Games aren’t just about pulse-pounding action anymore. There’s plenty of room for slower, more relaxing experiences, and no game exemplifies this variety better than Euro Truck Simulator 2. If the thought of driving a heavy truck across Europe makes you yearn for the open road, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more suitable game to satisfy your haulage needs.
Following its launch in 2012, Euro Truck Simulator 2 (and its brother American Truck Simulator 2) has built up a dedicated fanbase of tens of thousands of devoted players who can’t get enough of the game’s slow-paced driving. The fanbase has also produced in-game creators who have been consistently adding content, features, and of course, trucks into the game.
One such fan is Francesco Bramato, an Italian developer by day and a die-hard simulator fan by night. To help him keep track of his personal stats in-game, Bramato developed the app Trucky. With low expectations, Bramato shared his creation with the ETS 2 community, but when he decided to move his app to the Overwolf platform, things really started gaining momentum.
The long haul
“I initially chose Overwolf for their overlay capabilities,” says Bramato. “All I wanted to do was display a clock in-game that lets you see how much time the drive will take in real-time, rather than in the game time.”
This simple feature, displayed on the game’s UI, was useful enough to catch the attention of many other virtual truckers, and the developer quickly saw a massive increase in user acquisition rate. Without meaning to, Bramato had discovered a gap in the market, earning cash for helping his fellow ETS fans enjoy the game.
“Monetizing with ads on the Overwolf platform is extremely easy, so I quickly found out I was making nice money out of it. Not enough to quit my job just yet, but enough to encourage me to keep maintaining it and developing new features.”
Coming up with new ideas for the app may seem like a daunting task, but Francesco had help in the form of a constant stream of suggestions from his users.
Call in the convoy
“ETS 2 may be a niche game, but it has a very active and involved community,” he says. “Once they saw there was an app for them on the market, they started offering their feedback proactively. In fact, the apps’ two main features today were born solely due to community demand.”
And these features went beyond adding a utility or a visual display to the game, though Francesco kept adding those in as well. It turns out the community wanted a whole new way to play the game, and in Trucky, they saw a way to get just that.
“Dispatcher – our first big game-changer – gave players the ability to create the tasks and the routes they wanted and not rely on the in-game system of tasks,” the developer explains. “They even asked for and got the option to share a task with other players, and complete it together in convoy – the games’ online mode.”
Trucky’s other community-driven feature went even further with online and co-op-based functionality. The next update turned the Euro Truck Simulator and Trucky combo into something resembling an MMO, allowing players from around the world to play together.
This feature (named VTC or Virtual Transport Company) takes the game’s function of creating a virtual company and allows you to co-own this company with your gaming buddies. In other words, it adds the in-game guild function to the game. The feature was an instant hit, with players forming over 3,600 virtual corporations with over 69,000 users using the app in the first few months.
Keep on truckin’
The Overwolf management dashboard – a stats tracker built into the app – tells us that while using this new mode, players have driven close to 2.5 billion kilometres (roughly 1.5 billion miles) combined. That’s roughly the distance between the Sun and Uranus.
So what’s next for Trucky? Bramato says that while ETS 2 will never be the next Call of Duty, Trucky still has much space for growth in this niche inside a niche of the gaming industry.
“ETS 2 has been kept alive and popular only because of its active community, which keeps adding in new content, models, mods, and maps that keep it relevant through the years,” he concludes.
“I want Trucky to play a major role in this. I imagine a future where Trucky is synonymous with ETS 2 – that it makes no sense to play one without the other. With the tools and support provided by Overwolf, and of course, the financial potential of monetizing apps on this platform, I believe this future is not only possible but also close.”