Our first real goal in Space Engineers was to create some kind of mining ship that we could use to collect TONS of resources and build more refineries, assemblers, etc. Some important resources take a long time to refine and build so we need a lot of them. My major goal was to be able to create a ship that could burrow through an meteoroid like a cartoon worm does through an apple. Below are the descriptions of our many attempts.
Burrower Mk. I – Our first attempt was to try and make something with wheels. I’m not sure why but I thought it might be a cool idea to drive through an asteroid but I guess I didn’t really think that one through. Unfortunately we never actually got to find out how that would work out since our attempt ended in failure. The frame of the rover was locked into position using a landing gear piece but after a few redesigns we needed to move the placement of it. We tried attaching an additional piece to secure it to the platform we were working from but something went wrong. it played out pretty much like this:
Graev: Okay, dismantle the landing gear.
Graev: <Expletive>, it’s not attached!
Graev: It’s getting pushed around now!
Keen: No it isn’t, it isn’t moving at all, see?
Graev: It’s flying away from us!
Burrower Mk. II – For our second attempt we went back to the drawing board and pretty much settled on a ship. This time we actually built the entire thing. The main design was pretty much just long and as straight as possible. Two drill bits were placed at the front and between them was a collector that was supposed to gather any excess material that the drills’ own collectors missed. We had to pipe from the drills back into a large storage unit and for some reason we ended up placing the cockpit last. There wasn’t a whole lot of room for it so it kind of poked up out of the top of the ship. We lifted off and the first flight was actually pretty good. When we attempted our first drill into the asteroid it seemed to be going pretty well but we couldn’t seem to burrow far enough in since the holes we were creating weren’t wide enough for the ship.
Burrower Mk. III – We took the ship back to base for some refits. We decided the best course of action was to add two more drill bits to the front, one on each side. We took the ship out and tried again to burrower into the asteroid. We did do a lot better this time but again, the drills weren’t spaced enough to create a big enough hole for the rest of the ship, which resulted in several components like the landing gear and some conveyor tubes to break off.
Burrower Mk. IV – This was pretty much the Apollo 11 of our mission. So many things went wrong. When we took the Mark 3 back we decided to ditch the landing gear on the bottom and replace it with one singular piece on the very back. This meant that we would have to land it on its back and pointing up launch style but in the end it’s a design we still use. The other big change we made was to space out the drills even more. We expanded each of the four drills out even more and made sure they were wider than the rest of the ship.
Unfortunately this lead to a lot of unseen consequences. On our next visit to the asteroid we were actually able to dig in quite far, albeit it with a lot of backseat driving, crying, and some hurt feelings. We kept getting stuck, however, and we couldn’t quite figure out why. Eventually Keen discovered that there was too much space between all of the drills, the area with the collector, and all of the unbroken pieces were getting very congested and preventing us from much further in. We decided then to just remove the collect and put a fifth drill in the middle of the other four. I tried to back out the ship so we could take it back for some retooling but I got stuck on something. I must have tried to shake loose a little too hard and I ended up slamming the exposed cockpit into the asteroid wall, which resulted in my death and left our ship trapped.
This is when it turned into a rescue mission and salvage operation. Without a cockpit we could not fly the thing back out. Keen went to gather some more materials to build one while I began trying to clear some of the rocks out with a hand drill. Several other pieces near the cockpit had also broken off and for some reason we were just not able to build another one in the same spot. After a lot of tinkering we were finally able to get one attached near the back of the ship but it was facing in the wrong direction which made trying to navigate it out of the asteroid a nightmare. At that point it was like some kind of bastardized B-Wing that didn’t have its S-foils deployed. Fortunately we were able to get it out and safely back to our home base.
Burrow Mk. V – Now that we had our ship back and docked we decided that the major adjustments we needed were the removal of the central collector unit, a safer place for the cockpit, and a central drill. With the collector unit gone we actually had enough space in the middle of the ship for the cockpit, which was now surrounded by a layer of heavy armor. We also popped on the fifth drill bit and repaired every other piece that had broken off in our last trial run. Everything looked good and it seemed like we had ironed out pretty much all of the problems with the previous versions. We took the ship out for the final flight of the night and started digging into the asteroid. Things started out a little shaky but eventually smoothed out as we started to steadily chew our way through the giant rock. We were able to make it all the way through and to the other side with very minimal damage. I think we might have lost one piece of conveyer piping but that’s an easy fix.
Keen was quick and recorded the final moments before we dug out of the asteroid and took the ship back home for repairs and some crazy joyous jumping. I think he might have gotten a good look at the ship as well so watch it if you are curious as to how the mark 5 turned out. Our next goal is to use the vast amounts of materials from that single run to start building more refineries and assemblers so maybe one day we can build some crazy awesome capital ship. Hopefully we get around to that so we can share our adventure.