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Aligning dock ports for base station type things

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When it comes to building vehicles that line up with things that sit on the ground, is there an easier way to do it than try, go back, move, try again, repeat


I spend a stupid amount of time going back and forth, only then to find out once i get it on the mun or wherever that the ground is slightly less even than where I tested and it wont line up.

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You might like putting your wheels put the docking port just below your standard height,
then adding landing gear that, when they deploy, raise the port just above standard height.
The idea is you roll up to position, touching the target docking port a bit low, and extend the gear to rise and connect.

Also, you can right-click on the wheels-or-landing-legs and adjust their 'spring strength' slider to adjust the height. 
Probably you need to enable 'advanced tweakables' in the escape-key settings menu in order to see that slider; depends on KSP version.

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If you get the docking ports very close but they haven't connected, try this. Quicksave first in case something explodes. Press "[" to jump to the other vessel, that sometimes triggers another docking check. Try it a few more times. If it still won't dock, turn on a bit of timewarp, cancel timewarp, and the little jump that surface parts do exiting timewarp might trigger a successful docking.

I like to use the Kerbal Planetary Base Systems (KPBS) mod for surface bases. It has a new docking port profile and retractable wheels for maneuvering parts together on the ground. Retracting and extending the wheels several times can sometimes help a stubborn docking attempt. The KPBS wheels and attachment points guarantee that both sides of the docking port are at the same exact height.

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I have a folding base core with multiple docking ports that face upwards, that way I can use the hinges on the base to make sure it's horizontal and then plonk the next module down on top.  A set of standard modules means I can tailor the base to whatever need without having to design new bits.  It does mean getting good at precision landings though.

In a previous game I had a rover with a docking port on a short rotating arm, so it could be set at a range of heights.  Looked ugly but worked well.

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