Bored of playing American Truck Simulator? Then maybe you should try installing mods. Mods are a great way of improving your gaming experience and a great way to inject a new life into a video game that you’ve been playing for a while now. In this article, we’ll be talking about American Truck Simulator mods that you should try. These mods will make American Truck Simulator more fun to play, and we’ll guide you on how to install them as well.
American Truck Simulator Mods: What are Mods?
Mods stand for modification. In the gaming space, it basically means modifying aspects within the game, ranging from the way it looks to how the game behaves. Modding will require you to tweak some files in the game’s files and assets, which will then change aspects in the game depending on what you’ve tweaked.
Modding may be something as simple as adding a new skin for cars, player’s characters, or non-playable characters. To something more extensive such as changing the physics model in the game, AI behaviors, and even the graphics. Mods are similar to downloadable contents (DLC) that developers will provide over the game’s lifespan. The only difference is, mods are usually free and are made by fans and players rather than the game’s developers.
Modding itself is nothing new, it’s been around since the 90s. The popular 1993 first-person shooter game Doom was the first game to have a large modding community. Since then, tons of games have a large modding community, including games like Grand Theft Auto. That being said, modding is limited to games on PC. Whereas console games have very little modding capabilities since players don’t have access to the game files like they do on PC.
There have been arguments revolving around the legality of mods, especially paid mods where you pay the modders to download the mods that they’ve made. While the legal battle continues, we’re just here to enjoy mods and improve our gaming experience.
American Truck Simulator Mods: How to Use
Installing mods is a fairly straightforward process. To install mods in American Truck Simulator, follow these steps:
- Download the mods that you want.
- Unzip the .ZIP or .RAR file into My Documents\American Truck Simulator\mod. The mods may be in an .SCS file, if you’ve downloaded this file, simply copy the file in the same direction.
- Once installed, open the game and open the mod manage. This option will pop up just before you choose a profile in the game.
- Afterward, simply click on the mod you choose to activate and you’re good to go.
- If you’re on macOS, then copy the ZIP file into /Library/Application. Once the file is in the directory, then you can unpack it and activate it in the game.
Keep in mind some mods will need to be “triggered” before the effects start kicking it. For example, some money cheat mods will require you to do the first three jobs in the game if you’ve just made a new profile. But otherwise, most mods will be ready to go right from the moment you activate it. Learn more on how to install mods by watching the video below:
American Truck Simulator Mods You Should Try
American Truck Simulator is actually a very popular game. The game boasts over 2 million downloads on Steam and has mostly positive reviews from users. Since it’s so popular, small wonder there’s a large modding community behind the game. There are tons of American Truck Simulator mods that you can try, here are some interesting (and free) ones:
American Truck Simulator Mods: Money and EXP Mods
One of the advantages of modding is that it can make life a lot easier in the game, and we’re starting with a mod that will do just that. If you don’t want to grind for too long at the start of the game and you want to get to the good part, then using this money and EXP mod will make life as a trucker a lot easier at the start.
Keep in mind that to trigger the money mod you will need to finish the first three jobs in the game before the money starts to kick in.
Realism and immersion are very important to simulator games. While developer SCS Software did a pretty good job in making American Truck Simulator as realistic as possible, there’s still room for improvement. One of which is the traffic in the game, which can be a bit “stagnant” in the game.
By using this realistic traffic mod, the in-game traffic will behave more like real life. It will spawn more vehicles on the road during rush hours, and they will behave differently than how it was originally programmed to. This mod also means that there are fewer cars on the road if you’re delivering cargo at midnight. All of this adds up to a more realistic experience of driving a truck on the road. Do keep in mind that the traffic will be less patient and the AI vehicles will merge into lanes much faster than usual. Again, makes it more realistic doesn’t it?
On top of that, it also changes the spawning of police vehicles in the game depending on what state you’re in. Speaking of the police…
Municipal Police Traffic Pack
American Truck Simulator has police cars spawning randomly as you drive on the road. If you were to break traffic laws while a police car is around, you’ll have to pay a hefty fine for the crime that you did. In standard form, the police cars look like boxy old vehicles in the standard black and white police livery. Needless to say, this looks rather dull. That’s where the Municipal Police Traffic mod comes in.
This mod will add a variety of livery for the police cars in almost every city in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. After installing this mod, the police cars will have various combinations of livery, push bar, and lightbar. While this mod won’t change the way the cop cars behave, it’s still exciting to see different cop cars spawning in the game. Just remember not to break any traffic laws while they’re around.
Real Gas Prices
On the subject of realism, how about adding a real gas price mod? Yes, that’s right. Instead of getting discounted prices at every gas station that you encounter in the game, why not pay real gas prices with the in-game money you’ve earned? Why pay for cheap gas when you can pay more? No one likes discounted prices!
Jokes aside, this mod won’t really add that much to the gameplay. However, if you’re into realism and immersion, then this mod is a fun way to inject just that little bit more realism into the game. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean that price will change automatically when actual gas prices change, it will only change when the mod creator makes an update to this mod.
Real Gas Stations
You’re driving a real truck, in a real American city (albeit a condensed version of it), and paying real gas prices. Why not get those gas from actual real gas stations? Yes, that’s what exactly this mod will do. Installing this mod will change the gas stations in the game to have real branding on them. The mod includes Shell, BP, Texaco, Chevron, and a few others. Now you can choose where you get your fuel from. Don’t like BP because of the environmental damage they’re causing? Well, the others aren’t actually doing the world a favor either but hey, now you can choose where to get your fuel from!
Realistic Graphic Mod
It’s hard being a trucker: long hours on the road, being all alone and away from your loved ones. It can be tiring and sad being on the road for a long time all by yourself, even if it’s just in a game. Thankfully, the views are often quite nice and with nothing else to do except driving, you can soak the view in and marvel at the world. Or at least, the in-game world.
Unfortunately, American Truck Simulator hasn’t won any awards for amazing high-detailed graphics. While the views and scenery are quite good, the detail and graphic aren’t really anything to write home about. This is fine, considering that American Truck Simulator was launched in 2016.
If you wish that the game had better graphics, then this realistic graphic mod is worth trying. This mod will add higher quality textures for the skies, the roads, and the light flares. It also enhances the colors, shadows, and brightness in the game to make it more realistic. Additionally, it will improve light reflections, weather effects, and more. Of all the American Truck Simulator mods, this one is definitely worth trying.
Going back to the subject of realism and immersion, there are no licensed real-life brands in the game. This kind of beats the point of a simulator and makes the game feel less realistic. The solution? Modding, of course. Using this Trailer Pack mod, for example, will put skins on top of the trailers in the game and you can pretend that you’re actually delivering tons of refreshing Pepsi.
Other trucks in the game will also deliver trailers with real-life brands on them, which further increases the immersion of the game.
Deliver the Caterpillar 785C Mining Truck
If you think that the cargos in American Truck Simulator aren’t challenging enough, then we recommend installing this Caterpillar 785C Mining Truck mod. If you didn’t know, these mining trucks are massive. Adult humans are nowhere near as tall as the tires on these mining trucks. In fact, this mod is the largest and widest cargo you can have in the game. So if you like a challenge, or you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to transport one of these beasts, you need to try this mod. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
What is one of the simplest and first modifications we car enthusiasts do when we have a new project car? Or in fact, any car for that matter. If you’re thinking wheels, then you’re right. And wheel modifications are also a simple way to spruce up the look of your truck in American Truck Simulator. There are several wheel mods that you can install for American Truck Simulator, but one of the most popular ones amongst players is the wheel pack by Smarty on Steam.
This mod pack includes pretty much every real-life wheel available on trucks today, and once you install this mod you can equip them for your trucks and trailers. This mod is compatible with any other trailer mod made for the game, but ideally, you should install the wheel pack first to ensure it works properly.
Decepticon Truck and Trailer Skin
So far we’ve mostly talked about mods that improve the realism and immersion of American Truck Simulator. But what if you want to spice things up and add a bit of fiction into the game? Well, you’re probably going to love the Decepticon skin mod. This mod will allow you to add a Decepticon-looking skin on top of your Peterbilt 379 and the trailer attached to it. Giving it that menacing and intimidating look as you drive through the United States. It still won’t stop the cops from fining you though should you break any traffic laws. Probably still not intimidating enough.
Kenworth T680 “The General”
If you want an outrageous-looking truck but want to keep the realism, then may we suggest this Kenworth T680 “The General” mod. This truck is basically a recreation of the TRUX Accessories 2014 show car of the same name but was originally based on the 2014 Kenworth T660. It has matte military green paint with green neon lights surrounding the truck. It’s cool, it’s intimidating, and best of all, it’s still based on a real truck. One of the must-haves mods for the truckers looking to deliver cargo in style.
American Truck Simulator Mods: Other Mods
The 11 mods we listed above are just a few of the available mods made by players and fans of the game. There are hundreds of other American Truck Simulator mods that you can download and try for the game on Steam. So if you don’t see anything you fancy from our list above, be sure to check on Steam and other websites for mods that you might like! Here are some websites where you can find American Truck Simulator mods:
Keep in mind that some mods may not work with the other. Meaning that if you’ve installed a certain mod, then another mod might not work after you install it. This usually happens when you install two mods that affect the same aspect of the game. For example, if you install the Smarty’s wheel pack, then other wheel mods might not work. We advise that you read the mod creator’s description to see if there are any compatibility issues since they might not work if you have a certain version of the game as well.
American Truck Simulator: Tips & Tricks for Beginners
If you’re new to American Truck Simulator, or you’ve just decided to download it after reading this post, there are a few tips you might want to keep in mind. Some of these tips may not be relevant if you’re using the money and EXP mods. But if you’re looking to only use mods that alter the visuals of the game, here are some useful tips:
Pick Quick Jobs
When choosing a job and cargo to deliver in the game, you can filter it by the length of the journey. Shorter journeys will obviously earn you less money and XP, but quicker to finish. This will then allow you to take more jobs in the same amount of time to finish a longer job.
If you’re just starting, it will be better to take quick jobs. This way, you’ll put more money in your trucker’s bank account more quickly and gives you a steady income. Additionally, quick jobs won’t require you to have your own truck, so you won’t have to worry about gas and repairs.
Take Out a Loan
Taking out a loan can be scary, whether it’s in real life or American Truck Simulator. But in the case of the latter, there’s really no need to be afraid. Besides, you’re going to have to work on quick jobs for a long time to gather enough cash to buy a truck without taking out a loan.
We recommend gathering up $20,000 from quick jobs and then taking out a $100,000 loan from the bank to buy your own truck. Some trucks such as the Peterbilt 579 Duty Cabin costs $112,795. This will then open up more possibilities for you to earn money, including doing jobs with longer journeys.
One thing to note is that when you do deliveries with your own truck, you will need to pay for gas yourself. If the truck requires repairs, this will also come out of your own pocket. So while it does open up more job opportunities, owning a truck also means that there will be more expenses for you to pay.
Invest in These Skills
As you level up in the game, you will earn skill points that you can then invest in various skills in the game. When done correctly, these skills will benefit you greatly in the game and make life quite a lot easier. Here are the skills that we recommend you invest in when you level up:
- Long Distance. This allows you to accept jobs with longer distances, and awards you with more money and experience points for doing so.
- High-Value Cargo. You will earn more money and experience points every time you finish a high-value delivery.
- Fragile Cargo. Investing in this skill will allow you to take up fragile cargo deliveries, which pay higher. You will also earn more money and experience for completing them.
- Hazardous Cargo. Similar to fragile cargo, these jobs pay you more money. Investing in this skill will also earn you more money and experience points for completing the job.
- Just-in-Time Delivery. This one’s also similar to the fragile cargo job, only it’s called an “important delivery”. Investing in this skill will allow you to accept this type of job. And of course, earn you more money and experience points.
- Fuel Economy. You will become more fuel-efficient as you drive around, thus saving you gas money as you make deliveries.
We recommend spending your first skill point for the Long Distance skill. This will let you travel further and opens up a world of opportunities for you. After that, if you feel that the fuel costs are too high, then you should invest in Fuel Economy.
Watch Out for Cops
Being a simulator, American Truck Simulator tries its best to feel realistic and immersive. This includes driving laws and the cops in the game. Just because you’re in a game, doesn’t mean you can just drive about as you please while ignoring the law, not in this game anyway.
The cop cars are in black and white colors, and if you see them, best to drive in a civilized manner and abide by the traffic law. If a cop catches you breaking the law, such as running a red light, for example, you will have to pay a hefty fine. Which will be fine if your trucking empire has grown and you are now a wealthy truck driver who’s still delivering cargo just for the fun of it. But if you’re just starting, then you literally can’t afford to get a fine.
Use Your Turn Signals
Admittedly, your turn signals might not be that important in real life. Your flick the indicator stalk, you’re ready to turn left, but no one going to other way seems to care and isn’t allowing you to turn. Thankfully, not in American Truck Simulator. Putting on the turn signals to switch lanes or to make a turn will tell the AI traffic to get out of your way. Allowing you to switch lanes or turn safely without hitting anyone, keeping your cargo safe and your truck undamaged.
Additionally, not using your turn signal while turning can also result in a fine if a cop car is around. So unless you have a clear road and there are no cops in sight, always use your turn signals. Actually, always use your turn signals no matter what, both in American Truck Simulator and in real life. Be a safe driver. Speaking of which…
As mentioned, breaking the law while a cop car is around will earn you a hefty fine. Additionally, once you have your own truck, you will responsible for any repair costs should you need any. Not to mention crashing will damage the cargo you’re delivering and decrease your earnings. It would be best to drive safely and avoid accidents and abide by the traffic rules to keep expenses at a minimum. Kind of like real life, really.
American Truck Simulator Mods: Final Words
While developers spend thousands of hours developing a game, more often than not there are still improvements that can be made to the game. That’s where mods come in. It either changes or adds a new aspect to the game, improving your overall gaming experience. A lot of the time it will also inject new life into a game. Making it exciting to play once again even if you have spent hours playing it.
Be sure to read the descriptions from the mod creator, as there might be compatibility issues when installing a mod. This is perfectly normal since they’re not the original developers and are just enthusiasts trying to make the game more fun to play. Hopefully, you’ll have fun modding American Truck Simulator after reading this.