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Devnote Tuesday: Greener Pastures mk2

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Rogelio (Roger)

Hi guys just wanted to tell you that I’m leaving the KSP team to start a new mobile gaming project on my own, also I want to thank you for being an awesome community and for all the support you’ve gave to all of us in the dev team. It’s been an amazing experience working at Squad I hope you’ve enjoyed all the stuff done in the art team, I’m sure Dan will do his best to keep giving you awesome surprises and improving the Kerbal’s universe. I’m leaving next Friday so this will be my last post on tuesday’s dev notes. Keep enjoying KSP!


Felipe (HarvesteR)

We’re chugging away at the Unity 5 upgrade here, and as I probably already said last week, it’s by no means a small task. Read on for more about that. On my end, I’ve been revising shaders and tweaking basic physics.

The shaders so far have been thankfully quite compliant; the terrain shaders required a bit of shuffling around, as they are right up at the limits of SM3 constraints, and U5 adds a couple of new things that effectively give us fewer texture interpolators to play with. We were only one interpolator above the limit though, so some tighter packing of input data and a few lines moved from the vertex program to the frag program solved the problem.

As for physics, U5 and the new PhysX 3.3 (last week I wrote 3.5, that was a mental typo) have changed the internal limits of springs in joints, which as a result, meant some vessels were looking a bit like… overcooked spaghetti. This was fortunately easy enough to tweak, just upping the global tuning factor for joint rigidity until joints felt normal again.

The one thing that is giving me a run for it are the wheels. The new wheels in Unity5 apparently still have a few issues of their own, which makes them very much unsuitable for their job of being wheels… They become unstable if other rigidbodies are attached to the wheeled body, which in our case means the other 100+ parts that make up the ship. Needless to say, that was a problem.

There is a solution, however, and this is why I love Unity (I don’t even get paid to say this). If something doesn’t fit your needs, there is in 99% of cases something you can get that will do the job as you need it done, and once more we turned to the Asset Store and found a very cool package that handles vehicle/wheel physics in not only a very realistic way, but that is also module-based and fits right in with our own part modules scheme. I’m very much looking forward to starting work on it.

Now, one big question from last week’s feedback was about the state of a 1.0.3 revision patch. This is being developed in parallel. We’re getting together the most important fixes and QA testing is already in progress. We’re targeting primarily a memory leak with the temperature overlays, and also the most important balance issues both around part stats and physics constants.

Do keep in mind though, that balancing is very much a subjective thing, and what feels right for one may not feel right for others, so the bottomline is that there is no exact solution to it. We aim to hit a happy middle ground, but we can only act on feedback accumulated over a reasonable period of time (at least several weeks), and from which we can identify a general trend towards a specific direction. My point with this is that 1.0.3 is firstly focused on fixing technical issues, then glaring balance problems and potential exploits, and lastly, subjective balancing, when applicable.

Anyhow, we expect the patch should be getting ready to go soon… In terms of days, not weeks. That’s about as accurate as I can be without making stuff up.

Lastly, a preemptive answer: No, 1.0.3 won’t be built in Unity 5. That upgrade will still take a while. The patch will be using the same Unity version we built the 1.0 release on (4.6.4).

Alex (aLeXmOrA)

Working to have the accurate and final servers for our websites. We’re deciding which one is the best option according to our needs. Also, I’m helping with the KerbalEDU final builds, so TeacherGaming can release them soon.

Mike (Mu)

What a fun week it’s been. We embarked on the Unity 5 upgrade last week and decided that we would consolidate all of our UI systems on to the Unity native UI system. So thus i’ve been going through the entire game and replicating, rewriting and reworking every piece of UI. This is a bit of a chore but the rewards for it will be great. The game will run faster, be slightly smaller, be more easily moddable and, just as important, be faster to work on. It also paves the way for future enhancements and allows for much better scaling with odd aspect ratios, screen resolutions. There will also going to be a UI scale slider for those amongst you with really good/bad eyesight.

Aside from the mountainous UI upgrade i’ve been putting a few hours into the 1.0.3 patch. It features more aero/thermal balancing and fixes a memory leak in the thermal display.

Daniel (danRosas)

Found out a couple of issues concerning the Kerbals that will need to be taken care of once the Unity 5 upgrade of the game is ready to move forward. I started to see what would be the best approach for those matters. I did a couple of graphics for Kasper and Miguel, the plush announcement and the Sally Kerman gif. There’s also the
I released last week, in case you haven’t read it, about the iteration process of the female Kerbal.

Jim (Romfarer)

Jim is out with the flu, get well soon!

Max (Maxmaps)

We finally launched our plushies! They are looking incredible and I can’t personally wait to get my own. On the general side of stuff, overseeing the U5 upgrade and making sure everyone in our team has what they need, while at the same time we work on 1.0.3. I’ve also been organizing travel and the like for the upcoming events this year. Can’t wait til we are done with Unity 5, as the stuff coming in 1.1 is quite cool and I’m eager to share it with you guys.

Ted (Ted)

QA is focusing on the 1.0.3 patch, mainly addressing the memory leaks, rebalancing a few engine Isp values and some aero tweaks. I’ve been evaluating and developing our internal design and development documentation here though, getting things up to scratch for the long road ahead!

Kasper (KasperVld)

It’s been an interesting week, mostly in the merchandising department. The
are now available, and I’m looking into doing something pretty cool with Shapeways too. Aside from that I’ve spent some time watching a lot of YouTube videos, not only from some big-name streamers who put out new KSP episodes (Nerd3, JackSepticEye, Quill18 and many others), but I also looked at quite a few channels that were entered in the
contest, and cast my votes as a judge there. Finally, I’d like to congratulate Biff Aldrin, the LMP of the
who got married last weekend!

Edited by KasperVld
fixing layout a bit

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Sorry to see you leave the team, Rogelio. Thanks for all you did for KSP and the community. Best wishes about your new project.

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Woot! So, if I read this right, native x64 support on all platforms in 1.1? I'll take it!

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The game will run faster, be slightly smaller, be more easily moddable and, just as important, be faster to work on.

This is fantastic news! Smaller and faster game that is more easily moddable deserves some serious respect - that's the kind of thing that doesn't get mentioned in the press releases but is 100% serving the KSP community. Looking forward to seeing it in action. What exactly will make things more "easily moddable?"

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I seriously can't wait until summer vacation!!! #nolifehardcoreksp

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Woot! So, if I read this right, native x64 support on all platforms in 1.1? I'll take it!

You're reading a bit much into that, see last week's devnotes ;)

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Rogelio (Roger)

Hi guys just wanted to tell you that I’m leaving the KSP team to start a new mobile gaming project on my own, also I want to thank you for being an awesome community and for all the support you’ve gave to all of us in the dev team. It’s been an amazing experience working at Squad I hope you’ve enjoyed all the stuff done in the art team, I’m sure Dan will do his best to keep giving you awesome surprises and improving the Kerbal’s universe. I’m leaving next Friday so this will be my last post on tuesday’s dev notes. Keep enjoying KSP!

Good Luck!

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Those of us with more capable pc's can we expect anything from U5 in terms of eye candy? I'd love nothing more then HDR lighting. This way munlight can be a thing.

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Do you guys know how much Unity5 will break models? Theres been some concern (I'm not a modder (or part modeller) myself, just relaying the word) that it'll break even part only mods. I mean, it IS to be expected that everything will break to some extent, but the the way models work in Unity 5 vs current is different or something.

Someone else will probably be able to better articulate the concern there.

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Soooooooo shouldn't we go to sleep? I mean 23:20 is pretty late right?

@kaspervld

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Awesome! Sounds like we're getting a nice optimization update, for those filthy casuals like me :wink:Yeah, I play KSP on an overheating laptop.

And good luck on your new project, Roger!

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Soooooooo shouldn't we go to sleep? I mean 23:20 is pretty late right?

@kaspervld

Sleep? I'm not even off work yet ;)

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Good luck on the new project, Roger!

We definitely appreciate all the hard work that all of you have done on this game!

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Yay, devnotes! :)

Good Luck @Rogelio for your future!

@HarvesteR: happy to hear about the memory leaks being fixed! Have you perhaps had a chance to look at this bug as well?

http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/118776-Master-Thread-Cannot-Activate-While-Stowed!

Since I now have quite adapted to 1.0.2 I am hoping the balancing tweaks will be... moderate

U5 update sounds like a really cool endeavour. Looking forward to the next devnotes!

@KasterVld: thanks for tweeting my Normandy! :)

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Hey! Good to hear ur progressing!

One question though (about the wheel problem and potential solution). I am not that experienced in coding so i have no idea how easy or good this could be for KSP. So here is the question. Did u try to do something like Robocraft did about the number of parts and stuff connected to part interaction? If i understood their method well this is how they did it (sort of): When you craft your robot using cubes (that would be parts in ksp), the game makes your contraption a single mesh that saves a lot of resources. Now when a part of your bot is destroyed you get a new mesh (i am not sure how they did this). So basically you would always have one rigid body the entire time. Again this is just how i understood it. Maybe im totally wrong here and i hope im at least somewhat close.

If this is possible it would allow 32bit version to support really huge ships (considering part count) with low resource impact.

Keep up the good work!

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Do you guys know how much Unity5 will break models? Theres been some concern (I'm not a modder (or part modeller) myself, just relaying the word) that it'll break even part only mods. I mean, it IS to be expected that everything will break to some extent, but the the way models work in Unity 5 vs current is different or something.

Someone else will probably be able to better articulate the concern there.

I wouldn't think so? If Squad can make U5 load their own .mu's, then other (basic) .mu's should also be fine. I don't think they'd set up the own asset loader so their own assets wouldn't load correctly.

Since they're sticking with their own custom shaders, assets will (probably) be sticking with their current texture arrangements as well, rather than needing to be updated to the standard shader arrangement. I'm sure some modders will leap on the PBR shader though.

Some specific parts, like Wheels and Landing gear will (probably) need hierarchy rearranging though if the suspension module they depend on is changing (judging by the wheel technology shift Harv described, maybe something like Edy's Vehicle Physics?)

I'm sure some stuff will break, but I don't think it'll be any kind of widespread parts failure.

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What is this sally kerman gif?

Seconded. actually googled it, found kraken dung. (absolutely nothing, that is.)

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Seconded. actually googled it, found kraken dung. (absolutely nothing, that is.)

:)

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Good luck with your game, Roger!

Whoo, devnotes and 3,000 posts!! :D Extra awesome.

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Best of luck Roger, thanks for all your work on KSP!

Devs, please take your time to get the aero/re-entry in 1.0.3 right, so you wont have to change it again. It is frustrating to re-design craft between versions, particularly since we have an officially released game...

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Just to keep it short: Will 1.0.3 take a shot at the witchcraft that causes issues with the service bay?

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Good work Squad, and good luck Roger.

I think the key thing to remember is with whatever balancing tweaks they make they will not able to please everybody. They should listen to the community, certainly, but take its advice with a grain of salt. Firstly because there is no consensus of how the game should be developed that I can see, and several diametrically opposed camps. Also the forum should not be confused as some kind of democratic expression. Ultimately they will need to trust their own instincts and vision.

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Felipe (HarvesteR)

.....

There is a solution, however, and this is why I love Unity (I don’t even get paid to say this). If something doesn’t fit your needs, there is in 99% of cases something you can get that will do the job as you need it done, and once more we turned to the Asset Store and found a very cool package that handles vehicle/wheel physics in not only a very realistic way, but that is also module-based and fits right in with our own part modules scheme. I’m very much looking forward to starting work on it.

Sounds like this would open up some wheelie good features in the future.:cool:

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