Racing Car with Springs Custom Physics Simulation (Part 3)


In Part 2 we made a basic physics simulation of a car.

The car model was made of 5 points(4 wheels and the car center).

We included gravity in the simulation and we were able to drive over a terrain and fall from ledges.

In this part we will add suspensions and the car will be able to jump over ramps and drive smoothly over small bumps.

The Models

The model of the track remains the same as in part 1 and 2(a set of 3D triangles).

The car is made out of 5 points(4 for the wheels and 1 for the center) like in Part 2.

We will also save the gravity velocity of each of these 5 points from the previous frame and also save the car’s orientation from the previous frame.

Unlike part 2 we will also add suspensions to the wheels which will be modeled with springs.

The resting position of the wheels will be lower than the car’s center(a lower wheel base).

Our wheel base will be 1.8 m wide, 4 m long and 1 m (which is also the spring length) bellow the car’s center.


Like in part 2 we calculate the new Look and Right vectors(the orientation) of the car by rotating the Look and Right vectors from the previous frame on the Look X Right plane.

However, this time we will only do so if the front wheels were touching the terrain in the previous frame.


double DeltaAngle = WheelFactor*t*AngleSpeed;
if (!LastFrontWheelsTouch)
	DeltaAngle = 0.0;
Look = LastRight*sin(DeltaAngle)+ LastLook*cos(DeltaAngle);
Right = LastRight*cos(DeltaAngle)- LastLook*sin(DeltaAngle);


The Suspensions(Springs)

In the real world, if cars didn’t have suspensions every small bump in the road would rattle the car. The suspensions allow the car to drive smoothly over uneven road and obstacles.

In part 2 whenever the car drove over a small bump it would move quite violently, or even worse, it would make the car jump.

With the steering we use now, which only function if the front wheels touch the surface, these small bumps would make the steering very difficult.

We model the car’s suspensions using a spring equation. One spring for each one of the 4 wheels.

The basic ODE(Ordinary Differential Equation) of a spring is:

m*x” = -k*x

An ODE is a certain way to express one or several equations implicitly(if they even exist).

In the ODE above is the car’s mass, x” is the acceleration, k is the spring’s strength constant and x is the distance of the edge of the spring(or the wheel attached to the spring) from it’s resting position.

A spring is a device that apply force whenever it is not in it’s resting form. Like when it’s stretched or compressed.

m*x” is force expressed as mass multiplied by acceleration.

So we can see that the force the spring applies is the opposite direction to the distance of the spring’s free edge from it’s resting position(multiplied by a factor k).

How does this equation help us?

We could try to apply the force to our wheels every frame but that won’t be accurate.

Since this equation is non linear calculating it in the frame’s delta time granularity will give us bad results.

What we actually want is to analytically extract the motion equation from the ODE.

The movement of the spring depending on the time t and with the initial conditions c1 and c2 is:

x(t) = c2*sin(sqrt(k/mass)*t)+c1*cos(sqrt(k/mass)*t)

We can derive this equation and get a similar equation for the velocity of the spring:

v(t) = sqrt(k/mass)*(c2*cos(sqrt(k/mass)*t)-c1*sin(sqrt(k/mass)*t))

Our initial conditions c1 and c2 are found at time t=0.

c1 = x(0)

x2 = v(0)/sqrt(k/mass)

Ok we got all the initial conditions and we can now assign t to the equations to get the spring’s length and veolocity.

But how does this spring interact with the world?

Well what we actually do is recalculate the initial condition every frame.

The spring’s current length and velocity are adjusted from the interaction with the track and are fed again into the spring equations in the next frame.

Since the equation is agnostic to the initial time we can assume that time starts from t=0 every frame and only use the frame’s time delta as the time we want to calculate the new motion of the spring.

The code for updating the spring motion is the following:


for (unsigned int i=0; i<WheelsSpring.size(); i++)
	double c1 = WheelsSpring[i];
	double c2 = WheelsSpringSpeed[i]/SqrtSpringMassK;

	WheelsSpringSpeed[i] = (SqrtSpringMassK*c2*cos(SqrtSpringMassK*t)-SqrtSpringMassK*c1*sin(SqrtSpringMassK*t));
	WheelsSpring[i] = (c2*sin(SqrtSpringMassK*t)+c1*cos(SqrtSpringMassK*t));


Energy Loss

There is a problem with the springs we used above.

They do not lose energy.

It means that if the car’s springs are not in the resting position they will oscillate forever even if the car stays in the same place.

We model springs with energy loss with the following ODE:

m*x” = -k*x -c*x’

The springs force is now affected by the spring’s velocity.

The energy loss constant is and x’ is the spring’s velocity.

Much like in the previous ODE I used an online ODE solver and found the equation for the motion in dependency of the time t.

I then derived the equation to get the velocity equation.

After finding the two equations I assigned t=0 to the two equations to find the initial conditions.

The last step was to calculate an energy loss constant that made sense.

If the energy loss constant is 0 then you will get a square root of a negative number which is an imaginary number.

This actually makes sense because this imaginary value is the power of two exponents.

An imaginary power of an exponent is also an imaginary number but when you add two exponents with symmetric imaginary numbers the imaginary part “disappears” and you get the same equation we had with the previous ODE.

The code for updating the spring motion based on these equations is:


for (unsigned int i=0; i<WheelsSpring.size(); i++)
	double a1 = (WheelsSpring[i]*SpringParaboleNegative-WheelsSpringSpeed[i])/SpringParabole;
	double a2 = (WheelsSpring[i]*SpringParabolePositive+WheelsSpringSpeed[i])/SpringParabole;

	WheelsSpringSpeed[i] = -a1*SpringParabolePositive*exp(-t*SpringParabolePositive)+a2*SpringParaboleNegative*exp(t*SpringParaboleNegative);
	WheelsSpring[i] = a1*exp(-t*SpringParabolePositive)+a2*exp(t*SpringParaboleNegative);

For the sake of completion here is the code I used to initialize the constants:

CarMass = 30.0;
SpringK = 5000.0;
SpringDamp = sqrt(4.0*SpringK*CarMass)*5.;
SpringParabole = sqrt(SpringDamp*SpringDamp-4.0*SpringK*CarMass)/CarMass;
SpringParabolePositive = (SpringParabole/2.0)+SpringDamp/(2.0*CarMass);
SpringParaboleNegative = (SpringParabole/2.0)-SpringDamp/(2.0*CarMass);
SqrtSpringMassK = sqrt(SpringK/CarMass);



Our simulation consists of several steps.

  1. The first step is the steering(in case the front wheels were on track in the previous frame).
  2. The second step is updating the springs.
  3. The third step is adding the thrust of the car(only if the front wheels were on the track in the previous frame). We also apply gravity and update the car and wheel’s position with the current velocity.
  4. The fourth step is testing whether the wheels penetrate the track and by how much. If they do we adjust the springs length and velocity and also the gravity velocity of the wheels and the center of the car.
  5. The fifth and last step is recalculating the orientation of the now deformed wheel base.

In the third step we basically add the thrust according to the wheel base orientation and we make sure that we don’t add thrust when the car’s velocity is equal or greater to the car’s maximum speed.

Testing for wheel penetration is done similar to what we did in part 2.

We cast a ray from slightly above the wheel’s position down to each triangle in the terrain.

If the ray intersects a triangle we can tell if the wheel penetrates that triangle and by how much according to the where the ray intersect the triangle.

(We presented an optimization to this test in part 2 so that we wouldn’t need to test against all the triangles for each wheel).

This time, as opposed to in part 2, we do not adjust the wheel’s position directly if there is a penetration.

Instead, we adjust the wheel’s spring length and adjust the wheels velocity.

(Notice the wheels velocity and the spring’s speed are kept in separate variables).

If the spring’s speed pushes the spring velocity downwards into the triangle, we zero this speed and we add it to the wheel’s velocity and also to the car’s center velocity.

(This part needs more work though, as the result are not good in all the scenarios).

This is where the springs interact with the terrain and the initial conditions of the spring equations are modified.

The final part is restoring the wheel base from it’s deformed state and calculate the new car orientation.

(Quote from part 2)

We will restore the original form of the wheel base by treating the 4 wheels as if they have springs among themselves(a total of 6 springs).

This will make the 4 wheel points simulate the wheels base as a if it was a rigid body.

In order to restore the original form of the wheels base we go over all the 6 springs and adjust them to be closer to their original length.

For the sake of completion here is the update code:

void Update (double t)
	if (Input.GetLeft())
		WheelFactor -= t/AngleLatency;
	else if (Input.GetRight())
		WheelFactor += t/AngleLatency;
		WheelFactor = std::max(std::fabs(WheelFactor)-(2.0*t/AngleLatency), 0.0)*(WheelFactor>0.0?1.0:-1.0);
	WheelFactor = std::max(std::min(WheelFactor, 1.0), -1.0);

	double CurrentFlatSpeed = 0.0;
	if (Input.GetThrust())
		CurrentFlatSpeed = MaxFlatSpeed;

	// Step 1: Steering.
	double DeltaAngle = WheelFactor*t*AngleSpeed;
	if (!LastFrontWheelsTouch)
		DeltaAngle = 0.0;
	Graphics2D::Position Look = LastRight*sin(DeltaAngle)+ LastLook*cos(DeltaAngle);
	Graphics2D::Position Right = LastRight*cos(DeltaAngle)- LastLook*sin(DeltaAngle);
	Graphics2D::Position Up = Look.Cross(Right).Normalize();
	Graphics2D::Position YAxis = Graphics2D::Position (0, 1, 0);

	// Step 2: Update springs.
	for (unsigned int i=0; i<WheelsSpring.size(); i++)
		double a1 = (WheelsSpring[i]*SpringParaboleNegative-WheelsSpringSpeed[i])/SpringParabole;
		double a2 = (WheelsSpring[i]*SpringParabolePositive+WheelsSpringSpeed[i])/SpringParabole;

		WheelsSpringSpeed[i] = -a1*SpringParabolePositive*exp(-t*SpringParabolePositive)+a2*SpringParaboleNegative*exp(t*SpringParaboleNegative);
		WheelsSpring[i] = a1*exp(-t*SpringParabolePositive)+a2*exp(t*SpringParaboleNegative);

	// Step 3: Thrust, gravity and position update.
	if (LastFrontWheelsTouch)
		double ThrustSpeed = CurrentVelocity.Dot(Look);
		if (!Input.GetThrust())
			CurrentVelocity = CurrentVelocity-Look*std::max(std::min(ThrustSpeed, 0.25*MaxFlatSpeed*t/AccelLatency), -0.25*MaxFlatSpeed*t/AccelLatency);
		double ForwardSpeed = std::max(CurrentVelocity.Dot(Look), 0.0);
		double DownSpeed = std::min(CurrentVelocity.Dot(Up), 0.0);
		double RightSpeed = CurrentVelocity.Dot(Right);
		RightSpeed = std::min(fabs(RightSpeed), MaxFlatSpeed*t/AccelLatency)*(RightSpeed>0.0?1.0:-1.0);
		CurrentVelocity = CurrentVelocity+Look*(std::min(std::max(MaxFlatSpeed-ForwardSpeed, 0.0), CurrentFlatSpeed*t/AccelLatency))-Right*RightSpeed-Up*(LastCenterTouch?DownSpeed:0.0);
	for (unsigned int i=0; i<WheelsGravityVelocity.size(); i++)
		WheelsGravityVelocity[i]=WheelsGravityVelocity[i]+Gravity*t+(LastCenterTouch?YAxis*Look.Dot(YAxis)*CurrentFlatSpeed*t:Graphics2D::Position(0, 0, 0));
	CarParms->SetLook (Look, Graphics2D::Position(0, 1, 0));
	std::vector<Graphics2D::Position> Wheels;
	for (unsigned int i=0; i<Wheels.size(); i++)
		Wheels[i] = Right*WheelsDelta[i].x+Look*WheelsDelta[i].z+Up*WheelsDelta[i].y+Pos+(Look*CurrentFlatSpeed+WheelsGravityVelocity[i])*t;

	LastSteerTouch = false;
	LastCenterTouch = false;

	Pos = Pos+CurrentVelocity*t;
	double TouchDistance = 1.*(std::max(-WheelsSpring[0], std::max(-WheelsSpring[1], std::max(-WheelsSpring[2], std::max(-WheelsSpring[3], 0.0))))+SpringLength);
	LastFrontWheelsTouch = false;
	Pos.y = std::max(0.0, Pos.y);

	std::list<unsigned int>::iterator q;
	CarParms->SetPosition (Pos);

	// Step 4: Penetration test and handling
	std::vector<bool> isTouch;
	std::list<Graphics2D::Position> Normals;
	Graphics2D::Position PreviousVelocity = CurrentVelocity;
	for (unsigned int i=0; i<Wheels.size(); i++)
		if (Up.y<0.00001)
		Graphics2D::Position p = Wheels[i]+Up*SpringLength;
		unsigned int StartX = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((p.x-Min.x)/(Max.x-Min.x), 0.0)), TrackGrid[0].size()-1);
		unsigned int StartZ = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((p.z-Min.z)/(Max.z-Min.z), 0.0)), TrackGrid.size()-1);
		p = Wheels[i];
		Graphics2D::Position p2 = p-Up*SpringLength;
		unsigned int EndX = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((p2.x-Min.x)/(Max.x-Min.x), 0.0)), TrackGrid[0].size()-1);
		unsigned int EndZ = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((p2.z-Min.z)/(Max.z-Min.z), 0.0)), TrackGrid.size()-1);
		if (EndX<StartX)
			unsigned int KeepX = StartX;
			StartX = EndX;
			EndX = KeepX;
		if (EndZ<StartZ)
			unsigned int KeepZ = StartZ;
			StartZ = EndZ;
			EndZ = KeepZ;

		double ElasticEnergyLoss = 0.9;
		bool WheelTouch = false;
		for (unsigned int CountZ = StartZ; CountZ<=EndZ; CountZ++)
			for (unsigned int CountX = StartX; CountX<=EndX; CountX++)
				std::list<unsigned int>::iterator q;
				for (q = TrackGrid[CountZ][CountX].begin(); q != TrackGrid[CountZ][CountX].end(); q++)
					const math::Ray r(float3(p.x, p.y, p.z)+float3(Up.x, Up.y, Up.z)*10.0*SpringLength, -float3(Up.x, Up.y, Up.z));
					float d = 0;
					math::float3 Point;
					if (TrackGeometry[*q].Intersects(r, &d, &Point))
						double UpLength = r.pos.y/Up.y;
						double UpWheelHeight = Wheels[i].y/Up.y;
						if (UpLength-d>=UpWheelHeight)
							double Penetrate = std::max(UpLength-d, 0.0)-UpWheelHeight;
							if (Penetrate>WheelsSpring[i])
								WheelsSpring[i] = std::max(WheelsSpring[i], Penetrate);//std::min(Penetrate, SpringLength));
								double DownSpringSpeed = -std::min(WheelsSpringSpeed[i], 0.0);
								CurrentVelocity = CurrentVelocity+Up*std::max(DownSpringSpeed+std::min(WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y, 0.0), 0.0)/(double)WheelsGravityVelocity.size();//*EnergyLossFactor;
								if (Penetrate>SpringLength)
									WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y = std::max(0., WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y);//-DownSpringSpeed;
								else if (WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y<0.0)
									WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y = std::min(WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y, 0.0);
							if (i<2)
								LastFrontWheelsTouch = true;
							WheelTouch = true;
							isTouch[i] = true;
		if (WheelTouch)
		if (FloorHeight>=Wheels[i].y)
			double Penetrate = FloorHeight-Wheels[i].y/Up.y;
			if (Penetrate>WheelsSpring[i])
				WheelsSpring[i] = std::max(WheelsSpring[i], Penetrate);//std::min(Penetrate, SpringLength));
				double DownSpringSpeed = -std::min(WheelsSpringSpeed[i], 0.0);
				CurrentVelocity = CurrentVelocity+Up*std::max(DownSpringSpeed+std::min(WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y, 0.0), 0.0)/(double)WheelsGravityVelocity.size();//*EnergyLossFactor;
				if (Penetrate>SpringLength)
					WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y = std::max(0., WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y);//-DownSpringSpeed;
				if (WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y<0.0)
					WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y = std::min(WheelsGravityVelocity[i].y, 0.0);
			if (i<2)
				LastFrontWheelsTouch = true;
			isTouch[i] = true;

	// Step 5: Wheel base correction and orientation calculation
	for (unsigned int k=0; k<10; k++)
		for (unsigned int i=0; i<Wheels.size(); i++)
			for (unsigned int j=i+1; j<Wheels.size(); j++)
				Graphics2D::Position v = Wheels[i]-Wheels[j];
				Graphics2D::Position center = (Wheels[i]+Wheels[j])*0.5;
				double l = (WheelsDelta[i]-WheelsDelta[j]).Length();
				double radius = (0.1*l+0.9*v.Length())/2.0;
				Wheels[i] = (Wheels[i]-center).Normalize()*radius+center;
				Wheels[j] = (Wheels[j]-center).Normalize()*radius+center;
	Look = (Wheels[0]-Wheels[3]).Normalize();
	Look.y = std::min(fabs(Look.y), 0.65)*(Look.y>0.0?1.0:-1.0);
	Look = Look.Normalize();
	Right = (Wheels[1]-Wheels[0]).Normalize();
	Right.y = std::min(fabs(Right.y), 0.65)*(Right.y>0.0?1.0:-1.0);
	Right = Right.Normalize();
	LastLook = Look;
	LastRight = Right;
	CarParms->SetLook(Look, Look.Cross(Right));
	for (unsigned int i=0; i<Wheels.size(); i++)
		TireParm[i]->SetLook(Look, Look.Cross(Right));




In this part we have improved our car model by adding suspensions to the wheels.

The suspensions are modeled with springs.

We used analytic equations derived from ODEs to update the springs’ motion.

The springs were affected by the terrain by adjusting the initial conditions of the springs equations.

This simulation is more realistic but is still lacking in certain scenarios.

Notice we are now testing wheel/triangle intersection with rays that do not necessarily align to the y axis but rather align to the car’s Up vector.

We have also forced the car’s orientation to a certain cone so the car won’t be able to flip upside down. This pose all sort of issues.

In the next part we will try to improve on this.

On the mean time you can see the results of this simulation in the following video:

Simple Truck Racing Physics(Part 1)


I am working on a new 3D racing game.

For this racing game I need a track with mounds, hills and ramps.

I am going to cover my progress in making this racing game’s physics simulation.

The Models

At this point the track is made of a series of 3D triangles.

The 3D triangles might be constructed in a way that they form a road with mounds, turns or slopes but they don’t have to.

At this point the track geometry is used for both rendering and representing the terrain geometry in the simulation.

The track dimensions I used for testing are 110×110 square meters.

We also have the truck which has a 3D model representing it visually.

Inside the simulation the truck is made out of 5 points. The center bottom of the truck and 4 more points representing the wheels.

The truck’s size is a 2x2x5 cubic meters box.

The wheels base is 1.8×4.4 square meters.


For the steering of the truck I am saving the truck’s absolute direction inside a single angle.

I calculate the Look vector from the angle like this:

				Look = Graphics2D::Position(sin(CarAngle), 0, cos(CarAngle));

When I want the truck to rotate I add an angular speed multiplied by the frame’s time to the angle I mentioned above.

I then recalculate the Look vector every new frame.

In order for the truck to move forward we need to add the movement vector to the truck’s current position.

The truck’s movement vector is calculated like this:

				Move = Look*CurrentFlatSpeed*t;
				Pos = Pos+Move;

We don’t want the truck’s speed to accelerate instantaneously so we add the maximum speed multiplied by the frame’s time step but divided by the latency we want it to take to reach maximum speed.

				if (Input.GetThrust())
					CurrentFlatSpeed += MaxFlatSpeed*t/AccelLatency;
				CurrentFlatSpeed = std::max(std::min(CurrentFlatSpeed, MaxFlatSpeed), 0.0);

Terrain checks

At this point we can drive and steer the truck but we are completely ignoring the track(or terrain).

In order for the truck to “glide” on the terrain we will go over every triangle in our track mesh and test to see if the (x, z) part of the center bottom of the truck is inside the projection of the triangle on the xz plane.

(The center bottom of the truck is actually it’s position).

In order to test that we use a ray to triangle intersection test while the ray is from (truck position X, 1000, truck position Z) to (truck position X, 0, truck position Z).

If the ray intersects the triangle then the truck’s center is inside the projection of the triangle. We can then extract the height of the intersection between the ray and the triangle and use that as the new height(y axis value) of our truck.

(For the ray/triangle intersection we use MathGeoLib by clb).

This will make our truck go over the track’s topology but the truck will remain aligned as if it was on a flat surface.

In order to recalculate the truck’s alignment we do the same test we did with the truck’s center but with the 4 wheels instead.

Before we do that we calculate the absolute position of the 4 truck wheels from the truck’s wheels base rotated by the truck’s steering angle and added to the truck’s center bottom. Like so:


				Look = Graphics2D::Position(sin(CarAngle), 0, cos(CarAngle));
				Right = Graphics2D::Position(0, 1, 0).Cross(Look);
				for (unsigned int i=0; i<4; i++)
					WheelPos[i] = Right*WheelBase[i].x+Look*WheelBase[i].z+Pos;

We now do the same calculation over all the triangles and calculate the new height for each of the 4 wheels.

We then calculate the new Look and Right vectors of the truck from two vectors.

The Look vector will be the vector pointing from the rear left wheel to the front left wheel and the Right vector will be the vector pointing from the front left wheel to the front right wheel.

Don’t forget we want the normalized vectors.

				Look = (WheelPos[0]-WheelPos[3]).Normalize();
				Right = (WheelPos[1]-WheelPos[0]).Normalize();

That’s it. This will give us the following simulation result.


You probably noticed that we went through all the triangles in the track for each of the 5 points in the truck model.

This might be problematic to the performance and most of the triangles won’t intersect with the truck model.

In order to optimize this we prepare a 2D array where each array cell contains a linked list.

The 2D array represents a grid on the xz plane. The grid divides the plane into squares.

Each cell of the 2D array contains a list of all the triangles that their xz plane Axis Aligned Bounding Square intersects with the square in the grid that the cell represents.

This way every square in the grid will have a list that will contain all the triangles that intersect with the square(and maybe a little bit more that don’t).

So every time we want to test a point in the truck model against the track’s triangles we only need to test it against the triangles in the list of the square the point is at.

For the sake of completion here is the code to calculate a 10 by 10 triangle test optimization grid:


				std::vector<math::Triangle> TrackGeometry;
				std::vector<std::vector<std::list<unsigned int> > > TrackGrid;

				std::vector<Graphics2D::Position> & Positions = TrackMesh->GetPosition(0);
				std::vector<unsigned int> & Indices = TrackMesh->GetIndex(0);
				for (unsigned int i=0; i<TrackGrid.size(); i++)
				TrackGeometry.resize (Indices.size()/3);
				Min = Positions[0];
				Max = Positions[0];
				for (unsigned int i=0; i<Positions.size(); i++)
					Min.x = std::min(Min.x, Positions[i].x);
					Min.y = std::min(Min.y, Positions[i].y);
					Min.z = std::min(Min.z, Positions[i].z);
					Max.x = std::max(Max.x, Positions[i].x);
					Max.y = std::max(Max.y, Positions[i].y);
					Max.z = std::max(Max.z, Positions[i].z);
				for (unsigned int i=0; i<TrackGeometry.size(); i++)
					Graphics2D::Position LocalMin, LocalMax;
					LocalMin = Positions[Indices[i*3]];
					LocalMax = Positions[Indices[i*3]];
					for (unsigned int k=1; k<3; k++)
						LocalMin.x = std::min(LocalMin.x, Positions[Indices[i*3+k]].x);
						LocalMin.z = std::min(LocalMin.z, Positions[Indices[i*3+k]].z);
						LocalMax.x = std::max(LocalMax.x, Positions[Indices[i*3+k]].x);
						LocalMax.z = std::max(LocalMax.z, Positions[Indices[i*3+k]].z);
					TrackGeometry[i].a = float3(Positions[Indices[i*3]].x, Positions[Indices[i*3]].y, Positions[Indices[i*3]].z);
					TrackGeometry[i].b = float3(Positions[Indices[i*3+1]].x, Positions[Indices[i*3+1]].y, Positions[Indices[i*3+1]].z);
					TrackGeometry[i].c = float3(Positions[Indices[i*3+2]].x, Positions[Indices[i*3+2]].y, Positions[Indices[i*3+2]].z);
					unsigned int StartX = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((LocalMin.x-Min.x)/(Max.x-Min.x), 0.0)), TrackGrid[0].size()-1);
					unsigned int StartZ = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((LocalMin.z-Min.z)/(Max.z-Min.z), 0.0)), TrackGrid.size()-1);
					unsigned int EndX = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((LocalMax.x-Min.x)/(Max.x-Min.x), 0.0)), TrackGrid[0].size()-1);
					unsigned int EndZ = std::min((unsigned int)(std::max((LocalMax.z-Min.z)/(Max.z-Min.z), 0.0)), TrackGrid.size()-1);
					for (unsigned int z1=StartZ; z1<=EndZ; z1++)
						for (unsigned int x1=StartX; x1<=EndX; x1++)
				WheelsDelta[0] = Graphics2D::Position(-0.9, 0, 2.2);
				WheelsDelta[1] = Graphics2D::Position(0.9, 0, 2.2);
				WheelsDelta[2] = Graphics2D::Position(0.9, 0, -2.2);
				WheelsDelta[3] = Graphics2D::Position(-0.9, 0, -2.2);


What’s next?

Our current simulation doesn’t have much of a physics feel to it.

The car is basically glued to the terrain. We also don’t deal with ledges.

In part 2 the simulation will get more interesting.

Recognize ending contact with the walls and the floor for a platformer game using Box2D

I am working on a new 2D platformer game.

I have been using Box2D for the physics.

For the level itself I used a single b2ChainShape which includes both the floor and the walls.

For my game I need to recognize when the character contact the wall and when it contacts the floor but more importantly when the character ends the contact with the floor or wall.

I could have used two separate fixtures(one for the walls and one for the floor) but according to Box2D I wouldn’t get the perfect collision detection as I would with a single shape.

By implementing b2ContactListener you can listen to when two bodies have a  new contact point and when they end the contact.

To recognize if the character contacts either the wall or the floor I used GetWorldManifold on b2Contact which is provided as a parameter of BeginContact.

b2WorldManifold contains the normal of the contact surface. With the normal I can easily recognize if the contact point is with a wall or the floor.

However,  on EndContact you cannot get b2WorldManifold or the data you will get is garbage.

So how can we tell when we end the contact with the floor rather than the wall?

The solution is to keep 3 counters: The total contact points, the left walls contact points and the right wall contact points.

The total contact points counter includes all the walls and the floor contact points.

When we want to know if we are in contact with the walls and not the floor(like touching the wall mid air) we simply subtract the wall contact counters from the total contacts counter.

When the EndContact method is called we reduce the total contacts counter by one and zero out the walls contact counters.

This will work if the walls are perpendicular to the floor(like a  tile based game).

A more complex level might need a better solution.


Platformer screenshot

An Indie Bubble? On the contrary. (Reflecting on Jeff Vogel’s blog post)

First of all I want to say that this is an observation from my own personal perspective, my introspection. I do not know everything about the game industry.

I agree with many of the things Jeff Vogel said in his blog post.

However, my main issue with it is the post’s title.

Indie Bubble?

No, there is no Indie Bubble it’s actually the opposite of a bubble.

A bubble implies virtual growth. It implies that more money is invested in making indie games than what it could actually give in return(profit wise).

In a bubble it would be incredibly easy to get investments for your new gaming company even if you don’t have a track record of successful indie games.

Well, there is a small bubble like that in the games section of Kickstarter with scam projects or just under delivering projects but this bubble will naturally deflate it won’t burst.

If anything, it’s harder nowadays to start an indie company more than ever. It’s harder to get investments in your indie company(crowd sourcing or not), it’s harder to be successful.

The competition is more fierce than ever, the game industry is more saturated than ever, the entry bar is higher.

This is not a bubble it’s a very crowded place with only a few people getting something back.

Will this discourage people from making games? Maybe… but making an Indie game was always a bet against the odds it was almost never a walk in the park.