It’s a plane…It’s a boat…It’s a truck…It’s Rigs of Rods!
Rigs of Rods is one of the best open source simulation projects in existence, with thousands of fans and contributors around the world. The project started as a truck simulator, but evolved into being an advanced physics sandbox. Rigs of Rods gives you the opportunity to get into the cockpit of various aircrafts and helicopters, haul trucks and off-road cars, boats, ships and even tractors.
Rigs of Rods simulator uses soft body dynamics to deliver realistic motion and deformation to the vehicles. To put it simply, if you crash on a wall while at high speed, your car will get ruined realistically, or if you hit a big stone with one of your tires, the tire or the suspension may fail or brake depending on your speed and power of collision. This element alone can make you stuck forever with this game, trying out various things that you can’t or wouldn’t try with a given vehicle in reality.
There are no objectives or anything like that on Rigs of Rods. You basically choose one of the many available maps, a vehicle and then it is all up to your imagination. Every map has different challenges depending on the ground morphology and the terrain material. Almost all vehicles can interact with each other, through various ways. For example you can lift a whole car using a helicopter and a hook, or carry a monster truck on the back of your haul truck. All these you can do alone, or in multiplayer!
The optical experience of the simulator is generally of a high quality. There are several terrains and vehicles that may be more worked out and beautiful than others, but if you are running a low-spec machine, you will be pleased to find more simplistic maps and vehicles that have less hardware requirements. You can also configure various effects and quality settings to achieve optimum performance and pleasure.
Using Rigs of Rods is quite simple too. Thankfully everything is more or less straight forward and even the “special” abilities and functions of some vehicles are right there at the bottom of your screen to read how to use them. I would say this project is perfect if it wasn’t for…
The Linux support! Unfortunately Rigs of Rods suffers greatly on that sector. If you are not using Arch Linux (the only distribution that has a package for RoR), the only way to install and use this magnificent simulator is by compiling it from source. All you have to do is try and find many libraries (including 3rd party) that your system probably won’t have on its repos, compile them successfully (which for many different reasons depending on the OS and the particular package may not happen) and then put the puzzle pieces together. Your ally on this undescribably difficult task are these two outdated guides 1,2). I suppose the lack of packages for all the main distributions is the result of how difficult it is to compile Rigs of Rods in the first place. Another way (pathetic) to run Rigs of Rods under Linux, is by downloading the Windows version and running it with wine, but in that case expect issues…I can only hope that this splendid simulator will eventually reach out to its Linux fans by improving the support for our favorite platform.