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How does autostrut works?


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I assume autostrut works like an standard strut however invisible and it can pass trough other items. 
Options are heaviest part, root and grandparent part.

However does anybody know how strong they are compared to standard struts and does they eliminate standard struts for most uses?
Yes I see settings where normal struts are better, mostly to avoid bending,  

Will heaviest part change as tanks run dry? at least on loading ship again.
 

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6 hours ago, magnemoe said:

I assume autostrut works like an standard strut however invisible and it can pass trough other items. 

Yes, and from CoM of one part to the other's CoM.

6 hours ago, magnemoe said:

Options are heaviest part, root and grandparent part.

I've found "grandparent part" the most useful for replacing regular struts. The others are better for orbital construction.

6 hours ago, magnemoe said:

However does anybody know how strong they are compared to standard struts and does they eliminate standard struts for most uses?

Can't speak to their strength specifically, but I haven't needed struts on craft where I used autostruts (though I haven't built anything huge). One place where manual struts are superior is in making triangulated structures, this can have a multiplicative effect on their strength that autostruts cannot duplicate.

6 hours ago, magnemoe said:


Yes I see settings where normal struts are better, mostly to avoid bending,  

The bend is easily fixed by disabling autostrut and reenabling it.

6 hours ago, magnemoe said:

Will heaviest part change as tanks run dry? at least on loading ship again.
 

I believe it only recalculates the autostruts on a vessel change, such as docking, staging, or part destruction (and enabling/disabling autostrut, of course). 

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Playing with SRBs attached with a decoupler I've found that autostruts didn't hold the SRBs as rigid as a normal strut will.

The setup I used was to attach the SRBs to the core stack with decouplers, then attach your launch towers to the SRBs. This puts the full load of the center core on the decouplers. When loading a sufficiently heavy rocket onto the launch pad I could watch the the core sag and the SRBs angle in at the top.

Adding a single strut from the top of the SRB to the center core eliminated the sagging while autostruts wouldn't.

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So far autostruts have been incredibly useful, they eliminate the need to manually place haphazard, conditional and bizarre strut strategies to keep your craft from falling apart. Any problem I've had where the autostruts can't stop a kraken from appearing is when I have to use manual struts however.

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2 hours ago, Red Iron Crown said:

Yes, and from CoM of one part to the other's CoM.

I've found "grandparent part" the most useful for replacing regular struts. The others are better for orbital construction.

Can't speak to their strength specifically, but I haven't needed struts on craft where I used autostruts (though I haven't built anything huge). One place where manual struts are superior is in making triangulated structures, this can have a multiplicative effect on their strength that autostruts cannot duplicate.

The bend is easily fixed by disabling autostrut and reenabling it.

I believe it only recalculates the autostruts on a vessel change, such as docking, staging, or part destruction (and enabling/disabling autostrut, of course). 

Assumed it was from CoM to other CoM, explains why strut on top of srb is still important, 
Grandfather will often be too close as I see it.
Triangular will not work from CoM to CoM so is nice if you need struts outside of that, I also guess that having strut on one radial part to root and heaviest part on another will generate an triangular effect.  

 

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I am really struggling to understand the autostrut feature. It's just makes things more rigid? It's invisible? What's going on?

From what I've heard, this would seem to greatly increase the potential size of feasible craft. It almost seems like cheating.

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45 minutes ago, cephalo said:

I am really struggling to understand the autostrut feature. It's just makes things more rigid? It's invisible? What's going on?

From what I've heard, this would seem to greatly increase the potential size of feasible craft. It almost seems like cheating.

That's because it is.

The main problem is that it's weightless.

It's perfectly understandable for some things, like wing roots, landing gear and engine mounts on aircraft. Autostrutting those parts should not increase drag and should be fairly light, insofar as they should already be factored in to the weight of the individual parts, engine nacelles and so on. However, the parts haven't changed (AFAIK) so that isn't sure...

The autostrutting of many other parts, however, is most definitely "cheating" but then again, the person designing the rocket IRL would certainly be making the connections between parts in the main structure of the fuselage much stronger, so it's reasonable in some circumstances but not in others.

The big question, from my point of view, is what those "circumstances" are.

 

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6 hours ago, cephalo said:

Does it ever make sense to not just auto-strut everything then? Maybe the solution then is to just remove the feature and make all connections a lot stronger. It seems so absurd.

That's basically what KJR does.

I think getting joints right across the broad spectrum of part types, sizes and masses is a tricky challenge of balancing gameplay mechanics.  You want the simulation to follow a player's intuitive expectations - heavy parts connected by twigs should snap off, long metal cantilevers should bend, large connections that look strong should be more robust, and players should be able to reinforce weak joints where they see fit (at the cost of funds and mass).  The game seems to have come a long way and added features / options toward that respect, but I don't think Squad has quite nailed a perfect balance yet.

e.g. To start, we have parameters like joint strength / stiffness and node connection size.

Then they gave us struts to reinforce things ourselves, which was great.  But it can quickly become an exercise in micromanagement, not to mention increases the part count the physics engine has to handle.  There's also a lingering issue where struts can get pointed in the wrong direction under some circumstances.

Recently they gave us AutoStruts to experiment with, which are quicker to construct and have some other benefits.  Personally I think it's fine to use them to "correct" situations where you feel the game is being silly and a part ought to be secured better to your craft than it is, but over-use of them (e.g. auto-strutting everything) gets into the territory of cheating.  Especially since the feature didn't come with any disincentives introduced as you increase its use.  I believe having excessive autostruts also makes the physics engine work harder, so could slow down your game during flight.

I do agree it feels a bit like these are patch-on's instead of addressing the "root problem" by revisiting stock joint strengths.  But keep in mind it's tough to make wholesale changes once people already have crafts and designs out there in the wild, and any change to joint strength would impact players who may have put a lot of design work and testing into their crafts and come to expect certain behavior.  Even AutoStrut was introduced pretty late in the testing cycle of 1.2, which a developer noted is one reason they kept the changes "gated" behind an advanced settings option.

In the meantime you might try out KJR if you haven't already, and hope one day Squad considers adopting some of its benefits into the stock mechanics of the game.

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On 10/20/2016 at 11:04 AM, cephalo said:

Does it ever make sense to not just auto-strut everything then? Maybe the solution then is to just remove the feature and make all connections a lot stronger. It seems so absurd.

You can get weird torques if you autostrut many parts to "heaviest" and many others to "root". I've not had it happen, but there could be similar problems going all to "root" or all to "heaviest." Similar issues happen with regular struts if you use too many. Tiny little adjustments to keep everything stuck together can actually cause ship-rending shaking.

I think there's also a performance hit, but I've not done any actual testing on that. It's just a gut feeling on big ships.

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On 10/20/2016 at 8:04 AM, cephalo said:

Does it ever make sense to not just auto-strut everything then? Maybe the solution then is to just remove the feature and make all connections a lot stronger. It seems so absurd.

I used a few autostruts to try to stiffen up a big jiggly space station. I didn't do it right and the station started vibrating like hell and then blew up.

But the point is that the autostruts are a temporary gift to counteract excessive flex bugginess in Unity joints. When the joint problem gets fixed by Unity, the devs intend to delete the autostruts again. So they can't just make the connections stronger and assume it will stay that way.

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