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Unlock UI elements with science/missions


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There's one thing in KSP1 that keeps bugging me every time I've started a new career game.

As of KSP1, when starting a career/science game, you've got:

  • No thermometers
  • No pressure meters
  • No accelerometers
  • (When using SCANsat) no radar altimeters

And yet, the UI has:

  • Overheat indicators and F10 thermal view
  • Atmosphere density indicator (below the altimeter)
  • G-force meter (right of navball)
  • Altimeter

OTOH, one of the things that I learned when using KER is that if I want the UI, I must plop a part onto the controllable part of the craft. Which makes sense IMO.

So I wish that KSP2 would unlock UI elements as the player progresses, instead of full UI from the beginning. Research thermometers, you get temp gauges. Research inertial gyros, you get prograde/retrograde indicators on the navball. Upgrade the tracking station, you get sea-level altimeter. And so on.

A hardcore version of this idea would be to tie UI elements to parts in the craft, KER-style. But this would need some QoL in the form of "always add flight instrument parts to probe cores and pilotable cabins".

Ideally this could lead to "know your instrument" tutorial missions, to soften the learning curve of KSP. Get this experimental part, put it in a sounding rocket, and watch its readings. Maybe do something when the reading reaches a threshold.

Would this be a chore to seasoned KSP players? Yeah. So make it skippable. But I would expect fans of the caveman challenge would love this.

Maybe the "right" way to achieve something like this is to make the KSP2 UI architecture more mod-friendly, so mods could add (or remove!) flight instruments. I wish for the possibility of having KSP2-KER fuse seamlessly  with the KSP2 UI.

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I would hope their advertising of being "mod friendly" would include the UI, but if it doesn't, it should.

 

I hope all the science instruments actually work and are optional on the HUD/UI depending upon if the craft has it equipped in the VAB and its available that way stock. 

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On 7/10/2021 at 2:35 AM, IvanSanchez said:

There's one thing in KSP1 that keeps bugging me every time I've started a new career game.

As of KSP1, when starting a career/science game, you've got:

  • No thermometers
  • No pressure meters
  • No accelerometers
  • (When using SCANsat) no radar altimeters

And yet, the UI has:

  • Overheat indicators and F10 thermal view
  • Atmosphere density indicator (below the altimeter)
  • G-force meter (right of navball)
  • Altimeter

OTOH, one of the things that I learned when using KER is that if I want the UI, I must plop a part onto the controllable part of the craft. Which makes sense IMO.

So I wish that KSP2 would unlock UI elements as the player progresses, instead of full UI from the beginning. Research thermometers, you get temp gauges. Research inertial gyros, you get prograde/retrograde indicators on the navball. Upgrade the tracking station, you get sea-level altimeter. And so on.

A hardcore version of this idea would be to tie UI elements to parts in the craft, KER-style. But this would need some QoL in the form of "always add flight instrument parts to probe cores and pilotable cabins".

Ideally this could lead to "know your instrument" tutorial missions, to soften the learning curve of KSP. Get this experimental part, put it in a sounding rocket, and watch its readings. Maybe do something when the reading reaches a threshold.

Would this be a chore to seasoned KSP players? Yeah. So make it skippable. But I would expect fans of the caveman challenge would love this.

Maybe the "right" way to achieve something like this is to make the KSP2 UI architecture more mod-friendly, so mods could add (or remove!) flight instruments. I wish for the possibility of having KSP2-KER fuse seamlessly  with the KSP2 UI.

I recently tutored a friend that wanted to play KSP, I had to have him skip the career mode because of the lack of the necessary tools to understand what's going on and how to manipulate an orbit.

If anything such a setup would be great, if well designed and not grindy, for a veteran. It's outright terrible to take away the necessary tools from new player.

Edited by Master39
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14 hours ago, Master39 said:

If anything such a setup would be great, if well designed and not grindy, for a veteran. It's outright terrible to take away the necessary tools from new player.

I'll respectfully disagree with that - one doesn't need temperature gauges or barometers to strap some SRBs onto a cockpit, hit spacebar, and start the KSP core gameplay loop of "launch something, launch it, watch it explode, repeat".

Then again, I'm no videogame designer, and I cannot fully foresee how such a feature would impact gameplay, balance, engagement, or the learning curve... but I hope it can be positive. I guess this is one of those things where one approach cannot please all the crowds at once.

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4 minutes ago, IvanSanchez said:

I'll respectfully disagree with that - one doesn't need temperature gauges or barometers to strap some SRBs onto a cockpit, hit spacebar, and start the KSP core gameplay loop of "launch something, launch it, watch it explode, repeat"

If you don't know why it exploded it's an useless endeavour.

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5 minutes ago, Master39 said:

If you don't know why it exploded it's an useless endeavour.

Well, KSP1's learning curve is horribly steep because of that. I know.

I might be daydreaming, but:

What if the game told you hints about how to prevent the same mistake, but afterwards? Like

"It looks like your rocket suffered an unplanned disassembly on ascent. Yadda yadda yadda, joke joke, blah blah blah. Here, the folks in lab coats have designed a Venturi tube, slap one on your rocket and next time throttle down to keep that Q number under 50000."

"Mission control saw a fireball where your rocket was supposed to be during descent. Next time carry these thermometers so we can measure the temperature. Some folks are interested to see if there's a relation between heating and the descent trajectory."

So I'm talking about transforming the core loop of "design→launch→explodes→design" to something more like "design→launch→explodes→new hint/tool→design". So yes it's about taking tools away, but also about giving the players those tools just after they realize they're gonna need them.

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10 hours ago, IvanSanchez said:

 

"It looks like your rocket suffered an unplanned disassembly on ascent. Yadda yadda yadda, joke joke, blah blah blah. Here, the folks in lab coats have designed a Venturi tube, slap one on your rocket and next time throttle down to keep that Q number under 50000."

"Mission control saw a fireball where your rocket was supposed to be during descent. Next time carry these thermometers so we can measure the temperature. Some folks are interested to see if there's a relation between heating and the descent trajectory."

You died! Next time you should bring this absolutely vital component I didn't give you because you were supposed to die!

You don't teach a kid to ride a bike by giving him a bike without wheels to then say to him "you should totally have used these wheels!"

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I think there are 2 things I want to note:

1. I personally dislike the concept of requiring parts for specific "necessary game play mechanics", as they can be confusing for beginners, and just a necessary extra part for veterans who always add the part/fix the issue before hand. 

2. KSP 2 shouldn't increase the difficulty beyond the direct engineering challenge. Getting to orbit should be hard because it is hard, not because the game has "roadblocks" preventing you from flying your craft correctly, or understanding why you didn't make it to orbit. Career can still have its "limited engineering capabilities" limitations, which are sensible and can prevent players from just "adding more boosters", but thats more or less where it stops.

 

I have no qualms around the idea of removing UI for the extra challenge through mods or settings, but forcing parts of the UI to be hidden from players is too harsh for beginners as it would make the game artificially more challenging and make it harder to diagnose problems, which will result in people quiting way before they start seeing the cool stuff ;D

 

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Specifically around this heat argument, I think it would be safe to say each part come as implied with their own thermometer to detect the heat of the part, though I think it would be sensible to require a thermometer part attached to sense the temperatures outside of the craft and collect that data.

Edited by mcwaffles2003
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7 hours ago, MKI said:

Getting to orbit should be hard because it is hard, not because the game has "roadblocks" preventing you from flying your craft correctly,

Sorry folks, but I'm not buying this argument. KSP1 has a roadblock before crewed manual gravity turns, in the form of pilots uncapable of holding prograde. The reward mechanic is in there : the player learns to use prograde/retrograde to orbit/deorbit, the player gets a pilot capable of holding PG/RG.

And, mind you, there's KSP before your first orbit. And that phase is "You failed to get to orbit, but you went a little bit higher! Here, have these science points, now go buy some decouplers and bigger engines"

7 hours ago, MKI said:

forcing parts of the UI to be hidden from players is too harsh for beginners

I'm gonna offer the opposite perspective: the UI is horribly complex to beginners. There's what, 15? 20? UI elements on an unmodded game, and I remember my first games being overwhelmed by the amount of dials, not knowing what to focus on.

Heck, the RCS button shouldn't even be visible until monoprop RCS parts are unlocked.

What I mean to say is that hiding UI elements is a tool that may help focus the player and smooth the learning curve. I, for one, do not agree that having all the options available from the beginning provides a pleasant learning experience. That's good for a simulator, but KSP is a game, and I think KSP2 should have game mechanics.

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11 minutes ago, IvanSanchez said:

That's good for a simulator, but KSP is a game, and I think KSP2 should have game mechanics.

KSP is an arcadic simulator, but ok, your points are pretty well written.

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15 hours ago, IvanSanchez said:

What I mean to say is that hiding UI elements is a tool that may help focus the player and smooth the learning curve. I, for one, do not agree that having all the options available from the beginning provides a pleasant learning experience. That's good for a simulator, but KSP is a game, and I think KSP2 should have game mechanics.

Hiding/showing UI elements doesn't teach you anything or help you learn how to play the game any better. In some cases it may even stunt the learning experience as a player will realize there is more to learn/use/leverage to accomplish the same task they had to guess about before about, or realize they are totally missing something due to the UI "hiding" it.

Unlike most games, KSP is actually trying to teach the player real world concepts. These concepts being basic orbital mechanics and rocket science. Both of these topics are naturally complex, so the game doesn't need much in the way of artificial challenges to be difficult. 

The UI should be a players friend at all stages of the game, if it isn't then that itself is a problem as the UI should be there to help players understand what is going on so they learn something. This doesn't directly make the game "easier", or "harder", but it should make the game easier to learn. This can be done with good UX design to keep things understandable without being overwhelming.

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On 7/12/2021 at 8:12 PM, IvanSanchez said:

What I mean to say is that hiding UI elements is a tool that may help focus the player and smooth the learning curve. I, for one, do not agree that having all the options available from the beginning provides a pleasant learning experience. That's good for a simulator, but KSP is a game, and I think KSP2 should have game mechanics.

I understand your point, but unless I am misunderstanding what I have seen in the show and tells and have heard from the devs, they are aiming for KSP2 to be both. Easy and game-like so most people could understand, play and enjoy it without the gritty reality of instant gruesome death and needing to understand things like relativity, but real enough that it could be used in aeronatics and space sciences and give us Earth-bound folk a glimpse at what we will likely never see in life. See link for KSP as an example https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/gamers-tackle-virtual-asteroid-sampling-mission

 

In that context, I would think at the least you would want all of the UI present on the screen, but grayed out/inactive if it is not there/present. This could also be done in tutorials so the UI layout will always be there and be familiar to noobs, but only the controls being taught are highlighted or active.

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