Li0n

[1.5.1] Antenna Helper : Math your Antenna Range and Signal Strength [v1.0.5] (30 Oct 2018)

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Posted (edited)

Antenna-Helper

 

Ever wonder what all the antennas you put on your craft, because they look so cool, actually do ? How far can you go with them ? How many science you'll be able to send back when you get there ?

It's easy ! Just multiply the power of your strongest antenna with the result of the division of the sum of all your antenna's power by the power of the strongest antenna raised by their average weighted combinability exponent. This will give you the antenna power of your spacecraft, now calculate the root square of this number multiplied by the DSN power, it will give you your maximum range. So simple.

OR

You could use Antenna Helper to do all that, and more, for you.

 

Ok, but what does it do ?

It will show you the antenna capability of your active vessel in flight, in the editor and of all vessels in the tracking station.


In flight ?

Click the Antenna Helper icon on the toolbar : icon_off.png?raw=true
And you should see something close to that :

flight_main_window.png?raw=true

The top line, in bold, show the signal strength of the whole CommNet path between your vessel and the DSN. Each button beneath it is a link in this path.

Clicking on the Potential Relays button will expand the window to show all the in-flight relays :

flight_potential_relays_window.png?raw=t

You can click on every link to display some info about both vessel (or DSN) and about the link it-self :

flight_link_info_window.png?raw=true

Now take a look at :


The Map-View

map_view_active.png?raw=true

A big circle has appeared ! Centered on the vessel or DSN your directly connected to (the first link of the main window), it helps visualize the range and signal decay of your active connection.
While your ship is in the green circle its signal strength will be clamped between 100 and 75%, in the yellow circle between 75 and 50%, in the orange circle between 50 and 25%, in the red circle between 25 and 0%. And if you're outside the red circle you don't have any connection.

With this new window (show it-self only in the map-view) :

map_view_window.png?raw=true

You can choose between different sources to show your potential range and signal strength :

map_view_patchwork.png?raw=true


You mentioned the editor ?

Yep. That's nice to see "on live" where you can go with your space probe but it's even better to know before launch how far you can travel.

In the VAB (or SPH) click the Antenna Helper icon on the app launcher : icon_off.png?raw=true
It brings this window :

editor_main_window_direct.png?raw=true


Lots of info here, let's go through them from top to bottom :

  • Selected type : which antennas are taking into account to compute the vessel antenna power. Direct (by default) will use all antennas, Relay will use only the antenna with relay capability.
  • Current target : the range of your ship's antenna is determined by the antenna power of its target, which can be the DSN or a relay. By default the selected target is the DSN. You can change the target by clicking on Pick A Target. (more about it below)
  • Status : a quick explanation about which antenna on your craft will actually be used in flight.
  • Power : the antenna power of your vessel.
  • Max Range : the maximum distance between your vessel and the target after which you'll lose the connection. Depend on the power of your vessel and the power of the target.
  • Max Distance At 100% : the distance between your vessel and the target after which your signal strength will start to decay.
  • Color bar : it works with the Max Distance At 100% and the Max Range distance. The number aligned with the black bars separating the colors indicate the distance at which the signal decay. Example from the pic above : between 2 050 205 945m and 51 662 800 363m, your signal strength will vary from 100% to 75%.


So the target is important ?

Of course, one antenna on its own don't do anything. It must be connected to another antenna, can't compute maximum range or signal strength with only one antenna.
Two type of target :

  • the DSN (Deep Space Network) : it's the (very) big antenna on Kerbin. It has three levels with different power, you upgrade from one to another by upgrading the Tracking Station.
  • relay(s) : those are vessels you build yourself, two condition need to be meet : having at least one antenna with relay capability and setting the vessel type to "Relay".

You can simulate all those connection directly from the editor : Click the Pick A Target button :

editor_target_dsn_window.png?raw=true


From here you can select a different DSN level, your current level is in bold and is selected by default. For simulating against in-flight relay hit the In-Flight Ships button :

editor_target_flight_window.png?raw=true


In this window you should see one button per flying vessel with its name and its antenna relay power, important distinction, when your connection is going through a relay only the relay antenna of this relay will be used. Sound obvious but... So if your building a relay make sure your selected type, in the main window, is set to RELAY.

Speaking of building relays, you may want to simulate the antenna range of a relay before you launch it. To do so you need to add your ship/relay to the Antenna Helper Editor Ship List. Just open your vessel in the editor and click on Add Ship to the Target List in the main window. After which you can click on Editor Ships in the Pick A Target window :

editor_target_editor_window.png?raw=true


It works the same way as the in-flight relay list, the number between parenthesis is still the antenna relay power.

 

But what all those numbers really mean ?

They are, mostly, just distance. At a solar system scale. So big distance, like space-travel distance (we're playing a space program game, are we not ?).
Anyway, to help figuring out what does numbers represent you'll find this window, by clicking on Signal Strength / Distance in the main window :

editor_signal_distance_window.png?raw=tr


In it you'll see what signal strength to expect for a distance equal to the minimum and maximum distance between the home body (Kerbin), its moon(s) and all the others planet on the solar system. Keep in mind that those distance are approximate, specially for celestial body with an highly inclined orbit.
You can check the distance used by hovering your mouse on the celestial body name.
In the same window you can check the signal strength to expect at any given distance, write it in the input box at the bottom of the window and click the Math ! button.


Still don't get a clear representation of what those space-travel distance mean ?
Save your ship in the Antenna Helper Editor Ship List, click the Add Ship to the Target List button in the main window. Quit the editor and open up the Tracking Station.

 

Tracking Station ? Yummy !

Yes it's good. Fire Antenna Helper : icon_off.png?raw=true

From there if you select a vessel in the Tracking Station list you'll see its range circles just like in flight. You can check the range for the active connection, the DSN connection and for all relay in flight by selecting it in the GUI.
To check the range of a vessel saved in the Editor click the Editor Ship List button.

tracking_station_editor_ship_list_window


Now you can see the range and the signal strength of your future vessel for the different connection type.
The number between parenthesis is the total antenna power of your vessel, as opposed to the Ship List in the Editor that show the relay power.

tracking_station_editor_ship.png?raw=tru

 

Sounds awesome but I don't want/need X feature ?

In the Advanced Settings menu you'll find a tab for Antenna Helper. Here you can disable the mod per scene, choose to use Blizzy/LinuxGuruGamer toolbar instead of stock, and, set the refreshing speed for the flight UI, in case it slow your game.

settings_screen.png?raw=true

 

About the mod

DOWNLOADS for KSP 1.4.3 :

DEPENDENCY :

 

Previous KSP version :

 

It is localized in Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German and French.

It should be compatible with every mods, except RemoteTech and Kerbalism.

If you find any bugs please report it, either on GitHub or on this thread.

Know issues and maybe future plans

Dev thread (closed), for posterity :wink:

Sources are on GitHub

License is MIT


Credits

The idea for an in-game calculator is from this thread by @Tyko.

Thanks to @Poodmund for his google doc's calculator, and for the help he provide to this mod, and to the KSP wiki;

Thanks to @Skalou for his help with the math :wink:

Thanks to @wile1411 for his bugs reports and suggestions.

Thanks to @Wyzard for his several bug fixes :)

Thanks to the translators :

Antenna Helper icon/logo made by myself with assets from FlatIcon by Freepik.

Edited by Li0n
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Brilliant work @Li0n, really just superb. This is what CommNet always lacked, good visual representation and the ability to plan the communication links whilst planning in the VAB.

Congrats on the release! :D 

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Great job! thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Hey Li0n,

good work, great mod!

Thank you! :wink:

 

Just waiting for the CKAN release. :P

EDIT: OK, now it's on CKAN! :wink:

 

Edited by N3N

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Posted (edited)

Mother of God!

Z6Y3jFZ_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&f

This mod is just brilliant. I wish I had more than just a "like" to give. This is just the kind of mod that makes ksp that much more "pro".

This should be in "thread of the month"!

Edited by Daniel Prates
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Thanks you all for your kind words :)

Antenna Helper is now available through CKAN, thanks to @linuxgurugamer

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Ahhh was hoping for remote tech support :(

Looks like an awesome mod

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2 hours ago, stk2008 said:

Ahhh was hoping for remote tech support :(

Looks like an awesome mod

Soon(tm):wink:

To be honest I have zero idea what I should do to make it compatible, haven't used RT since KSP ~0.90. So not so soon...

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Good news : Antenna Helper 1.0.0 is compatible with KSP 1.4 :)

(was lazy and don't even give it a try yesterday)

No change was needed, not even a recompile. So thanks @SQUAD for making my life easier :P

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23 hours ago, Li0n said:

Soon(tm):wink:

To be honest I have zero idea what I should do to make it compatible, haven't used RT since KSP ~0.90. So not so soon...

Awesome look forward to using this.

 

Thank you :)

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@Li0n

Wondering, the title says 1.4.0 but when i went to git hub, there is a single version both for 1.3.1 AND 1.4.0, it's the first time i see a dll work for both versions without a need to compile, is this the case for 1.4 is general or am i missing something?

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3 minutes ago, Jiraiyah said:

@Li0n

Wondering, the title says 1.4.0 but when i went to git hub, there is a single version both for 1.3.1 AND 1.4.0, it's the first time i see a dll work for both versions without a need to compile, is this the case for 1.4 is general or am i missing something?

It's the case for Antenna Helper :) I was surprised as well, and a bit suspicious but I haven't found any issue so far with KSP 1.4. Can't speak for others mods, they're all different.

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1 minute ago, Li0n said:

It's the case for Antenna Helper :) I was surprised as well, and a bit suspicious but I haven't found any issue so far with KSP 1.4. Can't speak for others mods, they're all different.

The only case this would be ok, would be that  both versions use same game engine version AND the API section that you refer to won't change. considering that they just switched to a newer version on unity, wouldn't it be more safe to do a recompile and separate versions?

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1 minute ago, Jiraiyah said:

The only case this would be ok, would be that  both versions use same game engine version AND the API section that you refer to won't change. considering that they just switched to a newer version on unity, wouldn't it be more safe to do a recompile and separate versions?

I've test every scene AH works on, on different saves. I think I've even reboot the computer to be sure. And nope no issue. (just re-test on 1.3.1 and 1.4.0, still good :cool:)

I generally agree about re-release/recompile for each new version of KSP (I've done it for my others mods), the reason I didn't here is :

  1. laziness
  2. I plan on a "real" 1.4 release as soon as I got it translated to the new language KSP support
  3. it works, don't fix it
  4. more laziness

 

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You did a great job on this Mod,  thank you.

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Posted (edited)

I was hovering over the signal strength icon top left in TS and after that the stock bar icon of Antenna Helper disappeared.

When I stumple upon it again, I will post the log.

Edited by Gordon Dry

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2 hours ago, Gordon Dry said:

I was hovering over the signal strength icon top left in TS and after that the stock bar icon of Antenna Helper disappeared.

When I stumple upon it again, I will post the log.

What's TS ?

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Tracking Station, but it could happen anywhere because that hud element on top left is shown everywhere.

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23 minutes ago, Gordon Dry said:

Tracking Station, but it could happen anywhere because that hud element on top left is shown everywhere.

Thanks for the clarification.

I can't reproduce it, and no idea how hovering over this icon will cause an issue in AH. So yes, a log is needed.

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I also can't reproduce it actually, but I now have a "ghost antenna" issue.

In VAB the AH window tells me "2 antennas, not combinable, Ranger Antenna is the most powerful" - the thing is, I removed and deleted the Ranger Antenna, there is only the probe core left ...

When I click on "New", so the whole vessel is gone, it still shows the same.

More weird, I go back to SPC, then back into VAB (which is empty), click on the AH button, it still shows the same information ...

When I load the vessel it finally shows the correct info: "One antenna: HLR-PIO6E 'Kohoutek' Probe Core"

Log, if needed:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/njvafqm3k1oua1z/2018-03-13 KSP.log.7z?dl=1


btw, I'm aware of the relatively big log file size, it's because

 

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Antenna Helper 1.0.1 is up, on SpaceDock, GitHub and CKANsoon

Quote

**Editor**
* fix ghost antenna when loading a craft before Antenna Helper's window is open, thanks @Gordon Dry
* fix antenna's calculation being carrying on across saves

**DEPENDENCY**
*MUST be installed*
Toolbar Controller version 0.1.4.7 (still works with KSP 1.4.0 :-) ) or higher
*MUST be installed*
**DEPENDENCY**

@Gordon Dry thanks for your investigation :)

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Oh, I just have a supper, and after coming back to the screen the issue is gone... :0.0:

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On 12/03/2018 at 5:52 PM, Gordon Dry said:

I was hovering over the signal strength icon top left in TS and after that the stock bar icon of Antenna Helper disappeared.

When I stumple upon it again, I will post the log.

I think I found the issue. AH is listening for an event fired when the active ship is destroyed, when it happens AH destroy it-self. Thing is, this event is fired for every ship that's destroyed, not only the active one. And so it also fire when a asteroid is destroyed/no longer tracked. Which I believe is what happen to you, even if that has nothing to do with the signal strength widget, it can literally happen at any time.

I've made a fix on the DEV branch, which is for KSP 1.4.1 (may works on 1.4.0, I haven't try) but it wont works in the Mission Builder's Tracking Station; more works is needed for this.

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2 hours ago, Li0n said:

Thing is, this event is fired for every ship that's destroyed, not only the active one. And so it also fire when a asteroid is destroyed/no longer tracked. Which I believe is what happen to you, even if that has nothing to do with the signal strength widget, it can literally happen at any time.

Shrapnel from the asteroid destroyed the antenna...?

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9 hours ago, Starwaster said:

Shrapnel from the asteroid destroyed the antenna...?

Could be :wink: I was thinking about gravitational waves interference caused by matter suddenly disappearing from the universe.

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