Insider Series
How to Build a Video Game Car

How to Build a Video Game Car

July 05, 2012



Want to know how we create the cars for Need for Speed?  Here's how:

We start by picking an awesome car, say the BMW M3 Coupe. It makes the grade, because it's a timeless car: fast, powerful, tough.  Perfect for the kind of rough and tumble, highly physical gameplay we have in mind for the all-new Most Wanted.

The first thing we do build a wireframe mesh of the car. It evolves through various different guises, before we get to something you'd recognise as an in-game car. These wireframes show it at various points in development.

BMW M3 Most Wanted wireframe1BMW M3 Most Wanted wireframe

Once we've got a basic-looking version of the car in the game, we get to work on the handling. We're all about great handling. It's what keeps us up at night. We spend nearly every minute of every day of development playing the game and iterating the handling until it's right.

Most Wanted - developing the handling

Most Wanted MustangMost Wanted Porsche 911

We want our M3 to be slick and agile, compared to say, a Mustang, but slower and more weighty than a Porsche 911.

We want it to feel just right for die-hard M3 fans and owners, like our very own executive producer Matt Webster. But we also want it to be as fun, easy to drive and exhilarating as you'd expect from a thoroughbred BMW.

Authenticity plays a part, which is why we're obsessed with the history of the cars, but we're not into simulation. You've got to believe in the car, but if you can't kick the back-end out to drift beautifully through each turn, you're not going to have fun driving it. Our game's not about how you really drive, it's about how you dream of driving - fast and dangerous, through downtown traffic with the cops in pursuit.

 


Meanwhile, the sound technicians are hard at work doing their thing.  These boys take the real car to an airfield, gaffer tape microphones to every conceivable part: exhaust, air intakes, engine bay, and then rip it around, sliding, wheelspinning, hitting top speed and sometimes crashing.  All in the name of getting the sound perfect.

Audio Recordings Bruntingthorpe, UK

Finally, we put it all together and finesse everything until we're happy.  The whole process takes a dozen people over a year.  We'll keep making final tweaks to the sound, visuals and handling right up to the last minute.  Our game's about pushing cars to their limit, so they've got to look, sound and feel just right.

Most Wanted BMW M3 Coupe

Most Wanted BMW M3 Coupe

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