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Adjust Outsourced R&D vs Patents Licensing

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As many of you may be aware, these two paths are extremely far out of balance. I believe a change by a factor of no less than 25 to 100 (less science per funds/more funds per science) would put them more in line with each other.

For example, I have right now (in the early game) a fairly standard contract that will grant 20 science and about 19,519 Kerbal money-whatever-they-ares. This is the most science I have on any contract and by far the highest ratio of science to monetary payout. Let's consider the following:

Outsourced R&D: If I were to exchange 19,519 funds for science at the going rate of 34.291:1, I would get +569.2 science.

Patents Licensing: If I were to exchange 20 science for funds at the going rate of 1:8.1, I would get 162 funds.

Now let's see what we would get if we got 100x the funds for the science, or 1/100th of the science for the funds:

Outsourced R&D: If I were to exchange 19,519 funds for science at the new rate of 3429.1:1, I would get +5.69 science.

Patents Licensing: If I were to exchange 20 science for funds at the new rate of 1:810, I would get 16,200 funds.

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Patents Licensing is a very underpowered strategy, but your suggestions for Outsourced R&D are *DRASTICALLY* out of wack. Just using your own example, almost 20k funds is a HUGE amount of money to give up for less than 6 Science. The current strategy is actually close to reasonably balanced- it shouldn't be adjusted by much more than 50% down (250 Science for 20,000 funds is a fair deal.)



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On Hard mode, with Outsourced R&D, I don't launch science items after the initial orbiting to get contracts going and a bit of cash stockpiled. It's not worth the energy.

A 20k contract with 20% Outsourced R&D nets roughly 133 science. That's easily enough to clean out the low end of the tech tree. Resetting contracts until you get a few you can run in low orbit and land attached to your mini-pod gets you most of your cash back except the lifter, which usually runs from 3-15k depending on weight, at least early on. Slap in a 'science from Kerbin orbit' and 'Rescue Imagoner Kermin' throws in the rest of what you need to pop out to tier 4/5.

The contracts get more valuable there, and you can clean up the tree pretty quickly.

Assuming I'm running those 20k contracts on Tier 5 items (Landing gear seems to come up a lot), which are 90 science to open, ratios work out looking like the following at 20%:

100:1 ( 4000:40) - This seems alright, until you look at a recent contract I had for 100k of testing some large engine pack in orbit at 100k (heavy as heck to lift a ground engine up) : 400 science. That seems reasonable for the end of the tree though.

At 50:1 (4000:80) - This would roughly match what the item's tier is. Once again, I'd have no reason to bother deploying science items at all. Contracts would be the way to go, just be a little selective.

At 225:1 (4000: 18) - This would roughly rate the contract cost equivalent to the tier of science the part comes from. At 100% funds into the contract, I could open the tier the item was on, roughly. I'd still want to bring along some of my own science to supplement the run, unless I could stick 3/4 experiments onto the ship already.

It all depends on how the balance is desired. If the goal is to force us to do our own science with gear, then we need to bring that ratio down, WAY down. Almost 500:1 levels. If the idea is that we can easily split between the two ideas of running our own science or doing contracts instead, the 225:1 ratio is reasonable. If it's to be able to avoid running your own science landers completely, 100:1 is a nice round number and gives decent progression. It all depends on Squad's vision for what they want us to do.

I can tell you that I hope they lean away from forcing us to go orbit 7 planets with 4,000 experiments grinding away to be able to open the end of the tree though.

This does, on the flipside, allow a new player to sacrifice their science to keep a badly ran space agency afloat if the ratios remain anywhere near equivalent. That's something that should be considered as well. When a can of goo, a soil sample, and a MatBay over in the badlands can launch your next rocket, there's an unbalancing there too.

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I agree that Outsourced R&D is *way* out of balance for just about any scenario. At it's current rate, just the advance for Orbit Kerbin gives 98 science, and completing it gives 419. That's way more than you can get from orbiting all the early science parts. A 500:1 ratio would bring this more in line with what I'd expect it to do, a substantial increase in science at a substantial cost in funds. I don't think it should be set up so that cash heavy contracts are ever better for gathering science than science focused ones.

Patent licensing should be altered as well to more reasonable levels. 1:300 seems pretty reasonable.

I'm going to be avoiding them both until they're a bit more sane.

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  • 1 month later...


I was just thinking of posting something about this. I agree with you, and I also think the exchange between the 3 KSP commodities (money, rep, science) should be the same in each direction (science->funds, funds->science, etc)

I'm not sure exactly how to read the file Strategies.cfg, but it seems to indicate that the starting exchange of science and funds is:

  • Patent licensing: 1 science yields 8 funds
  • outsourced r&d: 36 funds yields 1 science

Assuming these are applied with an early-game limit of 25%, then if a contract gives 37,000 funds and 150 science:

  • under the patent licensing, it will give 112.5 (-37.5) science and 37,300 (+300) funds.
  • under the outsourced r&d, it will give 407 (+257) science and 27750 (-9250) funds.

Not having these exchange rates the same in each direction stunts the ability to produce funds from science.

If an average missions followed about that ratio of 37000 funds to 150 science, then a better exchange is about 247 funds per science, and I don't see why it shouldn't be the same exchange each way. Then for that same mission:

  • under the patent licensing, it will give 112.5 (-37.5) science and 46,262.5 (+9262.5) funds.
  • under the outsourced r&d, it will give 187.4 (+37.4) science and 27,750 (-9250) funds.

In reality, I think a lot of missions are even more extreme than that (see this), with something more like a 1:2000 science to funds ratio.

Another thing, I think missions shouldn't have such extreme variation in terms of science, reputation, and cash. Like rescuing kerbals gives reputation, satellites gives cash, etc. It is good to have variation, but if there is less, than it will be less likely there is some loophole to allow you to progress quickly.

Maybe instead of having hard-coded conversions in the Strategies.cfg file, the game should do a calculation looking at the difficulty settings and contracts config file (and any addons) to determine reasonable exchange rates and starting penalties. That way you can know that the choices you make about these strategies are always 'fair', and only depend on what is useful to you for what commodity you need more or less of.

Edited by mdg583
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I found that my science and reputation were outpacing my funds, so I invested a small amount of funds to buy the tier two Administration Building. I run the Patents Licensing and Fundraising Campaign strategies at 10% each. I have high hopes that in the very distant future, these strategies will eventually earn back the funds I spent on upgrading the Administration Building! :confused:

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