Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Euro Truck Simulator on Mac App Store

In recent months, we have received a lot of e-mails asking for bringing good old Euro Truck Simulator to OS X platform. It looks like penetration of Mac computers among the fans of truck sim games is growing.

Tonight, we finally received the confirmation e-mail from Apple that the game has been approved for release on Mac App Store!

We still have some work to do - ETS as well as Bus Driver still don't properly support steering wheels, gamepads, or joysticks as input devices on Mac. Fortunately this support is finally very close to completion, too, so both games will receive an update in a couple of weeks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trees again

Here is a bunch of images from our current work on new trees - we are trying to have more variety in types of vegetation that you can meet along the road in different parts of the map.

You will most likely never see the new trees at this density though, this was an experiment that looked great and felt great on a high-end 3D graphics card, but we are reminded again and again that we should strive to support reasonably well even quite old graphics cards. So we have to make a lot of compromises between how things could look and how they end up looking because of performance considerations.

Friday, February 17, 2012

ETS2 Skills

As you drive and deliver cargo properly, you gain experience. With experience growing, you level up. When leveling up, you earn skill points to spend. Concentrating on development of particular skills gives you the opportunity to specialize in particular cargo type or delivery patterns...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Industrial cooperation

Apologies for using the form of hints and teasers, we are still waiting for final legal steps to be able to officially announce a second project in development at SCS Software, but for now, we can unveil at least a few bits of background info.

Back in 2010, an unfortunate sequence of events caused another small Prague-based independent game development studio to shut down. Suddenly we had the opportunity to hire several senior people in one swoop, basically a nucleus of a very talented development team. It would be a pity to miss such an opportunity, but we knew we just could not afford growing our head count at the time. The higher monthly burn-rate just wasn't in line with our revenues, and looking at where the extrapolated lines on the cash flow graph were intersecting, it was clear that we wouldn't be able to sustain so many people until the end of ETS2 project, even if a few extra programmers and artists could possibly speed up its development.

As we were scratching our heads on how to have our cake and eat it too, we came up with an idea: let's take a risk and do an experiment to pursue smaller opportunities - try to produce limited-scope projects next to the opus magnum of Euro Truck Simulator 2 project. Basically the goal was to explore additional aspects of the truck driving phenomenon, build smaller games quickly in a few months, and try to see if they can bring back the investment as fast and hopefully even indirectly help the progress of ETS 2.

This was the road which has led to creation of Trucks & Trailers. This project turned out to be a success - new 3D models were built that ETS2 benefited from, new engine effects were created for T&T which ETS2 immediately took advantage of, we could spend more time on AI now that multiple projects benefited from it, and both teams were providing each other with inspiration. And almost as a side effect, a little application which could help wannabe truck drivers get some insight into trailer maneuvering was born. Last but not least, the accounting books looked a bit better with another game providing helpful revenue.

As we were getting close to release of Trucks & Trailers, a very exciting opportunity appeared in front of us, in the form of close cooperation with a leading truck manufacturer. We did not think twice about it, this was a chance to learn from the "big boys" and of course a chance to bring our game to wider audience than just our loyal but not so numerous fan base. We also knew that this time we could aim higher and be more ambitious about the feature set of this project, we were sure we could build something that more of you would find worth playing.

Here we are some half a year later, with an almost finished game.. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 10, 2012

ETS2 Freight

In the old Euro Truck Simulator, the player/driver has at all times been basically self-employed, owner-operator one-man company. In GTS and UKTS, there was a stage when the player was forced by the game to work as an employee for some time, but later this changed completely as the player has started his own company. In some of our older 18 Wheels of Steel games, you may remember that we even had three evolutionary stages as the player progressed "from rags to riches" (quiz for veterans, was it Across America or Pedal to the Metal?), and we also tried a different approach where the main menu of the game would give the player the choice of either campaign game or a quick-game with just one arbitrary delivery.

All this was done as we were trying to satisfy the various types of players of our games - the older players want as deep simulation of every aspect of a trucker's life as possible, but the younger players often just look for a quick-to-get-into driving experience involving big vehicles, they don't want to worry about managing a company and wait hours and hours to see it grow.

In Euro Truck Simulator 2, we would like to pick and combine the best of all these approaches and give the player more freedom of choosing his or her playing style without artificially breaking up the game into any separate stages or separate play modes.

So at all times, you will always have the choice of getting hired for a wage and sit behind the steering wheels of somebody else's truck (equivalent of employee stage or a quick job), but also - once you start building your own truck fleet - drive your own truck and offer full logistics services. You can switch between the two freely: you may already have a nice small company going, but why not break the monotony when an interesting offer comes for a one-time job, especially if they are offering special conditions for an expert help, or driving an exciting tractor that you yourself still haven't managed to afford?

This kind of freedom of choice should accommodate different play styles in the same framework of how the virtual world is functioning, and give the player satisfaction of progress. For somebody who never bothers to worry about starting his company, he can just hop from job to job, and still see progress - as next to his wage he would gain XP points to help his personal growth. For somebody who is keen to start building a trucking empire as soon as possible, he can get a bank loan early on and never look back to working for somebody else.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Letter to the Community

Dear friends of truck simulation games,

I have news about the Euro Truck Simulator 2 release: finally, we are ready to commit to a specific release time.

This piece of good news may however be mixed with a bit of disappointment, especially for the less patient among you.

We have been working on the game for almost two years, sticking to the proverbial "when it's done" planning all this time. Now, at last we are confident that the status of "good enough to be proud of the achievement" is on the horizon.

We have set the release time to first week of August 2012.

We are aware that waiting almost 6 more months is a lot for many of you. We haven't announced any release date ourselves until now, but some of our distributors have been working with speculative time-frames for the release, raising hope among you of an earlier release.

Taking 30 months to develop a game is a tough decision to arrive to. It is testing the patience of you - fans of our games, it is testing the patience of our distributors, and it is definitely testing the dedication of the development team. However we are confident that it was The Right Thing to do - we needed enough time to re-factor the graphics engine at the core of the game and to develop the cool effects on top of it, we needed the time to build the high-detail 3D models to populate the virtual world with, it took considerable effort and time to establish industrial and commercial relationships that will elevate our games to a new level. Giving in to time pressure would only result in us having to make too many compromises. We have just one chance to make a good first impression.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 will bring a massive improvement over our previous games, but in fact, it will "only" be a major milestone along a long and windy road ahead. There are many cool features that we would like to add, but lots of things will have to wait for a future game or games. Our wish list is very long, and you are constantly helping us grow it even longer with your input and feedback. It would be a dream scenario to be able to pack all those features in - season changes through the year, cities teeming with pedestrians, other types of big vehicles to drive, being able to get out of the cabin and explore the world on foot, vehicle damage from collisions, real brands for everything in the world, loading and unloading cargo from the trailer, multiplayer, covering all of Europe from Iberian Peninsula to Ural mountains, from polar circle to Asia Minor, and then going beyond the confines of Europe to both North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Australia, the list goes on and on. Euro Truck Simulator 2 should be a solid step towards the goal of the ultimate truck simulator, but only the first such step (well, second actually). With your continuing help and support, we want to continue the effort beyond the release of the game and take the remaining steps in the years to come.

Many of you may question why we are taking so long, and why we are not able to grant more of your wishes for features to include, why we are not covering more European countries. The answer is the same that we have always offered - truck simulation games are far from mainstream, and limited sales of our past games can only support a small development team. With ETS2 we have taken a bold step to grow the team size, from 5-7 to a bit over 10 people, but compared to AAA driving games productions with hundreds of people on payroll, we are tiny. We are trying to punch above our weight, putting in as much content and features as we humanly could manage to produce, but to build even more, we will have to rely on profits that should hopefully come from future sales of our games. If you want more features, bigger world and more vehicles in our games, all I can say is this: If you consider our games worth playing, consider them worth buying, too. Recommending them to friends wouldn't hurt either.

Your wait for something new from SCS Software doesn't have to take full six months though. As you have learned with the release of Trucks & Trailers, there are actually two internal teams at SCS Software now working in parallel. While the bigger team is still toiling on our opus magnum - Euro Truck Simulator 2, the smaller team is now taking advantage of a new opportunity arising out of our cooperation with the transportation industry. Very soon, you can expect an announcement about an exciting project that's under way in our labs, project which should be out even before ETS2 hits the stores. These smaller projects turn out to be significant contributors to pursuing the dream of the ultimate all-encompassing truck sim, and while they deserve merit on their own, we hope that you can understand that they are not delaying us from working on ETS2, but rather helping us finance its development and broaden its feature set.

Please keep your patience in check and stay loyal to us, and keep your eyes and mind open for future announcements from SCS Software on this blog. To keep the long wait a bit tolerable, we will be sure to post more news, images and movies from what we are working on.

Yours sincerely,

Pavel Sebor
CEO, SCS Software

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Delivery to Cardiff

A series of screen shots from a delivery of goods from Plymouth to Cardiff. Note that while it is possible to choose either left or right position of the steering wheel when buying any truck in ETS2, the tester in this case preferred the continental setup atypical for vehicles in the UK. We leave this up to the player to choose what is most comfortable for him.