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KSP2 should have no optional features


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23 hours ago, Terwin said:

[snip]

Perhaps he would benefit from a restatement:

'Coding is hard (I have 30 years experience, so I know this is a fact) and having options only gives more opportunities to make a mistake in the code or break things.  Therefore all options should be set to exactly the way I want them set for all players to ensure my preferred method of play gets all of the QA resources and will have the fewest possible bugs.  This also makes it easier to add new features that I want.'

And while I agree that coding is hard(> 20 years here), it is the job of the designers and programmers to deliver what the customer wants/needs, not just what is easiest to program.

 

22 hours ago, Frozen_Heart said:

I honestly completely disagree.

 

Everyone likes to play slightly differently, and having options to choose from like re-entry heating, comms, life support, etc allows both hardcore and casual players to be catered for.

 

Mods are an awful substitute, as on consoles it's difficult/impossible to get mods, and when they're discontinued the people who were forced to use them to get the settings they wanted are out of luck.

Exactly.

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Ummmm... NO

Your theory that KSPs options cause bugs may be sound, but the overall product is better; this is exactly what KSP is about... modding, custimization etc. There are some people who use armory mods, whereas I don't give a damn about that, I just want really cool space station parts to build fortresses in high orbit around planets, then shuttle fuel around my fleet to create an ever expanding empire.

 

I think you're missing the point in order to get an expedited version of the game into your hands. Furthermore, I'm all about sandbox mode, and couldn't care less about the science experiments in most cases; though I have played a science based game over the course of a year and burned myself out on it. I think it's this level of optimization that keeps Kerbal FRESH and able to recycle itself in the end-users mind. Think about the options for food/water/air (consumables), that could add to another play through of the game.

 

In all honesty, I see myself starting out on the easiest option settings, then slowly graduating as I get a handle on the new game engine and mechanics. Furthermore, I'm anticipating a lot of graphics options, as even modern computers struggle to run KSP with full detail and light sources as well as 900+ mods (which is where I'm at). My advice... simmer down, let there be 'options', and if there are bugs, so be it... they'll iron those bugs out over time.

**How and why, did we ever become such an "instant gratification" society?!***

Edited by saxappeal89129
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1 hour ago, 0111narwhalz said:

At what point did we slew to failure handling? Unexpected exceptions arising from a disabled feature are, I believe, a symptom of a kraken visitation. Turning something off should make it maximally predictable.

Encapsulation can and should make definitions of all interactions between systems accessible.

I'm curious as to which features you cannot stub out. You can replace Commnet connectivity checks with "yes it's connected." You can replace the thermodynamics with "yes everything is at 350K all the time." You can even replace aerodynamics with "no there's no aerodynamic force being applied." At what point does disabling these features cause unexpected results?

I do get what he's saying here.  There are two ways features/choices hurt testing/debugging: First is interactions, which in theory go up by the square of the number of optional features.  (But that can be mitigated to a large extent by good encapsulation.)

The other large one that encapsulation can't handle is if you try to build features on top of other features.  Say you have both light-speed delay and comnet - If you turn comnet off, how does light-speed delay work?  If you turn comnet on, does the delay take into account the length of the comnet?  The features are interdependent, so you now need to test both combinations.

So there is a cost, and sometimes the cost is too high I understand - but pushing 'no options' is pushing that cost to far the other way in my opinion.

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Thanks for the encapsulation discussion folks. Not something I was aware of, so I learned something today.

In return, I’d like to offer a counterexample to try and explain why I’m supporting @Brikoleur‘s thesis here.

Districts. Specifically districts in Civ 6. They changed a longstanding convention in the game, changed a lot of gameplay mechanics around city placement and management, added a fair bit of complexity and (arguably) would appeal more to players who enjoy a certain style of play.

In short, very much a feature that I would expect to fall into the ‘make it optional’ field of thought. Particularly as Civs 1-4 (and I think 5) managed just fine without them.

The thing is, making them optional would be extremely hard, encapsulation notwithstanding. Take them out and, whilst you can rejig some gameplay mechanics to work without them fairly easily, other mechanics will break entirely and require some kind of replacement system. (For those that play Civ 6, I’m thinking about adjacency bonuses and the way the different resource points are calculated). Then you get the knock-on effects such as certain bonuses for quite a few playable Civs disappearing and all the rebalancing that would be required to compensate for that.

As far as I can see, you would virtually have to write two separate games, one with districts enabled, one with them switched off. It would certainly be possible - as I mentioned, previous versions of Civ have done very well without districts - but I can imagine it being a lot of work. 

Exponentially so if you have other optional features to contend with.

So at some point I think it’s necessary to decide how a game is going to work given that budgets and developer time are finite. If a given feature is going to be optional, how complex is that feature in terms of the way it interacts with other game systems and how much would those other game systems need to be modified or replaced to accommodate the optional feature being switched off?

At some point it becomes impractical to make a feature that is both complex (in the good way to quote @Brikoleur again) and optional. So where do you compromise? At one end of the scale you simplify and keep it optional at the other end of the scale you keep the complexity but make it mandatory. In practice this is unlikely to be a straightforward binary choice and you go for something in between.

Personally, I prefer the ‘mandatory but complex’ end of the scale. Other folks may prefer the other end. But accommodating both preferences at once is difficult.

Edited by KSK
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@KSK but how would making comm range, aero heating, plasma blackout, G-limits, etc. optional more difficult for balancing? Whenever they're disabled they're disabled because the player wants an easier game to begin with. Bar life support, I honestly can't think of any features that players would want to be optional that would impact balancing in any meaningful way.

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So, I'm a bit late to the party, here.  TL;DR is that I disagree with the thesis, and personally, I think that options are a good thing for KSP to have.

Much of the discussion seems to be various assertions of "Options are bad!" or "Options are good!"  That's fine, as an expression of personal opinion of what one likes, since of course that's everyone's personal prerogative.  ;)

However, having shipped commercial software for a living for a quarter-century means that I see everything through software-engineer-tinted goggles, so to speak, so I'll take the liberty of re-framing the question in language that makes sense to me:

  • Options are a feature.
  • Just like any other feature, they have benefits and costs.
  • Whether any particular feature should go into a piece of software or not is therefore an exercise of estimating, as well as possible, the magnitude of the benefits and the magnitude of the costs, and weighing the one against the other.
  • Benefits > costs = good idea.
  • Costs > benefits = bad idea.

So, to me, the real topic of debate basically boils down to:  Would options be a good feature to add to KSP?  It's just a feature discussion, that's all, like any other.

And to answer that question, it comes down to:

  • What benefits would it provide?
  • How costly would it be?

I happen to think that the benefits in KSP are very, very large, given the open-ended nature of the game and the extreme variability in how players like to play it.  I think the costs are manageable, if done right (which, in KSP, I believe they by and large have been).  So I think it's hands-down a good idea to have them.

 

On 2/26/2020 at 6:04 AM, Brikoleur said:

Optional features create bugs.

Sure, I have no argument with that.  Because they're features, and all features create bugs.  But that's not a reason not to have them-- if you eliminate every feature that could have bugs in it, you'll end up with a product with zero features.

So I assume what you're really claiming is that they create way more bugs than some other feature would-- so many that it would offset the benefit that they provide.  However, I haven't seen you provide evidence for that assertion.  Could you elaborate?

Because I've seen plenty of counter-examples.  There are lots of successful, popular games out there that do have major options in them that greatly benefit the player base.  Or, I could take KSP as an example.  Consider career mode, versus sandbox mode.  I hope we can agree that that's one heck of a "big" option, in terms of scope and impact on gameplay.  Choosing one or the other enables/disables a whole slew of other features, all across the product.  So... are you saying that that is a bad option?

My assertion that that particular option's a good one (in spoiler, to save wear-and-tear on uninterested eyeballs).  The TL;DR is that I think that option has a very large benefit (expanding appeal across the player base), and isn't particularly buggier than any other KSP features.  Yes, it's a big cost, but-- for me, at least-- worth it.

Spoiler

Because here's the thing:

  • There are scads and scads of KSP players that use career mode, and greatly prefer to play KSP that way.  I'm one of them.  If sandbox were the only way to play, I probably would have gotten bored and left long ago.
  • There are scads and scads of KSP players who think career mode is stupid and useless, and play exclusively sandbox.  If sandbox were taken away, it would diminish their enjoyment of the game, and likely exclude lots of them.

So... which is it?  Whom do you want to exclude?  Are you saying I (and people like me) don't deserve to play KSP, because we happen to like career mode?  Are you saying that the sandbox aficionados don't deserve to play KSP, because they dislike career mode?

And career mode isn't particularly buggy, at least not that I've noticed.  Goodness knows KSP has plenty of bugs in it, but career mode is actually pretty stable, in my experience.  Even the folks who don't like it generally take issue with the game design rather than that it's unstable/buggy.

So... yeah, that's a pretty darn expensive feature.  Clearly Squad invested a lot of time and money developing it-- and that's time and money that they could have otherwise invested in some other cool feature.

But if they did so... all the folks who love career mode and play it exclusively would have missed out on that.  And if they hadn't made it optional... they would have alienated the folks who don't like it.

Making CommNet optional?  Why is that such a bad thing, in terms of costs and benefits?

  • Players who like it... get the benefit of having it.
  • Players who don't like it and don't want it... don't have to have it rammed down their throats.  (And yes, there are such players.)
  • Making it optional is pretty simple and easy, if it's designed to be that way from the get-go (which it appears it was).
  • I've seen no evidence that making it optional is particularly bug-inducing.

Certainly making it optional isn't free (both ways have to be tested, etc.)  But you seem to be unambiguously asserting that you know that it's a bad choice to do so, and that anyone who disagrees with you is just wrong.

May I ask how you know that?  The only way to be able to assert that would be to know the benefit (e.g. detailed usage statistics)-- which I don't think is publicly available-- and to also know the cost (e.g. exactly how many dev & QA hours were needed to implement the option)-- which I don't think is publicly available, either.

So unless you've got access to data that the rest of us don't... I don't see how it's possible to assert this.  Speculate, sure.  Assert, not so much?

 

On 2/27/2020 at 4:40 AM, Brikoleur said:

I'm pretty sure I'm in a minority position with this opinion. I contend that's because most people don't understand the indirect impact of optional feature sets on the quality of the game.

I really don't think you're in a position to say that people who disagree with you do so only because they're somehow less well informed than you.  For example, I've been a professional software engineer for 25 years, and I've got a pretty good handle on optional feature sets, thanks-- and I happen to disagree with you on this point.  ;)

(FWIW, my own take on this is:  Sometimes optional features are a terrible idea.  Sometimes they're the right solution to the problem at hand.  It depends on the situation.  In the specific case of KSP and the options they've chosen, I happen to think it's a good fit.)

So, no.  I don't think people are disagreeing with you because they're ignorant.  I think it's just because they happen to have different priorities than you do.

Which, of course, is fine.  Different people like different things, is all.

 

On 2/27/2020 at 4:40 AM, Brikoleur said:

Even if the majority votes YES on options, I am still right about this

People like what they like.  You're not wrong to like what you do-- but I hardly think it's your place to claim that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.  Other people have just as much right to what they like as you do.

 

On 2/27/2020 at 4:40 AM, Brikoleur said:

it's not something that ought to be subject to a vote.

Why not?  Seems to me, of course it should.  It's a feature, on a commercial product that's trying to sell as many copies as possible.  If more people like it, more copies get sold, translating to more profits, which can fuel more improvements.

People do vote.  With their wallets.  And that's what companies listen to, and rightly so.

 

 

On 2/27/2020 at 7:18 AM, Brikoleur said:

(FWIW I won't be disappointed by options qua options. But if it ends up a flaky mess with half-baked systems, half-realised potential, and options that invalidate entire gameplay systems or significant swathes of the tech tree, then yeah I will be disappointed.)

Sure, and I can understand that.  If they make design choices that you don't like, you'll be disappointed.  Presumably there will be other people, who like similar things to you, who will also be disappointed, because their ideas of "flaky" and "mess" and "half-baked" will coincide with yours.

And, of course, there will be still other people who will be happy.  Because they will like different things from you, and some feature that you think is a "flaky mess" and "half-baked" is something that they really like a lot, and they're happy that the game has it, and it keeps them interested in the game longer and makes them more willing to shell out the cash for it.

And you'll be absolutely right.  And so will the people who like the opposite of what you do.

 

FWIW:  I'm not trying to claim that every single optional setting in the game is the "right" decision-- obviously not, since how would I know?  Neither I nor anyone outside of Squad is in a position to answer how many hours they spent on any one feature, nor are we in any position to have usage data for how popular those features are.

All I'm saying is... it's a pretty strong claim to say they're all bad, or that reasonable people can't disagree.

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2 hours ago, dmsilev said:

So, let's take "no options" beyond reentry heat and comms and ask the following question: Does every player have to play in sandbox or in career mode? 

I never play either.  Do I have to do one or the other?

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4 hours ago, Snark said:

Consider career mode, versus sandbox mode.  I hope we can agree that that's one heck of a "big" option, in terms of scope and impact on gameplay.  Choosing one or the other enables/disables a whole slew of other features, all across the product.  So... are you saying that that is a bad option?

Yes, as a matter of fact. I believe the game would be better with only one good, deep, thoroughly well thought-out mode, rather than three half-baked ones. (Four, if you count Making History missions.)

Anyway, if you want to reframe the discussion as “what gameplay options should KSP2 have?” then I’m good with that too. My position is still “none, no gameplay options beyond very simple difficulty sliders and switches to disable tutorial features, certainly no expensive alternative game modes or entire optional game systems.”

I can’t think of much more to say on the topic than what I’ve already said however. As I said a bit earlier, my objective raising the topic was to spark a discussion and challenge the facile “but just make it optional!” suggestion whenever a contentious topic (like LS, or N-body physics, or signal lag, or whatever) comes up. It just isn’t that simple.

I also believe that great games do not happen by majority vote. They are products of a creative vision, and that process is by nature a dictatorial one, not a democracy. Therefore my other objective was to encourage the creators of KSP2 to believe in their vision for the game, stick to it, and not listen to our demands and expectations too much.

Including mine: if their vision of KSP2 is that of a completely modular game where systems can be switched off at will, and they have a clear idea of how to make that work — as a game, not just a software artifact, which is hard enough — then more power to them, I’ll give it a whirl.  But if they make things optional out of timidity, because they’re afraid somebody might not like a system they’re building, then that’s not going to end anywhere good.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Brikoleur said:

Yes, as a matter of fact. I believe the game would be better with only one good, deep, thoroughly well thought-out mode, rather than three half-baked ones. (Four, if you count Making History missions.)

Anyway, if you want to reframe the discussion as “what gameplay options should KSP2 have?” then I’m good with that too. My position is still “none, no gameplay options beyond very simple difficulty sliders and switches to disable tutorial features, certainly no expensive alternative game modes or entire optional game systems.”

I can’t think of much more to say on the topic than what I’ve already said however. As I said a bit earlier, my objective raising the topic was to spark a discussion and challenge the facile “but just make it optional!” suggestion whenever a contentious topic (like LS, or N-body physics, or signal lag, or whatever) comes up. It just isn’t that simple.

I also believe that great games do not happen by majority vote. They are products of a creative vision, and that process is by nature a dictatorial one, not a democracy. Therefore my other objective was to encourage the creators of KSP2 to believe in their vision for the game, stick to it, and not listen to our demands and expectations too much.

Including mine: if their vision of KSP2 is that of a completely modular game where systems can be switched off at will, and they have a clear idea of how to make that work — as a game, not just a software artifact, which is hard enough — then more power to them, I’ll give it a whirl.  But if they make things optional out of timidity, because they’re afraid somebody might not like a system they’re building, then that’s not going to end anywhere good.

 

 

Iv'e been lurking in this thread for a while, and while i do disagree with your thesis i can very much respect this opinion. It's one iv'e expressed on multiple threads prior, and i do personally believe it needs to be made apparent that KSP2 isn't our game; it's a product being developed by a studio who themselves are allowed to continue to exist at the whim of 2K games. 

I also really like the last line; because it really speaks to the state of gaming currently in general. The games i have the fondest memories for aren't the ones that gave me every single option to tailor it to my preferred play style; they're the ones that had the gall to tell me "No" and set hard limits and boundaries on what i could do.

Great games not only allow that creative vision to dominate over the player; they take that vision and extend it into the world and gameplay around it. Building off of these systems to make it even more immersive and impose a self-consistency to the fictional universe created by the game's systems and internal ruleset that's difficult to find otherwise.

And even better ones use the lack of "Expected" features to create novel twists on classic mechanics, and make it all the sweeter if you eventually are able to exceed these limits in some form.

5 hours ago, KSK said:

Thanks for the encapsulation discussion folks. Not something I was aware of, so I learned something today.

In return, I’d like to offer a counterexample to try and explain why I’m supporting @Brikoleur‘s thesis here.

Districts. Specifically districts in Civ 6. They changed a longstanding convention in the game, changed a lot of gameplay mechanics around city placement and management, added a fair bit of complexity and (arguably) would appeal more to players who enjoy a certain style of play.

In short, very much a feature that I would expect to fall into the ‘make it optional’ field of thought. Particularly as Civs 1-4 (and I think 5) managed just fine without them.

The thing is, making them optional would be extremely hard, encapsulation notwithstanding. Take them out and, whilst you can rejig some gameplay mechanics to work without them fairly easily, other mechanics will break entirely and require some kind of replacement system. (For those that play Civ 6, I’m thinking about adjacency bonuses and the way the different resource points are calculated). Then you get the knock-on effects such as certain bonuses for quite a few playable Civs disappearing and all the rebalancing that would be required to compensate for that.

As far as I can see, you would virtually have to write two separate games, one with districts enabled, one with them switched off. It would certainly be possible - as I mentioned, previous versions of Civ have done very well without districts - but I can imagine it being a lot of work. 

Exponentially so if you have other optional features to contend with.

So at some point I think it’s necessary to decide how a game is going to work given that budgets and developer time are finite. If a given feature is going to be optional, how complex is that feature in terms of the way it interacts with other game systems and how much would those other game systems need to be modified or replaced to accommodate the optional feature being switched off?

At some point it becomes impractical to make a feature that is both complex (in the good way to quote @Brikoleur again) and optional. So where do you compromise? At one end of the scale you simplify and keep it optional at the other end of the scale you keep the complexity but make it mandatory. In practice this is unlikely to be a straightforward binary choice and you go for something in between.

Personally, I prefer the ‘mandatory but complex’ end of the scale. Other folks may prefer the other end. But accommodating both preferences at once is difficult.

Must've found the only person who can actually talk somewhat neutrally about Civilization VI; because i really like this example also.

Now; just so my Bias is known in this case i am someone who really enjoyed Civilization VI once i was able to mod in larger maps (Which Fireaxis later broke....REALLY?!)

And you are very correct in that Districts essentially encourage a specific style of play, but i also noticed that in many ways they allow more styles to be viable at once. In this way it's arguable that the "Districts" represent options in a way , as some leader bonuses are tuned so heavily towards making districts perform certain tasks that they become that Civilization's most viable play style.

In this way i'd actually say this is one of the cases where you're kinda getting the best of both worlds, but only at the cost of added complexity alongside more work on the back end. And it only was possible by them deciding to do it and sticking with it until release; knowing full well that they'd completely isolate entire segments of their potential customers.

With all of this said however, i do actually also agree with Snark's take for the most part.

Features are part of a product, and their inclusion can be definitely worth it if weighed against all potential alternatives and consequences before committing to implementation.

But i honestly think the most fantastic part of all of this; is just how incredible this discussion is. A rare sight on the internet today; almost an endangered species if i would say. dozens of different people with completely opposing opinions, and for the most part all that has been seen is respectful, reasonable and well reasoned replies to the "opposition" that even they end up admitting has given them insight into their own opinions..

This is what i want the most to remain, because it keeps a faint hope for humanity alive inside me whenever i see it.

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On 2/26/2020 at 5:25 PM, XLjedi said:

Maybe they go the opposite way and just disallow mods in multiplayer?

Personally, I hope (but doubt) it will be handled the same way as classic games like AoE2 mods... i.e. players MUST have the same mods installed except purely graphical mods.

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5 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

I believe the game would be better with only one good, deep, thoroughly well thought-out mode, rather than three half-baked ones. (Four, if you count Making History missions.)

Making this statement got me thinking a bit, and also I think this is also likely to be misinterpreted as "Brikoleur wants everyone to play the game HIS way," so I thought I'd elaborate a bit. Just spitballing here, but here's a sketch of how I think KSP1 could look with a single gameplay mode that integrated all of the elements in the four different modes that we currently have. 

First off, OPTIONS!!!!1111one 

The starting gameplay options for a new game are:

  1. resource abundance
  2. starting funds
  3. starting Science
  4. science reward multiplier
  5. funds reward multiplier.

Nothing else. However, the adjustment on these is (almost) unlimited: the constants can go from 0 to Some Arbitrarily Large Number, Effectively Infinite. If you want, you can start with a hundred trillion in funds and and enough Science to unlock the entire tech tree from day 1, resource abundance cranked to the maximum so that every biome has 100% Ore, and rewards at, say, 100,000% each. Or, alternatively, any or all of these at zero. (Although the game would be unplayable with everything at zero, you would have no Science, no Funds, and no way to earn either, so you couldn't actually do anything.)

In other words, if you want to recreate Sandbox mode, crank starting Funds and starting Science high enough that you've got everything upgraded, all the nodes unlocked, all the parts bought, and a billion or two in the bank to spend on your creations, ignore contracts, and knock yourself out. If you want to recreate Science mode, crank your starting Funds up to a gorillion, tune the Science Rewards multiplier to taste, and go wild.

Then, the mode itself. 

It's based on Career: you do stuff to earn Funds and Science, which lets you upgrade buildings, build craft, and unlock nodes in the tech tree, and parts in the tech nodes. We'll leave aside for the time being the how of this, I think most of us agree that contracts are unsatisfactory, but never mind that for the moment, fixing contracts or career gameplay is a whole 'nuther can of worms.

However: the R&D building would have a new feature, unlocked when upgrading it to Level 2: Mission Simulator. This resembles the Making History mission editor and has most of its features (except no mission briefing or objectives as they don't make much sense in this context), with a few additional ones: you can start missions from the current world state or a blank slate. You can also modify the world state with the Mission Editor tools, e.g. place new craft in the world prior to flying your simulated mission. 

In the Mission Simulator, all Parts in all of your unlocked tech tree nodes will be available, and while you will have to pay for everything that payment will appear as a negative number in the mission report: the projected cost of the real-life mission; real Funds will not be deducted. Career time will not pass during simulated missions (or maybe, like, one day per simulated mission, or something similarly insignificant, if it feels like it would improve immersion). 

However, the Mission Simulator comes with a few restrictions which are removed as you progress in your career. This is based on the Science you have gathered in the real career:

  1. If you have no Science on a body at all, it will appear in the mission simulator as a featureless sphere with no atmosphere. The simulation will only account for its orbital characteristics and mass, not atmosphere, topography, nor surface features.
  2. Once you have gathered "In Space" Science on a body, its atmosphere and surface topography will appear as in the real career, but no surface features will be present.
  3. Once you have performed a scan or a sample return of a surface feature, that will start to appear in the simulation.
  4. Once you have gathered Sci from a biome, its characteristics (ore concentration etc) will appear in the simulation. 

(For flavour, the appearance of bodies in the Tracking Station will follow the progress in the simulator: they will start out as featureless spheres, and turn into the real thing as you gather Science on them.)

I believe that this approach would have given us more freedom to tune the game to fit our playstyle than the current system with its four separate, siloed-off game modes. I also believe that the Mission Simulator would see much more frequent use than the Making History mission editor. And most importantly, I think it would be richer, more interesting, and more fun. (And also easier to develop, since you're only dealing with one mode where the basic systems are the same for everybody.)

Thoughts?

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11 hours ago, Bartybum said:

@KSK but how would making comm range, aero heating, plasma blackout, G-limits, etc. optional more difficult for balancing? Whenever they're disabled they're disabled because the player wants an easier game to begin with. Bar life support, I honestly can't think of any features that players would want to be optional that would impact balancing in any meaningful way.

It's a good question and I'm not helped in answering it by the fact that I haven't played KSP in years so I'm several versions of out of date and probably misremembering the last version that I did play. But here goes.

Comm range - yeah I'm struggling there too to be honest. 

G-limits - I remember seeing contracts where the whole point is to spin a kerbal fast enough to cause them to black out. What I don't know is how that is impacted by joint strength between the different parts and whether parts will separate under enough tensile stress, for example by spinning them fast enough. Any feature that relies on getting joint strength right is probably (maybe? sort of?) going to affect the game whether or not G-limits are switched on. 

Plasma blackout - again that does seem pretty binary. It either happens or it doesn't, other aspects of the game affect it, but it doesn't affect them so far as I can see.

Aero heating - that seems like the most clear cut case to me. Off the top of my head it's going to depend on three things - achievable velocities within atmosphere, the atmosphere model of density against height and some kind of thermal model that tells the game how hot a part gets at a given speed in a given atmosphere density and at what temperatures do parts start exploding. Changing the first two of those is definitely going to impact the game even if aero heating is switched off and the third one might, depending how the thermal model is set up.

If I could flip your question around a bit though, what is it about those particular features that makes folks want to get rid of them? And rather than just throwing in the towel and making them optional, could you change them to be fun enough  that folks don't want to get rid of them, or at least are less likely to?  

That may not be possible of course, and I'm also mindful that too complicated or complexity for complexity's sake can be just as bad if not worse than a simpler feature. But still - fixing the feature rather than just making it optional is the way I tend to lean. 

 

5 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

And you are very correct in that Districts essentially encourage a specific style of play, but i also noticed that in many ways they allow more styles to be viable at once. In this way it's arguable that the "Districts" represent options in a way , as some leader bonuses are tuned so heavily towards making districts perform certain tasks that they become that Civilization's most viable play style.

In this way i'd actually say this is one of the cases where you're kinda getting the best of both worlds, but only at the cost of added complexity alongside more work on the back end. And it only was possible by them deciding to do it and sticking with it until release; knowing full well that they'd completely isolate entire segments of their potential customers.

Agreed. I happen to think that Districts are pretty well designed. At a very basic level you can just plop them down as needed without worrying too much about the additional complexity. At my sort of skill level there are some basic strategies that make them better without involving too much extra thought or planning (Commercial Hubs on rivers, Holy Sites or Campuses by mountains). Then, at the far end of the scale, you can  build these incredible finely-tuned conurbations with groups of Districts spread out over several cities. (Germany, I'm looking at you here :) )

The point is though, that Districts scale well. They don't penalise new players particularly but they do provide a lot of incentive to get better at using them.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, KSK said:

G-limits - I remember seeing contracts where the whole point is to spin a kerbal fast enough to cause them to black out. What I don't know is how that is impacted by joint strength between the different parts and whether parts will separate under enough tensile stress, for example by spinning them fast enough. Any feature that relies on getting joint strength right is probably (maybe? sort of?) going to affect the game whether or not G-limits are switched on.

But even then, that's just one contract out of a range of available ones. All it takes is to not make that one pop up if G-limits are disabled.

 

8 minutes ago, KSK said:

Aero heating - that seems like the most clear cut case to me. Off the top of my head it's going to depend on three things - achievable velocities within atmosphere, the atmosphere model of density against height and some kind of thermal model that tells the game how hot a part gets at a given speed in a given atmosphere density and at what temperatures do parts start exploding. Changing the first two of those is definitely going to impact the game even if aero heating is switched off and the third one might, depending how the thermal model is set up.

Thermal effects are very likely gonna rely on velocity and air density. All the game needs to do is just ignore thermal effects. It's going to impact the game by making it easier, which is exactly what the person who's disabling it wants.

 

40 minutes ago, KSK said:

If I could flip your question around a bit though, what is it about those particular features that makes folks want to get rid of them? And rather than just throwing in the towel and making them optional, could you change them to be fun enough  that folks don't want to get rid of them, or at least are less likely to?

I dislike the notion that it's "throwing in the towel". By all means, I'll welcome an attempt, but the way I see it, the only thing that's fun about it is the cool flames. Keeping the flames and disabling the heating is already a thing in KSP. It's wise to cover your ass in case the players you're trying to persuade with fun mechanics aren't persuaded.

 

47 minutes ago, KSK said:

That may not be possible of course, and I'm also mindful that too complicated or complexity for complexity's sake can be just as bad if not worse than a simpler feature. But still - fixing the feature rather than just making it optional is the way I tend to lean.

A hard game is still a hard game, even if it's well made. Some people are gonna want the game, but aren't yet ready to tackle the learning curve in one go.

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1 minute ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

By no optional features, do you mean stuff like "Advanced Tweakables"? I need autostrut in my life

It shouldn't be optional. I specifically discussed Autostrut as a bad optional feature -- it should be there for everybody and the game should present it to you in an intuitive way so it becomes a normal part of everybody's toolkit. 

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10 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

It shouldn't be optional. I specifically discussed Autostrut as a bad optional feature -- it should be there for everybody and the game should present it to you in an intuitive way so it becomes a normal part of everybody's toolkit. 

And what if the game makers in their wisdom decide that autostrutting is a feature that makes the game too easy to play, just like not needing life support, and figure that "no autostrut" should be mandatory for everyone? We need things to be realistic and challenging, after all.

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8 minutes ago, Kerbart said:

And what if the game makers in their wisdom decide that autostrutting is a feature that makes the game too easy to play, just like not needing life support, and figure that "no autostrut" should be mandatory for everyone? We need things to be realistic and challenging, after all.

But it's autostrut! The thing that keeps my part count down! Personally, I don't want my part count to rise to the thousands.

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1 hour ago, Kerbart said:

And what if the game makers in their wisdom decide that autostrutting is a feature that makes the game too easy to play, just like not needing life support, and figure that "no autostrut" should be mandatory for everyone? We need things to be realistic and challenging, after all.

If they find some better way to give craft the structural rigidity they need, then sure they could get rid of autostrut. I think defending noodle rockets as realistic is just silly though.

If you’re arguing that they’re unrealistically rugged that’s a different matter, but IMO that should be determined by gameplay, not realism. I.e. if realistically fragile craft are less fun than unrealistically strong ones, then they ought to be unrealistically strong.

Edit: btw this is a tangent, I’m not all that interested in discussing whether some feature or other ought to be in the game at all here, the topic under discussion is whether KSP2 ought to have optional features or not.

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1 hour ago, Bartybum said:

Thermal effects are very likely gonna rely on velocity and air density. All the game needs to do is just ignore thermal effects. It's going to impact the game by making it easier, which is exactly what the person who's disabling it wants.

Sure - but what else does ignoring thermal effects do? Does that stop engines overheating? Does it make any difference to the parts that need radiators? Okay, removing those effects also makes the game easier but it still means that switching off aero heating has knock-on effects that need to be balanced and that the player might not want.

 

1 hour ago, Bartybum said:

A hard game is still a hard game, even if it's well made. Some people are gonna want the game, but aren't yet ready to tackle the learning curve in one go.

So you phase in the various concepts gradually or have a decent and easy to find in-game reference to explain how they work. Neither of which are novel concepts in game design. Besides, for the examples we're talking about, KSP either does a decent job of smoothing that learning curve or, with respect, there's not much of a learning curve there anyway.

Antenna range isn't a particularly hard game mechanic to grasp and it's barely a factor anyway for LKO or Munar flights which is where new players are going to be spending most of their time.

Likewise aero-heating. If I recall correctly LKO flights don't need a heatshield at all, whilst Mun/Minmus flights do need them but with a very wide margin for error. I don't even recall aerobraking at Duna being problematic from an aero-heating point of view. I never did much around Eve or Jool so I can well imagine that things get more challenging there but then by the time a player is flying out there, I'd think they'd be experienced enough with the game to take aero-heating in their stride.

Aircraft I don't know about but again, building planes isn't a particularly newbie friendly part of the game anyway so again, aero-heating is the least of their worries there.

 

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33 minutes ago, KSK said:

Sure - but what else does ignoring thermal effects do? Does that stop engines overheating? Does it make any difference to the parts that need radiators? Okay, removing those effects also makes the game easier but it still means that switching off aero heating has knock-on effects that need to be balanced and that the player might not want.

The player's already not looking for gameplay to be balanced, they're looking for it to be easier. You can still ignore aero heating while having overheating engines and functional radiators, since the two aren't solely dependent on aero heating.

 

36 minutes ago, KSK said:

So you phase in the various concepts gradually or have a decent and easy to find in-game reference to explain how they work.

By all means, but that's not guaranteed to convince the player to keep them. They may be totally incompatible with what the player wants to do, like drop a large cosmetic mech out of orbit and land at the KSC in sandbox.

 

37 minutes ago, KSK said:

Antenna range isn't a particularly hard game mechanic to grasp and it's barely a factor anyway for LKO or Munar flights which is where new players are going to be spending most of their time.

And yet the player may go nah screw that, I'm here for cool stuff not realism.

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5 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

The player's already not looking for gameplay to be balanced, they're looking for it to be easier. You can still ignore aero heating while having overheating engines and functional radiators, since the two aren't solely dependent on aero heating.

 

By all means, but that's not guaranteed to convince the player to keep them. They may be totally incompatible with what the player wants to do, like drop a large cosmetic mech out of orbit and land at the KSC in sandbox.

 

And yet the player may go nah screw that, I'm here for cool stuff not realism.

If your player wants cool stuff and mechs from orbit then I suggest they go play in Sandbox. 

Also 

14 hours ago, Bartybum said:

@KSK but how would making comm range, aero heating, plasma blackout, G-limits, etc. optional more difficult for balancing? Whenever they're disabled they're disabled because the player wants an easier game to begin with. Bar life support, I honestly can't think of any features that players would want to be optional that would impact balancing in any meaningful way.

So when I point out ways that making those features optional might impact balancing, you come back with:

11 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

The player's already not looking for gameplay to be balanced, they're looking for it to be easier. You can still ignore aero heating while having overheating engines and functional radiators, since the two aren't solely dependent on aero heating.

Emphasis added. It's perfectly OK to just state that you disagree with me and move on without tying yourself in logical knots trying to get the last word in.

I'm done here.

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