Vehicle planning

Alright ! During these past few days I’ve been delving into the Unreal Development Kit to get an idea of my limitations when designing a vehicle and for a more fundamental understanding of how the engine actually works. I’ll get into the latter in a later post, for now I’ll be focusing on the kind of vehicle I chose.

A quad bike

I found some interesting guidelines to take into account when designing a wheeled vehicle. These may seem kinda obvious at first but they’re good to have in mind when modelling. They’re meant for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars but the same general rules apply to the Unreal engine as well, more or less.

* As much ground clearance as possible (distance between the ground surface and the bottom of the vehicle). This helps prevent the vehicle “bottoming out” on the terrain and losing speed.

* Large suspension travel (distance the suspension can move from top to bottom). This will allow the suspension tuning to be softer, providing a less jarring and bouncy ride, as it has more distance to absorb the bumps in the surface.

* A wide track (distance between the two wheels of an axle). This will provide stability and help prevent the vehicle from tipping over.

* Short front overhang, or upward-slanted front end (for example, see the Trojan). This helps prevent the front end of the vehicle “digging in” to a sudden slope, sapping all of your speed.


What I had in mind was that it’d be a fast transportation vehicle, capable of both speed and manoeuvrability. Seeing as a bike with only two wheels would be kinda hard to implement since you’d have to learn scripting to make it move properly, it only made sense to have something on four wheels. Cars, while reliable and┬ábulky wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. So I settled for something inbetween, a quad bike.

I’ve already started to model a simple mesh I can use for tests, exporting and importing it to UDK with a proper skeleton and rig. This way I’ll see what I will be able to do and if I have the time to implement it as a moving entity. Hopefully you can export animations with vehicles, instead of relying on a player moving it, so that I can use it in an animation sequence instead. I plan to have all the research about this finished by the end of this week.

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