Catch up on the summary from a recent AMA session with American Truck Sim developers SCS Software... SCS Software, the development team behind the might Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator games have recently run a substantial "Ask me Anything" session with fans of the series. With much happening both front of house and behind the scenes, we thought it might make for an interesting read and so have condensed the best responses to a brief summary of what the Czech team had to say for themselves when presented with a community keen to find out more about the future of both European Truck Simulator 2, and the latest instalment - American Truck Sim. Q: Any plans on expanding the "game" aspects of ATS/ETS2 rather than the "sim" aspects? Specifically, once you've skilled up and gotten your garages humming, there's not much to do, but maybe drive around and get 100% coverage, which is tedious. A: Being truck driven can feel like that sometimes. But yea, there are plans to do something about that Q: Any word on long-requested features? (e.g. trailer ownership, multiple trailers, multi-drop jobs, trailer-less jobs etc.) Also, what do you do at SCS? (programming, mapping, ...) A: Yes. (you wanted just one word ) Some of it is being worked on, can't say anything else or even when it should come out, it would be inconsiderate to promise anything and then don't deliver. I am that sort of guy that does multiple things. (Testing, Blog, Forum, Reddit, bit of programming, some technical council, making tea, security guard, hired assassin, occasional dish washer) No but seriously, I am a tester/programmer, blog writer and a crazy person on Forum under nick Loutis. I also study University for some reason, I really like aerospace engineering (If you need any rockets to be built, I am your guy) Q: Any plans to add new trucks to ATS? Why didn't SCS just add the fake truck brands like they did with ETS? A: You see, sometimes company can be very protective of their logos, and since we have such a brand recognition (lots of players) if we would put fake brands into the game that looks exactly like real trucks I am pretty sure we would get our asses sued straight into the Sun (you would not like it unless you are really into plasma and hydrogen). Also SCS owners said that they decided that they want to do it right and by the books, so we roll with that and I think it is the right decision. Definitely long term wise, for partnerships with manufacturers. You do harm once and get away with it that is okay but you can't expect anyone to work with you after that. Same thing goes with manufacturers, CAD helps us a lot. As for ATS trucks I am pretty sure that we are getting somewhere. Nothing near term I believe but we are going in the right direction. Q: How is Volvo doing? I remember you showing the VNL on the blog all the way back in 2014, it must be frustrating to not have the license by now. I understand if NDA's prevent you from saying anything though! A: Volvo is stuck on licencing at the moment Q: I figured so. I'm really surprised you haven't swayed more brands by now, you'd think getting the truck giant Paccar on board would show everyone else how serious SCS is and speed things up. A: Licencing is in general problem of getting in touch with right people inside the company, worst case scenario is getting stuck in email service limbo. And once you reach correct person you have to struggle with legal issues which can span years of negotiations with lawyers. Not the nicest thing in the world. But that is part of the problem, everything takes a lot of time and there is no significant progress and we can't do anything about it. Q: Whatever happened to all the bus stops that appeared in the game at one point? Are they going to be used for anything? A: Lot of complications happened. But we hope we could use them. No point adding them if we don't right ? I don't know when or if at all though. But there is incentive to do something about it. Q: I miss how you could ask other truck drivers for weather reports A: We're working on some of the good old features. We're doing things from scratch though, we need to be sure it fits well with our economy model and the rest of the game. Q: Any plans for more management? I'd like more micro-management of my garages and drivers if possible. So when not driving it becomes more of a management game than driving game. A: At some point for sure. Near term, don't know. Q: Whenever I get in a truck for the first time, whether for a quick job, or in a new truck I've just bought, the handbrake isn't set. It should be. Weight limits aren't respected. I am allowed to pick up a 24 tonne load with a 2-axle tractor unit. From what my truck-driving friend says, it shouldn't be more than about 10-12 tonnes max. Quick jobs can also be found with unsuitable tractor units. Additionally, there's no guarantee that jobs with a suitable cargo weight will be available when you only have a 2-axle unit, which is the only type available when a new profile is started. A: Hey ! First one: At this current moment we cannot do that due to technical restriction. But we know about it and we hope we will manage it in the future once we sort the technical restrictions currently restricting fix. Second: They are actually, there is restriction as to what weight can you have on each axle, but you need to calculate not only two of them on the trailer, there are two axles on the truck under the 5th wheel ,they take weight of the load too. If you have it configured in a way that would be against the law that is your own issue I think and you should take the responsibility for breaking the law as a driver. But you are lucky that police in ATS don't do that so you are okay. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Freight/sw/overview/index.htm Though if you find configuration that bluntly enables you to break the law in quick job, you should send me a message so we can make sure that such issue is fixed. But any misconduct happening when you haul cargo with your own truck is beyond our control of course Q: Are you ever considering adding a feature where you can see your trucks driving on the streets when the drivers you hired are doing jobs with them? A: It's... Not as easy as it sounds. Traffic is now randomly generated and we don't track where your drivers are, we just calculate their arrival and then we let you know (and give you $$$). This would require us to track all of your drivers, calculate their path, count with crashes, random events etc. It would be cool but I don't really think it's worth it, there are more important things to take care of. But hey, I'm not an AI guy. Q: What's going on with more truck brands in ATS? It's been more than a year and there are still only 2 official brands, whereas ETS2 already had a few new official brands added in after the first year. A: Licencing and geography. USA is quite distant from Central Europe and therefore US manufacturers have very small recognition of anything regarding gaming from the middle of Europe. So it is mostly problem of getting in touch with the right people. Q: Are there any plans for more trailers/cargo for ATS? One of my personal gripes is that the dumper trailer is of this style, which I'd say is pretty uncommon in comparison to this style. Is the former more common in the American southwest (I'm from the northeast)? A: As we expand our collection of states all these will be added over time more or less, lots of trailers are more used in different state due to specific conditions and preferences. Q: when, if ever, do you think you're gonna reach that point on ETS2 where you've basically done all you possibly can with the game and decide to start working on an ETS3? A: Depends on many things honestly, Europe is very large and we are still missing large parts of it and the game can be improved over and over. So I honestly have no idea. Q: What other countries has SCS thought about creating a truck sim around? A: All sorts, Australia and Asia would be nice, Africa in some manner too, but there is no way we will get there anytime soon with our ATS and ETS2 project. We have to finish these two before moving on. Q: Are you planning to make improvements to the engine? By improvement i don't mean engine switch. I mean improvements to the 3d renderer. A Vulkan upgrade would be great because game suffers from low fps. A: Sadly DirectX won't solve most of the issues, transition from one of these to another is complicated because pipeline we set up has been working in certain ways all these years which means that some thing that are optimised might get wrecked during transition. Also switching engine probably won't help your frame rate at all. It just governs the way program is executed and how, not really changing anything about the program. It actually might even slow the game down a bit as we optimise it on the new engine. But there are people working on it. Low fps are mostly due to high res mirrors that forces the game to render each scene multiple times. That is the largest fps killer in the game at the moment. Also Vulcan seem preferable over DX12. But being Aerospace crazy person I am thinking about new ULA rocket called Vulcan . No hard evidence but I am thinking that Vulcan is the preferred transition target. (but I am not sure). Q: Any plans to make a DLC of old truck models? A: Much desired thing. I understand it, I would love it too. But manufacturers don't like promoting models that are not currently in production, so licence for these is obscenely hard to get by since they wish to promote newest models in game and we are having a hard time to get our hands on old ones, its not due to lack of trying, just manufacturers don't really like the idea. A bummer really, but I am not saying it won't happen, it is just very hard to make it happen at the moment. Q: The mod community on ETS/ATS is one of the greatest things once it expands the game in so many ways. Part of this community is focused in realistic simulation, for physics, maps, economy, graphics, etc. Did the SCS team have some thoughts about this specific type of mod? A: Some of them are great. Some are great looking, incorrect inside (usually physics one, simulation of complex physical environment is way harder that it would seem). Q: I have 2500 hours combined wasted in those two games and I still enjoy them. But I'm a little bit disappointed by the number of bugs left unfixed for too long in the last year or so. I don't want to be rude in front of the developers of the game I love so much, but I don't remember meeting so many bugs two or three years ago. Now I meet unusable resting areas in France, killer railroad crossings in Arizona and other annoyances of this kind. Most of them are reported, but some of them are still not fixed while other are "fixed in our internal version". For the former, wouldn't be a wise idea to remove that double trains in Tucson while you find a good working solutions that doesn't block trucks on the tracks? And for the latter, wouldn't be a good idea to release game updates more often even there are only ten or so map fixes? A: Oh yea, lot of these things go really deep, releasing build so often can cause confusion and conflicts in data, it might also bother modders since they would have to make new updated versions all the time. In term of number of bugs there are some, I admit. But since the game is so large now I cannot really make sure that everything is fixed. That said, more updates won't fix it, internal version sometimes mean that we fixed it in a way that we redesigned the whole place to be better suited for players and such a thing requires more than an update and it can take a while until is shows up in the game for you. At any rate, if you know any bugs that are present, pose imminent danger of ruining the game for you (invisible walls and so on) I would advise you to get in touch with me on forum (Loutis) or bump up the bugs that are said to be fixed in our internal version but still not in yours, there might be something wrong going on (like someone forgetting to merge the fix into the update) and if you bump it up we will take notice and attempt to force the fix. One thing about fixing stuff, with so many people participating in Beta and other event, we usually get flooded with bugs on forums and some might be left unattended unintentionally and there is nothing wrong with community that points that out. There is always room for improvement and we cherish a constructive criticism greatly (at least I do). Q: Are there still plans to add a coach DLC to ETS2? If yes, is it still being actively worked on? If no, would you consider it (or a new game) again in the future? A: Argh, we'll really need to blog again about licensing, plans and whatnot. People always ask the same questions For now, I'll say the project isn't dead. Q: It seems that a recurring issue in ATS is stop signs appearing at intersections with traffic lights. With every new version, there's at least one bug report showing stop signs at an intersection with traffic lights. Why is this such a chronic issue, and what can be done to ensure this doesn't happen in future versions? A: Problem with EU developer making US traffic intersections. US traffic law enables you to take right turn even on red light as long as you stop before entering the intersection. Problem is that red light IS technically the stop sign, so no stop sign is needed. We are just people and we tend to forget that. Also sometimes what happens is that we create intersection without traffic lights and later decide that it will be better with them, we add them and we forget some sings around the place. It happens and that is why we have bug reports, to fix things we forget to fix ourselves ! (big thumbs up for anyone who reports anything ) Q: Any updates for the VR branch? A: We're updating the VR branch to the latest version when we get time. It isn't perfect, we know, but we'll hopefully get to the plug-and-play VR version sooner than later (especially after what me and Loutis have seen at the PC Gamer Weekender, people LOVE VR). Q: are you guys considered buying AdBlue as a separate "fuel"? Would be so cool. A: We talked about it here and there is a problem of knowledge which comes into question. If you add one more tank that needs to be filled lot of people would not understand why and so on, also it is a nuisance to do that. How do you implement it ? Would you add another trigger to the fuelling station (so you crawl with a truck like a crazy person around stalls) and what happens if you don't fuel it and it runs out ? You know that there are laws that prohibits heavy trucks to go above certain speeds without Adblue in the mixture. Would you like to go 5 mph when out of Adblue on the highway to reduce your emissions ? Most people would not get it and would not like it. Also very little benefit for the gameplay. But we think about it from time to time, maybe in the future. American Truck Simulator is available to purchase via the Steam network right now. Check out the RaceDepartment American Truck Simulator sub forum for all the latest news and discussions regarding the game. Have a look at out modding section for the latest skins and content, and join in the discussion with your fellow ATS and ETS2 fans. Did you enjoy the recent AMA with SCS Software? Are you excited for the future of the simulation franchise? What would you like to see happen with the sim in the immediate future? Let us know in the comments section below!