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Torquemadus

LFB test flight: Is this an exploit?

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Today, I examined a potential exploit in engine test contracts. I previously noticed that you can modify the staging sequence in flight. This allows me to "activate" an already activated engine to complete engine test contracts.

I play on custom difficulty with contract rewards for science, rep and funds set at 30% (compared to 60% for Hard difficulty). At these settings, it can be difficult to earn money from test flights, as the rocket I build to perform the test could easily end up costing more than I get back in rewards.

I got a contract to test the LFB in flight above Kerbin. I use the LFB itself to perform the launch.

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I edit the launch sequence in flight. This allows me to "activate" the LFB, even though I have already used it to get there.

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I then recover the LFB after splashdown close to the KSC, refunding most of the cost of the LFB. I help myself to a large contract reward for an easy flight. Ten percent of the funds received are spent on the Outsourced R&D strategy.

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I'm not sure whether "activating" the LFB if flight in this way is an exploit or not. The point I'm trying to make is that this kind of flight is possible. When I first tried out the contracts system, I assumed what most players assume and built an elaborate lifting vehicle to fly the required engine to the required altitude and speed, or orbit, or whatever, and then activated the engine to complete the contract. Now, I can use the engine to get there, and then activate it again under the required conditions. This has a huge impact on the usefulness of engine test contracts on harder difficulties.

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Nothing wrong with that in my eyes. I do it all the time, otherwise I'd be trying to build rockets with stages to fit precisely into the test requirements. I don't have a calculator or that kind of patience :wink:

This is KSP! Slap it together and see if it works! :D

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This is KSP! Slap it together and see if it works! :D

The reason I put this one out there is because this is the only way to make engine tests pay on high difficulty settings. If this isn't an exploit then fair play. :)

I wanted to see what the community thought about this, since a lot of players might not think that this kind of flight is possible.

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The wording of the contracts in that case coincide with the in-game behavior, so I would say it is a intended behavior. It might not match the original coder intentions or common sense, but that doesn't count for this kind of discussions :D

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You used the engine under the required conditions

The only problem here is that you had to do it in a kind of round-about way. IMO the game should be changed to consider any engine that's on as being tested

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You used the engine under the required conditions

The only problem here is that you had to do it in a kind of round-about way. IMO the game should be changed to consider any engine that's on as being tested

Yes, you can also test engines and right click and press run test. This does not work for single use items: solids, decoplers and parachutes.

Staging is however better if you have an narrow window for the test,

I had an contract to test an 1x2 landed on Mun, pretty fun, launched as SSTO, docked it with one of my nuclear tugs who takes it to Mun and refuels it, it lands do the test fly back and land at KSC.

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You don't even need to restage in most cases, just right click the part to test and use the "run test" option.

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In my opinion at 30% rewards everything possible is allowed :)

Edited by Xaver

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Considering there are numerous other ways to activate the engine instead of staging (action groups, right click menu), no, restaging so you can use the engine itself isn't cheating.

Unless your personal restrictions make it so. It might seem a bit 'unrealistic' to use a part like it's not experimental when it is, just because the game won't let it blow up in your face.

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You used the engine under the required conditions

The only problem here is that you had to do it in a kind of round-about way. IMO the game should be changed to consider any engine that's on as being tested

Well, technically the kind of contracts that we have in game are ignition tests. What you are suggesting are working stress tests, that aren't the same thing ... They most likely deserve to be in game, though ;)

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Or set the engine up to start as an action group. Key the action group to use the engine, and stage it to run the test.

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That isn't an exploit, that's giving yourself a fair shot if you don't have the reflexes of Sonic the Hedgehog. Parachute test contracts! I hate you all! :)

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I'd call it a bit of an exploit, but since you can get such ridiculous returns on any atmospheric engine test anyways (slap other rocket onto rocket to be tested*, reach appropriate height, trigger, pop chutes and recover everything but fuel), it's not one I overly care about.

*For extra efficiency, if an engine is the last one to be tested on that flight, I drain its fuel almost completely dry.

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I usually have an action group toggle the engine. When the rocket is launched, you just use the action group instead of the staging sequence, then turn the engine off and stage later

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That isn't an exploit, that's giving yourself a fair shot if you don't have the reflexes of Sonic the Hedgehog. Parachute test contracts! I hate you all! :)

I never take the parachute contacts. The only way I'd ever hit those test windows is to send them up on a plane. Even comeing in shalow from orbit a standard deorbit will often still be going too fast till its below the altitude floor for the test. My rule of thumb, I'll test anything on the ground or under whatever orbital conditions they want. if the test conditions are one that can be reached on the way to or from orbit I'll bring their part along for testing. If it does not match those guidlines go call the airforce as their test is inappropriate for a rocket program :P well either that or pay a premium for it not the chumpchange they offer.

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Well, my take on the chute contracts is simple: if the terminal speed at the contract heights is between the speed limits of the contract, I'll take it if I have something else to test. Otherwise , no dice ;)

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Well, my take on the chute contracts is simple: if the terminal speed at the contract heights is between the speed limits of the contract, I'll take it if I have something else to test. Otherwise , no dice ;)

You guys realize the parachute doesn't necessarily need to survive to fulfill the contract, it just has to be staged at the appropriate altitude/speed range?

You can use different parachutes to return the rocket safely, but you are perfectly able to stage parachutes while going upwards (or downwards, but that also has its risks)

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You guys realize the parachute doesn't necessarily need to survive to fulfill the contract, it just has to be staged at the appropriate altitude/speed range?

You can use different parachutes to return the rocket safely, but you are perfectly able to stage parachutes while going upwards (or downwards, but that also has its risks)

Yeah, but it is a PITA to set things up and the rewards for chute contracts are normally not that hot. I don't do them solely because they can be hard, but because they are most of the times not worth the hassle IMHO.

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Well, technically the kind of contracts that we have in game are ignition tests. What you are suggesting are working stress tests, that aren't the same thing ... They most likely deserve to be in game, though ;)

I think it is an awesome idea! Two new contract types:

Ignition test: ignite the engine in certain conditions

Max burn time test: burn the engine for 50/110/150 seconds in certain conditions

Hm, I've just had a thought: why not to add Max burn time parameter to all engines?

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You don't even need to restage in most cases, just right click the part to test and use the "run test" option.
Not all engines have that option, like the LV-909

It is actually dependent on the contract. A specific engine can get either through-stage or run-test as options.

I think it's a legit way of completing contracts.

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Well, more of an exploit is the usage of stationary landers on Mun and Minmus and maybe an orbiting spacecraft around Kerbin to repeat all those: 'plant flag on Mun' and 'plant flag on Minmus' and 'send Science Data from Minmus' and 'send Science Data from space around Kerbin' missions. Considering the costs of parts and your very limited resources on a very hard setting: seems legit.

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