Sign in to follow this  
greenjinjo

"Science is great, but there's no need to return samples!", an essay

Recommended Posts

I posted this on Reddit also (link)

Let me start off by saying that Science has been a great addition to the game, and many thanks to the devs for fixing the scene transition issues. Having said that, I believe there are a few things about the Science system that could be tweaked.

(Kudos to the following two threads that got me thinking in the first place. A lot of my ideas are a combination of these two, plus some added thoughts)

Thread 1

Thread 2

Right now, it is possible to max out your Science for, say, an EVA Soil Sample, simply by collecting, entering your ship, transmitting the data, and repeating this several times. There is currently no benefit to returning the samples back to Kerbin. This seems wrong.

Science should be broken down into two different types:

- TRANSMITTABLE - Research that can be returned to Kerbin via antenna with no loss of Science.

- PHYSICAL - Research that can be returned to Kerbin physically with no loss of Science, or that can be transmitted back to Kerbin with a lower maximum cap than if it were to be returned.

TRANSMITTABLE data would be the following: Temperature, Gravity, Acceleration, Pressure, and Crew Reports. This data should experience no loss over an antenna, and should be given the same amount of Science whether it's returned to Kerbin or not. Crew Reports should also include a new part, a Camera. This would allow probes to take a "Crew Report" and send the data back to Kerbin at 100% efficiency.

PHYSICAL data would be the following: EVA Samples, EVA Reports, Mystery Goo, and the Science Lab. This data should experience a loss over an antenna, but more importantly, there should be a maximum amount of data that can be collected over the antenna for these data types. The data would need to be physically returned to Kerbin to reach the maximum value. This would ensure that there is a reward for bringing the ship (and crew!) back safely. (For example, if a total of 100 Science could be collected from Mun rocks, you could never exceed 40 from transmitting the data. To get the other 60, you must return them to Kerbin)

I'm proposing that EVA Reports be PHYSICAL data because more information will be learned after a thorough debrief once the Kerbal gets back to Kerbin. I'm proposing another new part for PHYSICAL data, a Scoop that can be attached to a probe that can collect a soil sample, in the same way a Kerbal can collect a sample. In order to make the Kerbals still important, only Kerbals can perform EVA Reports (and plant flags!)

Different antennas are still useful in this scenario if the small one is only able to be used within the Kerbin system, and the larger ones work further out.

Having to return samples every time may seem a little "grindy", but another suggestion I have then is to rework the diminishing returns aspect of Science and award, say, 67% of the total amount the first time an experiment is performed, and 33% the second time.

This then provides a nice bridge to another system that I would love to see: Space Stations and Planetary Bases. Introduce a new part, a Science Bay, that must be manned by several Kerbals, where soil samples, experiments, and EVA reports can be returned for full credit. This would make Space Stations act as more than just expensive gas stations, and could be the cornerstone for bases on the Mun, Minmus, and beyond. This would be even more useful when biomes are added to all of the other planets and moons.

TL;DR

- Require soil samples, experiments, and EVA reports to be returned to Kerbin to get full credit, and cap the amount of Science these award via transmission to a lower value than this maximum.

- Remove the transmission losses for the small sensors (i.e. Thermometer, Barometer, etc).

- Add a Camera and Scoop for probes to perform more science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole thing is still in development, and the Devs do read these, so cross your fingers greenjinjo :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-snip-

Science should be broken down into two different types:

- TRANSMITTABLE - Research that can be returned to Kerbin via antenna with no loss of Science.

- PHYSICAL - Research that can be returned to Kerbin physically with no loss of Science, or that can be transmitted back to Kerbin with a lower maximum cap than if it were to be returned.

TRANSMITTABLE data would be the following: Temperature, Gravity, Acceleration, Pressure, and Crew Reports. This data should experience no loss over an antenna, and should be given the same amount of Science whether it's returned to Kerbin or not. Crew Reports should also include a new part, a Camera. This would allow probes to take a "Crew Report" and send the data back to Kerbin at 100% efficiency.

PHYSICAL data would be the following: EVA Samples, EVA Reports, Mystery Goo, and the Science Lab. This data should experience a loss over an antenna, but more importantly, there should be a maximum amount of data that can be collected over the antenna for these data types. The data would need to be physically returned to Kerbin to reach the maximum value. This would ensure that there is a reward for bringing the ship (and crew!) back safely. (For example, if a total of 100 Science could be collected from Mun rocks, you could never exceed 40 from transmitting the data. To get the other 60, you must return them to Kerbin)

-snip-

I agree. Thankfully this is not the finished version of the game, so the dev's could still make this part of it *crossed fingers*. But in the meantime if you are a good programmer/modeler you could make a mod to do this (FYI I am neither of those)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possible suggestions:

- Atmospheric samples (Jool for example)

- For science base/lab allow it to work only when it is in high or low orbit, and instead of providing research it would condense and store multiple data into storage container designed for landing. this way one can gather plethora of data from any planet and it's moons, without having to land 10+ landers back at kerbin to retrieve all that data. At the same time samples still need to be returned back to Kerbin in order to yield research.

- For future ore update: use samples, reports, and recordings of a specific body to reveal ore map. That way planets and moons will need to be researched to show ore nodes, but it wont be grindy afk scanning, nor instant-result on 1 click. More data obtained from one body = more detailed maps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree with the author here. Its pretty easy to get pints and very little bonus returning.

I do like to add that when you do flybys for some reason the last one counts. So theres Little point in going on a tour of the system and returning if not all your flybys count. Lots of such small odd things that are just illogical.

I went by Mun, Minmus, Duna and Ike and returned and for that I got a flyby bonus of 30 points I think from the last body I passed. Pretty pointless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. I love the update, it's been so much fun, but i'd like to see some tweaking. The devs are awesome and i'm confident. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the concept of EVA reports being physical, I think it makes sense. When the game talks about not being able to store more than one EVA report per biome it uses the word experiment. This got me thinking maybe they have some sort of science kit that they use on EVA in those different areas. This way it would make sense that it needs to be recovered.

Also on the Science Bay idea should it be able to generate a small amount of science over time as well? As long as the part is far up the tech tree, heavy and expensive it should work. Otherwise your ground bases would become useless fairly quickly, unless you're willing to drive for hours to get to new biomes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd extend the transmittable part to have loss based on antenna strength (amount too maybe?) and distance and if done properly, relay network quality. Think of Remote Tech.

This would give a point to setting out dozens of satellites to then just use cheaper antennas on your probes or whatevers or just use stronger ones if you don't wanna be bothered with satellites (it shouldn't prevent transmission like in RT if no relays are there, just reduce quality of the signal a lot).

Edit: also we need sample storage pods and command pods should hold samples per seat, not total. I expected the 3 man pod to be able to hold 3 eva reports and 3 samples but it can just hold one set like the 1 man pod.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Transmitting a sample sure does not make sense, but you can do some analysis of it onboard and transmit your findings.

Any kinds of reports are SO transmittable, Kerbals type them into their computers anyway.

Temperature readings may seem very transmittable, but there may be certain limits such as bit depth and your may need to get your hands on the actual experiment to get to the most precise results.

My own suggestion is not about categorising but more of dividing achievable science points according to how it was measured and how it was delivered. But I have started a separate thread about it already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's also my thought, instead of having hardcoded loss when transmitted have a hardcoded ratio of what's transmittable and what's retrievable.

For samples there could be added sampling modules that shift the ratio from retrievable to transmittable to a certain extend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PHYSICAL data would be the following: EVA Samples, EVA Reports, Mystery Goo, and the Science Lab. This data should experience a loss over an antenna, but more importantly, there should be a maximum amount of data that can be collected over the antenna for these data types. The data would need to be physically returned to Kerbin to reach the maximum value. This would ensure that there is a reward for bringing the ship (and crew!) back safely. (For example, if a total of 100 Science could be collected from Mun rocks, you could never exceed 40 from transmitting the data. To get the other 60, you must return them to Kerbin)

What about parts that would allow you to increase this cap, at the cost of additional mass and power consumption?

For example: Automatic processing units, robotic sample analysis, onboard instrument suites, et cetera.

This would culminate with a Manned Science Laboratory that would eleminate the cap entirely.

That way in-situ research is still viable, but you're limited by available equipment rather than your tolerance for data grinding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Transmitting a sample sure does not make sense, but you can do some analysis of it onboard and transmit your findings.

Any kinds of reports are SO transmittable, Kerbals type them into their computers anyway.

That is assuming the kerbals have the technology on-board that tiny 1 man capsule to perform any sort of reasonable research.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very well put post, and i support it wholeheartedly.

ksp 0.22 blew new life into the game, and i had a blast doing science-projects and trying to return samples to kerbin in one piece. I really enjoy the challenge of going to the mun and back, and i appreciated the fact that i was rewarded for the return-trip.

This post made it clear to me that no return-trip is ever really necessary, and since then my interest kind of faded as fast as it lit, so thank you for that. /s ;)

But its a good post, and i hope the devs take it to heart. Failing that, is there a modder out there that would be able to slap something together that might accomplish what OP suggests?

To avoid the "grindyness" of multiple trips to the same celestial body for samples from different biomes, i'd suggest being able to store multiple samples either on the kerbal, or in his shuttle. This would further encourage playing around with rovers.

Edited by Jimbio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely agree with the OP, and I'm pretty sure the guys at Squad have something similar in their heads. What we got now in .22 is just a taste of what's coming in the future.

The only thing we need is patience and give good feedback :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must be the only person who never even considered re-sending transmissions to extract all the science value from a sample. I had assumed that the act of sending the transmission was something that could only be done once per.

On the assumption that this was Squad's actual intent, I advise them to enforce it as soon as is practical.

There is a phrase in law that I believe is applicable: "You only get one bite at the apple."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I am limiting myself to only transmit crew-reports, and the data from stuff like the thermometer, seismic scan, etc. It's going pretty well. I may not be getting the most science out of every run, but it's encouraging me to go do more Mun missions and even got me to do a Duna mission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone else said in another thread(sorry, I can't remember his/her name): Why should goo and science bay not be transmittable? He had this example: You are in space and look at the goo, it's frozen. You can report that back, but if you go back to Kerbin, the goo is no longer frozen and you won't get anything from it.

But beside that, I think you are right: You won't get the same out of looking at a picture of a rock than actually taking it back into a laboratory. And also why we need to take the thermometer back to look at the temperature?

I do, however really like the new science system although it's not perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a game about moving things from kerbin across the solar system. It makes perfect sense for finding things and returning them to kerbin be part of the gameplay. It closes the circle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So... with the exception of new probe parts, this pretty much happened. Thanks Squad!

EDIT: Actually... not sure why things like thermometers have a transmitted Science cap.

Edited by greenjinjo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So... with the exception of new probe parts, this pretty much happened. Thanks Squad!

EDIT: Actually... not sure why things like thermometers have a transmitted Science cap.

Yes, I amazed while reading the original post at how much of it found its way into 0.23. I would really love to see a camera part though. Just think about how the history of spaceflight has been defined by photographs like this one:

54427main_MM_image_feature_102_jw4.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this