If preparing cars for motorsports in VR sounds like your idea of a good time, indie game Wrench is one to keep an eye on. Showcased in this recent ‘prototype trailer’, Wrench features painstakingly detailed car parts which the developer hopes to use in a rewarding, problem-solving car shop game.
3D artist and car enthusiast Alec Moody is now developing his VR car shop project Wrench full time, and the early results speak for themselves. The years of experience as a 3D artist in the games industry, creating high quality assets for games like The Order: 1886 (2015), along with various work for vehicle simulators like iRacing (2008) and Game Stock Car (2012) is clearly apparent in the stunning models featured in Wrench.
As explained in his development blog, Moody wanted to create a game that took advantage of his strengths as an artist, and his interest in cars.
“Because I specialize in modeling mechanical objects for video games and am not a programmer, any game I build myself needs to be heavy on art content and light on programming needs”, he wrote. “With that in mind, along with my personal interest in and knowledge of cars and motorsports, I am building a game about working on cars with a focus on preparing them for motorsports.”
With its numerous components modelled to extreme detail thanks to an efficient photogrammetry technique, the game is also ideally suited to VR, as each part is best appreciated at very close range, and motion controllers allow for precise manipulation. The assets are built with texture details that can’t even be resolved by the resolution of current high-end VR hardware.
“I am approaching every part, no matter how mundane, as a hero prop”, says Moody in an art post on the blog. “I’m also building this art to a detail level that will hold up through several VR headset iterations. Currently, with full resolution textures, it is not possible to resolve all of the detail on [today’s consumer Oculus Rift]. When we get meaningful increases in headset resolution, the game settings can be turned up and the game will continue to look good.”
The relatively simple confines of a shop allows rendering resources to be concentrated on part details, and the small environment is also well-suited to VR, as the locomotion requirements are straightforward. The footage appears to show the assembly of an MX-5/Miata front subframe, but this will feature as a Bauer Catfish, a kit car with Mazda running gear that has been licensed for the game. Moody hopes to add “other chassis, drivetrains, and aftermarket parts” later in development.
Surprisingly for a game named Wrench, there is distinct lack of wrenches or indeed any tools in the footage, but that will change. “The most frequently asked question I have been getting is about tools”, he writes in the video description. “I am planning ratchets, combination wrenches, impact tools, pry bars, torque wrenches, a shop press, and more.”