Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rigs Of Rods - first thoughts

Our virtual driving project may radically change direction. Since we started it, "Rigs of Rods" got open-sourced and it's a very good simulator. Probably more interesting than Torcs was.

So my job now consists in understanding a new code-base and trying to get involved. Well, getting involved is basically about founding something to do that both interests the RoR's projects leaders and interests us.

After some hard time loading the repository and making it compile and execute on my computer, I played for some hours...

First feeling: the game is ok. In fact it's not really a game, just a simulator. You are given the choice between eight maps, then you pick a vehicle and drive around... You can drive cars, trucks, planes or boats. There are probably some nice physics models behind them, however somehow buggy.

Few things happened:
- I've been stuck into a wall.
- I had my car completely lost in space.
- The game suddenly became incredibly slow.

But, most of the time it's ok.

The simulation of engines sound is very good.

The graphics are correct, nothing more. But really it's too slow for what it does... My 7600GT shouldn't have such hard time display particles and vegetation. The textures shadows are buggy (sometime the shadows appear "above" me), the implementation of HDR is horrible to see. I'm sure there are some improvement in both speed and quality I can make there, I'd like to.

Concerning the geometry, roads sometime falls into the ground and require more smoothness. Hard angles make the car jump and we lose control.. I think I'll go into this code, because I still like to think providing data compatibility between Torcs, RoR and OpenRacing should open some interesting possibilities. We'll see that later...

Anyway, this is a nice simulator that I hope we can improve enough to host the our Virtual Darpa Challenge!

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