I know I’ve been extremely critical of Bus Simulator 16 since it was released over two months ago. Since that time (2nd March), I’ve only accumulated 20 hours in the game. If you so desire, you can read the content I’ve written about BS16. However, I would like to direct your attention to the last entry from 7 April which discussed a previous update. Today, I’m actually very pleased to say that StillAlive Studios finally….fixed an issue which should have never been an issue at all in an update which they released on 26 April. You can read all about that here.
You know….I can (and often) overlook little bugs and quirks in a piece of software. As I’ve stated before, I actually work for a large software company. I understand some of the challenges development and support teams face in keeping customers happy and providing some balance between what can and can’t be done technically through software. However, the main reason why I only have 20 hours of time invested in this game is because of one issue which I viewed as a complete showstopper in my ability to balance realism through simulation. Of course, I’m talking about the broken GPS functionality that StillAlive Studios FINALLY fixed with this update.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll go ahead and repeat myself now. The issue with the GPS should have never made it to production. There is no GPS on the face of the planet (that I’m aware of) that doesn’t auto-rotate the map and show the arrow always pointing up. My Garmin, my Magellan and even my smartphone all feature an auto-rotating map so the arrow points up. While SCS Software (the folks behind ATS and ETS2) certainly have some small bugs and quirks with their software…both ATS and ETS2 feature rotating maps. So therefore, Bus Simulator 16 should have never been released. But after two months, on what I believe is the third software update made available to BS16, this issue has been resolved. Finally!
More about the Update
This update (again released on 26 April) is the 3rd update made available to Bus Simulator 16 since it was released on March 2nd. This new update includes the following changes:
New Content: 5 brand new missions and decals Mouse-steering Increase angle limits of in-cockpit camera Adjustable sitting positions Assign camera centering to button GPS auto map rotation Sensitivity adjustments for keyboard steering Changes for Nvidia graphic cards in laptops Ability to rename bus routes (name and number) Turn signal indicator adjustments Curve Look (camera moves and follows as you turn into a curve) Option to disable cashier
Of course, I’m truly most happy about the GPS fix. This being either broken or poorly designed really had a significant impact on my realism through simulation. But the other item I’m almost equally excited about is the option to disable the cashier. I’ve disabled the cashier option and my bus company now requires either exact change, pre-paid bus passes or you can stand on the sidewalk. I really grew bored with making change.
Right now I’m really spending most of my gaming time playing American Truck Simulator (I’ve opened a virtual trucking company) and Farming Simulator 15. But I will (now that the GPS is fixed) spend a little more time with BS16. What about you?
I noticed earlier in the week that my Steam client downloaded a fairly large update to Bus Simulator 16. To be perfectly honest, the amount of time I’ve spent with BS16 has dwindled to absolutely nothing. I’ve been spending much of my gaming time playing Farming Simulator 15 and American Truck Simulator. I’ve pretty much all but given up on Bus Simulator 16 until they fix a few issues which really bug me.
Bus Simulator 16 was released just over one month ago. While Stillalive Studios have released a few patches to address a few bugs related to game performance, there are several issues outstanding and ONE REALLY BIG ISSUE that really keeps me from enjoying the game and most importantly removes any desire to even blog about it.
I’ve been blogging about simulation based games for over five years. I have attempted to keep any negativity towards a game, a game developer etc. to a minimum. However, for this game…and for this developer….I just find it hard to not speak my mind when it comes to an issue that absolutely drives me NUTS.
Hey StillAlive Studios….FIX THE BLOODY GPS/SAT NAV.
So back to this recent update…According to the Steam discussion group for Bus Simulator 16, the main purpose of the massive update was to position Bus Simulator 16 for a new DLC release. This new DLC is the MAN Lion’s City A 47 M Bus. The cost of this DLC is $1.99 USD. Based on the discussions (again in the Steam discussion group) users have had to ask what the massive update contained as there was no initial information provided. Needless to say, the user base isn’t pleased. Yes, other games developers release DLC and for the most part I always purchase DLC for the games I truly enjoy in an effort to help the developer. I consider this as an investment. In the example of Farming Simulator 15, I purchased the IT Runner DLC but have never used any of the gear. I considered that an investment in FS17. But with regards to Bus Simulator 16 and the new $1.99 MAN Lion’s City Bus DLC…for now, I’ll keep my $1.99 in my pocket.
Hey StillAlive Studios….FIX THE BLOODY GPS/SAT NAV.
I’ll be honest, I launched Bus Simulator 16 this morning fully expecting the GPS/SAT NAV would have been fixed. I say this because I didn’t bother looking up the release notes to the massive download and honestly assumed it contained some fixes that would make me smile. But no….
Here’s why this bugs me so much. To my knowledge, there is not a GPS or SAT NAV device on this planet which does not automatically rotate the map. My cheap Magellan I purchased 6-8 years ago auto-rotates. My more expensive Garmin Nuvi auto-rotates. Any map or navigation app on my Android devices auto-rotate. Back before all this fancy Sat Nav stuff became available/affordable and you were forced to use the old paper street maps, what was the first thing you did when using them? Yep, rotate it based on the direction you were driving. So why on earth would StillAlive Studios not put this functionality in from the very beginning? The GPS system in ATS and ETS2 function correctly. Why not Bus Simulator 16?
While I have no evidence to back up what I’m about to say. But my opinion on why they did it this way is based on either a screwup, a lack of testing or they simply have no clue how a GPS/Sat Nav system is supposed to work.
I’ve attached three screenshots which I captured from this mornings disappointing game play.
I honestly hope I don’t come off as whining about this. Yes the game is functional as it is. But as I’ve pointed out before, if you develop a game and add the word “Simulation” or “Simulator” to the title, then it needs to meet a certain standard of functionality within the abilities of computer technology. This simply causes this game to fail as a simulator in my opinion.
I’ll be more than happy to re-visit this game once another update is pushed out and I hope this is fixed.
Bus Simulator 16 was released via Steam one week ago today. I wrote my usual “My First Look” blog post last Friday after 5 hours of game play. As of today, one week after release, I have 18 hours of game play and have reached level 21, own 8 buses and employ 8 drivers and working towards completing the Tourist City Objective. I wanted to break away from playing the game to make a few comments.
In that “My First Look” blog post from last week, I indicated several things I Liked about the game and a much longer list of things I didn’t like about it. The “Things I Dislike” list was mostly a list of bugs I had encountered during the first 5 hours of play. Again, with almost 20 hours logged in the game…I’ve come up with a “Top Issues List”. Some of these issues I had pointed out last week and some I didn’t. By the way, the development team from Stillalive studios were super quick to push out an update last week to address poor performance issues in the game. They have also been awesome in providing support through the Steam Discussion page. I remain confident additional patches and fixes will be released in the coming days/weeks to address problems. Additionally, Stillalive Studios have been actively pursuing feedback and suggestions from the user community on what they would like to see added to the game. This is a fantastic game and I’m really looking forward to watching it grow. Now for my top issues list…
GPS Map Rotation
This one was at the top of my list last week and it is where it remains today. While this is just my theory, but this has to be a complete failure of the development and/or testing team. Regardless if I use my Garmin or my GPS enabled smartphone for SatNav purposes, the maps in these devices auto center and keep the arrow or vehicle icon always pointing up. The same applies in my friends expensive SatNav built into his high end SUV. Same goes for the SatNav in both ETS2 and ATS. So it’s not hard to connect the dots and place this issue as a mistake in coding and/or testing. As I’m not a software developer, I don’t immediately know what level of effort it will take to correct this issue. But I would think it would be a simple fix and I hope one that comes sooner rather than later.
Steering Wheel Support
Let me just state for the record that most of what I outlined with issues I had experienced with Steering Wheel Support have been resolved. Remember, I had mentioned that no matter what I did, my Logitech G27 wheel was very hard to turn as if the force feedback was set to max. I had tried everything suggested in the Steam discussion group. I had both sets of Logitech drivers installed and had tweaked a variety of settings in both the game and in the Logitech Profiler. What did I do to resolve my tight wheel issues? I really don’t know. But I think it had to do with me uninstalling and reinstalling the Logitech drivers for their new line of controllers. Understand, these drivers don’t have anything directly to do with the G27. These drivers won’t recognize the G27. But according to the Bus Simulator 16 developers, the Logitech wheel support they developed into the game requires at least part (probably a .dll somewhere) of this new Logitech driver package. I had installed it before, but after removing it and reinstalling it again, magically my G27 loosened up on me.
AI Traffic Brake Lights and Turn Signals
Neither exist in the game play. I also find this a bit ironic considering we as game play bus drivers are rewarded with using our turn signals. It would really help to have the AI vehicles also use their turn signals. Brake lights is also one seems to have been overlooked.
Yes there are many other areas which I hope in time will be addressed. Things like TrackIR support, other AI Bus Traffic etc. I hope will come in time. But I’m also hopeful and perhaps optimistic that at the very least the GPS map rotation issue will be address in the next patch. I would hope we would see the next patch in the next few days.
Until next time…
P.S. Bus Sim 16 Developers, please…please fix the GPS map rotation soon. Thank you for all your hard work to bring us what I believe will become a fantastic bus simulator.
Last week after having spent approx. 5 hours playing Bus Simulator 16 and 2 frustrating hours trying to setup my Logitech G27, I wrote the following blog article to provide my overall feedback of the game. Since Friday, I have accumulated another 8+ hours which brings me to almost 14 hours of game play in Bus Simulator 16. Despite the challenges, I’ve managed to rank up in the game and currently I’m at level 19 and working on the Heavy Metal Objective. (see image below) Along with reaching Level 19 status and successfully completing the first two tasks, I have €274,801 in the bank, I own five busses (including one SAS Bendy Bus) and employ 5 wonderful drivers. I average approx. €23,000 per week on this current route setup.
Of course, to accomplish the third task I will need to have a total of 4 modern buses (2010 or newer). My bus fleet (at the moment) consists of the following:
2 – SAS A38G 2005 (41 Seats, no auto ramp, no bendy bus, cost new 89,900)
1 – SAS B41R 2008 (34 Seats, no auto ramp, no bendy bus, cost new 109,900)
1 – SAS C58B 2012 (40 Seats, yes auto ramp, no bendy bus, cost new 150,000)
1 – SAS Bendy X79 2014 (62 Seats, yes auto ramp, yes bendy bus, cost new 270,000)
What to do? I am 50% away from accomplishing this third task. The entrepreneurial aspect of the game is something I really enjoy. The way I see it, I have two options:
Option 1 – Sell and Replace
With the on-hand cash I have (274K), I only need to clear €26,000 from the sell of the two SAS A38G 2005 models to then purchase two new C58B (2012 models) at €150,000 each. In theory, this should keep my weekly earnings in the €23,000 range and it wouldn’t take long to build up my cash reserves for whatever the future challenges might require.
Option 2 – Buy and Grow
My gut tells me to always keep the needle pointing towards growth. While option 1 will quickly satisfy the objective and earn me access to the Inner City District, I won’t really have the financial resources to grow into that new route immediately. Plus I really haven’t established myself in the industrial district. I see option two as the conservative approach and allows me to immediately purchase one new C58B (2012), hire a new driver and establish a new route. This action should increase my weekly average above the €23,000 I’m earning now. Then after 1-2 weeks, I should have earned enough to purchase a second C58B (2012), hire another driver and establish yet another route. This would give me a total of seven buses, seven drivers and complete the current objective.
I suppose there is a third option. It would somewhat resemble option two, but it would be purchasing the smaller MAN bus which I believe has a price tag of €300,000 (I’m not near my game PC while I write this). But here’s the deal with this option. Is there truly a valid reason to purchase the MAN over the SAS equivalent? Does the MAN bus offer features/benefits that differ from the SAS in terms of my personal driving experience? In other words, if the drive dynamics are the same (I believe they are)…then I’m really not bothered by staying with the SAS. Being an American, living in America…I have no brand loyalty towards MAN. If Gillig were an option, then perhaps it would be a different story.
So to wrap this up, I believe I will follow the conservative approach to growing the company and at the same time purchase the newer SAS C58B bus models to eventually complete the third task and fully complete this current objective.
Finally, I stand behind all the points I made about the things I disliked about Bus Simulator 16 last week. Please take a few minutes to read that post if you haven’t already. HOWEVER, I’m truly impressed at the level of dedication the development team are making in helping to answer questions (many the same ones over and over and over again) and what I believe is their overall commitment to the games success. Yes, I will be disappointed if we don’t see a game update or patch in the coming days to address some issues. For example, I truly believe the SatNav map issue must have been an oversight on the part of the dev and testing team. So I would expect this to be something they take seriously and fix very soon.
In closing, I will continue to play and stream Bus Simulator 16 (along with all my other simulation game interests) and continue to document my progress here. Likewise, I’ll most certainly update my readers on the overall progress made by the dev teams through game updates/patches in the coming weeks. We must accept the fact that some things will take time to fix and implement. As long as Stillalive and Astragon continue to “move the chains”, I will be one of their biggest cheerleaders on the sidelines.
I must be 100% honest. While watching many of the Twitch streamers on Wednesday, 2 March 2016 (the release day) I had almost convinced myself to give this game a pass. At least for now. My reasoning for this was due to the fact that I just didn’t feel the game was 100% ready for prime time. But today I noticed they have pushed a patch out to address some of the performance issues many experienced on day 1 and while I don’t know with any degree of certainty know if all the issues regarding performance have been fully resolved, the action of the developer to listen to the customers and perform some optimization has convinced me to give the game a try.
A little fine print before I get started with my review. First, I’m an independent and non-professional blogger. Meaning, I am not earning any revenue (subscriptions, donations etc.) from my blogging or streaming activities. Second, I purchased Bus Simulator 16 via the Steam store and paid the same amount of money that any one else would pay. So my feedback is that of an unbiased customer who has no obligation to anyone other than those who read my blog or view my Twitch Live Streams. Having said all that, allow me to provide you my review.
After having spent a few hours playing Bus Simulator 16, I must say that I still believe this game needs more work. Actually, a lot of work! But first, let me get back to my game play. I purchased, downloaded and install Bus Simulator 16 on Thursday, 3 March. To date, I’ve invested a total of 5 hours (per Steam), but another 2 hours mucking about trying to get my Logitech G27 wheel and pedals to work. As I had mentioned in my post yesterday about this game, I had watched several live streamers on Tuesday (release day) who I know were using Logitech G27 wheels and pedals, and they made no mention of any issue. As a matter of fact, I even remember one well known streamer applaud the game developers for making it so easy. So you can imagine my surprise when after I installed the game, launched it and began to work through the process of configuring my G27 that I ran in to roadblock after roadblock. Basically the game would fully recognize the wheel and all buttons. But it simply would not recognize the pedals.
To make sure something hadn’t happened with my G27, I fired up American Truck Simulator and all worked fine. I then launched Farming Simulator 2015 and yep…all worked fine. For the heck of it, I even launched Euro Truck Simulator 2 (fully knowing what would happen) and yep…I wasn’t disappointed. It worked! Then back to Bus Simulator 16 and no worky. Grrrrr
It seems as if all user support is being handled via the Steam Discussion section. So I did some searching and found I was not alone. Many others had been pulling their hair out as well in trying to get the pedals working. Some of the info provided was as follows:
The need to have both the newest version of the Logitech gaming software installed and the older 5.10.x version. Now keep in mind that those of us using the G27 need the older 5.10.x version as the newer 8.x version is not for the G27 hardware and will not recognize it. But somehow, Bus Simulator 16 needs a .dll from the new version to assist with Force Feedback issues. Ok…so I installed the new version and tested. Still no worky.
Finally, further down in the discussion threads I found that with the G27 (perhaps other controllers as well) that having the option for “Combined Pedals” enabled in the Logitech Gaming Software will cause Bus Simulator 16 to not detect the G27 pedals. However, as those of us who have the G27’s know…games like ATS, ETS2 and Farming Simulator 15 need this option checked or they don’t work. From what I have read in the forums, more games require this option versus those that don’t. So I guess it is a bit of a head scratcher as to why they setup Bus Sim in this fashion.
OK…now with that resolved, let’s play Bus Simulator 16. As I mentioned earlier, I have 5 hours of game play. I feel this is substantial enough to provide a “First View” and as the game is still new…I want others to have the opportunity to read this review as soon as possible. I will post follow up articles as I continue to accumulate more time in the game and of course as (hopefully) patches are released to resolve some of the problems plaguing the overall game play. To my knowledge, one patch has already been pushed out to address various performance and functional issues. All time spent playing the game has been with that patch installed.
Things I like
Language Support – I truly applaud Stillalive Studios for making this game multi-language. While the game developers are German and the game play takes place in a fictional city in Germany, they have done a great job in supporting other languages.
Entrepreneurial Simulation – It’s possible Bus Simulator 16 is more of a simulation of running a bus company than it really is about driving a bus. But of course, you get to do that too. The game play requires you to purchase additional busses, hire drivers and establish efficient routes. As you play along the city rewards you by granting you access to additional parts of the city.
Mod Support – I believe without this important piece, this game would quickly die. These types of games take on a completely different life when the mod community starts working their magic. By allowing mod support from day one, it will allow for a lot of game customization that the developers just won’t have the time or ability to perform. Once the mods start rolling in, I believe the level of excitement for the game will also increase and that will be a win-win for all parties.
Modern Feeling – Unlike OMSI 2 which depicts bus service in Spandau in 1986 and 1994, Bus Simulator 16 has a more modern appearance.
Learning as you play along – Taking the tutorial which is offered at the start of the game is both comical and informational. Plus in order to unlock certain things in the game, the process makes you paint a bus, apply decals etc. Just play the tutorial and you’ll laugh and learn all at the same time.
Performance – I can’t attest to what the in-game performance was like before the patch was released. But I can tell you that my gaming system (with my new 980Ti) doesn’t even work up a sweat with this game. While I think there is room for improvement, it hasn’t performed in such a way that I couldn’t play and enjoy the game.
Things I dislike
GPS Map Rotation – This is HUGE. While your bus is equipped with a GPS SatNav device (a tablet on the dash). The arrow which indicates the position of the bus does not function correctly. The map doesn’t auto-rotate and it can be a bit confusing as to which direction you should turn. While it can be worked out with a little patience…with everything else you need to look out for when driving (AI Cars, AI People) etc. This simply just needs to be fixed by a patch.
Steering Wheel Support – As I shared before, better support for our wheels and pedals is not only appreciated, it needs to be a requirement. With all other driving games that I know of requiring “Combined Pedals” to be enabled in the Logitech gaming software, just patch this game to also require that and we’ll all be happy. Also, why should I be required to install a set of drivers for a version of a Logitech product that I don’t own?
No TrackIR Support and poor camera support – I was somewhat late in using TrackIR for most of my simulation games. I’ve only had my TrackIR unit for about 18 months. But in that time I’ve grown to use it in Flight Sim and ETS2/ATS. Yes there are times I don’t use it, but I very much like the fact that the functionality is there. But there is no TrackIR support in Bus Simulator 16. Surprisingly, some of the comments from the developers tend to lead me to believe it will not be high on their priority list. This is unfortunate because the in-game camera view system is also very disappointing.
No other AI busses – I’ve spent 5 hours driving around my little virtual city and I’m the only bus on the road. I see cars, I see the occasional police car and those bloody ambulances….but no other busses. I just looked outside my office window and within 2-3 minutes I saw three city busses drive by.
In-Bus Events (passengers standing in the way of the door) – OK…this is really getting old. Occasionally, as driver you’ll need to go to the back of the bus because a passenger is standing (just standing) in the doorway entrance. I wouldn’t mind if this type of event occurred once in every 3-4 hours of game play. But experiencing it more frequently is more of a pain in my opinion.
Multiplayer doesn’t mean what we think it should mean – The game features what is called multiplayer functionality. You can invite your friends to drive your established bus routes which will help you grow your business at a faster rate. But you won’t see your friends driving around in other busses. So multiplayer isn’t really what we think it is or what we’ve come to know it to be. When I think multiplayer, I think flying an airplane on VATSIM or the MP servers for ETS2 and ATS, or even the multiplayer functionality of Farming Simulator where you can invite friends into the game to help you farm your land. That is Cool….this….not so much!
Advertising and Art Work – The advertising banners and art work included in the game is some pretty weak sauce. Makes the game feel like it is geared towards children. I completely understand issues with licensing and copyright infringement. But the advertising banners provided in the game look nothing like advertising banners. The developers could have spent more effort and come up with some nice looking banners, using fictional company names instead of what they provided. Of course, the modding community is already working hard to provide real life company banners and better art work. Thank you!
Human AI looked better in Second Life when it debuted in 2003. I did play Second Life for about 5 minutes back in 2003 or 2004 when it first came out. The human AI in Bus Simulator 16 is pretty bad…but it is better than OMSI 2.
Is it really a Simulator? I have a very narrow definition of what makes a game become worthy of the term simulator. While many of the elements are there…so many just are not (at this point in time).
Price – Perhaps with everything I’ve pointed out, the price is a bit high. Especially if you compare it to say American Truck Simulator at $19.99 versus Bus Simulator 16 regular price of $24.99 (currently on sale at $22.49). While I realize there are some differences between what ATS offers and what Bus Simulator 16 offers, ATS is far more aligned with the definition of a simulation based game than Bus Sim 16 (at this time).
GPS/SatNav really needs work.
Not sure what we are advertising on our bus roof, but they are bringing in $2000 per week.
This idiot was just standing in the door way. When I asked him to move, he tells me he didn’t realize he was in the way.
My final thoughts. I’ve been blogging about simulation games and my personal activities and game play in these simulation based games for over 5 years. I truly hope that in this span of time I’ve provided more help, direction, tips and general insight into these games through this blog than to use this blog as a mechanism to complain and be negative. I realize I’ve pointed out a lot of areas that I feel fall short of a game being called a simulator. I’m not picking on this game or singling it out. I truly hope that in time (sooner rather than later) I can return to the subject of Bus Simulator 16 and be able, without any hesitation say…this is truly a simulator. But right now, this games falls really short of using the word simulator in the title.
Going forward, other than to hopefully report on some good news regarding patches to Bus Simulator 16 and to showcase cool mods, I’m really not sure how much content I’ll be able to provide. As it currently stands, the game really doesn’t lend itself to provide detailed adventure type stories the way I do with the Trucker’s Logbook for ATS/ETS2 etc. But we’ll see.
Well…that really is all I can come up with for now. I’ll hammer away at Bus Simulator 16 more over the weekend and try to grow my bus empire.
Until next time…
When you step on the bus, please have the exact change and take a seat.
Has anyone been watching the Twitch Live Streams or YouTube videos regarding the newly released Bus Simulator 16? What are your thoughts? What are your opinions? I had been thinking about adding OMSI 2 for several months. With Aerosoft behind the development of the game I felt like it would be a good purchase. However, it was released in late 2013 and from watching videos and reading reviews, the graphics are rather lacking, the overall game performance is mediocre and I keep hearing how difficult it is to setup. Finally the price. OMSI 2 sells for $34.99 in the Steam Store and various add-on DLC starts at $9.99 with some commanding up to $34.99 for what appears to be an unfinished map.
Yesterday, Wednesday 2 March a brand new Bus Simulator was released via the Steam Store simply called Bus Simulator 16. At the current moment, Bus Simulator 16 is on sale at 10% off (ends 9 March) and will cost you $22.49 USD (Reg. price $24.99). You can also visit the external website for Bus Simulator 16 here. The game is available for both PC and Mac.
As I stated, I watched several excellent Twitch Streamers on Wednesday who played the game for several hours. Most had very positive feedback for the game but pretty much everyone agrees that it does need some work. The great news about the game is it does offer mod support. While I’m sure the game developers will address the important issues with the game, mod support will also help make this a very successful game.
Take about 5 minutes of your time and watch TheNorthernAlex provide an “Everything You Need To Know” overview of Bus Simulator 16. This is a brand new feature on his channel and he is kicking it off with Bus Simulator 16.
Finally, you may also want to read the player reviews on the Bus Simulator 16 Steam Store Page. But I would encourage you to read these with an open mind. I’m certainly not attempting to convince you to purchase (or not purchase) this game…I’m simply saying that many of the negative reviews were posted with little actual playing time.
Will I purchase this game? Yes…I am planning to purchase Bus Simulator 16 today (Thursday). I may even live stream my experience from the very beginning. So please check out my Twitch channel and go ahead and follow me so you’ll receive the notification when I go live.