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We need rocket sleds!!!


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In KSP 2 please add rocket sleds and a rail system on which to test thrusters and to do general kerbal mayhem. It doesn’t sound like something very hard to add into the game but it could add HOURS AND HOURS of zany gameplay for morons like me who can barely make it to the mun and back. 
 

thanks for sticking to it,

Ryan

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11 minutes ago, masterut94 said:

In KSP 2 please add rocket sleds and a rail system on which to test thrusters and to do general kerbal mayhem. It doesn’t sound like something very hard to add into the game but it could add HOURS AND HOURS of zany gameplay for morons like me who can barely make it to the mun and back. 

Hehehe, you can do that now in the KSP we have. Trust me, you can even make the sleds so fast you can shoot off the end of the runway at the KCS and past the island air station. :) 

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Rails would be a nice addition, and not only as a colony part, but also to make sliding parts in vehicles. I know we have pistons right now in KSP 1, but the experience would be different as pistons bend when extended and a rail would maintain the extension axis' position (I once made a crane with two anchor points that could slide to fit larger parts). Plus it would be useful to easily move big rockets to the launchpad.

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2 hours ago, K^2 said:

Yes. But also, rails in Unity? Ooof.

Are they hard to implement or do they take a toll on performance?

18 minutes ago, PlutoISaPlanet said:

Idk, I feel like rails are unnecessary (but hey. Who expected we would have roads).

Yeah, but could be something for a future DLC. I would use them more for sliding parts in vehicles than as tracks for them to move over (given small versions).

I mean something like a sliding track:

f5e023097fd334adacf1da98cb20bbe9.jpg

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4 minutes ago, The Physics Engineer said:

Are they hard to implement or do they take a toll on performance?

Performance hit is a few extra constraints, so it shouldn't be bad. But if you just take raw prismatic constraint, it's going to cause problems when you're hitting transition from one rail section to another. You know how kerbals some times freak out when they transfer between ladder sections? Imagine that, but at high speed, and now instead of a single kerbal, you have an entire craft with all its physics riding on the rail. Yeah.  Krakens galore. So you have to handle that somehow, and Unity/PhysX doesn't really provide you with a native way to do that, so you'd have to write your own sub-system for it. It's doable, but you might as well be writing a custom constraint solver at that point.

Don't get me wrong. It'd be cool, and I think they can work it out given time. I just wouldn't hold my breath for it. I'd be shocked if that's something KSP2 can do at launch. But maybe in a DLC, like you said, once they get the core physics and multiplayer stuff sorted.

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What I would really like is a test environment. I hate being unable to test landers for say, duna without getting the whole mission there and hoping it works.

I still think failure is fun, but that type of thing is a significant time loss when all I need are a couple of design tweaks to make it work.

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2 hours ago, FlywheelsGroove said:

I hate being unable to test landers for say, duna without getting the whole mission there and hoping it works.

Put a platform with thrusters in orbit. Tune thrusters to the TWR of 1 in Duna gravity, then land your lander on that platform. I mean, Duna does have some atmo, but for purpose of testing a lander, vacuum should be close enough.

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8 hours ago, FlywheelsGroove said:

What I would really like is a test environment. I hate being unable to test landers for say, duna without getting the whole mission there and hoping it works.

I still think failure is fun, but that type of thing is a significant time loss when all I need are a couple of design tweaks to make it work.

I agree with you here.  A stock 'Test SimuIation Environment' facility at KSC would be neat.

I currently use a sandbox save and use the Alt F12- 'Set Orbit' and 'Set Position' cheats and call that my 'simulator', but it does feel a bit 'overpowered' compared to what would really be available on Kerbin.

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21 minutes ago, pandaman said:

I agree with you here.  A stock 'Test SimuIation Environment' facility at KSC would be neat.

I currently use a sandbox save and use the Alt F12- 'Set Orbit' and 'Set Position' cheats and call that my 'simulator', but it does feel a bit 'overpowered' compared to what would really be available on Kerbin.

I think in the podcast they mentioned something like that, specifically when talking about the "trial and error" process applied to huge orbital colony ship that takes a ton of infrastructure and resources to build and potentially tens of hours in an interstellar mission before finding out a tiny error that destroys everything.

I'd have to relisten it to get the specific quote but if I don't remember things wrong a testing facility was mentioned and something about simulations.

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8 hours ago, K^2 said:

Put a platform with thrusters in orbit. Tune thrusters to the TWR of 1 in Duna gravity, then land your lander on that platform. I mean, Duna does have some atmo, but for purpose of testing a lander, vacuum should be close enough.

This is such a fine concept, but I'm a smoothbrain what can't even get a duna lander right on the first try. There's no way I'll be able to make that even structurally, let alone functionally.

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16 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

unity bad unreal good

not

Don't get me started. Part of my last job was evaluating Unreal physics for a project. Obviously, the olden PhysX setup is almost as bad as Unity's, but they managed to screw up Chaos as well. Seriously, Roblox engine has better physics than what Epic managed to get into U4/5. To be fair, they are still working on it, and it might still improve to the point where it's fully competitive with custom solutions, but it wasn't there last time I saw it, which was recently. And yeah, I have discussed it with Epic's engineers. I don't think they like me much anymore.

Now, modern Unity does support Havok, which is the best of the bunch. It used to be a step above PhysX, but they have put in a lot of improvements recently. I have reasons to believe a lot of that was inspired by the work of Box2D's author, who is actually a go-to resource on modern game physics implementations. As far as I can tell, Epic is trying to do the same thing with Chaos, but Havok had an earlier start and did a better job. So as far as what you can get as middleware, that's your best option in my professional opinion. Unfortunately, unless there have been some major reworks, KSP2 is probably still going to be on PhysX, so we're probably not benefiting from that at all.

All of that aside, implementing a good rail system for a modular game like KSP would suck on all of these. Havok would suck the least and Chaos would suck less than PhysX, but none of these solve all your problems out of the box. You would still have to write some clever custom systems to make it work.

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5 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

As someone else said once, game engines are like toolboxes and it's up to the devs to make it work.

Languages and frameworks are your tools. Engines are more like construction kits. Some are more like Erector Set and others are more like Duplo. Unity falls somewhere in between. It's pretty flexible, but it can still be hard to build something if you don't have the right parts.

If you have access to solver and can create custom joints, making good rail system is pretty straight forward. In Unity, I don't think I'd be able to make necessary changes to the constraints themselves. Instead, I would probably do something similar to how you'd set up a vehicle. You still rely on the engine for managing traction forces from contact points and use them to create hard kick if the suspension bottoms out, but you compute the suspension forces by doing ray casts to figure out wheel displacement. That sort of hybrid approach of relying on engine's physics and custom forces tends to work out pretty well. Unless you're making a high quality racing sim, at which point, you just don't make it in Unity.

I would probably end up using similar approach to do rails. First assign collision materials to rail part and train carriage part so that they don't actually collide with each other. Other parts you use to build a train could still collide with rails, of course, but that's on player to build around that. Next, ignore the actual geometry of the rail and simply use the rails to generate a smooth spline to follow. Finally, generate forces on train carriage to follow the spine. This is where custom solver comes in. Ideally, you want a single solver so that all your forces are up to date, but with a custom solver at this stage, you're only one frame behind, so the only way this is likely to go horribly wrong is if the train already collided with something, generating a huge force spike, at which point it's probably ok to just derail.

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Doesn't this have a lot to do with the geometry of the end of the rail sections? For instance, if they're built like IRL railway expansion joints but with the tapered edges also sloped away from the direction of incoming vertical load, would that not make the solvers job much easier since there's no "hard right angle" lip between rails that aren't perfectly aligned?

Or if you're using rails that are round, just have the ends of the rails taper at a relatively gradual slope to a smaller diameter, and then when building those two tapered sections overlap. Surely the solver wouldn't come up with a wacky solution for that situation, provided that the rails don't also have "same vessel collision" turned on for both of them. I guess you'd need two "channels" for SVC in that case, one to handle the rails NOT colliding with each other, and one to handle the rails FOR SURE colliding with whatever carriage is riding on the rails.

The 2 channels for SVC would be handled similarly to how a little 2d physics simulator program called Phun has multiple "channels" for collisions, including one for particle-based fluids. It's basically the first thing the solver checks before doing any calculations, "ok these two things are touching, what happens?" gets answered with "what collision channels do they have checked", and if they both have at least one in common (other than the liquid channel), the collision will be calculated, otherwise they just pass right thru.

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I think this would make a very interesting concept to connect distant colonies on the same planet, so to focus one location as the station for the space connection. I might be looking at it differently than the suggestion, but similar in that it would be a train network of types. You can have several locations for the fuel production and a centralized location to get it off world to the planet or space craft/station that needs it. 

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