Was American Truck Simulator a Step Backwards?

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Amassing a mammoth cult following by sheer accident, SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2 became a completely unexpected hit upon the game’s release in late 2012. With an authentic scaled-down version of Europe available for players to explore as they saw fit, and a robust single player campaign lasting as long as the player’s attention span, the relaxing gameplay offered a welcoming change of pace to gamers traditionally scared off by hardcore driving simulators. SCS Software was fully aware of the mythical beast they had created, and recently attempted to capitalize on the enormous popularity of what is a very simple free roam driving game by bringing the successful formula across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, it appears they have failed. Early reports indicate American Truck Simulator is a bit of a letdown; a mere shadow of what Euro Truck Sim 2 had accomplished.

Our sources say that while the game is still good and many will ultimately sink hundreds of hours into the title, there are some noticeable issues and questionable design choices. The game retails for the very affordable price of $20, and ships with only California, Arizona, and Nevada accessible. SCS plan to expand the map through several premium DLC expansions, though the current size of the map is smaller than what’s offered in Euro Truck Sim 2 – and even the longest deliveries don’t take very long. The lack of content also extends to the truck roster: just two trucks are available, though the game’s familiar file structure has already spawned dozens of mods converted from Euro Truck Sim 2.

In terms of the scenery, native California and Nevada residents have also remarked that the overall landscape doesn’t represent what these locations actually look like. Now it’s obvious SCS had to take some creative liberties when crunching California and Nevada into bite-sized caricatures, but the overall lack of authenticity has disappointed virtual American truckers. Lastly, the entire download weighs in at just over a gigabyte. It’s clear that SCS are planning to build this game through numerous expansion packs, rather than offering a huge roster of content at release as they did with Euro Truck Sim 2.

Again, these are early reports from our connections that actively play & enjoy these games, and from what we’ve been told, the base gameplay is still quite good. It’s just unfortunate that while Euro Truck Sim 2 came out as a relatively finished product, the intrusive DLC approach will be used on what was once a highly anticipated title.

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26 thoughts on “Was American Truck Simulator a Step Backwards?

  1. I never understood why ETS 2 was labeled a sim when it does not even simulate a truck’s gearbox properly among many other things. As a game I enjoyed it a lot but it has no simulation value. Game economy is a joke. Damage, collisions, truck driver AI and fine system are all arcade jokes.
    ATS is a crashgab offering the same game in different garbs a’la Call of duty/Assassins Creed but with worse base content.
    I was so excited when they first announced it. Now it’s just another bland capitalization of the “more of the same” for money mantra by a dev studio that managed to get a good name for themselves spitting all over that name while riding a fanboy fueled hype wave.

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    1. ETS 2 has very simple controls and gameplay that consists of nothing but endless grinding (as opposed to what could have been a “Patrician” on wheels: having to strategize with the placement of your garages and grabbing profitable contracts according to a changing global economy). The only reason it gets called a sim is because it belongs to that weird subgenre of “Profession Simulator”, games which are actually never too concerned with realism or actually replicating the intricacies of the subject matter. In Farming Simulator, perhaps the most successful one after ETS 2, crops grow in one day, which really says it all. There’s also a game that goes by the name of “Driving Simulator”, and it is as bad as you can imagine.

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      1. Don’t look at Garbage Truck Simulator. You don’t wanna know. There was this youtube video of a guy screwing around while trying to do a job and all sorts of silly things happened. There was this weird line on the map he kept trying to follow and went into all sorts of weird places off the road and killed the workers several times except they always manage to hang on.

        Another time he just spun around with the trash can while getting out of the truck and being funny and pretending to *kill himself* in the game to get out of the awful world.

        Yes the game is really that bad.

        Simulation my a**. There needs to be REAL competition against the big giants. Those who say the monopolies need to be busted up are correct.

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    2. ETS2 simulates the same things that people say are missing from sims – you have a huge career mode, you can paint your truck any colour you want, and you have to obey all the rules of trucking. It’s just a matter of the genre encompassing 2 things that aren’t mutually necessary – physics simulation and rules simulation.

      In the real world the 2 are of course linked – rules exist to prevent dangerous physics consequences, and physics are tweaked to stay inside the rules. In the sim world, the rules can be directly copied (eg. Dirt Rally won’t let you run hillclimb cars on rally stages) or they can be left open and the player gets to decide whether they want to match the real world or not. The physics, well, there’s not a big enough budget (money or cpu time) to simulate everything. Different games have different priorities for physics features.

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      1. Just regarding driving times, these are the rules of trucking in my country:
        – Mandatory rest period of 45 minutes after 4 and a half hours of driving, or two pauses, the first of at least 15, and the second of at least 30 minutes, during the same driving period.
        – Maximum of 9 hours of driving per day, which can be extended to 10 hours 2 days per week.
        – Maximum of 56 hours of driving per week.
        – Maximum driving time during two consecutive weeks cannot exceed 90 hours.
        These times are to be meticulously controlled with the tachograph, analogue or digital, installed in the truck, and there are heavy sanctions associated with the overtimes.

        How is this even remotely simulated in ETS2?

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    3. Their fanbase reminds me of the drooling Wii U all excited over having Luigi in Super Luigi Bros a hack of New Super Mario Bros but if it’s done by Nintendo it’s all goooooooooooood! *imitates Fred and George Weasley*

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  2. Well sadly, prettier map means smaller map. It’s quite a shame because one of ETS2’s strongest points was that you could tune to some radio station and cruise for a few hours, and even with a more refined gameplay and rebalance (I heard somewhere they finally raised the price of tickets to make the economy feel a bit less ridiculous) it’s not groundbreaking.

    But 20 bucks is reasonable and hopefully future map expansions will be cheap or free.

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  3. This article that is a step backwards (another one, I must say).

    You already made it clear in another article that you don`t enjoy this kind of simulations, yet there you are writing about it. Let your sources write about it, not you, I can`t see this other than a biased article just to (try to) get some views.

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    1. He has to try it first to see if he likes it. If he didn’t you’d just accuse him of not getting enough time on it.

      Make up your mind critics! Do you or do you not want critical reviewers to try the product first before deciding? At least’s he is truthful in saying his points instead of making ATS into a product it isn’t.

      There isn’t any competition so there is no motivation for improvement like a government job.

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  4. Honestly, I don’t see much reason for an American version.

    The American routes will be less interesting to drive on average if they are interested in making it representative of actual conditions. Less curves, less hills. In other words, less of the interesting stuff that made ets2 work instead of being astoundingly tiresome.

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  5. They could have added at least some crash physics and visual damage so all the youtubers who try to crash their trucks for entertainment value didn’t look like fools when all that results is a bounce and a fine. You can’t even lose your cargo no matter what it is or what you do, because it is superglued to the trailer, and the differences between driving with or without it, or between the different trucks, are just too small.

    I’d prefer it if they made a sequel to their Scania game, with hard driving challenges and better simulation, and maybe historic trucks for variety. With ETS/ATS being regarded by even its fans as little more than a relaxation tool, what more is there to add other than maps? Making it more difficult or too different would be a bad business decision.

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    1. Well put! It’s too hard though because of the bad economy nobody is willing to risk their shirt or downgrade from 3 mansions to 2 if it fails. Plus nobody likes Windows 8 and 10 so it would be suicide if SCS software does decide to make things for the newest direct whatever engine.

      Windows 8 and 10 are great OS if all you like to do is online and email maybe a few quick casual games but other then that your better off with a smartphone you can carry with you. MS are fools thinking people who already have a PC will dump it for Windows Phone but that’s their goal.

      They stated themselves they will do whatever it takes to revive Windows Phone and if that means locking things to Windows 10 so you can’t do anything without it then so be it.

      Linux Mint could be an alternative but don’t have enough support for sound and games. Want to hook up your Yamaha Keyboard? Good luck getting Linux Mint to recognize it let alone getting any sound out of it.

      It can be done but you’d be having to spend a year learning terminal language and then getting on the fan’s *good side* for help. Otherwise you have to walk on hot coals and sacrifice your first born.

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  6. One thing I have to hand to SCS is their upgrade frequency and quality – they’ve produced a quality product that they have steadily improved in update after update. One of the better software developers in this regard.

    I’m sure that American Truck Simulator will grow into something respectable – even before considering the possibilities of map mods – ProMods, for instance, expands the european map to about twice the number of destinations.

    Sure, it’s not a simulation. It’s weirdly addictive, and ultimately relaxing, however.

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    1. Yeah in 5 years we will get two whole states! The problem is or isn’t having more staff but more competence in them.

      I’d rather SCS software have 10 people that have a clear road map then 20 people who act like monkeys on drugs.

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  7. This is how Microsoft Flight Simulator went. Flight Sim Century of Flight and Flight Sim X especially the gold edition was held by high regards and there was long term support in the mod community both free and paid mods.

    MS choose a stupid route by renaming the whole series to Microsoft Flight (no simulator to it) and made it very arcade style where they planned DLC maps starting with the base Hawaii and while the graphics were pretty good there was a lot of features missing that really made detail.

    Microsoft Flight got a lot of criticism and a few years later the whole team folded and announced no more flight sims would be made.

    There used to be a train simulator too that Microsoft made and they had a sequel planned but scrapped.

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  8. The real problem is neither the staff of SCS software nor the actual game. The issue is the fanboys who violently attack you. If you said what you just did on their blog you’d be downvoted out of existence and labeled a troll.

    In today’s world you have to be politically correct.

    In case political correctness has gone so extreme that in a *women’s march* a women was interviewed and said she is an atheist but worships Satan which totally contradicts each other and others protested without knowing why they were protesting to begin with.

    They just admit they were paid to be there and enjoyed marching. Stupid!

    You will never see that from the right wing. They pay their permit and do their thing peacefully then leave without having any *traces* left behind for the city to clean.

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  9. SCS software knows there is no future in computers. Most people are into smartphones. The only people who use computers now are high end gamers who of course will defend it saying “Well I still use my PC” yeah YOU do but the majority do not and the industry see’s it that way.

    Look at 1999 and how many companies existed compared to today! Most of you were in diapers back then and missed out an interesting era or were playing on Halo Ex Box.

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  10. If ou look at the blog comments on SCS it’s generally the same group of users which is NOT a good sign if you want a growing company. SCS likely (I hope) knows this and that is why they have cut back.

    It shouldn’t have to take 1 year for a map since it’s pretty much the same and it’s all desert with small population centres. I shudder to think what it will be like when SCS actually does maps with huge urban areas. Assuming we are not forced to use RFID’s in our brain by then.

    By the time ATS even gets half of it done the whole world will look a lot different. The globalist want control and using smartphones is the perfect means for it as it eliminates privacy compared to home computers and being on closed eco systems makes it easier to target certain demographics with news that they want them to see. Further isolating people.

    With the era of home computers in the early 2000s you had personal websites and people were more interested in actual research which was easier to find on Google. Then you started having to do quotations and string queries. Now even that doesn’t work.

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