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fishlips13

Screen Scales [Freeware] – Orbit Transfer Angles made (a little) easier

Question

So here’s the story. I got tired of lining up my protractor on my screen every 20 seconds for orbit transfers so I put on my goggles and dove into the trash pit that is the internet to try and find some screen angle measuring software that wasn’t awful, actually worked and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. And I found this little gem. It’s a small application made by a small company and it’s freeware. It’s become one of my go-to tools, especially in 0.17. This'll only be useful until there's a better way (such as a mod or better yet, in-game support for such things) and I'm well aware that only the perfectionists will use it, but hey rocket science is all about perfection right? So there yah go. Hope it’s helpful folks! Enjoy.

Oh and 1 more thing. This isn’t a addon/mod. It has no connection to KSP, besides being somewhat useful imo. I didn’t create it, nor do I take any credit. Any Copyrights etc. are held by Talon Designs LLP. Think that’s everything.


Screen Scales

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Screen Scales is a screen measuring program made by Talon Designs. It provides the user with a simple interface that aids the measuring of distances and angles on your screen. Installing it is pretty simple. Go here and click on the “Install Now†button in the Flash pane to the top right. It requires Adobe AIR to run but that’ll be installed first if you don’t have it, though chances are you do cause it’s bundled with most Adobe products these days. If AIR is installed a window will pop-up asking you to save or open it. From there it’s just like installing any other program.

The software is pretty self-explanatory but for those who might need a hand with it, here’s a quick rundown. Feel free to skip the rest of this post if you’re savvy with this kinda thing.

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ingame.png

Upon opening, 2 points are displayed on screen with a line between them. Further points can be added or removed by right clicking one of the points and clicking Add or Remove point. Points can be dragged around to display the distance between them and more points can be added to determine the angles between lines. To enable angle display right click and select Show Angles. From here it’s simple enough to place the points over the ships, planets, moons, or Sun and have the display read out the appropriate angle(s) between them.

context.png

To close the program, right click and select Close or just close the tab on your taskbar. There’s no Start Menu folder so to open it you need a link on your desktop from the install or you have to dive into your Program Files and find the .exe file. By the same token, to uninstall it you need to do so from the Control Panel.

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Some other fun things if you’re interested or are having trouble:

“Help, I can’t even see this thing!â€Â

You can change the colour of the interface in the context menu. Turns out the default colour is black. When I first opened the thing I actually couldn’t find the interface on my dark desktop background and to change any options you need to right click the points. Oops. So I had to change my background to a brighter one just to find the points and change the colour to something with better contrast. Doesn’t exactly help against a black map screen in-game either. I can’t find any .cfg files or anything to change it so if you can’t find it, change your background like I did or stab around your desktop till you find it. Ha-ha.

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“Tips?â€Â

I’d recommend focusing your map display on the body you’ll be orbiting during the transfer so you don’t spend as much time chasing your targets with the points when you’re time accelerating.

If you’re chasing a Phase Angle for a transfer, place one point on the origin body, a second on the body you’re orbiting and a third with the Phase Angle on the destination body’s orbit path. Now time accelerate and spin the camera to keep the first point stationary on the origin body and wait till the second point lines up with the destination body. Easy transfer windows indeed.

For goodness sake, make sure your camera is perpendicular to your focuses orbit when taking measurements (directly above or below for anything with 0 degrees inclination) or any angles you take will be off by a sizable amount. This is simple enough for 0 degree inclinations because you can just move the camera up or down until it stops, but could be more difficult for, say, a polar orbit when you need to just guess and hope. Use your best judgement.

“Any neat tricks with the overlay?â€Â

Like most window based applications, you can set it to be Always on Top in the context menu. Useful if you're time accelerating to find an appropriate Phase or Ejection Angle because when you click back on KSP, Screen Scales loses focus and won't appear until you re-focus it. Juggling windows is no fun. In a similar vein, because this is a window based application, it CANNOT be overlaid on a full-screen application. I.e. You need to run KSP in windowed mode to make use of Screen Scales.

“I need a vertical or horizontal line! STAT!â€Â

One of the options you can enable is Show Deltas which brings up the horizontal and vertical components between any 2 points. From there, you can actually click on any of the numbers on any line and enter your own values with the line changing to suit. Setting a lines’ horizontal component to ‘0’ will make it a vertical line, and vice versa. You can do the same by just lining up the points pixel perfect but I think this is snazzier! You can use the same system to change things in some creative ways, but I won’t go into that.

straight.png

“So it's, like, really accurate then?â€Â

The angles are accurate to within 1 pixel of error horizontally and vertically assuming they're dead on the center of your target and obviously to 2 decimal places numerically because that's all it displays. You might lose a few degrees because of that. There's some fun things too when you put lines on top of each other: you often can't read the text, and it says there's 90 degrees between the lines ... yeah. Lol. It's not infallible but it's flexible enough for what we need methinks.

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“Screen Scales†by Talon Designs LLP

http://www.talon-designs.net/screen_scales.htm

also available via

Softpedia (just be careful what “Download†button you click on this site as most of them are adverts)

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Desktop-Enhancements/Other-Desktop-Enhancements/Screen-Scales.shtml

Edited by sal_vager
[Tutorial] Making the title a little more descriptive, added "Angles"
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12 answers to this question

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I just pulled of a successful transfer to Jool using this in tandem with olex's calculator. Thanks!

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Damn :(

Why this didn't show up in my search results...

I was looking for a Mac version, and I ended up buying Onde Ruler. $24.95 for a on-screen protractor....

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Great tool.

Just used this and olex's claculator to transfer to Eve, no problems.

Sure beats trying to do it by eye.

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Wow. Awesome first post!

Rep points for you!

I won't deny I've been roaming around the forums for a while now. I'm just kinda a quiet guy, I keep to myself. That being said KSP and the community are kinda dragging me in so I guess I should start interacting. :3

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Brilliant,

exactly what I was searching for. Hope they put something like that in KSP sooner or later.

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YES! I searched for this and couldn't find it! Awesome. Thanks!

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Hope they put something like that in KSP sooner or later.

As a matter of fact, HarvesteR posted this Blog 2 days ago talking about finding where the cursor is on an orbit. That's the precursor to finding where an object is along its orbit. Us nerds call that the "True Anomaly" which defines the position along an orbit as an angle. So it's coming, and as soon as 0.18 if we're lucky!

Edited by fishlips13

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