A Different Kind of Puzzle: ‘Wrench’ Tasks You With Assembling Cars Right Down to the Nuts & Bolts

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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.”

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  • 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 :)
    https://youtu.be/KqRkilbNprY?list=PLc_cO9OfR3V7RyUEvGEM632R4Ytr-TwRq

  • Strawb77

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