KerikBalm

Is it true that most KSP players never go interplanetary?

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I've only gone outside Kerbin's SOI about twice since I've been playing. Once was with a probe to Mono that ran out of propellant trying to slow down into a stable orbit around Mono, the second was with a very large manned craft with an Alcubierre drive that FTL'ed to Duna but could not slow down enough to keep from escaping the planet's gravity, again.

Since then I've been trying to perfect a semi-permanent base on Minmus using Planetary Base mods and EPL. The idea is to construct interplanetary ships at a station around Minmus using rocketparts provided by the ground base which is a refinery and manufacturing center. Once constructed, these ships can easily break Minmus orbit, slingshot around Kerbin, and escape to the planet of choice with minimal fuel expenditure.

Unfortunately, the part counts and mods required for all of this meant this was pretty much impossible pre-1.1.0... and all of my attempts at playing post 1.1.0 have ended in CTD's followed by rage quit. I've pretty much given up on KSP since. If I ever get the chance to play again, I'm fairly sure I can make my plans come to fruition easily...

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Reading through this thread, I think the devs are in a tough position with this whole question. It's really a matter of what their target market actually is. Most games, even highbrow ones like Civ, will hold your hand so that even if you are essentially incapable of sustained, systematic reasoning you can muddle your way through. KSP just plain didn't do that, while at the same time offering a type and level of simulation experience that was beyond anything else available for this sort of scenario. What made it my favorite game ever, a virtue that it shared with Nethack, still perhaps my second favorite game ever in spite of its most venerable age, is precisely its sheer difficulty. I had to think hard to make things work. I had to be creative! I had to genuinely push my own envelope of reasoning and calculation, and consequently the feeling of reward I got when I finally achieved success was unique. When I first landed on Mun successfully, I was ecstatic, jumping up and down in front of my computer. I honestly don't think I ever experienced that level of gratification playing any other computer game, even including the first time I escaped with the Amulet of Yendor without cheating. I really don't want KSP to lose that magical, singular virtue, but I have to acknowledge that this level of obscurity and difficulty may just not play to the sort of audience you need to target in a really big-time, big-dollar release. They have a very fine line to walk.

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Honestly, if you could just pop open the prograde/anti-normal/radial etc arrows by right clicking on them and then type in a value manually, that would solve my problem. My entire issue is not wanting to continually wrestle with the maneuver node interface. 

"I finally have an intercept that might work but really isn't where I want it. Do I leave it alone, or do I poke at it and risk not being able to even get back to where I started?" :confused:

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I think that with the new orbital line code a system could be implemented that could be informative but not hand holding- when the proper buildings are levelled up, say tracking station + R&D, or whatever makes sense, you can have a mode in the tracking station where the orbit lines are filled in with a gradient showing the best and worst times to visit a planet dV wise- think the TWP plot colors within the orbit line. And that's it, no dV readout, etc. Just the best to worst times to get somewhere- when a planet is in the purple part of the orbit it is optimal, when it is in a red part it is the least optimal, with the other options, blue-orange, displayed as well.

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3 hours ago, Ten Key said:

Honestly, if you could just pop open the prograde/anti-normal/radial etc arrows by right clicking on them and then type in a value manually, that would solve my problem. My entire issue is not wanting to continually wrestle with the maneuver node interface. 

"I finally have an intercept that might work but really isn't where I want it. Do I leave it alone, or do I poke at it and risk not being able to even get back to where I started?" :confused:

There's a mod for that (Precise Node, IIRC), and the cognoscenti around here were kind of amused when they learned that I had undertaken all these really fussy multi-planet trajectories without it. All I can say is you get used to its stupid behavior eventually, And to be honest I also get a certain level of satisfaction from feeling like I can fly all these maneuvers using my own hands and some gauges. Using a machine to type in the exact answer somehow feels like cheating to me.

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50 minutes ago, herbal space program said:

There's a mod for that (Precise Node, IIRC), and the cognoscenti around here were kind of amused when they learned that I had undertaken all these really fussy multi-planet trajectories without it. All I can say is you get used to its stupid behavior eventually, And to be honest I also get a certain level of satisfaction from feeling like I can fly all these maneuvers using my own hands and some gauges. Using a machine to type in the exact answer somehow feels like cheating to me.

The "killer feature" of PreciseNode for me is being able to edit nodes when they're off camera. The stock interface is adequate for dialing in the amount of dV, but for refining an encounter you end up looking at the node to edit, then panning to look at the encounter, then panning back to tweak some more, ad nauseum. Being able to look down on the planet you're encountering while adjusting is priceless.

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I've played the game since 0.15 and I almost never make it interplanetary with any of my saves. The manoeuvre system is entirely inadequate for that sort of mission. Precise Node helps but it's still dauntingly, depressingly complicated. Even at the reduced scale of the Kerbal solar system, aiming at a tiny target like Duna from so far away feels more like luck than judgement. In my view, the stock game needs several improvements to make planets easier to visit.

1. The tracking station should have an upgrade level that includes transfer window planning.

2. The manoeuvre node widgits should be pinable, so they can be viewed when the node itself is off screen.

3. The node widgit should display numerical dV and allow keyboard tweeking of the numbers up and down.

4. The ship info should state the dV for every stage and the total for the craft.

5. The node widgit should make it much easier to place nodes on hyperbolic orbit lines and much easier to select  one craft over another in a crowded map view.

6. It should be possible to design a mission plan of connected manoeuvre nodes, before the ship even leaves the launch pad.

7. Orbit lines shouldn't jitter. I'd much rather they got wider or blurrier to represent the imprecision of the orbital calculation. Orbits that leap from having an encounter to not having one, are very off-putting for lng range missions.

This isn't about reducing the amount of challenge in the game. It's about having challenges that aren't a consequence of bad UI design or game engine limitations.

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3 hours ago, herbal space program said:

All I can say is you get used to its stupid behavior eventually

I think this thread demonstrates that is not universally true.

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I have yet to do this a lot. I think it is because of two things - first, I like playing career so initally I spent a lot of time farming science from the moons... Second, and more important, going interplanetary is way harder than flying around in the Kerbin SOI, but for the wrong reasons. As a couple of people pointed out, the lack of tutorial is most probably the "why", and because of that a new player will likely need to do quite a bit of research on things they initially know next to nothing about on the Internet before they can even attempt it and have a remote chance of success. At least I did. Sure it's rewarding, but it requires that a person is interested in actively looking for the information in the first place.

I remember the first time I tried going to Duna, I built a ship, got it into orbit and tried to set a transfer burn. I had no idea when or where to do the interplanetary burn or how long to wait around before trying to do it or how much deltaV i would need to push into orbit before I should even try that. So I had to find out first. I did succeed, but all the research took time & patience and even with all the necessary information, the interplanetary transfer is pretty hard and time-consuming to accomplish without mods, especially for a new player.

For example, at first I had no idea that nuclear engines are much better for interplanetary transfer than the regular ones. Not sure if this is covered in the tutorials, but I don't think it was at least at that time. I just thought that bigger and more expensive is probably better. I was just wasting time trying to get the biggest thing possible into space in order to satisfy the 5000m/s deltaV requirement that I got from testing maneuver nodes. :D

The sad truth is that first a new player will need to find out which mods they need to make something like this to happen in a convenient way. I would say at least Kerbal Engineer Redux (to calculate deltaV) and MechJeb (to find out the transfer window). For me, MJ was really the best "tutorial" available for interplanetary transfer, because only after I saw how the autopilot plotted the transfers automatically, I had a rough idea on how/when to actually do it myself.

Edited by muhqsampyla

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I've played 120+ hours at this point but I've never landed on a body outside of Kerbin SOI.

I play with lots of mods and up until 1.1 memory crashes were frequent. I'd like to launch a semi realistic type craft so it wasn't feasible.

 

Currently playing my 1.1 career game, almost at the point where I can start construction of my interplanetary mothership. Fingers crossed.

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bye guys gotta play ksp and secondly, i'l try to getbeyond minmus!

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It's possibly a little off-topic here but @Plusck posted this on another thread and I think it would go a long way towards making interplanetary flight more accessible whilst keeping to the current 'no-numbers' game philosophy:

"I said earlier that there is one point that I can agree with: planning ahead. Specifically, I see this as the need for a planetarium. The one major shortcoming is the inability to see where planets will be aligned when. It is also something that could be added quite simply, as a separate building. Basically it would just contain a planetarium with the possibility of dropping a single orbit somewhere and one or two manoeuvre nodes, and fast-forwarding and rewinding to any given date.

That, imho, would be a useful and relatively easy addition to the game (since the planets' paths are all on rails, it doesn't need to interact with one's save at all). It would certainly cut traffic to that alexmoon web app overnight. And it wouldn't flood the new user with excessive information, just the basics to plot missions without having to have a bunch of vehicles already in orbit or switch to and fro between career and a separate sandbox savegame. (edited to remove one extraneous comment)."

I have to say that I agree with this. It would provide a nice visual tool for players to explore interplanetary trajectories in much the same way that the Map screen does so well for trajectories within Kerbin's SOI. Map Screen plus Planetarium would mesh together very well and provide a more consistent level of discoverability to the stock game.

Thoughts?

Edited by KSK

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I always go interplanetary a.s.a.p.

My career procedure is pretty much this:
1) Science experiments from a launch pad and atmosphere to get a tech to go orbit.
2) Science experiments from low and high orbit to get a tech to do a mun and minmus fly-by.
3) Science experiment near and far from mun/minmus to get a tech for landing missions.
4) Surface samples and experiments from minmus to get a tech to go Ike and Duna.
5) Go Interplanetary.

I don't recall completing contracts on Kerbin other than what happens on a Launchpad or right above it. ..And of course a tourist contracts. Easy money in early game. 

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My fascination of actual space flight leads me always outwards, but in measured steps.

So Kerbin then Mun (and Minmus), probes first, kerballed follows, then interplanet probes and rovers to neighbours.

But once I'm beyond the current state of space exploration I tend to head on out.

With limited amount of time to play and a slight OCD it does take me some time, but I get there :wink:

 

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Wow. This thread explains a lot to me. A constant observation I have about career is that it gets easier as you progress, not harder... but it never occurred to me that it was any more difficult to go to Jool as the Mun for anyone, as the exact same skills apply to doing both, it just takes a bigger craft. Apparently I was wrong about difficulty WRT many people.

14 hours ago, herbal space program said:

Reading through this thread, I think the devs are in a tough position with this whole question. It's really a matter of what their target market actually is. Most games, even highbrow ones like Civ, will hold your hand so that even if you are essentially incapable of sustained, systematic reasoning you can muddle your way through. KSP just plain didn't do that, while at the same time offering a type and level of simulation experience that was beyond anything else available for this sort of scenario. What made it my favorite game ever, a virtue that it shared with Nethack, still perhaps my second favorite game ever in spite of its most venerable age, is precisely its sheer difficulty. I had to think hard to make things work. I had to be creative! I had to genuinely push my own envelope of reasoning and calculation, and consequently the feeling of reward I got when I finally achieved success was unique. When I first landed on Mun successfully, I was ecstatic, jumping up and down in front of my computer. I honestly don't think I ever experienced that level of gratification playing any other computer game, even including the first time I escaped with the Amulet of Yendor without cheating. I really don't want KSP to lose that magical, singular virtue, but I have to acknowledge that this level of obscurity and difficulty may just not play to the sort of audience you need to target in a really big-time, big-dollar release. They have a very fine line to walk.

I have Nethack in a terminal window open right now (as always :wink: ). YASD gets me to this day.

I never had much trouble with KSP, but then again before playing KSP the last time I had thought about orbital mechanics I was doing problems on paper with my HP15C, so I had some idea of what was going on before starting (and Nethack still gives me fits at ascension).

Edited by tater

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5 minutes ago, tater said:

Wow. This thread explains a lot to me. A constant observation I have about career is that it gets easier as you progress, not harder... but it never occurred to me that it was any more difficult to go to Jool as the Mun for anyone, as the exact same skills apply to doing both, it just takes a bigger craft. Apparently I was wrong about difficulty WRT many people.

That's not really true though. Once you're in orbit, you can get the right node to get to the Mun by simple fiddling with the node, and it really doesn't matter when you decide to make the transfer. That is nowhere near true for any interplanetary missions. I think mods make things significantly easier with both transfer windows, and node management.

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54 minutes ago, TGApples said:

That's not really true though. Once you're in orbit, you can get the right node to get to the Mun by simple fiddling with the node, and it really doesn't matter when you decide to make the transfer. That is nowhere near true for any interplanetary missions. I think mods make things significantly easier with both transfer windows, and node management.

I have never used transfer window or node management mods. When I first started (0.24), I did interplanetary transfers by leaving Kerbin SoI, then tweaking the node (and experimenting with position on my solar orbit) until I got an encounter. I was watching to guesstimate opposition at encounter, past that, trial and error. It's basically the same skill set. 

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1 minute ago, tater said:

I have never used transfer window or node management mods. When I first started (0.24), I did interplanetary transfers by leaving Kerbin SoI, then tweaking the node (and experimenting with position on my solar orbit) until I got an encounter. I was watching to guesstimate opposition at encounter, past that, trial and error. It's basically the same skill set. 

Exactly!  You don't need transfer planners or any other mods to go interplanetary.  It really is the same skill set as what is used to go to Kerbin's moons.

Happy landings!

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9 hours ago, Red Iron Crown said:

The "killer feature" of PreciseNode for me is being able to edit nodes when they're off camera. The stock interface is adequate for dialing in the amount of dV, but for refining an encounter you end up looking at the node to edit, then panning to look at the encounter, then panning back to tweak some more, ad nauseum. Being able to look down on the planet you're encountering while adjusting is priceless.

Hmm. I must say that I've found that if I focus on the body that I mean to encounter and zoom into it, I can almost always manage to rotate the view so that my node is somewhere behind the planned encounter along the same line of sight, allowing me to see both at the same time. What drives me nuts is trying to dial in the dV with the scroll wheel, which moves either in tiny, useful increments or maddeningly large jumps based on no particular logic AFAICT.

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1 hour ago, herbal space program said:

Hmm. I must say that I've found that if I focus on the body that I mean to encounter and zoom into it, I can almost always manage to rotate the view so that my node is somewhere behind the planned encounter along the same line of sight, allowing me to see both at the same time. What drives me nuts is trying to dial in the dV with the scroll wheel, which moves either in tiny, useful increments or maddeningly large jumps based on no particular logic AFAICT.

 

11 hours ago, Red Iron Crown said:

The "killer feature" of PreciseNode for me is being able to edit nodes when they're off camera. The stock interface is adequate for dialing in the amount of dV, but for refining an encounter you end up looking at the node to edit, then panning to look at the encounter, then panning back to tweak some more, ad nauseum. Being able to look down on the planet you're encountering while adjusting is priceless.

This kind of tediousness is exactly why I let @sarbian do my transfers for me. I've thought about PreciseNode, but at this point, it really doesn't matter that much to me. The navigation is not really why I play the game anyway. Now if you want to talk about the lack of stock science instruments . . .

But @DMagic has that covered so that's not really a big deal either.

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1 hour ago, herbal space program said:

Hmm. I must say that I've found that if I focus on the body that I mean to encounter and zoom into it, I can almost always manage to rotate the view so that my node is somewhere behind the planned encounter along the same line of sight, allowing me to see both at the same time. What drives me nuts is trying to dial in the dV with the scroll wheel, which moves either in tiny, useful increments or maddeningly large jumps based on no particular logic AFAICT.

You can have the target planet and node in one camera view, but you're almost alway limited to and "edge on" view of the target and node, which makes things like adding radial +/- to adjust arrival time nearly impossible. Plus if you're looking to intercept a moon of the planet that edge on view makes things very difficult. See pic below, not sure that that can be done in stock without all the tedious camera panning.

2 minutes ago, DChurchill said:

This kind of tediousness is exactly why I let @sarbian@DMagic do my transfers for me. I've thought about PreciseNode, but at this point, it really doesn't matter that much to me. The navigation is not really why I play the game anyway. Now if you want to talk about the lack of stock science instruments . . .

MechJeb is great for a simple transfer, but it can't set up something like this automagically:

hKwUrdH.png

Plus, navigation is a fun part of the game for me (of course others might not enjoy it). A better way to mess with nodes greatly improves the enjoyment of this part of the game.

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Careful, some people use cheats, or even worse, HYPEREDIT (dun, dun, DUN!)!!!!

Edited by NotaKlutz-42516

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On 5/17/2016 at 3:28 PM, 5thHorseman said:

It was like hammering a nail with the butt end of a screwdriver. Sure you'd prefer a hammer but if one's not available and you really want that nail in place, it works just fine.

:rolleyes:

2 hours ago, herbal space program said:

What drives me nuts is trying to dial in the dV with the scroll wheel, which moves either in tiny, useful increments or maddeningly large jumps based on no particular logic AFAICT.

^This.  Probably the only thing I don't like about the current node widget.  I accept that I'm a minority around here, too; I don't bother with MJ or PreciseNode even with RSS.

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3 minutes ago, regex said:

:rolleyes:

^This.  Probably the only thing I don't like about the current node widget.  I accept that I'm a minority around here, too; I don't bother with MJ or PreciseNode even with RSS.

How can you live without Precise Node? How?!

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