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Mephane

Less part testing, more science

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As the title says. Currently I feel flooded by the various "test this part under conditions XYZ" missions, which sometimes even make sense to do in this way (example: testing LV-1 engine in orbit = use it on a satellite), sometimes leads to initially hilarious, but eventually irritating missions. Like, the first time I sent contraption consisting of a pod between a S3 KS-25x4 and a KR-2L engine into a suborbital trajectory, with dozens of parachutes in order to recover this rather expensive test "vehicle", it was a good laugh. The fifth time sending up some big part for a 6 digit sum of money feels rather boring.

What I'd hope is that these missions are reduced in frequency, and in in addition we get scientific missions!

Examples:

  • Measure the temperature near the North Pole.
  • Find out whether Minmus has gravity.
  • Retrieve a goo sample that has been landed on the Mun.
  • Bring back home a rock from Duna.

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Well, there is currently the "Explore [bODY]" contract which involves gathering scientific data from orbit and the surface of a celestial body but I agree - I'd like these expanded and not as over-reaching. Like, "perform a seismic scan of Minmus" that would involve at least 3 seismic readings in 3 different biomes of Minmus or something. Or just scans at 3 different places, for cases where the body doesn't have biomes. So yeah, I'd like there to be some contracts that target a specific experiment and situation/biome mask.

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What I really want to see are tiered "Explore X" missions. The first tier is what we have now, then getting progressively harder until you've done all the science there is to do on that body. Further, you could have contracts unlocked by discovering easter eggs, like "Try to land a probe on the magic boulder" (did it ever come back?).

From there you can even have a story, collecting artifacts from the various bodies or whatever.

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I like your idea, but honestly I also really like parts testing. An early mission I got was to test a certain booster at 23km. It really made me stop and think because I'd never designed a rocket before that waited until it was that high up to even stage to boosters.

I think parts testing encourages interesting and unique rocket designs that normally people would never explore.

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I do really like the idea of getting a part that I haven't unlocked yet for testing purposes. I do think that these missions are too common, though.

I only completed a handful of testing parts missions until I could complete a Mun return mission, and now I doubt I'll do one again (unless I see a good opportunity to loan a part I haven't unlocked or I was planning on using that part in a similar fashion).

The best use of contracts is to get paid to do something that you were going to do anyway, and the small rewards that you get for the testing missions doesn't really cut it.

That said. New players won't be looking towards interplanetary missions after a dozen launches or so, and could really benefit from an easier and consistent influx of cash/science.

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Shouldn't all the parts testing be for parts we haven't already unlocked? If the part is availible for general use then cannot we assume it's been tested to death?

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I like the test missions better just because I don't think the science missions are developed enough. I like the parameters for test mission, the challenge makes it fun to test. The science missions need parameters added to them other than just get any science from orbit, or x science while landed on y. Give me science mission like take temperature reading from Minmus polar biome, return surface sample from Mun farside crater, or goo study from Kerbin orbit altitude 83000- 103000 meters. That would make science missions fun for me.

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The best use of contracts is to get paid to do something that you were going to do anyway, and the small rewards that you get for the testing missions doesn't really cut it.

I'm not so sure about that. I played that way, and my friend played abusing part contracts for science. My third mission was a successful Mun return. By that time he'd collected ten times the science I had and blown past me on the tech tree.

I'm sure I had more fun than he did, but the part contracts are highly exploitable for ridiculous science grinding. He had some contracts giving him literally hundreds of science without needing to leave the pad. The one that stands out was something like 239 science for testing the engine cluster landed at Kerbin.

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Shouldn't all the parts testing be for parts we haven't already unlocked? If the part is availible for general use then cannot we assume it's been tested to death?

On Kerbin?

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I'm not so sure about that. I played that way, and my friend played abusing part contracts for science. My third mission was a successful Mun return. By that time he'd collected ten times the science I had and blown past me on the tech tree.

I'm sure I had more fun than he did, but the part contracts are highly exploitable for ridiculous science grinding. He had some contracts giving him literally hundreds of science without needing to leave the pad. The one that stands out was something like 239 science for testing the engine cluster landed at Kerbin.

That seems like it needs to be toned down quite a bit, IMO. That's pretty ridiculous and defeats the purpose of science-specific parts altogether.

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Like, "perform a seismic scan of Minmus" that would involve at least 3 seismic readings in 3 different biomes of Minmus or something.

That would actually give rovers a practical purpose! Can't agree more with this and the opening post. We need more varied and interesting contracts!

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I agree with the OP, it would be nice to have some science missions. I`d like tech missions too

(objectives) in brackets

build a rover and (drive) it on (Eve) at (8m/s) for (60 seconds)

build a plane and (fly 5km-7km) it on (Laythe) at (100m/s) for (2 minutes)

build a (station) costing (300,000) (in orbit) around (Kerbin)

build a (base) costing (600,000) (landed) on (Minmus)

EDIT : I imagine a station or base would be definable as having no propulsion to separate them from craft.

I`d also like to have a slider that controls the science points needed for nodes. I`d make the later nodes need MUCH more science.

I`ve visited Mun and Minmus and dropped a probe at Duna and Eve and I`ve nearly finished the tech tree.

Edited by John FX

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I'm sure I had more fun than he did

In a way, you won then!

I didn't realise that you could get that much science from testing contracts. I had seen a few that gave major rewards, but they involved using solid rocket boosters on the Mun and Jet Engines on Minmus etc. I'd still much rather do what I wanted, and perform contracts where they coincided with my own plans. If a juicy part testing contract comes up, I'll probably have to think about taking it on though.

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I feel the overall lack of science missions in contracts is due in part to how the science tree can already be finished rather quickly. A dedicated science mission early in the game can easily finish half the tech tree. But for the veterans, career isn't ment to be hard. There are just to many close range biomes to finish the tech tree. Career isn't suppose to be a grind for those that know what they are doing.

Contracts add another dimension to career mode, which is making money by mainly testing parts. Think of how many parts are in the game, and how many are needed to be tested. I feel the Devs went in the money focused direction FIRST, as more contracts will be added later.

In the future there will defiantly more varied contracts, that could offer different experiences to the current test this part.

The current system leans more to a new player, rather than a vet. Testing parts is a cheap and simple way to grab cash. If you want big bucks you go for the bigger missions (IE land on the mun, explore duna etc)

Right now the game has a lot of parts, these parts make excellent content building by simply testing them. Once more gameplay mechanics are added, contracts can be added with them.

This is the great thing about contracts, in time they will grow and become more and more interesting. In the end contracts will not become LESS about testing parts, rather there will simply be more options to choose from. This will make a much more rich experience, without removing what we have now, which is a lot of varied part testing.

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I didn't realise that you could get that much science from testing contracts.

They paid so well and gave so much science that I had most of the tree unlocked without ever going beyond Kerbin orbit. I eventually deleted my first 0.24 career save because I found it quite ridiculous that most of the time I was just strapping together weird contraptions just to test the same parts again. My next save I wanted to do no part testing apart from what I could complete along the way, then those contracts started appearing again, where you put 3 parts on a capsule, hit spacebar once and go home with a few thousand extra funds and 100 science...

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Adding some more ideas to the pile.

* Launch a satellite with at least X power, and an antenna to a YYY Km circular orbit around planet/moon Z. (seriously tho, no satellite missions at ALL!?)

* Land X Kerbals on planet/moon Y and bring them all home again.

* Get at least X science from planet/moon Y.

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An early mission I got was to test a certain booster at 23km. It really made me stop and think because I'd never designed a rocket before that waited until it was that high up to even stage to boosters..

You've never done it because it's not a good idea. Contracts should encourage and teach smart play.

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I too don't care for the part testing missions - they seem to be necessary early on but then become silly and pointless very fast and yet still take up the majority of the contracts list. I mightn't feel that way if they ware made a little bit more sensible. Test firing a booster while going 400 m/s at only 10000m altitude requires you to make and fly a rocket that under no circumstances would you ever do it that way otherwise. If you're an experienced player you look at it, and its tiny payout and say "nope, declining that one. The extra expense of designing a rocket that badly is not going to make up for the payout." If you're not an experienced player then the contract just serves to trick you into bad habits and teach you how to play poorly.

Also, I think being required to test it using the staging system is a bit unfair. I don't see why it shouldn't count to set up an action group to trigger it - giving you more dynamic on the spot control over when and how you trigger it.

Contracts that depend on exact biome would be a better way to handle the early game:

- land in a mountain biome on Kerbin.

- take a surface sample from the desert.

- etc.

Another sort of early contract that would be good would be orbit-specific contracts, like:

- put a satellite into circular orbit (diff between periapsis and apoapsis less than a small tolerance window).

- put a satellite into geosync orbit (provide target periapsis and apoapsis).

These have the advantage of teaching a skill to new players that will come in handy later.

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I feel the overall lack of science missions in contracts is due in part to how the science tree can already be finished rather quickly. A dedicated science mission early in the game can easily finish half the tech tree. But for the veterans, career isn't ment to be hard. There are just to many close range biomes to finish the tech tree. .

That is a bug not a feature, If the game is unbalanced in a certain way the answer shouldn't be "well your not supposed to play it that way" Instead try to make these "science trawling" missions harder.

1) Decrease the return on science for repeated experiments, the first EVA report from the moon shouldn't be worth the same as the 15th.

2) add a mechanic to penalize "burn-off" staging.

3) add some sort of life support mechanic. Requiring a small amount of electricity for life support, and having a finite mission duration would cut down on certain unrealistic mission profiles. such as putting a kerbal in low orbit and waiting months for him to pass over every biome to do eva reports.

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