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KSP Weekly: The Earthquake

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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. This issue will be fairly short. This Tuesday, September 19th, a major Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck Mexico, less than two weeks after another one with a magnitude of 8.2, and exactly on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. Unfortunately this latest Earthquake caused serious damage, toppled dozens of buildings, rendered countless others uninhabitable, and killed hundreds of people; especially in Puebla, Morelos, the State of Mexico and Mexico City, the latter with the most casualties. The Earthquake began around 1:14pm, while we were at our offices, and it was one of the scariest things we’ve experienced. Since the epicenter was 158.5 km from the city, it struck as soon as the alarms started to ring, so it had begun before we were able to leave the building. Shortly after the Earthquake stopped we started to learn about its aftermath and that was the worst part. Electricity was failing in most of the city, there were gas leaks and telecommunications were over saturated, so trying to get in contact with our families was very distressing, especially after hearing that some buildings had fallen. Naturally, the office closed for the rest of the day and we went straight home to see if everything was ok. Luckily the whole team and our families are all safe and sound. Nevertheless, after being sure that our loved ones were safe, some of us decided to help those that were trapped under debris. Personally, I went to a 7 story building that fell not far from where I live. When I arrived there were hundreds of people already helping to remove the debris, stone by stone, since most of them were civilians without equipment, but it did not matter, we all knew that in these situations every minute counts and there was no time to lose. Many people were trapped, but nobody knew the exact number. By the minute more people came with buckets, shovels, picks and mallets, and shortly after, the army and professional rescue teams with dogs and machinery came too. Thousands gathered, everybody helped as they could, bringing equipment, food and water to the rescuers. It was not long until the first persons were found, some of them fortunately still alive. The rescue effort wouldn’t stop until everybody was found. I've never experienced something like this and the solidarity we Mexicans have shown in such difficult times is, simply put, extraordinary and it gives us hope in such dark times.

There are two main types of Earthquakes, categorized by their motion: when they have an horizontal, side-to-side motion, they are called oscillatory Earthquakes, and when it’s a vertical, up-and-down motion, they are designated as trepidatory Earthquakes, which are far more dangerous, especially near the epicenter. This was unfortunately the case on Tuesday. Moreover, Mexico City is especially at risk of major earthquakes because of its location. Five tectonic plates - Cocos, Pacific, Caribbean, Panama and North American - collide in central and southern Mexico, making the region one of the most unstable. Furthermore, the downtown of Mexico City is especially vulnerable to quakes because of the very soft and wet ground underneath. Our city, one of the most densely populated in the world, was built on what is now a dry lakebed and that plays a large role in the intensity of earthquakes. Its soil amplifies shaking and is prone to liquefaction, which is the ability to transform dirt into a dense liquid when sufficiently churned. Additionally, Tuesday’s earthquake struck at a depth of about 51 km, within the range of the so called shallow quakes, which often cause the most damage, compared to the ones that are deeper, regardless of the strength. All those factors made it particularly destructive and the reason why, despite of being one whole point under the earthquake magnitude scale in comparison with the one that struck us on September 9th, it was much more devastating.

Thousands lost their patrimony, but our strength and solidarity will help us overcome this disaster. Buildings and roads can be rebuilt, and little by little the country will return to normality. If you want to help the victims, you can do so by donating to the Mexican Red Cross, UNICEF or the Topos Rescue Brigades. Any help will make a difference.

[Development news start here]

Despite the obvious news of the week, we did make some progress, which we are happy to
share.

For starters, the QA team has had another busy week of control scheme testing and general bug reporting for the consoles. Thankfully there are not so many of the general bugs now, so together with our external QA team and Blitworks, we are concentrating on getting the controls complete.

We’ve also been looking at the few remaining issues with the 1.3.1 Pre-release, and some older bugs in general.

In other news, there were further advancements with the Making History Expansion. This week we have worked on the mission validation system. This system checks the structure of a mission and looks for issues that may prevent the mission from working or that could cause the player of a mission issues when they play it. It gives feedback on issues and highlights the Nodes on the canvas that need attention.  

Moreover, work has progressed on part failure and repair development along with work being done on implementing various aspects of difficulty settings into the missions that will allow the mission creator to turn on and off various difficulty settings and some new ones that are missions specific. Some devs also worked on mission scoring aspects of development.

The team also ironed out some missing elements on the persistent ID numbers that will allow missions to track vessels and parts right through their lifecycle, that allows missions to link actions and events with instances of vessels and parts. Additionally, the devs built and implemented the Missions App for the editor scenes (VAB/SPH) that provides information about vessels that need to be built by the mission player.

We have started formal testing on the Making History’s Mission Builder now that the different parts are able to work together and the first line bugs have been ironed out. More part testing has also been in focus, and the number of new parts we have now is quite impressive.

Finally we want to thank our colleagues that reside abroad, who have been very concerned and shown their support to the rest of us. As well as the KSP community, who have shown nothing but solidarity and support to us. Thank you all.

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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@SQUAD, thank you for sharing that very personal, tragic, but also inspiring story.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you (as well as our other friends in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean).  It has definitely been a rough month for North America.

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I can't begin to imagine what that must have been like. Thankfully you're all OK, and my thought are with everyone there.... 

As far as the expansion.... worry about it later... we all understand. Do what you have to do to put your lives back together first.

Edited by Just Jim

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Glad to hear everyone is safe.  Wish I had the resources to help y'all out.

 

At least you can see a hurricane approaching...

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Can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like to experience something like that. Truly inspiring to see the news reports and hear your own accounts of how you all banded together to help each other out.

Wishing you all a swift recovery. 

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9 minutes ago, razark said:

At least you can see a hurricane approaching...

Yeah, no kidding! At least we had time to prepare.

I can't imagine getting hit with something just as deadly, but with no warning! :(

Edited by Just Jim

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SQUAD-  you just had a Major Regional Disaster, the community and staff were frightened and worried, and everyone immediately did everything they could to help their neighbors; ...and you *still* provided a development update.

That is dedication my friends.  My hat is off to you.

 

(now ignore us and work on the important stuff.  <3  )

Edited by GarrisonChisholm

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To be honest, I expected something like " we had a major earthquake over here, get off our back, we´ve got bigger problems right now!". And that would have been perfectly fine.

My english isn´t nearly good enough to write down all my thoughts and feelings right now. I´m very glad that you´re well, and I hope that the damage to your personal properties is at least manageable.

2 hours ago, gmiddlemass said:

Wishing you all a swift recovery. 

^  this! Hang in there.

Edited by KerrMü

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I live in Europe. I don't actually know anyone in Mexico City... I only know of Squad being there. So when I opened the paper on Wednesday morning and read about the Earthquake, my first thought actually was "Oh dang, I wonder if Squad made it out unscathed".

Glad to hear that you indeed made it, despite the destruction!

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Yes, very glad to hear that you are all safe. I'm in Iowa, so we don't get catastrophes often (besides the occasional tornado). It's very difficult to imagine something of that magnitude (no pun intended) and you will be in our wishes and prayers.

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Just now, Ultimate Steve said:

Yes, very glad to hear that you are all safe. I'm in Iowa, so we don't get catastrophes often (besides the occasional tornado). It's very difficult to imagine something of that magnitude (no pun intended) and you will be in our wishes and prayers.

Yeah, SW MN is pretty much the same. I do feel sorry for Mexico, though. I had a tornado through my hometown in 2011, and that was probably nothing compared to the earthquake.

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Great job with the weekly update, thanks.  

A brief note would have been fine and perfectly understandable, but the details on both the events and KSP are very much appreciated.

 

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I think I'm going to use up all my likes for the day on this thread. To give some context, I like about two posts a day on average. It's awesome how people care that @SQUAD is okay, and don't just want KSP updates from them.

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I live in California, I know earthquakes are no fun. Glad to hear that you and yours are safe. And thank you for the donation links, I made a contribution that I hope will help.

Edited by Angel-125

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Glad that you folks at @SQUAD are well. To me, that was the best part of this weekly update.

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Went through quite a few earthquakes growing up in the Pacific Northwest, though never any as strong as what just hit Mexico, and they were some of the most frightening moments of my life.  Glad everyone at Squad is okay.

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Glad you all and your families are safe. That's what what matters right now. Don't worry about the game until you all have your lives back on track!

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Good that you are all well and safe. Hopefully you'll also be able to rebuild in a short time.

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I was at a conference in San Francisco in 2014 when a magnitude 3 or 4 earthquake hit Napa on the other side of the bay. It was about 2 in the morning and I woke up as the bed felt like it dropped out from underneath me about 2 feet. Then the building started shaking side to side enough that it was hard to stand up. Being on the 23rd floor of the hotel probably didnt help either. The whole thing only lasted only about 15 to 20 seconds, but it was the freakiest experience I've ever had. After it was over, i looked out the window down at the street, and people were walking along like nothing happened. No sirens, no evacuations, very minor damage in Napa, and basically no big deal. I didnt sleep much the rest of that night.

Having experienced something like that first hand, I can only imagine how much worse this one was for you guys. Glad everyone is safe and hope the recovery is swift and complete. Best wishes.

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