allista

[1.4.5] Global Construction

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Introduction

This mod allows you to build any vessel directly in orbit or on a surface of any planet from a DIY (Do It Yourself) Kit that contains all the high-tech components, needed equipment and blueprints, using only raw materials produced on-site, energy and kerbal workforce.

The major benefit of the Ground Construction is that it allows you to build big, heavy, asymmetrical contraptions that aren’t meant to fly at all. Buildings, or even blocks of buildings; heavy rovers; huge rockets held by launch clamps — all this could be built with Ground Construction anywhere on any planet.

In addition to construction from DIY Kits you can construct the kits themselves, allowing you to build a fully independent colony or space base.

Ground Construction 2 - Independence Day!

Global Construction

Features

  • Build anything: any ship, spaceplane, or really any construction you come up with in Editor. Even with launch clamps!
  • Build anywhere, on the surface or in orbit: the assembled ship will appear right where you've placed/docked the Kit.
  • Build DIY Kits themselves: make you colony independent, produce your own kits from scratch using blueprints and raw materials.
  • Background operation: fly other missions while construction takes place on a far-away planet. Days, even weeks may be required to build something complex, but you don’t have to babysit your workers.
  • Wireless transfers: fill the assembled ship with resources and crew before you launch it using dedicated UI.
  • Centralized UI for progress tracking and fast switching to construction sites.

Requirements

Downloads

  • Spacedock is the main download site for releases
  • GitHub have sources (MIT), assets (CCBY-4.0) and also releases
  • CKAN is supported

How it works

First, you need a simple mining operation already running near the spot where you want to build something. So you need: a Drill, an ISRU, some storage tanks for Ore, Material Kits and any other stuff that you want/need to supply the newly built ship with; a Workshop and, last but not least, kerbal engineers that will build things.

Second, you need to assemble the DIY Kit with required materials (good luck with finding enough Blutonium for RTG on Minmus), tools and components. This is, fortunately, the simplest thing: in Editor you have a special part, namely the DIY Kit Container, which allows you to “load” any previously created and saved ship inside of it. The container is automatically resized to fit its contents, which are much more compact and weight much less than the original ship.

Third, you need to attach this container to a carrier or store it in a hold of a cargo ship and fly it across the Void to the construction site.

Then, all that’s left is to summon the control UI of the Workshop, deploy the DIY Kit, add it to the construction queue and order the kerbals to work (day and night, no holidays, no weekends!).

Forth, when your base is mature enough, you can start your own Kit production.

Getting technical

How a ship is converted into a DIY Kit

In Editor, you add the DIY Kit Container part to the carrier you’re building. In its part menu select “Select Vessel” to open the standard vessel selection dialog. Once selected, the ship is loaded into the Kit as follows:

For each part of a ship, its complexity is calculated as a function of dry mass, cost and number of modules the part carries. The complexity determines the fraction of part’s dry mass that could be manufactured from Metals. Most resources are stripped away. The exceptions are: Solid Fuel, Ablator, all non-tweakable resources (cannot be transferred) and resources with zero density (EC, for one). Everything that’s left is packed into the Kit. Thus, a set of Part Kits is produced, which (along with the blueprint of the ship) constitutes the contents of a DIY Kit.

A DIY Kit usually weights much less than a ship that is constructed from it, but, except for the resources, costs almost the same.

How a DIY Kit is converted back into the (new) ship

First of all, you need to land the kit somewhere on a flat surface, and, preferably, detach it from the carrier. For that DIY Kit Containers are equipped with their own simple decoupling mechanism, which is located on the top side, marked with yellow arrows.

Then you need to Deploy the Kit. This could be done by a kerbal in an EVA suit or remotely from a nearby Workshop. A deploying kit detaches any part that is still attached to it, then gradually “grows” (imagine that kerbals assemble working scaffolds inside the box) until it have the size of the ship that will be constructed; then it is attached to the surface, so it cannot be moved any more.

It doesn’t matter how the Kit was oriented. As far as it lies on one of its sides, the deployment dimensions and the orientation of the launched vessel will be automatically chosen to correspond to the surface.

A deployed Kit can be processed by a nearby workshop with kerbals, but there are some limitations:

  1. The workshop should be at most 300m away.
  2. The kerbals that will be working on the Kit should be inside the Workshop, not in other parts of the same vessel.
  3. These kerbals should be engineers. Scientists or pilots don’t count.
  4. The skill level and number of workers do count: a 5-star engineer works literally as much as five 1-star ones. And five 5-star engineers perform spontaneous miracles.
  5. The distance from the Workshop to the Kit affects construction efficiency and, consequently, the time needed. So it’s best to make Workshops mobile and get as close to the Kit as possible.
  6. The amount of free space per kerbal inside the Workshop also affects efficiency: a small compartment with a place for a single kerbal may be more efficient than a big one packed with two dozen passenger chairs.
    • Note 1: the crewable parts that have Workshop capability have the “Ground Workshop” module (could be seen in part’s extended tooltip in Editor), which shows the efficiency of that part.
    • Note 2: the efficiency of any generic habitat is capped at 50%. To be more efficient you need to use the provided Mobile Workshop part and build a rover with it.
  7. If you want to benefit from background construction, you need to make sure you have enough power and Metals to work with, as resources are not generated in the background.

When the Kit is complete, you can “wirelessly” transfer resources and crew to it from the Workshop using dedicated UI. Then you can Launch the assembled ship, which will appear at the exact place where the Kit was.

Acknowledgments

My patrons on Patreon. Thank you for your support!

  • Kevin Casey
  • Bob Palmer
  • Ryan Rasmussen
  • Matthew Zaleski
  • Bart Blommaerts
  • eL.Dude
  • Layne Benofsky
  • Igor Zavoychinskiy
  • Issarlk
  • Meiyo
  • BP
  • Jenna Mitchell
  • Squiddy
  • Ted Achenbach
  • SCESW
  • Patrice Hédé
  • Steve Victory
Edited by allista
New version released

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Looks nice!

Two questions:

  • How many new parts/resources does this add? Is it easy to change it (by .cfg's) to use only stock ore as material and stock parts as workshops? I suppose the DIY Kit itself is fairly irreplaceable, specially the part where it grows (nice touch, by the way! I was thinking about something similar some time ago)
  • Can I make the building attached to the ground?

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So this allows you to pack a ship into a small container then build it again later? So you can't build any ship out in the field like epl? 

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33 minutes ago, monstah said:

Looks nice!

Two questions:

  • How many new parts/resources does this add? Is it easy to change it (by .cfg's) to use only stock ore as material and stock parts as workshops? I suppose the DIY Kit itself is fairly irreplaceable, specially the part where it grows (nice touch, by the way! I was thinking about something similar some time ago)
  • Can I make the building attached to the ground?
  • It adds 3 parts: the DIY Kit Container (which is essential), the Mobile Workshop and the Space Crane (both are not essential). All crewable parts (stock or not) are considered to be workshops, but their real efficiency is calculated dynamically and only qualified parts are left with the working workshop functionality. This (as described in the OP) could be seen in the part's extended tooltip in Editor: a workshop part should have Ground Workshop module with the efficiency indicated below.
  • GC does not add any new resources; it uses stock Ore and a single resource from the Community Resource Pack -- Metals. Internally it is called StructuralResource and it could be changed via configuration (if actually want to do it, I'll explain in detail later).
  • If you have a part that attaches itself to the ground (like Launch Clamps do) then yes. Otherwise, GC produces the exact same vessels that VAB or SPH would produce on the Launchpad or the Runaway.
Edited by allista

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Cool, thanks! I guess it's just a matter of an MM patch to put the Ground Workshop on, say, the Science Lab and go almost stock, right?

Will give this a try. Thumbs up.

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This sounds very much as a lightweight alternative to EPL. Is that true?

Does this, or will it at a later point have the possibility of in space construction as EPL has it? (I know it says ground construction....)

Is there any way to radio the blueprint to a base on Duna, without having to ship any materials from Kerbin? I.e. full off world construction / independent colony.

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1 minute ago, Warezcrawler said:

This sounds very much as a lightweight alternative to EPL. Is that true?

Does this, or will it at a later point have the possibility of in space construction as EPL has it? (I know it says ground construction....)

Is there any way to radio the blueprint to a base on Duna, without having to ship any materials from Kerbin? I.e. full off world construction / independent colony.

I think EPL is already pretty lightweight; the main differences I see is here are: 1, you must decide the end product while still in the VAB, where with EPL you can select any ship to build at any time; and 2, with this you don't get a ship popping out of nowhere and possibly exploding nearby stuff.

I like EPL's freedom better with regards to (1), but (2) really caught my attention.

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36 minutes ago, Benji13 said:

So this allows you to pack a ship into a small container then build it again later? So you can't build any ship out in the field like epl? 

Almost. There are three differences:

First, it don't just "pack" a ship. It "packs" only essential parts, materials, tools, etc. This decreases the mass considerably compared to the sum of parts. But it also balances the gameplay: you can't expect 3 kerbals in a small workshop to produce all the high-tech equipment that is needed to assemble a rocket engine, even if you have enough still. The engine is a precise mechanism which simply cannot be build "out of Ore" using a smelter. And by what magic ELP manages to produce, say, enough radioactive element to fuel a nuclear reactor (or a simple RTG, for that matter), I have no idea.

Second, in contrast to ELP, Ground Construction allows arbitrary placement of the built vessel. No need for a "launchpad", the launched vessel is not coupled to anything, it just stands on the ground wherever you placed the Kit.

Third, no in-orbit construction. For this you have KIS which accurately "emulates" all the complexity of building something in space. Even when you have all the parts built for you on the surface.

Edited by allista

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Oh, I forgot that EPL has another link in the chain by manufacturing rocket parts before building the ship, so that's extra simplicity points for this one.

@allista any major differences I haven't noticed?

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15 minutes ago, monstah said:

Cool, thanks! I guess it's just a matter of an MM patch to put the Ground Workshop on, say, the Science Lab and go almost stock, right?

Will give this a try. Thumbs up.

No-no-no, not right! :confused:

Any stock part, non-stock part, any part that have space for a crew already have the GroundWorkshop module. By default. But some of these parts are simply too small to be effective, so the module switches itself off. Look at the part's tooltip in Editor before considering using it as a workshop.

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(you just answered some in a ninja move, that's fine)

Ninja'd AGAIN. Oh, well.

Just now, allista said:

No-no-no, not right! :confused:

Any stock part, non-stock part, any part that have space for a crew already have the GroundWorkshop module. By default. But some of these parts are simply too small to be effective, so the module switches itself off. Look at the part's tooltip in Editor before considering using it as a workshop.

Ah, yes, I misunderstood. Let's see if I get it right now: the GroundWorkshop module is already added to stock parts. A part you add to the pack merely has added efficiency, and I think this is where I was going at: if I don't want to add the part, I can improve the efficiency of a stock part to replace it.

Am I closer now? :sticktongue: 

(I think I'll just download the mod at my work computer and look at the .cfg files before I get home, anyway)

Ah, yes! This is where I was getting at:

	MODULE
	{
		name = GroundWorkshop
		Efficiency = 1
	}

(from Mobile Workshop mod part)

	MODULE
	{
		name = GroundWorkshop
		AutoEfficiency = True
	}

(added to stock crewed parts by MM config)

Nice! :D 

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9 minutes ago, Warezcrawler said:

This sounds very much as a lightweight alternative to EPL. Is that true?

Does this, or will it at a later point have the possibility of in space construction as EPL has it? (I know it says ground construction....)

Is there any way to radio the blueprint to a base on Duna, without having to ship any materials from Kerbin? I.e. full off world construction / independent colony.

Sorry, but the whole point of GC is to be grounded. As I said, I consider in-orbit construction of parts as being out of the question on the current level of Kerbin technology. All the other limitations are also deliberate and made to add something to the gameplay, not just to ease its walkthrough.

To be completely honest, I'm planning to add something of a compromise for in-orbit construction, but not to this mod. Rather, some of the hangars from the Hangar mod will receive the ability to keep a KIS inventory of parts and dis/reassemble ships inside them quicker than you would do manually just using KIS. But that's still a long way to go...

9 minutes ago, monstah said:

(you just answered some in a ninja move, that's fine)

Ninja'd AGAIN. Oh, well.

Ah, yes, I misunderstood. Let's see if I get it right now: the GroundWorkshop module is already added to stock parts. A part you add to the pack merely has added efficiency, and I think this is where I was going at: if I don't want to add the part, I can improve the efficiency of a stock part to replace it.

Am I closer now? :sticktongue: 

Bingo! :cool:

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22 minutes ago, allista said:

Sorry, but the whole point of GC is to be grounded. As I said, I consider in-orbit construction of parts as being out of the question on the current level of Kerbin technology. All the other limitations are also deliberate and made to add something to the gameplay, not just to ease its walkthrough.

To be completely honest, I'm planning to add something of a compromise for in-orbit construction, but not to this mod. Rather, some of the hangars from the Hangar mod will receive the ability to keep a KIS inventory of parts and dis/reassemble ships inside them quicker than you would do manually just using KIS. But that's still a long way to go...

ok, thanks. Nice to know where this is going, and what to expect.

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I suggest you check out @Eleusis La Arwall's Keridian Dynamics. The fundament part, a concrete base which works like a launch clamp, could be used to construct permanent, ground attached structures (anything connected to its node doesn't auto-detach if you accidentally stage it).

One problem of the fundament with EPL is it was difficult to get it to spawn exactly level. Would that be an issue with this mod?

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1 hour ago, colmo said:

I suggest you check out @Eleusis La Arwall's Keridian Dynamics. The fundament part, a concrete base which works like a launch clamp, could be used to construct permanent, ground attached structures (anything connected to its node doesn't auto-detach if you accidentally stage it).

One problem of the fundament with EPL is it was difficult to get it to spawn exactly level. Would that be an issue with this mod?

I doubt it.

The mechanics of the spawning exactly repeats the stock spawning at KSC. So anything that spawns at KSC as you expect will behave the same when you launch it from the Kit.

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Can't help but share this :blush:

About producing "simple" mechanical parts. On the planet... :D

 

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@allista turning lathe with a cutter is an old technology. In space everything will be done by 3D printing. 

 

Edited by Enceos

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28 minutes ago, Enceos said:

@allista turning lathe with a cutter is an old technology. In space everything will be done by 3D printing.

Well, first, I wouldn't be so sure about the "old/new" thing. Mechanical properties of the printed and forged->carved parts should differ considerably. Not everything could be printed and be functional.

Second, the mass of such a printer and its energy requirements are no less forbidding for in-space use than that of an industrial lathe machine.

Third, even if you have adequate propulsion+energy generation, you will face the overheating problem. No air around -- no fast cooling. Air around, and you need ventilation, heatpipes, tons of radiators to cool the air.

There are, at least on paper, much more space-friendly solutions for producing structural components such as lattice girder.

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This actually seems to me to have great potential for synergy with EPL; you could use EPL to construct the DIY kit in orbit of the planet it'll be placed on.

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Having another issue, whenever I deploy a DIY Kit, start the build, and warp time, it falls through the ground... I've tried sticking landing legs on it... I've tried putting a plate on the bottom of it, nothing works. As soon as I warp time, it falls through ANYTHING it's placed upon.

 

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Wow! :confused: Thanks for the report.

May I see the logs?

As you may notice in the introduction video, I hadn't have such a problem. So I'll first need to find a way to reproduce it...

And Happy NY, by the way :D

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Sure thing, I'll link the log in a few min.

I reinstalled Ground Construction and Hangar, but it had no effect, might be conflicting with my other mods.

Happy New Year to you too!!

log to follow.

Here is the log, I deleted the log, started the game, recreated exactly what happened in the video, then saved and exited.

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwavg2fEkbxKMGd4MkY1Uy1NN1E/view?usp=sharing

Edited by TheKurgan

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Great, thanks!

And I'm sorry I was not specific enough: I meant the KSP_Data/output_log.txt, which contains unfiltered information from Unity. 

Anyways, this KSP.log contains two things indicative of installation errors:

  1. AT_Utils somehow miss the 002_MultiAnimators.dll that the Hangar requires.
  2. The installed version of InfernalRobotics is not fully compatible with KSP-1.2.2, because its IRSurfaceSampler.dll still references KSPUtils.dll which is no longer exists, so ModuleIRSurfaceSampler should not work.

Neither is linked to GC, but you should still pay attention to them.

As for the the bug in question, there are some errors involving PartJoints appearing right after you have switched to the ship and before you have deployed the Kit. But without output_log.txt (and maybe even with it) I can't see where they come from. So I ask you to post this file as well.

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Ah... wrong log, I'll upload the right one.

Reinstalling both hangar and Construction again... I don't know how either was missing anything. I installed them both directly from the latest versions on SpaceDock.

Removed IR... I don't use it anymore anyway.

I'll do the same as I did before, delete log, rerun the same scenario as in the video and then I'll upload the resulting (correct) log :P

If this doesn't work, I'll start removing mods until I find the culprit.

Edited by TheKurgan

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