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[1.5.x~1.6.x] ProgressiveColonizationSystem - Life Support & Colonization for more fun in late game

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Progressive Colonization System

v0.1.0 @ 2019/3/16

This mod provides a simple life support system and a production model that doesn't require mad slide-rule skills to understand.  But core to the whole idea is the "tiered" model for production.  When you first go to space, you can get by on stored snacks.  When you want to stay out there a while, you'll want to look into producing food in space, and that's going to take a while.  New "Tiers" of production are unlocked by actually producing and consuming stuff produced in space.

This mod is designed to encourage you to build a variety of ships.  To research agroponics, you'll need orbital space stations.  To research off-world agriculture, you'll need to land a farm and no, all that stuff you learned about agroponics isn't going to do you a bit of good on the surface.

To get an idea of how "Tiers" work, just look at the life support consumable, "Snacks".  If you fill a container with snacks on Kerban, it's "Kerban Snacks".  A kerban will eat one "Kerban Snacks" every day.  Let's say you have a "Tier 0" Agroponics module on this ship.  Given a little fertilizer, it can produce "Tier 0" "Agroponics Snacks".  Tier 0 snacks are far from haute cuisine, but nevertheless Jeb is willing to take one for the team.  But he's got limits; Jeb will be willing to consume only up to 20% of his daily snack quota on Tier-0 quality snacks.

"Tier 1 Agroponic Snacks" are tastier, and Jeb would be willing to take that as 40% of his diet.  But to be able to get out of the tier 0 kit, Jeb's going to have to choke down quite a few of those tier 1 snacks and Bill's going to have to spend some time trying to make them better.  Tier-1 is unlocked by kerbals consuming Tier-0 snacks and lab research on ships equipped with Tier-0 kit.  Once Tier-1 is unlocked, nothing changes on board Jeb's vessel - it still has the "Tier 0" equipment.  A new vessel has to be designed that includes the new tier of agroponics modules.


How Do You Start?

Well first you have to download and install the mod (CKAN or the links below).  Also, this mod is incompatible with any other life support mod.  You can use it with USI mods (as long as you disable USI Life Support), but this mod is really meant to be an alternative to that mod.

This mod doesn't come with a rich supply of parts, so it depends on a couple of mods with great varieties of parts for building orbital stations and planetary bases, Stockalike Station Parts Expansion Redux and Kerbal Planetary Base Systems.  Get those too.

Early gameplay is not impacted much by the life support modifications - your kerbals won't get mad about not having any snacks for 7 days, so you can get your basic science unlocked in career mode by the usual routine of trips to Mun.  Minmus is a bit of a problem since the round-trip times there are longer.

Once you're ready for that voyage to Minmus, find a container and select "Snacks-Tier4" as the content.  Then mash the Cupcake button on your toolbar - that will bring up the life support calculator and you can see if you're going to have enough food on board for the trip.  After you launch, the cupcake button will still be there for you to keep track of how the supplies are holding out.


How about a Space Station!

Get the Hydroponic Lab part unlocked in your science tree and head to the VAB.  For this vessel, put in the Hydroponic lab, and add storage for Fertilizer (again, go with Tier4) and Snacks(again, Tier4).  And of course, check that cupcake button to see where you stand.  Strap some boosters onto that crate and git it up to LKO!  As we said above, the more of those snacks you pack down, the faster the research progresses, so make sure Jeb has plenty of friends.

Once you get it up there, you can see from the Cupcake button how long you've got until you will need to resupply the base and how long it'll take until you break into the next tier.


How about a Mun Base!

Right, this is trickier because you'll not only want the farm part (look in the Life Support category) but also a resource gatherer and a fertilizer factory.  These parts look identical to the stock parts (because the author failed art class) but have different innards.  Be sure to look hard at the parts in the VAB - there are more details there about how the parts work, but at a minimum, you'll need Farms, drills, a fertilizer factory and, if you feel it, a factory to make Shinies, which will help defray the cost of the whole trip if you can haul them back to Kerban.

Again, the Cupcake button will help you understand what the requirements are.

Note that you can't build body-specific things (like farms & factories) until you've actually returned a ship from there.  Also, researching farming on the Mun doesn't do anything for Minmus - that's a completely separate problem.

 

Get Your Wheels Rolling!

In the early, hardscrabble days of Tier0 and Tier1, you can get by with just one base, plopped anywhere...  Well, what we're doing here is presuming that Jeb's uncanny piloting skills will land your base somewhere with minimal nearby supplies to support your early efforts at self-sufficiency.  And early they are, at those early tiers, you're still dependent upon trucked-in supplies.  But at Tier2, things start to get more interesting:  you'll have to go out and mine resources from elsewhere on the planet.  You'll need that orbital scanning part that's so far been whizzing around uselessly in space to spot some, and it'll do a whole lot better at spotting them if there are scanner satellites in polar orbits.  That will point you to where the resources are, and you'll want another craft, like a rover, to fly out to where the resources are, pick some up, and bring them back to the base.  Once you've proven you can do that a couple times, you can just leave the rover at the base and the kerbals will automatically take care of that job going forward as long as there's a pilot there to drive it.  (And yes, you need to make sure your rover has at least 2 seats on it.)

So this Mod's pretty New Eh?

Indeed.  So please post your feedback on the mod in this forum.  I play the mod myself and I have already chafed up against a few things that I don't like.  If you'd like to see something done differently, post it here and maybe it can happen.

Download: GitHub

Source: GitHub

 

Edited by NermNermNerm
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I like the idea that you use a lower tier and gain experience with it to unlock the next tier and the progressively closer to closed cycle mechanic.

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I haven't had a whole lot of time to devote to the mod in the past few weeks, but I just pushed an update that includes bugfixes for the issues I've found so far in my own playthrough.  The highlights are some performance problems with bigger bases, particularly noticeable in the editor.  I also worked out some kinks with the crew requirement module.

At present, my career playthrough is progressing along.  I've just finally managed to unlock T3 hydroponics and T3 production &c. on Minmus, T1 on Gilly and Mun, and most of the way through T2 on Duna.  I'm happy with the fact that my base on Minmus is blocked for lack of T4 Kerbals or specialists.  I've looked at adding specialists, and I think I'll do that next.  It looks like a trivial problem to solve with ModuleManager, but maybe hard to do right.  I'll have to study it a bit before putting it into a release.

The next thing to do is to start in on requiring rovers to fetch stuff to support T2+ production.  This feels like several weeks of work at my current pace.

In my playthrough so far, I'm starting to feel like the research areas are too granular.  In terms of my own personal play, I stay at the body until all the various kinds of body-specific research are done, then I send the next-generation base.  That being the case, why not just lump them all into one research category?  That'd be the practical thing.  In terms of fun, I don't know.  I kinda like checking in on my base from time to time and see some kind of progress being made.

It all makes me think there should be a different model for research -- maybe it could be lumped together, and maybe there could be milestones on the way to the next tier.  Perhaps there could be mini-missions that could be performed at the body to help advance things along?

Please post your feedback on using the mod.  Unlike a lot of other mods, this mod has nothing to do with practicality, it's about fun, and that's a hard thing to pin down.

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Hey so is there no way to use this mod without the life support component?

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On 3/5/2019 at 6:42 PM, The-Doctor said:

Hey so is there no way to use this mod without the life support component?

No.  The mod just wouldn't be much fun without it.  If you're looking for fun with production chains without life support, there are a lot of mods that will serve your needs there.  MKS/USI Kolonization is probably the most detailed one of these.

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23 hours ago, NermNermNerm said:

No.  The mod just wouldn't be much fun without it.  If you're looking for fun with production chains without life support, there are a lot of mods that will serve your needs there.  MKS/USI Kolonization is probably the most detailed one of these.

yes but im not interested in MKS

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3 hours ago, The-Doctor said:

yes but im not interested in MKS

What sort of gameplay experience are you thinking of?

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17 hours ago, NermNermNerm said:

What sort of gameplay experience are you thinking of?

I want my bases to have a purpose, more so than just refueling

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8 hours ago, The-Doctor said:

I want my bases to have a purpose, more so than just refueling

I made building self-sufficiency into the centerpiece of the mod, and pretty much all decisions are built around that consideration.  That's true of all of the "colonization" mods, I'd say.  The life support model is dirt simple (I think), and has only the vaguest hint at realism.

But if you really don't want to do self-sufficiency and the incumbent life-support, and you're keen to have your bases be able to do something, then you should perhaps have a look at Extraplanetary Launchpads.  It's got a production chain built into it and gives you a really solid incentive to have productive bases (not having to do 57-year timewarps!)

I'm a big fan of that mod, and making my mod interact with that one nicely is very high on my priority list.

 

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Just wanted to give some encouraging words to keep you going in development.... this looks really interesting and if I start playing again after this long break, I'll definitely be trying it out. Kinda hoping to wait for some more resource integration as teased in the OP

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I just posted a new version which includes the feature for requiring you to build rovers to collect resources at Tier2+.  I've been testing it in my own play-through this week and it looks good.  There's one other change you're likely to notice:  I've equipped all the command modules in the game with a small stash for Tier4 supplies.  I needed to do that because the mechanics of the game make it so that Kerbals that are unfed don't work.  I only made the change now simply because in the early days I didn't understand ModuleManager at all.  I can't claim to be pro at it now, but good enough to do that anyway.

The only bugs I'm aware of now all have to do with the colonization dialog.

  1. It has an annoying habit of reverting to the middle of the screen.  After some doing, I figured out that it happens when the dialog resizes (say, because the amount of text to display grew).
  2. You can't use an uncrewed ship to transfer resources.

I think #1 is really more an indicator that the colonization dialog is getting too busy and needs to be converted to some kind of tabbed dialog.  #2 is simple enough to fix, but also seems a harbinger of other problems.  The goal of the resource-transfer dialog is to just do the right thing, all the time.

Those two items are high on the list, but another item is adding the ability to manufacture Extra-Planetary Launchpad's Rocket Parts.

I've been pondering how to do it, and here's what I'm thinking.  There'll be a new tiered resource, "SimpleParts" and another resource, "ComplexParts" which only can come from Kerbin.  There'll be a tiered manufactory that converts "Stuff" (from the drills) into "SimpleParts".  There'll be another component that will combine the "Simple" and "Complex" parts into plain "RocketParts".  My desire is that these parts are going to be very labor-intensive.  I'll probably draft the KSP "mechanic" Kerbal Trait to be a specialist for these parts.  One thing I definitely don't like about EPL is that just a few Kerbals can build massive ships in a brief while.  I definitely want to make it so that a big ship is a multi-kerbal-year thing.

As I mentioned in my last update-post a couple weeks ago, I'm just not sure I like the idea of completely granular research - that is, for each body, there's farming, mining, shinies.  In pondering it, I've decided scrapping it or combining it too much isn't my favorite idea either.  I'm still kicking ideas around - some that have stuck with me as not-bad are:

  1. Making scanning just start at tier 2.
  2. Making it so that if you've unlocked Tier3 on some research anywhere, then future bases anywhere will start at Tier1 and if you've unlocked Tier4 anywhere, they'd start at Tier2.
  3. Creating a way to accelerate research through contracts or something like it.

But I'm not rushing into that.  Fixing the dialog and getting RocketPart production going are definitely more important.

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Hello, im just about to try out your mod, and maybe i'm just a noob at this, but how exactly do i actually go about getting the 0.1.0 release?

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5 hours ago, LasseG said:

Hello, im just about to try out your mod, and maybe i'm just a noob at this, but how exactly do i actually go about getting the 0.1.0 release?

 

CKAN will help with installing & keeping your mods up-to-date.

Edited by NermNermNerm

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8 hours ago, LasseG said:

Hello, im just about to try out your mod, and maybe i'm just a noob at this, but how exactly do i actually go about getting the 0.1.0 release?

I'm wondering this myself. There's no link for it on GitHub, as it just has the source code links. The CKAN download is also 0.0.6.

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Maybe I'm just dumb or blind, but I can't seem to find any parts or containers associated with the mod. This just limits me to 7 day missions. Clean game and install with ckan.

Edited by Sazarjac

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5 hours ago, Enorats said:

That just has the source code link though. Not the mod itself. Putting that in the KSP folder doesn't load the mod.

Older version releases have "ProgressiveColonizationSystem.zip", which is the link missing in the 0.1.0 release.

/src/ProgressiveColonizationSystem/GameData/ProgressiveColonizationSystem/ in the release source has all of the CFGs you need. If you can't build the project, try using this along with the CFGs

EDIT: 1.1 https://github.com/SteveBenz/ProgressiveColonizationSystem/releases/tag/v0.1.1

Edited by Eridan
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54 minutes ago, Sazarjac said:

Maybe I'm just dumb or blind, but I can't seem to find any parts or containers associated with the mod. This just limits me to 7 day missions. Clean game and install with ckan.

From what I can tell, the mod patches any part with a B9 part switch module to include its resources. This includes many of the parts in Station Parts Expansion Redux. It and KPBS are dependencies

Edited by drhay53

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33 minutes ago, drhay53 said:

From what I can tell, the mod patches any part with a B9 part switch module to include its resources. This includes many of the parts in Station Parts Expansion Redux. It and KPBS are dependencies

I managed to get the mod running after Eridan pointed out that part of it is in the source code download link, and the other part in the link he provided.. after downloading an old version of the mod and then using that to piece the new version together.

That said, yeah.. it doesn't seem to have any containers. All this adds part wise is a couple ISRU remakes, drill remakes, and a scanner part. It also adds Tier 4 snacks to command modules based on their seating, and adds a few B9 tank types. If you have B9 part switch and Station Parts Redux, then you can swap the tanks from that mod to carry a given resource from this mod. KPBS doesn't seem to have any container pieces that work with this mod, at least not without some other life support mod installed I assume. I know KPBS has a number of containers for things like food, water, oxygen.. but none of those things are in my game with just this installed.

I'm not really a fan of Station Parts Redux personally, but I suppose I'll give this mod a shot and perhaps edit it to use tanks from something else (Universal Storage?) if I like it. One thing I'm noticing though is that this mod doesn't seem to include any UI for keeping track of anything like your research progress. Maybe I just haven't found it yet though.

Edited by Enorats

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My bad - I somehow failed to drag the zip file over to the GitHub release when I created it ><.

That's why I have this task on my TODO list - automate the deployment.  At this point I just need to write some code to interact with the GitHub API to make it happen.  Seems simple enough from the examples, but I have a dread of being hassled by authentication issues.

 

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2 hours ago, Enorats said:

I managed to get the mod running after Eridan pointed out that part of it is in the source code download link, and the other part in the link he provided.. after downloading an old version of the mod and then using that to piece the new version together.

That said, yeah.. it doesn't seem to have any containers. All this adds part wise is a couple ISRU remakes, drill remakes, and a scanner part. It also adds Tier 4 snacks to command modules based on their seating, and adds a few B9 tank types. If you have B9 part switch and Station Parts Redux, then you can swap the tanks from that mod to carry a given resource from this mod. KPBS doesn't seem to have any container pieces that work with this mod, at least not without some other life support mod installed I assume. I know KPBS has a number of containers for things like food, water, oxygen.. but none of those things are in my game with just this installed.

I'm not really a fan of Station Parts Redux personally, but I suppose I'll give this mod a shot and perhaps edit it to use tanks from something else (Universal Storage?) if I like it. One thing I'm noticing though is that this mod doesn't seem to include any UI for keeping track of anything like your research progress. Maybe I just haven't found it yet though.

Sorry about that, as I said above, I boogered up the deployment.

No, the mod includes no parts of its own at all, and uses storage containers from B9.  I feel like, in a perfect world, there would be mods that supply parts, and mods that supply functionality.   Why should we be unable to use a beautiful part just because we don't like the gameplay mechanics that come with it?

I'm not perfectly happy with the B9 containers either - they look good on orbital stuff, but things like USI Freight Transport Technologies look better on bases.

The UI is toggled by the Cupcake button in the toolbar.

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5 hours ago, NermNermNerm said:

Sorry about that, as I said above, I boogered up the deployment.

No, the mod includes no parts of its own at all, and uses storage containers from B9.  I feel like, in a perfect world, there would be mods that supply parts, and mods that supply functionality.   Why should we be unable to use a beautiful part just because we don't like the gameplay mechanics that come with it?

I'm not perfectly happy with the B9 containers either - they look good on orbital stuff, but things like USI Freight Transport Technologies look better on bases.

The UI is toggled by the Cupcake button in the toolbar.

There are plenty of mods where the parts are licensed in such a way that you could use them.   There are other mods where the parts are licensed ARR but the mod author has stated exceptions could be made but you have to ask.

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So, starting off a new career with this mod - it's almost unplayable. I just lost a mission that was doing a simple flyby of the Mun. Granted, this was prior to upgrading the tracking station.. so I'm eyeballing everything and it's not perfect. My trajectory upon leaving the Mun's SOI took me a bit farther out than I'd have liked, but still well within my ability to correct with available delta-v.. but the trip took a couple extra days and my kerbal went tourist on me.

There needs to be some way to pack extra rations in the early game.. 3 days just isn't enough. As it stands, short of packing an extra command pod I can't do that at the moment.

My second attempt took me just a couple hours short of 3 days to complete, and that was just a simple flyby. Granted, again I was eyeballing everything and didn't get the best return trajectory.. but this isn't unusual for early game missions (at least for me).

Edit: Another issue encountered. Fertilizer is converted to snacks at a 1 to 1 ratio. Fertilizer is not produced on a vessel (no waste recycling or the like), so you have to take it from home if you're building a station (though the mod says you shouldn't?). The only real benefit to bringing fertilizer instead of just snacks is that fertilizer is more dense.. you can pack 1900 into a small container as opposed to like 95 snacks. I guess that's not an issue, though it does create some odd mass fluctuations as resources are converted. All that said - it's extremely expensive in career mode. A small container of fertilizer is a whopping 28,500 credits + 380 for the container. That's more than the entire station I'm launching, and more than the rocket that's launching it. Also, why are there 5 different types of fertilizer and snacks? Wouldn't it be better if progressing in research simply increased the efficiency of your modules? As is, I have to have numerous different types of storage for various types of resources. I don't really like having to launch my station with T0 fertilizer storage, T1 fertilizer storage, T2 fertilizer storage, T0 snack storage, T1 snack storage, T2 snack storage, T4 snack storage.. 

That's necessary if you want to have any "room to grow" in your station as you unlock higher tiers, and it's not exactly ideal.

Edited by Enorats

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