Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Public beta of ETS2 Update 1.22 available on Steam
Complete your first World of Trucks Contract now!

Update 1.22 for Euro Truck Simulator 2 is entering Open Beta on Steam today.

The update comes with a ton of improvements and fixes (see below), but for us the central new feature are Contracts - a new kind of jobs available from World of Trucks. During this public beta we will be testing the robustness of our server infrastructure, and watching for errors across the job-dispensing system. As always, we are looking looking forward to your feedback and reports of any bugs you may help us find.

The new feature is implemented both in the game "client" as well as on the World of Trucks servers.

The first thing you will see after accessing World Of Trucks Job Market screen is city selection dialog. Contracts are actually the first in a series of steps to create parallel gameplay to what we have now working in the standard single-player game. Contract jobs are handled separately, your vehicle's position while on a Contract is also tracked and stored independently of existing standard game jobs under way. The Contracts system will let you choose where you want to start your journey in this alternate game experience.

We have received numerous questions on why are we even venturing into this direction when there are so many other game features to implement that we could and should pursue. Looking at Contracts in isolation, they are indeed not a game changer. But as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Our long-term vision is to create a complex new meta-game on top of the existing game with online gameplay, rich economy, RPG elements, virtual trucking companies, and eventually multiplayer support. To get from point A to point B, we'll need to pass a lot of milestones, test out many things, and we would be happy to have you along for the ride.

The current implementation of Contracts is just the first of several steps that we are working on. During the beta period, depending on severity of any bugs discovered, we may touch the core of contracts generation mechanisms. Please be aware that all stats gathered during the beta period will be wiped before the final 1.22 update is made public.

But there are way more changes coming with Update 1.22. Another feature worth highlighting is extension of the simulation to cover European tyre grading system. Along with it comes a little cosmetic improvement that will allow the players to apply color to designated parts of the tyre. In fact this too is only a start of a more extensive push to have richer customization options for wheels, with more cool stuff being prepared for future game updates.

Let's review what we have in store for you...

Check out highlights what wen't into 1.22 Update:

  • World of Trucks Contracts feature - now you able take jobs from the World of Trucks website
  • Tire decals coloring
  • Simulated tire grades based on European tire grading system (rolling resistance, wet grip, noise levels)
  • Modified naming scheme of tires
  • The paint shop was integrated into the standard truck configuration
  • improved truck's chassis geometry and adjusted fifth wheel position for most of 6x2, 6x4 chassis's to decrease under steering under full throttle
  • multiple fixes of trucks models: Volvo FH16 2012, Volvo FH, Mercedes-Benz Actros, Mercedes-Benz New Actros, Iveco Hi-Way, Iveco Stralis, DAF XF Euro 6, DAF XF 105, MAN TGX, Renault Magnum, Renault Premium, Scania R [see extended log]
  • When clutch axis is not assigned for H-Shifter transmission, truck will handle clutch itself (much like sequential transmission).
  • When shifter layout is named (new attribute "name"), the name string is shown in game for better recognition.
  • Hired drivers are more efficient when equipped by good truck.
  • User defined limit for length of generated jobs in the offline economy (g_job_distance_limit)
  • User defined LOD distance for pedestrian, traffic and parked cars; multiplier of default distance (g_lod_factor_pedestrian, g_lod_factor_traffic, g_lod_factor_parked)
  • Config for disabling "Autoparking" dialogue (g_auto_parking_disabled)
  • Config for disabling Route Advisor popups when hidden (g_keep_adviser_hidden)
  • Fixing missing world on low-end GPUs on OSX
  • Improved physics and stability of trailers (disconnected, parked, AI)
  • multiple instances of holes, shadow, vegetation placements [see extended log]
  • improvements in signs fixes in multiple countries [see extended log]
  • many fixes for incorrectly positioned objects [see extended log]
  • various models and prefabs fixes and optimizations [see extended log]
  • User defined traffic density, defined by multiplier to default (g_traffic)
  • Improved simulation of suspension (leaning in curves or when accelerating/decelerating)
  • Improved navigation, lane switching, spawning and obstacle checking
  • New sounds for Volvo FH16 Classic
  • New sounds for Volvo FH
  • Higher resolution textures are used on models in UI screens regardless of the graphics settings
  • Redesigned job and time widget on desktop
  • Day/night effect switching for movers and walkers

For hardcore explorers among you, you are welcome to read our 1.22 Full Change Log

You can find the beta in the public_beta branch on Steam. (Steam client -> LIBRARY -> right click on Euro Truck Simulator 2 -> Properties -> Betas tab -> public_beta - 1.22 public beta)

Please report any bugs you may find here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Parallel Jobs
Introducing the Concept of World of Trucks Time

Greetings! Today we'd like to cover a design-oriented topic relevant for the upcoming Euro Truck Simulator 2 Update 1.22.

After quite a few rounds of private beta tests and fixes, we are getting close to releasing the first Open Beta of the update to Steam. Along with the release of the Beta, we will roll out the Contracts feature on World of Trucks (as already covered earlier on our blog).

Once you'll run the new version of the game, you will see that we have been through a slight modification of the main user interface "desktop" screen. We have redesigned the job info widget - the element on top of the screen showing you information about your current assignment.

With the addition of World of Trucks Contracts, we now need to provide the player with enough information on the jobs received this way as well as on the regular Freight Market or Quick Jobs supplied by the standard game economy.

In fact, the player can be assigned both type of jobs in parallel. The new Contracts are actually happening "online" - the game communicates with the back-end servers frequently to update the system on each player's vehicle position and situation. Network connections though can be shaky, and the player should also be able to take a break from a delivery easily taking two-hours in real time, so we need an ability to interrupt a Contract (save the player's progress) and resume it later. But the next day, the player may be offline, or just decide to go for a quick normal delivery before resuming the Contract job. So in principle we need to make sure that there can be two concurrent job assignments.

With Contracts (and the fact that they are the first step towards more complex features), we have also faced a new game design challenge - the concept of time in the game. As of now, you were used to the accelerated Game Time (sometimes shortened in the game as G.T.). It's the clock used for the standard-game day cycle, accelerated so that 24 game-time hours take approximately 72 real minutes. We are not going to change the flow of time in regular game, but for Contracts, we are going to introduce a new clock - World of Trucks Time  (you may see it shortened in the game as "WOTR Time", or "W.T."

World of Trucks Time is based on Coordinated Universal Time, a real-world "clock" where 24 hours takes no less then real 24 hours to complete. We use it to synchronize all World of Trucks features - jobs, future economy and player interactions, and upcoming online activities. It is what the servers use internally, but we have decided to also make it visible for the players, so that they can understand what the delivery deadlines are etc. So you will encounter World of Trucks Time immediately when taking your first World of Trucks Contract.

All World of Trucks jobs will be based only WOTR Time limit to complete. Right now during the beta, while we are stress-testing our server infrastructure and sorting out potential bugs, the WOTR Time for job completion will be fixed to only several hours for any job. Once we feel the servers are working as intended even under load, we will further increase the precision of tracking and also have Contracts with a wider range of time limits for enhanced gameplay experience.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Many Projects, One Goal

We are working hard on American Truck Simulator: California, fine-tuning it and polishing the content and features.  You may have seen glimpses of the locations already before in our earlier blog posts, but we thought the couple of panoramas below are still so cool that you will appreciate seeing them...

We have to admit that we have been in the "let's finish it" mode working on American Truck Simulator: California longer that we hoped.

Basically, the "problem" is that we want to give it all to you. Euro Truck Simulator 2 has been great success for us - so we thought that we absolutely should not abandon it - let's continue to improve and expand it! While we are at it, let's venture across the ocean too with American Truck Simulator so that we can make happy more of the global fan base of the truck sim genre. At the same time, we knew that we will need to go deeper - and from this the ambition to create the complementary World of Trucks project was born.

We are adding community features and infrastructure to support implementation of a grand trucking universe with Virtual Trucking Companies and eventually with rich multiplayer. We would also like to introduce more vehicles into our world than just plain semi-trucks, so work has started on adding alternate gameplay and driving experiences into our simulation system. At the same time, we know that we need to keep pushing our graphics technology, there are still many things in our game engine to improve and optimize, and balancing such changes while trying not to break the game mods too badly is not easy at all.

Pursuing all these goals at the same time has been quite a ride. We have more than tripled our head count at SCS Software to over 50 people currently since the days of release of ETS2. While the content teams working on the projects are separate, they share the programming team, and we are still learning tough lessons when it comes to improving our testing and release pipeline.

Sometimes it feels like for every step forward we need to take two back, but we are stubborn and dedicated, and we are confident that in the end we will deliver on all that we have started. In our quest, we feel that quality is the most important thing for you and us. That's why, more often than not, we tend to adjust our plans and sacrifice release schedules in order to stay true to our mission and to build new pieces of the puzzle in a way that they will all fit well together.

Very soon, you will see us take another step with World of Trucks. The first release in American Truck Simulator line is on the horizon, and the team working Euro Truck Simulator 2 has great things in development too for you for the next year. Please be patient with us and stay tuned!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Japanese Paint Jobs Pack Released

We are continuing in our quest - to cover the territories where Euro Truck Simulator 2 has a lot of players - with a new paint job DLC pack. This time we are paying tribute to Japan.

Very surprisingly even for us, the number of activated copies of the game in Japan puts the country into a Top 15 list, so we thought that it should definitely be included.

We would like to eventually cover at least the Top 20 regions, so in the next few months, our players in the Netherlands, Turkey, or South Korea can look forward to receiving a paintjob treatment. At the same time, our goal is to cover Europe for ETS2, surely the European countries where we have a sizeable loyal player base, as we of course understand the complaints from players for example from Italy or Hungary that they do not have their own flags available yet. So more paintjobs are still on the way, and there is also a refresh of the paint job selection user interface screen on the way to make the interface less clumsy when working with a long list of choices.

Some of our fans complain that we pay attention to such unimportant cosmetic stuff (from their point of view anyway), when we should push to include the more important features. At the same time, we get a constant stream of e-mails from players in countries that we do not yet have covered by paintjobs, asking us to finally create their national paintjobs pack.

Rest assured that the work on paintjobs does not detract our attention from any other development projects going on at SCS Software. It is handled by a dedicated micro-department consisting of two talented artists, working at their own pace. It is not a major source of revenue for us, and the pricing policy we have in place makes it clear that we do not plan to get rich selling truck liveries. Yes, every little bit helps, but we see the work on new paintjob packs mostly as a service to our playerbase. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's all about the Tyres/Tires

Today we would like to introduce one of the features that you can expect with the upcoming Euro Truck Simulator 2 update 1.22 - Tyre grades. We have already mentioned that we are looking into it in one of our earlier blogs. We are happy that it finally came to its fruition.

Inspired by actual European regulations, we tried to adapt reality to fit our game. All tyres are now graded based on three parameters: fuel efficiency, wet grip, and noise levels. The game takes tyre properties into account, so real life tyre grades correspond with in-game behaviour. Of course by long wear or damage, tyre quality may degrade.

We will now also support different tyre sizes. In the original game, we referred to a tyre (back then actually the whole wheel) just by its name. We are now enriching the simulation to include support for alternate tyre sizes, so the size is added to the naming convention.

While revisiting the tyres, we thought that it would be cool to add support for what we see in the tuning and modding community - tyre coloring. Stock tyres just sport the standard rubber look of course, but for additional tuning effect, the colour of designated parts of a tyre (like the manufacturer names or logos) can be altered. The in-game support is quite comfortable, allowing to choose the particular colour with a comfortable colour picker widget.

We are about to enter internal testing phase of this feature. As usual, before the final release, you can expect a round of Steam open betas - for those of you ready to help us out with community QA, or just cannot wait but experience any new features as soon as possible.

Oh, there is also a new original manufacturer-branded DLC coming, which will greatly expand your tyre choice ;).