SQUAD

KSP Weekly: The flight of the Norge and forging missions

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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. In the past issue we remembered the launch of the Mercury-Redstone 3 spacecraft, but the aeronautic achievements of humankind are not exclusively reserved for the space era. The road towards the first spaceships was paved by many engineers, pilots and scientists long before the first rockets were tested. For example, on a day like today in 1926 the first verified trip of any kind and likely the first overflight to the North Pole was carried out by the Norge, a semi-rigid Italian-built airship. It was also the first aircraft to fly over the polar ice cap between Europe and America. The expedition was the brainchild of polar explorer and expedition leader Roald Amundsen, the airship’s designer and pilot Umberto Nobile and American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who financed the expedition along with the Aero Club of Norway. This, like many others, is an example of humankind’s unquenchable curiosity, tenacity and spirit. We like to remember these achivements when we think about the possibilities for the Mission Builder. We can’t wait to see all the creative and unique missions that will sprout from the community once the expansion is released. But for now, let’s go through this week’s advancements in the development of the projects we are working on.  

Let’s begin with the 1.3 Update. The QA team has been identifying where some of the minor problems unique to each language that have a common cause are, along with generally dotting the tees and crossing the eyes that the language volunteers have been working on. General fixes have also been on the agenda with some more long standing bugs fixed; Shadows and orbits this week. The QA volunteers are now poking away at some of the other problems that we really want to see fixed. Asteroid Day is now fully integrated, bugs identified and fixed, and the contracts more balanced.

For some detailed info, the dev team spent some time to identify the cause of the issue with flickering shadows in flight scene which is caused by a combination of a Unity bug and floating point precision problems with the game universe size. The devs implemented a compromise fix for this which does not eliminate the problem but makes it much better. Speaking of shadows, devs also fixed a small shadow bug where there are gaps in the shadows for KSC buildings and also a shadow bug in the SPH that appeared at certain camera angles. They fixed part highlighters showing/highlighting landing lights flares. Similarly, we’ve implemented a fix to maneuver nodes that were stale (in the past) where if the vessel made a maneuver that made the conics patches invalid for that node it would cause the node to disappear and/or create null reference exceptions. In these cases the game will now intercept invalid conics for a maneuver node that is in the past and automatically delete the node (with an appropriate screen message to tell the player).

This week we finalized the Modders Notes and Font information, as well as an updated PartTools to support those for Localization. These help facilitate things for the modding community. 

While devs and testers have been busy fixing bugs and polishing the final details for the 1.3 update release, the artists have had their share of fixing things. Particularly textures and KSPedia, but also have begun to help with the design of communication materials (yes, we do these in-house). Here is a sneak peak of the concept we came up with for the Spanish version:

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In other news, Blitworks keeps up the fast pace of supplying us with new and improved builds each day for consoles.  It looks like testers will be having a lovely Friday night of checking all the resulting ready-to-test reports. In the meantime, they have been busy making sure every celestial body has its flyby and mission achievements working properly.

Now, let’s move on and talk about Making History expansion, where we have been tweaking some aspects of the design and progress is being done every single day. One example is the new UI, which is a key part for the Mission Builder. Devs have been following the new design and functionality improvements to ensure an easy to use and intuitive gameplay experience. Additionally, we have been working on setting up the functionality for whitelisting and blacklisting parts for missions. This way mission designers can set which parts can be used for a mission or, conversely, they can block parts. On this note, we’ve also been continuing work on part failures for missions.

The QA team, on the other hand, have been testing new parts for the expansion including an early IVA for the lander.

And speaking about new parts, we have more art to show you this week - specifically, our first American engine for the expansion. We know several users were speculating on whether we would be including ‘tank butts’ on the new engines, so hopefully this new image puts things to rest. As you can see, our new engine comes in a ‘naked’ form (that is, no tank butt).  This is the default, and also how it will render when surface attached. In addition, two extra nodes will be provided. One with the smallest node size that conforms to the engine’s geometry (in this case, a 1.875), and a second node - if needed - that conforms to the appropriate size class of that engine (a 2.5m node is shown in the one we’ve included). This should allow all of the new engines to blend well with existing fuel tanks (both stock and modded) while also giving players a lot more flexibility in engine placement. Here’s a second image showing the three different modes for this engine (Naked, 1.875, 2.5).  Based on the dynamic tank butt size, we will also be including a little bit of extra fuel as well.   

Finally, we encourage you to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - Creative emergency escape and re-entry vehicles. This time around the challenge consists of making an escape pod(s) for a space station and/or a ship in orbit and this time, the participants will receive an Official Challenge Badge “THE GOLDEN KERBAL”. Are you up to the challenge? Check it out and share your creations!

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That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates!

Happy launchings!

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Good to see that KSP is continuing to move into the "tankbutt-optional" paradigm as seen in mods and the old Rocket Engine Overhaul design sheet. Looks like the previewed parts are modeled after the F-1 engine (and therefore resemble the single "Boar" from Porkjet's illustrations). From that I think we can infer that the 5m Saturn engine skirt previously previewed will have a cluster of five 1.875m nodes on the bottom. 

Personally I think that might be one of the nicest pieces of art I've ever seen come out of Squad-produced KSP... (I'm sure there are a row of critics lining up to disagree)

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28 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

This is the default, and also how it will render when surface attached. In addition, two extra nodes will be provided. One with the smallest node size that conforms to the engine’s geometry (in this case, a 1.875), and a second node - if needed - that conforms to the appropriate size class of that engine (a 2.5m node is shown in the one we’ve included).

Three questions..
.
First. Don't bare nodes affect drag in the aero model?

Second. How does this handle the fairing shroud that spawns when you attach to the bottom?

Third. do these tank butts/boat tails have colliders or do things just fall through the gap between them?

3 minutes ago, PocketBrotector said:

(I'm sure there are a row of critics lining up to disagree)

needs a normal map :P there satisfied now?

EDIT: Oh and the naked mode doesn't exactly look rotation gizmo friendly like in porkjets design reference so much for placement freedom.

Edited by passinglurker

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8 minutes ago, passinglurker said:

Oh and the naked mode doesn't exactly look rotation gizmo friendly like in porkjets design reference so much for placement freedom.

This is a mystery to me. The "naked" mode is even more minimal than the "compact" mode from the old design sheet. Does the lack of a circle circumscribed around the plumbing somehow make it more difficult to rotate the engine? It seems to work just fine in mods like CryoEngines.

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22 minutes ago, PocketBrotector said:

This is a mystery to me. The "naked" mode is even more minimal than the "compact" mode from the old design sheet. Does the lack of a circle circumscribed around the plumbing somehow make it more difficult to rotate the engine? It seems to work just fine in mods like CryoEngines.

It seems there are some misunderstandings because squad called the smallest mode "naked" instead of "compact" like in the reference doc

Anyway "Diameter" wise their compact mode is fine but the base plate is too thin and straight sided. Look at the reference document or even the vector of the dart engines a thick and subtly curved base lets you rotate the engine to point an angle without it looking clippy or bad. 

As for Cryo Engines Nearta only implemented naked and boat tailed versions of his engines, but no compacts because things become cluttered without a proper mesh switch feature.

This was the perfect opportunity to use paid content to fund a long sought feature (tweakable mesh switching) but instead they cut another corner and used an old modders hack. Selling DLC to support core development is the only morally justifiable reason to sell DLC so if the DLC doesn't take these opportunities what reason do I have to buy it?

Edited by passinglurker

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Love the new engine. Looks great to me. Really love the different sizing options, as well. It looks like they fit together with good form, so that it'll be the equivalent of using a size adaptor so that there's no drag penalty. Will all the new engines have similar flexibility?

Though I'm really just happy to see any new parts. And that we're inching closer to a release date. Can't wait.

Edited by Cpt Kerbalkrunch

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3 minutes ago, Cpt Kerbalkrunch said:

Will all the new engines have similar flexibility?

Yep, though the specifics may be different.

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5 minutes ago, Cpt Kerbalkrunch said:

so that it'll be the equivalent of using a size adaptor so that there's no drag penalty.

again...

45 minutes ago, passinglurker said:

First. Don't bare nodes affect drag in the aero model?

 

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15 minutes ago, passinglurker said:

again...

 

I would suspect that they had a plan for this. Don'tcha think?

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5 minutes ago, Cpt Kerbalkrunch said:

I would suspect that they had a plan for this. Don'tcha think?

No I don't think that at all. History has shown differently.

Edited by passinglurker

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I'm curious to what that little Spanish phrase means in English.  I know a little so I'm thinking it means "clearer than water", but I could be wrong or missing some sort of context on that one.

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1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

Don't bare nodes affect drag in the aero model?

Nodes themselves have no effect on drag in stock.  Make a copy of a stock SRB but with the topmost node removed, in testing you'll see that they perform identically. 

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6 minutes ago, passinglurker said:

No I don't think that at all. History has shown differently.

I don't know about that, and I'm sure there are plenty of threads to cover it, so I won't comment on it here. What I will say is, if you see something and immediately look for something not to like, you're going to find something not to like. Much of Squad's staff has turned over, but the company has soldiered on and continued this fantastic game that we all love (and seriously, you have almost 2,000 posts; you must love this game). This expansion is going to keep the company viable and allow them to make the sequel to this game that has been rumored and whispered about. And before you say that's no reason to buy this expansion, let me stop you, because that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that this expansion is incredibly important to the future of Squad. They know this, and I expect they are acting accordingly. A shoddy company would've done a cash-grab long ago. You could put out dozens of crappy 5 dollar DLCs that add no real content to the game like a lot of companies do these days, and people would've bought them. Squad didn't do that. They're putting out an actual expansion (like companies did in the good ole days) that I believe will add to my enjoyment of the game. I'll be buying the moment it's available. Every man is entitled to his own opinion, but why not look at things with a little optimism? Or at least a little neutrality? Give it a chance, man.

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Good to hear that things are chugging right along; that engine has some nice detail on it. I'm also curious how that Spanish translates.

5 minutes ago, Cpt Kerbalkrunch said:

~snip~

Some people complain that the glass is half empty; others are happy that the glass is half full. I'm just glad to have a glass.

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2 hours ago, SQUAD said:

As you can see, our new engine comes in a ‘naked’ form (that is, no tank butt).  This is the default, and also how it will render when surface attached. In addition, two extra nodes will be provided

So this engine will have ... three nodes and be surface-attachable?

Obligatory "Aren't you a little short for an F-1?"

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2 hours ago, SQUAD said:

For some detailed info, the dev team spent some time to identify the cause of the issue with flickering shadows in flight scene which is caused by a combination of a Unity bug and floating point precision problems with the game universe size. The devs implemented a compromise fix for this which does not eliminate the problem but makes it much better.

Awesome!!!  Any kind of fix would be welcome!  :)

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42 minutes ago, mikerl said:

I'm curious to what that little Spanish phrase means in English.  I know a little so I'm thinking it means "clearer than water", but I could be wrong or missing some sort of context on that one.

That's exactly what it says. 

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2 hours ago, SQUAD said:
And speaking about new parts, we have more art to show you this week - specifically, our first American engine for the expansion. We know several users were speculating on whether we would be including ‘tank butts’ on the new engines, so hopefully this new image puts things to rest. As you can see, our new engine comes in a ‘naked’ form (that is, no tank butt).  This is the default, and also how it will render when surface attached. In addition, two extra nodes will be provided. One with the smallest node size that conforms to the engine’s geometry (in this case, a 1.875), and a second node - if needed - that conforms to the appropriate size class of that engine (a 2.5m node is shown in the one we’ve included). This should allow all of the new engines to blend well with existing fuel tanks (both stock and modded) while also giving players a lot more flexibility in engine placement. Here’s a second image showing the three different modes for this engine (Naked, 1.875, 2.5).  Based on the dynamic tank butt size, we will also be including a little bit of extra fuel as well.

Neat! Looks good, and it's nice to see some of the advanced concepts from previous designs coming to life. I hope it has a cool plume and makes an awesome sound when it starts up.

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25 minutes ago, regex said:

So this engine will have ... three nodes and be surface-attachable?

Correct, with the appropriate amount of 'stuff' (along with colliders and the correct drag cube) appearing based on how you snap it into place.  

 

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1 hour ago, Cpt Kerbalkrunch said:

 Every man is entitled to his own opinion, but why not look at things with a little optimism? Or at least a little neutrality? Give it a chance, man.

Oh you really want to know? I did try to be optimistic long ago I used to be one of those bright eyed "they are space enthusiasts like us we can trust'em to pull through in the end" defenders. Then they shipped 1.0 without the needed art and ballance polish and in an generally shoddy shape all around, then they did it again... and again.... and AGAIN!!! 

[rant] Each time they add to the technical debt of things that will need to be changed when the polish finally comes. Need to rebalance the parts? guess you have to remake the tutorials again. Want to redo the art? don't forget to make it in 5 different languages. How about they just say it just won't happen already? oh wait they have DLC buying users who give a damn what if that turns them off and loses sales?

almost 2000 posts as you say I'm not some troll who fell off the turnip wagon this is years of accumulated salt from my trust and optimism being spent. 1.2 could have turned it all around for me they had hired trusted members of the community they were responding to feedback everything was going great, but squad just needed the contractors to fix the bugs so they could sell a console port in europe so once the bugs were fixed the contractors were out and they went dark again. Now finally with the DLC squad has had yet another chance to make amends and what do they do? add yet another layer of fractured artistic geology making new parts that try and blend in with the placeholders that should have been replaced before 1.0 !!! [/rant]

DEEP BREATH

[calm] look dude... I understand that there are budget and schedule realities that they have to deal with, and that development can't be as smooth and ideal in practice as it is on paper, and I do want them to succeed because I do love the potential this game has, and I'd compromise and pay DLC prices to see that potential polished and fulfilled but... I just don't see it anymore... I can't read between the lines and see the positives like I once did. My patience is spent I need explicit and straight answers about the intent of thier roadmap, because at this point I wouldn't be surprised if 1.4 is a hollow disability accessibility update to branch into yet another market instead of polishing and refining the gameplay they already got... [/calm]
 

43 minutes ago, RoverDude said:

Correct, with the appropriate amount of 'stuff' (along with colliders and the correct drag cube) appearing based on how you snap it into place. 

thank you for clarifying this.

Edited by passinglurker

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3 minutes ago, passinglurker said:

placeholders that should have been replaced before 1.0 !!!

I have to admit you have a point there. Maybe with all the staff turnover they forgot which assets are placeholders, or even that there are still placeholders!

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