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Speed of light, pilots, and engineers.


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After playing KSP for thousands of hours, I almost NEVER need a engineer or pilot and I like to keep my scientists locked inside science labs.

With a good autopilot and communication relays, there is almost no reason for a pilot. However! What if a remote probe is an light-hour away in distance?  That would mean what you see the probe doing happens an hour ago. That also means when you give a command, the probe won't get it until an hour later.  A pilot can be very useful to be in the same area as a probe or pilot a ship that is too far from Kerbin.  If a probe and a pilot are in the same area, then a pilot can control the probe in near real-time.  For some tasks like a flyby mission, the route is mostly pre-made and commands arriving hours late is not a big problem.  Anyway, I hope to see some realistic use of the speed of light and give a pilot more to do. At least in some advanced setting.

For the engineer, nothing breaks so I never need one.  I also never need a colony. To mine, I just land an automated miner and store the ore for processing later. This method has about only 5% of the speed as having an engineer on site, but with the long times of departure and arrival, the ore is ready dug up and refined ready for kerbals passing. I also made fuel transport that goes to a station near Kerbin, but that also doesn't require an engineer.

So, we need rare random breaking (in some advanced setting) and more things like parachutes that need to be repacked.  Help me think of other ways an engineer is needed.

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I'm pretty sure it's confirmed that there will be no speed of light delay of any kind in KSP2. Why would that be in any way useful or fun? "Oops, your staggeringly expensive interstellar ship that took decades of game time to develop the colonies and infrastructure to build just crashed into Rask because you pressed the throttle up button three years before the burn instead of four, too bad so sad."

No thanks.

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Well yes, that is what a pilot will be needed for when far from everything.  The bigger picture is I hope KSP 2 can be used to design/brainstorm real flight missions and check for obvious problems - after changing some advanced settings. 

Ok, if there is no speed of light delay and no one wants it, then what good is a pilot for after a few tech levels ?

EDIT: I also heard there will be no n-body Newtonian gravitation. So it seems unlikely KSP 2 will be used for anything professional.

Edited by enewmen
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31 minutes ago, enewmen said:

Ok, if there is no speed of light delay and no one wants it, then what good is a pilot for after a few tech levels ?

Intercept never confirmed that the professions from KSP1 will be in KSP2. I don't expect the professions will continue to KSP2. They were unnecessary in KSP1, and Intercept is seemingly not going to continue the some of the half baked ideas Squad implemented.

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1 hour ago, shdwlrd said:

They were unnecessary in KSP1, and Intercept is seemingly not going to continue the some of the half baked ideas Squad implemented.

I respectfully disagree with this, shdwlrd. I feel that the professions create a fun additional element to mission planning where I need to ask myself questions like: 

  • Will the vessel go into frequent radio blackout but it needs control at all times? Better bring a pilot.
  • Will I be taking an uncrewed craft along on a crewed mission? That uncrewed craft can be remotely piloted when radio link to KSC is lost. Better bring a pilot.
  • Will I be conducting multiple experiments from the same science part or using a science lab? Better bring a scientist.
  • Will I be rearranging and/or repairing parts on a vessel? Better bring an engineer.
  • Am I wanting a mining rig that doesn't have to take so long to refuel other craft? Better bring an engineer.
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46 minutes ago, Ahres said:

I respectfully disagree with this, shdwlrd. I feel that the professions create a fun additional element to mission planning where I need to ask myself questions like: 

  • Will the vessel go into frequent radio blackout but it needs control at all times? Better bring a pilot.
  • Will I be taking an uncrewed craft along on a crewed mission? That uncrewed craft can be remotely piloted when radio link to KSC is lost. Better bring a pilot.
  • Will I be conducting multiple experiments from the same science part or using a science lab? Better bring a scientist.
  • Will I be rearranging and/or repairing parts on a vessel? Better bring an engineer.
  • Am I wanting a mining rig that doesn't have to take so long to refuel other craft? Better bring an engineer.

So a person with a PHD in astrophysics and astronomy can't be a pilot or vice versa? A pilot can't change a tire or MacGyver a fender? An engineer can't operate a mass spectrometer and understand the results or place measuring equipment properly? A non professional gets merits for a scientific discovery.

It doesn't make sense in RL. Why add that type of baseless job separation to the game. It just adds a layer complexity that isn't necessary.

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1 hour ago, shdwlrd said:

So a person with a PHD in astrophysics and astronomy can't be a pilot or vice versa? A pilot can't change a tire or MacGyver a fender? An engineer can't operate a mass spectrometer and understand the results or place measuring equipment properly? A non professional gets merits for a scientific discovery.

It doesn't make sense in RL. Why add that type of baseless job separation to the game. It just adds a layer complexity that isn't necessary.

Those are all excellent points that I agree with shdwlrd, there's no doubt that real astronauts are some of the most self-sufficient people in history and have prowess in more than one field. But even with that being said, there were crew assignments in the history of the U.S. space program that were made solely because of someone's skillset/career path. Neil Armstrong being CDR for Apollo 11, and Harrison Schmitt being LMP on Apollo 17 are a couple examples I can think of off the top of my head. 

For me it makes sense how there are roles in KSP 1. Everyone in the real world has their strengths, and they are chosen (hired) based off of those strengths. I'd suggest that KSP1 does exactly what you're stating, just not to the degree you wish. A scientist Kerbonaut can pilot a vessel just fine, they just can't hold attitude. A pilot Kerbonaut can run experiments just fine, they just can't restore them.

But to simplify it further for you, I just like the added complexity. Therefore, I hope it stays.

 

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15 hours ago, jimmymcgoochie said:

I'm pretty sure it's confirmed that there will be no speed of light delay of any kind in KSP2. Why would that be in any way useful or fun?

There has been a mod for that in KSP1 for many, many years, and it was so popular that many parts of it ended up being incorporated into the stock game.

What is not fun for you may well be fun for someone else.

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On a related topic, since there is not much of a need for pilots and engineers, is there a need for colonies? I never needed a colony for any reason in KSP 1.  I don't know why a colony is needed or wanted in KSP 2 when mining and refining can be automated in KSP 1.  This includes complex nuclear refining.  Kerbals can also get science just by doing tests at biomes, then leaving. I don't see how all this will fit (nicely).

Edited by enewmen
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19 hours ago, Ahres said:

For me it makes sense how there are roles in KSP 1. Everyone in the real world has their strengths, and they are chosen (hired) based off of those strengths. I'd suggest that KSP1 does exactly what you're stating, just not to the degree you wish. A scientist Kerbonaut can pilot a vessel just fine, they just can't hold attitude. A pilot Kerbonaut can run experiments just fine, they just can't restore them.

Just because someone is hired for or has pursued a certain job, it doesn’t mean they can't do something outside of that job description. That's the problem I have with the professions in KSP. It's annoying that Jeb can't use a screwdriver but Bob can. It's adding complexity in something that isn't necessary.

19 hours ago, Ahres said:

But to simplify it further for you, I just like the added complexity. Therefore, I hope it stays.

I'm not one to judge how you like to play your game. I prefer not to have the unnecessary complications with the Kerbals job descriptions and limitations. I create more than enough problems for myself.

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1 hour ago, enewmen said:

On a related topic, since there is not much of a need for pilots and engineers, is there a need for colonies? I never needed a colony for any reason in KSP 1.  I don't know why a colony is needed or wanted in KSP 2 when mining and refining can be automated in KSP 1.  This includes complex nuclear refining.  Kerbals can also get science just by doing tests at biomes, then leaving. I don't see how all this will fit (nicely).

The colonies are necessary to be able to build crafts that you wouldn't be able to get out of Kerbin's gravity well. They will also be necessary for when you reach a new star system since it will be a one-way trip. (At 1st anyway.)

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7 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

The colonies are necessary to be able to build crafts that you wouldn't be able to get out of Kerbin's gravity well. They will also be necessary for when you reach a new star system since it will be a one-way trip. (At 1st anyway.)

Speaking of new star systems. I hope KSP 2 has realistically vast distance between stars.  If a star is 10 light years away, it will  be a 10-year, one-way trip even WITH warp-drive. So, if there is any inter-stellar commuting, there will need to be a major break-through after light-speed is possible, like 1000x the speed of light.  Just thinking.

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52 minutes ago, enewmen said:

Speaking of new star systems. I hope KSP 2 has realistically vast distance between stars.  If a star is 10 light years away, it will  be a 10-year, one-way trip even WITH warp-drive. So, if there is any inter-stellar commuting, there will need to be a major break-through after light-speed is possible, like 1000x the speed of light.  Just thinking.

It's common knowledge that they are adding more levels for time warp. So the expected distances will be large enough to take a very long time even using time warp steps in KSP1. Most of the speculation is putting the distances between the stars at about 2-5 light years apart.

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On 8/11/2021 at 9:21 PM, Ahres said:
  • Will the vessel go into frequent radio blackout but it needs control at all times? Better bring a pilot.

Better have a kerbal on it, and a probe that grants SAS, no?

Besides, I want to be able to control probes without a connection (should just be required for data)...  real probes can do things on their own without a connection, just as an astronaut can. A probe core should be able to analyze its surroundings, take measurements, and plot a course on its own. Real probes can. Of course, I don't want autopilot, I want to pilot the craft as if I am the probe's AI.

On 8/11/2021 at 9:21 PM, Ahres said:
  • Will I be taking an uncrewed craft along on a crewed mission? That uncrewed craft can be remotely piloted when radio link to KSC is lost. Better bring a pilot.

Bah, I just set up a simple relay network if that is the case. Avoiding communication blackouts back to Kerbin is easy. I'll want those anyway for science transmission.

On 8/11/2021 at 9:21 PM, Ahres said:
  • Will I be conducting multiple experiments from the same science part or using a science lab? Better bring a scientist.
  • Will I be rearranging and/or repairing parts on a vessel? Better bring an engineer.
  • Am I wanting a mining rig that doesn't have to take so long to refuel other craft? Better bring an engineer.

yea, scientists and engineers are all I really need... and really just scientists, but engineers are nice to speed things up, and the craft modification does make things interesting now.

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@KerikBalm
I agree. But for going to the unknown in the first place to setup relays requires pilot skills.  For example, even the best autopilots get confused with new threats. If driving a car with autopilot,  the car will stop if confused if faced with a choice with no answer. If flying an airplane, there is still a pilot responsible if the autopilot goes bonkers.  After the relays are setup,  then probes can do the rest of the flying.  Programming probes to setup a relay sounds simple, but what if the planet is binary,  or a neutron star is around ? Planets around Kerbol are predictable, but can be very alien around other stars.

Edited by enewmen
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20 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

Just because someone is hired for or has pursued a certain job, it doesn’t mean they can't do something outside of that job description. That's the problem I have with the professions in KSP. It's annoying that Jeb can't use a screwdriver but Bob can. It's adding complexity in something that isn't necessary.

It seems like you ignored what I said even though you quoted me in the same comment. Scientists and engineers can still fly, engineers and pilots can still run experiments, pilots and scientists can still move inventory and place ground anchors. They're very much doing something outside of their job description. Squad just made it so the next degree of difficulty of a task is left to whomever specializes in that particular field, which doesn't seem nonsensical to me.

And if it's the specific scenario you mention: that it's annoying that Jeb can't use a screwdriver but Bob can; as pointed out by others ( @enewmen@KerikBalm), pilots are certainly the most replaceable of the three professions anyway. The likely reason you'd bring a pilot along is because you simply wanted to, unless you're dealing with the scenarios that I mentioned upthread.

Although... Jeb is Jeb. And who wouldn't want to bring him along? 

If I take a step back for a moment, I can definitely see what you're getting at. It'd probably make just as much sense if they'd have made it so every Kerbal could perform every task. But it just doesn't sound as fun. There'd never be a reason to make a crewed mission with multiple Kerbonauts. Unless you're doing some really high risk EVA's haha. Plus, let's be honest, we're talking about Kerbals. Next year they'll be "stumbling" into becoming an interstellar civilization - as Nate likes to put it. Not exactly the species that sounds like they're capable of producing an individual that can fly, research, and engineer, and do it all while out in the void of space. Good discussion here though, I'm digging it.

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9 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Better have a kerbal on it, and a probe that grants SAS, no?

Besides, I want to be able to control probes without a connection (should just be required for data)...  real probes can do things on their own without a connection, just as an astronaut can. A probe core should be able to analyze its surroundings, take measurements, and plot a course on its own. Real probes can. Of course, I don't want autopilot, I want to pilot the craft as if I am the probe's AI.

Bah, I just set up a simple relay network if that is the case. Avoiding communication blackouts back to Kerbin is easy. I'll want those anyway for science transmission.

yea, scientists and engineers are all I really need... and really just scientists, but engineers are nice to speed things up, and the craft modification does make things interesting now.

All that was(is?) in the Remote Tech mod. It added lightspeed delay, the need for line of sight, dedicated radio relays, and also a way to script probes to operate pre-programmed maneuvers to avoid the problems posed by the rest of the mod.

The line of sight requirement got added into the stock KSP1, eventually.

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13 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

It's common knowledge that they are adding more levels for time warp. So the expected distances will be large enough to take a very long time even using time warp steps in KSP1. Most of the speculation is putting the distances between the stars at about 2-5 light years apart.

I'll bet they will be closer than that. Everything else is at roughly 0.1X scale, so I think that 0.2-0.5ly will be the maximum distance they would actually consider, unless they are going to introduce some ridiculously OP engines into the game.  And even that is still an immense distance when you consider the game timescale of intra-system travel.   If the gulf between those two time scales is too large, it will create all kinds of difficulties for gameplay. My guess is that the Kerbolar system will turn out to be inside a scaled-down globular cluster, with adjacent stellar systems separated by maybe 10-50 times their own diameter. Even so, it would still take a decades to reach nearby star systems using somewhat plausible propulsion systems that can deliver perhaps 100  times the ISP/dV of what we currently have in KSP1.  Either that or they just make up some kind of Doubletalk Drive that lets you do it Star Wars-style, but I would personally be against that, and even so the vast disparity in intra-system/interstellar time scales would be a problem for gameplay.

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19 minutes ago, herbal space program said:

I'll bet they will be closer than that. Everything else is at roughly 0.1X scale, so I think that 0.2-0.5ly will be the maximum distance they would actually consider, unless they are going to introduce some ridiculously OP engines into the game.  And even that is still an immense distance when you consider the game timescale of intra-system travel.   If the gulf between those two time scales is too large, it will create all kinds of difficulties for gameplay. My guess is that the Kerbolar system will turn out to be inside a scaled-down globular cluster, with adjacent stellar systems separated by maybe 10-50 times their own diameter. Even so, it would still take a decades to reach nearby star systems using somewhat plausible propulsion systems that can deliver perhaps 100  times the ISP/dV of what we currently have in KSP1.  Either that or they just make up some kind of Doubletalk Drive that lets you do it Star Wars-style, but I would personally be against that, and even so the vast disparity in intra-system/interstellar time scales would be a problem for gameplay.

I always find it interesting when people reveal how they think about stuff like this. Why is a "Doubletalk Drive that lets you do it Star Wars-style" super OP and out of bounds, while all the other crazy KSP stuff (no lightspeed delays, no need for life support, instant build times, kerbals that can sit in a tiny capsule for years waiting to be rescued, "the klaw", etc. etc.) are OK?

IMO, it's a game. Whatever makes the game fun is OK. Whatever makes the game not fun should be avoided. Only problem is that different people have different ideas of fun.

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18 minutes ago, herbal space program said:

I'll bet they will be closer than that. Everything else is at roughly 0.1X scale, so I think that 0.2-0.5ly

But what amount of time are you thinking of with light year? Are you thinking a year in Earth terms (365, 24hr periods or 8760hrs) or in Kerbin terms? (426, 6hr periods or 2556hrs) The reason I ask the question is because a light year to the Kerbals would be a much less distance than a light year for us.

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3 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

I always find it interesting when people reveal how they think about stuff like this. Why is a "Doubletalk Drive that lets you do it Star Wars-style" super OP and out of bounds, while all the other crazy KSP stuff (no lightspeed delays, no need for life support, instant build times, kerbals that can sit in a tiny capsule for years waiting to be rescued, "the klaw", etc. etc.) are OK?

IMO, it's a game. Whatever makes the game fun is OK. Whatever makes the game not fun should be avoided. Only problem is that different people have different ideas of fun.

Well it's not like I'm not going to to buy the game if that's what they end up doing!  But I do think it would be fundamentally different from the examples you cited.  No light delay, instant build times,  and no life support are things that exist in the game because not having them would make playing it way too much of a pain in the end that should not point towards space, IOW they were necessary compromises with realism in order to make the game playable. I think you could also say that rather than those things representing a total disregard for what is physically possible, they more represent just subsuming their implementation, e.g.  the fact that in-game you can control your probe in real time at whatever distance just sort of assumes that your mission control Kerbals at home knew how to issue the relevant commands in advance.  Ditto for build times. Life support is obviously less like that, especially for really long missions, but again I think that was a question of it just becoming too much for the player to manage in that context.  And FWIW you could also explain that away with some kind of implied Kerbal hibernation. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they deal with that in KSP2.  Magical propulsion systems that could never exist within physics as we understand it OTOH seem to me like the game crossing a key line between trying to adhere to some level of physical realism and entering into the realm of pure fantasy. YMMV, but for me scaling interstellar distances down hugely, which is not completely implausible IMO, solves both the problem of needing to create an Infinite Improbability Drive and the problem in terms of gameplay of inter- and intra-system travel timescales being 3 or more orders of magnitude apart.

Edited by herbal space program
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3 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Why is a "Doubletalk Drive that lets you do it Star Wars-style" super OP and out of bounds, while all the other crazy KSP stuff (no lightspeed delays, no need for life support, instant build times, kerbals that can sit in a tiny capsule for years waiting to be rescued, "the klaw", etc. etc.) are OK?

IMO, it's a game. Whatever makes the game fun is OK. Whatever makes the game not fun should be avoided. Only problem is that different people have different ideas of fun.

That is a good question, and also I think a good answer.

Finding which options will be the more-fun ones for enough players to make a successful game, is I suppose the art of game design.

I would say that KSP 1 did a decent job choosing which crazy fictions were justified to make a good game.  Immortal Kerbals, that do not eat, made the game accessible to enough players to keep the game alive . . . and then some of those players made life-support mods.  That might not have worked the other way around (if the base game required life support).

Instantaneous communication does make the game mechanics a lot easier.  RemoteTech has a switch for signal delay, and the game-play reviews I have seen all turn that off.  Even with signal delay on, the human player controls Kerbals with no delay, so to make a consistent mental model of the game mechanic, any change of plan from Mission Control must be instantaneously communicated telepathically to the Kerbal pilots.

I understand the desire in the OP for a mechanism to make Kerbal pilots more necessary.  Maybe the line-of-sight requirement for communications (as in RemoteTech as I see it used, and in stock CommNet) would be enough.

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3 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

But what amount of time are you thinking of with light year? Are you thinking a year in Earth terms (365, 24hr periods or 8760hrs) or in Kerbin terms? (426, 6hr periods or 2556hrs) The reason I ask the question is because a light year to the Kerbals would be a much less distance than a light year for us.

A valid point, although just scaling down by 3.5-fold only gets you a short way towards addressing the multiple-orders-of-magnitude disparity between distance scales within and between systems in the real universe.  At 10km/sec, which is going quite fast in KSP1, it takes about 3 Kerbal years to cross the ~250 million km Kerbolar System.  Even the shorter Kerbal light year is 2.8 trillion km by comparison.  For a distance of 5 Kerbal light years, that represents a 56,000-fold difference in the distances within systems and between them.  From a gameplay standpoint,  I think that having interstellar travel times be more than around 5-fold greater than intra-system times is going to be really unwieldy unless the whole game is just about taking that first trip to another system, i.e. you stop doing anything else back home once you have launched. That seems like it would limit the scope of the game way too much to me, so what I think you're left with is striking some balance between making KSP2 interstellar ships go 10,000 times faster than their fastest KSP1 counterparts and having the next star system be 10,000 times closer than that.  My instinct is that roughly splitting the difference, i.e. putting the other stars 100 times closer and making the ships go 100 times faster, will be close to ideal in terms of both keeping the timescales in balance and not having to invoke Star Trek-type  pure fantasy technology. Maybe some folks aren't so concerned about the latter because  it is after all just a game, but I would say that it is for that very reason that introducing such radically OP elements relative to the prior continuum of technologies is such a problem. Anyway, I'll buy the game no matter what they do, but I do hope they think some of this stuff through.

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On 8/11/2021 at 1:22 PM, shdwlrd said:

So a person with a PHD in astrophysics and astronomy can't be a pilot or vice versa? A pilot can't change a tire or MacGyver a fender? An engineer can't operate a mass spectrometer and understand the results or place measuring equipment properly? A non professional gets merits for a scientific discovery.

It doesn't make sense in RL. Why add that type of baseless job separation to the game. It just adds a layer complexity that isn't necessary.

Why even add Kerbals to the game then? 

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