Our Facebook page recently reached a massive 40,000 likes. We’re proud to deliver an enhanced experience to so many fans, so we’re always happy to see our community growing even larger. If you haven’t already, give us a like – let’s see how quickly we can reach 50k! You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
To celebrate this milestone we thought we’d give some extra insight into the merging process of the Beyond the Baltic Sea DLC and SCS’ rebuilt northern Germany.
Previously, merging new DLCs with our map was a relatively easy job. The Scandinavia DLC only shared one real border with our map. Therefore, creating compatibility with our pack was easy, even though we sadly had to say goodbye to many ProMods v1.0 areas and memories. The same goes for the Italy DLC, where most of our mapping was already a few years old and had aged poorly, especially due to the lack of models for the distinctive Italian architecture which SCS did such a good job with. Only France was a bit more challenging, but the rebuilt old map in Northern France provided a bit of a buffer between our map and the DLC, which made things easier. With the Germany rebuild and Beyond the Baltic Sea DLC, however, merging has proven to be a much more complicated task.
In the previous merges we often could copy-paste large areas very quickly, and connecting them was not hard. This DLC is a completely different story. We have many small areas that need merging individually. Pasting a small area into the map is not a big deal, but connecting it properly can be difficult.
For example, we have previously done massive rebuilds in Elbłąg and Suwałki, such that the road network on the Polish side of the border has undergone many changes. This meant that at some points the road alignment made re-connecting the roads very difficult. One of the bigger problems is that the border crossings in our map were a kilometer further north than the ones from SCS. We had to compress and sometimes completely rebuild the entire border area.
What also didn’t help was that at the border area near Suwałki there was a height difference of 50 meters between SCS’ and our mapping. It was a big challenge to facilitate this difference without creating a new (and rather unrealistic) “alpine road”. There were similar problems for some of our scenery villages and towns in the Baltic States.
Finland was another hard merge. ProMods Finland is bigger than that of the DLC so we decided to remove our overlapping part. This makes sense because our southern Finland was comprised of some of the oldest mapping in the mod, so we have retired it while retaining plenty of ProMods content in northern Finland. Although this eliminated the need to merge many small areas back in, we were still left with many roads to connect, again all with different heights. Furthermore, some of our northern Finland is aging as well, so we have started refreshing our areas with the new assets the DLC brings. Some cities have already received a makeover, such as Oulu and Vaasa; others remain to be done. A more specific problem was that Pori had no obvious connection to the north to Vaasa and Oulu. We had to improvise there with completely new landscape.
This may be the hardest project of them all. Our Autobahn Rebuilding Project (ARP) started almost 4 years ago! The challenge here is to try and keep the best of both worlds, but it’s sadly not as simple as just choosing between ProMods and SCS city by city or road by road: not only are there the aforementioned height differences to deal with, but we have to keep the mapping style reasonably consistent throughout the map or player immersion will be broken. Now that SCS has provided new and better assets we have to incorporate them into our mapping to stop it looking dated.
Moreover, mapping techniques and standards have evolved over the last 4 years to the extent that the oldest areas feel technically unrefined, even ugly, next to the newest ones – even with refreshed assets. In such cases it can be easier to start from scratch, which ultimately delivers a better map but requires a lot of developer time and motivation.
But That’s Not All!
While the merging was going on, brand new content has been prepared as well. The Czech Republic got a serious overhaul and there has been some expansion in the Balkans and in Scotland as well. There are a few additions here and there spread all over the map, all laid out for you to discover in the next version! We can reveal that we are nearly done merging everything we planned for ProMods version 2.40 (you may have previously seen it referred to as version 2.35, but we decided that the amount of content justifies calling it 2.40) and have started the first testing phase.
You can expect more merged, rebuilt and brand new content in the DLC and Germany areas in future updates, especially in the Baltic states. Having said that, don’t be surprised if we overwrite many old ProMods areas with SCS work. We have got a lot of comments from fans who feel nostalgic about old ProMods work and want us to keep it. We feel nostalgic too! But we have to keep the map up to today’s standards which, sadly, means we have to say goodbye to the oldest areas. If we could, we’d always update everything to the latest standards, but this is not possible even with our large development team. Instead, we have to prioritise where we work, which means that SCS’ latest – and vastly improved since the game’s release – mapping has lower priority.
Of course, the release date of ProMods 2.40 is still unknown (even to us), but we can assure you that 2019 will bring many cool updates from our team for all ETS2 players.