Vehicle Setup Guide
This guide assumes you have your vehicle rigged according to the Creating a Vehicle section.
If you're modifying the values in runtime in the Editor, remember to backup your values before exiting Play mode. Either note them down to paper, or use the Copy Component / Paste Component Values options in the component's context menu.
Set the vehicle's mass at the rigidbody.
Center of Mass
Add a gameobject to the vehicle and name it CoM. Set its reference at VPVehicleController > Center Of Mass.
Longitudinal position of the CoM (Z):
- Start at the mid-point between the vehicle's axles.
- Move it slightly towards the position of the engine.
- If the specifications include the weights on each axle, then move the Z position of the CoM while watching the telemetry until the weights match the specifications. The VPTelemetry component can be configured to show the load in Kg (option Show load in Kg).
Vertical position of the CoM (Y):
- A rough estimation is slightly above the chassis.
- You might find this value as Center of Gravity Height in the vehicle specifications.
- It can also be estimated by watching a similar vehicle in equilibrium on two side wheels (as in this video).
- Some related articles:
The sideways position of the CoM (X) should be 0 (middle of the vehicle).
After configuring the CoM you will probably need to make adjustments to the suspension for accommodating the new weight distribution. Typically, the spring rates should be adjusted so all suspensions reach the same compression ratio at rest. The damper rates should also be fine tunned accordingly as well.
The suspension is configured per-wheel at the
The suspension distance (m) should be configured for matching the vehicle's specifications.
The anchor (%) simply defines how much the suspension is compressed in the 3D model (in Edit time). 0 means the suspension is fully extended and can only be compressed from the original position. 1 means the suspension is fully compressed and can only be extended. 0.5 means the suspension is half compressed.
Springs sustain the weight of the vehicle. As rule of thumb, configure the spring rate (N/m)
so each suspension can support up to twice of the distributed weight. The maximum weight of each
wheel is displayed at the
- Vehicle mass: 4000 Kg.
- For 4 wheels, this is 1000 Kg each
- Suspension springs should support up to 2000 Kg each.
- If suspension distance is 20 cm = 0.2 m, then the spring stiffness supporting 2000 Kg is 2000 * gravity / suspension distance = 2000 * 9.81 / 0.2 = 98100 Nm.
Thus, if the weight is evenly distributed at rest each suspension would be at half of its travel.
Of course, you can always apply real values to the springs or any other values that fit better with your vehicle.
Dampers (aka shock absorbers) limit the suspension movement and damp the spring oscillations. The damper setup affects the angular momentum of the vehicle on weight shifting situations (accelerating, braking, cornering...).
The damper rate (N/ms-1) should be configured so the oscillating behavior resembles the real vehicle. You can drop the vehicle from some height (Enter key by default) and observe the result. A rough starting point for the damper rate is around 1/10 of the spring rate.
[TO-DO: Engine graphic]
The engine torque curve is the sum of two curves: ideal torque curve (dotted orange) and friction torque curve (dashed red). The result of adding those curves together is the final engine torque curve (green). When you watch at a dyno torque curve you're really watching this green curve.
The final torque curve is guaranteed to cross three key values:
- Idle Rpm (yellow circle): rpms and torque (Nm) at idle.
- Peak Rpm (white circle): rpms and torque (Nm) where the ideal engine produces the maximum torque. This not necessarily the same point where the maximum final torque is reached.
- Max Rpm (orange circle): the value where the final engine torque becomes zero.
The Curve Bias parameters have some influence in the transitions between Ilde and Peak.
The friction torque curve produces the engine brake effect when no throttle is applied. Its settings have also effect on the shape of the final torque curve:
- Torque (Nm): friction torque at zero rpms
- Rotational (
$ \mu $): lineal coefficient of friction with rpms
- Viscous (
$ \mu^2 $): quadratic coefficient of friction with rpms
The effect of the friction parameters can be lively observed at the graph.
The inertia defines how much "efforth" takes to modify the rpms in the engine. Formula 1 style engines have very little inertia (0.1-0.2), while trucks have a large inertia in their engines (8-10). Standard cars are around 0.4 and 1.
If the engine Can Stall the parameters can be configured as well:
- Stall Bias: how "easy" is to stall the engine once the rpms fall below the idle value. 0 means the engine is hard to stall. 1 means easy to stall.
- Extra Friction (Nm): a stalled engine increments the engine friction by this value.
- Starter Reliability: how "easy" is to the starter (K key by default) to start the engine. 0 won't likely be able to start the engine. 1 will quickly start the engine. Intermediate values (depending on the actual engine settings) gradually add some difficulty and random factor.
The Starter Reliability can be used to simulate external factors such as drained batteries, cold temperatures, mechanical failures, and so on.
As happens in reality, a stalled engine can also be restarted inertially. That is leaving the vehicle running down a slope in neutral, then engaging a gear and releasing the clutch.
The Transmission type can be either manual or automatic:
- Manual: gears are engaged individually, with a minimum interval among each change (Gear
change time (s)).
- Auto shift is also available in Manual transmissions.
- Automatic: gears are progressively engaged, with a smooth transition in both torque and rpms
among each gear.
- Each gear change takes Gear transition time (s) to shift from a gear to another.
- A minimum of Shift interval (s) time is enforced before a new gear shift.
[TO-DO: Pics of manual vs. automatic transmissions]
The Gear Ratios define the power ratio that is applied to the engine torque. If the first gear ratio is 3.84, this means that the torque at the output of the gearbox in first gear will be 3.84 times the torque applied by the engine. The rotational velocity will be 3.84 times slower as well.
Any number of gears and ratios can be configured for both forward and reverse gears. Standard cars have 4 - 6 gears. Trucks can have 12, 18 or even more.
[TO-DO: Pics of car vs gear ratios]
Requirements for gear ratios are:
- Gear ratios of zero are not permitted. This is what Neutral gear is for.
- Automatic transmission and Auto-shift in Manual transmission require the forward gear ratios to be sorted in decreasing order.
- Reverse gears are not automatically engaged. The automated modes engage the first reverse gear when required, but other reverse gears should be manually engaged via manual gear shift.
In order not to change gear up if the drive wheels have lost their traction, the Auto shift mode only engages the 2nd gear if the vehicle's speed is above the 2nd gear min speed (m/s) value.
The Park mode is characteristic of the Automatic transmissions, but it can be simulated in Manual transmissions as well (Allow Park mode).