This mod will add radiation effects to the game and give you a new aspect to consider when planning your missions. This mod is going to be a two-person project. The other developer may post on this thread as the user Ã¢â‚¬Å“Doctor ManhattanÃ¢â‚¬Â, so thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s who IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m referring to when I say Ã¢â‚¬Å“weÃ¢â‚¬Â. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re probably curious about what we have planned for this mod, so hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a wall of text:
Cosmic radiation: Background radiation with roughly uniform intensity throughout the solar system. Cosmic radiation comes from every direction, but planets/moons can block it. Even though the Mun has no protection from an atmosphere or Van Allen belts, the cosmic radiation dose is essentially halved for a vessel on the surface. Being in low orbit of a body will also reduce the amount of cosmic radiation a vessel receives. Once solar activity is implemented, cosmic radiation will fluctuate accordingly (lower cosmic radiation for high solar activity, and vice versa).
Solar radiation: Created by the sun with an intensity dropping as the square of distance from the sun. Solar radiation will also be occluded by planets and moons. There will be some sort of wake behind the body that is relatively safe from solar radiation. As mentioned with cosmic radiation, we would like to implement periodic solar activity that changes the levels of radiation in the Kerbol system. We may or may not implement solar wind interaction with the Van Allen belts and magnetospheres of planets. This would essentially be a modification to the solar radiation occlusion code to account for there being a strong magnetic field (basically, a bigger wake).
Nuclear reactors and engines: Radiation sources with their intensities dropping as a square of distance, thus only affecting nearby craft. Significantly more radiation when active than when off. The calculations for radiation dose will probably be based on the distance between the nuclear part and each of the manned parts (but we do not think that we can have it account for other parts in between blocking the radiation).
Shielding and Protection:
Planets with magnetic fields will provide a degree of protection from the first two sources while near the planetary surface or within safe zones between Van Allen belts. Van Allen belts, consisting of trapped charged particles, are areas with high radiation levels and are the result of otherwise protective magnetic fields. Currently, the only bodies that will have the protection of Van Allen belts are Kerbin, Jool, and Laythe. We are also considering adding them to Eve, but that is subject to change.
Atmospheres will provide protection from radiation sources, but it will not be complete protection in some cases. The shielding the atmosphere provides will be based on the local density of the atmosphere. The amount of protection will also be dependent on your position in the atmosphere, although the difference will probably only be noticeable in the upper atmosphere.
Until further notice shielding/shielded parts will not be added. Instead, existing probes and manned capsules will be given a shielding resource that can be adjusted in the VAB. Fairings and cargo bays will help shield contained parts and possibly will have their own shielding resource.The amount of potential shielding resource available for each part will be handled by Module Manager and will be a function of its mass, cost, and crew capacity. The thought behind this is that big (heavy) pods will allow for more shielding, cheap pods wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t allow for much shielding, and parts with large amounts of crew will have a little bit extra shielding to protect the extra Kerbals. We think this will add more to the gameplay than adding shielded parts would. We want to avoid having the player just slap on an extra part and then no longer having to worry about radiation. We also want to avoid limiting your options on what pods you can use, hence why we are using Module Manager to affect all parts (including mod parts). Later, we may add some manual configs for stock parts and popular mods to have more diversity in shielding stats, but we think the automated configs should be fairly effective on their own.
We are considering having two shielding resources. This probably adds more to the gameplay aspect than the realism. Realistically, different materials have to be used to stop different types of radiation. Sometimes multiple shielding materials (and in specific order) are required to stop all the radiation. We would just grossly oversimplify this process by splitting it into Ã¢â‚¬Å“heavy shieldingÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“light shieldingÃ¢â‚¬Â. Heavy shielding will (of course) weigh more and be much more of a necessity in interplanetary space. Light shielding will be fairly light, so cost will be the limiting factor. You could probably rely on only light shielding in certain areas where you are either protected by an atmosphere or Van Allen belts. We think this will be beneficial to gameplay since shielding will play a bigger role in mission planning this way. For instance, if your satellites are never going to leave Kerbin, you could get away with only light shielding. Another example, if you send a rover to Duna, the rover itself could have minimum shielding (since it should be protected by the atmosphere) and it would rely on the heavy shielding from a fairing/cargo bay for the trip there.
We also found some sources discussing waste matter being used for shielding on manned vessels. We may later implement this as a feature. It would detect waste materials on board the manned parts and consider that in the shielding calculations.
Damage and Consequences:
Kerbals will have a persistent value for accumulated radiation. There will be a critical dose of radiation at which the kerbal dies. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also considering implementing something similar to USI life supportÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“grouchyÃ¢â‚¬Â state as a toggleable alternative to having kerbals die from radiation. Probe cores and controllable manned capsules will also be subject to radiation damage and will be repairable by an engineer (possibly only higher level engineers).
Kerbals: will lose capability to pilot craft (high level pilots may be able ignore radiation sickness), at higher radiation levels the Kerbals will be given a probability of dying within a certain (undecided) time frame. If you manage to max out the KerbalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s radiation level, it will have a nearly 100% chance of dying within that timeframe. Kerbals themselves may also heal (very slowly) from radiation damage over time to make it easier to maintain space stations and permanent bases (this may become a toggleable option). Kerbals with the Ã¢â‚¬Å“badSÃ¢â‚¬Â flag will have a higher probability of living longer after exposed to lethal levels of radiation. Eva-ed Kerbals will take in significantly more radiation. This will probably make you think twice before taking the crew out of the protected capsule.
Probe cores: will lose SAS, then lose operability at higher radiation levels. Probes will be able to tolerate significantly more exposure to radiation than the Kerbals will. This will probably give more incentive for unmanned missions in certain situations.
Manned capsules: The computer components get fried and the part loses the ability to be controlled even if the pilots are fine (same idea as the probe cores).
Science experiments: will probably not be affected
Antennas: reduced science transmission value in highly radioactive environments
Solar Panels: performance degradation
Batteries: will probably not be affected
Lights: will probably not be affected
Ion Engines: will not be affected
-Van Allen belts will be defined by a config file, so it will be easy for users to adjust the values and add/remove belts for specific bodies. This will be useful for mods that scale the planets, real solar system, and even mods that add planets.
-geiger counter part for tracking the radiation level and as another science experiment
-visualizations for Van Allen belts
-visualizations for solar activity
-glowing kerbals when highly irradiated
-possibly make the Kraken a radiation source
*Future plans (not guaranteed)
*Added/Modified plans from original post
*Removed plans from original post