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Life support - a hard or soft limitation?


Vl3d
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Life support - what do you want it to be?  

104 members have voted

  1. 1. Should running out of life support be lethal or non-lethal?

    • Lethal on vehicles
      48
    • Non-lethal on vehicles
      56
    • Lethal on colonies
      47
    • Non-lethal on colonies
      61
  2. 2. What should life support systems take into consideration?

    • Radiation
      67
    • Breathable gas amount
      55
    • Toxic gas concentration
      33
    • Food
      91
    • Water
      71
    • Living space size
      59
    • Temperature
      67
    • Psychological factors (overwork stress, missing home, personality incompatibility)
      38
    • Recycling
      33
    • Electricity
      81
    • Failing systems because of disrepair
      24
    • Gravity (or lack of)
      45
    • Medical problems
      21
    • Other (please comment)
      6
  3. 3. Should kerbals require medical assistance from a new doctor class?

    • Yes
      40
    • No
      64


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The hard limits of space exploration are related to the balance between mass to orbit vs how long life support lasts. There's no way around this in real life.

One thing that has always frustrated me in KSP1 is how easy it is to just send kerbals in space. It takes out a big part of the engineering incentives and messes up game balance.

The lack of life support means arbitrary thoughtless usage of time warp. It means distances and time lose their gameplay value.

Example, not taking Delta-V requirements into account: it's as easy to make a base on Eeloo as it is to make it on the Mun. Come on.. we all know the Moon is hard.. Mars is WAY harder.. Venus is basically float-city or no-no.

I'm personally all for lethal life support requirements and limitations if they're implemented in a way that's not frustrating. Not all missions should succeed, not all crews should survive.

Edited by Vl3d
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I don't think there's any point at this stage in listing the exact requirements we want from a life support system.  I'm certainly interested in seeing what the team has made, and I'm willing to make suggestions for mods after seeing the framework that they'll be building on, but the presence or absence of those requirements you listed isn't as important as the feel of how they're implemented.

Personally, my major requirement is that I want a reason (other than roleplaying) to give my kerbals more than a 1-man pod for a long mission and to build my Mun base differently from my Laythe base and my Eve base.  That might involve many of the requirements you listed in the poll, but I think it could be done with very few of them.

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Personally I would simplify by merging temperature with electricity, food with water, gas management, medical with gravity and psychological (includes living space and personality compatibility).. and creating storage and recycling parts for each category.

But I feel we need to think about:

- radiation

- electricity

- nourishment

- atmosphere

- medical

- repairs

Lethal on vehicles, non-lethal on colonies.

And doctors would be amazing to treat accidents, illness, psychological issues.

I think this system could be simple enough to work in stock.

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This is just a little bit unrelated, but I've never played Kerbalism before.

Now, if KSP 2 gets a Kerbalism analog, there's one aspect of life support I'd really like to see that would make me get Kerbalism right away: The importance of phosphorus and nitrogen, and how limitations in amounts affect the maximum population of a colony. (AKA; "Element Bottlenecks")
It's a very underrated aspect of a lot of science fiction involving space colonies. I guess it would count as "recycling" in the polls.

Edited by intelliCom
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6 hours ago, Vl3d said:

- radiation

- electricity

- nourishment

- atmosphere

- medical

- repairs

Too many smart comments lately. Im out of likes. But yes I think a lot of this could be boiled down. For your headline question I think its mostly been confirmed that the consequences will be soft... Nate saying they don't think time-warping for a year and then finding a ship or colony full of dead kerbals would be fun. I tend to agree, certainly by default. Other than that we'll just have to see what they've built, but I feel pretty strongly that integrating habitation values and something like snacks would be amazing. If it were me I'd build things like O2 and water into the build-cost for habitation units and you'd just need to keep them powered to satisfy habitation requirements. I'd also love to see one primary consumable like 'snacks', with maybe some clever mechanic to extend its usefulness through recycling and ISRU. There's more than one way to go about all that though. There's also that radiation button in the VAB they've shown which might hint at ill-effects from exposing our duders to dangerous engines and materials... though I don't have a strong idea what that might be or how that would work?

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38 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

Nate saying they don't think time-warping for a year and then finding a ship or colony full of dead kerbals would be fun.

For colonies yes non-lethal works because of efficiency penalties. But I'm not sure what penalty kerbals on a vehicle should suffer if they get irradiated or run out of air or nourishment? I think they should die - like it normally happens when the ship crashes or when they're in space with no helmet. You clearly get the message that the kerbal died. So I'm not sure where this new PG "everyone should live" train of thought comes from.

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Well first of all I would like Life Support to be a tied to difficulty setting. Personally I would like my first playthrough to be like a 'normal' KSP1 career. I don't want to mess with life support on my first go as I have never played KSP1 with it.

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1 hour ago, SickSix said:

Well first of all I would like Life Support to be a tied to difficulty setting. Personally I would like my first playthrough to be like a 'normal' KSP1 career. I don't want to mess with life support on my first go as I have never played KSP1 with it.

I think this is exactly why on default normal difficulty permadeath should probably not be the consequence. In fact its best if the LS system has a kind of built-in grace period of 10 or 20 days with no ill-effects so you don't really have to worry about it for the first several missions, and even after that consequences can set in slowly. Say you send your kerbals to an asteroid and its going to take 50 days to get there, but you forgot to pack any snacks. After 15 days without food they start to get cranky and the value of any science they collect starts dropping off at 1%/day (we don't even know if science will be a thing, but just as an example). By the time they got there they'd be pretty grumpy, only collecting 65% of full science value, and by the time they got home they'd be downright miserable at 15%. Once they arrive home or to a station or colony with plenty of snacks their happiness would climb back up, say 5%/day to be nice. After 17 days they'd be hale and healthy and back to %100 capacity. There could similar consequences for lack of habitation space, and similar negative impact on things like mining and research. 

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One of the primary design goals is to allow the player to time warp as they want to allow them to do what they want without having to babysit anything or come back and see all their work destroyed/lost. Of course there will have to be some limits to that (like you probably shouldn't time warp on some far off planet while you are in the middle of landing a craft somewhere, etc.)

As such whatever implementation of life support they may implement will be inline with that goal, so any penalties they have will probably be minor and easily reversible.

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On 8/2/2022 at 9:46 AM, HenryBlatbugIII said:

I don't think there's any point at this stage in listing the exact requirements we want from a life support system.  I'm certainly interested in seeing what the team has made, and I'm willing to make suggestions for mods after seeing the framework that they'll be building on, but the presence or absence of those requirements you listed isn't as important as the feel of how they're implemented.

Personally, my major requirement is that I want a reason (other than roleplaying) to give my kerbals more than a 1-man pod for a long mission and to build my Mun base differently from my Laythe base and my Eve base.  That might involve many of the requirements you listed in the poll, but I think it could be done with very few of them.

Agree, now I like Tac life support, it has food, water and oxygen. On an small ship you simply bring that you need but for an larger crew and longer duration as in interplanetary you want water recycling and co2 scrubbing but its some losses but you need to bring less resources.  With ISRU you get oxygen and water but you need greenhouses for food, greenhouses also consume water so they are only really practical at bases. 

This might be a bit complex for ksp 2 so they might only use one resource. 
Now an colony probably need life support to operate and this is not something who will run out once set up unless you crash an rocket into an greenhouse or an life support module. 

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I think we can combine Food, Water, Recycling, and Electricity into just Electricity (since closed cycle life support shouldn't require any parts outside the habitat modules or else how are you going to fix them cause working in a space suit is in fact super difficult because of the lack of dexterity and the problems with needing high strength because the suit's fighting your every move).
Additionally, we further shouldn't need separate recycling parts because hey guess what more parts means more lag, and if they're not procedural then you'll eventually be needing more than one recycler on your ship or colony.

We can intentionally ignore the fact that things break down over time, just like we can ignore the fact that sometimes rocket engines randomly fail, because "don't play dice with my design decisions", your ship or colony shouldn't fail for a reason outside your control, literally ever. If it does, someone was building a mobile game and trying to find a way to monetize it, not building KSP 2.

Radiation, Gravity, Temperature, Hazardous gas, those are all things that you can't solve by "adding some new part to your ship", instead you might need to combine "adding things" with "changing how the ship is constructed" (don't put monoprop tanks or nuclear reactors next to habitat modules, and make sure you use centrifuges or some other way of creating artificial gravity such as "tumbling pigeon" design).

Oxygen aka "breathable gas" might need to be its own thing, if only because EVA suits might only be capable of holding a very small quantity of it (still enough for an EVA of a few hours duration, but that's about it), and the idea of needing greenhouses to keep the life support going makes a lot of sense.

 

Also I can't really answer the "lethal/non-lethal" question the way I want in the check-boxes provided.

What i want is some combination of the two.

Gross negligence should still be lethal. Say, you designed a vessel with a nuclear-powered rocket motor right next to a habitat module, that should (in short order) kill anyone in that habitat module if that engine is activated, unless a suitably thick (and heavy) layer of radiation shielding is put between the two.
Of course the less massive solution is to simply put the "glowy bits" on the other end of the ship from the "squishy bits".
Additionally, anything that would normally kill a kerbal should still do so, such as subjecting them to the exhaust of a rocket engine, especially if it's nuclear powered. Yes, I'm looking at those of you that want to use that new Mammoth-II as a Kerbal cannon, nobody should be able to survive that because JUST the sound of the rocket engine firing would liquefy your brain (there IS such a thing as "a sound that's so loud it just kills you").

However, a small oversight shouldn't be quite so deadly. Say you forgot to calculate the radiation environment with nearly empty fuel tanks (and you were relying on the fuel in those tanks to provide some of the radiation shielding), This should impair crew function, but it shouldn't be immediately lethal. The crew won't be happy for the duration of the trip spent at this higher radiation environment, and you might only be able to have the "glowy bits" active for short periods at a time to avoid outright (semi-permanently) disabling the crew, but it shouldn't outright kill them.
If that crew does become "semi-permanently disabled" as I was describing, the function of "Medical care" would be solely available at colonies with gravity in a certain range (more than Mun but less than Eve).
There would be no "dedicated doctor-type crew", the fact that the crew becomes part of the population of a colony would be enough to say that you "saved" them.

EDIT:
I guess what I'm saying is that if I'm going to have to deal with a Life Support mechanic, it should punish me if I mess up the DESIGN of the craft or colony, but if I don't mess up then I shouldn't have to pay any attention to it while I'm FLYING the craft or doing things with the colony that aren't specifically about the life support.

Edited by SciMan
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1 hour ago, SciMan said:

Additionally, we further shouldn't need separate recycling parts because hey guess what more parts means more lag, and if they're not procedural then you'll eventually be needing more than one recycler on your ship or colony.

The thing is, I think some people want life support to run out in the early game, so the recyclers can’t just be bundled into the pods, because early game pods still need to be viable in the late game, otherwise those parts are never getting reused. Also, for the more parts thing, this is kind of flawed as you could argue that for many specialized parts (No labs, radiators, SAS parts, RCS engines, etc. they should all be bundled into pods/engines/pods/pods). And if you are worrying about adding a second large recycler to your ship, think about how many extra fuel tank parts that ship takes compared to a ship that only needs one. 
 

1 hour ago, SciMan said:

with gravity in a certain range (more than Mun but less than Eve)

I’m still really hoping that kerbals can be adapted to different G-force ranges based on where they grew up and how quickly their centrifuge rings are spinning, so instead of making it absolute (which by the way, I don’t see why you couldn’t do first aid in 0.1g) why not make it so that a kerbal takes lots of extra time to reestablish if they are outside of their tolerance zone? (And then change the tolerance zone to the place where they recovered)

Actually, since this is an LS thread, why not talk about how I would like gravity to play into LS? Kerbals all have a gravity that they are adapted to, and this (alongside their bravery/stupidity) determines their g-force limits (both upper and lower) as well as their strength. The upper limit is just the standard KSP 1 where Kerbals pass out, and the lower limit is where their strength begins to degrade. If a kerbal is left in 0g or at a gravity lower than their limit, their gravity will slowly decrease to the one that they are experiencing, or down to a minimum if they were in 0g. A kerbal who has gone for years in 0g will pass out during engine burns and while landed on pretty much any celestial body. This isn’t lethal, but it sure reduces their effectiveness. 
 

To get a kerbal’s g-tolerance back up, you simply need to accelerate them, and they will slowly build up tolerance, maybe at a faster rate than they lost it, but large changes certainly cannot be done in just a few days. I’d like the kerbals to not gain tolerance if they are passed out, so you have to ramp up the gravity slowly, but I’m not sure if that would work well in gameplay. I think this is a good mechanic because it affects not only the design of your ships but also the design of your flight paths, the burns you do, and other elements of the game. Additionally, I’d love to see Ovin kerbals (are their last names Ovman or Oviman? Oman?) on a planet like Duna, jumping super high and carrying full tanks of fuel. 

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12 hours ago, SciMan said:

Yes, I'm looking at those of you that want to use that new Mammoth-II as a Kerbal cannon

Hey :mad: 

if it's not science, let it be a sacrifice for the Kraken

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I think if you are going to talk LS look at which moders are part of team, see which systems they built or had a hand in and what that might tell about possible thinking. 
 

the one that comes to mind is Roverdude USI LS which was designed fairly late and reasonably simple and scalable. One exposed resource and waste that was hidden unless you had recycling parts to extend out the supplies. 

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Just now, mattinoz said:

the one that comes to mind is Roverdude USI LS which was designed fairly late and reasonably simple and scalable. One exposed resource and waste that was hidden unless you had recycling parts to extend out the supplies. 

Simple is not a word I'd apply to USI LS.  Scalable, yes, expansive, yes, but not simple.

Simple is something like IFI LS or Snacks

 

Disclaimer:  I'm the current maintainer of IFI LS

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I used to use Snacks for a time. What bothered me there was that estimates for running out of food weren't too close to what was actually happening during the mission. After couple of barely-saved Minmus missions, where my crew went unconscious on the way back every time, despite packing enough snacks for planned duration of the mission, I gave up on the mod, never tried any LS since. Definitely don't want to have tombstones on my ships in KSP2 because the game decides my Kerbals actually eat more than they should.

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1 hour ago, The Aziz said:

I used to use Snacks for a time. What bothered me there was that estimates for running out of food weren't too close to what was actually happening during the mission. After couple of barely-saved Minmus missions, where my crew went unconscious on the way back every time, despite packing enough snacks for planned duration of the mission, I gave up on the mod, never tried any LS since. Definitely don't want to have tombstones on my ships in KSP2 because the game decides my Kerbals actually eat more than they should.

Just so you know, IFI-LS has both a console (available in SpaceCenter, TrackingStation, and Flight) to show ETA on running out of food, as well as a in-editor calculator to help figure out your needs if you are using some of the recycling parts.  And, I've done a lot of work making sure they are accurate.  It's still a beta, but I'm now using it in my career game

Edited by linuxgurugamer
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I like a challenging yet fun game, and am okay with some handwavium in my games. My preference for consumables (breathable air, food, water, etc.) is to only track the usable portion and ignore waste as a resource.

Recycling technologies can add parts that slow down the rate of consumption on a vessel. An advanced CO2 scrubber would decrease air consumption. Greenhouses might slow the rate for air, food, and water.

Early stations should need supply runs. Advanced stations would need fewer resupply missions as more stuff gets recycled. After running a few resupply missions I like the option to automate them in the background to avoid boring repetition.

Radiation should be a factor. Part degradation can be a difficulty option.

Long term radiation on crew is trickier, and I don't want the game to turn into a grim cancer simulator. Kerbals have different biology than humans and maybe after hitting a radiation threshold Kerbals go into a protective hibernation. If the radiation-hibernation crew is recovered on Kerbin perhaps they get medical treatment then retire. That's less dark than having tumor-filled Kerbals.

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14 minutes ago, DeadJohn said:

I like a challenging yet fun game, and am okay with some handwavium in my games. My preference for consumables (breathable air, food, water, etc.) is to only track the usable portion and ignore waste as a resource.

Recycling technologies can add parts that slow down the rate of consumption on a vessel. An advanced CO2 scrubber would decrease air consumption. Greenhouses might slow the rate for air, food, and water.

Early stations should need supply runs. Advanced stations would need fewer resupply missions as more stuff gets recycled. After running a few resupply missions I like the option to automate them in the background to avoid boring repetition.

I dislike the LF mods which require multiple resources just to survive, which is why I adopted IFI Life Support.  One resource (now called Kibbles & Bits), contains everything needed to live.  To get into the recycling, it then has waste product (Organic Slurry) and  the remains of recycled slurry (Sludge).  Beyond that, just EC, and some outside stuff.  But I like the KISS principle, add enough to make it interesting and potentially difficult, but not to turn it into a spreadsheet monster.

Also, the lethality should be an option (which it is in IFILS)

Edited by linuxgurugamer
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On 8/8/2022 at 3:16 PM, SciMan said:

I think we can combine Food, Water, Recycling, and Electricity into just Electricity (since closed cycle life support shouldn't require any parts outside the habitat modules or else how are you going to fix them cause working in a space suit is in fact super difficult because of the lack of dexterity and the problems with needing high strength because the suit's fighting your every move).
Additionally, we further shouldn't need separate recycling parts because hey guess what more parts means more lag, and if they're not procedural then you'll eventually be needing more than one recycler on your ship or colony.

My feeling is if you boil things down this far you kind of don't have LS anymore, not as a game mechanic anyway. Even if it's simple (and it should be) there aught to be some kind of clever puzzle there or resource that depletes that adds some kind of design process, otherwise why bother?
 

5 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

IFILS

I'll have to check this out. I've used USI for years because I like the dynamic between supplies, mulch, and fertilizer, but its not super well balanced and the habitation/home calculation is a bit overwrought/clunky. For KSP2 I've always recommended a single rating like "happiness" or "health" that effects performance and is effected by as few other variables as possible, probably just snacks, habitation, and radiation. So long as they had food and powered modules and weren't being baked by fallout they'd stay happy and perform tasks at 100%. I guess it could be an option for super hard difficulties but Im not personally a fan of dead kerbals. Do the bodies disappear or is the whole vessel pretty much bricked? The former seems confusing and latter frustrating and morbid. Plus neither affords rescue missions, so I don't see it really adding to gameplay. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

My feeling is if you boil things down this far you kind of don't have LS anymore, not as a game mechanic anyway. Even if it's simple (and it should be) there aught to be some kind of clever puzzle there or resource that depletes that adds some kind of design process, otherwise why bother?

Just having to make your vessels able to support kerbals is, IMHO, enough of a "puzzle".  Especially if you don't include recycling, then you need to do some planning to make sure everything works and they will have enough supplies

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1 hour ago, linuxgurugamer said:

Just having to make your vessels able to support kerbals is, IMHO, enough of a "puzzle".  Especially if you don't include recycling, then you need to do some planning to make sure everything works and they will have enough supplies

I guess all I mean is if all LS is bundled together and its closed loop with no recyclers the only puzzle left is maintaining power, which you need to do anyway to maintain control. If you have greenhouses they should be generating something, and hopefully that something is consumable over time. Im with you that the recycling process should be as simple as possible, but ideally they’d create a strategic breakeven point on mass where a heavier recycler was lighter than the weight of wasted snacks consumed over the duration of the flight without it. You could even split this strategic decision by requiring rare resources for recyclers, making them more and more valuable the longer the flight or the more the vessel was reused. 

Thats what I mean by puzzle. A system of rules that are easy to understand but lead to a broad set of design solutions. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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41 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

I guess all I mean is if all LS is bundled together and its closed loop with no recyclers the only puzzle left is maintaining power, which you need to do anyway to maintain control. If you have greenhouses they should be generating something, and hopefully that something is consumable over time. Im with you that the recycling process should be as simple as possible, but ideally they’d create a strategic breakeven point on mass where a heavier recycler was lighter than the weight of wasted snacks consumed over the duration of the flight without it. You could even split this strategic decision by requiring rare resources for recyclers, making them more and more valuable the longer the flight or the more the vessel was reused. 

Thats what I mean by puzzle. A system of rules that are easy to understand but lead to a broad set of design solutions. 

Then I think you will like IFI LS.

 

4 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

I guess it could be an option for super hard difficulties but Im not personally a fan of dead kerbals. Do the bodies disappear or is the whole vessel pretty much bricked? The former seems confusing and latter frustrating and morbid. Plus neither affords rescue missions, so I don't see it really adding to gameplay. 

it's a configurable option as to whether the kerbal dies or turns into a tourist

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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Yeah this is looking great:

qrhhXMg_d.webp?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&

I think given the bulk of the mass used to keep organic live alive is water that ends up a bit dirty in the process then there is scope for a first tier that recycles that component to reduce the mass "consumed" but not replenish. Grey water + EC might say reduce consumption by 30% or the is assumption the basic life support kg/kerbal/day and EC/kerbal/day factors that is in.

Sure these are prone to problems given they break down in every show about space travel. So might be better it isn't factored in. don't want kerbal drilling holes to get the water radiation shield to avoid dying of thirst. 

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