Fun With Vehicle Simulation
There are many
available free for
exploring land, air, sea,
ABOVE: Many of the trucks have cranes
that let you manipulate cargo.
LEFT: Here I’m driving a ’ 68 Camaro . . .
like the one I don’t have in real life.
While we frequently talk about educational soft- ware in this column, I’ve long felt that most “
educational” software falls short. Like many
people, I learn by doing, and I’d really like
to learn how to do things I might never
do in real life, such as drive a tow truck,
lift huge loads with a crane, roll an off-load;vehicle;(and;survive),;fly;a;helicop-ter, and drive an off-shore racing boat.
Simulation software allows all these
things and more. Simulators are software
programs that are designed to mimic
some real or imagined situation. Many
of them are quite realistic and encourage you to experience things you might
never do in real life.
Simulators aren’t really games. They
don’t (usually) have point systems or
even goals. They are designed to let you
simply explore something new. There
are many fascinating simulators avail-
able free for exploring land, air, sea, and
space. This month we will discuss a very
flexible vehicle simulator.
Introducing Rigs of Rods
Rigs of Rods* is a fascinating multi-craft
simulator. It began as a physics modeling
experiment and became a complete ve-hicle;simulation;tool.;Rigs;of;Rods;(RoR)
is based on real-world physics, using a
soft-body physics model. Essentially, the
elements of each vehicle are accurately
What this really means is that you can
drive cars, trucks, buses, and cranes. You
can create various kinds of cargo that can
be lifted by cranes and moved onto trucks
can control watercraft, from huge liners to
a small speedboat. You can even fly helicop-ters;and;aircraft.;It’s;all;in;one;(free);package.
If you want to play around with Rigs
to the website and download the main
package. It’s available for all major operating systems, but the Windows version
seems to be most up to date.
Run the program and you’ll be given
your choice of scenery. I recommend
“North St. Helens” on the Official Terrains menu first, as it has all the main
vehicle types readily available, as well as
plenty of interesting things to see right
off the bat.
Driving Your First Car
When the map loads, you’re controlling a small human figure. Use the arrow keys to move this guy around. Use
the Shift key while holding an arrow
to make him run, and use the space
bar to make him jump. You’ll see a
number of buildings nearby. Most