Friday, February 24, 2017

Liftable Trailer Axles

We're almost there to release the open betas of the next wave of updates for both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we iron out the last few known glitches so that we are able to release the open betas next week.

Today we'd like to tease you a little with a glimpse on one of the new features - the implementation of liftable axles for trailers.

This feature was requested by the fan community for quite a while, we're glad to bring it to life for all players looking forward to improvements in simulation fidelity. Lifting a trailer axle allows you to spread the weight among the trailer's wheels to optimize fuel consumption, limit tire wear, or adjust the trailer's maneuverability while turning or reversing. As there was no default hotkey or controller key assigned for this feature as of yet, and we do not want to break players' existing configs, please remember to set this function under any key in the Key & Buttons options.

Stay tuned for more feature reveals as we wrap up the work on the updates. The full change log will of course come along with the actual releases.

Friday, February 17, 2017

SCS on the Road: PC Gamer Weekender

We have just started closed beta test for another round of major updates of Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator, but that's a story for another week.

Today, two of our colleagues are flying to London to visit the upcoming "PC Gamer Weekender" public event. This event is organized by publishers of the world's best selling PC gaming magazine PC Gamer. Jakub and Tomas will spend the whole weekend at the show, which is taking place February 18-19 in the amazing halls of Olympia, Zone J30.

Gamers from all corners of the world will come to enjoy two great days full of playing mostly as of yet un-released games plus some ever-greens (that's how we like to view our games), to hear interesting lectures and talks by developers from gaming software studios of all kinds, to try or even buy new hardware & software to bring it home with them, to watch or participate in cool PC gaming tournaments, or simply just to enjoy anything else related to the world of gamers.

Our small team will be there with our games too, and if you'd like to try out American Truck Simulator in VR, we'll be happy to greet you at the tiny booth of SCS Software. We are not coming just to give the visitors a chance to play our games, we have also been offered an opportunity to make a speech about our work. Tomas is now readying his notes, and he will surely be happy to see you in the audience if you happen to be nearby ;).

But that's not all! There is another good reason to stop by our booth, as we will be handing out free Steam activation codes for the PC Gamer DLC for ETS2. This content pack has been created last year for use on a previous PC Gamer event, but we still have some codes left. It's a little collection of cabin accessories which can't be purchased officially; it can only be obtained at special occasions like this one. The DLC contains cabin adjustments tuned in the colors and motifs of PC Gamer. Small hint: don't hesitate too long, because our team has a limited numbers of these codes.

Finally, our participation at this event provided an excellent excuse to arrange a little discounting campaign on Steam for American Truck Simulator. So if you have still been hesitating about adding ATS into your games collection, this may be a very nice opportunity to grab it..

We are looking forward to meeting our fans from London metro area and beyond this weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Love is in the air

Valentine's Day is almost here! For those romantically inclined among our fans, we wanted to give you a chance to transfer some of Valentine's atmosphere into our games as well. We have prepared two unique collections of themed paint jobs, one for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and the other for American Truck Simulator. Even more, we added a small bonus into each package in the form of a cabin accessory.

Express your passion, show your feelings and decorate your truck with a Valentine's paint job! Get it for yourself or as a gift for someone special.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

American Truck Simulator heads towards New Mexico!

Today marks one year anniversary of American Truck Simulator's release. When we started working on the game way back several years ago, it was with a tiny team of five people, and still we were not sure if we can sustain the development. But we persisted, and were rewarded by a very strong launch on the market and a warm reception by the community as well as gaming press. This gave us the confidence to bolster the team and raise our ambition for the scale of the project.

At this moment, over 20 people focus solely on ATS development; an internal team plus a network of full-time contractors. Still it is not enough. We are well aware that the game's fans would like to see more content, more vehicles, more game features, more optimizations, faster progress. To make this possible, we keep growing the company - our vision is to at least double our production bandwidth for both American Truck as well as Euro Truck 2. We have been adding a few new people to the company pretty much every month during 2016, and we'll definitely keep on growing through 2017. All this new talent does and will make a difference that you should definitely notice.

We are happy to confirm that the next map expansion for American Truck Simulator will be the state of New Mexico!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3D Scanning - The Next Generation Scania

Time flies so fast! Late last year, we sent a small technical team to the Scania Demo Centre in Södertälje, Sweden, to acquire detailed reference material for Scania's new S and R trucks. The team consisted of two of our colleagues from SCS and a contractor operating a 3D scanner, as we were evaluating whether to buy this expensive piece of technology. We planned to make a short video documentary of this trip and to share it with you, but as we don't have a dedicated person for videos at the company and video editing has to always be done on top of our normal work duties, we have taken quite a while to come up with the final cut. At last, here it is...

The objective of the trip was clear: to make sure that all the measurements required for modeling the new Scania S and R series trucks were accurately gathered. In addition to photogrammetry, which is needed for replicating surface materials - textures - for the vehicle models, for the first time we tried the service of a handheld 3D scanner. By using this technique, we expected much higher precision data as input for our work, allowing us to recreate yet more realistic trucks in our games.

We thought that some of you may find it interesting, so we are including a brief report of what our field team had to do during their five-day trip. The list of items to photograph and scan was quite ambitious, so we had to arrange for three days of focused work on site. Rigorous planning was required to pull it off. Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and the team certainly did not mind a short delay caused by very polite conversation with Scania's marketing team. As we were poring over the vehicles, it was inspiring that the corporate giant that is Scania actually took interest in our work and considered it newsworthy (as we mentioned in a previous blog post).

By prior arrangement with the manufacturer, we had the following vehicles at our disposal:

Day 1 - Sunday
6:00 PM - we are setting off! All equipment is prepared from Friday. We went to Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague to embark a flight to Arlanda Airport near Stockholm. Picked up a rental car and traveled to the Scandic hotel located across the street from Chassiporten - the very manufacturing plant which can be found in the Scandinavia map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2. Quick dinner at Burger King. Elk Whopper is not present on the menu! What a pity.

Day 2 - Monday
6:00 AM wake up, breakfast. Meet & greet with our precious contact Nils at Scania Headquarters. Quick drive to the Demo Centre to pick up Richard. At the Demo Centre, one of the big hangars was made our improvised home for the three days. The pre-arranged trucks were waiting there at our disposal. At the same time as we were photographing the exterior, we were able to work on the interiors, as we were kindly provided with access to Scania S V8 and Scania R brown/light cab interiors adapted for exhibition and presentation purposes (no chassis, but plug and play). Before the first scan we needed to take down the side skirts and cover the truck with numerous sticker markers that improve the precision for both 3D scanning and photogrammetry. Scanning and taking pictures for the rest of the day. We worked long into dark, until we were eventually escorted out of the complex and wished good night - they really insisted that they are closing the facility for the day ;).

Day 3 - Tuesday
6:00 AM waking up slowly. All around there is darkness. Again. Daylight at this elevation during this part of year is short - only between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Back in the hangar everything happens quickly and efficiently. One more Scania truck version arrives, sticking it with labels, undress and re-dress side skirts. Scanning and photographing takes the rest of the day, we just switched trucks in the afternoon. Data backup of daily work and good night.

Day 4 - Wednesday
Work progress basically copied Day 3 with a nice bonus in the afternoon. We get an invitation to test drive Scania S 730 on the closed polygon. What a nice surprise from our hosts! Our work is over. In the evening, there was only packing up and preparing for the trip back home.

Day 5 - Thursday
Early morning journey back to Stockholm went smoothly, air temperature was around zero and snow at a minimum. On the way, we only stopped at Ikea (where else!) and then bought a supply of dried reindeer meat at the airport.

We're very happy with the data that we brought from Sweden. We are hard at work now on the detailed digital 3D model of the next generation of Scania trucks, creating it on the basis of the 3D scans. Having millimeter-precision 3D scan is a great reference, it can shave off precious weeks of iterative guess-work compared to only relying on photos, but there are still several hundred man-hours more to invest into the job to build the virtual representation of a truck.

The cooperation with the fantastic people at Scania was excellent as always, they were very welcoming, helpful, and super professional. We can only hope that they had the same impression of ourselves. We want to thank everyone involved for their invaluable assistance!