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ShadowDragon8685

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

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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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I didn't quite follow this. Are you reducing the trust on them together so they don't flame out? Why not just cut back on the throttle?

Sorry, my explanation here was probably not all that clear. Please refer to this post where I explained it (hopefully) a little better. :)

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A tip on getting into transfer trajectories with high inclination (a.k.a. how to launch directly into the plane of Moho's orbit. You won't be really using it for external planets, but with Moho it's better to make the plane change right at the start):

1) you might start in equatorial Kerbin orbit. It can be fixed. Ensure that Kerbin is near the target planet's orbital plane.

2) plot the ejection so that your interplanetary transfer gets right into the correct plane. Yes, use normal/antinormal vector in addition to pograde. Yes, it's a ridiculous number. No, you won't be spending this much.

3) Burn prograde at the maneuver node (or slightly before it, if you have low TWR) until your apoapsis is like 2500 km (or higher, but you don't win much by getting much higher). (if your TWR is teribly low, you might need several burns to do it)

4) Now at the apoapsis perform plane change so that you are in the plane of the previousy plotted ejection trajectory

5) recalculate the interplanetary transfer

6) PROFIT!

Alternatively, you can calculate ejection on a small probe and then change the probe's orbit so that it's in the plane of your ejection trajectory. Then use the probe as the reference to launch your actual craft in the properly inclined Kerbin orbit.

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0. VERY steep learning curve. Embrace it and Joy will be yours. Learn to crawl, take baby steps, they will eventually lead to orbit. I've only ever played the vanilla stock version of KSP. I've gone from barely getting a rocket into the air to doing some pretty amazing (IMO) stuff: Namely, I've crashed tons of rockets and stranded dozens of Kerbals in Kerbolcentric orbit just learning to get to the Mun. I've made an ion drive lander that seats 2 for minmus and minmus-like worlds, I've built an nuclear powered SSTO that can (all in the same flight) a:park over 2000 fuel and accompanying oxidizer on my fuel station in a 350km orbit b:launch a small probe that can land on the Mun or Minmus or hit a contract orbit (or several) c:transfer up to 6 crew up to said 350km orbit and d:make a dead-stick (or near dead-stick: <90 liquidfuel) landing right next to the spaceplane hanger. I've flown kerbals to Duna only have them miss Duna, and never see another planet again. Conversely, I am skilled enough now to do rescue contracts that require you to retrieve a Kerbal from orbit with only the first tier of KSC buildings, and pulling it off in just a few orbits.

1. Always crash your rocket/spaceplane. That's how you learn to build rockets/spaceplanes that work. I personally spent over $20 MILLION designing and crashing my first SSTO which cost between $20,000 and $30,000 per test flight.

2. Always slap in an extra battery and switch it off, it will save you grief when your engines are pointed at the sun and your solar panels are lost in shadow.

3. Always slap in a probe core that has SAS. This will let you test your new designs without killing off all your favorite or experienced Kerbals. This will also let you send that Scientist or Engineer solo to the Mun and elsewhere. It will also let you send said Engineer/Scientist on a proper, potentially suicidal test flight. It will also let you retrieve expensive hardware that gets left behind when your Kerbal tries to do something awesome like make minmus orbit with just the jetpack and fail.

4. Make checklists. Remember when you were a kid (I grew up in the 70's-80's) and played "spaceman" or "astronaut"? Having a tinfoil and cardboard spaceship and calling out items and saying "check!" was fun right? It is essential in KSP. A couple of important items to say "check!" to are a:Your Navball Mode, you will waste a lot of fuel trying to do that orbital maneuver with your navball in target mode. b:Engines and Vessel "Command from Here" again, you will waste a ton of fuel burning your nose to nose docked lander/command module without first turning off one set of engines and designating the correct command seat.

5. Have fun. Do whatever it takes to make the game fun for you. If you need any or all of the tons of mods out there to make the game fun, go for it. That being said, don't forget to challenge yourself. If you are playing KSP chances are you are an intelligent person, so toss out those training wheels when you know how to ride the bike.

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Have fun by learning through spectacular failure!

Achieving a specific objective is often easier than you think - Don't be daunted.

Achieving a specific objective is often harder than you think - Don't give up.

Happy landings!

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Most important thing I've learned: The learning curve has been replaced with a learning wall. Better bring your rock climbing gear, cause once you get to the top you will never have felt better! :)

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expect to throw away a craft that you spent HOURS designing and testing...sometimes the craft just will not work.

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Most important thing I've learned: The learning curve has been replaced with a learning wall. Better bring your rock climbing gear, cause once you get to the top you will never have felt better! :)

Not quite, there isn't a wall at all. Actually there isn't anything to climb up on. You have to fly up there with a rocket :P

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1) Mission Failure does not equate to total failure. I've learned more from botched missions and crashes than any tutorial or training vid out there.

2) The learning curve is STEEP. It's alright to be intimidated, but don't let that stop you from trying. You learn from experience.

3) Space is sideways, not just up.

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Refueling lander with several tanks looked like a pain in the a** until I found a "better" way (maybe not the best ?)

Alt-click on every tank of the lander, alt-click on your main refueling tank, and on the refueling tank, select "OUT" for both oxy and fuel. It will refuel all of your other select tanks, no matter which size they are, no matter how much fuel is left inside.

It will only stop once all the tanks are full, or once your refueling tank is empty.

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The learning curve is as steep as your ambitions. The higher and faster you throw yourself, the stronger you'll hit the ground. Unless you succeed at achieving orbit.

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The biggest thing I learned was that I truly knew nothing about orbital mechanics. I thought I did but I really didn't. There are no straight lines in space travel.

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Learn to use a Delta-v map with kerbal engineer mod to design rockets that make it there and back again. Otherwise it's trial and error.

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I learned that the Wheesley jet engine has an absolute ceiling of 13000 meters, so don't take contracts above that altitude unless you can fit rockets into your plan.

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I learned that the Wheesley jet engine has an absolute ceiling of 13000 meters, so don't take contracts above that altitude unless you can fit rockets into your plan.

With exception to daring "skips" above that up to 14.5km ;)

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The biggest thing I've learned: Test often. If you're building a space plane. Get the basic design flushed out, take it to the runway, just to make sure it won't go veering off. Test it once you've got wings added, to make sure they don't fly off. If your back landing gear are placed rather far forward, test it to see if the plane is going to tip back onto its ass. Test. Test. Test.

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I've figured out something new to pass on, too.

Don't go to Orbit.

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking, but bear with me here: after you've achieved suborbital spaceflight but before you've orbited Kerbn, you can take suborbital tourist contracts. And only suborbital tourist contracts. They won't generate for, say, the Mun, or Minmus, or even Kerbin orbit.

These contracts pay well, and more importantly, they give you huge reputation boosts, which you can, with some investment in the admin building, parlay into big science boosts, courtesy of unpaid internships.

Cheesy? Yeah, probably. But this will easily get you into the mid-tier techs without once circularizing your apoapsis, and get you decent bank in the process.

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I recently discovered that you can destroy ships and debris from the tracking station. Useful for all those empty pods from rescue missions.

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I just learned two very important things about Kerbal Space Program.

1: Tourists CAN, in fact, go on EVAs, if you click on the hatch from their IVA. (I'm not SURE any of my mods add this, but I suspect RPM, if it's a mod.

2: Going on an EVA during a boost phase is highly inadvisable, but survivable, if you have the Vanguard Technologies parachutes mod with the submod plugin that gives all Kerbals parachutes from the get-go installed.

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1) Forget all advice posted more than 3 weeks ago regarding ascent profiles. The "straight up till 10 km, then bank 45 degrees" hype is nothing more than an easy way to get killed since the official release.

2) Despite popular opinion, and especially in Career mode, smaller is really bigger in rocket construction. Most of the time, you will find that overbuilding a rocket "just to be safe " just makes you waste enough money for funding 2 or even 3 smaller rockets that will also complete the task just fine. Heck, that's what rocket science is for -calculating Delta-v, TWR, etc. is a complicated matter, but ask this number -crunching is why our ridiculously large rockets are not ridiculously larger.

2a) When building landers, smaller is bigger, but wider is much bigger. Narrow bases make a lander land not to well, and tripping on most bodies is generally the equivalent of ripping apart your ticket home.

Well, on most bodies, at least. If you trip over at Minmus, it's no biggie, as the SAS alone is generally powerful enough to lift you right up. And for Gilly, don't even bother to pack heavy landing gear and waste Delta -v; just touch it down gently to is side and you're golden :P

3) Do download MechJeb. Early on it's readings and predictions are going to be a humongous help, and by the time you unlock Ascent Guidance(quite late into the game, last time I checked) , orbiting a planet will be a trivial task to perform, and manual launches will only serve to bore you out of the game eventually.

3a) As regards Landing Guidance, try not to abuse it. The first landimgs on each celestial body are going to be much more satisfying if manually done. Once you are off exploration and into body exploitation, though (space tourism, resource mining, colony assembling), yep, let MechJeb take the heavy load.

4)After the first 3 tiers into your Tech tree (which should all be bought), researching the bottom first yields better results early on. As stated in 2), you're not gonna need bigass 2.5m rockets for your early milestones, and the bottom nodes are an assortment of useful gadgets: more parachutes, a more efficient engine, electrical storage and low generation (real useful if your early game is focused on probes -see below), and the most logic investment you could make with your Science: instruments for doing more science!

5) Real life itself has given an almost beautiful tip for satellites: unless you plan for an atmospjeric reentry, or to land all spent stages back on Kerbin (which is generally not beginner material, especially if SSTOs are concerned), try to build your probe into your last stage, and not as a separate stage. Otherwise,any fuel into that last stage is wasted, you have to haul the weight of that extra Decoupler up to orbit, the decoupling force will throw your sat of its orbit (if it's important for the mission or something, which generally is not in Stock KSP worth so much precision), and you have an inert object orbiting Kerbin -possibly dangerously- close to your probe,for no apparent reason. They are not to important reasons, it's just not worth it.

6) Despite everything stated in 2), always pack just some extra fuel, especially on manned missions. Whether manual or MechJeb, not a. Single use of the engines will be perfect (especially during landing and ascent), and a rocket made with Delta-V over logical amounts of redundancy may find itself having a veeeery bad time.

6a) However, if not needed, any extra fuel is still useful. Generally, any fuel remaining in a stage after it has completed its purpose cannot just be ignored; just be thankful that every single engine in KSP is fully throttlable and indefinetely restartable and use up that fuel anywhere it does not hinder safety (you should use fuel in the transfer stage to perform part of a decent deceleration, but obviously not for the whole landing), or on situations where getting rid of space debris is important.

And one last tip for Remote Tech users, based off 5) and 6a): if you have to leave a stage in orbit while departing for/ landing on another planet, what the heck, it might as well be a simple Comms Sat. It doesn't even need an actual probe core: all you need is set your dishes to their targets prior to detach (or via Kerbal if need be), deploy your omnis, and provide some energy until you leave its loading range, and voila!

Here are my seeds of wisdom for today. I shall depart now, hoping that others will also reap of what I sow.

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When using remotetech and thinking you can use one of those 'place a satellite in a keostationary orbit' contracts to net some spacebucks before repositioning said (comms) satellite in to a useful orbit, it pays to remember that if it's not in sight of the KSC when you deploy, it's gonna be kind of.. ah... stationary... without radio contact. Doh! Can be fixed with another mission.

Oh, and when planning to land a probe on the Mun, it pays to remember that stayputniks don't have any reaction wheels... doh! Can be handled with some expert gimballing skills and some spare deltav.

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Read contracts carefully. Because reasons

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This is the most important things i learned while playing KSP:

1. Always remember parachutes especially in carrer mode...

2. Check staging before launch...

3. Test rockets before launching them to other planets...

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I started playing with remote tech and ferrum. Haven't looked back.

The learning curve can help in a lot of situations.

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The learning curve is as steep as your ambitions. The higher and faster you throw yourself, the stronger you'll hit the ground. Unless you succeed at achieving orbit.

"The trick to flying is to throw yourself at the ground and miss"- Douglas Adams.

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