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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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People seem to talk a lot about different techniques, but as I learn about KSP, as I'm sure a lot of people are on this forum thread, I realise that sometimes, the best way to work something out is to just stop. Take 5 and calm down. This game can sometimes be enraging, especially when you are learning the ropes. Try not to let yourself get too success-crazy, because you won't get most things right the first time. Don't forget; this is a game, and games are meant to be fun. 

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If it goes kaboom let it go kaboom.

Look why, think about, and try again.

Failure is a concept to go forward.  

Every Failure has a bit of information how to be succeful next time.

Funny Kabooms 

Urses 

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On 3/20/2017 at 4:39 AM, Blaarkies said:

Stop lying, it's a bad habit. Update your game past 1.1, then come back...
http://bugs.kerbalspaceprogram.com/issues/9650

Sorry Blaarkies, I don't lie, I make mistakes, as in this case.

You're right, I've tested again and you can't do nothing if a probe is dead.

 

Edited by LordCorwin

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This is a genuinely pathetic answer, but for me the most important thing I've learned is the ALT+L to disengage staging.

Before discovering this, the number of flights I screwed up because I accidentally hit the space bar are too numerous to mention; there isn't much worse than dumping part of your rocket before using it.

Right clicking on the engine to bring up the menu allowing the engine to be shut down is a very close second as I was also a dab hand at firing up the motor(s) unintentionally by hitting the Z key (never the shift for some reason).  It usually isn't as serious as staging by mistake, but it was no fun either. 

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On 3/19/2017 at 11:39 PM, Blaarkies said:

Stop lying, it's a bad habit. Update your game past 1.1, then come back...
http://bugs.kerbalspaceprogram.com/issues/9650

 

On 3/23/2017 at 4:37 PM, LordCorwin said:

Sorry Blaarkies, I don't lie, I make mistakes, as in this case.

You're right, I've tested again and you can't do nothing if a probe is dead.

 

I think the confusion may lie in the definition of "dead."

First, depends on your settings pertaining to connection, whether you have it set to no connection = truly dead or no connection = limited. Second, a hibernating probe can still have some functions able to operate while hibernating.

In my current career, since I have come back to KSP after a long while and comms networks are new to me, I have mine set to no connection = limited control. And I discovered even in that instance, my one probe that was too far out could still fully (Z key) ignite its little engine or fully (X key) kill it, but I could not SHIFT or CTRL. Also, I discovered a hibernating probe can still allow you to open and close a service bay (though this particular probe body was in an LKO with full connection, but I set it to hibernate nonetheless).

Edited by jros83

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1 hour ago, jros83 said:

I think the confusion may lie in the definition of "dead."

First, depends on your settings pertaining to connection, whether you have it set to no connection = truly dead or no connection = limited. Second, a hibernating probe can still have some functions able to operate while hibernating.

In my current career, since I have come back to KSP after a long while and comms networks are new to me, I have mine set to no connection = limited control. And I discovered even in that instance, my one probe that was too far out could still fully (Z key) ignite its little engine or fully (X key) kill it, but I could not SHIFT or CTRL. Also, I discovered a hibernating probe can still allow you to open and close a service bay (though this particular probe body was in an LKO with full connection, but I set it to hibernate nonetheless).

Not for comms, but for electricity(a few posts above that).

In the old ksp versions, players could lock/unlock fuel tanks, start/shutdown engine, etc. anywhere at anytime, even on debris. An old booster stage left in orbit could have it's tanks locked/unlocked at any time. But since some version near ksp 1.1, that bug was removed, and since an out-of-electricity probe is just a dead piece of debris with no command, it could no longer "unlock" the battery

The probe hibernation is the obvious/correct way to do this now 

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1 - don't bother with asparagus in career mode unless you use a mod for stage recovery. It's just too damn expensive to throw away your engines as you go up.

2 - In career, single first stage with 3500 dV, an adequate control wheel, a probe and chutes are kings. While not beeing the most efficient use of your fuel, it is the most efficient use of your funds. Leave your payload in LKO, make a full revolution around Kerbin, fire retrograde and land gracefully near the KSP. Recovering 95% of your huge engines in the first stage can easily half the price of any mission, making the profits skyrocket, if i may say so.

3 - clusters of smaller engines are often better than the biggest ones, and more flexible as you can choose the size of your cluster. Try to do the math to see which combination fits your needs. Plus, a launcher with 24 nozzles spitting inferno is just awesome.

Bonus: if you have kids, introduce them to KSP to show them that math and physics are not just made of boring, blackboard and chalk equations, but the awesome knowledge allowing for awesome stuff.

 

Edited by kermand

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Hello, fellow Kerbo-nauts!  This is my first post so bear with me.

Some of the things I learned from the tutorials; "1.2 Ascent profile and Gravity Turn" by A_Name is awesome.  Some from the whiteboard videos; "How to use the Navball" by Buckeye Monkey, this guy covered the topic in four well informed and broad encompassing videos and showed some target maneuvers that were very helpful.  As well his planetary transfers are brilliant, such as launching from the Mun to the West (270 Deg) to aid getting your periapsis nice and low in one shot.  I could go on and on.

The stuff that sticks with me are my mistakes :) , in the instance I sent up a probe, did the science and transmitted it BEFORE deploying the solar panels!  EC= 0! <forehead slap> GAH!  Launch, position, deploy, THEN do the science.

I hope this helps someone else!

Happy rocketing,

Grounder

PS:  Being a purist I don't care for mods but Kerbal Engineer Redux is essential!

Edited by Grounder
Forgot the last point.

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Never install a mod unless you know exactly why you are getting it and what purpose it is going to serve. 

Edited by Benjamin Kerman
Unless it's mine \_"J_/

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On 4/5/2017 at 11:54 AM, kermand said:

3 - clusters of smaller engines are often better than the biggest ones, and more flexible as you can choose the size of your cluster. Try to do the math to see which combination fits your needs. Plus, a launcher with 24 nozzles spitting inferno is just awesome.

No. They only advantage is having smaller increments in TWR to choose from:
3 Terriers might be just enough thrust, while a Poodle would be overkill...but 3 Terriers have a mass of 1.5t, while a Poodle has a mass of 1.75t. So on the 4th terrier you are already losing out(not to mention the slight lack of Isp)

Generally, the bigger engines have better TWR (thrust to engine mass ratio) but in some cases a Rhino is just too big, but then it is more efficient to fill the big chunk of TWR with a Poodle, and the remaining TWR with 2 Terriers

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17 hours ago, Blaarkies said:


3 Terriers might be just enough thrust, while a Poodle would be overkill...but 3 Terriers have a mass of 1.5t, while a Poodle has a mass of 1.75t. So on the 4th terrier you are already losing out(not to mention the slight lack of Isp)

Thanks for making my point. 3 terrier gives you the thrust you need and weight less than a poodle. In certain cases, the lack of isp is made up with the reduction of your engine mass. In certain case, not so. Hence the importance of doing the math or checking with KER.

I might be mistaken, but i consider the net TWR of engines to be not very useful information, especialy in the case of first stages, where the mass of engines is usually negligible compared to the mass of fuel+payload. What counts if the total TWR of your ship.

 

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9 hours ago, kermand said:

Thanks for making my point. 3 terrier gives you the thrust you need and weight less than a poodle. In certain cases, the lack of isp is made up with the reduction of your engine mass. In certain case, not so. Hence the importance of doing the math or checking with KER.

I might be mistaken, but i consider the net TWR of engines to be not very useful information, especialy in the case of first stages, where the mass of engines is usually negligible compared to the mass of fuel+payload. What counts if the total TWR of your ship.

"net TWR of engines" is a direct measurement of how much extra dry mass the ship carries to achieve a certain TWR. So yes, Maths/KER is your friend here. 

On a 36t stage with 22.4t of fuel :
- 3 Terriers achieve a  TWR of 0.48 and a total DV of 3772.79m/s
- 1 Poodle achieves a TWR of 0.66 and a total DV of 3781.19m/s
For a craft comprised of a wet/dry mass ratio of 2/3 and a TWR of 0.5, then using 3 Terriers is the tipping point for switching from clusters to single bigger engines.
* it would be cool to also compare cost, but i didn't even add the cluster structures' mass (which should be negligible considering the Octo-strut)

In olden KSP, the "spark" engine had an insane TWR so much that it out-competes some of the bigger engines just by mass reduction for the same amount of thrust. That and other balance issues were fixed though, and now as long as the total mass of the cluster does not exceed the mass of a single one-bigger engine, then you are probably gaining dv from the mass reduction.

Edited by Blaarkies

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The thing I've learnt is that when a community wants to do something they will do it and I learned the ins and outs of the soyuz, the most valuable thing for me is learning:  MOAR BOOSTERS and how to rondavous (the hardest thing I've ever done)

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I do love Stage Recovery. The heavier, more expensive stuff tends to fall closer to KSC, just naturally.. And even if you only return half of the value of your craft, you're WAY better off than not.

Something I learned from flight sims as a kid and am re-learning here, a tip for understanding the Navball:
Imagine that the ball is a mirror, reflecting the world around you and each marker is a reflection of something in the mirror..  Also, Because it's reflecting the surrounding world,  if you put yourself in the ball looking out, it's easier to imagine how the "reflected" markers relate to you.

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put the center of mass in front a little bit higher from the aerodinamic overley  to make it a jet / ssto fly better

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If it woobles: struts

If it slow: boosters

If about to crash: EVA your kerbal

If fallen from great height: kerbal helmets makes a good impactor

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Don't drink and fly

I repeat Don't drink and fly!!!!

*this will often result in doing the same easy mission over and over until you fall into a limbo

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Using MJ to land at the KSC is the best way to land on the italy-shaped peninsula ~200 km from the KSC.

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On 6/7/2017 at 3:25 AM, NordicToast said:

Don't try to rendezvous in interplanetary space. Just don't.

But some people say they rdv with asteroids in interplanetary space. So it must be possible (not that i ever tried it myself)

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On 6/12/2017 at 5:09 PM, kermand said:

But some people say they rdv with asteroids in interplanetary space. So it must be possible (not that i ever tried it myself)

It's totally doable, I've captured a dozen or so large rocks from interplanetary space. 

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On 1/27/2014 at 5:44 AM, ShadowDragon8685 said:

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. Mechjeb is cheating. But whatever

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. Also use asparagus staging

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. Liquid fuel is always better

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: Haven't used KW in forever, might add it

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. No, not really. My Duna flyby vehicle's ascent stage was a 3.75m 1-layer asparagus. Learn asparagus.

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:Great.

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! This is true too.

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. Aerodynamics still apply. It makes your ship more streamlined, it helps. Also, it's like one ton for a huuuuge fairing.

EDIT: Rip, didn't realize this thread was super old

Edited by memes in space

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If your gunna use physical time warp when your engines are on, just don't. And of course because I said this everybody is going to go and try it.:P

Edited by SinisterSonar

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I have tons of things to pass on. For one...

1. Never control a rocket from an external seat (just not enough torque).

2. Accomplish something trivial before going ambitious.

3. You will fail in your mission at some point, if not, good job.

4. Don't forget F5 exists.

5. [x] Science is the best mod for science.

6. Try sandbox before heading over to something like career or science mode. 

7. Don't forget F9 exists.

8. If you're going to challenge yourself, you need to tweak your rocket to near perfection.

9. Understand what delta-v is, (Acceleration. :0).

10. (The final one.), Don't quit on the game if you fail. I've done it before, and I regretted it a lot.

 

Have fun with KSP. Don't let the moholes suck you in at night!

 

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