Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / American Truck Simulator

Go To
Experience legendary American trucks and deliver various cargoes across sunny California, sandy Nevada, and the Grand Canyon State of Arizona.
Sequel to the popular Euro Truck Simulator series, In America! In addition to the change in scenery and the lineup of American conventional trucks, several new mechanics are introduced, such as patrolling police cars, weigh stations, and more.

Tropes present in the game include:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Like Euro, the map is scaled at 1:20 to avoid Desert Bus-esque gameplay. A 1,500 mile haul can generally be done in under three real life hours.
    • Cities are also much bigger on the map than their actual counterparts (San Diego actually bleeds a little bit into Mexico) — a design cue taken from Euro, where base game cities are accurate-to-scale but feel quite bland and repetitive whereas DLC cities are much wider but look more realistic.
    • The 1.31 update adds California State Route 120, which passes through Yosemite National Park. In real life, commercial trucking is restricted within national parks, but the developers admitted that the Scenery Porn was too good to pass up. Somewhat subverted as you will get fined for driving on it through the park. Colorado follows suit with the US-34, which goes through Rocky Mountain National Park.
    • Advertisement:
    • Much like Euro, you can use an H-Shifter setup even though the default trucks only have automated Eaton Ultrashifts available to them.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Euro's menu music is mostly smooth guitar solos and keyboards. American's menu music, to the contrary, is mostly blues and hard rock, and the atmosphere in general is more aligned with the Badass Driver with a Big Badass Rig trope.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Even if you elect to attempt a more difficult parking space, you can still skip the sequence at any time to get it over with, while forfeiting the bonus.
    • While you can pick up double trailers as part of jobs, you can only use the more difficult Turnpike Double trailers (a pair of full-size trailers) by owning them directly.
    • Whereas Euro starts out giving you a maximum job length of 150 km, American starts out with this length at 350 km (200 mi). This is because the much larger size of the United States translates into much longer driving distances.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • At the original 1:35 scale (compare the 1:20 scale in Euro Truck Simulator), many prominent highways were entirely absent. Many Interstate Highways had at-grade intersections, many even without traffic lights. For example, it was not possible to use Interstate 80 to drive directly to San Francisco; one had to drive either south to Stockton, or north to San Rafael. This was fixed in the map rescale update to the same as Euro Truck Simulator. The results are much more accurate freeway and road networks, and the inclusion of the Grapevine and Cajon Pass where previously there was a tunnel and nothing at all, respectively. The Devs continue to add new roads and tweak existing ones with new updates/DLC.
    • Even after the rescale, there are a few places where there simply isn't the space for certain roads. One of the most obvious examples is the I-205 that travels through Portland and Vancouver. In real-life, the I-205 continues northbound before reconnecting with the I-5; in-game, that connection is crowded out by other junctions; truckers instead must drive through Vancouver on the WA-14 to reach the I-5.
    • Pikes Peak, one of the most well-known landmarks in Colorado which is easily visible from Colorado Springs and surrounding areas, isn't present in the game. Castle Rock, a prominent butte along I-25, is absent as well.
    • Because of the scale limitation of the digital elevation model, some of the mountains would not properly resize in the game interface, which seems to be the issue with the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City.
  • Big Badass Rig: If the European cab-overs weren't doing it for you, rejoice! Even Europe wants to get in on it with the Volvo VNL series which is practically what an FH16 would look like with an American design style.
    • Many accessories for the trucks include big, chrome bumpers, bullbars, sun visors, and hood deflectors to make your truck look even more badass.
  • Bland-Name Product: As with Euro, the game features cars that are the same as their actual counterparts except for the brand (of particular note is the "Frog" F-150 truck), and shops like "CarZone" that are suspiciously similar to actual American shops.
    • Instead of Tesla Motors, the game has Voltison Motors — a shout out to Thomas Alva Edison being Nikola Tesla's life-long rival.
    • Thankfully, mods exist that replace these fake names with their real life counterparts. Though some of the fake names are so clever that they take on a bit of a clever charm to them.
    • The farm equipment were originally in copyright risking colors before being changed in later patches such as the "1199 Field Tractor"'s yellow-on-green or the "CASA 800 Fourtrack"' red color.
  • Brand X: The Washington DLC introduces "Darwing" as a substitute of Boeing, complete with an accurate replica of their Everett factory.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The driver pool is pretty wide and diverse, including old and young, men and women, etc., though this ultimately is irrelevant to the driver's characteristics.
  • Diegetic Interface: As with Euro, all of the dashboard instruments inside each truck are completely functional.
  • Driving Stick: Much like in Euro, most trucks start with a 10-Speed Eaton Ultrashift automated manual. The choices for controlling your gears are similar and you can get really advanced with an H-Shifter emulating the positions on an Eaton-Fuller conventional manual (The 18 Speed is eight gears across two ranges with a Low-High split with two crawler gears). Also like Euro, you can opt for a late-game Allison automatic transmission with a torque convertor, though the 6-speed variant featured in both games is now joined by a 7-speed and 10-speed variants.
  • Drought Level of Doom: As of version 1.38 with the Idaho DLC, Idaho State Highway 55, from Boise to Grangeville stretches for well over 3 (in-game) hours without a rest area, despite the fact that the scenic town of McCall is right in the center of it.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: A subtle version in the form of the gearbox selection. Simple Automatic depicts a wooden toy pickup truck, Real Automatic shows a wood model of a semi, Sequential is represented by a diecast metal truck toy, while H-shifter shows a proper semi-truck.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: For the first two years of the game's life, the PACCAR brands Peterbilt and Kenworth were the only trucks represented in the game, owing to the rights for other companies being much harder to obtain than first anticipated. A free piece of DLC released on November 5th, 2018 introduced the Volvo VNL series for purchase.
    • December 2019 gives us the International Lonestar which is rather thematic for the given holiday of the month.
    • April 2020 adds the Mack Anthem with a teaser video shown several weeks ago featuring the iconic bulldog and a truck being carved from a bar of soap.
    • International and Western Star trucks were added later in 2020, and now the Freightliner Cascadia is on the way. This would mean most of the major truck manufacturers in North America are present, similarly to Euro Truck Simulator.
  • First-Person Ghost: Like the transatlantic equivalent, your character is completely invisible in the first-person view to leave the dashboard unobstructed.
  • Game Mod: Thanks to the size of the American continent, this game features some really big mods that expand the game by a huge margin.
    • Coast to Coast features the entire interstate highway system, all the state capitals and the largest cities.
    • Viva México and MexSSImap feature the states of Baja California Norte and Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Nayarit and part of Jalisco, an absolutely beautiful Baja California peninsula, a carefully recreated Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán, Mexican-styled overpasses and road signs, Federal Police and Mexican Army checkpoints instead of weight scales, clandestine fuel stations that sell cheap stolen diesel, some of the Invisible Wall Xs are accompanied with narco-blockades, and an early 2019 update even added angry crowds at fuel stations due to a widespread fuel shortage that gripped large parts of the country during the first few months of 2019.
    • Canadream extends the game all the way to Canada.
      • Promods Canada adds a very well-made realistic British Columbia to the game.
  • Gateless Ghetto: Averted very well - roads that aren't meant to be traveled exist going off in the directions they do in real life and with road signs to match, they're just blocked off from the player.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • California has an unusually low maximum speed limit for trucks at just 55 MPH. For comparison, the neighbouring states of Arizona and Nevada are 75 and 80 MPH respectively. The California revisit also introduces agricultural control stations to the game, where trucks entering California with cargo must submit to checks for invasive species.
    • The Special Transport DLC requires you to carry oversized and heavy cargo under the direction of escort vehicles. And compared to Euro Truck Simulator 2, these missions are much longer.
    • External Contracts via World of Trucks tracks the remaining time in real-time, even when the game isn't running. The truck speed limiter is forced on and has a limit of 65 mph/105 km/h even before picking up the load.
  • Hard Mode Perks: When you arrive at a delivery, you can now choose whether to do an automated drop-off, a forward park, or a reverse park. These are progressively more difficult (even compared to the previous games, some of the reverse parks are brutally cramped) but offer experience bonuses if done successfully.
    • Driving Stick with an H-Shifter can be incredibly tricky at first but offers much better control over your gears.
    • World of Trucks' external contracts are basically the game's hardcore mode, disabling some cheats and limiting your truck's speed to realistic limits. But you're rewarded for it with some unique DLC rewards and your progress posted online for all to see.
  • Hard Truckin': It's Hard Truckin': The Game, where players go across cities and even states delivering goods within the deadlines. It also serves as a business simulator, where players can even purchase garages and other drivers and rigs for them.
  • Just Train Wrong: Train encounters at level crossings would often have a single locomotive and about 9 cars behind it. Real freight trains tend to be much longer in the U.S. In this case, this is likely helpful due to the way time compression works, as waiting for a realistic train to pass would cause one to wait for in-game hours. Mods exist to make the trains longer. This was fixed in later updates.
    • On single-track crossings, only a single road locomotive would pass through the crossing.
    • Trains can be seen in Eureka, California. There hasn't been any rail service to Eureka since the Northwestern Pacific line through the Eel River Canyon was destroyed by flooding; unless a massive amount of funding can be identified, Eureka will never see rail service again.
  • Landmark of Lore: In-game, you can drive over the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges, and under the Bakersfield Sign.
    • With the New Mexico DLC installed, head east out of Albuquerque and follow the signs for Historic Route 66. You'll soon be on a highway with an unusual rumble strip. Instead of rumbling, you'll hear "America the Beautiful", but only if you drive at the right speed.
    • Now with the viewpoints feature in every subsequent DLC, many major features (but not all) are depicted.
  • Market-Based Title: An In-Universe example, as the real-world trailer manufacturer Lode King is present in-game. You can choose between Lode King (Canada) and Prestige Trailers (United States) branding, with the trailers themselves otherwise being identical.
  • Multi-Track Drifting: Surprisingly so. You won't be able to actually turn at high speeds, but these ten-ton semis can certainly change lanes like a hot rod without slowing down by more than a couple MPH, even when barreling down the interstate at just under twice the speed limitnote  while towing a pair of fully-loaded twin-axle box trailers (or one fully-loaded Lowboy 55L).
  • No OSHA Compliance: Mostly averted; for example, the Gallon refineries have fire monitors (water cannons) around the property. Bridges and overpasses have railings. Some treacherous sections of highway do lack warning signs or safety features. Truck drivers have to follow DOT requirements such as required rest periods.
  • Nostalgia Level: In Montana, the Thompson Falls area is a partial remake of the Thompson Falls map from Extreme Trucker 2.
  • Production Foreshadowing:
    • Many highway exits around the edge of the map feature signs pointing to future cities. For some reason, the sign in the highway exit that leads from San Diego to Tijuana is not covered. Port Angeles in Washington also has a ferry connection to Canada ready to go, but currently unusable.
    • Before Western Star trucks were added to the game, you could spot their Portland factory just north of the city's dockyard, and going into the game files reveals that it was rigged to function as a depot even then.
  • Production Throwback: Two of the companies you can deliver to, Eddy's and Bushnell Farms, are taken from SCS Software's 18 Wheels of Steel series.
    • A brief World of Trucks event gave participants the blue-and-yellow flame paint job from Hard Truck: 18 Wheels of Steel
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There are female truck drivers, but there's no real difference from the male ones. Aside from the picture of the driver, there's no real indication the game even recognizes driver genders at all.
  • Rare Vehicles: While not quite 'rare', generic '57 Bel Air clones found driving around in traffic are absurdly common. In reality a person will probably only see similarly vintage cars at car clubs, yet here they are as common as any other car.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Several players complained that the GPS on trucks gave the speed limit as 55 MPH, when the posted speed limit was different. However, in some U.S. states (such as California, included in the game), there are laws that require truckers to drive at 55 MPH on the highways, even if the speed limit that is posted on roadside signs are higher. (This is also a holdover from Euro Truck Simulator, where the road shows you the car speed limit but the GPS shows you the truck speed limit).
    • Many of the aforementioned vintage cars also are able to travel at speeds far higher than their gearing would allow.
    • There is an option to have your GPS show the car speed limit. It is not advisable to use this though, since you risk running into lots of speeding tickets.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • In response to the May 2017 Big Sur Landslide, which blocked part of California's Coastal Highway, the same stretch of road was closed in-game, requiring players to take a detour. A June 2018 community event required players to deliver cargo to and from the landslide in anticipation of the road's real life reopening, and it reopened proper in mid-July just like its real world counterpart.
    • The 1.32 update extends the Nevadan I-580 so that it bypasses Carson City, reflecting its real-life extension that opened in August earlier that year.
    • In January 2021, in the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, SCS created the "Hauling Hope" event where players had an opportunity to transport COVID-19 vaccines.
    • A gas station off of Exit 56 in Salina, Utah was under construction in real-life and in the game. When the gas station was completed, it was too in the game.
    • The Western Star 49X was initially only available in a day cab and short chassis like on the real truck when it first started production in September 2020.
    • In the Promods Canada map mod, the Canadian town of Lytton was going to be added in an update, but the town was destroyed by a wildfire IRL so the town was cut.
  • Removable Steering Wheel: A growing trend in simulation games for those using a steering wheel peripheral to avoid double vision with the added benefit of removing clutter from the dashboard. This option is rather hidden and requires editing the config file of the profile.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The Mack Anthem's bulldog hood ornament. For those not in the know, a gold ornament indicates that the truck's internals are 100% Mack parts, while a silver ornament means that the truck contains some parts from other vendors. You can choose which ornament you want when customizing your truck, but if you look at the pre-configured options available at the showroom, you can notice that the hood ornament choice is 100% accurate to how it works in reality. The trucks with the gold ornament have mDRIVE gearboxes, while the ones with the silver have Eaton gearboxes.
    • Like in Euro Truck, the price of gas varies from state to state, accounting for real life differences caused by a range of factors (gas taxes, fuel quality regulations, access to fuel refineries), and these prices can be changed by game updates to reflect real world trends. Currently, California has the most expensive gas, while Colorado has the cheapest.
    • And, of course, many of the locations in the game are detailed replicas of their real-life equivalents as best the scale allows. For instance, the tiny town of McDermitt, on the Nevada/Oregon border and so small it doesn't actually get a name on the game's map, features an exact replica of the local casino.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Several people have pointed out that the logo for the grocery store chain Tidbit in-game looks quite... phallic.
  • 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 country music begins.
  • Space Compression: Like Euro, the map is scaled at 1:20 to avoid Desert Bus-esque gameplay. A 1,500 mile haul can generally be done in under three real life hours.
  • Timed Mission: All of the deliveries in the game have a time limit. Freight Market/Quick Job time limits are based on the internal game clock, whilst External Contracts (World of Trucks) are based on real time. For a financial and experience bonus, you can take urgent loads that will leave you with very little time to spare. If you play with fatigue turned off then urgent, long distance deliveries are a lot more forgiving as they take into account the hours you would need to spend resting.
  • Work Info Title: The game has its genre in its title.