Coming Soon and I’m Excited

Happy Saturday Everyone…Just a quick and out of cycle blog posting for your reading enjoyment.

I absolutely fell in love with Ringwoods Farm map I’m currently playing.  I’ve spent hours and hours and even more hours playing this wonderful map.  While I’m looking at the possibility of starting another map soon (perhaps States V6 if I can figure out the whole soil mod thing) but I absolutely can’t wait for the release of Black Rock Valley.  Black Rock Valley is currently in development and is being created by the same individual who created Ringwoods.  Yes I’m talking about the very talented and extremely busy Stevie.

I’ve had the fortunate pleasure to get to know Stevie through both this blog and his new Facebook page where he posts almost daily status updates on the new map.  I’ve also downloaded and incorporated many of his mods into my farming empire.  Everything I’ve downloaded, installed and used just simply works.  No fuss, No mess and NO ERRORS!  This guy is truly an asset to our Farming Simulator Community.  As a matter of fact, when I’m in the need of a modded piece of equipment, I first check Stevie’s extensive collection of mods hosted on the Modhub websitebefore I look anywhere else.  They are just that good!

Again, I’m really excited about his new Black Rock Valley.  I invite you to follow along with his development process via his Facebook page.  At the present date/time he’s been working on the new map for about 12-15 days.  He’s really made much progress, but I also know he has many, many more hours to go before he’s ready to release it.  Just enjoy the almost daily progress postings on his Facebook page and get ready to have some farming fun once Black Rock Valley is ready for prime time.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Farming Simulator 2015 Mowing Tip

In the initial stages of building your farming empire, grass will be a key element.  Most maps provide an almost endless supply and you’ll need to quickly get started mowing in order to provide feed to sheep and dairy cows.  In addition,  you may want to cut grass to kick start your silage making process.  Finally, cut grass does have value and a loading wagon full will bring you some quick cash for a little bit of effort.  But after some time you might want to consider corn as the better silage producing solution especially if you plan to keep a large population of livestock on the farm.

But regardless, mowing grass will always be a task you’ll need to routinely do if you plan to raise livestock.  Your sheep population will work at 110% with grass and water.  But your dairy cattle will need a little more than just grass and water to get them up to 110% production.  Actually…a lot more!  You’ll need the important TMR or total mixed ration.  In terms of Farming Simulator 2015, TMR is a mix of hay, straw and silage.  You can use the “in game” mixing wagons to load your hay and straw bales along with silage.  From what I’ve read in the forums, the mixture is typically one bale of hay, one bale of straw and four buckets of silage.

If you are playing on the Ringwoods Farm map (like I am) or have installed one of the placeable mixing station mods, then all you really need to do is fill the mixing station and it will mix and portion the correct blend of materials to make TMR.  The mixing station which is pre-installed on the Ringwoods Farm map (there are two) will hold 50,000 liters of hay, straw and silage.  A full station easily supports my 75 dairy cows and 25 calves with much to spare.

As I use these mixing stations to support my growing livestock population, I do not need to bale hay or straw.  I typically will pickup the straw from my wheat and barley harvests and store that material in my large shed.  In addition, I grow most of my corn for chaff production and will send a portion to the BGA bunker and the other half to my south farm bunker to ferment into silage.  But of course I still need a steady supply of hay for TMR.

As I said at the top of the blog posting, there is an almost endless supply of grass on most maps.  Most fields will have fairly large borders of grass and mowing the grass areas along side the roads is also a great idea.  I routinely drive a tractor with a front mounted mower pulling the small Euroboss pickup wagon.  However, I also have a small field planted in grass.  This field is located near my cow farm and on average will yield about 60,000 liters of grass or hay.

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Using the windrower to gather up the grass for easy pickup.

Now what I’m going to tell you next was learned somewhat by accident.  I had been mowing this field every day in order to build up a stockpile of hay.  I would cut the grass, tedder the grass to turn it into hay, rake the hay into windrows with the windrower and then finally collect it with my large loading wagon.  But one day after I mowed, I got distracted with harvesting cotton and sunflower and failed to finish the rest of the steps.  Once I completed the rest of the tasks on the farm it was getting near dark so I bumped up the time to fast forward to the next day.  As the sun was rising on my brand new day I set out to complete my usual tasks.  Low and behold, I realized I had left cut grass on field 10 and new grass had of course grown.  Of course, this is what would happen in real life.

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The large 50,000 liter loading wagon makes quick work in picking up grass, hay or straw.

I climbed into my tractor and mowed field 10, I then ran the tedder over it, raked it and picked up the hay.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn the yield had almost doubled from 60,000 on a single cut to 99,356 liters with the double cut.  Considering it takes the same amount of time to tedder and rake the field regardless if it’s been cut once or twice and only slightly longer (due to more trips to dump the grass/hay) this seems to be an easy way to almost double the yield.

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Dumping grass to add to my growing stockpile of grass/hay, straw and silage.

I haven’t tested if I cut the grass each day for three days, four days or five days if the yield will continue to increase.  But if I don’t have time to cut, rake and gather one day…I do typically mow and then will mow again the next day and complete the process.  This of course would likely NOT be the process in real life.  But then again this is just our virtual farming world and what ever we decide to make of it.

I hope you enjoy this tip and I hope it helps you.  Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

P.S.  I did conduct another test where I mowed field 10 for five consecutive days (around the same time each day) then I ran the tedder over it, raked it and picked up the hay.  The result of this test was only 100,156 liters of hay which is only slightly more than the two day test I had conducted last week.  So unfortunately instead of getting five times the yield, I still only received two times the yield.  This end result probably best illustrates actual real-life results where the cut grass would eventually impede the growth of new grass. Bottom line:  You can certainly cut the grass the first day then cut the second day again (or second growth cycle) then tedder, rake and pickup and receive the extra yield for slightly less work.  But any more than twice is just wasted effort on the part of mowing.  You won’t get any benefit from it.

Compost–Another lucrative Business

In addition to all the new fruit types available on the Ringwoods map, the ability to create compost and sell it can add up the virtual dollars, pounds, euros etc. in the old bank account.  A few blog postings ago, I shared “How to get rich quick” using the Ringwoods map.  The beauty of the Ringwoods map is at the very beginning you have just under 1 million dollars in equipment available to you.  As I pointed out in the blog article, all this equipment is in the “free and clear”.  You can sell it to generate some quick cash to then re-invest in different equipment.  Go read the “How to get rich quick” using the Ringwoods map for all the details.

Once you find yourself with a few dairy cows and you’ve invested the effort in stockpiling all you need to sustain them for a while, their byproduct (along with a few other things) can all be hauled up to the CMC Composting Plant to be turned into compost.  Once the compost is ready (the machine does all the work) you then just backup your tipper and haul it to the sell point (located behind the Garden Center).  Unlike the Chaff –> Silage –> to $$$ process which requires you to move the silage from the BGA bunkers to the silage receptor, the compost process is much less complicated.  Also, unlike the previously mentioned BGA process, all you really need to complete the task is a tractor and tipper.  I’d recommend picking up the Kroeger Trailer Pack.  This trailer pack mod was created by Stevie (developer of the Ringwoods map).  These trailers will haul anything and everything you’ll need to start your compost business.  Also, while you are grabbing trailer mods.  Go ahead and pickup the Kotte Universal Pack (by Farmer Andy)  These tankers will carry any liquid (water, fertilizer, fuel, liquid manure) around your farm.  More about the tankers in just a minute.

Again, once you are a little more established with your farming empire and have several dairy cows (beefs, pigs and fattening chickens help as well) they will start to produce both solid manure and liquid manure.  Now I realize that both can also be used as fertilizer.  However, as the game doesn’t really care what type of fertilizer is used on the fields and manure (both types) require a very large amount to cover even the smallest of fields, I simply prefer to use the other fertilizer methods.  Again, you can (and should) harvest the solid manure from all your animals and haul it to the CMC Composting Plant.  I tend to do this once I have accumulated a trailer full (45,000).

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Dumping a load of solid manure at the CMC Compost Plant.

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The manure is moved into the large mixing station to be further processed into compost.

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A fully automated process.  Just dump and go.

Next, as I have time I use my large 50,000 liter loading wagon to pickup the straw from my wheat and barley harvests and I stockpile a few hundred thousand liters in my silo.  So for every trailer full of solid manure, I also transport a full wagon of straw to the CMC Compost Plant.   However, the CMC Compost Plant will accept potato, sugarbeet, chaff, silage, grass, straw, woodchips and manure.  While I haven’t calculated it all out, I’m guessing for my operations….everything but manure is much more valuable to sell or use than turning into compost.

As I previously stated, the CMC Composting Plant is much more of a friendly process than the BGA.  The Ringwoods Compost plant has a backup ramp to tip/offload both the straw and solid manure and on the other side you simply pull your tipper under and the newly created compost will pour right into the trailer.

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Once the mixture is turned into compost, just pull up and the plant will offload into your tipper.

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A full load of compost being delivered to the sell point located directly behind the Garden Center.

Normally speaking, compost may not make you a millionaire all by itself.  However, considering the process as I’ve described in using manure and straw where the only cost to you is gathering it and transporting it to the CMC Compost Plant, the average value is around $516 per ton.  But if you time it right, you may catch a high demand scenario where it could be worth a lot more.  Recently the Garden Center was paying 1.6 times during a 24 hour high demand situation.  This meant for every 45,000 liter load I moved from the CMC Compost Plant to the Garden Center I earned about $23,000 per load.  Not a bad payout considering.

Finally, if you are playing the Ringwoods Farm map don’t forget you have a manure selling point located at the BGA Plant.  This is where I haul my liquid manure using the Kotte Universal Packtanker trailers.  These really nice tankers will transport a variety of liquid types including fuel, water, fertilizer and of course liquid manure.  I don’t exactly recall just how much a tanker full of liquid manure will net you.  But again…considering all you need to do is pump it from your storage facility to the sell point.  The money is too easy to turn down.  Every penny counts in your farming empire.

I hope this information helps you and you’ll return again soon.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

New Experiences Down on the Farm

I’ve been computer farming with Farming Simulator 2015 for a few months now.  During all this time I’ve only ever grown and harvested the default plant types of wheat, barley, canola, corn (both for selling in the shops and for silage production) along with potatoes and sugar beets.  I recently began farming on the brand new Ringwoods Final v1.8 map created by the very talented Stevie.  I had spent almost a month on his v1.7 but that map still only allowed the default type grains and fruits.  This new Ringwoods v1.8 includes sunflower, soybean, oats, sorghum and cotton.  Check out the latest update with version 1.81 available here.

Starting over with a cash injection to cover purchasing new equipment and all the fields I owned in v1.7, I began planting my crops on the new v1.8 map.  I started with the basics of wheat, barley and canola.  I then planted the field closest to the BGA with corn.  I planned to split the harvest between the BGA bunkers and the bunker at the south farm location.  This would allow me to get a jump on silage production for my dairy cattle.  Of course I also needed some of the straw from the first harvest of either wheat or barley.  Going into multi-task mode, I also managed to mow, tedder, rake and collect the loose hay again with the goal of jump starting my total mixed rations (TMR) production.  Once the first crops were ready to harvest I was up early to make a good start in getting it all done.  The hard work paid off, the dairy cattle are performing at 110%.

Next I set out to do some experimentation with the new fruit types I have the ability to plant and grow on this new map.  I planted a small field in cotton and sunflower to start off with.  I’m really looking forward to harvesting the cotton.  In real life I drive from Colorado to Texas to visit family.  Cotton is grown in much of the panhandle and far northwest Texas region.  Generally on both sides of the road and as far as one can see are cotton plants.  Depending on the time of year we visit, you can also see the large bales of cotton sitting around.  In addition, the area is covered in loose pieces of cotton.  It’s all very cool to see.

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Harvesting the new cotton crop with the New Holland CR10.90

I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to go about harvesting the new fields I planted in cotton and sunflower.  But I quickly found out all I needed was my trusty New Holland Combine and the 9m header I use for corn.  This header will also work for sorghum and soybeans.  Of course, the oats will be done with the same header I use for the grains (wheat, barley, canola).  Having the ability to harvest all these new fruits is keeping me busy and I’m enjoying the variety.  I’ve dedicated the jumbo sized fields of 8 to wheat, 15 to canola and 16/17 to barley.  I’m then growing the new fruit types of cotton, sorghum, sunflower, soybean and oats on the smaller fields throughout the map.

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Early morning sunrise down on Jerry’s Farm.  This field of sunflowers will be ready to harvest soon.

If you are interested in growing something other than wheat, barley, canola etc.  Check out the Ringwoods Farm map and try your hand at these new opportunities.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Another new update to Ringwoods

The new blog is starting to become a hit.  The daily visitor stats are increasing and I would like to thank all who have shared links.  This isn’t a fancy blog site, but Farming Simulator blog sites (especially in English) seem to be rare.  While a lot of folks are creating wonderful content on YouTube and Twitch, sometimes the written form is often appreciated.  For that, I’m happy to continue to write and share here.  Please continue to tell your farming friends.

Stevie has once again released an update to his awesome Ringwoods map.  This is the map I’ve been playing for several weeks now.  The latest version is 1.81.  Stevie states this will be the final update to the Ringwoods map.  Version 1.8 was released just a few days ago and is the current version I’m playing.  1.81 includes some minor changes and fixes which don’t impact my game play, so for now I’m going to continue farming on Ringwoods 1.8.

Regardless if you are just starting out or have been virtual farming for years…if you want a full-featured map, check out Ringwoods.  In addition, I’ve come to know Stevie through exchanging comments back and forth regarding Ringwoods.  Stevie is a wonderful modder and truly an asset to our virtual farming community.  If you are looking for high quality and error free mods, you may check out the full list of mods Stevie has posted on ModHub.  I picked up a few new ones myself.

Don’t forget, check out this blog article if you are interested in using Ringwoods to help you “Get Rich Quick”.  Just this morning I harvested another load of chaff for the BGA bunker.  Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching….

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

P.S.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Something new is coming…

Well…I guess nothing new is really coming for any of us who have been playing Farming Simulator 2015 on PC and Mac.  But if you have been waiting for the console version of FS2015, your wait is almost over.  Yes…the wonderful world of Farming Simulator 2015 will release on PS4, PS3, XBOX One and XBOX 360 on 19 May.  While I don’t own any of these console platforms, I won’t be able to experience game play but I assume it will all be the same as what we experience on PC and Mac.  Although I’ve heard the ability to add mods may not be available for the console versions.  If this is true, then this is truly bad news for console players.  The ability to install mods (or modifications) is truly cool.  While the default game is certainly fun.  The ability to load different maps, equipment and utilities such as Courseplay takes Farming Simulator 2015 to a completely different level of play. Of course, mods do from time to time cause issue with the functionality and stability of the game.  This may be part of the reason mods may not be allowed initially.  From what I understand the console platforms require Sony and Microsoft to approve any mods or DLC made available and again this might be part of the reason mods won’t be readily available at time of launch.  In my opinion it is for these types of reasons that game play on a PC is far superior to that of the consoles.  But that is another discussion for another time…

Anyway….I’m sure the launch of the console versions will also mean we may be even closer to the official release of the 1.3 patch.  The patch is currently in public beta, but I’ve steered clear of it.  However, I’m certainly hopeful the 1.3 patch addresses many things.  The biggest issue I’ve found is just with drive dynamics.  While it’s been a while since I’ve driven a tractor in real life across a field, I don’t recall the drive dynamics being anything like they are in the game version.

I certainly hope everyone had a fantastic weekend with your virtual farms.  I have more blog postings coming over the next few days.  Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Getting Rich Quick on Ringwoods Farm

I know the title sounds like the late night infomercial you stumble on when you can’t sleep.  In my last blog article, I mentioned I had amassed a fairly large amount of cash farming on theRingwoods Farm map.  By the way, at the time of this writing the Ringwoods Farm map is the brand spankin new (and final) update v1.8.  I only learned of this brand new update today and haven’t even played it yet.  So as I write this blog article, I’ll also be following my own advice for “Getting Rich Quick on Ringwoods Farm”.

Anyway, Ringwoods Farm is a really cool map for Farming Simulator 2015.  It is based on the default Westbridge Hills map but made much, much, much, much better by Stevie (AKA FIREZ34).  This latest update (and the final version) has been made even better.  As with most maps, you are generally presented with a small selection of equipment (a tractor (or two or three), tipper, plow, harvester, cultivator, sowing machine along with at least one already owned piece of land and many times this piece of land is ready to harvest.  In addition, you have about $6,000 cash in the bank, a $100,000 loan with the ability to borrow another $100,000.  This gives you $106,000 to start your farming empire.  Of course there are money mods and other cheats which can be done to the game to start you off at just about any level of $$$ you desire.  But if you want to experience the game as it was intended, then hopefully my tips will help you.

When you begin a new game on Ringwoods Farm you’ll have $6,000 in cash, you’ll have the already existing $100,000 bank loan (with the option of borrowing another $100,000) and you’ll own fields 16 and 3.  In addition, you’ll also own a whopping almost 1 million in equipment.  So you have many options to proceed.

Option 1 – Status Quo

You take it as you have it.  You start planting, fertilizing, harvesting and selling crops from fields 3 and 16.  Rinse and repeat as necessary.  You’ll need to take an additional loan to cover the initial seed, fertilizer and operating costs.  But after the first harvest you should be able to start paying back the bank loan and just continue planting and harvesting from fields 3 and 16 until such time you can save up enough for a third field, then a fourth and so on.  You also have the grass field (not owned) on field 20 along with a mower attachment and the small Euroboss forge wagon.  You also own both a tedder and windrower, so you can start storing grass, hay and make silage to either sell or use for dairy cows, sheep etc.  If you are into logging and forestry…you have some really nice equipment to get you started.

Option 2 – Max the Loan Baby!!!

Taking out the extra $100K loan will give you $106,000.  This is certainly enough to get started and will provide you a little more operating overhead than option 1.  You might even consider upgrading a few of the pieces of equipment you already own.  I would suggest selling the offset Novacat mower and pickup the Kuhn FC 3525 F to mount on the front of the tractor.  This is a really nice “in-game” mower and works well when you add the Kuhn FC 10030 to the back of your tractor.  You then have a working/mowing width of over 9 feet.  In no time you will have access to more cash to be able to pickup new fields and take advantage of more crops.

Option 3 – Go For Broke –or- It Takes Money to Make Money

The beauty of Ringwoods is two-fold.  First, there is SOOOOOOO much to do.  This map features a little bit of everything.  Unfortunately, this is also somewhat of a drawback in a sense.  For me, I’m really not into the logging and forestry.  I probably would enjoy it more if the game physics were better when handling the wood.  Likewise I would probably enjoy it more if I added a joystick to my setup to control the crane operations.  Using the mouse just frustrates me and watching the logs bounce around frustrates me even more.  Anyway….the second advantage of Ringwoods is the almost $1 million dollars in equipment you have available to you.  It’s all in the “free and clear” and can easily be liquidated to build up the level of on-hand cash.

One of the fastest and most reliable ways of earning $$$ is producing and selling silage at the Bio Gas Plant or BGA.  In normal mode, a bunker full of silage (600,000 liters) will earn you approx. $480,000.  Of course, the old saying “It Takes Money to Make Money” will prove true in this option.  Short of winning the lotto, you’ll need to sell some of the existing equipment and invest in new equipment which will help you maximize your earning potential.  Here’s TEN easy to follow steps that will soon have you farming all the way to the bank.

Step One – let’s have a yard sale.  By selling the Ponsse ScorpianKing, Ponsse Buffalo, Lenz wood chipper, Stepa Log transporter and Damcon tree planter (essentially getting out of the forestry business) you’ll generate $353,000.  But we are not done yet.  Sell the New Holland TC5.90 Harvester and Header (you’ll want a bigger harvester anyway) will get you another $91,000.  Next, sell the Piqup and either the New Holland T8.435 Smarttrax or one of the three Case Magnum 380’s.  This will bring you to a total cash on hand of $622,500 ($629,500 if you sell the T8.435).  Actually, sell both of them for a grand total of $778,500.

Step Two – Go ahead and max out the loan or what I call “spend my children’s inheritance”.  This will give you a grand total of $884,500.  All that money burning a hole in your pocket?  Don’t worry…it won’t be there long.

Step Three – Head to the tractor store and buy the following items Krone BigX 100,000 capacity combine (this is a mod available here) for $415,000.  Pickup the “in-game” EasyCollect 1053 10.5m header for $45,000.  While you have the Telehandler in your fleet, do yourself a favor and buy the “in-game” Liebherr Wheel Loader and the universal bucket for $168,400.  Now relax for a minute when you realize you’ve just spent $628,400.  But don’t panic.  You should still have approx. $256,000 from your liquidation efforts.

Step Four – Now go seed field #16 with corn.   You won’t need to pickup a special corn seeder, as the seeders provided on the Ringwoods map will do it all.  Don’t forget to fertilize!

Step Five – Wait for the corn to grow, then harvest it for chaff using the Krone BigX you purchased earlier.  To simplify the process, setup Courseplay and use two tractors and the two 45,000 liter tippers you already own.  Dump all the chaff into the BGA bunker.  Start with the bunker on the north end.  Once filled, compact it and cover it to allow it to ferment into silage.  Of course, you also own field 3.  I would sow this field in either wheat or barley.  Keep in mind that you sold your smaller combine in step one.  So you’ll need to complete the sell of your first full bunker of silage before you’ll have enough to buy a new combine.

Step Six – Hopefully you’ve already re-sown field #16 with corn.  If not, what are you waiting for?  Now once the silage is ready, again use Courseplay and setup a route to empty the silage in the first bunker.  This will be a slow process as the BGA can only handle up to 20,000 liters of silage at a time.  However, you can set your timescale to 5x and the wheel loader will not overload the process.  Once the full bunker is emptied, you should have $700,000 + in cash.  Now would be a good time to re-invest this in a larger combine.  With $700K you will be able to easily afford the New Holland CR10.90 at $430,000 along with the 41’ Varifeed Header at $65,000.

Step Seven – Keeping in mind that for every filled bunker of silage at the BGA will earn you approx. $480,000, if you fill all four bunkers and sell the silage back to the BGA, this will earn you a cool 1.9 million dollars.

Step Eight – As you continue producing and selling silage (and other crops) start taking the extra cash you are accumulating and purchase new fields.  Eventually you may want to re-locate your corn/chaff to field 14 to shorten the trip to the BGA.

Step Nine – If you are interested in logging and forestry work, then start purchasing back the equipment you sold earlier.  As you begin to get more fields sowed and take advantage of all the features this map offer you’ll find yourself busy.  Keep producing silage as much or as little as you need to have access to quick cash.

Step Ten – Have Fun!  Continue producing as much silage as needed to reach the financial goals you have for your farm.  Payback the loans and reap the benefits of the financial freedom a little bit of corn and hard work has provided.  Crack open a cold beverage, sit back and relax.  You’ve earned this break…

I hope you have enjoyed this tip and likewise I also hope it helps you in some way.  Please bookmark my blog site and/or subscribe to my RSS feed so you’ll always receive new content as soon as it is published.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Vehicle Group Switcher Mod (VeGS)

As you progress with your farming adventures, you are most likely to accumulate more and more tractors, combines, trucks etc.  (basically drivable vehicles). Moving yourself from vehicle to vehicle can of course be done by exiting one vehicle and walking over and entering the next.  Or you can take the faster approach by using either the Tab key on your keyboard or whatever button/switch you have mapped on your favorite joystick/controller.  Tabbing from one vehicle to another vehicle is both quick and efficient when you just have a small handful of drivable vehicles.  But as I previously stated, as you continue to grow your farming empire so goes the need of growing your fleet.  This of course is a good problem to have…

As I’ve been farming on the Ringwoods Map (version 1.71) the past several weeks, I’ve reached a point where my available cash on hand is quite substantial and I can afford just about any piece of equipment I desire.  I’ll share my secret (not really a secret) to getting rich in a future blog article.  Ringwoods is a good map to really earn a lot of dough quickly if you desire.  Anyway, I own a number of tractors, combines, trucks and using the tab method of moving from vehicle to vehicle was causing me to spend way more time cycling through vehicles than I cared to spend.  But is there a better way?

Absolutely….

Yes my farming friends, there is a mod for that!  It’s called Vehicle Group Switcher (VeGS).  You can download VeGS from the FS-UK site.  At the time of this writing, the VeGS Mod is at version 2.0.6.  VeGS installs like any other mod.  Just download and place the zipped file directly into your Mods folder.  Complete instructions are available on the VeGS mod page on the FS-UK site.

In a nutshell, once you download the VeGS mod and install it into your mods folder, the next time you startup Farming Simulator 2015 go to any vehicle and click Left Ctrl E.  If your airplane starts you are in the wrong sim  Smile DOH!!!!! Anyway, Ctrl E places VeGS into edit mode.  From this edit mode you are able to move each vehicle into one of 10 available (and customizable) groups.  As you can see from the image below, I’ve customized my group names (when in edit mode, press and hold Ctrl and the group number until you see a text box where you can type the custom name you desire to use) by Small Tractors, Medium Tractors, Large Tractors, Combines, Telehandler/Wheel Loaders, Trucks and a final group called Forestry.  Once you have your fleet organized the way you like it, click Left Ctrl E to leave edit mode. I would recommend you do a quick save in FS2015 as this will write the changes to your saved game folder.

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After you have your fleet setup, you can easily switch from vehicle to vehicle by clicking left Ctrl and the group number to cycle through those items.  The left Ctrl button will bring up this HUD (example from the above image)  To make things easier for me, I printed the image above and have it nearby my controls.  Eventually I’ll remember the groupings…but until then it serves as a handy cheat-sheet.

Again, make sure you read all the instructions on the mod page and enjoy.  While I’ve accumulated many wonderful mods that I simply could not live without, I’ve got to say that VeGS is in the top 5 (perhaps even the top 3) most relied upon mods I have in my mods folder.  Check it out for yourself and enjoy!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

JT

Courseplay

Things have been busy down on the farm.  In an earlier post, I mentioned having some small challenges I was dealing.  These challenges were with regards to the overall stability of the Farming Simulator 2015 application.  I couldn’t understand why the crashes were occuring.  The PC I run FS 2015 on is fully capable and it was just rebuilt a few weeks ago.  To be very honest, I’m not really sure what the root cause was.  I just know that I did manage to resolve it and the sim has been 100% stable for some 20+ hours of game play.  In short, I reinstalled Farming Simulator 2015 and removed all installed Mods.  I also began game play on a brand new map (or new map to me).  I’m currently farming on Ringwoods 1.7.1 and am very happy with both the layout of the map and the stability and performance of the game play.  Ringwoods is essentially the default Westbridge Hills map, but much improved and redesigned.  There is so much to do on this map that from time to time I feel overwhelmed.  As the name implies, there is a lot of logging opportunities on this map.  Perhaps one day I’ll give logging an honest try, but for now I’m just not that impressed with how it all works.  Perhaps this is a subject for another blog post.  Now on to the topic of the day…

I learned about the Courseplay mod some time ago.  I had watched a few YouTube videos and read much commentary about the mod in various forums setup to support the community.  While I didn’t immediately dismiss the mod, I wasn’t really sure I would use it.  After all, I enjoy performing many of the tasks required in Farming Simulator 2015 myself, but I also realize that running a large farm (or certainly hoping it becomes large) can’t be done with just one person.  So I installed the Courseplay (CP) mod and began experimenting.

One of the first tasks I setup was having Courseplay handle the movement of Silage down at the BGA.  A very helpful YouTube video got me started in setting up the default wheel loader to handle almost two full silos of silage I just created.  Being able to use Courseplay to automate this task will allow me to do other things on the farm, while the hired help assists in earning a lot of money in the sell of the silage at the BGA.  The task of setting up Courseplay to empty the silo is a little more advanced than some of the other CP tasks, once you get it setup not much will go wrong.  Meaning there isn’t as many challenges to over come with traffic and collisions you may experience with other tasks.    Just with this first CP setup, my competent worker generated almost two million dollars by moving/selling silage.  Cha-ching…brand new equipment.  I like…I like!

The next task I setup for Courseplay was hauling grain from my farms silo to the various sale points on the map.  Setting up CP to handle this task was super simple and it works really well.  All you need to do is drive from your storage silo to the sell point allowing CP to record the course.  Then you save it and activate it to allow your hired worker to help generate even more revenue for your small farm.

To be honest, I figured this would be the extent of my CP setup (at least for now).  But I then watch a few YT videos on using CP to automate the emptying of the combine and transporting that material back to the farms silo.  Again, to be honest…this was not an easy process.  It’s not difficult to do, just a bit of a pain (you know where) with dealing with traffic, collisions with trees and all the bloody fences on the Ringwoods map.  Now what I’ve found through a lot of trial and error (mostly error) is CP appears to work a little better (especially with all the fences in Ringwoods) when you setup the combine course starting in the Northeast corner, heading South with two headlands in a counter clock wise rotation.   Again, for me this seems to limit the number of collisions my hired help seem to make when running into fence posts, trees and most importantly…each other.

While it’s not perfect, I also know that Courseplay itself is also not perfect.  Of course, I’m not a developer and it’s easy for us to play “armchair quarterback” in these situations.  But what I find a bit mindboggling is CP does a pretty darn good job controlling the combine.  But CP tends to struggle in controlling the other vehicles working in conjunction with the combine on any given field.   Now I’ll also admit that I’m not sure how Courseplay works.  But I would assume in combine mode, the combine would be (or should be) the master vehicle and it would (or should) control all the other vehicles.  It calls for the other tractor/trailer vehicles to approach for offload AND as it is master, it knows where it is in relation to the map and also knows where the other vehicles are.  When an approaching tractor/trailer comes too close to the combine, then CP should make sure the tractor/trailer navigates clear of the combine.    Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Many times the tractor hauling the tipper gets too close to the combine and both get stuck in traffic.  Again, the combine obviously knows where it is on the map and the combine knows where it is going to go next.  All other CP controlled vehicles should yield to the combine.

With regards to the fences and trees…..well I don’t think I can fault Courseplay.  CP knows the field dimensions and setting up the combine to perform two headland cuts does provide plenty of buffer zone for both the combine (especially with the 41’ header) to perform its maneuvers and for the most part allows the supporting vehicles (tractor pulling tipper) to maneuver.  I’ve found when I create the route the tractor/tipper follows from the field to silo, that if I make the start/stop points as close to the field as possible, it leaves plenty of room for the tractor/tipper to maneuver without a collision to a fence or tree.  At least in theory….

In closing, perhaps some of the issues Courseplay has with tractor/tipper collisions with the combine is due to the poor drive physics in FS2015.  Fortunately within CP you can adjust speeds.  Based on info I’ve seen in various YT videos I’ve set my field speed to be 20 mph and may even bump it down to 18 or even 15 to see if that helps.  I’ll let you know.

If you are looking to automate more of the tasks on your farm, then the Courseplay mod will certainly help.  The current stable version of Courseplay is 4.01 and is available from theCourseplay website.  If Courseplay helps you (and it will), then please consider making a donation/contribution to the developers of this wonderful mod.  You can donate via their website.

That is all for today.  I need to tend to the cows, sheep and chickens now.  Plus the wheat on field 17 won’t harvest itself.  At least not without me getting the process started with Courseplay.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

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

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