Syndic

[VERY WIP] Syndic's GeologyRocks Mod

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Not necessarily. Daishi is making a backpack model that acts as an extension to the rocket pack. Why not do something similar here?

I think that's a more complicated modification to replace the backpack and having the Kerbals able to store parts since it would be a part of them rather than storing the samples in a single KAS container. But Syndic has to decide. I like your idea but it would simplify the work you would have to do with the rocks I think. This way you would have to do more extended EVA-s to bring the separate container itself to site and if the container is full, than return it to the lander. Also should require working with an LRV. Of course, my way may only make surface operations just a few seconds longer but perhaps a bit more exciting.

Edited by Reddragon

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There's no reason things can't get more complicated later on as I learn more about how everything works together. There's a few snags to overcome but I'm quite hopeful that this will work.

RedDragon is on the right track. Load up the container onto the LRV and go hunt some rocks! 10 or 15 different types, max science after say 2 of each type brought back is possibly 30 objects to go and find. Limit the carrying capacity sufficiently and you can stretch that out to a whole Apollo Programs worth of missions. As you work through it too. You'd have to travel further away from your Lander to find them. I think it has potential to scale quite nicely. :)

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Actually this sounds pretty good. I've never made a wheeled vehicle before, because there was no need for any short trips. This could work really well if the distances between rocks and other mechanics are balanced correctly such that walking or rocket hopping would take more time than driving around.

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This sounds awesome. I would also be interested in a Science Lab type part, or series of parts which could be joined together on a base or orbiting station to provide the same (or almost the same) science value as returning the samples.

That may be a whole other mod, but it would be another cool reason to build an extended, long term base on the Mun or another body, especially, say Duna. That way you wouldn't have to keep going all the way back and forth.

The parts should be decently large and hard to launch and assemble to make the effort worthwhile.

In any case, I'm stoked to have more to do on EVA than plant a flag and bounce around!

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Can some rocks have the chance of organisms or embedded materials like a bit of Kethane?

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Can some rocks have the chance of organisms or embedded materials like a bit of Kethane?

Just like asteroids can, rocks could too. But wouldn't be realistic at all.

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Just like asteroids can, rocks could too. But wouldn't be realistic at all.

I meant more like rocks from Duna, Laythe, or Eve, not the Mun.

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I meant more like rocks from Duna, Laythe, or Eve, not the Mun.

These are meant to be rocks smaller than a Kerbal's head. Rocks that small couldn't contain any gas or liquid anywhere and that's why it's not realistic but materials could be added to them in the .cfg just like fuel and oxidizer. Gases like kethane can be found in large reservoirs under the surface like how the mod imitates itself. There is a mod in development which uses KAS grab with a drill, so Kerbals can drill into the ground for kethane.

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I'd suggest the following:

-Some method to find the rocks. No one is going to want to hunt for hours trying to find a specific rock in a 2.5Km circle. Perhaps tying certain geological qualities to specific biomes?

-No more than 10 planet-specific types of aggregate. Especially because of texture/part bloat. I'd be ok with some planets sharing some types of rock that are more common (like certain types of igneous or sedimentary rocks). This would be a good place to start.

-Stones of various sizes and possible core sampling of larger, non-retrievable rocks.

Edited by sharpspoonful

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-Some method to find the rocks.

Visual inspection please. Just make the rocks visually diverse. I'm against tricorder-type nonesense.

Perhaps tying certain geological qualities to specific biomes?

This is really something the geologists should advise on.

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This is really something the geologists should advise on.

That's correct, rocks should be separated by biomes. Samples from the highlands differ a lot from the ones of the oceans. But it seems to be a next level thing to do. First if it's possible to scatter the rocks Mun-wide it's already exceptional.

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I've had a good night's sleep and had a think about it:

'Alternatively, add an EVA command for "Dig for rocks" (Which will create a handful of rocks in a ~2 meter radius), or have "Take surface sample" generate rocks. This is a little less immersive, but simpler to implement and will not strain the computer.'

I think this method struck on the right idea. Spamming thousands upon thousands of parts files all over the mun is a recipie for disaster. The weakness in directly replacing take surface sample is that you could spam all your rock types 3 feet from the lander. However, adding a 'look for rocks in the vicinity' button to the sample return canister which would generate, say 50 rocks in the 2.5km physics radius would limit cheap play and limit the performance impact. (And enable biome specific types too)

I'm not sure exactly at what point you start having problems with performance. I'll test it today. If its something as simple as number of triangles visible we could spawn (at present) 10 rocks for the same performance hit as a 2m engine. Physics calls on the other hand might prove a bigger problem: at the moment scattering these things on a slope would probably

A) Be really funny

B) Present interesting challenges in 'active geological process avoidance' as your lander gets pelted by an avalanche of

newly spawned rocks. Would could just call it live scree formation and make the best of a bad job.

C) Cause fires for laptop users. :)

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I think that if you made them stuck on the ground, they wouldn't roll and kill ships. The stuck I mean is the one that KAS does for Kerbals to attach things on the surface of planets. But I think rolling rocks would be a great addition to the mod. Why not have 10-15 rocks in a 2.5km area? It would give you a sense of reward to find one and take it back.

EDIT: In the future you could make a GUI so you can chance how many spawn in a given area, so you can change it so your PC is running well with acceptable fps.

Edited by SaplingPick

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Awesome Idea for a Mod! Just some thoughts because I'd love to see this mod:

1. I'd think G'th is probably on the right track -- the code enabling the generation of asteroids might be what you want to look at since asteroids have basic properties and are scattered within a random but limited sector of a Kerbol orbit.

2. Spawn the rocks on vessel touchdown (altitude < #) and delete the leftover debris once altitude > # ?

Good luck!

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Syndic, what's the problem with spawning non physical rocks like I said earlier? You could do that within drawing distance, as you land.

Physics interations is the main reason for lag, so take that out of the equation (I don't pretend to know how). The rock could become a physical part only when you pick it up.

I was really hoping to drive around and actually look for rocks of specific types with my eyes.

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That is the plan Captain! The idea is to spawn them on demand. Perhaps like Pokerdope suggested on landing. Don't worry, the whole idea of this is to be able to see, lift, manipulate and return your science points with a bit more involvment than 'press button, receive science' :)

As to why I can't spawn non-physical rocks: I would have no idea where to even start with that.

I understand just enough to make headway on this. My background isn't as a programmer or artist (I drive Fork Lift trucks to pay the bill. :P)) so it will take some time.

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Is it planned to have some rock types rarer (and produce more science) than others? So you could just pick up the first rock you found if you wanted, but if you really wanted something interesting you'd have to go look for it.

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Is it planned to have some rock types rarer (and produce more science) than others? So you could just pick up the first rock you found if you wanted, but if you really wanted something interesting you'd have to go look for it.

Diggin' this, liking the idea of the whole mod! Good on you for making landings more interesting!

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+1 for unintentional geology jokes.

I love mods which are grounded in real science.

I love science in general. Sometimes getting an understanding of something you take for granted is better than getting ******.

It's probably a good idea to not let contrived and unrealistic features creep into the todo list. Keep it down to earth.

Let's hope my favourite features aren't slated for a later release.

I do however understand if Syndic has a lot on his plate.

Edited by Cpt. Kipard

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Also add little easter eggs in the science reports.

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This sounds interesting - I'm looking forward to seeing how it all pans out!

I've got a (rather ambitious) idea regarding collecting and using rock samples - in addition to just accumulating science points, geology samples could contribute to determining the composition of a planet.

The following is an excerpt from a post I wrote for a (now defunct) project that was trying to do what you're doing right now:

Gameplay concept

  • At the very beginning of a new savegame, players would immediately be able to view Kerbin's resource map for its surface, oceans and atmosphere, without needing to do any additional prospecting / science (I presume Kerbals would already know their home planet's composition well enough). Conversely, the resource map for other planets would initially be blank.
  • Scanner array(s) would be used to provide very rough surveys of other planets and moons from orbit - they would probably detect the presence of certain resources and locations where they are generally found, but little about their actual quantity / proportion / purity.
  • Ground-based robotic or crewed missions would be required to obtain better data through sample collection / statistical analysis missions
    • Units of rock, liquid and gas samples would be collected by Kerbals on EVA or dedicated robotic arms
      • Rock samples provide data for surface makeup
      • Liquid samples provide data for ocean makeup (or additionally, underground crude oil-like substances such as the namesake of the Kethane mod)
      • Gas samples provide data for atmospheric makeup

      [*]Each sample obtained would contain differing proportions of selected substances found on that planet/moon

      • The rationale for this is that one does not simply have samples purely made up of whatever
      • Sample #005 may contain 45% Metaxium / 10% Blutonium / 30% Alium / 14% Kerbon / 1% UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE 06
      • Sample #021 may contain 67% Metaxium / 30% Zanotite / 3% UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE 02

      [*]The more samples one gathers, the more accurate the final resource map for that planet would be

      [*]"Known" resources are those that are already also found on Kerbin - it is enough to simply identify them and the proportion present in each sample

      [*]"Unknown" or "Rare" resources are those that are not found on Kerbin - a sample return mission is required so that Kerbal scientists back home can properly study it

      • Once sample(s) containing unknown substance(s) is/are successfully returned, new resource names are automatically added to the resource map list
      • e.g. UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE 06 will automatically be renamed to Jebedynium, for instance

Implementation

  • The resources map proportions for each planet and moon are actually predetermined and hard-coded into KSP itself listed in a definition file for this plugin.
  • A proposed planetaryComposition.cfg for each savegame would contain:
    • An initial seed for the random deposits location/quantity generation (sharing seeds results in identical deposit locations) Irrelevant.
    • Resource names and proportions available on each planet / moon (initially blank - populated through gameplay)
    • Deposit locations / purity (initially blank - populated through gameplay) Irrelevant.

    [*]When players start with simple orbital scans of various planets and moons, the persistence file is updated to store the names of the resources found on said planet/moon, along with a quantity of 0%

    • This would be displayed in-game as "present" i.e. Kerbon - present

    [*]When players collect physical rock/liquid/gas samples:

    • The presence and proportions of resources are NOT stored on a per-sample basis (massive data overhead!)
    • Rather, Kerbals on EVA and robot samplers would simply have a incremented "SampleCount" up to their "MaxSampleCapacity"

    [*]When these samples are offloaded into analysis parts:

    • The code simply loops through the the number of samples deposited
    • For each sample/loop iteration, dummy variables are used to temporary hold resource names and quantities
    • The composition of each sample is randomly generated, but strongly determined by the hard-coded proportions for each planet
      • e.g. Assume Duna is hard coded to have 75% Metaxium on its surface
      • Therefore any given rock sample is more likely to mostly contain Metaxium
      • The actual quantity of Metaxium returned as outpost from any particular sample may actually be anywhere between, say 25% to 50%

      [*]The results for each sample are averaged out and written back to resources.cfg map, as the "actual" resources map proportion for each planet/moon

      • i.e. only the final running average for the whole planet/moon is stored

      [*]The more samples one collects, the closer the savegame's data tends towards the hard-coded ideal values

    [*]Example:

    • At the start of the savegame, nothing is known about the Mun's composition
    • Internally in KSP the plugin, the Mun may have hardcoded resource proportions of 10% A, 20% B, 30% C and 40% D
    • When a player scans the Mun, resources A, B, C and D will be detected but their quantities will be unknown
      • i.e. A - present, B - present, C - present, D - present

      [*]When a player analyses their first rock sample, the random number generator may assign said sample as having 70% A, 20% B and 10% D

      • Mun Resources map is now updated to A - 70%, B - 20%, C - present, D - 10%
      • Obviously this is grossly inaccurate compared to the overall hardcoded figure, but remember that we've only taken one sample

      [*]By rock sample #025, the figures might get averaged out to:

      • A - 12%, B - 18%, C - 33%, D - 37%
      • Basically, the more samples we take, the closer we tend towards the "ideal" hardcoded proportions

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Have any progress been made on this mod? It really would be good to see it finished. Maybe I can help in some parts.

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Ok, this looks good. It's the one thing that, in my opinion, KSP direly needs; biomes are completely bland without this sort of thing. I, too, am (hopefully) a future geologist (Vulcanology and Planetary Geology for me, please :D) with the University of Liverpool, and I did think of some ideas quite a while back, now.

You'd have all three rock families (sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic), but there would only be certain families on certain planets. You'd have to consider the environments of each planet or moon to say what rock types are present. You're almost essentially guaranteed to find igneous on every world, and more likely than not metamorphic too, unless the planet or moon you've landed on is icy, but even then there should be some rocks around. Sedimentary requires liquids to have been present at some point, so Kerbin, Eve, Duna, and Laythe could (and should) all possess them. In fact, Vall already has terrain scatter that looks awfully like granite or diorite (black and white crystals; biotite mica and quartz, respectively), which is cool:

2VCY0Yol.png

It could also just be really icy rock, but oh well. THIS IS WHY WE NEED GEOLOGY IN THE GAME.

One of my ideas for the game was to have rock outcrops of varying composition and thus appearance. You could waltz up to these outcrops, start attacking them with a hammer and chisel, and then come out of it with your very own samples. Some outcrops may be of better quality than others, and so provide more science points and further understanding of the world. And then there's the fact that your crew comes out of their expedition with actual souvenirs which could go on display in a museum at the KSC to record your achievement.

One other thing that I think should be considered is the ability to retrieve soil, liquid, and atmospheric samples. I know this is sort of already done in the game, but it needs to be elaborated upon. I did see an official animation a while back of a Kerbal picking up a rock and either tossing it or stowing it, so there's definitely something along the lines of this being planned for the game, at least on the basic level. You'd come out of this with vials of gas, liquid, dirt, and maybe even rock core and ice core samples. The latter would require heavy machinery be brought along on your trip, but it would give lots of science, no doubt.

There are also plans to introduce much more varied environments for the planets and moons in the game, with biomes being just the start, I believe. For example, Laythe is going to be highly volcanic owing to significant tidal forces acting on it. Think of it; volcanoes! You could go up to a lava flow in a special EVA suit and collect a bit of molten or recently-cooled rock, hopefully without catching fire in the process.

There are an awful lot of geological things that could be done to really enhance the game, but many of them seem a little bit out of reach for the moment. The ones I've listed here seem the most practical for the moment.

I'll keep an eye on this mod, for it seems like it could be promising :)

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