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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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11 hours ago, BogusDionysus48 said:

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

Well.. Doing it often without problems. Wheels  pogo sticks with physical warp is a bit worse. 

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1 hour ago, Spricigo said:

Well.. Doing it often without problems. Wheels  pogo sticks with physical warp is a bit worse. 

Um... Pogo sticks?

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3 hours ago, BogusDionysus48 said:

Um... Pogo sticks?

 

Phusical warp x4 at least feels like someone switched the whells for those:pp49047-img-1307skakadlo72_128_128_22242

 

21 minutes ago, felcas said:

It is all about speed man! All about speed! :)

 

I beg pardon, is rather about Momentum. :wink:  (granted, maybe what exact physical variable is still up to debate)

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10 hours ago, Virdin said:

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

 

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

 

 

Check out ScienceNow.   :wink:

 

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45 minutes ago, Spricigo said:

I beg pardon, is rather about Momentum. :wink:  (granted, maybe what exact physical variable is still up to debate)

It is a phrase of effect for laymen people, not for kerbomongers like us :wink: 

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3 hours ago, felcas said:

It is a phrase of effect for laymen people, not for kerbomongers like us :wink: 

Just got a new lesson:

Say something with enough conviction and the right amount of jargon and people will think you are specialist. :cool:

 

Serriously, there is lot and lots of phase of effect, while in close view are vague and shallow the significance they carry is very strong. For sure many were already mentioned in this very thread.

4 hours ago, llanthas said:

Check out ScienceNow.   :wink:

I tried and found no such mod. May you provide a link?

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13 minutes ago, Spricigo said:

Just got a new lesson:

Say something with enough conviction and the right amount of jargon and people will think you are specialist. :cool:

 

Serriously, there is lot and lots of phase of effect, while in close view are vague and shallow the significance they carry is very strong. For sure many were already mentioned in this very thread.

I tried and found no such mod. May you provide a link?

LOL I agree in both statements. And thing is one need to simplify a lot something that is true to pass over to laymen, even if it is not really true, but the important thing is to catch people curiosity and make them question about, soo you come in and explain it better.

 

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On 6/27/2017 at 4:35 PM, Spricigo said:

I tried and found no such mod. May you provide a link?

 

You're right, I'm a b00b. 

It's Science [x] that I've been using - for some reason, I thought it was called ScienceNow...   It's incorporated the old push-button features from ScienceAlert (which should be part of stock KSP arrrgh!)

 

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Bigger doesn't always mean better.I spent many many hours trying to overpower with brute force the space enemies(gravity,aero drag etc)

and even more hours fighting my desire to sent huge spaceships to do things that half a size vessel could have easily done.

 

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On 2017-06-27 at 8:06 AM, Virdin said:

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

I do it the other way around.

I mainly use career, but uses a sandbox for experiments and 'tests' when I run into trouble.

Edited by Curveball Anders

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A lot of my advice has already been stated, however one interesting thing I have not seen was marking the runway. Put one small probe body at each end so that landing space planes does not mean fireworks.

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1 hour ago, prgmTrouble said:

A lot of my advice has already been stated, however one interesting thing I have not seen was marking the runway. Put one small probe body at each end so that landing space planes does not mean fireworks.

Probes,  or flags,  or map it with a mod.   

Also keep in mind that the grass at the side of the runaway is flat and don't explode no matter how hard your landing is. 

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Just now, Spricigo said:

Also keep in mind that the grass at the side of the runaway is flat and don't explode no matter how hard your landing is. 

I'm OCD about recovery tho.

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35 minutes ago, prgmTrouble said:

I'm OCD about recovery tho.

Well,  I understand you.  But landing on the grass and taxing to the runaway provides better recovery rate than crashing in the runaway.  :wink:

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1. Place struts inside the faring so your rocket does not have an annoying wobble during ascent.

2. Instead of a direct ascent or apollo style mun mission, in career mode it is simplest to unlock the docking port jr., launch a probe with a small booster(fl-400+terrier), and then dock your single stage lander to that.  The booster should have enough delta vee for trans munar injection, a 50m/s course correction, and half of orbit insertion.  Then your lander just has to finish orbit insertion, land, and return.  

3. Make sure your rescue craft doesn't have a probe core covering the hatch.

4. If you are having trouble with something, why not make it into a forum challenge!

Edited by DAL59
fixed typo

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On 1/27/2014 at 3:44 AM, ShadowDragon8685 said:

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,

Fairings actually do shield the drag of the payload.  They do what they are supposed to.  They help with thermal protection as well.

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51 minutes ago, MrChumley said:

Fairings actually do shield the drag of the payload.  They do what they are supposed to.  They help with thermal protection as well.

But it only started to work like that well after 2014. So, ShadowDragon8685 was correct when he wrote about how wierd fairings were back then.

 

1 hour ago, DAL59 said:

If you are having trouble with something, why not make it into a forum challenge!

People tend to have much more patience and sympathy for a honest request for help than a lousy challenge (and sometimes a well structured challenge). 

I actually liked the idea, setting the challenge make the player face and understand his issue. However there is this big risk to consider.

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My apollo alternate architecture challenge was based on some trouble I was having.  I ended up figuring it out on my own before anyone posted a reply though.  The challenge was successful.  

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an interesting note for starting a new career, stacking fleas and lighting them in sequence will cause the bottom one to keep exploding, letting you go much higher on the first launch without decouplers.  and if you use some fins and turn them to an angle to making your rocket spin, you can make the returning part spin around unstable causing enough drag to slow you down for your chute, even tho your essentially an arrow lol

 

you can get the first 5 science nodes from the first launch on normal.

Edited by DD_bwest

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If two or more really, REALLY important events are to happen, they WILL, invariably, happen at the exact same time. No way around that one.

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Here are some tips and tricks I'd put to a new player in no specific order.

~ Be patient. This game may have quite the long learning curve without some sort of understanding of physics, particularly orbital mechanics and aerodynamics. Familiarize yourself with the terminology so that asking for help isn't quite so confusing. The masters often forget how to teach the basics first, but don't be shy or feel stupid if you need help. Come here; ask away. Most of the KSP community is willing to lend a word of wisdom when they know your questions' answers. If you want to learn, you will.
~ If you don't like a slower game or expect lots of action-intense gameplay, you might have chosen "call of doodie" instead. :P 
~ Learn what draws "the Kraken." It IS NOT a joke experienced KSP'ers tease newbies with... The Kraken is very real.
~ Check your staging. (Button-mashing won't help you in KSP)
~ "Asparagus" staging is over-rated.
~ Use a checklist and quit forgetting important things you need on your vessels. Revert, ladders; revert, 'chutes; revert, INTAKE... ∞
~ Do you even deltaV? That takes a minute... math = hard. Nope. I made it far enough to blow up though! :D Learn the "rocket equation!"
~ Single-most helpful mod: Kerbal Engineer Redux, you life-saver you! @cybutek is BadS for creating this should-be-a-stock-game-option mod, IDC what anybody says. This excellent mod is an overlay providing you with customizable displays of imperative real-time flight information. Not only that, but it also makes building and balancing in the editor modes a breeze with still more customizable displays which you can even specify by mission parameters, target world flight characteristic and so very much more than I care to rattle on about. Believe you, me: it's worth every second you spend learning how to set it up just the way you like it. I'd recommend Kerbal Engineer to every single KSP player, new or masterful. It saves you time by doing the math for you and can even save your kerbals... Yes, it does have some potentially mission-critical flaws as well, so learn how to anticipate these miscalculations by actually paying attention to the readouts.
~ Mechjeb is sorely over-rated. Especially if you already figure out KER first... Good luck, Flight. Your kerbals are now in the hands of a cold, calculating machine... As a side note, Mechjeb is a fine way to learn some of the game's mechanics, but I wouldn't recommend it to a new player, no matter how much others may suggest it to you. Learn all you can by taking hold of the flame, so to speak. Your kerbals won't judge you. (The Mystery Goo might though. :wink: )
~ Water (or whatever it is you find below ASL) doesn't like you playing in it. Go home while you still can. Things may happen there you only wish you could explain.
~ Check your staging. No, I'm serious, you changed the root part, remember? You confused yourself (and the part tree of your vessel,) therefore the previous staging settings have rebelled against your alleged "thoroughness."
~ While editing: Hold ALT and click any part other than your root part. Copy and paste, made simple. You're welcome. :wink:
~ While editing: Ctrl+Z  = UNDO LAST (at least most of the time)
~ While editing: Hold SHIFT while using the Move Tool in any editor. This should allow you to move any attached part anywhere you please. There's no stopping your imagination now! Go crazy! Just keep in mind: your frames-per-second drops, the higher your part-count gets.
~ Your wheels my betray you in certain circumstances. Don't forget to click RMB to see more info about any and all parts you're using ion the parts and in their respective parts-tab.
~ Never walk away from time-warp unless you've already done the math or have some kind of alarm set (the Kerbal Alarm Clock mod might suit you, but I use my phone reminder, so I can literally leave the house if I want. Yeah, it's rare, but sometimes it does take that long... it depends on what you're up to. ∞MINING...
~ I'd only help someone find one Easter Egg. The rest of them are waiting.... EVERYWHERE. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel and you're not going to need my help... it's a big solar system, but don't let that intimidate you... It's barely even a whole 1:6 scale to our solar system.
~ Pilots are over-rated. Engineers and Scientists are the only kerbals you should ever need, once enough of the tech tree is unlocked for probe cores.
~ Scientist are obsolete the moment your tech tree is complete. Engineers 4 lyfe! They improve efficiency of some parts, repair others AND repack 'chutes.

That's all I've got for now. Hopefully someone had a "eureka!" moment, but honestly sometimes I need help too. Other times, I just have to learn the hard way.

I've only been playing since version 1.0.5 and I may never quit playing this game if I don't land a base on every world possible, and return at least one kerbal back to Kerbin from each world possible. (I hate you too Eve... *cough cough* Tylo... *cough*) ...Even then I might not stop. :o 

Edited by Dark Lion

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I’ve got one main tip for the new player: If it looks like something NASA would build and launch, it has a much higher chance of success. Big complex designs just don’t work for me, and if you trying to squeeze out more dV you can always make things lighter. That’s where I get creative.

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The advice I wish I'd heard when I first started, is "Learn to crawl before you can walk." Go through the tutorials and training scenarios before you jump right into shooting for the Mün. I got really discouraged at first and it took a long time for me to get back on the horse, so to speak.

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On 10.11.2017 at 12:14 PM, Dark Lion said:

Here are some tips and tricks I'd put to a new player in no specific order.

~ Be patient. This game may have quite the long learning curve without some sort of understanding of physics, particularly orbital mechanics and aerodynamics. Familiarize yourself with the terminology so that asking for help isn't quite so confusing. The masters often forget how to teach the basics first, but don't be shy or feel stupid if you need help. Come here; ask away. Most of the KSP community is willing to lend a word of wisdom when they know your questions' answers. If you want to learn, you will.
~ If you don't like a slower game or expect lots of action-intense gameplay, you might have chosen "call of doodie" instead. :P 
~ Learn what draws "the Kraken." It IS NOT a joke experienced KSP'ers tease newbies with... The Kraken is very real.
~ Check your staging. (Button-mashing won't help you in KSP)
~ "Asparagus" staging is over-rated.
~ Use a checklist and quit forgetting important things you need on your vessels. Revert, ladders; revert, 'chutes; revert, INTAKE... ∞
~ Do you even deltaV? That takes a minute... math = hard. Nope. I made it far enough to blow up though! :D Learn the "rocket equation!"
~ Single-most helpful mod: Kerbal Engineer Redux, you life-saver you! @cybutek is BadS for creating this should-be-a-stock-game-option mod, IDC what anybody says. This excellent mod is an overlay providing you with customizable displays of imperative real-time flight information. Not only that, but it also makes building and balancing in the editor modes a breeze with still more customizable displays which you can even specify by mission parameters, target world flight characteristic and so very much more than I care to rattle on about. Believe you, me: it's worth every second you spend learning how to set it up just the way you like it. I'd recommend Kerbal Engineer to every single KSP player, new or masterful. It saves you time by doing the math for you and can even save your kerbals... Yes, it does have some potentially mission-critical flaws as well, so learn how to anticipate these miscalculations by actually paying attention to the readouts.
~ Mechjeb is sorely over-rated. Especially if you already figure out KER first... Good luck, Flight. Your kerbals are now in the hands of a cold, calculating machine... As a side note, Mechjeb is a fine way to learn some of the game's mechanics, but I wouldn't recommend it to a new player, no matter how much others may suggest it to you. Learn all you can by taking hold of the flame, so to speak. Your kerbals won't judge you. (The Mystery Goo might though. :wink: )
~ Water (or whatever it is you find below ASL) doesn't like you playing in it. Go home while you still can. Things may happen there you only wish you could explain.
~ Check your staging. No, I'm serious, you changed the root part, remember? You confused yourself (and the part tree of your vessel,) therefore the previous staging settings have rebelled against your alleged "thoroughness."
~ While editing: Hold ALT and click any part other than your root part. Copy and paste, made simple. You're welcome. :wink:
~ While editing: Ctrl+Z  = UNDO LAST (at least most of the time)
~ While editing: Hold SHIFT while using the Move Tool in any editor. This should allow you to move any attached part anywhere you please. There's no stopping your imagination now! Go crazy! Just keep in mind: your frames-per-second drops, the higher your part-count gets.
~ Your wheels my betray you in certain circumstances. Don't forget to click RMB to see more info about any and all parts you're using ion the parts and in their respective parts-tab.
~ Never walk away from time-warp unless you've already done the math or have some kind of alarm set (the Kerbal Alarm Clock mod might suit you, but I use my phone reminder, so I can literally leave the house if I want. Yeah, it's rare, but sometimes it does take that long... it depends on what you're up to. ∞MINING...
~ I'd only help someone find one Easter Egg. The rest of them are waiting.... EVERYWHERE. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel and you're not going to need my help... it's a big solar system, but don't let that intimidate you... It's barely even a whole 1:6 scale to our solar system.
~ Pilots are over-rated. Engineers and Scientists are the only kerbals you should ever need, once enough of the tech tree is unlocked for probe cores.
~ Scientist are obsolete the moment your tech tree is complete. Engineers 4 lyfe! They improve efficiency of some parts, repair others AND repack 'chutes.

That's all I've got for now. Hopefully someone had a "eureka!" moment, but honestly sometimes I need help too. Other times, I just have to learn the hard way.

I've only been playing since version 1.0.5 and I may never quit playing this game if I don't land a base on every world possible, and return at least one kerbal back to Kerbin from each world possible. (I hate you too Eve... *cough cough* Tylo... *cough*) ...Even then I might not stop. :o 

Many good points here, but KSP can definitely be at least as exciting as "cowadoody", it's just exciting in a more rewarding way. "Cowaddody" is just regular adrenaline rush exciting, KSP is more "uh oh, my Kerbals are stuck in interplanetary space, but that means I get the extra challenge and extra reward of saving them somehow:D" exciting. I definitely agree with you about Kerbal Engineer, best mod ever, the features should definitely be implemented in the next KSP version.

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