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Thread: [0.21.x] KerbCom Avionics 0.3.0.6 Alpha (29 August) - now with video!

  1. #1

    [0.21.x] KerbCom Avionics 0.3.0.6 Alpha (29 August) - now with video!

    KerbCom Avionics
    After surveying the current crop of inadequate flight control systems, KerbCom decided to roll out their own firmware upgrade to try to ensure that your vessel moves as you expect it to. In short, you'll (probably) like the way you move.

    For posts relating to version 0.2 or later (other than this post), go to post 54.

    New in version 0.3 Alpha:
    • Added support for engine gimbals and reaction wheels. This allows the solver to control and balance virtually any vessel that contains a reaction wheel, including but not limited to VTOLs, space shuttles, and all vessels that previously had an unsolvable RCS thruster layout (e.g. CSMs with one ring of RCS ports).
    • New "combined" control mode that balances vessels during ascent, orbital burns and during docking automatically.
    • Now using a native industrial strength solver for more stability and speed.
    • UI streamlining, optimisations and bugfixes.
    • If you somehow don't like or can't use the new gimbal support, this mod also implements a replacement of the stock gimbal control so that you can use gimbals to roll your vessel, and have gimbals above the COM that work correctly.


    This plugin is designed to balance the forces that you fly your contraptions with. It currently supports RCS thrusters, reaction wheels, liquid/jet engines and gimbals. It works using a linear programming solver that finds the exact solution to the problem. It does not use guesswork or approximations.

    This plugin stops unbalanced vessels from rotating inadvertently under thrust. This is very useful for asymmetric vehicles, like piggy-backed shuttles, and crafts that perform vertical take-offs and landings (VTOL). It does not stop you from controlling the vessel, rather it "trims" the rotation of the vessel.

    The other main feature is the balancing of RCS port thrusts during docking so that your vessels do not drift away while rotating them or using SAS, and so that they do not rotate inadvertently while translating. This makes docking large vessels much easier.

    This plugin is alpha software in active development. If you think you have found a bug, a performance issue, something missing or unclear in the documentation, or have a feature request, please check that it has not already been mentioned, then post it in the development thread.

    VTOL demonstration video, courtesy of Torminator via this post:


    Current limitations:
    • The new combined mode doe not support SRBs. If your craft uses SRBs, please make sure this mode is not active at the same time as any SRBs.
    • There is also no support for balancing aerodynamic forces from wings and control surfaces. Use Ferram Aerospace Research if you want to tweak aerodynamic behaviour. This mod is primarily designed for space applications.
    • Due to the use of native code, the current release is Windows and Mac only. This is more just because I have yet to investigate how to get native code invocation working correctly on Linux than any inherent difficulty, so expect this situation to change.
    • The GUI does not yet support changing settings using text entry, or editing settings per-vessel in the VAB/SPH.
    • Fuel is not balanced. For crafts that require this, there are other mods available.
    • Vessels that require the net engine thrust to be in a specific direction other than the average of all engine directions will have to wait until I implement a direction selection feature.


    Plans for the next version:
    • An auto-hover controller for VTOLs.
    • Jet engine throttle compensation.


    I have ideas for many more features in the future, such as precision autopilots and display panels, as well as removing some of the current limitations.

    Tips:
    • This mod does not negate the need for good RCS placement to maximise fuel efficiency.
    • For best fuel efficiency on most vessels you will want to turn down RCS linear and torque strength.
    • Bear in mind that this mod does not balance aerodynamic forces. Moving a VTOL at high speed in atmosphere will likely require manual trimming.
    • Enabling/Disabling the GUI can be bound to action groups.
    • If you accidentally hide the GUI, it can be made visible again using the context menu either on your command pod or your MechJeb AR202 (depending on how you installed the plugin).
    • Many VTOLs behave much better (and more like a helicopter) if you lower the torque strength considerably, often to around 10%. VTOLs with multiple engines tend to have very large torque authority.



    Installation issues:

    If you are upgrading from a previous version, please undo any changes to config files you made in order to use that version. The new version should not require any config changes, not even to deal with the RCS FX glitch, which is now fixed. I also recommend deleting your old KerbComAvionics directory before installing.

    This plugin uses Module Manager to add the avionics module to either each of the stock command pods, or the MechJeb AR202 case. A version of this is included with this plugin, but it is always best to check for updates to Module Manager separately.

    Download version 0.3.0.6 Alpha for Windows here
    Download version 0.3.0.6 Alpha for Mac here

    Linux users can for the time being still download the old cross-platform version here. You can still run the new version on Linux, but you cannot use the control modes. This means that the only new feature available to you is the replacement for stock gimbal control.

    Source available here


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    This plugin makes use of lp_solve, an open source linear programming library. It is used in this plugin under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. You can read the terms of this license at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html.

    Changelog
    0.3.0.6:
    - Added fix for editor lag bug caused by log exception spamming.
    - Added fix for GUI lag by implementing caching.
    0.3.0.5:
    - Added a workaround recommended by Majiir for dealing with a known KSP bug causing mods to conflict.
    0.3.0.4:
    - The previous fix, although it solved the bug, was not quite perfect, so here's a new version based on a suggestion by havocx42.
    0.3.0.3:
    - Now with a proper fix that fixes the flameout bug and the fuel tank bug properly.
    0.3.0.2:
    - Added fix for flameout bug. This needs testing to make sure it does not break something else.
    0.3.0.1:
    - Bugfix for reaction wheel issues.
    - Possible fix MechJeb Smart A.S.S compatibility problems (requires testing).
    0.3:
    - Added support for engine gimbals and reaction wheels.
    - New "combined" control mode.
    - Now using LP Solve, a fast open source native solver.
    - UI streamlining, optimisations and bugfixes.
    - Fixed the RCS FX glitch, finally.
    0.2.0.1:
    - Fixed a small bug that caused RCS to have infinite fuel.
    0.2:
    - Complete redesign of the plugin. New solver, new interface, new logic. New engine balancing support.
    Last edited by ZRM; 6th September 2013 at 12:19. Reason: Fixed video
    My RCS/engine thrust balancing mod: KerbCom Avionics 15 August: Version 0.3.0.6 - more stability fixes
    Disable the IO namespace ban in KSP 0.20 with my mod PluginIO (now redundant).

  2. #2
    Excellent! I can't wait to give it a go!

  3. #3
    Sounds great.

  4. #4
    Capsule Communicator Climberfx's Avatar
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    WOW, it works with Mechjeb, even on docking mode?
    Could you please put some videos?
    This sound great!

  5. #5
    Spacecraft Engineer Conarr's Avatar
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    I'm playing with it now. I do have some questions though:
    Is the coordinate GUI supposed to stay up all the time? Is there a way to make it go away when not needed?


    Sent you a PM
    Last edited by Conarr; 16th May 2013 at 19:38.
    Conarr James Tremere

    I like splody things
    My rockets always work sometimes


  6. #6
    Does anyone else have a ring of RCS blocks that just keeps showing the firing animation even when it's not actually firing/using propellant (even when RCS is off entirely)? It seems my lower ring is "always firing" and the upper ring only fires as required. I've only tried the plugin on one ship in a brand new save (with only mechjeb and this mod), but that ship had mechjeb 2.0.7 on it so maybe it's an interaction there. I might have a chance to try it out tomorrow with a non-mechjeb ship.

  7. #7
    Capsule Communicator Climberfx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameroon View Post
    Does anyone else have a ring of RCS blocks that just keeps showing the firing animation even when it's not actually firing/using propellant (even when RCS is off entirely)? It seems my lower ring is "always firing" and the upper ring only fires as required. I've only tried the plugin on one ship in a brand new save (with only mechjeb and this mod), but that ship had mechjeb 2.0.7 on it so maybe it's an interaction there. I might have a chance to try it out tomorrow with a non-mechjeb ship.
    This happens for me, is a KSP bug. Not Mechjeb, nether CRCS.
    And don't have a cause and moment. Happen without warning, and go away reloading.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Conarr View Post
    I'm playing with it now. I do have some questions though:
    Is the coordinate GUI supposed to stay up all the time? Is there a way to make it go away when not needed?
    Depends what you mean by "all the time". I've made it so that you can hide most of the window, but I suppose I could add a button in the context menu for the part for showing/hiding the window.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Climberfx View Post
    WOW, it works with Mechjeb, even on docking mode?
    Could you please put some videos?
    This sound great!
    It should work with MechJeb (just don't enable the new MechJeb RCS Balancer - it will clash). MechJeb provides standard control input like anything else (including the user), so it should behave fine as long as you have tuned the CRCS correctly (though I have not tested this).

    I'm considering putting up some screenshots demonstrating simple use of the plugin. I give permission to anyone who wants to demonstrate it in a video, however please make it clear that this plugin is still very much in an experimental phase. In theory I should be able to eventually make a complete replacement for the vanilla RCS system that you never need to disable.
    Last edited by ZRM; 17th May 2013 at 05:16.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Climberfx View Post
    This happens for me, is a KSP bug. Not Mechjeb, nether CRCS.
    And don't have a cause and moment. Happen without warning, and go away reloading.
    That's reassuring. However I personally have noticed this happen much more often with CRCS enabled than without. Anyway, it seems to only have visual impact, so I recommend ignoring it for now.

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