Drones are an amazing fun in Space Engineers, they can help you, they can carry stuff around, they can mine for resources, they can relay signals, they can patrol and they can even be used to attack! In this series we will be building a patrol drone, and later we might even upgrade it to an attack drone!
Building the Drone Foundation
Something like what you can see in the picture is a good foundation. Depending on the level of realism (survival or solely creative) you need to build a realiable conveyor system supplying the fuel and ammunition to all parts of the ship/drone. As this is a patrol or an attack drone we need to make sure it is armed so we are going to be placing some conveyor shafts for turrets to connect to.
With turrets always make sure to cover as much as you can especially with low level (dumb drones) who can’t really aim properly or turn their weapons towards someone. Make sure those turrets will fire all around the drone as much as you can!
Some design guidelines:
- Make sure you have thrusters in all directions
- Have 2 thrusters in each directions for backup
- Have 2 Gyroscopes
- Have at least 2 reactors
- Place a remote control block in the centre as this is the “Brain”
- Place an antenna in the centre for same reasons
- Don’t forget to place a camera in case you need to control the drone
- Last but not least, make sure to armor your drone on weak spots
Adding Weapons and Armor
Weapons are important as much as armor. They make or brake a drone. I decided to go with the small ship turrets as this drone was supposed to patrol a close area next to base meaning it would mostly kill small ships and astronauts, thus small weapons are enough and it means I can build more of them for the lower cost. Also 3 small drones look more terrifying than a single large blocks one.
As you can see my drone has turrets which cover virtually all the angles except maybe the very behind of the drone. The turrets are well connected and separated from the thrusters which makes it more difficult to disable the drone with a single hit.
Considering this drone is very minimal I would call it an entry level drone or better yet Light Patrol Drone. It is only armored using light armor blocks but this also makes is faster and more agile. Only the most important parts are partly covered.
How to Make it Patrol the Area?
Patrolling the designated GPS coordinates is a pretty easy task. The introduction of the remote control block’s ability to auto pilot ships makes this trivial.
- Go around your base as if you were a drone
- Take some 5-10 or 15 coordinates while looping around the base to make a full circle, the way to do this is shown below, go to your K menu > GPS > New from current pos. Name your GPS coords something meaningful so you can sort them easier later and so your drone doesn’t go in figure 8 instead of circle.
- Input the positions into the drone’s autopilot module and set it to PATROL as seen on the picture below
What Can the Drone Do?
Well this is a fairly simple drone now. Once you turn on the Auto Pilot it will start making circles around your designated GPS waypoints. Be sure to take ownership of all the components on the drone, otherwise it won’t open fire on enemy units.
For the next time we will be working on a way to make the drone stop when it sees an enemy and send a broadcast letting us know that the enemy is in it’s range.
Hope you liked the tutorial, see you later guys, yours always crazy scientist gFleka.