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Deployable flags should be inventory items


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After messing with the 1.11 update for a while and the science kits and repair kits in the inventory system, I noticed that kerbals still carry one deployable flag (AKA "Extend-o-matic Series A1 Deployable Flag") somewhere in a magic zero-mass pocket. And they can EVA, plant a flag, go into the craft, magically replenish the flag, go EVA again, and potentially plant an infinite number of flags that way.

So, I'd like to kindly ask for deployable flags to become inventory items.

So, ideally, players would have to remember to put a flag or two in the inventory slots of lander capsules. I think this bit of inventory management would make sense for the gameplay.

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3 hours ago, Jack Wolfe said:

There are plenty of unresolved bugs and unaddressed gameplay quirks Squad should devote their efforts to. Frivolous eye-candy needs to stay at the bottom of the list.

Off topic but dang that's deep: You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: they don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.

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15 hours ago, The Aziz said:

Except the flag serves no purpose. Everything else does. And the inventory is already limited enough, can't even carry two surface experiments at once.

I disagree:

  • Career mode has contracts/missions that require planting flags in order to be completed.
  • Ditto with Making History's "plant flag" mission node.
  • Planting a flag gives more XP to the crew, compared to just landing & EVAing on the surface
  • Marking visited biomes (for those completionists lime me who like to squeeze science out of every minmus biome)

Flags do serve several purposes.

Besides, this could be an opportunity to make pilots more useful. I can picture only engineers being able to use repair kits, only sciencists being able to use EVA science kits, and only pilots being able to plant flags.

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I agree that flags serve a purpose. In addition to what @IvanSanchez said above, they are necessary for the mandatory Photograph-of-Kerbals-posing-next-to-the-Flag-in-front-of-the-Lander. I would not mind if they have a mass and take inventory space (please make the mass very low, e.g. 0.5 kg).

But, please have the flag in the inventory by default. I already forget to check my staging, add parachutes, landing legs, etc. I don't want to go on a mission to plant a flag on XX and then realize I forgot the flag once I made a successful landing.

 

Btw, also agree that devs probably have higher priority things to do. :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hello @IvanSanchez

I'm about to post a mod addressing this but I have a gameplay question...

Once this mod will be installed, players must remember bringing flags on their destination. I'm an absolute beginner in modding KSP and not sure if I can mod the technical tooltip in the VAB to remind players about this.

I'm thinking of adding a "spawn flag" in command pods which could add a flag item if the inventory of the command pod is not full and doesn't already contains a flag. At least to start a little.

What do you think?

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6 hours ago, Goufalite said:

I'm about to post a mod addressing this

Wow, that sounds awesome! (to me, at least)

6 hours ago, Goufalite said:

I'm thinking of adding a "spawn flag" in command pods which could add a flag item if the inventory of the command pod is not full and doesn't already contains a flag. At least to start a little.

Personally, I'd leave that to some other mod like F.I.G. (from @linuxgurugamer's FruitKocktail). Or at the very least, make sure it doesn't conflict with F.I.G. Or make F.I.G. play nice with your mod so it fills one slot with flags, the rest of the empty slots with repair kits.

If you're making a mod, the easiest way to deal with this is to just write it in your mod's README, and shift responsibilities to the users. There's nothing wrong with that.

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9 hours ago, IvanSanchez said:

It was orignially FruitGoose's, but he left the forums, sadly.

And i do like the idea of flags being inventory items
And there should be a part that lets probes use items, but not robotic science stuff that would bee a little OP, maybe some test equipment that yeilds only a trikle of science and degrades after 30 days

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On 5/23/2021 at 8:44 PM, Bej Kerman said:

All they do is serve an opportunity for the player to write their head-canon down in world, it's not worth wasting the tight space.

Just to repeat myself, the sole purpose of the flags is to bring a bit of life into the Kerbal world. Yes, some missions require flags, but missions could just as easily not require that. Flags are so trivial, so unnecessary but so fun that they do not need to be inventory items. It would not just be inconvenient, but also problematic having to leave behind a parachute or a jetpack just to plant a flag.

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It does make perfect sense to have flags as inventory items.   And I do find the 'unlimited ammo' aspect of flags a bit illogical.  If you know you intend to plant flags then plan ahead and carry some, it's no different to any other piece of kit in that regard.  They can serve as targettable 'beacons', so it's not as if they have no use except for the 'flag planting' itself

Maybe as a compromise include one 'free' in every crewed capsule, or maybe at a push each crew member gets one as part of their standard 'kit'.  With any extras needing to be planned for and stowed in the inventory.  But having an unlimited supply hidden in the capsule seems a bit odd.

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4 hours ago, pandaman said:

But having an unlimited supply hidden in the capsule seems a bit odd.

While I broadly agree, there's more "infinite" resources in the game such as the RCS refills for the EVA jetpacks.. (or has that been patched now?)

Anyway, it's moot, apart from bugfixes, Squad have said they're not making more releases. So we'll need a mod to limit flags in which case it's opt-in which is the best for all - those that want it can have it, those that don't aren't forced into it.

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1 hour ago, micha said:

RCS refills for the EVA jetpacks.. (or has that been patched now?)

Sorta...

In 1.11.1 some mod makers wanted EVA jetpacks to refuel with their own resource, so the devs added a config entry for jetpacks for them to not refill.

If you don't want your jetpacks and eva cylinders to refuel, apply this MM patch

@PART[evaJetpack]
{
    @MODULE[ModuleCargoPart]
    {
        %reinitResourcesOnStoreInVessel = false
    }
}

@PART[evaCylinder]
{
    @MODULE[ModuleCargoPart]
    {
        %reinitResourcesOnStoreInVessel = false
    }
}

Applying this has some cons tho

  • Jetpacks and eva cylinders don't refuel. Period. There is no other way to refuel them (without mods of course).
  • There is no indication on which jetpack is empty or not. You need to right-click the item in the inventory to see how many fuel it has remaining or make the kerbal wear it.
  • If you're not an engineer, there is no way to ditch empty jetpacks, you need to swap inventory items or store them in an empty available slot.
  • If kerbal inventory is persistent as a difficulty setting, the kerbals will carry the consummed jetpack even on a new mission so you need to remember to "change" the jetpack in the VAB.

 

 

 

Edited by Goufalite
typo and clarification
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3 hours ago, Goufalite said:

Sorta...

I see. Ideal (from a realism perspective) would, of course, be when the EVA jetpack refills, it takes the resources from the Pod instead of magically refilling. If the Pod monoprop is empty, no more fills.  Anyway, derailing this conversation now!  Just wanted to point out that there's other "magical" resources in the game, not just flags.

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My first thought was the same — it would reduce “flag abuse” in contracts.

But… you’d just plant a flag, cash in on the contract, and take the flag back. Which wouls solve nothing from a contract perspective.

So in the end it would just add hassles, and not solve the contract issue. Aside from that I think it would still make sense to add them as an inventory item though. Just for those Kerbalesque “you didn’t bring a flag!” moments.

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12 minutes ago, Kerbart said:

But… you’d just plant a flag, cash in on the contract, and take the flag back. Which wouls solve nothing from a contract perspective.

This can be managed with a contract configurator patch. It handles flag objectives.

I tried to create a more specific flag planting contact pack asking you to claim ground you've never done science for example, but I lost it with a HDD crash :(

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I see two ways to go about it:

1. Keep infinite flags + remove flag specific contracts from re-appearing

2. Make flags an inventory item of limited weight  + remove ability to "pick-up" flags

 

I personally think the first route is easier, and better. Then again the underlying issue at hand is the fact you can just "farm flag planting" to gain exp. I don't really consider this to be very game breaking, compared to more efficient versions farming science/funds.

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7 hours ago, Kerbart said:

My first thought was the same — it would reduce “flag abuse” in contracts [...] in the end it would just add hassles, and not solve the contract issue.

How about flag contracts requiring the flag of the agency giving out the contract to be planted, instead of any flag? e.g. if Kerlington gives a flag contract, I should plant a Kerlington flag and not my program's flag.

This would, of course, complicate the way that flags are added to inventories. Can inventory parts be variants? And even then, I don't know if it's possible (or easy) for a mod to create one variant per agency registered in the game. And then there'd be the issue of what happens when the player uses the KSC's flagpole to change the program's flag - how would such a mod keep track of the flag flying whenever any craft was launched?

Agency-specific flags would more sense than the default contract (why is a company/agency with their own logo and advertisement department paying me to put my flag somewhere?) and should get rid of some of the flag abuse.

That is, until munchkin players start loading their crafts with one of each agency flag.

Perhaps it would make sense to force players to use the flagpole for flag contracts? (i.e. disallow choosing a part variant but still keep track of it) As in, the goal is not only to plant a flag, but instead is to display the flag at launch, display the flag on the craft, and finally take that default flag added to the now-branded command module and plant it.

One could still cheat the system by:

  1. landing a base linking one command module of each agency and then dropping
  2. getting a flag contract for the corresponding planetary body
  3. dropping a kerbal on the base (since flag contracts don't spawn on bodies with crewed bases AFAIK)
  4. look for the corresponding command module
  5. enter base, fetch flag
  6. exit base, plant flag

....but at that point, the amount of work needed to pull that off would not be worth it (IMHO). Or, players would end up with bases resembling billboards, which would be totally OK for me if they want to depend on flag contracts.

*enters a daydreaming state*

What if there were contracts to land a craft requiring one of those RFP-3 big flags? Or a RFP-F flat flag on 3m size (though I don't know if a contract can check for a specific variant of a part to be present). Illuminated by light strips for good measure. My KSP headcanon now includes agencies footing the bill to build asteroid bases with huge, obnoxious, neon-illuminated, branded billboards.

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4 hours ago, MKI said:

2. Make flags an inventory item of limited weight  + remove ability to "pick-up" flags

If this gets implemented, we also need a way to edit a flag..  can't stand spelling mistakes etc.

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4 hours ago, IvanSanchez said:

How about flag contracts requiring the flag of the agency giving out the contract to be planted, instead of any flag? e.g. if Kerlington gives a flag contract, I should plant a Kerlington flag and not my program's flag.

This would, of course, complicate the way that flags are added to inventories. Can inventory parts be variants? And even then, I don't know if it's possible (or easy) for a mod to create one variant per agency registered in the game. And then there'd be the issue of what happens when the player uses the KSC's flagpole to change the program's flag - how would such a mod keep track of the flag flying whenever any craft was launched?

The flag could be given a unique ID, and then perhaps be loaded from a special screen in the VAB onto the vessel. That would also be more in line with the spirit of the contract - not just any flag, but the specific flag the sponsor (undoubtely loaded with signatures) has provided for this contract.

Now, if this ID tracking could somehow be done with resources it would address the "harvest x units of ore on the surface of y and bring it to z" tomfoolery by harvesting ore and bringing another load to the desired destination. but it's easy to see the practical challenges with that.

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