KevinTMC

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Everything posted by KevinTMC

  1. I managed to destroy the physics of an entire savefile by doing this in an earlier version of KSP. (All the attached craft got weird and noodly...and that was just for starters.) Is it no longer dangerous to attempt this? Would be nice if it is no longer so treacherous. I've been afraid to use the Klaw ever since.
  2. Me too. I feel like an utter fool for having trusted Squad on this. (And I feel so very disappointed to have to say that. I love this game, and the team that made it.) We seem to be getting the silent treatment on this subject now...but I would like to add my voice to those calling for something to help us out...brief access to our old subscriptions lists, or something. I may learn to live with the awful new whitewhitewhite look...I may learn to deal with everything from code to smart quotes being broken in old posts...I may even manage to wrap my mind around this least intuitive and most bizarre set of forum controls I've ever encountered...but with subscriptions gone forever and the beautiful simple functionality of the /subscription.php screen seemingly gone as well, that's really the last straw preventing me from giving the new setup much of a try.
  3. Roger this. One of the things that could bear both better documentation, and rationalization and simplification, is the plethora of options in the settings screen. The graphics settings in particular are obscure to the ordinary user (and it's hard, even testing things out in-game, to tell if one has made appropriate adjustments...or even changed anything at all with the adjustments). And the control settings have gotten especially baroque and labyrinthine...I'm not even sure what my Rumblepad will do outside of basic flight situations anymore, or what I meant for them to do. I had figured out a lot of it long ago, mostly by trial-and-error...but changes in the settings file over recent versions have left me more lost than I was before. (And that, by the way, has been one of the biggest headaches of upgrading from one version of KSP to the next: having to fire up WinMerge and reconcile the new default config file with the one I'd customized for the last version. The other great headache, of course, is mod updating and reinstallation--a situation which I can only hope will stabilize more once KSP has left beta...or whatever else you want to call the state of affairs of being a more-or-less finished product and less in flux.)
  4. Well, feel free to share your progress (or lack thereof), and don't be a stranger to the forums! As I'm sure you've started to see already, there are a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people about. Just whatever you do, don't ask Max for help...
  5. I'm not offended by the Steam key, but was really hoping this package would include the game on old-school physical media, as owning an official KSP DVD would have just made my heart happy. Even if the game isn't exactly final by the scheduled ship date of November, I would certainly expect it to be in a more stable and polished state than it is now, making the permanence of a disc less weird and impractical...though again, maybe I'm just old and silly, but even a disc that wasn't terribly useful for very long would delight me. Such a disc could be made extra-nice if it included a curated collection of top mods (one of the Civ IV releases did this, if I recall correctly), along with assorted making-of stuffeths and whatever else they felt like putting on there. Or--here's a crazy and probably dumb idea--maybe even some temporarily-exclusive content? (There's enough of us real KSP fanatics out there that I'm confident getting, say, a haf-dozen new parts or a little in-game feature a few months ahead of everyone else would produce a non-trivial number of Gamer's Edition sales.) At any rate, I came close to pulling the trigger on this one even though it's a bit disappointing...but that's still a lot of money (that I don't exactly have in my pocket dying to be spent) for not a lot that's really truly gripping. It seems that a lot of people feel the same: the campaign is certainly off to a slow start. If they asked me, I'd advise suspending it for some retooling. If any of what is currently on offer were available separately later, I'd be most interested in the figurines, if the final product turns out to be decent quality. (I don't know quite what to expect there though...does anyone else have a well-founded hunch?) And of course I'd really want Val included.
  6. That would have been a smarter way of going about it, yes. (But then I would have had to go to the trouble of copying the -popupwindow flag over from one shortcut to another...and at the time I suppose that felt like too much work. ) But again, bottom line: I just wanted to make sure that Squad were aware that KSP is, in a limited way, paying attention to what is in the "Start in" field when launched from a Windows shortcut. My guess is that they'd prefer for whatever might be in that field to be ignored altogether (which it seems to be once the program has fully launched).
  7. Oh, it was easy for me to do this. Step one: Create a shortcut that points to C:\KSP_win\KSP.exe. The "Start in" field will naturally be populated with C:\KSP_win. Step two: Make a copy of this shortcut, changing the target to C:\KSP_win_nomod\KSP.exe...but forget to change the directory listed in "Start in". Step three: ??? Step four: PROFIT! As I said, it was caused by my own stupidity, but I thought I should mention it, especially in case there might be people out there who are wanting to redirect their KSP data to another directory. (In which case they'd surely be disappointed that only KSP.log, PartDatabase.cfg, and Physics.cfg moved when they attempted to change the reference directory.)
  8. I previously reported that a craft consisting of just one Mk16 Parachute and one MK1 Command Pod had slammed into the ground at over 16 m/s when descending over land (land altitude was a few hundred meters--not especially high), after a descent that had been gentle until the last 500m, when the parachute's full deployment had been slow to kick in. I've been unable to replicate that precisely. I hadn't even come close, in fact (which surprised me, since prior to that crash, I'd had several rather close calls...some over water and some over KSC). Until just now, when I experienced what certainly felt like a close shave. This time, the craft had a service bay and heat shield attached to the bottom of the Mk16 chute and Mk1 pod. The parachute fully deployed over water--again at the default setting of 500m--with speed between 100 and 105 m/s right before deployment. The chute did manage to bring the craft under 7 m/s for landing, but only after it had dropped below 130m. The craft seemed to spend a longer time than usual at around 60 m/s as the chute was trying to ramp up to full deployment...another couple of seconds and Jeb would have been done for. I know that's not much hard data; I will continue to experiment and report back if I have another fatal accident on the stock Mk16 parachute settings. I will say that the full-deployment performance sure seems to be differing from one flight to the next, and I'm having trouble putting my finger on what might be causing the variance, as the speed right before hitting 500m AGL has been fairly consistent.
  9. This is a small matter, and it was caused by my own stupidity, but I thought it should be mentioned. I have multiple installs of KSP on my Windows 7 PC (downloaded from the KSP store and unzipped into folders). I usually launch KSP via shortcuts on the desktop. Yesterday, when having trouble finding a PartDatabase.cfg, I realized that one of my shortcuts had the wrong folder listed in the "Start in" field on the shortcut, which was causing PartDatabase.cfg to spawn in that folder. I played around with it some more, and determined that no matter where KSP.exe actually lives, the KSP.log, PartDatabase.cfg, and Physics.cfg files will be generated in the folder listed in "Start in". I'm guessing that that is not the intended behavior, because everything else--e.g. save files, craft files, screenshots--appears to ignore the "Start in" setting and stays with KSP.exe in its actual folder.
  10. Thanks for running the tests, Captain H@dock. I'll see if I can replicate the prior result this evening myself. Thanks for the suggestion, Claw...I've given that a try and will see if there's any difference. Is the PartDatabase.cfg file new to version 1.0.x? Seems to me like it is.
  11. I've seen a couple of mentions of this in general discussion, but don't see a thread for it yet. In all versions of KSP up to and including 1.0, the Mk16 Parachute sitting on top of the Mk1 Command Pod (with no other parts) has ensured gentle touchdown in most any circumstance on default settings. This is no longer the case with 1.0.2. The chute is slow to fully deploy, or at least slow to reach its fully-deployed effectiveness. In my game (stock 1.0.2 for Windows downloaded from the website, no mods) this just killed Valentina when she slammed into the ground hard on what was an entirely routine and gentle re-entry up until the final 500 meters. Perhaps this is a natural and even intended consequences of the tweaks that were made to chutes in 1.0.1/1.0.2. If so, then at the very least the default altitude for full deployment of the Mk16 Parachute needs to be set higher, perhaps somewhere from 750-1000m.
  12. That's a helpful perspective, Tiberion. I honestly hadn't thought of that when I found myself asking "how could that bug possibly have slipped by?" I appreciate all the insight you've provided in this thread, and I think it's good for you and KasperVld and Ted to redirect frustration away from the hard-working testers. And of course KSP is a tremendous achievement overall, and I for one have gotten orders of magnitude more value for my money than with almost any other software purchase I've ever made. And 1.0 is a big step forward for the game. But that doesn't mean there's not grounds for criticism in the wake of 1.0...even pointed criticism. A couple of the bugs are puzzling and vexing, but in my view, it's the overall level of polish (everything from lack of graphical polish to inadequate information presented to the player to the continued absence of the first whole tier of KSC buildings) that is the real disappointment, as it is not only a bit below what the 1.0 version number implies, but also below what Squad themselves had been describing as their objectives and expectations for the release. This followed on the heels of 0.90--also a big step forward for the game--objectively falling short of Squad's previously stated parameters for "beta" status (most obviously in that not all major game systems were yet in place). Now it's too late to do anything about the 0.25-->0.90-->1.0 development strategy, and more "told ya so"s will do nobody any good. But it's still appropriate to consider a broader lesson here about overpromising and underdelivering, which can provoke unhappiness with even the highest-quality product. The other major area of concern I have is the state of career mode, which I think is simply not well-enough conceived and executed right now to provide the fun it should, or to get new players hooked and eagerly tackling the learning curve. (I find it's far behind the BTSM mod in fundamental gameplay design.) But that's not so much a bugfixing or polishing or even balancing issue, as much as it's a game design or even philosophical question.
  13. 1.0 is upon us. Wow. Sounds like a lot of cool stuff lies straight ahead; I just hope Squad don't kill themselves in the final push to meet their (still-somewhat-crazy-seeming) deadline. I'm glad that there's been so much gratitude in this thread. Felipe and his team deserve all the praise and thanks and more. Kerbal Space Program is quite simply extraordinary. I've played a lot of computer games since the day I took my new Apple Galaxian diskette out of its ziploc bag (forget reminiscing about the days when we went to the store to buy software in a box...I remember when there wasn't even the box!), but I've never had an experience quite like KSP. Outside of the Civilization series, it has no rival in terms of hours played; and in terms of being enriching and rewarding, it stands alone. I can't believe it's almost three years now since I jumped on the bandwagon (for the criminally low price of $15...add me to the list of people eager to buy a bit of DLC down the road). I hope I'm still playing--and there are still new things to experience--three years from now.
  14. It's taken rather a while (real life is such a bother sometimes), but Project Guanaco is now complete. I may or may not be able to continue the challenge on to Tier 8 (I'm still playing on 0.25 here, and KSP 1.0 is being released in one week!), and I may or may not be eligible for a score in the end anyway (I broke down and used some quicksaves during Theoby's first and third trips down to the Munar surface)...but more about that later. Here's the program report. Tier planning notes, part two: Guanaco 1K is on its way home, and should arrive back on Kerbin in no more than 27 hours. I'd like to get interplanetary probes underway the instant those soil samples are delivered to R&D--so the key question is, how much science will I be able to gather in that time? There's still a bit more Minmus science that can be collected at this tech level: a surface scan and one last gravity scan (Poles), for a total of 205 points. Per my usual plan lately, I will send a craft in that direction first; with an aggressive transfer trajectory, it should able to transmit its science before Alddorf and Guslie return. Electronics will thus be one of the two node purchases I'm making right now (thanks to transmitted science from Guanaco 1). I had my eye on Refined Rocketry for the other one, since I've got a couple of crazy contracts that want me to fire off big boosters on escape trajectories out of Minmus and the Mun...but it looks like the tweakable fuel ability only applies to liquid fuel tanks. Rats. In that case, I think I'll unlock High Altitude Flight instead, and work on atmospheric science around Kerbin whenever I've got some free time. New kerballed missions to the Mun are also a priority of course. I'm hoping I can run at least two missions there and back by the time Guanaco IK returns. I'm not going to delay these missions any further with lander tests--I'll just slap a second Probodobodyne X100-??? on the lander instead of fooling around with smaller tanks, and call it good. Who knows...with a somewhat excessive amount of fuel on board the lander, and a refueling station already in position, it might just be possible to collect all the Munar surface samples needed to clear the tier on a single mission. So, the lineup for the second part of Tier 7 is set: 1) Surface scan/gravity scan probe to Minmus 2) Crewed mission to Mun 3) Surface scan probe to Kerbin orbit, then on to Mun 4) Atmospheric science missions while other craft transit to/from Kerbin And of course I'll be raising funds along the way too. Onward! Mission report album, part two: Tier 7 is now complete, at Day 8, 12 hours, 3 minutes. (That's 2 days, 9 hours, and 49 minutes since the completion of Tier 6...over 25 hours shorter than the time it took to complete the previous tier.) 14 different Guanaco craft were constructed (7 fewer than Fugu); with repeat flights, there were 16 Guanaco launches in all (13 fewer than Fugu). 819,237 funds are in the bank (a decrease of 14,371 since the completion of Tier 6). 727 science is available; that will only be worth 0.323 nodes in Tier 8. (I began Tier 7 with 2.63 nodes' worth of science saved up.) The following modifier points were definitely claimed: Tier 7 - "Minmus master" (6) - Biome Hunter IV (4) - Take a Breather I (2) Other modifiers - - Take a Breather II (4) The following modifier points are up in the air: Duna Dominance I - Prime is still possible, but it will have to be launched at the start of the next project--Guanaco is closed. Survivor IV was achieved, after a fashion...but it did involve loading from quicksaves. I started using quicksaves just to deal with problems I believed were caused by glitches in the game...but then, when preparing for Theoby's first Mun landing, without hardly thinking about what I was doing, I performed a couple of test landings and then loaded from a quicksave to do it again "for real". Later, rusty from not having played for some weeks, I wound up using quicksaves in much the same fashion during Theoby's third sortie to the Munar surface. (It's a bit ironic, I suppose, that Theoby's second run--the most exciting, risky, touch-and-go one of the bunch--was the one I performed all in one go, without a safety net.) I'm a little disappointed in myself; but on the other hand, this challenge is a long slog, and I'm a little surprised that I, an incurable perfectionist accustomed to free use of quicksaves, made it as far as I did without cracking. If Guanaco 5K had turned out to be a complete failure--which was certainly possible, though not inevitable, without quicksaves--I would at the very least have lost the Survivor IV bonus (as well as the later Survivor V bonus). My completion of Tier 7 would also likely have been delayed a bit...perhaps by half a day or so. So, a penalty of a day or more, and the surrender of the Survivor IV and V bonuses, would certainly be fair if I were still allowed to submit a score for this challenge; but if I'm deemed to have just plain disqualified myself, I certainly understand. Whether I post a final score or not is really incidental at this point anyhow. The real point of the exercise--and the real joy of it--has been tackling the challenge that is BTSM, and reporting back on my experiences. I'm glad that others have enjoyed reading my accounts. Also, the question of a final score will of course be moot if I do not go on to complete at least one more tier in this challenge. I like finishing what I start (even when it's a bit mad really...or maybe even especially then), and I've been looking forward to experiencing BTSM at the next, interplanetary level; but then KSP 1.0 is now upon us, which will put me two rather significant updates behind. (Since it came out, I've spent an hour or two seeing what 0.90 has to offer, but no more.) In the event that I don't get around to playing Tier 8 under this challenge: many thanks to Death Engineering for sponsoring the challenge and thereby getting me to try the BTSM mod (and with the important added wrinkle of trying to minimize in-game time), and many many thanks to FlowerChild for such a well-designed, challenging, intriguing career experience.
  15. I decided to go full steam ahead into Tier 7--and now that the big centerpiece mission for this tier is winding down, it's time for a status report. Tier planning notes, part one: All the science I will need to complete Tier 7 can be obtained from Kerbin and its moons. If it weren't for this challenge, then, I wouldn't even be starting to think about interplanetary missions yet. But as the scoring is overwhelmingly weighted toward time elapsed, I have to keep an eye on getting those looooong interplanetary probe missions underway as soon as possible. In particular, I'll be wanting to get a head start on the big Tier 8 modifier, "Map Master", since the halfway-decent transfer window to Eve that the game starts with is already closing, and a good opportunity to head to Moho is also coming up very soon. I don't yet know which node purchases (if any) I'll be able to do without when sending my first batch of interplanetary probes, but my hunch is that possibilities might start to open up once I get to seven or eight nodes unlocked. There is enough non-Minmus science available to get eight out of ten nodes unlocked, and the only new technology absolutely required to collect it would be the nodes with the new science instruments. I could just skip Minmus for the moment, then, since it takes so much longer to get to. But I'm not positive that eight nodes will be enough to send useful interplanetary probes...and if it's not, that path could wind up costing me a lot of time. Besides, how quickly could I realistically expect to collect 14 different Munar surface samples? Could I afford to do so? And wouldn't I be volunteering for quite a bit of tedium even if it did work out? I think the smart play here is to go ahead and unlock Field Science and one other node, and get a kerballed Minmus mission going straightaway. It will certainly be easier (and, I think, considerably cheaper) to bring home a complete collection of surface samples from Minmus than from the Mun. And there won't be anything stopping me from running Mun missions concurrently, so long as I can keep scraping together the funds. I'll almost certainly have to wait for the Minmus mission's return before I can start sending interplanetary probes; but transmitting a lot of high-value science from Minmus might still prove helpful. To help that happen, I could send a refueling station ahead of the main craft, with supplies of liquid fuel, monopropellant, and life support to go along with tons of batteries. I would probably want solar panels on the refueling station (and on all future Minmus-bound craft, really). That means I'd be opening this tier with Field Science and Large Electrics...leaving me without the surface scanner at the start. Would it be better to instead open with Large Electrics and Electronics, spend around 7 hours getting surface scans of Kerbin and the Mun to earn a third node, then unlock Field Science and get the Minmus mission underway? Or should I just plan on picking up the Minmus surface scan at a later date, when I'm sending some cargo that direction anyway? I think the latter. 180 science is nothing to sneeze at, but there's 1477 extra science available from Kerbin and its moons over and above what I will need to complete this tier; it won't necessarily delay things to leave that scan (and the one remaining gravity scan, over the Poles) for later. My big kerballed mission will be designed to pick up everything else: all eleven crew reports, the EVA report, and all nine surface samples. If I can pull that off, the mission will yield 2190 science (and achieve "Minmus Master" and "Biome Hunter IV"). The science that can be transmitted back from Minmus should be more than enough to unlock the new instruments. While the Minmus mission makes its way home with the non-transmittable surface samples, I could then get 360 science from surface scans of Kerbin and the Mun, and 600 from a complete set of Kerbin atmospheric scans (accomplishing "Take a Breather" along the way). Add two Munar surface samples--also quite feasible in this time frame I think--and I'd reach nine nodes unlocked once the Minmus samples were delivered. Another four samples from the Mun would unlock the tenth and final node. I'm hoping there won't be a big gap between the return of the Minmus mission and getting my "Duna Dominance I - Prime" craft out of Kerbin SOI, but I won't be surprised if that one isn't ready to launch until the tier is complete. I think I've got a better chance of getting an early start on the "Map Master" probes (one headed to Eve/Gilly, one to Duna/Ike, probably an extra to Moho, and maybe even one to Jool and its moons). Okay, enough strategizing and gabbing. It's time once again to see how my plans survive contact with reality. Mission report album, part one: The Guanaco 1 mission was massive. It involved four launches totaling 2321.688 tons of launch weight, at a total cost of 707,490 funds. (I expect it to turn a profit of around 5,000 funds following successful return of the crew.) Six distinct craft were put into Minmus orbit: command module/transfer vehicle, crewed lander, refueling station, tug/resupply ship, commercial payload, and jet engine test lander. It is now 13 hours and 13 minutes into Day 7. I have 487,183 funds in the bank, and enough science on hand to unlock two more nodes. To complete Tier 7, I will need to bring the Minmus surface samples home to Kerbin, and earn another 1788 science.
  16. Those are good points. It may be that I'm not thinking far enough back, to when I was brand new (2012! gosh, time flies) and really, truly, comprehensively didn't know what I was doing. Though I would think the best thing for a user in that situation would be improved tutorials, perhaps paired with a few educational sample craft. Then, once they've learned a few principles and techniques that way, and played around some, consider introducing (probably via VAB/SPH upgrades) more data and tools. (In the EDU version, those tools would of course be preceded by teaching the player to do the calculations by hand...and heck, I'd have loved that in the standard version of the game too, but that's probably just me.)
  17. I've been playing a challenge based on FlowerChild's mod, and decided to do without Kerbal Engineer for the sake of some bonus points. I'm glad I did...but I'm still torn on the issue of making delta-v readouts stock. Here are a few of my thoughts. 1) Delta-v readouts must not be made available in the early stages of career. If players get used to using it as a crutch too early on, they'll experiment too little and learn too little and have too little adventure. (And at the very very beginning it might just add confusion anyhow.) 2) Later on, as missions get longer and more complicated and the stakes get higher, I'd imagine most players will tend to lean more on delta-v numbers--if they're available--and/or on reverting. I believe that if it were up to FlowerChild, both of these would be kept/taken out...and that might well make the game more fun for more people. But I don't think reverts are likely to ever go away entirely; nor do I think it likely that more than a small minority of players will choose to turn them off in the difficulty settings. My thought process, then, is this: if reverts aren't going anywhere, and if overuse of reverts is worse than overreliance on Kerbal Engineer (as I believe it is), and if doing without the latter makes abuse of the the former more likely (as I believe it does), then making delta-v readouts stock would be the lesser evil. 3) From the experience of the challenge, one thing I've learned is that a good way to strike a balance between the extremes of pure guesswork and obsessive number-watching is to make the player figure it all out by hand. I'm pretty happy with the mix of planning vs. informed guesswork vs. winging it that's resulted in my game from that. Now, as geeky as KSP can get, I'm sure it's still unrealistic to expect the average player (as opposed to confessed weirdos like myself) to do anything like calculating delta-v by hand. But perhaps making these calculations cost the player in some other way would act as a salutary restraint?
  18. It's not how things should work, perhaps...but as I get more familiar with Deadly Reentry, I find myself able to get away with just letting the final-stage engine take the heat. So I'm presuming that a really forgiving implementation of reentry heat might serve to prevent some of the more insanely aggressive aerobraking/reentry strategies, but not really require separate heat shields. I hope that's not what we're getting, though.
  19. Project Fugu is now complete. Here's the rest of the report. I've continued to exhaustively document my progress; I hope the end result is not unduly exhausting to the reader. Tier planning notes, part two: So, what are the priorities now? While I wait for the Minmus probe to return successfully, I can work on the "Team Effort I" and "Biome Hunter III" modifiers. Since the latter will take a whole lot more time--and since more Munar science will be needed if the Minmus probe burns up on reentry--I should get it underway first. The main question is which three node unlocks will be the most help in pursuing this objective. Modular Design, with its increased launch capacity, is a no-brainer. (The Rockomax decoupler will also be a help.) Larger craft will require more thrust, and will be more difficult to control, so both Heavier Rocketry and Thrust Vectoring seem important...if I can do without the other two nodes for now. Advanced Landing can easily wait until the Apollo-style landing attempt; and while it would be convenient to have the bigger RCS tank from Precision Engineering, that node's main benefit is to probes, which I don't have a burning need to launch right now. That settles it then. Time to design the successor to the Fugu 6K. Mission report album, part two: Tier planning notes, part three: I had planned to unlock the last node in Tier 6 before organizing "One small step...", but that would require waiting for Fugu 13 to get all the way home again, and the clock is ticking. I'm going to put together the best prototype I can without Precision Engineering, and see how it goes. Mission report album, part three: Tier 6 is now complete, at Day 6, 2 hours, 14 minutes. (That's 3 days, 10 hours, and 57 minutes since the completion of Tier 5.) 21 different Fugu craft were constructed (4 more than Emu); counting repeat contract grinding, there were 29 Fugu flights in all (5 more than Emu). All modifier points were again claimed: Tier 6 - "One small step.." (6) - Team Effort I (2) - Survivor III (3) - Biome Hunter III (4) 833,608 funds are in the bank (an increase of 568,580 since the completion of Tier 5). 1422 science is available; that will equal 2.63 node purchases in Tier 7. (I began Tier 6 with 2.38 nodes' worth of science saved up.) The tension leading up to the Munar landing, and the sense of accomplishment when it succeeded, was quite extraordinary...it reminded me of my very first landing on the Mun, back in version 0.15. What a great mod, and what an intense challenge. I must say I'm a little torn on what to do next. On the one hand, I'd like to finish out a "Normal Mode" entry in this challenge (even though I wonder where I will find the time, if Tiers 7 and 8 are significantly more intense than Tiers 5 and 6 were...which I suspect they are). On the other hand, I haven't played around with KSP 0.90 at all yet, much less one of the newer revisions of BTSM...and there's a lot of shiny goodness calling to me. I suppose what it boils down to is that I should really have found this mod and this challenge a few months earlier!
  20. I'm partway through Tier 6, and the mission reports are piling up. I've come to a good spot to take a breather, so here's a report on the progress to date. Tier planning notes: On each of the last two tiers, I got into early difficulty due to sub-optimal technology choices. I've therefore decided to try something new and daring for Tier 6: having a plan. The science needed to clear Tier 6 will be gathered from three types of missions: probes to the Mun, probes to Minmus, and kerballed missions to the Mun. I already have the technology to pull off the first type, including landing missions. I will have the technology to pull off the second type once I unlock either a more efficient probe core or better batteries. (I'll want the bigger heat shield as well if I intend to bring back goo.) The third can wait as long as a fair bit of science remains to be gathered from Mun probes. Since time is a key element of this challenge, and Minmus takes much more time to get to, my initial science purchase will be directed towards getting a probe headed there straightaway. (Minmus also promises to turn a nice profit due to contracts, which won't hurt.) With enough science in the bank to unlock two nodes, I could pick up both the HECS core and the POT-360 batteries; but I think I can get by with just one of those, and will try to do so in order to get the bigger heat shield for goo return (with radial chutes helpfully in the bargain there too). Choosing the probe core would save me a bit more mass on the Minmus mission, but the batteries will be more helpful to other missions later on. So Advanced Electrics and Basic Flight it will be. Once the Minmus probe is on its way, I will launch a probe to get more science out of the Mun. Between collecting more gravity scans, transmitting the rest of the seismic data, and returning goo from the surface, enough science can be collected to unlock the next node (maybe even the next two). With that purchase I'll unlock Advanced Exploration, letting me get a kerballed Munar flyby underway even before the hoped-for science bonanza from Minmus starts rolling in. If all three of these missions go to plan, and the crew reports from Munar space prove as lucrative as I hope they'll be, I'll be able to unlock the rest of Tier 6 (or nearly) after just three primary missions and in less than three days. A few more launches will be needed after that to earn Team Effort I and to complete Biome Hunter III...and then I can attempt "One small step..." and completion of the tier. It's a beautiful-looking plan. We'll see how it survives encounter with Tier 6. Mission report album: Whew. Time to take a breath, now that the board has been cleared of all missions except Fugu 1 (which is now simply drifting home with a dead probecore). I've got 1,130,707 funds and 582 science in the bank. The science will be enough to unlock three of the five remaining nodes in this tier. It is a half hour into Day 4. The rest of Tier 6 awaits.
  21. If you look at the slideshow attached to my Tiers 1-3 report, you can see Coelacanth 1, the craft I used to achieve Biome Hunter I. Mass was 22.485; highest altitude achieved was 123,117. (I believe the version number was 1.649 at the time rather than 1.64999, but I don't think there's any significant change there.) I may have got a little lucky with the trajectory--which needs to be westward from KSC for this suborbital flight--but I believe the results should be readily repeatable with similar craft.
  22. My Emu program is now complete. 17 different craft were constructed; counting repeat contract grinding, there were 24 Emu flights in all. My plan was to start with gathering more science near Kerbin. That meant opening Tier 5 with Aerodynamics and Space Exploration, so I could put Kerbals into orbit for Crew Report science. But in what order? I chose Aerodynamics first, thinking I would be able to earn enough science from goo retrievals in Kerbin space to unlock the next node. Once again, I had made a technology mistake. Since my missions that had gone straight up to 70km and then straight back down hadn't needed heat shields at all, I thought perhaps the initial heat shield would be fine for going straight up to 250km and then straight back down. Testing quickly revealed that I should have taken the warnings in the heat shield's part description more seriously. It wasn't going to get the goo home from high space...at least not so long as I was having to reenter with a craft big enough to make a powered landing. I went ahead and collected low-space goo...and found myself with 89 points, one short of what was required to unlock the next node. Well played, BTSM, well played. I was going to need to figure out how to get a craft into Munar space--and halfway back to Kerbin to transmit science--with existing parts and a 75-ton mass limit...or I would need to get lucky and turn up a contract to test radial chutes. I got lucky. After successfully returning an appropriately small goo payload from high space, I was able to unlock my second Tier 5 node. I pondered going for Space Exploration as previously planned, but gosh that command pod looked awfully heavy, and I had lucrative Mun contracts and contracts that involved docking on my hands...and wouldn't it be nice to have reaction wheels and the inline stabilizer available before risking kerbals? There wasn't any reason I couldn't wait until the end of the tier to go for "This land is your land, this land is Badland", so long as there was plenty of science to gather around the Mun. So...Advanced Construction it was, to help me get there. Things started to move along a bit better from there--though I spent a lot of time and effort raising money from contracts, while waiting for vessels to reach or return from the Mun. Maybe more time and effort than was necessary...but on the other hand, going to the Mun isn't cheap. (Especially when you carry along an absurd number of batteries.) The Emu 11 report is the most involved, as it is the most ambitious and complicated mission I have flown yet in BTSM...and there was also a rather inconvenient mishap along the way. By contrast, Emu 13 and 13K were much simpler and less nerve-wracking. (Maybe I should have gone for "This land is your land, this land is Badland" a bit earlier in the tier after all.) The slideshow turned out to be a big one; I'll probably divide future tiers' reports into parts. Tier 5 is now complete, on Day 2, 15h 17m. All modifier points were again claimed: Tier 5 - "This land is your land, this land is Badland" (4) - Survivor II (2) - Goo hunter I (2) 265,028 funds and 428.6 science are in the bank. Whew. Tier 5 may be a breeze to BTSM veterans, but it put up a good fight for me. It may be a little while before I can dive into Tier 6...but I'm looking forward to discovering what further challenges and dilemmas await.
  23. I would like to thank Tanuki for the effort and thought and research she's putting into the biomes project. I like what I've been reading in this thread. I also wish her luck in dealing with the community and its feedback. Some of it will need to be listened to carefully; some will need to be tuned out and forgotten; wisdom lies in discerning the difference while keeping one's sanity. Best of luck!
  24. Wonderful, encouraging, detailed, hype-stoking devnotes this week. Thank you for all the hard work. I've got my hands full trying out the Better Than Starting Manned career right now (y'all should definitely get familiar with it, in depth, before taking another pass at improving Career Mode during beta), so it's not like I'm hard up for entertainment and challenge and new things to explore...but I'm still getting increasingly eager to see 0.90, as it promises so many awesome improvements.
  25. I'm working on Tier 5 and have reached the point where I'm starting to run concurrent flights. And it finally sank in that, as with the stock game, electric power does not drain on unfocused vessels yet in BTSM (though FlowerChild intends to fix that at some point). How have others working on this challenge been handling this issue? So far, I've just been preventing myself from consciously scrimping on batteries, trying to make sure I've got enough batteries packed for the entire anticipated duration of the mission. I've got a feeling this might get hard to estimate and keep track of soon though...