“She sings, you know? You get behind a Caripen long enough and you get to know every whistle and ping that she makes. It's the difference between a good haul and any node not worth bothering with. Once you’ve got that under your belt, you’ll stop wasting time and air to check the results yourself.”
Hello and welcome to the Mars4 development blog. Today, we are happy to introduce a new vehicle NFT under production for the Mars4 game: the Caripen GPRV. The Caripen Ground Penetrating Radar Vehicle is a heavy-duty resource surveyor. It is designed to cross the vast open spaces of the red planet and identify pockets of rich mineral resources as well as determine the composition of those resources.
The design document for the Caripen GPRV called for a long range surveying vehicle that would excel at resource identification. Its creation was closely tied with the efforts to create chains of actions that would encourage further cooperation between players, part of a series of supporting features that will help breathe life into the survival elements on the Martian surface. In particular, the Caripen GPRV’s design goes hand in hand with the Karkanda Exo-Transport. Where the Karkanda ET can carry miners and heavy mining gear with ease, it falls to the Caripen GPRV to find the most valuable nodes and make each mining trip as efficient as possible.
The design aesthetic for the Caripen GPRV is much easier to establish for near-scifi work and the original concept art featured a small dome-like array at the top to hint at the vehicle’s role. While it is true that a radar array has no purpose being on the top of a vehicle if the intention is to scan the ground, this was one of those decisions made to make it easier to emphasise the vehicle’s role. Players should be able to immediately infer that the Caripen’s role is related to reconnaissance given its dome-like protrusion and that will neatly bring players into the right mindset when driving the Caripen across the red planet.
In Mars4, resource nodes need to be scanned to determine what types of materials can be found within them. This remains true of larger nodes scattered across and below the landscape. Colonists are able to use their scanning tool to determine the minerals that individual nodes contain and mine them. However, with the sheer scale of the Mars4 lands, having a colonist walking or running across Mars with a single scanner tool hardly makes for an efficient use of their time or air.
The Caripen GPRV is designed to fill that niche, providing a fast moving vehicle with a deep scanning array to make easier work of resource surveying. As bases become larger and more complicated, colonists are likely to find that their resource demands are increased and this can be offset by bringing additional, higher quality equipment to bear.
The Caripen’s high concept and final conceptual design have had a significant deviation from each other. The main concern raised with the high concept was around the forward wheels which were considered to be insufficient to support such a large vehicle and somewhat impractical. Further concerns were raised with the vehicle’s radar array needing to be more pronounced for better visibility.
The phrase GPRV also received some back and forth amongst the production team. Technically, ground-penetrating radar is most commonly used in the field of archaeology due to its ability to easily survey subsurface formations and items. This is not exactly the same as directly detecting an ore vein, however, they are occasionally used on Earth to detect valuable metals (such as gold or silver). In the case of the Caripen GPRV, the radar instead detects the myriad of resources available on Mars. Fortunately, there is no need to worry about the effects of beaming microwaves beneath the Martian surface. As far as we know, there’s nothing to disturb down there.
The conceptualisation for the Caripen changed to include more robust forward wheels and a much more pronounced scanning array. Some of the second version’s design was influenced by the 1996 strategy game “Command & Conquer: Red Alert.” It was felt that the significantly larger dome at the top of the vehicle would help highlight to players the use of this vehicle in a scouting and surveying role. It’s important to note that the radar array does not project electrical energy and is perfectly safe for colonists to operate.
The latter part of the design changes involved a sleek curvature applied to the chassis, giving the Caripen the smoothness that matches Mars4's near-future aesthetic.
With the first concept considered complete, it falls to the next team to handle the final design phase. The Caripen is one of several vehicle NFTs arriving on Mars and is capable of taking charge of the red planet’s hostile landscape and providing support for larger communities and their creations.
We’ll see you on the surface!