Tweeker

One Critical thing that must be changed in KSP 2

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     One of the largest problems in KSP is the scaled preformance of the engines.  In particular several of the real world engines are terribly out of scale (performance wise)  in KSP.   To get this right the dev team needs to choose a scale to use when kerbalizing real world engine.

       For example most parts in KSP  are about 66% of real world size. You can re-create parts that look mostly correct,  by reducing a part to 66% size, and slotting it into one of the sizes, .0625m, 1.25m 2.5m, etc. The same should be true for performance, take the engines real-world performance and reduce it by a certain amount to find the "kerbalized" performance. 

        As a further illustration, consider the F-1 engine, it is 3.7M in diameter and 1,522,000 LB thrust {SL},  to make it kerbal scale reduce it size to ~66%. So 2.442M  which can rounded to 2.5M.  Thrust-wise the engines in KSP should be  approx  20% of the real word counterpart. That would make the F-1 ~ 304,400 lb thrust {SL}  or 1,354KN This give you an engine that is almost dead on the Mainsail or Mastodon. The important thing is to make sure every engine is scaled the same way from the real world to KSP.  

        The problem comes when parts do not follow a consistent scale, in KSP, the Mainsail/Mammoth are 20% of real world thrust,  the Vector is 50% of real-world thrust, and the Kickback is 3.7% of real world thrust.   Find a scale factor that works for the game, and scale all engine the same. 

    

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I'd rather see things balanced as a game than trying to preserve the real world performance scaling. The real world is not exactly well balanced.

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6 hours ago, TBenz said:

I'd rather see things balanced as a game than trying to preserve the real world performance scaling. The real world is not exactly well balanced.

Well it is a simulation game, 

and they do include real-world parts. 

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Tweeker said:

Well it is a simulation game, 

and they do include real-world parts. 

 

They also have AA batteries that you bolt to the side of your rocket for more EC storage. Total part realism has never exactly been the highest priority.

Sure, many of the engines take inspiration from real world analogues. But they aren't all 1:1 copies and this is not a simulation of real-world spaceflight with completely real-world rockets and parts. It's Kerbal Space Program, and has Kerbalized parts with Kerbalized stats and Kerbalized balance.

Part of making a good simulation game is knowing what parts to simulate (orbital mechanics, CoM/CoT balancing, fuel constraints, ect) and which parts to gamify (the exact ISP and thrust output for every engine).

Edited by TBenz

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3 hours ago, TBenz said:

They also have AA batteries that you bolt to the side of your rocket for more EC storage. Total part realism has never exactly been the highest priority.

Sure, many of the engines take inspiration from real world analogues. But they aren't all 1:1 copies and this is not a simulation of real-world spaceflight with completely real-world rockets and parts. It's Kerbal Space Program, and has Kerbalized parts with Kerbalized stats and Kerbalized balance.

Part of making a good simulation game is knowing what parts to simulate (orbital mechanics, CoM/CoT balancing, fuel constraints, ect) and which parts to gamify (the exact ISP and thrust output for every engine).

    I don't think it is an either/or proposition, you can have engines with real-ish stats and also have a fun game. You don't loose any thing by modeling the engines' performance in a semi-accurate way.   But if some decides they want to build a kerbalized shuttle it will be difficult, and frustrating because the SRBs are about 1/6th of the needed thrust. 

  The added realism of correctly scaled engine performance doesn't cost any thing, in terms of game play or effort. But having engines that are not balance correctly hurts the game. The space shuttle would need 12 additional rs-25 engines to replace the 2 SRBs,  A KSP shuttle can replace it's SRBs with only 1 additional vector. THAT is a problem that needs fixed.    

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tweeker said:

    I don't think it is an either/or proposition, you can have engines with real-ish stats and also have a fun game. You don't loose any thing by modeling the engines' performance in a semi-accurate way.   But if some decides they want to build a kerbalized shuttle it will be difficult, and frustrating because the SRBs are about 1/6th of the needed thrust. 

  The added realism of correctly scaled engine performance doesn't cost any thing, in terms of game play or effort. But having engines that are not balance correctly hurts the game. The space shuttle would need 12 additional rs-25 engines to replace the 2 SRBs,  A KSP shuttle can replace it's SRBs with only 1 additional vector. THAT is a problem that needs fixed.    

Then maybe what I can get from this is that there are particular cases that an inconsistent thrust scaling harms the game. I can agree with that, but they should fix those particular cases instead of changing the whole system which may potentially cause more harm than good.

I understand your point, but keep in mind that a balanced game is a lot more good fun, which is fit for KSP since even if it's regarded as a simulation game, there's still a hint of arcade to have lots of fun with. 

Interesting discussion ;)

Edited by Sticky3002

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5 hours ago, Tweeker said:

But if some decides they want to build a kerbalized shuttle it will be difficult, and frustrating because the SRBs are about 1/6th of the needed thrust.

Agreed; I've always felt that the SRBs are weirdly weak in the game. They're supposed to be the high-thrust low-ISP alternative to liquid engines, but they're not all that high-thrust at all.
I'm not such a stickler for realism that I think every engine needs to be perfectly in line with real-world performance, but the low-thrust SRBs should be fixed at least.

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When the orbital velocity is 2.6 km/s instead of 7.9 km/s like irl, any realistically balanced engine will turn your ship into an interplanetary SSTO.

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44 minutes ago, chaos_forge said:

Agreed; I've always felt that the SRBs are weirdly weak in the game. They're supposed to be the high-thrust low-ISP alternative to liquid engines, but they're not all that high-thrust at all.
I'm not such a stickler for realism that I think every engine needs to be perfectly in line with real-world performance, but the low-thrust SRBs should be fixed at least.

I think you shouldn't look at things on paper but rather how they're used in game. The Kickback still extremely useful for giving your rocket's first stage an extra kick, and I use them often in my career games. Adding Kickbacks as a booster tends to give my rocket a reasonable TWR (1.2-1.6) on the pad, and seems to fire just long enough that my rocket has a reasonable TWR after they are dropped.

The Thumper has more thrust, but oddly enough, feels like it has too much thrust in KSP. I often have to limit its thrust to use it. Same goes for the Hammer -- when I try to use them, they almost always provide too much thrust, but for not enough time.

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2 hours ago, Empiro said:

I think you shouldn't look at things on paper but rather how they're used in game.

I am thinking of it in terms of gameplay. Maybe it's because I mostly play in Sandbox but in my experience, since SRBs have a similar TWR as liquid fuel boosters, there's no reason to use them instead of LFRBs, especially considering that LFRBs can be asparagus staged for extra delta-v. This usually leads to rockets being asparagus monstrosities that look more like a pancake than the usual tower shape you'd expect from a rocket. More powerful SRBs would allow me to build taller rockets, since once I've hit the limit of how tall I can build a liquid fuel stack, slapping SRBs on it would actually increase its TWR instead of doing almost nothing.

Rockets in KSP tend to be pretty squat compared to IRL rockets. More powerful SRBs would allow taller, sleeker rockets which both look better and feel more like real life rockets.

2 hours ago, Empiro said:

When I try to use them, they almost always provide too much thrust, but for not enough time.

Thrust limiting can fix that. On the other hand if I need more thrust, there's nothing really (outside of mods) that I can do about that.

Another factor is that SRBs are usually meant for rocket cores at least a size larger than the boosters. If you look at real life rockets that use SRBs, you'll see that the SRBs tend to have a significantly smaller radius than the liquid fuel cores. So using 1.25m SRBs for a 1.25m liquid fuel core is really overkill, since they're meant for at least 2.5m cores. If you need boosters for a 1.25m core, you should be using 0.625m SRBs , which unfortunately don't exist in stock.

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41 minutes ago, chaos_forge said:

I am thinking of it in terms of gameplay. Maybe it's because I mostly play in Sandbox but in my experience, since SRBs have a similar TWR as liquid fuel boosters, there's no reason to use them instead of LFRBs, especially considering that LFRBs can be asparagus staged for extra delta-v. This usually leads to rockets being asparagus monstrosities that look more like a pancake than the usual tower shape you'd expect from a rocket. More powerful SRBs would allow me to build taller rockets, since once I've hit the limit of how tall I can build a liquid fuel stack, slapping SRBs on it would actually increase its TWR instead of doing almost nothing.

Rockets in KSP tend to be pretty squat compared to IRL rockets. More powerful SRBs would allow taller, sleeker rockets which both look better and feel more like real life rockets.

Thrust limiting can fix that. On the other hand if I need more thrust, there's nothing really (outside of mods) that I can do about that.

Another factor is that SRBs are usually meant for rocket cores at least a size larger than the boosters. If you look at real life rockets that use SRBs, you'll see that the SRBs tend to have a significantly smaller radius than the liquid fuel cores. So using 1.25m SRBs for a 1.25m liquid fuel core is really overkill, since they're meant for at least 2.5m cores. If you need boosters for a 1.25m core, you should be using 0.625m SRBs , which unfortunately don't exist in stock.

SRB's are dirt cheap in career compared to a reasonable LF booster; and they generally are much simpler to utilize than bundles of asparagus. That being said I do agree that stock lacks the variety of SRB's to make them really attractive where they should be used (early game); 1.875 tankage with a engine or two and 6 0.625 boosters can deliver small probes (< 20t) into heliocentric orbits. In stock you would need to use a triple core LF booster stack which is way overkill for this application; yet not terribly useful for many payloads. 

But the main limiter for rocket sizes in my case is the size of tankage along with KSPs wet noodle physics; engine clustering is a brute-force way to get past the tyranny of the rocket equasion but it still works. And with 5M tankage you can build pretty impressive launchers; but at that point a joint reinforcement mod becomes literally required to prevent the entire stack from obliterating it's self. 

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7 hours ago, Tweeker said:

    I don't think it is an either/or proposition, you can have engines with real-ish stats and also have a fun game. You don't loose any thing by modeling the engines' performance in a semi-accurate way.   But if some decides they want to build a kerbalized shuttle it will be difficult, and frustrating because the SRBs are about 1/6th of the needed thrust. 

  The added realism of correctly scaled engine performance doesn't cost any thing, in terms of game play or effort. But having engines that are not balance correctly hurts the game. The space shuttle would need 12 additional rs-25 engines to replace the 2 SRBs,  A KSP shuttle can replace it's SRBs with only 1 additional vector. THAT is a problem that needs fixed.    

If you sacrifice balance for realism, you do actually stand to lose things. Excessive imbalance among the engines can and will result in many players favoring certain engines and not using others, which leads to less viable design variety. And I shouldn't have to explain why less viable design variety is a bad thing for a sandbox building game.

I'm fine with discussing the SRB balance specifically. But making sweeping changes to practically every engine in the game just to improve the SRBs is a very bad approach. You only want to fix what is broken, and I would not say that the other engines are problematic from a gameplay perspective.

Now, addressing the SRBs. I'm assuming you are talking about using the kickbacks for a space shuttle replica. Lets compare a directly Kerbalized translation of the space shuttle's SRBs to the Kickbacks. The SRBs on the shuttle had a 3.7 m diameter and 45 m height. Given that we are assuming the Mainsail as an analogue to the F-1 with a rough 66% size scale, that means that space shuttle SRBs should clock in at roughly 2.5 m diameter and 30 m height. The kickbacks is 1.25 m in diameter and 15 m high. That should make it pretty clear that the kickback doesn't work as a space shuttle SRB, and shouldn't really be compared to the shuttle's boosters.

I am all for having a larger SRB to fill that need, especially since one of the things KSP 2 is trying to do is allow for larger and more ambitious ships. But buffing the SRBs to try and make them performance be "in line" with a much larger booster design doesn't seem like a good idea. In my opinion, the SRBs we have provide reasonable performance for their size/mass/cost, and any need for more powerful SRBs should be filled by new and larger parts. 

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14 hours ago, TBenz said:

If you sacrifice balance for realism, you do actually stand to lose things. Excessive imbalance among the engines can and will result in many players favoring certain engines and not using others, which leads to less viable design variety. And I shouldn't have to explain why less viable design variety is a bad thing for a sandbox building game.

I'm fine with discussing the SRB balance specifically. But making sweeping changes to practically every engine in the game just to improve the SRBs is a very bad approach. You only want to fix what is broken, and I would not say that the other engines are problematic from a gameplay perspective.

Now, addressing the SRBs. I'm assuming you are talking about using the kickbacks for a space shuttle replica. Lets compare a directly Kerbalized translation of the space shuttle's SRBs to the Kickbacks. The SRBs on the shuttle had a 3.7 m diameter and 45 m height. Given that we are assuming the Mainsail as an analogue to the F-1 with a rough 66% size scale, that means that space shuttle SRBs should clock in at roughly 2.5 m diameter and 30 m height. The kickbacks is 1.25 m in diameter and 15 m high. That should make it pretty clear that the kickback doesn't work as a space shuttle SRB, and shouldn't really be compared to the shuttle's boosters.

I am all for having a larger SRB to fill that need, especially since one of the things KSP 2 is trying to do is allow for larger and more ambitious ships. But buffing the SRBs to try and make them performance be "in line" with a much larger booster design doesn't seem like a good idea. In my opinion, the SRBs we have provide reasonable performance for their size/mass/cost, and any need for more powerful SRBs should be filled by new and larger parts. 

   The problem is the Kickback is clearly a space shuttle SRB, the name is even a nod to the bribery scandal of the real-life shuttle boosters. But in-game they don't work as shuttle booster, for a couple of reasons. They are too physically small, as you have noticed, their performance is lacking, they should have about 1.75 to 2 time the performance of a mainsail. and thirdly, the associated LF engine, the vector is too powerful.

        If you bring the Kickback up to where it's performance should be, {~2600KN}  then you end up with a shuttle that can go interplanetary. If you reduce the vector to were it should be performance-wise,  { ~450 KN} you can build a kerbal version of the  space shuttle that preforms in a scale-correct manor.  You also add some interesting game play possibilities  such as building pyrios boosters for the shuttle.

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I'm hoping that KSP2 will be more consistent with units used.  KSP has plenty of real world units such as ISP and thrust, but it also has unknown units, such as fuel.

Using SI units for everything will allow us to fully understand how everything is working and may make it easier to balance parts to each other and the scale of the solar system in game.

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Posted (edited)

I think it's entirely possible to balance realism with gameplay considerations in KSP.

RL numbers don't necessarily need to be used, but like earlier posts have said, all the parts should use roughly the same scale factor so as to maintain the correct RL relationships to each other.

Otherwise you end up with some parts being OP (like the vector) or nearly useless (like the SRBs in general) and make building functional replicas of RL craft much more difficult.

A bit of a tangent, but one additional gameplay consideration I would like to see is part upgradeability. I don't like useless parts cluttering up the parts tab, so I would like to see parts upgrades used to keep all parts relevant throughout the game (i.e. tech tree). For example, you unlock a 1.25m LF engine early on. It's early in the game, so it can't be too good of an engine. However, rather than having it become completely obsolete at some point, you can upgrade it to the latest and greatest 1.25m engine that's objectively better than the old one in every way. For all intents and purposes it's a completely new engine, but it replaces the old 1.25m engine in the parts list since there's no reason to use the old engine anymore (unless you use a semi-hidden option to use the old engine anyways).

Edited by Lord Aurelius

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3 hours ago, Lord Aurelius said:

A bit of a tangent, but one additional gameplay consideration I would like to see is part upgradeability. I don't like useless parts cluttering up the parts tab, so I would like to see parts upgrades used to keep all parts relevant throughout the game (i.e. tech tree).

There's a mod that does this. Apparently there are some unused bits of code that suggest that upgrades were considered in the base game, but never fully implemented. It would be cool if that made into KSP2.

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This is hardly critical.

Everyone has their pet priority but as niches within niches SRB performance is a small one even by KSP standards.

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15 hours ago, Tweeker said:

    But in-game they don't work as shuttle booster, for a couple of reasons. They are too physically small

 

Your shuttle is too big. It's a matter of perspective, see.

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On 8/22/2019 at 12:47 AM, Brikoleur said:

This is hardly critical.

Everyone has their pet priority but as niches within niches SRB performance is a small one even by KSP standards.

It is not only SRB,  there are several liquid fuel engines that are out of balance, 

of the top of my head, all these engines need atleast a 20% thrust adjustment:

Twin Boar
NERV
Mastodon              
Bobcat
Cheetah
Skiff
Mammoth
Vector
Puff
Rhino
Wolfhound
 

There is only one SRB on that list.

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If you look at the differences of orbital velocity between stock and real world and the required DeltaV, stock parts are just about exactly where they should be.

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On 8/21/2019 at 6:35 PM, Lord Aurelius said:

A bit of a tangent, but one additional gameplay consideration I would like to see is part upgradeability. I don't like useless parts cluttering up the parts tab, so I would like to see parts upgrades used to keep all parts relevant throughout the game (i.e. tech tree).

I hope that's the case, I think they did that to give to the trailer a more nostalgic look to engage more with the veterans of the game but that Poodle that uses the old mesh instead of the reworked one is bothering me more than it should.

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On 8/25/2019 at 4:34 PM, Citizen247 said:

If you look at the differences of orbital velocity between stock and real world and the required DeltaV, stock parts are just about exactly where they should be.

Some parts are about where they should be, I think 18-20% of real world thrust works well.  

the Mainsail/Mammoth for example, are almost dead on this. 

The Twin Boar, for example needs to be about + 50% thrust to put it inline with the proposed Pyrios booster, (2X F-1s) or double the Mainsail/Mammoth.

Others like the Wolfhound, are extremely OP,   It has 4X the thrust of the real-world version,  (375.00 KN in KSP vs 97KN Real-world). 

 

So you have one engine, the Kickback that is 5.5% of real world thrust, 

and another, the Wolfhound that is 384% of real world thrust. 

 

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It’s a game. The engines need to be balanced against each other, not against such RL counterparts as they may have. Otherwise there would only be a handful of engines anyone would bother to use. Remember that cost and reliability aren’t concerns in KSP, unlike real life.

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Yeah but the Kickback is so underpowered that there's very little reason to use it. That's not good balance, that's a waste of computer resources. It should be either fixed or removed.

Conversely, the Wolfhound was so overpowered when it debuted (and remains a bit OP even after the nerf) that many challenges on this forum and elsewhere banned its use. Again, that's not good balance. In this case, barring any externally imposed rules, it makes a bunch of other engines an inferior choice.

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