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Why are probe cores so heavy?


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The lightest core, the OKTO2, weighs 0.04t. It sounds like not much but 40kg is actually a lot for a small computer system (without reaction wheels!). Granted, the core has some battery and a small antenna, but the 5 EC correspond to approx. 0.5kg (as batteries scale fairly linearly and the 100 EC battery weighs 10kg) and the antenna should weigh less than the C16 (10kg).

That leaves about 30kg (probably more) for just the computer. Granted, it has some durable casing but there are lighter parts with comparable resitances.

A device such as a laptop would be able to do that job (without i/o devices such as screen, keyboard, etc). But today's sensor nodes weigh (much) less than 1kg. They'd need space-grade casings, sure, but 30kg worth of casing?

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Because Squad had to put a number there, and opted for the "I guess that seems okay" approach.

You should take a look at the rest of the parts.  I'm doing my own 1.3.1 balance pass, and some of the numbers are pretty entertaining.

Edited by klgraham1013
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off topic, but I agree with the weight problem.

Spoiler

and why are wings so heavy, like planes in real life are supposed to be light. I can make a 1:1 scale replica of something, and it will weight several hundred kg over the real thing, like why?

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3 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

Because it can withstand re-entry.

Spoiler

If they could withstand reentry, why don't they have an option to "look" like they have ablative shielding on them? To me, they're just overweight wings.

 

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Stock KSP's tech is based more on EARLY (1960s-1970s) human space flight than current/future.

The Space Shuttle's original (1970's era) primary computer massed ~50 lb.  For reliability/redundancy reasons, there were 5 of them.  That's 0.114 metric tons--a near exact match for most of the probe cores.

The Saturn V's instrument ring (which was, granted, more than just a computer, and was roughly equivalent in KSP terms to a 6.5-m inline part--it could be considered an upsized RGU?) was ~2 t.

And even today, space-rated computing equipment is slower and heavier than what you have at home--they have to use custom radiation-hardened chips (not just shielded cases) with larger feature sizes so that bits don't flip whenever a cosmic ray hits a transistor.

I just don't see a problem with the stock probe core masses.  (Especially considering Kerbal hardware is LUDICROUSLY reliable/dependable--nothing EVER malfunctions until it's physically destroyed....)

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8 minutes ago, Martian Emigrant said:

Think of the early probes as early tech.

What kind of electronic went in Sputnik (1957)?

Probably tubes and lead-acid batteries.

Probably didn't use PCBs. Probably individual wires everywhere.

It didn't do much. It beeped until it died.

 

ME

 

 

According to Wikipedia the power source was 51kg of Silver-Zinc batteries.

 

Also don't be down on the Science output; tracking Sputnik was easy and gave all sides information on the upper atmosphere, especially drag and ionosphere EM signal effects. That's the kind of basic Science that you do with simple "bleeps".

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5 hours ago, JadeOfMaar said:

Everything in KSP is heavy to keep from being OP (regarding getting to orbit) relative to how tiny the planets are in KSP. By consequence the planets themselves  are believed to largely consist of the likes of Lead or denser elements.

It's almost like the toy solar system was a bad idea, and had far reaching and unexpected consequences.

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Because it's a video game and the number was decided upon for a large number of "gamey" reasons.

Videogames gonna videogame, KSP is not a simulator.

(Also given that Kerbin is roughly 10 times denser than Earth, wouldn't anything made on Kerbin with local Kerbin resources also be roughly 10 times denser/heavier?)

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
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42 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Also given that Kerbin is roughly 10 times denser than Earth, wouldn't anything made on Kerbin with local Kerbin resources also be roughly 10 times denser/heavier?

No, because...

42 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

it's a video game and the number was decided upon for a large number of "gamey" reasons.

Videogames gonna videogame

Jokes aside, I'd actually call this an excuse and not a reason.

43 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

KSP is not a simulator.

Debatable, as it's one of the most simulator-ish space games out there.  Really, there's only one other I can think of that's in the same ball park.

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11 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

No, because...

Jokes aside, I'd actually call this an excuse and not a reason.

Debatable, as it's one of the most simulator-ish space games out there.  Really, there's only one other I can think of that's in the same ball park.

Is it an excuse that Tetris can only be explained via "it's a video game" or would you like to explore the logical explanation for falling randomly shaped blocks in a rectangular field that disappear when they make a line? Video games gonna videogame; that's really the greatest thing about them, they don't have to adhere to real life logic, physics, or sensibilities. Often times, the only driving force is the "meta" of gameplay balance; which I assume is how the probe cores got their weights. Not based on the actual weights of the materials that we can assume make them up, but by assigning a value that "felt right" and "played right." If you want to argue that they don't feel right or play right in a game meta sense then I'm totally willing to discuss that, so long as your sole reasoning isn't "Because; real life."

If KSP is a rocket science "simulator", then GTA is a driving "simulator", lol.

(Anyways we always seem to disagree on this sort of issue, but I don't take it personally, and I hope you don't either. ;))

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
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2 hours ago, klgraham1013 said:

It's almost like the toy solar system was a bad idea, and had far reaching and unexpected consequences.

Not as bad an idea as calling it a toy to disparage it, when in fact even at full size it's still exactly that.

And actually given all the consequences, I still think it's better smaller. It doesn't have to be 10x smaller, but full size is worse than heavy probe cores.

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16 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

If KSP is a rocket science "simulator", then GTA is a driving "simulator", lol.

If you say so.

17 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Is it an excuse that Tetris can only be explained via "it's a video game" or would you like to explore the logical explanation for falling randomly shaped blocks in a rectangular field that disappear when they make a line? Video games gonna videogame; that's really the greatest thing about them, they don't have to adhere to real life logic, physics, or sensibilities. Often times, the only driving force is the "meta" of gameplay balance; which I assume is how the probe cores got their weights. Not based on the actual weights of the materials that we can assume make them up, but by assigning a value that "felt right" and "played right." If you want to argue that they don't feel right or play right in a game meta sense then I'm totally willing to discuss that, so long as your sole reasoning isn't "Because; real life."

The only thing I'll say is, as I've (albiet quite slowly) started my own balance pass on 1.3.1 (as it seems I'll be on it for some time), I've gotten a closer look at some of the numbers chosen.  Even if you use "video game" as an excuse, it's really hard to justify some of them.  Even video games should have a rhyme and reason for such things.  If you think Squad is faultless in this area, that's your opinion.  I just can't seem to justify why a Mk3 Crew Cabin costs 54x more than a Mk1 Crew Cabin and is the 2nd most expensive part in the game.  Even from a game play prespective, all it does is transport Kerbals, which, lets face it, don't actually have a lot to do in the game.  Let alone 16 Kerbals in one place.  There is very little "video game" reason for it to be that expensive.  Many parts have far more game play value, and are far less expensive.  The only reason I can conclude is...

On 1/12/2019 at 7:52 AM, klgraham1013 said:

Squad had to put a number there, and opted for the "I guess that seems okay" approach.

 

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The other balance issues with KSP are a bit off topic.

As I understand, part of the initial rationale for tiny Kerbin was limitations in single precision floating point arithmetic, such that with the origin point at the center of Kerbin, it had to be fairly small.

After Krakensbane, it might've been wise to scale it up a bit... but really not too far. The base game had to be somewhat accessible, and huge rockets with 10-minute ascents do not fit that bill.

The current heavy parts are a compromise solution, making up for some lost difficulty caused by underscaled planets.

Also, 40 kg capable of full 6-DoF control probe cores would've been amazing in the early years of spaceflight. If you play with RP-0, it takes a bit to reach the "early probe core" at 50 kg, capable of steering a whopping 200 kg.

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6 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

The only thing I'll say is, as I've (albiet quite slowly) started my own balance pass on 1.3.1 (as it seems I'll be on it for some time), I've gotten a closer look at some of the numbers chosen.  Even if you use "video game" as an excuse, it's really hard to justify some of them.  Even video games should have a rhyme and reason for such things.  If you think Squad is faultless in this area, that's your opinion.  I just can't seem to justify why a Mk3 Crew Cabin costs 54x more than a Mk1 Crew Cabin and is the 2nd most expensive part in the game.  Even from a game play prespective, all it does is transport Kerbals, which, lets face it, don't actually have a lot to do in the game.  Let alone 16 Kerbals in one place.  There is very little "video game" reason for it to be that expensive.  Many parts have far more game play value, and are far less expensive.  The only reason I can conclude is...

Not saying it's perfect or that Squad is faultless certainly.

I'd be all for an overhaul of the game's parts balancing, I think we've needed one for awhile. I just don't want it to be decided entirely by real life logic.

I don't see the current probe core weights being as serious an issue as your Crew cabin example though. They all weigh considerably less than manned solutions and so fit their game play niche nicely for the most part.

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11 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

I just don't want it to be decided entirely by real life logic.

Neither do I.  I love concepts like the simplified resources.  Liquid fuel, oxidizer, and all that.  I think maybe I have garnered a reputation for being in the realism crowd, but the only realism mods I actually use are life support and a larger solar system.  I just feel that if you're going to defend a decision based on game play.  You have to explain that decision, and not just use the term "game play" as the reason.  I believe probes most likely weigh as much as they do because in early KSP, there wasn't really much difference in using a probe or a Kerbal.  Since early Squad wanted Kerbals to be the focus, they increased the weight on probes, making it less likely for players to quickly choose probes over Kerbals.  This is only speculation, of course.  With the inclusion or Kerbal skills and communication systems, the differences between probes and Kerbals are becoming more evident.  Thus, the weight of probes may need a second look.

12 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

The other balance issues with KSP are a bit off topic.

I was just using it as an example that simply conceding to Squad might not be the best idea.  It just so happens to be the most obvious example.

Edited by klgraham1013
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