Rejected Spawn

Career issue gone from bad to horrible: Contracts.

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The arrival of Breaking Ground was probably the happiest surprise related to KSP1 since I started playing a few years ago, but one thing that it has soured is the contract system. The contracts were already terrible, loads of them make very little sense and if you are sick and tired of certain types of them you can't just block them - you have to manually keep declining each and every one of them forever and hope the game randomly offers something you want to do. Now that Breaking Ground introduced a number of new types of contracts this has gotten completely out of hand, I've spent up to several minutes in a row doing nothing but declining extremely undesired contracts that keep respawning just to get a dozen good contracts of the types I have any desire to deal with. I did get out ahead of this situation and posted my concerns before the DLC dropped and @St4rdust did relay the information to devs for which I am grateful, however I feel far from convinced that the issue was placed on the "urgent issues" list.

I'm well aware that Career Mode is actually not as popular among players as one might expect and that such a thing might seem like a good reason to put low priority on fixing career mode issues, however there is ample indication that the contract system is one of the absolute biggest reasons -if not THE reason- why many players shun the game mode in the first place. When players call Career Mode "grindy" it is more often than not primarily because of the contracts. Across the forum there are already many suggested solutions to the multiple issues with contracts, I'll refrain from regurgitating everything I've seen and just list what I estimate to be the most useful key points below for dev conscideration:

<>  VASTLY increase the number of concurrent contracts that can be viewed and accepted. This should be done regardless of any other changes made to contracts, having to sit through loadscreens every few minutes just to find a new desirable contract is grindy.

<>  Either split the entire contract list into categories and have each generate a good number of contracts regardless of what's going on with all other categories, or make it possible to block certain types of contracts from spawning at all.

<>  Make the contracts sortable by location in some way, either by listing them neatly sorted by location or by having a filter function to show/hide contracts for specific regions.

<>  Some contracts generate horrifying numbers of messages in the log, the log needs a purge button and there needs to be an option to disable log spam. (Take 12 contracts to ferry tourists to Kerbin orbit and back, send all of them on a big cruise ship and land safely to cash in. You now have over a HUNDRED log messages from a single 10 minute trip, the message window stops working properly after a few such trips and you have to manually click to delete every single one of these messages that extremely fast can number in the thousands.)

Other suggestions of lower urgency:

<>  Ability to clear the contract history without resorting to using a cheat menu or tampering with the save file.

<>  Add strategies to the Administration Building that greatly influence the contract generation; sacrifice cash or fame to generate more contracts of several user specified types while all other types generate in far lower numbers.

<>  Make the "active contracts" tab more user friendly, most notably there should be no reason it can't scale depending on number of active contracts.

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I exclusively play career. It's the best game mode, though only with mods is the contract choice pleasant enough to entertain.

 

 

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Well the idea is that you can't always have lucrative things to do: in a carreer you have to sometimes do other things you might not do "for fun" - that's sandbox.

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but come on some contracts are just repetitive and waste your time e.g launch a satellite with xyz on it in x orbit at x inclination

I think that tourism contracts should pay more and part testing contracts should be removed also tourism should be rarer than it is now

currently some of the progression contracts actually restrict progress as you will not get a contract to do x if you have already done it so it forces you to e.g dock around the mun before orbiting minmus

the progression contracts should be reworked to allow 2 options so you have to do both but it does not make you do one before the other.

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Solution: Don't make random side quests your primary gameplay loop.  The entire thing needs a rebuild and I sincerely hope Star Theory isn't bringing any of it over for nostalgia's sake.

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On 12/11/2019 at 12:19 PM, kspnerd122 said:

but come on some contracts are just repetitive and waste your time e.g launch a satellite with xyz on it in x orbit at x inclination

 

I do these only when I'm in the middle of creating my comm network. I mean, why would I spend money on launching a rocket, when I can EARN money by launching a rocket with someone's equipment (plus my antenna), and after I'm done with it, move it to orbit I want it to be? Win/win

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On 12/11/2019 at 12:19 PM, kspnerd122 said:

but come on some contracts are just repetitive and waste your time e.g launch a satellite with xyz on it in x orbit at x inclination

I think that tourism contracts should pay more and part testing contracts should be removed also tourism should be rarer than it is now

currently some of the progression contracts actually restrict progress as you will not get a contract to do x if you have already done it so it forces you to e.g dock around the mun before orbiting minmus

the progression contracts should be reworked to allow 2 options so you have to do both but it does not make you do one before the other.

Making tourism contracts pay even more makes anything trivial. Keeping your space program afloat and in the positive money shouldn't be trivial. It should be the hardest part only possible after you managed to perfect all tricks in the book regarding space flight. 

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Agreed,  I don't want to move my dang comnet,  and no I don't need a third station around the mun. 

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Career mode is the worst. The entire "contract" paradigm is terrible, the "career" game has no idea what it is trying to be. I play career, BTW, almost exclusively.

What do they want "career" to be?

A space program? Like NASA? Dump "contracts" entirely, NASA doesn't "do" contracts, they write contracts. A NASA program needs a budget, then they buy stuff, success would get the budget the same, or maybe better sometimes. Failure and you might get defunded. This sort of entity should have "programs" or "missions." (Mercury, Viking, Voyager, Apollo, etc).

A company like SpaceX or Blue Origin? Then contracts are fine, but they should make sense. Entity A wants 10 sats delivered to KEO. They supply the sats, you launch them (then never touch them again). There should also be "services" that you could offer, then companies buy that service.

Exploration in general? Needs fog of war.

Space Race? We'd need a foil to compete against (a Space Race is in fact implicit in current career mode, we have "firsts," which implies it's possible to not be first, and we have rescue contracts, which are demonstrably proof that other programs exist).

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44 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

 Nail on the head.  The lack of direction is the main culprit in every other problem with career.

Yeah, it's like building a launch vehicle, unless it can literally do anything you might ever need, you should have the mission first.

Career is utterly rudderless. Whose career? Jeb's? The KSC director (who is?)? The "career" of the program?

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Career mode definitely needs a critical review. It needs a definite end goal. It needs supporting missions that can help less experienced players get to that end goal, but experienced players can skip these and make progress  without them, or at least some of them. Career mode needs something to shoot for, and it should be a 50-60 hour goal to end game. The idea to do whatever you want for no reason except just to do it isn't motivating for some gamers- the idea that one can achieve hard challenges at a more difficult level is. I hope KSP2 has a proper game mode, KSP has an amazing concept and fun mechanics, but it fails in the motivation of players to get to the next step, as seen by the % of players who actually leave the Kerbin system.

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On 11/17/2019 at 4:09 PM, Thygrrr said:

only with mods is the contract choice pleasant enough to entertain

Yeah, that's a problem. If it's only tolerable after modding, it's a bad system.

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18 hours ago, sturmhauke said:

Yeah, that's a problem. If it's only tolerable after modding, it's a bad system.

Hey it's not all bad, many first time modders cut their teeth on Contract Configurator contract packs (I certainly did).
 

I broadly agree with the points made in this post though, which is why I devote so many of my mods to overhauling Career Mode in one way or another :P

Edited by severedsolo

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IMO there should be one contract per each body with all the available objectives in it. So, each time you fulfill one of the objectives you get paid for it (just like it is now).

And then the rest of the stuff, like part testing and tourism should have its own tab in the mission control.

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On 1/17/2020 at 3:33 AM, Lu K. said:

it's pretty clear to me that development of career mode was abandoned & left unfinished

I'd argue it's more fundamental than this - the biggest problem with career mode in my mind is that it doesn't really function as a cohesive whole, instead just working as a set of vaguely related modules, some of which aren't even balanced in themselves. It more kind of resembles a lot of what somewhat thought a career mode should look like, without doing the legwork of actually making it work - I spent a lot of time trying to tinker with the difficulty settings in the past to try and get it to a point I was happy with, but honestly I never really found a happy medium, nor do I think I should have to do so. The preset difficulties should set things at a reasonable level, but fail pretty horrendously to my mind, just swinging between being mindlessly grindy and trivially easy at various stages in the game, with only a few specific parts really working as intended.

I could go on forever about the various issues with career, but with regards to contracts.... bleh. Without regurgitating what other people above have had said too much, I would add that even the most mundane of contracts should be *interesting* at least - KSP might be a simulator in some areas, but career is the one place where game logic should really prevail. A couple of changes off the top of my head that could help:

  • Part testing contracts should have have conditions that are sane (Heat shields being used for reentry, launch engines being used to launch, etc.) and have a chance of failing or performing strangely, such as an engine exploding or producing excess thrust and overheating. This would also make it less useful to hoard part testing contracts to gain access to parts you're not supposed to have yet :P
  • Tourist missions could do with being flipped on their head a little - in my mind, it'd make more sense for the player to specify a number of empty seats and a destination, rather than the current system of just cycling through contracts and hoping to find some kerbals all wanting to go to the same place.
  • The satellite launch and science gathering missions... well, I think it'd help if they didn't feel so disjointed and purposeless. Like, it'd be nice if these kind of contracts were actually building up to something, like giving you some genuinely interesting science-y info about a body, or a slow progression towards a useful satellite system (also, why do I get to keep the satellite after the contract has finished? Do these people not want their satellite?)

...But honestly, such changes are largely irrelevant, unless the underlying issues with career mode are fixed.

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9 hours ago, Lu K. said:

that's bc it's underdeveloped & hasn't been properly balanced. i saw a youtuber unlock the whole tech tree with 2-3 launches (iirc it was 2). with more development & balance testing these issues would be addressed. but the company isn't really into games, they're not developers. i think when the original KSP creator left, they stopped caring about this side project of his, and just put it in minimum maintenance mode.

it's a great testing ground for modders, but you're unlikely to get the same quality, and with a game of this scope, balance is a significant challenge, especially with so many other mods to consider in terms of compatibility.

Just because a freak like bradley whistance can do it does not mean the game should be designed around people that are as smart or good has him. There are players that barley make it to orbit. Balancing is not an issue with career. Its just boring. If balance was an issue contract configurator would not make a boring career so fun. Unless the game is designed to be hardcore with hardcore players in mind its impossible to design it with hardcore and casuals in mind. Why do people always bring up the point that they are not developers? By definition they are developers. They developed a game that BTW is considered to be one of the best games ever made. Its original at the very minimum. You can be a great programmer and have no idea about designing a good game. You can have no idea about programming and have an idea on how good game should work. Being a programmer helps but even a person like myself that has no idea about programming knows what mechanics are good and what ones are not good. Thats like saying you cannot judge if food is good or not because you are not a trained cook. You also cannot be critical that a 5 year old game is on minimum maintenance. Most games are dead within 1 year of release. Its also not on minimum maintenance. You could argue that their priorities are going in the wrong direction but that has nothing to do with them being "real" developers or not. Ksp is definitely not underdeveloped. Its a fully developed game that has some good and bad things like every game there is. 

 

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27 minutes ago, dave1904 said:

barley

I think you meant “barely”

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26 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

I think you meant “barely”

9c13efd804750bd23730d3a6061f6fc0.png

:P

 

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18 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

I think you meant “barely”

 

I'm irish, english is not my first language. 

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13 minutes ago, Lu K. said:

put more effort into helping ppl learn orbital mechanics than the developers.

Oh I forgot, he made the game...... 

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A post or two has been removed. Please keep the discussions civil and don't throw insults around. 

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