mcwaffles2003

Supply Network Management

Should automation of logistics enter the game in some form?  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Should automation of logistics enter the game in some form?

    • Yes
      29
    • No
      4
  2. 2. If yes, in what manner?

    • Choice 1 below
      3
    • Choice 2 below
      10
    • Choice 3 below
      3
    • Choice 4 below
      13
    • other (please dont click this, add your own solution, title it, and I will amend it to this list)
      4


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3 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

The simplest solution is to rely on IRSU and the ability to make 100% self sustaining bases so you didn't need supply runs. 

How does that work with an orbital launch platform/refueling station?

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10 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

How does that work with an orbital launch platform/refueling station?

Well, the one we've seen was in orbit around a gas giant.  It's possible there's some IRSU that it can pick up from the atmosphere, if it's close enough.

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3 hours ago, DStaal said:

Well, the one we've seen was in orbit around a gas giant.  It's possible there's some IRSU that it can pick up from the atmosphere, if it's close enough.

If it's that close to the atmosphere I think orbit stability is in question

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11 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

If it's that close to the atmosphere I think orbit stability is in question

I was going to say it doesn't necessarily need to be that close to the atmosphere...

But then I realized it doesn't matter:  If you're collecting gas you're degrading your orbit, unless the gas is traveling faster than you.

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4 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

How does that work with an orbital launch platform/refueling station?

That's true. Honestly the number of times most folks are refueling in orbit around other planets is probably pretty small (I find, anyway, though that may change with multiple systems.) The big issue is LKO and the occasional Munar/Minmar refueling station depending on your IRSU setup. It's awfully nice to send up all your modules dry and top it all off in orbit. The real question is at what point of sophistication does automating supply runs become more cumbersome than just flying them. As you've been saying on the one end you could have designated vessels which you've designed and just tell the game through some interface > go from KSC to this docking point on this schedule and dump these onboard resources. From the mods I've seen (and feel free to correct me if Im wrong) it seems really difficult to program specific vessels to do this kind of thing and have their flight plans physically modeled, especially on interplanetary scales. Between Mech Jeb and a few other supply scheduling mods many of the pieces are there, but tying it all together in a non-buggy way capturing a reasonable quotient of edge cases is a whole different problem. You could have dozens of assigned vessels and docking ports, any number of different timings to line up with transfer windows, half a dozen different transferable resource types on each craft. What happens if the resources needed from an intermediary station aren't there? What happens if because of an inefficient transfer the automated vessel runs out of fuel? What happens if a docking port is blocked when they arrive? Does the automated system know to prevent this or do you have to preplan every docking and transferred kg? 

I'd be happy to be wrong and AI can play KSP soup to nuts nearly as well or better than I can, but its probably more feasible to have resources more or less 'magically' dumped here or there at preplanned dates at some cost.

Edited by Pthigrivi

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4 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

That's true. Honestly the number of times most folks are refueling in orbit around other planets is probably pretty small (I find, anyway, though that may change with multiple systems.) The big issue is LKO and the occasional Munar/Minmar refueling station depending on your IRSU setup. It's awfully nice to send up all your modules dry and top it all off in orbit. The real question is at what point of sophistication does automating supply runs become more cumbersome than just flying them. As you've been saying on the one end you could have designated vessels which you've designed and just tell the game through some interface > go from KSC to this docking point on this schedule and dump these onboard resources. From the mods I've seen (and feel free to correct me if Im wrong) it seems really difficult to program specific vessels to do this kind of thing and have their flight plans physically modeled, especially on interplanetary scales. Between Mech Jeb and a few other supply scheduling mods many of the pieces are there, but tying it all together in a non-buggy way capturing a reasonable quotient of edge cases is a whole different problem. You could have dozens of assigned vessels and docking ports, any number of different timings to line up with transfer windows, half a dozen different transferable resource types on each craft. What happens if the resources needed from an intermediary station aren't there? What happens if because of an inefficient transfer the automated vessel runs out of fuel? What happens if a docking port is blocked when they arrive? Does the automated system know to prevent this or do you have to preplan every docking and transferred kg? 

I'd be happy to be wrong and AI can play KSP soup to nuts nearly as well or better than I can, but its probably more feasible to have resources more or less 'magically' dumped here or there at preplanned dates at some cost.

My guess would be a non-physical transfer based on pre-discovered dV capabilities under a max payload with a background clock keeping the schedule and having a separate window for keeping track of logistics. I think this is similar to how it's done in Kerbal Space Transport System. I wonder if it can be broken into 3 phases for interplanetary transport. 

  • Phase 1: Reach orbit from planetary body (static dV value)
  • Phase 2: Using a porkchop diagram availability windows can be shown for the vessel based on its dV characteristics (variable dV value)
  • Phase 3: Planetary capture and rendezvous (variable dV value, but not variable to the extent of phase 2)

Possibly with this a set of transport windows can be displayed where the vehicle capability fits and for what timescales. Then all the player has to deal with is 2 variables: cost and trip time. Higher cost implies higher fuel needs for faster but more expensive runs and cheaper costs for longer more efficient runs.

I'm not a programmer and may be naive, but I dont see why this cant be pre-calculated and simplified down for the player to something as simple as a slider at that point, especially since we are dealing with predictable patch conics and it doesn't take long for porkchop diagrams to be calculated.

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I'm at choice 4.

What I'm really hoping for is that we get to create our own defined mission scripts.  We then have to demonstrate that mission can be completed.  Whatever craft, cost, time, and launch window is required to complete the supply missions (that we create!) to deliver the goods is then available for us to repeat at will and the repeat mission launch date can then be scheduled anytime you like for future valid launch window X.  

So I'm thinking the tradeoff in managing the missions would be, the more surplus DV you have when you complete the mission, the larger your launch window.  Therefore, the more valuable that mission might be in terms of how often a valid window for the mission is open.  The cost, craft, and surplus DV is actually determined by how you literally flew the craft.  So the better you get at a mission, the bigger your automated launch window.  ...and you can refly the mission at any time to see if you can best your surplus DV score (without penalizing your lowest DV automated mission).

That's the sort of higher-level supply chain management I would enjoy playing.

What I unfortunately suspect they might do... is institute some lame shortcut based on some sort of "Supply Radius" on the big map that just magically allows various consumable resources to "grow" over time as the radii of various bases and stations happen to overlap.  Yuck!   ...and by upgrading your base with various items, the "Supply Radius" just gets larger.  Yuck, again!  It wouldn't really be much different than a comms network that magically beams consumables around the solar system.  If we go that route, might as well throw in FTL drives too.

 

Edited by XLjedi

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