mjl1966

Kerbonaut experience - we need to talk

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Bill, newly annointed Master of Space Engineering, is eager to get to work excavating exotic ores from faraway places.  Imagine his excitement when he receives his first mission to the Mun.  "Am I going to learn to drill?" he asks.

"No.  It doesn't work that way.  You're going to plant a flag on the Mun."

"Why?"

"For experience."

"Oh, then I'll get to drill?"

"No. It doesn't work that way.  Next, we'll send you to Duna."

"Oh, there's a drilling academy there where I'll learn about drilling?"

"No.  You'll plant another flag."

"Why?"

"For more experience."

"But I'll already have flag planting experience.  I need drilling experience."

"Well planting that flag will give you drilling experience."

"Oh.  OK, then I'll just take a drill with me so I can use my experience after I plant the flag."

"Well, no."

"Why not?"

"Because we need to bring you back to officially log the experience in your record."

"Can't I just radio it in?"

"No."

"So, I'm going to spend a year planting flags so I can get experience in drilling.  Without ever touching a drill.  For a year."

"Or longer.  That's right."

"Um, that's not what I signed up for."

May I humbly suggest that the XP mechanic for engineers be tied to engineering tasks such as actually drilling, repairing and repacking and science experience be tied to things like conducting experiments, manning a lab and surveying planets?  Pilots can get XP planting flags because they're kind of stupid anyway and we need to give them something to pin on their chest.

 

 

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Yep, that's prety much how it works. The KXP is just another limiting thing that is meant to "enhance" the career mode.

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lololol

Just remind Billy Boy that you rescued him from a pale green death on Minmus, he doesn't really get a say in the matter!

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Yeah, that's very much a problem with the way experience is implemented. Pilots should get EP for piloting, engineers for engineering, and so on. Not for riding a bus somewhere.

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I agree with the OP, when you put it that way it's quite ridiculous. I do like the idea of kerbals getting experience for doing things related to their field.. but i also think the mechanism where they must return for debrief to level up makes some sense. If there were more "stats" as it were, it would be easier to give a few perks to a levelled Kerbal in space (like being able to fix wheels), and reserve others for their return. Even if they had leveled suits or even a medal texture that could wait for their return.

OTOH, I see the potential for tire/parachute grinding at KSC to rapidly level Kerbals. 

On that train of thought, Astronauts IRL are acknowledged, at least in the public eye, largely based on a) number of missions, b) accumulated flight time, c) accumulated EVAs & EVA time. So time spent riding around, doing spacewalks and planting flags still should count for something.. but there is surely room for improvement.

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Yes, Yes, Yes a drilling academy is much needed.

Fully agree the experience should be relevant to the skill. 

I always though Kerbal's should be able to level up not just from working but working with a higher skilled Kerbal. Maybe field promoting could be tied to working with a higher skill Kerbal while solo Kerbals need to come back to base and talk it though (see one, do one, teach one).  So you can basically set up your own academies in various locations. i.e.. get one Kerbal up to 5 star or high star in each field then get them run a base or station training new Kerbals and producing value. 

 

 

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I feel like the KXP should really be meaningless or mission dependent. Kerbals are competent enough to build rockets but can't teach themselves how to fly them? Oh, come on!

I'm thinking along these lines: There would be a mission training program (PROGRAMS instead of STRATEGIES), which would involve building and flying airbreathing VTOLS in preparation for the proper Mun landing. Such missions would grant new skills to the crew members who participated in those mission.

OR: just show the stars as a kind of achievements of the crew members. They would have all the skills available from the beginning and each star would be 10 launches+landings on Kerbin (doesn't have to be the exact number).

Edited by Veeltch

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They don't have enough to do, anyway, so it's sort of pointless. KIS/KAS as stock would help engineers, but they already have more to do.

 

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Isn't a generic "RPG" mechanic? Character does stuff, character gets XP, character levels up, character get skill points, character spend them wherever player wants. Not much choice in latter, because kerbals are simple and single-minded. Not perfect, not realistic, good for gameplay.

If drilling experience is got only by drilling — well, Bill, get in this training drilling rig just near the launchpad and drill your training ore for years while we timewarp do something else.

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^Exactly. I do agree flag planting should be removed from XP list, as all it really does is require each Kerbal on a mission to EVA and plant a flag and then remove it, which is a little tedious. Landing on the surface should be sufficient. I also agree there should be some way of leveling up Kerbals in flight. It seems insane that you could send a kerbal on a Jool 5 and they wouldn't level up till they got hime. The general principle that Kerbals gain experience by going places, however, is sound. The trouble with linking XP to field related tasks is that they are easily exploitable and generally not-fun. The IRSU units don't show up till late in the tech tree, so how do you level up Kerbals before that? Fixing things? Repacking chutes? Im instantly envisioning some really tedious strategies where players are repeatedly breaking and repairing tires at KSC to level up their engineers, which sounds terrible. Same with pilots. Are we just logging flight time? Time to put Jeb in orbit and time-warp for a year to max him out. 

This just kind of fits into the category of things that make a game work. I do think the XP system could use some tinkering and levels 4 and 5 could be filled out with cool skills but ultimately if players aren't being rewarded for going to new places I don't know what the scheme would be.

Edited by Pthigrivi

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I don't think going places is sound, I think being in space is about the same. A year in orbit is not substantially different than a year to whatever world.

If skills are a thing, they should actually be useful. With KIS/KAS added, engineers are very useful. Certain science should require scientists.

If that were true, I'd allow every astronaut to have their primary skill, and level 0 of a secondary skill. So An engineer might have pilot 0, but at least if the pilot and scientist landed on the moon, the CSM with the engineer aboard wouldn't tumble. 

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Oh I'd love some kind of KAS integrated for levels 4 and 5. There are a ton of cool things scientists and pilots could do too. Some time ago I also suggested each Kerbal might have a really basic 3-branch skill tree. When they earn levels they can choose to level-up in Piloting, Science, or Engineering. It be really nice for instance to give a level 3 Engineer the basic ability to pilot. At the same time maybe thats a lot of time spent micro-managing kerbals... I guess I could go either way at this point.

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I'd honestly like kerbals to do things autonomously---players can always take over, or turn that off.

Landed craft have scientists EVA to do science (walk around within XX meter and collect samples). Engineers can inspect the craft for damage, etc. Pilots can stand around and take pictures. In space, they'd do similar things, but on an umbilical. None of those ideas are skill related, though.

Skill wise, I want pilots to be able to pilot... a point of leveling up pilots should be to turn them lose on routine missions by themselves. Say station or base resupply.

Scientists could be able to determine biomes (a name which needs to go away, since most "biomes" in KSP have no life). One skill might show biomes from space, another level might be able to show on the EVA nav ball which direction biomes are that are different from the one you are in, with the arrow color perhaps showing relative distance (close to far, nothing more). Higher level might put the number in km.

Engineers get plenty with KIS/KAS, and they should not need high skill, the way KAS is is just fine.

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I agree wholeheartedly with everything in this thread.

All kerbals should still get experience from visiting new bodies, but engineers and scientists should get experience from doing their job related tasks. I'd love to see some sort of routine mission mechanic that pilots could do for the player, but that seems to not be something the devs want. Maybe pilots could execute maneuver nodes for us? As for engineers, in my opinion the time has come for KIS/KAS to be at least partially integrated into stock. No, it isn't the most realistic of game mechanics, but it is certainly extremely fun and adds lots of depth to gameplay. Scientists would obviously get experience for performing experiments.

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I like these ideas and fully agree. I'd LOVE the game to be more in depth to be honest. We should be able to go through proper training phases with our kerbals for a set amount of in game time because then we have the feeling of yes we just trained them and worked hard at it! Then when you get them into space or whatever it feels great because you did that. Untrained ones can perform poorly at their jobs and fully trained ones perform better. Partially trained ones are not always reliable but do get the job done after a few accidents.

Edited by Ketaz

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Similar discussion already took place some time ago. Look into this, some interesting suggestions have been made there:

 

Edited by Ser

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Maybe...
and skilled Pilots are useless...
Why should i put a pilot to Duna, when a CPU had the same benefits...
....
my pilots had less flight time, than the average tourist...

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On ‎17‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 2:22 PM, Ser said:

Similar discussion already took place some time ago. Look into this, some interesting suggestions have been made there:

 

That's an interesting thread. Man I hope developers listen to us. If they do listen to some of our suggestions this game can be 1000000X more awesome then it already is. Imagine not training your kerbals and things go wrong lol. Being all like.. Oops maybe I should actually train them. Entertaining much?

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I've used to hate the stock level system but, despite the features mentioned in the OP are quite funny, current KSP experience system is not that bad as much hated MMORPG's one when you can swing your sword a million times and level yourself up to the status of The Almighty. What I like in KSP's system is that you can't gain a 1st level without completing a space flight. So the level star tells that a kerbal has a space flight experience, not how much you've been fooling around on Kerbin's surface and so on. And that's realistic to some degree: IRL a pilot can perform atmospheric flights for all his life but have absolutely no idea how to deal with a spacecraft. That's why a kerbal knows how to properly handle controls to hold a descending spacecraft's prograde only if he has space flight experience. And that's consistent.

As for experience not being gained before returning to KSC, that could also be explained: a kerbal needs to systematize his knowledge, have rest and training and pass exams to apply to operating permissions. A young padawan has to meet a master jedi to learn how to use his power :) Moreover, the need to return a kerbal to Kerbin after every mission should not be an unusual thing as long as you don't play tetris here and use a life support mod. Nothing grows on Moon, and Mars, and Venus that could be used as food, not to mention oxygen. The closed cycle planetary and orbital bases are a science fiction for the nearest future and thus some kind of cheat in the game.

Of course, the system lacks experience specialization but I'm happy that it is at least not a standard MMORPG style with grinding XP points, perks and levels :sealed: Would be sad if it comes to that in the end.

Edited by Ser

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1 hour ago, Ser said:

I've used to hate the stock level system but, despite the features mentioned in the OP are quite funny, current KSP experience system is not that bad as much hated MMORPG's one when you can swing your sword a million times and level yourself up to the status of The Almighty...

I agree that grinding is a problem with the standard MMORPG model, but there's also big issues with the stock experience system. 

Who's likely to be a better pilot? The guy who has flown 747s professionally for six years, or one of the tourists you fly to LKO and back? 

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On 13.5.2016 at 3:07 PM, John Nowak said:

Yeah, that's very much a problem with the way experience is implemented. Pilots should get EP for piloting, engineers for engineering, and so on. Not for riding a bus somewhere.

Reminds me of the way you get experience in most RPG games, you get xp from quests and killing stuff. So if you want to get better at picking locks you have to kill something, Having pilots getting xp from piloting, engines from mining or fixing things and scientists for doing experiments and doing science in labs would be more like in the elder scroll series like Skyrim who makes more sense. Yes players would abuse this too like they do in elder scroll games, having an heavy rover with lots of wheels you break and have the enginer fix them would be one, simple timewarp another. 
 

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3 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Reminds me of the way you get experience in most RPG games, you get xp from quests and killing stuff. 
 

Right, I could see a system where pilots get experience from, say, reaching orbit, performing a rendezvous, performing a docking, and so on.

Grinding's a problem that I don't think you can ever get rid of entirely, but you can mitigate against it. At any rate, I've seen YouTube videos showing how to grind in the current system. 

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15 minutes ago, John Nowak said:

I agree that grinding is a problem with the standard MMORPG model, but there's also big issues with the stock experience system. 

Who's likely to be a better pilot? The guy who has flown 747s professionally for six years, or one of the tourists you fly to LKO and back? 

Noone. Fortunately, tourists are not allowed to do anything, so they gain only "tourist" experience with just their photos getting better :) 747's pilot also can't pilot a spaceship unless he is trained as a spaceship pilot (that's the "Pilot" trait in KSP terms).

11 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

 players would abuse this too like they do in elder scroll games, having an heavy rover with lots of wheels you break and have the enginer fix them would be one, simple timewarp another.

That's like breaking rovers on purpose to train your engineers. Who said that wouldn't be effective IRL? Stupid, but still a way of training. I'd pay more attention on WHAT engineers may fix: a broken rocket engine cannot be fixed by a single mission engineer, as well as wheel tyres that have been torn to pieces.

Edited by Ser

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4 minutes ago, John Nowak said:

Right, I could see a system where pilots get experience from, say, reaching orbit, performing a rendezvous, performing a docking, and so on.

Grinding's a problem that I don't think you can ever get rid of entirely, but you can mitigate against it. At any rate, I've seen YouTube videos showing how to grind in the current system. 

Grinding the current system is easy, make an huge ship like my 20 kerbal starliner, send it to Moon orbit, then land at Minmus to refuel, a short dip outside Kerbins SOI and back this gives 3 stars, If you plant flag on Minmus you can do with an Mun flyby.
Tourist is nice as they pay for this trip. replace base personell with 3 star kerbals on the second round. 
 

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45 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Grinding the current system is easy, make an huge ship like my 20 kerbal starliner, send it to Moon orbit, then land at Minmus to refuel, a short dip outside Kerbins SOI and back this gives 3 stars, If you plant flag on Minmus you can do with an Mun flyby.
Tourist is nice as they pay for this trip. replace base personell with 3 star kerbals on the second round. 
 

Yeah, that's the problem. No matter what experience model gets developed it will be possible to break it in some way. 

I like the idea of tying experience to the SOIs you've visited, because KSP is a game about travelling and you want to reward travelling. Still, training is impossible, and you can't fix a tire until you've put a flag on Minmus, which is just silly. 

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