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@Mr. Scruffy yeah, that's true. I can't even code, so I'm not really the right person to judge the decisions made by the Devs. Guess I got a bit carried away then. It would be nice to have those programs though.

Anyway, all the major ideas seem to be in this thread (and some others) and SQUAD is one of those few dev teams that actually seem to listen carefully to what the community has to say, so at least I can be thankful for that and hope they listen to what we have to say in the future.

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Well I wouldn't get too excited, guys. Planetary weighting could mean a lot of things. It's also important to consider that the devs don't have the luxury to just write "balance it somehow"' they actually have to do it. Things get a lot harder when you actually have to program something. Problems arise in practice that may not occur to people spitballing ideas and attacking the problem as a thought experiment. Many of the issues I've tried to point out could very well be game-breaking showstoppers in practice. I'm not a programmer but I've built several tabletop games and I've learned how unexpected drawbacks and innocuous seeming loopholes can tank a game. We've talked a lot about this, but I'll be honest I haven't seen anything like a thorough, clear set of rules and mechanics that a game designer could scoop up and implement. That's not to say suggestions and reasoning through this problem isn't helpful, I just wouldn't be surprised or disappointed at all if the devs went in a completely different direction. 

On the specific issue of time-based budgets and upgrades I'll do my very best to spell out the problem. There are definitely some issues with the basic function of KSP career as a game, but the lack of time-based mechanics isnt actually one of them. The fact that you can start on day one and land on the Mun on day 4 isn't a game-mechanic problem, its a role-playing problem. Its not that its negatively effecting players ability to complete goals or advance without grind, its that its hurting some players' sense of immersion. I can sympathize with this, and genuinely believe that a cleverly crafted game could accommodate both. I do not, however, believe that its worth sacrificing other more important components of the game to fix a problem that can be solved by players just choosing to role-play the way they wish to roll-play. You could, for instance, just time-warp forward 1 day for each science point spent in the tech tree. No one is stopping you from doing that right now. But if your wish is to force all players to role-play the way you do you have to suggest a system that doesn't make an already complicated game vastly more complicated and difficult to predict or simply add extraneous steps with no actual game-play implications. Certainly if you believe its worth scrapping the entirety of the current system, starting from scratch and enduring years (yes years) of rebalancing and all of the player complaints and frustrations that come with it the pay-out had better be more than solving a roll-playing pet peeve. It has to add a genuinely meaningful layer of incentives and trade-offs that remain stable and understandable throughout progression for a broad array of play-styles. This is no small feat. 

 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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These are the things i would love to see in ksp. But they may not be acctaully usefull in ksp but who knows they might be a good idea:

 

-Engine test stands: We all get the contracts to test engines... some are on the ground and we usually just put one on a coockpit or probecore, without any fuel tanks and just stage them while on the launchpad and we get instant science and funds reward...

Wouldn't it be cool to have a engine test stand where the engine is mounted on a rig and where you have to actually test fire the engine and change the throttle setting following a guide (like the fishing minigame in the kerbal sports mod)....

-Astronaut training center: A place where you can let kerbonauts practise missions:

Why do you have to get an astronaut in orbit so that his skills level up for more SAS functions? If he could learn it from an astronnaut that has already been into orbit and so on you don't have to do those missions again... The trade-offs is that training takes time (and possibly funds) so you end with temporarely with less astronauts available but later more ones that are trained as better pilots afterwards. (same goes with engineers and scientists)

-Construction time rollout: i might be stretching this a bit but a working crawler... building rockets taking time..

If those take time, it will make mission planning a neccessity and perhaps (for some) new challenges they want in the game

And lastly: Sounding rockets! (seriously all space programs actually started in the backyards of great pioneers)

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On May 30, 2016 at 3:38 PM, Mr. Scruffy said:

1) a) Wages for scienists as well as data (SCI) required for them to work on; b) if programs are active, decaying rewards for their missions ...

Apologies if I've missed this in a previous post but are you relying on monthly budgets or lump sum advances on accepting a mission? I have some concerns but I like your thinking. My biggest worry at the moment is that under such a system with multiple increasing and decreasing values a player would need spreadsheets and graphing software to just to make sensible budget decisions. Is there a reason this is better than the 'do X get Y' setup we have now? 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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I don't think that any tweakable aspect of the current rules is really the key to making career better, although I totally agree that it would help to have time  in some way be a resource that can't just be squandered. I think the real key is just plain going to be to add more content to the game, and deciding exactly what that is going to be is hard. There are so many directions they could go in. More stuff to see and do on planets? Some kind of linear story line? Competing AI players? All of the above? I certainly have my own vision, as does everybody else with some kind of stake in this game, but at this point, committing to any one direction is necessarily going to foreclose on some other directions, and that must be a source of controversy among the developers of the game as much as it is among the broader community.

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@Pthigrivi A couple of things:

- To me (and tater will not agree with me here) that the program is progressing unrealsitically fast at the beginning of the game is not the issue, really. The issue to me is, that time is an entirely curled up dimension in career. That you land on mun on day 4 is not the problem - that it doesnt matter wether you do it on day 4, 40 or 400 is. (Though i would like to see the early game getting stretched out a bit, while we are at it - but certainly not to realistic proportions, going 5 years or so instead of the aforementioned 4 days would be way too long, imho.)

- To roll out time and thus give career mode another meaningfull dimension would be the purpose of the programs, and R&D-time. They are acting as sort of a atracting/repelling force dichotomy. You´ll want to proceed thorugh programs as fast as you can, but the faster you go, the more you´ll be held back by tech you havent researched, yet. Then, we have an environment where difficulty can be had for challange (Scott Manley doesnt need any technology to complete all the programs, i assume ;P, but even Hodor could run the same satelite mission for the umpteenth time), instead of repeatition, without punishing the player.

- I wrote earlier, that i´d have crew wages be monthly and R&D-wages daily. I dont think that´s too much to keep track of. I mean it´s not like having 7 ships arrive at Jool-SoI within 1 month - now that is a PITA (in stock KSP).

- Balancing is of great concern. You are absolutely right on that, imho. The DEVS will have to have spreadsheats and graphing-software in order to figure it out in a way that players wont.

Edited by Mr. Scruffy
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While figuring out how to incorporate time into the game without unbalancing it is a complex and difficult (and perhaps worthwhile) undertaking, about which many interesting suggestions have been made here, there's a whole lot they could do to make it more fun and interesting without taking any such risks. One particularly low-hanging piece of fruit at this point IMO would be for them to just put a little more stuff to see and do on the planets, and somehow link that to the exploration contracts. Here's one way it could work: You get a contract to orbit Mun and do temperature scans over some set of locations. When  you successfully complete that contract, you may discover that there was some sort of interesting anomaly at one of these locations, receiving a small science bonus. If so, the game immediately generates a surface exploration contract for that location so you can investigate the anomaly. When you complete that mission, there is again a chance that you actually find some kind of an Easter egg. This Easter egg, like the goody huts in Civ, will also give you some kind of a bonus. The more common ones will give you small bonuses to money or science, but the rarer ones might unlock a new part or node of the tech tree for you. Near the end of the game, perhaps the Easter eggs could even lead you to some otherwise inaccessible future techs that might ultimately lead you to developing interstellar flight, for example. OK, so that last part would probably be controversial, but truly, just introducing the possibility of finding something interesting and getting an unexpected bonus when conducting exploration missions would do a lot to take the grind out of it IMO.

Edited by herbal space program
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It's not just that you land on the Mun on Day 4, it's everything that goes with that fact. To the player, it would not matter of that day 4 was day 4000, because time could simply progress in a way that they don't see. Come out of the VAB, and it's a year later, that doesn't bother me, it's functionally no different than popping out and it being morning, or the same time I went in.

The Two questions to ask about career are:

Whose career is it?

and 

What's the point of career?

I think the first question has to be the agency director, or the agency itself, and they are fundamentally the same thing. 

The second question is critical, and drives everything else. If the primary goal is management of a space program, then other things need to happen for management to be a thing---including kerbals doing what they are told without the player literally taking every step for them. If my craft execute their programmed nodes on time, or they can fly routine resupply missions by themselves, because I have set that up (as an act of management), then it makes no difference if my time in the VAB designing a craft gets folded in such that when I hit launch, if the craft took 9 months to build, my time jumps forward 9 months. I have no worries, my program did what it was supposed to do while I was working on the next big thing.

What if the answer to the second question is different? IN games like the above-mentioned SH4, my goal was to present the player with realistic, but novel encounters/patrols. I didn't want every patrol to feel the same, I wanted a sense of the hunt, and in a combat context, that's sort of "exploration." So in KSP the answer might be "a real sense of exploration." It also might be "I want to have to solve interesting problems that I would not otherwise. Those answers end up with an entirely different career mode design, IMO. It could also be an admixture of all of those and more.

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In reply to both posts above: On the risk of it being controversial, but i think this sort of true exploration could best be served by scripted programs. I know, this sounds paradox. Yet, by scripting it, each mission could be better tailored for this experience, with one following up on the other in a very logical way, without having to have actual mechanics in place to accomplish this. Certain aspects could still be random, or semi-random (set as a range or a list, instead of one specific value), though, as to provide better replayability. 

For example: Ideally, to know the exact mass of a body, you´d have to do a grav-experiment on or near it. One could either contruct a mechanic that blurs out exact data in this before you do, or you can simply have the mission to conduct that experiment somewhere early in the program. In either case, you end up doing the experiment. The later variant seems easier to code, to me, though. Another example: You could have ´fog of war´ over unvisited bodies, or simply make bringing a camera part of any first mission of any program, so that you would get this data anyways, before it becomes relevant in follow-up missions. With scripted programs, you could also guide the player to finding an anomally in a seemingly random way (and vary which anamoly that is between games - e.g. pick one at random at the start of each game).

Also, this way, looking stuff up on the nets wouldnt solve the mission for you. If the mass of a body would be hidden (the mechanical solution), you could look it up on the wiki and wouldnt actually have to do the experiment. Not so with scripted missions: Know the value all you want, the game would still ask you to do what would be needed, if you didnt.

Another point: If the game would guide you towards certain locations of a planet/moon, from a list, a focus could be laid on fleshing out these locations first and foremost. Instead of re-doing the entire body, the devs could just handcraft these locations with some extra-effort.

EDIT: And another - and this is way out there for KSP: On manned missions, with scripted programs, you could even throw in meaningful radio-chatter, with a context to the place they are at and what missions are currently next on your to-do-list for that body, provided kerbals would learn human languages, of course. This could tie in neatly with tutoring. Or it could be semi-historic (or fictional) referencing. From:

- "Okay, we´re in mun´s SoI now..."

- "Copy that - time to bring your periapsis to x km"

to:

- "It´s full of stars!", when standing in front of a monolith. (Or "i cant see the stars", if you want to be a little more subtle about it)

Beyond Jool, go to IVA, look outside a window back at Kerbin and he/she´d say ´It seems so small from out here´. The big four (Jeb, Bill, Bob, Val) could have their own unique situations and sentences, all others being all the same (except for gender specific voices), maybe (but also: the character traits could come into play here!). This would add some sort meta-layer on the exploration-theme: True fans will want to learn about everything any of the characters may say in any given speech-situation and try out stuff, only to find out what Jeb says when you bring him really close to the sun, for example. The bad-a** he is, he will probably say something special... Heck, it´d be fun just for the re-entry: Jeb is all ´yee-haw´, Bob screams his lungs out and Bill is humming a melody.

(sorry, i keep editing this) - maybe this can also be pulled off without transition to human language, IF the voice acting is really good. Maybe the text doesnt need to spelled out and just the tone of voice can suffice to successfully convey certain emotions, like enjoyment, excitement, a ponderous thought, panic, a milder fear, frustration, bewilderment, "Eureka!" (we already have one for those in the ´mission control´)... and then the player can fill in the words, in his/her mind. Some potential humor might not be possible this way, though, like direct referencing.

I just realized i rambled myself way into OT-territory - this has little to do with programs, actually. Sorry - carry on without regarding the last half of this post. I might even edit it out later.

Edited by Mr. Scruffy
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Science: How about different types of data and these types grant research-speed-boni to certain techs?

´Oxygen Atmosphere´-data would boost your jet-research - if you have it collected, it will get consumed with priority, when you are currently reseraching a jet-engine and grant, say, a 20% boost to research-speed.

´Oxygen Atmosphere´-data and ´Non-Oxygen´-data for Wings (the later taking priority being used), ´Space´-data for enignes with high effeciency in vacuum. If you are researching a tech that doesnt utilitze a special kind of data, the different points get used equally.

This would have the effect have making the jet&wing part a bit more viable and encourage plane-building to a mild extent (I mean: If you really arent into that, there is nothing making you, but if you want to try it, it´s a bit cheaper, if you work a bit on it, by collecting science from Kerbin).

Just a thought.

 

Edited by Mr. Scruffy
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Tying planetary science to the tech tree is part of the problem, frankly. The entire science as points stuff would ideally go away.

There is a mod that shows the spacecraft;s path through atmosphere, allowing much better landing site prediction. How about they include that mod, but it is redone so that the prediction can be more or less accurate (add an "error" fudge factor). The error is set high as a default, little better than what we have no without the mod. As you do various atmospheric science on a given world, the error for that world is decreased.

Launching anything at all, improves error for Kerbin. Using a barometer at various altitudes improves it. A reentry at various velocities also improves it. The same is true of Duna. If you want to send 3 craft, and land them next to each other, you'd best send a couple probes first to test the atmosphere so you can accurately land.

You could do all sorts of "real" science that doesn't give points for buying tech, but that actually does something useful in gameplay.

What about the "gravoli" detector? Perhaps places like the Mun can be given mascons, in which case mapping the Mun gives the player some information about where stable LMOs might exist. There are other options.

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My two cents, and I hope most agree:

1. Tech tree nodes should be automatically unlocked, based on game time, with the rate of accrual modified by strategies, reputation, and relevant contract completion. Funds can be used to rush tech acquisition. Relevant KSC building upgrades should be required to open additional nodes to research. Nodes should be able to be pre-selected by the player for research in a research queue.

2. Science gathering should fulfill contract goals, and earn reputation and/or funds, modified by strategies. No more science points.

3. Contracts should not be the only means to make funds. There should be a market on Kerbin for ore and other resources a player makes or discovers in the game.

4. Starting technologies should be offered to players as one of three selectable starts: planes first, unmanned rockets first, manned rockets first.


These four changes would totally revolutionize career mode, and make it enjoyable for anyone.

Edited by inigma
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4 minutes ago, inigma said:

My two cents, and I hope most agree:

1. Tech tree nodes should be automatically unlocked, based on game time, with the rate of accrual modified by strategies, reputation, and relevant contract completion. Relevant KSC building upgrades should be required to open additional nodes to research. Nodes should be able to be pre-selected by the player for research in a research queue.

This is interesting, and being based on game time adds meaningful time progression. Warping would clearly be required, unless the time frame you consider is  measured in hours, though.

 

4 minutes ago, inigma said:

2. Science gathering should only be done to fulfill contract goals, and earn reputation and/or funds, modified by strategies.

I tend to agree, but the counter argument is that the players then have no choice about what they do. What if this idea was combined with ideas above in the thread, that the player sets the "programs" (i.e.: Explore the Mun), but then the game generates "contracts" appropriate to those programs. So to get the munar landing science... you land where the survey "contract" says to land (I'd prefer the contract language to go away, that would not be a 3d party contract, it would be internal to my space program). Ie: I set the goal of landing a kerbal on the Mun, and my science guys then tell me what my choices are for landing spots.

4 minutes ago, inigma said:

3. Contracts should not be the only means to make funds. There should be a market on Kerbin for ore and other resources a player makes or discovers in the game.

This I don't care about even a little. I could possibly see some sort of market for rare earth elements from asteroids, I suppose.

4 minutes ago, inigma said:

4. Starting technologies should be offered to players as one of three selectable starts: planes first, unmanned rockets first, manned rockets first.


These four changes would totally revolutionize career mode, and make it enjoyable for anyone.

This could be OK, though all are really concurrent.

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3 minutes ago, tater said:

This is interesting, and being based on game time adds meaningful time progression. Warping would clearly be required, unless the time frame you consider is  measured in hours, though.

 

I tend to agree, but the counter argument is that the players then have no choice about what they do. What if this idea was combined with ideas above in the thread, that the player sets the "programs" (i.e.: Explore the Mun), but then the game generates "contracts" appropriate to those programs. So to get the munar landing science... you land where the survey "contract" says to land (I'd prefer the contract language to go away, that would not be a 3d party contract, it would be internal to my space program). Ie: I set the goal of landing a kerbal on the Mun, and my science guys then tell me what my choices are for landing spots.

This I don't care about even a little. I could possibly see some sort of market for rare earth elements from asteroids, I suppose.

This could be OK, though all are really concurrent.

The idea is to add Economy to the game. Without any sort of economy, KSP simply remains a science grind.  With Career mode, I envision it as a means to balance one's time, funds, and activities to achieve building a solar-faring civilization.

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So up the post, your answer to my second question as to what the point is, would include "to create a solar-faring civilization."

I'd like that game, but I think that;s more like KSP 2.0 (for money), and it seems beyond the scope of current KSP.

To really do that, I think we'd need more robust bases, indeed built in-situ, likely (more like colonies, than early, scientific outposts).

I'm not bashing it, I think it would be cool, but I think we'd need way more "stuff," and it would require even more autonomy on the part of kerbals (so I don;t have to personally micromanage every single supply ship, etc).

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13 hours ago, Mr. Scruffy said:

@Pthigrivi- I wrote earlier, that i´d have crew wages be monthly and R&D-wages daily. I dont think that´s too much to keep track of. I mean it´s not like having 7 ships arrive at Jool-SoI within 1 month - now that is a PITA (in stock KSP).

What I mean is are you proposing that your program's income is doled out over time or that you would receive it all at once when accepting and completing missions?

Im not worried about squad needing spreadsheets. Im worried about players needing them. One subtle but important thing aspect of the stock system is you always know how much money you have now and what you'll have in the future. Right now its "I have x. If I do y I'll have z." Im worried that with so many moving targets, multiple missions running, crew wages, research costs, players will be in the VAB deciding how much they can spend on their rocket and the answer will be Current Funds + ((x mission advance + (y mission income * z time))*2) + ((x mission advance + (y mission income * z time))*2) - (Crew count * x funds * y time) - (Research costs * y time) = rocket budget.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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18 hours ago, tater said:

What's the point of career?

To me the point of career is to provide a fun, stable, flexible structure through which players may unlock parts, missions, abilities and funds to grow a program from a small kit of parts to a successful space-faring enterprise. Ideally it would both teach new players the basics and challenge veterans to do new things. The goal should be exploring the Kerbol system foremost, but also creating new innovative designs and generally learning about how space travel works. It should as much as possible focus its energy on the core fun of the game: building and flying rockets. It should apply constraints on players, encouraging them to do more with less and find new solutions to complicated problems, but it should do so in the simplest most straightforward way possible. The more time players are clicking through UI and fussing with calculators the less time they are thinking about mission design. Players should have a sense that at any moment, if they played their cards right, they could go anywhere and do anything. Unlocking is fine, its part of the process, but it should be absolutely crystal clear to a player what they must do to get what they want. Repetition, grind, and fuss should be kept to a bare minimum. If players wish to repeat tasks they may, but they shouldn't be required to. Tools should be provided at timely moments to help new and old players advance farther and more efficiently. Ideally there would also be things to find out there on those worlds, and scaled rewards for finding them. Thats a big part of what makes exploration work. If things like time-based mechanics can be proven to enhance the mission design process and make the game more challenging and fun then great! Add it as a toggle. If however they disrupt other more important functions of the game or distract from its core fun then we should consider other ways of making Career mode better. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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20 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

What I mean is are you proposing that your program's income is doled out over time or that you would receive it all at once when accepting and completing missions?

Preferably when programs are accepted.

20 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

One subtle but important thing aspect of the stock system is you always know how much money you have now and what you'll have in the future. Right now its "I have x. If I do y I'll have z."

That may be true, but it doesn't stop players from accepting 60 years long contracts that give you money. I did that so many times and were telling myself "Yeah, yeah. I'll do this one at some point" and guess what? Never bothered completing them! Free cash, woooo!

I also think you are overcomplicating this. It's simpler than what you said (at least the way I think it could be implemented): there's a transfer window coming up -> you go to the R&D and decide what tech you'll need for this kind of mission -> click on a bunch of nodes and they say: X days Y funds needed -> you go to the Admin Building to check how much money the exploration program will give you if you accept it to compare the numbers.

The program would only give you that extra cash needed for the tech. You would already have your money from the monthly budget to build the vessel.

At least that's how I would like to see it implemented. Don't think budgets for the crew and the staff are needed. Let's not overcomplicate it just for the sake of it.

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15 hours ago, Veeltch said:

I also think you are overcomplicating this. It's simpler than what you said (at least the way I think it could be implemented): there's a transfer window coming up -> you go to the R&D and decide what tech you'll need for this kind of mission -> click on a bunch of nodes and they say: X days Y funds needed -> you go to the Admin Building to check how much money the exploration program will give you if you accept it to compare the numbers.

Yeah this was based on Mr Scruffy's ideas so far. I quite agree it can (and should) be much simpler than all that. There's a solution here somewhere, right now I can't quite solve the grand-tour problem in my head. I think flagging vessels is probably a recipe for disaster given docking and all of the crazy ways people play the game. Right now contracts complete when the conditions get satisfied no matter how you did it and that seems the clearest, most forgiving metric. I also tend to think we too easily get into "it all sucks! scrap everything!" mode when thats neither necessary nor likely. The fewer the number of things we propose changes to the easier it will be to implement and rebalance and the more likely they are to actually work. This is a complicated problem so I like to break things into components:

Mission deadlines:

What we really want is for time to matter and this is the first step I think. If we are supposing an alarm clock with transfer windows is a prerequisite for any time-based system then it shouldn't be that hard to give more tightly calibrated deadlines. A Duna deadline for instance would just be time until next transfer window + transfer time + buffer. This could happen on the back end and the player wouldn't have to worry about it much, they would just see that they have X days until something bad happens. Lets take a look at what those might look like:

Mun - 1.25d (intercept), 2.5d (return)
Minmus - 9d - 34d (intercept), 18d - 43d (return)
Asteroid - 12d - 110d (intercept), 25d - 220d (return)
Moho - 110d - 340d (intercept), 310d - 540d (return)
Eve - 165d - 825d (intercept), 890 - 1550d (return)
Duna - 300d - 1200d (intercept), 1170d - 2070d (return)
Dres - 560d - 1190d (intercept), 1290d - 1920d (return)
Jool - 1050d - 1500d (intercept), 2530d - 2980d (return)
Eeloo - 1560d - 1990d - (intercept), 3320d - 3750d (return)

So, if you spend a few days getting orbital, do 3 Mun missions and 3 Minmus missions this could probably bring you up to about day 130. This is right on time to send a probe to Moho, or you could do an asteroid mission or 2 before transfer windows to the outer planets all open up between day 200 and 320. All of this could happen faster of course if you sacrificed some inclination burns to Minmus or sent some simultaneous missions, but in general the timing seems fine. At this point you could just pace your upgrade times to match this schedule and you'd be getting close. The idea would be that no matter what landing anywhere would gain you the reward (just as it does now with world firsts), but if you accepted the advance you would also have to accept the deadline, which puts your reputation at risk.

What I think would happen, however, is that players will accept a contract, complete it, use the science to start the upgrade, then immediately time-warp through the upgrade for the fancy new parts, because why not. Time-based budgets don't fix this, if anything they would make it worse because players will be trying to milk them for as much money as they can without missing the deadline. I think the solution might be something akin to what @Mr. Scruffy and @tater were suggesting:

Rush Bonuses:

I think both reward decay and the idea of a rival space agency are interesting, but my worry is that they might inject too much unpredictability as described and could cause some player frustration if they weren't really, really well spelled out. What might be more straightforward would be to set a series of "World First" dates at the outset of a career open. They would be loosely based on the numbers above, and would be visible in the mission briefing. You could think of it as a rival space agency's schedule for discovery; beat those dates and you receive a bonus reward in reputation and funds on top of the normal reward you would receive just for getting there. These dates could of course be given more or less buffer based on the difficulty setting players chose. So a Mission/Contract agreement might look something like this:

 

Objective: Achieve intercept with Duna

Reward: X funds, Y Reputation, Z Science,

Advance [Available after X reputation]: X funds [Click to Accept]

- Deadline: X date

World First Bonus: X funds 

- Deadline: X date

 

To me this alone would be enough to make time matter and to put the pressure on to do things quickly. The back-pressure as Mr Scruffy rightly noted is to make upgrades take time. Since science pay-outs happen all at once I think its just as easy to pay the cost of the upgrade up-front rather than let it slowly tick away. Whats also nice about this setup is it actually doesn't bog down a Grand Tour style player because they still get the completion reward no matter what, and would probably be in a decent position to get world firsts if they were clever. There are lots of other things you could do as well, but again, to me the simplest solution is always best. Lump sums are just almost always easier to deal with because you can just look at one number and mentally add, rather than having to mentally guesstimate, multiply and then add. It doesn't sound like much, but with so many other things going on in this game sometimes it pays to just keep things absolutely as simple as possible.

Edit:
 Just as an additional note I still do really like the idea of eventually having a simple life support and habitation mechanic. It would feed really nicely into all this, giving time an additional but manageable cost.

Another advantage if you go back to this post is it turns Mission Control into a one stop shop for mission planning. You can click between your mission summaries and planet info to see when the next transfer is and what your arrival date is likely to be and compare it to deadlines without exiting the building and dealing with load-screens.

Im also thinking in addition to Intercept, Orbit, Land, and Plant Flag, a final mission component could be added called "Sample Return". All it need do is to check if a sample from a given body was recovered on Kerbin. Because you need Kerbals to collect and store samples this to me would be the easiest way to signify and reward players not just for getting there but for coming back.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Ok, I see your point, but do we really need science points to be a thing? It's a ridiculously unrealistic mechanic. Tech should be researched with money and time, not some silly generic points. How does collecting atmospheric data from other worlds helps you to research an ion engine?

And about the lump sums of cash vs annual funds: If the system was based on what I proposed in the previous post of mine the adding mechanic would work the same exact way. Except you would have the annual cash (11k per week/month/whatev) and the program would give you the money to research the tech once (50k). You get 50k to spend on tech (or something else if you'd like but don't cry when the HQ isn't satisfied) and you still have your 11k to do whatever you want in the meantime.

Either that or the program would simply give you 10k (each month) for 5 months instead of throwing a mountain of cash right at you. It's pretty much the same thing IMO. Now all we have to worry is how much time each tech needs to be fully researched.

So let's visualise it:

You are in the R&D looking at what you need/want to research for the upcoming mission. The total amount of money you have is on the top (you are aware you get 11k + 10k each month from the program). You click on a bunch of nodes/groups/whatever we want to call them and below the sum you have (green) a number pops out which says "-11.500" (red). On the right side there's another display which states the amount of days it will take for the tech to be researched. Then you simply decide if you can afford it, or not.

 

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That's funny, earlier this week I put together a long post with a very similar outline, but it disappeared when I wanted to post as my login session had expired...

But those ideas seem very similar to what I'd love to see. I also remember reading an interview with Squad stating that KSP originally was intended to be a sort of "space tycoon" game.

Anyhow, it seems many people seem to agree on many aspects of this economic/science overhaul. One of which being that it is highly unlikely it would ever find its way to the stock game. So... is there a chance we might put a mod together? At least some of the aspects seem doable - manipulating funds, unlocking the tech tree - are there tools in KSP that can be used for modding such things? Perhaps it could be based on the sandbox mode and that way the stock structure would not intervene.

Personally, I'd love to see the player's role as more "putting the infrastructure in place" rather than "must fly each probe by hand". Let me fly the first batch of tourists to space and then let the rest of the agency handle that. Let me put the first satellite of the GPS system in place and then let me have the option to skip the remaining identical launches and make my control center do that. I'd love to see the economy working... you would get "contracts" (in the real world sense of the word) from customer for putting tonnage in orbit - develop a lifter, fly a test/first flight, and then let me earn the money, until the economy changes and I'm forced to develop a better lifter, or a heavier lifter, or a reusable lifter, to make more money I need to spend on research.

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Assume for a second that the goal, as per Squad statements, is a "space tycoon" game.

This requires that missions can be flown without the player having to do every single piloting aspect themselves. Without AI kerbals, there is no tycoon game, it's not even possible.

To me such a game puts me in the CEO/Director seat, not the pilot's seat. For the sake of fun, I'd assume that I could do piloting, etc, if I wish to, but I should not have to. Set up a fuel deport/ISRU around Jool. Make a station there. Set up regular service there every time Kerbin is in the proper position for a transfer (in both directions). That should then happen---by itself---assuming I have dedicated the required funds for this crew rotation, etc. Short of that, any sort of infrastructure becomes incredibly difficult for a player, particularly in a game that does;t even have KAC functionality built in.

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I was never keen on the whole self-launching, self-piloting rockets, but now that I think about it more I come to conclusion that this could enhance the game really well. As long as we would be able to set up the whole schedule, flight programs and manouvers while at the same time jump into the seat of one of those vessels, that could be actually pretty nice and enjoyable. I can imagine that the whole economics aspect would need a major overhaul to it though.

I don't really believe such thing will happen, but if it does I will be very, very happy.

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Yeah, I pilot everything, I've never used mechjeb at all, for example. But to truly be a manager, and to have a game where the end-goal is a sort of infrastructure, I think this is required. I'd STILL do most piloting myself, that's why I play, but the ability to have routine service places would be really helpful. It's odd that Squad has not added KAC (or that functionality) since they require the player to do, well, everything, then they don't provide the tools to make doing that plausible for complex saves.

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15 hours ago, Veeltch said:

Ok, I see your point, but do we really need science points to be a thing? It's a ridiculously unrealistic mechanic. Tech should be researched with money and time, not some silly generic points. How does collecting atmospheric data from other worlds helps you to research an ion engine?

I think so? Im personally not so fussed about the realism, they're simple and they get the job done. Its not realistic at all that you would find giant gems in bushes, or that someone would carry around hundreds of them as currency, but that doesn't matter in the slightest because Zelda is fun. I actually quite like that part of the goal besides money is gathering science. Its an abstraction, but there's something pleasing about it for me, like contributing to knowledge broadly and being rewarded for it. If you removed science points entirely you also either get really wonky and proscriptive with your node unlocking procedure or you remove the need for experiments entirely. This is one of those things where I think player autonomy is really important. Nobody feels like they have to take this one specific piece of equipment to one specific place to unlock a part they need. There's all of this science value out there, and no matter where you go you collect something useful, but if you're clever and game things right there are opportunities to gain a great deal. That's why I've always said its not that the points or the tech tree is broken, its that no one really enjoys the process of collecting science. If they did, if the process of doing science was fun no one would care whether it was realistic or not. Thats the reason I think anomalies and biome multipliers should be a bigger deal, and why I think each experiment should require the player to do something besides click it to make it work. Minigames can be terrible, but if the mini-game was in-game like an impactor experiment I tend to think players would be much more excited about it than clicking on the seismometer for the umpteenth time. Whats cool is if time were a real factor in the game suddenly efficient surface mapping becomes a thing. There are a lot of cool in-engine things you could do, drop-probes, clever sample return strategies, all kinds of stuff that would really press your brain to maximize the effectiveness of your mission, rather than just cycling through right-clicking on the same 8 parts over and over.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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