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Realism vs. Kerbalism?

Realism vs. Kerbalism  

262 members have voted

  1. 1. Kerbal rockets should be:

    • copies of real life human rockets (100% real)
    • totally wacky cartoony explody kerbaly rockets (0% real)
    • a bit cartoony, but with real life performance (75% real)

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14 minutes ago, r4pt0r said:

Life support can only be added to the stock game if they add some windows on the map screen so we can easily see how close certain missions are to starving to death, along with probably some alarm clock feature.
It will also need to auto stop timewarp when missions are approaching the food event horizon so-to-speak.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to fit any sane life support to SQUADs numberless philosophy. You can put 12 km/s dv into a ship and eyeball trajectories and avoid thinking math or physics. But you can not estimate duration of such trips. It may be anything from a year to ten years. Or more including rescue missions. Life support must be practically free and therefore futile or some kind of half baked joke where lack of resources shows only some funny message box instead of killing kerbals and ruining mission completely.

So it may be better than life support stays as a mod. Now there are several different mods from cartoony jokes to severe micromanagement drills for nerds.

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So has this turned into another 'what mods should be stock' discussion ? Because honestly I think most of us were coming to KSP to 'get stuff into orbit' and of course if you've played it for a while that might not be enough, but thats why there are optional mods.

As for the aesthetics I do like them but I will at some point definitely try this amazing: Professor Phineas Kerbenstein's wonderous vertical propulsion emporium - mod.

So why not let squad do his vision of the game and everyone else is allowed to alter it to his or her taste.




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I think most people here don't really know all that much about space exploration if they propose some arbitrary 75% or 85% realism to be had in KSP. What's this "realism", then, some token life support? How about all the material science - proper structural integrity, heat management when all electronic and mechanical parts only work well within some -50 to 85 degrees Celsius range, multibody physics that only allows to predict but not fully calculate distant trajectories, etc? This would probably make most players rage quit before they even got their first rocket into proper suborbital flight (as in, not just straight up and freefall).

I urge everyone to read this first: http://history.nasa.gov/conghand/contents.htm (and don't skip the early chapters, it's really eye-opening how little was known about, say, Mars atmosphere back then)

So, I don't really think more "true realism" is what we want but rather something to spice up things for long time players. That "fog of war" is interesting approach, especially in context of gathering science that's already in the game. Though obviosuly some of that is defeated by dV charts and transfer window mods - but then again how would one implement orbital tracking in the game? Building more base structures? Simply spending in-game time to "discover" the planets and their correct orbits?

I do have some loose ideas of my own of course, including guidance systems, although some of that can be done already with mods. Problem is, this is usually non-trivial and not because it's a complicated subject but due to said mods being too simplistic, too buggy, not playing along with other mods, etc. On the other hand I understand one cannot make everybody happy and there has to be some limit as to what can be included in the base game.

So, I'd rather list things that are already in the game and that I find lacking:

- Service bays are useless, it's easier to just slap everything onto the spacecraft itself and save mass. Please make the science stuff break very easily (at least during LKO insertion?) so that bays are simply necessary. I don't know, make them fall off super easily due to air drag or something? Also, add light into all bays.

- The science tree makes no sense. Does anyone even use fuel cells when, by the time we get them, we have access to solar panels and big batteries?

- There is no mono engine that's stackble, and I would love to make proper mono-only Minmus/Ike ascent module. Two O-10 "Puff" engines work I guess but why not make a stackable one (that can be connected to a decoupler?)

- Pods are too heavy. We get Mk1 pod faster and cheaper than the lander can, plus it can survive LKO reentry on it's own so it has some merit. Otherwise you always need a heat shield for those high-V entries so at that point lander can + shield combo is superior (though more expensive). Mk1-2 pod is 4.12t and takes 3 kerbals. Mk2 Lander+PPD-10 combo is 5.16t and takes 6 and you get more mono fuel. A bit less electric charge is easily offset by batteries which you'll add anyway. I've yet find a destination where that 1t would be a deal breaker and I'd revert back to using the pod instead.

- Lights, seriously, we need to unlock how much of the tech tree to get a silly lamp? Plus why so bulky. Eh, I guess I could live with it if we had at least one small omni light for self-illumination early...

- Stayputnik. I used it once in the 100+ hrs I've clocked in KSP. Either add SAS to it or just remove it entirely. It's even less usable than service bays.

- Make antennas stay locked in the open position (toggleable), even after data transfer. It's a minor issue, I know, but here we are talking about some serious LOS/range overhaul for the radio systems and the antennas retract by default...

- User action groups should be enabled by default. Make a limit of 2 at first for example if it's necessary but it seriously makes zero sense to have to upgrade the VAB to level 3 to get it.

You might think this wishlist has little to do with the topic of realism but I disagree. As I said we can't have proper realism, but we do have certain immersion, and nothing breaks that more for me than those pesky little problems.

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I, for one, think life support is pretty crucial. The time limits it sets makes the game vastly more interesting to me. with Minmus 6.4X farther, I need to think in terms of 100 days life support, and if there was a problem (though I cannot imagine having difficulty landing on Minmus), a rescue would need to be en route very quickly.

REgarding fog of war (for lack of a better term), it would require a game mode that at the very least randomizes elements of the Kerbol system (for repeat play as an option). It could keep the same planets, though perhaps with as many extra planets, then mix them up, and do rescales a la Kopernicus. So you'd elect to play this mode, and it gives you a seed (so you can try again, or share the seed), and you find your new career with the planets all scaled between 1x and maybe 6.4X, with distances scaled as well. Kerbin itself might never scale past 4X or so (6.4X is possible with stock parts, but sort of hard, 3.2X is hardly different at all with stock parts, however). You'd then not be given much about the other worlds. Map view of worlds would be set such that the nearest zoom shows the planet as seen through a telescope on Kerbin (a circle of a color... Dun might show the poles, but there is no zooming in. Map zoom would be scaled to the nearest you've been to it with a craft,plus a modifier for the type of camera (some cameras might be telescopes).

Different science instruments would give you the date they should, and provide useful data. Say you do an orbital survey, and complete that task, then the game would supply you with suggestions for  aerobraking altitude, etc (your KSC staff reduce the data, and let you know).


Dunno, but I would like that game.

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Hey you guys! I thonk that this is pertinant to the subject of this thread: I will be reviving Bargain Rocket Parts! They fit perfectly into the wacky explodey category! I'll have a new thread up soon, but here's the legacy thread:


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I would like to see realism as additional game mode in stock game. It could be career with real fuels (not all of them), realistic engines configs e.t.c. maybe bigger planets. Maybe some basic life support. 

Stock game as it is right now is completely fine, but realism as additional game mode would be perfect solution to stop this battle...

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12 minutes ago, SSgt Baloo said:

The thing is, you can already add the desired level of realism using mods. Or the desired level of unrealism, for that matter. Why should the Squad staff expend time, money and effort in duplicating something that is already for free?

because using mods introduce more problems and bugs, more mods - more problems. and i have trust issues :P  - mod development might be stopped after new update which causes new set of problems.

Edited by marcello639
finish sentence
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4 hours ago, BrENDERr said:
there are still discussing KSP realism! lovers of realism i offer to sit in front of the monitor for 2-4 hours in anticipation of the ship kerbonaut  for exit !! and then 6 hours on 2 unpretentious replacement surgery module! see how long you soak this game!

It shouldn't have to be said (again) but apparently it does. Realism isn't a binary question. We can have some, more, less, partial and/or optional realistic aspects and elements to the game. It is not, never has been, nor will it ever be a question of choosing between "EXACTLY REAL" and "FUN".

The issue I see most often is with people who don't particularly want some additional layer of complexity added (LS, say) who feel no compunction about declaring what others might want to be a "waste of dev time." "Me, Me, ME, forget you!" is not a very cool stance to adopt.

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 hours ago, RocketSquid said:

If you want "time limits" on your craft, why bother with life support when you can just terminate any craft that's been flying for longer than you think it should be able to with the supplies on board?

Because If a vessel runs out of LS the kerbals die but the ship remains. And wo is gonn EVA six kerbals, go to the tracking station and kill them all? No one. 

Edited by Andem
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  • 2 months later...

Maybe their should by different modes of difficulty like for example,

Mode 1: for beginners more OP parts for easier game play more cartoonist/Fun for Noobs,Etc

Mode 2: just regular Stock KSP of today

Mode 3: for veteran of Hardcore players,RSS or scaled up System more Fuels,realistic Aerodynamics,LS Etc,MOAR Boosters:cool:

It's a Learning Curve for new players, and opens new challenges for players that thing Stock game is to Easy,without modding

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On 08/03/2016 at 2:23 PM, Hannu2 said:

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to fit any sane life support to SQUADs numberless philosophy. You can put 12 km/s dv into a ship and eyeball trajectories and avoid thinking math or physics. But you can not estimate duration of such trips. It may be anything from a year to ten years. Or more including rescue missions. Life support must be practically free and therefore futile or some kind of half baked joke where lack of resources shows only some funny message box instead of killing kerbals and ruining mission completely.

So it may be better than life support stays as a mod. Now there are several different mods from cartoony jokes to severe micromanagement drills for nerds.

Alternately, it could be made easier to judge the duration of said trips by adding new UI elements in the tracking station such as proper mission planning and porkchop plots. ETAs are already displayed during normal missing planning in-flight.

If the player doesn't know something, the solution is to tell that player that - not keeping everything dependant on that information out of the game. It would be like failing to implement the Mun in the days of old because it's hard to visit without using the map, and then refusing to add the map because of a concern thought that players are too dumb to use more than one type of screen in-flight.

Edited by Holo
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i don't think i would enjoy the game much if it was too realistic. i view it as a good mix of "gamey" elements with a somewhat realistic background. i suppose something like life support could be added without making it too tedious, but then the devs would also have to add a lot better planning tools for interplanetary travel etc. you can't just tack on an arbitrary life support system without also giving the user the tools to plan transfers (ie. transfer windows, deltaV calculations etc.). that would be a very bad decision from a game design point of view - you punish the player for doing something wrong without giving adequate tools to do it right.

regarding the general level of simplification (simplified fuel types, simple electricity system, powerful reaction wheels, simple docking, simple crew/fuel transfer etc.) - i think the balance is pretty good. i don't see how 20 different types of fuel would make the game better as a game. it would be more realistic, but it would not improve the gameplay at all. they shouldn't add needless complexity just for the sake of realism. it's still a game, after all. it should be at least somewhat accessible for new players. the learning curve is already very steep compared to... pretty much every other video game i played in the last 30 years.

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@mk1980 sums up my thoughts pretty well.

RL space flight has lots and lots of complex things to take into consideration.

IMO, KSP should 'represent' as many of these elements as possible in ways that make players aware of the fact that these things need to be planned for, without bogging them down in fiddly detail (mods can do that extremely well for those players that want it).

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I really think that there is such a wide range of views on how realistic KSP should be and what constitutes `fun` in the game that the only real solution is a series of increasing difficulty options (for all aspects, physics, life support, heating, reverts etc) in the menu so that the most cartoony and whacky player can play exactly  how they want and the most hardcore realistic player also can play exactly how they want. Even to the point where the entire solar system is replaced with our current one including realfuels, ullage, life support etc. Also at the other extreme, tiny solar system, overpowered engines, no life support, etc

Everyone gets the game they want. Everybody wins.

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Kerbal should have to deal with most of the same problems we deal with when I comes to space travel such as (in kerbalism) life support, comms, and power stuff that you can solve creatively. But without having to worry about the less interesting problems such as what type of fuel this engine uses or how many Gs they can take.

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