Karkanda Exo Transport: First Conceptualisation

"Not many colonists know the history of the Karkanda. The transport's name comes from an extinct species on Earth that was used for war in the ancient past. The Karkanda ET has a similar history. They once roamed the same grasslands as its namesake during the Struggle for Peace, but now they roll across Mars. Hide for metal. Blood for fuel. Grass for dust. War for peace. The Karkanda lives on in this new red savanna."

Hello and welcome to Mars4's development news. Today, we're going to share some information about the conceptualisation of one of our upcoming vehicle NFTs. The Karkanda Exo Transport is one of several NFT vehicle assets that will see use on the surface of the Mars Metaverse.

First Conceptualisation

The design of vehicles for Mars4 requires additional effort to see through to completion as many of these larger items help enhance the cooperative aspects of the game and have a profound impact on the game's balance. The origin of the Karkanda Exo Transport was a greater challenge than usual as it was hard to find a direct equivalent on Earth. The design brief for the Karkanda described a vehicle that was able to accomodate a number of colonists and colonists wearing exo-suits.

We can all easily imagine any number of transport vehicles for everyday people, anything from private cars to commercial buses. However, the Karkanda needed to be able to ferry exo-suits from one place to another. Exo-suits in Mars4 vary in size and capability, but the largest of them have significantly more bulk than a colonist in their spacesuit and can reach as high as 3 metres!

Fortunately, Mars' lower gravity (roughly one third that of Earth's) means that constraints with the size of a vehicle are not too much of a problem. What this does mean though is that the Miner Transport (as it was called in the design brief) would be much larger than most terrestrial vehicles.

In addition to its size, it would need to be accessible by colonists who weren't in Exo-suits either as passengers or as the driver.

Karkanda concept art

As you can see above, the early concept art for the Karkanda ET gives a good sense of scale with the way the passenger access is matched by the size of the wheels. However, it was this piece that highlighted the need for a design shift.

A colonist on Mars outside of an Exo-suit will have his eyes level with the wheels of this vehicle.

Naturally, with the vehicle's size we wanted to emphasise its impressiveness, but it occurred to the design team that this also meant we would need to create and finesse an equally impressive undercarriage as well as the suspension and wheels. This is something that usually gets ignored or kept simple in designs as the undercarriage of most vehicles is not normally visible to a player. Here, we employed the expertise of our Harsurface modeller Vlaad who has a particular talent when it comes to vehicles and their suspension systems. Together with Spiros, we received the final concept design.

Karkanda first concept design

The conceptualisation phase was largely considered complete at this point and had deviated a fair amount from the high concept shown earlier. The Karkanda had its role cemented with the addition of an external ramp for the Exo-suits and a movement towards the near-future utilitarianism that Mars4 prefers to introduce to designs. The original concept has harder angles and a non-accessible undercarriage while the latter concept opted for smoother panelling and a more open design to allow colonists to even stand directly underneath it. Much like greebling (which is a technique to give additional depth and complexity to objects with large flat surfaces), the choice to move towards the more rounder design is to give the Karkanda a "softer" aesthetic. This is not the war machine it was on Earth, this is now a repurposed vehicle that helps colonists make the most of their gear.

Swords to ploughshares.

The Karkanda Exo Transport is one of a fleet of vehicles set to deploy across the surface of Mars. Each vehicle will have their own specialised role in the Mars4 game and are designed to help colonists achieve the very best for their productivity and their survival.

Find out more at Mars4.

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