Another vehicle thread?

Apologies if this thread is made redundant by the “Show and Tell” thread for vehicles, but I don’t think it is. And I feel like a big turd when I inundate the noob question thread.

My question is this: how do you guys go about building your custom vehicles? I’m an AVID follower of the “show and tell” thread, and the fact that you can build a vehicle quite literally from the ground up is one of the most unique aspects of this rogue-like. I’ve been playing this game for a long while but due to preferences in style and a feeling that sometimes vehicles can be very OP I never really got into the Deathmobile scene, just preferred to check the thread and see other’s awesome creations.

But now…I am hooked. I cannot stop. I dream of a day where me and a couple NPC buddies convoy into an unexplored town Mad Max style amidst a cacophony of explosions, a hail of bullets, and lots of fire. LOTS of fire. I said fire in my head too many times and now it doesn’t sound like a real word anymore. I realize that a day when NPC’s can control a vehicle may never come, but to borrow the words of the revered Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story, “Mrs. Potato Head…Mrs. Potato Head…Mrs. Potato Head…Hey, I can dream, can’t I?”

But I digress. I typically go for electric, but don’t have the ability to fabricate quantum panels yet. Is it more feasible to use conventional gasoline or diesel engines earlier in the game? With hordes enabled I’m hesitant to make TOO much noise, my vehicle construction strategy is usual smash and grab: start with a functional solar SUV or solar car, acquire tools, mounted forge/welding rig in the back, then locate a vehicle that has stuff I like (mil comp. armor, minfridge, chem station and such) and add it piecemeal, using a centralized location such as a cleared and isolated gas station as a base until I can become a full on mobile nomad.

Recently snagged a few enhanced electric engines from an Atomic tank, but even my current build (8 enhanced solar panels) probably doesn’t have the battery life capability to use one of them efficiently enough for me to replace the large electric engine I’m currently operating with. Do people who run with solar just install a bum-load of storage batteries on their vehicles?

Do those who play with hordes enabled use gas/diesel vehicles freely? Obviously there are many deathmobiles that have been created to withstand hordes, but is it worth the attention you draw? I’m also not an end-gamer (so to speak…my house rule end-game scenario is to have an electric plowing and seed-drill tractor and an electric advanced reaper tractor, corn crop, oat or wheat crop, three fruit crops and three other vegetable crops, and cannabis crop. This can be somewhat tough to achieve with hordes enabled and NPC spawn cranked up) so I’ve never ventured to the nether or used one of those fancy cargo portals or alternative power sources.

I think this was an adequately long and random starting post.

my vehicles are primary electric and even without quantum panels they work a lot of time it only needs some time to recharge

if your panels make not enought power when idle get truck alternator and get any small fuel engine (smaller=better), mount engine,atach muffler and alternator and make your car idly burn fuel and it will generate a lot of power

i play with hordes but i use all types of engines anyway, with large city spacing i rarely need to worry about noise, i only need to stay quiet around my base and near city but i can deal with hordes with my lasers

and death mobile is something med-game thing, you just latter in end game add more fancy things to your fortress on wheels (like plasma cannons or quantum panels)

if you want to go for electric, add a lot of batteries (truck,car,storage,motorbike, whatever) and add more when you find them

My latest playthrough is the first time i used a gasoline engine.

This is because, even if i found enough panels and batteries, i got no Welder Rig, or the recipe to build one.
So i prefer to just patch/slightly mod a pickup truck.

Downsized the engine (3lt V6 -> 2lt Inline-4) and it seems to run on nothing. Fuel reserves will outlast me and i drive a LOT in order to search for that recipe. Using 6 cargo carriers and a chem rig on it, and i sleep on the seat.

In general, yes, i strongly prefer electric. I slap ~20+ panels of the best quality possible and as many batteries as can fit (saving some space for water/gasoline backup tanks)

I don’t play with vehicle mod, so i try to find enhanced electric engines and try to compromise on how many to install to keep it efficient. 6x10 tiles is a good size for my usual truck. If using roller drums, weight goes through the roof, but i like them.

Sure i play with hordes. The inline-4 is not too noisy.

With hordes, a muffler is huge boon to add to any hydrocarbon powered vehicle.

I typically like to develop a base. Having a place where I can farm and store valuable loot is always nice. There are two vehicles that I typically tend to find myself drawn to, both of them are modeled after vehicles that normally spawn (without any mods).

I love motorcycles. I usually try to find the fastest engine that I can get that has a fuel usage of 1. I like being able to drive 50mph and only go faster on strips of road that I know are cleared. I had concerned building a couple of extra-light framed, electric motored motorcycles at some evac shelters, just in case if my character dies, and I want to return to my base. I ended up getting frustrated at the absolute lack of SICP and Art of Glassblowing, got myself killed, and deleted the world. I had a vehicle I called the “Meal Mobile” which had a minifridge, cargo carrier, and foodco unit attached (modeled after the standard motorcycle with a side car). It was gas powered, and I had swappable storage batteries and a truck alternator to maintain power for my food processing units. I always apply some kind of armor to my motorcycles, 'cause them things is fragile.

I typically make a solar powered truck, too. My model is based on the normal trucks that have the cargo carries. I place some upgraded, reinforced solar panels, a lot of storage batteries, and a clean and dirty water tank. Inside, I have a box with a UPS-recharging station and a minifridge where the passenger’s seat is. It’s great for stripping areas of valuable loot. The UPS-recharging station allows me to have food dehydrator, welder, water purifier, mess kit, without taking up vehicle space. I’ll have over 6000 units of volume for loot. I slather all of the tiles in military composite armor and reinforced windows (they seem more fragile now).

I don’t know if it’s strictly vehicle mod or simply an inclusion of the newest experimentals, but you’re going to want to hunt down a 7.5kW generator and attach it to a compatible engine. Trust me on this.

If you’re not already doing so you should double wall the vehicle’s exterior, so that it keeps things out even if parked on a diagonal.

Never aisles, always cargo spaces.

Mounted guns, such as the ever inexpensive to fire flamethrower or energy weapons can be placed on the same tile as certain doors. As can their turret incarnations (you REALLY should use Blaze’s mod if you’re doing death mobiles)

If you build big enough you’re going to want to hang a custom folding vehicle off of an exit hatch for when you zip into town for salvage. The bigger you go the less energy becomes an issue, via solar arrays.

The harder something is for you to replace the deeper it should be in your death mobile

Don’t just armor the exterior

If you want to go more compact a nuclear reactor give good returns on plutonium for power, as does setting up a secondary engine to run a generator as you craft.

Even if you’re electric, slap gas and diesel tanks on there, it’s the easiest way to store them as a crafting resource, just siphon out what you need.

Cargo dimensions are your best friend

put the frames together so that they look like something if you’re not graphical, it’s strangely satisfying

Experiment with weird new designs when you feel confident. Once I made a hamster ball out of reinforced glass and foot pedals

NPCs will home in on seats and other ‘safe’ areas when you start up the engine, try making a living space for kicks.

Nerfed back to sanity. You’ll need floor trunks for full walk speed cargo now.

I normally take a four wheeler base, add 2 rows to the back, install a welding rig and a kitchen, and add frames/storage/roofs around the driver’s seat so I can make it an inside tile. No obstructions other than the crafting stations. Batteries are cheap, so if I ever need a forge/chemistry set I just keep one in storage rather than dedicating a tile. As big a V12 as I can find to guzzle all that lyin’ around gas and crash horribly into boulders.

I find that I quickly run out of space sooner than I run out of time. I’d still suggest cargo spaces. The exit should be adjacent to the driver’s seat after all.

[quote=“Logrin”]Once I made a hamster ball out of reinforced glass and foot pedals[/quote] One of my favorite vehicles and drawings

Nerfed back to sanity. You’ll need floor trunks for full walk speed cargo now.[/quote]


Wow! Lot of great info here, I really appreciate it guys! Currently on a quest to find an alternator and suitably small gas engine. REALLY like the idea of creating a foldable vehicle to put in the back…thinking about a 9 by 5 cargo truck-type design. Plenty of space for panels.

Couple of other questions:

When treads become a viable option, are they worth the time and effort? I like the idea of having a spare tire or two that I can change out quickly if something unforeseen happens.

I know you can’t install the craft-able metal wheels as steerable, but are they a decent option? Probably go a good bit slower than wheels with rubber tires. But say I have two armored 26"ers at the back and some wide 22"s in front, if I craft and install like 4 20" metal wheels and put them between will they actually get used? Obviously in real life they wouldn’t touch the ground but I’m not sure if tire heights actually affect anything other than the aesthetics and immersion aspects. It’s more of a safeguard if I lose another wheel but has anyone used this approach or know the pros/cons?

Also, if for some reason you don’t want your battery charger to be in the vehicle itself a one cylinder engine, medium storage battery and alternator are all FOLDABLE, meaning you can pop it out and leave it running when the mood strikes.

Quantum panels (QP) can’t be manufactured. They’re sometimes found in lab finale rooms (bottom level of the lab) one at a time. Assume that any vehicles with multiple QPs you’ve seen are either result of great effort, or debugging and freeform gameplay (cheating is such an ugly word). QPs are also fragile and can’t be reinforced. So, your best solar panel is still reinforced upgraded solar panel. The downside is you still need a lot of them. 6-12 takes a lot of roof space, and I wouldn’t go with any less than 6. But if you can find a minireactor and some plutonium, your power problems are gone. I don’t hesitate using a minireactor to fill up my fresh but empty storage batteries, while the solar panels significantly slow down the drain. Note that storage batteries are stupid heavy now, like 150kg? 300kg? Can’t remember. So, those add up weight quickly.

But enough about power. Let’s talk armor. I have to mention that I prefer military cargo trucks and APCs, which are 5 tiles wide. For me armor is always either spiked plating or military composite. You’d start plating the front first, then the rear. After that the sides, and then spiral inwards until each tile has a plating. If it’s military composite, use the best condition plates on the exterior, since repairing military composite requires LVL 8 mechanics. Installing still requires LVL 6, though. Spiked plating is best in the front or rear. Shredders are absolutely fantastic. You can even slowly plow through forests with shredders in front. They then require frequent repair but it’s an acceptable tradeoff if you have a thin stretch of forest standing between you and something you’re curious about. Or if you need a permanent shortcut. Down with the trees, I say. Anyway, 40mph/64kph with spiked plating is enough to kill most zombies. That’s assuming you’re not using the Tough Zombies mod (double zombie HP). Using that mod, I think I saw a brute survive a spiked plating hit @ 96kph. When will zombies get various body masses, which would then affect vehicle collisions / sustained damage?

Your vehicle can also be your masterkey to many sealed buildings such as bank vaults, military bunkers and labs. Note that these buildings have walls that are 2 tiles thick. You could consider crating a 2-tile long ram on your vehicle, just so you don’t have to subject your entire front section to hitting the wall. Since actual rams can’t extend 2 tiles, you’d first build an extra heavy frame protrusion on the bumper and reinforce it, and then install the ram to extend it to be 2 tiles long.

Personally I don’t pay attention to vehicle noise all that much. I go fossile and install a muffler and that’ll have to do. Zombies have a short memory, so if you drive your car near them at night and kill the engine they’ll like lose interest, especially if there are other distractions nearby. Continuous noise (and light) is always bad of course. Short noise followed by silence is far safer.

Also consider building a sewer bike. I call it that. It’s basically a foldable motorcycle that you can carry down into the sewer network. Makes traveling down there way faster. It doesn’t have to be 100% foldable but mostly, just for quick setup.

Final tips: This is just a personal quirk that I started to practice recently but I like to replace the center reinforced windshield (if there’s 5 of them) with a minifridge. It keeps the food nearby next to the driver’s seat, and it doesn’t block visibility or movement. Another thing I like to do is to install the welding rig on the side of the vehicle, replacing a quarterpanel tile, just so the rig can be surely accessed from the outside. Store all your tools there too, such as wrench, hacksaw and rubber hose. Then you can conveniently perform operations (fuel draining, part removal) on other vehicles if you just drive your vehicle next to the the target vehicle, with the correct side facing it. Hell, you could install welding rigs on BOTH sides. Just make sure the rig tile has armor.

thanks for welding rig tip, im going to place one at back of my truck right now i have one near driver seat

Fit out your vehicle with a water capture system, 1 funnel 2 storage tanks and a FOODCO unit.
High speed off road travel damages the front of your vehicle, armour it and move any fuel tanks or engines back.
Your wheels with also take a battering so carry a few spares and the tools to change them.

If you want to use the rig but don’t want to risk it being on the exterior of a vehicle just put a strong door, like the reinforced hatch, next to it. Works just the same.

Here are sme questions I have been meaning to ask for a while:

  1. Sealing off the inside - protection against the weather. Does the game treat vehicles like the inside of buildings? And what do we need to make sure that works? I assume the outside of the vehicle just needs panels, quarter panels, or windscreens, right? and then roof over all the interior tiles, but don’t need roof on the tiles with hatches/panels/windscreen, right?

  2. is there a reason not to just put quarter-panels all around the outside of the vehicle? The are only slightly less strong than regular panels, and remove the need for mirrors entirely

  3. and if that is true, why bother with a windscreen/reinforced windscreen at all?

  4. Camera setup, I guess that only gives visibility from the tiles that have the actual control system?


  1. Unclear to me. Vehicle interiors are warmer which helps during freezing weather. In a recent experimental I think I witnessed a temperature increase inside a vehicle during summer, making heat worse, unlike prior to that when I thought vehicle interiors provided shade (or universally heat-stabilizing effect). At least the interior protects against the rain. Possibly make sure all doors are closed too.

  2. Full size panels (boards) are there if you want to block the line of sight to a section of a vehicle. If you want visibility, by all means, go all quarterpanels but remember that visibility goes both ways - you can see monsters, monsters can see you. I too prefer quarterpanels. You could for example build a completely sealed cockpit and surround the vehicle with security cameras. That way monsters won’t aggro at you because they’ll never see you, although they might aggro against the engine noise. Also hostile turrets don’t shoot at you if they can’t see you, enabling you to approach or ram turrets.

  3. Good question. The only difference I can think of is that windshield can be equipped with a curtain, and you can then block/unblock line of sight at will. Are quarterpanels compatible with curtains? Is reinforced windshield actually stronger than quarterpanel?

  4. Yes. You install cameras and then the camera controls to the driver seat, and then you’ll see everything that the vehicle’s cameras see (but only at the driver seat). You could try installing camera controls to multiple locations. AFAIK you can at least install vehicle controls to multiple locations. But there’s no remote/handheld camera viewing system AFAIK, unforch.

Last I checked, the tile and all orthagonal tiles (N/S/E/W) need to either have a roof or be impassable for it to count as ‘in’.

Note that this means that if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat and have your driver’s side door open, you’re no longer “indoors” until you close it.

To remain ‘IN’ when turning you do need to have two layers of roofed or paneled vehicle between you and the outside world