Advanced rollercoaster physics

Hey folks

First time post here so go easy, I am quite new to UE but I am willing to learn and from what I can tell there will be a lot of learning to do.

I am part of a small team of people who wish to recreate a UK themepark within UE4. Possibly the most important factor is to see if UE4 is capable of advanced physics. We have been using specialist B-Spline based rollercoaster creation software to create the tracks and then export the data in .csv format. Firstly if we created a piece of track we would need UE4 to be able to extrude the track piece around a spline for the layout but we don’t know if UE4 can turn CSV data in to a rideable spline yet.

Next major obstacle is how well can UE4 mimic the physics of the real ride. Here is a video showing the level of physics we currently have in our specialist software:


So now over to you guys, is it possible within UE4?


  • Dave

Any ideas folks? We really are at a loss we have no others options than to ask people who might know. Until we get more experienced with UE.

Advanced physics in what sense? You can definitely have a coaster just follow a spline, but as I haven’t done much with physics, am not sure about how that would work.

Well by advanced physics I mean if the train was given a simulated weight, could you fine tune the speed of the train as it travels the course of the track? We need a physics model as close to real life as possible. IRL rollercoaster speeds have many factors such as wheel to rail friction values, wind resistance and wheel density. Our first thought was keyframes but keyframes will not give us enough accuracy. Another thing is smooth transitions. A lot of coaster demonstration videos I have seen in UE4 have been quite jerky and have inconsistent speeds. We really need as close of a match to that video as possible.

For a simulation like that you cannot use the physX engine.
You can use SPline paths for the basic direction/rotation setup, but for friction/acceleration/g-force/etc you’ll have to roll the algorithms by yourself with code; Ppl try to, but you can’t use physX and have effective results for that because PhysX engine is not deterministic.

That video is a simulation. Roller Coasters in the real world are sorta jerky w/ inconsistent speed dependent on slopes/curves. I was seeking solutions with my work over here. There were 4 areas that I was investigating into:

  1. Track Design (with Top beams to prevent fall)
  2. Splines Mesh for Track
  3. Vehicle PHAT setup
  4. Gravity.

It may require implementation of 1 or more techniques to pull it off for functional real-time use. I’ve put the research on the back-burner to work on other aspects, but, I may revisit it in the future.