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Contract Slave


Choctofliatrio2.0
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In my quest for more money, I've found myself to be stuck. I take basically every contract offered, but don't go beyond that. Like, I haven't landed on Minmus yet, because I haven't gotten a contract to do so. I'm up to over 4 million dollars, but I'm still unwilling to spend money on a mission I'm not getting paid for. I have sent a probe to Eve, but other than that I haven't innovated much. Does anybody else do this, or am I just being stingy?

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I don't.  Contracts are terrible in so many ways I could write a book (and others already have, collectively).  I take as few contracts as possible in order to fund what I want to do, which usually means I hover around 400K funds or something.

That was in the past though.  I stopped playing career mode altogether because it doesn't work at all.  Instead I started playing science mode again and am enjoying the game .

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So you sent a probe to Eve. That is why you won't get any contracts to explore Mun or Minmus anymore. The game thinks you have advanced beyond those mundane destinations already. Only after you collect enough reputation can you expect contracts for Moho or the Jool system.

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My philosophy is that if I don't get a contract I either go full in and do a landing or just do a flyby to kick contracts into happening. Thanks to world firsts you can still get a decent benefit from doing stuff on your own.

Edited by Waxing_Kibbous
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I take contracts that further my goals. I will do a Minmus / Mun trip if i have at least enough contracts to cover the launch and recovery with 50% or more left over. Ideally I want a flag contract, a science from above, a science from the surface and at least 2 tourists for a good pay out.

I rarely take random contracts like satellite ones unless I need to send a probe somewhere or launch a few new pieces of science hardware. That being said I currently have 7m in the bank, am fully upgraded, have a large duna presence, missions at Dres, Eve and heading out to Jool at Year 2, Day 317. so not racing along, but not short of a bob or two either.

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I admit - contracts really sucked the fun out of Career for me. I love the money limits, I love the concepts but if you play tight to your budget it makes doing stuff other than the contracts particularly egregious. Current restart I have, inexplicably, just decided to skip the Mun apparently. No reason to go there, no reason to explore it, no reason to put up sats or anything like that. So do I just play and ignore the Mun until later and then build an entire unpaid mission to go there because..... giggles?

 

Missions need to be thresholds that trigger when passed. Not some hit or miss magic mark that then leaves them dangling forever. If I manage to punt some guy into deep space and get him back with just boosters then good on me. This isn't a good reason to decide nobody wants to explore Minmus or the Mun.

 

I want to love Career mode, I do. I just really dislike the logic system it uses to create and award contracts. Honestly? Contracts for celestial bodies should be available from day 1 and never expire. The idea that you don't get a mission to the Mun or Moho or whatever because you managed to trip some flag while doing a 'test this product in X situation' mission is a real irritation.

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Yeah, you're being stingy to the point of harming your program.

 The World's First awards actually pay much better than contracts. If you just go places, collect science, and unlock tech, money will not be an issue.

 Once you've got all the parts unlocked, you can set up a strategy to sell your science, thus keeping you in cash.

Best,
-Slashy

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Thanks to all the replies. The contract system is, indeed, messed up. Since I've got all the building upgrades I need and am alright on staff, I'll be able to dedicate all my resources to more daring missions. I sent a lander on its way to Minmus, and I'll see if I can get another couple probes on their way to Duna (I have one heading there for the "Explore Duna" contract but it won't be able to land or anything)

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I have restarted about 4 times. Not because I was "losing" but because I just got to a point where I was bored. Except last career mode attempt. I had 3 mods and the memory was leaking or something, so I completely re-installed. I had done more in my last attempt than any of the others.

 

Career/contract and science inside career probably could use a complete overhaul, because in my last career, I just plopped a science lab on Minmus a couple of times and maxed out science. It's so easy to do it almost demands you do it.

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i'm in a similar position. I need contracts to do stuff. Therefor i installed pretty much every contract mod i could find :D So far Mun+Minmus have stations, bases , scan-sats and ressource sats... now Duna and Moho are waiting for the remote sats to arrive and Eve is already screaming for some.

The tourists are flying their sightseeing tours, stupid pilots get rescued from the sea and buoys are dropped so the Kerbin trade ships find their way around the islands.

I play since v0.9 or so but still didn't visit every planet or moon. Don't see a point in sending a ship there without a purpose :D

Edited by Ringkeeper
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There is a new strategy added for 1.0.5 called 'Leadership Initiative'. What this does is try to rebalance the economy to encourage exploration. The funds, science and reputation payout for contract missions is reduced. In return, there's a boost to the science gain from field experiments, and you will also get increased reputation and funding from the 'world firsts society' for visiting worlds, docking, EVA etc for the first time.

There seems to be a flaw in the system in that in some circumstances, you can be overrun with tourist contracts early on that don't actually cover their costs. Later in the game you usually have a spare seat on a serious mission so tourists are a cheap source of income, but early on when you're launching single-kerbal flights it's not worth taking them.

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As regex said, the "contract system is broken" discussion is a dead horse that's been beaten so many times, it has turned into glue. I really hope someone at Squad is paying serious attention to these forum threads and listening to the myriad of suggestions on how to fix it. I've heard several that I believe have merit and could go a long way towards making career mode the gameplay experience it has never lived up to. Incorporating things like procedural contracts and fine print have done nothing to address the fundamental flaws with the system and instead have been the proverbial "lipstick on a pig". Treat the problem, not the symptoms!

 

 

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4 hours ago, FlyingPete said:

There is a new strategy added for 1.0.5 called 'Leadership Initiative'. What this does is try to rebalance the economy to encourage exploration. The funds, science and reputation payout for contract missions is reduced. In return, there's a boost to the science gain from field experiments, and you will also get increased reputation and funding from the 'world firsts society' for visiting worlds, docking, EVA etc for the first time.

Which would be fine and good if strategies were actually able to be used from the beginning of the game.  As it stands they're more end-game content because of the high setup costs and terrible return.

I mean, sure, you could "cheat-in" the funds, science, and rep to activate a strategy at 100% from the beginning of the game but, to me at least, that just indicates that strategies are broken.

 

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3 hours ago, Johnny Wishbone said:

As regex said, the "contract system is broken" discussion is a dead horse that's been beaten so many times, it has turned into glue. I really hope someone at Squad is paying serious attention to these forum threads and listening to the myriad of suggestions on how to fix it. I've heard several that I believe have merit and could go a long way towards making career mode the gameplay experience it has never lived up to. Incorporating things like procedural contracts and fine print have done nothing to address the fundamental flaws with the system and instead have been the proverbial "lipstick on a pig". Treat the problem, not the symptoms!

This is quite true. The solution to an awful career system, with awful contracts has been for Squad to just add more bad contracts as the solution. I don't think they have any intention of fixing the fundamental flaw as career was just tacked on, IMO.

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4 hours ago, FlyingPete said:

There is a new strategy added for 1.0.5 called 'Leadership Initiative'. What this does is try to rebalance the economy to encourage exploration. The funds, science and reputation payout for contract missions is reduced. In return, there's a boost to the science gain from field experiments, and you will also get increased reputation and funding from the 'world firsts society' for visiting worlds, docking, EVA etc for the first time.

As Regex said, the problem is the setup cost. By the time you can afford the science to set it up to  a decent level, you don't really need science anymore

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I'd like to see some form of funding replace contracts as a source of income, representing budget allocations from the Kerbin Government. The level of government funding could be calculated using some algorithm based on reputation earned, science gained, spacecraft launched, planets reached etc. That would also stop it being 'free money' by sitting at KSC and fast-forwarding. This would give you the incentive to go exploring rather than grind contracts around Kerbin, but you'd still have the option to take commercial contracts if you needed a bit of extra cash.

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36 minutes ago, FlyingPete said:

That would also stop it being 'free money' by sitting at KSC and fast-forwarding.

Just make it a fixed budget per timeframe calculated from those variables.  If you never go out and do stuff you never increase your fixed budget.  Hell, have a small rep penalty for every timeframe that you don't at least launch one new craft or something.  Solves the worries about "free money" nicely.

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Have you unlocked the science?  I have similar issues (and took a kerbal vacation due to spending way too much time recovering rockets when I didn't need the money).  Look for science missions and unlock science  - note: don't worry about contract rewards for science.  They aren't enough to bother with while "soil sample" is great for science.

Just don't get bogged down training your kerbals to be scientists before launching your science base.  I've wasted more time getting that "science base" ready without a single direct launch that you wouldn't imagine...

The game is "build, dream, fly".  I'm pretty sure "contract complete" isn't in that movie at all, even if they make a remake.

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2 hours ago, regex said:

Just make it a fixed budget per timeframe calculated from those variables.  If you never go out and do stuff you never increase your fixed budget.  Hell, have a small rep penalty for every timeframe that you don't at least launch one new craft or something.  Solves the worries about "free money" nicely.

Set it up as an annual ammount that increases based on your reputation, and it is "use it or lose it." If you don't use the full "budget" in that year, you lose the leftover and take a small penalty on your budget next year. You know, just like most places do in "real life".

 

I had an idea for funding prior to career mode coming out. Basically it was a 3 prong approach:

1) Small budget from the "government" on an annual basis. Increases/decreases with reputation. Use the money or lose it.

2) Contracts to help supplement the annual budget. That way, you're not totally reliant on ridiculous contracts for funding.

3) Stump for funds! Basically, you select Kerbalnauts to go on fundraising drives. This makes them inaccessable for missions while fundraising, but allows them to generate funds based on their experience level. The longer the drive and the higher experience level, the more funds you get. This also adds the gameplay element of choice between sending your high level Kerbal off on a mission to Jool, or send him/her out to fundraise the money to support that mission. Obviously, some changes would have to be made to how you hire Kerbals or add them to your roster via "rescue" missions, but I think it could be easily done. This also mirrors the real life experiences of the Mercury astronauts who spent a lot of time traveling around to schools and civic meetings to drum up support for the space program. Given the massive number of very public failures early on in the American space program, it's doubtful that it would have continued if not for the efforts of those guys assuring the public that they could do it and were willing to risk their lives to do so.

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2 hours ago, regex said:

Just make it a fixed budget per timeframe calculated from those variables.  If you never go out and do stuff you never increase your fixed budget.  Hell, have a small rep penalty for every timeframe that you don't at least launch one new craft or something.  Solves the worries about "free money" nicely.

This. Dole out funding per "month" of 30 days, or whatever. This all of a sudden makes time a thing. Warping forward to get another handout is not a bad mechanic. Why? Because it moves time forward! Without doing this, you only move forward in time while in flight.

I honestly think that they need to start with a real conversation about what the point of career is supposed to be, and how they expect it to be played. I imagine people who hate warping at the KSC probably launch a Jool mission, they fly it to completion before doing their next mission. If you do this, then time does move forward, but in odd increments. If you play with multiple missions in flight, then you might launch your Jool mission, then work on your Mun base, then launch a Dres mission, getting that started, then check out an asteroid, then do a midcourse correction on your new Duna habitat, and not get back to the course correction for the Jool flight until half a year has passed as you never jump more than a few weeks at a time. Parallel vs serial mission play makes a huge difference in how career works. 

I would have the player drive missions more, ideally, then have the mission you design generate a budget. The rep reward for completion of that mission might be scaled to what you spend vs the max budget as well as science return.

Select manned/unmanned.

Select body (or multiples).

Select orbit/landing.

The game generates a budget/timeframe. You get paid in advance, but over time---so much every 30 days for X months.

Edited by tater
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1 hour ago, tater said:

This. Dole out funding per "month" of 30 days, or whatever. This all of a sudden makes time a thing. Warping forward to get another handout is not a bad mechanic. Why? Because it moves time forward! Without doing this, you only move forward in time while in flight.

I honestly think that they need to start with a real conversation about what the point of career is supposed to be, and how they expect it to be played. I imagine people who hate warping at the KSC probably launch a Jool mission, they fly it to completion before doing their next mission. If you do this, then time does move forward, but in odd increments. If you play with multiple missions in flight, then you might launch your Jool mission, then work on your Mun base, then launch a Dres mission, getting that started, then check out an asteroid, then do a midcourse correction on your new Duna habitat, and not get back to the course correction for the Jool flight until half a year has passed as you never jump more than a few weeks at a time. Parallel vs serial mission play makes a huge difference in how career works. 

I would have the player drive missions more, ideally, then have the mission you design generate a budget. The rep reward for completion of that mission might be scaled to what you spend vs the max budget as well as science return.

Select manned/unmanned.

Select body (or multiples).

Select orbit/landing.

The game generates a budget/timeframe. You get paid in advance, but over time---so much every 30 days for X months.

As far as I can tell, they expect career to be played in several different ways, and they want all of them to be viable approaches.

All of these 'let the player choose what missions are available' requests are failing to notice that the player already decides which missions they want to take.  Perhaps it would be nie to have more missions available, but you still decide what you want to do.  Also, giving the player more knobs to twiddle only increases the already steep learning curve for this game, making it harder for new players(the ones still giving Squad money).

 

Currently, the world firsts pay-outs can fund a reasonably frugal space program without taking any contracts.  (or, for a more experienced player, a not so frugal space program)

If you make mistakes, want to go faster, or just want bigger rockets, you can take any of the available contracts to help fund your activities.

Personally, my only objection to the contract system is that there are not enough contracts available at the same time, so I upped my max available contracts to 30 and I always seem to have multiple contracts that I am interested in pursuing.  (although now that I have ~20M funds, automated mining depots on route or arrived at every planet except Dres and Eeloo, with manned missions en route to Duna and Jool, I am more inclined to just let some time pass and get that interplanetary fueling network set up, might even send out additional UKS modules to get life support production going everywhere too...

Remember: the contract system needs to support as many styles of play as practical, so it will not be optimal for any of them.  This comes with KSP being a sandbox game.

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28 minutes ago, Terwin said:

All of these 'let the player choose what missions are available' requests are failing to notice that the player already decides which missions they want to take.

Sure, but that also depends on it randomly providing some mission that fits the bill, or "playing the slot machine" (which is a really stupid waste of my gaming time).

Quote

Remember: the contract system needs to support as many styles of play as practical, so it will not be optimal for any of them.  This comes with KSP being a sandbox game.

Unfortunately the contract system fails at providing a decent sandbox experience at all since you cannot drive the contract generation in any meaningful way (and I am skeptical of the upcoming weighting system because so few contracts are generated).  Strategies are useless until you can afford to set them up by which time they aren't interesting, and thus aren't really good for directing the space program.  This also means that World's First "contracts" don't pay out what they could because you can't afford to set up a decent Leadership Initiative strategy until you've got, what, 500 rep just lying around?

The big thing a lot of us sandbox-ey, "set my own goals" players want is the ability to actually direct a space program, but we have to make do with random side quests.  Fixing it will require a look at contract generation and strategies, and giving the player more direct tools to direct the flow of the game.

Edited by regex
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On 1/25/2016 at 0:44 PM, Choctofliatrio2.0 said:

In my quest for more money, I've found myself to be stuck. I take basically every contract offered, but don't go beyond that. Like, I haven't landed on Minmus yet, because I haven't gotten a contract to do so. I'm up to over 4 million dollars, but I'm still unwilling to spend money on a mission I'm not getting paid for. I have sent a probe to Eve, but other than that I haven't innovated much. Does anybody else do this, or am I just being stingy?

Well, given that I dont do career, no, not really.

Personally I prefer to set my own limitations that are realistic instead of the weird KSP career mode ones, make my crafts more sensible, and often incorporated a form of roleplaying into it.

2 hours ago, Choctofliatrio2.0 said:

Noted :D I'm trying to

It just feels like I'm not accomplishing anything unless I fulfill a contract along with it :P

What your accomplishing is gathering science. You know, the thing that all the other programs are meant to do?

Dont feel bad if you dont have the giantest beast of money factory space program ever, the ultimate goal of a space program is to venture to the stars and learn as much as we can about space!

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