Open-Source Off-Road Simulator Called Rigs of Rods Shows the Power of Free Software

Since we began featuring various racing games and other automotive-related simulations, it is definitely a good idea to mention Rigs of Rods, or RoR, an open source off-roading simulator which has been in the works for many years. In its current state it’s stable and playable – previous versions were much buggier than this, so the progress is evident, especially if one has been following its development from the very beginning.

RoR is unique in that it offers soft-body physics. What this means is that, aside from modeling the body of the actual vehicle you’re trying to import into the game, you’ll also have to code in its chassis and suspension settings. The code will generate beams and wishbones, shock absorbers and springs, all of which will be connected together to give as realistic a feeling as possible.

Chassis will bend, and bodies will deform according to the object hit (very impressive), taking on its shape, while also benefiting from quite realistic tire deformation, physics engine for the driving part and infinite tunability, once you start digging deeper and messing with the code.

What’s more important about RoR, though, is the community behind it which is one of the most passionate and dedicated I’ve seen backing any similar project. Forum members are very knowledgeable and helpful, and your questions will be answered in a very serious and detailed way, if they are pertinent, that is…

Scroll down and watch the selection of videos we’ve put together, or go download RoR for yourself, because it’s free. Be warned, though, this is not a commercial game, and the interface is not the last word in UIs, and while it is an improvement over previous versions, it’s nowhere near perfect, and probably never will be. Still, it’s part of the fun of such projects, and it only adds to the charm…

By Andrei Nedelea

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