1. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    Gears, wheels, and automobiles; HELP!

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Anaïs Rose, Jan 30, 2016.

    Hey friends, I'm going to need a massive amount of help. Hopefully that sentence didn't turn too many of you away, but I'm really desperate here and really hoping someone will take pity on me. One of the main plot points in my current story is the Great Races, "death races" where drivers can trick out their car with weapons, snow plows, human skulls, extra riders to defend the car, etc., all in the name of winning the Great Race, and the prize, a beautiful woman belonging to the Grand Master Kef. And this is so exciting for me; ever since I saw Resident Evil's zombie bus, I've been overcome with a love for mad max style vehicles, tinkered with and upgraded into raw death machines. My problem however, is that I have a very low knowledge of cars. I have an incredibly difficult time drawing them, and since I know so little about them, it's hard for me to come up with good designs.
    I have a lot of ideas for trappings, but not for the actual vehicle. The only thing I have in my mind right now is "big and scary and designed to crush", and "small and fast and designed to dodge attacks". I have an idea for the main protag's car that has a fifth wheel that can fold down (like an airplane's wheels) in case of a spin out, that rotates, so the wheel will spin along with the car, preventing it from spinning away off the track. The main protag's car belongs to a former racer who chose him as a successor; the elder's racing style was to simply crush everyone in the way, and to employ a fighter named Badger to man guns and bombs to get everyone else out of the way. Can someone help me decide what kind of car this should be? It also has a snow plow attached to the front.
    The Twins, another two-man team, have a large vehicle that contains another one inside, in case the first vehicle is wrecked, so the other twin can jump inside the extra car and get dropped onto the track to finish the race. Problem is, what kind of car is big enough to carry that weight and still be fast? Another note is that few racers consider speed anymore; they're more concerned with not getting wrecked all to hell by another racer's car. So if anyone can help me? Just shoot some ideas at me, or anything?
     
  2. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I used to modify cars when I was younger. It'd take an age to impart my knowledge and tbh what I did concentrated on the niche of extracting horsepower from engines. To get the general idea of this and how cars can be modified (in an interactive way) you could treat yourself the to the Project Gotham game and play it through on tournament mode. It seems though that you want a mash up of that plus much mechanical versatility. So you could look at melding Wacky Races
    , Robot Wars, Transformers, Death Race 2000
    and Scrapheap Challenge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrapheap_Challenge

    ^ Even if none of the above are close to what you're after they're a good foundation for the story you intend.

    I think you're undertaking quite a task in terms of man hours and research if you wish to write your vehicles as being more than plausible in the present day and can see why you're reaching out to an engineer of sorts. But even for them it'd be a big ask. If your novel is fantasy based you could be looser with your descriptions and let your readers imagine the mechanics and the physics working—and get away with it. Especially if it's set in the future; we all have a bit of blind faith in what tech can deliver and as long as you describe the functionality well; any suspended disbelief won't come crashing down.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
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  3. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    Hey cool, I used to watch the Wacky Races as a kid; my personal favorite. I created my protagonist first without having any real plans, and my boyfriend, a huge fan of Death Race, suggested that as a major plot point. Inspired by Mad Max movies, Death Race, and Borderlands, I put together my ideas of these cars. It's set in a semi-futuristic Australia; the time is never set, but with these ideas I think the audience might assume it's some sort of future world. How specific or non-specific do I need to be? What would you, as a car-souper, allow to slide? What would make you cringe and mentally correct? Any lingo I should know?
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Look into Mad Max both new and the originals. Maybe check out the entire Twisted Metal series video games. In the Twisted Metal universe they employ all sorts of vehicles retrofitted with machine guns, rocket/missile launchers, and other various types of weapons. They utilize semi trucks, cop car, ordinary cars (all types and makes, even modified military vehicles. Though Sweet Tooth's Ice Cream truck is by far the most popular from the genre, and it's evolution in the series. Though it is driven by a deranged guy who wears a clown mask and his hair is literally fire in the newer editions, and the guy is a freaking monster if care to read into his backstory.:p Hell there is one character Axel who is literally built into his vehicle, and his arms are the axle between to giant tires and he stands on a platform and built in frame. Mr.Grim is an old war vet that wears a skull stitched together on his head and drives a motorcycle with side car(i think it houses munitions for his weapons). There are various spinoffs from Twisted Metal. I remember one that had basically the Oscar Meyer Wiener mobile, and its special attack was it raised the wiener up to the front of the bun, and hammered down on an enemy vehicle as well as thrashed it side to side after coming down on it. It was rather comical and became the but of many a penis joke. :p There are many more places to look than just movies and cartoons, most overlook the video games and miss out on seeing that they do have some decent (and sometimes comical) concepts to them in their own respects. Axel.jpg sweettooth1.jpg redneck-car-gun.jpg
     
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  5. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    i love this! my deranged rig braves would definitely jump at the chance to make their vehicles as crass as possible :D
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Awesome, I like killer machines be it modded cars or lumbering mechanized war frames. If it makes things go boom and is creative I bloody love it. Hope you find some inspiring concepts for your battle vehicles. :D

    Personally I am a Heavy Gear fan (10-25 ft tall machines of war) :p But I like Mechs too, but they can be a bit to large for some applications. :p HGKodiac.jpg
     
  7. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Um, chief cringemaker... the car having too much capability (think Men in Black/Batman movies), there's only so much adaptation can be applied to add functionality without it compromising other aspects of the mechanics. If you look at the way the Army operate you'll see they generally have utility vehicles for single roles. A mine clearer, a bridge maker, a personnel carrier etc.

    A drift car would be a bad drag racer would be a bad Indy would be a bad rally car—yes, compromise is the key word. It's finding the sweet spot.
     
  8. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    I'm getting the feeling that I should study what cars are good for what purpose, and add on top of that. Like, it's a dirt track, so if I wanted a car built for speed, I could take a sleek race car body and give it off road tires and a bubble wind screen, and let the horsepower that's normally built for extreme speeds push the car through heavy dirt. SethLoki, do you know of a vehicle that could carry a motorbike inside without weighing it down and costing speed? It's essential for one of my characters, and I have no idea how I would google that one
     
  9. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Why that'd have to be a 'Ute' http://www.privatefleet.com.au/wp-content/themes/privatefleet/images/upload/Image/new-cars/Holden/2008%20Holden%20Ute.jpg It has stacks of power and like you said... add some knobbly tyres (in addition to raised and toughened suspension + some quick release mechanism that'll hold the bike in situ on rough terrain). < All sounds reasonable and doable to me. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  10. Anaïs Rose
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    thank you SO MUCH! you've been a huge help to me!!
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    A few thoughts. First your fifth wheel idea may sound cool but it's not how it's done. You don't need things like that. You use advanced electronics in the form of Traction control, ABS and electronic stability programmes to brake different wheels at certain times to control skids. This is how they drive a lot of cars on ice.

    Someone mentioned utes or utility vehicles as the way to carry a motorbike and I'd go with that. Much as I hate to say it being a kiwi, but you might want to check out the Holden Malroo ute as the state of the art in big V8 utes.

    Next decision you need to think about is fuel / engines. Yes as a rule bigger is better, but if you've got a heavy vehicle as you seem to be describing I'd stay away from petrol. Go for Diesel power as the low down power gets you away from the line much faster.

    Materials will be critical. You can go for light which gives you acceleration, fuel economy and a little more top speed. But if you're armouring your vehicles they are going to be heavy. There are companies that specialise in armour plating cars, and you can google them to find out just what they can do and how much they weigh. But the point is that none of them will be light and nimble. So you need to go for heavy solid engines with masses of low down torque. There are low speed turbo's you can use but really I'd be looking at a supercharger system attached to a longer stroke massive diesel V8 as your power plant.

    Think 70's muscle cars with their massive V8's. They needed them because the cars weighed too much. It's not about the horsepower it's about the low range torque. Think of a Ferarri with a five litre V12 that generates say five hundred horse. Now stuff that engine in a Ford Pick up which normally has say a five litre V8 and generates perhaps only three hundred horse. Watch the performance fall apart. Likewise the Ferarri with the massive Ford donkey would lose maybe fifty mph in top speed and wouldn't turn a corner or ride well.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Anaïs Rose
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    Hey Greg! :)
    A few things I'm keeping in mind while creating these death traps is that this race isn't even near being about speed anymore; it's more like a demolition derby at this point, loosely fit into the format of a race. The Grand Master Despot prides himself on making them as completely nuts as possible, allowing cars to be outfitted with whatever crazy crap they want; machine guns, missile launchers, extra riders called "rig braves" that help out the driver by blasting other cars out of the equation. They're insane, high-octane, and deadly. Nice materials and brake technology would be nice, but these cars get munched up within seconds of the starting pistol, and at this point it's the biggest and baddest that survive. Certain racers called drones are pressed into the races when there aren't enough contestants (usually the track can hold about fifty or a hundred, depending on attendance), and they're given what mechanics would think are the "good" cars; fast, sleek, and small enough to dip in and out of the insanity. But these cars are really bait for the bigger monsters; the audience thinks they might have a chance, but they're easy to crush and get out of the way, whether by shooting the hell out of the driver or car, or simply driving straight over the vehicle. My protag's brother, Dunnie, gets pressed into the race, and drives a classic race car with offroad wheels and a mounted machine gun. It's called the Red Rocket and it's made to look like an up and ccomer with a chance (hence the gun), but its real purpose is just to get the audience to root for an underdog, get some emotion in there.
    If these cars aren't fancy enough for good braking technology, would my fifth wheel idea work? It would be a cool feature, but I don't want to add it unless it could actually work.
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Anais,

    Stick with the electronics. The computer that guides these things is in the engine bay and the rest is just wires and actuators. And the systems like ESP, ABS and traction control are standard on nearly all modern vehicles including trucks. They are very reliable and hardly ever break down. And if they are taken out by a weapon the chances are that a lot more of the vehicle also has been as well.

    Your fifth wheel sounds like a manually operated system (read slower) with limited ability to control a skid anyway (read tricky to control) and the potential to cause a crash all by itself (read unreliable). Think a shopping trolley with all four wheels as casters instead of wheels and you'll get the idea of just how dangerous it could be.

    But if you want to have a lighter faster car have a chance give it launch control as well - for maximum speed take off from the line, and make it capable of dropping off something like spike strips to puncture other vehicles' tyres, and maybe smoke cannisters etc to blind them. That way it gets a jump on the rest and cripples them.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  14. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    okay! i'll have to look up launch control
     
  15. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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  16. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    Hey there, I was reading your question and story idea and it struck me! Have you ever seen the t.v. show robot wars? There are lots of great ideas in my head because of that show, I won't mention any until I know weather you have seen it! There are great ideas on mods you could realistically do to any car!
    I love the idea of being able to flip yourself over and maybe even wheels on both sides of the car, like the roof and the bottom?
    Hope that helps, and I'm sure you can find robot wars on youtube!

    CanadianVince
     
  17. Anaïs Rose
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    Ooh I love your idea of an inverted car! Very very cool! No, I have not seen or heard of it- tell me more!
     
  18. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    Well robot wars is what it sounds like, robots that fight to the death!! The robots are vehicles and not people like, that's why I thought of the show when I heard of your idea! Now the robots that seem to win the most are the ones that keep moving. There was one where even when it was flipped the tires could still touch the ground so it could drive, it was a flat "car" type thing. If you had a car like a corvette or something with huge monster tires, it could be driven even if flipped! Another key feature to winning robots are a bar mounted from front to back on the roof, when car is flipped over the driver activates the bar and it flips the car back on its wheels!! One more idea is the same as the car that can drive if flipped, instead of wheels you could have tracks like a bulldozer but tracks made of rubber, so you could go fast!
    So glad I could help, I love your idea on the book, I would definitely read it!!
    Have you checked out youtube for robot wars?
     

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