Euro Truck Simulator 2 has a lot of fans, with one of the nicest online communities out there. One lover of the game has gone further than most in his admiration by becoming a big rig truck driver in reality - and we've interviewed him.
Did you ever like a game so much you thought "I wish I could do this in reality"? The fact is of course that employment openings in fighting zombies, patrolling the lonely depths of space, smashing ancient gods back into their own dimension or even playing for FC Barcelona or the Golden State Warriors are not easy to come by.
That is why most of us game. To make the impossible possible.
There is a category of simulator games that does more closely resemble real life - or real life as most of us at least could experience it. And the current daddy of them all is Euro Truck Simulator 2. Drive a big rig, enjoy the scenery, listen to the radio, make deliveries, hire NPCs, build a trucking business, improve your vehicles and trailers, increase skills to make more money with trickier loads and much, much more.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 sits constantly in the Steam chart top 30, and with five million copies sold, there's no doubt SCS Software are pleased with their title and its sister game American Truck Simulator, with its Peterbilts and Kenworths.
Also pleased with the game is Zdenko Martinovic from Sarajevo in Bosnia. In fact, Zdenko, 30, is so pleased with Euro Truck Simulator 2 that he's qualified as a truck driver in real life on the back of his playing experiences.
Starting out as a general streamer, he moved into the more specialist world of ETS2 and now rarely ventures outside it when online on his YouTube channel . But yes, he also now drives for a real trucking company doing international work across Europe and is qualified on the largest of rigs, driving vehicles with a total mass of 40 tonnes - that's 44 tons for US readers.
AltChar had the pleasure of interviewing him:
You started your streaming career by playing the likes of Fortnite, Call of Duty and Battlefield, yet now, you only stream ETS2. What happened?
Yeah, I started with the games I loved and played my whole life. When I started streaming on YouTube, I always thought that I'll need to play as many games as possible, but I quickly realised I was wrong and that this plan only split my subscribers into groups. Euro Truck Simulator 2 came randomly, I just started playing it without any expectations and I haven't stopped driving ever since. So it's not only relaxing - my channel has got something that other games didn't have.
What made you go from the virtual world of trucking to the real world of trucking?
Soon after I started playing, my love for the big machines started to grow bigger and bigger. I started learning about trucks and virtually devoured all the material I came across. I wanted to know about every truck and in the process, it just came to me that driving trucks is something that I want to do in my life.
Funnily, I didn't even have an AM category driving licence (a basic sub 50cc licence) at the time, let alone the one for semi-trailer truck but I said to myself "you're gonna do it". And here I am, with driving licences for every category, including the big rig.
What was the hardest part of getting the licence? How did ETS2 help you with it?
Well, I struggled on my first day of driving, I couldn't even imagine sitting in a truck and driving around on a highway with the other drivers around me. But thanks to my Logitech wheel, gearbox and pads I got the basics down. So it was pretty easy in the end to be honest.
Is it going to be too much to drive trucks in real life and for fun? Are you still planning on doing streaming once you're behind the wheel full time?
Of course, the plan is to continue with streaming and also add some vlogs from my trips all around Europe. Most of the time I will be on the road but whenever I'm home I won't miss the opportunity to play ETS 2 with my subscribers. It's one of my favourite activities on the channel.
What trucks have you driven for real?
The first one was a 2007 Iveco, a truck with which I took the driving licence test for the C(DL) (large goods vehicle with a maximum authorised mass of more than 3.5 tonnes) category. I used the same truck but with a trailer for the CE category. These are beautiful machines and they quickly earned my respect.
Do other drivers have enough respect for the size and weight of trucks on the real road?
Yeah, I think there is a lot of people that respect trucks and truck drivers but obviously, some think it's a smart decision to drive in truck's dead angle. Don't be that person. Life has no respawn button.
Have any other real truckers offered you advice you found helpful?
I'm just starting with my new job so I didn't have the opportunity to sit down with some seasoned veterans and listen to their stories. Of course, I'm looking forward to those conversations as I have a lot to learn and their advice is always welcome.
ETS2 isn’t as popular as the games we already mentioned, so why pick it?
I totally agree that ETS 2 isn't as popular as some heavy hitters out there but my goal was to introduce it to my audience and make it popular. A lot of people are watching my streams for the relaxing atmosphere that myself and ETS 2 can deliver. I never doubted myself because I didn't have anything to lose, and I ended up proving that not everything is about Fortnite, Call of Duty, etc.
On your, channel you also have videos where you teach your family members to drive…
Yeah, I figured that the channel would benefit from something different and a bit of laugh was exactly what was needed. I just love to make people laugh and make their day just a bit better, and my wife and sister feel the same way.
You also started a whole ETS community for your subscribers?
I founded an in-game company that counts 350 drivers at the moment, and every month two drivers get randomly picked and rewarded with some type of DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2. It just gives everyone an extra reason to hang out on the server and it's all about making friends.
Have you ever thought about streaming in English?
I have done it, but my current audience really likes my stream in only Bosnian.
Any particular stuff you would love to see in ETS in the future updates or games?
Since I'm from the Balkans, I would love to see proper mapping of the region, just like the devs did with other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.
What is your favourite ETS mod?
Pro mods map expansions, the guys behind it are doing a fantastic job. On top of that, I also love to add some old trucks from time to time.
Scania or Mercedes?
DAF till I die.