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Bigger alternatives to nervs and wolfhounds


king of nowhere
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I like making big, complex ships, and lag becomes an issue. My latest creation must be able, to refuel, to land on small planets, hence the need for high thrust. I fit it with 54 wolfhounds and 60 nervs.

Of course, that's 115 parts already. Also, I use kerbalism and every engine has a chance to break. So I made them interchangeable, attaching each of them to a clamp-o-tron, so that I can release them and stick another engine in place (i brought some extra, and a service probe to manipulate them). So every engine has a docking port, bringing the total to 230. 260 with the spare ones. It's one third of my total part count. and the ship lags like hell.

So I'm looking for engines that are equivalent to those, but bigger. Not better. A wolfhound-equivalent with over 400 s Isp would be rejected, I want to reduce part count, not to cheat. And engine with the same Isp as a wolfhound, thrice the mass and thrice the thrust, and same with the nerv, would be perfect.

Something similar also for mammoths and clydesdales, the launch vehicles uses 18 mammoths and 36 clydesdales and it took 40 minutes of real life time for a 6 minutes ascension.

I looked into near future launch vehicles, but i'm unhappy. I only saw a single engine that could be interesting, and it's basically an improved mammoth - lighter, virtually same Isp, more thrust. Nope, that would be under cheating.

There are many alternatives to wolfhounds if i'd be willing to sacrifice Isp. Just the rhino, to stay in the stock game. No, I may be willing to lower Isp to 370, maybe 360, but not below that. And I found nothing alternative to nervs.

Now, I could mod them manually. I could take the exhisting engines and multiply by 3 all their values. I'm not sure I want to do that. But for now, I'm looking to see if mods have something for me.

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Well to call NFLV cheating would be a bit of stretch, it has undergone a lot of testing for balance. I might be guilty of fanboy-ism here but I would attest that it balances well against stock. But you are still correct in saying that those engines are not much bigger than what is available in stock, besides the Manatee.

I am guessing you are only wanting to keep the stock LF/O fuel type as well? So no liquid hydrogen/liquid methane a la CryoEngines.

Only other idea I have is Restock Plus. This contains two engines that would be of interest to you. The Cherenkov which is similar to the nerv but more than twice the size. And the Corgi, like the Wolfhound has high isp and good thrust, but a bit bigger. Not huge gains but maybe enough.

Only downside is you must first install Restock which is a big mod that overhauls the visuals of almost all stock parts. Not a big problem since many people choose Restock by default without question, but maybe not your cup of tea if you are trying to stay as close to stock-alike as possible.

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2 hours ago, lemon cup said:

Well to call NFLV cheating would be a bit of stretch, it has undergone a lot of testing for balance. I might be guilty of fanboy-ism here but I would attest that it balances well against stock. But you are still correct in saying that those engines are not much bigger than what is available in stock, besides the Manatee.

yes, it balance well. don't remember which one was the manatee, but there was an engine that was basically the mammoth, except superior in everything. the problem is that i was just looking for "the same, but bigger", and i did not find that.

also, i am slowly becoming persuaded to use 18 rhinos in place of the wolfhounds after all; higher thrust may help with ascent/descent more than a bit of extra deltaV.

Oh, wait. the problem is that under kerbalism rhinos have only 2 allowed ignitions before they must be serviced, while wolfhounds have over 30. looks like I stick with the wolfhounds, or I mod them myself

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You could try using Rhinos instead of Wolfhounds; the ISP is a bit worse, but the thrust is more than five times higher and it’s less than four times the weight. If you want to go down the Restock path then the Corgi is a decent alternative- slightly lower ISP and a bit larger but twice the thrust and still very efficient- and the Cherenkov is essentially a 2.5m NERV with four times the mass and four times the thrust (and a very slight increase in ISP).

The Wolfhound is anomalously efficient compared to all other stock (and most stock-like) LFO engines, its ISP of 380s is well above what you get from anything else (Poodle is 350s, even the Corgi is only 355s), but it pays for that efficiency by being pretty heavy so using an engine that’s less efficient but with a better TWR might not be as bad as you think.

Replacing those 54 Wolfhounds with just 10 Rhinos would reduce your part count and your overall mass, however IIRC Kerbalism gives the Rhino one rated ignition which isn’t that helpful. Using the Restock+ Corgi will halve your engine count but give you the same amount of thrust; they both weigh around the same per engine so the loss of 25s of ISP should be countered by reducing engine mass by half.

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15 hours ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

You could try using Rhinos instead of Wolfhounds;

i already mused on that on a previous post:

On 6/18/2021 at 9:20 PM, king of nowhere said:

Oh, wait. the problem is that under kerbalism rhinos have only 2 allowed ignitions before they must be serviced, while wolfhounds have over 30. looks like I stick with the wolfhounds, or I mod them myself

i'd have swapped wolfhounds for rhinos immediately if they had been practical. being unable to turn them on more than twice before servicing them, though, won't conduct well to landings.

 

currently, I modded the engines myself (well, I asked my brother to do it) to make bigger versions of both engines, so that I could get the same thrust-to-weight, the same Isp, but less part count. I have now 18 wolfhound3, which work perfectly, and 12 nerv5. which overheat and explode if used for long. even with 12 tons of large radiators

looks like a victim of the square cube law.

i will have to experiment with that too. worst case, i can use moar heat radiators. I have hopes, though, for the nerv3 to have less problems on this regard, while still keeping a low part count

 

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  • 10 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

it's one year old by now....

editing the files in the right place wasn't trivial, i couldn't do it myself and needed the help of my brother, who's the best IT expert i know. just changing an engine is easy - go in config file and edit some values, it's pretty intuitive - but to convince the game that there is now a different engine, it takes some more fiddling. i can't say how it was done. I've just been copy-pasting the parts folders between versions.

Anyway, i got the wolfhound3, wolfhounds three times bigger with the same stats scaled up, and they work perfectly. and the nerv3, nervs 3 times bigger. which tend to overheat to the limit, and have been known to explode if running too long. I had to reduce their heat production. The nerv5 were a failure, they exploded very fast once turned on; so for bigger nervs one has to turn down the heat. I could have done it with the nerv5, but my current motherships use nerv3 and they are fine.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/15/2022 at 1:52 AM, king of nowhere said:

but to convince the game that there is now a different engine, it takes some more fiddling. i can't say how it was done. I've just been copy-pasting the parts folders between versions.

If you are copying an existing part, renaming the new part is essential, otherwise, yeah, the game won't figure out that it exists and you'll be wondering where it is and what you did wrong.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since you're already using NFLV, why not tack on Far Future as well (depending on how many other NF mods you're using)?

Otherwise, the only other "big power rockets" mods I know of are SpaceY (parts-only mod, should still work with 1.12), and BDB (mainly the Saturn parts, but they're working on the IRL NERVA which should be pretty efficient).

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6 hours ago, bigyihsuan said:

Since you're already using NFLV, why not tack on Far Future as well (depending on how many other NF mods you're using)?

 

because i don't want things to be too easy.

i use near future electrics because the only way to get the 20k electricity I need for isru while far from the sun is nuclear reactors, and i use near future launch vehicles because with a 1000 parts, 5000 tons ship having bigger fuel tanks reduces part, with annexed lag and bugs. but none of that is game breaking. stuff like antimatter engines - or even higher efficiency engines - would trivialize the challenge

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4 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

because i don't want things to be too easy.

i use near future electrics because the only way to get the 20k electricity I need for isru while far from the sun is nuclear reactors, and i use near future launch vehicles because with a 1000 parts, 5000 tons ship having bigger fuel tanks reduces part, with annexed lag and bugs. but none of that is game breaking. stuff like antimatter engines - or even higher efficiency engines - would trivialize the challenge

For the tank problem, I'll recommend Procedural Parts. They'll be incredibly ugly, but with unlimited tank size, you can really cut down on your tank counts.

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On 6/20/2022 at 4:59 AM, king of nowhere said:

I'm not sure if it is compatible with kerbalism and near future electrics

I'm pretty sure it works for NFE and will do nothing for parts it has no configs on. I have both NFE and kerbalism in my current career, and I can resize engines and tanks (and they preserve their mass ratios, ISP, or TWR), while kerbalism parts just have no option to change their sizes, but I see nothing gamebreaking with it.

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