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A guide to posting a craft in the Spacecraft Exchange [PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING]


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In a game that revolves around spacecraft, the Spacecraft Exchange is arguably one of the important and significant sections of the Kerbal Space Program Forums. However, while it is straightforward and easy to learn via looking at a few threads, it's somewhat different from the other Forum sections and a few things need to be taken into account especially when posting a ship, making a thread for all your ships, and commenting on the work of others.

This guide is by no means supposed to dictate how one must post about his crafts. With that said, let's move on to the tutorial!

1. Before uploading a ship

The Kerbal Space Program Forum has a set of rules along with a few threads made by both moderators and players alike to assist one in using the forums and giving one an insight on how things work. I'd suggest you read them along with a few ship threads in the Spacecraft Exchange to get a feel of what the forum is like.

Check this New Member Guide by Gargamel to learn how things work around the forums as well as some rules and etiquette to follow. 

This guide by Mad Rocket Scientist gives a nice insight to how the forums work.

And the Good Conduct guide is especially important when replying to others' ships.

After reading those, and a few threads on the Spacecraft Exchange, you should be good to go.

 

2. Uploading a ship

The way you can post a craft varies a lot, but most follow a certain format of images, descriptions, stats and other info. 

NOTE: "No pics, no clicks."  Images are not necessarily required, but highly encouraged and good etiquette. Photos (taken in daylight if possible) are essential for people to see what your creation looks like. You can take screenshots using F1 and accessing them in the KSP screenshot folder in its directory. 

If it is a modded ship, list the mods you used. If it is a replica, it's a good idea to include or name it after what you are replicating. Instructions if necessary on how to use the ship are also useful. 

Making a thread and uploading images for your ship

To make a ship thread, go to the Spacecraft Exchange section. There you will find threads such as the Open Source Construction Techniques thread and others -- Click on the "Start New Topic" thread.

From there, you have a canvas to make your thread.

Uploading and embedding images can be done by going to imgur.com, clicking on "upload images",

m5ExV8N.png

selecting your screenshots and drag-and-dropping them into the webpage (if you upload multiple, you'll have an option to make an Imgur album. We will cover this in a bit.) 

From there, you should see either this:

eSNMlub.png

Or this. Depending if you have one image or an album of images.

sS94uZ4.png

Now, you have two options:

-Copy and paste the link under "BBCode (Forums)", and remove the [ img ] and [ / img ] part, then press enter. The forum should load the image onto the thread automatically. 

-Copy the link under "Direct Link", select "Insert other media" in the forum editor and paste the link. 

Note that you can use other image hosting sites like Flickr, but Imgur is generally the most popular option.  

Uploading the .craft file proper

To actually make sure those viewing your thread can download and use the ship you upload, you have to upload it outside this website as the forum can't host its own files. You can use a file-hosting website; a generally popular site to do so would be Mediafire. However, the prevailing option is to use a website called KerbalX.com. KerbalX is its own stand-alone website and sharing platform for KSP ships, and it can host your craft files for you, as well as show the list of mods needed for the craft to function, part count and other important stats. It makes things very convenient and is a platform from which you can find other ships all on its own, and if you are at all interested in looking for KSP ships to download or upload, you should check it out. 

Also, they have their own craft organization mod, which is really neat. 

5lPMVNi.png

 

Ship specifications

Try to list the part count, length and width of your ship, as well as its capabilities. Most of these can be found in the Engineer's report in the editor. 

Now that you have these set in stone, most people usually follow a certain format of:

  1.  A description of the ship or an overview of the replicated ship if replica
  2.  Images/an album
  3. Performance notes
  4. Part count, etc. Etc.

So with that in mind, here's a sample replica ship's post thread (which is pretty common by the way) for a Space Shuttle. Make your thread as colorful as you'd like it to be, just be mindful to include info you believe is necessary.

U0bhEPz.jpg

But it may vary. It's up to you how the thread looks. Just remember to add images, a description and a craft file at least. Once you're done, press the "Submit topic" button.

Post-release

       You've gotten your first ship uploaded! It will now appear at the top of the Spacecraft Exchange, and maybe get replies, or be overtaken by other threads.

       Now, there are still a few things to take in mind: The Spacecraft Exchange is pretty crowded. There's a very large chance that your first ship may not do well in terms of attention, garnering few to no replies. This is pretty normal here and not something to be discouraged by. There are things you can do like improve the visuals on your thread or titles, but other than that it's mostly left to chance. 

It's alright to "bump" your thread for an update on the ship, or something such as asking for feedback, but be careful not to do it so much that it's distracting.

Constructive criticism

In any social media or forum post, you may be told something that's meant to help you but you might take it the wrong way. However, it's important to be sure to be able to separate what is merely trying to be helpful and what actually intends to attack. It's easy to take things like criticism the wrong way, but it happens and may just be intended to help you improve something with your ship. If you really feel that a post is merely slanderous, attacking or overall pointless, report it to the moderators -- It will get removed if it is deemed to violate the forum rules. At the same time, try to be constructive when commenting on the ships of others.

Other important links

The Work-In-Progress Design Thread  

Here, you can post about ships you're still working on and receive feedback from other forum users about it. It's a good place to see your creations in the eyes of someone else judging it, or look at what others are working on. 

Figured something out about how certain parts or methods can be used to improve the aesthetics of a ship? Post about it here and share your knowledge.

Happy craft building!

Edited by Columbia
Updated some info
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Thanks everyone! I'll try expanding this guide as much as I can.

Companies, craft repositories and role-playing

As you explore the Spacecraft Exchange, you might see threads titled with names that seem to fit for a vendor or company. Upon checking them out, you might notice that they're full of multiple ships. What exactly are they, and how do you make one?

Role-Playing 

If you've read the forum rules, you may come upon a rule that seems a little strange and out of place: That role-playing isn't allowed in the forums.

It may seem strange, but the reason for this is (to put it really short) it's far harder to moderate and can easily lead to people acting in ways that violates the other rules with the excuse that it is mere role-play.

 

Now, believe it or not, this rule is very vital to the Spacecraft Exchange, especially since a former sub-section -- The Rocket Builders -- were victim to it because companies existed that role-played a lot. 

The main purpose of the Rocket Builders -- To have a repository of ships in one thread -- may still be done but to a lesser extent. They are not companies, and they're there just to have a single thread for their ships.

Setting one up 

It's a similar principle to the above, except on a bit of a larger scale. Of course the ships you have must have images and a craft file, but a description may be made shorter and specifications made shorter as well.

If you look around some of the threads, they usually have:

-Logo (Totally optional)

-A bit of an introduction (Hello, Welcome! This is where I will post all my ships, etc, etc.)

-Classification (Rocket, plane, replica, what-have-you)

-Ships under that classification

To give you a better idea:

"Hello everyone! This thread is where I'll be posting most of my ships. I'll be putting my classifications where appropriate.

Aircraft

[image]

A replica of the F-16. Flies pretty well, very maneuverable.

Mods used: Tweakscale, BDArmory

Craft File:

Rockets

[Image]

Stock Saturn V replica with Skylab. It's very heavy and difficult to fly, but it has a lot of Delta-V.

Craft File: 

I'll add more as I build more. Thanks for viewing, feedback is appreciated!"

You could classify it any way you want, date built, part count, version built, theme, what have you. In fact, you don't need a classification at all if you don't want it on your thread. Again, it can vary.

Taking requests

Some ship-builders accept requests for ships, and that's alright. Just make sure you have the time and patience to be handling them, though. The better quality your ships are, the more people will expect from you. If you have a busy schedule, it's best not to. If you're ready for it and have a lot of spare time on your hands as well as the patience, go all out if you'd like.

When you should set one up

At best, if you don't have any ships, it's best to make a few to feature before making such a thread. It's generally not such a good idea to set up a ship repository without any ships. If you have 2-3 ships ready for upload, the time is ripe. Make a logo if you like, feature it in your signature maybe (though don't advertise it *too* much) and you have your own ship repository!

Edited by Columbia
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Well, all I can is is that it's about time we had one of these. Maybe now we'll see more well crafted threads. This definitely should be stickied!

Hmm, this also reminds me that I need to get around to making my own showcase thread...

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23 hours ago, pTrevTrevs said:

Well, all I can is is that it's about time we had one of these. Maybe now we'll see more well crafted threads. This definitely should be stickied!

Hmm, this also reminds me that I need to get around to making my own showcase thread...

That's true, the forum's pretty difficult to use when you're new, not to mention having to read through the forum rules. I hoped this guide would assist them in uploading their first ship :wink:

On 6/1/2016 at 9:56 AM, Mad Rocket Scientist said:

Great looking guide!  I'm sorry I can't rep you right now, I'm all out.

Thanks, it's alright!

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FAQ of things that haven't been answered above

-What are the Constellation Mission Packs?

A while ago, some forum users were building packs of ships that replicated what the Constellation Missions were supposed to be. They soon made their own discussion thread with guides and such.

-What's Spacecraft Fridays?

As said above, it's a a thing similar to the Daily Kerbal. Every Friday depending on the OP's timezone, a new thread is released featuring some of the best ships made and released during that week. It's community-done, so if you have the time, you could contribute to it.

-Why was Mediafire banned?

Some of the ads on their site were vulgar and inappropriate for younger audiences. 

-Why do some people make a video of their ships?

It can easily show their craft's capabilities off far better than images could. They are generally much more tedious to do, though. 

 

Edited by Columbia
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  • 3 weeks later...

Advertising, threads and signatures

      Another quick guide on how to properly use your signature for advertising your ship threads. 

1. What is a forum signature?

      To put it briefly, your forum signature appears below your posts and enables anyone who sees your post to also see what you have done. It's a good way to show your company/ships off. Others use it to put quotes they like or medals they get from challenges. 

2. Signature advertising

    Optimal image size on your signature is important -- If it's too big, some people might see it as annoying, and it might not fit. If it's too small, well, people won't notice. Most of the time, if you're advertising a ship, a picture and text is enough, but if you're artistic enough, you can use any editing program (GIMP, Illustrator, Photoshop..) and design a logo. This works best for, say, megathreads that are collections of ships you've built witha  certain theme. Remember to embed the link into the image.

It should give one an idea of what the ship is, while not being too prominent. And after all, it's good to adorn your signature with something colorful. 

3. Shameless plugging too much

    While there's nothing wrong with putting your company or craft in your signature, attempting to show it off in every possible scenario can end up being distracting. If you feel your craft deserves mention, you can of course go for it, but try not to overdo it/complain when it's ignored.

4. Examples

Here are a few examples on how a logo can look like. It uses the ships I made (I know that I just said not to do shameless plugging too much, but..)

o59gUB0.png

It's made to be simplistic and straight to the point while giving a preview of the ship. 

If you'd like, take this a step further and use blueprints and/or vectors for your logo.

Adobe Illustrator is a good program for this, but you can use anything you're comfortable with. 

1utf9WG.png

There are many, many ways to do this kind of thing; Some make blueprints or posters of their ship. It's mostly up to you. 

If done well, it could potentially make your signature look prettier. Best of luck!

Edited by Columbia
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Common Expressions and words in the Spacecraft Exchange:

"No pics, no clicks."

This one is very common, it usually means that, at least from the viewer's end, your ship has no pictures yet has a description, mostly meaning to imply that having no visible pictures (Hence, no pics) means that no one will download your ship (No clicks.) 

So, when you see someone respond as such, try uploading images of what you're talking about. 

"Try using Editor Extensions"

It's mostly self-explanatory, really. Editor Extensions, well, extends the capabilities of ship building in the VAB and SPH by modifying Root Functions, adding more Symmetry options, as well as filling in what NoOffsetLimits used to do in the past -- remove the physical limits of the Offset function, and is overall the KSP craft builder's best friend. It might not sound like much, but is really helpful when trying to improve structural stability, move things to places for better aesthetics, and making stock bearings, which I'll explain in the next question:

"Stock Bearing"

A bearing enables one object to slide freely around another -- Think of car wheels, propellers, tank turrets and doors -- They all have bearings/hinges. And it's mostly considered a feat if you manage to build one that's reliable, and can be highly versatile in KSP shipbuilding. 

So when you see someone talking about having built a reliable stock bearing, it means they've basically made a freely-rotating joint. 

"Ninja'd!"

To explain, let me describe a scenario:

User A asks a question.

User B starts writing his response (which might have either taken him long or User C may have started typing before he did),

And in the process, User C posts his response which happens to be answering the question similarly, like User B did.

User B has been ninja'd.

Basically, it's when you write a response but a similar one is posted by another user before you without your knowledge (Until you post it, the page refreshes and you see the other user's response before yours.)

If you have a suggestion on what more to add, let me know.

 

Edited by Columbia
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Just now, sal_vager said:

Thinking about it, though we can have (and have had) too many pinned threads, threads like this do need to be easily accessible to new members.

Tricky situation.. Thanks for the reply though Sal.

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20 minutes ago, sal_vager said:

Thinking about it, though we can have (and have had) too many pinned threads, threads like this do need to be easily accessible to new members.

Considering that you have both a showcase, and the repository of showcases pinned, I think that the way to make some room on the top is clear. Not a lot of activity in the OSCTCA thread lately either...

 

Rune. This could go inside a tutorial compilation, but as you say, it needs some visibility.

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9 minutes ago, Rune said:

Considering that you have both a showcase, and the repository of showcases pinned, I think that the way to make some room on the top is clear. Not a lot of activity in the OSCTCA thread lately either...

 

Rune. This could go inside a tutorial compilation, but as you say, it needs some visibility.

 

OSCTCA should probably be redone, anyway. Most of the posts are pre-migration, meaning that the hyperlinks to specific techniques are broken, and nobody wants to wade through forty-odd pages to find the one post they're actually looking for. 

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6 hours ago, SingABrightSong said:

 

OSCTCA should probably be redone, anyway. Most of the posts are pre-migration, meaning that the hyperlinks to specific techniques are broken, and nobody wants to wade through forty-odd pages to find the one post they're actually looking for. 

OSCTCA is still more useful then the showcase master thread, or the modded craft repository, both of which are no longer being maintained.

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2 hours ago, Mad Rocket Scientist said:

OSCTCA is still more useful then the showcase master thread, or the modded craft repository, both of which are no longer being maintained.

Is @GusTurbo even still active? If he is and doesn't want to, I wouldn't mind setting up a successor thread, but I'll wait for his permission first.

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2 hours ago, Zucal said:

@pTrevTrevs He's not been on in 2 months. Feel free to start a new one IMO, I'm happy to contribute some stuff to kick it off.

Alright then, I'll get one going tomorrow if I have time, and have the mods shut it down should Gus return.

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