Video Game / Euro Truck Simulator

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Euro Truck Simulator is a Simulation Game in which you drive trucks. In Europe. Developed and published by SCS Software, two installments of the series exist so far: The original, released in 2008, and its 2012 sequel, Euro Truck Simulator 2, which adds improved graphics, official truck licenses, and RPG Elements. Though either dismissed as Fun for Some or enjoyed ironically through Mundane Made Awesome Major League Gaming parody videos and drunken livestreams by most gamers, the game has received critical praise, with many reviews upholding the game as a real-life Lethal Joke Item: an addictive and deep driving game which will reward players who do not immediately dismiss it as yet another simulation game with a mundane premise.

It has a coffee-swilling cousin over the Atlantic known as American Truck Simulator. Not unexpectedly, this sequel is the one that takes place on the North American continent. Along with replacing the cab-over trucks found in Europe with American conventional trucks, it also introduced weigh stations to the series.

Do not confuse with Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, a much lazier attempt to depict rigs in video games.

Euro Truck Simulator and its sequels provide examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Many, but most notable is the incredibly condensed passage of time and size of Europe, a design decision likely made because not even the most dedicated sim fan wants to make a real-time eight-hour trip across an actual-size replica of Europe in an 18-wheeler.
    • If you're not into perfect simulation, control of the trucks can be simplified so that changing gears is optional.
    • Fragile cargo can only be damaged by direct bumps against the trailer — the only difference it has with normal cargo is that fragile cargo takes multiple times the damage. You can truck ski around at 160 km/h and it won't damage as long as you don't hit anything with the trailer. This is in order to allow speeding with fragile cargo if you feel like it.
    • As noted in a later section, post-1.9 traffic AI is much smarter than most IRL motorists. It turned out to be really not fun to run into someone blocking an intersection or bumping your trailer and damaging your fragile cargo because they didn't notice you changing lanes.
    • Speaking of traffic, motorways at peak time, unless modded, have about the same traffic as country roads in the middle of the night. Notably the M25 road around London is usually at a standstill at the best of times. Presumably they realised that even with generous AI cars that actually get out of the way, they wouldn't be able to realistically simulate that much traffic flow without issues.
    • Cities in the base game are accurate to scale, i.e. one in-game kilometer of city translates to one IRL kilometer of the actual city. This resulted in repetitive cities that turned out to be little more than a couple streets and a bunch of warehouses. Later expansions took notice of that phenomenon and switched instead to cities that look and feel much more realistic despite being much bigger in the map than their actual counterparts.
  • Ace Custom: Late-game trucks in the sequel become a Mundane Made Awesome version of this, with cosmetic features and improved engines and transmissions.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • "Simple Automatic" transmission, and the ability to auto-park the truck.
    • Double trailers only show up on deliveries within Scandinavia, and for good reason — as of right now, only Scandinavia's roads have interchanges with wide turns specially designed to make it easier to move an eighteen wheeler. In addition, the game won't even allow you to park the whole double trailer on the correct spot, you can only park it on the easy spot.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Until patch 1.9, the Traffic AI could be very dumb. Despite it being the AI's fault for lousy overtaking, it would still cost you money with the fine and damage to your trailer. SCS have now fixed the AI, making them not only smarter, but also faster so that they can overtake you more easily. It's also not always your fault in a crash.
  • A Taste of Power: After you buy your first truck, you will almost immediately miss the fancier, more powerful trucks your employers provided when you were freelancing for quick jobs. You cannot afford/unlock those trucks and customization parts until considerably later.
  • Badass Driver: Mundane Made Awesome version. Haul fragile, perishable, and dangerous cargo across an entire continent, arriving just in time without ever breaking the rules of the road...
  • Big Badass Rig: The point of the game. American players who do not find the European-style cab-overs big or badass enough have created Game Mods introducing bigger, more badass conventional trucks, complete with American-flag paint schemes. Naturally, SCS made American Truck Simulator in response to this.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • All trucks in the original and some trucks in the sequel. Freight companies are as a rule fictional, and prior to Version 1.18 of the sequel, "Majestic" trucks replaced Mercedes-Benz.
    • There is, however, a slightly suspicious similitude between French supermarket chain Carrefour and a delivery-only destination that looks like a big box shop called "Kaarfor".
    • "LKW" is based off LKW Walter. The in-game logo is similar, but the name is a bit more of a Brand X, because LKW is just the German word for "truck"note .
    • Ika Bohag doesn't even try to hide its role as an ersatz Ikea.
    • AI cars are very definitely IRL cars except for their logo. The German police car, for example, is very definitely a 2012 Volkswagen Passat... but the logo is two vertically opposite V's. Other clearly identifiable AI cars include the Ford Mondeo, the SEAT Toledo and the BMW 1-series.
    • Renault and Mercedes-Benz AI cars have logos that only vaguely ressemble their actual counterparts — despite Renault Trucks and Mercedes-Benz being player-selectable manufacturers. Apparently, the trademark licensing agreement didn't include personal vehicles.
    • The toll booths allow payment with not-Visa, not-Mastercard, not-American Express, not-Discover and not-PayPal.
    • Some cargo item brands are slightly modified versions of the actual one, like the V̶o̶s̶s̶l̶o̶h̶ Bossloc locomotive.
  • Boring, but Practical: Like turning a profit on long routes? Invest in the Ecodriving skill.
  • Car Porn: Purchasing a new truck directly off the dealership will treat you to a cutscene that shows off every single curve and line of your new truck. It also doubles as a showcase of the excruciating detail SCS Software has put into modeling the trucks, from the smallest nooks and crannies of the interior to the nuts on the wheels. Once you get to drive your truck, you can also look around your cabin and see how not a single detail of the interior has been missed — the Mercedes-Benz New Actros even features the factory-included blanket partially unrolled over the sleeper's mattress.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Regardless of whether the player is mainland European, a Brit, or even a Yank, the trip across the Chunnel is only going to end in suffering if you're not used to making the trip in Real Life. Also, playing this game after logging a significant amount of time in traditional Wide Open Sandbox games is likely going to net you a lot of penalties - by which we mean road fines.
  • Diegetic Interface: All of the dashboard instruments and side view mirrors of each truck are completely functional and accurate.
  • Downloadable Content: For ETS 2, there are many additional paint jobs (some of which are themed after countries) you can buy. There are also three expansions; Going East! into Eastern Europe, Scandinavia to Northern European and Vive La France into the South and West of France. An upcoming expansion, Bella Italia, will update and expand Italy. And being this a Steam game, dressing your truck with anime-themed Game Mod paint jobs is as simple as looking them up on the Steam Workshop and having the app download them for you.
  • Driving Stick: Trucks have usually twelve gears, and you can optionally fit a special heavy duty transmission that can have up to 17 gears depending on the model (3 reverse gears + 14 forward gears). Driving with an H-pattern shifter racing wheel accessory necessitates either a second shifter for gears 7-12, a button to flip the single shifter between 1-6 and 7-12, or installing an aftermarket transmission on your truck that only has 6 gears along with a superpowered engine to compensate for the massive gear ratio jumps that will sometimes take your RPM below your engine's powerband.
  • Game Mods: A lot of them, some of which are stunning in quality. Custom trailers, custom trucks, custom cargo, map expanders, map replacement, skins, AI mods, physics mod. The game has been specially designed from the ground up to allow mods: installing them is as simple as subscribing to them on the Steam Workshop, then enabling them on the in-game mod manager.
  • Gimmick Level: As your adventures will take you all across Europe, you will encounter variations in local road laws and systems:
    • The United Kingdom drives on the left, has speed limits in miles, and delights in a far higher density of speed cameras, placed after sudden limit changes to fine speeding truckers, or anybody who blinks at the wrong moment for that matter.
    • France, Italy, Poland and Norway have tollbooths on their highways, as they are often owned by private companies that use the tolls for maintenance.
    • Norway has tunnel crossings with roundabouts, where you must be careful not to hit the central pillar if you're hauling an eighteen wheeler.
    • France has low speed limits placed at highway junctions and winding back roads, but hardly any traffic cameras, tempting the trucker to speed with no repercussions, up until you fly off the road and flip over three times.
    • Almost all the highway interchanges in Germany require you to switch to the center or left lane in order to continue straight.
    • Scandinavia provides the option for trucks to carry double trailers, and all the extra challenges they provide.
  • Flying Saucers: At first glance, these seem to be circling in various locations. The Extreme Trucker games, also from SCS, make it clear that these are supposed to be birds.
  • Interface Screw: When your driver is tired, the screen will occasionally turn dark since the driver is slowly falling asleep at the wheels. The more tired he gets, the more often and longer this will happen. Eventually, your driver will start nodding off at the wheel, during which your screen will turn completely black and you will lose all control over your truck for a few seconds (you can save yourself to some degree if you get into this situation by driving slowly, on a low gear, with the retarder at maximum).
  • Invisible Wall: There are many smaller roads that divert from the main roads, but you can't take them. Those Xs will not allow it; your truck just stops suddenly and shuts down as soon as you touch them. You also can't go onto train tracks.
  • Level Grinding: Want to afford a truck of your own in the sequel without turning to the Bank? Better log those hours behind the wheel. More advanced trucks and customization options also require this.
  • Made of Indestructium: The gate barriers in toll booths. That flimsy-looking bar will total your truck if you try to run through it in full speed.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is decidedly relaxing for the most part, but learning to park and unload the truck is a painfully slow process, as is any process that involves reversing. Fortunately there are three options - the realistic and perfect park, the easier park, and just dumping the load, at the loss of some experience.
  • No Antagonist: There is nothing actively working against you in the game except your own mistakes, and even then you can always take quick jobs in borrowed trucks if you can't afford fuel/service for your own. Even in the business sim aspects, there are no opposing companies and your employees will make you money nine times out of ten. Pretty much the only way to get into trouble is going into debt and defaulting on a bank loan, which almost takes actual effort, as the rates are surprisingly reasonable.
  • Not the Intended Use: The 'National Company' achievement asks the player to own a garage in every city in your home country, expecting the player to slowly build up their garage portfolio over time. Alternatively, you can just set Luxembourg as your headquarters and complete it as the very first thing you do.
  • Power Limiter: The game limits your vehicles' speed to 90 km/h by defaultnote . You can disable it in the options menu, but you risk spectacularly rolling over your truck if you try to turn at high speed, in addition to the much longer braking distance. It is also impossible to remove this speed limiter on online-sourced deliveries.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • The old traffic AI that would often switch lanes without looking and block intersections was actually probably the most realistic traffic simulation out there, as anyone who spends a lot of time on the highways - or watches a lot of Russian dashcam videos - can tell you.
    • You will sometimes see French TGV trains in Germany. This is realistic — SNCF has a service that goes from Paris to München.
  • RPG Elements: Euro Truck Simulator 2 features these heavily. Completing shipments successfully and parking the truck properly earns XP, which increases your driver level, which lets you unlock more customization elements for your truck, as well as skills which in turn unlock longer or more difficult routes for your truck, more fragile or hazardous cargo, or increase your gas mileage.
  • Scenery Porn: Europe is beautiful. The Scandinavia expansion is pretty much all about beholding the magnificent mountains and fjords that lie between Oslo and Bergen. And the modders at ProMods have an even prettier version.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The in-game achievements encourage you to take risks such as finishing a long, urgent delivery with only 30 in-game minutes left, extra difficult tasks like running a delivery longer than 2000 km or gathering 20,000 XP over less than 10,000 km, perfect streaks like running a perfect delivery (no damage, no fines, in time) longer than 1000 km, or completion challenges such as exploring the entire map or purchasing a garage in every single city.
  • Shout-Out: One achievement is called 'Test Drive Limited'.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Belgian road signs come in different languages depending on whether you're in Wallonia (the French-speaking part, with signs that lead to Bruxelles and Liège) or Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part, with signs that lead to Brussel and Luik). Swiss highway exit signs also say "Sortie", "Ausfahrt" or "Uscita" depending on whether you're on the French, German or Italian-speaking part. Road signs pointing to foreign cities will also often use the name in their language instead of the local name, e.g. "Straßburg", "Lüttich", "Posen" or "Stettin" in Germany instead of Strasbourg, Liège, Poznań or Szczecin, and "Koszyce" in Poland instead of Košice.
    • Truck stops in France are named in compliance with French road law — "Aire de la Chapelle" means "La Chapelle [rest] area".
    • The day-night cycle is latitude-dependent — night time will arrive as early as 9 PM in the Mediterranean, sometime around 11 PM in Scotland, and in Norway you get to see the midnight sun.
    • Update 1.30 added timezones. While it only supports two timezones at the moment — UTC in Great Britain and CEST elsewhere — it can be seen as the first step towards possible future expansions towards Spain or Russia.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic — Hurry Music: When the delivery time left drops below two in-game hours (about 10-15 minutes of IRL time), the fast-paced electronic music begins.
  • Space Compression: The game's largest break from reality.
  • Simulation Game: Of both the driving and business-management variety.

Alternative Title(s): Euro Truck Simulator 2

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/EuroTruckSimulator