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[1.1] RLA Stockalike 13.4 [25 Apr]


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Got a question. Just had a nice trip to Duna (first one ever actually) and got back with a bunch of science. I researched the Ion node (forget what it is called) and went to use the ArcJet on a ship. However, hovering over it showed that it had a max EC/s of something like 100. Is that correct? I didn't actually have time to test it (and certainly not in space) so maybe I'm missing something (or a mod I have is conflicting).

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Howdy,

This is a nice update to your excellent parts. I use your rcs on everything.

I was debugging some other mods (I was getting nulls) and I noticed in the log there was an error in your Agents.cfg.

I looked to fix it and it seems like it needed a comma.

standing = Probodobodyne Inc 0.2

should be (with a comma)

standing = Probodobodyne Inc, 0.2

This got rid of the error for me.

BTW I am still using 10.2 - didnt try 10.3 yet, but I did check the agents.cfg and it still has the typo.

Thank you for the new parts and the updates.

Edited by shooty
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The MPR-1 is pretty bad right now (useless even), and that's in the same "tier" as the MPR-5 used to be. When I do another update and change the MPR-1 that would probably be pretty good, albeit at a lower thrust.
Actually I don't mind the low Isp and I'd certainly want it to keep its thrust the problem with the MPR-1 is its hard to find a place to put it to point it in the right direction as a thruster without it looking clipped through and ugly or like its supporting the weight of the rocket above it with its narrow body if mounted inline. What I'd actually want is either a 90 degree angled version so I can use it as a radial engine or some other attractive way to mount it.
Since they both use Monopropellant I considered placing them a bit earlier, as they don't need to be in the same node as the Xenon tanks to function, unlike the Ions. As you said though, there isn't much in the way of power generation so I decided against it.
If you put them in the advanced electricity node they would at least come with that bare minimum to make them useable if the player is smart about what they are doing (E.I. use more than two tracking panels arranged in sail boat style instead of flower style to maximize the most efficient angles for tracking the sun, include a sizable battery buffer that can meet your needs for a minute or two, and play with the thrust limiter tweakable if necessary, and thats not including options other mods give like Near Futures capacitors which really see no love between when you unlock solar panels and until you start unlocking the power hungry electric engines) I also suggest the advanced electricity node because every mod and their dog dumps their tiny bits in the precision engineering node so its getting a bit crowded ;n_n. Is there a possibility you might include new power generating parts in future updates?
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Fixed (kind of) all the issues mentioned, thanks guys. Also increased the amount of Xenon in the Xenon tank to better match its size.

I think I've found a bug, got contract to test Bi-Modal Resistojet landed at kerbin (real challenge lol) and while all the circumstances are met, staging does not complete it, there is no "run test" button at all. I also couldn't get this thruster to actually work, it says "XenonGas deprived" with two tanks almost in its nozzle.

That's not a bug, that's due to the "resourceFlowMode = STACK_PRIORITY_SEARCH" definition in the engine config, it's the same with all the MP engines as well. MonoPropellant and XenonGas use STAGE_PRIORITY_FLOW, and that can cause a little bit of weirdness with draining from tanks. Unfortunately STACK_PRIORITY_SEARCH doesn't play well with radial tanks, and you can't remedy this with a fuel line because you can't attach them to the radial tanks. So it's a choice between two non-ideal options. As a workaround just use a stackable tank.

Got a question. Just had a nice trip to Duna (first one ever actually) and got back with a bunch of science. I researched the Ion node (forget what it is called) and went to use the ArcJet on a ship. However, hovering over it showed that it had a max EC/s of something like 100. Is that correct? I didn't actually have time to test it (and certainly not in space) so maybe I'm missing something (or a mod I have is conflicting).

It turns out that having sea-level ISP in the configs caused the engines to increase the amount of EC they were using, rather than just Xenon or Monopropellant, while in atmosphere. My fault really, I should've checked rather than just expecting the massless resource to not increase. To fix this I just removed the sea-level definition for ISP in the config, and now the engines should display correct values in the VAB as the maximum, with the negative side effect of being efficient in atmosphere.

I was debugging some other mods (I was getting nulls) and I noticed in the log there was an error in your Agents.cfg.

I looked to fix it and it seems like it needed a comma.

standing = Probodobodyne Inc 0.2

should be (with a comma)

standing = Probodobodyne Inc, 0.2

This got rid of the error for me.

Thanks! Should be fixed in v10.4.

Actually I don't mind the low Isp and I'd certainly want it to keep its thrust the problem with the MPR-1 is its hard to find a place to put it to point it in the right direction as a thruster without it looking clipped through and ugly or like its supporting the weight of the rocket above it with its narrow body if mounted inline. What I'd actually want is either a 90 degree angled version so I can use it as a radial engine or some other attractive way to mount it.

Yeah it's a bit of an odd engine really. If I made an MPR-1R it might just end up being the linear RCS unit again though! I'll have a look into it for v11.

If you put them in the advanced electricity node they would at least come with that bare minimum to make them useable if the player is smart about what they are doing (E.I. use more than two tracking panels arranged in sail boat style instead of flower style to maximize the most efficient angles for tracking the sun, include a sizable battery buffer that can meet your needs for a minute or two, and play with the thrust limiter tweakable if necessary, and thats not including options other mods give like Near Futures capacitors which really see no love between when you unlock solar panels and until you start unlocking the power hungry electric engines) I also suggest the advanced electricity node because every mod and their dog dumps their tiny bits in the precision engineering node so its getting a bit crowded ;n_n.

The issue is that the only pre-requisite generator in the node I'm looking at is the static one. The deployable panels are in a parallel tech node and as such the player could end up not having proper power generation. I totally agree with you on people overdoing the Precision Engineering node, which is largely why I moved so many parts out of it. The stock tech tree is just really unfriendly for anything but the most generic of mod parts.

Is there a possibility you might include new power generating parts in future updates?

I'm not sure about adding parts that other mods (notably Near Future) already have lots of. I was even unsure about adding the long Xenon tank, but I didn't want people having to either bloat their part counts with stock tanks or use another mod if they wanted to pootle about with the Resistojet for extended periods of time.

Edited by hoojiwana
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It turns out that having sea-level ISP in the configs caused the engines to increase the amount of EC they were using, rather than just Xenon or Monopropellant, while in atmosphere. My fault really, I should've checked rather than just expecting the massless resource to not increase.

Happy I'm not just crazy. It was funny, I was testing out a ship with like 5 of those things. Put em all on and then was starting to add batteries and power and thought, hmm maybe I should see how much power I need. I was quite shocked by the 100+ line. I looked at some other electric engines and thought this had to be a bug or something.

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I'm not sure about adding parts that other mods (notably Near Future) already have lots of. I was even unsure about adding the long Xenon tank, but I didn't want people having to either bloat their part counts with stock tanks or use another mod if they wanted to pootle about with the Resistojet for extended periods of time.

I think what passinglurker was trying to say is, putting your electric engines early in the tree would let people experiment, even if stock options are limited. Maybe these people have parts from other mods, like for example Near Future. He wasn't asking you to add those parts yourself.

Also, I'd like to add - it's not a bad thing per se to give players a part they have trouble supplying with power with current technology. It only is a problem if there is no way for the player to see a way out. But if the player can say "holy heck, how can I possibly fuel this" and then look at their tech tree and see that there's a node with much better solar panels than they already have, then that's fair game. They then know that if they want to use that part with more comfort, they should research that node then. It gives the player a choice to make, which is always good.

That said, I think the position in the tech tree should also be informed by the larger ecosystem. It makes no sense if you put the engine at a place in the tree where it is significantly overpowered (too early) or underpowered (too late) compared to the really popular part packs that most players who are into modded KSP will by almost guaranteed to have. Conveniently though, you don't really need to check each and every one of them; usually it's enough to use the same balance reference for your own engines that other mods use for theirs. The most common references for high Isp engines are (unsurprisingly) the stock LV-N and PB-ION engines. Nowadays that the PB-ION got buffed to such ridiculous levels it's less useful as a reference point - that very, very quickly leads to electric engines with TWRs approaching those of chemical rockets - but in a broad sense the relationship these two have will let you sort things into a good place.

(I'm responsible for the balance paradigm behind Near Future's electric engines nowadays. If you want some insight in how I approached that and what performance indicators I used, drop me a PM. They only work for engines that consume Ec though, you can't balance chemical or nuclear engines that way.)

Edited by Streetwind
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It turns out that having sea-level ISP in the configs caused the engines to increase the amount of EC they were using, rather than just Xenon or Monopropellant, while in atmosphere. My fault really, I should've checked rather than just expecting the massless resource to not increase. To fix this I just removed the sea-level definition for ISP in the config, and now the engines should display correct values in the VAB as the maximum, with the negative side effect of being efficient in atmosphere.
considering stock does that too with the pb-ion and the popularity of ion gliders I don't think anyone will complain.
Yeah it's a bit of an odd engine really. If I made an MPR-1R it might just end up being the linear RCS unit again though! I'll have a look into it for v11.
what about making that frame piece hidden fairing and giving it a radial attachment node on its side instead of the bottom?
The issue is that the only pre-requisite generator in the node I'm looking at is the static one. The deployable panels are in a parallel tech node and as such the player could end up not having proper power generation. I totally agree with you on people overdoing the Precision Engineering node, which is largely why I moved so many parts out of it. The stock tech tree is just really unfriendly for anything but the most generic of mod parts.
You and I must be looking at different nodes. Ion propulsion needs both precision engineering and advanced electrics which is the node that gives you the deployable sun tracking panels and the radially attach Z-400 battery everything you need to make electric engines work. That would make advanced electrics the perfect place to put a pre-ion electric engine because there is no way to get the engine without the basic parts needed to run it and it leads right in to full ion propulsion at the next tier.
I'm not sure about adding parts that other mods (notably Near Future) already have lots of. I was even unsure about adding the long Xenon tank, but I didn't want people having to either bloat their part counts with stock tanks or use another mod if they wanted to pootle about with the Resistojet for extended periods of time.
With the exception of capacitors Near Future seems to prefer to save most of its toys for late tree and unless I'm running its own engines I don't need its massive panels. If you ask me while the world is certainly bloated with fuel tanks its a bit lacking when it comes to adding ways to generate power especially early-mid game. You go from 2/ecs with deployables which only make enough after you spam a little too suddenly 18/ecs with gigantatrons which are overkill especially if you put on two of them for symmetry unless you are spamming engines instead. No one has really made a middle ground that I have found(really you think someone would have come up with a simple 4/ecs panel a long time ago.)
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Near Future has two 6, one 9, one 10, and three 12 Ec/s ones. Or well, will have when tomorrow's rebalance drops :P But you are right, in general the whole mod leans towards the end of the tree.

Keep in mind though that pure Ec output isn't all that matters. Weight also is. The Gigantor panels are actually godawful in that regard, they are so bad you can get twice as much Ec/s per ton just by spamming panels you get earlier in the tree. They're so bad, only the RTGs are worse still. As such, that sudden jump to 18 Ec/s is less of an advance than most people think it is. Weight is a very interesting balancing factor - you could for instance put a 4 Ec/s panel in the same node the 2 Ec/s panels are in, so long as the 4 Ec/s panel has the proper doubled weight (and funds cost). Then it boils down to a simple part count saving measure and/or aesthetic choice, without being unbalanced. And it gives you the possibility to do intermediary steps in absolute output. A symmetric pair of those would take care of a stock PB-ION, for instance.

So wherever that electric engine ends up being, maybe there's room for a properly weight balanced early high(er) output RLA solar panel in the same node? :wink:

Edited by Streetwind
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what about making that frame piece hidden fairing and giving it a radial attachment node on its side instead of the bottom?

I've got some ideas that shouldn't be hard to make, and would use the existing texture as well. Don't want to out-right change the engine over to being a radial since I don't want to break peoples craft again after the changes in v10, so it'll end up being the MP version of the LV-1/LV-1R.

I'm responsible for the balance paradigm behind Near Future's electric engines nowadays. If you want some insight in how I approached that and what performance indicators I used, drop me a PM. They only work for engines that consume Ec though, you can't balance chemical or nuclear engines that way.

If you could that would be great. The electric engines, right from their first implementation last year, have always made me worry about how balanced they are. Given the changes to the PB-ION and how two of my engines are bi-modal this concerns me now more than ever.

I think what passinglurker was trying to say is, putting your electric engines early in the tree would let people experiment, even if stock options are limited. Maybe these people have parts from other mods, like for example Near Future. He wasn't asking you to add those parts yourself.

Also, I'd like to add - it's not a bad thing per se to give players a part they have trouble supplying with power with current technology. It only is a problem if there is no way for the player to see a way out. But if the player can say "holy heck, how can I possibly fuel this" and then look at their tech tree and see that there's a node with much better solar panels than they already have, then that's fair game. They then know that if they want to use that part with more comfort, they should research that node then. It gives the player a choice to make, which is always good.

That said, I think the position in the tech tree should also be informed by the larger ecosystem. It makes no sense if you put the engine at a place in the tree where it is significantly overpowered (too early) or underpowered (too late) compared to the really popular part packs that most players who are into modded KSP will by almost guaranteed to have. Conveniently though, you don't really need to check each and every one of them; usually it's enough to use the same balance reference for your own engines that other mods use for theirs. The most common references for high Isp engines are (unsurprisingly) the stock LV-N and PB-ION engines. Nowadays that the PB-ION got buffed to such ridiculous levels it's less useful as a reference point - that very, very quickly leads to electric engines with TWRs approaching those of chemical rockets - but in a broad sense the relationship these two have will let you sort things into a good place.

You and I must be looking at different nodes. Ion propulsion needs both precision engineering and advanced electrics which is the node that gives you the deployable sun tracking panels and the radially attach Z-400 battery everything you need to make electric engines work. That would make advanced electrics the perfect place to put a pre-ion electric engine because there is no way to get the engine without the basic parts needed to run it and it leads right in to full ion propulsion at the next tier.

The main thing that concerns me is the pre-requisite for having monopropellant tanks as well as sufficient power generation, and you can get to Advanced Electrics without getting any monopropellant tanks at all. As Streetwind mentions though you might be able to see where to find some of them. Given both sides of Streetwinds arguments however I'm still more inclined to leave the bi-modals in the Ion node since that's the same tier as the other high efficiency options. The Resistojet I could see being bumped down as that's less of a jump in d/v than the Arcjet for monopropellant craft, but I'm not sure about it.

You go from 2/ecs with deployables which only make enough after you spam a little too suddenly 18/ecs with gigantatrons which are overkill especially if you put on two of them for symmetry unless you are spamming engines instead. No one has really made a middle ground that I have found(really you think someone would have come up with a simple 4/ecs panel a long time ago.)

There's definitely a spot for medium panels, I might look into that.

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The main thing that concerns me is the pre-requisite for having monopropellant tanks as well as sufficient power generation, and you can get to Advanced Electrics without getting any monopropellant tanks at all. As Streetwind mentions though you might be able to see where to find some of them. Given both sides of Streetwinds arguments however I'm still more inclined to leave the bi-modals in the Ion node since that's the same tier as the other high efficiency options. The Resistojet I could see being bumped down as that's less of a jump in d/v than the Arcjet for monopropellant craft, but I'm not sure about it.
Technically there is the command pod monoprop, but that doesn't help probes but at the same time you don't get probe sized stackable monoprop until precision engineering. perhaps a small pancake style probe diameter monotank in survivability which is where the two split off? bumping down the now purely cosmetic linear rcs thruster could help give it a reason to be available that early and make a line of progression with the multi directionals available later. That wouldn't give someone who put no stock in rcs much but at least enough to toy around with the resistojet for manned and unmanned flight.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Here we go, the return of the Cutter! Overhauled the terribly optimised old model and redid the texture to suit, and it's a fair bit different in terms of stats. Should be a little more interesting to use now, let me know what you think of the balance and the drawbacks to it. Also bumped up the stats on the MPR-1 and added a radial version of it just for passinglurker. Sorry it took so long for what turned out to be just the two parts, I got hooked on watching Stargate last week, and fiddling with the Cutter FX took a little longer than I expected. If you're wondering what happened to those probe parts I mentioned before, well, wait and see!

Technically there is the command pod monoprop, but that doesn't help probes but at the same time you don't get probe sized stackable monoprop until precision engineering. perhaps a small pancake style probe diameter monotank in survivability which is where the two split off? bumping down the now purely cosmetic linear rcs thruster could help give it a reason to be available that early and make a line of progression with the multi directionals available later. That wouldn't give someone who put no stock in rcs much but at least enough to toy around with the resistojet for manned and unmanned flight.

I bumped down the MPR-1 and the Linear RCS one node in the tree, pretty much solely for use with manned pods that early on.

When I start KSP mods start to load and loading stops when I hit RLA_Stockalike parts. When I remove parts from that folder game loads fine.

I think some part of Realism Overhaul hasn't yet updated it's MM configs for Stockalike since 0.9.4, so that's probably why you're having issues.

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Nice update! Thank you for continuing this. I've been using these parts since ever.

But one thing seems odd to me. Why do you give monoprop engines ISP over 400? I shied away from them because it seems like cheating ;-)

Edit: Why not go with the low-ISP-high-TWR scheme of the stock monoprop engine? RLA engines would still make a good addition to stock by being stack mounted in various sizes - and low profile which makes them good lander engines.

Edited by DaMichel
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Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the Cutter is back but I will admit, I'm a touch disappointed. If I'm reading the cfg correctly, it's basically just an SRB that uses LFO now - throttle-locked and can only be ignited once. Completely the opposite for what a rocket engine is and just doesn't happen with real life aerospikes. Indeed, if multiple linear aerospikes are stacked side by side, it's possible to "augment steering performance with the use of individual engine throttle control", according to Wikipedia. Being a contender for the SSME wouldn't happen if real life aerospikes were like the Cutter (throttle-locked etc).

I love the work you've put into this pack but I don't think this particular decision is a good one. Please reconsider :(

EDIT: In the meantime, how can I make this rocket engine act like a rocket engine? I get the "throttleLocked" and "allowShutdown" bit, but there seems to be a lot of dependencies in the FX as well. Honestly, I might as well just not bother with it - my existing crafts that had it are useless now (model changes aside).

Edited by ObsessedWithKSP
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Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the Cutter is back but I will admit, I'm a touch disappointed. If I'm reading the cfg correctly, it's basically just an SRB that uses LFO now - throttle-locked and can only be ignited once. Completely the opposite for what a rocket engine is and just doesn't happen with real life aerospikes. Indeed, if multiple linear aerospikes are stacked side by side, it's possible to "augment steering performance with the use of individual engine throttle control", according to Wikipedia. Being a contender for the SSME wouldn't happen if real life aerospikes were like the Cutter (throttle-locked etc).

I love the work you've put into this pack but I don't think this particular decision is a good one. Please reconsider :(

EDIT: In the meantime, how can I make this rocket engine act like a rocket engine? I get the "throttleLocked" and "allowShutdown" bit, but there seems to be a lot of dependencies in the FX as well. Honestly, I might as well just not bother with it - my existing crafts that had it are useless now (model changes aside).

Well it does have gimbals and is quite a bit more efficient than a SRB.

You could just change throttle lock to false and put the min thrust to 110 or something like that.

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Is it possible to get alternate Smokescreen .cfg for exhaust expanding with reducing atmo pressure?

That's something you'd have to sort out in the Hotrockets thread, I know Stockalike needs a new config for that anyway.

But one thing seems odd to me. Why do you give monoprop engines ISP over 400? I shied away from them because it seems like cheating ;-)

Edit: Why not go with the low-ISP-high-TWR scheme of the stock monoprop engine? RLA engines would still make a good addition to stock by being stack mounted in various sizes - and low profile which makes them good lander engines.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, it's to make the engines competitive with similar LFO options. The high TWR, low ISP option just seems a bit weird to me, especially with huge engines like the Albatross and Cormorant. Given that the engines already have fairly good TWRs anything higher would make them insane for things like Mun landings. I get that in real life monopropellant engines are simpler and so tend to have better TWRs than bipropellants engines, but with things like infinite engine restarts and 100% throttle control on the bipropellant engines in KSP, I had to think up some other way of making monopropellant engines interesting to use rather than being a gimmick like the stock one seems to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the Cutter is back but I will admit, I'm a touch disappointed. If I'm reading the cfg correctly, it's basically just an SRB that uses LFO now - throttle-locked and can only be ignited once. Completely the opposite for what a rocket engine is and just doesn't happen with real life aerospikes. Indeed, if multiple linear aerospikes are stacked side by side, it's possible to "augment steering performance with the use of individual engine throttle control", according to Wikipedia. Being a contender for the SSME wouldn't happen if real life aerospikes were like the Cutter (throttle-locked etc).

I love the work you've put into this pack but I don't think this particular decision is a good one. Please reconsider :(

EDIT: In the meantime, how can I make this rocket engine act like a rocket engine? I get the "throttleLocked" and "allowShutdown" bit, but there seems to be a lot of dependencies in the FX as well. Honestly, I might as well just not bother with it - my existing crafts that had it are useless now (model changes aside).

Well it does have gimbals and is quite a bit more efficient than a SRB.

You could just change throttle lock to false and put the min thrust to 110 or something like that.

Yeah it's a little experimental. Right now it's basically only useful under roughly 10km altitude, since above that the T45/T30 come out with slightly higher ISP. Because of that low atmosphere niche, I decided to try giving it a weird downside in that it cannot be throttled or shut down. As Nori mentioned, it does have a gimbal and it's even described in the VAB tooltip, and seeing as it's an LFO engine you can use however much fuel you want with it. I'm happy to alter it to be a more normal engine if that's what people want, I'm pretty sure there's a bug with the FX and throttle limiting I need to look at anyway and I might reduce the aISP a tiny bit.

If you want to make it a normal engine yourself just change throttleLocked and allowShutdown, and set the minimum thrust to whatever you like, all the FX are currently set up to allow 0-100% throttling and engine restarts.

EDIT: In fact I've gone ahead and done it anyway, v11.1 links in the OP.

Edited by hoojiwana
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