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ShadowDragon8685

What are the most important things you've learned about playing KSP to pass on?

Question

KSP is a great, fun game, but it has a difficulty curve like, well, a rocket. I figure there's some critical "lessons" to get yourself over to achieve competence. Here are the ones I've learned, so far.

1: MechJeb. I find KSP to be just about unplayable without it. I know that there are surely some purists who will disagree, but without an autopilot and MechJeb's VAB calculations, I'd likely still be considering myself lucky to so much as make Kerbin orbit, let alone be gearing up for my second shot at a Munar landing. I'd also likely have no idea of what to do without having seen MechJeb do things, but I've watched MechJeb in action enough to have an idea what on Kerbin it's doing and how to do it myself.

2: When in doubt, radialize! I've experienced nothing but bitter, hilarious disaster trying to build vertically, barely able to get ridiculous expanding stacks into Kerbin orbit. Instead, I figured out that I have to build outward; the same fuel tank+engine design, in a serial decoupler arrangement, is vastly less useful and powerful than two/three/four/six of the same fuel tank + engine design arranged radially around another of that same engine design.

3: SRBs, and how to use them. Specifically, SRBs are good for an initial bump to get your rocket engines up to speed and to let them carry some or all of the lowest-altitude work alone, with MechJeb on the limit to terminal velocity setting to save fuel, but it's not really worth it to use them for more than that. Radial liquid fuel engines are so much more useful, I'm pretty sure I could get a radial SSTO going.

4: The KW RockoMaverick engine, for when you don't yet have the Mainsail. This could work with the LV-T30 stock engine and I think it would still be superior, but KW Rocketry is what really sells it. Get a big old 2.5m Rockomax fuel tank stage going, however much is appropriate to the payload you intend to use, and stick one of those KW LFTA 2-1 conical 1.25-2.5 adapter-fuel tanks on the bottom, inverted. Stick on a tricoupler (or a quadcoupler, if you have it - those will definitely make it better,) and attach three KW Maverick D-1 engines. Gives you massively more thrust than the Rockomax Skipper (350*3 = 1050 thrust > 600 Thrust,) with better ISP at sea level and no worse ISP in vacuum and far more alternator output, not that that will matter on your ascent stage. It is heavier by 2 tons, true, but the far greater TWR means you'll ultimately save a lot in getting into orbit, and the RockoMaverick has been consistently lifting payloads into orbit for me that the Skipper can't. Not to mention it looks boss as heck, especially if you have six or twelve of them radially arranged around a central.. :cool:

5: Less is more when it comes to payload, more is more when it comes to engines. If engines are your payload, you're going to have some tricky balancing work to do, and your ascent stage will probably wind up being approximately the radius of the Death Star.

6: Navigation lights. I'm pretty sure they came from B9 Aerospace since they were manufactured by "Tetragon Projects." Use the red lights on the left side of the craft and the green on the right, and I like to put the white lights strictly down the "top" - that is, with the craft as a whole (that is, the first command part) not rotated, the white lights go straight down the middle when facing out of the VAB. This helps so much when you're in space and looking at your ship trying to work out which side is which. (Not to mention it makes your ship look boss as heck. :cool: )

7: Don't forget batteries and power generation! You don't want to SSTO a 45-ton payload and be about ready to embark on a Mun shot only to realize that your entire power supply is the tiny supply in the lander strapped to the top of your transfer stage!

That's what I've figured out, anyway. Some of it may be wrong, but it's what I've got and it's what's worked for me. If it's stupid, but it works consistantly, was it really stupid?

There is one thing I want to know, though...

Is there any practical point to installing fairings without FAR? I haven't got it installed and don't intend to. Fairings look boss as all heck and watching them pop in orbit is great, but without FAR, are they just adding mass and (paradoxically,) drag? Or do they actually shield the drag of their payload and replace it all with their own drag in stock, because that would probably justify the weight several times over on the ascent stage.

Edited by ShadowDragon8685
Lesson 7...
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two things that will make you have way more satisfaction for a landing

1: make it look good; something that looks good will feel a lot better and have a greater sense of accomplishment than if you just make some ugly ship that fits the requirements

2. have something to do when your there. nothing fells worse than the jump out thake sample plant flag and leave landing. at least for me it feels like I wasn't really there. so build a base, land a rover, make a plane, make a rocket hover thing that flies in non atmospheric bodies, whatever just make it something worth landing for

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After playing the game for so long and discovering so many things. I found myself reminding myself "Have Fun!" I get frustrated when things crash horribly sometimes, but it is inevitable. I would say, Read the Wiki! or Watch all the tutorials from SM. But as long as I have fun doing what I am and watching things explode, I am driven to come back for more punishment or maybe a surprise flight, lol!

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Use Mechjeb ONLY IF your new to the game and you don't know how to do certain things... Example: I had no idea how to dock with a spacecraft until after i saw mechjeb do it. After figuring out that I needed Monopropellants, I uninstalled mechjeb and had so much fun assembling my first space station... xoxo

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The one rule to be successful in KSP

Never

ever

ever

ever

timewarp when your rocket is in the atmosphere

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1) Interplanetary? LV-N

2) Always put more than one docking port on your transport stage.

3) Landing? 5m/s

4) You can begin seeing light from the Illuminator MK1 when you're 100m off the ground. If you're descending, time to start thinking about Item #3.

5) Before traveling to your destination, you should know the following about it:

--a) Surface Gravity

--B) Atmosphere, and minimum orbit height if one is present.

--c) Average land altitude (even the ice lakes on Minmus tend to be 66m above sea level)

--d) Time Acceleration altitudes

6) Kerbin is the second-hardest planet to get off of in KSP. This means that if your lander works there, it works almost everywhere.

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1. Try doing stuff without MechJeb first, when you still fail after hours, let it do it. Then try it again. I still remember my first try at rendezvous and docking after watching a tutorial. I burned countless times, meandering orbits, several rounds of merry-go-round and all that crap, but never got near the other vessel. Some time later, I made a craft with a dockable tug to practice docking... I was a total mess.

2. When you're lazy, there is no shame in using MechJeb. I like constructing and building more than the actual flight, so I let the autopilot do the ascencion. Only for the demanding tasks I take control, like docking without using 10 times the amount of Monopropellant actually needed.

3. There are exactly TWO things that will make your docking a breeze.

First, and this is the most important thing, USE THE CHASE CAM. With the view right behind your vessel, you will not have to twist your mind how to go where and why.

Second, forget docking control mode. You can both translate and rotate in staging UI, so you won't need to switch all the time. Trust me. Try it. You will facepalm so hard that you ever considered docking difficult that

your metacarpals, carpals and probably some of your phalanges will break.

4. Learn to use TWR values. It lets you make economical rockets. Which doesn't mean you won't have to make a seven stage asparagus "first" stage for you payload.

5. Always double, triple and multiple-check your staging, energy storing and generation and crew. How many times did I go into space just to notice all the juice was gone and my unmanned vessel was merely a piece of space rubbish? How many times did I load up and instantly launched a vehicle just to find out the second stage got decoupled before the first stage and with the parachute? And how many times did I send a rescue capsule into space and had crew in it?

6. Install the Crash Dummies mod NOW. It makes the Command Seat simulating a kerbal in the hangar, thus eliminating lots of trial and error had before when balancing the craft.

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Even NASA has made that mistake.

IRC it was a metric/imperial confusion. but yeah, know your prefixes and SI units ftw

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My biggest advice would be to download install and learn how to use Kerbal Engineer Redux. I use a lot of mods but IMO the game only became really enjoyable after I installed that and was able to know how much delta-v my ship had, what was my real altitude (and not sea-level altitude), etc.

Also maneuver nodes... Can't really play the game without knowing how to use them properly...

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Use Mechjeb ONLY IF your new to the game and you don't know how to do certain things... Example: I had no idea how to dock with a spacecraft until after i saw mechjeb do it. After figuring out that I needed Monopropellants, I uninstalled mechjeb and had so much fun assembling my first space station... xoxo

I learned a lot from Mechjeb, it was what taught me to land on Moons!

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The one rule to be successful in KSP

Never

ever

ever

ever

timewarp when your rocket is in the atmosphere

That isn't true. You can time warp in the atmosphere just fine.

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Docking is EASY as cheese that tastes good (assuming the cheese is easy in some way) if you pay attn to your direction of travel relative to the port you want to connect to. Stop movement altogether and move with the orbiting object. Turn to it, stop. Rotate to match it stop. Final turn to line up parallel to the dock, stop. Then use shift, w, s, etc to stay in that position but line up precisely with where you want to dock.

Don't point at the dock and gun it. Makes you forget about direction of travel.

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Do not strut heavy payloads to the nosecones of your lifting stage. Strut them to the fuel tanks if possible. The nosecones will break off if you put too much weight on them.

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1. never EVER De-orbit by pointing down, it waste's tons of fuel

2. you can never have to much fuel in my eye's, make excessively big launch stages.

3. Use the navball or learn to! its a vitality

4. knowing how to dock is extremely helpful.

5. dont get angry when something dosnt work, keep testing

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If you're struggling with the economy, use solid fuel! A solid fuel "pyramid" can get literally anything to 75km, then use liquid fuel to circularize. One stage of the long SRBs stacked radially until you reach TWR of 2, a single decoupler, then a second stage of BACCs stacked until you reach TWR of 2 will put you just about exactly at 75-80km for a tiny amount of money. Just don't forget to add winglets to steer on both stages, and strut the daylights out of it.

Also, for greater fuel efficiency and cost, you can use a single 4-way RCS thruster to steer by placing it on the top center of anything, even on top of a parachute or sputnik round probe. Just rotate your view until you're above is, use 2-way symmetry and move it until the 2 blend into one, then hit Shift-X to switch to single symmetry mode and click in into place. Just don't plan on docking, because you won't have forward/back thruster, only directional. Can also use to place a single antenna on top of a probe, etc.

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1> Learn to use asparagus staging. If you never seen this at work, launch a stock Kerbal X rocket, examine how it works.

2> Read KSP Wiki. That is the one single best resource for KSP.

3> Learn interplanetary transfers, the best place to start is ---> http://ksp.olex.biz/

4> Learn to aerobrake, this is a technique you can use for saving up tons of fuel when encountering Jool, Eve, Duna and returning to Kerbin.

5> Always try to use the lowest possible parking orbit (70000m) for doing transfer / deceleration burns due to oberth effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberth_effect

6> Tune your approach to target from a large distance, the farther you are, the less fuel is required for corrections. Fine tune when you get closer for perfect maneuver.

7> Assemble your craft in orbit via multiple launches instead of launching a huge rocket with one part.

8> Always launch in a 90° direction to use the rotational velocity of Kerbin to your advantage. (I played KSP for 6 months without knowing this, always launched in 270° direction because i liked the scenery.)

9> Use the OX-Stat solar panels often, they are massless and perfect for keeping your spacecraft under power in case you forget to deploy better solar panels.

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Given Star Wars' lack of anything resembling scientific accuracy, I'm going with "the writers didn't know that a parsec wasn't a time measurement" rather than "the writers meant that the Millenium Falcon was able to use faster non-optimal Hohmann transfers because of its excess delta-V". If it can be shown that Star Wars writers knew about delta-V I'll eat my pointy metal hat.

George Lucas claims that it was intentional. Since ships in Star Wars all travel in HyperSpace at the same speed, the ships that are best at plotting courses and maneuvering around gravitational obstacles (like star systems) will get you to your destination in the shortest distance and hence the least time.

Of course, this knowledge has questionably utility in Kerbal Space Program!

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Learn delta v formula it helps when you get board of just randomly putting together rockets and see if they work (half the time they didn't for me... RIP Jeb)

Play career or science mode first cause having all the parts all at once that you don't know what they do or how they go together gets confusing and overwhelming. With the science mode everything comes to you as you need it and it's more fullfiling when you are successful.

SPACE IS HUGE

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10 Rules of Engagement with KSP by me:

1.Safety first! Don't kill Jeb, Bob or Bill cause u don't know how to build a Rocket, mount at least a parachute at the capsule.

2.Boosters are awesome and cheap, use them often to give the rocket the push she needs and also to save some liquid fuel for the mainengines.

3.Asparagus staging, learn it, understand it, love it :)

4.Spaceplanes != Rockets

5.Use struts, less wobbly ships are less breaky ;)

6.Once in orbit, you are "halfway" to everywhere :)

7.Try sending satellites, probes at first instead of Kerbals, those guys don't like standing on dead rocks for ages... (Sorry Bob)

8.Have Fun with the game, create a set of missions that you want to do and do it!

9.Don't argue with Jeb, Bob or Bill, they are always right in terms of what they do or try to express...:cool::D:huh::confused:;.;

10.Never expect to be a pro at KSP unless a pro tells you that you are a pro...

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End with fire goes down, end with little green thing goes up. Add fuel. Go.

The rest is hours of discovery, laughs, heart breaking failures, and personal accomplishments.

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Always save a little deltaV for landing. Parachutes don't always bring you to a safe landing speed.

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1. If you want to get science, use polar orbits. You can get a lot of data from this.

2. try to reuse old components that you normally don't really use, as you'll be surprised how much funds you will save.

for example, a had a few components from fasa I never really use, such as the Explorer parts (except the probe core, as its practically my best friend).

I reused the first stage in conjunction with a LV-909 + explorer fuel tank second stage and a tantareses pol SM as a third stage. It became my new dedicated small probe launcher, as it's so cheap and reliable.

3. flying aircraft around to gather science is handy (however I would recommend to not do this until you get a few scientific instruments). you can get some nice science out of hopping around.

Edited by gooddog15

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