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4x4 Autodrive System and Tracks Creator


TracksPhilippe Roubal has recently completed both a 4x4 drive system and a very cool looking tracks creator, which leaves tracks wherever your vehicle drives.

Philippe writes:

After several months and 6 main differents versions alternating Setups made of solid objects and Armatures, with tens of various attempts and variations in between, I have finally built this 6.1 version of my 4x4 Autodrive system, including the Tracks Creator.

The goal of this setup is to provide a system that is ready to use, allowing to animate automatically a four wheels vehicle on any kind of terrains, with automatic obstacles detection, and not using physics simulation : The Game Engine is not used in this setup.

This setup uses a simple and efficient armature driven by four "Altitude Sensors" made thanks to ShinkWrap modifiers.

  • Just import your own model of car, wheel and terrain : the system is ready to play.
  • Animating the car requires only to edit the curve (trajectory) in top view, and to adjust the speed of the vehicle by an unique Ipo curve.
  • A driving character is provided, automatically animated. You can easily edit the shape and materials of the mesh to create you own character that will still be animated if you don't break the Vertex Groups.
  • The system also produces automatically tires tracks after each wheel. It allows to create easily animated textures to make tracks after your vehicles in all ground materials : sand, mud, soil, snow, grass...

There's a great video on vimeo which shows both systems in action and Philippe has very nicely put together a comprehensive manual for download here.  Finally the .blend can be downloaded from this link. A very handy resource!


  1. Nice!

    With this rig, does anyone reckon it would be possible to enable softbody for the tyres? My current thinking is that you could bake the animation and then apply the softbody to the tyres.

  2. wow thats awesome functionality packed into this, I'm sure this will come in handy for for many users.
    Thanks so much for sharing your driving system with the community.

  3. Very functional, this is very valuable for many people, projects.
    Now if it would extend to random wheel shapes and support every kind of wheel.

    It would be handy if e.g. a bike track could be created, and a bike track has only two wheels.
    Or a tank track, a tank hasn't got wheels.

    It's already very useful for many.
    This will certainly add realism.

  4. Thank you everyone !

    @sfsfsfg : You can create tracks for all kinds of wheels, simply by editing the print sample.
    The Tracks Creator is available alone. In its blend file, you can find several examples of prints :

    I am already working on a tank system, and I have found a very simple way of making caterpillars (tracks). I will release it later. It runs very well on a flat terrain, but creating a suspension for a tank is very difficult. We need many sensors, and it is very hard to manage with the tension of the caterpillars. Add to that, using particles to create caterpillars tracks requires different kind of prints sample, due to the fact that caterpillars prints are very different in straight line an in narrow curves !

    @Cheerios : Softbody on the tires is a thing that I have not yet tried. I have made several attemps with lattices like in my old Autodrive version for flat terrains, but it is very hard to avoid very weird deformations looking like melting chewing gum...
    Softbody is an interesting idea (I'll make a trial), but I thinkthat it will require a lot of computer ressources. You will notice that increasing the subdivision of the ground mesh leads already to a big slow down, and softbody will require to use deflection on the ground !

    Edit : It hasn't a suspension yet, but if you want to play with the current version of my Tank & Caterpillars system, you can download the Blend file here :

    Have fun !


  5. Hi, Thank you very much for your comments.

    As littleneo said, I have had big troubles with my internet connexion and mails.

    The e-mails redirections should work again on my website now, but if you don't have responses from me, please send me a PM on

    Best regards,


  6. Treva Van Fossen on

    I think, I'm dreaming. Hope not!
    This is certainly a dual time-saving blessing. Not only do you offer this awesome system, but you throw in the downloadable pdf manual, too.

    Thank you very much, Philippe Roubal!

  7. Thank you very much ! If you are interested by cars animation, I have recently built new rigs for cars and trucks. You will find them on my site in BLENDER section.

  8. Thank you for a fantastic site. Found it on Google. Over the past 30 years I have had a lot of fun in my Jeep. There's nothing like a day offroad. I spent a bit of time having a look around and will be back again soon.

  9. @Melony Furrh

    Thank you very much for your kind comment. I haven't enough time to do everything I would like to do, but I plan to make an animation with a more detailed model of an old Land Rover driven by my Flying Circus main character "Elisabeth Warfield". I hope that I will be able to do it in a not too far future !

    Best regards,


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