CaptainKipard

A more intuitive tech tree

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Just how important is openness to all this anyway? I mean if the tech tree went the other way and was just a single linear path with all tech organized into a single node per tier how would the gameplay suffer? you'd never get a dead end buying the wrong thing, balancing and rebalancing would be trivial, and adding crazy engine/solar panel mod combo parts would be very simple.

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I think 'openness', intuitiveness and game balance are the main axis, with the ideal being a balance of each.

- Absolute 'openness' is basically having each part buy-able in no order

- total intuitiveness would be better but can allow combination which, although intuitive(~realistic), isn't balanced to the game.

- And game balance can make lead to an obtuse result by making bad choice impossible. I would say it is were is the current tech-tree.

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Many people have intuitions that are not correct, fwiw. Knowing something about real life informs my intuition, and as a result when I see parts appearing late in the tree that I know are coincident with far earlier parts, I might understand there is a "game" reason for the location, but it's not at all intuitive. I said it way up the thread, but almost everything in this tree was in play in RL before 1965 (effectively coincident, not a real progression).

I suppose this puts me in the camp of not having a starting node per se, and having a massively parallel tree structure, letting the player decide. I would add that if this is not about replacing the stock tree, anyone modding their game likely doesn't need total noob spoon-feeding.

Edited by tater

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Please keep the discussion about the topic rather than getting into fights with each other.

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Many people have intuitions that are not correct, fwiw. Knowing something about real life informs my intuition, and as a result when I see parts appearing late in the tree that I know are coincident with far earlier parts, I might understand there is a "game" reason for the location, but it's not at all intuitive. I said it way up the thread, but almost everything in this tree was in play in RL before 1965 (effectively coincident, not a real progression).

I suppose this puts me in the camp of not having a starting node per se, and having a massively parallel tree structure, letting the player decide. I would add that if this is not about replacing the stock tree, anyone modding their game likely doesn't need total noob spoon-feeding.

so the challenge then is to find a way to organize the parts that is intuitive and doesn't disrupt game ballance? what about organizing the nodes based on contracts that the contents therein are meant to fulfil? so for example if you want to to fulfill space station contracts the space station node and its path of dependencies that you follow to reach it would unlock parts like rcs, docking, hitch hiker cans, solars, etc...

One of the biggest frustrations with that current tree is that it at times doesn't equip you to handle the contracts you unlock by progressing through the tree. Organizing the nodes and parts by intended contracts instead of schools of technology could solve that while intuitively informing you of what you need for a type of mission and intuitively cueing you in on what contracts you are about to unlock by researching a node.

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I agree. I've been pretty vocal about the entire tech tree paid by science paradigm being wrong to begin with, but assuming we are stuck with this system, a profound change within the current system would be better. Meaning science as currency for tech, and e have an extant system for providing parts based upon contracts as well.

Intuitive would be missions driving technology to gain (planetary) science, not (planetary) science driving technology to permit missions.

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Tater, are you suggesting of being given the technology to accomplish a mission by the mission and receiving science-point in return to keep access to the technology or buy new one ? Or an entirely mission driven technological evolution ?

Your idea is confusing to me.

I think we can agree that the contract system is also severely unbalanced as well. with absurdly precise mission that have no sense ...etc

The paradigm that you need to unlock some technology for the express purpose of achieving some further goal, is sound when it concern world first.

But it is only a matter of rebalance/filter to have some mission appear only after you have the shown (through players action) the ability to try.

Let's remember that for example you can technically achieve a moon landing without having landing-gear.

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The problem is the system we are stuck with where science is the currency to buy tech.

I'm honestly unsure how I would set up a "buying tech" setup ideally. I think for gameplay it would need to have trade-offs, otherwise there would be only one ideal solution (sort of boring play).

I'd have a time/budget based system for starters. You'd need to gain rep at some nominal rate per year or lose budget (this sets up a "race" against the clock to show at least some progress). Research would have funds as currency, and TIME to develop the different technologies. Many would have no precursors, some would. The player might be able to reduce the dev time of a give tech via intelligently designed testing missions (unlike virtually all part testing now). Already having some tech might also reduce the dev time for some related tech (the more rocket engines you have researched might lower the dev time of any other rocket engines, later).

You'd start with some parts as a given as it does now.

You could immediately go to NERVA if you like, but the dev time might require a lot of funds, and take a couple years. The LV-30 might only take a couple months. Testing it would allow you to use it sooner, but the testing contracts would make sense, and would have meaningful time limits, and a rep (or dev time) hit if you fail. Selecting a mission (say, Explore the Mun) would give you some extra research points to spend, and some might even buy you an X% time reduction, perhaps predicated on completing other missions (contracts) that could be generated (rendezvous 2 craft in orbit, or flyby the Mun, whatever). The player would select missions, then get tech.

Dunno. The trouble is that tech is THE reward in KSP, and the more realistic way doesn't have a reward, the reward is supposed to be the mission :)

Within the current system, I think I like having all tech available, chose your own path.

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Stuck, stuck...

Without judging it, I would just like to point out that your time/budget idea seem more easily moddable than the biome-based science currency if one had to start it from zero.

Your idea certainly sound it could interest people (including me), but it is a very different dynamic, a Time/Fund-based research gameplay have less emphasis on rewarding Players for reaching & exploring hard-biome through rocket-science and more emphasis on making an economic model.

...economic model which could be achieved with science-currency through Administration-contract if not from the near absolute lack of balance and synergy we have now between Contract-R&D-Administration.

It is true that realistically we do develop stuff by throwing Time&Money at it, but it is also a fact that better technology doesn't develop until we learn from experience with older technology. Not to sound like I dislike Rocketpunk but NERVA was definitely not ready for a Moon-Landing or mature for a Mars mission in the 90s.

In result, it is really any different if to have a NERVA "as soon as possible" if you need 'other/earlier' technology to grind the money efficiently ?

[Edit] (rethinking about it, don't you think reducing interdependency in the science-currency is a way to achieve a LV-N soon, with the R&D building counting as a the fund aspect and grind as the time ?)[/Edit]

note : I know I'm putting completely aside the TIME factor here, as I think we can use different time-based mechanic than development-time to achieve similar result.

I'll stop here before getting too far away from the topic.

ps : Maybe someone could make a discussion thread about having 'reward of sort' beyond/beside the tech-tree, I'm wondering if having the NERVA late is only a problem because it feel like we finished everything.

Edited by Kegereneku
syntax correction

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Had NERVA been pushed, it might well have flown, but counterfactuals are always fraught.

I think within the framework of KSP, a combination of a few currencies (with time thrown in as another one) might be best (just brainstorming here, I have nothing concrete in mine).

So R&D would have a base time if you do nothing but elect to research it (have a finite number you are allowed to research at once, perhaps based upon facility upgrades) and spend the funds (you have a budget, plus funds you raise via commercial launches, etc). Some parts might require a precursor part or parts. Testing of that part might be a proactive way you can speed development, but the testing needs to be meaningful. There might be precursor science required, as well. Atmospheric science for parachutes or wing parts, a lander/crasher on the Mun to design lander legs, etc.

Still, you can't get around the fact that buying tech is the reward the player gets for "doing science." There really is no alternative in the sandbox world of KSP to this as a reward. If there were a "space race" or something, then "winning" would be the reward (beating the kosmonauts to Duna, etc). Sadly, all this is very interconnected---I'm also a fan of having the solar system randomized, forcing the player to actually discover things (a kind of reward, like the first time you saw Jool "in person").

Within the paradigm we have---which is not going to change---Ideally we'd have at least upgrades to parts, instead of just "parts" to work with. Instead of a specific LV-30 vs LV-45, we'd have ungimbaled and gimbaled engines. Then, with use/research, etc, we might get upgrades to those. Better Isp, or lighter weight (composite instead of steel, for example). Gimbal range could improve. For fuel tanks the wet/dry ratio could improve. Early parts could have very low heat tolerance, which might improve. THAT would be more intuitive to me. The trick would be to not spam new parts, but reuse the parts, but up the stats. Perhaps each part is given a single new stat, called "tech level modifier" (TLM)and the performance is modified by it. For engines it might be a multiplier on gimbal or mass (stock_gimbal*TLM, or mass*TLM (in this case higher tech would have smaller fractions).

Obviously a major change.

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Major change indeed.

I can't say I agree with your solution.

Still, to work on what we have now, does the following axis of improvement seem right to you ?

- Less interdependency to allow easier prioritization.

- still a minimum technology level.

- compatibility with a possible fund/time/science synergy between Administration/contract/R&D, assuming SQUAD finally balance what they started.

From this I can imagine possible combination of administration-strategy/contract which could result in the same functionally speaking to what you want, while keeping the science-currency dynamic.

For all the bad thing we/I say on Squad's unfinished feature, I am actually quite impressed by the sheer potential in customized game-experience. A rigid system like the one you suggested Tater might have worked easily, but I see less room for different gamestyle IMHO.

ps : I'm starting to wonder if we didn't have exactly the same discussion before... quite possible.

Edited by Kegereneku

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Any up for a mod overhaul of techtree based on the suggestions here?

I want to do something good, after the next update of course, but knowing the hype-train and myself, I'll most likely need supporters to keep the project alive and going.

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@Kegereneku Thanks, I checked it out and its a very nice place to start...

Trouble is, I not only want a tech tree re-done but a major career overhaul... That what I want to kickstart a related mod.

One of the main issues with the game is that indeed most parts are needed. Very few parts represent an actual progression than a previous part. Either parts are the most useful in some situation or mostly obsolete since the start...

It would be nice to have the capability to alter ones part is characteristics when unlocking another tech node. Is there a mod with this functionality?

Another major point of career that needs a overhaul is the contract system... Mostly everything should be made as a record (always active). No more freaking senseless part testing, taking up two tourist when you don't even achieved manned orbit, etc.

But few sets of 'reasonably' random contracts be generated depending on what you have available and what you've achieved yet. Best things here were be to have more generic stuff, or ones that give enough freedom and help achieve future objectives.

Have a contract to "reach moon" has a set of objectives like have moon fly-by, orbit, landing, manned and so on.... Maybe another contract after that is finished, "explore moon", to go and collect data on more biomes.

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The problem is the system we are stuck with where science is the currency to buy tech.

I'm honestly unsure how I would set up a "buying tech" setup ideally. I think for gameplay it would need to have trade-offs, otherwise there would be only one ideal solution (sort of boring play).

I'd have a time/budget based system for starters. You'd need to gain rep at some nominal rate per year or lose budget (this sets up a "race" against the clock to show at least some progress). Research would have funds as currency, and TIME to develop the different technologies. Many would have no precursors, some would. The player might be able to reduce the dev time of a give tech via intelligently designed testing missions (unlike virtually all part testing now). Already having some tech might also reduce the dev time for some related tech (the more rocket engines you have researched might lower the dev time of any other rocket engines, later).

You'd start with some parts as a given as it does now.

You could immediately go to NERVA if you like, but the dev time might require a lot of funds, and take a couple years. The LV-30 might only take a couple months. Testing it would allow you to use it sooner, but the testing contracts would make sense, and would have meaningful time limits, and a rep (or dev time) hit if you fail. Selecting a mission (say, Explore the Mun) would give you some extra research points to spend, and some might even buy you an X% time reduction, perhaps predicated on completing other missions (contracts) that could be generated (rendezvous 2 craft in orbit, or flyby the Mun, whatever). The player would select missions, then get tech.

Dunno. The trouble is that tech is THE reward in KSP, and the more realistic way doesn't have a reward, the reward is supposed to be the mission :)

Within the current system, I think I like having all tech available, chose your own path.

Unless this has changed since 0.9 and 1.0 science isn't buying tech. It's representing the development of tech overtime. It's actual RND and scientific discoveries predating them. The buying of the parts represents buying tech or licenses to use those specific parts. So on it's face the science system of unlocking tech is not unrealistic persay. It represents progress of science over time. the game basically represents the beginning of a space agency and the development of technology over time from a shadow of the real world development.

Edited by Arugela

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