Earlier this year, 4 members from our American Truck Simulator map team were able to visit Nebraska, as well as other surrounding states in the USA. The purpose of their travel was to gather references and information, as well as to inspire them in preparation for future projects. In this blog, we will share with you some highlights of what the team got up to. However, please keep in mind that the information and media presented here do not confirm what our upcoming DLC will include.

The team consisting of Simon Endt (Saimon), Jan Vackar (Vacky), Antonin Kachlar (Tony), and Petra Garlikova (Draky), set off on quite the journey! Driving over 4,000 miles in 14 days, the team managed to visit major cities, depots, real-life viewpoints, truck stops, and many other locations too.

"We visited the world's largest train depot in North Platte, looked at Lake McConaughy, and crisscrossed cities like Grand Island, Columbus, Norfolk, and more. We even went on foot to the Scottsbluff monument." Simon shares with us. They also visited some unique landmarks such as 'Carhenge' - a quirky pop-culture icon which consists of 39 automobiles painted and arranged to look like the famous 'Stonehenge' in the United Kingdom.

The team was also able to explore some areas they were not expecting to visit; thanks to their GPS. One such journey led them through an off-road "shortcut" through a forest. Luckily for the team, the road warned them this was not the right path, as they found a golf cart stuck in the mud up ahead. This little moment reminded the team that having the right routes for truck drivers is important, but that challenging routes can be fun too.

"We all agree that visiting America has opened our eyes. It is important (for us) to experience it and pass the information on (to our teams back in the office). The materials from which we use (from various online sources) are a wonderful inspiration, but seeing the traffic on the roads, the complexity of each logistics area, the diversity and depth of the landscape, you have to experience it." Simon tells us.

Trips like this are invaluable to the team, as online imagery can be deceiving, especially when it comes to height and distance. Simon tells us "What we realized is how different... the images we usually use (for references), because these images are often distorted compared to reality. The pictures are often captured with a small focal distance (fish eye) which makes everything smaller and further away, but in reality, it is the opposite, everything seems bigger and closer. That's something we need to relay to our team. And speaking of closer things, we also get pretty close to some bison at one location, so exciting!"

With each stop, the team learned something new about the area they were in. "America surprised us with its uniqueness, and we fell in love with something different in each State". Simon and the team also emphasised the importance of creating balance in each state the team develops.

"I believe every state has its own spirit." Simon tells us "something that is known, that is common everywhere and what defines the whole state. Sometimes it is all about small details, those details created through the history and culture of each state, but you will always feel something is different when you cross the borders". "It is something very important to me, so those who live there will recognize their state and visitors will remember it".

We look forward to sharing how these research trips translate over to our virtual recreation of the states in the future. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this little insight on the process of creating a new State/region, and how our teams gain experience and knowledge of the states. Don't forget to add Nebraska to your Steam wishlist!

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