TORCS (The Open Racing Car Simulator) is an open source 3D car racing simulator available for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, AROS, MorphOS and Microsoft Windows. TORCS was created by Eric Espié and Christophe Guionneau, but project development is now headed by Bernhard Wymann. It is written in C++ and is licensed under the GNU GPL. TORCS is designed to enable pre-programmed AI drivers to race against one another, while allowing the user to control a vehicle using either a keyboard, mouse, or wheel input.
Development of TORCS began in 1997 by Eric Espié and Christophe Guionneau as a 2D game called Racing Car Simulator (RCS). It was influenced by and based on RARS (Robot Auto Racing Simulator). When Espié and Guionneau acquired a 3dfx graphics card for game development, they made the first 3D version of the simulator with OpenGL and renamed it Open Racing Car Simulator (ORCS) so as not to be confused with the Revision Control System.
The early versions of ORCS did not include cars with engines, making the game a Soap Box Derby-style, downhill racing simulation. When engines and engine sounds were eventually added, the simulation was given its final name, TORCS, as the name seemed more relevant to automobiles given its similarity to the word torque.
Later, Guionneau added multiple camera angles during game-play. Guionneau developed much of the original graphics code in TORCS and eventually added texture mapping to give more detail to the cars. Espié then worked on piecing together and finalizing code for release.
The current main developers of TORCS are Bernhard Wynman (project leader), Christos Dimitrakakis (simulation, sound, AI) and Andrew Sumner (graphics, tracks). Aside from bugfixes and maintenance of TORCS code, the next features planned include network multiplayer mode, improved physics engine, enhanced car interior detail, and replays.
Linux Journal considered TORCS to be the best open source driving game in their October 18, 2007 issue, highlighting the ability for players to design their own cars, realistic graphics and vehicle handling.
The TORCS Racing Board hosts a competition on its website among players in the TORCS community. Unlike traditional network multiplayer events in which players compete in real-time on local network or Internet-connected clients simultaneously, the TORCS Racing Board is a competition between artificial intelligence "robots" developed and uploaded by users.
Faculty from the University of Würzburg and Politecnico di Milano host two AI competitions, the Simulated Car Racing Championship and the Demolition Derby Competition; the latter uses a patched TORCS server.
Use in research
Thanks to its openness, modularity and extensibility, TORCS has been adopted as a base for many research projects; examples include automated computation of car setups, human-assisted algorithmic generation of tracks and the application of several computing techniques (e.g. genetic programming) to different aspects of robot driving. Since 2008, TORCS has also been played an important role into various research fields within the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, where it appears as a base for 4 to 6 projects every year.
According to the TORCS FAQ the current version of TORCS should be cited as "B. Wymann, E. Espié, C. Guionneau, C. Dimitrakakis, R. Coulom, A. Sumner. TORCS: The Open Racing Car Simulator, v1.3.5, 2013."
- VDrift, another cross-platform, open source driving simulation
- X Motor Racing, TORCS compatible UDP interface
- "TORCS FAQ: "Who develops TORCS?"".
- About TORCS
- "TORCS project history (SourceForge.net)".
- "TORCS FAQ: "What are the future plans?"".
- Diehl, Mike (2007-10-18). "Free Games for Linux". Linux Journal. Linux Journal. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- COBOSLAB, University of Würzburg, Simulated Car Racing Competition 2010: Demolition Derby, retrieved 2010-04-03
- "Speed Dreams home page".
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Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games
- 2008 (held at the University of Western Australia)
- 2009 (held at the Politecnico di Milano)
- 2010 (held at the IT University of Copenhagen)
- 2011 (held at the Sejong University)
- University theses based on TORCS
- Other academic papers and documents concerning TORCS
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