strider3

in game tutorials are a diservice.

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After completing all the in-game tutorials it has become obvious that they have no relationship to "Career" mode. I was taught to orbit, transfer and re-orbit (Mun) with tools I don't have in Career mode? Here I am with a mission to "get close to Mun" and I really have no idea what to do without a maneuver point? I'm in orbit around Kerbal...but getting a "fly-by" around Mun, and returning to Kerbal has become almost impossible with my level of knowledge. I'm basically just shooting in the dark, having Mun at my 4 o'clock and firing away...hoping for the best.

Listen, I don't want this to be a "whine" by any means. I know I have a lot to learn about this simulation. I just wish the in-game tutorials were geared more towards flight without all the fancy tools you get later, in career mode.\

Vic the newbal

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Hello Victor, welcome to KSP.

You'll find various opinions on this and not everyone agrees with me, but with this disclaimer out of the way: start in Sandbox to get the hang of things like "getting into orbit", "going to the moon," and so on.  I see career more as a "challenge" mode than as a tutorial mode, and you're absolutely right that it's hard enough for a starting player to do all those things with the proper tools, let alone without them.

The advice against starting in Sandbox is that you might get into the habit of building way too big and too heavy.

So just don't do that. Try to keep things as light as possible. In fact, for moon (Mun/Minmus) missions, stick to the 1.25m tanks and engines; that's all you need to get there.

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I could just be a flawed human, but might I also mention one of the cons against starting in Sandbox before Career (again, at least for me), was the huge amount of parts and no idea where to start. With career, it gives you a base, and shows you where the ground is and works up from there. When I started sandbox I had no idea how 'advanced' some parts were, and I had no idea if I had any business using part x when just learning the basics.

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Those tools can be unlocked in career mode, and I think the assumption is that you would unlock them before going to the Mun by doing successive atmospheric and suborbital missions at Kerbin. For maneuver nodes specifically, you need to upgrade the Tracking Station and Mission Control.

Nonetheless, your point is valid. If maneuver nodes are considered advanced or a privilege, then the tutorials should be from a more basic perspective that doesn't rely on them.

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The tutorials having "gaps" in them is a longstanding issue; 1.1, however, will address it by having whole new tutorials.

Meanwhile though, I'd echo @pincushionman's suggestion that you start in science mode. It's a happy medium; you don't have to worry about as many things as you would in career mode, but you will be eased into the system starting with basic small parts, rather than overwhelmed by all the parts in the game at once.

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I'm an advocate of starting in career, myself. Although science mode is good for some people, my feeling is that once you've dedicated the effort to unlock a significant part of the science tree in science mode, you might not really want to abandon that save and go back to the beginning of the career tree.

The tutorials are not great - they've been surpassed by changes in the game and contain errors in the instructions too.

However, the "missions" you get in career have very long timeframes for completion. You got that mission because the game judged it would be the next logical step for you. There is no obligation to do it straight away - you could easily do a couple of suborbital tourist contracts first to get cash to upgrade the tracking station.

However, to get "near" to the Mun without manouvre nodes, you just need to launch shortly before the Mun rises, then rather than circularising in orbit, you continue burning in the Mun's direction or very slightly to the left of it. It won't give you a great encounter but it'll work - and you can do it with the most basic probe core and no batteries (but in this case, click on the probe core and deactivate it's battery as soon as you stop burning, so that you can return to your craft and improve your approach later).

Oh and if you'r already in orbit, you do the same thing only from up high: start burning prograde the instant your craft can "see" the Mun (i.e. a bit earlier in your orbit than the point on the ground where the Mun can be seen rising).

And finally, there's nothing stopping you from making a save (alt-F5) and then treating your burn as if you were "just plotting it out"...

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Career mode is for advanced players only. New players who start in career mode are unnecessarily shooting themselves in the foot.

When learning the game, you should have the LEAST number of things to deal with at a time, and in my opinion that means you should start in Science mode. Science Mode has very few parts to start (the same ones in career) and teaches you how to build (at least moderately) efficient designs without having to worry about money or upgrading buildings or earning the "right" to place maneuver nodes.

Once you know the basics of the game, the unlocks you need in career mode are small and are the first things I do in any career.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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7 hours ago, Victor3 said:

After completing all the in-game tutorials it has become obvious that they have no relationship to "Career" mode. I was taught to orbit, transfer and re-orbit (Mun) with tools I don't have in Career mode? Here I am with a mission to "get close to Mun" and I really have no idea what to do without a maneuver point? I'm in orbit around Kerbal...but getting a "fly-by" around Mun, and returning to Kerbal has become almost impossible with my level of knowledge. I'm basically just shooting in the dark, having Mun at my 4 o'clock and firing away...hoping for the best.

Listen, I don't want this to be a "whine" by any means. I know I have a lot to learn about this simulation. I just wish the in-game tutorials were geared more towards flight without all the fancy tools you get later, in career mode.\

Vic the newbal

I actually agree with you. Its why I only ever play sandbox 95% of the time... trying to play without mechjeb is stupid when there are no documents or videos to show you the ins and outs of it all... so what the heck, sandbox rules (but I wished it didn't!)

1 hour ago, 5thHorseman said:

Career mode is for advanced players only. New players who start in career mode are unnecessarily shooting themselves in the foot.

When learning the game, you should have the LEAST number of things to deal with at a time, and in my opinion that means you should start in Science mode. Science Mode has very few parts to start (the same ones in career) and teaches you how to build (at least moderately) efficient designs without having to worry about money or upgrading buildings or earning the "right" to place maneuver nodes.

Once you know the basics of the game, the unlocks you need in career mode are small and are the first things I do in any career.

Yeah, but how to get into orbit.... building is NOTHING, its mastered in no time... FLYING, that is the hard part, getting into orbit, getting to another planet....

The best spaceship is NOTHING if you cannot get from point a to point b!

Edited by kiwi1960
typos

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I started KSP in Career mode without playing tutorials or any other mode and never had an issue really.

There are plenty of easy to do contracts if you need money, and the level 2 tracking center/mission control upgrades to get maneuver nodes aren't terribly expensive. I don't think it's too much to expect that you would be able to upgrade these 2 buildings by the time you go for a Mun shot. The game could certainly make it clearer how important this upgrade is to your progress though as it may not be immediately obvious to new players.

Having since gone back and played the tutorials I definitely agree they are woefully out dated and extremely user unfriendly.

 

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket

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 I've only done a couple of the tutorials that came with the demo and only by going to the forums (and watching You Tube vids) that it really made things click for me. Since I bought the game I haven't done a single tutorial because I knew they were pretty much useless.

If you are not really interested in the subject you are not going to get beyond the tutorials. I've had many friends just bounce off the demo and tutorials and say "I'm not gonna take the extra time and trouble to learn about this game".

The best advice I've seen in the forums that helped me was to start in science mode. You basically get spoon feed parts in small chunks that you learn to use before getting new ones.

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6 hours ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

I started KSP in Career mode without playing tutorials or any other mode and never had an issue really.

There are plenty of easy to do contracts if you need money, and the level 2 tracking center/mission control upgrades to get maneuver nodes aren't terribly expensive. I don't think it's too much to expect that you would be able to upgrade these 2 buildings by the time you go for a Mun shot. The game could certainly make it clearer how important this upgrade is to your progress though as it may not be immediately obvious to new players.

Having since gone back and played the tutorials I definitely agree they are woefully out dated and extremely user unfriendly.

Same here, I just hopped right into career mode and didn't have any significant issues. However, some will need more help and guidance than that, which is why I think science mode is also pretty helpful. I definitely don't advocate playing sandbox for your very first time.

+1 to the game making it more obvious how important upgrading the tracking center/mission control is.

+1 to the tutorials being completely sub-par.

31 minutes ago, N_Danger said:

The best advice I've seen in the forums that helped me was to start in science mode. You basically get spoon feed parts in small chunks that you learn to use before getting new ones.

+1 to this as well.

 

Also, be sure to check out Scott Manley's videos on youtube. They are incredibly helpful, and taught me a ton. I doubt I'd have the understanding of KSP that I do if it wasn't for his help (and everyone on these forums as well). Here is a direct link to Scott Manley's playlist of KSP Career mode tutorials for the absolute beginner. I can't think of any other resource that is as helpful as that playlist right there. It is the balls.

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12 hours ago, Spheniscine said:

@pincushionmanThe tutorials having "gaps" in them is a longstanding issue; 1.1, however, will address it by having whole new tutorials.

^ This.  1.1 will be arriving Soon™, and the tutorials should be a lot better.

In the meantime, moving this over to General Discussion, since this thread really isn't a question.

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Career mode is an unbalanced, incoherent (in more ways than one) mess of seemingly unrelated mechanics thrown together in the hopes they'll make a whole.  It's a terrible place for new players to start the game, being more fit as a "challenge mode" for more experienced players, as stated.  Science mode will ease you into the parts available without saddling you with ridiculous restrictions on telemetry and planning, or try Sandbox mode with help from Youtube and the forums like those of us who started before Science and Career were even a thing.

 

Edited by regex

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Aside from not adequately informing the player that the tracking station and admin building upgrades are very important, career mode actually does a pretty good job of guiding the player. It has all the benefits of science mode in part introduction, the pad and VAB upgrades do a good job of organically encouraging the player to build small efficient rockets, and the contract system helps set the player up for more advanced activities, like rescues and docking.

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+1 to all the suggestions of starting in Science mode.  I'm probably biased as I started KSP in 0.22, when science mode was the ONLY non-sandbox mode, but it does serve as a passable (although not good) introduction.  Definitely better than full-up career at first.

I'd advise against reading tutorials and such on the forums/watching youtube videos.  I pretty much learned everything aside from efficient interplanetary transfer (and a handful of other tricks that I don't use very often) on my own via experimentation (I did have a home-grown interplanetary system, but it was awful, took forever, and a lot of fuel), plus some recollection of NASA techniques.  It's much more satisfying to figure something out for yourself, or turn some dusty old NASA document into an actual KSP mission -- and I feel that this is the real magic of KSP. That being said, the INTERFACE of KSP could use a lot more tutorialization, as there's some EXTREMELY handy things that aren't necessarily immediately apparent:

  • You can drag maneuver nodes along orbits by left clicking and dragging the circle in the middle of the maneuver node.  This makes it trivial to get to the Mun or Minmus when used properly. NB: in 1.0 and earlier, the dragging action can be a little crappy in certain circumstances (hyperbolic orbits come to mind).  It's still useful and may work better in 1.1.
  • To transfer fuel/resources from one craft to another, right click one tank, and then alt-right click another, and click the in/out buttons to move the resource (I believe it's shift for the Linux editions for the second click).
  • Struts are applied by clicking once to place it, and then clicking again to place the other end.  Note that the mass of the strut is associated with the first click, cuz reasons.
  • Kerbals on EVA can move science experiments around with right click.
  • Unique experiments can be stored in any command pod (ie, you can store a seismic scan from mun highlands in the same pod as an eva report from the mun highlands, and/or a seismic scan from mun midlands, but not another seismic scan from mun highlands again).

There's some other points I'm forgetting, I'm certain... If anybody else has any control/interface tips, please feel free to chime in.

11 minutes ago, Armisael said:

the pad and VAB upgrades do a good job of organically encouraging the player to build small efficient rockets

Uhh... no.  They briefly encourage efficient design, and then the first upgrade pretty much opens up everything aside from Jool5 challenges and large+ stations/bases.  There really needs to be more tiers.. like at least twice as many, and they should be a lot smaller increments in the early stages.

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4 minutes ago, Renegrade said:

Uhh... no.  They briefly encourage efficient design, and then the first upgrade pretty much opens up everything aside from Jool5 challenges and large+ stations/bases.  There really needs to be more tiers.. like at least twice as many, and they should be a lot smaller increments in the early stages.

I only have anecdotal experience from the two people I've introduced to the game, but in those cases, yes, it did exactly that. The first VAB upgrade is expensive enough that people do sit with that 30 part limit for a little bit.

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My start with KSP was when Sandbox was the only mode of gameplay.  Regardless of how many or how few parts one has to experiment with, the in-game tutorials were (and remain) irrelevant to much of the current gameplay, or simply confusing or non-intuitive.  I understand from posts above that this should change by version 1.1.  I hope so.  It makes no sense to have to search the forums or You Tube for tutorials and explanations for the basics of playing a game.

I started out by building and flying planes and only later tried making rockets.  I also made rovers and boats before landing on my first "moon".  Essentially I tried doing some of the more difficult tasks first (aside from attaining orbit and traveling to and from some of the planets).

For new players, I recommend starting either in Science mode or in Sandbox, and test what each engine will do (the basis of my own charts and graphs) using simple constructions and goals.

Also try out each non engine part that has some kind of function above and beyond that of a fuel tank.  Pay attention to warnings in the VAB (start there) as to what parts and resources you may be lacking.  Try out science and utility parts in the vicinity of the KSC and see what they do and what they fail to do.

Once you get familiar with what the parts can do, you can eventually get into staging and more complex craft.

Above all, have fun!

Edit:  ... or just go get this; it should be the stock game IMHO:

http://kerbaledu.com

 

Edited by Dispatcher
Added link for Kerbal EDU

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And this is why I absolutely dispise career mode. It's only purpose of guiding new players how to play with contracts underminded by making the game much harder in the beggining.

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When I first got the game back in .18 or whatever was right before science mode, sandbox was it. And let me tell you, it was even MORE confusing.  Like was mentioned earlier, having everything at your fingertips first, without knowing what does what, how much power you do, what ISP even is, makes it far more trial and error than actual learning.

Luckily science mode came right after I bought the game, and starting from a small base of parts meant I could spend time building up the proper understanding of how to build am effective rocket, and not just a big powerful one.

Career mode is just an extension of building efficiently in terms of doing as much as you can with as few parts as are available, and adding in a layer of financial (and some would say Kerbal) responsibility.  It adds more depth, but is not really needed if you want to learn to fly before you learn to manage.  

So ya, in short, science mode first for a few hours at least, since it gates your progress behind skill checks.  You can't unlock something that can get you into even more trouble until you have at least used what you already have well enough to get science points. 

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2 hours ago, Renegrade said:

Uhh... no.  They briefly encourage efficient design, and then the first upgrade pretty much opens up everything aside from Jool5 challenges and large+ stations/bases.  There really needs to be more tiers.. like at least twice as many, and they should be a lot smaller increments in the early stages.

Overall you had some great suggestions, but in my opinion this one really takes this cake. I absolutely agree with this here.

22 minutes ago, jedensuscg said:

When I first got the game back in .18 or whatever was right before science mode, sandbox was it. And let me tell you, it was even MORE confusing.  Like was mentioned earlier, having everything at your fingertips first, without knowing what does what, how much power you do, what ISP even is, makes it far more trial and error than actual learning.

Luckily science mode came right after I bought the game, and starting from a small base of parts meant I could spend time building up the proper understanding of how to build am effective rocket, and not just a big powerful one.

Career mode is just an extension of building efficiently in terms of doing as much as you can with as few parts as are available, and adding in a layer of financial (and some would say Kerbal) responsibility.  It adds more depth, but is not really needed if you want to learn to fly before you learn to manage.  

So ya, in short, science mode first for a few hours at least, since it gates your progress behind skill checks.  You can't unlock something that can get you into even more trouble until you have at least used what you already have well enough to get science points. 

+1 +5

Edited by KocLobster

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As a person who picked up KSP 2 weeks ago. I played the Tutorials and then went sandbox. Sandbox sucked me in with the constant tinkering of space planes. So I figured I would start recording my career mode. Well.. its not going to bad 2 hours into career. Though I do think the tutorial needs abit of work, and by the way it sounds 1.1 is fixing those issues. The biggest issue with sandbox is I don't know what to make really, that's why I spent many hours in it building an SSTO (Still didn't get it 100%) after seeing the SSTO thread on here.

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I've been playing KSP since 2013 and even I feel absolutely crippled without maneuver nodes and patched conics. I agree with you that it's way too hard on people, especially beginners.

My tip would be to start career mode with a bunch more money in the bank and just immediately upgrade the buildings to get rid of the hazzle.

A very common mistake (that I've made myself many times) is thinking that you're missing out if you make a game easier through settings. If you think some feature is BS or dumb, remove it. If you later find out that you can handle it, enable it again! If you're frustrated and you're not playing the game, you're definitely missing out.

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