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What have you learned to do without an autopilot?


What have you learned to do without an autopilot?  

2,871 members have voted

  1. 1. What have you learned to do without an autopilot?

    • Make Orbit
      324
    • Ajust Orbit (Pe/Ap/Inc,etc)
      324
    • Local (Mun) Transfer
      324
    • Mun Landing
      320
    • Rendezvous
      299
    • Docking
      304
    • Interplanetary Transfer
      281
    • Land at Specific Location (within 1km)
      220
    • Gravity Assist
      182
    • Fly an Aircraft
      300


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I'm actually more curious which things people think are worthwhile to learn.

In my opinion, orbital rendezvous and docking is the single, most important thing to learn. Not having to send up all your stuff in a single launch really opens the game up.

The key, I think, is you have to really understand what the NAVball is telling you. Once you understand what the "position" and "velocity" indicators really are, docking really isn't all that difficult. But it's very, very powerful. :)

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I'm definitely not trying to reignite a flame war or pass any judgement about autopilots. I'm merely interested in what people have taken the time and had the desire to learn.

One of the things I haven't yet taken the time to learn is how to calculate interplanetary launch windows. The math looks like stuff I haven't looked at in many years. That said, I expect that eventually I'll spend a bit of time to slog through it, if only just for the satisfaction of understanding it a little better. In the meantime, I'm happy to use the various external resources that are available to tell me when it's time to go to Jool.:)

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I've never used an autopilot because I learned everything on my own, and I didn't want to bother with the interface and everything else that comes with autopilot mods. I might give them a try, though, because my rendezvous skills are a little rusty, and I would like to know how the autopilot systems do those kinds of things, so I can do them better.

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I can land very well. Specific locations to some degree, though not really with an atmosphere unless diving straight down! :P

Everything else though, done and done in other versions and occasionally the latest. But automate as much as I can.

All of them and then some; I've never used MechJeb, period. It's just a crutch that you don't need once you have some basic skills, and using it makes it harder for you to acquire those skills.

When you can land AND make a cup of tea, then I'll agree it's just a crutch for us... ;)

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I managed to get orbits, mun & minmus landers there and back, rendevous , and docked once. that was when i decided an autopilot might help.

I learned more about the navball, manuver nodes, d/v etc from that point on.

I've learned more about all that with Mechjeb, and am venturing to interplanetary transfer on my own now. It helped me to make more better vehicles.

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Never used MJ.

Not because I'm a some sort of purist, or pursuing some skill pool.

But because I was too lazy to learn how to use it when I first got to know about it. :sticktongue:

I had some basic skills by that time, and decided to just continue as is.

Now, with all that memory problems, I just do not want to use any mods I don't strictly need.

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All of the above.

I've not done an interplanetary gravity assist (Similar to the crazy stuff NASA does, like using Eve to get a gravity assist with Eve to get a gravity assist with Duna to get to Jool or stuff like that) but I never aerobrake at Jool anymore now that I know I can use Laythe or Tylo to slow me down more reliably and with a higher periapsis.

And outside testing that Voice Activated Ship mod to see if I liked it (Cool idea, but in the end not for me) I have never installed MechJeb.

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When you can land AND make a cup of tea, then I'll agree it's just a crutch for us... ;)

Done it. Well, not tea, but I made dinner. My computer is near my kitchen, and during a landing there's only a couple quick spots where you need user interaction, especially with the new SAS that can lock onto the retrograde or prograde vectors. As it is, I almost always have several other applications open when I play KSP, since I get bored easily. So yeah, I've made lunch or dinner quite a few times while doing something monotonous in KSP.

When I say it's a crutch, I'm not saying that it's not still useful; it WOULD remove the tedium from an operation you've repeated many, many times. (Crutches are useful in real life, after all.) But most of those situations are already somewhat avoidable with a bit of design work; for instance, I haven't done much docking recently, because most of my designs are SSTOs with plenty of fuel. (My long-range spaceplane can go all the way to Laythe from Kerbin without any refueling, for instance.) My stations are launched in one piece, too, so I don't need to assemble large objects in orbit too often.

So as long as you've got a few other key mods to help with manual piloting (like the Engineer mod, which adds some critical data readouts) I'd say to avoid any sort of autopilot. Learning how to dock, or do a gravity assist, or optimize a maneuver node will go a long way in making you a better pilot in general.

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All of the above save precision landings and gravity assists, I'm still bad at those (though I have done them).

I will say that watching how MechJeb performs some of those maneuvers made me better at them. My rendezvous and suicide burn techniques were definitely improved by MJ exposure.

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All but interplanetary transfer (I've only done a handful of those at all, though), precise landing (could probably do it myself, but would be much lower precision), and gravity assist (never done at all). For rendezvous, I generally use MechJeb, but have done it without (it's just somewhat annoying). I initially docked with MJ, but then discovered DPAI and found that it was super easy to do myself (plus, I not-infrequently find myself having to capture spinning cargo, which *requires* manual piloting -- while it'd certainly be better automated, and if I used kOS I might write routines to do it, MJ doesn't handle that situation). I generally execute nodes with MechJeb even when I made them myself, and as soon as I unlock ascent guidance on a career save use it for all ascents (again, I've done them without, and can do them OK without, but the ascent is somewhat time-consuming and I'd really rather not have to babysit it for the whole time).

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I have always mechjeb installed, but I use it only to deal with task repetition.

But mechjeb is awful to deal with FAR, with VTOL ships, docking complex ships... but I still using it for the informational windows... Several times I asked my self if I will change it by Kerbal Engineer... But when I need to send 3 ships to the same planet, I use MJ to make the burns (after to make by myself the node).

Edit: I could Land at Specific Location (within 1km) in planets without atmosphere, in planets with atmosphere, and for landing in a correct position a SSTO I can not do it correctly, I am learning now with FAR.

Edited by obi_juan
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I will say that watching how MechJeb performs some of those maneuvers made me better at them. My rendezvous and suicide burn techniques were definitely improved by MJ exposure.

I have to agree with this. To me, it's definitely about learning. The source of the information is immaterial as long as I learn and I've certainly learned from watching MJ do maneuvers, especially the two you mentioned.

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Everything I can do in KSP with the exception of interplanetary transfers. I've never used an autopilot exactly for them, but I've only ever done them by plugging numbers from Alexmoon's planner into Precisenode. I can't work them out myself.

Also, I can't precision land. Only one on the list I've never been able to do.

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All of them. I've never used an autopilot. Or MechJeb for that matter. I do all my own DV calculations.

Best,

-Slashy

- - - Updated - - -

Also, I can't precision land. Only one on the list I've never been able to do.

I have a tutorial for that you might find interesting. I call it the "reverse gravity turn technique".

Best,

-Slashy

Edited by GoSlash27
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After a while you start to intuitively feel how things move in space, and even stuff like rendezvous without nodes becomes something you feel rather than think about.

Everything is in a sort of slow-motion dance with gravity, and a little thrust just here can set you on your way to another planet, a landing or a stranded Kerbal.

I never figured out windows and angles and delta vee, but I know how to get around the system :)

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