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Nerfherde

A rant about KSP

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Lol, he said 69. Also, this appears to be a common issue, but a lot of the time, when someone has issues with docking, they just say "I can't dock", without specifying what there issue is.

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Gawd... walls of text, use mechjeb, not use mechjeb, dock like this, dock like that...

Lets get simple (and use mechjeb.... be quiet on the back row)

Launch 1 capsule with docking port into a 130km circular orbit (use mech jeb to circulise the orbit)... this is the target.

Next launch another capsule with docking port(also fit lights and some batteries), time the launch so that the target craft is over the desert coast to the west of KSC.

aim to get an AP of 130 and a PE of 110, and you'll end up behind the target.

Use the mechjeb rendezvous function to align the orbits

And you should see a couple of markers for closest approach, when you get to your AP, go prograde with mechjeb, and use the RCS with the H or N keys to make the closest approach markers get further or closer together

with a bit of patience you can get them down to <100meters, orbit until you get close, then hit the RELV- button and thrust until your speed equals 0.

Then right click on the target's docking port, and set as target and hit the PAR- button, you are now flying parallel to the target craft.

Use I,J,K and L along with H and N to thrust your craft sideways,forwards and back

Oh and when you go into orbital darkness you'll see why I always bring lights :)

Its not the most efficent way of flying, and it relies on Mechjeb, but it makes it easy to dock.

the other thing to remember is that your docking skills take time to get right, look to spend 45 mins at least on the first run following the steps above.

Boris

<<about to get burned at the stake for using mechjeb so much :(

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Gawd... walls of text, use mechjeb, not use mechjeb, dock like this, dock like that...

Lets get simple (and use mechjeb.... be quiet on the back row)

...

<<about to get burned at the stake for using mechjeb so much :(

And for complaining about walls of text in a giant wall of text? ;)

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Also, this appears to be a common issue, but a lot of the time, when someone has issues with docking, they just say "I can't dock", without specifying what there issue is.

This is something I faced when I was trying to figure out how to dock (and many thanks to the forum for helping me get there) is that I didn't know enough about what I was doing wrong. Someone who doesn't know where they need help can't tell you where they are going wrong. Pictures help people who do know get to the root of the problem (sometimes) because they can diagnose things with experience that the less-experienced player isn't skilled enough to pick out.

This isn't a bash on anyone learning. It is just a statement of fact. I was in that same "I can't do this *^*% mode as well."

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paleorob: exactly. if they knew what they were doing wrong, they could (perhaps) fix it. they don't even know that, so they just sit there and flail in frustration. :(

Not much of my own advice to add to this thread, just sympathy: it took me a while to learn to match orbits and dock, and even now, I'm probably clumsier at it than some.

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Docking seems to only be a problem for me if I have my thrusters poorly placed. Or because I've attached/picked up a piece of something and trying to dock it with another ship. So the thrusters aren't balanced.

If my thrusters are configured properly I find docking a piece of cake, otherwise, it's a nightmare. I actually had to use my main engine to dock the other day. Finally got it lined up with minimal movement side to side and just powered right at the docking port, lol.

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The biggest issue about docking is that I cant specify the problem. If I knew what I was doing wrong I would fix it myself, right?

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The biggest issue about docking is that I cant specify the problem. If I knew what I was doing wrong I would fix it myself, right?

It's definitely hard. Have you docked smaller ships?

I love the Scott Manley videos, but I'm a sucker for a Scottish accent. He's a scientist who understands all the math, but I find his videos very accessible. Docking two smaller vehicles is easier than docking one vehicle to a stationary one, but if you can get this down, the learning curve gets much easier.

I'd create a practice game and try fallowing this a few times. Hope this helps. I'm not sure what kind of craft you're docking.

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I tried both stations and very small ships. Like I said in TS i also watched scott manley. I just dont get it.

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THe first time i tried to dock, It was a "rcs tug" i wanted to attach to my space station so that i can dock more things. I think i burned through 2000 units of RCS (most of the darn thing's fuel) and multiple hours of dancing and near misses, and many destroyed solarpanels before i finally, finally, managed to connect the darn thing to ONE of the 6 docking ports (one in each direction) I had placed on my space station core.

Since then i have gotten better, but dam let me tell you how awesome it was to make that first connection. despite it basically making my rcs tug useless.

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hm, I used to build a couple of light, easy to control spaceships with one dockingport each to lern docking. Used to be very hard - nowadays it's still annoying but completely manageble

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this game is frustrating, and there are times where I too wish it were simpler. BUT, as I watch others play, I realize that this is a game of pure trial and error. you need to crawl before you can run. That amazing station you want to build needs to be paced. Put that core in space, and use the added components to practice your docking maneuvers.

One thought I've had, on RCS control, was to simply take an object into orbit with your shuttle, let the object loose, and practice using your RCS to move around the object with your shuttle. Understanding RCS controls is one thing to master, and moving around a simple object is one way to practice. This also a good way to get an understanding on RCS thruster placement and how they behave right now. If it moves to fast or goes into uncontrollable spins, take note of that and try optimizing it and try again.

Edited by Reavermyst

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You wish it were simpler? Space isn't simple bro, sorry.

I applaud your ability to read part of a post and completely miss the point

Bravo

Edited by Reavermyst
Reaction picture was unnecessary

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Sorry, tired tonight, so I jumped a little ;p It's 2 AM, cut me a little slack ;/

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Docking seems to only be a problem for me if I have my thrusters poorly placed. Or because I've attached/picked up a piece of something and trying to dock it with another ship. So the thrusters aren't balanced.

If my thrusters are configured properly I find docking a piece of cake, otherwise, it's a nightmare. I actually had to use my main engine to dock the other day. Finally got it lined up with minimal movement side to side and just powered right at the docking port, lol.

Man, this quote is 100% correct. I remember lucking out with the placement of my RCS in my early capsules that when I put up a bigger one I just slapped on the RCS as usual and got into orbit and I was swearing like a trooper because the darn thing wouldn't do what I wanted. All the RCS were firing at the same time it seemed when I put SAS on. Tried turning and it would turn... tried translating AND IT WOULD STILL TURN. Trying to align with the docking port and KEEP aligned was near impossible. All because of poorly placed RCS ports.

Now here is a VERY good way to learn how to balance your RCS is to use the built in debugger. Yes, it is a cheat in a way but it DOES help you to balance your final capsule without flying it up into orbit. It's a bit like a simulation system for your design.

  1. Build your final payload but don't add on the boosters just yet. You want just the parts you will have in orbit and want to dock. Bit like the Command and Service module of the Apollo era.
  2. Add on your RCS... Add a ring of "Place Anywhere" RCS pods around the Centre of Mass (you can find the CoM by pressing the little weight icon at the bottom left of your VAB screen). These will be used for translating... ie up,down,left and right. Use 4 for small ships, 6 for medium ships and 8 for large ships.
  3. Now add a ring of RCS Quad pods around the ship, a third of the way from the top. 4 is fine for a small to large ship as all they are used for is turning the ship.
  4. Now here is the trick... Go into Action Groups and select one of the Custom slots. For this example we are going to use Custom10. Select one of the RCS Quads on your payload and then you should see it appear in the action group menu as "Toggle RCS Thrust" Click on this and it will now be allocated to Custom10.
  5. NOW SAVE YOUR SHIP. So many times I have got to launch and the game crashes so I always save before testing a new ship.
  6. Now that you have saved, add a couple of launch clamps to support your ship. These are just so it doesn't go boom if it falls over.
  7. Now go to the launch pad.
  8. Here is the trick. Hit ALT-F12 and a menu will appear. Hit the "Hack Gravity" button.
  9. Launch your ship... You will now be able to test your RCS without going into orbit. Turn on the RCS by hitting R and you can turn the ship with the WASD buttons and rotate with the Q and E buttons. For translating we need to do a little trick.
  10. To enter our translation mode hit the custom10 button (which is usually 0). This will turn our quad pods off and on.
  11. With the quad pods off you can now use the JKLI buttons to move left, down, right and up.
  12. To move forward and back hit the custom10 button again to turn the quad pods back on and use H and N.
  13. Testing the ship will probably show you some problems. If the ship turns when you are translating you may have to move the ring or place anywhere pods up and down the body of the payload. If the ship isn't turning fast enough when you are using the WASD buttons you can move quad pods closer to the end of the payload which will speed up the rotation.
  14. Here ends the balancing RCS tutorial.

This technique was given to me by others on this board. It works well and I've just added the fine tuning ideas myself because I either had extra twitchy small craft going crazy or big craft that just wouldn't turn. You don't need two lots of RCS rings like a lot of people use (just look at the Apollo CSM if you don't believe me). I used to use way too many quad pods before I realised this.

Edit2: I used to rant about docking too... now I feel like an idiot when I think back on it lol... It's just learning new stuff is all. In orbit it's all about relative speed and try and ignore what your brain is telling you when you see the other ship. TRUST YOUR INSTRUMENTS. Sometimes you have to burn away from a target in order to get closer. Sounds mad until you realise what you are doing is nulling out (ie reducing to zero) your relative velocity. Yup... docking all all about relative velocities and THAT'S THE SECRET.

Edited by NeoMorph

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The hardest part of docking for me, for a while, was figuring out what I was supposed to align with what on the navball. I had to dock several times before I really understood how it all worked, but now as long as my RCS thrusters are properly aligned, it's no problem. Docking is still one of the most satisfying things to do in KSP for me.

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  1. Point at Target Ship
  2. Throttle Up
  3. Put On Sunglasses
  4. Open Beer
  5. Enjoy Fireworks

Putting on "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who is entirely optional.

On a serious note though. it really is just alot of trial and error, using the orbital velocities to catch up or slow down to rendezvouz and then getting it all pointed in teh right direction.

Take it slow, don't do 'big' burns unless you have alot of distance to cover, always make sure that you have more than twice as much time after the end of the 'approach' burn as the burn itself took, so you have time to turn around and retroburn to kill that dreaded relative velocity.

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The hardest part of docking for me, for a while, was figuring out what I was supposed to align with what on the navball. I had to dock several times before I really understood how it all worked, but now as long as my RCS thrusters are properly aligned, it's no problem. Docking is still one of the most satisfying things to do in KSP for me.

Clicking on the target vehicles docking port and then it selecting it sets the alignment up correctly on the navball. A lot of people don't know this and it makes docking harder.

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Docking is tricky for me, especially when I do my stupid apollo style rendezvouses. It took me forever to figure out that if you point the ship to dock to north, select the docking port as a target, and simply face my rocket south, that all I have to do is get my velocity marker on that stupid pink target symbol. No worrying about that damned port slowly spinning out of alignment or anything like that. Since you know the port is facing straight up, you know you'll be right on top of it when the pink target symbol is right on the south part of the navball, and then it's just getting that green velocity marker to be exactly on top of it. Someone should really make a tutorial for this for the KSP game. I would if I could code even a little.

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if you right click on a docking port on the craft you currently control, you get 'control from here'

if you right click on a docking port on the craft that you are attempting to dock with (once you get close enough to do so), you are given the option to "set as target" instead.

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Ok, so none of your tips are working for me. How about other planets? Using manouver nodes "until they hit something" just doesnt work...

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What really helped me do my first docking was pebble garden's 'phoenix project' youtube series. The guy's a master at the procedure but presents it with good simple language.

Watch that. And fool around with your own ships trying to imitate, and don't give up - the most important thing I think I can say is that you have to get to a point where the ideas 'click' and you understand on an intuitive level what's going on on the screen. You can get there. Docking is, I would say, still technically hard for me.. but far from the impossible hour long fumbling I had before aborting my first real attempt.

Okay, as for interplanetary stuff.. hrg, that's tougher. You hafta burn so that you come out of Kerbin orbit either increasing the speed of your solar orbit and thus raising your apoapsis, or decreasing it and lowering your periapsis.. to go inward in the system, or outward. But there's the matter of timing: hitting the peri/apoapsis at just the right moment that the planet you're aiming for is entering the neighbourhood is far from intuitive. You can have to wait years of in-game time for the planets to line up right. Google for 'ksp interplanetary calculator' to see the recommended angles.

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