A look back at a full year of Truck Driver® on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One 

From a Unity engine upgrade to a completely new AI system; How we've reshaped the game since launch

By Linda Bendsneijder

Release Date

PS4 / Xbox One: 19 September 2019

Nintendo Switch: 17 November 2020

Age Rating

PEGI 3

Developer

Kokku

Publisher

SOEDESCO

Rotterdam, The Netherlands - September 18, 2020

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Truck Driver® on console. The trucking experience launched on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One on September 19, 2019. It’s been an exciting first year with lots of community support, numerous updates and another platform announcement among others (yes, Truck Driver is also coming to Nintendo Switch)! With its one-year anniversary, we decided to take a look at the past twelve months and see how the game has progressed since we first hit the road. And that's not all, we've also released a new patch today on PS4 and Xbox One. Read the full patch notes here. Linda Bendsneijder, junior PR manager at SOEDESCO®, looks back at the moment Truck Driver launched and reflects on the progress of the game within the months that followed until now.

Truck Driver has always been a trucking experience that explores the social aspects that come with the profession. When the game geared up for launch, it offered a trucking experience filled with interesting characters, a wide range of cargo and unexpected storylines. We always wanted players to connect with the characters and come across lively and interesting situations. Being a truck driver involves more than driving from point A to point B and it was our intention to reflect this in the game by adding all kinds of circumstances that a real trucker can run into. Sometimes characters accidently send you to deliver the wrong cargo, or they don’t give clear instructions about where you can pick up or deliver the cargo. We really like this about the game and we think it makes Truck Driver a fun and dynamic trucking experience.  

     "The game was - and still is - dear to our hearts and from the moment we launched, we already knew we were going to support the game for a long time to come”

A new journey 

As soon as we first announced the game, we noticed a lot of enthusiasm from the community and we really wanted to keep you updated as best as possible. We created a lot of videos and live streams, and the Truck Driver community has always been there for us since the start, even after launch!  When the game released, we knew that we wanted to offer post release support for the trucking experience. Being a SOEDESCO original IP, we wanted to continue improving Truck Driver. The game was - and still is - dear to our hearts and from the moment we launched, we already knew we were going to support the game for a long time to come.

Shortly after Truck Driver released, we started our collaboration with development studio Kokku to work on the game. Their vision for Truck Driver aligned well with ours and that of the community, so we were confident it would bring the game a lot of new possibilities. This move meant a huge expansion of opportunities for Truck Driver in the long run. From the start of our collaboration, we knew that it’d be a long and exciting journey together.   

  
A lot has changed since Kokku started working on the game. From a Unity engine upgrade to an entirely new AI system - it’s fair to say they’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the game. But let’s go back to where it all began...  At first, our main focus was fixing any remaining issues that the game had upon launch. It took some time for the team at Kokku to familiarize themselves with Truck Driver, but they soon managed to work on several Quality of Life Improvements. We got a lot of help from the community and we were working closely together with them to fix any bug the game was facing. Even today, we are in close contact with the player-base to make sure the game runs smooth and throughout the year, Kokku has fixed and revamped numerous features to provide an overall better trucking experience.  

Steering Wheel Support

When we first introduced Truck Driver on PS4™ and Xbox One, the game was initially intended for controllers only. However, we soon noticed a huge interest in steering wheel support from the community. Even before Truck Driver launched, we decided to respond to the many requests by adding steering wheel support to the game. After Truck Driver released, we continued to work on further improving and tweaking this feature. 

From the beginning of our collaboration with Kokku, steering wheel support was high on our list to improve, since we wanted players to have a better and more immersive trucking experience.  Kokku soon worked on optimizing many of the steering wheels to make them respond and work better. This also led to the inclusion of the peeking feature, a force feedback sensitivity slider and the addition of a new steering wheel. With the peeking feature, we added a way for you to look around you when you’re playing with your steering wheel. This means you can instantly look left or right by using the D-pad. The force feedback sensitivity slider allows you to adjust the strength of the force feedback on your steering wheel, making it customizable to your liking. We noticed many of you were keen on having these features, so we made sure they were added to the game and working properly. It took some tweaking here and there to get the features to run perfectly, but we’re very glad with the outcome.    

Kokku also added support for the Thrustmaster T80, bringing the total number of supported steering wheels to 18. Again, in this case we heard many of you had a T80 steering wheel at home, making it a must for us to include this one on our list. Both Thrustmaster and Logitech have steering wheels compatible for Truck Driver. Below is a complete overview of all the supported steering wheels for PS4 and Xbox One:  

PlayStation 4

  • Thrustmaster T80 
  • Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster T150 Ferrari Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster T150 Pro Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster T300 Servo base 
  • Thrustmaster T300 RS 
  • Thrustmaster T300 RS GT 
  • Thrustmaster T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara ForceFeedback 
  • Thrustmaster T-GT 
  • Logitech G29 (driving force) 

Xbox One 

  • Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel 
  • TX Servo Base Force Feedback 
  • TX Ferrari 458 Italia Force Feedback
  • TX Leather Edition Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster TMX Pro Force Feedback 
  • Thrustmaster TS-XW racer SPARCO P310 (competition mod)
  • Logitech G920 (driving force) 

        "Unity version 2019.2 enabled us to do a lot more with Truck Driver, such as implementing the new AI system”

Unity engine upgrade 

One of the first major improvements we made to Truck Driver, was upgrading its Unity version from 2017.4 to 2019.2. Upgrading the Unity engine wasn’t exactly one click of a button. It required quite a lot of time and trial and error. However, we felt it was a necessary step forward. Upgrading the game’s Unity engine provided us with a much more stable game and it would mean a huge step forward in terms of future updates.  
 
Unity engine 2019.2 was able to bring us a better optimized game with smoother frame rates, less stutters, improved graphics and reduced file sizes for patches. But, most importantly for Kokku, the new Unity engine made it easier for them to focus on future development. It gave them ability to add new features and content easier, as they experienced less software limitations. Since the upgrade, we were able to focus on things that significantly improved the player experience. In essence, Unity version 2019.2 enabled us to do a lot more with Truck Driver, such as implementing a completely new AI system.  

Brand-new AI System

From the moment Kokku started upgrading the Unity engine, we immediately began to look at other ways to improve the game as well. When Truck Driver launched, many of you told us that you would like to see the vehicle and pedestrian AI improved and to be more diverse. Due to your feedback, we felt it was only logical to look at all the possibilities for revamping the AI system in the game. When Kokku started investigating this, they soon discovered that the old AI system was not suited for expansion. For example, it was very hard to tweak certain AI behaviors and we were unable to add more types of vehicles, such as trucks (yes, they’re still coming!). Basically, the only way to improve the AI was to completely remove the old system and build a new one. Building a new system from the ground up is time consuming. It doesn’t just happen overnight. However, since this was very high on your -and our list to improve, we decided it was the right way forward for the game. By implementing the new AI system, we knew it would benefit Truck Driver in the long run. We’re very happy we took this decision, since we’re now able to continue to add things to the AI that will lead to more realistic driving scenarios.  
 
Of course, it wasn’t working perfectly right away, but we’ve been working hard on improving the system since its implementation. We’ve made great progress so far and we’re definitely on the right track. The new AI system has added several significant improvements to the AI cars and pedestrian AI. This system has brought us individual driver behavior types, such as aggressive drivers who honk their horn, and cautious drivers that might drive a bit slower. The cars also react better to traffic and respect the right of way laws. Pedestrians in Truck Driver behave differently as well now. They cross the streets and react to traffic. Furthermore, there is a more realistic distribution of vehicle types and traffic throughout the map, with dense cities and quiet rural areas. However, this does not mean we’re completely done with the AI now. We’re still constantly improving and tweaking the AI and we’re working on adding more types of vehicles as well.  

What else has changed?

Besides numerous Quality of Life Improvements, bug fixes, steering wheel enhancements, a Unity engine upgrade and a completely new AI system, Kokku has also added several other things to the game since launch. Shortly after our collaboration, they included multiple new features. From smaller ones that contributed to the improvement of the game, to more significant ones, such as the photo mode feature, weather enhancements and UI and UX improvements. We were really excited about these features. For instance, the photo mode allowed us to see a lot of beautiful shots from many dedicated players, especially in our Discord server. You can access the feature via your menu and set your ideal scene so you can share your perfect truck shots. It’s always nice for us to see how each player enjoys these new features we’re adding to the game and that was especially the case with the photo mode.  
 
The weather enhancements are no exception, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback on this one. The weather enhancement brought a better immersive experience to the game with more balanced weather conditions and rain effects. We actually started working on this due to much requested community feedback. When it rains, the rain effects become visible on the front and side windows of your truck, bringing a more realistic trucking experience. It even includes a feature where, if you’re stationary, the windows will start to get foggy and functional windshield wipers were introduced as well. We were very pleased with the outcome and we feel this was also the case for you! The same goes for the UI and UX improvements. We completely overhauled the in-game UI for a more practical display of information and we’ve added a new tutorial that properly introduces the game. They all made for a better player experience, which was noticeable among our player base.  

And there’s more... 

Of course, Kokku has included several other enhancements to the game as well. Throughout the whole process, we did not lose sight of the Truck Driver player base. We had a lot of close contact with the community to see what all could be revamped and improved. The enhancements might be a bit smaller, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth mentioning. Here’s an impression of several updates we’ve introduced to the game since launch: 

-     A scalable HUD, which allows you to scale the display area to fit your screen 
-     Two new purchasable garages, one in Osterhaven Port and one in Baaikant  
-     More currency and measuring units to make it more accessible for people all over the world 
-     Inclusion of stats for you to see your progression, such as the amount of jobs you’ve done for each NPC 
-     Stop and go braking, to make sure you don’t automatically go in reverse once you’re standing still. 
-     An increased variety of cargo trailers in repeatable jobs 
-     A low fuel warning for when you’re almost out of fuel 
-     Exhaust smoke for all trucks 

                        "We’re far from done with Truck Driver and there’s a lot still in the works for this title."

What’s still to come?

As you all know, we’re far from done with Truck Driver and there’s a lot still in the works for this title. We’ve already teased and announced several exciting things, such as new AI vehicles and a completely new visual damage system. Some of you might have seen a screenshot of a pick-up truck that’s coming to the game. In the nearby future, you can expect these pick-up trucks, tractors, mini vans, classic muscle cars and more!  
 
For the attentive viewers among us, you might have noticed that the achievements/trophies list already shows hidden places and damage system. Now we don’t want to spoil anything yet about the hidden places, but we’ve already announced the coming of a visual damage system.  And boy are we excited for this one! It adds visual damage to the player’s trucks and AI vehicles. Currently, players see the damage their truck has sustained on the SatNav. There’s chassis damage, engine wear and tire wear. These damages have impact on the gameplay as well. Tire wear increases the braking distance, chassis damage results in steering deviation and engine damage simply breaks the engine. However, the upcoming visual damage system visualizes damage in 3D by showing scratches and dents at the exact spot the truck was hit. The AI vehicles will also display accurate visual damage. Kokku is currently still working on this system and we hope to update you on its progress soon! 

At the same time, we’ve got a lot of other cool stuff in store for the game. Kokku is also busy with many other features and content that will expand the trucking experience. As always, we’ll update you once we’re able to give you a more concrete estimation of these plans.    

A trucker on Nintendo Switch™ and Steam®

Besides everything that’s currently in the works for Truck Driver, we’re also busy with other projects for the title. One of which, is a Nintendo Switch version of the trucking experience! Earlier this year, we announced both a digital and physical edition of Truck Driver on Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately we cannot give you an exact release date yet, but what’s certain is that the game will come with several Nintendo specific features. For the Nintendo Switch version, Truck Driver will support solo horizontal grip and tilt controls. The game also gets HD Rumble support, which allows for subtle and fast changing vibrations that increases the gaming experience.  

And as you all know; Truck Driver is also coming to Steam. This summer, at the Steam Game Festival – Summer Edition, we released a demo that was accessible to players worldwide from June 16 until June 22. During the festival, players had a chance to connect with us and tell us what they think. This was extremely useful for us to find out what the game still needs and how it can be improved. Kokku is currently still working on the Steam version of the game and even though we can’t give you a release date just yet, we’re going to attend the Autumn Edition of the Steam Game Festival as well! The Truck Driver demo will be playable from October 7 until October 13, so make sure to set a reminder in your agenda and don’t miss out on your chance to play! 

That’s pretty much all that we’ve been working on since Truck Driver launched on PS4 and Xbox One. This past year has been a roller coaster ride, but we couldn’t be more grateful for everything that we were able to do. Thanks in huge part to you, the dedicated player base. It may sound cliché, but this wouldn’t have been possible without you. So, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts and we hope you’ll be able to enjoy Truck Driver for a long time to come!  

Curious to learn more about Truck Driver, or would you like to tell us what you think we should improve or include in the game? Come join our Discord to chat with us and other dedicated Truck Driver players! It's a place where you get to share ideas and show us your perfect photo mode shot. We're always open to suggestions and feedback on how we can further improve the game.

Not on Discord? No worries, we're also available at info@soedesco.com

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Truck Driver®

Build your career as a Truck Driver! Haul a wide range of cargo and make a name for yourself amongst the local community. Start from the bottom, take on jobs, buy new trucks & parts and become a respected Truck Driver!

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