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How might the Tracking Center and tracking/comms capabilities work?


SunlitZelkova
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What sorts of upgrades (with actual technological difference in the game or just a visual change + longer range) might we see?

Will interstellar missions have to be crewed? Or will interstellar probes be possible?

In KSP1, you lose contact with probes after awhile. I have a Pioneer 10 replica that is about half way to apoapsis after a Jool flyby and has lost contact.

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In an ideal world, KSP2 would include a speed-o'-light signal delay and a true remote guidance unit system like RemoteTech does. The ability to have a probe work on a pre-configured set of parameters even when there is no direct connection to the KSC really is a game changer.

As for signal strength, I think KSP1  got it mostly right but it will have to be reworked and expanded upon since the whole interplanetary thing is happening. I can otherwise handwave not taking into account lightlag in the Kerbol system for streamlining purposes, but being able to directly control a probe in the next system would be a huge mood killer.

In any case, the antennas roster will also need expansion. I like Nertea's solution with reflectors in NFE.

Edited by Axelord FTW
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23 hours ago, Axelord FTW said:

In an ideal world, KSP2 would include a speed-o'-light signal delay and a true remote guidance unit system like RemoteTech does. The ability to have a probe work on a pre-configured set of parameters even when there is no direct connection to the KSC really is a game changer.

As for signal strength, I think KSP1  got it mostly right but it will have to be reworked and expanded upon since the whole interplanetary thing is happening. I can otherwise handwave not taking into account lightlag in the Kerbol system for streamlining purposes, but being able to directly control a probe in the next system would be a huge mood killer.

In any case, the antennas roster will also need expansion. I like Nertea's solution with reflectors in NFE.

The problem with applying a speed-of-light system is that there is quite literally minutes, hours, even days of latency. I don't exactly want to press "G" to deploy landing gear, only for it to take actual years to do so. I suppose the way that this should work is that if you were to switch to a probe in the map view (flight or tracking station), it will add a time penalty when loading that craft. This could happen either through a timeskip, or allowing the probe to load the next instant, but forcing the player wait the latency minutes to control it in realtime.

As an example, let's say we want to control a probe that is at Jool from Kerbin. The smallest gap that could happen between them is around 55 billion metres.*

5.5 x 10^10 metres divided by the speed of light (2.99 x 10^8 m/s) = Approximately 3 minutes.

When wanting to control a probe from Jool at 55 billion metres away (3 light minutes), 3 minutes of latency will occur when you accessed the probe. After the timeskip, you can control the probe in 'real time'. Of course, 3 minutes to Jool is too quick for latency, so I propose dividing the KSP speed of light by 10, such that the shortest time in light minutes between Kerbin and Jool is around 30 minutes, which scales properly to the closest distance between Earth and Jupiter being about 35 minutes. Therefore, a probe 30 light minutes away will force a 30 minute latency when switching to it.

This should be different when using remote access (a pilot controlling a probe), where the distance between the nearest pilot and probe also has latency in light minutes.

As such, this would also allow for a Project Daedalus style chaining of relay probes backwards. I suspect that we may need a Daedalus relay to get extra research from interstellar travel,  allowing for the development of interstellar-relevant parts.

TL;DR: Probes that are 'X' light seconds away should take 'X' seconds to control in 'real time'.

* = just subtracting their semi-major axes to get an approximate distance, this ignores differing orbit inclination and Jool's periapsis, since this requires a very specific time, while the 55 billion meter distance happens around once a year, a much more realistic occurrence.

Edited by intelliCom
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It really depends on where you want to draw the line. The point of probes is that they are lightweight and cheaper, allowing for more bang for your buck both monetarily and in terms of dV. In KSP1, the craft itself registers no differently whether or not is it crewed, and only EVA and surface science really distinguish the two gameplay-wise. Way back, I've done complete landing procedures without active connection to the KSC by simply sending the probe instructions in advance, which was challenging. Having crew on board not only removed light lag, but remote probe command became much more important. 

Not to mention KSP is, and has always been, a gateway to the real world of space exploration. Light lag is a MAJOR obstacle to work around in real life, and I firmly believe having it represented would benefit the whole. Tweaking the constant for better gameplay is of course an option. Unless you make it some ridiculous value, the effect will still be present in-game. With colonization being a cornerstone of KSP2, I'm pretty certain the incentives to bring Kerbals around whatever place you want to explore next, which would make the effective nerf to probes easier to swallow.

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1 hour ago, Axelord FTW said:

The point of probes is that they are lightweight and cheaper.

  I've recently been playing a stock campaign, and I've filled the tech tree and gotten 20 million funds almost exclusively with probes. Some exceptions include sending an occasional kerbal to another celestial body (almost exclusively to gain experience, 5 star engineers are VERY valuable with ISRU), or if I need an engineer to repair something. It would be wise to find a way to balance out probes.

1 hour ago, Axelord FTW said:

Light lag is a MAJOR obstacle to work around in real life, and I firmly believe having it represented would benefit the whole.

In that case, would it be wise to basically add the features of a KAL-1000 controller to all the probes, so automation is more possible with actual light lag? (With restrictions applied to different tech levels of probe, of course.) I also hope we can use this to automate rovers. It's a real pain in the ass to sit for hours moving a rover to a new biome, only to get impatient, use physics timewarp, which then attracts the kraken, who destroys all of the rover's wheels. 

Edited by intelliCom
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Light lag would make interstellar missions an exercise in futility- oops, your really expensive interstellar probe got destroyed after a decades-long trip because you started the braking burn 4 seconds late so you arrived at Gurdamma with a periapsis of 10km instead of 100km and couldn’t make the tiny tweak necessary to adjust the trajectory.

I expect the science system in KSP2 to be markedly different than KSP and the overall gameplay strategies will be radically different with colonies etc., so adding light lag would be an unnecessary complication.

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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Just use quantic communication, but as this tech is too advanced you'll need a special part on your vessel aviable in late or middle tech tree.

So you'll only get comm to the KSC, but at full strength and instantaneous and the KSC will serve as relay to communicate with other vessels.

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How many people are in the team at NASA that worked on Perseverance? In KSP you are the 1-person space program, you design, pilot and decide everything going on. Gameplay suffers quite a bit when you try and do things that should really be done by 10+ people, or even by computers instead. When launching a new rocket in KSP, there is a high chance that at least 1 thing is wrong somewhere. The same issues don't happen with real life launches, because there are 100+ people looking over every detail, but a 1-player space program can't do that.

Consider the rocket launches you do in KSP, how many real life rocket launches have been directly controlled by people, instead of relying on the pre-programmed code that has been tested through countless simulations and even some previous real launches? It is silly adding some control delay to a probe that the player should not even be directly controlling in the first place, but it is more fun for gameplay to control it directly.

Giving the player the tools to pre-program landing sequences would be great, but that is arguably less fun gameplay-wise than just giving direct immediate control and saying "the current player input is equivalent to what they would have wanted to program previously". Light delay is real and should have an effect somewhere in the game, but it doesn't make sense locking the player out from controlling the probe just because they should have instead sent that command out hours ago when they didn't realize the problem yet.

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1 hour ago, Blaarkies said:

you are the 1-person space program, you design, pilot and decide everything going on. Gameplay suffers quite a bit when you try and do things that should really be done by 10+ people, or even by computers instead.

    Exactly this. I see arguments for orbital decay, super complex communication systems, and dozens or hundreds of parts that add single functionalities for complete customization, and I wonder whether these people want to play in a team of 20 people designing every aspect of a craft. My personal take is that if you can justify a simplification by chalking it down to the people in mission control back at the KSC, then it is worth it. Players shouldn't have to compensate for orbital decay because the kerbals monitoring the space station are already doing that. Players shouldn't have to add fifty different computing modules to their craft, the engineers who made the pod should have included that in the pod as soon as they had access to the tech. Same with light delay, it is a cool concept, but you can simply claim that the computers back at a colony or the KSC had sent those commands way ahead of time.

    One thing that light delay could impact that the player has control over and won't be annoyed by is science. If science took time to transition between colonies, that would be interesting because colonies in a far-off star system would not have the same access to parts as the Kerbol system, and might need to spend some of their research points to unlock tech nodes that were already unlocked just to get new parts in time for important missions. This doesn't punish the player for uncontrollable (pushing buttons with delay) or easily avoidable (delay ahead of time) things, and also generates interesting gameplay. So, I think that craft should be immediately controllable as long as comms are open the entire way through, but science should spread slowly across the galaxy (maybe even slow enough that colonies could be seriously offset from each other, or make it a difficulty setting to change the speed)

Edited by t_v
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KSP is ill suited for handwavium, and instantaneous comms is just about as sensible as magic. Like I said, it's not so bad within the Kerbol system, where probes could very well simply controlled by hand, but in another system? No.

If you want local control, bring kerbals.

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11 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

In an ideal world, KSP 2 will keep letting players control their probes in real time under the explanation of "it's all preprogrammed". SOL delay can be left to mods.

This is essentially the reason why I proposed a latency penalty. Actually having to wait ages for every input to be applied is crazy, so there should be a time penalty to simulate the sending of new commands to the probe, which apply in real time.

My headcannon is that all the probe cores have A.I. comparable to a Kerbal's intelligence (which isn't that hard to accomplish), and as such, can commit all the thought that a kerbal can. This is obviously restricted without a connection to a human pilot though.

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4 hours ago, Axelord FTW said:

KSP is ill suited for handwavium, and instantaneous comms is just about as sensible as magic. Like I said, it's not so bad within the Kerbol system, where probes could very well simply controlled by hand, but in another system? No.

If you want local control, bring kerbals.

But KSP is a game where you simulate realistic space flight, not a space flight simulator. So some real life headaches like signal delays can be ignored because it's a game, not a simulator. 

Much like how MS Flight simulator is good enough for real pilots to retain their flight skills, but isn't good enough to count to their flight or training time. Only a true certified flight simulator can do that.

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I'm on the side of including speed of light delay but so long as a system of automation or ahead planning is put in place in the form of a VPL like simplerockets has or a maneuver planner like in mechjebs suite. Having a kOS system in place would be nice too but I think that's a bit too much for the general public as a whole.

IMO probes are too powerful as is and there is little reason to bring a kerbal (besides head-canon/challenge/science points). Having them be the access to on the fly maneuver adjustment would make them a lot more useful on a rocket and would make carrying all the extra mass they require worth consideration. Basically once we're flying probes far from kerbin I think probe missions should be planned ahead of time and player automated, not flown with individual key inputs, and kerbals be used for flying by the seat of your pants. If a player doesn't want to deal with speed of light delay then use a kerbal, it's a simple trade off. I don't think this is unreasonable. If a mission planner or VPL can't be included in stock though then I think speed of light delay would be pointless since the real world analog tool wouldn't be there to compensate for the real world analog of the reaction-time debuff.

Edited by mcwaffles2003
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On 1/5/2022 at 5:40 AM, Axelord FTW said:

In an ideal world, KSP2 would include a speed-o'-light signal delay and a true remote guidance unit system like RemoteTech does.

Let's be practical here, let's ignore realism for a moment and focus on the final gameplay the player has access to.

For the example let's pick a game with both kOS and MJ (or whatever programming mod there will be in KSP2) and no signal delay and see what option the player has for a Jool mission:

  1. Manually landing the probe using your flying skill.
  2. Letting the autopilot land the probe using your clicking skill to press the "land there" button
  3. Letting the kOS script land the probe using either your programming skill or just downloading someone else's auto-land script.

Now, what happens if we introduce signal delay? Just one thing, option 1 is no longer available, for the sake of "realism" we just removed more than a third of the gameplay options. 

 

On 1/6/2022 at 3:10 AM, Axelord FTW said:

KSP is ill suited for handwavium, and instantaneous comms is just about as sensible as magic.

Nope, it's just a matter of what position you think the player has, as many people said in this thread a space programs involves thousands of engineers but you're just one player.

Just like a book can be written from either the POV of a single character or can have a omniscient narrator the same goes with KSP, you're not roleplaying a single character, when you fly a probe you see it in third person, not from the view of the cameras you put on board, you're playing as an omniscient narrator, and thus there's no need to have signal delay, when you fly a probe you're interpreting the probe own flying programming, not some flight engineer somewhere in a KSC flying control room.

 

4 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

IMO probes are too powerful as is and there is little reason to bring a kerbal (besides head-canon/challenge/science points).

In KSP1 there's little to no reason to do anything, you can finish the tech tree at KSC by abusing the buildings biomes and maybe a lab, KSP2 is supposed to have a whole lot of new gameplay systems, with progression linked to colony activities the "Kerbal are useless" problem can be reduced to a "Pilot are useless" one, and there's no problem with that, you can just remove the "Pilot class" and introduce the different between fully fledged "Kerbonauts" which are also pilots in addition to being Engineers or Scientists (or whatever other class they can come up with) and "Civilians" which only have a class but can't control a craft.

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^Good points. There are other ways to balance probes and kerbal missions which I deeply hope are part of an updated progression system anyway. The simplest is to discard contracts and allocate more rewards toward boom events that require crewed landings. That’s plenty to incentivize sending at least one kerbal to put a flag in the ground. The class system also probably needs rethinking, as even in KSP1 there was little reason to bring more than one scientist and one engineer anywhere. But the other factor here would be to balance science outputs from probes by making surface samples and EVA reports (please automate the latter) worth much more than other experiments, and make sure that those other experiments max out much earlier. You don’t want to incentivize players grinding away on Kerbin, Minmus, and the Mun anyway because progress will stall and like in KSP1 most players will never go interplanetary. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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12 hours ago, Master39 said:

In KSP1 there's little to no reason to do anything, you can finish the tech tree at KSC by abusing the buildings biomes and maybe a lab, KSP2 is supposed to have a whole lot of new gameplay systems, with progression linked to colony activities the "Kerbal are useless" problem can be reduced to a "Pilot are useless" one, and there's no problem with that, you can just remove the "Pilot class" and introduce the different between fully fledged "Kerbonauts" which are also pilots in addition to being Engineers or Scientists (or whatever other class they can come up with) and "Civilians" which only have a class but can't control a craft.

This play KSP with extraplanetary launch pads mod and the true power of kerbals is unleashed. It lets you set up launch pads on any base you create a bit like KSP2 is supposed to work, yes EPL is kind of easy mode as you don't need an huge base for this, something like moonship could have the capability to build an copy of itself in a month  who is very overpowered. Even KSP 2 is OP here but less so as you will need an decent base to launch stuff. 
Kerbals can also loot stuff or how repair rover contracts work :) 

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21 hours ago, Master39 said:

Now, what happens if we introduce signal delay? Just one thing, option 1 is no longer available, for the sake of "realism" we just removed more than a third of the gameplay options. 

Not if you bring a kerbal pilot, then option 1 is still available.

21 hours ago, Master39 said:

Nope, it's just a matter of what position you think the player has, as many people said in this thread a space programs involves thousands of engineers but you're just one player.

Just like a book can be written from either the POV of a single character or can have a omniscient narrator the same goes with KSP, you're not roleplaying a single character, when you fly a probe you see it in third person, not from the view of the cameras you put on board, you're playing as an omniscient narrator, and thus there's no need to have signal delay, when you fly a probe you're interpreting the probe own flying programming, not some flight engineer somewhere in a KSC flying control room.

This is a fair point and I'm not one personally to stick rigidly to realism over gameplay for realisms sake, but I still find the quirk of including a speed of light delay as a fun mechanic to have to work around. This is just my preference though.

22 hours ago, Master39 said:

In KSP1 there's little to no reason to do anything, you can finish the tech tree at KSC by abusing the buildings biomes and maybe a lab, KSP2 is supposed to have a whole lot of new gameplay systems, with progression linked to colony activities the "Kerbal are useless" problem can be reduced to a "Pilot are useless" one, and there's no problem with that, you can just remove the "Pilot class" and introduce the different between fully fledged "Kerbonauts" which are also pilots in addition to being Engineers or Scientists (or whatever other class they can come up with) and "Civilians" which only have a class but can't control a craft.

This seems more like changing the subject than addressing the point of the argument. To the point you are making, kerbals are simply cargo and no more useful than ore or spare parts. Also, in regards to "there's little to no reason to do anything", that's only if your goal is to fill out the tech tree as opposed to completing missions in career.

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32 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Not if you bring a kerbal pilot, then option 1 is still available.

We were talking probes but still, if you count manned as one of the options you're still just removing 1/4 of the gameplay without adding any significant new gameplay element. 

 

33 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

I still find the quirk of including a speed of light delay as a fun mechanic to have to work around.

If you use an autopilot then the difference is minimal, you just have to plan things beforehand by stacking orders and maneuvers and, since it's on a pre-programmed autopilot, you don't even have to have signal to execute them, just make it so that it's all deployed and safe after everything is in position to send the next programmed actions.

The difference come into play only if you are actually programming your own probe systems, but if that's the level of detail you're into I'm sure it will be no problem to just write a simple function that adds delay given the distance from the nearest crewed mission control station.

 

44 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

This seems more like changing the subject than addressing the point of the argument.

For something to be OP you need a gameplay that has something more than self-imposed challenges. I'm not saying that the only goal is to fill the tech tree, I love to play and roleplay my own space program with my own set of rules, I'm just saying that there's no relevant gameplay loop in which probes are OP compared to crewed missions in KSP, a Kerbal on a seat can go all the way to Eeloo and back, it doesn't weight that much more than a probe core and the difference in weight can be worth it if you consider the Kerbal just another set of scientific experiments. 

 

46 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

To the point you are making, kerbals are simply cargo and no more useful than ore or spare parts.

Spare parts and cargo can't build bases and start a colony, if a Kerbal is useful at the destination you still have a clear reason to bring it with you for the mission and if something like the Commnet is still a thing in KSP2 then a Kerbal pilot is still useful for those missions in which you have occlusion problems or are exploring beyond your Commnet covered area.

 

As I said multiple times in the autopilot thread the core of the game is "Build and fly cool rockets" and it's fun to see how a lot of people can't even see the problem in removing the possibility of manually controlling half of the crafts to replace it with a mandatory use of an autopilot just to slightly increase realism and feel less bad about using an autopilot instead of learning how to manually fly.

If you want that additional bit of realism that Delay provides you can easily roleplay it or mod it in, but if that's stock than the whole game will be designed around not being able to manually control most of the crafts most of the time like in KSP1, making manually flying just an option buried somewhere in an "hardcore options" panel and not one of the main gameplay elements of the game.

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Actually it's the Tracking Station

On 1/5/2022 at 6:40 AM, Axelord FTW said:

In an ideal world, KSP2 would include a speed-o'-light signal delay and a true remote guidance unit system like RemoteTech does. 

No, i want to guide my probes myself. In an ideal world everyone would be happy, and i would not be happy being forced to use something like that. 

But it being a difficulty option, that would work perfectly

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This is really just asking the question “who is the player?”  After all if you have a Kerbal pilot on board what is the player doing? Magic FTL mind control? We’re just a stepping into the roll of operator through POV framing just like you step into Mario’s body, or a whole team of fictional administrators and road engineers in a city builder. There’s really no difference here between ‘magically’ taking the wheel for a kerbal and taking the wheel for a probe. You’re just standing in for its programming. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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RemoteTech (with the delay option enabled) implements signal delay between probes and KSC or the nearest manned "Command Station".  RemoteTech  does allow the player to control Kerbals in the Command Station or elsewhere, as if by instant telepathic communication.

If KSP2 has probes automatically execute maneuver nodes, maybe that could enable signal delay to work with a reasonably simple user interface.  We could set/cancel maneuver nodes only a signal-delay or further in the probe's future.  But then probes could only land by parachute/aero/lithobraking unless there is a system for programming them.

Has anyone used KSP1 RemoteTech's signal-delay option, or seen posts from players who have explained how they get things done using it?

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7 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

This is a fair point and I'm not one personally to stick rigidly to realism over gameplay for realisms sake, but I still find the quirk of including a speed of light delay as a fun mechanic to have to work around. This is just my preference though.

This is what I think determines that people should have the option to control their probes directly without any downsides. Personally, I would be fine if things had to be preprogrammed, but I know a lot of people who would be turned off by the difficulty of creating a working landing script. This is not a problem that can really be circumvented, because there isn't really a way to make the coding system both highly customizable and easy to use. More inputs, outputs and math abilities adds more complexity and having a magic "land this thing" function destroys the whole point of the system. KSP 2 is not going to compromise on the physics, but is going to try to let people experience that physics with as much ease as possible, which means that the average person who has little interest in even simple coding should be able to play the game and not miss out on major parts of it, such as probes. So, if you want the option to have preprogrammed landings, then great and I agree with you, but the option to directly control probes should be kept in, for the rest of the player base. 

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