Old Guy Farmer Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for reading and thank you for watching.

Jerry

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!

 

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.

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!

Farming Simulator–A New Approach

I realize it’s been a while since I published a blog article. While I’ve been busy playing Farming Simulator 17 and recording much of my game play for the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, I’ve not turned away from this medium.  While video blogs (or vlogs) are popular, I believe the written form of blogging is very much needed and I don’t plan to cease creating content in this form.  By the way, Farming Simulator 17 is truly awesome.  If you’ve been on the fence regarding upgrading from FS15 to FS17, I would certainly recommend making the move.  New mods are coming out daily and while we still await CoursePlay, there is still a lot of goodness about FS17 to make it worth the move from FS15.

If you’ve watched my YouTube “Let’s Play” series on Goldcrest Valley (GCV), you know I’m about ten episodes in.  For the most part I’m playing it in career mode.  My approach to GCV was to take advantage of the new mission system and do as much work for the local farmers as I could.  This does two things.  First, it generates a nice sum of income.  Second, it raises your reputation with these other local farmers and in turn, reduces the asking price of their additional fields.  After all, one really can’t begin making a fortune in virtual farming until you own more fields.  But I’ve wanted to do something different for some time and have decided to take a new approach to how I start a new map.

Perhaps you are aware of the new farm simulation game called Cattle and Crops (CnC).  CnC is due to release (early preview) in the Spring of 2017, then the full version in late 2017.  One of the highly anticipated new features of CnC is how it is supposed to simulate seasons.  Cool huh?  The Farming Simulator franchise (FS13, FS15, FS17) doesn’t simulate seasons by default.  The addition of Soilmod sort of helped, but still….it’s spring/summer all year long.  While Soilmod is not yet available for FS17, there is a mod called Growth Manager which (in my opinion) provides better crop growth management than what is available in the default game.  Yes, it’s still spring/summer all year long….but we can still simulate seasonal farming with a little help from a few mods and our own imagination.

In addition to the Growth Manager mod, I also highly recommend the RealTime mod.  This mod changes the HUD in the upper-right corner of the screen to show the game day number.  With my new approach to virtual farming, this value is important in understanding the season I’m currently working in.  Outside of these two mods, the rest is left up to your imagination.

Let me set the stage…..

First, there is no absolute right or wrong way to how you go about playing farming simulator.  You certainly can start out in career mode and earn every hard earned dollar, euro or pound.  This IS absolutely fun and extremely rewarding.  I recommend following this method on at least one map.  I think the satisfaction in knowing you built your farming empire from just a few thousand dollars and basic equipment, is key to truly getting a high level of enjoyment from the game.  But, just as importantly….there is no wrong way of doing it either.  Enter stage right, North Brabant for FS17.

The North Brabant map is situated in the Netherlands (very near Belgium) and for all intents and purposes, the fields, farms etc. very much look the same between these regions.  You may have heard about the North Brabant map in FS15.  It was quite popular and Mike-Modding has converted it over to FS17.  I believe it is still a work in progress (WIP), but even in its version 1.0 state…it is very much playable and challenging.  By default, when you load up the North Brabant map for FS17 you already own a fairly large number of the 47 available fields, 32 to be exact. With the exception of about 7 grass fields, the remaining owned fields need to be planted.    Actually, they would need to be plowed, cultivated then planted if you want the highest crop yield.

A Seasonal Approach

My new game play for the North Brabant map, will find us in the Spring (April to be exact).  If I understand the Growth Manager mod correctly, each game day will represent approx. one calendar month.  In researching available information on the internet, I’ve created a rough schedule of how and what I’ll plant to achieve my seasonal style of play.  Remember, with exception of the two mods I’ve mentioned….the rest is going to be left up to your imagination and your own desire.

My researched information and plan is not specific to the Netherlands, Europe or any particular region of the world.  I determined through researching several US States agriculture sites when most of the FS17 crops should be planted and when they should be available for harvest.  Again, due to the limitations of FS17….this is all only limited to your individual imagination and desire.  In an effort for variety, I plan to plant the following crops:  Wheat (Spring/Winter), Barley (Spring/Fall), Canola (Spring/Winter), Corn (Grain and Silage), Potatoes (Summer/Fall), Soybeans and Sugarbeets.

As I previously stated, each game day will represent approx. one calendar month.  I’ve divided each season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) to represent three game days each.  Again, I’m starting in Spring and day 1 is April.  The general idea (all subject to change as I truly get rolling) is to avoid the practice of just planting/harvesting over and over in the same fields without any consideration to the challenges of also factoring in the Winter season.  In other words, placing a high level of importance of ensuring you have collected enough hay, straw and silage to sustain a large animal population from late fall until ????

Withering Off

Unfortunately, because the game itself will not automagically detect the slower winter growing season (example Wheat) I’ve turned plant withering off.  An example of the collected research I’ve performed, shows that winter wheat crops are typically planted between mid-September and mid-October and will be ready for harvest around June the following year.  This growth cycle is twice as long as wheat planted in the Spring.  So therefore, I’ll simply ignore the fields I’ve identified as being planted in winter wheat until the appropriate time (June).  Again, this is all about imagination and good note taking.

Animals Everywhere

From day one, I have established 100 dairy cows, 100 sheep and 50 pigs.  Thankfully the Buy Bales Mod is your friend.  I’ve used this mod to purchase enough bales to enable me to provide bedding and the creation of TMR for all my animals.

Winter Month Activities

There will be a period of time (approx. Nov. through Feb.) where no planting or harvesting will be performed.  However, there will be no rest for the weary.  This will be a great time to fire up our greenhouse operations and of course, animals will still need daily attention to keep them fully productive.

Measuring Success

This could all end up in a huge mess, be extremely successful or fall anywhere in between.  I’ve changed most of the starting equipment and have purchased just about everything I can imagine that I’ll need.  I’ve also paid off the bank loan and started with $60,000.  If my calculations are correct, the milk income alone from 100 dairy cows should generate a net income of approx. $30,000 each game day.  While I’m using some hired labor, I’m making an effort of keeping that cost as low as possible.  But the general idea is not the amount of money I’ll have at the end.

You can follow along with my new approach to virtual farming via my YouTube channel and the new North Brabant series.  The first video will pickup after about 5 hours of off video work which was required to get everything situated, animals up to 100% productivity etc.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has subscribed to my new YouTube channel and “Liked” my videos.  I will occasionally provide blog updates on how this approach is working and at a later date, I’ll share my spreadsheet which I’m creating to help keep track of what I’m planting and when it will be available to harvest based on the seasonal approach.

Until then…

Happy “Seasonal” Farming

Jerry

Goldcrest Valley Episode One

I’m a little slow getting my new FS17 series rolling.  I spent the past two and a half days playing and recording content for the series and have really just now stopped to take the time to edit, produce, render, upload etc.  Unlike with my Paradise Hills series where I introduced each episode with a new blog post, I’m going to just start the series with this one post and have you look for future episodes directly on my YouTube channel.  So do please subscribe if you haven’t done so already.

Farming Simulator 17 is everything I had hoped it would be.  While there are still some bugs with my controllers, I’m confident Giants will fix these issues.  Mods have already started to roll in.  Some of the really “must have” mods have already been released and I’m keeping my spreadsheet current of the mods I’m finding and using in FS17.  Just look on the FS17 tab at the bottom.

In this first episode, I sort of setup the storyline and provide some brief introduction to what FS17 has to offer.  But because there is already so much content out regarding FS17 and Goldcrest Valley, I have limited what I share to just the content I feel applies to what I’m doing in this series.  Like my FS15 series, I’m a little slow in getting my audio levels set correctly.  So please bear with me.

Regarding my FS15 Paradise Hills series.  There are just two episodes remaining.  These will release on Friday and the finale on Saturday.   For now, FS17 Goldcrest Valley will release daily (Monday – Friday) usually in the morning before 8 AM MST.

Enjoy episode one, Goldcrest Valley and Farming Simulator 17.

Until next time….

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry