Welcome to another KSP devblog! This time we’re going to talk about wheels.
In KSP 1.12 Final Approach, we’ve made some improvements to our wheels to address many pesky bugs. Another issue we’ve looked at is making it easier to drive your rovers without flipping them.
To that end, we’ve added a new control to wheels: Steering Adjust, which can either be in Auto or in Override. When set to Auto, Steering Adjust will reduce the maximum angle your wheels can turn as your vehicle goes faster. Because most players use keyboard controls, it’s been too easy to overcrank your wheels by holding a key down too long and flipping your vehicle over - keeping Steering Adjust in Auto will help you deal with that.
Setting Steering Adjust to Override will preserve the old steering behavior - but also expose some new controls to help you manually tune your wheel controls.
- Steering Angle will let you manually reduce the maximum deflection your wheels can go through.
- Steering Response will change how quickly the wheels respond to inputs - how quickly they’ll turn.
Those of you who use an analogue controller will likely want to set your steering adjust to override if you like using your analogue controls to control the full range of motion of the wheel, though you can still turn down the Steering Angle to have better fine control.
We’ve also addressed some of the bugs that have been plaguing wheels for a while. Check the build notes for the exact list, but notable improvements include:
- Wheels and landing legs bouncing less when docking/undocking.
- Wheels and landing legs bouncing less on load.
- Landing legs being more stable generally and especially when deployed at wide angles.
- Wheels and landing legs suspension now handles different gravity changes much better than before.
- Fixed the wheel speed on the M1 and M1-F wheels.
- Wheel load balancing now across all grounded wheels on a vessel.
- Wheel Tuning Tips
- Finally, I’d like to share some simple tips to make a more drivable rover.
Wheel Tuning Tips
Finally, I’d like to share some simple tips to make a more drivable rover.
Rolling over during a turn too often?
If you’re still rolling your rover often over too often, here’s a few things to try:
- Lower your center of mass or widen your wheel track - the horizontal distance between your wheels. That’s always going to make your vehicle more stable.
- Use the Steering Adjust in Override mode, and manually lower the amount your wheels will turn.
- Set Friction Control to manual and lower the friction on all your wheels - this will make your vehicle tend to skid, rather than flip.
- Of course, you can get crazy with reaction wheels and RCS to keep your rover pinned to the ground - it’s the Kerbal way, after all.
Flipping over when you brake or accelerate, particularly on low gravity worlds?
If your rover flips forward or backward while braking or accelerating, try these tips:
- Make sure you have any reaction wheels turned off! Those can easily torque your vehicle over.
- Adjust your Brakes% to increase it on the back wheels, reducing it on the front wheels, and your motor power to the front wheels. .
- Set Friction Control to Override and lower your friction - low gravity worlds can be hard to drive on and it’s tempting to set this higher, but the low weight holding your vehicle down has to be accounted for.
Oversteering is when your vehicle tends to turn too much, and possibly go into a spin, rather than following the direction it’s driving in. You can address this in a few ways.
- Set your back wheels to not steer - all-wheel-steering can be great for maneuverability, but it seems you’ve got too much of that!
- Either adjust the center of mass of your vehicle to put more mass on those back tires, or you can adjust friction to increase the friction of your back wheels and/or decrease the friction on your front wheels. Setting your Friction Control to give 50% more grip in the back - while not overdoing to cause problems with flipping - can help a lot.
Understeering is the opposite of the above problem, where your vehicle just doesn’t want to turn. And it can be solved by doing the opposite steps - moving mass forward, increasing the grip of the front wheels, etc. Do note that just turning the wheels more won’t typically help - understeer occurs because the steering tires are not exerting enough torque to turn your vehicle, turning them more will just cause them to slip more.
A Fond Farewell
I’ve been working on KSP since version 1.6, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work on a game with so much love and creative investment from its fans.
However, shipping 1.12 will mark the end of my time designing for Kerbal. It’s not a decision I came to lightly, I’ll definitely miss my teammates and the project. I know they’ll keep doing fantastic work expanding the franchise, but I’m off to do other things. I wanted to take a moment to say what an honor it has been working on something that is so much more than a game for many people, that inspires people about space exploration and educates them about the challenges and wonderful discoveries we have in reaching out into the Solar System.
I will continue to be a fan of the franchise and you’ll likely see me kicking around in a more civilian role, feel free to say hi.
Thank you for being amazing fans, I’m back to being one of you.
Paul Boyle, KSP lead designer for versions 1.6 to 1.12, and the Breaking Ground DLC