Jump to content

Flight Automation


Pthigrivi
 Share

Should KSP 2 have autonomous elements?  

95 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these appeal to you? [multiple choice]

    • Full flight automation (integrated point-to-point automated flights)
      38
    • Landing and maneuver execution (maneuvers, transfers, circularization, ascents, landings, docking, etc.)
      44
    • Rover automation
      52
    • Plane automation
      42
    • Kerbal automation (can be commanded to do tasks, collect samples, do repairs, return to vessel, etc. without being manually controlled)
      47
    • Cosmetic automation (Kerbals wander around vessels + colonies on their own, goof off, etc.)
      60
    • Automation only after tech-unlock
      51
    • Automation only after proof-of-concept (can repeat maneuvers completed by player)
      51
    • Limited Automation (eg. automated milk-runs, stage recovery, surface harvesters only)
      40
    • No automation
      4
    • Other [explain below]
      8


Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

What incentive is there for a veteran KSP player to prove that they know how to do an orbital maneuver, a proper gravity turn, an orbital rendezvous, docking before they can automate it? There is none. So the question stands, Why punish the veteran KSP player by forcing them prove their skills and understanding of the game mechanics before you can automate them?

Everyone seems to be under the impression that to enjoy the game, you must know how to do the necessary skills. Or put another way; I had to learn these skills, so must you or prove that you know them before you can have an autopilot. That's kind of dictating how to play KSP.

My point is "I don't care if you want an easy or hard way to play, as long as you're playing and enjoying KSP, that's all that matters." 

A new player will have to learn a ton of new things. Why force them to master the flight skills the veteran players had to master before you can use an autopilot. 

It seems to me that everyone's thinking is to enable the easier play modes, you have to beat a game using the hardest game mode. What about the player you just wants to go though the story and casually do what is needed to beat the game?

I think this is a great argument. Im trying to imagine though what my experience would have been had these tools been available to me from my first flight. Would I have just clicked "ascend to orbit" and let it ride? Would I ever have learned the fine control it took to land on the mun? Or felt the thrill of doing it successfully? (after several quicksaved RUDs?) I take your point about veterans 'back in my day' sentiments but I honestly think learning the fine muscle memory to control an ascent or land or dock or keep a spaceplane's AoA is part of the emotional drama of the game. Just like fighting in Dark Souls or cornering in Mariokart, the skill of flying is an integral part of KSP.  And even though it's hard at first it's what makes you feel like Neil Armstrong on those harrowing descents. I honestly think it would be robbery to take that from newer players by handing them some of this stuff. You'd just be watching, rather than playing. It would be like having autoaim in a FPS. It's the reason I feel like some of these tasks should only be enabled after the player has actually executed them. Maybe you can only auto-land on a body you've already landed on, so you aren't just loading up dV and clicking "land on Tylo" and watching it happen. I do hear you and maybe there's some toggle settings in the difficulty menu that work it out but I think learning these skills first before you automate them is important. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

It seems to me that everyone's thinking is to enable the easier play modes, you have to beat a game using the hardest game mode. What about the player you just wants to go though the story and casually do what is needed to beat the game?

I don't imagine there being much of a story to go through but for those that want automation from the get go, isn't that the point of having a sandbox mode?

5 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

What incentive is there for a veteran KSP player to prove that they know how to do an orbital maneuver, a proper gravity turn, an orbital rendezvous, docking before they can automate it? There is none. So the question stands, Why punish the veteran KSP player by forcing them prove their skills and understanding of the game mechanics before you can automate them?

I feel like this kind of argument could also be used for any general progression mechanic like the tech tree, something like "Why should a veteran player have to discover all of the parts again? Just have them available from the start. Why force us all to go through discovering the science in all the various terrain when we all know we can do it and the tech tree is just making an inconvenience to getting those parts"

5 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

Everyone seems to be under the impression that to enjoy the game, you must know how to do the necessary skills. Or put another way; I had to learn these skills, so must you or prove that you know them before you can have an autopilot. That's kind of dictating how to play KSP.

My point is "I don't care if you want an easy or hard way to play, as long as you're playing and enjoying KSP, that's all that matters." 

A new player will have to learn a ton of new things. Why force them to master the flight skills the veteran players had to master before you can use an autopilot. 

The objective to a campaign mode in any sandbox-esque title is ultimately to present constraints and dictate play to direct the players play. I think the enjoyability of it comes from balancing how linear vs how creative the play is made from those constraints. If the play is too linear the player feels like they're being dragged along through a cutscene and not being given any agency in play where as if there is too much creative freedom available in play the player is left without a sense of direction and it's really easy for them to get lost in what's going in.

I think that the point of making players prove their skills is so they understand what is happening and why it is happening when an automation system acts as it does. It also helps give a sense of broadening scope as the game progresses. Early on a player is doing everything in a single mission and they are actively learning the mechanics of the game. As the game progresses they are given the opportunity to let the computer take more and more of the reins in piloting so that they can have more room to manage the emergent complexity now being presented with managing all the aspects of their growing space civilization. I feel this gives a slow "zooming out" of scope which I think would give a good feel to the game, in my opinion.

Another argument to be made is if automation is presented too early in the game that actually could have the effect of overwhelming new players. New people being introduced already have to understand all the buildings they've just been introduced to, they have to understand how the UX/UI works in the VAB to assemble a rocket, they have to learn the functions of all the parts they're being presented, then they have to learn the flying mechanics of the game. This is already a LOT to take in. To add onto that an assortment of automation systems, now new players have to understand retrograde, prograde, etc.. launch profile desired altitudes, maneuver nodes, and on and on... Its too much. 

Perhaps this is anecdotal but I tried introducing my gf to KSP and she sat and played it for a solid hour and a half and I tried to not tell her how to play beyond her asking what things would do and I think a lot of us take our knowledge of the systems in KSP for granted. She is a smart person, she's finishing her masters in chemistry currently and is an avid gamer, and asking her what she thought of the game she tells me she was simply lost. She found it unenjoyable and was overwhelmed with everything that was going on (we started in career, not sandbox). So I think the last thing to do would be add even more systems to interface with at the start of the game. Instead, introduce those systems after players have learned the mechanics that those systems govern so that they have the experience to understand what is actually happening. It's not some n00b hazing to make new players manually pilot their craft, it's limiting the scope of play to keep the game approachable and not overwhelming.

Another place we can all look to see a similar instance is watching jacksepticeye play KSP:

Spoiler

 

He doesn't show it on his face but you can tell how increasingly frustrated he is getting with trying to build a rocket. It looks like madness but by 1/3 of the way in when he's strapping boosters on to make the rocket spin he's actually doing something really smart, though it looks really dumb, he's trying to spin stabilize a rocket. By around the halfway mark he gives up on rockets entirely only to move towards planes hoping they will be simpler. He never plays the game again.

Edited by mcwaffles2003
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also think the automation should be a mid- to late-game thing. If we just hand it to everybody instantly, no skill is required, except to navigate the UI. It would also be overwhelming to new players, who would have no idea what all their buttons are doing. Besides, you wouldn't really need it in the early game. You won't be launching Breakthrough Starshot-esque probe swarms the third week of your campaign.

And do we really know how complex the automation will be? Is it going to model our crafts fully, and perform maneuvers in a sequence which we flew, or is it just going to transfer some resources to an account once we've demonstrated the concept? How much control do we get?

Edited by SOXBLOX
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

Everyone seems to be under the impression that to enjoy the game, you must know how to do the necessary skills. Or put another way; I had to learn these skills, so must you or prove that you know them before you can have an autopilot. That's kind of dictating how to play KSP.

My point is "I don't care if you want an easy or hard way to play, as long as you're playing and enjoying KSP, that's all that matters." 

The question isn’t about how you play the game. Obviously the answer to that is, “however you want.” The question under discussion is, what is the game you play going to be like? 

7 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

A new player will have to learn a ton of new things. Why force them to master the flight skills the veteran players had to master before you can use an autopilot. 

Because flight is a core gameplay activity, and adding systems that invalidate or dilute core gameplay activities is generally a bad idea. 

You could certainly make an excellent space program game that completely omits flight, but KSP is not that game.

7 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

It seems to me that everyone's thinking is to enable the easier play modes, you have to beat a game using the hardest game mode. What about the player you just wants to go though the story and casually do what is needed to beat the game?

Flight isn’t a difficulty mode, it’s a core activity. Also I don’t think KSP2 will even have a story (and I hope not, it wouldn’t fit IMO.)

Finally, KSP isn’t a casual game. It requires a significant investment in time and effort, much more than most games. The enjoyment in it comes from learning to do some actually pretty hard stuff.

I’m all for making KSP2 better at teaching that hard stuff and lowering the barrier of entry, but if it no longer requires you to learn it at all, it will be a  hollow experience, a pale shadow of the original.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I picked OTHERS.

All I feel that is missing, are 2 things.
1- Maintain Sea Level altitude.  This should work on planes and on space ships (that can hover by having the proper thrust vectors)... First it would make flying quad-copter vessels far more manageable, then if the plane has enough flight control surfaces It should maintain altitude (and heading too, like set it to 045 degrees it stays on that).
2- Cruise control.  Mostly on Rovers, I want to tell my rover to maintain 15m/s and it speeds-up (either with electric wheels, or w/e lateral thrusters it has) if it slows, and slows down using back brakes and engine if necessary to keep the forward motion at 15m/s.

those level of automaton would make my live much much easier.
As for the rest of the game like refueling/logistics, whatever works would be fine.  I don't want to babysit colonies/station all day/week/month, but I don't want the entire game to play itself either.  I'd be okay for base/station ressuply to be automated once you did it once.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I selected landing and maneuver execution as well as kerbal execution because for me those would help immensely.  I'm barely capable of making orbit manually in KSP and MechJeb was extremely helpful to me.  My primary goal and the most fun part of KSP for me is setting a mission goal and designing a spacecraft/rocket to get me there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/19/2021 at 5:56 PM, Pthigrivi said:

I think this is a great argument. Im trying to imagine though what my experience would have been had these tools been available to me from my first flight. Would I have just clicked "ascend to orbit" and let it ride? Would I ever have learned the fine control it took to land on the mun? Or felt the thrill of doing it successfully? (after several quicksaved RUDs?) I take your point about veterans 'back in my day' sentiments but I honestly think learning the fine muscle memory to control an ascent or land or dock or keep a spaceplane's AoA is part of the emotional drama of the game.

First off, thanks, I'm trying. :) You're explaining how I learned how to do a proper gravity turn. I figured out how to fly the rocket, but I didn't know the proper technique to reach orbit. (I found MJ before I even knew who Scott Manley was.)  And forget any type of manual vertical landing for me, I can't tell which way I'm drifting. (I can't see the movement of the ground nor make out the relative distance to the ground. I can't extrapolate distance of a 3d environment on a 2d plane. (It's not like I haven't tried to land vertically in the past seven years, I just can't do it.) It's funny you mentioned "fine muscle memory". What if you have one of the myriad of physical or neurological conditions that don't allow fine muscle control? What then? And removing the drama of the action? You're still sitting there hoping that the autopilot doesn't screw up or flake out on you. (Do you think that the SpaceX techs weren't nervous when they sent the 1st Crew Dragon up with astronauts? I bet all of them breathed a collective sigh of relief when that capsule safely splashed down.) 

On 5/19/2021 at 5:56 PM, Pthigrivi said:

Just like fighting in Dark Souls or cornering in Mariokart, the skill of flying is an integral part of KSP.  And even though it's hard at first it's what makes you feel like Neil Armstrong on those harrowing descents. I honestly think it would be robbery to take that from newer players by handing them some of this stuff. You'd just be watching, rather than playing. It would be like having autoaim in a FPS. It's the reason I feel like some of these tasks should only be enabled after the player has actually executed them.

Fighting or FPS games aren't really good examples for this debate. They require a level of muscle control and reaction times that go much farther than what KSP requires to be considered competent at the game. Mariokart on the other hand is perfect. You can still beat the Mariokart without cornering or racing perfectly. It's how you use your powerups. Now imagine you couldn't use the powerups in Mariokart until you beat the game. That's no fun and most players won't play it again. (I'm masochistic and have done it on a couple versions of the game.)

On 5/19/2021 at 5:56 PM, Pthigrivi said:

Maybe you can only auto-land on a body you've already landed on, so you aren't just loading up dV and clicking "land on Tylo" and watching it happen. I do hear you and maybe there's some toggle settings in the difficulty menu that work it out but I think learning these skills first before you automate them is important. 

Does crash landings count for the unlocking of the auto-landing? That's the only way I would ever be able to unlock it. Having an optional way to unlock a autopilot from the beginning would be one way to solve the issue. But the overall attitude of you can't have that function (landing) until you can prove you can do that function (landing) first is BS, especially in a game. If this was real life where mistakes could have real life and death consequences, I wouldn't be debating you. (I'm sure as hell would want the pilot landing the plane I'm on to know how to safely land the plane they are flying before they can use the auto-land system.) But it's a game. 

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

I don't imagine there being much of a story to go through but for those that want automation from the get go, isn't that the point of having a sandbox mode?

We're not sure if KSP2 will have an open sandbox mode like the first one or not. But we can surmise that here will be optional missions or contracts or something to help new players learn about the mechanics of KSP. Why would Intercept be making the animations explaining the concepts required to play KSP.

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

I feel like this kind of argument could also be used for any general progression mechanic like the tech tree, something like "Why should a veteran player have to discover all of the parts again? Just have them available from the start. Why force us all to go through discovering the science in all the various terrain when we all know we can do it and the tech tree is just making an inconvenience to getting those parts"

Unfortunately this is a mechanic in different RTS or city building games and yes, it's very annoying. It's one thing to have to build a base up again to get access to what you unlocked, it's another to have to research it again to unlock it. How does this compare to KSP?  KSP2 is being framed as a continuation of KSP1. So most everything available in KSP1 should be available from the start of KSP2. You shouldn't be starting with a capsule, parachute, and SBR. You should have everything you need to make a Mun or Minmus capable rocket from the start.

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

The objective to a campaign mode in any sandbox-esque title is ultimately to present constraints and dictate play to direct the players play. I think the enjoyability of it comes from balancing how linear vs how creative the play is made from those constraints. If the play is too linear the player feels like they're being dragged along through a cutscene and not being given any agency in play where as if there is too much creative freedom available in play the player is left without a sense of direction and it's really easy for them to get lost in what's going in.

Overall, I agree with you. The catch is that you don't have to prove you have the skills required to progress, you usually only have to collect items, points, or reach a certain milestone to progress. (There are exceptions but KSP isn't a combat or a challenge based game. It's about exploration, not proving you have the skills to procced.)

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

I think that the point of making players prove their skills is so they understand what is happening and why it is happening when an automation system acts as it does. It also helps give a sense of broadening scope as the game progresses. Early on a player is doing everything in a single mission and they are actively learning the mechanics of the game. As the game progresses they are given the opportunity to let the computer take more and more of the reins in piloting so that they can have more room to manage the emergent complexity now being presented with managing all the aspects of their growing space civilization. I feel this gives a slow "zooming out" of scope which I think would give a good feel to the game, in my opinion.

You seem to be misunderstanding what I want in the game. I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically. On the actual player controlled craft, you shouldn't have to control the craft for100% of the flight. You should be able to setup an maneuver/waypoint (or series of maneuvers/waypoints) and be able to walkway or do something else. (Actual flying in KSP doesn't interest me anymore, but the designing and exploration still does.) The level of automation you seem to be referring to should only be reserved for the logistics flights once you reach that point. But here is the thing with autopilots, you still need to know what you want to do, how and where you want to execute it, and design the craft with enough stability for the autopilot and control the craft. If you don't do anyone of those things properly, no autopilot will be able to help you. You still need to learn how orbital mechanics works, design a plane/rocket properly, how the actual simulation works.

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

Another argument to be made is if automation is presented too early in the game that actually could have the effect of overwhelming new players. New people being introduced already have to understand all the buildings they've just been introduced to, they have to understand how the UX/UI works in the VAB to assemble a rocket, they have to learn the functions of all the parts they're being presented, then they have to learn the flying mechanics of the game. This is already a LOT to take in. To add onto that an assortment of automation systems, now new players have to understand retrograde, prograde, etc.. launch profile desired altitudes, maneuver nodes, and on and on... Its too much. 

I do understand the information overload for new players. There is a lot in KSP to take in. (I've been playing flight sims for years before I found KSP, so it was a new type of challenge for me.) I'm not saying you need to show a new player where it's located and how to use it right away. I'm just saying that it should be there, available to use for the players who don't need the hand holding. 

On 5/19/2021 at 7:33 PM, mcwaffles2003 said:

Perhaps this is anecdotal but I tried introducing my gf to KSP and she sat and played it for a solid hour and a half and I tried to not tell her how to play beyond her asking what things would do and I think a lot of us take our knowledge of the systems in KSP for granted. She is a smart person, she's finishing her masters in chemistry currently and is an avid gamer, and asking her what she thought of the game she tells me she was simply lost. She found it unenjoyable and was overwhelmed with everything that was going on (we started in career, not sandbox). So I think the last thing to do would be add even more systems to interface with at the start of the game. Instead, introduce those systems after players have learned the mechanics that those systems govern so that they have the experience to understand what is actually happening. It's not some n00b hazing to make new players manually pilot their craft, it's limiting the scope of play to keep the game approachable and not overwhelming.

Another place we can all look to see a similar instance is watching jacksepticeye play KSP:

He doesn't show it on his face but you can tell how increasingly frustrated he is getting with trying to build a rocket. It looks like madness but by 1/3 of the way in when he's strapping boosters on to make the rocket spin he's actually doing something really smart, though it looks really dumb, he's trying to spin stabilize a rocket. By around the halfway mark he gives up on rockets entirely only to move towards planes hoping they will be simpler. He never plays the game again.

Good luck, and remember to take it one step at a time. I have several very intelligent, die hard gamer friends that walked away from KSP because they didn't understand it and nothing was explained in the game nor did they feel the need to look outside of the game for information. As for jacksepticeye, I've seen that video before. I blame Squad for not explaining anything or offering sources for information. As we know, Intercept is creating helpful explanations for every concept in the game.

On 5/19/2021 at 10:39 PM, Brikoleur said:

The question under discussion is, what is the game you play going to be like? 

That's a very good question. We have no idea how the game is going to play like. A lot of the speculation and assumptions is that it will be the same as KSP1, which is reasonable but foolhardy. But there are things that won't change. Orbital mechanics won't change. How you design a stable plane or rocket won't change. How you fly a rocket or plane won't change. (At least at the physics level anyway, keybindings is a different story.)

On 5/19/2021 at 10:39 PM, Brikoleur said:

Because flight is a core gameplay activity, and adding systems that invalidate or dilute core gameplay activities is generally a bad idea. 

You could certainly make an excellent space program game that completely omits flight, but KSP is not that game.

No where in the core pillars for KSP is stipulated that you have to fly. It's just "realistic space flight."

Spoiler

Actual-Image-1.png

KSP is a space/flight/driving/boating/submersible/designing sim. But nowhere is it stipulated that you have to actually control your creation 100% of the time; nor is it stipulated that you have to prove you know how to fly to be allowed to access an autopilot. As I replied to mcwaffles, "You seem to be misunderstanding what I want in the game. I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically. On the actual player controlled craft, you shouldn't have to control the craft for100% of the flight. You should be able to setup an maneuver/waypoint (or series of maneuvers/waypoints) and be able to walkway or do something else. (Actual flying in KSP doesn't interest me anymore, but the designing and exploration still does.) The level of automation you seem to be referring to should only be reserved for the logistics flights once you reach that point. 

On 5/19/2021 at 10:39 PM, Brikoleur said:

Flight isn’t a difficulty mode, it’s a core activity. Also I don’t think KSP2 will even have a story (and I hope not, it wouldn’t fit IMO.)

But there are autonomous drones that can take off, flight a specific route and land (even on a moving aircraft carrier no less) that exist today. (Just being facetious.) Flight is necessary for KSP, but it isn't necessary to be at the controls 100% of the time. Nor is it necessary to prove you can fly before you can access an autopilot. As my reply to Pthigrivi states; "But the overall attitude of you can't have that function (landing) until you can prove you can do that function (landing) first is BS, especially in a game. If this was real life where mistakes could have real life and death consequences, I wouldn't be debating you. (I'm sure as hell would want the pilot landing the plane I'm on to know how to safely land the plane they are flying before they can use the auto-land system.) But it's a game."

Both KSP 1 & 2 have a stories. It's a story of exploration and discovery. Most people won't see it, some will only see the journey, some will see the destination, but there is a story for both. Why won't you see the story? Because you are directly controlling (writing) the story and it will be different for everyone. (Much like how WW2 vets will tell you the facts of what they did, but to you it's a story. It's a matter of perspective.)

On 5/19/2021 at 10:39 PM, Brikoleur said:

Finally, KSP isn’t a casual game. It requires a significant investment in time and effort, much more than most games. The enjoyment in it comes from learning to do some actually pretty hard stuff.

Yes, agreed. So is Space Engineers, WOW, Elite Dangerous, Cities: Skylines, No Mans Sky, Subnutica, Factrio, Dyson Sphere Program, Freespace, Syndicate, or any number of games you have to learn a great amount of information about the game and spent a good amount of time learning it.

On 5/19/2021 at 10:39 PM, Brikoleur said:

I’m all for making KSP2 better at teaching that hard stuff and lowering the barrier of entry, but if it no longer requires you to learn it at all, it will be a  hollow experience, a pale shadow of the original.

No where did I say nor imply remove the requirement to learn the necessities to play KSP. All I suggested is to have an autopilot available from the beginning and not to prove you have the SKILLS to be able to have access to an autopilot. I will reference again my reply to mcwaffles; "You seem to be misunderstanding what I want in the game. I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically. On the actual player controlled craft, you shouldn't have to control the craft for100% of the flight. You should be able to setup an maneuver/waypoint (or series of maneuvers/waypoints) and be able to walkway or do something else. (Actual flying in KSP doesn't interest me anymore, but the designing and exploration still does.) The level of automation you seem to be referring to should only be reserved for the logistics flights once you reach that point. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

We're not sure if KSP2 will have an open sandbox mode like the first one or not. But we can surmise that here will be optional missions or contracts or something to help new players learn about the mechanics of KSP. Why would Intercept be making the animations explaining the concepts required to play KSP.

The new adventure mode is said to be replacing career and science mode. I took that as meaning sandbox will still be available and my argument is largely based on this premise and if it isn't there disregard anything I'm saying. Personally though, I think they would have to be insane to take sandbox out.

3 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

Unfortunately this is a mechanic in different RTS or city building games and yes, it's very annoying. It's one thing to have to build a base up again to get access to what you unlocked, it's another to have to research it again to unlock it. How does this compare to KSP?  KSP2 is being framed as a continuation of KSP1. So most everything available in KSP1 should be available from the start of KSP2. You shouldn't be starting with a capsule, parachute, and SBR. You should have everything you need to make a Mun or Minmus capable rocket from the start.

My impression is that KSP 2 is a remastering and expansion on KSP 1. Personally, I doubt the game will start with everything from KSP 1 unlocked if there will still be a tech tree mechanic in the game and instead we will see a familiar start in KSP 2. Personally, I enjoy the mechanic as it makes stepping back into the game much easier for me. But, to each their own

12 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

Overall, I agree with you. The catch is that you don't have to prove you have the skills required to progress, you usually only have to collect items, points, or reach a certain milestone to progress. (There are exceptions but KSP isn't a combat or a challenge based game. It's about exploration, not proving you have the skills to procced.)

You seem to be misunderstanding what I want in the game. I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically. On the actual player controlled craft, you shouldn't have to control the craft for100% of the flight. You should be able to setup an maneuver/waypoint (or series of maneuvers/waypoints) and be able to walkway or do something else. (Actual flying in KSP doesn't interest me anymore, but the designing and exploration still does.) The level of automation you seem to be referring to should only be reserved for the logistics flights once you reach that point. But here is the thing with autopilots, you still need to know what you want to do, how and where you want to execute it, and design the craft with enough stability for the autopilot and control the craft. If you don't do anyone of those things properly, no autopilot will be able to help you. You still need to learn how orbital mechanics works, design a plane/rocket properly, how the actual simulation works.

I do understand the information overload for new players. There is a lot in KSP to take in. (I've been playing flight sims for years before I found KSP, so it was a new type of challenge for me.) I'm not saying you need to show a new player where it's located and how to use it right away. I'm just saying that it should be there, available to use for the players who don't need the hand holding. 

Specifically "I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically" That wasn't the impression I was getting from you, I assumed you meant more in the light of how mechjeb works. Also I empathize with you when you say flying doesn't interest you as much anymore as I am in a similar boat. There's only so much novelty in point, burn, cut off before it gets tedious which is why I REALLY hope to see some form of automation (especially in space where you don't even have to worry about atmosphere dragging you around or crashing), especially since a campaign is going to entail WAYYYYY more flights and the last thing I hope people to feel walking away from KSP is monotony and tedium. Also, I agree that KSP isn't supposed to be a hardcore skill game so much as an exploration. None the less, I feel like dumping the entirety of automation on the player right at the very start would be a bit much and there should be more time for easing players toward that. Even mechjeb doesn't allow automated maneuvers on the first launch. So, as long as a sandbox mode is still in the game I think that's where fully unlocked systems from the get go belong.

 

I have to ask though, do you play career/science mode in KSP or are you strictly a sandbox player and if you do play one of them what aspects of that mode do you appreciate it for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Specifically "I don't want something that I tell "fly me to Duna" and it does it automagically" That wasn't the impression I was getting from you, I assumed you meant more in the light of how mechjeb works. Also I empathize with you when you say flying doesn't interest you as much anymore as I am in a similar boat.

Yeah the whole click button get reward thing isn't any fun, I wanna at least have to know that I need to execute a hohmann transfer or whatever the specific maneuver is called so it's not just select target and wash my hands.

Edited by AdmFranzvonHippie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

I have to ask though, do you play career/science mode in KSP or are you strictly a sandbox player and if you do play one of them what aspects of that mode do you appreciate it for?

I play sandbox only. Science is boring and career is broken. The biggest failure is the tech tree. If it was put together in a sensible way, I would play career. (I know CTT is a thing, but I don't want to use it.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I really hope automation comes into KSP 2 but not for the reason you may expect.

In KSP 1 I always wanted to make a multistage to orbit launch vehicle that is reusable. Much like the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Unfortunately it was never truly possible without scarifying part of the spacecraft to control the other. My solution for career mode was a large SSTO launch vehicle that once in orbit detaches the upper stage and then I can control the lower back to the ground leaving the upper in orbit for later.

I really hope that KSP 2 brings some level of scripting or automation so my dream of vanilla automation could come true. Where I can launch the vehicle, but upon detach I control the lower stage back for a landing, while a script flies the upper stage into a stable orbit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there should be a part that unlocks in the tech tree, with later versions being smaller, that allows vessel coding, so you could make an ai or machine learning algorithm that could automatically launch and land rockets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thoughts on automation:

1. Heading/SAS lock should be standard from the the start. In fact, get rid of those dumb unlocks, just let people use all the radial in/out tools and buttons from the beginning. That sort of crap belongs in a tutorial, it doesn't belong on my fourth career save. EVERY SINGLE KERBAL should know how to do this stuff, it's basic survival in space stuff.

2. I'm cool with unlocking interplanetary planning tools with the tracking center but maneuver nodes should be allowed from the beginning. They're a very tactile way to show how to get around in space and besides, that sort of crap belongs in a tutorial, not my fourth career save. Realistically all the nerds back at Mission Control should be figuring that crap out for the crew in space anyway.

3. Not into full-on MechJeb style automation for the base game. The throttle should always be in player control.

Edited by regex
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, if it doesn't have an ascent autopilot and a landing autopilot, I'm probably not going to play much until a mod comes out that adds such. Or maybe I will play it, but I for sure will be intentionally over-designing my craft to compensate. I'm not a terrible pilot, but MechJeb is simply superior in every way to my skills, especially in the ascent autopilot part.

Also, I've been playing since KSP 0.13.3 when they just added Minmus (no other planets) and you still only had like 20 parts in the game in total.

KSP used to be an entirely different game, where you tried to get into space and who knows if you make it or not until you do or don't.

There's plenty of remnants of that in modern-day KSP 1, and some of them need to be shown the door.

Which one am I going to talk about today? This persistent community opinion of "do it yourself before you have the thing do it for you".

IRL, not a single rocket has ever flown to orbit under manual control. They've all been on essentially MechJeb (of varying degrees of complexity). IRL, EVERYTHING except maybe the most final of the final parts of docking and landing are all 100% computer-controlled.
Yes, there were a few times that the Space Shuttle was hand-flown thru reentry, just to prove it was possible. Apparently, RTLS of the Shuttle should it have a problem on ascent was also to be flown more or less manually. However (and I know this is going to be controversial), the Space Shuttle shouldn't have ever had wings for the job it was stated to do, that happened because the Air Force wanted to do "a stunt in space" and I do mean "stunt" as in movie stunt because it's about as practical. That stunt is to fly into a polar orbit (something the Shuttle never did in operation) directly into a rendezvous with a foreign spy satellite or something of that nature, put it in the cargo bay (somehow, nobody's ever shown me how they intended to secure the thing so it didn't throw off the CG of the orbiter, or how they'd measure the satellites mass so quickly), and then deorbit and land right close to where they launched from, ALL WITHIN A SINGLE ORBIT. You want a hollywood stunt, you look no further, that's the biggest stunt that's ever been proposed. Could the shuttle have theoretically done it? I won't say the chance is zero, but it's certainly not good odds, and IMO chances are high that they'd get shot down over Russia by ASAT weapons for trying. Did that make the shuttle's design incredibly tightly constrained to the point that it's what we have in museums today? Oh very much yes, we could have had something much more attainable and reliable and affordable if it hadn't had to pull this crazy "air force on drugs" stunt that nobody seems to have said "hey this is crazy, you can take your idea and pound sand" to.

Just look at the Chrysler SERV. Much more modest spaceplane, with a fully recoverable first and 2nd stage, and it still has a pretty big payload bay so yes you can loft your own spy satellites with it.

But going back to the talk of the autopilot. The fact that the shuttle did a few stunts doesn't invalidate the fact that literally every rocket to reach a stable orbit has done so fully under the automatic control of a computer of some sort, or at the very least a heading hold autopilot and an autopilot that tells the rocket to "pitch to this angle to the horizon at this time" with many data points, to emulate a gravity turn.

Ascent autopilots don't have to be crazy complex to work well. Like I said, they can be as simple as a heading hold and a smooth or not-so-smooth transition from vertical flight to horizontal acceleration.

But please, PLEASE, let me have an ascent and a landing autopilot sooner rather than later. I guess I could be asked to prove it 3 times, but I'm just going to build a rocket dedicated to unlocking that and then be done with that design forever, it's going to be unmanned if that's at all possible, and it's going to have very generous performance margins that I know I can do the mission in, unlike the vehicles I would be building WITH that automation, which I would be able to design with much tighter margins because even if the automation isn't as efficient as a human player pilot CAN be, what it DOES beat a human player pilot at (especially when that player is inexperienced), is consistency. Given the same design, same starting conditions, and the same target (either of an orbit or of a location on the surface), that automation will do exactly the same thing every time, because computers are deterministic machines, and if you feed one the same data, it always outputs the same result. Because of this deterministic nature, the autopilot could actually be USED TO TEACH the player the very things some people in this thread are saying need to be proven by the player before the automation would be unlocked.
So, say you have just loaded up the game for the first time, and you've built a rocket you think can reach orbit. You click on the launch button, and instead of your rocket launching, the game saves the scene and loads something else. What you get presented with is a tutorial about gravity turns and how getting to orbit is more about going fast sideways than it is about gaining altitude. This would be followed by a demonstration scene loading with an example rocket, and this rocket (since the autopilot is deterministic) would perform the ascent and gravity turn as the tutorial's parameters told it to, thereby demonstrating with ACTUAL in-game gameplay about how to get to orbit, with the gameplay pausing at certain moments to point out what the autopilot is doing at certain points (such as "vertical ascent", "gravity turn", "Ap fine-tuning", "Coast to circularization", "circularization", and if needed, "fine tuning orbital plane and LAN/ArgPe" if the craft's design is slightly inefficient and perhaps biased to fly left better than right, for example).

See, IMO the animated tutorials can be nice, but nothing beats showing the player what it should look like when things are going right. You could go even further and show what it looks like when certain common things go wrong, for instance "TWR too low early in ascent" (could even make reference to the famous "More boosters" line here), "boosters hit center core" (show player that the Sepratron is great for preventing that), "Upper stage TWR is too low" (burns up in the atmosphere before it can make orbit), or the most frequent one of all: "Rocket is not aerodynamically stable" (but make it super obvious by putting a lot of fins on the front and showing that it wants to fly backwards).

You could even use this "guided simulation tutorial" kind of experience to build up a simulation in the vein of a "How to not go to space" video.
IMO it would start out best with some (to seasoned players) "monstrosity" of a crazy looking rocket that "should be obvious that it never gets to space" (again, according to seasoned players), and as things go wrong (the first thing that should go wrong is "check yo staging"), the rocket's design changes according to the advice given, gradually evolving thru a series of "intentionally shown mistakes" in to a rocket that is finally perfectly capable of reaching orbit with enough fuel left to deorbit or maybe reach the Mun.

EDIT: Why do it this way? Well it's simple. This game is INCREDIBLY complex, and if anyone's familiar with the concept of a "learning curve", KSP doesn't have one. KSP has a pretty much vertical "learning fortress wall" that is incredibly tall and is angled at like 89.999 degrees relative to horizontal. In other words, it's incredibly difficult to understand these things about spaceflight without having your hand held the whole way thru the process. Can that be annoying to people that know what they're doing? Of course, so an option to skip these tutorials should be present (and unlike the skip options in some video games, it should in actuality skip literally the whole tutorial, the only advice the player should be given should they hit the skip button is to point out where to find the button to start the tutorials again). But if they don't skip the tutorials, the player should be shown the concepts needed to get a rocket into orbit (or whatever the tutorial is trying to teach). A concerted effort needs to be made to break each concept up into small digestible bits of info that won't make the player's eyes glaze over, we're talking about complex science here (there's a good reason people compare complex things to being "like rocket science", and if KSP doesn't use rocket science I don't know what does) and "eyes glazing over combined with inability to process the information presented" is an entirely too common reaction to science subjects, so we need to be aware of that and work to prevent it from happening (somehow, not sure how, but it needs to happen if this game is going to be popular).
:END EDIT

Spoiler

RNG rant:

Now before you go and mention how RNG means that computers aren't always deterministic, I have to tell you that you've been lied to.
My statement holds true even with software based RNG, you just have to know what the data inputs are.
Usually with a digital RNG the data consists of a "rng seed" number of some sort, and some form of "rng entropy data" which is what usually changes the most frequently.
The RNG entropy data on PCs is usually tied to the system clock, and these days the RNG seed is most often tied to the serial number of the CPU in the system.
From there, if you can determine the pattern, you can work backwards to figuring out the algorithm the computer is using to calculate the RNG output numbers, and then  since you know all three elements of the system you can then predict in advance what the output numbers will be. I've never seen it pulled off for a computer game outside of the case of something like a casino, because it takes a lot of effort, but to an IT security expert this probably looks a lot like a classic "side channel attack", and that's because it pretty much is, just with a much less malicious goal ("I want to know what their computer is going to do before it does it" not "I want to run malicious code on their computer", but I suppose this could also be used to crack encryption in which case it could easily be turned malicious).

Now, there is a way to make a truly non-deterministic digital RNG, but you must use RNG entropy data that is actually random to start with, that's the only way you get random data output. The most commonly described source of truly random electronic noise that I know of that is practical to put in a computer is a zener diode junction biased "just right", and fed to an operational amplifier set up as a comparator, with the comparator's bias point set to result in the desired odds of a 1 or 0, and it really doesn't matter how fast you sample it since it's true white noise, you'll always get a "real" heads or tails answer that's non-deterministic. You could also use a Geiger counter detector tube and a radioactive source, but that has a half life because of the radioactive element (less radioactive elements have longer half lives, but they also spit out random numbers at a lower probability of getting an event rather than a non-event). Additionally, the radiation based RNG would be potentially susceptible to external influences, not something you want if you're building some form of computerized gambling machine.
In any case, you'd have to know the entirety of the positions and velocity vectors and spin states and angular momenta and a whole bunch of other things about every particle in the universe all at once, and then be able to simulate that faster than 1 second per second, in order to be able to predict the output of those "physics based" RNG systems with 100.0% accuracy, and that's basically both omnicence and omnipotence at the same time, which for us measly humans is a bit of a tall order at least currently, plus you'd have to put the thing doing the simulating outside the universe in order to not influence the simulation by its very existence. In other words, it's nigh impossible, but we know the theory of how to do it at least in conceptual form.

Edited by SciMan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, SciMan said:

But going back to the talk of the autopilot. The fact that the shuttle did a few stunts doesn't invalidate the fact that literally every rocket to reach a stable orbit has done so fully under the automatic control of a computer of some sort, or at the very least a heading hold autopilot and an autopilot that tells the rocket to "pitch to this angle to the horizon at this time" with many data points, to emulate a gravity turn.

Ascent autopilots don't have to be crazy complex to work well. Like I said, they can be as simple as a heading hold and a smooth or not-so-smooth transition from vertical flight to horizontal acceleration.

Realism is a terrible argument for autopilots.

IRL no rocket is flown manually, true, but we also don't have a magic autopilot that flows everything you throw at it.

So if you want autopilots because they're more realistic then I say, why do it halfway?

The player has to program their own autopilot for every single craft they build.

Given that we apparently don't like KSP2 being a flight sim like KSP1 let's turn it into at least a programming game like the Zachtronics ones.

 

KSP at its core is a game about flying your own creations, if you don't like that then you simply don't like the intended KSP gameplay.

No problem with that, at all, but if you ask to change that keep in mind that is not different than asking to remove Kerbals or turning KSP into a FPS MMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer to send the Kerbals to fly my own creations.

They are herded in the game exceptionally for that.

The flight automation system allows them to enjoy not only my constructor genius, but also my majestic flight coding skills.

Edited by kerbiloid
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There has to be some form of automated resource transfer, since we'll be managing tens, if not hundreds of colonies, orbital stations, and outposts across multiple systems. You can't manually send resources (that can't be made there) to every single one, since that would take away from the majority of your game time. I've always had the idea of deltaV limits. If you can reach a destination on this amount of deltaV, then any flight with more than that limit can also reach it within specific intervals (for transfer windows and whatnot). It could get very complicated on the developer side of things, since there's a lot of moving parts, but there has to be some kind of automation for KSP2. There's no way around it, given the scale of things. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Domonian said:

There has to be some form of automated resource transfer, since we'll be managing tens, if not hundreds of colonies, orbital stations, and outposts across multiple systems. You can't manually send resources (that can't be made there) to every single one, since that would take away from the majority of your game time. I've always had the idea of deltaV limits. If you can reach a destination on this amount of deltaV, then any flight with more than that limit can also reach it within specific intervals (for transfer windows and whatnot). It could get very complicated on the developer side of things, since there's a lot of moving parts, but there has to be some kind of automation for KSP2. There's no way around it, given the scale of things. 

That's already planned and confirmed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should be either a Tech Progression or a 'Badge' system. A lot of games have tutorials when you have to hit a specific combo a number of times to pass, or finish a task in a certain amount of time. So you've reached orbit five times? Great. We'll handle that part for you from now on.

The other X- Factor for eliminating the busywork? The new Colony system. Say you land somewhere, and the first thing you build is a landing pad; and then every flight comes back to that nice, secure landing site? So you set your supply runs to always land on the Bullseye?  Sure. Because if you want a second landing site, or another colony in another place, you have to land it yourself. Keep being the bold explorer in a new place, let the next wave handle itself without you.

To be honest, I kind of have that problem now. I send two craft to Jool on unrelated missions. I set my alarm clock, and the manouver nodes are close together. One make it perfectly, the other misses the mark...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Master39 said:

That's already planned and confirmed.

I hate to ask this, but: source? I've seen so many people say its confirmed or something similar to that is coming, but I haven't actually seen it confirmed by the devs in a feature episode or dev diary or whatnot. Do you happen to  know off the top of your head where that information came from?

43 minutes ago, stephensmat said:

It should be either a Tech Progression or a 'Badge' system. A lot of games have tutorials when you have to hit a specific combo a number of times to pass, or finish a task in a certain amount of time. So you've reached orbit five times? Great. We'll handle that part for you from now on.

I have a hard time seeing them implement sectional automation like reaching orbit or landing boosters, at least initially. It depends on a lot of factors (like what's coming with the resource system and career/science modes), and while I would like to see it (so I can min-max my resource usage and efficiency), it'll be a huge undertaking to have an effective and user-friendly system like that.

Just off the top of my head, maybe one of the best ways to do complete automation is to have "supercomputer" colony parts (or just an upgradeable building at the KSC) that allow the user to plot a course with all the maneuver nodes and have the probe core/AI execute it, while doing more precise stuff behind the scenes (like landing on a colony launch pad) or even just manually if necessary. The more complicated the entire flight, the more power used by the supercomputer (maybe beyond colony power production/storage, so it fails) or the less certain the simulation is (maybe there's more or less fuel at any given node than it thought).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other: 

I love playing ksp and love coding kOS scripts to automate many things as well as flying manually and such, but sometimes I'm just really busy and have this reoccurring intrusive thought about an "ant farm" mode for KSP where it is entirely automated on some old computer and is just something you check in on daily like a pet turtle or an ant farm.  It just grows on its own. 

I don't really need nor expect this mode of course, but it just keeps popping in my head when I'm too busy to play

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it has to become a coding thing, sure, that's fine, coding is a skill that has lots of applications in the real world and learning it is valuable. IMO, learning coding is more valuable than learning rocket science, outside of a select few people working in a small segment of the aerospace industry, and the astronauts as well of course).

But here's the thing: Just because the autopilot's the thing sending the commands doesn't mean the player isn't flying it. IMO automation (even a full-on MechJeb like autopilot) does not remove the "fly" from build fly dream, because you can simulate something all you want but that's all it is, a simulation. Even if the autopilot is sending all the commands, the player still had to turn on the autopilot, or tell it what to do. Even if that "what to do" was "fly this thing from Kerbin's surface to Duna's surface". That still counts as taking control, and flying the thing.

Even with that high level of automation that I'm convinced we're not getting, you haven't removed the "fly" pillar of "Build, Fly, Dream". I also reject that you've turned the game into something that's not KSP. KSP =/= manual flight 100% of the time.
Even in vanilla KSP, you can in theory use a KAL controller to automate the launch of something to a specified orbit, well most of the way. It just needs a few more things before it becomes a "full enough" autopilot.

I'd much prefer something easier to use, but at the end of the day KSP already has a launch ascent autopilot, namely using a KAL controller triggered by the spacebar to control the throttle, pitching to a specified angle at a specified time, altitude, or velocity, and then holding prograde for the remainder of the flight. With those elements, you can build an SSTO craft that will do most of the work of getting to orbit for you. If you do a little more work on the KAL controller, you can even have it throttle up again for orbit circularization at apoapsis.

So I guess what I'm asking for when I ask for an ascent autopilot is not that. What I'm asking for is something that's a little easier to use and more flexible, so that I don't have to break out a spreadsheet just to get my ascent autopilot to work. After all, if the missile knows where it is, and where it's going, it should be able to figure out when to light the engines without my needing to input that manually, I don't see the difference there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, SciMan said:

KSP =/= manual flight 100% of the time.

Sorry but yes. It is.

I get the feeling that some people here forget that Mechjeb isn't stock.

 

10 hours ago, SciMan said:

Even with that high level of automation that I'm convinced we're not getting, you haven't removed the "fly" pillar of "Build, Fly, Dream". I also reject that you've turned the game into something that's not KSP. KSP =/= manual flight 100% of the time.
Even in vanilla KSP, you can in theory use a KAL controller to automate the launch of something to a specified orbit, well most of the way. It just needs a few more things before it becomes a "full enough" autopilot.

I'd much prefer something easier to use, but at the end of the day KSP already has a launch ascent autopilot, namely using a KAL controller triggered by the spacebar to control the throttle, pitching to a specified angle at a specified time, altitude, or velocity, and then holding prograde for the remainder of the flight. With those elements, you can build an SSTO craft that will do most of the work of getting to orbit for you. If you do a little more work on the KAL controller, you can even have it throttle up again for orbit circularization at apoapsis.

I'm not against programming, that can be used to make an autopilot, true, but unless the game provides you with API calls like:

automagicallyLandNowAt(x,y,z)

The challenge of making an universal and fully working autopilot is significantly bigger than the challenge of learning how to fly.

 

10 hours ago, SciMan said:

I don't see the difference there.

The difference is that adding programming (in a non mandatory way) adds a whole new layer of gameplay and depth to the game. Adding a ready to use autopilot would be like adding an auto-shooter in DOOM, it just cuts out a third of the gameplay, leaving a huge hole in KSP2's gameplay (as good as it can be colonization and resource management won't be enough to fill it).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...