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Cargo for automated resupply missions


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We need to be able to change the crew composition and cargo for already automated supply route missions. I'm sure other community members can critique or develop this idea further. Thank you!

PS: maybe this is what that icon was for in the VAB

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Totally agree on the crew front.  It would be very useful for staffing colonies with the Kerbals you need.

About cargo though, I'm not sure how this would be done well, because a fuel tanker can't hold uranium (safely), and a uranium carrier can't hold kerosene (at least, not much).  Assuming that the player has to fly each mission once before making it into a supply route, you'll probably have to start a new one for different types of cargo.

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2 hours ago, Ember12 said:

About cargo though, I'm not sure how this would be done well, because a fuel tanker can't hold uranium (safely), and a uranium carrier can't hold kerosene (at least, not much).  Assuming that the player has to fly each mission once before making it into a supply route, you'll probably have to start a new one for different types of cargo.

Maybe if there were a few cargo types: Liquids, Solids, and exotic fuels? That way you could switch between LO2 and LH2 or water; or between metals and uranium; or between MH and Deuterium, but not infinitely. 

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2 hours ago, Ember12 said:

About cargo though, I'm not sure how this would be done well, because a fuel tanker can't hold uranium (safely), and a uranium carrier can't hold kerosene (at least, not much).  Assuming that the player has to fly each mission once before making it into a supply route, you'll probably have to start a new one for different types of cargo.

Standardized containers? Just like RL intermodal shipping where the 20' & 40' containers are the standard.

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If radiation is a thing in the game, then you'll probably need a bunch of shielding for the uranium that is just dead weight for steel. 

Another issue is the mass difference. IRL uranium is heavier than steel, so a ship that can carry a cubic meter of steel wouldn't be able to manage a cubic meter of uranium on the same run (unless it had a lot of extra dV).  The same applies to deuterium and xenon, LH2 and LO2, et cetera.  So in order to have that sort of standardization, you'd have to make all materials of the same type have the same density.

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29 minutes ago, Ember12 said:

If radiation is a thing in the game, then you'll probably need a bunch of shielding for the uranium that is just dead weight for steel. 

Another issue is the mass difference. IRL uranium is heavier than steel, so a ship that can carry a cubic meter of steel wouldn't be able to manage a cubic meter of uranium on the same run (unless it had a lot of extra dV).  The same applies to deuterium and xenon, LH2 and LO2, et cetera.  So in order to have that sort of standardization, you'd have to make all materials of the same type have the same density.

I guess what I mean is from an exterior art standpoint they don't need to look wildly different, you just allocate more of the volume to shielding/structure/magnetic containment, etc. It means a standardized solids container might be able to hold 10t of raw ore, 8t of refined metals, or 5t of enriched uranium, and the dry-mass would be reflected when you switch. Something like that?

Edited by Pthigrivi
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54 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

Cargo also means parts and supplies, not just raw resources.

This is interesting. How would you make that work? Are they small parts stored in inventory or whole subassemblies?

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The standard shipping containers work IRL, I don't see any reason to look elsewhere.

If the think is too heavy there's going to be some empty space, if the thing is too light then it's going to be volume limited, but that's not a problem either way, since the standardisation benefits greatly overcome the slight inefficiencies of the system (that's why it works IRL).

And still it wouldn't forbid you to build more specific crafts anyway, I see the container system being something you unlock with a logistics research past midgame after you have a colony or two up and running.

7 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

This is interesting. How would you make that work? Are they small parts stored in inventory or whole subassemblies?

Why not both, and that too into standard containers it goes.

"Flight 233 from Artemis Spaceport to Horizon Munar Colony leaving now, cargo manifest includes: 2 containers of fuel and oxidizer, 3 containers of food and supplies, 1 container of spare parts, 2 containers of nuclear fuel rods for the reactor and a new exploration rover for the crater basin packed into 2 containers."

 

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Okay, so for different fuels in these containers...

first, you have your base fuel, and you fill up your containers with it

If you have a less dense fuel: you are volume limited, so you just fill up your containers again, but transport less mass

If you have a more dense fuel: you are mass limited, so you just fill up less containers and transport less volume

If you have a fuel that is radioactive, you need to allocate mass for shielding in the containers, so you transport less mass and volume

If you have a fuel that needs to be kept suspended, you need to allocate mass and electric charge for adaptive electromagnets in each container, so less mass and volume of course, but what about the EC requirement? Should the automated system just redesign your ship, swap out a few containers for a reactor, fill a few others with reactor fuel, and then use the remainder of the containers for whatever you were storing? That could work, but if you are handwaving away a redesign of the ship (adding a big reactor requires actually displacing or removing containers) you start running into problems, like what should happen when you land, do you get the reactor back with its fuel, and do you get all your containers back, or are there some that are missing? There are limits to this interchangeability.

35 minutes ago, Master39 said:

since the standardisation benefits greatly overcome the slight inefficiencies of the system (that's why it works IRL).

This is mostly because in regular shipping, the inefficiencies are actually slight. With some of these resources or specific parts, losing 50% or more capacity would not be uncommon, and stuff that requires extra care could only ship 10-20% of what you were originally shipping. Ironically, I see this as a positive in the system. As we have discussed before, just being able to move a slider or tick a different box cuts out gameplay as well as grind, so this massive efficiency loss incentivizes players to fly missions instead of tweak sliders, if they want to have an efficient network. This way, players can prioritize what resources they want delivered efficiently, and what resources they would find grindy to deliver separately. 

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9 minutes ago, t_v said:

If you have a less dense fuel: you are volume limited, so you just fill up your containers again, but transport less mass

If you have a more dense fuel: you are mass limited, so you just fill up less containers and transport less volume

If you have a fuel that is radioactive, you need to allocate mass for shielding in the containers, so you transport less mass and volume

These should be automated, not manually micromanaged, 1 container is a standard unit for every resource, to "certify" or record a new route you'll have a maximum weight test container to use.

 

15 minutes ago, t_v said:

If you have a fuel that needs to be kept suspended, you need to allocate mass and electric charge for adaptive electromagnets in each container, so less mass and volume of course, but what about the EC requirement? Should the automated system just redesign your ship, swap out a few containers for a reactor, fill a few others with reactor fuel, and then use the remainder of the containers for whatever you were storing? That could work, but if you are handwaving away a redesign of the ship (adding a big reactor requires actually displacing or removing containers) you start running into problems, like what should happen when you land, do you get the reactor back with its fuel, and do you get all your containers back, or are there some that are missing? There are limits to this interchangeability.

Having container standardization doesn't mean you only have one single kind of them, powered and unpowered could be a difference, with containers having a maximum power load they can require, you build your powered-container capable ship like you build for mass, you presume they all use the maximum load.

Past a certain amount, if containing a substance requires special condition you can just say "Nope, this substance can't be put into standard containers" as long as it's not everything having weird and exotic requirements.

Swapping out containers for additional ship parts is something I'd put strictly in the "different vessel you have to rerun the route" side of things.

 

20 minutes ago, t_v said:

This is mostly because in regular shipping, the inefficiencies are actually slight. With some of these resources or specific parts, losing 50% or more capacity would not be uncommon, and stuff that requires extra care could only ship 10-20% of what you were originally shipping. Ironically, I see this as a positive in the system. As we have discussed before, just being able to move a slider or tick a different box cuts out gameplay as well as grind, so this massive efficiency loss incentivizes players to fly missions instead of tweak sliders, if they want to have an efficient network. This way, players can prioritize what resources they want delivered efficiently, and what resources they would find grindy to deliver separately. 

Yep, dealing with the inefficiencies is a gameplay loop on its own, you can just bruteforce your supply routes or work 10 times more to make them 20% more efficient, you can just run with your old cargo movers forever or design improvement after improvement for hundred if not thousands of hours.

 You could build a fully reusable cargo lander with standard containers, or just bruteforce the problem away with a solid booster factory and tons of disposable rockets each one carrying a single specific resource.

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Reminder that we've seen parts looking like containers (though not cuboid shaped) on a lander near the end of cinematic trailer.

Second reminder that we probably can just carry fuel in regular tanks (obviously specific for each type).

Edited by The Aziz
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21 minutes ago, Master39 said:

Past a certain amount, if containing a substance requires special condition you can just say "Nope, this substance can't be put into standard containers" as long as it's not everything having weird and exotic requirements.

Swapping out containers for additional ship parts is something I'd put strictly in the "different vessel you have to rerun the route" side of things.

This is what I was hoping for in these kinds of systems, not to be forced to run a mission for every kind of resource, especially when they are similar, but also not cutting out gameplay entirely by just having your one well-designed mission be able to run all the way to the end game. No matter how well you do, there should not be a one-size-fits-all solution to transport, until you have the very last tech nodes unlocked. 
 

 

25 minutes ago, Master39 said:

Yep, dealing with the inefficiencies is a gameplay loop on its own, you can just bruteforce your supply routes or work 10 times more to make them 20% more efficient, you can just run with your old cargo movers forever or design improvement after improvement for hundred if not thousands of hours.

 You could build a fully reusable cargo lander with standard containers, or just bruteforce the problem away with a solid booster factory and tons of disposable rockets each one carrying a single specific resource.

I get that you are picking extreme examples to accentuate the efficiency vs. ease interaction, but I also hope you understand that things are not going to be that extreme. You can run a mission with a reactor on board to increase your efficiency of antimatter shipment by 400%, while putting in, at most, twice the work as just having one mission, although that second mission will likely be a breeze to fly with the new technologies, meaning you get a lot for a little. Same with better iterations of old missions, I’d argue that is good gameplay that really puts in perspective how far you have progressed, and being able to transport new types of resources (and more resources) is a good incentive for that. And for the reusable vs. solid fuel thing, I don’t get why anyone would waste resources like that, why not have a few reusable landers instead, each one specialized for a few different resources? 

Just now, The Aziz said:

Reminder that we've seen parts looking like containers (though not cuboid shaped) on a lander near the end of cinematic trailer.

Second reminder that we probably can just carry fuel in regular tanks (obviously specific for each type).

And we saw them on a rover, meaning that these containers are standardized and can transport different resources while using the same part. I’m happy with that, because I don’t personally like grind. I just hope that things aren’t abstracted to the point where it is trivial to shift resources, and efficiency isn’t impacted. 

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Crossover from the resources thread I always liked the idea of 3-5 tank types with limited fuel switch. So like 1) liquid fuel tanks in fuselages that could be heat shielded, 2) vacuum rated liquid fuel tanks with low dry-mass, 3) solid/resource containers for ores, refined metals, uranium etc. 4) magnetic isolation fuel tanks for MH and Antimatter, and so forth. You could switch within the category but if you wanted to radically repurpose the run you’d need to reconfigure. 

7 hours ago, Master39 said:

Why not both, and that too into standard containers it goes.

Parts seem fine, but how do you imagine unpacking whole subassemblies? Like do you need a orbital construction or local VAB to extract them? 

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7 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

Parts seem fine, but how do you imagine unpacking whole subassemblies? Like do you need a orbital construction or local VAB to extract them? 

Why not? More gameplay! If you have construction times you can have a variable from which it depends, be it part construction or number of available engineers to do the job. If you give to transported crafts an unpacking/reassebly time that's only a fraction of the complete assembly time I can totally see some gameplay strategy emerging from importing sub-assemblies from another colonies to parallelize production make use of a bigger workforce residing there.

Also parts could be even more important if it's not the VAB directly converting the resources in parts, if you have factories, maybe even different kind of factories specializing in different families of parts (maybe using the fictional company name? Rockomax factory, C7 factory and so on).

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On 7/30/2022 at 8:26 PM, The Aziz said:

Reminder that we've seen parts looking like containers (though not cuboid shaped) on a lander near the end of cinematic trailer.

Second reminder that we probably can just carry fuel in regular tanks (obviously specific for each type).

It would be great if those Containers just carried a single resource called Cargo (tonnes) that could be converted to any other resource of the same mass. Like that was the item in the container all along. Almost like someone had thought about prior to sending but also like if you change your mind and revert the flight prior to making a call you could do anything you like. Maybe if you have a skilled Kerbal like a quartermaster any empty cargo bay could be used as a mini-VAB to build things out of the cargo. Like the team didn't build the sub craft there they just unpacked and made it ready. 

Similar Craft should have a Passengers count who each have a baggage allowance. Adding before a tonnage of cargo to the craft overall but also a life support load as well. Once the craft arrives the Passengers spill out and become whatever the base needed. 

 

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7 hours ago, mattinoz said:

It would be great if those Containers just carried a single resource called Cargo (tonnes) that could be converted to any other resource of the same mass. Like that was the item in the container all along. Almost like someone had thought about prior to sending but also like if you change your mind and revert the flight prior to making a call you could do anything you like. Maybe if you have a skilled Kerbal like a quartermaster any empty cargo bay could be used as a mini-VAB to build things out of the cargo. Like the team didn't build the sub craft there they just unpacked and made it ready. 

I’d like there to be different mass conversion rates and different types of Cargo (standard, light, delicate, etc) and so on, but I’ve said that before. If this cargo system were to be implemented, it would need to be limited, or colony placement wouldn’t really matter any more. You would go out to get some MetalOre in a rover and it would get converted to Cargo, which turns all resources into one Resource on surfaces. I’d like to know how you would fix this, personally I’d have a converter module on really big colonies to turn resources into Cargo, and a smaller converter that could turn Cargo back into respective resources and parts. In real life, if you have enough energy, you can print anything you want down to the atomic level, so maybe this would be a similar system. 
 

7 hours ago, mattinoz said:

Similar Craft should have a Passengers count who each have a baggage allowance. Adding before a tonnage of cargo to the craft overall but also a life support load as well. Once the craft arrives the Passengers spill out and become whatever the base needed. 

For passengers, since kerbals are roughly the same, a one size fits all solution might work (although I’d still love for kerbals born on different planets to need different levels of gravity). One thing to note is that we don’t even know if the profession system will exist or be the same as KSP 1, but assuming it has the same basic traits, I’d like to see a system where you can select amounts of each profession, which the sending colony will try to fill, and then an amount of untrained kerbals, which don’t have any profession and can be trained at the next colony. This way, if you have a colony which has 99% engineers, you might choose to supply other colonies with engineers from that one, and pilots, scientists and untrained kerbals from another. 

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