Thursday, June 13, 2024

Under the Hood: JCB Equipment Pack

With the recent release of the JCB Equipment Pack for Euro Truck Simulator 2 & American Truck Simulator we wanted to take the opportunity to talk with one of the driving forces behind the new and unique addition. In today's 'Under The Hood' blog, we spoke with George, Art Leader of Vehicles, who helped bring this DLC to life. 

Renowned for their innovation and reliability, The JCB Equipment Pack includes 10 different branded construction and agricultural machinery from JCB's machinery line-up for drivers to haul and deliver across the virtual roads of Europe and America. So what was the inspiration behind creating this DLC? 

"At the time, the project was entrusted to me, as I had the most experience in our party. I accepted the offer with enthusiasm and humility, and now in retrospect I have to say that working with everyone involved was a daily joy that continues. We are no longer just a bunch of enthusiasts, but also, above all, one big family that works as a team to care for this baby that we created together".

So what was your role in creating the JCB Equipment Pack? We asked George to find out. "In the middle of 2023, after a three-year break, I returned to SCS as a senior 3D artist. I spent over 7 years at SCS before leaving, so there was no need to familiarize myself with work processes and technology from scratch. The guys at SCS have come a long way in that time and have done a lot of work to improve the output quality, tools and workflows. My first assigned task was the JCB FASTRAC 4220 Icon cargo asset. I immediately fell in love with it because it is a racer among tractors".

So how many people were involved in the creation of this DLC? "At the time, 2 artists were working on JCB and gradually others, including me, joined. In total, our team of 3D graphic artists consisted of asset creators Dino Čičak, Luboš Gregor, and Serhii Trystan, and for cabin accessories, Wolfka.  And of course many others were involved too, from production to research, QA and marketing. Over time, the project swelled and thus the need for greater control and optimization of production grew".

So how long did it take to create this DLC, and which cargoes were the most fun and/or most challenging to create? "After almost a year of hard work, nurturing, tuning and optimizing every single machine or toy, we got the green light. The final product was approved at all levels! We are delighted that there is huge interest for JCB content in both our game".

With such an extensive catalogue, how did you decide which JCB equipment and machinery to include? "Reference materials cannot be neglected, the quality of which reflects the result. These were delivered in the form of CAD models directly from JCB, which also set a preferred selection of machines that we mutually agreed upon".

George goes on to explain further "Our game also requires balanced and interesting content in this regard. As for the CAD files, they are mainly intended for the production of real machines, containing millions of polygons and are useless for the game itself. In our case, they only served as a template. These detailed templates had to be supplemented with photogrammetry, in simple terms a technology for processing several hundred walkaround photos, from which a 3D model is subsequently created using specialized software. Compared to a CAD template, such a model offers an additional level of information, such as the real surface and colors of materials. And you can easily check how a real object really looks in a real environment. This package of references was a pleasure to work with".

Did you or any of the team get to see any of the machinery for yourself in person? "Thanks to this, we were able to get to know the beautiful and in some cases giant machines face to face. In this case, huge thanks go out to the Czech companies TERRAMET and PEKASS (construction and agricultural machinery), who made this photogrammetry process possible for us".

Were there any challenges and what did you do to overcome them? "JCB is a globally recognized, leading manufacturer of construction and agricultural machinery. Therefore, much more effort had to be made to meet JCB's strict requirements, as well as a greater focus on detail and quality of workmanship. Fortunately, SCS already has extensive experience with this".

"We love how much detail was put into each of the machinery and cabin accessories too, was that an important aspect for the team?" SCS Software is a game studio with more than 25 years of experience in the field of game development. In that time, it has built up a reputation proven by a strong fan base. Therefore, our priority in this effort is to persevere and still offer interesting content regardless of the complexity of this process. But as always, everything is about people, and I can say with a clear conscience that I have always been able to fully rely on every member of the team, regardless of their previous experience". George goes onto explain more  "The team members either already have the experience or just want to achieve them. Both variants are sufficient for success. The rest is just about a positive attitude, communication and team spirit. We each contributed equally and learnt from each other. Which, by the way, is the nice thing about our work, to be able to share ideas and tricks with each other and thus move forward professionally".

"In this case, it was necessary to set the imaginary bar a little higher and focus precisely on the realism of the design, while maintaining our optimization standards. Simply said, the models are at the same level as any other similar cargo assets in the game in terms of geometry complexity and texture size, with the only difference being that we spent more time on individual aspects - to get detail where it's justified, polishing individual curves or unifying texture details and colours as if all of these were the work of one individual. So there was a need to think more about sharing our workflow and know-how across the entire DLC".

"I believe that DLCs of this focus will open the way for us to other similar projects in the future. So there is definitely something to look forward to".

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the JCB Equipment Pack Bundle, which offers drivers looking to haul in both ETS2 & ATS at a discounted price! Click here for the dedicated bundle Steam Store page. If you already own this great addition and you are enjoying it, consider leaving a positive review for us too. We hope you enjoyed this Under the Hood look for this DLC, let us know if you'd like to read about some specific subjects in the future! Until then, keep on truckin'.  

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