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...and so the journey begins!


SpaceyCLE
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WOOHOO! I've done it! I've made it to the Mun and back! I didn't land on the Mun, but that's fine, a flyby does nicely for me. Racked up 148 science points on this trip alone! My craft, which I dubbed Longshot, delivered! I had barely enough battery power to make it back, turning off pilot-assisted SAS at the last moment to conserve the last bit for the chutes. It got a little nerve-wracking trying to keep my craft in retrograde (it was wobbly due to my Science Jr making things difficult). I thought at first I missed my shot to return when I skipped out of Kerbin's atmosphere. I was afraid to go in too deeply and 'splode, but saw that my aerobraking was reducing my apoapsis anyway. I orbited a few times, skipping out but watching for my apoapsis to finally dip below 70K and knew I was coming home one way or another. I should've kept my engine on to make correction burns, but no harm done! Just took a little longer than usual is all.

Now, to decide which nodes to research! I might have a bigger problem, though, I only have about $35K in my pocket. I think it's time to fulfill some contracts.

Side note: I finally downloaded and installed MechJeb with the express purpose of letting it do the Delta-V calculations for me and help me out with the gravity turn and determine best flight paths. Too much math for me to learn, I just wanna...I just wanna FLY!

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Fun to see your documented trip up the learning curve! As you've learned, the better you are at building and flying, the less grind you have to do. But there is still a little...I recently started a new career game and was able to launch a rocket with early parts that was *barely* able to orbit a pod, weighing 17.8 tons. But there was a brief time when I had to do a little bit of grinding on contracts to build up enough money to purchase the required upgrades to KSC. But it wasn't that bad, took only an hour or two.

As for MechJeb, it's really useful to see how it handles such things as launch speeds and trajectories, landing, etc. It's also really nice to get instantaneous Delta V calculations presented. (The alternative...using the rocket equation and plugging in your craft's design numbers...is fun but can get little tedious.) But I suggest using MechJeb as a guide and a tedium buster, rather than a substitute for learning how to fly ;)

Glad you're here and having fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been a little while since my last update. I was wrestling with the math of doing a rendezvous in orbit, which I found to be FAR harder than I thought it would be. I was trying to fulfill the contract of doing that and killing relative velocity while remaining in sight of each other. I'm not going to lie, I "cheated" a little bit and used MechJeb for this. I also used it to go orbit the Mun with a probe. Truth be told, I'm actually kind of happy for this mod, not because it's made the gameplay much easier (and admittedly more fun), but I also find to be an extremely useful teaching and guidance tool. It's teaching me what I should do in order to perform a Hohmann transfer and how to create a node in the game. Handy little mod, that.

In the meantime, I'm in grind mode again, fulfilling contracts so I can make some money for upgrades (I have my eye on upgrading research so I can get to the 100 science points tree and beyond). Trying to get the heavy rocketry node, that should make life a lot easier for me.

Next "freestyle" mission? I'm thinking of swinging by Minmus with a probe to say hello and get mucho points.

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Sooooooooooooo close! I nearly made it to Minmus and back! Alas, I plumb ran out of electricity before I could make it safely back to Kerbin. I fried like 10 seconds into re-entry. Maybe sooner than that. I was blazing in at over 3500 but I thought I angled the altitude pretty good. Unfortunately, being pointed nose down is generally frowned upon. Well, I was hoping I might get lucky with no electricity, but you kinda need that for the chutes too. I gained a MUCH better idea of how maneuver nodes work. That was an "AHA!" moment for me. MechJeb continues to be a wonderful teacher for me, but I have to admit that it makes boring tasks like circularization much easier to do. Ascent is still a big challenge for me (why can't rockets ever do a gravity turn gracefully instead of jerking over and then wobbling back and forth?). I suspect my rocket designs still leave a bit to be desired.

Adding LOTS more batteries and gonna try Minmus again. Getting to understanding orbital mechanics bit by bit!

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All right, a lot has happened since. I finally got to orbit Minmus and back, but I did that after orbiting the Mun and got back. Learned a lot more about how to get back to Kerbin and re-enter safely and can now do that on my own after seeing how it's done (score more points for MechJeb). Added heavy rocketry and electrics nodes, that rechargeable battery stack and kickback booster sure comes in handy.

Now, I'm trying for the big accomplishment, landing on the Mun and getting back! After quite a few tries (and more crashes than I care to admit), I finally got my craft to land and STAY upright on the Mun. Killing horizontal speed is awfully hard, especially without RCS. It wasn't until I discovered MechJeb's Translatron that I was able to cheat a bit and saw how much was involved in keeping upright. Geez. To be fair, though, I did land it upright on my own before MechJeb only to accidentally hit the shift button to zoom out (a la VAB) and ended up launching before I got to do anything. Oops. I landed successfully a second time, but after launching back into Mun orbit, my inclination was perpendicular to Kerbin and ended up wasting too much fuel to get back. Went to bed.

If at first you don't succeed...

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It is done.

I've landed on the Mun and got back to Kerbin safely! Well, kinda. My launch off Mun went off a little bit crazy because I forgot to engage SAS but at least I didn't crash back into the Mun!

Over 400 sweet science points, woohoo! I still have 128 or so to spend, but debating on what to get. I got the bigger rocketry node (thank you mainsail and boar engine!) and those fuel tanks for RCS and the orange jumbo tank. I'm thinking of getting the node with the 3-man pod, but don't have the heat shield for it. Not yet anyway. Decisions, decisions!

I think my next stop is landing on Minmus! Oh yeah, surface samples now, even more points! I have yet to explore all the biomes on Kerbin, though, let alone the Mun. I need to build a proper plane for that. Maybe I should do that first? Fun stuff...

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I went back to Minmus, but with a scientist on board this time. It was nice being able to reset those experiments and get mucho science points in one mission. That fly-by-wire part sure helps a lot. Expensive, tho.

That was after I spent a few tries trying to rescue some poor Kerbonaut in Kerbin orbit. Rendezvousing is proving to be a mite more difficult than I thought, but I know it's critical if I'm to take some serious leaps and bounds in this game. I'd like to fulfill the landing on Duna contract, and I figure I better learn some of the more advanced stuff in the game if I'm going to make it that far. And make more money. A LOT more money. Time to grind again? Maybe, but now I have a lot more parts for building planes! Experiment with that a bit, see if I can't use it for traveling on other celestial bodies.

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Lots to learn. Learned how to use those strut connectors and that they will safely break away after decoupling. This would've been nice to know a ways back. Learned about those photovoltaic panels and how valuable they are for saving my bacon in electricity. Learned more about fuel crossfeed and how they make my engines much more efficient.

Still to learn: efficient rocket design, delta-v (I know, I should know this, but I'm too lazy to get into the math of it), building planes and a bunch of other stuff. I really should get to building a plane so I can zip around Kerbin's biomes and pick up science points. Did send a probe out to Jool, though, barely did a flyby and transmitted a few things back for some points. Not as much as I would've liked, though.

Seriously, somebody should write a KSP for Dummies book. I don't think I've ever played a game with such a steep learning curve. The hardest game I ever learned how to play was probably Freespace 2 (for those who don't know...absolute classic, get it on gog.com). I do have Combat Flight Simulator and IL-2, but wouldn't you know it, I haven't really played either much in the years I've owned them. Stupid, I know.

Say...is KSP compatible with a gamepad or even a joystick? I have an old Force Feedback 2 that should still work fine (not that I'm expecting force feedback in KSP, but that would be so cool!).

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Quick note on struts: The initial attachment is the one that stays when they break away. The final attachment point eventually disappears when the spacecraft is reloaded (loading from a save or making a trip back to the tracking station, for example). For this reason, it's usually a good idea to put the initial attachment point on the "throw away" part, and the final attachment point on the payload. That way the strut goes away completely when you no longer need it.

KSP joystick compatibility is hit or miss. For some, it works fine. For others, it's a complete mess. My joystick works okay, and really makes aircraft more enjoyable. If you already have a joystick, there's no harm in trying.

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KSP is a lot of work. And learning. I got a probe to Duna, sent back some basic info (and its moon, Ike). I keep trying to fulfill the contract for landing on Duna and getting science info there too so I can rack up some serious science, rep points and money. I only have a bit over a million bucks and I'm realizing that's not much in the grand scheme of things. Also, I'm struggling with learning how to build a plane. I mean, I have no idea how to attach the ram air intake part or even the wings. Sounds stupid, I know, but the tutorials I've been looking at are assuming I already know how to do this. Well, I don't. Label me a dummy, but give me a BASIC tutorial on how to attach and build a craft! I have yet to dock too, but at least I figured out the parts for that. Seems stupid to have a docking collar as the top part, though, if you ask me. Isn't there a structural part that would jettison a nose cap? Or a part that encases a lander to protect it (a la Apollo style). Maybe I'm thinking a little too conventionally with this game? I just feel like I'm stuck in a rut when it comes to this game.

I will say, however, that MechJeb basically rescued me from abandoning this game. Despite what some people might say and/or think, I feel that it *enhances* my experience. Yes, it makes gameplay "easier" in the sense that I don't have to crunch the numbers myself and get a degree in physics, but so what? There's still a lot that I do myself, like landing! I also successfully completed a rescue in orbit without MechJeb, although it required a *LOT* of trial and error. I learned that the bulk of flying in this game is simply experimenting with the maneuver node and its vectors (and placement of said node). So I do some maneuvers myself where MechJeb doesn't quite cut the mustard. The advanced transfer to planet on MechJeb is an awesome little feature, I have to say, which is yet another great teaching tool.

Part of the puzzle now is trying to figure out the timing of my launches and burns which, of course, is dependent upon the orbits of the bodies I'd like to visit. Still lots to learn and do.

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