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…
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…
September 26, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
About a week ago SCS communicated via their blog regarding an opportunity to win one of 30,000 activation keys being given away for a brand new DLC pack. This new DLC pack is the Schwarzmuller Trailer Pack. Unfortunately, all 30k keys were awarded within 24 hours, but the great news is, for much less than a cup of fancy coffee…this brand new DLC for ETS2 can be yours. In US money the brand new Schwarzmuller Trailer Pack DLC will set you back $2.99 and is available from the Steam Store. This trailer DLC expansion pack includes FIVE trailer types including a Food Cistern, Curtain Sider, Refrigerated Trailer, Slidepost Logging Trailer and a Low Bed Trailer.
Do we need more trailer choices in ETS2? Well…perhaps not and I know through mods the sky is the limit. But as I’ve said before, the cost of this DLC is affordable (for most) and most importantly, it helps support SCS Software to further develop our favorite trucking games of ETS2 and ATS. Of course, I know this statement is often subject to ridicule. You’ve already purchased the game so hasn’t that fact alone already funded SCS Software forever and a day? Actually…NO! This is not an SCS Software issue, it is just the nature of the software business and one that I’m very familiar with. But this blog post isn’t about all that, so I’ll get back on subject.
Of course, the other major benefit of this DLC is having more choice of equipment in the multiplayer environment. While these trailers are not currently available in the TruckersMP Multiplayer environment, they should be added in the next release. THIS is great news for those of us who enjoy multiplayer action and of course unable to use mods.
The photos below are property of SCS Software and obtained from the Steam Store for the purpose of this review.
Unfortunately I was not one of the 30,000 lucky winners. By the time I read the blog article all had been awarded. But I did purchase this DLC and managed to do a few jobs in recent days with these trailers. Just in recent weeks, SCS Software has conducted two DLC giveaways via their blog site. I’m not sure if more are coming, but it’s probably worth checking often.
Until next time…
April 29, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
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.
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.
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…..
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.
Even in real life, I can’t pass up a windmill sunset photo opportunity. (somewhere in Estonia)
We arrive at the Bayer plant in Helsinki, Finland on-time just after 1 AM.
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.
Until next time…
April 20, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
Wheel nuts that is.
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?
April 14, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
March 29, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
I realize the RusMap map mod for Euro Truck Simulator 2 is far from new. As you probably know, this map mod includes 30 cities in Russia and 12 cities in Belarus. The most current version of RusMap is version 1.6.1 which was released on or about 21 February 2016. As the blog title suggests, this is my first experience with this map mod.
My overall experience with ETS2 really only dates back to early 2015. I picked up both expansion DLC packs including Going North and Going East, then sometime after I tried the Promods map mod which opened up a huge chunk of Europe to me and really felt that was enough. With Promods I’ve explored as far North as Iceland and down towards Romania, then east into Poland. But I’ve also kept my eye on the RusMap project and after updating Promods to the latest version I decided it was a good time to look at RusMap.
With regards to map mods available for ETS2, there are several. The ones I keep hearing the most about are Promods, RusMap and TruckSim Map. From very early research, I kept hearing that Promods was the best, had the best support base and was the most actively developed. So that was what I chose as my first map mod. From further research I’ve learned that Promods and TruckSim Map will not work together. But RusMap will work with either Promods or TruckSim Map. So just remember, RusMap will work with either…but PM and TSM don’t work together.
Moving along and getting us back on track…
The RusMap mod for ETS2 connects the Belarus and Russian cities with the Going East DLC at the town of Brest. There are 30 cities in Russia and 12 cities in Belarus to explore.
The following images were captured during a recent drive through Belarus and Russia. I’ve found no technical issues or glitches. I’ve personally never visited this part of the world, but I’m certainly pleased with the quality and level of detail I’m seeing with the RusMap mod.
Besides trees, fields, houses and other buildings…the RusMap mod appears to have more “people” activity than I’ve noticed with the base ETS2 game or with Promods. I like this. It gives more eye candy to look at while we drive.
Active construction zones with working equipment and working crews.
The developers even included beautiful Russian architecture to marvel at while we drive by.
All in all I’m really pleased with the RusMap mod and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their ETS2 experience. As I’ve pointed out, RusMap also works well alongside the Promods ETS2 map system. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Until next time…
March 16, 2016 / admin / 0 Comments
Our Trucker’s Logbook #4 once again has us in Europe. I’ve been spending a little more time playing ETS2 versus ATS. As I’ve stated before, I do love ATS. But I’ve spent almost 60 hours playing since it was released a few weeks ago and I’ve discovered all cities and I’ve explored almost 100% of the map (CA and AZ). I’m hearing Mantrid is going to include I-10 to his Coast-to-Coast Map and more than likely that will force me to drive that route so I can drive through my birth state of Texas. But my feelings on the Coast-to-Coast map are mixed. I’ll just say that I prefer quality over quantity and leave it at that for now.
Speaking of quality. I recently updated my Promods ETS2 map to the latest and greatest version of 2.0.1. Also, I’ve installed the RusMap which adds 30 new cities in Russia and 12 new cities in Belarus. It’s been a while since I’ve headed east across Europe and Promods have done a lot of work on their Poland map (Poland Rebuilding) and it was merged into their Promods map system several releases ago. But this is the first time I’ve ventured out in that direction since they added it. I actually have reviews for both Promods and RusMap in the pipeline, so certainly keep an eye out for those blog pieces coming soon.
As previously mentioned, our logbook entry for today has us in ETS2. We are going to head to Russia and do some exploring around the (new to me) RusMap map mod. The job we are taking is hauling three forklifts from the Bayer company in Brussel’s Belgium to StoraEnso in Tver, Russia. The total weight of the three forklifts and trailer is 11 tons. The total trip distance is 2,454 km (1,525 mi) with an estimated travel time of 39 hours, 38 minutes. The job is paying €103,036 or €41.67 /km.
Our route will take us out of Belgium across Germany, then through Poland, across Belarus and finally into Russia.
Our day starts out on Friday just before Noon at our garage in Brussels. We have a large thermos of coffee and plenty of snacks for the trip. Our pickup location of Bayer is just around the corner from our garage.
We arrive at Bayer and the trailer and three forklifts is ready to go. We back up, hook up and do a quick inspection of everything. It’s time to roll….
As we depart Brussels, we enter into Antwerp. The snapshot below is looking at the Cathedral in Antwerp and is one of my favorite places to visit. I’ll visit here in real life this coming July and I can’t wait.
The snapshot below is more for commentary than it is to really document our trip. But somewhere in Germany I saw this ICE train rolling by. What interested me about it that it is a long train. I’m pretty sure this train is part of the default ETS2 and not part of ProMods. If my thinking is correct, and this is part of the default ETS2…they why did SCS Software give us such short trains in American Truck Simulator?
It’s been a really long day and we’ve covered a lot of miles during day 1, leg 1. It’s approaching 20:30 and we are yawning. We pull into this Shell station to fill up before resting. But what’s interesting about the screenshot is the TWO fueling points. I’ve never seen that before and I think it is WONDERFUL. With some of the larger truck stops we see in ATS, we need more than just one fuel point.
Good morning! Day two begins just after 7:30 on Saturday morning. Yep…it’s raining!
It’s still raining…and while I might be hungry…I think I’ll just pass the Mickey D’s on by.
All the toll booths. We must be in Poland.
This guy was trying to tell me something. But we are just gonna keep on rolling….
Day two comes to a close and once again we are yawning our self crazy. We pull over and stop just before we reach the border of Poland and Belarus. Day three (Sunday) also starts off much like day two with rain. Let’s head to Belarus.
“Here Comes The Sun” Now where are those sunglasses?
110 km/h YES PLEASE!!!
Rolling through Russia, we see a lot of cars/trucks pulled over on the soft shoulder. Many of the people appear to be ready to throw down with each other. Peace folks…
I was hoping we would be able to make our delivery on Sunday (mid-afternoon) without the need to rest prior. But we were held up in traffic and we would likely be falling asleep trying to drive the last 25-30 km. So we are going to have a rest here. We have plenty of time and should make our delivery sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
As we wake from our rest, it is Sunday evening just before 8 PM. We have just another few hours until we make our delivery. The developers of RusMap have made sure to include some beautiful Russian architecture.
We have reached our delivery destination and they are happy to see us.
Despite a speeding ticket we received in Belarus, our job completed with excellent results.
While this job was not our longest completed. That would be our ATS Coast-to-Coast run we did a few weeks ago. This job did take much longer and is perhaps our longest (measured in time) job to date. The time required was just shy of 3 hours. But well worth it. I’m going to do mostly short-haul jobs in Russia for a few days and try to explore more of the RusMap before I pickup another long-haul out of this region. It was a of fun and I’ll be sure to get back to Russia and Belarus compliments to RusMap for providing this wonderful add-on map mod.
Until next time…
Счастливый Грузоперевозки “Happy Trucking in Russian” Or at least that is what Google Translate thinks it is.
March 9, 2016 / admin / 2 Comments
Our Trucker’s Logbook #3 has me returning to Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) for some long-haul trucking. Even before the release of American Truck Simulator (ATS), it had been a few months since I spent any amount of time in ETS2. I did attempt to launch it over the Christmas holiday but it wouldn’t start and gave me an error about a mod issue with a previous game save. Come to find out this was because I hadn’t updated ProMods after an update to ETS2 was made available. After realizing the error of my ways, I have ETS2 working once again. As you can see from the map below, I haven’t spent as much time trying to discover more of the map. Actually, much of the map is new territory with the ProMods expansion into Romania etc.
While ATS is obviously my favorite, I do enjoy ETS2. My wife is from Belgium and we visit about every 18 months or so. We spend time in Belgium and England when we visit and I have really enjoyed exploring the ETS2 map.
Our job today is driving 22 tons of Canned Beef for Euro Goodies in Lille, France to Transinet in Pyce (Ruse), Bulgaria. Just to familiarize you with the truck I drive in ETS2. I own the Volvo FH with the Globetrotter XL Cabin and the 6×3 chassis. The rig has the massive 750 HP engine installed. She performs really well. The job is expected to pay €73,510 or €34.65/km. The trip distance is 2,104 km (1,307 mi) and should take approx.. 34 hours.
Our route will take us from France through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and then into Bulgaria.
We’re picking up the trailer just after 11 AM on Wednesday. We are due to delivery in Pyce no later than 01:04 on Saturday morning. We are fully rested and ready to go.
Day 1, it’s a beautiful day as we drive through France towards Belgium.
Taking an opportunity to stretch our legs, freshen up our coffee while we fill up.
I love how SCS Software gives us so much to look at as we drive. In the background an airplane is on final into Brussels EBBR.
Day 1 comes to an end as we pull over for a rest just outside of Nurnberg, Germany.
Day 2 starts early with a wet start. Rain is the general theme for much of the day. We do leave the rain behind in the afternoon and spend our second night on the road just outside of Budapest. However, we did have a minor fender-bender when a car hit our trailer. I blame it on the rain.
Day 3 starts well before the sun rises but we arrive at our destination on Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately the accident penalized use some XP and cash. But we will live to drive another day.
I then headed back to Bucharest, Romania to meet with a realtor and purchased a new garage.
I believe with our new Bucharest garage, this makes about 6 or 7 that we have in ETS2. All our ETS2 garages are just the small version and filled with three trucks and three drivers.
As we have just about covered all there is to cover in California and Nevada in the awesome American Truck Simulator, I’m probably going to spend more time trucking around in Europe and try to discover more cities. I’m also looking into adding RusMap which should provide 30 cities in Russia and 12 cities in Belarus. I’ll make sure to tell you all about it here.
Until next time…