Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kenworth W900 is almost here

The iconic Kenworth W900 truck model should be added to the American Truck Simulator line-up in a few short days; it will be a part of the first small game update that we are finishing now.

This is actually the very first truck we have started creating for the game over two years ago, it has been in an almost-finished state for a long time. We were sure that this classic vehicle would be received very positively by our fans. However, unbeknown to us, it did not turn out to be the best choice for the first vehicle to approach Kenworth with during initial licensing discussions. Truck manufacturers tend to be very careful about their image, and Kenworth, as the pioneer in aerodynamics in cabin design with their T680, had a rather different idea of the ideal truck to have in our game at the moment of release. So it was back to work for us to finish the other truck first before we could hope for the licensing deal to be successfully signed.

Meanwhile, we also owe you news concerning the state of Steampunk DLC. We are gifting it now to loyal Steam followers of American Truck Simulator as promised. Our "robot" code has been processing the gifts for a few days already actually, we are however throttled by some technical issues. So far, we have managed to add the DLC to the Steam library of 53,000 players, there is still some 110,000 more DLCs to issue currently. Please have patience with us, the DLC content will automatically appear in your game shortly. As the execution on our side was not as swift as we had hoped, we are not yet limiting your chances to earn the DLC for free. Anybody following the game on Steam until and as of today will still qualify to receive it. You don't have to worry also if your game was a store pre-order and the box is yet to arrive; so long as you follow the game in time, the DLC will be added to it even if you activate the game a week or two from now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

American Truck Simulator Out Now!

The launch process was even smoother than we had hoped, so we are happy to announce that American Truck Simulator keys will now activate the game, and that it has become visible and ready for purchase on Steam.

Actually the start is promising, we have good visibility for the game on the front page.

American Truck Simulator Release Clarifications

We are snowed-in by a ton of questions and requests for clarification from fans, and it will be best to respond to them once here in an official statement rather than trying to reply to every e-mail.

American Truck Simulator Price

We cannot dictate the prices for the box edition in retail channels, we can only suggest recommended price (we could get prosecuted for price fixing otherwise), but for your reference, these are the prices that will appear on Steam when the game is cleared for release: $19.99, £14.99, 19,99€, CHF 19.99, 1499 pуб., R$ 79,00, ¥ 2,299, 179,00 kr, Rp 249 999, RM84.00, P899.95, S$26.95, ฿699.00, ₩ 24,000, 59,00 TL, 459₴, Mex$ 349.99, CDN$ 28.99, A$ 28.99, NZ$ 29.99, ¥ 125, ₹ 1,249, CLP$ 14.500, S/.64.95, COL$ 62.000, R 325.00, HK$ 149.00, NT$ 649, 74.00 SR, 72.00 AED.

Official Support only for 64-bit Operating Systems

To make sure that we don't have to make compromises down the line, stuck forever with a guarantee to support a build of the game with 32-bit limitations, we have decided to officially only support 64-bit Windows/Linux/Mac. There are some performance benefits too, but most importantly this will allow us to cross the 2 GB barrier for in-game assets when we need to, without worrying about how to work around the limitations of addressable memory on a 32-bit system.

However, we are receiving a lot of requests from players stuck with a 32-bit Windows to give them a chance to play the game now. We do listen to you, and we are also making available an UNSUPPORTED, alternate 32-bit build of the game. You will find it on Steam, in a Beta branch named unsupported_32bit. At the time of release, it will be functionally equivalent with the 64-bit build, and it should work ok so long as you don't push the graphics setting to max. Keep in mind that it's only an unsupported temporary solution, we are explicitly making no guarantees that it will work now or in the future. At some point in time, perhaps in 6 months, perhaps in 12 months, we will no longer be able to update this 32-bit fork of the game to match the feature set of the official version of the game. Hopefully by that time, you will all have migrated to a new 64-bit OS.

Release platforms/DRM

The game is released for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. It will require Valve's Steam platform to install and activate. Whether you buy it directly there, or purchase an activation key from the official game website, find it in a box from a bricks-and-mortar store, or get it from any other digital channel, you will always be getting a Steam key.

We know that not everybody is comfortable with the decision, but for us the benefits are very clear. We will be able to concentrate on improving the game itself, and will not have to lose time and focus maintaining an alternate update and account infrastructure. With Steam, pushing out an update of the game is a matter of one button press. We can take advantage of Steam Workshop to have a central repository of mods, and will not have to create and moderate our own alternate solution. We would really have a hard time having to create our own system to sell, deliver and update game DLCs with equal robustness to Steam's proven infrastructure. We hope that you will understand why we are making this choice.

Bonus Paintjob Reminder

Speaking of Steam and the benefits its system allows us to provide... We would like to remind you about an exclusive steam-punk paint-job bonus DLC. It can be yours in exchange for following us on American Truck Simulator Steam page. We are going to give early purchasers of the game a few extra days to allow them a chance to earn this bonus. Next week, the game will auto-magically update itself for all active followers to add these beauties:

American Truck Simulator Releasing Today

We are only hours away from the release of American Truck Simulator!

The official street date is February 3rd, but as we see it, it would be too cruel to let you wait until tomorrow morning.

We were thinking of unleashing the game at midnight Prague time. However, going through all the release process late at night and staying on alert for a while after the game gets out to see if no hot-fixing is needed immediately takes some hours. The release crew would not get to bed before 4 am.

So here is the plan: We will start the release process this evening already (CET time zone), and while we are not sure if we'll need an hour or three to press all the buttons that must be pressed, we expect that the game will unlock a few hours before midnight already. Both the keys sold in digital channels as well as keys in retail boxes will start working at the same time. Looking at the clock now, you should be able to play the game in less than 12 hours!

We'll be updating you on the situation through our communication channels, watch our Twitter or ATS facebook for quick updates.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Humbled by so Many Positive Reactions

The Internet is really waking up to American Truck Simulator, with first in-depth reviews, videos and streams. So far it looks like we are doing great!
  • 8.5/10 from Destructoid - "A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others." also "With two trucks and two included states, and another one on its way, American Truck Simulator is an investment into the series' future, but it's not a steep one and easily earns its value with what is already presented."
  • 8.0/10 from PC Gamer - "This is a polished, strangely enjoyable simulator that you can easily lose hours to"
  • 8.5/10 from Gamepressure/Gry-Online - "This is the best simulator ever"
Here is a bunch of search links to let you see what is happening live with the game at the moment on Twitch, Youtube or Hitbox.

We have selected a bunch of note-worthy funny, interesting and useful videos for your viewing pleasure.

See, that's why we alternate places for trailer drop-off!

Review and guide for English speaking players

We cannot forget about our Brazilian community

Let's play by French YouTuber - Galax

First Impressions from Keralis over in Sweden

If you are still eager to learn more, don't forget about today's live interview with SCS Software's Pavel Sebor! We understand that Squirrel has assembled a long list of questions from fans about the past, current and future of both American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2. Set your alarm clock to 8 pm CET, 7 pm UK time, that's 2 pm on the US East Coast and 11 am in California.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Official Launch Trailer for American Truck Simulator

We are all living in the world of video, and American Truck Simulator is not an exception for sure. Behold our take at an emotional game launch trailer!

You can expect a ton of fan footage from American Truck Simulator on the Internet in no time after the release of course to help you decide if the game is worth buying. Actually videos and streams will start appearing as of this weekend already - we have begun providing press keys to games media (here is our presskit link). Between the official games industry media coverage and the fan-created stuff, there should be many previews, reviews and honest opinions available to you by mid next week. Here is one already on Rock Paper Shotgun.

Quite a lot of famous Internet personalities on YouTube and twitch scene are also getting press keys from us, so we will see what happens. We are definitely looking forward to learning what the old-guard guys think about our game - the people who have been coming back to Euro Truck Simulator 2 for years, like Keralis, Squirrel, Wujek Bohun, or GeekDomo, people with genuine interest in and knowledge of driving sims, people with strong credit and integrity respected by their fans, people who cannot be suspected of being our secret marketing shills.

One particular event is worth pointing out - after streaming ATS for three days starting this Friday already on his twitch channel, Paul a.k.a. Squirrel will be doing a Q&A session with SCS Software's CEO Pavel Šebor as part of his Sunday Night Trucking stream, starting at 7 pm UK Time, January 31.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Truck Licensing Situation Update

We still owe you clarification on the initial set of trucks shipping as part of the first release of American Truck Simulator. We have been postponing this post until the last minute, as the situation could - and still can - always change (and for the better only now), but we need to be clear at last on where we are.

Over the past year, we have been publishing quite a lot of screenshots and videos showing several in-development truck models. Our fans have quite sharp eyes and take note of all the details, so people are naturally speculating on what's coming based on those shots.

Until recently, we were planning to include at least four trucks at launch, and our screenshots shown over time reflected this optimism. Unfortunately, finalizing the licensing talks and getting all the vehicles past the approval clearance is taking longer than anticipated, and you may have noticed some of those trucks no longer showing in the most recent batches of pictures from the game.

The result is that out of the gate, the game will ship with just two trucks.

Thanks to kind support of PACCAR group, we are happy to confirm the presence of Kenworth T 680 and Peterbilt 579 as part of the launch line-up.

Kenworth T 680 licensed courtesy of PACCAR

Peterbilt 579 licensed courtesy of PACCAR

After the game is released and gets into media spotlight, we will have a very important tool in our licensing talks arsenal - a successful game (fingers crossed) aimed at the relevant market. Licensing talks are often resembling the "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" problem. To obtain a license in a highly specialized field, you just don't walk into a store and get it over the counter. Unlike car manufacturers who have extensive experience with being featured in racing games, for most truck manufacturers this is all unexplored territory. We always need to find a way inside the company to reach the decision makers at marketing/licensing department, and getting our voice noticed is not easy. Just getting the chance to get out point across is often all it takes, and with American Truck Simulator out in playable form and in the hands of customers, it gives us a crucial talking point.

When the game is out on the market already at last, when we can prove its impact on trucking fans at large, we hope for more of the truck manufacturers to pay attention, to realize that it's beneficial for them to participate, and perhaps even push us to hurry so that they are not left behind the pack. We have been through this experience with the launch of Euro Truck Simulator 2, when vocal support of our fans managed to bring the game to the attention to European truck manufacturers missing in the initial version of the game.

We have progressed very well on several additional vehicles, and in the weeks after release, we are confident that will get the clearance to start adding them to the game. We will be adding them for free of course as part of regular game updates, just as is the case with the ETS2.

Kenworth W900 will appear in ATS soon courtesy of PACCAR

Peterbilt 389 will appear in ATS soon courtesy of PACCAR

Now comes the time for an explicit disclaimer - any vehicles and truck brands you will see pictured below this point in text are here only for illustrative purposes, and do not constitute any guarantee that they will be appearing in the game in any particular timeframe. We have implemented them as an experiment when trying to get the door opened. As you can see some of them are already in advanced enough stage to be technically prepared for integration into the game world, yet more are semi-finished and not yet ready for integration with the game engine.

A beautiful truck spotted somewhere north of Los Angeles

A valiant truck driven across a landmark Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

A Maya render of another cool but only semi-finished truck

Meanwhile, we are still hard at work improving Euro Truck Simulator 2. As we are showing a ton of North American vehicles today, we did not want our European fans to feel betrayed. So we thought that a teaser image of a new truck being readied for introduction to ETS2 will cheer them up today.

Renault Range T spotted somewhere in south of France

Thursday, January 21, 2016

American Truck Simulator & World of Trucks

Greetings truckers!

American Truck Simulator is well on its way to the February 3 release, and we thought that it is time to discuss the plans for its integration with World of Trucks universe.

On release day, we are going enable the support for uploading screenshots and setting custom license plates of your truck. We expect that shortly after release we will see a huge amount of great shots uploaded to the service from the game. The editorial team is constantly overwhelmed by the volume of great shots appearing every day, so it is very likely that they will have a hard time picking a few of the best to use for the Image Spotlight feature in ATS loading screens.

But we ALL expect more from World of Trucks eventually than just a glorified facebook for game screenshots, and there is definitely more on the way. Since the release of Contracts feature for ETS2, over 4.8 million tons of cargo had been transported. Contracts are coming to ATS as well, however first we need to verify that the networking infrastructure is ready and will work under load, so it will be rolled out in an update soon after release.

We are currently improving Contracts by adding an ability to list and take Contract jobs directly from inside the game, not having to take a detour via the World of Truck website. It should add to convenience and usability. Even if some features may over time migrate into the game client, it is important to keep them exposed through the website interface, and it will also be the case here. We are going to build further superstructure on top of Contracts while implementing Virtual Trucking Companies (VTC) support.

There is one more little announcement we need to make: We are about to say good bye to an existing World of Trucks achievement - “Refined Identity”. One of the reasons is that we are soon going to introduce more fine-grained privacy settings for users of the website, but actually the main pressure for its removal is technical. As our server infrastructure is growing and we are migrating most of the services to cloud-based back end, the related database queries are getting difficult to perform cheaply and effectively.

As a result, this particular achievement will become a “Legacy Achievement” and it will no longer be possible to earn it. The plan is that as of February 1, we will switch off the detection code for this achievement, so it will no longer be possible to get it. But if you have earned it already or will be able to grab it in time before Feb 1, it will stay in your profile. If you are a bit on the compulsive hoarding extreme collector side of the spectrum and need to have it all, you only have a few days left, so grab it while you still can! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Real World Inspirations

The virtual world of American Truck Simulator is necessarily depending on artistic license when depicting reality. The scale is much different; when a hundred-mile stretch of real road must be passed in a matter of a few minutes in our game, there is simply not enough room to cram all the real-world bends, intersections, and landmarks into it.

But we try hard to have many recognizable places and details into ATS, to make the world exploration more fun, to make the impression believable.

Here is a few comparison pictures (with real location photos courtesy of Google Maps, thank you for all the help Google!) of some places in the game that represent our approach. We do not want to overhype this aspect though, what you see are carefully selected highlights. The game can of course only manage to take inspiration from a tiny subset of all the available landmarks, we are understandably not covering all of Los Angeles or Las Vegas street by street.

Please check out our American Truck Simulator facebook page if you want to see several more world comparison pictures.