My first go at the 24 Day Seasons Challenge got a bit side tracked. You see there is a peculiarity of the map maker psyche that compels us to rip our maps apart after a few hours of game play because we just thought of a better way to bring our farms to life. Sometimes we spot something in our own maps that drives us back into GE other times we something in another map makers work that pushes us over the edge. I used to think that the Giants Editor was a way to make Farming Simulator more enjoyable but I’ve come to the realization that for myself, and I’m guessing for other map makers as well, Farming Simulator is merely a justification for all the time we spend in GE. While I’ve spent well over 500 hours building Nagce Valley it’s likely that I’ve spent less than a tenth of that actually playing the map, and I’ve heard enough other map builders make similar comments to come to believe that the modders fate may well be cast in stone.
The UMRV map has been gaining a lot of attention as of late. While officially still in beta the map is very well polished and the team has done an outstanding job brining the community a map that really pulls off the look and feel of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. The maps creator has committed to being a positive influence in the mod community and I wish him and his team the best with the maps release. Needless to say UMRV derailed any aspirations I had of focusing on my play through and pushed me right back into the waiting arms of GE. What impressed me most was that the map takes something that I implemented on Nagce Valley and takes it to the next level.
One of the early features of Nagce that drove the feel for the map throughout its development was the grain bin auger layout on the main farm. It was one of the first features I incorporated and the one that once it was laid down I knew without a doubt would make it to the final cut. While it delivered the look I wanted functionally it was no different than the farm silo that exists on most FS17 maps, a tip point to dump into, a global store for the crops, and a fill trigger to get your grain back out. UMRV takes this to the next level by utilizing functional augers for adding and removing grain from bins that are unconnected to each other. To fill a bin you first need to maneuver the auger into place, set it up, and connect a tractor to power it. To fill a different bin you need to retract the auger, move it to the next bin and repeat the set up process. There is a second auger for transferring grain from the bin into the tipper which has its own set up process. While it’s still possible to put more than one grain type in a bin a bit of self-control makes it possible to realize a one bin one crop playstyle.
The augers and bins have been available for some time on American Eagles Modding; in fact the augers already on Nagce Valley use the same visual model but lack the functionality of the AEM mods. While I knew of their existence it wasn’t until I saw a video on the UMRV YouTube channel demonstrating their use that I knew what I was missing. There’s a bit of a learning curve on the augers, they’re not overly complicated but they’re not terribly intuitive either, and the casual player may not find them very engaging, but if you’re looking to run a realistic American farm they are hard to beat.
There’s a second change that I’ve been meaning to incorporate on Nagce Valley but held off as it was not seasons ready Seasons. Thanks to some hard work by Darrin Casesell the Apple Orchard is now, at least visually, Seasons ready. Darrin added the necessary textures and xml to allow the Apple tree’s to change appearance with the seasons and was kind enough to allow me to include these changes on Nagce Valley. Unfortunately we were not able to find a way to control apple growth to coincide with the seasons. We both played around with the ProduktPerHour and factor settings but it didn’t lead to the results we were hoping for. It’s not an insurmountable problem though. Apples will only be produced after water and compost or manure have been added to the trees. By using some self-imposed rules about when these inputs can be added, such as July through November, we can keep are apple harvests in season. Neither of us has given up on finding the magic Seasons settings but for now controlling the inputs seems like a viable solution.
There were a few more changes, multi angle terrain has been added, I removed the seed and fert fill triggers from the farm, so buying and transporting pallets is somewhat more essential though the fill triggers are still in place at PC-SG Tractor and Seed.