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[WIP][1.9.x] Better with Science


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The Better with Science mod is intended to overhaul the Kerbal Space Program progression, reducing grind and increasing the overall difficulty. It is, however, a work in progress and it is recommended to play it in Science Mode rather than Career.

In its current state, Better with Science has three components:
1) A new tech tree, made to extend the mid-to-late game while staying close to stock;
 2) a science overhaul, with changes to experiment values, biomes, and data transmission; and
 3) an electrics re-balance, intended to make electricity an important factor in the design and flight of a mission.
The fourth part is still in progress, and will greatly increase the challenge of the game.


The new tech tree in action

Tech Tree
The technology tree has been changed to a vertical format, and many cross-dependencies have been removed (e.g. Flight Control and Survivability). Now the only way to get a technology is to research its direct antecedents, rather than some unrelated node that happened to be nearby.
- Unmanned Tech and Adv. Unmanned Tech have been hidden, and their parts moved to Electronics and Automation.
- Ditto Command Modules and Adv. Exploration
- Ditto Advanced Metalworks and Composites

To increase difficulty in the late game, the costs of tech nodes have been increased from 45–90–160–300–550–1000 to 50–100–250–500–1000–2500. The complete tech tree costs a total 29063 science to unlock, 72% more than stock (16918 science).
Many parts have been rearranged: Basic plane parts have been moved to Stability, fuel cells are now accessible from Basic Science, the retractable solar panels and the Gigantor have been moved up by a tier, the Lander Cans can now be found in the Landing category, the gravimeter has been moved to Automation, and large mining parts have been moved up a tier.



Mk1 Cockpit, Swept Wings, Tail Fin, Tail Connector A, Small Circular Intake, Mk0 LF Fuselage, J-20 Juno Jet Engine, LY-01 Fixed Landing Gear, LY-05 Steerable Landing Gear –> Stability
TT38K Radial Decoupler –> Gen. Rocketry
Mk1 Crew Cabin and Structural Fuselage, Tail Connector B, Wing Connector C –> Aviation
Fuel Cell, Pegasus I Mobility Enhancer –> Basic Science
FL-T800 Fuel Tank –> Adv. Rocketry
Modular Girder Segment, S1 Fairing, S1 Separator, TT-70 Radial Decoupler, Tricoupler –> Gen. Construction
Mk1 Lander Can –> Landing
Small Ladder –> Space Exploration
OKTO, S0 Decoupler, Micro Landing Strut –> Miniaturization
Radiator Panels (Edge) and (Small) –> Electrics
FL-R10 RCS Tank –> Propulsion Systems
Mainsail –> Heavy Rocketry
FL-R25 RCS Tank –> Fuel Systems
Modular Girder Segment XL, Rockomax Brand Adapter, S2 Decoupler, Bicoupler –> Adv. Construction
Mk2 Lander Can –> Adv. Landing
Mk1-2 Pod, Cupola, S2 Service Bay –> Adv. Exploration
S0 Seperator –> Precision Engineering
Radiator Panel (Large), Thermal Control System (Small) –> Adv. Electrics
Poodle –> Heavier Rocketry
Rockomax X200-8 Fuel Tank –> Adv. Fuel Systems
S2 Seperator –> Spec. Construction
QBE, OKTO2 –> Electronics
SP–L 1x6 and 3x2 Solar Panels, Thermal Control System (Medium) –> High-Power Electrics
FL-R1 RCS Tank –> Large Volume Containment
Mk2 Drone Core –> Hypersonic Flight
HECS2, Gravimeter –> Automation
Gigantor XL Solar Array, Thermal Control System (Large) –> Spec. Electrics
S3 Fairing, S3 Decoupler, S3 Seperator –> Meta-Materials
Convert-O-Tron 250, Drill-O-Matic, Advanced Grabbing Unit –> Experimental Science
RC-001S –> Large Probes

All experiments have had repeat science removed, because it was pointlessly small and incredibly annoying to never get the full value. This is done the hard way (setting the max science to equal the base). The biome masks for Crew and EVA reports have been switched, and Gravity Scans now only work in space. Atmosphere Studies are no longer biome-dependent, and neither are Pressure Scans.
If playing with either Kopernicus or ScienceParamModifier, Kerbin ground science is reduced to 0. (ScienceParamModifer is included by default, but is not necessary if Kopernicus is installed.)
Transmission has been changed: Sensors and the Infrared Telescope now have 100% data transmission (material experiments have 25%, same as the surface sample), all experiments have had their data size rebalanced, and antennae will now transmit incomplete by default.



Crew Report: Value = 6, Data Size = 6, Biomes = Landed + Splashed + Space Low
EVA Report: Value = 10, Data Size = 10, Biomes = Landed + Splashed
Temperature Scan: Transmission = 100%, Biomes = Landed + Splashed
Barometer Scan: Transmission = 100%, Biomes = None
Seismic Scan: Value = 24, Transmission = 100%, Data Size = 60
Gravity Scan: Value = 22, Transmission = 100%,  Data Size = 55, Biomes = Space Low, Usable = Space Low + Space High
Atmosphere Analysis: Value = 26, Transmission = 100%,  Data Size = 78 (The old data size was out of control; 1200 EC with the most efficient antenna)
Mystery Goo: Transmission = 25%, Data Size = 15
Materials Study: Transmission = 25%, Data Size = 50
Surface Sample: Data Size = 60
Asteroid Sample: Data Size = 120
Infrared Telescope: Value = 19, Data Size = 38

All probe cores have had their energy consumptions rebalanced. Large solar panels are now more than decoration, and the outer system is a substantial challenge.
The values for stock probe cores are as follows:
QBE: 3.6/min (0.06/sec)
OKTO: 3.9/min (0.065/sec)
HECS: 4.2/min (0.07/sec)
Stayputnik: 4.5/min (0.075/sec)
OKTO2: 4.8/min (0.08/sec)
RoveMate: 6.0/min (0.1/sec)
HECS2/RC-001S/MK2 Drone Core: 7.2/min (0.12/sec)
RC-LO1: 10.8/min (0.18/sec)

The nuclear engine has had its heat production increased, so as to necessitate radiators. Crewed command modules now cannot function without some EC, though they still do not consume it. The energy consumption of reaction wheels has been increased fivefold, and all command modules and probe cores have been given a minimum of 50 EC storage. (These last two in combination result in the Mk.1 Pod being unaffected, so fear not for your early-game missions)

Download on SpaceDock

(Requires ModuleManager)

Better with Science has been written to work for every version of KSP from 1.0 to 1.9. The 1.9 version of ScienceParamModifier is included, but when playing on an older version, you should instead install Kopernicus. Better with Science should be compatible with any mod so long as it does not modify experiments or the tech tree, and is additionally compatible with Making History and Breaking Ground. All parts mods should be supported out of the box, as this mod only moves stock tech nodes rather than creating new ones.

Thanks to @DMagic for his ScienceParamModifer, and thanks again for its MIT license.

Edited by cy4n
Made the download link bigger
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I would like to add my welcome to the techtree design club.  Nice work and a unique design!  I'm going to give a spin soon.

Also, how did I not know about the ScienceParamModifier?  This is great!

I like your take on the science grind business as well.  Well rounding out you intentions.  Will the changes for the nuclear engine have mod support as well?


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Updated to 0.92

Fixed a bug where science transmission values were hidden
Increased the cost for resetting some experiments from 5 to 25 EC
Changed the values for nuclear engines

Thanks to Probus and theJesuit for your kind feedback! I'm honored to be visited by such illustrious modders as you two.

To answer your question, the nuclear patch modifies all engines with EngineType = Nuclear, which should include all mods that do not add their own functionality to nuclear engines.

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will check this out on my new save!


Edit ; As kerbin ground science is set to 0. Does science gathering away from KSC with, lets say, rovers, still work?


Edited by dxeh
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@dxeh At the moment, no. Perhaps when Kopernicus updates I can disable just the KSC biomes, but right now I have erred on the side of difficulty. On the plus side, now you don't have to spend hours flying around Kerbin for a few more science points!

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Perhaps a new science part that is atmospheric only - like windshear - that is available at the start.  Gives a good chunk of science points to offset the loss of a few biomes around the KSC, shores, grassland and water splashed.

Then this is an experiment that will give a science boost on Duna, Eve, Laythe and Jool only.  Perhaps make it a 'sample' so as not too OP.  Borrow a nose cone part or better yet a basic fin - or even betterer the stayputnik.   


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@theJesuit Thank you for your suggestion! That's a good idea, but I'm not sure if it would fit the mod.  My intention for Better with Science is to spur exploration and increase difficulty, and the less science you have at your disposal, the more you have to seek it out. (The crew report and EVA report have both had their science values increased slightly, so the early game shouldn't be too much harder without ground science.)

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5 minutes ago, cy4n said:

@theJesuit Thank you for your suggestion! That's a good idea, but I'm not sure if it would fit the mod.  My intention for Better with Science is to spur exploration and increase difficulty, and the less science you have at your disposal, the more you have to seek it out. (The crew report and EVA report have both had their science values increased slightly, so the early game shouldn't be too much harder without ground science.)

Fair enough. If you can get to space, then all science can be got :)

That's why I recommend a 50% science in settings with both TETRIX and SIMPLEX (and using KEI) as it makes the exploration more meaningful - you can't unlock the TechTree with Kerbin's moons, and this effectively doubles the size of the tree itself.

Another thought - and I haven't had time to try this - is whether exactly 500 science for a node requires the Level 3 R&D upgrade - If so, the tree may find a better balance if that level was reduced so that only the top two tiers required the level 3.  TETRIX's tier costs were setup for that.

You might look at making the ScienceParamModifier and possibly the science value changes not applicable when used with Kerbalism as Kerbalism changes the science values in its own way.  It removes the KSC biomes, but not the planetary biomes.


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  Balancing a tech tree can be very difficult. Especially when you add the effects of labs and science production. I've been tweaking the way labs process science.  Aspects such as using up points faster, scaling science production back, increasing Scientist effect on the above. Just testing now but my intent is to better control the end game to keep it fun and drive the player to every corner of the system. 

  Diminishing returns on science may also be an idea. Ex. First readings at Duna (and/or new biome or experiment) may produce full or scaled up science values. Every reading after that reduces the value by a small percentage. Again, the goal is to drive the player to use new experiments in new parts of the system. 

  Adding the larger EC requirements (and heavier science payloads) will enhance the end game as well. 

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mhh, tried to activate mod but the techtree doesn't show up, installed via ckan

any further dependancies ? KSP 1.91, BG, MH  List of installed mods :

[x] Science! Continued (xScienceContinued 5.26)
6 Crew Science Lab (SixCrewScienceLab 1.1)
Astronomer's Visual Pack (AstronomersVisualPack 2:v4.04)
Astronomer's Visual Pack-2k Textures (AVP-2kTextures v1.11)
B9 Part Switch (B9PartSwitch v2.16.0)
Background Resources (BackgroundResources 1:V0.15.0.0)
Better With Science
BonVoyage (BonVoyage 1:
Celestial Body Science Editor
Chatterer (Chatterer 0.9.99)
ClickThrough Blocker (ClickThroughBlocker
CollisionFX-ReUpdated (CollisionFXReUpdated 1.1.0)
Comfortable Landing (ComfortableLanding 2:1.9.1)
Community Category Kit (CommunityCategoryKit
Community Resource Pack (CommunityResourcePack
Contract Configurator (ContractConfigurator 1.28.0)
Contract Pack: Clever Sats (ContractConfigurator-CleverSats 1.4)
Crew R&R (CrewQueueTwo
Custom Barn Kit (CustomBarnKit
Decoupler Shroud (DecouplerShroud 0.7.2)
Destruction Effects (DestructionEffects 2:v1.11.0)
Distant Object Enhancement Continued (DistantObject v2.0.0.2)
Distant Object Enhancement Continued default config (DistantObject-default v2.0.0.2)
DMagic Orbital Science (DMagicOrbitalScience 1.4.3)
DMModuleScienceAnimateGeneric (DMagicScienceAnimate v0.23)
Docking Port Alignment Indicator (DockingPortAlignmentIndicator 6.8.6)
Dynamic Battery Storage (DynamicBatteryStorage 2:
Earn Your Stripes! (EarnYourStripes 4.0.2)
Editor Extensions Redux (EditorExtensionsRedux 3.4.1)
EditorTime (EditorTime KSP1.4.1)
Environmental Visual Enhancements (EnvironmentalVisualEnhancements 2:EVE-1.8.0-2)
EVA Handrails Continued (EVAHandrailsPackContinued
Field Training Facility (FieldTrainingFacility
Final Frontier (FinalFrontier 1.8.1-3479)
Flight Tracker (FlightTracker
Hide Empty Tech Tree Nodes (HideEmptyTechNodes 1.1.2)
IndicatorLights (IndicatorLights 1.6)
IndicatorLights Community Extensions (IndicatorLightsCommunityExtensions 1.6)
Kerbal Alarm Clock (KerbalAlarmClock v3.13.0.0)
Kerbal Attachment System (KAS 1.6)
Kerbal Changelog (KerbalChangelog v1.2.1)
Kerbal Improved Save System (KerbalImprovedSaveSystem v2.4.2)
Kerbal Inventory System (KIS 1.25)
Kerbal Inventory System - No Fun (KerbalInventorySystemNoFun v1.4.2)
Kerbal Joint Reinforcement - Next (KerbalJointReinforcementNext v4.1.15)
Kerbal Krash System (KerbalKrashSystem 1:v0.4.7)
Kerbal Launch Failure (KerbalLaunchFailure 0.4.11)
MechJeb 2 (MechJeb2
ModularFlightIntegrator (ModularFlightIntegrator
Module Manager (ModuleManager 4.1.3)
Near Future Construction (NearFutureConstruction 1.2.2)
Near Future Electrical (NearFutureElectrical 1.1.2)
Near Future Electrical - Decaying RTGs (NearFutureElectrical-DecayingRTGs 1.1.2)
Near Future Electrical Core (NearFutureElectrical-Core 1.1.2)
Near Future Solar (NearFutureSolar 1.2.2)
Near Future Solar Core (NearFutureSolar-Core 1.2.2)
On Demand Fuel Cells Refueled (core) (ODFC-Refueled
Real Plume (RealPlume 2:v13.3.1)
Real Plume - Stock Configs (RealPlume-StockConfigs v4.0.1)
Real Time Clock 2 (RealTimeClock2 v1.11.2)
RealHeat (RealHeat v5.1)
Reentry Particle Effect Renewed (ReentryParticleEffect
ReStock (ReStock 1.1.2)
ReStock+ (ReStockPlus 1.1.2)
scatterer (Scatterer 3:v0.0610)
Scatterer Default Config (Scatterer-config 3:v0.0610)
Scatterer Sunflare (Scatterer-sunflare 3:v0.0610)
Science - Full Reward! (Continued) (Science-Full-Reward v5.1)
Science - Full Transmit! (Science-Full-Transmit v1.1)
SmokeScreen - Extended FX Plugin (SmokeScreen
Strategia (Strategia 1.8.0)
Surface Mounted Lights (surfacelights 1.16)
TAC Life Support (TACLS) (TACLS 1:V0.15.0.0)
Toolbar Controller (ToolbarController 1:
Tracking Lights (TrackingLights 1:
TweakScale - Rescale Everything! (TweakScale v2.4.3.14)
TweakScale Companion for the ReStockPlus AddOn (TweakScaleCompanion-ReStockPlus v1.1.0.0)
Zero MiniAVC (ZeroMiniAVC 1:




Edited by matts73
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@matts73 I checked and Hide Empty Tech Tree Nodes appears to be causing the error. I'll try to see why this is happening. (Also, Science Full Reward is made redundant by this mod, and so is Science Full Transmit for the most part.)

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