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Devnote Tuesday: Experimental Improvements


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FlowerChild, I think you may have missed this thread if you didnt know we are in beta: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/108318-Do-you-feel-KSP-is-ready-for-1-0

We tried to stop them, we really did. Im calling this next release .95 in my head, others are calling it .27

Its up to you, there's no stopping it anyway.

Edited by r4pt0r
Proper capitalization of the name.
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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
Given this endorsement for modding, it won't surprise me if a very simple mod is available on release day to "give back" the original tank config and implement the new intention as a separate part. And you can do it yourself, if you're familiar with the edits needed and where the files go.
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Squad has clearly stated... that 1.0 means they are leaving early access.

What does "leaving early access" mean if they're not going to be doing anything differently from what they're doing now?

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What does "leaving early access" mean if they're not going to be doing anything differently from what they're doing now?

This question (or more importantly what it implies) scares me a bit. Personally, I started losing interest in Minecraft when I realized that they were releasing the game in a crazy unfinished and unfinishable state simply because they had no actual plan for how to continue making it other than "We'll just keep making it!"

I'm worried that KSP will go the same way. Endless little updates to add horses or carpeting or something with no actual game improvements because the corner they've so neatly painted themselves into won't let them develop any further.

Oh well, Yay for Cities: Skylines and Invisible, Inc?

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...And any chance of smaller/bigger jets? Having to stack a dozen turbos onto a big'un is a bit of a nuisance.
I agree on that last part, and would support such a thing! At least we will no longer have to worry about asymmetric flameout in crafts that have lots of air breathing engines. But... I wonder if they might be worried about "power creep," there's no end to it. I would also like to see a 2.5m SRB, since the new and heavy Mk3 parts line has put a strain on the role played by the SLS-derived, S1 SRB - and Porkjet's 20ton nuclear lightbulb engine, in the stock game ;)
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Given this endorsement for modding, it won't surprise me if a very simple mod is available on release day to "give back" the original tank config and implement the new intention as a separate part. And you can do it yourself, if you're familiar with the edits needed and where the files go.

Yeah, but we shouldn't have to. They shouldn't remove things their customers like.

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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

Does this include DeltaV per stage?

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I'm worried that KSP will go the same way. Endless little updates to add horses or carpeting or something with no actual game improvements because the corner they've so neatly painted themselves into won't let them develop any further.

There are still plenty of things to add that they've confirmed... Multiplayer is the biggest, and it'll probably take MULTIPLE updates to get multiplayer working! After that, who knows? The thing about KSP is that you can keep on adding stuff, there's so much potential for depth in this game. Maybe even GP2! More parts! A freaking KSP sequel!

Excuse me while I engage the hype engines!

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Also I'm fairly sure that FlowerChild knows all about Squad's "Beta" schedule and is being deliberately obtuse as a rhetorical technique, in order to poke at it.

Who, me? :)

And yeah, I let go of the whole "next version is going to be release with absolutely no beta period!" thing awhile ago, but man, this whole "let's keep adding features during the final round of testing!" thing is leaving me with red palm imprints all over my face ;)

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Who, me? :)

And yeah, I let go of the whole "next version is going to be release with absolutely no beta period!" thing awhile ago, but man, this whole "let's keep adding features during the final round of testing!" thing is leaving me with red palm imprints all over my face ;)

What final round of testing? The QA and experimentals team are very likely getting new versions with features added incrementally.

Unless... you're under the mistaken impression that we're the testers. We're not. We're consumers.

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What final round of testing? The QA and experimentals team are very likely getting new versions with features added incrementally.

Experimentals is supposed to be when they're "all done" and doing the very final round of testing. Adding features AFTER Expermentals is like adding features AFTER Beta.

Oh wait. There's a delivery truck outside that smells oddly of octopus...

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Here are some highlights:

  • Added a ‘warp to next morning’ button at the KSC toolbar.
  • SAS Maneuver mode automatically disengages back to stability assist as dV nears zero.

These two make me very happy.

Could this same logic be applied to other SAS modes as well?

Like say retrograde so if your coming in for a landing and over cook a slowdown burn you don't do cartwheels that might not get the lander legs under you by the time you hit the ground.

ohhhh... good times.

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Im happy its going well, hopefully we can get this new update asap as ive basically stopped developing any aircraft/SSTOs/rockets because id rather just wait until we get the new aero and can finally make stuff thatll work for a while (im assuming that there is no plans to make any new massive overhauls to aerodynamics after 1.0). Still, at least it gives me plenty of time to mess with bearings, and ofc make some tanks to place said bearings ontop of so the turrets can turn.

Im happy we are getting a larger xenon fuel tank (ive actually NEVER used the toroidal fuel tanks in any design as it was too large for .63m probes, and was too small for 1.25m ships/probes. It had its uses, but it was generally awkward to use and didnt quite fit my own personal aesthetic tastes, so im actually one that fully supports this. Now id love to see a 1.25m ion engine, as right now, the ion engines are just way too small/unpractical for any real use outside of super tiny pribes where these new fuel tanks would most likely be too large anyways.

Im really REALLY REALLY hoping the RT-5 flea booster is .63m in size. For ages we have been using stacks of the separatrons in kinetic missiles, and id absolutely love to replace the whole Ibeam+8Sepatrons with Ibeam+1SRB (saves part count, lets you carry way more ammunition before lag starts to be a problem). That aside, a smaller SRB would make a very nice RATO booster for some heavier aircraft. RT-10s are awkward to use for this, and usually have too much thrust for rocket assisted takeoffs.

Also, can i get a word on roughly how much the reentry heat is on default settings? Like what can and what cant be done now in terms of aerobraking. Many of my SSTOs/spacecraft rely on aerobraking to slow down and get into orbit, and im hoping that a trajectory thats say going at 20km PE on laythe, when im going at 4km/s velocity isnt going to fry a MK-2 part fuselage and wings spaceplane. This is a normal aerobraking maneuver, and i dont think itd be very good if that fries a plane, especially if its made of MK-2, MK-3, ect parts, given that those should be at least partially shielded. Now if you go straight at a planet, i expect and hope that anything included a heat shielded craft fries, but im hoping that aerobraking isnt broken by the new reentry heat (worst case scenario ill turn it down, but id still like default settings to allow some aerobraking).

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Please take your time guys. Would much rather wait a long time and have the game as good as you guys want it than to have 1.0 come out with shortcomings. Plus, this means I have more time to work on my career before I inevitably start a new one for 1.0 :P

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Glad to see "The big ONE" update coming along nicely.

Definitely happy to hear about the ability to mod the tech tree. Combined with the per-save tech trees, wouldnt this allow players to make their own custom game modes? Sounds like alot of fun to me.

Also... DID I SEE MENTION OF A 0.625M SRB?!?!?!?!? YES PLZZZZZ OH YESSSS

now just add a 0.62m LFO tank, buffed 14KN ant engine and we can have a 0.625m start!!!!!

The mention of jet engine balance of course makes me want to bring THIS up again:

http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/92819-An-arguement-for-a-simple-intake-jet-engine-tweak

Edited by DundraL
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What final round of testing? The QA and experimentals team are very likely getting new versions with features added incrementally.

The problem becomes that additional features at least partially invalidate previous testing. New features can expose additional bugs, interfere with other systems you thought were solid, etc. Hence why "feature complete" is a thing. Developers have learned the hard way over time that unless you stop developing at a certain point, you're either going to wind up in a perpetual testing phase, or you're going to risk a buggy release.

Anyways, this has all been gone over many times before and my conclusion was that we were talking to a wall and I may as well just sit back with fingers and toes crossed. Will return now to doing so :)

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What does "leaving early access" mean if they're not going to be doing anything differently from what they're doing now?

The short and glib answer is that it means they won't have the "early access" tag on the game any longer.

The long answer is that it changes customer expectations, which is really the heart of the issue here. When you buy a game in early access, you're more forgiving of bugs and glaring omissions (like black-screen IVAs for example). When it's out of early access, higher expectations and harsher judgments ensue. HOWEVER...

Counterbalancing that is the constant post-release updating that's trending in this era of gaming. I'd never buy an MMORPG and expect the developer to say, "This is 1.0, the FINAL version, and we're not releasing any patches, new areas to explore, new abilities, new loot, new mobs, or raising the level cap. Have fun and goodbye forever." Some games I own have gotten significant updates for over a decade.

So you've got to ask yourself something: when Squad says "1.0! we're not 'early access anymore'", are you going to spontaneously switch from forgiving bugs and omissions to passing harsh judgment and shelving the game because it hasn't, in your mind, earned the 1.0 label? Or are you going to enjoy the improvements and look forward to more improvements, seeing as they committed to continuing development? The next patch is what it is regardless of whether Squad calls it .27, .95, or 1.0. You decide how you're going to react to that. To those whose enjoyment will actually be affected because of the label, I think you're just cutting your nose off to spite your face, as the saying goes.

And then there are those who object to Squad calling it 1.0, not because it would suddenly affect their perception and enjoyment of the game, but because they think it's a bad business decision. And I can spare maybe an ounce of sympathy. It's totally understandable to want your beloved game developer to be financially successful. We all want them to be around to make more updates, maybe even a sequel. But to be honest, I think it's a bit presumptuous of us to think we have half an idea of Squad's financial position, market strategy, future plans for growth, deadlines, business deals, and all the other factors that affect the decision to go gold. Nor do we actually know how good their experimental version is today. Some of us throw around the prediction that Squad is adding too many new things to possibly be able to release a good product without another beta stage. I'm not sure we're in a position to accurately predict a failure based on that, and dev notes -- a tiny, tiny window into their development cycle. Unless I hear some more convincing evidence that the next patch is going to be a disaster, I just dismiss this as wild speculation.

I mean, who am I going to believe? The developers who actually have the code in hand, and are listening to QA and experimentals test feedback, or forum member X who, to my knowledge, might not have ever developed a video game in his/her life, much less actually have any behind-the-scenes knowledge of the next KSP version.

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Felipe (HarvesteR): So much so I’m referring to the git log to see what went in between the last dev blog and now.

Here are some highlights:

  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Added a difficulty slider to turn reentry heat down (or up, or entirely off… your choice)....
  • The Flight UI can now be made transparent through a game setting.
  • Added a ‘warp to next morning’ button at the KSC toolbar.
  • SAS Maneuver mode automatically disengages back to stability assist as dV nears zero.
  • Many improvements to ambient audio in flight.
  • The Round8 Toroidal Fuel Tank was repurposed as a 1.25m inline Xenon Tank.
  • 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)
  • Added a system to generate and display thumbnails for craft files in the LaunchDialog and CraftBrowser screens. (thumbnails not required for sharing craft files)
  • Several improvements to part shaders, especially around transparent textured ones.
  • Added PorkJet’s awesome new Mk3 wing sections.

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.

Mike (Mu): 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.

Jim (Romfarer): 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.

I have to say, all those changes and fixes have changed me to a positive hype. Keep up the good work and please don't make an unfinished game update again, even if that means pushing the release farther away.

It's sad to say good bye to the toroidal LF+LOX, but it is a good idea to have a 1.25m xenon tank. Please don't make it too dry mass heavy (compared to the other xenon tanks). Having both LF+LOX and xenon tanks using the same mesh but with different texture would work well too, so people can still use the toroidal for small (non-xenon) probes too. That, and aesthetics.

Thanks.

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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

Excuse me, but shouldn't the "need" for a part come from the people actually using your game, i.e. us players? Who is the "we" needing a bigger Xenon tank and why?

This change makes me really angry, because there was no need to take away this part. Imagine that: some people actually build for aesthetics. I have about a dozen designs using the Donut tank.

Would it have hurt you to add just a new Xenon tank? I mean, you have two parts in aero already being functionally redundant, the two intake parts with 40 fuel in them. And yeah, they are distinctly different - in optics.

If functionality alone is your reasoning you would not have added female Kerbals, just saying.

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The problem becomes that additional features at least partially invalidate previous testing. New features can expose additional bugs, interfere with other systems you thought were solid, etc. Hence why "feature complete" is a thing. Developers have learned the hard way over time that unless you stop developing at a certain point, you're either going to wind up in a perpetual testing phase, or you're going to risk a buggy release.

Anyways, this has all been gone over many times before and my conclusion was that we were talking to a wall and I may as well just sit back with fingers and toes crossed. Will return now to doing so :)

Hey, Don't complain at us that SQUAD is considering this "1.0 Release", We've pretty much all told them "Don't go to Beta just yet" and now "Don't release on the first version after you start beta"

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