Discovering American Truck Simulator MODS

The Open Road in American Truck Simulator

Updated 7/22/19 (for ATS version 1.34 and some mods updated for ATS 1.35)

In my previous post about American Truck Simulator I mentioned briefly the added benefit of using mods in your game. Not all mods are great but some mods can become an essential part of your game especially when you want to try to create the best (and most realistic) game experience possible.

I am constantly discovering new or better mods that really enhance American Truck Simulator but listed below is my current essentials list. Many can be found on the Steam workshop page for American Truck Simulator. Others I have found elsewhere. Some mod settings I even tweak to my own liking, which if your new to mods, I will explain a little about that at the end of the post.

Tractor hauling a tractor in American Truck Simulator

My favorite Mods for ATS 1.34 (most working in 1.35)

  • Filmic Lighting by Pixelgrapher (Note about compatibility: There is no bloom effect when using Filmic Lighting mod, therefore HDR – No Bloom mod is not necessary when using this mod) (not working in 1.35)

Mods and links for adding more AI traffic, trucks and trailers

Non Steam Workshop Traffic Mod Packs by Jazzycat (for 1.34) (See all Jazzycat mods updated for 1.35 here)

Trailer and Company Wizards

If you really want to have fun with your trailers and types of trailers that will spawn at company locations check out this trailer tweak wizard and company wizard

A little about tweaking Steam Workshop mods.

This information is specifically meant for those who are new to modding and in American Truck Simulator. I don’t know anything about creating a mod but perhaps I can help with tweaking a modders mod to your liking.

Some mods are easier to tweak than others. I have only tweaked one mod in particular but others have settings that can be changed in a similar fashion. (Important note: You cannot redistribute or upload tweaked or changed mods without first getting approval from the mod creator. )

Mod Location and Subscribing

Once you have subscribed to a mod on the Steam workshop perhaps you would like to find their location on your hard drive. First, it’s important to note that there are two places for mods on your computer. Steam workshop mods that you have subscribed to from the American Truck Simulator Steam workshop website will be located in a numbered folder (To help clarifying this post I will call this folder xxxxx). This numbered folder can be found in your steam workshop content folder. Follow this path on the drive Steam is installed on your computer. (Program files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/workshop/content/xxxxx (where xxxxx designates your steam numbered folder for ATS)

Within the correct numbered folder for American Truck Simulator there will be more numbered folders pertaining to each mod you have subscribed to. Finding the correct numbered mod folder can be tricky especially if you have subscribed to a lot of mods but here’s a tip. Sometimes within the numbered folders there will be a jpg image inside which can give you a hint as to which mod folder you have opened.

Mods you have download from other websites outside of Steam will need to be placed manually into a different mod folder that is located in your documents folder on you hard drive. (documents/American Truck Simulator/mods) Important note: Steam workshop mods will not be located here. As example Jazzycat mods go in this mod folder

Something you don’t see everyday

DP Traffic Mod tweak example

Once you have your favorite Steam mods for American Truck Simulator in game enabled, you can sometimes tweak the mod if you don’t like the exact settings used by the modder. For example I have tweaked DP’s Traffic mod slightly. This mod contains a file called traffic_data.sii. If you want a more safe and patient reacting ai traffic response (like default) change ai_safety_modifier to 0.3 and ai_patience_modifier to 0.0. You will still see lots of ai traffic with this mod in use but their likelihood of crashing into you will drop significantly. Tweak those numbers and see what you get but do it at your own risk!

Have you played American Truck Simulator? Let me know what you think of this game.


Discovering American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator on Steam

Steam Workshop for American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator Official Site

My Complete Steam Mod Subscription List for ATS

Watch what hope looks like – FullyfreeFilms


Note: All images are from my modded version of American Truck Simulator

Warning on mods and altering mod files and settings:  Tweaking settings of your mod files can not only mess up the local version of the mod that you have downloaded or subscribed to, it can corrupt your saved game. If you are unsure what you are doing exactly I would leave the mod files alone. I will not be responsible for undesirable results! 

 

Discovering American Truck Simulator

Driving view in a semi truck in American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator was released in 2016 and is a game about truck driving in American western states. Before ATS (American Truck Simulator) there was the highly popular Euro Truck Simulator which I have not played….yet. Euro Truck is also a great game too by the way. (Note: As of this post, latest version of ATS is version 1.35)

SPOILERS: Yes, this post contains spoilers and not the kind that you can add to your car.

Having been blessed with the opportunity to actually drive a big truck (Werner Enterprises) you might wonder why it has taken me until 2019 to get my hands on this game. I remember playing or trying to play a game called 18 wheels of steel sometime between 2000 and 2011. Perhaps it was the weak visuals or keyboard controls that caused me to lose interest but whatever it was when American Truck Sim game around I didn’t give it much of a look. Around it’s release I tried the demo and didn’t care much for it either, until now. What has changed? I don’t really know since I haven’t followed the game’s development up until lately.

Today the game (Version 1.35) features California, Nevada, Arizona with Oregon and New Mexico as DLC (Downloadable Content Expansions to the base game). Washington State is next in line to be released sometime this year is now released!

Sunset, external view of driving my truck in American Truck Simulator

The good

Real trucking vs ATS Trucking

What I enjoy about American Truck Sim is how this game gives the player the ability to pretend one is actually driving a 18-wheeler. As you complete jobs (deliveries) you earn in game money allowing you to buy new trucks, upgrades, trailers and do it again. ATS also features a bit of business management. While you drive and complete deliveries, you have the option to buy garages, higher and fire drivers and then let them begin to bring in the bacon (aka dough…..aka money) for you!

The Graphics

So how are the graphics? First, my standards are pretty high. I like photo-realism in games but who doesn’t? So how does ATS measure up? To me the graphics in ATS are like a mixed bag of nuts. There are some good parts but not others. First, the UI (User Interface) has a slightly dated feel to it with large mouse cursor and big menus as if it’s still from early 2000. This does not detract from the game though because it’s still highly functional.

ATS User Interface with custom truck skin

Outside the skies can look visually stunning when driving through the desert in Arizona for example but this game (similar to other games I have looked at—yes you Cities Skylines) is also plagued with virtually no anti aliasing. The truck and vehicle models are top notch as are many of the landscapes but it’s those jagged edges I keep see on bridges, fences and distant objects which really hinder the graphics in this game from becoming completely stunning.

Gameplay, realism and accuracy

You pick up a load at one location and deliver it to the business that is expecting it lets say….12 hours later. And once you arrive, you get to decide if you want to back it up to the dock or easy park or move on to the next job. (By the way, twelve hours of in game time can be equal to about 1-3 minutes of real time driving…er….game play driving….you get the idea.) Along the road there are weigh stations and as you pass the sign……you will hear the pre-pass beep signal to either pull in to the weigh station or continue on by. That’s what I call the real thing!….the best part is you don’t really have to deal with the law or overweight loads but you had better not miss it or run a red light or you will pay….$150-$700…the violation tickets seem to increase as you progress in the game. And hitting another vehicle can be $900. At first this hurts when you’re trying to save up money to buy your first pretend truck if you didn’t use a bank loan but later in the game….well….that’s why you hired those drivers!

Controllers and Performance

I can safely say, using a keyboard to steer your truck isn’t going to be much fun. And backing? Forget it. It’s much easier in real life. Perhaps thats why I didn’t like this game when I first discovered it because I only had a keyboard and mouse. Now I use a controller which isn’t much better but it has improved the experience. The wheel, so I am told, is the best way to experience ATS and I do imagine it is.

I don’t know for sure, but I have heard ATS runs good even on older computer systems. In my system (gtx 1070ti, I7-8700k) The game runs smooth at 1080p with most graphics settings on high but can hesitate slightly in cities with AI traffic mods and reflections on high. (Tip: Lowering mirror distance to medium seems to help.)

The MapNow ATS isn’t for everybody. If you like exploring open roads you might enjoy ATS. Only specific roads are driveable within ATS and they are mostly interstates and state highways in California, Nevada, Arizona and the add-on expansions (OR, NM). But what you do get to travel on is fun especially if want to taste what it’s like to drive a big rig. Many of the cities are not really too exciting but they do offer load pick-up and drop-off locations for freight and cargo. The expansion States Oregon and New Mexico DLC are highly recommended for adding more locations to travel, buy garages and get jobs.

Mods

Simply put, mods make ATS better (and more realistic). And the right mods can made ATS a truly great experience. The default AI traffic in ATS is sometimes scarce (which makes driver around easier) but with the right mods you can have loads of trucks and cars and some can actually hinder you from making that delivery on time! (I am constantly discovering new mods, but I do have some favorite ones that I have listed here.

wrecked doubles trailers in ATS
My first day on the job? Not a good start.

The not-so-good

While many places look familiar, some of the locations, landscapes and roads within ATS are not very accurate or familiar looking. For example 299 in Northern CA (Redding to Eureka) in real life is a mountainous two lane and four lane highway with a river on one side much of the way. Within ATS this section of 299 looks dated and there are no mountains or hills in sight. The in-game road is two lanes the entire way. (Interesting to note: That stretch of 299 use to be only a slow two lanes but it is much improved today)

Driving through Los Angeles in real life can be a nightmare of waiting in traffic and busyness everywhere but in ATS there isn’t much of Los Angeles to actually experience. In fact, even with a traffic mod, there isn’t much traffic to speak of. And when traveling on Interstate 10 or I-5 in ATS there are no mass tract housing projects, malls, more housing, more malls and grids of streets lining both sides of the roadway as there is in real life. In addition, the freeways of ATS in Los Angeles (and California in general) could use an upgrade to remove a dated 1994 gaming look. (It’s probably worth noting that with California being part of the base game release it’s interesting to see the massive improvements to development in the latest expansion DLC.)

Larger entrances and exits

Many job locations and even rest stops feature extremely small entrances and exits and areas to turn a trailer in general especially if your trailer is 53 feet long. There is no way of knowing this until after you have arrived at your job recipient only to find out you won’t be able to enter their parking lot without getting stuck.

Repetitive Spawning Aircraft

Some location based activity, such birds or airplanes landing at an airport might be okay but at times the other repetitive animations you will encounter make the game feel stale. A little more randomness would help this game a lot. For example instead of the same four hot air balloons spawning in a particular location all the time, they should sometimes simply not appear. Likewise, the same bi-planes we see throughout the game world which appear at precise locations, should either not appear at times or be a different randomly spawned plane.

Missing Trucks

There are some prominent but missing truck manufactures and truck types in ATS (ie, missing logging trucks, doubles tankers etc.) Freightliner, Mack, International are just some of the missing truck manufacturers which need to be in this game. (To be fair, these manufacturers must first give approval for addition to the game)

Final thoughts

Before I make it seem that ATS is a terrible excuse for a game, it is quite the opposite. While ATS isn’t for everybody, there are the little things in this game, such as the myriad of random animations, visuals and sites (although many repeated) throughout your travels that make it great for us who enjoy it. But now speaking as a former trucker, there is one thing I wish would or could be implemented within ATS that might just give the game that edge it so desperately wants to have. In real life when a truck passes another truck sometimes the driver will signal with their headlights by quickly turning them off and then back on to signal the driver ahead that it’s clear and safe to move over. I hope this little touch of realism gets added one day into ATS.

American Truck Simulator has exceeded my expectations in many ways. Will you like it? I don’t know but there is a demo on Steam and I highly recommend giving it a test drive if you aren’t sure. Get the game and expansions on a steam sale and it’s a great deal.

Have you played it? Let me know what you think of American Truck Simulator.

Check out my post on some favorite mods for American Truck Simulator here


Discovering American Truck Simulator MODS

American Truck Simulator on Steam

American Truck Simulator Official Site

Watch what hope looks like – FullyfreeFilms


Note: All images are from modded trucks and trailers in American Truck Simulator

Is Transport Fever a good game?

Transport_Fever_open.png

Is the game Transport Fever any good?  Is it for you? Let’s find out.

The year is 2000 and you watch as your stage-coach from 1875 comes rolling into town just past the electric tram. Your fully loaded stage of 4 passengers stops at the airport as the 747 Airline to Dallas is just taking off. Why? Because you can in Transport Fever!

Is this game perfect? Nothing rarely is but if you enjoy Cities Skylines or SimCity you just might really like Transport Fever even more.

The not-so-good (probably)

Before I mention all that’s good about Transport Fever, let’s get some of the basics, technically speaking, out-of-the-way that could be considered negatives with this game.

Tycoon Game?

Users have mentioned that Transport Fever is not a true transport tycoon game because there is no competition with other networks.  You are alone in this game as you build your networks and try not to go broke in the process (unless you are using the no cost mod of course).

Learning Curve

There is a learning curve in Transport Fever but it’s mostly due to a somewhat poor designed menu system that appears to be a bit out dated IMO.  The fonts in the menus are also smaller than they need to be which can make general navigating a daunting task until you get used to what the options do and where they are located.  You will also encounter some redundancy in menu options which can be quite confusing at first. For example, opening up the new line option can be done by clicking on multiple locations.  (Note: Fonts can be scaled larger in the settings menu (upper right) but doing this enlarges the bottom task bar and other menus to something too large for my liking!)

Laying Train Tracks

Generally track laying in Transport Fever is fun but sometimes you will find the track (and roads) do not want to go where you want them to due to uneven and height variations in terrain.  Using the in-game terrain height overlay option can help.  (It is located in the bottom right menu.)  Helpful note: A flat terrain works best for track laying but mountains and hills are fun and challenging maps to play.  

If your computer CPU and GPU are not very powerful, like mine, your frame-rate will suffer on larger maps and in later years when more transportation networks are working at the same time.    (My system: AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb)

YouTube Gameplay of Transport Fever can help when you are just starting out or anytime

I highly recommend watching YouTube videos of basic gameplay and read about the game in the steam community for Transport Fever. (On YouTube I suggest Skye Storme or Colonel Failure as great places to start.)

 

The Good

 

A little bit like a Virtual Model Railroad

Create Virtual Transport Networks to watch the trains (boats, and planes)

Transport Fever features virtually unlimited track manipulation for creating a simple model rail system. Don’t want to mess with the mechanics of transporting all the goods?  In Transport Fever you don’t have to.  Want to transport only food? You can.  If you just want to transport people from various cities and watch your towns grow, you can do that too.  And with the no cost mod enabled you can create rail lines, ship lines and air transport lines galore.  While Transport Fever can be a great sandboxy type game for laying rail, it is not a very realistic virtual model railroad because you do not have as much control over your trains as you would in a real model rail layout.  Also, Important to note you cannot drive the train but you can ride along with it.   Note that in later years, a better computer system will be desired to fully enjoy your extensive transportation network. 

Graphics and Optimization

Transport Fever looks and plays better than Cities Skylines and I have an old machine (AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb) until you get into the later years especially on the larger map sizes.

Sound

There are lots of sounds in this game. Some are wonderful and some can get downright annoying and repetitive (I’m thinking of the default airport, birds and train stations). But guess what? If you enjoy tweaking game files, (back up originals first) you can remove or even change certain sounds in the sounds folder. (HINT: There is a silence.wav sound which I found came in handy if you simply desire, silence. )

No Cost Mod and No End Year Mod

The Cost option comes included with the game and it makes Transport Fever the ultimate model railish transport sandbox. Enjoy laying train tracks, roads, airports? Lay them at your heart’s content and why not put in multiple tunnels underground or a giant bridge across the lake, because you can.
The game also includes a NO END YEAR mod so you can use that Stage Coach in 2047 and beyond.

Mods

This game uses community mods and they make an already great game expandable. The creators of these models and mods are truly talented artists!

I will list many of mods I use here that I believe are essential to have a great sandbox experience in Transport Fever.   (Note: As I live the USA, I enjoy mostly American looking models)

One of my favorite collections featuring Santa Fe and BNSF

A big thank you to the creators of these great models, skins and mods!

 

Conclusion

Learning curve, room for improvement? yes and yes but I highly recommend this game for the beautiful trams, stage coaches, trains, the sounds, the planes, the trucks, the endless train tracks and the fantastic working mods and models found on the Steam Workshop…….

Need Help?

As always feel free to ask if you need some basic help with Transport Fever and I will try to point you in the right direction.

 


Transport Fever on Steam

Transport Fever Workshop on Steam

Transport Fever Industrial FlowChart

How Transportation Works in Transport Fever

Transport Fever Wiki

Transport Fever Official Website

Map Creation Tool for Transport Fever

Fantastic video on how to Create your own terrain map for TpF using Minecraft WorldPainter

World Painter

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source

Transport Fever: The virtual model railroad (sort of)

Transport_Fever_open.png

Is the game Transport Fever any good?  Is it for you? Let’s find out.

The year is 2000 and you watch as your stage-coach from 1875 comes rolling into town just past the electric tram. Your fully loaded stage of 4 passengers stops at the airport as the 747 Airline to Dallas is just taking off. Why? Because you can in Transport Fever!

Is this game perfect? Nothing rarely is but if you enjoy Cities Skylines or SimCity you just might really like Transport Fever even more.

The not-so-good (probably)

Before I mention all that’s good about Transport Fever, let’s get some of the basics, technically speaking, out-of-the-way that could be considered negatives with this game.

Tycoon Game?

Users have mentioned that Transport Fever is not a true transport tycoon game because there is no competition with other networks.  You are alone in this game as you build your networks and try not to go broke in the process (unless you are using the no cost mod of course).

Learning Curve

There is a learning curve in Transport Fever but it’s mostly due to a somewhat poor designed menu system that appears to be a bit out dated IMO.  The fonts in the menus are also smaller than they need to be which can make general navigating a daunting task until you get used to what the options do and where they are located.  You will also encounter some redundancy in menu options which can be quite confusing at first. For example, opening up the new line option can be done by clicking on multiple locations.  (Note: Fonts can be scaled larger in the settings menu (upper right) but doing this enlarges the bottom task bar and other menus to something too large for my liking!)

Laying Train Tracks

Generally track laying in Transport Fever is fun but sometimes you will find the track (and roads) do not want to go where you want them to due to uneven and height variations in terrain.  Using the in-game terrain height overlay option can help.  (It is located in the bottom right menu.)  Helpful note: A flat terrain works best for track laying but mountains and hills are fun and challenging maps to play.  

If your computer CPU and GPU are not very powerful, like mine, your frame-rate will suffer on larger maps and in later years when more transportation networks are working at the same time.    (My system: AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb)

YouTube Gameplay of Transport Fever can help when you are just starting out or anytime

I highly recommend watching YouTube videos of basic gameplay and read about the game in the steam community for Transport Fever. (On YouTube I suggest Skye Storme or Colonel Failure as great places to start.)

 

The Good

 

A little bit like a Virtual Model Railroad

Create Virtual Transport Networks to watch the trains (boats, and planes)

Transport Fever features virtually unlimited track manipulation for creating a simple model rail system. Don’t want to mess with the mechanics of transporting all the goods?  In Transport Fever you don’t have to.  Want to transport only food? You can.  If you just want to transport people from various cities and watch your towns grow, you can do that too.  And with the no cost mod enabled you can create rail lines, ship lines and air transport lines galore.  While Transport Fever can be a great sandboxy type game for laying rail, it is not a very realistic virtual model railroad because you do not have as much control over your trains as you would in a real model rail layout.  Also, Important to note you cannot drive the train but you can ride along with it.   Note that in later years, a better computer system will be desired to fully enjoy your extensive transportation network. 

Graphics and Optimization

Transport Fever looks and plays better than Cities Skylines and I have an old machine (AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb) until you get into the later years especially on the larger map sizes.

Sound

There are lots of sounds in this game. Some are wonderful and some can get downright annoying and repetitive (I’m thinking of the default airport, birds and train stations). But guess what? If you enjoy tweaking game files, (back up originals first) you can remove or even change certain sounds in the sounds folder. (HINT: There is a silence.wav sound which I found came in handy if you simply desire, silence. )

No Cost Mod and No End Year Mod

The Cost option comes included with the game and it makes Transport Fever the ultimate model railish transport sandbox. Enjoy laying train tracks, roads, airports? Lay them at your heart’s content and why not put in multiple tunnels underground or a giant bridge across the lake, because you can.
The game also includes a NO END YEAR mod so you can use that Stage Coach in 2047 and beyond.

Mods

This game uses community mods and they make an already great game expandable. The creators of these models and mods are truly talented artists!

I will list many of mods I use here that I believe are essential to have a great sandbox experience in Transport Fever.   (Note: As I live the USA, I enjoy mostly American looking models)

One of my favorite collections featuring Santa Fe and BNSF

A big thank you to the creators of these great models, skins and mods!

 

Conclusion

Learning curve, room for improvement? yes and yes but I highly recommend this game for the beautiful trams, stage coaches, trains, the sounds, the planes, the trucks, the endless train tracks and the fantastic working mods and models found on the Steam Workshop…….

Need Help?

As always feel free to ask if you need some basic help with Transport Fever and I will try to point you in the right direction.

 


Transport Fever on Steam

Transport Fever Workshop on Steam

Transport Fever Industrial FlowChart

How Transportation Works in Transport Fever

Transport Fever Wiki

Transport Fever Official Website

Map Creation Tool for Transport Fever

Fantastic video on how to Create your own terrain map for TpF using Minecraft WorldPainter

World Painter

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source