Thursday, December 23, 2021

California Dreamin' #3 - Development Insight

Today, we are pleased to give you a behind the scenes look and insight into the continuing work of this project, the team behind the rebuild and what we are planning for the future of revamps in American Truck Simulator. 

In July, we released version 1.41 of American Truck Simulator which included Phase 1 of the anticipated 'California rework', which brought a major revamp to the road network, new agriculture stations, and more. Since then, the team behind the rework has been hard at work with Phase 2 of this project. We spoke with the map lead of the California Revamp project to learn more about the current status of the ongoing project and what changes and challenges have come with this project. 

The Team

A majority of the team behind the California Revamp consisted of new junior map designers, who are getting to grips with a new environment and workspace. We keep adjusting our time plans for different DLCs and due to several changes during this year, we had to give a helping hand to other projects, such as Montana and Texas, and move a large chunk of the map designers from the California team elsewhere, to keep up with our plans for the next year(s). 

Because of this, the size of the California Revamp team fluctuated quite often. At one point during the year, the team had 12 people working hard on various areas, 10 of whom were new map designers. Currently, there is only a handful of map designers working on Phase 2, but we are confident that the team will be able to keep on track with the revamp, especially as more new members will join the team in January. 

Phase 2 of the California Rebuild

So what is in store for Phase 2 of this project? The next portion of this project focuses on 5 cities and their surrounding areas. These cities are Eureka, Ukiah, Sacramento, Redding, and Truckee which will see a complete rebuild! 

All 5 cities and their surrounding road networks have been rebuilt from the ground up, along with local landmarks and architecture. We have also been focusing on creating new scenic routes and local industries too, such as the Napa Valley; which as you may know, is famous for its wineries and vineyards. New rest areas and truck stops have also been implemented, but that isn't all! You will also find new assets, vegetation, and textures too, giving the area a completely new look and feel. 

Another major change that will come with Phase 2 of this project is that we will be saying goodbye to the city of San Rafael. Due to the map scale, we had to make the hard decision to remove the city from the in-game economy. To make up for this, we will be introducing a brand new city, which will be larger and of much greater importance in California's road network in Phase 3 of our ongoing project! Any guesses which one it might be? 

So, you may be wondering, why did we choose to start again completely from scratch for this phase? When we first began work on Phase 2, we quickly realized that revamping and making some minor changes to the area would not be enough. When we first built California, our teams followed a different set of rules and paradigm(s) and did not have the experience we have now when it comes to building urban areas and larger cities in American Truck Simulator. 

Over the last few years, we have learned a lot, and we have greatly improved on city-building and more too, which is evident in some of our most recent and upcoming DLCs. So, we decided it would be better to rebuild this area completely, which is why it's been taking longer than expected. Our knowledge of California and experience with the tools we use to create these built-up areas have also greatly increased since our humble beginnings. 

Our plan is to bring California up to the current DLC standard, as it is usually the player's first location when starting with American Truck Simulator. We believe that revisiting these areas will be beneficial for both us, the developers, and you - our players, which is why we are happy to continue to revamp California along with plans to continue the rework of other US states in the future.

Future Plans

So what are our future plans for the California Revamp project? Which cities do we plan to focus on next after Phase 2? Before we let you know what is in-store, we'd like to put out a little disclaimer...

Please keep in mind that everything we are about to mention here may be subject to change. Although this is our current plan at the time of writing, this roadmap may change in the future depending on a number of development factors. 

With that said, here is just a little peek into our roadmap for the California Revamp project in American Truck Simulator. Our plan is to continue working on rebuilding a number of cities and our next focus will be around the San Francisco bay area. This location alone is a challenge to our abilities and will see massive changes compared to the original version.

However, depending on the team size, we hope to add even more content to Phase 3 and beyond! We have a lot of projects which were started by our new map designers but were not finished before they left to a new team. We hope that in the future we will have the capacity to give them all some additional love, time, and focus so that they will be completed and ready for release. 

As for our long-term plan, we will keep improving and rebuilding parts of the road network all around the State of California. Being the third-largest U.S state after Texas, it will take quite a while to finish California due to its road density, the number of cities, and its size, but we hope the end result will be worth the wait! Looking even further into the future, we plan on revisiting several states and we may even bring something extra special (which is so secret, they wouldn't even tell me what it was!). 

We hope this update on our California Rebuild project was insightful and serves also as a nice gift just before Christmas! The team behind it all is incredibly proud, passionate, and very much excited for the future, and we hope you are too! We can't wait to show you more, as we plan to bring more blogs in the future focusing on several parts of Phase 2 of the rebuild. 

Until then, however, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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