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Moonfrog

A change in how science works in relation to transmitting and returning.

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Since we're on the topic, I'll show you my concept for science that is actually, you know, science. Requiring you to actually do things and EARN science points:

http://i.imgur.com/QDobhSv.png

That looks like it'd make a good mod. If you're not developing it yourself you should definitely pitch it in the add-on requests forum.

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I'm afraid I can't figure out what's going on from the picture, which is not a good sign.

I'll have a rough guess at figuring out that it's a re-thinking of the science system. There's some instruments on the rover that gather data at certain rates and fill the rover's 900Mbits of storage with. You can grab all the related science in the area at once for 400Mbit's worth of data, or get a reward (160 Morps instead of 140) for draining the science out of the area over a period. The CPU load I guess increases with the number of things your rover is doing at once, and the rate and range you can transmit back at is limited by the antenna type and atmospheric or magnetic disturbances. There appears to be a nifty traceroute readout showing what path through a satellite network that your data is taking.

Exactly what it means by red and yellow science, I have no idea. Maybe OP can enlighten us?

Edited by technicalfool

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I 100% agree with Moonfrog. I started a new career with .23 and I find myself only doing manned missions. There is no reason now to use probes (at least in the early phase when I stay in the Kerbin system). Using probes would just lead to grinding because you would have to repeat the mission again to do the manned mission.

With .22 I would work with many probes but still had the incentive for manned missions due to surface samples, EVA reports and crew reports. Now unmanned just doesnt matter anymore since there is no gain which you can't get by manned missions. I also didn't create a satellite network with RemoteTech2 yet though it was plenty of fun in .22. With only manned missions it isn't required anymore.

Therefore I prefer either the old system or the suggested separation of manned and unmanned missions. While I understand the concerns of some people mentioning that there is no science a probe could do, a manned mission couldn't, I have to disagree slightly. Specifically long term missions (like you can currently do with ScanSat) are typical probe missions. Also, one could think of other experiments which are typical for probes. I'm sure we would find plenty. So there is absolutely no reason to not allow the unmanned missions to regain some value.

Only if there is science you can gain exclusively by manned/unmanned missions there is motivation to do both. This may change when cost is introduced, but nevertheless I would love to do both for science's sake.

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I'll have a rough guess at figuring out that it's a re-thinking of the science system. There's some instruments on the rover that gather data at certain rates and fill the rover's 900Mbits of storage with. You can grab all the related science in the area at once for 400Mbit's worth of data, or get a reward (160 Morps instead of 140) for draining the science out of the area over a period. The CPU load I guess increases with the number of things your rover is doing at once, and the rate and range you can transmit back at is limited by the antenna type and atmospheric or magnetic disturbances. There appears to be a nifty traceroute readout showing what path through a satellite network that your data is taking.

Exactly what it means by red and yellow science, I have no idea. Maybe OP can enlighten us?

Red and yellow science was related to the idea of having different scientific goals towards certain researches. Kind of irrelevant to the main point of that picture which is, if you notice, the seismic tool has two modes of operation. In one mode, you travel around and gather seismic data from various points. Based on how widespread your seismic analysis is, the more valuable the data is. You can also set the rover to a much slower 'continuous monitor' mode, usable for stationary science labs as well, which is fine if you don't want to have to constantly drive the rover around. Scientific analysis rate is also affectedy by the quality of your onboard science lab's CPU power and internal storage.

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My main problem with the worthlessness of transmitting data is the fact that its simply nonsensical. What difference is there between Curiosity beaming back pictures from Mars, and a person standing on mars taking pictures with a camera, or then having to bring that camera back home for that matter? Obviously there are some things probes can't do, but to only get 20% of the science that would make no difference in how it was is absurd.

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My main problem with the worthlessness of transmitting data is the fact that its simply nonsensical. What difference is there between Curiosity beaming back pictures from Mars, and a person standing on mars taking pictures with a camera, or then having to bring that camera back home for that matter? Obviously there are some things probes can't do, but to only get 20% of the science that would make no difference in how it was is absurd.

It's the difference between taking a rock to the Smithsonian and analyzing a rock with the lab equipment you can pack on a lander.

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My main problem with the worthlessness of transmitting data is the fact that its simply nonsensical. What difference is there between Curiosity beaming back pictures from Mars, and a person standing on mars taking pictures with a camera, or then having to bring that camera back home for that matter? Obviously there are some things probes can't do, but to only get 20% of the science that would make no difference in how it was is absurd.

With the exception of thermometer, barometer e.t.c. (they should be 100%, these are just collected data!) the tranmission limit is definitely about getting a sample to a proper lab for proper analysis versus some quick field tests. Even all the spectrometers on Curiosity won't give as full info as a sample delivered back to Earth. But quick field tests also can be very useful...

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With the exception of thermometer, barometer e.t.c. (they should be 100%, these are just collected data!) the tranmission limit is definitely about getting a sample to a proper lab for proper analysis versus some quick field tests. Even all the spectrometers on Curiosity won't give as full info as a sample delivered back to Earth. But quick field tests also can be very useful...

True. That's why unmanned and manned science missions should differ. As in .22 e.g. where we had to land a manned mission to acquire Surface Samples (minus the fact that you could spam surface sample info back - but since you were manned anyway you'd haul it back). This is one science example where the current implementation makes sense. We can send photos and first simple analysis regarding this sample via transmission and haul it back for a complete analysis. For the science lab jr and the goo this might be similar. However, the containers might already have included plenty of equipment to analyze the stuff.

I think in terms of realism you can find arguments in both directions. However, in terms of gameplay, the unmanned missions are rendered senseless since you have to do plenty of probe missions to get a bit of science, then do a manned mission anyway to acquire the remains. Why should you do that when you can acquire the same amount by a single manned mission, which is not even harder than a unmanned mission. So there is absolutely no reason for unmanned misions right now. Be it realistic or not, it's not ideal balancing/game design in my view.

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What difference is there between ... beaming back pictures ..., and a person ... taking pictures with a camera, or then having to bring that camera back home for that matter?

Take a look at the pictures the world saw beamed back during Apollo 11, and compare them to the pictures that were on the film that was developed after Apollo 11 returned. Transmitting pictures is not always the best method, and can be very poor depending on what method is used to send them.

(Yes, you did specify the current Mars rover. However, we are considering Kerbal technology, not our current technology.)

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Take a look at the pictures the world saw beamed back during Apollo 11, and compare them to the pictures that were on the film that was developed after Apollo 11 returned. Transmitting pictures is not always the best method, and can be very poor depending on what method is used to send them.

Even better example. Scientists' opinion on the quality of pictures from Luna-3: "We have proven... that the Moon is round".

Sounds even more Kerbal than most of these in-game science reports. But that's the question about having a good digital camera

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With the exception of thermometer, barometer e.t.c. (they should be 100%, these are just collected data!) the tranmission limit is definitely about getting a sample to a proper lab for proper analysis versus some quick field tests. Even all the spectrometers on Curiosity won't give as full info as a sample delivered back to Earth. But quick field tests also can be very useful...

In that case, the lab should be a lot more useful (and heavier/larger if necessary). I've still not gotten 0.23 running yet (a blown PSU just before Xmas, joy!), but from what I understand, you still don't get anywhere near a 100% bonus for having a lab there to analyze stuff. Maybe extra components could be fitted to a lab to make it so you can put an orbiting (or landed!) KSC on a planet (with appropriate weight and power requirements) for 100% transmission bonus on any stuff returned to it for analysis?

It could give a good reason to build up a Mun base or a KSS, for a start. Especially if the tech tree is tweaked a little to give the player the option of gathering lots of science-gathering tech (such as instruments, the lab and some components for it) earlier on.

Edited by technicalfool

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Let's think about possibilities of sample analyzing. Classical chemistry lab is definitely a no-go for space (well, they manage to use some of it on a ship for seawater sample analysis, still half of what's done there is sample conservation. But bringing that to space is terrible idea) so the right thing is taking phys-chemical instrumental analysis systems which require minimal sample preparation. But the real lab equipment is often bulky (often half of it is power converter) and also requires kinda much power and extensive cooling. And the worst part is that it's not too reliable in case you try to transport it (with some of the smaller things it's very much known that if you put it in your car and drive to sample acquiring place it's very likely to malfunction). Of course, it's technically possible to make reliable and compact versions, but that's quite a cutting edge even for modern equipment.

So, as a wild guesstimate I'd say the limit for data acquiring without sample return might be around 80-90% for crewed lab (maybe even size of current one, probably notable heavier) and 40-50% for autonomous probe equipment (I'd say Curiosity is at this level). But that's extremely expensive cutting edge tech, also the full analysis is a very long procedure especially with this kind of hardware. We might have several tiers of these tools with different data recovery rate. Also, having better tools (or good lab at/near sample acquiring site) would increase total value due to better sample conservation techniques.

As for probe-specific science gathering, interesting fact is that Lunokhod rovers' collected data is considered to be of about as much scientific value as all the samples collected by Apollo missions and E-8 probes. Actually these data sets complement each other very well. Probes are best at surveying large areas while constantly exchanging data with the science crew. That means ultra long missions that can be rivaled only by long duration scientific bases, not simple landers. I'd like to see some implementation of this, but not sure how it can be done...

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What makes you think that? Actually, I've seen the comment a lot, and I wonder what makes anyone think that.

If you can get to another planet, or hell, even the mun, then you can obviously put satellites up around Kerbin.

So since you are someone who does think it would be "too hardcore", can you explain for me why that is? I must be missing something, because I honestly do not see how setting up a satellite relay network is any harder than launching any other kind of rocket. In fact, since satellite relays need only be small, unmanned probes, they're actually vastly easier to launch than your regular interplanetary manned missions.

I too would like an answer to this. Honestly, I think the main reason the science system is silly, nonsensical, and unsatisfying is because Squad seems to have gotten scared of complexity in about the last year or so. It started with the resource system being dumbed-down considerably from the original plan to something that will involve only a couple different resources. Now we've got this science system that feels just... weird.

People aren't playing a game that required a crash-course in orbital dynamics and physics just to begin playing it because they're worried about things being 'too hardcore'. The top mods for this game aren't features requiring setting up relay networks, simulating signal delay, and killing your Kerbals when they run out of air because they're afraid of complexity. On that note, it does worry me to think about what Squad's default method of life support will be, if the current science / tech tree system is the best they're willing to do.

Edited by Frostiken

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With the exception of thermometer, barometer e.t.c. (they should be 100%, these are just collected data!) the tranmission limit is definitely about getting a sample to a proper lab for proper analysis versus some quick field tests. Even all the spectrometers on Curiosity won't give as full info as a sample delivered back to Earth. But quick field tests also can be very useful...

Right, which is why things like surface samples should only get full points if they are returned, but for all of the other science instruments (gravioli detector, seismometer...etc), the data is the same whether its transmitted or physically returned, so the value should be the same either way.

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Right, which is why things like surface samples should only get full points if they are returned, but for all of the other science instruments (gravioli detector, seismometer...etc), the data is the same whether its transmitted or physically returned, so the value should be the same either way.

Seismometer, magnetometer, and gravoli detector pick up two-dimensional readings (intensity over time) and so while their readings are pretty simple, they could have some room for error in understanding, signal degradation in transmission, or lack of long-term accuracy from a single short-term test. I'd make their transmit value 80-100%, but give them room to have usage techniques upgraded so that they can be re-used for higher yield later. I'd make thermometer and barometer definitely transmit at 100%, but they could also have some room for technical improvement. But goo, materials bay, and soil sample are all "materials" research and should give a lot more for returning home or performing some other difficult study task on them than for transmitting data after looking them over for 5 seconds.

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There is a difference between being complex and tedious though. At the moment everything is done with a click of a button. Imagine if u had to land in a very specific 5 metre location to get a certain soil sample instead of landing in a large biome area. With transmitting, it has a 60% chance of degradation therefore failing, requiring you to transmit again, until it is all complete and verified by kerbal control.

That would be tedious afterall. Espically if for a soil sample to count u had to travel to 5 different locations to collect different rocks to make a sample. It would turn into a grind game. I think most people want to avoid grind in this game.

You guys have gone to a different level above my idea and suggestion, now thinking about features to add into science or conditions on particular science items. Like that suggestion soil samples need to be returned, and statistical data only needs to be transmitted etc.

Personally not really thought about that, I was only concerned with usefulness of parts mainly for gameplay reasons. I suggest you think about gameplay wise, whether adding a feature to make something more complex and interesting, it has to be simple enough so that it is not tedious, to avoid adding things that become tedious over time.

Take the sat network, its something to do, build sat's around planets so they can communicate. But for a beginner, imagine being told , no you can not fly to the Mun yet, u need to build a sat first. Oh and it needs this transmitter first. And it needs to be in this place at this time to transmit so u need to warp. Maybe they just want to go to the mun.

Feature should be an option, take massive world type games like Skyrim. You get to choose where u go, stuff happens when u get there. Anything that limits what u can do, becomes a tedious thing u need to get past to get to where u want to go. Stuff sounds great in roleplay terms and fun to do, it may be very tedious and game restricting to others. Squad has to cater to as many people as possibly for the game to be a success.

I think the rule should be for any feature at least involving science, its optional and not restrictive, useful in its own merit. Adds a feature that is interesting. Think that's why u may never get oxygen tanks, it would be another calculation one needs to do, like delta V, mass, and other stuff.

In my original proposal I wanted to get rid of transmission lost for gameplay reasons as it was just tedious. Why not say in order for soil samples to count, u take them home, you can't transmit them. Unless you have a lab. If u want to do stuff that way.

Really like to know if Squad has read this thread, to know if they like the idea, or they are never going to do this. If they never going to do this, I can focus on coming up with other suggestions.

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I'm not sure any one-size-fits-all science system works well... I can see why some experiments could be exhausted (goo canisters, for example) or some would need to be returned for the best science results (surface sample, maybe), but why does a thermometer give you any additional science for returning to kerbin. It's digital data, a number. Very weird, to me.

Now, you might say that a thermometer or gravity sensor gives little science, but has lots of reusability (with diminishing returns). Which seems more realistic, and gives a use to unmanned missions.

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I still think the whole research system is on it's head. We go out with our devices, get science points and use these points to unlock any node we can. IRL a research goal is chosen, specific science experiments are created to achieve that goal and then the experiments are performed.

What I would like is a goal based research system where we choose what we want to research and then have to achieve the goals set for it (Like getting a sample from the Mun, or goo analysis from any 3 biomes). Returning the analysis to KSP or an orbital lab marks the goals as achieved and research unlocked.

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There is a difference between being complex and tedious though.

Tedium is half the point of this game. You can't schedule autopilots, automatic resupplies, and you are supposed to fly every single flight - every single takeoff, every intercept, every node - entirely by hand. Complaining about tedium tells me you got too familiar with Mechjeb. Harvester even said in the PC Gamer interview he won't put in a Kerbal Engineer because he wants people to run out of fuel in their rockets and have to start all over again. The game is supposed to be slow, it's supposed to be deliberate, and yeah, tedium comes with that. The fact that you can take twenty minutes to dock a single oddly-shaped part to a space station and it's considered 'normal' is entirely at odds with the fact that you can spend less than ten seconds on the surface of the moon and get every single bit of science done and be back in orbit before your rendezvous ship has even made it halfway around the moon yet.

It would turn into a grind game. I think most people want to avoid grind in this game.

A grind? A grind to what? What exactly is the endgame of KSP that you're grinding towards? The entire *point* of KSP is the journey, not the destination.

Take the sat network, its something to do, build sat's around planets so they can communicate. But for a beginner, imagine being told , no you can not fly to the Mun yet, u need to build a sat first. Oh and it needs this transmitter first. And it needs to be in this place at this time to transmit so u need to warp. Maybe they just want to go to the mun.

To a beginner, getting a few satellites into a stable orbit around Kerbin at specific distances is very much bridging one step on the way to the Moon. The very first objective in the game is to get into a simple orbit. Setting up satellites is just doing it at specific distances, perhaps using the concept of probe bodies separated from a mothership to do so.

If this concept is 'too hard' to understand for a beginner, then those people have no business playing KSP whatsoever. What you're describing is dumbing down.

Squad has to cater to as many people as possibly for the game to be a success.

Wow. People like you are why games are total garbage. Skyrim is a nearly unplayable heap of vomit without at least 150 gigs of mods running alongside it. The entire reason the modding communities for Bethesda games are so strong is because a huge chunk of their players think that they're idiots who have made every single game even worse and more simplistic for mouth-breathing neckbeards than the last, and it takes hundreds of thousands of man-hours of free volunteer effort to even make their terrible, terrible games playable. What an awful example.

Maybe you should just ask for an infinite fuel button on the HUD you can click since you think 'appealing to a wide audience' is how you make a game successful. The game has already probably sucked in over half a million dollars in income. The game is *already* successful. At this point, the biggest liability to the financial future of this game is Squad dragging their feet with every update. People aren't buying the game twice, and sales have only gradually dropped since it was on the front page of Steam earlier this year. There will come a point where there won't be enough new sales to cover their salaries, which is why it's frustrating that their pace is glacial.

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Tedium is half the point of this game. You can't schedule autopilots, automatic resupplies, and you are supposed to fly every single flight - every single takeoff, every intercept, every node - entirely by hand. Complaining about tedium tells me you got too familiar with Mechjeb. Harvester even said in the PC Gamer interview he won't put in a Kerbal Engineer because he wants people to run out of fuel in their rockets and have to start all over again. The game is supposed to be slow, it's supposed to be deliberate, and yeah, tedium comes with that.

This makes no sense to me - you are saying that half the point of the game is boredom and monotony? I certainly hope that's not what squad are going for! The only tedium in the game currently is waiting for very long burns, IMO.

You sound like an Anti-MechJeb user - which is cool. I personally love it. I've had my fun learning how to control my craft manually, now I want to automate it. If Squad don't want anything like that in the core game I'll just stick to the mod. Simple.

I do agree that having to fly each craft personally (even if I use an autopilot) is preferable than letting ships fly themselves in the background (assuming that's what you were on about).

A grind? A grind to what? What exactly is the endgame of KSP that you're grinding towards? The entire *point* of KSP is the journey, not the destination.

I believe grind was referring to a situation where players would have to visit locations repeatedly to achieve a reasonable amount of science. The point of KSP is not simply the journey, in career mode anyway, because science exists so one has to collect science to progress. Once currency is added there will be a further point, aside from simple flying. I certainly don't want to have to launch 10 ships exactly the same to the same place, that would be pointless IMO.

To a beginner, getting a few satellites into a stable orbit around Kerbin at specific distances is very much bridging one step on the way to the Moon. The very first objective in the game is to get into a simple orbit. Setting up satellites is just doing it at specific distances, perhaps using the concept of probe bodies separated from a mothership to do so.

If this concept is 'too hard' to understand for a beginner, then those people have no business playing KSP whatsoever. What you're describing is dumbing down.

I don't follow why this is dumbing down. I mean, yeah the concept of a sat network sounds great and certainly would be an interesting step in reaching the moon but why would not requiring a player to do this be making things simpler? I don't see much difference really. It may be harder initially to get to the Mun if you haven't had much experience with objects in Kerbin orbit, but once you've done it once or twice it should be simple enough. Am I missing the point?

Wow. People like you are why games are total garbage. Skyrim is a nearly unplayable heap of vomit without at least 150 gigs of mods running alongside it. The entire reason the modding communities for Bethesda games are so strong is because a huge chunk of their players think that they're idiots who have made every single game even worse and more simplistic for mouth-breathing neckbeards than the last, and it takes hundreds of thousands of man-hours of free volunteer effort to even make their terrible, terrible games playable. What an awful example.

Ouch! Ok I agree Skyrim really needs modding to improve the experience but I'm not sure the personal attack on Moonfrog is called for! They're allowed their opinion, even if it might sound ridiculous to you.

Maybe you should just ask for an infinite fuel button on the HUD you can click since you think 'appealing to a wide audience' is how you make a game successful. The game has already probably sucked in over half a million dollars in income. The game is *already* successful. At this point, the biggest liability to the financial future of this game is Squad dragging their feet with every update. People aren't buying the game twice, and sales have only gradually dropped since it was on the front page of Steam earlier this year. There will come a point where there won't be enough new sales to cover their salaries, which is why it's frustrating that their pace is glacial.

I agree the game is clearly already successful. What we are experiencing now is the bane of the early access game - people get involved early, play it to death and either get bored with it or get annoyed because the new features being added aren't how they imagine the game should progress. Ok that's a generalisation but you see the point i hope! I've found this situation so far with ALL the early access games I've gotten involved in!

Anyway - back on topic!

I sort of get what your image suggestion was on about. I do like the idea of different modes of operation, and the idea of a limited amount of data storage. I also think it would be nice to simply get rid of points and use a goal only related system. I've made the suggestion above so won't reiterate it!!

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Tedium is half the point of this game.

Completely agree. KSP has much more space for leaning by trial and error than all these early probe missions in 50-60s. And it is the best part about it - you can invent while having no idea of the exact properties of the result. Real world space programs have always been about squeezing in extra grams of payload (even with the first Sputnik - originally they planned to launch Object D (Sputnik-3) first, but could neither get the payload ready nor get 1 ton payload capacity from the rocket fast enough, that's why PS-1 was created) while here we always can add more boosters (or at least usually) and don't have too much penalty for failures, meaning that we can afford to experiment and explore. This factor means that now matter how tedious some problem is you can always overcompensate it, if you can't find better solution, but getting it done is the real reward!

Real science is always a bit tedious. Even for crazy cutting edge projects (actually, especially for them) there's too much things to calculate and ensure even before first experiments. Even when you see all the underlying mechanics (not control panel and instructions like in Orbiter) that gets you frustrated. KSP gives the feeling of experimental science from several centuries ago, when in most cases there was almost nothing to precalculate, just the experiment to do! That's not rocket science, that's rocket alchemy!

P. S. I really am a chemist. Specializing in physical chemistry with all these calculation/simulation systems and complex instrumental analysis methods... And I like it this way, just... probably, for me KSP is the highly concentrated fun part of science!

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Sorry if I said something that offended you frost. I've been playing computer games back since computers only had 32kb of ram. Although I guess that does not qualify me as games designer, but I am one of the original gamers back when we used tape decks, none of this cd and dvd nonsense :).

I think I leave this thread now, I've said all I wanted to say in it anyway.

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