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Auto Pilot/Auto Maneuver would be nice


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Juggling 4 Mun missions at once got me to thinking... I personally would like an option in the settings that would allow your kerbil pilots to automatically perform a maneuver that you have already created or preset when the time reaches the T -0 point.

:awe:

Hear me out, I don't mean complete computer control per se. I'm thinking it would only occur if the option were set, you were not in control of the craft, you had appropriate controls in the craft and you had a pilot in the control seat. Results of the burn/maneuver could be based on the kerbil pilots skill level. Such as 2% margin of error for top level, 4% for the next, 8% next, 16%... and so on. 

I think it would add a dimension of play in pilot choice depending on mission, and could make for very interesting situations if the skill were too low. It would also help in the current situation I am in, where 3 crafts maneuver windows are within 1 minute of each other! :sad:

Any thoughts? Or has this already been mentioned elsewhere?

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The idea of autopilots has been discussed before. The opinions are very split on it.

Some people think it's cheating if you don't do it manually. Some people think you should learn a skill before you automate it. Some people think you should have unrestricted access to autopilots. 

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1 hour ago, shdwlrd said:

The idea of autopilots has been discussed before. The opinions are very split on it.

Some people think it's cheating if you don't do it manually. Some people think you should learn a skill before you automate it. Some people think you should have unrestricted access to autopilots. 

Personally I don’t like the idea of having this in the game. I just think that as soon as it’s even an option in base game, it doesn’t really give the same feeling of the first game where everything is manual and you need to know what you are doing in order to do it. However, if it was a mod (or a free/cheap dlc) then people can choose to get it if they want to, rather than it being base game and everyone has it in the back of their heads that if they wanted to they could automate a big part of the mission. The way I see it, you also have to remember that a big part of succeeding is failing, and by having it automated you are much less likely to have failure and much less likely to learn from the mission and apply the new skills to future missions.

 

But it’s all personal opinion, that’s just how I feel about it.

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It's an appealing concept once you get into a habit of successful similar missions, but piloting vessels without physics-loading them potentially sidesteps many things that experienced players learn about design, often the hard way...

  • Having enough inputs for the burn (including electriccharge for ion engines, potentially generated while the burn is in progress)
  • Thrust is aligned with center of mass, including as the tanks are gradually emptied
  • Sufficient attitude control to align with the node in time to burn, and to stay aligned till done
  • Vessel is rigid enough to handle acceleration by the engines (think of long spaghetti stations)
  • Comms connectivity

These are all important factors in flying a vessel normally, and if this proposed automatic maneuver execution functionality could be used to bypass them, then I'd say that would be a bad thing.

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3 hours ago, B.Riches2500 said:

Personally I don’t like the idea of having this in the game. I just think that as soon as it’s even an option in base game, it doesn’t really give the same feeling of the first game where everything is manual and you need to know what you are doing in order to do it. 

-snip-

But it’s all personal opinion, that’s just how I feel about it.

As someone who learned to play by mimicking MechJeb, I'm in a other camp. (I found MJ before I found Scott Manley's tutorial videos.) Now I use it because I find most stuff more of a chore, not a new exciting experience.

Thought continues below... 

Edited by shdwlrd
the want to go home was more pressing than finishing my post
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25 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

It's an appealing concept once you get into a habit of successful similar missions, but piloting vessels without physics-loading them potentially sidesteps many things that experienced players learn about design, often the hard way...

  • Having enough inputs for the burn (including electriccharge for ion engines, potentially generated while the burn is in progress)
  • Thrust is aligned with center of mass, including as the tanks are gradually emptied
  • Sufficient attitude control to align with the node in time to burn, and to stay aligned till done
  • Vessel is rigid enough to handle acceleration by the engines (think of long spaghetti stations)
  • Comms connectivity

These are all important factors in flying a vessel normally, and if this proposed automatic maneuver execution functionality could be used to bypass them, then I'd say that would be a bad thing.

Yes all that but the idea suggests requiring a pilot who is trained in the seat. Assumes a number of these tests have happened, potentially 100's of times, before the current burn. The pilot needs training which we could hope due to its usefulness, not just some blind points system, would require compatible experience. Also the craft is currently in a stable orbit in order to switch physics bubbles. Which suggests it has already flight tested. Even if game improve to allows suborbital switching that would still be true.

Will always support Kerbals being useful members of their own society.

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5 hours ago, Dientus said:

It would also help in the current situation I am in, where 3 crafts maneuver windows are within 1 minute of each other! :sad:

I'm not sure of your exact scenario, but there are ways you can prevent this from happening. For example when I go somewhere new, I usually bring a lander and two relay satellites. I plot the intercept as normal, but at 1/4 distance to intercept, I decouple one relay sat and do a course correction burn. At the halfway point I decouple the second sat and burn, and at 3/4 I do the burn for the lander. Even if the burns are small, the large distance travelled at different speeds will spread out the arrival times.

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I do understand the split feelings on it, I was just thinking maybe that's where the kerbal flying it would come in. And only if you (the player) were not there (i.e. craft selected and flying). 

MechJeb is a bit too automated for my tastes, that's why I don't use it and wasn't thinking exactly of perfect flying. But if the success rate relies soley on all the conditions being met, pilot skill, etc., in my eyes it would be more kerbalistic. 

Maybe to further explain, you are docking your latest piece of 'Muner Station' together, and while you are bringing it together, Val is coming in hot to a pre-created maneuver for a circular Mun orbit @ 50,000 , but wait, her skill isn't very high and well, since you were busy with the station, she ends up in an orbit Pe 42,000 and Ap 58,000, just as an example.

I figured if it were an option people could choose to use it or not to. Admittedly I am not sure what the difference between it being dlc or base game would make. In original ksp you can F12 a craft into any orbit at any time or complete a contract instantly and thats base game. For me it's use it or don't.

One thing is for sure, I mean no harm and I am of course willing to go with majority and devs final decision. I just thought something like this with risk vs benfits instead of perfect flying would fit into kerbal space and help at the same time.

:grin:

 

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4 minutes ago, Meecrob said:

I'm not sure of your exact scenario, but there are ways you can prevent this from happening. For example when I go somewhere new, I usually bring a lander and two relay satellites. I plot the intercept as normal, but at 1/4 distance to intercept, I decouple one relay sat and do a course correction burn. At the halfway point I decouple the second sat and burn, and at 3/4 I do the burn for the lander. Even if the burns are small, the large distance travelled at different speeds will spread out the arrival times.

I will be doing this in the future for sure!:joy:

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If were really going to manage having a multi-planet colony system that has multiple ships spanning the stars while having supply routes supporting developing colonies then having a system like this at some point is necessary, period, at the minimum. To all the purists who believe it's cheating then all I have to say is either don't use it or just play KSP 1, but don't drag  the rest of the game down. I don't have the time to manually execute thousands of individual, monotonous, and repetitive maneuvers just to live up to the subjective purist ideals of some players.

It's already been stated that there will be some level of flight automation integrated into the game cause the devs see the massive bold print writing on the wall that unless it is done, this games vision will only be achieved by those who literally have nothing else to do with their time.

 

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More to the point of the OP.  The suggested method of taking the training of the kerbal(s) into count could be interesting to see what happens. Obviously, you wouldn't want to do a automated maneuver with an untested ship, nor something that could possibly destroy the ship without supervision. But I can't see the harm in the fact you created the maneuver nodes, and want to see how well the kerbals execute the maneuver. It could be fun/terrifying. Imagine, you setup the landing maneuvers for the crew. A rookie pilot would barely stick the landing, nowhere near the center mark, where an experienced pilot would land smoothly near the center mark.

mcwaffles2003 is right though, Nate did say that there will some type of automation for supply routes. You can't grow a space faring civilization with flying every single mission manually.

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I have an idea, set it up so if you have eg, 2 craft with maneuvers simaltaneous, you do the manuever on 1, to show you can do it, the computer stores that and rewverts you back to before the burn, then do it on the other one, computer stores the burn time and orientation data, and reverts you again. This time, it repeats, but the computer based on the stored info, does the manuever for u simaltaneously on both craft.

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When it comes to training kerbals to fly, instead of the system already in place just using 1-5 stars, why not add more nuance? For example, have kerbals get certified for classes of ships that have been built, test flown, and approved for automated flight in order to be that kind of ships pilot. Or go even further and make new kerbals blank slates and have a promotion tree system that incorporates the roles of pilot, scientist, engineer, or whatever new classifications we might desire. Then we could have generalist kerbals capable of flying small ships doing science on their own and making minor repairs or have specialists that work as a team for larger ships with far more capabilities at the cost of requiring specialists and the in-ship infrastructure to sustain those kerbals aboard.

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Or, in career mode, it will automate it by renting, "supercomputer time" which might cost 10,000 funds per 10,000 m/s burn, but automates the burn and also, gives you maneuver nodes even at mission control level 1 for an extra fee of 3,000 funds per minute you spend messing around with manoeuvres.

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I think there are better ways to automate away busywork. Nate has talked about automated supply lines: fly a supply mission once, then you can have the game quietly repeat it in the background. In my view autopilot goes against the grain of KSP where flying your craft is such a central gameplay element.

That said, they have talked about a scripting interface. If that’s available you could no doubt write your own autopilot, then share it with others.

I just don’t think it should be offered out of the box.

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There will be an autopilot in KSP2. Not necessarily a stock one, but I expect something like MechJeb to be one of the first mods for KSP2 and anyone who likes to do things the old-fashioned way can keep doing so.

I don’t see the appeal of flying everything by hand every time- an autopilot can do it faster, more precisely and more efficiently and if it’s something that I’ve already done many times before I don’t consider repeating the task to be fun in any way so why wouldn’t I let the computer do it?

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19 minutes ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

if it’s something that I’ve already done many times before I don’t consider repeating the task to be fun in any way so why wouldn’t I let the computer do it?

There will be a solution for that, Nate revealed the "supply route system" months ago.

We'll have a system to avoid milk runs, you test fly a design once and then it flies itself automatically in background.

That coupled with the colonization system having extraplanetary launchpads will remove the tedium of having to start from the KSC every time.

 

Anything more than that and we're not talking about avoiding repetition but about removing the need to actually learn how to fly.

I'm not against that, even if I recently (finally) learned how to fly FA-off 100% of the time in Elite I've never shamed anyone for using a docking computer and I'm not going to do it for KSP2, I don't care how anyone plays, but let's not use the repetitiveness as an excuse to ask to make flying entirely optional.

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I still have a hard time believing how intense the undertones of "you're playing the game wrong" still show in threads like this one, seriously the only ways to play a game wrong are to either keep attempting something the game shows is impossible or to set a goal that the game permits and then endlessly fail to achieve that goal. There is no other wrong way to play any game, if you want to put a kerbal on a walking robot and giggle for 6 hours while it clumsily barely makes progress hobbling forward you're ENJOYING the game perfectly fine and nobody can say otherwise.

With that opening statement out of the way, I'm intensely opposed to "if it exists it's gonna make someone have an easy time with it so it shouldn't exist" arguments. I know the "make it optional" line is deeply frowned upon in a lot of circumstances but this would be a valid place for it to be used, but there's also the possibility of having one of the ways suggested in the thread that doesn't give instant access to more elaborate automated flight or if I may be so bold, there's this: The player has to unlock at least some tech through relevant actions. Rather than cash in a mystery goo sample from orbit to suddenly get a more powerful jet engine the player should for instance fly a jet plane for at least a consecutive minute at low and high altitudes and then return the plane to examine the flight data in detail. Likewise you could "teach" the kerbals and probes to fly by gathering tons of flight data to gradually expand their options, and rather than level up each kerbal your flight data is included in their training programs so they learn most of it before showing up as usable crew in the first place. (Old pilots who missed out on this education can go home for a quick crash course to learn a few new tricks.) The balance of this could be tied to game difficulty, for a normal playthrough you can unlock smarter probes and more useful pilots by just doing a small number of simpler flights with minimal guidance requirements but for harder modes you will need to fly a number of difficult specific routes successfully and at least deposit an intact "black box" on return home. This way nobody gets to just "not ever learn to fly" but those who would rather focus on the joy of building ships and seeing them in their majestic glory as they traverse the cosmos don't need to get told they have to stay in the pilot seat themselves, we all get to enjoy the game our individual ways.

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8 minutes ago, Rejected Spawn said:

With that opening statement out of the way, I'm intensely opposed to "if it exists it's gonna make someone have an easy time with it so it shouldn't exist" arguments.

That’s not the argument though.

The argument is, “if it exists, lots of people aren’t going to learn to fly manually and will thereby miss out on one of the most important and enjoyable aspects of the game, so it shouldn’t be stock.”

As other have said no doubt MJ will be one of the first major mods for KSP2, and if someone wants to install it without ever having played it before, I’m not going to stop them. I do think they will likely be missing out on a lot of fun, and therefore I think it would be a bad idea to nudge players to do it by making it a standard feature.

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I don't get the impression you bothered actually reading what I wrote, you're just about saying that those who don't actually WANT to learn to fly properly are wrong and shouldn't be allowed to play the game, they're just terrible people who don't understand when you're explaining to them that it's fun and they're just wrong if they don't find it fun because obviously it's super great.

Seriously take a step back and look at what you're saying, and what I'm saying, and try to realise that you're being one of those "you're not playing the game the way I think you should so you're playing it wrong" people. What I additionally said was that this whole autopilot function can be tied to "you have to prove you can" before you get to not do it any more.

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18 minutes ago, Rejected Spawn said:

I don't get the impression you bothered actually reading what I wrote, you're just about saying that those who don't actually WANT to learn to fly properly are wrong and shouldn't be allowed to play the game, they're just terrible people who don't understand when you're explaining to them that it's fun and they're just wrong if they don't find it fun because obviously it's super great.

I am saying that KSP is a game about building and flying spacecraft, and if you're not interested in building and flying spacecraft, then you will most likely find some other game more to your liking. It doesn't mean you're a terrible person or bad or wrong, it just means your interests don't align with the kind of game KSP is. No game can please everybody.

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It's all about the options. Play the game how you want to play it. Nobody can tell you otherwise. There can always be an option to toggle on and off. 

Edited by Arco123
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4 minutes ago, Arco123 said:

There can always be an option to toggle on and off. 

The effort spent to implement any given feature is effort not spent to implement some other feature. It is a bad idea to spend time and effort to implement optional features, especially if they go directly against one of the main pillars of the game's design intent.

(A while back I argued that KSP2 should have no optional systems. I stand by that. Options, yes, but these should be scalars that you can tune to adjust the difficulty to your liking -- but nothing like optional CommNet, atmospheric heating, etc.)

Edited by Brikoleur
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