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BeamNG.drive Setup: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Beautiful Porsche Photo from BeamNG

Featured image: u/Sr_Tezan

What is BeamNG.drive?

Amazing photography opportunities
Image credit: Traxion.gg

BeamNG.drive is a hugely popular driving game developed and published by BeamNG GmbH and available on Steam’s Early Access program. The PC-only title features a soft body physics model with gameplay focused on open-world driving scenarios; including rock crawling, car chases, drift trials and races.

Beetle buggy in BeamNG
You don’t get this much fun in many other simulators!

When was BeamNG.drive released?

BeamNG.drive first saw the light of day back in 2013, when an early tech demo appeared on YouTube showing off the prospective game’s impressively detailed damage model. Off the back of this, the game was made available on Steam Early Access in 2015 and is currently on v0.30.6, with major updates arriving every couple of months.

Lamborghini Countach
Lamborghini Countach

Where does the name ‘BeamNG.drive’ come from?

The name ‘BeamNG.drive’ is a combination of two elements. ‘Beam’ alludes to the crash physics in the game, where, in simple terms, two mass nodes are linked by a horizontal beam. Every in-game vehicle has hundreds of these connections.

Fanatec Direct Drive Wheels

These beams have damping and rebound properties, cleverly allowing them to transfer and store energy based on external forces.

running on rocks tests the physics to the max
Running on rocks tests the physics to the max

‘NG.drive’ stands for the ‘Next Generation of driving,’ reflecting the game’s innovative approach to simulating vehicle physics. The intricate interaction of thousands of beams and mass nodes in each car contributes to the remarkable crash physics that BeamNG.drive is renowned for.

Does BeamNG.drive have a career mode?

Yes, BeamNG.drive has a career mode. However, it is very much in its infancy with progress not carrying over between updates. It’s also not obvious how to access it. This brings us to…

How do I access BeamNG.drive’s career mode?

To access BeamNG.drive’s career mode, hover over the career mode icon on the game’s main menu and click on this six times in succession (be quick!).

Once you’ve created a profile, you will be able to purchase your first car from a dealership before. You can then choose from various missions on the in-game map.

More crazy physical simulation from the  Beam team
More crazy physical simulation from the Beam team

Completing these missions builds up experience points in either Motorsports, Labourer, Specialized or Adventure categories depending on the activity.  Cash can be earned from missions too, with more vehicles available to buy, modify and customise.

What kind of vehicles can you drive in BeamNG.drive?

BeamNG.drive has a huge array of vehicles to drive, with masses of trucks, supercars and normal road cars to try out. Not only this, but in recent updates the developer has moved towards off-road-focused content, with the infamous Gambler 500 adventure race featuring in the v0.29 update.

Cars in the air, that sort of thing
Cars in the air, that sort of thing

The v0.27 release also saw the Johnson Valley desert environment added to the game, which arrived alongside stadium trucks and rock climbers for a Baja 1000-themed update.

Race, rally and drift cars can also be driven, with over-the-top and humorous vehicles included too; befitting the fun tone of BeamNG.

Bit more airtime in this Mitsubishi
Bit more airtime in this Mitsubishi

Can I install mods in BeamNG.drive?

Yes, BeamNG.drive’s official website has hundreds of mods available to download for free, with many more third-party offerings available elsewhere. These range from new environments to new vehicles, with incongruous additions such as aeroplanes and boats.

Mods are ideal for anyone looking to add longevity to their game, but will also appeal to anyone with Fiat Multipla-destroying fantasies…

Fiat Multipla-destruction with BeamNG

Does BeamNG.drive have multiplayer?

Officially, BeamNG.drive does not have a native multiplayer mode. However, BeamMP is an excellent third-party mod alternative, providing an impressively lag-free online BeamNG experience.

BeamNG is a resource-intensive game at the best of times, however, so multiplayer sessions can become more unstable the longer they last, especially if players drop in and out of your chosen server.

Is BeamNG.drive compatible with steering wheel and pedal peripherals?

Yes, BeamNG.drive is fully compatible with most steering wheel and pedal brands, with handbrakes and h-shifters also able to be mapped in-game. Arguably, the game works best with a gamepad, with some of the off-road physics becoming a little vague with a steering wheel.

Image credit: https://beamngdrivemods.com/

Is BeamNG.drive VR compatible?

Yes, BeamNG.drive is compatible with VR headsets and can be accessed by going to the options menu and turning the VR toggle to ‘on’ in the display sub-menu.

As BeamNG is a resource-intensive game, players are recommended to only use VR if their graphics card has at least 10 GB of VRAM. Performance issues should still be expected, though, as BeamNG’s VR mode is still in the experimental stage.

Your VR headset must also support OpenXR (which means most VR headsets are compatible) and the game should automatically default to launch with the Vulkan API enabled. If it doesn’t, you can manually select this in BeamNG’s launch menu. VR won’t work if this has not been selected.

How much is BeamNG.drive?

BeamNG.drive’s current RRP on Steam is £19.49 / $24.99.

Will BeamNG.drive ever come out of Early Access?

With BeamNG.drive enjoying great success as an Early Access title, and with seemingly so few game modes available, it seems unlikely BeamNG will ever reach a full release stage anytime soon.

Porsche 911 (rear)

However, the BeamNG team has consistently delivered quality content updates over the last few years – all free of charge – so the game still represents good value for money even if its future roadmap is unclear.

Will BeamNG.drive ever appear on console?

At the moment, there are no plans to convert BeamNG.drive to console. This is possibly due to the game’s complexity and its Early Access development approach.

BeamNG even has racing, too...
BeamNG even has racing, too…

BeamNG.drive Setup: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started