Sasuga

Mapping Planets

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I'm watching the National Geographic, Mars, TV Show right now. In the third episode, a man says that we've only mapped 3% of Mars' surface, and that its difficult with the level of resolution we're mapping it with to really know anything about Mars.

 

I haven't done it too much in Kerbal, but it seems we can get a full planet scan for resources with a single satellite in Kerbal.  I think it would be neat to require more than a single satalite to get 'serious data' from a planet in Kerbal 2. Perhaps requiring at least three satellites in an equally spaced orbit or something to get a full unlock. I'm not saying that a single satellite shouldn't yield any data, and in fact perhaps a single satellite could eventually map an entire planet with the right orbit (over the poles perhaps?) and enough time.

 

I'm just saying, I'd like to see it be a bit more difficult for that full surface information via satellite that we're able to get right now with only one sat.

 

I'm sorry my technical jargon probably isn't 100%, or even 50%.  I hope I've been able to express my idea well enough to be understood.

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3 hours ago, Sasuga said:

I'm sorry my technical jargon probably isn't 100%, or even 50%.  I hope I've been able to express my idea well enough to be understood.

You got your idea across. That always erked about the vanilla scanning system in KSP. One click, you know everything about the planet. I always use scansat to reveal info about the planet orbit by orbit. It's another reason to use satellites and send probes. I hope it would be an option for KSP2. If not, I would hope scansat would be available some point after KSP2 is released.

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Yes, you need only one sat to map the resources, but the problem remains - it's still very low resolution. You need another tool to increase that.

Same thing applies to Scansat mod. It takes time to cover whole body, but again, one low tech sat gives very low resolution scans, you need to unlock better technology and send more. Over Earth we got thousands of scanning satellites, but over Mars, most of the hardware is for research, not surface mapping. We probably could get a good map one day, but it's far away and it's expensive.

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12 hours ago, Sasuga said:

only mapped 3% of Mars' surface,

That would come down to what he means by mapping and to what resolution.  It's in the same category as asking what the length of an earth coastline is (coasts are fractal so you get a longer and longer answer depending on the amount of detail you look for).  By the same token - would that person say we've "mapped" the Amazon basin?

Yes, a single satellite in a (near) polar orbit will cover an entire body, as long as it isn't in a resonant orbit (orbiting 'in time' with the body, which would mean it keeps covering the same paths).  It does usually take several orbits though, depending on its field of view - the amount of the surface it can 'see' on each pass.

Then there's the matter of what type of mapping you're after.  For instance, I used to be friends with one of the team who were radar-mapping Mars.  Does a complete height-map count as 'mapped'?  Would a complete set of ordinary photographs count as 'mapped' if they were at 10km resolution?

Anyway: +1 for Scansat in KSP.

 

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18 hours ago, Sasuga said:

I'm watching the National Geographic, Mars, TV Show right now. In the third episode, a man says that we've only mapped 3% of Mars' surface, and that its difficult with the level of resolution we're mapping it with to really know anything about Mars.

 

I haven't done it too much in Kerbal, but it seems we can get a full planet scan for resources with a single satellite in Kerbal.  I think it would be neat to require more than a single satalite to get 'serious data' from a planet in Kerbal 2. Perhaps requiring at least three satellites in an equally spaced orbit or something to get a full unlock. I'm not saying that a single satellite shouldn't yield any data, and in fact perhaps a single satellite could eventually map an entire planet with the right orbit (over the poles perhaps?) and enough time.

 

I'm just saying, I'd like to see it be a bit more difficult for that full surface information via satellite that we're able to get right now with only one sat.

 

I'm sorry my technical jargon probably isn't 100%, or even 50%.  I hope I've been able to express my idea well enough to be understood.

https://trek.nasa.gov/mars/#v=0.1&x=-72.23727329927623&y=25.92459034244845&z=15&p=urn%3Aogc%3Adef%3Acrs%3AEPSG%3A%3A104905&d=

https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Mapping_Mars

Quote

At this time, 87.8% of the surface had been mapped at any resolution, with 61.5% mapped at a resolution of 20 m per pixel or better.

this was in 2013...

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It's just the classic mistake of throwing out a number without qualifying it; without knowing what kind of "Detail" 3% is looking for it's basically anyone's guess. However; our current maps of mars are pretty astonishing given we've only really been actively mapping it for a few decades. And they'd be plenty suited for directing a lander to a relatively clear spot; once people actually are on the surface and a colony is a permanant fixture then proper surveys could begin of the planet.

Which would be really exciting; we've literally only scratched the surface of the Red Planet! Who knows what kinds of mineral deposits or geological formations it may yet yield; or what may be contained deep within long-dead lava tubes. There's still an incredible amount of information that we don't have on Mars and i think it's relatively easy to forget that when thinking of the "Big" picture sometimes.

With all that being said; Earth still has plenty of secrets herself! And many are in pretty extreme enviroments such as the deep ocean, blue holes, caves,volcanos etc. So exploring some of these might be good practice before we decidgue to spelunk the caves of Mars, and may also lead to the discovery of new information also.

And i'm aware there are plenty of people doing this actively as their job right now (Often using tools spun off or directly related to space), but i just wanted to remind people that there's still plenty of crossover between exploring our planet and others.

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Are you sure they weren't talking about the ocean? Because if that's the ocean, it's true! 

Citation: Go look at a beach at night and all you see is the void.

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The aspect of the ScanSat mod that I would most like to see in KSP2 is the saving of scan data in maps that can be used for later missions.

The way ScanSat gradually fills in the map, as different scanners pass over the surface, each scanner-type adding a different layer of information, addresses the OP suggestion nicely.

ScanSat predates KSP vesion 1.2 that added the communications network and Kerbnet, so we can instantly use scans from one craft when flying others.  In a future version, KSP could transfer mapping data over the communication network. (Kerbnet does similar, but there the information flow seems backwards; we need a connection to KSC in order to see the terrain below us, as if KerbNet were a SatNav and all the maps already stored at KSC.)

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I want something better than ScanSat.  I want actual in-game objectives (in Career mode) that make you want to scan a planet thoroughly in order to discover cool areas.  To me, the biggest disappointment of KSP, career mode, and missions in general, is that there's not really any reason to explore places thoroughly, nor is there any way do do so.  Driving around in a rover is no way to explore, even if it doesn't flip constantly.

I'd love to have objectives like: find this interesting scientific anomaly (needed to unlock some tech in career mode), or find a large flat spot perfect for landings (for ideal bases, if bases mattered), or that sort of thing.  I'd like to accomplish that by:

  • Launching scan sats into orbit over the target planet/moon
  • Having them actually need to orbit the planet/moon to build data
  • Being able to see various map information as a real-time overlay whenever I look at that planet/moon (except maybe EVA), whether biome boundaries, resources, or cool points of interest for the above
  • Getting to that objective however I want, guided by the very clear and straightforward map information, with no janky UI business to see where I'm going

Driving around on a rover just to do it gets old fast.  Driving around to get into the cave that my map tells me has my mission objective (after I did the work to get the map via scan sats)? That would be very cool.

Edited by Skorj

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10 hours ago, Skorj said:

I want something better than ScanSat.  I want actual in-game objectives (in Career mode) that make you want to scan a planet thoroughly in order to discover cool areas.  To me, the biggest disappointment of KSP, career mode, and missions in general, is that there's not really any reason to explore places thoroughly, nor is there any way do do so.  Driving around in a rover is no way to explore, even if it doesn't flip constantly.

I'd love to have objectives like: find this interesting scientific anomaly (needed to unlock some tech in career mode)

*cough*BreakingGround*cough*

I wouldn't be worried though. Star Theory, being developers AND players seem to be aware of what people want to see, so if we don't get some features on day one, we'll probably see them later. (and I'm still convinced they mentioned caves and mining in the last blog post)

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I found no appeal to Breaking Ground at all.  It's still just randomly driving about on a rover.  It needs to be a quest.  (And the science gadgets are just a harder way to get science, never was sure what the point was other than for neat screenshots).

 

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6 hours ago, Skorj said:

I found no appeal to Breaking Ground at all.  It's still just randomly driving about on a rover.  It needs to be a quest.  (And the science gadgets are just a harder way to get science, never was sure what the point was other than for neat screenshots).

 

Breaking Ground also gives robotic parts for building robotic arms.

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13 hours ago, Xd the great said:

Breaking Ground also gives robotic parts for building robotic arms.

Fair point, though that's unrelated to the discussion on mapping (and we know we're not getting the robotic parts in KSP2 at launch). 

My frustration with career mode in KSP1 is that you can do almost everything in the game with a few low tech parts, plus nuclear engines.  From the user statistics, it's clearly a very challenging learning curve, as almost no one makes it past the Mun, but once you've get the hang of it there's no endgame.  There's all kinds of cool stuff for sandbox play, and that's great, but all that same cool stuff just makes the career mode endgame less and less interesting.

Right now, career mode feels like most "sandbox" games, where there's very little structure and no real plot except what you invent yourself.  Which is totally fine for an indie game, don't get me wrong, but I'm hoping there will be more to KSP2.  It looks like they're focused on future tech and interstellar travel, but I'd love to have objectives along the way that made "plot-based" use of cool ideas like resource scanning and asteroid capture, missions that made those thing a means to an end, not merely an arbitrary goal.

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6 hours ago, Skorj said:

Fair point, though that's unrelated to the discussion on mapping (and we know we're not getting the robotic parts in KSP2 at launch). 

My frustration with career mode in KSP1 is that you can do almost everything in the game with a few low tech parts, plus nuclear engines.  From the user statistics, it's clearly a very challenging learning curve, as almost no one makes it past the Mun, but once you've get the hang of it there's no endgame.  There's all kinds of cool stuff for sandbox play, and that's great, but all that same cool stuff just makes the career mode endgame less and less interesting.

Right now, career mode feels like most "sandbox" games, where there's very little structure and no real plot except what you invent yourself.  Which is totally fine for an indie game, don't get me wrong, but I'm hoping there will be more to KSP2.  It looks like they're focused on future tech and interstellar travel, but I'd love to have objectives along the way that made "plot-based" use of cool ideas like resource scanning and asteroid capture, missions that made those thing a means to an end, not merely an arbitrary goal.

This is why I keep insisting on making an incentive structure through career mode. Make some planets gate keepers to resources for certain technologies/fuels so there is a reason to go to them. Make landing on planets more difficult by not giving players every bit of info on them once they're encountered (blank out the atmosphere thickness meter until a barometer has researched that portion of the atmosphere for instance). Make us hunt for resources on the ground by first surveying the ground from space then sampling the surveyed region once we've reached the ground. Without these kind of challenges there will be no point to setting up colonies on planets and no more than one or 2 in space.

I'm a bit hopeful in that Nate has told us each planet should have its own puzzle to achieve landing on it but still I'm hoping there's an incentive for me to want to go through the hardship of solving that puzzle in the first place. We need reasons to go to these places beyond simply exploring

Edited by mcwaffles2003

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On 11/24/2019 at 11:35 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

Make landing on planets more difficult by not giving players every bit of info on them once they're encountered (blank out the atmosphere thickness meter until a barometer has researched that portion of the atmosphere for instance). Make us hunt for resources on the ground by first surveying the ground from space then sampling the surveyed region once we've reached the ground. Without these kind of challenges there will be no point to setting up colonies on planets and no more than one or 2 in space.

So long as this puzzle is auto-generated/randomised with each new game, otherwise you just need one person to find the right places and post them, killing the challenge.

The alternative is restricting mission/tech progression buy requiring certain tasks to be done, which would create a narrow corridor of hoops to jump through rather than the open world(s) aspect that KSP1 is so loved for.

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Going by the information I've come across about KSP2- which is by no means comprehensive!- I'd say there will have to be more advanced mapping stuff in the game as colonies will play such a big part in the game and the really cutting-edge tech will require rare resources to build/use which would then require you to go out and find that resource, mine it in some way and then take it to where it's needed; all of that will need some pretty good mapping and scanning systems to make it a reality.
Examples of things that have been hinted at (I just made all of these up but they're based on how I understand the info I have on KSP2, as well as some of the stuff that has cropped up in mods e.g. interstellar extended): an interstellar drive that needs two really rare resources to run and one only exists on Gilly's Midlands but the other only exists in Laythe's Crescent Bay; some resources can only be mined from asteroids but others can be skimmed from Jool's atmosphere; some resources can only be produced over time if you have a collecting station in a specific place such as on Minmus' Lesser Flats or in a narrow altitude band above the poles of Eve. And so on and so forth...

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14 hours ago, DJWyre said:

So long as this puzzle is auto-generated/randomised with each new game, otherwise you just need one person to find the right places and post them, killing the challenge.

The alternative is restricting mission/tech progression buy requiring certain tasks to be done, which would create a narrow corridor of hoops to jump through rather than the open world(s) aspect that KSP1 is so loved for.

I dont see that happening, at least in the local group. If theres ever an expansion to a procedural set of systems outside the local group (where the community can have shared experiences that all match up) I can see those planets being as youd describe. Sadly I think theres very little chance of this happening

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True, but the ore map at least could be auto-generated for each body.

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On 11/19/2019 at 7:56 AM, shdwlrd said:

You got your idea across. That always erked about the vanilla scanning system in KSP. One click, you know everything about the planet. I always use scansat to reveal info about the planet orbit by orbit. It's another reason to use satellites and send probes. I hope it would be an option for KSP2. If not, I would hope scansat would be available some point after KSP2 is released.

I get what you mean and I love scan sat myself but the devs do make a good point when it comes to science and the "casual" vanilla gameplay. That's time acceleration. Whats the point in having timed experiments if you can just skip time?  IMO time should be treated as a resource in KSP because it is arguably one of the most important ones in real life space travel. (Not the technical challenge but our biological one :( )I never liked how time was irrelevant. Life support should also be added. Maybe I am wrong about this but sometimes talking to other gamers I get the feeling most casuals do not even get to the mun or even kerbal orbit so adding deeper more difficult things like life support and possibly even kerbal life spans would not really make much difference when it comes to accessibility. For all I care the life spans could be 100 years but time pressure needs to be added. Maybe a hardcore career mode would solve that problem. I want to be forced to launch multiple missions at the same time. 

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On 11/24/2019 at 10:56 PM, Skorj said:

Right now, career mode feels like most "sandbox" games, where there's very little structure and no real plot except what you invent yourself.  Which is totally fine for an indie game, don't get me wrong, but I'm hoping there will be more to KSP2.  It looks like they're focused on future tech and interstellar travel, but I'd love to have objectives along the way that made "plot-based" use of cool ideas like resource scanning and asteroid capture, missions that made those thing a means to an end, not merely an arbitrary goal.

I play career only because it adds a bit more challenge but I get what you mean. Once you have the mun capable tech after 30 minutes you can go everywhere. Its the same in real life however. SaturnV could basically go anywhere in the solar system but the life support couldn't. Life support adds to much to ignore. Its the only limitation in space travel. If human beings could survive without food and could take as much radiation as possible we would already be on our way to alpha centauri because we have infinite time. I wonder how they will handle interstellar travel. If life support is not added what is stopping us from just timewarping with primitive mun rockets to other stars? It might take a few hours of real time time warping but people have done crazier with ion drive burns in game already. 

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7 hours ago, dave1904 said:

I get what you mean and I love scan sat myself but the devs do make a good point when it comes to science and the "casual" vanilla gameplay. That's time acceleration. Whats the point in having timed experiments if you can just skip time?  IMO time should be treated as a resource in KSP because it is arguably one of the most important ones in real life space travel. (Not the technical challenge but our biological one :( )I never liked how time was irrelevant. Life support should also be added. Maybe I am wrong about this but sometimes talking to other gamers I get the feeling most casuals do not even get to the mun or even kerbal orbit so adding deeper more difficult things like life support and possibly even kerbal life spans would not really make much difference when it comes to accessibility. For all I care the life spans could be 100 years but time pressure needs to be added. Maybe a hardcore career mode would solve that problem. I want to be forced to launch multiple missions at the same time. 

 

7 hours ago, dave1904 said:

I play career only because it adds a bit more challenge but I get what you mean. Once you have the mun capable tech after 30 minutes you can go everywhere. Its the same in real life however. SaturnV could basically go anywhere in the solar system but the life support couldn't. Life support adds to much to ignore. Its the only limitation in space travel. If human beings could survive without food and could take as much radiation as possible we would already be on our way to alpha centauri because we have infinite time. I wonder how they will handle interstellar travel. If life support is not added what is stopping us from just timewarping with primitive mun rockets to other stars? It might take a few hours of real time time warping but people have done crazier with ion drive burns in game already. 

I agree casual vanilla gameplay doesnt get you past minmus. Proper tutorials for basic mechanics will be of insanely great value to the newcomers though. I say cater to the community thats with you and make it more accessible to newcomers. 

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Hi there !

I'm not using life support, I'm afraid to be a bit paralyzed, like I don't know how much time my mission will take, so.... can't really plan life support. I agree it's less realistic.

On the other hand, I use time warp for very short warp, when needed. Like 10mn between two manoeuver nodes (on different craft), or something like that. I sometimes warp to three hours, or a bit more, when there is nothing to do, all kerbals are already busy, and I've not plannet any probe launch. (I won't wait for things to happens, you know, I'm here to enjoy this game).

So yeah, maybe adding time as resource. But for life support, I'm afraid not everyone agree on this one, for me the fun part of the game is the technical and planning challenge, for sure, but if you add too much constraint (and "too much" is very user-dependant) it makes the game not fun at all. So, to be balanced carefully I think. It however can be a setting. Anyway, if it is included in the base game, I'll give it a shot. And mod are there for this purpose too : change game experience depending on what the user want. For some gamer, time as a resource can also be too much constraint, imagine they are there just to do some stuff, but not "serious". Or just to try some things, like interplanetary, or interstellar travel in a sandbox mode. (even if for sandbox, money/science are not considered are resource, so it might not be a problem...)

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6 hours ago, Sppion1 said:

Hi there !

I'm not using life support, I'm afraid to be a bit paralyzed, like I don't know how much time my mission will take, so.... can't really plan life support. I agree it's less realistic.

On the other hand, I use time warp for very short warp, when needed. Like 10mn between two manoeuver nodes (on different craft), or something like that. I sometimes warp to three hours, or a bit more, when there is nothing to do, all kerbals are already busy, and I've not plannet any probe launch. (I won't wait for things to happens, you know, I'm here to enjoy this game).

So yeah, maybe adding time as resource. But for life support, I'm afraid not everyone agree on this one, for me the fun part of the game is the technical and planning challenge, for sure, but if you add too much constraint (and "too much" is very user-dependant) it makes the game not fun at all. So, to be balanced carefully I think. It however can be a setting. Anyway, if it is included in the base game, I'll give it a shot. And mod are there for this purpose too : change game experience depending on what the user want. For some gamer, time as a resource can also be too much constraint, imagine they are there just to do some stuff, but not "serious". Or just to try some things, like interplanetary, or interstellar travel in a sandbox mode. (even if for sandbox, money/science are not considered are resource, so it might not be a problem...)

Its actually not that hard with life support. You can get 1 years worth of life support on you ship with minimal mass. Your only limitation is that you are afraid it will make things to hard but it won't. I makes you missions far more interesting because planing missions to outer planets is something that should require planing. Besides that these options would be easy to toggle. I do not care if they add it anyway because mods will make my perfect KSP like they always have. We all have a different vision on what is best. 

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