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BeamNG.drive is a vehicle simulation video game developed and published by Bremen-based video game developer BeamNG. The game features unique soft-body physics, and was released into Steam Early Access for Microsoft Windows on 29 May 2015.
On 28 May 2012, BeamNG released a YouTube video titled "Revolutionary soft-body physics in CryEngine3". Originally, BeamNG.drive was to be based on CryEngine 3, but its use in a driving game uncovered numerous bugs, leading development to be rolled over to Torque. BeamNG.drive relies heavily on coding in Lua, and uses packets of local data using the Lua network system while the game.
BeamNG's website, beamng.com, was opened on 8 May 2012, to begin rolling out news of their development of the simulator.
On 15 June 2018, BeamNG announced a partnership with Camshaft, developer of the vehicle tycoon game Automation, where they offered a promotional sale starting on 13 July 2018 for both games. An update included the Automation Test Track level, set in New Zealand.
BeamNG.drive features five modes: Scenarios, which are checkpoint-to-checkpoint-based races; Campaign Mode, which is a collection of small scenarios that are scored on different factors such as damage, time, etc.; Free Roam Mode, where the player can drive and crash several different vehicles on a few pre-provided default environments; Time Trials, where the player selects the vehicle, the map, the course, and gets ready to make the best time; and Bus Routes, which puts the player behind the steering wheel of a bus. The game implements its soft-body physics to both control vehicle dynamics as well as to control the collisions between objects and vehicles.
BeamNG.drive uses a real-time, soft-body dynamics physics structure to simulate its vehicles. Algorithms have been written for the physics equations to be carried out. Vehicles in the game consist of a soft-body, node-beam structure, similar to the vehicle structure in Rigs of Rods. The physics engine simulates a network of interconnected nodes and beams which combine to form an invisible skeleton of a vehicle with realistic weights and masses. In terms of soft-body physics, vehicles realistically flex and deform as stresses to the skeleton, such as impacts from collisions are applied. The game's engine constantly calculates physics equations and problems in real-time during gameplay.
Jack Stewart of BBC mentioned that BeamNG.drive "has received interest from the film industry to model vehicle stunts, so that they can be prototyped and tested exhaustively – but cheaply – before a stunt driver smashes up a car on set." Polygon's Nick Robinson lauded the game's simulated physics and user-created content support, leading him to create an ongoing video series for Polygon, "Car Boys", in which he and Griffin McElroy spotlighted new BeamNG.drive content each week.
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