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the contract system is just so grrrr!!


TimKerbin
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I'm playing v1.2.2. Sometimes I really, really hate the contract system, it's so infuriating. I have just wasted 4 hours doing a contract worth over 800,000, 55 reputation, and which includes the following 4 objectives:

  1. Flyby Minmus
  2. Flyby the Mun
  3. Flyby Duna
  4. Lastly, have vessel in sub-orbital flight above Kerbin (this objective must be completed last).


I entered flyby and orbit of the Mun; I entered flyby and orbit of Minmus; I then used Kerbin to sling me to Duna and entered flyby and orbit there. I then entered orbit of Ike, landed, planted a flag (another separate contract fulfilled) then got back into orbit for the journey home. Each time the contract system was keeping track with the usual green tick to confirm completion. However, when I entered the encounter with Kerbin on the return, and set the periapsis, all said objectives had been reset. It was like I had been doing nothing for 4 hours. Nothing changed when I entered atmosphere; I assumed re-entry would fulfil the final objective. It did not. I was in sub-orbital trajectory and it said nothing. (Does 'vessel' mean the whole ship, or just the command pod/s containing the crew?)

Mission Control said the contract had all but the last objective as 'Complete'. In other words, I have to do this contract all over again with a new vessel, through no fault of my own. There's no guarantee it won't happen again. The game just does not do a good job of keeping track of completed objectives. Sometimes it treats identical objectives in separate contracts as complete, even though each contract specifies it must be done with a newly launched vessel. Sometimes objectives reset when entering solar orbit and only return when you enter an encounter; this can be confusing and concerning as you aren't sure if all your objectives have been saved. In this case, they weren't!

I have over 12000 science points; 42million credits, 92% reputation. I love doing contracts, but either I am missing something, or the system is just broken.
 

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If you haven't "rage Alt-F12'ed" yet, do check a few things on your returning ship, assuming the ship in question hasn't landed, has the DV/earlier save game:

  • it is in Kerbin SOI
  • entry into kerbin SOI was hyperbolic, not intersecting Kerbin's atmosphere/Kerbin
  • captured into a final, stable Kerbin orbit - aerocapture is fine but final orbit should NOT intersect Kerbin's atmosphere/Kerbin
  • only after the above, allowing KSP to run for a while after each so the game recognizes the state of your craft, then you can
  • put the ship in suborbital trajectory of your choice.  

KSP contracts will only recognize the change of trajectory to sub-orbital only if coming from a stable, "in-orbit" state. An old issue that catches out efficient players. 

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I don't know what your craft looks like, but I'm guessing the last point of the contract didn't complete because you didn't put the 'root' part of the craft in a sub-orbital trajectory - if you have a mothership as the main craft, the game wants you to use that to fulfill all aspects of the contract for whatever reason, so if you had a separate reentry pod, it might not have counted it. It may have also had something to do with going straight into an aerobrake... the game can be quite finicky about what it counts as 'suborbital' in regards to the atmosphere, although I don't have much experience in that regard, so someone else would be better to confirm that.

You don't necessary have to do the whole thing again, though. If you press Alt+F12, you'll open the cheat menu up. In there, you can go to the 'contract' section, and manually set the contract as complete from there, and get the relevant rewards and such. It's something I do occasionally when I'm in these kinds of situations, where I disagree with the game over whether I've actually completed the contract or not - I put in all the work, it's a singleplayer game, so I don't feel particularly guilty about it.

The way the 'newly launched vessel' works is that the contract wants a new vessel, not a unique vessel. Which means you can complete four separate satellite contracts with the same satellite, as long as launch it after you take the contracts. :) 

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