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Vehicle Handling Overhaul

  • Hey.

    So I have grown tired of how vehicles feel in this game. They all feel almost the same, latest supercars not really having differences between each other when it comes to racing around with them.

    So I'm embarking in a crusade to make vehicle physics more proper in Grand Theft Auto V. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    My reasons

    Grand Theft Auto V, even in 2018, will keep being fun and interesting for a veeeery long time. I'm talking >2020 and probably more.

    You guys know I specialize in vehicle oriented scripts, chases, races, etc. All of them work decently with the current handling, but I cannot unlock the full potential of ANYTHING I script when half the cars in the game handle exactly the same.

    I will likely keep playing the game for a few more years, coding more car stuff. Better races, more missions, more police/chases stuff, that kind. But I need proper vehicle handling to achieve great things in this game. After that's done, you will shit your pants at what can be done - and what I have in the works.

    But none of it matters without a good handling to back it up.

    Lets be clear from the start:

    Rockstar's Sins:

    • Supposedly High suspension travel vehicles (Wastelander, Dune/Rallytruck) do not have actual high suspension travel
    • Stupid high suspension dampening forces most vehicles to tackle any bump unrealistically well.
    • No real suspension rebound makes vehicles too stable when driven roughly.
    • Online vehicles have way better handling than SP ones.
    • Surface material behavior is focused on arcadey behavior with differences between surfaces being minimal, taking out all the fun of different enviroments (rally/tarmac/snow).

    But not to worry, our lord and saviour is here to help.

    My main goals


    • Proper Surface Grip - you should really feel the difference when going from tarmac to gravel. Or wet sand, or grass.
      Hard surfaces should get more slippery when wet, porous surfaces getting a reduced effect. Sandlike surfaces need to actually gain grip from being wet.

    (Vanilla already works like this, but its very, very mitigated and simplified.)

    • Proper surface drag - vanilla surfaces simulate drag by changing each vehicle's top speed multiplier, which results in a very fake effect.

    Now surfaces will have actual drag that will naturally slow down each vehicle if needed, without top speed multipliers.

    Vehicle Physics

    • Behavior consistency: Each vehicle should act and behave as its expected from its physical characteristics.
    • Overall, vehicles should have preferred enviroments, or roles. Outside them, the car should not perform as well.
    • Dominant features: Vehicles need to be governed by their main features, if they have any.

    Compare a Dune, a Baller and a X-Proto. The Dune rallytruck, with its weight, stability, high suspension travel, should excel in offroad enviroments, while the baller should be more or less manageable, with thr X80 Proto crying for help there.
    On the other hand, the X80 Proto should overperform the Dune and Baller in a paved track by miles. The Baller should, more or less, behave best in the streets.

    • Vehicles with variants (Phantom > Custom > Wedge) should handle similar, but have the variants' speciality dominate the behavior.

    To achieve all of this I will be editing every single vehicle in the game, one by one, over the next months.
    In two phases, per vehicle.

    • Phase 1 - Overall feel
      First, the handling is modified according to how the vehicle should feel in general. This is mostly grip and suspension changes, but acceleration and brakepower can be affected too.

    • Phase 2 - Gameplay balance
      I make sure the vehicle does have its place within its class and is overall sensible - it has its advantages and its downsides.

    Working examples

    Now, let me convince you that all of this will work in the end.

    Examples of slight overspecialization

    These vehicles will perform very well within their enviroment, not that good outside of it.

    Vehicle Description Media
    Zentornoalt text The Zentorno now sports a stiffer suspension, which keeps it stable and planted at both high and low speeds and all kinds of corners, as long as its all mostly even terrain. Tarmac is its field. On the other hand..., its low suspension travel and stiff springs make it hard for the wheels to keep in the ground when the terrain gets uneven. This results in very dangerous instability and random loss of grip. As it is AWD, its somewhat manageable, as long as you're good at keeping the wheels pointing the right direction. Still, not the best vehicle for rally stages. alt textalt textNotice the wheel in the air. This naturally results in less overall grip in those enviroments - no handling cheats to force handicaps.
    Wastelander alt text AWD (33%F - 66%R), absurdly high suspension travel, soft springs and decent comp/rebound dampen, the Wastelander is able to take on anything not higher than its own wheels. It is however a good example of purpose driven behavior - it now lacks ABS, has a biased center of mass (towards the front) and has only average grip. The reason for all of this is evident, just look at it. Its a thrown together vehicle, its obviously not going to have the quality of life features, say, a Dune Rallytruck would have. alt text alt textHigh suspension travel and dampeners allow the Wastelander to overcome most sudden elevation changes and obstacles.

    Examples of crippling overspecialization

    These vehicles will perform awesome within their enviroment, awful outside of it.

    Vehicle Description Pictures
    (Add-on) Kuruma Time Attackalt text Unbeatable in corners, the Kuruma T/A features a very stiff, very low-travel suspension to keep it on the ground at all times. Its downforce and tire grip keep it pointing in the right direction. That is, unless you decide to go camping with it. This vehicle does NOT fare well on anything but flat tarmac. Uneven terrain upsets it a lot more than you would expect in GTA. The suspension just cannot keep up with the elevation changes below each wheel. Its feathery feel only helps destabilizing the car anytime a wheel lands improperly or the vehicle its faced with a sudden direction change. alt text alt text The Kuruma T/A's stiff, low travel suspension works against it on uneven surfaces.

    Examples of Tame Vehicles

    Run of the mill models. Most will not respond well to being taken out of the everyday routine.

    Vehicle Description Media
    Speedo The speedo is a very tame vehicle, which overall will NOT respond well to being driven roughly. It lacks grip, oozes inertia and will bounce around like a mad donkey if you treat it badly. alt text
    Speedo Custom Its Custom variant behaves exactly the same (because its the same base model), but does come with tuning, as you know.
    Phantom The Phantom truck is a strong bugger, but its really heavy and thus lacks grip when driven roughly. It has a very stiff suspension, but also very good dampeners, so it will remain stable in most enviroments. alt text
    Wedge The Wedge behaves the same way the Phantom does, if you add an enormous wedge onto it, that is. This translates to more weight and less grip, but you do get a wedge on it!
    Custom This variant is a proper upgrade. The custom cab gives it a reinforced bodywork, that translates to less deformation and damage taken from all sources. The engine is improved, durability and performance wise. Other than that, same behavior as the original. Like driving an elephant.

    Examples of balanced behavior

    Vehicle Description Media
    Flash GT alt text The Flash GT is 100% dedicated to competitive racing, and specializes in rally events. Thus, it has a suspension setup specifically designed to deal with small bumps and elevation changes. It will land jumps nicely and overall be easy to handle. It does tend to go a bit sideways, which somewhat helps keeping the speed going. It performs nicely on tarmac aswell.

    Handling lines

    All the working examples are available to download for you to check out.
    Keep in mind these are not final versions, but represent the overall feel the vehicles in my mod will have.

    - Download -

    Using OpenIV, Paste all the lines in update.rpf/common/data/handling.meta.


    At release, this mod will affect the following files:

    • Handling.meta - Physics behavior
    • Vehicles.meta - Other behavior features (like rocket boost)
    • Carcols.meta - Modified tuning options
    • Materials.dat - Surface behavior

    For now i'll only release handling.meta changes, which make for the main content of the mod.

    Supported mods

    • Vanillaworks Extended, DispatchWorks and IVPack will be supported.
    • Any other lore friendly vehicle mod that I notice will get support as well.

    Release date

    I expect June 2019, sooner if you guys help me out.
    I will release modular builds from time to time regardless.

    How to help me

    Give feedback on how those working examples feel. Which ones feel fair, or not, why not, etc.
    I will be active in this thread posting any development I manage. In return, I need you to help me iron them out as I post new stuff.

    This is a big project, if I don't get help it will develop very slowly.

    You can also help making your own handling mods for the vanilla vehicles.

    Recent Media

    Thanks for taking the time to read it. I expect your feedback patiently.

  • Sounds great @Eddlm
    One question: Is it gonna be keyboard friendly or do we need a controller to actually enjoy driving? I'm taking about a decreased turn radius, massively less auto brake and so on.

  • Hello, friend !

    I have just been pointed to your work and it looks so promising ! I made my own similar work for GTA IV, with the materials.dat and such. I see the release date is imminent, how is it going ?
    Did you manage to fix the motorcycles also? "Realistic Bike Physics and Power" mod did make great inroads there, imo. I replicated and modified those values across all my bikes, I'd suggest to take some inspiration from there if you haven't started on bikes yet :)

  • @VoxR Thanks! Its going well, I'm learning and improving every day. Although, bad news is, I will probably not be able to cover the full array of lore vehicles + vanilla. Over the months my life is requiring more and more busy time and I don't have the freetime I had in the past to embark on the project. But still, I'm releasing and updating as much as I can. Most lore vehicles should be covered and a quite a few vanilla ones will be aswell in the coming months.

    I am not touching bikes because their physics are way too heavily scripted for me to manage anything useful. For example its impossible to have natural wheelspin on them, so its impossible to destabilize them. That's half the joy of driving a vehicle gone.

    I will be releasing a lenghty handling guide this summer or earlier, with lots of examples and stuff, to make sure anyone who wants this stuff done can easily contribute to it.

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