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Designing ground vehicles [general discussion/advise needed]

Discussion in 'General' started by UrbanLegend, Feb 21, 2016.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. UrbanLegend Apprentice Engineer

    As of late I've been shifting my focus to the design of ground vehicles of various sizes. Conventional sized cars, trucks, tanks, mega-size supertanks, mobile bases and whatnot.

    Not really knowing where the boundaries are between bad suspension settings, bugs, bad design and just plain wonky game physics, I'm opening the floor to an open discussion.

    A couple of things I've found:
    - It helps to set the max speed to something appropriate to the vehicle you are designing. For example, 120 kpm is 70mph for all you Americans. What do you think happens to a real life 18 wheeler if you drive it 70 mph off road? Bad things.
    -It seems like a less is more approach is better when setting friction and power. Again, a real life truck does not go from 0 to 60 instantly.
    -This is about the size of a real life vehicle using the 3x3 large ship suspension or 5x5 small ship suspension. It is one of the biggest trucks in the world.

    Some questions I have:
    - Many of my larger vehicles seem to have a problem where they just sort of slide down the slightest inline, regardless of wheel settings or if the handbrake is on. Having to stabilize them with thrusters feels wonky.
    -Really any thoughts are welcome to keep my vehicles from just bouncing away and flying out of control. Again, weighing them down with mass blocks or thrusters feels wrong.
  2. Grit Breather Junior Engineer

    I have been playing with wheels on planets since planets went live. They just do not stop. :(
    It feels like the Power setting does not apply to breaking.

    As for everything else, find a good balance for Strength and Dampening.

    Biggest tip, use hotbar actions. Our wheels can adapt to terrain quickly if you're a good driver.
    • Late Late x 1
  3. Wicorel Senior Engineer

    The main (practical) reason for wheeled vehicles over hover is for power usage.

    The wheeled cargo vehicle that comes (as a blueprint) with the Easy Start is actually pretty good.

    But scripts (and autopilot) cannot control wheels so you cannot make drones from them.

    There are two other main 'kinds' of wheeled vehicles:

    1. Rotor-based
    2. friction-less with thrusters ("sled")
    Rotors are controllable by scripts and I have a platform that can be used:

    Video of rotor drone

    Based on that platform, I also have a "pet" blueprint that does auto-follow of the player.

    For friction-less (I call them "Sled") vehicles, I also have a base platform.

    Video for a defensive drone based on a sled design:

    All of these platforms have my NAV script for auto-pilot functions.
  4. Me 10 Jin Apprentice Engineer

    It's true that the parking brake is rubbish. However, stationary wheels provide a lot more friction than the suspension ones, so you can put 1x1 wheels on the ends of pistons pointing down as a sort of 'emergency brake' or stabilizer. I've got an example of that on my big rig trailer.
  5. Radma Kanow Apprentice Engineer

    Totally agree. Tho I'd keep myself away from high values. Unless it's some kind of race, 60 km/h (~37 mph) would suffice.

    Anyway, some general tips I use when making wheeled something:
    - wide wheel base. Make it as wide as you can. If your truck (for the sake of simplicity I'll refer all ground vehicles as trucks, no matter the purpose) is going to be long-ish, add few blocks in width to compensate. Wide wheel base allows you to build taller truck.
    - keep center of gravity (CG) as low as possible. In conjunction with above. So if you make some cargo hauler or mobile refinery it's wise to put heavy parts as low as possible. That way it's harder to tip over on inclines, especially sideways.
    - high ground clearance. As in distance between the lowest part of chassis and ground. Several ways to do it: one is to place a block beneath actual frame and then place wheels on it. Or (as I do) lower wheel mounting spot with 2 corner blocks. That way you lower wheel base, make it 1 block wider. And it looks aesthetic as well.

    Ground clearance can be achieved by suspension tweaking but it doesn't provide much room.

    If hill climbing is a struggle then "boost" is what one needs. One or two atmospheric thrusters and we have that bit of extra power to beat that hill. Works great for breaks (stopping, not staying in position). For that simply steal this solution:


    Recently I made cargo hauler/miner delivery truck. Well, still prototype stage but it's working concept. It's simple truck with lots of cargo space and landing platform. There stays docked flying miner which is deployed upon reaching mining site. Now I must polish the overall design and toy with wheel settings. It struggles with medium slopes, lacks pictured supports and it's a bit top heavy - additional mass doesn't help.

    Speaking of, observation I made:
    When you plan on creating carrier truck that transports another unit on its back - mind that suspension must be set far stronger than usual due to extra weight on separate grid. This introduce some schizophrenia to suspension settings. If loaded it must be rather stiff to compensate another unit while riding empty it must be softened as it'd be bumpy and jumpy.

    Apart from that - trial and error.

    Ah, forgot about steering. If you have long trucks (4 axles and up) make rear axle turn-able as well but limit their turn factor to about 25% of front. My current truck is 3-axle design, front axle turn at max with support of rear axle and it turns flawlessly. Small tip but great effect.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Cheith Trainee Engineer

    I also found that that jacking the vehicle up on pistons was the best way to make it 'stop' and stay in place.
    In the end, though, I just gave up on wheels and built enough solar panels to keep recharging my atmospheric thruster powered ships on planets. It was just easier and the wheels did not keep falling off :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. AutoMcD Senior Engineer

    So i started messing around trying to make a good off-road vehicle for an upcoming race.
    Is there any way to replace the wheel on a suspension that gets busted off? Seems like a big issue with using them. :/

    Same thought on the brakes, they don't have any parking mechanism and just roll.

    I'm considering making some type of suspension out of rotors to get more travel..
  8. StuffYouFear Apprentice Engineer

    Yeah it is annoying that the equivalent of changing a tire in game is that of removing the engine and transmission of a real car just to replace a tire.
    I really wish they could be controlled over diffrent grids(pistons and rotors suspension) but without it it really limits alot of my designs.
    Anyway dont give up, half the fun of this game is nothing seems to work like it should and you have to engineer around the issue.
  9. Brix Trainee Engineer

    Wheels in game most people setup to bee too fast. I keep mine at around 25mph as the terrain isn't very smooth and this allows the suspension to actually work. Don't set the height either too high or too low as you will have no droop or no compression and this will cause odd handling. The akerman angle script is nice if you have a programming block in your design, this allows the wheels to turn are different angles between the inside and outside steering tires like in real life.

    The friction model we have for tire contact is dumb though. It only seeing traction on the flat edge of the tire instead of see in minimal traction on the sidewalls and crown as well, this is why you see so many rovers getting stuck in small holes. I try to explain this in my suspension design video

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