The Longhauler

I have not posted for a while but I have still been busy: While I commute I am writing a story which will become a sort of graphic novel.  I won't give any details here since that would spoil it, but you can be sure that I will use some of my existing models as well as a whole lot of new stuff.
It would be good to have someone else to help with the work, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.   
I plan to make it an ongoing story with "chapters" for sale online once it gets to a good enough level of quality - and it might be my "retirement project": it might not make much money, but at least I will enjoy doing it.

I was put off the whole idea for a while by the sheer size of the job but recently there was one thing which got me back into it: DAZ Studio.  DAZ is free and although some criticise it as being too simple and inflexible, I don't care: what it does do is make it easy to put human (or other) characters in a scene, dress and pose them and get a decent image from it. Personally, making humans in Blender (for example) is a lot of work and complicates an already complex task - and that is ignoring any actual story or the niceties of plotting or setting up scenes visually.
What isn't free in the DAZ/ Poser system is the models: you buy characters and clothes and that is good for someone like me who sees the extra time and complexity as unwanted compared to the prices for premade outfits.
Of course, you can make your own or just make new textures for existing models (which I do a bit) and that gets around the limits of what's available too - ultimately, it's flexible enough for my needs.

Although I could already fill a page with the problems and adventures of using DAZ, I won't bother here - suffice to say my main complaint is the same one I have with Blender: Where is the documentation, guys? Both these programs have been updated but the user guides are either non-existent or yet to be written. I sometimes wish they would just stick with one version and iron out the bugs, and write a good user manual rather than rewriting the whole thing.
I guess what you are supposed to do is be on the forums every day, digging up the howtos from everyone else etc. etc. The trouble is, then I don't end up doing any actual creative work - and it is all too easy to do that.

So, The LongHauler?  it carries 6 SCC's (Space Cargo Containers) at a  speed of about 50 Km/h across fairly rough land.  It will be seen travelling across a planet that has very stormy weather  - so there is pretty much no air travel. The weather also discourages people going outside much and so there is a walkway from front to back inside the chassis to the engine room in the rear section. In the front is the driving room (bridge?) upstairs and crew quarters/ bunkroom downstairs.
I chewed over the suspension and steering geometry and got it to turn in it's own length, but although it does not need roads, it does have limited suspension travel (you can see that in the rough render above) -  really it is not designed for mountain climbing.
It should have no trouble fording deep rivers though, and with those huge individually driven wheels, soft ground or sand will not be a problem.

This is till a rough sketch. As mentioned above, there is a LOT of work in even a relatively simple 3D model - add the surface detail ("paint") and the setting, and there are a lot of hours into what seems to the uninitiated a simple scene.

Ah, but that is the way with humans: it all looks easy when you have not tried to do it yourself. 

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