After the release of Farming Simulator 17, we got a chance to sit down with the team at Giants Software! We got an inside look at the latest features and modifications that are driving the success of the game. Can we just say some of the tractors are badass!
What factors have driven Farming Simulator’s success to date?
We’ve certainly hit a sweet spot of many people by creating a farming game which does take the agriculture industry and real life processes seriously. There is a big market of people who are familiar with the machines or just want to play a non-competitive game where they can freely choose what they want to do next. Another big factor was also the ability to create mods for the game very easily. There is a huge modding community that creates nearly infinite user-created content for the game.
What are the key reasons people play Farming Simulator?
Whenever we announced a new tractor or tool the weeks before the launch of FS17 you could see in the comments how much people are looking forward to playing with their favorite tractors or use the amazing and sometimes huge farming equipment. It’s fascinating and rewarding when you obtain a new machine in the game, grow your vehicle fleet and finally are able to buy that one tractor you’ve read about in all the news or know from your childhood when you grew up on or near a farm. Many people also say that they play the game to relax. You usually can take as much time as you want for your tasks (unless you speed up the time a lot and have plant withering activated). There is no urgent stress factor, you can play online with your friends and chat with them without having to focus on how to beat them.
What makes Farming Simulator stand out from the likes of Battlefield, COD and Titanfall?
Farming Simulator is not a shooter game and you don’t need good reflexes to defeat your opponents. Instead, you take control of authentic farming vehicles with a lot of options which crops to plant, machines to buy or animals to take care of. You compare prices of goods and not kill counts, you build something up instead of destroying it. Overall it’s got a positive vibe and atmosphere and you are not part of a big war.
What sort of multiplayer experience can clans expect from Farming Simulator 17?
Working together. Some of the tasks in Farming Simulator are way more fun when doing them together with a friend in multiplayer. Chaff maize for example. An interesting factor when playing FS online is that you work together on a virtual farm. It’s not like you are competing for fields and resources on the map. You share a common budget and decide together how to spend it. Hopefully, you all agree on which machine you should spend your money next. You coordinate work and plan together. The whole experience can also be asynchronous since you don’t have to be online together all the time. Someone can work on the farm in the afternoon and someone else logs in late at night continuing the job or start the next job in the process queue.
Over the years, what has surprised you the most about the game and the way it’s been played online?
We knew that mods can be a popular feature but the size of the modding community and dedication they show when creating tons of new mods is astonishing. The extreme attention to detail of our players is also fascinating. Just this afternoon someone mentioned that the ignition key is missing in the cockpit view of one of our tractors. There are groups of players who offer their workforce to help you out on your farm online. Like clans for hire.
Can you tell us about any particular group or gamer that is totally Farming Simulator obsessed? What have they achieved from the game?
Real life farmers, of course, often are big fans of the game. A lot of modders really love our game because of all the possibilities they have there. As a side effect of their modding work for Farming Simulator they get a lot of programming experience and if they ever want to get into the games industry they have some project to show already.
The detail of the equipment is absolutely extraordinary, how do you go about emulating the meticulous detail of the tractors?
We maintain good relationships with the manufacturers and for many of the tractors we get CAD data which we then modify for use in our GIANTS Engine. Additionally, we get to take a look at the real tractors at conventions and at the manufacturers themselves. Photos help our artists to create the textures for the models or design the cockpit of the tractor. We also should not forget about the sound design. A lot of work also goes into recording the various sounds a tractor makes. Accelerating, braking, turning, engine start and so on.
What are the key differences between Farming Simulator 17 and 15?
For Farming Simulator 17 we’ve added even more vehicles and tools to the game and you can now play with over 250 machines from over 75 licensed brands. The graphics have been improved by using more detailed textures and effects. Playing at night time is now a huge difference thanks to our new lighting technique which allows us to place a nearly infinite number of dynamic lights. There are also a lot of new features which deepen the gameplay and deliver a more realistic scenario. Sunflowers and soybeans are now available as new crops. More fertilizing states to improve your yield. Oil radishes can be used for that. You can play with a female farmer. Goods can be tipped anywhere you want letting you e.g. realistically pile up your sugar beets at the fields and then later pick them up with a sugar beet loader and even transport them with conveyor belts. For the first time in the series, there are also pigs available as livestock now. Feed them and take care of them to make them reproduce and then sell them for a profit.
Will Farming Simulator ever have VR compatibility?
“Ever“ or “never“ are pretty strong words. VR is currently not supported but we are curious developers and keep an eye on new tech so you’ll never know. It’s an interesting feature but if you add it, you need to make sure that it’s not just a gimmick and that it makes fun and people don’t get motion sick for example. With Farming Simulator 17 we’ve added native support for head and eye tracking though and initial feedback from the players is pretty good.
What sort of challenges & obstacles can the player expect from the game?
There is actually a lot to think about when playing Farming Simulator. How do you optimize your yield? Which vehicle or equipment to buy next with your profit? Do you buy bigger machines for your current career path or maybe try to dip your toes into something else and maybe expand into forestry or larger livestock? Deciding how you invest your time and money is a large factor in Farming Simulator which can influence your efficiency big time.
Is there a competitive side to the game?
There is no real competition in the game. We do have multiplayer for up to 16 people on one server but you all work together. You play with your friends and have a good time without getting stressed out and having to think about how to beat them.
Please tell us about the Mods that will be available to download?
For the launch of the game, some mods from Farming Simulator 15 will get converted for FS17 and be available as a free download in the mods section within the game itself. We’ll continue doing this but also add new mods on a regular basis. As a modder, all you have to do to get a mod into the game is submit it to our ModHub. There are some limitations for mods on consoles like no user generated scripts or unlicensed brands but we’ll make sure that as many people as possible will be able to play with your mods.
We understand that an app is available. Please tell us more.
Yes, we’ve released a dedicated server app for iOS and Android which you can use to stay in touch with other players of your favorite servers without sharing private information like phone numbers or email addresses. You can chat with them within the app, create events in a shared calendar and get push notifications to not miss anything. Very useful is also the map view in the app which lets you keep track of where the machines are and what good they carry. Last but not least there are also a lot of server stats, like HDD space, CPU activity or RAM available so that you can keep an eye on all the technical things.
How do you recommend our server customers approach the game?
Invite some friends to play with you on the farm together or ask around in forums if anyone wants to join. You should be able to trust these people to work towards a common goal in the game. While there are some admin options in the game where you can e.g. disable selling vehicles for other players ideally you can trust all of them and give them as many rights as possible. While it’s a collaborative game and not a competitive one it’s even more important – just like in real life – to play with people who don’t want to destroy what you’ve been working on so hard. Once you found your group you can have lots of fun playing the game together though and even after hours playing together none of your friends will be frustrated because he lost against you the whole evening. You achieve something together and build your farm.
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