Wjolcz

Programs instead of strategies, no science points, no tech tree and some other things

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Ugh. Having funds just blatantly reset each month is NOT my idea of fun. I much prefer a more gradual approach.

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NOOOO MY LENGHTY POST DIDN'T SAVE!!!

14 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

Ugh. Having funds just blatantly reset each month is NOT my idea of fun. I much prefer a more gradual approach.

Anyway, the idea was that if money didn't reset each month players could easily accumulate large amounts of money by warping while keeping the minimum amount of space center crew.

But that wouldn't be the case if reputation dropped over time (only if the player kept being passive or didn't have any programs active), since warping for a long time would grant less and less money.

It's kind of hard to balance, I guess.

Dunno. Have to think about it. I'm open to suggestions.

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I don't think that reputation and funding should be hard linked. That's not realistic.

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4 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

I don't think that reputation and funding should be hard linked. That's not realistic.

It actually is.

NASA, ESA and RosCosmos get the funding from the governments. SpaceX gets partial funding from NASA to build and research things. Same with ULA and Orbital ATK.

They all get funds because they have reputation (AKA public opinion) high enough that governments keep giving them money.

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Just now, Veeltch said:

It actually is.

NASA, ESA and RosCosmos get the funding from the governments. SpaceX gets partial funding from NASA to build and research things. Same with ULA and Orbital ATK.

They all get funds because they have reputation (AKA public opinion) high enough that governments keep giving them money.

Yeah but what I mean is that NASA's reputation to funding ratio isn't always at a 10:1 ratio or something. The ratio fluctuates. See what I mean? Funding is dependent on rep, but not hard linked.

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Just now, Mycroft said:

Yeah but what I mean is that NASA's reputation to funding ratio isn't always at a 10:1 ratio or something. The ratio fluctuates. See what I mean? Funding is dependent on rep, but not hard linked.

Oh, you mean that. Well, there wouldn't be a problem since the reputation itself fluctuates. Less rep means less funds. More rep, more funds. It's pretty simple. As long as you gather science/do missions/research parts your rep should stay high enough to keep your program running. The 10:1 ratio was just example. It doesn't have to be the exact numbers.

It's true that you can't measure NASA's reputation, but in KSP you can, because it's a game.

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maybe there could be a few diffrent bars, that when you reached X level in one or two or three (depending on the part, one level could result in a higher completion level than other levels.), It would unlock the ability to invest funds in devlop a new part.

Levels could be:

Aircraft

Deep space

close orbit

nuclear

manned spaceflight

electronics

planetoid operations.

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8 hours ago, Rath said:

maybe there could be a few diffrent bars, that when you reached X level in one or two or three (depending on the part, one level could result in a higher completion level than other levels.), It would unlock the ability to invest funds in devlop a new part.

Levels could be:

Aircraft

Deep space

close orbit

nuclear

manned spaceflight

electronics

planetoid operations.

I'd prefer to not having any more bars. I assume you mean like bars as in status bars, where certain amount of points needs to be accumulated in order to progress?

That could be completed with a sane tree as well. What would be ideal is a "tree" that looks like the one in War Thunder. It has multiple starts and each branch is (sort of) themed. That's how IMO the stock tech tree should look like.

Wings with wings, SRBs eith SRBs, batteries with batteries, etc.

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Updated the OP a bit. Added the mission designer and the multIple start tech "tree" concepts from other threads.

Edited by Veeltch

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On August 17, 2016 at 10:46 AM, Veeltch said:

OK, so I see some confusion about the concept. People keep saying that a career like this would punish the player for doing what the game asks for, but I really don't understand why (someone illuminate me, please). I came to conclusion that the misunderstanding might be coming from the fact I'm not a native English speaker and the way I word things is a bit messy, so I tried to narrow it down a bit by including only the basic concepts and ideas of the proposed system. 

Wow it had not occurred to me English was a second language for you. Don't worry you're super clear. 

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Ok, so I really, really hate bumping my threads all the time (because it looks like attention-you-know-what-ing), but I also want the ideas to be in one place.

I do want this to be as simple to implement by the devs as possible this time. Most of these things are already done by some mods (I'll list them later here, in this post). Here we go (again!):

THE R&D: The tree looks more or less like the one in WarThunder (themed branches). The nodes cost time and money to unlock.

MODS THAT DO THISI've never played it, but I'm pretty sure RSS/RO simulates this. Nevermind, even RO isn't free of science points. You have to exchange them directly to funds, or something. Historical Progression Tech Tree has a really nice and clean example of a tree with branches sorted by themes.

THE MISSION CONTROL: Not much changes here apart from missions being directly influenced by what's going on in the Admin Building. From now on missions have two rewards depending on what their character is: money (for commercial missions) and reputation (for the rest). Missions cost you rep/money (or both) only when you fail them, not decline (who even came up with this kind of punishment?). It would also be nice to design the missions from the scratch instead of hunt for the "perfect" ones.

MODS THAT DO THIS: None, AFAIK.

THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING: Strategia mod becomes stockified (with the exception of the ice cream strategies. They are a tad silly).

MODS THAT DO THIS: Strategia

THE TWO RESOURCES: Science points are no more. All that matters now is money and reputation. Money can be earned by doing missions like tourism, ore hauling, putting sats in orbits (and pretty much everything that is done by private companies like SpaceX). Reputation is what you get from scientific missions and experiments themselves. Reputation is exchanged to money every X days (that way there are no real penalties for doing nothing as once the reputation zeroes out you can warp for however long you want to; you only pay the price for screwing up the missions and killing the crew).

MODS THAT (kind of) DO THIS: KSPCasher

Hopefully, I didn't miss anything important and hit the middle ground between the simulation enthusiasts and the ones who want to play just a game. Would this satisfy everyone's needs? Would it be simple enough to implement? Don't know, but I do hope so.

Edited by Veeltch

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A practical conception of most of these ideas is currently in the form of:

 

I will update it to KSP 1.2 just as soon as Strategia and Contract Configurator are updated for 1.2.

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this is good idea, i get bored of the normal career every once and a while, so i leave and come back a month later, this could make me not go away and come back later!

sorry, just came back from this, not advertising!

but i have one question, if you get rid of science points and so forth, why do you need to use experiments anymore? i mean, you just do the supersonic thing, get more plane parts, do better rocket stuff, you get more rocket parts, why do you need experiments? are they just for money gain? if so there is a mod for it already

if not, why do you need experiments anymore?

if this was answered already, just ignore me, i just read the first post and some of the first page so i might have missed some.

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16 hours ago, StupidAndy said:

but i have one question, if you get rid of science points and so forth, why do you need to use experiments anymore? i mean, you just do the supersonic thing, get more plane parts, do better rocket stuff, you get more rocket parts, why do you need experiments? are they just for money gain? if so there is a mod for it already

if not, why do you need experiments anymore?

if this was answered already, just ignore me, i just read the first post and some of the first page so i might have missed some.

Well, that's the problem caused by science points being introduced in the first place.

Ideally the experiments should be actually useful for the player. By measuring atmospheric pressure on Duna you would be able to predict the drag, thus the landing site of your spacecraft, or research an electric propeller that could work in Dunian conditions. By measuring the magnetic field of the body you would know if it's possible to survive on the surface, or not.

But experiments in KSP were never meant to be like that. That's why the best way to repurpose the experiments would be to simply make them yield reputation.

Let's take a real life example: MER Opportunity. It's made of metal parts (made by a Boeing team, I believe) and it's being driven by the rover team. It uncovers the mysteries of martian geology, so there is another team that benefits from it: the geologists. (I  know it's oversimplified, but so is KSP).

So we have three teams: the rover builders, the rover drivers and the geologists.

Now, who benefits the most from what Opportunity is doing? That's right, it's the geologists. The problem is there is no geologist team in KSP. We only have the builders (R&D and VAB) and the drivers (the player in-flight). Because of the lack of "the geologists" the science system is oversimplified, which causes all sorts of balancing problems (science points used to research more parts in R&D). It's always either too grindy or too easy to unlock the whole tech tree, or you fly a half-assed spacecraft just to unlock proper building materials (parts).

So to sum up: experiments are really useless in a game about spaceflight where you don't get to do analysis of the data. The devs introduced science points simply to give purpose to the experiment parts. The truth is you don't even need them to fly your spacecraft in real life, but you do in KSP (R&D research) which breaks the game and makes it really hard to balance. That's why there were so many science tweaks in the past and why the parts are being moved around the tech tree all the time (even in 1.2). If we really want the experiments to stay in the game it would be best to have them repurposed as just another reputation source, because using them to research more parts makes zero sense and is hard to balance.

EDIT: Another way to achieve this would be introducing some sort of Science Team Building (I know it sounds kinda ridiculous) which would receive the data from science experiments and analyze it over time producing a steady output of reputation. "What does science have to do with reputation?", you might ask. Don't these scientific organizations, like NASA, JAXA, ESA or SETI like to brag about what they've discovered and what they are working on right now on Facebook, Twitter and other media? They very much do. It's just how PR works. You need good PR to gain good reputation if you are a national space agency.

But this^^^ would be too time-consuming IMO. It's easier to just make the funds rep-dependent and science instruments yield reputation directly.

Edited by Veeltch

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Lots of great ideas on here. I've not read the entire thread (just the first and last page) so forgive me if anything I'm about to mention has already been discussed.

My thoughts on career mode:

Going from what was described in the OP, for additional ways to fund your space program we could retain a form of contracts. Specifically, I was thinking that we could have (optional) launch contracts where you're given a pre-assembled payload that you need to get into a specific (reasonable) orbit (and eventually to other planets), kind of like what commercial companies like SpaceX do. To prevent this from degenerating into the current satellite contracts, the orbits would need to be reasonable and the payloads varied enough that there would be some challenge to completing them, plus enough of a payout to make them worth the time. The payloads could be chosen based on the player's tech level, starting with small communication satellites up to several hundred ton interplanetary vessels. The rationale behind this is that sometimes I enjoy building lifters just for the fun of it and end up slapping together a dummy payload just to have something (usually ridiculous) for my lifter to put into orbit.

Conversely to reduce the tedium of launches, maybe there could be a system where you can pay a fee based on the size/weight/desired orbit of one of your craft to have someone else launch it for you. Maybe have a requirement that you must have launched a payload at least as big/heavy to the same orbit at least once before to unlock the ability to pay someone else to do it for you.

Another career idea I've seen floated from time to time is the idea of a rival space agency. That could be an interesting mechanic, especially if you had to compete with them for world-first contracts (random side thought: world-first achievements should give rep, not funds, especially if our funding is rep based). How quickly they achieve things could be part of the difficulty settings, and they could launch their own missions so you would see their craft from time to time. Something like KCT would be essential for balancing this.

Additionally, I've really enjoyed playing through the anomaly explorer contract pack in the past, and a cleverly set up sequence of increasingly difficult "story" missions could make career mode much more interesting as well. These could be set up so that the player can choose to ignore them and run their own space program if desired. This is not a new idea (NovaSilisko originally intended the Duna SSTV easter egg to be part of a "story mode" back when he was still a dev), but I think it would go a long ways to providing an overarching goal for career mode beyond exploring just for the sake of exploring. To improve replayability, the anomaly locations for the story missions could be randomly chosen when a new game is started so you actually have to go hunt for them instead of just getting the coordinates from a guide.

Another random thought: instead of removing science points entirely, use them simply as a score counter in addition to the other experiment changes.

Another thing that isn't mentioned in the OP but is still utterly broken in stock is the astronaut training. Training should cost funds and take some time, not magically happen because a Kerbal touched the Mun. Also, when hiring astronauts, they come with different levels of training based in your reputation (high reputation means more skilled astronauts are applying), and skilled astronauts cost more to hire initially. This would need to be balanced against the cost of training a less skilled astronaut. The skills also need to be rethought. For example, all engineers should be able to fix things regardless of their level, but an experienced engineer might be able to do it more quickly and possibly provide an operating bonus by making small tweaks to improve efficiency during flight.

Anyways, just a few thoughts I've had. Now I need to go download the mods in the No More Science points list (plus the anomaly surveyor contracts) and give those a shot to see how the game plays.

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7 hours ago, Lord Aurelius said:

 

Another thing that isn't mentioned in the OP but is still utterly broken in stock is the astronaut training. Training should cost funds and take some time, not magically happen because a Kerbal touched the Mun. Also, when hiring astronauts, they come with different levels of training based in your reputation (high reputation means more skilled astronauts are applying), and skilled astronauts cost more to hire initially. This would need to be balanced against the cost of training a less skilled astronaut. The skills also need to be rethought. For example, all engineers should be able to fix things regardless of their level, but an experienced engineer might be able to do it more quickly and possibly provide an operating bonus by making small tweaks to improve efficiency during flight.

 

Yeah, I omitted that part simply because I never bother training them in any way. Just enable the thing that makes all of them fully trained when hired. It's pretty obvious you don't send amateurs in space.

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Going off of what was mentioned here:

On 30/06/2016 at 1:43 PM, Mr. Scruffy said:

outside of catastophic desasters and crazy amounts of program-suspending, you accumulate REP

Taking a rep hit every time you create a craft isn't a bad idea. The REP hit would increase dramatically with increased spending, so if you blow the bank on a single launch, you feel the consequences. Launching the craft and getting it into space, on the other hand, would net you a REP bonus, which would be dependent on how much payload you've taken to orbit (how much of the rocket reaches a stable orbit), and the mass of the craft in the first place, or other factors. So if you build a massive launcher and it fails on the launchpad, you take a hit, but if it manages to get into space, it's worth it. Additionally, if you launch a small rocket that can get a large amount of mass into orbit, you win! Could refresh every time you land, so if you do a spacex and reuse a launcher you get the gains but not the cost.

Also, not sure if this has been mentioned, but you'd need a way of knowing how to do experiments that would help you; say you wanted to build a whiplast, but you haven't done enough experimenting. Highlighting it in the tech tree would tell you that your scientists require more information about supersonic flight in high pressure atmospheres (so you can fly through kerbin's atmosphere at low altitude or eve's high up), and landing gear might require you to have landed in an environment with gravity between x and y.

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Supported! It is one of my pet peeves that jet engines are gotten before structs and stuff like that!

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This could be really cool as a new career mode (this is sort of what I thought career was going to be as it was).

 

On balancing against against warp4Funds:

In alot of government programs there is an idea to "never go under-budget" because if you prove that you can do the same work for less money then next year you'll get less money.

What you could do with this is set a variable which creates the current reputation to budget ratio (lets assume a 100 for arguments sake.  When the new budget period comes up (month/year) the system checks the change in Reputation and the amount the program spent against the target reputation (Controlled by the programs and missions selected at the start of the budget period) and it adjusts your new ration and payout.

 

Example 1:

The player has selected a Mun program and desires to go to Duna in the next budget period, they've been working hard on Mun missions to test and prepare the technologies they think they'll need.  They have spent their entire budget but they've also fulfilled all of their "targets" and surpassed the reputation "target" by 10%.  They selected the Duna program during this budget period (or toggled it as an ambition).  

They receive a budget ratio increase from 10 to 11 (+10%) so get plenty more funds for the next cycle.  They might even get a bonus for the new program starting.  The expectations on them for the next cycle are much higher but they've got alot more funds coming in.

Example 2:

The player has selected a Mun program and desires to go to Jool in the next budget period.  They've saved all the funds they got for Mun and are hoarding them for the Jool window which will be in the next period.  They some of the expected missions for the Mun program, just enough for the last few technologies that they need and as such only achieved 70% of their reputation goals.  They set Jool as their next ambition.

The receive a budget ration of 7 (-30%) so still collect funds but less of them for the next cycle.  They're gambling on one big mission, if the Jool-5 mission pays off they might come back to a booming program with a ration in the 20s, if it fails they'll likely be broke and have to make do with a tourist service for a couple cycles to get back on their feet.

Example 3:

The player has set a Mun program but flown nothing.  They've changed their reputation by 0 or negative numbers (reputation decay).  No rockets were built, no kerbals were hired, the player simply warped through the entire period.  The funds ration is set to 0 for the next cycle.

If this is done because the player is warping through their transit out to Plock then the lost funds won't matter because the successful Plock mission will bring in a whole lot when it's finished.  If this is done to try to "game" the funds screen it becomes clear that it won't work but begins rewarding the player again when they start using them.

 

Thoughts?

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3 hours ago, John FX said:

So, enough talk, when will we see this as a mod?

Soon, hopefully.

I already have a bunch of mods that more or less simulate the reputation-based career. Still need one that turns the strategies into program with a bunch of reasonablr goals, but I'm enjoying it so far.

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I think I just had an idea

since SQUAD has a trademark on mystery goo, they're not going to outright get rid of it, they just aren't...

but what if in the RnD building, you had another panel, and in that panel, you have all of the planets. At first there isn't any data, so you know nothing about them, but when you go there with, shall we say a thermometer, you can get the info on the reentry heating, if you go there with a barometer, in atmosphere, you get the reentry effect for aerobraking and the lifting capabilities, and when you do mystery goo, you get something like a, I don't know, random fun fact about kerbal ideals on the planet, like they thought that maybe the kerbals thought that jool was just minmus flying away because they thought it was mad because everyone liked the mun better?

i think my idea can be good for players who need the info for building gliders on duna, and it opens up some modding opportunities, like kerbalism can team up with dmagic OS to have the magnetotron scan for the magnetic field!

this idea to me sounds like a good one, because personelly, I think we know too much about planets we never been to, I mean, nasa didn't start out knowing that Mars had liquid water in some places? Did they?

Edited by StupidAndy

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