Friday, February 27, 2015

Over the Seas

Scandinavia is a very different space to work and create in than the territories we have created in the past - it's not just the different sights, it's the fact that the countries are not landlocked like most of the environments in existing Euro Truck Simulator 2 world.

Our previous post contained a general review of the map that might have given you some idea on the scale of the DLC. The Scandinavia territory in Euro Truck Simulator 2 will feature a total of 15 new ports and ferry locations that allow you to board the ferries directly.

We felt that ferries are an integral part of Scandinavian transportation and decided to go an extra mile to ensure that ship models and ferry locations in the game closely reflect the ferry ports and ships you can see in real life. We've spent considerable amount of time to recreate this aspect of Scandinavia in great detail - many of the ports in the expansion have the size of entire cities you've seen in current Euro Truck Simulator 2.

The sea transportation network will allow you to use alternate connections between locations in Scandinavia and other territories of the map, as the ferries will also connect destinations in Poland and United Kingdom. At the same time, we wanted to avoid abuse of the ferry system that would allow players to just "hop" around the map quickly without the need for much driving, so the ferry network is intentionally not as dense as in the real world.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Corporate Cooperation

Our effort to secure official licenses of trucks to put into our games continues, now our focus is on Northern America. Courting the truck manufacturers - getting their attention and reaching the decision makers - is really not easy at all for a small company like SCS Software coming from outside of the transportation industry. The licensing negotiations in some cases take years to complete, and sometimes we are asked to prove that we are really taking this seriously.

Here is a little photo report we have just received from our friends at Kenworth/PACCAR. We have created a special demo based off an alpha build of American Truck Simulator for their corporate event, and they also tried to bounce it off the public to see the reaction. We are very excited to hear that both the company executives and the visitors of a science fair really liked the demo!

One more important step to give you fully licensed trucks in our American Truck Simulator...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

SCS Blender Tools - First Step

It was already quite a long time ago when we first mentioned our goal to empower the mod community with tools matching in power of our internal asset creation pipeline. The road to get there has proved to be somewhat bumpier than we anticipated, but we are happy to report very good progress at last.

Today we are releasing the first version of SCS Blender Tools. There is still a lot of work left to be done on polishing and on proper support of the most complex types of 3D assets, but already we are in good enough shape to invite you to try things out.

Please keep in mind that what you are getting is a beta, with no express guarantees that it will work perfectly or work at all in your desired context. You are getting a dump of up-to-date SCS Blender Tools codebase, we are not holding back any part of it. There is code in there which at least partially covers all of the wide spectrum of different 3D model types in our games, but as of now we only bring out to your attention specific aspects of SCS Blender Tools we consider ready. More advanced stuff still needs time to mature.

At this point in time, it is only the types of assets listed below which we suggest you to experiment with. We do not have the capacity to provide extensive support on our forums, but we'll keep an eye on them to see if we can chip in where the community needs guidance. But there is a little point trying to get us to respond to questions concerning areas of the tools considered unfinished.

With that said, the current version of SCS Blender Tools brings you the creation and export pipeline of static geometry

We included several sample models that generally illustrate the possibilities of asset types that you can perfectly accomplish today. Those models should guide you in creating well optimized models, just the way we make them.

Let's inspect sample models in closer detail:

Detailed building model
This is a model of a detailed building. We use such models up close to the player, therefore the texture, the mesh resolution and level of detail are quite large. Once you import it you can see it uses little more material than simpler models to best accommodate its up-close placement.

Far distance buildings
This is a model sample we place at far distance from the player. The mesh is considerably simpler and the texture is much smaller. Because it is placed at large distance from the camera in the game, lack of resolution is never noticeable. As you can see its uses important optimization - multiple buildings are combined into one single mesh, using exact same material and texture. This allows graphics cards to process such models much faster (as just one piece of geometry, not multiple pieces).

Truck bullbar upgrade model
Here's a sample of a truck upgrade part - Scania bullbar. We intentionally included slightly more sophisticated upgrade model. This way you can see usage of materials and alpha channel on that bull-bar netting. Pretty much all truck upgrades (roof grills, low grills, side-skirts...) were built this way.

Front truck wheel
Rear truck wheel
And last two samples of even more specialized geometry - truck wheels. They use their own set of materials, we recommend that you explore the structure. Check out the usage of textures and mesh complexity. These models also show you an example of 'Parts' usage, and the way how special 'shadow-caster mesh' with its 'shadow-caster material' is used to make your own truck wheels correctly. [Note that there is a plan to eventually split the tyres and the wheel disks into separate upgrade parts in some future update of ETS2/ATS.]

To Get You Started

GitHub Wiki

Wiki is probably the most important place for SCS Blender Tools knowledge base. There you will find the steps you need to take to begin using the tools. You can also find the download links for SCS Blender Tools. And there is even all the source code of the tools, right in the open, which could be quite interesting for the coders out there:


We have created a special forum branch, dedicated exclusively to the SCS Blender Tools. If you feel you found a bug in the tools, or want to ask something about them, or share your knowledge with the other people just getting started - this is the place to be. We will be monitoring the forums and hopefully providing some guidance, but again, we do not expect to be able to respond to everybody and to every cry for help.

ETS2 web, mod page

In case you forget all the links above you can always start with the modding section of the Euro Truck Simulator 2 web page. The links there should guide you not just to SCS Blender Tools but also to all modding guidelines paramount for successful mod creation.

We encourage you to import and check all the models on your own. Now all you need to start is a bit of knowledge of Blender!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Welcome to Oslo!

Oslo happens to be one of the largest urban agglomerations featured in Scandinavia DLC, in fact Oslo and the surrounding areas is possibly the largest city we have built so far in Euro Truck Simulator 2.

As you can see in the screenshots below, we are using new types of junctions and intersections extensively in Scandinavia, in this particular case to connect the city to the large port that incorporates a ferry terminal.

Oslo itself is filled with several smaller loading docks in different districts of the city located a couple of kilometers away from each other. There are so many opportunities for exploration!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A look on the technical side: Telemetry SDK

Today we would like to talk about something that deviates a bit from the typical posts you see on our blog - we want to shine some light on our Telemetry SDK library and examples of its use for Euro Truck Simulator 2 (the same SDK will be available for American Truck Simulator from day one).

You're probably asking yourself what is that Telemetry thing and what does it really do? The SDK gives modders an easy to use API which grants access to a set of in-game data such as (but not limited to): truck make and model, speed, current gear, map coordinates, current job info, engine RPM, acceleration forces and many more similar stats about your game. All of this data can be used to create various modifications related to the game or even to create a more immersive experience.

The SDK available here requires programming knowledge to use, but our community has already created a number of various projects using our SDK. Let's have a look at some of them:

Telemetry Web Server and Mobile Dashboard

Forum thread
This fan-made add-on gives the player an opportunity to see in-game status via a web page in a browser on a local network. In practice, this means that your tablet or smartphone can serve you as a mobile dashboard display showing your gauges as well as essential trip info, giving you a chance to keep the main screen less cluttered.

Enhanced Force Feedback for Logitech devices

Logitech wheel users may like how this rather technical plugin gives them an ability to achieve enhanced force feedback. This plugin will make your wheel act differently from standard game by adding a compensation for various features seen in modern trucks and a wide set of different responses to when your truck is being driven under more demanding conditions. Author of this mod also offers a set of improvements for gear shifting and transmission - check out the thread above for more information.

Enhanced Truck Sounds

Enthusiasts of roaring engines will appreciate this add-on delivering a louder set of engine and truck noises right into your game, as the aim of this modification is to provide a different take on realistic driving experience by enhancing the game with additional sounds based off truck performance and behavior derived from the telemetry data.

G19 LCD display

This add-on, just like you may have guessed from its name, allows display of various gameplay information using LCD display of your G19 keyboard working similarly as the mobile dashboard mentioned above.

To get started

If you want to get started be sure to check our modding section to download the latest TELEMETRY SDK.

Also you may want to check fan-created GitHub repository containing a live implementation of the API that will help you in getting started creating your own add-ons and plugins for Euro Truck Simulator 2.

Let us know in the comments if you know and like any other telemetry-based projects we have failed to discover ourselves!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A quick visit to Örebro!

Let's take a look at Örebro today - one of Swedish cities that is pretty much finished and ready for Scandinavia DLC. We hope that you will appreciate that we are borrowing from reality as much as we can; the locals should definitely recognize some of the sights below.

As we are switching into high gear in the final tuning and tweaking of the new DLC, you can now expect a lot more media from our virtual Scandinavia covering the places of interest. There is so much to explore there! Don't worry, even if we plan to show quite a lot here in the coming weeks, way more will be left for you to discover on your own!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Scandinavia reveal

As we are getting closer to the finish line on ETS2 Scandinavia DLC, it's time to show you more of what we have in store for you. Here is a small scale map to reveal the destination cities we are putting into this world expansion. This little map doesn't tell the whole story - the highways, roads and city streets are now a much more detailed system than what we currently have in the older parts of our ETS2 universe.

We have dedicated a lot of time and attention to recreating Scandinavian sights and landmarks in order to make the scenery more vibrant and lifelike. We tried hard to distill the looks and sights of the region to stay true to its spirit, and in the process created a lot of new assets to make driving more varied and the exploration more interesting.

The scenery is additionally supplemented with new delivery types and unique locations such as Scania and Volvo Trucks factories. Since ferry transport plays important role in this area, Scandinavia DLC also will feature numerous ports and deliveries aimed at supporting those locations.