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GungaDin

A few beginner game play questions

Question

I can't tell what provides SAS control.  Do some pods come with it and some not?  It appears that I am occasionally denied SAS control even with a manned pod and sometimes I have it even with the same configuration.

I have a hard time orienting myself with pitch/yaw and roll.  With a rocket, in order to roll or yaw you need to know which way is 'up'.  If 'up' is in the direction that the pilot/kerbal is oriented then you need to know where the cockpit/hatch is placed.  is that how it works in KSP?  ALso is there a camera setting that locks my external view so that I roll along with the craft?  That would help me orient.

THANKS.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, GungaDin said:

I can't tell what provides SAS control.  Do some pods come with it and some not?  It appears that I am occasionally denied SAS control even with a manned pod and sometimes I have it even with the same configuration.

Manned by whom? Only pilots can grant a manned pod SAS. Engineers and scientists can't.

Edited by mikegarrison

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1 hour ago, GungaDin said:

  If 'up' is in the direction that the pilot/kerbal is oriented then you need to know where the cockpit/hatch is placed. 

Yes, essentially, though hatches aren't always reliable markers.  Some pods have multiple hatches, some have hatches on the sides (e.g., the cockpits), and the probe cores of course are pretty symmetrical.

By default the game always lines up pods/cores the same way, so if you plunk down your primary pod/core as your first part, it should be pretty reliable.  Things can get trickier when you're adding on detachable craft, of course.

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By default, the "top" face of a rocket is on the South side of the VAB, which is also the South side on the launchpad.

It is often useful to attach some small antenna or science experiment on that side of the rocket to provide a visual reference when you are in space.

You can rotate through all possible camera modes with the V key, to see if any of them do what you want.

 

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11 hours ago, GungaDin said:

I can't tell what provides SAS control.  Do some pods come with it and some not?  It appears that I am occasionally denied SAS control even with a manned pod and sometimes I have it even with the same configuration.

As others have said, the pods themselves do not provide SAS (pods in this case defined as crewed modules).  Pilots do, but they need to be at a high level to provide all of the SAS options.  If your manned pod sometimes has SAS and sometimes not even with the same configuration, then the difference is the crew.  One has a pilot and the other, not.

Probe cores also provide SAS to some extent (the exception being the Stayputnik as @steuben wrote above).  SAS comes in four levels:  Level 0 provides stability assist.  Level 1 provides that plus prograde/retrograde hold.  Level 2 provides that plus normal/antinormal and radial in/out.  Level 3 provides that plus target towards/away and manoeuvre node tracking.

Here's a helpful list:

SAS Level Parts or People With That Level
0 Pilot Level 0, RoveMate, QBE, OKTO
1 Pilot Level 1, HECS
2 Pilot Level 2, OKTO2
3 Pilot Level 3, Pilot Level 4, Pilot Level 5, HECS2, Mk2 Drone Core, RC-001S, RC-L01, Avionics Hub

Note the special case of the Avionics Hub.  It is not a probe core, but it will raise the SAS level of the vessel of which it is part to 3, which gives full SAS regardless of how the vessel is controlled.  That means that it will allow an Engineer or a Stayputnik to use top-level SAS even though they would not otherwise be able to do so.

Also remember that having SAS does not guarantee the ability to use it.  A vessel needs reaction wheels or RCS to use SAS and power or fuel to run them, and not all of the probe cores come with integrated reaction wheels.

12 hours ago, GungaDin said:

I have a hard time orienting myself with pitch/yaw and roll.  With a rocket, in order to roll or yaw you need to know which way is 'up'.  If 'up' is in the direction that the pilot/kerbal is oriented then you need to know where the cockpit/hatch is placed.  is that how it works in KSP?

Up is dependent on the orientation of the controlling part.  Each part has its own defined local 'up' but the part itself can be reoriented in the VAB.  Additionally, the orientation and the controlling part can change in flight.  For example, let's say you want to have an Apollo reenactment.  The rocket launches and your command module is oriented tip up.  So is your Mun lander.  Then, once underway, you turn to dock and extract the lander; now the two pods are 'facing' one another.  This means that, assuming that the command pod points prograde all the way to the Mun, the lander will be pointing retrograde.  Switching to the lander and selecting 'Control from Here' in its part action window will change the navball to reflect this.

There's more:  you can also select 'Control from Here' on docking ports (this is to facilitate docking, and sometimes it helps).  Let's say that, when you built the vessel, you didn't like the docking port's orientation on the command pod and rotated it by ninety degrees.  In flight, switching control from the pod to the docking port will rotate the navball by ninety degrees.

The best way to fix orientation is to choose a part that you will regard as the master pod and orient it so that the navball looks right to you.  Ultimately, the navball (and more specifically, the vectors painted on the navball) are your best aids for orienting yourself in space, since every direction is arbitrary, mutable, relative, or a combination of the three.

As an historical aside, the Block II Apollo command modules had their navball-equivalents rotated by ninety degrees from their Block I precursors so as to match the lunar module's guidance indicators.  NASA decided that it would be easier for the astronauts to know one system than to train them to reorient their spatial awareness by ninety degrees for the landing.

12 hours ago, GungaDin said:

ALso is there a camera setting that locks my external view so that I roll along with the craft?  That would help me orient.

Yes.  It's called 'Locked' mode.  Activate it by pressing 'V' a few times until you get to it, as @bewing wrote above.  I don't know the console equivalent, but it's the button that switches the camera mode.

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16 hours ago, GungaDin said:

I can't tell what provides SAS control.  Do some pods come with it and some not?  It appears that I am occasionally denied SAS control even with a manned pod and sometimes I have it even with the same configuration.

Welcome aboard!

Anyway, others have answered most of your questions but there's 1 thing I feel compelled to add in answer to the literal interpretation of your 1st question here....  

"SAS" is a term frequently misused by most folks (including myself) in this forum, which might be confusing to new folks.  Technically, SAS itself does not provide any control.  Rather, it's an automated system that operates the various control systems of the vehicle in an effort to keep the vehicle pointed in the direction desired by the player.  The actual control forces that SAS uses to keep the vehicle on course come from the parts capable of changing the vehicles attitude.  These parts include:

  • Reaction wheel torque
  • Engine gimbal (only when the engine is running)
  • RCS and Vernor thrusters 
  • Aerodynamic control surfaces (only when in atmospheres)
  • Steerable wheels (when vehicle is on the ground)

The reaction wheel parts are frequently called "SAS units" in this forum but they're really not.  Functionally, they're the same as an aileron on a plane.  Merely having one of these parts on s ship does not provide the ability to turn SAS on or use its various modes.  That ability only comes from probe cores and pilot Kerbals (apparently it requires special training and/or union membership to be able to push the "T" key :) )

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, GungaDin said:

I can't tell what provides SAS control.  Do some pods come with it and some not? It appears that I am occasionally denied SAS control even with a manned pod and sometimes I have it even with the same configuration.

To briefly summarize what folks have said in more detail:

  • Kerbals:  Pilots have SAS ability.  Non-pilots don't.  The higher the pilot level, the fancier SAS operations they can do.
  • Probe cores:  The Stayputnik has no SAS (it's like a non-pilot Kerbal).  All other probe cores (OKTO and higher) have SAS ability.  The higher level the probe core, the fancier SAS operations they can do.

So if you want SAS, you either need to have a pilot on board, or you need an OKTO-or-better probe core.

17 hours ago, GungaDin said:

I have a hard time orienting myself with pitch/yaw and roll.  With a rocket, in order to roll or yaw you need to know which way is 'up'.  If 'up' is in the direction that the pilot/kerbal is oriented then you need to know where the cockpit/hatch is placed.  is that how it works in KSP?

Yeah, pretty much.  Most crew pods make this fairly easy because the hatch is on the "up" side... but some of them have multiple hatches, and of course probe cores are fairly symmetric.

So if your ship lacks visual "cues" to show which way is up, then you can add one.  For example, in my own ships:  I always attach little radial things (like science instruments, or small radial antennas) on the up side of the ship.  So I can see at a glance which way is up.

17 hours ago, GungaDin said:

ALso is there a camera setting that locks my external view so that I roll along with the craft?

Yes.  Use the "V" key.  There are several different camera "modes", and that key cycles among them.

The default view is "Auto", but it has a few other modes, one of which is "Locked", which does exactly what you describe.

So, all you have to do is keep hitting "V" until the message "Camera: LOCKED" shows at the top of your screen, and then it'll do exactly what you want.

To switch it back to the default mode, hit "V" until the message "Camera: AUTO" appears.

(The other modes are "FREE", "ORBITAL", and "CHASE", which I won't go into here but you can play with them to see what they do, in case they're useful to you.)

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Posted (edited)

Fun fact...in earlier versions of the game, the reaction wheels used to have "SAS Modules" and was internally named sasModule...which possibly lead to widespread use of terms like "sas units" and "sas parts"...or "add some SAS to your ship."

 

On 7/31/2019 at 7:01 PM, GungaDin said:

I can't tell what provides SAS control.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned this (or maybe I missed it). For the probes, you don't have to remember the list of cores and their levels. If you go to the parts list and right-click on a part, it brings up additional info. You can right-click again on the part to make the window "stick" which allows you to scroll through the information. For probe cores in particular, there's a SAS section which shows what modes that particular part can provide. If there is no SAS section, then the probe does not grant access to SAS functions.

BjY0Xwm.png

 

Again, this is for probes. For manned capsules, access to SAS functions are reliant upon having a pilot in the seat. A higher level pilot grants access to more SAS options (as mentioned previously and quoted below).

 

On 8/1/2019 at 7:43 AM, Zhetaan said:

SAS comes in four levels:  Level 0 provides stability assist.  Level 1 provides that plus prograde/retrograde hold.  Level 2 provides that plus normal/antinormal and radial in/out.  Level 3 provides that plus target towards/away and manoeuvre node tracking.

 

If you only want "Stability Assist" then use any probe core (except stayputnik, which doesn't like to stay put) or any pilot, as Snark stated.

Edited by Claw

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