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Hopes and Wishes for KSP 2


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1 hour ago, tater said:

The new scatter (assuming they all have collision models) is a good sign

They do, in fact, have colliders.  (At least, the ones that you'd expect/want to.  For example, they showed us a scene on Kerbin that had trees, rocks, and some patches of grass.  They said that the trees and rocks have colliders... but the grass doesn't.  Which makes sense.)

1 hour ago, tater said:

landing someplace requires doing some work first to establish either a flat site, or a better vehicle that can deal with the terrain (assuming the scatter is made such that landing on it is a bad idea).

Yep.  :)  They were showing us that stuff and we were all "cool!  So 'Neil Armstrong trying to find a safe landing spot is a thing, now?" and got knowing nods.

1 hour ago, tater said:

Don't just replicate the stupid tech tree bought with science idea, it's truly awful.

They probably will be doing this.  I asked Nate Simpson at PAX:

On 8/30/2019 at 8:38 PM, Snark said:
  • Q:  Will science and R&D still work pretty much the same way?
  • A:  Yes.

Whether that's a good or a bad thing is subjective, of course.  For myself, I like the current model and always have-- it's fun for my gameplay, it's straightforward to use, and it follows an "explore more to unlock stuff that lets me explore more" model that I find very appealing.  Doesn't mean it couldn't use a little tuning here and there, but the overall concept works well for me, and I suspect for a lot of other players as well.

If it's not your personal cup of tea, no one's in any position to argue about that, of course-- folks like what they like.  But if you don't like it... and if "just play sandbox" doesn't appeal to you either (which I'm guessing, from your above statement)... then how would you like to see it work, instead?

1 hour ago, tater said:

The goal of career---or goals if multiple forms of gameplay are to be a thing---is critical. Pick a desired goal, then make career to enable that.

Sure, I agree with that-- with the proviso that I think the game shouldn't straitjacket players too much into one particular "goal" too specifically, since much of the charm of the game is allowing players to set their own agenda and tell their own "story".

The overall "goal" of KSP 1's career-- at least, as expressed through the R&D and tech-tree mechanic-- seems to me to be "get out there and explore places".  That seems like a reasonable goal to me, for a space-exploration game.

So... if you don't like that, what don't you like about it?  You've made it very clear that you seriously dislike the current system, but it's not clear to me what you dislike about it.  Do you find "get out there and explore" to be a bad goal?  If so, what goal do you think would be a better one?  Or, if you like the goal but dislike their implementation of that goal... what sort of mechanic do you think would work better for servicing that goal?

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43 minutes ago, Snark said:

Sure, I agree with that-- with the proviso that I think the game shouldn't straitjacket players too much into one particular "goal", since much of the charm of the game is allowing players to set their own agenda.

That's sandbox.

Career mode is by definition limiting---and it should be. Take a simple minecraft example: creative mode on a flat world, vs survival on a real biome. Now build a town (no terrain additions allowed that don't exist in the biome, only some removal that you might do in RL (a terrace, for example to build on)---you can add only trees/plants that exist and you could grow). Which town will look better, more realistic, more interesting? The one in flatland, or the one that has to make choices based on the available resources and terrain?

The latter, clearly. (edit: I know people can show cool things built on flat worlds, but the same structures would still look better in a context---and I specifically require that if you use a flat world for this experiment, you are not allowed to build any terrain, only structures).

Limitations are GOOD, they limit the choices the player can make at a given time. Current career does this (poorly) via parts limitations. Get to the Mün with less than ideal parts is challenging in a way it is not in sandbox.

 

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The overall "goal" of KSP 1's career-- at least, as expressed through the R&D and tech-tree mechanic-- is "get out there and explore places", I'd say.  That seems like a reasonable goal to me, for a space-exploration game.

There is zero exploration in current KSP.

There is travel, that's not the same thing. Take RL. We knew the orbital mechanics of Mars, it's rough data to get stuff there, but we literally had no idea what to expect the surface to look like until we sent Mariner 4. If a goal of career play is exploration---including for players playing career more than once----then the places to explore have to be unknowns. Not "land, click, click, collect "points"", but you want to know how to land on a planet you know has an atmosphere, but don't know the specifics? Send a probe designed to measure that, then you get the data which allows you to unlock the required tech to make the landing (as well as knowing what to expect). This requires both "fog of war", and it requires that the worlds change on replay. There can be a default seed, so people can play the default systems and compare (or do multiplayer), but a decent career system would have each career started different. That's non-negotiable for the career system to be even just "decent," IMHO.

So exploration is one option.

Implicit in current KSP career is a Space Race. It's implied in all the "milestones," and implicit in the "rescue" operations (since I certainly didn't abandon those kerbals). That should be a min requirement for a KSP 2 career if it keep literally any of that wording in the game. You can only be "first" if there is a chance you could not be first. A space race makes making marginal choices more sensible---you have some reason to go with what you have, vs waiting a little when you know it will be trivial. (Life support really needs to be there for this, as well as FAILURE as a possibility (I hate wibbly-wobbly rockets, so that's not a decent failure mechanic, IMO).

The entire "contracts" paradigm is bad/broken, and the mission control in game is mis-named. The tracking center is mission control (mission control controls missions in flight). Mission planning? Sure. Contracts could be part of that, but separate. SpaceX can plan their own missions (Starlink, or going to Mars), while still taking contracts to launch things. Those are different, and one spends money, one makes money. All that needs redoing (and the "strategies" in KSP are garbage, I try a new career with every update, and I entirely ignore strategies (they can easily be gamed to make the already impossible to lose career mode even easier).

I want return players to have a non-zero chance of losing career mode, in short (where losing is at least defined as having reasonable challenges they can't do in all situations). This is simply not possible now (and "HARD mode is just "grind" mode, grind != difficulty. This is non-trivial since as tech improves, the game becomes easier, always, not harder (this will always be true minus dumb challenges, with no life support).

In short there is literally nothing I would keep with current career. It needs a clean-sheet replacement.

 

Edited by tater
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I should add that my first post in this forum was my critique on career/science mode, and how it was poor, and needed serious reworking. I have written countless words here on ways to either redo it from scratch, or tweak it to make it better within a framework not too far from what exists, realizing that a total redo was not on the table.

My initial take (within the framework) was multiple kinds of science/engineering points---planetary science, space science, kerbal factors (medical, etc), and rocket engineering.

Different missions would gain different kinds of points, and different tech would require different kinds (and mixtures) of points to get. Crew vehicles need medical data, they need space science (radiation environment, thermal management, etc). if they plan to land, they maybe need some planetary data. Rocket engine improvements might need space science (vac engines), and rocket engineering, etc. I could (and have) fill pages on this stuff.

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7 minutes ago, tater said:

That's sandbox.

No, that's career, too.  I play career exclusively... and I very much set my own plot and storyline.

What I meant is:  Different people can hear the word "goal" and ascribe very different interpretations to it.  For example, you can have a general goal (like "get out there and explore", without being too prescriptive of exactly what or where), but you could also have a very specifically assigned goal, such as if they had a "campaign" with a specific storyline where you're given specific missions to do and it eventually takes you to some final cutscene.

The latter is what I was cautioning against.  I've seen some people ask for a "campaign" mode in KSP that would be something like that... and there's nothing wrong with wanting that.  Might be interesting to play... once.  But for myself?  If the game's "career" was something like that, I'd probably get bored of KSP and wander away within a couple of weeks, because the open-ended nature of deciding what to build and where to go lets me be creative with it, which is pretty much the game's entire appeal for me.  That's all.

10 minutes ago, tater said:

There is travel, that's not the same thing. Take RL. We knew the orbital mechanics of Mars, it's rough data to get stuff there, but we literally had no idea what to expect the surface to look like until we sent Mariner 4. If a goal of career play is exploration---including for players playing career more than once----then the places to explore have to be unknowns. Not "land, click, click, collect "points"", but you want to know how to land on a planet you know has an atmosphere, but don't know the specifics? Send a probe designed to measure that, then you get the data which allows you to unlock the required tech to make the landing (as well as knowing what to expect). This requires both "fog of war", and it requires that the worlds change on replay. There can be a default seed, so people can play the default systems and compare (or do multiplayer), but a decent career system would have each career started different. That's non-negotiable for the career system to be even just "decent," IMHO.

All sounds perfectly reasonable, and I don't have any disagreement with you there...

...with the proviso that what you've said doesn't hold true for all players.  For example, if it worked like you describe?  I'd hate that, and it would be a major dealbreaker for me.  Would make me not want to play the game anymore.  It would force me to either play sandbox (which I'd hate), or else force me to put up with randomized physical properties of planets (which I would also hate, it would be a total showstopper for me).

And that right there is the crux of the design problem for someone in the position of Squad or Star Theory.  They're making a very "open ended" game that by design lets players set their own agenda to a fairly wide degree.  That's a major part of its appeal.  So anything they do to constrain things in one way, will please some people and alienate others.

So they have to target according to the whole player base, which is a heck of a design challenge.  Glad I'm not the one who has to make that call.  ;)

Anyway, thank you for the explanation-- helps to have an idea of what someone has in mind!

16 minutes ago, tater said:

Implicit in current KSP career is a Space Race. It's implied in all the "milestones," and implicit in the "rescue" operations (since I certainly didn't abandon those kerbals). That should be a min requirement for a KSP 2 career if it keep literally any of that wording in the game. You can only be "first" if there is a chance you could not be first. A space race makes making marginal choices more sensible---you have some reason to go with what you have, vs waiting a little when you know it will be trivial.

I suppose there's nothing in the game that forbids a "space race" interpretation, but that's certainly never been how I've viewed any of it.  I don't see anything in KSP at all that implies "space race" to me, nor would I want it to-- I want this game to be about my creativity, and what pace I decide to set.  Having it set up as a "space race" against some rival nation or space program would ruin it for me.  If I wanted competition, I'd play a multiplayer game.

Like I said, nothing wrong with wanting that... just that not everyone wants the same thing.

19 minutes ago, tater said:

The entire "contracts" paradigm is bad/broken, and the mission control in game is mis-named. The tracking center is mission control (mission control controls missions in flight). Mission planning? Sure. Contracts could be part of that, but separate. SpaceX can plan their own missions (Starlink, or going to Mars), while still taking contracts to launch things. Those are different, and one spends money, one makes money.

Sure, but matters of nomenclature aside... what exactly don't you like about the "contracts" paradigm?  "Here's a list of optional tasks you can perform, in exchange for money", and you get to choose whether to take on those tasks or not.  That seems pretty reasonable to me?

Is your issue with the contracts themselves (i.e. the specific details of what they ask and the size of the rewards), which I'll admit can be kinda silly sometimes?  Or is it the basic premise of "optional thing you can sign up to do, to make money"?  I'm not reading your statement here as saying that you're opposed to the general idea, but other than the naming, it's not clear to me how you'd like them to work instead?

22 minutes ago, tater said:

All that needs redoing (and the "strategies" in KSP are garbage, I try a new career with every update, and I entirely ignore strategies (they can easily be gamed to make the already impossible to lose career mode even easier).

I'm with you about not having much use for the "strategies".  I used them once, found them to be un-good for reasons too verbose to go into here (executive summary:  made things too easy, didn't give me the "interesting tradeoffs" problem that I wanted), and have basically never touched that building since.

I'm not opposed to the idea of strategies-- I like the idea of having some sort of policies that let you tune the tradeoffs of career mode (i.e. making something easier at the expense of making something else harder), like spending skill points in an RPG.  My beef with KSP's strategies is in the implementation, not the fundamental premise:  I don't care for the actual, specific strategies (and their effects) that they've picked.

25 minutes ago, tater said:

I want return players to have a non-zero chance of losing career mode, in short

Fair 'nuff.  I don't, myself.  I don't want "losing" to be part of KSP-- I want "this was harder than I expected, so now I have to go back to the drawing board and try something else".

My individual missions absolutely can fail, I love that about the game and is what keeps me coming back.  But for my career to fail, in ways outside my control?  Nope, that would be an enjoyment-killer for me and would push me to drop the game.

27 minutes ago, tater said:

This is non-trivial since as tech improves, the game becomes easier, always, not harder

Not my experience with KSP.  Yes, when I'm at the top of the tech tree, I can land on the Mun a lot easier than I could when I was at the bottom... but by that point I'm going to harder places than the Mun.  For me, advancing tech doesn't mean the game's any easier, at all.  It just means I can go further and hit different challenges.  The game always has exactly the level of difficulty I want, at all times.  If I'm finding it too easy, then I set myself more aggressive goals to make it harder.  If it's too hard, then I scale back my ambitions a bit until I've developed better tech and/or climbed a learning curve farther.

It's kind of like the old joke about "the better the four-wheel-drive, the farther you are from home when you get stuck."  ;)

So for me, I'm totally fine with the "better tech means more capable ships"-- that's what the game's about.  What's important to me, rather, is to ensure that the design of the game universe is set up in such a way that there are plenty of escalating challenges out there, i.e. a logical progression of harder places to go to.

19 minutes ago, tater said:

My initial take (within the framework) was multiple kinds of science/engineering points---planetary science, space science, kerbal factors (medical, etc), and rocket engineering.

Different missions would gain different kinds of points, and different tech would require different kinds (and mixtures) of points to get. Crew vehicles need medical data, they need space science (radiation environment, thermal management, etc). if they plan to land, they maybe need some planetary data. Rocket engine improvements might need space science (vac engines), and rocket engineering, etc. I could (and have) fill pages on this stuff.

I could see something like that.  Make it a bit less one-dimensional (i.e. not have one-size-fits-all "science points", but different kinds of stuff that provides different kinds of benefits).

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I think there should be a kind of archive in KSP2. 

I mean by that is that I should be able to look at a timeline or something like that, that keep track of the milestones of my space program. So that after a year of playing I can remember that I first got to orbit at this date, in a ship that was named this, with this crew on board. And for each event like that, you can add pictures, mission patch and write something.  There would be automatic milestones (each time you first reach another planet for exemple, and we could flag any mission as a milestone if we wish. 

Civ 6 does that sort of thing, so at the end of the game, you can watch back your acheivements

I think it woulkd add a gameplay mechanic that can be optional, but that many payer would want to do.

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57 minutes ago, Snark said:

No, that's career, too.  I play career exclusively... and I very much set my own plot and storyline.

What I meant is:  Different people can hear the word "goal" and ascribe very different interpretations to it.  For example, you can have a general goal (like "get out there and explore", without being too prescriptive of exactly what or where), but you could also have a very specifically assigned goal, such as if they had a "campaign" with a specific storyline where you're given specific missions to do and it eventually takes you to some final cutscene.

The latter is what I was cautioning against.  I've seen some people ask for a "campaign" mode in KSP that would be something like that... and there's nothing wrong with wanting that.  Might be interesting to play... once.  But for myself?  If the game's "career" was something like that, I'd probably get bored of KSP and wander away within a couple of weeks, because the open-ended nature of deciding what to build and where to go lets me be creative with it, which is pretty much the game's entire appeal for me.  That's all.

Forget KSP career entirely for a sec. In my career mode, YOU would set missions yourself, 100%. There might be different modes, but a mode with "firsts" would necessarily have another program on Kerbin (at least 1) and if you choose to race with them, you can (or not). They do what they do, but in the realm of "contracts" (money for missions), if the other guy is ahead of you, they might take those, reduce prices, etc. Missions---like exploring---YOU would set (another game option, are you a national space program, or a SpaceX? You pick.). You create the mission, and maybe the game decides if anyone would fund that, and how much (which can vary with your rep, etc). So you decide to land kerbins on Duna and build abase. There is a mission planner to set that goal for yourself, and the game comes up with "science foundation funding for Duna exploration" and "Acme Parts Co offers a new rocket engine for your mission if you will test it." etc. 100% player driven, forget nonsense "contract" stuff.

 

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All sounds perfectly reasonable, and I don't have any disagreement with you there...

...with the proviso that what you've said doesn't hold true for all players.  For example, if it worked like you describe?  I'd hate that, and it would be a major dealbreaker for me.  Would make me not want to play the game anymore.  It would force me to either play sandbox (which I'd hate), or else force me to put up with randomized physical properties of planets (which I would also hate, it would be a total showstopper for me).

And that right there is the crux of the design problem for someone in the position of Squad or Star Theory.  They're making a very "open ended" game that by design lets players set their own agenda to a fairly wide degree.  That's a major part of its appeal.  So anything they do to constrain things in one way, will please some people and alienate others.

How would it be a showstopper, when I explicitly said that there would be the default seed that would be the same for all players unless you selected the alternative?

Any career mode should let the player pick what to do. Current KSP career lets the player choose what to do in spite of career mode, not because of it. Following career means doing stupis contracts, like taking ore from one world to another. For reasons.

 

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So they have to target according to the whole player base, which is a heck of a design challenge.  Glad I'm not the one who has to make that call.  ;)

Anyway, thank you for the explanation-- helps to have an idea of what someone has in mind!

I suppose there's nothing in the game that forbids a "space race" interpretation, but that's certainly never been how I've viewed any of it.  I don't see anything in KSP at all that implies "space race" to me, nor would I want it to-- I want this game to be about my creativity, and what pace I decide to set.  Having it set up as a "space race" against some rival nation or space program would ruin it for me.  If I wanted competition, I'd play a multiplayer game.

You see nothing? Really? What are the firsts, then?

Who, pray tell, abandoned those kerbals around the Mün that you are asked to rescue? Another space program (and the missions only appear after YOU got there, because you got there first (which you cannot help to do, 100% of the time).

Also, "contracts." That implies competition, minus competition, you would set a contract yourself, and tell them what they had to pay. Acme wants a sat in GEO? Either there is an unseen competitor to YOU, or you should just tell them it costs 100X what they are offering to pay, what choice do they have?

Other programs are completely implied by literally everything in KSP.

Not every career need be a space race, but it's clearly an option. Another commercial space race option, launch provider competition. Have meaningful contracts, and if you don't take them, someone else will, and they become the provider of choice, and maybe lower prices (making your game harder).

The point of "career" in the broadest terms is to create a story for your space program. A sense of it starting, and progressing in some way that feels narrative. A context. Also, unlike science or sandbox, I want a challenge I can fail.

 

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Like I said, nothing wrong with wanting that... just that not everyone wants the same thing.

Sure, but matters of nomenclature aside... what exactly don't you like about the "contracts" paradigm?  "Here's a list of optional tasks you can perform, in exchange for money", and you get to choose whether to take on those tasks or not.  That seems pretty reasonable to me?

Most are nonsense. Test this thing someplace it would never get used. Move this ore from someplace you have no facility to another place you have no facility---when the entire point of the ore should be to make stuff THERE, moving it entirely defeats the purpose.

This is career, not sandbox. How are contracts "optional" if you are a KSP version of SpaceX? career mode needs economics. You should have to spend to operate, and you should have to take contracts to pay the bills. Alternate career paths could be a thing, like a NASA/ESA like program, then you get a budget, and make up missions (not contracts), and your funding next year might depend on hitting milestones (rep), etc.

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Is your issue with the contracts themselves (i.e. the specific details of what they ask and the size of the rewards), which I'll admit can be kinda silly sometimes?  Or is it the basic premise of "optional thing you can sign up to do, to make money"?  I'm not reading your statement here as saying that you're opposed to the general idea, but other than the naming, it's not clear to me how you'd like them to work instead?

Contract is getting paid to do a task.

A mission is you deciding what to do, then doing it (how you pay for it is another matter). JPL does missions. NASA does missions. ULA does contracts. SpaceX does both (Starlink and Starman are the only current examples of that).

I'd say a career would make you pick what you are, NASA, or a SpaceX/BO/RocketLab/etc. Then you go, 2 different career paradigms. Instead of contracts in NASA mode, you might have funding opportunities, so much money available to land kerbals on Duna within X years, vs another amount to send a probe to the surface of Eve in a similar timeframe (and a timeframe you might actually miss, unlike now, where the time limits never matter).

I'm fine with a SpaceX getting contracts, but they should make sense. Sat launches? Sure. Probes? Sure. Even a space station. But as CONTRACTS that means I don't own them. I launch a station for KSA (Kerbal Space Agency), and THEY own it, not me. I deliver it, then walk away. If I want my own station, then I build it, and fly it, then maybe I can offer it, and KSA starts buying rides to it and renting it. A different model. In that model I set the goals, and then seek people to pay for them. I build Munlab 1, and KSA buys seats (like tourism contracts now, but to places I create).

My version is far more player driven. I set the goals, then see if I can fund them. Regular contracts would be for sats, etc. A robust career mode could have certain new businesses start to appear when milestones are reached. Price to LKO drops, and start ups start wanting me to deliver their asteroid miner. I build a Mün base, and a company seeks a contract to have their ISRU delivered (I land a cargo pod within XXX meters of base, then they install it, and it starts doing stuff---and maybe I can then buy propellant from them, etc).

Also, for launch contracts there should be some where I am given the cargo--a prebuilt station object or sat---and I have to launch THAT. Others might be end to end where I get more funds, but have to design a sat/whatever to spec. They are different, because I might need to develop a bigger vehicle or fairing to launch their payload vs one I design, etc. (which could be fun).

 

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I'm not opposed to the idea of strategies-- I like the idea of having some sort of policies that let you tune the tradeoffs of career mode (i.e. making something easier at the expense of making something else harder), like spending skill points in an RPG.  My beef with KSP's strategies is in the implementation, not the fundamental premise:  I don't care for the actual, specific strategies (and their effects) that they've picked.

They are not strategies at all.

If the strat is me selling R&D, then I should be developing the engines, etc, then selling them (which implies someone to sell to) not buying them from whatever company.

To be the strat level selection would be chosing to play as a NASA like entity, vs a ULA like entity (only doing contracts), vs a BO/SpaceX entity (some contracts, some underlying personal goals). Then you could switch at some point, possibly, at a cost.

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Fair 'nuff.  I don't, myself.  I don't want "losing" to be part of KSP-- I want "this was harder than I expected, so now I have to go back to the drawing board and try something else".

That sort of failure is always possible, but less and less possible the more you play.

Can you fail to land in the Mün at the same place in career you did last time? It's not even possible. That might reset with better scatter, but once you have literally any margin, the Mün is a solved problem for eternity.

 

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My individual missions absolutely can fail, I love that about the game and is what keeps me coming back.  But for my career to fail, in ways outside my control?  Nope, that would be an enjoyment-killer for me and would push me to drop the game.

Things sometimes don't go to plan, but I can't remember the last time I had a kerbal die, even with LS mods.

Career has nothing outside of your control, I'm confused. If a part can fail in a new career mode, then you could have redundant parts. You could have a mission architecture that was fault tolerant. My personal play assumes this even without failures (don't like the failure mods 100%, they're over the top). So I send supplies ahead. This is easy in KSP career now, since the game is only slightly hard at the very beginning (low funds), then you become so rich you can't possibly spend money fast enough, so you can send your first Duna mission with multiple redundant systems (spare return craft in orbit, etc).

 

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Not my experience with KSP.  Yes, when I'm at the top of the tech tree, I can land on the Mun a lot easier than I could when I was at the bottom... but by that point I'm going to harder places than the Mun.  For me, advancing tech doesn't mean the game's any easier, at all.  It just means I can go further and hit different challenges.  The game always has exactly the level of difficulty I want, at all times.  If I'm finding it too easy, then I set myself more aggressive goals to make it harder.  If it's too hard, then I scale back my ambitions a bit until I've developed better tech and/or climbed a learning curve farther.

The game flattens once the tech tree is unlocked. I never time warp whole missions, I always have bases, stations, etc, and I resupply them (LS mods). I can land on the Mün once (with LS), get some more tech, then skip to Minmus and unlock pretty much the whole tree with one lander (hop to every "biome" (that name needs to go, biome implies biology), unlock tree).

 

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It's kind of like the old joke about "the better the four-wheel-drive, the farther you are from home when you get stuck."  ;)

So for me, I'm totally fine with the "better tech means more capable ships"-- that's what the game's about.  What's important to me, rather, is to ensure that the design of the game universe is set up in such a way that there are plenty of escalating challenges out there, i.e. a logical progression of harder places to go to.

I could see something like that.  Make it a bit less one-dimensional (i.e. not have one-size-fits-all "science points", but different kinds of stuff that provides different kinds of benefits).

The challenges in KSP are 100% dv related, nothing more.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

There might be different modes, but a mode with "firsts" would necessarily have another program on Kerbin (at least 1) and if you choose to race with them, you can (or not).

Fair 'nuff, but I probably wouldn't have any interest in a feature like that myself, so for me it would just be an area of the game that took up developers' time without giving me something I'm interested in playing.

It's worth noting that the "firsts" contracts in KSP are really just milestones for the player.  "You launched a ship!"  "You made it to orbit!"  "You accomplished a rendezvous!"  A player working their way through a career is going to hit a lot of milestones along the way, and these contracts are simply a matter of calling those out and recognizing them, which not only gives an explicit nod to what the player has achieved, but also provides an injection of cash commensurate with the accomplishment.

So there's nothing about those contracts that implies a "space race", really-- at least not in terms of how it works.  It's basically just a "rewards for reaching certain milestones", which I don't see any problem with, seems pretty reasonable to me.

Having a more detailed milestone-rewards program such as you describe could work, too, I'm not opposed to that.  :)  Just saying that the mere existence of the "world firsts" contracts doesn't imply "space race" to everyone-- at least, it never has to me.

1 hour ago, tater said:

How would it be a showstopper, when I explicitly said that there would be the default seed that would be the same for all players unless you selected the alternative?

Ah, sorry, missed that.  Nice idea!  In that case, no objections, it would simply be a feature I wouldn't get any use out of.  It wouldn't get in my way, it would just be an unused feature that occupied developers' time that I, personally, would have preferred be spent on my own pet peeves.  ;)

1 hour ago, tater said:

You see nothing? Really?

Yep, really.

1 hour ago, tater said:

What are the firsts, then?

A simple and friendly way for the mechanism to acknowledge and reward the player for achieving certain milestones in their career.

1 hour ago, tater said:

Who, pray tell, abandoned those kerbals around the Mün that you are asked to rescue?

Don't know, don't really care.  All I care about is that it's a thing to do, e.g. rendezvous with something somewhere and bring it back.  I never really thought about it much, I suppose my headcanon is that it was KSC that did it, i.e. they flubbed a mission when I wasn't "on shift", so now it's my job to undo the damage they caused.

 

1 hour ago, tater said:

Also, "contracts." That implies competition

No, it just implies that there's an agreement to do something, voluntarily entered into by both sides-- commonly, an exchange of goods or services for money.

It happens to be the case that IRL government organizations generally have a competitive bidding process, yes, and all the rest of that.  I suppose one could model things that way... except that would require competition, which I absolutely do not want when I'm playing KSP.

I mean, it's just a gameplay mechanic that's common in all sorts of games:  optional tasks that the player can choose to do, with some reward for doing them, which allows the player to decide whether the reward is worth the risk / effort / investment.  In fantasy RPGs, they pick the word "quest" for this, since that meshes reasonably well with that metaphor.  KSP has chosen "contract" as the term, and it's as good as any as far as I'm concerned.

I want the game not to have competition, at least not in single-player mode-- I want the only "competition" to be me versus two things only:  cold hard engineering realities, and my own personal goals that don't need to be modeled in-game.  And I like the idea of the game presenting me with optional tasks-for-rewards.  I don't particularly care whether they choose to call 'em "contracts" or "quests" or "schneezlemoppers", it's the underlying mechanic I care about.

That said, I'll certainly grant that the actual contracts in KSP aren't especially interesting, which makes them more of a grind.  Would love to see more love given to that department.

2 hours ago, tater said:

They are not strategies at all.

*shrug*  They are what they are.   As a gameplay mechanism, the idea behind them is a way of "tuning" the game, i.e. make one thing easier as a tradeoff for making something else harder.  I see nothing at all wrong with that, as a gameplay concept.  Games do it all the time, and I think it can work great, when done well.

I just happen to think that KSP didn't handle that aspect especially well-- at least, not in a way that's at all compelling for me, in my own gameplay.

Whether they're called "strategies" or something else, that's just a word; I don't care much what they're called.  I'll agree that "strategy" is maybe not the best name for it, but then I'm not sure what else I'd call them in this context, so as far as I'm concerned it's as good a moniker as any, until I hear something better.

2 hours ago, tater said:

Can you fail to land in the Mün at the same place in career you did last time? It's not even possible. That might reset with better scatter, but once you have literally any margin, the Mün is a solved problem for eternity.

I play a lot of careers-- I'm not one of those folks who makes one KSP career and plays it year after year.  My typical KSP career lasts a month or two, depending on ambitiousness and how much play time I have available.  I start with a story arc and end-goal in mind, and when I reach that end-goal, I call it "done" and start a new career.

So "first landing on the Mun" is something I've gone through many, many times.  And I enjoy it every time.  Maybe other folks wouldn't, but I do.

Partly that's because I have a fairly high tolerance for repetition ;) ... but also because I generally try to do things a bit differently every career, and try different designs, and so forth.  So I don't have a problem with this, myself.

2 hours ago, tater said:

Career has nothing outside of your control, I'm confused.

Oh, sorry.  I was simply responding to your comments (in context, it sounded to me like you were unhappy about this) that it's not possible to "lose" career mode.  To me, that's synonymous with "there must be something outside my control" because "losing" career is not something I would do voluntarily.  I may have been misreading your intent, apologies if so.  i.e. it kinda sounded to me like you were complaining about the fact that career is predictable.

2 hours ago, tater said:

The game flattens once the tech tree is unlocked.

Depends on the player, I suppose.  Not for me, but then, I tend to play fairly short careers with predetermined end goals, so I don't spend super long periods of time with the tech tree maxed out.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I never time warp whole missions

Yah, me neither.  The one aspect of KSP that I just can't stop myself from mentally roleplaying is that I'm very jealous of the kerbals' calendar and just about every career goal comes with an implicit "...and get it done in short total calendar time", so I multi-task a lot and never have just one mission running at a time, except in early career.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I can land on the Mün once (with LS), get some more tech, then skip to Minmus and unlock pretty much the whole tree with one lander (hop to every "biome" (that name needs to go, biome implies biology), unlock tree).

Yep, I remember being disappointed when I discovered that was possible, on my first KSP career (though I can understand the rationale behind it, given the diversity of the player base).  So now I don't do that, mainly because the "hop all over Minmus" isn't all that fun for me, so I finish off the tech tree with the rest of the solar system.

2 hours ago, tater said:

The challenges in KSP are 100% dv related, nothing more.

Well, only in the sense that everything involves rockets, and rockets have dV.  There are other considerations as well (aerodynamics, TWR, stability, etc.), not to mention personal goals / "house rules" / etc. -- the interplay of all these tradeoffs  is what makes KSP so enduringly fun for me, and why I haven't gotten bored of it after five years playing.

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Some features I would love to see:

  • Free-form targeting
    • "Target select" specific orbits and orbital keyholes
    • Destination targeting on map surfaces
  • Airport landing HUD
  • Destination points on maps (i.e.: KSC and airports)
  • The ability to construct space centers on other planetary bodies
  • The ability to construct mass accelerators and rail lines (mass driver, railroads, and maglevs)
  • Spacecraft component simulators (launches, re-entry, takeoffs, approaches, vacuum, etc.)
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One of the things I love about KSP is the modability of it.  Take any of the examples listed by @Snark and @tater, add just one mod and the game can take on a whole new aspect.  Star Theory kept saying that they are creating a platform.  So what if some pet thing isn't in the stock game  it can and will be modded in.  Let Star Theory provide a good enough platform and there will be a host of modders with ideas no one had ever thought of.

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For my two cents, I'll just link to this....

I suppose if resource extraction is to be a thing, then a KCT function would also be. I was more after the additional science/engineer duties farther down that post.

Edited by StrandedonEarth
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21 minutes ago, Snark said:

Having a more detailed milestone-rewards program such as you describe could work, too, I'm not opposed to that.  :)  Just saying that the mere existence of the "world firsts" contracts doesn't imply "space race" to everyone-- at least, it never has to me.

It's implied literally nothing else to me, ever.

 

23 minutes ago, Snark said:

Don't know, don't really care.  All I care about is that it's a thing to do, e.g. rendezvous with something somewhere and bring it back.  I never really thought about it much, I suppose my headcanon is that it was KSC that did it, i.e. they flubbed a mission when I wasn't "on shift", so now it's my job to undo the damage they caused.

 

It's career mode. By definition a story. I can't imagine not wondering how the kerbals got there, particularly before they had spacecraft with them.

before they added spacecraft I actually suggested a detailed rescue mission scheme where they would be COMPLETE spacecraft (so a CSM, or lander), with either broken parts (engine or leg smashed landing, etc), or out of propellant. Then the rescues either ask for docking and refilling (so they can RTB themselves), or repair (something for engineers to do), else rescue of the crew.

 

27 minutes ago, Snark said:

No, it just implies that there's an agreement to do something, voluntarily entered into by both sides-- commonly, an exchange of goods or services for money.

Except they offer me money, when I am a monopoly. Why would I take random tourists to 3 different places (typical ask) for a few thousand, when I could offer 10 spots at whatever rate I like, on whatever trip I like, and they literally have no choice?

A contract is indeed what you say, but as the only game in town, I should be in the driver's seat. If they offer me contracts I constantly decline, they need to come back with the same ask for more money until I accept---unless there is competition, in which case presumably the competition takes them (and if crewed, leaves all those stranded kerbals).

29 minutes ago, Snark said:

I play a lot of careers-- I'm not one of those folks who makes one KSP career and plays it year after year.  My typical KSP career lasts a month or two, depending on ambitiousness and how much play time I have available.  I start with a story arc and end-goal in mind, and when I reach that end-goal, I call it "done" and start a new career.

I do the same, almost all my play is career mode, and I at the very least start one with every single update to the game, or with every single update to mods I use. So loads of career experience, more hours than I can count.

31 minutes ago, Snark said:

Oh, sorry.  I was simply responding to your comments (in context, it sounded to me like you were unhappy about this) that it's not possible to "lose" career mode.  To me, that's synonymous with "there must be something outside my control" because "losing" career is not something I would do voluntarily.  I may have been misreading your intent, apologies if so.  i.e. it kinda sounded to me like you were complaining about the fact that career is predictable.

I am exactly complaining it is predictable.

SpaceX very nearly failed at the start. Most of the small launch companies will fail (some already have). I want that as a non-zero possibility. Why? Because it means there is a challenge. As both of us know, with numerous careers under our belts, it's completely impossible to not succeed, every single time. Nothing is different, ever. The only fun I've had in recent career play was rescaling the solar system slightly (with stock parts). I've done 3.2 and 4X planets, with 6.4X distances, for example, all with stock sized parts. Then everything (the first time I did it) was trial and error. Old sure thing designs... not sure things anymore. (worth trying if you haven't, it's like playing a new game the first time---and that's what I want from replay of career, having played so very many).

36 minutes ago, Snark said:

Yah, me neither.  The one aspect of KSP that I just can't stop myself from mentally roleplaying is that I'm very jealous of the kerbals' calendar and just about every career goal comes with an implicit "...and get it done in short total calendar time", so I multi-task a lot and never have just one mission running at a time, except in early career.

Same, although my timing is more about orbital mechanics. Time is meaningless in stock KSP, sadly. That's the great benefit of LS mods at any level, you have to consider timing, and problems might require novel solutions (trial and error Minmus trip in scaled up system with LS not having enough LS which I realized shortly (some days) after TMI---I managed to alter trajectory to swing by the Mün and reenter Kerbin, blew my entire Minmus mission, and went back to the drawing board with more LS). Minus LS, not a problem to solve (way more fun to have the problem!). Apollo 13 moments should be a GOAL, they are FUN.

40 minutes ago, Snark said:

Well, only in the sense that everything involves rockets, and rockets have dV.  There are other considerations as well (aerodynamics, TWR, stability, etc.), not to mention personal goals / "house rules" / etc. -- the interplay of all these tradeoffs  is what makes KSP so enduringly fun for me, and why I haven't gotten bored of it after five years playing.

I don't do aerodynamics at all, I make rockets, not spaceplanes (spaceplanes never interested me at all, and I find horizontal landing almost anywhere not a runway to be silly, I guess that is a house rule).

14 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

One of the things I love about KSP is the modability of it.  Take any of the examples listed by @Snark and @tater, add just one mod and the game can take on a whole new aspect.  Star Theory kept saying that they are creating a platform.  So what if some pet thing isn't in the stock game  it can and will be modded in.  Let Star Theory provide a good enough platform and there will be a host of modders with ideas no one had ever thought of.

Yeah, I agree. the problem is that the ONE part of KSP that has never been really well modded is career, because it's impossible to do. There have been nice attempts, but they are not great---not because of the modders, but because of the limitations of what they can possibly do to fix it.

That's why I've always been focused on the core career game as a dev fix, not a mod fix. How do you add an NPC space program as a mod to compete against? How would you add a better economic system? I've tried all the career mods, some do really well within the context of KSP and what it can do... still a meh experience, particularly replay.

I want fog of war, for example. A solar system where I know what astronomers would know from kerbin, and nothing more.

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25 minutes ago, tater said:

Except they offer me money, when I am a monopoly. Why would I take random tourists to 3 different places (typical ask) for a few thousand, when I could offer 10 spots at whatever rate I like, on whatever trip I like, and they literally have no choice?

Presumably because if you take them there, you get money and/or prestige that you consider to be worth it.  Or else you don't think it's worth it, so you don't take the contract.

Are you saying you don't want optional tasks-with-rewards in the game?  It's a mechanic I happen to like, myself.  I'd like it if the tasks themselves were more interesting, and also if there were more challenging tasks (with commensurate rewards), but I like the basic idea itself.

27 minutes ago, tater said:

I am exactly complaining it is predictable.

Fair 'nuff.  Some people like predictable, some like unpredictable.  Different folks, different tastes.  ;)

28 minutes ago, tater said:

As both of us know, with numerous careers under our belts, it's completely impossible to not succeed, every single time. Nothing is different, ever.

I know, it's great!  That means I have a completely consistent environment, so the new and different things that happen in my careers are that way because I chose to make them that way.

Which of course is just me, but that's my point.  Different folks like different things.  The challenge for a game like KSP, which has a very diverse audience, is to come up with designs that cater to different people's needs.

30 minutes ago, tater said:

I don't do aerodynamics at all, I make rockets, not spaceplanes (spaceplanes never interested me at all, and I find horizontal landing almost anywhere not a runway to be silly, I guess that is a house rule).

Well, at least you have to deal with aerodynamics inasmuch as what you build needs to be aerodynamically stable.  And if you choose to build something that's very non-aerodynamic, it can have performance implications.

(And I have no use for spaceplanes myself, either, though I understand why they appeal to other folks.)

1 hour ago, wahuzu said:

The ability to construct space centers on other planetary bodies

From what we've heard, it sounds as though that's kinda what colonies are.

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11 hours ago, cubinator said:

More parts = more versatility in what I can create. Potentially, that includes a more complex version of the Rubik's Cube I once created in KSP1.

Oooh that's cool.

Edited by Bartybum
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4 hours ago, Marachdrifter said:

I think there should be a kind of archive in KSP2. 

I mean by that is that I should be able to look at a timeline or something like that, that keep track of the milestones of my space program. So that after a year of playing I can remember that I first got to orbit at this date, in a ship that was named this, with this crew on board. And for each event like that, you can add pictures, mission patch and write something.  There would be automatic milestones (each time you first reach another planet for exemple, and we could flag any mission as a milestone if we wish. 

Civ 6 does that sort of thing, so at the end of the game, you can watch back your acheivements

I think it woulkd add a gameplay mechanic that can be optional, but that many payer would want to do.

That's a great idea

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50 minutes ago, Snark said:

Presumably because if you take them there, you get money and/or prestige that you consider to be worth it.  Or else you don't think it's worth it, so you don't take the contract.

Are you saying you don't want optional tasks-with-rewards in the game?  It's a mechanic I happen to like, myself.  I'd like it if the tasks themselves were more interesting, and also if there were more challenging tasks (with commensurate rewards), but I like the basic idea itself.

"Contracts" in current KSP includes things I would prefer called "Missions." Anything you see NASA doing---that's a mission (or a program, I suppose).

I'd prefer a "Mission Planning Office" where I, the player, set the goals. If I am playing as a NASA-like entity, then I would need to explicitly set that mission, and the game (via some mechanism that likely varies with diff level, etc) assigns me a budge to accomplish the goal I set. It might also offer me some tech points to buy required tech, as well (I'd make tech purchase more complex as well (in a good way, do things that make sense to earn the tech, like fly kerbals in space to get new capsule designs, rendezvous to get docking ports, etc).

For true contracts---external entities seeking services---I'm fine with them. If I reject them, instead of them not being offered to me to reject, I'd prefer that they come back with a better offer (commensurate with my current tech level). If there are competitors, then they presumably go to them. Imagine the game has a certain number of other programs. You have no need to compete with them unless you choose to, but they exist. They develop, and if you don't take a contract, they DO. Also, assume for argument that the contracts are actually well designed. Sat contracts supply you with sats (maybe multiples for some launches... like deploy X sats in Y planes for some amount), Station contracts might supply the station element to place, etc. No "test giant sea level booster in a suborbital trajectory around the Mün."

Eventually you don't see the ones you ignore, because the other guys are doing them. If the game economics are such that you need to get contracts (sensible, else why bother with funds at all?) then this might become an issue at some point for you.

For a NASA-like program, instead of contracts, I would propose different institutions propose...

Say their JPL has a budget of X proposes to land a rover on Duna, and drive it at least Y km on the surface. That's a cool mission to get. There could be versions where you build the rover, other versions where they supply one (different challenges, clearly).

The bottom line is that currently taking them or not taking them has no bearing at all on continuing career mode. There is nothing you can possibly do to fail at having a rocket company (certainly not for anyone experienced in the game). If taking them mattered, and completing them mattered (in a real timeframe, the current mission timers are nonsense, because time is completely meaningless in KSP, that needs to change), then they become something they are not. I can design my own useless side quests. Launch  s station that holds X kerbals into solar orbit for a few year's worth of budget? I don't want to have to play by house rules to avoid swimming in money, if the career mode can be gamed/farmed for funds, it's broken.

50 minutes ago, Snark said:

Fair 'nuff.  Some people like predictable, some like unpredictable.  Different folks, different tastes.  ;)

I'm not sure how predictable replay could be fun... it sort of defeats the very purpose of career mode. I want the game to push me into novel problems to solve in career mode that I don;t expect. Problems I expect... I can fake those in sandbox. I can't know about the problems I don't know about. It's like combat flight sims, best flights are often those where I have to limp a crippled plane home.

50 minutes ago, Snark said:

I know, it's great!  That means I have a completely consistent environment, so the new and different things that happen in my careers are that way because I chose to make them that way.

Which of course is just me, but that's my point.  Different folks like different things.  The challenge for a game like KSP, which has a very diverse audience, is to come up with designs that cater to different people's needs.

Then why not sandbox? I'm at a complete loss here. I do sandbox as well---I do it for exactly the gameplay you are describing.

50 minutes ago, Snark said:

Well, at least you have to deal with aerodynamics inasmuch as what you build needs to be aerodynamically stable.  And if you choose to build something that's very non-aerodynamic, it can have performance implications.

(And I have no use for spaceplanes myself, either, though I understand why they appeal to other folks.)

From what we've heard, it sounds as though that's kinda what colonies are.

Colonies are interesting, and a career endpoint I would like to see (first outposts, then full colonies). Time of course is what is 100% lacking from KSP, though. There is a irrational fear of "warping" in KSP. Propose mechanisms where R&D or building ships takes time (like you'd hit "build" in the VAB and know that it would take weeks or months for the thing to be ready---you could have 2 buttons, one where you play your existing stuff (as we both seem to with continuing missions multiple places), the other would simply warp the game ahead X months, ready to fly (fast time warp MUST be a thing in KSP2 with interstellar travel, after all, max time warp in current KSP is far too slow even for 3.2X distances). Real time progression makes all kinds of things interesting. It makes developing reusable rockets more of a thing---since you can be building one, and have a barn with rockets ready to refly.

There's another thing career lacks, a good mechanism for cost to matter (hence reuse).

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4 hours ago, tater said:

You see nothing? Really? What are the firsts, then?

They're for you getting there for the first time.

If there was a space race, it would be possible for you to not be the first to land on Mun.

If you start a career right now, and over the course of that career go everywhere from Moho to Eeloo but do NOT land on Mun ever, and then you land on Mun... You get the Worlds First award for it. Are you telling me the competing space program didn't even bother to land on Mun during those decades you were going everywhere else?

I don't know for sure how the contracts generate (they may require you to have landed before they generate a rescue contract from the surface), but I know for sure that if a contract put a STRANDED KERBAL on the surface of Mun and you went to rescue him on your very first landing there, you'd STILL get the award for landing there first.

11 minutes ago, tater said:

I'd prefer a "Mission Planning Office" where I, the player, set the goals. If I am playing as a NASA-like entity, then I would need to explicitly set that mission, and the game (via some mechanism that likely varies with diff level, etc) assigns me a budge to accomplish the goal I set. It might also offer me some tech points to buy required tech, as well (I'd make tech purchase more complex as well (in a good way, do things that make sense to earn the tech, like fly kerbals in space to get new capsule designs, rendezvous to get docking ports, etc).

I'd prefer that too. No clue how it'd work exactly and how you'd figure out payment before and or after but I'd still love it.

13 minutes ago, tater said:

Then why not sandbox?

I'm with Snark on this one. I have started... geez dozens if not 100 or more careers over the years. I've tried planet packs (JNSQ is AWESOME) but really you can't beat just knowing by heart the system. The system Kerbin is a part of (I'm trying to not hate the word Kerbol. I really am. I throw up in my mouth a little each time I say it) is burned into my brain in the same way that our Solar system is. Possibly with more clarity. But I still, to this day, enjoy setting up a new career and doing those first new steps. Going into Sandbox and just having all the stuff at the start would bore me almost instantly. It DID bore me almost instantly. I actually stopped playing way back before Career mode existed, and when it was introduced I came back and played for YEARS on it.

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11 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

I don't know for sure how the contracts generate (they may require you to have landed before they generate a rescue contract from the surface), but I know for sure that if a contract put a STRANDED KERBAL on the surface of Mun and you went to rescue him on your very first landing there, you'd STILL get the award for landing there first.

Yeah, true. I realize that the firsts can be your firsts---but they exist in a game world where there are definitively other space programs in existence since kerbals get stranded by "not my space program."

There is no answer to the question: "Are there space programs on Kerbin that are not owned by the player?" that is not "Yes."

They're also demonstrably competing with me (poorly) since they strand people wherever I have just been, lol. Fast followers, not such great equipment.

I'd really like a way to mess with different economics of spaceflight (within a very abstracted kerbal economy, no need to get into the weeds, doing it well is just a game design issue, no need for spreadsheets). Ie: start a career with a company with a tourist focus, and see if that can work. Start one with a launch provider focus. See if it's possible to create a space economy (that's pretty non-trivial). It would require a more detailed economic abstraction, but could be interesting (and make all the hooks things that modders can use).

Edited by tater
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2 hours ago, Snark said:

Yep, I remember being disappointed when I discovered that was possible, on my first KSP career (though I can understand the rationale behind it, given the diversity of the player base).  So now I don't do that, mainly because the "hop all over Minmus" isn't all that fun for me, so I finish off the tech tree with the rest of the solar system.

Yeah, I put a hard limit on myself for that.

If I want other biomes on the same body then I *have* to use a rover to get them.  And not a 4k dV jumper... A real rolling rover.  I can do small jumps to get over obstacles (like some insane mountains I've encountered that I cannot climb by rolling... on Moho) but otherwise no jumping.
It's a personal limitation for challenge, and extending my career's play-cycle.  Or I can just land ONCE on a planet's biome and get whatever I can.  The only 3 bodies I haven't roved on yet are Bop, Pol and Tylo.  The first 2 because so low-G makes it annoying, the last one because it's large and like Kerbin without seas, atmo and vegetation.

Everyone has their play-styles.  One LPer I watched got a kicked of re-landing his launchers every mission (I couldn't play that way myself, I'd gone insane, lol) and then brought new modules/supply to a Mün colony... Then he started to get really bad frames because the colony grew.  Again, I can't do that, But to each their own fun and pleasures ;) 
That's what I like about KSP, the free-form play that so MANY modern AAA games lack, and I have no doubt it's staying into KSP2 tho it's a hope of mine that all these possibilities stay there and are encouraged.

 

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2 hours ago, tater said:

"Contracts" in current KSP includes things I would prefer called "Missions."

Okay.  I like the basic mechanic, I don't care all that much what it's called.  I kind of prefer "contract" because that feels to me like a more accurate description of what it is, i.e. a "deal" of doing something for a client in exchange for money.  "Mission" isn't a good term, for me, since to me any launch I do is a "mission"; it's too general.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I'd prefer a "Mission Planning Office" where I, the player, set the goals. If I am playing as a NASA-like entity, then I would need to explicitly set that mission, and the game (via some mechanism that likely varies with diff level, etc) assigns me a budge to accomplish the goal I set.

I wouldn't enjoy that, myself, because I'd find it too much of a straitjacket.  If I have a pool of money, I want to be able to do with it as I please, and let the need to economize (or not) help to drive that.

2 hours ago, tater said:

The bottom line is that currently taking them or not taking them has no bearing at all on continuing career mode.

Sure it does.  It gets money.

Whether that's enough to justify them is a matter of taste, of course, but it's not zero.

2 hours ago, tater said:

Launch  s station that holds X kerbals into solar orbit for a few year's worth of budget? I don't want to have to play by house rules to avoid swimming in money, if the career mode can be gamed/farmed for funds, it's broken.

Well, babies and bathwater aren't the same thing.  Like I said, I certainly agree that the specific nature of the contracts could use some improvement.  e.g. the lucrative rewards for solar-orbit stations are far disproportionate to the trivial amount of effort required, and so forth.  I'd love to see contracts that have a better match of effort to value, and more interesting, sure.  But the basic idea of "present me with things I can choose to do, which will generate money and perhaps nudge me to try new or difficult things", I'd like to keep.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I'm not sure how predictable replay could be fun... it sort of defeats the very purpose of career mode.

It would, if one's purpose for career mode is to be unpredictable.  If yours is, fine, nothing wrong with that.  But different people like different things.  Not sure what your "purpose" of career mode is, but mine is to enjoy myself in what I find to be an interestingly constrained situation.  And a predictable environment is one that I enjoy more, because it lets me do the things that I like to do.

Plenty of games have predictable environments where the same thing happens every time-- doesn't stop people from enjoying it.  I like playing with Legos, too, and those are about as predictable as one can get.

Tastes differ.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I want the game to push me into novel problems to solve in career mode that I don;t expect.

I like novel problems.  I don't like things I don't expect.  In my case, I satisfy the "novel problems" by choosing different approaches per game.

I'd love it if the contract system could provide meaningful novel problems, too-- I'll grant that the current one doesn't.  But I'd contend that the current contract system's issue isn't the fact of contracts per se, but rather the nature of the contracts that it provides.

2 hours ago, tater said:

Then why not sandbox?

Because that would eliminate constraints that I want to keep.  Sandbox has infinite money; I don't like that.  Sandbox has all kerbals at level 5 experience; I don't like that.  Sandbox has the whole tech tree exposed from the start; that robs me of much of my enjoyment of the game, because I love going out there and getting science to unlock stuff, and the interestingly constrained problem of building ships when I don't have every single snazzy piece at my disposal.

Not saying that my way is "right", any more than anyone else's-- but neither is it less, either.  It's a perfectly valid way to play.

2 hours ago, tater said:

I'm at a complete loss here.

...that not everyone likes the same things you do?

It really is a diverse community.  Most players never go interplanetary, and (at least based on the sample I saw at PAX) most never even make it to the Mun.  Which completely blows my mind-- it's hard for me to conceive of that, because to me going to those places is what the game is about.  And yet here is not just one or two, but an actual majority of the community-- so clearly my way is not the only way to look at things, there.

Some people swear by MechJeb because the game is too tedious and boring for them if they can't automate launches to LKO and so forth.  Other people don't want it, because for them getting to orbit is fun and using a tool like MechJeb would reduce their enjoyment, not increase it.  One person's tedious chore is another's fun pastime.

Some people enjoy spending hours driving rovers for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers across planetary surfaces; trying to do that would rapidly drive me kerbicidally insane.

A lot of folks like flying spaceplanes-- enough that the game has made a major investment in them.  But I have very little use for them, myself.

And so on, and so forth.

2 hours ago, tater said:

There's another thing career lacks, a good mechanism for cost to matter (hence reuse).

Yah, I'd like to see more of that myself-- some way for cost to matter more, without turning things into a money grind.

One thing that I think is encouraging about KSP2, based on what I've heard thus far, is that they'd like to make it so that you can have multiple ships flying in atmosphere at once, and allow continuing accleration after switching ships.  That would make reusable boosters and so forth a lot more practical-- KSP 1's one-ship-at-a-time on-rails approach makes doing that awkward and difficult, and/or requires specialized mods.  Having a game where reusability is something you can actually design for would make this more of a thing, which I think I'd like.

2 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I have started... geez dozens if not 100 or more careers over the years. I've tried planet packs (JNSQ is AWESOME) but really you can't beat just knowing by heart the system. The system Kerbin is a part of (I'm trying to not hate the word Kerbol. I really am. I throw up in my mouth a little each time I say it) is burned into my brain in the same way that our Solar system is. Possibly with more clarity. But I still, to this day, enjoy setting up a new career and doing those first new steps. Going into Sandbox and just having all the stuff at the start would bore me almost instantly. It DID bore me almost instantly. I actually stopped playing way back before Career mode existed, and when it was introduced I came back and played for YEARS on it.

^ This sums up my own experience just about verbatim.  I mean, the whole darn paragraph, every single thing, word for word.  (Well, except the bit about "Kerbol", which I actually like.)  :sticktongue:

Sandbox bores me to tears.  I use it when I'm testing out a new mod or something, for example, so I'm really glad it exists; but other than that I simply have no use for it, it's not something I'm going to spend significant time in.

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1 hour ago, Snark said:

Okay.  I like the basic mechanic, I don't care all that much what it's called.  I kind of prefer "contract" because that feels to me like a more accurate description of what it is, i.e. a "deal" of doing something for a client in exchange for money.  "Mission" isn't a good term, for me, since to me any launch I do is a "mission"; it's too general.

Fair enough. Program. What do you call getting  men to orbit in the US? Mercury Program.

What did you call the first set of landings on Mars? Project Viking.

Mission, program, whatever. Not a contract.

1 hour ago, Snark said:

I wouldn't enjoy that, myself, because I'd find it too much of a straitjacket.  If I have a pool of money, I want to be able to do with it as I please, and let the need to economize (or not) help to drive that.

You'd set that. If you are a NASA, you ask for money for things, then you spend the money to do the things. That's your "contract," do the things you promise to do, in the timeframe you promise to do them, or lose rep---which could reduce your budget. "Career" has to have some consequences, or it might as well not be done at all, and be sandbox (or science mode---the difference betwen science and career is MONEY. It HAS to matter, or why bother?

1 hour ago, Snark said:

Sure it does.  It gets money.

Whether that's enough to justify them is a matter of taste, of course, but it's not zero.

Just doing stuff ("firsts") makes money, more than you can spend.

1 hour ago, Snark said:

Yah, I'd like to see more of that myself-- some way for cost to matter more, without turning things into a money grind.

You can do an entire career taking no contracts other than the exploration you would do anyway. Money in stock career doesn't matter at all.

I don't like grinds, I like constraints. The only time I ever feel financial constraint---and I play almost exclusively in career mode---is the first few missions when I have limited funds and parts. i actually have to choose, upgrade this, or R&D that (I keep it so I have to pay for R&D, too). Once I get to the Mün? No more concerns about funds at all. Ever.

Not matter, more, matter at all would be a start. If it forces me to do dumb "splashdown a jet engine" contracts, then that's a grind.

As for automation... I'm actually fine with that, though I don't use it. For KSP2, it seems required logistically (hard to have to do every docking yourself in a multi-starsystem spacefaring culture...).

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Multiple screen support

For example: Ability to extend the game over multiple screens and then be able offset the camera so that the vehicle is not hidden behind the screen bezels. This will allow for choice to keep open information windows on the extra screens and not hide the vehicle from sight like when something like Mechjeb is used.

Here's an example from EVE Online. The bezels would be in the middle of the image.

2hoZEhA.jpg

Eve Online EP9 - Dual Monitor Setup

EVE Triple Monitor Setup - How To Play EVE on Multiple Monitors

Edited by Thayn The Gamer
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6 hours ago, tater said:

Just doing stuff ("firsts") makes money, more than you can spend.

Not exactly true. If you're frugal you can upgrade every building and max out the tech tree but then the money'd dry up pretty quick after that. Especially if you don't use strategies to turn science and rep into more money. I know because of this:

 

 

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Requesting for: able to control orion drive nuclear bomb detonation distance.

Basically, a slider controls how far from the craft the bombs exolode. Lower distances increase thrust, but damages rear deflector plates more. Higher distances decrease thrust, but deals less damage.

This request has nothing to do with the fact I will totally not use the orion drive for nuclear bombing the KSC.

Edited by Xd the great
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