GregroxMun

Planets that can not be made.

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One of the goals of KSP should be a system for making planets more interesting. Here's a list of systems and features that could be combined to make some really interesting and unique things, in the form of planets which we can not make in Kerbal Space Program with the tools we have available. (This is also a warning to those who want to try to make these in KSP using only Kopernicus.)

  • A planet with axial tilt distinct from inclination. (Note: Axial Tilt is now possible with the mod Principia, if you want N-body orbits.)
  • A planet with seasons.
    • Changing textures dependent upon the seasons. This could be accomplished with a set of four textures (one for each season) and the ability to change the texture for different parts of the globe. We could have yellowing terrain on Kerbin during fall, extra snow during winter, small ice caps during summer. Or we could have a Duna that shrinks and grows its ice caps in different parts of the year.
  • Mesklin. (An oblate, rapidly spinning, hyper-earth planet with 3 gee at the equator and 700 gee at the poles.)
    • Needs non-spherical atmospheres and oceans, and getting the shape exactly right would be difficult.
    • We can in principle do this with an airless body, but getting the curvature of the planet just right would still be an issue. Ideally a featureless object should have a slope that appears to be zero when accounting for gravity and centrifugal force.
    • For a body of uniform composition, the shape should work out to be an oblate spheroid. However, since KSP gravity is point-source, things don't behave right.
      • Once again, this is something that principia can do, unless I'm mistaken, as it can do nonspherical gravity wells. But it doesn't fix the atmosphere or ocean.
  • Rocheworld (Two planets close enough to share an atmosphere such that you could fly an airplane/waterfall through.)
    • For an airless world this is possible with N-body physics, but you can't ever quite have working transfer between atmospheres because spheres of influence. Again this requires nonspherical atmospheres to function.
  • Or, for that matter, proper binary systems.
    • Sigma Binary shows that using KSP's orbit system it is possible to have binary orbits. However, spheres of influence are still tricky and behave counter-intuitively under Sigma's model.
    • N-Body also allows this.
  • Planets with subterranean oceans.
    • This could be done with three sets of PQS terrains. Two facing upward (surface and ocean-bottom) and one facing downward (the bottom of the surface and the top of the ocean)
    • No clue how you'd get through the terrain though.
    • Unlike many on this list, this is something that several stock planets could benefit from: Eeloo and Vall.
  • Planets with cloud cover and weather.
    • While E.V.E. can provide clouds, we don't have any weather to go with them.
    • Imagine if Laythe was perpetually covered in rain clouds, Jool and Eve had hazardous winds, or Duna had dust storms?
    • Kerbin could have basic weather too. A difficulty setting, perhaps.
  • Volcanic planets
    • The commonly cited reason for Laythe's warmth is volcanism, but there exists no volcanoes. Volcanoes would heat up the ground around them, spew plumes of ash, and create clouds. Volcanoes could also be put underwater.
    • Cryovolcanism on Vall and Eeloo would be an interesting mechanic. They could be sampled, they could push ships around, they could rain krill...
    • Volcanoes on Eve would also be a nice touch.
    • We could also make Io.
  • Extrakerbolar planets
    • Well this isn't entirely true, we can make planets and put them in orbit around other stars which are in turn orbiting the Sun, but we can't reparent the Sun around a galactic core. (We can clone the Sun and put the planets around the clone, but this has problems of its own)
  • Black Holes, Neutron Stars.
    • The lack of a convincing lensing effect is one reason, but in addition there's the problem of relativity. We don't have generally relativistic gravity nor specially relativistic motion.
      • This one is probably never gonna happen. I've never seen anyone use a general relativity gravity simulator.
    • Delta-v to manuever around these is enormous anyway.
  • Procedural planets with more than one or two truly distinct biomes.
    • Procedural planets look pretty samey across their whole surfaces. Aside from a few things like color, it's very difficult to make a planet that has distinctly different terrain features in one place or another.
  • Planets with this as a possible noise type for PQSMods. It's called Hybrid Multifractal and results in some pretty realistic looking mountains.
  • Planets orbiting all very near a star.
    • TRAPPIST-1 system can not be properly replicated as the sunlight in KSP is broken.
    • Brown Dwarf systems, dimly lit as they would be, would also be affected.
    • This also breaks the possibility of telescopic observations, particularly of inner planets.
    • A simple fix for this would be a shader that works on large scales that lights up the sun-facing side of a planet, which fades out as you approach the body.
    • Nor Kerbins around a Brown Dwarf.
  • Planets with realistic water systems.
    • Water is flat in KSP, so you can't have lakes that are high up flowing into rivers and waterfalls and going into the ocean. All rivers have to be static and at zero altitude.
  • Eccentric Kerbins
    • The "branding spot" requires some form of seasons to do right.
    • If I'm not mistaken though, the atmosphere temperature model of KSP can support this reasonably well.
  • Oscillating Kerbins
    • Requires N-Body and careful setup of orbits.
    • Requires a remarkably complex season model.
    • Atmosphere model would have to change constantly as the orbit does.
    • To be fair, this one takes many decades to show up so it wouldn't be worth it anyway.
  • Free-Floating Kerbins
    • Planets are always illuminated equally, no matter how far from the sun they are. And it would be rather disconcerting if you merely landed a bright spacecraft on a dark surface.
    • Note that this is fine if the Sun orbits some other lightless light source and you put the free-floating Kerbin far away.
  • Multi-Star Systems with more than one bright sun.
    • Tatooine systems, where a habitable planet orbits two close-together suns.
    • Or even Kerbins with 5 Kerbols in the Sky
    • How about the Ultimate Trojan Star System?
    • Impossible due to the lack of proper binary orbits and the fact that only one star can shine on a planet at a time. Multiple lens flares can work, but not starshine and shadows.
  • Eclipse Planets.
    • A planet with enough moons might get eclipses very often. Such a shame KSP doesn't do eclipses. (Well scatterer and EVE can)
Edited by GregroxMun

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I think planets are the element of KSP that got the least improvement during its development. Other than adding new bodies or reworking terrains, nothing has ever been done AFAIK.

I support these improvements, though at this level it would probably require a complete rewrite of the planets generation. Fingers crossed for 1.5! (1.4 has to be a graphics/rocket parts revamp)

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I think axial tilt could be fudged. My idea is you could make a tiny "fake" body, perhaps even without any visible mesh, with a very small SOI (doesn't even need to be 10m in radius, with very low gravity. Then have the body that you want to have tilted orbiting it at the desired inclination with a very low radius, such that the planet doesn't wobble noticeably. If done right the player would be none the wiser that there was a ghost body inside the planet.

My reasoning for thinking this could work is that it is possible to put Kerbin in an inclined and very low radius orbit around Gilly using hyperedit, and it seems to work as I described.

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1 hour ago, GregroxMun said:

Mesklin. (An oblate, rapidly spinning, hyper-earth planet with 3 gee at the equator and 700 gee at the poles.)

  •  

 

I want this

As for weather, there was a mod somehwere that added wind and possibly other things like that.

Edited by SpacePilotMax

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3 hours ago, EpicSpaceTroll139 said:

I think axial tilt could be fudged. My idea is you could make a tiny "fake" body, perhaps even without any visible mesh, with a very small SOI (doesn't even need to be 10m in radius, with very low gravity. Then have the body that you want to have tilted orbiting it at the desired inclination with a very low radius, such that the planet doesn't wobble noticeably. If done right the player would be none the wiser that there was a ghost body inside the planet.

My reasoning for thinking this could work is that it is possible to put Kerbin in an inclined and very low radius orbit around Gilly using hyperedit, and it seems to work as I described.

Celestial bodies in KSP all have axes that are parallel to the sun's, so your idea will unfortunately not work, or not work fully anyway. Tilt will always be equal to orbital inclination relative to the sun, even if there's a parent body at some other inclination in between. 

Principia works around this by adjusting the inclination of every other body when entering an SoI, so that the nearest body appears to have the correct axial tilt, but the rest will be incorrect. It's a ton of math and background heavy lifting to make it work, kudos to egg for finding a way to do what was thought to be impossible. 

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1 minute ago, Red Iron Crown said:

Celestial bodies in KSP all have axes that are parallel to the sun's, so your idea will unfortunately not work, or not work fully anyway. Tilt will always be equal to orbital inclination relative to the sun, even if there's a parent body at some other inclination in between. 

<snip>

 

Huh... I thought I had read somewhere that the axis of rotation was simply equal to the inclination of the orbit around the parent body, not necessarily the sun in particular.

Learn something new every day lol.

Anyways yah Principia is amazing.

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On 23/4/2017 at 0:56 AM, GregroxMun said:

Changing textures dependent upon the seasons. This could be accomplished with a set of four textures (one for each season) and the ability to change the texture for different parts of the globe. We could have yellowing terrain on Kerbin during fall, extra snow during winter, small ice caps during summer. Or we could have a Duna that shrinks and grows its ice caps in different parts of the year.

while this is not doable with Kopernicus, it is actually doable if you write a plugin for it.

I might even look into it just for fun

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I am all for more interesting planets. Seasons and weather would be awesome, as well as rivers (seriously, why are rivers not a thing yet?!).

Edited by aeTIos

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Just now, aeTIos said:

I am all for more interesting planets. Seasons and weather would be awesome, as well as rivers (seriously, why are rivers not a thing yet?!).

wait, doesn't kerbin have some sort of "rivers"?

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I definitely remember the scaledspace texture of kerbin had rivers in it

They should be river-shaped elongations of the ocean into the mainlands

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26 minutes ago, aeTIos said:

Not that I know of O.o 

 

14 minutes ago, Darkstar616 said:

Yeah, there are no rivers. Just seas and oceans surrounding abysmal landscapes.

Go play GPP. It has rivers:) not really its selling point, but yeah. 

1 minute ago, Sigma88 said:

I definitely remember the scaledspace texture of kerbin had rivers in it

They should be river-shaped elongations of the ocean into the mainlands

They have rivers on the ss texture but they aren't fleshed out on the height map

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1 hour ago, Galileo said:

 

Go play GPP. It has rivers:) not really its selling point, but yeah. 

They have rivers on the ss texture but they aren't fleshed out on the height map

So there's no water where the rivers are?

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I don't know what you guys are talking about, kerbin has multiple rivers and they work just fine.

Edited by Iamsodarncool

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ummmmmmmmmmm...

YES

I am unable (i don't know why) to download planet packs so this is very exciting

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16 minutes ago, Sigma88 said:

So there's no water where the rivers are?

There is water, but the heightmap could be touched up in some places. 

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14 hours ago, Darkstar616 said:

Yeah, there are no rivers. Just seas and oceans surrounding abysmal landscapes.

 

15 hours ago, aeTIos said:

I am all for more interesting planets. Seasons and weather would be awesome, as well as rivers (seriously, why are rivers not a thing yet?!).

Guys, rivers totally exist.  They are just static and have no flowing water.  I took these through wayback machine kerbalmaps, so they are kinda low-res.

 

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On ‎4‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 4:56 PM, GregroxMun said:

Rocheworld

I've been trying to remember the name of that book for sometime, thanks.

As to your other ideas, I like 'em all--more variety is the spice of Kerbal life.  Nice write up.

I'd especially like to see the ability to generate procedural solar systems (with control of various user settable parameters like limit ranges on types and numbers of planets and moons and much more) and some/all of these things you mention would make that even better and exploration even more interesting (and our custom generated solar systems should have an import/export feature to save and share).

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2 hours ago, Rath said:

 

Guys, rivers totally exist.  They are just static and have no flowing water.  I took these through wayback machine kerbalmaps, so they are kinda low-res.

 

You're entirely correct, my bad :) 

What I would love is some more varied biomes on Kerbin. Without a doubt it's possible to create stuff like forests, lakes, you name it... You know, the stuff that makes our own planet earth so beautiful. I understand that the engine has limitations but give the planets some love.

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20 hours ago, Sigma88 said:

wait, doesn't kerbin have some sort of "rivers"?

Ooh I'm adding this to the list.

  • Planets with rivers and lakes that aren't at sea level.
    • KSP's water is just a surface. You can't put rivers on it because rivers must flow downward. All of the rivers in KSP are really just long thin lakes at sea level. 

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On 4/25/2017 at 1:38 PM, GregroxMun said:

Ooh I'm adding this to the list.

  • Planets with rivers and lakes that aren't at sea level.
    • KSP's water is just a surface. You can't put rivers on it because rivers must flow downward. All of the rivers in KSP are really just long thin lakes at sea level. 
Spoiler

Screenshot%202017-04-27%2002.08.00.png?d

 

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48 minutes ago, CastleKSide said:

@Sigma88 is there anyway of turning that into a full mod?

I'm working on it :wink:

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