The American Truck Simulator Experience
To celebrate the release of their Utah expansion, SCS Software, the company behind the development of American Truck Simulator, allowed anyone to try American Truck Simulator for free during a weekend. I gave it a swing and here’s what I found.
The Game is Approachable From Many Angles
When you first boot the game up (and every time you boot it up on a new computer after that), American Truck Simulator will ask you for your preferred truck controls from a variety of options. Chances are you are not a gaming enthusiast with a fully decked-out steering wheel controller, but the game does have the support for it.
Otherwise, you can opt for keyboard controls or mouse controls. Afterwards, the game asked me how I wanted gear shifting to be done. The options ranged from fully automatic (forward moves you forwards and backwards moves you backward) to semi-automatic (change gears between drive, neutral, and reverse) to fully manual (change each individual gear as you drive, like a stick shift).
I opted for the middle-of-the-road in each case, as I wanted some difficulty without the risk of stalling my virtual vehicle. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, American Truck Simulator has controls you can tailor to your heart’s content.
The Game is (Mostly) Realistic
In our Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing Review, we mentioned briefly that American Truck Simulator is much more realistic. While this is still true, the trucks in American Truck Simulator do not pass lightspeed, American Truck Simulator is still not a 1:1 experience of trucking on the open road.
The game works on a 20:1 scale, both in terms of distance and time. This means that an assignment of shipping cargo from Oxnard, CA to Santa Cruz, CA took me six in-game hours, but 18 actual minutes.
Additionally, pay per mile is grossly exaggerated. In my trip from Oxnard to Santa Cruz, I was making over $20/mile. At approximately 300 miles, the trip netted me over $6,000 dollars. A trucker can only dream of making $6,000 in 18 minutes!
Perhaps the best modification the game has made compared to real-life trucking is the tolerance for failure. If you run a red light, get caught speeding, or tap another car with your rig, you can be fined anywhere from 300 to 1,000 in-game dollars. While these fines might be a bump in your plan to expand your trucking business, they are minor compared to how much an actual traffic violation can be. In American Trucking Simulator, a $1000 fine can be paid for in 50 miles worth of travel.
In real life, crashing into someone can cause loss of license and possibly life. It is a good thing the game is only a simulation; if I were an actual truck driver, someone could seriously get hurt.
With all of these changes in mind, the game still has enough realism to keep things grounded. Your truck takes a long time to accelerate and to stop. Traffic laws exist and are a good idea to follow. Roadways have hazards such as construction and accidents that you must avoid because they cause traffic.
While the game is not 100% accurate to the trucking life, there is still plenty of realism to sink your teeth into.
The Game Lets You Build Your Empire
Starting out, you work under strict contracts of your employers. They give you the truck to use, pay for gas and repairs, and give you a mere pittance for each delivery. You can go to the bank and get a loan to purchase your own truck, allowing you to work on bigger contracts and receive a larger commission per journey.
As your income grows, so does your credit limit. You take on more money, expand your garage, and purchase more trucks so you can hire employees of your own, where you keep approximately 15% of what they make.
The game is balanced so that the revenue generated from your employees is not enough to cover the daily payments of the loans used to hire them, so personal trucking is still an absolute must to pay down your debts.
The more you and your employees drive, the sooner they level up. Having a higher level allows for new skills, such as the ability to take on longer shipping assignments, assignments with a shorter window of delivery, and the ability to haul higher value (or even hazardous) cargo for larger commissions.
The Game Is Moderate Intensity
When driving on the freeway, things are pretty calm. Trucks stay the same speed as you and cars pass you on the left, making the game a non-stimulating way to pass the time.
As you approach your destination, however, things get a little more hectic. You need to pay attention from all angles and make sure both your truck and its cargo does not hit any stop signs or other objects spread across the streets of a city.
No matter where you drive, American Trucking Simulator is not a game that demands 100% of your attention at any given time, compared to other popular games on the market such as Fortnite or Rocket League.
It might seem absurd for a real-life trucker to play a game about trucking, but after a long day’s drive and ensuing exercise to stay in shape, few things are better for winding down than a lazy drive on the virtual Pacific Coast Highway, managing your own little empire of trucks hauling cargo across the western United States.
Looking to expand your empire outside of American Trucking Simulator? TopMark Funding provides financing for your trucking business. Whether you need a new semi-truck or trailer, TopMark Funding brokers with various banks and financiers across the country to provide you the best possible rate for your credit! Contact us for a free soft inquiry that will not impact your credit score!
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