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 Basically, I have a lot of multi-role machines in orbit or on the ground. I've gone pretty far with this "multirole" stuff to be honest. Even as far as to build an amphibious scientific research vehicle (no lab, I didn't think to incorporate one) with vehicle recovery ability (robot arm with Klaw). After finishing my amphibious science machine, I started to wonder if I was feature creeping my designs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_creep (Yeah, Wikipedia. It's just for a simple definition.)

I mean, less can definitely be more, but Swiss Army Knives sell well for a good reason too. Minimalism isn't an excuse to be lazy; it's a reason to be efficient, sure. But in a game like KSP, can you really feature creep with scientific modules so small and portable? Are you really that bad off trying to cover all the bases? Especially when one of the important parts of progressing in this game is scientific research. Honestly, so far, I haven't experienced much trouble with this beyond price tags. That's even manageable if you can inadvertently create something that can do many of your contracts with little modification.

Do you ever get the sense you may be trying to mash too much into a design? When do you realize you've gone too far? Asteroid harvesters on space stations? ISRU on rovers? 

Edited by Orbital_Decay
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6 hours ago, Orbital_Decay said:

 Basically, I have a lot of multi-role machines in orbit or on the ground. I've gone pretty far with this "multirole" stuff to be honest. Even as far as to build an amphibious scientific research vehicle (no lab, I didn't think to incorporate one) with vehicle recovery ability (robot arm with Klaw). After finishing my amphibious science machine, I started to wonder if I was feature creeping my designs.

I have faced the same questions/problems.

My solution was to build at least one workable concept of that ''multirole'' stuff i had in mind.

But, after i build it, i leave it in warehouse and i build more modular crafts/bases.

Basically i like the dualism, i prove myself i can build an insane multirole craft but i still want my actual base/infastracture to resemble some sense of realism.

And practicality, for example, if something goes partially wrong and i loose the ability to do a certain task, then i have to design and launch a whole new vessel just

to replace that certain need, and then have a damaged multi role craft and a support craft, which i really dont like as an idea.

Edited by Boyster
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NASA had pretty much the same dilemma with the Space Shuttle....

 

Sure it's nice to be reusable, but is it worth having to take apart and rebuild the whole damn thing every time it flies?    

 

I personally use generic-and-overpowered as a design philosophy mostly for bottom stages.  A good "OrbiTower" is always useful, regardless of what you strap on top.

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The way I see it, you can tell you're going too far with multirole when those add-on functions noticeably degrade the vessel's intended primary function.

I slap at least the basic science equipment I have available onto every relay I launch outside Kerbin's SOI, because I send unkerballed probes first. It doesn't add much mass, that mass won't mean anything once the probe reaches the intended orbit, I get some science points even before a kerballed mission arrives, and it gives me a source of science data for contracts.

My tourist shuttles on Duna have ISRU, because I can't be bothered with precise landings on top of land-based refueling stations. Sure, I have a mining ship on Ike, so I *could* refuel those shuttles that way, but they're SSTO-and-back even with the ISRU and it is one less mission to fly.

I build the interplanetary haulers for Duna with enough dV to be able to haul a resonable lander to Dres or Laythe too, and to park back around Kerbin, because that way I can leave the hauler in orbit, refuel it for free from Minmus, and all I have to launch from Kerbin is a new lander. Is the hauler overpowered for Duna? Yes, but I don't mind having extra dV.

My first probe into the Jool system is always a bunch of tiny probes around a big core, so I can leave relays and probe landers around/on at least Laythe, Bop and Pol. Three Oscars, a Spark, OKTO2, an antenna, a survey scanner and a few more bits weigh less than half a NERV.

I'd say those are examples of multirole that definitely make sense. But I've also scrapped some ideas after it dawned on me that while I might be able to make certain things work, I could accomplish the same set of functions better with two different vessels. As you're perfectly aware of, a specialist vessel doesn't have to haul the extra mass of some extra parts. This is also a function of one's abilities. I know some players can build one ship that will accomplish things I'd need three for. So my take on this is that you need need to evaluate your own goals and your own abilities and decide with your every build whether you're multiroling or feature creeping.

 

Edited by noname_hero
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A universal platform (orbital tug/rover base, several of them by size) providing propulsion, energy, navigation, communication + specialized unified pack of tools per topic (geology, cartography, relay networking, etc), of more or less same mass and size corresponding to the universal platform.

A military craft as a base model for such tug (a tank, a rocket pack, etc), because its limits are less arbitrary.
Then remove the turret/launcher and use the chassis as that universal platform.

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