SQUAD

KSP Weekly: Venerating the Venera

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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. Here at the KSP HQ we are Space History enthusiasts and June is a month rich in historic achievements, including the launch of the Venera 4 probe (June 12, 1967), which was the first human-made device to enter the atmosphere of another planet -Venus- and to return atmospheric data from the planet. It showed that the atmosphere was 90-95% carbon dioxide, it detected no nitrogen, the surface temperature reading was 500°C and pressure reading was 75 bar. The probe was crushed by the pressure on Venus before it reached the surface. Venera 4 was part of a series of space probes developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1984 to gather data from Venus. Among other results from these series of probes, Venera 7 became the first to make a soft landing on another planet, Venera 9, which consisted of an orbiter and a lander, was the first to return images from the planetary surface and to orbit the planet, and Venera 15 was, you’ve guessed it, the first to perform high-resolution radar mapping studies of Venus. The later probes in the Venera series successfully carried out their mission, providing the first direct observations of the surface of Venus. Since the surface conditions on Venus are extreme, the probes only survived on the surface for durations varying between 23 minutes (initial probes) up to about two hours (final probes). Thanks to these and other missions, we were able to gather invaluable data from Earth’s not so identical twin as well as further expand our knowledge of the effects that a high concentration of carbon dioxide can have in the atmosphere. But you are here to read about KSP development, so let’s begin.

For starters, the QA team is back with bughunting: confirming reported issues with the latest update and, consequently, the development team is getting busy fixing those pesky bugs which will be fixed by the time update 1.3.1 comes out. One example of these recent fixes is that compound parts, such as struts and fuel ducts, can now be adjusted symmetrically from both ends. Click here to see how it works. And yes, in case you were wondering, updates and support for the core game continues!

In other news, the work on the upgraded version for consoles continues at full swing. This week the biggest highlight is the work on the new icons for the new radial menu system. Check them out!

Meanwhile the work on the Making History Expansion advances vigorously. This week the devs were busy reviewing the code process for the Mission Briefing Dialog and in the meantime some have been working with the Vessel Start Situation for the mission’s parameters. The first sketch to persist the information is already in place, but we’re still figuring out how the Flight Global Vessels will access that data.

Similarly, the art team has been mainly involved with content for the Expansion, including the modeling for the Vostok 1-inspired IVA, further work on the Mission Builder’s UI and, of course, new parts. Here’s our new 1.875 monopropellant tank.  Two textures will be included - one with the traditional yellow markings used for other stack RCS tanks, and a plain white one that should blend better with historic rocket builds. So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.  Also, we will be using the introduction of a new monoprop tank as an opportunity to perform a long overdue balance pass on our existing monoprop tanks.

We also want to invite you to read our latest Devblog: Enter the Shadows, where @JPLRepo goes into detail about how some long standing issues with the shadows were fixed, how these came to be, and a lot of insight about how shadows and the camera system work in the game. Don’t miss it.

Finally, we encourage you to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - Place the groundstations! On this occasion we’ll assume that the communication groundstations are not yet built, so the challenge consists of placing them at the right coordinates. There are six groundstations but it’s up to you how many you’ll want to deliver and how. Are you up to the challenge? Check it out and share your creations!

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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Posted (edited)

I'm really digging that new RCS tank :) I wish a bit of their craftsmanship was put to use on the older rocket parts though soon? The mix of old and new art is going to be rather apparent with the drop of Making History. On another note though I also look forwards to integrating SPC into the stock texture switching if possible! I think this is a fantastic feature to have.

EDIT: In all honesty though, I'm surprisingly hyped for these next few weeks. With the impending official release of Spectra, the recent news with WindowShine, and now the implementation of stock texture switching I will once again have things to do. :)

Edited by Avera9eJoe

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Not-quite-first, but within 4 min that's pretty good right! :P

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Nice to see stock texture switching, this has a lot of potential, such as mk2 tanks with capability of switch to a heavier version with a heat shield and black tiles on the underside that look really cool are more realistic.

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Hyped for monoprop balance pass!  I thought it was perfect when it surfaced way back in the 1.2 pre, then just abruptly vanished shortly after.  Glad it just got delayed and will see the light of day.  Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Stock texture switching sounds great. Will it be available in the free patch or in the expansion only?

Am also happy about tanks rebalancing. Such polishing really makes the game shine.

Edited by garwel

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wait...idea...historical PROBE parts

am I the only one, or is it already being implemented, or new idea?

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Posted (edited)

The new mono tank looks great. And texture switching is awesome.

Unfortunately, that picture also provides the clearest example to-date of how poorly the don't-call-them-placeholders parts hold up to the new parts. Just look at them next to each other:

iHypORT.png       jjekpro.png

It's muddy garbage on the left, and clean, high quality work, with lots of details on the right.

I think it's great to have new, high quality parts, but it just exacerbates the problem of building vessels that are a mix of nice looking art and smeared garbage.

Also, now that 1.3 is out, I would love to hear more about how the missions actually work and how they fit in with the other parts of KSP, hopefully a Devblog at some point.

Edited by DMagic

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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.

Not one to be excited about such things but in this case ,  I profess to be quite joyous  :)

Care to reveal if it uses similar methods to those already used by various mods? Would be nice if it was as it would make rewriting some 300 texture switch patches quite painless. ( or at least a lot less painful than localizing over 1000 parts)

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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.

Oh, I am going to have some serious fun with this!!!  :cool:

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Posted (edited)
Quote

So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.

God yes... Maybe this means that we can have a stock parts overhaul without the "trash is charming" crowd getting up in arms...

E: Kudos to the art team, they're doing a fantastic job.

Edited by regex

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1.3.1 confirmed!  It is, indeed, another update and further support for the current game!  Still pretty certain KSP is ending it's development cycle, though.  On to future DLC projects and Take Two's KSP2!

In other news, modders can now more easily replace placeholder certain textures with fancy new textures!

Lastly, nice lookin' tanks you got there!

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28 minutes ago, DMagic said:

iHypORT.png     

It's muddy garbage on the left

I've enjoyed learning a little bit about modeling and textures from previous critiques of stock assets. What specific elements make these parts "muddy garbage"?

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Is the texture switching in the stock game or in the DLC?

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Will the texture switching be "global" (all or nothing) or will it be ship specific? Could one potentially launch the same part on two different ships within a single save and use different textures on those parts? 

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42 minutes ago, Ten Key said:

Could one potentially launch the same part on two different ships within a single save and use different textures on those parts? 

Thats the way that it works in mods currently,  you can have 30 identical craft with identical parts  all textured in different ways ( if you care to make 30 texture sets)  and all active if need be

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, HebaruSan said:

I've enjoyed learning a little bit about modeling and textures from previous critiques of stock assets. What specific elements make these parts "muddy garbage"?

To start, the end caps for the 2.5m tank (the same goes for almost all of the stock end caps) is just a flat surface with one layer brushed on top of the other, it's basically the simplest possible design. The caps on the smaller part aren't quite so bad, they just lack any detail. While it's true that you don't usually see these parts for long, it just looks really bad when you do.

The yellow tank elements of the 2.5m part have no detail, that might as well be vertex coloring.

Given the current design, what should have the most texture detail, the side panels with those bolt things, are given a tiny amount of texture resolution. If you look at the actual texture you'll see that the entire side is unwrapped across the width of a 512 texture, which prevents having any fine details (at lot about texture design, and what makes for good looking parts can be learned just by comparing the textures for something like the mk2 fuel tanks to the 2.5m grey tanks). Since the tank has four repeating elements on the side you could just make one texture design and repeat the UV unwrap for the sides.

The smaller tanks aren't quite as bad, but still lack any fine details. They have a normal map that I assume is supposed to make them look corrugated, but it doesn't, they just look like flat sides with black lines drawn through them. This brings up a slightly unrelated point, that the textures for all of these parts are horribly inefficient (this is a recurring theme for stock parts); some of them should share a texture map, and the normal map for the 2.5m does next to nothing. And for the real nit-pickers, the two yellow stripes don't match, one is thicker than the other.

If you look closely at the radial tank, which is admittedly not something you would normally do, you'll see that it has these weird white circles stamped all around it, and some grey smudges that just look bad. But it's a tiny part, so I don't worry so much about that.

The same criticisms could be leveled at most of the major stock parts, fuel tanks, engines, docking ports, some structural parts, etc... So the same mismatch will most likely apply for all of the new parts, along with the existing space plane parts.

Now look at the new tank. It actually looks corrugated, the yellow stripes are clear and match. There are little hole along the edges for bolts, or pins, or whatever to attach to other parts. There are signs of wear and damage along the edges of the caps. The inside paneling has some detailing, like brushed steel, or something to that effect, and I can almost guarantee you those tanks all shard the same texture space. 

Edited by DMagic

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I'm loving that radial menu on the console version! The UI is gonna look so good after its done. Finally I won't have to worry about the maneuver node freaking out on me!

Oddly enough though, I do hope that rapidly activating custom actions to slow down time still works, since it will let you get that extra second to eject and save your Kerbals if your plane has an untimely meeting with gravity.

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4 hours ago, SQUAD said:

So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.

Tiled texture options on space plane parts please :)  Great update!  Can someone explain if you can have a texture switch that also changes the parts properties (weight, ablative units, heat tolerance etc)?

Thanks!

SM

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, SQUAD said:

 

Similarly, the art team has been mainly involved with content for the Expansion, including the modeling for the Vostok 1’s IVA, further work on the Mission Builder’s UI and, of course, new parts. Here’s our new 1.875 monopropellant tank.  Two textures will be included - one with the traditional yellow markings used for other stack RCS tanks, and a plain white one that should blend better with historic rocket builds. So yes, we can confirm that stock texture switching will be a thing.  Also, we will be using the introduction of a new monoprop tank as an opportunity to perform a long overdue balance pass on our existing monoprop tanks.

 

Will the texture switch feature also come with contents switching?

Switch to a mono skin = tank filled with monoprop, switch to LF skin = tank filled with LF, etc

And the other question I guess is the next major release (1.4) going to be based on Unity 5.6.x, either that or @JPLRepo is having way too much fun teasing us.

Edited by NoMrBond

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Pretty fuel tank and texture! Oh, and being able to select textures on fuel tanks is great news!
However, I agree with DMagic. The high quality models does emphasize the need to remodel some
of the current parts.

Anyways, good work! Will for sure buy the DLC! :)

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Please tell me you guys are looking into the bug introduced with 1.3 whereby fairings cause a catastrophic failure immediately upon loading a craft

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2 minutes ago, RW1984 said:

Please tell me you guys are looking into the bug introduced with 1.3 whereby fairings cause a catastrophic failure immediately upon loading a craft

Is that bug reported on the bug tracker?

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1 minute ago, JPLRepo said:

Is that bug reported on the bug tracker?

I posted it in the PC unmodded support section. Should I post it in the bug tracker? 

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