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Mod Approved! [Guide] Comprehensive Rover and Suspension guide

Discussion in 'Gameplay Help' started by RIPerKilla, Dec 3, 2015.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Hello there.

    Seeing so many threads about wheels and rovers, full of incomprehension, I decided to write my full guide. Soon it will be finished.
    Thanks RayvenQ for pinning this thread.

    Table of contents:
    I. Intro.
    II. Basic states about rover exploitation.
    III. Rover construction hints.
    IV. Steering schemes. *
    V. Suspensions parameters.
    VI. Suspension tuning. *
    VII. Related bugs and workarounds.
    VIII. TODO and Changelog.

    * - sections marked with the star will be updated or complemented soon.

    Let's begin.

    I. Introduction.

    What is a rover? Considering new survival mechanics, the answer for me is clear. It's the cheapest way of moving you and your stuff around. But rovers are good not just as shopping carts. Rovers can be used in many ways, from the named shopping cart, to huge mobile bases. But they need to be well-built and correctly tuned.
    Here I will try to help you.

    II. Basic states about rover exploitation.

    First and the main thing you must consider, when thinking about building a rover: It will be relatively slow. If you want to move fast - build something flying. If you still want a rover - be prepared to use it on speeds below 150km/h (NOT m/s! Converting to m/s it's just 41m/s.).
    Second thing to consider: SE has larger or MUCH larger scale than our real world. There we build things with wheels at least 1.5m tall, weighting usually more(or MUCH more) than 2 tons. Constructed of bloody Steel Armour Blocks. You still think you'll be able to turn 90 degree on high speed?
    Third thing to consider: You still can build a decent, funny, complex car. Just don't expect too much from it. Also "It's Alpha", there are still annoying bugs, and rovers are not the exception.
    The brightest side of rovers: Rover only needs either 1 small reactor, or 1 battery and 1 solar panel. Also it's cheap in all other aspects(until you are building Wh40k Adeptus Mechanicus wheeled structures like I do.)

    III. Still think you want a rover? This is our way! Here are some hints, that will help you when building it:
    1. First is simple. First the wheels - then the body. Never start building a rover from the body. Wheel placing is a tricky thing, you better do it first. Sometimes to replace broken wheel you need to grind down some blocks surrounding a suspension, otherwise wheel will not spawn (outdated, seems to be much less sensitive to the obstacles now).
    2. Build the rover when your suspension is maximally lowered. Then you'll never hit the body with wheels on bumpy terrain. Leave suspension tuning to the last.
    3. Add gyroscopes to your rover. Even a single gyro will make your rover much more stable at speed. Add two, and if your rover is light enough, you will be able to flip it back to wheels easily, if you accidentally roll it over. Or you can add two groups of gyroscopes - one for stability, and the second for flipping your rover back to the wheels.
    3a. If you've added some gyros to your rover, add their On/Off option to the toolbar. The con of using a gyro is that gyro makes it bit more difficult to steer with wheels. But with gyros you can carefully steer on high speeds using mouse. Also control your car after a jump, for example. (Though I highly suggest to NOT jump. Leave freestyle farther from SE.)
    4. Do not forget to add Air Vent to your cockpit(or conveyor system, if cockpit is connected to it), and to set it to Depressurise: On. That will give you oxygen on Earth.

    III.A. Building a simplest cargo rover.
    Recipe: 11 light armor blocks, 4 suspensions with wheels, 1 small reactor, 1 gyro, 1 antenna, 1 air vent, 2 spotlights, 2 med cargo containers, 1 connector.
    Suspension settings: Pow:10 Fri:15 Dam:20 Str:3.5 Offset:-MAX. Speed limiter: 140

    IV. Steering schemes. *

    Steering concepts:
    1. FWS - "Front Wheels Steering"
    As most of our real world cars steer. Rear wheels locked, front wheels steer. Profits of this steering scheme is that parking and turning manoeuvres are more precise and predictable. Also it gives better stability on high speeds.
    2. RWS - "Rear Wheel Steering"
    Some IRL utility machines do have RWS.
    As stated for FWS, it's all about percision. With RWS it's much easier to perform, for example, cargo loading operations(forklifts), or any operation happening in front of the vehicle. Though, this scheme is completely incompatible with high speeds - you gonna roll terribru.
    3. 4WS - "Four-wheel steering"
    And again, it's IRL steering scheme. Yes. It's used on some old Mazdas and also a new racing Porsche(if i'm not mistaken).
    With this scheme front wheels are steering for the full angle, and rear ones steer for just a little, like 5-10 degrees. In SE such scheme will help to utilise bit higher Friction values without rolling. Makes parking and other precise manoeuvres a bit more difficult.
    4. AWS - "All-wheel steering"
    Simple as that. All wheels are steering at full amount. If there are more than 2 axles, than it requires some angle tweaking. I, personally, don't like this scheme much. I use it as option(enabling steering on rear wheels from toolbar) for excessive manoeuvres on low speeds. Also I use it on heavy large grid rovers, cause it sometimes helps to overcome rolling forces. I think it's because high inertia of large grids. On small grid this goes vice versa, increasing possibility of roll.
    5. CLS - "Curiosity-Like Steering"
    Obviously from the name, Rover Curiosity, rolling now on Mars, uses this scheme.
    Use it instead of AWS scheme for 6x6 or 10x10(or other with odd amount of axles, you little wheel maniac) vehicles, where axles are at equal intervals one from each other. It should be used on such vehicles instead of AWS.
    6. APC - "APC-like steering"
    This one is also IRL, but used only on 6-8 wheeled vehicles. I've seen some 6x6 APC with such scheme, so there's where the name comes from.


    Wheel formulas:
    1. 3-wheeler. Well.. This scheme seems useless to me. Maybe some of you will find a use for it, but I cant. Only an aesthetic. It tends to roll more and it's hard to control with unloaded front wheel. Also it can be built vice versa - 2 wheels in front for steering, 1 propelling wheel in rear.
    2. 4x4 FWS - Any real world SUV. Best 4-wheeled scheme for high speed stability.
    3. 4x4 4WS -
    4. 6x6 FWS Truck-like
    5. 6x6 CLS
    6. 6x6 APC
    7. 8x8 FWS
    8. 8x8 AWS
    9. 8x8 APC

    V. Suspension parameters. *
    Suspension in Space Engineers is not just a fancy block meant to roll rovers and cause butthurt to innocent people. Suspension is multi-purpose engineering part. It can be used in different ways and has different applications. See Space Elevators topic for example.
    Though, Space Engineers suspension is a simplified and a bit buggy model of the real suspension. It's confirmed by all my experiments.

    To understand how SE suspension works, you need to understand The main difference between real suspension and SE suspension: Height Offset.
    Height Offset
    is a parameter, which allows SE suspension to work identically in both ways - up and down. And thus making suspension a multi-purpose block.
    Height Offset is just the point(remember that part), where wheel tends to stay. It DOES NOT set the ground clearance. To set ground clearance you must tune the "Strength" value according to your rover's weight.

    Now the parameters:
    1. Power
    Power parameter sets the amount of torque(in percent) which your wheels have. Simple as that.
    Too high power will cause burnouts and too bitter acceleration. Too low - and your rover just unable to move.
    2. Friction
    Friction parameter sets the amount of friction(in percent) which your tyres have. Also simple.
    Too many friction will bring a lot of problems. Really. I suggest to set the friction <30% for all grids and masses.
    3. Damping
    Damping parameter sets the amount of "Damping Force".
    Damping force is the force that, basically, prevents suspension from changing it's position. That's all. If there's no damping, suspension will oscillate freely. If there's too much damping, only excessive and continuous force applied to a wheel will be able to move suspension significantly.
    On flat surface like racing circuit you need more damping - the stiffer suspension is, the better. But on off-road you need just enough damping to prevent oscillating.

    4. Strength
    Every suspension has a spring. It pushes wheel down, to the limit. But in SE suspension works both ways. So I will name Strength as a "Spring Force".
    Strength parameter sets the amount of the named "Spring Force". As always, in percent.

    Main thing is that it's a "force", pushing suspension to the point we've set with Height Offset value. If Offset is zero, then Spring Force will push the wheel to the center of suspension.
    If Height Offset is set to it's limit, the Spring Force will push the wheel there.

    For example, wheel will be pushed down to the ground. Then, Spring Force needs to overcome rover's mass to lift it, right? So ground clearance is dependant only on the amount of Strength the spring has. If Strength is too low, it will be unable to overcome rover's mass and thus lift it above the ground. If force is excessive, wheel will be pressed to it's lower position, and there will be no "suspension travel" downwards.
    The amount of Strength you need - is just as much as enough to lift the car for 2/3 of overall suspension travel. Thus wheel will be able to travel 1/3 down and 2/3 up.

    5. Height Offset
    As already been said, it's the point to where wheel is pushed. It can be up, or down, or in the middle, or anywhere.
    Green Line represents possible Height Offset traverse:

    6. Suspension Travel
    Suspension travel is a parameter, that sets the amount of available traverse(in percent), which suspension can travel from Height Offset both ways.
    Example: Suspension Travel is set to 50%. Red cross - Height Offset value. Yellow line - possible suspension travel.
    Figure 1: Height offset is ZERO, Figure 2: Heigh Offset is set to lowest limit.


    7. Speed Limit
    It says for yourself. But it's mechanic is not obvious.
    When you ride down the hill and break speed limit, you will continue accelerating, but only under force of gravity. Wheels will become "unpowered". Thus you'll be able to brake only with a handbrake. [Still needs confirmation]

    VI. Suspension tuning. *
    Text guide will come later. And a new video too.

    VII. Related bugs and workarounds.
    1. Settings update bug. If grid is resting on the flat surface, it can become "frozen". Thus changes you made into, for example, Strength will be visible only when you move the rover or apply any physical interaction to it. Changing Height Offset helps to unfreeze grid too.

    VIII. Guide improvements.

    1. Finish the guide.
    2. Add some videos.
    3. Draw some schemes.

    02.04.17 - Rehosted all pictures.
    07.12.15 - Added some pictures, explanation.
    03.12.15 - Posted the guide.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
    • Like Like x 12
    • Informative Informative x 11
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Reserved Post.
  3. Krougal

    Krougal Senior Engineer

    Great guide! As someone who can't stand watching videos I am very thankful to see a guide that consists of a few paras of text and a some pics.
    I feel brave enough to take on trying to design some ground vehicles after reading this.
  4. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    @Krougal, thanks. There will be even more text soon, cause the guide is still a bit unfinished. :baby:

    I'm glad people find this guide userful, hope it will help many people.

    I also can be found in main page chat frequently enough on european evenings.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. meric

    meric Trainee Engineer

    Awesome guide! Thank you!
  6. kittle

    kittle Senior Engineer

    good guide so far.
    Make sure to include examples on both sides: "if to low then ........" AND "if too high then ......."
  7. lhetre

    lhetre Trainee Engineer

    Nice guide, it helps a lot.
  8. lhetre

    lhetre Trainee Engineer

    Ok, understood the basics, the belly of my rover no longer scratches the ground, however driving a vehicle on the Moon is appalling. Steering is hazardous at more than 20 mps, suspensions are inexistent, they do not move, they do not absord any bumps on the ground, hitting a bump sends you waltzing in the air while you can neither steer nor brake. The weight of the vehicle seems to have no incidence. Gyroscopes hinder steering. Having a ship landed on the back of your vehicle adds to the discomfort if dampers are on, and the vehicle handles funny (because of the height I suppose?).

    What am I doing wrong? A suggestion on suspension settings to drive on the Moon would be much appreciated.
  9. Clanner Jake

    Clanner Jake Apprentice Engineer

    on redit as follows,(untested)
    Power : roughly 15-20%

    Friction: 20-25%

    Damping: anywhere above 65%

    Strength: anywhere between 10-20%

    Suspension Height: dependent on desired function, lift suspension for slow offroad vehicles, lower it for faster vehicles. (Although, leave a little room on each end of the slider, never fully lift/lower your suspension as you want to leave a little room spare)

    Suspension Travel: 85-90%


    i actually liked this video explaining wheels better

    let me know if any help
  10. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    @lhetre , seems i missed your post, sorry. Though I can't suggest anything useful about the moon rovers. They are useless on moon, and there are no chance to make them behave like on planet. Terrain is too rough for ground vehicles too. Gyro and up/down thrusters needed, so you basically hop or fly, not drive. Easier to make smth flying initially, because ion thrusters still work on moon with the power enough to lift atleast small-sized large ships.

    First: Advising settings from the only comment with values on reddit, taking it straight from someone without testing is bad. Test it before you suggest it.
    Second: In Space Engineers raw values are nowhere close to being universal. They mean nothing and do not do any help without grid parameters, like size, mass, wheel count, wheel size. And these parameters are missing here.
    Third: Part about suspension height(which is Height offset) is just a clueless fantasy of the adviser, who obviously has no knowledge, but only a bunch of guesses. There are load of text dedicated to these settings and based on testing and experimentation up there in the guide.

    Beautiful, lots of talking, but inaccurate, in some places even misleading.
  11. Clanner Jake

    Clanner Jake Apprentice Engineer

    he asked for a suggestion, now if you're trying to tell me what's logical then i point out that shooting an idea down because it's untested is bad as well; the simple fact here is that he made a generic call for help, to which i can only make a generic answer; but if you wish to shoot your threads commentors for speaking out of your bounds of your perspective i can't stop you. if he wanted to post his vehicle to the steam-workshop and let me play with it in a diagnostic fashion, which probably never occurred to him, i would be happy to help in a more fact based and diagnostic manner.

    automatic gainsaying detected, posting "nu-uh"ery in such a generic an unreasoned and supported fashion isn't making an informative reply, which is what you just attempted to shame on me for; the hypocrisy in the room is thick with more evidence for "be careful of the judgments you make". now if you'd like to explain how my video link is any of these, as you sorta attempted with you "first" pointed issue, then i'm prepared to consider your what you have to say. but as it stands, i see no negatives only perspective(IE "lots of talking").
  12. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    This video was the reason why I wrote this guide. Because some explanations in this video are based on wrong conclusions, which, despite the fact the explanations by themselves may look right, makes them wrong from the "understanding" side. Because everyone post this video everywhere, and because everyone try to blindly copy the settings from it and get rolling rovers. Because only one approach is shown here. I already had a conversation with w4stedspace about it and I see no reason to repeat it with you.

    And second(already too many seconds in this thread). I do not try to shame or offend anyone. I am a gloomy person and I'm far from english native-speakers, which can make me sound offensive. But. This topic was initially created with an idea to eliminate misleading and any misconceptions with pure tested facts. I would appreciate if you or anyone else will try to help people in such manner. You're not going to deny that your "generic answer" lacks at least two critical parameters, won't you? And if only that was your own answer, you could add these missing parameters or even workshop link to your creation. But it's just a comment from reddit.

    But hey. There are already much more of our posts, than posts of people in need for help. Let's stop here. And no offence.
  13. Dragongaze13

    Dragongaze13 Trainee Engineer

    Awesome guide (and realisations), thank you ! :)
    I like the way you present your videos(even if it could benefit a little more editing), it changes from the regular "HEY WASSUP THERE BRO ?! TODAY IM GONNA LEARN YOU THIS" :'D

    I wanted to ask you, why is my rover often going back alone when I stop it (0.0km/h) without me doing anything ?
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  14. Clanner Jake

    Clanner Jake Apprentice Engineer

    are you on a hill? i assume you are, because breaks aren't breaks that work on hills, of any measure, for some code related reason. everyone has this issue(with hills), park sideways on hills if you can; or bring a piece of steel and use the base starting cube as a parking wedge.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Hey, thank you.) I appreciate this and am always happy to help.

    As for the vehicle drift issue, Clanner is totally right. I have some ideas about why this happens, but I'm afraid there are no workaround for this bug. Also even parking sideways can't help you sometimes.
  16. Veritas

    Veritas Apprentice Engineer

    If the vehicle starts sliding when you hop out of it even with the brake pulled, you are unfortunately on a hill. Some sections of planets are so gradual of a hill you can't tell until you hop out and your car slides away on jello wheels. Like Clanner said, slap down some blocks for safety.
  17. KJaM

    KJaM Trainee Engineer

    Hmmm, I am curious if you'd have some advanced user details either with this or in a seperate topic.

    Good example, how to work around suspension and multiple grids for better traction.
  18. Michael_6748967

    Michael_6748967 Trainee Engineer

    Nice guide, love the steering pics!

    But calling large, wheeled vehicles rovers really grates; they behave more like massive, under-powered trucks with truly awful parking brakes. They can travel efficiently from point A to point B, but don't expect it to be fun/safe. Folks that have the time/patience to learn to get multi-grid suspensions working seem to achieve much better results. I just hate workarounds...

    Maybe someday I will try this:

  19. Ronnie

    Ronnie Trainee Engineer

    Thanks a ton for this guide. Thanks to you I understand the mechanics better and have a working rover!
  20. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    I'm always glad to hear it. :D
    I'll update this guide when new wheels improvements 'n stuff finally makes it to stable.
  21. Bumber

    Bumber Senior Engineer

    What problems does high friction cause? Explosions?
  22. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Well, firstly you'll just roll in every turn. Wheels in this game need to have a good bit of "slipperiness" to prevent rolling.
    Second - when you turn, "outer" wheel's tracks and "inner" wheel's track have a good difference. This causes all wheel's friction vectors to point in a bit different directions from each other, so if friction is too high, there's no slipping to compensate this difference and the vehicle is just stuck even on a table-flat surface.
    These are two major, which come to mind at once.

    Gonna update the guide at saturday.
  23. Kidnoff

    Kidnoff Trainee Engineer

    Nice guide, but sadly that's not work like this in-game (I mean in long term). I think developpers never played the game, wheels are so bugged... It's unplayable.

    Now the only way I can get my wheels to the correct height is to set the strength to 1% or 0% while my rover is in the air (landing gear at the roof).... When I get down my 80k Kg rover, it's to heavy for the strength. But if I put more strength the wheel freeze up... I can't do nothing... With my old rover I need to rebuild my wheels everytime I use it. But now I rebuild the wheels, the suspension, reverse the position of the suspension, try to rebuild the wheels directly on the floor (so not connected anywhere) and nothing work. When I build it (with the projector, it's my creation from creative) it work perfectly. But I lost my wheels because I load all the 12 cargo in the back lol... Now my wheels don't work anymore and I rebuild it like 2 times for all the suspension and like 10 times only the wheels.

    Ps: It's 5x5 wheels with little block

    Edit : I taked some screenshot to show, but I think images don't work anymore on the website...
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  24. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    @Kidnoff Well, i just tried some of my designs in game. Wheels seeem to be more stable now(im SP), but all variable parameters now have much smaller maximum values..
    Parking brake still cant hold wheels from spinning, though vehicle slids sideways from hill no more. Wheels still sometimes freeze so u need to move ur vehicle to see changes u made to suspension strength for example.
    I need to check this out in MP.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  25. Kidnoff

    Kidnoff Trainee Engineer

    I only play in SP. Every time I play I need to destroy and rebuild all my wheels (and suspension, only wheels don't work for my new rover). And every times I lock my rover to my base with a connector I need to rebuild all the suspension again... Man it's awful.

    And now we got 'left' wheels and 'right' wheels. It's new?
  26. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    Thanks to dropbox geniuses all image links are now broken. Will fix soon.
  27. Kidnoff

    Kidnoff Trainee Engineer

    After some test, I realize my wheels don't bug and freeze if I set the height by default (-0.4580) before I connect my rover to my base or exit the game. We can change and keep all the other settings...
  28. Azirahael

    Azirahael Apprentice Engineer

    did they ever fix this?

    I ask, as i'm now playing through a scenario with only rovers, and no flight (yet).
    And the wheels on my rover are bottomed out, regardless of the actual settings.

    Makes the handling worse than ever.
  29. RIPerKilla

    RIPerKilla Apprentice Engineer

    @Azirahael there was a teaser of new proper wheels physics/mechanics/whatever, and it seems to be brilliant. I hope. And wait stronger then i waited planets :D
  30. Kidnoff

    Kidnoff Trainee Engineer

    Like I said, just put back the default height before quitting or connecting your rover to something (-0.4580). That bug is only affected by the height and I don't think the new physics wheels will change something. If your rover is already connected, maybe you can't build new wheels, just unconnect it and then rebuild all the wheels (and suspension of course).
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