Trucker’s Logbook #7

Our next entry in the Trucker’s Logbook finds us returning to Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) and departing Russia.  We’ve been driving around Russia exploring the RusMap which I’ve very much enjoyed.  I recently wrote about my first impressions of this ETS2 mod add-on.  While I would have loved to spend more time in Russia and explore more of the RusMap add-on, I’ve been unable to pickup any new jobs which would keep me here.  As you can see from the image below, I still have a lot of roads to drive in the RusMap region.  But I know they’ll be waiting for me another day.

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The job we’ve chosen is to transport pressure tanks from Pskov, Russia to Lahti, Finland.  Our route will take us through Estonia and we’ll travel across the channel between Tallinn to Helsinki.  Our overall route distance is 497km with an estimated trip time of just under 9 hours.  We are fully rested and should not need to rest during the drive.

 

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Our route

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We arrived to pickup the trailer and the two pressure tanks just after 5 PM on Friday.  Total cargo weight is 12 t, which is not a problem for our Volvo truck.  Our trip will consist of 420 km land distance and a short 85 km ferry ride.  Again, total trip time is under 9 hours.  Let’s roll…..

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This seems to be the order of the day, lot’s of road construction as we navigate our way across Estonia for the first time. 

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Even in real life, I can’t pass up a windmill sunset photo opportunity.  (somewhere in Estonia)

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We arrive at the Bayer plant in Helsinki, Finland on-time just after 1 AM. 

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All-in-all this was an uneventful trip.  We’ll rest up here in Helsinki and decide which direction we want to proceed from here. 

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Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

Jerry

FS Mod Review–Bednar Atlas AM 15M Cultivator

I’ve recently started playing the wonderful Graceland map by NOR3MSTI (same map developer that created the States map).  You can download version 4.x from American Eagles Modding.  Anyway, much like his States map, Graceland is a large map.  It represents your typical mid-west USA type farm operation.  It’s BIG on farming and it’s BIG on animals.  The map includes your typical chickens, dairy cows and sheep…but also includes the fattening operation for chickens, cows, sheep, pigs AND lamb.  Graceland also sets itself apart from other maps I’ve played by including no equipment (other than the in-game pickup).  In easy mode you start out with 10 million dollars, in normal 5 million and in hard mode 2.5 million.  This blog article is starting to sound like a mod review for Graceland, I’ll do that at a later time.

In my own personal effort of “Realism through Simulation” I strive to do things as accurately as possible.  Or at the very least as accurately as both FS15 and my limited knowledge of farming will allow.  While I can harvest a field and turn around and direct seed it without taking the necessary time to cultivate it first, my “Realism through Simulation” effort tells me this is a cheap shortcut and not how I play the game.  However, in my quest of “Realism through Simulation” I am not interested in using heavily modded equipment which breaks with realism.  In other words, the 47.4m cultivator some use will not be seen anywhere near my farms.  Finally, my criteria is also not so structured that I’m going to count the number of bolts and/or compare paint swatches.  My mod criteria simply needs to be within a range of what would be seen in the real world and function well within the virtual world of FS15.

So in an effort to find a suitable cultivator to help me manage the large fields on the Graceland map, I searched several of the common FS15 mod sites.  I began comparing what I could find versus real world data.  The cultivator I chose (and the one I’m reviewing for you today) is the Bednar Strom Atlas AM 15m cultivator.  Bednar Farm Machinery is a real world company based in the Czech Republic.  While I could not find this exact cultivator model in the 15.5 meter width on their website (the largest in the AM class is 12 meters), but plenty of real world cultivators including John Deere, Case etc. are made in the 40-50 foot range.

Note:  actually in conducting more research after the purchase and initial use of the Bednar, I have found a nice John Deere 50’ cultivator which I’ll test and possibly review later.  If the JD model works as well as the Bednar (or better) then I’ll likely use the JD.

As you can see below, the Bednar can be purchased for $68,200 and costs $15/Day Maintenance.  The required power is 257 kW/350 HP and has a working width of 15.5 meters.

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At the time I conducted this review, all of my smaller tractors (NH T8’s and Case Magnum’s were busy doing other things) I had this massive NH T9 available so I paired it up with the Bednar cultivator.  As you can tell from the image below, the Bednar is brand new and still clean.  But that won’t last long.

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This is field #2 which is typically planted in wheat.  I had finished the harvest and picked up the straw yesterday.

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Lots of wonderful dirt and dust animation.  Plus the Bednar cultivator gets nice and dirty just as you would expect.

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The Bednar cultivator pulls nicely behind the NH T9.  But then again I would expect it.  The cultivator handles nicely when driven in manual mode and also works well with CoursePlay.

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The Bednar cultivator looks great when at work and when in transport back from the fields.

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How can I get this mod?

The Bednar Atlas AM 15m cultivator mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

 

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Cultivating!!!

Jerry

A Farmer’s Life–Introduction

I would truly love to have both the talent and time to do more YouTube and/or Twitch video content.  While my time is rather limited, I also find it really difficult to fill the space of 45-60 minutes of excellent content AND most importantly attempt to do something (anything) others may not already be doing.  That’s the thing really…just about all the popular maps are being covered by more than one YouTuber and Twitch Streamer.  They are planting, they are harvesting, they are tending to the cows and they are washing the vehicles.  While some don’t take the same approach and effort in “Realisim through Simulation” they all have their audience.  The good news for me is the website visits, the number of RSS subscribers etc. all continue to rise.  This tells me there are individuals who enjoy blog style content based on many of the simulation games I play and the discussions I have about them. 

At the present time, I’m spending much of my gaming time playing Farming Simulator 15.  I’m really enjoying it now that I have both my Logitech G27 and Logitech Joystick configured.  I recorded a short video on how I accomplished this.

Anyway, at the present time I’m farming on three different maps (soon to be four).  Graceland is getting the most attention, followed by Coldborough Park Farm and finally as I was somewhat late in purchasing the FS15 Gold Expansion…I’m also spending a little bit of time playing Sosnovka.  Of the three maps Giants have produced for FS15 (Bjornholm, Westbridge Hills and Sosnovka), the Sosnovka map is by far the most impressive from a vanilla map.  This gives me some hope…that FS17 will feature better maps as well.  At least I sincerly hope FS17 will include different vanilla maps and not just recycle the same old ones.  But I’m getting off track…The fourth map is a brand new release called Smokedown Farm.  Much of this map game play will be done in a multiplayer environment. 

What I will occassionally do, is release blog posts titled “A Farmer’s Life” documenting through text and images some of the activities I’m doing on the various FS15 maps I’m playing.  I’ll share the mods I’m using, why I’m using them and even how I’m using them to improve my game play all while doing my best to preserve “Realism through Simulation”.

Ok, well that’s enough for today.  

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

J

Arizona DLC–Worth the Wait

Arizona DLC – Worth the Wait.  I know many will disagree with me.  But based on the images below, the much anticipated Arizona DLC from SCS Software for the awesome American Truck Simulator will be well worth the wait.  I have been fortunate in my lifetime to visit the Grand Canyon several times.  My first visit was back in the 80’s.  As a teenager I realized the Grand Canyon was more than “just a big ditch”.  I was inspired by the beauty and from these images, SCS Software have done an outstanding job capturing the “Grand” in Grand Canyon.  I’m also pleased to see they have added points of delivery here as I believe it will provide more realism for the game.  Anyone can deliver frozen foods to a Walbert in Los Angeles, Las Vegas or even Phoenix (when AZ is released).  But moving heavy machinery, goods and other items of interest to this wonderful and very beautiful place will be most incredible.

Seeing what SCS Software has done with the Grand Canyon, truly gives me hope for what I believe they can (and will do) for the state I call home…Colorado.   Of course, who knows when Colorado will be released.  Perhaps sometime soon after Utah as they continue their move eastward.

Enjoy the images.

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These images are the property of SCS Software and posted here as a newsworthy source.  If you are interested in purchasing American Truck Simulator, please visit the American Truck Simulator Steam page.

Until next time…

Dreaming of Arizona!

J

I Must Be Nuts…

Wheel nuts that is. 

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Yea…I’ve been critical of SCS Software before and I’ve recently written several blog articles about the new update for ATS and ETS2.  But, while I really don’t need to “tune my nuts”…I did put my money where my mouth is an purchased their brand new DLC titled “Wheel Tuning Pack”.  It’s available at the Steam Store for $2.99 USD.  If you own both ATS and ETS2, then you only need to purchase it once and you’ll get the DLC for both titles.   Look…I’ll be the first to say that I feel there are a lot of other things SCS Software should be working on before working on a wheel tuning pack so I can paint my nuts.  But….But….like many of you, I truly love ATS and I want to see this franchise be successful and I’m willing to support that success any way I can, and the best way I can do that is to purchase the DLC.  So I did.

Until next time…

What color will you paint your nuts? 

J

Practical Soilmod Workflow Part 5

The end is here…after carefully planting, fertilizing, watching weather forecasts and monitoring soil conditions over the past several days…the day of harvest has finally arrived and I wrap up this five part practical soilmod workflow for Farming Simulator 15.

Did you play along?  Were you successful?  Did you fail?  Regardless…do you think you can improve and do better next time?  Or did you realize the soilmod is just too much?

I hope you’ll continue to use this wonderful mod.  Remember, while I think there are plenty of lessons to be learned from each crop you plant, fertilize and harvest using the soilmod.  I also firmly believe the soilmod provides us that “real life” unpredictability when it comes to harvest yields that regardless just how close you follow any plan the results will always vary.  This is what keeps me playing this game over and over and over.

Thank you for watching, liking and subscribing.  I appreciate it!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Practical Soilmod Workflow Part 4

In part four, we once again review our overall soil conditions on the third day after planting our wheat crop on field #2 of the Graceland map for Farming Simulator 15.  Just one more day until harvest!

Please return again tomorrow for Practical Soilmod Workflow Part 5.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Another teaser from Cattle and Crops

It had been over a month since we last heard anything about Cattle and Crops.  Perhaps longer.  Just this week we’ve had two teasers.  Here’s the first.

I’ve read on many farming simulator communities where virtual farmers would like to have better control of their hired help. Who knows if Giants will ever listen to our suggestions.  Looks like who ever is behind Cattle and Crops ARE listening.  Just enjoy this screenshot for a few minutes.  I’m off to go shovel my driveway now.  It’s Saturday, April 16 and it’s snowing in Denver, Colorado.

 

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Until next time…

Jerry

Practical Soilmod Workflow Part 3

In part three, we once again review our overall soil conditions on the second day after planting our wheat crop on field #2 of the Graceland map for Farming Simulator 15.

Please return again tomorrow for Practical Soilmod Workflow Part 4.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

ATS/ETS2 Recent Updates

If you are a Steam user of either (or both) American Truck Simulator or Euro Truck Simulator 2, you probably are aware a software update was automatically pushed out in recent days.  The official update versions are as follows:  ATS 1.2 and ETS2 1.23. 

I don’t know about you, but I had a bear (a Grizzly Bear) of a time with ATS after the update.  For about 12 hours I believed I had lost much of my overall progress with my career save profile (the one I started the game with).  I assumed most of the mods I had installed prior to the update would cause ATS to blow up, so I deactivated them from the ATS Mod Manager.  Upon doing this, it caused ATS to crash when loading into my saved profile.  After several swear words, and a not so restful nights sleep…I approached it again this morning and managed to get it working.  Look for a soon-to-be-released blog post on how I resolved this issue. 

Anyway, speaking about the ATS update (because I haven’t even dared to launch ETS2), it really is more than just custom lug nuts.  I know even I’ve been critical of SCS Software for bringing us custom lug nuts before delivering Arizona and before fixing some of the most talked about issues.  But Hey-Ho, you gotta start somewhere….and as I said, the update for ATS is more than just custom lug nuts.

Steam Workshop

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This is perhaps what I’m most excited about with this update.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it can be when dealing with all these mod download sites and their ads and high risk of malware.  From what I understand, the Steam Workshop will be a much safer alternative (and much easier to use) form of finding awesom mods to enhance ATS and ETS2.  Here’s the offical explanation of the Steam Workshop.  “Steam Workshop is a hub which allows simply distribution of game modifications created by community.  Thanks to Steam Workshop, you can download and install mods effortlessly from a safe and trusted place.”  You complete have me at SAFE and TRUSTED!I’ve already downloaded/installed a few really awesom mods from the Steam Workshop and suggest you take a look for yourself. 

 

Ultimate Wheel Customization

Yea, yea….I know.  I’m sure someone, somewhere is/was really exited to know that SCS Software was working so hard on custom lug nuts.  This is not high on my list of priorities.  After all, I can’t really see my lugnuts as I’m motoring down the interstate.  But perhaps this is clearing the way for better things.  So it is what it is!

UI Changes

There are a number of nice changes made to the user interface in this update.  They include:

Navigation path (red line) can be disabled (option)

Disable of hidden Route Advisor popups (option)

Autopark feature can be disabled (option)

Speeding highlight on Route Advisor

The last two are perhaps my picks from this list.  I don’t need autopark and while most times the speed will be highlighted in red (I almost always drive slightly over the speed limit as I do in real life), it is still good to know.

Vehicles

The following enhancements relating to vehicles are part of this update:

Fixed cruise control locked on by retarder

Multiple position of engine brake

Improved truck stability during retarder usage

Keyboard steering improved

Map

Speed limits polished

Speed limits signed enlarged

Stop signs removed from traffic light controlled crossroads

Turn left traffic added to some crossroads

Certified scaled are now working

Traffic light on interstates removed (where possible)

OK…so while there were some nice changes to the map dept.  There still so much work that needs to be done to fix really bad issues which truly break with reality.  The intersection in Tonopah still needs to be fixed and while they removed the traffic light/stop signs on I-80 in Reno, they still have the speed limit set at 30 mph.  I really doubt I-80 slows to 30 mph.

Other

AI improvments

Steam Achievements for Nevada

I’m not sure exactly what sort of AI improvements were made.  But hopefully SCS Software sent all the AI to drivers training and as a result we can anticipate the level of respect truckers deserve on the highway.  But the jury is still out on this one…As for Nevada achivements, looks like I earned both of those (Silver State – Discovery of every city in Nevada and Gold Fever – Deliver cargo to both quarries in Nevada).  Not sure why these achivements were part of the game from day one.  Hopefully any Steam achivements for Arizona will be available when that DLC is released.  Perhaps that is the cause of the delay?  ha ha ha

In closing, yea…I know I’ve mentioned lugnuts several times in this blog posting.  As you can see for yourself, this software update was much more and I’m truly excited for Arizona.  I think we must be close now….  Are we there yet?  Are we???

 

Until next time…

You’ll find me waiting for AZ DLC!

J

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