“The Karkanda Exo-Transport was a welcome sight on Mars with a design that hearkens back to the days of exploration. It reminds me of the Kharkivchanka, it is a cruiser of the red desert and will surely outlast me.”
Hello and welcome to the second part of the Karkanda Exo-Transport's introduction. We'll be covering the Karkanda ET's progress from conceptualisation to in-game integration. This particular article is about the end product of the conceptualisation phase, the Final Design. This stage of design is about preparing a concept piece that is agreed upon and ready to pass on to the production team.
The final design had taken the original high concept and solidified the idea of a heavy transport vehicle into its current form. The vehicle had moved onto a higher chassis with an equally massive suspension system and this would allow the Karkanda to cruise the red desert without concern for much of the terrain.
The lead for the conceptualisation stage, Spiros, has a habit of working in elements of aircraft design into his work which allows us to produce designs that keep a ‘sleek’ look, even when the subject is extremely large. The final stage also saw significant collaboration from one of our hard surface 3D artists, Vlaad, who is something of a wizard when it comes to suspension systems.
This stage of the creation process is mainly focused on turning the design brief and original high concept into a multi-profiled image that captures the intended vehicle or asset. In the piece above, you will be able to see that the Karkanda ET had its access points changed versus the high concept. This is partly for aesthetic purposes (to allow a colonist to walk between the undercarriage and thus allow Vlaad’s efforts in that regard to shine) as well as an effort to impress upon colonist’s the former ‘military’ aspects of this vehicle. The deployment ramp at the rear is large enough for the Karkanda’s Exo-suits to fit into and out of with relative ease.
The Earth equivalent of the Karkanda would have been mounted on a much lower chassis to give it a low profile, however, warfare is not a concern on the surface of Mars. With that in mind, the Karkanda’s higher profile allows a greater view over the open terrain, favouring the driver’s experience. This stage of the work takes longer than most other assets as many different parts of the Mars4 team chip in to provide their experience.
One of the issues with designs of vehicles for Mars is that each and every one of them must by necessity be able to operate in off-road conditions. High performance racers aren’t exactly useful when there aren’t any road networks to use. The team pays close attention to ensuring that more subtle design choices are thus extended to the drivers of these vehicles. The Karkanda’s wide and curving windscreen is built to emphasise this subtlety as drivers will need to be more aware of their surroundings even in a vehicle as large as the Karkanda ET. One cannot imagine the strife that would occur if a colonist were to accidentally drive their vehicle into a high walled crater.
The suspension of the Karkanda follows a similar design principle with a focus on ensuring they can support this vehicle and keep it steady across an uneven and debris-littered Martian surface. Attention was brought to the wheel design for the production team as it would also be necessary to create a mesh-tire system that looked fit for the purpose of traversing Mars.
With the final concept complete, the work was passed on to the production team who were tasked with bringing this vehicle to life in 3D form. The Karkanda ET fills a key role in the establishment of larger settlements beyond small individual bases with the ability to ferry colonists and heavy mining equipment across any distance far faster than a colonist on foot could manage.
We at the Mars4 team look forward to seeing you use the Karkanda ET to your best abilities as you turn the question of survival to building a thriving life on the Martian surface.