My New Truck

It took me a while to get the truck I really wanted to drive in Euro Truck Simulator 2.  My new truck is the Volvo FH with the 600 HP engine.  The current configuration will change as I earn a little more revenue.  I plan to upgrade the chassis, paint and cab to get the exact truck I want in the game.

Getting to this stage was no easy task.  I made a few mistakes along the way.  The first mistake I made was selling my Iveco before I had discovered the Volvo dealership DOH!.  Then mistake number two was once I discovered the Volvo dealership, I purchased the wrong truck.  DOH!  AGAIN!  I purchased the FH16, but wanted the FH with the sunroof.  However, I worked my tail off driving many high paying jobs and made enough where I felt comfortable in making the upgrade to the FH.

Before I spend any more company money on my truck, I need to spend company money in growing the overall company.  At the present stage of game play, I have three garages.  Garage one (and company HQ) is located in Brussels, Belgium and has three drivers (including myself).  I chose Brussels as that is the home country of my wife.  While she is from Antwerp, when I first started playing the game I wasn’t using the ProMods Map (which includes the city of Antwerp).  Anyway…Garage two is located in Lublin, Poland and has three drivers.  Finally, garage three is located in Reykjavik, Iceland.  This is my latest expansion and was purchased after arriving with the silo shown in the image above.  I have hired two drivers and plan to hire the third shortly.  I’m hopeful once my Iceland drivers increase their skills, that the Iceland operation will be rather successful.  Having said that, it’s time I get back to driving and earning more money.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

J

American Truck Simulator

Oh Yea!!!  Oh Yea!!!!  With as much fun as I’m having playing Euro Truck Simulator, American Truck Simulator will be a must have edition for my simulation collection of entertainment games.  While I’ve known about ETS2 for some time, I’m only just learning about the plans for American Truck Simulator in the past few weeks and boy am I excited.  While I know there are Kenworth and Peterbuilt mods available for ETS2, I’m holding out to  drive these bad boys until I can do do so on virtual American soil…the way these beauties are designed to be driven.   Plus the roads in Europe just aren’t conducive to these big beasts.  But our wide open spaces and long interstate highways will certainly make for some awesome adventures.

While no official release date has been made public, I’ve read in a few places a mid August 2015 (August 10 on one site) possible release date. From what I can tell from the American Truck Simulator website and the few YouTube videos I’ve provided below, it looks like initially American Truck Simulator will focus on California and the West.  A few of the images they show are Bakersfield, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, California and one screen shot appears to be of Las Vegas.   As I read through a few comments on the SCSSoftware YouTube Channel some viewers are posting that additional US States will be released as DLC.  Some of these States may be available free, while others would charge.  This is probably a good move on the part of SCSSoftware as they can get the core application out quickly and then add additional DLC packs as they expand across the map.  Of course I would expect the mod community to also help fill in the blanks much as ProMods has done in Europe.

Again, I’m sure American Truck Simulator will be a huge hit with trucking simulator enthusiast all around the world

More about the videos below.  The first video is the official American Truck Simulator teaser video which was released by SCSSoftware on 17 June.  The second video features just under an hour of gameplay from the 0.1.60 Alpha version of ATS.  Based on the 58 minutes of gameplay, the concept and function is pretty much the same as ETS2, just different scenery.  One thing I did notice which is different is the parking scenarios.  It appears you may be offered multiple parking scenarios based on difficulty.  With one star being easy, two stars being slightly more difficult and three stars maximum difficulty.    One would assume the experience points would pay more on the three star versus the one star parking options.  I think this is cool.

Final thoughts.  I hope SCSSoftware will continue to develop their Trucking Simulator applications (both Euro and American) and provide more features.  I have a list of items I’d love to see incorporated into game play. But I’ll leave this for a future blog posting.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

JT

 

Logitech G27 and TrackIR

g27 Racing Wheel Glamour Image LG

I recently pulled the trigger on a new Logitech G27 racing wheel and TrackIR setup to enhance my all-around game play.  While I realize only a few days ago I blogged about and discussed the possibility of ordering the new Saitek Farming Simulator Hardware, I thought about it….I thought about it some more and in the mean time I also started to really enjoy Euro Truck Simulator 2 (and am looking forward to the release of American Truck Simulator) so I believe my best interest is served in going with the Logitech G27 which can be used for multiple game titles.  The Saitek Farming Sim hardware only will function with Farming Simulator.

 

 

TrackIR 5

 

In addition to the G27 steering wheel setup, I also purchased a TrackIR.  To be honest I’ve never really felt the need to purchase the TrackIR head tracking hardware.  While I’ve played FSX/P3D extensively over the years, I could always get by using they top-hat button on my yoke to move my camera view around the virtual cockpit.  I figured that was good enough.  However, as I spend more time playing ETS2 and look forward to ATS, I figure it is time I give the TrackIR a try. 

 

 

Both the Logitech G27 and TrackIR will arrive sometime tomorrow.  I will most likely get the G27 setup first and see how that goes.  Once I get it configured to work with ETS2 and Farming Simulator 2015, I’ll proceed to setting up the TrackIR for ETS2.  While there is a mod available which allows for TrackIR to function with Farming Simulator 2015, I am not sure I’ll even try it.  While I have no issue driving a truck in ETS2 from inside the cab (first person view) I can’t for the life of me do it in FS2015.  I blame it on the poor mirror setup in FS2015.  They really need to work on that.

Anyway…I’ll be sure to return to my blog site and tell you all about my experiences (good/bad and in-between) with my new toys. 

Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

JT

Introducing Euro Truck Simulator 2

Introducing Euro Truck Simulator 2!  Well…I’m not really introducing it to you as you are probably already familiar with it.  But I’m introducing it to myself.  I recently picked ETS2 up when Stream had it on sale at a tremendously low, low, low price.  I think I paid less than $7 USD for it.  As I had obviously heard so much about it and watched many streams and YouTube videos about it, I decided I couldn’t go wrong with the price.  So I pulled the trigger, downloaded and installed it.

Now for a little backstory.  Of course, I’ve known about ETS2 for a long time.  Much like I had heard about the popular Farming Simulator franchise.  For so many years I only spent time flying my computer simulation programs.  Remember, I’ve been flying computer based sims since the mid 1980’s.  So over 30 years.  Again, I’ve watched streams and videos about ETS2 and while I found them interesting, I didn’t really think I myself would enjoy playing them.  While these titles (Farming and Euro Truck) both have Simulator in their titles, I really didn’t think they would match up to the same level of immersion that I would find with Flight Simulation.

My getting started with virtual farming sort of came at a time where my travel schedule started picking up and I wanted to find something I could play on a lower end gaming laptop.  So I decided Farming Simulator would be something that could keep me entertained versus watching TV in the hotel.  I was right.  All I needed was my Logitech XBox type controller and my gaming laptop.  After a few days of virtual farming I decided to investigate to see if I could find any blogs about Farming Simulator.  While I found some, most were not in English and/or hadn’t been updated in many months.  So I decided to start one.  Of course now that I’m also enjoying ETS2, I really haven’t found many ETS2 blogs (but I also haven’t looked) and it has led me to start one but I didn’t want to have to keep up with three blog sites and then what do I do when I want to start another simulation blog site?

The idea for this new blog site really came about after I captured the screenshot below.  This shot was not staged, it just happened to be a random shot.  Do you see it?  Do you see the symbolism here?  We have a truck (representing ETS2) and that truck is pulling two tractors (representing Farming Simulator).  But look carefully….in the background is an airplane on approach into Brussels airport.  I call this photo the trifecta.  The only thing it is missing is a train.

trifecta

So yes…I’m now trying to juggle how to give equal time to my simulation based games.  The good news is ETS2 plays well on the gaming laptop and I’m still traveling a fair deal.  So look for more posts about all my simulation gaming interests here on my new blog site.

Now with regards to any “real life” experience I might have which could coincide with ETS2.  Well, about 25 years ago I did hold a commercial drivers license (Class A CDL) in the state of Texas.  I drove tractor trailer rigs for the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company.  I left that life behind and jumped headfirst into the IT world.  Will my truck driving experience help with ETS2?  Time will tell and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it real soon.

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

JT

Hello and Welcome

Hello to all viewing my brand new blog site.  Welcome to GrizzlyBearSims.com.   While the site is new, I’m certainly not new to blogging and certainly not new to game simulations.  My name is JT and I’ve been blogging about various simulation games for many years.  I started a flight sim blog back in 2010 and a few months ago started blogging about my adventures in Farming Simulator 2015.  While I kept these two blog sites independent of each other, I think it is now time to make an effort to bring everything together under one virtual roof.  In addition, I’ve also started playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 and occasionally also play Train Simulator.  I guess I’m hooked on simulation based games and want to have an opportunity to blog from time to time about my activities and do it all under one blog site.

Now before I proceed, allow me to provide some explanation on the site name, GrizzlyBearSims.com.  In an effort to provide some level of internet anonymity and to pay homage to my favorite animal, I decided to use GrizzlyBearSims to identify myself.  Of course, this is not a direct copycat of other media content producers who use animal names.  This is just my way of doing things.

So…what will you eventually see here?  As previously mentioned, I do enjoy simulation based PC video games.  Yes, I understand flight simulation is more than a game and I fully agree.  But for the sake of defining its genre…let’s just call it a game for this post.  So you will from time to time see content from my Flight Sim activities as well as Euro Truck Simulator 2, Train Simulator 2015 and yes even my activities from “down on the farm” when I play Farming Simulator 2015.  While I have never been the type of blogger to post news items, you may from time to time see information pertaining to upcoming releases or breaking news on the games I tend to play.  Also I plan to document all my mods/add-ons and will post links soon.

Finally, I’ve researched and researched and even researched some more and can’t find a clean, reliable way of merging all  my WordPress blogs together.  Without going into a lot of detail, while I can bring the posts over…anything with images would be more time consuming to migrate so for now I’m going to just provide you the links to each of the older sites.  I will begin slowly bringing all the old content over, but this will take time.

Position and Hold – My Flight Sim Blog Site

Down on the Farm – My Farming Simulator Site

Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

JT

Hello States v6

I’m slowly in the process of starting up a new map adventure using the much talked about States v6 map.  States v6 is only available from American Eagles Modding and you must be a member (it is free to join) in order to download the map.  I’m not about to give up on Ringwoods Farm, but as I’ve been farming Ringwoods for the past month or so and before that had been farming the default Westbridge Hills (Ringwoods is based on Westbridge but mucho better), I felt I needed a change.  So I have been looking at map alternatives and set about defining a few requirements.

First, while I have nothing against maps based in the UK, Europe etc. I really wanted to stick with a USA based map.  Second, while I truly love the challenge of all the fences, gates and trees in Ringwoods…I also wanted to find a map with less fencing and gates.  Third, I’m really not into the logging/forestry aspect of the game…so my map selection could certainly exclude this and I would be OK.  Finally, after farming on Ringwoods and getting spoiled to some of the “bells and whistles” such as conveyors and the mixing station mod, I was looking for a map where these types of features were already built in.  I also wanted the ability to raise pigs, beef and chickens for market and wanted the variety of the additional fruit types (cotton, oats, sunflower, soybeans and sorghum).  I had heard about States a few weeks ago and with the recent release of version 6, I decided to give it a try.

Some fine print before I proceed.  I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos regarding the soil mod.  I also printed off all the documentation I could find on this mod.  I’ll be honest and say upfront that I’m perhaps more confused after reading it than I was before hand.  I’ve decided to leave out the soil mod (for now) and just spend some time learning the new map and farming at my pace without the needed worry about pH levels and those dreaded weeds.  But understand, I said the same thing about the PMDG aircraft a few years ago.  I said they were too complex to learn etc.  Both the PMDG 737, 777 and 747 are some of my favorite aircraft and I rarely fly anything other than these aircraft.  So having said that, I will eventually experiment with the soil mod and I’ll learn it and when I do, I’ll share it all here in this blog.  But for now, I’ve left the soil mod out of States v6.

The States v6 map is a large map.  It features wide open spaces and really is designed for BIG equipment and lots of it.  It includes all the features I had desired in a new map and even some new features to try out.  From the start you own four fields (1, 5, 6 and 9).  Fields 6 and 9 are planted with wheat and soybean.  The map is also pre-populated with 250 dairy cows and 100 sheep.

As I just stated, States v6 is HUGE.  You start off with a lot of equipment including four New Holland Combines (CR10.90) with the BIG 45’ headers.  You also get three New Holland T8.435’s (Trax models) along with one NH T9.565 and the massive Case Quadtrac 620 (which I sold).   You also get mowers, tippers, loading wagons, wheel loader, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers, baler…and more.  I ended up selling the mowers, baler and a few other pieces of equipment so I could afford the Krone Big M500 mower mod from OEB Modding.  With three large fields pre-planted in grass, I wanted something with a wide working width and the Big M500 will row the grass.  This will save both time and effort.

On day 1, I used Courseplay to get the Krone Big M500 cutting grass.  I split the initial grass harvest between getting the cows and sheep fed and moved about 200,000 liters to the silage bunker just next to the cows.  I already compacted and have it fermenting.  The rest of the grass will be moved to the BGA.  Also, I put one of the four combines to work in field 6 harvesting wheat and moving the straw to storage.  Just as soon as the grass has fermented into silage, I’ll have all I need to mix up the first batch of TMR.  The way I figure, as I already have 250 dairy cows I need to get them producing at 110% ASAP to take advantage of increased milk production as well as manure and slurry.  While I don’t plan to use either as fertilizer, both can be sold to help increase my available cash.

I’m also seriously thinking about selling two of the four combines and headers.  It may be some time before I can actually get all four combines working with enough tractors/tippers to support them.  I really need to generate enough cash to purchase the Krone BigX and get a field of corn planted to cut as chaff to send to the BGA.  Selling silage at the BGA is a quick way of generating a lot of income in a relatively short period of time.  You can read my blog article titled Getting Rich Quick on Ringwoods Farm which very much applies to States v6 as well.  I may also try out theRental Mod as well for a few pieces of equipment until I can get enough available cash.  We’ll see how it goes…

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Black Rock Valley–Twitch Preview This Weekend

A few weeks ago I blogged about a new map “Coming Soon and I’m Excited”.  Yes, I’m talking about Black Rock Valley and if you haven’t heard about Black Rock Valley, please take a minute to visit this Facebook page.  From the Facebook page you can see screen captures documenting the many weeks which went into creating this beautiful new map.  And YES….this new Black Rock Valley is from the same developer who created the wonderful Ringwoods which I have been playing on for a few months.  While a picture is worth a thousands words…if you catch one of myTwitch Live Streams this weekend, I will be previewing (and helping to test) this brand new Black Rock Valley map prior to the release to the general public.

However, please understand that during my Twitch live streams, bugs, glitches, gotchas etc. “might” be discovered.  I will make note of any of these little critters and communicate them back to Stevie.  In addition, I will most likely load up my available cash so I can afford to purchase all the fields so I can get crops planted, growing, harvested, stored, sold etc. to thoroughly test this map.  Once testing is complete and Stevie releases this map, I will start over and play it the way it is designed to be played.

Please visit my Twitch page and follow.  By following me on Twitch, you’ll receive an email notification when I go live and can then join the live stream.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Saitek Farming Simulator Hardware

As I posted yesterday, Saitek is due to announce today the pre-order process for their add-on hardware for Farming Simulator.  The development effort was a team effort between GIANTS (developer of Farming Simulator) and Saitek (well known developer/manufacture of gaming equipment).  Unfortunately, the news which broke yesterday from Saitek left more questions than it provided answers.  There was no mention of cost or product availability.  But I’m sure this information will all be provided today when the pre-order process opens up.

I wanted to share a few brief thoughts before I actually learn of the cost/availability for the product.  I’m writing this article early on Thursday morning with the expectation the pre-order process will launch sometime today as Saitek indicated yesterday.  So here goes…

First, I think this announcement and partnership between Saitek and GIANTS is good news for the Farming Simulator franchise.  Regardless of the cost, quality etc. of the Saitek product….I don’t think Saitek would waste their time to spend $$$ in R&D (research and development) to bring a product such as this to market if they didn’t feel there would be some longevity to the Farming Simulator franchise beyond FS2015.

Second, from the picture included in yesterdays email announcement, I’m not really sure what to make of the overall quality impression that image leaves me with.  To me it just doesn’t look like it will be priced in the range of say the Logitech G27 ($240 USD per Amazon).  It also doesn’t appear to be of the same level of quality as the Logitech product.

Third, it most likely won’t function with other driving type games.  Also, at the present time it is unclear if this is for PC only or if this device will also function with the console platforms.  So again the price point can’t really be anywhere near the G27 for it to be successful.

Drum Roll Please…..

The announcement has just hit and here are the details….

Pre-order

The full kit (including steering wheel, pedals and vehicle side panel is $299.99.  The Steering wheel and pedals only is $149.99 and the side panel only is $149.99.  See the Saitek website for pre-order info.  It looks like general availablilty of the product is Fall 2015 and this is ONLY for PC and Mac.  You can read all the specifications here (no need for me to type it all again).

The price of this is somewhat surprising to me.  But if the units are plug and play, ready to go and all truly function the way the information claims then perhaps it is justified.  After all, even if you purchase the Logitech G27, you still need to purchase a joystick to get the same functionality.  So this may really just be geared for the hard-core farming simulator enthusiasts who don’t tend to play other driving games or don’t mind having multiple driving setups for different driving games.

Will I buy this product?  Right now the jury is still out.  I’m going to think it over, spend more time reading through all the information available and also wait until after next weeks E3 Conferencein Los Angeles where Saitek states the hardware will be on display.  Unfortunately, I will not be attending the conference, but hopefully there will be some coverage of this product available somewhere.

In closing, while we know a little more today than we did yesterday.  At this point we’ll have to wonder just how easy or difficult the setup will be.  If the setup is “plug and play” then I would say…HUGE BONUS for this product.  Time will tell.  Perhaps Saitek would consider sending me a demo unit to try?  I’ll ask as all they can say is no.  But then again, I’m not that well established in the FS2015 blogsphere.  But I’ll ask anyway.

Until next time….

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Saitek and Farming Simulator 15 USA Pre-Order

I’m curious if anyone else is planning to pre-order tomorrow?  I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what the pre-order price will be.  But I will admit that I’m curious about this and may just pull the trigger.

What about you?

If you were not aware of this announcement, then follow this link and sign up for their email mailing list.  This is all I did a few weeks ago.  Hopefully you’ll receive the email tomorrow announcing the pre-order process is live.

Once I find out all the details on pricing and timeframe for availability, then I’ll post another blog posting (most likely tomorrow)

Finally, check out a brand new community geared towards all things simulation (including Farming Simulator).  It’s free to join and we’d love to have you.  The new community is called PC-SG.  Stop by and say hello.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Pre-order your farm sim hardware

Farming Simulator–Game or More?

If you tell any hardcore flight sim enthusiast that Microsoft FSX, Prepar3D or even X-Plane is just a game, they’ll tell you that YOU are wrong.  Flight simulation is NOT a game, it is a simulator.  But can the same be said about Farming Simulator 2015?

I started my virtual farm endeavors about three months ago.  In this span of time I’ve learned much about virtual farming.  I’ve farmed on the default maps using just the default “in game” equipment and I’ve experimented with mod maps and mod equipment.  Just like Flight Simulator, Farming Simulator is greatly enhanced by all the add-ons or mods (modifications) which are developed by those who enjoy the world of virtual farming.  In my opinion, the key success to the Farming Simulator franchise is the mods.  Take them away….and I believe the game goes away as well.

The topic of this blog posting is whether or not the software application Farming Simulator 2015 is “just a game” or whether it is is more…

In the short span of time I’ve been writing blog articles devoted to Farming Simulator, I’ve made many references and comparisons between Farming Simulator 2015 (FS2015) and Flight Simulator (FSX/P3D etc.)  Of course, each application represents something completely different from the other.

Now I’m sure some Harvard educated individual with a PHD might tell you the key differences in what makes up a simulation versus “just a game”.   For me, (and my non-PHD education) I’ll just say that I consider a simulation as a tool to provide some level of instruction, guidance, training etc.  Or more simply put, through participation and study with the simulation…knowledge, skill and perhaps luck is gained which “might” be applied in the real world.

But wait….I’m not saying that having flown a Boeing 737-800 in P3D will automagically allow me (or anyone else) the ability to fly the aircraft in the real world.  I’m simply saying that through repetitive use/practice AND the appropriate real world training/instructor program, one could go from FSX to a real world pilot.  The same could be said with experience on the VATSIM network (VATSIM is the virtual air traffic ATC for the flight simulation hobby).  Because VATSIM is mostly based on real-world procedures, a teenager who spends most of his teen years developing his skills controlling on VATSIM could (if they have the interest) take that experience into the real world and become an air traffic controller.  I actually know several real life examples of this happening.  Same with pilots…

So…back to Farming Simulator.  Is it just a game?  Or could it be more?

Again, with about 90 days of experience I would say it is both.  Or perhaps allow me to rephrase and say it certainly could be both.  Like with Flight Sim, if someone is using the application to simply fly around and not caring about process and procedures, then probably to them it is just a game.  However, to someone who properly flies the aircraft, who follows the correct procedures and can safely navigate from point A to point B and safely land…then they probably consider it a simulator or simulation.

Now in all honesty, Farming Simulator (and the equipment available to use) is somewhat lacking with respect to allowing better simulation and immersion.  Comparing it once again to FSX or P3D (and especially with regards to some payware aircraft), FS2015 is truly lacking.  In FS2015 there really is no negative impact to how one drives a tractor versus flying the A2A Cessna (as an example).  There also really is no negative impact with weather and one can drive all over their planted crops and no damage will be caused to either the crop or the equipment.

But….could someone like myself (a middle-aged, IT Professional) spend time with FS2015 then go out and purchase some land, purchase some equipment and become a farmer?  I’d say absolutely yes.  But I remind you of my background which I shared in my first posting.  While today I’m a middle-aged IT Professional, in my past I spent four years in high school gaining agriculture experience through the FFA program.  I raised livestock.  I’ve driven tractors and I also once held a class A commercial drivers license (CDL) in the Great State of Texas.  But I realize I’m the exception to the rule.  But I do believe some value could be gained and applied from FS2015 to the real world.  So yes…Farming Simulator 2015 can very much be considered a simulation and that is how I refer to it.

Regardless of how you view Farming Simulator 2015 (Game or Simulation), it is wonderful fun and I enjoy it very much.  As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go harvest some wheat and feed the cows.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

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