Fraktal

Yet another tech tree concept

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Posted (edited)

So, like many other people I find the stock tech tree to be a mite... wanting in some areas. Namely its habit of throwing lots of unrelated parts under the same node with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

Thus, I've been mulling over what I'd change if I could and ended up rebuilding the entire tech tree from scratch. Behold:

4qsUQmQ.png

I'd like to have some second opinions on this, if it's not too much to ask. It's still something of a work in progress, of course. I've seamlessly included the Making History parts as well, with the intent that nodes that contain only MH parts do not show up if the player doesn't have MH installed.

I couldn't include the Breaking Ground parts since I don't have that DLC and the wiki's relevant page is completely empty.

Edited by Fraktal
included missing parts

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Posted (edited)

I like the order of parts - seems more sensible. Would you be adjusting the cost for each level too? My concern would be that you have significantly more nodes per level than stock - making the cost for each of your tiers higher. Depending on how things progress this may not be a problem but something that struck me as a potential problem.

Edit: Of course this might be seen as an advantage too!

Edited by wasml

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Raising the total cost of the tech tree is not that much problematic, seeing how according to the wiki there's enough science in the stock game to complete the stock tech tree 21 times over and still have a couple thousand points left over. If we drop the science multiplier down to the minimum the game lets you, 10%, there's still enough science in the game to unlock the stock tech tree twice over.

And that's not even considering the science lab or extra planet mods!

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I think it looks interesting - sort of ETT like but with a bit more grouping. Also, any tree that moves the stupid goo experiment away form the start node gets automatic bonus points! My only two thoughts at the moment would be:

1) seems a little harsh to have dropped the thermometer from the tree entirely ;)

2) it might be worth thinking ahead of time about what mods you may eventually want to include, and make sure you have nodes available for them - e.g. an extended string of nodes for space station parts of different sizes, nuclear power/engines, ion engines etc. Might be easy to add later, or might not be something you see happening anyway, but could be worth blocking these in at the planning stage so you don't find yourself wishing you'd done it differently later

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Oh, I forgot to include the thermometer? It's on the Start node.

My logic for the science parts was to order them according to experiment value, but there are limitations to what I can do because some experiments are environmentally limited (accelerometer won't work until munar landing, fluid spectro-variometer won't work on the Mun or Minmus).

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This looks good and similar to Simplex or Tetrix Tech trees. :)

if you want you could use my configs as a way of finding the part names.  The dlcs are under the stock parts.

Peace.

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Looks great.  Think that planning will pay off nicely in the long-run.  I've been mucking around on a personal tech tree based on CTT for the last few weeks and I've somehow managed to add nearly 70 new nodes, mostly balanced with stock/restock and currently working through the near future suite to flesh out the nodes.  I have found PartInfo to be really helpful:

 

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What I didn't mention is that in this concept, all "this requires this and this" links are require-all rather than require-any like in the stock tech tree.

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Added the Pollux (parallel to the Kickback), the Vector (follows up on the Mammoth), the inline reaction wheels (tiny one is on Start, small one is derived from the OKTO and the large one from the small one) and the thermometer (Start node) to the tree. I also made it so that the Dart now requires the Vector rather than the Rhino.

I'm considering moving the Mk1 Lander Can and related tech one tech level later because right now, you'd get it before the Terrier. But then again, you also get the Spark at the same time as the Lander Can so it's not like we don't have a high-impulse engine early on.

When I started planning this out, it was originally going to start with the Mk1 Command Pod on the Start node, just like in stock, immediately followed by the Stayputnik on a node called Automation whose description would explicitly state that the Stayputnik, Z-100 battery and small reaction wheel were ripped straight out of a Mk1 pod.

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There is an interesting balance that you'll want to think about.

There are many people that like the unmanned start option i.e. stayputnik first, or a probe that you can put a parachute on.  They'll try and use Unmanned Start or like mods to that effect.

Sounding rockets (probe core with an SRB) is not the end of the world for a first launch if it will open up an option for crewed flights IF people want it.

So having you first crew capsule in your first tier (Start being tier 0) will alleviate this.

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Posted (edited)

Being a science mode player, a tree can be focused in two different ways.  One as a strict play this way gatekeeper, or as a freeform progression style.  i.e. putting plane parts and early x-15 style rockets in early tiers with probe cores available after.  Or like community tech tree, everything you need to get into orbit anyway you want in the first three tiers.  Personally, I prefer a more restrictive but realistically sensible progression and don't like the idea I can get into orbit with a flying potatoe rocket early on.

Edited by Xt007

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One problem I have with all tech trees is that mods either aren't in the tree, or are in odd places.

I've been toying with the idea of a dynamically flexible tree, which adjusts itself based on the mods installed.  It's rather difficult to do well, which is why I'm still toying with the idea

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46 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

One problem I have with all tech trees is that mods either aren't in the tree, or are in odd places.

I've been toying with the idea of a dynamically flexible tree, which adjusts itself based on the mods installed.  It's rather difficult to do well, which is why I'm still toying with the idea

I hear you.  As Tetrix introduced more substantive changes it became more important to support more mods.  The original simplex only moved about half the parts.

Tetrix does alter a little with some mods but it isn’t great.  Upgrades are supposed to be this way.  Also Near Future construction adjusts some connections and KSPIE will have a tenth tier.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

One problem I have with all tech trees is that mods either aren't in the tree, or are in odd places.

Balancing a tech tree for every possible mod in existence is pretty much impossible. The very fact that mods tend to have different ideas about how the game should be means that literally any approach to making your tech tree steps on someone's toes.

Not to mention that making a tech tree compatible with every mod in existence requires keeping track of every single mod's development to add compatibility to anything new. Not everyone is a multitasking god like you.

20 hours ago, Xt007 said:

One as a strict play this way gatekeeper, or as a freeform progression style. 

I was going for the second approach, via decoupling the research paths of unrelated parts from each other so that people can pick and choose what they want. For example, you no longer have to unlock Mk2 plane parts to get the Panther, or launch clamps and struts to get a body for Mk1 planes that isn't a fuel tank so heavy the early wings can barely lift it, etc.

The logic I followed for some of the part placements in nodes:

  • If you take a closer look, you'll see that all Making History parts are either on their own nodes or nodes that also contain stock parts and none of the stock parts depend on nodes that contain only MH parts. This is so that nodes that only contain Making History parts can be hidden on the R&D screen if the player doesn't have Making History installed. MH does not alter the tech tree, only extends it with optional side-branches. I would've done the same with Breaking Ground but once again, I don't have that DLC myself and the wiki doesn't have a part list either.
  • Putting a Stayputnik anywhere other than the Start node would make it useless because literally everything else is better.
  • Same with the Mite and Shrimp SRBs. There's pretty much zero use for them beyond sounding rockets as compared to, say, the Hammer, which is still good for some extra delta-V when launching a lightweight satellite into orbit.
  • Putting the tiny reaction wheel to the same node as the Stayputnik is required due to the fact that you have literally no other way to aim the rocket prior to gimbaled engines and movable fins.
  • Putting basic ISRU before the sensors that let you tell where the best ore yield is found on Duna is entirely intentional. This way, ISRU is available earlier but is kinda an inefficient hit-or-miss until you research it fully. The Survey Antenna being where it is is so that the player can get the survey data on their first flight to Duna, rather than having to return later on.
  • Making the OKTO a prerequisite of manned flight but NOT giving the Z-100 battery yet is meant to allow the player to use the OKTO as a nav computer for their early 1-seater manned craft, allowing the player to fly their Scientists while still having basic SAS. The QBE being unlocked parallel to manned flight is so that it can take over the OKTO for this purpose.
  • Delaying the availability of the KV reentry pods is done on purpose. In the stock tech tree, the KV-1 is completely unusable at the point where you get it due to 1) lack of a reaction wheel or RCS to steer it without wasting fuel and 2) lack of a fairing to offset its enormous drag. The first reaction wheel is unlocked alongside the KV-2, making the KV-1 immediately obsolete for all purposes other than its lower weight compared to the Mk1 pod. Here, by the time you have the KV-1 you already have reaction wheels, and it's unlocked at the same time as the 1.25m fairing, so you can actually use it immediately. The KV-2 and KV-3 pods are put on their own nodes as a case of "unlock them if you need them, feel free to ignore them otherwise".
  • Putting the first ladder and landing strut on the same node as the Mk1 lander can is for the player's convenience, seeing how orbital craft don't require either. Putting the ladder on an entirely separate node in the stock tech tree was always mildly annoying for me and handing over the landing strut way before the player is in a position to even consider going to the Mun just flat-out didn't make sense.
  • Putting the two lights on separate nodes is based on what feels to be their best use: long-range lights for lighting up the ground at night to either locate a landing site or let kerbals on EVA find the lander in the dark, short-range lights as a "docking port is over here" navigational aid when docking over the night side.
  • Engine-tank pairings all follow the same logic: gimballed medium engine gets the second smallest tank to start with, non-gimballed power engine gets the second biggest tank since it can lift more weight, high-impulse vacuum engine gets the smallest tank since it's the most efficient one, biggest tank is on a separate node so that the increased structural stability and reduced part count is an optional purchase.
  • Wing parts are noded in order of how much lift they provide. Wing Connector parts are noded parallel to matching-size Structural Wings. I originally intended to put jet engines and intakes on separate nodes from each other. For the name of the node that unlocks the RAPIER, credits go to Project ACES.
  • Decouplers and separators being on different nodes is due to the fact that you don't need stack separators anywhere near as often as decouplers.
  • The surface-mount Communotron being on a different node than the standard Communotron is due to its non-combinable nature allowing the logical progression of using the non-combinable antenna to let your unmanned craft go beyond LKO but still in level 1 DSN range, then giving the combinable antenna at the same time as the HG-5 so that you can use combinability to get a decent signal strength via HG-5 relay sats while out of LOS for the DSN.

 

20 hours ago, Xt007 said:

don't like the idea I can get into orbit with a flying potatoe rocket early on.

In the stock tech tree, I found the greatest challenge at the tech level immediately following Start to be able to squeeze enough delta-V out of FL-T100 tanks without going past 30 parts. Once you unlock the FL-T200, the challenge becomes being able to squeeze enough delta-V out of Swivels and Reliants to reach orbit without going past 18 tons. Once the Terrier is in play, you can handle a munar flyby within both of these limits and only need to upgrade your facilities in order to launch a munar lander.

So yeah, the level 1 limitations for the VAB and Launch Pad are actually well thought-out as far as the stock tech tree goes. Me, I'm giving the FL-T200 first so that the VAB limit isn't as strict that you need to decide between one more fuel tank or one more goo canister so that you don't need a second flight to max out your low orbit science.

Edited by Fraktal

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27 minutes ago, Fraktal said:

Balancing a tech tree for every possible mod in existence is pretty much impossible. The very fact that mods tend to have different ideas about how the game should be means that literally any approach to making your tech tree steps on someone's toes

Where did I ever say that?

I guess you didnt read my follow up post:

20 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

've been toying with the idea of a dynamically flexible tree, which adjusts itself based on the mods installed.  It's rather difficult to do well, which is why I'm still toying with the idea

My ideas are similar to yours, to decouple the tech tree from the parts

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Posted (edited)

Lots of interesting ideas in this topic.

On 8/15/2020 at 5:58 PM, linuxgurugamer said:

One problem I have with all tech trees is that mods either aren't in the tree, or are in odd places.

I've been toying with the idea of a dynamically flexible tree, which adjusts itself based on the mods installed.  It's rather difficult to do well, which is why I'm still toying with the idea

I definitely would like to change the stock tech tree to allow a more historical career.

After much thought, I think a good way to do this is

  1. Don't change the existing nodes and interconnects, so it's more familiar.
  2. Move as few parts as possible to new tech nodes, like the Stayputnik and others to Start.
  3. Incorporate using missions to unlock new nodes and even consider removing science for this purpose.
  4. Avoid if possible creating new nodes and interconnects.
  5. If 4 can't be followed, go with something with wide support, like the Community Tech Tree and apply 1 through 3 to changing it.

I think these limits are needed to keep upkeep of a tech tree mod manageable.  While a highly customized tech tree gives great power, it's also a pain and an effort to maintain.

 

 

Edited by Jacke

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Posted (edited)

The primary reason why I have so many nodes is because I really dislike it when 5+ unrelated parts get stuffed into the same node simply because there's no dedicated node for any of them. Not to mention some nodes getting only 3 parts while others get 10+, with zero rhyme or reason.

Edited by Fraktal

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After thinking over the feedback I got in this thread, I started a separate project for cleaning up the tech tree. This time, I'm not adding or removing nodes or connection between nodes; all that changes is which part is on which node, trying to follow a methodology that's both logical and convenient for the player. It's still a work in progress, but some of the things I already came up with:

  • Start node contains the Mk1 command pod, the Mite, the small parachute and the thermometer. Nothing else.
    • No Modular Girder Segment because it frankly doesn't have much purpose here beyond as an alternative to the service bay, ie. putting it between the command pod and the parachute, then mounting all science gear on the girder rather than the command pod so that it doesn't burn off during reentry from contact heat transfer from the command pod.
    • No KV-1 pod because it's completely uncontrollable at this point.
    • Basic Fin is nudged one tech level later.
    • Flea is nudged one tech level later. The Mite is here instead because frankly, it doesn't have much purpose otherwise. Same reason why the Shrimp is now tier 2 (Engineering 101).
  • The Rocketry line of nodes now include more than just the engines.
    • Decouplers are handed out in the same node as the first engine matching their radial size. Radial decouplers are also unlocked in this line, as SRB size increases (Kickback/Pollux unlocks the strutted decoupler at tier 5, Thoroughbred unlocks the hydraulic manifold at tier 6). Stack separators are unlocked on the Construction line of nodes.
    • Mid-size fuel tanks, adapters and Making History engine plates are also paired together with the first engine of the same size so that the player can start using their shiny new parts immediately, rather than having to buy another node first. The 5m engine plate is the sole exception, found on the final Fuel Systems node in tier 8.
    • Access to the Making History engines is now much quicker.
      • Stock: first medium tanks on tier 4, Bobcat on tier 5, Cheetah, Kodiak and medium-size engine plate on tier 6.
      • New: first medium tanks and Kodiak on tier 3 (same as Reliant), Bobcat and medium-size engine plate on tier 4 (same as Terrier), Cheetah, Pollux, large-size engine plate and medium-to-large adapter tank on tier 5 (same as Poodle and Kickback).
      • The Skiff, the Wolfhound and the Mastodon were left as they are for now.
  • The Precision line was shuffled around as well.
    • Stock: Spark, Ant, Baguette and Oscar-B on tier 5, Twitch, Spider, Puff, Dumpling and Doughnut on tier 6.
    • New: Spark, Twitch, Puff and Baguette on tier 5, Ant, Spider, Dumpling and Oscar-B on tier 6. Sepratron was moved to the Rocketry line on tier 6 (same node as Mainsail), the Thud, the tiny-size decoupler and the FL-A5 and 10 adapters plus the Making History medium-to-tiny adapter tank have all been moved here to tier 5. To facilitate the earlier use of the Puff, the tier 5 Fuel Systems node now unlocks the first inline monoprop tank.
  • Only the largest fuel tanks of each size category are in the Fuel Systems line of nodes, rather than all tanks after small-size. The inline RCS tanks are now also here, spanning across the entire line with one tank per tech level ordered by size.
  • Construction line:
    • 1.25m fairing is unlocked on tier 4 rather than tier 5 to make it easier to launch the KV pods and the Mk1 lander can.
    • All fairings, stack separators, heat shields and almost all docking clamps (with the exceptions of the Mk2 one and the Making History inflatable one) are now in this line. Making History structural tubes are distributed as one part per node, in order of increasing diameter. Same with the flag parts introduced in KSP 1.10.
    • Station components are available from tier 6 onwards and you get the more useful ones (radial attachment point, six-way connector) sooner.
  • Control parts:
    • The KV-1 unlocks in tier 3, on the same node as the first nose cone. The tiny reaction wheel has also been moved to this node, one tier earlier, so that these two parts can be used together as they are meant to be.
    • The Stayputnik is still in tier 4, but on the Flight Control node rather than the Basic Science node. The same node also includes the KV-2 pod, the Z-100 battery and the surface-mount Communotron, but not the standard Communotron (that one's on Basic Science).
    • The OKTO is still in tier 5, but on the Advanced Flight Control node, right next to the second reaction wheel and the Stratus MP tanks.
    • The QBE is brought forward to tier 5 to the Miniaturization node (where the Clamp-o-tron Jr. used to be), right next to the HG-5 relay, the tiny decoupler and stack separator and the tiny flag.
    • The Mk1 lander can is now in the Landing node rather than the Advanced Flight control node, still on tier 5. On the same node are the smaller extending ladder, the micro landing strut and the long-range searchlight, all for building that Mun lander.
    • The HECS is on the same node as in the stock tech tree but is accompanied by only the antenna parts, the structural cruft was tossed out of the node.
    • The Making History Mk2 command pod is now on tier 5 on the Space Exploration node (same as the Hitchhiker Storage Module), along with the matching-size heat shield, service module and the inflatable airlock (which is something like tier 7 in the stock tech tree). This is also the node for the short-range searchlight.
    • The Mk1-3 command pod was left where it is, but the cupola module was split off to Advanced Exploration (still on tier 6) along with the External Command Seat (which was brought one tier forward). The Mk2 lander can, on the other hand, was pushed up to tier 7 (Heavy Landing), sharing a node with the KV-3 pod and the LT-2 landing strut.
    • The MEM is now on the node (Advanced Landing) directly between the Mk1 lander can and the Mk2 lander can, rather than on the same node as the Mk1-3 pod. It shares the node with the longer extending ladder and the LT-1 landing strut.
  • For solar panels:
    • Tier 5 unlocks both the OX-STAT and the OX-STAT-XL.
    • Tier 6 unlocks only the extend-only solar arrays.
    • Tier 7 keeps the Gigantor and the fuel cell.
    • Tier 8 is where the extend-and-retract solar arrays are unlocked, alongside the Fuel Cell Array.
    • Tier 9 keeps the RTG.
  • For science:
    • Start unlocks the Thermometer.
    • Engineering 101 (tier 2) unlocks the barometer.
    • Basic Science (tier 4) unlocks the Mystery Goo.
    • Space Exploration (tier 5) unlocks the accelerometer.
    • Advanced Exploration (tier 6) unlocks the atmospheric sensor.
    • Field Science (tier 7) unlocks the gravioli detector, the materials bay and the science lab. The SENTINEL Telescope and the Survey Scanner were left where they are.
    • Advanced Science Tech (tier 8) unlocks the magnetometer, sharing the node with basic ISRU and the Surface Scanner.
    • Experimental Science (tier 9) has the heavy-duty ISRU and the Narrow-Band Scanner.
  • I haven't touched the aircraft nodes yet, but one thing I'm definitely going to do is merging the aircraft landing gear into the aircraft nodes rather than the Landing nodes. Probably also going to shuffle the radial intakes over to the Aerodynamics line rather than the Aircraft line, since that's their alleged purpose.

Like I said, it's still a work in progress. But since this one doesn't add/remove any nodes or node connections, it should be compatible with mods that extend the stock tech tree.

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The way that you've designed the tree, do you really need compatibility with mods like CTT that extend the tree?  It seems that you've done a fair bit of design without it and if your diagram is indicative of the changes you've done to the structure, I would guess it would just look like spaghetti with another tech tree.  Are you intending to personally play with any mods?

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If changing the tech tree, I'd change it so that uncrewed missions from Start were possible.  Move the Stayputnik to Start and retech the other probe pods to match.  Move the command pods out.  Move the External Command Seat to Start to allow some initial "special" crewed missions.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, hemeac said:

The way that you've designed the tree, do you really need compatibility with mods like CTT that extend the tree?  It seems that you've done a fair bit of design without it and if your diagram is indicative of the changes you've done to the structure, I would guess it would just look like spaghetti with another tech tree.  Are you intending to personally play with any mods?

It would be possible to drastically alter how CTT is connected through some forcefull MM patching so that there is 'compatibility' but my guessing is that there would have to be mod specific patches regardless.

That was an option for Tetrix in development but i went the other way as i decided to patch literally every part myself. KSPIE was a killer.

Some mods also add in additional nodes to CTT or even move them about which will have to be watched for.

One final option is to do your own thing with the nodes and art files as a resource.  The reason i didnt was to not confuse people expecting a mode that looks like one thing to be another.  I stuck with that with the Simplex TechTree,  but threw it out the window with Tetrix.

 

Edited by theJesuit

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, theJesuit said:

It would be possible to drastically alter how CTT is connected through some forcefull MM patching so that there is 'compatibility' but my guessing is that there would have to be mod specific patches regardless.

That was an option for Tetrix in development but i went the other way as i decided to patch literally every part myself. KSPIE was a killer.

Some mods also add in additional nodes to CTT or even move them about which will have to be watched for.

One final option is to do your own thing with the nodes and art files as a resource.  The reason i didnt was to not confuse people expecting a mode that looks like one thing to be another.  I stuck with that with the Simplex TechTree,  but threw it out the window with Tetrix.

 

Have never used KSPIE, but just downloaded to see how they altered the nodes, that would not be fun to patch for support.  I guess in the end, there are enough mods that all do different things that it is nearly impossible to predict behavior.  In particular, there is one part that some patch somewhere is doubling the cost.  I tried tracking through the logs and ultimately just added a patch for that part that halves the cost...

Edited by hemeac

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