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Klapaucius

Docking Tutorial-RCS problems

Question

After a lot of time spent building planes, I've decided to mostly close up shop for a while and go back to space.  I never did learn to dock, so I went though the KSP tutorial this morning.  It took a long time, but I eventually got the hang of nearly everything except actually getting them docked together.  I have very little experience with RCS, and what I could not understand was the following:

I could not for the life of me turn the ship around.  It would go forwards, go backwards, rotate one way, rotate the other or fly upwards or downwards relative to its forward position, but turn and face the opposite direction--which should be very easy.  This was a problem since both craft were oriented in the same direction as we approached. I tried flying by and then activating the target (which seemed to rotate the craft in a way I was not able to) but at the end of the day, I was always approaching the other docking port at too much of an angle. The magnetism took effect, but the angle was too great to get a connection.

I wound up exhausting all my RCS fuel in the attempt, and figured I would ask some questions before starting the whole process over again.

 

Suggestions?

Edited by Klapaucius

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It's usually helpful to turn off SAS when the ports make a docking connection, otherwise it fights and counteracts the rotation needed for the ports to properly connect. You saying the angle was too great to connect properly means that docking was a possibility, my guess is the SAS stopped the crafts lining up to make it happen.

Docking is difficult at the best of times but in short, you need to make sure your ship, the prograde vector, and the target port are all lined up on the navball. If they are, the magnets will lock on and then it's just a case of making the vessels line up. There's probably tons of docking tutorials floating around, I'm confident one of them will help you more :)

edit: the yaw and pitch controls don't change, W will always point the nose down, D will always point the nose to the right. The HNIJKL keys are for translation forwards, back, up, left, down, and right. Attitude control (where the ship is pointing) is always on the WSAD keys.

Edited by BudgetHedgehog

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I suggest you try out this mod, makes docking much, much easier:

Review and tutorial video:

Spoiler

 

 

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16 minutes ago, VoidSquid said:

I suggest you try out this mod, makes docking much, much easier:

I'm not opposed to mods, but I would like to be able to do it in stock first. Also, the issue for me was RCS control.  I need a better understanding of how to turn a ship around.

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1 hour ago, Klapaucius said:

Suggestions?

Generally, to completely rotate a craft into the opposite direction in space -- you turn off SAS, hold down the S key for a moment until you have some noticeable rotation going, watch your navball until it's rotated all the way around, tap your W key until the rotation stops, then turn on SAS again to hold your new position. Then you can tap your WASD keys a few more times to fine tune your orientation.

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If I remember correctly, when you switch the camera to the locked mode, you see your vessel in such a way that the RCS commands via IJKL are moving your vessel exactly up, down, left, right in respect to your point of view. So, if you in this camera mode align your vessel's docking port to the docking port of your target, steering with RCS should be more intuitive.

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Besides, the mod I mentioned does nothing automatically for you, the whole docking process remains 100% manual, it just provides a visual aid.

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3 hours ago, VoidSquid said:

Besides, the mod I mentioned does nothing automatically for you, the whole docking process remains 100% manual, it just provides a visual aid.

There is, or was, an even more minimalist version called the Navball Docking Alignment Indicator.  I really liked that one because all it did was add another symbol to the navball instead of displaying a big window.  Don't know if it's still maintained though.

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Should still work, I think, it's maintained by LGG, latest version as per CKAN is 1.0.5 for KSP 1.7.2, released July 7th 2019.

Edited by VoidSquid

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13 hours ago, Klapaucius said:

I'm not opposed to mods, but I would like to be able to do it in stock first. Also, the issue for me was RCS control.  I need a better understanding of how to turn a ship around.

As BudgetHedgeHog said, the WASDQE keys still rotate the vehicle exactly as they do without RCS.  The specific IJKLHN RCS keys are for translation - where rotation is unwanted and, usually, only a side-effect of unbalanced RCS thrusters.  Generally rotation is a waste of monopropellant though.

Rotate:  Disable RCS and SAS, use WASDQE and reaction wheels
Translate:  Enable RCS and SAS, use IJKLHN and monopropellant

Swap between both until within final few metres then ensure RCS and SAS are both disabled so the docking magnets have free control.

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If you have a small craft, or a reaction wheel in a bigger craft, the W, A, S, D, q and E keys can be used to rotate your craft, and don't require RCS.  To move your craft horizontally (translate) in any direction, up, down, left, right, backwards and forwards, you need to huse the I. J. K. L. H and N keys, for which you do need RCS.

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And if you have advanced tweakables enabled, you can disable yaw, pitch, roll from the RCS thrusters.

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Wahoo!  Did it. Thanks everyone for all the good advice. I did consult Scott Manley as well.  @BudgetHedgehog , @Scarecrowand @Pecan, the control advice was very useful. I think what partially messed me up was not realizing the difference between standard mode and docking mode.  @bewing, turning off and on SAS was really helpful as well.  @VoidSquid--I'll definitely give that mod a try.

Edited by Klapaucius

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I don't use that "special docking mode" at all, in standard mode I still can control rotation by WSADQE, and translation by HNIJKL. The docking mode changes how WSADQE works, I don't like it at all, plus it gives me less control as mentioned in the first sentence.

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Congrats man, well done! Yeah, the only thing I've found docking mode useful for is driving rovers as in it, WSAD doesn't use the SAS (so you don't pitch down when trying to go forward), I don't think I've ever actually used docking mode for docking in the thousand odd hours I've played the game.

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2 hours ago, VoidSquid said:

I don't use that "special docking mode" at all, in standard mode I still can control rotation by WSADQE, and translation by HNIJKL. The docking mode changes how WSADQE works, I don't like it at all, plus it gives me less control as mentioned in the first sentence.

I've done  a few more is the KSP scenarios, and I found it a lot easier not to use the docking mode.

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Hoorah!

So we're all agreed?
Normal mode (although I recommend 'fine' controls (capslock on PC))
Left hand = rotation = WASDQE using reaction wheels.  Disable RCS and SAS (R and T)
Right hand = translation = IJKLHN using monopropellant.  Enable RCS and SAS (ditto)

That plus take it slowly and be patient!  It still takes a lot of practice but once you 'get it' it becomes smooth as silk.
I usually reckon to dock from any situation using less than 5 units of monopropellant*.

(*Rotation doesn't use any and BIG translation changes can be done with main engines.  Only small translation thrusts need to be done using monoprop).

Edited by Pecan

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On 9/9/2019 at 3:24 PM, Pecan said:

Right hand = translation

I insist having the right to do that with my left hand ;) 

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30 minutes ago, VoidSquid said:

I insist having the right to do that with my left hand ;) 

Right conceeded.  I've been a touch-typist since I was 15 and can't bring myself to use left hand on right half of the keyboard!

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Following your way literally, that would mean for me using my right hand for the HNIJKL keys and consequently then the left hand for the mouse to manipulate the camera, having my arms and hands crossed that way, right?  That would look very silly and awkward, lol :D 

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19 minutes ago, VoidSquid said:

Following your way literally, that would mean for me using my right hand for the HNIJKL keys and consequently then the left hand for the mouse to manipulate the camera, having my arms and hands crossed that way, right?  That would look very silly and awkward, lol :D 

No, I would have left hand for WASDQE (+RT) and right for IJKLHN.  Touch-typing 'home keys' are ASDF and JKL; (semi-colon at the end there).  The only information not given by the navball is the separation distance, so there's really no need to manipulate the camera or look at anything else until you're on final approach.  If you're using NavyFish's docking alignment mod that gives you the separation too, doesn't it?  If so, you'd never need to look at anything but the docking window.

In any case, since I'd only possibly look away from the navball/docking window a few times and, since that would be between manoeuvres, it's easy to move right hand from keyboard to mouse, adjust camera, and replace my hand on the keyboard home keys*.  Traditionally, that's how a copy-typist would turn the page of the copy from which they were typing.  Even without being a touch typist though, think how rarely you need to adjust the camera and, unless you're really rushing things at close quarters, how much time you have to move and replace your hand.  Shouldn't be a problem.

(*if you feel the F and J keys on your keyboard there is still usually a notch or bump on the keycap or it has a deeper well than the other keys.  That's so a touch-typist can feel when they've got their index fingers on the correct home keys, so the others fit naturally onto the others, without having to look).

Edited by Pecan

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Just now, VoidSquid said:

I've just been kidding, that wasn't a serious post at all, all good :) 

You got me.  I thought you were kidding with the first one but took the second seriously ^^

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I think the proper term in English - not my native language - is to pull someone's leg, isn't it?

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1 hour ago, VoidSquid said:

I think the proper term in English - not my native language - is to pull someone's leg, isn't it?

Yes it is.  Double points for pulling my leg / kidding / teasing / joking in a foreign language :-)

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5 hours ago, VoidSquid said:

Following your way literally, that would mean for me using my right hand for the HNIJKL keys and consequently then the left hand for the mouse to manipulate the camera, having my arms and hands crossed that way, right?  That would look very silly and awkward, lol :D 

Crossed arms silly? Check out the video at 2:20.  Better yet, watch the whole thing! :cool:

 

 

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