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[Idea?] Long-term science experiments


Starseeker
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(Firstly, let me add a disclaimer that I'm writing this late at night based on a rambling note I made on my phone at like 1am the night before, so bear with me if this starts to lose coherence.)

Something I've found rather dissatisfying about the base-game science system (ignoring career, which I have other issues with) is that there's generally no point, mechanics-wise, to keeping a scientific mission in its final orbit after you fire off all your experiments. No reason to keep that first crewed orbiter in orbit for more than it takes to click "save crew report", no reason to go for an orbital probe rather than a landing or flyby, and definitely no reason to have more than one probe in the same place once you've gotten all the science parts unlocked and figure out how to cram them all in one craft.

The idea I've had to solve this involves two major systems being added to the game:

  1. Having science parts that can continuously log data, returning science based on the amount of data logged
  2. Having events that occur that can be observed through a variety of means for science gain

The first system gives a big reason to have something stay active in the same situation, by providing a direct reward based on how long it stays there. Rolling-recording imaging probes, microgravity-effects-on-Kerbals studies, and  However, the gain needs to be asymptotic (increases towards by an ever-decreasing amount, never exceeding it) to some amount (such as 2x the science from the base experiment), to prevent someone from being able to unlock the tech tree with a Stayputnik, a solar panel, a 2HOT, and timewarp. How these data logs are returned can be an additional system, providing new choices to be made, with relative advantages and disadvantages of any method. (One example could be sending data in large batches vs sending it back continuously.)

The second system would be a fair bit more complex. The core idea is that there are numerous events that can occur - eclipses/transits, magnetic field changes, solar flares, impacts, celestial events such as supernovas, etc. - that, if "seen" by an actively-logging science part, provide large science bonuses. On top of this core would be several layers of complexity. Firstly, the larger the variety in the parts used to observe the event, the greater the return (within reasonable bounds of what can be used for observations, of course) - observing a solar flare with a visible-light telescope wouldn't provide as much data as observing one with that plus a magnetometer logging the effect it has on Kerbin's magnetic field. Secondly, using multiple of the same part to observe the same event can also increase science gain, based on factors such as distance between them - observing a magnetic-field fluctuation with several satellites in various points around Kerbin would give more science than an observation with just one. And finally, there'd be two main types of events: ones that are brief (<5 seconds) and/or unpredictable, and ones that are long (several minutes at least) and/or predictable. The former would generally be things easily observable by automatic instruments, while the latter may often require manual observations. In either case, when an event is logged, the player would be given a notification in some manner, indicating what was observed by what instruments on which craft and allowing the science yield from the data to be gathered.

I'd love to see this system in a mod, but sadly, I don't have the skills to make that happen, so I'm kinda just throwing this idea out there to see what people think ^^;

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3 hours ago, Corax said:

You might like https:///index.php?/topic/190382-kerbalism/ , if you haven't seen that already.

 

Well, it's not quite the things I was thinking of here, but I'm definitely gonna be installing this mod! Thanks for pointing me to it!

 

3 hours ago, zer0Kerbal said:

I think M.O.L.E. - sun science - station science are three mods that offer such

Unfortunately, those mods don't really have the same overarching focus as this; however, that first mod looks pretty interesting, and I'll look into it more. Thanks!

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SCAN might fit some of what you want, it makes pretty maps of planets/moons but you have to put the kit in orbit and leave it for a while. Useful to find good landing sites with level flat ground, mining areas with high resource concentrations etc. Currently only works up to KSP 1.8(.1) though

You might also be interested in Nehemia Engineering Orbital Science, although it hasn't been updated beyond KSP 1.7.3 and I haven't actually tried it myself as it depends on other mods that I don't want (KIS for one).

 

 

 

 

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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2 hours ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

SCAN might fit some of what you want, it makes pretty maps of planets/moons but you have to put the kit in orbit and leave it for a while. Useful to find good landing sites with level flat ground, mining areas with high resource concentrations etc. Currently only works up to KSP 1.8(.1) though

 

I'm a pretty big fan of SCANsat, yeah! Currently have it on my main install

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8 hours ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

You might also be interested in Nehemia Engineering Orbital Science, although it hasn't been updated beyond KSP 1.7.3 and I haven't actually tried it myself as it depends on other mods that I don't want (KIS for one).

Thanks for the recommendation :) NEOS does, rather surprisingly, work in 1.9.x, and I have a WIP up on GitHub which has been compiled with 1.8. I just need to put aside some more time to work on it.

The requirement on KIS is only for the "KEES" part of it. You can download the Orbital Science bit separately from GitHub rather than the whole package.  And I've been considering breaking NEOS up again into the 3 main sections as @N3h3mia did at one stage, but this time without the interdependencies.  Kemini and KEES are pretty much feature-complete and rarely need any tweaking these days, but Orbital Science still needs major work. But because they all use more or less the same engine, any tweak to any one of them requires a release of all of them.

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