Building a car simulator on XNA platform

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Albert István
Department of Automation and Applied Informatics

In computer games, as like in every other products, it is important to give something more, unusual or extremely fun to stand out from the competitors. Most of the successful games brought something new compared to the previous ones. This innovation could be in the story line, graphics or in using new technologies. You need to be highly creative to come up with an outstanding story line, and making spectacular graphical improvements is almost impossible as lots of games are backed by huge companies. Propagating new technologies is not so easy, as most people would not buy new devices for gaming purposes.

However, nowadays almost everyone has a smartphone. These are full of useful sensors, and fairly easy to connect to a desktop computer via WiFi.

As my thesis I created a car simulator for Microsoft Windows platform. I used the Microsoft XNA Framework as the graphics engine, and the BEPUphysics for the physics. Both of them are free, even for commercial use, yet they are featureful and easy to use. I learnt a lot about making computer games during the process of writing the simulator, and also had the opportunity to practice the object oriented software design and development.

I created two different controlling methods for the car. Of course, one of them is based on the keyboard, the other one is a smartphone app. This app runs on Android, which is one of the most popular mobile operating systems. I used the accelerometer for steering purposes, and the touchscreen for braking and accelerating. Using these, I managed to create a control system which almost feels like an analog device.

In my thesis I described the programs I made in detail as well as the used technologies and frameworks.


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