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KSP Weekly: A Frozen God of War


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Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. Since the first humans looked up to the night sky we have been amazed by its beauty, and it’s no wonder that our red neighbor always caught our particular attention. Romans, for instance based their entire religion on astronomy. They knew of seven bright objects in the sky: the Sun, the Moon, and the five brightest planets, which they named after their most important gods: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Second only to Jupiter, Mars was the protector of Rome, a nation proud in war. According to Roman myth, Mars rode on a chariot pulled by two horses named Phobos and Deimos (meaning fear and panic). We kept the Roman nomenclatures for planets, so when we discovered the two small martian moons, it was natural to name them after these two mythical horses.

Our admiration towards Mars has not diminished and we have learned a lot about the red planet since then, and if anything, our knowledge and awe has only increased. Most agree that Mars used to be wet and that ancient water is trapped in or on the planet, whether it’s polar ice, underground ice deposits, and maybe some sort of liquid water flowing every now and then. The question is if that water is actually usable or if it’s too inaccessible or polluted for practical use.

However, according to a paper in a recent issue of the journal Science, it seems that some places on Mars have huge glaciers below the surface. Scientists had already inferred that there was ice beneath the surface, because of indirect measurements, but it was difficult to know if it was in the form of ice crystals mixed with dust grains and rock fragments, since the ice is underneath layers of dust and rock. The new study has taken a more direct approach of understanding Mars’ ice: photographs. Using photos of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to investigate eight hills where erosion has revealed what’s beneath the surface of dust.  To the surprise of the scientist, each hill had a layer of what seems to be pure ice with hardly any rocks or dust mixed in, and just a couple of meters underneath the surface.

The ice was found by using enhanced-color images and by measuring the electromagnetic radiation these glaciers gave off, so scientists were able to confirm that the composition was indeed frozen water. The team found that the ice layers were tens and sometimes even a hundred meters thick.

This discovery is great news for a future colonization of Mars, strengthening its position as the best prospect to become our second home. These glaciers could not only become vital sources of drinkable water for future astronauts, but also could produce breathable air by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Some models show that these glaciers might have formed from immense snowstorms millions of years ago. We could learn how the Martian climate has changed over time by drilling these ice layers, just as we do here on Earth. I wonder if Kerbals are as excited as us about Kerbin’s red neighbor and if they also plan to establish colonies on Duna.

[Development news start here]

There is never a shortage of work here at the KSP HQ, especially now that we are in such a critical point in the development process of our upcoming releases. Whether it is the Making History Expansion, the 1.4 update, or KSP Enhanced Edition, we are ensuring that our efforts are properly allocated, and that every project is receiving the necessary resources. Sometimes the work involves tasks that might not be as exciting as the implementation of new features or new parts, but still very important. For instance, this week involved a whole bunch of those “back-end” tasks that help us ensure that every element behaves as it should, including the merging of pull requests, testing and fixing any issues, as well as organizing the sprint of tasks that the following weeks are going to involve. This type of work usually isn’t in the spotlight, but without it, it’d be impossible to coordinate a development team efficiently.

While on the topic of back-end development processes, we are happy to share that the 1.4 update is coming along nicely. We want to provide our players with a big update that will not only include several enhancements and bug fixes, but also new content and features that will forward the KSP experience, most notably the full localization of the game to German, Italian, French, and Brazilian Portuguese. Which by the way, is almost done and undergoing the LQA (Localization Quality Assurance) process.

We have been working on Making History for quite a while already and it’s difficult to express how amazing it is to see the expansion take shape, considering that it began as ideas written down on paper (figuratively). We hope that our regular readers are getting some of that feeling too, as you’ve been following along these past months.

Working on the Making History Expansion has brought up ideas for features that will end up in the stock game, too! One example is the implementation of a toolbar button that will give players the ability to switch between the VAB and the SPH… Quality of life features, aren’t they great?

This week we also worked on making a small audio revamp to the sound effects of all engines (old and new). Once we have the audio files, we will need to load them into the project and configure the part’s “config” files to load and play the right sound when the proper criteria is met.

For the Making History Expansion, we’ve previously talked about how Creators will be able to tweak a wide range of parameters for each node they drag onto the canvas in the Mission Builder, but an image is worth more than a thousand words, so we wanted to take this opportunity to show you the UI for the Mission Builder Canvas’ Sidebar and the Setting Action Panes (SAP).

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These are just a couple of examples of the Setting Action Panes (SAP) for two different nodes. As you can appreciate, each of them has different parameters that Creators will be able to customize for any specific mission. If you look closely, there’s a lot of information that you can deduce from there.

On the other hand, below you’ll find the Mission Builder Canvas’ Sidebar. From here, the Creator will drag the nodes they want to include in their missions. As you can see, the nodes are divided by types (categories) shown in the tabs in the upper left side of the screen. We wanted to give the UI the familiar look and feel that the VAB and SPH have when you build vessels.

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Additionally, Creators will be able to set awards to their mission that player can get if certain goals are met during their mission run; such as completing a mission under a specific time frame, the survival of the crew, among several others. Here’s an example for the “Boldly going” award, which a player could receive if a certain number of kilometers traveled was surpassed.

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In other news, we continue to compile all the feedback and reports we are getting regarding Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition. As these reports come in, the QA team tries to reproduce them, according to the description that the players provide. The successful reproduction of a bug allows us to identify a bug/issue with precision and consequently to work on solutions. This is why making reports properly is a great way to help us fix any bugs promptly and efficiently. Here’s an old, yet very useful Bug Reporting Guide in case you want to help us out.

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!



*Information Source:

  • Dundas, Colin M., et al. “Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-Latitudes.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12 Jan. 2018, science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6372/199.
  • “Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 11 Jan. 2018, news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/mars-buried-water-ice-subsurface-geology-astronauts-science/.
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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

new content and features that will forward the KSP experience, most notably the full localization of the game to German, Italian, French, and Brazilian Portuguese.

Umm, worthy no doubt, but not what I'd class as content and features.

For that I'd want a couple of new planets (one of which has an eccentric orbit inclined at 90° to the plane of the other planets), an electric atmosphere engine, a hinge, a dV display, a shed-load of new surface features to explore on all the worlds, and exotic alien women who say things like "What is this 'love' you speak of and will you teach us the ways of it?".  

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55 minutes ago, Foxster said:

For that I'd want a couple of new planets (one of which has an eccentric orbit inclined at 90° to the plane of the other planets

I've heard there is a planet called Dres, but no one goes there because it is too much trouble so.... :wink:

57 minutes ago, Foxster said:

exotic alien women who say things like "What is this 'love' you speak of and will you teach us the ways of it?

Careful, your Kirk is showing.  

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50 minutes ago, Kerbal pancake said:

will the mission builder be integrated with contracts? will there be contracts that have specific pre-made missions that you have to complete?

I believe it's been previously stated that Missions and the Mission Builder are a separate mode from Career, Science, or Sandbox. My guess is that Missions will function similarly to a Sandbox mode game with constraints based on the Mission you choose to play. From everything I've seen, the best way to think about it seems to be to consider it a sort of in-game Challenge Maker with score keeping and an award system built right in. It does not sound like it will have anything to do with Contracts or your progression in Career mode games.

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4 hours ago, SQUAD said:
 

Creators will be able to set awards to their mission that player can get

How will the Creators make their missions available to the players?  Will they post a mission file to something like Dropbox?  Or will Squad have a dedicated website similar to Kerbal X?

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9 minutes ago, Pi_ said:

How will the Creators make their missions available to the players?  Will they post a mission file to something like Dropbox?  Or will Squad have a dedicated website similar to Kerbal X?

I'd hope the player wouldn't have to leave the game to browse and share missions.

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@Pi_

I believe Kerbal X is a fan-made site unaffiliated with Squad or Take-Two. They might make something similar, but unless things have changed since the IP aquisition by Take-Two, Squad's official Mod Repository is Curse/Curseforge and I would guess that they'd just offer that as a Mission Repository as well.

I've also been curious about their plans for sharing missions. I believe the best option for players, and the best option for potentially bringing the expansion to consoles eventually, would be a server that missions are uploaded to and downloaded from all in-game. Unlike mods that have to load when the game loads, Missions will likely be able to be loaded like saves (i.e. after the game loads) and could therefore be added as the game was running. Since that's never been mentioned, never been shown, and requires a lot more work, I suspect they're just going to say that mission makers, like mod makers, can use the Squad Official Mission Repository at Curse.

@klgraham1013

That would be my hope too (see above), but I sincerely doubt it at this time.

Edited by Mako
I really dislike working on posts from the mobile site... but I only have myself to blame.
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3 minutes ago, Mako said:

Since that's never been mentioned, never been shown, and requires a lot more work, I suspect they're just going to say that mission makers, like mod makers, can use the Squad Official Mission Repository at Curse.

Just playing devils advocate here. Wouldn't that close the door for console players when it comes time for their DLC release?

(I'm basing the question on the something that may or may not happen in the future. I don't know or use consoles, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.)

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4 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

Just playing devils advocate here. Wouldn't that close the door for console players when it comes time for their DLC release?

(I'm basing the question on the something that may or may not happen in the future. I don't know or use consoles, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.)

Yeah, that's my thought as well. I mention it here (without explicitly spelling it out):

14 minutes ago, Mako said:

I believe the best option for players, and the best option for potentially bringing the expansion to consoles eventually, would be a server that missions are uploaded to and downloaded from all in-game.

 

At the very least it makes the prospect much less user friendly. At most it makes it so sharing missions is something that is not allowed by the console makers. I suppose Squad could go the route of some of the games where you can add your likeness or logo to your in-game avatar by creating a website that lets console players link there accounts and import missions into the game. I don't think the odds of that are any better than having an in-game server browser that lets you upload and download missions though.

Edited by Mako
Added emphasis and some more words (like I always do...)
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9 hours ago, SQUAD said:

This week we also worked on making a small audio revamp to the sound effects of all engines (old and new). Once we have the audio files, we will need to load them into the project and configure the part’s “config” files to load and play the right sound when the proper criteria is met.

Ah, FINALLY !!!! :D:kiss:.

So we can feel something like that :

 

Will you work on the whole sound design and add some immersive sound environment ?

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Whilst I can agree with and deeply appreciate some of the quality of life features that are finally being added (in agreement with @Just Jim and @klgraham1013) I just cannot make sense of the release of the making history expansion with the continued drought of game content (destinations, surface details, actions, etc.) <--- @SQUAD any thoughts on this?

As a solid straw man for a real life comparison, the moon race was primarily a politically motivated process, so...  just getting to the "Mun"?  Yea sure --> makes sense in that regard.  However,  there were very interesting and captivating elements pertaining to the actual 'boots on soil' exploration experiences  (For example: the Apollo 17 'Orange Soil' exclamition) that currently seem void in the game. (I bow down to @Red Shirt regarding potential green 'gender-opposing' encounters which might be cool, but sadly maybe just a bit of a stretch for an ESB E rated game - :wink: lol).

So I whilst I highly anticipate a 1.4 update and will definitely buy any DLC - I cannot suppress my fear that it will continue to be a fantastic "Shell" with little if any "exploratory egg" inside.

Edited by Wallygator
additional thoughts, shout outs and grammatical improvements
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10 hours ago, SQUAD said:

a toolbar button that will give players the ability to switch between the VAB and the SPH

Thats nice! Do we need to reload the vessel afterwards or will this be done automatically?

10 hours ago, SQUAD said:

small audio revamp to the sound effects of all engines

Let´s hope the engines sound like engines then!

10 hours ago, SQUAD said:

UI for the Mission Builder Canvas’ Sidebar

Thats a lot to configure, will there be an explanation (KSPedia?) of what every option is for ingame?

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