Tuesday, December 5, 2023

California Rework - Research Trip

Earlier this year, five members of our American Truck Simulator map team had the opportunity to explore California and neighbouring states in the USA. Their trip served the dual purpose of collecting references and information while also drawing inspiration for the California Rework project. In this blog, we'll be giving you a glimpse of the team's adventures.

The team consisting of Jan (Janek), Nicolaj (RACERTOFT), Hoang (Johny), Juraj, and Martin (Raffnit) managed to drive around 3500 miles in 12 days and visit four US states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah.

"The aim of our trip was to go through the areas we are currently working on or would like to rework or reskin in the future. Mainly central and southern California, but the road also took us to western Arizona and Nevada," says Janek. "Among the big cities, we managed to visit San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. All cities offered us a very valuable experience in how to properly grasp their size and adequately translate it into our game."

The team not only had the opportunity to gain experience from American cities but also derived valuable insights from the diverse American natural landscapes and national parks. They were also able to visit several areas with the intention of faithfully representing them as depots in our game.

"I can probably speak for the entire crew when I say that this trip was very rewarding and eye-opening for us in many ways. And we were able to see the real America that we could only imagine from our Prague offices," Janek shares with us.

It was quite hectic for the team as they saw so many iconic places in such a short time. "We were overwhelmed with information and landmarks. It's a very different landscape for us from Europe, and sometimes it gave us a headache to see something new all the time. That's probably the strongest experience I took away from it," says Johny. "I was surprised that everything is designed for vehicular traffic. You don't see that much concrete in Europe. But the Californian countryside is very beautiful and looks quite idyllic."

"Visiting the cities we'll personally be working on gave us an amazing insight into how the cities are supposed to feel, what kind of a vibe they give off and what are some of the most iconic and memorable moments while driving through there that we should represent in our game. I was thrilled by the engineering of the large interchanges, while riding on some of the ramps raised high above the ground one might almost feel like floating through the air," says Martin.

The research trip to the USA proved to be a highly beneficial experience for the team. It became evident on-site that the importance of firsthand experience cannot be overstated, as photos and references from internet maps can be quite distorting.

"We could see this, for example, in the shape and curvature of the roads. Everything in the US is bigger than here in Europe. I was very positively surprised that everything was clean and very nicely groomed. I was literally shocked by the beautiful and varied nature we were able to experience, not only in the national parks but also along the highway as we moved on to other places," Juraj tells us.

We look forward to sharing how these research trips translate to our virtual recreation of the states in the future. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this little insight on the process of recreating a state/region, and how our teams gain experience and knowledge of the states. Stay tuned for more updates by following our social media channels (X/TwitterInstagramFacebookTikTok).

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