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Devnote Tuesday: Wednesday Edition!


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Hello everyone!

It’s been quite hectic over here, as you can see because the devnotes didn’t manage to get out on time yesterday. This is caused by both absence and a large chunk of work on the community side of things: Kasper (KasperVld) is on ‘vacation’ for two weeks, studying for two large exams and rushing to meet a thesis deadline at university, while Andrea (Badie) and Joe (Dr Turkey) have spent a lot of time to make sure our attendance at the Playstation Experience last weekend went off smoothly. Those of you who attended the event will have had the chance to experience the first playable console build of Kerbal Space Program (on PS4 of course) and to meet our very own Dan (DanRosas)!

On to the development of KSP 1.1 then. Felipe (HarvesteR) put in some overtime to fix several critical issues with the port that were holding back the rest of the development team. It’s crunch time in that department as well then, as we’re gearing up for a winter-stretch to make sure 1.1 is released as soon as possible. We’ve postponed our traditional two week end-of-year vacation time to make this happen.

The good news is that a lot of progress can be seen from last week: several fairly significant bugs in the construction, staging, flight and map view areas of the game were fixed, and going through the list it seems that we’re very near to complete the user interface overhaul now, aside from the long list of small details that we wish to address. Felipe especially was very excited to see the game go from a “broken mess” to “something playable” this week, because months of work on something that just didn’t work was starting to get disheartening. We’re now at the point where it’s quicker to list the outstanding tasks than to list the completed tasks.

Felipe indicated that this would be a good time to highlight the overhaul on the orbit splines rendering: the orbit lines you see in the map view. This is one area that has been improved upon greatly in the update. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but the new version of Vectrosity we discussed many moons back is really paying off now as we can do things like this.

Felipe was not the only one to take advantage of these new features: Brian (Arsonide) has also jumped on the opportunity to fix one particular issue that was often encountered when dealing with contracts: the direction of the orbit of objects was often quite hard to discern, but the new orbital lines that scale up once they get closer to the object now clarifies the situation as you can see here.

While looking at these pictures you might have noticed that the Tracking Station has received a bit of a user interface update as well: the top bar layout is much cleaner and is now consistent with the top bars on the other KSC facilities (editors excluded) as well.

Mike (Mu) has been working on the settings screen, which with the console ports in mind did not just require a rewrite of existing functionality, but also needed to be made configurable and needed to include support for different controllers and platforms. The result speaks for itself, and Mike even managed to make it a little bit prettier and a lot more moddable in the process.

The editor parts lists haven’t escaped our attention either, and work on them has been continuing. Jim (Romfarer) has implemented a system where the scrollbar returns to the position it was at before you left the tab, it’s one of those seemingly smaller changes that will improve workflow in the editor quite a bit. For KSP however, the moddability and customizability of the menus means that you can literally have millions of ways in which the parts can be listed with even just the stock parts and menu layout. Fortunately Jim caught this possibility early and fixed the underlying systems or else you would be able to crash the game by simply selecting many, many different category combinations iteratively.

Bob (Roverdude) has been implementing his probe and telemetry system into the Unity 5 branch. The new user interface was ‘lit up’ for the first time and overall we’re very happy with the result. The interface shows your current control level –being either a Kerbal or a probe core), the signal strength and the method of connectivity which can be either directly to Kerbin, using a relay network or remote control from a piloted vessel. It sounds complicated but works quite well, as demonstrated by this picture of a probe connecting to Kerbin via an orbital relay network.

Preparations to put the Unity 5 / KSP 1.1 update through QA testing have also begun: Ted has brought several temporary QA testers on board so that the QA team can work more closely and cohesively to put the upgrade through its paces. Not only the QA team received some attention, Jenkins (the build server that compiles KSP into the different distributions) has had its version of Unity updated to Unity 5.2.3 and few test versions were run on them. As expected, it required a few initial failures to get the process working properly again.

Before we move on to the QA process we need to fix all the bugs, and that’s Nathanael’s (NathanKell) area of expertise. Most developers have focused on the user interface lately, but the upgrae to Unity 5 also caused different issues, such as with the game’s audio: engines which used the old ModuleEngines still, instead of the newer ModuleEnginesFX, had an issue where the visual effects worked fine, but the sound effects wouldn’t play on ignition. If you then zeroed the throttle and throttled up again the system worked as expected. A few tweaks in the code later and the engines are now roaring as they should again.

Finally, if you’re in the market for KSP themed Christmas gifts you should take a look at our Shapeways store, and the Maker page where we are offering new merchandise. If you want something personalized then you should not overlook EUCL3D either, who 3D print your very own spaceships and recently started supporting mods as well!

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Nice screenshots, new orbit lines look snazzy.

It wasn't mentioned this devnotes but I had a suggestion for KSPedia content articles. Would it be possible to display a random one (that periodically changes) on the initial loading screen? The art that is there at the moment is nice but sneaking in some information for the player when nothing else is going on would be fantastic.

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Any chance of folders, hiding certain vessels, or custom vessel types in the Tracking Station? A big issue with RemoteTech (which will now become a Stock issue) is that setting up networks quickly fills up the Tracking Station list with vessels you aren't going to use frequently (if ever again), making it harder to find the vessels you're looking for. Minimally I think "Plane" and "Comm. Relay" vessel types would be useful additions.

 

E: Also, it looks awesome!

Edited by magico13
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Well nice Devnotes and congrats to the progress. The map will be a huge improvement.

But i have to say that this issue

51 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

engines which used the old ModuleEngines still, instead of the newer ModuleEnginesFX, had an issue where the visual effects worked fine, but the sound effects wouldn’t play on ignition. If you then zeroed the throttle and throttled up again the system worked as expected. A few tweaks in the code later and the engines are now roaring as they should again.

shouldn't be one in 1.1.   I expect that all engines have the newer ModuleEnginesFX. The older ones are inconsistent and look ugly compared to the newer ones. I expected the new effects for (the otherwise great) 1.0.5 because i saw the new jet effects. I think this work will be obsolete by the release of the console versions.

I also hope that the position of Time Warp at the Space Center screen is more consistent to Flight-, Map- and Trackingstation-scene.

Edited by KroShan
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Instead of @NathanKell spending time fixing legacy ModuleEngines, why not spend that time migrating parts using them to the newer ModuleEnginesFX (and I'm thinking RCS here too, so they could have emissives + particle based jets)? I guess some mods will still be using the legacy ModuleEngines so backwards compatibility is desirable, I think I just answered my own question didn't I :huh:

Also, nice splines, dang.  These look a lot smoother than the current splines, are there more points or is the interpolation better with the new Vectrosity?

Other U5 related questioning; The performance under U4 has definitely suffered with the last few updates, I'm assuming this is because systems originally envisaged with U5 in mind have been deployed into U4 which doesn't really handle threading that well, so they're perhaps running in the same thread as other calculations instead of in parallel (and will U5's native MTJS will smooth that out)?

Oh, oh, oh, I don't suppose @Porkjet has any material comparisons of how parts look between the current KSP custom shaders and U5 standard shader w/PBR? That would be neat.

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Wow, first time we've had a good look at 1.1, even if it's just the UI. What an improvement. I just hope its much snappier in 1.1 than it is right now, it's very fidgety in it's current state. Those new orbit splines are beautiful... I also hope that the vessel icons get expanded a bit, or at least made easily moddable.

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1 minute ago, TyrannoFan said:

Wow, first time we've had a good look at 1.1, even if it's just the UI. What an improvement. I just hope its much snappier in 1.1 than it is right now, it's very fidgety in it's current state. Those new orbit splines are beautiful... I also hope that the vessel icons get expanded a bit, or at least made easily moddable.

This. I want a plane icon. Now.

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I like the new orbit lines, but personally would prefer the near future to be heavier/brighter while the distant future gets fainter.  Looks like it is opposite in the screenshots.  I think it makes more sense the other way (brighter lines in the near future) as the farther into the future you look, the less certain things are...  any chance that might be configurable?

Danny

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5 minutes ago, NoMrBond said:

Instead of @NathanKell spending time fixing legacy ModuleEngines, why not spend that time migrating parts using them to the newer ModuleEnginesFX

12 minutes ago, KroShan said:

But i have to say that this issue

shouldn't be one in 1.1.   I expect that all engines have the newer ModuleEnginesFX. The older ones are inconsistent and look ugly compared to the newer ones

Because there are a large number of mods out there that still use the old ModuleEngines? I would assume all STOCK parts will be migrated eventually. However it is convenient that this fix allows Squad to prioritize other work over visiting lots of stock engines to migrate them.

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7 minutes ago, CrashTestDanny said:

but personally would prefer the near future to be heavier/brighter while the distant future gets fainter.  Looks like it is opposite in the screenshots.  I think it makes more sense the other way (brighter lines in the near future) as the farther into the future you look, the less certain things are

whut? (i read it 5 times - still no clue what u r about to say)

[if its about the splines of the planets - they get their "back" lightened up(to see which direction they are coming from), like a trail; its not about their future position]

Edited by Speadge
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