American Truck Simulator Reduces Fines, Adds Truck

Today I spent 17 minutes watching a trucker give a tour of her truck’s cabin, thanks to Adam. It’s fair to say American Truck Simulator [official site] has filled us dreams of big skies and open roads, and I’m sure he wasn’t at all saying “I wish I could be in this truck rather than here with YOU, ALICE. YOU.”

For folks who also dream of a life on the road, developers SCS Software have added another place to call home. The promised Kenworth W900 is here as free DLC, a real beauty. An update making fines less punishing for new truckers is out too.

If you have American Truck Simulator installed on Steam, the Kenworth W900 should happily download itself automatically. Look at this beauty:

As for the machinations of The Man, SCS explain in a blog post:

“Since ATS release, we have heard plenty of complaints regarding relative large fines in the game. Perhaps our tester group is so much experienced already; playing our games for years, that they did not bring it to our attention that this would be a problem especially for new players. We erred here on the side of trying to make this element of the game too close to reality, catering to the veteran fans who want it tough.

“On second thought, it’s not really a good idea to intimidate people coming fresh to the game with crippling fines. Fines are now considerably lower in the early stages of the game, they grow larger only as the player’s skill/level grows.”

They’ve also given a little more time to respond to changes in the speed limit before The Man fines you and, say the patch notes, “Tweaked police offence probabilities for ‘no lights’ and ‘speeding'”. It has an option to outright disable traffic offenses now too. In future updates, SCS plan to add more speed limit signs and make a few tweaks to reduce AI drivers ramming into you (which gets you fined).

Hey, if you too dream of escaping me but don’t have American Truck Simulator to pretend in, do remember that it has a demo now.

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  1. Gunrun says:

    “AI drivers ramming into you (which gets you fined).”

    This actually isn’t the case thank god. It can damage you which reduces your pay at the end but it seems to be that the vehicle with the higher relative velocity gets fined. This means if a car is trying to overtake you its normally fine if you ram them off the road. Don’t use this knowledge for evil.

    • JaminBob says:

      Hmm. Maybe, but I’ve been side swiped by traffic coming onto the freeway and got the fine despite minding my own business with cruise control on.

      Although I like the random crashes. Especially when you come across one that has had nothing to do with you.

      It’s a little harder than ETS but that’s mainly because the trucks are bigger and they seem to have recycled a lot of the roads and loading places from Europe.

      They do need to sort that.

      • LionsPhil says:

        That might be part of why I had such a disasterous time in the demo…although losing all my starting cash and going into debt during the tutorial delivery from red light fines is all on me. (I was distracted by having to drive on the wrong side of the road, officer!)

        So, probably a good call to dial those down for newbies.

        • jrodman says:

          Surely it can’t be as rough as Euro Trucker where you have to swap sides of the road every time you cross the channel.

          I swear I got so many tickets because of that.

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      caff says:

      Don’t use this knowledge for evil.


    • fish99 says:

      I’ve been fined and damaged through the AI’s fault plenty of times in both ETS2 and ATS.

  2. Fnord73 says:

    Oh for f**ks sake, can we get a camera-to-game download already? I have several mountainroads in Norway I want to record.

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      Dukey says:

      A what?

      • TWChristine says:

        My guess is they’re wishing there was a way to generate roads/maps based on uploaded video. IE: I record myself driving around here, upload the video and it converts it into a drivable ATS map. Back when ETS: Scandinavia came out I was considering doing my own mod for my province..driving a lot of the roads to make it accurate, and as much 1:1 as I could (though I’m guessing the disk size would be horrendous..but cool regardless!).

    • Phasma Felis says:

      If they had tech that worked for that, they wouldn’t just be puttering around on niche sim games. Even Google can’t produce decent-quality street-level map models from a car-mounted camera, and their cameras are purpose-built 360-degree jobbies.

  3. TWChristine says:

    Ahh, Allie Knight! I watched a lot of her stuff a while back when I was considering getting my Class 1..still considering it and playing ETS/ATS kinda makes me want to even more! Only downside is, to make decent $ I’d either have to do longhaul or go out West whenever Alberta starts back up again, and I’m not sure I want to be away from the family that long. :(

  4. Kerr Avon says:

    “Duel Simulator” is what finally made me buy ATS link to

    Still waiting for a playable “Rubber Duck” mod though! There was one attempt but looks a bit beta-ish, not quite sure why it was released in such a state before finished, as you can see link to This Mack Superliner is actually very nice though: link to so c’mon you lovely modders what are you waiting for, the classic 70’s Convoy RS700 Mack needs some Kristofferson quality beardage love and attention my dear ladies and gentlemen, quack quack! link to

  5. malkav11 says:

    The fines were definitely killing it for me. I could spend fifteen minutes driving across California being as law abiding as humanly possible and then one tiny stretch of 40 mph speed limit in the middle of 55 zone (and actually, the speed limits on the highway most places I’ve been are more like 70, but I’ve only been out California-way once and wasn’t ever on a highway so I guess maybe they’re slower? I kinda doubt it.) and one accidental bump into another car at 5 mph while course-correcting in reverse towards the very end and the entire $3000 payment for the job goes out the window. I ended up using a mod to drastically reduce the amounts in question, but it’s nice that they’re tuning the base game to do that as well.

    Also they were fining for at least one thing that’s actually perfectly legal in the US: turning right on red. This patch should fix that – just remember to signal your turn.

    • jrodman says:

      US highway routes do indeed dip to the 40s in more populated regions. Not sure what this equates to across the pond, but here they’re the pre-world-war II routes, typically one lane each way for most of their distance.

      For post-1950s “freeways”, with center dividers and 2+ lanes each way, I’m not aware of any dipping into the 40s, though some do throttle to 50 in rare situations (possibly not anymore, that info is quite stale.) Most of such roads are 65 in California.

      • JaminBob says:

        Yeah its the same in Europe. In the UK its 30mph in most built up areas 20 in some towns. In the countryside its generally 60mph but that speed is not recommended on some if the twisty roads. ‘Motorways’ are 70mph. In France some freeways are 90 and in a few bits of Germany there is no limit at all.

        I don’t get the complaints. It’s the aim of the game not to hit other cars! Imagine the real impact irl of reversing a truck into a car. Anyway compared to how hard I find ALL first person shooters this is a doddle.

        • malkav11 says:

          At 5 MPH? You might scratch their paint, maybe dent the body a little. I guess it’s conceivable you might get dinged for $1800 for that, but it seems unlikely to me. Also, when I say I’m pretty sure the real life speed limit on US highways is higher, I mean than 55, which is the highest anywhere in ATS at the moment. There are definitely slower stretches of road, particularly on cliffsides, sharp turns, in cities, etc. But I strongly doubt there are any stretches of perhaps 300 feet at 40 mph directly in the middle of a 55 zone, much less without any signs actually saying the speed limit has changed. And that’s the sort of thing I am talking about in ATS.

          But finally, in real life before you ever, ever are allowed behind the steering wheel of a 18-wheel semi, you are not only required to learn to drive and prove you’ve mastered all the regulations involved, but you have to take additional tests specific to that particular class of vehicle. By contrast, ATS has no tutorial or instruction of any kind in any of that. There’s a couple of tooltips that tell you a handful of extremely rudimentary controls (not including things like turning on headlights or windshield wipers) and a couple of the gameplay mechanics that are particular to ATS, but there isn’t anything about how the simulation operates or the various aspects of the real life truck operation or rules of the road that the simulation expects you to use. If it taught you those things and accurately simulated all of them, I agree that it would be perfectly fair to expect you to deal with the real life consequences of failing to appropriately engage with them. As it is, I am happy that they’re scaling the fines so that they don’t completely stall progress and by the time they’re at more realistic levels you’ll have had time to a) build experience, and b) have an income that can cope with them if you do still incur them.

    • jrodman says:

      Oh, and I forgot. It would not surprise me at all if right-on-red is not permitted for commercial 18 wheeler trucks. They have a whole host of rules that operate under that other traffic doesn’t. For example, they’re totally permitted to use multiple lanes as needed to safely carry their loads. Though I rather expect the game doesn’t fully model this one.

    • mechabuddha says:

      You can make right on red turns, but you have to come to a full and complete stop first. Just like in real life.

    • benkc says:

      In California, the maximum speed is 70mph, but commercial trucks and *any* vehicle towing a trailer has a maximum speed of 55mph.

      (I’ve played less than two hours so far, but I believe the game actually accurately models this: speed limit signs along various highways will say 65 or 70, while your carnav will display a limit of 55. Or maybe I’m imagining that. Anyway, if true, the only thing it’s missing in that regard is that in real life, after every speed limit sign that’s above 55, there is a second speed limit sign a short distance later that says “AUTOS WITH TRAILERS — TRUCKS 55 MAXIMUM”.)

      • malkav11 says:

        You are imagining that. Where there are speed limit signs (and AFAIK there are supposed to be signs whenever the limit changes, without exception, which is certainly not true in ATS), they say 55 (or lower where appropriate).

        • benkc says:

          Ah, bummer. Funny what the brain does.

        • Albion says:

          Nah he’s actually right, many roads (in game and in real life) have a different speed limit for cars and trucks.
          The freeways in California for instance often have areas that are 65+ for cars, and that’ll be displayed on the side of the road. But for trucks, those freeways are still 55. And that’s just the limit for trucks anywhere in California apparently. For a densely populated state like that, I get it.

          But the second you’re across the border to Nevada on the freeway, your truck can now go 65-70-80. There are even smaller 2×1 lane roads where the limit for trucks is too high for me to reach if I wanna make the turns properly.
          (70 or 80 on a small zigzagging road? No thanks, with a heavy cargo i’ll stay at 60 xD)

        • benkc says:

          Yup. Found an example last night: started a job in Bakersfield which put me at the east end of town. Exited the lot and turned left. Immediately saw a 65 sign. (Limit was of course 55.)

  6. fish99 says:

    The game is pretty harsh and somewhat annoying from a punishment POV. There’s clearly far too many cop cars, and you get fined irrespective of whether they could actually see you or not. You also get fined for stuff like running a red light when no one saw you do it, or running without lights/wipers, again when no one saw you. The weigh bridges are annoyingly frequent too. I think there should be in-game options to turn off each of these fines (yeah I know it can be done with mods).

    The AI still have most of the problems they had in ETS2 as well. They don’t always merge safely, sometimes pulling out right in front of you, or slowing down to a stop when merging into an empty lane (sucks to be behind them). There’s also a couple of junctions where the AI will never pull out because they need a big gap in traffic, which never happens.

    • fish99 says:

      Oh and now you can turn right on red, so can other cars, right into the side of you as you cross the intersection, getting you a fine.

    • jrodman says:

      I have to admit some of my favourite experiences in Euro Trucker were getting boxed in by broken AI traffic jams which led to over-land excursions across fields and suchlike to get out.

      Yes, you can always save-load to clear them, but it was so much fun trying to do clearly nonsense things in the truck to avoid the problem. My favourite was driving on the side of a round tunnel to bypass a traffic jam.

  7. Unsheep says:

    Yeah lets dumb the game down so people can drive as they would in a GTA game, why the hell not. I mean why bother learning how to play the game properly when you can simply reduce the game to a fancy screensaver. All because of kids who don’t want to learn how to play the game as intended, since they are the only ones inexperienced enough to not know a thing about driving.

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      Harlander says:

      This is the last game I ever expected to see a “filthy casuals ruining my hardcore sims” comment about.

  8. Monggerel says:

    Having seen what many border crossings look like in Europe at 2 AM, I can imagine few things more terrifying than making a living driving a truck cross countries.
    Maybe it’s different in America.

    • jrodman says:

      In America, we don’t believe in other countries, let alone drive there.

      (Though seriously, I remember being told driving in Mexico is a pretty necessary component of scraping by as a commercial truck driver. Apparently this lets one dodge certain costs and regulations, and isn’t too far out of your way on some routes.)

  9. benkc says:

    I played for a bit on the demo last night, and while I agree that the fines were really harsh, I’m disappointed that this is the solution they went with.

    It seems to me like the much better solution would be to make enforcement of the traffic laws more in line with reality.

    The demo is only California. On my first post-tutorial mission, I got a $1000 fine for going 2 over in a 55 zone. No, just no. You don’t get ticketed for going 2 over anywhere in California. The way the fines are structured, you’re fairly unlikely to get a ticket unless you’re at least 10 over. I know there are stricter rules for commercial vehicles, but still, I see them going 60+ so often that I seriously doubt they get ticketed at 2 over either. Similarly, a few missions later, I got a $700 fine for stopping partway into a crosswalk at a red light. It is *incredibly* rare that people actually stop *before* entering the crosswalk. As a pedestrian, I am constantly having to walk behind cars that have blocked off the entire crosswalk. Also, the only time 95% of drivers will bother to come to a full stop for a right-on-red or stop sign is if they are forced to by the amount of oncoming traffic. Again, this is super frustrating as a pedestrian, but it’s what we live with.

    So, if the user starts in California (not sure what options there are in the full game), and the law enforcement behaves more like Californian law enforcement, then the user will be very unlikely to get hit with those traffic fines while they’re figuring out the controls — as long as they’re making some effort to obey the law. (Figuring out the cruise control button certainly helped with staying under 55; I still haven’t got a good hang on my stopping distance.)

    The “speed limit dips and you get a ticket” is totally a thing though. Places where the speed limit dips and places where a long uphill suddenly gives way to a downhill are among the popular places for speed traps. (I don’t know about the one in-game, I think I hit it once but didn’t realize what had happened at the time.)

    • malkav11 says:

      This would help for sure. I feel like they should still scale them, though, because as I note above, they provide no instruction on the rules that are being enforced and not all of the people who play the game will have driven semis in California and Nevada. (Or indeed, necessarily have learned to drive – I never have, for example.)

  10. benkc says:

    Also, I’d be really interested to hear a mini interview about why they went with the simplifications of the freeway system they did.

    Obviously there are going to be simplifications, but once I got to familiar territory, I was really disappointed by just how wrong things were. Highway 101 is one of the major north-south arteries. They have it is a minor east-west cutover to Santa Cruz, which is a town it doesn’t even go near. 152 is way north of Santa Cruz, when it should be way south and the stretch of it that goes over to the coast is so windy and steep that it’s clearly posted as illegal for trucks over X length from kingpin to rear axle to drive on. I haven’t driven 152 in-game yet, but from the map it couldn’t possibly be twisty enough. Trucks getting across the mountains to that stretch of coast would either use 17 or 1 or 129->1, depending on where they are coming from. So, why did they choose which roads they did, and move them to the places and orientations they did, rather than using roads that actually go to those places?

    Further thoughts:

    I was surprised that they included Santa Cruz, but given that they did, I was really surprised that they didn’t include the clusterfuck known to locals as “the fishhook” where highways 1, 17, and 9 come together. Highway 1 north dumps you on 17 south via a 300-degree right hand curve, which starts off gradual and then suddenly sharpens. Despite lots of signs and flashing lights including a custom sign surrounded by alternating flashing lights that shows a diagram of a sharpening curve labelled “CURVE SHARPENS” and “40” and “20” on different parts of it, the cement wall is covered with scrape marks from the bajillions of cars that have hit it over the years. Then, you have an extremely short and awkwardly angled merge where the left lane of 1 merges with the right lane of 17 at a huge speed differential, only to split again a short distance later. This seems like an excellent challenge to have to deal with in the game. :)

    Also, I think that Highway 1 isn’t even included in part, though I’ll need to double-check that tonight; while it’s more of a tertiary north-south artery compared to 5 or 101, it’s got some of the most beautiful driving I’ve ever seen (it’s the coastal highway), so it’s sad if no stretch of it is included.

    • Cervus says:

      HWY 1 is there between LA and San Fran, more or less. It’s not there north of San Fran to Eureka. The map scale is 1:34 compared to ETS2’s 1:19. I suppose they ended up doing it at that scale so eventually driving from San Diego to Freeport, Maine doesn’t take four hours of real time. I imagine that some enterprising map modders may come along and rebuild the map at a larger scale. But that’s going to take quite some time.

      • benkc says:

        Yep, went back last night and found that Highway 1 was actually on the map (in part). Didn’t make it over there to check it out, though!