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


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