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Rovers Move Automatically

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I was reading the thread about Science Labs, and I saw someone suggest that it would be useful on Tylo once biomes are added because you could drive a rover to different places on Tylo and return all of the science to the central Science Lab. However, as rovers currently are, this would be impossible, since it would take hours to drive to every biome even if you had an absurdly fast rover.

I suggest that this could be fixed by allowing the player to give rovers a target, and have the rover drive to the target without user intervention, allowing the player to launch other flights whilst the rover drives.

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I second this. The idea is good, however, there are some limitations in the game that make it impossible, or very hard to implement. I suppose you would just set the target choords and expect your rover to roll there while you're either time warping, or manning another spacecraft. However, since physics are disabled while doing either of those, which is a crucial part of rovers, it just wouldn't work. Keplerian trajectories are easily calculated without full physics simulation, it is very much needed to determine the force, the friction, and the weight on each wheel, and also whether the rover is going up/down a slope, falling, tumbling etc etc. Pathfinding would also pose a problem. NASA's mission control sends a string of commands to the Martian rovers (turn this angle, go forward for this long, do this, do that), so they never have to "think" on their own. They don't have to detect a rock, then find a path around it because the mission control does this. I don't think you would want to go back every five minutes to give your rover a new command. Maybe kOS and a lot of luck would help. Pathfinding is possible to implement, but the vast amount of variables (different rover builds, planets, etc) make it near impossible.

So as much as I like the idea, I don't think it will be in the game for a long while.

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I second this. The idea is good, however, there are some limitations in the game that make it impossible, or very hard to implement. I suppose you would just set the target choords and expect your rover to roll there while you're either time warping, or manning another spacecraft. However, since physics are disabled while doing either of those, which is a crucial part of rovers, it just wouldn't work. Keplerian trajectories are easily calculated without full physics simulation, it is very much needed to determine the force, the friction, and the weight on each wheel, and also whether the rover is going up/down a slope, falling, tumbling etc etc. Pathfinding would also pose a problem. NASA's mission control sends a string of commands to the Martian rovers (turn this angle, go forward for this long, do this, do that), so they never have to "think" on their own. They don't have to detect a rock, then find a path around it because the mission control does this. I don't think you would want to go back every five minutes to give your rover a new command. Maybe kOS and a lot of luck would help. Pathfinding is possible to implement, but the vast amount of variables (different rover builds, planets, etc) make it near impossible.

So as much as I like the idea, I don't think it will be in the game for a long while.

It can be done easier way too.. just discard all physics calculations and "teleport" rover from one place to another.

Its placeholder solution, but it somehow make things op mentioned possible. m

Someone coudl just make it into mod.

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However, as rovers currently are, this would be impossible, since it would take hours to drive to every biome even if you had an absurdly fast rover.

Not impossible, just tedious. A few people posted about circumnavigating Duna with rovers, and I visited three biomes on the Mun in one drive with the smallest wheels. Of course, Tylo's bigger, so that would make it even harder.

The "teleport" approach would be difficult to do right because you'd have to take power and geography into account. When and for how long are the solar panels illuminated? Is there an insurmountable slope on the way, neccessitating a detour and prolonging the journey?

An option is to take an hour or two each week, start a playlist in the background and drive the rover while listening. Save and repeat next week.

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This is a game about flying rockets, planes, and driving rovers. It's not a game about collecting science.

Therefore, taking away the main part of the game just to make a smaller part easier is a horrible idea.

Just use a plane, or multiple landers

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Second this as a good idea. Moving the rover around while it's inactive would just be a different type of "rails" to the Keplerian orbits. Make any slope greater than N degrees steepness act like an impassable wall as far as pathfinding goes, and let the vehicles get on with it. Either get a drip feed of fractional science into your science pool, or a slowly accumulating amount on the rover to be transmitted back (or recovered) after a certain interval.

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Second this as a good idea. Moving the rover around while it's inactive would just be a different type of "rails" to the Keplerian orbits. Make any slope greater than N degrees steepness act like an impassable wall as far as pathfinding goes, and let the vehicles get on with it.

was just thinking this. you could use the terrain height map to identify and "block off" steep slopes. when you pick target co-ordinates the probe plots a path from A to B around the blocked off areas, you could plot way points too.

then it works out the ETA based off the fastest sustainable ground speed achieved for that vehicle. manually drive fast to calibrate this before plotting coarse (sustainable = where the power drain rate is less that the power charge rate)

the generated path would act as the "rail" (so no physics) that the rover will slide along. the ETA dictates how fast it moves along the rail.

click on the path in map view to "schedule" science gathering (like maneuver notes). available science nodes based off equipment fitted to the rover. you would have to identify the biomes your self when setting up the science nodes.

maybe there could be a path finding part (rover eyes) that needs to be attached to the rover to use the path finding (auto-drive) function.

NASA_Rover.jpg

power would be tricky. if the rover is solar powered then it can only operate in day hours, increasing ETA. if you have an RT Generator and your charge rate is higher than your drain rate then you can drive all night and ETA is reduced.

plotting this coarse would take a few moments game time and would use a steady rate of power while it "plots". an under-powered rover would not be able to complete the plotting process. (like when you transmit data on a Communotron)

the model could look like a dashboard mounted sat-nav/GPS :P

see, totally doable! lol

Edited by Capt Snuggler

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First of all, this does in some way fit under autopilot, which is on the Already Suggested List. Secondly, this would seem quite tricky to implement with the physics engine.

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This is a game about flying rockets, planes, and driving rovers. It's not a game about collecting science.

Therefore, taking away the main part of the game just to make a smaller part easier is a horrible idea.

Just use a plane, or multiple landers

Multiple landers are expensive (and are you seriously proposing anyone need land on Tylo more than once :P), and planes don't work on Tylo. Plus, rover driving is still there and possible, this suggestion just means that you don't have to manually pilot it for 2 hours to drive to the next biome.

[snip]

This idea is brilliant.

First of all, this does in some way fit under autopilot, which is on the Already Suggested List. Secondly, this would seem quite tricky to implement with the physics engine.

Timewarp also counts as autopilot then, since your rocket is following out a path by itself. Seriously, asking for stock mechjeb fits under autopilot; this doesn't. Thanks though, I was expecting someone to apply a needlessly strict interpretation of the rules to this and you proven me correct.

Edited by Holo

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Timewarp also counts as autopilot then, since your rocket is following out a path by itself. Seriously, asking for stock mechjeb fits under autopilot; this doesn't. Thanks though, I was expecting someone to apply a needlessly strict interpretation of the rules to this and you proven me correct.

Driving a rover means constantly correcting for terrain. AKA permanent pilot input.

There is no pilot input during timewarp

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Driving a rover means constantly correcting for terrain. AKA permanent pilot input.

There is no pilot input during timewarp

You could need to plot a course for the rover, and have the course be rejected if there is a slope above [low number] degrees.

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Driving a rover means constantly correcting for terrain. AKA permanent pilot input.

There is no pilot input during timewarp

if you read the proposal i made earlier, this would not so much be an auto-pilot as a way of plotting a coarse "rail" for the vehicle to slide along. the benefit of this is that you would not have to sit there holding down the "w" key for 6 days while your rover drives to the next biome.

i understand the concerns ppl have with this idea. mainly that physics cannot be applied to time-warping vehicles BUT this is why i have suggested using the height map to cordon off areas of the planet surface, limiting the vehicle to ground with 0°-15° of inclination. this would stop rovers sliding down hills flying off cliffs. any and all physics the vehicle would encounter would be predictable/negligible.

To be clear, im saying no physics would be applied to vehicles on driving rails. for all for all intents and purposes the vehicle(object) would be stationary but its position would translate along the rail at a predetermined rate.

I also suggested that the vehicles speed would need to be calibrated so as to determine the "safe operating speed" or "maximum sustainable speed" and limit how fast the unmanned vehicle will travel.

unless something like this is implemented Rovers will go on being nothing more than a gimmick left to gather dust on a branch of the tech tree. they don't really serve any real practical purpose in the game at the moment. right now the only rover i use just delivers fuel to my SSTOs at KSP. I wont use them for science gathering because it takes DAYS to get anywhere and its simply not fun or practical.

An option is to take an hour or two each week, start a playlist in the background and drive the rover while listening. Save and repeat next week.
*hmmm, you could also microwave your genitals, as ^this^ option would render them useless anyway.
This is a game about flying rockets, planes, and driving rovers. It's not a game about collecting science.

Therefore, taking away the main part of the game just to make a smaller part easier is a horrible idea. Just use a plane, or multiple landers

*its not so much about making it easier as adding a fun solution to game play issue. i think many people would like to have several rovers exploring and gathering data on predetermined mission plan. these guys all did http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_rover

the issue i have is, how will the GPS/satnav know what terrain lay ahead? the player knows because we can go in to map view, and use the magical GOD EYE to look all over the planet. how does the rover know there is a 3 mile long canyon over the horizon, blocking the way to the ice cap? some cold hard rep for anyone who can come up with a good simple solution for that...

Edited by Capt Snuggler

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how does the rover know there is a 3 mile long canyon over the horizon, blocking the way to the ice cap? some cold hard rep for anyone who can come up with a good simple solution for that...

It doesn't until you've run a mapping satellite of some sorts over the planet at a certain detail level/scanner strength/altitude/etc? Until you've mapped the planet, the rover could be limited to "seeing" a radar-sweep. Basically, a circle of $RADAR_STRENGTH distance around the rover. This could also function to build up a high-resolution scan of whatever bits of the planet the rover goes over. If it ends up coming across an unexpected canyon, well oops, it has to find another way or stop and wait for player input. Sort of like how Curiosity will apparently pilot itself until it comes up against something unexpected, where it will then stop and wait for a signal from Earth on how to proceed.

Edited by technicalfool

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People who are saying this would be difficult... I can sort of see that, but wouldn't it be possible to store a 'max speed,' 'max incline,' and 'drain rate' on each vessel, collected when you're directly controlling it, which the program refers to when given a target coordinate? I know that one of the mapping sat programs is able to extrapolate inclines, so that's possible. When you engage the auto-rove, it checks the route for invalid inclines, ends the route if it encounters one, then divides the distance by the speed, and moves the vessel along rails at that speed? I think assuming each planet to be a sphere is close enough for everywhere but the tiniest of moons, and when you assume control again, it just moves the rover up or down to place it on land?

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It doesn't until you've run a mapping satellite of some sorts over the planet at a certain detail level/scanner strength/altitude/etc? Until you've mapped the planet, the rover could be limited to "seeing" a radar-sweep. Basically, a circle of $RADAR_STRENGTH distance around the rover. This could also function to build up a high-resolution scan of whatever bits of the planet the rover goes over. If it ends up coming across an unexpected canyon, well oops, it has to find another way or stop and wait for player input. Sort of like how Curiosity will apparently pilot itself until it comes up against something unexpected, where it will then stop and wait for a signal from Earth on how to proceed.

You should've made the OP, these are far better than anything I could come up with :)

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It doesn't until you've run a mapping satellite of some sorts over the planet at a certain detail level/scanner strength/altitude/etc? Until you've mapped the planet, the rover could be limited to "seeing" a radar-sweep. Basically, a circle of $RADAR_STRENGTH distance around the rover. This could also function to build up a high-resolution scan of whatever bits of the planet the rover goes over. If it ends up coming across an unexpected canyon, well oops, it has to find another way or stop and wait for player input. Sort of like how Curiosity will apparently pilot itself until it comes up against something unexpected, where it will then stop and wait for a signal from Earth on how to proceed.

have some cold hard rep, as promised. :D

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I also support doing something to make rovers more useful. Maybe contracts which lots of closely-spaced sample points would be good but I also like Technicalfool's idea of making it partially automated but it get stops in certain situations where human controls is required a la Curiosity.

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On 12/20/2013 at 6:58 PM, technicalfool said:

Second this as a good idea. Moving the rover around while it's inactive would just be a different type of "rails" to the Keplerian orbits. Make any slope greater than N degrees steepness act like an impassable wall as far as pathfinding goes, and let the vehicles get on with it. Either get a drip feed of fractional science into your science pool, or a slowly accumulating amount on the rover to be transmitted back (or recovered) after a certain interval.

I see this in my mind as more of a Star Wars type imperial droid/drone hovering above the surface, going place to place collecting whatever is needed, not really as a terrain crawler.

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Considering these suggestions have been implemented, years ago, into the mods Bon Voyage and Rover Science, probably best to let this one lie.....

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