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Random Mod Ideas


Thomas988
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I love stock KSP, but there's obviously a lot of room for improvement. While mods do a great job of improving KSP, there's still some desires of mine that I've never seen addressed. I might as well share these ideas. These aren't requests, but just for discussion.

 

Super fast interplanetary travel. I recently read a sci-fi novel (2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, if you're curious), and in it humanity uses super efficient and powerful means of propulsion to cross the entire solar system in just weeks. They do this by continuously burning their engines as they travel to their destination. I'd love to see something like this in KSP, because not only does it make interplanetary missions almost as easy as travelling to the Mun or Minmus, you can leave for your destination at any time you want (no waiting or the launch window).

Automated space exploration and construction. Launching every individual spacecraft you'll ever need and managing them yourself gets old. One idea I've had is to automate the process. By giving orders to the space center and off-world construction sites (orbital docks, surface colonies), they can build and launch spacecraft on a given schedule. For example, suppose you want a huge colony ship to be constructed and launched out to Laythe every time the Kerbin-Jool launch window arrives. Tell your colony to build the specified craft and send it into orbit, and soon enough it'll be on its way without you ever lifting a finger. Once it lands it can then do whatever you want it to.

Politics and conflict. For decades you've maintained colonies around the solar system. However, your colonists and their offspring have grown tired of your control. They break away and start exploring space on their own. Now there's another space agency in the solar system, which will manage their own spacecraft and missions, and the connection between you and them is crucial. You can maintain a positive interaction with other agencies by trading resources between colonies, working together on join space missions, and sharing technologies with your partners. You can cooperate with old governments on Kerbin or new ones around the system, all with unique personalities and benefits. Or you could have it all once again by launching warships to take your colonies back by force.

Surface and space events. First, let's discuss how to make planet and moon surfaces more interesting. Each world can have their own unique environment; for example, hurricanes and winds on Eve, sandstorms on Duna, quakes on Minmus, geysers on Vall, etc. All would have the potential to harm your mission, but also could return a huge science boost. Then there's space: Eve, Kerbin, and Jool would be surrounded by deadly bands of radiation; CMEs and other solar storms from the Sun; micro-asteroids (a warning would be given, of course). Again, running into them could make or break a mission.

 

What do you guys think? Any criticisms? Additions?

Sorry if any of these ideas are commonly suggested and/or already are mods; I've been away from KSP for over a year, and thus haven't checked out the modding scene in a while.

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The supernatural planetary travel won't work in KSP due to the basic underlying structure of the game.

Politics is a totally different game, would essentially be a new game (lots of work)

Automated Space construction and automation is interesting and doable, but would need a lot of design work

Surface and space events is also interesting

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6 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

The supernatural planetary travel won't work in KSP due to the basic underlying structure of the game.

It actually does work. You just need a propellantless drive. Like, you could mod an EMdrive that generates thrust only out of electricity (by using the trick of self-generating its own 'quantum particle' propellant with mass, as has often been done in such mods). Then you can slap on a nuclear reactor, available from various mods, and start flying torchship trajectories at your leisure. :wink:

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2 hours ago, Streetwind said:

It actually does work. You just need a propellantless drive. Like, you could mod an EMdrive that generates thrust only out of electricity (by using the trick of self-generating its own 'quantum particle' propellant with mass, as has often been done in such mods). Then you can slap on a nuclear reactor, available from various mods, and start flying torchship trajectories at your leisure. :wink:

No, it won't.  Due the the way the game puts vessels on rails when not in close proximity, it can't deal with a constant-acceleration ship, unless you intend to only have a single ship in view and in flight, under power, at a time

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34 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

No, it won't.  Due the the way the game puts vessels on rails when not in close proximity, it can't deal with a constant-acceleration ship, unless you intend to only have a single ship in view and in flight, under power, at a time

Or a crapload of (analytical) integration to figure what the on-rails trajectory would be assuming, for example, constant heading and thrust, and using that equation instead of conics. Which probably ain't happening, either.

 

Anyway, the surface/weather idea pleases me, too. I've often wondered how I would do such a mod myself, actually.

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55 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

No, it won't.  Due the the way the game puts vessels on rails when not in close proximity, it can't deal with a constant-acceleration ship, unless you intend to only have a single ship in view and in flight, under power, at a time

Well yes, you're of course correct. I kind of assumed that OP was aware of this, because being unable to timewarp with engines running is one of the first things any player discovers. So since he's asking for a torchship, I went and made the assumption that he intends to fly it manually.

 

18 minutes ago, monstah said:

Or a crapload of (analytical) integration to figure what the on-rails trajectory would be assuming, for example, constant heading and thrust, and using that equation instead of conics. Which probably ain't happening, either.

On the other hand, this has been done already! :wink: Experimentally, anyway, but it proved it can be done. It was built for solar sails, but it probably would work just as well with higher thrust devices.

 

Edited by Streetwind
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1 hour ago, Streetwind said:

On the other hand, this has been done already! :wink: Experimentally, anyway, but it proved it can be done. It was built for solar sails, but it probably would work just as well with higher thrust devices.

Do you mean this?

Unfortunately, that is not what I meant :( that mod works by keeping the ship in focus and doing the thrust physics calculations as usual, only it does so in the rhythm of timewarp... which could be what you wanted, after all. I was thinking more like normal intercepts, where you set an alarm and go do something else, but if you want just a fast trip with the current focused ship, that might do (although the original mod only worked for very low thrust. Probably higher trust means numerical instability which means you can't just do the calculations quick enough for timewarp...)

That works because ballistic trajectories (i.e., affected by gravity but not thrust) can be solved in advance, so there is an equation that says 'at time T ship will be at position X', and you can fast-forward (actually, time travel) to any desired moment and pop the ship at the right place. Persistent Thrust is still simulating thrust, and does so by adjusting the orbit every tick, so you need to calculate on every step of the way.

And sorry for the long sentences, with many commas, that go on and on and don't ever have a period, because even though I know these are hard to read, my thought process sometimes comes out like this and I just keep typing and never pausing, again, sorry.

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I was thinking (and did share this idea with @ZooNamedGames), that it would be nice to have a mod that did nothing more than add another tab, "frequently used parts" to the editor's tabs.

As proposed, this tab would keep track of the parts you use the most. This way, regardless of the kind of craft you are building, instead of spending minutes going through the various parts tabs to find your favorite landing gear or docking port, you could just get the part from that tab.

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im not seeing why we cant have an evelike economy. player supplies all the raw resources they are processed into more refined products in towns created with kerbinside and use usi's planetary logistics to move the resources and refined products around and govern their production with construction time. player can then use the refined resources to haul out to the outer colonies etc...

you have space telescopes/scansat to find rare resources that reside in the outer planets or extra solar planets. kspi/usi have just about every power production ever been thought of done. 

civilian population, colonist along with construction time govern the growth of planetary towns with atmospheres. colonies on bodies that dont have an atmosphere, along with using extraplanetary launchpad to stake out and build the buildings/modules for the towns/cities/colonies.

players could swap town city designs but instead of a craft file get only the stake coordinates and construction time que.

yeah lots of lil pieces I havent mentioned but you get the idea.

im running 80+ mods and only using 5 gigs of ram so we have plenty room left now to start putting stuff together that is a lil bit bigger than a parts pack no?  

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13 hours ago, Thomas988 said:

What do you guys think?

Super fast interplanetary travel:

You're describing torchships, to borrow Heinlein's word for them in Farmer in the Sky.  Clarke and Niven also wrote about constant-acceleration drives; Clarke specifically in 2061: Odyssey Three and Niven in nearly every Belter and ramscoop story.  Heinlein's 'Sky Lift' features torchships specifically, and pays quite a bit of attention to the health problems involved with flying at extremely high gee for weeks on end.  If you use a combination of Freight Transport Technologies and Karbonite Plus (both USI, both with dependencies), you get torch drives in KSP.  The solar sails mod that @Streetwind mentioned was really made for long-term, low-thrust drives, but unless there's a thrust limit, I don't see why it wouldn't work for torches.  Getting it to work in the background would be trickier, though.

Automated space exploration and construction:

I'm honestly not sure that there's a market for this in KSP.  Automate space travel and construction, and you turn KSP into an idle game.  I think that the closest you get to scheduling, off-world construction, and automated flight would be a weird admixture of Kerbal Construction Time, Extraplanetary Launchpads, and Routine Mission Manager.  The problem is that Routine Mission Manager only works for launches from KSC to Kerbin orbit.

Politics and conflict:

You get the rudiments of politics in State Funding, and while there are plenty of weapons mods, there's no AI for any of them.  Maybe with multiplayer, you could do this (you'd need an alternate space centre for the enemy, though), but there's no single-player alternative for what you're asking here.  I don't doubt that it could be fun, but then again, that sounds more like Space Engineers than KSP.

Surface and space events:

Nertea's Radioactivity gives you deadly radiation belts.  As far as cool-looking environments, be patient and you'll get it.  As far as those environments being hazardous, I'm on board with you there; I like the idea that landing on Duna during a sandstorm could cause my solar panels to fail, or that winds on Eve could throw my rocket into a corrosive pool.  I have no idea how many mountains of code it would take to make that happen, though.

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28 minutes ago, Zhetaan said:

and pays quite a bit of attention to the health problems involved with flying at extremely high gee for weeks on end. 

You know, you don't need high gees. 1g is enough to get anywhere (interplanetary anywhere, not interstellar anywhere) quite fast, and your habitation is at surface gravity. Quite nice, really.

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26 minutes ago, Zhetaan said:

Surface and space events:

Nertea's Radioactivity gives you deadly radiation belts.  As far as cool-looking environments, be patient and you'll get it.  As far as those environments being hazardous, I'm on board with you there; I like the idea that landing on Duna during a sandstorm could cause my solar panels to fail, or that winds on Eve could throw my rocket into a corrosive pool.  I have no idea how many mountains of code it would take to make that happen, though.

While Squad doesn't like random events, this is interesting.

Kerbal Launch Failure (which I revived and maintain) does something along those lines, but it's totally random.  It wouldn't be that difficult to code some random issues during descent in an atmosphere, but, from my point of view, it would be nice to know IF there was a sandstorm or high winds at the landing location.  This is where things get tricky, cause now you are starting to get into some sort of weather simulation in an atmosphere.

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6 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

This is where things get tricky, cause now you are starting to get into some sort of weather simulation in an atmosphere.

Oh, yes, but like with economy, just a rudiment of a simulation may go a long way! Plus, if you want to know in advance whether it will be raining or winding at launch/landing, I can imagine for example using ScanSat/KerbNet, and doing the kind of meaningful science @Veeltch is tirelessly preaching.

47181919.jpg

 

53 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

it would be nice to have a mod that did nothing more than add another tab, "frequently used parts" to the editor's tabs.

Yes, it would! :) 

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2 hours ago, monstah said:

You know, you don't need high gees. 1g is enough to get anywhere (interplanetary anywhere, not interstellar anywhere) quite fast, and your habitation is at surface gravity. Quite nice, really.

True, but the story was about a rescue mission to a research station on Pluto that had to get there in something like a week.  The plot always needs high gees.

The central drama of the story was about whether the pilot had the courage necessary to essentially sacrifice himself for that mission while also possessing the fortitude to survive long enough to complete it.  The sacrifice-for-the-common-good is a common idea:  it had been done earlier, and possibly better, in 'The Cold Equations', and is seen in sci-fi and action movies all the way up in popularity to Star Trek II, where Spock had to fix the warp drive before either the ship was destroyed or the radiation killed him.  The difference in 'Sky Lift' was that the pilot had to continually make the decision to ruin his body over the course of days; most examples of this device are more swift in their mercilessness.

That being said, the addition of G-tolerances in KSP makes these kinds of considerations possible.  A little bit of coding (such as with Kerbal Launch Failure, Dang It!, Entropy, and others) can make them dramatic.  Imagine running a life-support mod and a tank of supplies at a colony somewhere ruptures.  The only ship that can get there in time to bring relief is also going to kill four crew with G-forces to do it--and that's assuming it doesn't rupture itself in the attempt.  The ship can make it--it has a probe core--but the crew cannot, and if something goes wrong after the crew is unconscious or gone, then everybody dies.  Do you go?

Edited by Zhetaan
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