Sign in to follow this  
Fabri91

Making Space Stations useful

Recommended Posts

Greetings, fellow Kerbonauts!

The way it works now in career mode (I'm aware that this is still just the very beginning of it, but thought to pitch in anyway) is that space stations are completely and utterly useless, aside from their role as fuel depots.

The point is: they don't have any direct role in the research for science (points).

So, here's my proposal: it would be useful if space stations, depending on their complexity (instruments onboard, but mostly power generation capability and crew capacity), would generate a steady, if slow, trickle of science points.

This would make them relevant, while keeping the role of other research, such as sample returns, which bring in lots of science in one shot.

Of course a way should be devised to incentivate the building of "realistic-ish" space stations, not just a couple of crew tanks with some gigantor solar panels, which would exhibit both a large power output and good crew capacity: station mass or it's size could somehow be computed and taken into account, maybe.

So, what's your opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is indeed an idea. It should also be possible to send capsules to "retrieve" science and incentivate flights to the space stations, maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not just crew capacity, but the kind of instrumentation you bring up there.

labs that work with materials in zero G, labs that induce centrifugal forces to experiment with growing plants in artificial gravity environments. lowering food requirements in the future

upgrades that increase crew comfort and therefore production rate.

and keep adding to it as science brings in new experiments and technologies.

but if you build a station, you need to resupply it, and every time you resupply the station, science production goes up as new experiment supplies are brought on board, and then as time progresses the science rate decays as the experiments are used up. requiring more resupply missions to bring in fresh material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is in the "not-to-suggest" list, but I really want to be able to have an orbital factory for producing huge interplanetary (interstellar?) vessels without having to worry about pesky things such as "atmosphere"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, no it isn't. The closest thing is "more functionality for satellites". Space stations aren't mentioned. Continue. :)

I like the idea, though... but I think it's going to be a little more complicated than just giving a steady trickle of science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To work off of what Avanti said, I think space stations shouldn't be used for researching new things, but improving the things you already have. Like making nuclear engines more efficient or increasing the intake potential of intakes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of a few ways to prevent abuse of the trickle of science.

  • No science over time gained while in time warp.
  • Add a resource called research materials which is burned doing science over time.
  • Life support so you can't leave it running without regular resupply missions or large and expensive parts to make it self sufficient.

A mobile lab unit(big, heavy, and expensive) would make stations more useful in orbit of other planets. With this you could go moon hopping around Duna and get more science by returning to the station for analysis before transmitting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kerbal daily mentioned a lab module where I think you will be able to take samples from elsewhere for more science. My guess is that putting one in orbit of the Mun or Duna would be very beneficial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The kerbal daily mentioned a lab module where I think you will be able to take samples from elsewhere for more science. My guess is that putting one in orbit of the Mun or Duna would be very beneficial.

That's kind of how I interpreted it as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What if the lab module acts modular; that is, many parts can be put together for extra science? However, this makes it very heavy and/or fragile and therefore unpractical to be landed on the surface of planets, so it's best to leave it on orbit while your lander gathers the samples. Of course, you could just create a really heavy lander and do the science on the ground, but that's just another way of how things can be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is originally a reply to a different thread, but I think it is relevant here as well. I very much want to see space stations be more useful too, so I'm double-posting it:

The main argument for science-over-time seems to be to give stations and bases a more realistic purpose. The main argument against seems to be that time warp means science/time = free science.

As a solution, I propose science-per-kerbal-time

As in real life, the amount of science produced depends on the number and quality of scientists producing it, in addition to the environment you put them in. The game could make it so that there are scientists that you can hire, and each scientist can produce X science per hour in situation Y, up to a maximum of Z total science. The benefits of such a system are the following:

+ Gives purpose to stations and bases as places to put scientists to generate research.

+ Maximum science capacity per scientist means no unlimited science based on time-warp.

+ Maximum science capacity means scientists have to be rotated out --> incentive to undertake ferrying missions

+ Creates additional interaction between economy and science as you need to balance the number and quality of scientists you hire

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the way I'd do it too, have a few space-station type science modules* that will only give science if they are manned, and have enough of a resource that can only be brought from Kerbin (and plenty of power). And each time you restock it you get diminishing returns, but the reward drops off quite slowly. That way you get a decent incentive to have something doing science long-term close to Kerbin (or further away, if you fancy having to wait for a launch window to resupply)

*Orbital telescope, zero-G laboratory, artificial biosphere, tiny screw sorting facility...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Station should produce something! Some resource that can only be obtained in zero-G.

Maybe super sturdy and light material for creating advanced parts of spaceships?

And by zero-G i mean no acceleration. So production modules shoudl not work on ships that keep accelerating - only on stations that just sit on their orbits (with exception for very light acceleration, like from RCS or ship bumping into station during docking).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to keep the player from simply warping to infinite reserch you could have a halflife on the science income from a station so you would have to maintain it once in a while for it to stay effective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Space stations are a monumental feat in engineering, so the OP is correct that it seems silly that space stations don't add much to the science given the amount that is needed to make them. Space stations though aren't useless pieces of flotsam. They serve as orbital transfer points, and fuel depots. The problem is Space stations should have multiple uses and either you should be forced to build a smaller specialized station for one of the two uses mentioned above or possibly an orbital zero g-laboratory or a zero g-factory. Since what the OP is commenting on is science I will focus my ideas and concepts there.

First, a new space station/base module should be introduced. This module should eat power and a small amount of fuel for all the Bunsen burners. Also, It should require scientist crew members to man the module. The reason for this is that either a small specialized station for science only can be built, forcing a player to make a choice. Do I use my crew quarters to hold scientist or pilots? Do I use the large fuel tank to supply outgoing rockets to far flung destinations or do I use it to fuel my Bunsen burners? With out any of the these resources the experiments stop. Thus partially avoiding the time warp issue, if you time warp to fast you'll just have to do a resupply mission to refill the stations fuel supply. But wait that's not all, there's more.

Labs shouldn't directly generate science, they should be generating data. Which either can be transmitted to the surface of Kerbin, for a massive reduction in the potential science. The packets of data should be huge, so that with the lab running it would be a huge drain on the electrical system to transmit this data and run the lab. So a data storage device with the information gained by the scientist on the station would need to be sent down and recovered. Viola science points. Also I think the rate of science created should be highest at the altitude that allows only physical time warp and lowest on the surface (with samples from EVA's giving a boost to the rate, and samples from further bodies giving more of a boost) and lower as the time warp capabilities open up. So basically the lowest point for these labs functionality would be on the surface, and in high orbit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this idea.

Here's a tangent: For each "station" around a unique body in the solar system, transmitting data back to Kerbin gets a 10% science boost. This would make them a better boost for players who really need them (for example, when exploring far off worlds), and would eventually offset, and completely surpass the transmission penalty.

I say "station" because it is really yet to be defined. I think a few folks suggested a number of kerbals/certain key equipment, which I think are great ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or build really heavy, crewed science parts that only make sense to put in orbit over a planet.

On the subject of time-based science gain, it would be really nice if there were a way to make science gain over time not tied to warp ... so "real-time" of game playing in any area of a save game ... so whether or not you're at Kerbal Space Center or in space, "science time" is ticking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a variation of the idea: have a part called station module, lab, or whatever. Now, the data it generates is massive, like it requires minutes with several gigantor arrays to transmit. But the thing that makes you want to build a space station rather than bringing it back is that the amount of science you get depends on the number of modules present in one spacecraft, for example proportional to the square root.

In practice, if you put a module in low kerbin orbit, it could bring up to 100 science for example. But if you have 4 modules, you can get up to 200 science, with 9 you get 300, etc... And if the transmission malus is low, it will make sense to keep it up there rather than bringing it back . As an added challenge, you could make the amount of data (and thus the power required to transmit) grow with the number of modules.

And if the module in question is usable on planetary surfaces, you now have a good reason to build bases all around the system.

Obviously, once money and other resources are implemented, the concept could be recycled.

Oh, and of course, the part should be significantly heavier or fragile than 'normal' science part, because we don't want to use them as simple probe instruments, and because it would give a good reason for multiple launches and docking lots of parts together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it looks like the devs have come to the same conclusion and are adding something similar to this in .23 (read the blog). I think that the main purpose of launching science modules/stations should be to provide science from experiments without diminishing returns, making space stations reliable, relatively low-risk science "factories" which will be good for expensive part upgrades.

Edited by BurntPhoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it looks like the devs have come to the same conclusion and are adding something similar to this in .23 (read the blog). I think that the main purpose of launching science modules/stations should be to provide science from experiments without diminishing returns, making space stations reliable, relatively low-risk science "factories" which will be good for expensive part upgrades.

This should also allow planetary bases to play a bigger part if you manage to park them near enough different biomes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

perhaps

if the the stations could be reinvigorated to generate science again for example

adding mun samples or rock samples to analyze form other missions

Replacement crew - allowing the kerbal's to come back to kerbin to get physicals

utalize the stats of Stupidity for this ( perhaps the bar fills yellow till full for the amount of time they may spend on experiments before needing RR back on kerban )

but putting fresh crew or even having traits of science specialty on kerbals for research specialty giving reason

perhaps some sort of science bonus for - since it was theory till it was done

Successful space docking ( 2 separate launches to prevent a detach reattach )

actually space station components rather than rocket parts attached ( science bays sensors space debris collector, EVA safety lines or umbilical to give alot more eva while connected )

space observatory or telescope (maybe some sort of point and zoom ability while in eva of it then snap images of celestial bodies) with more detail in the space back drop where you goal is to keep pointed at points in space for listening to other star systems ( not for life necessarily but to understand the universe ) super novas/ black holes pulsars nebulas ) i don't think kerbals have the tech to go out that far but can develop science trying to understand it much like we do

but space stations set up for long term expariments requiring many crew and things brought up to study

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It'd be great if you could get many different kinds of samples (different materials, perhaps?) off planets and moons, then put those in your science modules and log the reactions. Also, KSP needs some kind of a drill so that unmanned craft could collect soil samples as well. Maybe even a curiosity-type laser analyzer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It'd be great if you could get many different kinds of samples (different materials, perhaps?) off planets and moons, then put those in your science modules and log the reactions. Also, KSP needs some kind of a drill so that unmanned craft could collect soil samples as well. Maybe even a curiosity-type laser analyzer?

Agreed, or maybe you could just pour the chemicals on the ground, and see what happens?Maybe this and an analysis part?

This came up in another discussion, but I think it's relevant here, so I'll say it.

We were discussing budgets and tasks you could elect to do to earn a few extra bits as you went, and the idea of long term research on stations came up.

With budgets, I'm hoping for a system where you get a certain level of funds per year, that rises and falls with success or failure- on reputation, basically. If you timewarp, you can save up to a certain extent, but if you're not actually doing things very often, your funders will quickly lose interest.

Perhaps, if your station or base has the right sets of parts, enough crew, power, in the right orbit/place, etc. A certain type of long term research activity could be run there. This would add to your programs level of reputation, flowing through to things like budget. This would give motivation to build and maintain an extensive system of bases and stations. Otherwise, you might as well just keep it simple, and just bring a few science labs along.

This would need some refining of course- what combinations of parts make a good station? This could be varied to encourage creativity, as well as location appropriate design. How many stations or bases can you build in a location before you hit a limit on the reputation boost?

But, I think this could add a big reason to put effort into setting up stations and bases, alongside fuel depots and science point depositing places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well to continue on a thought.... of active time - if some experiments required steps or the science stops certian rock samples used up so you have to go out and get more.. bring sample of kerban rock to moon or kerban water to moon and mix with mun dust once both things are active in the science lab the science will continue

other ideas

put out objects exposed to solar radiation

add goo to samples and see what happens

some things may require you to move entire exparments form base to station sample containers to carry or back if a base/ or station is busy an expariment can be ruined by the sample spoils or mutates unexpectedly maybe its own lil bits of science but end of that experment

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