Farming Simulator 2013: Review and Science
Farming Simulator 2013 is a huge improvement on the previous version, Farming Simulator 2011 which I wrote about in a past article. FS2013 is a huge change of pace from action shooters and the like. But it is still something hard core gamers can enjoy. The action is limited, you really can't 'die', and you have to create carnage yourself, by ramming your vehicles into other vehicles or objects. If you do that however, have fun getting them untangled. There are however methods to make the game more interesting for those who enjoy action packed challenges... But that isn't what this game is about. Farming Simulator puts you in control of a modern farming business. It is mostly a management game, giving you the freedom to either hire worked to do the work, or do much of it yourself to save money. This game would be for people who like managing money, and deciding what path to take their business.
Once you get around the fact that this is not GTA: Farming Simulator, and realize that the object of the game is to manage your farm, and grow, then things seem to come into perspective. The game is mostly enjoyed as a way to kill time, and relax. Many farmers will tell you that their favorite part of farming is being alone in their Tractor, out cultivating a field. Well, this is also the case in Farming Simulator 2013.
Solo Play can be lonely at first. With limited resources, there isn't much to keep you busy with one field. That being said, you do have stored grains and potatoes / beets which you can ship to the market to sell. I would suggest getting rid of most of your smaller tractors, and keeping the 2 largest ones. Then purchasing a larger trailer - the 1800 Pro seems to work well - in order to haul more grain to market. Purchasing more fields is important too. I would push to purchase Field 14 and 15 early on, even if it means getting a bank loan. Use the plow to link Fields 15 and 16 together as well. This will fill up the 1800 Pro nicely with Grain, and Field 14 will easily provide almost 2 loads of grain as well.
In solo mode, it saves time to hire workers (a maximum of 10 workers can be hired at a time) to help you out. When you hire workers, the cost of the worker, pays for the work he is doing as well. The fuel which is consumed, in combination with any activity the tractor is doing, such as sowing or fertilizing is factored into the cost. Once a field is harvested, issue an order to a worker to have them cultivate it to get it ready for planting, while you work on harvesting the other field. This will give you a good start. From here, you will earn enough each harvest to purchase new equipment, fields, and animals.
A lot has improved in FS2013, compared with FS2011. The fields are mostly rectangular, and square, with obstructions like trees only placed near the corners. This limits the AI hired workers getting hung up on them (they still do from time to time however). It also ensures that the hired workers will only work straight lines. In FS2011, a common issue was when workers would work curved fields, they would think they were finished in some spots, where the curve was too shallow. They would also not work in straight lines, and you would have fields with missed spots if you wern't careful.
The MultiPlayer support is also very well done for a farming simulator, and while the lack of dedicated servers is a slight annoyance for those of us who enjoy setting up such things. A dedicated server set up may be beneficial as well, as I have noticed massive lag spikes involving this game. Perhaps the lag spikes were created by outside factors, but they have the ability to make the game unplayable until the latency catches up. That being said, while that can be a slight annoyance... For what it is, it has fairly decent multiplayer support. I have seen first person shooters with far worse.
Mod support is also very good, and the modding community is fairly large. You can find a wide variety of mods, and the list will only grow. Farming Simulator 2011 had many thousands of mods, some even including familiar fictional vehicles from other popular games. I imagine those mods will be ported to FS2013, and new mods will be made as well. The stock variety in the basic game however is fairly good, and you will find yourself with many options without having to download mods. But if you do just need to drive that John Deere tractor you grew up watching your father drive around his field, then I am pretty sure you can find it.
Some fairly annoying 'features' in the game, are the tractor physics. They are roughly the same as in Farming Simulator 2011, however now it seems that every vehicle acts like magnets towards other vehicles. Driving a tractor and trailer along the road is a dangerous task; you may run into some of the AI cars that travel on the roads. Often those will magnetize to the side of your tractor or trailer. I can see that there needs to be some sort of friction on trailers especially, for when you need to transport equipment on flatbeds. However on trailers and vehicles which normally don't transport other equipment, I do not see a reason for them to cling to each other. This also creates problems in a tractor pile, where the first tractor gets stuck on a part of the map, and you have to use other tractors to knock it free. Sometimes the two tractors will stick together, and now you will have 2 tractors stuck. Duncan and Sjin from the Yogscast encountered this very problem in this video:
The missions which have been added, remind me of the missions in Ski Region Simulator 2012, which - in that game - felt fairly natural. You often see Ski-doo's and such while skiing, carting around equipment on small trailers up and down the hills. However in this game, the missions are quite out of place. I have never heard of a family who was going on vacation, forgetting their luggage, and requesting a farmer with a fork lift to haul their pallet full of 4 suitcases to the airport. It just doesn't make sense. That, and the missions do not allow you enough time, and do not honestly reward enough money for them to be even remotely worth-while. I tried several times to complete the missions, but found that they were practically impossible, so I just turned them off. The grass cutting missions could be possible in late game, when you have faster tractors with grass cutting implements. You could also purchase the smaller grass cutters and position them at the Trailer Park and Golf Course, which seems to be the two places where the grass cutting missions take place.
Some Farming Simulator 2013 Science:
In Farming Simulator 2013 Wheat, Barley and Canola (as well as other yields) are priced by the Ton. In the games 'fictional' world, 1000 litres of each of the above substances, equals a Ton.
This is not actually correct however, and in my opinion, the game would be more interesting if the weights were actually calculated into the selling price. Grain weights differ based on the grain, and also on environmental factors. But for argument's sake, we can refer to this website for some statistics: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/PC_91888.html?s=1001 This measurement is based on Kg's, and there are 907 Kg's in a Ton. So Wheat weighs 0.75Kg per litre, so it would take 1209 litre's of Wheat to make a Ton.
As a side note, I believe that it would be more interesting if the crops didn't wither, however they could dry out, over time increasing the price for that specific grain. Rain would obviously raise the moisture in the grain, and thus decrease the price. That is another thing. Rain plays a big part in farming, and when to harvest. You can't harvest crops while they are wet. This adds some challenge to the game. I imagine this was removed due to the crops withering. I guess they ran into issues where a rain storm would come in, disallow a field from being harvested, and then you have to wait for it to dry, only to have it wither on you. Personally I would much rather get rid of withering, and being back rain.
I also noticed that no matter which time scale you choose, the wage for helpers, and the speed of the tractors remains the same. The only thing that changes I believe is the growth of crops and time of day. While I can see how making the tractors work the fields super fast might take some of the depth out of the game, and watching the tractors plow a field, while paying them real time pay rates would save you a ton of money, it does kind of make using helpers in real time, fairly unprofitable. I find that 15x timescale is a fairly reasonable timescale at which to work at, and therefore I have made that my default timescale. But I will often bump it down to real time in order to harvest.
Ever since Farming Simulator 2011, I have been curious what the difference between a plowed field, and a cultivated field was. I understand that in most cases you needed to cultivate the field in 'FS2011' in order to grow crops on it, but why the plows? I figured it was mostly for customization when you wanted to expand your fields. Again in Farming Simulator 2013, I have been wondering what benefits you get from each. I did notice that in this version, you now no longer need to cultivate a field after plowing, before being able to sow it with seeds. So what is the difference?
I decided to make Field 15 (0.54 Hectares) a test field, and systematically go through each crop, with the most basic of instruments, and try a variety of plowing, cultivating fertilizing and sowing, in order to judge if there is any noticeable difference in yields. This is on Normal Difficulty, and Normal crop growth settings. This part of the blog is still being updated.
Wheat - Plow, Cultivate, Sow, Fertilize: 21h 12865L (23,824L/ha)
Wheat - Plow, Sow, Fertilize: 22h 12634L (23,396L/ha)
Wheat - Cultivate, Sow, Fertilize: 21h 12852L (23,800L/ha)
Wheat likely has a yield of 24,000L/ha, and takes 22h to grow.
Barley - Plow, Cultivate, Sow, Fertilizer: 24h 11688L (21,644L/ha)
Barley - Plow, Sow, Fertilizer: 22h 11848L (21,940L/ha)
Barley - Cultivate, Sow, Fertilizer: 24h 11701L (21,668L/ha)
So Barley likely has a yield of 22,000L/ha, but takes 24h to grow.
Canola - Plow, Cultivate, Sow, Fertilizer: 26h 6442L (11,929L/ha)
Canola - Plow, Sow, Fertilizer: 29h 6321L (11,705L/ha)
Canola - Cultivate, Sow, Fertilize: 28h 6429L (11,905L/ha)
Canola likely has a yield of 12,000L/ha, but takes 28 hours to grow.
Potatoes - Plow, Cultivate, Sow, Fertilizer: 36h 42,250L (78,240L/ha)
Potatoes - Plow, Sow, Fertilizer: 36h
Note on Growing Times: Further research has concluded that growing times may just increase with the number of fields currently owned. That being said, Potatoes seem to still take longer to mature, despite this new info.
Grain: Start @ 14:00 1800
Sugar Beets: About 2 harvest cycles to wither.
I decided to try each tractor, with a worker, and the basic sowing machine, on a field for 30 seconds each, and calculate the running cost. Here are the results:
Kramer KL 200 ($15,000)
Worker Fees: $2820 / hour @ 5mph
SAME Argon 75 ($57,000)
Worker Fees: $3540 / hour @ 7mph
BÜHRER 6135A ($65,000)
Worker Fees: $3120 / hour @ 9mph
Lindner Geotrac 94 ($94,000)
Worker Fees: $2580 / hour @ 8mph
Deutz Argotron K 420 ($112,000)
Worker Fees: $3,240 / hour @ 8mph
SAME Explorer3 105 ($119,000)
Worker Fees: $3,240 / hour @ 9mph
HÜRLIMANN XL 130 ($130,000)
Worker Fees: $3,360 / hour @ 9mph
Lamborghini R4.110 Italia ($132,000)
Worker Fees: $3,360 / hour @ 8mph
Duetz 430 Agrotron TTV ($133,000)
Worker Fees: $3,720 / hour @ 9mph
Duetz 430 Agrotron TTV (Care Wheels) ($135,000)
Worker Fees: $3,720 / hour @ 9mph
SCHLÜTER Super Trac 2500 VL ($139,000)
Worker Fees: $3,720 / hour @ 10mph
Duetz Agrotron M 620 ($164,000)
Worker Fees: $4,000 / hour @ 9mph
Duetz 6190 Argotron TTV ($210,000)
Worker Fees: $3,840 / hour @ 10mph
Duetz 7250 Argotron TTV ($263,000)
Worker Fees: $3,480 / hour @ 10mph
Duetz Argotron X 720 ($271,000)
Worker Fees: $3,840 / hour @ 10mph
Case IH Quadtrac 600 ($359,000)
Worker Fees: $3,360 / hour @ 11mph
Case IH Steiger 600 ($359,000)
Worker Fees: $3,360 / hour @ 11mph
The above costs are based on a 30 second test, using the AMAZONE D1 sowing machine and nothing else on a straight uninterrupted patch of field. The costs are not overly accurate, but give you a baseline idea of what it will cost each tractor. With other implements attached, the cost will go up. For example, my favorite combination, a Duetz 7250 Argotron TTV, with a HORSCH Express 3 TD 3-point Seed Drill sowing wheat, and a AMAZONE ZA-M 1501 fertilizer spreader attached to the front. This combination will fertilize and sow your crops in one go, with a worker doing most of the work. However, it will cost you an astounding $12,960 per hour! With the ZA-M 1501 turned off however, the same setup nets $5,400 per hour. Much more affordable. I suppose this is because the worker fees do also pay for the products being used and the fuel of the tractor. Fertilizer is expensive, and I imagine that is what most of the cost is.
So I hope this post gives you an overview of what to expect in the game, and some tips on how to pursue your own venture in farming.