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Thread: Is a walker even possible?

  1. #1
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    Question Is a walker even possible? It is now!

    On more than a few occasions i have tried to make a walker(usually of the 8 legged variety) eventually leading up to a 200ft tall mech. And from what i can tell the game engine may not allow something like that currently. Here is my latest attempt

    It almost seems like the main frame doesnt know its supposed to move forward. It looks like it has enough power and grip to get it to move at least a little but just wont move. It will bob up and down but not forward movement at all. Mind you those rotors could be a little tighter :P LOL
    Last edited by BCP_Labs_YT; 16-09-2018 at 10:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    The game is balanced to create vehicles.
    If the forces are changed to help those who create walkers, then vehicles might be affected as well.
    There might be solutions which have to be discovered.
    And then there will be disagreement what a walker means:
    https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/.../?appid=504050
    And if should be able to climb slopes or not.

    Later when the promised pistons, motion sensors, electrically controlled rotors and hinges will be added, the task will be easier.
    But unless developers spend some time to calibrate the joints to allow walkers, the solutions will always depend on the other parts of the game.

    - - - Updated - - -

    By the way, Craneballs already saw some walkers in the game
    https://steamcommunity.com/app/50405...82338961915295

    Here their answer:

    Quote Originally Posted by Craneballs
    Welcome back Junkasaurus, what a triumphant return! We're glad the physics improvements helped with unlocking the possibilities. The walker is certainly the most daring one yet and it was an incredible thing to watch.

    The saves are not interconnected and aren't affected in the way you describe. It sounds more like some error in the individual initialization of the game remained affecting all of them... so let us ask one more time - did all the saves remain the same (corrupted) after restarting the whole game?

    We're not able to create "stronger joints" this is a Unity physics limitation as well, the only thing we could would be to destroy the joint after the limit is reached, but that wouldn't help much... or at all rather.

    We're not planning to change the block snapping any time soon, as that's a more complex issue rather than changing one thing. We see the shortcomings though and will have Pavel look on those after the 0.8 ships.

  3. #3
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm thinking about it the wrong way. Maybe even over thinking it.....

  4. #4
    Member Xaosmaster's Avatar
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    Have you tried using a locomotive-type linkage?


    https://media.giphy.com/media/4Aj3bmAPcYTHW/giphy.gif

  5. #5
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    No. But I think it might be best if I just stay out of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCP_Labs_YT View Post
    It almost seems like the main frame doesnt know its supposed to move forward. It looks like it has enough power and grip to get it to move at least a little but just wont move. It will bob up and down but not forward movement at all. Mind you those rotors could be a little tighter :P LOL
    I think you're right. Specifically, I don't think friction against the ground is implemented such that the bottom of the legs can pull. Maybe with corner blocks making up clawed feet on the end? I know I used an idea like that on the corners of an early aircraft to make it catch the ground and roll down to sitting instead of rolling over if I hit the ground while moving. It sort of worked against an incline (reducing rolls) but didn't seem to have an effect if I dropped down and dragged flat ground.

    The other idea I can think of is something like your paddleboat you made. Would a paddle wheel catch the ground and pull a light vehicle forward?

  7. #7
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGriffin View Post
    I think you're right. Specifically, I don't think friction against the ground is implemented such that the bottom of the legs can pull. Maybe with corner blocks making up clawed feet on the end? I know I used an idea like that on the corners of an early aircraft to make it catch the ground and roll down to sitting instead of rolling over if I hit the ground while moving. It sort of worked against an incline (reducing rolls) but didn't seem to have an effect if I dropped down and dragged flat ground.

    The other idea I can think of is something like your paddleboat you made. Would a paddle wheel catch the ground and pull a light vehicle forward?
    I did think of that but more than likely would just skip and spin like the one above. I have thought about this and i have an idea. Just needed to rethink what walking actually is...

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    I wanted to analyze your video better when I get home but I forgot.
    I can write a few thought now.

    When we exit from vehicles, the vehicle stops moving.
    The friction between the wheel and the terrain or grid surfaces seems greater, if you are not in a cockpit.

    So, what happens if you use wheels for it's feet?

    Also the fact that you are using wheels to keep the legs inside two points, causes high friction at that location. You would want to have no friction there at all.
    That is one reason why the joints seem to break (second 19 in your video). The leg was stuck between two wheels.

    Also you have to think what kind of forces happen when the leg is controlled by a rotating mechanism, on a circular path.
    When the leg is colliding with the ground, the collision is pushing the structure into a direction.
    But while the contact is being maintained, through that little friction which exist, the leg is pulling the structure back.

    Have no time to analyze more now :(

  9. #9
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    i have thought about using wheels as grip pads for traction but maybe it can "trick" the game into thinking it should move. the wheels that are there are on rotating plates just being used as spring loaded bearings to keep it aligned. they should rotate freely(just realized i forgot to unlock those ones lol). i think when the joints were seperating it was trying to do what it should but it was almost like something was holding it in place

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    Try using the 1x7 block inner wall. That has a long collider.



    If you make the leg with small 1x1 blocks, things may get inside the colliders of each single block.
    Just like how the Goddilos glitch into our bases.

  11. #11
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    thats something to try tomorrow. i was using small block to keep weight down. i just tried with the wheel on the feet and unlocking the wheels on the suspensions....and it didnt go too well lol. but thats ok i have another idea and it may be bipedal with the way it should work(in theory and IRL)

  12. #12
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    I think we need to look at this from first principles.

    1) Does the game implement friction on the ground well enough to allow a walker to work.

    2) What does the game need to call something a 'vehicle'

    3) If we can't currently make a walker...what would need to be added/changed to make a walker possible.

    I also think simple is best in terms of any machine, and those 2 legged clockwork walking toys is where I would start for a base. When I was working up my swing axle suspension designs, I built the simplest test rigs I could to check motion and clearance....then multiplied up.
    Personally..I think we need powered rotors to make this work.....so perhaps the key is to look at how we simulate this. The current hover pads on a cross method is possibly not generating power....or else does not generate anything the game recognises as thrust. Might have a play with this over the weekend.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flakmagnet1701 View Post
    If we can't currently make a walker...what would need to be added/changed to make a walker possible.
    To be able to retract one leg nicely, move it forward and let it go down until it touches the surface, without big collisions.
    Pistons were mentioned on the kickstarter page. See the first stretch goal:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ds/description

    But then, if you would use a piston to simulate the joint of a leg, then you would create a cycle in the grid network, which currently is not possible.
    Everything is saved as a tree:
    grid -> subgrid1 -> subgrid1.1
    |
    -> subgrid2 -> subgrid2.1

    You cannot connect subgrid1 to subgrid2 with a piston with the current way how the game handles the grids.
    Maybe this way was chosen for performance reasons.
    Circular connections where forces and oscillations would return to the starting block would take more GPU power to be solved.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menzagitat View Post
    ...
    Also you have to think what kind of forces happen when the leg is controlled by a rotating mechanism, on a circular path.
    When the leg is colliding with the ground, the collision is pushing the structure into a direction.
    But while the contact is being maintained, through that little friction which exist, the leg is pulling the structure back.
    ...
    Here is the ideal path of upper point of the leg:

    Trajectory.png

    The lower circle would ensure that the foot, when is touching the ground, is not trying to lift the vehicle (too much) and is not pushing in a wrong direction.

    -----

    If the leg has to lift the vehicle, it must do that when is tilted slightly forward.
    Then, the vehicle will try to fall, and in the process the leg will push the vehicle forward.

    In the current design, where you have to move the leg-base on a circular path, the middle wheels which keep the legs inside two points, should be shifted by one block to the left (as seen in the start of the video - I cannot say which is the front and rear)
    This will ensure that the leg will come down and hit the ground vertically and then the leg will tilt while being retracted.
    The distance between the wheels might not be in this case big enough, when the leg is being pulled back. You have to try and find solutions.

    -----

    The wheel has two friction components: forward friction and side ways friction.
    If you add wheels on the feet to have friction, consider placing them in different positions.
    Using suspensions can help keep the contact stable longer time, just like in vehicles on a rough terrain.

    If you do not have enough power, you can always scale up the power generation by making the vehicle a bit wider - not easy as PN forces us to dismantle the entire vehicle to add blocks in the middle.

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    There are ways to avoid the multi drid issue......if we had pistons. And a way to sequentially control them.

    If you imagine an array of pistons in a cross pointing towards the centre. Opposing pairs operate together with one extending as the other contracts.. which allows them to operate on an arm without being attached. Sadly...we have neither..

    I have been looking at ways of applying rotary motion to blocks as a solution, but I just end up back in a similar setup to BCP's one....which doesn't work.

    If 'fizzics' ( PN physics....) worked like physics.....you could use a wheel to apply spin to a round block set on a rotor. But you can't. Wheels, in fact, do not seem to work as wheels in all arrangements, which is a bit of a pain. If...for example...you attach a wheel and suspension to a block sitting on a jack thing for building...it will not spin. It only seems to become a wheel when you detach the assembly form the construction jack and the game 'creates' it as a vehicle. Which is pretty annoying....but I guess a limitation of the game engine.

    As an example.....



    The stack of blocks under the wheel is NOT joined to anything. It was created attached...then the bottom block removed so it's free standing. the wheel is powered. When you move 'forward' or 'back' from the driving seat, you would expect the block stack to fall over. Physics says it should as it's light...and the wheel has plenty of power to oush more than 3 small blocks....we know this from building vehicles....

    You see the suspension rock a little and squat a fraction, showing the Fizzics engine is trying to move the vehicle forward.....but it cannot work out what to do with the sub object grid.....or, in fact the vehicle.

    It is either trying to move the whole thing forward....which it won't do with 6 large foundations on the ground....or it is trying to spin the wheel but never trys to move the block stack. This would result in the wheel trying to drive forward...which it can't as it's attached to a block that's going nowhere.

    The same happens if you apply the force to a thing that can rotate.....it doesn't drive. Oddly...I can get uncontrolled 'phantom' rotation this way....but not something you can use.

    This behaviour is, I think, what underlies the whole problem.

    BCP was applying forces to sub grids. .... but the game does not know how to transfer motion and friction to sub grids
    Last edited by Flakmagnet1701; 15-09-2018 at 11:43 AM.

  16. #16
    Kickstarter Alpha Nomad JUNKASAURUS's Avatar
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    Okay, after reading some messages I can't help but clarify a few things.

    The Wheels
    The way that the wheels work in the game is not how wheels work in real life. In game programming you write code to move objects in x, y or z positions. During game play, the object to be moved has a starting x, y and z position. When the player presses a key, these object's x, y and z variables are updated. The object itself doesn't move, it is only given a new position to be displayed to the player. What gives the illusion of it moving is the animation that happens during the rendering.

    This is how the wheels in PN works.
    If the wheel doesn't have a cockpit attached to it, then the wheel doesn't receive input to move. Therefore, the wheel must have a cockpit attached to it. When the cockpit is attached to the wheel, the code checks if the wheel is powered, if it is touching a surface, and if it is free to move (not colliding with a block, or is buried onto the ground). If all those are true, then the vehicle can move.

    The code also listens for the player's input. Based on the key presses of the player, the wheel will move unless it collides with an object. The wheel itself doesn't move, the wheel, including everything attached to it, will have their positions updated many times a second. In other words, the wheel doesn't turn, it is static.

    What gives the impression that it is turning is the animation. The wheel itself doesn't move the vehicles, it just lets the code know that the vehicle's position can be updated upon key presses.

    The only time that the wheel actually turns is when it is attached to a rotating plate, is loose and on an inclination which it can roll, or is manually pushed away. However, when it is attached to a suspension, it doesn't move at all. That is why, when you have blocks underneath it or above it, the blocks do not move.

    The only way you can get the wheel to turn or roll is if you have a rotating arm and the wheel is attached at the center of that rotating arm. Then blocks on it will move.

    By the way. The reason why suspensions move when you press the key is because I believe it has flexibility code. This is probably due to give vehicles the ability to collide with rocks and not completely stop the car before the wheel goes over it. So when the vehicle collides with a rock, I believe the suspension is still updated to move along with anything attached to its end. That is why the wheel goes over the rock. The suspension has a limit on its Y position, when that limit is reached, the whole vehicle is lifted.

    I hope that helps. : )
    Last edited by JUNKASAURUS; 16-09-2018 at 06:29 PM.

  17. #17
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    Kind of confirms what I was thinking.

    And that walkers are NOT going to work with this Fizzics engine.

    Nothing in the game is there to tell it to move. The wheels turn...but the hamster is stuck in place.

    If it is wheeled, hover padded or flyer padded, it will move. If it is not...then it will free-wheel down a hill or you can push it as long as it has roller capability from rotating plates or it has powered wheels with someone in the cockpit. Try to make it move on legs, and the game engine says it does not move.

  18. #18
    Kickstarter Alpha Nomad JUNKASAURUS's Avatar
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    Well, there is a possibility that it can still work. One way is to make the walker's leg collide with a block behind its feet while it is attempting lift and push forward. On a flat plane it is difficult to accomplish this, but it can still be done by increasing the surface area of the feet. This increased surface area will give it more "chance" for it to collide (and clip) through the ground. Once, the collision & clip has happened, the feet cannot slide backwards, so the force will be applied to the object that can be moved, in this case the walker.

    The other way would be to create forces opposite of the sliding direction. I have a theory that if you place a powered wheel across the direction of sliding, then it could potentially cancel that movement allowing the leg to move forward. So if the sliding was going towards the back of the walker V south direction, then placing a powered wheel to go in the < west or east > direction would cancel it. I haven't been able to test it yet until I complete my walker.


    By the way. The workshop needs a very useful blueprint and no one has made it yet. The Workshop needs a scale that you can put vehicles or any project to measure its weight. A 10 kg to 1 ton, a 1 to 10 ton, and a 10 to X ton weight scale would be awesome. If you know how to construct one, please share it in the Workshop. It would be greatly appreciated. : )
    Last edited by JUNKASAURUS; 16-09-2018 at 06:49 PM.

  19. #19
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    EUREKA!!!!
    Here is my entry and its a great success. of course it needs fine tuning but its a great start.

  20. #20
    Member Xaosmaster's Avatar
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    Dude! You totally need to make an AT-AT now! This is awesome!

  21. #21
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    An AT-AT would definitely work too, as he can synchronize the legs by powering only one at a time with that rotating thing behind
    What is the plan now BCP?
    Make a bigger 2 leg walker or make a 4 leg version?
    If developers add the electrically controlled rotors and hinges, this solution will be even more agile.

    A good game is one which allow a player to build such devices in about his first 10 hours of game-play.
    If developers can achieve making such a game, then the rating will go up too.

  22. #22
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    originally i was going to go with 4 legs but i figured may as well jump into 2.
    im probably going to stay with the 2 legged design but work on a bigger design having a torso and arms...maybe even with more controls.
    but know that ive got the concept and prototype it shouldnt be too hard to do.
    if they do(not if but when) add powered blocks then this could end up being a transforming walking mech... my 200ft tall iron giant

  23. #23
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    I have worked on the AT-AT design but for possibility of all terrain movement in PN is the design of a AT-AT too tall and narrow in width.
    AT-AT would be 52 blocks tall, 60 blocks long, 15 blocks wide at the cockpit height, 23 blocks wide at the feet, only the legs and frame would already be 36 blocks tall.
    It currently only walks on a secret base using 2 legs at the same time, a sharp-eyed player will have seen a picture of it
    I have a idea for a design that will move only 1 leg at the time, but further designing and testing is required.
    My final design will probably look more like the AT-OT Walker.

  24. #24
    Member BCP_Labs_YT's Avatar
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    My attempt at a bi-pedal has failed again
    irongiant.jpg
    It seems to be the same thing going on as the video i posted at the beginning of the thread.
    The upper structure which is just the clock tower on a rotating place(for possible waist movement, was to have arms too and fly)does not seem to want to move even though a test run before the clock was good.
    But the 4 legged AT-AT style seems to work.

    Now to get an army of them going.....i think ill do that now LOL

  25. #25
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    This is how far i got after the eureka design video. Keep in mind that i play only in survival mode, the only design that i did in creative mode was the solar array. I started a new 24 radius world recently, so i had to find this base site first for the advanced resources. I got very lucky with this site, i have everything except the 3 basic resources and i have a monument 300 meters from the base witch can bring me to those resources. I have started the work on my AT-OT walker. The framerate gets beter after 1:20.

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