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

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

The Value of FS15

As I type this blog article on 28 September 2016, we are less than one month away from the release of Farming Simulator 17.  Giants will release Farming Simulator 17 on 25 October.  The ability to Pre-order (with incentives) is currently still available.  Just about everyone I know have either already pre-ordered FS17 or have committed to making the move.  Actually most everyone I know, while certainly reserved regarding the true differences between FS15 and FS17, are actually pretty excited about the new release.  I actually fall into this category as well.  While I’m trying very hard not to get my hopes up, I am still excited about the changes I’ve seen and read about.

Again, as I’m typing out the words in this article, some farming sim enthusiasts are still actually weighing the value of Farming Simulator 15 and its DLC packages.  A fellow FS15 gamer posted a question in the Steam discussion groups asking for opinions if “it really made sense” to purchase the FS15 DLC he is currently missing in his collection.  He recognizes the cost of the missing DLC (he confirms to own the Gold Edition) exceeds the price of FS17, but still wants to know if it is really worth it.

There is a saying (at least in the US) that goes like this.  “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  Said in another way, what is valuable to one individual, may not hold the same value to another.  By the way, I’m certainly not calling FS15 DLC trash.  I actually responded to this individuals question with the following statement “I think you are the only person who can really answer this question”.  I went on to add some additional content to my answer, but really the true answer is defined in that first statement.

Earlier this week I sort of touched on the economy of the video game market in a post I wrote about the new Schwarzmuller Trailer Pack DLC for ETS2.  I explained how the initial purchase of a game like ETS2, ATS or FS15 somewhat covers the developers cost to bring that title to market, but DLC sold along the way continues to keep the lights on and provides further motivation and financial support for future work.  This is certainly the case for the DLC we’ve seen released by Giants for FS15.  Each Farming Simulator version (13, 15, 17) are unique and unlike in the Flight Simulation market where you may have purchased an add-on for FSX 10 years ago AND that same add-on (or a slightly updated one) can be used for Prepar3D with no extra cost just isn’t the case.  The best we can hope for is DLC equipment sold for FS15 (like the JCB as an example) would be part of the default equipment list in FS17.  But more about this in just a minute…

Value of FS15 Today

As I previously stated, most everyone I know is truly excited about the upcoming release of Farming Simulator 17 on 25 October.  The anticipation of this release has actually caused me to have a renewed interest in FS15.  I’m going to announce in a few days a new project I’ve started.  In a nutshell, it’s about limited game play on YouTube.  But the excitement around FS17, does actually have me playing FS15 a bit more than I had been playing in recent months.  However, even though I’m excited about the release of FS17, I also know that while FS17 will most likely dominate my virtual farming efforts….I’m not entirely sure I’ll immediately pull the plug on FS15.

On 25 October (the day FS17 officially is released) there will be absolutely no mods available.  Mods that I hold very near and dear in my game play such as Drive Control, Courseplay, Auto-Combine and others will not be available for FS17.  Most likely, dates on the October calendar labeled as 26 October, 27 October, 28 October etc. will be just like 25 October.  Oh…I’m sure there will be some mods which were originally developed for FS13 which were converted for FS15 which will once again be converted to FS17 start to appear.  But, I personally believe many days (perhaps weeks) and in some cases a few months may pass before we see our must have mods available.  The main reason for this is the folks that develop a mod like Courseplay will not see FS17 until we all see FS17.  Another saying which I believe applies here goes like this….”Good things come to those who wait”

FS15 DLC in FS17

Even at this late date we don’t  know all the equipment which will be available as default/in-game equipment when FS17 releases next month.  Giants has certainly done an outstanding job in building the suspense all the way to release day.  What we do know however, is much of the JCB equipment which was sold in the FS15 JCB DLC will be available in FS17 as default equipment.  It’s still unclear regarding the New Holland DLC pack and the Holmer DLC packs.  But if I were a betting man, I would say these will also be included (or most will be included).  In time, Giants will develop and release brand new and exciting DLC for FS17 and the cycle continues.

Bottom Line

For some, it may be worth picking up FS15 DLC (even in this late stage) to continue to broaden and enhance game play in FS15.  For those on PC, I might suggest you look into mods…but that of course is a different story with the console platform.  October 25th really is just around the corner.  But if we reflect back on our childhood memories, the weeks, days and hours leading up to Christmas morning also seemed like eternity.  But really….the value of FS15 DLC at this point in time is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Until next time….

Happy Farming!

Jerry

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

Farming Simulator 2015–First Impressions

I first purchased and played Farming Simulator 2015 (Steam version) a couple of weeks ago.  As I stated in my welcome post earlier, I’ve spent the past 30 years playing computer based flight simulation programs.  I started out on the Commodore 64 version which later became the popular Microsoft Flight Simulator and today I pretty much fly the new Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (P3D).  Of course, it takes quite a beast of a PC to run flight sim and all the various add-ons I use for as much immersion as I can get from the software.  My setup truly is “As Real As It Gets”. 

So when I purchased, installed and began my experience with Giant’s Farm Simulator 2015 I was impressed.  Wait…actually…I was REALLY Impressed!  While I won’t tell you the software doesn’t have issues and opportunities, I will tell you that out of the box the level of detail, the level of immersion is perhaps better than I have with P3D, Orbx etc. and my PC (a pretty hefty machine) just purrs like a kitten when running Farm Simulator 2015 at the highest graphic settings available in the game.  This is very cool as it takes me many, many, many hours to get FSX or P3D setup the way I want it.  Of course, in all fairness to flight sim….P3D (even at version 2.5) is still very old in game/program standards and is lacking the flexibility of a 64-bit application.

Farming Simulator 2015 has both a 32-bit version and THANKFULLY also a 64-bit version.  As is the case with both FSX and P3D (Flight Sim), they are both 32-bit applications and are limited by how much total system RAM they can access and use.  Regardless of the amount of RAM installed in your machine, a 32-bit application will only access 4GB.  Again, regardless if you have 8, 16, 32 or more GB’s of RAM….a 32-bit application will only leverage up to 4 GB of that RAM and if it exceeds 4GB of VAS (Virtual Address Space) it will crash.  With a 64-bit application (like Farming Simulator 2015), it is not restricted to just 4 GB of RAM.  It can (and will) stretch its legs out and a system with 8, 16 or more GB of RAM will work well.  Now what I don’t yet know about Farming Simulator is whether it utilizes more of the GPU or CPU.  Perhaps it load balances, but FSX and P3D are both very much CPU intensive.  Which means even if you throw down the cold, hard cash and put a 3-4GB video card in the system, FSX/P3D will still hammer the CPU and barely touch the GPU.  OK enough about Flight Sim.

As I stated, I’m truly impressed with the experience of Farming Simulator 2015.  What separates a game from a true simulation is the immersion factor and I feel the level of immersion is very high with Farming Simulator 2015.  The landscape, the equipment, the crops….the stalks of barley and wheat look amazing.  To get to this level with flight sim you must spend a few hundred dollars on add-on scenery.  With Farming Simulator 2015, this comes out-of-the-box.  Awesome….

Regarding tractors, trucks and other machinery….well they are simply beautiful.  At the present time, the amount of DLC (payware add-ons is somewhat limited), but this isn’t an issue as the default or in-game equipment looks stunning.  Also, after a few hours of field work the equipment will get dirty and muddy.  Not to worry, a few minutes with a pressure washer (available as a placeable object) and they equipment looks like it did when brand new. 

As time goes by, I’ll provide more content along with some screen captures showing my farm adventures.  In the mean time, if you think you might be interested in doing a little farm simulation of your own.  Then please check out the official Farming Simulator website and also this extremely helpful Gaming Guide website which provides very detailed explanations into how to get started with your very own virtual farm.

Until next time..

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry