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Devnote Tuesday: Where did we leave the bugspray?


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Hello everyone!

Sadly there’s not a whole lot to report on this week: like the past weeks the developers have been working on many, many, many bug fixes. It’s hardly surprising that changing over to a different engine and redoing the entire interface brings with it this amount of issues. We’ve got an ace team here to tackle them as they come.

The Map View is one of the parts that changed the most in the Unity 5 transition, and if you’ve followed our devnotes over the past months you’ve no doubt read all about orbit splines, Vectrosity updates, modal nodes and other such things. The map view was very reliant on the old and deprecated OnGUI system, which is the cause of the major effort we’ve had to put into this system. As Felipe (HarvesteR) puts it: the number of bugs is at best linearly proportional to the number of changes and at worst it’s exponentially proportional. We’re somewhere inbetween those.

Last week we mentioned going through “max bug”, the amount of issues coming in was more or less equal to the amount of issues being fixed. The first few days of the week we saw more issues coming in than going out, but fortunately we’ve stabilized again. Overall we’re looking to break our record for resolved issues from the 1.0.5 release. We’re looking at over 200 resolved reports now. Bugs aren’t all bad though, they inspired Mike (Mu) to the point where he wrote a haiku:

The bug moves forefront
Strike it down with all your might
Fear its hidden kin.

The most notable bug this week was no doubt a strange graphics corruption that was eventually tracked to the Kerbal portraits becoming the default texture. This meant Jeb could be seen in all of the UI, and  like a magic eye picture, we needed to squint to see it. Steve (Squelch) and Mathew (sal_vager) are working overtime to process the reports from our volunteer QA testers who deserve a special mention here as well!

Those of you using OSX will be happy to know that we’ve taken a significant hurdle there: Ted has decided that we’re ready to start testing the viability of OSX 64-bit builds! The OSX builds are now universal, meaning that we’re creating 32-bit and 64-bit packages in the same job and that we’re not looking at increased build times as a result. For those of you who facing an ontological or existential crisis after reading this: yes, we have 64 bit builds for Windows as well, and they’re rock steady so far.

Work on our upcoming console releases has continued strongly as well, and Dan (danRosas) has been busy making graphics for an achievement system. We’re looking into the possibility of porting that over to the current platforms as well. As you might know the game already tracks your achievements internally and uses this data to do things such as selecting new contracts for you. Let us know what you think.

Nathanael (Nathankell) and Dave (TriggerAu) have been working hard on the tutorials, which are really beginning to come together now. The construction and flight basics tutorials have been split into a total of six different tutorials, for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. This allows us to teach the player how to build, and then how to fly, three vessels: a simple pod-chute-Flea hopper, a suborbital craft with goo experiments, and a fully orbit-capable craft with boosters, solar panels, and RCS. A path indicator has also been added to gently nudge the players into a more or less properly executed gravity turn as well. Information about parachutes, heatshields and other components has been added to make sure the tutorials provide more current and relevant information to the players. The advanced tutorials should now be able to teach even more experienced players a thing or two about ascent paths and such. It’s not all about adding more boosters, Dr Turkey!

Another nice surprise recently was the interest of the mainstream British media have taken into Kerbal Space Program, which no doubt has a relation with Tim Peake’s presence aboard the International Space Station. Space is all the rage in the UK right now and rightly so. Therefore we’re setting aside a little time from Ted, Kasper (KasperVld) and Andie (Badie) so that they can work with the media and set up some interviews. Working with non-gaming press on items related to KSP is a new experience to us, and it’ll be interesting to see how it works out.

In a world first we’ve likely seen the occurrence of a computer virus capable of infecting humans, as it struck both Bob (Roverdude) and Joe (Dr Turkey) and took them out of the running for a few days. Both are recovering just fine though, and hopefully they’ll be back fighting strong soon.

Speaking of taking things out of the running, our website and forums will be undergoing some maintenance work and will be unavailable on Wednesday. If you’d like more information then it’s available in this forum post.

That’s it for this week, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our updates, and as always you shouldn’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have after reading these notes on our official forums, Facebook or on the KSP Subreddit!

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4 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

yes, we have 64 bit builds for Windows as well, and they’re rock steady so far

Excellent! :D

Thanks for the fantastic updates. Looking forward to more pictures when you get them!

 

4 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

It’s not all about adding more boosters, Dr Turkey!

But it's always a valid tactic. Calling all boosted Turkeys!

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The ascent path involves a single long burn to establish an ~80km apoapsis, and then a ~130m/s burn at apoapsis to circularize.

The best part is you can use SAS's "point at target" mode to automatically fly the ascent--so you can watch the computer do it, then restart the tutorial and try it yourself.

 

Cheers to @sarbian who let me borrow some targeting code he uses for setting an elevation/azimuth target on the navball.

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Good to know that the map view is getting a good beatin.... a little of attention. It is probably the oldest part of the code still around and I do remember how Harv had to torture Unity 4 for it to work in a minimally coherent fashion. That said, I would prefer that the curve relating bugs vs added features would be sub-linear, thank you :D

P.S Jeb UI skin? That deserves to be a option . Keep it pls :D

Edited by r_rolo1
Jeb is everywhere, watching ...
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Achievements... Not sure where exactly I stand there. On the one hand, it's cool for new players to get recognition. On the other hand, KSP is a certain kind of game. It's not like, say, Portal-something that you pick up, play for a while, then put back down. People play KSP for months, even years. Acheivements in that case would just be a mark of how long you've played, becuase there's only so many challenges you can make up. 

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2 minutes ago, Glaran K'erman said:

Tutorials sound greatly improved, really dig all the changes! Also, is there a KSP Developers Poem Repository?

No, but I wouldn't want to keep this gem by @danRosas from you.

What is this bug? A frenzy, an illusion,
A shadow, a delirium, a fiction.
The greatest good's but little, and this bug
Is but a dream, and dreams are only dreams

 

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Game-wide achievements don't interest me, but per-save ones do. You could track them both globally and per-save and I'd be happy with that. Also, per-kerbal would be nice. I'd like to be able to see somewhere who's been to Mun or Minmus or landed on Laythe.

Love the idea of "gravity turn guidance". I'd also love it outside a tutorial. It's gotta be one of the biggest hurdles for a new player. I hope the "how to build a ship" tutorial takes a moment to pause, and SCREAM IN THE FACE of the player the importance of starting at the top of the rocket and the command pod, instead of the bottom of the rocket and the engines. Personally, I think you should have to turn on "advanced mode" to start your rocket with anything but a command pod/probe core, so beginners don't learn it the wrong way.

I too would love to see a pic of the "Jebrywhere" texture.

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So when you guys aren't smashing bugs, do you play Ant Smasher? :cool: Keep up the great work!

Personally I think achievements are a good thing, to increase the sense of accomplishment. More recognition is always good, even if it's just by a few lines of code.

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12 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

I hope the "how to build a ship" tutorial takes a moment to pause, and SCREAM IN THE FACE of the player the importance of starting at the top of the rocket and the command pod, instead of the bottom of the rocket and the engines. Personally, I think you should have to turn on "advanced mode" to start your rocket with anything but a command pod/probe core, so beginners don't learn it the wrong way.

This is a great idea. I think some of the devs (and players I guess) might not realise this is an issue due to experience bias, but there's a lot of systems (staging, command pod crewing) that assume the player builds this way when that might not be true. If I'm remembering right, Sips had an issue with this (and many other things) on his playthrough a few months back.

Edited by hoojiwana
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I like to consider myself a seasoned player, but sometimes when I come across something like a Scott Manley YouTube video tutorial on something very trivial, I often learn something new.  For that reason, I am looking forward to the official KSP tutorials.

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54 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

yes, we have 64 bit builds for Windows as well, and they’re rock steady so far.

:0.0: <runs off to post in the Greatest Moments in KSP thread>

 

57 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

Dan (danRosas) has been busy making graphics for an achievement system. We’re looking into the possibility of porting that over to the current platforms as well. As you might know the game already tracks your achievements internally and uses this data to do things such as selecting new contracts for you. Let us know what you think.

Since you ask: I think it's a good addition, especially attractive to new players and all those that like to see visibly what is at the moment little more than savegame bloat. If you're going to be adding graphics, text and code for it already, it would seem appropriate to not limit it to just one platform. And I agree with the suggestion to include the per-Kerbal achievements... it's stored that way in the save already.

As long as it doesn't take a second away from polishing the 64bit build...

 

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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:
Those of you using OSX will be happy to know that we’ve taken a significant hurdle there: Ted has decided that we’re ready to start testing the viability of OSX 64-bit builds! The OSX builds are now universal, meaning that we’re creating 32-bit and 64-bit packages in the same job and that we’re not looking at increased build times as a result.

I logged back into my account for the first time in months to express my excitement over this. Thank you Squad!

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@KasperVld I will now be seriously disappointed if we don't have DevPoem Sunday.

And to the achievements bit, I would definitely love a little -Kerbal National Air and Space Museum- thing to click and display my achievements! I feel Kerbals need to better curate their history.

Edited by Glaran K'erman
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@5thHorseman @hoojiwana et al: All three construction tutorials do start with a pod as the first item.(ok, the second involves loading the vessel you made in tut 1 so it sorta counts). Also, the original, untouched Construction Basics tutorial does say you have to start with a command module, which I guess speaks to how much attention people pay to tutorials. :)

(Or how much improvement ours need such that people actually use them but, well, see above! ;) )

However, I have just now added a sentence to the 'pick the pod' screen saying it's best to start with the command module, to reinforce that point.

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1 hour ago, NathanKell said:

The ascent path involves a single long burn to establish an ~80km apoapsis, and then a ~130m/s burn at apoapsis to circularize.

The best part is you can use SAS's "point at target" mode to automatically fly the ascent--so you can watch the computer do it, then restart the tutorial and try it yourself.

 

Cheers to @sarbian who let me borrow some targeting code he uses for setting an elevation/azimuth target on the navball.

This sounds great! Lately I've been watching a lot of KSP on Twitch, and am constantly surprised at the number of experienced players who insist on burning straight up for thousands of meters.

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5 minutes ago, NathanKell said:

Also, the original, untouched Construction Basics tutorial does say you have to start with a command module, which I guess speaks to how much attention people pay to tutorials. :)

(Or how much improvement ours need such that people actually use them but, well, see above! ;) )

You can't really do much for people that refuse to do tutorials when presented with them, though many modern games have gone the way of putting them in the main "campaign" or single player story or whatever and forcing people to play through them. That actually might be why people don't pick tutorials, they expect games to make them do one anyway, or that the game will be easy enough to figure out for themselves. KSP is not one of those games, so something like forced tutorials in future might be something to consider, with an option to skip it hidden somewhere for advanced players.

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29 minutes ago, hoojiwana said:

This is a great idea. I think some of the devs (and players I guess) might not realise this is an issue due to experience bias, but there's a lot of systems (staging, command pod crewing) that assume the player builds this way when that might not be true. If I'm remembering right, Sips had an issue with this (and many other things) on his playthrough a few months back.

Sips is actually who I was thinking of when I wrote that :)

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@NathanKell, as long as you and @TriggerAu pay even a fraction of the attention you have to the tutorials over the past couple weeks on into the long term, things will be just fine. Also to be clear, I can't emphasize enough how important a part of any game the tutorials can be. They both teach, and in many ways, sell the game to the uninitiated. Can't wait to see what's been done!

@hoojiwana I definitely agree the integration of the tutorial into the opening of many games main modes have probably been the cause of quite a few people not making their way to the tutorials.

Edited by Glaran K'erman
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24 minutes ago, Glaran K'erman said:

@KasperVld I will now be seriously disappointed if we don't have DevPoem Sunday.

And to the achievements bit, I would definitely love a little -Kerbal National Air and Space Museum- thing to click and display my achievements! I feel Kerbals need to better curate their history.

That would be really cool. An actual museum as a separate building. With little models of all the craft that ever flew a mission and info about their crew and their achievements. I know there's no way this is ever going to be implemented but still, that would be cool :)

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5 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

Sips is actually who I was thinking of when I wrote that :)

Hah! I just thought of something, why not do what the game used to do (long ago) and have a little pop up window when starting a new craft with all the command pods in? That old way forced the player to pick a command pod, but if there was an option there that said "Use another part" it would have the same functionality we do right now but leads inexperienced players to build "correctly" by picking a pod first and leading them to build down from that.

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