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The KSP Caveman Challenge 1.11.x


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2nd docking! I've proved it wasn't a fluke! This time my guess on shooting at the Mun was way off, I ended up with Pe of about 1.3Mm. So I burnt a lot of fuel circularising etc. Once I'd reached more-less the station's orbit, I had about 50m/s left but since docking only needs tiny adjustments at very low engine power, it was enough.

Another tip I can offer. As you maneouvre towards the target, observe the Ap and Pe. In this case my target is 1500x100, the approaching vehicle should be around about that range too. If its very different, your approach speed is high! The more similar the orbits, the slower/more controlled the approach can be.

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Note I've now fitted lights to the front - they're not heavy and the aerodynamics aren't great anyway so no real worries. And here's a screenshot of the 2nd craft to dock, nearly there:

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20083.

Thanks to the science jr results too, my orbit-returner has 191.6 science on it (if I return it safely)....nearly there with the challenge

Edited by paul_c
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1 hour ago, paul_c said:

Another tip I can offer. As you maneouvre towards the target, observe the Ap and Pe. In this case my target is 1500x100, the approaching vehicle should be around about that range too. If its very different, your approach speed is high! The more similar the orbits, the slower/more controlled the approach can be.

Have you tried double-clicking on the square marker in flight view? It sets the craft as tracked, then you can see the target :targetpro: info on the navball.
It helps save alot of fuel, but you need to be close enough for this to work (as soon as you can see the square marker popup i guess)

Bravo on docking without that info though, thats amazing! 

Edited by Blaarkies
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I'll try it!

This is my very-basic, 2 satellite relay/comms network. The idea being, highly eccentric orbits should mean they spend most of the time at one side of the Mun, and being opposite to each other, one covers one hemisphere and the other the other. I know I ought to send a third relay, but for now I'll try this...

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20084.

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7 hours ago, paul_c said:

There is no facility to "set target" and no target markers! However, if you match the orbits closely and do a rendezvous, nearer than (I think?) 30km it will draw a square box around other vehicles, at which you can aim. No target speed readout either. Screenshots coming soon, I just did my first docking!

Once you have a pilot who has a one-star rating (from getting into orbit), then you should have both the prograde and retrograde hold SAS functions.

If you double-click on a vessel in orbit, you can set it as your Target. Then you should have the target markers on the Nav ball.

Just now, FloppyRocket said:

Once you have a pilot who has a one-star rating (from getting into orbit), then you should have both the prograde and retrograde hold SAS functions.

If you double-click on a vessel in orbit, you can set it as your Target. Then you should have the target markers on the Nav ball.

Also, I'm curious in your image how you got the radial and normal SAS functions inside the Caveman mode. In my Talc game, I never got past prograde and retrograde.

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The radial and normal just appeared after auto-update to 1.11.1, I'm assuming its a glitch. Its inconsequential, because I know what they are anyway and I'm not using the "hold" function. Its an OCTO controller, it shouldn't have them (nor any target stuff unfortunately)!

 

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So, I was thinking about where I was at with the Hard challenge, and something bothered me.  I spent time poring over the completed contracts, and the milestones, and where I'd gotten Science, and I just couldn't figure out why I was bothered by the save I had going.  Something just felt off with it....like I had done something wrong somewhere, and I wasn't able to recover from that feeling.  I know I exploded several times with probes trying to land on the Mun (I've gotten so used to MJ in my other saves that I have to relearn how to land manually), but that wasn't it either.  I don't care if I lose a probe or a few thousand funds; I can make those up easily enough.

Anyhow, after thinking on it, I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about that save.  And so...I started over.  Yeah, I'm the kind of person where, if something is wrong and I can't figure it out, I don't go slowly backwards; I start over from scratch.  So I started a new Hard career, and in the span of ~45 minutes I've gone through Tiers 1, 2, and 3.  I haven't even left Kerbin's atmosphere, but I have collected science at:

  • Launchpad
  • Runway
  • Over Kerbin's Shores
  • Over Kerbin's Water
  • In Kerbin's Water
  • Over Kerbin's Grasslands
  • On Kerbin's Grasslands
  • Various "Do this thing at this location" contracts
  • World's Firsts

When I pick up Aviation next, I'll be creating a little science collector so I can drive to the Shores nearest the launchpad and collect the remaining science there.  Then it's farming away at the rest of the KSC (Temp, Pressure, Goo, Crew, EVA).  I won't even have left the atmosphere, and I think I can get about halway through Tier 4.  And I should be able to finish Tier 4 with 1 or 2 flights into space (I may need to do suborbital and orbital to do it, so that's 2 flights).

I know - I keep starting over.  And over, and over, and over.  I'm trying to maximize my learning here, and I know I'm a bit inefficient at flights.  Especially after seeing people land on the Mun and return in Caveman; I have to get better at this.  :)

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The above is true, tiers 1-4 are quite approachable. There are a little bit of tactics in "if I gather this science, I can upgrade those parts". And I felt at various stages it was the tech/parts available as the constraint, not the (lack of) money. 

I'm on tier 5 now with 5 squares to go and the "easy" science is all done - been to the flat bits of Mun and transmitted stuff back, etc. Now I'm butting up against the 18t limit which really limits what you can get on and off the surface of Mun (not much! Including not much remaining fuel!)

I am not sure if its physically possible to get a crew member to-from Mun and home again with an <18t vehicle and the available parts (no exotic engines etc). (I'd be interested to see vehicles which can do it). Its probably quite easy with a 2x18t or whatever if its joined together. I'm having to do loads of dockings to retrieve the full science values and am at the stage of needing to plan carefully where I'm going, to get fresh biome stuff each time.

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2 hours ago, paul_c said:

I am not sure if its physically possible to get a crew member to-from Mun and home again with an <18t vehicle and the available parts (no exotic engines etc). (I'd be interested to see vehicles which can do it). Its probably quite easy with a 2x18t or whatever if its joined together. I'm having to do loads of dockings to retrieve the full science values and am at the stage of needing to plan carefully where I'm going, to get fresh biome stuff each time.

I wasn't able to get enough delta-v into orbit for a Mun landing and return with a single launch. I do have a design that launches a separate fuel tank/engine/probe core,  and docking with it to use it as a transfer stage.  But before using it, I found that it I didn't need to.  Flying two fly-by missions around the Mun (low space and high space) collects enough data to complete the 4th layer. I didn't need any KSP science farming or contract-chasing, no relays needed in Mun orbit (since Jeb or Val were on-board), and no science data transmissions (since I think that loses science points). I didn't use any docking missions, and only one launch was even close to the 18t limit.

I don't know if this strategy will continue being successful for the more complicated levels.

It just goes to show there are a lot of ways to peel this onion. All solutions are good solutions.

 

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I don't think there's enough science points available without landing on the Mun (for tier 5, which is10x 90 science) . High and low space are 2x and 3x, landed is 4x but then there's all the biomes too. I am not sure if the challenge can be completed only by transmitting from the surface, with the % achieved in transmissions. AFAIK there is no penalty in transmitting then later recovering for the remaining %, but you need to take the reading/experiment again - easy with temp and pressure, not possible with the same goo canister or science jr though*. So I've been transmitting then re-taking temp and pressure, but not transmitting science jr unless I know I'm stuck on the surface for ever.

*Unless reset by a scientist, but then you need to take the ~1 ton crew module, etc, or do 2 trips - one for the science kit and one for the command module + scientist. But then it would also need a controller because a scientist can't drive....etc etc

I had no luck with landing science jrs on some of the Kerbin biomes so I've missed out on a bit of Kerbin science here and there.

Also, it would be possible (but very slow) to wait for relevant science-earning contracts like "science from space around ........." or "test ............" since they typically earn 1 or 2 science points. Surveys typically earn 2 per reading (so in theory are better) but might need multiple flights to achieve it all. Obviously comparing the time taken for 60x 2 point contracts vs returning a bunch of science from Mun surface (120 points I think?) its worth investing 60x the effort into it.

I tried 3 times to intercept Minmus, close but not done it yet. In theory if you can do that, the delta V requirement is lower because landing needs slowing from ~160m/s low orbit speed (and reaching it again) rather than ~550 of Mun. And the science multiplier is a bit more too.

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26 minutes ago, paul_c said:

I don't think there's enough science points available without landing on the Mun (for tier 5, which is10x 90 science) .

You can complete this on Normal without landing on the Mun.  Not sure about Moderate, but I'm assuming I will have to land several times on Hard.  And Diamond/Nano-Crystalline require interplanetary landings.

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8 hours ago, paul_c said:

I tried 3 times to intercept Minmus, close but not done it yet. In theory if you can do that, the delta V requirement is lower

The trick to getting to Minmus is mostly timing. Because Minmus' orbital plane is tilted 6° with respect to Kerbin's, there are only two node points where the planes "intersect", so by timing both the position of Minmus and the departure of your ship correctly, your ship and Minmus will both arrive at one of those nodes at the same time. This saves having to burn copious amounts of fuel matching the inclination of Minmus. It's a little tricky, but can be done purely by eyeballing it on the map, with a little practice. Once you have the knack, crewed return missions (with a full instrument load) to the surface of Minmus are not difficult. And boy, do they ever pay off in terms of Science!

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A further 5 Mun-space dockings were done, the last pair being the 2x relays which also had science jr and goo. The final one remained attached, because it was a spaceship with fuel/engine etc it had some useful deltaV and took me out of Mun orbit on the way home too.

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20085.

Checking the right fuel/engine is burning! (No fuel transfer thru the heatshield etc)

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Since I was in a highly eccntric orbit, I waited until it aligned approx with the "normal" ejection angle to leave Mun SOI

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20087.

After a number of lowering burns (I achieved Kerbin orbit then lowered it, rather than direct return) I could plan the re-entry with (reasonable) precision:

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20091.

There's a lot of valuable science in that lunch box! Things are heating up!!!

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Looking good. Was almost tempted to do a normal burn but resisted...

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Phew! Chute deployed okay

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Not long now...

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A LOT of Mun science (don't put all your eggs in one basket?)

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No facilities upgrades

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Tree completed to level 5

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Settings

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KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20100.

 

As can be seen from the write up, the bulk of the science was from Mun surface landings, using the mission mode of sending a lander-docker and an orbiter-science receive/store-returner. Later on I used 2x relays to ensure comms for 'far side' stuff (3 biomes visited there). I also tried land-return in one craft but it was very marginal on fuel and (I) couldn't take the science jr due to weight etc. With 60 science per biome, this really helped. In the end I never needed to send a Kerbal to the Mun. I could have in the final stages but they'd have transmitted stuff and still be there!

I also did a bunch of "science farming" around KSC; and visited the popular biomes of Kerbin. I didn't have much luck de-orbiting a science jr to use on far away places so it only went suborbital. I also did a craft with enough delta V to leave Kerbin SOI and 2x  HG5 antennas (captured the Kerbol science before it went out of range). Various bits of Kerbal-made technology are littering the Mun, this is my favourite:

KSP%20Caveman%20Challenge%20Image%20101.

A bit of science was also earned from world firsts, contracts (their rate of earning is v poor though) and a few craft that made it back from the Mun. 2 Kerbals are dead so I focused on remote probes rather than killing more Kerbals - they're expensive to replace. Along the way, I built a 2 pax Kerbin orbiter for contract work and a fully reusable sub-orbital thing (it separates but the parts remain in physics range so both are recoverable on chutes).

Edited by paul_c
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1 hour ago, paul_c said:

A further 5 Mun-space dockings were done,

Did you do any Minmus landings, or did you complete all science from only the Mun ? :o
Great job, and congrats! Those Mun landings are scary without legs

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I tried twice for Minmus. The second attempt, I am convinced my distance was Minmus SOI + 1mm so I never even made it. The beauty is, the thing stays in an eccentric Kerbin orbit so I timewarped a bit, only to see it intercept the Mun and fling off into outer space. I really struggled with intercepting Mun consistently without the helper nodes. Mun landings aren't that bad once you have the technique nailed - it also helped that it was a similar vehicle again and again so I got good at judging when to burn (I found, for a TWR of 10, burn when speed in m/s = altitude/5, ie at 2000m and 400m/s, do the burn. Its not a suicide burn to land but it does the job quite efficiently with a bit of altitude left).

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9 hours ago, JAFO said:

The trick to getting to Minmus is mostly timing. Because Minmus' orbital plane is tilted 6° with respect to Kerbin's, there are only two node points where the planes "intersect", so by timing both the position of Minmus and the departure of your ship correctly, your ship and Minmus will both arrive at one of those nodes at the same time. This saves having to burn copious amounts of fuel matching the inclination of Minmus.

I never bother launching at the node, and I have fully strip-mined Minmus in my NCD run.  The trick is, get to orbit and burn the Ap up to Minmus height without worrying about inclination.  I just eyeball it at Minmus about 45-50° behind the Ap (ie Minmus 40-45° ahead of where you make your burn in Kerbin orbit).

Then make your inclination burn when you're halfway out to Minmus.  At this great height (and correspondingly low speed) the inclination burn is quite cheap - only 30m/s or so (guessing, memory is not fresh right now).  I go to map view, align the camera so the Minmus orbit line is flat (ie near and far lines overlapping each other) and gently burn until my orbit Ap marker is right in line with Minmus's line.  My orbit line will be a narrow parabola on both sides of Minmus - this is OK, it will translate to a slight inclination relative to Minmus equator, nbd.

Another Minmus note: with Mun, if you don't put your Ap somewhat higher than the Mun's orbit, you're likely to crash into it.  With Minmus you can set your Ap pretty much exactly at the orbit line and be OK.  It's cheaper to drop into Minmus orbit if your Minmus Pe is as low as possible.  BUT - if you end up with a high pass, don't bother adjusting your Pe right at the edge of the SOI, it's no better than just circularizing from your high Pe.  This might be splitting hairs, but getting a crewed Minmus lander that can return safely is one of the harder subchallenges here and there's very little margin of safety.

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23 hours ago, paul_c said:

Tree completed to level 5

Congratulations, @paul_c!

Welcome to the Clan! I'm happy to present you with the Topaz badge for completing the Caveman Challenge on Hard difficulty!

Unga-bunga!

Your name is being carved into the cave wall, and your badge will be in your inbox shortly.

Well done! A fantastic effort.

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17 hours ago, fourfa said:

I never bother launching at the node, and I have fully strip-mined Minmus in my NCD run.

Thanks for describing your technique.. I'll have to give that a shot sometime. So far, I've always used the method I described above. It just goes to show, there's more than one way to do anything!

 

17 hours ago, fourfa said:

This might be splitting hairs, but getting a crewed Minmus lander that can return safely is one of the harder subchallenges here and there's very little margin of safety.

It's odd, isn't it? I am in no way NCD, or even Diamond material, yet crewed Minmus return missions are something I don't really find difficult at all. My favourite part of any Caveman run is when I can break out my trusty Minmus lander (same basic design since 1.1 and still going strong) and head on out to that big ol' green-dessert-in-the-sky.

Edited by JAFO
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4 minutes ago, paul_c said:

Debating whether to try Corundum or Diamond......the first pays 30% science (half of Hard) and the other 20% science? Any other big differences?

No.. that's about it.

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My current attempt on hard is going much smoother this time.  I have farmed all the science I can out of the KSC and the Shores (Temperature, Pressure, Goo, Crew Report, EVA Report, Materials), and I have done all of that except Materials in the water, on the grasslands, and in orbit of Kerbin.  I've left the atmosphere once, and I've got 2 nodes left in Tier 4 (Advanced Rocketry, General Construction).  I need to do the Materials gathering in the three areas I mentioned, and then I want to do all of the science gathering at an Ap of about 6 million km; I believe that qualifies for high in Orbit over Kerbin.  That would put me at 3 orbital flights, and I should have all of Tier 4 and maybe 1 or 2 nodes into Tier 5.  Probably 1, but I am optimistic!

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45 minutes ago, Popestar said:

My current attempt on hard is going much smoother this time.  I have farmed all the science I can out of the KSC and the Shores (Temperature, Pressure, Goo, Crew Report, EVA Report, Materials), and I have done all of that except Materials in the water, on the grasslands, and in orbit of Kerbin.  I've left the atmosphere once, and I've got 2 nodes left in Tier 4 (Advanced Rocketry, General Construction).  I need to do the Materials gathering in the three areas I mentioned, and then I want to do all of the science gathering at an Ap of about 6 million km; I believe that qualifies for high in Orbit over Kerbin.  That would put me at 3 orbital flights, and I should have all of Tier 4 and maybe 1 or 2 nodes into Tier 5.  Probably 1, but I am optimistic!

I will be interested to hear how you progress through Tier 5 on "Hard". I found it the most involving; the others being very approachable.

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Got a new entry in the works. Started on Diamond level (2nd hardest one at 20% science). I made a separate topic thing for it, as to not flood this one. Is that correct, what is the usual way to do such thing? (don't want to get on a moderator's bad side) ;)

Anyway thats half of it, in the meanwhile I got to orbit the Mun (and the Mun decided what Jeb is doing for the next few hundred days), and also orbited Minmus. But I will add those details soon

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Finished off Tier 4 this morning, but I had to do a Mun fly-by to do it.  I could have probably created a plane and flow it to the island and the mountains and farmed a bit more science, but going to the Mun was far more enjoyable.  Anyhow, I captured a shot of the Sun coming up over the mountains as I was re-entering the atmosphere:

jekWApz.png

And when I finally landed, I collected some sweet science for my efforts.

FcsvPv4.png

I had a contract to do the fly-by, so of course I got some science and funds for that; you'll notice my total funds at this point are just above 500k.  So I was able to then finish off Tier 4, and I've got about 55 or so science points left.  All of that science was from high in space over the Mun, which means I can repeat all of these experiments low in space over the Mun.  I've also got a contract waiting for me to orbit the Mun, so I'll get some funds and some science from that too.

And now, off to make meatballs!

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