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BlueCanary

Do you feel cheaty using reaction wheels?

How do you use reaction wheels?  

225 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you use reaction wheels?

    • Anywhere they work- I don't find it cheaty
      154
    • Whenever there's not a better solution
      44
    • Only in things that might actually use a reaction wheel in real life
      19
    • Never - they're overpowered and overly unrealistic
      9


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So, I've been making a lot of rovers recently and I've found the best solution to the problems with KSP's rover wheels and the best way to right flip vehicles and keep them stable over jumps is to stick a few reaction wheels on. It works great, but it always feels a bit of an easy way out to use the already unrealistic reaction wheels in such an unrealistic way. I would rather find another solution, but until then, reaction wheels it is. The same goes for vtol control - I would rather use bleed air or varied engine thrust to orient them, but that's so hard to do in stock KSP I end up using reaction wheels and not feeling as happy with the craft as I would otherwise.

I was wondering, does anyone else feel the same way about using reaction wheels or other features of KSP, or is it just me?

DISCLAIMER TYPE THING: By "cheating" I don't really mean "cheating", a better way to word it would have been "do you prefer to find another solution to problems with craft than reaction wheels" or something like that. I get that "cheating" was a really dumb way to put it. The main reason for this thread was that I had made some rovers using reaction wheels for stability and I was wondering if people would care that they used reaction wheels, thinking they might prefer a more "realistic" (again, I realise that's a dumb word to use for something in a game about near indestructable green rocket scientists in an imaginary solar system) solution.

Edited by BlueCanary

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I dont feel cheaty about any feature the game offers. And so far, i have seen some impressive designs, that are powered by reaction wheels.

Just do as you desire... and where are the pictures? ;)

The only thing i personally don´t do, is clipping tanks and engines.

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I dont feel cheaty about any feature the game offers. And so far, i have seen some impressive designs, that are powered by reaction wheels.

Just do as you desire... and where are the pictures? ;)

The only thing i personally don´t do, is clipping tanks and engines.

Yeah, in some ways I agree, if it's in the game it's part of the game and there to be used, but in others, like when making a replica or even a type of vehicle found in real life, I would prefer it worked in the same way as the real thing.

If you want pictures, this is one of the things I'm trying to find a reaction wheel alternative for: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/129151-Off-Road-Car-Design-Help

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The problem is flying with a keyboard necessitates their use in ways that aren't realistic. I can go without them using my flight stick until I'm in space, but not everyone has that option.

As for "cheaty", I thought we had established that there is no cheating in a single player game.

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The stock reaction wheels act more like control motion gyroscopes, so just rename their .part files and be good!

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It's a video game. I don't want to manage monoprop usage or plan my missions down to WHERE I WILL WANT TO AIM THE SHIP during every step.

Also, have you SEEN the monoprop a pilot uses when you tell him or her to hold a heading? May as well just not bring any at all to save the weight, as it'll be gone in seconds.

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My opinion varies. I do hate how powerful they are, but I feel it's a similar gameplay concession as ion engines. They save time turning giant ships which, otherwise, would become tedious. The issue comes when the same part is used on a small plane or rover. They just become extremely overpowered.

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I don't use the stock reaction wheels at all. I use my own fixed versions with about 1% of their original power.

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I feel especially dirty using them in VTOL's or other craft that don't have them in real life.

Though when I don't yet have RCS unlocked in a career, then I'll use reaction wheels until I do.

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I use them to rotate my smaller crafts. Larger crafts always get RCS thrusters.

What I don't do: Using bunches of reaction wheels to stabilize a bad design that would otherwise fall apart.

With one exception: micro-planes or escape vehicles / micro-vehicles. There I do use reaction wheels to make them work.

Just because it's often the only way for such minimalistic designs.

Edited by Cairol

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Well, gyroscopic stabilizers do exist and even though in KSP they are a little OP they are used in real life to stabilize spacecraft, aircraft and ships of all types. I found a video on Youtube that explains how it works in an interesting and funny way but the effect is real, they call it "The Mighty Cheese". You can actually build one in KSP and try wrestling it yourself :sticktongue:

So go ahead and use them to your hearts content - no worries!

JR

Edited by Jolly_Roger

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The one thing I'm finding cheaty about the reaction wheels is their impact durability. In reality they are very fragile devices - a tiny damage to the bearing will render them unusable, so the fact they can be used as stabilizing aid in an all-terrain 4x4 buggy is quite cheaty... not because they can flip the buggy around in the midair, but because they'd explode out of their casing the moment the buggy lands harder.

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It's a video game.

I don't think this should ever be used as an excuse. Video games is way to broad a term, which includes games that do strive for this sort of realism.

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I don't use them at all any more (except for the ones incorporated into capsules), all they seem to do is fight against themselves and produce oscillation.

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I don't think this should ever be used as an excuse. Video games is way to broad a term, which includes games that do strive for this sort of realism.

I didn't use it as an excuse. I used it as a reason. "It's a video game" is also my reasoning for liking time warp and patched conics. This is exactly the same thing: Something that makes the game better but less realistic.

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I've had to use RCS systems more and more because the reaction wheels seem to not 'bite' as much as they should when holding an axis.

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Rovers flip? Strange, I never noticed that. Ok, I'm no expert.

To answer the question - I never cheat, I even unplucked my F12 button. k_rolleyes.gif

Edited by Evanitis

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I've had to use RCS systems more and more because the reaction wheels seem to not 'bite' as much as they should when holding an axis.

That is true. Using reaction wheels sometimes feels like steering with a rubber band...

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It's a video game. I don't want to manage monoprop usage or plan my missions down to WHERE I WILL WANT TO AIM THE SHIP during every step.

Also, have you SEEN the monoprop a pilot uses when you tell him or her to hold a heading? May as well just not bring any at all to save the weight, as it'll be gone in seconds.

Why would you have to do that? Even in RSS I just ballpark how much hydrazine I need and usually it's more then enough. The trick is creating a balanced rcs system. Not how much monoprop u need to bring.

As for the kerbals lack of piloting skills, well... I personally have never used that features since it was implemented. I am the pilot. And I am much better at efficient rcs usage.

Every autopilot feature uses rcs haphazardly. They burn jets 100% until the halfway point of a maneuver then burn 100% to stop at the target point. That's terrible. What I do is just a little burp of rcs then wait however long it takes for the craft to slowly drift to my target point. Then just another little burp to stop. Much more efficient.

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I won't spam them, but hey, Kerbals aren't humans and they have different priorities. They make their fuel tanks inefficient by over-reinforcing them and until very recently their engines had all been designed to maintain constant thrust at all pressures regardless of potential efficiency - so why wouldn't they also spend a bunch of time and money developing reaction wheels far more powerful than ours?

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Every autopilot feature uses rcs haphazardly. They burn jets 100% until the halfway point of a maneuver then burn 100% to stop at the target point. That's terrible. What I do is just a little burp of rcs then wait however long it takes for the craft to slowly drift to my target point. Then just another little burp to stop. Much more efficient.

I wonder if is this deliberate to encourage players to learn efficient attitude control? There must be a way an autopilot could be coded to use rcs efficiently, so it would make sense if it was intentional.

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Righting rovers is the least cheaty thing you can do with reaction wheels. The unrealistic thing about them (apart from being very powerful) is they they never saturate, whereas with real-life ones there is a limit to the amount of angular momentum you can build up before you need to "dump" them using some other kind of propulsion.

But in a rover on the ground you have the ground to push against, so you can dump them any time you like.

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Do real life reaction wheels use the torque from spin up or the torque from stopping the wheel to maneuver? Both?

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