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Ground Vehicle Testing Areas?

Discussion in 'Community Creations' started by Dwarf-Lord Pangolin, Apr 27, 2015.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    Starting serious work on ground vehicles (combat and otherwise), and I was wondering if anyone wanted to post what setup they use for testing the performance of such vehicles. I've started a testing area, but since my current vehicle (a tank) is still early in development, it hasn't handled even the basics well -- and I'm enough of a noob in this area to not really know what to look for. Oddly enough, its best performance has been on DuneD's Rhea, which looks more rugged than a simple ramp system that it faceplanted into.

    Aforesaid vehicle is below; I'm not brave enough to attempt treads, and they'd be too big for the scale I have in mind, so it has 5 rotors on each side, in left and right groups, allowing it to roll one side in drive while the other is in reverse. Wondering if making the effort to cram the suspension pieces would be worth loosing the "turn in place" capability. I also need to work out if one block's worth of clearance below the armor skirting is enough. I'm going to try to mount the rotors on pistons for variable heights: high for high-speed travel, low for combat. Already reduced the forward wheel "prongs" to make tackling slopes easier.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. David Halston Apprentice Engineer

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    334
    Dump the wheels.
    Hovertank is the future man
     
  3. plaYer2k Master Engineer

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    3,160
    I certainly can not agree there, considering we will most likely get planets with natural gravity that pulls every mass down.
    A flying object had to have enough upthrust all the time in order to maintain height.
    Dont forget that under 1g you had to accelerate with about 9.81m/s².

    For that wheels have always been and most likely will always stay the most energy efficient mean to traverse under gravity around a suitable surface.

    A small ship with an example mass of 30 000 kg would need only four small block large thruster to lift it up with 1g as rocket jump to pass over obstacles.
    A hover mode for that sure is thinkable but it should be the last resort, if you want to be energy efficient.
    Though of course many people have plenty of uranium and limited time, thus flying faster is more important than properly managing energy.

    As for the actual topic, i think that we currently have two three major flaws.
    - We only have rather small wheels and thus a small groun clearance, even with the axis offset mod.
    - The normal wheel blocks mostly slide around any surface, unlike the suspension wheel blocks.
    - The suspeension wheel blocks are not controllable from another grid or through ingame programming.

    I hope to see all three points fixed at some point. The first can be done through modding with a bigger suspension wheel mod.

    As for designs, i tried a concept based on a discussion here. The question was how to control wheels on an off-grid.

    The main grid that gets controlled is in the middle. It then has suspension wheels as dampener and steering mechanism. They do not have any propulsion effect.
    On top of the suspended wheels there is a "rod" to which AMBs and rotors are attached. The rotors got wheels and are driven by an programmable block.
    The programmable block gets the inputs from reading the current rotation speed of the small 1x1 wheel in the middle of the main grid.

    The issue however is the poor grip. And that is very clear
    Any test on an asteroid was pretty depressing ass i wasnt able to traverse obstacles with just 30° angled surfaces.
    The reason for that is the already mentioned lack of grip compared to suspended wheels from suspension wheel blocks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
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  4. Ralirashi Apprentice Engineer

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    306
    I've started working on a testing facility at some point, but never finished. The only actual "test" I have is the slope. Tests to see how far the vehicles can get on a gradually increasing slope (3x1 -> 2x1->1x1->1x2->1x3). It's gradually increasing since most vehicles will just faceplant into a 1x3 from flat surface. Although surprisingly, I noticed that both wheeled and "tracked" (like what you're using on your tank) vehicles are capable of traversing the 1x3 slope. Although some require either a "down" (perpindicular to surface) thrust to increase friction, or a reasonable velocity (meaning it can't climb up such a slope continuously).
     
  5. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    Gonna have to join with plaYer2k and disagree there. First, all small hover vehicles I've seen require either modded gravity generator blocks, or thrusters. The first is only an option for modded games; the second would be employed more economically as a fighter due to the cost of the thrusters.

    plaYer2k, that is an ingenious system you've got going there. You've correctly identified the issues facing us at present. I ended up opting for something a bit more crude than your solution, but it seems to be addressing the issue of ground clearance tolerably well. Each wheel set is attached to a rotor, which is offset from another rotor by a blast door corner block. Not sure what the proper name for this system is, but it's pretty easy to put together. Steering is accomplished the same as before, with individual control of left and right sets of wheels. I'm going to see about getting a series of scripts to make things easier on the driver, because it's very easy to get confused while driving presently -- even without getting shot at.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, that doesn't fix the traction issue. "More power" helps, but frequently isn't enough. Here's hoping we get the ability to configure wheel blocks in the terminal with some of the properties the suspension mounted ones have. :/ I'm also hoping that we'll get a break when they implement planetary gravity; perhaps the true weight of such vehicles will make them less prone to sliding (Ralirashi's comment about downward thrust improving grip makes me optimistic!)

    Ralirashi, I'm in the same boat: slopes are all I can think of, really (that and seeing if it can go off a 1 block high cliff safely at full speed -- the answer is "sometimes"). This system can handle 2x1 slopes at full speed with the suspension fully raised, but 1x1 needs to be approached somewhat cautiously, otherwise it faceplants. I end up lowering the two rear pairs of wheels to get the nose up in the air, and gently sneaking up on the wall. On the plus side, my tank can do wheelies. :pbjt:
     
  6. Ravric Apprentice Engineer

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    318
    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=424424141

    DuneD's moons above which you pointed out are great for testing and some generated roids that you may find. A station with lots of ramps works too.

    I got my little buggy and will wait till the unknowns of planets come to light before looking into wheeled vehicles again.
     
  7. Lord Commissar Junior Engineer

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    848
    this is the best map i have found so far for testing ground vehicles. it has alot of space to roll on, while also being much easier on computer performance than others i have tried
    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=298282634&searchtext=moon+telemetry

    As far as hovertanks go, it is indeed hard to say what is better given the fact that we may one day see mass being pulled down without the need for artificial mass. if this never occurs, hovertanks i would say are superior. if it does occur, then we may have to re-think wheels as a much more economic option (and indeed they are even in the current state, just less so). Still, for combat purposes I am more inclined to hovertanks for maneuverability's sake. The ability to side strafe, handle absolutely any terrain, and jump over obstacles is very valuable. Why not use a fighter? because a hovertank stays much lower to the ground and can therefore afford to be less maneuverable - and this translates into much heavier armor than a fighter. Wheeled vehicles are much more likely to be disabled than a hovertank also.

    I am more inclined to use wheels in troop transports and non-combat roles. In combat there are just too many things that can go wrong.
     
  8. DaePrice Apprentice Engineer

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    134
    Its interesting to point out the advantage of proximity to the surface of the terrain without contact a hover tank has vs a fighter. reminds me of this:
    [​IMG]
    Ever heard of the black sea monster? Look up Ekranoplan. Its a series of soviet era high speed water planes using ground effect. Now ground effect needs atmosphere, and speed, so technically it doesn't apply to the subject of hover tanks. The correlation I am seeing is how planes didn't answer everything for the soviets, and ships were not fast enough. A hybrid between the two is how such an outrageous design came into existence.

    I have been a staunchly against the idea of hover tanks due to our current understanding of energy production and physics, but if the energy barrier can be solved, and theoretically it could be by the time SE is out, then Dark Lord's comment about that sweet spot between fighters and ground vehicles is completely relevant.
     
  9. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

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    2,597
    I've heard about that; it was crazy, but cool.

    Ooo, thanks! I'll have to try that one out!

    I agree that hovertanks are indisputably more maneuverable, and more generally versatile. Additionally, the point of sacrificing some of the characteristics of a fighter in exchange for more armor is one I had not considered, but it's a very good one; that answers my question of "why not just build a fighter?" However, I suspect that hover vehicles will always be more expensive, and that still concerns me; I might end up only being able to build half a hovertank in the time it takes someone else to fully build a wheeled tank, or only be able to afford one when someone else can build two wheeled ones. A broad comparison would be between the T-34, representing wheeled/tracked vehicles, and the Tiger I, representing hovertanks (except, obviously, in terms of maneuverability).

    What I suspect will happen is that both will be used, but in different contexts; hover vehicles in rough terrain and in rapid attacks, with wheeled vehicles being used in more level terrain, and for a main advance.
     
  10. Lord Commissar Junior Engineer

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    848
    Yeah, it does go back to the eternal quantity vs quality debate. I prefer to side with ze germans over the russians though. Tigers were good tanks...and dont forget Landkreuzers ;)
     
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  11. The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

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    744
    The vertical object clearance of an M1 abrams is barely like 1.2 meters, which would be hardly adequate for something like DuneD's moons.
    Then I went on google and realized most of the terrain on the moon or mars is actually pretty pathetic.

    All dust and rolling hills. Maybe a few rocks. Makes me wonder what kind of tolerances we actually need.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks for the suggestion, I've been using this mostly, and a flat world for speed tests.
     
  12. The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

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    744
    To the hovertank debate.

    In a straight fight, a wheeled/tracked afv is ultimately going to have the advantage over a hovertank. That's because, barring antigravity, you're always going to be able to fit more armor, weapons, and accessories onto a ground-based platform than an airborne one with the same powerplant- simply because you don't have to expend the energy to keep it floating. In addition, hovertanks suffer the same issue as other airbone units in that they constantly consume fuel. Therefore the advantage goes to tanks in any staying, or defensive engagement without an extensive supply train.
    That said, I can definitely see a place for hovertanks. Maybe in a light recon/cavalry or transport role, where speed and maneuverability is ultimately more important than pure combat capability.

    Instead of the T-34 to Tiger, I'd make the comparison between T90 and BTR, or a Sherman and Willy's jeep.

    Golly, we need a thread dedicated to planetary warfare theorycrafting.

    Edit: although assuming antigravity for low power cost, I guess it does go to the quality/quantity debate. Which is sad, because tanks are cool. I like tanks.
     
  13. plaYer2k Master Engineer

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    3,160
    In straight combat flying vehicles have a huge advantage over wheeled ground vehicles. Being able to avoid incoming damage through mobility and thus dodgi g is ultimately easier with thrusters over wheels or even those joke chains.

    So that one thing should be clear. "Tanks" with chains are out. They lack mobility by far and their chains complexity is a users nightmare to fix or install compared to the other methods. Other that for style, they got no use.

    Wheeled vhecicles sure conserve more energy but they are bound to to a plane along which they can move. In a direct confrontation along the surface that is even worse and they can evade in only one dimension, left or right.
    Flying vehicles however can move in full three dimensions and thus no matter from where you attack, they can evade along the whole 2D projection of an attackers projectile trajectory.

    So the actual question is once more, agility vs armor.

    Having rockets as weapons i would always go for agility.
    For gatlings that highly depends on distance and thus the environmet.

    Also yes of course most lander environments on images are rather flat. That is the reason why such a landing side got picked in the first place. Nobody wants to land on rocks or potentially clash agains a bit mountain if you got nice flat terrain.

    But SEs planets dont have to be as realistic and flat as most xeno environments we know. It is a game after all and thus i expect a certain earth-like variation from rocky mountains over dunes to seas (not necessarily with "real water").
     
  14. The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

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    744
    True about the terrain. My bad. I guess we'll have to wait and see

    Personally, I feel like we're discounting the fact we have guided weaponry. The ability to dodge becomes moot when one has the ability to mount a Gatling turret.

    Regardless I feel like I could agree with the "attack helicopter vs tank" point of view. Each still has its advantages and disadvantages, such as the ability to hold a position or to deploy rapidly, or once again- superior mobility vs superior armor.
     
  15. goduranus Junior Engineer

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    512
    I actually see in game ground vehicles will probably be relegated to non-combat applications, like trench mining or shipping ore around. Because I suspect whatever ground combat vehicles we make, there is no way they could stand up to bombers dropping a cluster of stones from space into the gravity field the vehicles are in.
     
  16. BoobyTrapGaming Apprentice Engineer

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    153
    you can easily make hovertanks with space balls. set them to barely bounce and turn friction off as well as using a low mass. you would be able to slide across the terrain and fly over obstacles for short distances.
     
  17. Lord Commissar Junior Engineer

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    848
    it all depends on what you are dealing with. for tight quarters and urban type warfare or even inside an asteroid ground vehicles will be preferable due to their precision or ability to even get there at all. for open ranges, aircraft will of course be preferable.

    and then there is also the consideration of collateral damage. in real war today, it would be quite simple to have aircraft come in and level everything. but we don't do that because we don't want to kill civilians, or we want a objective in tact. that is where ground units come in.
     
  18. Maximinus Trainee Engineer

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    43
    Now this is a good quality thread :D

    The answer is both ... You need heavy (ground/skimming) and light (hover/fast) vehicles for planetary combat.
    The idea is working together, the heavy vehicles put themselves in a position that is advantageous for their light and fast counterpart, drawing fire and attention ... Then you strike with the light ships to the rear/flank while the enemy is distracted.

    Teamwork. If you are solitary and using AI, then have the AI controlling the heavy 'tanks' so you can choose the right moment to flank and strike with missiles.
     
  19. Hellothere! Apprentice Engineer

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    412
    Well, I'm still in favour of the idea of making flying on planets rather hard. Right now there are very few ships in space engineers that can exceed 1G acceleration, so in order to get larger ships to land without a ridiculous amount of engines you'd need something like high TWr Lift fans or jet engines that only work in atmosphere. If you do this right, you might make the challenge of getting planes/helicopters flying just hard enough to still give ground vehicles a reason for existence due to heavier armour and weaponry. Hover tanks would still be useless though, unless they made a possibility for hovercrafts in the engine.
     
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  20. mhalpern Senior Engineer

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    2,119
    Well one problem with multigrid ground vehicles (as most would need to be to be able to bring weapons to bear when the playing field isn't a planar surface) is mass production, there's still the issue of how do we make a system designed to produce multigrid vehicles in quantity, of course we are all assuming that all planets will have surface gravity of 1g, this will likely not be true, but it is a good model never the less. I'm am for the idea that you would deliver ground vehicles to a planet via drop pod, as well as some fighters possibly to take out AA guns that would ground your ships, if your ships can be made immobile by the loss of a few engines causing them to crash, then those ships lose a significant portion of their strategic value, it doesn't matter if a ship has great firepower if it can't move to where it's needed, if half your fleet is stuck on a planet even if the battle was victorious, you will be set back significantly, for all you know the planet could be bait and your enemy could have forces coming to overpower the rest of the fleet and place sentry around the planet so you cant leave easily, while the rest move on to strike your bases. Even if they add aerodynamics, to make atmospheric fighters less costly, (assuming target planet has atmosphere) surface based weaponry still has a serious advantage- you don't have to deal as much damage to take a flying target out of the fight when effected by gravity then you do a surface target, simply deal enough damage to force it to crash and let gravity with the planet's surface do the rest.

    With bombers sure they could take out many ground vehicles easily, but with them being in the same gravity field, would they stand up to a few Gatling turrets? Take the Yom Kippur war for example, Isreal's impressive airforce was almost useless due to the SAMs that were protecting the Egyptian front, a surprise attack utilizing tanks and APCs was used to eliminate the AA screens, so that Israel's airforce could be effective. as for being out of the gravity field- there's the issue of precision- gravity and atmosphere would likely cause any projectile to deviate, also ground vehicles will still move, add the distance to be out of the gravitational field- it would be very hard to accurately strike a target from space reliably.

    Ground vehicles will be essential to allow aircraft to be useful.
     
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  21. mhalpern Senior Engineer

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    2,119
    for greater terrain capabilities on wheeled vehicles we just need our terminal wheels raised a bit (front and back) this will provide the capability to handle greater slopes, of course what would be interesting is ground or at least planetary vehicles that are part of drop pods that transport wheeled vehicles to the surface, might as well use the spaceballs that allow for high velocity landings you already have on the surface somehow...
     
  22. Nik0 Apprentice Engineer

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    103
    I've just started trying to make ground vehicles and I have also been struggling with creating a suitable test arena. None of the spawnable asteroids are large enough or oriented right or flat enough (yes, I know I could download a premade world from the workshop, but where's the challenge in that?). Sculpting with the voxel hands is surprisingly awkward too, and then there's the problem of what to sculpt...

    Without knowledge of what planets will look like, and what type of gravity they will use, it is pointless guessing how much clearance you could possibly need or how much thrust will be required to keep a hovertank hovering. I would say that it is best to simply set the parameters yourself - say "this tank shall climb a 30 degree incline and ride over an obstacle 1 metre high" and then build to that goal.

    And as far as the "hover versus wheel" argument goes - I'm currently building a hovertank - but that is more for the design challenge than combat effectiveness...
     
  23. mhalpern Senior Engineer

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    2,119
    One important thing to think about is we CAN modify terrain to be more or less hospitable to vehicles lets be honest no surface vehicle wheeled or hover- will be able to clear everything, having more mass towards the back may help for wheeled vehicles but trenches will exist if not naturally- they will be dug, steep hillls may exist, that will force us to maneuver around, for specific terrain challenges, it may be better to have specialized craft such as bridging vehicles to allow others through, hills only have a couple of sollutions you can dig through them- or you can use explosives which are particularly effective at clearing out rock compared to anything else where kinetic damage is better, also remember gravity may vary, meaning a vehicle may be able to climb a hill on one planet excellently, but on another it just gets stuck, or can do it so well it gets a good deal of air time. We don't know how much it would vary, but if some planets have gravity that exceeds 1g, (which would make them particularly more challenging to escape from) then a hovertank designed for 1g may not hover at all, wheels will work regardless, they may not be able to handle the same terrain with different gravity but they will still be able to work. another thing about hover tanks is thruster damage, while this isn't as much of an issue for smaller craft where you can use small ship small thrusters, but very quickly you may end up deforming armor-block ground surfaces, and if you are unlucky that could end up harming your own tanks, be it by impaling them or a missing block acting as a pot-hole.
     
  24. MkThUnderwd Trainee Engineer

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    27
    Check out SE Toolbox. Among other things, it has a system for generating spherical asteroids and importing them into one of your game world saves.
     
  25. JD.Horx Senior Engineer

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    1,032
    Hm.. This thread was silent for months now, was necroing it really necessary?

    However, there is something that changed since the last post. We have automatic turrets now, giving vehicles the ability to fire in 360 degree radius and to be mass produced.
     
  26. JD.Horx Senior Engineer

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  27. Nic_s Trainee Engineer

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    12
    I know this post is old, but did you ever upload this to the workshop? If so I can't find it.
     
  28. plaYer2k Master Engineer

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    3,160
    Sadly no. The game gave me several bugs there to prevent this.

    Initially the game refused to make the copy-pasted car work. The rotor-suspension setup from a copy could not work for some reason.

    Now however the code says that it is compiling successfully but an assembly can not be found even though the code worked earlier.


    However there are setups utilizing this mechanic aswell now.
    I however found only one asi cant remember the others.
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=413438369

    I hope that helps.
     
  29. Nic_s Trainee Engineer

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    12
    Awesome, Thanks. Will take a look.
     
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