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The All-Contract Challenge


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Kerbals, at their core, are loyal and brave and fearless.  Not to mention complete snack-hounds who love nothing more than the promise of Minmus being any variety of mint-flavored ice cream.  They look to the skies every day, dreaming of the day that they can finally prove their second satellite is in fact tasty and ready to be served and eaten at the next Kerbsgiving feast.  Ah, just think about how lovely that's going to taste.  Unfortunately, we have a serious problem.  Kerbals can tend to be lazy and unmotivated, not wishing to actually DO anything other than daydream of the snacks.  Someone else will surely bring them, right?  Someone else will run to the store and pick them up, or fly to Minmus and bring back loads of minty frozen concoctions.  Right?  Won't they?

Well...no, they won't.  If all Kerbals are waiting for someone else to go get snacks and such, then nobody is going to go get them.  We need to find a way to motivate Kerbals to get up off their lazy heinies and do some work around here.  And here at World's Firsts Record-Keeping, we believe we have found a way to properly motivate Kerbals into performing hard labor.  We present to you...

The All-Contract Challenge

You have undoubtedly heard of the No-Contract Challenge, right?  Well, that challenge has made Kerbals lazy, providing absolutely no motivation to go out and earn science and funds to keep the KSC operating and advancing our technology.  They no longer want to do something without having a reason, so we're going to overload them with enough contracts to make sure that they have something to do.  This should be the right motivation to get them out of bed and off to the stars!  Or, at least off to the grocery store to refill their snack supplies!

 

Completion Goals

  1. Upgrade all buildings at the KSC to level 3
  2. Complete the Tech Tree

 

Game Setup

  1. Start a new Career game on any difficulty level.  The following must be true regardless of whatever other settings you use:
    1. Kerbals do NOT level up immediately
    2. Kerbals respawn after 1 hour
    3. Allow flight reversion
    4. KerbNet must be turned ON
  2. You are free to use any mods that you wish.  Keep in mind that some contract packs may make this challenge much easier than it should be.

 

Rules

  1. All activities must have a contract.  Want to plant a flag on the Mun?  Want to get science in space around Minmus?  Want to go to Eve?  You MUST have a contract for the activity.
    1. You are free to mine science around the KSC without a contract.
    2. You may gather science at any biome on Kerbin that you land in.
    3. You may use the jumping trick to get an EVA report flying over Kerbin's Shores.
    4. You may roll off the KSC to get science at Kerbin's Shores, but you may not roll into the water to get science there.  If you want science splashed down, you must have launched and flown and then landed in the water.
  2. Planting a Flag and collecting science are 2 different activities, and therefore each requires their own contract.
    1. This is only an example, and should be carried out throughout the challenge.  That is, rescuing a Kerbal from somewhere does not grant you the ability to also collect science unless you have a contract to do so.
  3. Any contract that allows you to collect science can be used to collect ALL the science you can at that location.  Whatever gadgets you have access to, as well as EVA/Sample reports.
    1. You may collect science from multiple biomes in the same launch.  For example, if you have a contract to collect science from the surface of the Mun, you are allowed to land in multiple biomes on the Mun and collect the science from all of them if you have the ability to do so prior to returning to Kerbin to complete the contract.
    2. The exceptions to this are collecting Mun Stones, Green Stones, Volcanic Rock, or doing rover arm scans as they all have their own contracts.
  4. Administration Strategies are not only allowed, but might be the only way to complete the Tech Tree.
  5. Pictures of the actual contracts are not required, but you are free to take them and show us anyhow!
    1. At Kerbin's World's Firsts Society, we encourage you to take photos like you are on vacation in a foreign country.  Please, we want to see what you come up with!
  6. Once you complete a contract, you have to wait for that contract to come back around to do those activities again.
  7. You are free to fast-forward as often and as far as you wish to get whatever contracts you are looking for.

 

If there is anything I may have missed, or something you want clarification on, please ask!  This thought was borne out of re-reading the No-Contract Challenge, as well as going through the Safety First Challenge.  I thought "If we can do it this way, why can't we turn this puppy around on its fat head and try it another way?".

Edited by Scarecrow71
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I'm in!  The only game setting different from how I normally play is Kerbals do NOT level up immediately.  (I usually play with level up turned on)

For actual challenge update posts, I think I'll create a Mission Report thread.  Sounds interesting!

Edit:  I just noticed the default respawn timer is 2 hours.  I doubt the difference will make a huge effect, but I'm changing the respawn timer to 1 hour.

Edit 2:  Here's some other default game settings I'm adjusting to my liking:

  • Setting persist Kerbal inventory load out to on.
  • Allowing other lauchsites.  I rarely find a need to use them, but why not?
  • Always allow action groups.  My fingers are too slow, the action groups are helpful.
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Here's my first Mission Report:

@Scarecrow71, I do have a rules question.  You said it's ok to collect science from anywhere on the surface of Kerbin you happen to land.  However, I just made it to orbit, but did not have a contract to collect science from space around Kerbin.

So, my rules interpretation is that since I didn't (at that time) have a contract to collect science from space around Kerbin, I wouldn't be allowed to collect science.  Or did I misread the rule?

I was operating on a few of the World's First contracts, early ones just ask you to 'reach space' and 'achieve orbit'.  But those contracts do not specifically request science from those locations.

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@18Watt

You are correct.  If you do not have a contract to collect science from space around Kerbin, you cannot collect science from space around Kerbin.  The thing with landing and collecting in biomes on Kerbin is because the only contracts for Kerbin-based science are testing parts but not collecting science.

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Still chugging along.

Kind of an odd question for @Scarecrow71:  I took a few contracts for deployed science, including ones for seismometer on Minmus and Mun.  To complete those contracts, you need to crash something into the planet.  So I'm thinking technically I could send a probe up to do exactly that, with no extra contract needed.

In the end, I managed to get other contracts to both those bodies, and was able to drop boosters near the seismometers while acting on other active contracts.  However, I'm wondering if I end up setting up a seismometer on say Ike, and then never get any more contracts going to Ike.  I'm thinking it would be acceptable to just send a probe to Ike for the sole purpose of setting off the seismometer.

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7 hours ago, 18Watt said:

Still chugging along.

Kind of an odd question for @Scarecrow71:  I took a few contracts for deployed science, including ones for seismometer on Minmus and Mun.  To complete those contracts, you need to crash something into the planet.  So I'm thinking technically I could send a probe up to do exactly that, with no extra contract needed.

In the end, I managed to get other contracts to both those bodies, and was able to drop boosters near the seismometers while acting on other active contracts.  However, I'm wondering if I end up setting up a seismometer on say Ike, and then never get any more contracts going to Ike.  I'm thinking it would be acceptable to just send a probe to Ike for the sole purpose of setting off the seismometer.

That's perfectly acceptable considering it's the only way to complete the contract.

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I've been trying this challenge in "strict mode" — only one contract per mission* and one mission per contract, absolutely no science-gathering activities unless the contract asks for them, avoid milestones** unrelated to the current contract — and it's been surprisingly fun.

The one-contract-per-mission requirement forces you to play in a more "realistic" way, with lots of simple incremental missions and no grinding EVA reports etc. to maximize the science gain from each mission — unless, of course, it's an open ended "gather scientific data from" contract, in which case grind away. :D

One thing I did notice is that you should indeed prioritize upgrading Administration and enabling the strategies that convert reputation and money to science. It's probably not absolutely necessary, especially if you prioritize the "Kerbin World-Firsts" contract line, and indeed I left it rather late since I normally tend to ignore strategies entirely. But it's at least worth doing if you're going to take any rescue contracts, since otherwise those will give you lots of money and rep but basically no science at all.

It's also worth not completing the early "gather science from Kerbin" mission immediately but saving it until you've unlocked the thermometer and the barometer and maybe upgraded the Astronaut Center to allow in-flight EVA. It might even be worth waiting until you've reached orbit or at least escaped the atmosphere first before doing it, although you'd have to do those with fairly primitive rockets if you're putting all your early science into unlocking more instruments.

I'm not sure if I'll stick to the "only one contract per mission" rule for interplanetary missions, but I might. It might be a bit frustrating to launch lots of missions for each target body, but OTOH it keeps those missions simple. You have a contract for a Duna fly-by? Well, then slap a probe core on a simple rocket and do just that, don't start adding any science instruments or landers or anything else unnecessary to the craft. :)

No detailed mission report yet, since I'm thinking I might actually want to reboot my run. But I've currently done a Mun fly-by and a bunch of rescue missions in Kerbin orbit, and would probably do Mun orbit and science next if I don't restart.

*) Contracts that explicitly ask you to move a previously launched vessel excepted, of course. Also, I'll probably allow reusing previously launched craft with science instruments for repeat science gathering contracts if they're already in the right place for the contract.
**) At least the ones that you get contracts for, like reaching space or orbit or flying by / orbiting / landing on another body. I'm not counting altitude / distance / speed records or things like recovering a craft from a crewed mission, or anything else that doesn't have its own contract, and in general I'm not super strict about that stuff anyway. If doing the mission in the most straightforward way gets me a milestone, then that's fine. But I did decide to try to avoid things like gravity assists off bodies I haven't yet had contracts to fly by. Not enough delta-v to complete the mission without gravity assists? Just build a bigger rocket and try again! :cool:

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I'm making a second run at this.  Doing a few things different this time.

First, I'm going to try to not use strategies.  I've hit the wall, but am slowly working my way through the wall.  Once I start to get contracts to do science on other CBs I think I'll be good to go.

Second, I'm unlocking a part of the tech tree I normally leave untouched- Aviation.  The aviation nodes let me build a rover to gather science at KSC, that was handy.  I'm also able to do some of the site-specific contracts around Kerbin early in the game.

I'm also once again taking some of the deployed science contracts.  I am not going to accept any 'repair rover' contracts though, I learned my lesson last time.  Those contracts are a pain.

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On 9/26/2022 at 3:42 PM, vyznev said:

I've been trying this challenge in "strict mode" — only one contract per mission* and one mission per contract, absolutely no science-gathering activities unless the contract asks for them, avoid milestones** unrelated to the current contract — and it's been surprisingly fun.

So, in my second "strict mode" run I decided to stall the "gather science from Kerbin" contract until I'd made it to orbit and unlocked the Science Jr. Was it worth it? I think so. :)

Before:

Spoiler

af2GSzR.png

PxV40VK.png

After:

Spoiler

j1Ok692.png

What annoys me a bit is that I could've unlocked another tier 4 node if I'd launched into a polar orbit and gotten that extra 32 science from EVA reports over the polar biomes. I even had the delta-v for it. But oh well, this should be good enough. :rolleyes:

Now, onwards to the Mun! :cool:

Edited by vyznev
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2 hours ago, vyznev said:

What annoys me a bit is that I could've unlocked another tier 4 node if I'd launched into a polar orbit and gotten that extra 32 science from EVA reports over the polar biomes. I even had the delta-v for it. But oh well, this should be good enough. :rolleyes:

…which turned out to not matter anyway, since the very next contract I got was for "scientific data from space around Kerbin", so I just launched Bill into a polar orbit to get me those remaining EVA reports (and get some exp in the process).

In hindsight, I think the existence of this contract (which I'm not sure I've ever even seen before) presumably implies that the "scientific data from Kerbin" contract actually doesn't include space around Kerbin, which means I technically broke my own rules on the previous mission. But I still have the same total science (and funds and rep, more or less) as I would have if I'd done all the space science on this flight instead of the previous one, so I'm not going to worry about it. :wink:

(I guess the way to really maximize the science gain would've been to do the "scientific data from Kerbin" mission with a plane and have it land in as many ground biomes as possible. Including all the KSC microbiomes, of course. But that would've been way too tedious, so I'm glad I didn't. :D)

Edited by vyznev
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Okay I'm in. I set up the game as NORMAL, with the changes described in the first post. I don't plan on killing anybody but if I do it'll be a bit novel to get them back. The rest of the settings are defaults for me anyway.

I have a pretty light mod setup. KSP has most of what I want in the game already with several small exceptions:

  • All Y'All - I hate collecting science manually. ForScience! is my fix of choice for that problem but for this challenge, it would be too easy to accidentally collect science when I didn't have a contract for it. So, All Y'All's "collect all science" will have to do.
  • Antenna Helper - So I don't have to math any probes.
  • Astrogator - So I don't have to math any transfer windows. Or transfers, for that matter.
  • BetterTimeWarp Continued - I am an adult and can handle time warping quickly at low altitudes. Thank you very much.
  • RCS Build Aid - So I don't have to math balancing my ships.

I will be posting pics but for these first few missions, nothing special is going on.

0.0-Sciencer

My first ship just got goo and crew science on the pad and slightly above it, to satisfy the 2 starter contracts, "do science" and "launch a vessel." As your instructions state I can collect any science around KSC for free, I used the contract to collect and return the science from flying. So no cheating there :D

1.0-Orbiter

(ship in spoiler for ease of loading the page)

Spoiler

bBooL3S.jpg

Using the scant science I received from the above, I built "Orbiter", which I use in pretty much every career to get to space. I accepted 2 contracts, "Escape the Atmosphere" and "Test a parachute" near the ground. I don't recall the specifics of the parachute contract but it's always available at the start.

Orbiter got to space to complete the first contract, then I left it there to go accept "Orbit Kerbin" which I then did, and then came back to accept a "do science from space around Kerbin" and that's where things went bad. There was no such contract! Oh well, I picked up "return to Kerbin" and then did so, burning up EVERY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT on the way down except the barometer.

I was able to trigger the drogue chute I had put on the craft to slow down enough to get the parachute contract, and I was able to get barometer, crew report, and EVA report data from the Highlands that I landed in. Then, I recovered and can you guess what contract titled "Science Data From Space Around Kerbin" came up?

All in all, a successful first "real" launch. Considering :D

I upgraded Mission Control (2), the Astronaut Complex (2), and the Tracking Station (2), and then took that "Science from Space around Kerbin" contract along with "Flyby the Mun," and used my whole 75 science to get General Rocketry because the only way I'm getting to Mun with 30 parts and 18 tons is with a Terrier.

But that's a story for later. After I've done it :D

Edited by Superfluous J
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Took a second run at this challenge, and completed it this time.  

This time I didn't use any Admin strategies, and had good luck getting suitable contracts.  The only places I gathered science from were Kerbin, Mun, Minmus, and Eve.  I did put satellites in orbit of Duna and Gilly, but didn't have science contracts for those places.  (Although I'm sure I would have eventually..)

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Time for part 2, where we totally go to Mun!

All the images and text of the mission are here: https://imgur.com/a/G9PVmZN

But for highlights:

  • I had to do the mission twice because I accidentally brought Bill instead of Bob the first time.
  • The rocket was VERY optimized for this mission and had 0 m/s left over in the launch stage (actually closer to -20m/s) and a whole 166m/s left over in the flyby craft itself.
  • The mission went perfectly but I only got 212 (total in the bank, I forgot to note how much I got from the mission but it was pretty close to that) Science as I could only get science from "space around Kerbin."
  • That Science was enough to get all the "tier 1" science doo-dads AND wheels, however, so I am going to do a science collecting run around KSC before I take my next mission, which will either be Orbit or Landing on Mun depending on what happens.

And what happens also depends on an answer to this question:

On 9/21/2022 at 1:05 PM, Scarecrow71 said:

Any contract that allows you to collect science can be used to collect ALL the science you can at that location.  Whatever gadgets you have access to, as well as EVA/Sample reports.

Does this count "Survey" contracts as well? Those ones with 3-4 things like "Temperature above 8200m near area D4XQ," means I can take all readings including say an EVA report there? But I can't use that to take all data anywhere in space around Mun, just at those 4 spots?

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I made a simple science car and drove it around KSC and got over 400 Science, which is 2x what I got for my rocket flight but hey it is what it is.

I used that Science to pick up several more nodes, including the all-important solar panels, one of my favorite pods the Pea (2-seater), and fairings which will make both the Pea AND multi-probe launches - well - launchable.

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Meet Mun Lander 1, officially known to the KSA as "Mission 3"

https://imgur.com/a/VHVLqRp

Story's in that link, but to recap:

  • I got a ton of science from the KSC science car and was able to build a pretty big ship in a fairing. I upgraded the VAB and Launch Pad so I could build without any real restrictions.
  • The mission went as good as can be expected, and I even got a few nice contracts along the way.
  • After this mission was over, I was able to upgrade every building at the KSC to level 2, and research some critical tier-2 tech nodes, most notably unlocking the OKTO2 - my single favorite probe core - both for relay satellite missions AND pilot-free missions so Bob can finally be alone like he prefers.

After all this, I picked up a large number of contracts, enough that I actually upgraded Mission Control to level 3 so I could take them all. Don't worry, I still have 400k in the bank for the next mission, which will be one (or more) of:

  • Launch a satellite to orbit Mun
  • Launch Bill up to repair a satellite in orbit of Kerbin, achieving - I think - the "rendezvous 2 vessels" contract at the same time.
  • Land a base built to fairly easy specifications - that also has the Mystery Goo deployed science experiment in it - on the Mun near a stranded Kerbal that will then come home as requested by the rescue contract.
  • Build a space station around Minmus - which will hopefully get me some tasty "get Minmus Science" contracts that should then win the challenge for me.
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6 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

Does this count "Survey" contracts as well? Those ones with 3-4 things like "Temperature above 8200m near area D4XQ," means I can take all readings including say an EVA report there? But I can't use that to take all data anywhere in space around Mun, just at those 4 spots?

No, it does not.  What I'm talking about are those contracts that say "Collect science on the surface of..." or "...in space around...".  Survey contracts are specific in what you are to collect.

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14 hours ago, Scarecrow71 said:

No, it does not.  What I'm talking about are those contracts that say "Collect science on the surface of..." or "...in space around...".  Survey contracts are specific in what you are to collect.

Thanks for the clarification. Luckily for me I didn't break a rule this time because I had the "Collect science from space around Mun" contract as well as the temperature stuff.

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Another rules question. If we don't have a contract to return anything, are we still allowed to return home?

Asking for a friend (Bill) who forgot to pack snacks :D

Assuming you can't just return home, is it within the rules of the challenge to "rules lawyer" it to, for example, later on take a "transmit or return science from space around Kerbin" and then have Bill return home with a 0-point crew report?

Or what about for a "repair x thing at y place" contract that's in a place he can't get to? Would it be alright in that case to bring him home so he can get on a new ship?

Edited by Superfluous J
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5 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

Another rules question. If we don't have a contract to return anything, are we still allowed to return home?

That's a good question. I can see at least three reasonable rulings:

  1. If the contract doesn't tell you to return (or to "transmit or return science" or return samples or recover a part or a kerbal, etc.) then you may not return. Better send a probe or bring plenty of snacks. ;)
  2. Returning without being told to is allowed if you've already returned from all the locations (fly-by / orbit / surface of a given body) visited during the trip, as that means you'll get no new milestone for it.
  3. Returning is always allowed. Kerbals want to get back home to their own bed.

I'm not sure which of these (other than option 3, obviously) my own playthrough actually qualifies for. I've tried to use probes for contracts that don't require returning, but looking back, I might've technically blown it with the very first progression contract, which IIRC strictly speaking only requires launching a vessel, not recovering it. :D

In any case, if you're not playing a strict "one contract, one flight" version of this challenge, I see no problem with grabbing a second contract to return from wherever your kerbals happen to be. That said, I would probably not allow just any repair contract as an excuse to return Bill home, since you could always hire another engineer instead.

(BTW, I already added one exception to my strict rules in my own playthrough: if the contract requires me to rendezvous and/or dock two vessels, then I'm allowed to launch two of them. While I'm pretty sure I could've finagled some way to complete that contract with just one launch, I felt that if I'm going to do what's basically a "re-enact Gemini 8" contract, then I should do it properly. :) )

Edited by vyznev
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@Superfluous J

Returning is considered to be part of a contraccobevause very few contracts, if any, actually specify you have to come.home to satisfy them.  The only ones that require you to come home are rescue contracts, and even tourist contracts don't state you have to.

So let's go option 3 here and state that you are allowed to return home.  Unless you want to leave stuff stranded.  Or you want the challenge of not returning.

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Mission 4, titled "Take the Good, Take the Bad"

https://imgur.com/a/p0k49Zv

As usual it's documented there, but to recap:

  • 2 ships in 1 launch to complete 5 contracts.
    • A satellite for 2 contracts:
      • Orbit Mun with a satellite.
      • Test airplane landing gear in orbit of Mun. Which is important they just decided.
    • A ship with Bill in it for 3 contracts:
      • Rendezvous 2 vessels at Kerbin.
      • Fix a satellite.
      • Add a radiator to a satellite.

I won't say which of these I failed to complete, to keep some mystery until you read the Imgur page.

Edited by Superfluous J
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