Daveroski

Let pilots be able to land a ship.

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I know... wow... too much... people have to learn... you can use a mod.. whinge whine moan...

Personally I can land on to an upturned docking port on Tylo. This isn't about me. Try not to let it be about you.

The single hardest thing to learn in this game is landing. Landing anywhere near a target is even more difficult.

Many new players get to The Mun or Mimnus, crash a few times, then quit playing. Some eventually succeed landing on The Mun or Mimnus and play a while longer but the dread of having to land anywhere puts them off and so eventually they give up too. Some feel that if they can't play the game in vanilla that a mod would be cheating.

Some of us, myself included, practice until we master it. Landings for some of us are routine.

If a pilot once having attained  a degree of skill, could then land the vessel and depending on the skill of the pilot would give a chance of failure to hit a target or even to land below safe speed. It would however increase the odds for many players. If the highest skilled pilot could land safely but still have a 500m margin of error on targeting. then those of us who can land on target land would still be able to feel superior and have bragging rights in forums etc.

The end result would be more players and perhaps more people in the forums too.

Perhaps something as simple as a "Pilot-land" button which attempts to bring the craft to a landing if the craft is below 500m(radar altitude) which for some, taking pilot skill and ship design into account would still provide an element of risk and danger.

Either way, I feel that such an implementation would help to get bums on seats which from a sales aspect can only be good.

D.

 

 

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I mean...locking retrograde in surface mode basically is auto-landing on any vacuum body.

All you have to do is run the throttle a bit. The only thing missing from stock is any info on when and for how long to do your landing burn; however you can just make a maneuver node, or feel it out on your way down, doesn't need to be a "perfect suicide burn."

Rather then let the computer do it for the player, why not empower the player with the info he needs? The predicted suicide burn length + predicted time till suicide burn that KER gives is all the info you need to run the throttle accordingly. I'm sure a stock version of this could be done, now that we have stock Dv.

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket

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Agreed with @Rocket In My Pocket - the Better Burn Time mod or KER both have a Suicide Burn countdown. Using either of those mods I can lock to retrograde and use throttle only to come to a safe landing. Even without a suicide burn countdown you can still land safely, just not as efficiently. You still lock retrograde (this is really the big trick) then burn to a hover and use throttle to lower yourself to the ground.

I totally understand the idea of "lowering the barrier of entry" but why not first give the players the tools they need to do it themselves and get the satisfaction of figuring it out?

Edited by Tyko

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Stuff like this would be the gateway to KSP becoming a TellTale "game" littered with quick time events.

Next it's "Pilots should be able to make and execute manuever nodes!"

Then "Pilots should be able to launch to orbit!"

Before you know it, your interaction with the game is pushing the [Launch To Orbit], [Go To Mun], [Land On Mun] buttons in the right order.

 

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That said I'd love it if they could kill a burn when a maneuver burn ends.

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9 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

That said I'd love it if they could kill a burn when a maneuver burn ends.

Ha! Okay...I'll give you that...if there's one tiny piece of automation I'd love it would be this also. When doing big burns a few tenth's of a second really can make a difference. Maybe a SmartPart could do this? I haven't really played with that mod, but it seems like something that would fit well in it.

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19 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

Stuff like this would be the gateway to KSP becoming a TellTale "game" littered with quick time events.

Next it's "Pilots should be able to make and execute manuever nodes!"

Then "Pilots should be able to launch to orbit!"

Before you know it, your interaction with the game is pushing the [Launch To Orbit], [Go To Mun], [Land On Mun] buttons in the right order.

*Cough, cough, cough, MECH-JEB! COUGH, COUGH*

Sorry, must be coming down with something.

Lol. :sealed:

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket

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1 minute ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

*Cough, cough, cough, MECH-JEB! COUGH, COUGH*

Sorry, must be coming down with something.

Lol. :sealed:

A mod adding something to the game is not the same as it being stock.

I have nothing against what is added via a mod, but features that let the game play itself need to stay out of stock.

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Just now, Geonovast said:

A mod adding something to the game is not the same as it being stock.

I have nothing against what is added via a mod, but features that let the game play itself need to stay out of stock.

Yes, yes I know! Lol.

I had to say it though.

:P

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2 hours ago, Tyko said:

Ha! Okay...I'll give you that...if there's one tiny piece of automation I'd love it would be this also. When doing big burns a few tenth's of a second really can make a difference. Maybe a SmartPart could do this? I haven't really played with that mod, but it seems like something that would fit well in it.

Well, there are timers.  You could set the timer for the length of the burn, to trigger a shutdown action group when the time runs out.  Activate the timer and the engines at the same time.  Not terribly precise though. 

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I would say this could be an unlockable feature, available when or after a pilot unlocks Maneuver and Target Tracking.

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3 hours ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

*Cough, cough, cough, MECH-JEB! COUGH, COUGH*

Sorry, must be coming down with something.

Lol. :sealed:

Hehe yes, mechJeb can do it all but Jeb himself shouldn't be allowed to do anything.

Do Kerbals have no sense of self-preservation?

You if mechJeb was split up into various parts like a skills tree and kerbals could learn and do parts of the tree then there would be more reason to train and take them along to do their thing.  Automating parts of the mission would become part of the skills of the Misson Controller (player).

I support Kerbal empowerment.

Edited by mattinoz

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4 hours ago, Geonovast said:

Next it's "Pilots should be able to make and execute manuever nodes!"

 

Make?  No.  Execute?  I support that.

Having the ability to set up nodes and then letting the Kerbal (to the best of their ability based on skill and level) perform the burn sounds great.  It's only slightly less player involved than the "press button to aim, turn on throttle, wait, turn off throttle" that exists now.

In addition, it would give a use to pilots that would differentiate them from probes.

 

I'm not sure I support the landing idea, though.

Edited by razark

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30 minutes ago, SchwinnTropius said:

I would say this could be an unlockable feature, available when or after a pilot unlocks Maneuver and Target Tracking.

IIRC Pilots don't unlock target tracking til Lvl 3. You can't level to 3 in the Kerbin local system without landing on the moons. So, if you've gotten your pilot to Lvl 3 you've already figured out how to land safely  :) 

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And how would this make it any different than some sort of supercharged MechJeb feature?

I can already hear the complaints from both sides...

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42 minutes ago, Tyko said:

IIRC Pilots don't unlock target tracking til Lvl 3. You can't level to 3 in the Kerbin local system without landing on the moons. So, if you've gotten your pilot to Lvl 3 you've already figured out how to land safely  :) 

Good way to balance it I'd say. Gotta know how to do it yourself before you can program a computer to do it for you. :)

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26 minutes ago, SchwinnTropius said:

Good way to balance it I'd say. Gotta know how to do it yourself before you can program a computer to do it for you. :)

Except that @Daveroski‘s point in the OP was that it was too hard for new players. That’s what this discussion is about

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17 minutes ago, Tyko said:

Except that @Daveroski‘s point in the OP was that it was too hard for new players. That’s what this discussion is about

My fealing is KSP isn't for everyone and it shouldn't be Squad's problem to dumb it down for newbies when there are mods like MechJeb that can fill the roll for those that want to use it. Also, if you look at the changes MechJeb has gone through landing and ascent isn't a trivial problem to solve, so it's a bit much to ask Squad to add a function that would work reliably for any random design.

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1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

I can already hear the complaints from both sides...

Do you want some popcorns? I made some. :) 

 

1 hour ago, Tyko said:

Except that @Daveroski‘s point in the OP was that it was too hard for new players. That’s what this discussion is about

Agreed. However, hard players usually wants to be recognized as such - it's the reason, for example, that some mainstream games remove badges or the ability to publish highscores when you use a "cheat" (note the quotes), and segregate highscores by dificulty level. Some games even mock you if you select an easy mode ("Don't hurt me" on Doom, oh boy, had my friends knew… hehe).

Some kind of middle ground is needed, IMHO. :) 

 

47 minutes ago, Tonka Crash said:

My fealing is KSP isn't for everyone and it shouldn't be Squad's problem to dumb it down for newbies when there are mods like MechJeb that can fill the roll for those that want to use it. Also, if you look at the changes MechJeb has gone through landing and ascent isn't a trivial problem to solve, so it's a bit much to ask Squad to add a function that would work reliably for any random design.

On the other hand, there're players that for a reason or another are denied the use of joysticks, motor coordination (don't look on me! :D ) or just can't install Add'Ons (as console players). And these guys had also spend some money on the game.

Using again the Doom metaphor, the "Don't hurt me, please" and the "Nightmare!" skill levels are not mutually exclusive - you can have both, and expand your paying users a bit. ;) 

And if such auto-pilot would teach the user about the steps it's doing to land the craft, you will have nice learning tool.

 

 

Edited by Lisias
better link

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21 minutes ago, Lisias said:

On the other hand, there're players that for a reason or another are denied the use of joysticks, motor coordination (don't look on me! :D ) or just can't install Add'Ons (as console players). And these guys had also spend some money on the game.

 

21 minutes ago, Lisias said:

And if such auto-pilot would teach the user about the steps it's doing to land the craft, you will have nice learning tool.

I remember how excited I became when I learned how to land on the strip. There was a lot of <F5> then <F9> over a 20 hour binge... and then it happened...

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30 minutes ago, Lisias said:

And if such auto-pilot would teach the user about the steps it's doing to land the craft, you will have nice learning tool.

Yes, but they could try giving useful info and decent tutorials first. Once I knew about orienting to retrograde and had a burn time indicator landings became easy.

I'm not opposed to in game aids, but I think it would be more productive giving new players the tools they need to do it themselves rather than going "oh, that's too hard to do on your own. we'll just do it for you"

 

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The SAS logic could probably use some refining before any more automated control methods are added to the game.  I can't count how many times I have to "assist" the SAS in maintaining orientation in roll, otherwise it just eats through monoprop wastefully rolling back and forth, back and forth.

I personally don't want such high levels of automation creeping into the game, but if I could have one additional SAS function, it would be the ability to hold attitude relative to the horizon for those long atmospheric survey contracts around Kerbin.

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A couple of clarifications.

Scientists can activate scientific equipment and work in the lab. Doing productive automated stuff depending on their skill.

Engineers can mend broken bits, repack chutes and depending on their skill, improve mining and refining.

Pilots are luggage.

Once you have a probe core that can lock on to a node, you never need a pilot.

My original post was more aimed at letting pilots be able to do targeted landings. some of the noobs which quit can with some persistence land with retrograde all the way. But targeted landings, for dropping rovers, building bases and even landing in the sweet-spot of an ore rich area  can be too much for many. Many do not possess the same level of 3D spacial awareness of some of us.

Many noobs and even many of us actually prefer to play a game in it's vanilla state. Some of us feel that if we can't play a game without mods that we are cheating ourselves. I feel much the same. Currently I am playing a vanilla career. But this does serve to show what the game is actually lacking.
It is still early in my career, I have completed the tech tree and have a station around Duna and make frequent trips to Ike for Ore which is then processed at the Duna station. I have communications set up to cover most of the system. In my previous vanilla career I had bases on every body (except the obvious) and stations around every planet. I have explored everywhere explorable with a space-plane

I have of course played with mods. Most to add challenge to my game such as TAC life support With a goal to simply have a 12 man base on Tylo and 12 kerbals on Kerbin which had been to the base on Tylo. Using only the Hitch-hiker for transporting kerbals. 
I have used some beautification mods such as EVE. It really does enhance the feel of the game.
I have used some utility mods just to see what all the fuss was about, such as KER, Mechjeb and Docking assistant. Docking assistant changed the way I dock vessels and even without it, I tend to dock the same way even now. I enjoyed being able to do things more efficiently than Mechjeb. It made me feel superior. Which was really out of order because for many mechjeb makes the game playable and an amazing amount of work and effort has gone into producing the mod. That someone has written software that can do all these things is beyond marvellous. Ker provided me with the DeltaV information I lacked in vanilla. I always knew what biome i was flying over. I always knew just how far above the ground I was (not sea level on The Mun.) It helped with everything from intercepts to synchronising satellite networks. A real game changer.

Throughout all my games one thing as been constant. Pilots are luggage.
I used them instead of robots just so that I could use them at all. For appearances sake. That doesn't mean that I didn't use Fly-by-wire too.
I started doing landings through IVA. which was fun. Especially in vanilla. Not so much for targeted landings.
My conclusion was general landings are easy for me. Aim for the ground and land.
Targeted landings require a bit more spacial awareness. I need to keep an eye on my lateral speed and altitude. I may need a shot of radial-in or radial out.

So I suppose what I was thinking was that as I found Aim-for-the-ground landings easy and know that some noobs struggle with it, that targeted landings could be an area where the Pilot could come into their own. So getting the tech to advance a pilot to be able to (attempt to read the warnings) do a targeted landing would be something to aim for. It could even only be part of the 'easy' level (toggleable?)
It isn't as though giving others the ability to do so would in any way demean my own abilities.

D.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Daveroski said:

Throughout all my games one thing as been constant. Pilots are luggage.

It IS "realistic" though. Even as early as the Mercury and Vostok programs human pilots were complaining that they didn't actually get to fly. "man in a can" was the adage they used. I think that the US did manual docking through the Shuttle program, but Russia was already automating that as well.

Here's an idea...what about projecting a big X on the ground where the craft will land? Require a pilot to get that display. If you combined the big X with a landing readout telling you when to suicide burn it would be much better than the current Stock experience.

This would also be a very "realistic" approach. On Apollo 11 the lander was heading towards a really rocky area. The pilot was able to see where the craft would land and manually shift the landing point to a safer area.

Edited by Tyko

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Two problems:

1: How is the pilot supposed to get lots of experience if the player has barely ever succeeded a landing?

2: It defeats the purpose of KSP. Space travel is supposed to be difficult. You can't just push a button and make everything easier. I like having to try over and over to get something right - and landing isn't really all that hard in the first place. Just set yourself to retrograde and burn slowly. Not too hard. On an atmospheric body, use parachutes.

Overall, I don't really like it.

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