Home > Community > Community > Creations > New Vehicles > Document: Building The Hovercraft
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Submitted By pb&j on 08/09/15
Mars Explorer, Documents, Community Creations, Custom Vehicles 

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Overall view


Back, look at those thrusters!



I decided to make what I was typing about instead of describing it. This is the hovercraft version of the chassis, it can be easily converted into a tank or buggy. I did not do any texturing at all, because I did not know if you would like it Aubrey. I can export it so you can import it into Blender. It is a little over 400 faces, I can reduce it if you like. I did not know what scale you were using, it is about 1.5 meters long. Let me know what you think.

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It looks amazing!! I WANT IT!!! If you square it o
13 hours - 708v
Posted 2008/09/15 - 22:15 GMT
It looks amazing!! I WANT IT!!! If you square it out, make it thicker, and lower the cockpit, plus treads ofcourse, TANK ARRIVES!!!
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Totally cool!
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 1:18 GMT


Those thrusters on the back look a little strange to me, but the overall shape of the body is perfect!
I can totally picture that thing zooming over the lava at 150 miles an hour levitating on a glowing energy field...

I would try integrating the rear thrusters into the body a little bit more, but once you do that I think your hovercraft will be even cooler than my buggy :)
Perhaps even merge them into a single thruster that is about the same size as they both currently are.

I will texture it with my "super shiny" shader just like the buggy, and I will probably add a (thrust vectored) rocket effect to the thruster when you have the forward key on as well.


I am really going to have to get to work on Mars Explorer's code to support multiple vehicles. I can hardly wait to drive your hovercraft around! I will say though that there is quite a bit of work I will need to do before multiple vehicle support will be ready :(


One question that comes to mind is: What should I do with the space key while you are in the hovercraft? I am leaning towards either turbo or a shield...




P.S. What 3D design program did you use?

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 1:37 GMT
I think I might re-model the wind-screen, I will try to integrate the thrusters into that part. I am still debating what space would be used for, I am thinking that it would toggle how the buggy drives, instead of driving flat on the ground, two fins on the sides pop out, this makes the buggy move in more of a spherical balance when moving side to side, that way you can bank corners. Or it could do this because by pressing space you increase the energy field beneath the vehichle, the energy field is shaped like a bulge, so it grows bigger making the hovercraft roll more. I still think thrusters would be most necessary. I am using Google Sketchup.
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hmm...     I
13 hours - 708v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 13:44 GMT



    I think that space should make a small energy forcefied, but with an opening at the top. It can only take so much damage then piff... GONE!

    Also, I think if you jump, space maybe should toggle tiny wings. half as much pitch maneuverability as the buggy. 2 thirds as much roll.

    Also in the air, the main laser turrets should go offline, while a single repeting blaster cannon on the front rules the air. Repeting blasters are like chainguns.

    Or maybe an auto repeting blaster turret!! WOOT!! it would target buggys and hovercrafts near you, it would do not very much damage at all, but would have a huge impact. and can be toggled on/off

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 15:18 GMT

I do not think the "Hover-buggy"(a.k.a. "hovercraft") should be able to fly whatsoever, I think space should simply toggle the balance of the vehichle while adding boost. I think an energy field would be silly. Everyone will be driving around with space all the time. Keep it to the basics for now, you get shot, you lose quarry. Otherwise this is going to get way too complex. Adding another gun might be interesting, I think a dual laser would be neat. Let people choose what vehichle they want based on what that vehichle can be used for, not how "strong" or how large it's energy field is. The Buggy can fly, the hovercraft can go across lava at high speeds, the tank, well, it needs something unique. But you get my point? I will try to come up with designs for each. Aubrey, you do not need to use these if you like, I am just brain-storming. Do you want all of them to have a similarity, or each one completely different?

P.S. macdude, there already is an auto-repeating feature, hold "control" while using the laser.

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further ideas
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 19:07 GMT

Agreed about flight - that is the buggy's "feature".

I like the balance / turbo idea for the hovercraft, and we will probably go with it, but a forcefield would be neat too. Neither the forcefield or the turbo could be left on indefinitley, and I was already planning an "energy meter" for the special function of each vehicle. For example, on the racetrack level (while you are racing), I think an energy meter for the buggy's wings would be cool - and using the turbo in a hovercraft would loose it's novelty if it was unlimited.

I was planning for each Mars Exporer vehicle to have it's own distinct look, and the difference between the buggy and the hovercraft right now is perfect.

I think the armament of the hovercraft and buggy should be the same, leaving all the heavy firepower for the tank.


I have a friend who is working on the tank model, but once you get the hovercraft perfected, if you really want a project, you could start work on the "sea monster" :)

I envision the sea monster as a combination of your hovercraft's styling with a WIG concept similar to the Soviet Lun Ekranoplan. It should be futuristic looking, have a "carrier" deck for vehicles to land on and be transported, have a control area for one vehicle to pilot it from, and be huge...

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 19:38 GMT

This last one is up to you, I would REALLY like to do some textures for the hovercraft. Unless you are set for shading it. I can show you what it would look like, then you could decide. Do you want it to look old, dirty, or new?

Now for the Sea-monster...I will see what I can think up, I have not given much thought to this one yet. How many vehichles should it hold? For the "driver-buggy" where do you want it placed on the sea-monster? Do you want there to be a steering wheel?

2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/16 - 21:09 GMT

I was kind of set on shading it, but if your texturing looks really cool we could do that instead.
I think that a "new" look would be best, but go for whatever style you feel like and we will see how it turns out.


I was thinking that the Sea Monster should hold at least 10 vehicles, but it will have an open deck so don't worry about the exact number. I will modify my braking code so that parked vehicles will be able to "stick" themselves to the deck. Size wise, the Sea Monster should be 10 - 15 times as large as the buggy :)

Put a hollow "drive in" cockpit near the front of the sea monster, and make a door to seal off the cockpit once someone has entered it. Essentially, the first person to enter the cockpit will be in control of the Sea Monster, and others will only be able to gain control of it by triggering some (to be determined) switch to forcefully eject the hapless skipper...

Don't model a steering wheel or other cockpit controls, I will just switch the skipper's control to the Sea Monster and give them the same camera scripts as if they were in the buggy. The Sea Monster's "in cockpit" view will be just like the current buggy's - only you will be a little bit higher off the lava.

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meter for thruster/forcefield = NO
20 hours - 2,151v
Posted 2008/11/29 - 15:55 GMT

i am definitely against the hovercraft or any future vehicles having energy meters that count down.  It;s just one more thing to look at and pay attention to.  Even on the home page it says " Unlike most games, Mars Explorer DOESN'T HAVE a complicated set of objectives, an extraneous story line, powerups to collect, TIMERS TO ANOY YOU, monsters out to get you, a SLOWLY DWINDLING LIFE METER"

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Thats AMAZING! Great job Spiffster!
7 hours - 289v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 1:08 GMT
I don't have much comentary other then how its so good!
17 hours - 882v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 7:18 GMT
This design is totally awesome 
1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 22:16 GMT


 Back with new thruster, I might give it a seperate texture.


Front, new windscreen.

I have been going all around the model and tweaking it. It's not the greatest, but I like it. I used two textures, both of them I made myself. If you do not like them Aubrey, just come right out and say it. I do not mind, just be honest. I was thinking of adding a turbofan texture right at the front of the thruster, and a lip all the way around the bottom of the hovercraft.

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5 days - 7,364v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 22:25 GMT


i cant wait tell it gets added to the game

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Hey Spiffy, it looks AMAZING, i like the new thrus
16 hours - 1,458v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 23:09 GMT
Hey Spiffy, it looks AMAZING, i like the new thruster placement, hey i'll see ya later. BYE!!
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Revised windscreen...
1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/17 - 23:24 GMT


Thanks for the comments and complements everyone! 

 I edited the windscreen a bit, I did not like how it was "pointy" on the edges.

2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 4:28 GMT

Looking good!

I still think the super shiny texture looks cooler than the black one though :)

The one last thing I would do is experiment with making the rear thruster look like it was "built into" the body of the hovercraft and not just stuck on the top of it. Perhaps you could even make inlets on each side of the rear of the cockpit that would feed into the thruster like a jet engine would have... The thruster and intakes would be flared curves that would blend into the surface of the body without having an "inbound" radius between the largest part of the thruster and the body.

You did a great job - I can hardly wait to drive this around!

5 days - 10,540v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 4:33 GMT
Spiffy This is AWSOME!! Hover Craft looks good! Hope it'll be in a new Mars Explorer version soon! Hmm I wonder if in the future it could be a "transformer" kind of bot. Push a button and it transforms from a buggy to a hover craft, and vise versa. It looks Great!!
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tank may transform...
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 4:36 GMT
I have a transformation planned for the tank - it will be a tank on land and a submarine below the surface of the lava. Not sure how that will turn out, but it sounds neat :)
1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 12:07 GMT
Ok. I did have one model that had an intake over the window, I did not completely like it, I thought it was a little "messy."I will get some intakes on there, I will make a new thruster, this one had too many faces.  I will give the texture one more try. I will see if I can make it look shiny. I was going to do a carbon-fiber texture, but Sketchup is not the best at mapping things and it looked all stretched and awkward.
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5 days - 7,364v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 13:05 GMT

IT..... looks.......COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 but i think you should make it bigger in some places.


1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 18:52 GMT



Well, as you can see, I changed a lot. I added large intakes in front of the rear fenders. I also re-modeled the right and left sides of the front bumper, adding intakes along the way. I lowered the amount of faces on the thruster and added, what looks like, a backwards cowl. I have a few other textures, they all looked nice, but I decided the shader might look the best. If you could make it a different color than the buggy it would look great. Or, if you could, a flat grey would be awesome.

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5 days - 7,364v
Posted 2008/09/18 - 19:50 GMT


i love it

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/19 - 20:00 GMT



No, that is not a shadow, I added a lip spoiler around the front and part of the back, I added some little headlights but I am debating if I like them or not.

2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/22 - 18:43 GMT

I personally think the thruster could blend into the body a bit more, and the headlights definitley aren't right yet (although it does need headlights), and I may go with a slightly more reflective shader - but other than that, the Hovercraft is EXCELLENT!

Great job. Unless you have any other changes planned, it looks to me like the hovercraft is ready to be added to Mars Explorer.


The only thing that still needs to be discussed is licensing...
To be perfectly honest, I am looking forward to releasing Mars Explorer on the iPhone as soon as possible, and I plan to charge a couple bucks for the full iPhone version of it. I am also investigating a couple other long term revenue streams for the online game (nothing serious :), so Mars Explorer is definitley a "for profit" project for me. I would hate for Mars Explorer to end tragically in a legal fireball, so I decided that the best way to make sure there are no hard feelings down the road would be to have everyone license their contributions before releasing them. Creative Commons has a license generator that makes this process super easy, and Archive.org has a file hosting system that is already integrated with the Creative Commons license generator. Unless you have a better idea, I think the best option for getting the hovercraft source file to me (and licensing it at the same time), would be to post it to the Internet Archive. You can reply on this forum with the link to your file on the Archive.


This is really exciting! I can definitley see a hovercraft in 1.9.

Aside from prominent placement on the "Tributes" page, is there anything else you would like for attribution?



1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/22 - 21:01 GMT
When I am all finished I will get it to you, I am going to upload it as a .dae file, Blender can import those, right? I will do the licensing thing also. I see if I can think of any other attribution. What if on the bottom, it said PB&J? lol, like on aircraft.
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(I edited my previous post a bit,
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/22 - 21:53 GMT

(I edited my previous post a bit, as I think it will be much easier to just use the Internet Archive than bother with FTP).

If the .dae file doesn't work, I will let you know :)
If you are comfortable releasing the Sketchup file, I could use that too.


A "PB&J" stamp on the bottom will be cool!


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I may upload it to...
1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/22 - 22:48 GMT

I will probably upload it to Filefront, it is simple and easy, I do not have to join anything. I have uploaded things there before and I know it works well. I figured you would not be able to use the Sketchup file, so I was going to convert it to a .dae file, if you only need the .skp file that is fine with me. For the liscencing, when I post the download, do I just put the HTML underneath it? Now, for that thruster, what do you think I should do to integrate it more into the body? I could add some "skirts" that come up the sides a bit? If there is a PB&J stamp on the bottom of it, are you going to use the shader on it? If you did, I think it might look better if it were not as shiny as the buggy. Perhaps just like a "metallic" shiny, not "mirror" shiny. I am also really looking forward to this.

I understand your want to make money on something you have made, but one of the main reasons I ever started playing this game was because it was free, and I think that is also one of the things that brought about its popularity. It even says on your homepage why it is free.

2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/24 - 6:19 GMT

Filefront will be fine. Please post the HTML badge for licensing into this forum and on Filefront (if possible).

The thruster really is pretty good (I am just persnickety :), but if you like, you could try adding more of a fillet between it and the surface of the hovercraft's body.

I will do a special shader for the PB&J badge that is a bit less shiny than the rest of the body, like you are saying.

So close!




P.S. Don't worry, I have no intentions of charging money for the standard, "desktop" version of Mars Exporer - I fully intend for it to always be free to play! By "revenue streams", I had options more like getting sponsors for new worlds and other cool things in mind. 

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/24 - 11:18 GMT

I think I have to be a member there to post at those forums. Do not worry about it though, I do not think anyone else can actually "search" for it on the site. I think they can only search for things from people that are members. So what I upload is pretty much invisible to everybody except those I give the link to.

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How's it coming?I am
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/25 - 23:13 GMT

How's it coming?

I am determined to ship 1.8 (finally...  :-) today, and 1.9 is going to be centered around the hovercraft!

If I can get the hovercraft working perfectly before October 1st (there is a lot of programming to do to get Mars Exporer to support multiple vehicles), I will be able to include it in Mars Explorer's submission to the 2008 Unity Awards.

Even if you are still putting the final tweaks on the model, could you send me what you have so I can begin integrating it into Mars Explorer? It will be easy for me to update to your final design whenever you finish it.



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Ok, here is the finished product...
1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/26 - 11:18 GMT

Here is the link: Clicky!

I can not get the licensing to appear the way it should. I am not too worried about it.

Name: Hovercraft

Author: PB&J

You can edit it as much as you like.

I just finished it today, I re-modeled a bit around the thruster, I also took the headlights off. The only thing you might need to do is smooth it out a bit. Keep an eye open for unnecessary faces, Sketchup has a bad habit of making those. I took care of as many of them that I could see, but I know there are a few more.

It is a little hard to see the changes around the thruster but here is what it looks like:


I made the thing for the bottom, you are free to use it. I did not know if you nedded one or not, so I just made it. Do whatever you want with it.



2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/26 - 19:38 GMT

I love it!

I have much of the coding done, and will post a 1.9 beta as soon as I get it playable!



P.S. Yeah, I know licenses are a pain, but they are important too :)
Please reply that you endorsed the following license for your hovercraft file (provided that you actually do):


Creative Commons License

Hovercraft object designed by PB&J, (Source File Located at files.filefront.com), is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License

1 week - 22,204v
Posted 2008/09/26 - 19:51 GMT

I did make the license, I copied it, pasted it, wrapped HTML tags around it, but it did not appear. Oh well.

I endorse the license for my hovercraft file.

How long do you think it will take for it to be in 1.9 beta?

I will see if I can get working on the Sea-monster, it is going to look a little like an archnid. Sounds odd, but you shall see.

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Yeah Spiffy! you da man.
4 hours - 316v
Posted 2008/09/27 - 0:27 GMT
Yeah Spiffy! you da man.
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Hovercraft Online!
2 weeks - 19,758v
Posted 2008/09/28 - 6:37 GMT

1.9 beta is online!!!

> Drive the Hovercraft

(There are still tons of bugs I am fixing, and everything is subject to change, but the new hovercraft is so fun I just had to share it with everyone!)

Your model worked perfectly, except that I had to add some extra faces to completley "seal" the intakes. (Unity by default only renders one side of a face, so at some angles you could see the ground around the faces that were there and through the bottom of the buggy inside the intakes)



P.S. Yes, looking like an arachnid does sound odd :)



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i love it :) do u need sound
17 hours - 1,188v
Posted 2008/09/28 - 10:20 GMT

i love it :)


do u need sounds for the game? i am musicproducer and its funny to create the sounds for your game.

so i can produce a new intro song, wih a good mastering (major label quality) 

1 week - 10,901v
Posted 2008/09/28 - 9:41 GMT

I highly recommend to leave the tank and submarine as separate vehicles, it would be way too overpowered if you put them toghether. It would be a strong, all-round vehicle, you would only be safe in the sky. Please don't put them together.


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1 hour - 179v
Posted 2008/10/17 - 21:23 GMT



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Why do you think that?!?!?
10 hours - 808v
Posted 2008/11/05 - 17:45 GMT

Why do you think that?!?!?

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Re: Why do you think that?!?!?
32 minutes - 78v
Posted 2012/05/07 - 11:42 GMT
Because if it was a case of a talent to deliver such a quality I would surely use certain amount of personal statements given here in my work looking for online writing services. Happy to find one more like-minded person.
1 day - 4,287v
Posted 2008/11/22 - 17:20 GMT

This is one of the best things i have seen designed on a computer in a long time!

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Re: Building The Hovercraft
1 day - 4,167v
Posted 2009/11/12 - 23:54 GMT
plz excuse the

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