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5thHorseman

Squadcast Summary 2015/10/16 - Two Types of DC, and Two Types of ISRU

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Solution for a kerbal ragdolling down a hill:

Press Alt-F12

Click "Hack Gravity"

Stabilize your kerbal.

Click "Unhack Gravity"

You're done!

One problem: Your lander will explode when you unhack gravity.

So to hop in on the ISRU discussion (as always, I like to do the early reveals so we get a chance for constructive feedback).

Usual caveats, anything below is subject to change based on QA, experimentals, etc.

There has been a thermal overhaul on ISRUs and drills - this is not insignificant, since now it's an extremely effective lever.

The mini ISRU is not as efficient cooling, cannot make monoprop, and is significantly less efficient (both in terms of ore use, making it a very poor choice for those 'ore powered ships' out there, and in terms of raw speed.

I recognize that any efficiency number is out the window if you can just 'warp to infinity and get all your stuffs'. This has been addressed in the case of the mini ISRU - it is optimized for relatively short operation cycles - i.e. it's the wrong bit to use for your mining base because it cannot operate for years on end without a break. But it's excellent if you just need to do short-term conversions (i.e. refueling a biome hopper, etc.).

Radiators will be important - critical - for ISRUs and drills. That being said, if you have one of the 2.5m ones out there on a ship with no radiators, you will still be able to operate, but the efficiency will be very low since it will overheat quickly (but not down to zero in the case of the 2.5m ones - they will tend to hit equilibrium with a net positive in processing capabilities).

The design choice here is to provide two very clear options with each one having it's benefits and drawbacks. A large, more robust ISRU for bases and such where you want continuous, unattended operations, and a smaller, less industrial-grade one that's better for quick fuel runs. Take your pick.

I love the safety mechanism on the ISRU idea.

How would we balance out a smaller drill? Maybe it couldn't pick up materials as quickly, or overheats easier? Perhaps it could realistically cut down the ability to grab resource from a location even more? Just some engineering thoughts.

If it was shorter, it would be less useful for every craft.

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Since it is easy to carry to the surface, that is basically the same as just making it work slower.

But if you did have it in space, you would lose mass. Heck, maybe even make it work faster but still lose mass, so it would still take the same amount of time.

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I did like Kethane's smaller drills. I preferred the Baha drills though in the looks department.

Ideally, I'd like 4 ISRU drills, 2 small and 2 large, one each ventral and radial.

Oh, and Roverdude, great summary and explanation. I quoted you in the OP.

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You do realize, guys, that I answered these same balance questions and concerns in the prior post? ;)
What does the small refinery being bad for long term operation mean in practice?

Does it just mean that you have to visit the refinery now and the and click to turn it on/off to keep it working?

I think the reason people are still talking about balance is that not everyone is happy with "the small refinery is same as the larger one, but with annoying click-grind(and without monopropellant)"

Edited by Joonatan1998

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There has been a thermal overhaul on ISRUs and drills - this is not insignificant, since now it's an extremely effective lever.
I'll wait and see if 1.0.5 fixes things, but relying on what I consider to be the single worst thing in 1.0.x - the broken to heck and back thermal system - does not give me much confidence.
Yep, since the system is that small, ISRU is not really needed at all in the first place. Though for some reasons SQUAD added it. From that point of view - yeah why not make various sizes.
ISRU equipment is to some extent a "fixed mass", meaning that there'll always be ships big enough for the ISRU to be worthwhile.

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What does the small refinery being bad for long term operation mean in practice?

Does it just mean that you have to visit the refinery now and the and click to turn it on/off to keep it working?

I think the reason people are still talking about balance is that not everyone is happy with "the small refinery is same as the larger one, but with annoying click-grind"

You folks are making a pretty large boatload of assumptions right about now ;)

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You folks are making a pretty large boatload of assumptions right about now ;)

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who said that the new ISRU machine would require you to play a mini-game, and the better you did, the more fuel you got per unit of ore.

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You folks are making a pretty large boatload of assumptions right about now ;)

Welcome to the Kerbal Forums!

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My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who said that the new ISRU machine would require you to play a mini-game, and the better you did, the more fuel you got per unit of ore.

Kerbal Quick Time Event Simulator!

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I love quick time events!

Good to see a 1.25m ISRU converter. I like the fact it's kind of worse, but also smaller. A lot of kewl things coming in the update. The small converter is going to be included in 1.0.5, right? Code-wise everything is there, so I assume it will.

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:/ I found ISRU a bit overpowered already.

The mining equipment setup takes the same space as a Rockomax X200-32 Fuel Tank - but masses significantly less.

Although I could swear in 1.02, the drills were .25 or .15 tons... now they are 0.75 tons... that is a step in the right direction.

To some extent, I like ISRU, because before I was setting up fuel depots and shipping the fuel all the way from Kerbin... the fuel was precious, and ever little maneuver or biome vist was carefully planned.

But now... I've found I get quite sloppy with my missions when I'm packing ISRU... because... yea, free fuel, easy to obtain, very little mass addition....

I've started to artificially limit myself to No ISRU missions to make things more challenging (doing reusable to moho and back, no ISRU... the fuel for the return would mass more than the ISRU... so ISRU should be the default option for a moho mission now)

Fuel is easy to get, particularly when I start using monsters like this:

hTOcaAx.png

Yea, you could increase the ISRU to 3.75m diameter... double the mass of all ISRU stuff, and it would be fine- barely would notice (its >300 tons full)

Something to supply fuel depots cares not about the mass of the ISRU (and for this purpose, bigger is better, because that means less tedious fuelling trips)

But now... with the small ISRU... well, why bother with fuel depots at all... everything will just refuel itself when it lands.

I'm assuming ore isn't going to be further restricted to make it so that its harder to find a spot with ore?

Why bother with staging at all now if its not an eve ascent?

Just stop and refill.

As already explained... this heat mechanic seems to break the laws of physics in our world, and thus in un-intuitive.

*Doesn't overheat in the sun... captures some energy from the sun, uses it... now suddenly there is enough energy to overheat it? (the same would go for a RTG powered thing, if the RTG doesn't overheat it from the start)

As to a previous suggestion... I like the idea that these things can wear out, and thus only provide up to a certain amount of fuel.

I disagree with alshain. its not a time based mechanic... anymore than engines consuming fuel would be.

If the small ISRU wore out and broke after a certain amount of fuel had been processed, it would be fine with me.

The ISRU could carry 100 units of a resource named something like "durability".. .and that resource would be like solid fuel/ablator... you can't refill it.

As the ISRU operates, it consumes electric charge, ore, and "durability"... and then when durability runs out... its as useless as an empty SRB casing.

The larger one would be more durable and maintenence friendly.. and thus lasts a long time/does not wear out

(idea: it also consumes durability units, but can regenerate durability for itself if it has an engineer on board)

Or, Durability could be a transferable resource, and you could have a part that is like a "spare parts canister" that stores "durability" units (with the lore behind it being that the spare parts are used to repair/replace the broken ISRU... akin to rebuilding an engine).

I like this idea... the small ISRU should break down after producing a certain amount of fuel!

Edited by KerikBalm

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So why no monoprop from the small isru?

The small one is an simplified version who has lower performance and don't have that extra complexity. It will be something you put on an large probe or an smaller lander, you use monoprop to dock, do minor adjustments and to turn huge ships.

You can still carry some for docking and have more in the mothership.

My 500 ton orion uses the vernier engines only 8 groups of 4 engines. Then finding I have 2000 liter monoprop onboard :)

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Here's an idea for the mini-ISRU balance:

Big ISRU: High efficiency (87% Ore to Resource conversion) and comparatively small power drain (though still far more than the small ISRU)

Small ISRU: Low efficiency (60% Ore to Resource conversion) and higher power drain for its size.

- - - Updated - - -

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who said that the new ISRU machine would require you to play a mini-game, and the better you did, the more fuel you got per unit of ore.

I made myself map out that string of separation before reading the punchline. That made my day better.

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Greg: Big vs small ISRU: read roverdude's comment on page 5 or so. He knows how you think and anticipated you. :) It's pretty clever actually; I think it will enhance the game.

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I've started to artificially limit myself to No ISRU missions to make things more challenging
So basically what you're saying is you figured out how to play a sandbox game? Good for you!

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Or, Durability could be a transferable resource, and you could have a part that is like a "spare parts canister" that stores "durability" units (with the lore behind it being that the spare parts are used to repair/replace the broken ISRU... akin to rebuilding an engine).

I had an idea ages ago that instead of harvesting ore, the intermediary resource would be on the front end in the form of a catalyst. You could process fuel with a drill rig and a converter using this catalyst at a ratio of like 25:1. I thought it was a nice way to avoid infini-fuel, but in the end I had to ask myself if it was too complicated to be fun. I mean I think its obvious that the current resource system is simplified compared to real life, and is pretty forgiving even from a balance standpoint. Still, it takes some effort to make it work, and I have to say I've had fun with it so I'm pretty happy. The scanning and landing process is also quite well executed.

I really do hope we get LS at some point, and if that happened all of a sudden there would be a real cost to time-warping. It could also be that only the large converter could produce LS, which would be an important bit of balance.

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I had an idea ages ago that instead of harvesting ore, the intermediary resource would be on the front end in the form of a catalyst. You could process fuel with a drill rig and a converter using this catalyst at a ratio of like 25:1. I thought it was a nice way to avoid infini-fuel, but in the end I had to ask myself if it was too complicated to be fun. I mean I think its obvious that the current resource system is simplified compared to real life, and is pretty forgiving even from a balance standpoint. Still, it takes some effort to make it work, and I have to say I've had fun with it so I'm pretty happy. The scanning and landing process is also quite well executed.

I really do hope we get LS at some point, and if that happened all of a sudden there would be a real cost to time-warping. It could also be that only the large converter could produce LS, which would be an important bit of balance.

By definition, catalysts aren't used up during a reaction. I'm sure somebody will argue that they can be lost through exhaust or other reactions over time, but shush.

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The small one is an simplified version who has lower performance and don't have that extra complexity. It will be something you put on an large probe or an smaller lander, you use monoprop to dock, do minor adjustments and to turn huge ships.

You can still carry some for docking and have more in the mothership.

My 500 ton orion uses the vernier engines only 8 groups of 4 engines. Then finding I have 2000 liter monoprop onboard :)

the problem I see is that it'll encourage players to spam LFO based rcs on even small ships jacking up part counts and it doesn't help that rcs ports cause more lag than other parts due to their use of resources

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By definition, catalysts aren't used up during a reaction. I'm sure somebody will argue that they can be lost through exhaust or other reactions over time, but shush.

Some catalysts are worn down over time by secondary reactions. You also have mechanical wear.

One idea is to have durability, now as we can not swap out parts deep inside huge ships and having everything modular would be an pain who not do it simple.

Make durability an resource. take ISRU durability as one, then it get low you can dock another ISRU refinery and transfer durability to the one in the ship, you can now dump the empty one. Think of it as chopping up the new and switch out worn part. US air force does this a lot.

- - - Updated - - -

the problem I see is that it'll encourage players to spam LFO based rcs on even small ships jacking up part counts and it doesn't help that rcs ports cause more lag than other parts due to their use of resources

I agree, I tend not to put RCS on small landers myself to save weight, rather dock the mothership to lander to move it, to refuel I use KAS.

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Some catalysts are worn down over time by secondary reactions. You also have mechanical wear.

One idea is to have durability, now as we can not swap out parts deep inside huge ships and having everything modular would be an pain who not do it simple.

Make durability an resource. take ISRU durability as one, then it get low you can dock another ISRU refinery and transfer durability to the one in the ship, you can now dump the empty one. Think of it as chopping up the new and switch out worn part. US air force does this a lot.

- - - Updated - - -

I agree, I tend not to put RCS on small landers myself to save weight, rather dock the mothership to lander to move it, to refuel I use KAS.

I tend to use RLA for smaller rcs ports but that's besides the point the exclusion of monoprop seems arbitrary to me (like excluding xenon instead of simply making it cheap enough to not be exploitable). No monoprop isn't a limitation, it's just an annoyance, an inconvenience. You don't lose self sufficiency because you can just use lfo rcs instead therefore any disadvantage it may have in not making monoprop is essentially moot, but more lfo rcs means using more resource using parts negatively affecting game performance due to how the game is coded. so instead it should be able to make monoprop to encourage the use of a fewer number of standard rcs ports thereby promoting good vehicle building practices so we don't get complaints about game performance because people are spamming verners trying to exploit the new isru size

(speaking of xenon seriously most dv ranges can be done lighter, cheaper, and lower tech using LFO, and even at the high range where xenon is supposed to shine even without isru a giant lfo probe+giant rocket to lift it is still cheaper than an ion probe with equivalent dv and the lfo probe doesn't need to worry about the sun or kick burns! xenon needs to be cheaper! or buffed but I imagine that wouldn't go over well I mean where would you go with that much dv?)

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