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Life Support system?

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Just now, Jimmidii said:

You're also making an awful lot of assumptions about the game design abilities of the devs working on KSP 2

I'm not making assumptions about their ability as much as their time and budget.

I write software for a living and I have a very good idea of how complex various things can be, and how much you can get done with a small team in two years. I think implementing something as complex as the systems needed to make LS enjoyable and interesting in addition to making the core game is going to be really challenging, no matter how good you are. So yes I am worried that if they do it, it will be half-baked one way or the other: either tedious or trivial.

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20 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

I'm not making assumptions about their ability as much as their time and budget.

I write software for a living and I have a very good idea of how complex various things can be, and how much you can get done with a small team in two years. I think implementing something as complex as the systems needed to make LS enjoyable and interesting in addition to making the core game is going to be really challenging, no matter how good you are. So yes I am worried that if they do it, it will be half-baked one way or the other: either tedious or trivial.

Honestly, from your categories and what I've seen come out of them - I think it's going to be trivial.  My impression is that it won't be a full life support system (for the various reasons people have given about how that could quickly turn tedious and/or confusing) but instead be a way to manage and measure colony progression that's life-support-like.

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1 hour ago, Brikoleur said:

No I'm not.

I'm assuming that it's going to end up one of three ways: tedious (continuous supply missions), trivial (i.e., more dry mass and forget about it), or automated. 

Moreover, as I said in my above post, I really don't want tedious, I don't think there's any point in trivial, and I think making it automated so that it is still enjoyable is going to be a real game design challenge.

As to progression, that's just an aspect of it -- and one that doesn't make it any easier to pull off so that it's fun.

And I reiterate: your lot doesn't even seem to acknowledge that there is a game design challenge here. You seem to think that just by adding LS it's going to be automagically cooler and more fun and more challenging, rather than just more tedious or more trivial.

I.e. you haven't thought this through.

I agree that if not done correctly, this could very easily end up being tedious. Which is why I gave the suggestions about using ISRU and future-tech advanced closed loop systems to find a reasonably realistic way to incorporate life support without a constant need for supply missions once you have the appropriate technical foundation.

That's an interesting way to define trivial. Doesn't everything on a rocket boil down to mass in one way or another? From my perspective, the whole EC system is a life support analog for probes and science that follows this progression (early game you only have the dinky battery in the probe/capsule which greatly limits your range more than anything else, later you get batteries (and fuel cells if the tech tree wasn't such a mess) but not solar panels so you need to add a bunch of extra mass for longer duration missions, then you get solar panels (ISRU) and finally the infinite energy RTGs). I don't see players complaining about being bound by this system despite literally not being able to turn it off without cheats, and becoming fairly trivial once solar panels show up.

Automation would be interesting (for more than just life support), but I agree with your assessment that it would necessitate the need to add whole new frameworks and systems to the game to support it that might take too much dev time and focus away from other aspects of the game.

The main game design challenge I see here is balance. Mods have already shown multiple ways this can be done from a technical standpoint, and unless there's something wonky going on with KSP2 I don't see the programming implementation being the main challenge for life support (outside of automation).

I've spent plenty of time thinking this through, and based on the way I play the game and having played with life support mods I find that it adds an interesting design challenge for manned missions where I need to consider the mission duration and make sure I've got enough supplies, or a plan to resupply en route. Just to be clear, I agree that it's also fun to play the game without life support if I'm just messing around or have a specific building challenge in mind where I don't want to deal with life support.

The case for having life support being implemented as an official feature (like the comms network was) vs just relying on mods largely comes down to game balance. Right now manned missions are not well balanced vs probes, and a life support system could serve as a very good balance for this, not to mention how much better an official feature integrates with the rest of the game over mods. Like I've said before, I've always thought that the dev's reluctance to add life support even as a difficulty option to be a strange, glaring omission, especially given they put the effort into implementing an official comms network feature which only added more difficulty and complexity to the game and necessitated a lot more planning for probe missions (with manned missions being largely unaffected, further exacerbating the balance issue between probes vs manned).

Ultimately, it sounds like we need to agree to disagree. You've stated your assumptions (which if I'm understanding correctly are that there's no good way to implement life support that would be worthwhile, and you keep seeming to assume that everyone will be forced to use it and haven't acknowledged that it could be a toggleable difficulty option for players who don't care for it), and my assumptions are that if implemented well (following the logic from my suggestions to have tech available to refill life support without a lifeline back to Kerbin), it would add interesting and fun new challenges to manned missions, make the game more realistic given how big of an issue life support continues to be for RL long-duration missions, and serve as a good gameplay balance to the currently OP manned missions.

Edited by Lord Aurelius

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1 minute ago, Lord Aurelius said:

which if I'm understanding correctly are that there's no good way to implement life support that would be worthwhile, and you keep seeming to assume that everyone will be forced to use it and haven't acknowledged that it could be a toggleable difficulty option for players who don't care for it

No, that's not what I believe.

I believe that any good way to implement it would be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and resources available for KSP 2.0, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all. 

Or, put another way, any implementation possible within the time and resources available for KSP 2.0 will likely end up as either trivial or tedious, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all.

As to the difficulty option, that doesn't really cut it either, because any time spent implementing a half-baked trivial or tedious LS system -- which is still a significant undertaking for the size of the project -- is away from other aspects of the game that need attention.

I must really be terrible at communicating my intent because I've said this several times on this thread but you keep misstating it.

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8 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

No, that's not what I believe.

I believe that any good way to implement it would be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and resources available for KSP 2.0, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all. 

Or, put another way, any implementation possible within the time and resources available for KSP 2.0 will likely end up as either trivial or tedious, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all.

As to the difficulty option, that doesn't really cut it either, because any time spent implementing a half-baked trivial or tedious LS system -- which is still a significant undertaking for the size of the project -- is away from other aspects of the game that need attention.

I must really be terrible at communicating my intent because I've said this several times on this thread but you keep misstating it.

Apologies, that makes a lot more sense now. Yes, I can totally see where you're coming from in terms of dev time to do it well.

My conclusions are still different than yours (I still think that there are relatively simple ways to do it that could work very well and would be a net positive to the game and worth the dev time/resources to implement), but I respect your position.

Edited by Lord Aurelius

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What if the best way to add in life support would be like this: colonies don't need life support, and they still work, but 75% as productive as when with life support, and this value can be tweaked in the difficulty settings or turned off. And for those folks who desire realistic life support, there will probably be mods for that.

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12 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

No, that's not what I believe.

I believe that any good way to implement it would be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and resources available for KSP 2.0, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all. 

Or, put another way, any implementation possible within the time and resources available for KSP 2.0 will likely end up as either trivial or tedious, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all.

As to the difficulty option, that doesn't really cut it either, because any time spent implementing a half-baked trivial or tedious LS system -- which is still a significant undertaking for the size of the project -- is away from other aspects of the game that need attention.

I must really be terrible at communicating my intent because I've said this several times on this thread but you keep misstating it.

Of course every feature takes time and resources to implement... and of course there are good ways and bad ways to implement it. But life support is such an essential mechanic and important thing to consider in space flight and mission planning that it simply has to be in a game where your whole purpose is to design and fly missions in space and on other planets... 

In addition it will make some stuff, that is currently not that useful in ksp1, worth using/exploring more and that is always a good thing. For example high-energy transfers to reduce travel times and change launch windows and unmanned probes become a more interesting option since sending kerbals means bringing LS

 

8 hours ago, DunaManiac said:

What if the best way to add in life support would be like this: colonies don't need life support, and they still work, but 75% as productive as when with life support, and this value can be tweaked in the difficulty settings or turned off. And for those folks who desire realistic life support, there will probably be mods for that.

"There will be mods for that" is a really really lousy reason not to add such an important core mechanic to the stock game. Of course it should be made toggleable in options so you can play the way you want to play.

But really this mods reasoning is like "okay lets only put 10 parts and 2 planets to the game since there will be mods with more parts and planets anyway"

Edited by tseitsei89

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16 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

No, that's not what I believe.

I believe that any good way to implement it would be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and resources available for KSP 2.0, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all. 

Or, put another way, any implementation possible within the time and resources available for KSP 2.0 will likely end up as either trivial or tedious, and therefore I would prefer that it's not implemented at all.

As to the difficulty option, that doesn't really cut it either, because any time spent implementing a half-baked trivial or tedious LS system -- which is still a significant undertaking for the size of the project -- is away from other aspects of the game that need attention.

I must really be terrible at communicating my intent because I've said this several times on this thread but you keep misstating it.

Having colonies and extraplanetary launchpads as a main features they already had to discuss the same balance problems around resources, loops and supply chains that LS have so I'm not concerned by that specifically on LS, if they can't avoid making LS trivial or tedious we will find the same problems in all the other features.

For example, I don't want to have "free" parts at an orbital shipyard but also I don't want to control every miner, drive every truck and launch every supply rocket to the shipyard.

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1 minute ago, Master39 said:

if they can't avoid making LS trivial or tedious we will find the same problems in all the other features

Yeah I am somewhat concerned about this as well. I love building bases and am really looking forward to the colonisation features. 

Still I don't think it's going to be as much of an issue. Surface bases will likely run on ISRU so they won't have the milk run problem, you'll just need to ship in upgrades until they're mature enough to upgrade themselves. Orbital construction bases will need a solution to the supply problem; however if there isn't one and you do need to ship in the construction materials, I think that's still a manageable problem -- it would just make orbital construction bases less attractive. They wouldn't need continuous supply just to function, only when you're actually building something in them.

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4 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

. They wouldn't need continuous supply just to function

If I haven't mistaken what Nate said you will have to create the fuel for the new engines and not just buy it from the VAB like LF and it would feel wrong to create fuel out of nothing directly in orbit, so we have at least one thing that requires costant supply, then we have colonies on the ground you can abstract resource gathering but not in orbit and here you have another and then you have station/bases expansion, ship building, and the need to build the whole infrastructure again when you arrive in a new solar system.

All of these need resources and supplies on top of all of that LS will not make a big difference, it could even be a way of introducing you to their solution to the "milk run problem" from the start and on a smaller scale (LS supplies for a Mun mission is a smaller scale compared to supplies to build an interstellar ship at a shipyard). 

Point is they already had to solve the problems you're pointing out for their core features such as colonies, interstellar travel and extraplanetary launchpads and it doesn't take a lot of work to apply the same game balance philosophy to LS.

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The difference is that you can just not build orbital bases, or only build them for very specific and very limited uses, and use bases on low-gravity moons for construction instead, whereas you can't just ignore LS. I.e. if they screw up LS, there's no way around the grind, whereas if they screw up supply for orbital bases, that's just one and largely ignorable gameplay feature that's kind of broken.

(Of course it's possible they'll also screw up supply for surface bases but I doubt that; ISRU is a thing and it would be very weird if they don't build surface base gameplay around that.)

Edited by Brikoleur

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20 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

whereas if they screw up supply for orbital bases, that's just one and largely ignorable gameplay feature that's kind of broken.

If they screw up the main selling point LS being broken as well will be the last of our problems.

LS if present will have settings to disable it, a broken orbital construction on the other hand would have consequences on Interstellar travel and on the whole late game gameplay.

We have modders capable of designing more than one colonization system around problems like part count and bugged ground on loading, I'm confident enough that proper professional game developers (with all the respect to modders) will be capable to solve any problem especially considering that the station-base building system this time around is not an afterthought of the game original focus but a main core feature.

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17 minutes ago, Master39 said:

If they screw up the main selling point LS being broken as well will be the last of our problems.

Nah. You can still build your starship on Minmus. And also an orbital dockyard used for supporting occasional really big missions and requiring milk runs for that is not the same at all as orbital bases requiring milk runs just to function.

It’s the difference between intermittent and optional grind and continuous, mandatory grind — and that’s a big difference.

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7 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

Nah. You can still build your starship on Minmus. And also an orbital dockyard used for supporting occasional really big missions and requiring milk runs for that is not the same at all as orbital bases requiring milk runs just to function.

It’s the difference between intermittent and optional grind and continuous, mandatory grind — and that’s a big difference.

But, again, you're presuming that they can't solve problems that Modders solved years ago while also having to design around KSP flaws. 

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1 hour ago, Brikoleur said:

Orbital construction bases will need a solution to the supply problem; however if there isn't one and you do need to ship in the construction materials, I think that's still a manageable problem -- it would just make orbital construction bases less attractive. They wouldn't need continuous supply just to function, only when you're actually building something in them.

This is an inherent flaw of real life orbital shipyards, to be honest. You need constant supply missions.

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14 minutes ago, Master39 said:

But, again, you're presuming that they can't solve problems that Modders solved years ago while also having to design around KSP flaws. 

In my view modders have not solved these problems: mod LS is either trivial or tedious. I've tried it but don't use it for this reason.

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8 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

In my view modders have not solved these problems: mod LS is either trivial or tedious. I've tried it but don't use it for this reason.

I would like to encourage you to look at USI-MKS/OKS. Especially the planetary logistics system.

It is by no means trivial to make a self sustaining base in that mod set but it is possible. And you dont have to fly these "milk runs" those are automated with the planetary logistics system to work in the background.

Edit: and once again. There should obviously be an option to turn LS off if you find it tedious/unfun

Edited by tseitsei89

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Forgive me for getting a bit testy about this but I feel like I'm repeating myself here. As I've said multiple times above, I do not believe that it would be impossible to make a LS system that is both meaningful and contributes to fun gameplay, nor do I believe that Star Theory is incapable of designing such a system. On the contrary, Planetary Annihilation has economy, production, and logistical systems so they have the experience.

However I do believe that given the time and budget constraints Star Theory is working under, designing such a system for KSP 2.0 would be at beast a highly risky proposition, given that they have a pretty complex base game to make, and therefore it would be much more likely to end up half-baked, i.e. either trivial or tedious. Therefore I would rather they didn't do it at all.

That really is the alpha and the omega of my objection to LS, and I really don't have much more to say about it than that. So unless someone comes up with a genuinely new point, argument, or aspect to the question, that's all I have to say on the topic.

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1 minute ago, Brikoleur said:

However I do believe that given the time and budget constraints Star Theory is working under, designing such a system for KSP 2.0 would be at beast a highly risky proposition, given that they have a pretty complex base game to make, and therefore it would be much more likely to end up half-baked, i.e. either trivial or tedious. Therefore I would rather they didn't do it at all.

 

The point that you're costantly missing is that they already have to design such a system for colonies and shipyards in the first place, it's the main focus of the announcement trailer so i really doubt that they will just ignore the problems,  the fact that we will need to refine advanced fuels from resources makes the need for a logistic system of some sort pretty obvious, they probably addressed this gameplay balance problems very early and I totally expect them to have solved them.

After that any LS specific problem becomes pretty trivial to solve.

 

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46 minutes ago, Master39 said:

The point that you're costantly missing is that they already have to design such a system for colonies and shipyards in the first place

But they don't!

The colony/shipyard problem can be solved by expanding an existing system -- namely, ISRU. That will leave orbital construction stations with higher maintenance, but that's a manageable problem because orbital stations are optional and there are workarounds -- for example, constructing the orbital station around an asteroid.

That will not need new systems and it will not lead to continuous, unavoidable grind, or require continuous, unavoidable grind to unlock the interstellar stuff.

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17 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

But they don't!

The colony/shipyard problem can be solved by expanding an existing system -- namely, ISRU. That will leave orbital construction stations with higher maintenance, but that's a manageable problem because orbital stations are optional and there are workarounds -- for example, constructing the orbital station around an asteroid.

That will not need new systems and it will not lead to continuous, unavoidable grind, or require continuous, unavoidable grind to unlock the interstellar stuff.

Please just take a look at the planetary logistics system in the USI MKS/OKS. It solves the "unavoidable" grind problem you keep constantly mentioning.

EDIT:

The system explained shortly:

You have a planetary base producing the needed products.

You have have a capable transport vehicle at that base.

Now you can automate deliveries to the orbital station around that celestial body once supplies there get too low.

The system will check if you have an appropriate transport vehicle in place and enough fuel and enough supplies. Then it will just automatically move the supplies to orbital station and delete the approximate amount of fuel the mission would take.

No grind but you have to have a proper infrastructure in place.

Edited by tseitsei89

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16 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

But they don't!

The colony/shipyard problem can be solved by expanding an existing system -- namely, ISRU. That will leave orbital construction stations with higher maintenance, but that's a manageable problem because orbital stations are optional and there are workarounds -- for example, constructing the orbital station around an asteroid.

That will not need new systems and it will not lead to continuous, unavoidable grind, or require continuous, unavoidable grind to unlock the interstellar stuff.

The ISRU is not a solution at all, it's just a piece of equipment in the system, even if you only have the fuel for the engine and a generic "metal" to build parts and modules that makes 2 miners and 2 ISRUs potentially in 2 different location that needs egnineers to work more efficiently and then the ship to bring the refined resources up to the orbital shipyard with also need to be manned, which totals at minimum 5 crafts you need to micromanage to have a operational shipyard and that is assuming that there will be only one resource for fuel (everyone of them) and one for making parts.

If they are confident enough that their solution will not make shipyards and colonies "trivial or tedious" to  focus the whole KSP2 marketing around such features I really think that LS will not be a problem at all.

Also because we're focusing on the "Kerbal fuel" kind of life support with food, oxygen or snaks and forgetting completely that they could add habitability, psicological or radiation shielding requirements to ships and that would also be life support.

 

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Sorry @Master39 and @tseitsei89, but you're not raising any objections I haven't already addressed ITT, and as I said I'm tired of repeating myself.

I'm happy to continue discussing the topic but not until and unless you come up with a new point or a consideration I have missed.

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@Brikoleur I just showed you to a system that you claimed doesnt exist (you said that all life support implementations will be tedious since they need frequent supply flights). But whatever you have clearly made up your mind and wont even consider how this could be implemented properly

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1 minute ago, tseitsei89 said:

@Brikoleur (you said that all life support implementations will be tedious since they need frequent supply flights)

I have said several times ITT that this is not what I believe. 

If you can't be bothered to even read what I'm saying, then there is absolutely no point in my talking with you at all.

Edited by Brikoleur

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