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Why is Life Support missing on the KSP2 Roadmap?


Vl3d
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I don't want to turn KSP2 into a resource management Sim. 

Too often they bog down on trivial stuff - which in turn means the end of fun. 

Cases in point:

*. Cities Skylines - at first you are trying to build a cool, functional city... But at some point you no longer need to make hard decisions (money is too free) and the game devolves into a traffic Management Sim and its no longer fun. 

*. Satisfactory - by the time you reach Aluminum you not only have a traffic Sim (bringing in resources from different parts of the map) but it gets increasingly tedious with less and less reward for doing the work required to build the Factories. 

Absent being a person who just wants to build unfun stuff for purely aesthetic reasons the games stop being games and are just work. 

 

KSP'S (and by extension KSP2 's) purpose /core feature is NOT resource management - it's building crazy craft to explore the cosmos.  Therein lies the joy. 

 

Force players to do unnecessary resource management for an ancillary part of the game (Kerbals are literally just there to humanize the game) and you rob the joy from the core. 

@Vl3d I respect a lot of the stuff you write - but you seem to want a very different game than we are likely to get. 

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This is a non-problem. If LS doesn't exist, modders will readily and quickly make it so. If LS exists but is very basic, modders will make it more realistic and complex.

You'll almost certainly be able to choose from several systems within a few months of launch and If that's not quick enough for you, take a cut at it yourself or work on your patience. I for one don't expect the game to be particularly close to what it can or should be on launch, so I'm not expecting to be able to dive into a really deep, full-featured experience. We should remember how many years it took for modders to build out the experience that's possible in KSP1 today, and not anticipate reaching that level of features anywhere close to the near term.

As for what LS is the right LS, well, like with most things everyone has a different opinion. So a good system would be a framework where resources to be tracked can be individually toggled on/off with each having commensurate game effects, with resources and the rules for said resources being easy to mod. If it's easy to mod, all they need to do is build out a very basic and optional resource set and then get out of the way and let to modders build out the versions where you need to engineer CO2 scrubbers into every craft.

Edited by vossiewulf
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1 hour ago, Wheehaw Kerman said:

I don’t see it as any more frustrating than realizing you forgot the parachutes when you get to destination, or forgetting to deploy solar panels or losing comms on an unmanned probe, or staging errors, all of which nobody would want to nerf?

Huge difference. Other than ones that can be resolved with a simple save/load, the other problems can usually all be remedied by sending rescue or repair missions, sending another ship to transfer crew,  using EVA parachutes, etc.

Most of the time the craft is not outright doomed, it may just need to alter it's mission accordingly (i.e. don't land on the planet, but do a polar orbit instead, or go to a nearby moon, etc).


If you realize several real world hours later that the ship you sent is going to run out of life support, you may have exactly a 0% chance of changing the mission or salvaging the ship if it runs out while not in a stable orbit or landed.

So you either load an old game and lose HOURS of progress on other fronts, or you simply accept the mission as a failure and watch it be doomed.

 

This is also why by default in KSP1 basic probe control is still allowed with no comms, as it allows you to potentially salvage something.

 

Edited by MechBFP
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43 minutes ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

*. Cities Skylines - at first you are trying to build a cool, functional city... But at some point you no longer need to make hard decisions (money is too free) and the game devolves into a traffic Management Sim and its no longer fun. 

*. Satisfactory - by the time you reach Aluminum you not only have a traffic Sim (bringing in resources from different parts of the map) but it gets increasingly tedious with less and less reward for doing the work required to build the Factories. 

The thing is KSP is already a resource management sim. You still need to carefully manage power, fuel, monoprop, momentum, science, etc. the difference is both those other games are focused on routing and network puzzles rather than orbital traversal puzzles. So long as most of the processing infrastructure is dealt with in terms of pools and rates and the design and execution of space travel rather than plumbing spaghetti I think the core spirit of the game will be just fine. 
 

And remember: KSP2 will be adding probably a dozen or more new fuel and resource types. One or 2 resources for LS are not going to be the issue.  
 

29 minutes ago, vossiewulf said:

This is a non-problem. If LS doesn't exist, modders will readily and quickly make it so. If LS exists but is very basic, modders will make it more realistic and complex.

I mean I love mods but one thing they can’t do is produce a thorough, concise, integrated base game. I loved KSP1 but it never had a coherent platform beneath much of the progression and exploration system. We should fully expect a thoughtfully designed vanilla experience that functions properly. If resources and colonies and greenhouses exist there’s no reason why a simple and playable LS system shouldn’t be part it. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Its practically confirmed that life support in some function will be a thing. I dont think that passive radiation will be a thing, but the devs have said that you will need to care about radiation when it comes to nuclear engines (the main counterplay here seems to be radiation shields and having lots of distance between your crew and your engine). We've seen greenhouses for colonies, but we haven't seen much related to food supply for crew modules (though I personally think that it will be in some form). 

I personally doubt that water in specific will be needed directly for life support, water is presumably used for growing crops so having water also be consumed by kerbals also just seems redundant, it doesnt add any unique supply change challenges. Air may be a thing for colonies, but its trivial to add a small fuel tank onto a spaceship, so having air be a concern for spaceship doesn't seem like itll add anything. This is more speculative but I think microgravity being an issue was something that was in production at some point, considering the amount of gravity rings we have seen, but considering that we haven't seen much of them recently I think it got axed?

A lot of these concerns are fair but I think they were things that the devs already considered and they have a lot of ways to negate them. The issues with life support being too much to drop on a new player will be fixed by the fact that the increased distances between planets will lead to a natural progression of increasing life support demands. The concerns about micromanagement would be addressed by automatic transport/management, which are very likely already in game in some form. It would be nice to have some sort of warning tab that catches things when a spacecraft is missing something like parachutes and it also has a heat shield, just to help with those messups involving forgetting parts.

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12 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

We should fully expect a thoughtfully designed vanilla experience that functions properly. 

That's easy to say and  very hard to define. Hard-core players want a realistic LS, casual players just want to shoot off rocket ships. Gauging what the "average" player wants is guesswork. So the best position for them is to build out a very basic and optional set of resources somewhere later in the roadmap (which already appears to be a couple years worth of work) and otherwise build an easily moddable resource framework for modders to address the needs of smaller market segments.

As much as some would like it otherwise, I don't think we're going to see a vanilla LS soon.

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24 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

thing is KSP is already a resource management sim. You still need to carefully manage power, fuel, monoprop, momentum, science, etc. the difference is both those other games are focused on routing and network puzzles rather than orbital traversal puzzles. So long as most of the processing infrastructure is dealt with in terms of pools and rates and the design and execution of space travel rather than plumbing spaghetti I think the core spirit of the game will be just fine. 
 

And remember: KSP2 will be adding probably a dozen or more new fuel and resource types. One or 2 resources for LS are not going to be the issue

Interesting.  Your post, in reference to mine to Vl3d has prompted me to think about what I expect from KSP2. 

I fear that I have very modest hopes for the game. 

Essentially, I want KSP2 to be KSP - with the kinks worked out. 

  • With better tutorials to help people understand what they are doing and how 'space works'.  So I can introduce the game to my teens and offer them the same sense of wonder and accomplishment that I got from KSP waaay back when. 
  • I want my rovers to behave at the destination the way I designed them in the VAB and tested at KSC before launch.  I want the wheels to act like they have traction and to remember which way they're supposed to turn when I press a key. I just want them to work. 
  • I want the science to approach having a purpose - and to be educational as well as fun / 'something to do.' 
  • I want to build crazy craft just to see if it will fly, or make SSTOs, or fighter jets, or recreate crafts from history, or make racecars and robots and helicopters and X-Wings or whatever and have fun with them. To be able to Kerbal something up and make it work - regardless of how inefficient it might be, but that by God I figured out how to do something and it worked! 
  • I want it to still be difficult - and still be fun. 

And, on top of it I'm looking forward to the New:

  • I want to visit the 'new worlds' - the recreated Kerbolar Systems and the other systems as they're added - just to see what wonders the Dev Team created. 
  • I want to build big orbital stations and huge craft and colonies - because they've said that we can - and I want to Kerbal that stuff up. 
  • I may want to join an MP session to fly with my kids or race them and see what they have done. 

But what I don't want - is something that uses the KSP name, calls itself '2', but is a totally different game that has a core focus of being a multiplayer resource management Sim.  Or something else. 

You write that KSP does already have resources to manage - and that's true... But in KSP, you can always get around that problem by adding MOAR!  you can add more powerful rockets and give your craft more fuel and bigger batteries and better solar panels and if all else fails - you can learn from your mistakes and get help on the forums to know how to build a better, more efficient craft that can do what you want it to do. 

 

...and it's that last little bit that I feel is the core value of the game.  That challenge and learning, based on real world problems that can be solved by really smart people being offered to the masses and Neanderthals like me.  Too often games have hidden metrics or arbitrary rules that force players into the desired direction... But KSP basically said 'here's orbital mechanics, it's hard but doable... Have fun!'  That was the awesome sauce of KSP. 

If that part is lost trying to give resource managers resources to extract, transport and manage - and that system is tedious to the player who just wants to go places? If the core is lost trying to horn into a single player experience the option to play multiplayer because a loud minority wants it? Then KSP2 won't be KSP too - it will be something else. 

So... 

I'm keeping my expectations modest.  If all we get is KSP - but better?  I'll be happy. 

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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

This creates a compounding problem for LS as players get deeper into the game, where the greatest risk and the greatest punishments occur when players have the least flexibility to go back and solve problems. I mean I guess Im fine for permadeath to exist on hard mode but I'd never use it, and I think it would discourage new and even moderate players. There's no real need for it if you've created other compelling gameplay incentives.

Perma-death in space is a harsh mistress.

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One thing people need to remember is that in KSP1 the vast majority of players never got further than the Mun and Minmus, which is data right from Squad themselves.

Even with good tutorials and improved controls, interfaces, etc, there is a good chance a HUGE number of players will never even make it interstellar without life support as it is. Imagine how much worse that number would be with it?

If you are going to make a game but difficulty gate 50% of the content to 10% of the player base, you aren’t doing a particularly good job lol

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28 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

One thing people need to remember is that in KSP1 the vast majority of players never got further than the Mun and Minmus, which is data right from Squad themselves.

Even with good tutorials and improved controls, interfaces, etc, there is a good chance a HUGE number of players will never even make it interstellar without life support as it is. Imagine how much worse that number would be with it?

If you are going to make a game but difficulty gate 50% of the content to 10% of the player base, you aren’t doing a particularly good job lol

I was one of those people who did not really get past minmus for years. The reason for this wasnt related to a traditional difficulty curve. The main reason (and Im willing to bet this is the main reason of many others), was because there was literally nothing that allowed me to know where to plot a maneuver to get a planetary intercept outside of either following a youtubers specific instructions on angles or mass brute force. I think that ksp1 being easier or harder wouldnt really have an effect on me not going past minmus, there was just no way for me to know how to plot those burns outside of annoying visual calculations involving angles or spending 20 minutes fidgeting around with an intercept module hopping it eventually hits the target. Considering that you're dealing with way more complicated maneuvers in ksp2, Im willing to bet there's now a way more player facing tool that addresses this. 

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4 hours ago, Strawberry said:

It would be nice to have some sort of warning tab that catches things when a spacecraft is missing something like parachutes and it also has a heat shield, just to help with those messups involving forgetting parts.

Hard no to this. Trial and error means you have to learn how to do unit and integration tests and iterate on existing designs. It teaches you engineering method.

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29 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

Hard no to this. Trial and error means you have to learn how to do unit and integration tests and iterate on existing designs. It teaches you engineering method.

...if your intent is to learn engineering principles. Lots of people play just to create crazy craft that fail and explode in spectacular ways.

Besides, no spacecraft is designed without checklists of checklists. Using a basic checklist function is proper engineering, ensuring all requirements are met before signing off on a craft for launch.

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5 hours ago, Strawberry said:

The main reason (and Im willing to bet this is the main reason of many others), was because there was literally nothing that allowed me to know where to plot a maneuver to get a planetary intercept outside of either following a youtubers specific instructions on angles or mass brute force.

 

10 minutes ago, vossiewulf said:

Besides, no spacecraft is designed without checklists of checklists. Using a basic checklist function is proper engineering, ensuring all requirements are met before signing off on a craft for launch.

That's why we REALLY need this:

 

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8 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:


*. Satisfactory - by the time you reach Aluminum you not only have a traffic Sim (bringing in resources from different parts of the map) but it gets increasingly tedious with less and less reward for doing the work required to build the Factories. 

The devil is always in the details.

Of all resource management / factory Sims, starting from modded Minecraft, passing from Factorio, DSP, and maybe including even ONI Satisfactory is the only one in which that problem is that prevalent.

Building doesn't scale well with the scale of your factory.

The team at Coffee Stain may be good at designing assets but they're terrible at designing the actual factory Sim gameplay (their ability to design actually good gameplay loops peaked with Goat Simulator and went downhill from there).

Let's just take the fact that the game requires belt splitters instead of robotic arms like factorio to feed machinery.

In Factorio I put down a single long belt, and then I add 15 furnaces and 15 robotic arms to feed them.

In Satisfactory I have to place 15 splitters, 15 furnaces and then 30 small pieces of belt connecting everything together.

 

That to say that it's useless to talk on generic terms, the same exact feature, 15 furnaces to feed a factory, is good gameplay in a game and so terrible that it becomes a deal-breaker in the other. The difference being based on a tiny detail that will never come up in a discussion if not specifically pointed out.

Same will go with Life Support in KSP2, we're imagining KSP1 mods when talking about it, and that warps our view of the gameplay possibilities and possible different implementations of it.

 

"You need X living space for Kerbals and all the amenities otherwise they go on strike" is a form of life support that we are not even considering (just as an example).

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8 hours ago, vossiewulf said:

Perma-death in space is a harsh mistress.

*Space* is the sort of harsh mistress you only find on, um, VERY niche sites ;).

Point taken on long missions in large saves, although, TBH, I’m not a big fan of quicksaving.  I’ll use it, but it diminishes the experience.  Having life support toggleable just like comms is a very workable approach and I’d be happy with that.

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2 hours ago, Master39 said:

"You need X living space for Kerbals and all the amenities otherwise they go on strike" is a form of life support that we are not even considering (just as an example).

To be fair that is not being considered by most people in the thread because that is obviously not something that would (or should) be called “life support”. 

I wish I could just go on strike whenever I ran out of food and water. 

But anyway you are correct that whatever Intercept is doing (if they are doing it) is going to be something along these lines instead for reasons I already pointed out earlier. 

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32 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

To be fair that is not being considered by most people in the thread because that is obviously not something that would (or should) be called “life support”. 

I wish I could just go on strike whenever I ran out of food and water. 

But anyway you are correct that whatever Intercept is doing (if they are doing it) is going to be something along these lines instead for reasons I already pointed out earlier. 

Somewhat off topic, but I build anything going past Minmus with two extra seats and ideally one compartment per Kerbal.  Self imposed requirement for living space.  Command chair builds are fun and hats off to the minimalists, but I tend to lean in favour of real(isticish)ism…

To your point earlier about large ships with large crews running out of LS, I’d suggest that that’s just an engineering challenge.  A lot of people build huge  delta-v margins into their crafts and spam landing legs and parachutes.  I’d bet most of us never bother trimming excess ablator on our heatshields.  I think that life support will be similar; until we get good recycling tech farther up the tree (or the individual players’ urge to refine and perfect and hone kicks in), LS overkill will be common.

But making it toggleable like comms is really the ideal approach, IMHO.  Easy accommodation of both ends of the spectrum :).

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10 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Interesting.  Your post, in reference to mine to Vl3d has prompted me to think about what I expect from KSP2. 

I fear that I have very modest hopes for the game. 

Essentially, I want KSP2 to be KSP - with the kinks worked out. 

  • With better tutorials to help people understand what they are doing and how 'space works'.  So I can introduce the game to my teens and offer them the same sense of wonder and accomplishment that I got from KSP waaay back when. 
  • I want my rovers to behave at the destination the way I designed them in the VAB and tested at KSC before launch.  I want the wheels to act like they have traction and to remember which way they're supposed to turn when I press a key. I just want them to work. 
  • I want the science to approach having a purpose - and to be educational as well as fun / 'something to do.' 
  • I want to build crazy craft just to see if it will fly, or make SSTOs, or fighter jets, or recreate crafts from history, or make racecars and robots and helicopters and X-Wings or whatever and have fun with them. To be able to Kerbal something up and make it work - regardless of how inefficient it might be, but that by God I figured out how to do something and it worked! 
  • I want it to still be difficult - and still be fun. 

And, on top of it I'm looking forward to the New:

  • I want to visit the 'new worlds' - the recreated Kerbolar Systems and the other systems as they're added - just to see what wonders the Dev Team created. 
  • I want to build big orbital stations and huge craft and colonies - because they've said that we can - and I want to Kerbal that stuff up. 
  • I may want to join an MP session to fly with my kids or race them and see what they have done. 

But what I don't want - is something that uses the KSP name, calls itself '2', but is a totally different game that has a core focus of being a multiplayer resource management Sim.  Or something else. 

You write that KSP does already have resources to manage - and that's true... But in KSP, you can always get around that problem by adding MOAR!  you can add more powerful rockets and give your craft more fuel and bigger batteries and better solar panels and if all else fails - you can learn from your mistakes and get help on the forums to know how to build a better, more efficient craft that can do what you want it to do. 

 

...and it's that last little bit that I feel is the core value of the game.  That challenge and learning, based on real world problems that can be solved by really smart people being offered to the masses and Neanderthals like me.  Too often games have hidden metrics or arbitrary rules that force players into the desired direction... But KSP basically said 'here's orbital mechanics, it's hard but doable... Have fun!'  That was the awesome sauce of KSP. 

If that part is lost trying to give resource managers resources to extract, transport and manage - and that system is tedious to the player who just wants to go places? If the core is lost trying to horn into a single player experience the option to play multiplayer because a loud minority wants it? Then KSP2 won't be KSP too - it will be something else. 

So... 

I'm keeping my expectations modest.  If all we get is KSP - but better?  I'll be happy. 

It doesn’t to me sound like you’re not interested in multiplayer, multiplayer might be great for your purposes. It just sounds like you’d rather play sandbox. You also don’t mention colonies so maybe thats not your jam either? What me and a lot of folks are hoping for is that KSP2 caters to the sim folks with sandbox, but that the other elements of the game—progression and science, mining resources and fuels and building self-sufficient colonies can make KSP into a really good game. It could still follow the same logic—just the way you’ve managed power input and heat to extract and process ore in KSP1, in KSP2 you might have 3 or 4 raw resources that colonies would turn into refined methalox, reactor fuel, metallic hydrogen, new parts and modules, etc. You shouldn’t have to worry about piping and logic gates like factorio does. The colony is just a big vessel with a different set of inputs and outputs. Ideally these would also be for the most part set-it-and-forget-it. So even with a dozen colonies and stations so long as your outputs are in the black you can time warp away without risk. This takes KSP beyond being a simple one-off mission, flags a footprints sim (though you could certainly still do this in sandbox) and allows players to set up a whole interplanetary civilization. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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6 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

"Space exploration" is "How long until these things die without food or water"

And you're comparing apples to trapezoids here.  The context of my post, which you missed and failed to include in your response, was that this is a VIDEO GAME, not real life.

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16 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:

And you're comparing apples to trapezoids here.  The context of my post, which you missed and failed to include in your response, was that this is a VIDEO GAME, not real life.

Indeed. While I am sure some folks would love to have fuel tank ullage added, random parts failures, radiation sickness, gravity related illnesses, space craft manufacturing times, fuel leakage, mandatory maintenance missions, paper work, regulatory evaluations,  limited engine  ignitions, supply contract negotiations, and a whole host of other things that would make the game absolutely swimmingly realistic for a space program, I for one can accept the fact that this is just a game and won’t have those wonderful features.

Edited by MechBFP
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28 minutes ago, Scarecrow71 said:
6 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

"Space exploration" is "How long until these things die without food or water"

And you're comparing apples to trapezoids here.  The context of my post, which you missed and failed to include in your response, was that this is a VIDEO GAME, not real life.

Still applies. Can't make a well-balanced space exploration game about interstellar travel without "How long until these things die without food or water"

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10 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

Indeed. While I am sure some folks would love to have fuel tank ullage added, random parts failures, radiation sickness, gravity related illnesses, space craft manufacturing times, fuel leakage, mandatory maintenance missions, paper work, regulatory evaluations,  limited engine  ignitions, supply contract negotiations, and a whole host of other things that would make the game absolutely swimmingly realistic for a space program, I for one can accept the fact that this is just a game and won’t have those wonderful features.

"Paper work", "Regulatory evaluations"

I came to run a space program, not an administration program. 

But since KSP 2 will expand moddability, I have no doubt someone will make a mod to where you have to sign and initial paperwork for everything. 

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15 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

Indeed. While I am sure some folks would love to have fuel tank ullage added, random parts failures, radiation sickness, gravity related illnesses, space craft manufacturing times, fuel leakage, mandatory maintenance missions, paper work, regulatory evaluations,  limited engine  ignitions, supply contract negotiations, and a whole host of other things that would make the game absolutely swimmingly realistic for a space program, I for one can accept the fact that this is just a game and won’t have those wonderful features.

Me too! In fact I think the game should be as fuss-free and simple to use as possible. The thing is keeping people alive for long periods in space is one of the central challenges of spaceflight, and more than that helps players understand the relationship between efficient transfers and flight times. This will be especially important as we get into interstellar travel, understanding the main advantage of getting to a new star system in 10 or 40 years instead of 400, helping players wrap their mind around just how crazy these distances are. If there's a way to abstract all that down to a single food resource thats pretty comparable to the way KSP abstracts rocket engineering down to simple fuel tanks and engine parts. 

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