akron

[WIP] Coatl Aerospace ProbesPlus Dev Thread [v0.16.1 Beta] 6/27/2018 (1.4.4)

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This is a probe expansion pack inspired by real missions from the mid-1960s to now. Including probe cores, engines, solar panels, and new science parts! Parts are inspired by (Including some replicas of) Voyager, Pioneer 10, Venera, Cassini, Mariner, Kepler, New Horizons, Juno, And more! More rover and lander parts coming in future update, including Mars rovers, Viking, Lunokhod, and others.

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IMGUR ALBUM

Beta v0.16.1 Download:

To prevent issues, please remove any previous versions of the mod before updating

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Please read the FAQ

Also available soon (probably) on:

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Requires: Firespitter, DMagic ScienceAnimate (both included) and ModuleManager (Not included)

Mod configs included: Remote Tech by @rakol Tweakscale by @Jso SCANsat by @akron

 

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Sample Crafts v0.3:

Download from Dropbox

(Two Barquetta Communication Satellites, Barquetta-Odyssey, Deep Space 1, Landvermesser, Mariner, Quetzal, Tatsujin, Tatsujin-Express, Torekka, Vorona, Vorona-SAR, Meridiani-Draco, Explorer Telescope)

 

Nerva HT Engine 1.0 Released! 

Link to release thread or download below:

Spacedock

Dropbox

Real Plume config by @VenomousRequiem. Module Manager required for RealPlume configs.

 

License:

CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

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Please let me know if you release anything based on my work. I'd love to check it out!

Want to support the mod? Check out below, and thank you!

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Edited by akron
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Thank you! I was actually able to get it in-game late last night but had to correct numerous issues like sideways thrust due to the orientation of the group. I actually had to manually orient it in Unity, I could not for the life of me get it to work using the exported values from Maya. I've also never created a part file from scratch so I had to work my way through figuring out attachment nodes and such. I should be able to post some more progress after work today.

I'm also struggling a bit with poly reduction. I am going to model the side tanks again at a lower detail level. That's where a lot of it is going. It sits around 5k tris right now IIRC.

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I can't believe I almost missed the thread! Glad to see you've posted it.

EDIT: 5k tris is within the bounds of polycount for engines if I remember. With that said, yeah I think you could get away with less detail on those side tanks.

Edited by CobaltWolf
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I'd argue you leave the side tanks like they are. You might get away with reducing the number of sides by a couple spans in each direction, but you'll only save a couple hundred polygons, tops, and you'll start getting some pretty severe faceting. Try to remove polys from places that are going to affect the silhouette the least (i.e. areas with the least curvature). If they're not already, reduce all the pipes and struts to 8 or even 6 sides. Like @CobaltWolf said, 5k should be just fine for an engine.

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Well, I've experimented quite a bit with different techniques to try and get something good. I did reduce the side tank details and managed to get the count to about 4.7k. This allowed me to get some more geometry on the base. I thought it was a bit boring looking. By the way, the tanks do not currently hold any propellant. They are meant to be coolant or something.

Update! It works in-game! Left to do:

  • Fairing (not sure I can fit it in one texture, so maybe some UV organizing is due)
  • Specular and Bump map
  • Emissives
  • Fix some ugly UV seams
  • Fix pivot point for gimbaling
  • Part cfg balancing

I'm so slow at this... anyway. Album updated

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8 hours ago, akron said:

Update! It works in-game! Left to do:

  • Fairing (not sure I can fit it in one texture, so maybe some UV organizing is due)
  • Specular and Bump map
  • Emissives
  • Fix some ugly UV seams
  • Fix pivot point for gimbaling
  • Part cfg balancing

I'm so slow at this...

 

What does your UV layout look like? If you're using Maya, Nightshade UV Editor has been a godsend to me. It's free and replaces the Maya UV editor with one that has more tools.If you're breaking UVs up into, say, quarters of the cylinder, you can stack them and then mirror every other one so that the same edges are always repeating on each other, IE no seams. But that means you can't have any distinctive wear + tear.

I find it's better to make the thrustTransform object in Maya, with the correct orientation (Z+ the direction of thrust) and then parent the engine bell underneath it, so that you can edit the mesh however you need to without worrying.

Don't worry, it gets faster as you develop techniques.

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33 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

What does your UV layout look like? If you're using Maya, Nightshade UV Editor has been a godsend to me. It's free and replaces the Maya UV editor with one that has more tools.If you're breaking UVs up into, say, quarters of the cylinder, you can stack them and then mirror every other one so that the same edges are always repeating on each other, IE no seams. But that means you can't have any distinctive wear + tear.

I find it's better to make the thrustTransform object in Maya, with the correct orientation (Z+ the direction of thrust) and then parent the engine bell underneath it, so that you can edit the mesh however you need to without worrying.

Don't worry, it gets faster as you develop techniques.

I will post my UV when I get home to see if you have some suggestions. I am using Nightshade and yes, it is amazing. I split the reactor, the "orange part" and the tanks in half mirrored sections. The baseplate and the nozzle are in quarter sections. The nozzle is where I'm getting a seam despite me being pretty sure the texture repeats, you can actually see it in the screenshot I posted right around the nozzle throat. I ended up using a good 90% of the 1024px texture and the little pockets I have left might not be large enough for a fairing or a larger section for the nozzle.

I tried getting that thrustTransform object to export from Maya but the orientation resets after exporting to fbx and Unity doesn't read it correctly. Unity also cannot auto-generate a collision mesh, but that's another story. It could be a setting, I'd have to take a look. I'm using ECS Maya 2014, don't know if that makes a difference. I also have a student version of Maya 2016 but I haven't converted yet.

I swear I think I used to be much better when I was in school. It's coming back though, I just feel like I'm relearning. :D

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28 minutes ago, akron said:

I will post my UV when I get home to see if you have some suggestions. I am using Nightshade and yes, it is amazing. I split the reactor, the "orange part" and the tanks in half mirrored sections. The baseplate and the nozzle are in quarter sections. The nozzle is where I'm getting a seam despite me being pretty sure the texture repeats, you can actually see it in the screenshot I posted right around the nozzle throat. I ended up using a good 90% of the 1024px texture and the little pockets I have left might not be large enough for a fairing or a larger section for the nozzle.

I tried getting that thrustTransform object to export from Maya but the orientation resets after exporting to fbx and Unity doesn't read it correctly. Unity also cannot auto-generate a collision mesh, but that's another story. It could be a setting, I'd have to take a look. I'm using ECS Maya 2014, don't know if that makes a difference. I also have a student version of Maya 2016 but I haven't converted yet.

I swear I think I used to be much better when I was in school. It's coming back though, I just feel like I'm relearning. :D

I think you could probably get away with a 512 for the full engine, including a fairing. It looks like the 'seam' is texture bleeding - there is something light right next to the edge of that UV and when Unity resizes the texture as you zoom out, you see the gaps. Generally you want to try and manage where the light and dark parts of your texture meet, so they're not going to leave an obvious seam when it bleeds. Also don't keep your UVs too close together. Put a lot of emphasis into what parts you can get away with reducing the size of the texture. Prioritize.

I use the dae fbx exporter, not plain fbx. If that helps. I've run into issues with FBX.

You don't want to autogenerate a collision mesh. For an engine you typically can get away with just making a 16 sided cylinder with the same height and diameter of the engine, then export that as a separate mesh into Unity. Make sure the pCylinder is named correctly in Maya otherwise it'll be a pain to find in unity. Eventually you'll develop a library of colliders and won't have to remake them every time.

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12 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

I think you could probably get away with a 512 for the full engine, including a fairing. It looks like the 'seam' is texture bleeding - there is something light right next to the edge of that UV and when Unity resizes the texture as you zoom out, you see the gaps. Generally you want to try and manage where the light and dark parts of your texture meet, so they're not going to leave an obvious seam when it bleeds. Also don't keep your UVs too close together. Put a lot of emphasis into what parts you can get away with reducing the size of the texture. Prioritize.

You're probably right. I will play around with the size after I stop making tweaks and/or changes. I will clean up the UV some more to see if I can reduce the issues and have more room. It's actually not so tedious in Maya anymore with Nightshade UV. Thank for letting me know about Unity resizing the texture, I was not aware it had built-in LOD like that.

14 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

I use the dae fbx exporter, not plain fbx. If that helps. I've run into issues with FBX.

I will test this to see if the default FBX is the culprit

15 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

You don't want to autogenerate a collision mesh. For an engine you typically can get away with just making a 16 sided cylinder with the same height and diameter of the engine, then export that as a separate mesh into Unity. Make sure the pCylinder is named correctly in Maya otherwise it'll be a pain to find in unity. Eventually you'll develop a library of colliders and won't have to remake them every time.

I made my own cylinder collider that I export alongside the engine but I thought it was "supposed" to be an option in Unity/part tools but it never worked right. I figured it might have saved me some time with future, simpler, parts but the one time it added one it did not match the shape at all.

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UPDATE! I finished the fairing and just did a tweak pass on the model and some balancing. Had to read some posts and watch some tutorials so progress is a little slow today too. I did, however, do a lot more research on probe parts and started compiling a part list and drawing some concepts. Album updated, although it is not refreshing for some reason so you have to view it in imgur

  • Fairing (not sure I can fit it in one texture, so maybe some UV organizing is due)
  • Specular and Bump map
  • Emissives
  • Fix some ugly UV seams
  • Fix pivot point for gimbaling  <- Could be better though
  • Part cfg balancing <- Started

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@CobaltWolf This is generally how my UV layout looks. I tweaked it a bit and managed to fit everything in one texture. I could make more room, but this texture will be just for this engine. BTW, I know my stripes are backwards... I'll fix that. Thanks for your feedback!

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EDIT: Here is a sneak peek at one of the upcoming probe parts. A 0.625m-1.25m OKTO probe based on Voyager. It packs some mono-propellant but no on-board reaction wheels

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Edited by akron
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Woah! Triple post! Unfortunately editing doesn't update the thread. Can anyone point me towards making a mesh part toggle? Essentially, how do I make a non-functioning mesh be able to be disabled in the VAB, kinda like flags (Actually, how do you even make flags)? I'd hate to start a whole new thread for a simple question.

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28 minutes ago, akron said:

Woah! Triple post! Unfortunately editing doesn't update the thread. Can anyone point me towards making a mesh part toggle? Essentially, how do I make a non-functioning mesh be able to be disabled in the VAB, kinda like flags (Actually, how do you even make flags)? I'd hate to start a whole new thread for a simple question.

You mean like an engine fairing? Set it's tag to be icon_hidden in Unity (you'll have to add it to the list of tags) and then use... I believe it's moduleJettison in the part cfg. You can do it for any sort of node, and now that vanilla KSP supports toggling the shrouds there are a lot of uses for it.

Info for the flag decal is in this thread.

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14 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

You mean like an engine fairing? Set it's tag to be icon_hidden in Unity (you'll have to add it to the list of tags) and then use... I believe it's moduleJettison in the part cfg. You can do it for any sort of node, and now that vanilla KSP supports toggling the shrouds there are a lot of uses for it.

Info for the flag decal is in this thread.

I actually got the fairing stuff working and hidden in the part-selector. What I meant is like if I model a dust cover that you have the option to toggle on/off so you can expose the inside if you want that look, purely cosmetic.

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1 minute ago, akron said:

I actually got the fairing stuff working and hidden in the part-selector. What I meant is like if I model a dust cover that you have the option to toggle on/off so you can expose the inside if you want that look, purely cosmetic.

Yes, you can do that if you use the same thing (moduleJettison) on, say, the top node and then let the player toggle it on/off in the VAB.

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7 minutes ago, CobaltWolf said:

Yes, you can do that if you use the same thing (moduleJettison) on, say, the top node and then let the player toggle it on/off in the VAB.

What would I need to set as the Jettison nodeName Force and direction? Does it matter?

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3 minutes ago, akron said:

What would I need to set as the Jettison nodeName Force and direction? Does it matter?

I am not sure it matters. It's sort of a 'hack-y' solution. Most of the time you wouldn't have something mounted to that node that would be jettisoned. It'd be a fuel tank or something...

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7 hours ago, NateDaBeast said:

Looks great !

Plan to get this mod

Thank you

Nerva HT Alpha v0.1 Released: Download Link

UPDATE! Emissives and more tweaks are in. Updated the original post with changes and more info, Including a preliminary parts list for Probes Plus! Please give me some feedback on the engine, if you try it out. I balanced it some, but it will need work. I will also go back and add support for Real Plumes and possibly CTT.

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Hmmm... you are planning on doing Pioneer / Voyager RTGs as well? Venom has been on my case about them lately. If you have any sketches of what you want them to look like I'll try and tweak my designs to keep them different / distinct. That way people get four cool new RTGs instead of two. :3

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15 hours ago, CobaltWolf said:

Hmmm... you are planning on doing Pioneer / Voyager RTGs as well? Venom has been on my case about them lately. If you have any sketches of what you want them to look like I'll try and tweak my designs to keep them different / distinct. That way people get four cool new RTGs instead of two. :3

I think I may just do one deployable RTG based mostly on Pioneer with with a heat shield like Galileo's actually. The static RTG will be based on New Horizons. I don't think I'll need more than that. Between those plus stock and others like RLA I think I'm good. I'll get a concept drawing or a 3d block-in soon. I'm basing a lot of my Pioneer-based concepts on this:

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UPDATE!

Sorry for the absence but it's been a busy few days. I'm making progress but I'm doing so very slowly. I did some mesh tweaks, UV, and texture for the CA08-M 'Torekka' probe core, based on Voyager. I also modeled a reaction wheel (Thought I may re-do it to add detail, not to scale by the way) and the 100i battery (not pictured). I am going to try and do all the parts that use texture parts similar to the Torekka and then move on to other cores.

I will be updating the parts list shortly with a couple of additions. Mainly propulsion stuff (One maybe two small engines). I am thinking about adding a couple of unmanned service and avionics modules based on automated service craft like Cygnus and H-II, for those unmanned cargo deliveries. Feedback appreciated! Specially on the Nerva-HT engine, if anyone has been able to try it out.

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They seem a bit dark. What are you rendering using? KSP doesn't really go for extreme brights / darks, it only uses ~2/3rds of the value spectrum.

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