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Elthy

New Mobile Processing Lab mechanics

Question

After i landed on the Mun and Minmus i wanted to set up a spacestation with a mobile lab do passively get some science while i plan and fly a mission to Duna or Gilly. Since my launcher was a bit overbuild i placed the lab in a 1000km munar orbit, not around Kerbin as planed. As i moved my kerbonauts to the lab and started research i noticed that i dont get any science, 0,0000sci/day. Even after a long timewarp i still havent got any science. I have solarpanels, but my batterys are not big enough for the long time in munar shadow, is that the reason for failure or am i using the lab wrong?

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All the science you get can be used to make "data" in the lab by processing. A surface sample worth ~200 science gives something like 450 data. That data is then used up generating more science (generating 1 science seems to use up like 1/4 of a data point), and how fast you convert data to science depends on.. well, I've no idea. Some of my stations convert at a rate of like .03 science a day and others .3 science a day. The number and level of my scientists inside don't seem to make a difference. It seems like the higher the science value of the celestial body your orbiting or landed on, the faster your science is generated.

Basically - mobile labs can quadruple the science you get from all sources, and you don't have to recover them or anything. You just have to set one up and fast forward a year or so to get a giant chunk of science. They give so much science that I haven't even been bothering to recover anything, I just let the lab examine it and then throw whatever it was in the trash while they transmit the results back to me.

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This is close but it's also way off. The science lab vehicle or base itself doesn't have to actually have *any* experiment modules on it. It just needs to have the result of other experiments brought to it. For example, let's say I sent a science mun lander to the mun and did a mystery goo and materials research experiment. Now, normally, I'd then either transmit that data to kerbin or I'd bring it back to kerbin and gain its benefit when I recovered the craft. Now I have a *third* option. I can bring it back to a science lab. In the example above, on my way back to kerbin, I'd have my lander dock with say, my orbiting science station, then I'd have scientists remove the results of the experiments and carry them into the science lab module. Now those experiments reside in the lab, and I can now activate "start research" on the lab. It will now, over time produce research steadily.

The net result of this will be research that trickles in slower than I'd normally get, but the final amount will be far larger than it would normally be. I haven't managed to successfully test how much more research a mobile lab gets you, nor have I determined if a lab in orbit or on another planet actually gives better multiplication than one on the surface of kerbin, but I believe I remember hearing this is the case.

One other thing you might be wondering: why not just build a stationary laboratory somewhere on kerbin, maybe even just outside the launch center, and bring my experiments back to that? Well, indeed you can do that! Just remember, it's still much harder, because you'll have to actually land near it and have a kerbal cart the experiments over to it. It can be quite difficult to land a lander close enough to KSC to make this feasible. But by all means try!

Actually, according to the points RoverDude outlined earlier:

1) you can both return the data of an experiment to Kerbin(via transmission or courier) and then re-do the experiment and load the data into your lab.

Apparently having already returned the data for a location has no impact on what a lab gets out of it

2) the location of the lab when the data gets loaded affects the multiplier applied to the data for the lab to process.

This means that if you load up on launchpad experiments, then load them into your lab after you land it on Minmus, your lab will have more data to process than if you loaded those same experiments straight into the lab on the launch pad.

3) Each lab can only process each experiment once (one temperature scan from high above Mun, one from low above Mun, one from each biome landed on Mun, etc), *BUT* each lab counts these separately, so you could have a train of labs traveling around Minmus with a pilot collecting the data from each experiment and giving a copy to each lab in turn, with a copy for his command pod to be returned home, and each lab can process each sample (so long as they are staffed with scientists and power at least)

I am kind of eager to start sending lab landers to Minmus and the Mun to give this a try...(I sent plenty of 'bases' to both with labs on them in 0.90, and it will be nice for them to have a use beyond holding duplicate surface/goo/materials samples and resetting goo/materials.

(not that I especially needed the science in that game with 6K science after filling the tree and a few million funds after maxing out the base...)

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Actually, according to the points RoverDude outlined earlier:

1) you can both return the data of an experiment to Kerbin(via transmission or courier) and then re-do the experiment and load the data into your lab.

Apparently having already returned the data for a location has no impact on what a lab gets out of it

2) the location of the lab when the data gets loaded affects the multiplier applied to the data for the lab to process.

This means that if you load up on launchpad experiments, then load them into your lab after you land it on Minmus, your lab will have more data to process than if you loaded those same experiments straight into the lab on the launch pad.

3) Each lab can only process each experiment once (one temperature scan from high above Mun, one from low above Mun, one from each biome landed on Mun, etc), *BUT* each lab counts these separately, so you could have a train of labs traveling around Minmus with a pilot collecting the data from each experiment and giving a copy to each lab in turn, with a copy for his command pod to be returned home, and each lab can process each sample (so long as they are staffed with scientists and power at least)

I am kind of eager to start sending lab landers to Minmus and the Mun to give this a try...(I sent plenty of 'bases' to both with labs on them in 0.90, and it will be nice for them to have a use beyond holding duplicate surface/goo/materials samples and resetting goo/materials.

(not that I especially needed the science in that game with 6K science after filling the tree and a few million funds after maxing out the base...)

Quite right. Some of what I wrote was written before I read RoverDude's replies.

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I haven't got to the point in my shiny new 1.0 career yet where I have the science lab. However, after reading this thread I believe I have a full understanding of it, and would like to thank and congratulate RoverDude, Squad and any others involved in the science lab's implementation.

We now have a reason (along with resources) to build stations and bases and rovers (dude!). Much happiness abounds! Now if only they had towel racks...

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So it's always 5 science per data, but the amount of total data is affected by the list RD laid out.

This talk about "scientist bonuses" and "stars" buries the lead IMO that without scientists you get NO science.

I'm not so sure about Terwin's "courier" (aka OSUNightfall's *second* option); recovering science on kerbin through Recover Vessel is no longer an option.

Having the lab's location affect data bonus is a little counter-intuitive. Is it optimal for me to ship my mun experiments out to an eeloo science lab? Or a train of eeloo science labs? If so, why? And was it your intent to repeat every experiment twice (or bring two), one for raw transmitting and one for processed transmitting?

Appreciate the help all, and especially a big congrats and thanks to RD for this release.

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Hmm, I see a reason for triple experiment redundancy:

1 to transmit

1 to process in the lab

1 to return to Kerbin

So I need a 2 capsule/can lander to gather and transmit science and it puts one of every experiment in the lab and the other gets shipped back to Kerbin.

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Interesting system. Not at all intuitive, and open to massive exploitation, but interesting none the less.

5. You can in fact generate infinite science, provided you're willing to invest in the infrastructure and time. This is by design, because Science was the last currency that had a limited supply.

Of course, science was also the only currency with a finite number of things you can purchase with it, and there was more than enough within Kerbin's SOI alone to purchase the entire tree, making that point largely irrelevant.

Edited by FlowerChild

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Interesting system. Not at all intuitive, and open to massive exploitation, but interesting none the less.

Of course, science was also the only currency with a finite number of things you can purchase with it, and there was more than enough within Kerbin's SOI alone to purchase the entire tree, making that point largely irrelevant.

True, but there are two complicating factors. First, between potentially unlimited mods and future development adding new nodes to the tech tree, you can't depend on that unconditionally. Second, though difficult, it's possible to get yourself into a very bad spot with respect to the tech tree if you finish most of all of the easy science in orbit and on kerbin, and spend it all on useless stuff that won't help you get more science. This helps mitigate that.

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Actually, according to the points RoverDude outlined earlier:

1) you can both return the data of an experiment to Kerbin(via transmission or courier) and then re-do the experiment and load the data into your lab.

Apparently having already returned the data for a location has no impact on what a lab gets out of it

2) the location of the lab when the data gets loaded affects the multiplier applied to the data for the lab to process.

This means that if you load up on launchpad experiments, then load them into your lab after you land it on Minmus, your lab will have more data to process than if you loaded those same experiments straight into the lab on the launch pad.

3) Each lab can only process each experiment once (one temperature scan from high above Mun, one from low above Mun, one from each biome landed on Mun, etc), *BUT* each lab counts these separately, so you could have a train of labs traveling around Minmus with a pilot collecting the data from each experiment and giving a copy to each lab in turn, with a copy for his command pod to be returned home, and each lab can process each sample (so long as they are staffed with scientists and power at least)

I am kind of eager to start sending lab landers to Minmus and the Mun to give this a try...(I sent plenty of 'bases' to both with labs on them in 0.90, and it will be nice for them to have a use beyond holding duplicate surface/goo/materials samples and resetting goo/materials.

(not that I especially needed the science in that game with 6K science after filling the tree and a few million funds after maxing out the base...)

This is correct. I just put a Lab in Kerbin orbit. Did all the data I could from that orbit (was already researched long ago) and now it producing .18 or so science a day.

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While it produces unlimited science i still think its quite balanced. I planed to orbit a fleet of labs around the mun and feed them with a dedicated lander, but thats actually more expensive and harder than simply getting a lander to most biomes and return it.

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Thanks rover dude for amazing work. The science lab has finally given me a reason to build the kind of ships I've always wanted to fly. Now instead of just spamming landers all over everything I'm building science vessels, large ships packed with experiments and with a on onboard science lab. I have one in orbit around kerbin, one in orbit around both moons, and one visiting an asteroid nearby. I've also landed science modules on both moons and I am absolutely raking in the science. This makes the game so much more fun than it used to be now that there is an excuse to build big ships that actually do something rather than just look cool.

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Also, by having a potentially (with sufficient effort) science pool, more options for this currency are opened up for modders.

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True, but there are two complicating factors. First, between potentially unlimited mods and future development adding new nodes to the tech tree, you can't depend on that unconditionally. Second, though difficult, it's possible to get yourself into a very bad spot with respect to the tech tree if you finish most of all of the easy science in orbit and on kerbin, and spend it all on useless stuff that won't help you get more science. This helps mitigate that.

On the first point, I think it reasonable that if a mod increases the amount of science that needs to be spent to complete the tree by adding nodes or adjusting purchase costs, it also provide sufficient additional sources of science to cover those costs. That seems very straightforward and inherently logical.

On the second, I think that would be exceedingly difficult, to the point where it might only be possible if a player makes a concerted effort to dead-end themselves like that, and I frankly doubt it's possible at all given the overabundance of science in stock.

I see what you're saying on a theoretical level, but I think the whole "infinite science" thing is essentially trying to correct a problem that didn't exist in the first place. If there are tech-support requests from people that dead-ended themselves that say differently, I'd certainly be interested in seeing them. Even for my own mod which has a much much tighter science mechanism, I don't think I've ever received such a tech support request (at least not one where it turned out to be true).

Also, by having a potentially (with sufficient effort) science pool, more options for this currency are opened up for modders.

As someone that *heavily* mods career mode, I honestly don't see any options it opens up that weren't present before.

The science lab has finally given me a reason to build the kind of ships I've always wanted to fly.

On this point I will agree:

TelLu5i.png

Was happy to fly and land that and see there being a reward mechanism in place to encourage it, I just think that reward mechanism may have been rather overdone and that how the thing works isn't at all intuitive. I actually searched out this thread because I had no idea how the thing operated once I got it there ;)

Will also mention that the UI really doesn't seem to be setup to handle the case where you have two labs on a single vehicle like that (I did that for crew capacity because I was completing a base building contract with it, and because I thought it looked cool...and because being used to higher difficulty I tend to build my stock vehicles with extra weight on board just for kicks). At present, there doesn't seem to be a way to specify which lab collects the data when you're looking at the results dialog and such.

Edited by FlowerChild

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I see what you're saying on a theoretical level, but I think the whole "infinite science" thing is essentially trying to correct a problem that didn't exist in the first place.

This thread has left me concerned.

In my 0.90 career I sent a science vessel to Minmus and Mun. A lander on each vessel visited every Minmus and most Mun biomes, ferrying all the science back to the orbiting science labs. During this time my first interplanetary mission left Kerbins SOI.

I returned the two science vessels to Kerbin to harvest the rewards - resulting in enough science to unlock the entire tech tree, with a couple of thousand science left over... Now i could get 5 times as much science without even returning?

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There was infinite science before the new lab.

Asteroids, contracts, the OP administration strategy. (that was nerfed)

So the non-existing problem was already solved.

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There was infinite science before the new lab.

Asteroids, contracts, the OP administration strategy. (that was nerfed)

So the non-existing problem was already solved.

True that. Contracts aren't applicable to science mode, but asteroids are.

Honestly, I don't envy Squad's task trying to simultaneously balance for the excess of optional modes of play present in stock either. There's always a "but" in any balance discussion these days due to some mode or another potentially messing things up, and everything else needing to be diluted to accommodate that :)

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I actually searched out this thread because I had no idea how the thing operated once I got it there k_wink.gif

It was easy to figure out. I stuck my first science lab in orbit around kerbin and opened up its action menu, I saw that it was at 0/500 data so I went to my command pod and did a crew report, I saw the option to process the data in the science lab so I did that. Opened up the science lab menu again and saw that now I had something like 33/500 data, I hit the "start research button" and now saw that I was getting something like .02 science per day now. I added more data from an EVA report and saw the science rate goes up with more data. I now knew just about everything I needed to know about the science lab. It took five minutes. I think its a great system.

Now i could get 5 times as much science without even returning?

Makes perfect sense to me, I would expect a lab on the Mun to be able to learn more about it than could ever be learned from brining mun rocks back to kerbin and it feels balanced as its much harder to land a science lab than it is to just land a regular lander, but once landed its less tedious to collect science.

I will admit, the lab may be a bit over powered but it just needs a tweak, its an inherently good system, and I don't see how it produces infinite science as the resource Data is consumed as its turned into science. I wouldn't play with the rate at all, maybe just make the lab itself heavier so as to up the challenge of placing one. The standard doctrine in game design is small rewards for repetitive but easy tasks (sample return missions) or big reward for one time difficult tasks (building a science base) and this would be in line with that. The right way to balance something is never to make it less rewarding, you just make it more challenging.

This is why what has been done with the atomic engines is so bad, instead of making using them a greater challenge they just made them much less fun.

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It was easy to figure out. I stuck my first science lab in orbit around kerbin and opened up its action menu, I saw that it was at 0/500 data so I went to my command pod and did a crew report, I saw the option to process the data in the science lab so I did that. Opened up the science lab menu again and saw that now I had something like 33/500 data, I hit the "start research button" and now saw that I was getting something like .02 science per day now. I added more data from an EVA report and saw the science rate goes up with more data. I now knew just about everything I needed to know about the science lab. It took five minutes. I think its a great system.

So you immediately understood how your location was affecting the ratio of science to data? That the higher level your scientists (or that you even needed scientist Kerbals) also affected that value? The amount of power required to operate the thing?

I understood the parts you mentioned without additional documentation either. However, that's far from explaining how the thing actually works in practice and how to make effective use of it. After doing the above and pushing the various buttons, yes I knew how to start the thing running, but I had no clue whatsoever as to what was governing the actual science output.

I just tried it out, and even moving different Kerbal types with different professions in and out of the lab on my above pictured base doesn't change the amount of science the thing says it will generate. I assume that's because they're still within the same vehicle, but stuff like that can quickly lead to someone believing it has no impact at all.

There's been a laundry list of rules and sub-rules listed in this thread. I have no idea how someone is expected to figure them out on their own, especially if they are relatively new to the game.

EDIT: Also worth noting is that I just discovered the thing can process science while in the background (like if you're operating another vessel or at the space center) but requires no electric charge to do so, leading down a highway to exploit-town.

Edited by FlowerChild

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Also, by having a potentially (with sufficient effort) science pool, more options for this currency are opened up for modders.

If a modder wishes to take a finite system and use it in an infinite manner, shouldn't it be their responsibility to implement a way to expand that system?

I'm not at all opposed to a system like this where a science lab is used to do actual research as opposed to simply increasing transmit value, but making the science system infinite seems to be a solution in search of a problem, especially given that it already was infinite via asteroids, contracts, and strategies.

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But something seems to be wrong about the amount of science created per day. My lab tells me it creates 0.6 sci/day and after a <400 day flight to duna it's full. I transmitted all science before the start of the time warp.

Could it be, that the conversion rate actually tells data/day instead of science per day?

- - - Updated - - -

But something seems to be wrong about the amount of science created per day. My lab tells me it creates 0.6 sci/day and after a <400 day flight to duna it's full. I transmitted all science before the start of the time warp.

Could it be, that the conversion rate actually tells data/day instead of science per day? (Or science/hour)

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But something seems to be wrong about the amount of science created per day. My lab tells me it creates 0.6 sci/day and after a <400 day flight to duna it's full. I transmitted all science before the start of the time warp.

Could it be, that the conversion rate actually tells data/day instead of science per day?

Maybe it's a Kerbal "day" (6 hours I think) vs a 24 hour day thing?

I noticed that it seemed to be going unnaturally fast as well (I think I accumulated something like 300 science after time warping 60 days and I had a ratio similar to yours), and I always have my game set to 24 hour days.

EDIT: Actually, my bad, my ratio is at 0.25 science per day...just checked. Should have gotten 15 science then, and the 4 Kerbal "days" per day doesn't really account for getting 20 times that. I can't be certain of those numbers though as it's all from memory other than my current output rate.

EDIT 2: Maybe the science output rate displayed is actually the data processing rate in Kerbal days? A 5X data to science modifier was mentioned earlier in the thread, and in combination with the 4X Kerbal "days", that would add up to a 20X multipler per earth day.

Edited by FlowerChild

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So you immediately understood how your location was affecting the ratio of science to data? That the higher level your scientists (or that you even needed scientist Kerbals) also affected that value? The amount of power required to operate the thing?

Yes, because it all makes sense. Its perfectly logical that higher level scientists would make more science, or that a science lab would need to be staffed by scientists and that the location of the lab would effect the research its doing. Its a great system because its in line with common sense of how you would imagine things to work. No, I didn't and still don't know the exact values of all those things but I immediately figured out that they should have an effect.

Not saying we don't need more documentation, but just that its not hard to work out on your own.

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I have my game set up to show kerbal days, so it can't be that. I haven't checked the exact values I'm getting, I've only realized, that it's way higher than it should be.

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Yes, because it all makes sense.

K, then you are likely a smarter man than I, as I had no clue about any of it :)

I have my game set up to show kerbal days, so it can't be that. I haven't checked the exact values I'm getting, I've only realized, that it's way higher than it should be.

Well...was a theory. I have no idea then, but yeah, it does seem higher than indicated.

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I think the infinite science issue is a red herring. Science is not really infinite because at some point you fill out the tech tree and that's it. The numbers might go up still if you visit the labs and collect the science but why would you?

I've just about finished the tech tree in a new science game for 1.0. It didn't make much difference to how long it took using MPLs doing continuous research compared to if I'd collected and returned the data. The craft were bigger and the missions more complicated with MPLs. I put 8 at different biomes on the Mun and one on Minmus with all the science experiments onboard. I then did a Duna mission and after that all the MPLs were full with 500 science. Harvesting that fleshed out anything else useful on the tech tree. Another round and it will likely be finished.

So, this feature doesn't really make MPLs a reason to have bases beyond the mid-term. They are useless once the tech tree is done with. Unless I suppose you were playing a contract game and wanted to convert the science into cash. It did make an interesting change to do the science this way though.

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