Performance Simulator

My latest new feature is a car performance simulator, which I’ve just made available as a Beta. It’s a Java Applet, which brings certain issues with it, but it’s a pretty computationally intensive simulation, so I doubt Flash or Ajax could have achieved the same results in realtime.

It’s early days, and there are a lot of issues to be worked out, but I’d appreciate any feedback. My eventual plan is to open up the data side of things to visitors, so people can add their own cars.

Some interesting comparisons you can make are:

  • Ferrari Enzo vs anything else – no contest
  • Ford Focus ST vs Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk V vs Honda Civic Type-R – the GTI and Type-R are almost neck and neck until about 100mph, but the Focus ST is a fair bit quicker
  • Ford Focus ST vs a Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type UK – the 4WD of the Impreza gives it a good initial lead, but then its weight and 4WD transmission losses mean it can’t continue to pull away at the same speed

2 thoughts on “ Performance Simulator

  1. Gary

    Thats pretty darn neat!

    Get my 1.8 Petrol Freelander into the list, I want to see it whip the Enzo ­čśŤ

    Did you write the simulator from scratch?

    Maybe you could put little top down images of the actual cars for the next release ?

  2. Steven Post author

    Thanks Gary,

    To get a good idea of your Freelander versus the Enzo, try the 1.8 Focus. Your Freelander would be a bit slower than the Focus. Adding cars takes quite a bit of time – I need quite a lot of information for the simulator to work. The torque curve for the engine, the gearbox ratios, the drag coefficient, and the tyre grip levels seem to be the difficult ones. Hopefully by allowing visitors to add these details, I can let owners dig through their manuals and brochures for the relevant information.

    Most of the code was written by me (about 80%). Solving the physics equations for a car was a bit hairy, so Physics for Game Programmers got me pointed in the right direction. My car model is more detailed than the one in the book, but I’m using the same Runge-Kutta methods to estimate the motion of the car.

    Might do top down images at some point, but my main focus for the next version will be polishing the existing features. Then I want to focus on allowing visitors to add their own cars.

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