Hello virtual farmers! It’s Wednesday and we are LESS than two weeks away from the release of Farming Simulator 17. Can you dig it? Once again I bring to you a new episode of my farming adventures on the wonderful Paradise Hills map for Farming Simulator 15. This map is simply amazing and I’m hopeful we might just see it made available for FS17. Please Stevie……
In this episode, we start a brand new farming day (Thursday, Day 4). We perform all our field chores on fields 1 and 2 (spraying) and we begin planting canola down on the southeast fields. I hope you enjoy my videos. If you have questions, suggestions…..please leave a comment either here on my blog site or via YouTube.
Happy Tuesday to all! I’m really not a statistics driven individual and I certainly don’t put myself out there through this blog site or my semi-new YouTube Channel in an effort just to accumulate readers, subscribers, viewers, likes etc. However, as was the case with this blog site over six years ago, “If you build it, they will come” and the same seems to have applied to my YouTube channel. Since starting the Paradise Hills series last week, my subscriber numbers have doubled and it’s really been exciting watching the count inch closer and closer to the 50 mark. Just like so many of my fellow YouTube virtual farmers, the “Likes” and “Subscriptions” really do help keep us motivated and tells us you enjoy what you are seeing and want to see more. Well….more is coming!
Our sixth installment of Paradise Hills will find us planting corn on our newly purchased field number 2. As episode six is releasing today, I’m currently recording content for what will become episode thirteen and I’ve learned so much between episode six and episode thirteen. I’d really like to thank Mike (Reefy1952) for his assistance, guidance and especially his mentoring in helping me become a better virtual farmer. I highly encourage you to check out Mike’s YouTube channel and go ahead and click that “Subscribe” button as his content and commentary is both educational, but also entertaining. Thank you Mike for your help and friendship!
Enough of my babble…here’s Paradise Hills, episode six….
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We are now officially just two weekends away from the release of the much anticipated Farming Simulator 17. I know everyone is counting the days (and perhaps hours) but for now, FS15 is doing the job. Episode five of my “Let’s Play” of Paradise Hills finds us just after selling off all our Silage at the BGA and we spend some money….
Enjoy the video. If you haven’t done so, please consider subscribing to the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel and also please consider leaving a “Like” or “Thumbs Up” for the video. It’s very much appreciated and serves as motivation to keep going.
Happy Friday! Guess What? Only three more weekends until the release of FS17! Are you excited? I’ll admit…I am!
I’m pleased to bring you the fourth episode of Paradise Hills. Episode four begins the use of the Soilmod and we begin the process of prepping field one and planting wheat. Unfortunately, a chunk of video is missing as I had a failure with OBS. But I do my best in making up for that and still covering much of the details around the Soilmod to get us started. I’ve also sold off much of the starting equipment and repurchasing equipment I truly want to use.
If you are slightly behind on my episodes, don’t worry…I don’t plan to release episode 5 until Monday. Have a great weekend!
In the third installment, we finish up the harvest of the three pre-planted fields on the Paradise Hills map by Stevie. We also start the seed making process. This map is available from the PC-SG Simulation Gaming Group. If you are not already a member, please consider joining this growing group of simulation game enthusiasts. You’ll find active discussions on many of the popular simulation game platforms including farming, trucking and more. In addition to helpful discussion, PC-SG also offers mod reviews and mod downloads from some of the most talented modders including Johnny Vee, SOB Modding and of course Stevie. Again, in this “Let’s Play” series for Paradise Hills, I finish up harvesting the three pre-planted fields just before installing the Soilmod for FS15. Starting with episode 4, the soilmod will be active and will be used throughout this series.
Finally, just a quick note regarding the frequency of videos I’m currently releasing. At some point in the near future, I will settle into a less frequent release schedule. I just don’t have the time to commit to a video each day and I also don’t really want to spend all day on a Saturday or Sunday playing/recording content for episodes. Having said that, each day that passes we are one day closer to the release of FS17 and most likely that will consume much of my gaming time (at least for a week or so). At this point I’m not sure how much play time FS15 will receive once FS17 drops. Time will tell…
Anyway, thanks for watching and thank you for subscribing. The GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel already has over 40 subscribers, so we are well on the way to the magic number of 50.
I’m really having fun recording my Farming Simulator 15 game play and making it available to whomever would like to watch. Likewise, I’m also learning a lot as well. First, I realize my voice audio is low. I will correct this, but unfortunately because I’ve recorded several episodes the adjustment won’t be noticed until around episode five. I’ve made an additional adjustment for episode seven which should make a more noticeable difference. This is really the first time I’ve committed to record my game sessions in this fashion. In doing so, I’ve also realized this isn’t easy.
If you watch other gamers who either stream or record their game play, you might think “How hard can this be”? While the setup and the actual process of capturing the video game play isn’t rocket science, remembering you are actually recording a video and keeping the conversation lively is altogether different. But then again, sometimes keeping our mouth shut for a short period of time is also a good thing. Anyway….
In episode two, I harvest the corn crop which is on field 2 into chaff to transport to the BGA. At this stage we are still playing without soilmod. Just taking our time getting the three different fields which were pre-planted harvested and then soilmod will start in episode four.
As I’ve mentioned on my most recently blog updates, I’ve been playing the Oklahoma map and absolutely loving it. Oklahoma is a 4x map and it’s HUGE. I’m playing it with a heavy influence to raising cattle and horses and as a result farming the few fields I’ve managed to purchase to both support my efforts as well as area local farmers. I’m still very much in the process of getting my equipment the way I want it. I’m saving some cash, purchasing and renting equipment as necessary. As this map does not feature built in auger systems for storage of grass, straw and silage the occasional gathering of these items will need to be done manually. While I’ll eventually purchase a wheel loader, tele-handler and probably a skid steer to assist on the farm, these items are somewhat lower on my priority list at this time.
My goal as I began playing the Oklahoma map was to begin generating some cash through the sell of the wheat crop, but also begin the process of making total mixed rations (TMR) for the small amount of livestock I already owned. I rented a tractor and loading wagon to pickup the straw from the wheat crop. I then mowed enough grass to accumulate approx. 250,000 liters of grass and then finally I chaffed most of the corn crop for silage. Again without built-in augers….I needed an efficient and fast way of loading these materials when the time arrived to start feeding and supplying the mixing station.
I had recently read comments on various Farming Simulator forums discussing a portable auger from the Sakudiak Equipment company. In real life, these are known as Meridian Augers and are sold and used all over. The mod is slightly un-realistic as it can be driven around under its own power. For my efforts in “Realism through Simulation”, I move the auger around via tractor and make fine adjustments using the augers own power. The auger would be small enough for one man to move and fine tune it so that is what I’m simulating.
Anyway….the Sakundiak auger sells for $15,000 (rental price of $50 per hour) and carries a daily maintenance charge of $10. A hitch is available (separate purchase) for $50.00. The hitch needs to be connected first to the towing vehicle and then connect the auger.
How can I get this mod?
The Sakundiak Auger is available here. I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod. The mod works and I use it on all my maps.
We are finally less than one month away from the much anticipated release of Farming Simulator 17. Can you believe it? Unless you’ve been living under a hay bale, you probably have the date of 25 October circled on your calendar. Actually, you probably have 24 October and perhaps even 23 October circled as well just to serve as a reminder. While we all anxiously await the release of FS17, we also must certainly be prepared to enjoy only the vanilla aspects of the game for possibly several weeks and perhaps even several months before our favorite mods have been made available. For those of you who only know Farming Simulator via the console, then this won’t be an issue. But for those like myself, the first few weeks of FS17 will remind us of the early days of FS15. Said another way, for those of us playing FS15 via PC (with mods)….we better practice driving a tractor, combine etc. in a straight line without the GPS mod. ha ha
A few weeks ago I started playing on the Oklahoma map and reviewed it here on my blog. I also stated that I felt the Oklahoma map would see me through until the release of FS17. While I absolutely love the Oklahoma map, I’ve come to realize that the map is just too large for me at this time. Unfortunately, the amount of time it takes to harvest even the smaller fields (even with multiple combines) is just more than I have time for in a single sitting. Perhaps my OCD is a bigger deal, but I really like to be able to complete the task during a game play session. I’ve also found that in order for a single player to accomplish anything on a map this large that you must heavily depend on Courseplay. Anyway…
My blog site turned 6 years old just a few weeks ago. I don’t spend my time blogging in an effort to make money. I do it as an extension of the hobby and in an effort to give something back by helping others. This blog site is fairly popular. The site receives over 5,000 hits per month and all things considered, I think that’s pretty good for mostly written content in this day of vlogging and podcasting.
More than once I’ve considered doing more than just written text. In other words, more than once I’ve thought about using video to help showcase the game titles I play and also use this medium to help others. Other than having a really busy life, I’m also very much aware that there are many, many fine YouTube presenters who spend countless hours showcasing games like Farming Simulator as an example. I’ve created a few “how to” videos regarding Practical Soilmod Workflow and my most popular video with over 2,400 views on how to configure BOTH the Logitech G27 and Joystick.
While my time is still somewhat limited, I plan to record and produce YouTube videos which I’ll showcase here in this blog. I’m not 100% certain what the video release frequency will be. But at the moment I’m spending a few days building up a small queue of videos so I can try to keep a consistent flow of content coming out. For now I’m going to shoot for 1-2 new videos per week. Again this is just an extension of my hobby and not in any way to attempt to become a YouTube Partner.
I’ve decided for this first video project to play the Paradise Hills map by Stevie. I’ve been a huge fan of Stevie’s maps since the days of his Ringwoods version of Westbridge Hills. Paradise Hills offers a nice mixture of small and large fields and most will fit exactly into my schedule and game play style. At the present time I’m harvesting all the pre-planted crops. Once this is done, I’ll install the wonderful Soilmod.
I will say this much. I’ve recorded six videos which will publish over the next few weeks. For those guys who create YouTube content on a regular basis…it may look easy from the outside. But once you get started and make the decision to start producing content, you soon realize it’s not easy. It’s not easy to keep conversation going and having something different and interesting to talk about while you are farming along. SO, with this in mind…please be patient with me as I grow and learn along the way. Together we’ll see where this thing goes.
If you are interested in following this series, please visit my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching. Here’s episode #1, Paradise Hills…
As I type this blog article on 28 September 2016, we are less than one month away from the release of Farming Simulator 17. Giants will release Farming Simulator 17 on 25 October. The ability to Pre-order (with incentives) is currently still available. Just about everyone I know have either already pre-ordered FS17 or have committed to making the move. Actually most everyone I know, while certainly reserved regarding the true differences between FS15 and FS17, are actually pretty excited about the new release. I actually fall into this category as well. While I’m trying very hard not to get my hopes up, I am still excited about the changes I’ve seen and read about.
Again, as I’m typing out the words in this article, some farming sim enthusiasts are still actually weighing the value of Farming Simulator 15 and its DLC packages. A fellow FS15 gamer posted a question in the Steam discussion groups asking for opinions if “it really made sense” to purchase the FS15 DLC he is currently missing in his collection. He recognizes the cost of the missing DLC (he confirms to own the Gold Edition) exceeds the price of FS17, but still wants to know if it is really worth it.
There is a saying (at least in the US) that goes like this. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Said in another way, what is valuable to one individual, may not hold the same value to another. By the way, I’m certainly not calling FS15 DLC trash. I actually responded to this individuals question with the following statement “I think you are the only person who can really answer this question”. I went on to add some additional content to my answer, but really the true answer is defined in that first statement.
Earlier this week I sort of touched on the economy of the video game market in a post I wrote about the new Schwarzmuller Trailer Pack DLC for ETS2. I explained how the initial purchase of a game like ETS2, ATS or FS15 somewhat covers the developers cost to bring that title to market, but DLC sold along the way continues to keep the lights on and provides further motivation and financial support for future work. This is certainly the case for the DLC we’ve seen released by Giants for FS15. Each Farming Simulator version (13, 15, 17) are unique and unlike in the Flight Simulation market where you may have purchased an add-on for FSX 10 years ago AND that same add-on (or a slightly updated one) can be used for Prepar3D with no extra cost just isn’t the case. The best we can hope for is DLC equipment sold for FS15 (like the JCB as an example) would be part of the default equipment list in FS17. But more about this in just a minute…
Value of FS15 Today
As I previously stated, most everyone I know is truly excited about the upcoming release of Farming Simulator 17 on 25 October. The anticipation of this release has actually caused me to have a renewed interest in FS15. I’m going to announce in a few days a new project I’ve started. In a nutshell, it’s about limited game play on YouTube. But the excitement around FS17, does actually have me playing FS15 a bit more than I had been playing in recent months. However, even though I’m excited about the release of FS17, I also know that while FS17 will most likely dominate my virtual farming efforts….I’m not entirely sure I’ll immediately pull the plug on FS15.
On 25 October (the day FS17 officially is released) there will be absolutely no mods available. Mods that I hold very near and dear in my game play such as Drive Control, Courseplay, Auto-Combine and others will not be available for FS17. Most likely, dates on the October calendar labeled as 26 October, 27 October, 28 October etc. will be just like 25 October. Oh…I’m sure there will be some mods which were originally developed for FS13 which were converted for FS15 which will once again be converted to FS17 start to appear. But, I personally believe many days (perhaps weeks) and in some cases a few months may pass before we see our must have mods available. The main reason for this is the folks that develop a mod like Courseplay will not see FS17 until we all see FS17. Another saying which I believe applies here goes like this….”Good things come to those who wait”
FS15 DLC in FS17
Even at this late date we don’t know all the equipment which will be available as default/in-game equipment when FS17 releases next month. Giants has certainly done an outstanding job in building the suspense all the way to release day. What we do know however, is much of the JCB equipment which was sold in the FS15 JCB DLC will be available in FS17 as default equipment. It’s still unclear regarding the New Holland DLC pack and the Holmer DLC packs. But if I were a betting man, I would say these will also be included (or most will be included). In time, Giants will develop and release brand new and exciting DLC for FS17 and the cycle continues.
For some, it may be worth picking up FS15 DLC (even in this late stage) to continue to broaden and enhance game play in FS15. For those on PC, I might suggest you look into mods…but that of course is a different story with the console platform. October 25th really is just around the corner. But if we reflect back on our childhood memories, the weeks, days and hours leading up to Christmas morning also seemed like eternity. But really….the value of FS15 DLC at this point in time is truly in the eye of the beholder.
As discussed just a few days ago, I started a new map (new to me) called Oklahoma. I have been looking for some time for a map which would fit a farm based in Eastern Colorado and my search results have never been fruitful. While the Oklahoma map is based in Oklahoma, the map (including soil textures) could also be located in far eastern Colorado in what is known as the Five State Region. This region is one of the largest producers of feed grains and livestock in the United States. In addition to the typical crops of corn, barley and wheat, this area also produces large amounts of alfalfa and sorghum. This is exactly how I plan to run this map.
Please note: All photographs are credit to the mod author and obtained directly from the American Eagles Modding website.
Again, this is a 4x map with large fields (51 fields in total) with the largest field at 500+ acres and the smallest about 7 acres. For those of you who are not fans of forestry, trains, missions and don’t want to earn fast money with a BGA, then this map may appeal to you. The Oklahoma map is about farming and ranching, as a result you’ll really need some massive equipment to keep (and help) to stay on top of it all. While this map would be a great map for multiplayer, it can also be farmed solo with the aid of CoursePlay. I plan to farm it solo and will rely (not heavily) on CoursePlay to assist me. After all, a farm this size would employ many employees.
It appears the Oklahoma map was released several months ago and has been updated to version 2. I typically try to stay away from newly released version 1.x maps as these will frequently have bugs and when new versions are released to address these bugs it may require a full restart of the map play. While I’ve done this in the past, it certainly isn’t the desired action.
I’ve played many large 4x maps in the past and some start you out with either a large amount of equipment or as in the case of Graceland, a large sum of money. The Oklahoma map is slightly different as you take ownership of the main farm and own three fields (Fields 1, 2 and 3) which have already been planted and are ready for harvest. The starting equipment you’ll find waiting for you are two Case IH Axial-Flow 9230 Combines complete with large grain and corn headers. One MAN TGS 18.440 Truck with the Krampe SB 30/60 Tipper. Finally you have one white pickup (Piqup) to help you move around the large farm.
No, I didn’t leave anything out. As you are starting out you don’t own any tractors, plows, sowing machines, balers, forage wagons etc. The idea is you’ll need to get your crops harvested and sold and then begin adding additional equipment as needed. The rental mod may prove to be your best asset as you begin building your farming empire.
There are many ways to tackle the initial strategy for making a living on a new map. In most cases the need to purchase new equipment, upgrade existing equipment and purchase additional fields are high on the priority list. Maps which include forestry, missions or a BGA can certainly aid in the fast-track process. However, as previously stated the Oklahoma map offer none of these. I view this as a positive change from the standard maps. As I would frequently use the BGA to quickly build up my cash-on-hand, not having the BGA is making me re-think my strategy.
All 51 fields have been planted and are ready to harvest when you start a new game. As a result, I’ve turned off plant withering and also I’m not using soilmod with this map at this time. My initial strategy has been to harvest crops from my three owned fields (wheat, sunflower and corn). With the wheat crop, I set the harvester to leave the swath and after selling the first few loads of wheat I had enough cash to rent a tractor and large forage wagon. I picked up enough straw to fill the mixing station and managed to place into storage over 500,000 liters. The rest I sold to help generate more cash-on-hand for rental purposes. Next I proceeded to rent a large John Deere 9630, cultivator and Air-Seeder so I could replant the harvested fields.
With regards to the ready to harvest fields which I don’t currently own. Most maps I’ve played which featured already planted crops in un-owned fields, I’ve just left alone until such time I could afford them. With this map, at least in the early stages I’m going to harvest the crops on behalf of the bank with the intention of purchasing afterwards.
Livestock, Livestock, Livestock
The Oklahoma map is really geared towards raising livestock including cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and horses. At the start of game play, you already own a few head of each and all animal types have the necessary feed items available to them. Of course, this won’t last long so it will be important to get started quickly stockpiling straw, grass, chaff (for silage) and get the mixing station processing TMR. To get a jump start, I rented the necessary equipment. I picked up the straw from the wheat harvest using the large forage wagon. I rented the Krone Big X and the EasyCollect header and managed to fill both silage bunkers to 100% (still had corn left in the field) and then rented mowing equipment and managed to collect approx. 250,000 liters of grass. Again, I plan to run a large amount of livestock on this farm and slowly getting everything in place.
Oklahoma also offers fattening of animals including chickens, calves, pigs and horses. The last map I played which offered fattening of animals seemed to have an issue with the way the fattening and selling process worked. Basically when you made your initial purchase of animals (example 10 calves), then once these were fattened and ready for slaughter you still had the original 10 animals. It appears with the Oklahoma map, that once they reach slaughter weight and you sell the animal, then the total animal count is reduced.
Most maps I’ve typically played have offered built in augers for loading stored materials such as grass, straw, silage etc. Oklahoma offers none of that. It’s all done manually with either a portable auger or front end loader. I’ve found a new portable auger which I’ll review soon. I’m sure it will come in handy on this map.
I’ve spent about 10-12 hours or so on the Oklahoma map. I really enjoy it. I don’t tend to farm multiple maps simultaneously, so I figure Oklahoma should keep me busy (and entertained) until Farming Simulator 17 releases. While I don’t plan to document each and every day on Oklahoma, I will occasionally provide updates and details on how I’m playing this map. If you are looking for a challenge, give Oklahoma a look. Good luck!