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The Jedi Master

MechJeb Review

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To echo others, I really don't think that this started off as a bad thread. OP wanted a legitimate discussion about MechJeb and its capabilities, plus a friendly exchange of ideas about how people use it. Admittedly it's a touchy subject, but in the end, MechJeb's still just another mod and we can still have fun talking about it as such.

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Very nice! Enjoyable and informative reading. Thanks much!!!

Yes, I agree, a very good read indeed.

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My main issue with MechJeb is that it's not very good at autolanding from orbit. It tends to waste fuel, screw up the deorbit burn, perform endless plane change burns, etc.– usually, I have to perform the deorbit burn myself and work out the trajectory, then, if I still feel like using MechJeb, only hand over control for the final braking burn. Does this happen with any of you guys?

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My main issue with MechJeb is that it's not very good at autolanding from orbit. It tends to waste fuel, screw up the deorbit burn, perform endless plane change burns, etc.– usually, I have to perform the deorbit burn myself and work out the trajectory, then, if I still feel like using MechJeb, only hand over control for the final braking burn. Does this happen with any of you guys?

To be honest mechjeb does have flaws and seems to be for only certain machines, not sure why. I've had times where the same ship that me and a friend have used, mechjeb will work perfect for one of us and the other mechjeb just goes bonkers for no reason. For instance my laptop can not do a mechjeb transfer to minmus but my main machine mechjeb transfers to minmus, no problem. In my opinion its a mechjeb thing.

I've also had mechjeb do

lift-offs----check

circular orbit----check

transfer to mun or minmus------check

deorbit burns---check

final decent burn-----wobbly bonkers jittery SMASH BOOOM at last 3-5 m to go before touchdown - - - other times perfect landings

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To be honest mechjeb does have flaws and seems to be for only certain machines, not sure why. I've had times where the same ship that me and a friend have used, mechjeb will work perfect for one of us and the other mechjeb just goes bonkers for no reason. For instance my laptop can not do a mechjeb transfer to minmus but my main machine mechjeb transfers to minmus, no problem. In my opinion its a mechjeb thing.

I've also had mechjeb do

lift-offs----check

circular orbit----check

transfer to mun or minmus------check

deorbit burns---check

final decent burn-----wobbly bonkers jittery SMASH BOOOM at last 3-5 m to go before touchdown - - - other times perfect landings

Yeah I usually start my landing cycle below 200, seems to help. Above that and it spends all the time adjusting. Now if it is a chute landing, once the chute deploys, I disengage the mechjeb, and just land. Hence why I love the antigravity module, kill gravity, kill surface speed, slowly descend to surface, engage landing brake, look for a sweet spot, set down.

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For me, my love is the ship designing, and seeing them work, not as much the actual direct control flying of the ships. :)

Mind you, I still like to be in some control, and MEchJeb is certainly not as perfect as some would like (Rapid flipping while thrusting on and off during a burn for a precise duna transfer, or bending the orbit around Kerbin for an escape trajectory to Jool, causing the flight path to go THROUGH the ground are some examples I've had recently ^^; ) but it makes the tedious parts alot simpler, like holding a ship steady while controlling throttle manually for those tricky burns you just don't want to trust a machine to do, or even plotting out a node you can burn yourself... Either way, I think its a great thing to have if you want it, and alot of real life spacecraft use auto pilot for most things anyway, and technically being able to see your ship third person isn't exactly very realistic either... ^^;

But the main point is, it is a game, and nothing is wrong with doing what you wish to make it more fun for you in the end, yes? ^^

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I think this picture is reflective of my views on mechjeb...

image.php?id=9C90_5196D134&jpg

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If you don't play KSP in real-time, you aren't playing it properly. .. .. .. while wearing a space-helmet, and only from in-capsule view.

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How cool would it be to own a space shuttle cockpit. ... and just to be 100% clear, i WAS joking :P

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I love MJ. For me, the game is alot more about designing a perfectly balanced, efficient (or just awesome looking) craft.

I like to think of it as playing the game as an engineer rather than a pilot, then you can watch your creation do its thing.

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Every. Single. Time.

I will repeat my bit ad nauseum. Nobody can or should tell me, or anyone else, how to play a single player game. There's no legitimate way to use Mechjeb, there's only yes or no. Nothing else matters. The only place this discussion should ever be is in the challenge thread, and even then it's tenuous. Do what you want, how you want. Don't use the internet to try and justify how good a pilot you are because you do or don't use MJ. It doesn't matter one jot to anybody else, and it does not give you the right to preach at others about how their achievements are not as significant as yours because they do something differently.

A big bucket of THIS.

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One of the best uses I've found for MechJeb is executing particularly tricky or precise maneuver nodes. Say what you will, but it's a hell of a lot easier than trying to manually maneuver a 64+Mainsail using the magic torque from a probe body.

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I find MechJeb 2.0 an amazing information tool. It also allows me to reduce the workload when I need to launch several 1500 ton ships in orbit. It's also very useful for Smart A.S.S and executing maneuver nodes.

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In KSP, you are the autopilot.

You are not the astronauts. You are the autopilot. You are mission control.

But most importantly, you are not that person inside the ship. You don't die when there is a crash.

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indeed, you are mission control. And mission control doesn't hand steer the rocket, they tell it where to go and the on-board computers make it go there.

Which is where Mechjeb comes in.

And perfect? It's not perfect, bloody good but not perfect. It makes mistakes, sometimes it just fails to fire when needed. I've had it try to land at 50m/s instead of 5, stop trying to dock 2m from the docking port, perfectly aligned, and back up, things like that.

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I don't use MechJeb because I think it's cheating; the game has manual controls for a reason and I believe that reason is so that we can fly rockets. I would get bored of this game so quick if it flew all my rockets for me. It may not be true to real life, but KSP isn't real life, it's a game where I fly rockets.

You can play whatever game you want, I'm going to fly rockets.

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I appear to be an oddity in the forums of KSP. I like using mechjeb, I mostly like to engineer and see my creations fly but I have also landed on every single body in the system without it. There is nothing left to do manually

I feel I am one of the few players truly qualified to comment objectively on this topic.

I say use mechjeb if you like, don`t use it if you don`t want. If there is a challenge, abide by the rules.

No player plays more `properly` than any other. Stock means nothing yet as the game is not final. Things are not set in stone. For example, stock used to mean no chair and now it does mean a chair. KspX used to be a mod, now elements of it have been made stock. Nobody, possibly not even the game designers themselves, knows the final state of the game yet. Stock rules in challenges are usually only a restriction to stop stuff like engines that have an ISP of 50,000 and a thrust of 20,000 and weigh 0.1T so everyone is on the same playing field.

I say play the game in the way that gives you the most fun and if a thread mentions a mod you don`t use and don`t like, don`t comment. I regard complaining about mechjeb in a thread not started by the OP as complaining about mechjeb to be threadjacking (which is against the forum rules). I saw this thread as being one where people talk about how they use mechjeb, not yet another war about whether to use mechjeb.

Like my mother says, if you don`t have anything nice to say, don`t say anything at all.

I use mechjeb for the times when I need to put a lot of craft in the same place and don`t want to be tied to the computer for 20 launches. Recently I needed to put about 9 multipart stations in orbit around all the major bodies (and a couple more for Jool). 3 parts each and then sent out to the planets. I launched the parts then put them into orbits around minmus, connected them, refueled them and sent them off. I don`t have 4 solid days to devote to just playing KSP (which is how long it took to get my Grandmaster status, not doing that again for a while).

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I have MechJeb installed, but I don't use it that often.

When I build/test new ships, it's very helpfull and I also use it to get precise orbit/aerobrake/landing info.

The autopilots have their use aswell: When I have to launch the same ship over and over again or want to do 10m burns with some ion-probes, I can activate 'em and go do something else meanwhile. Docking is always manual. MJs Docking autopilots uses WAY to much RCS in my opinion.

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I'll start off by saying I rarely use autopilot, but just to let you know, actual astronauts barely ever touched the controls when flying, most of it was done automatically. There's nothing cheaty about it, just boring realism.

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I use Mechjeb on all my craft, but I have to reiterate that it's not the magic bullet some people make it out to be. It's a complicated tool, and takes a lot of knowledge and experience to use it properly--not that different from manual piloting. For moon rendezvous, it always plots a collision course, so I use it to time the departure burn and adjust the node manually to fix the arrival orbit. Sometimes I let MJ execute the burn, sometimes I do it manually for better accuracy. I alter the PID parameters for each craft so they don't wobble, sometimes multiple times during a mission. And for the Ascent/Landing guidance systems, there are specific methods to designing your craft, planning the mission and entering the parameters that are required for success--failure is not hard to come by. I use MJ because like many others I am an engineer and enjoy staring at walls of numbers while watching my meticulously-tuned craft fly under its own guidance to complete complex missions--but I'm almost always on the edge of my seat ready to take the helm at the first sign of trouble.

The bottom line is this: KSP is a great flight sim, yes, but to insist that it is ONLY a flight sim does a disservice to its creators and to the open community they have fostered.

Edited by robot256

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Funny thing is those that really like to fly by the seat of their pants call MechJeb cheating but I think when their equivalent failed on descent of Apollo 11 Neil and Buzz called it an "oh $**t" moment. They were such good pilots and so well trained they made it. I think when the shuttle ascent guidance failed Colonel Eileen Collins thought, "oh $**t," they are going to make me abort, but once again her training was so good she flew it to orbit hands on manual. My point is every craft has an onboard computer even a civil aviation airplane does. In fact with the advent of GPS even ultra lights usually have some navigation aids. Had Neil and Buzz only known how to fly the auto pilot at best they would not have been the first to walk on the moon and at worst would not have survived, but use it they did. Apollo 13, watch the movie, it is a recreation as far as most of the flight. Listen to an interview with the real crew, they were scared $**tless when they had to make the midcourse burn without any computer. Don't use it if you prefer. Don't put one on board if that makes you happy, but do not call it cheating to have one and to use it when and how makes your flight experience better.

In my opinion, the best astronaut knows how to do everything manually and when to let the computer do it and when to use the computer to optimize his or her time. MechJeb allows you to do as much or as little as you want. It does screw up, especially on interplanetary node calculations, but even that helped me become a better navigator. Now I see immediately and think "moron, there you go again," then I calculate my own. When I first started calculating it was such a daunting task it was not fun. Now it is second nature. Same thing for precision landings. i.e. the flight computer helped me learn how to do it manually.

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Hand flying is for saving lives, not flying craft. Nobody would EVER hand fly a rocket launching a communications satallite under any circumstances. The tolerances just do not allow for human error. If the autopilot fails, a button is pushed and the rocket explodes. The same is true for manned flights. If the autopilot fails on launch, the entire team goes into recovery mode, abandoning any hope of achieving the precise orbit required of the mission.

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Ok, I personally prefer mechjeb for two reasons: it gives me an option for an autopilot in the situation where I don't want to repeat the same launch over an over, and it gives me technical information that, yes I could get otherwise, but would prefer as I get it from mechjeb. 90% of the time I have mechjeb open is to see what the information on my craft is.

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