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Extreme Hard Career

Is it for the fun, or for the challenge, or maybe it is like an expedition to

?

Objective: With an understand of the contract acquirement sequence and with a clear and safe traverse that leads to a kerbal landing on Mun and Minmus in the quickest kerbal time.

Any ideas or suggestions on improving this extreme hard career game play are always warmly welcome. It gets cold on the edge of this mountain.

Once a plan is created than this will be completed and reported in the mission reports area of the forum.

The standard level or normal mode was much too easy and switching to Hard level offered a slight bit harder game play. So what to do now? Being an intermediate level player I was looking for a career challenge that is truly hard and not just grinding. After setting to extreme hard I found it tougher because of the part and facility limitations and was required to think outside the box to complete the earlier missions.

The initial play was alright by my opinion and has not been that long in my time (only six hours). Traveling to new areas (various places around KSC) and repeating experiments (Bob the scientist has a special purpose), the improved World Records system also reduced that grindy feeling. So continuing on I managed an orbit and now at the point where the Mun is next. The only wall I have found is the launchpad upgraded will cost 750 000 kerbucks and the only reasonable method I have is to grind science from space.

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Any other contract method I investigated will involve more player time with low payouts and reduces to why bother doing them (except the launch pad test).

The game play wouldn't be so clicky-boring if I didn't also have to play peek a boo with the contracts. Gene's murmuring does keep me slightly amused when I have to decline contracts to receive a Science from Space contract. Indeed I found the game play a challenge to build a spacecraft that transmits five crew reports and brings home another two to complete seven science from space contracts. For some variety I could bring a space tourist along and increase reputation and have six crew reports. Repeat this same mission around sixty times to get the new launchpad.

Sixty missions before getting to the Mun doesn't sound like that much considering what has occurred with earth based space programs. The conclusion is grinding is boring and the more experienced players are left without a challenge that has a substantial payout.

The options in the administration building do not have any glint of hope either.

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Here are some example contracts offered.

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The last contract pays a total of 10460 and is reasonably close. Contracts are improving as the reputation increases.

The last launch took 15 minutes was risky and had no battery during re-entry. Eight contracts were completed for another 16 000 kerbucks.

Kb4komr.png

How to spice up the grind? Some of these suggestions have been developed while grinding, use caution:

  • have a tally for science from space and when the contract is completed it is multiplied. This reduces the back and forth to mission control and getting contracts, encouraging the challenge to complete more per mission.
  • bonus for landing space tourist in a specific biome
  • bonus for space tourist ride excitement preference based on G level sustained or highest speed
  • have a tough challenge to complete that has a substantial payout. This could be easy stunts such as do a barrel roll and proceed to more complicated barnstorming (if we only there was a barn to storm)
  • visiting a monolith could offer a big bonus to science and reputation. Detection of the monolith area could be the navball spinning.

Sixty repetitive mission would be about ten hours. Ten hours would not be so bad if it was going to be different scenes with different challenges.

Is there any other way to earn profit like the 18 000 kerbucks per 7500 kerbuck mission in 15 minutes?

Any other ways to spice up this extreme career mode?

Edited by MoeslyArmlis
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Any other ways to spice up this extreme career mode?

Sure. For one, you could play with keyboard or mouse only.

Second, play on a computer with at most two CPU cores and an integrated graphics.

Third, play without any mods at all.

Ok, the last one may be a bit too much...

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I've been experimenting with extreme custom difficulty since the difficulty sliders were introduced. Playing with very low rewards can be an interesting challenge, as you have to be very economical.

The key is to look for ways to do multiple missions with one launch. I had a lot of success doing orbital survey contracts at the Mun and Minmus. A spacecraft in polar orbit can overfly lots of waypoints with very little fuel expenditure.

The biggest obstacles I've found are the negative rep and building upgrade costs. If found that after a while, I'd exhausted all of the available contracts that offered rep. This meant that I was not offered contracts to do anything at the Mun or Minmus. There didn't seem to be any way to get around this, so I took to starting the game with zero rep instead of negative rep.

Building upgrade costs can add some extra challenge, as you have to learn to do without them for longer. For example: getting by without patched conics can be a headache if you're going to the Mun and Minmus! However, setting the upgrade costs too high leads to situations where you can't really progress any further until you've ground enough money. This can be mitigated somewhat through playing really efficiently, but there are limits to what you can do with the early game tech.

My preferred hardcore difficulty uses the same settings as Hard, but with reduced rewards. I enable quicksaving and reverts as a means of recovering from any bugs I may encounter.

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I've been experimenting with extreme custom difficulty since the difficulty sliders were introduced. Playing with very low rewards can be an interesting challenge, as you have to be very economical.

The key is to look for ways to do multiple missions with one launch. I had a lot of success doing orbital survey contracts at the Mun and Minmus. A spacecraft in polar orbit can overfly lots of waypoints with very little fuel expenditure.

The biggest obstacles I've found are the negative rep and building upgrade costs. If found that after a while, I'd exhausted all of the available contracts that offered rep. This meant that I was not offered contracts to do anything at the Mun or Minmus. There didn't seem to be any way to get around this, so I took to starting the game with zero rep instead of negative rep.

Building upgrade costs can add some extra challenge, as you have to learn to do without them for longer. For example: getting by without patched conics can be a headache if you're going to the Mun and Minmus! However, setting the upgrade costs too high leads to situations where you can't really progress any further until you've ground enough money. This can be mitigated somewhat through playing really efficiently, but there are limits to what you can do with the early game tech.

My preferred hardcore difficulty uses the same settings as Hard, but with reduced rewards. I enable quicksaving and reverts as a means of recovering from any bugs I may encounter.

Been playing on Hard career for a while now and can report i've hit a super grindy wall. The first VAB grind was not too bad but 4.5 Million to upgrade the science center is a bit on the rough side. Ive got satellites and stations at most of the nearby moons/stations and and basically just using contracts to do science, combining missions to do big money pulls from missions... etc. It makes more sense for me to decline contracts until i find "aquire science at XXX planet missions" and jump to my already orbiting satellite/lander to perform the science.

The rest of my missions are similar to "build a station supporting a ridiculous amount of kerbals with 6000L of fuel for around 200-400 cash.... and land it on Pol or some planet with atmosphere (ie. you need heat shields + massive stability to survive rentry)". They're not impossible missions, but the reward is hardly worth the insane amount of effort :(.

I do like hard mode, the skill tree is tottaly fine now, and the challenge is welcome, but I think they need to do some playtesting themselves on career hard to get a feel for where these walls are to adjust them. The variety of missions and lack of good paying missions is pretty crummy right now.

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Third, play without any mods at all.

I agree, that is way too much. Kerbal engineer should be stock anyhow.

The key is to look for ways to do multiple missions with one launch.

No problem, the science contracts vessel can add contract for test parachute, SRB at launchpad or other parts that are part of the vessel but issue is now faced with sixty of the same thing for probably 10 hours. Even tried the survey contract above and gathered some science from space on the way there but the mission took close to 35 minutes to walk to the three survey markers. Now I like to play KSP but I gotta draw the line somewhere.

getting by without patched conics can be a headache if you're going to the Mun and Minmus!

The simulated landing on the Mun without patched conics was successful and while it is difficult the payout is substantially large. The idea is risk comes with reward, greater the risk; greater the reward. That is where barnstorming could help with a large payout. Only problem is that this leaves out other non-pilot players and would ruin their game play. Fixing this would have to be challenges fit for the scientist and engineer. Solve a written calculus problem or read a schematic for example - this needs a whole lot of work here.

My preferred hardcore difficulty uses the same settings as Hard, but with reduced rewards.

No matter what the difficulty setting are set at, even if it is normal, intermediate, or hard it all boils down to career is grinding. Don't get me wrong I really want to play a well balanced career mode (main reason I bought KSP at 0.23 was after reading about the upcoming new career changes in the dev notes) and as do many others but it is not there yet. Maybe new tiers could help but does this just breaks grinding into smaller steps.

It makes more sense for me to decline contracts until i find "aquire science at XXX planet missions" and jump to my already orbiting satellite/lander to perform the science.

...

The variety of missions and lack of good paying missions is pretty crummy right now.

Yes and yes. Sometimes while declining contract after contract I have come very close to clicking accept.

Additionally I don't mind play testing this out because it is a challenge I put forth to myself.

If sandbox mode is unlimited play and science career mode introduces the plethora of parts then what role does career perform. The developers have quite the task in front of them to find that perfectly balanced career mode. The common theme among veteran players is career is a boring grind but I am still positive that the developers will succeed at improving the career mode. The kerbal way is to fail until you get it right so please don't give up on career mode.

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I had been trying Hard mode when it first came out but stopped and waited for 1.0. (Due to losing so many saved games)

Now hard mode is about 3x harder and even upgrading anything seems insanely hard and boring, getting to eve and back is hard enough, at this rate it will take about 6 or 7 years just to upgrade my VAB.

Back to normal career I guess :(

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By completing more science and other contracts to increase the reputation the general rocketry is unlocked. Contract for testing the LV-909 "terrier" is available and creates a chance for a Mun fly by.

The simulator is showing positive results even though the craft is difficult to get through the atmosphere. Battery power is limited after kicking on the terrier, so switching off the reaction wheels and just use the gimble for vessel control.

On a positive note landing on the Mun or Minmus is going to be possible and very risky.

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After glaring at that opposing wall of grind an idea was created to gather as many of the science experiments as possible and follow up by sending out a recovery team. This was something that made me ponder and was an interesting challenge. Even designing the recovery team was challenge and included fun for all of the team to bring back the science data. After finishing that mission there was a big boost to income and reputation. The time for each mission was short and possible failure was there so this was meeting Kerbal expectations, simply it was fun. But then a Kerbal thing happened when I tried the mission once again.

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The most time consuming was retrieving the data, second is declining contracts, then the time to launch and gather the experiments. Build and simulation time is not included but are mentioned because those times were very interesting and wild times. So when literally by accident the recovery time was significantly reduced, the recovery team time is now a back up plan and declining contracts is the main time problem.

The time spent just planning to climb that massive wall has been well spent. These last few days I have had to sharpen my design skills as well as increasing piloting/navigating and was an interestingly fun challenge. The wall can be climbed in less than five days. To achieve a launch pad upgrade half the time will be spent negotiating with Gene and declining contact after contract. Is it possible to get a mod for Declining Preferred Contracts?

The unplanned disassembly was inspirational and really has made me gaze at the wall with more conviction.

Edited by MoeslyArmlis
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The lure of trying to improve on the last design kept me returning to this challenge. The method is much sharper than originally thought out. There has been many new discoveries. This practice run has kept me entertained and I plan on running it through. Soontm !

To run through this challenge the quicksave needs to be on due to some bug with EVA's. Valentina wiped the planet out of existence on one of her jumps out the door. F5 for safety.

There is much clicking to finally overcome this finance issue. The vessels designs can hinder or help with targeting the objects. Landing and recovering the data needs to occur close to the KSC. From the beginning I thought this was going to be boring. The vessel and method was redesigned about 10 times and if it were not for the re-designing and retesting the time taken would have felt much longer.

There are two biomes around kerbin that were not visited, Minmus has not been visited and is next for science. At first this challenge seemed far, very far off from completion. Now that I have enough to have the launchpad upgraded I am thinking the VAB should be first because the part count and action groups would help in returning more science from space, what building to upgrade next?

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I never cleared the contract counter. It is broke and resets to 66 because the total number of contract equals 361.

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Sixty repetitive mission would be about ten hours. Ten hours would not be so bad if it was going to be different scenes with different challenges.
Soul-crushing ~gameplay~
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The default hard-mode options are enough for me! I am still playing on normal because I still have some random "oops" launches with the new aero where my rocket flips because I am not being extremely careful - I'm worried that hard-mode will bankrupt my space program.

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Indeed this experiment has been tough. The end result of this is trying to find a base level time then adjust the settings that produces a more desirable play time.

Back in version 0.23 was my starting point and had a great time exploring the many parts in a science career. After re-trying the extreme hard career in 0.90 I gave up and thought this is way too much drudgery. However since the latest update I was rapidly going through the career no matter which other mode and decided to revisit this idea.

During this play through I have improved the process, what I thought was going to take ten hours I can now do in five. My original plan was to upgrade the launch pad but through this I found that the VAB is the more logical choice, I now have a greater appreciation for the action groups functionality and increased part count. Also understanding how to perform a mun shot without patched conics is something I am more confident in completing. The last week has been quite enlightening.

The sandbox mode is still the best place to play around in which I have had tons of enjoyable hours. This game offers so many challenges and so much to explore.

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LgTEApV.png

This finance challenge started off looking bleak and meaningless but throughout the last week I have improved piloting skills and have learned some tricks as well as some insights. There has been much time for contemplation.

An observation I made was having the VAB upgraded automates the process of gathering experiments and will also allow more parts and therefor increasing the profit per trip. If there was an upgrade to mission control for automating the selection of the preferred contract and another upgrade to the tracking centre for recovery of the preferred contract then the profit earning will be very much like a payday system that the player is responsible to assemble. The outcome would be the clicking for profit would exist only in the earlier part of the career. If this is what is planned for then the developers are mastering their craft and I am very glad I took this journey.

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While I suppose it's not fair because you're taking it to extremes, frankly I don't think 'funds per contract' and such are accurate descriptors of 'hard mode'.

To me, a balanced hard mode is something like 80% funds payout, 50% reputation, 30-40% science. Reason being is that GRINDING is not HARD, and having low funds-per-contract is absolutely just a grind. And maybe I'm just weak, but I can't play without flight reversion, especially now that Kerbals cost money to hire and the aerodynamic model is much less... predictable. If I am getting in a good flow of cash, however, playing without reversion becomes much more feasible.

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but I can't play without flight reversion, especially now that Kerbals cost money to hire and the aerodynamic model is much less... predictable. If I am getting in a good flow of cash, however, playing without reversion becomes much more feasible.

Before traveling up this mountain you need a solid plan of attack. The sandbox is the simulator and once I feel comfortable with my vessel's design then it is onto the launch pad and it is go time and no reverting back. This time was all practice and discovery and I will have to repeat it without reverting to be considered completed. It would be insane to even attempt this career mode if you are going at it blindly.

The cash flow issue is hopefully being looked at because it seems that grinding is indeed not hard. What I was trying out was how much and how fast. For me my mark was for each 40 minute session to yield at least 45 000 kerbucks. So in between times playing around with other projects in the sandbox, I would do a session. The first 750 000 took as long as the last 1 500 000, so after discovering a trick a major improvement to cash flow began.

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Before traveling up this mountain you need a solid plan of attack. The sandbox is the simulator and once I feel comfortable with my vessel's design then it is onto the launch pad and it is go time and no reverting back. This time was all practice and discovery and I will have to repeat it without reverting to be considered completed. It would be insane to even attempt this career mode if you are going at it blindly.

The cash flow issue is hopefully being looked at because it seems that grinding is indeed not hard. What I was trying out was how much and how fast. For me my mark was for each 40 minute session to yield at least 45 000 kerbucks. So in between times playing around with other projects in the sandbox, I would do a session. The first 750 000 took as long as the last 1 500 000, so after discovering a trick a major improvement to cash flow began.

Okay, after reading the thread I think the early career cash bottleneck is actually a very flimsy barrier. I set myself a challenge, how far can I get in exactly five launches?

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As it turns out, really far! By the last image there, launch number five is in low Mun orbit basically printing money with Munar survey contracts. Val has plenty of fuel left and flipping between the (still level 0) tracking station, the (level 1) mission control, and her ship, she's repeatably cranking out the equivalent of a 60-80K contract for ten minutes or so of game play time. Took under an hour of that to raise more than enough funds to upgrade the VAB and tracking center, and she's got EVAs over every Munar biome to unlock more nodes when she gets home. Now it would be trivial to send ship 6 to go do the same thing even faster at Minmus.

The major thing I'm exploiting here, I think, is that survey contracts on airless worlds just require a low polar orbit and very minor tweaks to AP/PE. No need anymore to go suborbital and return to orbit. Once you can get to LMO with a bit of fuel and a thermometer you can print money. This is even easier than the "recover science" route because there's no need to unlock the OX-STAT to power the antenna.

EDIT: Actually, maybe this would make an interesting challenge to put to the rest of the community here. I'm gonna go post this as a challenge thread and see if anyone bites.

Edited by Maolagin
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If by very hard you mean more griding then think about some mods. Unless you prefer to use stock.

Add this: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/40667-1-0-2-TAC-Life-Support-v0-11-1-20-5Apr

and this: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/83305-1-0-2-RemoteTech-v1-6-4-2015-05-07

I bet those 2 at least will give you much more planing and much more difficulty, not to mention it is a bit more realistic.

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in low Mun orbit basically printing money with Munar survey contracts.

The major thing I'm exploiting here, I think, is that survey contracts on airless worlds just require a low polar orbit and very minor tweaks to AP/PE. No need anymore to go suborbital and return to orbit. Once you can get to LMO with a bit of fuel and a thermometer you can print money. This is even easier than the "recover science" route because there's no need to unlock the OX-STAT to power the antenna.

For some reason I thought the survey contracts needed to be returned or transmitted to fulfill the contract. That is very helpful.

EDIT: Actually, maybe this would make an interesting challenge to put to the rest of the community here. I'm gonna go post this as a challenge thread and see if anyone bites.

Maybe this speed run challenge might interest you.

Forty Two Minute Career Challenge.

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I started up my "Hard" career this weekend and at first went with the default options, but I wasn't enjoying how much Fund-grinding was necessary just to make the game playable. Ever since the building upgrades were created, I've always felt that the patched-conics and maneuver-node unlocks were far too expensive and shouldn't even be something that is locked-out.

As such, I modified my hard-mode to give 100% funds and a cash-infusion of 500,000 to get those two things unlocked that should have been way already.

Extreme Hard just seems like Extreme Frustration IMO because the default options are already a major grind in terms of Funds.

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It doesnt have to be quite as grindy as you made it in the OP. Retrieve Science Data from Space around X does not mean orbit. You can knock those out on suborbital, which you should still manage with a basic pad.

That said the building unlock funds costs are a poor way to throttle your progression, they get obscene on Hard and make the other two currencies irrelevant except to convert..

Also while im happy removing flight revert I always keep quicksave. Its not that its a crutch, its more incase stuff glitches. (old habits and all that, not seen enough of 1.0 to know if its so stable that I dont need f5.)

Edited by celem
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If by very hard you mean more griding

This idea of grinding contracts might seem improper but it forces you to be more selective in the contracts you choose. What I mean is you could choose to do launchpad test from here to eternity and complete the career that way, or you can try and create a method that does so more streamlined.

Additionally, if you are playing with out reverting then failure has some meaning as you are now faced with even more paperwork to complete a goal.

When I am clicking contracts it is as much fun as filing papers. But as I am doing so my level of excitement grows as I get closer to finishing and have the go ahead for launch. Also during this time I am going over my pre-flight checklist and flight plans or thinking forward to the next design or improvements.

My goal is to land on the Mun and Minmus and any other career options have provided little challenge to me. This challenge has even kept me occupied as I discover different methods of farming funds, I need to change plans accordingly. From this practice attempt it looks as it would be feasible to do in less than three weeks of maybe two hours a night.

I don't even consider myself a very talented player and I have lots to learn and playing this type of career has indeed taught much. In the earlier days of playing KSP I used to depend on maneuver nodes and patched conics to get to the Mun, now I do not.

Kerbal Space Program is in my view very enjoyable, enriching, expansive and encompassing and offers diverse game play.

Edited by MoeslyArmlis
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Maybe this speed run challenge might interest you.

Forty Two Minute Career Challenge.

Meh, I'm not really a fan of speed-run challenges. Most of the challenge and creativity in this game is in puzzling out your design in the VAB, but to be competitive in a speed run you are slapping together designs that you've already practiced and refined in the sandbox. What's left seems like it would boil down to "who's computer is beefy enough to power through all the atmospheric phases at 4x?"

With the challenge I posted, I'm hoping to see that creativity on display.

Early Career 5-Flight Challenge

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What's left seems like it would boil down to "who's computer is beefy enough to power through all the atmospheric phases at 4x?"

Your challenge will be met without frustration and I will try it out. Already the three flights that I am doing during my speed run challenge launches me quite far. Without funding you are just spinning tires in the sand.

My computer is way too old and doesn't help me out at all during my speed run. In my opinion a speed run is a challenge where with thorough planing and precise execution creates meaningful enjoyment. I practiced many times slapping my vessel together and with redesigning sometimes there would be a mix up which would result in causing problems in the execution of the flight. Think of it like a circus production and a beefy computer just adds more razzle dazzle. It truly boils down to strategy, click-fu and don't panic.

Edited by MoeslyArmlis
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