Print Story a new nadir of nerdery
By clover kicker (Sat Feb 11, 2017 at 10:05:13 PM EST) (all tags)
So I've been (off and on) obsessed with Kerbal Space Program for the couple years or so.

As my mastery of game mechanics and orbital mechanics has grown, I've gotten fussier about my missions. I'm no longer happy to merely get a probe to wherever, I want to get there in style, via an efficient trajectory, minimal waste and orbital debris, and as much launch platform re-use as possible.

This can be very (real life) time consuming, especially using spaceplanes where you have to carefully manage your ascent and be hypervigilant during the descent and landing.

Since KSP is an enormous nerd magnet of course someone has modded in a scripting language, and of course I've started to write my own autopilot routines.

The game is good about managing the long interplanetary flight times, just use time acceleration and the virtual months tick right by. The in game time management shortcomings are nicely addressed by lightweight mods.

But Kerbal is a tremendous hog of player time. I've launched hundreds and hundreds of rockets manually, probably hundreds of spaceplanes too by now. It takes 6 or 8 minutes of player time to launch and circularize a rocket, more like 10 or 12 for a spaceplane.

So I shouldn't feel guilty about using a mod to launch my stuff, how stupid is it to feel guilty about automating something in a fucking vidya game.

But it's so nice to start an automated launch and throw in a load of laundry, come back and everything is safely in orbit. Except I don't have enough solar panels to run all the science experiments so revert the launch, edit the ship, and automate another launch while I empty the dishwasher or feed the woodstove or whatever.

Enter KoS, now that I've spent the last few weeks of evenings writing my own launch code I can automate launches with no guilt.

The best resources for KoS seem to be Youtube tutorials.

It's a generation thing I guess, this is how the young'uns want to learn/teach stuff.

But holy fuck is it ever a time wasting way to drip feed information.

And it must be a ton of fucking work to make these goddamn videos, record the audio, edit them down, when I'd be much happier with a couple dozen paragraphs and a dozen screenshots which I would think would be so much easier to produce and polish.

Youtube nerds write neater code than I do and certainly know the math a lot better but I find it amusing that my seat of the pants intuition can get the job done anyways. I don't need to log a bunch of flights to a CSV and feed them into a self tuning algorithm if I already have a good guess at the starting parameters.

And it's funny watching a video and thinking "that bucket doesn't have enough TWR to get into orbit with the ascent profile you've programmed" and be vindicated by a fiery crash a few minutes later.

Once I've polished the launch script it'll be time for automated landers.

After that it's probably scripted interplanetary intercept burns, but I'll need to figure out a bunch of math first. Or maybe just hardcode the fuck out of it.

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a new nadir of nerdery | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I'd like to try KSP by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Feb 12, 2017 at 10:43:12 AM EST
But I would have to get my dad's old pc running again, or upgrade my Mac mini. So many things, so little time.

KSP is on my wishlist by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Feb 12, 2017 at 02:59:22 PM EST
I'll get to it right after I finish Dwarf Fortress.

Haven't heard the word "abjur" since AD&D2e.

Youtube—I hear you. And they know you came there for the content in the title, but they insist on talking about whatever else for 5-10 minutes first. They could have written it down, but that's not recorded as views.

See you, space cowboy.

finish Dwarf Fortress bwahaha by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Feb 12, 2017 at 06:38:35 PM EST
Oddly enough Dwarf Fortress is the game I've been obsessing over when not playing KSP.

If you keep playing DF long enough I'm sure additional planets and orbital mechanics to get to them will be added eventually.

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Haha by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Feb 12, 2017 at 10:26:30 PM EST
yeah, that is close enough.

I haven't played it in a few years, but I am still in awe of how well it meets its aim: to create stories. Since they are the product of the physics of the game they have real meaning to a greater extent than you see in other art forms.

My real excuse for not getting to KSP yet is Rocket League. It's a game you can play for 10 minutes or 3 hours. Some day I'll get around to Cities and Skylines, then perhaps KSP.

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
a new nadir of nerdery | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback