Sign in to follow this  
Luis

A way to make contracts much better

Recommended Posts

I am not a fan of the current five templates for procedural contracts.

1. Part testing. As many others have pointed out already, the flight parameters for each test are often silly and arbitrary. I want contracts that encourage me to explore the solar system. These feel immersion breaking because you are asked to 'test' something that noone in their right mind would need to know.

How to fix this- Make the test one that finds out something useful. And returns actual data, not just success/fail. Examples:

Measure the maximum impact speed of the landing gear

Check whether parachutes can be deployed in Jool's atmosphere

Determine the maximum mass that a Mainsail will lift

Find out the temperature at which the LV-N overheats

2. Rescue

Again, immersion breaking. How did a kerbal get there? I didn't launch him. Is someone else running a more advanced space program than me? Why aren't they doing the rescue?

How to fix this- Rescue contracts should choose a target from vessels that YOU put in orbit. Accepting the contract disables some function on the ship and the rescue mission must then launch to save them. If you don't want your precious craft to be affected, you can just refuse that mission, or possibly there could be an option to disable rescue missions entirely. Examples:

Rescue the crew from this ship because they have a slow air leak

Bring more fuel to resupply this ship

This astronaut has developed apendicitis, bring him back for emmergency treatment

This satellite needs to be returned for repair

3. Data Collection

The game doesn't seem to care what data you collect; it's just "transmit science from place x". This is really just the same as "go to x" and doesn't feel very engaging.

How to fix this- Make the collection requirements specific. The contract adds EXTRA parameters to the regular science missions to make them more challenging and interesting, in return for extra science.

Measure the temperature of the Northwest crater on the Mun during an eclipse

Measure the atmospheric pressure at sea level on Laythe

See what the goo does at the top of Duna's highest mountain

4. Exploration

Exploration missions are actually the least bad of the current templates. I don't think the requirement to transmit or collect data adds much though. These missions should simply state what kind of encounter you should have with the planet/moon and whether the mission is manned or not.

Fly within 500km of Minmus

Fly an astronaut around Mun and return him

Orbit Eve

Land on Bop

Land an astronaut on Moho and return him

5. Flag planting

This is functionally the same as an exploration mission and whether you need to do science or plant a flag changes nothing, since on virtually all landings you would do both anyway. How about a template that encourages you to establish permanent bases?

Land 4 astronauts, plus the Hitchhiker pod on Mun's far side

Land 2 scientists plus the science lab on the shores of Laythe's ocean

Land 4 kerbals at the site of this previous landing of yours

AND FINALLY...

The procedurally generated contract flavour text sounds like someone having a stroke. Either replace it with simple boiler plate text for each template or get rid of it altogether. As it stands, it's like having a spam email at the top of each contract. It isn't useful, it isn't funny, it breaks immersion (again) and it continually reminds me of the random and arbitrary nature of the contract. How can I get excited about accepting a mission when the person giving it to me is clearly crazy?

Edited by technicalfool
Rule 2.2c

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AND FINALLY...

The procedurally generated contract flavour text sounds like someone having a stroke. Either replace it with simple boiler plate text for each template or get rid of it altogether. As it stands, it's like having a spam email at the top of each contract. It isn't useful, it isn't funny, it breaks immersion (again) and it continually reminds me of the random and arbitrary nature of the contract. How can I get excited about accepting a mission when the person giving it to me is clearly crazy?

This.... this one really bugs me.

Its like someone facerolled across a cellphone with T9 on and was like "Close enough, lets use it" >.>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts:

part testing:

As you say, the test windows are usually too narrow/weird to actually bother with them. I would say that these should be reserved to only two scenarios: as ground testing - clamped down at the launchpad, and vacuum testing - in orbit. They could for example return mainly science points, and not be as profitable as other contracts, especially when testing experimental engines. It would make for a way to generate a little bit of science in exchange for funds.

Rescue:

Either scrap it completely or make the game select only kerbals in EVA on my missions ( which would still be none). I have pretty much ignored this one completely, since it is quite silly to have a solitary kerbal in orbit for no reason. I would prefer a satellite deployment instead of this one, where you have to deploy a robot core + solar panels + random scientific instrument into a orbit X, Y. It could be the most profitable contract to run.

Data collection:

This one sort of makes sense. Even for the repeat observations, these could be different companies buying scientific data about the stellar body. Low payoff , some science data.

Flag planting:

Pure prestige. At the moment its very easy to leave a kerbal permanently on the Mun to plant a forest of flags for a ton of cash. To combat this I would award mainly prestige for this type of contract. There is only so much of it you would want, so it would discourage grinding the contract for funds.

final point:

Yes, what you said. I have read maybe 2-3 of them, and now I just utterly ignore them, and look instead at the short description of what is required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I partially disagree. The solar system is there. You're given rockets. Go explore. I like that the current exploration missions are a little flexible, not instructive.

I'm happy for things to double up- if I've got a base, they want a new flag, I'll go on a trip and put a flag somewhere. The way they don't instruct you to fly there first is useful if you already have bases and stations. Want some kerbin science? To the station!

However, flag spam might be something to be avoided- perhaps flags could have a distance requirement? Maybe that could change, and become explore an area at least 5Km from an area previously marked, and plant a new flag. Rovers and hoper craft could come in handy here. (distance based is better than biome based, as there are only so many biomes, and it provides no imperative for manned exploration on a detailed level.)

But I agree, some more specific science type missions would be nice in addition. That, or the flavor text should be much improved.

I think many science missions could be developed by looking at existing spaceprobe flights. I did a project on Cassini recently, and was surprised almost, by the number of tasks it performed throughout its flight.

Part testing does seem a little random, but I've enjoyed it so far. Though I do agree about the kerbals in orbit thing- they aught to wait longer before happening, or be dumped all together. We'll have kerbals of our own to rescue soon enough.

Edited by Tw1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with most remark, however be aware that some of your suggestions are not easily possible without using mods or tools outside the game.

Ex : the game doesn't give you an easy way to know what is the highest mountain of Duna

Having Test-contract ask you to test something useful would indeed be great. But you also have to say once and for all if testing a part give you a permanent easy access to that part. Because as of now you are encouraged to NOT test it so you can keep it for a year.

Couldn't agree more about your last one. Considering how basic test mission tend to be, I wouldn't mind the description just telling us what they want us to do.

All in all it depend of how flexible the codes detecting what you are doing is, and how much man-made contract they'll create against procedural generation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing I'm disappointed not to see, which most of the needed tools to do are already there, is a realistic contract scenario, such as:

Launch our payload X to location Y Mission

This could have been done with using the 'Sub assembly' system. A preset payload goes into the sub assembly section with the blue "experimental" highlight. Once in the specified Orbit this payload is no longer your responsibility, it's an uncontrollable object.

This would have been able to follow on to:

Recover / Repair payload Mission

The payload has done its job or maybe it failed to do it. Either go in orbit and use a Kerbal to fix it, or bring it back to KSC depending on the parameters.

Right now the other bugbear I have is the contracts just give too much money. Fail Criteria also doesn't even seem to exist. I've done alsorts of things wrong and not failed once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How to fix this- Make the test one that finds out something useful. And returns actual data, not just success/fail.

Against it. I love the silliness of these arbitrary experiments. This way you need to be able to respond to even the craziest requests - which sounds kind of natural for Kerbal space agency.

Almost all your examples are already covered by generic contracts, but they are not the only ones. There are a few parts that should be excluded from contract generation, but besides that, I see no reason to artifically limit them. Then again, adding other generic contracts sounds fun (like overheating / running parts for a defined time), but there is no need to overhaul the existing system.

How to fix this- Rescue contracts should choose a target from vessels that YOU put in orbit. Accepting the contract disables some function on the ship and the rescue mission must then launch to save them.

Wrecking your favourite ship just out of randomness? Terrible idea. This can get insanely frustrating. Then again, I like the idea of not only rescuing Kerbals but ships as well. But they may be pre-fabricated, or from the tutorials.

How to fix this- Make the collection requirements specific. The contract adds EXTRA parameters to the regular science missions to make them more challenging and interesting, in return for extra science.

Agree. Just vary over the science instruments, like you do for other parts as well. (Testing a gear or engine is not that different from testing a scientific instrument).

Some of your examples won't work, because biomes are not precise enough yet to generate contracts like that, but they might be some day.

This is functionally the same as an exploration mission and whether you need to do science or plant a flag changes nothing, since on virtually all landings you would do both anyway. How about a template that encourages you to establish permanent bases?

I think, this is more or less a subset of "put part x on Mun, biome "ground". This should be already covered. The question is if the "interesting" quests are too rare.

AND FINALLY...

The procedurally generated contract flavour text sounds like someone having a stroke. Either replace it with simple boiler plate text for each template or get rid of it altogether. As it stands, it's like having a spam email at the top of each contract. It isn't useful, it isn't funny, it breaks immersion (again) and it continually reminds me of the random and arbitrary nature of the contract. How can I get excited about accepting a mission when the person giving it to me is clearly crazy?

Well, tastes do differ. I think they are funny, although a little too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the OP. I do find some of the "test this part at x height" contracts fun, but having to haul a first stage engine up to orbit and THEN test it is ridiculous, not to mention that the contracts look like they were spoken from someone who just huffed three bags of glue. Science is almost meaningless, as you can finish the tech tree without ever leaving Kerbin's influence.

Another thing, cash is practically useless as well. After your first 1-2 contracts, it becomes sandbox with science. Crashing a craft has no negative impact because of the "revert flight" button, and negates the point of career mode all together. This is the first "fun" update I've seen in quite a while, but I'm still really let down by it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't even used revert button in Career mode. Had a few accidents but nothing has set me back. Think I've got about 2 mil by now and I've only just landed Kerbals on the mun...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this