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[1.1.2] Phoenix Industries ARES Rover (The Martian) WIP Release - v1.2


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Hey everyone! Lots of people have been anxiously waiting for this mod. It's finally at a point where it's playable, and all the necessary features are working.

This is a manned rover, based off of the design in The Martian! Now you can re-create your own missions to Duna, or drive across the planet. It features several parts: Command Pod with lights and KIS storage, Battery with attached solar panels, "flatbed" main frame with KIS storage, and "trailer" optional frame. The included craft file is already put together for you, but if you do it yourself - the trailer attaches kind of funny to the back of the flatbed. It must be rotated right and I use the offset tool in the VAB to fine-tune it. The wheels will flip you if you brake hard, and I suggest setting the brake force to 100 on the front wheels, which I've already done on the example craft.


Some things to note:
The crew capacity is only ONE right now, it will be bumped up to THREE at a later time, when I've started working on the IVA.
There is NO IVA yet.
There are NO WHEELS yet. I guess the new KSP update (1.1) will rewrite the wheel modules, and I had a heck of a time getting them to work for me anyways. The stock wheels look great with it, and the model was originally made to scale with the stock TR-2 wheels.
The IVA that the cabin uses is the MK1 pod. 
There is an example craft included!

...I think that's all for now.
Hopefully you enjoy it, and if you don't, please tell me why!

I recommend using the mod Kerbal Inventory System with this, so you can take full advantage over the features. (Like storing extra life support supplies for those really long trips.)

Download from SpaceDock!
Imgur Album showcasing delivery of Rover using KIS and USI Freight parts.




- Tested against 1.1.2
-Re-exported from Unity 5.
-Added flag-decal option on Cabin.

v.1.1 -
-Re-orientated parts means NavBall shows correct orientation. (When driving, you see the horizon instead of UP.)
-Balanced cost and crash speeds in config files.
-MAY BREAK EXISTING CRAFTS. New example craft is included. Put it in the SPH folder. 

v.1.0 -  Release!



Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Also includes the following nifty flags:


Example craft and KIS containers set-up for a cargo rover:

Edited by -ctn-
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Cool, gonna try this one out today!  :cool:

BTW, I had thought that the other 'The Martian' rover mod was yours, and I wasn't impressed with that one, so I apologize for thinking less than complimentary thoughts about what I thought was THIS mod... I hope that makes sense, lol.


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That makes sense, I had tried to keep this separate from his, but he named it the same thing and posted about his mod on my thread. I have nothing against him or his mod, but a lot of people were confused thinking that I made that one or that he made this one, which I don't like. I don't want to take credit for anyone else's work but my own. 

Let me know what you think of it when you use it!


EDIT: Also, someone's already pointed an issue out - the rover is horizontal in the VAB, so when you're driving it, the navball displays the blue sky and not the horizon. For those that use MechJeb or kOS, this will be an issue for steering. I will adjust it later, ideally all it should take is to reorient the cockpit in Unity and re-export. 

And while I'm at it, I know the texture on the front of the cockpit looks a little funky - I'll fix that too. I just wanted to get the functionality down for release and then do art passes later. 

Edited by -ctn-
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So I looked through the configs out of curiosity and to make some adjustments, and here's a few points of feed back, mainly nitpicks, (obviously this a WIP release, but the goal is eventual balance, which is a subjective thing):


  • Crash tolerance of 9 seems a bit low and there isn't any breakingForce/Torque entries (not sure if the game has default values for these?), but seeing as the trailers have crash ratings of 80 (granted those are solid metal).
  • vesselType = probe & RequiredTech = largeUnmanned; is it intentional that a manned rover follow unmanned tech requirements?
  • OP states it uses Mk1 pod internals when it's actually the Mk1 lander cabin, unless "landerCabinSmallInternal" is actually the mk1pod internals?

Trailer & Hitch

  • Cost of $30 seems low given the higher priced entry costs
  • Trailer Hitch's title reads "ARES Trailer Flatbed" which I'm assuming is a typo.

Battery looked fine.


None of the above are major issues, but I figured someone would post them eventually, might as well be me:).

Also, I'll probably make a TAC Life Support MM config for this, and if I do, I'll probably post it. Is there a certain number of days life support you think is fitting? TACLS will automatically add food and such to this, but my guess is it'll be only like 3 days (1 crew capacity currently, same as Mk1 pod), which seems low for such a contraption.

Off to actually give it a spin!

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Ah, crap! I hate it when I make mistakes like that. Okay, here it goes:

Yes, 9m/s is way too low. I'll change it to something more suitable. Maybe 15-25m/s. 

Youre right, it doesn't belong in unmanned. I'll have to re do that. It should only operate if there's an astronaut inside. 

And yes, the internals are from the mk1 landing can, not the pod. 

I don't remember setting the cost that low, but that's too good a deal (surplus of trailers?!)

That is indeed, a typo. 

Absolutely post any configs you make for it, I'll bundle them. I was thinking 3-5 days of supplies. 


Let me know what you think after you take it for a ride!

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Updated to v.1.1 to fix the above issues and the NavBall issue. Changelog is on the OP.

Imgur album for those that have trouble getting the Rover "delivered." I haven't found a good way to attach the trailer with KIS yet, but I'll work on it.

Imgur Album.

Edited by -ctn-
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Note: I write this about the 1.0 version, haven't checked out the update yet. Also keep in mind I have no idea how to Rover:lol:.

Alright, I let Jeb give her a spin and the results were a bit mixed (partly because it was Jeb and also because I don't know what I'm doing). I spent a fair bit of time on my back, but she was a trooper (battery kind of got wrecked though). Tires were the stock ones in the OP, they attached very nicely. The entire Rover looks great in the VAB and puts together well. Some thoughts and feedback in no particular order:

- The biggest complaint I have is with the trailer, specifically the hitch (see screenshots below). No matter how you try, you can't get it flush with the Flatbed in front of it. I think this could be solved if you made the hitching post underneath flat instead of angled, because as it is now, you can't attach to it (unless you want to use the angling tools) without it coming out skewed. You can compensate by dropping down the wheels so everything at least has an even contact surface, but it still isn't flush on top. I was also disappointed that you hadn't magically discovered how to create a working ball and socket joint, but I suppose KSP is still KSP at the end of the day (Infernal Robotics maybe?). No biggie^_^.

- Lights could stand to be a tad brighter maybe; as it is, I can't see them in the VAB and only at night outside can I tell if they're on. Have you thought about adding Cabin Lights as well?

- What about an attach node on the top of the rover cab? Sure, surface attach things work currently, but it would make the "roof rack" concept a little more flexible. Might break up the lines/shape though.

- Since I flipped a few times I noticed something: there is no included reaction wheel. It wouldn't be a misplaced feature (I know I'll add one regardless).

- KIS: I don't know how it works exactly, but I think the way you have the configs written makes KIS a dependency of ARES to get the Cabin/Trailer to work. You could add a ":NEEDS[KIS]" to the relevant module, and I think that would work, but it might not be a bad idea to make a separate MM config that adds KIS to the parts, that way people without it can use the rover without having to perform config surgery. Not a 100% sure on this one, but I figure I'd mention it.

- KIS: Inventory Size (volume) of 4000 in the cabin seems a bit generous (2000 also does as well, but that's a trailer). If you do change it, please don't change the X,Y layout, as I hate it when I'm confined to a tiny little box (what you have now it great).

- Handling was crisp and seemed relatively balanced (front to back) but I'm not sure how much of that is the wheels. Braking too sharply was bad, which you never are supposed to do anyway (she titled forward).

I forgot to check my COM before hand, but here's a screenshot of it after the fact. It seems a bit high, but I'm not entirely sure what it should look like. Note: the battery weighs 2 tons, as does the trailer its sitting on, whereas the cabin itself is only 1 ton.



Here is a shot of the offending trailer hitch. My suggestion is making it smooth/level/flat/flush/whatever so I can attach the pin to it straight on (I hope that makes sense). It would effectively allow the trailer to down a couple of inches (or a few centimeters, take your pick).



Overall, I think you have a winner here. Does it come with a payment plan or roadside assistance?

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Well, I'm glad you liked it so much! The KIS storage is accurate to the volume of the parts. 1000 in KIS storage means 1 meter cubed. 

The trailer thing... I know. I keep trying to brainstorm how to magically make it swivel or be easier to attach. The angled hitch "hubs" are what the film showed, but I can change it to square like you recommended - that would work better!

Would a manned rover actually have reaction wheels? I thought about it too, since assembling it with KIS meant the rover flipping onto its back because KIS likes to toss things you attach. 

I hadn't even thought of the cabin lights until I released the mod, it should be easy enough to put them in. 

Does anyone else think the lights should be brighter? I was afraid of making them too bright. In the film, they didn't seem to be very bright either. 

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2 hours ago, LeoBlueSpikes said:

Is this compatible with realism overhaul?

It's a parts pack, so unless RO changes the "ElectricCharge" resource (which, it might come to think of it, or Real Fuels might) it probably will work, since that's the only resource currently included.

@-ctn- This is probably a question you'll get a lot seeing as RO, or at least the Real Solar System mod, actually adds Mars. Next question will be: "how well do your solar panels work on Mars/Duna?" (since the suns rays are weaker there and such).

Re: Rx Wheels: I think the reaction wheel issue might be a gameplay compromise, since to my knowledge, stock (and most mods) don't have radially attaching reaction wheels, so unless you add one interally, the player is kind of hosed. If you want to compromise on a compromise, you could set it low. There is always the option of the player adding rcs thrusters, but that seems silly in my opinion with something this size. You could also add it as an optional MM config if you really wanted to distance yourself from it, heh. Options options.

Re: the lights. I think that picture might be more hollywood being dramatic than an actual realistic shot, but yeah, your's look about like that. This one might be more to taste, since I'm usually cranking up ambient lighting and slapping head lights on everything, so might be best to get additional input.

Oh, and I was right about the TAC Life Support: It automatically adds 3 days worth of food/water/oxygen to the rover, which is probably fine for now. When you add more capacity, I might bump it up to 5 or so (can't have anyone fighting over snacks!).

Also, the "vesselType = Probe" comment I made: I think that just means the rover would be classified as a Probe on the Map screen, which the player could change in game. It wouldn't give it the ability to be unmanned or anything (that would require both "minimumCrew = 0" & "CrewCapacity = 0" I believe).

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2 hours ago, sp1989 said:

What happened to the wheels you made?

I'm still working on them, but probably won't release them because of the new wheel modules in 1.1 won't be compatible. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Working fine so far using the provided sample rover...I did need, and probably still need, to fine tune the wheels a bit...But since these are stock and not part of your mod its fine.....also...one heck of a fun rover in 1.1...its very stable...and pretty fast, but it is twitchy and spins very easily...not a problem..a feature!! Tried to crash it, and its holding up fine...So thumbs up in 1.1 so far...Thank you :)

...This was in KSC in the 1174 release of 1.1...not tried it on another planet (yet) will up date if I find any issues.


I may just be bad at navigating my kerbal...but Poor Jeb got stuck in the front wheel when exiting for an EVA (had to move him around quite a bit to exit,...at one point he and the rover parted company...and both ended on their backs :)) Getting out was difficult...I have yet to be able to climb back in...I may be able to do it with a low g world or a gravity hack...but , with the wheels in place...you cant get to the ladder, and thus to the crew hatch...Im going to try it with landing legs instead of front wheels...try to see where the issue is.

Okay...tried pretty much everyway I could think of...I cant get back inside (F to climb comes back up...but no where I can find gives me the B to board option) Jeb and I had fun trying tho :)


Last Edit...Just to make sure it was not me ...I loaded the rover up in a 1.0.5 instal...and had no issues with getting into or out of the rover at all...so very likely something did change in 1.1

Edited by Solospirit
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Browsing the forums..and keeping an eye out for any other reports of this issue. I found this in the pre release modding thread...if you have not seen it , it may help your troubleshooting when you get 1.1 :) 


Edited by Solospirit
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