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Engineering101

Things that are desperately needed in KSP

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Here is a list of what I would really like implemented into KSP:

 

1. Better contracts. Let's be honest, contracts in career mode are really bad. They are extremely repetitive and (mostly) boring (i.e. "Take a temperature reading at 'X'" or "Test part 'Y'"). Some missions can be exciting (saving kerbals from orbit, or landing on the moon, etc) but many are boring. Please improve with more variation. Also, they're reward system is unbalanced as heck. Some may require you to fly a rusty plane half way around the world to make an EVA report for about 5000 funds (okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you get my point).

2. Better goals. Most goals in KSP are kinda pointless. You put a satellite into orbit, and you collect science. But after that point, whoopdy doo. I only ever send satellites up to collect science once, and then that's it. After that point, they're space debris. I feel that more uses should come from satellites and space stations etc. rather than "one time" things (such as long term science experiments or GPS, or other things that could actually help your space program). The mobile processing lab is the only one I can think of that fits into that category currently, and even that's huge, clumsy and something you don't get until much later into the game.

3. Wheels. The plane wheels in KSP are, all things being considered, horrible. They only extend one way (down) and you can only place them on the wings or on a long body (which is okay, until you make planes with different wing or body structure. Then after that point, you have to fine tune the wheel position so it doesn't crash and burn off the runway, which is quite tedious). I would like wheels like the LY-01 Fixed Landing Gear, but mechanical. Or adjustable height/length. That would be great.

4. Better rover wheels. For rover wheels, they are extremely delicate, and they're breaking mechanism is frustrating and awful. For some reason, when you go to fast or break a wheel, the wheel stops so hard and suddenly that it flips your vehicle over. Broken wheels have never done this. They should just bust up and make your rover lean and tend to stray left/right (depending on which wheel is broken) when it busts a wheel, or even increase a bit of drag. Not have a spastic tizzy fit.

5. Communication and exploration. Currently, there is little reason to explore other planets. If you want the full Eve experience, take a snapshot of Kerbin and apply a purple filter. That's it. The only mildly interesting planet is Jool, and you cant even land on it. Furthermore, there is no reason to explore anything ever. You see and know each planet from the start. You get no surprises at all when you actually get there. Furthermore, there is nothing to do on the planets either (you run into the same problem as point 2).

6. Engineers. Engineers are almost completely useless. Who has ever used an engineer's abilities more than twice? Me neither.

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3 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

4. Better rover wheels. For rover wheels, they are extremely delicate, and they're breaking mechanism is frustrating and awful. For some reason, when you go to fast or break a wheel, the wheel stops so hard and suddenly that it flips your vehicle over. Broken wheels have never done this.

Very much untrue. A sudden blowout can lead to loss of control, which can easily lead to a rollover crash. For instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestone_and_Ford_tire_controversy

A search for the term "blowout crash" on Youtube will also show you just what a "broken wheel" can do. And that's generally on-road, with professionally designed and safety-certified vehicles, under Earth gravity. KSP players (myself included) often attempt highway speeds (or at least suburban multilane street speeds) off road, in vehicles designed by a gamer in his free time and built out of legobrick parts found in Jeb's scrapyard, under Munar gravity. You are quite familiar with the results of such recklessness.

 

The real issue here is your point 5: Theoretically, rovers could allow you to gain extra science from a single landing by extending how far you can get out from the landing site, but science is completely biome-based, and the biomes are too widely spaced for it generally to be possible to visit multiple biomes from a given landing site with a rover without driving at speeds that are insanely dangerous on anything but a paved highway under Earth gravity, except on those worlds whose gravity is light enough that rovers don't work anyways, and EVA packs can get you anywhere you need to go.
 

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#3 and #4: Wheels have been overhauled for the upcoming 1.1 - wait for that, then revisit.

That said, jwbrase is correct, and "broken wheel" can cause some serious trouble if it happens while moving. There's a reason that IRL autonomous rovers on other worlds max out at around 0.1 mph.

12 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

If you want the full Eve experience, take a snapshot of Kerbin and apply a purple filter. That's it.

Exploration in KSP is largely about the challenge of getting there and back, and aside from the little ones, every planet is wildly different on that front. 

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12 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

4. Better rover wheels. For rover wheels, they are extremely delicate, and they're breaking mechanism is frustrating and awful. For some reason, when you go to fast or break a wheel, the wheel stops so hard and suddenly that it flips your vehicle over. Broken wheels have never done this. They should just bust up and make your rover lean and tend to stray left/right (depending on which wheel is broken) when it busts a wheel, or even increase a bit of drag. Not have a spastic tizzy fit.

6. Engineers. Engineers are almost completely useless. Who has ever used an engineer's abilities more than twice? Me neither.

You have a problem and solution in the same post. (edit after reading OP again) Engineers fix things and repack chutes, not useless at all. Also, the 1.1 update will have new wheel code so we will have to see how that works out.

Edited by Waxing_Kibbous

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Welcome to the game! I'm going to assume you're very new to KSP and haven't played it a lot. Give it a try, it's really worth it!

12 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

2. Better goals. Most goals in KSP are kinda pointless. You put a satellite into orbit, and you collect science. But after that point, whoopdy doo. I only ever send satellites up to collect science once, and then that's it. After that point, they're space debris. I feel that more uses should come from satellites and space stations etc. rather than "one time" things (such as long term science experiments or GPS, or other things that could actually help your space program). The mobile processing lab is the only one I can think of that fits into that category currently, and even that's huge, clumsy and something you don't get until much later into the game.

For all intents and purposes, KSP is mainly a sandbox game in which you play around, try and invent new things, and set yourself goals and see if you can make them. There's a reason it's compared a lot to Minecraft (although that's a completely different game) as it shares the "there is no goal" mindset.

However, if you leave your satellites after fulfulling a contract, you will usually see them return in contracts. I've reused a Minmus lander like 4 or 5 times (the request for "more data" regarding anomalous temperaturs kept coming in) and most "put a satellite into orbit" contracts are followed up by another contract or two.

Note that real life is not that much different. We send New Horizons to Pluto. It took ten years to get there. It took pictures, did readings... and now it's done, basically.

 

12 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

5. Communication and exploration. Currently, there is little reason to explore other planets. If you want the full Eve experience, take a snapshot of Kerbin and apply a purple filter. That's it. The only mildly interesting planet is Jool, and you cant even land on it. Furthermore, there is no reason to explore anything ever. You see and know each planet from the start. You get no surprises at all when you actually get there. Furthermore, there is nothing to do on the planets either (you run into the same problem as point 2).

 Planets tend to be lifeless balls of rock. There's not a lot that can be done about that. But are you sure you're done exploring? Did you visit the arches on Mun? The Neil Armstrong memorial? The flying saucer? Did you find the Face on Duna? The remains of the Curiosity rover? The Stonehenge formation on Vall? The Kraken on Bop? The Mohole? All the monoliths that are scattered around the system? I think it's safe to say that there is a lot more to discover in the Kerbal system than in the Solar system (well with exception of Europa of course).

Have you set up colonies on other planets? Mining bases? Wait...

12 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

6. Engineers. Engineers are almost completely useless. Who has ever used an engineer's abilities more than twice? Me neither.

Until you start mining for resources, that is. Which is an incredibly effective way of getting rid of those ridiculously expensive refueling runs. The mining drills run much, much more effective when an engineer is present. Which may not be a big deal early on but once you have advanced probe cores that can do all the flying for you, and once the entire tech tree is unlocked, engineers are really the only crew type that you have specific needs for...

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Now that clamshell fairings are stock, I will fiercely agitate for the last things KSP needs to be complete.

More interesting surface features. Specifically Caves, sinkholes leading to underground chasms with frozen lakes maybe? They of coursewould be special biomes for the science.

In the VAB, the ctl-Z undo feature needs to be better. We need a dedicated undo button to click. This is imperative.

More music variation. Music for each SOI. and special music for reentry/entry on atmospheric bodies. Some of it may have already been made

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42 minutes ago, r4pt0r said:

More music variation. Music for each SOI. and special music for reentry/entry on atmospheric bodies. Some of it may have already been made

I want to hear Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries during re-entry!

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I feel like the ability to pre-program certain features in the VAB/SPH (such as throttle, sas/rcs on/off, navball on in map view etc) would be nice,  this could also just be a list of simple tickboxes in the settings menu.

Could remove some of the annoyance about "T, Z, SPACE" which quite some people experience a.t.m.

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1 hour ago, r4pt0r said:

More interesting surface features. Specifically Caves, sinkholes leading to underground chasms with frozen lakes maybe? They of coursewould be special biomes for the science.

Or, you know, anything interesting to do on the surface of a barren space rock.

It's sort of a pity the magic of the internet has destroyed the magic of easter eggs. I didn't even go looking for them and stumbled across several spoilers in that regard.

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17 hours ago, jwbrase said:

Very much untrue. A sudden blowout can lead to loss of control, which can easily lead to a rollover crash. For instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestone_and_Ford_tire_controversy

That was in regards to SUV's which have a high centre of gravity. And I'm not talking about loosing control and flipping over, I'm talking about the sudden and ridiculous amount of grip to the road the tire has after been broken, causing the flip out.

Quote

A search for the term "blowout crash" on Youtube will also show you just what a "broken wheel" can do. And that's generally on-road, with professionally designed and safety-certified vehicles, under Earth gravity. KSP players (myself included) often attempt highway speeds (or at least suburban multilane street speeds) off road, in vehicles designed by a gamer in his free time and built out of legobrick parts found in Jeb's scrapyard, under Munar gravity. You are quite familiar with the results of such recklessness.

True, but same as above.

Quote

The real issue here is your point 5: Theoretically, rovers could allow you to gain extra science from a single landing by extending how far you can get out from the landing site, but science is completely biome-based, and the biomes are too widely spaced for it generally to be possible to visit multiple biomes from a given landing site with a rover without driving at speeds that are insanely dangerous on anything but a paved highway under Earth gravity, except on those worlds whose gravity is light enough that rovers don't work anyways, and EVA packs can get you anywhere you need to go.

EXACTLY my point.

9 hours ago, Waxing_Kibbous said:

You have a problem and solution in the same post. (edit after reading OP again) Engineers fix things and repack chutes, not useless at all. Also, the 1.1 update will have new wheel code so we will have to see how that works out.

Yes, but the only time you would use an engineer to repack a parachute or fix something is if you in a volatile area too dangerous to use an engineer anyway (like falling from the sky and burning up).

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#1
Agreed.  Although this is coming in KSP 1.1 supposedly.  Remains to be seen if it will work good enough to be worthwhile. 
I just want Jool-5, Inner planets, Outer planers, Grand Tour contract... stuff that forces you to engineer mothership + landers. 
Heck taking tourists on a grand tour would be insanely fun.

#2
To be honest, I don't really agree with you on this one.  Most of it is "Role-play", or "for fun!".  But in the case that is insufficient, then you have mods. 
I have run a game with RemoteTech2 a few patches back, and beside it having issues when you have too many satellites (most likely fixed in 1.1 because infinite memory), really forced me to think and engineer to a level I had never done.
I had satellites on many bodies (Dres become a great place for a Telecommunications hub  for example), and I had a few stations that beside having fuel, also helped my communication network.
If it is *still* not enough, you can add life-support mods of your choosing (Snaks! was pretty good for a LS-lite back in the day), so missions have a sense of urgency, efficiency, and you need to support your colonies.
I would also DARE suggest that you edit the science .cfg file and multiply cost of science by 10 all across the board (Better than 10% science gain from the menu IMHO), giving more purpose to the MPL for maxing data returns.

#3 and #4
After having roved on planets/moon far more than I'd like to admit, I can safely say that the best wheels to use on both planes/rovers are the Small landing gears (The white ones).
For height, just use the widget tool to click on your wheel and it will "auto-adjust".  Very quick an easy way to adjust their height so you don't misalign them. 
 - I've pushed these wheels to 150 m/s without any problem whatsoever.
 - I've slammed the breaks at insane speeds without any problems either (as long as your back wheels have their breaking torque on max, not the front wheels).
 - The only problem is the lack of an electrical motor to drive them... You can mod it, but I prefer adding ant engines on the side of the wheels, and carry a Drill and the smallest Ore container to refill your fuel.

#5
I do agree that there isn't much to do/see/discover on other Moons/Planets, unless you like driving (I Do) and you do not mind long-winded exploration (say get to all biomes using rovers/boats, or planes if possible).
The Mün has very challenging terrain, so does Moho (better have a rover with lots of room between the wheels and your fuselage).

For this one , my solution would be that some biomes unlock stuff that benefit your space program.  Say when you go into the "Explodium Sea" on Eve, and run experiments with a Kerbal scientist, you unlock an alternate fuel that allows Nervas to run @ 1200 ISP/150 thr.  Explodium could then be synthesized at the KSC, or farmed thru a special liquid drill/refiner in Eve's Oceans.  Now add a couple (say 2-3 more; Ions/Jet/Chemical) resources like that, and some tech that can only be unlocked from biome exploration and aren't on the tech tree AT ALL (Nuclear jets? Improved metallurgy for light-weight 4-6 Kerbal capsule) , and it gives you something to explore/discover for quite some time IMHO.  Stuff for the future of KSP maybe.

#6
Engineers have a more important role than say, Pilots. 
Engineers can repair wheels, repack chutes, Increase ISRU yield squared their level (5 stars = 25 times the yield), and are used by Kerbal Attachment System (KAS) to perform parts attaching.
Scientists operate the MPL-Laboratory, allow running experiments from space, and resetting experiments after collecting the Data.  VERY useful on these long, multi-destination missions.

Pilots?  I still use them for RP reasons, but once you get even the cheapest probe core, you can fire them an only hire engineers with a few scientists.
If anything Pilots are the ones that needs the most love.  Maybe much sharper and Non-vibrating, intense RCS wasting, course holding (they don't overshoot setting prograde for example), and also desperately need an "Hold Attitude" for flying planes.  Most of my plane flying, I really wish I could tell them to not be either +/- a few m/s... how about ZERO, how about no pitch, or yaw ?  Just keep it pointed in the same direction and same altitude (not radar's)
I **really*** really want this in stock game.  God I want it so bad.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

My additions :
Make OPM stock.  I've hinted on a few places I would like for this to happen, but I'm making it official.
Kerbal Engineer, Kerbal Alarm Clock, and Kerbal Attachment System also all need to become stock. 
RemoteTech and Simple LifeSupport needs to be in too but as options you can turn down... These would not be high on my priority list, but would be fine.  RT is kinda coming-ish in KSP 1.2 or so.
Clouds needs to be in the stock game. something like volumetric clouds and clouds you see from space improve the game's eye candy so much it needs to be in.  Just fly down to Tekto/Eve with clouds... just wow !

A few parts are missing, maybe not go as far as "Desperately", but still.  I've posted my list in two other threads over the course of the last few months, but I will do a quick recap and give reason why:
 - Electric Propellers; because High ISP exploration either by flying/propeller pushed rover.  Most of these I've used from mods tend to reach about 60% height (so ~38k on Kerbin).
 - LF and LFO propellers; same as above, even better ISP but most LF propellers have difficulty getting over 15'000m on Earth or about 9k on Kerbin.  Again, good for exploration
 - Say a 250thr, 2.5m Nerva (same ISP), just to reduce parts count.  Same for a 1,5m RTG (instead of 15 small ones, you get one 1,5m part).
 - Nuclear Reactor; for long range exploration where the sun does not provide enough.  Either by using the powercell stock code (that's how I modded mine) or KSP Interstellar...
 - Some kind of advanced engine.  I like to say a 250 thrust Ion engine (4200ISP, maybe even more); This relieves the boredom of having 15 quadrillion gallons of fuel, or stopping for ISRU every 5-7k delta-v trip.  It's an end-game thing, all the way to the end of the tree, and really is just for convenience.  This is more the domain of the modding community, but having a stock end-game, efficient AND moderately okay thrust (250 imho is decent) would go a long way.
 - A "Korion capsule" or a Kerbal equivalent of the Orion capsule being developed IRL;  Room for 6 kerbals with integrated RCS thrusters, electric charge and monoprop.  Very advanced so near the end of tech tree.
 - A 2-kerbal capsule; early in tech tree, perfect for rescues, pilot/scientist combo, tourist flights... all useful in early game.
 - Spherical tanks or good looking LF tanks for LF-fueled space crafts.  I hate using heavy half-tanks (even less as the ratio is 1.1 vs 0.9) or ugly-Lego blocks of aircraft parts
As I said, nothing desperate at all, but all really nice stuff for a "feature complete" game that is limited by parts counts.
Hopefully KSP1.1 really give us a break and make parts count not so much an issue.

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I would like to see a few of these mods or facsimiles of made stock

KER (or at least a dV, TWR readout per planet, no planet and stage)

Editor Extensions

No Offset Limits

RCS Build Aid

Hullcam VDS

Camera Tools

VesselMover

Some type of Transfer Window Planner that creates manoeuvre nodes

My more unlikely wishlist

Scatterer

 

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8 hours ago, Engineering101 said:

That was in regards to SUV's which have a high centre of gravity. And I'm not talking about loosing control and flipping over, I'm talking about the sudden and ridiculous amount of grip to the road the tire has after been broken, causing the flip out.

What do you think causes blowouts to lead to loss of control in real life? Once again, I think driving physics in KSP are reasonable enough, maybe even overly tame, but that real-life safe driving speeds in off-road conditions are low enough to bring #5 into effect for rovers.
 

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1. Axial tilts. Should be self explanatory.

2. Proper mapview-like mission planner tool. It should show positions of bodies and ships at chosen times, have possibility to simulate trajectories over several orbits (for slingshots) etc. It should have porkchop plotter and show chosen orbits in space. If SQUAD will not program every tools it it should be possibility to make such mods on well thought base.

After these they should make better seed value based procedural planet generating code make true exploration a part of the game, but I think that it is not in foreseeable future.

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18 hours ago, r4pt0r said:

More music variation. Music for each SOI. and special music for reentry/entry on atmospheric bodies. Some of it may have already been made

When under no acceleration on a close flyby trajectory it would be awesome to have Gustav Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" playing. It's the perfect music for watching a planet's limb crawl by and blot out the stars one by one. If it were made thematic to a particular planet, Duna would be the obvious choice, based on the song's title.

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1&2) Because contracts essentially set your goals in career mode. They do have contracts to reposition sats after you launch them... but I agree contracts need more love.

There should be a branching "storyline" set of contracts... which is already partially in place with the world record things that autocomplete.. but the "explore X" contracts often don't spawn before I go visit a body, and then thats all there is.

Other than that... the goal is fun... I don't need a contract to have fun setting up a mobile laythe base that can be transported in pieces by a mk3 cargoplane, or designing a resuable system to get kerbals to moho and back, or something that can fly on duna.

3&4) Wheels are getting an overhaul in 1.1... but I guess you want wheels that fold up sideways instead of forward? A wheel will of course end up facing down... what I want are large size steerable wheels.

5) See points 1&2... the planets are not all the same... eve is not a purple kerbin, the engineering challenges and the way craft behave are entirely different. Same with Duna... only on laythe do you actually find conditions very similar to kerbin, where craft behave similarly (except now solar power is problematic, and its a lot easier to SSTO)

In the age of the internet, the wiki would spoil everything... but it would be nice if in game you don't have a high res map of the planet, and don't have any information on specific parameters of target bodies.

A space telescope could I guess give you a better resolution picture, and a rought surface gravity estimate (at least for bodies with moons), and a very very rough idea of its atmosphere.. but height and accurate thickness would need a probe... but you can look that all up in the wiki... so its just like the hidden easter eggs on the planets, that is all available in the wiki or kerbal maps. Now the only thing that is new each time is the resource distribution.

Other than that, I think the surface analyzer instrument for finding ore concentration could also have a science function, but one that requires you to travel X distance on the ground before it can give a result.

 

What I think we need:

* Electric fans for propulsion on/in liquids, or atmospheres without using fuel

* An ice giant (ie uranus or neptune analogue)

* A titan analogue

* hinged parts (the cargoramp is a good start, with its deploy slider... if only I could attach things to the moveable part of it)

* Air augmented rockets

* Nuclear reactors... for when RTG spamming increases part count too much (would also have a better EC/sec : mass ratio)

* Larger ion engines (paired with nuclear reactors... and an ice giant that is farther out than jool so solar isn't really an option.. yummy)

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Not sure how relevant this is, but why is the IVA camera restricted to, like, 40 degrees pan/tilt? It feels very odd and does nothing except reduce immersion.

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