we-e-e-lll. speaking as a new convert to the Cult of ETS2... I do occasionally drive a car-like object modelled on the game trucks, like... (checks mod list) ... there's an Audi RS4 that I've driven around some just for a change. it doesn't handle quite like a real car (it rolls over too easily for a start!) but it's a bit different, accelerates faster, kind of fun.
cars can be used for cargo too -- express couriers for example; so I don't think they inherently contradict the game theme.
ETS2 has been my latest obsession for quite a few weeks now, so I am thinking about it a lot -- why it has such an appeal, why I've become so quickly addicted to it. if I describe the game to other people (especially non-gamers) it doesn't sound all that exciting, does it: "you drive a truck around Europe, picking up and delivering cargoes." and yet, here we all are spending hours playing it, hours modding it, hours discussing it. why is it so special?
I think ETS2 has two great strengths. one
it shares with other wildly successful games such as HalfLife and Portal: the user community can extend and expand it. I am sure there are purists who would disagree strongly, but speaking for myself, one of the big features of ETS2 (convincing me to spend money on it) was an expandable world and an active, passionate user community busily adding both territory and detail to that world. ETS2 without ProMods and other map, vehicle, and gameplay extensions would have been far less attractive to me. maybe I'd have bought it anyway, or... maybe not... but given its expandability and the exciting projects always going on among modders, it was a no-brainer: I had to have this game. two
it is truly an open
world. as far as the world has been mapped, the player can travel at will, making their own decisions. sure, you can campaign to make as much money as possible, hire tons of drivers to make even more money for you, open garages in every city, become the Godfather of Trucking (sort of the "approved path," the premise the game is based on)... or you can just work enough to make gas money to go sightseeing
see, in many other sim games, the world is theoretically "open" -- but the gameplay essentially is not. you can't just wander freely, explore and discover. usually something is trying to kill you, or there are puzzles (defined by the devs) that you have to solve "correctly" in order to progress any further. my favourite thing about ETS2 is that, once you have got through the "tutorial" phase, you get a pretty wide choice of QuickJobs; it doesn't take too long to acquire some skill points so you can take the kinds of jobs you prefer (for me these would be long-haul), then to own your own truck (but you can still take QuickJobs if you like), and then you can easily explore the world at your
pace, with your
there is no "solve this puzzle in 4 minutes or the world gets blown up" foolishness. no one is trying to massacre you or destroy your truck. you don't have to consort with criminals, lowlifes, or zombies
you don't have to shoot anyone, steal anything, or collect seven magic symbols to open the Great Gate of Whatsis. you just drive around exploring this (sometimes stunningly beautiful) world, doing a bit of navigating and strategic planning, essentially taking a long scenic road trip! plus learning to park a trailer
this is why I love this game so much. the devs don't tell you what you should be doing. they don't set up stupid little tests that you have to keep solving, like school exams. they just built a very attractive, large, interesting world and invited you to come and travel around in it, obeying minimal (and familiar) traffic rules and hauling cargo to earn some money for gas. sometimes I campaign "seriously", making sure I use my road time wisely, calculating my sleep periods for efficiency, determined to get that cargo there ahead of schedule and save up money for a better truck. other times I just kick back, change profiles, and drive around checking out the coolness of the world. I really like having that choice.
the most open driving game I can recall offhand is Need for Speed, another classic in which you could stick with the official theme and campaign (the usual rather sordid stuff involving criminals and guns and so on) or you could ignore all that and just drive around enjoying the (for the time) remarkably good scenery and biggish world. I wish NfS were available for the Mac, but it ain't. I first acquired ETS1 because it sounded like an "open driving game" and hey, I've driven some large moving trucks in my day and enjoyed it. so I gave it a try as a substitute for NfS. and now I'm hooked! so it's not all about the trucks (for me). it's not about the cargoes even, though I do enjoy the really unusual, cool-looking trailers. it's not about amassing imaginary money (yaaaawn, how boring is that?)... it's about the exploring
, the sense of wonder and discovery, the quirky romance of loading docks and quarries at 3am... it's about taking a virtual road trip in Europe (wow!), the openness of the world, the "free will" of the player, the size
of the world (huge and getting bigger!), and of course the eye candy: the beautiful landscapes and light effects.
so, having said all that, yes I'm all in favour of having some alternative vehicles in ETS2. even truckers get a day off now and then and take a motorcycle ride through the mountains
or if we really have to stay in strict theme, how'bout the people who deliver vehicles for dealers and purchasers? you could take a contract to drive a very nice car from dealer in city X to purchaser in city Y, with huge penalties for the slightest scratch on the paint work
but I think it would be cool to be able to drive a "civilian" car now and then, or even ride a bicycle, through the marvelous world of ETS2. I wish I could get out of my truck and walk around (well I can with the god-cam, but it would be nice to have a realistic walking POV and be able to take a little stroll around at the rest stops). I often wish I could slow down (to cycling speed maybe?) and really savour some of those great views that are whizzing by. ETS2 is almost a virtual tourism game; it wouldn't take much more detail in the city centres to make it attractive to the average person who just wants to explore Europe.
in fact, I hazard a guess that there will be a market -- if not this very minute, soon -- for open world simulators of great tourist destinations. I know I, for one, would pay good money for a *really* accurate, detailed, 3d, open, explorable sim of Angkor Wat, the Louvre, St Pauls, the Kremlin, the Great Pyramid, Machu Pichu, the Forbidden City etc. maybe that makes me weird? I dunno. travel just gets more and more expensive and less fun every year; and the graphical quality of sim games is getting darned close to theatrical movie releases. I think that the more open the world is the wider the appeal will be... ETS2's "virtual Europe" may be just the start of the next really big trend in gameware. I suspect there's a large potential market of people with pretty good computer hardware who are too old (or just not interested enough) to hone their reflexes for laser-gun shootouts with imaginary badguys, but might really get into virtual tourism. I could be wrong... time will tell.
sorry to ramble on at such length... but I was just having this same conversation with a friend today, trying to analyze exactly what is so very compelling about ETS2 and why I am "wasting" a couple of hours a night on it which I have never done with any other computer game, ever... so these thoughts are fresh in my mind. disclaimer: I may not be at all representative of the average ETS2 player. and as always on the road, ymmv.