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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Construction Simulator: Exclusive preview of the surprising comeback of the simulation milestone

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For a long time, fans of the construction simulator had to wait for a “real” successor. (GlobalESportNews) may now finally present it to you world-exclusively.

This surprise has come true: The construction simulator returns to PCs and consoles after eight years. The new part is built, the construction is ready and the developers are already busy with the finishing touches.

We were able to see the new construction simulator exclusively in advance and spoke with René Nold, managing director of Weltenbauer. For two hours he showed our simulation experts Florian the new construction simulator, answered questions and proudly showed the latest features of the simulation. And we’ll show it to you now: This preview provides you with many gameplay details, information about the construction machines included in the game and 15 GlobalESportNews -exclusive screenshots. But before that, check out the trailer:

The construction simulator relies on old strengths and new technology

Those who played Construction Simulator 2015 will remember Hape. The head of the local construction company bequeaths his company to us and introduces us to the basics of the game. The tutorial seemed very forced and contrived at the time. Compared to other simulators, however, it was still good, as it made it easier for new players to get started in the genre. There will also be a tutorial in the new construction simulator, which will not have a year.

However, the tutorial fits directly into the story. On the European map, which is based on Heidelberg, we experience the effects of a heavy storm at the beginning. We clear roads, repair pipes and lift fallen lamps from roofs. Right from the start it becomes clear that the successor has been revised and optimised in many areas. The tutorial fits much better into the game.

The developers are again using the Unity Engine. However, not only were the graphics improved, but new mechanics also found their way into the game. For example, the team is using techniques such as lip-syncing and the notorious earth spikes should also be a thing of the past when removing rubble and earth.

During the presentation, René Nold showed us the new mechanics: When loading soil with the wheel loader, fine granular sand falls from the bucket and disappears in the haze of the morning dew. This shows that the new construction simulator relies on a higher level of immersion in many areas.

For the first time there is a day and night change. However, there will be no seasons or changing weather. A small drop of bitterness for all fans who wanted to build wind turbines, bridges or family homes in the rain. But we know it from reality: tower cranes should not be operated in wind and weather, and compacting crane sites is also rather suboptimal when the weather is bad.

Two maps, more vehicles, characters and missions

The feedback from the community is very important to the developers. The vehicle fleet has been expanded once again in the new part and is now said to be the largest in the history of the series. So far, 25 worldwide known brands are included in the game. In addition to vehicles and machines, there is also licensed clothing for your own character.

You can choose between four male and four female characters. Customisation is only possible for work clothes and accessories. A comprehensive character editor is not planned. Instead, there are over 70 different machines and devices that you can either buy or rent.

This is also a new feature compared to Construction Simulator 2015, although not entirely new, as the rental option was already available for the mobile spin-offs of Construction Simulator 2 and 3. And yes, Construction Simulator 2 was also available for the PC, but you could clearly tell that it was not developed for it.

In the new Building Simulator you have much more freedom. The two maps, one in European style and one in US style, are each four square kilometres in size and are visually very different from each other.

Those who played Construction Simulator 2015 will perhaps remember the two tree models that were placed 30,000 times. Here, too, the developers have stepped up and provided more variety. Thus, not only conifers await us in the European setting.

On the US map, which is based on Los Angeles, you can expect hot temperatures, palm trees and even a beach where the NPCs can sunbathe. And maybe there will be a theme park – after all, L.A. is known for its attractions right on the beach. With a bit of luck, you might even get to work in the theme park yourself and build a Ferris wheel.

(The US map features elevation changes and an idyllic suburb)
(The US map features elevation changes and an idyllic suburb)

But you’re there to work, after all, not to relax. Here too, the developers at Weltenbauer have listened to feedback from the community: the missions are to be even more varied and challenging.

In addition to entertaining tasks, such as building a family home or renovating roads, you will also have to take care of large construction sites. The whole thing is supposed to come together over several campaigns in which you work together with different people and institutions.

(Heavy machinery will be used for road construction. You can also do this in the construction simulator).
(Heavy machinery will be used for road construction. You can also do this in the construction simulator).

Players’ time will be respected

There are games that you can’t or shouldn’t play on the side. If you only have an hour in the evening, you will never warm to Disco Elysium it. This raises the question of whether a large construction site in the construction simulator doesn t eat up a lot of time? The answer: yes and no.

As a player, you determine how extensive the work will be before starting the job. According to René Nold, the job planning has been revised and you determine yourself how many work steps are necessary to complete the job. As an example, he mentioned the construction of a six-storey building:

  • On the lowest level you build only the substructure.
  • On the middle level you build the substructure and a part in the middle.
  • On the highest level, build each floor.

This not only respects the time of the players. It also gives newcomers more exposure to the simulations and allows them to gradually gain experience and then work their way up to the next level of the job.

You collect experience points during your career, which you put into improvements of the vehicle fleet or your character. Be it better handling of heavy machines or less wear and tear on vehicles. However, this should not degenerate into a grind. According to the developers, it is enough to play each mission once to unlock everything.

While you are moving through the open world, you can also find collectibles in some places. However, these only bring you an archivement and no money.

 

A matter of perspective

Imagine you’re sitting in a giant crane looking down. Is there perhaps a teammate standing there? Am I placing the drywall weighing tons correctly or am I about to run out of friends? Help offers a new perspective: in addition to a camera aid that can be freely adjusted, there will also be a display showing where components have to be placed.

(In the construction simulator you will also drill holes in the ground - there are newly introduced machines for this).
(In the construction simulator you will also drill holes in the ground – there are newly introduced machines for this).

In addition, as a player you have psychic abilities, also known as Witcher-sense: With the construction view you can see where you still have to compact with the roller or where you should shovel away earth with the excavator.

In addition to the exterior view, the vehicles naturally also have an interior camera. And even outside the vehicles you can switch to the first-person perspective. Especially when transporting heavy loads, you definitely need several perspectives or teammates to show you the way through narrow streets.

(Small details: We see ourselves in the mirror while we are at work)
(Small details: We see ourselves in the mirror while we are at work)

Of course, every mission can also be completed in single player. But simulations are much more fun in multiplayer. In the construction simulator there will be a cooperative mode for four players. As in the predecessor, one player hosts the game and others can join. There will be no cross-play between PC and consoles. But there will be cross gen multiplayer between PS4 and PS5 and also between Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Even more realism

While René Nold showed us the new construction simulator, we noticed a few details that should not go unmentioned. The wear indicator of the machines was immediately noticeable: the more intensively we use a machine, the sooner it wears out. What sounds logical and comprehensible is unfortunately not always a standard feature of simulations in 2022.

However, you don’t have to do the repair work yourself; instead, you can park the machines in your company overnight or have them serviced when you refuel. It is currently not known whether wear and tear can be completely deactivated.

Another detail is the dynamic filling level of tippers. When loading sand and gravel, the load can also get lost. If you drive too fast into a curve, the vehicle tilts to the side and you lose part of the load. This is another small detail that adds to the immersion and increases the degree of realism.

(In the construction simulator, the filling level of the loading area plays a role. If you don't pay attention, you will reach your destination without a load.)
(In the construction simulator, the filling level of the loading area plays a role. If you don’t pay attention, you will reach your destination without a load.)

The loading of material, such as Euro pallets with roof tiles, also becomes more realistic in the new part of the series. While in Construction Simulator 2015 you could still organise competitions to see who could hoist the most pallets onto the loading area, everything will be different in the new part. When loading, you as the player receive a display for positioning. This makes loading and securing loads more realistic.

When we talk about realism, control options must not be missing. In addition to Arcade, international standards such as ISO and SAE have been implemented for the controls. The SAE layout was defined by the “Society of Automotive Engineers Internation”, ISO by the “International Organization for Standardization”. The difference between the two systems is that the operating elements, for example for the boom of excavators, are mirrored. Simplified: In the USA, the SAE control system is more commonly used for excavators. In the meantime, however, many excavators can be switched over and the same will be possible in the construction simulator.

During the interview, René Nold explained that some players use special peripherals, such as two joysticks to control machines. The developers have also taken this into account and are trying to support as many different hardware configurations as possible. But the construction simulator should also be playable with steering wheel, gamepad as well as mouse and keyboard without any problems.

You have a free hand in the tasks and can solve them the way you want. Whether you lift down the fallen lantern on the roof with a crane or with a bulldozer is up to you. And if you wonder how a bulldozer gets onto a roof, you can build a ramp with earth, sand or gravel. It should also be possible to build makeshift ramps in the new construction simulator.

Do you remember the beginning of the text about morning dew and haze? What would a beautiful autumn day be without a suitable soundscape? Right, as nice as warm cola without carbon dioxide. You can do that, but somehow it’s not so thrilling. In the construction simulator you don’t have to eat or drink anything, but you can enjoy the atmosphere.

The tower clock on the European map strikes seven times at seven in the morning. And even in the distance you can hear its sound, because the sound system has been revised and dynamically adapts to your distance. When driving and walking, the sounds adapt to the ground. If you’re driving at 60 km/h on cobblestones, you will hear it clearly.

There is much more to discover

There will be much more in the new construction simulator. René Nold showed us a lot during the presentation, but we are not allowed to report on some of it at this point. What we can say is that publisher Astragon and developer Weltenbauer are convinced of the new part of the series after more than four years of development and are also planning new content and features for the future.

The feedback from the community also plays a major role and flows actively into the development. The new construction simulator is scheduled for release on 20 September 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, as well as Xbox Series One and X/S. Pre-orderers will receive a sports car, a Hape bobblehead for selected vehicles and special customisation kits for the character. But no need to worry: the content will still be available as DLC after release.

Editor’s Verdict

The construction simulator makes an impressive return. The fleet of vehicles is massive and even new players seem to be picked up well. Be it through the tutorial in the game or the manual, which explains tasks and introduces each vehicle individually. Practical: During the tasks, the game suggests the appropriate machines and equipment.

The criticisms of Construction Simulator 2015 seem to have been taken into account and have been remedied in the new game. In the end, as a player, I want to decide whether I am going to make a lot more work for myself by using a small excavator to clear a huge area. Or whether I prefer to buy goods directly in stock and not just at the beginning of the job. After all, there are no fluctuating prices for building materials or machines in the new construction simulator. So there is no pressure and I can relax and drive the five kilometres to the construction site at a snail’s pace on the motorway with my little track excavator. But in the end, you also learn: When I pick up the excavator, I’ll probably prefer to use the appropriate truck with semi-trailer. That saves time and the nerves of the NPCs.

What I have seen of the new construction simulator so far promises a lot of good things. The simulation has everything to secure a place among the top representatives of the genre. We’ll know more by the time of the release in September at the latest.

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