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[WIP] - USI Life Support


RoverDude
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So I have been considering over the past month or two the creation of a life support system tailored to fit in with the USI mods, and also bring together some the bits I like about other mods already on the market, and add a few of my own tweaks, etc.

This is pretty much my interpretation of how, if I were to go buy Kerbal in a store, I would expect a stock-ish life support system to work. I've been playing with it and minus a few refinements am very happy with the result.

Since code is basically wrapped up, it's time to unveil what will be the next USI mod (which will be released immediately after KSP 1.0).

n7QWMRG.png

Basic overview stuff.

Mechanics wise, it's pretty simple.

Kerbals require supplies. Kerbals also require EC. these are both on the same timer, so I just check supplies for the status window. When Kerbals are done consuming supplies, leftovers, scraps, and 'anything else' is either tossed overboard, or (if storage is available) tossed into a 'mulcher'. The resulting organic slurry is called 'mulch' and can be used to feed greenhouses, etc. at the player's discretion (or in the case of MKS, converted into Organics at varying levels of efficiency).

15 days out, the visuals go yellow (sorry, no auto-warp-slowdown-thingie, use KAC). When supplies run out, things go into the red. If you leave them unsupplied for 15 days...

well, they just say 'screw it', get grouchy, and quit.

They are still in the pod. they still take up a seat. But they can't fly, can't EVA, and essentially do the Kerbal equivelant of spinning around in their office chairs, refusing to work, until resupplied. This is a design consideration in that all of us, at least once, has just flat out done goofed, and lost a whole colony of Kerbals via glich or other sadness. Yes, death/despawn will be an option. Not the default one tho.

Once resupplied, they are happy as clams and will return to work.

All of the above is code complete.

For the EVA, my plan is to put them on a similar timer (3 days vs 15 days). So stupendously long EVA times (Kerbals are durable). A kerbal left out longer than that will either go 'missing' and wander home as a new Kerbal (default) or death (optional).

Lastly. Toggleable option (default is on) for your orange suited Kerbals to be immune to the ill effects of life support. They will still consume supplies if given, but do not leave the job. This always gives a player (especially a new one) an 'out' to test out a manned mission before actually committing your other kerbals, etc. to a horrible death of snack deprivation.

Yes, it's a bit more 'Kerbal' than TAC-LS, but also a lot more predictable and with harder consequences than 'Snacks'. It does, however, feel 'right' (at least to me) from a design standpoint.

Parts wise: Four. Three inline storage compartments and a radial tank.

No extra recyclers needed. No resourced added to pods (the 15 day window covers all of the Kerbin SOI so no point). No random contracts.

MKS/OKS Changes

MKS wise, closed loop just got a lot harder/more interesting (depending on your point of view).

The old C3 (now renamed to the Pioneer Module) will have a basic mulcher and greenhouse and can do recycling at 50% efficiency for up to four Kerbals.

Kerbitats operate at 75% efficiency.

Mk-IV modules (the giant biodome thingie you saw earler) operates at 90% efficiency off-world, 100% efficiency on the surface (pulling in of local material is inferred, no extra drills required).

Supplies come from organics. Organics come either from mulched supply waste, or from a combo of water/substrate. So surface bases are easier to get to self sufficiency - if they are on water/substrate deposits. Orbital will always be a pain - so you will need to fly up fresh organics or keep large stores. And since organics creation is not tied to the life support loop, building large surface farms is also pretty easy now.

Dealing with hungry Kerbals

So you can do some very interesting things. Run a command pod to dock reviving supplies/snacks to a starved out colony ship. Use one of your orange-suits to lead a mission and conserve supplies. Note that Kerbals are pretty damn aggressive about getting their snacks - the only way to lock them out of the biscuit tin is to click that little feed button by the resource on a part (same way we reserve some battery power for a probe).

Note that a Kerbal about to starve (i.e. no supplies for 15 days) will in fact happily break open said biscuit tin. witty screen message included ;)

Design side note:

So 'Mulch'.

Waste was used, and too generic. And I wanted something that showed that the stuff was kinda useful, not edible, and felt more 'kerbal' (and less like poo!) if that makes sense.

The idea of Kerbals tossing all of the spare bits and scraps into a contraption and getting out a semi-useful generic organic slurry had a certain appeal, hence the abstracted mulchers and mulch resource.

The resource itself is just 'supplies' and has the visual representation of a translucent, semi-rounded green cube. What are they? Well... leave that to the imagination. But the labeling will read 'N.O.M.S. - (Nutritional Organic Meal Substitute)' on the tins

Edited by RoverDude
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That sounds like a really good idea. One think: personally, I've tried Interstellar Flight Inc and TAC-LS. TAC is very good cause more than supply tank, it offers a way to recycle the waste, so long interplanetary mission are more easily allowed. Without any way to recycle the waste "WHILE IN FLIGHT", organize a long journey will be difficult and a little less realistic.

So, ok with the MKS, but the question is: there will be a way to recycle the waste at 30/40% on a ship?

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Will the different stock habitable parts have different durations? Hitchhiker, etc? Or are all 15 days?

It's per Kerbal, so 15 days. They don't care where they get their meals. So by default, no pods have any life support. You add containers if you want to extend this.

That sounds like a really good idea. One think: personally, I've tried Interstellar Flight Inc and TAC-LS. TAC is very good cause more than supply tank, it offers a way to recycle the waste, so long interplanetary mission are more easily allowed. Without any way to recycle the waste "WHILE IN FLIGHT", organize a long journey will be difficult and a little less realistic.

So, ok with the MKS, but the question is: there will be a way to recycle the waste at 30/40% on a ship?

None built in. That's an area for mods ;)

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Personally I'd like to see configs for:

- meals per day or consumption rate

- days to starve (ignore resource restriction)

- days to refusing to work

- days to missing/respawn in EVA

- days to death in IVA (default 0 or -1 resulting in unlimited lifespan)

- days to death in EVA (default 0 or -1 resulting in unlimited lifespan)

- all above but for orange suits (with all 0-s as default value)

So everything could be rebalanced without usage of other mods.

Not even necessarily in UI as UI could be simplifyed to some checkboxes with possibility to turn on "fine tune" mode based on config file.

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Sounds like a good level of abstraction and sounds pretty fun addon.

Life support being a big part of long term missions it does raise some questions;

Will the Kerbitat and it's inflatables have any impact on Mulch generation? If I were sending 16 Kerbals on an adventure, would I use;

4 Pioneers

or 1 Pioneer + Inflatables

or 1 Pioneer and 1 kerbitat + inflatables

Do ships with zero crew (But some LS Supplies) show up in the summary?

Tac does that and it drives me crazy since only about 1/3rd of my vehicles are crewed at a given time.

I personally would like a 3.75m pancake style tank too, for sending colony missions out.

I suppose less of an issue since I am assuming there will be LS inflatable storage options.

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So each stock habitable part offers 15 days supplies no matter how many kerbals are inside? Is there a default amount of the supplies resource the pod has? I'm wondering if I could put a single kerbal into a three kerbal pod and send him out for 45 days before he runs out of supplies, or will it still give him only 15 days?

Or am I mis-understanding all together, and the pods have no supplies, you must add any supplies. Meaning if you don't ad any containers you start in the yellow, right?

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I'm slightly confused here, so, you're saying that after 15 days, things will go yellow, and then after another 15 (for a total of 30), things go red and your Kerbals stop working? The wording just isn't very clear because I'm not sure whether you're saying a second interval of 15 days before it goes red or if there are no supplies available after 15 days, things go red.

Also, the trip to Minmus for me is generally 8 days out and about 7-8 days back in, plus however amount of time that you spend on Minmus, so, 15 days doesn't quite cover it.

Edited by smjjames
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Sounds very cool, and very Kerbal. My suggestion would be that EVA kerbal's don't walk home, but instead get switched to unowned and a rescue contract is spawned. In fact if you're interested in going this route I could whip up something using Contract Configurator in less than 10 minutes.

Of course, then it's a bit asymmetric with respect to how it works for a ship/station/base running out of supplies - so one would make the argument that you would want those to generate some form of resupply contract (which wouldn't be terribly difficult either).

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I love this so much. It's so delightfully kerbal. It will definitely feel more "stock-alike" than TACLS while still providing the extra challenge of maintaining supply lines or getting/producing supplies in-situ.

I'm so excited!

As always, Roverdude, you're the best.

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Sounds like a good level of abstraction and sounds pretty fun addon.

Life support being a big part of long term missions it does raise some questions;

Will the Kerbitat and it's inflatables have any impact on Mulch generation? If I were sending 16 Kerbals on an adventure, would I use;

4 Pioneers

or 1 Pioneer + Inflatables

or 1 Pioneer and 1 kerbitat + inflatables

Do ships with zero crew (But some LS Supplies) show up in the summary?

Tac does that and it drives me crazy since only about 1/3rd of my vehicles are crewed at a given time.

I personally would like a 3.75m pancake style tank too, for sending colony missions out.

I suppose less of an issue since I am assuming there will be LS inflatable storage options.

MKS will have it's own parts that support USI-LS out of the box. You will still have the Kerbitat/Aeroponics pair. Aeroponics turns mulch into organics, kerbitat turns organics into supplies.

So each stock habitable part offers 15 days supplies no matter how many kerbals are inside? Is there a default amount of the supplies resource the pod has? I'm wondering if I could put a single kerbal into a three kerbal pod and send him out for 45 days before he runs out of supplies, or will it still give him only 15 days?

Or am I mis-understanding all together, and the pods have no supplies, you must add any supplies. Meaning if you don't ad any containers you start in the yellow, right?

A Kerbal can go 15 days without as an individual, hence no supplies. He goes hungry at launch, and as long as he gets a meal within 15 days, you're good. So strapping on a pair of radial tanks may not be a bad idea for a short mission (in testing, you get about 75 kerbal-days of supplies per radial tank as shown in the screenie).

I'm slightly confused here, so, you're saying that after 15 days, things will go yellow, and then after another 15 (for a total of 30), things go red and your Kerbals stop working? The wording just isn't very clear because I'm not sure whether you're saying a second interval of 15 days before it goes red or if there are no supplies available after 15 days, things go red.

Also, the trip to Minmus for me is generally 8 days out and about 7-8 days back in, plus however amount of time that you spend on Minmus, so, 15 days doesn't quite cover it.

You start in the orange (0 supplies). At -15, you go red. If you have supplies, we issue the first warning at 15 days supplies left. So from green to non-working is 30 days.

Sounds very cool, and very Kerbal. My suggestion would be that EVA kerbal's don't walk home, but instead get switched to unowned and a rescue contract is spawned. In fact if you're interested in going this route I could whip up something using Contract Configurator in less than 10 minutes.

Of course, then it's a bit asymmetric with respect to how it works for a ship/station/base running out of supplies - so one would make the argument that you would want those to generate some form of resupply contract (which wouldn't be terribly difficult either).

Options are always possible, but I want to keep things fairly consistent. I am also considering the default to just be 'meh, an EVA Kerbal can stay EVA forever till rescue'. Because it's not like they are going home anyway :P

I love this so much. It's so delightfully kerbal. It will definitely feel more "stock-alike" than TACLS while still providing the extra challenge of maintaining supply lines or getting/producing supplies in-situ.

I'm so excited!

As always, Roverdude, you're the best.

Thanks :D

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So basically a LS with only supplies? it's kinda ultra-basic...

Don't get me wrong, i'm not judging or complaining, but...

I think a life support that is based only on food is more appropriate for a trip on a mountain then on a spacewalk near Jool...

I still want to see what u'll come out with... but for now i think i'll stick with TAC, and i hope the other mod will remain compatible with this...

I love your creation Roverdude, but this time i feel... not disappointed... but uncomfortable about this choice...

I know that lots of people like simplicity of the "Only snacks will do" LS, but i simply don't get it... what's the point in having a life support mod if my only issue will be have to put something under my teeth once in 15 days? TAC LS for now is much more appropriate for my liking. And to be fair, the integration of it into MKS is already perfect IMO...

That said, keep up the hard work! you're awesome man!

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So basically a LS with only supplies? it's kinda ultra-basic...

Don't get me wrong, i'm not judging or complaining, but...

I think a life support that is based only on food is more appropriate for a trip on a mountain then on a spacewalk near Jool...

I still want to see what u'll come out with... but for now i think i'll stick with TAC, and i hope the other mod will remain compatible with this...

I love your creation Roverdude, but this time i feel... not disappointed... but uncomfortable about this choice...

I know that lots of people like simplicity of the "Only snacks will do" LS, but i simply don't get it... what's the point in having a life support mod if my only issue will be have to put something under my teeth once in 15 days? TAC LS for now is much more appropriate for my liking. And to be fair, the integration of it into MKS is already perfect IMO...

That said, keep up the hard work! you're awesome man!

I ditto this sentiment. That and honestly to me it seems like the markets getting a bit saturated with LS mods, most of which operate on the same idea.

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So basically a LS with only supplies? it's kinda ultra-basic...

Don't get me wrong, i'm not judging or complaining, but...

I think a life support that is based only on food is more appropriate for a trip on a mountain then on a spacewalk near Jool...

I still want to see what u'll come out with... but for now i think i'll stick with TAC, and i hope the other mod will remain compatible with this...

I love your creation Roverdude, but this time i feel... not disappointed... but uncomfortable about this choice...

I know that lots of people like simplicity of the "Only snacks will do" LS, but i simply don't get it... what's the point in having a life support mod if my only issue will be have to put something under my teeth once in 15 days? TAC LS for now is much more appropriate for my liking. And to be fair, the integration of it into MKS is already perfect IMO...

That said, keep up the hard work! you're awesome man!

I ditto this sentiment. That and honestly to me it seems like the markets getting a bit saturated with LS mods' date=' most of which operate on the same idea.[/quote']
Rover dude. I think you have nailed it.

I wonder if there is room for a companion mod that handles air quality.

Can kerbals eat if they can't take their helmets off?

I'll actually handle all three of these at once because they touch on the same thing :)

Let's look at the three TAC-LS life support resources... Food, Oxygen, Water.

Now. Let's look at stuff we get when we start raising a bunch of plants...

Plants can suck out nutrients from waste water, and some plants can be used in water purification. We already know we can get oxygen from plants as a waste product, and of course we get to eat them.

Now. Look at what stuff it takes to make supplies from scratch... Substrate and Water. Where do we get oxygen on the moon? Well, mostly from lunar regolith. Plus other interesting minerals and trace elements.

Now. Let's look at the resource 'Supplies'. Consider it an abstraction of food, oxygen, and water in one handy package. Semi-replenishable through the use of a greenhouse, fully replenishable on planetside.

So less 'one resource' (a jar of peanut butter) and more 'a combined resource' (like a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich!).

Next... let's look at gameplay.

TAC-LS: I add six resources to every pod, and a tank with three full and three empty (in case I care about recyclers). Lack of any one of these has precisely the same effect. I add recyclers and such to extend, but in the end, I add, say, 1 ton of mass to travel around for three years.

USI-LS. I add no resources to the pods, and a tank with one full and one empty. Lack of the one resource has the singular effect. I add recyclers and such to extend, but in the end, I add, say, 1 ton of mass to travel around for three years.

So what do three resources add?

Certainly not variety. Loss of any single one still has the same penalty (death). Probably the one thing that can be said (and I agree) is that for bases, it forces you to consider multiple resources. Oh wait... I did precisely the same thing with USI-LS for base building.

TAC-LS with MKS in 0.90: Find a source of water and substrate so you can make biomass to turn into food, with your greenhouses and purifiers handling the water and oxygen side of things.

USI-LS: Find a source of water and substrate so you can make organics to turn into supplies that represent all of the stuff a Kerbal needs to live.

Again... I am finding no benefit still.

There are not different effects (like better food or super oxygen or something) like RealFuels... just... well, three things that at the end of the day do the same thing.

TAC-LS: Penalty for losing food: Death. Water? Death. Oxygen? Death.

USI-LS: Penalty for losing supplies: Inanimation or death, your choice.

Life Support should be first about gameplay and interesting mechanics, with just enough of a resource base to make that mechanic work. It should not be about making a set of resources, then figuring out gameplay mechanics to make them interesting.

Someone earlier in the thread put it best. Less tedium more funium.

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I think TAC-LS is suffering from the lack of distinct supply channels - it'd be more interesting if resupplying different parts didn't involve just using a greenhouse. I've never studied colonisation plans though so I've no idea how much of which resource we can get from which channel. IMO more distinct logistics channels are generally a good thing initially given this game is all logistics anyway, providing there's eventually some way to set up repeatable resupply if you find yourself running the same mission over and over. Space pipes, if you like.

I'm in two minds about death; I launched a ship out of my orbital dockyard and burned it away, and then realised it'd taken the dockyard's entire supply of lifesupport. That brought on a panic design & launch to intercept ( not easy given it's in a huge elliptical orbit ) and I lost a kerbal on the station literally 3 mins before I managed to resupply - in the case of a go-on-strike mission I couldn't have cared less at that point, I didn't need them to do anything for a while. However I can see the gameplay issues if it'd had happened 10 years out from Kerbin also.

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See, but that is precisely the thing :)

Having three supply channels does not mean you need to have three (six) life support resources.

Solve the gameplay mechanics bit first, then look at what resources you need to support the same amount of fun.

There is a reason MKS came first before I bothered with a LS mod :P

Edited by RoverDude
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Question, will there be any easy way for other mods (like KSPI) to determine the food supply state of the kerbals on a vessel? I need to know in order to calculate the amount of research which can be done by Kerbals in the KSPI Science Lab. When the Kerbals are out of food, I want them to refuse to do the research. Preferable the vessel supply state is somehow accesable by Regolith

Edited by FreeThinker
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See, but that is precisely the thing :)

Having three supply channels does not mean you need to have three (six) life support resources.

Kind-of, but having three channels for one resource means you just pick the most convenient one rather than all of them :P which in the end is all we do for TAC-LS anyway at present, so as TAC-condensed I'm with you on the design of this system. If we really had different gameplay channels for TAC supply I'd prefer that though. Whether that's doable or even realistic ( as I said I've not studied colonisation logistics ) is another matter.

I don't know if you use the part of EPL in MKS that deals with workshop efficiency per kerbal, but maybe lack of food for a while can start modifying efficiency so engineers are less efficient even after resupply, for a while. Not sure any of the other stats mods are mature enough to look at yet.

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Question, will there be any easy way for other mods (like KSPI) to determine the food supply state of the kerbals on a vessel? I need to know in order to calculate the amount of research which can be done by Kerbals in the KSPI Science Lab. When the Kerbals are out of food, I want them to refuse to do the research. Preferable the vessel supply state is somehow accesable by Regolith

The life support manager has public access, and you will also be able to see if a Kerbal has gone on strike or not ;)

Kind-of, but having three channels for one resource means you just pick the most convenient one rather than all of them :P which in the end is all we do for TAC-LS anyway at present, so as TAC-condensed I'm with you on the design of this system. If we really had different gameplay channels for TAC supply I'd prefer that though. Whether that's doable or even realistic ( as I said I've not studied colonisation logistics ) is another matter.

I don't know if you use the part of EPL in MKS that deals with workshop efficiency per kerbal, but maybe lack of food for a while can start modifying efficiency so engineers are less efficient even after resupply, for a while. Not sure any of the other stats mods are mature enough to look at yet.

But we do not have a different gameplay for TAC-LS ;) And the latter suggestion is certainly doable and hooks are all there, but out of scope for this first cut.

for MKS: is it optional to have this mod? If I do not want to use this can I STILL use TAC?

Optional, no life support is required. USI-LS will be the default and everything will be optimized for it, but a config that swaps out TAC resource production vs USI-LS resource production can be done via MM.

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I'll actually handle all three of these at once because they touch on the same thing :)

Let's look at the three TAC-LS life support resources... Food, Oxygen, Water.

Now. Let's look at stuff we get when we start raising a bunch of plants...

Plants can suck out nutrients from waste water, and some plants can be used in water purification. We already know we can get oxygen from plants as a waste product, and of course we get to eat them.

Now. Look at what stuff it takes to make supplies from scratch... Substrate and Water. Where do we get oxygen on the moon? Well, mostly from lunar regolith. Plus other interesting minerals and trace elements.

Now. Let's look at the resource 'Supplies'. Consider it an abstraction of food, oxygen, and water in one handy package. Semi-replenishable through the use of a greenhouse, fully replenishable on planetside.

So less 'one resource' (a jar of peanut butter) and more 'a combined resource' (like a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich!).

Next... let's look at gameplay.

TAC-LS: I add six resources to every pod, and a tank with three full and three empty (in case I care about recyclers). Lack of any one of these has precisely the same effect. I add recyclers and such to extend, but in the end, I add, say, 1 ton of mass to travel around for three years.

USI-LS. I add no resources to the pods, and a tank with one full and one empty. Lack of the one resource has the singular effect. I add recyclers and such to extend, but in the end, I add, say, 1 ton of mass to travel around for three years.

So what do three resources add?

Certainly not variety. Loss of any single one still has the same penalty (death). Probably the one thing that can be said (and I agree) is that for bases, it forces you to consider multiple resources. Oh wait... I did precisely the same thing with USI-LS for base building.

TAC-LS with MKS in 0.90: Find a source of water and substrate so you can make biomass to turn into food, with your greenhouses and purifiers handling the water and oxygen side of things.

USI-LS: Find a source of water and substrate so you can make organics to turn into supplies that represent all of the stuff a Kerbal needs to live.

Again... I am finding no benefit still.

There are not different effects (like better food or super oxygen or something) like RealFuels... just... well, three things that at the end of the day do the same thing.

TAC-LS: Penalty for losing food: Death. Water? Death. Oxygen? Death.

USI-LS: Penalty for losing supplies: Inanimation or death, your choice.

Life Support should be first about gameplay and interesting mechanics, with just enough of a resource base to make that mechanic work. It should not be about making a set of resources, then figuring out gameplay mechanics to make them interesting.

Someone earlier in the thread put it best. Less tedium more funium.

I see what u're doing there...

But when i think at life support for spaceship, i imagine to see lots and lots of machines interconnected into a complicate and efficient network created in order to recycle and reuse and don't waste potential resouces.

As we don't know anything about biology and physiology of kerbal's body, we can't do anything more than speculate about how a kerbal react about the lack of one of our basic needs, for example, the lack of food could put them in hybernation for years, or as kerbal are green they can be sentient plants beings, that need water, CO2 and nutrients like the plants of your greenhouse, instead of needing food and oxigen...

But as we're not Squad, the majority of the community (or what i think is the majority) assume kerbals react in the same way that humans do.

So if they don't eat they starve, if they don't breathe they soffucate, and if they don't drink they dehydrate.

Now, is established that a humans can survive plenty of days without food, but they survive less then a week without water and couple minutes without oxigen!

I don't think u can generalize all the needs into one "supply". "Life support" pratically, doesn't exist at all... it's a generic classification for all the systems that keep kerbals alive... it's a collection of needs that must be satisfied all the time. U win if u account for all of them, either if u bring with u 15 tons of supply or u build a super complex structure that weigth 5 and recycle 0.5 ton of resources continuously. If u generalize, and put all this resources in one jar of peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich, u remove the meaning of be of a life support system.

I'm perfectly aware that the lack of any of the resources means death but that's actually the point! It's not a metter of variety it's a matter of complexity... if i, player, want a Life support mod, i look at the ones that allow me to project, exploit and manage all the needs that my kerbal need on their missions.

I look at MKS's TAC integration and i find it perfect, the more complex, the more efficient, the more valuable and satisfying the result.

I want to ask u: what is for u the funium in a life support mod?

As u go for manned missions with life support mods, u submit a silent contract to find a way to provide all the things a kerbal needs in order to come back alive.

For me at least, the funium in a life support system is exactly this, find a way, efficient or not, to manage the multiple needs of my kerbals, and as life support is the biggest and the most complex system on a ship, the engeneering process to develop the most efficient life support system for a specified mission is the funium of this kind of mod. Add needs that must to be satisfied adding things. If u generalize, u minimize and this lead to something that i'm not attracted anymore.

Is the funium of the game iftself: engineer always better and more complex contraption that can go further. That's why i'll stick with TAC.

But, hey this is only my point of view... i don't want to argue your choices and as said before, i'm still a great fun of yours! :wink:

Edited by Keymaster89
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Now, is established that a humans can survive plenty of days without food, but they survive less then a week without water and couple minutes without oxigen!

I don't think u can generalize all the needs into one "supply".

The problem is that in TAC-LS, it's already generalized into one resource: they are drained at the same rate compared to tankage and lack of a resource has the same effects, no matter the resource. The only difference between them is the amount of time that a Kerbal can go without them, and that's still a pretty small difference. But if you prefer TAC-LS's approach, you can just keep using that - it's not like RoverDude is dropping support for it, and I won't hold it against you.

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