NecroBones

[WIP] DEV: Lithobrake Exploration Technologies 0.1 (2015-07-08)

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PLEASE GO TO THE RELEASE THREAD.

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Original post:

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I figured I'd do something I don't usually do, and start a development thread before I have a bunch of parts to release.

I'm planning on starting another (smallish) parts pack. Something that I've noticed is that people are more likely to download and try a mod if it's fairly specific in what it tries to do, rather than being a huge parts pack that fills every tab in the VAB with loads of new parts. So with that in mind, I thought I'd mention here what this pack will try to do, and why it doesn't belong in my other existing mods.

I don't get as much time to work on modding as I did back in the fall/winter, however the speed at which I was making things back then was partly driven by a desire to get as much as I could done, before having more demands on my time. So this probably will develop a bit more slowly.

Tentatively: Kerbal Exploration Technologies

I'm still looking around to make sure the name isn't overlapping too badly with anything else out there. It looks like the "USI Exploration Pack" may have been called the "Kerbal Exploration Pack" once upon a time, but it's different enough now that this might be OK. Nothing else really came up on a quick google search though.

Intended Purpose

I have kept a list of a lot of the requests for parts that were made on my other mod threads. A lot of them are great ideas, and I realized that some of them would fit better in a new pack. Specifically:

  • Alternate sizes, and intermediate configurations of command pods (lander cans, and capsules).
  • Long ladders (both fixed, and deployable)
  • Larger service bays
  • Additional sizes of lander legs (maybe?) *
  • (and possibly others)

* Not happening before Unity 5 KSP is out, if at all, since that will likely break all types of landing gear

Originally I started thinking about a pod-only pack, but realized that service bays and ladders work well with the idea of Munar transportation, and landers.

How it fits in

So, here's a quick run-down of the focus of my other mods, and where this fits in:

  • SpaceY Heavy Lifters (Large 5m parts, associated accessories, and a spread of SRBs. Stuff to get you to space.)
  • Modular Rocket Systems (Mostly stock-alike parts filling in gaps in stock line-up, and providing a few alternatives to stock items.)
  • Color Coded Canisters (Visual replacement for stock rocket fuel tanks, color coding the end-caps based on diameter, while prettying them up a little.)
  • Fuel Tanks Plus (Additional sizes and visual styles of fuel tanks, extending the style established in CCC.)
  • 0-Point Inline Fairings (fairings only, and doesn't currently shield anything in new stock aerodynamics.)

The idea is basically that SpaceY is focused on adding 5m parts and enough accessories to make 5m useful, and back-fill those parts that are missing in 3.75m. MRS is already pretty huge and is an eclectic mix of things, usually individual unique ideas that fill specific niches.

Since pods can be a big task on their own, and ladders and service bays can be logically associated with them, this seemed like a nice grouping that will work nicely alongside the other mods, and also be a manageable size. And some people might want what this offers while having no interest in my other packs, and that's fine too.

Getting started

So here's what I'm thinking so far, at least to start:

  • 2.5m 3-man lander can, octagonal, similar in concept to Mk1 Lander Can.
  • 1.25m 2-man capsule. Gemini-like capsules already exist in other mods, so I was thinking maybe something with the Kerbals seated front-and-rear, but I'm not married to this idea. Still debating it. But it would be nice to have an option between the Mk1 and Mk1-2 capsules in stock.
  • Fixed ladders, probably 2 or 3 lengths. Maybe 1m, 2m, and 4m.
  • A very long deployable ladder, maybe 1.5x or 2x the length of the longer stock ladder.
  • Longer service bays, possibly 1.5x to 1.75x the length of the stock models.
  • 3.75m service bay.

I'm certainly interested in collecting more ideas, but I don't want the parts list to explode out of control. At least not while I still haven't made the above yet. ;)

NgMBaTm.jpg

Edited by NecroBones

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I wouldn't waste time with a 2 person pod. There's now a plethora of options: K2 (finally has IVA), the HGR Radish, Corvus, FASA, Novapunch, and NearFuture Spaceships.

A 5 meter to 3.75 meter pod would be nice, or rather, a 3.75 meter to 2.5/1.25 meter pod with a "big gemini" style add on cone behind it that lines up really well that goes from 5m to 3.75, so you can haul a lot more kerbals to orbit. The smaller pod could hold 5-7 kerbals easily, then the larger section could hold another 10+.

http://www.daviddarling.info/images/Big_Gemini_mockup.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Big_Gemini.png

I like the two part option, because that gives us another pod in the 3.75m range.

Also, some extra parts to make building service/command modules would be nice.

The 3.75 meter service bay will work quite well with this to give it an orion look. Or, a flatter 5meter service bay to give it the CST-100 look.

A docking port nose cone with built in parachutes could be awesome as well, and actually would look really good with a 3.75 meter base/2.5 meter top pod.

Edited by MarcAlain

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Would you consider my suggestion I made in the Space Y thread: a self contained 5m biconic spacecraft? (Basically command pod, fuel tank, and engine as it's specific parts)

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Would you consider my suggestion I made in the Space Y thread: a self contained 5m biconic spacecraft? (Basically command pod, fuel tank, and engine as it's specific parts)

I'm going to echo his sentiments as that being a bad idea, in the spirit of the game. A spaceplane? I wish there were more one part spaceplanes * with customizable bays *

A pod/capsule? Not so much.

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A few things that would be cool to see (I'm thinking landers here, I don't care as much about Gemini pods, there are a few mods for that).

One, I'd like the possibility of inset parts for a 2-stage lander. Like a lander base stage with hole or something (another mod does this). That or whatever might actually work without have huge, top heavy landers (I'll admit I'm thinking of scaled up kerbol system mods with stock parts, so not hyper-critical).

Two, It would be cool, perhaps for a 3.75m service bay to think of it beneath a lander/hab of some kind, perhaps with rover garage functionality. This would require a similar sized tab/control unit to stack above.

Edited by tater

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One thing needed for big landers is adjustable landing legs for levelling on uneven ground.

Also aeroshells for landing big honkin rovers and base components in atmospheres

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So here's what I'm thinking so far, at least to start:

  • 2.5m 3-man lander can, octagonal, similar in concept to Mk1 Lander Can.
  • 1.25m 2-man capsule. Gemini-like capsules already exist in other mods, so I was thinking maybe something with the Kerbals seated front-and-rear, but I'm not married to this idea. Still debating it. But it would be nice to have an option between the Mk1 and Mk1-2 capsules in stock.
  • Fixed ladders, probably 2 or 3 lengths. Maybe 1m, 2m, and 4m.
  • A very long deployable ladder, maybe 1.5x or 2x the length of the longer stock ladder.
  • Longer service bays, possibly 1.5x to 1.75x the length of the stock models.
  • 3.75m service bay.

For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents:

I don't feel any lack of 1.25m or 2.5m pods. On the other hand, as MarcAlain has pointed out, there is a bit of a dearth of 3.75m+ pods.

I have definitely felt the lack of longer ladders, especially longer fixed ladders. If you had a pack that consisted entirely of ladders, it would probably be an insta-download. :)

I haven't felt the lack of long service bays, but now that I think about it.... they would be pretty useful. I've definitely stacked up the stock service bays to get more space. :)

I do like the look/functionality of the stock service bays but haven't seen any replications; is this something that is doable?

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I would welcome more landing leg options and more lander pod options (another 2 man lander pod in a different form, and 3-5 kerbal pods).

Ladders might be cool. Maybe a procedural one, especially now that mass matters.

How about a cargo bay that opens downward(upward). For example maybe you'd put your engines around radially, then have that in the center full of all your science experiments but it's pretty flat so the dome opens up. Kind of like the Multispectral Scanner from DMagic's parts? Or maybe one that attaches radially? Could be kind of like a blister pack possibly.

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OK cool, some great discussion going here. It's definitely giving me things to think about. A few notes though:

For 3.75m pods, there are two main options I'm aware of already: Near Future Spacecraft, and Taurus HCV. Both look pretty robust, so I'd have to think about what I could do differently here.

I'll keep going on the 3-man octagonal lander pod, since I think that's a useful niche with three available professions for Kerbals. I'll base the mass ratio on the existing lander cans.

I do want to be careful about overly obsoleting stock parts. Extending, without replacing. So with that in mind, there are probably still some combinations we can come up with. I mainly want to get a good feel for where I should put the development time before getting too deeply into it. :)

That "Big G"-Gemini thing does look pretty cool. I could see maybe doing a capsule with an unusual base diameter, with a few interchangeable "adapter" sections that bring it up to 2.5m or 3.75m (not sure which is better here), that could include a crew transport or a service bay, etc. At 3.75m for the back end, it would overlap with the Taurus though. I'm still open to ideas here of course.

Here's what I wrote down as "wishlist items" that people suggested in other threads (not necessarily as a "to-do list"):

  • 1.25m 1-man lander can (slim cylinder, as opposed to stock bulky octagon)
  • 1.25m 2-man lander and/or capsule
  • 2.5m 4-man capsule (tall, wide necked "wine bottle")
  • 2.5m 3-man lander can (bulky octagon)
  • 3.75m 5-man capsule (possible collision with Taurus and Near Future)

Unfortunately procedural parts are something I can't do. I still want to aim for very few (if any) dependencies on other mods, and maintain a stock-like functionality as much as I can. I wouldn't even know where to start on self-balancing (or in-situ adjustable) landing legs.

For the service bays, I'm thinking something similar to the stock bays, but with sliding doors. (As an aside, I'm probably going to completely rework the MRS cargo bay doors too, so they don't get in the way as much).

EDIT: Would it be worth splitting the ladders out to a separate pack after all?

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For 3.75m, there have been a few "Duna Direct" mods started that have what I tend to think of when I think of needed lander parts at large size that don't exist.

Kerbal landers tend to either get tall, or they are wide contraptions that are hard to launch with rockets that look like rockets. Some sort of intentional rover delivery system would be kinda neat. It seems like a rover could fit horizontally within a 3.75m part, the trick is getting it out and having room for engines/fuel.

I'm bad at this, take pity :)

garage.jpg

Room for propellant on the sides, and a node under each solid side for an engine. There would either be a floor which might need a ramp for rovers (possible?) or open on the bottom, and doors. Also a node on the center of the inside top to hang the rover. Obviously any scale seen here is entirely imaginary, I have no idea what I am doing.

Edited by tater

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I don't think overlapping with Taurus or NF is a problem.

What if those mods aren't available any longer?

I also appreciate how your parts look/work together, and a 2 part Big gemini style pod would certainly be useful.

As far as the various adapter thing, that sounds pretty rad.

We definitely do need something though that can carry more than 6-7 kerbals (other than spaceplanes), wether it's a singular pod or a 2 part Big Gemini style pod.

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For 3.75m, there have been a few "Duna Direct" mods started that have what I tend to think of when I think of needed lander parts at large size that don't exist.

Huh, so a sort of combination tank + storage bay? Finding some reasonable sizes/proportions might be a little tricky, but I could see how a few different configurations could be useful.

- - - Updated - - -

I don't think overlapping with Taurus or NF is a problem.

What if those mods aren't available any longer?

I also appreciate how your parts look/work together, and a 2 part Big gemini style pod would certainly be useful.

As far as the various adapter thing, that sounds pretty rad.

We definitely do need something though that can carry more than 6-7 kerbals (other than spaceplanes), wether it's a singular pod or a 2 part Big Gemini style pod.

Yeah, I can see how some larger capacity parts might be nice.

Those are some good points, I might have to think some more about overlap. Sometimes a stylistic difference is enough for another part to be worthwhile.

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I'd love some sort of part or parts to make 2 stage landers (apollo style) easier to build, like some sort of frame I guess.

Everything I try to build becomes this super tall stack which isn't right or this ugly ungangly thing with fuel tanks strapped to the outside totallly unnaturally.

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What we really need, are some rover specific parts.

Yeah, hence my sketch above. I'd like to have rovers not require "krazy kontraptions" as they do now.

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Yeah, I'll have to think about that. Some sort of lander frame system would be cool, but the trick is to find configurations that are helpful, rather than awkward. Basically, what sort of sizes and shapes would make the most sense.

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Overlap is fine IMO, I like your stuff and it's great to have more command pod options. Unlike more fuel tanks, they're rather unique and I tend to build the ship around them.

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I started work on some simple fixed ladders. I have 1m and 2m lengths working, though I'm trying to decide if I should make them protrude more, since they're a bit flatter than the stock ladder-rungs.

KSP%202015-06-05%2017-03-27-44.jpg

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Some sort of intentional rover delivery system would be kinda neat. It seems like a rover could fit horizontally within a 3.75m part, the trick is getting it out and having room for engines/fuel.

This! USI Exploration pack has a delivery cage for it's rover but an actual integrated lander part would be spiffy. It'd be neat not to have to either duct-tape the rover to the bottom of the lander or send it down on a sky-crane contraption.

That's undoubtedly a LOT easier said than done, like most things.

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Actually, I went ahead and extended them a little. I think it'll work better in the long run, since there's a lot of variation between mod parts and the like, in terms of how deep the colliders are inside the mesh, which is partly why the stock ladders look like that. They're still shorter than the stock ladder's protrusion, but it's closer now:

KSP%202015-06-05%2017-35-03-83.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

This! USI Exploration pack has a delivery cage for it's rover but an actual integrated lander part would be spiffy. It'd be neat not to have to either duct-tape the rover to the bottom of the lander or send it down on a sky-crane contraption.

That's undoubtedly a LOT easier said than done, like most things.

Yes, it's going to take some thought. A large "box" with a stack node inside (for undocking the rover) might be doable, in the sense that it would just be a variation on a cargo/service bay, just sized appropriately for rovers. Perhaps something that opens at the front, and also has an attachment node along the back wall? I'm open to ideas. :)

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Yes, it's going to take some thought. A large "box" with a stack node inside (for undocking the rover) might be doable, in the sense that it would just be a variation on a cargo/service bay, just sized appropriately for rovers. Perhaps something that opens at the front, and also has an attachment node along the back wall? I'm open to ideas. :)

That's a great idea. Sort of like a rover garage. Maybe even a deployable ramp? I'm full of suggestions for things I don't know how to do. ;)

The connection of the rover is always problematic, short of magic forcefield nodes connected to nothing for it to click on to, it would need a support pylon or something, which would then get in the way when trying to drive out. Could maybe stick it on the roof instead and attach it that way.

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That's a great idea. Sort of like a rover garage. Maybe even a deployable ramp? I'm full of suggestions for things I don't know how to do. ;)

The connection of the rover is always problematic, short of magic forcefield nodes connected to nothing for it to click on to, it would need a support pylon or something, which would then get in the way when trying to drive out. Could maybe stick it on the roof instead and attach it that way.

A ramp is possible, but like any animated part, the ramp either needs to be non-colliding (which would be ridiculous), or it would push the whole lander up if it extends lower than the legs are permitting, or if the legs are long enough, it wouldn't reach the ground.

I was thinking maybe an attachment node in the ceiling, and another along the back wall, and probably one on the floor as well. That way it's like a service bay, but with that rear-wall node, so you'd have lots of choices about where to stick the rover. But it would still need a docking port or decoupler or something, unless the bay acted like a decoupler itself, but that's probably making too much of an assumption about how people will use it.

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I'd like to propose a renaming, as previously suggested somewhere deep in one of NecroBones threads: Boing Aerospace. Seems slightly more interresting than "Kerbal Expolration Technologies" to me anyways.

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Why not have the rover bay deploy its ramp horizontally, just le it sit down on the surface...or you give it its own landing struts, with the given length you can determine what angle the ramp needs. Bottom node + gear assembly, so to say.

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I'd like to propose a renaming, as previously suggested somewhere deep in one of NecroBones threads: Boing Aerospace. Seems slightly more interresting than "Kerbal Expolration Technologies" to me anyways.

Heh, yeah I haven't forgotten about that one. I was thinking that would be better saved for an aircraft/spaceplane pack though. I'm still open to more ideas of course. :)

Why not have the rover bay deploy its ramp horizontally, just le it sit down on the surface...or you give it its own landing struts, with the given length you can determine what angle the ramp needs. Bottom node + gear assembly, so to say.

Well, I don't think that'll work since the landing-leg system is designed to work on compression suspension (pistons) that deploy to a specific angle, rather than something that can rotate from a hinge instead.

What might be the most flexible is to not have a ramp at all, just have retracting doors, and let the player figure out whether the lander needs to sit down on the ground directly, or if they can use a little RCS to get the rover in and out.

Something else I keep forgetting to mention, is I think it might be useful to have a 0.625m launch-escape, for use with the Mk.1 capsule (and other similarly sized capsules), especially if I make another capsule in that size class. We'll see. :)

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