Ten Key

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About Ten Key

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    Spacecraft Engineer

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  1. I like to fly IVA. For a lander, I'd like to see the NAVball, vertical speed indicator and radar altimeter front and center. Having some sort of usable window is important too. That IVA doesn't necessarily look bad, but from a usability standpoint it's pretty much "tear out and replace".
  2. The graphics are (very) dated, but Race Into Space was derived from a board game so the game design is pretty tight and there's a lot of replayability. The game has been rereleased under the GPL license and is currently a free download. http://www.raceintospace.org/
  3. It was okay until the above line. That line is legible. . .but completely ridiculous.
  4. I think those settings affect the first person camera position in IVA mode.
  5. We may have different opinions on what constitutes a "mystery novel". I'm with Kuzzter on this one. . .there are an awful lot of adventure novels out there masquerading as mysteries. For me, a mystery novel is a story that focuses primarily on a "caper". . .it presents the plot as a puzzle to be solved. This virtually necessitates writing from an outline, and as a result these stories are almost universally plot driven-- the characters exist only to unfold the puzzle box, one clue at a time. In contrast, the unreliable histories I'm referencing in my comment are never revealed to be true or false, and ultimately the details don't really matter. They exist as backdrop to give the reader a feel for how the various groups think about themselves, the world and each other. Some of the characters you encounter believe their version of the story is the unvarnished truth. . .others have their doubts. Where were you when the Dragon broke? No one knows, and it doesn't matter, because that text is mainly there to contrast different groups of people, not to provide a history lesson. That text may also be a little bit of this^ I'm having trouble putting what I want to say into words here. So if this is muddled, forgive me. There was a minor character in the Battlestar Galactica mini series who was intended to be written off (and presumed killed) by the end of what was effectively the pilot episode for the follow on series. But the show's producers ended up being so happy with the actor that they brought the character back, a decision that ended up having a major impact on the story. This was only possible because the show's writers had not pinned down exactly how hyperspace travel worked. World building is a necessary part of storytelling. . .it provides both a framework for character development, and context for character background. Behavior that would be shocking in one setting might be perfectly normal in another. But I dislike putting too much information up on the table too soon. Not only do you run the risk of infodumping, but you also limit yourself for no good reason. Do you need that constraint somewhere down the road? Great, get it in there. Not sure yet? Hold onto it and see. I have experienced situations where some of my characters started to "write themselves", and when that happens I want to be able to chase that rabbit as far as it's willing to run. I don't like it when plot gets in my way, and I really don't like it when some extraneous detail I dropped in chapter two prevents something "really cool" from happening in chapter 26. I have a pretty good idea what my world looks like, but everything is malleable until it actually hits the page, and I like to preserve that flexibility for as long as possible. I have it in my head that Kerbals are pretty tough. . .significantly more robust than the squishy humans that write them. Just how tough is an open question. . .tip that scale too far in either direction and you create certain opportunities and close others. I don't intend to find out until the story tells me I need to. . .and if it never does, I'm just as happy not knowing. Obviously that can create a different problem where you realize you needed something five chapters back and now. . .well, now what? But five chapters back I didn't know I needed it, and carpet bombing details into a story "just in case" doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Writing a serial is different from writing a novel or something all in one go, but. . .how do I put this? When I put a detail into a story, my brain is always looking to hang something off of it, to hook it into other things. So for me, I find it easier to go back and massage something into a story rather than trying to rip something out. Once a detail gets in there, it roots itself into so many other things that tearing it out can easily make a big mess. I tend to agree with Atomic Rockets here, though I think it's best to use both approaches. Start with effect, and work backwards to cause. . .and then work forwards again to effect. Back and forth, like a wood planer, until you've sanded things down to your liking. Gee, it would be really nice to have a magic machine that would stamp out rocket parts so I don't have to deal with the manufacturing side of this. Great, but that's silly. . .there's no demand for that much rocket. Maybe a pipeline? Great! But why isn't it building pipes anymore? Well maybe something happens and the original company goes bankrupt. Great! But how would rocket engineers get a hold of this thing? Well, maybe there isn't much other work around? I dunno. . .that sounds a little contrived. That sounds a lot contrived. What if there's a government project that was supposed to be paid for with tax proceeds from the pipeline? What if the government seizes the magic pipe machine and gives it to the project managers in lieu of the cash they were supposed to have but don't? And what if the new, unwitting owners are willing to try something wild in an effort to keep the lights on while they figure out how they're going to get out from under this mess? So they go find the rocket engineers! Better, but what about. . . Back and forth goes the sander. When it stops looking ridiculous, it's time to start writing. "Write what you know" is never a bad move. . .it's what keeps all these stories unique and interesting.
  6. You're not too far off the mark actually. . .I think the comment was along the lines of ". . .I feel like a special effects modeler slaving away on a miniature city, knowing all the while there's a guy in a rubber lizard suit waiting to come in and knock it all down."
  7. Used in moderation, the unreliable narrator can work magic. I love it. Bethesda's Elder Scrolls games use this technique religiously, revealing the world to the player with a series of dueling narratives that are confusing and often contradictory. Sometimes these narratives are so different it's not immediately apparent that they're referencing the same event. No one is telling the whole truth-- no one knows the whole truth. It makes puzzling out the setting's history difficult, but in return the biased storytelling serves to illuminate the various factions and luminaries in a way that would not be possible with a single, accurate retelling. In attempting to spin the past, the present is revealed. I think our differing opinions here (KSK) might be an extension of the different approaches to writing we were talking about earlier. Generally speaking I don't like world building-- I prefer to leave things vague and gooey for as long as possible so I have the flexibility to more or less do what I want when I want. And I much prefer stories that are heavily character driven over ones that have elaborate settings. Joss Whedon described Firefly as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things". . .I think a little bit of unreliable narration is an important tool for telling stories like that, and it places an emphasis on character building at the expense of world building. It probably goes without saying that I'm not a big fan of mystery novels. On the topic of first person narrators. . .I think first person narration is inherently unreliable. And I think this is one of the reasons it's so hard to write. . .first person narration forces you to really know the character. No one is without bias, and no one is omniscient. With a first person narrator, what the character chooses to omit is more important than what they chose to say, and the narration serves to describe the character at least as much as it serves to describe the things the character is talking about. Consider an extreme example. . .a story written as a series of journal entries from a lone explorer on an alien planet. Perhaps the general conceit is similar to Interstellar. The entries concern the exploration of the planet, with some general interest stuff mixed in. Some of the entries are very clinical and precise, whereas others are more fanciful, but the tone is bright and hopeful throughout. Of course the journal comes complete with a body, and as the story draws to a conclusion we find out that the writer was terminally ill and had been in considerable pain for a long time. That might call into question the veracity of some of the information presented. . .could this person have even managed some of these outings? Are the more fanciful entries the product of a pain addled imagination? But it also tells you a lot about the kind of person the writer was, with no mention made of the illness at all. That, to me, is more valuable than any of the specific details contained in the journal. As always, your mileage may vary.
  8. That facial expression is priceless. It seems like this has become a reoccurring problem. Given all the mods you have installed I imagine estimating the "in situ" power draw is difficult, but I'm left wondering how much of the problem is being caused by overestimating the power output from the solar panels? The trickle of power from a small nuclear battery can make a big difference over 40 minutes. Five minutes of battery life is a pretty big miss.
  9. @adsii1970
  10. You missed one. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busch_Gardens_Tampa
  11. That's strange, those links seem to convert to images just fine when I add them to a post. . . Have you tried using the "insert other media" --> "insert image from URL" option? It should be in the lower right of the reply window. Welcome to the forums.
  12. This might be helpful, vis-a-vis Microsoft Excel. Warning, PDF. http://www.nkhome.com/pdfs/How_to_graph_weather_data_from_LiNK_CSV_Files.pdf
  13. Will the texture switching be "global" (all or nothing) or will it be ship specific? Could one potentially launch the same part on two different ships within a single save and use different textures on those parts?
  14. Score! The local Barnes and Noble had two of them. One to gift and one to keep.