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Karkanda Exo Transport: Production

When you’re at the helm… It is a helm, don’t give me that look. Listen. It’s big enough to feel like a ship and when you’re at the helm, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The Karkanda responds easily to a driver and beyond that windscreen there’s only Mars. Untouched, pristine and sometimes savage, but always beautiful. The Karkanda will see you through the worst of it and won’t even bat an eyelid.”

Welcome again to the Mars4 development blog! Today we are continuing our sharing the progress of one of the vehicles being developed for Mars4, namely the Karkanda Exo-Transport. This large vehicle is sure to be a valuable asset to any colonist seeking to grow their fief and increase their earnings beyond the needs of just a single person.


With the concept pieces of the Karkanda ET finalised, the next step was to hand the design over to Mars4’s production team, the crew of 3D artists whose hard work helps bring these designs to life and into the game proper.

Karkanda 3D design

The production version usually differs slightly from the technical concept and this is true of the Karkanda ET. It goes without saying that considerable effort was put to ensuring the Karkanda’s lower half was finalised. The wheels of the Karkanda were fleshed out with additional details that are part of the ‘narrative’ that goes hand in hand with design and production. The vehicle is intended to brave the Martian atmosphere and its harsh terrain, a message reinforced by the hard ridges that help give the wheels better grip and emphasised by the fact that (like all the vehicles designed for Mars4) they were not air-inflated but instead made of a solid material.

Some of the design is, as mentioned in other development blogs, greebled. This is the process of adding depth to a model by breaking up its flat surfaces with additional details and patterns. The larger an object is, the more necessary this process becomes to give it a sense of grounded realism and scale.

In addition to this, the curved upper hull of the karkanda was also detailed to give it a heavier feel as this vehicle is a mammoth amongst the Martian vehicles. The Karkanda ET is expected to traverse Mars, to push through heavy dust storms and survive radiation hazards without creating much concern for its passengers. It comes as no surprise then that the upper hull should also hint at a bunker, providing protection to the colonists aboard.

Karkanda front suspension system

As touched on in earlier development blogs, the Karkanda’s suspension system was also given a significant amount of attention as colonists would expect to be able to walk between its wheels and would have their eyes level with its undercarriage. With the efforts of our 3D harsurface artist, Vlaad, the team was able to create a suspension system for the vehicle that was grounded in reality, mimicking that found on real vehicles on Earth.

One of the interesting issues with Mars is that the gravity is roughly one third that of our planet’s. This means that for objects to experience the same weight as on Earth, they would need three times the mass! What this means though is that vehicles and colonists can bear significantly larger loads than they could bear on Earth, but that the stressors on them would still need to remain significant (such as friction from brakes). This is part of the reason for the heavier, industrial-scale design behind the suspension and wheels of vehicles for Mars4.

Karkanda rear suspension system

As with all design stages, once the work is considered complete, the 3D product is then passed on to the coding and game engine teams for full integration. The complete vehicle is mostly complete and it falls to the last stage of development to prepare the vehicle for use in the game.

The Karkanda Exo-Transport represents a significant industrial vehicle. With production finished, the next and final stage is all about bringing it in line with the expectations we have had around its design. When the Karkanda first arrives on Mars and enters the red savanna, will you be amongst the first to board one?

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