Snark

[1.7.x] Vector Repurposed: tweak Vector to be a rocket (not spaceplane) engine

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This is a little ModuleManager tweak that turns the Vector from a special-purpose engine that's great for (and pretty much limited to) space shuttle replicas, into a general-purpose upper-tier engine for 1.25m rocket stacks.

 

  • It keeps the same TWR, but mass and thrust are both reduced to 45% of stock. (So it now has a bit more than twice the thrust of a Swivel.)
  • Price is dropped by a lot, to 25% the original (which gives it the same cost per thrust as the Mammoth)
  • Gimbal is reduced to be in line with other liquid-fuel rocket engines
  • No longer surface-attachable

 

Name is changed to "Viktor" (to emphasize that it acts like a different engine now).

Download from SpaceDock (RIP KerbalStuff)
License: MIT

 

Why this mod?

The Vector's stats are... extreme. It's clearly designed as a very specialized engine whose sole purpose is to enable space shuttle replicas.

Debate has raged in the forums about the engine, dividing roughly into two opposing camps: "it's a godsend, we really needed this" (these tend to be the spaceplane folks) and "it's an overpowered travesty" (non-spaceplane folks). One salient point that comes up is that it only seems "extreme" because there are no top-tier 1.25m engines to compete with the Reliant and Swivel, which are mediocre engines in the end game.

Point taken, but I find the Vector is still extreme. I'm a rocket guy, not a spaceplane guy, and three things about this engine bug me. First, the price is extreme, which makes it useless for anything but SSTOs (it's too expensive to throw away). Second, its "thrust density" (amount of thrust compared with the cross-sectional area of the engine) is way out of line with everything else in the game: more than double that of a Mammoth, nearly triple that of a Mainsail. Third, it's surface-attachable, which IMHO just opens it to abuse; no other engine does that.

I understand that there are cogent reasons for all of these things, but they all boil down to "because it's needed for space shuttles." As someone who doesn't fly shuttles, I find the engine to be of limited utility.

So in the interest of opening up this cool, interesting engine for people like me who prefer rockets to spaceplanes, I've tweaked it more into line with other engines. It still keeps the great TWR of the Mammoth, but now its thrust density lines up, too. The thrust is double that of the Reliant, high enough to be useful but not so high that it makes the Skipper and Mainsail look silly. And the price per thrust also lines up with the Mammoth, making it a bit expensive but feasible to use in a staged rocket.

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Any chance you could make it so that it clones​ the Vector to make the Viktor, instead of replacing it?

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Any chance you could make it so that it clones​ the Vector to make the Viktor, instead of replacing it?

Yeah, I was kind of thinking that actually.

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I don't wanna be picky, but the engines isn't actually OP: The RS-25 is based on the J-2 engine of the Apollo program, it should actually be a 2.5m sized engine, but it has the support structure of a 1.25m engine.

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I don't wanna be picky, but the engines isn't actually OP: The RS-25 is based on the J-2 engine of the Apollo program, it should actually be a 2.5m sized engine, but it has the support structure of a 1.25m engine.

That's precisely my gripe: it's insanely overpowered for a 1.25m form factor. Perhaps there's room in the game for a 2.5m engine that's higher-powered than the Mainsail, but I figured that there was a better window for 1.25m.

Also, let me make it clear: I wasn't even slightly striving for any sort of "realism" here, I was completely focused on game balance. All the rest of the engines in the game follow a fairly consistent progression of "thrust density", and the Vector was off the charts. 450 kN seemed like a good fit to me: a bit over twice the thrust of the Swivel, at a much better TWR, so that seemed about right. If you pack four of them under a 2.5m stack with a quad-coupler, you get somewhat more thrust than a Mainsail, which also feels right to me (I don't think the Mainsail is underpowered, that's plenty of thrust for a 2.5m stack, and I think increasing that would be unbalanced).

- - - Updated - - -

Any chance you could make it so that it clones​ the Vector to make the Viktor, instead of replacing it?

That's not a bad idea, I thought about that. One issue it would create would be that they'd have exactly the same model and would look identical in the parts tab in the VAB, which would be an annoyance. (It would especially be an annoyance to me, because I will never, ever, under any circumstances, use the original Vector. I just don't like it. Nothing against either Squad or Porkjet, I freely admit that it's purely my own irrational prejudice against that engine.) ;)

If there were a way to visually distinguish it in the image editor, that would be easier to swallow. However, I don't have any modeling tools at my disposal (other than GIMP for image editing), and even if I did, I wouldn't know what to do with them. (I'm a programmer, not an artist. Not that this mod can really be called "programming," it's just a snippet of ModuleManager config.) ;) So about the best I could do would be to make a copy of the Vector assets and change the color or something (e.g. make it gray instead of black).

However, that would be taking someone else's art assets (Squad's) and using them as my own without permission. I don't know what sort of license Squad puts on their own art assets, but I'd guess that's a no-no. And even if such an undertaking were allowed, it's not really my thing. So until and unless I have some way of providing a distinct model for the Viktor, this is what I've got.

Unless someone has a suggestion? I'm all ears, I'm not any sort of expert modder and about the extent of my knowledge at this point is how ModuleManager works and how to edit DDS files (clumsily) in GIMP.

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You can use the Copy syntax instead of the edit syntax.

I'm not worried about multiple models in the editor, it's a very minor annoyance which you will know immediately by the name and/or part itself

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This is interesting. Thanks for doing this, it's a nice option to have. No changes to Isp?

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On 12/5/2015, 1:13:25, fourfa said:

This is interesting. Thanks for doing this, it's a nice option to have. No changes to Isp?

Nope, that seemed good as it was.  :)

 

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On 12/26/2015 at 0:51 PM, Dobelong said:

I see what you mean by "Godsend"....

Well, yes, the screenshot you posted sums up the godsend-or-travesty debate right there:  it boils down to whether you think that a contraption like that ought to be launchable and flyable.  If you think "sure, why not", then it's a godsend.  If you think "that's criminal, that thing shouldn't fly", then it's a travesty.  :)

I totally get that it's a matter of opinion and there are going to be folks on both sides of that fence.  I just happen to be squarely in the "travesty" camp myself, thus this little tweak so that similar-minded folks have an option.  I love using the Viktor, it has some nice applications that appeal to me, and it adds to my game experience.  The unmodded Vector is just way OP to me, it feels like cheating, and without a mod like this, I would end up never using it.

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"a very specialized engine whose sole purpose is to enable space shuttle replicas"

The vector is one of the three engines that keeps good thrust in thick atmospheres, making vectors very useful for getting a large lander off eve.

Edited by V7 Aerospace

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1 hour ago, V7 Aerospace said:

"a very specialized engine whose sole purpose is to enable space shuttle replicas"

The vector is one of the three engines that keeps good thrust in thick atmospheres, making vectors very useful for getting a large lander off eve.

Sure, you can use them that way, but that's not why they were added to the game.  It's pretty clear that the reason for their current design was very shuttle-centric.

Any in any case:  the point you just made, though a good one, is actually part of why I find the stock Vector to be overpowered.  It packs a ridiculous amount of thrust into a 1.25m form factor; its thrust-per-area is off the charts, far higher than any other engine in the game (more than double the Mammoth's).  This makes it excellent for Eve ascent... too excellent, in my opinion.  Eve ascent is supposed to be hard.  Having engines that pack that much power into a narrow form factor is overpowered, for me.  Thus this mod.

As tweaked by this mod, the Viktor still has good atmospheric Isp and TWR; this mod doesn't alter either of those, so it's still a great Eve ascent engine.

It's just scaled down in terms of total mass and thrust, is all.  It means that if you had a design that formerly needed one Vector, you'll need two Viktors instead (approximately).  That would have pretty close to the same mass and thrust.  It would be somewhat harder to launch, since it would have twice the cross-sectional area and therefore more aero drag, but that's quite deliberate, it's my attempt to bring the engine into line with the kind of numbers that all the other rocket engines in KSP have.

Edited by Snark

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Hi all,

Apologies for the service outage when KerbalStuff went off the air (may it rest in peace).

KerbalStuff's replacement, SpaceDock, is now up and running.  (Mostly.  They're still working the kinks out, and it will take a while until all the mod authors have re-uploaded their mods, but it's "up enough" to be able to put mods there.)

I've uploaded Vector Repurposed to SpaceDock.  See the updated OP above for a download link.

Thanks to the hardworking devs and admins who have gotten SpaceDock up and running so quickly!

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The vector falls inline with its derivative engines: the Mammoth is 4000 kN, Twin Boar is 2000 kN, shouldn't it follow that the Vector be 1000 kN?

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2 hours ago, lobe said:

The vector falls inline with its derivative engines: the Mammoth is 4000 kN, Twin Boar is 2000 kN, shouldn't it follow that the Vector be 1000 kN?

Not in my book.  It has one-ninth the cross-sectional area, so it should have around one-ninth the thrust as far as I'm concerned.

Make it a 2.5m engine and then I'm fine with it being 1000 kN.  But then I would have no use for it, because for me the Skipper and Mainsail handle things just fine.  Maybe it might be a little nice to have something in between Skipper and Mainsail... but I think it's more useful to have something beyond Swivel in the 1.25m form factor.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, it's not like I'm agitating to try to make this design stock.  :)  If you like the Vector as-is, just don't install the mod.  I made this mod because the Vector rubs me the wrong way, and I want to play with it scaled differently in my own games, where it will be, 1. useful, and 2. not offending my sense of propriety.

I just put the mod up in case there were any like-minded individuals who might also find it useful.  So far, there have been something like a couple of thousand of 'em.  ;)  Don't know the exact number now, since KerbalStuff went down.  Gotta reset the counter with SpaceDock...

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This will be my last post in this thread because it is a mod extension to an engine, but I feel due to its derivation from the engines used in the mammoth and twin boar that the thrust and efficiency is right.

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On ‎2015‎-‎11‎-‎13 at 5:29 PM, minepagan said:

Any chance you could make it so that it clones​ the Vector to make the Viktor, instead of replacing it?

 

On ‎2015‎-‎11‎-‎14 at 7:39 PM, Snark said:

That's not a bad idea, I thought about that. One issue it would create would be that they'd have exactly the same model and would look identical in the parts tab in the VAB, which would be an annoyance. (It would especially be an annoyance to me, because I will never, ever, under any circumstances, use the original Vector. I just don't like it. Nothing against either Squad or Porkjet, I freely admit that it's purely my own irrational prejudice against that engine.) :wink:

If there were a way to visually distinguish it in the image editor, that would be easier to swallow. However, I don't have any modeling tools at my disposal (other than GIMP for image editing), and even if I did, I wouldn't know what to do with them. (I'm a programmer, not an artist. Not that this mod can really be called "programming," it's just a snippet of ModuleManager config.) :wink: So about the best I could do would be to make a copy of the Vector assets and change the color or something (e.g. make it gray instead of black).

However, that would be taking someone else's art assets (Squad's) and using them as my own without permission. I don't know what sort of license Squad puts on their own art assets, but I'd guess that's a no-no. And even if such an undertaking were allowed, it's not really my thing. So until and unless I have some way of providing a distinct model for the Viktor, this is what I've got.

Unless someone has a suggestion? I'm all ears, I'm not any sort of expert modder and about the extent of my knowledge at this point is how ModuleManager works and how to edit DDS files (clumsily) in GIMP.

Any development on this?  Perhaps repurposing a license-forgiving model from another engine set?  In the alternative, would you suggest that I attempt to muck with the textures on my own for my own purposes?

Or perhaps I'm going about this rather clumsily.  I'm in your camp that I would tend never to use this particular engine as Squad designed it, only because my gameplay focus is on runway-launch spaceplanes as opposed to stack-launch.  Form factor is more important to me in the mid-game and end-game than raw thrust-density.  Despite the fact that you're "a rocket guy" and I might be a spaceplane guy, my own philosophy is that stack launching spaceplanes is a waste of spaceplane potential, thereby causing me to agree with you but for the ironically-opposite reason from yours.

If a clone-option exists at the ready, I'll take it, but even if not, I think I'll switch to Viktor and call it a space program.

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4 hours ago, MisterFister said:

 

Any development on this?  Perhaps repurposing a license-forgiving model from another engine set?  In the alternative, would you suggest that I attempt to muck with the textures on my own for my own purposes?

Or perhaps I'm going about this rather clumsily.  I'm in your camp that I would tend never to use this particular engine as Squad designed it, only because my gameplay focus is on runway-launch spaceplanes as opposed to stack-launch.  Form factor is more important to me in the mid-game and end-game than raw thrust-density.  Despite the fact that you're "a rocket guy" and I might be a spaceplane guy, my own philosophy is that stack launching spaceplanes is a waste of spaceplane potential, thereby causing me to agree with you but for the ironically-opposite reason from yours.

If a clone-option exists at the ready, I'll take it, but even if not, I think I'll switch to Viktor and call it a space program.

Haven't really touched this in a long time.  I wrote the MM config to make the Vector do what I want, it does what I want, not much reason to tinker with it.  :)

The nice thing about ModuleManager config is that it's easily accessible to everyone.  This "mod" doesn't have any actual code in it-- it's just a (fairly trivial) piece of ModuleManager config, which anyone with a text editor can arrange as they like.

So if the config I've provided doesn't quite do what you want (e.g. you want to tinker with the numbers, or make it a clone of the Vector instead of a replacement, or whatever), just go into MM and jazz it up.  :)

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Apologies for the light necro, but I've always liked the concept for this mod but always had one problem and I have just now realized a simplistic fix.

Can you make it so there's two vectors; the normal default one and another which suits your purposes? Since I want both. Sometimes I need the vector's high gimbal, and sometimes I don't.

Any luck?

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On 8/10/2016 at 5:55 AM, ZooNamedGames said:

Apologies for the light necro, but I've always liked the concept for this mod but always had one problem and I have just now realized a simplistic fix.

Can you make it so there's two vectors; the normal default one and another which suits your purposes? Since I want both. Sometimes I need the vector's high gimbal, and sometimes I don't.

Any luck?

I could, but I don't wanna.  Mainly because, first, I personally never use the original unmodded Vector ever, and, second, having two identical-appearing parts cluttering up the parts tab in the VAB would give me cognitive dissonance.

However, if you prefer having a modded copy rather than changing the original (and you're not alone-- one of the first posters in this thread asked for the same thing), it's easily remedied.  Here's what you do:  If you look at the .cfg file for the Viktor, you'll note that it's basically like this:

@PART[SSME]
{
    ...stuff...
}

...So, to make it clone instead of modifying the original, edit that to look like this instead:

// Change the @ to a + and then add a @name directive.
// Doesn't matter what you name it, just has to be something
// unique.
+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = viktorEngine
    ...stuff...
}

...And now it does exactly what you want.  :)

A caution:  If you make the above change to a savegame where you already have ships in flight with the modded Vector, you'll turn them back into Vectors.  If you want a more "backwardly compatible" tweak to Vector Repurposed, which won't affect your existing ships in flight, you could do the following, which leaves the current modded Vector in place, but makes an unmodded copy of the original Vector as a new part:

// Add this new section at the start of the file
+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = classicSSME
    // or whatever you want to call it. Note that the @name
    // directive is the *only* thing in this new section, you
    // don't add any of the other stuff.
}

// Then comes the rest of the file, as I currently distribute it, unchanged.
@PART[SSME]
{
    ...stuff...
}

 

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19 minutes ago, Snark said:

I could, but I don't wanna.  Mainly because, first, I personally never use the original unmodded Vector ever, and, second, having two identical-appearing parts cluttering up the parts tab in the VAB would give me cognitive dissonance.

However, if you prefer having a modded copy rather than changing the original (and you're not alone-- one of the first posters in this thread asked for the same thing), it's easily remedied.  Here's what you do:  If you look at the .cfg file for the Viktor, you'll note that it's basically like this:


@PART[SSME]
{
    ...stuff...
}

...So, to make it clone instead of modifying the original, edit that to look like this instead:


// Change the @ to a + and then add a @name directive.
// Doesn't matter what you name it, just has to be something
// unique.
+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = viktorEngine
    ...stuff...
}

...And now it does exactly what you want.  :)

A caution:  If you make the above change to a savegame where you already have ships in flight with the modded Vector, you'll turn them back into Vectors.  If you want a more "backwardly compatible" tweak to Vector Repurposed, which won't affect your existing ships in flight, you could do the following, which leaves the current modded Vector in place, but makes an unmodded copy of the original Vector as a new part:


// Add this new section at the start of the file
+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = classicSSME
    // or whatever you want to call it. Note that the @name
    // directive is the *only* thing in this new section, you
    // don't add any of the other stuff.
}

// Then comes the rest of the file, as I currently distribute it, unchanged.
@PART[SSME]
{
    ...stuff...
}

 

You highly underestimate my coding incompetency but I'll see what I can do (for better or more likely worse).

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13 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

You highly underestimate my coding incompetency but I'll see what I can do (for better or more likely worse).

Heh, no problem.  I may be a coder, but nobody else in my family is.  I'm used to being the tech-support guy, I'm under no illusions about how easy this stuff is (or isn't).  :wink:

If you'd prefer, here's the literal file content you can use, so you don't have to do any actual editing other than a simple copy-paste:

Method 1 (restoring the original Vector to its unmodded state, and making the Viktor a cloned copy):

Spoiler

+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = viktorEngine
    @entryCost = 80000
    @cost = 4500
    @attachRules = 1,0,1,0,0
    @mass = 1.8
    @title ^= :Vector:Viktor:
    @description ^= :The single version.+$:Some engineers wanted to design yet another spaceplane component, but rocket enthusiasts' insistence on the need for an upper-tier 1.25m rocket engine carried the day.:
    @MODULE[ModuleGimbal]
    {
        @gimbalRange = 2
        @useGimbalResponseSpeed = false
    }
    @MODULE[ModuleEnginesFX]
    {
        @maxThrust = 450
    }
}

Method 2 (leaving the Viktor as-is, by modding the Vector itself, and then making a new part cloned from the original unmodded Vector):

Spoiler

+PART[SSME]
{
    @name = classicSSME
}

@PART[SSME]
{
    @entryCost = 80000
    @cost = 4500
    @attachRules = 1,0,1,0,0
    @mass = 1.8
    @title ^= :Vector:Viktor:
    @description ^= :The single version.+$:Some engineers wanted to design yet another spaceplane component, but rocket enthusiasts' insistence on the need for an upper-tier 1.25m rocket engine carried the day.:
    @MODULE[ModuleGimbal]
    {
        @gimbalRange = 2
        @useGimbalResponseSpeed = false
    }
    @MODULE[ModuleEnginesFX]
    {
        @maxThrust = 450
    }
}

Either one of these would work.  Which one's better depends on your circumstance.  Method 1 would be better if you're starting a new save.  Method 2 would be better if you have an existing save where you already have ships with Viktors on them and you don't want to break them.

In either case:  just pick whichever one of the above methods works best for you, just copy the content that I've put here, and completely replace the content of VectorRepurposed.cfg with exactly what I've provided here.  No coding involved, just Notepad and a copy-paste.  :)

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@Snark could you please up the gimbal to 20 because the shuttle engines had 20 degrees of movement and could try to calculate if the Mammoth engine has 4 vector engines couldn't you divide the number of to make both sides happy or compare the real SSMES and try to rescale the thrust to kerbin scale

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1 hour ago, Nerfclasher said:

@Snark could you please up the gimbal to 20 because the shuttle engines had 20 degrees of movement and could try to calculate if the Mammoth engine has 4 vector engines couldn't you divide the number of to make both sides happy or compare the real SSMES and try to rescale the thrust to kerbin scale

Nope, I deliberately nerfed the gimbal because I like it that way.  The insanely huge gimbal was one of the things that the original Vector does that I never cared for.

To be clear:  This mod is completely about game balance (specifically, my own personal idiosyncratic opinion of what is Right and Wrong).  I don't care in the slightest what the "real" shuttle SSME does, because as far as I'm concerned, I neither need nor want a "shuttle" engine, I want a new high-tech 1.25m rocket engine that fits in well with the Mammoth.

I don't pretend to claim that I'm somehow any more "right" than anyone else-- Squad had a reason for designing the original Vector as they did, plenty of people like it, and those people can get along just fine without this mod.  :)  I wrote this mod to make the Vector act how I want it to, and I shared it just 'coz I thought other people might like it, too.

If you'd prefer to change the way it gimbals when you play, it's easy to do.  Just open up the VectorRepurposed.cfg file in Notepad or whatever, and delete the following section:

	@MODULE[ModuleGimbal]
	{
		@gimbalRange = 2
		@useGimbalResponseSpeed = false
	}

...When you delete that, the Viktor will now have the exact same gimbal properties as the original unmodded Vector.

Or, if you prefer, instead of deleting it completely, you can play with it (for example, change gimbalRange from 2 to however many degrees you want).

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Up front, I understand the game balance thing, just wanted to point at the Raptor's specs (SpaceX engine):

Thrust (vac.) ~3,285 kN (738,000 lbf)[1]
Thrust (SL) 3,050 kN (690,000 lbf)[1]
Chamber pressure 30 MPa (4,400 psi)[1]
Isp (vac.) 361 s[1]
Isp (SL) 334 s[1]
Dimensions
Diameter <2 m (6 ft 7 in)[1]

So, in terms of realism, the Vector is rather weak :D

And judging from the look and actual stats, I've got the feeling that the Vector is based on SpaceX' Merlin (914/845 kN, 311/282s ISP)

Edited by Phelan

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