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Devnote Tuesday: Fairing well


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I've said before that my two most essential mods are FAR and procedural fairings, and if necessary I could enjoy the game with only those, everything else stock. Nice to read that those features are becoming stock. Hopefully they'll work even better than the mods.

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Interstage fairings are something we've discussed here to quite an extent. The current system doesn't support them completely at the moment, but it doesn't preclude them either. They're just not accounted for yet, and we're probably going to have to do some playtesting to figure out how (and if) the fairings would work in between two chunks of spacecraft. We might be able to adapt the current module to do both, or we might require a separate module to handle those cases. The short answer is, we're not quite there yet. :)

Something that has always bothered me is that it never looks right if you use an engine that doesn't match the diameter of what is both above and below it, since the shrouds are defined by the engine part alone. What would be great is if the system could somehow be adapted (procedural interstages perhaps) to take into account the diameters of what's above and below the engine, rather than the engine itself. We already have node-size data in the attachment node definitions in the part CFGs, so at least the information is available.

I think it would be acceptable for such a procedural shroud to be created by an adapter plate that sits above the engine (and thus could have a fixed diameter at that end, since it needs to match the thrust plate), but adapts the length and lower diameter based on what is below. It could function like a decoupler (in terms of staging), except the only thing it ejects is the interstage shroud, and not the engine on the stack node.

Anyway, just some ideas. Thinking aloud. :)

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So new IVA'S & fairings = more parts + more textures. Given how memory usage just keeps going up with each release and there is no realistic prospect of 64bit in the foreseeable future, surely Squad should be at least considering, if not actively developing, some kind of load-on-demand system. I personally don't think this is something to leave to post release "polishing".

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Quote from HarvesteR on reddit on how fairings are shaped

"Up to you. You build fairings by placing cross-sections, one by one. Each can extend up to a max height, and also vary in radius.

Although possible, I didn't want to make fairing construction fully automated. It's much more fun to build it up manually.

Mind that the fairing's mass and cost are computed by panelling area, so the larger the fairing is, the heavier and more expensive. Something to keep in mind if you're on a tight budget.

Cheers"

http://www.reddit.com/r/KerbalSpaceProgram/comments/2x1e8i/devnote_tuesday_fairing_well/

Interesting so I guess in career mode you unlock various cross-sections as to unlock the tree.

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Just a quick question here,

One of the devs (Roger) mentions doing work on the release animation, and seems he's been working on it for a solid three weeks, and probably longer until it is finished. As there are few devs already, it seems like a large resource to dedicate to a maybe 2 minute video. This week another dev (danRosas) said he's beginning to help with the same animation. Is it worth spending squad's already limited manpower into making a small video?

I hope I didn't misinterpret their meaning.

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Something that has always bothered me is that it never looks right if you use an engine that doesn't match the diameter of what is both above and below it, since the shrouds are defined by the engine part alone. What would be great is if the system could somehow be adapted (procedural interstages perhaps) to take into account the diameters of what's above and below the engine, rather than the engine itself. We already have node-size data in the attachment node definitions in the part CFGs, so at least the information is available.

I think it would be acceptable for such a procedural shroud to be created by an adapter plate that sits above the engine (and thus could have a fixed diameter at that end, since it needs to match the thrust plate), but adapts the length and lower diameter based on what is below. It could function like a decoupler (in terms of staging), except the only thing it ejects is the interstage shroud, and not the engine on the stack node.

Anyway, just some ideas. Thinking aloud. :)

Man, I was working on a mod that did something similar a while back. Not procedural or anything, but it reused stock textures to save memory. The plugin worked but I needed to make a bunch of extra fairing models/UVs for each part. I really need to finish that...

Anyway, it looks like development is going well. 1.0 is gonna be fun! :)

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I don't like them that much... They're fine for a game with a bunch of other proc parts, but they don't really fit very well in KSP. It seems like a cheat... And will be abused as one.

That's because you don't really understand procedural parts. Procedural fairings are no different than constructing custom fairings for payloads that there are no standardized fairings available. Saying that they're 'cheaty' would be like saying NASA or McDonnell Douglas cheated when they built a custom fairing for Skylab. The same goes for any other procedural anything.

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Considering the animation will be for the big release, I'd say it'd be worth it. Of course it doesn't benefit us who have already bought the game. I do think for the 'minor' updates in the past, they shouldn't have worried about making release animations, but now seems like the most appropriate time for it.

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That's because you don't really understand procedural parts. Procedural fairings are no different than constructing custom fairings for payloads that there are no standardized fairings available. Saying that they're 'cheaty' would be like saying NASA or McDonnell Douglas cheated when they built a custom fairing for Skylab. The same goes for any other procedural anything.

It's cheaty in the context of KSP.

And that fairing obviously didn't work out well...

Not to mention that they had to do a lot of engineering. They didn't slap a part on it and have a fairing. In that way custom fairings are VERY different from procedural fairings.

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It's cheaty in the context of KSP.

And that fairing obviously didn't work out well...

Not to mention that they had to do a lot of engineering. They didn't slap a part on it and have a fairing. In that way custom fairings are VERY different from procedural fairings.

I was concerned about this, but it seems like the fairings *won't* be "slap a part on and you're done" -- you *build* the fairing, with a lot more flexibility than PF gives. And on that note: Is there any way that could be adapted to wings? If the fairing system is procedural but you have control over the shape, will either Squad or (more likely, as it hasn't been mentioned) a modder be able to adapt that system to build wings of a shape of your choice?

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Are these fairings planned to always be circular, like the Procedural Fairings mod, or can they be manipulated into other shapes? Can I make an elliptical fairing that will still shield parts inside? How about crazy stuff like squares and triangles?

Cpast's post about modding it into a build-your-own-wing system got me thinking about a build-your-own-lifting-body system. Or any other kind of fuselage. Not all airplanes are round in cross-section.

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So will a single fairing that's 10 "pieces" tall and 4 "pieces" around count as 40 parts, 4 parts, or 1 part?

Personally I hope it's 40 parts. That way we're not cheating.

Ouch. That hurts! If each panel part becomes persistent debris, then it would make some sense to count them all. I liked it better, when I was imagining cool new designs and fun 1.0 features, not thinking of this possibly hitting so hard, in the parts count budget. If the panel parts can be treated as welded groups by the game engine, then maybe we could get some help in the parts count area.
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So will a single fairing that's 10 "pieces" tall and 4 "pieces" around count as 40 parts, 4 parts, or 1 part?

There's only one part, which is the fairing as a whole. Fairing panels aren't independent parts, they're sub-objects of the fairing until you deploy them. A fairing that is 10 sections high and divided into 4 sides would have 40 panels, yes. How many objects this will produce on deployment depends on how they group together (that's next up on my to-do list actually).

As for how the broken-off bits behave after deployment, they are handled as solar panel pieces or engine fairings. They aren't fully persistent (which is good if you like your framerates to be a two-digit number). That doesn't mean they aren't solid objects, however. Point away from face.

Cheers

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There's only one part, which is the fairing as a whole. Fairing panels aren't independent parts, they're sub-objects of the fairing until you deploy them. A fairing that is 10 sections high and divided into 4 sides would have 40 panels, yes. How many objects this will produce on deployment depends on how they group together (that's next up on my to-do list actually).

As for how the broken-off bits behave after deployment, they are handled as solar panel pieces or engine fairings. They aren't fully persistent (which is good if you like your framerates to be a two-digit number). That doesn't mean they aren't solid objects, however. Point away from face.

Cheers

How does the construction work? The devnote seems to indicate that "build fairing" is a special mode you enter into (either right away or through tweakables), but in that mode do you place panels like building a mini rocket, or are the controls things like "increase width to 1.5 m, add 1 m cylinder at that width"? If the latter, can we build fairings with crazy shapes, or does it have to be circular cross-section and/or mostly cylindrical?

EDIT: Actually, what'd be really neat would be to have a video of the fairing editing. Maybe in a future Squadcast?

EDIT EDIT: Also, thanks to the Squad employees for answering questions here -- from my point of view, shorter devnote + answering questions >> just a longer devnote.

Edited by cpast
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