An In-Depth Look at Farming Simulator 22's Development

Founder and CEO of GIANTS Software Christian Ammann spoke about the development process behind Farming Simulator 22: The Platinum Edition, talked about the upcoming features, and shared some insights regarding hiring new specialists.


I’m Christian Ammann, Founder of GIANTS Software. I studied at the University of Bern in Switzerland and graduated with a Master of Science in Computer Science. Leaving my home ground, I first worked as a Software Engineer at Sony Computer Entertainment America. Afterward, I moved to NVIDIA, climbed the career ladder, and became a Senior Software Engineer. Today, I lead GIANTS Software as a CEO.

GIANTS Software

We established the company in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2004 and launched the first Farming Simulator in 2008. Since then, we have grown tremendously and opened new offices in Erlangen, Germany, Brno, Czechia, and most recently Chicago, USA. We are all one big team, working together to maintain and nurture the Farming Simulator universe.

There are different tasks and departments settled at our four locations, the GIANTS engine is done in our Headquarters in Switzerland, same as map design and relationships with manufacturers. In the Czech Republic, we focus on vehicle and machine design, while the vehicle animation and gameplay integration are developed in Germany; QA testing and marketing and communication are also done in the Erlangen office.

Obviously, all those topics are interwoven in many ways and we cultivate a very open-minded working environment. Next to various regular meetings (needless to say that those are online most of the time), our passionate employees regularly come up with fresh ideas. Everyone is invited to get involved in all ongoing topics, which are organized via online planning tools. Productive and direct communication is guaranteed through frequent discussions and project-based chat groups.

Hiring New Specialists

Obviously, the skill set has to meet the job requirements. Being a publisher, we have very different positions not only within game development, but also related to marketing, sales, events, etc. In the end, the applicant has to fit into our open, diverse, and international culture. We collaborate and work within small hierarchies and have an open-door policy. There is no elbow mentality, we are looking for team players with a  "Let’s do it" attitude. The onboarding process covers many introductions on structural and personal levels, and we allow a decent amount of time to familiarize ourselves with our DNA. We have no 100-page rule book, we still know that gaming means fun!

The Studio's Engine

The GIANTS engine was born with my master's thesis at university. Built from scratch, it was created with the vision to create video games in Switzerland. The engine is 100% self-made, a full-featured technology stack, and right from the start ready for multiplatform game development.

We used it first in our initial PC game Farming Simulator in 2008, but the engine structure was prepared to support various, at this point unknown, platforms. Throughout the years, we delivered our game to more than 20 platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. I’m proud of many major milestones like multiplayer, mod support even on consoles, and most recently cross-play. We constantly improve and update our technology and nowadays, it’s the GIANTS engine 9 running in Farming Simulator 22.

The Farming Simulator Series

Including DLCs, we have released new Farming Simulator content every year since 2008. It varied depending on platforms, as mobile platforms are less powerful than PCs or consoles, but at the bottom line, we continuously expanded the Farming Simulator universe step by step. Therefore, we don’t have to start from scratch, instead, we build upon an existing framework.

The first steps for a new iteration are two-folded – on one hand, we discuss long feature wishlists, based on our own opinions and user feedback. On the other hand, there is technical improvement through our own GIANTS engine. Offering a simulation game, it’s easy for us to get inspiration – we just need to look out of the window into the real farming world. Changes and technical improvements take place in the real agricultural world, too, something we constantly evaluate and consider including in our product. Think about crop sensors or self-propelled balers – items that were not present when we started working on the first game in the series.

For us, it’s very helpful to have a great blend of employers coming from various schools of thought, including quite a few who have deep agricultural knowledge. Overall, about 60 employees are directly involved in developing the game engine, writing code, and designing the farming world.

The Upcoming Expansion

Our next release is not a whole new game: The Platinum Edition will be offered digital and at retail and consists of the Farming Simulator 22 base game plus the upcoming Platinum Expansion. This huge add-on will be a huge package with over 500 authentic vehicles and tools from more than 100 manufacturers, including new entries like Volvo Group, Impex, and Schwarzmüller.

This coming expansion heavily focuses on forestry; a topic which is part of the series since Farming Simulator 15, with minor touches since then only. Now, we designed the entire expansion around forestry, underlining this area of Farming Simulator. The new production chains from Farming Simulator 22 again play a major role and we introduce various new ways to interact and manage the business: Players can earn money chopping down trees, but even get wealthier when they start production and create wood beams, boards, or planks. In the end, they can even sell final products like chairs, barrels, or doghouses.

For the first time ever, the expansion offers long-time projects: building boats or a rollercoaster. The constructions are visible on the map after delivering various resources, and as a final reward, you can even take a seat and ride the rollercoaster! New machinery, forestry missions, and gameplay mechanics such as tree marking round up the many new possibilities for the players to enjoy our open-world game creatively.

The expansion comes with several technical improvements. First, we tuned the seasonal changes and offer more subtle transitions, especially from Summer to Autumn. Then, we introduced puddles, which add a graphic effect during rain and slowly disappear afterward. Another important improvement is the handling of trees, as the upcoming expansion focuses heavily on forestry. Another related new gameplay feature is the yarder, which comes with a carriage to transport logs over long distances and otherwise impassable terrain. Last but not least, we had to adjust our engine to cope with more than 20,000 trees on the map.

Speaking of tech, we included FSR 2.1 immediately in Farming Simulator 22, being among the first, if not the first game at all to support this latest update of image reconstruction technique.

The Secret to Success

There is so much in the game... I have already touched on a few points such as the huge machine fleet, authentic and with incredible details. The open-world design with its many optional features guarantees endless freedom and creativity. The relaxed gameplay, which can be enjoyed in single and multiplayer. The terrific mod support, imagine, we already offer more than 2,700 mods for Farming Simulator 22 on our website’s ModHub – all checked by our own QA team.

We always speak with our amazing community: We have our own FarmCon event, which took place at John Deere in Germany this year, and regularly communicate via social channels, surveys, and at events, both gaming like the recent gamescom or about agriculture as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Additionally, we cooperate with local ambassadors, people who represent local opinions, and fans, whose language we are not familiar with. This way, we have an open ear for all farming players around the globe. Plenty of new ideas are available, there is a lot more to grow our Farming Simulator universe!

Christian Ammann, Founder and CEO at GIANTS Software

Interview conducted by Arti Burton

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