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Devnote Tuesday: Moving Forward, Moving On


KasperVld
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Hello everyone!

No release today unfortunately: wheels and joint strength bugs have forced us to push 1.1 back a week from schedule. These are the things that can happen, and they are the reason we don’t give out release dates. We went back to look at a way to make a pre-release build available on our website, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible in such a short timeframe without further delaying the release.

Even though we’re behind on our internal schedule that doesn’t mean we haven’t been making progress: Felipe (HarvesteR) and Brian (Arsonide) have, few hours before the writing of these devnotes, made a few big breakthroughs regarding wheels and their suspension: until now we’ve been working with a mass-compensating, non-linear spring system, which worked well for about 90% of cases, but it left a few ugly ones unhandled resulting in jittery suspension. Felipe designed a new approach, where we leave the springs responding linearly as much as possible, and have the suspensions gradually adjust their own non-linearity if they find the wheels to be under/overloaded. It may not be in the next pre-release build just yet, but it’s looking promising.

Brian also found the time to implement a few tweaks to the game: when the vessel launch dialog comes up now, it automatically selects the auto saved vessel for the player, rather than the first vessel. Also, when it populates the default vessel crew manifest, it will attempt to put a pilot in the first seat, so no more accidentally sending Bill off without autopilot!

More bugs were encountered deleting a large set of parts in the editor would lead to a lot of lag. Jim (Romfarer) optimized the code that deletes parts in the editor. This bug actually came to light when someone tried to delete 4,000 parts from a vessel and managed to crash their game. This should no longer be an issue, and deleting parts is now nearly instant – even if you push it to the extremes.

Bob (Roverdude) spent some time rebalancing the Xenon and Monopropellant tanks, who had weird wet/dry ratios and volumes, resulting in fuel compression ratios ranging from 75% to 325%. The rebalance generally results in a slight loss of capacity for the smaller tanks, and a small gain for the larger tanks, though they’ll also see their dry mass increased. We’ll also be leveraging the new volume property of resources, and adjusting Xenon Gas to be 100ml per unit (LFO and Monoprop are currently at 5L per unit).  You may recall we added a volume property to the resource definition (expressed in liters per unit) to account for cases like this, and to make things easier for modders that work on fuel switching mods. We’re now taking full advantage of this new system.

Jesus (Chuchito) makes a return in the devnotes: he’s been working on getting the patcher working again, replacing large chunks of code to ensure it runs properly on all supported platforms (Windows, OSX, Linux). The server end needs to be taken care of as well, and we’re still working with our partners to get that sorted.

Over the past week Ted has continued working with the experimental, QA and dev teams to crunch the brilliantly detailed bug reports that you have all provided us with. We’re making good progress on it, with still a fair way to go until 1.1 is where we want it to be.

On the community end, Kasper (KasperVld) and Andrea (Badie) are working with Joe (Dr Turkey) to prepare for the upcoming release of KSP 1.1. It’s hard to admit how long it’s taken, but it’s tentatively close now. Andrea has arranged for KSP streamer extraordinaire DasValdez to visit the Squad offices when™ the release day arrives. A launch party is being prepared, we hope you’ll enjoy!

Our QA team has continued stewarding of the pre-release tracker, with testing of issues new and old. Mathew (sal_vager) was inspired to produce the following poem, we do apologize for the absence of one over the past weeks!

The tracker creaks under a mass of bugs.
Developers toil, fettle and fuss.
Patching and fixing, applying space tape.
Crossing fingers that wheels won't break.
The magic "It's done" draws ever nearer.
Devs tap at keys while eating their dinner.
Was that last bug real or was the key sticky?
So many bugs, you're taking the micky!

Finally, and on a very sad note, Joe (Dr Turkey) will step down as lead producer for KSP after the release of update 1.1. He wanted to share a few words directly:

I will step down as Lead Producer after the 1.1 release. Although I’ll still be mostly here for a couple more weeks or so, since I’m passing on the lava baton (keeping my pitchfork though) to Nestor. He is a very cool, very experienced dude whom I’m sure will do wonders to keep the team cohesiveness I’ve strived so hard to attain. I’m extremely proud of what I did here, birthing 1.1 and helping out FT with the console stuff (a very useful, if harrowing, experience). But all good things must come to an end, and with my job here being mostly done, it is time for me to re-focus on my family for the foreseeable future. I truly, sincerely love my team, and I think they love me back, because they keep telling me about this farm I’m being sent to… sounds heavenly! I can’t wait! :D

Nestor (no nickname known) had a few words to share as well:

Hi, I am new to the team. I will be helping in production stuff and whatever comes next. I’ve been working on the game for only a few days. I am just getting to know everyone and jumping into this high speed train. I’m very excited to be here on time for upcoming important milestones for the team.

That’s it for this week, be sure to join our forums, read our social media and/or partake in the discussions on the KSP Subreddit.

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@Dr_Turkey - I will miss you!  It's been great watching that SquadCasts, and I think you've brought the community, and KSP, in a great direction.

Regarding the delay to the release, take your merry time.  Some may raise their pitchforks, but I'd rather have it be late than a quick hot fix. :)

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Sad to see someone of the team leave KSP.

But i hope that Joe (Dr Turkey) will find something else that might interest and i wish good luck.

I close with this song snippet:

"So long and thanks for all the bugs,

 sad that it should come to this

we tried to keep you here but oh dear ,

You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your lack of interest
For all the Kerbal wonders that
developed around you

So long, so long and thanks
for all the bugs..."

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Goodbye Joe, your time at Squad was way too short :( Welcome Nestor. Enjoy the ride :)

Quote

until now we’ve been working with a mass-compensating, non-linear spring system, which worked well for about 90% of cases, but it left a few ugly ones unhandled resulting in jittery suspension.

I am so happy to hear you guys take your time to go for 100% (or 99% at least :P) and don't make any foul compromises.

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22 minutes ago, CliftonM said:

Some may raise their pitchforks, but I'd rather have it be late than a quick hot fix. :)

I'd rather have a patch every week indefinitely. Tell the Steam users to stop holding KSP 1.1 hostage.

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I've gotta say the wheels thing is much bigger, they did not work in 90% of situations, they had issues all over. Now I am not a dev or a developer and I would not pretend to tell them how to do things, but I play the game a lot. The pre-release wheels were bad for rovers (sliding uncontrollably), taking off (any deviation no matter how small, sliding uncontrollably, clipping, collisions), landing (sliding uncontrollably), retracting (blowing stuff up), clipping into the ground, etc, etc.

I would say the wheels were a mess, and they need a real rethink, which is what the delay is about, I'm not even sure how this got to pre-release as they were.

That said, I love you guys, I love the game, the wheels were a mess otherwise the pre-release is really awesome, you have done a wonderful job and I really appreciate it.

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52 minutes ago, KasperVld said:

More bugs were encountered deleting a large set of parts in the editor would lead to a lot of lag. Jim (Romfarer) optimized the code that deletes parts in the editor. This bug actually came to light when someone tried to delete 4,000 parts from a vessel and managed to crash their game. This should no longer be an issue, and deleting parts is now nearly instant – even if you push it to the extremes.

I'm sure someone will see this as a challenge and complain that the editor ground to a halt while working on his 75,000 part ship.

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I dont care if it takes another month. Fix all the bugs squad.

Anyone wanna do the Kommunity a solid and see if they can track down and squash the elusive and extremely nasty career mode bug that wipes your contracts when you come back to the space center from in-prog interplanetary missions? I might look into that when I have some more spare time... If Squad is going to take their time on this, we might as well go out and try to find and squash this one too.

Edited by Kuansenhama
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36 minutes ago, KasperVld said:

Bob (Roverdude) spent some time rebalancing the Xenon and Monopropellant tanks, ...

Does this mean that old vessels that are using these parts need to be rebuilt?

I remember that when 1.0 came out and the capacities of some liquid fuel tanks changed, this change wasn't applied to the old vessels when they were loaded into the new version and my spaceplanes didn't reach orbit anymore, becase they now contained a lot less fuel while the engines now had lower ISPs and needed more fuel.

The only way, I could think of, to fix this was to replace the "broken" parts, or to rebuild the whole vessel completely just in case, because who knows what else is not working correctly.

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