Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Nordic Horizons - Research Trip

Some time ago, part of our team travelled to the north of Scandinavia to gather references for the upcoming Nordic Horizons DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2. Now, they would like to share with our #BestCommunityEver the experience of this journey to northernmost Europe.

Four members of our team embarked on this trip and travelled hundreds of kilometres throughout northern Scandinavia in a few days. Dominik, Ivo, Mary, and Voytek are already using the gathered information to put this map expansion together.

"Exploring northern Scandinavia was a great experience. We started from the Finnish city of Rovaniemi towards the north and it was interesting to see how the landscape was gradually changing. The forests became smaller and more sparse until they disappeared completely, gradually being replaced by open plains until we finally reached the vast fjords on the coast. We took the road back past Abisko National Park, the huge mines of Kiruna and on through the deep forests to the south. Along the way, we were impressed by the large amount of wildlife. The reindeer were walking along the roads and were not at all interested in the surrounding traffic. We visited many interesting places, such as Abisko National Park, Nordkapp, the northernmost point in Europe, and Santa's Village," says Dominik.

As you might have read in one of our previous blogs, Nordic Horizons will include reindeer appearing on the map, which, as the team confirms here, is not a rare occasion in real life. 

"The most extraordinary part was reindeer walking along the main road, not really bothered by cars around them. Every day we were surrounded by changing nature: the landscape mostly consisted of forests in Finland and Sweden, stretching for dozens of kilometres between towns or villages, and fjords or hills on the northern coast of Norway. It was so remote and empty, with barely any traffic, which was a big difference from German autobahns full of travellers, where I was driving just a few days before. Even though I travel a lot, this was my first real road trip, in which we covered so much in just over a week. I think the experience we loved the most, was the Arctic Moose Farm run by a lovely, elderly couple in the middle of nowhere," says Voytek.

Journeys like these can significantly help the researchers in their work as they can absorb much more information from their visit to the countries than they would have if only researching on the internet.

"Our trip to Lapland was a great opportunity to experience the Nordic countries in a way you simply cannot achieve just by looking at images. Even with all the prior knowledge, I was still surprised by just how much water there is - thousands of little lakes and streams. Also, how common are the reindeer? Or how beautiful is the scenery? It is hard to pick the most memorable moments, but my greatest personal achievements would be feeding a moose on a farm and swimming in a river on the Arctic Circle," Ivo told us.

After coming back from this journey, researchers continue to work on collecting information for the map designers from the photos and videos they took there and also using multiple tools on the internet. 

"The trip was an amazing experience. It's always a huge advantage to see the country in the pre-production stage because it helps you get the sense and feeling of the country. And when you need certain references or details, you just go out and take the pictures you need. But the best moment of the trip for me has to be a short break on a moose farm because I got the chance to feed and pet the moose," Mary shared with us.

We look forward to sharing how this research trip translates to our virtual recreation of this region in the future. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this little insight on the process of creating a new map expansion, and how our teams gain experience and knowledge of the area. Don't forget to add the Nordic Horizons DLC to your Steam Wishlist and follow us on our social media (X/TwitterInstagramFacebook, YouTube, and TikTok)!

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