Just Watch: Next Car Game’s Incredible Physics

By Craig Pearson on September 16th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.


Bugbear, the makers of the glorious FlatOut, recently announced a crowd-funded car crashing game, intermediately titled Next Car Game. To help tempt you with those papery things in your wallet, they’ve released a video detailing the destruction engine that the game will have. You should watch it, and make sure your hands are free so you can give it a round of applause. It’s beautiful.

Bugbear clearly loves and hates vehicles. They’ve put a full Clarkson of detail into their crunchable cars, but also added soft-body deformation. They say with glee: “What that means is that when you hit a car with something or the other way around, the car is going to have the right sized and shaped dent exactly where it was damaged.” Which is what the video initially displays by dropping a car down a giant pachinko-esque wall. But then they get cruel. If you have any young cars, or cars of a nervous disposition, please put them in a quiet garage before you play this video. Because when Bugbear adds: “Because we can push cars through industrial grade metal presses, we certainly will,” the result is brutal.

That was brilliant. I really want that grinder in a game mode. Or perhaps at the end of a race, the winner could be given the power to do that to any of the losers?

The game is begging for votes on Greenlight, and I’ve just gave it a thumbs-up. And speaking of Steam, Bugbear just recently released Ridge Racer: Driftopia, which is free-to-play and on Steam right now.

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50 Comments »

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  1. Strutter says:

    The best part was when the car got wrecked.

    • Thrashie says:

      Somehow those wheels are ultra strong tho :)

      • dagudman says:

        Destructible wheels are DLC obviously. How else are they going to make money AFTER the release of the game?

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      • LionsPhil says:

        I guess it’s possible that they’ve done that on purpose to try to bias it towards keeping the result drivable as long as possible?

        Although the engine block is apparently made of butter and there’s no roll cage protecting the driver.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          No roll cage is needed, since the top of the car can apparently tank a nuke with only a few scratches. Not bad for a care made out of styrofoam.

  2. Leb says:

    They’ve got my money

  3. pupsikaso says:

    Why spend so much time and effort simulating such things when you’re not going to make it realistic? Similar things to this can be achieved with smoke and mirrors at a fraction of the cost of simulation…

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      Yeah, but smoking is not healthy and wrecking mirrors brings bad luck. By which I meant: why not?

    • Glottis1 says:

      Too realistic is not fun. BeamNG is good example. It looks fun, but when you play it…

      • pupsikaso says:

        That’s not the point. The point is that they could have achieved what they show on the video for much cheaper with just PhysX and lots of tricks and smoke.

        • JBantha says:

          Here’s the twist: You don’t need PhysX and it’s not that costly to run. I can run beam on my mother’s integrated intel chipset laptop.

          • fre3k says:

            Not costly on the GPU but quite costly on the CPU. My framerate drops whenever I spawn 4 or 5 vehicles (depending on the complexity of the vehicle) on my I5 2500k@4GHz. Moreover, the framerate droping indicates that the physics simulation happens during the same loop as the graphic computation, which does not bid in favor of multiplayer implementation.:If they were to do it, they’d have to put the physics simulation in a separate “loop” (ie thread) and make it deterministic and timed (ie one loop = a fixed amount of time). I’m interested in NextCarGame because their main focus is multiplayer and getting that amount of detail of car destruction in a multiplayer settting is really impressive.

    • airmikee99 says:

      So where’s the video of the cheap smoke & mirrors car destruction? Oh, right.. it hasn’t been done yet.

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  5. Sic says:

    Am I the only one not impressed by this?

    The metal doesn’t seem to have the correct weight nor stiffness, the tires behave like they’re made out of wood etc. etc.

    • edwardoka says:

      The destruction engine is very impressive but like you said there was nothing resembling a crumple zone on the front of the car. I think it’s more an issue with the modelling than the simulation, though.

    • 2late2die says:

      I agree that the exact physics seems to be off (I would’ve expect tires to blow up in that grinder at the very least) and like @edwardoka says, it could be a matter of the modelling of the car itself, i.e. the physical properties assigned to each of its parts. The physics engine itself is very impressive.

      I would say this though, even if they achieve the level of realism they’re going for I would still be skeptical until I see this happen on a track with a dozen cars. Because I think performance might end up being a real challenge for them. It’s one thing to show me full dynamic car destruction of one vehicle in a barren environment, and completely different to do it on a full track with props, textures, richer geometry, lighting and a dozen of other cars with the same level of destruction.

      • LionsPhil says:

        On the upside, Flatout 2 has shown that machines from about seven years ago can handle quite a few little bits of cars and tons of trackside objects all being physically simulated smacking into each-other. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to then up some counts and make the car damage procedural rather than a fixed progression vs. the move from Core 1 Duos to i7s.

      • Mambozambo says:

        Check FlatOut 1 destruction. Game came back in 2004, it’s destruction model is amaizing and the game got no problems with 8 players. Also the tracks got shit ton of objects flying around. Same guys are doing this so I wouldn’t be worried about performance at all.

  6. phelix says:

    This is like gm_ragdollslaughter with gibbing mods, except with cars.

  7. jonahcutter says:

    The way that car explodes into shreds, it looks like a racing crackup at 200mph. But because it’s obviously not going that fast and the destruction looks overdone. As if the car is made of plastic, not metal.

    The physics look off a bit in that pachinko wall tumble too. Too sticky, or not enough momentum.

    It looks spectacular no doubt. But feels a bit off in the realism dept.

    • Shadowcat says:

      I got the impression that the game just “spawns debris” upon impact. Given that the car body really does end up a mess, I can’t help but feel that they’ve managed to detract from what could be a great-looking damage system by adding all the flying bits. (But maybe it actually looks worse without it… it’s pretty hard to tell from here, after all.)

  8. Ian says:

    ” You should watch it, and make sure your hands are free-”

    So glad that sentence ended the way it did.

  9. empyrion says:

    So no licensed car brands then?

  10. Shazbut says:

    It’s very impressive, but every time I see a virtual car being wrecked I wish it was like it was in Carmageddon where the thing could be torn right down the middle with both sides flying off in different directions. I want it more like a comic book really.

    And that is absolutely the only thing in gaming I want to be more like a comic book. Everything else can be less like a comic book

  11. povu says:

    I forgot, what was their website address again?

    • Mambozambo says:

      community.bugbeargames.com <- forums
      nextcargame.com <- pre-order here

  12. sharks.don't.sleep says:

    I wouldn’t call it incredible, the damage model reminds me of Viper Racing, which came out 1998..

  13. PopeRatzo says:

    This is like the fifth car physics demo from Bugbear. They gonna make a game or just a bunch of physics demos?

    I’m not getting any younger here.

  14. PopeRatzo says:

    I really love racing games. Arcade racers more than sims. If you’re interested:

    One good arcade racer not many people know about is Gas Guzzlers Combat Carnage from Gamespires.

    One really bad arcade racer is Ridge Racer Driftopia. And I almost liked the previous Ridge Racer. The online, F2P multiplayer is awful.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    Please affect the handling when I buckle it into a banana shape.
    Please affect the handling when I buckle it into a banana shape.
    Please affect the handling when I buckle it into a banana shape.

    All I want is for 1NSANE and Flatout 2 to hook up and have beautiful car-deforming babies together. Is that so wrong?

    • Kollega says:

      I read Bugbear say a few times that the car damage will in fact affect performance, so don’t worry: that’s accounted for.

  16. Mario Figueiredo says:

    First DLC, Destructible Tires
    Second DLC, Remove Dust Effect

  17. trjp says:

    I worry about this a bit – because BugBear’s track-record with physics isn’t really that brilliant.

    Flatout2 and RRU are fun games but the physics leave much to be desired. In FO2 you can hit tiny things lying on the road and end-up flying into the air – landings often flip cars into the ground etc.

    The ‘crazy’ tracks in RRU are a lesson in anything but ‘accurate physics’ – they’re fun but they’re nothing to do with how the universe works – RRU also shares the ‘goofy’ physics FO2 has for some collisions etc.

    I overlooked it because most of the game was fun but the idea that they’d big-up that aspect of their next game isn’t encouraging to me – surely they should focus on the stuff they’ve done right before – the fun – and not the detailed car destruction which, in truth, no-one really needs?

    Less buckled chassis – more flying ragdolls out of the windshield!?

    • Hahaha says:

      Yep, agree, less carnage in a game about vehicle carnage is definitely the way to go

    • bstard says:

      The original flatouts where the most fun driving games I came across, so they did something right. They aint making a sim or movie animations, they are doing over the top destruction of metal. I hope they get this game done and I’ll be there to buy it.

    • Mambozambo says:

      It’s very sad that so many people had missed FlatOut 1 which was ultimately the best FlatOut. Objects really are heavy and graphics are very good. You can’t even compare FlatOut 1 with any other FlatOut because they are very dumbed down. Objects got no weight so you can go through anything, damage model looks worse, UI is childish, everything explodes, tracks got no real feeling and so on. I really recommend to test FlatOut 1 and you’ll be amazed what happened with FO2 and onward.

      FlatOut’s driving physics aren’t that realistic because they were made for consoles and keyboard but at least in FlatOut 1 they are enjoyable. Now that the Next Car Game will be PC only at first I believe we will get bit more realistic driving physics.

  18. hadrien says:

    This place is not safe for driving.

  19. NicholasTimothyJones says:

    The section starting at 0:48 reminds me of Shenmue 2.

    “Lucky Hit! Anybody for a game of Lucky Hit?”

  20. Stevostin says:

    Why ? Why cars ?? Why not pop singers ????

    Oh well, next time I guess.

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  22. orangejedi829 says:

    Despite the unrealistic physics, which I’m okay with, the thing that bothers me about the crash simulations in games like this and Burnout Paradise is that the cars have a super obvious ‘crush zone’ that surrounds an inner ‘indestructible cube’. That is, no matter how hard you hit something, the hood will only crumple in to, say, the windshield and then abruptly stop, every time. It takes away all the coolness of the crash.
    I guess what I’m saying is that it would be awesome to see a car get smashed into a pancake after hitting a wall at 350mph. Show me that, and I will throw my money at the screen.

  23. reedamason says:

    I believe there’s some video footage of game concepts (not actual finished games) at http://www.pmme2.com Just type the name shieltresstmedia in the search box on the left and hit go. Once you’re on the home page of Shieltresst Media, you want to click on Galleries and then select video. I think Mark knows something about those guys since I learned about them from him. Ask him about if you like.