B-STRK Posted April 11, 2021 Share Posted April 11, 2021 (edited) Chapter One - The Setup (back in the saddle, let's see if I can stay on) Ever since 0.23.5 and phresh mems enticed me to check out KSP back in 2014, I've dreamed of doing what a lot if not nearly all of everyone who plays KSP has done, fulfilling a standard rite of passage: a mission to Duna. (I mean, the Mun or Minmus usually is the first rite of passage, but I did that in the demo before punching in my credit card details, and maybe just like in real life, it may be nice to go back to the Mun to stay, but it is such a limited horizon). I mean, it has to be a mission-MISSION. Like as in set the mission goals, design the architecture, engineer the crafts, yeet them into deep black and run with it. You know, like everyone else has done here, whether as part of a challenge, replicating one of the NASA DRMs, Zubrin's minimalist Direct or go full BSG, The Martian, one or the other. And having to watch the lot of you do all that, forum posts, Reddit posts, YouTube videos, seeing your blueprints and screenshots and gifs, leaves me with an itch that needs scratching. Duna is the usual milestone, again Mars analogue, but also because of what Duna is standing for in that rite of passage: going beyond Minmus orbit. Going beyond Kerbin. After over six years of playing the game. That isn't a bad thing at all--many players are content to just stick around in the Kerbin system, and can make an adventure, a life of it. But I'm a horizon kind of person. I'm the kid that stands on the beach, and wonders what lies beyond the place where the sea meets the sky. I've learned how to sail, but I've never really left the harbor. Never really put out into open ocean. Yeah, I've been around the block a couple of times. I never really did for over six years now, because every time I get something on the drawing board, something usually comes up. Usually a major update bump--goodbye mods compatibilty. Or I get sidetracked by a challenge (namely Apollo and Space Shuttle) which does not fit what I had in mind. Memory limitations in my older laptops. And especially real life. When I purchased KSP, I was early into law school. By the time I was doing the Shuttle Challenge, I was supposed to be studying for the bar exams, in a country where that is less a licensure exam, and more a hazing ritual. Either way, real life, game ennui, and the big resets of version updates is the air resistance to the booster launch of my KSP campaigns. It could also happen here and now, for all I know. But last year back in 1.9.x when the pandemic struck, I finally decided to run with it and stick with it. Finally get a Duna itch-scratcher running. Finally leave safe waters for the open ocean. (To save me the workload, I just sent everything back to square one--parts, progress, narratives, approaching KSP with a fresh mind and a clean slate, more or less.) Which I did, until real life caught up again mid-year, and I left things in suspension again. But the itch is still there. It's still there nagging at me and I wanna scratch it bad. So picking things up again, I wanted to run it, run past Minmus in a way where I felt like I had something to do, but it was still achievable without giving me a headache to create my own version of an interplanetary exploration program: First, I run it in Career mode, albeit a slightly easier one: I set the Funds rewards to 125% just so I could get to upgrading the facilities sooner (and could afford the bigger rockets earlier on), plus Stage Recovery so I wasn't burning as much Funds just getting to orbit. That way, the Science and Funds were sort of a limiter, but also a score. Mod it till I break. Second, it is quite modded, and I'll admit that there are three mods I felt made the game WAY easier going forward, and which, if not OP, at least one or two could still be tweaked so as not to grease the path forward: The LGG-resurrected Retrofuture, which I got solely (so far) for the ultra-low profile LFO engines, something like aerospike pancakes. They are unbalanced because they occur early in the tech tree compared to stock engines in the same class, they have mucho excellente atmo and vac ISP and power compared to stock engines in the same class, and I think they are relatively cheap for what they do. I don't know if LGG made a balance pass since the 1.9 compatibles. Getting the Dmagic and Interkosmos science mods, without any tech tree-adjusting mods. So same tech tree, but even more science squeezable per planet, biome, and situation. Add to that science gains from SCANSat and repeat missions using the Tarsier telescope mod, and at some point I do not have to worry about the tech tree ever again after the Mun, even without having to depend on pumping Science out of Mobile Labs. I also feel so dirty doing so. Finally, the Bon Voyage mod. This is the one mod that takes rovers to the OP level, more OP than any other automation or abstraction mod, maybe even more than MJ, because it makes biome science farming not only practical, but game-breakingly easy. No need to make a rocket Mun or Minmus biome hopper, when all that's needed is to land a rover packed with a scientist and science parts, find your biomes, and let the autopilot take them there. Practical also because it allows me to do other things while waiting for the rover to get there, streamlining the task of running a whole space program. Someone please bribe Squad to make it stock. Third, it wasn't just getting to Duna, but setting up a near-Kerbin space architecture that supports the entire mission, from running the business to afford the trip, to training the Kerbals so we're not landing idiots in tin cans, so on and so forth. Duna is just simply a part of the program, its crowning jewel (for now), but not its raison d'etre. Duna is a demonstration that the system can do it, within its constraints and logic. Maximum joy from minimum work. The complete opposite of a legal career. Fourth, I have a number of philosophies, desires, and goals for this. Less Duna direct, more Galactica. "If I got it, flaunt it (go high delta-V, high capacity, big boosters if necessary, orbital and surface construction using KIS, USI Konstruction and Global Construction)." My triumvarate of Minimize Vessel Count per scene/Minimize Parts Count per vessel/Minimize Workload on the field (which means I have the usual automation suites--MJ, TCA, GT, VVC/HLA, RMM, and thank God for live-configurable action groups). Take advantage of mods to minimize parts count and work, and maximize functions. Five, as much as possible, make it look sexy. And the kraken shall lie with the bugs, and they shall beat their 1.11s into 1.9s, and a 7th-gen i7 shall lead them. Also, I can't believe there is an i9 already, I am as green with envy as that guy. One of the consequences of this is that, for the first time ever, I haven't caught up with the KSP dev number arms race, where I hit the magic reset button after a version change. Although 1.10 and 1.11 added a lot of neat stuff I would like to have, and there are a number of new mods that have me salivating, in the end, I have all the core competencies in 1.9.x plus compatible mods, and I felt like I could skip the upgrades this time (especially with a few things still wonky). So all that follows here is current to 1.9.x, stock and compatible mods c. mid-2020 alike. And so with the preamble out of the way, let's dispense with the preliminaries on the road to the deep, deep black of space. x----------------------------------------------x EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: considering my later decision to go Elcano on Duna long-winded sigh, below is a screenshot of my GameData folder for accountability purposes. Edited May 1, 2021 by B-STRK Adding mod accountability, made the tags wholly appropriate Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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