Design it, Drive it : Speedboats

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Design it, Drive it : Speedboats
Design it, drive it speedboats1.jpg
Developer Performance Simulations
Publisher Performance Simulations
Platform Oculus Rift (Platform)
Device Oculus Rift CV1
Operating System Windows
Type Full Game
Genre Indie, Simulation
Input Device Keyboard / Mouse
Play Area Seated
Game Mode Single Player
Language English
Review Mostly Positive
Release Date Nov 28, 2015
Price $24.99
App Store Steam
Infobox Updated 09/15/2016
Design it, Drive it : Speedboats is a VR App.


Design it, Drive it: Speedboats is a speedboat simulator with high fidelity physics that lets you design and drive your own speedboats from more than 25 adjustable parameters on a Windows PC, then compete against other players via leaderboards in top speed shootouts, solo time trials on lapped or point to point courses, or just free drive as you please with no constraints. Whether you end up with boats that are slow, fast, turn well, chine walk, or tend to blow over at high speeds or not depends on what you do with the shape and design of the hull.

Boat Design Variables:

There are more than 25 adjustable parameters in the simulator you can play with that affect not only the boat's appearance, but also the performance and handling. Some of these include:

  • Single, twin, and triple engine outboard installations (up to 900 total horsepower with triples)
  • Engine power (150 hp through 300 hp in 25 hp increments guided by or using real outboard engine dyno data)
  • Propeller pitch
  • Overall hull length, width, and molded depth
  • Transom height
  • Chine width
  • Bow and transom deadrise angles
  • Cockpit position, width, and dash height
  • Seat positions and floor depth (the driver's position matters a great deal for balance)
  • Bow top shape
  • Overall hull curvature
  • Pad or no pad: With a pad you can choose the pad deadrise (side) angle, length, width, and height.
  • Strakes/Step positions, width, and deadrise (side) angle. You can run two steps or no steps.
  • Jackplate setback (from 4 to 12 inches)
  • Weight can be adjusted from 0% (lightest) to 100% (double the lightest weight) in 10% increments.

===This is not your typical boat game, it's a serious, hardcore physics simulator used by real life boat racers including Formula 1, 2, 3, and offshore powerboat racers to keep their skills sharp between races.


The boat mesh is generated procedurally (mathematically) from the above parameters. The physics computations are run directly on those mesh triangles for your design. All parameters affect the handling and top speed of the boat in much the same way they do on a real boat.

The physics code/vehicle simulation model driving all this is a proprietary system that solves thousands of hydrodynamic, skin friction, buoyancy, and aerodynamic forces separately on almost every triangle in the boat mesh, lower unit, and powerhead as well as the individual propeller blades.

  • Chine walk naturally comes out of the model as well as blowover. A lot can be learned about both by experimenting with the hull design and driving techniques inside the boat sim. You can learn to control chine walk in a real boat by practicing it safely in the simulator first.

  • Skin friction at the hull and lower unit is computed using a sophisticated Reynold's number approach that depends on the details of the water/hull interaction, so as you trim the engine or adjust the hull or pad design to raise the bow or hull out of the water with aerodynamic lift, the effect on top speed is similar to what you would get with a real boat. The same goes for the cockpit operated hydraulic jackplate which can be used to raise the entire engine up to minimize wetted drag on the lower unit to attain even higher speeds.

  • Paddlewheel effects due to surface piercing propellers come out of the physics model due to the individual propeller blade modelling, so when the jack plate is raised or the engine trim is adjusted to lift the propeller partly out of the water (surface piercing prop) in the hunt for maximum speed, the lopsided propeller forces from blades exposed to the air tend to steer the boat which requires a steering correction similar to real life surfacing propellers.


These maps are real life locations generated from satellite terrain data.

  • Lotus Lake in Chanhassen, Minnesota, is a small, three bay lake about one mile long that the developer grew up on and spent untold hours driving the family speedboat on.

  • Glen Canyon, Utah, is an enormous stretch of the San Juan river that takes more than 30 minutes to drive the entire length of in a 100 mph+ boat. It includes a bit of everything in one giant map. There's a narrow, twisty section of the river, some wider, straighter areas, and a couple of wide open lake areas that are each much larger than Lotus Lake. With multiple starting locations, it's like several maps in one.

Simulation modes

  • "Free as the Wind" mode lets you drive freely in much the same way you'd play with a flight simulator. Go anywhere and do anything you want without any buoy turn markers or timers or goals. In this mode there are multiple starting locations spread throughout each map.

  • "Courses" mode lets you drive competitively either in lapped solo time trials or in one mile top speed shootouts (available on both maps) with your results submitted to a separate leaderboard for each course. NEW August 6, 2016: Leaderboards are available for all courses. Previously they were available for top speed shootouts only.


Courses are open water circuits on the Lotus Lake and Glen Canyon maps marked by buoys the same way it's done in real powerboat racing (red buoys are for right turns, yellow buoys are for left). As of August 4, 2016, all non-top speed shooutout courses have leaderboard functionality added that will display your rank, best ever laptime, last laptime, best session laptime, and world record laptime every time a lap is completed.

  • Lotus Lake Top Speed Shootout: A straight, mile long course for top speed competition.
  • Lotus Lake Short: A short, four turn lapping course in the main bay similar to some formula style boat circuits. Laptimes here are usually less than one minute.
  • Lotus Lake Full Lap: A longer course with a large number of turns that hugs the shoreline and takes you around the entire lake once per lap. A full trip in a quick boat that turns well takes under three minutes.
  • Glen Canyon Shootout: A straight, mile long course for top speed competition.
  • Glen Canyon Full: This enormous one-way point to point course extends the entire length of the Glen Canyon map and is well over 40 miles in length. It can take more than 30 minutes to go from one end to the other with a boat capable of 100 mph.
  • Glen Canyon Minnow: A short, four turn lapping course with two very tight left handers, a medium right turn, and a long 180 left hander. Similar to formula style tracks with lap times typically around 50-55 seconds or less.
  • Glen Canyon Steak: A large offshore powerboat style course held in a large bay that's partly out in the open water, but also snakes between the shoreline and a couple of small islands. The turns are long and wide here for the most part, very high speed. Lap times under three minutes.

Do you have course layout ideas for the existing maps or real world map locations you'd like to see added? Suggest them here:

You're not restricted to driving on courses, however. Just choose "Free as the Wind" mode and go anywhere you want. A lazy drive down Glen Canyon with no pressure can be surprisingly relaxing, especially in VR.

Controller support

  • Fully configurable with axes/buttons. Use a keyboard, gamepad buttons/axes, joystick, steering wheel (force feedback supported), a combination of all of these, etc.. Anything that DirectInput can see should work for a controller.
  • Steam Controller does not have full native support, but can be made to work with some effort.
  • VR handheld controllers are NOT supported. In VR mode you use a mouse and keyboard to navigate the user interface, change cameras, etc..

The best setup is a force feedback steering wheel + pedals with a mouse and keyboard within reach.

VR support

  • Oculus Rift DK1, DK2, and CV1 : Fully supported. Requires Oculus Home 1.3 or higher.
  • Vive: NOT YET supported, but will come.

Oculus VR headsets are optional. Single, dual, and triple monitor setups are supported.

Developer info

This solo indie project is under continuing development by Todd Wasson, formerly the physics engine programmer/vehicle dynamics engineer behind Virtual RC Racing and it's successor, VRC Pro. Todd has been writing physics engines and vehicle models since before 2000 and specializes in vehicle dynamics.

Audio was created by Greg Hill of Soundwave Concepts, the master car (and now boat) engine audio developer behind iRacing and many other sim racing titles.

Future development

Provided there's enough support from the community, this product's development will continue after Steam release with an aim first on providing more types of boats and fixing any issues that arise.

In development next: Tunnel boats!


System Requirements



  • OS: Windows 7/8/10
  • Processor: Hyperthreaded Intel CPU, AMD Athlon
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0 graphics card (AMD Radeon HD 5870, nVidia GTX 560)
  • Storage: 2 GB available space


  • OS: Windows 7/8/10
  • Processor: Multi-core CPU (Intel Core i5 or i7, AMD Phenom II QUAD X4)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7970, R9 280X, nVidia GTX 680
  • Storage: 3 GB available space

Setup Instructions

Images and Videos

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