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This little thing should not be a cheaty gizmo that it is today.

We have at least one mod that changes this (JDiminishingRTG, Near future electrical) in more than one way. It would be an extremely simple change to make it drop in output. One radioisotope is enough. I think it should be a stock behaviour.

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As long as it's a difficulty option, I'm on board with that.

I also think it should be significantly heavier.

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Here here. As long as it lasted a realistic amount of time (10 years or so) that would be a great idea.

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So they say.

Through exploitation of the natural decay of Blutonium-238, this elegantly simple power generator can provide consistent, stable power for decades. 

If the actual decay and slow reduction of power over the years (perfect for long-term missions) would be implemented, I'd be actually glad.

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2 hours ago, Geonovast said:

As long as it's a difficulty option, I'm on board with that.

I also think it should be significantly heavier.

Why does every suggestion have to be a difficulty option? We have alt+F12 electricity cheat if someone wants infinite energy source. Current RTG module is nothing but a cheaty way to do things, and besides, it was supposed to decay but developers forgot about it. It's really useless nowdays.

 

2 hours ago, The Dunatian said:

Here here. As long as it lasted a realistic amount of time (10 years or so) that would be a great idea.

These things last practically indefinitively, only their output declines predictably. Some calculations can be made to determine the proper t1/2.

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1 minute ago, lajoswinkler said:

Why does every suggestion have to be a difficulty option? We have alt+F12 electricity cheat if someone wants infinite energy source. Current RTG module is nothing but a cheaty way to do things, and besides, it was supposed to decay but developers forgot about it. It's really useless nowdays.

Why does every suggestion have to make things more realistic?  It's a game.  If you want a perfect simulator, then go play something else.  Let's just remove all difficulty options, default the only game mode to the hardest possible one, and make sure no new players ever join.  I mean, why is the extra ground stations option even a thing?  Or the plasma blackout?  Or the require control option?  You can just turn off commnet, after all!  It's clearly the same thing.

The RTG is not the same as turning on infinite EC.  In order to do anything major EC intensive stuff, such as ISRU, you would literally need a ton of them.

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5 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

 In order to do anything major EC intensive stuff, such as ISRU, you would literally need a ton of them.

And they are, indeed, fairly lightweight. Cost is pretty high, but when you are going to use ISRU that far from the sun, additional 400000:funds: (for a bunch of them) is nothing compared to overall mission cost. Assuming you're going in career.

I mean, it also could be more massive, it's quite heavy element after all.

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4 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

Why does every suggestion have to make things more realistic?  It's a game.  If you want a perfect simulator, then go play something else.  Let's just remove all difficulty options, default the only game mode to the hardest possible one, and make sure no new players ever join.  I mean, why is the extra ground stations option even a thing?  Or the plasma blackout?  Or the require control option?  You can just turn off commnet, after all!  It's clearly the same thing.

The RTG is not the same as turning on infinite EC.  In order to do anything major EC intensive stuff, such as ISRU, you would literally need a ton of them.

Because it's such a small change that makes things work nicer and every time such idea is presented, there's always someone who will say:

1) there's a mod for it

2) make it a difficulty option

Every time.

If the developers had listened to this, KSP would never become what it is today. I've been playing this since 2013 and every time someone would suggest a thing that made the game richer as it is today, there would be people stomping it down, trying to keep the game look like it was back when there were no planets and maneuver nodes. I honestly don't understand why.

 

RTG is something that should be used for probes where sunlight is not present or scarce.  Nowdays they're used for cheating to take one's mind off energy requirements and making sure the vessel will remain responsive forever. And yes, nobody uses it for ISRU and that's not the point.

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I disagree, but I can see your point.

But "That person not playing the way I play" =/= "Cheating"

People "stomping it down" just illustrates that not everyone plays the game the same way.  How did adding planets and maneuver nodes make anything harder?  If you don't want to go to the other planets or use the nodes, guess what? Don't use them.  Forcing players to have an RTG decay isn't right.  Add to the game, sure!  Even make the decay default on the normal difficulty level, I can get behind that.  But put in the off switch.

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Yup, we should make every tiny thing a difficulty option. Wheel brakes? Difficulty option. Gear retractability? Difficulty option.

If humans behaved like this, we'd never climb down from trees.

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It's a good thing we're talking about a video game then, and not real life.  Best to actually make the distinction.

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The thing is, if it worked like this from the start, nobody would say a word. Even with no option to turn it off. Just, one of the basic game mechanics, like fuel tanks losing fuel when you fire the engine. (hey, that's too hard, make the fuel usage a difficulty option, at easiest level it should be infinite)

But now we're in 2019 and every now and then when a new suggestion appears, the "add difficulty option" comment pops up.

Edited by The Aziz

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Without any other changes, I think the RTG's should be left alone.   The Kerbals don't have a limited lifetime, so why should their power generation source?  Part of the fun for a beginner is that they can sling a pod out into the solar system, and not have to worry about anything dying while they try to figure out how to save it.  If we add a half life to the RTG's, then we definitely need to add Life Support to stock. 

4 hours ago, Geonovast said:

As long as it's a difficulty option, I'm on board with that. 

But if we want to implement stock half lifes, then this would be a requirement. 

4 hours ago, Geonovast said:

I also think it should be significantly heavier.

As for mass, from the post I made here:

Quote

 

But looking at real world counterparts, if your 160 lbs is right, it's a bit less than twice the mass of comparable RTG's.   But given the rockets in KSP are somewhat over powered when compared to their real world counterparts, I think it's balanced just about right.   

As for price, the materials are expensive.  PU 238 costs around $8 million per kilo.  The Mars curiosity rover's RTG contains about 4 kilos of PU238, so that's about 32 million for just the fuel source alone, not even counting the rest of the generator or the development/production costs.  So if you look at the cost of a RTG vs the rest of a mission, KSP has the costs just about right, if not discounted. 

 

So yeah, they're balanced about right for mass, IMO.  

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Ask yourself this first - if Kerbals can function forever without food, water or air why should be we be surprised that an RTG can function forever?

Edited by Tyko

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Besides, with a half life, it could still be trickling out power for a century, enough to charge a battery. Next we’ll need to limit the number of charge cycles or usable age of batteries? These little realism tweaks can trickle down and never end. 

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I agree that this thing is pretty cheaty. If you ever need electricity, just pile a bunch of these on and your set. I like the idea of making them halflife or making them heavier.

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51 minutes ago, Tyko said:

Ask yourself this first - if Kerbals can function forever without food, water or air why should be we be surprised that an RTG can function forever?

I'm pretty sure that's a fallacy.

Where does this end? Why do we even need anything remotely difficult in the game? Heat? too difficult. Aerodynamics? Too difficult. Planes breaking when hitting stuff at high speed? Too difficult.

Why even bother?

BTW, I am all for a simple life support system in the game. Those are among the most popular mods out there so that speaks for itself.

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It would be a little odd if the RTG was the one and only part sensitive to the ravages of time.   Solar panels,  batteries, fuel could all be in the same boat,  to say nothing of life support for the kerbals. 

The RTG is probably a bit overpowered,  but I'm fine with increasing mass or lowering electricity output. 

All that said,  I wouldn't object to a difficulty setting on decay.   I just probably would not use it myself, as it's not worth the hassle to me to have that bit of realism. 

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33 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Besides, with a half life, it could still be trickling out power for a century, enough to charge a battery. Next we’ll need to limit the number of charge cycles or usable age of batteries? These little realism tweaks can trickle down and never end. 

Good luck driving a rover with an old RTG unit.... or keeping a signal when far away... or using torque for orientation.

 

Limited battery cycle can not possibly be compared to a cheaty RTG that behaves like a perpetuum mobile. I hope you're kidding there because the comparison just doesn't stand.

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5 minutes ago, lajoswinkler said:

Good luck driving a rover with an old RTG unit.... or keeping a signal when far away... or using torque for orientation.

 

Limited battery cycle can not possibly be compared to a cheaty RTG that behaves like a perpetuum mobile. I hope you're kidding there because the comparison just doesn't stand.

If you park something for long enough, you can charge up a battery, even with a 3/4 decayed RTG. If the battery is big enough, you can get some useful stuff done before it dies. 

Just saying that if more realistic power is the goal, it doesn’t end with a decaying RTG

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I actually wouldn't mind having limited recharge cycles for batteries or decay on RTGs. If there is, however, I think it should either be a. Lenient toward the player or b. a difficulty option. Shame I can't program in anything except Python...

Then maybe we could also have a slight "range" in vitality, like a battery lasting from 35-45 cycles, or RTGs for 20-30 years. Or not.

4 hours ago, lajoswinkler said:

Yup, we should make every tiny thing a difficulty option. Wheel brakes? Difficulty option. Gear retractability? Difficulty option.

If humans behaved like this, we'd never climb down from trees.

KSP is a fun pastime, and, also, not everyone would like it. That's what happens when a change comes. Take a look at other games with similar issues. For example, in a game called Darkest Dungeon, there was a system the Devs introduced called the Corpse system, and many players disliked it. So what did the devs do?

They made a difficulty option!

(Obviously, that was something the devs introduced, not something some fans suggested, but the point stands)

Video games SHOULD have difficulty options so everyone can have fun.

I feel RTGs should have decay as every power source has a caveat.

Solar panels need the sun, Fuel cells need fuel, and RTGs have what, a low power output? That's not enough.

Edited by HobbitJack
Unspecific verbage

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24 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

If you park something for long enough, you can charge up a battery, even with a 3/4 decayed RTG. If the battery is big enough, you can get some useful stuff done before it dies. 

Just saying that if more realistic power is the goal, it doesn’t end with a decaying RTG

And with a very old RTG you need to wait a long time... up to the point it becomes unuseable because it can't even support communication with Kerbin and still charge the battery. Then you declare it dead, after like 50 years or so. That's the whole point. It gives a fresh motivator.

 

Why do we have solar panels that work progressively weaker with increasing distance from Kerbol? Should we make that a difficulty option so that people who suck at this only need one OX-STAT and they're fine whether they're at Moho, Jool or Neidon? The argument goes both ways.

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43 minutes ago, lajoswinkler said:
1 hour ago, Tyko said:

Ask yourself this first - if Kerbals can function forever without food, water or air why should be we be surprised that an RTG can function forever?

I'm pretty sure that's a fallacy.

Where does this end? Why do we even need anything remotely difficult in the game? Heat? too difficult. Aerodynamics? Too difficult. Planes breaking when hitting stuff at high speed? Too difficult.

Why even bother?

BTW, I am all for a simple life support system in the game. Those are among the most popular mods out there so that speaks for itself.

Not sure why it's a fallacy. I'm not suggesting we make other things less realistic at all. 

In Stock there are no time limitations on any parts - kerbals don't die, Reaction wheels don't break (this is a very serious problem IRL), RTG's don't lose power, parts don't wear out....   So, if you're asking Squad to start adding time as a factor to part performance there are bigger issues.

Edited by Tyko

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24 minutes ago, Tyko said:

In Stock there are no time limitations on any parts - kerbals don't die, Reaction wheels don't break (this is a very serious problem IRL), RTG's don't lose power, parts don't wear out....   So, if you're asking Squad to start adding time as a factor to part performance there are bigger issues.

That's a slippery slope I don't want Squad to start down...

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22 minutes ago, Gargamel said:
47 minutes ago, Tyko said:

In Stock there are no time limitations on any parts - kerbals don't die, Reaction wheels don't break (this is a very serious problem IRL), RTG's don't lose power, parts don't wear out....   So, if you're asking Squad to start adding time as a factor to part performance there are bigger issues.

That's a slippery slope I don't want Squad to start down...

Exactly!!! I agree 100% which is why I think adding a time component to RTGs is a bad idea...  ;) 

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