Thursday, December 3, 2020

ATS: Cabin Accessories Release

Eagle-eyed viewers of our recent Twitch streams may have spotted some accessories in the cab of our truck in American Truck Simulator. With questions and speculation being thrown back and forth around the community, we are happy to put those rumors to bed!

Introducing Cabin Accessories DLC, now available for American Truck Simulator!

There is no place like home and for many drivers on the road, their truck cab is their second home. These new Cabin Accessories allow you to personalize your cab with a collection of practical and decorative items. From power inverters to coffee cups, the possibilities for cab customizations are (almost) endless! 

The Cabin Accessories pack comes with over 100 variations of different items, including (but not limited to) food & drink for those long drives, hanging items, plushie toys, American themed items, clothing items, and much more! 

We are excited to see what items you'll choose to bring into your cab. Be sure to share with us your newly decorated cabs with us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! 

We are also happy to share with you that owners of the Cabin Accessories pack for Euro Truck Simulator 2 will also receive a free update during December, which will include some of the newer designs found in this new DLC! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Freightliner Cascadia® has arrived!

The Cascadia® is the most advanced on-highway truck Freightliner has ever offered; and today we are excited to announce its arrival in American Truck Simulator. Available to purchase from your local in-game dealership, the Freightliner comes with numerous customisation options.

Its virtual implementation in our game also includes a wide array of configurations including 12 chassis variants, 14 engine choices, 13 transmissions, 4 different cabin types, 4 interior trim options, and loads of other customization options. Whatever journey you have in mind, there will be a Cascadia® ready for the job! As a bonus, we are also including a unique paintjob as seen on Freightliner's promotional videos. This is available for the ownable 53' box trailers.

Bringing this iconic truck to the virtual roads of American Truck Simulator wouldn't have been possible without the help of the team at Freightliner Trucks, who has helped us recreate the Cascadia® in great detail. A big thank you, of course, goes to all those involved in this project here at SCS Software, from the very first contact to creating the 3D models, interiors, texturing, bug testing, and more, it wouldn't be possible without you!

We were also provided with the opportunity to rent an imported Freightliner Cascadia® and record the needed sounds for a day. You can watch a video of our recording session here! The generosity and collaboration of all companies involved have allowed this project to progress to where it is today.

The Freightliner Cascadia® arrives as a free DLC add-on for every owner of the American Truck Simulator. Find the latest update on your Steam Client (which may require a restart for some users) to receive this new addition to your library.

Be sure to share your first journey on the virtual roads with Freightliner Trucks (Twitter, Instagram) and us (Twitter, Instagram) using the hashtag #MyCascadia. We can't wait for you take a drive of for yourself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Iberia & New Light System: Development Teaser

Yesterday, we approached you with news of a very important decision for us. While we are 100% sure we chose the right path, we were quite nervous about how the fan community will accept this mixed news. We went all-in on trust and hope that everyone will understand and follow our hard decision. Extending development time on a project is not a cheap adventure, but the Iberia team deserves the chance to fully realize their vision, and synchronizing the release with our new light system will give the map expansion a chance to truly shine. It is also very important that compressing both releases into a single testing cycle, any long-term effects on future releases are minimized.

We are grateful for and humbled by the response coming from our #BestCommunityEver. Thank you for once again reassuring us that we are in this together.

As we hinted yesterday, to make up for the shock of the initial announcement, we felt that we need to show you a bit more. So we rushed to come up with something literally overnight. Today we are happy to share a short development teaser video presenting a bit of the new light setup, coincidentally recorded at locations from an up and coming Euro Truck Simulator 2 map DLC. The team still has a ton of work ahead of them to adjust so many models and textures to the new system. We only have a few locations (and still subject to further tweaks) that are close enough to completion that we can consider them ready to be shown. So the teaser is rather short, but it should give you a very good idea of what kind of improvements the new light system will bring for both ETS2 and ATS with the 1.40 update.

We hope you like what you see there already! Keep an eye on our blog and social media channels because we plan to bring you more updates and hot news on these topics.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Good News and the Mixed News

When we were making our plans for 2020, the world was a very different place. Our internal goals were very ambitious; we wanted to get through one of the most extensive technology changes in our engine since the release of Euro Truck Simulator 2, all the while not interrupting production work on map DLCs, new vehicles, and new game features. But then reality intervened. We have spent some three months working from home in the spring, shutting down our office for health concerns. After a couple of months during the summer that seemed to pass too quickly, we have once again switched to working from our homes in early September, and it looks like we may not make it back to our offices until spring 2021.

We have managed to keep our spirits high, we have managed to continue production and even hire new colleagues during these difficult times. But switching the teamwork to a distributed model was not without a price to pay - some of the projects are taking longer than we anticipated. We are doing our best to remotely coordinate and synchronize the effort of over 200 developers contributing to our projects, but you can imagine that managing the creative process in such a way is very demanding.

(screenshot taken at around 9 AM, at approx 43 deg latitude)

The good news is that we are on the verge of very visible improvements in how our games look. Working remotely, chatting over Discord, some of us using kitchen tables for lack of alternatives with the kids home-schooling for months as well, the team is pulling off incredible things. The second stage of changes to our lighting system is a massive project. Intensities of all the light sources in the games are now representative of real-world values, with the appropriate difference of orders of magnitude between the sun and the lightbulb. All internal rendering is fully taking place in HDR, with a series of post-processing steps during the camera exposure stage making sure that the result is crisp and believable. Whether you are under full sunlight, or in a dark tunnel, at sunset, or in heavy rain, the new unified system always makes sure to produce consistent visuals. As part of the rework, we have to touch up pretty much all game assets that we have created over the years, all the skyboxes, vegetation, rocks, buildings, all the vehicles, every texture, and of course, any related light hookup for that lamp on a loading ramp need to be manually adjusted for the new system. It's an incredible amount of changes to the art, and man-years of work of our programmers to change the graphics pipeline, shaders, and tools, using all the tricks in the book so that we do not drastically increase the games' technical requirements.

(both screenshots taken at around 6 PM, at approx 43 deg latitude)

The not so good news is that we will not be able to wrap it all up before the end of the year. We have already committed to a particular trajectory, and now we have to stay the course until we reach the destination. And it's time to go ahead and rip the band-aid off - Iberia DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2 will not be out this year. Our fans have no doubt got used to the pattern that we have managed to keep in recent years, and you can bet that we have tried as hard as possible to stick to it once again, and get you a new map expansion in December. The scope and scale of Iberia production were challenging even for a normal year, but even with over 20 map designers working full-time on the DLC, this year proved to be too much. We have found ourselves with the timelines of Iberia and the new light project colliding and realized that there was only one proper way to sort it all out. We had to base Iberia on the new light system to minimize long-term complications for future game updates and production.

(screenshot taken at around 6 AM, at approx 39 deg latitude)

We have managed to release Colorado DLC with the current light, and there are some not-so-small additions about to be unleashed from our production pipeline soon, still based on version 1.39. However, both ATS and ETS2 teams are now full steam ahead in reworking and retooling all the models and textures of both games, with no chance to release more updates on legacy code and assets. Iberia will be our first major release to benefit from the new light at launch. Before that happens, Update 1.40 will actually bring new light to both our games, changing the way they look thoroughly; base game content as well as any DLCs.

(both screenshots taken at around 9 AM, at approx 42 deg latitude)

Iberia was not the only internal project affected by the need to unify the development cycle. The team reworking Germany is reporting major progress as well, but they too have to wait until we stabilize the changes in 1.40. See the images below.

(screenshot taken at around 10 AM, at approx 49 deg latitude)
(screenshot taken at around 3 PM, at approx 49 deg latitude)
(screenshot taken at around 4 PM, at approx 49 deg latitude)

Inevitably, we have to brace ourselves now for the big question - when are we going to be ready to release Update 1.40, when is Iberia coming? As has been our mantra for years, we are going to make sure things are solid before we get a new update out. Our best current estimate is that we should reach a closed beta of 1.40 in January. Closed beta takes a while to iron out any problems that we manage to catch ourselves. We will definitely need to spend some weeks in open beta after that, to make sure all potential issues are spotted and addressed, and to give a chance to mod makers to catch up. We do not like to commit to a particular date until we are pretty much sure we can make it, but if you do the math, we are looking at a late-Winter timeframe, hopefully still in the first quarter of 2021.

(screenshot taken at around 8 AM, at approx 38 deg latitude)

We were very careful not to communicate any promises of when Iberia would ship, but we understand that some of you may be sad or disappointed not to see a new ETS2 map expansion to pass the winter with. We apologize for the long wait that we are asking you to endure. But ultimately, we are sure that this is a healthy decision for the long term viability of our games. There are map teams working on yet another generation of map DLCs for both ATS and ETS2 already, and they too need to be sure to work on a well-defined code base and asset base. Everybody will benefit after we reach the new stable build, we just need to push through to reach it.

(both screenshots taken at around 7 AM, at approx 38 deg latitude)

(both screenshots taken at around 9 AM, at approx 43 deg latitude)

We are going to keep showing you more of the changes that are on the horizon with the new light, there will be more screenshots, we actually plan to show you some moving pictures of Iberia with new light enabled very soon. It may be a bit buggy yet, we are not through with the process by far, but we feel that we need to communicate how promising it is already.

(screenshot taken at around 5 PM, at approx 39 deg latitude)

Hopefully, the screenshots we are sharing with you today are proving that the changes are really worth it, that the new looks, and the new content and map updates, are really something to look forward to. Rebasing all lighting on the new system is a crucial step. Among other things, it will allow us to present a wider variety of weather conditions and more epic HDR skyboxes. But it's not the end of the road, it's only a milestone. Our programmers have more internal projects underway for additional engine optimizations and speedups, and we expect to see more improvements over the next year. Reaching the new stable point of version 1.40 will allow the art department to pursue their vision of a fully PBR-enabled pipeline in the future, so the visual quality should and will keep on improving further.

It's been a hard time for both us and the community, and we are not yet through. Your continued support over the years gives us the motivation to keep pushing the game to the new frontiers with each update and DLC. We would not be here if not for all of our fans. Thank you for your patience.

Pavel Sebor, CEO, SCS Software

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Steam Awards 2020 Nominations

Today, the nominations for the annual Steam Awards are opening, along with the start of the Steam Autumn Sale. You may still remember that back in 2016, our incredible #BestCommunityEver was so active during the first year of Steam Awards, that our Euro Truck Simulator 2 managed to claim victory in two categories.

However, time flies, a lot of fantastic games have been added to the Steam library over the years, and many of them have rightfully accumulated massive fan-bases as well. Meanwhile, Valve adjusted the rules such that titles launched before 2019 can now be nominated in only one category - The Labour of Love, a category that reflects that a game still gets new updates and active support years after launch. This category will surely be very crowded! But still, we may give it a collective try, what do you think? 

If you feel that either Euro Truck Simulator 2 or American Truck Simulator deserves the Labour of Love award, or possibly at least some buzz and visibility for being nominated and in the category, we will appreciate your vote and support. You can cast your vote by heading to this year's Steam Awards Nominations page.

Monday, November 23, 2020

#CruisingColorado Event Update

It took our #BestCommunityEver only 7 days to drive 60,000,000 miles in the currently ongoing #CruisingColorado World of Trucks event to pass the community goal. We are left speechless once again. Actually, you guys and gals have reached it so quickly we might even ask you to show us your cabin logbooks to check if you have had your regular driving breaks?! 

Don't worry, we're just joking here. But it's always cool and motivating to see how fast and easily our fanbase can smash the "quests" we set for them. And how many of you are always ready to immediately join the events we create for you. We also love seeing all your tweets and posts under the #CruisingColorado hashtag over at any social media challenge we monitor. Want some number? Well, so far there have been posted more than 1100 tweets on Twitter and 280 posts on Instagram! 

According to the reactions and feedback upon the rewards which can be claimed in this event, for both personal and community goals, we guess you really like the new paint job and hanging cabin accessory. Don't forget to share how it fits your favorite truck! 

Even though we tried to explain it in our previous blog posts and communication over at our social media channels, we still have received some questions about the date till when this event is going to be kept active, or requests to not end this event even while the community goal is already reached. So please let us say it again here - you do not need to worry, because we will keep the event running until well after Christmas, so there will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the ride while earning your rewards.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Freightliner Cascadia® Announcement

Over the past weekend, we put out a teaser video hinting at a new and upcoming truck that will arrive for American Truck Simulator. Many of our avid fans have immediately identified the make and model of the truck. The hype is real; with the awesome support from Daimler Trucks North America, you will soon get to drive the most popular truck on US' roads!

Introducing the Freightliner Cascadia® for American Truck Simulator

To quote Freightliner's sales literature, "The Cascadia® is the most advanced on-highway truck Freightliner has ever offered. With more than one million hours of R&D and millions of miles of real-world testing, the Cascadia® is the result of sustained, concentrated investment in the future of trucking. Advanced aerodynamics help it slice through the air and boost fuel efficiency. Freightliner reimagined the Cascadia® interior, starting with the dashboard, which features an all-new instrument cluster and automotive-style steering wheel controls and switch placement, to meet driver needs. The Cascadia® is offered with the Integrated Detroit™ Powertrain, which integrates the most fuel-efficient DD15® and DD13® engines ever designed with the technologically advanced DT12™ On-Highway Series transmissions and specifically engineered Detroit™ steer and high-speed ratio tandem axles for optimal, efficient performance."

You will soon be able to experience the Freightliner Cascadia® for yourself from one of your local in-game dealerships!

Some of our hyper-perceptive fans have also noticed the DD15® engine note in our teaser too. If you were curious about how we managed to find a Cascadia® for a sound-recording session, despite the ongoing COVID restrictions, wonder no more! On the tightest of deadlines, our Licensing Manager was able to find and contact Transportbotschafter in Germany, who provided us with the opportunity to rent an imported Freightliner Cascadia® for a day. Have a look at some of the photos they took of the session 3 weeks ago!

If a picture speaks a thousand words, how about a video too?

Be sure to follow our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for more screenshots and content before the release.

Freightliner® is a trademark of Daimler Trucks North America LLC and is used under license to SCS Software s.r.o.