Wow this blew up, my sincere apologies to everyone for not checking back. Will also answer questions sent to my box (which I also appreciate).
KSO Standard (released in late 2013?) and KSO "Super" 25 (released in 2014-early 2015)
Nazari will be taking ownership of those two shuttle project files once the EX is complete and released. He will continue to keep them up to date as his time and discretion allows.
They will no longer be a part of the KSOS Mod for KSP, making sure that is clear since I don't want folks upset in the future when the KSO EX drops.
The 3D Models and mesh data will be released as part of an alternate downloads pack. Several people, including our own testing team wished to have them to learn, build on, expand, or even release their own mod. In other words they will become a part of the KSP Modding community. This is an effort in my part to encourage and promote more folks getting involved in 3D modeling, modding, model making, and learning how game art is made.
Why are the two shuttles being taken out of the mod and becoming their own thing? Why won't you work on them anymore?
When I built the first one, I didn't know what KSPs internal requirements were. It wasn't until I worked with Nazari through three mods.... (KSO, Super 25 and the satellite parts)... that I finally understood how KSP "worked". There were also a lot of communication issues between him and I. In some cases he'd use different terminology than I'm used to, causing big issues (like referring to Transforms where I call them Pivots and so on).
This also affected size. When I built the first one, my goal was really to have a mini shuttle. This was because I never expected there to be much interest in anything bigger than 1.5m to haul stuff up to space. I figured the community wanting a shuttle was small as it were. I even talked about this a couple times in that thread and it seemed to me anyone wanting to haul stuff up would just use conventional rockets. So after lots of demands I put the KSO "Super" 25 together as a temporary solution until KSOS Phase 6 (KSO EX).
With the KSO EX, Nazari and I came to a conclusion: Why waste people's resource space as it is, just make the EX 2.5+ and solve the resource issue in one go. No more 4+ textures hogging up memory, no more dealing with two shuttles that need constant upgrading and repairs as Squad updates the game. I'm sure you guys can see where this is going. In other words a single shuttle can be made to look 2 times better, have more features, have better textures and still take up a smaller footprint on your hard drive (ergo, less memory on KSP loading being hogged up).
Since the first shuttle I learned a lot, including upgrading various artwork creation tools and my entire art pipeline has changed. For that reason, the older shuttles are slowly becoming incompatible on my end. The new shuttle is essentially compatible with all next-gen artwork. That means the new shuttle can potentially support a PBR type arrangement if Squad ever takes advantage of Unity 5's shader capabilities. I will be experimenting with Nazari on this.
KSP has changed and there are new features coming in that the older shuttles couldn't support. The new shuttle will have the foundation for internal views besides just IVAs. The older shuttles would have to be re-baked and essentially re-UVed in order to support that sort of thing. Just not worth the time and effort.
Why no more twin tail arrangement?
To lower the amount of parts on the shuttle in game. Twin tails also presented all sorts of problems especially with RCS getting in the way and such.
The EX is more of a modern take on NASA's space shuttle, rather than a Kerbal space shuttle while still retaining some of the look.
How modular is the EX compared to the other shuttles?
As modular as it can be. The problem will always remain: Blending the delta wing into the cargo bay while still making the landing gear close in and be smooth. I think we have a good middle ground with this new design.
I'm trying to make as many of the parts as modular as possible as seen above. You will be able to pull off the RCS blocks and re-arrange them or use them in other projects. The tanks can also be surface mounted on other projects. The shroud in the rear can be toggled on and off, in case prefer to reveal the guts of the thing or if you have a mod that allows your Kerbals to access the plumbing for repairs. All parts where possible will have this capability including the rear end of the shuttle where the SSME's mount.
Speaking of SSMEs, the KSO EX aside from new OMS engines will replace the project SSMEs with the Thrustmax Aerojet (thrust not decided yet). Although stylized to be slightly "kerbally" they are highly detailed and modeled after the Space Shuttle Engines (Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25)
The old lift vehicles will not be a part of the KSOS mod any more, they too will be retired along with the other shuttles. The KSO EX will have a completely new lift vehicle incompatible with the old models. Currently we're discussing that the new EFT will be 3.5m capable. It will follow the NASA Space Shuttle lifter design and not the Buran design. This is because the new lifter will be designed with radial symmetry in mind a problem the older shuttles always had. This new lifter will be fully modular.
Naming them and colors was always an issue, how does the new project solve that?
Good question. As I said earlier it is my intent to keep the main texture "skin" completely separate from flags and names. Unity 5 shaders as long as a decal is placed over a pixel shaded model (as opposed to vertex shaded), it shouldn't have z-buffer issues. I'm not at that point yet, but it is my intent to experiment with removing the AO from the diffuse so that you guys only get a color diffuse and can simply just recolor a texture as you like. The name can be changed in the VAB and you'll be able to change it and make your own. Unfortunately you will have to know how to handle image alphas in order for your own custom name to show up correctly.
Will we be able to see the interior from the outside?
Unfortunately no, not until Squad supports that feature (EVA looking into IVA) by default. However, I'm putting together a middle ground compromise mainly for glass shader effects. The main reason being that it would probably kill people's computers to be able to see into the actual IVA directly from the outside. This is not to be confused with the shuttle internals which are low resolution models.
Will there be windows in the moon door to see up as you dock, will there be windows looking into the cargo bay?
Yes and yes
No, we're done with that. It was a mistake in my part. CSEs will still extend but will operate like flaperons essentially.
What parts are not modular?
The main wings. This is because of how radial symmetry works in KSP. The bottom side of them is black with the tiles, the top is white with the heat blankets (FIB). The bottom has the landing gear wells and doors. Also, the wings root chords themselves would not be symmetrical if you drew a line through the root rib.
The rear end. For obvious reasons, the rear end can only fit the cargo bay. An adaptor will be made for this shuttle like the original had but will not be part of the first release.
The cargo bay. You may be able to stack the cargo bay to make a longer shuttle, however, I'm not sure if that is possible as of the last edit (been working on other parts and haven't revisited the fuselage yet). As long as I don't need more space for the main landing gear, it should be stackable creating a long "shuttle train" if that's what you're into.
The cockpit. Like the rear end, I -will- release a cockpit to KSP adaptor that will allow you to use the cockpit on KSP's stock space shuttle. However, like the rear end shroud, this will not be part of the first release.
Front nosecone. This part is in a shape that only fits the cockpit. Also, this part contains the front RCS module sub assembly.
Will there be an airbrake?
Yes. Nazari had some issues with it on the rudder, but I can put airbrakes anywhere, we just haven't decided where we want it yet.
Does the rudder have a spot for a drogue chute?
How tall will the new shuttle be (how high off the ground), or will the kerbals not be able to walk under it?
Sadly, I have a feeling the Kerbals might not be able to walk under this shuttle this time. That has to do with how much space we have for the main landing gear to fold and fit inside the wings without clipping. Since the new landing gear do not compress, chances are that the new shuttle might not have enough ground clearance to allow a kerbal to walk under it with a helmet on. There would be no way of knowing for now.
Any other questions feel free to send them my way or ask here.