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Xadhoom

reduce rocket travel time

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Xadhoom    64

I feel that the rocket travel time is just too much, by the point i get rockets, around 200-300 cycles, i tend to have most systems i need for my base planned and in the works, so once i start to get my first space materials i'm around 300-400 cycles in.

if i'm to send a rocket to 150 km away, it takes 40.9 cycles, so i need to wait 10% of my total play time in that colony.

i think that a reduction on the added travel time for each 10km, should be reduced, so 3 day for the first 10km, but like +2.8 days for next 10 km, then a further 2.6 days for the next 10 km, so a total of 8.4 days for the 30km, so a 100km goal would take 21 days instead of 30 days, i feel it would be fine, especially as the plantets futher away already have increased cost to travel to and its not always that necessary to travel to them.

 

or have different travel time for different rockets, after all i feel that a hydrogen rocket would be able to push higher travel speeds then a petroleum rocket.

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57 minutes ago, Xadhoom said:

or have different travel time for different rockets, after all i feel that a hydrogen rocket would be able to push higher travel speeds then a petroleum rocket.

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Nebbie    297

To talk a moment about why better rocket engines don't get you places faster in real life:

  1. Conventional transport fights friction and drag, which tend to set an equilibrium point of speed with a given engine output, with fuel being an afterthought.
  2. Rockets fight gravity, which tends to pull them around in orbits, and certain minimum speed changes are necessary to get the orbit to intersect the target.
  3. Orbits are slow. The scale of travel time far exceeds that of acceleration time to reach desired speed unless you start getting into the ridiculous low-acceleration and high-efficiency world of ion engines.
  4. There's only so much you can speed up or slow down with a given engine efficiency, mass of fuel, and mass of non-fuel. Thus, while they can go at any speed over the minimum, going faster than necessary means using more fuel.

Anyways, faster travel speeds by engine I feel is a bad idea as you'd widen the gap between rocket techs. I normally don't like to drag a ton of realism in either, but rocketry is one of those things that's cool because the physics behind it are so bizarre and fascinating, and so ONI pushing you to understand them makes ONI cooler, and it just so happens in this case that rockets all having the same speed per distance, only changing how far they can go, is also simpler to wrangle with as a player.

Higher fuel consumption to get somewhere faster is an interesting potential, but I suspect at such far-off destinations that it becomes impractical.

Reduced travel time with a sublinear scaling is definitely the way to go, but I'd propose just having a low (< 3 cycles per 10Mm) travel time per distance, and a set time stayed at destination, so then people can easily do the math in their heads. Let's say for simplicity's sake it's 2 cycles per 10Mm, 2 cycles stayed at a destination, so it's 4 cycles to go to the nearest target, but then for 100Mm it's 22 cycles, and for 150Mm it's 32 cycles. For a more aggressive approach, it could be 1 and 3, so 100Mm would be 13 cycles, and 150Mm 18 cycles.

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DarkMaster13    212

Rocketry in general has a lot of problems, not just the travel time.  Though they all universally just waste the player's time and are not very fun.

  • The player has to run at a minimum two science rockets before they can actually get anything of use out of doing rocketry at all.  That's to earn the 400 data disks needed to research solid boosters and solid cargo in order to make a steam cargo rocket.  However it's much more efficient to go straight to petroleum rockets instead, meaning more trips that do almost nothing except let you make better rockets.
  • You have to start with steam rockets, which are fueled with a gas which takes a minimum of 700 seconds to fuel for the first destinations.  So in addition to waiting 3 cycles to make a trip, you also have to wait at least another cycle just to fill the rocket.
  • Steam rockets are not very useful due to the engine having so much extra mass.  Upgrading to later rockets means you need far less steel per rocket and can make something that doesn't need to be changed every other trip.
  • Three cycles per trip is already painfully slow.  Yet travel time scales linearly with further distances with the player having minimal ability to reduce the time it takes.  So the travel times just get longer and longer.  Rocketry at best is something you let run in the background while you focus on other things unless the player just waits during the travel times.
  • Getting the best resources from planets still requires you send a research rocket to them first, even after you've finished all the space research.
  • Space research is boring and unrewarding.  Mostly they're just things you have to research before you can get the actually useful stuff out of your rockets.
  • Most of the destinations are not worth visiting.  They simply do not give useful resources or take too long to reach.  Others are ones you might visit once to get a critter type or plant seed, but then no longer need.  Many destination types get repeated, exasperating the earlier problems.
  • Some destinations that are actually very important might not spawn at all or are too far away to be practical.

Rocketry and the space age stuff need a pretty extensive redesign to be a fun and interesting part of the game.  Every game I've played so far where I get to I end up quitting because I get bored of the game.  There simply isn't anything for me to do in the base itself while I wait for the rockets to bring the stuff I need to do any more projects.  This is mobile play to wait levels of bad, but without the micro-transactions or the ability to let the timer run out while you aren't playing the game.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

  • Cut down the travel times a bunch.  1/3 to 1/2 is a good start, but it might need to be even less.
  • Compact the space map, bring most of the destinations much closer to the asteroid.  Having 4-5 destinations per distance would help a lot with both making rockets take less time but also letting you stay on lower level stuff for longer.
  • Restructure space age tech.  Give value to sending out research rockets and not just be something you have to do before you're allowed to get value out of your rockets in general.  For example, if jet packs or something akin to the espresso machine required space research (not those items specifically, but something like them that gives you a tangible benefit or improvement to your base completely diverged from rocketry).
  • Rebalance the steam rocket weight so one with a cargo pod can get to the closest destinations without a thruster.
  • Make the travel times increase quadraticly instead of linearly, so each new destination adds a little less time on than the last did.
  • Make extra fuel reduce travel times.  All of it is burned on a trip anyway, the player should get some value out of it.
  • Make each thruster and improved rocket fuel/oxidizer reduce travel time as well.  Going up to the next tech level should feel more rewarding even if you have no intention of ever going to the further destinations.
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AndreyKl    84
On 31.07.2019 at 9:36 PM, Nebbie said:

To talk a moment about why better rocket engines don't get you places faster in real life:

In most cases it is still possible to make trip shorter if you have fuel to burn (ex: by adding some low orbit in between or by using that fuel for acceleration maneuver via some other large stellar body).

6 hours ago, DarkMaster13 said:

Space research is boring and unrewarding.  Mostly they're just things you have to research before you can get the actually useful stuff out of your rockets.

+1 also would have been nice if there were some more 'space' researches (ex: rockets would have benefited from industrial rail storage for unloading; heat syncs that 'exchange heat' with machinery that is built above them, despite there not being atmosphere, would have been very useful in space)

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Nebbie    297
2 hours ago, AndreyKl said:

In most cases it is still possible to make trip shorter if you have fuel to burn (ex: by adding some low orbit in between or by using that fuel for acceleration maneuver via some other large stellar body).

+1 also would have been nice if there were some more 'space' researches (ex: rockets would have benefited from industrial rail storage for unloading; heat syncs that 'exchange heat' with machinery that is built above them, despite there not being atmosphere, would have been very useful in space)

Those kinds of maneuvers (bi-elliptical transfer and gravity assist) actually make the trip more fuel efficient but slower; NASA got to Mercury intercept from Earth escape once with only 1000m/s delta V, but it took them 7 years. Faster travel time does mean using extra fuel, but not on more maneuvers, just on going to a way more aggressive, more straight-line-like encounter that's far less efficient.

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AndreyKl    84
Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Nebbie said:

Those kinds of maneuvers (bi-elliptical transfer and gravity assist) actually make the trip more fuel efficient but slower;

It goes both ways. Lower orbit has lower speed yet significantly lower orbiting period, as such it can be used to reach, for example other side of the planet far faster than staying on high orbit will allow (when you want to be faster to reach something on other orbit you deselerate to go lower, then accelerate again once you are close enough, the lower your orbit, the faster you reach your 'destination', but fuel sometimes limits how low you can go). Similar for gravity assist - it depends onto circumstances, can be used to save fuel or to reach target faster. Either way, more fuel still means faster travel (as long as mass stays same).

Upd: Scenario in line with ONI

In case we are in asteroid field, and have 2 asteroids on similar orbit, asteroid A ahead of B, to reach A from B we have to lower orbit first, the more we lower it (not indefinetely obviously) the faster we will reach optimal intersect with A and then we increase orbit back to actually intersect. If we want to reach B from A, we do the opposite - we increase orbit (and speed) to go slower, wait until 'intersect' point then decrease orbit back to intersect.

Basically, in between asteroid on similar orbits: the more fuel we got, the more we can change orbit, the faster we move.

Edited by AndreyKl

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