We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

American Truck Simulator just got even prettier and more convenient

American Truck Simulator update 1.49 is here, delivering a beautiful graphics update, automatic headlights, keybind modifiers, and more.

American Truck Simulator update 1.49 makes it even prettier - A black cab hauling a cargo of large tree trunks.

American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2 remain two of my favorite relaxing games, and with a 96% Steam user rating I know I’m not alone. There’s something blissfully soothing about cruising down a long stretch of US highway in the barrelling rain, your wipers going nineteen to the dozen to keep your vision clear as you deliver a platter of hazardous chemicals across the country to a research facility in Nevada. Now, with American Truck Simulator update 1.49, that experience is even more beautiful – and there’s some long-awaited quality-of-life upgrades in here as well.

Arriving today on Thursday, November 23, American Truck Simulator 1.49 gives the game’s weather and skyboxes a big upgrade, and adds in some very welcome features including automatic headlights, a long-requested improvement to key bindings, more accessible truck options for starting out, and even some new locations and cargo. If it’s been a while since you hopped in your cab, perhaps it’s time to return to one the best simulation games on PC.

First up is that graphics update. I’ve already waxed lyrical about the beauty of chugging through a rainstorm, and now that’s about to look even more beautiful. Skyboxes will now feature HDR (high dynamic range), giving them more rich and vibrant colors. Thunderstorms will now feature visible lightning strikes, while during clearer skies you’ll be able to spot dynamic stars and the return of the Moon.

YouTube Thumbnail

Long absent but much requested, developer SCS Software explains, “What might appear as a simple addition – the Moon – has posed some significant challenges for some time. Integrating the Moon into the night sky requires casting, rendering and calculating lunar light, proper phases, managing reflections in water bodies, dealing with wet roads, and addressing mirror effects, among other things.” A little more than just a well-placed image in the sky, then.

A change I’m very glad to see arrive, and one SCS notes was highly requested, is the addition of keybind modifiers. Previously, you were limited to using just a single key for your actions, which could get a little limiting with representing just how many buttons, knobs, and sliders are found on your average truck. Now, you can use combinations, such as Shift and another key, vastly expanding your potential. Your preferred modifier keys can be manually set, too, so you aren’t limited to preset options.

American Truck Simulator - A black cab with a white cargo crate drives up a steep hill at the PACCAR testing facility.

Also very welcome is the addition of automatic headlights and high beams. Catching up with a trend seen on some more modern vehicles, you’ll now have the option to toggle automatic headlights, which will then turn on when the ambient light falls to a certain threshold. I almost without fail get hit with in-game warnings because I don’t turn my lights on until it’s way too dark, so I’ll certainly be making use of this. The automatic high beams setting, meanwhile, will toggle them off temporarily when another vehicle is in front of you, saving you from flashing any other drivers accidentally.

Damage and repairs have had an overhaul, too. Rather than the simple percentage-based system we’ve had for many years now, there are now three different ways your vehicles can break down. Standard damage can be fixed with repairs, parts wear will require replacing the affected component, and permanent wear represents your truck’s overall aging and requires an expensive total restoration to recover from.

In addition to this, dealerships will now offer used trucks from the get-go, providing a budget-friendly alternative early on at the cost of dealing with some pre-existing mileage and wear.

American Truck Simulator 1.49 - Screenshot showing the new menu for damage, with various forms of wear and tear that can affect components.

Elsewhere, the update includes the introduction of the PACCAR Technical Center in Washington State, a key development center for truck manufacturers Kenworth and Peterbilt, while the mountains around Salt Lake City have been given a touch up in quality for those of you traveling through Utah.

American Truck Simulator update 1.49 is out now on Steam. If you’ve yet to jump in for yourself, there’s even a Steam sale on the go. At 75% off until Tuesday November 28, expect to pay just $4.99 / £4.22 for the base American Truck Simulator. Almost all of its various expansion packs are on offer, too, so check out the Steam page for all the deals.

If you are starting up the engine, be sure to check in with the best ATS mods. Alternatively, kick back with the most relaxing games on PC, if trucking isn’t your ideal happy place. We’ve also lined up the best racing games, if you’re in the mood to kick up the gears and go a little faster.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides.