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.

Update (September 12th, 2018): Missing Digit, the studio behind ‘Wrench’, announced that their car assembly simulator is launching on Steam Early Access in Fall 2018. There’s no specific launch date yet, although the studio has recently released a new trailer that shows more of the mechanical puzzle that is building a car piece-by-piece.

The game is targeting HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which (obviously) includes support for motion controllers, although will also support a standard non-VR PC and keyboard setup.

‘Wrench’ features include:

– Build relationships with persistent customers.
– Logbook and maintain customer cars around their race schedules
– Recommend and install modifications based on customer’s driving traits
– Build and modify your own persistent shop cars
– Grow your shop’s reputation and hire mechanics to help take on more customers

The original article follows below.

Original Article (August 18th, 2017): 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.

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“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.

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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.”

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Jeff Herman

    Please bring this game to PSVR! And model the F80 M3. :)

  • Foreign Devil

    The next evolution of the classic model car kit you used to buy in a hobby shop. Hope it comes with detailed instructions. Beautiful surfacing and modeling!

  • Brad

    This is too cool. I suck at cars, but I wish I didn’t because mechanics are expensive. If games like this could be fun and teach me about cars, I’m all over that.

  • Skippy76

    This is absolutely amazing.
    I do all my mechanical work myself. I would definitely purchase this. Specially if he starts including mainstream vehicles. So much work must have gone into this. So many parts to think about.

  • Blinko23

    Brilliant way to learn about cars while having fun too! This type of learning is the wave of the future. I look forward to the new world!

  • Ombra Alberto

    Finally something useful and interesting.

  • This is an awesome game for all car fanatics!

  • ipollute

    Can’t freaking wait.

  • Martin Vazquez

    This is an awesome idea and it can be a long-lasting experience if the developers keep releasing new car models, classic and exotic.

  • Patrick Hogenboom

    Heh, I just finished watching an episode of The Reassembler with James May and run into this :)

  • Strawb77

    used to call my girlfriend `wrench`
    every time i saw her my nuts would tighten up..

  • Massimo Depero

    is that a Miata engine?

  • Raphael

    One has to be impressed even if one is a car noob muppet. I hope for their next release to be an F18 aircraft assembly.

  • Get Schwifty!

    This is really cool….

  • JesuSaveSouls

    This will be good if incorporated in schools and colleges.Making school interesting again.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I am intensely VR-education interested as I think it’s a very natural method (ie sight-based) and interactive and can illustrate things that many people might conceptually find difficult such as chemistry, etc. So far its been used for safety training, active shooter, auto repair, and I am sure more that I don’t know about.

      • Wayne Singh

        I agree. I work for an industry education and consulting company and I am currently starting to get the business interested in what VR/AR can do in the training arena. I think we are still a few years off before the price is no longer a barrier, but we are getting there and they can see the potential.

        • Get Schwifty!

          I would be interested to learn more about your company can you ping me on the name?

  • Lucidfeuer

    It has educational value, and most importantly it looks very well made and produced. We need more of these.

  • das

    I agree with other people that bringing this to schools would be epic. Learning to build cars 101 at school would be crazy. But we all know that if such a reality came to be, it would instead be full of the less effort-required simulations “Virtual Social Politics” 101. Ahem.

  • Rosko

    This looks brilliant. I know nothing about cars but i would love the challenge to learn. Its like that mechanic game but this looks way better.