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About Allocthonous

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    Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. I've been feeling lately like my satellite contracts are too permissive. For me, the fiddly maneuvering to match the specified orbit is the fun part of these, and the margin of error on the completion conditions is large enough that my target disappears and the contract ends before I get to the fine corrections. I've skimmed through the settings and physics config files, and I didn't see any way of decreasing this margin of error and making the requirements stricter. Does anybody know of a way to do this?
  2. I like this approach too! I had a lot of fun designing a series of recoverable SSTO rockets that could reliably launch payloads based on the standard fuel tank sizes. It won't say it actually saved me any time, given how much of it I spent tweaking them, but it did make things faster later on when I could just merge designs in the VAB based on payload weight. I think the largest payload size I got up to was an orange tank, but it's been a while since I worked on that save. As for launch costs, re-usables are probably my favorite method. Collecting multiple contracts that can be completed by the same spacecraft helps a bunch too.
  3. You may find it less nerve-wracking to use the in-game cheat menu to do this. Alt-F12 opens up the debug menu, from which you can access the 'Set Orbit' interface. It still has all the fancy abbreviations and everything, but you can fiddle around with them and see what they do a lot more easily than with a save file.
  4. No,'s obviously in the foreground. It's the ghost of the previous kerbal ground handler, and the two brighter dots are his batons. There's not actually a spaceship on the runway, they're just attempting an exorcism.
  5. "Does my spacecraft look better like this, or like this?" I play with revert-flight and quick save both enabled, so there aren't really any hard decisions when it comes to missions. But making a ship look good? That's tough.
  6. So, we've all seen those alphabet refrigerator magnets, right? A really tiny set of those would work pretty great for this. Rainbow colors optional. Typos are because the kerbals ran out of that particular letter.
  7. I've done this before. Once I figure out I'm going to need to do this, I usually go into the right-click menu for each thruster and check the 'fore by throttle' option, so that I can control them more easily while using the map view.
  8. The only way I would consider something cheating in KSP is if I were cheating myself out of having fun. Usually that means sticking to the basic mechanics of the game. But sometimes I just want to get something done, or fix an error that would otherwise require repetition of effort to repair. Then the cheat menu or mods or whatever are useful tools for enjoying the game. Really, cheating only happens when somebody breaks the rules. The rules are the accepted standard of behavior that everybody who is playing the game agrees on. In a single player game, that's just me. If I were playing with friends and passing a save back and forth, like that one community space station project, or if I were competing against others to build a rocket to certain specs and see who got the best results, then cheating becomes a concern. But if it's just me? I know what forms of 'cheating' would impair my enjoyment of the game, and what would improve it. That's all that really matters.
  9. So the first thing you need to know here is what delta V is and how to calculate it. Delta V is the change in velocity that your rocket is capable of. So a rocket with 1000m/s delta V can go from 0m/s to 1000m/s in vacuum, or vice versa. It generally takes 4000m/s of delta V or so to reach orbit in stock KSP. More if your rocket is really draggy, or isn't accelerating fast enough. From the 'cheat sheet' page on the wiki: If it's not clear, Mstart in this equation is the mass of your rocket and payload when they're fully fueled. Mend is the mass when no fuel remains in the stage you are calculating delta V for. Isp can be found in the VAB description of each different engine. Keep in mind that engines perform differently at sea level and in vacuum, and the game will show you different values for those conditions. Generally a rough average of the two will suffice for quick and dirty calculations. Once you've done these calculations a few times, you'll start to notice what mass fraction (the quotient of starting mass divided by ending mass) will produce the numbers you want for different engines. This will let you make a pretty good guess about how much zoom your rocket has aboard without breaking out the calculator. Now, if you know exactly how much engine and fuel you are using to start with, and want to calculate the maximum possible payload you can get into orbit, you have to break out some algebra. It would look something like this: 4000<ln(R1+x/R2+x)*9.81*isp where R1 and R2 are your start and end weights, and x is your max payload. For a swivel with the fuel and tankage you mention, that would look like this, assuming nothing but engine and fuel tanks on the rocket. So, about .7 tons worth of payload. Of course, you need to keep in mind that a swivel will have a hard time lifting 14.5 tons from sea level. It just doesn't have enough thrust. You'd probably need boosters on that one.
  10. I drove a rover underneath a Mun Arch at night. I also had Bob plant a flag on the highest point of the arch so I could get rid of my KerbNet waypoint for it. Better pictures of the rover in question: The rover is symmetric with the exception of the probe core in the center. This means that if I want to turn around, I can change which cockpit is in control and swap the steering from one end to the other. Using plane parts means that I can cruise along at 35m/s without any trouble. At least, until I run off the edge of a crater that I wasn't expecting. The two inline docking ports allow a skycrane to latch on and return it to orbit for redeployment. Eventually I'm going to build a skycrane that can return the rover intact to the surface of Kerbin, but I've got a few more Munar biomes to collect science for before then.
  11. Auto-delete only occurs below certain altitudes (or rather air pressures). You can find the list for different bodies here, although I can't swear to their accuracy. But it does explain what you're seeing here; your boosters almost certainly went past the auto-delete threshold above the kill line.
  12. You may be on to something here. I just drove a rover through the East Farside Crater and collected a bunch of science. When I look at those reports in the archives they're filed under 'EastFarsideCrater' but the descriptors on the reports and the reports themselves all say 'East Crater.' I haven't done any science for East Crater yet, except for one high altitude gravity scan. I do also have a gravity scan for East Farside, but I don't know if I was awarded science correctly for the overlapped reports. I suppose I could drop a lander on the crater tomorrow and see if the science goes through properly, but just the way the reports are labeled incorrectly shows there's a bug here. I'm wondering if it's similar to the issues that Minmus has with the various flats getting sorted funny in the archives.
  13. Well, yeah. The original question only really came to me when I was putting down flags as waypoints to track the progress of a manned rover. It ended up being a journal-anecdote sort of thing about the mission. It wouldn't have been something that you could use pre-engraved plaques for.
  14. And now I want to know if anybody has ever exposed Play-Doh to a vacuum. A cursory google search tells me that if they have, they haven't posted it on the internet. My gut feeling is that plaques made of Play-Doh would be crumbly and gray after a fifty year time warp, though.
  15. Like the topic title says, how do they manage to produce long lasting writing on metal in vacuum? Sure, they could be hauling pre-engraved plaques up with them, but given that you can pick what's written on the plaque at the time of flag planting, I like to think they're doing it on site. One possibility is that they're using a soft metal like gold, and just scratching it with a sharp stylus. Another is that they've got a sort of super-bubble-wrap arrangement with little tiny pockets of acid instead of air, and running a blunt stylus over them releases the acid and etches the metal underneath. Anybody have other ideas?