ATS Mod Sort/Load Order

While much of the content I publish in written form is to help others, I also write content for my blog site to serve as a reminder or simply an electronic organizer to myself in the event I need to perform a particular game uninstall/reinstall or even a full PC rebuild.  The topic for today will once again serve both purposes.  Today we’re going to discuss the sorting/loading order for mods in American Truck Simulator.  In theory this should also apply for Euro Truck Simulator 2 as well.  However, there are a few different requirements/recommendations due to ProMods.  I most likely will cover ETS2 in a separate blog post sometime in the near future.

I absolutely love mods, after all they make the games we already love even better.  I suppose you could call it an addiction, but I certainly don’t plan on stopping. At least not anytime soon.   Before I get into the meat of this discussion, allow me the opportunity to plug my mod spreadsheet.  I keep a fairly extensive listing of all the mods I’m actively using for game titles such as Farming Simulator 17, American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and even Flight Simulation (P3D).  While my YouTube channel focuses mainly on my FS17 game play, I do occasionally record my game play on other titles and publish those videos on YouTube.  Essentially it’s important to me, that if you take the time to watch one of my videos and you see a mod, or  you hear me discussing a mod…that you can easily locate where you can download that same mod.  It’s one of the reasons why I limit using private mods or mods that aren’t generally available to the public in my game play to only a select few.  Typically these will be FS17 maps I’ve been allowed early access to use, but release to the general public is imminent.    If you are interested in viewing my mod spreadsheet, just visit my blog site and click the link for Add-on and Mods Directory.  This will open a Google Docs Spreadsheet.  Just look to the bottom and select the tab for the game which interests you and you’ll find a list of all the mods I am using along with links where they can be downloaded.   Also, if you have a spare 5 minutes….please read a blog posting I wrote last year titled “Reputable Mod Sites for Farming Simulator Mods”.  In this article I discuss a few issues our gaming hobby faces and perhaps what we can all do to try to prevent it.

Order Matters

With all that out of the way, the number of mods I’m running in American Truck Simulator (ATS) is beginning to rival that of Farming Simulator 17.  However, the games themselves treat mods a little differently.  Unlike FS17 where we don’t need to worry about any specific order, with American Truck Simulator (and Euro Truck Simulator 2) sometimes the order in which we have our mods sorted does matter.  Having all of our ducks….err I mean mods in a row can mean the difference between a fun experience with mods versus a nightmare experience vowing to never download/install mods never again.

Differing Opinions

Just like many things in life, if you search long enough you’ll find many different theories regarding the sort/load order for mods in ATS and ETS2.  I’m simply going to share with you the order and method I use.  This same methodology should also work for you, but you are certainly welcome to do your own research and devise your own plan.

Order….Order in the Court

In a nutshell, here’s the sorting order I use.  I’ll spend some time below explaining what each of these categories mean and some mod examples, but I’ve been using this process for sorting my mods and it provides a nearly trouble free experience.  From top to bottom, this is how I sort/order my mods in ATS and ETS2.

Environment Mods, Sound Mods, Real Company Logo Mods, Map Mods, AI Vehicle Mods, Wheel/Tire Mods, Trailer Mods, Truck Tuning Mods and finally Truck mods.

Everything Explained

  • Environment Mods – These would include mods such as the No Boundaries or Immersive Symbols mods.  These are the types of mods that change some of the default SCS game behaviors.  The “No Boundaries” mod simply removes the barrier icons for roads which SCS haven’t developed yet.  In other words, the roads you can’t drive down.  The Immersive Symbols mod removes the load/unload icons and replaces these with cones or man-hole covers.  Very cool…very immersive!
  • Sound Mods – The Sound Fixes Pack is a good example of a sound type mod.  These would go here.
  • Real Company Logo Mods – If you are like me, you understand why SCS used company names like Wallbert (Walmart), 42 Print (Vista Print) etc.  but you also want maximum immersion when playing and you really would rather see the real company names.  Mods like this fall into this category.
  • Map Mods – Any modded maps for ATS would fall into this category.  But wait!!  It may not be as simple as that.  In order for some maps to work with other maps (Coast to Coast for example) you may need to sort the maps in a specific order to avoid any unnecessary frustration.  At the present time, the most common add-on maps for ATS should be sorted in this order Project Going North, CanaDream, Tonopah Reworked, US Expansion (formerly US 50/CA 99 Map), Rick’s Interstate 10, Coast to Coast, Mexico Extremo HBS Resources Model Package, Mexico Extremo, Viva Mexico.
  • AI Vehicle Mods – These are mods which enhance the default vehicles we see driving around the ATS map.  Mods which fall into this category might be the AI Traffic Pack by Jazzycat or any of his other wonderful AI traffic packs including Bus, Truck and Classic Cars traffic packs.
  • Wheel/Tire Mods – Any mod that changes the tires/wheels will need to be sorted in this order.
  • Trailer Mods – Mods which add different types of trailers to the game would be sorted in this order.  Examples might include SISL’s Trailer Pack, Real Company Box and Tanker Trailer packs.
  • Truck Tuning Mods – Engine mods, light tuning etc. would fall here.
  • Trucks – Ahhhh, my favorite category.  This is where I place my awesome Pete 389 by Viper2 and my Volvo VNL670 by Aradeth.

Well…there you have it.  If you use a different sorting order and that works for you, then I see no reason to change it.  However, if you are experiencing issues…then perhaps compare this order with what you are using and make small adjustments then test.  It could very well come down to a little trial and error to get it just right.

I hope this helps you.  If you are interested in supporting the GrizzlyBearSims blog site and YouTube channel, please consider becoming a Patron.  Full details available at https://www.patreon.com/GrizzlyBearSims  Thank you!

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!!!

JT

AVOID CSIO Tech

To my loyal and wonderful readers.  I’ve been blogging about my interests in the simulation gaming hobby for over 10 years.  Later this year will mark the 11th year of this blog.  During this time, I’ve shared a lot of experiences (both good and bad) with my readers.  While my blog postings can always be found here at GrizzlyBearSims.com, my individual blog postings are picked up and syndicated on several other websites including PC-SG.  When I’m actively writing and posting new content, the website and blog postings are viewed by you (my readers) at a healthy rate.  Now please understand that I’m not telling you these things to boast or gloat.  I’m merely stating that GrizzlyBearSims.com and my blog postings are active on the interwebz and produce a considerable amount of traffic.

About two years ago, I began hearing about a small company called CSIO Tech who was in the process of launching a Kickstarter campaign to develop, build and bring to market an Eaton Fuller style USB shifter to enhance American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2.  I watched their Kickstarter campaign video announcement and immediately became a backer.  I wrote a few blog postings regarding this product including a full review which I titled CSIO’s SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter.  Best that memory serves, from the time I initially heard about this shifter to the time I was installing it on my Logitech G27 was only about 4-6 weeks (perhaps slightly longer).  The entire process was super easy and left me feeling 100% satisfied.  I also personally know several others who also participated in the Kickstarter and all received their shifters and were equally as pleased in the product.

However, about 2 months ago I received a rather odd comment which was posted to the above linked article suggesting the entire Kickstarter and the product was a scam.  As I had not had any issues and as previously mentioned knew of several others who also received their shifters right as promised, I figured this posting was meant to be SPAM and I deleted it and didn’t give it any additional thought.

Then right before the holidays I received an email from another reader who also commented on the fact he felt he had been scammed by the CSIO Tech company.  I replied to the email requesting more details, but never heard back.  As was the case with the first comment, I simply put the idea on the back burner and haven’t really thought much about it.

But things have changed….

Just recently, I received yet another comment on the blog post and this time the reader provided more information which I feel I must act on.

Let me state for the record…

I’m in no way affiliated with CSIO Tech.  My only connection to CSIO Tech and the owners/employees of this company was simply as a Kickstarter backer.  I paid the same amount of money to back the Kickstarter as anyone else would have done.  I received no discount or no other compensation for writing the articles I did almost two years ago.  In addition, I do not have any way of contacting CSIO Tech.

But being curious in what has been going on since the time I backed the program and received my shifter, I began to do a little research.  After all, while I have no horse in this race….I have several blog articles floating around on the internet all stating what a wonderful product the shifter is and what a wonderful company CSIO Tech is.  While I believe most will understand that I have no control over what a company does or does not do to support their customers, I still feel really bad that some appear to have really been treated poorly and perhaps….yes….I’ll say it….SCAMMED!

My Research

As stated, I have no connection to CSIO Tech or any of the employees/owners of this company.  I could easily delete the blog postings from two years ago and just ignore the comments and emails.  After all, this isn’t my fault.  But everything posted on the internet is there for eternity.  As previously discussed, my blog postings are read by thousands of people and are syndicated on numerous websites.  I at the very least wanted to make an effort to see what was going on with CSIO Tech.

My first attempt to contact was to visit the CSIO Tech website.  I was hoping to find a “Contact Us” email address, a web form or some other method of contacting.  It appears the only way to contact CSIO Tech is to register for an account and log a support ticket.  I attempted this process, but after clicking on Support > Submit a Ticket, it does not bring up any physical way of submitting a ticket for support.  It’s as if they have deactivated the support ticket process.

Knowing many YouTube Content Creators either ordered or received a SKRS Shifter, I decided to see what folks might be saying on these “review videos”.  I read through comments on three different well known YT channels and found comments from just a few weeks ago where folks had been waiting 6, 8 and even 10 months without hearing anything from CSIO Tech.

My next method of contacting CSIO Tech was to visit their Facebook page.  One of the first things I noticed when visiting their Facebook page was the date of what appears to be their last post dated 11 May 2017.  There are numerous comments from customers who have been waiting on orders.  Many postings claiming fraud, scam etc.

Two Sides to Every Story

Yes, I fully subscribe to the theory that there are two sides to each story.  I sent CSIO Tech a private Facebook message as this appears to be the only way of reaching them.   In my message I explained who I was, I mentioned the email and comments I’ve had posted on my blog about their service (or lack of service in this case) and simply asking them to explain what is going on.  I explained that I would wait until end of day Friday,  26 January before publishing this article.  But I stressed the fact that while my experience in dealing with this Kickstarter was 100% successful, I feel bad that others have appeared to be scammed and cheated.

Sigh…

Well…it’s Saturday, 27 January and I received no reply to my Facebook message to CSIO Tech.  All evidence I can gather points to something seriously going wrong with this company sometime after mid 2016 and the present day.  It’s certainly hard to argue with those who have taken the time to contact myself, leave FB comments and YouTube comments for others and all with the same general theme of being scammed.

Again for the record, the experience I had with CSIO Tech almost two years ago was nothing but positive.  But things can change and change quickly.  I certainly do not recommend doing business with CSIO Tech and for those who have placed orders which have not been fulfilled, I suggest you contact your bank, credit card company or Paypal and file a complaint and request a refund.  In addition, you might be interested in filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Other Options

While I have no direct experience with either of the two companies I’m going to mention next, it appears these two do offer an add-on replacement shifter (similar to the SKRS).  Please do your own research and engage them at your own risk.

Tech Affliction Mega Shifter

AplusB Software Simu Shift Knob

In Closing

I’m terribly sorry if someone read my blog posting and made a decision to purchase the SKRS Shifter from CSIO Tech and lost money as a result.  I truly hope everyone understands that my only connection with CSIO Tech was merely as a customer.

Thank you for reading.

Jerry

 

P.S.  As you can tell I originally drafted this blog article in late January with the intention of publishing it then.  I actually decided to wait in the hopes I would receive a response from the CSIO folks.  It’s now mid-March and I know I’ll never get that response from them.  I’m sorry to everyone who have been burned by this company.

Coast to Coast in American Truck Simulator–Revisited

Can you believe American Truck Simulator (ATS) has been out for over two years?  If you are a fan of ATS, then you know in the vanilla state of the game you have the opportunity to drive in the US States of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.  SCS announced a few weeks ago the next State DLC will be Oregon.  I’m looking forward to the release of Oregon and I’m hopeful SCS will truly capture not only the beauty of the Beaver State, but also the unique geology, terrain and industry specifically forestry.  I’m sure the Oregon DLC will be awesome.

Just hypothetically speaking, if the Oregon DLC is released sometime between now and end of June (2018), that release will come approx. 7 months after the release of New Mexico.  Arizona came to us as a free DLC which was released in the June timeframe of 2016 and while it’s true much work has been done on ATS in the past two years including Arizona, New Mexico along with a Heavy Cargo Pack, Wheel Tuning Pack and a few paint jobs packs….the math doesn’t lie.  If SCS continues releasing state DLC packs at their current rate, we could still be a couple of years before one can drive from the left coast to the right coast.

I first blogged about the Coast to Coast map mod way back in February 2016 (over two years ago).  The Coast to Coast (C2C) map mod was the brainchild of an individual who is known as Mantrid.  He simply created C2C for his own enjoyment as he wanted to be able to drive from coast to coast in ATS and he wanted to do it in a much faster timeframe than SCS could make it happen.  Mantrid shared his idea/plan with a few folks who obviously wanted to be able to do the same thing and in the very early stages of this map.  In the very early days of the C2C map mod it included Arizona and New Mexico (which are now both officially in ATS) with a route along I-40, I-44, I-70 etc.  At that time the C2C Map Mod was very basic and scenery was pretty much a copy/paste from California and Nevada.

Over the past two years I’ve been an “on again/off again” user of the C2C map mod.  Perhaps the most recent stint of my actively using it was over 6-8 months ago.  But I had the bug to try it again and wow…what a difference a little time makes.

For those who have been active readers of my blog and also viewers of my YouTube Channel, you know I often praise the ProMods team who create freeware map mods for Euro Truck Simulator 2.  They’ve managed to create some truly awe-inspiring work which rivals the work SCS provides to us.  Just about anytime I’ve discussed the C2C project, I often tell folks that if you are thinking it is ProMods quality, you might be disappointed.  But this is slowly changing….

The most recently released version of the Coast to Coast map is 2.4.1 and is fully compatible with ATS v1.30 and is available via link on the SCS Forums.  Installing it is pretty easy.  Just download the .rar file, unzip that and locate the .scs file. Place that in your mods folder and activate.  If you are running other modded maps, you’ll want to review the loading order here.

Since the C2C Project was born it has evolved from a one-man effort into a larger team effort.   Individuals have stepped forward to assist Mantrid develop the map and turn it into what it is today.  While there may still be some areas of C2C which simply are a copy/paste from scenery in CA, NV and AZ….other areas are really starting to take shape and look/feel more like their real world counterparts.

I’m extremely impressed with what the team has done with my home state of Colorado.  Specifically Denver.  Driving around Denver, various landmarks appear where I expect to find them.  The downtown skyline includes Mile High Stadium, Elitch Gardens (amusement park) and as you proceed south on I-25 you’ll find Ikea located very near where it is in real life.  It’s really cool.

Over the weekend I installed the updated C2C map and picked up a load from Denver to Fort Worth.  It has long been my desire to be able to drive the same route in ATS that I drive when I go to visit my family in Texas.  Thanks to Mantrid and his team of very talented and skilled modders, I was able to do just that.   This includes driving I-25 south to Raton, NM then across to Clayton, NM….Dalhart, Texas….Amarillo, Texas, Wichita Falls, Texas and then into the DFW metroplex.  This exact route is included in the C2C map thanks to these talented individuals.

Leaving Colorado and headed to Texas for another load of my favorite ice cream.  (see image below)

Just about to cross the state line into Texas.  This is along highway 87 which connects from Raton, NM to Dalhart (via Texline, Texas). (see image below)

Last November my wife and I drove down to Texas to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  We stopped in this same spot for a quick picnic lunch.
I took this photo in November and posted to my Facebook page.  (see image below)

Image may contain: sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

In closing, is the Coast to Coast map perfect?  No…it’s still very much a work-in-progress.  But if you really would like to get out of the CA, NV, AZ and NM area and let the hammer down, then give C2C a try.  You might be surprised.

Until next time….

Happy Trucking!

JT

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