion groups will soon begin to fill up with questions regarding what the next state will be.  While I have no official knowledge, I think we can be assured the next state to be released for ATS will be one of the following:  Oregon, Utah or New Mexico.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

J

ATS Mod Review–Freightliner Classic

Since the release of American Truck Sim, I’ve been driving the default or in-game trucks.  Like many others, I’ve added sound mods to get a better and more true-to-life sound from these trucks.  It was quite disappointing the first day I played ATS to sound the horn on my brand new Peterbilt and it sounds like beep-beep instead of the HONK-HONK that it should have.  I still tend to switch between my Peterbilt 579 and the Kenworth W900.  However, I was out looking at a few of the mod websites and I saw this Freightliner Classic which had been re-worked and had pretty positive feedback in the comment section.  So I decided to try it out.

Like the Kenworth W900, it has that classic truck look.  The pictures below show the base truck as it comes from the dealership (it can be purchased from any Kenworth dealership).  I upgraded the engine and transmission to better suit my needs (more power).

The interior is nice and clean.  It features an on-dash SatNav and digital gear indicator just below.

I hauled a load of pipe from Los Angeles, CA to Ely, NV and she handled well.

What is the Featured Mod and what does it do?

This mod is the Freightliner Classic Truck mod for American Truck Simulator.  The mod adds this truck to your list of purchasable trucks and can be found at any Kenworth dealership.

 

How can I get this mod?

The Freightliner Classic Truck mod mod for American Truck Simulator is available here.

 

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in American Truck Simulator” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

J

Arizona DLC–Worth the Wait

Arizona DLC – Worth the Wait.  I know many will disagree with me.  But based on the images below, the much anticipated Arizona DLC from SCS Software for the awesome American Truck Simulator will be well worth the wait.  I have been fortunate in my lifetime to visit the Grand Canyon several times.  My first visit was back in the 80’s.  As a teenager I realized the Grand Canyon was more than “just a big ditch”.  I was inspired by the beauty and from these images, SCS Software have done an outstanding job capturing the “Grand” in Grand Canyon.  I’m also pleased to see they have added points of delivery here as I believe it will provide more realism for the game.  Anyone can deliver frozen foods to a Walbert in Los Angeles, Las Vegas or even Phoenix (when AZ is released).  But moving heavy machinery, goods and other items of interest to this wonderful and very beautiful place will be most incredible.

Seeing what SCS Software has done with the Grand Canyon, truly gives me hope for what I believe they can (and will do) for the state I call home…Colorado.   Of course, who knows when Colorado will be released.  Perhaps sometime soon after Utah as they continue their move eastward.

Enjoy the images.

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These images are the property of SCS Software and posted here as a newsworthy source.  If you are interested in purchasing American Truck Simulator, please visit the American Truck Simulator Steam page.

Until next time…

Dreaming of Arizona!

J

I Must Be Nuts…

Wheel nuts that is. 

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Yea…I’ve been critical of SCS Software before and I’ve recently written several blog articles about the new update for ATS and ETS2.  But, while I really don’t need to “tune my nuts”…I did put my money where my mouth is an purchased their brand new DLC titled “Wheel Tuning Pack”.  It’s available at the Steam Store for $2.99 USD.  If you own both ATS and ETS2, then you only need to purchase it once and you’ll get the DLC for both titles.   Look…I’ll be the first to say that I feel there are a lot of other things SCS Software should be working on before working on a wheel tuning pack so I can paint my nuts.  But….But….like many of you, I truly love ATS and I want to see this franchise be successful and I’m willing to support that success any way I can, and the best way I can do that is to purchase the DLC.  So I did.

Until next time…

What color will you paint your nuts? 

J

ATS/ETS2 Recent Updates

If you are a Steam user of either (or both) American Truck Simulator or Euro Truck Simulator 2, you probably are aware a software update was automatically pushed out in recent days.  The official update versions are as follows:  ATS 1.2 and ETS2 1.23. 

I don’t know about you, but I had a bear (a Grizzly Bear) of a time with ATS after the update.  For about 12 hours I believed I had lost much of my overall progress with my career save profile (the one I started the game with).  I assumed most of the mods I had installed prior to the update would cause ATS to blow up, so I deactivated them from the ATS Mod Manager.  Upon doing this, it caused ATS to crash when loading into my saved profile.  After several swear words, and a not so restful nights sleep…I approached it again this morning and managed to get it working.  Look for a soon-to-be-released blog post on how I resolved this issue. 

Anyway, speaking about the ATS update (because I haven’t even dared to launch ETS2), it really is more than just custom lug nuts.  I know even I’ve been critical of SCS Software for bringing us custom lug nuts before delivering Arizona and before fixing some of the most talked about issues.  But Hey-Ho, you gotta start somewhere….and as I said, the update for ATS is more than just custom lug nuts.

Steam Workshop

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This is perhaps what I’m most excited about with this update.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it can be when dealing with all these mod download sites and their ads and high risk of malware.  From what I understand, the Steam Workshop will be a much safer alternative (and much easier to use) form of finding awesom mods to enhance ATS and ETS2.  Here’s the offical explanation of the Steam Workshop.  “Steam Workshop is a hub which allows simply distribution of game modifications created by community.  Thanks to Steam Workshop, you can download and install mods effortlessly from a safe and trusted place.”  You complete have me at SAFE and TRUSTED!I’ve already downloaded/installed a few really awesom mods from the Steam Workshop and suggest you take a look for yourself. 

 

Ultimate Wheel Customization

Yea, yea….I know.  I’m sure someone, somewhere is/was really exited to know that SCS Software was working so hard on custom lug nuts.  This is not high on my list of priorities.  After all, I can’t really see my lugnuts as I’m motoring down the interstate.  But perhaps this is clearing the way for better things.  So it is what it is!

UI Changes

There are a number of nice changes made to the user interface in this update.  They include:

Navigation path (red line) can be disabled (option)

Disable of hidden Route Advisor popups (option)

Autopark feature can be disabled (option)

Speeding highlight on Route Advisor

The last two are perhaps my picks from this list.  I don’t need autopark and while most times the speed will be highlighted in red (I almost always drive slightly over the speed limit as I do in real life), it is still good to know.

Vehicles

The following enhancements relating to vehicles are part of this update:

Fixed cruise control locked on by retarder

Multiple position of engine brake

Improved truck stability during retarder usage

Keyboard steering improved

Map

Speed limits polished

Speed limits signed enlarged

Stop signs removed from traffic light controlled crossroads

Turn left traffic added to some crossroads

Certified scaled are now working

Traffic light on interstates removed (where possible)

OK…so while there were some nice changes to the map dept.  There still so much work that needs to be done to fix really bad issues which truly break with reality.  The intersection in Tonopah still needs to be fixed and while they removed the traffic light/stop signs on I-80 in Reno, they still have the speed limit set at 30 mph.  I really doubt I-80 slows to 30 mph.

Other

AI improvments

Steam Achievements for Nevada

I’m not sure exactly what sort of AI improvements were made.  But hopefully SCS Software sent all the AI to drivers training and as a result we can anticipate the level of respect truckers deserve on the highway.  But the jury is still out on this one…As for Nevada achivements, looks like I earned both of those (Silver State – Discovery of every city in Nevada and Gold Fever – Deliver cargo to both quarries in Nevada).  Not sure why these achivements were part of the game from day one.  Hopefully any Steam achivements for Arizona will be available when that DLC is released.  Perhaps that is the cause of the delay?  ha ha ha

In closing, yea…I know I’ve mentioned lugnuts several times in this blog posting.  As you can see for yourself, this software update was much more and I’m truly excited for Arizona.  I think we must be close now….  Are we there yet?  Are we???

 

Until next time…

You’ll find me waiting for AZ DLC!

J