Friday, February 17, 2017

SCS on the Road: PC Gamer Weekender

We have just started closed beta test for another round of major updates of Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator, but that's a story for another week.

Today, two of our colleagues are flying to London to visit the upcoming "PC Gamer Weekender" public event. This event is organized by publishers of the world's best selling PC gaming magazine PC Gamer. Jakub and Tomas will spend the whole weekend at the show, which is taking place February 18-19 in the amazing halls of Olympia, Zone J30.

Gamers from all corners of the world will come to enjoy two great days full of playing mostly as of yet un-released games plus some ever-greens (that's how we like to view our games), to hear interesting lectures and talks by developers from gaming software studios of all kinds, to try or even buy new hardware & software to bring it home with them, to watch or participate in cool PC gaming tournaments, or simply just to enjoy anything else related to the world of gamers.

Our small team will be there with our games too, and if you'd like to try out American Truck Simulator in VR, we'll be happy to greet you at the tiny booth of SCS Software. We are not coming just to give the visitors a chance to play our games, we have also been offered an opportunity to make a speech about our work. Tomas is now readying his notes, and he will surely be happy to see you in the audience if you happen to be nearby ;).

But that's not all! There is another good reason to stop by our booth, as we will be handing out free Steam activation codes for the PC Gamer DLC for ETS2. This content pack has been created last year for use on a previous PC Gamer event, but we still have some codes left. It's a little collection of cabin accessories which can't be purchased officially; it can only be obtained at special occasions like this one. The DLC contains cabin adjustments tuned in the colors and motifs of PC Gamer. Small hint: don't hesitate too long, because our team has a limited numbers of these codes.

Finally, our participation at this event provided an excellent excuse to arrange a little discounting campaign on Steam for American Truck Simulator. So if you have still been hesitating about adding ATS into your games collection, this may be a very nice opportunity to grab it..

We are looking forward to meeting our fans from London metro area and beyond this weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Love is in the air

Valentine's Day is almost here! For those romantically inclined among our fans, we wanted to give you a chance to transfer some of Valentine's atmosphere into our games as well. We have prepared two unique collections of themed paint jobs, one for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and the other for American Truck Simulator. Even more, we added a small bonus into each package in the form of a cabin accessory.

Express your passion, show your feelings and decorate your truck with a Valentine's paint job! Get it for yourself or as a gift for someone special.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

American Truck Simulator heads towards New Mexico!

Today marks one year anniversary of American Truck Simulator's release. When we started working on the game way back several years ago, it was with a tiny team of five people, and still we were not sure if we can sustain the development. But we persisted, and were rewarded by a very strong launch on the market and a warm reception by the community as well as gaming press. This gave us the confidence to bolster the team and raise our ambition for the scale of the project.

At this moment, over 20 people focus solely on ATS development; an internal team plus a network of full-time contractors. Still it is not enough. We are well aware that the game's fans would like to see more content, more vehicles, more game features, more optimizations, faster progress. To make this possible, we keep growing the company - our vision is to at least double our production bandwidth for both American Truck as well as Euro Truck 2. We have been adding a few new people to the company pretty much every month during 2016, and we'll definitely keep on growing through 2017. All this new talent does and will make a difference that you should definitely notice.

We are happy to confirm that the next map expansion for American Truck Simulator will be the state of New Mexico!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3D Scanning - The Next Generation Scania

Time flies so fast! Late last year, we sent a small technical team to the Scania Demo Centre in Södertälje, Sweden, to acquire detailed reference material for Scania's new S and R trucks. The team consisted of two of our colleagues from SCS and a contractor operating a 3D scanner, as we were evaluating whether to buy this expensive piece of technology. We planned to make a short video documentary of this trip and to share it with you, but as we don't have a dedicated person for videos at the company and video editing has to always be done on top of our normal work duties, we have taken quite a while to come up with the final cut. At last, here it is...

The objective of the trip was clear: to make sure that all the measurements required for modeling the new Scania S and R series trucks were accurately gathered. In addition to photogrammetry, which is needed for replicating surface materials - textures - for the vehicle models, for the first time we tried the service of a handheld 3D scanner. By using this technique, we expected much higher precision data as input for our work, allowing us to recreate yet more realistic trucks in our games.

We thought that some of you may find it interesting, so we are including a brief report of what our field team had to do during their five-day trip. The list of items to photograph and scan was quite ambitious, so we had to arrange for three days of focused work on site. Rigorous planning was required to pull it off. Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and the team certainly did not mind a short delay caused by very polite conversation with Scania's marketing team. As we were poring over the vehicles, it was inspiring that the corporate giant that is Scania actually took interest in our work and considered it newsworthy (as we mentioned in a previous blog post).

By prior arrangement with the manufacturer, we had the following vehicles at our disposal:

Day 1 - Sunday
6:00 PM - we are setting off! All equipment is prepared from Friday. We went to Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague to embark a flight to Arlanda Airport near Stockholm. Picked up a rental car and traveled to the Scandic hotel located across the street from Chassiporten - the very manufacturing plant which can be found in the Scandinavia map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2. Quick dinner at Burger King. Elk Whopper is not present on the menu! What a pity.

Day 2 - Monday
6:00 AM wake up, breakfast. Meet & greet with our precious contact Nils at Scania Headquarters. Quick drive to the Demo Centre to pick up Richard. At the Demo Centre, one of the big hangars was made our improvised home for the three days. The pre-arranged trucks were waiting there at our disposal. At the same time as we were photographing the exterior, we were able to work on the interiors, as we were kindly provided with access to Scania S V8 and Scania R brown/light cab interiors adapted for exhibition and presentation purposes (no chassis, but plug and play). Before the first scan we needed to take down the side skirts and cover the truck with numerous sticker markers that improve the precision for both 3D scanning and photogrammetry. Scanning and taking pictures for the rest of the day. We worked long into dark, until we were eventually escorted out of the complex and wished good night - they really insisted that they are closing the facility for the day ;).

Day 3 - Tuesday
6:00 AM waking up slowly. All around there is darkness. Again. Daylight at this elevation during this part of year is short - only between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Back in the hangar everything happens quickly and efficiently. One more Scania truck version arrives, sticking it with labels, undress and re-dress side skirts. Scanning and photographing takes the rest of the day, we just switched trucks in the afternoon. Data backup of daily work and good night.

Day 4 - Wednesday
Work progress basically copied Day 3 with a nice bonus in the afternoon. We get an invitation to test drive Scania S 730 on the closed polygon. What a nice surprise from our hosts! Our work is over. In the evening, there was only packing up and preparing for the trip back home.

Day 5 - Thursday
Early morning journey back to Stockholm went smoothly, air temperature was around zero and snow at a minimum. On the way, we only stopped at Ikea (where else!) and then bought a supply of dried reindeer meat at the airport.

We're very happy with the data that we brought from Sweden. We are hard at work now on the detailed digital 3D model of the next generation of Scania trucks, creating it on the basis of the 3D scans. Having millimeter-precision 3D scan is a great reference, it can shave off precious weeks of iterative guess-work compared to only relying on photos, but there are still several hundred man-hours more to invest into the job to build the virtual representation of a truck.

The cooperation with the fantastic people at Scania was excellent as always, they were very welcoming, helpful, and super professional. We can only hope that they had the same impression of ourselves. We want to thank everyone involved for their invaluable assistance!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Vampires and Kangaroos

Did you know that January 24 is the Unification Day of Romania? While we weren't aiming for this date deliberately, the timing is fortunate, and we're glad to announce availability of the Romanian Paint Jobs Pack just ahead of this important day for our sizable fan community there.

And we're going to expand our range of national paints even more. Did you know that the upcoming date of January 26 is also the Australian Day? While the lands of Australia are quite far from the region covered in Euro Truck Simulator 2, the country actually sits well within the top 20 countries with the most copies sold of the game. Looks like there are a lot of truck fans down under! Here in Europe it’s winter and very cold, we can only envy Australians with all the sun that they’re basking in right now. Our take on sunlit Australian Paint Jobs may be considered an expression of our excitement and anticipation for the coming summer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Scania S and R

Several weeks ago, we have posted a brief tweet with a couple of photographs documenting the work of a small crew sent by SCS Software to Scania's truck manufacturing plant in Södertälje, Sweden.

The guys were there to make detailed 3D scans and take plenty of photos of the new Scania's R and S series vehicles.

Even though it was an isolated mention, it became obvious that this news is of much interest to Euro Truck Simulator 2 fan community, as the tweet ended up with over 800 "likes" and 200 retweets; actually record numbers for whole of 2016.

The scanning crew has come back to Prague after three days of work, and the team has since started using the ton of acquired digital data as the basis for creation of the new vehicle 3D models.

It was a nice surprise for us today to see that Scania's press department has just issued a short video clip interviewing Hynek, our vehicle group leader, recorded back at Scania's Demo Centre facility.

The video is showing a mix of material from the 3D scanning work, combined with in-game footage from our older game Scania Truck Driving Simulator - the Game, in which the Demo Centre was a drivable area that the player could experience. (The Demo Centre map has later been exported from our game and imported into the well-known ProMods mod for ETS2, so many people may know the testing circuit only from there, or even consider it a creation of the ProMods guys.)

We are in the process of preparing a video report from the trip from our own perspective, but we felt that we should comment on the just-released video and Scania's tweet.

We are working very hard to create the new models for Euro Truck Simulator 2, but our estimate is that it will take about 12 man-months of focused work to get there. The work can be to some extent split among multiple members of the team, but even taking this into account, we would not dare to guarantee that the trucks will make it into the game "before the summer" as the video and tweet above assure.

You know us already, we do not want to make promises and then disappoint you by not delivering on time, so we prefer to play it safe, and avoid committing to particular dates. You can trust us though that it's a clear priority for our vehicle team to bring you the new Scania R and S series trucks as soon as possible.

We are going to use a new technique this time, it should bring us yet more precise results and hopefully even shorten the time needed for the raw model creation work as compared to any recently created truck models, so there is still hope. But then again, sometimes things get complicated. We are sitting on several 99%-complete vehicles for both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator, however the approval process may get quite complicated and protracted. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Michelin Fan Pack

We are proud to introduce a new set of truck tyres and truck accessories, officially licensed from Michelin to Euro Truck Simulator 2. We are complementing them by several "aftermarket" goodies and paintjobs to create a mix that should bring a smile to every Michelin fan's face.

Michelin is one of the largest tyre manufacturers in the world, acknowledged as an innovator with a history spanning over 120 years. Michelin's brand identity is immediately recognizable. The symbol of the company - Bibendum, the Michelin Man - is one of the world's oldest trademarks, it has become a cultural phenomenon.

Here is the Steam Store link to Michelin Fan Pack DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2. You can find the list of officially licensed tyres in the list below, but there is more. Just as many drivers and users of their tyres are ready to go the extra mile to decorate their vehicles with additional adornments, we wanted to provide you with a sampling of additional cabin accessories and fan-inspired paintjobs beyond the official merchandise catalogue.

This new DLC marks another big milestone for us in our effort to introduce more transportation brands into our games' universe. It's certainly an opportunity for us to celebrate. And we want to celebrate with the most loyal players of Euro Truck Simulator 2!

If you have at least 75 hours of playtime invested into Euro Truck Simulator 2, here is your chance to grab a free Steam key for the new DLC. You just need to be ready to make a few extra clicks in your web browser - which will not only help us spread awareness of our new important game add-on release across the web, but which will also let Michelin see that our fan base appreciates their open mind.

ETS2 Michelin Fan Pack giveaway

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Seventy Thousand Keys and Still Going!

We were originally planning to wrap up the Grand Gift Delivery event on the first day of the new year, but we now see that many of you would appreciate more time.

As of now, we have given away over 70 thousand keys as a reward for completing the required ten Christmas deliveries, but there are still over 50,000 players trying to complete the objective. Over 500,000 jobs were delivered since the campaign started, which was quite a stress test of our infrastructure (you may have noticed some glitches in the early days until we have boosted our database processing power). It is also a great testament of the level of involvement and passion that the fans have for our games. Right at this moment over 10 thousand Christmas deliveries are on their way! It may be a bit late to help poor Santa in time for his self-imposed deadlines, but not too late for your chances to earn the reward!

We are setting the final deadline of Grand Gift Delivery to midnight of January 15, 2017, CET. Providing you with more time is also another way of saying "thanks for your support" during the final voting for Steam Awards 2016.

But that's not all!

After a very extensive approval process, we are finally on the verge of releasing a very cool DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2, in cooperation with a highly regarded tyre manufacturer. Could happen as soon as next week. To celebrate the occasion, we are once again planning for a key give-away. As was the case previously, it will be a chance for loyal players with tons of playtime under their belt to get a free Steam key in exchange for a bit of clicking on the Internet. Pay attention to our social media channels; the event will be announced there early next week, and we have a good reason to believe that the big batch of keys set aside for it may be gone in an hour or two.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Steam-powered fireworks launched New Year celebrations

At the very end of the year, Valve announced the winners of the first Steam Awards. And we got the most amazing gift: Euro Truck Simulator 2 is among the winners, in fact receiving both awards that it was nominated for!

We want to thank all of you who have given us a few minutes of your time to vote for our game. Our fan community is just fabulous! We are committed to improving and expanding Euro Truck Simulator 2 as well as American Truck Simulator in 2017 and beyond, you can look forward to some really good stuff!