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Everything posted by KSK

  1. Well, a mundane solution is that the ship landed on the ice to refuel (because long term propellant storage isn't feasible) and became trapped somehow. Why did it land on the ice? Partly because ice melt isn't salty and can be used as propellant with minimal processing and partly because frozen places tend to be fairly remote, allowing more time for refueling without curious, and possibly hostile, natives showing up. That's still going to require some sci-fi elements if you want a compact, rocket-powered SSTO, let alone the kind of single-stage-to-anywhere ships that you like but at least it's a simple solution to the long term propellant storage problem. My point was that there are so many science-fiction solutions to this problem that don't require storable liquid propellants. Metastable solid propellants, antigravity, teleportation, hyperdrive, telekinesis, reactionless thrusters powered by zero-point energy etc. etc. etc. Therefore, why not just use those fantastical technologies directly, rather than tying oneself in knots using them to enable a low technology solution to the same problem?
  2. I think I'm going to call this the Paw Patrol Effect. For those that are lucky enough not to have been exposed to that particular children's cartoon, it essentially revolves around the gratuitous over-application of technology to solve entirely mundane problems. Likewise here, where we're postulating stasis field technology, hyperdrive cores, and unobtainium melting-point materials to store mundane propellants for a primitive rocket propulsion system
  3. Sure, why not. Might be best to assume that the unobtainium has a high enough melting point that it can use neat MMH as a fuel/propellant rather than needing to dilute the exhaust with normal hydrogen. If we are talking about a Kryptonian vessel though, I’d go full biohorror and assume that whatever tissues or organs that allow Superman to fly into space when exposed to a suitable solar spectrum, can be cloned, stored in a Kryptonian crystal matrix, and used as a propulsion system.
  4. Physically, you're correct. Storing liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen in a tank for centuries would be difficult. It would probably require some kind of active cooling, which would require power and would also need to be reliable enough to last for centuries. If you want more information on real life efforts in this direction, have a search for United Launch Alliance's ACES technology. I also recall that Blue Origin are looking at hydrolox for their Moon lander, so they probably have some information too. Probably - this is Blue Origin after all and they play their cards fairly close to their corporate chest. The 'functioning spaceship under ice' trope is only absurd if you insist that all science fiction must be hard present day, or hard near-future science fiction. Usually, a spacecraft-under-ice is neither. Typically, the spacecraft is alien and from another star system. Ergo it has access to FTL technology or, if it made the trip at slower-than-light speeds, is capable of remaining functional for decades or centuries at a time. In either case, it is based on sufficiently advanced technology, that quibbling over the presumed absurdities of propellant storage itself becomes rather absurd. All the more so in your particular example where the spacecraft was a lifeboat for a being with blatantly unphysical abilities. More generally, it’s not usually that hard to find ‘absurdities’ even in hard science fiction, if you look hard enough.
  5. I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt but interstellar travel, along with multiplayer, are the parts of the KSP2 roadmap that I'm least excited about. For me, a lot of the appeal of KSP was the fact that it's a game about present day space exploration with present day technology, and present day limitations. Even the far end of the tech tree (as I recall) only includes technologies that have been pretty thoroughly ground tested but not actually flown (NERVA), remain a little bit speculative but one of their key enabling systems has been built, tested, and shown to work (SABRE, which I presume RAPIER is a riff on), or are grounded in known chemistry and engineering and bits of them have been demonstrated (ISRU). Lots of science, very little fiction. KSP was also nicely scaled. Yes it's built around a 1/10 scale toy star system but I can mostly ignore that when I'm playing because the journey times are still approximately scaled to travel times around our own solar system. Journeys to the Mun and Minmus take days to weeks, journeys to the nearest planets take months, journeys to the more distant planets take months to years. Allowing interstellar travel - and probably repeated interstellar journeys - within the timeframe of the game, breaks that immersion and rubs my nose in the fact that I'm playing in a scaled down toy sandbox. I also wonder about progression time within the game. KSP already suffers from that: a brand new space program can make orbit on day 1, get to the Mun on the same day with a bit of player experience, and be heading out to the planets on the first available transfer window, or earlier if the player isn't fussed about using minimum energy trajectories. Even allowing for the fact that interstellar travel will require a bunch of infrastructure and resource mining first, I can imagine a brand new KSP2 start going interstellar within a handful of game years, which again, rather breaks the immersion for me. Finally, I remain skeptical (to put it politely) about the feasibility of rocket-powered, crewed, interstellar travel anyway, and like @RocketRockington, I suspect that most of the challenges involved in building an interstellar craft will be abstracted away or ignored, given that a basic stock life support still seems to be a contentious issue. In short, interstellar travel breaks a lot of what I found appealing about KSP and turns KSP2 into just another science-fiction game. That doesn't mean that roadmap complete KSP2 is going to be a bad game, but I don't believe it will have the charm of the original.
  6. "But not so open that your brains fall out." Popularly attributed to Carl Sagan. Properly speaking, a theory is a hypothesis backed up by empirical, falsifiable, evidence. Saying that something is 'just theory' is not at all the same thing as saying that we don't know anything about it. Thought experiments are a valid way of thinking. In other words, even if we don't know what causes gravity (which is a whole other debate), we have observed what gravity causes and can infer what would happen if gravity wasn't there. In this particular case, we have observational evidence for various kinds of matter in the interstellar medium - i.e. in as close to a genuine zero gravity environment (as opposed to freefall) as it's possible to get. If the forces holding atoms together were related to gravity, or if a lack of gravity means that 'every atom would vaporize', then we would not expect to find an interstellar medium. We may not know precisely how gravity works but we have a very good theory for it (general relativity) and, more importantly, we know the limitations of that theory because of its inconsistency with a second theory (quantum theory, which I'm using here as a general term for a lot of related concepts and mathematical frameworks). Both theories are backed by solid bodies of experimental evidence. Quantum electrodynamics for example, which deals with the interactions between light and matter, gives results which agree with the most accurate experimental measurements we can make. Any new theory which purports to better explains how gravity work would need to a) be consistent with the experimental evidence in support of both general relativity and quantum theory, b) reconcile the differences between the two, and c) be backed up by experimental evidence of its own. That's a high bar to clear. Handwaving those requirements away with an airy implication that 'we don't know how anything works, therefore anything is possible' is, at best, screamingly unscientific and in my experience, either a sign of internet crackpottery, or a sign that a vested interest is spreading FUD in defiance of all evidence to the contrary.
  7. They will don slightly implausible looking plate mail helmets which they'll refuse to take off in public. Then they'll sabotage the AI driven telepresence robots with a mixture of milk and rennet. This is the whey.
  8. I don't fear AI. I don't even fear AI in the hands of people that can spout this kind of self-serving claptrap whilst studiously ignoring the enormous robotic elephant in the room, namely, the social consequences of "highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work". I don't fear them. I despise them. I despise the Silicon Valley techbro 'better to seek forgiveness than permission - and we don't really care about forgiveness' attitude that led them to plunder everyone else's data to train their LLMs. I despise the Big Tech 'we're going to disrupt you whether you like it or not' attitude, nearly as much as I despise their self-righteous 'you can't stop progress' apologists. I despise OpenAI's 'privatise profits, socialise externalities' writ large attitude, especially when one of those externalities is mass unemployment. Because what the hell else do they think companies are going to do with "highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work"? Who knew that Orwell’s telescreens and ‘boot in the face forever’ would turn out to be consuming AI created entertainment whilst your ‘economically valuable work’ is hived off to another AI, no doubt whilst a third AI still expects you to pay the rent. Bonus points if your creative works were stripmined to train the AI that ultimately replaced you. I suppose there will still be manual labour. "Hey - we haven't figured out a cost-effective autonomous system for cleaning toilets yet, so we've got an opening for a skilled janitor personal environment enhancement executive." In the short term I eagerly await the ability of LLMs to amplify the unholy internet trinity of spam, scams, and adverts. Yay. Go progress.
  9. I'll see your Barn and raise you a 'getting rid of the Round8 tank.'
  10. It would be difficult to set up and very difficult to maintain. Any real geneticists please feel free to speak up in case I'm talking from under my hat here but, at the least, I think you would need: To ensure that your male clone possesses an identical X chromosome to your female clone and that both X chromosomes in your female clones are identical. To ensure that neither clone possesses any recessive alleles, to avoid double recessives in their offspring. The first isn't too hard, at least in principle. Somatic nuclear transfer (transfer of somatic cell nucleus into an de-nucleated egg cell) is a known technique which was used to clone Dolly the Sheep. I can imagine a more finely grained version which transfers single chromosomes although I don't have a clue about the practicalities. The second is a lot harder (I think) and would likely require extensive, and quite sophisticated, genetic engineering. Possible in principle using CRISPR or something similar but very hard (to put it mildly) in practice. The main problem is that even if you could set up a true-breeding population of clones, they and their offspring will inevitably accumulate mutations so, absent heroic efforts to remove those mutations, they are unlikely to remain true-breeding for many generations. According to Wikipedia: The human germline mutation rate is approximately 0.5×10−9 per base pair per year. That's an astonishingly low rate but even so, each individual in your clone population will be picking up one or two mutations per year and it's vanishingly unlikely that each person will pick up the same mutations.
  11. Some thoughts on this. Biomineralization, i.e. the formation of metal crystals or inorganic materials is well known in a whole range of species. The obvious examples are bone or shells but bacteria do interesting things with other metals. Generating small amounts of power shouldn't be a problem. Mitochondria are effectively tiny biological storage batteries, and provided you didn't go into too much detail, I don't think that using the electron transport proteins in mitochondria to build a battery for your implants would be a crazy hand-wave. I would have any computer circuitry be based on neural tissue - again, making use of structures that DNA can already produce. Making complex circuitry out of metal parts would probably be a whole lot harder. Not necessarily impossible but designing a set of proteins which can a) template metal crystal formation or semiconductor crystal formation, b) deal with multiple inorganic material, and c) self-assemble into the required circuitry pattern, would be a hell of a piece of bioengineering. In general, minimizing the use of metal parts, in favor of remodeling existing bony structures would probably make these implants feel more realistic. Forget about Borg style widgets sprouting from the implanted patient, and think about an unnaturally thickened eye socket. In fact, I'd imagine most of these 'implants' would augment existing biological structures, for example, additional neural tissue modules built onto the brainstem, existing glands engineered to secrete engineered hormones in response to particular stimuli, or bones reinforced with metal nanofilaments. Getting enough exogenous DNA into the right cells to create these implants is going to be a task all by itself. Gene therapy vectors are typically quite payload constrained - i.e., they can only get so much DNA into a cell. Again, best to gloss over the details, but if you want to sound a bit more authentic, you might have your patients treated with a series of vectors, groups of which are targeted to specific cells. Alternatively, the implants could be grown outside the body and then surgically implanted. The classic example of this is probably the Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000.
  12. The best concrete is no concrete?
  13. I’m always a bit wary when folks get all prescriptive about writing, since I doubt that any two writers have exactly the same process. Your way is certainly one way of doing it but it’s not difficult to think of counterexamples. Sometimes a widget that can do x, y, or z is central to the story - and might be the initial idea behind the story. In which case, figuring out some ground rules about how the widget works might be a sensible place to start (for consistency if nothing else) and might be a way of coming up with those interesting complications to add to the story. Likewise (and here I have personal experience), general worldbuilding can be the framework that makes the story and holds it together. It’s not necessarily something that’s just painted on at the end. I do agree that there’s a point at which it’s probably more useful to just present the reader with ‘a widget that does x’ rather than bombarding them with screeds of technobabble to justify it. Where that point is, is harder to define.
  14. A genuine Weegee board would have a bottle of rotgut moving around and pointing to the letters. Most commonly used letters, in no special order are U, F, K, and C. For those that don’t know, a Weegee is one local nickname for a Glaswegian, or somebody hailing from the fair Scottish city of Glasgow. Surprisingly, it’s not a particularly insulting nickname.
  15. I have no interest in multiplayer for all sorts of reasons, none of which I can be bothered to expand on here. Although I've never been traumatized by a multiplayer computer game. These days it's very simple. Computer games are what I play when I want to get the heck away from people for a while, and I don't find that my computer gaming time is any less meaningful as a result. For social gaming, I prefer board games or tabletop RPGs. Currently playing in two D&D campaigns (both played on a virtual tabletop) and DMing a third (played around an actual table with real clicky-clacky math rocks).
  16. This rocket ain’t gonna suck so it’s no good as a hoover. It does make the world’s most epic leaf blower though.
  17. I’m going for 1d8+3 weeks. I’m a dungeon master and the dice never lie.
  18. Given how long it took KSP1 to acquire anything approaching a consistent art direction, I don't feel that this is anything to pillorize Nate about at all. Likewise, for the 'scapegoat' comment later on in this thread, if I were working for Intercept, I would be far more inclined to put in the hours for a boss who's prepared to stand up, take one for the team, and deal with the brickbats from the community. There may be other reasons to criticize Nate but those are not. Mind you, you couldn't pay me enough to deal with anything remotely community-facing in the games industry. Perhaps I'm just jaded by Steam forums and other assorted wastes of time and electrons masquerading as official forums, but it seems to me that developers are almost universally damned if they do and damned if they don't.
  19. Nah - sounds a bit strange to me. It’s been a trying week though so I’m likely up side down and bottom over top.
  20. I can’t speak for anyone else but personally, whilst I really enjoyed learning to play KSP1; once I’d gotten to the point where I could do most things in space (maybe not elegantly or efficiently but I could do them), then the actual game got rather dull. My first successful Mun landing was straight up one of my best gaming experiences ever, but I never really got the itch to go land on any of Jool’s moons. Likewise landing a probe on Duna was fun and satisfying but I never really got the urge to land Kerbals there too. I think a lot of the problem for me is that there never seemed to be much to do once I landed somewhere. Hop out, click buttons to gather science, maybe deploy an ALSEP-a-like once I had Breaking Ground. And then what? Hop back in the lander and go home? Sure I could try building surface bases - I certainly built my share of space stations but, in the vanilla game at least, they were mostly empty ornaments. TL: DR - I just didn’t find a pure sandbox experience as fun as I thought I would. On the other hand I’ve played games where the player base demanded (loudly and at great and tedious length) ‘zero to hero’ style progression which seemed to me to take out all the fun parts of the game and replace it with pointless grind. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
  21. That’s fair too. And, on reflection, depending what other mods you’ve got installed and whether they integrate with life support at all (I’m thinking RoverDude’s colonisation mods in KSP1 here), I can see life support being an obvious one to drop with KSP2 at its current stage of development.
  22. Fair play if you don’t like life support mods but: KSP2 will be apparently be including a mechanism for automated supply runs. I can’t think of an obvious reason why that couldn’t have been used to ship life support supplies around the system. As soon as you get beyond a very basic rocket, then almost every gameplay feature is a part tax in KSP (1 or 2) Need a bigger fuel tank but haven’t unlocked the next size up? Pay that part tax and add another small tank to the stack. Heat management - part tax in the form of radiators and heat shields. Power Management - part tax in the form of batteries, solar panels, fuel cells, etc. Science - part tax in the form of numerous instruments. Communications - part tax in the form of antennas. Again - I have no beef with not liking a particular feature, but using ‘part tax’ as a justification for that dislike seems like a flimsy excuse.
  23. I think concerns about life support being too complex for new players are vastly overstated and, frankly, a bit patronizing. Life support is not a difficult concept: Living crew need resources to stay alive. Resource storage is a part that can be added to rocket. Resources are consumed and turned into waste. Other parts can be added to rocket to recycle waste back into resources. That pretty much sums up any life-support model that I've seen for KSP, although they obviously differ in the numbers of resources and waste products being tracked and the number of optional widgets for converting waste back into resources. Anyone who's ever played any game genre which requires resource management* will have dealt with way more complicated logistic chains than that. And I'd say that some of those genres (crafting and/or survival, for example) are considerably more popular than KSP1 or KSP2, so there's a large pool of potential newbies who wouldn't have any problems with life support at all. Besides, if there is any doubt about life support being too complicated, then surely that's what the much vaunted tutorial system is for. TL: DR. If you can remember to bring along a heat shield to avoid burning up on reentry, a parachute to stop you hitting the ground too hard, batteries and solar panels to keep your spacecraft powered, and whatever propellants you need to make that spacecraft go faster in the right direction, then I fail to see what's so impossibly hard about bringing along a box of supplies and a recyclowidgetron 3000 (or whatever) to make more supplies. * and arguably that would include real time strategy games. Mine ore, extract vespene gas, use different quantities of each to make buildings, then use buildings plus different quantities of ore and gas to make troops. Or start with ore and wood and gold. Whatever. The point is, if you can deal with that, I'm pretty damn sure you can deal with a highly abstracted life-support system in KSP.
  24. People dumped millions into Theranos despite their due diligence folks coming back and telling them to stay the heck away because the technology was never going to work. Fear of missing out is a powerful force for generating stupid decisions.
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