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Whats your favourite engine in KSP?

POLL TIME!  

95 members have voted

  1. 1. Whats your favourite type of engine?

  2. 2. What is your No.1 engine priority?



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4 minutes ago, GoSlash27 said:

I should add that Isp appears much more important to the naked eye than it winds up being in the relatively short burn times of launches. Generally, higher Isp comes at the cost of additional mass and $$ for the engine, but when you run the numbers, you find out that the lower Isp engine is not only cheaper, but lighter as well. You have to run a stage out for a while before the advantages of specific impulse come into play.

The Twin-Boar is a lurking beast in the launcher regime :D

-Slashy

I almost feel like the game designers were being sneaky.  First they give you stuff like the Terrier to show you that ISP can be pretty important.  Then they give you the TwinBoar to show you that in some cases, ISP is not actually that important.  

My engine selection kind of boomeranged over time as I learned more - learning curve was something like this:

Stage 1 (noob):  Hey, this engine has a lot of thrust!  I don't really know what all those other numbers mean, but I like thrust!

Stage 2: It's all about ISP, so the Reliant, TwinBoar and SRBs are trash.  Go Mainsail/Vector!

Stage 3: Actually, those low ISP engines are really useful as long as they're at the bottom end of the rocket.  Please take me back, cheapo booster engines!

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Aegolius13,

 They did, in fact, do that on purpose. They've talked about it from time to time. :wink: The objective isn't just to entertain or befuddle the player, though. The objective is to trick you into learning the math and science while you're not paying attention, thinking that you're just having fun playing a game.

It's mind games.

Best,
-Slashy

 

Edited by GoSlash27

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4 minutes ago, Aegolius13 said:

I almost feel like the game designers were being sneaky.  First they give you stuff like the Terrier to show you that ISP can be pretty important.  Then they give you the TwinBoar to show you that in some cases, ISP is not actually that important.  

My engine selection kind of boomeranged over time as I learned more - learning curve was something like this:

Stage 1 (noob):  Hey, this engine has a lot of thrust!  I don't really know what all those other numbers mean, but I like thrust!

Stage 2: It's all about ISP, so the Reliant, TwinBoar and SRBs are trash.  Go Mainsail/Vector!

Stage 3: Actually, those low ISP engines are really useful as long as they're at the bottom end of the rocket.  Please take me back, cheapo booster engines!

If you play with the space Y parts, you find out very quickly that low ISP/High thrust is worth something. One of the early space Y engines in career mode has 965 KN, an ISP of 265(298vac), and only weighs something like 3 tons(plus a toggle for 1.25 or 2.5m). It's hard to use the stock engines when you have those.

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My space program is built around a fleet of re-usable tugs, all of which are nuclear-powered. I don't build "spaceships" per se, rather I build payloads with docking ports attached to them. I use a variety of engines to get them into orbit but once they're up there it's NERV or nothing.

Unless they need to land on something, in which case I hand them off to a landing craft powered by Twitch or Spark engines.

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2 hours ago, MR L A said:

Really? I never use this engine, mostly because it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other tanks (unmodded) but I usually find that I don't need it anyway. What circumstances do you use it in? Got any build pics floating around?

My first fully-recoverable SSTO:

assto.jpg

Because sometimes you want to send empty orange marshmallows to minmus.

minmus-spark.jpg

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The Sepratron is my favorite, hands down.  It's the single most entertaining part in the game with a million uses, whether for sheer larfs or pretty fireworks.  Oh, and did you know, you can also use it to get smooth, collision-free staging?  Who knew it actually had a practical purpose! :D 

Which brings up a flaw in the poll:  SRBs are not listed as a category of their own.

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4 hours ago, Aegolius13 said:

I almost feel like the game designers were being sneaky.  First they give you stuff like the Terrier to show you that ISP can be pretty important.  Then they give you the TwinBoar to show you that in some cases, ISP is not actually that important. 

I dimly recall NathanKell mentioning he used a formula to rebalance the engines around 1.0, and it was likely related to his spreadsheet for RealFuels (or the actual spreadsheet) because he also based the current values on the theoretical maximums of Aerozine50/NTO engines IRL (which fits pretty nicely into vanilla KSP for various reasons). Before 1.0 the engines were a mess of values that tried to fit into niches and they didn't do that very well, not the least because there are really only two "niches" for rocket engines because of how de Laval nozzles work. It really wasn't that bad but there were definitely some engines that got pretty much zero use, unlike the current version where every engine can play a role because they're much more homogeneous.

Rather than being sneaky the game designer (in this case, NathanKell, IIRC) was just basing the new engine values on how actual, real world rockets work. Sea level engines have nozzles optimized for higher atmospheric pressure which generally results in lower isp but a much tighter isp range (and thus better constant thrust) where vacuum nozzles are pretty much useless at sea level because they have troubles overcoming the pressure of the atmosphere but get much higher isp than their sea level counterparts in a vacuum.

Edited by regex

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13 hours ago, Aegolius13 said:

I almost feel like the game designers were being sneaky.  First they give you stuff like the Terrier to show you that ISP can be pretty important.  Then they give you the TwinBoar to show you that in some cases, ISP is not actually that important.  

My engine selection kind of boomeranged over time as I learned more - learning curve was something like this:

Stage 1 (noob):  Hey, this engine has a lot of thrust!  I don't really know what all those other numbers mean, but I like thrust!

Stage 2: It's all about ISP, so the Reliant, TwinBoar and SRBs are trash.  Go Mainsail/Vector!

Stage 3: Actually, those low ISP engines are really useful as long as they're at the bottom end of the rocket.  Please take me back, cheapo booster engines!

 I didn't think I would but I completely understand what you're talking about.

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16 hours ago, GoSlash27 said:

 TL/DR: Throttling back a LF&O engine isn't a waste of the engine's potential, it's just a sign that you spent more cash and mass on engines than was actually needed for the job. Your glass isn't half-full or half- empty, you just have more glass than required.

 In the case of SRBs, the ratio of engine to propellant is fixed and you can't add more propellant, so the trick lies in expending the propellant you have as efficiently as possible. To take full advantage of them, they need to be dialed back from the stock setting.

Best,
-Slashy

With individual kickers launching second stages, I don't think you should dial back much below 2.0.  With large rockets with many kickers things might be more interesting.  Also you can't stagger your burnouts without dialing back at least some rockets (you almost always want to fire them all at launch).

I have to admit that I have never tried to stagger my burnouts.  When you mentioned it I assumed that it was primarily a stability thing (implied) or possibly for reducing aero losses.  It was only when I thought about what actually happens when a stage burns out (it produces surprisingly more delta-v at the end) that I considered the delta-v difference (you want them to burn out while carrying as few extra kickers as possible).  I'll have to play with a spreadsheet and see what difference it makes there (I'll also see how many kickers/couplers I should be using) and can't believe I never thought of that.

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4 hours ago, wumpus said:

I have to admit that I have never tried to stagger my burnouts.  When you mentioned it I assumed that it was primarily a stability thing (implied) or possibly for reducing aero losses.  It was only when I thought about what actually happens when a stage burns out (it produces surprisingly more delta-v at the end) that I considered the delta-v difference (you want them to burn out while carrying as few extra kickers as possible). 

wumpus,

 It's actually all of the above. Looking at the efficiency of the lifter purely as "dv expended" is misleading in a career game. What really matters is "dollars expended". You stagger the burnouts and jettison the empties in order to maximize the mechanical efficiency of the lifter *but* you also do this to make it easier for the lifter to follow an efficient trajectory and avoid brute- forcing excessive speeds at low altitudes.

Best,
-Slashy

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I voted other, cuz my favorites so far have been the larger one's I've built (by grouping several together) and then come up with my own name for and claiming a patent for Untied Technologies!

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I use nuclear engines mainly for inter-planetary transfers, otherwise I usually use chemical engines for everything else.

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KSP is missing an engine "in the middle" - Something like a Nuke with 500/600 ISP but also with 150 thrust.
So far most big ships I see use either modded larger nukes or arrays of our regular LV-N.
Big thrust engines just consumes too much fuel to keep them practical past say... Duna/EVE.  Not saying it can't be done, but it's a major thing to consider.

Then there's Ion engines, but I appear to have more patience than even some Youtube celebrities to make good work of them.
I always hoped KSP would include a 1.25m/25thr and 2.5m/100thr of them to help with the burn time problems (same for stock nukes) but alas, stuck with mods.
Still 4200 ISP is extremely useful in smaller crafts.  I did a redesign of my ion-jool mission back in 1.1, and the final craft had 4 ion engines but with a very low mass (and shedding weight each steps, thanks to the new science boxes).  Worked like a charm.

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On 11/30/2017 at 11:10 PM, Francois424 said:

KSP is missing an engine "in the middle" - Something like a Nuke with 500/600 ISP but also with 150 thrust.

Francois424,
 Agreed, and we've had quite a few threads about it. We should have an entire family of 1.875m parts. Jumping directly from 1.25m to 2.5m leaves a huge gap.

Best,
-Slashy

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On 11/30/2017 at 11:10 PM, Francois424 said:

So far most big ships I see use either modded larger nukes or arrays of our regular LV-N.
Big thrust engines just consumes too much fuel to keep them practical past say... Duna/EVE.  Not saying it can't be done, but it's a major thing to consider.

Depends what you consider "practical". I've never used nukes or Ions, and I've landed and returned from every body in the stock system without difficulty. And I just started OPM as well. I probably build larger rockets than most because of it, but I don't feel it's limited me in any way. And I only play career, so cost is always a consideration. Plenty of others hate the Nerv as well, so I'm definitely not alone.

1 hour ago, GoSlash27 said:

Francois424,
 Agreed, and we've had quite a few threads about it. We should have an entire family of 1.875m parts. Jumping directly from 1.25m to 2.5m leaves a huge gap.

Best,
-Slashy

I don't know if it'll be an entire family, but we'll certainly have some soon. One of the things I'm most looking forward to in MHE is the new line of parts (as I assume we all are). I can't wait to see the things we can do with 2.5/1.875 and 1.875/1.25 rockets (and I'd love to see 5m/3.75m rockets if they were ever crazy enough to make a 3.75m command module :)). In the days and weeks after the release, the forum is sure to be bombarded with screenshots of some pretty cool designs. Should be alotta fun.

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My favourite engine in KSP is Unity. 

....

Come on, someone had to make that joke.

 

Ok, for real, it's the 24-77. Not the greatest in capabilities, but useful when you need a little more thrust somewhere to balance something out, when making something complex.

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On 11/30/2017 at 11:10 PM, Francois424 said:

KSP is missing an engine "in the middle" - Something like a Nuke with 500/600 ISP but also with 150 thrust.

I forget which mod pack adds it, but there's a trimodal LV-N kicking around somewhere that has improved thrust at the cost of specific impulse.

My absolute favorite (keeping in mind that I play with Real Fuels-Stockalike) is the 0.625m "Sparkler" engine from Modular Rocket Systems. It fits beautifully in between the Ant and Terrier, offering a reasonably efficient engine powerful enough for a surprising number of my designs, either in singletons or in small clusters.

If I had to pick something from stock, I'd go with the Kickback SRB, which has an excellent aesthetic, and burns for about the length of time I actually want SRBs to burn.

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12 hours ago, Tw1 said:

My favourite engine in KSP is Unity. 

....

Come on, someone had to make that joke.

Dammit that was good.

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i only use about 4 engines total

vector for launch

terrier if going local

LV nuke for travel 

twin boar if the craft is huge

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I love the Skipper, i always try to use it for my upper stages. It looks great, especially when it runs awhile, it turns a pretty blue, and it has a good thrust and great ISP.

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High ISP makes up for all the others (usually). An engine that is twice as expensive, and has 20% more ISP, is usually a better engine.

It depends though, on a lot of factors. First stage engines don't need high ISP for the most part, although it's always nice.

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On November 28, 2017 at 7:29 PM, wumpus said:

when your second stage is a kicker you know you have an SRB problem*).

I don't know what your talking about.:/

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If I could only pick one, it'd have to be the RAPIER -- it can do anything: get you into orbit, from A to B, down, and up again. But that's kind of a cheaty answer because it's at the very end of the tech tree and in real careers I certainly wouldn't use it everywhere. 

In actual career games, most of the time I rely on only a few engines: the Reliant and then the Skipper for getting stuff off the ground, the Terrier and Poodle to move it around in space, and the Spark for probes and landers. 

Late game, the Dart, the Vector, and the RAPIER open some new frontiers so they're cool too. I also sometimes use Ants for ultra-light probes and such, Twitch and Spider for certain designs that benefit from radially-mounted engines, and Mainsails to increase lift capability a bit. I don't bother with nuclear or ion propulsion as burns take forever which is not fun, and I like my craft to be fun to fly.

I start building planes as soon as I'm able, which means I never need the biggest rockets. So around when a rocket engineer would want to go to Rhinos and Mammoths I start using RAPIER clusters on jumbo spaceplanes which can go up to 200 ton payloads.

Engines I used to use a fair bit but no longer do:

  • Swivel. Don't need thrust vectoring, poor T/W.
  • Nerv. I used to do interplanetary missions with this one but it's really not worth it. Weighs a lot and has poor thrust which makes the craft a drag to fly, and it introduces a fuel load hassle as I will have Lf/Ox stages there as well and need to calculate how much more Lf I'm going to use than Ox. I prefer just to use a Poodle and carry a bunch more fuel.
  • Thud, Twin-Boar, Rhino, Mammoth. Useful for rocket boosters, pointless for planes.
  • SRBs. I used to explore these a bit but determined that m/s for m/s, Reliant-based LF boosters get the job done better for the same price: lower T/W but lighter and more controllable.
  • Whiplash. I used to make Whiplash/Dart based spaceplanes but they're too fussy. Now I just go with rocket propulsion for them until I get the RAPIER.

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