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what is the best engine in KSP?


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I have to agree with @Corona688 and declare my love for the LV-T45.  I use this engine for making orbit as well as trans-Kerbin ejection burns, and I Tweak-scale it to make it a 2.5 meter engine for liftoff.  It has *so* many advantages;

a) Liftoff stage fins not required.

b) Orbital insertion and planetary burns concise for heavier top-stages.

c) Tapping the throttle just into burn will keep you going when your panels are eclipsed by ...well, an eclipse.

My current main-stay vehicle uses a 2.5 meter '45 as the main lift engine, and 1.25 meter '45 for insertion, and a .625m '45 as the Min/Mun landing stage.  Now, mind you for Munar landings you have to start decelerating by 12km or you're paste, but it works, and I have one vehicle that can do anything.

I'm not saying it couldn't be designed more efficiently, but it sure does exactly what I need it to reliably, which is what causes humans to fall in love with big machines.

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If we're talking stock, then it has to be the Poodle. I end up using that more than any other engine across my line of craft, most typically in an orbital insertion / transfer stage.  It's also cheap, which is very helpful in career. Terrier and Kickback are in second and third - my favorite Mun lander design includes a Terrier beneath a Rockomax-16, and I abuse the cheap thrust provided by the Kickback in most of my launchers as soon as it becomes available.

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13 hours ago, panzer1b said:

aerospikes for high TWR or for atmospheric operations such as on Eve

Or you could, you know, use the Vector. Higher TWR. Better ISP ASL. WHY IS VECTOR SO UNDERRATED?

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On 6/29/2016 at 4:00 AM, Alpha 360 said:

What do you think is your favorite engine, in my mind either the mainsail or the poodle, which is the most efficient engine in the game

Hands down, no contest, it's THE SEPRATRON!

In its intended purpose, it saves my ship from being rammed by spent boosters.  Very, very useful, almost essential, and I fail to understand why it's so far up the tech tree.

But that's just the beginning of its many uses.  You can use it to power dragsters that can go supersonic halfway down the runway.  You can use it to eject the crew pod from such dragsters when they go out of control.  You can use it to make missiles to destroy other ships and buildings.  You can use it to make fireworks for celebrations.  The sky is literally the limit.  Sepratrons are one of the few things in KSP that are both useful and entertaining :)

 

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17 hours ago, GarrisonChisholm said:

c) Tapping the throttle just into burn will keep you going when your panels are eclipsed by ...well, an eclipse.

You can prevent your ship getting too much course deviation from that by putting it into a spin.  That's how they "stop" solid fuel engines, they just spin it so it cancels itself out, thrusting one way then the other.  It only works on really low thrust, since when it stops, it'll be necessarily asymmetric.

Edited by Corona688
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In an alternate universe, it might have been the Poodle. But that hideous cartoon of a model puts me off from it. For my favorite(s) I'll go with two often underrated engines: the Skipper and the Dawn.

The Skipper is a great sustainer engine, and a good alternative to the Mainsail when you don't need quite that much thrust. It functions reasonably well as a moderately efficient heavy upper stage engine.

The Dawn is useful for high-mass ships too, if you know what you're doing. Nukes are useful, but when you need a fully reusable cargo tug for Moho not much else will do. Also, that beautiful blue engine plume... hnnng.

Edited by Zucal
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11 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Hands down, no contest, it's THE SEPRATRON!

In its intended purpose, it saves my ship from being rammed by spent boosters.  Very, very useful, almost essential, and I fail to understand why it's so far up the tech tree.

It'd make the early game so very much easier, too.  Maybe that's why.  But you're right it should be available from the first.  It makes no sense they'd invent big boosters before little ones.

12 hours ago, Rath said:

It used to be the 48-7s.  You could get off eve with 1.25m parts using clusters of four.

And then balancing happened.

Heh, I asked on the channel when/why they nerfed the 48-7S.  It apparently had the nickname "48-OP" until the balancing.  "How do I do (X)?"  "48-7s"  "But I'm lifting 300 tons!"  "Use lots of them."

I'm still not exactly sure how it was nerfed, though.  The wiki doesn't mention its parameters ever changing.

Edited by Corona688
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18 hours ago, Brownhair2 said:

Or you could, you know, use the Vector. Higher TWR. Better ISP ASL. WHY IS VECTOR SO UNDERRATED?

Many people say the vector is OP'd

The vector is an excellent engine. The LV-T45... not so much.

The aerospike on the other hand.... its got better Isp at Eve sea level than the vector. The vector seems optimized for kerbin sea level, and beats the aerospike at 1 atm... and even 2 atms I think... but by the time you get to 5 atms, the aerospike beats it. There is only a very narrow altitude band for eve where the vector gets superior Isp.

Its TWR is still amazing, which is why my eve lander uses a pair of vectors as the primary propulsion for the first stages of my eve lander, with crossfeed into an aerospike core

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18 hours ago, Brownhair2 said:

Or you could, you know, use the Vector. Higher TWR. Better ISP ASL. WHY IS VECTOR SO UNDERRATED?

I use the Vector quite often, I've found it to be an excellent engine for asparagus staging with extra large lifters. Mammoth main engines, and Vectors on the asparagus boosters, good balance between TWR and efficiency, one can launch small citadels into orbit this way.

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Vectors are quite expensive to discard though... I wouldn't use them as primary lifter engines... only engines for specialized purposes... like on a recoverable spacecraft (ie a shuttle style orbiter) or an eve ascent vehicle

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23 hours ago, Brownhair2 said:

Or you could, you know, use the Vector. Higher TWR. Better ISP ASL. WHY IS VECTOR SO UNDERRATED?

The Vector gets twice as much thrust as the bigger, heavier, larger-diameter engine with similar performance characteristics.

The Vector's T/W ratio beats the Mainsail's.

The Vector's thrust-vectoring is even more extreme than the "joke" engines designed for thrust-vectoring at the expense of performance.

The Vector's ISP is as good in-atmosphere, as some are in space.

Two of these features are interesting.  Three get a raised eyebrow.  At all four, the Vector is so obviously OP it's painful to watch.  The only way it's even remotely balanced is in price.

Edited by Corona688
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1 minute ago, Corona688 said:

Vector's ISP is as good in-atmosphere as some are in space.

It's actually the highest ISP ASL, tied with the Mammoth, which is literally just four Vectors

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8 hours ago, Corona688 said:

Heh, I asked on the channel when/why they nerfed the 48-7S.  It apparently had the nickname "48-OP" until the balancing.  "How do I do (X)?"  "48-7s"  "But I'm lifting 300 tons!"  "Use lots of them."

I'm still not exactly sure how it was nerfed, though.  The wiki doesn't mention its parameters ever changing.

The wiki article is inconsistent. But back in 0.90 it gave 30 kN of thrust and had the same 0.1 ton mass, which gave it exceptionally high TWR, better than anything apart from the huge 3.75m engines. The high TWR more than made up for the so-so Isp because it meant less mass of engines needed. I'm glad it got clobbered with the nerf bat

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44 minutes ago, cantab said:

The wiki article is inconsistent. But back in 0.90 it gave 30 kN of thrust and had the same 0.1 ton mass, which gave it exceptionally high TWR, better than anything apart from the huge 3.75m engines. The high TWR more than made up for the so-so Isp because it meant less mass of engines needed. I'm glad it got clobbered with the nerf bat

I'm not.  They went too far, making it absolutely useless.

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While I do tend to pick favorites where u can't really pick favorites I have to say that all engines in KSP just have their own purpose and aren't really useful for anything else than they've been designed for.

 

Just to name an example, I'm guessing that everyone sending a single kerbal to Mun or Minmus with no further science onboard is gonna use more or less the same lander, consisting of an MK1 Pod with a nose parachute, a decoupler, the 3rd-shortest 1.25m fuel tank and a terrier engine, while the landing struts and other accessories may vary. The reason why I think so is that that particular lander can of course land safely and then it still has enough fuel to return to kerbin on its own, no matter if it's Mun or Minmus u landed on.

And that's the kind of mission that the terrier is perfect for, while the Nerv nuke engine only really makes sense when ur going to another planet.

munlanderzmjnu.png

Edited by DualDesertEagle
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12 minutes ago, Corona688 said:

I'm not.  They went too far, making it absolutely useless.

I disagree, having used the Spark on several craft in my current (started in 1.0.x and still going) science save. It now has its role as a small and light but relatively powerful engine, just it no longer encourages mega spam clusters of them.

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I'd define the best engines as the ones that form the envelope of best TWR vs best Isp.

They are (in order of best TWR/worst Isp to worst TWR/best Isp):

Flea, Twinboar, Vector, Rhino, Poodle, Nerv, Dawn

I believe all the other engines have worse Isp/TWR than these.

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10 hours ago, cantab said:

The wiki article is inconsistent. But back in 0.90 it gave 30 kN of thrust and had the same 0.1 ton mass, which gave it exceptionally high TWR, better than anything apart from the huge 3.75m engines. The high TWR more than made up for the so-so Isp because it meant less mass of engines needed. I'm glad it got clobbered with the nerf bat

Same. I remember when using anything other than 48-7OPs and LV-Ns was quantitatively inefficient. The choices are more interesting now.

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