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KSP2 and the need for speed


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I think that timed boom events are a bad incentive for the use of torch ships, and in general, so I’ll bundle those together.


First, why I think they are bad in general. I think they are too hard to balance and restrict play styles in a bad way. For the balance thing, if you make the dates absolute, then players are either going to be hopelessly behind or hopelessly ahead of schedule, as the time frames that space programs work at are massively variable. If the dates are relative (say, you have 10 years between when you get colony technology and when you should have a colony set up on Duna, or you have 300 days between your first planet in DebDeb and your second), then it keeps the pressure constant throughout the game. I know for some people that sounds fine and meshes well into their play style, but for me, I take things slowly and dedicate a lot of time to making really good, efficient missions as opposed to ones that get places fast, and I don’t like micromanaging five or six different active missions. And you cannot just choose to ignore it; boom events are by their nature supposed to be good enough to warrant an effort to get, therefore players will be under pressure to get them. I’d like boom events to be more like golden ages in Civ, where either good management or important actions trigger them. Instead of “you get double resource extraction for the next 6 months if you make a colony on Tylo by year 20,” I’d like it to be “you get double resource extraction for 6 months when you make your first colony on Tylo”

And for why it is bad in the torch ship stage, the same thing applies. If the dates are absolute, you are either going to hit your goals or not, and if the dates are relative, torch ships are literally the fastest mode of transportation available within systems, so either the balance will make it impossible with other engines or trivially easy with torch ships. 

I like the sensitive resources side, because it will continue being a valid motivator for the entire end game, but I still think that the incentive of having the power to go anywhere at any time is enough. 

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Yeah I think thats all valid, but I would suggest setting these dates actually isn't as hard as it seems. You can build them around transfer windows + standard optimal efficiency hohmann transfer + 100 days to accommodate slightly sub-optimal transfers. So the first Duna window is on day 236, + 258 days in transit, plus a buffer of 100 days has your first flight arriving pretty close to Year 2 day 170. The next window doesn't open until year 3 day 310, plus 258 plus 100 days would give you a second window due-date of year 4 day 242. The World Firsts then could be: First probe landed on Duna: Year 2 day 170, and First Kerbal landed on Duna: Year 4 day 150. Each planet could have 3 sets of world first for probe exploration, crewed exploration, and colony established based on their first 3 windows, with more generous allowances for places like Jool with long transits. They're also just bonuses, if you miss them for this or that body you're only losing out on maybe 20% of the reward. They don't need to be strict, just something to discourage making a very small self-sufficient colony and just warping for 20 years to pile up resources rather than steadily building and growing more capacity over time. 
 

I also think sensitive and depletable resources are important, especially LS, but if they’re constantly being produced by non-depletable resources in the ground their decay/consumption rate doesn’t mean much in a lot of situations. Having something pervasive and anchored in real time would prevent a number of exploits. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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I have an excellent idea about what makes torch drives so attractive. And it's not some overly-convoluted resource that has wacky handling restrictions or needs to be processed somewhere other than where it was mined. None of that.
That's a good thing, because that kind of stuff tends to be counterintuitive to the point that most people will just look it up rather than learn it themselves.

OK, on to the PERFECTLY NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF INTERPLANETARY LOGISTICS that makes torch drives worth using.

Here's the conditions you find that need solving:
You want a given rate (aka throughput) of a certain resource to move from say Eeloo to Jool. OK, that's fine, build a ship using any old propulsion system and send it on it's way, problem solved because we can just time-warp, right? WRONG!
Sometimes they're on the opposite sides of Kerbol. Sometimes they're practically right next to each other, in a celestial sense.
That's a pretty wide variability of journey times, isn't it?
Yes it is. And that's a problem that needs solving.

OK, but why does that mean going faster is better? Well. think of it like this:
You have "a few" ships on the supply route.
You can think of that like making a "conveyor belt" stretched between A and B, but the problem is that it's also basically a bungee cord.
It's "stretchy" because the time it takes to get from A to B varies, yet the cargo capacity does not.
Just like a bungee cord, when you stretch it, it gets thinner. In this case, that means that the further the supply route has to travel, the lower the throughput becomes, because you have different amounts of time taken to transport the same amount of "stuff".

On to the solutions. There are at least two good options to combat this throughput reduction with range:
1. You can put more ships on the supply route.
2. You can re-design the ships you already have on the supply route, with new propulsion systems, so that they can sustain a higher average speed over the distance involved. And this right here is what the torch drives do. Since they're also quite efficient, they do so without using ALL the fuel.

Putting more ships on the supply route is the obvious solution, and while it's effective, it's also wasteful in a way. The problem is that if you have enough ships in transit to meet the throughput demand when A and B are furthest apart, you have FAR TOO MANY plying the space lanes when they're close together.

That's why the ideal solution is to keep the number of ships constant (at a lower number probably determined by some calculation that I don't have figured out or in front of me right now), and instead replace the slow ships with faster ships whenever the opportunity arises.

Making the ships go faster does one of two things. Either it allows you to use less ships to transport the same amount of resources, or it lets you use the same amount of ships to transport resources at a faster rate. Or I suppose you could strike a balance, if you want, but the idea is that it always increases capability.

 

And I did all that without even considering what kind of special handling requirements any potential type of cargo could have. See? You don't need a "special" reason to go faster. Just going faster is reason enough itself, when you consider it alongside the other factors of interplanetary logistics.

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Considering that youre dealing with realisitic interplanetary distances and speeds, interstellar travel takes years if not decades, having to wait a year for you to be able to transport some resources I doubt would be considered much time

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Yes but the time isn't what matters in my example, it's the RATE.
Rate of resources transported decreases as travel time increases, if you hold the number of ships and the maximum velocity of those ships constant.

I didn't want to get into the math on this, but you've forced my hand. So, allow me to explain why speed matters:

Say you have a colony that needs.... let's say 50 units of Oxygen per (in-game) day to keep it's life support systems running (just an example, I have no idea how life support works, but it's the first example that came to mind where there's an obvious "bad things happen" if you don't meet the minimum threshold).

OK, you think, no problem, I'll send a lot of oxygen at once so I don't have to send so many small supply ships. 10k sounds like a lot since we're only using 50 per day, you think.
So you set up a colony supply route from one of my other colonies (say on Laythe) that supplies 50 units of oxygen per day, in batches of 10k units at a time.
Now we have a time constraint. A new shipment of Oxygen must arrive at least every 200 in-game days, in order to maintain the !RATE! of 50 Oxygen supplied per day.
Let's say you created this supply route when A and B were on the same side of Kerbol, and enough time has passed that the two planets are now on the opposite side of Kerbol from each other.

Well, let's say that when you set up the supply route you built 3 ships to use that route, and were sending one every 190 days (to give some safety margin).
Now that the planets are on the other side of the star from each other, the journey is taking much, much longer than 190 days.

Let's say it's now taking 600 days for any one ship to cross that distance.
Guess what? You don't have enough ships to keep that supply chain's !RATE OF TRANSPORTED REOSURCES! above the minimum anymore.
So your colony runs out of life support.

OK, now let's turn the clock back some. Say you catch the problem in time.
What would you rather do?
Spend the resources to build say 20 more ships to put on that route, and not change anything?
Or would you rather design a new supply vessel that can still transport 10k Oxygen, but now thanks to the torch drive even when A and B are the furthest apart they will ever be, it only takes FIFTY days for the vessel to make a round-trip, instead of 190. Oh and it uses less fuel to do that, even if it is a harder fuel to manufacture or it needs a more rare resource.

Now if you keep the same number of ships (3), and they each take 50 days to make a round trip, I'm sure you can see how that's a much higher rate of resources transported, right?

Time only matters as a variable, it's not a PRIMARY constraint. The PRIMARY constraint is the rate you want to transport resources at. But because the rate has time as a factor, time is a (secondary) factor, you see?

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19 minutes ago, SciMan said:

And I did all that without even considering what kind of special handling requirements any potential type of cargo could have. See? You don't need a "special" reason to go faster. Just going faster is reason enough itself, when you consider it alongside the other factors of interplanetary logistics.

All true and good points, but it still leaves the question: if you can time-warp endlessly without consequence what is the need to increase throughput to begin with?

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If you want to increase the size of your colony and it's not self-sufficient, it's gonna need resources from somewhere, at a given rate.
EDIT 2: That need is not going to go away just because you go into max time warp. See, it's an IN-GAME need for a rate of resources, since it's "what you need to keep the lights on in the colony", not the "extra" you need to start building ships from that colony.
: END EDIT 2

Time warp doesn't matter if both things that care about resources are locked to the same time clock, which is the case when both things are in-game

EDIT: I suppose if it were TRULY "without consequence", it wouldn't matter. But they're not going to compensate you with free resources to offset your bad decisions, so in fact there ARE consequences.
: END EDIT

I've taken the player out of the equation.
Generally, a bigger colony needs a bigger rate of resources, especially when considering life support resources.
So to support a larger (not self-sufficient) colony, you need either more ships, or faster ships.

Torch drives give you faster ships. I believe that to encourage use of torch drives, the game will make "add more ships to the supply line" expensive (as in each ship will cost a lot of resources to build no matter what propulsion technology they use), and "build faster ships with torch drives" not so expensive (the torch drives won't be fantastically expensive in terms of resources, because that would make them so heavy that they're no longer good drives).

Edited by SciMan
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3 minutes ago, SciMan said:

If you want to increase the size of your colony and it's not self-sufficient, it's gonna need resources from somewhere, at a given rate.
time warp doesn't matter if both things that care about resources are locked to the same time clock, which is the case when both things are in-game.
I've taken the player out of the equation.

I agree with you that larger colonies with larger populations would need more resources, but why do you need larger colonies? I would say hopefully because bigger populations can gather more resources more quickly, but what is the point of gathering resources faster when I could just build a very small colony with very small throughput and time-warp to the same effect? This general dilemma posed by time warp is the reason I feel like you still need a kind of 'master clock' granting rewards for building up and exploring more quickly that can't be accessed any other way. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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I can't answer the "why not just time warp" question in a way that is satisfactory to me.

However, while I can't explain it well, something about that question seems... wrong.
Wrong like you're asking the wrong question, or expecting me to answer a certain way.

The baseline answer I can think of is "because that's not realistic".

Perhaps the developers would put a maximum constraint on how long it takes to build a ship, and if you exceed that maximum, you can't build the ship because it would take too long.
However that only works to be a specific "don't do that" mechanic for that specific play style, and I don't like that. That's why I say I can't answer the question satisfactorily.

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Oh it's a hard question, because it's about the psychology of playing games. In my time tinkering with invented card and tabletop games I often come into it with an idea about how people should play, only to realize in testing that 'they aren't playing it right'. But that's usually a lesson to me that I can't necessarily predict how other players are going to prioritize things, and if I leave a glaring exploit or hole in the game-loop that gets them what the want more easily they'll just do that. Sometimes that leads to wild new unexpected kinds of play, but more often it leads to 1-solution-fits-all gaming with low strategic diversity that becomes boring very quickly. The trick is to create a big plate of strategic forks where players can do X or Y and yield more or less or a different kind of reward and then carefully balance that plate so many smart people will find many different avenues to success.

In a couple of dev videos Nate has said some version of "We can't come up with any better motivation for players than the unknown." By that I would assume he means players teching up to interstellar travel and finding and exploring new systems and all the cool new planets they've designed there. And I think thats right! But as we saw in KSP1 even though there was a whole system of planets very few players were compelled by the day-to-day structure of career mode to get them much farther than the Mun or Minmus. There were lots of reasons for that, but chief among them was a stodgy, incomplete game loop. To design a truly great game you've got to keep players yearning for the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing after that, and there has to be a reason why you don't just skip a bunch of steps. Say the last thing is "Discovering all the planets", and the second to last thing is "Completing the tech tree", and the third to last thing is "Building big colonies". The connection between the last and the second to last is obvious, but what does building big colonies have to do with completing the tech tree? Do you need more kerbals to do more research? Or mine and process exotic resources faster? As I asked in the beginning why wouldn't a player just build a very small colony and time-warp to achieve these things? For me that would require some rare reward for doing things in 2 or 5 years rather than time-warping for 20 or 30. Say you needed bigger populations to unlock certain tech--perhaps if you beat the world-first date for this or that exploration goal your population boom would be 10 or 20% higher, allowing you to unlock tech not just in less in-game time but also with less work for the player--if you were clever. If you already want to explore Duna in order to increase your population and unlock some tech but you could get even more for the same task if you do it by mid-year 2 you might be incentivized to think carefully about throughput rates and progression tempo, rather than just time-warping a heap of low-tech resources. Or as t_v suggested you could chose to take your time, do one-off missions and skip the 20% bonus for most planets. That's just a gameplay fork--a strategic decision that increases rather than decreases playstyle diversity. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Friendly reminder that torchships are literally the endgame technology, perhaps one that requires some very exotic, hard to obtain materials. Just like mH tech requires metals able to withstand 6000K heat. At that point you don't do things because you have to, or because the game requires you moving at ludicrous speeds for whatever gameplay reason, you do it because you want to. I don't know how this discussion ended up this long when the answer is that simple. Or are y'all going to call it the second most pointless part, right after the infamous rockomax micronode, only because it has no practical use?

Man, KSP1 and the need for ladders, don't need those, I can just jump to the pod, and at no point in the career there's a use for them.

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From the vibes I got, it sounds like there's going to be many different torch ship types with there own quirks, it seems odd to have a lot of development and work going into something that's just a gimmick and serves minimal gameplay function. Having a switch from the timespan of days now matter compared to the previous timespan of years seems like a really interesting gameplay shift and itd seem odd for the devs to not do anything there. While torchships may increase throughput, I doubt resource trade throughput would require too high of values considering torch ships are endgame and colonies are presumably going to be something you start relatively early on. Besides its not hard to just make bigger rockets/launch them more often. 

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Has anyone considered that you may unlock the small scale torch drives before you unlock the engines for the interstellar ships? It would make sense to start small and upscale the after a certain amount of time and resources are applied to it.

It would move them more to a mid to late game engine before you go interstellar. 

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Well, what makes speed appealing in real life? Convenience. As people (and perhaps kerbals) are willing to pay for speed, and fast delivery helps reputation, perhaps you simply get rewarded better the faster you make a trip.

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14 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

First probe landed on Duna: Year 2 day 170, and First Kerbal landed on Duna: Year 4 day 150.

This illustrates the problem I pointed out very well. Picture this: a player starts off their game by doing atmospheric flight tests and taking things slow, putting up relay networks around Kerbin, Mun, and Minmus, launching iterations of rockets before sending Kerbals for the first time. Suddenly, they realize they have missed the probe landing window, and they don’t have the tech for a crewed landing, so they rush to land some probes on the next window, and they miss the crewed landing, but they now have the tech for it. They then launch a crewed landing, getting the tech for a small outpost but missing the colony goal. Now, they don’t have the tech that they would have gotten from the colony, which they need for the next milestone… And making it more lenient just means that some people will be tens or hundreds of transfer windows ahead of schedule, making that gameplay loop meaningless for them. They should not be rewarded for expediency by effectively not having to make those priority decisions that got them there.

7 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Sometimes that leads to wild new unexpected kinds of play, but more often it leads to 1-solution-fits-all gaming with low strategic diversity that becomes boring very quickly.

This is why I find the times milestones problematic - sure, it gets people to build bigger colonies, but it also only does that if they play in a specific way, which might not appeal to them. Does it matter if someone timewarps 20 years if they are still going to build giant colonies? I’ve timewarped 20 years to get a really nice gravity assist window, and I don’t want to be punished for that for the rest of the game. There are better ways to ensure that people progress. 

8 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

why wouldn't a player just build a very small colony and time-warp to achieve these things? For me that would require some rare reward for doing things in 2 or 5 years

You mentioned earlier that visiting elk the planets and finishing the tech tree are linked. This goes both ways - players should visit at least one other solar system than the Kerbol system to make it to the end of the game. Small colonies simply can’t field the resources or the space to build interstellar class vehicles, no matter how long you wait. You need more storage tanks for resources, a bigger VAB/OAB, more reach to get exotic resources, which means more kerbals to staff the colony and fly the missions… whoops, you have a big colony.
 

Even beyond big colonies being required to progress, you don’t need to add time into the equation to incentivize players to get progressing. Boom events can be triggered by, for example, having a colony of over 100 kerbals orbiting Jool, which itself requires a huge amount of infrastructure around it. You make your progression of landings and colonies, and then who cares if the player does it in 10 years or 100? At least they aren’t timewarping with a tiny colony. The player has the same amount of gameplay, the same amount of missions for the same infrastructure, but is free to play the way they want, seeing a long mission through before starting the next one, or launching multiple to grab those early windows, or even waiting for the perfect moment to launch a very elegant mission.
 

Milestones already get players to progress, without being time gated, and colony progression is already intrinsically linked with tech progression and exploration progression. You just can’t go far without colonies, lots of them and big ones at that. 

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4 hours ago, t_v said:

This illustrates the problem I pointed out very well. Picture this: a player starts off their game by doing atmospheric flight tests and taking things slow, putting up relay networks around Kerbin, Mun, and Minmus, launching iterations of rockets before sending Kerbals for the first time. Suddenly, they realize they have missed the probe landing window, and they don’t have the tech for a crewed landing, so they rush to land some probes on the next window, and they miss the crewed landing, but they now have the tech for it. They then launch a crewed landing, getting the tech for a small outpost but missing the colony goal. Now, they don’t have the tech that they would have gotten from the colony, which they need for the next milestone… And making it more lenient just means that some people will be tens or hundreds of transfer windows ahead of schedule, making that gameplay loop meaningless for them. They should not be rewarded for expediency by effectively not having to make those priority decisions that got them there.

I think given how short missions to Minmus and the Mun are in-game compared to the spaces between launch windows theres no real danger of missing interplanetary missions. In fact I might even suggest research or construction times to deliberately space them out, because otherwise players are likely to get bogged down in grindy, repetitive local missions out of the gate rather than pushing out to interplanetary missions. These scales are driven by regular intervals between different windows and typical transit durations, and you’re not going to see players hundreds of windows apart. However…

4 hours ago, t_v said:

This is why I find the times milestones problematic - sure, it gets people to build bigger colonies, but it also only does that if they play in a specific way, which might not appeal to them. Does it matter if someone timewarps 20 years if they are still going to build giant colonies? I’ve timewarped 20 years to get a really nice gravity assist window, and I don’t want to be punished for that for the rest of the game. There are better ways to ensure that people progress. 

This is persuasive. It may be a niche kind of play but I wouldn’t want to cut players off from it. 

4 hours ago, t_v said:

Even beyond big colonies being required to progress, you don’t need to add time into the equation to incentivize players to get progressing. Boom events can be triggered by, for example, having a colony of over 100 kerbals orbiting Jool, which itself requires a huge amount of infrastructure around it. You make your progression of landings and colonies, and then who cares if the player does it in 10 years or 100? At least they aren’t timewarping with a tiny colony. The player has the same amount of gameplay, the same amount of missions for the same infrastructure, but is free to play the way they want, seeing a long mission through before starting the next one, or launching multiple to grab those early windows, or even waiting for the perfect moment to launch a very elegant mission.

And this is very persuasive. I might argue around the edges that a time-based bonuses of 10 or 20% would reward some players for growing quickly and increasing capacity, and wouldn’t prevent other players from playing slowly for personal/strategic reasons, but I agree they aren’t absolutely necessary to solve the fundamental problem.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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On 8/1/2022 at 11:08 PM, shdwlrd said:

Has anyone considered that you may unlock the small scale torch drives before you unlock the engines for the interstellar ships? It would make sense to start small and upscale the after a certain amount of time and resources are applied to it.

It would move them more to a mid to late game engine before you go interstellar. 

I was also operating under the assumption that torch engines (EDIT: And not necessarily only the small ones, it could be the case that you can get even the biggest and best torch drives long before you get truly interstellar capable drives, but the largest and best torch drives might be useful to send a few "prospecting" type probes to other stars to see which ones have the stuff you want to build your colonies near) would usually become available to the player before true interstellar engines.
That's why I was using the example of traveling between the most distant planets in the Kerbol solar system (a cargo of Oxygen or Oxidizer from Laythe to Eeloo, but with Jool and Eeloo at opposition with respect to Kerbol).

After all, "going fast from planet to planet quickly" type torch engines have specific impulse that is terrifically high, but still a few orders of magnitude below what is required to truly go interstellar.

Now, yes, you could go interstellar with a torch drive, if you don't mind waiting a really long time for the transit to happen.

However, that's not realistic. Even spending 10y on a ship with a crew large enough to start a colony around another star requires solving other problems (such as how to adapt humans to microgravity and the higher radiation environment of deep space, and how to create a truly closed-loop life support system that not only regenerates oxygen to breathe but also provides food for as long as it has its power needs and waste heat removal needs satisfied), but the alternative to going "Fast" using "proper" interstellar-capable drives, is using torch drives and going slower. Like, a lot slower. As in, "takes over 100 years to get there" kind of slower. This would require the construction of truly incomprehensibly large vessels called "Generation Ships" that are so large that they can support a whole civilization inside them. They're called Generation ships because the trip takes so long that multiple generations of crew will live and die on the ship in-transit. This causes severe social problems, like how do you keep the crew dedicated to the primary tasks critical to the success of the mission, namely keeping the ship running, keeping in constant communication with the home planet, and building a colony (either in space or on the surface of a suitable planet, depending on circumstances) once they reach the destination.
As we know, over the course of just 100 years human civilization has changed DRAMATICALLY (mostly for the better). But the problem is that that's exactly what you DON'T want to happen inside a generation ship, because it leads to the extremely highly likelihood that the population inside decides that they don't want to do what the mission was intended to do, for some reason or another that I don't have the knowledge of societal progression to understand.

Personally, I think the propulsion problem is the much more approachable problem to solve.

At least with rocket science, for at least 50 years things have been able to be reduced to a bunch of (possibly complex) math equations with precise, repeatable results.
We can't do that with our own society yet, largely because you can't rely on everyone to be a "reasonable person" 100% of the time. Sometimes we make our decisions with our feelings instead of our logic, and that makes our actions unpredictable on large time scales (at least so far).

However, building a torch drive is something humanity has at least one design for that could have work started on building it TOMORROW, given enough societal will to do so.
I'm talking about the Orion Drive of course, and while you might not call it a "Torch drive" per se, the versions that run mostly on fusion energy (with only a really tiny fission explosion used to start each shaped-charge pulse unit (and yes those are a thing, you can in fact bias the direction that a thermonuclear explosion will exert the most force)) are of rather high specific impulse and you can even add a magnetic field to be used as a pusher plate or nozzle for even greater efficiency.
The thing that makes it a torch drive is that at no point is the thrust in any way able to be considered "low". Orion drives actually work best IN atmosphere, because that increases the amount of reaction mass hitting the pusher plate.

But that aside, other types of Torch drive are available at least in theory. Such as the nuclear salt water rocket. Which is basically what happens when someone crazy says "What happens if the explosion of an Orion drive was continuous instead of intermittent?".
Yes, it's a continuously-detonating nuclear fireball propelling your ship. Materials science is not yet advanced enough to contain such a thing, and the currently going estimates are that we'll never get to that point. But there's nothing in the laws of physics that expressly forbids such a drive from existing, and they offer say 500k seconds ISP and meganewtons of thrust at the same time, using only water with a bit of dissolved (enriched) uranium-235 in it. So technically it's the final evolution of the "steam rocket", in the same way that a pressurized water fission reactor or boiling water fission reactor is the final evolution of the steam boiler.

So in closing, I'd much rather solve the propulsion problem to reduce travel time, because the alternative is to somehow create a utopian society, and if I know anything about those, it's that there's no such thing as a universal utopian society, they're all every one of them only a utopia for some, for the rest they're very much a dystopia.

Edited by SciMan
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1 hour ago, SciMan said:

I was also operating under the assumption that torch engines (EDIT: And not necessarily only the small ones, it could be the case that you can get even the biggest and best torch drives long before you get truly interstellar capable drives, but the largest and best torch drives might be useful to send a few "prospecting" type probes to other stars to see which ones have the stuff you want to build your colonies near) would usually become available to the player before true interstellar engines

It has been confirmed that the true high-thrust, super-high isp torch drives will come after interstellar travel. The only baristochrone trajectories that will be happening before that will be with ultra-low-thrust vessels. 

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On 7/30/2022 at 12:39 PM, intelliCom said:

This is a very good point to bring up. What reason should the player have to go faster than they need to if timewarp is a thing?
It has to be defined by something time-sensitive, which could be a contract, life support, or a decaying resource. Maybe all three. Will be interested to see what the reason is when and if KSP 2 comes out.

Well one issue in KSP 1 is that if you do stuff around planets or moons the game time goes pretty slow so one year take perhaps weeks of playing this makes interplanetary missions pretty drawn out missions.  
Having played with orion pulse nuclear mods this helps a lot as you have an ship with say 30 Km/s dV you can move much faster. 

And as orion pulse nuclear is confirmed in KSP 2 its something I will take advantage off in KSP 2. Now automated supply rotes might increase the speed of the game a bit. Lots of my KSP 1 missions is fuel run from Minus down to LKO
Then you get even better engines :) 

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7 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Well one issue in KSP 1 is that if you do stuff around planets or moons the game time goes pretty slow so one year take perhaps weeks of playing this makes interplanetary missions pretty drawn out missions.  
Having played with orion pulse nuclear mods this helps a lot as you have an ship with say 30 Km/s dV you can move much faster. 

And as orion pulse nuclear is confirmed in KSP 2 its something I will take advantage off in KSP 2. Now automated supply rotes might increase the speed of the game a bit. Lots of my KSP 1 missions is fuel run from Minus down to LKO
Then you get even better engines :) 

Hey, there's a time-sensitive resource; isotopic material with a short half-life. If you spend too long performing interstellar travel, such material would decay too quickly to be useful.

But if you were to exploit the effects of approaching the speed of light, a ship could experience going from one solar system to another in a matter of minutes (but, of course, since it's the speed of light, they actually take a few years to reach the destination)

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On 8/2/2022 at 1:03 AM, Pthigrivi said:

I agree with you that larger colonies with larger populations would need more resources, but why do you need larger colonies? I would say hopefully because bigger populations can gather more resources more quickly, but what is the point of gathering resources faster when I could just build a very small colony with very small throughput and time-warp to the same effect? This general dilemma posed by time warp is the reason I feel like you still need a kind of 'master clock' granting rewards for building up and exploring more quickly that can't be accessed any other way. 

Well you need larger colonies to build large stuff like fuel for touch ships :) 
Some random ideas, Dress or Ike has higher enriched uranium because some interstellar asteroid crashed there 64 million years ago spit out of an system starting forming. 
Some indication that Jool is important for the huge fusion drive, say you need to farm H3 from its atmosphere. 

And I can not be the only one who saw that clip with the starship, first thought was: Epic, second was: Musk this is an starship, you are building an very heavy lift rocket who is fully reusable. 
Or the holy grail of rocketry and the thing who let us build stuff to make interstellar crafts. 
And as an fridge moment thought, yes like this but with 1+8 asparagus. 

Then its power, generating metallic hydrogen will eat power as crazy, now it does not work for us but kerbals live in an universe there gravity is 10 time stronger, speed of light can not be measured over interstellar distances and Planck time is milliseconds. 
Still how much power do you want? All of it obviously. 
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1200/fv01163.htm

Edited by magnemoe
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That's another thing. What about antimatter? No it doesn't decay, but guess where the best place to make it is (no, not harvest it, we need far too much of it to be harvesting it)?

Nope! It's not Jool. That's where you'd go if you wanted to harvest it tho, the Jool radiation belts are chock full of antimatter. Might be enough for early antimatter drives that just use the antimatter to get a fusion reaction started tho.

No, you need to go deeper into a much larger gravity well than Jool's. That's right, I'm talking about low orbit around a star. Why? Power. You need SO MUCH POWER to make antimatter. It makes making metallic hydrogen look like child's play, cause you're literally running E=MC2 in reverse, and C2 is a terrifically large number to have as the denominator of your fraction.

So, you go to low orbit around a star (like Kerbol) to get power. What kind of power? Solar power, of course. Now, I suppose in an indirect fashion it's really fusion power, but that's just me being pedantic.

Anyways, what do you do with all this power? You use it to run a very large particle collider. And by large, I mean "20 thousand kilometers might be on the small side".
We're in orbit remember? There's very little need for structure when you don't have to worry about gravity, so your structures can become truly massive in scale.
If in KSP 2, the structures would be each counted as their own orbital "colony", operating automatically and unmanned, dedicated solely to the purpose of creating antimatter. No crew needed, nor would any sane person want to visit such a place, not only is the solar particle radiation flux far too high to allow crew to live there long-term, there is the constant (small) danger of high-energy particles escaping the beam-line, and the far more present danger of an antimatter containment failure.

And no, you don't stop at just one of those. In fact, you make many such antimatter factory stations in low orbit around the star. Where do you get the material to do this? Probably the nearest possible place. That means Moho. By volume, the excavation needed would make the Mohole look like a pinhole in the earth. We're not worried about any life existing on Moho except ourselves, so strip mining and large-scale solar-powered smelting is the order of the day, with refined metals (in the form of powders or wire suitable for use in a 3d printer) being sent to orbit, where they are manufactured into finished parts before being sent onward to the site of the newest particle accelerator construction site (which is being run remotely from a control center located under the surface of Moho, placed there for radiation protection purposes).

So what do you do with antimatter once you have it safely contained? Well, it's basically pure energy that has taken the form of matter, so you handle it carefully, but what you do is you react it with regular hydrogen and use the resulting energy to push vessels around both the solar system and onward to other stars.

Antimatter would be useful for both interstellar and interplanetary propulsion, as well as being the fuel of choice for lightweight, high power output reactors for ship-board and orbital colony power generation needs.
It would be the last word in both propulsion and power generation, tho in actuality antimatter is not power GENERATION per se, it is a particularly dense means of storing energy.

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19 minutes ago, SciMan said:

you react it with regular hydrogen

technically you can toss anything in there and get pretty much the same efficiency - the protons and electrons and their antimatter counterparts annihilate, some neutrons and anti-neutrons do the same, and the rest decay into protons and electrons and their antimatter counterparts which are then attracted to each other and annihilate. Some will get pushed out of the engine during this process but that will cause them to decay and quickly annihilate. Any excess energy absorbed becomes part of the new particles' energy and is transferred to the radiation produced by annihilation. 

This means that torch-ships can store their fuel in super-dense fashion, using heavy metals for both matter and antimatter fuels, which has the double benefit of much smaller fuel tanks and much more mass gained by siphoning off small portions of the fuel. Also, this means that an antimatter torch ship can use literally anything as fuel without having to convert it, as long as it is possible to introduce it continuously into the reaction chamber. You could touch down on a planet, pick up a rock, and use that rock to fly anywhere else. For me, those benefits make (antimatter) torch ships interesting on their own, and when you add speed...

Edited by t_v
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49 minutes ago, bikhargaya said:

I think that torch ships are just there to show players a new way of traveling between planets, and won't necessarily be there to facilitate a new resource collection. They are at the very end of the tech tree after all. 

Hi, welcome to the forums! Just for future reference, if you want to bring up something that someone else has said, you can press the button that says “quote selection” after selecting something, and it’ll show up in a box like above. Also, if you wanted to comment on that statement, you might have accidentally deleted it.

And if this is pointing out an inconsistency, this isn’t inconsistent. Torch ships require antimatter, not the other way around. The real question would be: if torch ships were there to facilitate a previously unobtainable resource, what is that resource for? If it unlocks a new technology, then should that technology be there to facilitate yet another previously unobtainable resource? The cycle continues, and I think that ending with torch ships instead of a semi-useless resource is a good idea

Alternatively, torch ships could be used to augment the procurement of a late game resource, something that previously was losing 99% of itself, meaning you had to scrape by to get the materials for just one torch ship, and with the added speed could be brought to a processor missing only 60% of its original quantity. I wouldn’t see antimatter being this resource because even though it has a positive feedback loop of decay, this can be almost fully mitigated with near future technology. 

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