Space, the upcoming Unity 3D-based virtual world from Second Life pioneers (a proud NWN sponsor!) just added an improved and updated vehicle system with better respond times, sound propagation, and physics (see demo above). It's available now for developers who have a preview viewer and will be available for regular users soon. (Instructions on installing the developer viewer after the break.) If you're a builder or fan of vehicles and racing in other virtual worlds, it might be worth comparing and contrasting how responsive these are.
"Instead of everything running over the Internet to a data center - who knows where - before your key presses have an impact - we simulate the physics locally, and verify on the server," Space's lead developer Adam Frisby explains. "This means they're smooth, and they're drivable - especially for people outside the US. They respond instantly to your key presses - making them much more usable. The other big benefitL: all the controls are exposed in the Editor UI, so it's pretty much drag-and-drop to set one up." They also use the PhysX 3 vehicle SDK, an upgrade from Space's older PhysX 2-powered vehicles. "So they're more stable, less prone to random physics explosions - and you have greater control over the wheel properties now as well, including slip curves and more."
My personal hope is developers start playing with this to create racing MMOs, and, say, a DayZ-meets-GTA sort of MMO. (Think zombies and car jackers and running over zombies while crashing into other car jackers!) The new vehicles can go at all variety of speeds, but because they are physics enabled, they pretty much resemble real life vehicles: