Discover the Secrets of the Kerbol System
So you've done it! You flew all the way over to another world and landed (some-what) softly. Now to send some science back and... oh, that's it.
Hmm. So, great, you get to unlock something on your tech tree, but what did this science you sent back even mean? What did the scientific community learn about your destination? We never really find out except for the vague or funny message that displays when you collect the science. There is so much more we could learn about the Kerbol system!
Some ideas for Science mysteries:
Why is Minmus so warm?
If it's not a pistachio, what is it? Where did Minmus come from?
What's up with that big crater on Kerbin?
Why is Eve so purple? (Fascinating Diazirinone: A Violet Gas)
Did/does Duna have a molten core?
How can Laythe have liquid water so far from Kerbol?
Do Kraken cause earthquakes?
Why are there canyons on the the Mun?
Is it the same time everywhere else?
Is it just me or is the sun getting bigger?
What's at the center of Jool?
Are there Meteorites from Moho on the Mun? (Interplanetary Volcanic Ejecta)
So as a solution, I would like to make an in-game science magazine that would report on your discoveries, allowing players to learn about the places they visit. Once you have collected the correct constellation of science reports, you would receive a new magazine article. A lot of the findings will then add up to a larger "scientific mystery." Once you get all the parts of the mystery you get a final article summarizing the findings. Maybe some mysteries could require only 3 out of 4 articles to solve or have multiple pathways to solving the mystery. You won't know what science data to look for but you can maybe figure it out from hints in the articles you have found so far. Maybe we would also need a hint system to get people started.
Okay, let's just give an example:
If you collect:
Temperature reading from Kerbin Ice Sheet
Surface sample from Kerbin Ice Sheet
You get the following short article (Btw, reading it in Scott Manley’s voice makes it so much better):
ARE THE POLAR ICE-CAPS HITTING A GROWTH-SPURT?
Hubark Kerman, Discovery Daily
A member of the KSP surveys the frozen polar icecap. Credit: Astronomer.
Recent data from the poles suggests young snow is sticking around longer that it used to. Members of the KSP have shown snow deposited recently has not be melting at rate high enough to maintain the status quo, in fact, it's not even close. Almost 5 meters has been added to the ice shelf over the past 5 years leaving many scientists baffled by this sudden change. Normally the ice sheet maintains equilibrium through the evaporation of solid ice called sublimation, melting, and the calving of icebergs where the glaciers meet the sea. "This is likely a part of a natural cycle that we don't yet understand," says Bill Kerman from the KSC.
By collecting more data from around Kerbin you can reveal the entire mystery. (This one may seem too obvious but others are more elusive.)
See the rest of this mystery here. Spoilers!
I have a few more mysteries written but I would love this to be a collaborative effort. Other people could submit articles for 'peer review' on this forum and they could be then revised or added to the mod if they pass muster. I do not have a science background so I can only write basic science stories like the example above. I have personally learned so much about physics and orbital mechanics from ksp I would love to see the same thing with other areas of science. I think KSP has great potential as a education tool. I want the stories based on real science but they should be fun and light just like stock ksp. Absolute realism is not possible because some aspects of the game are unscientific.
General topics we can write about:
Age and formation of each planet
Origin and Evolution of Life on Kerbal (and elsewhere?)
Signs of Life
To start, I would like to have at least 1 mystery for each planet/moon. I think we could differentiate the planets from our local analog. Duna is not Mars and so should have it's own mysteries.
I do have basic programming skills and have made a couple plugins but I think I will need help creating the framework. Trying to GUI makes me die inside. So if someone could help me with this, I would greatly appreciate it!
I'm imagining a button at the bottom of the main KSC that shows you have a notification. When you click it, you get the pop-up article. You can navigate through your unlocked articles by clicking Next and Previous buttons. Super simple.
The articles could be in PDF form, I noticed that KIS uses PDFs for their in-game manual. PDFs mean pictures could be included.
Could we load websites in-game? Then we could update the articles without having to redistribute the entire mod.
The trigger for the article would be simple too. You just need to read the records of science reports to check if all requirements have been met then unlock the articles. This check would only occur when you return to the KSC so should not cause performance issues.
I would like this mod to be a community framework that others could use to "publish" articles within the game based on triggers like science collection or milestones.
It would be best if we could add new articles with just a Article_Config file indicating what science is required and then a link to the article in the gamedata folder.
Mods like orbital science could have their own unique mysteries or be incorporated into existing ones.
Milestones could also trigger articles ie. "First Kerbals Walk on the Mun!" or “What it’s like to live in space” and other historic events that you would expect a magazine or newspaper to report on.
It would not require any change to the game mechanics or conflict with any mods. You just get information.
All of the above is just my opinion but I think the community should decide on all the details.
Reference articles to get you thinking:
Apparently National Geographic stole my idea:
Top 5 Mars Mysteries
Overflowing crater lakes carved canyons across Mars
Earth's magnetotail: First-ever views of elusive energy explosion
Volcanoes, Then an Asteroid, Wiped Out the Dinosaurs
I want to write an in-game scientific magazine about what you have discovered with your science. You will learn more about the planets and moons you go to. I will need help doing this.