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Im sure this will be a long term project at some point but at present the worlds feel pretty empty. Many ideas I've seen for filling these places out have seemed impractical from an implementation standpoint (cities etc). I would love to see it, but for all the work and added memory I don't know what they would actually do. So Im wondering if people had ideas for simple surface features that would not only add to the gameplay but would be relatively easy to implement.

My thinking is there could be a system of science hotspots. These would be a simple series of models that could be scattered throughout the kerbol system, would be mappable, and would provide big science bonuses when sampled. Examples could include:

- Geysers/hot springs

- Surface ice

- Crystal outcroppings

- Fissures/ small volcanoes

- Pools of primordial goo

- Stromatolites

- Fossil beds

They should each be relatively rare, setting some tight demands on precision landings. They would also create the incentive to build rovers, as you could land relatively closely to a few formations and then drive around to each. Some could be of purely scientific value (fossil formations and the like) and others could be indicators for resource deposits once ISRU becomes implemented (Ice, geysers, and mineral formations). They could also be integrated with the contract system after being mapped, replacing some of the the random "conduct science at x" contracts.

I feel like adding even bacterial life outside Kerbin could be controversial, but I personally think it fits the spirit and that fine line between serious science and whimsical fun that makes KSP great. After all, finding life on other planets is a huge part of what space exploration is about. It would be really fun challenge to discover the 6 or 8 locations in the game where life could be found.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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A little more nuance added: This considers things with a major extractable resource (H20) and a minor extractable resource (catalyst) that can be processed together to make LF/O. Each location would be quite small, on the order of a KSC building, and would require only a few models to be made and then scattered about the system. When mapped from space their locations would light up, but readings would require retrieval to Kerbin or analysis by high-level Scientist in a Science Lab to discern what type of formation it is. This way early on players can practice precision landings and just find out what's there, and later on they can plan landing sites more carefully to daisy-chain complex missions. It could also be possible that site analysis would depend upon the upgrade level of the R+D building.

Mun:

- 4 Surface Ice Formations at Polar Lowlands > +50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 2 Locations of Interesting Rocks at Canyons > +25% to science

Minmus:

- 2 Mineral Deposits on Slopes around Lesser Flats > +50 to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 1 Location of Interesting Rocks at highest point > +25% to science

Asteroids:

- 20% chance of Surface Ice Formations > +50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 10% chance of Interesting Rocks > +25% to science

- 2% of Very Interesting Rocks > +100% to science

Duna:

- 6 Surface Ice Formations at poles > +50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 3 Geysers/Hot Springs on Highland Peaks > +100% to science and location for H20 Extraction

- 1 Fossil Bed in Crater Basin > +300% to science.

Ike:

- 1 Mineral Deposit > +50 to science and location for Catalyst extraction

Eve:

- 5 Fissures/Volcanoes at Peaks > +200% to science

- 6 Geysers/Hotsprings at Lowlands > +100% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 3 Mineral Deposit at Impact Disjecta > +50 to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 2 Fossil Beds at Impact Disjecta > +300% to science

Gilly:

- 1 Location of Very Interesting Rocks >+100% to science

Moho:

- 2 Mineral Deposits at Northern Sinkhole Ridge > +50 to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 1 Location of Very Interesting Rocks at Northern Sinkhole Ridge > +100 to science

- 3 Fissures/Volcanoes at Central Lowlands > +200% to science

- 2 Interesting Rocks at Canyon > +25 to science

Dres:

- 4 Surface Ice Formations at Poles > +50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 3 Locations if Interesting Rocks at Impact Craters > +25% to science

- 2 Locations of Very Interesting Rocks at Impact Disjecta > +100 to science

Laythe:

- 2 Geysers/Hotsprings at Cresent Bay > +100 to science and location for H20 extraction

- 1 Mineral Deposit at Cresent Bay > +50% to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 5 Stromatalites at Shores > +300% to science

- 1 Primordial Goo Pond > + 500 to science

Vall:

- 2 Cryovolcanoes at Highlands > +200 to science and location for H20 extraction

- 4 Surface Ice Formations at Poles > +50 to science and location for H20 extraction

- 2 Locations of Very Interesting Rocks at Midlands > +100 to science

Tylo:

- 3 Surface Ice formations at Major Craters >+50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 2 Fossil Beds at Major Craters > +300% to science

- 1 Locations of Very Interesting Rocks at Mara > +100% to science

- 1 Mineral Deposit at Mara > +50% to science and location for Catalyst extraction

Pol:

- 2 Mineral Deposit at Lowlands > +50% to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 1 Fissure/Volcano at Highlands > +200% to science

Bop:

- 1 Location of Very Interesting Rocks at Lowest Point > 100% to science

- 1 Spooky Object at Highest Point > +500% to science

Eeloo:

- 3 Cryovolcanoes at Ice Canyons > +200 to science and location for H20 extraction

- 4 Surface Ice Formations at Glaciers > +50% to science and location for H20 extraction

- 1 Mineral Deposit at Craters > +50% to science and location for Catalyst extraction

- 3 Very Interesting Rocks at Craters > +100% to science

I feel like there's an opportunity here not just for scenery but a new layer of gameplay. The challenge becomes not just 'How do I land on Duna.' but 'How do I bring catalyst down from Ike to a geyser on a mountain above Duna's atmosphere.' and 'How do I make a VTOL that can collect both science and fuel on Laythe'.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Just an entire ground clutter system would be amazing.

It could be generated via a seeded value; so it can remain identical to each game. Of course, it could just be some sort of "clutter mask" that gets applied to the surface of the planet. And when you get within <arbatrary distance> they appear.

Each distinct type of clutter could have its own science pool for that biome. i.e. Trees in temperate biomes share a science pool. Rocks in a temperate biome share a different pool.

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This sounds rly great so far. I would definetly like to see some ice on asteroids (and, fingers crossed, comets).

I would like to see more biomes that are rly difficult to land on, areas that are scattered with big rocks or larger caves for example.

I also think that icebergs on kerbin could be rly cool (they don't need to move to be cool imo). I don't know if it's realistic to put shoes on eve or laythe (not made of ice probably :P ), but I guess that would be interesting.

How about areas that look like an avalanche happened there? On celestials without an atmosphere, but with tectonic/vulcanic activity those places should remain on the surface for a long time. Realisticaly (at least from my point of view) those places could exist on slopes on the mun, tylo, moho and dres, maybe even vall (cryo vulcanism?)

vegetation on kerbin would be great, nothing fancy though and most certainly nothing performance heavy near the KSC. A couple of bushes and and a biome specific tree once in a while would be nice.

How about termite hills?

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It would be great. And they should be procedurally generated so that player could make real exploration to find them. I know that SQUAD hates random things and therefore I do not suggest that (actually true randomness is quite hard to achieve with deterministic computer). But you can easily use a pseudo random generator which gets a seed value and produces always same series of "random" numbers. Different seed produces different series of numbers. There could be some default stock seed, so that those who want to get coordinates from forums, compare their results or get "official achievements" would have a standard world. But there should also be an option to change the seed it you want to start from unknown and explore by yourself. Seed could be for example a 32 bit number so that you can have 4 billion different worlds.

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Oh I forgot Kerbin:

- 2 Fissures/Volcano on tall Mountains > 200% to science

- 3 Geysers/Hotsprings in Tundra and 1 at IKSC > +100% to science and location for H20 Extraction

- 5 Surface Ice Formations at Poles > +100% to science and location for H20 Extraction

- 6 Locations of Interesting Rocks at Highlands, Deserts, and Badlands > +25% to science

- 2 Stromatalite Formations at Shores > +300% to science

- 1 Fossil Bed in Desert > +300% to science

- 2 Locations of Very Interesting Rocks at Badlands and Crater Peak > +100 to science

- 2 Mineral Formations at IKSC and Crater Peak > +50 to science and location for Catalyst extraction

This seems like a lot but with Kerbin's already very low science multiplier I don't think it's crazy. I also thought having both resources extractable at the Inland Kerbal Space Center could make it a cool location for testing drilling setups and using it as an alternate landing site and refuel depot for SSTO's.

In general I dont know if it would even be necessary to procedurally lay surface features in this vein. You could make models with a couple different textures for different types of rocks, ice, volcanoes etc and plonk them down individually. I like the idea that they are relatively rare so that it takes some real precision to visit them. I also like the idea of being able to sample ground scatter. "Take Core Sample" could be an ability scientists get at level 4 or so yielding an additional surface sample for that biome.

Oh and were talking about different ways of implementing ISRU here a while back:

http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/97174-Squad-s-accounced-there-will-be-Resources-in-Beta-how-should-they-go-about-it?p=1568954#post1568954

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Yeah I love the idea of rivers and waterfalls and tidepools... I guess like cities I just dont know how hard that would be to model on a large scale. Im mainly thinking high bang-for-buck additions that really evolve the gameplay and make this a real space exploration game rather than putting a lot of modeling time into pretty set pieces. Like the easter eggs, you kind of get there and say 'neet!' and thats it, there's no particular gameplay reason to visit them or build a base there.

Edited by Pthigrivi
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