Direct dynamics computer simulation is gaining importance as a research tool in the biomechanical study of complex human movements. Therefore, the need for general-purpose software packages with which the equations of motion can be derived automatically and solved numerically is growing. In this paper such a method is described: SPACAR. The method is compared to well-known commercially available software packages. On the basis of the results obtained on a test problem simulated with both SPACAR and DADS, it is concluded that both methods are accurate; DADS is much faster. The user-friendliness of SPACAR is less than that of DADS. However, SPACAR has two major advantages. First is the basic deformability of all elements, which allows handling of all kinds of problems within a unified framework; second is the full availability of the source code, which allows the experienced user to broaden the scope of possibilities to any extent.