Have you ever wanted to try your hand at livestock production? Or see what it’s like to grow olives in the Mediterranean? “Farming Simulator,” a long-running video game series, gives you the opportunity to build the farm of your dreams in a realistic simulator.
“Farming Simulator” is a family-friendly video game series developed by GIANTS Software where players can simulate work on a variety of farming operations in agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry. The game features open-world, sandbox-style gameplay that allows players to manage their own farm and handle operations however they’d like as they build their agriculture empire.
The latest iteration, “Farming Simulator 22,” features virtual replicas of over 400 agriculture machines from real-life manufacturers across North America and Europe like Case IH, John Deere, New Holland, CLAAS, Massey Ferguson, and — with this latest expansion pack — Kubota.
Kubota joins the fleet
The new expansion pack to the game is introducing a fleet of Kubota machines and branded content including 11 new vehicles, tools, and player outfits to the game. Included in the pack are the Kubota M8, M5, M6, M7, the SVL 97-2 and SSV 75 skid steers, and the R640 front loader.
Players can also use the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick and RTV-X1140W-H UTVs alone or in co-operative multiplayer to handle some of the in-game farming tasks.
GIANTS Software has previously collaborated with other Kubota-owned brands in the past like Great Plains, Vicon and Kverneland. The release of the Kubota expansion lines up with the 50th anniversary of Kubota in the United States, however, this collaboration with GIANTS Software has been in the works since 2019, and was delayed due to COVID-19, says John Lee, director of marketing for Kubota.
From Kubota employees to equipment owners, the demand has been around for a while. “We were hearing that players of the game were modifying the game to take some of the existing equipment and wrap it orange so it looked like Kubota equipment,” says Lee. This expansion pack for “Farming Simulator” is part of Kubota’s outreach to a broader, younger audience that represents the next generation of business owners, engineers, and farmers.
Thomas Frey, vice president of business development at GIANTS Software, says there can be some pressure to ensure the virtual replicas are satisfying to operate in-game and meet the expectations of the brands they collaborate with.
“At GIANTS Software we are very into details and are always trying to replicate all the machines as realistic as possible,” says Frey. “There is a close cooperation with each manufacturer, and thanks to the support we receive from them, it’s possible to increase the level of detail and the visual quality with every version.”
The research process for each piece of in-game equipment varies based on the complexity of the machine. Bigger, complex machines like combines or harvesters require the team to spend more time exploring and figuring out how they work. Many of them have farming backgrounds and are able to use their experience and knowledge when learning about these machines.
GIANTS Software works closely with the engineers of each manufacturer, and many of the in-game 3D models are based on actual construction data from the real-life machines.
For the Kubota expansion, the manufacturer provided GIANTS with the physical machinery, which the developer would scan for the game. Scanning is no simple task, however, with each unit taking around five to six business days to fully scan into a 3D model.
“[GIANTS] would laser scan, create and render 3D models, and then [Kubota] would put our engineering team in touch with their engineers who are building the game to talk through the real world specs and performance capabilities of the equipment,” says Lee.
The team of 3D vehicle artists use this data to create their own 3D models, optimized for graphical performance on video game consoles and mobile devices. After replicating a vehicle’s external visuals, the designers at GIANTS are tasked with working on the machinery’s moving parts and animations to make sure it interacts with the game world properly.
Over the last decade and different iterations of the “Farming Simulator” series, GIANTS has been working to improve the look of in-game machines, which Frey says look more realistic than ever.
“We are getting closer and closer to photorealism, and our models feature many details like buttons, levers, etc.,” says Frey. “Function-wise, it’s not possible to push every button a tractor has and shows in-game, but the complexity regarding how a tractor can be used has also developed over the years.”
An example of this complexity is the ability to drive with manual or automatic gearboxes in the latest version of the game.
Price and availability
The Kubota Pack for “Farming Simulator 22” launches digitally on June 28 for $12.99, and is available to pre-order at a reduced price now. This downloadable extra content requires “Farming Simulator 22” available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game retails between $49.99 and $59.99 depending on the platform. For more information, visit farming-simulator.com.