Kerbonaut257

I think part balancing needs a serious overhaul

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There's been a LOT of time since the game released, and never a part balance overhaul! Why in the world are basic fins 25kerbucks and the next fin up, which still has NO control surfaces, is like 500 kerbucks?!?! And why are all the control surface wings insanely expensive!? I can get a swivel engine, a ROCKET ENGINE, for cheaper than I can get 4 little rocket fins with control surfaces...

 

To add to that, There's lots of other small things that don't make sense. Why is the mk2 lander can so much heaver than 2 mark 1 lander cans? 2 mk 1 lander cans would weigh like 1.3 tons, whereas the mark 2, which holds 2 kerbals as well, weighs 2.66 tons! It's literally the weight of FOUR mk1 lander cans. 

Then howabout RCS wheels. The smallest wheel has 5 torque. The medium has 15, and the large has 30. The problem is the medium is only 2x the mass of the smallest. So it should have 10. Or the smallest should have 7.5. The largest is 2x the mass of the medium and has 2x the torque. So it makes no sense for the smallest one to have a worse ratio of torque to weight.

There's tons of other tiny little issues (especially with probe cores) that just seem out of order or just balanced in a way that means you'll never use certain parts. If one part is STRICTLY superior to another, it should replace the first part, otherwise it needs to have it's own pros/cons that give it a niche.

I think mainly the prices of parts needs to be balanced a bit better, and certain stats like weight need to be looked at.

 

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I agree  that it could be a good idea to review this. But part balancing, I think, is one of those 'impossible to get right' problems.  In many cases what's 'right' can be very subjective and can vary depending on play style.  Also a part's 'value' and usefulness can change when new features are added and either make it more or less useful. 

Edited by pandaman

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While i think that achieveing balance is easier said then done, it would be a good idea for squad to take a look at some of the notoriously underpowered or overpowered parts.  For example the cupola module (and the other 2 2.5m pods) is incredibly heavy for its crew capacity, and it has no different stats to validate its mass (normally if it was so heavy it should have high impact tolerance, more RCS fuel, batteries, stringer reaction wheels).  I have no expectation of the game to be perfect, but there really should not be any parts that are exclusively good or bad in almost every situation, that needs to be looked at asap imo since the majority of the unbalanced parts are either never practical to use or end up being used on every single design because they are too good...

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Better than starting manned had the best balance. Flowerchild methodicaly went from tier to tier creating a smooth but challenging flow which branched into multiple legitimate paths of progression that wasn't to soul crushing realistic but still intuitive based on real world perceptions and references. nothing has really come close since so a lot can be learned from that old mod in how to balance the game.

Edited by passinglurker

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13 hours ago, pandaman said:

I agree  that it could be a good idea to review this. But part balancing, I think, is one of those 'impossible to get right' problems.  In many cases what's 'right' can be very subjective and can vary depending on play style.  Also a part's 'value' and usefulness can change when new features are added and either make it more or less useful. 

Eh.  Seems kind of defeatist.  People have been balancing games since their invention.  It's not a wild concept.

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12 hours ago, panzer1b said:

While i think that achieveing balance is easier said then done, it would be a good idea for squad to take a look at some of the notoriously underpowered or overpowered parts.  For example the cupola module (and the other 2 2.5m pods) is incredibly heavy for its crew capacity, and it has no different stats to validate its mass (normally if it was so heavy it should have high impact tolerance, more RCS fuel, batteries, stringer reaction wheels).

The cupola is meant as space station decoration, so it's not a big deal that it's terrible as a command pod. The other two big pods are meant to be command pods, though, and they're not exactly efficient--the Mk2 can weighs more than 3 Mk1 pods but only seats 2 kerbals, and has a lower crash tolerance. The Mk1-2 weighs nearly as much as 5 Mk1s, but in terms of crew, torque, monoprop, and electric charge it's the same as 3 basic pods; it does have a much higher crash tolerance, but you're unlikely to crash at between 15 and 45 m/s so this rarely matters (maybe in a very rapid disassembly seconds after launch, but most people just revert when that happens anyway).

The price of those pods is also crazy-unbalanced; Mk1 is 600 kredits per kerbal, Mk1-2 is 1267, and Mk2 is 1625. Most strangely of all, the "budget" one-seat lander can costs almost 3 times as much as the Mk1 pod. But mass is generally the "true cost" of a part because money is pretty easy to come by, and doesn't even exist outside of career mode. Balancing mass with utility is probably the more important issue.

I still find it weird that Kerbals themselves don't weigh anything, but that's a separate problem...

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Pod rebalances would be nice, the Mk2 lander can and the Mk1-2 pod are the biggest offenders IMO.

Reaction wheels are a bit different, the ability to impart torque is not strictly tied to mass but instead the polar moment of inertia of the wheels. Imagine two wheels with all their mass concentrated in the rim, one that is 2x diameter but the same mass will have twice the polar moment of inertia. 

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2 hours ago, klgraham1013 said:

Eh.  Seems kind of defeatist.  People have been balancing games since their invention.  It's not a wild concept.

I get your point, but my thinking is...

Yes, stuff could do with balancing, but what I think of as balanced properly may well be different to how you see it, and even the devs doing the balancing will most likely have different opinions.  Also the game is still in a state of development, less so than a year ago admittedly, and the perfect balance now may not be so with the next update.  So a lot of time spent finely tuning and balancing stuff now may not be the best use of resources for the current situation. 

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From where I'm at it's not that bad. Sure, there are some issues, but only a very few that actually make me always skip parts. The lander can Mk 2 for example has a more convenient form factor and has a probe control point, so it's ideal as a base for a skycrane that drops one somewhere, then RCs it, then recovers it. I don't care about the prices as a hundred kerbucks here or there makes no meaningful difference to the cost of the vehicle.

If I think about it, there are a few parts that I rarely use, or actively avoid, due to balance issues:

  • The mobile processing lab. The science bonus for this is so insane you'll max out the tech tree in one interplanetary mission, even with science rewards down to 60% or so. My solution is just not to use them; the game is more interesting that way.
  • The refinery units. I have built mining networks capable of producing fuel more than quickly enough to supply my interplanetary adventures, with several big drills and a single small refinery, and running out of refinery capacity hasn't even been on the horizon. I can't even imagine how huge it would have to be to require a big one.
  • Mk 2 cockpit. There's just something off about it -- too draggy, or too heavy, or something. My planes always fly better with the Mk 1 cockpit or the Mk 2 inline one.
  • Antennas. The relay antennas are just plain better than the standard ones, so the only standard antennas I use are the 16s, when I really want something extremely compact. Beyond that, I always pick the relay.

 

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2 hours ago, kotomikun said:

 

I still find it weird that Kerbals themselves don't weigh anything, but that's a separate problem...

Actually Kerbals do have mass now.

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45 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

 

  • Antennas. The relay antennas are just plain better than the standard ones, so the only standard antennas I use are the 16s, when I really want something extremely compact. Beyond that, I always pick the relay.

 

And this is with the relays being as grossly over-mass as they already are (the RA-100 is ~6X more massive than it should be, the others are similar).

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14 minutes ago, TheDestroyer111 said:

Only in EVA, not in pods.

the pods just assume there is always kerbals aboard and even still they are super dense 

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2 hours ago, TheDestroyer111 said:

Only in EVA, not in pods.

Even in pods, but not on the editor

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A full rebalance sounds like a very big job that's likely to upset someone , somewhere along the line.   But the part prices need to be top priority.

Why are the decouplers/nose cones for some size 1 engines nearly as expensive as the engines themselves? The small hardpoint is a reasonable 60 Kredits but 300 for a 1.25m stack separator?   

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I can't comment much on the other parts, but the reaction wheels make sense. The total mass of the craft is far more important than the mass of the RW part. In practice, 5 torque (does anyone know the actual units this is suppose to be, or is it just an abstract, arbitrary value?) is A LOT for a typical Size 0 vessel. They tend to be small, compact, and fairly light. The probes I've made at Size 0 I actually need to crank DOWN the torque. (Granted, I'm using part mods as well, but many part mods in terms of mass are decently aligned with stock parts.) The Size 0 RW is actually OP in practice, IMHO.

Besides, balancing in games don't always follow linear progression. I mean, in real life, there are things like the Square/Cube Law. The same can be said in game balancing. Linear balancing looks great on paper; in practice, it can be whole other beast. (Especially when you are dealing with multiple interaction mechanics.)

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6 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

Antennas. The relay antennas are just plain better than the standard ones, so the only standard antennas I use are the 16s, when I really want something extremely compact. Beyond that, I always pick the relay.

Not sure what you mean by this, as once you go interplanetary you can't rely on the 16s as they aren't strong enough to get back to Kerbin (at least on the difficulty settings I have).

EDIT: Also, most of the relay ones have a much smaller range than the non-relay ones, so it's a balance between functionality and range.

 

2 hours ago, AeroGav said:

The small hardpoint is a reasonable 60 Kredits but 300 for a 1.25m stack separator?   

I think considering the small cost of these parts it doesn't really impact gameplay that much at all.  If the parts cost 10x as much then the difference between them would matter.

Edited by Sonny_Jim

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6 minutes ago, Sonny_Jim said:

Not sure what you mean by this, as once you go interplanetary you can't rely on the 16s as they aren't strong enough to get back to Kerbin (at least on the difficulty settings I have).

 

I think considering the small cost of these parts it doesn't really impact gameplay that much at all.  If the parts cost 10x as much then the difference between them would matter.

I think it has some importance in early career mode, even if building upgrade cost is the major expense.  More importantly, when getting into, "who's got the most efficient lifter" discussions,   these little tics matter !

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2 hours ago, StahnAileron said:

…In practice, 5 torque (does anyone know the actual units this is suppose to be, or is it just an abstract, arbitrary value?)…

I believe torque is measured in kN.m
Torque is, of course, measured as τ=F.d. The game uses kN as it's unit of force (as seen from engine thrusts), and, of course, d is measured in metres. Hence the torque in-game is measured in kN.m

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If I had to rebalance just one area of the game, it would probably be the mass of the large crew capsules.  I feel like they should be MORE mass efficient, not less.

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4 hours ago, CommanderSmith said:

I believe torque is measured in kN.m
Torque is, of course, measured as τ=F.d. The game uses kN as it's unit of force (as seen from engine thrusts), and, of course, d is measured in metres. Hence the torque in-game is measured in kN.m

In-game though? I know a lot of things got abstracted and given somewhat arbitrary numbers... I guess it would be easiest (and makes sense) to use the actual units uses in calculations. The fact volume in-game isn't listed as an actual unit is what makes me doubt and wonder sometimes. (I don't think any liquid fuels or oxidizers have a density of 4kg/l.) I understand though, since densities are rarely nice, simple integer numbers. Then again, the vast majority of numbers involved in rocket science aren't integers, either. (Maybe that's something I would like: an option use and display actual units in-game, kinda like the option to show/use Kerbin vs. Earth days.)

Edited by StahnAileron
Correcting "I'm half-dead"-induced errors

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30 minutes ago, StahnAileron said:

In-game though? I know a lot of things got abstracted and given somewhat arbitrary numbers... I guess it would be easiest (and makes sense) to use the actual units uses in calculations. The fact volume in-game isn't listed as an actual unit is what makes me doubt and wonder sometimes. (I don't think any liquid fuels or oxidizers have a density of 4kg/l.) I understand though, since densities are rarely nice, simple integer numbers. Then again, the vast majority of numbers involved in rocket science aren't integers, either. (Maybe that's something I would like: an option use and display actual units in-game, kinda like the option to show/use Kerbin vs. Earth days.)

I just checked the wiki, and it's definitely kN.m. The values listed in the part's right-click menus for torque are definitely kN.m
Some in-game units do get rather annoying, though, especially fuels. 4kg per litre of monopropellant just seems a little inconvenient for calculations, but, oh well. We get what we're given, and we just have to work with that.
1kg/unit of anything would be so nice, though… Perhaps some config-editing or module manager patch is in order… Just a thought.

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On 10/21/2016 at 5:10 PM, pandaman said:

In many cases what's 'right' can be very subjective and can vary depending on play style.

While I agree with this in theory, I am hard pressed to find a reason ANYBODY would call the mk2 lander can - which weighs more than 2 mk1 lander cans - balanced. It's not realistic, and it's not good gameplay. There is *0* reason to use the Mk2 lander can except aesthetics, and ... well ... I don't see many people choosing the Mk2 lander can for its looks.

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13 hours ago, StahnAileron said:

Besides, balancing in games don't always follow linear progression. I mean, in real life, there are things like the Square/Cube Law. The same can be said in game balancing. Linear balancing looks great on paper; in practice, it can be whole other beast. (Especially when you are dealing with multiple interaction mechanics.)

Indeed, the Mk2 lander can has over two and a half times the internal volume and surface area of the Mk1 and a larger volume pressure vessel needs to be built stronger to handle the pressures. Couple that with the larger reaction wheels and the 100kg of extra monoprop over a Mk1 and there's no way you're going to have it weigh only twice as much using the same materials.

I use the Mk2 all the time. I figure the Kerbals appreciate the extra space.

Edited by Reactordrone

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@5thHorseman , @Reactordrone.

Subjective see.:D

You both make good points, realistic and best balance for the game don't always need the same solutions.  And once you throw personal preference in there all bets are off.

What I think a solution could be in this particular case is make it so that there is a benefit (what it could be I don't know) to having your crews together in one pod (there's a reason they do it IRL right?). So that by using multiple 1 man pods to save weight you lose the benefit of having them sitting together.

And for game purpose where we don't (yet) have crew morale, life support etc maybe jiggling the weight of parts is a way of getting the effect that's wanted, even if it makes it a bit unrealistic. 

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