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aktivb

Contracts: Measure Temperature on Surface. How do I do this?

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In career mode you get these contracts where you are supposed to land a specific spot and measure the temperature. The spot is indicated with a marker in the orbital map, but there is no marker indicating where this actually is when flying. I can click the marker to 'activate navigation', which will put a temperature icon on the navball.

The spot to hit is quite small, probably ~1km in diameter. You can make a perfect landing right on the point of the orbital map maker and still not be inside. So then you need to know in what direction to move. Except your reasonably built ship is sitting on its ass pointing skywards, so you can't actually see the temperature icon on the navball. So what I usually do is make a quicksave, launch the ship straight up, and flop it around till I find the icon and can get a heading. Then load the quicksave. So then I set off in the direction of the icon, without having any notion of the distance I'll need to fly. If I want to check my direction I'll have to suicidally point my ship prograde.

This makes me raving mad. I cannot for the life of me understand why the zone cannot be indicated with a marker that can be set as target, so you get target prograde and retrograde icons, and have a visual indicator showing position and distance when flying. From what I can tell, nothing else in the game uses this 'activate navigation', for everything else you set targets. But since I expect this feature to have been playtested, I am sure that there is some method where the navball temperature marker is a useful indicator. So what is that method? How am I intended to do this in a reasonable fashion, that does not include flying blind and flopping the ship around?

Edited by aktivb
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Yah, that does seem like a UI hole, the game really ought to have some sort of targetable marker.

Some ways to deal with this:

1. Practice precision landings so that you come down in the zone. Tricky but doable with practice.

2. Use a hopping rover, so that when it lands it can just drive to the spot. If you build the rover "axially" (so that its engine is inline with its probe core, pointing backwards at the rear end), i.e. so the rover's not "looking" straight up when it lands, then you get useful navball behavior that makes it easy to steer.

Agreed that it's not ideal, and they really ought to fix.

I've found that in practice, my solution is that I end up never accepting any of these "visit 4 different places and take scans" contracts-- they were fun the first 3 or 4 times I did them, but after that they just became repetitive and tedious for me. Most of my KSP play is about self-set goals, e.g. "do such-and-such exploration, possibly while arbitrarily imposing such-and-such rules on myself", so for me the contracts are just paying the rent on my space program and I'm looking for contracts that give maximum funds per minute of play time. In those terms, the "visit 4 different places" contracts are awful (though not as bad as "take N tourists to their destinations")-- lots of time to do, not so much cash. The "put space station in orbit" ones are faster and more lucrative.

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You're doing it wrong, homie. Just build an airplane and fly there. Using rockets to get surface contracts done ANYWHERE is terribly inefficient, as you've experienced. If you use an airplane, your navball is reoriented and you can see the beacon icon, also once you land, you can just coast to the exact spot.

When you get to surface contracts on other planets/moons, use a rover that can hop.

Edited by arise257

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So then you need to know in what direction to move. Except your reasonably built ship is sitting on its ass pointing skywards, so you can't actually see the temperature icon on the navball.

One thing you can do here is put one or more of the small probe cores on your ship, oriented 90° from your main pod. Then on the surface you can "control from here" on the probe and the navball orientation will flip, perhaps allowing you to see the navigation marker.

However, what I usually do is make a best effort to land in the right place, then send a Kerbal out on EVA to find the right spot and plant a flag. After returning to the ship you can target the flag.

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Another thing to add. If the waypoints are in the mountains, 9/10 times you can't land a plane (or even a lander) there. I've made airplanes which use an upside-down cargo bay to airdrop a rover near the point. You have to drop it, then continuously circle the drop zone until it hits the ground, otherwise you'll fly out of range and the craft will be deleted. Once the rover is settled, either land or fly back home. Either way, you can switch to your rover and drive to each point from there.

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you should try to install the mod "navhud". therefore once you activate the overlay, your point of view will be from "inside" the navball, which renders reaching a waypoint way easier than by using stock navball

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I'm not sure if the actual position of a science place is marked with its exact position in the Tracking Station, I can't look it up currently. But if it is you could calculate position and direction from your position to the science target.

My usual approach to these Science contract usually is/was to reject them until I have some basic wings like these big control surfaces. With SRBs and liquid fuel engines I would then launch and point the craft towards the target. If fuel is out before I arrive parachutes come in. During descent I tilt and point the vessel towards the target and for the rest I walk.

Edited by Crown
typo

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I always took a plane with a load of parachutes. If you can't land it "correctly" then just use the parachutes to make a vertical descent - using this method you can land ANYwhere, even on top of spiky mountains.

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1- Use a plane (small, easy to land, good range). Mix it with science collecting.

2- Forget about those missions... (recommended)

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Contract waypoints can't be targeted in the usual way, that's true, but you can click them in map view then select "Activate Navigation" which adds an icon to the NavBall.

And for people talking about planes: that's all well and good on Kerbin, but have you ever tried flying a plane around on the Mun? Or Duna? Or Tylo?

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And for people talking about planes: that's all well and good on Kerbin, but have you ever tried flying a plane around on the Mun? Or Duna? Or Tylo?

As far as I could tell, he was talking specifically about Kerbin, so planes are really the best suggestion in that case. I also specifically suggested hopping rovers for other planets/moons. The most basic and overarching point is it's a loser strategy (from real-world time, navigational, and cost-efficiency perspectives) to launch single-use rockets at survey sites, no matter where in the universe they are. I would consider the OP's question answered 4 times over by this point in the thread.

Edited by arise257

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One thing you can do here is put one or more of the small probe cores on your ship, oriented 90° from your main pod. Then on the surface you can "control from here" on the probe and the navball orientation will flip, perhaps allowing you to see the navigation marker.

However, what I usually do is make a best effort to land in the right place, then send a Kerbal out on EVA to find the right spot and plant a flag. After returning to the ship you can target the flag.

An small docking port is lighter. if placed correctly it can also be used for docking later :)

As or me I don't take this contracts much except on low gravity worlds like Minmus,

Mun and higher gravity makes it too expensive in fuel.Exception is the one where everything is close, here a probe rover solves the issue.

And then you anyway are landing for science.

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And for people talking about planes: that's all well and good on Kerbin, but have you ever tried flying a plane around on the Mun? Or Duna? Or Tylo?

For Vac worlds you can figure a landing site quite easily. If miss, just do a small hop.

They are tedious and have very little return value. They are only bearable on Kerbin and low gravity bodies (Minmus size)

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I appreciate all the responses and suggestions. I wasn't talking about Kerbin specifically, I used planes for the early temp missions there.

The post was written after doing a temp mission on Minmus. I had a rover, but since the zones weren't located on perfectly flat ground, my teflon-coated rover slicks weren't up for the job, so I ended up using the landing rig to hop around. I didn't have a flipped control core to locate the marker when landed, which is a good suggestion, but that's a work-around and not really a solution, because:

The problem here is that the UI is lacking. If the answer was 'push this button' or 'change this setting' to improve the zone navigation, it would have been fine. As it is, the game does not give you what you need to do the mission it offers in a reasonable manner, which would specifically be a retrograde marker and/or visual flight indicator. Suggestions to install mods or ignoring the missions just verifies this.

Is there some official place I can post issues to the devs?

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