Friday, August 31, 2012

Steam Greenlight is here!

Euro Truck Simulator 2 has been officially submitted to Valve's Greenlight today!

Euro Truck Simulator 2 logo

Let's celebrate it by unveiling the new official ETS2 logo :-)

If you want to help us make the game appear on Steam, please vote for it here:

Quite a few people have raised their concern that if the game supports Steam, they will avoid it. Obviously public opinion on Steam is split - some people like it, some don't. Rest assured that Steam was always considered as a complementary distribution channel for us - we would not require people buying the game in the box edition in stores or digitally from our own website to have to install Steam or use any Steam services. But being present on Steam is very important for any independent game developer. Steam is the 800-pound gorilla of the digital distribution world, many people just go there for their games, many people discover new games only thanks to Steam. This could bring us additional sales that we couldn't get otherwise - and additional sales mean more funding for further improvements of ETS2 as well as for our future projects. Our games are 100% financed by your purchases and nothing else - we don't have any big publisher investing into our projects.

Note: There appeared a fan submission for the game to Greenlight system yesterday already, causing a bit of confusion. It looks like a too-active fan from Poland has managed to submit the game overnight, faster than we could have done so ourselves. Please don't vote for this alternate submission, we have no option but to have it removed by legal action. We have no control of the contents of the other submission.

If the person who submitted ETS2 for Greenglight reads this, we would really appreciate if he could get in touch with us so that we can try to see if we can fix the problem in amicable way. I am sure the game wasn't entered to do us harm, it looks like a dedicated fan trying to help - but in fact it is competing for people's attention with the official submission, probably taking away votes voting process that should be going to the correct entry.

[post updated to reflect recent developments]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cool time-lapse ETS2 video

Our friends at our UK publishing partner Excalibur Publishing have just released a really great time-lapse movie from Euro Truck Simulator 2. The video is compressing some two hours of real-time driving (actual time spent by a human in front of the monitor) into the space of only a few minutes. This footage really puts the scale of the ETS2 world into perspective!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Early Morning Job in ETS2

A little video dramatization of a truck driver's early morning assignment in Euro Truck Simulator 2...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scania Truck Driving Simulator Just Got Bigger!

Finally the not-so-small game update extending the free roaming "Deliveries" map is ready for download! The patch can be applied to any previous version of the game, whether purchased digitally or in any of the country-specific DVD box editions...

Update your game here!

We had to re-set the Leaderboard for the Deliveries map back to zero for everyone, so you are starting from scratch when exploring the new part of the map and delivering your first cargo.

This is still not the final word from us on this game. There are more Dangerous Drives maps in the pipeline, and we are also continuing to improve the technology. So more updates can still be expected from us. In fact the same strategy is planned for ETS2 - the release date is only the start of further evolution of the games.

Another cool ETS2 movie

Our friend Piotrek from has just published a really nice movie from his gameplay session in Euro Truck Simulator 2. We liked it so much that we thought it was worth mentioning quickly here on the blog.

The raw footage for this video was recorded on a testing machine, a four years old Intel Core 2 Duo E8500, with 2 GB of RAM, and with not so fast passively cooled edition of Nvidia GT 9600 video card. The game was not only playable but in fact some performance was still left for the video grabbing software. The game may not be running at the best visual quality settings, but the use of a G27 steering wheel makes the ride feel smooth in the video.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Scania TDS patch tomorrow at last

We are finally on the verge of releasing the new patch for Scania Truck Driving Simulator, extending the free roaming map. It has taken about a dozen testing and bug fixing iterations, but  finally we expect to be ready for release tomorrow. Big thanks to the volunteers helping us find bugs in the game! (If there is anybody native to Spain reading this, there are still small bits left in the Spanish translation to make it complete, thanks)

The patch will require us to nuke the Leaderboard scores for free roaming Deliveries map, so everybody is going to start again collecting points on this map with a clean slate.

The Euro Truck Simulator 2 team meanwhile isn't slowing down working on bug fixing and balancing of the game. Our UK friends from Excalibur Publishing are helping us with the testing, and they also never forget about promoting the game as well. There is a new movie on their YouTube channel showing interesting moments from another delivery. We'll just have to advise them that the next time they think of creating a movie, they had better first grab a steering wheel rather than stick with keyboard steering ;-).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back from Gamescom 2012

A small team from SCS Software made a quick two-day trip to Cologne, Germany, to "talk business" at Gamescom, the biggest European game show. We have spent most of the time in a section not accessible to general public - two of the huge halls at Koelnmesse are dedicated just for trade visitors to give them room for networking and business development talks. In fact we were so busy with the business aspect of the trip that we did not venture much into the public halls, staying away from the deafening sounds and big crowds. We haven't even managed to take any cool photos worthy of showing you on the blog. But the trip was very important for us and the future success of our games.

We try to keep an open dialogue not just with our fan community, but also with our publishing partners. They better have total confidence into us and our projects, to be willing to spend money and effort on massaging the retail as well as digital distribution channels to offer and promote our games. Big games industry events are a good opportunity for us to meet our colleagues from publishing companies in person and discuss our plans.

Without good partners who are specialists in the field, a niche game like Euro Truck Simulator 2 would hard time standing out among much bigger mass-market titles on the shelves. Inn fact without a network of reputable partners we'd have hard time even appearing on the shelves at all in most countries

We were also excited to meet a representative from Valve's Steam to discuss our chances to get our games on their service. We have tried submitting our games to Steam before, but without success (truck simulators really were considered too niche by their approval committee it seems, especially after a competitor truck game was given a chance but was not quite accepted so well by Steam players). In a few weeks, Steam is going to come out with Greenlight, a new system that will depend on fans of games to help them sort out candidates for inclusion on Steam. We definitely plan to be on Greenlight with ETS2 as soon as it launches; we have high hopes that we can count on your help! With the number of fans of our games, we should be able to get our voice heard. You are definitely going to hear from us again on this topic soon, asking you to join us in the rally to put our games to Steam!

To conclude this post, let us show you something that wasn't yet shown extensively - the central "hub" screen of the user interface system of Euro Truck Simulator 2. The game doesn't have a text-based main menu any more as did our previous games, and another set of menus for other in-game screens (the old "notebook" mental concept). With ETS2, we knew that the system needed to be more flexible to accommodate a lot of features, and yet we wanted to have a chance to make it understandable, to be able to liken it to an existing paradigm of control of an application or device. After some experiments, we settled on "desktop" approach - there is a central screen which you can think of as a desktop screen of the operating system on your computer, where we can add "application icons" for various features in the game. Where appropriate, related function icons are grouped into "widgets." We will make the "applications" appear over time on the desktop; we don't want to overload the player too soon with too much stuff. The learning curve is not too steep initially, but we have lots of room to add game features, which we plan to do even beyond the initial release of the game ;-).

Monday, August 13, 2012

ETS2 Management screens

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is primarily a game about driving trucks - about the time spent behind the wheel, trying hard to deliver your load safely and on time. That's why we are building so detailed virtual world to drive in. We tried to calculate how much real time you'd have to spend driving in the game, at maximum speed allowed, to visit every place in the world just once. The theoretical minimum is over 40 hours of time! In practice, it will easily take double the time.

However, we are aware that for many players the second gameplay pillar of our big truck simulation games is very important as well - the ability to build a company and progress though a "from rags to riches" kind of career. We are not attempting to go overly deep with this aspect of the game, to compete with "tycoon" genre games when it comes to company management, but we still hope that you will have an interesting time with this part of the game...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Playing with Depth of Field

First of all, big thanks for everybody who tried to help and sent us information about license plates looks, logic and rules in the various European countries. The amount of feedback was overwhelming, a real avalanche of information.

The realization that so many people are eager to help and devote so much of their time to write detailed explanations is humbling. It gives us great inspiration to build our games, it's such a great feeling to know that we have such a devoted fan community!

For today we are going to show you two images from the world of Euro Truck Simulator 2, showing one of our artists playing with "DOF" feature in the game's 3D engine. In these two shots the effect is a bit too artistic (though it may come handy in creating fancy screenshots perhaps), but we are using this graphics engine feature in a more subtle way usually, for example in worsened daylight conditions it makes a good combination with hazy atmosphere, or when there is rain out there. A bit of work is still needed to make the pedestrians look better, good enough to show them in focus :-).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can you help us with ETS2 license plates?

We are working hard on finalizing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for release, but there are still some unfinished tasks which we would like to get done so that the game is released in great shape. One of the problems are correct and believable license plates on vehicles.

In our previous projects, usually the license plate was a part of a vehicle's texture, so there was no chance to dynamically alter it or pretend that the trucks and cars come from different countries. For Euro Truck 2, at first we thought about a system providing slightly more variety - have a small set of license plates for each country, and assign them around, but it turned out that too many people take it as an offense if they happen to see multiple vehicles in the world sharing the same license plate texture, not to speak about lack of variety.

In the end, we are about to bite the bullet and implement a system to be able to procedurally generate the license plates based on a set of rules for each country in the game.

See the image below to see an example of how this is setup for the Czech Republic (specifically these would be license plates for Prague from recent years). There is a background for the license plate ready to accept the letters and digits in a given pattern, and then we generate the "text" with the particular combination of letters and digits that follows the country's rules for license plates, picking the alphanumeric symbols from a font texture with font specific for the given country.

Our problem is that for some countries like our own, we know those rules and can implement them with no problem, but doing the research for other countries is a time consuming task for us, with the risk that we'll still misunderstand the rules and implement the license plates for some countries incorrectly.

That's where the idea to approach our community and ask for help on collecting this know-how came to us. We would be very grateful for any pointers or URLs of documents that may help us, or explanations that you can provide, on how to compose believable license plates for vehicles in the various countries in Europe, mostly those present in the game already. Especially if you could point out if there are any things to pay special attention to, like differences between front and back plates, possibly differences between trucks and passenger cars and again if anything special is in place just for trailers, license plates differences as they are issued in different years etc, all this could help us to create a world which will be more believable when you drive though it.

If you have something useful to suggest, please mention it in a comment to this blog post, or alternatively send it to us by mail to info [at] scssoft [dot] com.

Here is a short movie as a way to saying thank you very much in advance..

Monday, August 6, 2012

Competition results

As promised, we have created a little video - actually two of them - of the best performance(s) in the competition.

The feature of the game to show re-plays of other players driving in the game challenges is a unfortunately not as widely used as we had hoped. Our estimates are that less than 20% of customers who have purchased the game took the time to register on the official website, so they are not only unable to take part in the competitions, but also are not even able to visually check out the best results and learn something from them. We are thinking of changing this feature of the game when we update it again, so that even people playing the unregistered or unactivated game in demo mode can see those recordings. We thought about whether to include this feature for every player during the initial game's release, but we feared that the initial piracy spike experienced by any game would cause so much traffic to our results database that we would be effectively suffering from a DDoS-like problem.

Seeing how close the results were, we are ready to give a free copy of ETS2 not just to the best 3 participants of the competition, but to include the first FOUR places :-).

So again congratulations to Rou10, Astoria711, easynote, and nemesis99 - you are going to get an e-mail from us later today (or early tomorrow at the latest) officially confirming your prize.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Congratulations to the winners!

The best results of the competition make the challenge look like it was too easy! Ourselves we did not think it was possible to get the time under 1 minute, but you have proven us wrong repeatedly - we have some real masters of the steering wheel among the game's players :-). It's quite late here, we'll revisit this topic tomorrow again and get in touch with the winners.

Thanks everybody for your effort, that packed parking lot really got a lot of diesel burnt on it during this weekend! For those of you who did not win, here is a little consolation prize - a short movie made of scenes in Euro Truck Simulator 2, showing variety of daylight changes and weather.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Competition is here!

Stop doing whatever you have been doing and hurry to download the latest patch of Scania Truck Driving Simulator!

This weekend, you have a chance to win a free digital copy of Euro Truck Simulator 2 - all you need is to have a Top 3 result in a new Dangerous Drives challenge called Leave the Port! Of course we will only be able to give you your free copy of ETS2 when the game is finally finished - but you will get it the same day as the game is released on our official website.

The competition rules are simple and we don't make them too formal - don't cheat (we will see the replay after all), and try your best to have a Top 3 result on the leaderboard as of Sunday, August 5th 2012, 22:00 Central European Summer Time. Anybody with a legal copy of the game is eligible, whether the game has been purchased in digital form directly from our own website or in a DVD edition distributed by any of our publishing partners. We will contact the winners by e-mail on Monday, and also make the results public here on the blog, with a YouTube movie of the best performance.

Please note that due to the need to restart the database for an update during the release of the patch, the official website and game services may become temporarily inaccessible shortly after this announcement.

Note to current beta testers of Scania TDS: sorry guys and gals, your results will not be considered, you could have trained on this challenge for too long already to master it ahead of anybody else. You may happen to deserve a free ETS2 copy by some other means eventually anyway ;-).