SQUAD

KSP Weekly: The Eclipse

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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. On Monday, our friends in North America are going to be able to witness one of the most impressive natural phenomena, a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse happens when the moon’s shadow falls somewhere on the surface of Earth. In contrast, lunar eclipses occur when the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon. During an eclipse there are two sections of the shadow, the dark umbra and the partially shaded penumbra, and their placement determines which type of eclipse we can see from Earth. There are basically 6 types of eclipses: we have penumbral, partial and total lunar eclipses, and on the other hand partial, annular and total solar eclipses, the latter being the most spectacular ones.

A total solar eclipse starts out as a partial eclipse. During the event you’ll notice shadows becoming sharper than normal, and trees projecting the crescent sun. The temperature drops and landscape darkens to a bluish-grey. The moon’s shadow advances towards you from the west and if you look up, you’ll see the last beams of the sun surrounding the moon’s shadow like a diamond ring. Once the totality is reached, you’ll be able to see the glow of the sun’s corona and the pink and red light from the hydrogen gas of the chromosphere. Together these make up the sun’s outer atmosphere and a total solar eclipse is the only occasion you have to appreciate it.

The moon orbits earth every 29.5 days, but we don’t get eclipses every month, because the moon’s orbit is not in line with Earth’s orbit. It’s tilted about 5 degrees, so the moon’s shadow does not usually fall over the Earth, and vice versa on most months. When we do get eclipses it’s because there are two points where the moon’s orbit crosses the sun’s plane - called nodes. And as the Earth moves along its annual orbit, nodes line up with the sun about twice a year. As the moon passes between the sun and Earth at that time, we get a solar eclipse and when it’s behind it, we get a lunar eclipse. Although the frequency of total lunar and solar eclipses is similar, you’re more likely to see a total lunar eclipse in your lifetime than a total solar one. That’s because the totality of a lunar eclipse can last well over an hour and is viewable for anyone on the nightside of Earth. The moon often turns red during these events because our planet’s atmosphere scatters the shorter bluer wavelengths of light, while the longer, redder wavelengths pass through. In contrast total solar eclipses seem much more rare because totality lasts just a few minutes and although we get them every 18 months on average, each one is only viewable from less than half a percent of the Earth’s surface. In a total solar eclipse, the moon precisely covers the sun from the vantage point of some place of Earth. This is only possible because by a huge coincidence, the sun and the moon appear to be about the same size in our sky. While the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it’s also about 400 times farther away. Nevertheless, the alignment isn’t constant. The moon has an elliptical orbit and its size varies about 12% throughout a month and only when it’s closer to us we can get total solar eclipses. So, less than 30% of solar eclipses are total. 

In the far future, Earth will only get annular and partial solar eclipses because our moon is moving farther away. We know this because of measurements taken from lasers pointing at mirrors left on the moon during the Apollo and Luna missions. So in a billion years or so, Earth dwellers will witness its very last total solar eclipse.*

So if you happen to live nearby the trajectory of Monday’s solar eclipse, don’t miss it and be amazed by the mesmerizing beauty of this rare phenomenon. Here’s a link with all the information on the trajectory, schedule, safety measures and streams of the eclipse. Apologies for the large introduction. Now let’s move on and talk about KSP development.

[Development news start here]

For starters we continue with the final preparations for the pre-release of the 1.3.1 update, which will be available very soon. This update will not only include several bug fixes, but also important corrections to all the language packages. Stay tuned for the upcoming release date and changelog to read about all the details.

In other news the testing of bugs and fixing them for the updated version of KSP on the consoles continues. Some of this week’s fixes include: Problems with buttons persisting onscreen; stick controls not working as intended; and saving a game at the flight report after a crash would place the player at a random ship when the game was reloaded .The latter was particularly tricky because it was a core bug in the game, which hadn’t been noticed before. Luckily these were identified, confirmed and fixed, so you will not have to worry about them in the future.

The endeavor to realize the Making History Expansion keeps us very busy, but it’s also incredibly exciting to see how a project, which has progressed well beyond the concept it once was, has taken shape, and to see how the preliminary design turn into real features and functionalities. For instance, the GAP (Graphic Action Pane) got some attention this week. This feature is not yet finished, but as the vessel orientation and target placing gizmos get implemented, we will soon have a new, fully functioning, and very useful tool for creating missions. Similarly, the functionality of setting time values up for a mission is almost ready. With this feature, Mission Creators will be able to set a StartUT (UT stands for Universal Time) for their Mission, which will affect the position of the planets and vessel in relation to the sun at the start of the mission. So this parameter can influence the overall difficulty of a mission. The devs also looked into the feature that allows a mission creator to assign crew to vessels in the mission. Throughout the entire development of the expansion the devs have been cognizant of ensuring they don’t change  the signatures of stock functions. This means that existing functions in the API used by mods are mostly unaffected by changes in the code base.

Aside from the implementation of new features, some issues discovered during the development process have been addressed. An example is a UI bug that involved the creation of a visual gap when docking or undocking mission nodes. Naturally when we encounter an issue during development, it is immediately put on our backlog for it to be fixed before the release or sometimes they will be fixed before advancing to a new task, depending if the bug affects the functionality of the next task.

While devs continue writing code, making pull requests and implementing features, the artists have also been occupied with several tasks. For example, they have finished their first  mock-up for the Mobile Launch Pad. This mockup is an early prototype that will allow developers to begin working on the code for the Launch Pad. The idea behind it is that a mission creator will be able to place launchpads on the surface of any celestial body whilst creating their missions. The launchpads can then be used to launch or land vessels during a mission. The mission creator will be able to choose to have none, one, or more of these in their created missions. Just keep in mind that whilst it has been designed it is still being developed, so things could change.

Artists have also finished up the geometry for our next American engine and began with the laborious process of texturing a new IVA based on the Vokshod 2. They were able to finish up the Vostok 1 IVA last week and we figured we could give you a sneak peek of how it looks. We used many reference images of replicas of the real command pod to give it an authentic look.

Finally, we remind you that you still have another week to participate in our latest KSP Challenge - The Atari Challenge. So go 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!

 

*Source

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16 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

For starters we continue with the final preparations for the pre-release of the 1.3.1 update, which will be available very soon.

Awesome!!!

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21 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

They were able to finish up the Vostok 1 IVA last week and we figured we could give you a sneak peek of how it looks.

So ... that's the finished product or is it still work-in-progress?

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Quote

For example, they have finished their first  mock-up for the Mobile Launch Pad. This mockup is an early prototype that will allow developers to begin working on the code for the Launch Pad. The idea behind it is that a mission creator will be able to place launchpads on the surface of any celestial body whilst creating their missions. The launchpads can then be used to launch or land vessels during a mission. The mission creator will be able to choose to have none, one, or more of these in their created missions. Just keep in mind that whilst it has been designed it is still being developed, so things could change.

 

Finally a mod that already exists whose features will be implemented in Making History, we've been waiting for one of those! :P

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11 minutes ago, regex said:

 

So ... that's the finished product or is it still work-in-progress?

Also, will it come with an eject feature, especially since Kerbals are supposed to have parachutes too?

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Today's blog is much more "meaty" than it was many months in a row, there is something to read. Starts to be like the one that was before.

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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

The idea behind it is that a mission creator will be able to place launchpads on the surface of any celestial body

so more like "remote pre-placement" rather then "treads"? I am slightly more confused after reading this devnote.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SQUAD said:

Throughout the entire development of the expansion the devs have been cognizant of ensuring they don’t change  the signatures of stock functions. This means that existing functions in the API used by mods are mostly unaffected by changes in the code base.

It was an absolute joy to read this in a Weekly. Thanks for doing it, and thanks for telling us about it!

Translation from techspeak: Mods for 1.3.0 will also work on the release that the expansion uses. No more threads about surprise game crashes after automated Steam updates, no more busy work for modders, no more pestering of modders for updates.

Caveats: The quote above is a description of an effort, not a promise/commitment, so they might still make breaking changes by mistake or necessity. But even that is a good step.

Edited by HebaruSan

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16 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

Translation from techspeak: Mods for 1.3.0 will also work on the release that the expansion uses. No more threads about surprise game crashes after automated Steam updates, no more busy work for modders, no more pestering of modders for updates.

Caveats: The quote above is a description of an effort, not a promise/commitment, so they might still make breaking changes by mistake or necessity. But even that is a good step.

I don't think that's what it says at all. Dev notes have always emphasized that the developers try not to break mods if they can help it, but basically every update breaks most mods in some way, minor or major.

Maybe things are a little different since they are talking about expansion vs. regular updates (which is, or course, to say nothing about changes in 1.3.1 and any potential regular updates), but I wouldn't expect many plugin mods to just continue working with no changes.

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Wait, so now we are getting extraplanetary launchpads in the stock (expansion) game? Or will it be a pad that can spawn vessels for use in the mission?

I hope it's the latter.

Also, super hyped for the eclipse!:cool:

 

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xwdTXhO.jpg

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1 minute ago, tater said:

Snip

You're ruining their expertly planned marketing stratagem. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

You're ruining their expertly planned marketing stratagem. 

It's not a very good stratagem. Whenever I have to hunt down and click on a link to see an image, somehow whatever it is never quite ends up as cool as I was picturing, so I'm always a little bit let down. I'd much rather they just, you know, embed the picture like all the rest of us do.

Also, is it me or is that thing a little... roomy? I've never actually seen the inside of a Vostok capsule but I always pictured them being pretty crowded--might look better if the interior space was smaller and more full of equipment. I mean, how is Jeb even supposed to reach that throttle lever?

Edited by Hotaru

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35 minutes ago, Hotaru said:

Also, is it me or is that thing a little... roomy?

Not just you.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

 

1 hour ago, Hotaru said:

Also, is it me or is that thing a little... roomy?

Not just you.

 

The IVA should reveal a kerbal seated in a fetal position. :wink: But I guess there's no rig for that. 

Edited by Wallygator

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, SQUAD said:

On Monday, our friends in North America are going to be able to witness one of the most impressive natural phenomena, a total solar eclipse.

ECLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*gasp*EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sigh... clouds obscuring a 70% max totality where I live...

ECLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EDIT: Also, nice IVA.

Edited by Confused Scientist
All of those "E"s are actually silent... whatever.

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3 hours ago, Hotaru said:

Also, is it me or is that thing a little... roomy?

I was thinking the same thing. I looked up the Vostok1 schematics and that's about right. It just needs the ejection seat and the internal volume would be close to the real one. Pretty good IVA over all.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Hotaru said:

how is Jeb even supposed to reach that throttle lever?

Yeah... This...

 I may have missed it but does anyone know if the fairing bug has been fixed for the next patch?

Edited by Majorjim!

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13 minutes ago, Majorjim! said:

Yeah... This...

 I may have missed it but does anyone know if the fairing bug has been fixed for the next patch?

What fairing bug?

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2 hours ago, Majorjim! said:

 I may have missed it but does anyone know if the fairing bug has been fixed for the next patch?

Haven't heard anything.  Maybe the fairing bug is under NDA.

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3 hours ago, Majorjim! said:

 I may have missed it but does anyone know if the fairing bug has been fixed for the next patch?

I assume you're referring to the one involving struts and fuel lines inside fairings on the launchpad?

The following is a quote from the KSP Weekly on 16 June (I bolded the text in the last line for emphasis):
"Furthermore, we did some bug fixing for 1.3.1 including, but not limited to: a change to the camera clipping pane, so we don’t have to see what Kerbal’s have been eating for breakfast when you zoom right in on them, and the addition of a KSC building shadow shader fix to the SPH/VAB scenes. We also fixed the alignment of settings in some UI elements, as well as a problem in 1.3 with vessels that have fuel lines or struts inside fairings exploding on launch."

And by @bewing from Squad staff on 30 June in the Technical Support forum section (in this quote he is referring to issues on the bugtracker that have been fixed for 1.3.1):
"FYI: There are two known issues with struts that have already been fixed. They manifest on the launchpad, though. Struts/fuel ducts clipped inside parts and struts/fuel ducts inside fairings will explode on physics load."

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19 hours ago, Scout1218 said:

Wait, so now we are getting extraplanetary launchpads in the stock (expansion) game? Or will it be a pad that can spawn vessels for use in the mission?

I hope it's the latter.

Also, super hyped for the eclipse!:cool:

 

I think it's the latter. Even so it does mean there will be a hook in the core unexpanded game that the expansion will use to say where the vessel should launch from. That same hook is available for mods like EPL and others that want to change the launch location. Which they can do already, but with the hook they have a method that shouldn't change between versions and won't have unexpected side effects to manifest as bugs.

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Will this eclipse be part of the expansion or blended into a stock release?

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