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How do you want docking to work in KSP2?


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dockingeasy.gif dockingcrs-21.gif

That's what docking looks like in KSP1 next to docking in real life (time lapse). I admit not to being very knowledged on this subject, but one appears to be slightly more complicated than the other.

I'm sure there will be some who feel differently, but I always find docking to be overly easy in KSP1. You can slam into a docking port at high speed, with bad orientation, and with bad alignment, and you'll still magnetize into a clean lock. I find myself hoping that in the next game there will, at the very least, be a difficulty slider for "docking port magnetization" so that factor can be turned down.

But I think there are several other additions that could make docking less trivial. Things like requiring a specific orientation, requiring a low velocity/force, maybe even actual moving parts that need to lock together instead of a magic ring touching another magic ring. What do you think?

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I think the current system is pretty good. Its quicker and more forgiving than real life that's for sure, no one wants to spend hours inching closer. Even if that means more small scale use-cases are unrealistically easy.

One improvement, which may or not even be a factor is being able to secure crafts after they dock to support more large scale builds. This already is negated in KSP 1 due to the "Some Assembly Required" features being added (which I haven't taken advantage of), so I'm sure it will be handled at some point in KSP 2. 

I personally like IVA/docking cam features, which from what I know of Unity development shouldn't be that hard to add.

Mods already support this, but I think its worth supporting in the stock game, for utility and immersion. 

 

 

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I have no problems with the current system, except maybe the magnetic force should be lowered and snap limits introduced. I do both in my game and it actually makes docking better than stock, in that ships don't fling apart sometimes and you get nice straight connections.

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I've never personally seen that kind of "magnetism" in any of my dockings, but I play (played. currently on halt until KSP2) a heavily modded older version than the current one.

 

For docking, as with everything else: Please make it as realistic as possible without making a career of it. It should be a challenge for a grown adult that knows what they're doing, and has done it before. I don't really see a toddler pulling off an orbital rendezvous and docking no matter how many tutorial videos there are. 

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The current system isn't too bad overall, but what it would really benefit from IMO is alignment indicators and a 'docking cam' view.  It is a game after all, so 'a bit easier than IRL' is probably the right way to go.

The magnets may be a bit 'over powered', but they do at least make slightly imperfect approaches work.   Given the lack of UI assistance in stock to help refine the approach they do at least make it playable.

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It's fine as it is. Docking is a routine operation and if it's much slower or more complicated than currently, it just becomes a chore. If you want to get rid of that, you'd need to add docking automation which would make it easy again as well as removing a rather satisfying little bit of hands-on gameplay. 

However, I'd really like to see surface docking completely re-thought. 

First, create parts that make it unnecessary in the first place for a lot of scenarios -- such as fuel lines for fuelling.

Second, create different parts that allow mating less precisely with much less rigidity. There are a few different scenarios here: fastening a craft for transport would require some kind of cargo clamps, whereas building a base by connecting up modules would require at least somewhat flexible connecting tunnel/ports that bend/align to mate, rather than forcing the mated craft into alignment.

As it is, surface docking isn't exactly ideal -- you need to get the ports at precisely the right levels, you can only do it on a pretty flat surface, and it creates tension in the resulting craft that can make things pretty jumpy when physics kicks in. 

(Tuning the docking force etc is always welcome, they are rather extremely grabby at the current defaults...)

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I'd prefer if the docking ports were MORE helpful.

Elaboration time: Rather than have some universal magnetic pull I'd like the docking ports to come with a small robotic arm that grabs any nearby ports by a specific "handle" (resulting in precise alignment to whichever direction you've rotated one of those handles) and then gently guides the incoming vessel to the correct spot for a soft, safe and automatic docking. Something similar (manually operated) is already being used at times in real life, I'd think people working to develop "space stuff" won't be too dumb to extend this functionality a little over time. Of course I'd like around 8 different sizes for the ports, and a functionality to have the arm fold away and hide while not set to look for dockings and a built in ability for the arm and handles to rotate along the outside of the port rather than having the entire port rotate, you only need the comparatively flimsy guide stuff to move like on a little ring sitting around the port itself.

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Comparing a crewed spacecraft docking to the ISS with a tiny probe using an oversized docking port being hurled at a small spacecraft is never going to be similar. Like many other things in KSP it’s simplified and overpowered to make it easier to use- it is a game after all!

You can turn the docking magnet strength down or off per part if you want a more ‘realistic’ experience, plus there are mods for angle snapping on docking ports, gendered ports, docking alignment indicators, docking cameras and even auto-docking. The stock system does the job in most use cases, for anything beyond that there are mods.

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Talk all you want about docking being a trivial task (I don't say it isn't, but it's a personal opinion), but take a look around these forums and check how many people around here can't dock, or even rendezvous, and if they try, they let MJ take care of it. Only because the physics in orbit are kinda backwards to what we see here on Earth. (Like, you know, moving towards the target can make it actually run away from you). That may be too easy for us "veterans" but take a step back and think about the newcomers. They'll need to learn how to dock as well, and if it's too hard to grasp after many tries, they'll give up.

Also, sometimes docking needs to be done really quickly.

One more thing, real life docking, the one taking hours, is like that because of complex procedures, most of them regarding safety of the equipment and crew. In KSP, we don't do that here.

Also some mods help with that, I remember one that prevents docking unless the orientation is correct.

Edited by The Aziz
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