Hotel26

Standardizing your Action Groups

Recommended Posts

Imagine a brand new, very hot looking spaceplane sitting on the tarmac; nobody around; you hop up the ladder and notice the keys are in the ignition.  In a jiff, you are strapped in and ready to go in 60 seconds!

You can't find the Action Group key to retract the ladder.  All the action group assignments are something else.  You accidentally pop the main landing drag chutes.  Too late; you get nabbed!  "Step out of that cockpit, soldier!  Hands on your head!"

APOLOGIES if this has been discussed before; it didn't come up in search.  Has anybody concocted some kind of standard assignment of AG keys for common functions?  I know this isn't easy to do, especially when you have staged vehicles...

Edited by Hotel26

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually have nothing more than 2 action groups. None of them i have standardized. 

I barely use action groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep consistency between craft for the sake of my own sanity, but I've never reviewed whether other people would find them intuitive... I make a lot of SSTOs, so 'just knowing' the engine keys became important for a smooth flight.

1) toggle air breathing engines (if any)
2) toggle mode of air breathing engines (if any)
3-5) toggle other engines (if any, in order of use during launch)
6) toggle anything that snaps off during atmospheric flight; solar panels, antennae, radiators
7) ???
8) perform all science experiments 
9) ???
0) toggle cargo bay or drills

Anything else, like labs or isru, I usually click and activate manually. Might tie ladders to landing gear if it's a vertical lander.

There's probably more reserved space for engines than I ever actually have sets of engines, so most often 4 and 5 go unused. Clearly I could remove the gaps for 7 and 9, but my brain is programmed this way now and it's easier not to try to re-learn the keys :P 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, eddiew said:

I keep consistency between craft for the sake of my own sanity, but I've never reviewed whether other people would find them intuitive... I make a lot of SSTOs, so 'just knowing' the engine keys became important for a smooth flight.

1) toggle air breathing engines (if any)
2) toggle mode of air breathing engines (if any)
3-5) toggle other engines (if any, in order of use during launch)
6) toggle anything that snaps off during atmospheric flight; solar panels, antennae, radiators
7) ???
8) perform all science experiments 
9) ???
0) toggle cargo bay or drills

Anything else, like labs or isru, I usually click and activate manually. Might tie ladders to landing gear if it's a vertical lander.

There's probably more reserved space for engines than I ever actually have sets of engines, so most often 4 and 5 go unused. Clearly I could remove the gaps for 7 and 9, but my brain is programmed this way now and it's easier not to try to re-learn the keys :P 

It's the best way to do it. Now  I will be honest, there are some differences between ground craft, ocean-going vessels, aircraft, space stations, and spacecraft.

Aircraft:

  1. toggle engines
  2. toggle engine mode
  3. toggle landing lights
  4. Toggle BDA
  5. Toggle next weapon
  6. Countermeasures (if equipped)
  7. Countermeasures (if equipped)
  8. Open cargo ramp (if equipped)
  9. Deploy parachutes (if a larger craft)
  10. Toggle air brakes

Abort: Eject pilot, deploy air brakes, and toggle off engines

Lights: Aircraft running lights

Edited by adsii1970

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, eddiew said:

8) perform all science experiments 
9) ???
0) toggle cargo bay or drills

1) Steal underpants

2) ???

3) Profit!

Sorry couldn't help myself.  The only real standards I have is AG#1 = toggle solar panels & AG#2 toggle antennae.  Otherwise if I am using AGs it will depend on the space craft/mission.

Edited by KerBlammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually put solar panels and antenna toggle on 0, engines in order I use them from 1 onwards with any alternate modes after the engine they relate too except thrust reversing, that goes in the brake group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The following action group general standardization I've come up with, spans between exploration vessels, dedicated miners, spaceplanes, rovers, etc:

1: toggle solar panels.

2: toggle radiators.

3: run experiments | raise/lower drills.

4: toggle drill operation | toggle RAPIER airbreathing/closed cycle, toggle Whiplash/other jet engine, toggle air intakes |  toggle pre-selected rover wheels motor.

5: toggle ISRU | toggle engines that need/don't need to be active | toggle pre-selected rover wheels steering.

6: toggle fuel cells.

7: toggle any RCS ports I may not want active, even with RCS system engaged. These typically belong to the payload (post fairing deployment) which I don't want to be expending fuel, while still attached to the launch vehicle -which in my case, comes with it's own RCS ports at the bottom, fed by it's own monoprop/LfOx supply.

8: toggle antenna(s).

9: toggle ladders.

0: toggle cargo bay doors | arm/disarm grabbing unit.

SAS: toggle rover reaction wheels -that is, making sure they're active only when SAS is on.

Backspace: toggle afterburner on Panthers.

On the occasion of a conflict, like e.g. having a grabbing unit inside a cargo bay, I'll obviously close the doors myself, once the payload is secure inside the cargo bay.

I was thinking at some point, to merge solar panels and radiators into a single group. But most of the time, I want these two working independently -so I kept them as they were.

Edited by Atkara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do indeed maintain standard key assignments for all my craft.  I also like to create craft that can be carried along as cargo on other craft.  So with that in mind, I use the following as a guide:

  1. Engine Mode Toggle  (could be air breathing, forward/reverse, afterburner, etc.)
  2. Primary Engine Toggle  (typically high thrust, low efficiency) 
  3. Secondary Engine Toggle  (typically high efficiency, low thrust)
  4. Control Surface Toggle  (flaps or any other deployed control surfaces, activating hydroplanes for instance)
  5. Bay Doors Toggle (any/all doors open/close)
  6. Recharge and Deploy Comms (solar panel and communication equipment deployment; seemed to be a good pairing for me)
  7. Heatsink or Utility 1 (deploy radiators)
  8. Dock/Undock or Utility 2 (deploy jacks if needed to dock, and/or undock and activate parachutes for airdrop vehicles)
  9. Rover Engine Toggle (sometimes I also consider a fuel cell to be a rover engine)
  10. Kill Switch  (turns off everything on a craft that can be cargo:  RCS, wheel engines, fuel cells, etc. ...very useful for stowed craft!)

As noted, I also use 7 and 8 as general "Utility" categories that may have other uses for vehicles without the need for recharge, docking, and heatsink.  So 7 and 8 are really my only wildcards.  There are certain activities, like ISRU processing, drilling, experiments, singular landing gear toggle, claw deployment, ladders, etc. ...that occur infrequently enough that I'm fine not having those activities assigned. 

Edited by XLjedi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My usual setup is that, number 1, 2, 3...  (ascending sequence) is for flight control related AG (change engine modes, turn off individual engines, change SAS mode, etc) while 0, 9, 8... (descending sequence) is for non flight related AG (solar panels, ISRU, extend drills, deploy/retract radiators, cargo doors, collect all science to container, use all science instrument at once, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use:

So I can see what my action groups are in-flight and change them if I want as well. But in general when setting up action groups I prioritize the list from least important to most important. So the smallest and most common things are on lower numbers and the rarer, more important things are on higher numbers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For rockets, it's generally:

 1. Solar Panels

 2. Comm equipment

 3. Any radiators

If there's a lander with the rocket

 4. Solar Panels

 5. Comm equipment

 6. Any radiators

The rest would be assigned based on the craft.

For spaceplanes:

1. Toggle air breathers

2. Toggle closed cycle

3. Toggle re-entry system

4. Cargo bays/docking ports

5. Solar Panels

Non-spaceplanes:

1 . Toggle engines

Rest varies, depending on the plane.

 

I have been meaning to work out an much more standardized system.  I know there's at least one mod that gives you more than 200 action groups.  If I can couple that with a one or two of these, I'll be all set.  I can print custom buttons to indicate the groups and even light them up based on function: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2368184

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

Has anybody concocted some kind of standard assignment of AG keys for common functions? 

Absolutely.  If you use a lot of them, this is practically required.  Otherwise, you have to keep sticky notes on your monitor or use Action Groups Extended to remember what they are. My own system is as follows:

  1. Toggle solar panels
  2. Toggle ladders
  3. Run low orbit/surface science experiments
  4. Run high orbit science experiments
  5. Do something power-related.  On spaceplanes, this toggles intakes and the air-breathing/rocket engines.  On rovers, this toggles the fuel cells (if any).
  6. As #5 if ship complexity requires
  7. Reserved for something special and specific to the ship, rarely used.
  8. As #7 if needed
  9. Deploys drogue chutes, if fitted.  Deploys regular chutes if using BARIS and I don't want to trigger staging failures so close to the end of the mission
  10. Toggles airbrakes if fitted.  Otherwise deploys fairing (if fitted)

Prior to unlocking custom action groups, I usually don't need most of these.  Thus, the functions of #1-3 usually end up mapped to the basic action groups like gear, lights, brakes, etc.

I never use the Abort action group.  It's too complicated to trigger and I've never found it necessary anyway.

Edited by Geschosskopf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

Has anybody concocted some kind of standard assignment of AG keys for common functions?

Oh heavens, yes.  Relentless standardization of action groups is the only thing that keeps me sane.  :)  From the above thread comments, sounds like this is a fairly common practice.

My own set of standards:  AG1, solar panels.  AG2, deployable radiators.  AG3, antennas.  AG7, deploy flaps.  AG8, collect science (for the science box and big probe cores).  AG9, toggle between two sets of engines.  AG0, toggle multi-mode engines.  Those are my "universal standards".  The remaining groups (AG4 through AG6) are context dependent, based on the type of ship; for example, when I've got a mining ship, AG4 is "toggle drills" and AG5 is "start surface harvester".

I also tend to use "Abort" as a "Get ready for atmospheric entry and/or landing" switch, which basically translates to "retract everything that's retractable" (solar panels, antennas, radiators).

Relentlessly standardizing my action groups helps with keeping mental track of things in flight.  However, I've found that, helpful though it may be, it's not a full solution for me.  It immediately raises the issue in the VAB of remembering to assign them, of which I appear to be genetically incapable.  I used to always forget something.  (It was especially aggravating when I'd just miss something-- for example, if I had a craft festooned with lots of solar panels all over the place, it seemed like I'd always miss one set of solar panels when assigning action groups, and I wouldn't discover that until I got all the way to orbit.  Argh.)

You'll notice that I say "used to", past tense, in the above paragraph.  :wink:  That's because the eternal hassle of having to assign all those (same, standard) action groups every single blessed time I was in the VAB-- and the eternal aggravation of always forgetting something somewhere-- finally irritated me to the point that I wrote a mod so that I would never, ever again have that problem.  Ever.

For anyone who standardizes your action groups, you may find this helpful.  Basically, what it does is allow you to set up your preferred "standard action group schema" in config (using ModuleManager), so that your preferred assignments get automatically applied to parts any time that you're building a ship.

Note that it only sets up the default assignment (the same way that, for example, lights and landing gear get assigned to the corresponding groups by default), so that you're still free to tinker with that manually in the vehicle editor for specific ships, if you want to do something different.

The mod has no UI at all.  It completely works off of config.  This does mean that you need to be willing and able to tinker with ModuleManager config in order to set up your preferred action groups.  However, the mod does try to make it fairly easy for you to do.  For one thing, the download package contains several "optional" configs that you can install if you want (such as "all solar panels in AG1").  You can either install those "as is", or use them as a model to tweak things to suit you (for example, if you always put solar panels in the same action group, but it's AG2 and not AG1, you can just take the included solar-panel config file and trivially edit it to switch which AG it applies to).

Or, if none of the included optional files does (or shows you how to do) what you want, and you really don't want to learn ModuleManager, you could just post a request in the DefaultActionGroups thread linked above, and there's a good chance that I or someone else could help you figure out the config you need.  :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

I never use the Abort action group.  It's too complicated to trigger and I've never found it necessary anyway.

I use it for thrills and fun... like when I get a craft in a spin that's not recoverable. Normally I use the "abort" button when I am putting a new designed craft through a rigorous test flight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a super huge action group user. Most of my actions are for when I need to deploy a large amount of solar panels or if I need to switch from air-breathing to oxidizer in more than one engine.

Other than that, I do a lot of stuff manually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I never use the Abort action group.  It's too complicated to trigger and I've never found it necessary anyway.

38 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

I use it for thrills and fun... like when I get a craft in a spin that's not recoverable. Normally I use the "abort" button when I am putting a new designed craft through a rigorous test flight.

Yeah the Abort action group is a little strange being that it's at the top of the screen and you have to mouse over it and wait for a delay as it appears.

I like to use it for afterburner toggle on Panther engine planes, feels suitably epic. Lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I never use the Abort action group.  It's too complicated to trigger and I've never found it necessary anyway.

 

1 minute ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Yeah the Abort action group is a little strange being that it's at the top of the screen and you have to mouse over it and wait for a delay as it appears.

Hitting Backspace will trigger the Abort action group immediately, and you can use it like it's just another group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

Hitting Backspace will trigger the Abort action group immediately, and you can use it like it's just another group.

Neat! I'd prolly know that if I ever aborted lol. I'm a filthy cheating revert abuser.

Lol! ...I just noticed your Location. :0.0:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For planes

Stage - afterburners if using Panthers

1 - Toggle RAPIER mode

2 - toggle LV-N

3 - Toggle RAPIERs

4 - Toggle solar panels and antennae

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

APOLOGIES if this has been discussed before; it didn't come up in search.  Has anybody concocted some kind of standard assignment of AG keys for common functions?  I know this isn't easy to do, especially when you have staged vehicles...

I have different standards for different kinds of craft.

  • Probes and satellites:  "Gear" deploys antennas and solar panels.  Make orbit, hit 'gear', and it's good to go.
  • Science missions:  "Gear" stores data and resamples all instruments.  "Brakes" resets instruments when data can't be stored.
  • Manned craft:  "Abort" shuts down all engines, deploys all parachutes, and ejects.

While very incompletely and badly implemented right now, this is the standard I want for anything which might be docked to anything else:

  1. "Control From Here" (Primary Spacecraft, Flight Mode)
  2. "Control From Here" (Primary Spacecraft, Docking Mode)
  3. "Control From Here" (Secondary Spacecraft, Flight Mode - i.e. Tug)
  4. "Control From Here" (Teritary Spacecraft - i.e. Space Station)
  5. "Control From Here" (Primary Spacecraft, Auxillary Docking or Flight)
  6. Mission Specific
  7. Mission Specific
  8. Mission Specific
  9. Mission Specific
  10. (i.e. zero) Spaceplane mode switch

Groups 1-4 must activate all related and deactivate all unrelated engines.  So even if you end up with a booster stage in orbit somehow, you can safe it at a touch.  I could undock a lander, hit 1, and land it.  Then regain orbit, hit 2, and dock it to its tug.  Then hit 3 and burn the tug home.  Then hit 5 and dock it to the space station.  Then hit 4 to safe it.  All of it except orbital planning could be done in the cockpit.

Edited by Corona688

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Snark said:

Oh heavens, yes.  Relentless standardization of action groups is the only thing that keeps me sane.  :)  From the above thread comments, sounds like this is a fairly common practice.

My own set of standards:  AG1, solar panels.  AG2, deployable radiators.  AG3, antennas.  AG7, deploy flaps.  AG8, collect science (for the science box and big probe cores).  AG9, toggle between two sets of engines.  AG0, toggle multi-mode engines.  Those are my "universal standards".  The remaining groups (AG4 through AG6) are context dependent, based on the type of ship; for example, when I've got a mining ship, AG4 is "toggle drills" and AG5 is "start surface harvester".

I also tend to use "Abort" as a "Get ready for atmospheric entry and/or landing" switch, which basically translates to "retract everything that's retractable" (solar panels, antennas, radiators).

Relentlessly standardizing my action groups helps with keeping mental track of things in flight.  However, I've found that, helpful though it may be, it's not a full solution for me.  It immediately raises the issue in the VAB of remembering to assign them, of which I appear to be genetically incapable.  I used to always forget something.  (It was especially aggravating when I'd just miss something-- for example, if I had a craft festooned with lots of solar panels all over the place, it seemed like I'd always miss one set of solar panels when assigning action groups, and I wouldn't discover that until I got all the way to orbit.  Argh.)

You'll notice that I say "used to", past tense, in the above paragraph.  :wink:  That's because the eternal hassle of having to assign all those (same, standard) action groups every single blessed time I was in the VAB-- and the eternal aggravation of always forgetting something somewhere-- finally irritated me to the point that I wrote a mod so that I would never, ever again have that problem.  Ever.

For anyone who standardizes your action groups, you may find this helpful.  Basically, what it does is allow you to set up your preferred "standard action group schema" in config (using ModuleManager), so that your preferred assignments get automatically applied to parts any time that you're building a ship.

Note that it only sets up the default assignment (the same way that, for example, lights and landing gear get assigned to the corresponding groups by default), so that you're still free to tinker with that manually in the vehicle editor for specific ships, if you want to do something different.

The mod has no UI at all.  It completely works off of config.  This does mean that you need to be willing and able to tinker with ModuleManager config in order to set up your preferred action groups.  However, the mod does try to make it fairly easy for you to do.  For one thing, the download package contains several "optional" configs that you can install if you want (such as "all solar panels in AG1").  You can either install those "as is", or use them as a model to tweak things to suit you (for example, if you always put solar panels in the same action group, but it's AG2 and not AG1, you can just take the included solar-panel config file and trivially edit it to switch which AG it applies to).

Or, if none of the included optional files does (or shows you how to do) what you want, and you really don't want to learn ModuleManager, you could just post a request in the DefaultActionGroups thread linked above, and there's a good chance that I or someone else could help you figure out the config you need.  :)

 

Action groups always irritated me, mainly because of the hassle of setting them up.

I'm going to be looking into this little gem today, seems like it's what I need to get going with them properly.

Does it work with AGX (Action Groups Extended)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My standard set:

3) toggle solar panels/antennas

6) start LS

7) shut down LS

8) start drills(harvest resources)

9) toggle heat management

10) toggle drills(extend/retract)

My standard set.  1-3 and 4-5 generally have mission specific actions(start manufacturing, run experiments, gather research, etc)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to standardize, because I use action groups a lot, but the stock 10 is just slightly too limited to be able to stick to a consistent standard. I keep hoping they'll add Mod-number to the action group definitions, so we can have an extra 10 actions in stock.

It also slowly evolves over time, depending on what type of craft or missions I find myself doing a lot, and on game features appearing in updates - like the new 'Control from here' option we have now, which can come in very handy for stock VTOL craft control or spaceplane reentry attitude control, so it's likely going to be displacing one of the existing groups in the near future.

My current standard seems to be the following:

General set for spaceplanes:

  1. toggle flaps / toggle engine mode
  2. toggle engine mode / toggle engine group 1
  3. toggle engine on/off / toggle engine group 2
  4. payload action 1 / toggle science instrument readout and covers
  5. payload action 2 / take science readings and crew reports
  6. payload action 3 / delete science readings and crew reports
  7. payload action 4 / collect all science data
  8. toggle antennae, solar panels, radiators
  9. toggle cargo/service bay doors
  10. toggle ladders

General set for rockets:

  1. toggle lower stage engines
  2. toggle higher stage engines
  3. toggle OMS engines
  4. payload action 1 / toggle science instrument readout and covers
  5. payload action 2 / take science readings and crew reports
  6. payload action 3 / delete science readings and crew reports
  7. payload action 4 / collect all science data
  8. utility 1 / toggle antennae, solar panels, radiators
  9. utility 2 / toggle cargo/service bay doors
  10. utility 3

I also edit the default groups - I like my craft window illumination to be on at all times, so I always remove those from the lights group; I often add paired control surface deployment to brakes to serve as airbrakes; on atmospheric-only craft I sometimes use the RCS group for flaps if I'm short a group for engine actions.

Did I mention my hope for an extra 10 action groups in stock, by allowing Mod-number as assigned keys? I know there's a mod to add hundreds, but I can count on one hand the times I've had true need for more than 20 action groups, yet I am constantly short 1-3 groups to really do all I want with a craft. Having just one extra set, by using the mod key, would solve the issue for almost all situations for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing that I keep the same on my aircraft is linking the "deploying" of the control surfaces that "split up" into airbrakes to the wheel brake button and having a secondary button that activates them permanently and independently from the wheel brakes. If I wanna undeploy them again I hit the brake button and it activates the wheel brakes while it's pressed but also resets the "split airbrakes" to momentary braking.

 

Everything else depends on what I have installed on the craft and what priority it has. Dunno what u guys put ur action group keys on but mine are the number keys below the Fn row.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, DualDesertEagle said:

Everything else depends on what I have installed on the craft and what priority it has. Dunno what u guys put ur action group keys on but mine are the number keys below the Fn row.

Pretty sure that's the in-game defaults, where they remain for me, as I can't think of anything better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.