I'm very happy to announce that the Asteroid Redirect Mission patch for KSP is now officially released!
This is a very special update in many ways, not least of course is that it was made in collaboration with NASA, to make sure our Kerbal version of the Mission was not only true to its real-life counterpart, but that it was also fun, educational, and in keeping with KSP's style, free to be performed in any way you can think of. Want to re-enact the exact mission profile NASA is planning? Go for it. Want to send up enough rocket fuel to lift an office building and slam on the retrograde brakes? That's also an option. Want to not do any of those things and just use the Advanced Grabbing Unit to choose which Kerbals go and which stay? Erm... sure.
This has been, without question, the largest update we've ever done, not just in terms of development time, but most importantly in terms of the scope of the changes made. No other update has had so many different areas improved on at the same time. We usually focus on a single area to work on, but this time, we really felt the need to make a noticeable improvement in the overall playing experience, especially around flight planning and advanced deep-space missions.
So, Here are the highlights for this update:
Kerbin is no longer alone in its orbit. Nearby are countless objects that buzz in and out of its sphere of influence, some flying by harmlessly, others on impact trajectories. Ranging in size from just a few meters through 5 size classes up to gigantic objects weighing thousands of tons, these new objects should provide a new challenge for both new and veteran players. Each asteroid is procedurally generated, so no two are the same. Also, asteroids can have samples taken from them by EVAs, providing a constant source of valuable science data, right on the edge of Kerbin's SOI.
* Object Discovery and Tracking:
Before you set out after an asteroid, you first need to identify and track them using the Tracking and Discovery features on the Tracking Station Facility. Select one of the unknown objects spotted near Kerbin, and start tracking it actively to reveal more information about it. Also mind that untracked objects can be lost if they're left unobserved for too long.
* The Advanced Grabbing Unit (aka "The Claw")
As the name probably implies, this new part is the means by which asteroids can be captured to be redirected. Just arm the device, approach the target carefully, and the claw will do the rest. It's like a docking node, but without the need for a mate node on the other side. Better still, the AGU can be used to grab on to much more than just asteroids. In fact, it can pick up just about anything, even Kerbals.
* New SLS-inspired Size 3 parts:
We've added a host of new parts, featuring the largest engines and fuel tanks ever seen in KSP. These new parts were designed based on NASA's upcoming Space Launch System, and they pack a huge amount of rocket power.
* Completely Overhauled Part Joints:
We have completely re-done the way parts attach to one another, to allow for much greater flexibility and control over each joint. Joints are also more accurate and stable, as both jointed sides are now anchored at the attachment node (this wasn't possible before the Unity 4.3 update).
There's more. This update also features a host of small, and some not-so-small tweaks and improvements to usability, giving many features added a good while ago a much needed refurbishing, and adding a lot of the little things we never got a chance to add when we first implemented them.
Here's the changelog:
* New SLS-styled Parts:
- Size 3 Liquid Fuel + Oxy Tanks, in Full, Half and Quarter-Sized Variants
- 4x Size 3 Engine Cluster. The single most powerful piece of rocketry we've ever added to KSP.
- Advanced Size 3 Single-Nozzle Engine, for when you need immense amounts of thrust in your upper stages
- New Liquid Fuel Booster: A new way to boost your spacecraft, the LFB is a single part featuring twin engines, plus a very respectable amount of fuel. What more, you can even stack more liquid fuel tanks on top of it.
- The Launch Escape System: Modelled after the Apollo LES, this new escape tower can save your crew should you underestimate the sheer power of your new rockets.
* New Part Joints:
- Large parts feature a new system that allows them to attach much more rigidly to other parts, eliminating many cases where spamming struts was required.
- Increased PhysX's global max angular velocity settings to improve joint stability.
- Angular inertia values for parts now properly scale with mass. Some ships may feel heavier to fly now, but handling feels much more realistic overall. This also improves joint stability a lot.
- Re-did the Strut Connector joints as well, to use the new joints system instead of their old ones. This dramatically improved their reliability and significantly reduced the number of ocurrences where ships spontaneously disassemble themselves on the launchpad.
* Added new buttons to the Map Filtering panel to filter Unknown and SpaceObject type vessels.
* Focusing vessels on the Tracking Station will now display their patched conics trajectory.
* Added Time Warp controls to the Tracking Station and Space Center scenes.
* Added a button to the Time quadrant in the main flight UI to allow switching betwen Mission Time and Universal Time.
* Targeted vessels now display their trajectories as patched conics instead of single orbits.
* Maneuver Nodes are now persistent.
* Targeted Objects are now persistent.
* Added buttons to discard/accept maneuvers on the delta-v gauge by the navball.
* Added buttons to add/remove an orbit to the date of a maneuver node, allowing nodes to be planned for several orbits ahead.
* Maneuver handles can now be fine-tweaked with the mousewheel when hovering over them.
* RCS and XenonGas containers on earlier stages are now drained before containers on later stages.
* Celestial Bodies now show a 'Focus View' button on their context menus in Map View.
Bug Fixes and Tweaks:
* Celestial bodies you have an encounter patch with will display that patch in local mode when they are focused on the Map View or Tracking Station.
* Switching between Linear and Rotation controls in Docking UI mode no longer toggles SAS.
* Fixed a bug where patched conics on extremely eccentric orbits could break the simulation at very high warp speeds.
* Fixed incorrect rendering of ascending and descending nodes when targeting a non-closed orbit.
* Fixed a bug where targeting an object on a hyperbolic orbit wouldn't display rendezvous information on the map.
* Tweaked the thrust and Isp values of Ion Engines and the two tiny rocket engines. All were severely underpowered to be of any practical use.
* Quicksaving is now allowed at all times. In unstable situations, an autosave won't be created at the same time.
* Greatly improved the accuracy of the physics->rails transition, eliminating drift on nearby vessels when warping during a rendezvous situation, especially high-velocity ones.
* The Map Filtering buttons now toggle independently on left click, and toggle single/all on right click.
* Fixed several cases where Kerbals on EVA would glitch out in very painful ways, mostly when the game changed reference frames while they were in ragdoll state.
* Intersection nodes between orbits no longer 'skip' the closest intersection when placing a maneuver node near the player's position.
* The ARM Patch (0.23.5) should not break backward-compatibility with previous saves. That said, however, do mind that we cannot account for mods, so don't expect them all to work perfectly. If you experience any problems, make sure you try a clean install of the game without any mods, and a new clean save as well.
* The ARM Patch is available just as any other update. If you have the KSPStore version, you should be able to use the patcher to get yourself updated, or alternatively, download the complete package again. If you have the game on Steam, you should be auto-updated next time you run the game. Just make sure you haven't disabled Steam's auto-update system for KSP.
Props to you for reading this far. I won't keep you any longer. If you don't have your copy of KSP yet, the game is available at:
* The KSP Store
* Greenman Gaming
Happy Launchings, and have fun!!
As many of you pointed out, there was a weird bug in the 0.23.5 build that caused the R&D facility to appear as closed if you loaded an existing save. We've already spotted what caused this issue and we're now testing a hotfix which should solve the problem.
The revised build should restore R&D functionality, but unfortunately, if you've experienced this issue with your save, your science progress will already be reset. If you have a recent quicksave, you should be able to revert to that after the patch without problems.
This issue managed to slip by undetected through testing, most likely because it requires an old save to be reproduced. New saves should not be affected by this issue at all.
We'll get the hotfix build out as soon as possible, hopefully in a few hours. In the meantime, avoid loading existing saves to bypass this problem. We'll let you know as soon as the hotfix is up.
Our most sincere apologies for this inconvenience.
We've updated the release now with a new build, which fixes the issues with the R&D Facility being closed, and also fixes another very disruptive bug when resuming saves with Kerbals on EVA.
The new build's version number is 0.23.5.464. If you see that on your main menu's bottom-right corner, you should be up-to-date. The original release was 0.23.5.459, for reference.
Thank you for your patience, and again, sorry for the troubles.