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Hey guys, I've been looking around, but can't seem to find anything like this. I love playing with extreme realism, and one thing that is very important in real life is spacecraft attitude for communications. I would like to either find a mod (or if need be, develope one) that requires orienting non-omni antennas toward either the DSN or a relay. I want to require GEO satellites to point their dishes down toward the planet (using PersistentRotation makes this possible). Ideally, if comms are not oriented correctly, the spacecraft would act as if their was a loss of line-of-sight, and have all the limitations that implies. Is there such a mod? I am not an expert modder, but I have done a lot of amateur .cfg editing and tweaking, and I have a rudimentary knowledge of C#, etc. Would this be a difficult mod to create?
This in-depth post describes an intuitive and easy to use system in which range to target affects communications. This gives a use for the larger antennas as well as giving the player the capability of setting up communications stations without requiring them to do so. First, each antenna is given a range. At any distance up to this range, data will be sent at the maximum speed for that antenna. Outside that range, data transfer speed will be reduced as a factor of the multiple of its distance vs the range. If you are at twice the range of the antenna or dish, it will send data at half the rate while still expending energy at the same rate. The small starter antenna has a range of 10,000km. This means it works well for transferring data across low to medium Kerbin orbit and even works okay out to the Mün, but struggles to send data all the way from Minmus to KSC. Its base rate of transfer is 2 mits and 10 electric charge per cycle, but when transmitting from the Mün to KSC, it will send about 1.67 mits per cycle. From Minmus it will send about 0.43 mits per cycle. The large antenna has a range of 1,000,000km and a base transfer of 3 mits and 30 electric charge per cycle. It can easily reach all the way across the Kerbin system and even to nearby objects, but struggles with interplanetary distances. When transmitting between Eve and Kerbin at closest approach, it will send about 0.79 mits per cycle. When transmitting between Duna and Kerbin at closest approach, it will send about 0.42 mits per cycle. The dish antenna has a range of 50,000,000km and a base transfer of 5 mits and 125 electric charge per cycle. It can reach across small interplanetary distances with no signal loss, and even at the greatest extremities it still gets good reception. If it were transmitting from Jool to Kerbin, at closest approach it would be transmitting nearly full, and at the most distant points it would transmit at about 3.0 mits per cycle. From Jool to Eeloo at most distant points it would transmit about 1.6 mits per cycle. You can increase your transfer rate by putting multiple antennae on your spacecraft. They will all automatically be used by default, or you can turn them off to prevent them from being used. To set up a communications station, you simply right-click one of the antennas on the craft and choose the option to turn the craft into a comm station. Once you do that, all of its antennas which are on will automatically deploy. If you label the craft as a space station, it will automatically become a communications post provided it has any working antennas, but you can disable this by right-clicking the antenna. There is no drawback to having it set up as a comm station except to clutter up your list of comm stations. Next to the transmit science button is a button to transmit to a comm station. Clicking this brings up a window which lists all of your active comm stations with two buttons next to each, one to transmit to that station and hold, and the other to transmit to that station and then immediately from there to KSC. There is also a column listing the distance to the comm station, and they will all be listed in order of distance with the nearest comm stations at the top of the list. Another column lists their status, for example "in orbit around the Mün". At the top of the comm station window is a button to select multiple comm stations. If you click this, it removes the two buttons by each station selection and changes it to a depressed square slot. When you click a station, it puts a "1" in the box next to it. The next station you click, it puts a "2" in the box, and so on. When you hit the transmit button, it will send the data to each station in the order you listed. If you try to send data to and hold it at a station that contains a duplicate of the data, you will have to overwrite the duplicate in order to hold it there, but no conflict will occur as long as the data is being immediately transmitted out again as soon as it arrives. A station does not expend electric charge from receiving data. When data is being transferred from a station that is not rendered and loaded in physics, the craft will have its parts loaded but will not render the meshes nor load physics. The electrical parts will all be activated and its electrical intake, storage, and output will all be managed by the game to determine if the craft is able to send data at the full rate or even at all. This includes reading its position around planets as well as position of parts for occlusion to check the electrical intake of any photovoltaic panels. To prevent excessive memory usage, there will be a limit of 5 transmit waypoints in a single transmission. By right-clicking an antenna or dish, you can scale the transmit rate as you like, to reduce both the transfer rate and the electricity cost per cycle. This is useful to adjust it a bit downward on a craft that can't quite sustain it, or way down if you're using the power-hungry dish on a small probe that doesn't generate nor store very much electricity.