Under the Hood of Forklift Physics

In our previous blog posts in the physics category we covered various aspects of physics: in a presentation at the NYU, Bernard detailed on how forces are combined to make things move about, on how satisfying the result can be when the right set of real-world inspired forces is incorporated in a rowing game (noticeable in the visually simple prototype as well as by YouTubers reviewing our clients’ game incorporating these physics), and on what it looks like to drive a forklift in VR with nothing more than a VR setup, a chair, and some pedals.

It’s the latter example – the forklift prototype – that we’ll take a closer look at here. In this project, we built a working forklift in virtual reality for a client New York. In the video in the previous post, Bernard quickly runs us through this prototype. As you can expect, a lot of different elements influence the physics in this prototype.

The forklift simulation was built in Unity, which offers a solid foundation. We used the standard Wheel Colliders that gave the forklift a lot of relevant characteristics. Taking that as a starting point and began tweaking – among other elements – the balance, acceleration and turning radius of the vehicle. Since the rear wheels should be able to turn instead of the front wheels, this also impacted the way the forklift moves.

Domien, one of our game play prototyping programmers shows you how he went about implementing physics in this forklift simulator.

The maneuverability of a forklift is obviously affected by the load it has to carry. The boxes you can pick up with the fork in this prototype have their own physical properties. This affects acceleration and stability of the forklift. We wanted to make sure that, for example, when you pick up a heavy crate high with the fork, the forklift actually becomes less stable.

How this all comes together, and how we went about building the physics for this prototype, is covered in the video above. Our colleague Domien gladly shows you around in the VR prototype and explains what went into the physics development of the forklift.

Coming up next in our series on physics will be a more in-depth look at the rowing physics in the prototype we developed for the game Journey For Elysium.

Looking to have a physics prototype developed? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

2 thoughts on “Under the Hood of Forklift Physics”

  1. Mark Harris A. Bagon says:

    What happens if the steering wheel is in front of the fork and backrest while the drive wheel is back of the counter balance during handling a load?

  2. Bernard says:

    Thank you for commenting – I’m not sure which situation you are describing specifically – do you perhaps have a video of the situation that you could send us so we can provide some insight of whether this would be handled as expected in this prototype, and also what may need to be done to make it work as such, if it wouldn’t be the case?

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