PocketBrotector

[1.2.2+] Extended Antenna Progression (v0.1.1, 4-10-17)

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Current Release (GitHub)

This mod adds long-range antennas using stock assets to facilitate communications networks for planet packs larger than the stock solar system. This allows the player to extend, rather than replace, the stock antenna progression, making long-range relays possible without trivializing inner-system communications.

  • The RA-500 weighs 1.3 tons and has range rating of 500 Gm. It has a 1.25m bottom node and fits in a 5m fairing (i.e. it's a 2x rescaled RA-15.)
  • The RA-2500 weighs 2.6 tons and has a range rating of 2.5 Tm. It has a 2.5m bottom node and fits in a 7.5m fairing (i.e. it's a 2x rescaled RA-100.)
  • The RA-12500 weighs 5.2 tons and has a range rating of 12.5 Tm. It has a 2.5m bottom node and fits in a 10m fairing (i.e. its a 4x rescaled RA-15.)

As an incidental benefit, these antennas offer progressively better transmission performance than the stock relay antennas, particularly in terms of ElectricCharge consumed per Mit transmitted.

The enormous size of these antennas demands an unconventional approach to deployment. Possibilities include:

  • Off-world manufacturing via mods such as Extraplanetary LaunchpadsOSE Workshop, or Ground Construction.
  • Oversized launch vehicles such as AB Launchers (5m), DIRECT (5m & 7.5m), or SpaceY Lifters/SpaceY Expanded (5m, 7.5m, & 10m). To facilitate the simultaneous launch of multiple satellites, this mod adds stock fairings (including interstage trusses) resized to 5m, 7.5m, and 10m diameters.
  • In case none of the above appeal to you, compact deployable versions of all three antennas are provided (via rescaling of the Communotron 88-88 to 0.625m, 0.9375m, and 1.25m.)

As the new antennas are substantially more powerful than the stock Deep Space Network, three additional levels of the Tracking Station are provided via the Custom Barn Kit (not included.) These allow the player to choose between launching local relays or simply boosting the DSN.

  • Level 4 of the Tracking Station costs 2,111,000 Funds and boosts the DSN's range rating to 1.25 Tm.
  • Level 5 of the Tracking Station costs 7,916,000 Funds and boosts the DSN's range rating to 6.25 Tm.
  • Level 6 of the Tracking Station costs 29,685,000 Funds and boosts the DSN's range rating to 31.25 Tm.

This presents alternatives at several performance points to the excellent JX2 Large Deployable Antenna. These parts are generally cheaper and less massive than the JX2 for their range with the trade-off of being much bulkier and far less visually distinctive.

As a bonus, I've included a half-scale version of the RA-2 antenna that has the stats of the HG-5. This alternate handle-free form factor for the HG-5 fits better on compact probe assemblies as small as 0.3125m. Also included for launching miniature relays is a 0.625m fairing; I recommend RLA Stockalike for 0.625m launch vehicles.

Installation and Requirements

To install, copy the files to your GameData folder.

This mod requires ModuleManager (not included.) Custom Barn Kit is required for the extended tracking station progression, but otherwise optional.

License

CC BY-NC-SA

Edited by PocketBrotector
added license info

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1 hour ago, PocketBrotector said:
1 hour ago, MaxL_1023 said:

It makes more sense to upgrade the DSN as opposed to the spaceborne antennas - Gael-based transmitters are already those massive dishes. They are much more powerful by default than any spaceborne antenna. It makes no sense to have a small probe be able to communicate with another probe at nearly the same distance it can communicate with the DSN. 

"Small..." :rolleyes:. The biggest one here is almost ten meters wide - I should probably put it on a rover and see how it looks next to those tracking station dishes! 

As threatened, @MaxL_1023...

Spoiler

lzsb5w3.png

RA-12500 on the highest level of a 10m fairing truss. Not as quite as big as the tracking station dishes, unfortunately... Looks like those are about 30 or 40 meters across.

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When I play tomorrow I'll put that into orbit. I've done single-launch manned Thalia lander missions - just use more boosters!

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23 minutes ago, MaxL_1023 said:

When I play tomorrow I'll put that into orbit. I've done single-launch manned Thalia lander missions - just use more boosters!

Should be pretty easy with a 10m launcher, of course, but kind of annoying otherwise. 

At any rate, I suspect we're close to the point at which it doesn't make sense to keep scaling up stock dishes. If we extend the current progression another four steps, we'd have a 40m dish weighing 83 tons with a range exceeding 7.8 quadrillion meters... which is still shy of the interstellar relay from Kerbol StarSystems, apparently.

Edited by PocketBrotector

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7.8 Quadrillion meters is not very large on an interstellar scale - I think that only takes you to the outer Oort cloud. 

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New release on GitHub:

Spoiler

GqPCNHY.png

 

10 hours ago, MaxL_1023 said:

7.8 Quadrillion meters is not very large on an interstellar scale - I think that only takes you to the outer Oort cloud. 

Okay, but the entire stock system is only about 1AU in radius... I suppose estimating Kerbal interstellar distances are left as an exercise for the modder.

Edited by PocketBrotector

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I didn't get to test as much as I wanted too last night but first brush is pretty cool.  The idea of tweaking in more levels of DSN might work better than anything else actually.  The other issue I see would be people taking umbrage at having to install another mod to launch or breaking immersion by using tiny antennas that have massive power for no other reason than as placeholders.

More testing is coming for the first but a suggestion on the second - instead of using scaling to create multiple new copies of larger, more massive sizes, instead create only a single upgrade to add one more tier to the relays.  Then employ the new upgrade system to add additional power level upgrades to the 4 levels of antenna.  The additional antenna is the peak power model (say 500G or 1T) that can have the higher mass level and operate as the core network antenna (kind of like the JX2 is right now).  This would help prevent people from feeling like they need to run another mod to make their antennas feel right (or even be able to launch) and keeps the control firmly in the realm of advancing tech.  I know I'd hate to feel like my tech is advancing but comms are doing nothing but getting larger.

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Nice!

One question - what license is this?

And one suggestion - if you add some extra info in the thread title it would help anyone following this spot updates. Example: [1.2.2] Extended Antenna Progression v0.1.1 (Apr 10, 2017). These forums can get so busy, particularly after a KSP update, that it's really hard to spot an update among all the comments and questions.

And thanks for sharing this!

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Hey PocketBrotector,

 

Nice mod! Good work! :wink:

 

Will it be on CKAN, too?

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Thanks all. Added license info to the readme and version info to the topic name. CKAN may come later; I haven't used it before so I'll have to read up on the metadata process.

On balance...

As I see it, the stock antenna progression is balanced by mass and bulk. More advanced antennas come later in the tech tree and are heavier, which makes them more significant as a payload; and they're bulkier, requiring wider rockets to launch. Taken together, the mass and bulk also means that relays are more likely to be used on appropriate craft (dedicated sats or a CSM) and less likely on unconventional relay craft (landers, rovers, planes, etc.) Each successive antenna is about double the mass of the previous, and one step up in diameter (.625, 1.25, 2.5m) which means they fit neatly into the truss system in fairings of larger launchers (1.25, 2.5, and 3.75m respectively.)

This mod extends the progression as simply as possible, which is appropriate as the KSP mod ecosystem provides both the need (larger solar systems) and means (bigger launchers) to do so. So the antennas continue to double in size and grow steadily more powerful to reach more distant destinations, but they need bigger and bigger launchers/fairings to accommodate them (5m, 7.5m, and 10m are all more or less community standards).

Big launchers probably aren't uncommon among the large-solar-system crowd, but I'm sure there are some who don't want to use them. And in any case, the progression to larger launchers probably isn't perfect; a 3.75m stack is already overpowered to get a trio of RA-100 satellites to orbit. So the compact antennas are offered as an alternative; they deploy to the same size but fit in a much smaller space for launch. (Communotron 88-88 is roughly 8 times wider when deployed than stowed, so e.g. a version that's only 1.25m wide stowed is easy to launch but expands to 10m deployed). They're the same mass, and when deployed they're even the same bulk, so they're balanced using the same progression as stock - they just don't require oversized launchers.

This scheme has the advantage of leaving the stock antennas untouched, so that you don't have to mess with the balance or challenges associated with setting up a relay to e.g. Duna or Jool just because you install OPM, etc. @Snark summarized this pretty well over on the JX2 thread - offering bonus performance on existing alternatives tends to trivialize stock-scale relay networks without offering any more depth to make up for it. If the bonus performance is implemented as a PartUpgrade, stock balance is still tossed out - it just takes a bit longer to happen. Also, the stock tech tree only really has one node, Large Probes, available to extend the antenna progression, and CTT doesn't add any more nodes in that line either - so more powerful antennas ought to be differentiated by mass and bulk, as there's no room left in the tree to differentiate by technological advancement.

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1 hour ago, PocketBrotector said:

Yes, thanks.

Could you upload a release file, CKAN doesn't pull down the source zips.  I know they are identical, but this would make it easier.  Or, upload to SpaceDock

Thanks

Never mind, I figured out how to do it

On 4/12/2017 at 11:54 PM, PocketBrotector said:

Thanks all. Added license info to the readme and version info to the topic name. CKAN may come later; I haven't used it before so I'll have to read up on the metadata process

You need to add the license to the OP (forum rules)

Edited by linuxgurugamer

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After a short hiatus of less than two years, v0.1.2 has been released.

This adds support for Restock and extends the Tracking Station progression to keep up with the antenna progression. Some things have been simplified/deprecated, including the 10m dishes. Lastly, quality of life has been improved by renaming dishes so that KSP alphabetizes the relay catalog in order of size.

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On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 6:48 PM, PocketBrotector said:

After a short hiatus of less than two years, v0.1.2 has been released.

This adds support for Restock and extends the Tracking Station progression to keep up with the antenna progression. Some things have been simplified/deprecated, including the 10m dishes. Lastly, quality of life has been improved by renaming dishes so that KSP alphabetizes the relay catalog in order of size.

I really appreciate the update! This is exactly what I've been looking for

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