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I hope I won't be accidentally double posting this, but I do not remember sharing my idea for a more involved Career/Science System I made half a year ago.

The following could potentially be handled as a mod, but I am hoping with some feedback and refinement, it could be worthy of a future update since Career Mode and Science desperately need changes. The following Science Manifesto tackles that, along with changes to the Admin Building and Tech Tree.

Copied from a PDF I wrote:

THE SCIENCE MANIFESTO: CAREER OVERHAUL

SCIENCE TYPES


Instead of a generic “Science”, it would be split into 3 science types or “currencies”: Biology, Chemistry, and Material. Different science experiments can provide a varying degree of each. Generic instruments could provide all three, while more specialized would only provide one or two. The purpose of the different science currencies would still be used to unlock tech nodes, which now cost different amounts of each. It could also be used for contracts or for events (more on those later)

J3ux0Gf.png
Biology, Chemistry, and Material Science

 

CHANGES TO EXPERIMENT RESULTS


Experiment results are no longer abstracted. You no longer receive a ScienceDef result immediately after running an experiment. Instead, you receive one of two new result types: Data or Sample

  • Data: Functions very similar to how science results are treated now. Experiments that generate number values (Thermometer, Barometer, etc.) will create a “Data” result. Data results can be transmitted via the CommNet system
  • Samples: Experiments that collect a physical substance (Drills, soil scoops, gas chromatographs, etc) generate a “Sample.” Samples cannot be transmitted via CommNet, but you can run a second experiment on a Sample to convert it into Data, which you can then transmit.

Converting a Sample into Data destroys the sample, leaving only the Data result. One sample could be run through different experiments and be converted into different kinds of data. Here could be some Sample Types:

  • Atmospheric: Air or gaseous substances collected anywhere on a planetary body
  • Soil: Ground sample collected anywhere on a body while “landed”
  • Rock: Geologic sample collected from either specific biomes or from terrain scatters
  • Liquid: Collected while “Splashed Down”
  • Particle: A more complex sample that could be collected anywhere in the solar system. Such as solar wind plasma, Neutrinos, comet tail particles, etc.

Samples can be collected and stored or moved. I am thinking is a KIS-style manner, where each takes up space and has mass. Different storage parts could be made to storage different kinds of and/or amounts of samples. Parts could be configured to spawn with a sample already in its inventory, such as to ship experiments to orbital labs (Plant growth, Material bay, etc.)

Upon either transmitting, or returning the sample you will receive a science notification. The menu for this can be set very similarly to how contracts are now. An icon on the GUI can be added for science result logs and would flash once a new result is obtained from either a transmitted Data result, or a completed research project (See: R&D Building, Science Teams). It is from the new menu that you will obtain ScienceDef results, instead of when the experiment is first run.

SCIENCE PART TYPES


Science parts can now be more specialized. Parts could even be used only to collect samples, without providing any data, or to do both:

  • Collector: These parts could run and generate a sample depending on the condition and biome of the craft. The Sample is added to an internal inventory where it can be moved to be worked on.
  • Film Camera: Takes images and generates a “sample” film that must be returned
  • Digital Camera: More advanced Camera that can develop or take digital pictures which are created as “Data” instead
  • Instruments: These science parts take measurements of the environment or craft conditions, which are created as “Data”
  • Labs: Lab parts take an input Sample, examine it (destroying it in the process) and converts it into “Data” that can then be transmitted

R&D BUILDING


The R&D Building now has four sections instead of the current two:

  • Archives: Functions as it does now (Or can be removed)
  • Warehouse: Stores samples collected during missions that return to Kerbin. Samples can be discarded sold, or moved to the Research Lab for analysis. The Warehouse Inventory can be accessed from the VAB/SPH or nearby in the world (Like KIS) to transfer returned samples back to a craft, if needed.
  • Research Lab: Science teams in the research lab can analyze samples from the Warehouse for a much greater science return than in-situ experiments. You can run an in-depth analysis for each of the Science types (Bio, Chem, and Mat). Each analysis destroys the sample as part of the research, and subsequent runs of the same analysis on samples from the same biome yield vastly diminishing returns and/or take longer.
    • In addition to increased science returns, sample research/analysis from a Research Lab has a chance to trigger an event. Events can be beneficial, detrimental, or preferably provide a number of player choices. For example, a sample from Duna could be found to potentially have micro-organisms. You could have the choice of exposing them to radiation or some other substance. Each choice would have an associated cost and either a randomized result, or a specific one depending on the sample and the Event. Events can be wildly different with different choices, and the percentage of each could be adjusted as to be less randomized.
  • Development Lab: The development lab is the Tech Tree/Technology tab as it is in stock today. A couple of changes are that, like sample analysis, each node takes time to research. The cost of each node will now be one or more of the three new science types; depending on what it unlocks. Nodes for structural parts can cost more Material than other sciences, electrical or propulsion can cost more Chemistry, while manned or life support parts could cost more Biology.
    • Other desirable changes to the Tech Tree system could be implemented here as well. One such change is using nodes to unlocked upgrade technologies and not necessarily “parts” alone. Nodes could even research KSC building upgrades, or Kerbal abilities. A tech node can unlock a part such as a manned capsule. The capsule has built-in RCS and auto-pilot but both are locked. Two nodes later on the tech tree could then “unlock” the ability for new crafts with that capsule to use each the built-in RCS, or its probe core.

SCIENCE TEAMS


Both sample research and tech node research now take time and funds. Each active research takes a certain amount of funds per day to maintain research. Providing Additional or reduced funding will affect the time it takes to complete each project. Funding would be managed from the Admin Building, along with any other R&D Policies. Research Projects are done by Science Teams. KSC has one Science Team by default, plus one per level of the R&D Building for a total of four teams at the highest level. A science team can be assigned to either research a sample, or a tech tree node. Starting out, you may have both teams analyzing samples for early science gain, and then switch both to research tech nodes once enough is obtained.


MOBILE PROCESSING LABS


The MPL and other parts like it will function very similarly to the R&D Building in that it provides you with the same three sample analysis options. Instead of requiring funds, MPLs need to be crewed and provided with power (and maybe eventually life support). Each MPL will provide a new science team. The efficiency of the MPL will be based on the Kerbals’ experience, and the results based on the location similar to stock now. Perhaps MPLs could also research tech tree nodes, especially if the tech tree is expanded.

EXPERIMENT RESULT FLOWCHARTS
The following are flowcharts to show the process for running experiments and obtaining science.

INSTRUMENT EXAMPLE
In this example, a simple instrument part is run. This generates a “Data” result, which can then be transmitted via an antenna, or returned for the same science gain.

uYdqJjf.jpg

COLLECTOR AND LAB EXAMPLE
This example shows a part used to collect a sample which is optionally returned to KSC, ran through and X-ray “lab” experiment, or a centrifuge. You would need to gather three samples with the soil collector in order to do all three options.

gPNHQuY.jpg

 

MULTI-SITE AND MPL EXAMPLE
This more complex example shows the many options from collecting a sample physically with a Kerbal and then processing it through multiple different experiments. It also shows a possible Event triggered by running a sample analysis in the MPL.

xmZSF6B.jpg

 

 

I know it is a lot, but any thoughts or feedback?

Edited by akron
Formatting

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, PositronLance001 said:

good idea! might be to complicated for beginners though...

Possibly. I personally don't find it more complicated than a mod like SCANsat though.

Let me expand, it may be complex, but it is also intuitive. At least to me. Also, a lot of the stuff on the flowcharts happens behind the scenes 

Edited by akron

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Nice re-imagining of an overall similar system that takes care of some things in stock that feel unsatisfying. This would be interesting to play-test, at least.

I see the core of the game as building in the VAB/SPH, launching, flying, and landing, so I would want to understand the impact on those activities. Would I choose different missions? Would I design craft differently? Would I concern myself with new or different things during maneuvering or landing? If this would mainly add screens to the KSC and require more clicking but leave the basic experience unchanged, then I would probably decline to install it.

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7 hours ago, HebaruSan said:

Nice re-imagining of an overall similar system that takes care of some things in stock that feel unsatisfying. This would be interesting to play-test, at least.

I see the core of the game as building in the VAB/SPH, launching, flying, and landing, so I would want to understand the impact on those activities. Would I choose different missions? Would I design craft differently? Would I concern myself with new or different things during maneuvering or landing? If this would mainly add screens to the KSC and require more clicking but leave the basic experience unchanged, then I would probably decline to install it.

Well, I think it would tweak missions quite a bit. If you are collecting samples, you now have to return them safely. Sample return missions and/or mobile labs become more important, since parts for in-situ science would be expensive/heavy/inaccurate.

As far as the science teams and the research aspect, it just makes the game more strategic. There's more choices and risk-rewards scenarios. You also have to allocate funding and decide when to task your research teams, which will be limited resource. It also would have the side effect of slowing down progression because even if you can collect samples very quickly, you cannot research their science or develop new nodes instantaneously. 

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This is similar to the science system in the mod kerbalism

The ways samples work, and the way that the data can be transmitted

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2 hours ago, Lithobrake said:

This is similar to the science system in the mod kerbalism

The ways samples work, and the way that the data can be transmitted

I was not aware as I've never used it. Kerbalism does add some additional complexities and compatibility issues even though I saw there's an optional science config.

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16 hours ago, akron said:

I was not aware as I've never used it. Kerbalism does add some additional complexities and compatibility issues even though I saw there's an optional science config.

The science config gets rid of everything but the science aspects, and thus most of these incompatibilities (except for the obvious incompatibility with existing science mods that is introduced by the changes to the science system).

Indeed, Kerbalism covers about half of what’s in the proposal. Also it adds a duration to experiments, you don’t get the result immediately but have to keep an experiment running for a set duration while remaining in the current situation/biome, and they need resources during that time (EC, mostly). The gameplay impact of this alone is immense, it changes mission planning and execution. Most people love it.

What it doesn’t do is alter how science points or the R&D buildings work. 

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I like the proposal, but converting it back to science point in the end feels underwhelming. Separated science points make a lot of sense, they should unlock different things, for example:

1) New parts, duh

2) Old parts, but improved specs

3) A general upgrade to every part (for example, new alloys for better heat resistance)

4) Old parts, but can do new things (for example, capsules now have built-in prove cores)

 

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This thread reminded me of something that I have been planning to do for a while - a tutorial / explanation of the Kerbalism science. Here it is.

 


 

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The basic problem has always been simple: when you get to these other worlds (and especially when you just get to orbit), there is nothing to do. Click a few buttons, plant a flag, and go home. Breaking Ground tried to fix that, but it's kind of a band-aid.

It doesn't help that without life support requirements, time is meaningless.

The science lab at least gives a reason for bringing some scientists and staying at a place, but it still tends to feel unsatisfying.

At it's heart, KSP is about building and flying rockets, not base-building. Science has always felt like a tacked on way to progress through a tech tree. I'm not sure there is really anything to be done about it.

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As if science wasn't horrible enough.

Instead of flooding players with even more cookie clicker-like gizmos the game should allow them to pick their own goals and reward them for it.

I disabled science points from my career almost entirely (because you can't set the rewards to 0%) and the career mode has finally become enjoyable. What I do is I look at the tree and think "What can I do with what I already have and where should I go next?". I pick the target, like The Mun, land there, plant a flag, go back and get paid for it. THEN, I use that money to buy science and unlock new parts that I need to do my next goal set up by myself, not the game.

All that without even touching the BS that the science system is.

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On 1/16/2020 at 2:08 AM, mikegarrison said:

The basic problem has always been simple: when you get to these other worlds (and especially when you just get to orbit), there is nothing to do. Click a few buttons, plant a flag, and go home. Breaking Ground tried to fix that, but it's kind of a band-aid.

It doesn't help that without life support requirements, time is meaningless.

The science lab at least gives a reason for bringing some scientists and staying at a place, but it still tends to feel unsatisfying.

At it's heart, KSP is about building and flying rockets, not base-building. Science has always felt like a tacked on way to progress through a tech tree. I'm not sure there is really anything to be done about it.

I used to uncritically agree with it, but now I'm really confused when I see this request for "more stuff to do on planets".  Like what? Survey contracts in base game give you a reason to use rovers. Breaking Ground is a further step in the right direction by giving you an incentive to use EVA characters, but I was very disappointed to see any interactions with the larger features limited to those infuriating rover arm contraptions. No, the real problem is that KSP's worlds are basically these paper-mache balls that you can't inherently add much detail to. Rovers must handle more or less the same on every piece of land (namely like they're skidding on buttered ice) and planes... can actually have really varied performance but only fly on four worlds, maybe five if you do a suicide dive into Jool. But in the end, you can't create real volcanos, real cliffs or real dunes and beaches. Actually looking at collections of points stitched together to form 'surfaces' that mildly resemble such is inevitably going to be a tad disappointing.

Creating more varied terrain would certainly be possible if, say, KSP2 moves away from the simplistic giant array of surfaces model.

Edited by ElJugador

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41 minutes ago, ElJugador said:

No, the real problem is that KSP's worlds are basically these paper-mache balls that you can't inherently add much detail to.

They are linked ideas. The only interesting world to visit is Mun, and that's because it's the only one that has any detail at the surface. There's still nothing to do there except drive around, but at least driving around on Mun is interesting. That's not true of any other planet (even Kerbin).

If KSP had something interesting for the kerbals to do, it would be a big improvement. If the planets were interesting, then exploring them would be something interesting to do.

Don't get me wrong, I have many thousands of hours playing KSP. It's a fun game. But the fun bits are entirely "designing, building, and flying rockets". That's it. There's nothing else.

People do use the game for other things -- they make machinima, they build ships, they challenge each other to drive around Kerbin, etc. etc. But if I make music out of a copper pipe, that doesn't really mean a copper pipe is a musical instrument. As a video game, KSP is basically Lego. You snap some parts together and then your imagination provides all the rest of the fun.

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