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Precision landing pad


Laxez
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I'm getting tired of the narrow view and outright resistance to anything that directly helps the player in game with very difficult tasks like landing. Why can't hand holding type guides be implemented into the game? Why can't anything beyond a tutorial video be added to help the player? Why can't the player have immediate in-situ feedback while doing a difficulty task to help see and correct their errors before it becomes a disaster? 

These types of player aids have been in flight sims for years. Why can't they be added to KSP?

 

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@shdwlrd Probably similar reason why so many people discount the opinion of players (like me) that use MechJeb to automate tedious or precise or difficult tasks.

To them, the answer is "Get gud", and they'll tell you that till they're blue in the face, yet not offer anything actually helpful.
It's a bad intersection of "Gaming culture" and "Learning culture".

I've encountered something like this when seeking help for my depression too.
90% of the time, the people that want to help you (and that's a lot of people) just give you reasons you shouldn't be depressed ("Look at how good your life is!", "Be thankful for what you have!", that kind of thing), not things to actually help you out of the "I'm already depressed" state that you're in.
It's like telling someone that's stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire about how to avoid having a flat tire. How to avoid a bad situation doesn't help when you're already IN said bad situation.
You don't stop being depressed because you don't have any external reasons to be depressed.
Likewise you don't start being good at landings because you have tutorial videos and the like, at least not the kind of tutorial videos that people think of when they think of something that's included in a game (maybe KSP 2 will be different in that regard, maybe not, I have high hopes because of what they've already showed, so I'll give them a chance).

The thing that will ACTUALLY make you better at landing is to be fed more information from the game.
We ARE trying to get NEW people to play KSP, aren't we? If not, why even bother making a sequel?
As much as people in the "manual piloting only" camp might hate it, because they think it de-legitimizes their own struggle to become good at playing KSP, that means making the game easier to approach.

I know that I learned how to land a lot better by watching how MechJeb does it. Now I'm better able to do the job myself, tho because of the penalty of even a single moment of inattention and my own intolerance for failure I still let MechJeb handle it most of the time (but now I'm able to take over from it if it messes up for who knows what reason).

I also use MechJeb's trajectory overlay that lets you see your trajectory while looking at the vessel, not in map view, and it accounts for things like aerodynamic drag and any maneuver nodes you may have set up (for things like a horizontal velocity braking burn or course correction). That right there (the trajectory visualization) is something that has made me even better at landing than I was by just watching MechJeb do it.

Engineering is all about using the minimum amount of stuff (and least complex design) to accomplish the given task.
Believe it or not, when you're talking about a spacecraft, a highly complex guidance system that can handle the tasks you set it is a whole lot LESS complicated (and risky!) than putting a human on board if the only purpose of doing that is to provide guidance to it. Humans aren't even that good of pilots for things like spacecraft, the physics involved are so detached from everyday life that you have to go out of your way to think "Yes, but I'm FLYING, a SPACECRAFT, what does that mean for what I need to do?" every moment, you can't just use your intuition to guide you or you'll go hopelessly off course (until you've been piloting spacecraft for a long time and have FORMED a bit of intuition tailored to piloting a spacecraft, that's the "gud" point of "get gud" that the "gamers" will tell you to become).

Edited by SciMan
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From what I have experienced, it is not Coriolis Force or atmosphere giving raise to the large deviation. It is the issue, that the Orbital View is not in a co-rotating frame - so the point your trajectory points to does not consider the Rotation of the Body. - However this would be something really useful for precision landing. But switching to the Co-Rotating reference frame causes Orbits to look much different (see the ISS trajectory put over the earth map), so I would expect, this would not be well handlebar.

Splitting the Journey into different parts: Ascend to Stable Orbit, Orbit Transfers, Travel to a distant object (potentially with Swing By), Capturing into the other Object (Decelerating, atmospheric Breaking or Capture), Stable Orbit, Descend is for me the key to to make everything manageable. Trying to do this one Step, I agree with @Master39 is setting you up for failure.

However there is currently no tooling to plan such descend.

I would love to have a trajectory feature, that you can define a trajectory, fix it to some point and then get an UI, how far off you are for the trajectory. That would be useful for Planes (having a steady course, and descent rate, and homing features, to center you plane on the runway, executing parabolic flights). Over getting the ascent trajectory right. Up to having the End Point of trajectory in orbit - being able to do an RV with this endpoint, and then starting a descend on a pre-planned trajectory, basically giving the trajectory direction & deviation on the Nav-Ball.

I think this would greatly assist the Player, while being still a challenge, as the Friction, Delta-V, how fast to be on which part would still be for the player to figure out.

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I think there's confusion about what my stance on the matter here is so I'm going to simplify things a bit:

  • Giving players all the tools and tutorial needed to learn how to land by themselves: I agree, whatever works the best.
  • Giving the player QOL tools to help with navigation: Good, no problem with that.
  • Giving the player tools to avoid the tedium and having to periodically fly the same craft over and over: I'm not only Ok with that, I think is a requirement to make colonies playable.
  • Making being able to fly optional in a flying game: Hard no. Why? Because building and flying rockets is the point of the whole game.

It's not a matter of difficulty, "getting gud" or anything else, I'm also very much against stock weapons despite recently spending my time playing a ton of VTOL VR (which incidentally is developed by Bahamuto), it's about KSP2 sticking to its genre and not trying to be something else.

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As far as I can tell, the question is between having indicators to be able to see how you are doing and having assistance so that you can learn from the bot until you get good enough. I think the answer depends on whether a person is able to land reasonably simply or if the landing process is complex enough that indicators alone would not help players learn. Personally, I think that pointing retrograde relative to the surface and performing slight burns and watching the indicator move is simple enough for everyone to grasp. Beyond that, it would help to have a bot do the landing, but since most craft can land rather simply, I think only having the indicator is enough. 

And if players wish to perform more complex landings like the ones Starship does or perhaps even more exotic maneuvers, then that is a burden that they are putting on themselves. The game should help players as much as possible to overcome the challenges in it, but challenges that players create for themselves are too various for the game to properly help with all of them. 

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Thats a great observation @Mahagon. Seems like players could toggle this reference frame and get accurate landing zone information based on whether you had 'orbit' or 'surface' selected?

And @SciMan agreed on the main points about MechJeb, but also Im sorry you've dealt with depression. I have myself and I agree not everyone knows how to talk about it. Hope all is well lately.

On the eternal stock MechJeb question Im sympathetic to @Master39's view that putting it in the stock game could create a crutch that many players never let go of. Im hopeful that just a solid set of tools and tutorials and a forgiving approach to recovery would be enough. Its hard to say though because this board self-selects for players who have probably been at it for many years and thousands of hours and already have about as much practice doing these kinds of difficult maneuvers as anyone can. We may not be the most representational pool of potential players. For that reason Im not wholly against some form of stock autopilot. In fact there are a lot of other applications like longer distance plane and rover treks for which a stock autopilot could be valuable. Maybe there's a compromise in which its a piloting skill that unlocks after players have already had their hand at landing on a few bodies and put a basic colony together? Or maybe it would only work if it was locking on to a manually placed beacon, meaning you had to land in or near that location manually at least once?

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22 hours ago, SciMan said:

It's a bad intersection of "Gaming culture" and "Learning culture".

I know. It just frustrates me to no end. I put examples of situations and possible solutions. And all I get is either learn to do it or useless advise, not other views or options to help the player with that situation. Hence my rant.

22 hours ago, SciMan said:

The thing that will ACTUALLY make you better at landing is to be fed more information from the game.
We ARE trying to get NEW people to play KSP, aren't we? If not, why even bother making a sequel?
As much as people in the "manual piloting only" camp might hate it, because they think it de-legitimizes their own struggle to become good at playing KSP, that means making the game easier to approach.

Well said. This is the clearest explanation of the idea I've been trying to convey.

@Mahagon You are correct, there needs to be tools that help with planning your decent and with landing. Whether it's from orbit or within the atmosphere, these type of tools will help.

@Master39 I've known your position on automation for awhile. But it’s was never automation that I was suggesting. What I was suggesting was, as SciMan said, more information about your situation being given to you. And as Mahagon said, the tools to help plan, and guide you with your decent and landing your craft.

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Like others are saying here, the biggest problem beginners face when doing anything new in KSP, like precision landing, is not lack of fine control over their ships that they need an autopilot to make up for, but lack of information they need to approach a situation without doing a bunch of scary math. The Trajectories mod doesn't automate anything but is absolutely invaluable for the information it provides. With just the Time-to-Impact and Impact Velocity indicators, you have almost everything you need to perform a close-enough suicide burn anywhere you want. I suspect players who learned by watching MechJeb would find that they could learn just fine, maybe even better, if the game just had better tutorials (which we're getting) and flight planning information available. 

The one main advantage of autopilots is the reduction in the tedium of flying dozens of missions to LKO to build up the infrastructure to do anything interesting beyond it. Right now, progression in KSP is like having to replay all the previous levels in a game that you've already beaten, again, before you're allowed to advance to the next one. 
But the delivery route system in KSP2 may actually help eliminate this problem. By using delivery launches to cache resources and production facilities in orbit, players may be able to reach a point where they never have to launch from Kerbin's surface again if they don't want to. As the player's colonies expand outward from Kerbin, there's decreasing need for them to ever retrace their steps.

3 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Maybe there's a compromise in which its a piloting skill that unlocks after players have already had their hand at landing on a few bodies and put a basic colony together? Or maybe it would only work if it was locking on to a manually placed beacon, meaning you had to land in or near that location manually at least once?

I'm hoping for something like this myself. A stock autopilot won't be a crutch so long as its functions are earned over time by the player's manual actions. Launching enough times into orbit unlocks AscentGuidance, manually rendezvousing unlocks InterceptPlotting, manually docking unlocks AutoDock, landing on a pad unlocks DescentGuidance, and so on. These functions could be tied to Kerbal pilot experience (although that may encourage players to grind out training missions so their pilots have all the "skills") or scientific data, e.g. DescentGuidance is unavailable on planets with atmospheres until you've collected atmospheric pressure and composition readings. A slow rollout of autopilot functions over the course of a playthrough can hopefully mitigate tedium without spoiling the game at the same time.

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43 minutes ago, Timmon26 said:

These functions could be tied to Kerbal pilot experience (although that may encourage players to grind out training missions so their pilots have all the "skills") 

Yeah I've long been an advocate for skills applying across your population after being unlocked rather than micromanaging each kerbal's skill level. Once you've gotten up above 50 or so active kerbals touring them around gets old quick. It could be science or specific achievements like 'set up a colony on two bodies' or even hitting offworld population thresholds.

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On 2/16/2022 at 11:26 AM, jastrone said:

without an atmosphere its actually quite easy.  just go into orbit and slow down to zero when you are above your destination. but if you have a larger colony on an atmospheric planet and you are going to need parashutes it might be harder. however maybe you will be able to recover the craft like in ksp 1 or with a rover

That is extremely inefficient, and does not even works often times, as falling straight down to the thicker part of the atmosphere burns a craft a lot easier than a shallow reentry.

 

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On 2/17/2022 at 7:49 PM, shdwlrd said:

I'm getting tired of the narrow view and outright resistance to anything that directly helps the player in game with very difficult tasks like landing. Why can't hand holding type guides be implemented into the game? Why can't anything beyond a tutorial video be added to help the player? Why can't the player have immediate in-situ feedback while doing a difficulty task to help see and correct their errors before it becomes a disaster? 

These types of player aids have been in flight sims for years. Why can't they be added to KSP?

 

They will be added to the game, they are already in the making. Being accessible is one of the core goal of KSP2 and they talked about it quite a bit in one of their yt videos, they are going to make a whole bunch of in game video tutorials even for the most "basic" concepts and are literally testing them on 4 years old and the small parts revealed looked really good.

So don't worry, quality tutorials will be delivered  and veteran can just ignore them.

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As an alternative, have missions where colonists are moved around as supply route missions, which incentivizes big passenger runs for each star system which will be repeated to make sure each star system has experienced kerbals. 

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1 hour ago, MADV said:

They will be added to the game, they are already in the making. Being accessible is one of the core goal of KSP2 and they talked about it quite a bit in one of their yt videos, they are going to make a whole bunch of in game video tutorials even for the most "basic" concepts and are literally testing them on 4 years old and the small parts revealed looked really good.

So don't worry, quality tutorials will be delivered  and veteran can just ignore them.

I already knew about the tutorials. They are great for providing information about a concept and general how-to. So for something like orbital mechanics, Hoffmann transfers, gravity turns they are great.

For something where you have to keep track of multiple variables at the same time with no time to stop and analyze your situation, something more is needed.

Landing is one of those times where you don't have the time to analyze what is happening until you're done. You try analyzing during landing, you will mess something up and either crash out right or struggle to recover and luckily not crash. 

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17 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

Landing is one of those times where you don't have the time to analyze what is happening until you're done. You try analyzing during landing, you will mess something up and either crash out right or struggle to recover and luckily not crash. 

I respectfully disagree. If you can perform a basic gravity turn and get the apoapsis you want by watching it and changing your throttle and pitch, you can also easily figure out what to do when landing if you are provided an indicator. If you want to land further away, pitch up. Closer, pitch down. Left or right, well pitch left or right. These controls are as simple as flying a plane or rocket upwards, and I certainly feel that at least until the last 100 meters or so, I can easily analyze how to land precisely and by the time I am 100 meters from the ground, the problem is not longer being precise but just landing in general, which is already expected of players. The debate seems to be about how complex and unintuitive landing precisely is, and my stance is that it is a very intuitive and simple thing, and needs no autopilot. 

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1 hour ago, t_v said:

The debate seems to be about how complex and unintuitive landing precisely is, and my stance is that it is a very intuitive and simple thing, and needs no autopilot. 

If landing was as simple and intuitive as you claim, everyone will be landing safely first time, every time. I have to reload several times before I land safely, EVERY... SINGLE... TIME!!! So we have completely different experiences with landing.

Now as I said, I'm NOT requesting or advocating for an autoland feature to be added to the stock game. What I'm wanting is meaningful information about your situation to be CLEARLY visible when you land. An example would be separate velocity measurements for your X, Y, and Z axis. The bearing of the prograde marker separate from the actual bearing you're facing. The actual degrees of roll you are compared to the ground. (For landing planes.)

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Sorry for misinterpreting your argument. I rely heavily on the data that you are advocating for to make my landings easy. I know where to find and use this in stock KSP1, but I completely agree that useful landing and general navigation data should be much more accessible and readable In KSP 2. 

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We also now there’s going to be a sort of simulation-like practice mode where you’ll be able to step away from the main game and practice some specific game mechanic, then hop back to where you left off.

Maybe there could still be autopilot, but it’s limited to the practice mode. So you can swap over and ask “show me how to land this craft.” Once you’re feeling comfortable, you can hop back in where you left off, but this time you’ll have to do it yourself.

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MechJeb has a landing helper built into it?  Gotta look into this.  Landing on a pad is not possible, and if it is a requirement of KSP2 then i need to think about buying an unplayable game.

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13 minutes ago, miklkit said:

Landing on a pad is not possible, and if it is a requirement of KSP2 then i need to think about buying an unplayable game.

It's extremely unlikely that that level of precision landing will be required for anything in KSP 2.  There may be bonuses or benefits for dropping something dead smack on the button, but alienating 99% of the player base via difficulty is not something developers typically strive for.

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10 hours ago, miklkit said:

Landing on a pad is not possible, and if it is a requirement of KSP2 then i need to think about buying an unplayable game.

It's quite possible if you're good enough, but mods do help with that type of extreme precision. MJ can't do it, but TCA can. But we are talking about stock, so anything that mods can do isn't helpful.

More than likely there will be a radius that will be considered a valid landing for colonies, very similar to KSP1. The only real reason for that type of extreme precision is when your bases are small enough not to be considered colonies. The closer you land to the base, the quicker and easier you can transfer the resources and personnel between the base and craft. The time savings alone is worth being able to "easily" within a couple hundred meters of a base. 

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I haven't used it in a long time so I could be mistsken, but I believe KER has a 'suicide burn indicator'.   This along with impact point indicators, such as in 'Trajectories' etc.  Should be all the tools we need, along with appropriate tutorials, and of course practice.

The best comparison I can think of IRL... Carrier pilots will train specifically fot hours on the types of aircraft they will be flying to build up familiarity with how it feels, and rehearse  countless landiings.  So that when it 'gets hairy' and they need to react they are prepared.  In KSP we can switch between numerous, very different, types of craft in many strange environnents in a single 'session' .    Practice certainly helps, and is important, but we just won't get that fine tuned familiarity.

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16 hours ago, miklkit said:

MechJeb has a landing helper built into it?

It has but my lord is it inefficient. One of the only times I used it for landing on Duna, well... I would have had enough fuel for return if I didn't use it. It's even worse than docking autopilot.

It may be more useful on atmosphereless bodies but it still uses more fuel than it needs.

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On 2/16/2022 at 11:26 AM, jastrone said:

without an atmosphere its actually quite easy.  just go into orbit and slow down to zero when you are above your destination. but if you have a larger colony on an atmospheric planet and you are going to need parashutes it might be harder. however maybe you will be able to recover the craft like in ksp 1 or with a rover

Having trajectories or mechjeb landing autopilot help here in showing the lading position, looks like trajectories are more accurate however. 
On Minmus I regularly land less than 30 meter from target, yes uses mechjeb for the deorbit burn and start of landing but then switches to manual as mechjeb tend to mess up the landing accuracy. 

One obvious way to avoid the issue is to put wheels on the lander so then you land some hundred meter away you simply drive it to target. 

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One 'trick' I often use is to use landing gear instead of legs.  That way I can not worry about killing all horizontal velicity (as long as I'm pointing the right way).  I can also touch down a bit short and roll towards the target.

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