• 17
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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Quicksave before aerobraking. If your altitude is off by just a little bit, you will probably not like the results.

also, quicksaving with chutes deployed... gremlins eat the parachutes while trying to load the game. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Think through your entire mission before launching it. It saves a lot of time and worrying when you know exactly how much fuel is going to be needed for a trip, and can just do the mission without needing to wait a year for a refuelling vehicle to reach your ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Never be afraid to use mechjeb as a way to study how to do stuff, I let it dock some craft in orbit while I watched and then I tried it myself. I managed to pull it off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Most important thing I learned? WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T CRASH A HUSKY(Farrem Aerospace) AND AN AERIS 3A INTO EACH OTHER, IT WILL RENDER THE GAME UNPLAYABLE BY DISABLING REVERT FLIGHT, RECOVER CRAFT, AND SPACE CENTER BUTTONS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

In the VAB, you can separate radial decouplers into pairs of two for easier construction of asparagus staging.

That is, if you add 8 decouplers with 8x symmetry, you can click on them over in the staging on the right. They will expand from one icon that shows all 8, to 8 seperate icons. Click on each one to separate it from the rest, then you can drag them two at a time ( or however many) to a new stage.

This allows you to put your engines and rockets on with 8 or 6 times symmetry, but separate their decoupling for asparagus staging.

You'll have to add the fuel lines one at a time, i.e. with 1x symmetry, but this is way better than having to place your decouplers in pairs by eye.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

With rovers, just translate the movement keys to IJKL instead of WSAD so you don't have to worry about SAS torque getting in the way (if you have it on your rover).

Edited by TheGreatSkeeve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Minimus is actually easier to safely land on, and safely return from, than Mün--and it has higher science multipliers, too! In career / contract mode, target Minimus first for a better return on vehicle investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Quicksaves are your friend... for example when landing on Ike your spaceship tilts over and blows into millions of pieces and you quit for a week... This has happened, now I quicksave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Engines that are pointing at the rock will just push it away from you, but will not affect your orbit.

"You mean i came all this way and your just now telling me that the asteroids @!* is to fat!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
1. Learn to dock without the aid of MechJeb.

Hahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!! Have you ever tried to dock anything WITH MechJeb? Out of the couple of dozen times I turned on the docking autopilot, MechJeb completed the docking maneuver MAYBE two times. The rest of the time the craft just went RCSing out into deep space. The docking autopilot is beyond useless.

Just putting that out there. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Hahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!! Have you ever tried to dock anything WITH MechJeb? Out of the couple of dozen times I turned on the docking autopilot, MechJeb completed the docking maneuver MAYBE two times. The rest of the time the craft just went RCSing out into deep space. The docking autopilot is beyond useless.

Just putting that out there. :)

When did you last try it? MechJeb's docking AI has gotten much, much better in the last few months as Sarbian focused on improving it. Still not as good as a skilled pilot, but not the monoprop-wasting wreck it once was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Aerobraking calculators are subject to Garbage In, Garbage Out like any calculation. Check your units: inputting an altitude in metres and telling the calculator it's in kilometres is likely to result in an unscheduled landing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
inputting an altitude in metres and telling the calculator it's in kilometres is likely to result in an unscheduled landing.

Even NASA has made that mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Asparagus staging is NOT a requirement to get heavy loads into orbit.

In fact it is much easier and quicker to make a traditional rocket.

G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Once you get non-crap at the basics (rendezvous / Mun & Minmus landers) there is a tendency to treat this like work, ie: stack in orbital manoeuvres like back to back meetings so there is not a second to spare. At least, that is... I mean was..., my tendency.

Chillax.

While KSP may be multi--threaded, you are not. There may be times when you have a whole chunk of fast-forwarding to do, but for the sake of enjoyable rocketeering, don't think of that fast forwarding as wasted time. Think instead, of strategies implemented successfully ONE AT A TIME.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

MechJeb managed to dock my enormous, ungainly space station lower section to the equally enormous and ungainly upper section last night, so just on the basis of personal experience I'd give it a thumbs up. The only docking I've actually seen it fail was one where I started in a very stupid position and ran out of electrical power on the one probe before it could get things finished. What I really appreciate from MechJeb is the rendezvous autopilot... matching orbits by hand is painful and tedious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

You know, I think the biggest takeaway from this game for the real life, is that ambitious missions require a lot of planning ahead and need to be worked out on a piece of paper or spreadsheet and be check listed before you proceed. Once you launch, it's often too late to make major changes.

Edited by goduranus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Here's one:

Don't be a moron and immediately warp to 60-day-away maneuvers or SOI changes. Think a moment. Is the time long enough to start any more missions, perhaps send a rover with that lander, or two probes instead of one? Do so - by the time you realize "wait I shoulda sent more" the transfer window will close and won't reopen for a long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Don't know whether it's a KSP thing or a Windows thing, but while in Fullscreen mode (which is currently bugged and doesn't run in the background even if you enable it) you can press Alt + Enter to put it into windowed mode, which means it will run in the background... you can then press Alt + Enter to put it back to Fullscreen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

two words

scott manley

:)

- - - Updated - - -

Don't know whether it's a KSP thing or a Windows thing, but while in Fullscreen mode (which is currently bugged and doesn't run in the background even if you enable it) you can press Alt + Enter to put it into windowed mode, which means it will run in the background... you can then press Alt + Enter to put it back to Fullscreen!

O.o

WOW thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

On Gilly the highest elevation is higher than the upper boundary for low space. So with the wrong orbit your science gathering in low orbit can end "with a firework".

At least the orbital velocity in this altitude is so low that there is a good chance that at least the command module will survive the impact :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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
Answer this question...

×   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.