Uniquely Satisfying

The past few weeks I’ve been playing Farming Simulator 17.  No, that’s not a typo….I’ve been playing the FS17 version which was released back in the fall of 2016 and is over four years old.  While I enjoy FS19, my enjoyment of the older FS17 version has been rekindled by the updated The Western Shore map by the extremely talented BulletBill.  If you are interested in playing The Western Shore for FS17, you can download it from my mod hosting site, SimplySafeMods.  Here’s the link.

I was first introduced to this map a little over a year ago.  BulletBill had allowed me to download and play the early release of this wonderful map.  But since that time, the map has been updated to version 2.0.0.2.  The latest version of the map is truly a joy to play and in my opinion, has been modded to play more like a farm sim map should.  More about this later.

No Right or Wrong Way

I’ve often said there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy farming simulator.  One can choose to play big maps with big equipment (or even small equipment) or one can play smaller maps with smaller equipment.   Of course, smaller maps will generally require the use of smaller equipment and The Western Shore is certainly that kind of map. 

With mods, one can also choose how to handle various tasks on the farm.  As an example, if you don’t want to mess with baling hay or straw, there are mods available which will allow you to store these items in bulk.  You can also pair these storage silos with feed mixer mods which will pre-mix your cow or pig feed needs for you.  Again, there’s no right or wrong way to play. 

My Game Play

As previously mentioned, I’ve been playing FS17 and BulletBill’s The Western Shore.  The map was designed with multiplayer in mind, however….it can also be enjoyed in a single player/offline setting as well.  The map features multiple farms with each individual farm consisting of a single animal type.  But nothing is stopping you from playing multiple farms at the same time.  That’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’m raising sheep at Strumble Lane and running a small dairy at Bramble Lane.  Strumble Lane Farm is my main base of operations (where I live) and I am considering the dairy function as a contract. 

Seasons?

Oh yes, I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Seasons mod since it first came out and I’m playing a six game day season setting on The Western Shore.  For me, six game days per season is the sweet spot.  Three is too short and nine is too long.  Six is just right and the custom GEO provides a perfect representation of that wonderful British weather. 

Contractors or Helpers?  Yep

As with many of my maps, I do use helpers as and when needed.  I typically stick with two and that’s what I’m doing here on The Western Shore.  While Courseplay certainly has a role in my game play, the Follow-Me mod is proving most helpful especially with grass work. 

Lot’s of Grass Work

I love grass work.  Running both sheep and cows will certainly require lots of hay and silage.  This is some of the most satisfying work that can be done within Farming Simulator (my opinion).  Like I said, lots of hay and silage are needed to keep my animals in tip-top shape. 

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Mowing…lots of mowing is required. 

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Raking and baling using the Follow-Me Mod.

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I do use a few other “assist” type mods on the farm.  Including a auto-loading bale trailer.  But once offloaded, the bales are handled and stacked manually and as neat as possible. 

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Today we’re stacking hay in the barn at Bramble Lane Farm. 

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Still more hay to bring in.  But need to take some time and feed the cows. 

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The fall crops will soon be ready to harvest and that will mean more straw will go into storage and I’ll begin to plan out the jobs that will need to be done over the late fall and winter time here on The Western Shore.  I’ll check back in down the road and share some more progress I’m making on this wonderful and fun map. 

Thanks for reading.  Until next time…

Happy Farming!

Jerry

Farming Simulator 19 – Are We There Yet?

I recently read a few comments on an FS19 Facebook Group.  The comments were comparing FS19 with FS17 and basically the original commenter summed up FS19 as “finally being on par with FS17”.  Of course, this individual was referring to the fact that in the last several weeks we’ve seen some truly awesome mods get released which have helped to narrow the gap between where we left off with Farming Simulator 17, to what we have now with FS19 and also the long awaited 1.3 patch.  But I beg to differ with his opinion…as the delta between FS19 and FS17 is still fairly wide.  Wide enough Evil Knievel might think twice before attempting a death defying jump on his trusty John Deere tractor.

Now before I wade off too deeply into this blog posting.  Just allow me to state for the record that this is an opinion piece and most importantly, it’s MY opinion.  As my blog postings do often appear on a few different forums…the opinions expressed here are my very own.  With that out of the way, let’s lace up the boots and go wading into these weeds.

Vanilla Comparisons

I believe if you strip away all the mods from Farming Simulator 17 and also do the same with FS19, and conduct side-by-side comparisons in their vanilla or default states, Farming Simulator 17 would out shine Farming Simulator 19.  While FS19 touted many enhanced features including horses, a dog and John Deere…to quote Shania Twain…”That Don’t Impress Me Much”.  The horses are meh, the dog doesn’t really do anything (why can’t he ride in the back of my truck?) and I’ve had as much John Deere equipment I’ve ever could have wanted since my first intro to Farming Simulator with 15.  Of course, I know those who play on consoles haven’t had that.

The one thing which (again…my opinion) narrows the divide between vanilla FS17 and FS19 is Cotton.  While we’ve had modded cotton before, GIANTS have done it right (for the most part) and given us cotton and some equipment to work with it.  Hopefully they will continue and give us even more.

The Patch

Many (even including myself) had hopes the 1.3 patch for FS19 was going to solve all the problems with the game and half of the problems in the world.  While “the patch” did resolve an issue I had been having with my Logitech G27 controller and I suppose a few other issues, I still believe a vanilla FS19 is still lagging behind that of its predecessor.  One of the many factors that drive this position is what my ears tell me.  The sounds in FS19 just don’t seem to be on par with that of FS17.  I’ve heard the reasons for this are due to a change up with the individuals who were part of GIANTS with FS17 were no longer there when FS19 was being developed.  As I don’t have time right now to do a side-by-side comparison, I did find another YouTube whose ears are telling him the same thing mine are and here’s a video he made.

Light at the end of the Tunnel

Farming Simulator 19 was an absolute lemon for me for the first few months after release.  As more mods were released including quality maps, Courseplay, Guidance Steering (GPS) and just a few weeks ago FollowMe showed up…it’s becoming once again apparent that it’s our wonderful modding community that will end up saving the day.  I suspect by mid-summer (hopefully not any later) we’ll see the Seasons Mod show up which is expected to bring even more goodness to Farming Simulator than we had in FS17.

I’m really not sure why GIANTS (and they are not the only one) relies on the modding community to keep their franchise games propped up.  As I’ve said before, if it wasn’t for the modding community…Farming Simulator would have already been uninstalled from my PC.  While I’m not optimistic GIANTS will do anything about the sound issues I pointed out earlier, I can (and will) look past that once Seasons comes out.

The Microsoft Phenomenon

Perhaps all this can be likened to what I’m going to call the Microsoft Phenomenon.   If we look back a decade or two, the various Operating Systems Microsoft have developed could resemble a rollercoaster with highs and lows along the route.  Windows XP once service pack 3 dropped was a fairly rock solid OS, then along came Vista.  As we made the turn and proceeded up the next hill along came Windows 7, but then we took another drop and fell with Windows 8.  While Windows 10 is causing a few gray hairs in my professional life…we seem to be on the uphill once again.

So perhaps this is happening with GIANTS.  Who knows…and I could go on and on and on…but GIANTS really needs to hit it out of the park with Farming Simulator 21 (if there will be such a thing).  Farming Simulator is such a fantastic simulation game and truly has so much potential and I believe there’s no one better to drive this franchise forward than GIANTS.  So….just do it already!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!

Jerry

Windows 10 Updates

While I’m sure you’ll find many differing opinions on Microsoft’s current OS, I must say that Windows 10 is perhaps the best thing that has happened in the PC gaming industry since sliced bread or a pocket on a shirt.  But the Windows 10 update process does lack a lot to be desired.

My PC gaming experience dates back to the early days of Windows.  Over the past couple of decades (geez, I’m getting old), Microsoft Windows has released some excellent operating systems and a few not-so-great versions.  In more modern times, Windows XP (with service pack 3) was a fairly reliable OS and performed well in its day.  Then there was the infamous Windows Vista (barf) followed by Windows 7.  Windows 7 (64bit) was also a very reliable and solid performer.  In my real life day job, we still have a fairly large number of workstations still running Windows 7.  However, over the next 18 months most of these will be decommissioned.  After Windows 7, we endured the Windows 8 fiasco (big barf) but thankfully Windows 10 came along quickly became the go-to OS.

You Get a Copy, You Get a Copy and You Get a Copy

Sometime in the summer of 2015, Microsoft began handing out free copies of Windows 10 much the same way Oprah handed out cars many years ago.  Licensed users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 could download/install Windows 10 without charge for one year.  I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to upgrade my gaming machine to Windows 10.  After all, I had a pretty reliable process for building/rebuilding my Win 7 system and everything (including all my Steam games and Prepar3D v3.x) was dialed in pretty solid.

However, I had been testing Windows 10 at work and had also updated one of my other home PC’s to Win 10 and was starting to see that Windows 10 was going to be the future of PC gaming.  My current instance of Windows 7 was starting to slow down and things were getting cluttered on the system.  I wanted to take the free Windows 10 update, but didn’t want to hassle of inheriting all the little issues I had been having with the Win 7 setup.  So I formatted my main SSD drive, reinstalled Windows 7 and then applied the Windows 10 update.

Time Flies when you are having fun…

For the past 18+ months my gaming machine has performed flawlessly.  Prepar3D version 4 (64 bit heaven) worked beautifully and all my Steam games performed like a dream.  While this particular gaming machine is approaching 4 years old, I built it with the future in mind and pending no hardware failures, should still handle my gaming needs for another year or two.

Windows 10 Updates

Having the IT background I do, I’m a firm believer in applying updates/patches etc. in a timely manner.  I began experiencing an issue shortly after the new year where my machine wouldn’t/couldn’t install Win 10 updates.  I did some research and tried all the usual things.  Nothing I did worked…but it was only a minor nuisance until about a week ago.

Last Saturday morning, with coffee in hand I went down to my basement office to play a little Farming Simulator 17 and record an episode.  I guess Microsoft was hell bent on changing my plans, because for the past 2-3 months these updates wouldn’t install, but magically they did…but to my fear it left my system in a terrible state.

I did manage to repair Windows 10 to a point where most things worked fine, but I ran into issues with Prepar3D and I just can’t live with that.

I’m a Perfectionist

I really don’t know if being a perfectionist is a good trait or a bad one.  I think it can easily go both ways.  In my real world job, I suppose it’s a good thing as I typically don’t settle for anything less than perfection.  In my personal life…well…it absolutely drives my wife crazy.  But the problem with little nagging issues is they can quickly become really major showstoppers and as I have just less than three weeks worth of recorded content ready to go, I figure now is a good time to fix this mess.

A Change is a coming…

Shhhhh, don’t tell my wife….but I’m about to plop a new 500 GB SSD in my gaming machine.  As I previously mentioned, I did build this machine with the future in mind.  At the time, I installed three 250 GB SSD drives in the machine with the idea that SSD #1 would run Windows, SSD #2 would be for all things P3D and SSD #3 would be for Steam Games.  In addition to the SSD drives, I also have one 500GB SATA drive that I use to capture my video recordings and also use it as a backup drive.

The new plan is to rebuild Windows 10 on the current 250 GB SSD.  The primary Windows drive doesn’t need to be massive and I feel 250GB will be fine.  The new 500GB SSD will contain all my Steam games as I’m quickly approaching the point where 250GB won’t hold everything.  P3D will continue to live on its own 250 GB SSD and finally, the older 250GB SSD will  contain nothing but the Documents folder.  After all, so many of the games I run utilize the “Documents” folder to save files, mods, aircraft, scenery etc.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

After backing up my precious game saves for FS17, ATS, ETS2 and other important items I began the process by kicking off the built in Windows 10 reset tool and selecting the option to delete all personal data, files, settings etc.  After all, I’m wanting to start from scratch.  This is a excellent feature of Windows 10 and it worked just as intended.  Less than 30 minutes later, Windows 10 was perfectly reset with all patches and updates safely and securely applied.  I then proceeded to update my Nvidia GPU drivers and a few other critical device drivers.  Another 30 minutes or so and I was ready to start installing games and other applications.

Steam – I love it!

I know a lot of people loath Steam and Steam games.  For me, I absolutely adore it and in a rebuild scenario it is your best friend.   As my primary recorded content on my YouTube Channel is FS17, FS17 was the first to get installed.  I changed the install directory to the new 500GB SSD drive and allowed Steam to download and install FS17.  Once FS17 was installed, I launched it so it would create the appropriate folders in the Documents directory (living on its own SSD drive) then shut down FS17.  Next I copied over the saved folders/files from the previous Documents installation.  This brought over all my mods and the appropriate game save folders.  It also pulled in the much appreciated keybindings file which worked perfect.  I fired up FS17, loaded up my new map game save and everything was just like it was on the old setup.  Love it!

Next I installed ATS and ETS2 and followed much the same procedure as I did with FS17.  I’m pleased to report everything is 100% like it was when I last played.  Fantastic!

Finally, I got OBS, TrackIR and a few other things I need to be able to continue producing my  video content on YouTube.  I highly recommend you backup your OBS configurations as it is super easy to import these back into OBS when performing a rebuild like this.  I’m now 100% ready to resume recording my game content for what I’m currently featuring on the channel.  From start to finish, I’d say I reached this point within less than 2 hours from the time I started the rebuild process.  Awesome!

Are we there yet?

My gaming rig wouldn’t be complete without my flight sim setup installed and dialed in to perfection.  While it only took me about two hours to completely refresh Windows 10 and get the rig back to a point where I could play and record FS17, ATS or ETS2.  Two hours is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time required to get fully airborne.   In February, Lockheed Martin released version 4.2.x of their 64 bit Prepar3D Flight Simulator.  I had been running 4.1.x so I took advantage of this re-birth to go with the latest and greatest.  I installed P3D v4.2.x onto its own 250GB SSD drive and verified all was working by loading up the sim and choosing a default aircraft.  Success!

Next comes all the add-ons.  Now for those of you who enjoy FS17, ATS and ETS2 and enjoy those games with mods, you know we simply need to find the mod we want, download it and drop it in the mods folder.  Launch the game and a few clicks the mod is enabled and hopefully it’s everything we had hoped it would be.  The process for flight sim just isn’t that simple.  Every, single, add-on has its own .exe or some can only be downloaded/installed via a central application (as is the case with Orbx).  Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the new Orbx FTX Central.  Not only does it automate the download, install and updating process…it’s just really cool.  I’ve already praised this new application in a blog post last year.

But to put things into perspective.  In FS17, I have well over 150 mods.  Most likely closer to 200.  Getting FS17 downloaded, installed and running again just where I left off only took me about 2 hours and this included the Windows 10 refresh process.  But Flight Sim is much, much different.  On my mod spreadsheet for P3D, I have approx. 100 add-ons.  Again, each of these are .exe’s that need to be checked if they are the latest versions, downloaded if not, then installed.  With scenery add-ons, it’s advisable to restart the PC and load up the sim between each install.  I would estimate (and this really is a guess), but it most likely takes me well over 24 hours (I really don’t think this is an exaggeration) to get P3D running with absolutely everything I own running and dialed in.  This also includes configuring all my external controls including yoke, rudder pedals and various button/switch panels.  Very little is simply “plug & play”.

My typical approach to reinstalling P3D (which I do every 18-24 months) is to do a little at a time.  I typically install all the Orbx ground texture applications (base, vector, openLC etc.) then proceed to the Orbx regional terrain (Cen. Rocky Mountains, Southern Alaska, NoCal etc.).  Then I install the other add-ons like Weather, Sky Textures, VATSIM etc.  Then I proceed with payware aircraft.  Typically I always install the PMDG 737 NGX first along with add-on airports of KDEN and KDFW.  Then I typically begin installing other airports and aircraft as I fly around the virtual world.

Whew….well, I need to get busy again installing scenery and aircraft.  After all, it’s not gonna get done all by itself.

Until next time….

Jerry

Old Guy Farmer Challenge

So I return to work on Monday morning (10 July) after having spent 10 wonderful, relaxing days on vacation.  Over half of this time off was spent near Estes Park, Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.  This was a much needed, highly anticipated and just honestly what any doctor could have ordered break for both my wife and I.  The last few months have been tough on both of us and I honestly think we began counting the days down to this get-away back in the early spring timeframe.

Between meetings on Monday morning, I decided to catch up on a few of my fellow YouTube friends and the videos they released while I was on vacation.  My friend Farmer Klein was the first name that popped up in my list of video recommendations and I noticed the video title was “Old Guy Farmers Single Player Challenge”.  Challenge??? What’s this about seemed to be thoughts that entered in my mind.  Obviously I know who Old Guy Farmer is…that’s Mr. Jerry Ott who created the wonderful Mountain Valley Farm map which I’m currently running a “Let’s Play” series on.  If interested, you can follow my progress on my Mountain Valley Farm series on YouTube.

Anyway…back to this challenge.  I watched with excitement as Farmer Klein started game day 1, episode 1 of the special Goldcrest Valley Edit map which Jerry Ott had designed specific for the challenge.  As more minutes passed, I began thinking…I want to do this.  I want to play this map and I want to participate in the challenge.  I quickly read through the rules/guidelines of the challenge….”Must Use Seasons Mod” Ok…that’s good as I just simply can’t play (nor am I interested in playing FS17 without the Seasons Mod.  “Game mode must be set on Hard”.  OK..that is also OK as I’m playing on MVF set to Hard mode.  “Game play time must be set to x15 speed and can only skip time from 9pm to 6am”  That’s also just fine.  “Game play must be streamed on YouTube or Twitch”  This is also great because I’ve really been wanting to stream my FS17 game play more.  Etc. etc.  I’ll let you read the rules/guidelines at your own discretion.

While I did say several months ago I had no interest in playing another GCV edit map, on Monday afternoon I downloaded the GCV edit challenge map and fired up OBS and kicked off episode one (of 72 total episodes) of this challenge series.  Yes…you did read that correct.  This series will consist of 72 episodes as each episode will be precisely one game day (6 AM ish to 9 PM ish).  72 days is what 3 Seasons Mod years, set to 6 game days per season calculates to.  Yes, this is a major undertaking…but I have until 1 November.  There’s a lot of time between now and 1 November!  Right?  Right????

I’ll admit, my game play during episode 1 certainly was not my finest hour.  I must have appeared as if I was a nube to Farming Simulator 17 or perhaps even a nube to simulation based gaming altogether.  I really do have over 500 hours of game play recorded in FS17 (and over 700 in FS15) and I’ve been using the Seasons mod since early January.

The truth is, I completely underestimated the stress in knowing that from the moment you enter the game, time is ticking away at a fairly fast pace (game play set to x15).  An entire game day (6 AM to 9 PM) passes by at near light speed in just over an hour.  As most of my viewers know, I farm at a fairly relaxed pace and I may spend a few minutes painstakingly comparing tractor specs before making a decision (or no decision at all).  In this challenge, TIME is definitely of the essence.

Long Story Short….so yes…GrizzlyBearSims took the challenge and I’ll do my level best to not only survive the challenge, but also complete it and also try equally hard to win it.  While the rules are clearly defined, I’ve made the decision to follow my own guideline of “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” way of doing things.  Meaning even though time is quickly speeding by, I won’t take shortcuts…I’m not going to drive through my crops etc.  I’m  plowing fields, applying fertilizer, cultivating, seeding and then fertilizing again.  Regardless of the outcome,  FUN is the absolute number one priority for each episode.

While I don’t believe it’s too late for others to take part in this challenge, if you are interested in participating…please visit this website for complete rules and information.  But don’t wait too long as while on paper there are many days between now and 1 November…trust me, before you know it…summer will be over and just remember, time is of the essence.

For my wonderful friends/viewers of the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, Are you interested in winning your very own copy of the Giants Farming Simulator 17 Platinum Expansion Pack DLC?  I’m  gifting a copy to three lucky winners of this expansion pack (via Steam) at the end of the challenge.  All you need to do to enter, is watch my livestreams (either live or via YouTube recorded playback) and listen for me to provide the daily code word.  Each episode will have a unique code word which I’ll verbally announce during the game play.  Once you hear the code word,  just follow the information I’ve outlined to enter.  You can view these contest guidelines and how to submit the code word on the GrizzlyBearSims Discord Channel.  You can enter up to 72 times,  pending you watch (and listen) for the code word.  Obviously, the more episodes you watch, the better odds you’ll have at winning.  I’ll do the drawing and notify the winners on Sunday, 6 November.

If you are interested in catching up with my progress, you may view my archived livestreams here.

Thank you all for reading and thank you for watching.

Jerry

How to change the language of a map in FS17

I truly love helping my fellow farm sim enthusiasts, it’s really the main reason why I launched my GrizzlyBearSims blog site and the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel.  I have been blogging about my simulation based gaming efforts since 2007 and both through this blog site and my YouTube channel, I’ve met some truly incredible people that I happily call friends.  Many of my friends have launched their own media outlets to showcase their game play and also use their platforms in turn helping others as well.    One such friend, Farmer Klein has successfully launched his YouTube channel and is quickly gaining in subscribers and popularity.  I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to feature one of his most recent tutorials on my blog site.

Unfortunately, not all maps are created equal in terms of the written language.  Some of the truly great maps may feature a language other than English and perhaps we see the German language most frequently.  Having a wife who is fluent in several European languages has worked to my advantage many times.  However, I believe she has grown bored with me calling her over to my PC to translate words I don’t recognize and I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to change the language to English.  But I must admit, I’ve never really looked into how one goes about doing this and I really don’t have the time (or the desire) to do much with Giants Editor.  Well…..as Farmer Klein demonstrates in the video below…the process of changing the written, displayed language doesn’t require a degree in rocket science.   All that is needed is the desire, the time and the ability to use Google Translate (or have a multi-lingual wife who doesn’t mind helping).

If this interests you, (no you can’t borrow my wife) please watch the video below by my friend Farmer Klein.  After you watch the video, please show your appreciation of his hard work by subscribing to his channel and liking the video.  I’d like to give a really big Grizzly Bear “Thank You” to Farmer Klein for taking the time to showcase the steps required to change the language of a map.  Now if I can just figure out how to stop the trees and fence posts from jumping out in front of my tractor, I’ll be all set.  Mr. Farmer Klein….got a video tutorial for that?  LOL

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

FS17 Big Bud DLC

We are slightly less than two weeks away from the release of Giants second DLC pack for Farming Simulator 17.  This DLC pack features two different models of the Big Bud tractor and various pieces of equipment suitable for use with either of the two Big Bud tractors or even some of the larger in-game models we have available.  Before I forget to mention, you’ll want to visit the Farmer Klein YouTube Channel and if you’re not already a subscriber, go ahead and subscribe as Farmer Klein plans to record/release a first impression video highlighting 5 – 10 different maps suitable for the Big Bud DLC.

For those who follow my GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, you already know that I’m a fan of large maps, with large fields.  In FS15, I loved maps like Graceland, Oklahoma and States.  These maps allowed me to experience operating the largest equipment mods, operating multiple pieces of equipment working in the same field and just really satisfied my need of “GO BIG or GO HOME” farming.  In FS17, I’ve gently eased my toes into the waters of larger maps/larger fields with Pine Cove Farm and now my brand new series on Lone Star.  More about this in a minute…

Back to FS15, during my private play on the Oklahoma map I did download, install and try out the Big Bud tractor mod.  I honestly wasn’t impressed with it and returned to using my trusty John Deere tractors.  So when I learned about the upcoming Big Bud DLC for FS17, I did go ahead and pre-order, but as I’ve mentioned several times on my YouTube Channel…I really only was interested in the equipment and not the Big Bud tractors.

However, I recently discovered a real-life farming YouTube channel based in the Big Sky Country of Montana called Welker Farms Inc.  Welker Farms Inc. is based in North Central Montana and has been in operation since 1912.  Now I found their channel by way of my interest in aerial drone photography as they have just recently purchased the DJI Mavic Pro drone (same model as mine) and began watching their videos.  So in addition to showcasing their farming operations (which is very cool) they also have several videos featuring their fleet of….you guessed it….several Big Bud tractors.

I must say….the more I watch their channel, the more I see the Big Bud tractor in use on their farm, the more excited I am about the Big Bud DLC release and even using the Big Bud tractor on my GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel.  So yea….I’m sort of having a change of heart with regards to my opinion of the Big Bud tractor.

Yes…the Big Bud tractor is still an ugly beast.  But sometimes an ugly beast is exactly what is needed to get the job done.

Honestly speaking,  I believe much of the dislike I’ve experienced and shared of the Big Bud tractor is based on my experience with it in FS15.  I’m more than certain Giants will release a truly awesome version with their DLC pack.  Just a few days ago Giants released this blog update and how they sent some of their team here to the USA to “meticulously measure the exact details of the Big Bud 747” and “record the authentic engine sounds” for an “authentic as possible” in-game experience.  Knowing this information, I’m really beginning to change my opinion of this tractor.

As I mentioned a few minutes ago, I’m in the very early stages of my brand new Lone Star YouTube series.  I’ve already set the stage in the story line that our local equipment supplier has asked me to become a reference customer for the Big Bud tractor as they have one coming in very soon.  So sometime after the release of the Big Bud DLC, I will feature it on the channel in this fashion.  If my overall expectations are positive of the tractor itself, then you can expect to see it featured more on new maps suitable for the large equipment.

Well this just about wraps up all I wanted to mention in this blog post.  My apologies for not posting new articles on a regular basis.  I’ve somewhat been using my YouTube channel as a VLOG outlet and not spending as much effort in writing content here.  I’ll certainly try to do a better job at multi-tasking in the future.

Until next time….

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

Farming Simulator 17– GBS Tutorials–Plowing with Courseplay

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Plowing with Courseplay

In this video, I provide instruction on how to plow with Courseplay.

Please note:  At the time of this recording, Courseplay for FS17 is in beta (work in progress).  As clearly stated in this video, neither the Courseplay development team or myself (GrizzlyBearSims) will be responsible for any possible damage caused to your FS17 game by using a beta mod.  While Courseplay is extremely stable, the use of ANY MOD can cause damage to your game saves.  Use Courseplay at your own risk!

Courseplay for FS17 available here https://courseplay.github.io/courseplay/

I hope you enjoy watching my videos.  If you do, please hit that “Like” button!  Also, if you are new to the channel, please SUBSCRIBE.  It really does help!

Please visit my blog site https://grizzlybearsims.com  You’ll find my complete mod list and various articles and reviews on many of the simulation based games I enjoy playing.

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Setting up an Equipment Transfer Course

Farming Simulator 17 – GBS Tutorials – Setting up an Equipment Transfer Course

After having my arm twisted by my dear friend Eustace Pharmer, I’m going to do a full “how to” series on Courseplay for FS17.  Each video will contain just the information you need to configure Courseplay for the given task.  Over the next few weeks I’ll create these “no-nonsense” tutorial videos which I hope will help you in your virtual farming operations.

In this video, I provide instruction on how to setup an equipment transfer course to move equipment from point A to point B.  In the video, I discuss moving newly purchased equipment from the store to the main farm. But you can also easily setup transfer course from the main farm to a field and back.

Please note:  At the time of this recording, Courseplay for FS17 is in beta (work in progress).  As clearly stated in this video, neither the Courseplay development team or myself (GrizzlyBearSims) will be responsible for any possible damage caused to your FS17 game by using a beta mod.  While Courseplay is extremely stable, the use of ANY MOD can cause damage to your game saves.  Use Courseplay at your own risk!

Courseplay for FS17 available here https://courseplay.github.io/courseplay/

I hope you enjoy watching my videos.  If you do, please hit that “Like” button!  Also, if you are new to the channel, please SUBSCRIBE.  It really does help!

Please visit my blog site https://grizzlybearsims.com  You’ll find my complete mod list and various articles and reviews on many of the simulation based games I enjoy playing.

FS17 Let’s Play–Pine Cove Farm by Stevie–Episode 1

FS17 Let’s Play–Pine Cove Farm by Stevie–Episode 1

I realize I once said that I wasn’t interested in playing a map based from the Goldcrest Valley template. But Stevie was the first map modder I was introduced to back in the days of FS15 and I’ve played just about everything he’s ever created. So naturally when I began hearing about Pine Cove Farm….I knew I had to make room for a series of play on this wonderful map. While Stevie used the base Goldcrest template, he’s changed it up significantly and it is a beautiful work of art. The map is version 1.0.0.3 (the final version according to Stevie). The only modifications I’ve made to the map are in the form of starting equipment and the number of owned fields.

In this series, I’ve been asked (along with my silent investor partners) to restore the village of Pine Cove back to the vibrant community it used to be. Most of the local farmers in this area have finally fallen victim to the poor economy and even the local industry has suffered. Through a large scale effort, we plan to return the Pine Cove area back to what it once was. As was the case in my Goldcrest Valley series, I’ll once again enlist the trusty help of Billy Bob, Jim Bob and Stan to help with the daily tasks on the farm.

This series will begin on Day 2, Mid Spring and I am using the Seasons Mod which is still currently in Beta. Each season will consist of three game days, for a twelve day year. We are running large herds of dairy cattle, sheep and pigs in this series and will also be operating the produce market, compost plant and Bio Gas facility. As we have a number of large fields, the operation will employ the use of AI workers in the form of Auto-Combine and Courseplay. In addition, large equipment and multiple combines will be required to get the job done.

I hope you like the color John Deere Green, because you’ll certainly be seeing a lot of Green on the map. PCF requires BIG equipment and that is just how we’re going to play this map. Go BIG or GO HOME!

I hope you enjoy watching my videos. If you do, please hit that “Like” button! Also, if you are new to the channel, please SUBSCRIBE. It really does help!

Farming Simulator–A New Approach

I realize it’s been a while since I published a blog article. While I’ve been busy playing Farming Simulator 17 and recording much of my game play for the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, I’ve not turned away from this medium.  While video blogs (or vlogs) are popular, I believe the written form of blogging is very much needed and I don’t plan to cease creating content in this form.  By the way, Farming Simulator 17 is truly awesome.  If you’ve been on the fence regarding upgrading from FS15 to FS17, I would certainly recommend making the move.  New mods are coming out daily and while we still await CoursePlay, there is still a lot of goodness about FS17 to make it worth the move from FS15.

If you’ve watched my YouTube “Let’s Play” series on Goldcrest Valley (GCV), you know I’m about ten episodes in.  For the most part I’m playing it in career mode.  My approach to GCV was to take advantage of the new mission system and do as much work for the local farmers as I could.  This does two things.  First, it generates a nice sum of income.  Second, it raises your reputation with these other local farmers and in turn, reduces the asking price of their additional fields.  After all, one really can’t begin making a fortune in virtual farming until you own more fields.  But I’ve wanted to do something different for some time and have decided to take a new approach to how I start a new map.

Perhaps you are aware of the new farm simulation game called Cattle and Crops (CnC).  CnC is due to release (early preview) in the Spring of 2017, then the full version in late 2017.  One of the highly anticipated new features of CnC is how it is supposed to simulate seasons.  Cool huh?  The Farming Simulator franchise (FS13, FS15, FS17) doesn’t simulate seasons by default.  The addition of Soilmod sort of helped, but still….it’s spring/summer all year long.  While Soilmod is not yet available for FS17, there is a mod called Growth Manager which (in my opinion) provides better crop growth management than what is available in the default game.  Yes, it’s still spring/summer all year long….but we can still simulate seasonal farming with a little help from a few mods and our own imagination.

In addition to the Growth Manager mod, I also highly recommend the RealTime mod.  This mod changes the HUD in the upper-right corner of the screen to show the game day number.  With my new approach to virtual farming, this value is important in understanding the season I’m currently working in.  Outside of these two mods, the rest is left up to your imagination.

Let me set the stage…..

First, there is no absolute right or wrong way to how you go about playing farming simulator.  You certainly can start out in career mode and earn every hard earned dollar, euro or pound.  This IS absolutely fun and extremely rewarding.  I recommend following this method on at least one map.  I think the satisfaction in knowing you built your farming empire from just a few thousand dollars and basic equipment, is key to truly getting a high level of enjoyment from the game.  But, just as importantly….there is no wrong way of doing it either.  Enter stage right, North Brabant for FS17.

The North Brabant map is situated in the Netherlands (very near Belgium) and for all intents and purposes, the fields, farms etc. very much look the same between these regions.  You may have heard about the North Brabant map in FS15.  It was quite popular and Mike-Modding has converted it over to FS17.  I believe it is still a work in progress (WIP), but even in its version 1.0 state…it is very much playable and challenging.  By default, when you load up the North Brabant map for FS17 you already own a fairly large number of the 47 available fields, 32 to be exact. With the exception of about 7 grass fields, the remaining owned fields need to be planted.    Actually, they would need to be plowed, cultivated then planted if you want the highest crop yield.

A Seasonal Approach

My new game play for the North Brabant map, will find us in the Spring (April to be exact).  If I understand the Growth Manager mod correctly, each game day will represent approx. one calendar month.  In researching available information on the internet, I’ve created a rough schedule of how and what I’ll plant to achieve my seasonal style of play.  Remember, with exception of the two mods I’ve mentioned….the rest is going to be left up to your imagination and your own desire.

My researched information and plan is not specific to the Netherlands, Europe or any particular region of the world.  I determined through researching several US States agriculture sites when most of the FS17 crops should be planted and when they should be available for harvest.  Again, due to the limitations of FS17….this is all only limited to your individual imagination and desire.  In an effort for variety, I plan to plant the following crops:  Wheat (Spring/Winter), Barley (Spring/Fall), Canola (Spring/Winter), Corn (Grain and Silage), Potatoes (Summer/Fall), Soybeans and Sugarbeets.

As I previously stated, each game day will represent approx. one calendar month.  I’ve divided each season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) to represent three game days each.  Again, I’m starting in Spring and day 1 is April.  The general idea (all subject to change as I truly get rolling) is to avoid the practice of just planting/harvesting over and over in the same fields without any consideration to the challenges of also factoring in the Winter season.  In other words, placing a high level of importance of ensuring you have collected enough hay, straw and silage to sustain a large animal population from late fall until ????

Withering Off

Unfortunately, because the game itself will not automagically detect the slower winter growing season (example Wheat) I’ve turned plant withering off.  An example of the collected research I’ve performed, shows that winter wheat crops are typically planted between mid-September and mid-October and will be ready for harvest around June the following year.  This growth cycle is twice as long as wheat planted in the Spring.  So therefore, I’ll simply ignore the fields I’ve identified as being planted in winter wheat until the appropriate time (June).  Again, this is all about imagination and good note taking.

Animals Everywhere

From day one, I have established 100 dairy cows, 100 sheep and 50 pigs.  Thankfully the Buy Bales Mod is your friend.  I’ve used this mod to purchase enough bales to enable me to provide bedding and the creation of TMR for all my animals.

Winter Month Activities

There will be a period of time (approx. Nov. through Feb.) where no planting or harvesting will be performed.  However, there will be no rest for the weary.  This will be a great time to fire up our greenhouse operations and of course, animals will still need daily attention to keep them fully productive.

Measuring Success

This could all end up in a huge mess, be extremely successful or fall anywhere in between.  I’ve changed most of the starting equipment and have purchased just about everything I can imagine that I’ll need.  I’ve also paid off the bank loan and started with $60,000.  If my calculations are correct, the milk income alone from 100 dairy cows should generate a net income of approx. $30,000 each game day.  While I’m using some hired labor, I’m making an effort of keeping that cost as low as possible.  But the general idea is not the amount of money I’ll have at the end.

You can follow along with my new approach to virtual farming via my YouTube channel and the new North Brabant series.  The first video will pickup after about 5 hours of off video work which was required to get everything situated, animals up to 100% productivity etc.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has subscribed to my new YouTube channel and “Liked” my videos.  I will occasionally provide blog updates on how this approach is working and at a later date, I’ll share my spreadsheet which I’m creating to help keep track of what I’m planting and when it will be available to harvest based on the seasonal approach.

Until then…

Happy “Seasonal” Farming

Jerry

GrizzlyBearSims

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