DesertPhoenix

Orbital Construction Facility

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Ok, I know there are mods that allow you to build in orbit, but hear me out.

As it currently stands, the end-game is clunky. The difficulty in building ships capable of interplanetary travel, landing and re-orbiting, and finally returning to Kerbin is multiplied by the need to get the ship into orbit into first place. Given that landings on other planets are usually taken after fly-bys, and moon landings, getting stuff into orbit isn't a new skill, and nor is it one that an orbital construction facility would bypass.

Perhaps unlocking the technology to build the facility fairly late in the tech tree, and requiring the player to launch the (super-heavy) facility, as a kind of late-game boss. Launching new ships from the facility could cost more, to represent the cost of getting the materials into space, but completely bypass the tedious shuttle-runs currently required.

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There is orbital construction facility in stock. It's called clamp-o-tron.
 

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We've been doing orbital construction of ships in stock via docking ports/clamp-o-tron for a long time now.

I see no problem with the current system, plus you can already build a construction yard in orbit with the current game mechanics.

Allowing you to "magic" one into place would just be "cheaty" in my opinion. (Also, if that's all you want just get HyperEdit and teleport your ships.)

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A clamp-o-tron allows you to move modules around, but I don't see that a orbital construction. I'd love to have an orbital VAB where I can pull ships in and do refits on them.

Speaking of which - is there a way to change Action Groups outside of VAB?

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I think an enhancement of what we already have would be perfectly adequate.   An 'orbital VAB' feels far too sci-fi for stock to me.

Orbital assembly is already perfectly achievable, but some tools that enabled part alignment and some form of 'welding' or creating joints like those in the editors would be a sensible approach IMO.

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I would rather not have that.

Better to bring KIS/KAS to stock.

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19 minutes ago, pandaman said:

I think an enhancement of what we already have would be perfectly adequate.

This.

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I was pretty much thinking an orbital VAB, with increased costs and a medium to low upper weight limit. And one you have to lift into orbit yourself.

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What are you referring to as end game?  Last I checked, the game doesn't end.

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6 hours ago, DesertPhoenix said:

I was pretty much thinking an orbital VAB, with increased costs and a medium to low upper weight limit. And one you have to lift into orbit yourself.

The issues I see with that are ...

1. How big would it need to be?

2. You still need to get your parts and raw materials up to it.

Another idea is that it could be some sort of 'workshop module' (im thinking mk3 cargo bay or largest fuel tank sized) that serves as an orbital 'site office' that enables the alignment and attachment (equivalent to VAB merges) of parts or modules that you bring up.

The 'workshop' would naturally need a minimum crew and only allow these functions if the vessel under construction is docked to it.  Once construction is done, just undock the workshop and off you go.  It could also be a viable option to put workshops on or around other bodies to enable off world assembly anywhere.

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6 hours ago, Alshain said:

What are you referring to as end game?  Last I checked, the game doesn't end.

That's the real tragedy of career/science mode. People think it ends when the tree is unlocked, simply because the way it's designed. And in my opinion it's poorly designed. It should like this.

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As usual, there's a mod for that - called Extraplanetary Launchpads, it has an orbital spawn point and workshops. You have to feed it from ISRU so it's definitely not free, and it takes time to construct anything. Taniwha is a squad employee but I can't see it being stock anytime soon.

Edited by Van Disaster

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Just now, Van Disaster said:

As usual, there's a mod for that - called Extraplanetary Launchpads, it has an orbital spawn point and workshops. You have to feed it from ISRU so it's definitely not free, and it takes time to construct anything.

you dont have to feed it from ISRU. you can ship the required materials to orbit instead, though its rather more expensive.

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Well, yes, that's true - it needs directly feeding either way, rather than just buying a vehicle & having it pop out in space. You can feed it by grinding up existing vessels too.

Edited by Van Disaster

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12 hours ago, Veeltch said:

That's the real tragedy of career/science mode. People think it ends when the tree is unlocked, simply because the way it's designed. And in my opinion it's poorly designed. It should like this.

I can't say I agree with that.  It doesn't really matter how big or how long it takes to unlock the science tree, the game doesn't begin until it's done.

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To some extent I agree with that - I'm fairly sure science mode was introduced to act as a tutorial and just grew into current career mode ( which explains a lot of its shortcomings ). However if you're going to wait till the end of the tree to play "properly" you might as well just run sandbox.

Edited by Van Disaster
mobile keyboard, you are the worst

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Something like that would come in handy for building bases, but it also sounds like cheating in my opinion. I play KSP so i can spend some time into the game and enjoy my hours. And an orbital facility would just ruin the time part of the game.

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22 hours ago, Van Disaster said:

As usual, there's a mod for that - called Extraplanetary Launchpads

I've used this mod, and it's the closest to what I'm thinking of. The only change I'd make is rather than needing to ship 'building units' (or whatever they're called) up from the surface, just having the cost increased by some algarithm using the the apoaxis and periaxis - to (hopefully) accurately represent the cost of getting it into orbit.

On 24/07/2016 at 1:51 PM, Alshain said:

What are you referring to as end game?  Last I checked, the game doesn't end

In a sandbox, it can pretty much be whatever you want it to be. My 'end game' was going to be launching a 20-kerbal mission to Eeloo with the life-support mod enabled, have enough supplies for them to stay for ten years - as well as kethane mining and processing plant - which would be used to refuel a second ship, 10  years down the line, aiming for another (imaginary) solar system.

I never got the first ship, or set of ships put together, because the additional headache of having the already massive modules arodynamic enough to get into orbit, with enough fuel and thrusters left to dock with the other modules, made the entire project feel more like a chore than fun - especially when such a thing would be build either in space, or on the moon in real life.

 

*edit*

I should have mentioned that each time I tried, I did get two or three ships into orbit before I lost interest. Each ship required multiple launches to get into LKO, then a refuelling run to get it into a standing orbit of 1,000,000 km (had a 'home rule' that the nuclear engines wouldn't be allowed to be used closer to Kerbin). Spending a hour ferrying fuel from a launch pad to an orbiting craft is not fun - especially when you know you have another 3 or 4 trips exactly the same after it.

Edited by DesertPhoenix

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8 hours ago, Van Disaster said:

To some extent I agree with that - I'm fairly sure science mode was introduced to act as a tutorial and just grew into current career mode ( which explains a lot of its shortcomings ). However if you're going to wait till the end of the tree to play "properly" you might as well just run sandbox.

I enjoy managing funds though.  If they would add funds only mode, where the tech tree was fully unlocked but still required the initial buy in on parts (basically the opposite of Science mode) I would play that instead.  However despite many people requesting it, it has yet to be done.

1 hour ago, DesertPhoenix said:

I never got the first ship, or set of ships put together, because the additional headache of having the already massive modules arodynamic enough to get into orbit, with enough fuel and thrusters left to dock with the other modules, made the entire project feel more like a chore than fun - especially when such a thing would be build either in space, or on the moon in real life.

I don't understand why this is such a headache, it's the point of the game to launch things into space, but to each his own I guess.  However, in real life multiple launches is is exactly how such a thing would be constructed.  It's how the ISS was built.

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On 23.7.2016 at 0:58 PM, DesertPhoenix said:

Ok, I know there are mods that allow you to build in orbit, but hear me out.

As it currently stands, the end-game is clunky. The difficulty in building ships capable of interplanetary travel, landing and re-orbiting, and finally returning to Kerbin is multiplied by the need to get the ship into orbit into first place. Given that landings on other planets are usually taken after fly-bys, and moon landings, getting stuff into orbit isn't a new skill, and nor is it one that an orbital construction facility would bypass.

Perhaps unlocking the technology to build the facility fairly late in the tech tree, and requiring the player to launch the (super-heavy) facility, as a kind of late-game boss. Launching new ships from the facility could cost more, to represent the cost of getting the materials into space, but completely bypass the tedious shuttle-runs currently required.

Yeah, why not?

For the more conservativce ppl here, maybe a compromise could be to have the shipyard be surface bound so we had to build it on the surface of another planet or moon?

Resources (ore, fuel, etc.) would need to be created there or being shipped from Kerbin to that construction yard.

 

The way i see it, at the end of the stock tech treeKSP should become a bit Sci-Fi -ish imo. At least to me it's the next logical step.

For all i care, let's make it very expensive and laborious to build a orbital or off world ship yard, but once you have it the road to other stars should be a little bit rocky.

 

 

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6 hours ago, NSEP said:

Something like that would come in handy for building bases, but it also sounds like cheating in my opinion. I play KSP so i can spend some time into the game and enjoy my hours. And an orbital facility would just ruin the time part of the game.

Certainly for EPL it *adds* things to do - you have to manage an entire construction facility and it's logistics instead of just buying a ship from the VAB gnomes.

@desertphoenix: shipping parts to orbit is one way of playing it, but the intention was that you do the whole mining-processing-partmaking-shipbuilding process. There is at least one mod which will let you fly a mission once and buy the mission without having to fly it after that, which is what you seem to be looking for.

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1 minute ago, Van Disaster said:

Certainly for EPL it *adds* things to do - you have to manage an entire construction facility and it's logistics instead of just buying a ship from the VAB gnomes.

@desertphoenix: shipping parts to orbit is one way of playing it, but the intention was that you do the whole mining-processing-partmaking-shipbuilding process. There is at least one mod which will let you fly a mission once and buy the mission without having to fly it after that, which is what you seem to be looking for.

Oh ok, But this feels a little Sci-Fi to me. Maybe in a DLC, wich adds all kinds of futuristic technology. But i dont feel like it should be in the stock game. Sending rockets into orbit myself is still a really fun part in the game.

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21 minutes ago, Van Disaster said:

Certainly for EPL it *adds* things to do - you have to manage an entire construction facility and it's logistics instead of just buying a ship from the VAB gnomes.

@desertphoenix: shipping parts to orbit is one way of playing it, but the intention was that you do the whole mining-processing-partmaking-shipbuilding process. There is at least one mod which will let you fly a mission once and buy the mission without having to fly it after that, which is what you seem to be looking for.

That's more than just adding a orbital construction facility.  That is adding an entirely new ISRU system.  It would have to be much more elaborate than it is now to not be overpowered.  There are mods that do this, but in stock the ISRU is for fuel only, not building materials.  Either that or you would have to ship the materials from Kerbin to construct in orbit, in which case, how is that different from sending the parts?

Edited by Alshain

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1 minute ago, Alshain said:

That's more than just adding a orbital construction facility.  That is adding an entirely new ISRU system.  It would have to be much more elaborate than it is now to not be overpowered.  There are mods that do this, but in stock the ISRU is for fuel only, not building materials.

There's something about assembling a large vessel in orbit that I truly enjoy. I normally assemble my vehicles near a 300k orbit. Way back in .24, I tried to create a "spacedock" to aid in the assembly of larger ships. To be honest, it looked cool, but besides being something for photo-ops and an orbital lighting platform, I cannot really say it did much.

On one hand, I do like the idea of being able to fabricate parts in space, but feel that it should be small-scale parts. Maybe unshielded solar panels, maybe small docking ports, struts, or even antennae. Much beyond that, I'm not sure what else would be possible. The amount of resources it would take, the amount of energy required, and the fact that if this were a mod or a feature in some future release of KSP makes me shudder as I know my current system would not be able to handle the requirements needed.

With that said, the ISRU should remain only able to produce fuel...
 

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