Monday, September 10, 2012

Scania YETD 2012 With My Own Eyes

It is not a big secret that 99% posts on this blog are actually written by SCS Software's CEO Pavel Sebor. For this post, let me now switch into first person account [click] rather than keeping the corporate "we" line that I have been always using. (Yes indeed, we don't have a dedicated marketing department, we really are a small team trying to punch above our weight.)

This post is not going to be about ETS2, if you are desperate for the news about this game, please save your comment vitriol for some other day. You could be asking why lose time here when SCS should be fully concentrating on getting Euro Truck 2 out of the door. Well, we need to work on our relationships with truck manufacturers all the time to establish, maintain and improve them. Licensing brands officially is definitely not something akin to walking into a store, putting a "brand" into the shopping cart and going towards the check out line. It's always a very individual process, requiring identifying and getting in touch with the right human in the huge company machinery. Sometimes, we don't even get our chance to start with the proverbial 30-second elevator pitch, but other times we do make some traction, and we can't afford to ever let go. In this particular case, the cooperation is really going strong fortunately.

I was always curious to see the Young European Truck Driver finals in Sweden. We spent a lot of effort on Scania Truck Driving Simulator, and I thought that it would be great to witness the event that was the blueprint for one of the key features of the game. I am happy to report that I was lucky to see it, actually I turned this opportunity into a deeply personal test of what kind of impression real trucks can make on very young computer game players. ;-)

Scania is holding an open day event alongside the YETD finals in their factory, and it's really a massive event. Thousands of visitors were expected, and as the weather was very favorable, you can tell from the pictures above that the crowds pouring in were indeed big.

We started the day by taking a tour through the floor of the chassis production factory and checking out some nicely styled pimped up trucks parked along the way to the competition area.

As planned, our Scandinavian publishing partner Wendros had a row of ten computers with large LCD screens and steering wheels lined up under the roof next to the factory hall, and the seats in front of the monitors were constantly occupied right from the start of the event. It wasn't so packed when we first passed by, but later in the day usually each computer would have a little line of people, kids as well as adults, waiting to be the next to play. It was really heart-warming to see such interest in the game.

Visiting the Scania Shop tent felt good too - boxes of Scania Truck Driving Simulator were very visibly on offer among all the other merchandise and in high demand from what I could see.

Further along the way towards the competition grounds, we have admired even more spectacular trucks presented by Swempa.

This cabrio probably isn't meant for everyday haulage jobs, though. ;-)

Finally after some popcorn, games, and quality time spent crawling through the cabins of trucks parked in the open for kids to explore, we reached the competition grounds. I couldn't shake the feeling that I have seen this all before, many times, on my computer screen in the office. This was my final realization that the Scania TDS art & design team at SCS Software truly did a great job portraying the competition so realistically.

I am no expert in photography or movie making, but I did my best recording the very finals of the competition from our seats among the cheering audience. The video is a bit shaky and the perspective not so great, surely Scania will eventually release a much better cut recorded and edited by their professional team. But I still hope that this "personal perspective" may be interesting for some of you, the atmosphere is definitely there to experience.

The final Super Z  discipline turned out the be very dramatic until the very end. Congratulations to Gabriel Warde from Ireland for winning the Grand Prize!

PS: On a related topic - we are ready to release a new patch of Scania TDS, but we are stuck on quite a few languages not having the new texts translated on GetLocalization. Can you help?