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J-Dude

New player, and I need help...

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I've been playing about a week now, got some basic techniques down, and now I'm working to progress through career mode. I tried landing on the Mun first, but either by wrong techniques or inferior design I was forced to make it a no-contact trip. I didn't have enough fuel to land safely, however I tried, so I hobbled back to Kerbin, to use my new science to upgrade my design and try again.

I switched pods from a cluster of lander cans to the full three-seater, and with some science tech I sat it upon a thick and short fuel tank, and radially mounted four others with terrier engines under them. Each are mounted with radial decouplers for an easier trip home, and another terrier is seated under the main tank in the center. This is just the lander of course, the other stages aren't much issue.

But for some reason this setup is causing me some irreconcilable issues, and I've no idea why. The center of thrust and mass are all fine, and after the first firing all seems well. But as they keep firing, two of the radial engines are burning WAY faster than the others, and eventually flameout and become unusable, lest the whole thing starts spinning.

I can't figure out why this is. None of them are sharing fuel lines, unless the decouplers do that and I hadn't realized it. But even if, why would two drain faster than the others?

It's weird too; one of the tanks clearly fires, but doesn't indicate ANY fuel loss when I right click it in flight, while the engine has burned out beneath it, and the staging indicator shows it's empty... what the smeg is going on?

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Pictures of the vessel in question often help diagnose problems. Post some, please?

And welcome to the forum. :D

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Welcome to the forums J-Dude!

A picture of the craft would be nice, yes. The problem with your tank could to be, that you ve closed the valve... Right-click the tank. Located right of the fuel amount indicators youll find green triangles (valve open) or in your case red crossed circles (valve closed). That would be the most obvious reason. Click those symbols to switch conditions.

Enjoy the game! Be seeing you in orbit!

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Far as I can tell, it was a glitch. I fixed it by remaking it... but I abandoned the design anyway.

I can't do it. I just can't pull this off, and I don't have a clue why. I've looked up every tutorial I can find, looked into the various techniques and the ways you can be more efficient with your fuel.

I'm really starting to actually hate this game. Completing basic goals takes me DAYS of trial and failure. I'm not kidding when I say some of this has made me burst into tears out of sheer frustration. Rescuing a Kerbal from low orbit took me so long that I couldn't believe it once I'd actually pulled it off.

But now I'm trying to land on the Mun and return... and it's... IMPOSSIBLE.

I mean it. I don't think it's supposed to be this hard, and supposedly I'm playing on the easiest setting. I ALWAYS run dry of fuel, and crash into the Mun at anywhere from 100 to 350 meters per second. I've even tried incorporating the RCS thrusters against the speed. I'm not coming in at a steep angle, in fact I'm basically just letting the orbit decay until it reaches the ground.

But by the time I've dumped a full minute of the liquid fuel in the transfer orbit, and secured a mun-centric orbit... I've got nothing left. I have enough to suicide into a crater of my making, or maybe run away with my tail between my legs and waste 30-100 thousand credits of funding on a failure.

I'm starting to master the basic Kerbin orbit, and can be left with a 3rd of the fuel in my second stage to begin the transfer. But that transfer orbit, if you're carrying ANYTHING and not employing the optimal periapsis approximate transfer, will leave your final stage with almost nothing, even using the efficiency of the terrier engine. And if that doesn't happen, I'll run dry of monopropellant and electricity, to be left in a dead float.

I've built ridiculous rockets with asparagus staging, tried loading up the lander with TONS of fuel, and make the containers ejectable when they run dry to dump mass where possible.

It's why it feels so impossible: even if you BRING more fuel, it only tends to weigh you down and make you pay for the expense by having the trip require more fuel because you brought more fuel.

I even gave up and installed MechJeb, just to see if it was even POSSIBLE... and I'm not convinced it even is anymore, because THAT just crashed too!!! Even the OPTIMUM orbital path, (sans the ascendance automation because I haven't unlocked that) run out of fuel, and I don't have enough fuel to land. Retrograde. Crash. Retrograde. Crash. Retrograde. CRASH!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

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try installing the mod "kerbal engineer" for getting your vessel deltaV

then a noobish mun -landing costs approx. 6000m/s deltaV. that should be easily reached with a 1-man lander. (the 3-man is to heavy)

4km/s for Orbit kerbin

800 for Transfer

200 deceleration

500 landing

500 making mistakes

for takeoff and returning you should plan at least 1200m/s in Addition. so best would be a vessel with 8000 m/s deltaV for a noob.

So you should have at least 3.5km/s deltaV after reaching a good Orbit. when you dont, u did something wrong

Sure, its way to much for an experienced Player, but good for trying out and making mistakes.

and: when using Kerbal Engineer, configure the window to show your altitude (Terrain), as this helps to know the distance to the real groundlevel.. where you would CRASH ;)

decelerate your orbital velocity, go straight down, at 2km above TERRAIN (not sea Level) you should not be faster than 100m/s.

try slowly cutting down your Speed by Setting ASAS to !!Surface!! retrograde and burning slowly for not getting faster anymore.

at 500m above Terrain you should be fine with 50m/s and losing ~ 10m/s per 100m.

its way apart from ideal, but i think it helps as a Guideline.

and always remember not to check your altitude ASL (on top of Screen), but the altitude to the Terrain Level (Kerbal Engineer)

with that in mind and 8km/s deltaV it should be doable for a 1-weekler to get some mun-surface samples ;)

check Scott Manley on Youtube. he does a new Career mode since 1.0.

He is also using KER and explains really good. i bet he did a mun-landing in this Playlist as well.

P.S.: check the ISP of your engines for having an efficient one in space AND in your TAKEOFF-Stage for not wasting your fuel

Edited by Speadge

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Hi J-Dude,

It can be a frustrating game, that's for sure. Keep at it. There is good advice on this thread, in particular:

- Keep the lander light, use the mk1 command pod.

- The landing technique is pretty simple: From a few k up start burning retrograde to get your speed around 50m/s and steady then at a few hundred metres slow to around 10 m/s.

- If you're doing that and running out of fuel then the problem must be ship design, show us a screenshot.

If you want to rule out ship design as the problem, you could also try starting a new sandbox game and taking a "Kerbal X" stock ship to the mun.

It's going to be so satisfying when you do finally nail it.

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It can be frustrating, but it is doable and once you do it a few times becomes somewhat routine. Sounds like you just need to bring more fuel for your lander. Also consider that if your thrust to weight ratio is relatively low, you will not be able to slow down enough without starting your descent burn very early.

Minmus has way less gravity and may be a better place to start.

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This is a bug for sure. Decouplers can transfer fuel (90% sure, anyways), but that wouldn't be your problem. I've experienced it myself, where some radial tanks will drain first, upsetting the balance of the craft, but in my case I've only ever had one engine. Remaking the craft usually fixes it, as you have found.

Good luck on your future endeavors! Welcome aboard!

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I was working on a ship last evening and managed, with the mirror symetry and the offset tool to hide one of the small radial engines "inside" the main body of my craft. I noticed I had an "extra" engine in the staging flight display only after the ascending craft was hopelessly out of control...

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I hate landing so much... I hate what this game does to me. I'm literally crying right now, because what I'm attempting has taken so long, needed so many attempts, and shouldn't be this hard!

I've already been to Duna and Ike. It took two refueling missions, but I got the crew and science back. Landed a huge base on the Mun. Figured I'd do some more with Duna before attempting Eve.

So I took on both base-landing missions to Duna and Ike, and the rescue of a Kerbal from Duna.

Getting there was easy. My base design was too long and wobbly to be practical on a planet with an atmosphere, but I landed it all the same, only losing the then useless nuclear engine on its end, and coming down too hard on the front wheels which snapped. Otherwise, operational and in one consistent piece. I retired the design because of the numerous flaws I encountered, and went with something more practical for Ike.

The REAL challenge was the return mission, sending an unmanned ship with a lander to ferry them all back. It took three full mission attempts, and reloads to be settle on a lander design that could make it back to orbit, and even rendezvous with the main ship.

So since I landed the base in a sensible location along the equator, picking up the four Kerbals there was doable. I'd pick up the Ike base pilot last, which even the main ship could land on despite its size, and oughtn't be an issue.

But of course... the Kerbal I'm rescuing is at the south pole.

Funnily, I think the north pole is where my first expedition landed, but even with the refueled lander... this trip is impossible.

I'm largely relying on Mechjeb at this point in my experience, and before anyone judges me... I don't care. This game is hard enough as it is, and I dropped forty bucks on this thing. But the landing guidance has done me so well, that with Duna I've been thrown for a loop. On the Mun base missions, I had to be careful about using the guidance, because using the base as a target would almost always guarantee my lander would drop right onto it and break off solar panels.

But here... I don't know what to do. I'm so tired, so DONE, and the idea of relaunching the return mission again makes me physically ill.

The landing guidance, every time, brakes WAY too late, and ends up blasting far from the landing site on the pole, nearly 20 kilometers generally. WAY beyond the accepted 2 kilometers the game allows so another ship/kerbal can be controlled and rescued by an unmanned lander.

And yes, I've tried landing manually... and it's no good. Oh, I can land it. I have parachutes, and in conjunction I can put her down within 3/4 of a kilometer... the issue is getting back. The Landing Guidance of Mechjeb is efficient enough to land me, and put me back in orbit with the engines and fuel I have. I did LOTS of tests on Kerbin to find a lander that could get the highest of the others, and tested different levels of fuel with the winning design. It's as good as it gets, though next time I might consider a seat-only lander to remove the weight of a whole pod. Really I used a four-seater crew cabin, which sounded great with its half-weight on the space shuttle pod, but now remembering you don't friction-burn leaving Duna, the external seats sound like a good bet.

But basically, manual landing means I lose too much fuel to achieve orbit again, and Mechjeb can't get me close enough as I see it... does the landing guidance need some sort of best case scenario? What does the orbit need to look like for it to be effective and accurate?

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The landing guidance, every time, brakes WAY too late, and ends up blasting far from the landing site on the pole, nearly 20 kilometers generally. WAY beyond the accepted 2 kilometers the game allows so another ship/kerbal can be controlled and rescued by an unmanned lander.

20 kilometers overland is no trivial thing, but. . .you should be able to switch to the kerbals at the landing site from the map screen or the tracking station? Lace up your hiking boots boys and girls, the lander is thataway! :)

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You shouldn't be using mechjeb at this point. Do a Mun Flyby before orbit, and orbit before landing. We didn't just send one person into orbit and then rush straight towards the moon in real life, after all. Mechjeb's landing feature is a bit wonky, to the point that when I used mechjeb, landing was about the only thing I did manually. Don't play with mods at this point, just do what you want in the stock game and get familiar before adding mods; If you want to randomly explode things, do it. If you want to launch a complex and untested rocket towards the mun, go ahead. No stopping you. KSP is not the kind of game that just goes "You can't do that yet" very often, especially not in Sandbox mode.

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You shouldn't be using mechjeb at this point. Do a Mun Flyby before orbit, and orbit before landing. We didn't just send one person into orbit and then rush straight towards the moon in real life, after all. Mechjeb's landing feature is a bit wonky, to the point that when I used mechjeb, landing was about the only thing I did manually. Don't play with mods at this point, just do what you want in the stock game and get familiar before adding mods; If you want to randomly explode things, do it. If you want to launch a complex and untested rocket towards the mun, go ahead. No stopping you. KSP is not the kind of game that just goes "You can't do that yet" very often, especially not in Sandbox mode.

What are you talking about? I'm already done with Duna. I'm performing aerocapture's for smeg's sake, I know the skinny on how this thing works. Are you responding to the OP?

Anyway, somehow managed with a combination of manual landing and autopilot. Picked up my guy on Ike, and got back with just enough fuel to get both landers back to Kerbin.

Now I'm setting up for a manned EVE expedition, already having sent a space station there, and launched three micro-probes at the planet to get a feel for it. Aerocapture almost wasn't an option here.

Designed a rover to be my escape craft, with asparagus-staged 200 tanks fueling an array of Aerospikes, with only seats for the Kerbals and no pod. Plan to orbit it, and EVA to the actual return craft that they'll arrive in. Tested them by orbiting Kerbin with it at half throttle.

So, overcompensated for liquid fuel due to the station attempt, but I can dock the return craft with it to ensure it can get back. Figured I'd stay in orbit till the Kerbals arrive in the return craft.

But, figured I'd test the lander a bit first. Used the nukes for a while, but eventually... they petered out and lost all power. I have no explanation to why, and I had time to check after the chutes opened.

The throttle was at full, and I hit the buttons several times to check for a glitch. I had half a over 500 units of power left, so scratch that. And again, I had a surplus of fuel to burn off.

It burned all the way down, even after deploying the chutes, but I watched as the throttle stayed the same, and yet the thrust visibly depleted until they were no longer running. I hit the ground at 16 m/s and broke almost everything. And of course, I realized only THEN that I had hard-connected two points which I meant to be decoupled, and had to scrub the whole freaking mission back to Kerbin.

I'm confident that ditching the nukes and their fuel will result in a clean landing, but I'm quite worried about what exactly happened there. It's not something I've ever experienced in the game. All requirements for burning were present, but it deflated like a balloon as I got close to the ground.

I'm wondering if its something to do with the atmosphere. I know the NERVS are almost useless in atmosphere, but I've never had something stop firing outright. Is this like a reverse to a jet engine losing its air intake? Like, the thick atmosphere killed the engine in some specific way? But no flameout was reported...

I'm just worried I'll run into this again.

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I'm wondering if its something to do with the atmosphere. I know the NERVS are almost useless in atmosphere, but I've never had something stop firing outright. Is this like a reverse to a jet engine losing its air intake? Like, the thick atmosphere killed the engine in some specific way?

The efficiency (Isp) of NERVs is massively affected by atmospheric pressure - they're over 4x less efficient on the surface of Kerbin than in vacuum.

The maximum fuel flow is constant, so the maximum thrust is reduced by the same factor.

More generally, there's no point doing things you find stressful and unenjoyable. If you're tired of crashing landers into a variety of orbital bodies, leave them alone for a while and find something else to blow up. Spaceplanes are interestingly tricky with 1.0, for example, and have a much shorter turnover than interplanetary probes between launch and disintegration.

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If you would, please post some pictures by screen shooting the game. f2 is the key or fn F2 for mac. You can then fine them in the screenshot file in the KSP folder. Happy flying!!!

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Yeah, without pictures we can't help you.

I'd advise you to download a craft that can do a mun landing-and-return (sometimes there are tutorials that provide a craft file) and do it step by step following the tutorial, just like if someone was holding your hand :P and then you will understand a bit how it works, and try to do it on your own. It's really not *that* hard with a good spaceship. And you shouldn't be using mechjeb at this point (in my opinion)

EDIT : whoops i was replying to the OP and the first posts... i've read further now *facepalm*

Edited by Hcube

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