Monday, July 1, 2024

Under the Hood: International LT & LoneStar Update

With the 1.50 update for American Truck Simulator, we updated the International LT & International LoneStar. Now that a few weeks have passed, we bring you an interview with Andi, our 3D Graphic Designer, who was the main person behind this wonderful redesign!

For the International LT, we added new features and customizable options to selected parts of the truck, but also adjusted and polished some of the older parts and reworked the base geometry of the truck. The biggest upgrade was the addition of the S13 Integrated Powertrain which includes a new engine, the T14 transmission, and new accessories such as new chassis fairing extenders, bumper and grille options, FlowBelow fairings, an APU, blindspot detectors, and a completely new shorter day cab chassis. 

Both trucks also underwent a complete interior overhaul with updated textures and interior materials, new customizable interior cabinets, and functioning cabin physics.

"Initially, the task was to facelift the LT with the S13 upgrade - new exterior accessories and engine options. However, during the pre-production process, we found ourselves not happy with the overall quality of the model, especially compared to the current standard of making trucks. The interior was especially lacking, so we decided to spend more time on the LT and LoneStar which meant remodeling parts of the interior and exterior, as well as making brand-new textures," says Andi.

Redesigning these two trucks was mainly a solo project done by Andi although, as he says, he had the support of his colleagues. 

"I was responsible for modeling new parts, texturing them, and integrating everything into our game engine. Oscar helped us source reference data in the form of CAD files, Mark helped me double-check the accessory options, and our QA department made sure that everything was ready for release. I had help from my team lead Jarda throughout the project, he oversaw it and provided feedback where necessary. We also had some help from our paint job department which had to re-export the old paint jobs to fit the updated UVs after the facelift, as well as making a new custom paint job for the S13 package," Andi shares with us.

The project started in April 2023 and was finalized in the winter, then released with the 1.50 update in May. "It's game development, so roadblocks and problems are to be expected. During the summer the project was put on hold because we were missing some vital reference data. But overall it went really well and I had a great time working on this facelift. The community response showed us that we did a good job with this project, especially the update on the interior," Andi tells us.

What did Andi enjoy the most while working on this project? "For me, it was definitely modeling the new steel bumper and the new S13 grille, they were quite a challenge but I really love modeling such complex curved shapes. The interior refresh was definitely a lot of fun to work on as well since I got to use Substance Designer to create new tileable textures and it was a really enjoyable experience overall. Watching the interior change over time to what it is now was pure joy," he says.

On the other hand, the most challenging part was integrating everything into the engine. "Especially on a truck such as this, that has been in the game for a few years, I had to be extremely careful what I changed, otherwise we could break a player's savegame. Every change on an existing part required additional work to create a save patch. There was an issue with the cabin deflector logic that I had changed, which proved to be too problematic to resolve, so it had to be reverted. These are unavoidable things when working in game development, and navigating them properly is always a challenge," Andi says.

Andi is a big fan of the refreshed look of the International LT, so this project was really made for him. "I love the slick and sporty look of the LT. My favorite configuration is the Skyrise cabin with the S13 grille, S13 painted bumper, painted side skirts with the new closeouts, new roof extender, and painted all in a bright yellow," he told us.

We want to thank our friends at International Trucks who provided us with all of the reference data. And we hope you have enjoyed driving with these refreshed trucks so far! If you like them, make sure to share some screenshots with us on our social media (X/Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok), we really want to see those!

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