The home stretch?

When you’ve made it 90% down the path, you’re halfway to your destination – old Chinese saying

If you’d asked me a month ago I’d have told you that I was fairly confident that I’d have the map wrapped up by the end of April, first week in May by the latest. To be honest I might not have actually told you that but that’s what I was telling myself. Now I’m not so sure. I’m certainly in the home stretch, the map is functionally complete, and the to do list is down to four or five items, but I’m struggling to find the same drive to push though these last few steps that I had up though the last test release earlier in the month.

It’s not that uncommon for big projects to start derailing somewhat in the final stretch, we get distracted from the task at hand, we start second guessing work that’s already been completed, and we begin inventing reasons for not moving forward. I’ve seen it happen with work projects and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that that my for fun project of the last few months is suffering the same fate. In part there’s the ‘I’ve been at this for nearly 6 months now and I’m getting burnt out’ aspect of it all, but it’s not quite that simple. The nature of the work yet to be done is a factor. Planting virtual grass, weeds, and bushes is not the most exciting part of map making and if I didn’t feel that doing it well completes the immersiveness of the map it would be easy to shrug off what I already have as good enough. Oddly enough I don’t find other forms of detailing, adding trash cans, boxes, old equipment, etc. to be as monotonous. I think the reason is that this latter form of detailing is more localized. I’m detailing an equipment shed or I’m detailing a sell point while the grass and weeds tend to feel more like I’m detailing the entire map.

Another barrier to driving the map to completion, one which is likely tied to the fact that I’m not always engaged in the detailing mentioned above, is the temptation to rip up work previously done. In the last week I’ve completely redone the vehicle sales point as well as some major changes to the cow / sheep yard. While I do feel that these changes make for a better map they are yet another reason why my end date seems to be slipping away


Big Bud DLC

I’m not particularly excited about the tractors themselves; however I think the equipment that’s been promised with the DLC will be very well suited to this map. I’d hoped to have Nagce Valley released by the time that the Big Bud DLC drops on May 9th, but that’s probably not feasible given the work and testing yet to be done. My release woes aside there is an interesting thread that’s been started on the PC-SG forum that gives me some additional perspective of where Nagce Valley might rank comparison to other maps when it comes to supporting the upcoming DLC. Farmer Klein is planning a project for his YouTube channel in which he will be reviewing a number of maps that are Big Bud ready. To narrow the selection of maps down to a manageable number he’s created a spreadsheet that ranks the maps according to average field size, size of the largest field, size of the smallest field, and number of fields over 15ha, which is about the minimum size for running the largest equipment in the DLC. As Nagce Valley has yet to be released I did not submit it to Farmer Klein for consideration as part of his project but I did download his spreadsheet and informally added Nagce Valley to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Nagce Valley would fall mid pack in the ten maps Farmer Klein will be looking at particularly when you consider that most of these other maps are 4X while Nagce Valley is a standard sized map.

Farmer Klein’s YouTube channel

DLC goes big

I’m looking forward to the recently confirmed Big Bud DLC. As much as I like the Kuhn DLC most of the equipment is too small to play a significant role on the Nagce map with the merger and the sprayers being exceptions. We know that at least one of the 11 pieces of equipment included in the BB DLC will have a working width of 80 feet (24 m) and I’m pretty hopeful that the upcoming DLC will be well suited to my map. The fields on Nagce range from medium to large, quite a bit lager than you will find on most standard sized maps so the option of 24m seeder (if the seeder is in fact part of the 24m equipment Giants is refering too) would be a relevant one.

I did a quick look through the Bednar, Great Plains, Grégorie-Besson and Seed Hawk web sites and found an 80ft Air Seeder from Seed Hawk that I’d love to see in game. It's just a guess, or a desire, on my part at this point as Giants has not clarified what equipment from these OEM's will be in the DLC, but a large Air Seeder would make sense given that the DLC seems to be built around the Big Bud 747 and 450.

80ft (24m) Seed Hawk XL Air Drill and 980 Air Cart

80ft (24m) Seed Hawk XL Air Drill and 980 Air Cart

One of the reasons that I’m most excited about DLC that seems to be big field focused is that Nagce Valley is by design fairly easy to evolve from a medium/large field mix to one of vary large fields (at least by FS standards). The northern side of the map encompasses 8 fields in the 7 - 42ha range. By cutting down a few trees and plowing over a dirt road or two this can easily be developed into three fields in the 40 – 74ha range. Other combinations are possible but may entail a bit more work or restrict access to some parts of the map. The southern side of the map is focused more on animals and pasture land than it is on arable farming but it would still be possible to develop the existing fields into 66 – 89ha worth of cropland if so desired.

Current field layout

Current field layout

Possible expansion option

Possible expansion option