We do love a bit of trucking here at PC Gamer, but I'll readily admit that SCS's big rig sims are a bit bland to look at. Fortunately, both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator just became a whole lot prettier, thanks to a new lighting update introduced over the weekend.
There's a lot that's gone into update 1.40's lighting changes, and the developer dives deep into the technical details behind the overhaul in a Steam announcement post. The engine's initial lighting system was designed a decade ago, and graphics tech has come a long way since then.
As such, light sources are now more accurately modelled against their real-world counterparts, rather than an approximate guess within outdated limitations. The camera now takes light exposure into account, while the overhaul also helped add some crispness to reflections appearing on glossy surfaces.
Just from the screenshots shown, it appears to be working. There's always been a kind of flat look to SCS's truck sims, and this overhaul goes a long way towards adding more depth and life to the roads of Europe and the US.
But with substantial changes to the lighting, SCS has had to make sweeping adjustments to plenty of art assets across both games—touching up rougher textures and models that were more acceptable in the old system. But this work should better set up both games for even larger visual overhauls in future, with plans to introduce physically-based rendering somewhere down the road.
With the 1.40 update currently in Open Beta for both games, the Euro version is also working towards overhauling Germany's visuals, and adding new French locations in preparation for the upcoming Iberia DLC.