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[SUGGESTION] Career Mode and Funds in KSP 2 and issues, that come with removing them from the game.


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   So today i stumbled upon recent PC Gamer article about KSP 2. I recommend to watch the videos, reviewing this article, before reading this post(or you can check out transcript somewhere on this forum). Videos can be found on ShadowZone and Matt Lowne YT channels. https://www.pcgamer.com/space-odyssey-our-first-big-look-at-kerbal-space-program-2/ I'm not gonna talk about the whole article, but rather about the part, that states, that KSP 2 will have what is called "Adventure Mode". From my understanding of this article, there is planned to be no funds/contract system in the game, because dev team considers, that it was too grindy in the original game. I disagree with this position. In fact the Career Mode is my favorite game mode for a very long time now. The only time i'm not playing it, is when i feel an urge to tinker and have fun with airplanes in sandbox, which is one of my hobbies (BTW this is why i really expect KSP 2 to improve in this area as well, but that's the story for another time), but when it comes to playing a campaign of my own Space Program - Career Mode is my only choice. I've never been an active user on this forum, or on any forum tbh, but the threat of not having this, EXTREMELY important feature, in the sequel, made me sit and write this post anyway. I really hope, that sharing my thoughts here, will make players give it a seconds chance and KSP 2 devs reconsider their position about adding it to the game, because it really deserves it. And here is why.


   Firstly let's talk about why the Career Mode was called "too grindy" in the first place.

   The contract system in the original game pretty much consist of the list of the simple objectives and rewards with some RNG integrated, and feels like it was done in a hurry by someone, who had little idea about how to realize the feature in the first place and took completely wrong approach. As a result of that most of the contracts were about pressing certain button at certain speed/altitude for a minor payout. I'm not arguing, with the fact, that it was indeed very boring. It was. But it is important to note, that is an issue NOT with career mode itself, but rather with the way contracts were implemented, so it shouldn't be used as a reason to not include the career mode into the sequel. The thing that is also worth noting, is that a lot of people, who've tried career mode, abandoned it almost instantly, without investigating the game mode further. Because of that they've had no chance of understanding good and important concepts, that this mode introduced to the game, so the community opinion about career mode being garbage was born. But i am not one of those people. I am one of the few, that gave the Career Mode a chance to prove itself. And spoiler alert - i wasn't disappointed.


   The importance of the "Funds" concept.

   KSP is a game about building rockets from parts and launching them into space. Some parts are better, some are worse, and some might come in handy in a specific situation, while being completely useless in the other. A good half of the fun in this game comes from designing a unique vessel, that serves specific purpose and taking some trade-offs in the process. In the game like this, it is VERY important to keep the parts balanced, otherwise your're gonna end up with a same design being an answer to every question, which is obviously not good and will for a fact make the game boring. There is of course a lot of ways to balance parts, such as mass and size for all parts, and some unique parameters for a certain part category, like range and throughput for antennas, lift and drag coefficients for wing parts and thrust and ISP for engines, when sometimes you sacrifice some thrust, in order to squeeze more dV out of your vessel, that is to reaching your destination destination, and other times you don't get a luxury of having good ISP, because you need a lot of thrust to push your massive 1000t craft out of the atmosphere. And in Career Mode there is also a cost. Why is it so important you might ask? Answer is going to be complicated.
   Let's talk about RTG's. RTG's are great! They have almost no mass, they take almost no space and they generate electricity absolutely for free, regardless of any conditions. The only downside of them is the fact, that they generate electricity at really low speed, which can be countered with just using more of them. You can see where i'm going with this. Why would i ever use solar panels and huge batteries(not even mentioning the fuel cells), when i have RTG's unlocked? If i'm playing Science or Sandbox i can just put 20 RTG's on my craft without any trade-offs and completely forget about the electricity as a game concept. Not good. But in career mode i have a clear reason to not do so - COST. For the same money, it costs to put 2 RTG's on my vessel i can launch a rocket to the Mun that will land there and return safely to Kerbin with crew onboard. A bit more ridiculous example: Why wouldn't you use a Daedalus engine to propel your 500kg probe into the LKO? Same answer. COST. And that is where the Career mode absolutely shines. Not only it introduces a necessary balancing factor into the game, that prevents player from thoughtlessly spamming parts, that are OP in other game modes, but on top of that it also FUNDAMENTALLY changes the way you approach designing your spaceship, by introducing unique trade-offs, that are present in no other game mode.
For example:
 
* You want to launch a communication satellite to the LKO. Which command probe will you chose?
   Sandbox/Science: "The best one obviously!"
   Career: "Well since it is a just communication sat, that is not indented to dock with anything, intercept something or land at specific location there is no point in having expensive SAS so i might just use the cheap one and save some money for future missions."

* You want to launch a communication satellite to the LKO. Which engines will you chose for the rocket?
   Sandbox: "Vectors."
   Science: "Look at that new and shiny Mainsail i just unlocked!"
   Career: "It's only LKO i'm going to and my payload is not that big. I might easily get away with Swivel."

* You want to launch science mission to the Mun's surface. Where will you put science equipment?
   Sandbox: "What's science?"
   Science: "Descend stage obviously. I can just take all the data from them and not take extra weight back with me."
   Career: "Damn these GRAVMAX and Double-C Seismic Accelerometer are so expensive! I think it's worth trying to recover them! Let's see...I can try snapping all the science on top of the crew module right near the parachute and hope, that it won't overhear on reentry... OR... I can put my science module in the service bay between the heat shield and crew module! But is it really worth paying extra for the service bay? Hmm..."

   The Career Mode adds new and, most importantly, interesting challenges(or puzzles how the Devs are calling them) of getting to space, in the game that is ALL ABOUT the challenge of getting to space. I don't know about you guys, but for me it is VERY exciting and makes me enjoy the game SO MUCH MORE. But wait! There is more! Have you ever heard about the guy called Elon Musk? He once said Six million dollars is falling through the sky. Would we try to catch it?Well would we? No. Because guess what! There is no such thing as "dollars" in the game! You might still do it for fun or challenge, but the whole concept of making reusable rockets or even SSTO's becomes pretty much pointless!

   In conclusion:

Pros of Career Mode:
* Balance for the expensive late-game parts
* More challenges for the player
* Encouragement for a player to reuse rockets

Cons of Career Mode:
* Was too grindy in the original game (which, as i explained earlier, is not even an issue with Career Mode itself)


   I think it is clear now, that Career Mode brings so much to the gameplay. It makes the game even more in-depth and realistic (you have to remember, that rocket science IRL is not just about getting to space, but rather getting to space with the cheapest and easiest way possible, which is often forgotten by KSP community), it introduces A LOT of new opportunities and challenges to the player, that NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Rocket Lab and every other rocket company IRL faces and has to deal with. And i not just absolutely love that. For me it is ESSENTIAL in the game like KSP. And taking all this good stuff out of the game, just because original game had not enough good ways to farm the money? It's just unacceptable in my opinion. So we have an essential, for this game, mechanics - money and a fact of grinding said money was boring in the original game. What do we do in the sequel? I would answer - instead of removing money from the sequel entirely, it is better to rethink the way player earns this money. And i have some ideas on how to do so, that i'd like to share.

* Not all contracts in the original game were boring. Most of them yes, but not all of them. Tourism for example. Riding couple VIPs to the Mun and back is nowhere near a bad gameplay. It had it's issues of its own, like the required destinations would be a complete mess (for example land on Minmus+complete suborbital flight on dune on the same flight, which complicates the mission by a lot) if you visited a lot of celestial bodies, but that could be manipulated by the player. My strategy about it was: if you land on the Mun to unlock Mun contracts, but then won't go to Minmus or any other place, so the game gives you contracts, associated with only Kerbin (suborbital+orbit) and Mun(fly by+orbit+suborbital+land), and all of these objectives could be completed within nice and simple Mun landing mission. If you want to learn more about this method of farming you can check out thingy in the Steam Workshop, that i've posted a while ago. TL;DR: rocket with 16 VIP seats could make profit over 2 millions per flight if you get lucky with contracts. Again for a relatively simple Mun landing mission that will take 30-60 minutes that is not "too grindy" at all. My suggestion here - leave VIP contracts in the game, but limit the objectives in the way, so there will be one single destination for the whole contract, that is shared by all the VIPs in it. And maybe some multiplier for flying a lot of VIPs at the same time (single VIP - 50k, x2 - 55k each, x3 - 60k each and etc.), to reward player for taking time and effort in designing big and capacious spaceships.

* Another example of good contracts are Rescue contracts. You get free Kerbal in your Space Program(just a reminder that in Career Mode you have to purchase Kerbonauts for those who haven't played it) and you also get paid for it on top of that. Pretty good stuff.

* Contracts for putting 3rd party satellites on the required orbit are welcome as well. Also in my opinion it would be better if the game had some pre-build sub-assemblies instead of telling player to build the satellite himself(ex. "Hey here is my satellite. Put it in LKO with 350km apogee, 400km perigee and 10deg inclination." Player accepts the contract and gets a sub-assembly of this satellite and only required to send it to the desired orbit)

* Contracts for resupplying satellites/space stations. Player accepts the contract, pre-made craft spawns in orbit, and player has to dock with it and transfer certain amount of resource to complete the contract. 

* Pretty much advanced and combined previous 2. Client gives contract to get sub-assembly to orbit, some time after player completes it the same client gives another contract to send new sub-assembly to the old one and dock them together. Repeat until the whole space station will be finished. Some time time after that player will start to get resupply contracts from same client.

All these contracts will NOT be "boring" just by their nature, but can become boring IF the pay is bad, so the player has to focus on them too much. On the other hand, if player would get paid well for completing them, they WILL be VERY much welcome in the game. I would happily complete as many of them as needed, to fund my Space Program, considering again, that the paycheck is reasonable.

* Concept of funding researches with money would never hurt

* Idea of KSP 2 is to explore new horizons and find a new home for Kerbal kind. But that's a long term goal. To achieve that goal player has to get through a number of simpler objectives. And that Way could be similar to something like this, if the Career Mode will make it to the sequel: 

All starts with a cheap prototype rocket launch, continues with couple of commercial satellites being put in orbit and some tourists being send suborbital, to fund the research and construction of new and better rockets. With new tech comes the Mun landing, that unlocks Mun tourism and funds more research. After that player starts thinking about building colonies, to expand his reach, so the great exploration begins. From Duna to Eve, to Jool and Laythe and anywhere within the Kerbol System, until the Great Interstellar Ship has been constructed, while ALL of that being funded by commercial flights i described above. Colonies start to become independent and will use on-the-spot resources to build rockets. So at this point the money will start to lose its value for exploration and after Kerbals arrive to new star system they will have no use for it there at all. All that of course while on Kerbin player can still continue to expand the commercial side of his Space Program. 

And one more important thing to note here, that the "Cost" concept should still be present for colonies, that mine resources, in order to build a rocket. This can be implemented through a lot of multiple ways, i'm sure everyone can think of one. Here is the first thing, that came to my mind first(don't take this one too seriously):

* Add to the game basic resources like Copper and Iron, that will be good for most of the stuff and can be found almost everywhere and some rare ones, like Uranium or Titanium, that will be required for high-tech stuff. Each part in the game will it's cost in the resources. When player attempts to launch build a craft in the colony game calculates total cost of the craft in resources and checks, if the colony has enough of these resources in its storage. Simple. Should work perfectly. This process can also be complicated by adding more different resources/making some resources to not be mineable directly, but rather craftable from other resources (like plastic from oil, or microschemes from copper and iron, etc.)(Factorio vibes yes :D). This "cost in resources" thingy can also be applied to Kerbin, so that instead of paying for the rocket directly, player will pay for the resources, necessary for the rocket.

* The thing above can easily be a limiting factor for why player can't build a Daedalus engine on Kerbin. It would simply cost to much. So instead of buying it player will be forced to go and get resources, necessary to construct it. 

* And if that seems too complicated it is still a solution to make VAB's on colonies require funds for rockets, just like the VAB on Kerbin, in order to simplify things. (although i'm not a fan of this approach)

* Also great addition to this would be an ability to disassemble landed vessels into resources, for the sake of reusability.



I've been typing this for couple hours already, so i'm tired and starting to lose track of my thoughts. This is it for now, but i might add something later.
In the end i want to say:

Fellow Kerbals, give another chance to the Career Mode. It really deserves it. And, of course, please help me with spreading this word to the devs.
 
KSP 2 devs, i hope that this post makes you re-think your position about Career Mode in KSP 2 and helps you make the sequel as good as possible!

And of course feel free to share any ideas on this topic!


--------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT 25.06.2020

A new video on KSP YT channel came out(link)
I want to draw your attention on a short glimpse of VAB UI at 4:28.

rmn5TeI.png

As you can see Protective Rocket Nose Cone Mk7 has a cost of 111 Ore and 11.1 Uranium, which confirms that "cost in resources" i suggested earlier is in fact implemented in KSP 2. 
Now i can live in peace. Huge thanks to devs! <3

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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It wasn't the contracts per se, it was the mechanics behind it that killed the career mode.

Now what KSP2 is trying to do is remove the minutia that plagued the career and science modes in KSP1 and make it more straight forward.

It's good to question if funds and contracts would be included or not. But with such little information about the adventure mode outside of an idea and mention, you can't say what will be in there or not. It's just not worth getting up in arms over right now. 

 

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This is an excellent post, and adds a lot of value.

Firstly I agree with the characterisation of sandbox players as building without consideration of money: I often watch Matt Lowne's (excellent) videos and giggle at their absurd cost: e.g. 200k to get to Duna?!? What??? I agree that a mode that forces design compromise adds depth to the game, though it was always an issue to me that the "normal" mode rapidly becomes too easy, while the hard mode starts off too tight for cash (I also realise you can set custom levels, which I do).

One option for rewarding play/avoiding grind is for an "automatically repeat mission" option: once you have succeeded (once? twice? more?) in a specific mission with any given vessel, you should be rewarded with a function that allows that type of mission to be automatically "harvested" in future using the exact same craft, which can happen "off camera", and which reduces your cash by the cost of your vessel initially and then adds the recovered amount and reward back subsequently. This introduces a cashflow and timing consideration for your missions, and a further twist could be for an RNG "mission fail" event which adds no reward back, the % chance of which you can see before toggling the "farm this mission type" button. This turns an initial success into a revenue stream (with a chance of any event resulting in a cash burn only - hence needing the player to consider what their reasonable "buffer" should be - obviously not enough cash means the farming mission won't be launched), and over time could compound with other missions you choose to harvest in order to progressively increase your income (and make it a recurring form of income) that still limits your choices without leading to a bankruptcy scenario, and also rewards careful players with, potentially, faster progress. You could also dramatically increase the cost differential between small and large components under this scenario.

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2 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

It's just not worth getting up in arms over right now. 

It is not like i am trying to raise a rebellion against devs ;)
And for "right now"... I think the sooner i share my concerns about the game - the better chances, that these concerns will be accounted for. Imagine if i would've posted this after the game is already released and there is no career mode. Even if devs agreed with my points and thought it would be indeed a good idea to add Career Mode to the game, it would just be too late for that, because the whole game was already build without an idea of Career Mode around. So yes. Right now.

 

42 minutes ago, dnbattley said:

This turns an initial success into a revenue stream

Very nice idea! Of course it adds a concern of "infinite funds for no effort", so you have to be careful with that, but it can be balanced, and i like the concept of it, especially knowing that devs talked about automated supply lines in the same article, which is literally the thing you suggested, but for resources rather than money.

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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TBh, I think the focus only on getting things to space was a big downside of original KSP. A key but for sure, but they wasted potential by not fleshing out exploration (things to do once up there).

 

As I want to explore in a big review of the game at some point, KSP naturally puts you in several roles

  • - Organisation director, choosing the direction of your space program will head
  • - the engineer, building the rockets and machines
  • - the navigator, planning routes
  • - The pilot (Or even autopilot) flying the vessels)
  • - the astronaut (or probe) hopping about on the ground, 
  • -and the scientists reviewing the information you've found, putting together the pieces. 

The first and last 2 of these always felt quite underdeveloped. 

 

No funds/money would seem like a strange choice, but I'm pretty happy that they're scrapping and replacing career mode.

I agree with funds not being there being weird. How they were added had issues. I've always thought KSP would lend itself more to an "endless gameplay" model of play, rather than the unlock stuff style we got. Funds would make more sense to be the result of (Recent achievements) X (Historic achievements), so you have to keep doing stuff, but have more freedom to take it the direction you chose. Picking from a list makes it feel more like just another game. If you get to use your own head to work out will make you successful, the fantasy of running a space program is much stronger. 

Contracts become redundant if They work in natural reasons to do things. For example, no need for a refuel contract if a station actually needs refueling, and you have reasons of your own to have stations full of kerbals out in space. I love games which aren't telling me what to do, but giving me enough clues to work out the way forward. In KSP one is given spaceship parts. Up there is space. What more hints does one need?

That said, I did like contracts as a way to add in the sort of mission that would have been difficult to work into a more natural game mechanic- like Cassini's relativity experiment. But a lot of the things they currently do feel like a slap-dash cop out. 

I want KSP to live up to it's potential, and be a game about a space program, about the quest to explore and set up in space, of which building and paying for rockets is just a part. If they come up with something that does that, I will be very impressed.

 

Edited by Tw1
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8 minutes ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

It is not like i am trying to raise a rebellion against devs ;)
And for "right now"... I think the sooner i share my concerns about the game - the better chances, that these concerns will be accounted for. Imagine if i would've posted this after the game is already released and there is no career mode. Even if devs agreed with my points and thought it would be indeed a good idea to add Career Mode to the game, it would just be too late for that, because the whole game was already build without an idea of Career Mode around. So yes. Right now.

You have a good point. But the mention of milestones affecting colonies, makes me think something akin to contracts could be present in adventure mode.

Definitely some clarification will be needed from the devs, but it does seem like you can go off script and still have something to do outside of just exploring. So there could be some sort of contract or mission system in planning. I'm just speculating at this point.

It's a good question that I hope the devs don't take forever to answer.

 

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14 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

You have a good point. But the mention of milestones affecting colonies, makes me think something akin to contracts could be present in adventure mode.

Definitely some clarification will be needed from the devs, but it does seem like you can go off script and still have something to do outside of just exploring. So there could be some sort of contract or mission system in planning. I'm just speculating at this point.

It's a good question that I hope the devs don't take forever to answer.

 

Well again my main point wasn't really about contracts, but more about presence of a currency of some sort and the parts being balanced by their cost in said currency.

But yes. Let's hope the devs will answer this.

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3 hours ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

Very nice idea! Of course it adds a concern of "infinite funds for no effort", so you have to be careful with that, but it can be balanced, and i like the concept of it

Thanks! hearing the concern what about this evolution: all missions simply generated revenue over time, provided that you launched a rocket within a month of the last payment, otherwise that payment ceases. Again, you could, if careful, build up a huge revenue from multiple overlapping mission payments, but if you decided to drop everything and focus on an interplanetary mission then by the time your mission returned your previous income would have fallen to zero, though that mission itself could now provide an ongoing income so long as you launched again within a month.

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7 minutes ago, dnbattley said:

Thanks! hearing the concern what about this evolution: all missions simply generated revenue over time, provided that you launched a rocket within a month of the last payment, otherwise that payment ceases. Again, you could, if careful, build up a huge revenue from multiple overlapping mission payments, but if you decided to drop everything and focus on an interplanetary mission then by the time your mission returned your previous income would have fallen to zero, though that mission itself could now provide an ongoing income so long as you launched again within a month.

Intresting, but i think i would still prefer doing the mission once and get paid x10, other than doing it once, getting paid x1 and then wait for it to automatically complete 9 more times. In the end you will get the same amount of money for same amount of effort, but it seems to me, that big paycheck right away would be much more straight forward.

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The structure will include will include specific missions, but creative directore Nate Simpson says that these will feel more "compelling" than some of the first game's missions, which would direct you to fly to a specific latitude/longitude and trigger a part on your ship. "Those felt grindy. We're going out of our way to make the mission goals for avventure mode more meaningful: real first that feel unique relative to every other goal in the game."

Simpson said that adventure mode has a lot in common with the first game's science mode, which gave you unlimited funds but made you earn science points to advance the tech tree. In KSP2 missions will still be there for players who wants them, but you can also set your own goals.

This is the big tidbit from the article talking about the career/progression/adventure mode and this additional sentence:

Quote

The campaign is "explicitly designed to be non punitive" so you'll never reach a fail state where you've run out of money and have to start over.

Seems to suggest that money, in some form or the other, will still be very present in this game, not being able to reach a "fail state where you've run out of money" doesn't seems to me to be a confirmation that there will be no money in the game, even in KSP1 you can't really fail because you finish the funds, just accept some ridiculously paid long term contract and use the advancement money to finish other contracts.

 

Now, in one of the very firsts presentations last year it was said that they know that most of KSP players never leave the Kerbin-Mun system, and that's a big problem when you plan to add a lot of gameplay at the end of the mere exploration you can do in KSP 1, the problem with the actual career and science modes is that they are a bottleneck placed at a point in the game when most players already get stuck on their own that doesn't last long enough to be the endgame for the most experienced players. 

We'll have colonies, bases, scientific outposts, space cities, orbital shipyards, mining operations, fuel refineries, supply lines, farms and a lot of other kind of bases and stations in KSP2, a lot of management and mission to do and a wider variety of vehicles to design that in KSP1 were just challenges for the sake of the challenge:

Immagine having a "Mount Bob Mining Operations" base on Minmus, a "Duna Salla Scientific outpost" (hopefully without any Zentradi booby trap) and your main colony on Mun, Horizon Munar and it's satellite base, the Artemis Space Center. *

They said that if you leave a colony without resources it will simply underperform and that's ok for layer not bothering themselves with missions, but you want missions, you want challenges to solve and that's where you 're going to find the kind of gameplay you're searching for, and it's going to be way more fresh and new run after run, in one you move your space center to Mun, in another you build a geostationary spaceport around Kerbin and in and in another one you build a new start from Duna or Laythe.

What's the best launch vehicle design to lift of from Mun? From Duna? Is Laythe a SSTO paradise once you build an air base with some big and flat runways? How light I can make a "Apollo Style" Mun mission that's taking off from a Minmus colony?

For me those are all challenges way more intriguing than the career and science modes of KSP1 and that's without even having to add an abstract layer of invisible entities that need launches from you in exchange for money, you are the one needing those launches.

 

* Yes, this is totally going to be the set-up of my first run.

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Great post, @Acid_Burn9. I also spent almost all of my time in career mode and had a lot of fun despite career mode's many problems. Early on I liked considering the overall cost for each launch and being incentivised to recover as much as possible. Unfortunately the presets for building upgrades and the balance of cost and mission returns were so bad I had to do what most players do and custom tailor the settings, and even then it never really functioned well. Part costs were out of whack, early mission rewards were too stingy, and late rewards were so lucrative I ended up with unlimited money and no reason to even think about it thereafter. All this could in theory be fixed--maybe. The question I have is it worth it? Once you have colonies and you're living off the land what does money mean? 

To @Tw1 and @Master39's point, the focus of KSP 2 is shifted much more into the exploration and colonization of the outer planets rather than getting things to orbit and landing on Kerbin's moons. Almost everything about KSP 1's balance--the focus on launch costs, building upgrades, the volume of harvestable science points and the scope of the tech tree--all really lent itself to maxing out money and tech within KSOI. By the time you were mounting your first crewed mission to Duna you had entered the late game, and as we've seen from a number of informal polls most players never even got that far. KSP sounds like a much different game. Getting to and landing on the mun is still tutorial territory, mid-game will be colonizing the outer and inner planets, and the late game will be exploring other star systems. This will probably mean way less emphasis on orbital delivery and much more focus on ISRU

With that mindset, and with a healthy respect for a players time, what does money really add? There are two main aspects I think--the pressure to make more efficient rockets and the incentive to reuse and recover vehicles. I think there's a clue in the Shadowzone vid about how they'll tackle the former: by creating stricter limits on craft size and weight. These could be upgradeable as you level up your VAB and Launchpad, but across the board you'd be inclined to build smaller and lighter whenever possible. Unfortunately reusability wasn't handled well in KSP 1 either because the physics range precluded most first stage recovery schemes, but it did incentivise space planes at least. I usually opted for SSTO tailsitters myself, which were fun to design and fly, but even I'll admit after a few dozen times manually landing payload lifters got old. 

Ultimately making a good game is about maximizing the time players spend doing things that are fun and minimizing time the spend doing things that aren't fun. For KSP that core experience is building and flying spacecraft. Part of what makes that fun is of course the challenge of optimizing limited resources, but to me that should be streamlined as much as humanly possible so players can focus on building and flying. Do we really need 3 different currencies to do that? I tend to think not, and though I wouldn't have thought of it myself maybe money isn't even really necessary. If the process of exploration generates points (whatever you chose to call them) and those points can be spent on part R+D and building upgrades I think you could safely discard money entirely. If there are no contracts, just branching sets of potential exploration goals, then you don't need reputation either. I think it's possible that ditching all that managerial dead weight could free players time and produce a game in which within 5 or 10 hours you're already starting your first bases and colonies and getting into the real meat of the game. Keeping it to a single abstract currency also leaves more room for complexity when it comes to generating and managing ISRU resources. In theory that could lead to a progression that's both accessible and robust, because new resources and new layers of complexity are added in as you move out and discover them on other planets.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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9 hours ago, Master39 said:

For me those are all challenges way more intriguing than the career and science modes of KSP1 and that's without even having to add an abstract layer of invisible entities that need launches from you in exchange for money, you are the one needing those launches.

They are intriguing for sure, but that doesn't really mean it cannot be combined with career mode and made even better.

 

1 hour ago, Pthigrivi said:

With that mindset, and with a healthy respect for a players time, what does money really add? There are two main aspects I think--the pressure to make more efficient rockets and the incentive to reuse and recover vehicles. I think there's a clue in the Shadowzone vid about how they'll tackle the former: by creating stricter limits on craft size and weight. These could be upgradeable as you level up your VAB and Launchpad, but across the board you'd be inclined to build smaller and lighter whenever possible. Unfortunately reusability wasn't handled well in KSP 1 either because the physics range precluded most first stage recovery schemes, but it did incentivise space planes at least. I usually opted for SSTO tailsitters myself, which were fun to design and fly, but even I'll admit after a few dozen times manually landing payload lifters got old. 

I don't think, that strict limitations on size and weight will solve anything. , First of all it introduces a series of problems like "Oh i'm out of build borders for 1mm. I guess i'm not launching this thing." Most of the times problems like this can be solved with tweaking by clipping parts into each other, but it's not always the case. Sometimes you need you craft to be exact size for your own reasons. Yes there will be orbital shipyards in the game, but they will be available in somewhere in mid-game or even late-game. Then again player will not be encouraged to build more efficiently as long as it fits limitations. So what is the point of them? To ban player from launching big and inefficient rockets? It should be players decision and if he doesn't want to do so - fine. Let him pay excrements-ton of money for his inefficient monstrosity. Don't just ban him from doing what he wants. After all he is the one playing the game and it is up to him how to do so. I don't think that it is a solution to ban player form anything. Player himself should come to understanding of why it is better for him to build his monstrosity on the orbital shipyard, instead of launching it form Kerbin. And that can can done exactly with money. "Oh damn it will cost me 2 billions of billions to build a rocket, capable of putting thing thing into orbit. I can save a lot of money if i'd just build it there in the first place." Cost is the key to efficiency. Not size, not weight, not anything else in the world. Everything always comes down to cost. Why is it better to build a huge ship in the orbit? Because it will COST to much to put it in orbit in one go with massive and expensive rocket. Why is it better to build a craft that can do exactly what it needs to do and nothing else, instead of putting useless on your ship? Cost. You don't want to throw your money away on the stuff you don't even need. Why would you want to reuse your rocket? Cost. I cannot say this enough. Cost is an ultimate measure of efficiency. Maybe not exactly in money. That is not the point. I talked about how money can be replaced with resources, necessary for parts. It doesn't matter that much in what form COST will be implemented, as long as it will be implemented. Money is just the most straight forward way to do so.

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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There is nothing in that article that says that funds aren't a part of that "adventure mode". Everyone is loosing their excrements on pure speculation.

I suggest people read the full transcript of that article before drawing any conclusion : https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/194258-large-info-dump/&do=findComment&comment=3793267

If you ask me, that article was obviously written by someone that has never played KSP, and that barely know what he's talking about outside of what he's been told during that interview.
There is actually very little factual information in that article.
There is no mention anywhere that funds don't exists. The exact quotes are :

Simpson says adventure mode has a lot in common with the first game's science mode, which gave you unlimited funds but made you earn science points to advance the tech tree.

and a bit further :

The campaign is "explicitly designed to be non-punitive" so you'll never reach a fail state where you've run out of money and have to start over.

You can choose to interpret that as you wish, but to me there is only two facts here :
- Adventure mode is different from what we have currently. We already know from Nate Simpson's mouth that it was "something in between current career and science modes", so nothing new.
- You can't "loose" by running out of money. Frankly it's something really hard to do in KSP1 too, even as a brand new player. But it can imply that there is actually a currency in the game.
The "
which gave you unlimited funds but made you earn science points to advance the tech tree" part doesn't say anything in my opinion, it just describe what is KSP1 science mode, and is probably entirely a precision coming from the journalist, not related to anything in KSP2.

The whole article is really elusive as how that adventure mode actually works.
There is a mention of "
making discoveries and unlocking new technologies", but not of an actual tech tree like we know it, or of science points like we know them.
Then it says that these actions will trigger "
boom events, which kick off various effects across your civilization". I'm not sure what to make of that.
Regarding contracts, it says "
The structure will include specific missions", which imply there will be some sort of mission system. Everything else is just talk about how some contracts in KSP1 felt grindy and not very good, and how they want to adress it, and I certainly agree with that.

If you ask me to take a guess, my bet would be on a system based on some sort of "progression score" that you increase in many different ways (science, missions, achievements...), with no complex tech tree like we currently know, but just a few "tech tiers", and no science points.
The complete exclusion of funds seems unlikely. It could work as a regular income based on that progression score, as well as being completed by some missions/contracts.

Edited by Gotmachine
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30 minutes ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

They are intriguing for sure, but that doesn't really mean it cannot be combined with career mode and made even better.

I quoted the article in my comment, It doesn't say anywhere that money will not be a thing, it just says that the main progression is now different and it even states that:

Quote

In KSP2 missions will still be there for players who wants them, but you can also set your own goals.

 

Then i continued with my speculation  on the differences between "Adventure" and "Career/Science", TLDR: I think they just moved this kind of gameplay after the big natural bottleneck of KSP, being stuck on Kerbin/Mun making the contracts relative to bases and stations.

 

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1 hour ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

They are intriguing for sure, but that doesn't really mean it cannot be combined with career mode and made even better.

 

I don't think, that strict limitations on size and weight will solve anything. , First of all it introduces a series of problems like "Oh i'm out of build borders for 1mm. I guess i'm not launching this thing." Most of the times problems like this can be solved with tweaking by clipping parts into each other, but it's not always the case. Sometimes you need you craft to be exact size for your own reasons. Yes there will be orbital shipyards in the game, but they will be available in somewhere in mid-game or even late-game. Then again player will not be encouraged to build more efficiently as long as it fits limitations. So what is the point of them? To ban player from launching big and inefficient rockets? It should be players decision and if he doesn't want to do so - fine. Let him pay excrements-ton of money for his inefficient monstrosity. Don't just ban him from doing what he wants. After all he is the one playing the game and it is up to him how to do so. I don't think that it is a solution to ban player form anything. Player himself should come to understanding of why it is better for him to build his monstrosity on the orbital shipyard, instead of launching it form Kerbin. And that can can done exactly with money. "Oh damn it will cost me 2 billions of billions to build a rocket, capable of putting thing thing into orbit. I can save a lot of money if i'd just build it there in the first place." Cost is the key to efficiency. Not size, not weight, not anything else in the world. Everything always comes down to cost. Why is it better to build a huge ship in the orbit? Because it will COST to much to put it in orbit in one go with massive and expensive rocket. Why is it better to build a craft that can do exactly what it needs to do and nothing else, instead of putting useless on your ship? Cost. You don't want to throw your money away on the stuff you don't even need. Why would you want to reuse your rocket? Cost. I cannot say this enough. Cost is an ultimate measure of efficiency. Maybe not exactly in money. That is not the point. I talked about how money can be replaced with resources, necessary for parts. It matter that much in what form COST will be implemented, as long as it will be implemented. Money is just the most straight forward way to implement it.

Lots of good points. I don't even necessarily think we disagree, it's just that we're thinking about it in different ways. I think what's necessary here is understanding fungibility and how it feeds into gameplay tradeoffs. Right now you can use money to buy more parts, purchase building upgrades, and hire new kerbals. You can't use it to unlock new tech or more prestigious contracts, that's what science and reputation are for (except of course using the admin strategies, which I think we can all agree are pretty poorly thought out.) But this doesn't have to be the arrangement. I fully agree having some type of currency that you can spend in multiple ways creates player choices and that's a good thing. What I'm wondering is do the choices we currently have make for good gameplay? In fact, do parts themselves need to have a cost right away? Right now the early tier assembly buildings have a part-count limit, which I think a lot of people realize is a bad mechanic. It makes much more sense and creates a more interesting design challenge if you just can't build a rocket bigger than the assembly building itself. Whether you can actually get it onto the launchpad has to do with its mass. Those are pretty easy to understand constraints. The nice bit is you aren't "banned" from building a bigger rocket because you can chose to upgrade the building itself. That upgrade is one outlet for our in-game currency. But what if you could use this same currency to unlock new parts instead of buying existing ones? Now your strategic trade off is "I can either build a bigger rocket or I can build a better rocket." That seems like a more compelling choice to me, and the nice thing is it cuts out all of the rigamarole of contracts entirely. 

You could of course call this single currency "money" or you could call it "science" or "adventure points" or whatever you want. What really matters is how a player generates it and what they can and can't spend it on. We live in a very money-centric world right now, so I can see why you would think that's the only logical way for things to work. But I its worth considering how this changes once interplanetary and interstellar colonies come into it. If I've got a Duna colony and Im mining enough resources and fuel to build rockets there, why should I spend Kerbin-money on it? And if Kerbin-money ceases to be useful after you've started building colonies why base the whole game on it?

From a progression standpoint I think one could easily imagine that parts are basically free on Kerbin, but if you want to build them on other planets you need to spend ISRU resources. You might think "but wait why wouldn't I build everything on Kerbin then?" and the answer is you still have it ship it to where it's going. Much easier to mine the resources in situ (also for "free") and make things where you need them. The currency you generate from exploration is spent on upgrading your capabilities rather than on raw material. 

This is all speculative of course. We have no idea what the devs have in mind. Im just saying there are other possible arrangements from the one we now have. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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33 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

You can't use it to unlock new tech or more prestigious contracts, that's what science and reputation are for (except of course using the admin strategies, which I think we can all agree are pretty poorly thought out.)

True. Reputation is straight up useless. And i'd rather prefer to fund my researches with money, rather than farm science points to unlock them. 

33 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

Right now the early tier assembly buildings have a part-count limit, which I think a lot of people realize is a bad mechanic.

More like horrible mechanic tbh. That is kinda what i was thinking about when i described "banning" thingy. For sure weight and size limitations make MUCH more sense, than part count and are nowhere near as annoying. Also they still do very little to encourage player to think efficiently. Cost(not the part unlock cost, but exactly the part launch cost) is still essential for that. I just can't accept the fact, that the player can put 20 RTG's(it is the most explicit example i can think of) on his craft pretty much for free, once he unlocks it. Like, it is piece of incredibly advanced and expensive equipment, you can't just spam it on your every craft. This is just not how it supposed to work.

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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There is a core resource that all players have in infinite supply: time. This is why I am in favour of a mechanic that drip feeds income over time, as it means that players who want to take cash seriously can measure their success (e.g. by achieving some milestones earlier than players who are less efficient), but players who want to launch million-credit monstrosities can do so simply by accelerating time sufficiently.

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11 hours ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

True. Reputation is straight up useless. And i'd rather prefer to fund my researches with money, rather than farm science points to unlock them. 

More like horrible mechanic tbh. That is kinda what i was thinking about when i described "banning" thingy. For sure weight and size limitations make MUCH more sense, than part count and are nowhere near as annoying. Also they still do very little to encourage player to think efficiently. Cost(not the part unlock cost, but exactly the part launch cost) is still essential for that. I just can't accept the fact, that the player can put 20 RTG's(it is the most explicit example i can think of) on his craft pretty much for free, once he unlocks it. Like, it is piece of incredibly advanced and expensive equipment, you can't just spam it on your every craft. This is just not how it supposed to work.

The reason for RTG spam goes a bit further though; KSP stock only has the RTG or Fuel Cells to power things while in darkness without worrying about running out of batteries. I have much more of an issue with how they don't decay or degrade over time, and are basically magical tubes which perpetually produce EC.

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So I'd like to plug my thread here. I made it a while ago because I, as well, enjoy career mode and many of the missions. I polled the forum to see which missions overall everyone enjoyed or disliked most. My hope was to gather data so the devs might have an idea of what kind of missions the community collectively did or didn't enjoy as well as garner new ideas for contracts or ways to improve their implementation:

I still hope the devs see it as I would also be sad to see a financed career mode disappear with the unique challenges it brings to the game. The contract system was not the problem, but the way the contracts were provided, the rewards/difficulty, and the random and inconsequential manner in which they were given felt like the problem to me. I wish contracts had more continuance to them, why am I sending up these contracted satellites? Why am I surveying these different places your asking me to go? Why am I testing these parts? MAKE A LONGER TERM PROJECT OUT OF THIS! I don't need a story really but maybe have some companies with longer term goals they would like to complete and they need my rockets to make it a reality... Heck, maybe in multiplayer make there be a way for all of us to bid war against each other for the OPPORTUNITY to take on these contracts if that's possible...

On 5/29/2020 at 8:28 PM, Acid_Burn9 said:

* Contracts for putting 3rd party satellites on the required orbit are welcome as well. Also in my opinion it would be better if the game had some pre-build sub-assemblies instead of telling player to build the satellite himself(ex. "Hey here is my satellite. Put it in LKO with 350km apogee, 400km perigee and 10deg inclination." Player accepts the contract and gets a sub-assembly of this satellite and only required to send it to the desired orbit)

* Contracts for resupplying satellites/space stations. Player accepts the contract, pre-made craft spawns in orbit, and player has to dock with it and transfer certain amount of resource to complete the contract. 

* Pretty much advanced and combined previous 2. Client gives contract to get sub-assembly to orbit, some time after player completes it the same client gives another contract to send new sub-assembly to the old one and dock them together. Repeat until the whole space station will be finished. Some time time after that player will start to get resupply contract from same client.

Things like this would be amazing and reflect real world programs. I would love the challenge of being the one to send the Hubble JWST or Starlink system, made somewhere else and given to me as is with its mass, dimensions, and orbit parameters, out to space. To have to think of how to customize my rocket around this and send this project out... would be awesome! Heck! Include G limits so I don't break the thing on ascent or tell me I have to ascend facing a certain way so it doesn't bobble around in the fairings... Make me think around a rigid project that tries to confine me so I can come up with creative solutions to overcome the challenges presented to me. It shouldn't just be a puzzle to land on planets (as the devs seem to be focused on), it should be a puzzle to get off them or to them and with what payload.

There is so much room for improvement and expansion here and I would be sad to see it given up on.

Edited by mcwaffles2003
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18 hours ago, Acid_Burn9 said:

Cost(not the part unlock cost, but exactly the part launch cost) is still essential for that. I just can't accept the fact, that the player can put 20 RTG's(it is the most explicit example i can think of) on his craft pretty much for free, once he unlocks it. Like, it is piece of incredibly advanced and expensive equipment, you can't just spam it on your every craft. This is just not how it supposed to work.

I don't think a wise player would spam RTGs this way unless they were going to Eeloo. The energy density is too low compared to solar panels. I'll sometimes add one or two as a backup to retain attitude control on the dark side of a planet or moon but even for this fuel cells usually perform better. It's really just a late-game convenience thing. I do take your point about relative part costs and how that drives design decisions (this happens more often when discerning engines for me). I guess I'm not convinced that layer really needs to be there? I think if we're just focusing on the engineering problem it should be plenty enough to weigh size, mass, + isp tradeoffs without worrying about artificial costs. 

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12 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

The reason for RTG spam goes a bit further though; KSP stock only has the RTG or Fuel Cells to power things while in darkness without worrying about running out of batteries.

Or big battery reserves. And don't forget about power management like turning reaction wheels off to conserve energy.

And again placing 1 RTG to specifically have at least some power source in darkness is different from spamming them, to have unlimited energy regardless of conditions. 

Edited by Acid_Burn9
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