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Why is Life Support missing on the KSP2 Roadmap?


Vl3d
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I like the comatose/freeze/turn to stone idea. Losing entire colony populations due to a delivery not arriving on time, killing rescue missions, and creating excessive housekeeping across multiple solar systems is daunting and sounds unfun, but in a game where they’ve put so much research into making their designs based on realistic speculative science, not having any life support requirements at all is a bit of a cop-out.

And done right, I do think it can be fun. Imagine trying to race Jeb back to the lander before his EVA suit runs out of oxygen. Or failing that, have Bill venture out to go pick him up and carry him back. Or if you don’t have enough oxygen, can you look for a biome on the planet where you can extract it efficiently?

I don’t expect it to be in initial Early Access , but it probably will come packaged with resources. Life support sucks if it’s just glomming on extra parts, but once you start getting to refill tanks from in situ resources, it starts being a thing I’d like to see.

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The whole idea of colony life support and that level of management sounds like some seriously boring gameplay. I'm here to fly spaceships and do interesting missions. I want to worry about the individual kerbals, keeping them alive, seeing how my planning went off, watch my cool spaceships do spaceship things. I dearly hope I don't have to do anything more for colonies than just set them up and forget about them; they can just be a new launchpad or have some resources rolling in.

Life support for missions, individual kerbals, that's interesting. Life support for colonies just sounds like management hell.

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1 minute ago, regex said:

The whole idea of colony life support and that level of management sounds like some seriously boring gameplay. I'm here to fly spaceships and do interesting missions. I want to worry about the individual kerbals, keeping them alive, seeing how my planning went off, watch my cool spaceships do spaceship things. I dearly hope I don't have to do anything more for colonies than just set them up and forget about them; they can just be a new launchpad or have some resources rolling in.

Life support for missions, individual kerbals, that's interesting. Life support for colonies just sounds like management hell.

I’m guessing that Life Support is mostly going to be small potatoes when it comes to resources and colonies. It’ll be a constraint when you’re getting your colony off the ground and expanding your population, but once you have a few basic modules up and running, it stops being an existential problem and most of your attention is devoted to finding construction materials. Some outposts might require more external aid than others, but past a certain point on the tech tree you should be able to grow your own food and recycle oxygen almost anywhere.

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A very important thing to keep in mind too is that Nate has said explicitly that when they are designing systems, if something ends up as a slog or just flatly not fun, they are not going to keep it that way just for the sake of realism. Verisimilitude is all well and good, and largely desirable, but not if it just makes things miserable. This, to my estimation, points strongly in the direction of any life support system being something that is not going to be aggressively punitive, especially to the tune of killing crews and destroying missions; if I had to guess, I would suspect it will definitely be there, but probably not excessively complicated, with a small number of factors to plan around. I could also conceivably see it being something that is fairly minimal for active flights, but much more robust for colonies (in the sense of more resources/moving pieces to manage, still not in the punitive sense). It is much harder for a colony to get lost in the shuffle or forgotten than some small, barely manned exploration mission you sent out years and years ago, and you are never going to have nearly as many colonies as in flight missions (for most people I would guess), so the game auto-stopping to bring your attention over to fix something, would be much less obtrusive overall. Plus the colony system looks like it will be fairly extensive, so it would be a reasonable way to do that.

That said, even if it stays relatively basic, I do hope there ends up being a really robust framework for it behind the scenes, in such a way that makes it easy for modders who want more hardcore stuff, or just to tweak it/build it out more.

Edit: also, looking at the roadmap again, even if not mentioned explicitly, Life support could easily be there as an unmentioned subsection of almost any of those, especially exploration and colonies. They aren't going to spell out every single thing they are going to put in, especially with early access still months away, this is just a rough guide for us to get a feel for the overall shape of things

Edit 2: also, from the faq on the ksp website: "The core pillar of KSP2 is building and flying cool rockets. While we have additional features planned like colonies, interstellar travel, and multiplayer, we first want to hear back from players about the core fundamental experience". There are also multiple mentions of stuff like, 'not yet revealed features', 'not wanting to spoil everything yet', 'more to come'... So there is 100% still plenty they aren't showing/telling us yet, whether incidentally, on purpose, or because it's not to that point yet. So something not being mentioned yet, especially a less major system that isn't part of the core gameplay loop, should not really be a cause for panic. I don't think it would be something they would be telling us about yet, regardless.

Plus, life support is a system that is perfect for early access: it is something where the line between fun and compelling and miserable and unfun, is extremely fine. It would be extremely logical to introduce it fairly early (probably in the colonies or science part of the roadmap) in a fairly basic form, and then iterate on it a bunch throughout early access, in small steps, but lots of them, to get it to a good, and fun, place.

Edited by GigFiz
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I've personally not ever been that worried about colony life support. If it's in, I can deal with it even if it's open-cycle life support by sending an automated resupply mission to that colony.

Actually, now that I think of it, life support (and a minor speed-bump of needing to "close the loop" or alternatively simply produce enough stuff to keep the Kerbals alive via ISRU resource extraction and processing) could be an important tool in preventing colonies from going from "just started" to "the colony can do anything that KSC can do" in such a short time that the player never needs to explore all the planets in the stock solar system or something like that.

If it's not clear what I'm trying to say, I'm saying that colony life support could act as a speed bump to set the proper pacing and speed of how fast a colony can be scaled up (obviously if you have more colonies set up, it becomes easier to set up even more colonies, but it should also be a thing where you only need one or two orbital colonies around any given planet or moon).

That being said, it would be quite interesting to see if it's possible to set up an orbital colony in solar orbit rather than just in an orbit of a planet or moon.
Advantage: Potential for nearly-limitless energy by means of selecting an orbit that is in close proximity to the local star (by harvesting solar energy), which might be needed if they introduce Antimatter as an energy transport medium.
Disadvantage: Potential for needing excessive amounts of thermal radiators to handle the heat influx of merely existing in a low solar orbit (inside of Moho's orbit).

By the way, Antimatter is pretty much never used as a "propellant" per se.
All it does is make energy easy to transport in an incredibly compact, incredibly dense form. The normal matter can be considered to provide the reaction mass.

According to Wolfram Alpha , 1 Kg of mass converted to energy (which you would get as the result of reacting 500g of matter with 500g of antimatter), works out to a staggering 8.988×10^16 Joules of energy.
That's about 60% of the energy released by the largest recorded eruption of Krakatoa.

Granted, you're going to need to react more than just that one kilogram of matter and antimatter together to drive an interstellar vehicle to high relativistic velocities, but using antimatter does result in the lowest system mass for the propulsion system (or at least the propellants and/or fuels and energy sources used).

That being said, that same kilogram of mass-energy can be used to launch probably over 100k metric tons of payload into LKO. Obviously, if you're not careful when you're handling the antimatter that could mean that most of that 100k tons launched into orbit could be matter that makes up the planet itself (making a spectacularly large crater), but that's not the point. Metered out slowly enough, you could make a reusable SSTO craft that can make it to orbit and back over 1000 times without needing to resupply on antimatter, just fill up the reaction mass tanks again and go.

Wolfram Alpha is a search engine that specializes in solving math problems, and you really should bookmark it because it can calculate delta-V and all kinds of other things useful to rocket building.

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Heres the basic thing with LS and the LS problem summed up

Canned Monkeys Dont Ship Well

You need all sorts of stuff to keep your canned monkeys alive in space, and although yes, simplification is ok for the sake of gameplay, I dont like the idea of sidestepping it

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On 11/23/2022 at 6:49 PM, Rutabaga22 said:

Off-topic, but I need to ask, do people fine tune ablator? I just slap on a heatshield and then I'm done.

I agree. Realism for the sake of realism isn't good game design. Parachutes and heatshields have benefits. Adding life support doesn't make anything easier. Maybe if you could turn some life support biproduct into resources it would be nice (Excrement concrete?) or make life support benefit kerbals' performance in some way it would make things better, but no benefits would make the game worse. Also, everyone knows kerbals use photosynthesis. :)

 

Realism for the sake of realism no, but realism for the sake of creating  things to overcome do make great gameplay. A simple example is the game itself... if  making things harder  is always bad why don't we remake a game  where we just click the planet and boom the kerbals are teleported there? See? very easy.. not fun at all.  Things to overcome is what makes kerbal interesting. To create a  Hours/Kerbal  life support  is a great way to create challenge. Maybe I need to downgrade this mission to only 2 not 3 kerbals.... etc...

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On 12/4/2022 at 4:25 AM, tstein said:

Realism for the sake of realism no, but realism for the sake of creating  things to overcome do make great gameplay.

This is very true, but the trick here is that there is very much a line where it crosses over from 'cool challenge to overcome' to 'miserable, punishing slog'. And the problem for life support specifically, which always seems to be among the more heated topics, is that, not only is it a extremely fine line, the line is in very different places for a lot of people.

Expanding on that, I think a big reason there is so much disagreement on this topic is that a lot of systems have, by and large, a gradient of difficulty, which leaves a lot of room for different, but similar enough opinions; life support, on the other hand, pretty much goes straight from 'overly punitive to the point that for many/most people it will not be at all fun' to 'ignorable to the level of why even bother' (for ships at least; colonies are actually fairly easy because you can just have them go on strike, essentially (which looks to be the form it will take if they have it)).

In-flight missions, though, are whole other kettle of monkeys. It could be made fatal, but time warp alone creates too much potential for mishaps that are not the players fault (other stuff too, but not going to rehash everything). They could refuse to operate or pilot the ship, but you have just made rescue missions impossible, or would have if it didn't mean you just always have a backup probe core. You could just have a life support part that is required to launch, but all you've done is added another random thing to put on your ships (people batteries, as it were)...better than nothing, but not super interesting (I say that but, while I don't run life support mods, I do have one that has hydroponics bays and I make them a self-imposed requirement on all crewed interplanetary missions) and even then, something has to happen if the part breaks or gets destroyed and you are back at square one.

The best I can think of for a penalty that doesn't seem either overly punitive or ignorable is something like: no collecting science, no fixing parts, and pilots can still pilot, but they lose all SAS ability and have to pilot fully manually (that part could still be ignored by including a control core, unless you also are out of electricity, but it's something at least). I suppose if there was an easy answer we wouldn't all keep arguing about it. &)

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2 hours ago, GigFiz said:

The best I can think of for a penalty that doesn't seem either overly punitive or ignorable is something like: no collecting science, no fixing parts, and pilots can still pilot, but they lose all SAS ability and have to pilot fully manually (that part could still be ignored by including a control core, unless you also are out of electricity, but it's something at least). I suppose if there was an easy answer we wouldn't all keep arguing about it. &)

My hope has always been that this is happing in the context of much more successful science and progression system in which often the whole point of a mission is to collect information about a new planet or moon and generate science to unlock parts. If running out of food cut your rewards even by 50% that would be plenty incentive for most people. Same deal if its setting up a mining supply run--if not having enough LS radically reduces the output of the run thats enough. You don't really even need them to go into hibernation. 

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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

My hope has always been that this is happing in the context of much more successful science and progression system in which often the whole point of a mission is to collect information about a new planet or moon and generate science to unlock parts.

That's right, I remember discussing this with you in some detail, earlier this year. I quite liked your ideas, and they definitely match up well with what I am hoping for. And now that we know that they are making science the primary 'currency', there is at least a chance that the system could end up looking like what we are wanting. No guarantees, obviously; there are plenty of other ways it could go, so...fingers crossed.

I don't remember if it came up at the time (or if you had already accounted for it), but the other thing interesting thing that could be spun out of your ideas is a better mission system. As we all know, the current one is...pretty boring and superfluous, and doesn't really feel connected to the rest of the game for the most part. But in a system where science and progression are linked that way, missions could operate more as a way to point you in helpful directions, and maybe give you some bonus tasks and rewards to do while you are at it...or something like that, but the point is that it seems like an opportune setup for making missions feel actually tied to the rest of the game, rather than tacked on.

At the moment,  it seems unclear what we are going to get for missions, though I feel like they did at one point acknowledge the benefit of that sort of element of structured gameplay, and that it appeals to plenty of people (I am one of them). Hopefully, whatever they end up doing, there is at least a more robust framework for missions in such a way that mission packs become an actual interesting avenue for modding.

PS: Good point about that being able to make those penalties feel meaningful. Especially since this hopefully means that, this time, the tech tree won't just be trivial to blow through.

Edited by GigFiz
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  • 2 weeks later...

If both unrealistic or Realistic hurts some player's feeling, We need 0.5*Realistic

You veins won't be pressurized when you are facing Jeb's Snack&water support-problem, but while buliding rockets, you must think of the basic life-support.

Maybe Jeb eat&drink less than human, and they're very tough(Higher Radiation/Impact Torlence, "Goodbye CO2" and higher temperature torlence):)

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