February 13, 2023 / admin / 0 Comments
A few weeks ago I was perusing through the various social media platforms and groups I belong to and discovered a discussion taking place regarding why simulation based games are so popular. One individual in particular was (in my opinion) trolling the group and making various references that simulation based games are the absolute most boring titles he had ever witnessed and just couldn’t understand why people would spend countless hours playing these types of games. He referenced two which I myself enjoy, Flight Simulator and Farming Simulator.
One point he attempted to make was if you wanted to farm or fly, just go do it in real life. He went on to compare the costs (specifically with flight sim) where one could easily pay for the lessons and time to obtain a PPL or Private Pilots License. I attempted to follow the discussions for a few days but finally lost interest as it was pretty clear to me he really had no clue what he was talking about and most likely was a kid just trying to get a reaction from the group. Anyway….
The gaming industry today is big and growing even larger. If Google is correct, the total industry size includes 3.2 billion players and some $197 billion in revenue during the year 2021 and the forecast for 2022 was expected to hit $200bn. Needless to say, there’s something for everyone when it comes to video game content.
As for me personally, the reasons I enjoy simulation based games is most likely not unique. While at one time in my life I had a dream of learning to fly and obtaining my PPL, this just simply isn’t possible any more. However, through the awesome Microsoft Flight Simulator platform I can fly anywhere in the world from the comfort of my mancave and enjoy each and every minute while doing it. I can role play anything from a bush pilot flying into the Alaskan wilderness all the way to a commercial airline captain flying into small or large international airports around the world. And with the beauty of MSFS, I can fly into a large airport in my jetliner and then depart in a small single engine aircraft and spend time sightseeing around the region.
I’ve known many fellow flight simmers who have used their virtual experience to propel them into various aviation careers such as private and commercial pilots and air traffic control. Many pilots I’ve known through the years continue to use the various flight simulation platforms (in some degree) to brush up on their skills. Likewise, I’ve read about individuals who have come of age with ATS or ETS2 and have used that experience to take up a career in trucking/transportation. I also know of a few individuals who have started working on farms because of their interest and passion from Farming Simulator.
The level of immersion has always been a number one requirement for me in any simulation based gaming title. I’ve discussed many times before that in my opinion the bar has been set fairly high by the flight simulation genre as what truly will define any other simulation gaming title. I’ve discovered in the past where developers have labeled their titles as “Simulation”, but found many reasons why that misses the mark greatly. Any simulation based title must provide an “As Real As It Gets” experience to truly immerse me into that virtual world.
For the simulation based titles I play the most (Flight Sim, ATS/ETS2 and Farming Simulator) the level of immersion is high enough to allow me to completely escape the stresses of the real world for an hour or more as I simulate the life of a pilot, a trucker or a farmer in my own virtual world. And it is for this very reason why I sim.
Why do you sim?
Thanks for taking the time to read. Until next time…
December 5, 2022 / admin / 0 Comments
Here’s a first for the GBS Blog, a reader question regarding the differences between American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2 both by SCS Software. It’s certainly understandable as to why this is a first as I really haven’t blogged much in recent years about either of the two titles, but I do have a few articles which are still popular based on Google search analytics and as a result has brought a new reader to the GBS Blogs. While I don’t claim to be an expert in any of the simulation based games I feature on this blog site, I do enjoy helping others and will continue to do so to the best of my ability for as long as I enjoy the titles. So with that said, let’s dive into the question.
Hello Jerry, I stumbled onto your blog site a few days ago and found one of your older articles that you wrote regarding the ATS Mod Sort/Load Order. This article was extremely helpful to me as I had been experiencing some issues and had been just generally confused on just how to sort my mods for best experience in ATS. I’m relatively new to ATS as of this past summer and having a blast driving around the various maps. Like you, I’m really loving the new Texas DLC and believe it’s been one of the best DLC releases. At least that is my opinion. Anyway, my question for you (if you have time) is other than geographical differences, what are the differences between ATS and ETS2? Is one more challenging than the other? As I do enjoy ATS, do you think ETS2 would also be enjoyable? Thank you for your time and thank you for the blog site. Jim
Jim asks some valid questions, especially for anyone who might be new to either of the two “Truckin” Sims by SCS Software. As of the time that I received Jim’s message, ETS2 was on sale for 75% off at $4.99. I provided Jim with the answers to the questions he asked and let him know about the sale. He confirmed with me a few hours later that he took advantage of the sale and now owns his own version of ETS2. But allow me the opportunity to share the feedback I provided to Jim along with a few other insights.
First, absolutely yes….if one enjoys ATS, I do believe they would also enjoy ETS2. Obviously as Jim was already aware, the main differences between ATS and ETS2 is the region. ATS being American Truck Simulator depicts trucking within the US and of course Euro Truck Simulator 2 depicts trucking within Europe. The similarities with how the two games function are essentially identical with the new player needing to grind his or her way through various levels, earning as much money as you can to then purchase your first truck and begin building your trucking empire. But after that….the two are vastly different.
As most may know, ETS2 was released over 10 years ago and over the past decade the base game map has grown tremendously through the release of DLC’s and an active modding community called ProMods. Obviously with ETS2 being an older sim compared to ATS, there’s a lot more map available to drive. However, the scaling between ATS and ETS2 is slightly different. ATS scaling is set to 1:20 while ETS2 is 1:19. But this scaling difference is barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, due to the age of ETS2…some of the original release areas are starting to show their age with some areas being outdated. SCS Software is generally pretty good at providing map updates to correct these sorts of issues so most likely it’s just a matter of when it will get done versus if it will get done.
Obviously as ETS2 is depicting truck driving within Europe, the trucks and trailers are very different from what we see in ATS and of course what we see driving up and down the highways. In ATS the roadways are generally nice and wide where turns are made fairly easy. The same can’t always be said about ETS2 as the roads in Europe are often extremely narrow which is why you don’t see conventional style trucks. The trucks within ETS2 are all cab-overs and the trailer length is also much shorter to their American counterparts. However, I find most of the pickup/delivery locations to be easier to navigate in ETS2 due to the shorter truck/trailer lengths. ETS2 also incorporates a few features such as ferry crossings between mainland Europe to the UK as well as the Channel Tunnel rail crossing between England and France.
Bottom line is I enjoy both ATS and ETS2. While I tend to spend more time in ATS, I do still very much enjoy ETS2. My advice (if your budget allows) is to try out ETS2. I really don’t believe you’ll be disappointed.
Until next time…
November 18, 2022 / admin / 0 Comments
The highly anticipated, much desired (especially by me) Texas DLC for American Truck Simulator is finally available. As many of my long-time readers will know, for many years the only simulation base gaming I did was flight sim. Sometime around 2015 I branched over to Farming Simulator and my first experience with a trucking simulator was ETS2 sometime in late 2015. So when I heard the news that SCS Software would be releasing American Truck Simulator I was extremely excited.
ATS debuted in February 2016 and it was an immediate purchase for me. I enjoyed the experiences of driving a semi-truck up and down California, Nevada and eventually Arizona when that free DLC released in June 2016. The ATS map began to grow as new states were released as DLC with New Mexico (Nov 2017), Oregon (Oct 2018, Washington (June 2019), Utah (Nov 2019), Idaho (July 2020), Colorado (Nov 2020), Wyoming (Sept 2021), Montana (Aug 2022) and of course finally Texas released on 15 November 2022.
Photo credit: SCS Software
As you can see from the DLC release dates I mentioned in the second paragraph, the Texas DLC has been a long time coming. While I had experienced driving in Texas with ATS with the Coast-to-Coast map mod, I had really been looking forward to the Texas DLC as Texas is my birth state and where I lived for about half my life. I still have family and many friends living in Texas and I knew SCS Software would do a great job with the map DLC. They certainly didn’t disappoint.
It had been a few months since I had spent time playing ATS, but my truck was in Denver and I decided I would accept a job from Denver to Austin. My wife and I had previously driven this route about a month ago to go and see my dad, so I was looking forward to experiencing it in ATS. Of course the first several hundred miles were in Colorado and New Mexico which I had explored many times before. But once I reached the Texas state line just before Dalhart it all became a very pleasing experience.
Once reaching Texas, my route took me through Dumas to Amarillo, then southeast to Ft Worth on US 287 where I picked up I-35W then on to Austin passing first through Waco. The only slight disappointment was just how quickly the Austin skyline comes into view. Now I lived many years in the Central Texas area and I have family still living just north of Austin. As I rolled south out of Waco you quickly come to the interchange of I-14/190. This interchange is actually in a town called Belton. Belton is situated just south of Temple. Neither Temple or Belton are recognized by ATS, but as soon as you pass the junction of I-35 and I-14, the skyline of Austin immediately comes into view and in the real world, this distance is about 50 miles. But of course, I do understand the way ATS is scaled down and with that said it’s all OK.
All-in-all, I’m very pleased with the Texas DLC and since release I’ve been spending much of my time exploring the Lone Star State in all her glory. Texas is large enough that you can do some great runs up, down or across the state.
So what’s next for American Truck Simulator? As we know, SCS will be moving north from Texas with Oklahoma being the next planned DLC release. I’m sure we’ll then see Kansas, followed by Nebraska as we make our way further north into the Dakotas. These next few states will all tie in nicely with the existing states to the west and provide some excellent driving opportunities. As compared with the development time a large state like Texas required, we should see OK and KS coming much quicker. But let’s face it, at the pace SCS is releasing state DLC’s, we’re still a VERY long time away from seeing the entire lower 48 in the map. But of course if you want more, then for now check out the Coast-to-Coast mod.
Well it’s time to pick up another load and make my way down towards Houston. I certainly hope you’re enjoying the Texas DLC for American Truck Simulator as much as I am.
Until next time…
August 6, 2020 / admin / 0 Comments
It’s been a while since I’ve paid American Truck Simulator some love here on my blog. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying grinding the gears throughout Idaho. The Idaho DLC was released a few weeks ago and in my opinion, it’s one of the best releases I’ve seen for the trucking simulator franchise. As a result, I’m really excited to see what SCS Software provides to us in the upcoming Colorado DLC.
The Colorado DLC has been highly anticipated by myself for many reasons. First, I live here. I’ve called Colorado home since ‘98 and have driven all over the state in the 22 years I’ve lived here. Second, (if done right) I believe Colorado will offer a very unique driving experience which we’ve not seen in the previous state DLC releases. While many of us ATS fans have had the pleasure of driving in Colorado via the Coast to Coast map mod, I believe the official SCS version will blow us all away.
From all evidence available via the communications SCS has provided to us, they truly understand how important Colorado is both in the Midwest, the US and North America. Regardless if you’re driving I-25, I-70, I-76 or the busy stretch of US 287, I believe the Colorado DLC will provide many challenges and a whole lot of fun.
Of course, ATS always has us asking “What’s Next” as for map DLC releases for American Truck Simulator. I’ve often tried speculating, guessing or whatever you might want to call it as to which US state will appear on the radar. For me personally, Texas (my birth state) is also very high on my radar, but could Texas be next? Or will SCS continue their north expansion out of Colorado and work on Wyoming/Montana? I’m sure SCS has a clear plan and more should be known once Colorado has been released.
Until then, I’ll continue exploring Idaho and make my way towards Utah as I believe one of the first drives I’d like to take once Colorado drops is from Utah to Denver across I-70.
Until next time…
March 30, 2020 / admin / 0 Comments
Just a few days ago, SCS Software announced that the US State of Colorado would be the next DLC to release for American Truck Simulator. From their announcement on 26 March, SCS Software has been working on the Colorado DLC at full-capacity in parallel with the Idaho DLC. The release date is unknown, but the announcement mentioned “a few months after the release of Idaho, towards the end of the year.” This is great news! If SCS has done their homework, then I-70 should be an absolute joy to drive from Utah through Colorado and over the high mountain passes. Not to mention the beautiful Glenwood Canyon.
What will be next? Will we see SCS head north from Colorado to drop in Wyoming, then Montana? Or will they head east from New Mexico and bring us the Lone Star State of Texas? Only SCS knows the answer to this.
Until next time…
November 12, 2019 / admin / 0 Comments
SCS Software recently released the Utah DLC for American Truck Simulator. The price for this DLC is $11.99 USD. As you can see from the image below, the west portion of the lower 48 is beginning to fill in. Albeit fairly slow.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race?
Well….in some cases this might be true. However, for those of us who purchased ATS on release (2 February 2016) the pace at which new states have been added could be compared to pouring molasses on a cold winters day.
To better put things into perspective, allow me to draw your attention to the map below. As mentioned, ATS was released on 2 February 2016. On release day, ATS included the two states of California and Nevada (Green). As Arizona wasn’t ready on release, ATS released this as a free DLC on 6 June 2016 (Yellow). It was then another 17 months before we saw the release of the New Mexico DLC (Red) on 9 November 2017. The main reason for the delay of New Mexico was due to the decision SCS made to rescale the map. I believe the map rescale was necessary and taking the necessary time to complete it was also the correct decision.
However, it was another 13 months between the release of New Mexico and the release of Oregon on 4 October 2018 (purple).
2019 was the first year where SCS released two states in the same year. With Washington dropping on 11 June 2019 and Utah 7 November 2019. Could we see a third state release before the end of the year? I won’t be holding my breath.
What’s Next and When?
Guessing the “what’s next” is certainly easier than the “when”. It’s safe to say the next state to be released will either be Idaho or Colorado. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Idaho. This would tie in to I-90 in Washington and I-84 in Oregon which connects to I-15 headed to Utah. In other words, it would allow better routes out of Washington/Oregon in eastern Nevada, Utah and Arizona/New Mexico.
If Idaho is next, I would then believe we will see Colorado then Wyoming come next. While I have no idea all that goes into the creation of these DLC maps, I would assume the states of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana could each be less work (due to the sparseness of each) especially when compared to California.
While my opinion matters little to SCS, I would hope we could continually see 3-4 new states released each year. However, if you can’t simply wait to drive from one coast to the other, you really should check out the awesome Coast-To-Coast map. I’ve been a fan of the C2C map since it was first created. The C2C project officially kicked off soon after the initial release of ATS and has evolved into a very nice mod map.
The Coast-to-Coast map began as a personal project of the main developer (Mantrid) and then grew into the large endeavor it currently is. I don’t always have the C2C mod active, but when I update it after not driving it for a few months I’m always pleasantly surprised at the level of progress made. While there are other mod maps for ATS, C2C is and always has been my absolute favorite.
Until next time…
May 6, 2019 / admin / 0 Comments
I’ve been a BIG fan of the ProMods development team for many years. Around the time SCS was releasing American Truck Simulator, there was some discussion in the ProMods forums about the possibility of some ATS development work. But that was over three years ago and I personally hadn’t heard a peep from them regarding their plans.
Last week when I published the Washington State – I’m Excited blog post, a PC-SG member alerted me to the news of Promods beginning development work on version 1.x of a British Columbia map. As you can see from the map below, it appears that ProMods will tie into Interstate 5 in NW Washington and most likely again with US 97 to the east.
Map courtesy of ProMods
While I salute all modders who have been working to provide modded maps for ATS, none that I’ve seen will compare with the quality of ProMods. At the time of this writing, there is no release date. But then again, the ProMods team typically doesn’t commit themselves to a release date. In other words, ProMods Canada will be ready, when it’s ready!
If you want to follow along with the progress of ProMods Canada, please follow this forum posting. On a somewhat related note, I also heard from one of my Twitter followers the next US State after Washington might be Utah.
Happy Trucking, Eh!
April 29, 2019 / admin / 0 Comments
While I can remember the excitement I felt when the US State of Arizona was released (remember it was delayed on initial release of ATS) and I was also excited about New Mexico. After all, the state of New Mexico is somewhat of a bridge state to both Colorado (where I currently live) and Texas (my birth state). I knew New Mexico had to come before any chance of getting Colorado or Texas.
With Oregon, my feelings were somewhat neutral. After all, I had gambled on and lost which US state would appear after New Mexico. My opinion (at the time) was SCS would perhaps drop Utah in or (and this was a long shot) Texas. But I was wrong and SCS decided to continue north with Oregon. And of course now we know the next state DLC to be released will be that of Washington State.
I have a little history with Washington State. I’ve been there several times and I’ve also spent some time hiking in the area as well. So while I realize this move north will further delay getting Colorado and Texas released, I think it’s going to be a cool state to drive some trucks in. Actually, to make another comparison to another simulation game I truly enjoy playing (that being Farming Simulator), some of the screenshots I’ve seen from the Washington DLC really reminds me of FS17’s default map, Goldcrest Valley and of course the awesome version Stevie created Pine Cove Farm.
Which direction will SCS go next? I think it’s pretty safe to say it won’t be north. After all, this is American Truck Simulator and not North American Truck Simulator. So SCS will turn and go one of two directions. Either they’ll proceed directly east and drop Idaho in which could pave the way for Utah to come next. Or we could see them skipping Idaho (for now) and going with Utah or Texas.
From my limited knowledge of the type of trucking that goes on in the state of Idaho, I feel Idaho will be very similar to what we already have represented in Oregon and Washington. While Texas will obviously be a big project, once Texas is added it will give us miles and miles of trucking opportunities with I-40 and I-10 stretching all the way from California through Arizona, New Mexico and all the way to the eastern Texas border.
But alternatively, SCS should give serious consideration to bring Utah and Colorado into play as soon as possible. Especially if they truly work hard and make I-70 as challenging as it can be in real life as it winds and climbs its way through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
But of course we’ll just have to wait and see….
Until next time…
March 22, 2018 / admin / 2 Comments
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.
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.
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.
- 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…
June 13, 2017 / admin / 2 Comments
I recently picked up a new toy called the Razer Orbweaver. Now I must admit, I have been looking at these types of programmable keypads/gameboards for sometime. I had been seriously looking at the Logitech G13, but eventually decided on the Razer Orbweaver as I felt it gave me the greatest flexibility.
Essentially this is a USB enabled game pad which gives you 30 fully programmable keys and an 8-way thumb pad. The primary use (for now) is with flight sim to control my camera views via the add-on Chaseplane. Chaseplane is a great add-on which allows me to control my camera angles and create cinematic shots while I’m flying in Prepar3D. But I do have plans to add a few extra key commands for Farming Simulator 17 and both American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2.
While there are many alternatives in the form of button boxes and other programmable controls, I felt this would serve me best for my intended use. Of course your mileage may vary.
Until next time…