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Take the case of Need for Speed, why would a car earn nitrous gas by drifting or by flying in the air?

What's the rule of collecting nitrous in other racing game?

Is there a general formula within these?

Does it base on real vehicle engineering or aerodynamics?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you talking about nitrous oxide? I doubt it's based on anything real life, since you can't earn it in real life. But quite simply, you could set a boolean for whether the car is airbourne or drifting, and when it is, add a little nitrous to the car every frame. \$\endgroup\$ – Peethor Jan 4 '16 at 6:10
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The accumulation of nitrious oxide in games has no real life counterpart. In real cars a limited number of capsules filled with NO2 have to be filled at the start of the race. In that way it is similar to fuel which you can't 'earn' during a race (except for a pitstop ofcourse).

The reason this mechanic in games exist is to encourage risk-reward gameplay. It appeared in games as the Burnout series where driving in oncoming traffic, drifting etc. earned 'boost'. In the Need for Speed Undergound series boost was translated to NO2 (probably since it was featured in movies such as "The Fast and the Furious" so the general public were familiar with it).

It has since become a staple way of introducing the risk-reward challenge in arcade racers as it works really well (as a gameplay device).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If interpreted very loosely there is something like this in F1 racing called a "Kinetic Energy Recovery System" that stores energy from braking in a flywheel or capacitor to provide "boost" later. Note that this is not the same thing as the typical racing game "boost" mechanic which is accumulated through risky behavior and not specifically braking, but it is similar in that drivers can accumulate it during the race and choose when to activate it. \$\endgroup\$ – nwellcome Jan 11 '16 at 20:26
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Boost mechanics in games have no basis in real life.

You give out boost to:

  • Help players further in the back to catch up faster, by giving them more boost.
  • Encourage aggressive play (ramming, jumping), which to some people makes the game more fun.

Boost mechanics are for action racers, where all cars should constantly be on top of each other (sometimes literally), always pushing and shoving and occasionally wasting each other. The racing games which see themselves as more serious, where any form of contact can permanently damage your car and destroy any chance of winning a race, almost never use boost mechanics.

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As others said, you can't just teleport additional "doses" of nitrous into a car that's earned it. But if you're looking for a realistic explanation, say you have enough "charges" in the car for the maximum number of times they can be awarded in every car at the beginning of the race, and the additional charges are simply locked until the car reaches a certain air time duration or something.

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