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Given that the upper tiers are not yet filled, it seems pretty clear that Squad intends to revisit Kerbal experience at some point, so I thought we could chat about how to improve the system. While skills have been discussed a few times, how to make pilots more useful etc, I don't think we've talked much about how gaining experience works. I've been playing for some time and I’m not sure even I’m clear about the most efficient way to level kerbals, so I can imagine newer players might be having trouble.

 

A few thoughts:

 

- There are a number of factors leading to experience grind, but one of the biggest to my mind is how and when experience is awarded. I actually think exploration as the principal activity is the simplest, least grindy way of measuring what kerbals have done, but the fact that they only receive XP upon recovery does slow things down. It creates the incentive for repetitive one-off missions rather than building ambitious multi-vessel space programs. For instance a player who sent a kerbal on a Jool-5 would stay level 0 until they returned home to Kerbin. This seems wrong somehow.

 

First, Kerbals ought really to collect experience for each new place they reach as they reach it. They also ought to automatically level up in flight. Not only would this just be clearer to understand and work with, but it would properly reward multi-world missions and missions remounted through stations.

 

- I've mentioned this in regards to science but a nice move might be to differentiate the payouts for different biomes on the same body. The difference needn't be much, 10-50% at most, just enough to make the difference meaningful and encourage players to select landing sites carefully. This could be extended by expanding the world-firsts and Easter-eggs/anomalies into a real system of sites that reward players with rep, funds, science, and/or XP bonuses. I'd personally like to see them made a bit more 'sciency', with mineral formations, geysers, signs of life, etc, but either way giving them real gameplay value could further encourage precision landings and rovers for surface exploration.

 

- Flag planting really ought to be removed from the list of things for which a Kerbal can gain experience. It just ends up being grindy and repetitive in practice. In general, the tasks which will award a kerbal seem a bit finicky. It really could be reduced to Orbit and Landed for each world. When a kerbal was selected in the Astronaut Complex their profile would show a list of each place they had visited with the XP earned for each beside. This way players would have a visual log both of where each crew member had gone, but what they had earned for going there for future reference. If a Kerbal returned to a previously visited body, their landing bonus would only increase if it was in a biome with a higher multiplier.

 

- To balance for this the XP values would need to be reduced. Really a Kerbal who had visited the Mun and Minmus should be at level 2. This might be stretched to level 3 by visiting an asteroid or a few bonus sites. Levels 4 and 5 ought really to require interplanetary missions.


- Im sure they plan over time to fill out the upper skill levels. I’ll admit I’d love to see KAS for a level 5 engineer, things like aerocapture and landing site prediction for high level pilots. Im not crazy about the current Mobile Lab setup, but I tend to think higher level scientists should collect more valuable EVA reports and surface samples. It was also suggested that higher level pilots might offer XP bonuses to other crew members, which I like, but would need to be carefully applied to avoid exploits. I haven’t compiled a list of skills, but Im sure others have thoughts on that?

 

- Cosmetically, I'd also love to see different suit colors/stripes/stars indicating a kerbal's discipline and rank. That be neat.

 

 

What issues have people been having? What fun things do you think kerbals could do?

Edited by Pthigrivi
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1 minute ago, Pthigrivi said:

- Cosmetically, I'd also love to see different suit colors/stripes/stars indicating a kerbal's discipline and rank. That be neat.

This. A thousand times this.

1 minute ago, Pthigrivi said:

- Im sure they plan over time to fill out the upper skill levels. I’ll admit I’d love to see KAS for a level 5 engineer, things like aerocapture and landing site prediction for high level pilots. Im not crazy about the current Mobile Lab setup, but I tend to think higher level scientists should collect more valuable EVA reports and surface samples. It was also suggested that higher level pilots might offer XP bonuses to other crew members, which I like, but would need to be carefully applied to avoid exploits. I haven’t compiled a list of skills, but Im sure others have thoughts on that?

Scientists already passively boost your science gain-I think. The pilot progression (with different vectors unlocking as you get XP) seems pretty good to me, though I would love to see trajectory prediction. However, engineers do need filling out. KAS would indeed be awesome.

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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

- To balance for this the XP values would need to be reduced. Really a Kerbal who had visited the Mun and Minmus should be at level 2. This might be stretched to level 3 by visiting an asteroid or a few bonus sites. Levels 4 and 5 ought really to require interplanetary missions.

I agree with everything here and would add...

I think World firsts should give a rep bonus for Kerbal who achieves them. Still this would work nicely with your suggestion of cutting back the XP in Kerbin's SOI. You could still maybe have a level 3 Kerbal or 2 before you go interplanetary but would be limited by the number of World first bonus XP that you could be gained. 

The other way to change the weighting would be to move away from the bog standard each level requiring twice the XP of the level before.

I agree that Kerbals shouldn't need to come back to Kerbin to process experience in to skills but they should need down time. For the mos part to me this would be time in a crew cabin not in a control pod or science module. This might need a time mechanic like 1pending XP turned in to 1XP per day compared to the current system of coming back to Kerbin giving instantaneous conversion of Pending to real XP. Still even a Minmus trip still allows lots of processing time.

My Stretch wish for Kerbals would be to see them earn practical skills in their discipline.

Not enough as single Kerbal to replace an autopilot system like mechJeb. Still every task mechJeb can do Kerbals with enough skill should also be able to do, the gotcha being it would take multiple Kerbals working together to get more useful functions. So in might take two 3 star pilots to launch a craft to orbit or execute a maneuver node in orbit,  also give them the assistance (ie. being in the same control module) of a 4 star engineer they could do an interplanetary transfer.

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3 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

 

First, Kerbals ought really to collect experience for each new place they reach as they reach it. They also ought to automatically level up in flight. Not only would this just be clearer to understand and work with, but it would properly reward multi-world missions and missions remounted through stations.

 

But is this a wanted thing? I always believed that the Exp gain is given at the end to PREVENT super ambitious missions ranking up your Kerbals in flight. 

Its possible to mimic the Research aspect of the game and give some exp for on-duty work, but a majority of the exp is given on return. So ambitious missions do give exp in flight, and thus are a little more realistic and easier to understand. But just like research, and funds, a majority of the experience will be gained once you returned.

 

You shouldn't cater a whole mechanic to the best players, the ones who would fly to both moons of Kerbin ASAP. As game progression is important, and gaining exp SHOULD be somewhat of a grind. Especially when it comes to this sort of somewhat trivial part of the game. I've always been an advocate of expanding the exp system for funds to exp transitions. Giving Kerbals "training" for funds would mean less grinding late game to get a Kerbal up to speed. This would be an alternative to grinding exp for kerbals for lower levels of exp. 

 

Pilots are pretty set, with the new additions to "nerf" probes in the future their usage should be fine as is. Throw on a few helpful perks might be cool, but nothing major comes to mind.

Scientists are in a tough position, before the tech tree is finished they are THE MOST IMPORTANT Kerbal to have. Once it is finished they are possibly the LEAST IMPORTANT. This dynamic can't be tweaked much, since their late game usage is amplitifed by science to fund transitions. They currently are, and probably always will be the "Cargo Kerbal". The only thing I can think of is to nerf the Surface Sampling to be Scientist specific. This would make them more viable on all missions that are going to land. Since a Scientists ability to re-set experiments on a non-moving lander isn't as useful as compared to a space station a player might reason to leave them in Orbit to handle the science on return. This is a minor idea, but interesting to think about

 

Engineers, these guys need the most work. Personally I find them useless unless something breaks. In such cases re-loading my save spares them of any real work. KAS is the single most important addition this game could get to expand Kerbonauts importance. I wont go into detail since Im fairly sure everyone is in agreement that such an addition would be AMAZING for this game as whole. 

 

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5 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

that they only receive XP for the for the most valuable achievement does slow things down. Because the experience is lost otherwise, it creates the incentive for repetitive one-off missions rather than building ambitious multi-vessel space programs. Right now a player would be inclined to run 4 separate missions to fly-by, orbit, land, and plant a flag on the Mun,

This shows that you do not understand the experience system.

It is absolutely not true that a player would be inclined ot run 4 seperate missions. Plant a flag on the Mun... done.

If you do 4 seperate missions (In the order you listed), you would get +2 experience, +1, +1.6, and then +0.4 experience, for a grand total (after 4 missions) of 5 experience.

If you do 1 mission with a flag planted, you get 5 experience.

Levelling up in the field could be nice, but I suspect it would be too easy.

I could send away nothing but lvl 0 kerbals, and pretty much any destination will give them enough exp to get to lvl3 or better, which means for engineers I'd always have the ability to repair wheels/struts/repack chutes/ do efficient ISRU.

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4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

It is absolutely not true that a player would be inclined ot run 4 seperate missions. Plant a flag on the Mun... done.

If you do 4 seperate missions (In the order you listed), you would get +2 experience, +1, +1.6, and then +0.4 experience, for a grand total (after 4 missions) of 5 experience.

If you do 1 mission with a flag planted, you get 5 experience.

Really? Has this changed? Thats not what it says in the wiki, and to be honest the UI for this system is so scant I'm not sure Ive even noticed?

 

4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

I could send away nothing but lvl 0 kerbals, and pretty much any destination will give them enough exp to get to lvl3 or better, which means for engineers I'd always have the ability to repair wheels/struts/repack chutes/ do efficient ISRU.

Not I think if the rewards were simply reduced. If it was quite difficult to reach level 2 by seeing everything in Kerbin SOI, then a fresh Kerbal reaching Duna could still only reach level 2 or so. That still seems pretty fair. You're also basing that on the fact that as things stand a level 3 kerbal is essentially maxed. If levels 4 and 5 held much bigger rewards and required completing everything in SOI and visiting at least 2 planets that too seems pretty reasonable. The main concern is that mid-level game progression where some of your original kerbals are leveled up nicely, and you have a pack of newbies you'd like to make useful before a big interplanetary mission. Sending them on a bunch of repeat Mun missions with no other yield is kind of a drag. It also hampers players who use reusable landers and stations. As with a Jool 5, If I send a kerbal to the Mun, then back to a station, refuel, and then out to Minmus, they remain at level 0 until they return home. 

 

6 hours ago, MKI said:

You shouldn't cater a whole mechanic to the best players, the ones who would fly to both moons of Kerbin ASAP. As game progression is important, and gaining exp SHOULD be somewhat of a grind. Especially when it comes to this sort of somewhat trivial part of the game. 

You think? I tend to think any time players are spending fussing over something menial is time that could be spent enjoying the better parts of the game. It aught to be a balance between new players and veterans. For a player who's just made it to the Mun, mounting 2 interplanetary missions to get their kerbals up to level 5 would be pretty intimidating. Long time players on the other hand aren't going to want to sit around replaying dozens of low-level missions. I tend to think leveling up on the fly satisfies both.

 

7 hours ago, mattinoz said:

I agree that Kerbals shouldn't need to come back to Kerbin to process experience in to skills but they should need down time. For the mos part to me this would be time in a crew cabin not in a control pod or science module. This might need a time mechanic like 1pending XP turned in to 1XP per day compared to the current system of coming back to Kerbin giving instantaneous conversion of Pending to real XP. Still even a Minmus trip still allows lots of processing time.

This concern I am sympathetic to, and I actually think this could be a really important window to make habitation modules a real part of the game and not just eye candy. My thinking is a new component to experience could be added at some point called "Happiness". Each Kerbal would leave KSC with 100% happiness, and each day it would lose 1%. When a kerbal reached their destination, XP would pay out based on this percentage. The rate of decline could however be reduced or nearly stopped by adding more kerbals to the mission, and by including habitation modules. Not only would this make down-time and crew rotation necessary, but it would be a push against sending poor Jeb to Eeloo in a lander can without breaking the game. He could get there and would still be useful, but he'd be unhappy and wouldn't learn anything from what he was doing.

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11 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

First, Kerbals ought really to collect experience for each new place they reach as they reach it. They also ought to automatically level up in flight.

This is all I would ask. The current way of awarding XP only at return works more akin to badges, certificates, or ranks. If that is as intended, then rename the system to call it achievements or something. But considering that the game attaches 'being able to xx or yy' to XP I do not think that is the intention, so please make gaining XP a seamless experience without 'checkpoints' by forcing return to KSC.

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3 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Really? Has this changed? Thats not what it says in the wiki, and to be honest the UI for this system is so scant I'm not sure Ive even noticed?

 

Not I think if the rewards were simply reduced. If it was quite difficult to reach level 2 by seeing everything in Kerbin SOI, then a fresh Kerbal reaching Duna could still only reach level 2 or so. That still seems pretty fair. You're also basing that on the fact that as things stand a level 3 kerbal is essentially maxed. If levels 4 and 5 held much bigger rewards and required completing everything in SOI and visiting at least 2 planets that too seems pretty reasonable.

It hasn't changed, it was always like that, but yea... the wiki explanation could use some work, it is not very clear.

Right now it takes 8 xp to get to lvl 2.

One mission to Minmus gets you to lvl2. (Orbit kerbin: 2, flag on minmus 6.25, total : 8.25)

The system would need extensive changes to make it "harder" to gain more experience within kerbin's soi, beyond simply making it require 13 points to get to lvl 2, such that you also need to plant a flag on Mun to get it.... like havin experience for each biome visited.

Meanwhile, a trip to just duna gets you:

orbit kerbin (2)

Orbit sun (6)

Flag on duna (12.5)

and you could easily get at least an Ike flyby (5)...

When you kerbal sets foot on Duna and plants the flag, it has 25.5 XP... lvl 3 with 9.5 XP to spare.

 

A mission to a moon of Jool:

orbit kerbin (2)

Orbit sun (6)

Orbit Jool (12)

assuming you use a gravity assist from tylo/laythe to do that: flyby of a moon (8)

Flag on a different moon (20)

20+8+12+6+2 = 48 ... lvl 4 with 16 xp to spare... just 16 XP away from lvl 5... ie... land on one more moon in that system...

It gets even worse if your mission has you go to minmus to refuel before departing for Jool...

I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I've set up a substantial Duna colony with an ISRU and orbiting fuel depot... and I want them to take their interplanetary mothersip and head to jool... but I also want to bring them back so I can get them promoted... and it will be a long... long time before the get back if they proceed to Jool.

But if I could do field promotions, then I might as well start with completely inexperienced crew, because they'll get adequate promotions by the time I need to repack chutes or repair a landing leg after a hard landing... or run an ISRU for a net gain using fuel cells... etc... and then they might as well just eliminate XP.

 

I'd rather let lvls 4 and 5 get perks of other classes.

Lvl 4 engineer... can get a pilot's ability to hold a craft steadyand follow prograde... or it could pick the ability to reset science experiments and do science in a lab.... for example

 

Also... editing action groups in flight should just be a thing that engineers do... innately... IMO

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27 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

The system would need extensive changes to make it "harder" to gain more experience within kerbin's soi ...

I think it is fine to reach lvl2 within kerbins SOI. I want kerbals that actually can do something better than plain unexperienced noobs when I leave to a big mission like going to Jool or Duna (for me it's still a big thing, probably not just for me.).

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So do I... I don't send my Kerbals interplanetary until they are lvl 3.

I can already get them to lvl 3 in a single single stage flight.

Step #1: have the following:

*a SSTO spaceplane with a LV-N and a couple thousand dV in orbit. Mine has a crew capacity of 6.

Step #2: Fly your SSTO to Kerbin orbit: 2 XP for the n00b kerbals

Step #3: Fly your SSTO to Mun, enter orbit (3 XP)

Step #4: Transfer to Minmus, enter orbit and EVA kerbals down to the surface to plant a flag (+6.25 XP) and back up to the SSTO

Step #5: burn until you are just barely on a kerbin escape trajectory... once you exit kerbin's SOI, burn back to kerbin intercept (+6 XP)

Total XP: 17.25 .... 1.25 XP over the threshold for lvl 3

*optionally: have a munar lander and orbiting fuel depot to refuel it (preferably supplie by ISRU), or a SSTO that can land on Mun(after a refuel at a fuel depot? preferably supplied by ISRU) -> +2 XP

It technically involved leaving kerbin's SOI... but you just barely go outside it. You don't enter the SOI of another planet

Otherwise, without leaving kerbin's SOI, its orbit kerbin+2, Flag on Mun + 5, Flag on minmus+6.25 = 13.25... over the 8 needed for lvl 2, but 2.75 XP sort of lvl 3.

So I do the 1 training flight(with a Mun landing), and have 6 kerbals at lvl 3... the ISRU could stil be more efficient, the research labs could still be more productive, but lvl 4 is only 12.75 XP away...

To get to lvl 4 from there:

Flag on moho 17.5 XP (4.75 more than needed -MTN)

Flag on Gilly +15 XP (2.25 MTN)

Orbit eve, fly by gilly +13.5 XP (0.75 MTN)

Fly by Ike, flight (suborbital, not escaping while in atmosphere) over duna +17.5XP (4.75 MTN)

Orbit duna, orbit Ike +15XP (2.25 MTN)

Flag on Dres +15 XP (2.25 MTN)

Flyby of Jool & flyby any of the moons +14 XP (1.25 MTN)

Orbit Eeloo +15 XP (2.25 MTN)

So.... not so hard to reach lvl 4.

LVL5.... thats either a visit to 2 planets and stuf in kerbin SOI, or a trip to Jool and multiple moons of Jool, because you need 32 XP after reaching lvl 4 to get to lvl 5 (2 landings on Joolian moons will get you this)

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I think the suggestion of badges has merits. It'd be awesome to see for each of my brave Kerbals on what planets/moons they have set foot, how many hours spent on th esurface, in orbit, flight, etc. In addition how many Kerbals rescued, surface samples collected, etc.

I agree that from a realism point field promotions make sense, and from gaming point of view they do not. Here's a suggestion:

  • There are experience points and skill points. Both are acquired in same fashion and quantity; when you gain 3 xp, you gain 3 skill.
  • Experience is purely optical for the stars and paygrade and for basic tasks
  • Skill points is the currency you buy skills with. Skills cannot be refunded, and can only be awarded at the astronaut complex.
  • For an engineer, skills are simple: the ability to operate mining equipment, operate the ISRU, repair wheels, repair solar panels, repack parachutes, etc.
  • For a scientist, skills could be research enhancements and higher quality surface samples
  • For a pilot, the existing skills can be copied; pro/retrograde, normal/radial and target/marker

In addition the cost of training can be adjusted to support the game. Training scientists for certain skills should be easy (cheap) as you need them mainly in the beginning of the game, where training engineers might be more expensive to reflect the need later on in the game.

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First, Kerbals ought really to collect experience for each new place they reach as they reach it. They also ought to automatically level up in flight. Not only would this just be clearer to understand and work with, but it would properly reward multi-world missions and missions remounted through stations.

I have a serious concern about this idea because of the implication it has for career progression.

Consider the following milestones:

Land on Mun or Minmus.  The highest level you could possibly be before this is level 1.  The process of getting to either body gives you instant level 1 (even if you don't circularise, the combination of flight on Kerbin and flyby Mun/Minmus will get you level 1).

Leave Kerbin's SoI.  The highest you can get without this is level 2.  Orbit Kerbin and leave Kerbin's SoI is instant level 2.

Land on Ike, Gilly, Duna or (if you're suicidal), Eve: Highest currently is level 3 if you max out Kerbin's moons and poke your head out of Kerbin's SoI.  Orbit kerbin, Orbit Sun and any of flyby Ike (involving flyby Duna to get there), or flyby Gilly (involving flyby Eve to get there) or enter the atmosphere of either Duna or Eve will all get you instant level 3.

In short, this change means that what under the existing system is "your best, most experienced Kerbal" after the change becomes "that guy you just hired off the street".

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You know, the problem I've always had with this is that it's impossible to train Kerbals for a mission.  Right now, the only way to level up your guys is to actually just do the missions, or to do a bunch of unrelated tasks. In real life, the more you do something, generally, the better you get at it - as you gain experience, you also gain skill.  Granted the law of diminishing returns means that the amount of skill gained by training isn't infinite, but there's still something to be said for proficiency.  I mean, imagine if the only way we could train the Apollo astronauts was to make them do a bunch of unrelated tasks, and then actually fly to the moon - instead they practiced flying to the moon.  It would be like if they ran the simulator once, and then said "nope, already got all we can out of that, let's go plant a flag out back and see what that teaches us."  They ran the simulators hundred of times and learned from it.  If your guys to mission-essential things, they should get experience for it.  Maybe less each time, down to a minimum value, but still something.  I'd rather have my engineers repack chutes on Kerbal a bunch of times before trying it on Duna.  Likewise, I wouldn't dream of trying to fly to Mun with a level 0 or 1 pilot - and how many people don't?  They pack a probe core with more skills than their pilots have and bootleg having a level 3 pilot aboard.  So why not have a mechanic where pilots can do training flights and increase their level?  Successful completion of x number of flights yields xp.  Ditto for scientists - successfully doing x number of science tasks yields a certain amount of xp.  I have no idea how that would work with engineers outside of KAS, but there's probably something comparable they could do.

Like someone else said - the current system is great as an achievement system, but I don't like having the Kerbal's skills tied to it.  I'd rather see skills increase with use.

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@Kerbart @JJE64 Such words, much agreement.

I do want to clarify that part of my suggestion, which I think also reflects the OP's first point, is that the skill increase should not be delayed until after the Kerbals return to KSC. Experience should translate to skill increase on the fly, just like it works in real life.

Skill levels right now are directly tied to what a Kerbal is capable of. An engineer cannot repack a chute or repair a wheel until after receiving a new skill level, and no matter how much XP they accumulate on a trip, your Kerbals cannot apply that experience until after returning to KSC. This way, XP is like a currency that is saved up and can only be used to 'buy' new capabilities when you get back to the KSC Shop-o-Skillz. This part I would like to see changed, and I think that is also the first point of the OP.

Experience is not 'saved up', it builds, and with every little interaction with the equipment, every successful maneuver, every emergency intervention, the Kerbal is learning on the job to apply their training and to adapt to practical circumstance. That should reflect on what they are capable of right there and then... not just after returning and exchanging their XP for a badge.

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It would be useful to have crew/eva report science rewards scale with Kerbal experience. Surface samples and experiments should be nearly constant, as they are processed at home. 

 

A possibility:

Pilot Crew/EVA Reports: Give reputation according to experience (+ base science yield) of +0, +1,+2,+4,+8,+16, times science multiplier... think Neil Armstrong, etc

Engineer Crew/EVA Reports: Give bonus funds (+ base science yield) of +0,+1000,+2000,+4000,+8000,+16000 times science multiplier...symbolizes industrial applications of observations, etc.

Science Crew/EVA Reports: Give bonus science (+ base science yield) of +0,+1,+2,+4,+8,+16 times science multiplier, representing superior report quality and observations.

 

Make it rewarding to send high level Kerbals to get information, and allow the Kerbal selected to give a different class-based rewards useful in career.

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9 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

It hasn't changed, it was always like that, but yea... the wiki explanation could use some work, it is not very clear.

So the wiki is just wrong? If true thats great news. 

9 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I've set up a substantial Duna colony with an ISRU and orbiting fuel depot... and I want them to take their interplanetary mothersip and head to jool... but I also want to bring them back so I can get them promoted... and it will be a long... long time before the get back if they proceed to Jool.

This is exactly what Im talking about. On the extreme you could imagine a Kerbal visiting every body in the system and remaining at level 0 simply because they had not yet returned to Kerbin. That cant be right. My central point on this is that if things were to be rebalanced the only thing leveling on recovery does is require redundant return home trips and penalize more ambitious multi-world mission playstyles. 

Let’s say we removed flag planting, but left flight and fly-bys:

 

Kerbin Flight: 1XP

Kerbin Orbit: 2XP

Kerbin Fly-by: 1XP

 

Mun Fly-by: 1XP

Mun Orbit: 2XP

Mun Landing: 5XP

 

Minmus Fly-by: 1XP

Minmus Orbit: 2XP

Minmus Landing: 4XP

 

So making orbit will give 1 level, landing on a moon will give 2 levels, but level 3 will require landing on both moons.

 

Kerbol Orbit: 2XP

Asteroid visit: 3XP

 

Duna Fly-by: 2XP

Duna Orbit: 4XP

Duna Flight: 2XP

Duna Landing: 9XP

 

Ike Fly-by: 1XP

Ike Orbit: 2XP

Ike Landing: 5XP


A Kerbal can make level 3 by leaving straight for Duna, but not level 4. Visiting the Mun, Minmus, Ike, and Duna will get a player to level 4, but not level 5. Reaching level 5 would require visiting at least 2 planets. This seems pretty reasonable to me. Other planets could be similarly adjusted. All that's really been removed is the need for repetitious missions. 

 

Which is the main point. Requiring players to repeat menial tasks when they've already demonstrated the ability to do more complicated ones is the definition of grind. I realize why people would worry that things might become too easy, especially for people who play a lot, but you have to consider that very few players ever actually do land on 2 planets. All I'm suggesting is that reducing the amount of time fussing over repeat leveling missions makes room for players to really play the game, mounting missions to places they've never been. If we are going to fuss, I'd rather be fussing over carefully picking a landing site and whether I need a rover or not.

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51 minutes ago, MaxL_1023 said:

Pilot Crew/EVA Reports: Give reputation according to experience (+ base science yield) of +0, +1,+2,+4,+8,+16, times science multiplier... think Neil Armstrong, etc

Engineer Crew/EVA Reports: Give bonus funds (+ base science yield) of +0,+1000,+2000,+4000,+8000,+16000 times science multiplier...symbolizes industrial applications of observations, etc.

Science Crew/EVA Reports: Give bonus science (+ base science yield) of +0,+1,+2,+4,+8,+16 times science multiplier, representing superior report quality and observations.

I like this concept a lot, but might be overpowered. You might be able to tighten it so that rep pay-outs for contracts are increased when a high level pilot is on board, the recovery value of vessels with high level engineers are on board, and scientists would could gather more valuable EVA and Surface Sample.  

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I am not sure how overpowered it would be - any bonus beyond +4 would require a Kerbal who has went to LKO,Mun,Minmus and Duna/Ike or a Jool mission (level 4). 

For example, landing a level 2  Kerbal on the Mun would give you +2(3.5) +7 science, +7 rep or +7000 funds for the landed EVA report. It is enough to notice, but not too much. 

I think surface samples should be mostly as-is, since they are examined on Kerbin. Basically, the Kerbal is told what to collect and brings it back in a bag. Reports are done on-site and are supposedly what the Kerbal notices. 

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14 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

You think? I tend to think any time players are spending fussing over something menial is time that could be spent enjoying the better parts of the game. It aught to be a balance between new players and veterans. For a player who's just made it to the Mun, mounting 2 interplanetary missions to get their kerbals up to level 5 would be pretty intimidating. Long time players on the other hand aren't going to want to sit around replaying dozens of low-level missions. I tend to think leveling up on the fly satisfies both.

I never felt that just ranking your Kerbals up justifies a mission, especially if it means mounting 2 interplanetary missions EXCLUSIVELY as your goal. I always thought it was more of the mission/ contract/ personal achievement, not exp gain. For the most part the gains added from ranking up your kerbal aren't much.

Now this is why I mentioned paying funds to rank Kerbals up. If you REALLY needed better Kerbonauts, then just pay for them. Everybody wins if you have a good space program going. If you don't then you need to focus on what's important, which is money.

 

Currently the exp reward is very minimal, pilots are just convenience, Engineers only do things if something breaks, and scientist's base skills are the most important for 1st time missions. 

Cattering to keeping a Kerbal away from Kerbin is cool, but somewhat ridiculous. If Kerbals never had to go back to get exp, why EVER bring them back? They would become less like astronauts and rather become more like cargo. If we cared about realism we would put a time limit on when they can go back up relative to how long they were in space (downtime) but since anyone can time warp through that any ways thats not really an option.

I can see how this checkpoint system hurts, but really its the only thing that keeps Kerbals tied to Kerbin at the end of the day. We don't have to deal with insannity, long term 0-g problems, life support, food, and all of this is JUST to get a tiny little perk for a Kerbal.

Give the ability to rank Kerbals up for funds, and all of this goes away and FOCUSES the game back on actually doing missions. Not on exp grinds for small boosts in productivity.

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They ran the simulators hundred of times and learned from it.  If your guys to mission-essential things, they should get experience for it.  Maybe less each time, down to a minimum value, but still something.  I'd rather have my engineers repack chutes on Kerbal a bunch of times before trying it on Duna.

I can't help but feel this is a case of too much realism making the game tedious.  I can think of nothing more dull than sending an engineer to the launchpad, deploying a parachute and repacking it for the 10th time.  This is a game we're supposed to be playing here.

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Likewise, I wouldn't dream of trying to fly to Mun with a level 0 or 1 pilot - and how many people don't?  They pack a probe core with more skills than their pilots have and bootleg having a level 3 pilot aboard.

Seriously?  With my "get off my lawn" voice on, I played enough before XP and levelling was introduced, where all you had was the equivalent of level 0 pilots and went to loads of places (certainly Mun, Minmus, Duna, Ike and Gilly) with no problems.

In a normal career progression, unless you completely farm Kerbin biomes, which gets pretty grindy, is it possible to get the science you need to unlock probe cores better than a level 1 pilot?  From what I recall, the lowest level probe core better than a level 1 pilot is the OCTO2, which is in the 300-science tier of unlocks.  In my usual progression, I'm heading for a Mun landing some time around the first one or two 160-science tier unlocks, so the best probe core I might have available is the HECS, which only offers the same capabilities as a level 1 pilot (achieved by a simple LKO flight).

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6 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

So the wiki is just wrong? If true thats great news.

No, that is not what I said.

It is correct, but not phrased very well, so that people (including you) may interpret it wrong.

This is what the wiki says:

"Orbiting, planting flags, and escaping from the gravity of planets and moons grants various amounts of experience depending on the planet. Each Kerbal can only gain the experience once per planet, so planting multiple flags or repeatedly orbiting a planet do not add provide any further experience for the same Kerbal. Additionally, experience from a given planet or moon is only granted for the most valuable achievement, so orbiting the Mun (3 XP) and planting a flag on it (5 XP) will only grant 5 XP, not 8"

"Each Kerbal can only gain the experience once per planet, so planting multiple flags or repeatedly orbiting a planet do not add provide any further experience for the same Kerbal."

This is correct... note that it says once per planet, not once per flight. The point of this sentence is the second part... that repeatedly doing the same thing does not additively increase experience (unlike a RPG where you could just keep grinding up XP on low level foes without progressing to more difficult ones).

I would rephrase it from "Each Kerbal can only gain the experience once per planet" to "A Kerbal does not gain experience for repeating something they have already achieved"

"Additionally, experience from a given planet or moon is only granted for the most valuable achievement, so orbiting the Mun (3 XP) and planting a flag on it (5 XP) will only grant 5 XP, not 8"

I would change this to:

"Additionally, experience for the most valuable achievement from a given planet replaces the experience gain from less valuable achievements rather than adding to it, so orbiting the Mun (3 XP) and later planting a flag on it (5 XP) will only grant 5 XP, not 8"

Then I think it would be more clear.

 

 

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Aaahhh, yes that is deceiving. Thanks for the clarification. I see why you have to phrase it the way you did, but if that's the case then it seems like a lot of rigmarole and confusion when they could just award experience as you reach it. 

8 hours ago, MKI said:

Cattering to keeping a Kerbal away from Kerbin is cool, but somewhat ridiculous. If Kerbals never had to go back to get exp, why EVER bring them back? They would become less like astronauts and rather become more like cargo. If we cared about realism we would put a time limit on when they can go back up relative to how long they were in space (downtime) but since anyone can time warp through that any ways thats not really an option.

Which is why I brought up the Habitation/Happiness idea. Rather than inducing grind, I'd prefer that a need to return home was put to better use.

23 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

This concern I am sympathetic to, and I actually think this could be a really important window to make habitation modules a real part of the game and not just eye candy. My thinking is a new component to experience could be added at some point called "Happiness". Each Kerbal would leave KSC with 100% happiness, and each day it would lose 1%. When a kerbal reached their destination, XP would pay out based on this percentage. The rate of decline could however be reduced or nearly stopped by adding more kerbals to the mission, and by including habitation modules. Not only would this make down-time and crew rotation necessary, but it would be a push against sending poor Jeb to Eeloo in a lander can without breaking the game. He could get there and would still be useful, but he'd be unhappy and wouldn't learn anything from what he was doing.

 

8 hours ago, MKI said:

Give the ability to rank Kerbals up for funds, and all of this goes away and FOCUSES the game back on actually doing missions. Not on exp grinds for small boosts in productivity.

I feel like if experience were properly managed this wouldn't be necessary. Some things money just shouldn't buy.

8 hours ago, MaxL_1023 said:

For example, landing a level 2  Kerbal on the Mun would give you +2(3.5) +7 science, +7 rep or +7000 funds for the landed EVA report. It is enough to notice, but not too much. 

Solid point. I might make a working list of suggested skills for this thread.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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So here's a short list. It needs work i think. Some of the scientist skills borrow from a few suggestions I had about experiments, below if anyone is interested.

 

Spoiler

Crew Reports: Gathered automatically by crewed capsules and stored for each new biome the craft enters, serving as a running log of the mission.

EVA Reports: Gathered automatically on EVA for each new biome a kerbal enters and stored when they return to the vessel. Scientists gather more valuable EVA reports, and their value can be further upgraded as they gain in levels. Kerbals cannot discern between biomes above the surface.

Surface Samples: Can be gathered on EVA by any crew member, though higher level scientists gather more valuable samples. Samples cannot be transmitted unless analyzed in a mobile processing lab, but give much more science than other sources. When a sample is analyzed either in a science lab or on Kerbin it will indicate precise ore concentrations and will become available for loading into Materials Bays (more below).

Goo Canister: First experiment available in the tech tree and acts as an introduction to gathering science. When it enters a biome with uncollected science it flashes blue for a few moments and then auto-exposes. Its one-time use unless there's a scientist on board in which case it auto-collects, stores, and then auto-resets. It draws no power. By default its set to activated, but it can be deactivated and reactivated via right click if a player wishes to hold out for more a more valuable exposure. It cannot distinguish between biomes above the surface.

Thermometer: Next experiment on the tech tree, flashes blue and then takes a reading and stores automatically when entering a new biome. Its activated by default, but draws 1.5 e/m while activated and can be deactivated to save power. It cannot distinguish between biomes above the lower atmosphere or high above a body. Vessels with a Thermometer on board show overheat bars in flight, though even without the parts will still glow red.

Barometer: Arrives shortly after in the Tech Tree and flashes blue when new science is available. The barometer is activated by default when in the atmosphere, but can be deactivated to save power via right-click. Unlike the thermometer, the barometer logs science based on the vertical swath of atmosphere it passes through while continuously running. This means it gathers a lot of data on ascent and descent, but sitting on the ground it gathers next to nothing. Later in the game, a body for which the player has completed a barometric scan will show trajectory, landing site, and aerobreak predictions factoring drag.

Materials Bay: Materials Bays should be able to be loaded with materials, i.e. samples, and replace the current Mobile Lab magic science generator. When a surface or atmospheric sample is recovered, it goes into a bank of available samples. Upon launch, the materials Bay can be loaded with up to 5 of these samples, and when activated (0.5 e/s) it generates and stores science based on the value of the sample multiplied by the value of the exposure location. This means that a sample from the launchpad exposed at KSC will be worth very little, but a sample from Ike exposed on Duna will be worth a great deal. Samples generate science for 30 days and then become spent. Materials Bays can be reloaded by an adequately staffed Mobile Processing Lab, but only with samples banked at the time of the Lab's launch and with samples processed by that lab. This means bringing a lab to another body will be useful for processing and gathering science from that body over time, but samples cant be magically transported across the Kerbol System.

Atmospheric analyzer: Essentially works as an atmospheric sample collector. Its deactivated by default, and once activated (1 e/s) the vessel must maintain roughly the same speed and altitude for 10 seconds to collect a viable sample. Like surface samples they may not be transmitted unless analyzed by a mobile processing lab. If atmospheric xenon collection were enabled perhaps precise concentration levels could be determined from these samples.

Surface Sample Collector: This part would replace the surface scanner, and aught really to be a small arm and drill that drops down when activated. It aught to come very late in the tech tree, but in principle enable collection of surface samples by probes. Like other surface samples these would be available for loading into Materials bays and would show ore concentrations when analyzed.

Survey Scanner: Works much as it does now, once placed in a polar orbit it generates a rough ore concentration map which can then be transmitted for additional science.

Gravoli detector: This part works 2 ways, its activated by default and draws .5 e/s, and like the thermometer automatically collects and stores data for each new biome it passes into. If however it is placed in a polar orbit it gathers all biome information for that body at that altitude, and if it is attached to a vessel that also has a survey scanner it can generate an overlay map of all biomes on that body. If a mission planner were to be added including flight time and delta-v estimates, completing a gravoli scan might unlock that body in the planner, encouraging players to send a probe first if they wanted to optimize their kerbaled mission.

Seismometer: This part is redesigned as an impactor experiment. Once on the surface and activated (2 e/s) a blue circle appears on the body in map mode indicating the scanning radius. The higher the level scientist on board the larger the radius. If while activated another object is slammed into the surface a red impact radius is shown, whose radius is determined by the mass and speed upon impact (I can foresee some really fun asteroid antics here :D) The Seismometer generates science based on the area of overlap between the scanning and impact radii, meaning more precise collisions and bigger booms make for more science. Additionally, ore concentrations can be seen with detail within this scanned area making for better landing site decisions for mining operations.

Transmitting data: As almost all data is automatically logged and stored, all that would be left would be transmission. For simplicity's sake, I feel like the data should be attached to the vessel, not a part, and no limit should be placed on how much can be stored. Clicking any pod or antenna aught to bring up a single data log indicating all stored data in one screen, the value of each piece of data, and giving the option to transmit. I'll be interested to see the changes Roverdude has made, but in my mind the most straight forward solution is that all data except samples should be 100% transmittable. You should just need an adequately large dish to complete it. If surface samples could not be transmitted and were worth a great deal (as they should be) then returning these samples would make 2 way trips worthwhile without the over-complication and grind of multiple transmissions. The gamesmanship and trade-offs between parts aught to lie in the act of experimenting. Making simple data more or less transmittable doesn't really seem to make sense or add anything to the gameplay.

 

 

Pilot 0

- SAS

 

Pilot I

- Prograde, Antigrade

- Normal, Antinormal

- Radial in, Radial out

 

Pilot II

- Toward Target, Away from Target

- Toward Maneuver, Away from Maneuver

 

Pilot III

- Hold on Angle to Horizon

- Landing zone prediction

- Other Kerbals on board gain experience 10% faster (for the highest level pilot, and does not stack)

 

Pilot IV

- Maintain Velocity

- Conics factor drag (Aerobrake prediction)

- Other Kerbals on board gain experience 20% faster (for the highest level pilot, and does not stack)

 

Pilot V

- Hold velocity X, Y, and Z

- Execute suicide burn

- Other Kerbals on board gain experience 30% faster (for the highest level pilot, and does not stack)

 

 

Engineer 0

- Repack chutes

 

Engineer I

- Repair Wheels, Legs, Solar Panels

 

Engineer II

- Reassign action groups in flight

- Resource transfer

 

Engineer III

- Repair damaged or overheated engines

- Remaining Delta-V visible

 

Engineer IV

- Place Struts and Fuel lines in flight

- Maintain COM via fuel redistribution

 

Engineer V

- Place/Remove small Panels, Sensors,

Engines, RCS etc in flight

- Drag overlay toggleable in flight

 

 

Scientist 0

- Collect Surface Sample

 

Scientist I

- EVA Report, Surface Sample +10%

 

Scientist II

- EVA Report, Surface Sample +20%

- Operate Science Lab

- Process Samples to 25% of total recovered value

 

Scientist III

- EVA Report, Surface Sample +30%

- Perform resource richness test on surface samples for ISRU

- Process Samples to 50% of total recovered value

- Take Core Sample from ground-scatter and Surface Features

- Increase Impactor sensor radius to 25km

 

Scientist IV

- EVA Report, Surface Sample +40%

- Load Samples into Materials Bay from Science Lab

- Process data to 75% of total recovered value

- Increase Impactor sensor radius to 50km

 

Scientist V

- EVA Report, Surface Sample +50%

- Process Samples to 100% of total recovered value

- Increase Impactor sensor radius to 100km

 

 

Im still thinking about MaxL's suggestion. Also does anyone understand how Roverdude's ISRU engineer buff works? I get that it makes drilling more efficient, but how exactly? There were also some interesting suggestions about how to run probe networks with pilots, can someone refresh my memory?

Edited by Pthigrivi
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