jros83

The MechJeb question.

19 posts in this topic

I have never used it. Not because I am against it. Indeed, I have no opinion one way or the other since it wouldn't be right to form one having... never tried it :D

Though I've had KSP for a good while, I play in spurts, so cumulative playing time doesn't come close to my total time having the game (bought it back in late 2012). As such, I'd consider competency level pedestrian. I can get in to Kerbal orbit with little issue, I can get a Career mode to orbit Mun and Minmus, I can land a single Kerbal on both, get them off the surface again and back home, but that's about the extent of it. Being that I am committed to Career mode (love it; it makes me feel I have to work for things), my competency basically ends there. Making a craft that orbits, say Mun, and drops a lander that is expect to return to orbit and dock with it again to come home is not something I have been able to accomplish; indeed even make an attempt (I don't practice docking enough). So in effect I am limited to basic missions in Kerbin's neighborhood.

I need to branch out. I can get unmanned basic probes to go in to stellar orbits for fun and basic science (temps, pressure, mystery goo, that sort of thing) but that's not really a feat because all that needs is enough thrust to escape Kerbin's SOI and just let the thing go. 

I see MechJeb is popular, or seems that way. Should I go with it? Is it "cheating" or no? Has it become one of those optional mods that have become de facto mandatory? I have to confess, I understand if I just keep practicing practicing practicing I can accomplish more without it, but perhaps I'm just too impatient lol. Either way, is MechJeb an easy way out, or is it a smart choice?

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The general response is that "its impossible to cheat in KSP because its single player" - seems sort of obvious. Unless you are claiming things you've done without MechJeb, but you really were using MechJeb. Which would be weird. Anyways, the only person you are cheating is yourself when you are cheating.

Lots of people in the forum like docking via MJ. Its not very efficient fuel-wise, but it does the job. On the other hand, its possible to learn rendezvous and docking well enough that you no longer need MJ. In fact you can learn orbital rendezvous and docking without MJ (I did it that way and I'm sure plenty of people did).

MJ offers automation for things some people find tedious e.g. launch or insertion burns. Also for planning maneuver nodes. Obviously all of that can be done manually as well, and its only a matter of choice rather than one technique being better than another.

MJ also offers really nice delta-v readouts. On the other hand, Kerbal Engineer does as well most of the time. I had to switch to MJ from KER for my Jool 5 mission as (at least at that time) KER couldn't cope. These days I'm back to using KER as I really like the heads-up display that KER offers.

My recommendation is that you install it and find out for yourself whether you like it or not.

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No it's not cheating: do what you want in your own game. You don't have to use it either, I've been launching my rockets manually for 5 years and I'm fine.

Now get to cover before people start fighting on this thread.

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Mechjeb thread # 4578.   Sigh.......

 

It's not cheating, there is no set goal, there are no set rules.    You set your own goals and rules.  How you play depends on that.    If I set my rules to say I can only use air breathing and RCS engnes, then that's how I play, and a mainsail engine then becomes cheating.    I use hyper edit sometimes to get large things into space repetitively.  I've successfully launched it before, no reason for me to do it again.  Other's will differ on this. 

To each their own. 

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Do it.

It opens up the planets and moons for you that would be, at best, tedious to get to without it. Let's you get on with designing and building rockets plus planning the mission and leaves all that tedious manoeuvring to MJ

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The moment I set up a mining operation on Mun was the moment I installed MJ in order to make routine operations (such as delivering fuel from the surface based converters to an orbiting depot) more convenient.

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Who even started this old "mech jeb is cheating" myth? I doubt anyone even believes it anymore

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as i started with ksp i played about 6 months or so without mechjeb. i think to understand the mechanics you have to do everything by your own. but after the 10000th start i think you can use it. it helps me to focus on other things that i didnt focus at the start of the travel in this game. my advice to everyone is: don't use mechjeb directly to start with this game. do a save without and land on duna without mechjeb. after that you can use it as help.

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I'm not bothered about whether it's cheating or not. I am, however, bothered about whether it makes what I happen to be trying to do easier/less annoying or not. For some routine tasks it's brilliant: you can circularize your orbit, for instance, practically with a single click and MJ will set up the maneuver node and execute it all on its own. It also has some very useful tools for setting up interplanetary transfers, and its auto-land function is great for routine but precise tasks such as landing tanker ships at surface mining rigs with meter precision.

For other things, like launches to orbit, I've actually found hand-flying easier than using MechJeb. MJ flies a very rough approximation of a gravity turn, and I find when I use it's ascent guidance for routine launches I actually spend a lot of time and effort tweaking the ascent profile to agree with my launch vehicle. Whereas flying "manually," all I do is hit the spacebar, tilt downrange a bit at 100 m/s, and set SAS to prograde hold; the rocket pretty much flies itself to orbit after that, and all I have to do is keep an eye on staging and throttle.

I also find that when working out a rendezvous I'm able to find "shortcuts" that MJ wouldn't have--such as setting up a direct encounter with an orbiting target from a hyperbolic trajectory, so I can rendezvous with, for instance, a Minmus-orbiting space station in a single burn where, using only MechJeb's tools, I would've had to enter orbit, match planes, and then set up a rendezvous. Even in this situation though, MJ is still useful: once I've manually set up the direct intercept, I could use its "match velocity with target" function to automatically fire the burn at the correct moment.

So in my mind the key isn't whether it's cheating; the key is knowing when to use it and when not to.

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7 minutes ago, Hotaru said:

For other things, like launches to orbit, I've actually found hand-flying easier than using MechJeb. MJ flies a very rough approximation of a gravity turn, and I find when I use it's ascent guidance for routine launches I actually spend a lot of time and effort tweaking the ascent profile to agree with my launch vehicle.

I learned how to do a proper gravity turn by watching how MechJeb does it. Because of this, my stock-scale launch vehicles have actually evolved in such a way that they work well with MechJeb anyway (except when there are interstage fairings, which MechJeb refuses to autostage below 50km). However, it doesn't work so well for scaled-up versions of Kerbin, and I've found that the high thrust required plus the different launch profile that's needed means that its generally more effective to fly manually in a scaled-up system.

Docking is another thing where MechJeb is extremely useful only up to a certain point. It's great for routine docking maneuvers and it doesn't use too much extra monopropellant (I can dock extremely efficiently now but when I first learned to dock MechJeb was far better). However, it fails when you need to dock in a tight space. Cargo bays or the inside of structural trusses really don't agree with MechJeb; the way that it's coded means that its docking autopilot won't dock if the target docking port is inside the vehicle. So for situations like that, it's good to dock manually. The rendezvous and docking autopilots are pretty good for beginners though; I learned to do rendezvous and docking maneuvers properly by watching it happen automatically with MechJeb.

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14 hours ago, jros83 said:

I see MechJeb is popular, or seems that way. Should I go with it? Is it "cheating" or no? Has it become one of those optional mods that have become de facto mandatory? I have to confess, I understand if I just keep practicing practicing practicing I can accomplish more without it, but perhaps I'm just too impatient lol. Either way, is MechJeb an easy way out, or is it a smart choice?

I think the real answer to that question depends on what you think KSP is about:  If it's about *flying/piloting* spaceships and exploring, then yes it's cheating.  It'll do quite a bit of the flying for you.  If it's about designing and executing space missions and running a space program, then it's not: it just automates some of the more routine and and mundane parts of the mission execution.

So the answer depends on what you think KSP is.  :wink:

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You know the answer, OP.  You are just asking for our validation to do what you already want to do, because you are not fully comfortable with that desire.  We can give validation to you, or not, but either way you will find that in the end it does not actually help resolve your internal conflict.

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YES, IT IS CHEATING. CAN WE MOVE ON ?

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Well after all these posts i can say...

There is no such thing as cheating in KSP

KSP is a sandbox game, you are free to do everything you want, anyhow you can , anything you are able to do.

If person considers that MJ is what he needs for his actions, it is not cheating for him.

Calling a person using MJ a cheater, is like calliing a person who uses more efficient ways of doing something a weakling.

SO THAT IS WHY CALLING MJ A CHEAT IS-

 

 

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Kerbal Engineer Redux gives you the readouts you'll need without being an autopilot. It might be the compromise you are looking for.

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It's not cheating. It's a missing feature. KSP should have a full autopilot built-in already an available in game difficulty settings. I wouldn't be able to play this game without MJ.

Is TweakScale cheating? Is Near Future Propulsion cheating? Is Kerbal Joint Reinforcement cheating? Etc...

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Don't use it until you understand how to do everything by hand. Using MechJeb to do interplanetary transfers for you from the getgo removes a lot of the challenge of going interplanetary. Use it once they become routine, if you feel it's necessary (I don't, but that;s beside the point). Using MechJeb isn't bad... as long as it's automating tasks you could do by hand as well as, or better than, the autopilot. If it's doing things you don't know how to do, you've deprived yourself of part of the continual learning opportunity KSP represents, and if you're doing something in KSP without learning something then it defeats the point of playing KSP in the first place.

But that's just my opinion. This is a very heated issue in the community, with opinions ranging all over. So take everyone's opinion (including mine) with a huge grain of salt, and reach your own conclusions.

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7 hours ago, sarbian said:

YES, IT IS CHEATING. CAN WE MOVE ON ?

Thank you sir, I actually LOL'd at that. 

And thank you for the mod in question. 

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MJ opened up more of the game for me after I had proved that I could orbit, land, rendezvous and dock by letting me focus more on design, which is what I was interested in. Later, when I began to do more with planes and mods it became progressively less useful, and now I use it mostly for delta-v planning and automating rendezvous. It was a useful bridge for me when I wanted to automate things while I was still learning.

 

My 2 cents for a dead horse...

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