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  1. This thread will instruct you on how to create Kerbal parts using animated meshes, known in Blender as Shape Keys and known in Unity as Blend Shapes. Disclaimer: This guide assumes you already have a basic understanding of modeling, animation and creating simple Kerbal parts. Why??? The benefit of using animated meshes over regular scaling or rotating of a part allows you to yield complex animations from a single object, regardless of its shape. In the Kerbalverse, these parts are most noticeable with inflatable habitats. To my understanding, the only few on the market are those created by myself. With that said, I am hoping this will encourage others to take advantage of our new ability to use Blendshapes in Kerbal thanks to the hard work of @Shadowmage and his Textures Unlimited plugin, which allows for the loading of Asset Bundle-based models. Asset bundle based model loading is currently the only way to accomplish having these parts in Kerbal. For example, it would not be possible to create the egg-shape of the KEAM (BEAM module recreation) if I were to just scale a cylinder. The end resulting animation and shape would not be appropriate. See wireframe example of the KEAM's expansion using a single object: To start, create your model as normal. Create your desired animation with your object using Shape Keys (if Blender) (please Google for simple tutorials on this if you are unsure about animating with Shape Keys. The idea is very similar to animating a regular object. Where you would hit the I key for keyframe over the timeline, you instead do it over a new Shape Key on the side menu). If using Blender, it's best to save the .blend file within your Unity project location and work from that file within Unity. If you prefer or require FBX format for any various reason, ensure you have the "Baked Animation" option checked under the Animation tab in your export options. Check "Key All Bones" if using bones for anything. Inside Unity, you only need to verify your BlendShapes numbers under the Skinnded Mesh Render component of the animated object match the numbers in Blender. Warning: I noticed some issues above 9 Shape Keys where it seems that Unity only recognizes a total of 10. Avoid going above 9. It is very important to note, if you are using a model that contains any sort of part triggers, layers, or tags, like an Airlock or a Ladder, is is MANDATORY that you set up your part tags EXACTLY as shown in the following picture or they WILL NOT WORK when loaded in Kerbal: The final result on your model must still contain the proper tags and layers, for example with an airlock / hatch: To create the prefab ("Asset Bundle object file," as I call it), simply drag the ROOT part of your model FROM the hierarchy into the project folder window below. This action will create a prefab file. Select this prefab file so that you are viewing the preview of it in preview window. There is an AssetBundle "tag" location on the bottom of this window. Select the dropdown and create a new name for your asset bundle. Click KSPAssets on the top toolbar of Unity and select Asset Compiler. Click "Create" for your asset bundle, followed by Update and then Build. This outputs an assetbundlename.ksp file to your Unity project's "Asset Bundle" folder, one directory up from your Assets folder. The final step is to rename your finished asset bundle file to have an extension of .smf instead of .ksp Finally, drop your .smf file into your Kerbal addon folder inside GameData along with its textures and config file and as long as you have Textures Unlimited installed, the .smf file will be loaded like a normal part. I hope this can be of great help to the community or even just one person as I would love to see more complex animations in the Kerbal universe! Thanks!!!
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