Developed by the Czech company SCS Software® along with Sunstorm Interactive® and published by Valusoft® this game is completely different from predecessors. The engine of Hard Truck: 18 Wheels of Steel is based on the Prism3D engine, that used in Hunting Unlimited and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project.
There are 3 huge maps that let you haul cargo along the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains or the Midwest in any of 6 different trucks. In addition to hauling your cargo, you must manage your business well by winning recurring contracts, hiring drivers to haul loads for you, and managing your own overhead. This game is definitely about business... the business of trucking! Your goal is to strike out on your own, starting and operating your own trucking company and aim for that great American Dream... earning $1 million!. There are 3 game areas, each has Interstate highways, back road highways, by passes around and through the cities and of course city streets.
To play the game, fire it up and behold the main menu. At the main menu, you can go into the options menu to play with the graphics, sound and control options (including joystick/wheel config), and quit the game back to the Windows desktop. The three buttons at the top let you start a new game in 'West Coast', 'Midwest' or 'Rockies' area. These areas have increasing difficulty, from Easy through Medium to Hard.
- WEST COAST
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Reno, Las Vegas
Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Detroit, Cincinnatti
Denver, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Boise, Helena
Driving a truck is about moving cargo around this great country of ours. But you can't just go grab any old trailer and take it wherever you want. In Hard Truck: 18 Wheels of steel there are two kinds of jobs that you can get. The bulk of the jobs at the beginning will be 'ad hoc' jobs. These will be one time deliveries in which you get paid for hauling the goods to a certain location and then you're out of work again and will need to find another job.When your driver rating is very low, you will pretty much make your living by performing 'ad hoc' jobs. But when your driver rating increases, and your account balance improves, you should start eyeing the other type of jobs - recurring jobs. Once you successfully deliver a recurring job on a given route, contracts with rating lower or equal to the license level you will thus win will become available for your company and can become a steady source of income. Once you win the license, recurring jobs on this route can then be assigned to contract drivers.
You will meet new drivers as your game progresses at freight yards for the various companies that you will work for. To hire a driver, select the driver you wish to hire then click on the hire button. If the driver is available, you will be taken to a negotiating dialog where you will work out the percent take that you and the driver keep. Note that you can only hire drivers that are at your driving rating or lower. If you try to contact a driver with a higher rating than you, he will not answer his phone. And if you unsuccessfully negotiate with a driver too many times, he will not return your calls for several days. When you do hire a driver, you will have to buy that driver a truck with which to haul the cargo. A truck window will be displayed allowing you to pick which model of truck you wish to buy your new employee. Cheaper trucks will obviously be slower and less reliable than newer trucks.
Notable Game Concepts:
- Growing Your Company
You start with an old truck and a little amount of cash, and the road towards your first million dollars is long and winding. It is possible to win the game alone, just tirelessly hauling cargo between destinations, gradually upgrading and improving your truck to be able to perform better on the road, as well as improving your skills and your company's reputation so that the shippers are willing to entrust you more important and better paying jobs. However, a faster road to victory is using the help of additional drivers that your company may hire when you have high enough reputation and enough money to be able start to building a fleet of trucks.
- Company Rating
Your company rating will improve based on how well you deliver the jobs. When the shippers send cargo, they are not ready to trust their precious stuff to anybody. They expect the driver who will haul the cargo, or his company, to be able to do a good job. Therefore they require a certain rating for the job. You will meet additional truck drivers that you will be able to hire to your company. Their skill is also expressed by this same rating. Better drivers will deliver cargo in better quality and make your company more money, but worse drivers are much cheaper, you must decide what you prefer. The rating is always depicted by stars.
- Road Hazards
At times, there may be accidents on the road, difficult weather conditions or other anomalous things happening that will temporarily block a road. You will usually hear about roads being block though your radio, and if you have an onboard GPS you will also see the place on your map view. You may be forced to look for alternate routes to deliver your cargo if you have already loaded it, or plan a new ad-hoc job so that you avoid destinations that are not easily reachable.
Safety regulations require truck drivers to have appropriate amount of rest each week. If the police catches you exceeding the time spent behind the wheel, you will be severely fined. You will also experience sleepiness effects while driving. It is a good idea to rest from time to time, ideally in motels or truck stops. You can also take a short rest in the loading docks, but you won't be as refreshed sleeping in the truck's cabin as you would by sleeping in a real bed. You should plan your rest time between the jobs, so that you don't pick up delays.
There are several different types of services that you'll see scattered around the map. These include truck stops, repair centers, gas stations and weigh stations. Below is a basic list of services that you can get from the various places:
This will let you sleep. Be warned that if you are in the middle of hauling a load, it will likely make your load late if you sleep. Safety regulations as well as common sense say that the drivers need to rest occasionally. You will pay severe fines if the police find you are breaking this regulation, and you will also experience nasty sleepiness effects if you go too long without sleep. Be sure to plan when to sleep and when to haul cargo carefully.
This will just let you gas up. You'll be charged for your gas at the price shown. Make sure that you are using the area designated for trucks!
The service depart will repair your truck or install upgrades. It is far cheaper to have your truck repaired at a service than having emergency fixes provided when you call 911. One of the most useful upgrades is dashboard GPS that will allow you to see your position on the map view. Without the GPS, you can view the map, but it will not show you where you are. You can also buy a completely new truck there.
- Truck Stop
truck stops are all in one centers for the above services, and you can also buy a whole new truck there.
- Weigh Station
This is where you weigh in and have to pay fines if you're overweight. Its also where you buy your Hazardous Cargo certificate, which is required to run the high paying HC loads.