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Devnote Tuesday: Experimental Improvements


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<figure data-orig-width="480" data-orig-height="92" class="tmblr-full"><img data-orig-width="480" data-orig-height="92" src="https://40.media.tumblr.com/0ff9377afa68dc3ad3fe6844aaf1bd38/tumblr_inline_nmtdg7EJBn1rr2wit_540.jpg"/></figure><p><b>Felipe (HarvesteR): </b>Wow, weeks seem to be flying by now… Didn’t we write one of these a few days ago? Must be them relativistic effects again… Anyhow. My week can best be described as a mad blur in which many a bug was fixed, and many a feature got implemented in a half-dazed flurry of non-stop coding days… So much so I’m referring to the git log to see what went in between the last dev blog and now. </p><p>Here are some highlights:</p><ul><li>Fixed a VERY ugly-looking bug concerning scenario modules and persistence, I’m amazed it went by as it did. Should fix many mysterious persistence problems, hopefully.</li><li>Went over the balance and progression of the SRBs in early games. We now have a new SRB, called the RT-5 “Flea†Booster. (Model by Bob “RoverDudeâ€Â)</li><li>Speaking of new parts, Bob and I are working on two new parts, which should be very useful now that reentry heat is a thing. More on that later.</li><li>Added a difficulty slider to turn reentry heat down (or up, or entirely off… your choice).... </li><li>The Flight UI can now be made transparent through a game setting. </li><li>Added a ‘warp to next morning’ button at the KSC toolbar.</li><li>SAS Maneuver mode automatically disengages back to stability assist as dV nears zero.</li><li>Many improvements to ambient audio in flight.</li><li>The Round8 Toroidal Fuel Tank was repurposed as a 1.25m inline Xenon Tank.</li><li>The vessel info panel in the KnowledgeBase UI now shows a craft’s max acceleration and est. time to reach 0m/s (very useful for timing rendezvous burns)</li><li>Added a system to generate and display thumbnails for craft files in the LaunchDialog and CraftBrowser screens. (thumbnails not required for sharing craft files)</li><li>Several improvements to part shaders, especially around transparent textured ones.</li><li>Added PorkJet’s awesome new Mk3 wing sections.</li></ul><p>There’s also been several other minor fixes and tweaks, from proper detection and placement of splashdown effects at very high speeds (now that that’s possible) to making pressure and temperature experiment modules able to function in space… It was an intense week, most assuredly.</p><p><b>Alex (aLeXmOrA): </b>Finally, I finished work on the license system. It took more work than I expected because I had to double check if the license system was creating and registering everything correctly, and in the end there were only minor tweaks to do. Now, I’m going to start some tests with new web technology services I can’t talk about right now, but you’ll be able to know about it soon.</p><p><b>Mike (Mu):</b> It’s been another week of bug fixing and optimisation. There has been a lot more work put into balancing and tuning the aero system too. The jet engines have had another pass with respect to their characteristics. For those that don’t know, the airflow through jet engines (and thus fuel flow, and thus thrust) is now a function of mach and of air density giving them more interesting limitations and effects.</p><p><b>Marco (Samssonart): </b>The week started with the demo and ended with tutorials again. Tutorials are about ready to be merged into experimentals. The demo is coming along nicely but not quite there yet. I hope to be done with it by the end of the week so it can be properly tested.</p><p><b>Daniel (danRosas): </b>Did some last minute changes last week to the animation, narrative wasn’t working well and some stuff was left aside. It’s changed now and the new shots are almost animated. It’s the biggest one we’ve done so far, lots of work there. </p><p><b>Jim (Romfarer):</b> Following up on the tech tee changes i was applying last week to make every node visible, this week i started updating the icons for the new and modified nodes. In the current system all tech tree icons are hardcoded into the backend. This was fine when it was created, but later additions to the tree has made it painfully clear that we had to do something about it. So i’m in the middle of replacing this old system with a more flexible version. It is quite similar to the PartCategorizer in VAB/SPH: it’s all config definable and modders can now easily add their own custom icon for every node.</p><p><b>Max (Maxmaps):</b> I’ve been busy with the regular business stuff and the overall management of the project (Experimentals is going swimmingly, it seems like extending QA has severely reduced the stress of it!) and am now partaking in the tertiary duties of recording footage that you may or may not be seeing soon. </p><p><b>Ted (Ted): </b>I’ve been plugging away with the Experimentals Team on 1.0. It’s been a good mixed bunch of tasks involving organizing feedback, prioritising issues, assisting team members and the list goes on. Unfortunately it’s not massively interesting, but it’s pretty great to see the feedback we’ve been getting and the speed and enthusiasm that everyone is working with!</p><p><b>Rogelio (Roger): </b>I’ve been rendering and doing some post production tasks, last week I started to play with particle systems to do some clouds. Also I’ve been fixing some textures, doing some changes and rendering some shots to see if we’re achieving what we want. We’re almost done with rendering and we’ll start with the comp.</p><p><b>Kasper (KasperVld):</b> I finished my sick leave last week on Thursday, which proved to be a little on the optimistic side of things as I continued to do all the things sick people do until well into the weekend. I’m back though and since Monday the things that you might’ve missed last week will resume full steam and I’ll get back to everyone who left me messages today. </p><p>Something worth your attention was DasValdez’ special edition of Kerbal Space Academy last night in which he paid tribute to the famous Apollo 13 mission with special guests Sawyer ‘TheNasaGuy’ Rosenstein, Hank Green from VlogBrothers and former NASA astronaut Tom Jones! You can watch a video of the show <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/dasvaldez/v/4027012">here</a>.</p>

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<b>Rogelio (Roger): </b>I’ve been rendering and doing some post production tasks, last week I started to play with particle systems to do some clouds.

Am I reading that right? Clouds?

Please tell me this is for the game, not the video.

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Sounds like development is going along great! Keep up the great work. But I have a two requests of you guys, as I'm sure a fair few others do. 1. Could we please, not necessary in this update, have something like KerbPaint as part of the game? Link: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/50008-0-23-KerbPaint-Paint-layering-for-parts-%28September-23rd%29-%28Same-Old-Still-Works!%29

2. Forgive me if I've missed it, but could you guys do something about oceans being rendered or loaded or whatever (I'm completely ignorant of the terms, sorry) as second planets? It's really a performance hit, and can be pretty annoying...

if you guys give this any consideration, thank you. And thank you even if you don't, for developing the best game I have ever played.

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Added a ‘warp to next morning’ button at the KSC toolbar.
Hope that's not hard-coded so we can use it with other "Kerbins".
SAS Maneuver mode automatically disengages back to stability assist as dV nears zero.
Awesome.
The vessel info panel in the KnowledgeBase UI now shows a craft’s max acceleration and est. time to reach 0m/s (very useful for timing rendezvous burns)
Is this information available easily in-flight? I know you guys prefer to starve the player of information but obscuring useful, available information away from where it might be useful is ... cruel.
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<li>The Round8 Toroidal Fuel Tank was repurposed as a 1.25m inline Xenon Tank.</li>

That is going to screw a lot of designs up. :( Why not just make a new 1.25m xenon tank and add a 1.25m electric thruster (doesn't have to be the same type as the current 0.625m one)?

Look, even the creator of the tank believes that it should stay as it is:

I will miss the toroidal tank. That was my favorite tank for compact landers...

And while you guys are at it, could you please add more 0.625m parts? The smaller sized parts have been neglected for many updates and 1.0 could potentially make the problem worse. Smaller jet engines, intakes, long 0.625m fuel tanks, and a better nosecone (the current one is outdated and weights 0.1t) would be great.

I feel that SQUAD lacks testers that like to build aesthetically, that this, a builder who utilizes a variety of parts to create something "unconventionally", like the creations in this thread. Many of those creations use the toroidal tank as an important part of the design and would not function if the part was changed, and a skilled craft builder would would've noticed the consequences of the change immediately. Just look at all the complaints throughout this thread. Adding new parts has no real downside, and it gives us builders more tools to play with. The aforementioned 0.625m parts would allow for a plethora of great new designs and would benefit everyone would plays the game.

Don't let me down, SQUAD!

There has been a lot more work put into balancing and tuning the aero system too. The jet engines have had another pass with respect to their characteristics. For those that don’t know, the airflow through jet engines (and thus fuel flow, and thus thrust) is now a function of mach and of air density giving them more interesting limitations and effects.

If jet engine behavior is going to be changed, a ramjet/scramjet would be nice to have too. It would allow for more realistic jet engines that aren't overpowered, and sits nicely between turbojets and rockets. RAPIERs would be more useful as convential turbojets won't be enough for SSTOs.

Another addition for the turbojet could an afterburner. The dry thrust of the engines should be lowered, and the afterburner could be used to reach the current thrust levels. Of course, activating the after burner would consume much more fuel, but it would make the jet engines more balanced and allow for some cool glowing exhaust plumes on jets. Who wouldn't want that? :D

Edited by Giggleplex777
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You turned my favorite fuel tank into xenon storage! Aww. I loved that little tank for satellites and tiny probe landers. Thank goodness I know how to reverse this travesty. ;.;

Looking at the ROUND8's stats, it was redundant with the Oscar-Tank, except in terms of design. We needed an inline Xenon tank much more than we needed another low-capacity LFO tank for probes.

You are, of course, free to mod it back to its original specs if you want to, or create another cfg to have both variants. :)

Cheers

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Is this information available easily in-flight? I know you guys prefer to starve the player of information but obscuring useful, available information away from where it might be useful is ... cruel.

Just open the info panel for the vessel in map view. It's available just when it needs to be. When closing in on an intersect, the time for the closest passage is shown in the map view, the panel is also there, so you can pull it up and see how long the vessel is estimated to take to slow down to match orbits with the target. Then just point retro (to target) and burn.

Cheers

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Speaking of new parts, Bob and I are working on two new parts, which should be very useful now that reentry heat is a thing. More on that later.

Heat Shield? Cool! Or I guess that would be hot

Added a difficulty slider to turn reentry heat down (or up, or entirely off… your choice)....

Not sure about this. Difficulty sliders make sense for the "game" elements, such as Money and Science and Rep. But should we really be able to change the laws of physics? That would be like having a slider to make engines more efficient or even change the gravity of Kerbin, not good.

The Flight UI can now be made transparent through a game setting.

No idea what this would be used for... Neat Nonetheless!

Added a ‘warp to next morning’ button at the KSC toolbar.

Awesome!

SAS Maneuver mode automatically disengages back to stability assist as dV nears zero

Yay! No more losing control after finishing a maneuver.

The Round8 Toroidal Fuel Tank was repurposed as a 1.25m inline Xenon Tank.

Finally a 1.25 meter tank! Just started using Ion ships myself and needing 30 fuel tanks was getting ridiculous. Though old saves/craft may suffer an unexpected engine failure.:rolleyes:

Edited by RocketPilot573
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Just open the info panel for the vessel in map view. It's available just when it needs to be.
I guess... Or you could just show rendezvous information in the flight view when you have something targeted...
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Looking at the ROUND8's stats, it was redundant with the Oscar-Tank, except in terms of design. We needed an inline Xenon tank much more than we needed another low-capacity LFO tank for probes.

You are, of course, free to mod it back to its original specs if you want to, or create another cfg to have both variants. :)

Cheers

Hi, thank you for the updates.

I was just wondering why not just make a new model for a larger ion tank? That way your not ruining previously built ships and depriving users of a well liked part.

Warp to next morning is a great addition, thank you!

Edited by Majorjim
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Looking at the ROUND8's stats, it was redundant with the Oscar-Tank, except in terms of design. We needed an inline Xenon tank much more than we needed another low-capacity LFO tank for probes.

You are, of course, free to mod it back to its original specs if you want to, or create another cfg to have both variants. :)

Cheers

Or install Real Fuels / Modular Fuels....

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Nice stuff.... wait what?

The Round8 Toroidal Fuel Tank was repurposed as a 1.25m inline Xenon Tank.

Xenon is useless, that tank was awesome how it was! That is a terrible terrible change.

Looking at the ROUND8's stats, it was redundant with the Oscar-Tank, except in terms of design. We needed an inline Xenon tank much more than we needed another low-capacity LFO tank for probes.

You are, of course, free to mod it back to its original specs if you want to, or create another cfg to have both variants. k_smiley.gif

Cheers

I'd suggest changing the Oscar B then. It's about as useless as Xenon.

Edited by Alshain
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Good notes! Lots of dead bugs, a couple of new parts, better tree icons, yay! I don't like the sound of the license system though.

I suspect the license thing may actually be a technical/legal thing and nothing to do with game features.

Not sure about this. Difficulty sliders make sense for the "game" elements, such as Money and Science and Rep. But should we really be able to change the laws of physics? That would be like having a slider to make engines more efficient or even change the gravity of Kerbin, not good.

Well, would you rather have a slider to turn off the reentry heat if you didn't want to deal with it for whatever reason or be forced to use a mod to turn that off?

Edited by smjjames
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