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Are funds fulfilling their desired goal?

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0.24 has been out for a couple days now, so I'd like to discuss the changes.

The addition of funds, in my opinion, is not fulfilling the intended purpose. I started over career mode, and within a single in-game day, I've managed to work up 80k funds. My next mission is to get a stable orbit around Kerbin, which is probably going to cost me about 10k to perform and which promises to net me about 3x that much on the back end, putting me over 100k funds on the first in-game day of career mode. The only thing 0.24 has changed for me is that, rather than orbiting Kerbin because I want to practice orbital turns, I'm doing it because the contract says so. That's fine, but it doesn't add any unique gameplay that wasn't already there.

So, funds were supposed to act as a gating factor; they're supposed to make every launch count. But when I have enough funds in the bank to burn away 10 cheap ships after one in-game day, it seems like funds aren't really limiting much at all.

I think funds should be changed in one of two ways; either

A) Decrease the amount of funds rewarded by completing contracts while simultaneously increasing the cost of ship parts. This turns funds into a true limiting factor; if you don't build cost-efficient ships and balance your contracts, you just can't proceed with the game.

or

B) Increase the amount of funds rewarded by completing contracts even more, BUT give us something else to spend excess funds on. If funds could be spent on R&D, or lobbying certain companies ("Hey, lemme test ride your new nuclear engines so I can make it to Jool"), then completing contracts to build up an excess of funds could then add gameplay value because you'd have more choice and flexibility when you're rich, rather than just being rich for the sake of being rich.

Thoughts? Opinions? Alternate ideas?

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Honestly, I think a monthly salary based on rep would have been better. Rep would increase with accomplishments such as reaching orbit / landing on the Mun / Duna / etc. By having funds come in monthly, you're given a natural restriction. You can no longer immediately send a rescue mission unless you have savings. Launching a massive mission may take months of savings. Perhaps this would irritate some players. For me, though, it seems absurd having so many launches so close together in a single Kerbal day. Adding this restriction would make planning that much more meaningful as well. In my opinion, this would make the game feel much more like the Space Program / management sim it claims to be.

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Yeah that is partly correct and I feel the same. But I think there will be more economy added in later patches and it will be more balanced. For now and for me, I think the balance is just about right. And here is why. I don't like sandbox and during a career play I also build satellites, space stations and you know pretty much all you can do. So if for example at the middle of the tech tree I decide to build up one or two space stations, I will have to send up at least a few big rockets for each space station and parts later in the tech tree get more expensive. So building stuff which doesn't generate any money will cost big time, if you are like me and like to have dozens of sattelites (with expensive equipment) orbiting Kerbin. Thats what I will be using the excessive funds on. So the contracts are merely to progress in the tree and to earn funds. And with that money I build space stations, satellites and bases on planets. If the cost of parts would be increased and/or contract payouts decreased, there (may) not be enough money left over to do other stuff than contracts.

Edited by morph113

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Given that this is the first iteration of contracts, it is no surprise that it is not yet balanced, and errs on the side of generosity.

B) Increase the amount of funds rewarded by completing contracts even more, BUT give us something else to spend excess funds on. If funds could be spent on R&D

Instead of using science points as a currency, accumulated science points could unlock access to techs. Accumulated science points would be a direct indication of the amount of science that the player has done. After all, science = knowledge, which you get to keep when you apply it, give it away or sell it.

Higher techs would not just cost more science, instead those would require a higher science level (more accumulated science points). The existing 'required techs to unlock new tech' mechanism could remain as is.

Then funds can be spend on development of new parts that the science level gives access to.

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IIRC funds were just added to actually give contracts a meaning. Not the other way arround. That would imply that yes, you indeed are going to get rich for the sake of getting rich. :)

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Honestly, I think a monthly salary based on rep would have been better. Rep would increase with accomplishments such as reaching orbit / landing on the Mun / Duna / etc. By having funds come in monthly, you're given a natural restriction. You can no longer immediately send a rescue mission unless you have savings. Launching a massive mission may take months of savings. Perhaps this would irritate some players. For me, though, it seems absurd having so many launches so close together in a single Kerbal day. Adding this restriction would make planning that much more meaningful as well. In my opinion, this would make the game feel much more like the Space Program / management sim it claims to be.

This could be okay with rep decay, but if your rep never goes down without failures, then you just pump up your rep with easy tier-1 contracts and then time warp till you have all the money you'll ever need.

Honestly, I think a monthly salary based on rep would have been better. Rep would increase with accomplishments such as reaching orbit / landing on the Mun / Duna / etc. By having funds come in monthly, you're given a natural restriction. You can no longer immediately send a rescue mission unless you have savings. Launching a massive mission may take months of savings. Perhaps this would irritate some players. For me, though, it seems absurd having so many launches so close together in a single Kerbal day. Adding this restriction would make planning that much more meaningful as well. In my opinion, this would make the game feel much more like the Space Program / management sim it claims to be.

This could very well be true. Since I started over the game for the patch, I'm not at a point yet where I'm launching stuff like that into orbit, so I can't say for sure. I'll reserve judgment on this point until I can test it myself :)

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Moved to Development Discussion.

Please take a little care in where you post your threads. The separate sections are intended for use.

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The first change should be doable with just a minor change in settings, having a scale factor multiplying the part costs of all the parts in the game. If it doesn't already exist, I'm sure a mod will come up that will make it possible. Apparently 4x works pretty well and is balanced.

If you want a challenge I would say try playing career mode with the RealSolarSystem mod installed and the 6.4x Kerbin config. You have to build bigger rockets so funds become an actual limiter.

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Having a salary is pointless, set to max timewarp then come back in a couple of hours and you now have more money than you will ever spend

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The first change should be doable with just a minor change in settings, having a scale factor multiplying the part costs of all the parts in the game. If it doesn't already exist, I'm sure a mod will come up that will make it possible. Apparently 4x works pretty well and is balanced.

If you want a challenge I would say try playing career mode with the RealSolarSystem mod installed and the 6.4x Kerbin config. You have to build bigger rockets so funds become an actual limiter.

Thanks for the advice, but I'm trying to go clean on this one; total stock, no mods :) Maybe once I finish the tech tree, I can start over with a couple mods and try to do something more difficult.

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Thanks for the advice, but I'm trying to go clean on this one; total stock, no mods :) Maybe once I finish the tech tree, I can start over with a couple mods and try to do something more difficult.

Something to consider when using stock. Don't know if you knew, but with the debug menu (alt+f12) you can deactivate the "revert to.." and quicksave/load functions. This will make it way harder because any rockets which fail and eventually crash are lost and so is the money and so is the Kerbal (if you deactivate kerbal respawn there as well).

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This could be okay with rep decay, but if your rep never goes down without failures, then you just pump up your rep with easy tier-1 contracts and then time warp till you have all the money you'll ever need.
Having a salary is pointless, set to max timewarp then come back in a couple of hours and you now have more money than you will ever spend

The point is the time in between. You can't immediately send a follow up mission. You must plan. Sure, you could just time warp until you have infinite funds. You can do that in many games. Let the game sit over night and watch the money roll in. ...but, you can't do that in reality. Perhaps your Rep would decay with out launches. If you do nothing for a year, your rep will have deteriorated to nothing, bringing you little to no funds. Imagine the funding cuts to NASA if they did literally nothing for years on end.

Edited by klgraham1013

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I think that the kerbals should have daily salaries that deduct from out treasury. Hopefully in the future when they can get better stats then they start to cost more and you have to balance a good kerbal versus a cheap kerbal in your budget.

Right now money is irrelevant right off the bat. I have never felt any pressure and never felt the need to limit my designs. Im already close to 1million space bucks just randomly doing contracts.

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I like the monthly funds idea. Best make it a constant base funding that does not scale with reputation. So it can help a broke space program to survive but does not change much for a rich player. Could be a way to make budgets tighter without excluding beginners.

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First of all, I guess "First Contract" is as experimental as science was. I will need a lot of refinement, harsh rebalance and maybe new feature (like the ability to ask for money in exchange of reputation).

Having a salary is pointless, set to max timewarp then come back in a couple of hours and you now have more money than you will ever spend

I wish shortsighted persons stop saying that. Timewarp is what make time-based gameplay mechanism even more interesting.

Right now you can launch 10 craft per day and gain more money that you'll ever be able to use. Especially since you can RESET nearly every failure. (as of now I have technically never failed any mission or killed any Kerbal (and truly I always have a way to save my Kerbal anyway))

With a daily/monthly budget that increase through reputation, even without the reputation diminishing over time (as you know REAL labs can't get infinite budget doing nothing like that) you would add a strategic aspect to KSP's career.

And this is not asking a redesign, it would work perfectly with Contract.

The big difference would be the balance, Your budget wouldn't allow you to launch more than, say, 1 rocket per week so you would chose carefully the contract you can do before they expire, or contract that will give you enough funds to one more rocket.

The worst it will ask is a button on the Space Center view specially made to accelerate 1 <budget period> ahead.

A mechanism MANY game already use efficiently.

tl;dr

Timewarp do not limit gameplay, it extend it.

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I think we really need feedback from newer players on this. If you can do a grand tour, of course you're going to find things at the start trivial, and end up with loads of funds. If you didn't the game would be literally impossible for a beginner.

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Note that the individual parts in Science have individual unlock costs (I think that's what they are?) -- this is why you need to manually unlock them when you install new addons midgame. But the unlock costs currently aren't deducting from funds, so this is a possible additional hit to them that's not currently in game.

(If those aren't unlock costs, there should be something similar IMHO -- so that the science points expenditure is to learn that it's possible, and then the unlock costs represent the R&D expenses for full scale testing, etc.)

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The addition of funds, in my opinion, is not fulfilling the intended purpose. I started over career mode, and within a single in-game day, I've managed to work up 80k funds. My next mission is to get a stable orbit around Kerbin, which is probably going to cost me about 10k to perform and which promises to net me about 3x that much on the back end, putting me over 100k funds on the first in-game day of career mode. The only thing 0.24 has changed for me is that, rather than orbiting Kerbin because I want to practice orbital turns, I'm doing it because the contract says so. That's fine, but it doesn't add any unique gameplay that wasn't already there.

I had 300k in Day 2.

So, funds were supposed to act as a gating factor; they're supposed to make every launch count. But when I have enough funds in the bank to burn away 10 cheap ships after one in-game day, it seems like funds aren't really limiting much at all.

Agreed.

Founds are somewhat a factor until you are past first 4 techs in a tree.

After that?

You can completely forget that they exist.

A) Decrease the amount of funds rewarded by completing contracts while simultaneously increasing the cost of ship parts. This turns funds into a true limiting factor; if you don't build cost-efficient ships and balance your contracts, you just can't proceed with the game.

or

B) Increase the amount of funds rewarded by completing contracts even more, BUT give us something else to spend excess funds on. If funds could be spent on R&D, or lobbying certain companies ("Hey, lemme test ride your new nuclear engines so I can make it to Jool"), then completing contracts to build up an excess of funds could then add gameplay value because you'd have more choice and flexibility when you're rich, rather than just being rich for the sake of being rich.

IMHO:

1) Penalties for failing the contract should be serve.

2) Deadlines should be a thing. I'm yet to miss a deadline and I already explored over a half of research tree and got plenty of contracts done - never felt like a "deadline" is a deadline. Introduce tighter (and more logical) deadlines along with count-down timer on a contracts list.

3) Research tree should be vastly re-scaled. Techs after first 4 should have their science requirement AT LEAST DOUBLED, if not: quadrupled in case of some late-game techs (basically: everything in a last branches). With all the science points that contracts give - game became pointlessly easy.

I think we really need feedback from newer players on this. If you can do a grand tour, of course you're going to find things at the start trivial, and end up with loads of funds. If you didn't the game would be literally impossible for a beginner.

Do I count? Started the game 2 days before registering on a forum, never fully completed a whole campaign (but it looks like with 0.24 - it will happen). I don't even know what the "grand tour" is.

I did however go through the engineering studies, so I'm not really a random guy who doesn't know that reentry should be very dangerous or that KSP aerodynamics model sux hard.

Edited by Sky_walker

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Do I count? Started the game 2 days before registering on a forum, never fully completed a whole campaign (but it looks like with 0.24 - it will happen). I don't even know what the "grand tour" is.

I did however go through the engineering studies, so I'm not really a random guy who doesn't know that reentry should be very dangerous or that KSP aerodynamics model sux hard.

The Grand Tour is visiting all of the planets in one launch.

Hmm... I suppose new players since 0.23 don't have to deal with the spaghetti rockets that plagued me when I first joined. I did blow up a lot of stuff before I got something in orbit. I think I would have burned through all my funds pretty quickly.

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I think we really need feedback from newer players on this. If you can do a grand tour, of course you're going to find things at the start trivial, and end up with loads of funds. If you didn't the game would be literally impossible for a beginner.

Yeah. I haven't found funds the least bit challenging yet, but only because I am able to easily slap together a moon mission with only half of the tier 3 parts unlocked and do the whole thing without a single load or save. I just have too much experience and know exactly what to do. There needs to be some kind of difficulty settings implemented into career mode to accommodate more experienced players.

Also, quicksaves and flight reversion certainly make things less challenging. If I crash, I just load my most recent save. (I don't think the functions should be disabled for career mode altogether, though. Can you imagine how expensive testing would become if you had to purchase the whole rocket every time you do a test launch?)

Edited by Vaporo

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Our cost are low because we can revert to launch every time but without it less experimented players would be forced to grind money all the time to pay for their failed launch.

Maybe the problem is that it's faster to revert to the VAB than to accept the failure, go back to the Space Center and rebuild another rocket.

In my humble opinion a solution would be to encourage parallel launch.

If you launch 2 missions at the same time, one of them fail while the other is a great success, you won't be inclined to revert to launch, especially if its a long duration mission.

Thinking about it, it's not like you can actually revert to launch when you've detached and landed several probes and sub-probes.

On a shorter range the same effect could be obtained with satellite.

ex : You launched easily 3 satellites during your big mission, and now you can't revert it.

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I think we should have an "abort to VAB" option as well. You don't have to wait for your craft to fall down and crash, but you also don't get a free pass. In fact, I might suggest it.

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I'm actually a little lost... I'm not sure how I want to play the game anymore.

At first I was like "OK, time to max out my income on minimum launches and minimum launch cost!". So in my first launch, I did the 4 starting missions. In my second launch I did the next 6. I decided I wouldn't do any science collection other than the science granted by contracts, or specifically requested by contracts... because on launch 2 I knew I would have enough funds to unlock the whole tech tree, had I really wanted to do that. But... something doesn't feel quite right.

Perhaps OP is right and it's just not "difficult" enough, but I don't think that's entirely it. If you ramp up the difficulty it just means I'll spend more time waiting for gravity slingshots, more time doing tedious science grinding.. basically more "not much fun" gameplay in order to complete whatever objective it is I want to complete.

I think the "monthly income based on reputation" might work well (and to reiterate previous posters, timewarping yourself to a huge bank isn't an issue, just add reputation decay). But I'm still not sure that difficulty is the issue.

Contracts also, to some extent, seem like another "help new players along" tool. If I launch a mission to Duna on mission 3 the game won't reward me for the accomplishment unless I happened to have a contract for Duna. If I am technically capable of going to Duna, and do so, and return, I won't even earn reputation for performing the feat of landing on Duna while my space program is still in its infancy, which seems like a reputation-worthy feat!

I don't think I should have to wait until a randomly generated contract comes up in order to increase the reputation of my program. I think it would be more fun to let the player choose their objective and simply reward them appropriately.

I also think we're still missing a sort of super long term, overarching goal. I could run procedural contracts forever, but the game world would never change. I'd just keep getting procedural contracts. Sure, you unlock new parts, but if the goal is simply to unlock parts, well, as I said, I could probably unlock all of them on my second launch, and definitely on the third.

I think I'd like the game world itself to be less static. To change and evolve as I progress. Novasilisko eventually revealed a complex, in-game puzzle that would have tied many of the easter eggs of KSP together and revealed the history of the Kerbal civilization, but unfortunately he left Squad before the idea gained any traction. But it doesn't have to be anything so elaborate. Something akin to "Sim City" style progression might be enough. There's no "end" to the game as such, but as you play each house, each road, each powerplant you build eventually all ties together into a humming metropolis. Once you're satisfied with your "end result" you tear it all down and try again using different long term strategies. But to have a long term strategy at all requires a goal for that strategy to work towards.

Edited by allmhuran

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If a monthly salary is implemented, then balancing would require that it be reputation-based, otherwise people would just time-warp for a couple of years and have all the money they want. If you base it on reputation, though, you can have a mechanic that does a stock check before each paycheck is dispensed. It would check stuff like:

  • Number of missions attempted this month
  • Number of missions accomplished/failed
  • Number of contracts completed
  • Number of contracts outstanding
  • number of contracts failed

Doing nothing in a month will frustrate backers, because no one wants to pay someone to do nothing. People also don't like paying someone to fail, so successful launches are a must for a positive reputation. Completing contracts is an obvious rep boost, but sitting on contracts will frustrate the customer, resulting in a slight hit to reputation. All this would be calculated into a change in reputation, and the paycheck would be dispensed based off the NEW reputation level.

What also might help balance contracts with the tech tree is before you can unlock a node, all parts in that node must be tested. Then once you test them all, you pay the manufacturer a license fee to use their parts (the research cost that was mentioned earlier), plus make parts a little more expensive, while leaving contract payouts the same. If you decrease contract payout, it needs to be by a factor less than the adjustment to part cost (in my opinion)

EDIT:

ex : You launched easily 3 satellites during your big mission, and now you can't revert it.

This would be a neat mechanic to add. I would implement something like a second window in Mission Control where you plan a mission. Your mission plan should include the number of launches of a payload you have already constructed. Selecting "Revert to launch/VAB" would revert to before any of the launches occurred. Example: missions is to place 3 satellites I've already designed into KSO. The first two launches are successful, but the third launch fails because I hit spacebar by accident. I can revert to before I launched the first satellite and start the whole mission over, OR I can eat the loss and relaunch the last satellite (choosing to take a financial hit and launch one rocket, or start over with 3 launches). Have the whole system set up as kind of a custom user-created contract.

It could also tie in with the "number of missions accomplished" mechanic I mentioned earlier.

Edited by Roastduck

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I don't like the concept of "Salary", I would prefer a monthly budget like a governmental agency even if apparently some person HATE WITH A PASSION the idea of not owning their Money-making Private Corporation.

In the real world Laboratory actively try to spend their budgets to justify getting as much (if not more) next time.

In our case I think we could get a simplified version where you'll only get funded up to a certain amount each week/month based on your reputation.

This way, no "infinite money".

And this should be perfectly compatible (and completed) with contract, contracts basically allow you to get more money/reputation/science for things you were likely to do anyway. This also allow the game to keep track of your accomplishment (telling you the criteria it can see).

The last one in itself show how big of a update 0.24 was, it is a prerequisite for any sort of game progression, a clear change from both sandbox and Science-mode.

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